One of the responsibilities of the Technical Coordinator in the Ohio Section is to submit something for the Section Journal. The Section Journal covers Amateur Radio related things happening in and around the ARRL Ohio Section. It is published by the Section Manager Scott – N8SY and articles are submitted by cabinet members.
Once my article is published in the Journal, I will also make it available on my site with a link to the published edition.
You can receive the Journal and other Ohio Section news by joining the mailing list Scott has setup. You do not need to be a member of the ARRL, Ohio Section, or even a ham to join the mailing list. Please sign up!
If you are an ARRL member and reside in the Ohio Section, update your mailing preferences to receive Ohio Section news in your inbox. Those residing outside the section will need to use the mailing list link above.
Updating your ARRL profile will deliver news from the section where you reside (if the leadership chooses to use this method).
Go to www.arrl.org and logon.
Click Edit your Profile.
You will be taken to the Edit Your Profile page. On the first tab Edit Info, verify your Email address is correct.
Click the Edit Email Subscriptions tab.
Check the News and information from your Division Director and Section Manager box.
Now without further ado…
Read the full edition at:
THE TECHNICAL COORDINATOR
Jeff Kopcak – TC
Have you recently built something? Came up with a solution to a problem in the shack? Accomplished something new? Now, ask your club newsletter editor (or even our own Section Manager) if they are looking for content from club members. I’ll bet they say “yes!” Hams are interested in good articles written by others sharing experiences with projects and adventures. You’ll be surprised to find out how many other people are interested in the same thing or how it will motivate others to experiment with something similar. Believe me, it happens.
Not sure where to start? Contact the newsletter editor first. Give them some notice about your intent to write an article. It’s important to find out how much space you’ll have, what format to send everything (Word Doc, PDF, TXT, JPG, TIFF), and most importantly when they need it for publication. They can ask questions about the project to help jump start your thought process which will make it easier to get it down on paper. Take note of questions they ask and refer back to them if… when… you get writer’s block.
Organize your thoughts and come up with some logical order to them. Chronological often works best. Jumping around and referring to events you haven’t described yet will leave the reader confused and likely to move on to another article.
Answer the question “what did you try to tackle or what problem did you solve?” Wanting to build an interface for digital operation, build a portable direction finding antenna, evaluate mobile antenna mounts, build out a mesh network, learn Linux or Raspberry Pi, learn a programming language, build a timer circuit, use an SDR to add a spectrum analyzer and waterfall to an older radio, work a satellite contact, find the noise source on 40 meters – are all examples of what you might have set out to accomplish.
Research/finding a solution
How did you research the topic? Watch YouTube videos, read online posts or blogs, research in the ARRL Handbook, consult with friends or club members, attend a session or forum? Include some of the more outstanding resources you came across. Resources like a website that has a calculation tool for antenna length, tracking satellite passes, finding 6-meter openings, detailed setup and walk through video, or cloned GitHub repository.
This is the meat and potatoes, main focus, of the article. This section should include how parts were acquired, ones that were cheaper/more expensive, better/lesser quality, substituted better parts than projects were using in your research, design changes, and trial and error antidotes.
Diagrams used, schematics, flow charts, reference tables, and pictures are good as long as they don’t take up an excessive amount of space. There probably won’t be a lot of space for highly detailed graphics. If this is the case, upload high quality graphics and images to a Dropbox or Google Drive folder. Create a read only sharable link. Include that link in the article or put it at the end of the article.
Steps taken to get the project ready for final assembly and results of initial testing. How did you make the project look clean and organized? Mounting methods for the project – housing or risers/standoffs, installation issues, cable management, or systemd code snippets to automatically start the program. Initial test results? Did they point to a good build, point to any issues, or did you miss something along the way?
Any problems encountered, anomalies you came across, or last-minute changes? Antenna analyzer readings, triangulation techniques for foxhunting, signal strength of the next mesh node, speed tests, or were adjustments needed? Include any debugging tips that another reader is likely to encounter.
Don’t be embarrassed of things you’ve messed up either. We have all done it. Whether its forgot a “;” at the end of a line of code and it took a half-hour or half-day to debug because the compiler though the error was somewhere else, looked at a wrong date, didn’t realize the time was in UTC, let the smoke out, knocked over a propane torch… whatever the reason, it will make you appear human. Your project will stick with your reader and they’ll be able to relate to problems from their own experiences. Not to mention you’ll learn from your mistakes too.
What did you accomplish with your newfangled project? Did you track down that noise on 40, work moon-bounce to an exotic location, snag that DX you were hoping to get, published in a magazine because someone used your project as part of theirs, or start an industry because it was so fascinating? Final thoughts about the project. Was it worth it, would you do anything different, did it make things easier or harder?
Now that your article is written, revise, revise, and revise for spelling, grammar, and continuity. Have others proof read and provide constructive criticism. It’s hard sometimes when it’s your work but they’re trying to make it even better. Having peers review will help convey your message clearly and avoid making stupid mistakes. If you’re still looking for examples, grab any issue of QST and follow the format of a similar article to your project. With a little work, you can become a published author and help your club out in the process!
Thanks for reading and 73… de Jeff – K8JTK