Ohio Section Journal – The Technical Coordinator – June 2021 edition

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 Tom – WB8LCD 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.

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Now without further ado…

Read the full edition at:

Jeff Kopcak – TC

DSCF5081 K8JTKHey gang,

As Technical Coordinator for the Ohio Section, I oversee the section’s group of Technical Specialists. The Specialists and I are here to promote technical advances and the experimentation side of the hobby. We encourage amateurs in the section to share their technical achievements with others in QST, at club meetings, in club newsletters, hamfests, and conventions. We’re available to assist program committees in finding or providing suitable programs for local club meetings, ARRL hamfests, and conventions within the section. When called upon, serve as advisors for RFI issues and work with ARRL officials and other appointees for technical advice.

Technical Specialists are a cadre of qualified and competent individuals here for the “advancement of the radio art,” a profound obligation incurred under the rules of the FCC. TS’s support myself and the section in two main areas of responsibility: Radio Frequency Interference (RFI) and Technical Information. They can specialize in certain areas or be generalists in those areas of responsibility. Those responsibilities include serving as consultants or advisors to local hams or speaking at local club meetings on popular topics.

In the Ohio Section, there are 14 qualified specialists able and willing to assist. EMI/RFI includes harmful interference that seriously degrades, obstructs, or repeatedly interrupts a radio communication service such as ham radio or public service agencies. RFI sources range from bad power insulators, industrial control systems, other transmitters or poorly made transmitters, personal devices like computers, monitors, printers, game consoles, to grow lights, failing transformers, and poorly made transformers – including one’s hams brag about getting from China for a few dollars. I die a little inside when I hear this. Our Technical Specialists can offer advice to help track down interference or locate bozo stations. Technical information is a wide-ranging category including everything from antennas to Zumspots.

How can we help? The knowledge and abilities of YOUR Technical Specialists are really quite impressive. Here are some examples:

  • Antennas (fixed, portable, and emergency operation type) and feedlines
  • Antenna systems such as towers, guying, coax, and baluns
  • RF and tower safety
  • Grounding
  • Propagation
  • Electronics and circuits
  • Tube technology, aka boat anchors
  • Voice and data modes – including D-STAR, DMR, Fusion, NXDN, P25, APRS, IGates, packet, MT63, FT8/4, Olivia, PSK, and using programs like Fldigi
  • NBEMS – Narrow Band Emergency Messaging System
  • Computers, Windows and Linux, Raspberry Pi
  • Embedded devices
  • Networking: IP networks, AMPRNet, routers, firewalls, security, mesh, and microwave
  • Repeaters, controllers, and high-profile systems
  • Internet and VoIP linking systems – Echolink, AllStar, HamVoIP, DVSwitch, and PBX/Asterisk
  • RFI detection from power lines and consumer devices including working with governmental agencies to track down interference
  • Professional certifications such as Motorola Certified Technicians, Certified Journeyman Electronics Technician, General Radiotelephone Operator License (GROL), and Society of Broadcast Engineers (SBE) affiliations

This impressive list of qualifications is an available resource to all in the Ohio Section. Looking for guidance in one or more of these areas? Need a program for your club meeting? How about a technical talk or forum at your hamfest? Assistance or direction on a project? Feel free to contact myself. My contact info is near my picture and on the arrl-ohio.org website. I’ll assist getting you in touch with an appropriate Technical Specialist. If you’re interested in being a Technical Specialist, take a look at the description on the ARRL site and get in contact with me. I’ll keep you in mind when a spot opens up.

One of the activities that got canceled over the last year-and-a-half was the West Chester Amateur Radio Association’s (WCARA) trip to K3LR’s contest station. The station is not far into Pennsylvania on I-80. You’ve likely seen it if you’re taking the turnpike into PA and look to the right about a mile after crossing the border. I decided to get out of the house and have my second tour of this marvelous station. For me, it’s only about an hour and a half drive. The rest of the club came fr

K3LR operating positions

om just north of Cincinnati, closer to 5+ hours each way with breaks and food. Tim is an excellent host as always and an amazing engineer. He built the station over 35 years and has one of the quietest noise floors you’ll ever see. As he’ll tell you, it didn’t come easy. He’s got really good stories including one involving a late-night party. I’ll leave that one for him to tell! It was great to get out of the house for a day and hang out at a superstation with the guys from VOA.

Above the clouds – antenna changeout view (YouTube)

Speaking of towers, if you’re like me and wonder what it’s like to work at a commercial tower site or TV tower, I came across a half hour video of tower work from the crew’s prospective. This video documents the entire changeout of the antenna from removing the old one to putting the new one in place. The tower crew and air-crane crew replace the television transmitting antenna for WTVX in West Palm Beach, Florida. You get to see what it is like to be working on a 1,500′ tower. It’s quite impressive with breathtaking views but one of the riskiest jobs in the world.

Field Day is completed by the time you read this. Keep this in mind for next year. Sending 10 messages over RF from your site gets you 100 bonus points – including Winlink messages. I love to receive messages about your setup, stations, operating, or social activities taking place. These can be sent via the National Traffic System (NTS) or Winlink – K8JTK at Winlink.org – to my station. Field Day rules state messages must leave via [ham radio] RF from the site (7.3.6). It does not state “formal messages” be in any particular format or utilize any particular network. A message to the SM or SEC must be in radiogram format and leave via RF or no credit will be given (7.3.5). Copies of messages are included with the submitted Field Day report.

With July around the corner, if you’re looking to do something while flipping burgers at your 4th of July picnic, my favorite event is the 13 Colonies Special Event which will be on the air July 1st (9AM) – July 7th (midnight). There is an additional France bonus station this year, TM13COL. This is in addition to the bonus stations WM3PEN and GB13COL. A station does not need to work all 13 colonies to receive a certificate. The three bonus stations do not need to be contacted for a clean sweep.

Thanks for reading and 73… de Jeff – K8JTK