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Published by the Rip Van Winkle Amateur Radio Society, Inc.
April, 2002
QNZ de K2WG…

Spring ahead, fall backward. Day Light Savings Time. Love it or hate it. Is it really necessary? Was it ever necessary? While we are on the topic, how come 12 hours AM and PM? Does the earth stop momentarily at the end of every 12 hours so we can begin again? I don’t think so! It just keeps on spinning not even caring about whether it’s 24 hours or whatever. Ah, human invention and intervention. It really is an interesting story when you research the history of some of our more ubiquitous measurements of the world around us. And if you really want a challenge, try explaining some of these measurement concepts to a room full of ninth graders.

This is one of the ways in which I work HAM radio into my Earth Science classes. GMT, time zones, latitude, longitude, compass directions, geography and many other opportunities to explore the world around us are all a very real part of our hobby. My students are usually fascinated (there are always a few cynics) with my stories of working DX and how I have learned a great deal about other countries and cultures via HAM radio. Sometimes this is the ‘hook’ that will get teenagers to want to know more about our hobby. Intellect does not become dormant from the ages of 13 to 19, it just needs to be rooted out and exposed for what it really is – our connection with our past and a means of understanding and preparing for our future. Quoting the ARRL Big Project pamphlet, “Amateur Radio emphasizes self-challenge, the value of life-long learning and the importance of participation in public service.”.

Let’s not lose sight of this in our own view of our hobby. If you are not holding a General Class or an Extra Class license, have you upgraded lately? RVWARS has many Elmers just waiting for the opportunity to help another HAM upgrade, and yes, that includes CW practice. No longer is it acceptable to utter that often heard phrase, “I just can’t get my code speed above 10 WPM so General and above is out of reach.” Regardless of what some of the Old Timers say about code requirements, learning the code and using it at 5 WPM still makes you a “real” HAM. I’ve met some really knowledgeable and active HAMs on CW at 5 to 10 WPM. There is no rush, no pressure. But please consider upgrading, for a whole new world of opportunity awaits..

April Meeting in Athens

The April Meeting will be held at the Athens Community Center at 7:00 p.m., April 15th. Talk-in on 147.21

Have you checked out PSK31 or some of the other HF digital modes? I spent some of my retirement money to purchase a RigBlaster and associated software. There are other interfaces out there, even some you can build, but I decided to take the lazy man’s route this time. Plug these ‘boxes’ into your sound card, hook up the HF radio interface and you’re ‘listening’ to another fascinating portion of our hobby. I’ve just been listening so far until I figure out the protocols and learn the software. The software I’m using also allows me to explore RTTY, AMTOR, PACTOR, etc. so I won’t be bored for awhile. Just when you think you’ve been there, done all of that, a new aspect of this hobby opens up another door for operating excitement and pleasure. I know, some of these modes have been around for awhile, especially RTTY, but some of us are just starting to explore them.

Two important events coming up in June. On the 15th, get your kids, your neighbor’s kids, the grandkids, the cousins’ kids and put them on the air for ARRL Kids Day. The rules can be found on the ARRL web site. It’s simple, fun and a good way to introduce our hobby in a very positive way. Field Day rapidly approaches. The weekend of June 22nd and 23rd will find us battling it out with other clubs around the US for those FD points. We still need a food chairperson, so if you’d like to fill this very important slot, please contact me or Bob WB2DUW. More details at the April and May RVWARS meetings. This month and in June we’ll be on the Greene County side of the river. In May we’ll be back at JL Edwards School in Hudson. Hope to see all of you there!

73 for now…. AR SK de K2WG

Page 2 — April, 2002
Amateur Radio and the Internet:
The Internet Radio Linking Project
By Neil KB2ZYS

Indio, CA, which is about twenty miles from Palm Springs, and I had programmed in the local two-meter repeaters to see what was happening in the area. The local HAMs were discussing IRLP and in amongst the tones were identifiers from all over. They also seemed to be talking with people all over the world. After it quieted down I threw out my call sign and got to talk to N6GOF, Eric who is an officer of the local club. The Desert Rats have their repeater at 8500 feet MSL on the upper Tram Car station of the Palm Springs Tram Car, which makes it a great local repeater. He said they were in the process of setting up their repeater to work with the IRLP system and would I like to see how it worked.

At that point I got my first lesson in IRLP, which are the initials for Internet Radio Linking Project. About the first thing he did was to open a NODE in Middletown, NY and let me throw out my call sign. When I did not get a response he made the comment that it was about one AM in NY so probably no one was monitoring. He then said, “Wait a minute, I have another idea.” And he connected to the Denver REFLECTOR where there was a group of hams talking and he asked if there was anyone from NY there. At that point I got to talk to a sixteen year old in Syracuse, NY who was up late so he could make a contact with a friend in Australia.

I went on line and put IRLP in my search engine and got some more information and also a map showing where the nodes are located and what frequency they are on. Most of the Nodes are on two meter or seventy centimeter bands although there are a few on other bands. The Albany NY Node is listed as an open repeater on 440.000MHZ with a tone of 100 hertz and I was wondering if any of the club members have tried it.

Shortly after this my time in the Palm Springs area was up and we moved to the Casa Grande, AZ area and from there I could not reach the IRLP link in Tucson with my old 440 HT so I decided I needed a new dual band transceiver, managed to convince my wife of this, and then drove up to Phoenix stopped in at HRO and bought a new Kenwood TMV7A. Guess what, I couldn't reach the Tucson repeater with that either but I did manage to find a 440 repeater on Mount Lemon that was connected to a system that was linked all the way from Dallas, TX to San Diego, CA. and was almost immediately told it was not ‘open’ to general use but if a club member was on it was okay to talk to him. They were a friendly enough group as long as I did not open the repeater and initiate the conversation.

Anyway, back to IRLP, when we got back into the Palm Springs area it was a little over a month later and by that time the list of IRLP Nodes had gone from a little over two hundred to almost four hundred. The Palm Springs Node was complete and most club members offered to open and close nodes for me. But even more interesting was that the NODE was being opened and closed by HAMs from all over. One day VK3JOB, Graham from Node 633 in Victoria, Australia opened the Node and conversed with the local HAMs for a while, when he closed Andy G1DTF from Sheffield England opened the Node I talked with him for a while. He was on a flight from London to LA and was grounded in Labrador due to the September 11 terrorist attack and then sent back to England, a very interesting QSO.

I wonder what if any, experiences any of the local members have had with IRLP.

73, Neil KB2ZYS