September 2022 TCARC Meeting

It’s time for the Tri-County Amateur Radio Club’s September meeting. We’ll be meeting in the larger downstairs Community Room at the Dwight Foster Public Library, located at 209 Merchants Avenue in Fort Atkinson (map and directions). Our meeting will start at 6:30 PM and should run for 90 minutes, as we review the events of the summer and plan ahead for Fall and Winter club activities.

For those of you who can’t make the meeting in person, we’ll also be on Zoom (Meeting ID: 498 306 5761, Passcode: 36061741) with a link to the meeting here: Link to Join Zoom Meeting..

See you on September 13th!

So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish… err, Egg MacGuffins!

The Jefferson County Fall Refresh ham fest ran this past weekend and we’d like to thank those of you who came out for the event. While our spring HamFest is an indoor event held in the Activity Center at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds, our Fall “refresh” is held outdoors, about 1/2 mile north on Jackson Avenue.

This made the day a far more relaxed event than our Spring HamFest. This year, we had just under 2 dozen vendors and about 80 attendees. While that was smaller than last’s year Fall event, those who came enjoyed the mix of things people were selling (Yay, Nixie tubes!!! Antennas! ) from the tables set up behind or inside their cars, and several of those selling commented they really liked how easy it was to set up — and cleanup!

It was h

It was a far more relaxed event that our normal Spring Ham Fest, with just under 2 dozen vendors and about 80 attendees, significantly smaller than last’s year Fall event. Those who came enjoyed the mix of things people were selling (Yay, Nixie tubes!!!) from the tables set up behind or inside their cars, and those selling commented they really liked how easy it was to set up — and cleanup!

We also had some delicious food served this year! A special thanks to Brian, KB9OXS, and Karen, KB9PHC, for donning their aprons and making it both a fun AND tasty day for those who attended. At the start of the day, I enjoyed a Sausage, Egg, and Cheese Biscuit and some good hot coffee that got me up and running in search of deals! Around 10, I saw someone fighting to devour a quarter pounder with cheese — sorry, a “0.11364 kilogrammer with cheese” — and looking very happy about the challenge. Yes, the menu had a number of “uniquely named” items, so ordering was almost as fun as eating.

The Tri-County ARC is going to have a discussion about the event at our next club meeting, and we’d love to hear from you. If you came, let us know and let us know what you liked and what could be improved. If you didn’t attend. we’d live to hear why not… and what might change that for future events! While the comments won’t be shown, click the “Leave a comment” link above and let us know, and we’ll include your comments in the meeting!

Now, I just need to organize a little better so I have room for my new finds… plus my calendar tells me I have only a month before Ozaukee and the HRO SuperFest, so I had better get moving! See you there or hear you on the air!

73!


The “We Screwed Up and You Save” HamFest Sale

Ever have one of those days where nothing goes according to plan, and that one significant step just messes everything up? Yeah, we’re having one of those months here.

After getting our website back up after being down for a day and a half, we discovered that somehow, one of the linked Fest listings listed the ticket price at $5, rahter than the prices liste on our flyers.

Oops.

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. When the advertising you published offers a lower price than you planned, have a sale! So, effective today, the Club decided to drop the online ordering and adjust our price to $5 for all admission tickets purchased on the day of the Fest. With the reduced ticket price, we won’t bring the credit card scanner, so all ticket purchases will be cash only.

If you already purchased online, we’ve already refunded the difference back to your account, with our thanks for supporting amateur radio in Jefferson, Rock and Walworth Counties here in south-central Wisconsin. Enjoy the $2 or, even better, bring it to the Fest to spend on cool Ham gear.

If you haven’t purchased tickets already, here’s the 4-step plan to save you money and impress your friends: (1) Show up at 892 N Jackson Ave in Jefferson, WI (click for a map). THIS Saturday, Aug 6th, between 8AM and noon. Follow the signs to enter at the South entrance; (2) Buy a $5 cash ticket, glowing in the knowledge that you’re getting HamFest fun at a discounted price; (3) Search through up to 50 vendors offering the coolest in Ham gear, electronics, antennas, and other unique finds; (4) Take your stuff home and brag to your friends about your skill as a bargain hunter!

Here’s the Fest flyer — just ignore the old pricing!

See you Saturday!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fall HamFest 2022

Yes, it’s time for the second annual Fall Jefferson County HamFest! The event was so well received last year that we’re bringing it back again for 2022. We’re adding a few things — food, some improved organization — and taking a few things away — VE testing — to better fir the outdoor space and unpredictable weather of a Fall event in Wisconsin.

Based on the success of the Spring Fest, we’re also offering discounted tickets for the event here on the club website. We’ll open registration for the event in two weeks, so grab the cheap tickets while they’re available: the $8 admission will be $1 off if you purchase in advance! 10′ x 10′ drive-in-and-sell Vendor spots will be $10, and you can sell from the back of your car, van, truck, or pop-up tent.

Here’s a link to the Fest Flyer:

See you on August 6th!

HamFest 2022 Results

Our HamFest 2022 review and audit took place last night at the April Tri-County ARC club meeting. If you weren’t able to attend, here are some of the key facts we discussed.

  • The final online order was made at 6:24 AM on Sunday.
  • Between mail-in and web orders, we pre-sold 106 tickets and 94 tables BEFORE the Fest.
  • Given an expected attendance of 250-300, we pre-printed another 200 tickets. To put it mildly, we grossly underestimated the demand. The final pre-printed ticket was sold at 8:31 AM!!! Our new ticketing system provide itself as we were able to generate and electronic tickets until we were able to generate and print more tickets around an hour later.
  • Our official attendance was 471!!!
  • We pre-sold 94 tables to vendors. 8 were assigned to vendors who couldn’t attend. We sold an additional 4 tables the morning of the Fest, resulting in an official table count of 90 tables.
  • The Fest returned a nice profit, which will support the Club’s activities over the next year. With a planned tower move for the repeater, these funds will be put to good use later in the year!

For those of you who may have been stuck in the line to purchase tickets, thank you all for your patience! We failed you by not thinking large enough as we did not expect a turnout nearly DOUBLE what we planned for.

Our online web software processed orders for about half of the tickets and tables (39 of 90). For a first year, and for not having advertised the tool, we were very excited at that result. Additionally, when we ran out of tickets, the ability to generate and sell tickets online was the only thing keeping us running until we could print more tickets on the spot.

We’re viewing this as a good start, and are working with the software vendor to adjust for some of these things we’re learned. Have any suggestions you’d like to make? Email us and let us know!

Mar 5th — Note Date — HamFest 2022 Follow-up Club Meeting

Our next Tri-County ARC meeting has been rescheduled, now taking place on Tuesday, March 5th, at 6:30 PM at the Dwight Foster Public Library, 209 Merchants Ave, in Fort Atkinson. We’ll be meeting in the upstairs conference room and on Zoom (Meeting ID: 498 306 5761, Passcode: 36061741) with a link to the meeting here: Link to Join Zoom Meeting.

The bulk of the meeting will be spent reviewing last week’s HamFest 2022. We’ll share some of the tentative early results of the Fest including attendance, number of vendors, and a tentative report as the the financial results. Come prepared to share what you saw, both good and bad, and what me might want to improve for next year’s Fest.

We also plan to discuss potential dates for 2023 ann the possibility of a Fall 2022 event, so bring you calendars to identify both personal conflicts, as well as other events happening that weekend.

This meeting replaces the meeting next week scheduled for April 12th. Unless you’re planning to come in to check out the latest Jeffery Deaver thriller, please update your calendars and join us THIS Tuesday instead,

Dennis Karksi estate (W9CWI)

At this Fest on Sunday, the friends and family of Dennis Karksi (W9CWI) will have a table at Sunday’s HamFest 2022 to try to find new homes for the gear that Dennis owned when he passed. The family has been struggling with Dennis’ large quantity of stuff for many months, so we’re passing this list on in the hopes that you might need some of this equipment.

Here’s the information that they’ve asked us to pass along:

There are many items on this list that can be had reasonably, especially if you can pick them up near Milwaukee, WI.  Quality discounts are available but will be proportional to quantity on many items (especially if you want all of the 440 receiver stuff, the telephone intercept equipment, or the pre-detection/recording playback equipment ). 

Some select items from this list will be for sale at the Dayton Hamvention, May 20-22 in Dayton, OH, mostly the items like the WJ-8999 & WJ-8969 receivers and the WJ-1204 and WJ-1250 frequency synthesizers. Shipping is available for some items but the prices will not be as low as for pickup in Milwaukee.  Some pictures of just front panels are available.  There’s too much in this estate to take time for more pictures or any additional testing.  All units are as-is unless noted.  No guarantees or returns.

Here’s a list of the remaining Watkins-Johnson and related equipment in the estate sale:

  • WJ      ST-1045A  –  1-2 GHz & 2-4.5 GHz dual tuner
  • CEI     SM-9303A  –  21.4 MHz full rack 3 MHz wide spectrum display, parts unit
  • CEI     704  –  250-500 MHz & 500-1000 MMz, says “motorboating”, needs cleaning, early receiver from 1965.
  • WJ      WJ-9040 tuner frame, parts unit, lots of stuff missing
  • WJ      TFD-103  –  Tape If demodulator
  • WJ      WJ-9080B  –  10-1000 MHz tuner, 160 MHz and 21.4 MHz outputs serial no 71, slick front end for SDR unit
  • WJ      WJ-9080B  –  10-1000 MHz tuner, 160 MHz and 21.4 MHz outputs serial no 81, slick front end for SDR unit
  • CEI     TF-103  –  Tape to IF converter, tunable 40 Khz to 4 MHz in 3 bands
  • WJ      TFC-212  –  Telephone Frequency Converter, Group 1-5, ser no. 292
  • WJ      TFC-212  –  Telephone Frequency Converter, Group 1-5, ser no. 270, missing 1button cap
  • WJ      TFC-212  –  Telephone Frequency Converter, Group 1-5, ser no. 240
  • WJ      TFC-212  –  Telephone Frequency Converter, Group 1-5, ser no. 238
  • WJ      TFC-212  –  Telephone Frequency Converter, Group 1-5, ser no. 15, missing 1 button cap
  • WJ      no tag  –  Telephone Frequency Converter, Group 1-5, rotary switch instead of push button
  • WJ      TFC-101  –  Telephone Frequency Converter, Super Group 1-10, 2 available
  • CEI     Txx-xxx (unreadable in my photo)  –  Telephone Demodulator, Channel 1-12
  • WJ      IFC-xxx  –  IF Tape Converter, 8 units available, various model numbers
  • WJ      IFD-xxx  –  IF Demodulator, 3 units available, various model numbers
  • WJ      IFD-103  –  IF demodulator, 21.4 MHz input, AM/FM, 6 IF BW 10/50/100/300/1000/3000 kHz
  • WJ      LIF-101  –  Log IF Demodulator
  • WJ      TFD-101  –  Tape IF Demodulator
  • CEI     TF-105  –  TF-105, Tape-IF converter, scope module removed, parts unit
  • WJ      IFC-162  –  Frequency Converter, 160 MHz in, 21.4 MHz out, ser no. 190
  • WJ      IFC-162  –  Frequency Converter, 160 MHz in, 21.4 MHz out, ser no. 151
  • WJ      DRX-1000  –  Digital Readout Extender, extends WJ frequency displays up to 1 GHz
  • WJ      WJ-9518-3  –  FDM Demondulator, 6 channel USB/LSB, tunes 0-15 MHz in 1 of 4 MHz steps
  • WJ      MK-102  –  Marker Generator, to put tuning pip of display from DC voltage supplied by microwave tuners like the 112
  • WJ      WJ-9313/PCU  –  Preamp Control Unit for WJ-9313 microwave preamp
  • CEI     MP-101  –  Meter Panel, 21.4 MHz input, meter calibrated in uV and dB
  • WJ      MP-101-5  –  Meter Panel, 21.4 MHz input, meter calibrated in uV and dB ser no. 4
  • WJ      MP-101-5  –  Meter Panel, 21.4 MHz input, meter calibrated in uV and dB ser no. 17, modified
  • WJ      DMS-107  –  Demodulator, 0.1-10 MHz, AM, FM, CW, 21.4 MHz IF, 8 BWs 20 kHz to 3 MHz
  • WJ      DMS-107-4   –  Demodulator, 0.1-10 MHz, AM, FM, CW, 21.4 MHz IF, 8 BWs 20 kHz to 3 MHz
  • WJ      AM-105  –  Audio Monitor, selects any combination of 12 input to either of 2 outputs.
  • WJ      WJ-390601  –  Spectrum Display Unit, switch box for going between 2 receivers
  • WJ      TH-120C  –  1-2 GHz microwave tuner module for 112 receiver frame
  • SciComm       SCD-7303  –  Pan Display, 160 MHz input
  • Apcom            500 ITC-2XI(D)  –  IF to Tape converter, 160 and 21.4 MHz input
  • SciComm       SCC-7111S  –  Tape to IF Converter
  • Reaction Instruments          386  –  IF To IF Converter
  • WJ      DRO-315  –  Digital Readout, 100 kHz to 500 MHz (works but needs strong LO signal)
  • WJ      DRO-333  –  Digital Readout, 100 kHz to 1 GHz (needs work)
  • WJ      WJ-9472  –  FSK/OOK demod, w multi-function scope, digital control for any space, any mark, a unique FSK unit
  • WJ      440 series  –  large quantity (well over a dozen) VHF and UHF crystal controlled receivers, at least one test module, a TM-401 tunable receiver for commercial FM band, 2 portable receiver module test sets and one 6 receiver frame.  Widely used by CIA for fixed monitoring of known sources.  Prefer to sell as a lot
  • WJ      WJ-8969C  –  Tempest qualified microwave receiver (LO lock issues)
  • WJ      WJ-8969/IFC  –  IF and controller for microwave tuners (2 available, both appear to work)
  • WJ      WJ-8969/TU0145  –  1-4.5 GHz microwave tuner (appears to work)
  • WJ      WJ-8969/TU0412  –  4-12.4 GHz microwave tuner (LO lock issues, but appears to work)
  • WJ      WJ-8969/TU0145  –  1-4.5 GHz microwave tuner (parts unit)
  • WJ      SOR-1A  –  Signal Operated Relay, for controlling tape recorder, AGC or voice activated
  • WJ      SOR-1A-1  –  Signal Operated Relay, for controlling tape recorder, AGC or voice activated
  • WJ      WJ-1250  –  Frequency Synthesizer, uses plug-in modules (appears to work)
  • WJ      WJ-1251-1   –  0.5-1 GHz plug-in for WJ-1250 (appears to work)
  • WJ      WJ-1251-2   –  1-2 GHz plug-in for WJ-1250 (appears to work)
  • WJ      WJ-1251-3   –  2-4 GHz plug-in for WJ-1250 (appears to work)
  • WJ      WJ-1251-4   –  4-8 GHz plug-in for WJ-1250 (appears to work)
  • WJ      WJ-1251-5   –  8-12.4 GHz plug-in for WJ-1250 (appears to work)
  • WJ      WJ-1251-6   –  12.4-18 GHz plug-in for WJ-1250 (appears to work)
  • WJ      WJ-1204-1  –  Synthesized Signal Generator, 0.5-12 GHz WJ (appears to work)
  • WJ      WJ-8999/DCU, WJ-8999/IFD & WJ-8999 (display issues, but appears to work)
  • Regco            RG-8110  –  VHF/UHF Multicoupler (2 available, both need work) 

If you’re interested in anything, send an email to tcarc@w9mqb.org and we’ll pass the request along to Terry to work out the details.

HamFest 2022 is mere hours away!!

As I write this, HamFest 2022 is only 43 hours away! Are you as excited as I am to be able to actually get my hands on stuff I could only look at online for most of the past TWO years?!?!

One new feature the club’s website is offering this year is the ability to check out what vendors have reported they are bringing to the Fest. Browse the tables virtually to plan your visit on the SwapFest page at https://www.W9MQB.org/SwapFest/! (Did I read that right? Free stuff at Table 45?!? Brian, I’m on my way!!!).

Here’s a partial list of what table vendors have told us they’ll have at their tables:

  • Table 1,2: Cleaning out old Radio shop.
  • Table 14: Learn about free membership in the Straight Key Century Club (SKCC)
  • Table 2: HF Transceivers ,
  • Table 20: Amateur radio gear
  • Table 21: Electronic test equipment, radio tubes, HealthKit radio
  • Table 22: Electronic test equipment, radios
  • Table 23,24,25,26: Dennis Karski (SK) estate
  • Table 27: YAESU FT-450 (LIKE NEW), YAESU FT-7800 (LIKE NEW), KENWOOD TK-8160 (LIKE NEW), RG-8U CABLE, YAESU FT-1900 (LIKE NEW), KENWOOD DESK MICS, POWER SUPPLIES (LIKE NEW), KENWOOD TK-3180 (LIKE NEW), PANASONIC TOUGH BOOK, Box of freebies
  • Table 28,29: Electronic test equipment, radios, Nixie tubes, parts, wire, more!
  • Table 3: See an ARES AREDN demonstration system and learn more about using and implementing Amateur Radio Emergency Data Network systems.
  • Table 31,32: Amateur Radio Stuff
  • Table 38: Ham related items
  • Table 39: Rotators, dollar sales of connectors/plugs/adapters/variable caps, Bird wattmeter, super tuner. Please stop by.
  • Table 41: Cushcraft R5, vintage parts, antenna tuner, etc.
  • Table 42,43,44: radio crap vintage CB antennas parts speakers also JUNK lots of JUNK,
  • Table 45: Mostly vintage electronic parts in plastic bags with prices marked. Some items free, a few newer items.
  • Table 60: Ham Radio Gear
  • Table 7,8: Yaesu FT-450AT in box 3-4 amp 12vdc power supplies available-Cushcraft WARC band rotatable dipole
  • Table 77: Knobs, Ham Equipment, Parts, Old radios, and more.
  • Table 78,79: Westside Radio Club
  • Table 80: UHF duplexer, 10-tec keyers, 6 meter radio, CB amp and radio, hallicrafter s-107, JPS DSP/NR boxes, hygain DCU-1, Ten-tec transverter, HP microwave test equipment, Motorola MCS 2000 UHF radio, LDG repeater voter, Icom IC-820H dual band all mode radio, free books/magazines
  • Table 82: radios
  • Table 83-92: Konnection Electronics, New/Used Radios, Antennas, Magnet Mounts, Police Scanners, Linears, Amplifiers, Connectors, Coax, Cables, Beam antennas, and much more!

See you on Sunday morning!

SwapFest Software

We’ve had a lot of questions about the new SwapFest software we’re running this year, so I thought I’d crawl behind-the-scenes for a moment and give some background, and credit. The largest portion of the programs that run the website (and, later, the day-of-event tools at the Fest) is brand new. We’ve been working closely with a software vendor who is developing this software to meet the needs of the Tri-County Club, with the expectation of being able to offer this to other groups down the road (And, yes, as a disclaimer, I’m part of that team working to make that possible). We’ll pass along any additional news about that possibility later; for now, we’re just glad to have it running HamFest 2022!

In addition to the core Fest-Info software, here are some of the other pieces we’re using this year to make this magic work. All are free downloads, and most are Free and Open Source software (FOSS), meaning you can crawl in under the hood to learn how the program works, if you wish. FOSS projects are the equivalent of ham radio in the software world, driven by a desire to make things better, not income. Most are self-funded, meaning that developers donate their time and brains to making these tools work for us, without a paycheck, so I’m glad to give this shout-out to encourage (and advertise for) the people behind the scenes making the (free) software that makes our Fest fly.

The list includes:

  • SkyStudio Pro: Free download at https://skystudiopro.com/ for a program that offer time-lapse recording via web cam or other video devices. We’re using this software at Check-in with the hope that we’ll be able to assemble and post a 5 minute time-lapse video showing the whole event from end to end!
  • RSYNC / Cygwin: Rsync is a standard Linux tool that we’re using in Windows, thanks to the Cygwin Project, found at https://cygwin.org/ Cygwin allows you to open a Linux bash command prompt on a Windows box, as well provides the ability to execute Linux program from a Windows Command prompt.
  • Zxing Bar Code Scanner: The Zebra Crossing project offers a free, open source application to read barcodes. This includes code you can embed into your programs, a free online app that reads barcodes from images at https://zxing.org/w/decode.jspx, and a free Android app offers the same capabilities. The tool is useful if you’ve got a product with a UPC barcode and want to find out more about it, or find someplace to buy another. Our web software integrates barcode scanning into the Check-In process to allow us to do live lookups to determine if a ticket has already been used.
  • PayPal and Zettle: PayPal is neither open source nor free (as evidenced from the fees they charge!!!), but they deserve an “honorable mention” on this list for making the process of offering online and in-person credit card. debit card, Venmo, direct-from-checking, and PayPal transfer payments possible and relatively easy. Zettle is the new “pay me” app for iPhone and Android. Compared to the ATM in the Fairgrounds lobby, they’re also cheaper, although that claim may be about as meaningful as saying that someone earns less than Elon Musk. Still, it gave us a way to help cut your costs at the Fest this year, so we’re happy to include them in the list.

March TCARC Club Meeting – Mar 8 at 6:30 PM

Our experiment with the earlier start time last month worked very well, so we’re going to continue the new 6:30 PM start time for the rest of the year. The meeting location will again be in the upstairs meeting room at the Dwight Foster Public Library in Fort Atkinson. Directions to get there are here.

Check your email later in the week for minutes from the February meeting. Not getting these emails? Drop us a note at tcarc@w9mqb.org and we’ll send a set out to you.

At the meeting, we’ll spend some time planning for the upcoming HamFest (only 24 days left!) including learning about new payment options, and the new electronic check-in process. HamFest will be the biggest item on the agenda, but we’ll have updates on a few other topics as well, so it should be both a productive AND interesting meeting.

If you haven’t gotten your tables or ticket for the fest, you can do so at the meeting or on the club web site at https://www.W9MQB.org/SwapFest/. Using the new web tools, you can reserve tables, buy tickets, even get maps of who’s selling what and where the are, all right here from the web site. Check it out!

Remember – dues for 2022 are due, if you haven’t paid them yet. We will have forms at the meeting, or you can use the online form at https://www.W9MQB.org/MembershipForm/. If you’re not sure if you’ve renewed already, you can also use that web page to check your status, since the page helpfully informs you if you’re already paid up.