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.

2022 MARA HamFest

I got into a conversation yesterday with another ham about the status of some of the other ham swap fests in the area. One he was wondering about was the MARA (Madison Area Repeater Association) swap fest usually held mid-April in Stoughton.

I had heard through the grapevine that their event was not happening this year, but thought I’d check it out to verify the facts. The news is bad for those of you looking for another ham fest this year, but good for the future.

From a 2019 posting on the club website at https://w9hsy.org/, they confirm that — thanks to Covid — they had canceled everything through the 2022 fest, but expect to return to hosting the event in 2023. I have to say that I’m impressed: the group is organized enough to have announced the next decade of their fest dates!

For more information, check out their posting at https://w9hsy.org/2019/05/03/hamfest-dates-through-2028/. The post was dated May 3, 2019, so things might change again in 2023 but the schedule is likely to be as accurate as anything can be predicted today. I’m mean, it’s not like we ever have global pandemics, double-booked spaces, inflation, or unexpected Wisconsin weather events to deal with, right?

Given their time off and especially given the WARAC cancellation announcement, I plan to support the MARA fest with a visit next year. Our support through membership, volunteering for events, and attending events like swapfests keeps these groups going. Tell your spouse that it’s your amateur radio civic duty to spend the day looking at the cool stuff for sale!

Online HamFest 2022 Ordering is Live!

We hams have always been known for using and developing some of the coolest gear in the universe and we think the new web site fits right into that category! The new SwapFest software we’re using this year let’s you check out the Fest long before you park in the lot on March 27th. Check out the new capabilities!

  • Pick your table locations online! Want a table near the food? Or over by Club Corner? YOU choose where your table of soon-to-be-discovered finds will be located, right from the map.
  • Online purchases reserve your table instantly. No hoping for table #4 and finding that Jim already got there before you! Click, buy it, and it’s yours.
  • Need to add an extra ticket at the last minute? Order tickets and get them via email in mere seconds.
  • Pay the way you want. The online system takes PayPal payments, as well as credit cards, debit cards, payments from your checking account, even Venmo. Now, I personally have no idea about why you’d use Venmo but, if f you use it, you can use it to buy tickets and tables to the Fest (and explain Venmo to me!) Officially, we can take a payment from your
    • Checking account
    • Credit Card
    • Debit Card
    • PayPal account
    • Venmo
    • Cash (at the doors)
  • PAPER TICKETS ARE STILL AVAILABLE. Sorry for shouting there, but for those of you who loved the way things worked before, you won’t have to change a thing. We still have paper tickets, and accept payments in green dollar bills. Or whatever color those new $10 bills are. If it’s US-issued currency (no Monopoly accepted), it’s still good. If you prefer the traditional approach, we’ve worked very hard to make sure you won’t need to do anything different.
  • Then again, you may want to. Forgot your tickets at home? If you can bring up your email on your phone, you can use your iPhone or Android smartphone as your ticket! We can scan right from the phone, so you don’t even need to print anything!
  • Remember trying to fill out the back of those tiny little tickets to get entered into the drawing? When your ticket is scanned on the way in, you’re entered. Entering the drawing is now so easy, that we’ll leave the rest up to you to worry about. Should you cross your fingers, throw some salt, wear your lucky socks…. hey, we’ve got you into the drawing, tricking the Fates into picking you is your problem!
  • Sharing a table and a need to get a ticket to your “partner in grime”? Forward their ticket to them via email. Done. It’s no-worries table sharing. If only the rest of dealing with your buddy was that simple.
  • Got a pair of tickets and can’t remember which one you were supposed to use? The crew at the front desk can tell you in an instant if that ticket has already been used. Flip to the other and you’re on your way to the equipment find that will make your Sunday morning superb!
  • Hate the fuss of self-address stamped envelopes and the agony of having to wait forever to get your stuff back, but still want to order a table or tickets? Put the paper form down. Order it it online. Check your email. Done. And, while there is a convenience fee on credit/debit cards to cover the PayPal charges, it’s still way cheaper than two envelopes and two stamps.
  • Lost a ticket? We can resend replacement tickets to you with just a click, and you can use either the original (if you find them) or the replacement. Well, only one of the two, but paper or eTicket, original or copy no longer matters. Just show up and enjoy the Fest!
  • Fun. Did I mention how much fun it is to point your mouse to a table on the map to learn that the ARRL will have table 95, in the northeast corner? Or to know that NG9X will be back again at tables 4 through 7. (Everyone say, “Hi, Jim!”) Oh, loook at what N9ENR and KC9ONY is going to have out on their table! Looks like I’ve GOT to make a trip past Tables 52 and 53, right at the front when I walk in!

Check out of the new features at https://www.W9MQB.org/SwapFest !

HamFest 2022 date change

So, have you ever heard the phrase “the best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry?” The Tri-County Amateur Radio Club is living out that old adage out right now. In the process of preparing for the upcoming HamFest 2022, we learned that the event space we were using had been double-booked. To make it possible for both events to be held, we are moving HamFest 2022 one week forward to March 27th, 2022.

If you are a vendor that has already reserved a table, your reservation will be applied to the event the following week. If you can’t make the new date, we’re offering a “no questions asked” money-back guarantee: full refunds on any tables or tickets purchased. Simply email us at hamfest@w9mqb.org and we’ll arrange to give you an immediate 100% refund.

For the rest of us, please update your calendar to reflect the move from March 20th to March 27th. While we’d love to have you join us, please do it the following week!

See you on the 27th!

February TCARC Club Meeting – Feb 8 6:30 PM

Hello all! We have a lot to discuss this week so in order to get it done before closing time for the library at 8PM we will be starting the meeting at 6:30PM. Location is the upstairs meeting room at the Fort Atkinson Library. Directions are here. Dan KC9IKI has graciously offered to host a Zoom computer session in conjunction with the in-person meeting. Credentials for the meeting are here in this Link to Join Zoom Meeting

Mike AE9MZ will be doing a presentation on the “on-line” HamFest Table Reservation program he has created. Very exciting. This year, 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 at https://www.W9MQB.org/SwapFest/. It’s so much fun, you might want to buy a table just to try it out!

Elections will be held. See the club minutes from January for information.

We will also have a discussion about the changes coming to the Repeater Main site.

Remember – dues for 2022 are due, if you haven’t done them yet. I 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 the web page to check your status, since the page warns you if you’re already paid up.

73’s!

WARAC Mid-Winter Swapfest ends

I’m sure most of you have heard the news about the end of the WARC Mid-Winter Swapfest. Here’s the information from https://warac.org/swap/index.htm:

The West Allis Radio Amateur Club is, unfortunately, cancelling the Mid-Winter Swapfest event. The 2021 Swapfest cancellation was due to the COVID. Beginning for year 2022, club-related issues force us to abandon the Swapfest despite our best efforts.

We understand the planning and effort that our sellers put forth to in order to attend the swapfests and provide interesting and useful goods to sell or swap. We thank all of our sellers and attendees for 48 successful Mid-Winter Swapfests.

We have no specific plans to get back into the swapfest business; however, as we all know, never say never. The Mid-Winter Swapfest has been a remarkable success throughout the years, and we have enjoyed being part of that success and we value the relationships which naturally spun off of the event. We will miss the excitement and action.

I, for one, will miss the event, as it was fun to see the Waukesha County Expo building filled with hams.. and all of those cool finds! Besides being a great way to support club operations, WARAC succeeded in providing us with nearly 50 years of good reasons to crawl out of the snowdrifts and head back home with new stuff to make our ham shacks more complete and our communication skills more effective. Plus, besides just helping us move equipment around, they created a cultural event to help us connect as hams. For all of those who helped make that possible, thank you from all of us!

Still, the loss of this Swapfest has left a gap in my winter, and empty space by my workbench. For those of you like me, left with that same gap, let me suggest the Tri-County HAMFEST 2022 as an excellent alternate. The Tri-County Fest, held at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds, is smaller than the WARAC fest, holding as many as 110 tables, but still provides that great blend of new and used equipment, general electronics, and general Ham Radio fun! Best of all. it’s only about 35 miles west on I-94 from the old Mid-Winter Swapfest location. making it a short trip from both the Milwaukee and Madison areas.

Join us!