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East Coast Reflector Newsletter - January 17, 2022


Thank you to all who checked in to the Morning Brew last week.

We asked the following questions.   As always, only answers with a tally of 2 or more were included below.  Thank you to Derby Dan for entering the data in real-time as well as tallying the results after each net.

Do you prefer facial hair or a clean shave?
     Facial Hair [31] - Clean Shave [30] - Both [7]  (This was a close one!)

What is your favorite dry snack?
     Potato Chips [10] - Cheez-Its [5] - Doritos [5] - Jerky [5] - Tortilla Chips [4] - Cashews [4]
     Cheetos [3] - Pretzels [3]

Do you prefer your popcorn buttered or plain?
     Buttered [68] - Plain [2] - No Popcorn [2]   (That's a landslide!)

What license class level do you see yourself going to in ham radio?
     Extra [38] - General [22] - General, Maybe Extra [8]

Do you belong to any amateur radio clubs?
     Yes [47] - No [28]


The following hams are celebrating a birthday this week.  Happy Birthday!

KY4WIN, Garett of Evarts, KY - Saturday January 22nd


Sometimes it’s difficult to hear and it’s important to get your call sign across to somebody that’s asking for it five or six times and they insist you use the phonetic alphabet. There seems to be anywhere between 1 and 30 different phonetic alphabets in use on the ECR. I sure wish people would look up the phonetic alphabet and use it. One might adjust to interpreting the letter rather than have to think about what word starts with the letter they are trying to use.  The audio on the ECR is almost spot on like a telephone, if you’re adjusted properly. Is there anybody out there that uses the phonetic alphabet while talking on the telephone?


HamCation will be here in about a month.  It takes place in Orlando, FL from Friday February 11 through Sunday February 13.  The East Coast Reflector is having a Meet & Greet on Saturday, February 12th at 10:15AM in the Pavillion Room CS-IV.  Check out the HamCation website for more information on the hamfest.  We hope as many of you as possible can join us!


"Paws, paws, paws". What's awl this tawkin' 'bout PAWS?

You often hear it said "pause between transmissions" but what, how long, and why?

There are TWO pauses we really wish to see happen. The SECOND one is how long you wait before speaking, after you press your poosh-to-tawk (or mash-to-mumble) button. Let's talk about how long, and why. (We'll get to the first pause later in this article.)

When you start transmitting, the following things start to happen.
Your TX PLL (synthesizer) locks on frequency.
Your TX goes on the air, going from none to full power. Your antenna vibrates.
Your CTCSS encoder starts a-hummin'
The signal flies at the speed of light to the local node's receiving antenna, which then vibrates.
The node receiver squelch opens.
The node receiver CTCSS decoder starts counting. If there are approximately 100 cycles per second, it probably needs to count a minimum of 10 cycles to be sure you're real.
The node receiver at your local node informs the Allstar node that it should start sending packets.
Those packets fly through the Interwebs, decidedly less than at the speed of light, flowing through countless switches, routers, hubs, ISPs, data centers, etc.
The other end receives and decodes those packets and starts the other transmitter.
Their node TX PLL (synthesizer) locks on frequency.
Their node TX goes on the air, going from none to full power. The antenna vibrates.
Their node CTCSS encoder starts a-hummin'
The signal flies at the speed of light to the receiving antenna, which then vibrates.
Their receiver squelch opens.
Their receiver CTCSS decoder starts counting. It probably needs to count a minimum of 10 cycles also.
Their speaker starts vibrating. Your voice is in the other ham's head.

It's amazing it works at all!

So, best practice is to squeeze your mic, think "one-one thousand, two-one thousand" in your head to allow all the various steps to happen, then start talking. I usually leave the mic on my lap, press the PTT, and by the time the mic is up to my mouth we're off to the races.

The FIRST pause we want is after the other station stops talking (usually you hear a courtesy tone), before you even start to transmit. That's another "one-one thousand, two-one thousand, three-one thousand). The reason for the first PAWS is to allow stations listening to perhaps pop in and disconnect their node if they wish. It also resets intermediary timers.

So, let's role play:

"W1ABC, over".
1...2...3... "...1...2... W1ABC, this is W2ZYX"

Pause 3s...TX, Pause another 2s... start to speak.

The pause before you even start to respond is slightly longer, then the pause before you start yappin' is slightly shorter.

This is not to say you should over-do it. Please don't let an entire long-tail drop on the repeater you're using. There are technical reasons why a repeater operator may want to have a long tail on his/her machine. So that first 3s pause should be 2-3 seconds, not 6-10 seconds.

A really good example is to listen to the beginning of the Tuesday evening tech net, when the moderator asks for the facilitators to check in. You'll hear a nice lull before they actually check in, but not more than 3-6 seconds!

"Paws, paws, paws" as they say in the Mornin' Brew.


Do you have any pets that help you make contacts on the ECR or on HF?  We want to see pictures of them!  Send an email to k2shf(at)arrl(dot)net with your pet pictures, their names, and any other information you think the readers would find interesting.

This is Jaxon, one of my two cats.  He's very lazy, and "helps" me when I'm on HF by blocking my view of the radio.  He's 5 years old and brings me much joy, for the most part.

He enjoys eating, sleeping, biting my HT antennas, and a nice scratch behind the ears.  He is an indoor only cat.

This is Patch, one of Luke's (M3NMW) doggies.  He helps us out with the Morning Brew everyday.

This is Daisy, another one of Luke's (M3NMW) doggies.

This is Ted, yet another doggie belonging to Luke (M3NMW).

This is Jasper and Ginger, Mike's (K2CMT) doggies.

This is Rosie and Linus, Joe's (KO4FRR) doggies.


We have no upcoming Zoom Room presentations. 

Do you have knowledge on a subject that would be of interest to the group?  Send Dick an email at wb2jpq(at)aol(dot)com letting him know that you'd like to present it to the group.  It's always fun to learn new things, and we always enjoy a presentation and a little bit of show and tell.  It doesn't need to be anything formal.  It doesn't need to be a certain amount of time.  Just show up on time and tell the group what you know about a particular subject.  Currently we are looking for somebody with experience working amateur satellites to do a presentation on getting started with that aspect of the hobby.  This is yet another way to get involved and give back to the ECR.

WHAT IS A P-BOX? - Taken from the RAWNY Newsletter, Written by Mike KA2GVY

The Radio Shack store we think of today was nothing like it was in the past. Ask most young
people today what Radio Shack was and they will think of where they could buy a new cell
phone for themselves or an RC toy for their kids.

But Radio Shack actually started in 1921, founded
by two brothers Theodore and Milton Deutschmann who wanted to supply electronic parts to the new hobby of amateur radio, catering to hams and hobbyists of the day along with the needs of shipboard radio operators. The small wooden structure that was added to many ships of that era that housed the radio equipment was referred to as the “Radio Shack” which is why the name was chosen. And to this day, we hams refer to our radio rooms in our homes as our “shack”.

In 1939 Radio Shack entered the hi-fi music market and published its first catalog, began its mail order business, and by 1954 began selling its
own private label products. But by 1960 it started experiencing financial difficulties, was close
to bankruptcy and was purchased in 1962 by Charles Tandy who saw the potential of the rising
consumer electronics business.

Many changes were made under Tandy's new leadership. He closed the mail order business,
began opening much smaller stores at rented locations, staffed them with highly knowledgeable
people, eliminated the very overgrown top management, and also eliminated many nonelectronic items, paring down the inventory from over 40,000 items to only 2,500.

Tandy also focused more on the electronics hobbyist, gearing advertising towards customers
looking to modify and accessorize their own equipment and audio gear, rather than to spend a
lot of money on higher end complete systems, and to kids aiming to excel at their science fairs.
Radio shack began selling many educational kits and one line of kits introduced in the early
1970's was the “P-Box” or Perfboard-Box kit. These kits came as a two part plastic box with
the lower half made of clear plastic and the upper half made of bright red plastic with a plethera
of holes similar to a breadboard or perforated (or “perf”) board. The parts came inside the box
in a plastic bag along with step by step instructions. Parts were placed through the perforated
holes and soldered underneath, and when completed the box was reassembled with the batteries
mounted inside.

There were about 20 of these kits, all reasonably priced between $5 and $8. However, in 1975
dollars, that was a lot of grass cutting and newspapers, but you always kept on saving. Some of
these kits were an AM radio, metronome, shortwave radio, police siren (which I mounted on
my bike when I was 9!), Electronic organ kit, the goofy flashing light kit, just to name a few.

Sadly, the educational and project kits were eventually phased out. The remaining history of
Radio Shack is too voluminous to continue here but Radio Shack eventually closed its doors
in 2017, a mere shell of what it was in the 60's and 70's. As a kid growing up in the 70's, I
could always expect Santa to do some of his shopping at Radio Shack, and with a Radio
Shack only a bikeride away from where I lived, I can honestly say that I have a career in
electronics today due to Radio Shack.

Dick  WB2JPQ
Henry  WB4IVB
Emil  WA2UPK
Tony  W2KJV
Kevin  VE3BZ
Paul  W4END
David  KB4FXC
Kevin  KE7K
Mike  K2CMT
Michael  K2SHF
Steven  K2EJ
Keynon  KB5GLC

IRLP  9050
AllStar  27339, 45192, 45225
Echolink 57780, 375103
DMR Brandmeister 3129973
System Fusion 44444, 92805
DStar XLX892, XLX237
HamShack Hotline 94049

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