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East Coast Reflector Newsletter - February 21, 2022

WE'RE BACK - By Michael K2SHF

After taking a week off for HamCation, we are back.  I hope you missed us as much as we missed you.  The ECR Presentation from HamCation is on our YouTube channel:
The audio is hideous, but hopefully you can turn the volume up and try to get though it.  It's a rather embarrassing production, to be honest.  However I think the people in the room and our Zoomers enjoyed it.

- By Michael K2SHF

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.  Thanks to Derby Dan (KD2VNU) for tallying the results after each net.

Are you an early bird or night owl?

     Both [13] | Night Owl [15] | Early Bird [38]

If you could meet any historical figure, who would it be?
     Jesus Christ [8] | Nicola Tesla [7] | Neil Armstrong [4] | George Washington [3]
     Abraham Lincoln [3] | Albert Einstein [2] | Alexander Graham Bell [2]
     Benjamin Franklin [2] | Mark Twain [2] | Thomas Edison [2]

What is your favorite spice?
     Pepper [17] | Cinnamon [9] | Garlic [7] | Salt [7] | Cayenne Pepper [4] | Garlic Salt [2]
     Jalapeno [2] | Old Bay [2] | Oregano [2] | Paprika [2] | Red Pepper [2]
     Sea Salt [2] | Thyme [2]

What do you think is the most useful skill to know?
     Communication [13] | Handyman [7] | Mechanical [6] | Listening [4]
     Computers [3] | Cooking [3] | Reading [3] | Self Reliance [3] | Socialization [3]
     Learning [2] | Typing [2]

Do you think you're more like your mom or dad?
     Dad [28] | Both [25] | Mom [11]

Do you consider yourself to be an introvert or an extrovert?
     Introvert [34] | Extrovert [17] | Both [8]

What is your opinion on cell phones?  Do you love them or hate them?
     Depends on Situation [21] | Love [21] | Like [8] | Hate [1]

Name one thing that you enjoy in the month of February.
     Birthday [12] | Spring Coming [8] | Days Getting Longer [4] | Valentine's Day [4]
     Weather [4] | HamCation [3] | Nascar [3]

What is your astrological sign?
     Cancer [10] | Libra [10] | Leo [7] | Taurus [5] | Pisces [5] | Gemini [5] | Scorpio [5]
     Virgo [4] | Sagittarius [4] - Capricorn [4] | Aries [3] | Aquarius [2]

What is your favorite genre of music?
     Country [20] | Classic Rock [15] | Rock [14] | Classic Country [4] | Jazz [4] | Classical [4]     
     Everything [3] | Alternative [2] | Heavy Metal [2] | Pop [2]


The following hams are celebrating a birthday over the next two weeks.  There will be no newsletter next week due to HamCation.  Happy Birthday to you all!

W1SPR. Miguel of Orlando, FL - February 21st
KD2TVO, Stephen of Deer Park, NY - February 23rd
N2BEZ,  Mike of Farmingville, NY - February 26th


"Can I get an audio check?"

And we have 231 potential opinions. And then you change something, and get 231 more.

There's a very good way to adjust your audio through your node. Please DISCONNECT from wherever you are connected. Follow these steps.

Grab an HT and another radio to listen on. Open a session in PuTTY or use a monitor and keyboard. Go to SimpleUSB Tune Menu.

Transmit on your HT, listening on the other radio, and play a DTMF. Pay attention to that audio level how it sounds on the speaker across the room.

Now on the node, use SimpleUSB Tune and choose
E) Toggle Transmit Test Tone/Keying
3) Set Transmit A Level
You will hear a tone on your monitor receiver across the room. Press a key to stop.
Now on the HT, send a DTMF to your monitor radio. Keep comparing the two levels (your HT and the node transmitter) until they sound substantially the same.
3) Set Transmit A Level until your node transmitter sounds about right
E) Toggle Transmit Test Tone/Keying (turn it back off)

NOW... RX level. (Spoiler alert- that's all WE care about- it's how you sound to us)
2) Set Rx Voice Level (using display)
Yell, I mean YELL, into your radio. Set the level so it peaks around "4"- never get up to "5". Then talk normally and see what the level looks like. If it is substantially lower than the peak, consider talking closer, ACROSS the mic, not into it. That preathy shound on every shyllable ish kinda shtupid shounding.

Pro tip: B) Toggle RX Boost Mode (currently Disabled) is almost never the correct choice, and will result in a very overdriven, raspy sound as we hear you on the other end. Trust me, Boost is not your friend unless you can't get it up with "choice 2)".

Finally, go to 40894 which is the M0HOY Echo Reflector. Make all the adjustments you wish. This is exactly how you sound to everyone else. Two chairs, no waiting, free free free free free.

You can't set your radios up by ear! Blasphemy!
Well, you can't set your radios by someone else's ear.

I OBJECT, part deux!
You need a service monitor to do this properly.
SUSTAINED. Can I borrow yours?
(Actually, an AC voltmeter, particularly an analog one, hooked to the speaker jack of the monitor radio, might get you closer than just listening. However the human ear can be surprisingly good at relative levels).

But I really WANT to make 15 adjustments and hear 231 opinions from the reflector!
We don't. OVERRULED.

but But BUT! Everyone else's radio won't hear me exactly the same, what if they're on a Baofeng and I sound crappy to them alone?

But! You're depending on the reference HT to be set for 3.5KHz deviation on DTMF.
So? You think the guy 1,000 miles away on the other end of an open loop can tell your voice deviation better by ear?
OVERRULED. We're doing what we can with what we've got.

But wait! I don't have a node, I'm using someone else's node.
Welp, maybe you can ask them to connect their node to 40894 temporarily to help you. Or bug your annoying friend on simplex. But please, please, please- don't adjust your set on the reflector. Mkay? Love you...

-Pres W2PW


Getting back to what I said about an open loop, consider the following scenario. Suppose my RX level was twice as high as it should be, and the other station's TX level was half what it should be. Wouldn't I sound somewhat normal to (only) him? Yet I am twice as loud as I should be to everyone else, and everyone else is half as loud as they should be to him. Please take some time to set your audio levels, everyone will appreciate it.

Super deep concept: suppose you hear someone who's very quiet, but the squelch crash at the end of their transmission is nice and loud. THEN the issue is on their radio mic levels. But 9 times out of 10, it's the node itself that needs to be adjusted. 

Menu 39! No, that's another rant.


In the last article we touched the WHAT, WHY, Rules and TYPES of Contesting.

With this article we will look at the contest PILEUP.

Every contest has it. The infamous PILEUP.

A Pileup is a chaos like situation that occurs when everyone, including your own station tries to get on-the-air with the same frequency. In such a situation, it becomes difficult to contact the required station. In such a situation, your time is wasted pushing you behind in the contest, so you will have to spread the pile as soon as possible. As an operator, you will have to put the transceiver on a (1) split frequency. You can do it using variable frequency oscillators (VFOs).

Imagine, during a particular contest you need North Dakota as a multiplier, and he’s been spotted on the DXSPOTS cluster.  If he’s been spotted, just about everyone else the needs North Dakota sees that he has been spotted too.  Then the mad rush to his frequency.  He’s calling CQ, and 100 contesters are calling him back. All on the same frequency.  The person calling CQ now cannot clearly understand who is calling him, so he tries to pick out a few letters and says “Station ending with ZULU GOLF”. ) (or whatever letters he hears)  Hopefully the call ending in ZULU GOLF then comes back to him to get his information and moves on to the next station.  Once contact is successful, the station running the frequency calls CQ again and the PILEUP commences once again.

If the station calling CQ finds it too unbearable, he will most likely change frequencies. Sometimes he stays on frequency and works the pileup.

A strategy for the (2) Search & Pounce operator (S&P) is to try to get thru on a few calls and if not, move on to the next station calling CQ.  You can always double back and try again later when, hopefully, the pileup diminishes.

(1) Running a Split Frequency is when an operator, to help prevent a pileup on the frequency he is actually transmitting on, listens on a different frequency or frequency range, usually 1 to 5 KC up from his calling frequency. IE; The station calling CQ is transmitting on 14.025 but listing somewhere between 14.026 and 14.030. This spreads out those stations calling him and makes it easier for the calling station to pick out calls.

(2) A Search & Pounce (S&P) contester is one who uses the VFO and scans the band looking for stations to reply to as opposed to the contester who stays on frequency and calls CQ, called ‘running a frequency’.


I have recently come across a very large amount of morse code keys from a SK station which includes military (RAF, US Air Corps, Flameproof keys) amongst other keys.

This collection is going to take a while to sort out and go through what I would like to keep and what will be sold but at the moment I have around 10 J-37 keys available if anyone is interested. The keys are a little rusty and would benefit from a clean but other than that they are well kept and if you are interested please contact me at luketrav96(at)gmail(dot)com.

If you are a keen CW operator you would enjoy playing with each of the keys I have, some I can test as they have the ” jack on the end and others just require the jack fitting.

There are even keys in this collection that you may never see again so for me to come into this collection is overwhelming and I truly feel honoured to have keys with such history.

73, Luke M3NMW



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.

Is there a topic that interests you that you would like to learn more about?  Let me know by sending an email to k2shf(at)arrl(dot)net and I'll make a note of it and see if we can find someone willing to teach us all about it.


“I'm going to reset”, “I will drop it.” These are terms we often hear when an experienced user knows they have talked near the limit and do not want a “time out”.  My quirk involves the well meaning user that does not wait at lease 3 seconds or more, after un-keying, for the entire system to rest. Only taking a nano-second release of the PPT switch does nothing to delay the impending time out. WAIT AT LEAST 3 SECONDS.


As much as I agree with Bob's quirk, there is another related behavior that drives me a bit nuts at times.  "I'm going to reset", "I'm going to drop it".  People use these terms before dropping their carriers and letting the system reset so they do not time the system out.  The problem is this...  I hear this mostly after a transmission that lasts between 30 seconds and maybe a minute and a half.  The time-out timer is 3 minutes!  People often seem overzealous to RESET.

[Key Up] "This is K2S... Let me reset." [Downkey] [Pause] [Key Up] "...HF listening to...Let me reset." [Downkey] [Pause] [Key Up] "the East Coast... Let me reset." [Downkey] [Pause] [Key Up] "Reflector." [Downkey]

That all being said, I'd rather people overuse resetting rather than timing the system out.  This was written for just a bit of levity, however weak.


Is there a topic that interests you that you'd like to write about?  Submit an article to me at k2shf(at)arrl(dot)net.  What keeps this newsletter going is the contributions by you, our readers.

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

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AllStar  27339, 45192, 45225
Echolink 57780, 375103
DMR Brandmeister 3129973
System Fusion 44444, 92805
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