The student built LilacSat-1 carrying an amateur radio 145/436 MHz FM to Codec2-BPSK digital voice transponder, APRS Digipeater and camera was chucked out the backdoor of the ISS on May 25th. According to AMSAT-UK, “shortly after deployment LilacSat-1 took a picture of the solar panels on the ISS” which was successfully downloaded by the students and the FM to Codec2-BPSK transponder was activated later that same afternoon.

LilacSat-1 Deployed

Why FM to Codec2-BPSK? According to Daniel Estevez, EA4GPZ:

“Codec2 is the open source digital voice codec that is used in FreeDV. This makes LilacSat-1 very exciting, because Codec2 is the only codec for digital voice radio that is not riddled with patents. Moreover, it performs much better than its main competitor: the AMBE/IMBE family of codecs, which are used in D-STAR, DMR and Yaesu System Fusion. Codec2 can achieve the same voice quality as AMBE using roughly half the bitrate”.

The US Government has filed a civil complaint in Federal District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania to recover an unpaid $11,500 fine that the FCC imposed in a forfeiture order two years ago on Brian Crow, K3VR, of North Huntingdon, Pennsylvania.

Bob Crane interviewed FDIM speaker Jack Purdum, W8TEE who spoke about his efforts to enhance the popular BitX transceiver by adding CW, AGC, speech processing, etc. Listen to this special segment of SolderSmoke for details.

Operating from the field is the HOTTEST TREND in ham radio today. Look at this interesting concept for a portable antenna support for VHF/UHF and HF from KH6JRM.

“Flea Market Tips” is the topic of the latest episode of the “ARRL The Doctor is In” podcast.

Contesting in Hawaii – H2O versus your antennas. “Maintaining equipment or making improvements always seems to consume lots of time when you’re trying to keep your station ready for contests or for em-comm. This is magnified if you’re trying to keep multiple towers and station setups going as we have at KH6YY. The elements always win…meaning water. Well, the Sun plays a role as does wind. Nothing like the repeated pounding that trade winds do to break or loosen something”.

The BNC connector is a miniature quick connect/disconnect radio frequency connector used for coaxial cable. BNC connectors are made to match the characteristic impedance of cable at either 50 ohms or 75 ohms. They are usually applied for frequencies below 4 GHz and voltages below 500 volts. It was named the “BNC” (for Bayonet Neill–Concelman) after its bayonet mount locking mechanism and its inventors, Paul Neill and Carl Concelman. A threaded version, known as the TNC connector (for Threaded Neill-Concelman) is also available. It has superior performance to the BNC connector at microwave frequencies.

Hamvention 2017 is history but its vibrations are still being felt in the ham radio blogosphere and beyond…

Joe, K0NEB reprised his annual mashup of Hamvention photos and music in this popular video, “The Grand Illusion”. The Ham Hijinks guys reported on strange doings over at the old venue with Confused Hams Show Up To Hara. And speaking of Hara, Becky, W1BXY put the final nail in that coffin with her vocal rendition of Don’t Cry for Hara Arena.

Ten Clicks


Final comments about Hamvention 2017

Wading thru the many online reflections about Hamvention it’s not difficult to spot a common theme - “it’s about the people” - and who among us can disagree?

Despite having attended 35 of the last 40 years, I hate crowds. I hate waiting in lines. I hate having my feet run over by powered scooters. I haven’t bought anything from the boneyard in decades. And when it comes to buying new equipment, I genuinely prefer ordering online and letting the UPS driver do the heavy lifting, even if I can save a few bucks by hauling it home thru muddy fields.

So why do I keep going year after year? It’s the people.

Among those I count as ‘good friends’ are many who I only see at Hamvention. Each year we journey to the same spot on the map where, for a few days, we get to renew friendships face-to-face, something that can’t be done any other way.

I enjoy dinner with these friends and believe late night conversations in the hotel tavern to be what ham radio is all about. These impromptu sessions often turn into incubators for new equipment or antenna designs. New business opportunities, future DXpeditions, and even new concepts for amateur satellites have been birthed after this manner.

It’s also good for the soul. I’ve witnessed burned out radio friends come away from events like Hamvention re-energized and enthused with a new zeal for the hobby.

That’s why those who go to Dayton overlook the shortcomings while those who stay home tend to fixate on the rain, the mud, the heat, and the traffic snarls.

These are only minor annoyances for those who truly “get it”.

Make it a GREAT week!

73, Jeff


There have been some delivery problems recently with the letter. The service I use, TinyLetter, doesn’t seem to care much for Yahoo Mail addresses. If one bounces it will unsubscribe everyone on the list with a Yahoo address. But that’s not all. There are some mail services who see mail from TinyLetter as “bulk” mail and it deletes these as spam.

It turns out, email isn’t the simple delivery mechanism that I once thought it to be.

I don’t yet have a fix for either of these problems but I continue to look for a workable solution and will keep you posted as things unfold.

If you use Twitter I encourage you to follow along for all the latest updates as they occur.