Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Thoughts on Field Day Catering

By Peter Burgess VE3PBT

The message I have been receiving over the last year or so is concern over the use of club funds and the lack of income. As food /refreshments: as in coffee and snacks at each meeting , AGM barbeque , Field day , and Christmas Party are probably one of the largest expenses the club incurs on an annual basis. Field day and AGM BBQ amount to approximately $1400.00 a year. Meeting costs and Christmas Party are not handled by me therefore the costs are not known by me.

In the last two years we have off set the field day cost by charging those attending a $10.00 for three meals, Lunch, supper, breakfast and beverages. The meals are not the cheapest of fare or the most expensive we have tried to provide good appetizing food at the least cost, but as we all realize the additional taxes hydro costs and cap and trade are increasing.

  • 2014 Field Day food costs were $814.00
  • 2015 Field Day food costs were $844.00 $30 increase aprox. 3.7%
  • 2016 Field Day food costs were $864.00 $20 increase aprox. 2.3%
The small increase in costs from 2014 are due to reducing deserts, buying large cuts of meat, using existing club supplies and consistently looking out for reduced or special prices 2017 PREDICTED COST up (13%) $976.00 based on the same format we have been using for previous meals and including replacing the basic club supplies (paper plates, knives, forks, spoons, napkins and many misalliances other items).

Normally we base the cost for the kitchen on 50 people (by working a little magic we can handle up to 60 for the same amount)

  • $976 divided by 50 = $19.57 each round to $20.00
  • If these costs are too high, there are various options to reduce the clubs expenditures.
    • Each person brings their own food, club supplies the beverages.
    • Reduce the menu to simple fair by purchasing food at Nofrills etc. using the same assessment of $10
    • Keeping the same format and increasing the assessment to $20.00
And the club picks up the cost of propane, gas and toilets

We are open to other suggestions and options but the final date for commitment and payment will be at the AGM meeting in June

Peter Burgess

Monday, 27 February 2017

Minutes - YRARC General Meeting 2017-02-07

Meeting held in the Sharon Temperance Hall. Called to Order at 19:30 by John VA3JI. Total members and guests attending: 12. (Note: Freezing rain conditions)
  1. Welcome & Introductions – John VA3JI
  2. Adoption of the Minutes from the 2017/01/03 general meeting postponed until March.
  3. Treasurer’s Report – John VA3JI
    • Opening Balance 2017/01/01 [Available to members on request to secretary]
    • Income: Membership dues $80.00
    • Markham Fair refund $1856.00
    • Total: $1936.00
    • Expenditures: None
    • Closing Balance [Available to members on request to secretary]
    • Moved the treasurer's report be adopted, by Barry VA3LLT, seconded GlenVA3AU. Carried
  4. Membership – Barry VA3LLT. We have 37 regular members, 5 associate members, 17 family members and 9 life members. Total members 68.
  5. Repeaters – John VA3JI for Steve VE3UT. All repeaters are OK.
  6. Winter Field Day – John VA3JI for Steve VE3UT. Winter Field Day was held on January 28 and 29 in the parking lot (near the road) at Al's Tack Shop on Vandorf Rd. There were 3 stations with 5 antennae, and we operated as “3O” (3 transmitters Outdoors not in a regular location with generator power). We made 107 QSOs with a submitted score of 6348 which included 4500 bonus points. Charles VA3TTB made his first ever QSOs at WFD.
  7. EmComm – No report. The February meeting will be cancelled.
  8. Trailer – Barry VA3LLT. The trailer Hilomast has been temporarily fixed. The top section, which has a crack, has been locked to the second section, to prevent the top section from being extended.
  9. Examinations – Doug VE3VS. Doug wanted to mention that Terry VA3TYB approached Doug in January, asking to take his basic exam, in which he received 99% (and knew the correct answer to his 1 mistake), then passed his advanced exam a few days later and received 100%.
  10. Trillium Grant – No report
  11. Other business
    • Question from Mike VA3MCT – Are we able to send emails to members if a meeting is to be cancelled? Answer from John VA3JI – The ability to send emails from the membership database does not currently exist. If requested by the board, John will investigate a means to send bulk emails to members.
    • Doug VE3VS has a projector available if needed.
    • We will need a new auditor, since Bob Rennie is no longer able to carry on.
    • There was no guest speaker. Steve VE3EZ who was scheduled to fill in at the last minute was unable to get to the meeting due to poor road conditions.

Sunday, 26 February 2017

Minutes - YRARC Board of Directors Meeting 2017-01-17

Meeting held in the Magna Centre, Multi Purpose Room 1. Called to Order at 19:05 by Chris VE3NRT. Board members attending: Chris VE3NRT Pres, Geoff VA3GS, Eric VE3EB, Steve VE3UT, Doug VE3ATP, Rick VA3VO, David VA3DCY Secty. Absent: Barry VA3LLT, John VE3IPS V. Pres. John VA3JI Treasurer. Others attending: None
  1. Approval of agenda and declaration of conflict of interest: Chris VE3NRT. Additions: None. Motion to adopt the agenda, moved Eric VE3EB, seconded Geoff VA3GS. Carried.
  2. Minutes: David VA3DCY. Minutes of the 2016/12/20 meeting to be adopted at the February meeting.
  3. Treasurer's Report: Geoff VA3GS for John VA3JI.
    • Opening Balance 2016/01/01 [Available to members on request to Secretary]
    • Income: Dues $80.00
    • Refund from Markham Fair $1,856.00
    • Total income $1,936.00
    • Expenditures: None $0.00
    • Closing Balance 2017/01/17 [Available to members on request to Secretary]
    • Note: The December statement received and balanced. JI
    • Moved by Geoff VA3GS, seconded by Steve VE3UT to adopt the treasurer's report. Carried.
  4. Meetings: Geoff VA3GS. The speakers planned for the upcoming general meetings are: February - Steve VE3EZ, March - Mike VE3MKX, April - Bob VE3WY and May John VA3KOT.
  5. Winter Field Day: Steve VE3UT. WFD will have 6 people attending. The proposed budget is $140 for food and $100 for gas. Rick VA3VO's trailer will be used for cooking and there will be 2 trailers for radios. Norma, the owner of Al's Tack Shop, enquired about the club's insurance, since the site may be icy. David VA3DCY will contact the insurance company to provide Norma with proof of our insurance.
  6. Repeaters: Steve VE3UT
    • There have been some recent D-STAR outages, likely caused by a malfunctioning firewall.
    • The UPS at the site is being upgraded.
  7. Trillium Grant Proposal
    • Eric VE3EB. Eric is waiting for proposals from EmComm. Steve VE3UT: There are no available pairs available in the GTA for a DMR repeater. We could use the UHF pair from the D-Star repeater. Chris VE3NRT asked is there DMR coverage or adequate coverage in the GTA? It was noted that a used Motorola DMR repeater costs approximately $850 US on E-Bay.
    • Should replacement of one or more existing analogue repeaters be included in the Trillium Grant proposal? The existing repeaters are older than 30 years and it is difficult to replace parts. Replacements could include: 2 VHF repeaters, 1 UHF repeater, 3 controllers and switching power supplies. The radios should be commercial frequency agile radios. The priority for replacement is the VE3YRC VHF repeater.
    • Chris VE3NRT proposed including a HamWan 'back-bone' data network.
    • Eric VE3EB suggested upgrading the club web site.
  8. D-Rats: Although D-Rats works on D-Star, it can only send files 'point-to-point', ie from one radio to another. Files can not be sent through an intermediate station, ie from radio 1, via 2 to 3.

Saturday, 25 February 2017

Minutes - YRARC Board of Directors Meeting 2016-12-20

Meeting held in the Magna Centre, Multipurpose Room 1. Called to Order at 19:03 by Chris VE3NRT. Board members attending: Chris VE3NRT Pres, John VA3JI Treasurer, John VE3IPS V. Pres., Geoff VA3GS, Eric VE3EB, Steve VE3UT, Doug VE3ATP, Rick VA3VO, David VA3DCY Secty. Absent: Barry VA3LLT. Others attending: None
  1. Approval of agenda and declaration of conflict of interest: Chris VE3NRT
    • Additions: 7 Floral motion.
    • Motion to adopt the agenda, moved Eric VE3EB, seconded Rick VA3VO. Carried.
  2. Minutes: David VA3DCY. Moved by Steve VE3UT, seconded by Rick VA3VO to adopt minutes of the Board Meeting. 2016/11/15. Carried.
  3. Meetings: Geoff VA3GS
    • The January general meeting will consist of a short business meeting, with a mini “for sale” table, and following the break there will be 5 minute talks from members.
    • The speakers planned for March, April and May are Mike VE3MKX, Bob VE3WY and Cliff VE3KOP.
    • We need a February speaker, or the meeting may be devoted to the proposed Trillium grant.
  4. Treasurer's Report: John VA3JI
    • Opening Balance 2016/12/01 [Available to members on request to secretary]
    • Income: Dues $25.00
    • Expenditures: Flowers for Barry's wife $45.20
    • Food for Christmas party $187.71
    • Total expenditures: $232.91
    • Closing Balance 2016/12/20 [Available to members on request to secretary]
    • Moved by Rick VA3VO, seconded by Eric VE3EB to adopt the treasurer's report. Carried.
    • John went on to explain why we need to control our expenses so that we do not deplete our bank balance, and also because of the recurring expenses that need to be paid throughout the year, before we receive any income from dues or the hamfest.
  5. Repeaters: Steve VE3UT
    • All repeaters are working well.
    • Chris VE3NRT may have time to work on the hardware for the IRLP and Echolink. The software is OK.
  6. Winter Field Day: Steve VE3UT
    • The WFD site is now confirmed – it will be the same site as used for Summer FD at Al's Tack Shop. The dates are January 28 and 29.
    • Steve proposed a budget assuming 20 people would attend: Food $350, Propane for cooking and heating $100, Toilet $125 and Gasoline $300.
    • Geoff suggested having members indicate at the January meeting if they would attend, and collect food money from each member wanting to attend.
    • Moved by Rick VA3VO, seconded by Eric VE3EB that the board postpone approval of any motion to fund WFD until the membership approved of any funding. (There was no motion made to fund WFD following John VA3JI's cautioning about club expenses.)
    • Of interest for Summer FD, the property (Al's Tack Shop) has been subdivided and a portion of the property has been sold. This means future SFD station layouts will be different from past years.
  7. Hammond Museum: John VE3IPS. There are probably no fees for entrance to the museum. Hours are 09:00 to 12:00. April could be a possible time to visit. Car pooling was suggested.
  8. Trillium Grant Proposal: Eric VE3EB. There may be a new structure for seeking a grant. June is the target date for submitting a proposal. A financial statement may be required in the proposal. We will need letters of support from served agencies. A Yahoo group has been set up to communicate with members of the committee. We need committee members and each will be assigned with a responsibility. he committee will report to the board and membership monthly. Eric is asking for a proposed list of what should be included in the application.
  9. Floral Motion: John VA3JI. Motion 2016-12-20-7 to approve payment $45.20 for flowers sent to Barry's wife. Moved by Geoff VA3GS, seconded by Eric VE3EB. Carried
    Fox Hunts: John VE3IPS. A winter date will be chosen with possibly 4 events for the year, perhaps once per month, and participation could be opened to other clubs.
  10. Other business:
    • John VA3JI. Will replacing batteries in the existing D-Star radios be a club expense or will it be included in a Trillium grant?
    • John VE3IPS would like to get a D-Star radio to be loaned to a new member.

Monday, 2 January 2017

AGC for Digital Ops: Friend or Foe?

Contributed by Brian Waterworth, VE3IBW.

I belong to the Elecraft reflector discussion group.  While I joined to learn more about my rig (KX3/PX3), I have found a wealth of amateur radio knowledge on various topics.  This group often has side conversations about everything Ham radio; sometimes Elecraft gear isn’t even mentioned.

One such tangent conversation centred around the use of AGC (Automatic Gain Control) for digital modes.  Being that I predominantly use digital for my HF operations, I was very interested in this topic.  The reflector elmers recommended turning off AGC when using digital modes.   

My research, prior to joining the Elecraft reflector, seemed to suggest that AGC should be on.  For digital modes, use the fast setting and for voice modes use the slow setting.  This seemed to work for me.  But I don’t think I really had a good grasp of what AGC was doing at that time.  A few years of operating PSK31, RTTY, and JT-modes revealed something that I unconsciously did not make a connection to AGC (fast or slow).  This reflector side conversation opened my eyes to AGC and its effect on my weak signal digital QSOs.

AGC, as many reading this article might know, is the ability of a transceiver to dynamically reduce RF gain when too much radio frequency energy is present in the passband.  The idea behind these adjustments is to avoid saturating downstream transceiver components (local oscillator, audio amp, your ear drums).  

I glibly referenced ear drums in the last paragraph because the reflector discussion turned to why AGC is nice to have when a strong signal enters the passband.  But, how many of us actually listen during digital operations?  I used to, but at a very low audio volume.  Beeps, twerps, blips, and clicks are a little fatiguing after a while.  For my current digital operations, I rarely have the speaker enabled and never listen through headphones.  All the information I need to operate digital is via a digital-mode program’s waterfall.

Narrow digital modes, such as PSK31 and JTx, enjoy many potential QSOs within a typical receiver passband.  A voice mode QSO, by contrast, occupies the entire passband.  During Field Day operations, PSK31 can have 20+ active QSOs in progress too.  If one of these QSOs happens to be a very strong signal, AGC will reduce the RF gain.  This doesn’t sound so bad.  However, in one passband (say 14.076MHz), you might have 20-30 active JTx QSOs and one of these might be yours with a weak station.

I use FLDigi to work PSK31 and RTTY during Field Day.  To compensate for strong signals in the passband, I created macros to reduce the receive filter bandwidth around a signal I was interested in trying to establish a QSO.  This worked great to filter out stronger adjacent signals in the passband.  But, was it necessary?  I am beginning to think it wasn’t.

Let’s look at an example using WSJT-X.  It doesn’t have the convenience of macros to adjust and re-instate filter settings like FLDigi does.  

I got interested in JT modes over the past two years as I wanted to work QRP and be able to make contacts around the world with very little power (5 watts or less).  I also wanted to do this in a portable fashion (on a sailboat, in a park, on an island, in my backyard on a nice day).  JTx modes seemed like the best candidate.  There are some JT-mode operators that use 30+ watts.  There are also band conditions that will present a low power signal as 0db or more above the noise floor; i.e. a strong JTx signal.  With AGC enabled, these stronger signals will reduce the RF gain.  Weak signals will become weaker.

Each trace, (JT65 between 0-2,500hz and JT9 above 2,500hz) in figure 1, is a CQ or an active QSO within one passband.  The darker red and deeper yellow colours represent stronger signals.  You can see there are some very weak signals where there is no red at all (usually between -15db and -25db below the noise floor).

Figure 1: Typical WSJT-X waterfall with AGC turned off, Preamp off

Imagine you are halfway through a JT9 QSO, which takes about six minutes to complete, and a strong signal comes through for some other QSO or a CQ call; could even be at the opposite end of the passband.  Your transceiver’s AGC will reduce the RF gain and your weaker signal QSO may be artificially reduced beyond the JT decoder’s capability.  At this point, you may or may not be able to complete the QSO.  

Figure 2: WSJT-X waterfall with AGC-F and Preamp off

From figure 2, the darker bands through time slot 14:38 is the effect of the AGC reducing the RF gain in the presence of the strong signal at about 1,375Hz.  To level set, blue is the typical WSJT-X waterfall colour displayed when there is enough audio drive from the rig, through the computer’s sound card, to the WSJT-X program.  Black indicates not enough audio drive.  From the above diagram, you can see that some of the weaker JT9 signals (> 2,500hz) are obliterated on the WSJT-X waterfall.  The JT modes are fairly robust, but a strong signal in the passband may be enough to disrupt a QSO when AGC is turned on.

In figure 3, I turned off the AGC prior to operation.  I received an answer to my CQ from a station in Spain.  I received this station’s hail at -27db below the noise floor.  The diagram shows a very faint trace at about 2,550Hz.  

Figure 3: WSJT-X waterfall, active JT9 QSO with a Spanish station at -27db; preamp off
The presence of the strong signal at approximately 2,200hz in the passband may have caused the AGC to reduce RF Gain to a point where WSJT-X would not have been able to decode this very weak signal.  Fortunately, the AGC was turned off and other strong signals did not affect the RF Gain setting.

By switching off AGC, I have been able to successfully complete QSOs with very weak stations in the presence of stronger stations in the passband.  If not for the Elecraft reflector elmers, I would have likely continued operating digital with AGC turned on.

Sunday, 1 January 2017

Minutes: Board of Directors 2016-10-18

Meeting held in the Magna Centre, Multipurpose Room 1. Called to Order at 19:00 by Chris VE3NRT. Board members attending: Chris VE3NRT Pres, John VA3JI Treasurer, Geoff VA3GS, Barry VA3LLT, Eric VE3EB, Steve VE3UT, David VA3DCY Secty, Doug VE3ATP, Rick VA3VO, Absent: John VE3IPS V. Pres. Others attending: None
  1. Approval of agenda and declaration of conflict of interest: Chris VE3NRT
    • Additions: 6 Correction to August BoD minutes and 7 Winter Field day.
    • Motion to amend the agenda, moved Steve VE3UT, seconded Barry VA3LLT. Carried
    • Motion to adopt the agenda, moved Geoff VA3GS, seconded Rick VA3VO. Carried.
  2. Minutes: David VA3DCY. Moved by John VA3JI, seconded by Doug VE3ATP to adopt minutes of the Board Meeting 2016/09/20. Carried.
  3. Trailer: Barry VA3LLT. There is an 8” crack in the Hilomast, lower portion of the top section. Costs to repair options from the manufacturer: $250US plus brokerage fees (1 way) if shipped via UPS from Canada, $125US (1 way) if shipped from within the USA (Buffalo), $250US forrepair including parts and labour. If the mast was delivered to the factory (in Florida) the repair time would be approximately 2 hours. Other options suggested were to attempt to repair the mast section locally, pick up a replacement section in the spring and place a sleeve around the crack as a temporary fix. The agreed plan is to 1/ get a manual, 2/ order parts and ship if feasible and 3/ Chris or another club member could take the mast to Florida in the spring for repairs.
  4. Hamfest: Geoff VA3GS. At the moment 80 tables (including 5 courtesy tables), have been sold out of 100. Setup will be at 13:00 Friday November 4. We will only be bringing the EmComm trailer, not the tower trailer to the hamfest. Don VE3IXJ will have a static display outside the trailer. We hope to have 'QSL' cards with club information available as a handout.
  5. Meetings: Geoff VA3GS. There will be a silent auction at the November meeting with items from a donation to the club. Rick VA3VO will set the reserve bid prices. The January meeting could either be a 'junk-in-the-trunk' with mini presentations or, a Saturday visit to the Hammond Museum instead of the Tuesday meeting. The February meeting is undecided, March a talk from Mike VE3MKX, and the April and May meetings would be talks from Bob VE3WY and Dr Paul Delaney (dates to be determined).
  6. Treasurer's Report: John VA3JI
    • Opening Balance 2016/10/01 [Available to members on request to secretary]
    • Income: Hamfest vendors: $422.00; Dues: $185.00; Donation: $7.02; Total:$614.02
    • Expenditures: Repeater: $75.00
    • Closing Balance 2016/10/18 [Available to members on request to secretary]
    • Hamfest Income: Tables: $588.00 (to date); Admissions: $210.00; Grand prize: $60.00; Total: $858.00
    • Moved by John VA3JI, seconded by Geoff VA3GS to adopt the treasurer's report. Carried.
  7. Repeaters: Steve VE3UT.
    • Steve asked a question from Grant VE3ATV, do we want to promote an ATV repeater? It was decided to ask the club if there is any interest, and if there is to ask Grant to talk to the club members.
    • Motion 2016-10-18-4d to approve $75.00 for a mast section and cables used at the MacKenzie Richmond Hill Hospital when installing the link antenna for VE3YRA. Material supplied at cost by Rick VA3VO. Moved Steve VE3UT, seconded by Geoff VA3GS. Rick VA3VO abstained from voting. Carried.
  8. Public Service: Eric VE3EB
    • The last events were 2 weddings at the Sharon Temple on Saturday October 1, and the Run for the Cure on Sunday October 2. There was a good turnout for the event, with 11 hams and 1 student participating.
    • Eric proposed getting QSL cards for public service events and hamfests, and 10 to 20 lightweight club jackets, instead of vests, which would be owned by the club.
    • We should set up a Trillium committee for funding these and other projects.
  9. York Region Astronomy Association (YRAA): Chris VE3NRT. The YRAA is responsible for operation and maintenance of the equipment at the David Dunlap Observatory and also provides education to youth groups, schools and adults. In addition to optical astronomy, YRAA wants to incorporate radio astronomy into their offerings, and would welcome collaboration from YRARC. Chris will send a letter of YRARC support, to YRAA.
  10. Correction of August BoD Minutes: David VA3DCY. The motion number for item 5b to purchase plaques for the Harvey Bell Award and the Melted Coffee Pot Award, was incorrectly published as “motion 2016-07-19-5b”. The correct motion number is 2016-08-16-5b. Motion 2016-10-18-6, moved by David VA3DCY, seconded by Geoff VA3GS that the minutes be corrected. Carried.
  11. Winter Field Day: Steve VE3UT. We need to investigate the source of the noise at the Sharon Temple / Temperance Hall location, and we should ask Steve VE3EZ for assistance. 10 people attending a WFD event would be considered a success. WFD this year is on January 28 and 29.
  12. Brad VE3HII noted that that VE3YRA was not listed in the AMSAT report for Summer Field Day.
Meeting adjourned at 20:50. Moved Rick VA3VO, seconded Geoff VA3GS. Carried

Minutes: General Meeting 2016-11-01

Meeting held in the Sharon Temperance Hall. Called to Order at 19:30 by Chris VE3NRT. Total members and guests attending: 35 including 1 guest and 3 new members.
  1. Welcome & Introductions – Chris VE3NRT
  2. Adoption of Minutes from 2016/10/04 general meeting. Moved by Doug VE3VS, seconded by John VA3JI. Carried.
  3. Announcements: Setup for the hamfest starts at 13:00 Friday Nov 4. We received a cheque for $175 from the Central Ontario ARC for our participation in a recent COARC event.
  4. Treasurer’s Report – John VA3JI
    • Opening Balance 2016/10/01 [Available to members on request to secretary]
    • Income: Hamfest vendor fees: $1230.00; Membership dues: $185.00; Donations (US currency conversion): $7.02; Total:$1422.02
    • Expenditures: Hamfest - prizes: $171.50; Hamfest - Markham Fair Grounds: $4329.60; Hamfest – float: $750.00; Repeater $75.00; Bank charges for PayPal $7.74; Total Expenditures: $5333.84
    • Closing Balance 2016/11/01 [Available to members on request to secretary]
    • Additional income to be deposited: Hamfest vendor fees: $40.00; Membership dues: $155.00; Membership dues:$35.00; Donation $5.00; Bank Fees: -$1.57
    • It was suggested from the floor that we charge extra when payments are made by PayPal. No action to be taken at this time.
    • Moved the treasurer's report be adopted, by John VA3JI, seconded Bill VA3QB. Carried
  5. Repeater Report – Steve VE3UT
    • We need to check on the noise source at the Sharon Temperance Hall before winter field day.
    • We spent $75 on a link antenna at the MacKenzie Health Unit (to link the VE3YRA site with the hospital site).
    • The Field Day announcement, which has been running in error, has been turned off.
    • This morning it was discovered that that the link transmitter at the VE3YRC-V site has failed. The VE3YRC-V repeater (147.225 MHz) is now running in stand-alone mode.
  6. EmComm Report – Robert VA3BXG, John VE3IPS
    • At the recent GTA set, we had limited participation, and did a test call-out. The next EmComm meeting will be on November 10, at the Newmarket Community Centre.
    • The Fox Hunt, with help from Brian VE3IBW, will likely be held on November 19. Planning will be done at the next EmComm meeting.
  7. Other Business
    • Barry VA3LLT's wife is in hospital, in serious condition. Move by Steve VE3UT and seconded by Eric VE3EB, that we send flowers to Barry's wife. Carried.
    • Doug VE3VS is preparing name tags for those wishing tags.
    • Next year, CLARA will be holding its 50th birthday and preparation for the event is underway.

Guest Speaker – John VA3KOT

John spoke on outdoor QRP. His interest in QRP started with scanning and listening to satellites, which lead to his interest in amateur radio, especially QRP. His rules for operating QRP include an efficient antenna, elevation, using CW or digital modes instead of phone, endurance, the use of spotting web sites (to give advance notice to listen), and good propagation conditions.

Since he operates in public spaces, health and safety are important considerations. The passing public needs to be kept safe from RF high voltages etc. and 'no trace' operating means leaving the site tidy when finished.

When hiking, he keeps it simple with a Yaesu FT-817 radio, minimal batteries for lighter weight and a choice of several antennae including vertical, end-fed, loop and NVIS antennae.

John can be contacted at va3kot -at- gmail -dot- com for further information.