Zero Beat Jan 2013

Mid-South Amateur Radio Association

January 2013

Next meeting January 3, 2013 7:00 pm

The meeting will be at the Police Precinct at 6850 Whitten Bend Cove. Map and directions are on the web site.

Meeting Details

Meeting will be back at the police precinct in January. We will present a proposed budget for 2013 and go over some rough planning for the year and we will have a quick demonstration of the software defined radio described on page 30 of the January issue of QST.

Be thinking about what you would like to do this year and bring any ideas to the meeting. We will need to approve a budget and start planning for any activities like FreeFest, Cookouts, or Field Day etc. We may want to try some new things like contests or tours of various facilities etc. There is also no reason we can’t have some meeting topics on ancillary things like plastics used in antennas. Bring your thoughts to the meeting or email them to Dennis or I ahead of time.

In the January issue of QST on page 30 there is an interesting article on a cheap software defined radio [SDR]. It uses a European USB TV converter dongle to make a radio that covers from roughly 60 MHz to 2.3 Gig. It also details an up converter to make it usable in the HF bands. I have built up the basic VHF/UHF model and it is a neat project. No hardware work is required. All you have to do is load the special driver software mentioned in the article for the Dongle and then the SDR screen software. The dongle looks just like a USB memory drive with the USB on one end and a PAL [Euro TV] connector on the other end.

While listening around on the my laptop I was able to hear 900 MHz cordless phones as well as a lot of public service and ham stuff. I will give a quick demo of the unit at the January meeting and if there is any interest we will take orders for the dongle and software and do the February meeting on how to install it etc. This is not an ICOM 1300 but it is pretty impressive for the cheap cost. We estimate the cost for everything to be $30. There is a lot of development work going on to make P25 digital decoding software. There is also a scanner add in and a trunking add in available that I haven’t tried yet. There are at least 2 Yahoo groups working on this project.

Two caveats on this. You need a computer or laptop and since this is for European TV, you will need an adapter for the antenna fitting. I found some at MARRS for about $2.99. The PAL to F female [std us TV] is a Radio Shack 278-261. I also found an F male to BNC female so it will hook up to my ham antennas easier. The Radio Shack part number for the F to BNC is 278-256. Both should be in the $5 each range at RS.


Date this year is April 13. The initial notice has gone out to the vendors and there has been excellent response. Lots of folks have signed up already. It should get more serious after the holidays. I won’t start assigning tables until around the end of January when we get the initial rush over. Club email will go out shortly. Start passing the word wherever you go on nets etc.

Jackson Hamfest

Jackson MS, Capital City Hamfest is January 25 and 26. I may have room for 1 or 2 if someone would like to ride down. I plan to go down on Friday around noon and leave to return Saturday Afternoon around 2 pm. Several or going so not sure on how much room I will have. Hotels usually run in the $60 range or a little less. Contact me [] if you have any interest.