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Bitterroot Bugle post categories

Bitterroot Bugle archives

taking the CME warning down a notch

Today’s post at SpaceWeather.com makes the coronal mass ejections coming our way over the next couple of days sound far less threatening for those of you not operating satellites or ham radios. Somewhere in their publications or videos this morning I saw the phrase “not the big one”, which sums it up for me. All the things I ought to do before that particular one were just more than I wanted to squeeze into today. That is however a stark reminder that there are quite a few things that should be on my ToDo list, or rather in my case, higher priorities on that list. We’ll see. It is all most important, then again, none of it is. Enjoy the […]

possible CME hit here December 1st

This could be an important event to prepare for. If a massive Coronal Mass Ejection (solar flare) strikes the Earth as is a predicted possibility, electronics could be devastated, along with our entire electrical distribution system. This might be an auspicious time to put some effort into a Faraday Cage or two … and employ them for electronic stuff you value highly. I don’t want to overstate the warning, but I think it prudent to put some time in Friday protecting our electronics and have at least half a plan for a complete grid-down power failure. Hope and Faith are not plans. – Ted – Thank SpaceWeather.com for this warning GEOMAGNETIC STORM WATCH (G3): Three and perhaps four CMEs are heading […]

Waves – best demonstration I have seen

Waves on bodies of water behave similarly to all other waves in nature. Understanding wave behavior is important to radio antenna designers; which is a role I dabble in, and aspire to improve upon. I am currently teaching a class on amateur radio to a group of future hams. For their edification as well as my own I went looking for the video below. It was hard to find, so I saved and uploaded it to my Brighteon video channel. During my search, I watched a lot of instructional videos on waves, and in particular on the electro-magnetic waves such as those that carry our radio signals. I have a lot to learn, and many of those were hard for […]

9 week Darby ham class begins Saturday 10/14

I gave it a three year rest for demand to build up. Tomorrow I begin another of my class series to help local people gain their FCC amateur radio operator technician licenses. It is quite a commitment on their parts as well as mine. We will spend a couple hours of every Saturday now through December 9th building in them the knowledge necessary to become licensed, and competent radio operators. Darby Adult Ed does the heavy lifting for me by mailing fliers out to every resident in the area. That shaking of the bushes got enough interest to make the class worthwhile for their program and for me as an instructor. Our community and their neighborhoods gain a few […]

Guerrilla’s Guide To 2-Way Radio

For my heading, I purposefully modified NC Scout’s bestselling book title that I am discussing in this post. The Guerrilla’s Guide To The Baofeng Radio goes far beyond the make/model amateur radio he recommends in it. I and a fellow active licensed radio operator (HAM) took a local class from him a few years ago. It was extremely informative and valuable. I expect this book to have much of what we learned in that class, and quite a bit more packed into it. I have ordered my own copy, so this is a recommendation in advance of being able to review it, based on what I know of the author and of the subject matter. He created and operates Brushbeater […]

Light Up The Firehalls – May 2022

For several months now the Corvallis American Legion amateur radio club subsection has been operating field exercises from various volunteer fire department firehalls throughout our county – the area we fondly call “The Bitterroot”. Our long-term goal for this program is for KG7SPL to be a backup communication service for the volunteer fire departments of Ravalli County. The VFDs are the core of emergency response in The Bitterroot. They are located in every area, have agreed-upon coverage maps and can muster 20 or more active, skilled volunteers in a matter of minutes. Our route to providing comms backup involves a monthly exercises of our equipment and operators from the VFD stations. We go live at 1300 hrs local (1:00 […]

Gone Fishing

Normally clear studio surfaces speak of a cluttered life I am pulling out of my garage in one week… heading south to Utah Motorsports Complex for National Auto Sports Association’s March Madness. I am transitioning from The Beast to a much nicer, newer Z-71 optioned Suburban, The Z-Wagon. The Beast had an antenna farm on the back 1/3 of its roof and capability of running half a dozen amateur radios at a time on numerous different frequencies. I am putting some time, thought, energy and money into adding one multi-band radio to The Z-Wagon. Additionally there are numerous mechanical fix-ups that go with replacement vehicles. I initiated and had to manage a local emergency-preparedness radio exercise I called “Light Up […]

I lost a friend

I happened to be listening on the scanner Jeff programmed for me in exchange for some stuff I did for him. An emergency evolved starting with “a man fell, hit his head, is not breathing, CPR is ongoing”. I realized I knew the location well, the man, and the other people directly involved. I made a phone call to a mutual friend who would be in a better position to take useful action, find more information, or actually execute a worthy response. I listened as the situation transitioned through several steps to “coroner called”, and knew I had just lost a friend. I don’t know if the information sequence was good for me or not, but it did hit […]

amateur radio Winter Field Day

This will be the first time I have participated in the annual Winter Field Day. I suppose it sounded difficult. It is incredibly easy for any amateur radio operator anywhere to participate at some level. Sure you can pitch a tent in the snow on some mountain-top for the weekend, but you can also sign up and run right out of your normal radio shack – or anywhere in between. All operators are welcome to join in at whatever level suits their situation and inclination. This year the Bitterroot Emergency Amateur Radio Services group, now officially the Corvallis American Legion Post 91 radio club KG7SPL will be running two radio stations in a tent at the top of the […]

amateur 2-way radio

Most people naively assume their telephones and Internet will continually fulfill their communications wants and needs without fail. You are not that foolish. I know that because you are here. The FCC (Federal Communications Commission) currently rules the radio-frequency airwaves in the USofA. In order to lawfully learn and practice two-way-radio communications today you need to follow their rules. One of them is that in case of serious emergency you can use any radio that is available and capable of communication. That same exemption applies in case of a breakdown in rule of law. Here I will focus on learning and using radios according to FCC regulations. You do not want your first two-way-radio experience to be in a dire […]

two-way radios

can be indispensable in emergencies and other times normal communications tools are not working. For my current amateur radio Technician Class students, I just bought 7 of the make/model I feel gives the best cost/benefit for ham radio operators. The TYT MD-UV390 operates on both the ultra-high-frequencies (UHF) of the FCC’s family radio service (FRS) and general mobile radio service (GMRS), it also transmits and receives on the very high frequencies (VHF) commonly used by hams, public and private agencies for regional communications. Their MD-UV380 is the lower cost version of the same radio without the water-proofing. TYT, also known as Tyterra builds well-reviewed radios in relatively affordable price ranges. The transmitters, receivers, speakers, microphones, displays, controls and antennas all […]

2-way radio repeaters

I created a presentation for our local ham radio club to explain the environment our repeater engineer was dealing with. The problem many great sites have is that their prominence attracts multiple transmitters with each addition making it harder for the repeater to pick up the signals we want out of the electromagnetic flood. Thus the situation I describe with this Downing Mountain repeater is common to many. I called this “Tracking A Transmission”. We follow a signal from the operator’s mouth through his radio and up to the repeater overlooking Hamilton Montana. Once the repeater gets the information, it transmits it out from a large antenna with 50 watts of power pushing it as much as 50 miles away. […]

electricity, components & circuits

Chapter 3 in the Amateur Radio Relay League (ARRL) Ham Radio License Manual is the most challenging to most students. As I prepare for today’s Ham class, I am assembling tools, tricks, tips and my outline. I figured I might as well share them here. Remember that out of the 35 questions on your written exam, 26 correct answers is a passing score. You can afford to miss nine, or one out of every four and still earn your Technician’s License. You could miss, or even skip over every component and circuit question without failing your exam. Do not get all balled-up in this one chapter. On the other hand, it is cool, and even useful to understand a bit […]

wave behavior

Whether it is a stone tossed into a glassy-smooth pond, sound waves coming out of a trombone or electro-magnetic waves enabling radios to communicate, the wave behaviors are direct relatives to the physicist. One such person built a model to demonstrate wave behavior then his employer, Bell Labs, produced a movie of it. I almost called it a video, but those were not yet invented in 1959 when this was produced. Last year I pounded enough correct answers into my head that I passed my Amateur Extra exam. My motivation was that I really wanted to UNDERSTAND radio much better. I did not clear that hurdle on pure expanded knowledge of radio, but I found several tools that helped. […]