Bitterroot Bugle post categories

Global Skywatch

Darby Dog Derby 2020

I led a team of ham radio operators who provided two-way radio communications throughout the two day event. It really was fun for all… the mushers, the comms guys and the visitors who came to watch the show. I mostly stay secluded in my comms truck shell, “The Beast” where my mobile radio has the speaker volume so I can hear radio traffic over the dog noise. I did step out to take a few photos and three short video clips that I share here. Darby Dog Derby Skijor 11 start from Ted Dunlap on Vimeo. Darby Dog Derby 8 Dog hookup part 1 from Ted Dunlap on Vimeo. Darby Dog Derby 8 Dog hookup part 2 from Ted Dunlap […]

comms plans for Darby Dog Derby

The 2020 Bitterroot dogsled race weekend is coming up. I have the two-way-radio support plan mapped out, radios programmed, testing complete, batteries all charged up … I think we are as ready as we can get. For more details about the weekend, the participants and the races, go to The Bitterroot Mushers website. Each year we learn more, adding refinements to patch holes as we find them. Ideally we have 8 checkpoints with a checkpoint worker and a radio operator at each. That’s a bit dreamy as the last couple years we are lucky to have one person serving both roles at each. Bitterroot Emergency Amateur Radio Services (BEARS), the comms team, recently changed affiliation to Corvallis American Legion […]

final day of registration for ham class is Friday

This a repeat of my previous announcement. There is one more day of online registration for Darby Adult Ed classes. We stand ONE STUDENT SHORT of having enough to make it happen. I am bringing another amateur radio operator licensing class to Darby, Montana via the Darby Adult Education program in its Spring 2020 schedule. I have not keept track, but think I have personally assisted 40 or 50 people to earning their FCC licenses through my study groups in the Darby library. The snide saying goes, “Those who CAN, DO. Those who cannot, TEACH”. I’m okay wearing that. Good instructors are as rare as good anything else. I did not choose this calling, blessing or curse. It chose me. […]

Ham license class begins February 1st

I am bringing another amateur radio operator licensing class to Darby, Montana via the Darby Adult Education program in its Spring 2020 schedule. I have not keept track, but think I have personally assisted 40 or 50 people to earning their FCC licenses through my study groups in the Darby library. The snide saying goes, “Those who CAN, DO. Those who cannot, TEACH”. I’m okay wearing that. Good instructors are as rare as good anything else. I did not choose this calling, blessing or curse. It chose me. Run with your talents. Every person who has come to all of the class sessions and studied two or more hours between sessions passed the FCC Technician License Exam at the end. […]

Darby Adult Ed calendar is up

I have contributed numerous classes to the community, most through the Darby Adult Education program in southwestern Montana. An interesting array of people share their skills and passions with others in this nice little community. This Spring Semester is no exception. We have many nice choices in front of us for new experiences, knowledge, training, friendships and fun. I am bringing my first-level Amateur Radio class back by popular demand. I must be nearing 50 people I have helped earn their FCC Technician or General Class licenses. My guarantee: If you attend every class and study a few hours a week, you will pass the FCC Technician Exam at the end regardless of your technical background or lack thereof. I […]

The Amateur’s Code

An anonymous gift through the Darby Library for me was a binder containing PREPAREDNESS COMMUNICATIONS written by David Pruett / KF7ETX. It covers Ham radios, non-Ham optons, communications plans, study and other resources. Some new, some refresher, all well organized. I was particularly taken with this cultural bit written by a licensed amateur radio operator ninety years ago. Modern hams would do well to pay attention. While much has changed, the desirable personal attributes have not. I typed it in as written. – Ted – P.S. The photo is from my archives. I have no idea who it is, but doubt it is Paul Segal. It simply represents what amateur radio stations used to look like. The Amateur’s Code by […]

The Great Montana Shakeout

  Register Here! Why Participate? Who is Participating? How to Participate Resources News & Events Partners & Sponsors ShakeOut FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions Having trouble finding something? Here are a few of our frequently asked questions. Can’t find it here? Contact us. What do I have to do to participate in the ShakeOut? Where is the ShakeOut being held? What will happen on October 17 ? The ShakeOut Drill is scheduled for 10:17 a.m. on October 17, 2019. This means that wherever you are at that moment—at home, at work, at school, anywhere—you should Drop, Cover, and Hold On as if there were a major earthquake occurring at that very moment, and stay in this position for at least […]

California adds insult to injury

I am not going to run down the details of Pacific Gas & Electricity’s rolling blackouts. There is a distinct funny smell to the whole darn thing.  Suffice it for this article that hundreds of thousands of super-green, socialist Californians are having their electricity shut off for days, even weeks at a time… after being convinced to convert to total pollution-elsewhere technology. No charging your smart car in your own garage. Piling on to make this awful situation for California’s middle class, rural and suburban populations worse, the state oaf-fish-als are starting to hamper amateur radio’s ability to provide communications when other modes are unavailable – the ham radio mission for over 100 years. INFOWARS.com posted the following article: California […]

Electro Magnetic Pulse – the threat is real

I have written and posted on this subject several times. I consider this to be a prime USofA vulnerability. Place it anywhere you wish on the probability scale, a probability/severity analysis determines this is worth consideration anyway. So I do. Are EMPs a real threat? My article of June 24th 2017 discusses the Chinese making development of EMP weapons and delivery systems a priority. My grid jeopardy article of September 7th, 2017 discusses natural solar flares sending EMPs our way and the effect thereof, including two video clips explaining it in more detail. In EMPBS I introduce a compatriot who wrote a very basic, but complete primer on the subject. The End Is Near talks about a solar storm, links […]

2-meter directional antenna for ten bucks

Two way radios, and particularly the little 5-watt Handheld Transceivers (also known as HTs or walkie-talkies) put their little bit of power in every direction. Yet we sometimes know exactly what direction we want to transmit and would prefer all the power go that way. A century ago two Japanese scholars created an antenna design to do exactly that. We call the design by one of their names, Yagi, but it seems the other, Uda, was the real inventor. Such is history. Following 100-years’-worth of radio technician footsteps, I have designed a simple hardware-store Yagi antenna to focus 147 MHz signals in a primary direction. I used some heavy copper grounding wire and a 4-foot piece of PVC pipe, […]

upcoming amateur radio class

My favorite radio instructor is presenting a class leading to the second, middle level FCC amateur radio operations license. Eric brings comprehensive knowledge, empathy, and energy to the classroom. A fine set of qualifications for anyone who wants to learn the subject. If you have your Technician license, Eric will lead you to successfully cresting the next hurdle into the world of short, medium and long range radio communications. If you do not yet have any amateur radio license, grab both the technician and general books and learn from him while you study up for the first … and quite possibly pass them both by the end of class. – Ted – In case you wish to print it out, […]

grid failure drill July 26-28

AmRRON  is a network of Preppers, Patriots and Redoubters who have volunteered to keep each other connected when other means of communications are unavailable or unreliable. AmRRON operators participate in >>scheduled nets<< to practice using non-conventional communications. Read more about AmRRON here. Here is an audio podcast introducing the exercise coming up. It is a very good overview not just of the exercise, but explains the strong possiblity this event could be very real at any time. They combined current confirmed news into their training exercise T-REX. Partisan Radio Volume 46 – Here is part 1 of the two part series explaining the T-REX 2019 exercise. T-REX 2019 Part 1 Finally, here are excerpts from the AmRRON website. -Ted T-REX […]

Jungle Antenna Building Workshop

July 6, 2019 – Darby, Montana Six of us came to my Bunkhouse Road workshop from SE Darby hills, Hamilton and Alberton canyons – Technicians, Generals, Amateur Extras Some white-board work explaining the math in metric and inches Our calculations were primarily done in metric (Ted’s slide rule prefers it) 300,000,000 meters per second / 147,000,000 Hz = 2.04 meters = 204 cm a quarter wave antenna will be about 50 cm long, as will each radial Measurements were done with metric + inch tape measure Hardware: dual binding post to BNC connector BNC to SO-239 Adapter choices of light and heavy electric fence wire electric fence insulators home-made pvc pipe insulators Poly-pipe Tees and drip irrigation pipe for radial […]

antennas and cables

I do not recommend you begin connecting your radio to a remote antenna by building your own antenna OR cable. It is not as simple as it looks. Your first remote antenna and cable should be purchased from a reputable engineering firm. Here are three choices: Ham Radio Outlet DX Engineering cables DX Engineering vhf uhf antennas Doing it like that will get you a good solid start where setting up and operating your radio gear are the primary variables. IF you decide to immerse yourself into antenna and/or cable building you will have a pro-built setup for comparison and example. There are nearly unlimited resources in print and on the Internet. DuckDuckGo search for whatever you want – books, […]