Where to listen on HF

The question of where do I tune to to hear something came up at a recent chat at the club site. The suggestion was to check into a net. Most nets are welcoming, will give you an honest signal report, and make tuning suggestions if necessary. They are a good way to check your equipment, and have a good relaxed QSO.

Of the nets in our area the East Coast Amateur Radio Society or ECARS always seems to come in strong. The net is on 7.255 MhZ and is going most of the day. You can read more on them at http://www.ecars7255.com/

For the early birds you can’t beat the Roosters Net.  http://www.roosternet.org/

Another way to find nets in the area is through the ARRL’s net directory. Here you can narrow your search by net type, location, or band.  http://www.arrl.org/arrl-net-directory-search

For the mother load of nets listed in groupings the following website is also a good resource. http://www.ac6v.com/nets.htm

Sparc has a Facebook Group

Sparc has created a Facebook group to encourage people to share links from the web, discuss all things Amateur Radio. It will also allow you to catch every update to the website as they happen.


Find the group on Facebook  Just ask to be join and we will let you in!

Vroom Goes the Generator

With a flicker of the repeater and a few last minute steps in the install manual completed the new generator is ready to roll.

A big thank you to all that helped with the generator transition. Last week the inspector approved the install. Last night the repeater was powered by the new generator, and with everything running smooth as silk we are officially done with the transition. The new generator is slated to exercise once a week at or around 6:45 PM on Tuesdays so don’t be alarmed. As it is much quieter then the grey beast, it should not be such an interruption to conversations as before.

Anderson PowerPole Connectors

SPARC, along with many other ARES/RACES clubs, has standardized on Anderson PowerPole connectors for its equipment.  This standard assures that any radio can be connected correctly to any power supply.  Setup is fast and mistakes are virtually eliminated, and no equipment sits idle because it has the wrong connectors.  Field operations, especially with mixed equipment, is greatly facilitated.

Through a bulk purchase, SPARC has made available bags of 25 connector sets along with three feet of wire per connector set.  SPARC members may purchase them at a cost of $??.?? per bag.  See any SPARC officer or board member to purchase these connectors.

Following are some assembly notes for the connectors:


PowerWerx recommends that the housings should be mated according to the diagram above, viewing from the contact side (opposite the wire side), tongue down, hood up, RED on the LEFT, BLACK on the RIGHT. PowerWerx supplies a 3/32-inch-diameter roll pin, 1/4 inch long, to keep the housings from sliding apart.

The 30-ampere contacts are designed for 12-16 AWG wire. The contacts can be soldered or crimped to wires. A very expensive crimping tool is available from Anderson (we offer a very inexpensive alternative that does just as good a job). After a contact has been attached to a wire, it should be installed into the housing so that the housing spring mates with the underside of the contact. When you slide it completely in the housing you should hear a click when it passes the spring detent.

To remove a contact from the housing, use Anderson insertion/extraction tool #111038G2. You may also substitute a very small blade (jewelers screwdriver or X-Acto knife) to lift up the front of the contact slightly over the detent and pull the contact out of the rear of the housing, allowing the contact to be removed.

Powerpole Specifications and Selection Guide

Highly conductive silver-plated copper contacts allow minimal contact resistance at high currents. Self-wiping action on make and break keeps conducting surfaces clean. Contact dents keep connectors mated in high-vibration applications and provide quick-break, snap action upon disconnect.

Non-corrosive stainless-steel leaf springs maintain constant contact pressure—ideal for frequent connections/disconnections and intermittent overloading. Durable, high impact-resistant, polycarbonate housing with UL94V-2 flammability ratings comes in many colors for circuit trace ability and coding.

Identical connector halves are genderless—making assembly quick and easy and reducing the number of parts stocked. Molded-in dovetails allow for customized harness in a variety of configurations.

Here are the Anderson part numbers:

30 A
Housing Only
Contact Only
Accepts Wire
12-16 gauge
12–16 gauge
75 A
Housing Only
Contact Only
Accepts Wire
6 gauge
6 gauge

Additional Assembly notes

Some will want to solder wires rather than or in addition to crimping into the connector barrel.  Although this improves the connection it does entail the risk of solder running down the connector.  Following is a procedure designed to make soldering easy and safe.  It was combined from a series of messages by Tim N9PUZ , Don WN9V , and Tim on the QRP-L mailing list.

Use your drill press to bore a small hole somewhere near the middle of the barrel portion of the connector. When you go to solder the terminal to your wire feed the solder through this small hole. This makes it easy to get the solder in the barrel where you want it and makes it less likely to flow out onto the contact as it does when you deed it in from the contact end.Here is an additional step that you might use if a bit of solder sticking to the wrong surface will ruin the connector job.  This sounds crude but it works.

Prepare the contact for soldering this way.  Hold a lighted match or burn a candle or wooden toothpick underneath the contact. Take care to not overheat.  You should quickly deposit a thin layer of unburned carbon on the areas  where you want to prevent solder from sticking.  Then go ahead and solder the contact as normal.   Solder will not tend to creep onto the blackened areas.  Solder that falls on the blackened areas should roll off without sticking.  Once the soldering is complete, clean up the blackened areas and continue with the assembly.

If you need a more professional approach to resisting solder, there are some brush-on products that are intended for the purpose.

Another tip for keeping the solder out of the working parts: make gravity for for you, not against you! I clamp the wire small vise, stripped side up. Then I put the contact over the wire end, and poke small gauge solder through the opening. Gravity helps pull the solder away from the contact’s maing surface, and down into the wire  barrel. Also, I keep the dampened soldering sponge ready, to wipe off any drips on the outside of the barrel. The process reminds me of soldering the tips of RCA phono plugs, just on a larger scale.