EmComm and FunComm

As I have said earlier, I practice EmComm to prepare for natural or man-made disasters when normal means of communication fail. FunComm is pretty self-explanatory, it’s things I do for fun. Fun things may include POTA, Field Days (winter and summer), supporting bike rides, and other club activities. I always like it when I can blend the two together. When I participate in POTA either for a weekend camp-out or a day activation, isn’t it kind of a practice run for an EmComm event? I use the same antennas and most of the time the same radios. My equipment gets a good exercise and I learn more about how they operate under different conditions.

Recently, I bought a new camper, the old one wasn’t working well for the things I like to do. The new camper is so much better but not without its growing pains. I had to find a better way to use the radios inside the camper. To save words, here is a picture of what I have been using. It works okay but because it uses part of the bed, it made sleeping uncomfortable. After this last camp out when I woke up all sore and twisted feeling, I decided it was time to find a better way.

The new desk stacks the radio and power supply above the computer. This reduces the overhang on the mattress. The desk area for the paddle does overhang a little but sliding the desk to the right when not in use alleviates that.

The other thing I did was make a cut-out on the door side to make it easier to get my legs out. This works really well and does not impair the stability of the desk.

The last thing is the main desk is 30″ deep and the shelf is 20″ deep. This leaves plenty of room for the radios and enough room to slide the computer under the shelf if I need the desk space for something else.

Sitting behind the desk, the radio controls were easy to get to.

The desk is made from one sheet of 3/4″ plywood with (2) 1×3″x8″ boards. The stain was a can of Minwax I had laying around, I think it was Golden Oak.

Construction was simple, using hand tools found in most garages. It is not a piece of art, I don’t have the time. My philosophy is that “Perfection is the enemy of good enough”. The desk is glued, screwed, and nailed without any fancy joinery. If I waited until I had time to do a better job, the wood would still be at Lowe s.

I tried it out in the driveway and everything works and feels good. The radio is easy to get to and the computer is a little high but not uncomfortable. With the cut-out, it is easy to get in and out of the camper. The next test will be at the end of the month during my next camping trip. Hope to hear you out there. 73 – Scott

Syncing Computer Time

Digital modes have become a mainstay for Amateur Radio. Digital modes are used for conversations, chasing DX, POTA and SOTA, and for EmComm. Indeed we have come a long way even from the turn of the century. Some of these new modes require accurate time synchronization between the receiving and transmitting radios. Off by more than a second or two and the machines will fail to communicate. While operating from home or anywhere else where the internet is available, syncing time is easy-peasy. But what about those times when the internet and even cell service are not available? The easiest way I have discovered is to use the time signal from GPS satellites. It’s pretty easy and the cost is minimal. All you need is a USB GPS dongle like this one:

These can be found on Amazon for about $13. https://tinyurl.com/2p9enmsv.
Next, you’ll need a piece of software that will take the GPS signal, and adjust the computer clock. The one that works the best for me is BKT Time: https://www.maniaradio.it/en/bkttimesync.html

For those that have Icom radios, You can also sync your radios date and time to your computer using an app called ST-4003W which can be found here: https://www.icomjapan.com/support/firmware_driver/3428/

The whole process is pretty easy. I’ve included a short YouTube Video to help you along the way.

Just remember, I am not a great videographer, but the video will give the nuts and bolts on how to sync time. 73 – Scott