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Sunday, February 7, 2021

February 2021 WVDXA "Virtual" Meeting

The WVDXA has moved forward quite a bit with the recent purchase of an annual Zoom license.  In our prior meetings we were limited to a 40-minute long meeting using the FREE Zoom platform.  Now, with our license, we can have meetings up to 30 HOURS in length, up to 100 participants, and we can record the meeting to the "Cloud."  

Dave, WA8WV, the WVDXA Treasurer thanks the THIRTY (30) WVDXA members who contributed to the purchase of this license!  That was a fantastic outpouring from the group and, after our first use of the licensed product, I feel 100% certain it will provide us with a great benefit.

On February 6, 2021, we had the first meeting using the licensed version of Zoom.  It was a GREAT get-together!  A total of 31 attendees joined us including hams from all over the state of West Virginia as well as, CA, GA, OH, AL, PA, IA, NC, IN, and FL!  This was possibly the best “Virtual” meeting of the WVDXA so far.  You can see on the top right a screenshot of 30 of those who attended.  Click on any image to see a larger version.

The WVDXA's "DX'peditioner Extraordinaire" Hal, W8HC, gave a wonderful presentation entitled 

C6AGU in the 2020 CQWW CW Contest and ARRL 160m CW Contest:  Testing RIB (Radio in a Box) Technology in a DXpedition Environment
Hal detailed his recent trip where he operated from C6AGU while testing out the brand-new ham radio technology called "Radio in a Box" (or RIB for short.)  This new technology is mind-blowing and promises to provide DX'ers with the opportunity to work some of the rarest of the rare entities.

On the right you can see an image of the RIB concept and a Block Diagram of what's "In the Box."  The concept is amazing!  The basic idea is that a complete radio station is contained in a Pelican case including power supplies, a Flex 6700 series SDR, a 1.5 kW amp, Ethernet and Data Control hardware, a water cooling system to keep the box from getting too warm, and a 900 MHz Wi-FI Radio Bridge.  This concept allows the equipment to exist on, say, an island (along with antennas and a generator) while the operators are onboard a ship anchored off-shore and they control the station remotely. 

This means no people are living/camping on the island and that means there is a minimum environmental impact on the island.  The so-called “footprint” of the operation is minimized and no time is wasted setting up and maintaining the support infrastructure for the operators.  Only once a day will 2 people be needed to visit the island, top off the generators, do maintenance and make inspections. 

As mentioned above, the new Zoom license allows us to record meetings.  The following link is to the recording of this WVDXA Meeting's Presentation (minus the first 20 minutes.)  It is 55 minutes long and contains the comments at the end of the meeting as well.  Click on the link below and then enter the Passcode.

W8HC's Presentation of "Radio in a Box"

Passcode: ZycM!+s1

The operators of the C6AGU test were guests of George Wallner, AA7JV, aboard his brand-new ship, the M/Y "Magnet."  George helped design and had this vessel built by Metal Shark for the reasons he states below:

“I wanted a serious, rugged, purpose-built vessel capable of reaching the remote, unspoiled destinations that you can’t get to with an airplane. With Magnet, I can travel quickly to faraway places, and everyone on board can enjoy the adventure. Upon arrival, we can stay for extended periods, independently and comfortably, without reliance on a large crew.”

George continues, "I also wanted to be able to work on board, continue with my product development and testing activities at sea. I worked closely with Metal Shark over an extended period to execute my vision, to create this tool for recreational exploration, and it is very rewarding to finally experience Magnet underway. So far, I have been most impressed by this vessel’s stability, even at speed in heavy seas.”

Above is an image of this unbelievable ship.  If you click HERE, you can see a short video of the M/Y Magnet under-way.  WOW!  It is a tri-deck, twin-hulled 158-foot catamaran which can cross the Atlantic 4 times on a single tank of gas. It has space for 10 guests plus refrigerated storage, wine cellar and workshop on the lower decks within the twin hulls.

With the creation of this "Radio in a Box" technology, the DX'ing community can now hope, in the not too distant future, to reap the benefits of the hard work these "Pioneers" have done and continue to do.  It will be a major step forward in DX'ing once one of these RIB operations happens from a super rare location!

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