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Worldwide Rag Chew WITHOUT HF Gear

Can you enjoy a world wide rag chewing without HF gear?

Ah, the beauty of a really nice antenna farm! As ham radio operators, many of us have a special spot in our heart for pictures like the one above. It’s clear that the owner of the site in the picture is down right serious about capturing every tiny bit of HF RF that happens to pass by, and send a big signal where he wants it when he keys up!

While we all might dream of owning and operating such a station, the reality is, that very few of us will have the opportunity. Let’s face it, there is a ton of money in an installation like this, even just one of those towers and antennas is out of reach for many.

Having the real estate necessary is another problem. In fact, there are many ham operators that have little or no real estate at all for such things. Some hams live in places that just simply can’t, or won’t, accommodate having even a small antenna garden, much less the full size antenna farm.

Most of us will do what hams have been doing since the beginning, and that is compromising somehow to try to do the best we can with what we have, can afford, or have the ability to install and operate. 

So, what can people facing these challenges do to enjoy the fun of the worldwide rag chew?

 

Try EchoLink!

EchoLink is a program, that will run on many devices you probably already have! It works on your PC, phone, tablet, laptop, etc. You will need an internet connection, and of course, the faster the better. It will work on a cellular internet connection or even a satellite internet connection, maybe even an old school dial up connection, but to be honest, I haven’t tried that.

You must be a licensed Amateur Radio Operator to use EchoLink.  And, you will have to verify your license when you first launch EchoLink.  It’s easy, just send them a picture of your license!

Since you have to be a ham to use EchoLink, you don’t have to worry about some of the things you might find in other internet communication services.  

EchoLink can be used to make connections with individual stations, repeaters, link stations, and my favorite, conference servers.  There are stations all over the world connected to EchoLink. Right now, as I am writing this, there are nearly 6000 stations connected!  246 Conference Servers, 2290 Link stations, 2439 Repeaters and over 900 individual users.

So, with all those folks connected, you can see that there is a lot to explore! I have no idea how many nets, club meetings, and open conversations you can get in to there, but I’m sure there is plenty to keep you entertained for many hours! 

One of my personal favorite places to visit on EchoLink is Our Coffee Shop!  An EchoLink conference server found at *K6FN*  OUR COFFEE SHOP  node# 426824.  Our Coffee Shop holds nets twice a day at 9 AM and 7 PM EST.

Our Coffee Shop is an interesting environment in ham radio, and on EchoLink.  Home of the “gravitational roundtable,” everyone gets their fair chance to speak to the group! When your call sign gets to the bottom of the list you are up next in Our Coffee Shop.  A 2.5 min talk timer will take a bite out of anyone that gets too long winded. There are no net control operators in Our Coffee Shop, instead, moderators volunteer their time to log the participants of the nets, offer topics for discussion, welcome new users, and keep the conversation moving. 

You never know what the topic will be in Our Coffee Shop. It might be coffee, the latest ham radio related fad, trivia, or even a discussion about your favorite recipes! I don’t know any hams that don’t eat, so food can make for a fun, interesting conversation!

Our Coffee Shop is a G-Rated environment that is safe and fun for the whole family! A warm and welcoming place “Where Everybody is Somebody.”  Members come from at least 8 different countries around the world and of course visitors can check in from anywhere!

You Can Rag Chew World Wide WITHOUT the HF Gear!

If you have been looking for a way to enjoy the fun of worldwide amateur radio while you work on the problems of  the cost, headaches, or hassles of putting up an HF radio station, or, the propagation conditions at your QTH are currently not favorable for HF,  try EchoLink! And be sure and stop by Our Coffee Shop!  Tell them KD4LQB sent you! See you “On the Air!”
 
Here are some helpful links:
 
 
 
 

Antenna Radiation Characteristics (Great Demonstration!)

click image video will open in new window

click image video will open in new window

Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Antennas ...(But were afraid to ask) Frank Rutter K3AW

I’m not exactly sure how I came across this video, but, I am thrilled that I have! This might be the best demonstration of antenna radiation characteristics that I have seen.

Frank Ruter  K3AW gives an excellent presentation at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory  August 4, 1981.  

In which, he discusses and demonstrates the radiation pattern of a wide variety of antenna types including; verticals, dipoles, quad, yagi, and others in various configurations. 

This demonstration will allow the viewer to SEE how these radiate and get a good idea of the angles of radiation and lobe strength. What a fantastic resource for those of us that like to experiment with antennas!

The video is long, but I enjoyed every bit! I hope that you enjoy it too!  

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LEigIMS6bo4

Leave comments in the discussion section below.

A New Bench for the Shack

Roger, NV5B is building a new workbench / desk for his shack!

The desk is finished and installed!

Desktop real estate. In our modern times, often when we talk about “desktop real estate” we are talking about the room on our virtual desktop. You know .. the area available for applications on our computer screens.

And while this is an ever growing concern as it seems more and more of our favorite hobby winds up on the computer screen, we still find ourselves looking for more when it comes to the very real world of desktop real estate.

We hams are a creative bunch for sure!  We can usually find a way, and a space, to bring our hobby into just about any available space. Whether it’s a corner in the garage, in a shed in the backyard, (perhaps the root of the term “shack”) or, just a small space in closet somewhere.

Regardless of where you find the space for YOUR shack, we all find ourselves looking for a solution as to where to put our favorite gear and a place to work on all the various things that will capture our attention and need our technical touch.

Roger has found himself in this same situation that we all go through. This time, he is actually building his desk / workbench from scratch!  Way to go Roger! What a satisfying feeling it is to create the solution with your own hands. To me, this is one of the things that seems to define what a Ham is. Being inventive, creative, and jumping head first into experimentation are very common traits in our peer group.

Roger has offered to share his latest project with us here!  So far, we only have pictures of the design phase and some of the beginning work on the project. Perhaps he will share with us more pics as the project moves toward completion. 

Thanks for the pics Roger!  We are all cheering you on! Be sure and let us see the results of your hard work too!

Oh ..  BTW …    KA5OBQ Stephen is responsible for the CAD design work, and the workshop facilities for the project!  Thanks Stephen!

 

Update!!!  Congratulations Roger!!  The final product looks great!  Very nice work!

Scroll though the pictures below to see the construction progress.

Double Trouble DMR Giveaway!

Here’s another great opportunity to win from BridgeCom Systems! – Through 11/12/2020

Grand Prize Winner Will Receive:

(1 of each to keep, 1 of each to give to a friend)

  • (2) AnyTone AT-D878UV PLUS   $238.99
  • (2) SkyBridge Dual-Band Digital Hotspot   $299
  • Plug and Play Programming for Both Radios  $150 
  • (2) USA & International Hotspot Super Codeplug $49.99
  • (2) Bridgecom University for AnyTone HT  $97
  • Shipping $50
Total: $1,571.94

 

Must have a valid Callsign to enter.

Must provide co-winner’s Name, Callsign, DMR ID and Shipping Address

Smoked HAM Radio Giveaway!

Smoked Ham Giveaway By Bridgecom Systems and SmokerBuilder

Grand Prize Winner Will Receive:

DraftMaster™ Drum Smoker Built For You From SmokerBuilder MFG $1299

AnyTone AT-D578UVIII PRO $399.99

AnyTone AT-D878UV PLUS $238.99

SkyBridge Dual-Band Digital Hotspot $299

Plug and Play Programming for both radios $150

USA and International Hotspot Super Codeplug x 2 $100

Tri-Band Mobile Antenna $99.99

BCS-200 Speaker Mic $29.99

Extra Battery and Belt Clip $29.99

Bridgecom university for both the Mobile and HT $194

Shipping For All Items $299

Total Value $3139.95

BridgeCom Systems’ Ham Shack Pack DMR Giveaway 2.0

New Giveaway from BridgeCom Systems!

Grand Prize Winner Will Receive:

  • AnyTone AT-D578UVIII PRO   $399.99
  • AnyTone AT-D878UV PLUS   $238.99
  • SkyBridge Dual-Band Digital Hotspot   $299
  • Plug and Play Programming for both radios  $150 

  • USA and International Hotspot Super Codeplug x 2 $100
  • Tri-Band Mobile Antenna $99.99
  • BCS-200 Speaker Mic $29.99
  • Extra Battery and Belt Clip  $29.99
  • Bridgecom university for both the Mobile and HT  $194
  • Shipping $50

 

Total: $1,591.95

Must have a valid Callsign to enter.

Bridgecom Systems Labor Day 2020 Giveaway!

BridgeCom Systems has another great ham radio giveaway! This one won’t last too long so be sure to get your entries in everyday for your best chance to win! Good luck to everyone!  Entries close September 07, 2020 23:59 Central Time (US & Canada)

BridgeCom Systems’ Labor Day 2020 Giveaway

 Grand Prize Winner Will Receive:

 
  • AnyTone AT-D578UViii PRO Tri-Band DMR Mobile – $399.99 
  •  AnyTone AT-D878UV PLUS Dual-Band DMR HT – $238.99  
  • Tri-Band Mobile Antenna – $99.99  
  •  Nagoya 701 High Gain Antenna – $21.00 
  •  BCS-200 HT Speaker Mic – $29.99 
  • BridgeCom University for HT and Mobile – $194.00 
  • Shipping – $45.00 
Total – $1028.96
 

Must have a valid Callsign to enter.

Enter everyday for your best chance to win!

Entries close September 07, 2020 23:59 Central Time (US & Canada)

Win a DMR Mobile Bundle!

Another GREAT Giveaway from Bridgecom Systems! Enter Daily!

Grand Prize Winner Will Receive:

  • AnyTone AT-D578UVIII PRO $399.99
  • Tri-Band Mobile Antenna $99.99
  • Dual-Band DVMEGA Hotspot $279.99
  • Plug and Play Programming $75.00
  • BridgeCom University Access $97.00
  • New Exclusive BridgeCom Hat (coming soon to store)  $30.00
  • Shipping $30
Total: $1,006.97
 

Must have a valid Amateur Radio Callsign to enter.

100 Days 100% Uptime!

Congratulations to Our Coffee Shop!  ZERO DOWNTIME in 100 DAYS!  

I know to a lot of you this might not sound like much. But, for some of us here in Our Coffee Shop, myself included, this is perhaps a first milestone in what we all hope will be a long road of continuous availability of the Our Coffee Shop Echolink server.

Here are the stats as of 03/28/2020 1423 EDT

Uptime: 100 days, 3 hours and 11 minutes
Tx packets: 87655474, 15081.84 Mbytes
Rx packets: 15339496, 2425.63 Mbytes
Connections: 14683
Peak users: 24, 3/24 9:26
Peak Tx bandwidth: 681 Kbps @ 1/17 9:46
Peak Rx bandwidth: 64 Kbps @ 3/25 20:12

One of the goals of your admin team has been to provide consistent, reliable, services for everyone’s enjoyment in Our Coffee Shop!  We have reached a small but notable goal by passing the 100 day mark with 100% uptime on our conference server and I look forward to the next milestone.

Many thanks to all those who support and participate in Our Coffee Shop!  Open 24/7 …  and now, for the last 100 days nonstop!

Win a DMR Ham Shack Pack!

THIS CONTEST HAS ENDED ********

Grand Prize Winner Will Receive:

  • AnyTone AT-D578UVIII PRO      $399.99
  • AnyTone AT-D878UV PLUS       $238.99
  • DVMEGA Hotspot   $279
  • Plug and Play Programming for both radios  $150 
  • Tri-Band Mobile Antenna $99.99
  • BCS-200 speaker mic $29.99
  • Extra battery and belt clip  $29.99
  • Bridgecom university for both the mobile and the HT  $194
  • Shipping $30
 
Total: $1,451.95

Must have a valid Callsign to enter.

Enter Everyday for your Best Chance to Win!

EchoLink Tip – See the whole list!

A GREAT EchoLink Tip from N3RO!

Our Coffee Shop is a great place!  I learn something almost everyday as a result of my participation here. This is a great tip and I have never seen it documented anywhere, so I want to do that here and share it with the group!

Our Coffee Shop has been growing by leaps and bounds! It is wonderful to see all the new folks joining us here, but, with that, we have found yet another “bug” in the Echolink software for the PC.

If we happen to have more than about 22 active participants in the list during a net the bottom of the list becomes obscured.  It would have been nice if the EchoLink software would allow you to scroll down, but this is NOT an option.

Since we always “pass to the bottom of the list” in Our Coffee Shop, we really need to know who is at the bottom. 

WE HAVE A SOLUTION!

Many thanks to N3RO for sharing this wonderful tidbit with us this morning!

To see the bottom of the list when the list is full follow this procedure:

  1. Click in the LIST portion of the EchoLink window.

  2. Hit the PAGE DOWN button on the keyboard!

That’s it!  A huge thank you to N3RO for providing this fantastic undocumented tip!  

Do you have tips and tricks you would like to share with the group?  Just send me an email with the info and I will get here on the site for everyone to enjoy!

Please leave comments below, and please, share this page via the share buttons!

Scanner Listening without a Scanner

I’ve been a radio listener for most of my life, always fascinated with what I can hear, on any kind of radio I can get my hands on.  

I grew up in a time when the handheld AM transistor radio was the easiest way to take some music and news with you wherever you went.  Those small receivers certainly didn’t offer a lot of audio quality, but the portability couldn’t be beat! And, they were relatively inexpensive. A couple of weekends mowing the neighbors yards would provide the needed funds to buy an inexpensive receiver.

Today I still find myself searching the RF spectrum in search of radio signals. Most any kind will do for some entertainment. One of my favorite things to occasionally listen to my local public service frequencies.

Fire, Rescue, Police, etc., are interesting to listen to, but, depending on where you live, and the systems your local services are using, it is getting harder to do. Particularly if you don’t have an expensive “trunk – tracking”  scanner. It seems to me that most of these services have migrated to using more sophisticated radio systems that my 25 year old scanner just won’t keep up with.

 

There is the problem. My toy budget just doesn’t always meet the needs/desires of my hobbies. Replacing my old scanner with a new modern one is probably not going to happen right away, maybe ever.  A new scanner is pretty far down the list of new toys I want for my radio hobby.

So, I had to look for another solution. Enter, the internet! LOL like so many other aspects of our hobby today, the internet provides solutions of all kinds. Instant news, information, entertainment, and yes… the ability to listen to local scanner frequencies!  

If you haven’t tried this yet, you might be in for a real treat! I sure was! I came across this site while doing some research on scanner frequencies for another project.  I’m sure I have seen and used some of these “feeds” before, but it has been a long time.

Broadcastify bills themselves as the “Worlds largest source of Public Safety, Aircraft, Rail, and Marine live audio streams.”  They may be right. I don’t think I have seen any other single source with the variety of locations and content available here.

6945 live feeds available at the time of this writing! Wow, that’s a lot of content! If you want to find out what feeds are available from your local area, or another area of interest, start here >>> https://www.broadcastify.com/listen/

Just click the link, select your desired location and a list will be provided of the streaming content that is available for that area. There’s a good chance that you will find something of interest!

Be sure and share your comments in the comment section below, and please share this page via the share buttons here too!

Membership Requirements Changes

Membership Requirements for Our Coffee Shop have changed!

In an effort to encourage membership  here at Our Coffee Shop your Admin Team has modified the requirements for membership to the group. Just a couple of changes to make a note of.

2 Month Requirement Eliminated

Effective immediately, the “2 Month” or “60 day” requirement for 10 check ins to become a member has been removed. New members will now be able to earn their 10 check ins at their convenience without the requirement to do so in a limited amount of time.

“Decaffeinated” Eliminated 

Effective Immediately, the practice of “Decaffeinating” members after 6 months of inactivity in Our Coffee Shop has been changed. We will no longer use the word “decaffeinated” to refer to members who may be inactive, and, the time for this notation has changed from 6 months to 1 year.

From this point forward, any Our Coffee Shop member that does not check in to a moderated net for a period of 1 year or more, will have their status changed to inactive. Any inactive member needs only to check in to a moderated net to have their account restored.

If you have any questions about this please contact any member of the Admin Team, or send email to membership@ourcoffeeshop.org

 

FREE Yaesu FT-DX101D from GigaParts.com

NEW CONTEST thru April 27, 2021!! Enter Everyday! You could win this beautiful FT-DX101D!

NEW GIVEAWAY thru April 27, 2021!!!! GigaParts.com is having a SWEEPSTAKES!  You can enter ONE CALL SIGN PER DAY! So, be sure and get your daily entries in everyday! Each time you enter, you will be given a question to answer that if answered correctly, will give you a second entry for that day!  I would love to win this rig!  How about you?  Click the button below to enter!

Enter everyday for your best chance to win! Please share this page via the share buttons!

Win a New DMR Repeater!

BridgeCom Systems is Giving away a NEW, complete  DMR repeater system worth over $2600.00!

You can get your chance to win this great prize by clicking the link below!

Grand Prize: 1 Winner Will Receive

  • BCR-40DU UHF Repeater with Internal Duplexer $1595
  • Turn-Key Repeater setup and Duplexer tuning Service $150 
  • MMDMV Digital Upgrade Kit with Module, Cable, and Install Service $410 
  • Tram-Browning Model  6157 Pre-Tuned UHF Repeater Antenna $105
  • 100′ LMR 400 Type Feed Line $190 
  • BCR Programming Software and Cable $75  
  • BC Hand Mic for Base Station use $40 
  • Shipping $60
 
  • Grand Total of $2625

Must have valid callsign to enter.

Enter for this great package here! And please share this page via the sharing buttons!

Starlink Satellite Stack

How Will StarLink Work

Starlink is perhaps one of the most ambitious space programs ever attempted! Projected to eventually be a network of up to 42,000 satellites that will orbit the earth providing global internet connectivity.

In the picture you can see a stack of 60 of the satellites prepared for deployment. The latest launch and deployment brings the total number of these satellites to 300 currently orbiting!

Starlink Satellite Stack

How Will Starlink Work?

I’m sure SpaceX wants to keep the proprietary details secret, but the video below helps to put the pieces together as to how this system will work.

I hope you enjoyed the video! Please feel free to discuss in the comment section below.

73

KD4LQB

Christian Amateur Radio

Can you find Christian fellowship on Amateur Radio?

Politics and religion are two topics that have been historically avoided in amateur radio. Not because it is illegal (in the United States,) but, because it has been considered impolite to discuss such things in social situations. Ham radio is a social situation where what you say might be received by other people far, far, away from your local area, state, or country.  Your politics, or chosen religion might be of little consequence to the ham on the other side of the world you might be talking with. 

Some places around the world have even required that amateur radio communications be limited to discussing the technical aspects of the hobby. And, even in the United States, there are ham groups, clubs, and repeater owners that will, if not dictate, actively discourage discussions about politics and religion.

I would personally like to think that reasonable adults should be able to have a discussion about these things without it becoming a battleground.  I certainly don’t expect everyone to believe, or think, the way I do. And of course I would hope that others wouldn’t necessarily expect me to think or believe like they do.

Here in Our Coffee Shop our freedoms of speech and religion are held most dear to many of our members, including myself. So we prefer to encourage conversation, even on the tough topics, but, we do require that the conversation remain civil. Please see Our Coffee Shop Recipes for more information.

How can we learn from each other and grow, without sharing topics of this nature too?  But, I digress.

The topic at hand, and the question stated above is:  Can you find Christian fellowship on Amateur Radio.

The short answer is YES! You Can!

If you have found this post, you have found one of the few places in amateur radio where Christian fellowship can be found! Our Coffee Shop!

Our Coffee Shop is a Christian fellowship of amateur radio operators! You will hear members share their perspective on biblical teachings, share their praise reports, and their prayer requests. Stan, N9RFO is our group Chaplain, and he will frequently offer some Christian inspiration. He also provides the “Word for the Week“,  a weekly column here on this website. 

We have a number of members that are currently actively involved in ministry. Whether that is in a local church, missionary duties, truck stop, or prison ministries, to those members and to Stan, I would like to personally say thank you! May the Lord bless you and your efforts, that they may be fruitful! You have taken up the cause of Christianity as is mentioned in Matthew 4:18-20.

Our Coffee Shop is a non-denominational group, and we want to encourage everyone to share their personal perspective, prayer requests and praise reports! Please join us for any of our regularly scheduled nets and enjoy the fellowship of a great group of Christian hams.

Prayer requests that are given to moderators are shared via email with all our members that are “opted in” to receive prayer requests. The power of prayers works miracles and there are some dedicated prayer warriors here. Be sure to let a moderator know if you have a prayer request!

Here are some links to other Christian ham radio organizations and nets. If you have a link to such a group, please send it to me and I will be happy to share it here! KD4LQB@ourcoffeeshop.org

Christian Ham Radio Nets – https://www.qsl.net/ka9fon/ChristianHamRadioNets.htm

Christian Amateur Radio Fellowship – https://www.carf.net/

Bible Fellowship Net – https://biblefellowshipnet.com/

Grace Connect – https://graceconnect.us/inviting-all-ham-radio-operators/

Hams For Christ – https://www.hamsforchrist.com/

Amateur Radio Missionary Service – https://www.qsl.net/arms/

Christian Amateur Radio Networks – http://al7mi.com/AL7MI/htm/Christian_Amateur_Radio_Nets.htm

World Association of Christian Radio Amateurs and Listeners – https://www.wacral.org/

 

May God Bless You,

The Marathon was a great success!

Thank You! To all who helped us Celebrate Our 10th Anniversary!

Our 10th Anniversary Marathon was a great success! Many thanks to all who participated by checking in! What a great bunch of folks we have as members here in Our Coffee Shop. We are a diverse group with members and visitors from all over the world!

Our Coffee Shop was founded on the idea that it would be great to have a meeting place where hams from all over could meet and enjoy the camaraderie that you might find in your local coffee shop. A community experience, where “Everybody is Somebody.”  We are still striving today to live up to this ideal, and, we continue to welcome each and every guest in Our Coffee Shop. Come on in, sit for a spell, and enjoy a cup of coffee with us! Tell us about your day,  your challenges, and your victories! 

Our members are a cheerful and encouraging group for sure! This was never more true than it was just yesterday during our 10th Anniversary Marathon.

49 hams from all over the world checked in to our 12 hour marathon to help us celebrate our 10th birthday. Each of their unique callsigns have been entered in the log, and will be in the permanent record of Our Coffee Shop. Thank you to each and every one! It is your participation in the group that really makes Our Coffee Shop the special place that it is!

We had a few new visitors during the marathon, and we sincerely hope that you will make Our Coffee Shop one of your “go to” places to enjoy some friendship and fellowship.

We also saw a few members that haven’t checked in for a while. If you are one of them, know this: We really enjoyed seeing you for the event, and hope that you will be able to find time in the future to join us for some of our regular sessions.

The marathon attendance was really great with many of our members there for almost the entire 12 hours! My hat is off to those of you who showed your dedication this way!

I tip my hat to the moderators of the event as well! You guys really did a great job! Of course, who would expect anything less? We even had the opportunity to enjoy a few moderators that we don’t usually hear from. Like M3YEU for example. Jim kicked off the start of the marathon and logged 14 check-ins in the first hour! Nice work Jim! 

Another moderator we don’t get the chance to hear from too much is Richard, KK6YHQ. Richard, your professional audio quality and melodious voice is a pleasure to experience! Richard was able to log a check in from one of our members we don’t hear from too often, 7L2VPL – Hide, from Japan.  Thanks for your efforts Richard and for getting hide checked in!

To each of the moderators that volunteered your time to help us celebrate,  Thank you! 

A special Thank You to Roger, Nv5B!  Roger was faced with a challenge right at the beginning of the marathon when “the Logger”, an application he has developed suffered a failure due to a problem with the hosting provider for that application.  

This might have caused an unrecoverable failure from some folks, but not for Roger! His quick thinking and actions saved the day when he made the logger available on his own server until the hosting provider got their stuff together!  Moderators were able to log everyone just as planned, albeit at a different URL, until Roger was able to restore the application on the original service provider site.

Very nice work Roger! Thank you for all your efforts for the marathon, and for Our Coffee Shop on a continuing basis! Your product of your hard work is enjoyed by all the moderators and members alike.

Tim, W9NES, was moderating hour 7 of the marathon and had the opportunity to check in our founder KB4SVP, Richard, Mr. Coffee himself! We are all very glad that Richard checked in with the group. We all wish him well in his “retirement” .. and hope that he finds time to check in with us more in the future.

Thanks again to everyone for attending, thanks to the moderators, and thanks to the Admin Team!

Moderator Schedule Change

Moderator Absence

Moderators, if you are unable to moderate your scheduled net LET US KNOW!  Life happens, so in the event you are unable to moderate your regularly scheduled net just let us know.

Here’s how:

  1. Log in to the Logger
  2. Select the my info tab
  3. Find the image below on the page
Image of form found in the logger.
  • ensure there is a check mark on “i will not be able to moderate……”
  • Fill in reason for absence
  • click send notification

Registered Members Only

Have you seen this yet?

If not, and you are a user of some of the best features of ourcoffeeshop.org, you will.  Some features of the OurCoffeeShop.Org website are now only available to Our Coffee Shop Members that are registered. 

OurCoffeeShop.Org has been testing some features that you may have come to appreciate. Things like the Visitors Log, Net Topics, Prayers, and other similar pages are all products of OCSLogger.

OCSLogger is a custom application and associated database developed by NV5B over countless volunteer hours. It provides a wealth of information that can be of great use to members of Our Coffee Shop.

Now, Our Coffee Shop members can register and have access to all this great information. 

Registered users can update their own contact information, phone, email, etc., and decide which items they would like to share with the group.  Registered members will be able search the database for contact information of other members. 

Here are some of the features currently available to Registered Members

  • My Info – Your registration information
  • Member Info – Find Information about any registered member
  • My CheckIns – See when you have checked in and who moderated that session
  • CheckIns – See who is checked in during an active net (Live Data)
  • Member List – See the Member list
  • Prayer – See all prayer requests
  • Visitors – See the visitors page
  • Topics – See the upcoming topics of discussion
  • Membership Certificate – Download your Our Coffee Shop Membership Certificate
  • YOURCALL@ourcoffeeshop.org email address!

Get Registered Now!

Registration is simple and will ensure you have access to all these great features and more to come! 

Registration is FREE!

Our Coffee Shop members can register here

You will need your passcode which was emailed to you. Be sure and check your junk mail if you have not already made ourcoffeeshop.org a safe sender. If you have not received your passcode contact  NV5B for assistance.

Roger’s Trip to Space Center Houston

Here are a few pictures I took on my most recent trip to Space Center Houston.  If you ever visit, come early and take the Apollo Mission Control room tour.  I hope you enjoy the pictures.
73,
Roger (NV5B)

Shuttle piggy back ride on 747

When the shuttle had to land in California due to weather conditions in Flordia, it had to take a piggy back ride on the Boeng 747 specifically designed to transport the space craft back to Flordia.

Aerodynamic testing was done to ensure the shuttle could be transported by the 747.  

Inside the 747

The 747 was not a fly-by-wire aircraft.  The cables ran from the flight deck all the way to the control surfaces of the aircraft.

Flight Test Power panel

Hands-on display allowing you to mount the shuttle atop of the 747.

Aerodynamic Demonstration
Space Shuttle flight deck
Shuttle flight control instruments
Shuttle cargo bay
Shuttle sleeping bag
Shuttle hatch to ISS
Shuttle bathroom
Shuttle storage and main hatch
Apollo Mission Control Room

The Apollo Mission Control room has been restored to the way it looked on July 20, 1969 when the first man walked on the Moon.  Included in the tour was a playback of the actual moon landing with all the telemetry data on the screens updating real-time.  Very impressive.

Echolink on your Cell Phone

Screenshot_20191219-132130_EchoLink

Using Echolink on your Cell Phone

I have created this post to have a discussion about using EchoLink on your cell phone. Since I only have experience using EchoLink on an Android device, I hope that some of you folks with Iphones will use the comment section to add to the discussion.

As you may know, EchoLink is a rather dated application that does not receive many, if any, updates. This is ok for the most part as the application does get the job done, but, I have noticed a few things that I wish could be corrected or added to the program.

  1. No time out timer – When using Echolink on a PC, you have the ability to use a timer that will warn you when you are about to time out. This timer is configurable, and is a handy tool. Particularly in Our Coffee Shop where “Geraldine” the infamous alligator, will nip at your ankle if you should transmit beyond the 2.5 minute limit established in Our Coffee Shop. So, one of my greatest wishes for the Android version of Echolink, would be to include a timer that would provide a warning when you are approaching the predetermined time out in the conference. Maybe one day, but, I’m not holding my breath since it looks unlikely there will ever be an update.
  2. Automatic text connection that works – EchoLink offers both a VOIP connection to the group, individual, or conference you are connected to, and a text chat connection too. Many times there is just as much going on in the group via text as there is “on the mic.” Unfortunately, if you are using an Android device, (and maybe an Iphone as well,) you will miss out on the text chat if you don’t send some characters when you enter the conference. Many times I have been in Our Coffee Shop using my Android cell phone, enjoying the voice conversation, and I hear someone refer to something in the text chat. When I click to see, and join in the text chat, there is nothing there. Well after some time and experimentation, I have come to the conclusion that if I don’t send some kind of text in that window, I won’t receive any. I’m sure this has happened to some of you as well. The solution is easy, but you will have to remember to do it each time you enter a conference on Echolink. After you enter the conference, just send a few characters. Frequently I use (…) or something similar, but it would just as good to say “hi” or some other greeting to the group perhaps. If you have been missing out on the text chat conversations while using your Android or Iphone device, try this method and see if it works for you.
  3. Simultaneous use of two applications – One more item that I have had trouble doing while using the Android version of EchoLink is, pulling up another window or browser tab while transmitting. I have tried this operation many times, and everytime I do, I cease to transmit when I change focus on the phone. My phone is capable of doing a split screen to run 2 applications at once, but, even when I try it this way, the moment I touch the secondary application, my transmission ends.  So far, I have not found a work around for this issue.
 
These are a few of the items that I have had issues with while using EchoLink on my Android phone or tablet. Have you had these issues as well? Are there other things that cause you difficulties? Please share your experiences, tips, tricks, etc. in the discussion below.
 

Your tips, tricks and experiences can be of great value to other members of Our Coffee Shop! Please consider sharing your knowledge with us here!

You can send these kinds of things to me via email and I will create a post for you, or, if you like, I can set you up with a page here on the site that you can post to. 

Please share your knowledge and experiences with the group!

Create a shortcut to OCS on your Android phone

Your gonna like this easy method to add a shortcut to our website on your Android phone! Chances are, once you do it, you’ll do it for some of your other favorite sites too!

I know, you can always use your browser favorites, but try this shortcut method and you will be hooked!

  1. Open a Chrome browser window and navigate to ourcoffeeshop.org

  2. Tap the menu button in the top right corner.

 
Screenshot_20191203-203135_Chrome

3. Select “Add to Home screen”

Screenshot_20191203-203153_Chrome

4. Here you can edit the name if you like, or just tap “Add” in the bottom right of the pop up.

Screenshot_20191203-203254_Chrome

5. Just tap the “Add” in the bottom right of this pop up.

Screenshot_20191203-203320_One UI Home

You will get a confirmation that it has been added to your home screen. 

Depending on how busy your home screen on your phone is, (how many icons you have), you may have to go looking for the shortcut that you just created.

I created an additional blank homepage on my phone so I could put these kinds of things in a special place.  For those that have a phone that has a sliding side panel display, you can put it there too!

Now that you know how to do this, You might like to add shortcuts to some of your other favorite sites. 

Use the comment section below.

 

New Ownership

BREAKING NEWS! Our Coffee Shop Has New Ownership!

An agreement has been reached between KB4SVP and K6FN.  K6FN is the new owner of Our Coffee Shop effective immediately. 20191202 13:01 eastern time

Many thanks to KB4SVP for founding such a great organization! Thank you Richard! Your decade of leadership and vision of a place where everybody is somebody, and it’s practical application in Our Coffee Shop, has been a guiding principle and has greatly contributed to the success of the group!

Congratulations to K6FN! Richard couldn’t have picked a better person to lead Our Coffee Shop into the future!

After a brief phone call with Jerry, K6FN,  ourcoffeeshop.org is now the official website for Our Coffee Shop!

There may be some changes coming, so stay tuned!

KD4LQB

73

 

KB6YYT to Moderate on Saturday Mornings!

Our friend and long time member of Our Coffee Shop, KB6YYT – Joe will now be moderating on Saturday mornings!

This is great news for Our Coffee Shop! Nice to see the schedule of official moderated nets expanding to the weekend!

Many thanks to Joe, KB6YYT for taking on the challenge of a new weekly net! During today’s meeting, he mentioned that he might want to call the gathering “Ham and Eggs.”  

Well Joe, whatever you call it, I’m sure it will be a great success with you at the helm!

Be sure and check in on Saturday mornings at 9 AM eastern to take part in the new net with Joe as your moderator! 

Thanks Joe!

73

KD4LQB

Starlink Mission #2

Starlink Mission #2

November 11, 2019

Elon Musk, and the engineers over at SpaceX have done it again! Another record breaking launch of the Falcon 9 launch vehicle. This time, they launched the 1st stage for a record breaking 4th time, and, also reused the nose fairing from a previous launch. A task that has never been done before. I tip my hat to the engineers and technicians that make these accomplishments a reality!

This launch is the second in a series that will eventually deploy about 42,000 small satellites around the globe that are designed to create a network that will deliver high speed, low latency, internet service to the majority of the planet. The network is called Starlink

60 small, 260Kg / 573lb were launched during this mission. And, as with most advances in technology, there are those that are not completely happy about it. In this case, it is the from the world of astronomy that complaints have come. Some astronomers are complaining that the string of satellites are interfering with their view of the cosmos.

Reference this November 18, 2019 article from Forbes.com. In it, one astronomer has been quoted as tweeting “This is not cool!” in response to a train of 19 Starlink satellites that at least partially obscured their instruments view. With less than 1% of the projected number of Starlink satellites having been launched, I feel pretty certain that we will hear more grumbling and complaints as the launches continue in the future.

Starlink expects to begin offering service in the northern United States, and Canada sometime in 2020.

Will such a huge number of orbiting satellites become a real issue for astronomers in the near future? Will the benefits of a global high speed internet connection outweigh the downside?

Share your thoughts in the comments below.

73

KD4LQB

Wifi Trouble

Most of you know that I have been in the process of moving from one home to another.  These kinds of events are always filled with challenges. Some of them easy to figure out and resolve, some perhaps a little more difficult.

We get used to our operational conditions, and environment, and when you move, these things change. Ofcourse. 

One issue that I have been struggling with the past few days is problems with my previously very reliable wireless router.

Internet service here is provided by Spectrum. We subscribe to 100 mb internet service for the introductory rate of $44.95 per month. 

For this, you get a cable modem connected to their service. If you want them to provide wireless networking, you have to pay an additional $5 per month to rent a wireless router. They will set that up for you so its basically plug and play.

But, since I already have a couple of wireless routers, I see no need to rent one from them.

Using the exact same equipment here that we were using at our old address, for some reason, when I connected my ASUS RT-AC66R wireless router to the cable modem it wouldn’t allow our devices to connect. Ugh…

The technician that came to install the cable modem, offered no assistance with my equipment, which I suppose would be expected, but, interestingly, when he saw that my gear wasn’t immediately working, he didn’t offer to provide a wireless router that he would connect and ensure that it is functioning.  If he had, we probably would have done that just to get it going without further hassle.

So, I asked him to demonstrate that his equipment was working correctly. To do so, he connected his own wireless router to the cable modem and was able to connect to it with his phone, no problem.

So, this indicated the problem was with my router. To solve the issue required a hard reset of my router which wiped out all my previous settings. No big deal, I can recreate the network that I had previously established with that device, and, I did. 

After doing so, all of our devices, phones, tablets, tv’s, were able to connect without issue.  Whew ..   Nice to have that problem solved, or so I thought. 

At our previous address, I was able to walk outside, all over the property and receive good signal. On the back porch for example where I spend a considerable amount of time in Our Coffee Shop, I had great signal and connectivity.

Well, that is not the case here. While I could move about many locations in, and outside of our new home without issue, I was finding that on the back porch, and particularly the seat where I wanted to sit had little to no signal and dropping the connection frequently.

I tried relocating the wireless router a bit. No real improvement. The option to move it closer to the back porch is possible, but, will require running additional wire / cable through the house which might prove to be somewhat difficult and unattractive. 

But this issue of how terrible the connection was in the particular seat that I would like to sit in was really bugging me. I could move a couple of feet in either direction and it would improve, but not by much.

l began to consider that perhaps there was some other wifi signals that might be causing some interference. I have seen this problem before, so I thought I would check it out.

Break out the long trusted app from Farproc called “Wifi Analyzer.” 

 

 

Wifi Analyzer by Farproc

Wifi Analyzer is a tool that I have been using for many years. I have found it to be a great free tool for getting a look at the wifi traffic where ever you go. 

The app offers quite a few different ways to look at the wifi signals in your area. I have used it before to troubleshoot wifi issues. 

If I need to set up a new wifi network somewhere, often I will use this program to help identify open channels in the spectrum to put the new network.

In the image you can see that the wifi signal from “DIRECT…. FireTV…” is much stronger, and on the same wifi channel as my router represented by the dark blue / purple line called “ASUS TW.” 

I took this screenshot of my phone while sitting in my favorite chair on the back porch. Unfortunately, the FireStick plugged in to the TV in the living room is much closer to that chair than my ASUS router, and since they are on both on the same channel, I’m sure this is what is causing my difficulty.

Now that I know I have these two devices operating on the same frequency, channel 11,  I should be able to correct the issue by changing the channel on my router.

 

Screen Capture from Wifi Analyzer

Changing the channel worked!

Here is an image of the Wifi Analyzer taken while sitting in the same spot as before. after making a few changes to my wifi configuration on my router, and, on my FireTV device. 

 You can see that my router, ASUS TW 2.4 (renamed at the same time as changing the channel,) is now a little stronger and further away from the other traffic. 

You may notice that you no longer see the interfering signal from the FireTV.  The reason for this is that changed its connection from the 2.4G to the 5G that my router offers.

Something I also find interesting, is that after I moved both thre router and the FireTV off channel 11 on the 2.4G, a lot of other items on channel 11 became visable. None of which belong to me, or are in my home.

The final result is that now I have better signal and maintain a good flow of data while I sit in my favorite spot on the back porch.

I hope that this post might stir your interest in your own Wifi situation. If it does, please let us all know in the comments below. 

Do you have a similar tool that you use? Have you had a similar experience? Was the idea of this kind of potential interference new to you? 

Let us know!  Post your comments below!

73 

KD4LQB