THE BRIEFING ROOM
Abita Springs, Louisiana


Current NOTICES

Hurricane ZETA zaped our Spectrum Node around 9am on 10/29.
(however the web server was up and running again by 4pm cst)

QUESTIONS?
Want to test PEANUT, ECHOLINK, DMR, DSTAR or C4FM?
E-Mail; or, visit my CHAT ROOM 7AM till?

Any News/Links to share?? E-Mail to K5HUM@ARRL.NET

ARC.TZO.COM is daily OFFLINE for UPDATES
(when this occurs please try again 5 minute later)



Latest QST BRIEFS

Current Login ROSTER for John's KD5AXU Gulf Coast 6 METER NET.
Click to View/Copy or Capture the 6M Net

Covad-19 is still ravaging the world. So please maintain social
distancing (15' apart) and please wear a face mask in public.

Interested in becomming a Ham Radio Operator?
Free OnLine Web Classes by George W5JDX and Tommy N5ZNO

TV Shows devoted to Ham Radio: TWIT.TV and Ham Radio Now




Ask Mike, Maybe He Knows!
(derived from e-Mail, Chats etc)

(Q) Why all the noise about Zoom? Google's Meet offers all the same
advantages (video/voice/chat) and is Free for 100 users and 60 minutes!

(A) Good point! My preference for free small get togethers (4 or less)
is still WHEREBY.com. Once you chose a room name thats all anyone
needs to join. And being based on WebRTC it works in any of the current
popular Browsers (Edge,Chrome,FireFox). My room is my Call - K5HUM
Example: http://whereby.com/k5hum

(Q) Mike, you are smart enough to know that communicating (chats etc)
over the Internet is NOT Ham Radio. Where is your loyalty?

(A) I adhear to the belief that "Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder".
This reminds me of QRP'ers who enjoy knocking their heads on
brick walls because it feels so good when they stop! :)
So, enjoy whatever floats your boat :)

(Q) Mike, would be greatful if I could send you my W10 Laptop
and have you straighten it out! I'm willing to pay!

(A) There is a 95% probability you can do that yourself with
the W10 "RESTORE" command. Restore offers two options,
"Keep your Programs and Data" OR "restore to like new",
(the latter option is used by resellers).

(Q) Mike, where are you originally from?
(A) I was born and raised in the Big Easy (Gentilly). Went to
Saint James, Saint Aloysius, Delgado & LSUNO. Became a Commercial
Pilot and moved to Diamondhead (with a runway in back yard).
Ten years later, when age caught up with me, we moved to
a fishing camp in Lake Catherine. Finally a heart attack brought
me to the North Shore (Abita Springs) where I reside today ;)
If you think you know me, please say Hello

(Q) Mike, I follow you on Quora but notice you cherry pick the questions
you answer. How come?

(A) I tend to avoid questions that could easily be asked of Google
or Bing etc, as well as questions that simply make no sense. Then
I only reply to questions that I believe I know the answers too :)
"It's better to remain silent & be thought a fool, than to open mouth
& remove all doubt" -Abe Lincoln-

(Q) Whats the best software to run Ham Digital modes on my Computer?
(A) Here is a link to David PA7LIM popular Digital Windows Programs,
where you can download both BlueDV and PEANUT.
The BlueDV Windows program can run Dstar, DMR and Fusion (C4FM).
Note: PEANUT only requires a PC with Internet and a soundcard but
BlueDV will require a USB Digital Transcoder

Interested in WebSDR? Try NA5B HF Web Receiver

(Q) I am a new DStar user who is mostly interested in QSO's.
I see dozens of MODES indicated by letters like A,B and C etc.
Can you suggest a good Dstar Reflector and Mode for Chats?

(A) Yes, it is a bit confusing. Try REF001C and REF030C for starters.
This Web page may offer some heads up on DStar Reflectors and their locations.

(Q) What's your opinion on all the emphasis on Digital Modes
today, such as DMR, dSTAR and C4FM? Good? Bad? Or??
(A) I am an old ham from the days of simple Amplitude Modulation.
So, I can recall the snide comments when frequency modulation and
Donald Duck (SSB) arrived. Hams have always been innovators.
I like how the digital world has integrated into personal computers.
An obvious upside is I no longer need a cumbersome antenna,
just an Internet connection, which everyone has today! (see next)

(Q) Wooooo! Why not just talk on cell phones? Where are the
challenges, like acquiring WAS, WAC, and WAB certificates??
(A) Well, how about WAM (worked all modes?) I believe Ham
Radio is still evolving. Who knows whats next? Maybe Hams
will one day load the ionosphere with trackons that carry
communications around the globe with no infrastructure.

-=QST=- It is my sad duty to report the recent passing of a good friend
Don Devine - KC1RX from Covad-19. Don and I explored every new
chat/video platform that appeared over the last 30 years. May he RIP.

(Q) Mike, my Browser is stuck on last weeks ARC.etc Web Page!!
(A) When on ARC.TZO.COM force a refresh using Ctrl+F5

(Q) I see you run a small home Web Server. Is it something
anyone can do? Or, should I pay and use a Web Provider?

(A) Yes, anyone can do it. There are two basic ways to go about
it; use a drag and drop web builder like WEBS, OR, if you
feel proficient in HTML roll your own using a free windows server
like that found HERE. However, I will caution that running
a 24/7 Web Server from my QTH is a true labor of love :)

(Q) With all the new free video chats avaible today why are
you so strong on this WHEREBY company?

(A) Thats a fair question. I guess because it flat works, with
good video and audio quality. But more importantly, because
its based on WebRTC, a proven protocol thats BUILT INTO EVERY
BROWSER (i.e. there is NO APP to D/L or INSTALL, or REGISTER,
and gives users IMMEDIATE access by simply typing WHEREBY
into their Browser with their selected room ID. Click
HERE
to see it work or ask questions (i.e. HTTP://WWW.WHEREBY.COM/K5HUM).

(Q) I heard a rumor that you are a W10 expert - ok so much
for buttering you up :) I have wierd problem, can you help?

(A) As a Mason I am obligated to help a Brother, but it takes
some trust on your part. IOW, I will need remote access to
your computer. This is easily and safely done with an App
called TeamViewer. You will need to download and run it then
give me the ID and password it generates when you run it.
We can first communicate by Phone, EchoLink, PEANUT,
or WWW.WHEREBY.COM/K5HUM (video, voice and text).
Download TeamViewerQS

(Q) I have been a Ham most of my life and truly enjoy the
hobby. Unfortunately at my age I am no able to climb towers
and put up antennas. However, I love ragchewing. Whats an
old elmer to do to stay active?

(A) First, you are not alone. The average age of Hams today is
climbing. Half of my interest is the technology. Have you tried
any of the new hybred on-line or internet modes? I recommend
PEANUT for starters. Its FREE and can run on any Internet device
without extra hardware. There are many VHF/UHF REPEATERS
available for the HT and mobil enthusiast. For more details and
free software go here www.pa7lim.nl

(Q) What is involved in running a home Web Server?
(A) Right off its a thankless job that requires special port 80 server
software to run a conventional site. Next, a solid knowledge of ports,
firewalls, and a willingness to keep a machine running 24/7.

(Q) How is the sub domain "ARC.TZO.COM' able to support Web Pages
other than the Central Gulf Coast Hurricane Net (CGCHN)???

(A) The CGCHN holds the INDEX position, every other page is a sub page
to that Index. To reach the sub pages, one must know the exact file name
and append it to the sub domain url as in ARC.TZO.COM/6M_NET.TXT
This offers some security, minimizes the traffic load on the server, and
allows for other (more?) pages to run on the server.

(Q) Many HAM's today seems to hold an EXTRA Class Ticket diluting
what was once considered a special ranking. Whats your opinion?

(A) Careful! I hold an Extra Ticket HiHi, but since you asked for my
opinion, I think the criterion for the Extra Ticket should be changed
to length of service and given without examination. Example, the
General should be given on request, the Advanced after 5 years of
unblemished service, and the Extra after 10 years. The Technician
should be the tough exam with more on Digital and SHF and given
ALL privileges. My reasoning is based on the fool (idiot?) proof design
of modern Ham Rigs, which 99% of new Hams purchase, as opposed to
those (the Technicians) who want to build. Comments anyone??

(Q) What do you honestly think about the possibility of life in other
galaxies, universes?

(A) I am open to the possibility.

(Q) Your opinion?? What caused the Myan's to suddenly abandon their
magnificent cities in central america?

(A) The common answer is dieases, droughts, lack of foods, etc but
many find those answers un satisfactory. I fall in that latter group.

(Q) The Ham who created BlueDV for Windows did a great job. Once I
setup DMR, DSTAR and C4FM and have them all Linked - is there a
way to quickly change which mode transmits without re-linking??

(A) I agree about DlueDV. I suggest sending David a small token$
of appreciation. As for changing the xmit default, just click the desired
xmit mode in the box right above the green jewels.

(Q) Why are you still using that TZO sub domain service for your
Web pages, when FQDN's are so inexpensive today?

(A) I guess old habits are hard to break?

(Q) Your Web Site was offline for several hours yesterday. What
happened? Nothing serious I hope?

(A) The big downside to operating a home server is you are subject
to the dependability of the ISP. Mine was back online in two hours.

(Q) QUORA is loaded with weird questions and poor grammar. However
I enjoy your replies. So, how do you pick the questions you answer?

(A) The poor grammar is immaterial if I sense the question is legit.
Typically I only answer one out of every five sent to me, and then
only when I feel I can contribute accurately and meaningfully.

(Q) What does, and does not, constitute Ham Radio communications?
(A) This (still raging) debate stems from purist who insist if RF is
not the principle medium it cannot be called RADIO. Since the goal
is still communication, its my opinion these discussions are
fun and perhaps interesting, but serve no useful purpose.

(Q) Mike whats the big deal with all these Digital modes?
(A) Big deals?? hihi, a few are: aside from crystal clear audio,
unique channels (called Rooms), with many divided by interest
and locations, and you can tell from the "Last Heard" list who
was recently using the system.

(Q) What is an Easter Egg as it relates to Web Pages?
(A) Typically it referrs to harmless undocumented, funny, or useful
links buried in Web Pages.

(Q) Is there a preferred way in Windows to switch xmit modes using
PA7LIM's BlueDV software?

(A) I simply click the mode slider in the GUI to OFF then ON. The
only downside I'm aware of is having to re-link the connection.

(Q) Since you like Cosmology, do you think the universe has
an edge?

(A) No, I subscribe to an infinite flat universe as opposed to one where
if you travel long enough you will return to where you started.

(Q) In our recent chat about Time Travel you suggested that
the grandfather paradox was not necessarily valid. We broke
off before you defended that assertion. So please elaborate?

(A) What if any changes made in the past simply forked into
another parallel reality??

(Q) How can I determine the optimum spot to place my router
and or WiFi box in my great room for the strongest signal
from my provider?

(A) I walk around the room with a cheap WiFi detector. Signal
penetration is indicated by the number of green led's that glow.
E-Bay sells two: IoGear and E-Trust

(Q) Mike, this Web Page is drab and unimaginative and needs
some serious attention to be brightened up.

(A) If you are volunteering I will take any help I can get! So???

(Q) I see you frequently listed on PEANUT'S Last Heard
Dashboard; I call but never a reply. Is there a best time?

(A) Sorry about that. EMail and lets schedule, or try EchoLink.

(Q) I'm hearing a lot of mention about "4G-W2 Mobile Radios"
Can you elaborate more? Advantages etc?

(A) Sorry, I'm not up to speed on that but I have a friend
(Clay - W1PI) who probably is. Get his e-mail from QRZ.COM
or find him on Zello where he runs an Amateur Radio Group.

(Q) What are your available modes of communication aside from
the Radio Ham Bands or the Landline?

(A) For Ham friends I'm available vi the following methods:
EchoLink(K5HUM), DStar(04C), DMR, FUSION(XLX307),
PEANUT(ENGLISH) and for everyone: WhereBy

(Q) Consider this a personal invitation to attend our NEXT Ham Fess!
Hopefully by then the Covad-19 pandemic will be behind us.

(A) Thanks! Believe me, I would love to go, so I am going to make a
bigger effort. When I was younger I also never missed local Field Day's.

(Q) I heard you provide free basic web pages to other Hams. How
do I get get in on that?

(A) What I do is offer a page off my existing sub domain. Send me
an idea of what you have in mind, and I will consider it, but I make no
promises. However, my offer is not restricted to only licensed Hams.
NOTE: Licensed Ham are also elegible for various FREE services,
including Web Pages, at QSL.NET

(Q) The ARRL's QST magazine just promoted ZOOM for groups to
meet to comply with mandated social distancing due to the COVAD
epidemic. This sounds like a natural for the Hurricane Net that continues
to lose Net Controllers. So, what do you think?

(A) I am open to the idea but I am only the WebMaster for the Net,
not their parliamentarian. Some of the Net principles might resist
the idea because its NOT ham radio. I will go with the consensus.

(Q) What do you recommend for protection against malware etc?
(A) Aside from ALWAYS keeping your operating system up to date,
(and avoiding the dark web), for 3rd party scanners I like BitDefender.

Digital/Repeater Links Contributed by Ian G3ZHI.

(Q) Can you suggest a few Windows Utilities that you cannot live without?
(A) I like ClipMate (for storing and organizing everything you Copy with
Ctrl-C), and UltraEdit (a do it all file editor). Both are Shareware, can be
found on the Web, and definitely worth the coins (IMHO).

(Q) Do you have a favorite Web Browser??
(A) I am liking the new Microsoft Edge browser more and more, especially
for video; but I also use Chrome (exclusively for e-mail), Firefox and Opera.

(Q) Do you have a favorite Ham chat client on the Internet? Non Ham??
(A) I like PEANUT, and frequently can be found in the English room
otherwise, I like ZELLO for voice and ZOOM for general video, but
my favorite PRIVATE video chat app is WHEREBY because it easiest for people to use, requiring no special software, only a modern Web Browser (assuming they have a Cam and Mic).

(Q) I would also like to run a home based Web Server like you.
Is it complicated? What would you recommend?

(A) First you need to be well versed in arcane subjects like port
forwarding, DNS, TCP/IP, Routers, and Firewalls. Then a good
knowledge of scripting language (minimally HTML) and PHP and
PERL. Next is associated cost with hardware platforms, Internet
providers, and long hours. Oh, did I mention getting a UPS?
My frank advice is to find a 3rd party WYSIWYG Web Site Provider
like GoDaddy etc. HOWEVER, to answer your question, I have
used many (like KeyFocus and Abyss to name a few), now I am
obeying the KISS rule, and using a small simple Server known
as the HTTP File Server.

(Q) Mike, my W10 Laptop did an MS upgrade and never recovered.
It locked up. Before I take it to a shop, can you HELP?

(A) Sometimes those Windows updates end poorly. To regain
control of the operating system, unplug any power pack then
carefully remove the battery, wait 15 seconds, then replace the
battery and try rebooting normally. 99% of the time, it will.

(Q) Mike, we are relocating and I would like to find a good home
for our dog. He is affectionate and gets along well with all.

(A) Unfortunately we already have four. Before you consider
the SPCA, try running an Ad in a local paper. We love dogs and
wish we could take him in; however, we will ask around.

(Q) Why must you repost my questions to you?
(A) The volumn of messages I get is quite low so it isn't a
problem plus, and being retired, it gives me something to
do. However, what goes here is selected for the possibility
of broader interest, and, my wife likes to play editor.

(Q) Mike, how about sharing a few of your favorite Web sites?
(A) Sure, glad to. Here are a few that I can recall from memory.
For a generic check of your ISP speed try https://fast.com
To quickly clear your Browsers desktop click ABOUT:BLANK
To find your current IP address click checkip.dyndns.org
To see who currently has an IP click IP assignment and enter the IP.

(Q) Mike, when video chating I saw a big round analog clock on your
monitor. Whats the URL for that??

(A) There are likely many but i like this Clock

Join the ARRL "QSO Today Virtual Ham Expo" beginning Aug 7
Get all the Details Here then you must Register to participate.
(Link Contributed by Don KC1RX)

(Q) Mike, despite your admonitions against it, would you help
me setup a small home web server like yours??

(A) The best I can offer is to do some screen sharing to give you
insights as to how I am setup. If that interest you, contact me vi
the "Ask or Tell Mike" link down below

(Q) I see you echo a lot of questions and answers here that readers
ask you on the Quora.com web site. Are you paid by Quora?

(A) No, its purely ProBono.

(Q) Why are you hung up on WebRTC for chats? (i.e. WHEREBY)
A lot of users do not have CAMs or want to use them.

(A) Being lazy I like FULL duplex audio (i.e. no click or touch or
push to talk). Next, Cams are NOT required; so, if texting is your
thing, you can do just that. Then, there is screen sharing.

(Q) Is there a way to hear what I sound like when using the BlueDV
Digital application?

(A) Yes, for Dstar reflectors try linking using the E (echo) mode. For
Fusion, look for the PARROT reflector. Transmit and count to 5 and
the reflector will echo back what you said. Adjust accordingly.

Got a Question, Comment or Contribution? Ask or Tell Mike!




E-Mail WebMaster
K5HUM@ARRL.NET
Go to Top
Return to Index