Revitalization of the Baltimore County ARES system

Efforts are underway to revitalize the Baltimore County ARES system. They are seeking hams to get involved with ARES in Baltimore county group.  An interim Emergency Coordinator is needed; also someone to design and host the MDC website. Please contact either Chris Van Winkle or Don Jennings Let's get this going folks!!

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General Class course on Zoom

I am starting a General Class course on Zoom beginning Thursday, November 5, and running for 9 sessions.  Due to holiday breaks, the course ends Jan 21.   Sessions will start at 6:30, and run 3 hours.  No charge, of course.   These are the classes sponsored by the National Electronics Museum that we have been holding for years.  Please publicize this with anyone you know whom you think would be interested.  Those wishing to sign up should email me at

Thanks, Rol, K3RA

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Bob Martin KC3FI – Silent Key

Bob Martin KC3FI Silent Key

With deep sadness, we report the passing of long time avid ATV enthusiast Bob Martin KC3FI, last evening August 22, 2020. Comfortable with both HF and ATV, Bob was a frequent attendee of the nets of a number of area amateur radio clubs.

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ATV Quick Start II

Plenty has changed since 1995 when ATV Quick Start was written. Back then, nearly all Amateur Television (ATV) activity was with NTSC analog signals. Transistorized equipment from Tom W3ORG/PC Electronics was very widely used. Video cameras were typically VCR cast-offs and camera monitors were quite sizable. Ham frequencies starting at the 1240mhz. band allow FM ATV signals where surplus satellite equipment is frequently deployed. See Jim KH6ATV's ATV Handbook - An Introduction To Amateur TV for a broad discussion of this intriguing hobby.

We are now in exciting times. Digital broadcast television is now the norm (ATSC standard in the United States and DVB-T in Europe). DVB-T has the advantage of better tolerance of multi-path signals. This is important since ATV works with lower power and other less-than-optimal factors and therefore is the more frequently deployed ATV standard in the United States. Choice among ATVers for DVB-T or ATSC are generally regional decisions. While there is a wealth of surplus analog gear available, DVB-T gear is less prevalent and is generally purchased new.

Another popular mode in ATV is FM television. Surplus satellite television equipment is frequently repurposed here.

Digital ATV Reception:

DVB-T benefits from the European television industry. Inexpensive (e.g. $30) DVB-T set-top boxes are available on eBay. Further, the popular Raspberry Pi credit-card sized computer features an add-on called the DVB TV HAT. This $30 dollar board snaps onto a Raspberry Pi board to provide the hardware for reception of DVB-T signals. In conjunction with TV Head-End software (free for the Raspbian operating system), ATV reception is achieved with new hardware with significant benefits. The digital television signals received are high-definition and are output from the Raspberry Pi via an HDMI cable.

FM ATV Reception:

This is done frequently in the 23 cm. amateur radio band (1240-1300 mhz.) and above. Satellite receiver boxes such as the Scientific Atlanta 9660 are inexpensive on the used market. This particular unit is reportedly designed for the reception of satellite television market of broadcast signals by broadcast stations (for rebroadcast). An LNB (Low Noise Block Downconverter) is used to capture signals from 4-21 ghz., amplify them, then convert them to a more realistic frequency range of typically 940-1750 mhz. The benefit of this action is a more manageable signal enabling less expensive cabling to the set-top-box receiver. When the LNB is skipped, the use of such a repurposed receiver results in a device capable of handling FM ATV signals from the 23 cm. amateur radio band. Note, however, it is then sometimes necessary to use a pre-amplifier and invert the signal; both steps are otherwise provided by an LNB. More traditional FM satellite broadcast set-top-boxes are perhaps more useful in the 2-4 ghz. range.

All of the rest of the rules of ATV remain in place. Among most important is that Amateur Television is a relatively low-power transmission mode. While high frequency (HF) band ham radio signals are generally 100 watts and are sometimes a full kilowatt, ATV home stations rarely produce more than 10 watt signals. Careful thought must be given toward the UHF rules of clear antenna path, the use of an antenna of optimal gain, and strict avoidance of lossy antenna feed-line.

In further consideration of a Raspberry Pi-based ATV receiver, one can simply place the Raspberry Pi (with ATV Hat) in an optimal location such as higher in a building or better yet, closer to a given ATV repeater. Neither expensive hard-line feedline nor supplemental microwave link are required to get the output video to the desired monitor or television. Rather, simply use provided features of the Raspberry Pi to stream the video to the Internet.

ATV Transmitting:

Since there is not yet a legacy of surplus DVB-T equipment, the commercial market is one source of DVB-T transmitters. Where money is no object, some European commercial equipment has become obsolete as a result of upgrade of standards and therefore is on the used market.

KH6ATV has expanded from the analog ATV marketplace into that of digital ATV. As a US supplier, currency exchange and shipping complications are not an issue.

-- article continues to be developed. Neil W3ZQI

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It is with a heavy heart that we report on the passing of Henry Katz KB3NYW. Henry volunteered for several BRATS public service events in the mid to late 2000s. He was also the BARC Public Service Coordinator. His heart was in public service and community service.


Henry at the 2008 MS Chesapeake Challenge
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MS 150 Chesapeake Challenge Cancelled

The 2020 Chesapeake Challenge is unfortunately cancelled for this year. We look forward to serving the MS Society and the cycling community at the Nation's Capital bike ride on August 30th!

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BRATS Regular Meeting--Monday, June 8th. 7:00 pm. Dial-in is same as listed below. Be sure to join BRATSATV at for meeting announcement e-mails.

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+17036604565 (Dial-in Number) English (United States)

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Something new! BRATS Ragchew meetings, next is Monday May 25th. 7:00 pm. An informal gathering by telephone in between regular monthly meetings. Discussions lately include how to receive the DVB-T2 output from the ATV repeater beacon. The repeater will accept both analog and digital input. For those who do not yet have transmitting equipment, we want your ideas for transmitters.

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Please join our BRATSATV e-mail group (for BRATS meeting announcements and special notices only). This replaces the former BRATSATV Yahoo Group.

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Board meeting January 13, 2020, 7 pm Mt Hope ARC

The 2020 board meeting of the BRATS will be held Monday, January 13, at 7 pm at the Mt Hope American red cross. Hope to see you there!

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+17036604565 (Dial-in Number)            English (United States)

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Brats 2020 officers

The following officers were re-elected for 2020:
President Oryx k0ryx
Secretary/Vice president Kevin kb3plx
Treasurer Jim kb3skn
Board member Steve ka3zmn
Board member Shane k2gzl

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