The Wheaton Community Radio Amateurs
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9:30 AM "Vacation DXing" by John Sweeney K9EL [slides]
10:30 AM "Alternative Power for Field Day and Other Temporary Stations" by Al Sawyer K9ILF [slides]
11:30 AM "Developments in HF/VHF/UHF Digital Voice Including FreeDV & System Fusion (C4FM)" [slides]
          by Warren Pugh KC9IL & Mark Thompson WB9QZB [slides]

9:30 AM "Vacation DXing" presented by John Sweeney K9EL

Does the lure of DXing from an exotic location, in the comfort of a vacation home equipped with an upscale amateur radio station appeal to you? John Sweeney, K9EL, will tell us about some of his adventures such as to “FS” St. Martin in the Caribbean in 2013.

10:30AM "Alternative Power for Field Day and Other Temporary Stations" presented by Al Sawyer K9ILF

Come explore alternative energy sources from the global view down to the personal. See how you can get started in grid independence for living, operating your station during power outages, assisting in ARES operation at emergency sites, or just plain hands-on experience in powering your station. Water, wind, sun and even human power can be used to generate electricity, but how much? And what does it cost? This forum should help put this into perspective and generate ideas for useful or fun ham projects.

On human power, see a demo of a bike-powered generator that Al Sawyer, K9ILF, and a fellow ham built for last year's field day. Al will share insights learned from the experience regarding affordability, generators, and batteries.

11:30 AM "New Developments in HF/VHF/UHF Digital Voice Including FreeDV and System Fusion (C4FM)" presented by Warren Pugh KC9IL and Mark Thompson WB9QZB

1) HF and FreeDV:

Maybe you have already tried one of the Digital Voice modes on VHF/UHF, be it D-Star, P-25 or DMR (a.k.a. “MotoTrbo”). But did you know that you can also experience similar noise-free communications on the HF bands? Digital voice on the HF bands has been around for about a decade, but has really taken off recently with the introduction of FreeDV, a software-based, sound card mode that can be used with just about any modern HF transceiver (it works on VHF & UHF as well). If you are already using any sound card mode (RTTY, SSTV, PSK31, JT65, etc.) you probably have most of the equipment you need to enjoy the latest development in Digital Voice for hams. And, best of all, the software is FREE! Come listen to Warren Pugh, KC9IL, as he describes the brief history of Digital Voice on the HF ham bands, an overview of FreeDV and CODEC2, and provides a demonstration of the FreeDV software, including tips for setting up your own HF Digital Voice station.

2) Amateur Radio VHF/UHF Digital Voice Modes Comparison and Introduction to Yaesu System Fusion

Amateur radio digital voice & data modes on VHF & UHF have experienced dramatic growth in usage over the last 30 years. Starting with Packet Radio in the early-to-mid1980s continuing with APRS and over the last few years with Winlink, D-STAR, P25 & DMR.

Mark Thompson, WB9QZB, will review & compare the digital voice modes used in VHF/UHF ham radio including amateur radio technologies: D-STAR & System Fusion and commercial technologies: APCO P25, DMR (MOTOTRBO) & NXDN.

He will also provide a brief overview of the new Yaesu System Fusion Voice & Data technology.

Biographical Information:

John Sweeney, K9EL, was first licensed in 1962 as WN9ELV at the age of 14. He upgraded to General, Advanced, then Extra Class and in 1977 changed his call to K9EL. He grew up in Oak Park, IL, and graduated from the University of Illinois. John currently resides in Schaumburg, having recently returned from Toronto, Canada, where he and his wife lived for 12 years.

John recently retired from the Communications industry and is currently enjoying hamming and traveling – with a focus on hamming while traveling! He is active in the Northern Illinois DX Association, is the Administrator for CQ Magazine’s annual DX Marathon. and is a contributing author to CQ Magazine.

K9EL is an active DX-er who has worked all countries and only needs P5 on CW. John has also earned 5BWAZ (#703) and 160 Meter WAZ. Besides being active working DX, he enjoys being DX as well and has operated from VR2, HS, YB, 9V, 9K2, KH6, XE, 6Y5, VK, JA, EA6, F, G, DL, 4X, FS, VE and others. John holds several foreign callsigns and is an active DX-peditioner, most recently frequenting FS, St. Martin.

John is interested in the integration of computers into the ham shack and can operate his complete station remotely over the internet from anywhere in the world on a laptop, tablet or smart phone. He is also an active cyclist – one of his few hobbies that does not include ham radio.


Al Sawyer, K9ILF, was first licensed as KN9ILF in 1961. After being satisfied with General Class for 50 years, he decided to upgrade to Extra in 2011. Al is a member of the Wheaton Community Radio Amateurs. Now retired several years after a 38-year career as an engineer at Alcatel-Lucent and its predecessors, he pursues digital modes on HF, DXing with JT65HF, and software defined radios. Other interests include alternative energy, bicycling and visiting lighthouses. Al can be reached at


Warren Pugh, KC9IL, has been licensed since 1976 and holds an Extra class ticket. He is active on HF/VHF/UHF on a variety of traditional modes (SSB, AM, CW, RTTY & SSTV), the newer digital voice modes (D-Star,DMR& FreeDV) and data modes (Packet, PSK-31, JT-65, JT-9). Warren most enjoys the combination of computers with Ham Radio, and feels that computers will continue to enhance the hobby, rather than hurt it. He even published a computer game for the Commodore 64 and VIC-20 based on Ham Radio foxhunting.

Warren’s other hobbies include bicycling, Senior Softball, astronomy and boating. Professionally, Warren has a background in Corporate Finance, including 25 years at Motorola. He is currently a consulting partner with a nationwide financial & IT services company in Chicago. Warren is a member of the North Shore Radio Club, where he is a board member and holds the office of Treasurer.


Mark Thompson, WB9QZB, has been licensed since 1975. He has been active on HF/VHF/UHF using traditional analog voice & data modes including SSB, AM, CW & RTTY. He has been an early adopter & advocate of digital voice & data modes including Packet Radio & D-STAR.

Mark is a Life Member of both the ARRL & the Quarter Century Wireless Association (QCWA). He is also a member of the North Shore Radio Club (NSRC), Chicago FM Club (CFMC), Fox River Radio League (FRRL) and Suburban UHF Amateur Radio Society (SUHFARS). He is a board member of TAPR, the national digital group, and manages TAPR’s social media. He has been the local co-host of the ARRL/TAPR Digital Communications Conference (DCC) in Chicago in 1998, 2008 & 2009. He has also attended the Dayton Hamvention since 1985.

Some of Mark’s other interests include independent & foreign film, travel and foreign affairs.

Professionally, Mark has extensive experience in Management Consulting, Financial Services Systems and Information Technology Program & Project Management.