Just finished clearing off the Memorial Day information from our website and Facebook page. I’m continually impressed by how many folks are looking at both sites. I just received a copy of SERA’s Quarterly Repeater Journal, and there in the Georgia section were comments that indicate that their editor also looks us over.
May was pretty eventful, starting with a great meeting and moving on to a somewhat soggy Peacock Day the next weekend. We had just enough time to have a great tailgate breakfast courtesy of Wynona, and a clap of thunder heralded heavy rains and winds that shut the event down for the day.
The next week found Bill, KW4EF, and me at the EOC for the ICS 300 and 400 classes being offered by Thomas County EMA. The classes are usually 3 days each, but Ashley Tye, our Instructor (and also EMA – Lowndes), managed to get everything finished in 2 days each. So now, Bill and I know far more about the Incident Command System than we ever thought we would.
Saturday May 21st, found our Test Team in new digs at the Thomas County EOC. The Library is currently under construction and we won’t have that facility again until late in the year. Because we have a lot of area to work with, and no librarian to scold us for getting too loud, we’ve decided to make use of the EOC for classes following each test session.
Our first class session was on APRS, with John, KE4RWR, as Instructor. 10 people showed up, and following some discussions and a demo of John’s equipment, we started setting up our own gear.
Everyone had a good time with this class, and that opens the door to more of the same. If you have ideas for class subjects, let me know and I’ll see what we can do about getting an Instructor to make it happen. I had several people at this class ask about doing an Extra Class study session to help them with upgrading, and if there is enough interest, we’ll have a whirl at it.
June brings on Field Day, and that event is on June 25th and 26th. I’m already seeing emails between Buddy and William as they plan out the Saturday night BBQ supper, so things are already beginning to roll. We’ll need to discuss final plans at the June meeting.
The Station Captains are responsible for radios and antennas this year, which is a return to the way we did this event for years. This insures that all of the load doesn’t fall on just one or two people, and guarantees everyone will have more time to actually operate a radio.
We’ll be 4-Foxtrot again, which means we have 4 transmitters, plus a GOTA station and a VHF station. The Captains are:
Voice 1 – Thomas and Theresa James
Voice 2 – Gina McCulley
CW – Terry Webb
Digital - Lowell Reiger
GOTA – Mo Wright
VHF – Zach Chandler
We’ll need to decide whether to begin antenna installations on Friday or not. I’m also scheduling a test session at 11am though that time is flexible, and as of now, unless I get a lot of folks wanting it, we’ll cancel the regular test session at the EOC. We’ll also need a Field Day class session, which adds another 100 bonus points. We’ll discuss all this at the meeting on Saturday night.
I’ll also remind you here that after Field Day, the next monthly meeting will be in August, as we shut down all club functions in July to give everyone a rest. That includes the meeting, both Thursday Nets, and the test session. We’ll make a decision about the Ragchew Breakfast sessions for July (which is continuing to be well attended) at the meeting.
So, that’s it for now, and I hope you’ll be making plans to join us Saturday night, June 4th, for the regular monthly meeting. Plan on arriving at 6pm for supper and the meeting will follow at 7:30pm. We’ve got a lot of planning to accomplish, so I hope to see YOU and your family there!
The following members of our TARC Family have June Birthdays!
Wynona Sadler – June 2
Terry Sadler – June 2
Dana Swicord – June 17
Gina McCulley – June 23
Bill Kitchens – June 25
Don’t see your birthday listed? Let us know at email@example.com
NØ Tenna Wizard
The 4 Element “Hentenna” Beam for 2 Meters
OK, I admit that I like to copy antenna designs, especially simple ones that work. Such is the case of the Hentenna.
To add a little excitement to this antenna, the word "hen" in Japanese means "Strange". And, the name fits this antenna very well.
This antenna looks like a long rectangle. For example, a hentenna for 2 meters is 40" long by 14" wide. When the rectangle stands on end with the longer axis vertical, the antenna is horizontally polarized. See what I mean about "strange"?
This antenna can be built from wire or copper tubing. If it is made from wire, some means of supporting the wire must be used such as PVC tubing. The following website contains information on building a 4 element 2m hentenna beam antenna using #14 wire and pvc tubing.
Either antenna should work very well for 2m. The reason I like this antenna is it is easy to match it to 50 ohms (low SWR) and it is low in cost to build for the excellent performance it gives. It will cover the entire 2m band.
Now, some of you may be wondering, can the Hentenna be built for other bands? Absolutely! There are variations that are used all of the way down to 75 meters.
One nice aspect of this antennas shape (being rectangular) is it makes a very nice portable antenna. (No sharp edges).
So, I hope you want to build one for your emergency "Go Kit". Perhaps we should have another antenna build party and make some Hentennas, Moxons, and j-poles.
For those of you having trouble getting into repeaters, this is a cheap solution to that problem.
73 & CU On The Air!
We’ve set the June Test session for the Field Day Exercise, and at this point, unless there is interest in having another one on the third Saturday, June 18th, we’ll just consider it cancelled. As the following weekend will be extremely busy with Field Day activities, this will keep us from burning anyone out.
There will also be no test session in July as all club activities shut down to allow everyone a breather for a summer vacation. The next regular test session will be on August 20th at the Thomas County EOC at 10am.
The Super Tornado Outbreak on April 25th - 28th, 2011 has taken it's place in history among the largest number, the deadliest, and the most costly tornado outbreaks in recorded history. Environmental factors came together to provide the right conditions for strong, long lived supercells that produced numerous violent, long track tornadoes across multiple states.
The National Weather Service, Storm Prediction Center (SPC) successfully predicted the event days in advance and issued a High Risk outlook for the affected area. Local National Weather Service offices averaged 24 minutes lead time with tornado warnings giving outstanding advanced warning of imminent tornado hazards. In spite of these facts a large number of lives were lost as these storms passed through urban areas with wide paths of destruction.
One of the challenges faced by National Weather Service agencies is their ability to convey an increased risk level with particular watches or warnings. In an effort to convey the seriousness of a given situation, the SPC utilizes Tornado Watches with the statement Particularly Dangerous Situation (PDS) added to the heading. What criteria is required for PDS watches to be issued?
The Storm Prediction Center defines this as:
The "particularly dangerous situation" wording is used in rare situations when long-lived, strong and violent tornadoes are possible. This enhanced wording may also accompany severe thunderstorm watches for exceptionally intense and well organized convective wind storms. PDS watches are issued, when in the opinion of the forecaster, the likelihood of significant events is boosted by very volatile atmospheric conditions. Usually this decision is based on a number of atmospheric clues and parameters, so the decision to issue a PDS watch is subjective. There is no hard threshold or criteria. In high risk outlooks PDS watches are issued most often.
Often local National Weather Service meteorologist will add this wording into their warning text in order to add emphasis to the warning. When the forecaster feels significant loss of life or property is possible as a result of the current warned weather system, he or she may add this wording but will reserve this for the most serious weather situations.
This is a radar loop taken 04/27/11 from Weather Underground showing multiple supercellular storms with distinct hook echo radar returns.
Any time watches or warnings are issued with the wording Particularly Dangerous Situation (PDS) included, individuals within the watch or warning area should take every precaution necessary to seek shelter in a secure area as soon as possible. If any lessons can be learned from the spring storms of 2011, each and every warning should be taken seriously. Severe storms often move very fast and can be upon you quickly leaving little time for action. Trust the warning and take action immediately!
DEC NWS Tallahassee, FL
Southwest Georgia District ARES
As I sat down at the last meeting, I saw a small gift bag sitting on the front table. Figuring someone had left my mother something; I moved it towards her chair as I sat down.
Gary, KA3FZO, got my attention and said, “Don’t move it…that’s yours.”
Surprised, I opened the bag and pulled out a wrapped box. Inside there was a small wooden block, which I didn’t initially recognize. Turning it around in my hand, I saw a plaque with the inscription:
“Thomasville Amateur Radio Club de North Florida Members – 05/07/2011”
Still confused, I looked back into the bag and saw an oblong package and then it hit me, this was the “Sound Block” for a Gavel Set.
The mallet also has an engraved brass wrap bearing the same inscription, and both are made from beautifully stained wood.
Gary went on to say that the set was in appreciation from our Florida members for being accepted and valued as members of the group.
That’s pretty humbling isn’t it?
For me, it’s also an indication that even though our name states us as being a “Thomasville” entity, that we’ve been far more like a regional group for a long time now. Most clubs are happy to have a good draw of members from their county; TARC membership rolls show us in 14 adjacent counties with several long distance members in 5 other states.
Simply put, I hope it’s an indication that we are doing something right, and my further hope is that everyone who counts themselves a part of the TARC Radio Family understands that this gift of appreciation honors what you continue to do as members.
And especially to our North Florida members, a heartfelt “Thank You.” Please know that I really appreciate this and will always count you as valued members of our group.
1) Welcome and Announcements:
Mike, KE4FGF started the meeting at 7:40pm following the presentation of
a new gavel set by Gary, KA3FZO. The set is a gift from our Florida members. Mike made the following announcements. The May 21st Test Session location has been moved to the Thomas EOC due to library renovations. The time is still 10am. The Midmonth Breakfast will also be on May 21st at 8:30am at the Seminole Wind restaurant. The Friday morning Ragchew Breakfast continues to be well attended and is also at the Seminole Wind at 8:30am
2) Minutes and Treasurer’s Reports – approved as reported.
3) Old Business:
Mike thanked the following stations that took part in TOSRV 2011. They were: KF4GBS, WD4CJI, KI4TFL, N4KGT, KJ4KUK, KJ4UKR, KC4LYC, KE4RWR, KJ4GOK, KJ4SWI, W4TBJ, NOTW, KD4EYF, KJ4GOJ, and KE4FGF
The Peacock Day Parade will take place on May 14th and anyone helping
needs to be there at 9am. Wynona is making a Tailgate Breakfast, so anyone
helping needs to let us know beforehand so there will be enough for everyone.
4) New Business:
Mike announced that the following people would be serving as Field Day – Station Captains:
W4TBJ & KJ4NBG – Voice 1
W4GNA – Voice 2
N0TW – CW
NY4D – Digital,
KI4PZS – GOTA
KJ4LOO – VHF
The Captains are responsible for both radios and antennas. The Club will
have both the 15 and 20 meter Moxons available on the antenna Trailers
and PEACH will be set up for the CW and VHF stations, with a 6 meter
Yagi for the VHF station, as well as the club’s new Kenwood TS-480.
A test session will be held at Field Day, and we’ll announce the time for
that shortly beforehand, most likely 11am.
Mike announced that the May 21st Test Session would have an APRS Class
following it at approximately 12pm. If this class goes off well, we may begin
offering classes on various subjects after each test session.
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 9pm with 33
Members and 3 visitors present.
Respectfully submitted by KE4FGF.
Dan, KI4HGO, stepping down as TARS President
I know everyone has been watching and praying for Dan, KI4HGO, as he’s been battling some long term medical problems stemming from a car accident a few years back. A few months ago, he stepped down as the District Emergency Coordinator for the North Florida Capital District, and has now decided to also relinquish his duties as TARS President…so ends an era.
I first met Dan when he showed up at a TARC meeting shortly before one of the bike events we routinely handle with TARS. Dan was the TARS VP at that time, and wanted to talk about opening up closer relations between the two groups. We were all taken by his warm friendly attitude, and agreed that twice a year bike rides didn’t give a lot of time for the groups to know each other real well.
Obviously, the TARS group also liked what he was doing and the next year found him being elected as their new President. That’s a position he has found himself re-elected to for multiple years.
It’s been a real joy to work with Dan over the past few years, and that time has led to a close friendship between the two of us, and to us collaborating on a number of projects.
Most notable was the first Radio Reunion, and it was Dan who really set the tone for what transpired there. I’d decided to let each club tell about what their events looked like for the year. As I recall, he had somewhere else to be shortly after the event started, so casting caution (and blindsides) away, I called him to the front first.
He surprised us (mainly me) about talking of the close friendship he and I had and what a great event the reunion had turned out to be. He said a lot of really nice things about me, to the point of me partially hiding my face (note picture above).
Another event that comes to mind was a net we arranged on a Sunday night shortly before Ray Prim, KD4VQS passed away. We were visiting Ray and it was plain to us both that his time with us was ebbing away. On that Friday afternoon, on Ray’s front porch, we discussed an honorary Net for him to take place that Sunday night on the 146.655 repeater.
We weren’t sure how it would be received, as a net of this type had never been done before, but we forged ahead anyway. With some help from Alan, W1ABT (who helped Ray run his radio that night), the Net went off and is one of the more special memories I have about Amateur Radio. A number of Veterans checked in and spoke with Ray, and I’m told he talked about it right up to the end, which was the following Friday.
Dan was actually at Ray’s bedside when he passed away, reading to him from his Bible. When Dan is your friend, he’s there for you ALL the time.
As I mentioned earlier, Dan’s current problems stem from an auto accident a few years ago. The local doctors didn’t seem to be helping, so he’s been making trips to Shands for more help. I’ve made one of those trips with him, and have been impressed with the professional attitude and fast response they display.
As eloquent as Dan can be, I know not being able to say exactly what you want to, even though the words are right there, have to be particularly frustrating. I’m hopeful that the doctors do have a handle on the problems, and that they can help Dan get back to where he wants to be.
Until then Dan, you know you have my support and prayers, and in that regard, I know that I speak for the rest of the group….
Remembering our Fathers on June 19th….
4 years: My Daddy can do anything!
7 years: My Dad knows a lot…a whole lot.
8 years: My father does not know quite everything.
12 years: Oh well, naturally Father does not know that either.
14 years: Oh, Father? He is hopelessly old-fashioned.
21 years: Oh, that man-he is out of date!
25 years: He knows a little bit about it, but not much.
30 years: I must find out what Dad thinks about it.
35 years: Before we decide, we will get Dad's idea first.
50 years: What would Dad have thought about that?
60 years: My Dad knew literally everything!
65 years: I wish I could talk it over with Dad once more.
See You Saturday Night