The Reflector March 2011

 

Hi Folks,

Wow…February has rushed right on through, and that may be because we had something going every weekend again. The meeting was well attended and we got a number of things settled down, plus outlined the schedule through Field Day.

 

A number of folks headed south to the Orlando Hamcation on the 12th, and I’ve seen a lot of cool stuff that migrated back to South Georgia. I heard Wally got an education about thoroughly looking over a rig, and then walking away to “think about it.” The fact of the matter is that will be several folks within “eyeshot” of the radio in question, also thinking about it, and if you walk away, they will make a beeline to make the purchase, and when you return…blank table.

 

 Don’t worry Wally…we’ve ALL done it a time or two so you’re in good company…

 

The last two weekends have been taken up with the Tech/General Classes and I’m happy to report good success again. I’ll hit on those particulars in a separate article later in this newsletter, but do want to mention the folks who actually make this event happen in this column.

 

Our Instructor group had taken a bit of a hit due to folks moving, and that left Lowell, Zach, and me as the group. I don’t mind saying that when you run a class from 9am-4pm, and you’re the ONLY instructor in the room, you are more than ready to sit down afterwards, and as we have test sessions following and we three are also VEs, that simply adds a couple more hours to the weary. When you have two Instructors per class, you have the much-needed luxury of being able to trade out and spell one another.

 

Lowell and I had been quietly talking to Thomas, W4TBJ, about helping, and I went ahead and asked about him signing up as an ARRL VE. 15 minutes later, the deed was done, so we are back to 4 and possibly 5 as Dewey has returned from Newington.

 

I’ve only talked to Thomas briefly, but he found out what the rest of us have…the students can and will test your knowledge of the subject. If you really want to know about Amateur Radio, help us teach a class!

 

And, I know I speak for Lowell when we say “THANK YOU” to Thomas and Zach for being there.

 

I also want to mention Theresa, KJ4NBG, here as she took her Extra exam and finished it about as fast as I’ve ever seen 50 questions answered, passing with flying colors. She’s also filled out VE paperwork, and as soon as her Extra class is issued in the ULS database, she’ll become TARC VE #34.

 

Another person doing Yeoman duties was Dana, who kept everyone going by keeping up the refreshment table, and on the 26th, adding Sausage-Cheese biscuits to the doughnuts and cookies. I noted John’s right hand was red, and that was apparently from getting it slapped when he tried to sneak another from the back seat on the way over. Can’t blame him…the biscuits got my vote too…

 

Since we’re on the subject of John, what can I say…he arranged the rooms, made sure we had computer access, made copies, picked up the pizza for lunch, and was everywhere we needed him to be for both sessions.

 

Alan and Kerry also made the trip up from Tallahassee on both Saturdays, despite the high gas prices, to help with the tests, plus Kerry stayed in the Tech class all day, both days, to help with the kids, as did Steve, KJ4UKR.

 

So, as has become the standard, we ran like a well-oiled machine. Several people who had never attended a TARC function mentioned this to me, and said thanks for what was done to help them, and with this comment, I pass on their thanks to those of you who I haven’t named, who were there for long periods to make this another success for our group.

 

March will be busy again, and features an event this group hasn’t done in many, many years. Yes, way back in the 1950’s, TARC had a Hamfest. After a long absence, March 12th will move us back in that direction.

 

As you know, we bought our EOC repeaters from Holly Thayer, K4FUR, a few months back. Her husband Jim, KS4JW, was, like a number of us (maybe all of us?), an avid equipment collector. When I was looking over the repeaters, Holly asked if I’d mind putting the gear, which pretty much occupies the entire 2-car garage, on our website in the “bone yard.”

 

That led to several trips back to make up lists of all that gear, and as I got them ready, due to the extreme length, a thought occurred…rather than sell the gear piecemeal, what about a tailgate party?

 

It would get the gear out where any purchasers could see it better, and if we set up power supplies and a couple of antennas on PITS-1 for on air testing, potential new owners would know if the rig suited them or not before purchasing. This would save Holly numerous headaches and …the carport would be cleared out in one afternoon.

 

It would also be a good indicator for us to decide whether we want to get back into the Hamfest business after a long absence. We’ve discussed this a bit through the years, and several folks outside the group have asked why we haven’t tried one. Maybe the time has come? Either way, this will be a good way for us to test the water.

 

 

Bill, KW4EF, has arranged the use of Morningside Methodist as the site, and we’ll be on the other side of the church from where the first Radio Reunion was held. Bill indicates there is more shade on that side of the church, and though we’re starting at 9am, if it’s a warm day, the shade might well be a good thing.

 

I’ll be sending a notice to the other area clubs about what we’re doing, and inviting them to attend, and to welcome their participation by selling gear themselves, so make sure you spread the word about the “TARC Tailgate” on March 12th.

 

You’ll also see a bit later that I’ve started a monthly birthday column. Looking at the database, there are numerous holes in my information on that. If your name didn’t appear, it probably means we don’t have the date, and my mother is curious to know who she’s baking all these cakes for. Just to be sure, please shoot me an email with that tidbit at ke4fgf@surfsouth.com

 

Well, I think I covered everything, so all that is left is to remind you that the meeting will be Saturday, March 5th, at the Plaza. Figure on arriving at 6pm for supper, and then the meeting will happen at 7:30. The major discussion will be Tailgate planning, as it will occur the following weekend. I hope you and your family will make plans to attend both events.

Until then, 73,

Mike

 

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February Classes a big hit!

 

Once again, our Ham Radio Classes had a lot of good participation and I’m pleased to report that there are several new hams and a number of upgrades. Those passing tests were:

Anne Ahrendt – Crawfordville – New Technician

Kevin Martin – Thomasville – New Technician

Jeff Hearn – Tallahassee – New General, now KK4APP

Tommy James, KJ4SWI – Moultrie – New General

John Ahrendt, KJ4ZOB – Crawfordville – New General

Carol Wilson, KJ4YDZ – Valdosta – New General

Becky Miller, K4QLT – Donalsonville – New General

Theresa James, KJ4NBG – Moultrie – New Extra

Kurt Ahrendt – KJ4YSL – Crawfordville – New Extra

 

It was really great to see the entire Ahrendt Family come up from Crawfordville, with husband Kurt leaving as an Extra, wife Anne, as a new Tech, and young John as a new General.

 

The James family was also very evident, with Theresa VERY quickly passing her Extra (50 questions in maybe 10 minutes?) and Tommy making good on his vow to be a $14 General. Taylor also did well in the Tech class and is well on the way to making this family completely licensed. 

 

New ham Jeff Hearn ran through the Tech test and about 10 minutes later only missed one question on the way to becoming a new General.  His new call, KK4APP, was assigned on Tuesday March 1st.

 

Carol and Becky also had no real problems, leaving with new General “stars” on their collars.

 

Scoutmaster Kevin Martin led his contingent of three Scouts and another Scoutmaster through both days of classes. The Scouts and the other Scoutmaster wanted a bit more study, so we should see them at the next regular session.

 

Special thanks goes to the VE test team made up of KW4EF, AI4CW, N4KGT, N4KXL, WD4CJI, KJ4UKR, NY4D, KJ4LOO, KE4FGF, and also to the Instructors, NY4D, W4TBJ, KJ4LOO, AI4CW, and KE4FGF.

 

The next Test Session will be at the Thomas County Public Library at 10am on March 19th.

 

 

 

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The following members of our Radio Family have March birthdays

 

Billy Joe Lewis – 2nd

Lowell Rieger – 18th

Carolyn Peeples – 25th

Lawrence McCuthin – 30th

Joe Carroll – 31st 

 

Don’t see your name? – Let us know at w4ucj@arrl.net

 

 

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NØ Tenna Wizard

 

MOXON RECTANGLE BEAM

 

I have written about MOXON Beam antennas before but wanted to include this article to describe a couple that I have built for Field Day. 

 

To acquaint those not familiar with the Moxon antenna, it is a 2-element beam antenna with a superior front-to-back ratio.  This means that the antenna radiates most of its power off the front and hardly anything off the back.  This is especially valuable for us on Field Day as we can point the antenna North and hear nothing off the back side (toward the Gulf of Mexico).

 

 

Here are some other characteristics of Moxon beams:  50-ohm match (requires no matching device), 11 dBi gain, and 130 degrees of beam width. 

 

Now for some construction points concerning the Moxons that I have built for W4UCJ Field Day.  The wire loop containing the driven element, insulators, and reflector is all one piece.  Simply unfold the wire and attach to the 4 fiberglass poles using "S" hooks - no tools required.  The 4 fiberglass poles push into aluminum tubing mounted to the center hub.  Again - no tools are required. 

 

Total time to assemble this antenna is approximately 5 minutes.  Tear down is also very easy as you simply reverse the process.

 

One other nice feature of this antenna – its light weight.  You can hold the 15-meter Moxon over your head with one hand!

 

Last year, we ran this same Moxon antenna on 15 meters.  Assembly was a bit more complicated as I did not have the center hub built for no-tool assembly.  NY4D Lowell told me that its performance on 15m SSB was fantastic - he was able to hold his frequency and made many QSOs simply by pointing the antenna to the North.  We did have it up on the portable tower (PITS 2) at about 50 feet in the air, so this worked out very well.

 

The second Moxon that I have built covers 20 meters.  Construction is approximately the same as the 15-meter version.  The difference is there are bolts that hold the fiberglass poles instead of the aluminum tubing.  If I were to rebuild this mount, I would use aluminum tubing instead of the bolts.

 

 

Besides telling you about using these antennas for Field Day, I wanted to describe them to club members so that someone may possibly want to build one for use at home.  They are lightweight enough that you can use them on a push up pole and turn them with a TV rotator.  Hopefully, someone who wants to get on HF (10, 15, or 20 meters) may want to build one of these antennas.  They are very easy to build, performance is excellent, and they are low-cost.

 

Someone will look at the design and ask me about using PVC tubing instead of fiberglass.  My advice is to stick with the fiberglass.  PVC is a lot softer material and I am not sure it will stand up to this application.

 

Come by and visit our operation on Field Day this year.  You will love operating using the Moxon antennas.

 

 

73 & CU on the Air, Terry

 

 

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Thomasville Amateur Radio Club

Minutes

October 2, 2010

 

Meeting started at 7:30 p.m.

1.  Welcome and Announcements:  Mike, KE4FGF

 

Classes

There will be Technician and General classes on February 19th and 26th from 9:00 until 4:00 p.m. at Archbold.

 

Midmonth Breakfast

There will be no midmonth breakfast this month due to the classes. 

 

Test session

There will be test sessions following each class session.

 

Friday Breakfast -8:30 a.m.

The Friday Breakfast sessions at Seminole Wind continue to be well attended.

 

Orlando Hamfest

The hamfest is on February 12th in Orlando.

 

2.  Minutes and Treasurers Report:

The minutes were in the Newsletter and Club Treasurer, Bobby, N4KXL, gave a report on our current finances.  Both the Minutes and Treasurer’s report were accepted as presented.

 

  

3.  Old Business:

 

147.195 repeater

Buddy, WD4CJI, gave a report that Scott Haner has it ready to go. It will be installed as soon as weather and a possible problem with the tower’s elevator permits. 

 

Repeater Fund Name Change

It was discussed about changing the name of the repeater fund to Equipment Fund since we have more equipment than just the repeater.  Since this is a Savings Account, we can call it whatever we want.

 

 Flea Market

We had proposed having a yard sale in March but Wynona, KF4HSM, and Dana, KJ4GWB, requested to have it moved to May 7th. Motion so carried.

 

Equipment sale to Flea Market

We discussed having a tail gate equipment sale with the yard sale but after the yard sale got moved, it was decided to continue with the tailgate equipment sale in March.  It will be held on March 12th

  

4.  New Business:

 

Separate callsign for EOC in the works

Mike is working on getting a separate callsign for the EOC’s proposed radio station and hopes to ultimately have WX4UCJ. As the station will have the GEMA provided D-Star radio, it will need a call sign entered to have control access to the repeater at Archbold.

 

There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 8:25pm with 34 members present.

 

    

 Next Regular Club Meeting will be held on March 5thth at the Plaza Restaurant..

 

Respectfully Submitted by

Dana Swicord, KJ4GWB

Club Secretary

 

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                                                               Weather Center

 

               

            After such a cold winter I'm sure everyone has welcomed the above average temperatures for late February and all the spring flowers that could no longer hold back and erupted in beauty to testify that the change of seasons has begun. Although I am certain we will see more cool weather before all is said and done, hopefully we have seen an end to the arctic air masses that so frequently invaded our area this year.

 

            February typically marks the beginning of our spring severe weather season. If we look at historical data we find that it is not the month with with the most tornadoes but it is the month with the strongest tornadoes. This year February has come and gone with little  in the way of severe storms in our area. There are a number of reasons for this reduction but one reason in particular is linked to the abnormally cold temperatures this past winter.

 

            On several occasions recently we have heard meteorologist mention the colder than normal Gulf of Mexico surface water temperatures and it's ability to reduce the severe weather threat in our area. Let's take a few minutes and discuss the reason for this buffering effect when the Sea Surface Temperatures (SST's ) are colder than normal.

 

            If you have taken the spotter training courses then you know that dew point temperature is one thing that meteorologist use to determine how moist and potentially unstable the atmosphere is.  The dew point temperature is the level the air needs to cool to become saturated with moisture. Dew point temperatures in the low 60's would be considered marginal for severe weather but levels approaching 70 degrees are more than sufficient to support severe convective systems even in marginal dynamics. 

 

            Before cold front passages, wind direction will shift and begin to blow from the south and servers to transport the moisture from the air over the Gulf up over the land priming this area for the arrival of the other ingredients needed for severe weather, a source of energy and wind shear. When the SST's are low this causes the dew point temperatures in the Gulf to drop as well and results in lower than normal levels returning over land.

 

            In the most recent cold front passages, dew point temperatures have struggled to get much over 60 degrees. Although this is more than sufficient to support active convection, when this is combined with marginal upper support due to the northerly track of the low-pressure systems a reduced potential for severe weather results.

 

            The mid range computer models are suggesting that the low pressure systems may take a more southerly track in the weeks to come. If this happens we may see an increase in the amount of severe weather even though the stabilizing effect of the colder than normal self waters of the Gulf are expected to continue. By the end of March our severe weather threat historically changes from significant severe weather and tornado outbreaks to more of a large hail threat.

 

73’s,

Stewart

KJ4GOJ

DEC NWS Tallahassee, FL

Southwest Georgia District ARES

 

 

 

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Farewell To Blue Duck

All,

Guess you heard the final chapter regarding “The Saga of Blue Duck” was written yesterday.   Kinda makes a little tear fall from my eyes…. That ol van had lots of memories: from fishing tales, to hunting trips, to lots of rides back and forth to 1st Newark--took him to several Braves games, many trips to Jacksonville for tune ups to the handicapped equipment, and many more places to the tune of 110,875 miles of fun and freedom—it was for the most part a dependable ol friend to Bobby for 18 years.  I have some not so friendly memories of her breaking down on me several times—actually coming to life and attacking the glass windows without any warning--TWICE—breaking down on I-10 (now that brings back a day I would like to forget). Thank God for AAA.  A good memory I will never forget is the day I picked her up (brand new baby Blue Duck) and drove from Cassett Ave to Atlantic Blvd (about 12-14 miles) and the only thing supporting by big butt was a mini-tractor seat bolted from the floor to the tractor seat with a 1” piece of pipe—WOW—a little wobbly to say the least. (Doubt it would hold my fat carcass today).

 I’m sure some of you will have more memories to add to this sample list……we probably have enough stories to start a mini-series on NBC or CBS.  I know MOM hated riding in the back pew—felt like a roller coaster back there, and sometimes you had to dodge the fishing hooks, flash lights, tools, shotguns,  or log chains……..

 

Anyway, hope the new owner treats her well, and she can provide him lots memories he will never forget—hopefully all good ones. 

 

NOW, wipe those tears…..

 Wendell  

 

 

 

Wendell didn't' mention all the life saving devices that I had on board at ALL times! There was enough to take care of business. A couple of Bibles there too. Not to be out done, I don't know how many knives were floating around. Somewhere around 600 rounds of various calibers of ammo to go with the live saving devices. There were several jackets and a couple of shirts and a full rain suit plus a LL Bean heavy-duty rain jacket for football games, of fishing in a rain shower.

Being an Extra Class ham radio operator, I had a ham radio mounted in there with a walkie taltie laying in the seat next to me sometimes. Tools, all kind of tools...oh yes Wendell did mention the 30 ft. 3/8 log chain that I carried. I used it several times too.

Well I don't see and end to this madness so I'll just stop. For the most part as he said it served me well for 17 years! Oh, you haven't lived until you have a wheelchair sitting behind your driver's seat and a wheelchair tire blows out. That will either stop your heart or make it beat many times faster. Thank you Lord!!

Bobby

 

 

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Ham Radio enthusiast has near death experience

As it’s been a busy month, I’m taking a break from the “Back Page” and instead, here’s a newspaper article about an old friend and TARC Family Member, Ray, WB4YCG. We’ve been trying to get a supper trip to Albany to see him, but he mentioned in an email that we may see him one morning at breakfast in the near future…I hope so...read on……Mike  

By Jami Houston forThe Americus Times-Recorder

The Times-Recorder Mon Feb 21, 2011, 08:33 PM EST

PLAINS — Ray Phillips is not only extremely well-traveled, but also somewhat of an expert at ham radio. Phillips, a resident of Sumter Retirement Village in Plains, has been a ham radio operator for “close to 40 years.” He also had a near death experience several years ago.

Phillips received his Novice, Technician and Advanced class licenses in ham radio operation after completing the required Morse code translations and exams. His late wife, Bobbie, was also licensed. Phillips utilized this hobby during the couple’s frequent road trips all over the eastern United States.

Phillips, born in 1928 in Damascus, Ga., was raised in Baker County, Georgia, on his grandfather’s farm after he died. During his senior year of high school, he transferred between three different schools including Elmodel High School, Damascus (where he played basketball) and Albany High School from where he graduated in 1945.

After going to small country schools, Phillips was concerned about moving to the Albany area school.

“I was scared to death; I was a lil’ ol’ country boy,” Phillips said. “I didn’t know what subjects I would have to take, but it (ended up being) a breeze.”

After realizing that his classes would not be too overwhelming, Phillips was able to relax and make new friends.

“They made me feel welcome,” he said and pointed out that he still makes regular trips to Albany “to eat lunch with old classmates.”

After graduating, Phillips worked different jobs around the Albany area for a few months until he turned 18. Since he was about to be drafted, Phillips went ahead and joined the Navy at 18. After completing his training at Naval Station Great Lakes in Chicago, Ill., Phillips was stationed “for a few days” on the USS Missouri before being transferred to the USS North Carolina. While on that ship, he traveled to Cuba, the Panama Canal and “up and down the east coast.”

Prior to joining the Navy, Phillips had met his future wife, Bobbie, who was a secretary for an insurance firm in Albany. Their two-year courtship was primarily through letters during his time aboard the USS North Carolina. The couple was married Dec. 22, 1946, and remained happily married for 63 years until her passing on Nov. 20, 2009.

 

Ray and Bobbie at their “Going Away Party” a few years ago

 

Bobbie, whose maiden name was Hancock, was originally from Sylvester. The couple had two daughters, Anita Davis of Havana, Fla., and Rhenda Coxwell of Albany. Phillips is proud to have six grandchildren and nine great-children.

After his time in the Navy, Phillips worked in insurance for several years as he and his family were transferred all over Georgia, Florida and Alabama. As a staff manager and assistant manager, he worked one- to two-year stints in each location including Albany, Ga.; Jacksonville, Fla.; Marianna, Fla.; Port Saint Joe, Fla.; and Montgomery, Ala. He finally requested a transfer back to Albany where he worked for a year before resigning and going to work for the U.S. Postal Service. After 28 years with the post office, Phillips took an early retirement and “kept house” for two years until Bobbie also retired from the legal secretary position she had been at for 30 years.

Prior to their retirement, the couple had taken every chance they got on weekends and holidays to take trips all over the U.S. and even to Monterrey, Mexico. However, after retirement in 1988, the couple “started really going then” and “stayed gone most of the time.” The couple took six trips to Disney World in Orlando, Fla.; five to Nashville, Tenn.; and a trip to Washington, D.C. Phillips explains how they spent 10 summers based in the mountains of North Carolina and would travel to other destinations from there.

“We sold everything we had, and we hit the road,” he said. “We were from ‘Gypsyville’ (then). We covered most states this side of the Mississippi, except Michigan. ... We just traveled and enjoyed it; we loved the mountains.”

The Phillipses’ passion for ham radio also came in handy during the couple’s travels as they used the transmissions to keep in contact with family and friends while on the road. The hobby also produced a new set of friends and acquaintances as the couple traveled to various “hamfests,” which are basically conventions for ham radio (or amateur radio) enthusiasts. Phillips said he and his wife attended hamfests in Waynesville, N.C.; Ellijay, Ga.; Byron, Ga.; Orlando, Fla.; Tampa, Fla., and Columbus, Ga.

These friends became very valuable relationships for the Phillips, as a group would meet each year in Orlando to catch up and attend hamfest.

“I’ve driven 100 miles to eat breakfast with one of them,” Phillips says of this group of friends.

Phillips’ hobby has also served its purpose as a primary form of emergency communication during times of crisis or natural disaster. He recalls that during the Flint River flood of 1994, ham radio was the primary method routing people in and out of the area and getting information and medical supplies into the area as the flood waters rose much faster than expected. The amazing part is that Phillips was able to organize vital emergency communication in the Sumter County area from Bryson City, N.C., where he was at the time.

Although not very interested in communications abroad, Phillips says that he spoke to people in Italy “one time” and “used to enjoy talking to Canada.”

Phillips’ life has not been all fun and games, however. He suffered so severely from diabetes at one point that “everyone thought (he) had cancer.”

“I almost let it get me,” Phillips says of the diabetes. “... I’m still kickin’ ... I’ve been diabetic for 40 years now.”

He also experienced a brush with death nearly 10 years ago. On Oct. 16, 2001, after undergoing quadruple heart bypass surgery the day before, Phillips was in his hospital bed surrounded by his wife and daughter when his chest began to feel strange and he felt his head droop to the side as he lost consciousness. As doctors rushed to get Phillips’ heart started again, he was experiencing a very different scene.

“I was immediately in a tunnel ... ” Phillips said. “A being of some kind, sittin’ in a Buddha-like position, was holding me in his arm like a baby ... and we were moving down the tunnel.”

After his heart stopped for 40 seconds, doctors were able to revive Phillips.

“I think they beat me back to life,” Phillips jokes, after discovering that his chest was severely bruised the next day.

After his wife passed away, Phillips discussed with his daughters where he should move, but when they let him decide for himself, he chose to stay put at Sumter Retirement Village (SRV) where he and his wife had been living. After Bobbie had suffered several strokes in 1998, “dementia began to settle” and the couple had moved to Thomasville and then for several years near their daughter before ending up at SRV.

“I’ve got friends galore here, and now they’re like family,” Phillips said of SRV. “I feel like if I won the jackpot for $100 million, I’d stay right here — I’m home.”