The Reflector May2011
Seems like a long time since the last meeting doesn’t it? April had five Saturdays, and I found myself thinking the May meeting was “this weekend” several times.
The last meeting day was busy with the Spring SET taking place that morning. Local participation was really good on two different VHF Nets and a number of folks also participated on HF.
We had a death in the family, so my participation was limited, but I did get to check in locally, as well as the State HF and D-Star Nets. Thanks to all of you who did take time to participate. This event was very successful and may be something we start doing each year as a tune up for Hurricane Season.
Because of the TOSRV Bike Race, we decided to pass on the Georgia QSO Party, but I accepted an invitation to the Moultrie Club’s site, and greatly enjoyed watching Tommy, KJ4SWI, as he waded through the pile-ups of stations waiting to make contact with him.
I don’t know the final numbers but he stayed busy and I’ll bet ran up quite a score. It was followed up by a fantastic BBQ supper courtesy of Clyde Scott, W4CCS, and his wife. It was a really great time and may be something we want to try next year, rather than setting up the EOC.
Terry, N0TW, also ran up quite a score as a mobile station helping to activate a number of rare Georgia counties. He had over 900 contacts and didn’t work the entire event.
The next weekend found a number of us watching bicycles as the 2011 TOSRV Bike Race got off to a wet (and late) start. We had the route well covered both days and the event went without major mishap. I had PITS-1 deployed in Sale City, and was amused to see a number of people making detailed pictures…maybe other groups getting ideas for a “clone?”
I guess the main story of this month has been the extreme weather, and we’ve been lucky that the major part of the fronts have not hit us directly. Several folks have started getting serious about storm spotting and as a result, there is interest in some of the “mobile modes” that are being fielded, principally APRS.
As you may know APRS (Automatic Position Reporting System) is a packet mode where your radio and TNC are connected to a GPS and they uplink position reports where you can be followed on a map. Several folks were running it (144.39 MHz.) during TOSRV, and that sparked an interest in seeing what’s involved.
So, when is the best time for a class?
Well, the Test Group has had to move from the Library to the Thomas County EOC while the Library is being renovated, and as we can make all the noise we want without a librarian wagging a finger at us, why not make full use of the facility?
So, we’re thinking about having an APRS class following the test session on the 21st if there is enough interest. If you are interested, let me know at email@example.com and I’ll add you to the list.
May 14th is Pavo’s day to shine with the annual Peacock Day festivities, and we’re set up to help run the parade. Wynona is providing another excellent tailgate breakfast, so you’ll need to let her know at firstname.lastname@example.org so she’ll know you’re coming to help.
And that’s it for me for this edition. I hope you’ll make plans to join us at the Plaza on May 7th for the monthly meeting. Plan on arriving at 6pm for supper, and the meeting will happen as soon as the waitresses allow. In addition to this month’s plans, we’ll need to start Field Day discussions too, so come prepared to help chart the course.
I look forward to seeing YOU and your Family there!
TOSRV 2011 is history and TARC was right in the midst of the action on both days.
The following stations took part in the event:
KF4GBS, KI4TFL, WD4CJI, N4KGT, KJ4KUK, KJ4UKR, KC4LYC, KE4RWR, KJ4GOK, W4TBJ, KJ4SWI, N0TW, KD4EYF, and KE4FGF.
KJ4GOJ kept a watch on weather radar to keep us out of harm’s way early in the event.
The event ran well with only one mishap on Sunday. Many thanks to the folks named above who came out to help!!
The following Members of the TARC Family have May Birthdays:
Steve Williams – May 1st
Dave Myers – May 5th
Amy Castleberry - May 7th
Colby Swicord – May 10th **
Dewey Rykard – May 14th
Dawn Kitchens – May 26th
Alan Terrell – May 27th
Don’t see YOUR birthday? – Let us know at email@example.com
** Colby will be “Sweet Sixteen” and finally able to drive alone…watch out!!**
The May Test Session will take place on May 21st, at the Thomas County EOC, located at 1202 Remington Avenue. The time is still 10am.
The venue change is due to construction taking place at the library, and we won’t return to the library until later this year.
As we have some people asking about classes on operating various modes, we may also start having afternoon classes after the test session to allow training for those interested. If you have something you’d like us to hold a class on, let one of the club officers know and we’ll try and arrange it.
Special CPARC Meeting in Tifton
The Coastal Plains ARC invites all area HAMS to the May meeting on May 14th (Saturday) at 1:00 pm.
Dave, W5UP, the founder of eQSL, will be flying in and presenting the program. Bring your license and you can obtain AG status (ID verified) on the spot so you can use all your eQSLs toward the many awards that use this service. (CQ, etc.)
We would like to have some indication of how many to expect so we can have enough refreshments and handouts prepared. Please let me know by email, phone call, or text message when you get a close idea of the number attending from your group.
I am told that Dave will have some special offers at the meeting that aren’t available elsewhere
We hope this will be a good opportunity to see many of our friends from surrounding areas and also hear a great presentation from Dave. I understand that he has made similar presentations all over the US and many other countries so he should be a very interesting presenter.
We are fortunate to have landed him for this presentation here in South Georgia and we want everyone to come and take advantage of this rare opportunity.
The meeting will be held at the Mell Baptist Association Offices on the Waterloo Highway north, next door to Dr. Branch’s Veterinary Clinic. The street address (and for your GPS device) is: 4022 North Tift Avenue, Tifton, GA 31794
A map is on the W4PVW.US club web page for your convenience.
Talk-in will be on 147.285 +600 with a ctcss tone of 141.3. In town talk-in will also be on 146.520 simplex.
My email is firstname.lastname@example.org and you can reach me at 229-567-7297 (cell and text #).
We look forward to seeing you there.
Pres. Coastal Plains Amateur Radio Club
NŘ Tenna Wizard
I never operate on 10 meters - it's dead, right?
Well, with the recent sunspot activity I can definitely tell you the answer to that question is definitely NO!
For example, during the last month I have worked:
Australia, French Polynesia, US Virgin Islands, Central Kiribati, Falkland Islands, New Zealand, Argentina, France, Spain, Croatia, Switzerland, Slovak Republic, Italy, Austria, Belgium, Portugal, Germany, Slovenia, Netherlands, Greece, Denmark, Sardinia, Zimbabwe, Liberia, Madagascar, Canary Islands, Singapore, Brazil, Jamaica, Central African Republic, USA, Aruba, Ascension Island, Panama, Bahrain, Ukraine, Kuwait, Belarus, Taiwan, Malta, Morocco, St Lucia, South Africa, Gabon, Nicaragua, and Martinique. These 46 10 meter SSB contacts were all made during April so 10m is definitely not dead.
Many Techs forget that they have 10-meter privileges (28.3 to 28.5). And, Generals have the entire 10-meter band. I talk to many QRP stations - those running 10 watts or less. I even talked to Australia the other evening and he was running 10 watts and a vertical antenna. Many stations are running vertical antennas, so it does not take elaborate beam antennas to communicate.
There are several types of 10m antennas available. Perhaps the lowest cost is the vertical. A typical vertical is the Antron A99 and its retail cost is approximately $60. Another popular antenna is a 2element beam. This antenna has a boom only 66 inches long. Another possible antenna for 10m is the MOXON. This wire beam antenna is easily constructed with fiberglass poles. All of these antennas are lightweight and can be mounted on a push-up pole.
I would really like to encourage Techs and General class licensed hams to try HF, especially 10m. You will be delighted to make contacts with stations using a variety of equipment and antennas. The ability to work DX will open up an entirely new avenue for the newer hams. It is addicting!
Happy Mother’s Day!!
Another Mother's Day is here,
Bringing joy and pleasures new,
On this special day, Mother dear,
I want to remember you
I cannot give you costly gifts,
And I've told you this before,
No matter what I give to you,
You give back much, much more
I'm giving you a pure, sweet rose,
Gathered in the early morn,
This rose you planted in my heart,
The day that I was born
In kindly, loving thoughts of you,
And with the faith you still impart,
The rose I give to you today,
Is the love that's in my heart.
1) Welcome and Announcements:
a) Test Session – Cancelled due to TOSRV.
b) Midmonth Breakfast – Cancelled due to TOSRV.
c) Ragchew Breakfast (Fridays) – Seminole Wind- 8:30am is continuing to be very well attended.
2) Minutes and Treasurer’s Reports
The Minutes and Treasurer’s report were accepted as presented.
3) Old Business:
a) Flea Market- At this time the flea market is up in the air. It could be postponed until the fall
b) Kenwood TS-480 acquired- this radio was purchased from Holly for $500 and it was a great buy for the club.
c) Tailgate Discussion and continued radio sales- Everyone was in agreement that this was an excellent event and one we should look at doing each year be done with more advertisements done. There is gear left and it is being stored at the hospital until it can be sold on either out web site or eHam or ebay. We will get 50% of the profit from the sales of all equipment left.
4) New Business:
a) Georgia QSO party- because of all the recent events the club has been involved with that we would not set up the EOC as a club station, and leave participation to individual home stations.
b) TOSRV- this event is April 9th and 10th. If you would like to help, please let Mike know. You will need to be in your positions by 8:00 a.m.
c) Peacock Day is May 14th. It is a little early to be talking about this but we need to continue to do this in case we do need to use the building in Pavo for an event.
d) Field Day – After a short discussion we decided to have a BBQ mix with Boston butt and chicken, rather than chicken alone.
It had been planned for a good while, though our schedules had failed to sync up until now.
I met Bob Moody, W4WSZ, a few years before becoming a ham, and our paths had crossed because we were both broadcasters. We were both in Dell Electronics one morning, and Bill Dull, the store manager introduced us.
Bob is an avid follower of Military history, and we started crossing paths again as frequent visitors of the Monday “Vet’s Lunch” that Ray Prim, KD4VQS, started.
I’m sure it was there that Ray mentioned to Bob about knowing Ken, W4MWW, and the fact that Ken was an “Indianapolis Survivor.” Indeed, during one of the lunches, I’d seen Ray pass around a picture of his hat and Ken’s together on a table at a November Fish Fry.
I’d lost track of Bob until a few weeks ago when he began showing up at our breakfast sessions on Friday mornings. He liked the folks he’d met and made the decision to join the club. It was during one of those sessions that he asked if his memory was correct about us having a member who had been a part of the Indianapolis crew.
Bob and Ken actually got to meet each other briefly at the last club meeting, and last Friday, everyone’s schedule finally opened at the same time, so that we could have a quieter “sit-down” together.
Ken’s house is something of a shrine to his ship, and we passed numerous pictures of it, and of Ken in his Navy uniform. We settled in the living room, made a short bit of small talk, and then the conversation shifted to Ken’s story of the final days of his ship.
For those of you who don’t know about this, the USS Indianapolis played a pivotal role in the war with Japan, delivering the Atomic Bomb code named “Little Boy” to the island of Tinian in a record dash across the Pacific that stands to this day.
Ken’s ship was at Mare Island, California for repairs following a hit from a kamikaze during the Okinawa Invasion, and she was deemed the best and safest way to transport the highly secret weapon.
Following the delivery, the Indianapolis headed toward the Leyte Gulf to rejoin her Task Force, and a few days out of Tinian, a Japanese Submarine sank her.
There are several books about the tragedy, but there is a considerable difference between reading about it, and hearing an actual eyewitness account. We all settled in as Ken began recounting what happened.
The grandfather clock in the hall sounded a “quarter past the hour” as Ken got into his story, but for us, time was actually turning back to that warm Pacific night back in 1945.
He started by telling us about the strange boxes being delivered to the ship and that everyone’s shore leave was cancelled, as the orders received were to proceed at “all possible speed.” No one aboard knew the actual contents of the boxes, and they were under constant guard so no one in the crew could stop and look them over.
There was a brief stop at Pearl Harbor for refuel and re-supply, and the ship continued to Tinian, completing the entire trip in 10 days, a time still unequalled.
Once the boxes were unloaded, the ship made a brief stop at Guam, and proceeded from there to rejoin the fleet. Because of the highly secret nature of her trip, no one really knew she was back in the combat zone.
Ken told us about being “doubly lucky” that last night. He’d been in Sick Bay for a few days and had just been released shortly before the incident. Because of the heat, he’d elected to grab his blanket, pillow, and life preserver, and sleep up at his station on the Signal Bridge.
As he got to this point of the story, his voice changed, and it was obvious to us that the person precisely recounting the final minutes of the ship’s life was the 20-year-old sailor we’d seen in the picture on the wall …
Shortly after midnight, an explosion raised him up off the deck, and as he scrambled to get to his feet, a second explosion knocked him back to the deck. They’d taken hits from two torpedoes.
The first had struck near his berth area, and the second, immediately below the Sick Bay. Had he been in either spot, he’d probably have gone down with the ship.
There was a lot of activity, and in the dim moonlight, he could see that part of the bow had broken away, and the ship was already beginning to list. He was close enough to hear the discussion between the Ship’s Engineer and the Skipper; the ship’s back was broken and there would be no saving her. Captain McVey, gave the order to abandon ship. Ken placed the ships important documents into a lead lined bag and tossed them overboard to prevent them from falling into enemy hands.
Once done, Ken readied himself to abandon the ship, which was gently rolling over on her starboard side. He paused briefly, and prayed to the Lord to help him survive. He felt a calm settle over him and as the ship rolled fully on her side he walked along the edge and slipped into the water.
Sinking ships usually involve a lot of suction as empty areas of the ship fill up with water, so Ken began to swim away from the ship as fast as he could. He stopped for a rest and looked back, and could make out the fantail of the ship rising up in the water, one prop still slowly rotating…and then it quietly slid out of sight…only 12 minutes had elapsed since the first explosion.
Of the 1100 men aboard, it is thought that about 880 made it off the ship.
Ken saw the ship’s seaplane floating a short distance away, and began swimming towards it, but it sank before he could get there. He chanced upon a 4x8 foot life raft and along with 4 other crewmen, began moving around to see who had gotten off the ship.
One of those survivors was a Radioman, and though he knew an SOS had gotten out, there was no time to listen for an acknowledgement.
Many of the men were wounded, and everyone was drenched in fuel oil from a ruptured tank. The oil gave them some protection from the sun, but burned in their eyes.
A short time later, sharks began cruising among the rafts and the men who were floating in life vests. Fear began to mount.
In the haste to leave California, no one had completely replenished the survival kits on the rafts, though Ken’s had a small jug of water (about 2 pints) which they began rationing.
Also in the kit were some hooks, a hand-line and a piece of a malt cracker. One of the guys made small dough balls from the cracker and began trying to catch fish. Ken told him he’d never get anything to bite because of the deep water, but the man caught 4 small blue fish.
Ken used a small knife he had to cut them up and again they rationed them out. On the fourth day, the water from the small jug gave out, but despite this, they maintained high hopes of being found.
One the fifth day, a Navy Anti-Submarine Patrol plane spotted the oil slick, and thinking it was a wounded sub, flew closer to check things out, and saw men in the water. They began radioing for help, and the survivors were delivered from the sea.
Of the approximately 880 men who went in the water, 317 came out…the worst tragedy the US Navy has ever experienced.
Ken paused here, and we asked a few questions, though it was apparent that the retelling had taken an emotional toll on him as he thought about friends long since gone…
He told us he is getting ready for his annual Ship Reunion, which takes place in Indianapolis in July. About 50 of the 317 are still left…a testimony to the resilience of the crew.
We stayed a few more minutes, and excused ourselves so he could rest.
On the way out, we stopped by his radio room, and Bob got a chance to look over a display of the gear Ken used to survive the ordeal. His watch, the knife used to cut up the fish, a small flare gun, and a piece of the Kamikaze from Okinawa are all part of the display.
Ken presented Bob with a t-shirt and baseball cap honoring the ship, and as we left, Bob clasped his hand, held it, and thanked Ken for not only sharing his story, but also for his service to our country.
As we approach Memorial Day 2011, which is May 30th, I’m hopeful that more people will do just that for the many Veterans that are around us. Our club is particularly rich in that respect, and I speak for all of us when I say “Thank You” to those of you in our club who served in the Military, for putting your life on hold to assure the rest of us continue to have individual freedom.
The thing to remember here is that you don’t have to wait until a particular holiday to say thanks. And, if you’re interested in Military history, most of our Vets are pretty open about discussing what they did…I assure you it is far more fascinating to hear the real account, than one printed on the pages of a book….
See You Saturday Night at The Meeting