Please note this first edition of this month’s newsletter is not as pretty as Buddy usually makes it. Buddy’s just gotten out of the hospital. Until he’s feeling better we decided to just get the newsletter done and uploaded to the website. When Buddy’s feeling better he will do some formatting and make it look as good as usual.
The time is almost here…the time to say "CQ Field Day, CQ Field Day!!"
We’ve put a LOT of work into the event this year, starting out in January by deciding to start buying antenna supplies and making plans about what we’d build and where around the EOC they’d be placed.
As we have a number of new members who will experience this event for the first time this year, introductions are in order. Field Day is an event started by the ARRL Field Division many years ago to get hams "out in the field" to operate as if an emergency had occurred. The on-air portion runs from 2pm Saturday to 2 pm Sunday and the point is to make as many contacts as possible in that 24-hour period.
So, is it for emergency preparedness or is it a contest? Well…yes to both, plus more. It does provide a chance for us to test ourselves and since we’re "keeping count," it’s also a contest, but more importantly, it’s a "Media event" where the public and our served agencies get to have a look at our hobby, and get a chance to operate if they’d like to.
So, what do you need to bring? For starters, yourself, and your family. The Club now has antennas and the radios are provided by Station Captains, and for 2010 those people are:
HF Voice 1 (80 and 20 meters) – Gina, W4GNA
HF Voice 2 (40and 15 meters) – Lowell, NY4D
GOTA (Get On The Air) – Dewey, KI4RGD
CW – Terry, N0TW
Digital – Mike, KE4FGF
PEACH, the club Comm.-Trailer will be home to the CW and Digital stations. A brand new 13,500 BTU unit has replaced the ailing A/C unit.
The other 3 stations will be in the EOC, and we may also set up a small VHF station in case 6 meters pops open.
We’ll also have PITS-1 and PITS-2 on site. As you recall, they are both antenna trailers with generators, though we won’t be using the generators at this event. PITS-1 is light enough to be pulled by just about anything. Standard height of the crank-up sections (with a rotor) is about 35’, but can be extended to around 50’ with different center masts.
PITS-2 is an aluminum crank-up design that hinges on a section of Rohn-25 about 10 feet over the trailer and lays flat for transport. It’s around 30’ tall un-extended and about 65’ cranked all the way up. It has a 5.5 KW generator. Both trailers have identical Yaesu G-450 rotors for redundancy.
We’ll be cooking BBQ chicken for supper, and as usual, we ask that you bring side dishes to help fill out the table. Contact Wynona to let her know what you’re bringing.
Our Field Day suppers are always impressive. Last year, a member of another club said he’d heard that "TARC has more calories per contact than any other club in SWGA." So, we have a tradition to uphold.
Because our antenna array is a lot more extensive than last year, we’ll be meeting at the EOC on Friday evening around 6pm to start putting them in place. If we wait until Saturday to do ALL of them, we’d be too tired to operate. Also, please, please, make time to help us take them back down again on Sunday. That’s the price of the fun we have in between….
We all owe a BIG THANK YOU to the crew who ran the Yard Sale on May 22nd. That crew was made up of Wynona, Dana, Dawn, Carolyn, and Kerry (and a few other helpers), and for their efforts, our treasury is $455 dollars richer. For reasons I’ll talk about in a minute, I wasn’t able to be there, but I heard some pretty interesting stories about the goings on. Because of their hard work, and generous donations from a number of other folks, the Trailer A/C has been replaced and the regular checking account is still in great shape. The best part is that we have accomplished all this without touching the repeater fund.
There was also some decent ham related gear that didn’t sell, and Lowell is advertising them on our website and on E-Ham, so we should see a bit more money come in later. I know I speak for everyone when I say "Job Well Done!!" to all who helped out here.
We’ve taken a few hits to our Radio Family this past month that bear mention. First, Buddy had further surgery at Archbold on May 27th, and was released on May 30th and is recuperating at home. The doctors were pleased with the way things went, and though Buddy looked a bit worse for wear, his spirit was unaffected, and I’m sure he’ll be fine by Field Day, though he’ll need to be the cooking "Coach" rather than the actual cook.
Ivan called me on May 21st, and said he’d lost a favorite aunt in Alabama and was headed home to be with his family. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers.
Finally, as I mentioned earlier, I was unable to help with the yard sale because of a death in my family. If you saw the accident between the pick-up truck and the semi on the US-84 bypass on TV, you’ve likely heard by now that the person in the pick-up was my uncle, Maurice Murphy. He and his wife Faye have attended some of our events in the past, and being technically oriented, he was always interested in what we do. The total surprise still has the family off kilter, but we are coping.
Thanks to all of you for the phone calls, the cards and emails, the visits, and the prayers. Times like these remind us that this group is pretty closely-knit and when one person hurts, we all hurt. The kindness you all extended is appreciated and will always be remembered.
The meeting for June will be on the 5th, and the principal discussion will be final Field Day needs. Please make plans to attend and help us do the final mapping on making this event another resounding success. Plan to arrive at 6pm if you want to eat, and the meeting will follow at 7:30.
I’ll also remind you that we shut down club activities for July to give members a breather and a chance to do summer vacation with their families. That means no meeting, no Thursday Nets, and no test sessions for the month. After yelling "CQ" for 24 hours on Field Day, most folks don’t want to see a radio for a few weeks anyway!
I look forward to seeing YOU and your family at the Plaza on June 5th, and again at Field Day at the EOC on June 26th and 27th…
A+ Test Results in May!
The May test session was held at the library on May 15th and we had excellent results!
A number of you met Steve Tyre at the last club meeting. Steve is in the Military and has just come back from overseas. He’d been trading emails with me for several months to find out the best way to be ready for the test when he got back home. His studies paid off…Steve, KJ4VHN, is a new General class operator and TARC member.
We also had husband and wife Roy and Lanelle Alligood attend the session. They are neighbors of Billy Joe’s and also aunt and uncle to Mike and Heidy Drawdy. Roy is now KJ4VHL, and Lanelle is KJ4VHM. They have requested a General Class study guide, and are also new TARC members.
Finally, young Henry Leverett, a member of the last Tech Class, came in to try and finally get that license. He’s been really close a couple of times, and it’s always toughest on a VE to tell someone Henry’s age that he missed it by only one or two…not this time…Henry becomes the 4th Leverett Ham as KJ4VHK. Henry is 8 years old, and is already a "TARC family member." That leaves younger sister Abby, who is 6 and is already talking about getting "her license."
Congratulations to these folks on their accomplishments and we are looking forward to hearing these new calls on the air.
There will be two test sessions in June, the usual library session at 10am on the 19th, and the second will be at Field Day on the 26th at 1pm.
While we usually forego the regular session in June, as the Technician question pool changes on July 1st, I’ve elected to give those who have been studying hard for this all the chances possible to pass before their study manuals go out of date.
Also remember that we stand down in July, so the next regular test session at the library will be August 21st.
Thomasville Amateur Radio Club
May 1, 2010
Meeting started at 7:30 p.m.
35 Members, 1 visitor
1. Welcome and Announcements: Mike – KE4FGF
Midmonth Breakfast – May 15, 2010
The midmonth breakfast will be held at the Plaza Restaurant on Saturday, May 15, at 8:30 a.m.
Test session – May 15 – TCPL 10 a.m.
The next scheduled test session will be held Saturday, May 15, at the Thomas County Public Library.
Friday Breakfast at Granddaddy’s - 8:30am
Everyone is invited to eat breakfast every Friday morning, 8:30 a.m., at Granddaddy’s on Smith Ave.
Mike introduced Steve Williams – KJ4UKR and Stephen Tyre, who just returned from Military service over seas. Stephen and Mike have been trading emails for several months and Stephen intends to try for his license at our next test session.
2. Minutes and Treasurers Report:
The minutes were published in the newsletter and online. Bobby, N4KXL, read the Treasurers Report. As there were no questions for either report, Walt, KI4TFL made the motion to accept both reports. Motion passed.
Bobby thanked everyone who had purchased a raffle ticket to aid in his purchase of a new van.
3. Old Business:
GA QSO Party – Results: Lowell - NY4D
There were two operating stations at the Thomasville EOC. Both stations made over 200 contacts, each. Lowell, NY4D, recognized Stewart and Gina as the two operators with the highest number of contacts. He also thanked everyone who came out. Terry, N0TW, asked everyone who worked the contest to please submit his or her logs. Terry commented that his "Rover" station made 621 CW QSO’s while driving across southern Georgia.
Gina commented that she enjoyed the GA QSO party so much that she went out and bought a new HF radio. Bobby commented that the radios that were set-up at the EOC did not receive interference from each other. Lowell reiterated that the radios performed very well with no crosstalk between them.
2010 Radio Reunion – Results
Mike commented that the numbers were down a little. There were about 80 in attendance. The food was great with plenty of chicken left over. The weather may have been a factor for the poor attendance. Still, it was a great evening. Mike brought up the idea of presenting the church with a donation of $50 for the use of their facility. Bobby commented that several volunteers stayed late to clean up. Walt, KI4TFL, made a motion for the club to donate $50 for the church. Motion passed.
There were 5 clubs and 3 ARES groups present at the reunion.
Yard Sale – Wynona – May 22, 6:00 a.m.
Wynona is organizing a yard sale on Saturday, May 22, to benefit the club’s communication’s trailer AC replacement. Bring donations into town the day of the event – preferably. Be early (around 6 a.m.), since most yard sale customers shop early. The yard sale will be held at Morningside Methodist Church on the corner of Pinetree and Smith Avenue. Discussion was made concerning advertising. Several possibilities including the local access TV channel, the newspaper, and a flyer. Nothing was decided.
TOSRV – Results
Mike read off the list of all hams that volunteered during the TOSRV event. Mike also shared how well the antenna-trailer performed in Sale City. Alan, N4KGT, thanked the Thomasville club, the Albany club and the Tallahassee club for their contributions. He also commented that "Murphy’s Law" was in effect while he was setting up the Net Control Station in Havana, however, with typical amateur radio ingenuity, they overcame the difficulties and got their radios performing.
Mike discussed the possibility of calling the Communications trailer PEACH and the antenna trailer PITS – acronyms for: Portable Emergency Amateur Communications Headquarters and Power Independent Tower System (it carries the emergency generator).
Mike discussed how the antenna trailer was constructed: the PITS-1 trailer has a 2-kilowatt generator and a military crank-up mast. While the typical mast height is 30 feet, it can easily be configured to go up to 50 feet.
There are plans moving ahead on a second trailer with a 60-foot crank-up, which we will call PITS-2, and that trailer will have a 5.5-kilowatt generator. Terry commented that Gina, W4GNA, has donated the steel needed for PITS-2. Plans are to use two MOXON Beams on the trailers during Field Day. Mike mentioned that each trailer would have a Yaesu G450 rotor for turning the beams.
Trailer A/C Report
Mike gave a report regarding the various prices for the AC replacement for the communications trailer. The cheapest unit found is from Lake Park. This unit is an open box unit. This new unit will cost $450 and an additional $100 to install. The unit has a full warranty. Mike jumped on this deal following a quick discussion with the other club officers.
Bobby commented the funds could come out of the regular checking account, though it has already been agreed to pull money from the repeater fund if necessary. Mike asked if there were any questions regarding this purchase and there were none.
Mike asked if there was any other old business. None heard.
4. New Business:
Pavo Peacock Day Parade – May 8th
The Pavo Peacock parade will be held Saturday, May 8. Wynona mentioned that breakfast would be served. She asked how many will be helping – about six raised their hands. Please be there around 8:15- 8:30 a.m., at the hardware store behind the police station. Mike asked if there was anyone who wants to help that does not have an HT? No one indicated they needed one
BSA (Boy Scouts of America) Tech Class
Mike will begin teaching a Tech class for the Boy Scouts of America Troop at the Later Day Saints church on Wednesday evenings at 6:30p.m. This class will likely start on June 2nd, with a class on both the 9th and 16th, leading up to a morning "HamCram" on June 19th, followed by a Test Session. Mike also mentioned there are two others interested in taking the test that will join the boy scouts for the Tech class.
October SET – 3 states involved
Mike spent some time discussing last years SET. This year’s SET will involve Alabama, North Florida and Georgia. The date of this event is October 2nd.
Stewart, KJ4GOJ, attended a meeting at the Thomasville EOC for "hurricane awareness training." There were several new meteorologists present at the meeting. Stewart mentioned that we are coming out of an "El-Nino" period and we should expect several hurricanes this summer. WX4TAE was activated earlier last week. Stewart also thanked Kerry for volunteering to run WX4TAE for us during our "3rd Thursday Weather Nets."
Pelham D-Star Repeater
Mike gave a report that the new D-Star repeater has been assembled and programmed and will be deployed to Pelham sometime this summer.
In final business, Buddy asked about when the Advanced Skywarn Test will be given and Stewart indicated it should be soon, and in the meantime, he is trying to put together a study guide for everyone.
No other new business presented. A motion was made to adjourn. Motion passed.
Meeting adjourned at 8:24 p.m.
Next Regular Club Meeting will be held June 5, 2010 at the Plaza Restaurant at 7:30 p.m. Arrive early and eat dinner.
Respectfully Submitted by
Dewey Rykard II, KI4RGD
Pavo Peacock Day Parade
May 8th found a team of TARC Operators on site in Pavo to help set up the annual Peacock Day Parade. TARC has handled this event for about 10 years now, and our participation gets us the free use of the Pavo Civic Club for our November Fish Fry.
The Operators were: KF4HSM, KF4GBS, KI4RGD, WD4CJI, N4ETA, KJ4KUK, N4KXL, and KE4FGF.
Bobby handled Net Control duties at the sign in desk and the rest fanned out over the route to make sure the parade entries were in the right spot.
Wynona outdid herself again by providing a "Tailgate Breakfast" for the crew. One of the Civic Club Officials stopped one of our operators and thanked us for continuing to help them with this event. Thanks to these folks giving up a Saturday morning of their time, we’re already on the calendar for the 2010 Fish Fry on Saturday, November 13th.
NØ Tenna Wizard:by Terry Webb, NØTW
Towers 'n Such
I am in the process of installing my third tower. It will be a 65 ft Rohn 25 tower, guyed at 35 and 60 ft with 1/4" EHS guy wire and with about 1 yd of concrete in the base. While working on this tower, I thought I'd do an article and give some advice to others who are contemplating a tower install.
By the way, I was recently up at Ley's TV Repair Shop in Quitman, GA to take a 2m repeater in for repair. While there, I noticed that they have about 70 or 80 ft of Rohn 25 tower on the ground. They told me it is for sale at $30 per 10 ft section - which is a very good price. There is some damage to the ends of some sections, but nothing that cannot be fixed. So, any of you looking for a tower, this is a good opportunity to pick up some sections. I can even offer to transport them for you if you will pay my gas mileage.
I have seen many good and bad tower installations. Some things that make a bad tower "unsafe" are:
Lets talk about some of these items.
Towers need ballast, i.e., concrete on the base. The base is there to keep the tower from twisting, compression and tension. A strong wind will push against the tower causing one side to try to lift up while on the opposite side of the tower it is pushing down on the steel. Large antennas on top of the tower can exert a lot of torque - trying to twist the tower out of the ground.
Guy wires do not do much good unless they are snug. How tight to tighten guy wires? They should be tightened to 10% of the breaking strength of the guy wire. The 1/4" EHS guy wire that I use is rated at 6,500 pounds breaking strength, which means they should have 650 pounds of tension on them while in use. This means they are very tight - with no sag. I have seen towers guyed with lightweight guy wire that becomes rusted after being exposed to the weather for about 5 years. Stay away from the smaller guy wire - go with the bigger stuff. 500 ft of the 1/4" EHS guy wire is less than $150. I cannot think of a cheaper insurance than getting the heavier guy wire to use. I like guying rings - they are much better than just running the guy wire around a tower leg.
Tower is just sitting on the ground - not guyed. This is an accident waiting to happen. If you ever encounter a non-guyed tower - DO NOT CLIMB IT! Before going up a non-guyed tower, install ropes or other strong restraints at the 30 ft level or so before climbing any higher.
I like to use pre-forms to attach guy wires to the tower legs, turnbuckles, etc. I also recommend using guying thimbles at all points where the pre-forms come in contact with steel components.
As far as breaking guy wires up with non-conductive insulators, Phillystran, etc., I have used towers and antennas with insulators in place as well as those where the guy wire is not insulated. I can tell no difference in performance.
Thrust bearings are not needed unless you install stacked (heavy) antennas. Rotors are designed to have the weight of the antenna pushing down on them. I do not like using top sections of towers as the size of the opening provided is quite often too small for the size of mast that I like to use. 1 1/2" pipe (not tubing) is the smallest size of mast that I like to use. It fits rotors just fine. Many rotors will not accommodate 2" pipe. If you have a top section of tower - no problem - just take a power hacksaw and saw off the top tapered section. Install a plate with a plastic bushing that is 1/2" or so thick and cut slightly larger in diameter than your mast pipe and you will be all set.
As far as trying to get tower sections apart or together - I recommend a mechanical tower jack. These are wonderful devices for forcing stuck tower sections apart or pulling them together. The one jack will do both. I made mine and will help anyone who wants to build one.
Towers are wonderful items for the serious ham to have. They eliminate many of the problems that occur when trying to hang antennas from trees, etc. A small tri-band beam antenna on a 50 ft tower will give you many good QSOs.
Probably the most important safety advice I can offer is - do not climb without a safety belt. A full-restraint body harness is best - but a good climbing belt is OK. Test your belt before you climb by attaching the belt to the tower at the base and jerk back to test the belt's ability to stop your fall. If the belt is leather or if it appears to be "of age", carefully inspect it to insure there is no damage to it.
73 and C U on the Bands
Rescue Specialist Course
Thomas County Fire Rescue will be running a "Rescue Specialist" course on June12th and 13th. For more information on what this class is about, and to get registered for it, contact Paul, N7SDQ firstname.lastname@example.org
The month of June marks the start of Hurricane season and the experts are concerned that this season may prove to be one for the record books.
NOAA’s Climate Prediction center released their forecast for the 2010 Hurricane season this week and has indicated that an "active to extremely active" hurricane season is expected for the Atlantic Basin this year.
During this six-month season NOAA is projecting a 70 percent probability of the following ranges:
14 to 23 Named Storms (top winds of 39 mph or higher)
8 to 14 Hurricanes (top winds of 74 mph or higher)
3 to 7 Major Hurricanes (Category 3, 4 or 5; winds of at least 111 mph)
This is considerably higher than the seasonal average of 11 named storms, six hurricanes and two major hurricanes.
The 2009 season was dominated by El Niño conditions in the eastern Pacific that leads to strong wind shear over the Atlantic. The strong winds suppress storm development by tearing apart storms before they have a chance to completely form.
This year the El Niño conditions have subsided and presently we are in a neutral state but it appears that La Niña may develop by the end of the summer. If this happens we may see the total number of storms reach the high end of the predicted range. Extremely warm sea temperatures in the Atlantic further support this possibility.
So, begin planning now in the event a storm is forecast for this area. Put a list of supplies together that you will need and stock up while supplies are readily available in the stores.
Make sure your jump box is ready to go and ensure you have the ability to operate your radio during prolonged periods on backup power.
Do your planning and preparation now because hurricanes can form quickly and once landfall is eminent it will be too late.
DEC NWS Tallahassee, FL
Southwest Georgia District ARES
2010 Atlantic Hurricane Names
ARES Notebook – Field Day
For an ARES member, Field Day is the big event. It’s when you get to test all your preparations for emergencies, AND let the public have a look at what you can do. In the excitement though, it’s easy to forget some of the legal aspects of an operation like this. And since what we do to stay "FCC Friendly" during Field Day also holds true in a real emergency operation, let’s touch on a few of the high points.
As you know, we always use our club call, W4UCJ, as our Field Day call. So, what class call is W4UCJ? Typically, everyone looks at the Trustee of the call for what class it is. For our group, that’s Steve, W4ASZ, who is an Extra…thus W4UCJ is an Extra Class call…right?
WRONG!! W4UCJ is a "Club Call." Look it up on QRZ.com if you want to. Club Calls have no class privileges. They take on the class of the control operator of the station. If you notice, the "Captains" of the four HF stations using W4UCJ are all Extras. That is so the stations, with the Captains as Control Operators, can operate anywhere an Extra class operator can be.
Obviously, we use W4UCJ each time we send a CQ or make a contact, so the proper "every 10 minute" legal ID is more than sufficiently taken care of. But, there are other things we do to properly identify and keep from getting a note from the FCC.
First, Steve (our trustee) sends me a note saying that Bobby, N4KXL, and I are the assigned Control Operators for Field Day, and that note is kept on site while we operate.
Secondly, the proper method to legally ID is that once an hour, the control operators of the four stations will send a legal ID using W4UCJ and their call. For example, Gina, who is HF voice Station 1 Captain, would say, " This is W4UCJ with W4GNA as Control Operator.
So what if Zach, KJ4LOO is operating overnight on that station and Gina has gone home for the night. Once an hour, he’s going to say, "This is W4UCJ with KJ4LOO as Control Operator." Zach is also a General class operator, which means with him as Control Op, the station is limited to the General Class portion of the band! But, if I sit down to log for him, I can become the Control Op and then he’s released to operate in the Extra portion if he wants, but he’ll then once an hour say," This is W4UCJ with KE4FGF as Control Operator."
Dewey has agreed to be our "GOTA Coach" again this year and that station will then operate as KI4RGD. As Dewey is a General class Operator, the GOTA station is limited to the General class portion of the band, period, even if the person operating is an Extra class. That’s because according to the FCC database, KI4RGD is a General class call.
So, why would an Extra class Operator be operating on the GOTA station? Truthfully, they shouldn’t. GOTA, which stands for "Get On The Air" is aimed at new hams who have never operated HF, or people who are unlicensed (with an emphasis on kids), but want to try it out before starting their studies. The only reason an Extra should be on the GOTA station is if he has never operated HF, and though very rare, it does happen.
An interesting side item is that as "Coach", Dewey is the one person who can’t actually make contacts using his station on the air! The Field Day rules prohibit it. We try to have someone available to spell him for a while, so he can go run another station and actually make some contacts himself. Let’s say Lowell, who is an Extra, is the person who cuts Dewey loose for a rest. With Lowell as Control Op, what class does the GOTA station now operate under? Easy, it’s still General class. The call sign did not change, and KI4RGD is a General class call. And, if Dewey takes a 2 hour nap, if Lowell remains Control Op, the station would identify adding NY4D as Control Op, but still cannot leave the General portion of the bands.
It’s easy during this event to forget about where the band edge limits are when you’re busy trying to make all those contacts. That’s the reason each station has a frequency chart to help you make sure you keep things legal.
Most new hams are a little confused about what all that Upper and Lower Sideband business actually means and how it relates to band limits. So let’s talk about 10 meter Voice, since all Techs now have that band available.
The voice operation limits for a Tech on 10 meters is from 28.300 – 28.500 MHz. And, you already know from the test that you will use the upper Sideband. Let’s use the frequency limits as our two examples:
As a Tech, can you operate voice at 28.300 MHz. USB? Yes, you can.
As a Tech, can you operate voice at 28.500 MHz. USB? No, you can’t.
Why Not? Because the frequency display on the radio shows you the "Center Frequency" and not the actual frequency you’re transmitting on. The actual transmit frequency is either slightly higher (USB) or slightly lower (LSB) than the "center" frequency shown on the display.
In the case of 10 meters, which uses USB, if you put the dial on 28.300 MHz., the actual transmit frequency is slightly above 28.300 MHz, so you are safely within your band limits. If you spin the dial up to 28.500 MHz, the actual transmit frequency on USB is slightly above 28.500 MHz, and Techs are not licensed there.
Lot of stuff to think about isn’t it? Now you might better understand why we throw all that "useless" information at you during our licensing classes.
Hope this clears up some of the questions about why we do things like we do. If you’ve never participated in a Field Day exercise before, please do make this your first. It’s a lot of fun, and you’ll learn a lot at the same time and bring some of those question pool subjects to life.