April 2017 CCARC Meeting

It was a short meeting this month. The following items were discussed:

March For Babies at the Blue Crab Stadium on May 7. The CCARC will be supporting the annual event.  Set-up starts at 0700 Hours at the Blue Crab stadium in Waldorf and the event is normally completed around 1200 Hours. The route this year is only a 3 mile loop, so one less Spirit Station.

A Connector Party will be held at the home of Pam KB3SWS and Jeff KB3SPH and the invitation was extended to various clubs in the area. There will be Power Pole building, soldering and other events on Sunday.

CCARC 20th Anniversary will be celebrated with a Crab Feast at the home of Pam KB3SWS and Jeff KB3SPH on September 23, 2017.  More information to follow.

Field Day is approaching. Field Day will be again held at Paul KB3YXS’s property and a future meeting will cover planning for the event.

A short presentation was also held on the potential for a special event station at St. Ignatius Church which is celebrating their 350th anniversary.

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JOTA from Cederville

This year the JOTA was hosted at Cederville State Forest as part of the annual Scout Fall Camporee. On Friday, 14 Oct, Bob (KB3KOW) arrived around 1600 before the Scouts and set up an operating station outside of one of the bath houses in the youth group area. This was to allow easy access to a power source. After getting the pop-up in place and a dipole strung in the trees, he went off to do other camporee related tasks.
   It picked that night to dip into the low 40’s, so tent camping was nice and brisk!  At 0600, minus any sunlight but armed with a trusty flash light, Bob continued to break out the HF radio, power supply and other bits needed.  In addition to  ‘radio’ being offered, a table was set up with some CW Keys and oscillators.
  About 0715 Rob (N2OMC) arrived and assisted with final set up and testing.  About 0900 the Scouts started coming in groups of 10, so they were divided between the radio and the CW table. The time slots were about 45 minutes, so each group got about 20 minutes of both before they had to move on.
  All was working pretty good until about 25 Scouts showed up at the same time. After a few minutes one group realized they were in the wrong location and corrected themselves, but we still had a larger than normal group, so we worked it as best we could.
  Rob ran the HF and Echolink side of comms and worked to get the Scouts on the air to at least say hello to someone. The bands were pretty busy with the New York QSO Party and the normal nets but we were able to contact a number of stations via HF to include Florida, New York Pennsylvania and New Jersey.  In fact, station N2MO in NJ was excellent as the control ops there was a teen (at least our opinion based on the sound of his voice) and he worked his Scouts through their end of the QSO.
  Mean while Bob was manning the CW table. The scouts had a chance to practice a bit and then were asked to send their names or some word. In almost all the cases Bob was able to decode what they were saying and we had a few returnees to the table to try again. I did note that the older Scouts were more interested in the oscillator, which Charles (AA3WS) kited up for use during the JOTA but the younger Scouts had more interest in sending the code.
  We were also visited by Lee (N3WYZ) who brought along his Satellite set up to try to make some contacts via
one of the Amateur Radio Satellite repeaters as well as the ISS and for each attempt he had a good number of
Scouts around him asking questions and tracking what was going on.
  We continued to operate until about 1800 when most of the Scouts were back at their campsites cooking food
as part of an evening cooking contest with a secret ingredient, so we broke the site down.
  One thing that was done this year is each group of Scouts had their own FRS radio for use. For the most part,
 they maintained some form of radio discipline and made good use of the radio during the day to report their
position or ask questions.
 73
Bob
KB3KOW
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NPOTA & JOTA from Thomas Stone National Historic Park

On Saturday, 15 October 2016, area HAMs set up two radio stations at the Thomas Stone National Historic Site (TS NHS) near La Plata, MD.  It was a great day to put antennas in the air and radios in operation. We set-up two stations, operated, and broke down during the park hours of 1000 to 1600 Local Time.

One station activated the TS NHS for National Parks On The Air (NPOTA) with TS NHS designated as site NS70.

NPOTA website – http://www.arrl.org/npota

TS NHS Website: https://www.nps.gov/thst/index.htm

Another station supported Jamboree On The Air for Boy Scouts.

JOTA website – http://www.arrl.org/jamboree-on-the-air-jota

JOTA US Bands/Frequencies page –http://www.scouting.org/jota/operators_guides.aspx

KB3TJR – Joe, NW3M – Bob, KB3SWS – Pam, and KB3SPH – Jeff arrived at 1000 for set-up.  W1BJC – Bob and AA3WS – Charles came later to assist with operations and break down. The TS NHS site has regulations prohibiting ground penetration and securing anything to vegetation or park resources.  No problem for this group of MacGyver-esque members as we used 14 cinder blocks transported from home QTHs and other free weights to hold the antennas and yard canopies in place.  We erected three poles in our antenna field, which supported two HF multi-band antennas, a 2M/70cm multi-element beam, and a 2M/70cm J-Pole.  The two HF antennas were about 200 feet apart and we didn’t notice any interference.  We also experimented with various Hamsticks on a mag-mount. Since no commercial power was reasonably available at our site, we relied on the Sun and deployed two solar panel/battery systems to provide all our wattage.

We completed five contacts for NPOTA and talked to nine scouts for JOTA despite the busy bands with a NY QSO party and other contests on the air.

73

Jeff / KB3SPH

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MDC QSO Party

Hello CCARC,

   In the event you need a reminder, the Maryland/DC QSO Party for 2016 was held on the weekend of August 13 & 14. As many of you will recall, last year’s QSO Party was held at the Port Tobacco Marina thanks to the efforts of Paul (KB3YXS). Those who were in attendance last year were all in agreement that the location was great and that we’d had an enjoyable time so we opted to once again operate from the marina this year, thanks to the efforts of Paul.
     One big difference this year, and the factor that none of us could predict or control, was the weather. As you may remember, last year on Saturday, Aug. 15th we were treated to a delightful break in the heat and humidity resulting in an outstanding day for outdoor operation. This year was just the opposite with the prolonged tropical heat wave making even sitting in the shade uncomfortable.
     We started on Friday evening with Paul, Boy Scout Bob (KB3KOW) and me showing up around 7:30PM to set up Paul’s large canopy. Unfortunately the canopy is so large that it really needs a minimum of four people to set it up. So under Paul’s direction, Bob and I did what we could by assembling the frame, attaching the canopy and getting everything ready for final assembly the next morning. Local sunset didn’t occur until after 8PM so it was still quite warm when the three of us departed, after agreeing on a time to arrive on Saturday morning.
     The old adage of “If you don’t like the weather, wait a day it will change” unfortunately didn’t hold true as we were in for another day of the three H’s – hazy, hot and humid. Paul, Bob and I were joined by Rob (N2OMC) and the first order of business, as the sun rose in the east above the Port Tobacco River, was to finish the assembly of the canopy. With the canopy up it was time for the most important function, the setting up of the antennas. After all, what is a radio without an antenna?
     This year the antennas used were an S9 31 foot vertical and an inverted V 40 meter dipole. With the antennas up, we placed a few tables under the canopy and set up our operating stations. Radios used for the event included an Icom 706 MkIIG, an Icom 715 and a Kenwood D-710. The was no commercial power readily available this year so Paul brought along his surprisingly quiet Honda EU2000i generator which supplied more than ample power for the session.
     The only downside to last year’s session was the lack of activity on the bands. Unfortunately the same held true this year although we did make a few more contacts this time. While it was hot, and got hotter as the day went on, there was a pleasant breeze coming off the river that made things a little more bearable. During the course of the day we were visited by Ralph (KC3ASH) and Jim (K3DRJ). After Jim’s departure we made a couple of contacts with him on different bands to add to his contact list and ours. I managed two contacts, (Two more than last year!) one with a gentleman in Harford County who, unbeknownst to us at the time, had authored the logging software we were using. The second was with an individual in Florida (Using a “3” call) who said he was running low power but for a period came booming in.
     In the afternoon, Rob stated that the heat was getting to him and departed, leaving Paul, Rob and I as the holdouts. By this time the sun was at our backs and while we had the cover over our heads, the sun was shining on the ground from behind us. This heated up the black cinders under us which was somewhat akin to sitting on blacktop. So, not too long after Rob’s departure, Paul, Bob and I also decided to call it quits, despite the fact that the bands seemed to be opening up with the changing aspect of the sun. We took down the antennas and put most of the equipment in Rob’s and Paul’s vehicles, leaving the canopy for teardown on Sunday morning.
     As scheduled, Bob, Rob, Paul and I met one last time on Sunday morning, again around 7AM before it got too warm, so that the large canopy could be taken down. It came down a lot quicker that it went up and once everything was loaded into Paul’s truck we departed within 2 hours.
     Again this year, we owe a big “Thank You” to Paul for providing so much equipment, for all of the effort he put in and for arranging the site in the first place. Also a big tip of the CCARC cap to Mike Mona for allowing the CCARC to set up at this fine location.
          73, Art, AA3RT
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PGARES Quarterly Drill

Several members of the CCARC and ARES participated in the quarterly PGARES drill. Tom, W3TOM, helped support the operations at the Ft. Washington medical center. Bob, KB3KOW, provided voice and Winlink support at Charles Regional medical center (CRMC) and Lee, N3YWZ, provided Winmor support from his home QTH.

The drill consisted of sending a short version of a specific form used by the hospitals to order more medical supplies. The email containing that information was sent from CRMC to Lee via the KB3KOW-1 BBS. Lee then took the message and sent it via HF Winmor to Jim, WB3KAS. Once Jim received it, he then forwarded via HF Winmor it to Kenny, KB3IIE, who then acknowledged the message and sent it back via the same path.

73
Bob
CAHS EC
KB3KOW

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Apr 2016 CCARC Meeting

The April CCARC meeting started with Charles, AA3WS, giving the first preview to the upcoming Building Day. The kit chosen is the Chinese $3.95 Pixie HF Transceiver Kit found on eBay. Additionally, Charles gave a brief lesson derived from the Boy Shout Merit Electronics Merit Badge requirements and the associated FCC Technician Class Test Questions. The lesson consisted of definitions of the electronic components: The Resistor, The Capacitor, The Inductor, The Transistor and the Integrated Circuit. The lesson was completed with a review of wavelength and heterodyning.

Les Silva KH6CUJ gave a talk on the upcoming Cub Scout event this month. Les is organizing Ham Radio support for the 2016 Western Shore District Cub-O-Ree that is taking place on 16 April at Kings Landing Park located in Huntingtown, MD. The event is 0900 to 1700, with registration starting at 0715. The Cubs will be cycling through events during the day including: HF voice & digital operations, fox hunting, Morse Code, and talking on the local repeaters. Les asked for a few more volunteers for the event, both at the park and on the air from home. Those who would like to help out at the park, you will need to complete a short BSA training course to allow you to work with the youth; located on the web:  “//www.scouting.org/Training/YouthProtection.aspx”. If you want to help out from home, the Cubs will be on one of two Calvert repeaters: 146.985 (PL:156.7) and/or 444.950 (PL:156.7).  Les requested an email from those who plan to help (Kh6cuj@aol.com).

After the presentations President Mike KA3GRW thanked the presenters.  Subsequently, the president announced that Rob Hoyt N2OMC volunteer to fill to position of Activities Manager.

Vice President Tom W3TOM advised the members of the nearby  HamFests: 4/9/2016 York HamFest, York PA; 4/16/2016 Delaware State Convention at the Delmarva AR & Electronics Expo, Georgetown DE; and 5/7/2016 The Greater Hagerstown HamFest, Hagerstown MD. Also the Vice President advised of the 4/15-17/2016 VHF Super Conference, Sterling VA; 5/20-22/2016 Hamvention , Dayton OH; and our 6/25-26/2016 Field Day.

Upcoming Speakers:

Activities Manager Rob N2OMC announced the May 6, club speaker will be Paul Burnhardt, KF4FOR, talking on the “Harp” and on June 3, Jim Cross WI3N Assistant Director of the Atlantic Division for ARES.

Field Day:

The proposed Field Day Site for 2016 will be at Amberleigh Farms off Oliver Shop Road. There will be a Cookout Bar-B-Que at Field Day this year and tables and chairs will be needed.

Upcoming Events:

March of Dimes Walkathon
The CCARC is supporting the upcoming 5/1/2016 March of Dimes Walk.

Maryland QSO Party
The location of Maryland QSO Party will be held Port Tobacco Marina (same location as last year).

 

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Mar 2016 CCARC Meeting

 The CCARC conducted their monthly meeting on March 4th.

The President  recognized the ARRL Mid Atlantic Director Tom Abernethy W3TOM. Tom provided an update on the Mid Atlantic Division and the appointment of Jim Cross WI3N as an Assistant Director of Mid Atlantic Division for ARES. Tom also emphasized antenna safety near power lines. Tom described an incident he witnessed at the Orlando HamCation this year where a portable antenna made contact with a 14KV power line.

The President then recognized the evening speakers Jim Montgomery WB3KAS, ARRL Section Emergency Coordinator Maryland – DC Section and Wanda Montgomery KA3AHI, ARRL Assistant Section Manager Maryland DC Section. Jim provided a presentation on Maryland – DC Section “Interoperability Winlink 2000” program. Wanda presented a presentation on the Maryland – DC Section Emergency Communications Hospital Coalition.

 Elections where then held with the following results:

President – Mike Tackish KA3GRW
Vice President – Tom Abernethy W3TOM
Secretary – Charles Hallock AA3WS
Treasurer – Bob Davidson KB3KOW
Activities – Open – (Tim Velasquez KB3OSF will assist until position is filled.)

Activities Report:

Bob Davidson KB3KOW reported the Club will be doing communications for the March of Dimes Walkathon on May 1, 2016.

Show and Tell:

Art Audley AA3RT demonstrated his new Uniden BC75XLT Scanner and the Chinese $3.95 Pixie HF Transceiver Kit.

Announcements:

Mike Tackish KA3GRW announced the CCARC FCC Test Session tomorrow at the St. Charles Library.

Charles Hallock AA3WS announced the American Legion and PGCERC SantaFest  will take place on December 10, 2016 at the American Legion Youth Camp in Cheltenham Maryland. Charles noted that this is the first Hamfest in Prince George’s County since the Bowie Bay Socks Stadium Hamfest in 2001.

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Jan 2016 CCARC Meeting

Hello CCARC and welcome to 2016!!!

The first CCARC membership meeting of 2016 was held on the second Friday of the month, owing to the fact that last Friday was New Year’s Day. We hope that everyone had a good Christmas and a safe and happy New Year.

Ten members, as well as two prospective amateurs were present for this meeting which was primarily a planning session for 2016. Attendees, as always in alpha/numeric order were:

AA3RT      – Art
AA3WS     – Charles
KB3HNP   – Joe
KB3KOW  – Boy Scout Bob
KB3UYZ   – Patrick
KB3WYR  – Spencer
KB3YXS   – Paul
KC3ASH   – Ralph
KE3GG     – Flyboy Bob
N2OMC    – Rob

Two prospective members from historic Port Tobacco, Debbie and Mark Strickland

President Rob (N2OMC) opened the meeting by greeting the members. It was good to see everyone, especially Charles (AA3WS) who had suffered a heart attack two days before Christmas. Charles gave the assembled group a short description of what had happened to him. The good news is that he was out of the hospital within three days and is now back to his old self, albeit somewhat slimmer. It’s great to have you back Charles, take care of yourself. We never know when we might need your left foot Morse Code sending expertise!

Certificates were handed out to members of the VE team who had supported VE sessions during the 2015 calendar year and to those members who had worked at the special event session in commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln at the Mudd House in April. For those of you not in attendance who have certificates waiting to be picked up, they should be at next month’s membership meeting, to be held Friday, February 5th.

Then Boy Scout Bob (KB3KOW) handed out copies of the results of the on line survey that had been sent out. Twenty three CCARC members responded to at least some of the questions that were asked. The primary focus of tonight’s discussion was on reviving club enthusiasm and scheduling of events. The major discussion focused on what activities were popular with the members who responded to the survey. Of course Field Day (To be held this year on June 25th & 26th) was mentioned. Kits or project building was also a popular topic and I think most everyone replied in the affirmative, the only issue facing us might be where to hold a project day.

It was suggested that the Maryland/DC QSO Party, to be held on August 13th & 14th this year (http://mdcqsoparty.w3vpr.org/) might present an opportunity for the CCARC to have a joint event with members from Calvert and St. Mary’s. KB3KOW also brought up a National Parks on the Air Day that may present another opportunity to operate at the Thomas Stone Historic Site. KE3GG mentioned a special event station originating with the World War 1 Museum (https://theworldwar.org/amateurradio) and it didn’t occur to me at the time but there are always many military stations active on Armed Forces Day (This year Saturday, May 21st). The club is always open to suggestion and we are interested in inputs from those of you who were unable to attend tonight’s meeting. Perhaps you can provide a fresh perspective.

Another topic that garnered much discussion was meeting programs or presentations. It only stands to reason that meetings are better attended when there is a program or speaker rather than just a business meeting. While those of us who have been in the position of Activities Manager know (As do other officers and members) it can be difficult to line up a speaker or presentation to interest the club every month. This is where YOU come in. Perhaps you have a friend, coworker or relative with a background in an area that may be of interest. It doesn’t always have to be radio related or technical in nature. Topics of local interest also seem to help increase attendance. So, IF you know of someone who could provide a presentation please let us know!

Also discussed were Hamfests. Charles is our “go to” guy who can tell you which events are generally for buyers or sellers, which ones are for “techies” and those that appeal to the old tube type “glow in the dark” radio guys. One thing we’d like to do is to revive the listing of local or regional hamfests.

Food is always a popular topic and in addition to the usual breakfasts, some discussion was devoted to possibly having a dinner or club picnic outing somewhere. Paul, KB3YXS, mentioned that the Port Tobacco Marina might provide a possible setting. The La Plata American Legion dinners were also suggested.

Member concerns: Bill (KE3RE AKA “Tugboat”) and wife Katie are wintering with their oldest son in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Bill is still going to regular dialysis but is having fistula issues again that may require more surgery. Carol (N3DMD) is home recovering from her broken femur. Things are going slowly so Carol would like a visit or call, even a text message to keep her spirits up.

With the start of the new calendar year it’s time for that yearly refrain that “Dues are due!!!”. Individual memberships are now $25.00 per year. (I’m uncertain if family membership prices have been raised.) While I have yet to make use of it, CCARC has joined the 21st Century and you can now pay your dues on line at the following link: http://k3smd.org/?page_id=964  You can still do it the old fashioned way as well by giving KB3KOW cash or check at a membership meeting. He can also take credit cards in person as well.

A reminder as well-this is an election year. At least three, possibly four, of the five club officer positions are going to be vacated. As of now it appears that the president, secretary and activities manager position are going to be open with one other undecided. The election will be held at the March membership meeting (March 4th). If you’d like to be considered for a position let any of the board of directors know of your wishes. Remember that your dues MUST be paid in order for you to be considered for a position or to vote in the election.

For some of you newer members, CCARC also has a Facebook page that can be found at:https://www.facebook.com/groups/121601477951088/

Heard after the meeting: Many of us are familiar with Ramsey Electronics kits. My first introduction to them came at the Gaithersburg Hamfest now almost 25 years ago. Unfortunately Ramsey has decided to drop out of the consumer kit market with the start of the new year. You can read the announcement here: http://www.ramseyelectronics.com/ce.htm

Disclaimer: I’ve attempted to recapture tonight’s meeting discussion as best as I could. As always, I may have missed or misconstrued something. If I have, please feel free to correct, revise or elaborate on any points that I may have missed.

73, Art, AA3RT

 

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Monthly CCARC Meeting

Jan 8th is the next CCARC meeting. The meeting officially starts at 7:30 pm at the LaPlata Rescue Squad building at 2 Calvert St., LaPlata.  The back door should be open a bit before for general socializing.
The main topic will be planning the annual activities for the club.

 

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