Indian Head 100

On Monday, 4 September a group of CCARC members and a few guests supported the Southern MD Century 100 mile bike ride in Indian Head, MD. I would like to thank the following people for showing up to support:

Rest Stop #1, Smallwood State Park: Les, KH6CUJ & Jim K3UGA
Rest Stop #2, Oak Grove Baptist Church: Jeff (KB3SPH) & Pam (KB3SWS)
Rest Stop #3, Durham Church: Paul, KB3YXS
Rest Stop #4, St. Ignatius: Joe, KB3HNP
Rest Stop #5, Thomas Stone: Craig, KB3YQG

I arrived at the start/finish line 0630 to a parking lot almost full with bike riders. Net control was setup and on the air using the Northern Neck Amateur Radio Club’s W4KGC VHF repeater. All stations on the net were up and operational by mid-morning. We couldn’t have asked for better weather with no clouds and cool temperatures. The rider estimate that I received had the approximate count at 1,000 riders, that’s a lot!

We ran the normal traffic calls for supplies between the rest stops and the occasional call for SAG support. We were paid a visit from three young men from Explorer Post 60; Jake, Jacob and Ted along with Mom’s Kelly and Lisa who all came by to observe and help out. Honorable mention to Bob, KB3KOW for lining up the scout visit. We sat at Net Control for a few hours and chatted about radio and Scouting and I was able to get one of them on the air for a bit. Robert, KB3WJM also came by as a new member of the club and fairly new to ham radio. We chatted during the day about antenna and radio options for his QTH and for portable operation such as the bike ride. I enjoyed the conversation and the ability to help get a new ham spun up and on the air. As a side note, Robert is a former Navy CW communicator so his main interest in HF is to get on CW and make some contacts.

We shut down the net at 1500 with roughly 90% of the riders through the course. Another great event supported by the club and another excellent chance for us to take our portable stations out to the field, make sure all the equipment/batteries still work and become proficient in their operation. We will post this report along with pictures from the event on the club website in the near future, I’ll send out a notice when that is completed.

73, Rob – N2OMC

 

20170904_080749Jim, Rest Stop 1

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IMG_9146IMG_9145IMG_914420170904_105736

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Field Day 2017

The 2017 Field Day was another successful event for CCARC. Set up this year was 
again at a section of property provided by Paul (KB3YXS) located in the 
Amberleigh Farms area which actually overlooks Gilbert Run park.

   On Saturday morning about 1000, Rob (N2OMC), Paul (KB3YXS) and Bob (KB3KOW) 
converged on the spot to start getting the site set up. This year the club ran 
as a 2A site, so two radios on emergency power.  The antenna’s used were a 
vertical which had been set up by Paul, and a G5RV with one end strung in the 
trees and the other end to a small portable mast, so it was a bit of a sloper. 
The radios in use were the MK-716 for voice and an IC-718 for both voice and 
digital.

   The operating area was two small tables under a 12x12 pop-up canopy and the 
very quiet Honda generator was several feet away near the shed. It ran so 
quietly we didn't even realize it was on and providing power. We were joined 
this year by Bryan, a Boy Scout from Troop 1780, who wasn't working on any 
Merit Badges but wanted to see what it was all about. During Saturday afternoon 
and evening Bryan and Bob worked 40m on both voice and digital. Bryan was able 
to hook quite a few contacts by calling CQ and seem to be enjoying himself.  
A second set of guests were Kelly and Jake, who participated in the “connector 
day” that was recently hosted by Pam and Jeff. They observed the operations 
and asked some questions.

  Lee (N3YWZ) showed up Saturday afternoon and had a good time catching up 
with him. Lee was able to get on the air and make some contacts while on site. 
Sharon (KB3GHI) was not able to make it, I know she really wanted to though 🙂 
The Field Day site was also paid a visit by Tom Abernethy (W3TOM), the ARRL 
Atlantic Division Director and Deb (KA3VNF) before we shut down for the evening.

  On Sunday morning, Paul and Bob returned at 0600 to get the radios set back 
up and continued to operate for the next 3 hours or so.  Art (AA3RT) was also 
able to stop by and make his customary FD contact.

   All in all another good Field Day for the club. A lot of members had other 
comments so the turnout was low but the weather was excellent and the bands 
were hopping so a good event overall. Many thanks to Paul for the use of the 
equipment and the site, appreciate it sir! And of course thanks to Bob for his 
efforts this weekend and for writing most of this report. If we forgot to 
mention anyone, please forgive us for being old!

73,
Rob - N2OMC
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Time Domain Reflectometer Brief

The brief for the Time Domain Reflectometer in .PPT format can be downloaded from

HERE

The NS to Distance Chart can be downloaded:

ns to distance chart

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March for Babies Walkathon

On May 1st, 2017, members of the CCARC helped support the annual March of Dimes “March for Babies” Walkathon. The event is held each year and for the past few years has started and ended at the Regency Furniture Stadium (aka, the Blue Crabs).

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On hand to support was Patrick (KB3UYZ), Jeff (KB3SPH), Pam (KB3SWS), Art (AA3RT), Joe (KB3HNP), Paul (KB3YXS) Boy Scout Bob (KB3KOW), Navy Bob (KC3BOW) and ‘short Bob’ (no call yet – hint hint).

The walk, which in the past has had both a 3 mile segment and a 5 mile segment, was only three miles this year. Participants would start at the stadium, walk down Piney Church road and then turn onto St. Matthews road and then down to the community center located in “The Links” condo area and then return. This year the rain held off but the morning did start out at a brisk 43 deg or so but finally started to warm up as the event started.

Patrick supported Spirit Station #1 outside of St. Charles High School and was also able to provide close to 70 photos from his station

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Paul was at Spirit Station #2 about halfway up St. Matthew and was assisting the station with handing out drinks and power bars:

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Pam and Jeff set up at Spirit Station #3 located at the community center with an impressive station including solar power and a portable mast.

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Art, Joe and two of the Bobs helped at net control but then Navy Bob and ‘short Bob’ volunteered use of their truck to deliver supplies to the stations.

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The event ended successfully around 10:30 am. Thank you very much to everyone who came out to help and support.

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May 2017 CCARC Meeting

President Mike Tackish (KA3GRW) Activities Manager, Rob Hoyt (N2OMC)
welcomed the members present and introduced this month’s speaker:

Bob Davidson (KB3KOW) gave a presentation on the PiGate software for
Emergency Comms using a TNC-X connected to a Raspberry Pi 3 WiFi.
Front their web site: “Pi Gate Emergency Email Gateway
When disaster strikes, communication is the most important missing
service. Amateur radio operators have a long history of helping in
disaster situations and this new device was created to assist in that
effort.
The PiGate is a small piece of hardware that can be brought into a
disaster area, connected to an already existing VHF or HF amateur radio
and antenna (like in your car or truck), and used to send e-mail to the
global Winlink2000 system through a Radio Message Server (RMS)
station.
Users connect to the PiGate thru a WiFi port either using a web browser,
or an e-mail application, on their smartphone, tablet, or laptop. From
there they can compose and send e-mail to their family and friends.
The Winlink2000 global e-mail radio service then routes the e-mail to
any address in the world.
The PiGate is very small and has a very low power requirement,
allowing it to be used in disaster situations without relying on any other
services. Except for an external power requirement and a connection to
a HF or VHF radio, It is completely self-contained.”
For more information please visit: www.PiGate.net

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Connector Workshop

Twelve attendees from local area ham radio clubs, the Southern MD Astronomical Society, and other guests, had a connector-fest, hosted at the home of Pam – KB3SWS and Jeff – KB3SPH on Sunday, 4/23/2017.

The festivities started with a short briefing by Jeff demonstrating the various connector possibilities along with the associated required tools. The mantra, “Red Right, Tongue up!,” was preached as the standard way to make-up PowerPole assemblies in order to ensure compatibility with other people’s gear before you plugged in something expensive.

Highlights:

Ken – KA3POX served as the soldering Elmer and demonstrated numerous soldering techniques, including helping a young Scout tackle his first electronics kit, introducing soldering skills.

Charles – AA3WS demonstrated how to make a PowerPole tester using a red/green LED and a pair of PowerPoles.  If the tester showed green when mated with your freshly minted assembly, the polarity was correct.  If it showed red, danger was afoot and the polarity was reversed.  Every attendee got to take home a tester.

Bob – KB3KOW hosted a mini foxhunt to demonstrate RF Direction finding capabilities.

Pam – KB3SWS provided a snack smorgasbord throughout the afternoon, culminating in an evening supper.

Camaraderie was the watchword of the day and even some of the “old dogs” admitted they learned some new tricks.

Charles (AA3WS) showing how to do PowerPole connections.

Charles (AA3WS) showing how to do PowerPole connections.

Jake the Scout getting some soldering training from Ken (KA3POX)

Jake the Scout getting some soldering training from Ken (KA3POX)

The set up at the QTH

The set up at the QTH

Ahhh, the Food!! And this was just the snack.

Ahhh, the Food!! And this was just the snack.

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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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