RADIO AMATEUR NEWS & VIEWS, AUGUST 2018

RADIO AMATEUR

NEWS & VIEWS

AUGUST 2018

IN THIS ISSUE...
RANV Summer Picnic Vermont Parks On The Air STARC Hamfest
DXing In Deutschland Five Summits Down Secretary's Minutes
Is RACES For You?

Download Newsletter in PDF Format




RANV SUMMER PICNIC SATURDAY, AUGUST 11

Our August meeting will be the RANV Summer Picnic on Saturday, August 11th at Kill Kare State Park at St. Albans Bay. Activities get underway at 11:00. RANV will provide park admission, drinks and charcoal for the grills. You supply the rest! Concurrent with the picnic will be a Vermont Parks On The Air activation of Kill Kare State Park. We will have stations set up on 20 and 40 meters ready for you to operate in between grilling burgers!

For our pre-picnic warm-up, the St. Albans Amateur Radio Club Hamfest will be taking place that morning, starting at 8AM at the Elks Lodge on Gricebrook Road off of Route 104. Stop off at the fest and say hello to the gang before heading over to the picnic!

It is virtual 3-ring circus: Fester, Picnic and Park Activation, all in one day. Be sure not to miss it. And also, please let Bob KB1FRW know if you will be attending so we can have the right amount of beverages on hand.

VERMONT PARKS ON THE AIR - A BUSY MONTH

Dave KC1APK, Bob K1BIF, Mitch W1SJ

Congratulations to the team! August was another busy month with two activations - Mount Philo and Alburgh Dunes.

On July 28th, Bob K1BIF, Carl AB1DD, Mitch W1SJ, and Bob W4YFJ operated two stations on 20 and 40 meters from the top of Mount Philo. Despite the threat of thunder and a few drops of rain, the team managed to make 884 QSO's between 10:45 and 5:30. As a bonus, Mt. Philo also qualified as a Summits On The Air (SOTA) event. Actual numbers were 809 QSO's as W1NVT VPOTA and 75 QSO's from Mitch for SOTA. 20m was in great form with both long haul and short hop openings.

We worked every state in the Continental U.S. (except AK and HI), plus 15 DX countries, as far away as Greece. On 8/5/18, the team travelled to Alburgh Dunes to do an additional activation. The full report wasn't available at press time, however initial reports were good with several members hearing and working the team on 40 and 20 meters. Be sure to attend the RANV Annual Picnic on August 11th for a chance to help activate Kill Kare State Park! SOTA. 20m was in great form with both long haul and short hop openings.

STARC HAMFEST - AUGUST 11TH

Jason K1LOL

Don't forget about the Saint Albans Amateur Radio Club's annual Hamfest on August 11th at their NEW LOCATION - St. Albans Elk Lodge located at 44 Gricebrook Rd, St. Albans starting at 9 am. Door prize drawing at 10:30 am. Don't miss it!

Further details may be found at www.starc.org/graphics/starc-hamfest-flyer.jpg.

DXING IN DEUTSCHLAND

Mitch W1SJ

I had such a fun time working at WRTC 2014 near Boston that I vowed to return to the WRTC in 2018 when it would be hosted in Germany. WRTC stands for World Radio Team Championship. The best contesters from around the world are selected, they choose a teammate and compete head to head from identical stations. It is the ham radio Olympics!

I met with the German Organizers at Dayton and told them of my intention to work on the antenna team. At first, they seemed puzzled why someone would travel to Europe to put up antennas. It also helped that I did this same job in Boston and knew what had to be done.

But then I got to thinking. Travel 3700 miles to play Field Day? And I don't "Sprechen Sie Deutsche" (speak German). And I would be in a world of kilometers and Euros. So I checked in with my shrink and he told me, "Mr. Stern, you are a healthy little hamster, so go to Germany and have fun!"

However, there were lots of logistics to deal with. Most of the E-mails to volunteers were in German, so I quickly became a power user of Google Translate. The entire antenna manual was transcribed in this manner. I had to obtain a rental car since trains and busses don't go to the open fields where I would be. And I had to get the Germany map for the Garmin GPS to figure out how to get around.

The location of WRTC 2018 was around Wittenberg, a small town (about the size of Burlington) located 60 miles SW of Berlin. This was located in the former GDR (East Germany). This is the place where around 500 years ago, a clergyman by the name of Martin Luther posted his theses complaining about the Catholic religion on the door of the main church. Hey, you have to love a troublemaker! For his trouble, he was excommunicated and had to go into hiding for a while. And this was the start of the group of religions we know as Protestant.

But, why Wittenberg? This is the area where the organizers are from. While more hams and many of the big contest clubs are from the western side of Germany, a group from Saxony-Anhault (the German state) applied to host the WRTC. This area is perfectly suited for this event with a small city surround by lots of open flat farm fields. I always pictured Germany as heavily forested and mountainous. However, most of Germany is very flat. In fact, when I flew oven it, it looked much the Dayton, Ohio area - farm fields all over.

WRTC 2018 consisted of 63 individual sites. These were in 16 clusters of 4 sites each and each cluster had a 6-person antenna team. Our job was to put up 4 stations over the course of 2 days. Of the 96 people on the antenna team, all were from Germany except 6 from Switzerland, and me, from the U.S. But the volunteer coordinator put me in with a team who could all speak English well, so communicating wasn't a problem.

The antenna we built was a Spiderbeam. Instead of the elements being perfectly parallel, the elements are arranged in a "V" formation around two fiberglass poles at right angles to each other. This antenna has 4, 3, and 3 elements on 10, 15 and 20 meters, plus a 40 meter dipole along the boom. So, we were stringing 11 wire element pairs plus 8 guy ropes. It is not a hard antenna to build, but paying attention to detail is essential. The antenna was placed atop a 14.4 meter (50') push up mast. The mounting of the antenna and mast was relatively easy - much easier that dealing with the Rohn tower sections we used in Boston.

This team was extremely thorough - much like the way we are at Field Day. Equipment was first inventoried, and then antennas were carefully built and then measured with a Rig Expert AA-35 antenna analyzer and checked against a specific SWR plot on each band. In at least one case, we had to bring the antenna back down and make an adjustment.

We built antennas on Wednesday and Thursday. Friday was team selection day. The organizers pull balls from a bucket, which matches teams, referees and sites. Then the teams and referees are transported by the Site Manager to the respective sites. All of the antenna team members are then assigned to a site for the contest. I ended up at ZAE-2, referring to Zahner-Elster, the town we were in. This was the closest site to Wittenberg, only 6 miles to the East, so we had tons of visitors. Our contest team was Fred K9VV/NP2X, a big contester and also the Section Manager from the Virgin Islands, and John VE3EJ from Niagara Falls. If you operate contests, you will immediately recognize these call signs. The referee was Tooma ES5RY from Estonia. After a lot of pictures and handshakes, I was off to Berlin to play tourist.

Unlike antenna team, the work of the site team is, well, pretty boring. After the contest starts at 2PM, we hang around and make sure that all the needs of competitors and referee are met. We watch them operate and spend a lot of time talking about contesting and working DX. Most of the site people camp out, but as I had no camping equipment, I went back to the hotel.

But before I got there, I stopped by the host hotel and got on the air! The organizers set up a station at the hotel consisting of 5 transceivers and various dipoles and verticals. There was no room to sneak a beam in there. So, DL/W1SJ was on the air on 20 meters at midnight (6PM EDT), working many WRTC Y8 stations and working a few NA stations as well.

Sunday, I visited some of the other sites before the contest ended, and then we took down all the antennas and stations down and said our goodbyes. I made a quick escape north to Berlin where I put the radios aside and spent 3 days in tourist mode.

FIVE SUMMITS DOWN, MANY MORE TO GO!

Stew KC1IFK

Anderson and I have had a pretty busy summer so far with our new found love for SOTA! Since the last newsletter we have climbed Mount Mansfield, Mount Ellen, Mount Washington in New Hampshire and Whiteface Mountain in New York. Combine those with Camel's Hump, our first summit and we have five 10 point peaks under our belts! So far we have racked up 50 Activator points, 50 Chaser points and 62 Summit to Summit points. We have also have activated from 2 associations, with a third in the works, towards the five we need for our Bronze Mountain Explorer award. We are hoping to have our first 100 points in the books by next summer!

We have also upgraded our equipment; we acquired a Yaesu FT-100D, a Yaesu FC-20 antenna tuner that we run off of a 12ah Bioenno Lithium Iron Phosphate battery and I made a dipole out of two telescoping whips and an MFJ bracket to use on 6m and 10m. VHF and UHF are handled by our Elk log periodic antenna. Going from 5 watts to 50 watts has made a huge difference! We made a Summit to Summit contact on VHF from Whiteface Mountain in New York to Hale Mountain in New Hampshire which is about 170 miles across the state of Vermont! I also acquired a Rigblaster Nomic that I hope to be able to use to get the summits on FT8 soon. Thank you to Zach Manganello, K1ZK, for helping us step up our game by selling us the radio, tuner and Rigblaster!

We have had a blast so far and there are plenty of hiking days left! Thank you to the chasers that have helped us get this far and I hope to catch you down the log book!

SECRETARY'S MINUTES

George, KC1JGM, standing in for Duane, WL7CVD The July 10th meeting was called to order by President Bob KB1FRW. There were 8 Hams in attendance.

The meeting started out with a general discussion of the Field Day. The comments were positive with a few suggestions regarding the layout for 2019.

The RANV summer picnic will be held August 11th 11:00 - 4:00 at Kill Kare State Park in St Albans. The club will provide admission and charcoal for a barbeque grill, tell the ranger at the gate that you are with the ham radio group, they should let you in.

The STARC Hamfest will be held 8:00 AM to noon on August 11th. Information can be obtained at starc.org. This is a great event to attend before the picnic! It will be held at St Albans Elks Lodge - 44 Gricebrook Road - St. Albans, VT, easy access off the interstate at exit 19.

Bob, KB1WXM, suggested a lunch meeting to discuss "Parks on Air" events for the rest of the year.

Paul, AA1SU, discussed activity on 30M in the early evening and contact with Australia and New Zealand 5:00am- 6:00am. The meeting's topic was each member sharing a short history of the attending member's personal ham radio experience as to how they got into the hobby and accomplishments. This was very interesting and informative.

Bob, KB1WXM, discussed his current efforts to revive a Zenith G500 Trans-Oceanic radio and that he became licensed late in life.

Rick W1RLR presented a summary of his experience working with ABC covering the 1976 Olympics at Innsbruck Austria. A microwave network had to be set up with a link to the outside. This was before fiber optic cable and the internet. The ski events were videotaped and sent down the mountain on snowtracs for rebroadcast on reels weighing 50lbs. Much of the advances in video recording were from former Navy personal. The Navy would film each carrier launch and transitioned to videotaping. Those involved were on the leading edge of video technology and were quickly absorbed by the television networks upon discharge.

Jeff N1YD Presented the operation of his voltage amplifier chip experiment. Jeff demonstrated how the chip could be used for mathematical calculations and the effect on processing audio.

Bob Brown W4YFJ discussed his entry into ham radio in 1954. Bob was able to receive the broadcasts from Sputnik, the first artificial Earth satellite launched by the Soviet Union October 4th 1957. Sputnik was also visible on the ground due o the reflection of the sun on the gold coating on the exterior of the sphere.

Nabil N6BTV started by telling us how he won a year lease on a McLaren 650 and took the cash to buy an Elecraft KX3 radio. He works mostly digital modes like FT8.

Paul AA1SU discussed his interest in ham radio beginning in the 6th grade based on his Father's involvement in ham radio. Paul was able to get his code ability up by string with a faster character rate and then dropping down where the character rate was appeared slow by comparison.

George, KC1JGM, had initial interest in ham radio in grade school. Purchased Zenith Trans-Oceanic G500 in grade school, 1968. Passed 1st level exam last February and working on my next level.

Bob, KB1FRW, licensed in 2000, talked about his involvement in Field Day, the Vt. City marathon, the 145.150 repeater and he has a 47 ft. tower with a 7 element tri-bander on it.

George KCIJGM will provide snacks for September meeting. Do we want something that tastes good or something good for us?

CONGRATULATIONS - New Licensees and Upgrades

KC1KAO Nick Arnold (Canaan, NH) GENERAL
KB1MCU Jamie Dennis (St. Albans) EXTRA

IS RACES FOR YOU?

Jessica KB1NBO

Many of our local amateur radio operators are active and participate in RACES which stands for Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service.

In an emergency, Vermont RACES members are deployed to one of these fully-equipped RACES stations:

There they operate HF/VHF/UHF and digital equipment, sending crucial messages to other stations.

RACES volunteers fall under the authority of the Vermont Division of Emergency Management and Homeland Security. Since this is an official body, candidates must first complete and submit an application.

Training and Practice: RACES volunteers are expected to maintain their existing skills, learn new ones, and partner with other members. Official training activities consist of:

For more information on RACES, go to: vem.vermont.gov/programs/races Or contact Vermont Emergency Management at 800-347-0488 for an application form.



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