RADIO AMATEUR NEWS & VIEWS, NOVEMBER 2018

RADIO AMATEUR

NEWS & VIEWS

NOVEMBER 2018

IN THIS ISSUE...
NWS visit SS Coming Up Final 3 Parks
Ducie DXPedition CO SOTA Activation Secretary's Minutes

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NEXT MEETING

National Weather Service at Burlington International Airport Tuesday, November 13th at 7 pm

We will gather on the second floor in an area overlooking the United Ticket Counter. The area is just across from the southern-most walkway from the parking garage (i.e., the first walkway encountered while driving by the terminal). There is a small fee for parking.

We will spend a few minutes before going into the weather office to hold our elections and conduct any club business. The talk will be presented by John Goff, KB1QBI. He sent me the following email about his plans for the evening:

Hi Duane,
I look forward to meeting you and others in the RANV group in a few weeks. It
will be easier to gather the whole group on the 2nd floor mezzanine level
overlooking baggage check-in before proceeding to our office located next to
Airport Police and ringing the bell (also on the second floor). I'll be on
shift and will let you in. I plan to have the group initially meet in our
conference room for the first 30 minutes for an informal presentation and
simple Q & A about NWS Burlington. This will cover our forecast services, our
role in public safety and support services we provide to local, state and
federal officials engaged in that arena. I'll also include some online
weather resource links for folks to jot down if interested. Afterwards I'll
lead the group out onto the operational floor, highlighting the systems we use
to issue daily forecasts and weather warnings for the area. The group will
also get a chance to see our HAM shack. The whole tour should last about an
hour.

John Goff - Lead Meteorologist
SKYWARN/Tropical/Marine Program Coordinator
NOAA/NWS Burlington, VT



SWEEPSTAKES NOVEMBER 17-18

Mitch W1SJ

Saturday-Sunday, November 17-18th is Sweepstakes. This is the granddaddy of all stateside ham radio contests, dating back to 1930.

Sweepstakes is challenging in that you must exchange a lot of information - CORRECTLY. If you miscopy, you lose the contact. The exchange is made to look like a piece of formal traffic. There are 5 pieces of information in the exchange: Serial Number, Precedence, Call Sign, Check and ARRL Section.

Serial Number, call sign (yes you must repeat it in the exchange) and section are self-explanatory. Precedence is the category: A: Low Power, B: High Power, U: Unlimited (assisted), Q: QRP, M: Multi, S: School club. The check is simply the last two digits of the year you were first licensed. So my report might sound something like this, "982 Uniform, W1SJ, 69 VT." And again - accuracy and speed count - which makes this a very challenging contest. Even if you have a modest station, you will work a lot o f people - especially on Sunday when the big guns are literally begging for contacts.

The event starts Saturday at 4PM and ends Sunday and 10 PM and you can operate any 24 hours out of that period. With 10 and 15 mostly dead, 20 meters (day), 40 meters and 80 meters (night) will be the money bands, so focus on those. This is phone only - forget about FT8.

To operate in this event, make yourself up a sign with the exchange, so you know what to say when you work someone. Start by w orking some of the stronger stations and then as you start to feel confident, you might try a few CQ's. If you have a small station, Sunday is your best bet, as everyone is scrambling for new people to work. By the way, a new person who gets on late in the contest is called "Fresh Meat"!

Get on the air for a bit, and have some fun!

THE FINAL THREE PARKS IN 2018

Mitch W1SJ

October was a busy month as we hit the road to put the last few remaining Vermont Parks on the air before they closed down for the season.

On Sunday, October 7, we got together with hams from the Newport area to put Brighton State Park on the air. This is located in Island Pond, in very rare Essex County, in the wild and mysterious North East Kingdom. It was a 2 ˝ hour ride across 7 different state highways to get there. You know you are way out there when the sign says, “End of the earth - 2 miles”. We set up at an idyllic spot on the shores of Spectacle Pond, the smaller pond next door to Island Pond. It was already full foliage season and quite the setting. The weather was cold but the DX conditions were spectacular! It was a full on European onslaught on 20 meters. Half our contacts were DX! One of the Newport hams got on the air and commented that those guys don't use proper phonetics! Yes, and they all have just a slight accent! When the battle was over, 573 QSO's appeared in the logs.

A mere 6 days later, we were at Near-Fest. The plan was to activate Mt. Ascutney State Park on the way home. Bob K1BIF drove down from Colchester and got things going while Bob KB1FRW raced out of the fest and headed for the park. We finally got there at 2:30 and Bob quickly installed me on 20 meters while he took a much needed break after a 2 ˝ hour run. We got 40 meters going just before 4 - a much later start than normal because we were on the road. But 40 was madhouse with folks already looking for us and the Pennsylvania QSO Party going on. Eventually the 3 of us logged 407 QSO's in a short operation which featured both sunshine and snow showers on the mountain.

On Wednesday, October 17, Bob K1BIF and Carl AB1DD activated Little River State Park in Waterbury. This was our last shot to get this one on the air as it would close on the weekend. They had a single station set up in a lean-to with commercial power. The weather was cold and snowy, but the propagation was great! They even got on 40 meters for some close in contacts. A total of 322 QSO's were made with the single station.

That makes 9 activations and 5833 QSO's in 2018, and a total of 24 activations and 11805 QSO's since we started last year! Details, pictures and video links can be found on the RANV web site. We'll be back in 2019 for more Vermont Parks on the air!

DUCIE ISLAND 2018

Mitch W1SJ

You've probably seen a lot of reflector posts about the VP6D Ducie Island DXpedition. Several RANV members were amongst the tens of thousands of hams engaged in the chase!

Ducie Island is an uninhabited atoll in the middle of the South Pacific, some 300 miles from Pitcairn Island, famous for the where the mutineers of the HMS Bounty settled. It is about as remote a place as one could find, located way south of California and west of Chile and 6700 miles from Vermont. With conditions being as they are lately, it would be expected to be a tough shot to work them on any band.

However, the team who put this on knocked it out of the park! Their signals were consistent on many bands, their operating was absolutely first rate and their organization, second to none. I was unbelievably surprised (and happy) to hear and work them on 10 meters, a band I haven't heard much of anything on for years. I managed to work them on 8 bands, missing just 160m - but I did hear them briefly. Joe K1VMT and Paul AA1SU also worked them on many bands and modes, and Gene W1EBR picked them up on 20 meter FT8 using a small antenna.

Chasing a DXpedition like this requires a reasonably good station, knowledge of propagation, knowing the sunrise and sunset at their location and a tremendous amount of patience! This patience was called in play when I was calling them on 30 meter CW and later 80 meter CW late at night and they seemed to be only working Europeans, especially SP stations. "What is this - the Polish QSO Party!" But I knew the propagation and knew that the sun would come up in Europe and they would all go away. Finally, at 3AM, I snagged them. By the way, most of my contacts were made using a low dipole!

COLORADO SOTA ACTIVATION

Scott W1ZU (N1GVT)

On November 3rd, I had the opportunity to travel to Denver, CO for work and planned an extra day to attempt a SOTA activation in the W0C association. Given the time of year, I knew the 10 pointers were not really an option and started looking for summits close to Denver and lower in elevation. I sent out an email on the NASOTA reflector and got a few responses that helped to narrow down my options. Luckily, WA6MM (Brad Bylund) also responded and offered to do the activation with me. Brad is a well-known Colorado Mountain Goat. He knows the mountains well, as he achieved Mountain Goat status without leaving the W0C association!

By the time Saturday rolled around, there was a Winter Weather Advisory for the higher elevations, with temps in the 20s and winds gusting to around 50mph. The original summit was within the advisory, so we made a shift to a lower elevation summit. Berrian Mountain (W0C/FR-060) was the winner. I'd like to mention at this point that a “lower elevation summit” in Colorado is 9,147 feet! The hike to the top had variable amounts of snow, which never got much over a couple of inches. It was snowing at the top when we set up and started the activation but was bright and sunny by the time I was done, 45 minutes later. Brad set up about 100 yards from my location. I started on 20 meters and he started on 40 meters.

SECRETARY'S MINUTES

Duane WL7CVD

The sign-in sheet showed eleven in attendance. The club president, Bob Allen (KB1FRW), called the meeting to order at 7:03 PM.

Nominations for Club Officers Bob Henneberger (K1BIF) nominated Bob Allen (KB1FRW) for president. Duane Sherwood (WL7CVD) seconded. Duane (WL7CVD) nominated Adam Lamore (KB1LHB) for vice president / treasurer. Seconded by Bob H. (K1BIF). Bob H (K1BIF) nominated Duane (WL7CVD) as secretary. Seconded by Bob Brown (W4YFJ).

Miscellaneous
There was some general discussion about members who helped transport some gear from a fellow ham who is now inactive. There was also some discussion of Near Fest. Adam (KB1LHB) declined to be a candidate for vice president/ treasurer.

No snacks because the next meeting will be at the NOAA weather service at the Burlington International Airport.

Presentation
Bob H (K1BIF) gave a slide show about recent Parks on the Air activations. Stations were set up in various weather conditions. A good number of our club members were shown operating or otherwise participating.

For the presentation, Mitch told us of his adventures setting up Field Day style ham radio stations in the fields of Germany for the WRTC 2016. This is a competition that takes place every 4 years, simultaneously with the IARU World Championship contest in July. Mitch had lots of pictures and funny stories to tell. He also got to work some of the stations from back at the hotel. I myself worked a few of the special call sign stations from home, mostly on 40 meters. At the end, we all gave Mitch a nice round of applause. We then headed for the snacks provided by George KC1JGM. He baked up some interesting goodies for us. As usual, this was accompanied by lots of chatter about various topics. I forget who volunteered to bring snacks for the October 9 meeting, but you know who you are.



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