All Things HF: April 2017

All Things HF…
Last month we experienced low sunspot numbers. The past 30 days we’ve experienced 14 days in a row of no sunspots whatsoever. Getting DX was difficult if not entirely impossible but…patience is a virtue when working DX even with no sunspots. When all else fails, go to that narrow band mode of communicating referred to as CW. I was to work both Cote d’ Ivoire (TU) and the Solomon Islands (H4) on 30-meters CW with pretty fair signals. I plan to talk about CW in one of my future Blogs. This month I’d like to remind those of you with HF privileges and those of you working to upgrade to HF that there is plenty of ‘good stuff’ out there in the form of QSO’s around the country even with low to no sunspots on 17 and 20-meters. The thrill of having your CQ answered or a CQ you’re  responding to is that there’s an interesting operator at the other end of your microphone to talk with. Several years ago I answered a CQ from a station in the northeast part of the country and as I entered his call into my logging program, his name popped up as Konrad Wallenda…oh yeah I thought, the famous flying Wallenda’s and one of them just might be on the other end of my QSO. After the usual exchange of station information and QTH, I asked the question and there was a chuckle from the other end…yes he was one of the  famous members of the Wallenda clan. Its this sort of experience that keeps me coming back day after day even when there’s lousy band conditions. Several months ago I worked a (KH6) which is a Hawaiian call but his address popped up as being in Silicon Valley. This started an hour’s long of one of the most interesting and informative QSO’s I had experienced on HF.  The operator was a survivor of Hiroshima! He was a 3 year old toddler that fateful day as ‘the’ bomb struck that ended a terrible war. On his QRZ page was an interesting series of photos, an exact replica including the vintage radios of the station aboard the B-29 known as the Enola Gay that he created over the years. He became an American citizen and some sort of a big shot in the Silicon Valley. You never know who is going to answer your CQ so don’t forget to sit at your station and call…someone somewhere is listening for your signal…

So long from Huntersville, best 73 es gud DX de Bob/W0ZPE.

BAARC Breakfast and Technology meeting March 18, 2017

Saturday morning there was a very large turnout for the BAARC breakfast the technology meeting.
At the breakfeast, Mitch AD0HJ and Nick W0NY shared some new work that they have been working on. Nick downloaded and printed an enclosure for the PiGate (a Raspberry Pi PC and TNC) to be used for emergency operations. Be sure to attend our next club meeting to learn more about Winlink 2000 and email capability using our amateur radios.
Mitch shared the PiGate device that he has built. This standalone PC boots up and becomes WiFi hotspot that you can send emails in an emergency.

At the Technology meeting there was also a large turnout for the meeting at the library. At that meeting, we discussed the following:

  • BAARC website server move to the Crosby site
  • The future BAARC remote HF station and associated antenna
  • The upgrades to the BAARC repeater linking
  • Future ideas for the Gull Lake site
  • Discussion regarding re-purposing our old repeater equipment.

2017 Northland Skywarn Amateur Radio Meeting

On Saturday March 11, 2017 five member of the Brainerd Area Amateur Radio club participated in the annual Northland Skywarn Amateur Radio Meeting and planning session.

Members from BAARC that attended included the following:
John: W0WY Terry: KI0FW Al: W0RC Dave: K0ISZ Steve: N0CRM

The Northland Skywarn Amateur Radio community leaders (18 counties of coverage from the Duluth National Weather Service Network) met with the NWS to discuss past practices and plan for the upcoming severe weather season.
This meeting is also a medium for Northland Hams to meet and discuss their area-wide communications practices.

Meeting activities included the following:
Introductions
Review of last year’s meeting action items
Review of the Duluth NWS Network
Activation Review/Updates
Review of Situational Awareness and weather reporting tools
CoCoRaHS – Measure and report rainfall
mPING – is an app for your Smartphone Android or IOS; Enable GPS, This began as a         precipitation tool but has expanded

We also learned about some of the members favorite tools that they use:
Google Voice: This tool allows you to create a single
You can choose a brand new number from Google or use your existing mobile number to get    the full set of Google Voice features, like:
• one number that rings all your phones
• online voicemail with transcriptions, sent to you by email or text
• custom greetings and call blocking, and much more

Zoom Weather Pro

Radar Scope Very good reports about radar accuracy

Spotternework.org Many storm chasers and spotters use this. You must answer some questions regarding spotting before you are allowed.

Severe Weather Awareness Week is April 17-21st
There will be a drill on April 20th.
• The test tornado watch will be issued at 1:00 PM
• All spotter groups will be officially activated at 1:15 PM
• The test tornado warning will be issued at 1:45 PM
• The test warning will end at 2:00 PM
Please note that a second test tornado warning will be issued at 6:45 PM

BAARC Donation to Bouvet Island DXpedition-2018

On behalf of the Bouvet Island DXpedition-2018, thank you for your kind contribution of $100 USD on behalf of the Brainerd Area Amateur Radio Club.

Please accept this small gift (download the attachment) to recognize your important and generous contribution toward the Bouvet DXpedition-2018 expenses. As you probably know, this is likely the most expensive DXpedition ever attempted.

It is dedicated and generous DXers like you and your club members that make DXpeditions such as this possible, and we are pleased that BAARC is now one of our important supporters.

One of the goals of the Bouvet Island DXpedition-2018 is to provide at least one QSO to every DXer who needs this #2 ranked DXCC entity for an all-time new one (ATNO). Also, we want to provide as many band/mode contacts needed by DXers as we possibly can. We believe we have the plan, the team and the equipment to make this happen!

Your contribution will help make all this a reality for not only our team of DXpeditioners, but for DXers, worldwide…THANK YOU!

See you in the pileups!

For the team,
Ralph Fedor – KØIR
Bob Allphin – K4UEE
Erling Wiig – LA6VM

 

BAARC Donation

February 2017 BAARC Secretary Report

THURSDAY-FEBRUARY 23, 2017 – 4:00 PM – BAARC BOARD MEETING MINUTES – BRAINERD PUBIC LIBRARY

President: Steve Mott NØCRM
Vice President: John Luce WØWY
Treasurer: Doug Bergsnev WØDWB
Secretary: Ron Finger KØGOP
Past Presidents: Charles Lane W5CCL, Al Doree WØRC
Director At Large: Lyle Amundson KØLFV
Director of Emergency Communications: Dave Schuldheisz KØISZ
Repeater Trustee: Mitch Ahrenstorff ADØHJ
Community & Special Events Coordinator: TJ Graves KØTEG 

Attendees: Steve NØCRM, Doug WØDWB, Ron KØGOP, Al WØRC, John WØWY, Mitch ADØHJ, and Dave KØISZ. The President opened the Board Meeting at 4:00 PM.

Secretary’s Report: Membership roster shows 84 members with 46 paid for 2017. The Club roster has been migrated to the Club website under the “Resources/Members Only” area. Current paid members can request an individual password for access via the “Contact Us” form. Other activities included making a fillable 2017 Club membership application form for the Club website. Member applicants are encouraged to fill and print/submit this online PDF form to provide more legible information than the handwritten method. The January 2017 meeting minutes were posted to the “Club Blog” area, as the new venue for the former “BAARCer” newsletter format. Motion to accept: Doug WØDWB, Second Mitch ADØHJ, Passed. 

Treasurer’s Report: The Treasurer presented his report to the board showing all month’s account transactions and balances to date. The Secretary presented a $17.99 bill for reimbursement for a USB Programming cable for the Club Motorola HT’s. Motion to accept: John WØWY, Second Al WØRC, Passed. 

Membership Meeting Program: The President reviewed recent and future Club programs and events. John WØWY reported the Brainerd FD has approved Club use of their training room for the upcoming March April, June, and July meeting dates. John will look into switching the June date to a week early to fall before the June 24-25 ARRL Field Day. The selection of a Spring Dinner speaker/program of more general interest to family members was discussed.

Upcoming Events: The annual NWS Skywarn Organizational meeting in Duluth: Saturday March 11th, Brainerd Hamfest: Saturday April 22nd, Brainerd Jaycees “Run For The Lakes” marathon: Saturday April 29, 2017, and the “Tour of the Lakes” bike ride: Saturday June 3rd were noted.

Digital & Emergency Communications: As in years past, John WØWY will send our new SKYWARN procedure card to Carol at NWS-Duluth in advance of the meeting for ‘mark up’ with any suggested changes for final member distribution at the March 30 Club meeting. The merits of the best radio communication mode with KØNWS at NWS-Duluth were discussed. Among the choices are Wires-X, Echolink, and cell phones.

Old Business: Old Club Repeaters: Discussed suggestion that we try to sell these older repeaters at our April Hamfest. Retain cavities for future use; perhaps sell Crosby repeater—tabled for now. Crosslake Tower site: The new high-rise equipment owner company, Vertical Bridge Inc, has asked for an insurance binder from the Club liability policy—forwarded to the Treasurer. Repeater linking: Peripheral/supporting equipment request was verbalized and shared with the board at January meeting. In a holding pattern until the Wires-X linking test between Crosby and Crow Wing power is set-up, run, and demonstrated for a sustained test-period. Waiting for Panda CPU equipment arrival. Storage unit discussion: POD container will be placed as weather permits. High-rise remote base antenna site: Club will install new HF antenna as weather permits. Gull lake Internet and tower site: Al WØRC is waiting for Hubbard Broadcasting to continue their progress towards making a space for us in the newer building. Granite City reprogramming of Club Motorola HT radios: Ron KØGOP was able to successfully reprogram the Club inventory with an updated codeplug for new repeater tones on 4 Club repeaters. This will allow the Club to make other programming changes going forward. Request to purchase a second USB programming cable with better chipset (FTDI) to work with newer Windows OS. Motion to purchase for $25: John WØWY, Second Al WØRC, Passed.

New Business: Kitchen Help for Club Hamfest: Charles W5CCL and XYL Kathy KD5EGN have offered to assume the kitchen coordination duties for the future, replacing longtime volunteers Al WØRC and XYL Shirley KØDCW. Additional workers are being sought to assist with the well-run food sales operation. Bouvet Island 3Y0Z DX-pedition support request: received from Ralf Fedor. Motion to have the Treasurer match the previous Club donation amount: John WØWY, Second Al WØRC, Passed. Broken email addresses: Several have been corrected with a few remaining without alternate contact information. If you are not getting Club email announcements let us know via the “Contact Us” form. Donation from Bob WØZPE: The Secretary will send a letter of thanks for a Vertex VX-150 HT and Makita 3/8” VSR drill and batteries received by the Club in December 2016.

The board meeting was adjourned at 5:07 PM.

THURSDAY-FEBRUARY 23, 2017 – 7:00 PM – BAARC MEMBERSHIP MEETING MINUTES – BRAINERD PUBIC LIBRARY

The President opened the Club membership business meeting at 7 PM with 23 members and guests present. Following the welcome and introductions: John WØWY discussed upcoming public SKYWARN training at the CWC Land Services Building in Brainerd, and encouraged all interested members to attend. Al WØRC gave an update on the Forestview High Altitude Balloon Class. At a HABC parent open house, teachers Jim Reed and Cory Olson thanked parents for raising such an excellent group of young people. The students presented their preparations and experiment payloads to the group. They are now waiting for a good flight prediction report, putting the balloon in a desirable recovery path following its anticipated 125,000-foot altitude flight. The launch will likely take place around 9 AM on a weekday morning at the rear of the school. APRS beacons can be tracked at aprs.fi using Nick Reed’s W0NY-3 and W0NY-4 call signs. Following door prizes and refreshments, Andy Rangen of CTC gave an interesting presentation on some of the new technology vendors and products viewed at his annual visit to the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.

–Respectfully submitted by Ron KØGOP, Secretary

All Things HF: March 2017

All Things HF…
Another month of low sunspot numbers, low solar index numbers, high A &K numbers, can anything else go wrong? If you don’t sit down at your station to give operating a try…this is wrong. Yours truly had an interesting month of HF operating and a whole lot of fun doing it. Example, I worked Macau (XX) on CW and Hawaii (AH) today the 20th and in-between, lots of good QSO’s around the US and Canada. There are many resource websites that can help you make the decision of where do you want to go today. WM7D’s Solar Resource page will give you the latest data on SFI and sunspot numbers. Its my very first stop of the day. I don’t get into the deep scientific stuff, just the numbers that tell me what to expect when I hit the foot switch. If you’re looking for the latest DX spots, take a look at the Japanese web sight ‘dxscape’ that I’ve been using for years and find to be one of the best for DX spotting. Now here’s the best resource of all…its you! Get on the air and enjoy this hobby of operating HF radio, meet new people every day. Work new countries…the bands are not great but its out there waiting for you to either work DX or just a heart warming QSO. Take a page out of Nike’s book and ‘just do it’. Here’s the tip of the day for those of you that are newly licensed and have HF privileges: DXpedition operators use a split frequency…please listen before you try to work them. He’s transmitting on one frequency and listening on another…he does not operate simplex. Listen for his instructions of how far up he’s listening. Go to your operators Manuel and it’ll show you how to split your VFO or better yet…get one of the club’s old timers and pick his brain. When the DX operator says ‘listening up’ you can bet its 5-10 up on SSB. If its CW he most likely will be listening 1 up. Remember to sit down at your station and call CQ because someone somewhere is listening for your signal. So long for now from Huntersville.

73 es gud DX de Bob/W0ZPE

TEDx Gull Lake April 22, 2017 – Madden’s Resort

2017 TEDx Gull Lake

From the TEDx website:

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TED Talks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection.

The 2017 event features many interesting speakers and performers including our friends Jim Reed and Cory Olson from the Forestview Middle School. A full list can be found at

http://www.tedxgulllake.com/index.php/2017-presenters 
We attended the 2015 event and were very impressed by the entire program and associated activities as well as the included lunch. It sold out in 2015 with about 400 in attendance so register early if you’d like to attend.

Please note that this event occurs on the same day as the Brainerd Ham Fest.

Dave – KE0IUZ

 

 

Mid-Minnesota 150 Dog Sled Race 2017

THE BAARC DID IT AGAIN!

The BAARC worked communications and safety for the Mid Minnesota 150 Sled Dog Race on Saturday, February 11th, 2017.

We had the COMM Trailer located at the Village Inn in Outing, MN. Terry KIØFW and Shirley KØDCW worked net control. We had 14 – six dog teams and 6 – eight dog teams. The six dog teams started from the Village Inn at 12:30 PM and the eight dog teams started at 1:00 PM. We had twelve Ham Radio Operators that did a great job working communications for the entire race. We did not have any injuries or run away dog teams this year. The last dog team came into Remer, MN at 4 PM.

Thank you to the following ham radio operators: Rob KDØVJM, John WØWY, Bob K6RCO, Doug WØDWB, Ron KØGOP, Mitch ADØHJ, Roger WRØG, Judi KØJLL, and Leon KEØAFY. All of these operators worked checkpoints or the finish line. Terry KIØFW and Shirley KØDCW worked net control and Al WØRC was our rover, radio man and transported the club trailer to and from Outing. Thank you for working this event. The organizers were very happy with the job we did.

We also want to thank everyone that helped set-up the trailer, start the generator and put-up antennas. We used our 147.225+ repeater and the Grand Rapids repeater 146.88- for the race checkpoints station reporting. Thank you to the Grand Rapids club for letting us use their repeater.

We also want to thank Steve NØCRM for creating the spread sheets for time recording for net control.

Al WØRC & Shirley KØDCW

Remote HF operating by N0CRM

On Sunday January 22nd, I needed to make a quick road trip to Alexandria for a meeting my wife was going to attend. I needed to find an activity to do for about 4-5 hours that day. I researched the Alexandria area and tried to find something interesting to do. I like to take snowshoe hikes and combine that with photography activity. I packed a small Duluth Pack bag with hiking essentials and my camera and lenses.

As you may recall the weather that weekend was extremely dreary and was not overly conducive to snowshoes with the warmer temperature, along with that we had heavy fog across most of the northern part of the entire state. As a backup plan, I decided to bring a portable HF rig and a portable Buddipole antenna and possibly set up camp somewhere and operate.

That day I found myself very close to the Lake Carlos State Park and decided to venture into the park and see what way they led me. After stopping and talking to the Park Ranger at the entrance, I discovered that there was probably not a lot of nature photography to be had with the heavy fog and damp conditions. I decided to go to the farthest end of the park where a day use area was available. There were vault style toilets and warming house for cross country skiers. After exploring the resting area, I was pleasantly surprised to find a lit fireplace and an area with a picnic tables inside this warm area. I immediately decided that I would operate from that location. After unloading the portable radio and antenna, I set up the antenna in a dipole configuration and tuned to the 20-meter band. I tried both 40 and 80 meters that day but the bands were taking very large dips and did not cooperate very well.

Nonetheless, I found myself lost in the world of portable operation and have already started thinking about making the trip again next year and possibly tying it into the annual ARRL Winter Field Day event.

Please see the pictures below of my Lake Carlos State Park HF operation.

Park Map and location I set up in.