All Things HF: April

All Things HF
Where in the world would you like to go today…I’m not thinking about today. My thoughts are about 3Y0Z and the Bouvet DXpedition in January 2018. My excitement meter is pegged to the max as is with the worldwide DX community. After all, Bouvet Island is number two on the worlds most wanted list and there’s 20 radio operators preparing to visit one of the worlds most serious and dangerous isolated Islands located in the Atlantic Ocean. The approach will be attained by an experienced crew of sea going sailors aboard a very serious ship. Landing at the operating site will be by helicopter that is carried aboard the ship. All personnel and supplies will be landed at the sight by helicopter. Operating equipment including antennas, antenna mounts (being designed), radios and all operating support equipment such as amplifiers, generators and the like are being gathered and tested will be air lifted to the operating site which at best can be called a glacier. This DXpedition will be using ground breaking technology for the first time with SDR radios by Flex Radio Systems along with state of the art proven antenna systems. These dedicated HAM radio operators are focused on making sure that every DX operator in the world is given an opportunity for an ATNO (all time new one) for their logbook. One of the operators is Glen Johnson (W0GJ) a good friend of the Brainerd Radio Club having made two presentations at past club dinners. I would urge all those interested to go to QRZ.com to W0GJ and visit Glens world class radio operating station. This is a trip that will amaze you just how dedicated this man is to our hobby and to operating DX. Glen is also an accomplished contester and…both a fixed wing aircraft and helicopter pilot. As for this DXer, I’m at my station most days either calling CQ or answering someone else’s call. In-between times, I manage some CW activity. Those who know me also know that I am not a fan of 20-meters (too many sharp elbows and nets) but…the band has been the go to band because its open most of the time. When the going gets tough, the tough get going and that’s why you’ll find me on 20-meters during poor conditions. Tip of the day for you new Hams who plan to DX sometime in the future…put up a wire antenna and listen, and listen and listen. You’ll become a good operator after listening to those who have gone before you. In the meantime for those of you who are on HF, sit down at your station and call CQ because someone somewhere is listening. Don’t disappoint them. That’s about it from Huntersville for now…best 73 es gud DX from Bob/W0ZPE.

BAARC Remote Station Antenna installation at the high-rise.

BAARC Remote Station Antenna installation at the high-rise.
On Saturday April 1, 2017 Mitch, Al, Steve, John, Nick, Lyle performed some work on the high rise in anticipation of setting up the BAARC remote HF station.
The  group hung up an Alpha-Delta Fan Dipole, the response of the antenna is somewhat narrow and the team will investigate some additional options. The antenna remained in place until we determine the next steps.
Al and John put a new termination on the hardline for the 6-Meter repeater and re-started the repeater.

BAARC Club Meeting Program April 30, 2017 – Winlink email using HF radio

BAARC Club Meeting April 30, 2017
We were very fortunate to have visitors from the Duluth area. Doug Nelson (AA0AW) and Jeff Nast (KC0MKS) presented a program on using HF radio to serve as an email routing tool. In times of emergency or when you are not near an internet connection, the ability to send and receive emails can still be done via your HF radio and computer.
Winlink, also known as the Winlink 2000 Network, is a worldwide radio messaging system that uses amateur-band radio frequencies to provide radio interconnection services that include email with attachments, position reporting, weather bulletins, emergency relief communications, and message relay.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winlink
Jeff reviewed some background regarding the various protocols and the multiple transfer paths to route emails.
Prior to the meeting Al, Lyle, Steve, and Mitch put up a temporary antenna to use for the demonstration by using the fire station antenna tower with a pully system, some trees, and a fence.
While Jeff demonstrated the transmission and receive waterfall screens, Doug was able to use an HF radio and we could hear Jeff’s  HF station located in Knife River sending the receiving emails.
Jeff also reference and actual situation where this email mode provided valued information due to an very heavy storm that impacted the Duluth Metro area. While Jeff/Doug and a team of people were on Isle Royal National Part during an National Parks on the air event. This storm hit the Duluth area and team members were able to send emails to home and determine if everything was OK, upon sending and receiving email confirmations that everything was fine, the team then continued on their mission to execute the “Parks on the Air” event.
In closing the program, Jeff asked that members seriously investigate putting a system on-line to pass email traffic. Remember, all you need is an HF radio, a USB sound card interface, and the installation of the software .

March 2017 BAARC Secretary Report

THURSDAY-MARCH 30, 2017 – 4:00 PM – BAARC BOARD MEETING MINUTES – BRAINERD FIRE STATION

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, Lyle KØLFV, Doug WØDWB, Ron KØGOP, Al WØRC, Shirley KØDCW, John WØWY, Mitch ADØHJ, Roger WØWUG, and Nick WØNY. The President opened the Board Meeting at 4:00 PM.

Secretary’s Report: Membership roster shows 84 members with 51 paid for 2017. The Club roster can be found on the Club website under the “Resources/Members Only” area. Current paid members can request an individual password for access via the “Contact Us” form. The Secretary sent a letter of thanks to Bob WØZPE for a Vertex VX-150 HT and Makita 3/8” VSR drill and batteries received by the Club in December 2016. The February 2017 meeting minutes were posted to the “Club Blog” area. Motion to accept: Doug WØDWB, Second John WØWY, Passed. 

Treasurer’s Report: The Treasurer presented his report to the board showing all month’s account transactions and balances to date. In response to a question from John WØWY, The Treasurer confirmed that the requested documents and forms were forwarded to, and submitted by the Club insurance agent with Vertical Bridge Company. 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 April, June, and July meeting dates. John will follow up with further scheduling details. The selection of a Spring Dinner speaker/program was discussed.

Upcoming Events: The 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. John has arranged Club use of the CWC Sherriff’s Office Comm trailer for both the marathon and biking events.

Digital & Emergency Communications: John WØWY distributed the new 2017 SKYWARN Protocols prepared following the organizational meeting March 11 in Duluth. The merits of the best radio communication mode with KØNWS at NWS-Duluth were discussed. Decision was to move from the WA9KLM to a new WIRES-X mode. We will now use NØEO-ND 30494. Once in operation this should be a better access for all responder groups to contact the team at NWS Duluth.

Old Business: Repeater linking: Peripheral/supporting equipment request was verbalized and shared with the board at January meeting. The Wires-X linking test between Crosby and Crow Wing power is ready to begin, and with the Panda CPU equipment’s recent arrival, is planned for Saturday May 31. 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: We are still waiting for Hubbard Broadcasting to continue their progress towards making a space for us in the newer building.

New Business: Repeater Linking: Following the Club breakfast on Saturday, Mitch and Al will be installing a new computer and the Wires-X interface at Crow Wing Power site and at Crosby site. Remote Base Relocation: Move the new CC-DX antenna from the Brainerd Fire Station demonstration to the high-rise for our remote station antenna. Mount and test the antenna at the high-rise. Move radio and interface into the high-rise. Club Coax Kit: Ron KØGOP reported a new source was found for Silver/Teflon Crimp PL-259 connectors. This will permit a reduced price of $2 per connector and shrink-tube for Club members. We have an adequate supply of the LMR-400/RG-8 and RG-8X/LMR-240 sizes, but need more of the RG-58 size. Motion to purchase 50 RG-58 connectors for the Club coax kit: Steve NØCRM, Second Lyle KØLFV, Passed. Club FCC License Testing: The Laurel Amateur Radio Club (LARC) Volunteer Examiner Coordinator (VEC) also known as the LARC VEC or Laurel VEC, is one of 14 VEC’s that have entered into an agreement with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to serve as a VEC. The Laurel VEC was established in 1984. Motion to have Nick WØNY investigate the position of Club Team Leader for the LARC-VE program. Lyle KØLFV, Second Mitch ADØHJ, Passed. John WØWY reported that the County EOC is being relocated again, and that our Club EOC station will be moving along with it at that time.

The board meeting was adjourned at 5:07 PM.

THURSDAY-MARCH 30, 2017 – 6:30 PM – BAARC MEMBERSHIP MEETING MINUTES – BRAINERD FIRE STATION

The President opened the Club membership business meeting at 6:30 PM with 37 members and guests present. Following the welcome and introductions: John WØWY discussed upcoming public SKYWARN training at the CWC Land Services Building in Brainerd, as well as details on the April 11 Training Net and April 20 Severe WX Drill. John introduced the evening speakers Doug AAØAW and Jeff KCØMKS from the Duluth area, with Doug discussing the new radio setup and procedures at the NWS. Al WØRC gave a brief report on the recent Forestview High Altitude Balloon Class launches. Following door prizes and refreshments, The Club enjoyed an informative presentation on the Winlink radio email system.

–Respectfully submitted by Ron KØGOP, Secretary

 

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