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.

BAARC Supports Brainerd JC’s Ice Fishing Extravaganza 2017

The Brainerd Area Amateur Radio Club worked communications for the Brainerd JC’s Ice Fishing Extravaganza on Saturday, January 28, 2017.
We would like to thank the following members that worked the event. John WØWY was our shuttle driver getting BAARC operators picked up from and delivered back to the parking lots. Michael KEØAFZ and guest worked center ice keeping us informed of what was going on; Terry KIØFW was our medical tent operator; CJ WØWUH, Leon KEØAFY, Bob KR6RCO, Nick WØNY, and Dave KDØVJL covered our bucket checkpoints. Mark KEØLFQ covered the bus stop for us. Dave KEØIUZ worked at the handicap access area. Al WØRC was our ‘on-ice’ rover and ATV transporter of operators to and from center ice. Alan AAØAS and Shirley KØDCW were our net control operators for this event.
The BAARC and its operators were thanked by the JC’s for a great job well done. Thank You to everyone that worked this event.
Al WØRC & Shirley KØDC

No Pictures of the event were available at posting time.

January Club Meeting

The first club meeting of 2017 (January 26) found the club visiting the classroom of Brainerd’s Forestview middle school High Altitude Balloon Class.  Mr. Reed and Mr. Olson invited the club to review this year’s plans and progress of the class.
The first order of business was to present our long-standing club member and repeater trustee Fritz Bertelt W0KO a plaque recognizing his many years of unwavering support for the club was presented to Fritz.
Various class members spoke about their payload designs and engineering activities to ensure a successful flight. The class has 6 payloads that will be critiqued by all members of the class and guidance by the Mr. Reed and Mr. Olson. These 6 payloads will be reduced to total of 3 final payloads.
This year the payloads will include updated cameras, they have 3 new GoPro cameras that weigh approximately the same weight as their previous single camera.  For more information please look at the balloon class website.  http://hab.forestviewmultimedia.com/project.html
Please see photos below (courtesy of Miles Lowe and Steve Mott)

Fritz Bertelt W0KO accepting his recognition plaque.

 

January 2017 BAARC Secretary Report

Thursday-January 26, 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, Ron KØGOP, Al WØRC, John WØWY, Lyle KØLFV, Shirley KØDCW, Mitch ADØHJ, Dave KØISZ and Roger WØWUG. The President opened the Board Meeting at 4:00 PM.

Secretary’s Report: Membership roster shows 79 members with 19 paid for 2017. The Club roster has been migrated to the Club Gmail account with plans to link it to the new website under the “Members Only” area. Other activities included preparation of 2017 Hamfest materials. Motion to accept: John WØWY, Second Al WØRC, Passed. 

Treasurer’s Report: In his absence, the Treasurer forwarded his report summary to the board. The Secretary presented 2 bills for reimbursement on connectors and heat-shrink tubing for the Club coax termination kit as well as a check for Club coax sales. The Repeater Trustee presented bills for reimbursement on upgrades, routers, and fees for the Club repeaters. Motion to reimburse for $235.15 Lyle KØLFV, Second John WØWY, Passed. 

Membership Meeting Program: The President reviewed recent and future Club programs and events. John WØWY discussed the possibility of a return visit from Andy Rangen for a special program for the February meeting. Mr. Rangen previously gave an informative presentation on “The Internet of Things” in October 2015. 

Upcoming Events: Brainerd Jaycees Ice Fishing Extravaganza on January 28th, 2017. Mid-Minnesota 150 Dog Sled Race on February 11. Minnesota QSO Party Special Event Station on February 4.

Old Business: Storage unit discussion: POD container 20′ x 8′ for $1500-$1700 dollars. Approval from BFD for placement; finalizing discussions as to optimal placement on their grounds. High-rise antenna site: Pat WØOPW is constructing an HF antenna for the remote station; Club will install 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: John WØWY received a bid of $35/radio. Motion to accept for 10 radios at $350 total Al WØRC, Second John WØWY, Passed.

New Business: Club ID badges: The Board discussed increasing membership dues by $5 to cover the cost of Club photo ID badges. As before, any members still needing a badge should contact the Secretary. Motion to increase Club membership dues by $5 to include ID badge: John WØWY, Second Dave KØISZ, Passed. Repeater planning meeting held on 11/19/16 at the arboretum. We will be configuring the Crosby (225) and Crow Wing Power (700) with Wires-X controllers and testing the audio. Mitch ADØHJ has developed a procedure to standardize the audio levels of the System Fusion repeaters allowing us to set them up the same way. Al and Mitch discussed another club’s recent action in sending their Fusion repeaters back to Yaesu for a display board upgrade. Mitch was not aware of any offered or needed upgrades to our 7 units at this time. BAARC website: The new site went live on January 1st, 2017 and is now self-hosted via a donated Dell server. Added some memory and processor power, System is on a script to do automatic backups; Bob W0ZPE is providing a new monthly communication that we are posting on the Blog page. “All Things HF” is his new communication feature. BAARC Email traffic: We have seen a significant increase in email activity and need to put a plan in place to review and provide responses. Many emails were related to information regarding our upcoming Hamfest. We have added the Hamfest information to the site which should reduce the email traffic. Steve has reviewed many emails and provided responses; we still have some bad email addresses that we need to clean up. Old repeaters: discussed suggestion that we try to sell these older repeaters at our Hamfest. Crosslake Tower site: The new owners of the Crosslake tower sent a letter to the Club January 24th, asking for more information regarding Club liability insurance. These forms were given to John WØWY for completion. Repeater linking: Mitch ADØHJ presented his boilerplate plan for Fusion repeater linking. Using the identical setups will allow for easier maintenance and operation of the Club repeater system. The board will consider the request for peripheral/supporting equipment to round out the repeater linking process, as we go forward. The 3 identical setups would require an additional $275 each for a total of $825.

The board meeting was adjourned at 5:15 PM.

Thursday-January 26, 2017 – 7:00 PM – BAARC Membership Meeting Minutes – Forestview Middle School

4 students from the Forestview High Altitude Balloon Class, along with teachers Cory Olson and Mike Reed, invited the Club into their classroom/lab for an interesting presentation on their progress towards the upcoming spring launch. The President opened an abbreviated Club membership business meeting at 8:15 PM with 27 members and guests present. Pat WØOPW recounted a recent and successful hunt for a 160m RFI source emanating from the new, non-dimmable LED bulbs in his neighbor’s home. Secretary reported receiving many Club dues renewals during the meeting. Treasurer’s report submitted showing all month’s account transactions and balances to date. 

–Respectfully submitted by Ron KØGOP, Secretary

All Things HF: February 2017

No sunspots, no problem. DX may be difficult but not impossible so lets get back to the basics. Get the equipment turned on, sit down with a purpose of doing what we do best…rag chew! This hobby is all about communicating so keep that in mind when you call CQ. Last week I was pleasantly surprised to hear a CQ aero mobile on 18.130, it didn’t take me long to answer his call and what a nice QSO along with being informative. It was the co-pilot from 4 land zipping along at 12,000 feet and 450 knots in a Bombardier 300 Challenger. As the operator put it, the HF radio with the rest of the avionics is mounted in a $26 million frame. The crew was taking the owner and his family from New Mexico to their winter home in  Florida. We were able to talk radio while he was munching on a sandwich. The factory mounted antenna is a vertical that is fixed to the leading edge of the vertical stabilizer and what a beautiful signal he was transmitting. HF radios are required on commercial aircraft in case VHF fails. Although this bird is considered general aviation…HF is factory installed. There were other memorable contacts made in the past 30 days with some DX into central America. Tip of the day: Thank you is used often in operating HF so don’t be afraid to say it often. Thank you for the call, thank you for the QSO and thank you for the signal report…its all part of good operating skills. See ‘ya next time and don’t forget to call CQ because someone somewhere is listening.
Bob/W0ZPE

2017 Brainerd Jaycees Ice Fishing Extravaganza

Hello BAARC members, we just want to remind everyone that the 2017 Brainerd Jaycees Ice Fishing Extravaganza is just around the corner and we will be supporting event as we do every year. We are looking for volunteers to help with the event.

Al & Shirley are once again chairing this event (Thank you Al and Shirley), and here is a list of the operators we need.

Shirley will do net control duties and Al will bring his ATV and sled to take operators to center ice.

We need operators for:

Lake side Bus Stop.

Medical.

Shadow for event chairperson.

North and South check stations.

Extras for rotation and net control.

Rover to pick up operators from bus stop.

Here are some pictures form the year 2015:

2017 Brainerd Jaycees Ice Fishing Extravaganza

The Club President’s 2017 Welcome Statement

I want to welcome our great club into the 2017 calendar year.

We have made many changes over the past few years and have some remaining work to be completed to finish out our wide area network of linked repeaters. It has required efforts from many of our club members and I want to personally thank everyone that has helped with that effort.

The changes being put in place are in support of long range efforts to have a system with common components, and an architecture that will provide linking of our repeaters to support the various activities we participate in. More importantly, we are making strides to have a linked system that will be used in our Skywarn support to the National Weather Service in Duluth.

We have just a few items left to complete to provide a BAARC Club HF Station. The antenna is in place and testing has been done on the radio and interface. Once again, thanks to the many people that have worked on this project as well.

We have also moved forward with a refreshed website design, and again, many people were involved with this effort as well. The new site will be updated throughout the year as we learn more about what people are looking for in the club website.

In parallel with that, one major change to the website will be the change in how the BAARCER communication has changed. We have accepted the resignation of our long time BAARCER editor Fritz Bertelt. Many thanks are due to Fritz for the countless hours of work that he put into creating our monthly newsletter! In the spirit of moving to a new look of the website, we have also moved away from the long standing traditional 8-page newsletter. Remember that this was a throwback to the days of the BAARC club newsletter being “Mailed out” each month. In recent years, we have discontinued the practice of mailing the BAARC’er out and have relied purely on our website to communicate the BAARC’er.

The new messaging vehicle in the website will be a Blog. (The BAARC’er Newsletter will no longer be produced)

Definition of blog (from Merriam-Webster)

  1. : a Web site that contains online personal reflections, comments, and often hyperlinks provided by the writer; also : the contents of such a site

The Blog section of our website will contain communications regarding Events, Board Meeting Notes, Board Meeting programs, club activities, etc. this new look is now being used on our site. Please let us know what you think.

In closing, I am excited and happy to serve another year as the BAARC President. With both a great Board, and club behind me it makes this an easy role to fill. I want to thank ALL you, again and hope for a great 2017.

Steve Mott NØCRM
BAARC President: 2017