ALL THINGS HF: MAY

All Things HF…

Gosh! 4 days in a row with no sunspots making DX a bit difficult if not impossible. I managed to get my DX fix whenever I sat down at my station so it wasn’t that bad plus…all the good rag chewing was super enjoyable as usual.

This station is active and has been since HF privileges were awarded back in 96-97. If bragging rights are allowed, there are over 13,000 QSO’s in my electronic log and another 6,000 in my paper logs. It seems like a very long time ago since I took my novice test followed by the technician test. I quickly realized that getting on HF depended on passing my element 1A test which was the dreaded CW part required for technician plus and 10-meter privileges. At that time (1997) during sun cycle 23, 10-meters was the king of the bands. One could operate the world with a simple wire antenna. The emission privileges at that time were from 28.300 to 28.500 for us new guys. I passed the 5 WPM CW after studying code for 6 months and this opened the window to the world of DX for me on SSB.

I knew that if I was to be successful and get the coveted DXCC awards…I needed to get my General ticket. I breezed through the exam but there was one other thing waiting in the wings and it was CW requirement at 13 WPM. I started the learning process of operating CW at 13 WPM when the FCC dropped the mode as a requirement for licensing…whoopee, I was a General with HF operating privileges on all bands. I opened the window and tossed the CW as far as it would go. Good riddance!

Fast forward to the new century when I had worked and confirmed 225 countries and entities. I was getting on in years and I felt that I was missing something in this great hobby and that something was ‘CHARLIE WHISKY’ as some of the old timers called CW. An order was placed for an MFJ code tutor…when it arrived, we became pretty good buddies for the next several months. Somewhere along the way I was able to copy 10 WPM and send at 13+ WPM with my new paddle. I also ordered a software decoder program and installed a remote key pad that was programmed to send my call sign.

About a month or so after my 80th birthday I worked an ATNO and my very first DX contact using CW. What a great moment for me. By July of last year my DXCC credits were at 310 worked and confirmed with half of those 80 new ones using CW. DX is easy using CW if it’s a station looking for 5 band DXCC or a DXpedition…as soon as my call is confirmed I send ‘TU UR 5NN TU’ and I’m in the log. Its been a long enjoyable journey from the beginning to this point in time and I wanted to share it with you.

If I can learn CW, you can learn CW, just do it. Remember, take time to sit down at your station and call CQ, someone somewhere is listening…don’t disappoint them.

So long from Huntersville for now, 73 es gud DX from Bob/W0ZPE.

April 2017 BAARC Secretary Report

THURSDAY-APRIL 27, 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, Ron KØGOP, Al WØRC, Shirley KØDCW, Mitch ADØHJ, Dave KØISZ, and Nick WØNY. The President opened the Board Meeting at 4:12 PM.

Secretary’s Report: Membership roster shows 89 members with 60 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 March 2017 meeting minutes were posted to the “Club Blog” area. A thank you letter was sent to Art NØTNJ for donated items to the Club. Motion to accept Al WØRC, Second Mitch ADØHJ, Passed. 

Treasurer’s Report: The Treasurer’s report was sent to the board showing all month’s account transactions and balances to date. Motion to accept: Dave KØISZ, Second Al WØRC, Passed. 

Membership Meeting Program: The President reviewed recent and future Club programs and events. The upcoming Spring Dinner speaker/program was discussed.

Upcoming Events: The Brainerd Jaycees “Run For The Lakes” marathon: Saturday April 29, 2017, the “Breezy Point Fly-in”: Saturday May 6, 2017, and the “Tour of the Lakes” bike ride: Saturday June 3, 2017 were noted. John has arranged Club use of the CWC Sheriff’s Office Comm trailer for all events.

Digital & Emergency Communications: Dave KØISZ reported 21 check-ins for the SKYWARN Test Net. Al WØRC reported that KØNWS at NWS-Duluth has successfully tested the new WIRES-X mode connection with the BAARC repeaters. We will now have better access to contact the team at NWS Duluth. Al also reported the 443.925 repeater is on the air at the Gull Lake site. A future WIRES-X workshop was discussed for several interested SKYWARN-NCS members.

Old Business: High-rise remote base antenna site: Club has installed a new HF antenna, but the resonance is not as good as hoped. 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: Ron KØGOP will finish the order for the New Club safety vests started by TJ KØTEG. The vest order was confirmed and will be supplemented with several additional “spares” for future sale to interested members. Total order will be 40 nylon mesh vests including a dozen spares for $15 each. A finish date in mid-May is anticipated.

The Laurel Amateur Radio Club (LARC) Volunteer Examiner Coordinator (VEC) is one of 14 VECs that have entered into an agreement with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to serve as a VEC. The board discussed the advantages in adding this avenue for Amateur Radio testing, and Nick WØNY agreed to serve as the Club Team Leader. Motion to appoint Nick WØNY as the Club Laurel-VEC Team Leader: Steve NØCRM, Second Mitch ADØHJ, Passed. 

The Board Meeting was adjourned at 5:20 PM.

THURSDAY-APRIL 27, 2017 – 7:00 PM – BAARC MEMBERSHIP MEETING MINUTES – BRAINERD FIRE STATION

The President opened the Club membership business meeting at 7 PM with 27 members and guests present. Teachers Jim Reed and Cory Olson along with a veteran class member, gave a presentation on the Forestview High Altitude Balloon Class and their recent launch successes. Al WØRC was presented with a framed high-altitude photo in appreciation of his and XYL Shirley KØDCW’s dedicated support of the class since it’s inception several years ago. Following door prizes and refreshments, a short business meeting was held.

–Respectfully submitted by Ron KØGOP, Secretary

Brainerd Jaycees Run for the Lakes Marathon

The BAARC worked communications for the Tenth Anniversary of the “Run For The Lakes Marathon” held on Saturday, April 29, 2017. The BAARC has provided communications for all ten years of the Marathon.

Saturday’s activities began at 8:01 AM from the Nisswa Community Center. We had ten radio operators working different locations. Doug WØDWB, Mitch ADØHJ, Roger WØWUG, Charles W5CCL, Carlos NØOHX and Mark KEØLFQ all worked different water stops. Dave KØISZ worked a relay exchange area. Al WØRC worked the start line and was our course rover. Terry KIØFW and Shirley KØDCW worked net control from the Crow Wing County Sheriff’s trailer. Thank You to the sheriff for letting us use their trailer.

We had ~365 runners with no serious injuries and with great running weather.

The RFTL Marathon organizers thank the BAARC radio operators for the excellent job we did again this year.

Thank You!

2017 BAARC Hamfest

The BAARC hosted another successful Hamfest this year. As in the past it was held at the Brainerd National Guard Armory facility.

We had a fantastic set-up and tear-down crew.

Lyle and Al co-chaired the event and handled much of the planning.

Charles and Kathy took over kitchen duties with help from others.

VE testing was provided again as well.

Dave once again handled the PA and ran the announcements as in the past.

Steve and Mitch went to all the repeater sites on Friday and collected our old repeaters (2 of which were sold!)

And true to form…and a true story… a family of about 8 showed up just as we finished cleaning up and packing things away….they asked if they missed the Ham Fest….Steve asked them if they knew what a Hamfest was… they were looking for the Ham Dinner. (N0CRM)…

Thanks everyone for all the help, I am sure we missed a few names here.

 

 

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.