All Things HF: August

 

Breaking News: The Northern California DX Foundation (NCDXF) has announced that they will be contributing $100,000 to the Bouvet Island DXpedition. I’m proud to be a contributing member to the foundation.

The first thing I needed to do after obtaining my novice ticket was to outfit my 1st station with an HF radio. Even though there were no HF privileges for novice licensees, I needed to become a listener of HF in order to get on the air without sounding like a lid.

So, how do you pick your entry level HF rig, well, I was a member of ARRL and received a monthly copy of QST magazine. The copy I was reading at the time was highlighting an article on the National Hurricane Center and their selection of an HF station setup. The NHC had selected Yaesu and I’m thinking ‘if it’s good enough for the NHC its good enough for me’. I didn’t give a thought to the possibility of Yaesu being the low bidder for the station’s equipment. So, I called Burghardt’s (burglar heart we used to call them) to order an entry level HF rig. My very first (there were more) rig was a Yaesu FT-840. This was a no nonsense simple, no bells, no whistles HF rig. I might mention my antenna was a vertical. Now the definition of vertical is that it radiates equally poorly in every direction so I was told by a lot of old timers.

Turns out that they were spot on with their ‘wise guy’ description but what the hey, when I received HF privileges I knew no better. Over the years the station grew with this and that plus a better radio to enhance my operating techniques. Talk about a mish mosh of peripheral items and 100 miles of wire, I had a nightmare for a radio station…something had to be done. I pulled the plug on my HF station one cold winter day and proceeded to align the equipment along with rewiring the entire station. When the project was completed, everything on my operating position was within my reach.

Wow, what a pleasure it was to sit down and call CQ. The new setup allowed me to get that DX I needed and the DX I wanted. Antennas? Yes, there are a bunch of them but…we’re discussing the operating desk. The peripheral items are so important with number one being a VSWR meter large enough to read while operating. I consider the microphone to be the second most important so I talked to the ‘guy’ who knows microphones. Bob Heil pointed me in the right direction. My new mic is a PR 781 studio quality, mounted on a boom attached to the wall. I’ve always used a foot switch for push to talk, also by Heil. If you look closely at the mic boom you’ll see a set of earphones. Do not operate without them. It’s a whole different world of quality sound that comes from the radio to your ears. Also, keeps your wife happy…she doesn’t have to listen to the other guy and his static. My earphones are also by Heil. The top rig in the photo is a Yaesu FT-950 use for CW operation only plus, it’s a stand-by radio just in case.

Below the 950 is my pride and joy and the state of the art in HF radios (today at least). Meet my Yaesu FT DX 3000. It’s really a nice rig to operate I do keep the operators manual close by…I need it! My power supply is equipped with meters telling me that my operating conditions are okay. The amplifier is a solid state Ameritron 1300 rated for 1200 watts output. My CW paddle is by Vibroplex. Last but not least is my laptop computer, I cannot operate without it. It took me almost 20 years to get my station in the shape it’s in today…don’t lose hope, everybody goes through station growth over the years and they all grow by experience.

The first thing is to know what mode you’re going to operate and so that way you can plan your station layout. I’ve named the brands I use but in no way do I recommend what you’re going to use in your station. Remember when your station is ready to go, sit down and call CQ because someone somewhere is listening for your call, don’t disappoint them. So long from Huntersville for now.

Best 73 es gud DX de Bob/WØZPE

 

June 2017 BAARC Secretary Report

THURSDAY-June 22, 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: John WØWY, Doug WØDWB, Ron KØGOP, Al WØRC, Shirley KØDCW, Mitch ADØHJ, Dave KØISZ, and Nick WØNY. The Vice President opened the Board Meeting at 4 PM.

Secretary’s Report: Membership roster shows 90 members with 62 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 May 2017 meeting minutes were posted to the “Club Blog” area. A thank you letter was sent to Susan Clark, widow of Stan K3JKW-SK for donated items to the Club. Her reply of how much Stan appreciated the BAARC will be shared with the membership. Motion to accept Al WØRC, Second Dave KØISZ, Passed. 

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

Membership Meeting Program: The Vice President reviewed recent and future Club programs and events. Several possibilities for the July meeting program were discussed including a local “Field Trip” visit.

Digital & Emergency Communications: Mitch ADØHJ and Nick WØNY discussed the Club Website and Repeaters. After 6 months the new Club website has proved to work well. It is much easier to update and browse on a variety of devices. Mitch suggested it was now time to vacate the old site hosted by Crosslake Communications. The Secretary will send a thank you letter for their years of support. The old PC’s used for repeater management have been a frequent problem. Nick has started purchasing components to build 6-8 rack-mount PC’s to better perform this function. One unit was completed and shown for display. Mitch would like to build 2 additional units at this time along with purchasing some additional parts for the others. Motion to spend $2000 for 3 builds ($1200), and additional parts ($800): Dave KØISZ, Second Al WØRC, Tabled. Al WØRC reported no Gull Lake site updates.

Old Business: Club Modifications to the smaller trailer were completed in time for Field Day. Improvements include 2 windows and a rooftop AC/Heater unit.

New Business: John WØWY noted that the Amateur VHF radios in the County Sherriff’s trailer need reprogramming with our new channel plan and a better antenna.

The Board Meeting was adjourned at 5:20 PM.

 

THURSDAY-June 22, 2017 – 7:00 PM – BAARC MEMBERSHIP MEETING MINUTES – BRAINERD FIRE STATION

The Vice President opened the Club membership business meeting at 7 PM with 24 members and guests present. John WØWY discussed Field Day plans and schedule, and distributed information prepared by Lyle KØLFV. Ron KØGOP played several Field Day news video reports done by KTCA in recent years, and demonstrated the Club FD network logging program. Michael KEØAFZ demonstrated his live-updating FD log for all to follow the weekend action on the Club website. Door prizes and refreshments followed the business meeting.

–Respectfully submitted by Ron KØGOP, Secretary

 

All Things HF: July

Good news before I start my rant!

Baker/Howland Is. (KH1) will be activated in 2018 by a DX group who has already mounted their fund raising activities. Baker/Howland is No. 4 on the most wanted list. This DXpedition will be another very expensive project with the costs in line with the Bouvet project. These dedicated radio operators are to be lauded for their efforts bringing those all but impossible ATNO’s to you and I.

Antennas, antennas and antennas are the most important pieces of equipment for our radio stations. So, who do you ask?? Ask any operator because you’ll soon find out that they’re all experts…every one of them. There’s a lot of antennas to choose from too. They range in price from inexpensive wire antennas to thousand buck giant Yagi’s and…what about a tower and a rotator to support your selection. There’s a lot to think about before taking that plunge into the world of HF radio operations.

My first antenna was a compromise vertical, its replacement was a compromise 5 band Yagi. Look folks, you can do a lot of radio with a wire antenna but, if you’re going into the world of worldwide DX, best to have a tower to support your selections to work those far away exotic places in this world. It isn’t cheap to be a dedicated DXer so one needs to define what part of the hobby am I (and my pocketbook) going to be involved in.

I ended up with mono band antennas, a tower and several power poles supporting antennas with rotors. Am I right and the other dude wrong?? Absolutely not. A tower with a log periodic isn’t a bad idea either and what about those Hex Beams?? There’s a lot to think about so talk to an expert, you know the ones I mean, they know everything (smile).

All kidding aside, talk to a DXer if you’re in doubt. In the meantime you folks who are all set up with your dream stations, sit down and call CQ because someone somewhere is listening and who knows…he may be an antenna expert. So long from my station in Huntersville to your station.

Best 73 es gud DX de Bob/WØZPE

2017 BAARC Field Day Results

W0UJ's Contest Summary Report for ARRL-FIELD-DAY
Created by N3FJP's ARRL Field Day Contest Log
Version 5.4 www.n3fjp.com

Total Contacts = 410
Total Points = 640

Operating Period: 2017/06/24 18:28 - 2017/06/25 05:53

Total Contacts by Band and Mode:

Band   CW Phone Dig Total %
----   -- ----- --- ----- ---
  80    0     3   5     8   2
  40   63    90  21   174  42
  20  112    79  29   220  54
  15    0     8   0     8   2
----   -- ----- --- ----- ---
Total 175   180  55   410 100

Total Contacts by Operator:

Operator Total %
-------- ----- ---
AD0HJ      175  43
K0GOP       63  15
N0CRM       52  13
KI0FW       28   7
W0DWB       24   6
KE0AFZ      23   6
N0KEN       15   4
W0NY        15   4
K0ISZ       11   3
WU0S         3   1
W0RC         1   0

Total = 11

2017 Field Day Form Page 1
2017 Field Day Form Page 2
2017 Field Day Contact Map