RADIO AMATEUR NEWS & VIEWS, AUGUST, 2007

RADIO AMATEUR

NEWS & VIEWS

AUGUST 2007

IN THIS ISSUE...
RANV Summer Picnic Fox Hunt August 3rd Our Last RANV Meeting
Prez Sez Field Day Results N1ZRA News
W1DEC News Radio School At Mt. Norris Lighthouse Special Event




RANV SUMMER PICNIC
Saturday August 4th
Kill Kare State Park

Everyone pack up your coolers and picnic gear and head over to Kill Kare State Park on Saturday, August 4th for the RANV Summer Picnic. Activities will get underway at 11 AM and will run through the afternoon.

RANV will supply park admission, soft drinks and charcoal. You bring the rest. Be sure to bring family and friends, food to eat, appropriate sporting goods and clothing and any radio stuff you would like to play with. Leave pets at home since the park doesn't allow them, and it is too hot to leave a pet in the car. Please let Brian know how many are in your group so that we can plan. Most of the activity will center around cooking, eating and socializing.

RANV will celebrate the picnic as an on-air special event as we will be putting W1V on the air for the day on 20 and 40 meters. We especially encourage all of our Field Day GOTA operators to come up and operate. Unlike the crowded conditions during Field Day, we will have the bands pretty much to ourselves. Gone will be the noise, interference and static from nearby stations. Everyone has fun making contacts during the picnic. And you will be putting rare Franklin County on the air as well! Please make a point to come to the picnic and operate for a while.

Directions to Kill Kare are as follows: Take I-89 North to exit 19, St. Albans. Go past the light and down the access highway 1 mile to Route 7. Make a right and head 0.5 miles into downtown St. Albans. Look for Taylor Park (big green) on your right and then look for Lake Street and make a left. Go 3 miles on Lake Street until you come to the lake and the community of St. Albans Bay. The Bayside Pavilion will be at your left and a Shell station at your right. Make a right turn and head north. You will pass St. Albans Town Park. Keep going! You will only go 0.7 miles from the turn and will cross a small bridge. Right after this bridge, turn left on to Hathaway Point Road. Unfortunately, there is no sign for the Park at this junction, so you will have to pay attention. Go 3 miles to the entrance of the Park. We should be in the corner. If you have a GPS, the coordinates are: N44 46.778 W73 11.035. If you get lost, give a yell!

Let's have a great tunout and a great day at the picnic!


FOX HUNT AUGUST 3RD

Don't forget to plan for the next RANV Fox Hunt, Friday, August 3rd, starting at 6 PM on the 145.15 repeater. Brian WB2JIX has agreed to be the fox.

The rules of the RANV Fox Hunt are simple. The fox is located on publicly accessible property within Chittenden County, in such a spot where there is more than an S-1 signal at I-89 Exit 14 (Fox should check this ahead of time). The fox transmits on the input to the 145.15 repeater (144.55 MHz) for over 10 seconds out of every minute (more is desirable, though). First finder of the Fox wins the hunt and receives all appropriate accolades and bragging rights.


OUR LAST RANV MEETING

by Carl AB1DD, Sec'y

The July meeting was called to order at 7:10 by president Brian N1BQ. There were 17 members and guests present.

Brian announced that the next meeting will be at Kill Kare State Park in St. Albans. This will be our annual picnic. The date is Saturday, August 4th.

Bob W4YFJ talked about the upcoming Lighthouse weekends, August 4-5th and 18-19th. Special event station W1L will be on the air both weekends from the Shelburne Museum, near the Colchester Lighthouse. Those wishing to operate are asked to contact Bob.

Bob KB1FRW was volunteered to bring the snacks for the September meeting.

After a round of introductions, it was announced that the St. Albans hamfest will be August 17-18th at the Franklin County Fairgrounds in Highgate.

Paul, AA1SU then told us of a great deal. If you sign up for ARRL membership through him, you can receive a free ARRL repeater directory. Contact Paul for more information.

The speaker for the evening was Mitch, W1SJ who talked about Fox Hunting. He gave some hints and revealed a few secrets about being a successful hunter. Getting a line on a fox with a good beam at home is a good way to start. Be wary of hills that can cause signals to fade when you are getting close. Have small pieces of wire to use as attenuating antennas when you get close

We next moved outdoors for a practice hunt. Two fox boxes were hidden in the park and the membership was turned loose. We found that real expensive direction finding equipment is not needed. Mike N1FBZ used a portable spectrum analyzer and didn't find the foxes as quickly as a guest, James, who found them with just a handheld and a paperclip antenna. By the way, James was visiting from Kansas, is 13 and is not licensed! Almost everyone found the foxes, although the location of one of the boxes really stunk (it was under an outhouse). The hungry fox hunters then attacked the refreshments, and the meeting ended at 9:00.


THE PREZ SEZ

by Brian N1BQ, President

Traditionally we refer to August as the lazy hazy days of summer. But for us Northern Vermont hams it just doesn't seem to want to work out that way. We have two lighthouse events and the first and third weekends, the annual club picnic on the first Saturday, two weeks of radio merit badge classes at Mount Norris, and the STARC hamfest in on the third weekend. Phew! I got tired just typing all that. For details see various listings and articles elsewhere in the newsletter.

As I write this I just finished up a week at the Mount Norris Scout Reservation teaching a radio merit badge class. Scouting, whether for Boys or Girls, is a wonderful system. There has been some controversy here and there through the years, but when you get down on the ground with the Scouts the politics is gone and what you are left with is a bunch of highly motivated youths with positive can-do attitudes. It is infectious; it is motivating. I defy anyone not to come back from several days with the scouts and not have a warm fuzzy the size of Detroit. After my first day there the kids asked me if I could come earlier, I did, and they were already at the radio shack before I was and waiting. They asked me again to come even earlier the next day. I did again, and they still beat me there.

I didn't just limit it to radio as we hams usually think of it. My third afternoon I brought in a bunch of my microprocessor projects and robots where I have interfaced ham radio, Blue Tooth and Wifi in different ways for control, telemetry, or remote camera. It really seemed to excite these boys.

Volunteering to work with Scouts is a serendipitous thing. You get to further the hobby, bringing in new blood. You get to help boys on their way to adulthood, and you get enormous satisfaction and sheer fun of working with motivated kids. If that doesn't add up to win-win I don't know what does. Check it out!

The STARC hamfest is August 17-18th in Highgate - be there! We must support the hamfests in this region or they will not happen. STARC members have always supported our hamfest in Milton. It's not an onerous task, the guys at STARC put on a very nice little hamfest last year, let us support it again. See you there.


FIELD DAY RESULTS

by Mitch W1SJ

With tight newsletter and travel deadlines we had just enough time last month to tell the Field Day story but no time to provide the numbers. So here they are: The bottom line is 3968 QSO's and 12328 points. Yes, this is down from last year's blowout. But, what we saw last year will likely not happen again for a long time. The QSO total is the 3rd highest ever (in the 25 years we've been tracking this). It was surpassed last year and in 1998 when we had monster openings on 10 and 6 meters. This year's point total is second only to last year's totals. The results will not come out until November and we will not know how we did compared with everyone else. Two points which can be made is that 12 kilopoints for a 2A Field Day group is nothing to sneeze at and propagation was not all that good this year.

In other measurements, we had 29 participants and 24 visitors - both new records for us. Visitors included hams, family, interested people, representatives, and lots of kids! The GOTA station was very busy and well attended during peak hours. We had a strong setup crew which allowed setup to go very smoothly. Unfortunately, we failed in the tear down planning and very few of us got to put all the toys away on Sunday.

Despite a growing group of experienced Field Day participants, we still manage to learn new things. Never does everything go 100% right (we were close, though). We will analyze those snafus ad nauseam through the year and have improvements in place for next year's event. That is why we do well each year. It is also part of the fun of amateur radio.

For a complete rundown of the results, along with pictures, videos, commentary, testimonials, all in 4-part harmony, go to: www.ranv.org/fdrpt.html.

FIELD DAY BOX SCORE

80 CW 279 80 SSB 542
40 CW 490 40 SSB 327
20 CW 416 20 SSB 1443
15 CW 83 15 SSB 139
GOTA CW 0 GOTA Ph 206
VHF CW 3 VHF Ph 32
Sat CW 0 Sat Ph 8
Total CW 1271 Total Ph 2697


  2007 2006
Total QSO's 3968 4643
Total Bonuses 1850 2050
Total Points 12328 13858


FIELD DAY HALL OF FAME

AB1DD Carl GOTA Organizer; equipment; set up; tear down.
AA1SU Paul Phone/CW op; equipment; bonuses; set up; tear down.
AK1H Phil Field cutting.
K1KD Grant Phone/CW op; equipment.
K1JCM John Set up.
K1SVT Ron GOTA op.
KB1FRW Bob VHF op; set up; demo bonuses; GOTA coach.
KB1KPO Jerry VHF op; set up; tear dn.
KB1KVY Thomas Set up; GOTA op.
KB1KXF Amy GOTA op.
KB1LIF Barb VHF op.
KB1MAQ John Setup.
KB1MDA Mike GOTA op.
KB1MDC Alan Setup.
KB1NHQ Mike Setup; GOTA op.
KB1OAH Bryan GOTA op.
KB1OOX Phil GOTA op.
N1BQ Brian Set up.
N1UR Ed CW op.
N1YD Jeff Set up; tear down; Food.
N1ZUK Fred Phone op.
W1MOT Tom Set up; GOTA op.
W1DEB Debbie GOTA op.
W1EAT Tom CW op.
W1RFM Robert GOTA op.
W1SJ Mitch Chairman; Phone op; equipment; set up; tear down; results.
W1UT Les GOTA Coach.
W4YFJ Bob Set up; GOTA Coach.



N1ZRA NEWS

by Mitch W1SJ

Those of us active on the air know that Neal N1ZRA hasn't been feeling well since the early part of the year. He has been diagnosed with Congestive Heart Failure, a heart condition not caused by the usual blocking of arteries, but instead by the unexplained die off of heart tissue. To deal with this, he has been on medication and a pacemaker was inserted early this year. And of course, with a pacemaker, Neal has to be very aware RF fields and power levels. The damage has been done and it is apparently not getting better. Sadly, the long term prognosis is not good. And of course, no work of any kind, exercise or even tower climbing is permitted.

Despite this, Neal remains in good spirits. He managed to visit the CVARC Field Day site a few weeks ago. He promises to check in with us a bit more on 145.15 and 146.625. Make sure you get on and say hello, or else give him a jingle at home.


W1DEC NEWS

by Mitch W1SJ

Another RANV member has packed up and left Vermont. Dave W1DEC has retired and has relocated Rhode Island, where he grew up. Being an avid sailor, Dave will have more opportunity to get out now that he is near the ccean. I'm sure we'll be hearing from Dave on 40 meters one of these days. Otherwise you can reach him at decainjr@aol.com


RADIO SCHOOL AT MOUNT NORRIS

by Brian N1BQ

Earlier this year the Boy Scouts were a recipient of some donated ham radio equipment. John K1JCM, organized several club members to go up to the Mount Norris Scout Reservation in Eden, Vermont to set up a radio shack in preparation for conducting radio merit badge classes during the summer camping season.

The Mount Norris facility is one of the finest Scout camping facilities in New England. It has its own mountain, Mount Norris, completely within its boundaries, several hundred feet of lake front along the north end of Lake Eden, rifle and shotgun ranges, boating and canoeing facilities and hiking and climbing trails. The Scouts live in cabins by troop and there's a large dining facility. The camp staff is primarily older Venture Scouts with some permanent adult supervisory staff supplemented by the various troop leaders who accompany their scout troops.

The radio shack is located in one corner of a modest-sized activity room in the camp office building. Currently there is a two meter vertical, coupled with the nicely elevated location of the building gives dead full quieting coverage of the Bolton repeater with access to IRLP and Echolink, as well as most of the repeaters in northern Vermont and nearby Quebec. We are running a resurrected FT-2400 donated by Bob KB1FRW.

On the HF front, thanks to donated tree-climbing services by some professional arborists, John and Bob erected a 200+ foot G5RV wire antenna up 70 feet off the ground. The ladder line feed comes down to a choke balun and the coax is fed to the shack. The antenna works very well into Europe. One afternoon I worked CT1BWW who was on the Spratley Islands in the South China Sea with my Icom IC-703 and 10 watts on 17 meter phone with a 57 signal report. The antenna tunes well on 80 through 10 meters.

The donations also included a Gap Titan antenna, which will be going up after the camping season on a donated phone pole. The transceiver is an Icom IC-730 which is currently feeding John's LDG AT-100 Pro auto-tuner. We have made contacts all over the U.S. and Europe so it seems to be a sound setup.

Jeff W1RL and I have conducted radio merit badge classes over the last two weeks with eight to nine boys receiving certification for the merit badge. Of them, four to five are going on to study for their ham licenses. Brad KD1BL and John K1JCM are scheduled in the succeeding weeks.

As volunteers we are extended the facilities of the camp. We can stay overnight if we wish. Meals are provided when you are there. It isn't a four star restaurant, but the food is good and plentiful and even the Wednesday night macaroni and cheese is edible! The kids there are wonderful, their positive attitude is infectious! The staff there is quite pleasant and very happy and satisfied with what we set up. We are looking forward to this being a long-term arrangement.


COLCHESTER LIGHTHOUSE SPECIAL EVENT

by Bob W4YFJ

We are planning to participate in the National and International Lighthouse/Lightship weekend at the Colchester Lighthouse at the Shelburne Museum during August. All amateur radio operators are welcome to join us.

National Lighthouse/Lightship weekend is August 4-5th.

International Lighthouse/Lightship weekend is August 18-19th.

We will be operating from 9 AM- 5 PM each day from near the Lighthouse. The first weekend we will be on the second deck of the Ticonderoga and the second weekend, we will be operating from the shade trees near the Lighthouse. It should be a lot of fun!

I know that we have significant competition both weekends with the RANV picnic being held on the 4th and the St. Albans Hamfest on the 17-18th.

If you would like to join in any part of this activity, please contact me:
E-mail: rbrown@dps.state.vt.us
Home phone: 878-0590 non-work times
Work phone: 878-7111 (S-M 3-11PM, Th-F 7 AM-3PM)



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