JULY 2010

Lightning, Part 2 Secretary's Report The Prez Sez
Field Day Recap

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Rich Lang, W1ELL, with Lightning Part II - or why you really shouldn't put up 48 foot aluminum mast in a field during lightning storm. In this presentation, Rich will focus on what happens when Nature reaches out and touches you with 30,000 Amps.

There is no such thing as "Lightning Protection" - that is an invention of a Marketing Department. There are, however, very effective measures that can be taken to minimize the risk of equipment and property damage from lightning. Lightning risk models for Vermont, risk models used in industry, as well as effective grounding, bonding and isolation for your shack will be covered. Included in this presentation are some recently available, spectacular, ultra-high speed video clips of cloud-to-ground lightning, and "upward lightning" that originates from tall antennas and buildings.

Following the presentation, we'll thunder off to the snack bar!


by Jeff N1YD, Secretary

- Tom Long KB1NGQ is looking for volunteers to help with a 100-mile Junior Diabetes Bike Tour on July 17th.
- We voted to spend up to $400 for Field Day.

Presentation: Vermont's 911 System
Our June meeting was held at the Williston State Police barracks, where club member Bob Brown W4YFJ is a 911 operator. He told us about the 911 system, and then gave us a tour. Williston has one of the larger "Public Safety Answering Points" (PSAP) for Vermont's 911 system, handling about 5000 calls per month. The calls may come from anywhere in the state. All eight PSAPs are nicely interconnected so that a call can be handled well from any location. If you ever need to call 911, please note that shouting into a cell phone does not work. It causes so much distortion that the operator can not hear the caller clearly. If you ever call 911 by mistake, stay on the line because 911 hang-ups are considered emergencies, and police will be dispatched to make sure that everything is OK.

The operators have great support. They have excellent online maps, aerial photos something like Google Earth, guide books for every imaginable emergency, and interpreters on speed-dial. A caller's address is automatically displayed when the operator takes a call. If the call comes from a cell phone, the system also shows the position reported by GPS, although that information is "not perfect". The operator connects the call to the appropriate agency, which is usually police, fire, or ambulance. The operators do not use radio; all of their dispatching is done by phone. They do not wear headsets, they just hold the receiver. I was expecting an operatorís phone to look like something out of the "War Games' movie. But their phones do not have a hundred buttons. Instead, the operator's computer (which runs Windows!) has all kinds of functions to help with dialing and call transfer. All calls are recorded, and reviewed for quality purposes.

Brian N1BQ will bring the snacks to our next meeting


Bob KB1FRW, President

We did it again! Another successful Field Day is under our belts, no major catastrophes, no thunder and lightning storms, almost no forgotten items, very little rain, and no 9:30 Sunday evening stop at the site to get the 4-wheeler, Yes! It really wasn't as boring as it sounds; it just shows that a lot of planning, a lot more hard work and some good luck came together at the same time and place.

I won't recount the whole event here (Mitch usually does), but some of the highlights were the reversed CW-GOTA setup; the new 20-meter beam donated by Howie K2MME; no antenna cable swapping; the nice effort by Kathi K1WAL in the food court (she won MVP and didn't set the field on fire!). The GOTA effort seemed to play out well with the maximum number of countable contacts made. I'm not sure if we got every point allowed, but there were many ops and a bunch of activity - good job Carl AB1DD!

The UHF-VHF station got some short 6-meter openings and was kept up and running by Brian N1BQ and Barb KB1LIF, it had a steady stream of contacts.

CW had a visiting operator, Mike K1TWF, the illustrious ARRL New England Division Vice Director. The Phone tent was business as usual, just a gazillion contacts, one right after another when I stopped by. Zack N1ZK tried his hand in the phone tent this year for the first time and did well.

As I said, I'm not going to recap the event but I want to say Thank You to everyone who helped. Making RANV's Field Day a success requires a great deal of planning and labor, it needs all the people that helped and could use several more. I know many of those who attended were quite tired and exhausted on Sunday afternoon but it shows the true spirit of Field Day. Do you have the equipment, plan, people, and mettle to provide an emergency communication facility when it counts? I say we do and we just proved it, again! Yeah Team!!!!

Last Field Day item: it has come to our attention that much of the knowledge around the planning of Field Day, the planning itself, and the equipment is held by a very few people. If one of these people becomes unavailable, as I almost was, due to work, what is the backup plan? Well, there isnít much of a backup plan. Actually - there is no plan. So, if somebody or some bodies would like to become a wizardís apprentice and learn the deep secrets of Field Day, step up, join the Dark Side, and soon you, too, can be wondering were all this stuff is coming from and who is going to bring it.

Moving past Field Day, we have Rich, W1ELL, with Lightening Part II, it should be quite interesting.

August is the picnic; it will be on Sunday, August 15th at Kill Kare State Park on St. Albans bay, more to follow on the web site.

Hope to see you at the next meeting and hear you on the air.


by Mitch W1SJ

In brief, I can say that we met all of our goals, we made about as many QSOís as last year (which was a very high number), and Iím proud of the effort everyone made for FD 2010. The exact numbers and details will be available later in July as I get a chance to sort out everything.

Watch for updates on the web and in the August Newsletter.

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