|VT Emergency Management||Club Elections||Makers Faire|
|Secretary's Report||No Soap Radio||ARRL SET|
The October meeting will be a presentation about Vermont Emergency Management. Rob Schell will talk a little about some of the responsibilities and what VEM does in Vermont. Rob plans on bringing the VEM emergency communications trailer to show, also.
After the main topic for the evening, enjoy snacks and face-time with other RANV members, and guests.
October’s meeting is our ever-popular annual Call for Nominations. It’s your turn to take a spin around the block, step up to the plate, etc, etc. If you care about the club, consider adding some new energy, ideas, and skills to the leadership mix. What would you like to see the club do? Take us there!
And keep in mind that if you don't show, you may find yourself nominated for something you really had not had in mind at all!
The very first Vermont Maker Faire was held on Saturday, September 29 at Shelburne Farms. There were makers from all over Chittenden County and beyond including folks from as far away as Colorado! Of course RANV stepped forward to represent ham radio.
After a couple of preliminary site visits to Shelburne Farms, it was decided to use a rocket launcher with a beam on top. As it turned out there were no good places for a wire antenna. After another trip to the Farms, permission was granted to erect the tower. It was enormously helpful that the husband of the events coordinator is a ham! It then dawned on me that maybe we better find out if there were any underground hazards such as buried power lines! Yet another site trip and a meeting with the grounds person confirmed that the place we chose for the base of the tower was most likely right over the service to the building. Shelburne Farms was kind enough to bring in someone to mark the power lines.
When we arrived Thursday afternoon the marks were in place. So far, so good. Now, anyone that has tried to dig near the shore of Lake Champlain knows that there is a lot of shale just under the surface. That held true at our location. After a several hours of effort a place was found to screw in the guy anchors so we were set for the next day.
The weather forecast for Friday was light rain for the afternoon. We were thankful that it held off, so we got the tower up without any problem. It did rain right after we left.
The setup for the booth started a little after 7:00 AM. That all went smoothly with additional help coming in about 9:00 AM to finish up. Everything was set for the 10:00 AM opening. Does this sound too good to be true?
The Faire opened, and hundreds of spectators descended on the Makers. The RANV booth was comfortably busy for the whole day. Some former hams, people who had close relatives that were hams at one time, and those who wanted to be hams stopped by. The kids enjoyed tapping out their names in code. Things were going exceptionally well! It really was too good to be true!
The event started to break up a couple of hours early around 5:00PM. We hung in there until around 6:00PM and then decided to call it a day. There five of us that were there headed to the tower. It was a little windy but no rain. The tower came down before dark easily (the right way) and the booth was being packed up.
Comments from the event staff and the flurry of e-mail right after spoke of the success of the event! There is already talk about the next one being bigger and better.
Speaking of being too good to be true, there was just one little problem. We could live with the hula hoops in the next booth and the loud kids it attracted. We could live with the poor propagation. We really didn't have a problem with being behind the main stage with all its noise. The problem occurred when it was time to go. One member went to bring around his car to load up the things he brought. As time passed and we noticed he wasn't back a search party was sent out. We found the waylaid car bogged down in a sea of Addison County Clay (so called even in Chittenden County.) A few hearty rescuers braved the mud, some without boots, and freed the stuck car so N1YD could get his boxes of display things! (Sorry Jeff, I had to put that in.)
I would like to thank Bob, KB1FRW for getting the antenna team together, and all those who manned the booth. The entire
cast of characters follows: Carl AB1DD, Bob KB1WXM, Jeff N1YD, Kathi K1WAL, John N1LXI, Jim KE1AZ, Tim KB1THX, Bob KB1FRW, Bob W4YFJ, Jeremy KB1WDM, and Adam KB1LHB. I hope that I didn't miss anyone, my list is somewhere in the “pile.”
Dave Pascoe, KM3T, spoke to us about WRTC, the World Radio Sport Team Championship. This event is held every four years, and the next one will be in 2014 in Massachusetts. The contest is based on 59 identical stations, staffed by the best operators available from around the world. Each two man team will operate from pre selected sites using equipment supplied by WRTC. The idea is that with no advantage of location or equipment, the only variable is operating skill.
The teams will have two transmitters, 100 watts maximum power. The rules do not allow spotting, Internet access, or datbases. All audio is recorded. The public *can not* come watch the operators. Instead, the teams work without istraction.
Dave participated as a referee in Finland in 2002, then as a competitor in Brazil in 2006. Now he is one of the key people in the WRTC organizing committee. If your calendar for 2014 is not too busy, WRTC needs volunteers for setup, teardown, food, PR, interpreters, etc. The stations will be sold as complete packages after the event. Someone will end up with nearly new equipment for about $1500 per station.
We are fortunate that as radio clubs go, RANV is in very good shape. We have a large membership, good participation at meetings and activities and a treasury adequate to take care of our needs. Members are involved in a lot, but the missing piece is the first word of our name, RADIO.
Out of our 120 members, how many had a QSO on the air this past week? And I mean an actual QSO – a discussion involving more than hello-goodbye, taking place on a radio (not Internet). Simply turning your radio on and calling someone doesn’t count. I wouldn’t be surprised if the answer is less than 10 people (perhaps a bit more if the Makers Event is counted). We really shouldn’t be surprised about this. Listen to the repeater for hours on end and you hear very little; and we are one of the more active systems.
This is not unique to our area or Vermont. All over the country, ham activity, especially VHF activity has dropped off dramatically. This adversely affects our growth. When we promote amateur radio to newcomers and tell them to monitor the repeater, what do they hear? Usually, silence! And, as a result, they pack the radio back up in the box and no longer bother with amateur radio. I’m not making this up – folks have told me this.
Let’s do our best to reverse this because it is not helping our service. Part of using amateur radio is the training you get. If you hardly ever use your radio, how prepared will you be when it is really needed?
So here’s the idea. Let’s pick ONE HOUR per week when we can agree is a good time to congregate on the air. It’s not a net, and there is no format and no agenda - just a schedule when folks might have a reasonable expectation to find activity. Simply get on and converse with whomever shows up. But of course, this only works if a number of us actually turn the radio on and make noise every week.
A group of buddies of mine from the old days (I’m not saying how many decades ago) have a sked like this. Three of us usually pop on during this time, with as many as seven showing up on occasion. It is routine we’ve gotten used to: Monday at 10, get on the channel and eventually someone shows up.
To keep things simple, let’s first try to get a group going on the repeater. Then if people are interested, we might set up a separate time for HF QSO’s.
This is what you do. Pick 3 1-hour slots during the week. The time doesn’t matter, but you need to be willing to be a fairly regular participant. Send this information along to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Of course if you think this is a dumb idea, let me know that too. I’ll take all of the suggestions and try to find a time most common and convenient for everyone. Hopefully, I won’t get 30 unique suggestions!
The 2012 Simulated Emergency Test in Vermont will be held December 8, from 0900 to 1200. Last year we did wonderfully, placing 10th, with some stats and even photos in the July QST. ARRL’s official SET weekend is set for Oct. 6 & 7. Participation by various ARES groups is open until December 30. Vermont ECs and DECs will be contacted soon with the VT 2012 SET plan and instructions. Once the Nets are up and running that day, everyone is welcome to check in and play.
Jamboree on the Air, October 20–21, is getting closer. The Scouting website
www.scouting.org/jota has been
updated with a great deal of supporting content. JOTA is a great opportunity to introduce ham radio to kids and young
adults. If you have an opportunity to help out or participate in any way, consider doing so. The rewards are great!