MARCH 2013

Moonbounce From the Bottom Up HAM-CON Results VT QSO Party Results
Secretary's Report

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Next Meeting: March 12

Join us March 12 for everything you ever wanted to know about "Moonbounce." Bob DeVarney W1ICW will tell all, and you don't want to miss it! Following the presentation will be snacks and a chance to catch up with folks.


Mitch W1SJ

HAM-CON 2013 was a great success. We've received many comments on how much fun everyone had. The show ran very smoothly and I had little work to do all day. After all of the tickets were counted, we ended up with exactly the same attendance as last year - around 300. In the money column, we took in a couple more dollars than last year.

It didn't seem all that easy. In the week leading up to HAM-CON, we lost two major vendors. And the coup de grace was that our pals at the National Weather Service decided to spread panic and chaos by predicting a "major storm which brought feet of snow t o the Midwest to hit New England this weekend." This was broadcast, despite the fact that all of their forecast models showed little to no impact to our area on Saturday. I went into damage control mode, putting out widespread statements that the "storm" would not affect HAM-CON on Friday or Saturday, and that any travel should be completed by Saturday evening to avoid the worst of it. Ultimately, we got millimeters of snow, not feet, while Southern Vermont got a few inches.

Making a show work is always a question of, "be careful what you ask for, because you may get it." Last year, we filled the vendor room up at 6:30 and got a bunch of complaints from sellers who couldn't find tables. This year, two large vendors, who used a combined 14 tables last year, did not make it and we had that much more room. We had the same number of flea market sellers both years. KJI decided not to come this year, and we filled the spot with Ham Radio Outlet. A BIG thanks goes out to Cal WA1WOK who makes this happen on his own nickel. You will not believe it, but all the stuff you saw at the HRO booth came in a mini compact car!

Gary Schneider, who brings many, many tables of connectors, opted to Hamfest down south this February. Perhaps we might have to move the show later in the spring to get the vendors back. Another vendor, Pete Cherry, who had the table in the back of the room last year, opted out when he heard the weather forecast. I later found out that he wrecked his vehicle in a snowstorm at the Marlboro Hamfest the week before.

Yes, we lost two vendors. And the good news was that instead of a packed room, there was plenty of room for attendees to leisurely peruse the stuff that we did have and that HRO and Webster had record sales. Several people told me of great deals they found out the flea market, so the sales were there. One door closes, another opens.

The Forums program was billed as a "Really Big Shoooow", and it really was. We had record attendance at the forums, with some rooms filled to capacity. There was a buzz about the forums before the show and rave reviews afterwards. Just about every aspect of Ham Radio (and Cell phones) was covered. For a small show which only lasts 6 hours, HAM-CON packs more forum punch per square inch than any other ham show on the planet. And ultimately, if you had a great time, we've done our job!

The Activity Room was expanded to include videos and more demos this year. It truly had a 4-ring circus activity. For attendees who got tired of the flea market or forums, it was a great place to unwind and watch activities at W1V, the Tech Table, DXpedition Video or a bunch of small miniforums.

For future shows, there are many things to consider. Despite our reluctance, there is strong pressure to move the show later to pick up more vendors, and move away from school vacation week and potentially bad weather (or bad weather forecasts). We also keep getting asked to stream the forums on line. Of course the problem is that we want people to attend the show and not sit home. But there is thought to providing the on-line content to those out of area willing to pay the show admission fee. The world is moving along very quickly and there are always new ways to play the game and stay current. Our challenge is to make the right choices so that HAM-CON remains a strong show in the future.


Mitch W1SJ

The 2013 Vermont QSO Party was another big success! In all, 16 Vermont stations submitted logs accounting for 5374 QSO's. While this is 2 less stations submitting logs than last year, there was much more activity in terms of overall number of QSO's. In al l, some 48 unique Vermont stations were found in the logs, a 25% increase over last year.

Outside of Vermont, 60 stations submitted logs, representing 28 states, 4 provinces and 5 DX countries, amassing a total of 338 Vermont contacts. These are big increases over last year's numbers and not too shabby for a small state QSO Party.

In the Vermont competition, Bob KB1FRW blasted away all weekend to the tune of 930 QSO's, doubling the score of second place finisher Joe K1VMT. Ed WA1ZAM operated entirely on PSK-31 to grab third while Zach operating as WB1MG and Arnie W2HDI both used a variety of modes to finish forth and fifth. Randy and Mary operated N1SP to grab top honors in the Multiop category while Carl AB1DD took the mobile category.

Outside of Vermont, Frank WA6KHK from California worked an amazing 18 Vermont stations on phone and CW to take the top spot. Ken KS4X from Tennessee worked 14 Vermont stations while running QRP and Stan W8NWX from Florida worked 15 stations on low power for third place. All three qualify and will receive the much-coveted container of genuine Vermont maple syrup! Eight stations qualified for certificates by working more than 10 Vermont stations. Great job!

RANV contest station W1NVT was on with 6 different operators who amassed 2231 QSO's, all 50 stations, 70 DXCC countries and a bunch of provinces and Vermont counties. Conditions were great and we cleaned up on 20 meters on Saturday and then did a repeat performance on 15 meters on Sunday. Paul AA1SU took the late morning Europe run and kept the rate humming around 100. Cheryl KB1VJD did mid-afternoon and logged over 140 QSO's. In the evening, Jeremy KB1WDM did the 40 meter run and rung up 111 QSO's. He quit at 10PM and we proceeded to rag chew the night away. I got back on at 1AM and ran a European pileup on 80 meters for an hour!

Sunday morning was spectacular. I had a DX run going on 15 meters where the pileup continued unabated for 2 hours - nonstop! Tim KB1THX came in at noon and the European pileup continued. He had to quickly learn pileup management techniques while trying to copy foreign operators with accents. Bob KB1WXM took the mid-afternoon shift and things quieted down as the bands started to get worked out. I got the last few hours which were quite slow, due to the fact that a lot of guys got off the radio to watch some dumb event called the stupid bowl.

I always work interesting people in this contest. This year I spoke to Eric N1SRC and Kristen AA1SK from Idaho. Eric was a past president of RANV back in the late 1990's through early 2000. I also contacted John KA1LQE from Florida. John was the police chief in Essex and was a graduate of one of my classes back in the early 1980's! It's great meeting up with old friends on the air.

A lot of us had a real ham radio ball (not bowl) that weekend. Be sure to find some time to get on the air and have fun - that's what it's all about!


Kathi K1WAL, Secretary


Finally we moved on to our movie since this was Movie Night. We watched an account of the 2011 VP8ORK DXpedition in South Orkney. Kathi K1WAL brought snacks, including popcorn for the movie and a brownie experiment. An enjoyable time was had by all! As far as we know, everyone also survived the experiment.

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