|Summer Picnic||Secretary's Report||MS-150 Results|
|WRTC Results||Field Day Results||Field Day Score Boxes|
It's that time again! Summer Picnic time! Once again we've got our spot at Kill Kare State Park in St. Albans, this year on Saturday, August 10. Note: This is the same day as STARC's Hamfest at the St. Albans VFW. Why not make a whole day of it by heading over to the hamfest first (opens @ 8:00AM) then come to Kill Kare and show us your new toys! Check out the STARC website for details: http://www.starc.org/hamfest/STARC_HAMFEST_INFO.html
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.
Directions: 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 see The Bayside Pavilion 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, the
Park sign if often miss- ing, so pay attention. Go 3 miles to the Park
The meeting was a special outing - yeahhh field trips! This was a trip through
the inner workings of the Lake Champlain Ferries hosted by Bob KB1FRW. A man
at home in his element, as you can see. More to come next month.
A group of local and out of area hams worked this to keep the MS (Multiple
Sclerosis) 150 Getaway running this past weekend. The event brings in bike
riders from around the region who raise money by pledging to ride various
distances (45-100 km) along a prescribed course. The Saturday ride ran down
along the lake to Crown Point, while the Sunday ride ran inland through
Hinesburg and Bristol. The Sunday route is particularly hard to do as a good
portion of the route is along the Main Road in Huntington, where no repeater
covers well. A temporary two meter repeater was placed in Monkton for this
route. Except for a few flat tires, no major issues were reported. Local hams
involved in this activity included K1WAL, KB1WXM, N1LXI, N1WQS, W1OKH, W1SJ, in
addition to 7-8 hams who traveled up to our area from Vermont, New York and
The World Radio Team Championship is the Olympics of Amateur Radio. The best operators (59 two-person teams) from all over the world will be selected based on their performance in contests over the last 3 years. In July, 2014, the best of the best will be invited to New England to compete head to head in the IARU Contest. They will operate from "Field Day" type stations, using identical antennas, generators and tents. The competitors will bring their own radios, computers and skills to the competition.
Recently we just completed the 2013 WRTC dry run. We erected 25 stations and antennas all located along the I-495 corridor around Boston. And then we operated those stations in the 24-hour contest to make sure they were, indeed, identical, and that we uncovered any problems or issues.
Brian K1LI and I participated in this event. We had two jobs - the beam team (antenna and tower erectors) and the operating team. To say that we were tired after a weekend of setting up, operating 24 hours and then taking down is an understatement.
The WRTC is unique in that it is a contest within a contest. We operate in a 2-transmitter, 2-operator format. That is, we have two radios connected to a triplexer allowing both radios use of the same triband antenna at the same time, on different bands. And unlike the IARU contest, we look for DXCC countries and HQ stations while IARU competitors look for ITU zones and HQ stations. Confused yet? Many of us were last year!
Brian was able to secure the loan of an Elecraft K3 from Al KE1FO. We set up the station using two K3's, running off of N1MM Logger on networked computers. Compared to some of the other stations, we had a relatively simple but very effective setup. It was a bit scary for me as I've logged over a ¼ million contacts in the last 25 years on an ancient version of NA, using an even more ancient TS830s transceiver (it has tubes in it!). The week before, we got together to set up the computers so that they communicated with the radios, they could key CW and that they were networked together. We ended up with a plethora of Ethernet, USB and serial cables and even a router! It all worked on my kitchen table, so we felt confident we could pull this off!
Friday morning, we all convened at the Medfield State Hospital, our assigned location. Formerly known as the Medfield Insane Asylum, it seemed the perfect place for a ham operation. The hospital was closed in 2003 and it consists of 50+ shuttered brick buildings. It was used as a location for the movies, "Shutter Island" and "The Box". As nightfall descended, you could not have found a more spookier place. Maybe we should come back on Halloween.
We were to set up two stations, in fields on the East and West ends of the property. Our group consisted of 8-10 people who were on the beam and site teams and we all worked together. I paired with someone to build the 8 element Cycle 24 TX38 yagi, while others worked on the tower and tent. About mid-way through the day, some of the team started at the other site. By 5PM we had both sites put together and tested. Brian and I thought about setting up the station, but instead we opted to join the group for dinner and the telling of tall contest tales. We also know that next year, we will all have to build FOUR of these stations!
Saturday morning, I headed over to the site at O'dark thirty. Why so early? This contest starts at 8AM! We got the station set up quickly, but the network would not work. I hate this type of thing. We finally changed the workgroup name on one the computers, jumbled around some IP addresses and then reboot everything and we were on the air. We only lost 10 minutes at the beginning.
The 10 minutes we lost didn't amount to anything since we couldn't work anyone. The Europeans were all happily working each other and did not hear many U.S. stations. Although our beam had 8 elements, only 2 each are used on 20 and 15 meters. That and 100 watts did not set any radios on fire in Europe. After some real slow hours, we gave up and turned the beam west and ran stateside on CW. We did real well at this - both stations blazing away on CW. Then we got our only good run of the day on phone and ran up some terrific rates. But I knew we were bottom-feeding - I term I coined describing running stateside. A big part of this contest is working multipliers and we were not doing that. Finally, conditions improved to Europe and we were able to fill in all the missing multipliers.
How did the radios work while using the same antenna? Very well! The triplexer and filters worked very well - we weren't aware of each other, nor the other station at Medfield, which was only 1500 feet away. However, when we moved to 40 and 80 meters, the K3's complained about Hi RFI. Apparently RF was flowing down the shield of the coax to the radios - a common problem when using dipoles without baluns. Brian just happened to have a pair of common mode filters which solved the problem. Talk about packing the right tools for the job!
We both operated continuously for the 24 hour period save for a brief 45 minute nap we took at different times during the graveyard shift. And then at 8AM, it was all over, and we took down antennas, packed up and said our goodbyes until next year. I picked up Debbie from where she was staying nearby and she drove back. I passed out some two exits down I-495 and didn't come to until we were well into Vermont!
We submitted our log on a memory stick and a few days later the results came back: 4th place out of a field of 25 stations with some of the best contesters in New England. We did very well in QSO's while doing rather poorly with multipliers. Still, I was impressed as we did most of our operating on CW, which is not my strongest mode.
Next year will be the big bash. Competitors will arrive Wednesday, we'll have opening ceremonies Thursday and then we put up antennas. The beam team will get a much needed rest during the competition only to reconvene on Sunday for take down.
If you can swing the time off and a place to stay, this is an opportunity you
won't want to miss. We will get to rub shoulders with the best ops in the
world while showing off our hospitality. All sorts of volunteers are still
needed - not only for the beam and setup teams, but also for the hospitality
team - the folks who tend to the competitors and make sure they get to the
event on time! Go to www.WRTC2014.org for details on volunteering. Hope you can
join in on the fun!
The boxes show our 2013 Field Day results and a list of who did what. The good
news is that we posted a very good score. The bad news is that this is 1000
points less than last year and the lowest score we've had in 4 years. It has
been suggested that conditions were not as good as last year, but the trends in
scores I have seen indicate the opposite. The numbers have been crunched and
are submitted and we can only hope we do well when the full results come out in
late October. A full synopsis of Field Day 2013 has been posted on the web.
Participants will receive the link to allow them to read all the details. I
trust the operator details shown are accurate. Keeping track of 30+ people
floating around the site is quite difficult. Let me know if I missed
something. Thank you everyone for all your hard work!
80 CW 67 80 SSB 152 40 CW 454 40 SSB 414 20 CW 559 20 SSB 1792 15 CW 232 15 SSB 338 GOTA CW 0 GOTA SSB 447 VHF CW 1 VHF Ph 73 Sat CW 0 Sat Ph 1 Total CW 1316 Total Ph 3231 4547 QSOs 2150 Bonus 13876 Pts Previous Years 2012 2011 2010 2009 QSOs 4643 5467 4565 4411 Bonuses 2150 2450 2230 2190 Points 14752 16320 14230 13294
AA1SU Paul CW op; Phone op; VHF op; Equipment; Bonuses; Set up; Tear down. AB1DD Carl GOTA coach; Set up; Tear down. K1LI Brian CW op; Equipmt; Set up; Tear down. K1TWF Mike CW op. K1WAL Kathi GOTA coach; Food; VHF op; Set up; Tear down. K1ZK Zach Set up. K2MME Howie CW op; Set up; Tear down. KB1FRW Bob Equipment wrangler; VHF; Set up; Tear down. KB1LHB Adam GOTA op; Set up; Tear down. KB1LOT Jim GOTA op; Tear down. KB1MAQ Jon GOTA op. KB1MDC Alan Set up. KB1PDW Spence Food; Set up;Tear down. KB1RQX Chuck Set up. KB1THX Tim Set up. KB1WIZ Dave GOTA op; Set up; Tear down. KB1WJA Brenda GOTA op; Set up;Tear down. KB1YGP Dave GOTA op; Set up;Tear down. KB1ZEB Larry Tear down. KB1ZXQ Andy GOTA op. KE1AZ Jim Phone op; GOTA coach; Set up; Tear down. KI6ISG Bev GOTA Op. KK1L Ron Setup. N1YD Jeff Demos; GOTA; Set up; Tear down. N1YWB Jeff Phone op; Set up; Tear down. N2EA Jim CW op; Set up; Tear down. N6PRT Doug Set up; Tear down. NK1A Nancy GOTA coach. W1LWH Linn CW op; Equipment. W1SJ Mitch Chairman; Phone op; Equipment; Satellite op; Set up; Tear down; Results. W4YFJ Bob Bulletins; GOTA coach; Set up; Tear Down.