Why Knot Join Us Burton Island DXpedition Allis State Park Activation
VHF QSO Party Hurricane Harvey Camp Plymouth Activation

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The September RANV Meeting

We are going to talk about knots and rigging as it pertains to our activities in ham radio. We will go over basic knots, discuss putting up wire antennas, and show some real world examples why this knowledge can help. Presenter, KB1FRW and anyone in the group with special knots skills.


Mitch W1SJ

For years, I've always talked about doing a DXPedition to Burton Island. Although it's only a half mile off shore from Kill Kare State Park, an island always seems to carry a bit of intrigue. This year, as part of the Vermont Parks on the Air Program, we decided to do a RANV doubleheader: Picnic and Activate both Kill Kare and Burton Island State Parks at the same time.

Bob KB1FRW and I were the Burton Island ops. We got to Kill Kare early to get our stuff ready to be loaded onto the Ferry. It would have been a simple matter to pack in a tiny KX3 and a wire, but that's not what we are about. We filled two large wheel barrows with radios, amplifiers, tuners, and antenna hardware and planned for a serious assault. "Life's too short for QRP!" We landed on the island by 10:50 got the dipole high in the air, set the stations up under a conveniently located tent, and was on the air just before noon. We used the special event call sign W1V for this operation. Not only did we give out the Park designator KFF-3015, but we also gave out the U.S. Islands on the Air NA20L.

Conditions were rather lackluster, but we still managed to log 326 stations in 39 states and 10 countries. We really didn't do much on 40 meters as we were limited by time. But it was a glorious and very relaxing day on the island.

Meanwhile, Bob KB1WXM got set up and was on the air from Kill Kare State Park (KFF-3121) by 10AM as W1NVT. In addition, a whole group of people manned the station, including AA1SU, AB1DD, KB1LHB, N5WVR, VE2HKT and VE2EVN to the tune of 221 QSO's.


Mitch W1SJ

At the last minute we decided to activate Allis State Park in Brookfield, as part of the Vermont Parks on the Air Program. This park will close after Labor Day and access after that will require a half mile hike beyond the locked gate. This was literally thrown together at the last minute. I called Bob KB1FRW at 9PM Saturday night and he was willing to go. Posts on the reflector and Facebook did not bring out anyone else, but fortunately, we found Chad KC1CZA wandering around Montpelier Sunday morning and talked him into joining us.

This site is special because not only is it a State Park (KFF-3099), but it is also a SOTA (Summits On the Air) site, Bear Hill, W1/GM-169, elevation 2030 feet. The plan was to do the Park Activation as W1NVT with high power, and then at an opportune time, switch to battery and hand out SOTA contacts as W1SJ.

We made use of the 60 foot high Bear Hill Fire Tower for two dipoles, a 20 meter running North and a 40 meter running South, both broadside to the West. No interference was experienced between the stations, even though they were quite close to each other. We had 20 meters on the air a bit after 1 and 40 meters came up by 2.

Immediately, 20 meters was a total nuthouse, with monster pileups from all over the U.S. and Europe. After an hour, I announced that I would switch to W1SJ and run a SOTA activation, as I quickly connected the K3 to a battery and switched off the amp. The Bear Hill site has hosted 2 previous SOTA activations, amounting to a total of 27 QSO's. I equaled that inside of 10 minutes as the pileup raged on, despite the fact that I dropped power 7db. After 20 minutes, the battery started to sag, so we switched back to W1NVT on the amp and continued the park activation. Chad jumped in the chair and had a trial by fire as he negotiated the pileups (rather well!).

Over on 40 meters, Bob was steadily putting contacts in the log, including a station from Italy in mid-afternoon. I did a SOTA run over on 40 for a bit, and came back later on 20 and did other SOTA run there.

By the end of the day at 6:30, we amassed a ridiculous 195 SOTA QSO's (all on battery), and all told, 773 QSO's, 47 states and 27 countries for 5 1/2 hours of fun. And the weather and views from the summit were just gorgeous!


Mitch W1SJ

The ARRL VHF QSO Party, will take place Saturday-Sunday, September 9-10, starting at 2PM and running until Sunday night at 11.

Many of us have HF radios which will cover 6 meters. Turn on the radio and try to make some contacts. A 40 meter dipole works fairly good on 6, otherwise, a 6 meter dipole can be easily cut from about 9 feet of wire. Tune between 50.125 through 50.150 MHz to find the action. Two meter SSB activity can be found right around 144.2 MHz. You might find FM activity on 146.55 MHz, too. VHF activity can be fleeting. Don't just listen for 5 minutes and give up if you don't hear anything. Instead, leave the radio on the aforementioned calling frequencies for a long period of time - you'll hear something after a while.

To get hams in Vermont all on at the same time, I suggest at least listening at 2, 5 and 8 PM on Saturday and the same times on Sunday. If everyone gets on at the same time, there will be people to work! I plan to be up on Mt. Equinox in Southern Vermont. I will point the yagi north at the top of the hour, so that is a good time to listen for me. I'll be on 146.55 and 144.2 MHz and wherever I can find a clear spot on 6 meters. If you have an outside antenna, or a high powered mobile, there's a good chance I'll hear you, so give it a try. Hope to see you on VHF this weekend!


Excerpts from Recent ARRL Communications

A variety of emergency, health-and-welfare, traffic, and tactical nets in South Texas are active on HF at various times of the day as well as on a wide array of VHF and UHF repeaters, which remain available as needed. The Salvation Team Emergency Radio Network (SATERN) has been active on 14.265 MHz, while the Military Auxiliary Radio Service (MARS) has been using the 5.330.5 (USB) interoperability channel on 60 meters. As of mid-week, Harvey, now a tropical storm, was headed northeast toward Louisiana, where ARES volunteers are on standby. During the storm response, all Amateur Radio operators -- and perhaps especially those involved in contest activity -- are advised to listen first and respect any frequencies in use for emergency response communication," Corey said. He cited the SATERN Net on 14.265 MHz and the South Texas Traffic Emergency and Health and Welfare nets on 7.285, 7.290, 3.873, and 3.935 MHz. Digital emergency and health and welfare frequencies are 3.5925 and 7.095 MHz. ARRL Emergency Preparedness Manager Mike Corey, KI1U, said the Red Cross is in need of Red Cross-trained shelter managers and volunteer management specialists. Anyone interested should contact him (



Late breaking news: Congratulations to Bob KB1WXM and Carl AB1DD on another successful State Park On The Air (KFF-3108). Despite frigid temps in the 50s and steady rain, both were on the air for three hours during Labor Day Weekend and racked up 261 contacts from across the US and into Europe. With one 500 watt station on 20 meters using a dipole suspended 70 feet up in the trees, they were able to work 39 states and 14 countries - great work guys!

POP QUIZ - Answers below

Technician Question: T2C12
What is the Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES)?
A. Licensed amateurs who have voluntarily registered their qualifications and 
equipment for communications duty in the public service
B. Licensed amateurs who are members of the military and who voluntarily agreed 
to provide message handling services in the case of an emergency
C. A training program that provides licensing courses for
those interested in obtaining an amateur license to use during emergencies
D. A training program that certifies amateur operators for
membership in the Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service

General Question: G2B11
What frequency should be used to send a distress call?
A. Whichever frequency has the best chance of communicating the distress message
B. Only frequencies authorized for RACES or ARES stations
C. Only frequencies that are within your operating privileges
D. Only frequencies used by police, fire or emergency medical services

Extra Question: E1B09
Which amateur stations may be operated under RACES rules?
A. Only those club stations licensed to Amateur Extra class operators
B. Any FCC-licensed amateur station except a Technician class
C. Any FCC-licensed amateur station certified by the responsible civil defense 
organization for the area served
D. Any FCC-licensed amateur station participating in the
Military Auxiliary Radio System (MARS)


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