RANV Holiday Party HAM-CON and Other Events RANV Meeting Minutes
FD - WE DID IT! Note From W1LWH New Hams & Upgrades

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The RANV Holiday Party will be Saturday, December 14, Noon - 4PM at the QTH of W1SJ. If you do not know where this is, ASK.

RANV will provide a cold cuts platter with bread and condiments, meatballs in sauce, Pepsi, water and the celebratory chocolate cake (we won Field Day!). Anything else is pot luck which you bring. Please fill out the survey at Please do this RIGHT NOW! This survey lets me know who is coming and who is bringing what so that we can plan accordingly.

We want to really try to make this event (and others) a FAMILY event. That means bringing spouses, SO's and older children. It also means that we all have to act like normal people (as opposed to acting like HAMsters) and be willing to carry on conversation not related to radio or geek things. Yes, I know this is a bit more difficult for all of us, but we want to make some of our events less like little hamfests and include non-hams. And besides, we may learn about non-geek things like interior decorating, for instance. But, we will have geek things available so no one needs to go into withdrawal. The shack will be warmed up and ready for QSO's on any mode.

Remember fill out the survey ASAP. And bring family!


Mitch W1SJ

The BIG news is that HAM-CON is moving! HAM-CON will be Saturday, February 22nd at the Hampton Inn, 42 Lower Mountain Road, Colchester Vt. This is right off of I-89 Exit 16 and 2 exits (2.8mi) north of last years location at the Holiday Inn. The Holiday Inn is planning construction work and the facility is not available in February. We held HAM-CON at the Hampton in 2009-2011. No changes are planned in the program or activities.

I am working on the program now and if you have any ideas on great activities, please let me know!

The Northern Vermont Winter Breakfast will be Saturday, January 25, 2020, 9AM-Noon at JP's Deli, 39 River Road, Essex, Vt. Join with 30+ hams as we munch our way through breakfast and tell tall ham tales.

The Vermont QSO Party will be February 1-2. UTC start time is 7PM Friday, January 31st and the event runs 48 hours, ending at 7PM Sunday February 2nd. Rules will be similar to last years where FT8 is a valid mode. If you have suggestions on changes, please let me know soon.

See you at these activities!


Duane WL7CVD, Sec'y

There were about 11 in attendance. Club president Bob KB1FRW called meeting to order at 7:06PM.

Bob KB1FRW moved to put off counting the election ballots until Jim VP/Treasurer arrived, and to count available ballots at the end of the meeting if Jim did not arrive by then. Seconded by Paul AA1SU. Passed.

Jim arrived and the full election results were counted. Twentyfour ballots were returned (a 26% participation rate), with unanimous approval for the uncontested slate.

Jim K1IR gave a presentation on tower safety via Zoom. Three others checked in to watch on-line. Jim started by asking whether there is a problem with tower safety in amateur radio. He did an interesting and thorough analysis of accident rates and compared with accident rates involving professionals who work on commercial towers. His calculations indicate working on amateur radio towers has twice the fatality rate of commercial work, and that it is seven times more dangerous than sky diving. Amateur radio accident rates had an upward trend, while commercial had a downward trend.

Root causes of fatalities and injuries include falling with a tower, tower state unsafe for climbing, and free fall, which is a direct result of inadequate PPE (harness) and poor climbing technique. There are also factors of unsafe maneuvers, overconfidence, and under-preparation.

Some key points: guyed towers must be properly guyed, and a temporary guy wire does not mean a poor guy. Rope is not good enough. When climbing be 100% attached with a proper, full-body safety harness.

The old lineman's belts are now outlawed. Harnesses with two leg straps are a step up, but are also deemed inadequate. A good harness would run between $200 and $1000. Avoid taking shortcuts, allow additional time, adequate help, and adequate equipment.

It is important to develop a safety mindset and to talk about tower safety as a community. The individual must make a commitment to do it right, and a club can provide guidance and support. Plan the process. Jim indicated he would make a recording of the presentation available.


Mitch W1SJ

The official results are in and RANV, operating as W1NVT is on the top of the pack in the 2A Field Day category. We have taken the top spot in back to back years. We did this by a wide margin, outdistancing the rest of the field by some 4000 points. Not only that, but we finished in the top 10 of all Field Day entries, which includes groups operating with way more transmitters than we were using. We were a QSO-making machine (4528 QSO's), with the 4th highest QSO total of all groups - only 3 groups running 5, 9 and 14 transmitters made more QSO's than we did.

We have done back-back wins twice before - in 1986-87 and 2010-11. In the 36 years we have operated in the vicinity of the Williston site, as RANV and before that as the Silicon Junction Radio Club, we have finished first 10 times, 2nd 6 times and 3rd 7 times. No other entity can match our record of consistency and performance over this long a time period.

Other groups have taken notice and openly ask how we do it. There have been lots of funny speculation over the years. Sorry to be boring and squash the story, but the success has been due to simple hard work. Some say that we have collected a stable of top flight operators. While we have some good ops, none are in the contester's hall of fame. Our antenna system is average, when compared to other competitive groups. And while we do some tweaks here and there which help a little, that does not make a really large difference in score. The bottom line is that we show up every year with a good signal and good operators and vie to be the best. Sometimes the propagation goes our way and we win and many other times we get edged out by someone with better propagation. But we are always there doing our best. Many Field Day groups have been scaling down or even not showing up due to age or lack of interest. We can only hope that this will never befall us.

Anyone who reads this has to know that Field Day this past year was no cake walk. We had some serious issues to overcome. The first issue was lack of CW operators. And I'll give credit where it is due. We win or lose based on how the CW station does. While phone makes its 2500+ QSOs each year, it is the performance of the CW station which determines if we win it or not. We had only 3 operators, Linn, Paul and Zach. Zach pitched in with several hours, but it was Linn and Paul doing the rest and staying up all through the night to keep the QSOs coming. It was a tremendous effort which paid off.

Over on phone, we had record rates until 20 meters closed down and then it all went into the dumper for over 6 hours overnight. A blown feed line was a big part of the story, but conditions were really quite poor. Transmitter problems kept us off of 20 meters Sunday, which was fortunate as it forced us onto 15 meters where surprisingly good rates kept us in business.

Frankly, at the end, I thought our effort was lackluster, but it appeared everyone was struggling with poor conditions and we handled it better.

There are those out there who exclaim that Field Day is not a contest and this is all moot. Everyone is free to have their own opinion. For me, I'd like to be really good at what I do, and perhaps, even be considered the best. RANV is the best at this, not only at Field Day, but also at park activations (actually mini-Field Days) as well. Amateur radio is about communication on the radio and we do that quite well.

Where do we go from here? Well, I'd really like to get the three-peat. Its never been done in 2A and its been denied to us twice before. It will require hard work and luck; the former we'll work at and the latter we'll pray for. Within 6 months we will have to assemble a crew, get the equipment together and collectively think how to improve our game just a bit more to get better at what we already are good at. I can't wait!


Paul AA1SU

At the September 10th RANV meeting, I bought along a get well card for everyone to sign for Linn Hobbs W1LWH. At the time, Linn was going thru chemotherapy treatments for prostate cancer. A few weeks later, whilst roaming around NEAR-fest on Friday, October 11, I received the following nice text from Linn.

Dear Paul,
Linda and I were so touched by the card from everyone. Thank you all so much.
Linda is recovering from a concussion and vertigo sustained in a bad fall
several weeks ago, so I've become the caretaker in a reversal of roles. Hope
all is well with you.

73, Linn W1LWH


John Siddway KC1JGL Rochester, upgrade to General
Max Hochschild KC1MBX Plainfield, upgrade to General
Brian Sullivan KC1MER South Burlington, Tech
Clarence Boright KC1MES Shelburne, Tech
Aidan Carstensen KC1MEQ Milton, Tech
Hlodyn Sidaway KC1MET Rochester, Tech


George KC1JGM

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