|Remote Controlled Radio
|Field Day 2020
|VHF QSO Party
Why would you need to remotely control your ham shack? There are lots of reasons. Bob K1BIF has some great wire antennas in his woods in Essex, yet lives in Colchester. Mitch is often at the Western White House in Colchester, but his shack is in Essex. When doing a demonstration, it is a lot easier to remotely control a shack with great antennas instead of having to install an antenna at a public location.
Gerry W1VE is one of the foremost experts on remote controlled radio. He lives in New Hampshire, and I'm not even sure he even has antennas there. Yet he is often the remote operator at K2LE in Southern Vermont and, for the last few years, has been the operator at VY1AAA up in the Northwest Territories. He will be giving a talk on some of the basics of remote controlled operation. This can vary from a simple system using your smart phone to an expensive remote radio setup.
Join us at our June RANV meeting on Zoom. The session starts at 6:30 with a
group chat, with the formal meeting starting at 7:00. If you do not know the
meeting ID, contact W1SJ.
About this same time each year I write an article about planning for Field Day. But this year, we have been presented with a more difficult challenge of safely running Field Day during a pandemic. It is yet another challenge thrown at us. And we will rise up and not only meet but exceed the challenge.
While most Field Day groups will remain dark this year due to the Corona virus, RANV will operate close to normal, but with specific conditions in place. We are lucky that we are in one of the quietest COVID-19 locations in the entire country and Field Day takes place outside, where viral spread is very limited. However, we also recognize that most of our participants are over 60 and some of us have adverse medical conditions, meaning that we have to do this right, or face serious consequences.
Our Field Day site will require masks and 6-foot distancing. The smaller tents (phone and CW) will be single occupancy, meaning that only one person can be in these tents at any time. The larger 20x10 foot tent will allow up to four people. Everyone else can congregate under several dining flies which will be set up with chairs arranged at least 6 feet apart. Participants can also spend down time in their own tent or vehicle.
We will make use of plastic wrap on the keyboards and paddles to keep direct touch down to a minimum. The phone stations will be outfitted with shields to keep droplets off the radios. When an operator's shift is over, he will clean up by removing the old wrap and cleaning any other touched surfaces with alcohol. In the tents, fans will be running in to not only keep things cool but to also blow out and disperse any pathogens. The GOTA operation will run without a coach to discourage close contact. Most of our GOTA operators have operating experience. Newer operators will be trained on line. The GOTA station will have a direct link via 2 meters to others on site, should they need help.
Setup will be modified somewhat. We will plan to do more preparation work on Thursday afternoon. In addition to building the yagis and driving in the guy anchors, we will also try to get as many lines over the trees in preparation for raising the wire antennas. This will shorten the workload for Friday, allowing us to do our preparation in less time with a fewer people.
Right now, we are working on specific Field Day safety procedures and how these will be monitored, and enforced, if necessary. In the meantime, we need to identify everyone who wishes to play a role at Field Day - whether they be an operator, a setup/takedown person, off-site support or even a stay-at home operator, under the temporary ARRL rules. Specifically, we need to know who will be at the site at what time, and doing what jobs so we can carefully and safely plan every aspect.
We will have a safe and very effective Field Day operation. We're one of the
best Field Day groups in the nation. We can and will do it right.
Another on-the-air activity will be taking place this weekend - the June VHF QSO Party. Most of the activity takes place on 6 and 2 meter SSB - around the frequencies 50.130 and 144.200 MHz. A lot of activity also takes place on the FT8 frequency of 50.313. The June event often coincides with the spring sporadic E season and many stations can be worked all over the country - IF the band opens up. Don't have a sophisticated radio? You can also get on 146.52 FM simplex and find activity.
The VHF QSO Party starts at 2 PM Saturday, June 13th and runs until Sunday
night at 11. I'll be operating as WB1GQR from Mt. Equinox. Look for me at
the top of the hour on SSB and FM. Get on and make QSO's!
There were about 17 in attendance via Zoom. President Bob KB1FRW called to order at 7:00 PM.
Meeting Notes and Announcements
June meeting topic to be determined. Field day was discussed. Mitch is working out a plan to maintain social distancing. We need to find out how many operators or participants are actually willing to attend and adjust plans accordingly. Bob Allen mentioned someone wants to give away old QST magazines. Email Bob if interested.
Dave Edmonds gave a presentation on the State QSO Party Challenge stateqsoparty.com.
Dave started in amateur radio at age 12. He was active in nets, contests, and got into county hunting. He was inactive after going to college getting back on the air in 2012 and getting back into contests and QSO parties.
On November 4, 2019, he got the idea to tie numerous QSO parties together and have people compete by acquiring points over the course of a year, similar to NASCAR. The goal was to increase activity and increase competition.
Handling the data that such a contest would generate was one of the problems. He found a volunteer to assist with that, and had two more people join the effort. Eventually he had a team of six people to get it going.
In December they decided to start the contest February 1, 2020. They needed to work out the rules, set up a website, set up a data system, and tell the world, all in seven weeks. And the first contest was the Vermont QSO party. People enter their data in the 3830 scores.com web site after the contest, Data is available for everyone to see, and people can make comments.
The organizers thought it would be big, but already it has revolutionized the QSO party world. Mitch collected twice as many logs as usual. Icom indicated they wanted to sponsor it, which would take care of awards as well as website maintenance for 2 years.
This innovative event is still in its early stages, and there are some
problems that still need to be worked out. The presentation generated some
good conversation and questions at the end.