RADIO AMATEUR NEWS & VIEWS, August, 1999
NEWS & VIEWS
PICNIC THIS SATURDAY
We hope to see y'all down at the RANV Picnic, Saturday, August 7th at Knight's Point State Park in North Hero. Our mission statement for this event is: "To Have Fun." All else is secondary. The earlybirds will start arriving at 11am to fire up the grills. Bring anything you like to broil, bake, braise, burn or barbecue. Bring stuff to share, if you like. The club will provide soda and charcoal for the grills and pick up admission. Bring family and friends, as well. Sadly, park rules prohibit any animals, so keep Fido home where it's cool. For those who need to bounce stuff off the ionosphere, we will have a radio set up on HF with antenna high in the trees. Other park activities include swimming, paddleboats, canoes, volleyball, and soccer. The weather will probably be warm, but Knight's Point is known to be quite windy. Bring whatever is necessary to stay comfortable.
At 1:00 there will be a short (30 minutes) meeting of the local chapter of the Yankee Clipper Contest Club (YCCC). This is a group of amateur operators interested in contesting and DXing. You are welcome to join YCCC if you find it interesting. The talk will be about everyone's plans for the upcoming fall and winter contests.
To get to Knight's Point, take Route 2 up over the Sandbar onto the Champlain Islands. Pass through South Hero and Grand Isle and go over the bridge to North Hero Island. Just after bridge, make a left turn into the park. Tell the attendant you are with the amateur radio club, and you are all set.
The next few weeks are chock full of amateur radio activities in our area. Kicking off August is the RANV Picnic and YCCC meeting on Saturday, August 7th at Knight's Point State Park.
Friday evening August 13th will be the midsummer Fox Hunt. Sadly, we can't offer a location for this event, as you will have to find it on your own. Please note that the hunt will start 1 hour earlier, at 6pm.
Saturday, August 14th is the date of the Charlotte Hamfest at the Old Lantern Campgrounds. Things generally get underway about 8am.
In the public service department, the Ironman Triathlon will take place on Sunday, August 15th in Lake Placid. Volunteers are still needed. Contact George N2UTY on the 147.15 repeater.
We have a special activity for the summer - Ham Radio Night at the Ballpark. Join us for an evening at Centennial Field on Wednesday, August 18th as mascot Champ engages in his usual shenanigans.
Friday, August 27th is the next VE session at the Essex Town Office at 6pm. Contact W1SJ for details.
Finally, September 11-12th is the VHF QSO Party. The RANV Expeditionary Force will again head up to Mt. Equinox to blast VHF/UHF signals all over the Northeast as the rest of us hand out a few contacts.
There's plenty of stuff out there to do over the next 5 weeks. Pick something and join in!
Join us for an evening of fun at Ham Radio Night at the Ballpark. We will be attending the Vermont Expos versus the Utica Blue Sox ballgame, Wednesday August 18th.
Here are the details. Stadium parking is available for $2, but you must be there by 6pm, as this fills up fast. If you are late, there is a small overflow lot at Trinity College on Colchester Avenue. If you miss that, you must park by the Watertower at UVM and take a shuttle. Tickets for the grandstand are $4. We will be in the cement bleachers behind 1st base. Look for the HT's!
EARLY FOX HUNT
The summer Fox Hunt will be held on Friday evening, August 13th. The starting time will be moved 1 hour earlier to 6pm, so please make plans to be ready to roll. The advantage of this start time is that the hunt will be conducted totally in light - which you will definitely need to find this Fox!
The Fox will start transmitting around 6pm on the input of the 145.15 repeater (144.55 MHz). Your mission is to find him! First one there gets to hide in October and gets all the bragging rights associated with this accomplishment.
OUR LAST RANV MEETING
by Paul AA1SU, Sec'yWe started off the meeting of July 13th with a discussion about the future of the Steering Wheel Meetings. As you know from reading last month's newsletter, Shoney's Restaurant in Colchester was closed for the month of July so that it could be transformed into a Friendly's. We batted around a few ideas, and it was decided that I should check out Cruisers Restaurant, across from Creek Farm Plaza in Colchester. It was at this time that Richard WN1HJW announced that, due to personal reasons, he would not be attending any more Steering Wheel Meetings. I checked out the establishment the next day and made a recommendation that we try it out. We did so, and enjoyed it. We agreed to go there for the month of August.
Ray N1UPK announced that volunteers are needed for the National Night Out Against Crime on Tuesday August 3rd starting at about 5pm. It will run until 10pm with fireworks around 9pm. Ham radio will be showcased at this event. Richard then announced that he and Karen would bring 24 ears of corn and a watermelon to the picnic (YUM!).
For a little Field Day summary, Mitch W1SJ announced that our 12,194 point score for 2A is the highest that he has seen so far. Mitch checks the 3830 Internet Contest Reflector for the latest score postings. These results are, of course, not official, and the actual ARRL results will be posted in December QST.
For our tune up clinic, our featured guest Bill N1RUC was unable to make it because of work related duties that came up. However, we went outside for some antenna measurements with a trusty antenna analyzer and wattmeter. We checked the SWR on antennas for N1YWB, AA1SU, N1ZUK, KB1DUR, WN1HJW and N1UPK. Jeff N1YWB had been constructing an 80 meter vertical that, after the testing, was not going as well as he had hoped. He is reconsidering the project.
After the snack break, we used Mitch's signal generator to test the sensitivity of N1YWB's Icom IC-746. It looked very good during the testing. The radio actually belongs to the Vermont Technical College Amateur Radio Club but, as club President, Jeff has been able to borrow it for the summer.
As usual, this was an educational and fun meeting!
THE PREZ SEZ
by Eric, N1SRC
The Field Day results are tabulated and we still don't know of any higher scores.
The tune-up meeting did not go quite as planned, but we still had a good time. It was great that Bill N1RUC was willing to try to come. One of the facts of life is that repairmen get called to pursue their trade. Thanks also to Richard and Karen for the refreshments.
It is important that we keep learning how to deal with unexpected problems. They crop up all the time. The contractor working on my house reminds me of this every time he lays out his new plan of action. Things were rolling along and then a key truck broke down. The crew made do using pickup trucks, but it took 3 trips to do what one would have done, and they had to take time to get the truck repaired, but the job got done. The ability to deal with unexpected problems requires experience and knowledge. That's why I hired a crew that knew their trade. They know how things should work, the ways that things are likely to go wrong, and many ways to deal with trouble efficiently.
If we are to provide extra value when there is trouble we must be more than appliance operators and therefore learn the radio trade well. We must learn what things normally work, how they usually fail, and how to deal with trouble. In addition, we must do it without going broke. We have our reputation for being cheapskates to uphold. Ingenuity can never completely replace the right equipment, but it can help fill in. It is also important to know when to call in the expensive equipment.
I look forward to the annual picnic. It should be a good chance to make some contacts and try out equipment in a more relaxed way. Of course, we might even do some swimming. We'll have some gear there and anyone is welcome to bring their own to show off or try out. This year I will TRY to remember the big battery. It was tough trying to run a 100-watt rig off a 6 Amp-hour battery.
by Paul AA1SU
My prediction that the 10-Meter Contest results would be published in the August edition of QST was wrong. Neither is it on the League's Web Page. Last year, results were published in July, followed by a major correction in November. With the increased log checking that they are doing nowadays, I'm not sure when the official results will be published. Also missing from the August issue is the results of the ARRL's RTTY Round Up. I entered this digital event in January of this year, in a quest to try out a new mode. In fact, my first RTTY contact ever was during this contest. I was watching the NFL Playoffs in the other room, and trying to contest at the same time on paper logs. I probably will still win VT (tee-hee).
For the month of August, we have a few enticing contests to warm us up for the upcoming contest season. During the RANV picnic, we may hand out contacts in the CW North American QSO Party and the Ten-Ten Summer Phone Contest. On the following weekend (August 14th) there is the CW Worked All Europe DX Contest. This is the contest with the strange QTC message-sending feature. A little less complicated event is the Maryland-DC QSO Party running 24 hours from noon until midnight on Saturday and Sunday.
Moving to August 21st, we have the Phone NAQP. Single ops may work 10 of the 12 hours, running on Saturday, 2pm to 2am. and this is a wonderful way to work on the Worked All States award. The exchange is name and state. The multipliers are states. You may hear the New Jersey QSO Party at the same time. Hours for that one are from 4pm Saturday to 10pm Sunday, with an off period from 3am to 9am Sunday. I'll probably be working the Scandinavian RTTY Contest and that actually has two, 8-hour off periods.
The last weekend of the month features 3 more State QSO Parties. Hawaii, Ohio and South Dakota will all be on the air starting at noon Saturday. That's right, Hawaii! I wish that I had a little more experience in propagation prediction to tell you when to listen for HI, but at least packet spotting is allowed for all classes of operation. Most QSO Parties score 1 point for SSB and 2 points for CW. However, SD has an unusual tiered scoring set up.
Wow! That's 5 stateside QSO Parties and 2 NAQPs, with none of that scary DX (save WAE). And of course, more details can be found in the August QST on page 91. I hope that you can get on the air for at least one of them. Next month: Why QSY?
HAMS PROVIDE CRITICAL HELP
On Sunday July 11th, Richard WN1HJW came upon an accident on a back road in South Hero. A female motorist had gone off the road and hit a tree and was found unconscious. Richard called KB1AVA and had him call South Hero rescue who responded in about 5 minutes. She was taken to Fletcher Allen for treatment. The injuries were very serious and she is still recovering at the hospital today.
ULS IS HERE
The FCC will be changing to its Universal Licensing System this month. This is an attempt to combine all FCC databases into one. The intial result will be added paperwork and a several week delay in in the VE system as the new system in implemented.
Welcome to RANV
David KB1DUR of Essex received his license this year. He is a doctor at UVM and also has a neat motorcycle, complete with 2-meter radio!
RANV REPORT CARD
editorial by Mitch W1SJ
By many accounts, we have had a very successful year. Our largest activities, the Hamfest and Field Day were well attended and the best ever. Turnout at meetings has been sporadic, but some meetings have been well attended. Membership has held steady in the mid-nineties.
We mustn't rest on our laurels. The times are a-changing and getting stranger. Two of the largest and oldest amateur radio clubs in Vermont are struggling mightily. A couple of new clubs in our area are doing well, while RANV, neither old nor new, is holding it's own.
One of the clubs has been holding forum type meetings to re-invent itself, that is, to seek a new direction. That might not be a bad idea for all of us to do. At our last Steering Wheel meeting, we set out to plan activities for the fall meetings and drew a lot of blanks!
The people who do the organizing (anyone who shows up at Steering Wheels) cannot operate in a vacuum. We need input as to what you want the club to be doing and what direction you want it to be going in. Or, to put it into a simple businesslike mode, RANV is nothing more than a service provider and you are the customer. What products need to be added or deleted? What do we do to get more people involved in the activities and sustain growth?
Believe me, it is not an easy or simple answer. The ARRL is struggling with these very questions and not coming up with much.
This fall, Eric N1SRC will not seek another term as President. Some have known no other RANV president! Our challenge is to assure that a high quality of leadership is maintained while we continue to serve the needs of our members.
Your job is to continue to provide input - both positive and negative. That will give us the means to determine the activities we will pursue.
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