Monday, July 4, 2016

Dale's Tales for July

Greetings everyone, welcome to "Dale's Tales" for July, 2016.

I truly hope everyone had a happy and safe July 4th, as we celebrated the 240th birthday of this great country.
WOW, FIELD DAY is behind us again, but I am already looking forward to next year.  Operating with my local club is always an adventure, but this year there was serious interest from several new hams who were excited to get in some HF operating action.  From this OT's perspective, this was a really neat challenge, that of operating, answering questions and giving a truly hands-on demonstration of how to call, copy, log and beat the QRM.  Many familiar calls made the log here and I truly hope you all had similar experiences with your FD setup.

While it may seem like a lot of work to set up all of the FD "Extras" just to gain a few added points, but just sometimes we gain a new ham and once-in-a-while a FD operation fosters a renewed interest from a ham who has not been active for years.  I am so glad we have extended invitations for visitors and included that fact in our news releases. It really makes all of it worthwhile.

How well I can still recall my first FD experience, I had my Novice license about a month and my mentor took me to visit the local club's FD site.   I had no idea what was happening; Field Day?? What was that?

I was all wide-eyed and curious.  But soon, I was there helping to log and getting the fever to get on the air.  Oh, and there was this wonderful new 1KW SSB transceiver humming away in one tent, a new ham's dream, a Cosmophone 1000...but that's another story.  So after 54 years, I find that I still get FD Fever.

A FREQUENT DISCUSSION at the ARRL Hamfest table relates to ways to draw more young people into our hobby.  This does not necessarily mean teens, it really means anyone younger than I!  The following few paragraphs came about from one of those recent conversations and appeared over the club President's signature in the June Edition of the Livingston County Amateur Radio Klub's newsletter The LED:

"A CHALLENGE FROM Jim K8JK:  "I’m writing this month’s column after just returning from the Chelsea ham swap. Despite the weather, it was a great venue, and a chance to meet up with many amateur operators from the community. If you haven’t done so, local swaps are definitely worth the time and trouble for catching up with your fellow hams.

"I promised Dale, our ARRL Great Lakes Division Director, that I would make a step toward encouraging new amateurs in the community, as well as encouraging more seasoned veterans. To that end, I am going to spend the rest of my newsletter article NOT on the same things you hear all the time, but something new and different. I call it the LARK President’s Challenge (LARKPC).

"LARKPC has something for everyone!

"If you are a Livingston County Resident, 21 years or Younger, AND you test with the LARK VE Team for a NEW ama-teur radio license, the LARK President will pay your dues for the first year, AND give you a new dual band HT.

"If you are a Livingston County Resident, older than 21 years, AND you test with the LARK VE Team for a NEW ama-teur radio license, AND you pay 2 years dues to the club, the LARK President will give you a new dual band HT.

"If you are a Livingston County Resident, and UPGRADE your existing amateur radio license with the LARK VE Team, and you pay 2 years dues to the club, the LARK President will give you a new dual band HT.

"If you are an EXISTING LARK member, and you foster any FOUR of the first two groups at a LARK VE Team session, the LARK President will pay for an additional single year of your dues, AND give you a new dual band HT.

"If you live OUTSIDE of Livingston County, but foster any of the first two groups above at a LARK VE Team session, the LARK president will give you a new dual band HT.

"No club money will be spent for this project. The decision for applicability will be made by the LARK President. The choice of the new dual band HT is totally up to the LARK President.  This program becomes effective on July 1st, 2016 and will expire on 11:59 PM September 30th, 2016.  I’ve bet Dale I won’t have to spend money for more than 6 new radios. Your challenge is to prove me wrong!

"73 Jim K8JK "

TOM'S COMMENTS:  Comments from our Vice Director Tom Delany W8WTD

Technological advances.  We all talk about them.  It’s neat.  We can do so much more than we used to.

I was thinking about this recently as I was struggling to copy some stations on 160 meters.  We were commemorating the 75th anniversary of the first ever net for my club, the Queen City Emergency Net.  We were on 160 meters, just like they were, on the very day they held their first on-air meeting back in 1941.  Yes, we were using single side band, an advance that was years in the future for that group.  And I was still having trouble copying.  The experience took me back to the days when, even before I was a short-wave listener, I used to listen to AM broadcast radio to pick up distant stations.  If you got past the static crashes and the heterodyning, it was quite a thrill to hear stations hundreds of miles away.  Now you just find the station on the internet, and listen.  Not quite the same, though.

Another experience that brought home change was looking at some old radio equipment someone had discovered in a house he bought.  Was this ham’s equipment worth anything, he wanted to know?  It was obvious that the gear had no commercial re-sale value.  But as I looked at the homebrew stuff, I realized that as hams, we just keep repurposing things to work the way we want.  In the supposed good old days, no one actually made their own tubes or transformers or capacitors.  They used manufactured parts to build something they wanted that no one else was making.  Not all that different from what we do today.  The “stuff” we have to build with is more sophisticated.  Turning some old routers into a MESH network, just to cite one example, is how we are repurposing today.  If it doesn’t quite fit our needs, we’ll find a way to make it work.

That inventiveness is what we do all the time.  And sharing those ideas is part of what we do as ham radio operators.

Not all of us have been in ham radio for a gazillion years.  There are, thankfully, many newcomers among us, and we do a pretty good job of sharing knowledge with them.  And I’d like to point out that the ARRL is working hard in this area, too.  There are books on many subjects that hams will find useful.  Within the last year, I’ve seen a book on projects for the Arduino processors, one titled “Propagation and Radio Science,” some new books on antennas (which of us, new ham or old hand, hasn’t needed some advice or new perspective on putting up just the right antenna,) and most recently,  “Storm Spotting and Amateur Radio (2nd edition).”  Even if you’ve been to the training sessions sponsored by the National Weather Service, this book has a lot of information.  If you’ve gotten interested in one or more aspects of the weather as a result of your training, this book will give you additional resources to help your knowledge.

The hams who went before us led the way by forming clubs and passing along knowledge.  I’d encourage each of us to continue that by helping to teach others, whether in formal license classes, or mentoring, or just sharing some of what each of us has learned to help the next guy or gal.

73, Tom W8WTD Vice Director, Great Lakes Division

AMATEUR RADIO PARITY ACT:  Last week, the House Subcommittee on Communications and
Technology ran out of time and deferred the vote on the Amateur Radio Parity Act until after the July 4th holiday recess.

You can find the latest information at  Thanks to so many of the Great lakes Division hams who have sent letters supporting the legislation.  If you have not done so, you can find a sample on the listed web page.  Please be sure to route your letters through ARRL Headquarters: ARRL, Attn: Amateur Radio Parity Act grassroots campaign,
225 Main St., Newington, CT 06111.  Our Legislative Action Team will hand deliver the letters, thus avoiding delays caused by the postal inspection system in DC.

ARRL SANCTIONED HAMFESTS:  Here is the current Great Lakes Division ARRL Sanctioned Hamfest Schedule covering the next few weeks.  These swaps have received their sanctioning approval from ARRL HQ at the time of this publication.  We have approximately 65 hamfests each year in the Great Lakes Division.  I do encourage each Hamfest Chair to register early for ARRL Sanctioning.  It is never too early to register your hamfest with Headquarters.  Be sure to invite your ARRL Officials as soon as your date is set.  Help avoid date conflicts, do it early!

July 10 - 20/9 Tailgate - Austintown, OH 
July 16 - GMARC Trunk Swap - Shelby Twp., MI 
July 16 - NOARS Fest - Elyria, OH 
July 16 - Lowell ARC - Lowell, MI 
July 17 - Van Wert - Van Wert, OH 
July 30 - Big Sandy - Louisa, KY 
July 30 - CMARC Outdoor - Lansing, MI 
Aug 6 - Columbus Hamfest - Columbus, OH 
Aug 6 - UP Hamfest - Escanaba, MI 
Aug 7 - Seaway Trunk Swap - Port Huron, MI 
Aug 15 - Central Kentucky - Lawrenceburg, KY 
Aug 21 - Cuyahoga Falls Tailgate Swap - Stow, OH 
Sep 10 - Louisville Hamfest and KY ARRL Convention - Sheperdsville, KY

Be sure to check your Section's news pages for the latest local happenings, club and net information.

73, See you on the bands,

Dale Williams WA8EFK

Great Lakes Division