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Manitowoc County Amateur Radio Community Increases Participation Opportunities for Ham Radio Enthusiasts 30 - November - 2009

Posted by k9zw in Amateur Radio, K9ZW, K9ZW Just Rambled.
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Manitowoc County Amateur Radio Community Increases Participation Opportunities for Ham Radio Enthusiasts

November 2009 has seen an exciting new Manitowoc County Amateur Radio development with the spin-out from the Mancorad Radio Club Inc of a formal Manitowoc ARES/RACES Group.

Meeting the training and documentation demands of FEMA, DHS and other agencies involved with emergency communications (“Emcomm” in the jargon) a number of Mancorad Radio Club members joined with other amateurs to create a formal organization to support ARES (Amateur Radio Emergency Service) and RACES (Radio Amateur Civilian Emergency Service).  ARES & RACES are parallel organizations responding to the needs for communication support to numerous public and service organizations in a time of Emergency.  The RACES layer is a Federal Program which can be activated in the most serious emergency situations when all other amateur radio would be silenced.

For further information on the new separate Manitowoc ARES/RACES Group, call sign W9RES, Point of contact is Dan Cole N9NCU Manitowoc ARES/RACES Emergency Coordinator/Radio Officer at n9ncu-@-arrl.net

The Mancorad Radio Club is W9DK supporting two separate 2m radio repeater sites, administering the SKYWARN Emcomm Weather-Spotting program, teaching initial Amateur Radio classes and supporting the wide activities of all Manitowoc County Amateur Radio Licensees.  Mancorad has been in continuous operation since 1946 as a not-for-profit corporation, currently in process of securing 501(c)3 status and recognized by the American Amateur Radio Relay League as a “Special Service Club.”

Recent Mancorad Club activities have included June 2009 “Field Day” in conjunction with Lakeshore Technical College where the college & club’s first two-way communications with the ISSS (International Space Station) was made, a US Island Program “first time island activation” of an Appleton area island using portable radio equipment in October 2009, support of a number of public events including 2009’s Two River’s Fish Derby, and regular operations from the Mancorad Club radio room.

For 2010 the Mancorad Radio Club has a planned new ham “Hamcram” one-day study course & FCC testing on February 6th 2010, June 2010 Field Day, a Winter US Island activation (date depends on ice conditions), several radio contest efforts scheduled, monthly club meetings, SKYWARN & other Emcomm training, and a Lighthouse Activation by radio.  Point of contact is Rich Weyer KC9LOA Mancorad President at president-@-w9dk.com Website is http://www.w9dk.com

Other Amateur Radio opportunities in the Manitowoc area include:

  • C.M.S. Counties REACT – an emergency communications group that uses amateur radio and other frequencies to conduct various activities including search and rescue – contact Nate Van Da Huvel KC9LFQ at 920-627-3311.
  • NEWDXA – Northeast Wisconsin DX Association- an organization focused on the support of Amateurs contacting & tracking contacts with other countries – contact George Croy W9MDP at w9dxa-@-arrl.net
  • USS Cobia Radio Club NB9QV -which operates periodically from the Maritime Museum, specially on Museum Ship event dates – contact – Fred Neuenfeldt W6BSF at w6bs-f@-arrl.net
  • Lakeshore Technical College Amateur Radio Club W9LTC- which is in support of the LTC radio efforts – contact John Meyer NZ9Z at nz9z-@-arrl.net

Mancorad Radio Club – info-@-w9dk.com- http://www.w9dk.com- PO Box 204, Manitowoc, WI 54221

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[Note the W9RES Callsign is "Pending Level 2" and will be first assigned to the ARES/RACES Group on December 5th.  Email addresses have been modified per request to users @arrl.net alias addresses and further modified with a "-" added before & after "@" in each address.  The Press Release is a Mancorad Club official release and was neither authored nor approved by the other clubs & opportunities for amateur involvement (yes, they have whined about being given positive PR).  Your Mileage May Vary, One Size Does Not Fit All, and past results are not indications of future performance & significant risks come with investment!]

Use the NTS – Radiograms are Good for Us 25 - November - 2009

Posted by k9zw in Amateur Radio, Freecom, K9ZW, K9ZW Just Rambled.
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2 comments
ARRL Radiogram Older Form

ARRL Radiogram Older Style Form

Perhaps the Paraprofessionalization of ARES/RACES will make the Radiogram a relic, but they are actually quite useful.

The wikipedia version gives a nice nickel tour of radiograms:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Traffic_System

As you might expect the ARRL has info on it:
http://www.arrl.org/FandES/field/nts-mpg/

Another basic description of what it is:
http://www.weca.org/nts.html

Here is a link to blank forms:

http://www.arrl.org/FandES/field/forms/RADIOGRM.pdf

Having the discipline and skilled practice to communicate & pass traffic in Radiogram standard format is a basic skill I hope we never loose.

Here are some more links Paul AE5JU sent me:

I dug these up:

This is a Powerpoint presentation, Getting Started With Traffic Handling:
www.arrl.org/FandES/field/NTS.ppt

Traffic handling:
http://www.arrl.org/FandES/field/nts-mpg/pdf/index.html
This used to be in the old ARRL Net Operations manual that some DEC have (not sure of the exact title) [but appears to be] no longer in print. Now you can download it as pdf files.

You can also buy these “Message Pads” from ARRL.

http://www.arrl.org/catalog/?item=1320#top I have some of these, the yellow and green pads.
http://www.arrl.org/catalog/?item=1310#top I don’t know how important these cards are.

Radiogram forms, print your own:
http://www.arrl.org/FandES/field/forms/RADIOGRM.pdf
http://www.arrl.org/FandES/field/forms/radiogram2.pdf Printer friendly, less black.

The ARRL has just published an article reminding us on Radiograms:  http://www.arrl.org/news/features/2009/11/24/11215/

73

Steve
K9ZW

Scott NE1RD and the Massachusetts QRP Convention 23 - November - 2009

Posted by k9zw in Amateur Radio, K9ZW, K9ZW Just Rambled.
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MassCon QRP Convention Logo

http://www.masscon.org/

Scott Andersen NE1RD was kind enough to forward the press release on this very interesting QRP event!

Westford, MA — The first Massachusetts QRP Convention (MassCon) will be held March 12-13, 2010 in the Westford Regency Inn Conference Center in Westford, Massachusetts. The event is made possible by a generous contribution from Buddipole Antennas, and PART, the radio club of Westford, Massachusetts, host of the event, and also a major contributor.

Presentations from leading figures in the QRP world will be made in a comfortable, modern classroom setting from 8 AM through 5 PM on Saturday (March 13). Speakers expected to present include Allison Parent (KB1GMX), Dave Siegrist (NT1U), Bruce Beford (N1RX), Michael Rainey (AA1TJ), John Sexton (KO1H), and QRP Hall of Fame members George Heron (N2APB), Joe Everhart (N2CX), and Dave Benson (K1SWL). Attendees will receive a conference proceedings, CD, and other gifts at registration.

In addition to the Saturday seminar, a Friday evening gathering will be held on March 12, 2010 for attendees to meet the speakers, browse through vendor offerings, and do a little show-and-tell of their own. Vendors tables will continue to be available through Saturday evening.

Finally, a banquet will be held at the conclusion of the conference in the Westford Regency Inn. Steve Galchutt (WG0AT) will keynote the event showing movies and talking about operating portable QRP and hiking the peaks of Colorado with his pack goats Rooster and Peanut. Ticketing for the banquet is separate from the conference and attendees are invited to bring their friends and family to the event.

Registration for the conference is $25 in advance, $35 at the door. Seating will be limited. Details about how to register, obtain hotel reservations at the conference rate, and banquet reservations will be published on the conference web site later this summer.

Further information for the event may be found on the event web site http://www.masscon.org

73

Steve
K9ZW

Do You Like ARES? A Question Posed. 19 - November - 2009

Posted by k9zw in Amateur Radio, Emcomm, K9ZW, K9ZW Just Rambled.
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5 comments

About three weesk ago in the midst of separating the physical property of the departing emergency communications group from our main radio club the DEC suggested that the local radio club had a dislike for ARES.

More correctly he asked us why the club had concerns about ARES?

With the para-professionalization, the creation of the communications foot soldier, through the organize groups there emerges a natural conflict with the hobbyist ham interested in more than one aspect of the hobby.

The paraprofessional is interested in what classes they taken, the drills they have participated in, they’re ranking within the organization, and their served agencies.

The hobbyist usually has much wider interests, perhaps working DX, or collecting counties, trying to work all states, experimenting with a new digital mode, home brewing their own equipment, they be perhaps working QRP, or collecting by IOTA islands, or any one of 1000 other interests. Within the group of interest may be in interest in emergency communications, but this usually is not the overriding reason why they’re participating in the hobby.

Perhaps the para-professionalization is a manifestation of the black box — appliance user — mentality. This isn’t necessarily bad, and I do not mean it to be pejorative, but it is a mentality where results become the focus with less interest or joy is put in the process of getting there.

The amateur radio traditions of a full interest group usually include many of the traditions that led to the technology that an emergency group uses. Search and rescue is often practiced by foxhunters. The digital modes first came from experimentation — an application of commercial grade technology at the hobbyist level. The ubiquitous repeater was a technological brainchild with a more general use.

Amateur radio has always been ready to provide community service in time of emergency. However historically it tended to be a self led effort, rather than a served agency structured effort. There is little doubt that over time the pendulum both ways between ad hoc and formalize emergency communications by radio amateurs, but for some years the ARRL seemed to be solidly in control of training, doctrine, and coordination of the organized radio amateurs emergency communication experience.

That dynamic has certainly changed. With the FCC speaking out on employee/employer situations and the announced restructure of the league emergency communications courses along government lines, the pendulum has swung to one side very far indeed.

While part 97 does provide for expediency based utilization of frequency allocations during a true emergency, it is very clear that it never subordinates one amateur to another, or one group of amateurs to another.

This fundamental, basic, obvious equality of each individual amateur in the eyes of the FCC seems to escape some of the people involved in emergency communications. Of course there are exceptions, the presidential level decree to activate the radio amateur civilian emergency service being one, or the expediency based justification for extraordinary operation in a true emergency being another, but during drills, day-to-day operations, or even in planning one amateur is equal to another.

This DEC was clear that the emergency communications organizations are never answerable to a club. Likewise a club is never answerable to an external organization of fellow hams. Even our work with repeaters is called “coordination” and acknowledges that there are possibilities outside of being dictated to.

So back to the question we were asked. I would answer “it really doesn’t matter, as in a nonemergency situation they have zero effect on my participation in this hobby.”

Outside of the true emergency, in which case again as a radio amateur responding to an emergency I to would be allowed any and all use of frequencies or techniques to prevent the loss or risk of loss of life — let me emphasize there is not a monopoly unless the very high level directive ordering non-radio amateur civilian emergency service stations off the air is given — that every amateur and non-amateur has the same in emergency right to operate.

Again outside of that limited situation where the government has taken over control of the airwaves every amateur is created the same right the FCC and remains the same.

It is difficult to free fools from the chains they revere.” — Voltaire

This may be an inconvenient truth and one that causes much argument, as a drill is not an emergency, a plan is only a plan and a nonemergency. In the end it is the able and willing radio amateur that makes both emergency communications on amateur frequencies and general club activities a possibility.

73

Steve
K9ZW

Second Antenna Cluster at K9ZW 18 - November - 2009

Posted by k9zw in Amateur Radio, K9ZW, K9ZW Shack.
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It looks like I may have let Autumn slip by and foil some of my plans for a second antenna cluster.

I’ve a GAP Titan DX I’m intending on properly mounting as a Digital Mode Omni-directional HF antenna.

Using a Gift Certificate from DX Engineering I won at Dayton this year, I bought a machined tip-over mount for the antenna and horse-traded for enough direct-bury semi-flex hardline to run from my main antenna switch to a second switch for the remote cluster. DX Engineerings Tilt-Over Base Unit: http://tinyurl.com/ye4xu4n

Tall trees present a great opportunity for a 70-80 Ft high longwire or loop. Now that the leaves have just come down I will have to see if I can get it in before winter.

Photos to follow as I get some work done!

73

Steve
K9ZW

Neat YouTube – Alex OZ9AEC Demonstrates how to decode digital hamradio traffic without a radio 15 - November - 2009

Posted by k9zw in Amateur Radio, K9ZW, K9ZW Just Rambled, PSK.
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2 comments

Very interesting demonstration on now to use the Web to listen to Ham Radio Digital Traffic (WebSDR Receivers) and locally decoding it on your PC/Mac/Linux-Box !

The Direct YouTube Video (you can also click above) at:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GB9Ed02Vhr8

Decoding digital hamradio traffic without a radio by Alex OZ9AEC

Websites featured in the Demonstration:

http://www.w1hkj.com/Fldigi.html
http://www.websdr.org/

73

Steve
K9ZW

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