Author Archives: W4DHN

December 2015 Club Meeting

The 2015 Club year has almost come and gone. Come help us close it out in style at our December “Year-End Dinner” Meeting at at Blue Plate Restaurant, 1975 Ross Clark Circle #1, on December 14th, 2015. Start time will be 6:30 PM CST.

PLEASE NOTE: In the past, we met at the Blue Plate Resaurant on Hwy 84W. This year we are trying out their other location on the Southside of the Cirle in Dothan.

No Club business will be discussed, so bring your family and friends. Hope to see you there!

November 2015 Club Meeting Highlights

What a great last business meeting of the year. As always the meeting was informative and well attended.

  • A plaque was presented to W4DHN (our Club call sign) for achieving the Top Alabama Club Score in the 2015 Alabama QSO Party. This achievement speaks highly as to the efficiency of our Club station and our members.
  • Congratulations to those members elected to serve as Club Officers for the 2016 calendar year: President – Robert|N4RNR; Vice-President – Densie|KJ4VDE; Treasurer – Ed|KJ4LTA; and Secretary – Rachel|KM4DSK.

After the formal portion of the Club Meeting, we held a Show and Tell:

  • Don|K1DC brought in one of his cherished WWII era ARC-5 receivers for a demonstration, as well as his 40m QRP transceiver he built from a kit. Austin|KM4DSK was gracious enough to lend a hand by demonstrating his CW proficiency on the QRP transceiver (fed into a dummy load), and picked up bythe ARC-5 receiver. It was fascinating to see one of our youngest hams (10 years old) and a vintage receiver coming together. Thank for sharing Don!
  • John|KK4LST brought in his IRLP Node to share with the Club. John lives in one of those “antenna restricted” condominiums, so the IRLP node helps John communicate with hams all over the world via this amateur radio linking system. Very cool, John.
  • Jim|KC4HW brought in a vacuum variable capacitor he just acquired to get checked out. Although he did not plan to particpate in the Show and Tell, we twisted his arm to share his new acquisition. Many in the Club had never seen one before, so it was a great, unexpected opportunity.
  • Finally, Robert|N4RNR brought in his portable QRP station, which consisted of an MTR2, 3-band transceiver and a matching 3-band end-fed have-wave dipole antenna. The MTR2 is a CW only rig, covering 40m, 30m, and 20m.  With a 9v battery, it is capable of 3w output and 5w with a 12vdc power source. It’s amazing how an entire 3-band amateur radio station can easily fit in your pocket.

Thanks again to all those participating in this year’s Show and Tell.

June 2015 Club Meeting Highlights

We held our June Club Meeting at the American Red Cross on June 8, 2015. The meeting was informative and well attended:

  • Congratulations to all of our members participating in the 2015 Alabama QSO Party. Several of our members participated from our Club Station, W4DHN, and did a phenomenal job with over 22K cumulative points – Well Done! In addition, we had a couple members operating from home, another remotely from Virginia, and a few venturing out across Alabama as mobile stations. Thanks to all who participated.
  • The two new Yaesu DR-1X digital repeaters have been shipped and (as of this posting) have arrived safely.

After the formal portion of the Club Meeting, Robert, N4RNR gave a short presentation on WARC’s plan for ARRL 2015 Field Day, to be held June 27th and 28th.

Next VE Testing Session:  Saturday June 27th, 9:00am, Northside Methodist Academy.

Next Club Meeting: Monday, July 13th, 6:30pm, to be held at Blue Plate Restaurant, 3850 W Main St (Hwy 84W). This will be our mid-year social dinner, so no Club business will be conducted. Members, families, and guests are all invited.

Get on the Air in June!

If you ever needed an excuse to get on HF, here are two great, upcoming opportunities to GET ON THE AIR in June!

2015 Alabama QSO Party
Saturday, June 6, from 11:00 AM CST (1600 UTC) to 11:00 PM CST (June 7 0400 UTC)

Come join in on the fun as hams from all over the great State of Alabama occupy the HF bands for the 2015 Alabama QSO Party. Whether you are a single- or multi-operator, operating CW and/or SSB, from a fixed, portable, or mobile station, at QRP, low power, or full legal limit, we need as many Alabamians as we can get to participate in this year’s event. Participants in the Alabama QSO Party are limited to the 10m through 160 meter bands (excluding WARC bands – 60/30/17/12m). More information and the all important rules are located at www.AlabamQSOparty.org.

Don’t have an HF station, yet? No problem! The Wiregrass Amateur Radio Club (WARC) will be participating as a Club Station, again this year. WARC will operate from their Club Station, W4DHN, located in the American Red Cross Building, located at 1004 Montezuma Avenue, in Dothan, Alabama. So, come on out and join us for a half hour, and hour, or the entire 12-hour period.

ARRL Field Day 2015
Saturday, June 27, from 1:00 PM CST (1800 UTC) through Sunday, June 28, 1:00 PM CST (1800 UTC)

Don’t miss out on the single-most popular radio event of the year. The Wiregrass Amateur Radio Club (WARC) will participate in Field Day 2015 from the campus of Northside Methodist Academy, 2600 Redmond Road, in Dothan, Alabama.

Field Day is part educational event, part operating event, and part public relations event – but mostly, it’s ALL about FUN! So, come on out and join us. In fact, bring your family, your friends, and your neighbors to share in the excitement. Hope to see you there.

May 2015 Meeting Highlights

We held our May Club Meeting at the American Red Cross on May 11, 2015. It was another productive meeting:

  • Despite the threat of rain, our Spring Tailgate was well attended. Net proceeds were $115.92. Congratulations to Lee, KN5AER, on winning the Yaesu FT-2900 mobile transceiver.
  • A severe storm passed through the Wiregrass Saturday Evening, April 25th. Much of Geneva, Houston, and Henry counties were without power and many homes were damaged. In response, the American Red Cross requested Emergency Communications support, which was quickly answered by the Houston County ARES. While the eventual deployment was not required, we proved our ability to respond when needed. In lieu of providing emergency communication services, many local hams assisted the Red Cross in identifying affected communities and providing street-by-street damage assessments for future Red Cross response. We would like to thank all of those who volunteered their time and expertise during the ARES activation. Job well done!
  • During the storm, the W4DHN 145.430 MHZ repeater suffered some minor damage. The antenna has shifted on the tower, reducing coverage in the outlying areas. In addition, the repeater controller is putting out random messages, regardless of the calendar macro. James, KE4GWW, will perform a hard reset of the controller to see if that clears up the software issue. He will inspect and report any findings back to the Club.
  • W4DHN will participate as a club entrant in the Alabama QSO Party. Those who wish to participate may contact KE4GWW or stop by the Club Station on Saturday, June 6th, starting at 11:00 AM local.
  • WARC Field Day will be held June 27th and 28th, at the Northside Methodist Academy in Dothan, AL. Mark your calendars and watch for additional announcements as we get closer. Specific operating plans will be decided at the June Club Meeting.

After the formal portion of the Club Meeting, Robert, N4RNR gave a short presentation on Emergency Communications Planning and Response, as well as sharing a Simple Go Kit. In addition, James, KE4GWW provided a presentation on Programming HT and Mobile Transceivers, as well as Frequency Memory Management.

Next Meeting: Monday, May 11, 2015, 6:30 PM CST, at the American Red Cross building.

WARC 2015 Spring Tailgate

Despite the threat of bad weather and the occasional sprinkle, the Wiregrass Amateur Radio Club 2015 Spring Tailgate, on the square, in Headland, Alabama was a tremendous success.

The morning started off at Hardees, an hour before the “official” start time, as a bunch of anxious hams enjoyed the traditional coffee and a biscuit, except everyone’s eyes were glued on The Weather Channel. Despite the threat of storms, we all headed off to the square, in downtown Headland, and began setting up for the day.

While we had the occasional sprinkle, here and there, the weather held up for an enjoyable Spring Tailgate.  The event was well attended, with many opportunities to obtain those special items that you can’t live without.

2015_WARC_Tailgate-Spring

Greg Lane, N4KGL, made the trek up from Panama City to work a little portable QRP. Greg brought his new MTR v2, 3-band, CW only qrp rig, threw some wire up in the air, and started making contacts. It is truly amazing how tiny they can make radios these days. Thanks for sharing with us, Greg.2012_WARC_Spring_Tailgate

At the close of the Tailgate, Lee, KN5AER, won the grand prize and is the proud owner of a new Yaesu FT-2900 2M mobile transceiver. Congratulations Lee. I’m sure you will enjoy it.

We had a beautiful and tasty lunch under the Gazebo, followed by a VE testing session in the Henry County administration building – a great way to bring a close another WARC-sponsored Tailgate. A special thanks to all those who attended and congratulations to all of those passing their exams..

April 2015 Meeting Highlights

We held our April Club Meeting at the American Red Cross on April 13, 2015. It was a very productive meeting:

  • Discussed the upcoming WARC Spring Tailgate, to be held Saturday, April 25th, from 08:00 to 12:00 CST, on the square in Headland, Alabama. There will be an informal gathering for breakfast at Hardees, starting at 7:00 AM. At the conclusion of the Tailgate, we will have lunch under the Gazebo. VE testing will begin at 1:30pm.

After the formal portion of the Club Meeting, Jim, KC4HW, gave an excellent presentation on the upcoming 2015 Alabama QSO Party, to be held June 6, 1600 UTC, to June 7, 0400 UTC.

Next Meeting: Monday, May 11, 2015, 6:30 PM CST, at the American Red Cross building.

March Meeting Highlights

We had an enjoyable and productive March meeting. In addition to an informative class on an Introduction to HF, presented by Robert/N4RNR, the Club got some exciting news regarding our Repeater Repair Project.

James/KE4GWW informed the Club that Yaesu is currently offering a DR-1X Installation and Upgrade Program, which expires March 31, 2015. This program allows participants in the Yaesu DR-1 Beta Program, for which WARC is a participant, to turn in their DR-1 beta model repeater and purchase a current production model DR-1X repeater for $300. The DR-1X repeater currently sells for $1,699, a cost savings of $1,399. James reminded the Club that we received the DR-1 repeater, plus a Yaesu FTDTR1 handheld transceiver and a FTM-400DR mobile transceiver at no cost to the Club, as part of the Yaesu Beta Program. The upgrade to the DR-1X repeater allows us to retain the HT and mobile transceivers.

Additionally, the Club’s UHF repeater, being well past its intended service life, was scheduled for replacement, as part of the current Club Repeater Repair Project. The Yaseu DR-1X Installation and Upgrade Program will allow us to purchase a second DR-1X repeater at a cost of $500. Our repeater repair project accounted for having to pay full price for a new UHF repeater. Thus, taking advantage of this opportunity will (1) save the Club $1,199, and (2) provide the Club with a common VHF/UHF digital platform for our repeater system.

A motion was introduced, seconded, and unanimously approved to upgrade the Club’s existing Yaesu beta model DR-1 repeater to a current production model DR-1X, for the 145.43 repeater, and purchase a second Yaesu DR-1X repeater for the 444.775 repeater. Furthermore, the acquisition of the two DR-1X repeaters, at a total cost of $800, will be funded by $400 from Club funds and $400 from member donations.

Next Club Meeting is scheduled for April 13th. Hope to see you there!

February 2015 Meeting Highlights

We had a grand time during our second meeting of the year.  The highlight, of which, was a great presentation, entitled An Introduction to Contesting,  by our very own, KC4HW, Jim Johnson.  While the class was geared more towards our newer hams, Jim’s vast experience and expertise made the class interesting for all in attendance.  He made a point that contesting is fun, and you do not need to be a “Big Gun” to be successful, with several examples of small stations with big results.  Thanks Jim.  We look forward to your follow up presentations.

If you were unable to attend our meeting and missed KC4HW’s presentation, all is not lost.  Jim has graciously allowed us to post a copy of his slide show on our website:  Introduction to Contesting.

Our next Club Meeting will be March 14th.  Stay tuned for more information.

January 2015 Club Meeting Highlights

With a new slate of Officers at the helm, we held our January Club Meeting at the American Red Cross.  It was a very productive meeting:

  • Approved 2015 Budget, as presented by the Board of Directors
  • Approved Club Station Operating Procedures (click to view)
  • Discussed the 2015 planned activities and possible classes/presentations

After the formal portion of the Club Meeting, Ed, KJ4LTA, gave a tour of the Club Station and a short, but informative, class on startup and shutdown procedures.

In addition, Tom, WD0HBR, brought in a beautiful, old crystal receiver to share with us.  Thanks, Tom.

Important Notice:  Membership dues are due now, for the 2015 Club Year. Regular Membership is $20, plus $5 insurance assessment.  Family Membership is $35, plus a $5 insurance assessment.

Next Meeting:  Tuesday, February 9, 2015, 6:30 PM CST.