Ed, W3SMF, brought a very interesting article to the clubs attention at the general meeting Tuesday night, called “Tips and Tonics for Healthier Radio Clubs”
He asked me to post it on the club website, and I was happy to oblige.
73, and happy reading!
Tips and Tonics for Healthier Radio Clubs <—– Click on the link to read the article.
Seated: Don KB3VAX out-going President, Ed W3SMF Vice President Standing: Jack NC3O new President, Mike K3ESQ Treasurer, Gary KB3YDB Director, Todd KB3FGZ new Recording Secretary, Jon W3JON new Director, Andrew W3AND new Membership Secretary
Please welcome Todd KB3FGZ, Jon W3JON and Andrew W3AND as new Officers/Directors of SMRA as noted above. The SMRA Club has a great team of dedicated radio amateurs providing expertise, time and energy to keep the Club functioning at a high level. I look forward to working with the group pictured above as well as a long list of other Committee Chairs and volunteers that are detailed in the monthly SMRA General Meeting Agenda and the extensive and growing membership.
Upcoming events and meetings include:
Executive Board Meeting, Tuesday April 10 at 6:30PM (5:30PM if you want food) at Hoss’s Restaurant near Kissel Hill.
Saturday April 14 breakfast 8:30AM at Perkins in Camp Hill (RSVP with W3HMS).
SMRA Monthly General Meeting 7:00 PM (6:00PM if taking a test) on Tuesday April 17 at EOC in Carlisle.
73, Jack NC3O, President SMRA, email@example.com
When I last posted, I had a half-installed antenna, a box of parts, and a bald spot from scratching my head trying to figure out how to put it all together. I now had the stud I needed, but it didn’t fit my car. The one I got was made for a truck, probably an 18-wheeler. Petro is, after all, a truck stop, not a car stop. I searched around some more and ordered what I needed, and some other stuff because, as long as I was spending money, why not.
One of the more awesome things about this community is that chances are, if you’re trying to do something, someone else has already done it and has written a blog with photos, posted a YouTube video, or has commented somewhere about it. Alan Applegate, K0BG, has a very detailed website, K0BG.com , that has just about anything you would ever want to know about mobile operations. One of the things I learned about is a nifty box called a RigRunner that is nothing more than a power strip for ham radio equipment that uses Anderson Powerpoles for both input and output and has fuses for each of the sockets. This turned out to be a perfect solution for me for three reasons. The first is that I already had a wiring harness from the battery to the cabin that had powerpoles already on it, so that took care of the input. The second is that my car is notoriously difficult to run anything from the battery to the cabin, and I wasn’t about to do it for the antenna’s motor control switch, so I took K0BG’s suggestion and hooked it up to powerpoles and from there, to the RigRunner. Easy-peasy rice and cheesy! The third is that I can be truly mobile. I don’t have to disconnect and re-connect a bunch of things if I want to change cars or do a demonstration. I can simply pull the antenna off the mount, pull the cables and the radio, hook a single connection to a single power source, and go from there.
I spent a few days in between rain showers and snow and got the antenna and radio up and working. The radio has to be mounted to a permanent location in my car, and I’m thinking about installing the brackets to the back of the back seat so it’s in the trunk and out of the way but still easily accessible. But that’s a project for a day off.
Not long ago, I was able to purchase some equipment, and by “some equipment”, I mean enough for an actual shack, an HF mobile rig and antenna, and the accessories to go with them. You know – the first rig. Buying a rig is a lot like buying a car. You look at the pretty ads, you think about what you want, you figure out how much you can afford, and you (ideally) do your homework so you get the right rig at the right price. I did just that. Sort of.
When it came time to look for a mobile HF antenna, I asked around for recommendations. I settled on one and ordered it online. What I didn’t do is ask the one question I should have, and that was “Is there anything else I’m going to need with this?” Because of course there was, and I’ll get to that in a minute.
I set aside a nice Friday afternoon to install the antenna and radio because John, W3HMS had agreed to bring his antenna analyzer to the ham breakfast. I had the recommended (sort of) mount, antenna, and cables. I started with Step One and stopped. I couldn’t see a place to attach the coax. There was a four-pin cable that runs the motor, but no coax connector. Hm. I might not be the brightest or most technically proficient ham, but I’m also not an idiot and I know there’s supposed to be a coax running from the antenna to the radio. I looked at the printed instructions that came with the antenna, I looked at what had to be a million photos of installations, and I could not figure out how I was supposed to connect the coax to the antenna. Finally, I posted the question to an online ham radio community I belong to to see if anyone could tell me something, anything, that would help. Lots of responses with links to the instructions I had in my hand, links to the photos I’d already looked at, and other, equally unhelpful information.
The next morning, I showed John the instructions that came with the antenna and he told me to call the company. When the guy whose vehicle looks like an FBI surveillance van tells you to call the company, things are not looking good. I left the breakfast early to call the company. I was NOT going to let this… this THING win. I left a voice mail for the technical support guy and went inside to watch the Olympics. After some snowboarding and a round or two of women’s biathlon, my phone dinged. Someone had responded to my question online, and he had helpful information! What I didn’t know was that the antenna required a 3/8-inch stud attached to a SO-239 connector. Aha! I jumped in the car, drove to the CB shop at the local Petro truck stop, and miracle of miracles, they had the exact stud I needed! Hallelujah! Unfortunately, it started to rain, so the installation is on hold for another day, but it will happen.
Ham radio is a fun hobby, and there is always a lot to learn. Sometimes, it’s how to use a new piece of equipment. Other times, it’s a little more basic. Next time I order equipment, I’ll make sure I have a list of all the accessories I need.
Time flies, years pass and our long standing traditions seem to lose their significance. As I take time to reflect on my many blessings with my family, health, job and of course SMRA, please take some time to read and ponder this document written by George Washington in October of 1789.
Please make an effort on having a Happy and a blessed Thanksgiving!!
Don – KB3VAX
BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA – A PROCLAMATION
Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor – and Whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me “to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.”
Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be – That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks – for his kind care and protection of the People of this country previous to their becoming a Nation – for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his providence, which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war –for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed – for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted, for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us.
And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions – to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually – to render our national government a blessing to all the People, by constantly being a government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed – to protect and guide all
Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shown kindness unto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord – To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and Us – and generally to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.
Given under my hand at the City of New York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.
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QST for “Contest Corral”. Each month I note in my planner QSO contests that I want to participate in.
ARRL archives is a great way to look for past articles, technical advice and product reviews.
The QST index of Advertisers is an excellent resource to see what is popular on the market and compare costs of similar items and products.
ARRL has excellent articles that keep me informed of current trends and topics.
Many used ARRL to search for clubs who offer FCC testing program (this is how most new hams have found SMRA)
Here are a few of the services that originate from ARRL:
- LOTW – simplifies the QSL process
- Many ARRL sponsored contests
- The Official Observer Notice – helps Amateur Radio operators assist each other to operate their stations in compliance with the (FCC) regulations.
- The hamfest calendar
- Use of the incoming QSL bureau
- Their unique interned email; firstname.lastname@example.org