About K3ZR

I became a novice in 1967 as WN9IHI, transmitting CW at a blistering speed of 5 WPM; however with no local club or Elmer for motivation, my interest in radio soon waned and my license expired. After rearing four incredible children and having several career changes I settled down in Carlisle, PA with the wife of my youth, and amongst other things re-pursued ham radio. I passed the General exam in 2010 and became KB3VAX then K3VAX finally K3ZR and eventually, got my Extra ticket. Praise God! I am sure glad that is over. Currently I am the past president of South Mountain Radio Amateurs, (n3twt.org) and their CVE administering examinations for W5YI. SMRA is a dynamic and growing club with over 100 members, many who participate in the monthly meetings, nets and activities. Ham radio is just plain fun, interesting and an excellent way to spend quality time with good people. The diverse interests and skills of most Hams in this group are remarkable. What an enjoyable way to spend an evening when it is just you, your radio and the ionosphere! Life, sure is good, I am blessed.

Amateur Radio Volunteers Respond to Louisiana Flooding Catastrophe

Amateur Radio volunteers this week responded to help, after flooding of historic proportions struck parts of Louisiana and Mississippi over the weekend in the wake of torrential rainfall. States of emergency were declared in both states, the federal government has declared Louisiana a major disaster area, and the Louisiana Emergency Operations Center was at full activation. FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate, KK4INZ, visited the stricken region on August 16. Louisiana Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) activated, and Section Emergency Coordinator Adam Tamplain, KD5LEH, put out a call for volunteers to support communication at Red Cross shelters in the hard-hit Livingston Parish and Baton Rouge area. On August 16, the Red Cross was still requesting shelter operators. Although some residents were being allowed to return home at mid-week, about 4000 people remain in shelters.

“While we have had an increase in response from the Southeastern area, it’s still not quite enough,” Tamplain said on Tuesday. “Alabama ARES is attempting to put together a team for us. We have seen support from Southwest Mississippi as well. We had Operators at Red Cross New Orleans, Lafayette, and Baton Rouge today.” Tamplain said a dozen or so operators were staffing eight shelters; nearly 30 remained open at mid-week. He asked additional volunteers to check in at Red Cross Headquarters in Baton Rouge.

Red Cross Vice President of Disaster Services, Operations, and Logistics Brad Kieserman called the Louisiana flooding the worst natural disaster to strike the US since Hurricane Sandy in 2012. Area waterways have reached record flood levels, affecting some 135,000 households and displacing thousands of residents. More than a dozen have died. Roads, including parts of Interstates 10 and 12, had to be closed, and some highways remain impassable. Most conventional telecommunication systems have remained operational.

“Significant river flooding persists this week across portions of southern Louisiana,” FEMA said in its August 18 Daily Operations Briefing. “Major flooding will continue along portions of the Amite, Vermilion, Mermentau, and Calcasieu rivers.” FEMA said flood conditions were “likely to persist into next week.”

Noting the “desperate need” for ham radio volunteers in Louisiana, ARES volunteers in Mississippi have been asked to provide assistance. Prospective Mississippi should not self-deploy to Louisiana, but coordinate through Mississippi Section Manager Malcolm Keown, W5XX.

Primary operating frequencies are 444.950 MHz (107.2 Hz), 146.940 MHz (107.2 Hz), and 146.790 MHz (107.2 Hz). Louisiana ARES HF Frequencies now designated for use are 7.255 MHz and 3.873 MHz LSB. Digital operation is on 3.595 MHz. These should be kept clear of non-emergency traffic.

Communication back-up with Trump visit at CV Campus

Good day SMRA members;

Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump will be at a rally at the Cumberland Valley campus (6746 Carlisle Pike), Mechanicsburg, on August 1st  at 7PM.

The Cumberland County Emergency Operation center has requested the service of licensed SMRA members to augment the event communications.  This request is for a stand-by communications network only, at the CV Campus.

Any interested Amateurs who would like to be part of this event, please respond to Justin Shaulis, Ed Crossley and Don Evans as soon as possible.

Details of communications for the event have yet to be released; however this is an excellent time for SMRA members to demonstrate their importance as a viable asset to Cumberland Department Public Safety.

Don Evans KB3VAX

Middle School Club at Harrisburg Academy Seeks 3-4 Volunteers

Harrisburg Academy Amateur Radio Club, N3HAC

Trustee Sean Barnes, N3JQ teaches Physics and Math at Harrisburg Academy

Sean, N3JQ, is a member of SMRA.

Recent Middle School Amateur Radio Club was added in early April 2016.

We have three more meetings in 2016 before school lets out:

  1. Monday, May 2 – 12:30 to 1:15 pm
  2. Wednesday, May 11 – 12:30 to 1:15 pm
  3. Wednesday, June 1 – 12:30 to 1:15 pm

Volunteers (3 or 4) are needed to help divide this group of ~15 students onto HF, 2-m, and Echolink stations, as well as to offer any presentations or show/tell some equipment.

Volunteers could arrive around 12-12:15 to prepare for the meeting.

School is located at 10 Erford Rd, Wormleysburg, PA, 17043

Enter at the main entrance closest to the American Flag on the pole outside.

Location is ~over near Holy Spirit.  School is directly across the street from Perkins.

Email Sean Barnes at SeanBarnesPolo@aol.com, or call his cell phone: 717-579-6543 if you can help.

A new episode of ARRL The Doctor is In podcast is available now:

You Have An Appointment with the Doctor!

A new episode of ARRL The Doctor is In podcast is available now:
Does CW Really Get Through When Nothing Else Can?

QST’s popular “The Doctor is In” column is now an audio podcast and you can start listening today!

Sponsored by DX Engineering, “ARRL The Doctor is In” is a lively discussion of all things technical. Listen on your computer, tablet or smartphone – whenever and wherever you like!

Every two weeks your host, QST Editor in Chief Steve Ford, WB8IMY, and the Doctor himself, Joel Hallas, W1ZR, will discuss a broad range of technical topics. You can also e-mail your questions to doctor@arrl.org and they may answer them in a future podcast.

Enjoy “ARRL The Doctor is In” on Apple iTunes, or by using your iPhone or iPad podcast app (just search for ARRL The Doctor is In). You can also listen online through Stitcher (free registration required) and through the free Stitcher app for iOS, Kindle or Android devices. If you’ve never listened to a podcast before, download our beginner guide at www.arrl.org/doctor. Look for the section labeled “Find the Doctor!”

You’ll find the podcast archive at www.arrl.org/doctor.

Soldering Tips for Beginners

Tech Tips: Soldering Tips for Beginners

1. Use a good soldering iron, preferably a cordless one, or a temperature-controlled soldering station
2. Use the correct type of vise or third hand
3. Use the thinnest solder appropriate for your project
4. 60/40 solder is recommended for beginners
5. Use the right-size tip for your project
6. Allow the soldering iron to reach the right temperature
7. Hold the soldering iron by the right end – the cool end
8. Apply the iron to the joint first and then the solder to the lead and allow it to spread, and watch out for dripping solder
9. Don’t put too much solder on – “the bigger the blob, the better the job” is not true here
10. Tin your wires by placing a small amount of solder to the iron and then wiping it off first, then solder the connection
11. Clean the tip often with iron wool, a wet sponge and tip cleaner
12. Don’t apply pressure on the soldering iron
13. Don’t move the joint while its cooling and don’t blow on it to cool it off
14. Practice on scrap before starting your project
15. Remember, practice makes perfect!


Top 10 Soldering Safety Tips from Jameco Customers
1. Don’t burn yourself
2. Don’t burn anything else
3. When you do burn yourself – because you will – be sure to have first aid supplies near by:
• First Aid Kit
• Bandages
• Cold Packs
• Aloe Vera
• Fire Extinguishers
4. Wear pants to protect your legs, safety glasses and don’t wear polyester clothing
5. Work in a clean area free of oils, grease and anything that is flammable
6. Don’t eat greasy foods while you solder
7. Solder slowly and stay focused
8. Always return the soldering iron to the stand after each use and grab the cool end when you use it
9. Remember: It takes a long time for the soldering iron to cool off
10. Always unplug the soldering iron when you’re done

New Hams Question and Answers Session; Thursday March 3rd

New Hams Questions and Answers Session on 3 Mar 2016

SMRA (South Mountain Radio Amateurs) is pleased to announce an evening session devoted entirely to the interest and needs of amateur radio operators in getting on the air. This is open to all hams and those interested in becoming hams irrespective of license class,  time licensed, age, etc,

We will convene at 1830 on Thursday 3 Mar 16 in the large Conference Room of the Cumberland County EOC just across from the Prison which is to the east of Carlisle. We plan to end at 2030.

There is no fee and no sign up. Just be prompt as we will start on time!! There will be no Power Points and no handouts. We will address questions and topics posed by attenders and ourselves plus the follow- on questions that will naturally ensue. You will profit by what you have recorded in memory and/or notes….and we suggest both!!

Please pass this EMAIL far and wide among your ham colleagues and clubs for there are no geographic limits, only 40 seats.

The presenters will be Don Evans, KB3VAX, Club President, Bob Raker, W0BR, and John Jaminet, W3HMS.

For the Presenters, 73, John, W3HMS,  19 Feb 2016

Why does SMRA have a Mission Statement?

Several years ago, the South Mountain Radio Amateurs Executive Board decided we needed a mission statement.  The club was growing in numbers, There were several nets, projects teams and meetings happening several times weekly, and interest in the club and hobby was growing.

As discussion began, questions were asked, “Why are we a club”;  “Why do we exist”; “Where do we want to be (as a club) 10 or more years from now?”  The answers came quickly after the questions were asked.  For the love of the hobby, the “magic” of radio and the fellowship  we enjoy when playing radio with other hams.

Please read the following “Mission Statement”, and consider what you can do to promote the hobby or volunteer for one of the many committees or become an Elmer to a new inexperienced amateur.

This is your club, this is our club and together we will make this club even better!

SMRA Mission Statement

  • To be a resource for advancing operational and technical skills, competency, and amateur radio licensing
  • To mentor new members and enhance fellowship among radio amateurs
  • To provide amateur radio communications resources and emergency communication services for the community
  • To honor The Amateur’s Code

New Hams Questions and Answers Session on 3 Mar 2016

SMRA (South Mountain Radio Amateurs) is pleased to announce an evening session devoted entirely to the interest and needs of new amateur radio operators in getting on the air.

We will convene at 1830 on Thursday 3 Mar 16 in the large Conference Room of the Cumberland County EOC just across from the Prison which is to the east of Carlisle. We plan to end at 2030.

There is a fee, but not in money. Each “ ticket”, of which we have 40 (really seats) will cost 1 or 2 short questions which we will use to focus our coverage on the points of interest among the attenders.

The attenders should be licensed hams or working on getting a license.

We also want to have the maximum in dialogue among the presenters and the attenders as learning is the sole objective. To the question, “why do we do this”, the answer is simply “for the love of the hobby”!!!

To facilitate learning, we want to see plenty of pens and note taking among all who attend.

Please send your name, call letters if held, and questions which will be acknowledged. The acknowledgement EMAIL will be your ticket. Please send no later than 17 Feb 16 to w3HMS@aol.com.

Please pass this EMAIL far and wide among your ham colleagues and clubs for there are no geographic limits, only 40 seats.  The 1st forty responders with questions get the tickets; all others will be so advised.

The presenters will be Don Evans, KB3VAX, Club President; Bob Raker, W0BR, and John Jaminet, W3HMS.

From the Presenters, 73, John, W3HMS, 22 Jan 16

Thanks to everyone who participated in SMRA’s “Snow Net”

Thanks to all who participated in SMRA’s Snow Net!  We had nearly 30 unique call signs who called in during the three nets we had.  I was surprised with the variety of rigs used by the amateurs and ECHO link call-ins too.  Also a special thanks to W3SMF for his work in running an efficient and organized net.  Keep up the great work everybody, and remember, “the hardest part of planning for an emergency is explaining why you didn’t.”

SMRA “snow” net 9 PM tonight – 145.43 repeater

Good evening everybody,

SMRA will be having a “snow net” tonight at 9 PM.  (Saturday, January 23rd)

I want to encourage everyone who has the opportunity, to call in.  The protocol will be similar as with the others, however please note the what NCS is looking for.

  • Call sign and type of rig (HT, base, EHCO link) and antenna
  • Present location (for example, I live 2 ¾ miles west northwest of Carlisle, PA)
  • Inches of snow and outdoor temperature
  • If you are an emergency worker (EMS, ECOM, road crew, law enforcement, etc.) please provide a short report of what you are seeing or doing
  • If you have something important to report, please do so.  Remember, this is practice for an emergency net.  Certain information may be crucial for another department or agency.

I was pleased to hear that some of you were using battery power, ECHO link and your HT’s.  Remember, this is training in working with an emergency net and things will not always go smooth.  Equipment needs to be tested and used!  There will be difficulty hearing call signs, static and interference, doubling of signals and times when your signal isn’t heard.  This is normal, and that is why we train, to overcome these deficiencies.  Learn to be patient.

When your turn comes, remember to speak slowly and clearly, limit humor and get to the point.  If possible, limit back ground sound, as it tends to distract from what is being said.  Keep your finger on the transmit button, to ensure break free transmitting.  If possible, stay close to your phone and computer so you can be kept up to date with incoming information.  There may be someone who is trying to call in, but can’t and their only means of contact is texting or e-mail through you.

Most of all, enjoy the moment, and thank you for participating.

Please check the SMRA website for updates. At N3TWT.ORG

Don Evans – KB3VAX