Field Day is ham radio’s open house.
Every June, more than 40,000 hams throughout North America set up
temporary transmitting stations in public places to demonstrate ham radio’s
science, skill and service to our communities and our nation. It combines
public service, emergency preparedness, community outreach, and
technical skills all in a single event. Field Day has been an annual event
since 1933, and remains the most popular event in ham radio. You can find out
much more about Field Day 2017 at this web site:

SMRA Club Field Day 2017 Event on Saturday June 24 and Sunday June 25
Our Club Field Day event will again be held at the Carlisle Fire Training Center, 132 Army
Heritage Dr., Carlisle, PA. Set-up of antennas and cabling will occur
Saturday morning and the Field Day 2017 Event will start at 2:00 PM EDT
Saturday and end by late morning on Sunday. Please stop by and learn
about this fascinating event and hobby!

A Merry Christmas from 48 years ago

Merry Christmas from  South Mountain Radio Amateurs!  Do you remember what you were doing 48 years ago while the Apollo 8 astronauts were circling the moon?nasa-apollo8-dec24-earthrise

Earthrise at Christmas

Forty-eight years ago this Christmas, a turbulent world looked to the heavens for a unique view of our home planet. This photo of “Earthrise” over the lunar horizon was taken by the Apollo 8 crew in December 1968, showing Earth for the first time as it appears from deep space. Astronauts Frank Borman, Jim Lovell and William Anders had become the first humans to leave Earth orbit, entering lunar orbit on Christmas Eve. In a historic live broadcast that night, the crew took turns reading from the Book of Genesis, closing with a holiday wish from Commander Borman: “We close with good night, good luck, a Merry Christmas, and God bless all of you — all of you on the good Earth.”

Here is a link to the actual message

If you are interested in the Apollo radio systems for voice, telemetry, and tracking, here is an interesting link about their radio systems.

As 2016 comes to a close, all of us at SMRA want to wish all who read this a very merry Christmas and a prosperous and healthy 2017.


ARRL Calls on Members to Press for US Senate Passage of Amateur Radio Parity Act

ARRL Calls on Members to Press for US Senate Passage of Amateur Radio Parity Act


ARRL once again is calling on its members to urge their US Senators to support the Amateur Radio Parity Act (H.R. 1301) when it comes up in the Senate during the “lame duck” session of Congress that adjourns in mid-December. The House of Representatives approved the bill in September, but if the Senate does not follow suit, the bill will die, and the entire process will have to be repeated. ARRL Hudson Division Director Mike Lisenco, N2YBB, who chairs the ARRL Board’s Legislative Advocacy Committee and has been heavily involved in efforts to move H.R. 1301 forward, said today, “The clock is ticking!”

“We begin the e-mail campaign once again, as the US Senate returns to work this week after a month-long hiatus,” Lisenco said. “We were just beginning to build momentum in the Senate following the unanimous passage of the Parity Act in the House when Congress shut down for the 4 weeks prior to Election Day.”

The task is simple: Go to our Rally Congress page, enter your ZIP code, fill in your name and address, press enter, and e-mails will go directly to your Senators. Members may do this, even if they have already contacted their US Senators for support.

“We have to remind our legislators that we are still here and that we need the Amateur Radio Parity Act to become law,” Lisenco stressed. “We must to do this now as we have, at most, only 4 weeks left in the session to get the bill passed this year.  Otherwise, we will have to begin the entire process in 2017 with a new 115th Congress.”

There are no guarantees, Lisenco said, and we are subject to the political bickering that goes on daily between the parties, despite the fact that the bill is truly a bipartisan effort. “In order to have a chance at overcoming political obstacles that have little or nothing to do with the legislation, we need our voices to be heard,” he said. “And we need that input today!”

September’s victory in the US House was the culmination of many years of effort on ARRL’s part to gain legislation that would enable radio amateurs living in deed-restricted communities to erect efficient outdoor antennas that support Amateur Radio communication. The measure calls on the FCC to amend its Part 97 rules “to prohibit the application to amateur stations of certain private land-use restrictions, and for other purposes.” While similar bills in past years gained some traction on Capitol Hill, it was not until the overwhelming grassroots support from the Amateur Radio community for H.R. 1301, and ARRL’s relentless and strident efforts on Capitol Hill that this bill made it this far.

As the amended bill provides, “Community associations should fairly administer private land-use regulations in the interest of their communities, while nevertheless permitting the installation and maintenance of effective outdoor Amateur Radio antennas. There exist antenna designs and installations that can be consistent with the aesthetics and physical characteristics of land and structures in community associations while accommodating communications in the Amateur Radio services.”

W0BR receives Presidential Appreciation Award

From time to time our members exemplify true dedication to Amateur Radio here at SMRA and its mission statment.  On behalf of SMRA’s excutive board, we want to express our sincere thanks to Bob Raker W0BR.

w0br receives presidential appreciation award 10-2016

W0BR receives presidential appreciation award 

Be it known to all, that Bob Raker W0BR exemplifies the true spirit of Amateur Radio by the many ways he blesses us at SMRA.  Your knowledge of electronics and Amateur Radio you freely share with anyone who asks; your willingness to offer your shack and home for QSO contesting; your skills and abilities to take a worthless box of electronic components and transform them into something that works; your leadership for the club, and the Executive Board and your friendship has proven you worthy of this gift of appreciation. October 18th 2016.

Thank you

Don Evans  KB3VAX President 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

Gary Hammaker (KB3EJZ) goes above and beyond during JOTA

SMRA Executive Board received this letter of thanks for Gary Hammaker (KB3EJZ) for his time and patience, and making the Cub Scout Pack 190 JOTA event a success.  

On behalf of SMRA-EB a very hearty “Thank you Gary!!”

To Whom it May Concern,

This past Sunday (October 16,2016) I set up a portable HF operation from my SUV located in Sheppardstown, PA for the 2016 Jamboree-On-The- Air (JOTA) event.  My purpose was to help get my grandson’s Cub Scout Pack 190 get on the air and make contacts with other HF radio stations during the JOTA event.  Well, things didn’t work out the way I intended. My HF radio speaker stopped working and I was unable to hear other stations.  In a panic mode I set up my 10 meter radio with a 102 inch whip but was unable to make any contacts.  As a last resort I set up my VHF radio and whip antenna and called for any station on 146.520. I didn’t want to use a repeater if I didn’t have to.  Fortunately, I received a call from KB3EJZ, Gary Hammaker, who was kind enough to talk to each cub scout, giving signal reports, name and location.  The cub scouts were very excited about talking on ham radio and I am sure the experience may get some of them interested in the hobby.

Please extend my sincere thanks to Gary Hammaker (KB3EJZ) for his time and patience, and making the Cub Scout Pack 190 JOTA event a success.  While some of the scouts were talking on the radio the other scouts were learning about the Morse code using my grandson’s MFJ Morse code keyer. They each sent one Morse code letter spelling out “Thank You” to me in Morse code.  That “Thank You” also goes out to Gary Hammaker, KB3EJZ.  This experience reminds me why I enjoy amateur radio as much as I do.

Best Regards,

WIlliam S. Lyter N3YQA

MSGT Pennsylvania Air National Guard (Ret)

Gary Hammaker KB3EJZ Field Day 2016

Gary Hammaker KB3EJZ Field Day 2016

N3TWT – Pennsylvania QSO Party

N3TWT competed in the Pennsylvania QSO Party on October 8th and 9th.  The event was hosted by and held at Bob Raker’s (W0BR) shack.  The goal, to “make contact with every county in PA” was was achieved.

61 CW and 759 phone contacts were made with a total score of 125,459 points.

Call: N3TWT – Station: W0BR

Operator(s): Jack Himes KA3GLQ;  Todd Raymer KB3FGZ; Justin Shulis KB3IPA; Don Evans KB3VAX; John Jaminet W3HMS; and Bob Raker W0BR all participated.

Well Done gentlemen!!!


Band CW Q’s Phone Q’s
160 9 16
80 25 201
40 25 376
20 2 150
15 0 13
10 0 2
6 0 0
2 0 1
total 61 759

Bike Race prizes Gold, Silver, and Bronze

At SMRA’s Septembers general meeting, a drawing was held for members who provided radio communication support at the last three bike races of the year;

·      Michaux Dual Sport

·      South Penn Enduro Riders

·      Terror of Teaberry

Throughout the summer SMRA provided communication at designated locations along the routes and courses of seven different races.   All of these events, located in the heart of the Michaux State forest are in secluded areas not usually covered by cell phones.   This gives the members of SMRA the opportunity to set up radio posts which provide valuable real time updates for the race organizers.

When asked why they would give up a Sunday to spend in the woods, one amateur said, “he participated out of love for ham radio and because it enabled him to do things with radios and antennas for example where cell phones don’t work” Another said, “We do this so we can de-bug our equipment and gain proficiency in the hobby.“

Cash prizes of $50, $40, and $30 were donated by John Jaminet W3HMS, Thanks John!

Below are pictures of President Don Evans KB3VAX handing out the awards to;

·      Ralph Barnie N1XGH, first place,

·      Ed Crossley W3SMF, second place

·      Jack Himes KA3GLQ, third place

Ralph Barnie N1XGH, first place

Ralph Barnie N1XGH, first place

Ed Crossley W3SMF, second place

Ed Crossley W3SMF, second place

Jack Himes KA3GLQ, third place

Jack Himes KA3GLQ, third place

So, What is SMRA?


South Mountain Radio Amateurs (SMRA) is a non-profit group of amateur radio operators dedicated to promoting amateur radio through education and assistance.  SMRA has provided community service and emergency communications throughout Cumberland County and the surrounding area in central Pennsylvania since 1976. 

SMRA supports numerous organizations in south-central Pennsylvania,  including the Cumberland County Department of Public Safety, Cumberland County Chapter of the American Red Cross, Cumberland County Search and Rescue Team, Carlisle Regional Medical Center, Three Mile Island – wherever radio emergency communication services are requested. 

SMRA is a group of local amateur radio operators (hams) who promote operational and technical skills through electronic building projects, theory education, mentoring programs, CW (Morse code competency) and FCC amateur radio licensing.  As an amateur radio club, SMRA uses both formal and informal meetings to advance local interest. Finally, SMRA promotes “The Amateur’s Code” as a goal of conduct for many amateur radio operators both on and off the air.

 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


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.