Lessons Learned – First in (I hope) a series

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.

Happy Thanksgiving to all

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.

 

GO. WASHINGTON.

SMRA 40th Year Anniversary Banquet

2017-09-20 12_04_47-Banquet Flyer.pdf - Adobe Acrobat Pro

Buy your tickets below!

Please enter your Call Sign in the box below. (you can enter multiple)
Then click the Buy Now button!
When you click the Buy Now it will take you to Paypal where you can change your quantity of tickets.

Call Sign(s)

Here are a few reasons why I am a member of ARRL.

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; xxxx@arrl.net

Print
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:
http://www.arrl.org/field-day

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  https://youtu.be/XEmn0uaQCYc

If you are interested in the Apollo radio systems for voice, telemetry, and tracking, here is an interesting link about their radio systems. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unified_S-band

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.

73

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

11/15/2016

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.”