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.

145.43 Repeater Net on 2016-08-01 Canceled

As Cumberland County EOC has asked SMRA to provide EMCOMM for tomorrow night’s political rally. I am cancelling the regular Monday night net on the 145.43 repeater so as to keep the frequency clear.
The 146.46 repeater is available in case anyone would like to convene an informal net.


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.

Thanks For The Contact! (QRPTTF 2016)

“QRPTTF” stands for “QRP To The Field”. It is a yearly event coordinated through the QRP-L Internet mailing list. The purpose is to encourage as many low-power operators as possible to take their rigs out into the field and operate on the same day nationwide. This year it tied in nicely with the ARRL National Parks On The Air year-long event. I decided to hike to a spot on the Appalachian Trail (NPOTA TR01) which is also a peak in the Summits On The Air (SOTA) program. That way I was a “triple threat” – QRPTTF, NPOTA and SOTA. Operating from that one location I could hand out points in all three events.

I parked my car along Rt. 850 west of Marysville and hiked north on the AT about three miles to the Cove Mountain SOTA. The actual summit is just off the south side of the trail, so I had to do a little bushwhacking to find it. Its not a clear spot, just a pile of boulders at the highest point of the ridge. GPS makes finding it pretty easy.

I started out using my Yaesu HT to announce my presence on some local repeaters, then working about a dozen local stations on 2-meters simplex using 5 watts and a telescopic whip antenna. Next I threw a string up into a tree and put up a three-band vertical ground plane antenna. I started calling CQ near 14.060 on 20 meters and soon had 17 stations in the log, including AZ, NM, Spain and the Czech Republic. I switched to 40 meters later in the afternoon and worked 13 stations before calling it quits and hiking back down the mountain.

Thanks to those of you who helped me out by spotting me on the DX sites and working me on 2 meters and other bands. Its fun to have a bit of a pileup calling you! I’ve uploaded my log file to LoTW and SOTA, so those of you chasing NPOTAs and Summits should have the credits. 73

-Scott N3SW-


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