**  Wanna play?  Outside!  **

Members of the Cumberland Amateur Radio Club will be meeting at Pine Grove Furnace State Park in the future on Saturday, September 23, 2023 to provide a common meeting area and on-site Elmers for those wishing to activate POTA Park K-1398.

Those wishing to participate should:

  1. Watch this space for more information.
  2. If you do not have your own POTA account, please register at Parks on the Air | POTA | Parks program for amateur radio.
  3. Watch the weather, dress accordingly and bring whatever sustenance you need.

The club will have water and snacks on hand.

If you wish to use a headset or operate CW, please bring whatever you need and an adapter, usually 1/4” to 1/8”.  Transceivers and antennas will be provided.  We will be operating off battery power. 

Not able to come to the park?  Will you be operating from home?  Check the POTA website Parks on the Air | POTA for both the scheduled activation and spotting as the day goes on. If you work us, spot us please!


Questions?  Please contact President@radioclub-carc.com.

For more information about POTA, Portable Operations and another topics, follow the trail to:



See ‘ya down the log.

Frank KB3PQT


Editor’s Note:   You might want to study a map of the park prior to the event. 

Here is a link you may find helpful:



As Frank mentioned in his Point #1 – Watch this space for more information (such as where you will find the meeting area.)




A free, weekly, live, Amateur Radio Technician Class Licensing course on Zoom will begin on Thursday, Sept  7, and will run through Thursday, October  19  (7 sessions).    

The three-hour sessions will start at 6:30 PM Eastern Time. 

These are the classes that we have been holding for years sponsored by the National Electronics Museum. 

Please publicize this with anyone you know that you think would be interested.  Those wishing to sign up should email me at roland.anders@comcast.net.


Thanks and 73,

Rol Anders, K3RA


Editor’s Note:  Rol Anders will respond to your eMail request with information about the class including Zoom log-in information.

The training class itself is free.  You may find it helpful to obtain a study guide, sometimes known as a “License Manual”.  Mr. Anders will spell out any such requirements in his eMail response.

Editor’s Note:  The ARRL Ham Radio License Manual will guide you as you get started in the hobby–as you select your equipment, set-up your first station, and make your first contact. Use this book to study for the 35-question Technician Class license exam. Includes the entire question pool with answer key, for use July 1, 2022 through June 30, 2026.


**  So how many active hams are there?  **

 Curious Newcomer (CN) and Experienced Elmer (EE) both started interesting groups.io threads.  One asked for people to tell what they do on the air, and the other has had a lot of fun with FT8 and wondered if …

a.)   With that as background, I have noticed recently that when I watch the JTAlert “All decodes” window, 20-25 percent of those active on the band at a given time are people whom I’ve already worked. That makes me wonder about a couple of things:

 b:)   How popular are the FT modes, anyway, and if you could collect similar stats for CW and phone, would we see something similar?  I’m still a long way from “working the bands out”, but it’s been a little surprising.

 Let’s look at numbers.  A couple years ago ARRL stated that FT8 was 70% of all HF activity.  That is market share a monopolist would love.  70% is a lot, and that is only 1 mode.


The ARRL, as of August 14, 2023, shows 759,159 licensed amateurs in the US and territories.


Class Number Percent


5969 1%


377810 50%


Tech Plus

0 0%


187274 25%
Advanced 33327 4%



155139 20%


Technicians have some HF privileges, but I doubt that more than maybe 10% get on HF. 

And a high number, maybe as high as 50%, of all Technician class licensees are not active in the hobby at all.   It has been over 23 years since anyone received a new Advanced class license.  In 2015 there were over 54,000 Advanced licensees.  While some have upgraded to Extra, too many have become inactive or Silent Keys. 

I have no good way of estimating how many General and Extra class licensees are actually active on the air.  But on any given day there may be as few as 200,000 to 250,000 who actively would use the HF bands in the US. The good news?  In 2016, there were 725,000 US licenses. According to NPR, that was up 60% from 1981.  But according to Wikipedia, in 2021, the US had 779, 545.  or a whopping 0.233% of the  population.  In 2 years the US has lost about 20,000 and by the numbers, most of those came from Advanced licensees going SK.  In percentage of the population licensed, the US has fallen to third.  Japan is in second and Slovenia is in first place.  The US has about twice as many as Japan, but a smaller fraction of the population is licensed. China is in third place in numbers, with 150,000 as of 2019.

Amateur radio is not dead.  But it will always need new people getting involved.


For more information about Amateur Radio, Cumberland Amateur Radio Club, and another topics, follow the trail to



See ‘ya down the log.

Frank KB3PQT


Eight CARC members continued their quest in the ARRL VOTA Contest.

The standings as of July 1, 2023 are:

Call Sign Overall Rank Country Rank State Rank QSOs Points Points per QSO Change
N3AIR 4464 2751 122 620 4203 6.8 890
WA3KCP 6735 4065


696 2968 4.3 0
N3FWE 10318 6027 264 475 1894 4.0 1179
KB3PQT 23563 12545 532 110 513 4.7 0
N3EPY 37272 18093 790 6 117 19.5 0
K3EYK 40573 19283 839 6 71 11.8 0
K4ZDH 42815 19827 864 10 54 5.4 0
AF3I 49276 22034 960 4 12 3.0 0

For more on Volunteers On The Air, contesting, and other fun radio adventures please follow the trail to:



See ‘ya down the log.
Frank  KB3PQT

**  CARC Members Continue to Amaze Club Leadership  **


Our eight active participants in the ARRL Volunteers On The Air year-long contest kept plugging away during May.  Looks like a good month to have gone on vacation!  

We have a new leader!  Courtney, N3AIR has moved into the lead internally.  While John WA3KCP still leads in total QSOs, Courtney seems to be finding the higher point value ones.  Patience pays off! 

CARC Member standings as of June 3, 2023 — Reporting the month of May 2023




Overall Rank Country Rank State Rank QSOs Points
AF3I Andrew Forsyth 46599 20867 896 4 12
K3EYL Harry Fasick


17985 775 6 71
K4ZDH Riley Hollingsworth


18570 799 10 54


Frank Mellott


11172 429 109 512
N3AIR Courtney Harding 5069 2962 139 480 3313



Richard Johnson 34724 16792 735 6 117
N3FWE Steve Hancock 17837 9598 401 167




John Luthy 5698 3299 151 696 2068


For more information about radios, setting up your station  and another topics, follow the trail to



See ‘ya down the log.

Frank KB3PQT



So you have been actively burning up the airwaves making VOTA QSOs.  You regularly visit the Leader Board to see where you are compared to your peers.  Did you know -Thanks Richard N3EPY — that if you click on MY VOTA on the menu ribbon, it will show you a summary of your contacts?

But if you click on  it will take you to a table showing each QSO and the points received.   Pretty nifty!


For example:

Qualified QSO Count: 4 (Page 1 of 1)
QSO Date (UTC) Call Band Mode   Points
2023-03-30 00:13:00 KC3CPT 10M PHONE SSB 1
2023-03-30 00:12:00 K3EYK 10M PHONE SSB 1
2023-01-22 23:13:00 N3FWE 2M DATA DOMINO 5
2023-01-08 23:20:00 KB3PQT 2M DATA DOMINO 5
(The above information table shows the results obtained by website administrator AF3I.)


You can see the VOTA information at http://vota.arrl.org/my-info.php
You will be asked to provide your Logbook Of The World ID and Password to be granted access to the data.

You have a LOTW Account, right?
If you need help setting up a LOTW Account the Cumberland Amateur Radio Club (CARC)  has 41 Elmers at your fingertips.  Just ask.


For more information about radios, setting up your station  and another topics, follow the trail to


See ‘ya down the log.
Frank KB3PQT




Who:               Listed in the body of the message.

What:              The CARC Derby

Where:            Ponderosa Park, Dillsburg PA

When:             Saturday May 6, 2023

Why:                To hone our skills in preparation The Big One – Field Day


A group of stylishly dressed ladies and gentlemen were sighted at the park on Saturday.   Lady participants were seen wearing fascinators.  Gentlemen participants wore stylish hats from the Maura Collection.  Alas, even though it was obviously a casual outing, no ascots or tuxedos were observed.

Discreet inquiry determined the group was there to participate in the Cumberland Amateur Radio Club’s version of the 149th Kentucky Derby! 

The group erected a 40 meter dipole, a 20 meter dipole and two end fed multiple band antenna and set up four transmitters.  Contacts were made in the 7th Call Area QSO Party, the Indiana QSO Party and with several Parks On The Air (POTA) activators and special event stations, under the K3IEC club call or operator’s individual calls.

The party consisted of twelve humans and one canine.  They are:  Andrew AF3I, Frank KB3PQT, Doug KC3CPT, Maura KC3JJH, Dave KC3OSG, Mark KC3UVG, Paula KC3UVH, Harry K3EYL, Garry K3EYK, Glenn K3SWZ, Steve N3FWE, Dave W3BJG and radio dog Thelma. 

Lunch was procured from Millennium Pizza in Dillsburg, PA.  The group consumed four Italian Pies and other fare. including  Cheese, Pepperoni, Garbage. and a plain Philly Cheese Steak (no sauce).  All present received Tangible Rewards in the form of an ARRL Mini Log Book.  In addition, Steve N3FWE received a tube of coax seal, Doug KC3CPT received a book on antennas, Garry K3EYK received a Power Werx battery pack, Dave KC3OSG received a book on antennas, Dave W3BJG received a Power Werx battery pack and Harry K3EYL received a book on antennas.


For more information about radios, setting up your station  and another topics, follow the trail to



See ‘ya down the log.

Frank KB3PQT



Preparation and Test for FCC Amateur Radio Technician License

Saturday  June 3, 2023 (0800-1600) – Sunday June 4, 2023 (0800-1200)

Followed by an FCC License Testing Session June 4 (12:30-3)

Inclement Weather Reschedule – TBA

No Charge for the class or testing

There is a 35$ FCC license charge payable after exam passing result has been info submitted to FCC.


Come with an open mind, pen and paper. We discourage the use of iPhones, etc. in the class except for emergencies.  Please put on vibrate if your work requires.

A simple calculator can be useful. Contact me for pre-class study.  Class will be cancelled on May 22 if insufficient registration.  Note: See attachment for registration.

Class is at Emergency Health Services Federation

722 Limekiln Rd New Cumberland, PA 17070


Exit from I-83 on Limekiln Rd, Just north of PA Turnpike Harrisburg West. Entrance is in the blue oval.

For class info please contact Ralph Brandt   717-885-3063 Ralph.brandt@comcast.net

Facility info Thomas Alsted


  1. O) 717-316-0723
  2. C) 717-418-3858

Ham Radio is Amateur Radio, FCC Part 97.  It is a licensed service.  The class is targeted to prepare the student to pass the Technician Class License test which is restricted to frequencies above 28 Mhz. There are many hand-held and mobile transceivers available for use in these bands for as low as $35 for Handheld and $100 for Mobiles.  There are many repeaters in the area that extend the range of these radios.  A ham license is a good tool for a family in times of disaster when land lines and cell phones often are not useable

** Preparation and Test for FCC Amateur Radio Technician License **

This information reached your Editor at the last minute.  ACT NOW if you are interested in this training class.


Saturday April 29, 2023 (0800-1600) – Sunday April 30, 2023 (0800-1200)

The training class is followed by an FCC License Testing session Sunday April 30 (12:30-3)

Inclement Weather Reschedule – TBA

No Charge for the class.  Note:  The Federal Communications Commission does charge a $35 fee for issuing a license.

Come with an open mind, pen and paper. We discourage the use of iPhones, etc. in the class except for emergencies.  Please put on vibrate.

A simple calculator can be useful. Contact me for pre-class study.  Class will be cancelled on April 26 if insufficient registration.  Note: Class and test session registrations are separate.  Do both.

Class is held at the York Township Building, 190 Oak Road, Dallastown PA 17313

Lower level, back of the building


Contact: Ralph Brandt K3HQI 717-885-3063 or ralph.brandt@comcast.net  Registration for the class https://dallastownpa.myrec.com/info/activities/program_details.aspx?ProgramID=28755

Registration for testing session and obtain an FRN.


Note.  The FCC is charging a $35 fee for a license.  This will be billed by E-mail after passing the test.




** Find an Amateur Radio License Class ** 

South Mountain Radio Amateurs is pleased to be offering an Amateur Radio Course.

This class consists of 5 ongoing classes, based on the ARRL’s “Ham Radio License Manual” for the Technician License class.

An examination session at the conclusion of the course will also be offered; all at no charge.

What is included with the session? •
Text: “Ham Radio License Manual” by ARRL—FIFTH EDITION •
Five, 2-hour Power Point presentations, (with down loadable notes) •
No-charge FCC exam for the technician license class,

To obtain a license, you must successfully complete a Licensing Examination session and pay a $35 licensing fee to the FCC.

Each student who passes the exam will receive: • BaoFeng UV-5R HT Radio and will be taught how to manually program it with local repeaters, simplex and emergency frequencies.

Sessions will be held at Cumberland County Department of Public Safety Saturdays – May 6th, 13th, 20th, 27th, June 3rd.
The test will be conducted on June 10th. 
Session on “how-to” manually program the UV-5R will take place on June 17th.


Begins 05/06/2023

Start/End Dates: 05/06/2023 – 06/03/2023
Times: 9-11AM
# of Sessions: 5
Class level: Technician
Morse code offered: No
Pre register required: Yes
Fee: no fee for class or test but, there is a $35 licensing fee payable to the FCC
Pre Study required: No
Class Type: Traditional
Exam offered: Yes
Sponsoring Club/Organization: South Mountain Radio Amateurs
Instructor: NC3O

Contact: Robin Cartwright W3KAT
Phone: (717) 422-1349
Email: techsession@n3twt.org

Location: Cumberland County Department of Public Safety
1 Public Safety Drive
Carlisle, PA 17013


** Parks On The Air!    National Parks Week April 22-30, 2023 **

Q.)  What can be more fun than operating portable in a National Park?

A.)   How about Operating Portable in a Park during National Parks Week!

Parks on the Air | POTA | Parks program for amateur radio.


Oddly the POTA folks do not seem to have awards for operating POTA during National Parks week.
Maybe they will read this!


Interested in learning more about the wide world of amateur radio and what your license can do for you?   
Follow the trail…   https://www.radioclub-carc.com/resources/


See ‘ya down the log.
Frank KB3PQT



The ARRL has changed the Leaderboard format.

As of April 7, 2023, eight CARC members were on the Leaderboard.
All are PA residents.
All are in the top 1,000 in the Commonwealth.
Overall, two are in the top 10,000 in the world.
These same two are in the top 5,000 in the USA.

Overall Rank Country Rank State Rank Call Sign QSOs Points
5785 3368 165 WA3KCP 369 1465
8492 4901 215 N3AIR 133 925
18492 9991 442 KB3PQT 38 239
24699 12742 567 N3FWE 9 95
28128 14181 612 K4ZDH 10 54
28620 14371 627 K3EYK 1 50
35749 17221 750 AF3I 4 12
45554 20009 877 N3EPY 1 1


For more information about radios, setting up your station and other topics, follow the trail to:

See ‘ya down the log.
Frank KB3PQT




** Radio musings **

When I have too much time on my hands I enjoy crunching numbers.  We had some cold, wet weather recently.  I stayed indoors.  That was my invitation to curl up with a good database and extract some numbers. 

My research was focused on the popularity of amateur radio as a hobby around the world and locally in Central Pennsylvania.  My results are represented by the proportion of licensed Amateur Radio Operators among the population as a whole.



The USA has 779,545 licensed amateur radio operators.  In case you wondered, that’s 0.233 percent of the population.  For those of you who broke up with math in the 1980s, and learned that getting back together is awkward, that works out to 23 amateurs per 10,000 people. 

Let’s put those numbers into a real-world context.  The seating capacity of the GIANT Center arena is 10,500.   How about dropping the loose change and call it 10,000.  If you sprinkled 23 ham radio operators among all the event attendees you would have the same proportion of ham radio operators in the arena as there are in the United States, as a whole.


Global Highlights

By comparison, in other locations where amateur radio is a poplar hobby, we found these numbers from 2019.

Japan has 381,899 licensed operators, or 0.304% of the population.

Thailand has 101,763 licensed operators for 0.147% of the population.

Germany has 63,709 licensed operators for 0.0735% of the population.


Locally in Central Pennsylvania

Here are population counts in the 170xx Zip Code area as of 2021

            Cumberland County has 262,919 people.

            Perry County has 45,986 people

            Lebanon County has 143,943 people.

The FCC shows 1,752 licensed amateur radio operators in 170xx.  So, at 0.39%, that Zip Code area has nearly twice as many amateur radio operators as the USA average.  Go 170xx !

Moving to the west, the 155xx Zip Code covers Bedford and Somerset counties.  A database search returned 242 licensed amateur radio operators.  Bedford has a population of 47.461 people and Somerset has 73,627.  The percentage of amateur radio operators in the 155xx Zip Code area is 0.20% of the population, which is less than the national average.


Marketing Analysis

You probably are wondering…. Why do these percentages matter?  Really – Who Cares?

Well, someone cares.  You can be sure of that.   

  • Mr. or Ms / Mrs. Business Person — If you are thinking of opening an Amateur Radio themed Pizza and Cheese Steak Restaurant your business is more likely to succeed in Cumberland County because the pool of potential customers is greater there than if you located your shop in Bedford or Somerset counties. That is why you care.
  • If dating an electronics wizard who wears a plaid shirt and a baseball cap embroidered with his amateur radio call sign is one of your personal objectives you are likely to find a bigger selection of potential candidates in Cumberland County than you might find in Bedford or Somerset counties. That is why you care.
  • What if you needed technical advice on the directional antenna heading for making a long path QSO to Madagascar? If you focused your search on Cumberland County you stand a better chance of getting an answer than if you sent out feelers in Bedford or Somerset counties.  That is why you care.


For more information about radios, setting up your station and another topics, follow the trail to



See ‘ya down the log.

Frank KB3PQT


A Special Announcement from Rol Anders, K3RA

Free weekly 3-hour training sessions providing info on a wide range of Amateur Radio Operating Activities will start at 6:30 PM Eastern time.on Thursday March 30 and run through Thursday June 15   

Each session is independent, so you can attend all or just selected evenings.  The presenters will be folks very experienced in the various subjects.

A detailed syllabus will be published before the classes begin.  Attend them all, or any that you like, but you must register for the classes.  

CARC Editor’s Note:  A list of planned topics appears nearby.  To obtain a listing of the topics with their presentation dates and the name/call sign of the presenter please register.

To receive registration information, contact Rol Anders, K3RA, at roland.anders@comcast.net.


Amateur Radio Operating subjects will include:

  • All About Operating–A general Introduction
  • Amateur Radio Organizations—Local to International
  • Ham Radio Awards
  • DXing-History and Tips from the Experts
  • QSLing-How to get that needed card for DXCC or WAS
  • VHF/UHF Weak Signal Work and “Roving”
  • Image Operating—Slow Scan and Fast Scan TV
  • Remote Station control over internet
  • Learning CW in the no-code era
  • Digital Modes—From RTTY to FT8 and beyond
  • Contesting—How to get started, tips for the beginner and intermediated contester
  • Logging Software—What’s available, how to use
  • Propagation—A general intro to HF Propagation
  • Amateur Satellites—How to get started
  • Portable (backpacking) operation—Tips from an expert
  • Setting Up a Modern (or not so modern) HF Station
  • Lightning Protection and Grounding
  • Traffic Handling
  • Public Service, Emergency Communications


The CARC Challenge completes its second month with one month to go.  Whole lotta movin’ and shakin’ goin’ on!

Rookie WA3KCP  blasts into Number 1 with 3 contests under his belt.

KC3CPT leads the EXPERTS with 2 contests, and 2nd place overall.

The Number 3 spot is horse race.  Will Rookie K3EYL, Expert K3EYK or KB3PQT or Rookie N3AIR break out of the pack and move into sole possession in March? 


It’s not over folks.  We still have March to go!

Tangible Rewards® await!


Group photo of CARC club members taken upon completion of Field Day weekend.

There’s Room for More.  Come On Down!

Cumberland Amateur Radio Club extends our invitation to those who would like to be part of ARRL Field Day 2023.

Cumberland Amateur Radio Club members are making plans to operate as Class 3A EPA from Shaffer Park in Carlisle, PA.

Station setup begins at 9:00 a.m. local time on Saturday June 24, 2023.
We intend to be on the air Saturday Afternoon, Saturday Evening, through the night, and wrap-up about 10:00 a.m. Sunday Morning, with take-down completed by Sunday Noon.

If you tell us you are coming to our FD we will include you in our plans.  Food has a big focus with CARC.  We enjoy Saturday Lunch, Saturday Supper, and Sunday Breakfast.  We cook just as much food as it takes to satisfy the number of people we know will be attending. 

Don’t be left out.  Don’t go home hungry. Tell us your plans.   eMail:  Elmer@RadioClub-CARC.com   
All expressions of interest will be acknowledged.  (If you don’t receive our reply within a few days please resend to VicePres@RadioClub-CARC.com)

For additional insight you are invited to attend any of our upcoming meetings.  We meet at Hoss’s Steak House, 61 Gettysburg Pike, Mechanicsburg, PA (Upper Allen Twp.)  Meeting Dates and Time:  The Third Wednesday of the month (March 15, April 19, May 17, June 21) , starting at 6:40 p.m. and ending about 7:45 p.m.  Arrive about 5:15 p.m. if you would like to have dinner with our members.  Dutch Treat.  Mention “Radio Club Meeting” to Hoss’s Host and you will be pointed to our Meeting Room.



… nearly 30,000 individuals participated
in Field Day [in 2022], making over 1.2 million contacts. 

** Call Signs **

 I have seen some nifty call signs lately.  The call signs mentioned below are all active. 

Some people are fascinated by license plates and try to make clever sayings from state issued letters and numbers.  I suspect many of these are vanity calls, but when I see a call sign, especially if I want to remember it, I come up with words.

For example

Valli N8QVT:             Valli calls herself Quick Valli Talk.

Dave W3VRE:          I remember Dave’s call as W3 Virginia Railway Express


Here are some nifty ones:

WG5EEK   When I first saw it, I read it as WG5EEK. but looking at it again, I think it is WG5EEK

K8TE  would the perfect vanity call for a certain Youtuber from Montana with an interest in radio, but @KatesAg will have to wait a bit.

W8UPI   or W8 United Press International.

KF0RT or KF0RT  (use the zero as an “o”.

NU4U   or “New for You!”

KA9FOX  The KA9 prefix makes this work.  “Canine FOX”


After working KS0USA  I got to pondering once again how many states you can work into the call sign with a USA suffix?

US calls begin with A, K, N, W  and we have states that start with all four.  Extra points if the call area matches the state.

AL    Alabama             for example AL4USA

AK    Alaska                  A natural Alaska call is a KL

AR   Arkansas            

AZ    Arizona                Unfortunately we won’t see these.  All the A calls are 2×2 or 2×1:

                                       AF4JH, AF3I for example.

KS    Kansas                KS0USA is an active call

KY    Kentucky            

NC   North Carolina   

ND   North Dakota     

NE   Nebraska            

NJ    New Jersey        

NY   New York            

NV   Nevada                Unfortunately the natural N calls have a 2 letter prefix, or suffix

                                       You have a N#ABC  or NN#AB  but not NN#ABC for example

WA   Washington       

WI    Wisconsin          

WV   West Virginia      WV8USA (active call)

WY   Wyoming            



What interesting calls have you seen or worked?


For more information about radios, setting up your station and another topics, follow the trail to



See ‘ya down the log.

Frank KB3PQT




Great Day,

January is Straight Key Month. 

A straight key is a tool for sending Morse code characters.  The ham radio operator operates the straight key by using the muscles in his or her arm, and to a lesser extent, the wrist and fingers.  These Morse code characters by a real live human being.  There are no computer generated dits and dahs (some folks may call them dots and dashes) when the ham radio operator is using a straight key.  That is the beauty of a simple tool.

The Straight Key Century Club (SKCC) advocates and promotes the use of straight keys.  They have designated January as Straight Key Month.  All month-long hams who support SKCC will be on the air a little more frequently than usual, sending their radio signals using Morse code.  The on-the-air activity will take place using the special call sign K3Y followed by a portable designation such as “/3”


Our own Cumberland Amateur Radio Club is honored to have one of our members  participating in this event.  Radio Station Operator John, WA3KCP will be operating some of the scheduled shifts using call sign K3Y/3.    His shifts over the next few days are:  

Friday January 13, 2023 from 1300 UTC to 1400 UTC.   The equivalent local time is 8 am to 9 am

Friday January 13, 2023 from 2200 UTC to 2300 UTC.  The equivalent local time is 5 pm to 6 pm

Tuesday January 17, 2023 at the same two time periods as listed above.

Friday January 20, 2023 at the same two time periods as listed above. 


If you hear K3Y/3 on the air during those time slots it will be our friend John WA3KCP with his hand on the morse code straight key.


For more information about Straight Key Month please visit the Straight Key Century Club web site www.skccgroup.com

This link will take you directly to the Straight Key Month web page.  https://www.skccgroup.com/k3y/k3y.php


For more information about the Cumberland Amateur Radio Club, located in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, I invite you to visit our web site.



Andrew Forsyth    Amateur Radio  (Ham Radio) Call Sign AF3I


Good Day,
This is a short story sent to your Editor by one of the members of Cumberland Amateur Radio Club. 
The author, John WA3KCP, is an enthusiastic Morse Code operator.  He recently participated in a monthly on-the-air event sponsored by the Straight Key Century Club.  The theme changes each month, usually with some type of seasonal theme.  The December theme involved Reindeer, Christmas characters, and Elves.  
John describes the thrill of being one of the popular Bonus Stations that result is additional scoring points when making a two-way radio contact with the Bonus Station.

From WA3KCP, John

SKCC members volunteered to be bonus stations (12 reindeer/ Christmas characters, 25 elves). By posting operating frequencies on the SKCC Sked page, bonus stations could be more easily located and worked. This year I volunteered, for the first time, to be an Elf bonus station. It was great fun!  Managed about 4 hours both Sat & Sun. Given this experience, I am checking schedule availability to take a first-time turn or two as a K3Y/3 station for the annual January K3Y SKCC event.

Ho! Ho! Ho! Happy to hand out bonus points for Elf and Senator, and really appreciated the SKCC Sked page for locating fellow elves. Helped me QSO all the reindeer, but just couldn’t work Santa. Avoided 28Mhz due to the int’l contest there. Tickled to stumble across VK2GR on 14MHz, otherwise got a few EU and the rest NA. First time performing as “Elfen John” after all these Dec WES events, and plan to sing that tune again next year!  Wishing good health and much happiness to all my SKCC buddies, those I logged for the first time and those I seek out every month!

John/Elf  WA3KCP #11705S
VK2GR — the ham radio callsign of an operator located in Australia.  Australia is one of the farthest away radio destinations for ham radio operators located near the east cost of the USA which makes it a particularly interesting achievement.
73 — Ham Radio shorthand notation for “Best Regards” .
SKCC — The acronym for Straight Key Century Club.  The club promotes the use of vintage radio techniques, particularly the generation of morse code characters using a manually operated telegraph key and traditional shorthand abbreviations to convey information.  In contrast, electronically generated morse code dots and dashes are frequently heard on-the-air these days.
Sked — a prearranged schedule in which to ham radio operations arrange to meet each other on-the-air at a particular date, time, and frequency.
K3Y/3 is a ham radio callsign assigned to the Straight Key Century Club.  If you turn the number 3 around you will see it looks a lot like the capital letter E.  In that sense, the
K3Y callsign promotes the use of a Morse Code KEY when transmitting.   The “slash 3” is a designation for a call sign being operated away from its registered location.  The planned operation will be taking in the Third Call Area District, which includes Pennsylvania, Maryland, District of Columbia, and Delaware.

Valentine’s Day with Olivia QSO Party

from our friends at Olivia@groups.io



Local Time for those in the USA Eastern Time Zone

Begins:          Friday February 10, 2023 at 9 a.m. EST

Ends:              Saturday February 11, 2023 at 9 p.m. EST

Thirty-six hours start to finish.


Or, for our UTC friends

Begins           Friday February 10, 2023 at 14:00 UTC

Ends:              Sunday February 12, 2023 at 02:00 UTC

Thirty-six hours start to finish.


Watch this space as more info regarding bands, suggested frequencies, exchange becomes available.


For more information about radios, setting up your station and another topics, follow the trail to



See ‘ya down the log.

Frank KB3PQT


 Let not your Baefong lead you to temptation!

 Or,  Know the FCC rules!

On a groups.io that I follow, there was a recent posting about a CSX train crew in New York state.  They were M409, a manifest or “mixed” freight.  They called their dispatcher to ask who was calling them.  All they could hear was a weak transmission ending in “M409”. The dispatcher said he would check and said no one else was around.

A little bit later, the dispatcher was heard telling someone to get off frequency and “go home” and that he would be notifying the police and the FCC.

The speculation is someone had a Baefong U5VR series radio that is old enough, or was illegally modified, so that it could operate on the 155-174 MHz Land Mobile band.

Baefongs seem to be popular “entry level” radios based on their low price.  In 2018 the FCC cited the importer for selling units that did not conform to the FCC Part 90 certification they were granted in 2012.  One of the many issues was they could transmit at 4 watts and regulation limits them to less than 2 watts.

Baefongs are the only DMR radios that seem to have compliance issues, but if you have another brand, do not be tempted to see of if you can transmit outside the amateur frequencies. 

Two Meter radios from Icom, Yaesu and Kenwood are all “locked down” so you cannot transmit on the Land Mobile frequencies even if you have entered and are scanning them.


For more information about radios, setting up your station and another topics, please follow the trail to:



See ‘ya down the log.
Frank KB3PQT


Two New PA QSO Party Awards for 2022!

Encouraging Participation by Non-Hams and Young People

Recognizing Elmers

The PA QSO Party Association will introduce two new awards aimed at encouraging participation by non-hams and young people in the Pennsylvania QSO Party starting in October 2022.
The PA QSO Party log submittal process will include an option for multi-operator participants to identify non-hams of any age, and/or licensed hams under the age of twenty-five, that operated or logged during the contest, as well as the call sign(s) of their Elmer(s).  Inclusion of this information will enable the submitter to receive a certificate and purchase a plaque commemorating participation in the PA QSO Party by the non-hams, young operators, and Elmers.
Given the importance of Elmers, the PA QSO Party Association will sponsor a new award for the Elmer that supports the largest number of non-hams and/or young operators participating in the PA QSO Party.  All Elmers will also receive certificates.
All non-hams, licensed hams under the age of twenty-five, and Elmers will be noted in the PA QSO Party results report.

Section Traffic Manager Scott Walker (N3SW) is leaving our region. He has handed his managerial duties over to me.

Monthly, the traffic manager submits reports to the ARRL, regarding public service honor roll, and net activities.

Another responsibility of the traffic manager is to “insure that all traffic nets within the section are properly and adequately staffed.” [ARRL] Currently, both the Eastern Pennsylvania Emergency Phone and Traffic Net (EPAEPTN), and especially the CW Pennsylvania Traffic Net (PTN) are operating with minimum staff.

We need volunteers.

Please consider checking in to one or both of these networks on a regular basis.

EPAEPTN 17:00 Eastern 3918 kHz Phone
PTN 19:00 Eastern 3585 kHz CW

Both nets meet daily.

Arriving traffic is delivered best by a local ham, especially the “welcome to ham radio” messages we handle often.
Both are a great way to improve your operating skills, and give back to the community.


Tom Inman, KC8T
Eastern PA Traffic Manager


Editor’s Note:  Perhaps you are not quite ready to volunteer.  That is okay.
You can learn a lot just by listening.
If your schedule permits you to listen to the net now and then I think you will build an understanding of how the National Traffic System operates.
Try it.  You’ll like it.  If not, hit the big switch or turn the big knob.

AF3I  Cumberland Amateur Radio Club Website Administrator


Within the past few days the FCC has retired its legacy version of the CORES system (COmmission REgistration System)

If you are wondering how and where to conduct online business with the FCC here is some information that may be helpful to you.

A good URL starting point is:   https://apps.fcc.gov/CORES/userLogin.do

That URL will bring you to the new CORES login screen.

If this is your first visit to the new CORES you may wish to begin by watching the CORES TUTORIAL VIDEO.
Other first-time-user options include the HELP or FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS link.
If all else fails, there is a Support Services link and telephone number at the bottom of the screen.


At some point you will take the plunge and dive into the CORES system.

You will be shown several options.  Your choice depends on what you may have already done in preparation for this change.
Late in 2021 the FCC announced that the New CORES system had been made active and invited Users to register and begin using the new CORES system.

If you took that advice and created a Username  in the new CORES system then you are in a good position to transact your business with the FCC.
You should be able to provide your Username and Password in the first area and press the LOG IN button. 

If you missed your prior opportunity to register in the new CORES system you will be able to create an account and Username by starting your work under the “Need a Username?” heading.  Press the REGISTER button.


For those who are registered in the new CORES system, and who used their Username, Password, and the LOG IN button, you will soon see a screen similar to the one shown below.

If you pressed the REGISTER button please follow whatever instructions are shown there.  Your Editor has already registered and is unable to provide details of what you might see on your screen.

Your Editor selected the link called MANAGE EXISTING FRNs. 
This is where you can pay your FCC transaction fees.  You will need this link at license renewal time and after you take a License Exam.

Your needs may be different.  Try UPDATE USERNAME PROFILE for a Change of Address.


Good Luck.





Field Day Logging

If you are doing Field Day 2022 from home (we understand the whole world cannot do Field Day at Shaffer Park) you will want some logging software.

Most of us use the N3FJP software for Field Day. Current version is 6.63


If you plan to make fewer than 30 contacts, the Field Day app can be free.  A la carte, this one application is $8.99, or go whole hog and buy the entire N3FJP suite, every program, with upgrades for $59.99  An incredible value.

If you want something completely free the best alternative I know of is the N1MM+ logger.      https://n1mmwp.hamdocs.com/

I used N1MM+ for a few contests and while easy to use, the N3FJP software is just so much easier to set-up.   My contesting style will cause W3SOX and AF3I to scream “no”  but I typically wake up Saturday, cannot find anything better to do, turn the radio on, hear a contest, realize I can probably make a few Qs then I go looking for the software.  By the time that is done, the band has faded out and I didn’t do so well. N3FJP just seems easier to find the right contest software and install it.

While you are at it, the 13 Colonies Special Event is coming (July 1-7, 2022).  The N3FJP Amateur Contact Log easily handles that event.  After you launch AC Log, be sure to click on View >> 13 Colonies for an enhanced tracking tool developed by Scott, Kimberly, and Chris.

The PA QSO Party is coming as well on October 8 and 9, 2022.

For a lot more on computerized logging  and other fun radio stuff, please follow the trail:



See ‘ya down the log.

Frank KB3PQT






Software can make radio more fun !

When I read that headline my first reaction was — “What?  Software can make radio more fun?”

YES, it is true.

Even a fairly modern ham radio can benefit from software enhancements.  FLRIG from W1HKJ  is part of the time-tested FLDIGI suite of amateur radio software.


This application is FREE (Free is good!) at http://sourceforge.net/projects/fldigi/files/


Using the simple on-screen controls (even works on a touch screen).you can change VFOs, frequency, band. mode, split, volume, squelch, mic gain, RF power, and others.

The programs run on Apple, Windows and Linux operating systems.  Because this popular software is free and is only used by a few thousand people, your anti-virus software may not like it.  Its fine, just give AVG a minute and it will install.

I found it is easier to set the notch filters, noise reduction, and other radio options using the FLRIG graphical interface than it is to go into the radio menus.


For a lot more on FLRIG, FLDIGI and other fun radio stuff, please follow the trail:



See ‘ya down the log.

Frank KB3PQT






This is sort of old news. 

On April 19, 2022, the Federal Communications Commission reduced the fee for a ten year GMRS license to $35 from $70.  At the same time, the previously free, but had to pass an examination, amateur radio license fee went to $35 for ten years.

While I am sure there are people who paid for the GMRS license because that was “easier than studying for and passing a test”, I am sort of surprised at the number of licensed amateurs who are reporting buying the GMRS license now that the cost has come down.

While I think the GMRS service has a lot of value, and I see good reasons for being licensed in both, if you were already licensed as an amateur, and if you only bought the GMRS license because the fee came down, would you please reach out to me at the eMail address shown below and tell me what the appeal is?



I have heard from a couple of people saying that they want to explore GMRS.

OK…but are there other reasons?



For more information about radios, setting up your station  and another topics, follow the trail to:



See ya down the log.

Frank KB3PQT


Tangible Rewards !

Between March 19 and 26, 2022 eleven Cumberland Amateur Radio Club members operated Special Event station W3R, celebrating the 120th anniversary of the Rockville Bridge. At 3,720 feet, the Rockville Bridge is the longest Stone Arch Masonry Railroad Bridge ever built anywhere in the world.

We seem to live in  a digital world.  But at the May meeting, the W3R event operators received a unexpected TANGIBLE REWARD to go with the certificates they were emailed earlier.

The TANGIBLE REWARD came in the form of a stainless steel tumbler or travel mug, bearing the CARC logo and the call sign of the operator. 


The recipients were:


Andrew      AF3I Doug         KC3CPT Frank        KB3PQT
Garry          K3EYK Harry         K3EYL John          WA3KCP
Maura        KC3SJE Mike          KB3GPX Richard     N3EPY
Steve         N3FWE Valli            N8QVT  

Thank you all!   It was a pleasure to have so many club members pitch-in and pull-together to make the event a success.

In addition, an article about the W3R Special Event operation is also being published in the NRHS News, the monthly newsletter of the National Railway Historical Society.


What have you learned today?


For more articles please follow the trail below:



See ‘ya down the log.

Frank KB3PQT


This contesting is nuts.  Why do we do it?

Scott Davis, N3FJP, the creator of the N3FJP line of computer logging programs from Affirmatech, answered a question on the N3FJP reflector with a link to the FAQ page.

This contesting is nuts. Why do we do it?

This question isn’t software specific, but the reasons for the tremendous fun of contesting aren’t always evident and they are too important to miss, especially for new folks just entering the hobby.  What draws us to spend major contest weekends happily glued to our radios?

Following CQ World Wide CW 2020, one of our club’s excellent, experienced contesters, having just made over 1,000 Qs, wrote on our virtual clubhouse text chat group, tongue in cheek and rhetorically: This contesting is nuts! Why do we do it?

Spent from the weekend, I couldn’t help but laugh out loud, but the question stayed with me. This contesting IS nuts.  It’s hard work, takes education, effort, dedication, experimentation, knowledge, ingenuity, planning and serious time in the chair. Why DO we do it?

It turns out that, at least for me, there are lots of great reasons!  Here are a few off the top of my head.  I’ll bet that you can add to this list…

Amateur Radio’s basis and purpose includes emergency communication.  There is no better opportunity than during a contest to determine, band by band, the strengths and weaknesses of your station.  If your station can’t make many contacts during a contest, you will be ineffective in passing emergency traffic out of your affected area.


And that is just one piece of how contesting enhances our emergency communications ability.  A contest provides the opportunity to:

Practice copying information from stations both weak and strong.
– Check the ergonomics of our station during extended operations.
– See how we hold up with significant time in the operator chair.
– Learn about propagation and what to expect at various times of the day on different bands.


And if the emergency communications contest benefits don’t stir your juices, many of us find the contest experience itself to be tremendous fun!  The contesting experience alone keeps us coming back and circling the next events on our calendars because:

– It is thrilling to communicate to every state, section and the four corners of the Earth, including some rare and exotic locations, with nothing but a piece of wire or metal in our yards, from the comfort of our homes and families.

– It is thrilling to set goals, like beating your previous personal best score, having the fastest QSO rate in the club for a one-hour period or scoring top five in the club and then striving to accomplish it.

– It is joyful to share a quick connection, however brief, with all the other stations that have become familiar on contest weekends.

– It is thrilling to watch the bands rise and fall like the tide over the course of the contest weekend, anticipating what may open next.

– It is thrilling to watch our individual and club’s collective QSO rates soar when the bands come alive, on our club’s real time leader board.

– It is thrilling to simultaneously, whole heartedly cheer our NEMARCS brothers and sisters on, while doing our very best to leave them in the dust!

– It is thrilling to recognize the very real accomplishments of our scores, individually and collectively, with our club total.  We know full well what goes into building a successful station and putting in a successful contest effort!

– It is joyful to exchange quick banter on our virtual clubhouse text chat group during propagation lulls, as well as share needed multipliers, mentor new folks and encourage everyone to do their best.

– It is thrilling to see our club rankings in print and moving up the list when the final results are released!

– It is thrilling to watch our club’s scoreboard participant numbers grow, seeing new guys jump in for the first times, knowing the fun that awaits them!

– It is thrilling to get that certificate in the mail, after you have placed well enough to earn one!

– It is fascinating to learn the strengths and weaknesses of our stations, that are so quickly revealed on contest weekends.

– It is thrilling, after the contest is over, to improve our stations, our antennas and our operating skills, to see what we can do better next time. In fact, the grand contest never ends.  We are always looking for that edge and helping each other find theirs!

– It is thrilling to befriend such a fine group of folks, with whom to share this amazing adventure!


This is really, really fun stuff!

Thank you, Scott for fun piece.


What have you learned today>


For more articles like this, please follow the trail below:



See ‘ya down the log.

Frank KB3PQT


The History Guy tm  discusses Ham Radio’s contribution to world science in the 1950s.

Every now and then YouTube turns up a real gem.  https://youtu.be/uaTm_LUifUI  is one of these. 

The History Guy tm takes a look at a pair of teenage amateur radio operators and their efforts to support American scientific bases in Antarctica. 



W3R QSL Cards

The W3R  Special Event station QSL cards have arrived from the printer.   They look fabulous.  Look to the right where you will find an image of the card.

Cumberland Amateur Radio Club sends its THANK YOU to Randy Dorman at https://www.KB3IFHqslcards.com for a great job.

The Special Event made 670 contacts between March 19 and March 26, 2022. 

From among the many people we worked during those eight busy days about 60 QSL cards have arrived at the home of our QSL Manager.  Those cards represent 28 of the United States of America and Canada.  We expect DX QSL Cards will take longer to arrive.

A duo of CARC Members have been huddled around the kitchen table burning the midnight oil for several days  admiring the QSL Cards we received from our friends and colleagues, checking our logs for the matching QSOs, and preparing our W3R QSL cards to be signed and mailed.

The cards will be mailed the first week of May.  A little birdie told your Editor that some cards are already in the mail.