* *   A POTAstic Day!   * *  

 On Saturday May 4, 2024 CARC members and friends met at Pine Grove Furnace State Park for Derby Day.

Or as one local radio station morning show (Red 102.3) called it in their parody commercial done in the style of a 1980s Budweiser ad as they described the coincidence of Star Wars Day and the Kentucky Derby – “May the Horse be with you”. 

CARC Derby Day was designed to allow individual club members the chance to make a successful Parks On The Air (POTA) activation and participate in the 7th Call Area QSO Party (WA, OR, ID, WY, MT, UT, NV, AZ) and Indiana QSO Party.

Last year’s weather was perfect.  This year not so much.  The scattered thunderstorms became all-day rain forecasts by Friday evening.

Still, thirteen members and friends showed up to demonstrate the fortitude and enthusiasm they bring to the Amateur Radio hobby.

Mark Anstine                      KC3UVG,                  Paula Anstine              KC3UVH,

John Bartko                        W3JJB,                       Dave Donaldson         KC3OSG,

Garry Fasick                       K3EYK,                      Richard Johnson         N3EPY,

Glenn Kurzenknabe         K3SWZ,                     John Luthy                   WA3KCP,

Frank Mellott                     KB3PQT,                   Doug Stenger              KC3CPT,

Bill Wagaman                    N3GTY, 

along with our guests Osmon and his wife Kimberly, who wanted to see the magic happen and learn more about the wonderful world of amateur radio.


Contacts and successful POTA activations were made using digital modes and CW.  Band conditions were not the best, but some phone contacts were made in the 7th Call Area QSO Party and some DX, primarily with Italy and Great Britain.

Because it was cold, wet and never got above 50 degrees, the event broke up in the early afternoon.  Doug Stenger KC3CPT, Paula Anstine KC3UVH and Bill Wagaman N3GTY made a wonderful meal of hamburgers and hotdogs. 

After lunch a drawing was held for door prizes, including an ARRL Operating Manual, 250’ feet of Davis antenna wire, a tube of coax connector seal, various other books on antennas, voice over internet-VOIP, GPS and other amateur radio topics.  

Osmon and Kimberly traveled 1 3/4 hours to attend and left with an ARRL Technician exam study guide to help them begin their longer amateur radio journey.

The CARC Radio Road Show team is already looking forward to Derby Day-2025!  Mark your calendar for Saturday May 3, 2025.


For more information about POTA, Field Day and another topics, follow the trail to



See ‘ya down the log.

Frank KB3PQT


*  *   PENNSYLVANIA QSO PARTY preliminary results are in   * *

We did not operate our traditional Portable Multi-Transmitter / Multi-Operation station K3IEC due to the weather forecast calling for rain, cold temperatures, and high winds associated with hurricane remnants.  But quite a few members played along at home.  The PA QSO Party team has now posted those results.

And the winners are…


Call Sign Award Category Location
Harry Fasick K3EYL 2nd place Single Operator Low Power SSB Adams County
Dave Smith W3SOX 1st place Single Operator High Power SSB Cumberland County
Garry Fasick K3EYK 3rd place Single Operator Low Power SSB. Cumberland County
John Luthy WA3KCP 1st place Single Operator High Power Mixed (multiple modes) Cumberland County
Andrew Forsyth AF3I 1st Place Single Operator Low Power Mixed (multiple modes) York County

Congratulations !

For more information about Radio-Sport and another topics, follow the trail to:



See ‘ya down the log.

Frank KB3PQT


**  In Memoriam    Thelma – Radio Dog  **


We received the sad news that Thelma – Radio Dog passed away.   Thelma was a trained service dog for club members Mark Anstine, KC3UVG and Paula Anstine, KC3UVH.  Thelma was a active participant in club events and will be missed.

Please consider a donation in her memory to the Adams County SPCA.

Home | adams-county-spca (adamscountyspca.org)

By Mail:

Adams County SPCA
11 Goldenville Road
Gettysburg, PA  17325



See ‘ya down the log.

Frank KB3PQT


Great Day,

CARC has had a Things To-Do page for several years.   This page delivers listings of Hamfests, Contests, License Training Classes, License Exam Sessions, On-The-Air Nets, Radio Club Meetings (ours!), and Face-To-Face get-togethers.

The format of our Things To-Do page is driven by the website software plug-in we use — The Event Calendar.  The best view we offer on that page is a LIST which shows each event on your screen in a date-oriented sequence    There are search tools to help you locate the type of events that capture your interest.

We listened when our reading audience told us — YOU GUYS NEED TO HAVE MONTHLY AND WEEKLY VIEWS OF THE EVENTS.  Can you tell that they were shouting?
Your web administrator and others have been working on how best to present the Monthly and Weekly views.  We are at the point where there is something we can show you.

Navigation from the top menu bar:   THINGS TO-DO >> GOOGLE CALENDAR – PUBLIC

There are buttons you can push to bring up various views:  Monthly, Weekly, Agenda (List).  Or, click on a specific event and see the details.

We are still fine-tuning the format of the events after they have been exported from our legacy calendar and imported into our Google Calendar.
If it isn’t pretty on the day you visit, please try again.




Club President, Frank Mellott KB3PQT, offers a challenge to viewers of this blog page.

Frank gathered several well-known phrases from history and applied the corresponding dots and dashes to paper. 

He wanted you to read the printed dots and dashes and submit a transcription of your discovery. 
But Morse Code involves hearing dits and dahs.  Your Editor recorded the audible dits and dahs and hopes our website can render the WAV file as audio.

There are two files.  The first file contains audio for phrases one through four.  The second file contains audio for phrases five through eight.
The Morse Code was sent at 10 words per minute.  Each phrase is introduced with a tag such as CW1 NEXT and a moment of silence.     
The space between words was lengthened slightly for the benefit of those who are taking their first steps with Morse Code.

The length of each file is on the order of four and one-half minutes. 

Let’s see if this works:   (YES !  It worked.)

Phrases 1 through 4


Phrases 5 through 8


Give it a try.   Write down the words that you heard.
Submit your entry via eMail to:  president@RadioClub-CARC.com
We welcome your comments.

Questions can be directed via eMail to:   AF3I@RadioClub-CARC.com   If you would like receive a slower transmission let him know.  Andrew is open to special requests.


**  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


** 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



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 2024.

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 22, 2024.
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 (In 2024… February 21, March 20, April 17, May 15, June 19) , starting at 6:40 p.m. and ending about 7:55 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.



… about 31,300 individuals participated
in Field Day [in 2025, making over 1.2 5 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 on-the-air shifts over the next few days are:  


Tuesday       January 09, 2024 from 1800 UTC to 2359 UTC.   The equivalent local time is 1:00 p.m. to 6:59 p.m.


Wednesday January 10, 2024 from 0000 UTC to 0100 UTC.  The equivalent local time is 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Wednesday January 10, 2024 from 0200 UTC to 0300 UTC.  The equivalent local time is 9:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.

Wednesday January 10, 2024 from 1100 UTC to 1800 UTC.  The equivalent local time is 6:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Wednesday January 10, 2024 from 2000 UTC to 2300 UTC.  The equivalent local time is 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.


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


 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


Section Traffic Manager Scott Walker (N3SW) is leaving our region. He has handed his managerial duties over to me (Tom Inman, KC8T).

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


Field Day Logging 

Editor’s Note:  Originally written for 2022.  This document has been updated for 2024.

If you are doing Field Day 2024 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 logging software for Field Day. Current version is 6.68


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 (most likely July 1-7, 2024).  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 Pennsulvania QSO Party (PAQP) is coming as well on October 12 and 13, 2024.


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






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 received via eMail.

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/KC3JJH 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.






This news blog headline was inspired by something that shows up now and then in my Monopoly game.
You probably will not “Go directly to jail.” but you may hear from the Volunteer Monitor crew if you unknowing do what I am about to describe.


The ARRL posted an article in their News section describing how there has been an increase in HF on-the-air operations taking place outside of the privileges available to the Operator based on his or her license class.

The article cites instances of Technician Class operators transmitting digital modes in the 40 Meter Band and in the 20 Meter Band.  The ARRL reminds its readers that Technicians do not have digital mode privileges in those bands. 

There is one HF band in which Technician Class operators may transmit digital modes.  That is the 10 Meter Band from 28.000 MHz to 28.300 MHz. 
Reminder — don’t crowd too close to the band edges.  Your entire signal must be contained within the band allocation.

The ARRL article also cites instances of General Class operators transmitting in portions of the band that are not authorized for their license class.


Help yourself stay within the bounds of your license class by downloading and posting one of the ARRL US Amateur Radio Band charts at your operating position.
ARRL offers the chart in a nice variety of sizes and shapes.  This is a free download for anyone.





As wars and rumors of wars flood the media, sometimes you just need to step away.

Go to the shack… Turn the transceiver on and do what you enjoy doing: whether you choose to hunt down new-to-you grid squares in FT8, ragchew, check into a net, chase DX, work a contest, or learn something new.    


What have you learned today?

For more articles please follow the trail below:




See ‘ya down the log.

Frank KB3PQT

Straight Key Morse Code QSOs

QSO #1 — Jim WE5E and John WA3KCP have an on-the-air conversation using straight keys to send Morse Code while Lynn NG9D listens.

QSO #2 — Lynn NG9D and John WA3KCP hold their own conversation upon completion of QSO #1.


Both QSOs were captured on video and audio by NG9D in real-time as the operators chatted on-the-air.


WA3KCP is a member of the Straight Key Century Club as well as the Cumberland Amateur Radio Club.


Passing the Torch

After fifteen years of leading the Cumberland Amateur Radio Club to new achievements including the highest membership headcount ever, Andrew Forsyth, AF3I decided to listen to his wife and not run again for the presidency.  Fortunately for our club, Andy is sticking around to maintain the website and other functions where his experience is desired.  

Frank Mellott, KB3PQT has been elected President and Doug Stenger KC3CPT has stepped into the Vice-President’s office.   Garry Fasick K3EYK, Maura Smith-Mitsky KC3SJE and Richard Johnson N3EPY are continuing to serve the club and fill their roles as Treasurer, Secretary and Membership Secretary respectively.  

CARC Club Members — Please see the new monthly column “From the President’s Desk” which appears on a new menu page in the password protected MEMBER AREA of this website.

Or, follow this link:   https://www.RadioClub-CARC.com/from-the-presidents-desk.


See ‘ya down the log.

Frank KB3PQT



Notes from the shack…  DMR contesting

 Contesting has been a part of the great wide world of amateur radio since at least 1928 in the US.  Typically contests involve spending hours in the shack on the HF bands (160M, 80M, 40M, 20M, 15M, 10M) and in some contests there will be VHF/UHF activity on 6M, 2M and up. 

Virtually all contests exclude contacts made through repeaters and satellites.    There are some good reasons for those rules.

I had never heard of using DMR in contests until I saw the posting reproduced below.
This appeared on the N3FJP Software Users Group.

You say, “therefore it can’t be counted for any regular 2-way ham radio award”.  Times have changed. There are special events and contests that are allowing VOIP contacts.  Earlier this summer I participated in a 10 day special event from the UK called, “GOTA” – Gateways On The Air.  I used the Allstar network exclusively and logged every contact.  It’s a good thing I did.  I won the International Operator Award for most contacts from bona fide GOTA stations.

There will be more of these types of special events and contests coming as more involve themselves with VOIP.  Contesting and events are not exclusive to RF only.


DMR radio has already been adapted by some 3 million users world-wide and seems to be the entry level radio of choice in the US at the moment.  DMR is especially popular in Europe. Like it or not, DMR is changing the hobby.

I have done no research to see which contests are accepting DMR contacts. 

It is amazing that someone like Glenn K3SWZ can devote a weekend to HF contesting and earn 600K points or more. It is even more incredible that a brand new Technician Class licensee can conceivably reach even more places with a simple DMR HT and a hot spot.

For more articles please follow the trail below:

See ‘ya down the log.
Frank KB3PQT


Editor’s Note:  Let me say that every operator should read and understand the rules of any contest he or she chooses to enter.  If the rules specifically allow the use of DMR, VOIP, repeaters or similar technologies then you have a “green light” to go ahead and use those technologies in that contest.  Likewise, operators who pursue ham radio awards have a similar obligation to understand and honor the rules as to what constitutes a valid contact.

AF3I — Editor


Notes from the shack….

Fun with numbers!


The Cumberland Amateur Radio Club (CARC) is a diverse group.

Current Membership Statistics by license class:


Advanced 4 11%
Extra 17 45%
General 10 26%
Technician 7 18%


The FCC database seems  to only go back to 2000.   Just with that data, the club members have been licensed 482 years.   The actual total is upwards of 1,000 years!


One of the fascinating subsets of the hobby is making contacts with different call sign prefixes.   There are awards and contest multipliers based on them.   The club has members with 13 different prefixes:



Club members call Cumberland, Dauphin, York, and Adams counties home.


For more articles please follow the trail below:



See ‘ya down the log.

Frank KB3PQT



Royal Kramer, Amateur Radio Call Sign W3ZIF, recalls the destruction that accompanied Hurricane Diane as it passed through the Pocono Mountains of Northeastern Pennsylvania.  Royal and several colleagues provided emergency communications support to the towns on each side of the Delaware River near Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania after their telephone lines were washed away in the floods.

In addition to this firsthand recollection provided by a man who was there, you may be interested in reading the book DEVASTATION ON THE DELAWARE — Images of the Deadly Flood of 1955, written by Mary A. Shafer.

I’m quite sure that many of you older folks will remember this day 66 years ago. It was on August 18, 1955, a Thursday night, when Hurricane Diane devastated the Pocono Mountains following Hurricane Connie a few days prior with high winds and heavy rains followed by heavy rains and flooding from Hurricane Diane.

I was in Philadelphia that day and had a difficult time getting home by bus that night since many of the roads into the Lehigh Valley were flooded and impassible. Three days later, Sunday, August 21, I received a phone call asking me if I wanted to travel to Stroudsburg with several other ham radio operators to help maintain radio communication between Stroudsburg and East Stroudsburg since all of the telephone and power lines were down and there was no communication of any kind between the two boroughs.

I volunteered my services and to make a long story short, we eight men spent the next 30 hours up there manning our radio equipment and maintaining communication. I never forgot that day and never will since we were doing a service to mankind that was not available from any other source but through ours.

Prior to our leaving after being relieved by a group of ham radio operators from the Reading, PA area, the Stroudsburg Fire Chief approached us with tears in his eyes and a look of fatigue, frustration, discouragement and great concern on his face, remarked, “Thank you gentlemen for all that you have done for us. I don’t know what we would have done without your help.”

I don’t know how the other men felt after hearing that statement but to me, those words meant more to me than if he would have handed me a million dollars. I knew he was serious and appreciative for all we have done but to me, for all of the destruction that we had seen, I felt that I did very little in making life easier for many of those dear residents who suffered so much with their loss not only of property and possessions but loved ones who never survived. Close to 100 lives were lost in that flood and destruction of property went into the millions of dollars.

Each year, whenever August 18 comes around, my mind goes back to Stroudsburg, PA and the Pocono Mountains in general are very vivid memories to me of that tragic time in our lives.

— Royal Kramer



Notes From The Shack…

I have come to the realization that while for most new amateur radio operators, the first radio is a HT.  That is great, but too many are encouraged or choose to get a DMR, D-Star, or System Fusion radio as their first.   Then they struggle to get it programmed and use it.  And then become discouraged and leave the wonderful world of amateur radio.

That is sad.

I know money matters.  I know you want to get the “most bang for your buck”.  Why spend $130 or $150 on an Icom V86 or Kenwood TH-K20A handheld, when for a few dollars more you can buy a Yaesu FT70DR dual band with C4FM digital or an Alinco DJ-MD5XTG dual band DMR radio? 

If this is your very first radio, please, do yourself a favor.  Buy the simple analog radio, and use it.   Get the RTS programming software for that radio and use it.  That will get you some experience on the air, give you an idea of what you can accomplish and get you some experience using simple, easy to configure software.

Once you have mastered the analog HT, then move up to the DMR, D-Star or C4FM radio of your choice.  Digital radios have to be programmed.  Many of the DMR radios have their roots in the commercial radio world and CANNOT be programmed from the front panel.

If you are grumbling that a simple Yaesu FT60 is difficult to program, DMR may be a very challenging hurdle.  So before you get frustrated and quit, master the simple!


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


See ‘ya down the log.

Frank KB3PQT





Logging Question…                             

From our friends on the N3FJP groups.io site.


The resounding answer, from multiple people was NO!  

You worked it, you logged it.  You may never get a QSL card, but you made the QSO. 

Many operators had been licensed for 20, 30, even 40 years before the ARRL introduced Logbook of The World (LoTW).

Many DX operators are just now getting into LoTW and may take a while to transcribe their paper logs into LoTW. 

Be patient grasshopper, your QSL may come yet!


Logbook of the World is a free service, provided by the American Radio Relay League (ARRL).  You do not need to be an ARRL Member to use LoTW.  

But if you are a US-based operator and if you enjoy rapid confirmations of contacts, then join ARRL and “help pay the freight”.  LoTW is the benefit I use the most often.

For more information about ARRL, N3FJP logging software, LoTW and another topics, follow the trail to https://www.radioclub-carc.com/resources/


See ‘ya down the log.

Frank KB3PQT


Q.)  “Do any of you purge your logs of unconfirmed entries after a set amount of time?  

I mean, an unconfirmed entry is not worth much.”


A.)  “NO!”

** Special Thanks to Vibroplex for hosting the author’s work on their website.  **

It is my pleasure to promote this man’s book.  W2VJN is the former owner of INRAD.

Immediately Available for FREE DOWNLOAD

Visit the Vibroplex Website


Author’s Comments — by George Cutsogeorge, BSEE W2VJN

Whenever two or more transceivers are used in close proximity there is some
level of interference involved. This level can vary from practically no problem to
actually burning up components in the receiving radio. The purpose of this book
is to identify and quantify the various parameters that create the interference and
to show methods that will reduce or eliminate it.




Why Play Radio… 

For many years, I was a member of the Yahoo Groups Sandpatch List.  Sandpatch, named for Sandpatch Mountain and tunnel, is where the Baltimore & Ohio, now CSX, crosses the Alleghenies.  It was built after the world famous Horse Shoe Curve near Altoona, PA where the Pennsylvania Railroad crosses the same mountain chain.  Sandpatch is steeper and has its own horseshoe curve at Mance, PA.


Yahoo Groups was a predecessor of groups.io, where you can find the Cumberland Amateur Radio Club group.   The Sandpatch list was fairly small, but one regular poster was Ted from Michigan.  The list went to Facebook as the demise of Yahoo Groups was imminent.  I lost track of the members. 


Periodically I like to check on some other amateur radio club websites to see what they are up to and how they compare to our site, maintained by Andy, AF3I.  One of the “peer group” sites is K3SMT, the Somerset County (PA) Amateur Radio Club.  They seem to be an active group and their page has been improved a lot since my last visit.  They have a “Meet Our Members” tab.  There are profiles of some of the members there (sound familiar?)  One of them is Ted from Michigan!  Aka AC8SW!  


Thanks to ham radio, Ted and I are back in touch.


For more information on the great wide world of amateur radio, follow the trail to:



To see Ted, AC8SW’s profile on the Somerset Amateur Radio Club site:




See ‘ya down the log.

Frank KB3PQT



“Thanks to ham radio, Ted and I are back in touch.”

Photograph (headshot) of ham radio operator KB3PQT.

Frank, KB3PQT

Rail Fan and
Amateur Radio Operator


Why Play Radio… 


For about 50 years or so, rail fans have used radio scanners to listen to the railroad frequencies in the land mobile FM portion of the 137-174 MHz band.  The railroad frequencies are right below the National Weather Service 162 MHz frequencies and can be found in the 159 to 161 MHz range.

Because the land mobile band is close to the Amateur Radio two-meter band, and many amateur radio transceivers can receive the Weather Service band, those transceivers are capable of listening in on the land mobile frequencies.  You cannot transmit, but you can listen.


The other evening I was at local rail fan spot waiting on a Norfolk Southern heritage unit.   Some other fans arrived.  I have noticed this before, but it was especially obvious that evening.  One of them was using a cell phone and a scanning app.  I do not know which one, but Broadcastify is a common app.  They have receivers and capture the radio traffic and put it on the internet where it can be accessed via an app or website.   There is a time lag as all this happens.  My amateur radio receiver, set to 160.980 MHz FM, would pick up something.  About a minute later the nearby cell phones would begin making noise and we’d hear the same conversation again. 


I have spent well over 30 years in pursuit of the perfect “scanner”.  I think I have almost found it…and used it for many years now.  But I am still slightly amused when I see someone rolling in and they sort of look down on this “old guy clinging to his outdated technology”.  Then they are amazed when I hear stuff they have not heard yet.


Radio is cool!


For more articles on two-meters amateur radio, railroad frequency lists, and related topics follow the trail to



Explore the content behind the GENERAL INTEREST TOPICS heading.


See ‘ya down the log.

Frank KB3PQT


“… I am still slightly amused when I see someone rolling in and they sort of look down on this “old guy clinging to his outdated technology”.  Then they are amazed when I hear stuff they have not heard yet.”

Photograph (headshot) of ham radio operator KB3PQT.

Frank, KB3PQT

Rail Fan and
Amateur Radio Operator


It is my pleasure to promote this man’s book.  I learned about promoting books and movies by watching The Tonight Show, Starring Johnny Carson.
He did a great job.  I can only hope to do a fraction of a job.

Immediately Available for FREE DOWNLOAD

Visit the K7UA Website


Author’s Comments — Bryce K. Anderson, K7UA

This is the second time that I have rewritten the handbook since its
inauguration in 2010. It remains my intention to give new DXers something
that will be easy to understand, yet quickly teach them the basic skills of
successful DXing. Those skills took me years to discover on my own. Now in
hindsight it all seems so simple.

To my pleasant surprise this handbook has gained an international readership
and is now available in several languages! That has been a great honor and I
give my thanks to the many translators who have done that labor.

Wherever you are, I hope that you will enjoy this handbook and that it will help
you gain some new skills. I truly hope that it will give a running start to those
new to our ranks. Nothing would please me more than to learn that I have
helped a new generation of young DXers get started.

Please feel free to email me your feedback or questions. My email address is
listed on QRZ.com.

Best regards,
Bryce Anderson, K7UA


Notes From The Shack…

Sometimes you just have to go play outside.  But there is life… so what do you do? 

Operate portable from the porch?

Or, get a good look this crowded setup…


Yeah, this little folding tray table is kinda full.  And it was Plan C after Plan A and Plan B did not do the job.


But with this table and a 1/4 wave Two-Meter mag-mount antenna stuck on the car, we passed message traffic between KB3PQT and AF3I on two-meters FM Simplex using Domino EX and BPSK31.  

That’s 12-15 miles as the crow flies.


For more articles on two-meters, digital modes and portable operations, please follow the trail below:



See ‘ya down the log.

Frank KB3PQT