From the President’s Desk

A monthly column, written by President Frank Mellott, KB3PQT,
where you can expect to find something of interest each and every month.

 

Volume 4, Issue 03 — Posted February 26, 2024

Greetings! — This is the March 2024 ISSUE.

Wow — 2024 is just rolling along.

Since our last chat, CARC members have participated, on an individual basis, in Parks on The Air, several State QSO Parties and a variety of other events.

Planning continues for the Derby Day ©Outing on May 4, 2024 at Pine Grove Furnace State Park.   That’s right, May The 4th is not only CARC Derby Day ©, The 150th running of the Kentucky Derby, and four State QSO Parties, but is also Star Wars® Day!

I have some nice Tangible Rewards®  for CARC members earning a new ARRL Code Proficiency Certificate.  Other Tangible Rewards® await those who appear at club events, are radio active, and help the organization! 

At the February meeting, a couple lucky members received Tangible Rewards®  in the form of ARRL Repeater Directories. 

 

What have you done today? 

For more information, or if you want  to get onboard and be a part of the CARC Radio Road Show, please see https://www.radioclub-carc.com/touch-base/

 

See ‘ya down the log.

Frank KB3PQT

 

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Volume 4, Issue 02 — Posted February 04, 2024

Greetings! — This is the February 2024 ISSUE.

Wow.  Time flies!  

Since our last chat, CARC members have participated in the Luminary Lighting at Children’s Lake in Boiling Springs, PA; Straight Key Night; the Weekly RTTY Test; the Weekly Phone Fray; Winter Field Day and many other events.  Modes used include CW, SSB, Olivia, PSK31, FT8 and others.  Individual members are honing their operating skills as POTA Hunters and eagerly awaiting warmer temps so they can activate parks.  Hopefully Punxsutawney Phil, French Creek Freddie, and Minnie were correct.  With some luck Octoraro Orphie’s prognostication of six more weeks of winter is incorrect!

At the January meeting, we continued planning Field Day@Shaffer Park! 2024© and our Derby Day ©Outing on May 4, 2024 at Pine Grove Furnace State Park.   That’s right, May The 4th is not only CARC Derby Day ©, the 150th running of the Kentucky Derby, four state QSO parties, but is also Star Wars® Day!

I have some nice Tangible Rewards®  for CARC members earning a new ARRL Code Proficiency Certificate.  Other Tangible Rewards® await those who appear at club events, are radio active, and help the organization! 

 

For more information, or if you want  to get onboard and be a part of the CARC Radio Road Show, please see https://www.radioclub-carc.com/touch-base/

 

See ‘ya down the log.

Frank KB3PQT

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Volume 4, Issue 01 — Posted Month Day, 2024

Greetings! — This is where the January 2024 ISSUE should be found.

Nothing yet. 

What have you done today?

For more information, or if you want  to get onboard and be a part of the CARC Radio Road Show, please see https://www.radioclub-carc.com/touch-base/

 

See ‘ya down the log.

Frank KB3PQT

 #####


Volume 3, Issue 11 — Posted November 01, 2023

Greetings! — This is the November 2023 ISSUE.

November for me, has been the historic start of “radio season”.  The days are shorter and colder.  Good reason to stay indoors and play radio.  November is also the start of “160 season”.  For me, that is when the 160 meter band becomes usable.  This year it started a little early — I already have two QSOs logged on 160 meters in October. 

November is a good time to look around the shack and determine what you “need”. 

Historically the major amateur radio supply houses have run some good Black Friday and Christmas sales.  Unfortunately, if you have mathoms, err  useful pieces of radio gear that are surplus to your needs, you are probably stuck with them until the hamfests resume in earnest in the Spring. 

While taking stock, where do you want to be?  Do you have the amateur radio license class that works best for you?  If not, the winter months are a great time to study and take the exams to upgrade.  Want to expand your community involvement?  Take the time you were spending on yard work and divide that: one-half on the air and the other half doing stuff for the radio community.  Create a presentation for a club meeting; write a How Do I? article so AF3I remains gainfully employed!  Volunteer to lead a club project; learn new skills-CW, digital, DMR, etc. 

Think of it this way.  If Linked In was exclusively for hams. what would your page look like?  What endorsements from your peers would you have?  Would it be blank?  Or would it have cool things such as “knows code”; helped program my DMR; got me on Zoom;  Active POTA Hunter;  Enthusiastic rag chewer; “good operator”?

The winter months can be a great time to hone skills and help your club.

 

What have you done today?

For more information, or if you want  to get onboard and be a part of the CARC Radio Road Show, please see https://www.radioclub-carc.com/touch-base/

 

See ‘ya down the log.

Frank KB3PQT

 

Editor’s Note:  I felt compelled to pull out a resource and see how it described mathoms.   

Mathoms was an old word of the hobbit-dialect, not recorded as being in use outside the Shire.  It was used to refer to “trinkets” or any item that Hobbits had no particular immediate use for, but were unwilling to throw away.

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Volume 3, Special Issue — Posted October 01, 2023

Greetings! — This is the FIELD DAY 2024 SPECIAL ISSUE.

ARRL Field Day!  The 4th weekend in June is a red letter day with a big circle on many calendars.  Many have fond Field Day memories going back 50 years or more.

The Cumberland Amateur Radio Club will be 60 years old in 2024.  Field Day in the early days was often held at someone’s home, cabin, camp ground, etc.  Over 15 years ago, the club began meeting at Shaffer Park in Carlisle.   Shaffer Park has nice facilities.

But as the membership ages, “Field Day@Shaffer Park©” becomes harder to pull off.

It is a lot of work.  We have about 40 members and if 15 show up to help set up, that is a lot.  We have been operating as Class 3A.  But it has become harder to keep three stations on-the-air Saturday afternoon, let alone when people begin leaving for the night.  Finding people willing to stay overnight becomes harder each year.

Field Day should be a magical time.  But the members who participate seem to get so tired setting up, they do not want to get on the air. The late-comers don’t get on the air.  The night owls do not come out to work overnight.  If you look at our VOTA, POTA, and CARC 3830 Challenge participation, we are a radio club whose members do not use radios.

We are no different than other area clubs.  Field Day brings folks together.  The operators, contesters, antenna experts, the Elmers, the newbies.  Folks fond of food and conversation.  We can argue about “the best antenna” but if no one uses it, what is the point? 

Shaffer Park has nice amenities.  It is expensive.  Many seem to think the location is hard to find.  Since so few come, and so few operate, does Shaffer Park meet our needs?  What keeps people away?  Location?  Amenities?  Fear of operating in front of others?  The food?  We do surveys, but the data is mixed and rarely points to clear changes needed.

Unless we are COMMITTED to Shaffer Park and spending the night, I suggest we look at other options.  If being too tired to operate is a concern, take a look at EASIER ways to do things. 

  • The Butternut Vertical is an awesome antenna system. But if we get it up and cannot keep it on the air constantly, was it worth it? 
  • Garry K3EYK designed a nice 80 meter inverted V antenna. Is it easier to transport and erect than a wire antenna?  Are the trees in the right place to maximize wire antenna use? 
  • We make most of our Field Day Score off of Bonus Points. I cannot recall a recent year where the operating points exceeded the Bonus Points.  Many of those Bonus Points are possible because we set up our operations in a pubic location. 

 

We have some tough decisions to make.  They need to be the right decisions for the future of the club.  Not everyone will be happy.  If we are going to Shaffer Park, we need a firm commitment from 4-5 people to spend the night, before we commit to renting the facility.  Why 4-5 people?  Because things happen and we should not have fewer than three people on-site overnight.  Four or five leaves us an out.  Three leads to failure.

An option to consider would be to rent Shaffer Park cabin for just one day.  Rental Hours are 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.  We would operate to our hearts content during the day and evening.  Then, dismantle our stations and antennas, pack it all in our vehicles, and bug out before 11 p.m. closing time. 

 

If you are not comfortable operating at Field Day are you…

  • Participating in the club nets?
  • Asking to be invited to a POTA expedition?
  • Checking into any of the multitude of HF, Emcomm and other nets?
  • Improving your CW or digital station if you are worried about being tongue tied or “mic shy”?

 

One of the cool things about a modern transceiver like the Yaesu FT991A is that the same setup will allow you to get on VHF or HF digital.  Older rigs like the Yaesu 857D, 897D, Icom 7000, Yaesu 817, 818, Icom 7100, Icom 706 Mark II G may be a little harder to set up (needing external sound cards, multiple cables, and such) but once configured will let you check into the CARC Digital Net on 2 meters Sunday evening at 6 p.m. Eastern and then you can move to a HF band and work FT8, Olivia, PSK31 and other digital modes.

 

This is your club.  It thrives on participation.  

 

See ‘ya down the log.

Frank KB3PQT

 

Editor’s Note:  The OCTOBER issue of From The President’s Desk follows.  Scroll Down.  You will see it.

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Volume 3, Issue 10 — Posted October 01, 2023

Greetings! — This is the OCTOBER 2023 issue.

Transition

By the time you read this, fall will be here.  Fall brings cooler temperatures and lots of indoor activity as well as final flings outdoors.

The CARC Radio Road Show is prepping to activate:

  • York County once again in the PA QSO Party on Saturday October 14 at Ponderosa Park in Dillsburg, PA.
  • The Fantastic Parade will be held in Dillsburg, PA the following Saturday (October 21)  CARC will once again provide support.

 

The October  meeting will be held October 18 at Hoss’s in Mechanicsburg, PA.  Please arrive 1700-1730 for supper.  Meeting starts at 6:40 p.m.  We expect to complete our business by 7:55 p.m. and depart prior to Hoss’s closing time of 8:30 p.m.

Maura Smith-Mitsky, KC3JJH has announced she does not want to continue as Secretary.  While Maura will be missed, Paula, KC3UVH has stepped up and offered to serve.  So the slate of officer candidates in November will have at least one new face.

 

What have you done today?

For more information, or if you want  to get onboard and be a part of the CARC Radio Road Show, please see https://www.radioclub-carc.com/touch-base/

 

See ‘ya down the log.

Frank KB3PQT

 #####


Volume 3, Issue 09 — Posted August 28, 2023

Greetings! — This is the SEPTEMBER 2023 issue.

Wow…Where did the summer go?  As I write this, it’s nearly Labor Day.  Many kids are back in school.  Most colleges have resumed classes.  The days are already noticeably shorter.

 

September is a good month for radio.  The State QSO Parties are back from summer hiatus.  The Fall contesting season kicks off. 

Parks on the Air is popular activity.  Your club is working on plans for a group POTA outing in September. 

The CARC Radio Road Show is prepping to activate York County once again in the PA QSO Party the 2nd weekend in October — Saturday October 14, 2023  tentatively at Ponderosa Park in Franklintown.   

The Fantastic Parade will be held in Dillsburg, PA the following Saturday — October 21, 2023.  CARC will once again provide support.

 

Why is this here?  The FIFTH CARC member to email me what this is and where they found it will receive a Tangible Reward© at the September meeting.  Deadline is Friday September 15, 2023.  Tie breaker:  what make (manufacturer) is this machine?  Hint: It’s not Claas. 

 

The date of our September meeting comes late enough so that you should be back from summer vacation.  September 20, 2023 at Hoss’s in Mechanicsburg, PA.  Please arrive 1700-1730 local time for supper.  Meeting starts at 1840 local time.   

If we convert those times to a twelve-hour clock they would read:   Please arrive 5:00 – 5:30 p.m. for supper.  Meeting starts at 6:40 p.m. 

 

What have you done today?

For more information, or if you want  to get onboard and be a part of the CARC Radio Road Show, please see https://www.radioclub-carc.com/touch-base/

See ‘ya down the log.
Frank KB3PQT

 #####


Volume 3, Issue 08 — Posted August 06, 2023

Greetings! — This is the AUGUST 2023 issue.

Ahhh  The Dog Days of August.

Oddly, I have heard more stories of cats and amateur radio.  They seem to like to nap on top of amplifiers.  Or curl up in the operator’s lap.  Seems to be a dog would be a great companion on portable outings.  A larger breed but could put to work and help carry the load.

Dad was an antique farm machinery show a few years ago.  Probably the Thresher’s Reunion in New Centreville, PA.  Someone had a dog treadmill.  I think this one ran a butter churn.  Someone asked the owner how it went.  “He knows how to do it.  He knows he can do it.  But he does not like to do it”.

The August meeting comes early.  August 16 at Hoss’s in Mechanicsburg, PA.  Please arrive 1700-1730 for supper.  Meeting starts at 6:40 PM which would be 1840 if we were consistent in our use of time formats.

 

What have you done today?

For more information, or if you want  to get onboard and be a part of the CARC Radio Road Show, please see https://www.radioclub-carc.com/touch-base/

See ‘ya down the log.
Frank KB3PQT

 #####


Volume 3, Issue 07 — Posted July 01, 2023

Greetings! — This is the JULY 2023 issue.

Field Day at Shaffer Park©

Field Day at Shaffer Park was a success.  At least 16 attendees enjoyed 24 hours of Food! Fun! Radio! 

Band conditions could have been better.  On 20 meters we made some DX contacts in Europe but could not reach the west coast of the USA. 

The antennas:  The Butternut vertical, 80 meter inverted V and an end fed multiband sloper went up easily. 

Thank you to all who participated, either at home or at Shaffer Park!

We are at the half-way point in 2023.  What does the rest of the year look like for CARC members?  

Operating events. 

  • Our Operations Gurus are working on at least one  pop up POTA event as well as advance planning for our PA QSO Party activities the second weekend in October.  
  • A couple of presentations are in the works for meetings this fall. 
  • And stay tuned for not only information about the club’s upcoming 60th anniversary in 2024, but also a special effort to keep the original digital mode-CW using Morse Code alive and well.

 

What have you done today?

 

For more information, or if you want  to get onboard and be a part of the CARC Radio Road Show, please see https://www.radioclub-carc.com/touch-base/

See ya down the log.
Frank KB3PQT

 #####


Volume 3, Issue 06 — Posted May 22, 2023

Greetings! — This is the JUNE 2023 issue.

Hopefully you are taking a break from POTA, SOTA, VOTA or other radio activities as you are reading this!

Parks On The Air (POTA), Summits On The Air (SOTA), Volcanoes On The Air Volunteers On The Air  (VOTA) — all are popular activities whether you are an Activator on-the-air from one of those locations, or you are a Hunter working from home or your favorite not-at-home location.

There has been chatter on the CARC groups.io about batteries, QRP, Cootie Keys, and other fun stuff.  Watch for some upcoming How Do I… articles on these and other fun topics.

Field Day 2023 is coming!  Hopefully you will be joining your favorite club for Field Day @Shaffer Park© in Carlisle on June 24 and 25, 2023.  If you are expecting to find a plate of food on the table in front of you, then you need to let us know you will be attending.

Editor to President…. Come in President.  Should we tell our Readers how they can let us know they will be attending?  I vote YES.

Visit the Club Website and its Field Day page:   https://www.RadioClub-CARC.com/Special-Topic-Field-Day/

Fill the form with your information — Name, Call Sign, Number of Hungry People in your party attending along with you.  There are three questions — for Saturday Lunch, for Saturday Supper, and for Sunday Breakfast.
That’s All Folks.

 

What have you done today?

For more information, or if you want  to get onboard and be a part of the CARC Radio Road Show, please see https://www.radioclub-carc.com/touch-base/

 

See ‘ya down the log.

Frank KB3PQT

 #####


Volume 3, Issue 05 — Posted May 07, 2023

Greetings! — This is the MAY 2023 issue.

Whether you go outside, sit on the porch, or stay in the shack, summer is a great time to play radio! 

By the time you read this, the CARC Derby Day at Ponderosa Park will be over.
But that doesn’t mean there are not opportunities to play radio.

As the State QSO parties wind down a bit in May and June see the calendar at Events | Cumberland Amateur Radio Club (radioclub-carc.com),  The special events and Parks On The Air/Summits On The Air (POTA/SOTA) season should be in full swing.  

Field Day 2023 is coming!  Hopefully you will be joining your favorite club for Field Day @Shaffer Park© in Carlisle on June 24 and 25..

We have not really looked beyond Field Day @Shaffer Park© in Carlisle, but watch for other opportunities to activate K3IEC as part of the CARC Radio Road Show!

 

What have you done today?

For more information, or if you want  to get onboard and be a part of the CARC Radio Road Show, please see https://www.radioclub-carc.com/touch-base/

 

See ‘ya down the log.
Frank KB3PQT


Volume 3, Issue 04 — Posted April 01, 2023 (minus 6 days)

Greetings! — This is the APRIL 2023 issue.

Parks On-the-Air (and other signs of Spring)

Looking for a fun operating experience under Field Day-like conditions?

Have you tried the popular Parks on The Air (POTA) experience?

Activators travel to federal and state parks and operate from there. Hunters, typically working from home, make contacts.  There are awards for both Activators and Hunters.

POTA seems split about equally across the digital, CW and phone modes.

See Parks on the Air  as well as the Know How resources tab for more tips on successful Hunter and Activator sessions.

 

What have you done today?

For more information, or if you want  to get on-board and be a part of the CARC Radio Road Show, please see https://www.radioclub-carc.com/touch-base/

 

See ya down the log.

Frank KB3PQT


Volume 3, Issue 03 — Posted March 01, 2023 (minus 2 days)

Greetings! — This is the MARCH 2023 issue.

Spring is on the way!

Welcome new member Art, WA3NQA

Welcome new member Fred WA3FME

Editor’s Note: The Girl Scouts taught me:           Make New Friends, But Keep The Old.
                                                                                    One is Silver and the Other Gold.

In that sense, Let’s also give a shout-out to one of our long-time members, Bob Bennett, KV3K.

(You didn’t know your Editor was a Girl Scout in a former life, did you?)

 

The ARRL Volunteers on the Air (VOTA) year-long operating event has been underway two months.  The Leader Board seems to be a work in progress.

https://vota.arrl.org/leaderboard.php

See Notes From The Shack (after March 1, 2023) for more information about club member’s progress.           
https://www.RadioClub-CARC.com/news/

 

3830 Scores Challenge.   In early March, watch the NEWS tab on https://www.radioclub-carc.com/  for an update on how CARC members are doing one-third of the way toward the goal.

 

Saturday May 6, 2023  You had plans?  Cancel them!  Reserve the Date for the first ever CARC Derby!  Watch the NEWS Tab and the March meeting agenda!

 

What have you done today?

For more information, or if you want  to get on-board and be a part of the CARC Radio Road Show, please see https://www.radioclub-carc.com/touch-base/

 

See ya down the log.

Frank KB3PQT


Volume 3, Issue 02 — Posted February 01, 2023 (minus 2 days)

Greetings! — This is the FEBRUARY 2023 issue.

• Operating!

• VOTA!  POTA!  QSO Parties!

• Help Wanted!

 

VOTA

As I write this, a week earlier than usual, the ARRL Volunteers On The Air (VOTA) Leaderboard is still under construction.  So unfortunately I cannot provide an update on points earned by CARC members making contacts in the VOTA year-long event.

3830 Scores Challenge.   In early February, watch the NEWS tab on https://www.radioclub-carc.com/  for an update on how CARC members are doing one-third of the way toward the goal.

Our January 2023 meeting did not have the high turnout I was hoping for.  We added a new member, Art WA3NQA.  We have some cool stuff planned for this year, but it does not happen without YOU!

 

Help Wanted:

Zoom Audio-Visual Engineer:  Someone who is willing to attend club meetings with whatever gadgets you feel are necessary to create a satisfactory Zoom Experience for those playing along at home.  AF3I is temporarily unable to do this, and I cannot do the jobs of President and Zoom Audio-Visual Engineer.   This is a Volunteer position but Tangible Rewards® are possible.

 

Operations Guru  This is a working title.  Think of Car Talk.  Be creative.   Hint:  Coordinator of Fun Stuff is probably good.  Dictator or Tyrant, not so good. 

This intrepid individual should have the ability to spot events on the radio horizon, ask “What do we need in order to do that?”, and present a proposal to the club.  At that point an event committee will be created to make it happen.  Lead the committee and make it so!   This is a Volunteer position with Tangible Rewards®.

 

Please indicate your interest via eMail to:  President@radioclub-carc.com

 

What have you done today?

For more information, or if you want  to get onboard and be a part of the CARC Radio Road Show, please see https://www.radioclub-carc.com/touch-base/

 

See ‘ya down the log.

Frank KB3PQT


Volume 3, Issue 01 — Posted January 03, 2023

Greetings! — This is the JANUARY 2023 issue.

New year!  New things to do!

2023 should be an exciting year for CARC members.

What’s coming?

The CARC 3830 SCORES challenge!   That’s right!  Your very own contest.

How does it work? Easy-peasey!   Enter a contest!  Any contest listed at 3830scores.com. 

Enter your contest score there.  At the end of Q1, 2023, I will go to 3830scores.com and look up CARC Members and tally the number of contests each CARC Member entered. Any ties will be determined by the actual scores submitted.  The goal is to create a leaderboard so you can see where you stand.  The top scorers and top rookie(s) will receive Tangible Rewards!  If you are not listed in 3830scores.com as of 12/31/22, you are a Rookie! 

The idea is to operate often!  I would rather see someone submit double digit scores in 10-15 contests, especially using various modes, than someone who enters one contest and racks up a 10,000 point score.

 

VOTA! – Volunteers On The Air 

No sooner had I created and e-mailed out the 3830scores Challenge than the new QST arrived.  The ARRL must have heard you looking for reasons to get on the air. 

Their year-long VOTA contest is almost as easy!   Get on the air!  Make QSOs with other ARRL members.  

Follow this link for information:   Volunteers On the Air (arrl.org)

 

Various ARRL officials have point values.  Ordinary members are worth one point. 

Editor’s Note:  There are some juicy high-point value volunteer categories in that list.  I recommend reading and familiarizing yourself with the content.  For example:

Maxim Society Member earns 50 points.  We have at least one Maxim Society Member among the hams on our CARC Membership Roster. 

Card Checkers are worth 5 points.  If you work K3SWZ you will earn four more points than if you work an Average Joe.

Volunteer Examiners are worth 5 points.  I suspect that KB3PQT and N3FWE will be popular targets for VOTA QSOs.

ARRL Life Members are worth 2 points.  Woo Hoo!… but that is twice as valuable as the Average Joe one-point QSOs.  CARC has ARRL Life Members.  Can you find them?

Hint – Show up a few minutes before (or stay a few minutes after) the Sunday Evening Two Meter Net and/or the Wednesday Evening Ten Meter Net.  Make your Volunteer On The Air interest known by calling “CQ VOTA”, “CQ Volunteers On The Air”.  See who answers your call.

 

Every time you work an ARRL member, or anyone on the list that can be found by following this link…

https://www.arrl.org/files/file/VOTA%20-%20Volunteers%20On%20The%20Air/VOTA_2023_Points_v3_0.pdf,

…you will receive that many points once the “other guy or gal” uploads his/her QSOs to Logbook Of The World (LOTW).  You are not required to have your own LOTW Account.

You have nothing to do but operate and occasionally go check standings at the yet to be created leaderboard.  Things cannot get easier than that. 

 

CARC Monthly Meeting Activity Programs

We have at least two programs lined up for meetings this year.  More details to follow at the January meeting on Wednesday January 18, 2023!

 

Looking for a contest? 
January 28 and 29 was Winter Field Day 2023.
January 27 and 28 will be Winter Field Day 2024.

Follow this link for information:  Home – Winter Field Day

Want to earn some VOTA points?  Want to play in the CARC 3830scores.com Challenge?  Winter Field Day could be your ticket!

 

 

What have you done today?

For more information, or if you want  to get onboard and be a part of the CARC Radio Road Show, please see https://www.radioclub-carc.com/touch-base/

 

See ‘ya down the log.

Frank KB3PQT


 

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