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.

www.RadioClub-CARC.com

 

Regards,
Andrew Forsyth    Amateur Radio  (Ham Radio) Call Sign AF3I

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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!

73s
John/Elf  WA3KCP #11705S
Glossary:   
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.
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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

https://www.radioclub-carc.com/resources/

 

See ‘ya down the log.

Frank KB3PQT

 

A Christmas Message to the World

thanks to our friends at ARRL

 

On Christmas Eve morning, December 24, 2022, the Alexander Grimeton Friendship Association, in southern Sweden will be on the air sending out a special Christmas message to the world.

The event will begin at 08:30 CET (07:30 UTC) with the startup and tuning of the Alexanderson alternator transmitter through Grimeton Radio Station, call sign SAQ. The transmission will begin at 09:00 CET (08:00 UTC) with the 98-year-old 200 kW Alexanderson alternator on 17.2 kHz CW.

Grimeton Radio Station, SK6SAQ, will be QRV (ready) on the following frequencies:

3.535 MHz CW
7.035 MHz CW
14.035 MHz CW
3.755 MHz SSB
7.140 MHz SSB

QSL reports can be sent to SK6SAQ via email at info@alexander.n.se.

The event will also be live streamed on the Alexander SAQ Grimeton Friendship Association YouTube Channel.

The Alexanderson alternator transmitter is the only remaining example of early pre-electronic radio transmitter technology. The station, built in 1922 – 1924, has been preserved as a historical site. From the 1920s through the 1940s, it was used to transmit telegram traffic by Morse code to North America and throughout the world during World War II.

 

More information about the December 24 Christmas Eve event and the transmitter can be found at the Grimeton Radio Station website.

 

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

https://www.radioclub-carc.com/resources/

 

See ‘ya down the log.

Frank KB3PQT

 

Good Day my friends,

This message is from Rol Anders, K3RA.   He tells us about the upcoming Amateur Extra Class Licensing Course that he will be teach beginning Thursday January 12, 2023.   Read on…

I’m starting an Extra Class Course on Jan 12.  Please pass the word to anyone you know who might be interested.  Here’s the formal announcement:

 

A free, weekly, live, Amateur Radio Extra Class Licensing course on Zoom will begin on Thursday, January 12, 2023, and will run through Thursday, March 23.  There will be 11 sessions.  

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

Those attending should hold (or be studying for) the General Class Amateur Radio License. 

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

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

Thanks.

73,

Rol Anders, K3RA

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Please spread the word:

A free, weekly, live, Amateur Radio General Class Licensing course on Zoom will begin on Thursday, Oct 27 and will run through Thursday, January 5. 

There will be 9 sessions, with two breaks for holidays.  

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

Sessions will be recorded.

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

Please publicize this with anyone that you think would be interested. 

 

Those wishing to sign up should email roland.anders@comcast.net.

 

Thanks.

73,

Rol Anders, K3RA

 

Editor’s Note:  The Amateur Radio General Class license is the second in a series of three licenses issued by the FCC.

Technician is often considered the entry-level license.  Then General Class which offers transmitting privileges on additional frequencies.  At the high end is the Amateur Extra Class license which offers full privileges.

If you already have a Technician license then General is the next step up.

 

 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:

https://www.radioclub-carc.com/resources/

 

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.
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I am pleased to announce that the 2022 PA QSO Party Bonus Station operation has been awarded to the Stepansky brothers,

Joe (KQ3F),
Steve (KC3WX) and
Andy (N3VZ). 

The Stepanskys are long-time Party participants and will be operating from Lehigh County in eastern PA using callsign KQ3F.

Please join me in congratulating the KQ3F team.

 

Details on the KQ3F operation will be posted in the PA QSO Party website in coming weeks.   www.paqso.org

 

73

Goody   K3NG

 

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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.

 

73
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.

73,
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

https://www.n3fjp.com/fieldday.html

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:

https://www.radioclub-carc.com/resources/

 

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:

https://www.radioclub-carc.com/resources/

 

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?

President@radioclub-carc.com

 

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:

https://www.radioclub-carc.com/resources/

 

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:

https://www.radioclub-carc.com/resources/

 

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:

https://www.radioclub-carc.com/resources/

 

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. 

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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.

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