Notes from the shack…                

 Field Day 2021

The December 2021 QST has arrived. 
Let’s check the club’s Field day 2021 results.

Aggregate score from eight entries on behalf of Cumberland ARC  was 3,975 points.

The club call, K3IEC, was one of 22 Class 3E entries submitted nationwide and one of two Class 3E entries submitted from the ARRL Eastern Pennsylvania section.. 

This local entry represents the collective efforts of a group of CARC Members who operated three Field Day stations powered by an emergency generator.  The group consisted of eager volunteers who braved the elements to ensure that K3IEC would be on-the-air and logged by other Field Day operations across North America.  Recognition is awarded to members KC3KPD, KB3PQT, K3EYK, N8QVT, W3VRE, KC3SJE, and AF3I for their jobs well-done.  Additional efforts put forth by friends, family, and agency officials brought total participation in the K3IEC operation to twelve.

Incremental support was provided by CARC Members who operated their Home Stations as Class 1D, making Field Day contacts, and submitting logs on behalf of their club. They include:  K3EYK, K3EYL, KB3PQT, N3FWE, W3JJB, WA3KCP, and AF3I.

 

In total, there were 174 entries among all Field Day Operating Classes (A-F) from our ARRL section, Eastern Pennsylvania EPA.

Other ARRL sections demonstrating high levels of participation include:

Ohio                           OH      249 entries

North Carolina         NC      215 entries

Illinois                        IL         197 entries

Virginia                      VA       195 entries

North Texas              NTX    189 entries

So as you can see, EPA was the 6th most active section.

 

For more on the ARRL, Field Day, Contesting  and other fun radio stuff, follow the trail to:

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

 

See ‘ya down the log.

Frank KB3PQT

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

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:

AF3
K3
K4
KA3
KB3
KC3
KV3
KX3
N3
N8
W3
WA3
WB3

 

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

 

For more articles please follow the trail below:

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

 

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

 

See ‘ya down the log.

Frank KB3PQT

 

 

 

Field Day 2021
is in the Books

US Representative Scott Perry, Pennsylvania 10th District, meets with Field Day Operators

 

ARRL Field Day for 2021 has ended.  COVID 19 concerns and restrictions prevented the club from meeting at Shaffer Park, but some intrepid Cumberland Amateur Radio Club members ventured to Fred KC3KPD’s home in Dillsburg.

The Honorable Scott Perry, PA 10th District, US House of Representatives, stopped by to observe our Field Day operations and to share his perspective on matters of interest to us, as his constituents.  Congressman Perry seems very attentive to amateur radio operators and antenna restrictions.

 

Club members installed a dipole antenna and operated on the 20, 40 and 80 meter bands using phone, 20 and 40 meter WSJT-X modes digital, passed traffic using 2 meters and HF.  Andrew AF3I took advantage of a well-timed International Space Station pass and conducted a demonstration on receiving SSTV images.

Fred, thank you for hosting our event!

Club Members, other Ham Radio Operators, and Members of the Community pitched-in to help make Field Day 2021 a memorable event.  Thank you all!    They include:

  • Andrew AF3I,
  • Doug KC3CPT,
  • Steve N3FWE,
  • Fred KC3KPD,
  • Frank KB3PQT,
  • Dave W3BJG,
  • Dave W3VRE,
  • Harry K3EYL
  • Valli N8QVT
  • Maura, our about-to-be-licensed Club Secretary

 

For more information about ARRL, N3FJP logging software, contesting, Field Day and other topics, follow the trail to

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

 

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.
AF3I

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:

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

 

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

http://www.k3smt.org/OurMembers/OurMembers.htm

 

 

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

 

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

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.
AF3I

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:

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

 

See ‘ya down the log.

Frank KB3PQT

 

 

Fun with N3FJP software – An Update!

A few months ago, I shared some data that I had extracted from my N3FJP Amateur Call Log.

At that time about 41% of my lifetime QSOs were on 80 meters. 

In an effort to use more of the amateur radio spectrum, and to explore some of the other amateur bands, I tried a new approach — “Anything but 80”.

 

How did that go?

 

LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT

(Number of QSOs by Band)

Band     CW       Phone          Dig         Total          %

——-       —-        ——-             —-          ——            —

   160          0                9           25             34            1

     80          0        1,279         186        1,465         39

     40          0           209         223           432         11

     30          0                0           82             82            2

     20          0             55         110           165            4

     17          0                8              6             14            0

     15          0                4           24             28            1

     12          0                1              0                1            0

     10          0           103              2           105            3

        6          0                2              0                2            0

        2          0        1,454              5        1,459         39

——- —   —–              —         —–              —

Total          0        3,124         659        3,787       100

 

  • Total QSOs went up about 400 since last October (2020).
  • 80 meters has slid to 39% of the total.
  • Thanks to robust activity on the Sunday Night 2 Meter net (146.490 MHz FM simplex), 2 meters went up to 39%.
  • 40 meters actually lost 2%.  If this was the Electoral College, 40M gained contacts, but not as fast as 2M, so 2M gets more votes.
  • I think my next goal is to get over 100 QSOs on 30 meters and over 200 QSOs on 20 meters.
  • 17 meters has been “okay” lately, and for some reason I prefer 17 and 30 meters to 20 meters. Not sure why, but I do. 
  • 10, 12 and 15 meters will probably have to wait for improved propagation over the next couple of years.

 

If you would enjoy reading more articles like this please follow the trail below:

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

 

See ‘ya down the log.

Frank KB3PQT

 

 

• Do you have an interest in DMR radios?

 

• Perhaps you are hesitant to wade into digital radio communications because it seems as if there are so many different “standards”.

• D-STAR, WIRES, FUSION, C4FM — Where do I start?.

• Are you just itching to learn more about a new mode that has revolutionized the Plain-Jane HT?

 

• Have you been put off by new buzz words like CODE PLUGS and TALK GROUPS? 

 

Watch this space!

Do these questions sound familiar?

If so, we have some articles in place that take a 10,000 foot view of the digital landscape.

 

And, over the new few months, the digital world explorers at CARC expect to produce new material about digital amateur radio.

 

For more articles please follow the trail below:

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

 

See ‘ya down the log.

Frank KB3PQT

 

Notes from the shack…

 From the ARRL Newsletter

 Updated Radio Frequency Exposure Rules Become Effective on May 3, 2021

The FCC has announced that rule changes detailed in a lengthy 2019 Report and Order (R&O) governing RF exposure standards go into effect on May 3, 2021. The new rules do not change existing RF exposure (RFE) limits but do require that stations in all services, including amateur radio, be evaluated against existing limits, unless they are exempted.  For stations already in place, that evaluation must be completed by May 3, 2023.  After May 3 of this year, any new station, or any existing station modified in a way that’s likely to change its RFE profile — such as different antennas or placement, or greater power — will need to conduct an evaluation by the date of activation or change.

 

 

The full text of the ARRL Newsletter article
is available here, as a PDF:   Click to read…

Notes from the shack…

The ARRL and Me

What does the American Radio Relay League (ARRL) do for me? 

I am a member of the ARRL.  The ARRL sends a nifty magazine, QST, to my mailbox every month.  QST provides news, equipment reviews, How To articles and upcoming events.

The ARRL has a very comprehensive line of books.  Topics cover everything from How To get licensed, to How To get on-the-air to the enduring annual ARRL Handbook and more advanced How To books.

The ARRL sends members weekly and monthly newsletters. Some of the info makes its way into QST and some does not.

The ARRL tries to offer something for everyone.   Various insurance programs, discounts, classes, seminars, awards and license exams are at your fingertips.

Cumberland Amateur Radio Club (CARC) is an ARRL Affiliated Club.  That relationship brings the club benefits when it comes to attracting new members and promoting our club!

 

See ya down the log.

Frank KB3PQT

##### 

Achievement Test…  A+ Results


The Cumberland Amateur Radio Club is proud to recognize one of its members for producing A+ results in a recent Achievement Test.

Congratulations to Doug Stenger, KC3CPT for hitting the books, studying, and passing the FCC General Class License Exam.

As a follow-up, the other day Doug got on 20 Meters to exercise his newly earned privileges.  He was rewarded with a nice DX QSO with OS8A located in Belgium.  Doug worked Didier on the first call,  Impressive.

If you look to the left you will see a snapshot of Didier’s Club Log screen showing KC3CPT on the second line from the top. 

Ninety-eight more countries and we will have a DXCC Party for Doug.  

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