A good start for 2013

On the heels of a successful January VHF contest, our club has voted to approve a new set of By Laws at our February meeting. These have been sent to the MSFC Exchange Council for their approval. I wanted to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their participation and continued interest in this club. This is how it works ; we want a club, we make it happen. Congratulations to all of us.

While preparing the 2012 Jan VHF Sweepstakes log for submission, I discovered that I had not uploaded any log entries to eQSL since 2010. Duuuuh….
And on top of that, the latest (current) QSL image was not on-line.
So – since I was off today on Holiday – I took care of all that.

the WA4NZD eQSL card

Our eQSL card is updated.

In addition to updating the image, I have uploaded the ADIF files for several recent VHF contests as well as a few Field Day activities. There is now a total of 614 outbound QSL entries on-line. We still need to process the previous STS special event logs into ADIF format so that we can upload those. We have lots of incoming eQSLs that we need to match up and verify with our logs.
This is how our Outbox looks as of now (mid-Feb of 2013)…

eQSL outbox detail

snapshot of eQSL Outbox summary

OK, Thanks again for all the support. This is how fun happens.
Keep up the good work thru 2013, and you will be proud of your club.
Spread the word, we can always find room for a few more new members.

Thanks  /;^)

Jan VHF Contest

Wow, we had some serious fun yesterday…
Neil, Marvin and I had a great time with the contest. (More fun today !)
These are not like a DX pileup type contest, but once you work a station,
you try to coordinate and work them on other bands as well…

We run in a “limited multi-op” category, so we sometimes had all three bands
going at the same time. The limited means we only submit contacts on three
bands (50, 144, and 432 MHz), rather than ‘unlimited’ which could also
include 220, 901, 1296, 2406, etc…)

Later in the evening the 6m band came back to life, with contacts to the
north east (best DX was New Hampshire @~1000 miles), and then the midwest
with stations in KS, NE, CO, OK . . .
Marvin and I were there until nearly midnite.!.

When we left there were 52 contacts in the log, with 23 grid multipliers.
The score showing in the log program was 1357 points.

This runs until 10pm CST, and I’ll be back out there shortly.
I need some more to eat, and maybe a nice hot shower first.
I’ll post this on the blog, along with a screen grab from last night of the DXmaps.com 6m map.

Jan VHF map

last night’s 6m activity from DXmaps.com

Thanks  /;^)

2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 3,400 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 6 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

Simulated Emergency Test 2012

It is that time of year again .!.
Every year the ARRL‘s Amateur Radio Emergency Service conducts a test (SET) of their operational readiness and preparedness plans for managing a communications emergency. This year our test in Huntsville/Madison County Alabama will be in conducted in association with the HMCEMA. We have contacts within many local and regional agencies that would like to participate with us. Our exercise will be held on Saturday, Oct.6 2012 ; starting sometime after 8am, and concluding somewhere around noon. We don’t disclose many details before the exercise, to keep participants prepared for anything.We will toss in a few surprises along the way to add some excitement. We expect to have a picnic downtown in Big Springs Park after the exercise concludes.

The Marshall Amateur Radio Club WA4NZD will participate in this exercise; and fortunately, we have our monthly meeting this Thursday (Oct.4) and can discuss our preparations to ensure that our station is ready for whatever comes. Stop in Bldg.4622 after work and help us prepare for this year’s SET.

One teaser, to help encourage folks to participate, is this ‘proposed plan‘ of how we might coordinate multiple agencies and individuals over a large area, utilizing multiple frequencies. Of course, the details are somewhat masked, as this is a work in progress, and we want to observe how our multi-talented pool of resources will evolve into meeting our needs for the exercise.

how to coordinate a communications emergency

brain-storming a messaging network

Be thinking about how we structured our support last year after the tornadoes, and throughout that week-long power outage. What worked well, what might have helped. Bring your good ideas, and a desire to help to the annual SET.
We will figure out what works, and what doesn’t.

Thanks  /;^)

Huntsville Hamfest 2012

Come to the Huntsville Hamfest, this weekend (Aug 18 & 19, 2012)

NZD_hamfest-flyer

Find WB5RMG @ the AMSAT booth

Thanks  /;^)

June is a busy month

There are several events in the month of June for the ham radio world. Two of my favorites are the ARRL June VHF QSO Party, and the annual ARRL Field Day. The MSFC Amateur Radio Club participated in both activities this year. Here are some pics in a gallery (click one for the slideshow) . . .

Here are some links to more pics from WB5RMG for June 2012 activities :
GigaParts celebrates Ham Radio Day in Huntsville AL.
Full photo gallery for WA4NZD club activities for June 2012.

Don’t forget, we also have a monthly meeting, gathering ~4pm CDT, 2 Aug 2012. The short meeting typically starts by 5pm in Bldg 4622. Click for maps.

Thanks  /;^)

An After-Action Report

On June 14th, 2012 – members of the Marshall Amateur Radio Club participated in a severe weather exercise conducted by Marshall Emergency Management. Many of our members have received SKYWARN Spotter training from the National Weather Service, and also participate in similar training activities with their municipal emergency management agencies in their respective communities. These types of exercises provide us with an opportunity to interact with multiple resources and to help facilitate communications directly supporting the immediate response, and follow-on recovery efforts.

For this event, we staged two radio operators at our club radio station in Building 4622, much as we might during an actual tornado watch event. When the Marshall EOC notified their storm spotters via the commercial 800 MHz radio system, we received that notification as well, and established the Marshall Amateur Response Net on our radio system. We check-in club members from their work areas, as well as other participating stations. The goal here was to evaluate how well our personal hand held radios might be able to communicate with each other in the event of a live situation. During this exercise we established communications with 14 other stations, including the Marshall EOC, the Huntsville-Madison County EOC, and the Fox Army Medical Center. The remaining stations were individuals in various buildings about the center and around town in Huntsville. We primarily used a ‘full-duplex’ repeater system located on the Arsenal, but we also exercised a communications path via a ‘simplex’ or a ‘direct point-to-point’ method. In some cases the direct path offered better signals. We have some follow-on recommendations for our group – to be better prepared for next time.

This exercise was a great opportunity to demonstrate our inter-operability and effectiveness in collaboration with the Marshall EOC. We confirmed an ability to sustain completely independent communications channels between our radio station and the EOC. We received a simulated emergency weather report on our ham radio channel, and then relayed that message to the EOC over the commercial radio service. Under extreme/unusual conditions, we must be prepared to support communications that may be very time-sensitive and essential to the safety and well-being of center personnel. We felt that this was a very successful and useful exercise.

The Marshall Amateur Radio Club greatly appreciates this opportunity to contribute to the emergency preparedness environment at the Marshall Center. We are looking forward to future collaboration. We are also looking forward to meeting more folks interested in the personal radio hobby, that might be interested in learning more about ham radio and participating in our club activities.

Thanks  /;^)