The first Thursday of July is sneaking up on us for our monthly meeting. The first Thursday is on the 1st this month, which is this week. We have several new members, and have participated in two significant events this month – so we really need to keep the ball rolling. The path to a successful re-birth of this club is to engage the membership, and Field Day certainly engages folks. We had a great time not only making contacts with stations all around the country, but visiting with each other and having one-on-one Q&A time. There is interest in both an entry level class, and an upgrade class. Bring your ideas and questions ! We have a lot of talent and resources – lets put ’em to good use.
One of the ‘high points‘ of the FD activities Saturday was tracking the WB8ELK hitch-hiker payload on the weekly ozone sonde. “The What ?” you’re probably saying . . . Every week NOAA launches a weather balloon from the UAHuntsville NSSTC building, to measure and report back with ozone levels from various flight elevations. In supporting the UAH Space Hardware Club projects, Bill Brown – WB8ELK designs and builds miniture/lightweight telemetry units that include a GPS receiver and a milliwatt transmitter. The beacon signal on 144 MHz is received and decoded with a soundcard modem in a laptop, and the Lat/Lon/Elevation data is passed over the internet to a web site that displays the path on a map – in near-real-time. Pretty cool. Actually, this is really cool. Last Saturday there was very little wind aloft, and the balloon stayed nearly overhead the whole flight. We could actually see it ‘naked-eye’ from our club station house – at nearly 100,000 ft !!!!! We were even watching as it burst – amazing. I’ll post Bill’s flight recap as a comment to this article. I wish I had possessed the presence of mind at the time to do a screen capture of the flight path on the map. The payload was recovered only a short distance from the HARC Field Day site at Intergraph, which was only a few miles from our location.
And speaking of the HARC, on Sunday morning I made our 2nd satellite contact via VO-52 with K4BFT (the HARC callsign)..!.. Pretty neat to use the satellite to talk with Tim – N8DUE, while he was only a few miles away. BTW – congratulations to Tim for bringing a ‘real‘ satellite station for HARC‘s FD this year. I understand he had quite a few followers and has again inspired several to chase these birds with us. Welcome back Tim . . .
All in all, I declare this Field Day effort by WA4NZD to have been a success.!. We put this station back on the air after a protracted absence of over 10 years, we introduced several new hams to the thrill of nationwide fast-paced contacts, and we re-invigorated a few ‘less-than-active‘ hams with a new motivation to get back into the program… We now have two contest logs to upload into the eQSL database. Even tho we were not out ‘in a field’, our operating circumstances were not much better considering the run-down state of the club house. It has greatly improved tho, and is starting to look like a real station again. The fact that the building’s air-conditioning unit has a bad compressor – and by late afternoon the inside temperature was 90+ … was taken into stride as one of those hardships that we might face under ‘adverse emergency conditions’ – and we survived…
(Hopefully that replacement unit will soon be approved and installed.)
(Hint, hint, hint – Wink, wink)
Thanks again to all those who came out to operate and show their support. For everyone else – I hope you can make this next meeting !
See ya there. /;^)