Tag Archives: ARRL

ARRL Club Affiliation

We are now officially an ARRL affiliated club again. Please see our listing at http://www.arrl.org/Groups/view/marshall-arc-marc/type:club.

We first became affiliated in 1979.

LogoARRL

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We earned a First Place award again!

The results for the 2014 ARRL International DX Phone Contest were just published. WA4NZD scored First Place within the Alabama Section, in the Multi-operator Single Transmitter Low Power category!

The contest was during the first weekend in March 2014.  We operated Friday night, Saturday and Sunday.

Our point score was 43,605, with 168 QSOs and 95 multipliers.  Within the global community we placed #2015 out of 4102 entries.

It is still too soon for us to receive a certificate.  We only learned the news by carefully checking the just published online article, ARRL International DX Contest – Phone 2014 Results .  You will see us on page 20, the Regional Leaders by Category Page, under the Southeast Region column.  The results are grouped by categories; we are with the MSLP (Multi-operator Single Transmitter Low Power) group.  The others shown in that group are other state leaders in the Southeast Region for that category: N4XI (VA), AJ4DT (FL), WA4NZD (AL), and WA1F (GA).  We weren’t in competition with the “heavy hitters” of these contests, who typically run scores above a million.  We are in a niche of our own.

Our operators who accomplished this were Matt KA0S, Rob KB5EZ, Kalen KK4KLT, Don N4MSN, and Gary WA2JQZ.  Rob, Kalen, Gary, and Matt operated Friday evening.  This was Kalen’s first contest.  Don operated on Saturday*.  And Gary came back on Sunday.

For us this was a chance to operate and practice our skills, and have some fun in ways that don’t come every day.  Many other hams around the world participate.  It is fun to meet them, and in doing so to recognize that the world is really a diverse place.  With many hams on the bands from so many places, you can notice propagation conditions and how those change over time.

We operated on 10, 15, and 20 meters, and just briefly (for 4 QSOs) on 40 meters.  10 meters was fortunately wide open for parts of the late afternoons.

We significantly increased our DXCC credits with this contest.  Some of the stations that gave us first-time Logbook of the World (LOTW) confirmations for their countries were JL1SAM (Japan), TF3W (Iceland), J75Y (Dominica), LX7I (Luxemburg), YS1/NP3J (El Salvador), HC2AO (Ecuador), and TO5A (Martinique) — to name some which quickly stand out in the record.

As we are not in competition with the “heavy hitters”, our contest operations are relatively relaxed.  Such activities make good learning experiences, no matter how much or how little experience you have.  Because hams of different experience levels and interests operate, they each will make different decisions, based on their needs and how they perceive their situations. Everyone influences what happens.  And so you get a richly diverse environment.

We’re in a unique niche to get such an award.  Nonetheless it reflects genuine and good things about us.  Congratulations to all of us!

– Gary, WA2JQZ

 

ARRL DX SSB Contest 2014

Rob KB5EZ and Kalen KK4KLT warming into the contest as it started Friday evening. This was Kalen’s first contest.

ARRL DX SSB Contest 2014

Rob KB5EZ at the mike with Gary WA2JQZ logging.

ARRL DX SSB Contest 2014

Matt KA0S at the mike, working the contest into late Friday evening. Don N4MSN continued working the contest on Saturday. And Gary WA2JQZ returned on Sunday afternoon.

* PS note — That Saturday, March 1st, was the Birmingham Hamfest. Rob KB5EZ and Gary WA2JQZ drove there with Craig Behrens NM4T and Jim Spikes N4KH, and they had an extra adventure of their own. Craig gave two forums based on his Caribbean DXpeditions. Besides participating in the hamfest, on the way back they stopped at an I-65 rest stop south of Culman, and operated QRP CW and JT65 until dark. The ARRL DX contest was only for phone, and so, operating CW and digital, they didn’t participate in the contest from the field. Malcolm K4MLP also attended the Birmingham Hamfest.

***

ARRL DX Phone 1st Place Award for Alabama Section, Multioperator, Single Transmitter, Low Power

ARRL DX Phone 1st Place Award for Alabama Section, Multioperator, Single Transmitter, Low Power, for 2014

Field Day 2014 is here .!.

Has it really been a whole year since Field Day ?
(updated 20140629)
The club has had a lot of activity getting ready for the summer contest season, and this weekend will be a focal point. I wanted to start a new post, and let everyone know that WA4NZD will be active in the “1F” category, as our facility at NASA/MSFC is an informal auxiliary EOC that exercises to support both the Marshall and the Redstone communities. We will run one transmitter, which covers 160m thru 6m. We will also have an active VHF station to cover VO-52 satellite, 50MHz, 144MHz, 432MHz.
Surely you can find us somewhere. Work us everywhere you can.

Oh, and to find us, if you already have access to the base – please drop by to see whats a goin on. https://wa4nzd.wordpress.com/2010/05/05/quick-maps/

We hope to come back and update this post thru the weekend, so check back.

UPDATE: 20140629 – back for more . . .

The log indicates that KA0S was here until 03:45 local, and I was back at 08:15 after leaving at 01:00 CDT. WA2JQZ got here at 09:30, with fresh muffins and coffee. N4CNY just arrived as well, and is going to listen on 6m. Only one contact on 6 this morning, from Texas, and 2 meters has only been a little noisy.

20140628_4227ax

N4MSN, W4VM, KK4RPQ, KK4TJP, N4CNY, WA2JQZ, WB8ELK, N5AYD, WB5RMG

We had a pretty good crowd at times last nite, several distinguished guests.

20140628_4222acx

CW contact with W3CWC, via VO-52

Field Day dramatically increases the challenges, even for CW via satellite. WB8ELK finally pulls one out on our second VO-52 pass just before it goes LOS over the Pacific Ocean. WB5RMG makes sure it logged. Thanks to W3CWC for that contact, worth 102 points for us (including the satellite bonus) .!.

Another update to come later…
Thanks /;^)

2014 update

(Gary – WA2JQZ has been invited to contribute to the blog)

Although we’ve been quiet for awhile here, we’ve been focused on the club and we’ve been busy.

Since the last post here,
•we’ve been repairing our antennas and building new ones,
•we upgraded our CW capability by repairing our straight key,
getting a Vibroflex standard keyer paddle,
and building a Winkeyer kit (during the furlough),
•we’ve been operating portable and QRP in the field around Huntsville and on Monte Sano, on phone, CW, and JT65,
•we’ve become more active in contests,
•we won First Place in two 2013 ARRL contests within the Alabama Section for multi-operator, low power:
for the ARRL DX Contest in March, and the June VHF Contest,
•we’ve been getting on the air more, having casual QSOs, and getting to know more hams,
•we attended the Huntsville and Birmingham Hamfests,
•we’ve been having interesting guest speakers,
•we’ve been cleaning the station and we got better seats,
•some members have been volunteering in the community,
helping with a new high school radio club, giving license tests,
and working with ARES,
•some members have been working on upgrading their licenses,
•and more.
And we’ve been having fun.!.

We’re now getting ready to participate together in ARRL Field Day.

And we’re preparing for a Special Event in July!

– Gary

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  /;^)

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  /;^)