Tag Archives: exchange

2013 NASA Picnic & June VHF Contest

Posted by Gary WA2JQZ with Rob KB5EZ.

We are catching up with interesting stories that we didn’t have the chance to write earlier. This story is now also posted in our Activites menu.

[You can click on images to see them larger.]


Marshall Amateur Radio Club tent set up in the NASA Family Picnic area. We had the portable mast with a rotatable VHF antenna. Rob’s G5RV Jr wire antenna was strung to the trees.

On a sunny Saturday June 8, 2013, the Marshall Amateur Radio Club took part in the annual NASA Family Picnic at MSFC. We set up under a tent, surrounded by child-friendly activities and other clubs.  But also the band stage was located not far away. We had access to power. And, a water cooler was conveniently located right next to us.

Don N4MSN set up a portable antenna mast close by, from which we deployed a VHF antenna. Rob KB5EZ set up a G5RV jr wire antenna in the trees for HF. We operated with the Yaesu FT-950 for HF and 6 meters, and the FT-897 for VHF/UHF.


Portable mast with VHF antenna

The weather for the day was beautiful. Many people of all ages stopped by to visit us. Members of the club took turns talking with folks and operating the radios, and enjoying the day. The center director and his wife dropped by the tent at the beginning of the event. We made a lot of folks aware of the club as well as ham radio in general.



Alan WB5RMG discussed ham radio by the Marshall Amateur Radio Club tent.


John N4CNY

We made a few HF contacts, mostly digital modes due to the QRM (loud sounds) from the band on the nearby stage. Yet that weekend also was the ARRL June VHF Contest, and we succeeded in making a few local phone contacts on 2 meters as well.

Matt KA0S and Rob KB5EZ

Matt KA0S (ex-KI4EUR) and Rob KB5EZ.

Several young boys and girls, with their families, spent time with us. Some were delighted to have us teach them Morse Code and help them practice. According to their interests and curiosity, we showed educational brochures, engaged them with some deeper understanding and fun, and talked about next steps they could try.


Ghee WL7C with a young visitor. The ARRL pamphlet says, “Dreams begin here ….”


Studying Morse Code sheet while Ghee WL7C took a radio break.

Matt KA0S (ex-KI4EUR) and Jenny M

Matt KA0S (ex-KI4EUR) and Jenny M. operating.

After the picnic concluded some members returned our equipment to the shack, and continued to operate for the ARRL VHF Contest into the evening. Some members returned to the shack on Sunday too, and again continued to operate for the VHF Contest.

During the picnic, propagation at 50 MHz and above was poor. But back at the shack, 6 meters sometimes opened to the U.S. southwest. And then we had 6 meters “magic”.

Below are some of the eQSLs we received from our VHF Contest contacts. Some QSLs are from north Alabama where we are located. And some come from the openings to Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona.


AK4QR 20130608 WA4NZD 6m SSB June VHF EM64 AL_50pc K4TD 20130608 WA4NZD 6m CW EM64 AL_50pc NM5S 20130608 WA4NZD 6m CW DM75 NM_50pc W0RIC 20130609 WA4NZD 6m SSB DM79 CO_50pc W4YZJ 20130609 WA4NZD 6m SSB June VHF EM64 AL_50pc WA4DXP 20130608 WA4NZD 6m SSB June VHF EM64 Huntsville AL_50pc W4ENN 20130608 WA4NZD 6m CW June VHF EM64 AL_50pc KJ4UGO 20130608 WA4NZD 2m SSB June VHF EM64 AL_50pc W0FRC 20130609 WA4NZD 6m SSB June VHF DM78 CO_50pc NQ7R 20130608 WA4NZD 6m SSB June VHF DM42 AZ_50pc


And that’s how the story almost ended. We had a beautiful day, and we enjoyed it. We shared our hobby and interests with out visitors, and in turn stretched their horizons and interests. We enjoyed working together. We enjoyed operating on the radios and talking with folks near and far. And we got to participate in the VHF Contest too, especially with some nice propagation openings…

But the following year, we received a surprise in the mail:

June 2013 VHF 2

We had been awarded First Place within the Limited Multi-Operator category, for the Alabama Section, for the June 2013 VHF Contest!

Probably not many other folks in Alabama operated in this category. But nonetheless, that was sweet!


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  /;^)

Sept.2 4pm monthly meeting

Please mark your schedules for the upcoming monthly meeting of the Marshall Amateur Radio Club. This month the 1st Thr is on the 2nd… We need to continue (start?) discussion of the desired updates to the By-Laws, and press Continue reading

MARC – signs of life !

By of the end of September, we had collected up and generated all the paperwork necessary to submit a budget request package to the MSFC Exchange Council. Shortly after that we held a short meet-n-greet session at the clubhouse on October 8th, 2009.


Signs of life at Bldg 4622

As a quick listing of those that were able to attend : N4MSN, KJ4NVF, KD4FMK, WB5RMG, KC4GNV, KD5AOM, KI4GAG, KJ4LAA, KB4NEI, KO4FV, N5AYD, WB5UTV, & WB5RZX. Thanks for coming out…

Don – N4MSN has agreed to be MARC President again, and informs us that the budget approval process is not quick – and that it may be the end of the year before we hear anything from the Exchange Council. In the mean time, several have agreed that we need to proceed with our re-activation of the club process – Continue reading

Why MARC should come back

This post is to invite you to post a reply here – indicating your reasons for wanting the MSFC Amateur Radio Club to start up again… In order to proceed we need to have a show of hands, to gauge the level of support we might find in the MSFC/RSA community. If you have not yet read the “Read This First” and the “Welcome to MARS” articles as linked at the top of the page, please visit those and Continue reading

A loss for words

NOTE: This and the next 5 posts are from 2008 or before…
We are currently (Sep.2009) making another attempt to re-start the MSFC Amateur Radio Club (MARC)

From 2008 0825

I am at a complete loss of words, to describe how I feel about what I’m saying . . .

I really thought that this was going to become something, even a fraction of what it once was – would have been an accomplishment. I’m sure that there is more to this story than what I am aware of – but it seems we are fizzled out. Call it a lack of interest, whatever – but it was not a lack of interest on the part of the dozen or so volunteers that were actively involved in cleaning up and trying to get something going on here. We had made enough progress that I was able to establish a two-way voice contact with the JPL Amateur Radio Club station during their anniversary special event… I had setup a 2 meter station with an APRS beacon so that the WA4NZD callsign was echoed thru the digital repeater onboard the International Space Station, and showed up on maps around the world… Continue reading

New Blog for MARS

It was nearly two years ago that I first learned that the MSFC radio club used to occupy Bldg 4622, and that perhaps, just maybe, there might be enough interest to launch a re-activation of the Marshall club . . .

About a half-dozen of us met over there and started trying to sort out details like what it had been, who had done what, what was left, and what would it take to bring it back to life. I started a web site on my server at home, so that we could try to keep track of our efforts, and have a place to share ideas and perhaps build some support.

We did make some good progress in cleaning out an accumulation of neglect, and identified a few more folks that had at least a passing interest in the effort. The more we dug into the past history of WA4NZD the more impressed we were with the accomplishments of the club. Some of this information made it into the first web site, and may show up here as well. We even found a few more hams that had once been a part of that earlier group.

Unfortunately there is a requirement that the four club officers need to be civil servants, and most of us were contractors – and the effort sort-of fizzled out before it could even get a good start. About a year ago, I had taken on a role with the Huntsville – Madison County ARES/RACES organization to build a new website for that group, and decided to not spread myself too thin, and focus more on the group that already exists, than on the one that didn’t really exist yet… The MSFC club effort went no further as soon as I quit pushing on the rope.

Recent events have led to a discussion of WA4NZD again, and having met several more folks over the last year or two the possibility of another attempt to jump-start the club has begun. With a fresh start comes a new web site, as technology and methods have improved. I’ll bring a few of the old posts over here from the old site, but it didn’t really have much anyway.

So, the old site (mars.somenet.net) had database registration and some of you may have registered there. I still have the contact information, but that site is now considered ‘out of service’ and you are encouraged to join in here with your ideas and feedback. This will only come to pass if you are willing to voice your interest and offer your visions and support towards this goal.

Please take a few minutes to read the ‘Welcome’ page and the ‘About’ links at the top of the page header. This site does not require a registration, but all comments will be moderated. You must provide your name and an email address to post comments. Your email address is used internally to provide administrative confirmation to you, and does not show up in the comments unless you include it in your posts. Please don’t be bashful – let us hear from you. Tell your ham-friends about this site, and encourage them to visit and share their ideas with the group. Most of all, we need to collectively come up with the passion and energy to bring this club back to life…

Thanks /;^)