OCRA Membership Meeting Notes – September 11, 2017

OCRA Membership Meeting Notes – September 11, 2017

Quick Notes:

  • Location: Efland Baha’i Center
  • Introductions:
  • VE Session – 3 candidates
  • Hillsborough annual Hog Day this weekend, September 15 and 16.

Officer’s Report:

Treasurer:

  • Current balance is $13,395.49… 74 members paid up.
  • Please consider using Amazon Smile to support OCRA. Amazon donates 0.5% of the price of your eligible Amazon Smile purchases to the charitable organization of your choice. This year, OCRA has received nearly $50 from Smile purchases.

Show and Tell:          

  • Over the weekend of September 4th, Chuck (KW4KZ) placed the Ed Fong orders. The order included 11 radios, 5 antennas, and one 50ft real of coax.  Shipping should occur in the next several weeks.
  • Andy (W4KIL) recently purchased a Radiooddity GD-77, a digital mobile radio (DMR), dual band handheld. Andy mentioned Durham DMR is very active, and with this radio and Internet connection, you can make contacts to other DMR repeaters all over the world.
  • Wilson (W4BOH) demonstrated a push/pull butterfly capacitor, which contains two stators and a rotor arranged in such a way that turning the rotor will vary the capacitance between the rotor and either stator equally. This has the great advantage that current flows through two series capacitors from stationary plate, across the rotor to stationary plate without any sliding contacts. Wilson’s capacitor was manufactured by Barker and Williamson and would have cost roughly $25 in the early 1930’s, or nearly $500 in today’s dollars. Wilson explained how this capacitor suppresses 2nd harmonics. For more information on suppressing harmonics, please visit the following site.
  • Dan (KR4UB) elaborated on the importance of equal balance, which supports longitudinal balance required for maintaining voice signals along telephone lines, and how perfect symmetry for balance in computers allowed for longer Ethernet lines, thus securing Ethernet as an affordable networking technology.

DIY:

Interested in building your own air variable capacitor, check out the links below.

  1. http://www.eham.net/articles/5217
  2. http://www.instructables.com/id/air-variable-capacitor-from-scrap-aluminum-sheets/

Emergency Preparedness:

As this day represented the 16th anniversary of 9/11, and with the recent hurricanes in the Gulf, we felt the need to reflect and discuss the importance of amateur radio and being prepared for emergency events.  Several notable best practices we discussed, included the following:

  • The importance of a generator. Gas generator’s work well, as long as there is gas.  The recent events in the Key’s illustrates that gas may be difficult to find and limited in supply. A dual fuel solution, or propane or natural gas may better if power outages are sustained beyond a few day, and one has access to a large propane tank, or existing natural gas line.
  • Also, be sure to have cash on hand. If power outage is widespread, banks will be closed. However, during the day, restaurants may have ability to serve food, but may not accept credit cards, if power is out…in this situation, cash is king.
  • The Red Cross Hurricane Safety Checklist provides a good starting checklist to follow on hurricane preparedness.

Equifax Breach 

We had a very informative discussion on the recent Equifax breach. Dan (KR4UB) provided a document with links to the various credit rating bureaus. We discussed the values and challenges of credit freezes.  We would encourage people who are interested to research the value of credit freezes and determine if it makes sense given your personal situation.

Adro (KV7D) sent an email (September 18) via the yahoo reflector with helpful information, including malicious websites not to visit and emails to delete.

Please let me know of any errors or omissions.

73, Keith (W1KES)

 

 

Temporary Changes for September Meeting

Hello All-

We do have a couple of temporary changes for the upcoming club meeting in September. As renovations are being made on the rooms we use in the EOC, we will meet instead in the Fellowship Hall of the Efland Baha’i Center, a site we have used in the past for exam sessions. It has plenty of room for us, a gravel lot for parking and ready access to Interstate 85/40 and Highway 70. The physical address is 119 Maple St, Efland NC 27243. I am one of the caretakers, so I can provide a key for access, which I can provide. That brings me to the second temporary change for September.

I had an accident on August 26, I took a 6 foot drop to avoid wasp stings and managed to shatter my left heel. It will require surgery to insert screws and a plate to pull the bones back together so they heal in proper alignment. If I do not have the surgery, I will be left in chronic pain with some disability. Currently, I am at home in a cast, waiting for the swelling in the area to subside enough so the surgery may be performed. I have a CT scan coming up for a detailed study of the fracture, and an orthopedic consult for the surgery on Sept 7. If the swelling has subsided enough, the surgery will be performed as soon as Sept 8. For two weeks after that, I will strictly be on orders to stay off my feet, and I will be in a cast for a few weeks beyond that.

So, that long narrative is to let you know that I will not be available for the September meeting, as that will be held shortly after the surgery. I will need to make arrangements for someone to come by my place (which is just north of Efland) to pick up the key to the facility, as well as the exam materials for the exam session, which we can hold in one of the classrooms. I have already had the ARRL VEC publish the new address for this one exam session. I will post directions and updates, shortly.

I apologize for any inconvenience to the membership, I know that for all involved, it will indeed be temporary.

73, Dave, W4SAR

OCRA Membership Meeting Notes – August 14, 2017

OCRA Meeting Notes – August 14, 2017

Quick Notes:

  • Dan (KR4UB) – Facilitated the meeting
  • Quick introduction by attendees
  • Joel (KF4KQW) moved to the coast permanently. We wish him well.
  • Keith (W1KES) was approved as Club secretary.
  • Dee (KU4GC) provided the following Interactive NASA solar eclipse map
  • EOC renovations will commence soon. We will most likely hold the September OCRA Membership meeting in the Fellowship Hall of the Efland Baha’i Center.  More details to follow.

Officer Report:

Treasurer Report: current Budget is $13,262.59, with 72 paid members

Kirby Saunders, Orange County Emergency Management Coordinator, stopped by for quick introduction.  Orange County is eager to have active ARES involvement in local emergency training exercises.

Such participation is part and partial to being an amateur radio operator. All OCRA members and active hams are encouraged to get involved in ARES.  The Weekly Orange County ARES Training Net begins on Saturday mornings at 9:30 am on the W4UNC 442.150 MHz PL 131.8Hz repeater.

ARES Report:

Steve Ahlbom (W3AHL): Orange County ARES/AUXCOMM has been requested to participate in a formal shelter exercise at the C.W. Stanford Middle School in Hillsborough on Wednesday, August 16th from 9:00-12:00 (first shift) and 12:00-1500 (second shift).  The exercise will simulate power outage and establish shelter for 85 people.

This is a great way to learn or refresh shelter exercises.  Typically, one must complete ICS 100, 200, 700, and 800 free online courses from the National Incident Management System (NIMS) and have some ARES experience (training nets, public service events, etc.)  Steve will request a waiver for those who have not completed the courses prior to the exercise.

Incident command training is standardized across the country, which provides a common vocabulary and means of planning and organizing people to accomplish task.  To participate in formal training exercises, one needs to complete the courses listed above.

Public service events are good way to learn about ARES and incident response. There are several ways to keep informed of training exercises…reflector emails, OCRA website, or contact Steve.

Show and Tell:

Dan (KR4UB) provided a reflection of the winter 1996 OCRA Newsletter, which mentioned the initiation of OCRA’s repeaters now known as W4UNC. Tremendous effort was involved to get the repeaters on the air.  A key participant in this effort was John Welton (N4SJW), whom has since moved to Colorado, but was in attendance for this meeting.

John provided a similar recollection on the effort to establish a repeater on the UNC Campus.

John recalled that emergency response played an important part in establishing the repeaters on the Faculty Laboratory Office Building (FLOB), better known today as the Mary Ellen Jones building on the University of Chapel Hill (UNC) Campus.  The UNC hospital, also located on campus, is the largest burn center in the South East.  As such, a means for providing emergency communication coordination with the hospital and surrounding area was needed.

In 1996, with financial assistance provided by the Hospital, Orange County, and Town of Chapel Hill, along with sweat equity from OCRA and DFMA members, the repeater was installed on top of the FLOB.  The repeater still provides Chapel Hill and the hospital wide area communication capabilities today.  John also recalled the challenges associated with RF coverage inside the building, as the structure had very thick concrete walls.  The site leveraged IRLP as the communication infrastructure, as cell phone coverage was not pervasive at that time.

Continuing the conversation on John Welton’s influence on disaster preparedness, Dan shared a 2009 QST article entitled, “When the Big One Hits, South Carolina Will Be Ready!”  The article mentions John, along with fellow University of South Carolina nurse Brian Fletcher, involvement in obtaining funding to establish a statewide Amateur Radio 2 meter and 70 cm repeater system.  The article states, South Carolina is prone to earth quakes, and John and Brian implemented a project at the Medical University of South Carolina to provide hospitals with Amateur Radio communications for redundant communication capacity in the case of hurricane evacuations and earthquakes.  We were glad to have John and Dan’s reminiscing on past experiences and share the role amateur radio operators play in emergency management and natural disasters.

Chuck (K4RGN) – At the July DFMA meeting, Ed Fong (WB6IQN) presented a program where he discussed his antenna designs and his latest, patented, triband antenna, which was featured in March QST 2017.  Chuck brought one of Ed’s TBJ-1 triband antenna to the meeting.  He separated the antenna from the PVC casing and explained the design.  Dan also added commentary on the eloquent helix transformer design.  Ed is selling the antenna for $60.  Likewise, Ed is selling an HF SSB handheld SDR based receiver, and a GP5/SSB for $60.  If interested in any of these items, please contact Chuck at chanoia33@gmail.com

Steve (KZ1X) – Presented a low cost ($59), 40 meter SSB HR rig from HFSigs, based on the popular Bitx40 design.  The rig is shipped built from Indian with digital read out…did I mention it was only $59. This rig is ideal for low power WSJT-X communication modes like JT65 and JT9.  A friend of Steve’s created a 3D mounting for the rig, which is makes a solid rig worthy of addition to any ham shack.

Andy (W4KIL) – Has been active with DMR radio listening to repeater’s out west.  He recently purchased an AAI Impendence Analyzer with graphing function for $150.  The analyzer covers 140MHz~2700MHz, which includes Wi-Fi and maps all S parameters. Nice purchase Andy.

Wilson (W4BOH)Son and friend reuse computer batteries.  If you have extra computer batteries, let Wilson know and a deal can be made, and they will be used.

Lad (W4ORD) mentioned that Southern Battery in Kernersville has refurbished batteries at great prices.

 

Nick (KA1HPM) – Attending the Cape Fear Amateur Radio Society swap in Fayetteville last weekend.  Purchased a DL1000 dummy load.  Tried it out on Sunday, and it worked.  There was no documentation, or any manufacture listed on the product. Nick conducted an internet search and noticed a similar item in a 1980 British publication.  Steve thinks it maybe of Japanese origin.  In any case, it was a good find at an affordable price. Just goes to show you what deals you can find at a swap.

Rick – mentioned that Timber Lake Fire Department will be offering ICS 400 training on August 22, 23, 24.

 

 

 

Virlies August 5th Ham Breakfast in Pittsboro, Eggs, Chickens and Bridges

Been a while since I’ve joined the Pittsboro gang at Virlie’s Grill instead of the usual trip to the Egg & I in Chapel Hill on NC 54 East for my Saturday morning breakfast HAM activity .  Time to get off autopilot and venture to some of the other favorite places hams are known to congregate on Saturday mornings.

After suitable and effective arm twisting by Nick, KA1HPM,  I found myself heading down the delightful back roads, passing scenic farm land and places like the Chicken Bridge (there’s a story to that name)  for breakfast and splendid conversation with KX4P, John, WA2JLW, Roy, N8BR, Bill, KK4JGT, Terry, N4HA, Herb, and Nick, KA1HPM. It made for a very pleasant journey and morning.

The food at Virlies is always delightful and the staff very accommodating.  I mean where else when asking our waitress to take a group photo, would she take time to find something to stand on (can’t say what…that might be an OSHA violation) and take this wonderful picture from high above..

After having two delightful eggs for breakfast, chicken seemed to stick on my mind, or was it driving over the Chicken Bridge, which I had not done for some time.  Knowing the inquisitive mind hams have, strict ham breakfast protocol now requires explanation of the aforesaid bridge name. If you missed it, back up to above aforesaid link.

After exhaustive research and effort of typing “Chicken Bridge” in Google and pressing the “Enter” key, I learned not only more about the history of the name but also that the bridge itself was used as a target for mock bombing runs in the 70’s and into the early ’80s.

I already knew, or more correctly should say had heard these runs, fearing loss of the roof on the house or worse and, also had heard about terrain following radar for low level flight and hoped that stuff kept terra-firma (and QTH) well protected from said flying objects as they passed directly overhead.  The QTH is north of the bridge as the crow flies, or perhaps I should say as the A-4 Skyhawk or an F-4 Phantoms of the era flew. Somewhere around here in my extensive collection of detritus, I still have the sectional aeronautical chart I obtained to learn more about this whole business.  There it was on the chart… the red line emanating from Cherry Point, complete with warning to airmen to check the NOTAMs (NOtice To All airMen) for when the area would be in use, right over the house and down to the Chicken Bridge.

Did you hear about?… no that will have to wait till the next breakfast! Everything of interest is covered with lots of camaraderie to be had.

Come on out!

Dan, KR4UB

Geezerfest at Virlie’s, goings on, on going adventures

This Saturday, five diehards, defying the infernal temperatures, met for the weekly Saturday morning ham breakfast at Virlie’s restaurant in Pittsboro.

John, KX4P, who has rebuilt a homebrew crystal-controlled AM transmitter, described his impressive feat of raising the frequency of an FT-243 crystal by hand grinding the quartz crystal with some VERY fine sandpaper, raising the frequency about 20 KHz. It took him only 18 tries to sneak up on it.

Bill, N8BR, has been cutting firewood, probably training for a transcendental antenna effort.

Roy, WA2JLW, remarked that his Vibroplex paddle needs occasional adjustment. Obviously a case of hypermorse activity. He also observed that 4 out of five of the breakfast attendees were 75 years old. His birthday is Sunday.

Nick, KA1HPM, the youngster of the group at only 73, brought a show-and-tell of an adapter for his headset/ mic to his radio. Nice job. He does a lot of that.

Herb, N4HA, reminisced about a sideswiper key he built as a young ham from a hacksaw blade. Thank goodness for iambic paddles.

Where are the youngbloods? Please join us and inspire us every Saturday morning.

posted by KR4UB for Herb N4HA

Field Day is upon us!

The week of Field Day is here! Our biggest event every year is just a few days away. If you have been following the posts on the Field Day category of this blog, you will see that a number of people have been putting in a lot of work in preparation. This coming Friday as of 8;00am, we will commence with setting up the stations themselves. Lots of hands are needed to help with safely assembling beam antennas, mount them on towers and get the towers raised and anchored. Help will be needed hauling lines to raise wire antennas, as well as spotters to keep personnel clear of fall zones when we lob missiles to get pilot lines over the trees. Hands will be needed to help band captains move batteries and get their stations assembled. Help will be needed driving in ground rods . Captains need to bring their logging computers on  site aas early as possible to be sure they are properly configured for the logging network, and for testing. We will get this work out of the way on Friday, rain or shine, pausing only if we have a threat of lightning in the area.

Help will be needed with other aspects as well. the pot luck around 6:00pm this Friday is easily the largest social event that the two clubs engage in together, besides food contributions, chairs and tables are needed , many hands helping here with set up and then clean up will make it more enjoyable for everyone.

On Saturday, the big day itself, final testing and tweaking of the radio stations will take place, then at 2:00pm, we are off to the races! Operators will be needed to relieve those getting fatigued as we will be working any open propagation for the next 24 hours! Around 5:00pm or so, the field canteen will need help setting up for feeding everyone dinner ($5 each). Overnight, there will be operations ongoing on 80m Phone, the lower bands on CW and digital, ops will be needed for each!

Sunday morning, breakfast at the field canteen, around 9:00am (another $5 each), and then the final push until Field Day ends at 2:00pm. Once again, many hands will be needed to safely take down antennas and towers, and to assist in packing away the stations and equipment. Since many persons will have been on-site throughout Field Day and will no doubt be tired, a lot of help here would be greatly appreciated!

Field Day is fun, and it is an opportunity to learn, you van participate in all aspects of amateur radio, from setting up and testing antennas and power supplies, to a chance to operating in modes that you normally don’t . How to deal with problems in an outdoor environment, how to turn around exchanges quickly in a competitive environment. Most of all, there is enjoying some fellowship and quality time with your fellow enthusiasts in this great avocation of ours.

So come on out, put in as much time as you are comfortable with giving, it will be rewarding to be a part of this!

73,

Dave Snyder W4SAR

 

Field Day info and timeline

Starting 2:00pm local time on Saturday, June 24
Ending 2:00pm local time in Sunday June 25

Location: Lamb Family property-
3117 MOOREFIELDS RD
HILLSBOROUGH, NC 27278

Callsign: W4EZ
At this time, we will be a 9A operation, meaning a club sponsor, 9 HF stations, using only battery power for transmitters, 5Watts maximum output.

Exchange for a complete contact is call sign, class of operation , and ARRL/RAC section.

For us our info is:
W4EZ 9A NC

Stations planned:
80/40/20/15 CW in the MCU, (three transmitters),
the CW gang

40M Digital in barn W4SAR
20M Digital, in barn, WB4OSU

80M Phone, in RV W3AHL
40/15M Phone, in camper KV7D/K4SAR
20M Phone , in camper W4ORD
10m Phone, in barn NA4VY

VHF- open
Satellite- W4FS

Logging: N1MM freeware logging program, a wireless network will merge all input into one master log

Some personnel:

Safety Officer- W4SAR
Public Information Table: W4MKR
Pot-luck coordinator: KM4MDR
Field Canteen Coordinator: W4ORD
Network: W3AHL
N1MM Logger consultant: N1LN
Overall Coordinator: W4SAR

Volunteers needed to provide relief operators, loggers, field canteen assistance, various other jobs throughout the 3 days of operation.

Recommended Timeline for Field Day Operation:
(All timepoints are local Daylight Saving Time)

Friday June 23

8:00am -Start of Set-Up.
By the FD rules, as of 8:00pm Thursday we could use a total of 24 hours in aggregate for station set up before the official start of FD on Saturday at 2:00pm. We will start with good daylight on Friday morning.
As much heavy work (tower lifting, antenna raising, ground rod driving, battery lifting, etc ) should be accomplished on Friday. Many volunteers will be needed so that this work can be done safely, and without overexerting anyone.

11:30am – Sandwiches and refreshments will be provided by Skip, WB4P

When time allows: preliminary testing of wireless network, power drops for auxiliary equipment

6:00pm Pot Luck Dinner, heavy work should cease.

9:00pm- copy ARRL FD bulletin from W1AW via PSK31
(100 bonus points)

Saturday June 24

As of sunrise: Complete station setups and final testing.

As early as possible, test all logging computers simultaneously on network. Final tests of stations.

2:00pm: START FD OPERATIONS

Circa 6:00pm- dinner provided at Field Canteen, $5 a head, volunteers are badly needed to assist W4ORD in set up and grilling of food

Sunday June 25
Circa 8:00am, Breakfast at Field Canteen, $5 a head, volunteers needed to assist.

2:00pm: FD OPERATIONS END

Many hands will be needed to safely tear down stations (there will be many tired people present), clean up.

OCRA Board Meeting, April 24, 2017

The minutes of the 4/24 Board Meeting were approved at the 5/29 Board Meeting

***************************************************************************

The OCRA Board met on Monday, April 24th at Mike Carwile’s QTH.Attendees: Dee Ramm KU4GC (Board Member), MK Ramm W4MKR, Lad Carrington W4ORD (Board Member), Keith Stouter W1KES (Board Member), Mike Carwile KK4BPH (Board Member), Dan Eddleman KR4UB (Treasurer/Repeater Manager), Joel Dunn KM4NOU (Secretary), Dave Snyder W4SAR (President/Field Day Coordinator), Karen Snyder KD4YJZ (Vice President).

The first order of business was the Officers reports. Karen KD4YJZ gave the VP update. For the May meeting, the primary topic is Field Day, as is the June meeting. For the July meeting, we will have a Skywarn presentation.

Joel KM4NOU, Secretary, presented the minutes from the 3/27 Board Meeting for approval, and they were approved with corrections. We are still looking for members with an interest in content creation. Lad and Keith expressed and interest in accounts, and Joel will set them up.

Dan KR4UB, Treasurer, reported that we had a total of 65 members with dues current and that we maintain an appropriate reserve balance in our accounts. Annual insurance is a significant payment that is coming due.

Dan KR4UB, wearing his Repeater Manager hat, gave a repeater update and said that we are still working with UNC for the Neurosciences repeater.

For RARSFest, Dee KU4GC reported that the club earned $447 (net of the $36 table fee).

Dave W4SAR gave the President’s report. The main topic was Field Day.  We are currently an 8A operation rather than a 9A. We are exploring splitting the 40 and 15 phone stations. The key is the total number of stations operational, but they do not have to operate continuously, nor do they all have to be operational simultaneously, so we should be able to get to a 9A operation. The group had extensive discussions around the various options. Additionally, we are pursuing various bonus point opportunities, as this can really make a difference in score. We are pursuing satellite operations (Tucker McGuire W4FS). Also, we are working on several options for elected officials. For ongoing education bonus, a key is who the target is. We talked about Boy Scouts. Lad W4ORD will contact a Durham troop, and Joel KM4NOU will check on Orange County troops. We also discussed the possibility of traffic passing, but this is still aspirational.

LAD W4ORD asked Dee KU4GC for his spreadsheet of how much food to buy, and Dee said he’d get this. In addition, Lad asked Dee about his 10×20 tent, and Dee confirmed he had that. From DFMA, Don KE4UVJ will be bringing ice.

We discussed the importance of getting youth operators (do not have to be licensed, can operate under supervision). We also discussed personal preparedness, and Dave W4SAR said he would put this would put this on the blog, in his role as Safety Chair.

 

We adjourned at 8:00PM