OCRA Club Meeting April 9, 2018

Introductions:

Treasurer Report: 

We have a strong financial balance.  Current membership listing is located under the Membership tab.

Repeater Update:

Dan (KR4UB) explained that installing the repeater at UNC is not cost effective at this time.  The club is seeking a cost sharing arrangement with UNC.  More information will be known later this Spring.

General Reports:

  • Raleigh (RARS) Fest – The Club sold a few items totaling $40 dollars. Thanks to Steve’s (KZIX) $67 donation at the meeting, we added a total of $107 to our savings account.
  • Durham Fest is Saturday, May 26, 2018. Tickets are now available.   – Tickets available.  Link to site with Dates.
  • The Tar Heel 10 Miler is April 21st. The Tar Heel 10 Miler and Fleet Feet 4 Mile run both start at the UNC Chapel Hill Bell Tower running you through the heart of downtown Chapel Hill, the historic Rosemary district, the UNC Campus and the beautiful Gimghoul neighborhood. Steve (W3HAL) has inquired with race management regarding amateur radio support.  We should have an update in the next week or two.
  • A VE Session is scheduled for Saturday, April 14th at the Orange County Emergency Services Center. Thanks to Paul (N2XZF), Nick (KA1HPM), Andy (W4KIL) and Dave (NA4VY) for their assistance.
  • OCRA has experience difficulties managing our emails distribution with Yahoo. As such, earlier this month Dave (W4SAR) transitioned our Yahoo account to Groups.io, which provides a more mature platform providing more features and easier group management.
  • Field Day is approaching…June 23 and 24. We are planning to retain the same band captions, but will move Digital to field, which will make the barn available for more easily accessible stations. We plan to leverage the NCOCRA blog calendar to manage station coverage throughout the event.  Still looking for a “few good hams” to manage the food committee.  If interested, please let Dave (W4SAR) know.

Program:

Vertical T-Wire Top Antenna 80 and 160 Meter Vertical and 80 Meter Dipole

Wilson was inspired by the  Bouvet expedition to build a “T” Top Antenna for 80 and 160 Meter.  While the Bouvet expedition was not successful (Inclement Weather) the “T” antenna was successful.  For more information on the Antenna, please reference Dan’s (KR4UB) blog article, “The Lurid Details of a W4BOH antenna for Bouvet.”

For more information on Low-Band DXing, Wilson recommends John Devoldere (ON4UN) book,  Low-Band Dxing: Antennas, Equipment and Techniques for DXcitement on 160, 80, and 40 Meters.

An overview of the EZNEC design and analyzer measurements of W4BOH’s 160/80M vertical/dipole antenna, as of mid-March is located at:
https://groups.io/g/OCRADFMA/files/Antenna%20Designs/W4BOH%20160M%20&%2080M%20Vertical%20T-Wire%20Elevated%20Radials%20L-Netwk%20&%2080M%20Dipole%20Project%20031218.pdf

Andy (W4KIL) presented a 5W CW Transceiver kit by QRP Labs.  The transceiver is a feature rich, high performing, single-band 5W CW transceiver kit, with WSPR beacon and built-in alignment/test equipment for only $49.

442.150 Repeater to be used for the 2018 Spring Bike Rally – Sunday, April 15th

The OCRA 442.150 repeater will be used Sunday, April 15th for back-up communications supporting the 2018 Spring Rally Bike Event.

The event will start around 8AM and should run until about 3pm.

If you would like to volunteer to provide communications support for the event you can sign up at at the Ham Public Service website.

The North Carolina Bike Club (NCBC) coordinates this charity ride, typically features 31, 62 and 100 mile courses for the riders. SAGS, as well as Hams assigned to Rest Stops will be needed. More information about the Spring Rally event is available on the NC Bicycle Club website

OCRA Club Meeting Monday, April 9th Presentation – The Lurid Details of a W4BOH antenna for Bouvet

When the Bouvet Island DXpedition was announced, some of W4BOH, Wilson’s DXer friends ganged up on him and urged him to put up a respectable antenna for 160m, since making a contact with Bouvet on 160 would be a real challenge. Or maybe they wanted company in the misery of not contacting Bouvet.

In any case, Wilson exercised his best management skills and recruited expert assistance from two of the DXer friends to help design and erect the antenna, which turned out to be a 57 foot top loaded vertical with four tuned radials. Always looking for a bargain, Wilson got W3AHL, Steve to adjust the EZNEC model to make the antenna potentially useful on other bands and in other configurations by changing the matching arrangement at the base.

Once the design was done, WA4PSC, Howie visited the Land of Magic and made two magnificent shots with his PBTBL (PneumoBallistic Tennis Ball Launcher) to get ropes over some of the highest trees at the OCRA/DFMA Field Day Site. At least the last two shots were magnificent. Steve then helped assemble some strong wire, of unknown parentage, into something resembling his design and helped pull it up into the ether. Of course his skill and analyzer were used to tune the radials to bring the antenna to resonance in the low end of 160m.

You’ll have to come to the OCRA Monday, April, 9th meeting to learn the lurid details of just what the beast (the antenna) looks like and what it can do on the air. Who knows, there might even be another story about getting a suitable amplifier assembled in time to contact (Or NOT) Bouvet some day.

OCRA Board Meeting, February 26, 2018

Attendees:

Dee (KU4GC), MK (W4MKR), Dave (W4SAR), Karen (KD4YJZ), Wilson (W4BOH), Steve (W3AHL), Dan (KR4UB), Keith (W1KES)

Treasurer Report:  Balance is still strong, current membership is 77 active members.

Tower Report

Tower Engineering provided a quote to complete the drawings, gain state approval, and install the antenna.  However, the quote is cost prohibited for the club.  Dan (KR4UB) and Steve (W3AHL) will schedule time with UNC to discuss a possible cost sharing arrangement.

Meeting Development and Membership Encouragement

 Meeting development and membership encouragement is a primary focus this year.  As expressed in the last Membership meeting, and again in this Board meeting, we are seeking ideas on how to improve the meeting experience.  Below are a list of suggestions and actions being taken to enhance our membership meetings.  We encourage members to provide feedback and get involved.

Amateur Radio Club Development is based on establishing and maintaining interpersonal relationship.  We encourage members to get involved in the club.  If you have interests, skills, or experiences you wish to share with new hams, or the general membership, please let any of the Board members know.

Suggestions and Actions:

  • Keith (W1KES) contact the Chapel Hill High School to begin discussing presenting Amateur Radio to the Physics class.
  • John (KX4P) will be facilitating our next meeting program. The topic should be finalized later this month.
  • Kurt (N2PCC) is working with published schematics to build his own 40 meter Benson small meter. Once complete he is willing to be program topic.
  • Dan (KR4UB) is installing software to the NCOCRA blog that will allow members to add pictures directly to the blog.
  • Dave (W4SAR) is establishing an Elmer resource pool. After Membership introductions, we need to ask if there are questions, or if anyone needs assistance.  If so, we can assign an Elmer to assist.
  • Wilson (W4BOH) has offered his barn for wheel chair accessible for Field Day. The barn has a concrete floor and would be more wheel chair friendly than the grass.
  •  The board suggested scheduling a portable station at a local park to provide a demonstration and educate new hams and the public to the wonderful world of amateur radio.

Dave (W4SAR) will take the suggestions above and those offered at the last membership meeting to develop a plan, which he will communicate at the next membership meeting.

We want to hear from you.  Please provide a suggestions by replying to this post.  73

Springtime at Virlie’s

Springlike weather coaxed eight hams out of their shacks for the weekly breakfast and kaffeeklatsch at Virlie’s Restaurant in Pittsboro this past Saturday. If Spring was in the air, so were tales of LDE’s (Long Delayed Echoes). Nick, KA1HPM and John, KX4P were in a roundtable on 75 meters when they experienced delays of around 1 second on the signals of several of the participants. The phenomenon lasted for about thirty seconds per occurrence. One of the most popular extant theories is that signals are trapped between two ionized layers and are guided around the world several times before falling out of a hole in the bottom layer.

Roy, WA2JLW, loaded up some N1MM contest software and enjoyed playing in the ARRL DX CW contest the previous weekend.

Terry, KK4JGT, has organized our first emergency communications coverage test for Chatham County this Monday evening on the OCRA 440 repeater which the OCRA crew has generously allowed us to use during emergencies and training. Terry also described his copper pipe dual band J pole.

Bill, N8BR, had a motherboard crash, but retrieved the hard drive intact. He is working on also retrieving his old log files from that drive.

Dave, W4INN, is getting into the swing of spring by planning to do some gardening.

Pete, K4PHS, brought his newly constructed 30 meter WSPR beacon. Transmitting with 1 watt and a dipole in the attic, it has been received in Europe and Antarctica.

Herb, N4HA, hopes he’ll figure out how to program his new HT before the repeater test Monday evening.

Please join us for radio fun Saturday mornings at Virlie’s Restaurant in Pittsboro around 8:30 AM.

Herb, N4HA

NC QSO Party – Sunday February 25, 2018

NC QSO PARTY 2018 (2/25) – The NC QSO Party 2018 will be held on Sunday, February 25, 2018, from 10:00 AM to 8:00 PM EST. For further information, see http://ncqsoparty.org/  This year marks the 48th anniversary of this great event.

The South Carolina QSO Party is held on Saturday, February 24 from 10:00 AM to 9:00 PM EST. http://scqso.com/

Complete details, rules, categories and county activity may be found on the new NCQP website, www.ncqsoparty.org With 146 counties between the two states, these events are a county hunter’s dream. There are 22 operating categories, each one eligible for beautiful trophies and attractive certificates with some special prizes, including this year’s Spelling Bee. You don’t have to be an avid contester to enjoy these operating events. There is no shortage of casual operators participating, which make these QSO parties very enjoyable for all. Many regulars really look forward to the challenge of chasing our many mobile Op’s, as they travel from county to county in both states, racking up multipliers.

The NCQP continues to grow every year. Whether you operate Phone, CW or Digital, get on the air and have some fun. The North Carolina QSO Party is sponsored by the Raleigh Amateur Radio Society (RARS). … Thanks to Marc Sullivan, W4MPS, NCQP Log Analyst, for providing this information! (sources: NC QSO Party website, W4MPS) ——————————————————————–

ARRL North Carolina Section Section Manager: Karl F Bowman, W4CHX w4chx@arrl.org