Monthly Archives: August 2017

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