Technician License Classes Coming Up

Nick, KA1HPN, will be teaching a Tech License Class Saturday mornings in October. Basic information: Technician License Classes
  • Get your first Amateur Radio License – the Technician Class
  • Three class sessions:
  • 9:00 AM to Noon
  • October 6, 13, 20
  • Chatham County Emergency Operations Center
  • Exam session
  • 9:00 AM, October 27
  • Chatham County Emergency Operations Center
  • Open to class attendees and walk-ins for all classes of Amateur License exams.
This classed was organized for the Chatham County CERT Program, but all persons interested in amateur radio are welcome to attend this course. Contact Nick, KA1HPM, by email at KA1HPM at ARRL dot NET to register and/or get more details. Nick, KA1HPM; 9/28/18

August Gathering at Virlies

The weekly amateur radio confabulation at Virlie’s Grill in Pittsboro this Saturday morning was enjoyed by eight stouthearted hams who overcame the local audio QRM to exchange pleasantries and repartee.

Jesse, KM4AMR – a new member of the breakfast club – flies drones for fun and profit. With a straight face he informed the group that there was now a drone that can pollinate crops to ameliorate the decline of the honey bee population.

Bill, N8BR, gave an impressive description of DX Engineering’s four square antenna for 160 meters as well as a practically comprehensible explanation of the role of catalysts in the building of complex proteins.

John, KX4P, waxed nostalgic upon his recollection of acquiring his Red Ryder lever-action BB gun as a lad. He still keeps it locked and loaded behind the door. Squirrels beware.

Roy, WA2JLW, remarked on the irony that the Hawaii QSO party was this weekend while they were getting pummeled with Lane’s rains.

Roger, KS4VX, solved the SWR problem on his Butternut vertical … cable. He reminded those assembled that the only free cheese is in a mousetrap.

Nick, KA1HPM, offered to email Jesse some programming info for his HT. He also mentioned that he would like to see an OCRA program on repeaters. Many heads nodded in either agreement or lack of caffeine.

Dave, W4INN, has five boxes of radio junk, about which his wife has given him The Ultimatum. He has made the right choice.

Herb, N4HA, unable to hear half of what was said, made most of this up to encourage your joining us some Saturday, around 8:30 for the fun of it.

By reading this newsletter, you are agreeing that any misstatements, fabrications, and/or typing errors are not the responsibility of a superannuated septuagenarian.

Posted for Herb, N4HA by KR4UB

Annual Ham Migration

While the crew at Virlie’s Grill took their annual vacation, the ham conclave met at the Root Cellar in Pittsboro for an enjoyableSaturday breakfast.

Pete, K4PHS, appeared wearing a tee shirt which advised us that there were “two types of people: 1) Those who extrapolate conclusions based on insufficient data.” (Some paraphrasing may have occurred.)

Bill, N8BR, is now selling his supply of RG400 coax in 10 foot lots. Cheap.

Terry, KK4JGT, our Chatham CERT organizer, announced a request for CERT support for a Haw River rescue exercise. He now has over a hundred on his mailing list and there are 21 hams.

Hank, K3YDX, participated in Field Day with a Snow Camp group. Casual and fun.

Herb, N4HA, enjoyed a 20 meter CW stint with the DFMA/OCRA team at W4EZ. Thanks to them.

John, KX4P, worked the Baker dxpedition on 40 meters 11 minutes before they closed up shop. That’s cutting it close, John.

SHOW & TELL TIME! John, KK4VUR, brought his newly constructed antenna amplifier for his satellite work. He added a T-bias to supply power. Does anyone remember what the Lagrangian point is?   

Nick, KA1HPM, brought his duplexer on which he repaired a broken coax center conductor with some electronic brain surgery.  

Hope you will join us and add your ham radio input to our next Saturday breakfast at Virlie’s Grill in Pittsboro. Photos by John, KX4P.

73, Herb, N4HA

OCRA/DFMA Field Day Saturday 5pm Dinner & Sunday Breakfast Meal Attendees Requested to Prepay to Keep Costs Low

From last year’s Field Day and member discussion at club meetings, planning for the Field Day meals is one of the more challenging activities in terms of knowing how many will be at the meals and ensuring the right amount of food is purchased.

The festive DFMA/OCRA BBQ Potluck, hosted by Wilson and a small group of helpers is still on and still FREE. John Boone will be soliciting registration and potluck contributions as last year, so please sign up to join us and bring a tasty salad, vegetable, or dessert.

For the June 23 Saturday 5PM Dinner & June 24 Sunday Breakfast…

For this year’s 2018 Field Day, OCRA and DFMA are asking attendees to prepay (the same price as always, $5.00 for each meal) at the Field Day June 23, Saturday 5 PM Dinner and June 24 Sunday Breakfast in order to have an accurate count. This will help keep the cost low and not have to ask members who do show up to pay a higher amount to cover those who do not. These payments also go to fund the availability of free bottled water during the Friday set up day.

Prepayment authorizes the club to buy food on your behalf and can be by cash or check payment at your convenience as described below. Vegetarian meals can be requested.  PayPal costs for many small payments is excessive and precludes use of that feature. Based on the food purchase date, meal orders must be received by OCRA by June 18th. If you pay, and later must cancel due to unforeseen circumstances, send an email to treasurer@ncocra.org prior to the June 19th food order date, and your payment will be refunded or, you can use it as a tax-deductible donation to the club, or to extend your membership.

Making PrePay Easy

  • Using checks, or cash in an envelope as annotated below will help with record keeping (and refunds for timely cancellations). Checks and cash will be held and not deposited until food purchase. Cancellations received before food purchase will be refunded.
  • In addition to opportunities to pre pay by mail or at upcoming club meetings, the following OCRA/DFMA contacts at the Saturday morning breakfast locations below will accept your payment:
    • Payment to OCRA, P.O. Box 294, Carrboro, NC 27510
    • Each Saturday Ham Breakfast – June 2, 9, 16
      • Egg & I Chapel Hill on NC 54 East – Dan, KR4UB or M.K. W4MKR
      • Virlies Pittsboro John, KX4P
      • BoJangles at Hillsborough – Mike, KK4BPH
    • DFMA Club Meeting June 5, (M.K. W4MKR)
    • OCRA Meeting June 11 (Dan, KR4UB)

Checks or cash in envelopes marked with the same information shown on the check below will help with record keeping  e.g. name, callsign, number attending dinner and breakfast meals, and preference for veggie meals.

Checking Receipt of your  Meal Sign up Status

As prepay checks and cash are received as described above, the OCRA website page at this link will be frequently updated  Field Day Meal Sign up Status

Thanks in advance for helping this part of Field Day to be a success!

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.