Nicholas “Nick” Paul Szydlek – Silent Key February 5, 2022

Born in Detroit, Michigan on September 16, 1944, Nicholas Paul Szydlek lived all of his 77 years with faith, humor, love, and friendship. He enlisted and served in the United States Navy as a radar technician/electrician’s mechanic from 1963 – 1967, stationed in the Mediterranean (“tracking the Russians” he used to say) on the “tin cans” as he put it The USS Mole and the USS Basilone. He also served as part of the United States Naval Reserve and the United States Coast Guard Reserve. He was decorated with the National Service Defense Medal.
Nick married his wife, Rosemary, in 1969 and their son, Nick, Jr. was born in 1970. After the Navy, Nick worked as an electrician’s mechanic and engineer, living in Massachusetts and New Hampshire.
In the late 1990’s Nick and Rosemary moved to his hometown area in Michigan where he continued working as an engineer. He retired in 2012, joining his son and daughter-in-law in Pittsboro, North Carolina where he began to hone is orneriness. He took fashion cues from no one – his signature every day look was all his own: sensible trousers, comfortable button-up shirt, suspenders, and comfortable shoes.
He established his own small machining/prototyping business, Foxtek, Inc. where he was his own boss and worked at his own pace. He hung out in his workshop with his grand-dog, Artie, a large black lab who really loved his grandpa. At night, with grand-dog Ireland at his side, he enjoyed struggling with the TV remote and disagreeing with Rosemary on what to watch. He hated most technology, got frustrated with cell phones, and hated all the noises from his iPad, but was secretly excited every time his son gave him all the new gadgets.
Nick was especially passionate about ham radio with an amateur extra ticket and was a Founding member of Chatham AUXCOMM; a proud member of Orange County Radio Amateurs (OCRA); and Durham FM Association (DFMA). He loved to share his knowledge and get others excited about ham radio.
As a member of St. Thomas More Catholic Church he attended mass every Sunday until Covid-19 and his illness made that difficult for him. He volunteered on many occasions and served on committees including the Church Council and was head of the Friends in Faith Senior Group.
Nick is survived by his loving wife of more than 52 years, Rosemary; his son, Nicholas, Jr. (Melissa); brother, Eddie (Cynthia) Szydlek; sisters, Carol (Fred) Zirotti and Cherilyn (Don) Smith; and many nieces, nephews, cousins, friends and peers who love and respect him.
He was preceded in death by his parents Barbara J. Eshelman Szydlek-Lawless; Edwin Joseph Rivers and stepmother Frances Rivers; and brothers Lawrence S. Szydlek and Phillip P. Szydlek.
In lieu of flowers please donate to your favorite cancer organization or St. Jude’s in Nick’s name.

A Funeral Mass was held 10:30AM, Friday, February 18, 2022 at St. Thomas More Catholic Church – 940 Carmichael Street, Chapel Hill, NC 27514. Rite of Committal will be scheduled at a later date.

To send sympathy gifts to the family or plant a tree in memory of Nicholas Paul Szydlek, please visit our tribute store.

This writeup heavily based on the obiturary published by the Donaldson Funeral Home & Crematory. For the complete, excellent obituary see

Upcoming General Class October 28th

> Subject: Please publicize my upcoming General Class Oct 28

> Folks:
> I would appreciate your help getting the word out about my free weekly General Class licensing course on Zoom beginning Thursday, October 28 and running through Thursday, January 13 (9 sessions plus 3 weeks off for the holidays in November and December.) Sessions will start at 6:30 pm eastern time, and run 3 hours. These are the classes sponsored by the National Electronics Museum that we have been holding for years. Please publicize this with anyone you know that you think would be interested. Those wishing to sign up should email me at
> Thanks,
> Rol, K3RA

Combined OCRA/DFMA Meeting with NASA Presentation – Monday August 9th

Given the latest CDC information regarding the spread of Covid-19, now containing the Delta variant, the OCRA Board of Directors has made the decision to postpone the return in August to our regular in-person meetings at the Efland Baha’i Center.

The upcoming club meeting on Monday August 9th will be a special meeting as a combined OCRA/DFMA Over-the-Air Club Net and Zoom Meeting with NASA guest presentations, Monday evening August 9th beginning at 7pm.

Note the following time and agenda changes for this special meeting:

  • The Over-the-Air Club Net check-in will begin at 7pm instead of the usual 7:30 on the 442.150 mHz repeater to get callsigns & names of the meeting attendees for the club meeting minutes and any brief club announcements.
  • The OCRA Zoom Video Conference will available starting at 6:45pm for any last minute video/audio testing by attendees, check-ins by attendees not having UHF radio capability, and for all to join in for the NASA guest speaker presentation starting at 7:30pm .
  • Our guest speaker will be Al Feinberg, the Strategic Content and Media Advisor for NASA Space Communications & NASA Television Headquarters in Washington, D.C.
  • The radio net will be secured at 7:30pm and then the Zoom video conference will continue with speaker introductions.
  • Questions any attendee would like to ask the presenters can be posted in the Zoom chat window.

Al’s presentation will be on “Space Communications in Support of NASA”.

The timing of these presentations could not be better as November 9, 2021 will be the 20th Anniversary of International Space Station contact from Barbara Pedersen’s science class room at Chapel Hill Phillips Junior High School. Club member Barbara, KE4JZM was instrumental in the planning, coordination with NASA and with additional club volunteers, the building of the amateur radio station in her science class room that was used for the successful contact.

The Zoom access link, Login ID & password has been distributed by email to all OCRA members and to the DFMA members via the DFMA Link Newsletter email list.


2021 OCRA/DFMA Field Day Participants ARRL Score Tally

2021 OCRA/DFMA Field Day ARRL Score Totals

The following has been compiled from information provided by OCRA/DFMA Field Day Participants.

ARRL Score Calculation Formula
[CW-CNT x 2 = CW Pts] [SSB-CNT x 1 = SSB Pts] [Digi-CNT x 2 = Digi Pts] ARRL Score = [CW + SSB + Digi Pts Sum) x Pwr_Mult + Bonus Points]

CallsignFirstStationStation_Band_Mode Bonus_ActivityFDay ClassCW QSOCW MultDigi QSODigi MultSSB QSOSSB MultPwr MultQSO ScoreBonus ScoreARRL Total
N4GF Roger Port able 40M, CW Education, Emerg Pwr, Public Loc, Youth Ops, Web Submit 1, A, B 4 2x 5x 40 370 410
WA2JLW Roy Home 80M, 40M, 20M, 15M, CW Emerg Pwr, Web Submit 1, E 82 2x 5x 820 150 970
N2XZF Paul Home 20M, 10M, SSB Emerg Pwr, Web Submit 1, E 32 1x 2x 64 150 214
KA5ETS Douglas Home 40M, 20M, 15M, 10M, CW, WSJT W1AW Msg, Web Submit 1, D 221 2x 70 2x 2x 1164 150 1314
KO4DHJ Ken Home 80M, 40M, 20M, SSB Web Submit 1, D 45 1x 2x 90 50 140
KZ1X Steve Home All, CW, aka W4EZ Web Submit 1, D 123 2x 2x 492 50 542
N4KW Pete Home All, CW, SSB Web Submit 1, D 356 2x 163 1x 2x 1750 50 1800
KO4TXN Steve Home All, SSB W1AW Msg, Web Submit 1, D 160 1x 2x 320 150 470
WB4OSU Sherri Home 40M, 20M, WSJT, PSK31 Emerg Pwr, W1AW Msg, Web Submit 1, E 79 2x 5x 790 250 1040
KX4P John Home 80M, 40M, 20M, 15M, 10M, CW, SSB, WSJT Web Submit 1, D 239 2x 2x 956 50 1006
WA4PSC Howie Home 160M, 80M, 40M, 20M, 15M, 10M, CW W1AW Msg, Web Submit 1, D 1369 2x 2x 5476 150 5626
N4JQR J R Home 80M, 40M, 20M, 15M, 10M, 6M, SSB W1AW Msg 1, D 60 1x 2x 120 50 170
W1KES Keith Home 80M, 40M, 20M, 15M, 10M, 6M, WSJT Web Submit 1, D 114 2x 2x 456 50 506
W4KIL Andy Home 40M, 20M, 15M, 10M, 6M, WSJT W1AW Msg, Web Submit 1, D 213 2x 2x 852 150 1002
KR4UB Dan Home 40M, 20M, 15M, 10M, WSJT W1AW Msg, Web Submit 1, D 426 2x 2x 1704 150 1854
N8BR Bill Home 80M, 40M, 20M, CW W1AW Msg, Web Submit 1, D 641 2x 2x 2564 150 2714
AJ2X Mark Home 40M, 20M, 15M, SSB W1AW Msg, Web Submit 1, D 207 1x 2x 414 150 564
KY4HU Charles Home 40M, 20M, SSB, WSJT W1AW Msg, Web Submit 1, D 123 2x 5 1x 2x 502 150 652
K1ZW Larry Home 20M, 15M, 10M, SSB Web Submit 1, D 14 1x 2x 28 50 78
KJ4VWG Sam Home All, SSB W1AW Msg, Web Submit 1, D 73 2x 81 2x 454 150 604
N1LN Bruce Grp_1 Captain, 80M, 40M, 20M, 15M, 10M, CW, aka NC4KW W1AW Msg, Web Submit 1, D 1351 2x 486 1x 2x 6376 150 6526
N1YXU Laurie Grp_1 All, SSB, aka NC4KW 1, D 486 1x 2x 972
KN4VXB Aurora Grp_2 All, SSB, aka W4BOH 2, D 36 1x 2x 72
W4BOH Wilson Grp_2 Captain, All, CW Web Submit 2, D 623 2x 37 1x 2x 2566 50 2616
W4ORD William Grp_3 All, 20M, SSB 1, D
N4UBH David Grp_3 20M, SSB 1, D
NA4VY David Grp_3 Captain, All, SSB, WSJT Web Submit 2, D 222 1x 2x 444 50 494
KE4UVJ Don Grp_3 20M, SSB 1, D
KN4GUM Nan Grp_3 12 1x 12
K4SAR Joe Grp_4 Captain, 80M, 40M, 15M, 10M, SSB Emerg Pwr, W1AW Msg, Web Submit 1, E 491 1x 2x 982 250 1232
KI4RAN William Grp_4 All, SSB 1, D
W4SAR Dave Grp_5 Captain, All, SSB, WSJT, PSK31 Emerg Pwr, W1AW Msg, Web Submit 1, E 338 2x 24 1x 2x 1300 250 1550
KD4YJZ Karen Grp_5 All, SSB, PSK31 1, E 105
KU4GC Dee Grp_7 Captain, 80M, 40M, 20M, 15M, 10M, SSB, WSJT W1AW Msg, Web Submit 2, D 309 2x 40 1x 2x 1316 150 1466
KF4PAB Lenore Grp_7 aka KU4GC 2, D
KM4MBG Jack Grp_7 aka KU4GC 2, D 2x


Orange County Radio Amateurs & Durham FM Association ARRL Submission Score to date : 35,560

CW QSO Total Count : 5,009, Digi QSO Total Count : 1,850, SSB QSO Total Count : 2,601, Bonus Activity Points : 3,520

36 Hams on 2021 Field Day N1LN Sign Up List, 16 Group Station Participants, 19, Home Stations, 1 Portable Station

ARRL Submission needed to move score to “Orange County Radio Amateurs & Durham FM Association” for an additional 0 points

CallsignFirstStationStation_Band_Mode FDay ClassScore ValueComment
KA5ETS Douglas Home 40M, 20M, 15M, 10M, CW, WSJT 1, D
KZ1X Steve Home All, CW, aka W4EZ 1, D
N4KW Pete Home All, CW, SSB 1, D
WB4OSU Sherri Home 40M, 20M, WSJT, PSK31 1, E KN4VXB, KN4GUM Q's included
KX4P John Home 80M, 40M, 20M, 15M, 10M, CW, SSB, WSJT 1, D
WA4PSC Howie Home 160M, 80M, 40M, 20M, 15M, 10M, CW 1, D
N4JQR J R Home 80M, 40M, 20M, 15M, 10M, 6M, SSB 1, D
W4KIL Andy Home 40M, 20M, 15M, 10M, 6M, WSJT 1, D
KR4UB Dan Home 40M, 20M, 15M, 10M, WSJT 1, D
N8BR Bill Home 80M, 40M, 20M, CW 1, D
AJ2X Mark Home 40M, 20M, 15M, SSB 1, D
KY4HU Charles Home 40M, 20M, SSB, WSJT 1, D
K1ZW Larry Home 20M, 15M, 10M, SSB 1, D
KJ4VWG Sam Home All, SSB 1, D
N1LN Bruce Grp_1 Captain, 80M, 40M, 20M, 15M, 10M, CW, aka NC4KW 1, D N1YXU Q's included
N1YXU Laurie Grp_1 All, SSB, aka NC4KW 1, D
KN4VXB Aurora Grp_2 All, SSB, aka W4BOH 2, D KN4VXB Q's to be included in sites visited
W4ORD William Grp_3 All, 20M, SSB 1, D
N4UBH David Grp_3 20M, SSB 1, D
NA4VY David Grp_3 Captain, All, SSB, WSJT 2, D W4ORD, N4UBH, KE4UVJ, KN4GUM, KN4VXB Q's included
KE4UVJ Don Grp_3 20M, SSB 1, D
KN4GUM Nan Grp_3 KN4GUM Q's to be included in sites visited
K4SAR Joe Grp_4 Captain, 80M, 40M, 15M, 10M, SSB 1, E KI4RAN Q's included
KI4RAN William Grp_4 All, SSB 1, D
W4SAR Dave Grp_5 Captain, All, SSB, WSJT, PSK31 1, E KD4YJZ Q's included
KD4YJZ Karen Grp_5 All, SSB, PSK31 1, E
NC4CX Butch Grp_6 At Elmer's Stn in Virginia
KU4GC Dee Grp_7 Captain, 80M, 40M, 20M, 15M, 10M, SSB, WSJT 2, D KF4PAB, KM4MBG Q's included
KF4PAB Lenore Grp_7 aka KU4GC 2, D
KM4MBG Jack Grp_7 aka KU4GC 2, D
W3AHL Steve 80M__SSB Captain, 80M, SSB
K2RRT Mark 80M__SSB
WA4UJM Wally 80M__SSB 80M, SSB
Paul 20M__SSB 20M, SSB
John 10M_Barn 10M, 6M, WSJT
Henry 10M_Barn
W4AEN Ed Multiple_Stn 80M, 40M, 20M, 15M, SSB, WSJT
Chris Multiple_Stn 80M, 40M, 20M, 15M, 10M, 6M, SSB, WSJT, PSK31
K04LTN Bruce Multiple_Stn
KM4MDR John PotLuck & Food Services
KN4JYP Kathy
KV4ZR Loren
KM4IWI William
KA5JUJ Martin
KD4UCZ Charles
K3TD Tad
K4FD Dan
disregard a test message All Others listed below that I haven't heard from ... are submissions planned?
K4ITL Danny
N4KF Ken
KO4CSW Robert
KE4YRB Joline
KM4WHL Sarah
N1GMR Kimberley
N4JHH Joseph
WB1AJJ Jonathan
KK4EIB Michael
KO4LTM Phyllis
KR3AM Mark
K4PHS Peter
KO4KNI Brian
KJ4TTU Steve
KO4KNJ Michael
KA2SBC Kathleen
N7RYN Ryan
WA4AHR Dewey
K4OGP Chris
KA9UAG Jeffrey
KK4RRT Michael
K5WNF Zachary
K2HJX Jeremy
KI4OKO Cynthia
KW4JY Calvin
KO4RQN James
K3VSA Woody
AI4MW Tommy
None-CP Cortney
CS-10-21 Clint
JRW-01-93 Jason
KO4UFU Eldon
KN4DRN Michael
JM-02-22 John
KO4VUR Kevin
WQ8U Mac
W4LMW David
KO4VXA George
KQ4AJR Georgi
KF4O Randy
KD8FQM Robert
KK4MEG Albert
W4AIR Daryl
KM4WXW Jeffrey
KE4QOZ Joanna
KM4DNU Peter
KB1WE Wayne
KI4MXP Gerald
N4ZAK Robert
NE4U John
KE4HIH Rhett
Dee Ann
April, Emerson, Liam
FD Event Cost
FD Anonymous Extra Payment
NC4CD Charlie
KE4DKM George
KB4DKY Scott
Jack, Sr
W2EDC Eddie
KM4LCW Gretta
CD Anonomous Extra Payment
CD Event Cost
CD Refund
CD Cancel
FD Refund
FD Cancel
KS9F Don
KK4CKN Elaina
N0VAT Mike
K4BMW Brian
N4SJW John
KO4KPS Crystal
KO4PYL Dillon
N1QYW Steve
KG4JGJ Joseph
W1ST Stephen
KO4TVC Diana
W4FK Bob
KE4LYK Charles
. Brad
W7GBP Mike
KK4JGT Terry
KN4QBY Nick, Jr.
GP-06-20 Gerald
JS-07-20 John
AE6KL Michael
N2JET Shawn
WB2UJL Ernie

Awaiting ARRL Submission Data from the following Stations


ARRL Submissions for Operators Participating in the Group Stations listed below covered by the Station Captain Submission
Q’s by each Operator listed if data has been provided

Total Records Found: 16
CallsignFirstStationStation_Band_Mode FDay ClassCW QSOCW MultDigi QSODigi MultSSB QSOSSB MultPwr MultQSO ScoreComment
N1LN Bruce Grp_1 Captain, 80M, 40M, 20M, 15M, 10M, CW, aka NC4KW 1, D 1351 2x 486 1x 2x 6376 N1YXU Q's included
N1YXU Laurie Grp_1 All, SSB, aka NC4KW 1, D 486 1x 2x 972
KN4VXB Aurora Grp_2 All, SSB, aka W4BOH 2, D 36 1x 2x 72 KN4VXB Q's to be included in sites visited
W4BOH Wilson Grp_2 Captain, All, CW 2, D 623 2x 37 1x 2x 2566 KN4VXB, KN4GUM Q's included
W4ORD William Grp_3 All, 20M, SSB 1, D
N4UBH David Grp_3 20M, SSB 1, D
NA4VY David Grp_3 Captain, All, SSB, WSJT 2, D 222 1x 2x 444 W4ORD, N4UBH, KE4UVJ, KN4GUM, KN4VXB Q's included
KE4UVJ Don Grp_3 20M, SSB 1, D
KN4GUM Nan Grp_3 12 1x 12 KN4GUM Q's to be included in sites visited
K4SAR Joe Grp_4 Captain, 80M, 40M, 15M, 10M, SSB 1, E 491 1x 2x 982 KI4RAN Q's included
KI4RAN William Grp_4 All, SSB 1, D
W4SAR Dave Grp_5 Captain, All, SSB, WSJT, PSK31 1, E 338 2x 24 1x 2x 1300 KD4YJZ Q's included
KD4YJZ Karen Grp_5 All, SSB, PSK31 1, E 105
KU4GC Dee Grp_7 Captain, 80M, 40M, 20M, 15M, 10M, SSB, WSJT 2, D 309 2x 40 1x 2x 1316 KF4PAB, KM4MBG Q's included
KF4PAB Lenore Grp_7 aka KU4GC 2, D
KM4MBG Jack Grp_7 aka KU4GC 2, D 2x


Monthly Club Membership Meeting October 12, 2020

OCRA Secretary: Bill, N8BR


Monthly Membership Meeting – October 12. 2020 – 7:30 pm

Platforms Utilized: OCRA UHF Repeater and Zoom.


OPENING REMARKS (N1LN): Good evening all. I am serving as host this evening in place of W4SAR, David, our club president who is presently unavailable. Before we begin, I want to review the following “house-keeping” items:

  1. The majority of the membership present at this meeting are participating through the OCRA UHF repeater. However, some of our members do not have UHF equipment and are joining us via Zoom. I want to emphasize that the primary mode of participation in our meetings is via the club’s UHF repeater and all members are urged to use that platform if possible.
  2. Members should not use repeater or zoom time to test station function. That task should be performed before signing on to the net.
  3. For those of you coming aboard with zoom please keep in mind that it is linked to transmit/receive functions of the repeater and, as such, must comply with FCC requirements for station identification and general operation.
  4. The attendance at most of our club meetings is sufficiently large that it is important to keep individual input as brief as possible during the open round-tables so meeting time can be most efficiently utilized.
  5.  All net input and video are being recorded so that information presented can be accurately included in meeting minutes.


OCRA UHF REPEATER: KU4GC (Dee), WB1AJJ (Jonathon), W4CFO (Jim), KN4EOO (Richard), W4ORD (Ladd), KA1HPM (Nick), KM4MBG (Jack), KF4PAB (Lenore), K2RRT (Mark), KZ1X (Steve), N2XZF (Paul), KN4ZHP (Mike), KO4DHJ (Ken), KR4UB (Dan), and W4BOH (Wilson).

ZOOM: N8BR (Bill), NA4VY (Dave), KN4VXB (Aurora), W4SAR (David), KD4YJZ, (Karen), KN4QBZ (Fred), and KR4UB, (Dan).

TREASURER’S REPORT (Dan KR4UB): Current Club Membership stands at 115 (85 current active paid up members, 28 requiring renewal, 2 expiring, and 4 pending applications awaiting completion (dues). Twenty-six new members have been added during the past 12 months.


Northern Section (Dan, KR4UB): We have been hosting repairs for the 145.230 machine preparing it to go back on the air. Southern Section (Nick, KA1HPM): We have been working on our repeater and it should be up and running by the end of the month. Chatham EOC is getting building permits and firming up orders for new towers. Construction should begin in December and be completed by the end of January.


KN4VXB (Aurora): The presentation tonight is about the recently founded OCRA Ham Pi group, a collection of hams who are interested in microcomputers such as raspberry Pi and Arduino as well as other single board computers and their possible applications in amateur radio. To date this group is comprised of 8-12 folks who have met together twice during the past couple of months. About half of the group is made up of new hams and the other half are more experienced folks. The projects they’re working on include a PTT switch for Zoom meetings, a QCX CW SDR transceiver with an antenna system and various power converters. If you are interested in joining this group please email Aurora.


KU4GC (Dee): Not much ham activity this time around. We are still disposing of lots of things from our clean-up and reorganization efforts. Many items have been contributed to the Scrap Exchange.

WB1AJJ (Jon): Not much new here. Work is chaotic and has been taking much of my time. I did manage to get the ICOM 6-meter rig repaired. I suggest more “show and tell” presentations for our meetings, but they are tough to arrange with Covid 19.

W4CFO (Jim): Has been working on a number of repeater projects with Dan and Nick.

KN4EOO (Richard): Has been working on his tractor. It dropped a rear wheel and had to be repaired. A lot of antifreeze was spilled in the process. He is in the process of testing the tractor. In addition he is also taking radio classes (EC16 and BR 101).

KA1HPM (Nick): Managed to get together with his extended family on the beach at Emerald Isle. He set up his HF rig with a Ham Stick antenna for 80 meters on the third floor balcony of their house. Using that gear he was able to access the Sunday night net that originates in Birmingham, Alabama. Additionally, he announced to us that The American Red Cross will be hosting an emergency drill in November which he will attend along with ~250 other participants.

KM4MBG (Jack): In his comments Jack stresses the fact that with the pandemic he is not doing a lot with ham radio, and places emphasis on the projects he wishes he was working on rather than telling us what projects he is actually doing. Among the things he mentioned was the fact that the pandemic is allowing him to spend more time at home and that has provided him with opportunities to do more cooking and more work with the nets. Noteworthy among his homebrew cuisines was a pasta dish with eggplant sauce which he and Lenore considered to be quite good. On the ham front he reports that he has received a shipment of parts for a field programmable gate array that he will be assembling shortly. Jack would like to have presentations on the new modes that are available for hams..

KF4PFB (Lenore): Among her comments Lenore reports that in the recent past she had not been very much involved with ham radio. On the other hand, she has spent more time working at home and taking cooking classes.

K2RRT (Mark): Mark is a new ham and is looking for a good antenna system for his rig. He has also obtained the parts to build a “shari” which is an all star link to put on the Pi 4. In addition, Mark is interested in linked repeaters and would like to talk to any club members who share that interest and understand how these systems work.

KZ1X (Steve): Steve is in the process of rebuilding his ham shack. This will be a major task that involves tearing down walls and performing a complete over haul of his space. In addition, he is planning a major addition to his tower including several new antennas.

N2XZF (Paul): Built a 10 meter J Pole antenna which worked very well. He also helped Dan KR4UB sort out the various signal ground pins on the Kenwood repeater external connector interface which as it turns out, all go to a common internal grount point (LOL!)

NA4VY (Dave): It is time to get up additional wire antennas, especially for 80 meters. Was out of town in Michigan last week and flew in a hot air balloon, While cleaning his basement found found a ten meter transceiver and antenna that he is willing to give to anyone needing HF gear. Suggested topic for presentations: Let the senior members of the club recall how they got involved in ham radio.

KN4ZHP (Mike): Has had success using Win-Link which would help with Red Cross exercises.

KO4DHJ (Ken): Checked into many nets. Is planning to move stuff from his shop and rebuild the shed.

KN4VXB (Aurora): 1. Has been active in the Ham Pi Group, 2. Learning to solder cables, 3. making a prototype Fox transmitter, 4. Learning ways to use Raspberry Pi to control cameras that are used in her graduate research, and 5. Learning to wind toroids.

W4SAR (David): Celebrated his 40th anniversary. Is preparing certificates for Field Day participants. Announced that holiday party plans coming soon. Thanked Bruce for being master of ceremonies for this meeting.

KB4YJZ (Karen): Eating lots of delicious seafood during her anniversary celebration with David.

KN4QBZ (Fred): 1. We’ve had our 50th anniversary and my wife again reminded me that there is no guarantee about what the future will bring so we gotta keep things going!! 2. Folks who are familiar with Winlink are a real asset for the Red Cross emergency exercise and their help would be most appreciated. A discussion of this process would be a good topic for another club program! 3. With regard to “Richard’s comments above about the tire leaking antifreeze solution—the solution for any pollution is dilution—that stuff is CaCl and it is toxic for grass. Dilution and flushing with water is the best way to take care of it!

N1LN (Bruce): As most club members are aware, over the past couple of years Bruce has been down sizing his contest antenna farm from a 4-tower monster with multiple monoband yagi’s to a smaller more manageable but almost equally powerful system using just two towers, each supporting a large multiband yagi. This has not only reduced the complexity of the overall antenna layout, but also the amount of both general maintenance and climbing required to keep the station in good repair. In addition, he has also reconfigured the indoor component of his station so it now houses one principal contest operating position instead of two. The equipment from the former second position has been replaced with a Heathkit DX-60 transmitter, HG-10 VFO and Hammarlund HQ129X receiver to be used for “pleasant memories from days of yore” type operating.

On a downside, the new antenna arrangement has caused some issues with Bruce’s management of the 10 meter OCRA net. Specifically, in the original system which utilized two or three 10 meter monoband yagis stacked together on a single tower it was possible for him to cover two or three different directions at the same time using a stack match. However, with the new set up in order to cover two different directions using multiband yagi antennas on separate towers requires switching rf from the antenna on one tower to another one pointed in a different direction on another tower, To make the process simpler and more efficient Bruce has built a switching/matching system that permits him to simultaneously drive the 10 meter functions of the two antennas pointed in different directions at the same time. The system has been put into operation and is now working as hoped.

KR4UB (Dan): Dan has ordered a Pi 4 and is looking forward to using it. He is also hosting the 145.230 repeater build. In addition, he and Mark KR3AM have been instrumental in the development and implementation of the hybrid repeater/Zoom platform OCRA has currently been using for its club membership to access virtual meetings during the COV 19 pandemic. Under most circumstance the preferred mechanism for accessing non face-to-face club meetings would be only via the repeaters. But, given the significant number of folks who do not have vhf and uhf equipment to access these machines the hybrid platform can be effectively used,

Dan has also been managing the implementation of the hybrid format. And, while it has been effective in bringing club members together during these difficult times, it has been eminently clear that its effectiveness depends on club members’ efforts to learn and practice the procedures necessary to successfully use it. To address that issue Dan is recommending that all potential users go to the club website and select any one of the following three buttons: (Members), (Meetings) or (Nets), and read the article “About OCRA Club Meetings, Nets and Zoom. Questions about any of this information may be addressed to Dan

W4BOH (Wilson): Wilson is anxious to have show and tell back! He is willing to present a show and tell about his restoration of a 1934 Chevy truck.

W4ORD (Ladd): Lost several trees in the storm and while dropping one of them took out his antenna. He will need help pitting the antenna back up. The exchange club is still available for a Christmas party.




Ham Pi Experimenters Meeting Notes – 22 Aug 2020

By Aurora, KN4VXB

Next Meeting Agenda:

  • 30 minutes – Discuss projects
  • 1hr Work on projects virtually together – Come with ideas and supplies for your projects.

See you next month,
Aurora, KN4VXB


Ham PiE Meeting 1 Notes – 22 Aug 2020


  • Introducing ourselves and discussing interests
  • Pick a group name (A couple of folks have lobbied for a more inclusive name, as we are not just working with Raspberry Pi)
  • Everyone declare a project that they will start working on next month

Attendees and Interests:

  • Aurora, KN4VXB – arduino-based fox hunt transmitters, satellite antenna trackers, raspberry pi APRS igate, raspberry pi wspr, high-altitude balloon transmitters, someday TARPN – 1st project Arduino fox transmitter
  • Tadd, KA2DEW – raspberry pi based radio chat relay network – TARPN – 1st project TBD
  • Dan, KR4UB – interested in Mark’s raspberry pi Zoom conference to radio remote key – 1st project – tinker with Raspberry pi on remote keyer
  • Mark, KR3AM – made pi remote ptt, want to make boxes with physical switches to talk via remote switch that work over wifi, interested in home automation and ventilation, digital modes – 1st project get PTT parts, home automation
  • Sherri, WB4OSU  – interest in software and learning hardware, use pi for logging software, wants a portable digital mode setup – 1st project – troubleshoot wifi on pi and laptop, put a power button on raspberry pi, get Pi4
  • Charles, KN4PTU – digital audio conversion, raspberry pi based digital mode radio, TARPN – 1st project – get sound card working for raspberry pi to HF portable
  • Keith, W1KES – TARPN node, virtual node control for digital modes, mobile digital station – 1st project – add to TARPN node
  • Chuck, KW4KZ – interested in everything!, experience with arduino and raspberry pi, trying to use pi in place of computer, TARPN, home automation – 1st project – get raspberry pi programs working with node red and user interface
  • Boyd, KO4GJO – wants to learn more about raspberry pi, interested in digital modes, digital logging programs, Leonardo board code oscillator/Morse decoder – K04GJO First Project – Finish antenna

Links from chat:

  • From Charles, KN4PTU to Everyone: 01:59 PM
  • From Mark, KR3AM Sidell to Everyone: 02:00 PM yeah, the 12v power hat is great. Where’d you get that?
  • From Charles, KN4PTU Everyone: 02:09 PM Link to the web site for using a Raspberry Pi as Digital modes field server.
    Pi Hat, 12v to 5v
  • From Mark, KR3AM to Everyone: 02:32 PM
  • From Sherri Rapp, WB4OSU to Everyone: 02:37 PM I finally found the HamPi link

Name Possibilities (1’s indicate votes):

  • Ham PiE- 11111 – Winner! – Ham Pi Experimenters
  • HamPuter – 1
  • HamBoard – 1
  • Pi and General Linking Electronics with Transceivers (PiGLET) -111
  • Small Computer Radio Amateur Makers (SCRAM) -11
  • Pico Computer Amateur Radio Experimenter Society (PiCARES) –
  • Small Computer Amateur Radio Experimenters (SCARE) –
  • Radio Amateur Small Computer Advancement League (RASCAL) – 111
  • Small Computer Radio Amateur Project group (SCRAP group) – 11
  • Digital Radio Operators Durham Raleigh Orange (DRODRO) –
  • The PiPy gang (a play on PI (raspberry), and PY (python)) – OCRA Pi – 111

Next Meeting: 26 Sept. 2020

OCRA Monthly Club Meeting Minutes – August 10, 2020

Monthly Membership Club Meeting Minutes – August 10. 2020 by Bill, N8BR Club Secretary

Meeting convened at 7:30 By David, W4SAR Platforms Utilized: Repeater and Zoom

Members Present: W4SAR Dave, KB1WE Wayne, KR3AM Mark, KA1HPM Nick, N2XZF Paul, W4BOH Wilson, AC4RD Ken, W3AHL Steve, N8BR Bill, WA4AHR Dewey, KO4DHJ Ken, KU4GC Dee, N1LN Bruce, KM4MBG Jack, W4KIL Andy, KI4MXP Gerald, WB4OSU Sherry, N4KF Ken, KN4EOO Rick, KF4PAB Lenore, N1YXU Laurie, KR4UB Dan, KD4YJZ Karen, KZ1X Steve, KN4VXB Aurora, NC4CD Charlie, N4JQR J.R., KO4EJX Steve

Treasurer’s Report (Dan KR4UB): Current Club Membership stands at 111 (82 active paid up members, 28 requiring renewal, and 1 expiring). 3 folks are awaiting volunteer exam session). 21 new members have been added during the past 12 months.

Program Introduction: (David, W4SAR): Tonight’s program was a presentation by one of our club members, Aurora KN4VXB. Aurora has been active in a number of our events. In June she made a serious contribution to club efforts during Field Day when she single-handedly spearheaded its effort to make a two-way contact with one of the amateur radio satellites. And, more recently in August she organized and hosted a fox hunt for the club. In tonight’s program she will tell us in detail about the two parts of that event.

OCRA Foxhunt (Aurora KN4VXB): In Aurora’s words this activity was inspired by the non-conventional format of field day this year as well as Aurora’s own desire to learn about radio direction finding. It was her first experience with the technology. Primary “Elmers” were Steve K1ZX who provided the fox beacon, and Dan KR4UB who volunteered to be the “fox”.

I am also including a link of the article written about the fox hunt by KR4UB after actually participating in the event itself. It is on the OCRA website at:

Who were those masked folks at the August 1st Foxhunt?

Further, the link to one of the foxes hunted on the foot search is:

Finally, the Fox Hunt KC9ON Fox Hunt version 6 kit Aurora used is at:

Following the presentation Aurora held a question and answer session with the membership.

Comments (David W4SAR): Thanks to Aurora for a marvelous presentation. Thanks also to Dan for his help.

Award for Outstanding Service to the Club by New Member:

One of our club members who wishes to remain anonymous has given a gift to the club in the form of dues for one year to be awarded to a new club member for their outstanding service to the club. This year that award is going to Aurora KN4VXB. Congratulations!

Club-wide Discussion and Commentary:

W3AHL Steve: I am in the process of preparing for a trip to New Mexico some time in the future but being hampered by some difficulty with my vehicle.

WA4AHR Dewey: I appreciated Aurora’s talk. Would like to participate in a fox hunt. He will do it another time.

KO4DHJ Ken: Thanks to Aurora. I really enjoy the club.

KU4GC Dee: Aurora did a wonderful job. The material on the raspberry Pi is interesting.

N1LN Bruce: Two things. 1. I joined the virtual hamfest online this past weekend and there was a wonderful session on the K4. The first shipments will be the end of August. 2. This coming weekend is the NA QSO party on SSB.

W4KIL Andy: Nothing to add. I am enjoying what is going on.

WB4OSU Sherry: I did a zoom-build with Aurora. We built an antenna and I learned a lot. The stuff with raspberry pi is interesting. Also enjoyed learning N1MM for field day.

N4KF Ken: I am new to the club and have enjoyed the comments. My home is in Hillsborough.

KN4EOO Rick: I enjoyed the presentation. I am currently taking on-line courses.

N1YXU Laurie: I’ve been helping Bruce take his antennas down. Thanks to Aurora for a great presentation.

KR4UB Dan: Many thanks to Aurora. I am looking forward to the upcoming sessions on raspberry pi and other microcontrollers. I want to learn more.

KD4YJZ Karen: I am interested in the QSO Today Virtual Ham Expo. I wasn’t able to get on, especially the segment on remote operating. Can we get a copy of what’s going on?

KB1WE Wayne: Hello all! A great presentation tonight by Aurora. I have built some fox hunt stuff and will send along the details. Especially on directional antennas.

KA1HPM Nick: Aurora I appreciate your efforts. This is encouraging to hear about! There are 3 Volunteer examiners in Chatham County now. Perhaps they can run some VE sessions with us. Our 2 meter duplexers are finished and ready to put into cabinets now.

N2XZF Paul: A new DFMA 6 meter repeater is now on the air at TV Hill in Durham. Program your radio to receive 53.630 MHz and transmit on 52.630 MHz with a 88.5Hz PL. All are invited to check in to the weekly 6 meter net on Wednesdays at 8:30pm. Bob, K4VO is net control.

W4BOH Wilson: Chris was with us helping neighbors put up a repeater to boost signals for the cell phone. The subscription is through T Mobile. He also has an antenna on his field day tower. Has some updated information on the tape measure antenna.

N4JQR J.R.: Hello All! Great Meeting.

Adjournment W4SAR David: The club just keeps going in spite of numerous distractions. Good Evening all! Meeting Adjourned.

Interested in Ham PI Group?

Fellow hams,

At the fox hunt last weekend, one of the new hams, Nan (KN4GUM) asked if there were folks interested in radio + microcontrollers such as Raspberry Pi, BeagleBone (which Nan has experience with), and Arduino. I said I had done a little bit of non-radio work with Arduinos and was very interested in learning more about it and Raspberry Pi. I’ve also really enjoyed the virtual antenna build days we’ve had and would like to continue with something similar.

Would anyone else be interested in forming a “Ham Pi” group? We could meet virtually once a month on Saturday afternoons to spend about 30 minutes discussing our latest microcontroller projects and swap tips, and then work on projects with others for virtual company for about an hour. Once Covid is over, we could also start meeting in person, if desired. I am very interested in learning to make a Raspberry Pi based APRS igate, and Arduino-based beacons/foxes.

Let me know if you would be up for some Ham Pi!


Aurora (KN4VXB)

Who were those masked folks at the August 1st Foxhunt?

Thanks to Aurora, KN4VXB for coordinating and inspiring all to participate in a Foxhunt, Saturday August 1st!

Foxhunt Team

© 2022 photo by KR4UB, OCRA Inc

But who were those masked men and women? Well none arrived riding a fiery horse with the speed of light but they were chasing some RF traveling at the speed of light!

Pictured left to right above are the participants in the on-foot foxhunt  Joe K4SAR, Ben KO4BHX, Dan KR4UB, Aurora KN4VXB, Nan KN4GUM, Steve KZ1X and Boyd, awaiting a VE session.

© 2022 photo by KR4UB, OCRA Inc

Thanks to Steve KZ1X for preparing and hiding his fox transmitter for the on-foot event.

© 2022 photo by KR4UB, OCRA Inc

© 2022 photo by KR4UB, OCRA Inc

Aurora KN4VXB with her tape measure yagi antenna.

Foxhunt Team

© 2022 photo by KR4UB, OCRA Inc

Joe, K4SAR Hi Ho Silver! I think I’ve found a fox!

© 2022 photo by KR4UB, OCRA Inc

Boyd with his  yagi antenna

© 2022 photo by KR4UB, OCRA Inc

Aurora KN4VXB, Nan KN4GUM, Joe K4SAR, Dan KR4UB and Mark, KR3AM (not in photo) enjoyed a great conversation on their diverse interests after completion of the fox hunt driving event. Dan was “the fox” in the driving event.

comments about the event…

I am pleased to dub the Fox Hunt Event held yesterday as a success! I would like to extend a big thanks to Steve (KZ1X) for preparing and hiding his fox transmitter for the on-foot event and to Dan (KR4UB) for being “the fox” for the driving event. Thanks also to the folks who came out to participate in the hunt. We had seven participants in the on-foot event and five in the vehicle based event, including several new hams. If folks want to do this again, I’d be happy to organize another one in the spring. Aurora, KN4VXB

Thanks very much for the pictures Nan. And also to Aurora, Dan and everyone for making this Foxhunt such a fun and educational event on Saturday. We really enjoyed meeting everyone and learned a lot along the way. Not just about radio but compasses too. Ben, KO4BHX

So many thanks to Aurora and the other hams at the hunt yesterday. I had an incredible time and learned so much! I was deeply appreciative of the welcoming and collaborative atmosphere. What a great group! Nan, KO4GUM

Thanks again Aurora for coordinating all this! I had a great time and enjoyed meeting a couple of new folks and seeing some old friends. Appreciated the iced coffee and snacks! Great job as the fox, Dan! Joe, K4SAR

and where did that spirited masked man music come from?

Information for Fox Hunt – Aug. 1

from Aurora, KN4VXB….

Fellow hams,

I just wanted to remind folks that we have a Fox Hunt Day on August 1. There will be two events, an on-foot transmitter hunt from 8 am – 10 am and a vehicle- based hunt from 10:30 am – 1 pm (Note time change from original proposal).

The on-foot event will take place at the Brumley Nature Preserve – North. We will meet first in the parking lot at 8 am for instructions. There are no restrooms or running water at Brumley so plan accordingly.

The vehicle-based event will take place in Orange County. You should be able to hear the fox starting at or near the Brumley Nature Preserve – North lot.

Here’s a link to the instructions for the events. I will have printed copies for folks, or you can print and bring your own.

Prizes and (bragging rights) are available for hams who most quickly find the foxes.

Recommended equipment for the on-foot event:
1. Dual band HT FM radio
2. 2-m Directional antenna, such as a yagi
3. Attenuator (optional, but recommended)
4. Water bottle full of water
5. Sunscreen and bugspray
6. Weather appropriate clothing and comfy shoes

Recommended equipment for the vehicle event:
1. Dual Band HT or Mobile radio(s) – This event can be done with one radio, but will be easiest if you bring two, one for transmitting, one for listening.
2. 2-m directional antenna, such as a yagi
3. Attenuator (optional, but recommended)
4. A road map of Orange County or phone with maps/GPS
5. Water and snacks for the road, if desired

Looking forward to seeing you all there!


Aurora (KN4VXB)

OCRA Monthly Membership Meeting – July 13, 2020

from Bill N8BR, OCRA Secretary….

Monthly Membership Meeting – July 13, 2020 MINUTES

Convened at 7:30pm by Dave, W4SAR – 442.150 Repeater Net & Zoom Video Conference

Members Present: N8BR, Bill; WA2JLW, Roy; WA4AHR, Dewey; W3AHL, Steve; KN4EOO, Rick; W4BOH, Wilson; KA1HPM, Nick; KU4GC, Dee; KO4DHJ, Ken; KA5ETS, Doug; N1LN, Bruce; KC1BVL, Robbey; KM4MBG, Jack; KI4MXP, Gerald; W4KIL, Andy; WB4OSU,  Sherri; KW4JY, Calvin; W4ORD, Lad; N4SJW, John; KD4YJZ, Karen; KZ1X, Steve; KN4ZHP, Mike; NA4VY, Dave; KJ4VWG, Sam; KN4VXB, Aurora; N2XZF, Paul; N1YXU, Laurie; KR3AM, Mark; W4SAR, David; KR4UB, Dan

Dan, KR4UB – Treasurer’s Report: We now have 85 club members with dues current and 27 needing to renew their membership. 25 new members have joined the club over the past 12 months. A new power supply and SCOM repeater controller needed to deploy the 145.230 repeater in Chatham County has been purchased. Nick, KA1HPM is modifying the cabinet for better mounting of the equipment and Steve, W3AHL is in process of retuning the duplexer.

Dave, W4SAR – President’s Report on Field Day: In a normal year field day is a combined effort between the members of OCRA and DFMA. This year, owing to the Covid19 pandemic, folks participating in this event were encouraged to operate from their homes. In past years these “D” category stations were not permitted to earn credit for contacts with other stations operating in that category. However, this year the ARRL relaxed that requirement and allowed the “D” group operators to earn credit for contacts made with all operating classes.

Further, all members of a recognized club who are operating in the event are required to submit individual scores along with verification of their club affiliation instead of having their clubs submit a total club score on their members’ behalf. Be sure to enter “Orange County Radio Amateurs & Durham FM Association” in the Club/Group Name Field. So, this year The ARRL will combine the points earned by each member of a recognized club and post the club totals. This makes it absolutely necessary for each of us who participated in field day to submit a score by no later than July 28th.

Please mark your calendars so this deadline will be met!! If assistance is needed with the preparation of a log, please let me know so arrangements may be made to get this task completed.

Relevant to this discussion. David is preparing certificates for OCRA and DFMA participants in Field Day. To date 42 participants have indicated their involvement. Please make certain that you have made him aware of your involvement.

Club-Wide Discussion of Field Day:
Bruce, N1LN: This was a great event. Congratulations to all participants, Laurie and I worked together. She used SSB and I was on CW. We shared a single rig and alternated modes for the entire contest. It was a wonderful opportunity for Class D stations.

Pluses for this year’s format:

  • 100 watts. This power level proved to be a great advantage for running stations—a big boost over the normal QRP efforts we made in past years.
  • Reduce the number towers, power distribution, complexity, etc that must be set-up, then torn down which is very tiring given the summer heat. More time and energy left to operate.

Minuses for this year’s format:

  • No potluck on Friday night. That get-together was important and a highlight of FD.
  • Problem solving activities associated with set up that fostered lots of valuable interactions.

Suggestions for the future: Should have lower than 9A category for the club. Too many stations and not enough operators. Should run 100 watts.

David, W4SAR: Shares Bruce’s sentiments. Misses the potluck.

Wilson. W4BOH: Enjoyed field day! Agrees with Bruce’s suggestions that we go lower than 9A and above 5 watts. Is continuing his activities with old radios and animals.

Dan, KR4UB; Enjoyed field day. Supports Bruce’s notion of less than 9A and above 5 watts for next year. Believes field day is a great medium for mentoring new members and teaching a wide variety of skills that are useful in many aspects of the hobby. Enjoyed the video conferencing that was set up for field day and was a great motivator watching Bruce, Laurie, and others working into the night. That motivation led to 287 FT-8 contacts for 1198 points total.

Nick, KA1HPM: Nick and his son (KN4QBY) worked field day together from home. Nick Jr, learned radio and they both had fun. They will both be submitting logs. They were disappointed in the logging program and did not know how a dupe sheet is supposed to be used in log submission.

Lad, W4ORD: Operated field day out of his trailer using battery power. They got a late start. A 20 meter sloper was used as an antenna which worked well on 20. 40, and 15. Solar power was used during the day. The triband beam they were planning to use fell down but new parts are being installed to make repairs.

Aurora, KN4VXB: Believes that many new hams out there want to learn about the practical aspects of the hobby such as equipment set-up, antenna installation, etc. So it is important to include them in the setting up for field day and other events. She worked hard to make a satellite contact during FD but couldn’t get through the pile ups. Between now and the next field day she will practice making satellite contacts so next time she will succeed!

Jack, KM4MBG: Enjoys the Friday night events at field day and enjoys putting together the stations and antennas.

Andy, WA4KIL: Only 15 FD log submissions have been made so far. Those still outstanding should be submitted to the ARRL ASAP!

Ken, KO4DHJ: Ken, a new ham, enjoys set up and take down in events like FD. Please keep him in the loop.

Sherry, WB4OSU: FD this year was a bit weird, but it was nice to stay in house. She made 470 points. She had to learn to configure and use N1MM for logging, but it was a good experience and worked well. Old antennas that she had previously abandoned worked well for field day. Her 5 watts seemed to work pretty well and she is looking forward to the next contest.

Doug, KA5ETS: He needs to submit his logs. 112 digital contacts were made. Good Zoom and a good time.

Dave, W4SAR: His vertical antenna was broken, but he was able to figure out how to do FT8 and had a ball using it.

Lad, W4ORD: Last year we had an outstanding caterer for the Christmas Party. If we want to use him this year we have to make a reservation and need to decide on a location. We can go ahead with that and just put it on hold until our plans solidify.

Wilson, W4BOH: Apparently the Bahai’ facility is available but our regular hall in Hillsborough would be closer. The idea of having a potluck has been floated. What do folks feel about that?

Laurie, N1YVU: Thanks to Lad and Wilson for your work and suggestions. There has been talk about the possibility of a potluck. Be assured that our members provide well-honed skills good service and great food. Plus, there is the possibility of getting them to prepare a cookbook.

Dan, KR4UB: Supports the idea of a potluck. That would also provide a better level of socialization for the event and, if the pandemic causes a last minute disruption, it will be easier to respond accordingly.

Lad, W4ORD: I can certainly support a potluck. Either way is fine with me.

Bill, N8BR: I support the idea of a potluck. The folks in this group prepare wonderful food, appetizers and desserts. Thumbs up for that!

Paul, N2XZF: I like the idea of the cookbook!

Aurora, KN4VXC: Just a reminder of her earlier announcement concerning the Fox Hunt on August 1. There will be both morning and afternoon events, and if you are interested in either one or both please let her know.

Nick, KA1HPM: Update on repeater towers in Chatham County. It turns out that the planned Moncure tower is in the approach path of the Lee County Airport. In the FAA permitting process it was determined that the original planned 350’ height can only be 270’ in height due to its location in the flight path. The search is on for alternative locations, one being the use of an existing water tank with a tower extension to achieve the desired height. More news later.

Hearing no further comments the meeting was adjourned by net control Dave, W4SAR.

Remote VE Session Methods that Hams in the Area Have Used

This article is a compilation of emails received from several new hams in the OCRA club on how they were able to obtain their amateur radio license via remote VE sessions there were available.

From Steve, now KO4EJX…

I found the website for on-line exams thru Facebook, I think.  The site is  There is a button to find a session and it tells you ff they are on line or in person.  I scrolled down until I found a session that was a) not full and b) at a time that I thought would work.  Primarily, eastern time, not pacific time!

I filled out a registration and paid the fee ($15) by pay-pal and they sent me all the info to  log into the Zoom session and a separate link for the exam.

Once the session started, 3 VE’s were on Zoom and I had to have two cameras, one on the laptop and a second on my phone or i-pad.  During the exam, I had to share my screen and have the second device muted and aimed at my hands and the computer.  Before the exam, we did a 360 around the room, under the table and everywhere else to make sure there were no notes, books or papers.  No cheating! I think that was part of the conditions to hold exams on-line.

The exam itself was on-line, click the letter with the answer and scroll down to the next one.  Once done, they graded it immediately and off we went.  The proctors were watching but turned off their video so they didn’t distract me.

I passed with 32/35 and had my call sign the next morning.  They sent the e-mail with the call sign before noon the next morning and then the FCC sent an e-mail a couple of days later.  Very easy/painless.  The main VE said in one e-mail they were using a beta exam software.  I’ll try to find his info and send it along so maybe the club can ask about that.  This was all thru the Columbia University ARC in NY.

Hope this helps and I enjoyed the meeting tonight.  Lots of fun and you guys make us newbies feel welcome!


Here is the e-mail I received after registration for the on-line exam.    There may be several e-mails attached.  I’m not sure how this is going to forward!


———- Forwarded message ———
From: Alan Crosswell <>
Date: Mon, Jun 8, 2020 at 4:12 PM
Subject: Confirmed Hamstudy registration
To:  Steve…….
Now that you’ve registered on and have received your 4-digit PIN, please follow the next steps. Upon successful completion of those steps, you’ll be assigned a time slot beginning somewhere between 6:00 and 7:45 PM Eastern Time.
  1. Make sure you’ve reviewed and that you meet the requirements for taking the test. If you are using a Mac, make sure you set permissions in advance. (This is a new Zoom feature as of late May, 2020.)
  2. Let me know if you plan on taking more than one exam element: We will allow you to take additional exam elements if you pass earlier elements, but only if you are well prepared. There is no additional fee for additional elements but we need to know your plans so we can schedule your and other candidate’s exam sessions accordingly, since we are only able to supervise one exam at a time.
  3. Pay the registration fee by sending $15 either by Venmo, Zelle or Paypal. Failure to send payment by 48 hours before the scheduled session time will result in your session reservation being cancelled.

From Ken, now KO4DHJ……


When this pandemic hit I was ready to take my test at your March 7th testing session but…… (other obligation)……I passed on in person testing.

As April rolled around I was all ready to go and every test session was being shut down. I viewed a YouTube being done by Martin Brossman and a couple of guys that had been doing remote testing for quite some time in Alaska. So I recorded all their contact info and began my quest to remote test. I already had my FRN so all I needed to do was pay for the small registration & testing fee and find a proctor to monitor me while I tested. I found my neighbor across the street who is a General Class license holder who needed to qualify and be tested to be a proctor and obtain certification as a proctor by the Anchorage VECs. Once that was accomplished we needed to pick a date. That was May 7th at 6:00PM. The proctor inspected my kitchen, my laptop, table, scratch paper and pencil. Once the area passed inspection, I logged into the testing system and once sound tests were done and all 3 remote VEs could view and hear ok, the test began. In 15 minutes, I had passed Technician Class with 88.6% correct, then they offered General Class test which after another 20 minutes, I also passed General with an 86.8%. I was congratulated and asked if I wanted to try the Extra, which I said no.  Next an email document was sent and electronically signed my signature and that I’d have my call sign within the hour!

Waited my hour, no call sign, then I got a call from the Anchorage VEC telling me congrats for passing Tech, and because my proctor was only a General, I could only get credit for Tech.  Had I taken the Extra and passed it that night and only came away with Technician, I would have been a bit upset!

The AVEC also said  it would have been better if I had someone proctor that was not affiliated with amateur radio at all. Like a doctor, lawyer, police officer, sheriff deputy and not retired but active! My next choice would have been a retired federal prosecutor from church which wouldn’t have qualified because they need to be actively employed in their field of work.

All in all a great experience and I’ll get the General retest as soon as I can get a live in person session.

Feel free to modify the text if it is too detailed or feel I forgot a key point, I’ll answer any questions you have.


OCRA-DFMA Fox Hunt – Aug. 1 2020 – Save the Date!

Fellow Hams,

I had a good response to my survey and both the on-foot and vehicle based fox hunt events are a go. Thanks so much to everyone who responded!
I am happy to announce that there is one day that works for all interested participants.

Mark your calendars for August 1 for the OCRA-DFMA fox hunt event. For those of you who indicated interest in making or loaning transmitters, I will be in contact soon.


Aurora (KN4VXB)

Communications for coordination during the  August 1st Saturday Fox Hunt will be held on the OCRA 442.150 repeater.  Further details will be posted.