Category Archives: President’s Notes

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

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 Update May 10, 2017

Hi All-

We worked out some more logistics for Field Day. Bruce N1LN’s classes on the N1MM logging program are progressing nicely, with all of the band captains having been exposed to at least part of it. We should have everyone up to speed on using this one program this year. Testing will be done this week on Wilson’s property for the wireless network that will link all of the logging computers. If all goes well, all stations will be feeding their contacts into one master log, making it a snap for making our results submission. In the event of a network failure, or if someone’s logging computer just cannot access the network, we will go to the old tried and true method of backing up logs from the laptops onto a thumb drive, so that I can perform a merge afterward.

We have had to make some shifts to maintain a 9A Battery classification, but it also looks like we will am almost 100% Elecraft operation. Here is the current lineup:

CW:
3 transmitters on 80/40/20/15 meters, Elecraft K3 – in MCU

Digital:
40 Meter PSK31 Elecraft K3 – barn loft
20/15 Meter PSK31 Elecraft KX-3 – barn loft

Phone:
80 Meter SSB Elecraft K3- out of RV
40/15 Meter SSB Elecraft K3- out of camper
20 Meter SSB Phone Elecraft KX-3 – out of tent
10 Meter SSB Phone Radio Shack HTX-10 – out of barn loft

Skip, N4SKP will be providing a sandwich platter at Noon on that Friday for the work crews. John, KM4MDR will be coordinating the pot luck to be held that Friday night. Lad, W4ORD is working out the food supplies for the Saturday night dinner and the Sunday morning breakfast,, he will solicit side dishes or desserts that anyone may want to supply.

Attached is the first draft of this year’s site plan, not too many changes from last year save the shifting of digital stations to the loft.

Also, both to garner the 100 point bonus for Social Media Publicity, and to provide yet another channel for members  and visitors to get updates on our Field Day operation, I have created a Facebook group:

OCRA-DFMA Amateur Radio Field Day W4EZ

Facebookers, feel free to join and help provide content, photographs from previous FD operations would be great to add!

 

 

 

Field Day Update April 2017

Hi All, more of the plans are starting to gel, we do need to solidify more of the logistics for Field Day. For one, I was mistaken when I said we were on track to be a 9A operation. As it turns out the CW operation out of the MCU will be running only three transmitters, not the four transmitters I had presumed, so we are an 8A operation as it now stands. Here are the current stations planned and band captains:

CW in the MCU: three transmitters on 80/40/20/15 meters. Bruce N1LN and the CW gang.

40 Digital- in barn loft, Dave W4SAR
20 Digital- in barn loft, John, KM4MDR

80 Phone- Steve , W3AHL in his RV
40/15 Phone- Adriano KV7D and Joe K4SAR in camper
20 Phone- Lad, W4ORD in tent.

Currently, there are no plans to work 10 meters due to very poor prospects for propagation. VHF is open if anyone wants to try it, that station will not change the count of stations for our category. I am working on a possible temporary split out of 15M phone so that we do keep a 9A designation, stand by for more on that later.

Bruce N1LN has agreed to run a teleconferenced class to get the band captains (and anyone interested in helping out with logging) up to speed on using the N1MM logging program. See the NCOCRA Yahoogroup for postings on this, I believe Bruce wants to start the initial session this coming Wednesday.

I will be contacting the band captains on their final arrangements for radios, to confirm what antennas they are using and where they will be placed, an updated site plan will be posted shortly after that is done.

Food- Lad W4ORD and Noble N4UOQ have agreed to step up and form the nucleus of the group operating the field canteen, they will be needing some more people to help with that work. Besides providing cold water and soft drinks throughout the operation, he canteen will also grill dinner on that Saturday and Breakfast on Sunday morning. John KM4MDR will coordinate the Pot Luck planned for that Friday night. Skip N4SKP will be providing a sandwich spread for the work crews on Friday around noon.

Bonus Points- We have several members volunteering to help chase down some of these points for us. Stand by, I will get all of you more solid information shortly.

Things are moving for Field Day, and the pace is picking up considerably the closer we get. I will be putting out notices on a more frequent basis now as we deal with the inevitable changes and tweaks that occur to every plan. I am looking forward to another great Field Day this year!

73,

Dave Snyder, W4SAR

Field Day 2017 plans

Field Day plans for 2017 are starting into motion. So far it looks like we will again have a 9 Alpha Battery operation, a club operation using battery power only to power transceivers, 5 Watts maximum output.
Here are the current stations and band captains:
80 M, 40 M, 20 M and 15 M CW- Again run by the CW gang out of the MCU
40 M Digital (W4SAR) 20M Digital (KM4MDR) out of the barn loft
80 M Phone (W3AHL) out of RV
40/15 M Phone (K4SAR & KV7D) out of camper (suggestion made at meeting to split out 15)
20 M Phone (W4ORD) out of tent
Due to poor prospects for propagation, 10 meters will not have a dedicated station. The VHF band captain from last year cannot participate, so that slot is open if anyone is interested.
Food- Dee KU4GC and M.K. W4MKR have stepped down from running the field canteen, we’re looking for others to step up and fill this important function. So far, John KM4MDR has agreed to coordinate the Friday night potluck, probably the biggest single social activity between the two clubs. Lad W4ORD has agreed to run the grill on that Sunday morning for breakfast. We still need to work out dinner for that Saturday evening, as well as keep cool drinks on hand for the entire operation.
Logging/Networking- This year we will try to have everyone up and running on the N1MM freeware contesting log program. If we all use the same program with a wireless network in place, one master log will be compiled on the fly. Bruce N1LN is willing to run a couple of clinics, we will have an introductory demonstration of ZOOM teleconferencing at the April OCRA meeting. In May, a hands-on clinic for the band-captains will be held working with the N1MM Field Day template, using ZOOM teleconferencing on their logging laptops. Some volunteers are stepping up from both DFMA and OCRA to plan out the wireless network to be used for Field Day, all logging computers must have this capability.
Bonus Points- We actually had more QSO points than our close competitor in California last year. However, they still edged us out from second place by strenuously making all the bonus points they could. This year, we need more volunteers to assist in making up all the points we can. We did not have an ongoing educational activity last year(100 points), and never had anyone passing traffic (10 points each). If you don’t want to operate the full weekend, getting bonus points may be more your speed!
I look forward to the continuing discussions, and eagerly anticipate what further plans we come up with for Field Day this year!

73,
W4SAR

OCRA President’s Notes, March 2017

Hello, I am trying something new, our blog on the OCRA website! Joel, KM4NOU our new secretary has done a capital job putting it together! Our thanks to him. Dan, KR4UB our treasurer, also worked with Joel to integrate the club’s database. Years past, we had a club newsletter, which though useful, went away due to lack of contributions and not having an editor who could make time to keep it going. The blog will fill that gap. But it will only be useful if YOU, the membership, contributes to it! To set the example, I promised Joel a monthly contribution as your president. you will need to contact Joel for a password, and then get on the “dashboard”, type in your text and insert photos!. It was so easy, even I could do it! Karen, KD4YJZ was elected as your Vice President, she will be looking for monthly programs, I may suggest to her that Joel present on the blog at the next club meeting. He can demonstrate how to get in and use it, he gave a brief presentation at the recent board meeting, and I think the membership will find it useful! So please, come on in and help make the OCRA blog your own! –73 W4SAR