Field Day 2018 – Thank-you to all who took part!

Randy Moore, KK4SRO, WCARES EC would like to thank everyone who took part in what turned out to be a magnificent Field Day this year. It appears we did very well with numbers up in all categories. A big thank-you to Carl, KB9DKR and Cliff, N4CCB for all their hard work putting this event together.

Carl, KB9DKR echoed Randy’s words and congratulates all of the WCARES operators. Every station exceeded last year’s QSO targets – we’ll need to wait for the official results in November’s QST magazine but it appears we will do very well again this year. Carl thanks Commissioner Dana Ausbrooks and Williamson Co. Public Safety Director Bill Jorgenson for taking the time out of their schedules to visit our event and get on the air – Commissioner Ausbrooks at the GOTA station and Director Jorgenson operating at one of our SSB stations.

Carl also would like to give special recognition for the GOTA station which was planned, organized and run by Janise, KK4HTA and Joe, KM4QJW again this year. GOTA really knocked it out of the park this year. This station had the most positive attitude of any amateur station that Carl has ever encountered. The station was very carefully designed including a new station layout to facilitate pictures of the operators, multiple listeners and a separate space for printing of certificates and photos with the GOTA coach – all very important aspects of the public outreach that is part of GOTA. The great work done on the GOTA station will last a very long time. GOTA made 55 contacts and we would all like to recognize Janise and Joe for all the hard work running that station.

If anyone has photos or comments please get in touch with David, KK4CQD by e-mail kk4cqd@arrl.net .

Carl’s own person hightlight:

It was great to see so many of our WCARES operators working together. While working CW2 on Sunday morning, I came across a loud 10M beacon from Canada so I ran over to tell Jon Kessell who was working SSB1 and then returned to my station to call CQ and watch the band populate with signals on the pan adaptor. Then, I glanced at the logbook data and noticed that Jon had filled the entire screen with SSB QSOs–simply amazing for 5 watts. It was a phenomenal opportunity to be very early on what became the dominant propagation trend for the biggest radio event of the year. Oh Canada beacon, thank you! Carl KB9DKR


Field Day 2018 – June 23, 24 – WCARES is on the Air

Official WCARES Field Day Schedule is now available here:

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1A7a98VJQ-w-kW-YofA_3ockxSjCg61HFJdD_WvqFVrU/edit?usp=sharing

Click the following link for the Field Day 2018 presentation by Carl, KB9DKR:

https://wcares.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/2018_FIELD_DAY_PRESENTATION.pdf

Here’s the link to the N3FJP logging software: http://n3fjp.com/fieldday.html

along with the links from Carl’s presentation:

KX3 Training: WCARES Field Day application of the Elecraft KX3 radio and PX3 panadaptor. (Cliff, N3CCB)
https://youtu.be/vS6liED9OS0

N3FJP Training: Field Day application of N3FJP contest logging software. (N3FJP)
https://youtu.be/DJEIXuoKWqc

The June 16th Chew & Chat will have a special briefing for all members with active responsibilities as well as anyone who is interested in learning more about the activities involved with our WCARES annual ARRL Field Day event, held this year on June 23-24, 2018 at the Williamson County Public Safety Building, 304 Beasley Drive in Franklin, TN.

We have a great line-up of station operators who have been confirmed and the entire schedule will be posted soon. Those who placed an order for the official WCARES shirt will be able to pick them up. There will be a strategy overview covering the equipment, bonus point activities and HF propagation.

Additionally, we will provide training for efficient contest operating tactics so that our members can get the most enjoyment from their time on the air with CW, voice and digital modes as we seek a national placement in our event category.

For Field Day, the public welcome table will be staffed from 1pm-5pm on Saturday.

Click this link to fill out the sign-up form: https://goo.gl/forms/1IQKDXHwRRJwBcQ13

You can participate in Field Day no matter what level of experience you have.

We did very well last year, achieving first place nationwide in the 5F category. However, we should strive to do better each year. Adding some 160m contacts this year should boost our score even further. It’s not a contest, but as long as they’re keeping score, we might as well win!

Again, more information including the use of contesting strategies will be discussed at the June Chew and Chat on Saturday, June 16th.


10m operating practice net, Monday evenings ahead of Field Day!

Carl, KB9DKR is organizing a 10 meter net. The primary purpose is to encourage WCARES members to practice on-air operating tactics and learn how to be efficient and assertive with passing traffic in a high volume communications environment like Field Day.  More details to come today and Monday, so watch this post and be listening Monday night.

  • Monday nights, after the regular net for several weeks ahead of Field Day
  • Practice on-air operating tactics
  • Technician portion of the 10m band: 28.300 – 28.500 MHz so that everyone can take part.
  • Exchange will be name and zip code
  • Mobile stations can be worked in multiple zip codes
  • Coaches include some seasoned WCARES operators:
    • Tim Kreth, AD4CJ
    • Jack Cox, KA4OTB
    • Jeff Standifer, WB5WAJ

The plan is to have folks spread out and alternate between running a frequency and search & pounce. There is a google doc courtesy of Cliff, N4CCB, that you can use to report the list of contacts you made:

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1XcSueCESRf0X5t_cPyk-NcU4pZKlYBQfmZChxhYYn2I/edit?usp=sharing

The exchange format will depend a lot on the conditions and the operator; how easily can you hear the call-signs etc.?
Here’s a simple example – I (KK4CQD) hear Carl, KB9DKR calling CQ:

Running station: CQ WCARES KB9DKR
Search & pounce station: KK4CQD
Running station: KK4CQD COPY CARL 37064
Search & pounce station: QSL COPY DAVID 37067
Running station: THANK YOU QRZ KB9DKR

Any existing antennas (dipoles, beams) will be fine and there is certainly no requirement to build a special antenna.

If you are interested in making an antenna, here are a couple of simple ideas for a 10m antennas from Carl:

The 10 meter antenna that Carl made for his attic installation was constructed in about 15 minutes. This is a classic “vertical ground plane” design with only two tuned radials. The key is to elevate the radials.

1) Cut 3 wires to 8 feet, 4 inches (for SWR centered on 28.400 Mhz).
2) Strip about 1/2 inch of the insulation from the ends.
3) Solder one wire to the center coax conductor and solder the other two wires to the shield.
4) Assemble it like an inverted T or Y, if necessary bend to fit and then staple in place.
5) For tuning (mine required none), it is okay to simply bend the wire back onto itself.

Here is an externally mounted version of this antenna using 102 CB whip:
http://www.arrl.org/files/file/10M-Vertical-1995-07-QST.pdf

For local use in WCARES be sure to get the antenna as high up as possible. A 10 meter vertical signal will tend to carry over the ground and bend over the hills a little better than 2 meters, but for our expectations assume line-of-sight pathways.

ZIP codes:

Williamson County:
http://www.williamsoncounty-tn.gov/DocumentCenter/View/664/Zipcode24x36

Davidson County:
http://maps.nashville.gov/webimages/MapGallery/PDFMaps/Zip%20Codes.pdf

Others?


Harpeth River Ride

Williamson County Administration building will serve as the WCARES HQ and setup there began at 0530. The rest stop captains were reminded that they will need to go by HQ on the way to their rest stop to pick up the sweeps trackers.

All of the rest stop captains and SAGs should have a copy of the ICS-201, 202, 205 and 207 by now. Look for a revision 2.0 of the 201 to be sent out later on the 30th and it’s likely that a 3.0 will follow. Most of the revisions will be in regards to the SAGs. ICS-202 will likely be updated daily for the forecast. Rest stops and SAGs will be using 213s, 214s and 309s. These can be submitted to HQ in person, by Winlink to K4IDK or to Robin via email. Also of note, the 2 shorter routes won’t start until 0830, not 0700 with the metric and century riders, so the Shade Tree and Johnson Chapel rest stops will have a later takedown time.

The Harpeth River Ride is fast approaching and we’re looking for volunteers with any level of experience! Whether you have a full dropkit or are just getting your feet wet, this is a great opportunity to gain real-world operating experience. If you are relatively new to Amateur Radio or don’t have a lot of operating experience, just indicate that on the sign-up sheet and we’ll make sure you are paired with a more experienced operator.

The start/finish line this year will be at ProHealth, across the street from the county admin building on Main St. in Franklin. Please check the WCARES website often and listen to the Monday night nets for updates.

The will take place on June 2, 2018 so mark your calendars!

Visit the link below to sign up:

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/10yvuEgdldoEDHQo-izOVaaHKoxqtcQFfVZTbEXtYflM/edit#gid=0


Winlink Training with ICS-213 at Home Exercise II

Winlink Training with ICS-213 at Home

Saturday, February 17, 2018 from 1 pm to 2 pm Central

WCARES Winlink Training with ICS-213 Home Exercise II will take place on Saturday, February the 17th between 1pm and 2pm (after the next Chew & Chat). It will run one hour instead of two.

Like the first exercise, you’ll be able to participate from home or anywhere you can operate Winlink. The participants will use the ICS-213 form template in Winlink to answer skill-testing questions derived from the ARRL Ham Radio License Manual. The questions will be from the Technician question pool.

In the first exercise, the participants issued one ISC-213 General Message form and “Replied” to many. In this exercise, the participants will be issuing the ISC-213 General Message form.

Class/Modes:

All license classes can participate and don’t worry about your level of experience with Winlink.

You can use any Winlink mode available to your license class and equipment; You can operate using Telnet over the Internet, Packet on VHF/UHF or Winmor/Pactor over HF. You can find the latest Frequency Band Charts here: http://www.arrl.org/graphical-frequency-allocations

If you participated in the first WCARES Winlink Training with ICS-213 Home Exercise, I would like to encourage you by challenging yourself not to use Telnet and try to use either Packet on VHF/UHF or Winmor/Pactor over HF. If you do not have radio capabilities, please continue to use Telnet.

Winlink/RMS Express:

You will need Winlink installed. Please go to the bottom of the Winlink Training with ICS-213 at Home Exercise announcement, posted on Nov 6, 2017 for instructions. https://wcares.org/winlink-training-with-ics-213-at-home/

Point System:

This is not a contest. The point system was created to help show you how well you did. In this exercise, you can keep track on how well you did.

Participants who are using Packet or Winmor/Pactor will receive bonus points. This will be based on the honor system.

5 points for using Packet mode
7 points for using Winmor or Pactor mode

1 point for each completed ISC-213 Question Sequence

15 point for each Bonus Question

10 point for participating the exercise from 1pm to 2pm

Some tidbits-

You do not need to stay for the whole exercise. If you need to leave early, please notify Net Control.

We have Elmers to help you. You are welcome to do the exercise at the EOC.

Please remember, this exercise is about learning a skill set and about having fun doing it!

Thank you,

Janise, KK4HTA


Go Box, Drop Kit radio equipment configuration session

PSC Classroom Event, Saturday 24th of March, from 8 am till noon.

Dave, KI4PSR, will facilitate a “Go Box, Drop Kit radio equipment configuration session” at a classroom in the Public Safety Center.

If you are interested in attending, please e-mail dave@lostfrogs.com .

The principal focus is on putting together a portable radio kit for UHF/VHF voice and Winlink.

Participants will design and start creating basic, simple portable radio systems including UHF/VHF radios, TNC, computer interface cabling, power supply and/or battery.

Target participants:

  • New hams to learn what a go box kit means and includes from a radio perspective.
  • Hams with an assembled kit to test and verify (hams uncertain if it works).
  • Hams needing suggestions and parts lists/venders of required equipment, programming.
  •  Hams needing simple connections and adaptors made (Coax, power poles, DIN cables wiring).

Support offered:

  • Information document with drawings and parts list to send out before the event so participants can order what they might need.
  • Email support to answer questions and supply information prior to the event.
  • Building assistance at the event, testing, programming, training.

Limitations:

  •  For this initial event, the number of participants will be limited to no more than 20.

Participants need to be as prepared as they can be considering their experience…this must be a do it yourself event requiring participants active involvement to the extent of their ability

Needed:

  • Volunteers with experience, equipment, and tools. Experienced builders to bring parts like speakers TNCs and cables for donation or sale.

New Monthly Winlink Net

Beginning February 15th, 2018, there will be a Winlink-only net each 3rd Thursday of every month.

  • Check-in is between 0600-1900 Central and can be ANY mode including Telnet.
  • Put Winlink Net in the Subject line of your check-in message and
  • put your name and the mode you’re using (Telnet, Packet, Winmor etc.) in the body of the message
  • You will receive an acknowledgement to show that you’re checked in.
  • Address your check-in message to WC4EOC.

You may send your check-in as a regular Winlink message or use the ICS-213
form available in Winlink Express.

This net will repeat every month. This is a simple check-in with the purpose being to have WCARES members stay up to date on how to use Winlink Express.


2018 Winter Field Day

Winter Field Day will be January 27 – 28, held on Vanderbilt’s Dyer Observatory grounds. In case of inclement weather the location will instead be outside the Williamson County Public Safety building in Franklin. There will be three stations running 24 hours: SSB, CW and Digital (PSK31). We’re even going to try to work a satellite! The event begins at 1 pm Saturday, January 27th and continues until 1 pm Sunday, January 28th.

If you’d like to participate, sign up using the links below.

SSB: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1Wih-zEw1-Xh2YGlTXJtHk1lXZc_NP3n4dpb41u0whrY/edit?usp=sharing

CW: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1WJoxsxk2Q8Z2n-UaqYw3qvcXUlam49yuLA9dBEbJecs/edit?usp=sharing

Digital: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1GfFeel2FkxfindtKm1YFJKBv15qAyIjo2r7VuChOt4Q/edit?usp=sharing

Questions? Email Laura at n4clo@arrl.net


Winlink Training with ICS-213 at Home Exercise II Workshop

There are two for training and practice workshops to help prepare for the Winlink Training with ICS-213 at Home Exercise II.

Tuesday, December 12th from 9am to 12pm
Tuesday, December 19th from 9am to 12pm

On Tuesday December 12th from 9 to noon we will host a Winlink/Winmor radio to computer interfacing help session. If you are having difficulties setting up your radio and computer to do Winlink/Winmor over the air we will try to help. Bring your radio and laptop computer, interface boxes and cables. We will have power supplies and dummy loads.

The workshops are held at The Brentwood Library in the Fall Conference Room. The room can hold up 18 people. If you are planning to come, please contact Janise at KK4HTA@arrl.net on which day and time and make sure to indicate what help you’d like with Winlink.

Thanks: I would like to thank the thirteen participants who trained with us during the Winlink Training with ICS-213 at Home Exercise. Especially for the kind words given on the second Bonus Question “Feedback”, they were very much appreciated!

The maximum total score is 57.
1 point for each 17 questions answered correctly. 15 point for each Bonus Questions

– ICS-309 Report
– Feedback
– Those who answered all 17 questions correctly

Both participants and Exercise Command learned a few things and we are looking forward to make improvements. One participant tried to be part of the exercise from several states away, but the Internet was not working to his favor. Bob AK4RO was simultaneously using both Pactor and packet Winlink on two different radios and switching back and forth between them for practice.

Five of the thirteen participants are new Winlink users. Two of the five learned how to use Winlink during W4PHS, Phil’s presentation. All in all, everyone did very well. I’m so glad you tried it!

If any participants have questions about the Saturday, Nov 18th Winlink Training with ICS-213 at Home Exercise, please send the questions to Janise at KK4HTA@arrl.net.

The exercise couldn’t happen without the teamwork of Dave KI4PSR, Laura N4CLO, RJ KC4LRR and David KK4CQD, thank you!

What’s next you ask?
Yes, there will be a Winlink Training with ICS-213 at Home Exercise II scheduled for sometime in February 2018 (TBD); more information will follow. If you are interested in signing up for the exercise, please contact Janise at KK4HTA@arrl.net and I will put you on the roster. Early sign up is welcome.

Please look out for future announcement about the Winlink Training with ICS-213 at Home Exercise II on the Monday Nets, WCARES Newsletter and the WCARES website.

Thank you! Janise, KK4HTA