Field Day 2019 – sign up!

2019 Field Day will be held June 22-23, 2019 and the sign-up sheet for the WCARES 2019 Field Day event is here:

Field Day is always the fourth full weekend of June, beginning at 1800 UTC Saturday and running through 2059 UTC Sunday.

Building and testing a Windom

Inspired by the recent presentation on Windoms, Dave, KI4PSR with the help of Jon, KK4AIZ, Rob, KM4SOA , Paul, KM4PT and Doug, W4DML, built and tested the design during this past Tuesday’s Portable Ops. Dave said the SWR was great, just as described by Ted, W3TB.

From Jon:
“Station was Icom 7300, with battery and solar panels. We were able to tune 20, 40, 80, & 17. I made one contact into Western Pennsylvania; on 7.255 – missed NC callsign. Got a 5.6 report!”

Photos courtesy of Dave and Jon:

Windoms – modelling and aiming

Ted, W3TB gave a presentation at the March WCARES Monthly Meeting on Windom antennas. Ted discussed the use of Azimuthal Equidistant maps for antenna planning and aiming, gave a demonstration of modelling the Windom using the EZNEC demo and discussed building the Windom.

Ted’s presentation files are attached:

1 – the Azmuthal-Equidistant map of the world centered on Franklin
2 – the PowerPoint that Ted used in the presentation
3 – the article from 73 Magazine, Sept 1980, about the Windom (The Internet Archive maintains copies of this magazine: )

Additionally, an image combining the Franklin azimuthal map and the antenna plots as shown above is here.

And try out a simple website demo to see how rotating the original antenna plot compares with locations on the map:

WCARES 2019 Winter Field Day pictures

WCARES members were out in force for this year’s Winter Field Day.

So, a few hours before midnight; 30 degrees at best; Traffic on Moores lane is near zero; the small tent is keeping us warm; On 80 meters; Three portable antennas in the field; The operator (N4CCB) decides to run a frequency (call CQ); I’m logging and chomping at the bit; Tuned up; Boom! …Two, Three, then four contacts a minute; Canada, Wisconsin to Alabama, Ohio, Western New York inbetween.
Talk about a RUSH! The CW station had similar runs at kick-off time.

Photos taken by Jon, KK4AIZ and Paul, KM4PT

Video – CW contesting setup

Hunter, K3IE, did an overview of the radio, computer and software setup used to take part in a recent ARRL CW Sweepstakes.

A video of the presentation is here:

A Flex 6500 radio was used along with a number of software packages including SmartSDR, CWSkimmer, Slice Master and DAX:

  • SmartSDR
  • CWSkimmer is the software that takes the I/Q output from the radio and decodes the CW
  • Slice Master 6000 which sits between SmartSDR and CWSkimmer (SDR Bridge is another option here)

    Slice Master does a number of things but is primarily responsible for syncing the radio and CWSkimmer. This lets someone click on the CWSkimmer waterfall and have the radio automatically QSY to the frequency on which the user clicked. In the same way, a user can click on the SmartSDR panadapter and CWSkimmer will automatically scroll to that signal in its display. Slice Master is the “glue” that makes these two programs stay in sync when the user clicks either.
  • DAX is Digital Audio Transport

    It’s Flex software that creates virtual audio cables for the signals coming into and out of SmartSDR.
    It does this by creating a virtual soundcard for the incoming, outgoing, and I/Q signals.
    By having these signals show up on your PC as soundcards, you can use any off-the-shelf ham radio software and configure that software to use the DAX signals. So, in your ham radio software for digital modes like PSK-31, FT8, etc…. if you want to tell the software where to get the incoming audio for decoding, you’ll select the “soundcard” in your PC’s audio picklist called “DAX Audio RX 1”. And, to tell the software where to send the encoded audio for transmission over-the-air, you’ll pick the soundcard called “DAX Audio TX”.
  • N1MM Logger+

    N1MM is the gold-standard software used by contesters

Online Spotter Classes – NWS OHX

To sign up for the spotter classes visit:

From the National Weather Service:

“Online classes offer all the information that our in-person spotter classes offer with the added convenience of attending in the comfort of your own home!

Classes are FREE and open to people of all ages.
Each class is hosted by a National Weather Service Meteorologist from the Nashville WFO.

Classes run approximately 2 hours including a Q&A session.”

To sign up for the spotter classes visit:

Basic Spotter Classes Advanced Spotter Classes
All start at 6PM All start at 6PM
Tuesday February 19 Tuesday March 5
Thursday February 21 Tuesday March 26
Tuesday February 26 Thursday March 28
Friday March 1  
Thursday March 7  

Receive with your Fence

At the January, 2019 Monthly Meeting, Paul, WD9IOK gave a talk on his experiences making and using loop antennas mounted to fences. Check out the attached PDF and discover how to find those stations previously lost in the noise while complying with your HOA.

Winter Field Day 2019 – starts today at 1PM CT!

WCARES Winter Field Day 2019 starts today, Saturday, January 26 at 1PM CT and runs until 1PM tomorrow, Sunday, January 27. Address and parking information below.

Where: 7001 Tartan Dr, Brentwood, TN 37027
Setup Friday Jan. 25 at 1PM CT
Winter Field Day Sat. Jan. 26 at 1PM CT through Sun. Jan. 27 at 1PM CT

Directions/parking: Moores Lane to Moorehead Blvd and turn right onto Tartan Drive and park in the clubhouse parking lot which will be on your right after Vineland Ct. (,-86.8170025,19z )

If you haven’t signed up yet here’s a link to the registration form. If you think you would like to take part, simply fill out the form and submit. We will get back to you soon.

Photos showing entrance, streets and parking (click to enlarge):

Chokes, Baluns & Ununs

Dave, KI4PSR gave an informative talk on Chokes, Baluns and Ununs at the November Chew & Chat.

His talk covers some of the history of transmission line transformers leading to the development of baluns, ununs and choke baluns as well as definitions and theory. Some discussion on chosing the right balun included ideas on measuring common mode current, consequences of high- vs. low-power wiring, misconceptions about ratios, use of ladder line with baluns and grounding. Finally Dave walked us through a number of examples based on different antenna configurations including some being used by WCARES members.

If you missed the presentation or just want to review, Dave has provided his slides and text; You can find PDF copies at the following links:


Common mode current on the feedline of a dipole without a balun

Top 10 for Field Day 2018 – with pictures

During the preparations for Field Day 2018, Carl KB9DKR had talked about the “moonshot” possibility of WCARES breaking into the Top 10 list in QST Magazine. Well, the results are in and we did it! WCARES placed 9th overall out of 2903 groups participating with a score of 14290 and we were 1st among the 186 EOCs that took part this year.

A HUGE thanks to Cliff, N4CCB and Carl, KB9DKR who inspired us and coordinated and managed our effort this year along with all the station captains – Jeff and Peter (SSB), Tim and Cliff (CW), Phil (Digital), Al (VHF), Janise and Joe (GOTA), Jon and Jason (Satellite), Dave (fantastic Welcome Table) – and everyone who participated or volunteered to help.

We’d also like to thank Commissioner Dana Ausbrooks, of course Bill Jorgensen, Director of Williamson County Office of Public Safety and our EC, Randy Moore, KK4SRO along with the many visitors and GOTA participants for taking part and making this possible.

The December issue of QST has all the 2018 Field Day results, starting on page 71.

Pictures from WCARES 2018 Field Day.