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.

Using WSPR – a presentation by Tim Kreth, AD4CJ

At the recent October Chew & Chat meeting Tim Kreth, AD4CJ, gave an interesting talk introducing members to WSPR and the WSPRlite. The presentation included discussion on using WSPR to learn about HF propagation, the WSPRlite and related resources. Tim also discussed the calculations necessary and presented a spreadsheet tool useful for converting WSPR signal levels to a relative approximation of what might be needed for other modes such as CW or SSB. The presentation and the spreadsheet are available via the links below:

WSPR Presentation (PDF)

Spreadsheet for Signal level conversion (XLSX)

Does your receiver have an IQ? A talk by Dave Matthews, KI4PSR

Dave Matthews, KI4PSR gave a talk at a recent Chew & Chat. The talk covered receiver designs over time and included discussion of the Tayloe detector.

Randy Moore, KK4SRO, our EC, has uploaded a video of Dave’s talk to Youtube and Dave’s slides are available as well:



WCARES featured in Williamson Herald Field Day 2018 story

WCARES is featured in a story posted by the Williamson Herald and written by 

The story features interviews and photo’s of members.

Read the story via the link below:

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 .

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:

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

Here’s the link to the N3FJP logging software:

along with the links from Carl’s presentation:

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

N3FJP Training: Field Day application of N3FJP contest logging software. (N3FJP)

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:

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:

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:

Click to access 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:

Davidson County:


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:

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.


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:

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.

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