Tennessee Severe Weather Awareness Week 2021

Unfortunately, there won’t be SWAD this year, but in its place, starting Sunday, February 28th, the National Weather Service offices that serve Tennessee will be conducting Severe Weather Awareness Week 2021. Each day, a new topic will be covered by way of online presentations. You will be able to register for any or all of the FREE classes that will be offered during the week.

Find all the details on the OHX website:

https://www.weather.gov/ohx/swaw2021

 

 

Skywarn® and the Skywarn® logo are registered trademarks of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, used with permission.


(Updated) Feb. 2021 Virtual Monthly Meeting: Powerpoles, DMR and Shack Tour!

This month RJ, KC4LRR has a presentation on Anderson Powerpoles, Andrew, AK4FA gives a Technical Presentation on DMR and Scott, KD4VVC takes us on a tour of his radio shack including a look at the tower, antenna switching, lightning protection and grounding!

Update: PDFs of RJ KC4LRR’s Powerpoles and Andrew, AK4FA’s DMR presentations have been added under:

Library & Special Interests --> Presentations

Videos

Anderson Powerpoles: RJ (KC4LRR)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VbhEZSsD568

Digital Mobile Radio (DMR): Andrew Gossett (AK4FA)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_zgms8Ko-pg

Virtual Shack Tour: Scott Gray (KD4VVC)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A-dRSMHgxvQ


Winter Field Day 2021 – some preliminary results

Winter Field Day 2021 is done! A number of people took part in the N3FJP setup that built the live stats web page. Here is the list of claimed scores – well done all!

WCARES-TN Total Score = 18,857
Call Score QSOs 20 Min 60 Min Frequency 
AK4FA 5,915 845 6 2  
N4CCB 4,810 245 30 28 7.03450 
WB5WAJ 2,284 570 72 60  
KA5WMF 1,386 194 0 3 14.07800 
K4ARC 832 208 3 9 7.18700 
KA4OTB 792 183 9 17 3.75751 
WB4RHQ 762 127 9 9  
K4COM 754 377 12 62  
KN4RHI 282 43 0 0  
K8GNG 240 40 0 4  
KC1DWP 189 63 3 7 14.29700 
KK4AIZ 180 60 0 3 14.29570 
W4BJB 174 58 9 8 7.21501 
N4YOU 99 33 0 2 7.22300 
KM4SOA 54 27 6 3 7.24350 
W4BAX 44 44 3 9  
KN4RHF 30 30 6 5  
N4BAX 30 15 0 0  
KO4DCO 0 0 0 0  
NM4N 0 0 0 0 14.20200 

Check out Cliff’s recent WCARES e-mail for all the details.

From Cliff, N4CCB:

When is it?
The event officially begins at 1pm Central time on Saturday, January 30th, 2021.
It runs for 24 hours, ending at 1pm on Sunday, January 31st, 2021

Setup
You can begin setup 24 hours before the event.
You are allowed a total of 12 hours of setup time.

Introduction
Given that it’s currently considered unwise to gather together to conduct our normal WCARES Winter Field Day event, the question we must ask ourselves is:

How can we make the best of the situation?

We will participate fully in Winter Field Day as individuals while working together for an aggregate score AND by staying in touch (virtually) throughout the weekend.

Giving credit where credit is due, there are two sources for this interesting concept of how we’re planning to carry out this event:

  1. In June of 2020, the ARRL announced two temporary rule waivers for the 2020 Field Day. One of those specifies that the ARRL will publish the aggregate score of a club, based on the log files of its individual members. By specifying “WCARES-TN” in the club name field when submitting our individual logs, our scores will combine for a club score. In this way, we’re working together.
  2. The Winter Field Day folks decided to do the same for WFD 2021.

  3. Scott Davis, the author of N3FJP contest logging software, sent an email to his users wherein he discussed how his local club stays in touch during contests. I’ve included that email at the end of this document for your reference.

My hope is you’ll choose to participate in this WCARES event and will use the guidelines in this document to make the most of our virtual weekend together.

The Big Picture
There are 3 things that are unique to our 2021 Winter Field Day experience:

Playing as Individuals but working toward a common goal…

The Winter Field Day folks announced that people submitting WFD logs as individuals could also specify a club name – and all of the logs that bear the same club name will be aggregated for a total club score. This will allow us to compete as individuals but adds the fun of working together for the good of the group score.

Seeing each other’s progress and our combined score…

Having our computers networked together during previous WCARES Field Days, we took advantage of the N3FJP logging software’s ability to show our combined score in real-time. While we won’t be networked together this year, the N3FJP logging software has another trick up its sleeve that WILL allow us to see each other’s progress and our combined score! This is pretty cool. Here’s how it works…

When configuring the N3FJP logging software, there is a “Settings Menu” choice called Web Upload Contest Status. (Detailed configuration instructions are found later in this document.) You can configure N3FJP to upload your contact statistics to the internet every few minutes. Then, a separate N3FJP program (running at my house) looks at all of the cloud files and builds a custom web page showing our total club score AND the statistics of each participating station! By simply keeping a web browser open all weekend to that special web page, we’ll all be able to see each other’s progress and keep track of our combined score.

Live chat all weekend…

Another way to hang out together is through a live chat room where we can type messages to each other, post photos, etc.

I’ve set up a WCARES “server” with the Discord online service. By creating your free account on Discord.com, you can then click a special link that will grant you access to our “server”/chat area.

Everybody should read the official Winter Field Day rules.

Read them online in a web browser here: Winter Field Day

Read them in a PDF, suitable for printing here:
https://a2a53e2b-2285-4083-9cff-c99fe5ba1658.filesusr.com/ugd/1c7085_2445ed4b22f74e048fe9bd41c8dba103.pdf

If you want to maximize the points you earn in the contest, you will need to read the official rules and take note of the scoring calculation “multipliers” and the four 1,500 bonus points that are the key to boosting your score.

In a nutshell, you’ll score the most points if you do the following:

  • Run 5 watts (QRP) on battery power during the entire event
  • Make as many contacts as possible on as many bands/modes as you can.

That is how WCARES achieved the #1 EOC and Top 10 (#9) Overall score in the country during the 2018 ARRL Field Day event.

Even though you will score the most points that way, you naturally won’t make as many contacts at 5 watts as you will at 100 watts. As much as I love QRP for my everyday ham radio fun, I enjoy running 100 watts during most contests so that I can “run a frequency” (park on a frequency and call CQ instead of “searching and pouncing” up and down the band).”

Again, be sure to check out Cliff’s recent WCARES e-mail for all the details.

Cliff gave an overview of this years WCARES Winter Field Day at the January Virtual Monthly Meeting (Saturday, January 16, 2021). You can find this presentation under the January, 2021 Virtual Monthly Meeting presentations on the presentations page:

Library & Special Interests --> Presentations

or here:

https://wcares.org/jan-2021-virtual-monthly-meeting-hospital-nets-winter-field-day-and-vacation-shack-tour/

(* This event counts towards WCARES participation requirements )


Winlink Thursday #4 with the American Red Cross (updated)

Again this year, the American Red Cross (ARC) will be conducting Emergency Communications (EmComm) training drills and exercises using Winlink.

(* This event counts towards WCARES participation requirements )

A groups.io group has been set up for announcements and information:

https://groups.io/g/ARC-EmComm-Training

You can join that group or simply access the messages using the Message History calendar at the bottom of the page linked above.

The fourth exercise for 2021 is Thursday, Jan. 28th – You can find the details in groups.io message #16 and groups.io message #18 .

There is an article covering the recent Red Cross & USGS drills in the February QST starting on page 71. You can find a link to that in groups.io message #17 .

The third exercise for 2021 was Thursday, Jan. 21st. You can find the details in groups.io message #11 . Note the request to include the words THIS IS A DRILL in the title of this and any other form used during these practice sessions.

The second exercise for 2021 was Thursday, Jan. 14th and was slightly more involved than the first requiring copying and sending an ARC-213 form. You can find all the details in of groups.io message #10 .

The first exercise for 2021 was Thursday, Jan. 7th and the straight-forward instructions were provided in a PDF document linked from the bottom of groups.io message #9 .

Here is the announcement from Mike Walters, W8ZY, CT ARES SEC:


Well, we’ve pulled through 2020 and are ready to resume our popular Winlink Thursday exercises. Our goal for these sessions is to help you learn more about Winlink and how it can be used to support emergency communications for the American Red Cross.

In January, we will repeat the exercises we did last fall as 4 weekly exercises to review and practice the skills identified for a Basic Operator. Beginning in February, we will shift to a monthly exercise on the second Thursday of the month to help prepare operators for the May 8th exercise.

Each week in January, you will receive an email notification from the ARC-EmComm-Training groups.io with directions for that week’s exercise. You can send your message at any on the Thursday listed for the exercise. Our divisional clearinghouses will then collect and process the messages with an acknowledgment and results made available that weekend

Our exercises are designed to introduce you to the concept of sending email using radio where traditional internet is not available. Sending a digital message can improve efficiency and accuracy when passing traffic in an emergency. To get started you will need to install the Winlink software on your computer. You will also need a way to get the message from your computer to your radio. A Terminal Node Controller (TNC) like those from Kantronics, if you have a packet node nearby, or a sound card interface like the SignaLink can be purchased to make this connection.

To help guide you through downloading, installing and using Winlink, there are many video tutorials available on the internet. We have listed several videos and other resources in the Winlink Proficiency Goals found in the General Information Folder on the shared Google drive. In that same folder, you will find a map of Red Cross Divisions and a table listing the Winlink Tactical address for each division’s clearinghouse. These addresses are used for collecting the training messages that are sent as part of Winlink Thursday and the May general exercise.

We encourage everyone to make use of available RF gateways when possible. If you are not able to access a Winlink gateway via RF, feel free to participate using Telnet. While it is best to be able to send your traffic over the air, it is fine to use Telnet to become familiar with Winlink and be able to navigate the software.

Attached is our first Winlink Thursday (WT) exercise of 2021. In this exercise, you will complete a Winlink Check-In form and send it to your Divisional Clearinghouse. Refer to the map in the General Information Folder on the shared Google drive to find the Winlink Tactical address for your division. It is important to follow the directions and fill in the fields as directed. This will allow our divisions to extract information from the check-in form some what automatically.

If you have difficulties or questions, we have a team of volunteers available to assist. Send your questions to winlinktech@redcross.org and one of our WInlink Elmers will get back to you.


AMSAT/Vanderbilt RadFXSat-2/Fox 1E Deployed into target orbit (update 6)

Updated 2021-JAN-17 17:17 CST – Virgin Orbit’s Cosmic Girl released LauncherOne for launch at 1:38 PM CST from the racetrack off Long Beach.
At 4:28 PM Virgin Orbit tweeted:

Payloads successfully deployed into our target orbit! We are so, so proud to say that LauncherOne has now completed its first mission to space, carrying 9 CubeSat missions into Low Earth Orbit for our friends @NASA.

From ANS-017 AMSAT News Service Weekly News Bulletin:

<…>
SB SAT @ AMSAT $ANS-017.01
ANS-017 AMSAT News Service Weekly Bulletins

AMSAT News Service Bulletin 017.01
From AMSAT HQ Washington, DC
January 17, 2021
To All RADIO AMATEURS
BID: $ANS-017.01

RadFxSat-2 Launch Delayed Until Sunday, January 17, 2021

Virgin Orbit announced a new launch date of No Earlier Than (NET) Sunday, January 17, 2021
with additional windows in January if needed. The specific window is 10:00 to 14:00 PST
(1800 to 2200 UTC). Virgin Orbit seems to be using its Twitter account to make their
public announcements, so that may be worth watching at https://twitter.com/Virgin_Orbit.

AMSAT does not have preliminary TLE for the upcoming launch. If you are hoping to snag the
first contact, Jerry Buxton, N0JY, AMSAT VP – Engineering suggests checking the
nasabare.text TLE just prior to launch, maybe thirty-minutes after launch or until they
are posted.

[ANS thanks AMSAT for the above information.]
<…>

Via ARRL News and additional links:

SB SPACE @ ARL $ARLS001
ARLS001 AMSAT/Vanderbilt RadFXSat-2/Fox 1E Set to Launch

ZCZC AS01
QST de W1AW
Space Bulletin 001 ARLS001
>From ARRL Headquarters
Newington, CT January 12, 2021
To all radio amateurs

SB SPACE ARL ARLS001
ARLS001 AMSAT/Vanderbilt RadFXSat-2/Fox 1E Set to Launch

Virgin Orbit’s LauncherOne is a go for launch on Wednesday, January
13, at 1500 UTC
, carrying the AMSAT/Vanderbilt RadFXSat-2/Fox-1E
CubeSat into space.

The LauncherOne vehicle will carry 10 other satellites.
RadFXSat-2/Fox-1E carries an inverting linear transponder, with
uplink at 145.860 MHz – 145.890 MHz, and downlink at 435.760 MHz –
435.790 MHz.

Telemetry will downlink on 435.750 MHz. More information is on the
Space Launch Now website at,
https://spacelaunchnow.me/launch/launcherone-launch-demo-2/ .
NNNN
/EX

Additional links related to RadFxSat 2 Fox 1E including frequencies:

ANS-0103 AMSAT News Service Weekly Bulletins for Jan. 10, 2021

https://amsat-uk.org/2020/12/03/launch-window-for-amsat-radfxsat-2-fox-1e/
https://www.amsat.org/foxtelem-software-for-windows-mac-linux/

https://digitalcommons.usu.edu/smallsat/2019/all2019/55/
https://www.nanosats.eu/sat/radfxsat-2
http://www.arrl.org/news/launch-window-for-amsat-s-radfxsat-2-fox-1e-opens-on-december-19


Jan 2021 Virtual Monthly Meeting: Hospital Net, Winter Field Day and Vacation Shack Tour!

Our EC, Ed WB4RHQ dropped in briefly before travelling to the all-day ARRL Board Meeting – virtually on the other computer.

Presentations & Shack Tour!

Today Trey, KI4ZIN gave a presentation on the Hospital Net, discussing the organizations and people involved along with how and when the net is conducted. The net takes place primarily on the MTEARS UHF linked repeater system and provides backup communications options for facilities and primary communications in the event of an emergency. Trey also mentioned they are always looking for new volunteers to help out. Get in touch with Trey or use the Contact form on the website if you are interested in getting involved.

Cliff, N4CCB ran through a more detailed overview of Winter Field Day this year – expect to hear more from Cliff in future WCARES Notes e-mails and keep an eye on the Event Calender:

https://wcares.org/events/event/winter-field-day-2021/

Garry, W9WHF gave us a Virtual Shack Tour of his vacation setup and discussed the antennas, the radio gear and the challenge of salt coating pretty much everything. As this is a temporary spot he needed to be sure to leave it better than he found it which required some creative solutions, particularly with 4 radios and 4 antennas! The discussion about low power supply voltage at the radio due to corrosion will be of interest to anyone, even without the salt air.

Hospital Net – Trey Spain, KI4ZIN

https://youtu.be/AsQ93aLDIOU

Winter Field Day 2021 – Cliff Batson, N4CCB

https://youtu.be/gEfw8C741EI

Virtual Ham Shack Tour # 7 – Garry Decker, W9WHF

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uK1MFQR81mI

These and other presentations will now always be listed under the new:

Library & Special Interests --> Presentations

section of the website.


WCARES.org – website updates
    Jan 01-03, 2021

Here’s a list of the some of the new and expanded pages on the website that you might like to explore:

Frequencies and Nets

  • The Frequencies and Nets page and the WCARES Frequencies list in the sidebar have been updated to add the new WCARES DMR repeaters.

Library & Special Interests --> Books References Guides

Library & Special Interests --> Presentations

Library & Special Interests --> Special Interests --> DIY & Kit Building

Frequencies and Nets --> NOAA Weather Radio (NWR)

Frequencies and Nets --> Nets


Filtered Out! – a filter for 650 kHz by Doug, W4DML (more updated pics!)

Doug, W4DML was having trouble with WSM AM 650 interfering with the 17m band of his uBITX v6 radio.

No stranger to radio hardware and filter design, Doug designed a notch filter to deal with the problem.

Doug designed the filter using Elsie software from Tonne Software ( http://tonnesoftware.com/elsie.html ), creating a notch filter to block WSM on 650 kHz. The program gives values for capacitors that do not exist so he substituted available capacitor values close to the calculated values. The inductors are wound to the revised calculated value. Doug settled on 0.01 uF caps and 6 uH toroidal. The toroids are T68-7 with 34 turns of copper wire (magnet wire). Doug notes that the wire gauge does not control the inductance and used 22 gauge.

Doug shared some photos of the design and build and a short video demonstrating the results:

Here is a screenshot of the filter schematic in the Elsie program (Doug says the student version is sufficient for the kinds of ham radio filters he designs.) (click on the images to see larger versions)

along with a plot of the design using the Elsie software:

After wiring up the design:

… the spectrum analyzer with tracking generator confirms prototype:

Doug’s comment on the analyzer plot above:

The [plot above] shows the marker at 640 KHZ at the top of the photo and the marker pointer is on 640 instead of at the bottom of the dip in the notch. This is because of the scaling of the marker. It skips several KHZ between each movement of the adjustment dial. The next click up is 680 and the next click down is 620. I could have set the stop frequency to a lower frequency and this would give more resolution in the marker. I think it was more important to show the stop frequency of 30 MHZ in order show the minimal loss on other frequencies in most HF radios.

Here is the plot displaying about 2MHz:

The filter can be evaluated with a relatively inexpensive Nanovna as well:

Doug finaly transfered the prototype to a box with connectors:

This video ( https://youtu.be/0ycqMaBs2CA ) demonstrates just how well the filter works:

No more WSM interference!

Doug has designed and built a number of other filters as well:

Thanks Doug for taking the time to share the details of this build.

Be sure to check out Doug’s Virtual Ham Shack Tour, #6 along with other videos Cliff, N4CCB has under the WCARES Media channel on Youtube. Thanks Cliff!


Middle Tennessee NOAA Weather Radio Transmitters are Back On the Air

Relayed by Laura, N4CLO – NOAA NWR Public Information Statement:


https://forecast.weather.gov/product.php?site=NWS&product=PNS&issuedby=OHX


000
NOUS44 KOHX 302152
PNSOHX
TNZ005>011-023>034-056>066-075-077>080-093>095-310000-

Public Information Statement
National Weather Service Nashville TN
352 PM CST Wed Dec 30 2020

…All NOAA Weather Radio Transmitters are Back On the Air…

All NOAA Weather Radios transmitters across Middle Tennessee are now
back on the air.

Thank you for your patience. We apologize for any inconvenience
this outage may have caused.

$$

Shamburger

Note: you can find links to NOAA All Hazards Weather Radio information including Public Information Statements here: https://wcares.org/noaa-weather-radio/


WCARES Status – Final update from AT&T on Outage Recovery

Updated: Tuesday, December 29, 2020, 5:50 p.m. CST

AT&T website, final update Tuesday, December 29, 2020, 5:30 p.m. CST
https://about.att.com/pages/disaster_relief/nashville.html

This will be our final update. We want to thank our customers for their patience as we have worked to restore service after this devastating explosion. We also give thanks to the first responders who have been tireless in their efforts to investigate the bombing and secure the area.

The local utility has made repairs so we can begin to restore commercial power to our building. Our second generator is online and providing power. We are in the process of activating the last of the remaining wireline equipment this afternoon. As we make the transition back to normal operations, we will continue to make repairs to the building and keep our equipment running. We will have significant resources on site as needed until the building is fully restored.

For customers who need additional assistance, they should contact our customer care teams at 1-800-288-2020 or by dialing 611 from their mobile devices.

AT&T will waive overage charges for affected customers
https://about.att.com/newsroom/2020/nashvillerelief.html

Xfinity WIFI and Wifi available from businesses
To help residents and emergency personnel stay connected after today’s explosion in downtown Nashville, Comcast is reminding residents that its network of public Xfinity WiFi hotspots is available for anyone to use, including non-Xfinity customers, for free.

Comcast opened its network across the country at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March and has already committed to keeping it open through June of 2021.

For a map of public Xfinity WiFi hotspots, which are located both indoors and outdoors in places such as shopping districts, parks and businesses, visit Xfinity.com/wifi. Once in range of a hotspot, select the “xfinitywifi” network name in the list of available hotspots and then launch a browser.

Xfinity internet customers can sign in with their usernames and passwords, and they will be automatically connected to Xfinity WiFi hotspots in the future. Non-Xfinity internet subscribers should visit the “Not an Xfinity Internet Customer” section on the sign-in page to get started. Non-customers can renew their free sessions every two hours.

More information is also available here: https://xfinity.com/learn/internet-service/wifi

Some businesses also offer free Wifi; for example, we have a report that the Dunkin Donuts in Fairview is one such location with operational Wifi.

ARRL News release on the WCARES and MTEARS nets
https://wcares.org/2020-dec-arrl-ares-news-wcares-standby/ Original ARRL article is here.

NWS Public Information Statement (contains county emergency numbers):
https://mesonet.agron.iastate.edu/wx/afos/p.php?pil=PNSOHX

HubNashville link to 2nd Avenue explosion information and assistance:
https://hub.nashville.gov/s/request-type/a0ut0000001GMMtAAO/2nd-avenue-explosion-information-and-assistance?language=en_US

Williamson County EMA and Office of Public Safety
Williamson Co. Office of Public Safety
https://twitter.com/WCTNEMA

AUXCOMM of TN – Action Requested – tracking status of Tennessee communication infrastructure
https://wcares.org/2020-dec-26-auxcomm-1400/

The WCARES net is not in full activation but Net Control operators are monitoring, both to take reports of continuing outage or re-establishment of service and to read pertinent information over the air for those without Internet access.

WCARES can been reached via the Contact Us form: https://wcares.org/contact/

Our Regional Frequencies page, https://wcares.org/repeater-network/mtears-frequencies/ includes a list of regional frequencies and links to ARES groups and radio clubs in neighboring counties.

Middle Tennessee Electric Co-operative Outages: https://www.mtemc.com/Outages