Sept. 2020 Virtual Monthly Meeting – TN Section Manager, Net Operations, Shack tour

ARRL ARES Presentation

David Thomas (KM4NYI)

David is the ARRL Section Manager for Tennessee

He had to appear at the Severiville, TN hamfest today so he recorded this video for us to play at the meeting.

WCARES Weekly Net

Laura Marler (N4CLO)

Laura gives us a behind-the-scenes look at what goes into calling the WCARES Monday night training net.

Virtual Ham Shack Tour #3 – WB5WAJ

Jeff Standifer takes us on a virtual tour of his impressive shack.

Dickson Co. offering General licensing classes in October

Dickson Co. Amateur Radio Club will be offering General licensing classes in person and via Zoom in October.

From Suzanne Bennett, N4JSB

“I am secretary of the Dickson County Amateur Radio Club & wanted to share some info if you have any members interested. We will be having a free General licensing class October 3, 10 & 17th. We will have the class in person with a virtual (Zoom) option for any interested. The class will run 9 AM – 5 PM the 3rd & 10th & 9 AM until complete on the 17th ( earlier than 5). It will be held at the Dickson County Emergency Operations Center at 284 Cowan Road, Dickson. We will be using the Gordon West book. Any one attending will need to purchase their own book and pre-study some before the class. A link to sign up is on the home page of our club website and on our facebook page.”

Updated – Getting Started with Logbook of the World – LOTW

Don’t know where to start with logging your contacts? Need help getting LOTW up and running?

The LOTW New User Guide written by Gary, ZL2iFB has reached version 1.0.

You can find more information about LOTW at the ARRL here:

A copy of the current version of Gary’s guide will be kept under the Library -> User Guides section of the WCARES website – here:

and the definitive URL for the current English version is:




August 2020 Virtual Monthly Meeting – Emergency Ops Plan, Winlink and more


The WCARES Monthly Meeting for August was held this past Saturday. Here are the videos of the presentations for those who were unable to attend.

WCARES Emergency Communications Operations Plan by WB4RHQ:

Winlink Presentation by W4PHS:

Virtual Ham Shack Tour by WB4RHQ:


Cliff (N4CCB)

July 2020 Virtual Monthly Meeting (Update) – Field Day, GRLevel3 and more

This past Saturday, Cliff, N4CCB hosted the WCARES Virtual Monthly Meeting. The agenda was:

ARES Task Book – member progress update by Ed Hudgens (WB4RHQ)
Field Day recap by Cliff Batson (N4CCB)
GRLevel3 Presentation by Adam DeLand (W8IFG)
First Virtual Ham Shack Tour by Cliff Batson (N4CCB)

ARES Task Book & Field Day Recap:

Ed provided an update on the progress of members who are pursuing the ARES Task Book and Cliff and provided a recap of this year’s unique Field Day event that saw WCARES members participating while social distancing. The ARRL introduced waivers for this year allowing home stations (Class D) to work other home stations and to allow for aggregating individual scores as a “club score”.

Adam’s GRLevel3 presentation to WCARES:

Adam, W8IFG gave a detailed presentation on GRLevel3, with particular emphasis on expanded functionality using shapefiles and placefiles. Adam demonstrated various use cases like adding route and rest stop information to the map for a cycling event like Jack and Back and adding more detailed local street layers or feeds of dynamic information such as APRS beacons for weather spotters. Adam has another longer presentation and demonstration done last year for DCARES: .

Virtual Ham Shack Tour by N4CCB:

Cliff wrapped up the meeting with the first virtual shack tour, giving us a tour of his second floor radio shack. Cliff talked about his limited but effective HF antenna situation, his solutions for running coax from the shack and what gear he has set up on his radio desk. Cliff enjoys operating portable and likes using a simple wire antenna such as those from SOTABEAMS ( ). During the discussion Tim, AD4CJ recommended the HF Linked Dipole Antenna Designer tool.

Cliff also talked about his mag-mount VHF/UHF antenna on a filing cabinet and this led to some discussion of VHF/UHF antenna solutions, particularly those which can be used indoors or in antenna-restricted environments. Bob, AK4RO and Mark, KA4BKA both like the PVC or the rollup versions of Ed Fong WB6IQN’s antennas ( ) while Paul, WD9IOK has some ingenious solutions for antennas in the attic of his house. As Paul pointed out, there is no wind load in your attic and he used 1 1/4″ or 1 1/2″ pipe threaded into a flange mounted on a 1×10 x 32″ board and anchored to the attic beams to make a small platform. And Tim mentioned the Ventenna solution from .

Ed will be doing the Virtual Shack tour next month with tours by other WCARES members to follow.

Some of Paul’s attic setup:

Ed, WB4RHQ presentation on Task Book, training and WCARES membership requirements

Our EC, Ed Hudgens, WB4RHQ did a presentation on the Task Book, training and WCARES membership requirements during the June Virtual Monthly Meeting. You can find a copy of Ed’s presentation here:

Cliff gave a detailed overview of the plans for Field Day – look for details in the WCARES Notes e-mails.

Maximize your signal reception – a presentation by Tim, AD4CJ

Tim, AD4CJ talks about how to get the most out the sensitive receivers in most modern HF transceivers.

In this video, Tim covers:

  • how to fine tune
  • how to zero-beat phone and cw signals
  • automatic gain control (AGC)
  • the RF-gain control
  • pre-amps and attenuators
  • noise-reducer and noise-blanker circuits

Jeff, WB5WAJ presents the ARRL ARES Task Book

From the ARRL Task Book introduction…

The Task Book is a working document that enable those ARES communicators electing to participate in the ARRL training plan, to track and document their training plan elements as they are completed toward the various levels of increasing proficiency.

As an ARES organization, WCARES will be using the Task Book for members who wish to advance their knowledge of emergency communications.

Jeff’s presentation has been added to the WCARES Youtube Channel – thanks Cliff, N4CCB:

To download the Task Book used by WCARES see the ARRL ARES Task Book – WCARES under

Join Us -> ARRL ARES Task Book – WCARES


Winter Field Day 2020 – N4FR took 7th place!

Results are in and N4FR took 7th place in the Outdoor category with a calculated score of 24815! You can find all the results here:

Congratulations to everyone who took part!

Another Winter Field Day is done – thank’s to all who participated!

And thanks to Jon, Cliff and Ed for the photographs included below:

Photos of setup from Jon, KK4AIZ:

Photos from Cliff, N4CCB:

Photos from Ed, KN4TIX:

2019 ARRL Sweepstakes CW – N4FR is #1 in Delta Division Multi-Op Low Power!

Thanks to Tim, AD4CJ for this post and Cliff, N4CCB for the photos. Operator in the pictures is Hunter Mills, K3IE. Hunter is also the Tennessee Contest Group president. You can learn more about TCG here: . Full results are in the May, 2020 issue of QST on pages 72 and 73.

The results of the 2019 ARRL Sweepstakes CW contest are in. The N4FR CW contest team consisting of AD4CJ, K3IE, N4CCB, KB9DKR, and KJ4YAY were the crew manning the station at the QTH of Tim, AD4CJ. We were able to score #1 in the Delta division Multi-Op Low Power category, and win a plaque sponsored by Icom America.

Sweepstakes is the oldest domestic radiosport event, with the first contest held in 1930. It has its roots in message handling protocols, and as such, it has the most difficult of all contest exchanges. The exchange is not your typical 599 exchange. It consists of an incremental serial number, then the precedence (Q,A,B,U,M, or S), then your own call (in our case N4FR), then a check number (the year of first licensing of your call), then finally the ARRL/RAC Section. We were operating as a multi-op, single radio, low power (under 150 Watts) station, so our precedence was M. The year of licensing of N4FR was 2000, so our check number was “00”.

A typical exchange would be as follows:

Us: CQ CQ N4FR SS (This means CQ CQ N4FR SweepStakes)

Answering Station: W1AW

Us: W1AW 123 M N4FR 00 TN (We answered their call, gave a sequential S/N, then our precedence, then our call, our check, then finally our ARRL section.

Answering: 43 M W1AW 31 CT

Us: TU (Thank you) CQ N4FR SS

Our contest station consisted of a Flex Radio 6500, and we used N1MM contest logging software. We are allowed to use a spotting network and CW skimmer assistance in the Sweepstakes contest. Therefore, we were running CW Skimmer (a program that decodes call signs over the entire band that the Flex Radio has open). We then fed the results of the Skimmer program into N1MM logger as the DX spotting cluster instead of using Telnet. Doing this allowed only those stations that our radio actually heard to be listed in our spotting network. If a new Section was listed, N1MM alerted us to an unworked section, and we were able to concentrate just on that frequency and station.

We were able to work a “Clean Sweep” this year, which means we worked stations in all 83 ARRL/RAC sections. One of the most desired QSOs was with VY1AAA from the Northwest Territories as it was the only station operating from NT, and was being manned remotely by Gerry, W1VE. We were able to work them at 1831 Z on Sunday. Cliff was operating Sunday afternoon when our spotting network alerted us to the last section we needed, which was Manitoba (MB). Cliff was able to concentrate on and successfully completed our “Clean Sweep”, when he worked VE4VT from MB at 2213 Z on Sunday.

Overall, we had a great time, and lots of good ham radio and CW experience. This year, CW Sweepstakes will run 11/7/2020 through 11/9/2020. The SSB Sweepstakes will run from 11/21/2020 through 11/23/2020. We want to encourage all the members of WCARES to consider working this contest, even if they have no contest experience. Most of the stations participating in this contest will slow down, and give newbies a chance to make successful QSOs. It is a great way to sharpen your skills, and you will definitely have a chance to achieve “Worked All States”.


Tim, AD4CJ