PGARES Quarterly Drill

Several members of the CCARC and ARES participated in the quarterly PGARES drill. Tom, W3TOM, helped support the operations at the Ft. Washington medical center. Bob, KB3KOW, provided voice and Winlink support at Charles Regional medical center (CRMC) and Lee, N3YWZ, provided Winmor support from his home QTH.

The drill consisted of sending a short version of a specific form used by the hospitals to order more medical supplies. The email containing that information was sent from CRMC to Lee via the KB3KOW-1 BBS. Lee then took the message and sent it via HF Winmor to Jim, WB3KAS. Once Jim received it, he then forwarded via HF Winmor it to Kenny, KB3IIE, who then acknowledged the message and sent it back via the same path.


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Apr 2016 CCARC Meeting

The April CCARC meeting started with Charles, AA3WS, giving the first preview to the upcoming Building Day. The kit chosen is the Chinese $3.95 Pixie HF Transceiver Kit found on eBay. Additionally, Charles gave a brief lesson derived from the Boy Shout Merit Electronics Merit Badge requirements and the associated FCC Technician Class Test Questions. The lesson consisted of definitions of the electronic components: The Resistor, The Capacitor, The Inductor, The Transistor and the Integrated Circuit. The lesson was completed with a review of wavelength and heterodyning.

Les Silva KH6CUJ gave a talk on the upcoming Cub Scout event this month. Les is organizing Ham Radio support for the 2016 Western Shore District Cub-O-Ree that is taking place on 16 April at Kings Landing Park located in Huntingtown, MD. The event is 0900 to 1700, with registration starting at 0715. The Cubs will be cycling through events during the day including: HF voice & digital operations, fox hunting, Morse Code, and talking on the local repeaters. Les asked for a few more volunteers for the event, both at the park and on the air from home. Those who would like to help out at the park, you will need to complete a short BSA training course to allow you to work with the youth; located on the web:  “//”. If you want to help out from home, the Cubs will be on one of two Calvert repeaters: 146.985 (PL:156.7) and/or 444.950 (PL:156.7).  Les requested an email from those who plan to help (

After the presentations President Mike KA3GRW thanked the presenters.  Subsequently, the president announced that Rob Hoyt N2OMC volunteer to fill to position of Activities Manager.

Vice President Tom W3TOM advised the members of the nearby  HamFests: 4/9/2016 York HamFest, York PA; 4/16/2016 Delaware State Convention at the Delmarva AR & Electronics Expo, Georgetown DE; and 5/7/2016 The Greater Hagerstown HamFest, Hagerstown MD. Also the Vice President advised of the 4/15-17/2016 VHF Super Conference, Sterling VA; 5/20-22/2016 Hamvention , Dayton OH; and our 6/25-26/2016 Field Day.

Upcoming Speakers:

Activities Manager Rob N2OMC announced the May 6, club speaker will be Paul Burnhardt, KF4FOR, talking on the “Harp” and on June 3, Jim Cross WI3N Assistant Director of the Atlantic Division for ARES.

Field Day:

The proposed Field Day Site for 2016 will be at Amberleigh Farms off Oliver Shop Road. There will be a Cookout Bar-B-Que at Field Day this year and tables and chairs will be needed.

Upcoming Events:

March of Dimes Walkathon
The CCARC is supporting the upcoming 5/1/2016 March of Dimes Walk.

Maryland QSO Party
The location of Maryland QSO Party will be held Port Tobacco Marina (same location as last year).


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Mar 2016 CCARC Meeting

 The CCARC conducted their monthly meeting on March 4th.

The President  recognized the ARRL Mid Atlantic Director Tom Abernethy W3TOM. Tom provided an update on the Mid Atlantic Division and the appointment of Jim Cross WI3N as an Assistant Director of Mid Atlantic Division for ARES. Tom also emphasized antenna safety near power lines. Tom described an incident he witnessed at the Orlando HamCation this year where a portable antenna made contact with a 14KV power line.

The President then recognized the evening speakers Jim Montgomery WB3KAS, ARRL Section Emergency Coordinator Maryland – DC Section and Wanda Montgomery KA3AHI, ARRL Assistant Section Manager Maryland DC Section. Jim provided a presentation on Maryland – DC Section “Interoperability Winlink 2000” program. Wanda presented a presentation on the Maryland – DC Section Emergency Communications Hospital Coalition.

 Elections where then held with the following results:

President – Mike Tackish KA3GRW
Vice President – Tom Abernethy W3TOM
Secretary – Charles Hallock AA3WS
Treasurer – Bob Davidson KB3KOW
Activities – Open – (Tim Velasquez KB3OSF will assist until position is filled.)

Activities Report:

Bob Davidson KB3KOW reported the Club will be doing communications for the March of Dimes Walkathon on May 1, 2016.

Show and Tell:

Art Audley AA3RT demonstrated his new Uniden BC75XLT Scanner and the Chinese $3.95 Pixie HF Transceiver Kit.


Mike Tackish KA3GRW announced the CCARC FCC Test Session tomorrow at the St. Charles Library.

Charles Hallock AA3WS announced the American Legion and PGCERC SantaFest  will take place on December 10, 2016 at the American Legion Youth Camp in Cheltenham Maryland. Charles noted that this is the first Hamfest in Prince George’s County since the Bowie Bay Socks Stadium Hamfest in 2001.

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Jan 2016 CCARC Meeting

Hello CCARC and welcome to 2016!!!

The first CCARC membership meeting of 2016 was held on the second Friday of the month, owing to the fact that last Friday was New Year’s Day. We hope that everyone had a good Christmas and a safe and happy New Year.

Ten members, as well as two prospective amateurs were present for this meeting which was primarily a planning session for 2016. Attendees, as always in alpha/numeric order were:

AA3RT      – Art
AA3WS     – Charles
KB3HNP   – Joe
KB3KOW  – Boy Scout Bob
KB3UYZ   – Patrick
KB3WYR  – Spencer
KB3YXS   – Paul
KC3ASH   – Ralph
KE3GG     – Flyboy Bob
N2OMC    – Rob

Two prospective members from historic Port Tobacco, Debbie and Mark Strickland

President Rob (N2OMC) opened the meeting by greeting the members. It was good to see everyone, especially Charles (AA3WS) who had suffered a heart attack two days before Christmas. Charles gave the assembled group a short description of what had happened to him. The good news is that he was out of the hospital within three days and is now back to his old self, albeit somewhat slimmer. It’s great to have you back Charles, take care of yourself. We never know when we might need your left foot Morse Code sending expertise!

Certificates were handed out to members of the VE team who had supported VE sessions during the 2015 calendar year and to those members who had worked at the special event session in commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln at the Mudd House in April. For those of you not in attendance who have certificates waiting to be picked up, they should be at next month’s membership meeting, to be held Friday, February 5th.

Then Boy Scout Bob (KB3KOW) handed out copies of the results of the on line survey that had been sent out. Twenty three CCARC members responded to at least some of the questions that were asked. The primary focus of tonight’s discussion was on reviving club enthusiasm and scheduling of events. The major discussion focused on what activities were popular with the members who responded to the survey. Of course Field Day (To be held this year on June 25th & 26th) was mentioned. Kits or project building was also a popular topic and I think most everyone replied in the affirmative, the only issue facing us might be where to hold a project day.

It was suggested that the Maryland/DC QSO Party, to be held on August 13th & 14th this year ( might present an opportunity for the CCARC to have a joint event with members from Calvert and St. Mary’s. KB3KOW also brought up a National Parks on the Air Day that may present another opportunity to operate at the Thomas Stone Historic Site. KE3GG mentioned a special event station originating with the World War 1 Museum ( and it didn’t occur to me at the time but there are always many military stations active on Armed Forces Day (This year Saturday, May 21st). The club is always open to suggestion and we are interested in inputs from those of you who were unable to attend tonight’s meeting. Perhaps you can provide a fresh perspective.

Another topic that garnered much discussion was meeting programs or presentations. It only stands to reason that meetings are better attended when there is a program or speaker rather than just a business meeting. While those of us who have been in the position of Activities Manager know (As do other officers and members) it can be difficult to line up a speaker or presentation to interest the club every month. This is where YOU come in. Perhaps you have a friend, coworker or relative with a background in an area that may be of interest. It doesn’t always have to be radio related or technical in nature. Topics of local interest also seem to help increase attendance. So, IF you know of someone who could provide a presentation please let us know!

Also discussed were Hamfests. Charles is our “go to” guy who can tell you which events are generally for buyers or sellers, which ones are for “techies” and those that appeal to the old tube type “glow in the dark” radio guys. One thing we’d like to do is to revive the listing of local or regional hamfests.

Food is always a popular topic and in addition to the usual breakfasts, some discussion was devoted to possibly having a dinner or club picnic outing somewhere. Paul, KB3YXS, mentioned that the Port Tobacco Marina might provide a possible setting. The La Plata American Legion dinners were also suggested.

Member concerns: Bill (KE3RE AKA “Tugboat”) and wife Katie are wintering with their oldest son in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Bill is still going to regular dialysis but is having fistula issues again that may require more surgery. Carol (N3DMD) is home recovering from her broken femur. Things are going slowly so Carol would like a visit or call, even a text message to keep her spirits up.

With the start of the new calendar year it’s time for that yearly refrain that “Dues are due!!!”. Individual memberships are now $25.00 per year. (I’m uncertain if family membership prices have been raised.) While I have yet to make use of it, CCARC has joined the 21st Century and you can now pay your dues on line at the following link:  You can still do it the old fashioned way as well by giving KB3KOW cash or check at a membership meeting. He can also take credit cards in person as well.

A reminder as well-this is an election year. At least three, possibly four, of the five club officer positions are going to be vacated. As of now it appears that the president, secretary and activities manager position are going to be open with one other undecided. The election will be held at the March membership meeting (March 4th). If you’d like to be considered for a position let any of the board of directors know of your wishes. Remember that your dues MUST be paid in order for you to be considered for a position or to vote in the election.

For some of you newer members, CCARC also has a Facebook page that can be found at:

Heard after the meeting: Many of us are familiar with Ramsey Electronics kits. My first introduction to them came at the Gaithersburg Hamfest now almost 25 years ago. Unfortunately Ramsey has decided to drop out of the consumer kit market with the start of the new year. You can read the announcement here:

Disclaimer: I’ve attempted to recapture tonight’s meeting discussion as best as I could. As always, I may have missed or misconstrued something. If I have, please feel free to correct, revise or elaborate on any points that I may have missed.

73, Art, AA3RT


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Monthly CCARC Meeting

Jan 8th is the next CCARC meeting. The meeting officially starts at 7:30 pm at the LaPlata Rescue Squad building at 2 Calvert St., LaPlata.  The back door should be open a bit before for general socializing.
The main topic will be planning the annual activities for the club.


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Kilt’ing it in Alexandria


Bob (KB3KOW) and Jim (WB3KAS) showing off their Scottish heritage after marching in a parade in Alexandria. Thank goodness it was a warm day!

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December CCARC Meeting

CCARC Christmas Party

On December 4, 15 members and guests met at Bert’s 50s Diner in Mechanicsville for the annual CCARC Christmas Party. This year we were in a private room which made it possible to let our hair down a bit. Lucky for us we had a good natured waitress!

There was plenty of delicious food everywhere you looked. From the silence that fell over the room as we shoveled food it is likely safe to say no matter what one orders from the menu it is going to be good. Before and after the food was served there was lots of socializing and a fair dose of good natured banter.

After dinner, President Rob gave a brief speech outlining all the club’s successes this year. The short list of highlights was the successful Lincoln 150 special event station, the March of Dimes Walk-a-thon, the Oxon Hill bike ride, and the VE testing program. He also told everyone about the forth coming member survey and encouraged everyone to take the time to take the survey. The results of the survey will be the topic of discussion at the January meeting and he hopes it will spark a lot of productive discussion and planning for what the club members would like to do for 2016.

Rob’s speech was followed by the pulling of door prize tickets. The door prizes this year were two SDR dongles, two J-Pole antennas, and four gift certificates.

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November CCARC Meeting

The November club meeting had our very own Charles Hallock, AA3WS, providing some training and a demonstration. The subject was “Modulate your Ipod” and was used to demonstrate the affect of amplitude modulation levels on a High Frequency carrier. Additionally, the presentation provided an unusual description of what is a transmitter.
Finally, vacuum tubes, discrete transistor and surface mount technology were brought together to make an Amplitude Modulated transmission.






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Software Defined Radio


Software Defined Radio (SDR)

If ever you wanted to try out software defined radio here is an inexpensive  way to play. The hardware can be purchased from Amazon or from Ebay and the cost is way less than purchasing the flex radio or Apache labs SDR radios. This is a receive only radio but it is very versatile and has lots of free software to choose from and different modes it can be used for listening with the various software that is currently available on the RTL-SDR web site. The web address for the site is . The site has lots of information about the  dongle a quick start guide featured articles a link to software a forum it also has a link to the wiki page and there is a link to purchase the dongle  and the guide on the web page as well. You can also find videos on YouTube of various demonstrations of the dongle and operating modes that are available for use with this dongle. If you want to use it for listening to the ham bands you will have to purchase an up converter which can be found on Amazon from NOOELEC but you will have to purchase the up converter and the housing for it separately and sill cost less than purchasing the flex and apache labs radios. I am not putting down those radios they are a very good product I am just saying if you are interested in giving SDR radio a test drive this is an inexpensive way to get started and then once you are ready to take the step to purchasing  a Flex radio or an Apache Labs SDR radio the learning curve might not be so hard for you and besides its fun to play with and offers something  else to challenge yourself at learning about our ever evolving hobby so have fun and enjoy.


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Lincoln 150 commemoration special events station



The Charles County Amateur Radio Club will be operating a special events station from the Dr. Mudd house in Waldorf MD.  Operation will be on April 18th and 18th on the 17M phone band.  Primary frequency will be 18.140MHz.

Charles County has a rich history pertaining to the Civil War, and several local connections with the escape of John Wilkes Booth.  The addition of a special events station will allow operators from around the world to join in on the commemoration!

QSL requests can be sent to:

K3SMD Lincoln 150
P.O. Box 169
La Plata, MD 20646

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