Meetings & Nets
First Friday Monthly meeting at 7:30 PM at LaPlata Train Station; Net-Tuesdays 8:00 PM on 443.700 MHz, (No PL, TSQL 179.9 Hz)
Once a month social gathering for breakfast –please check the website for schedule
Second Tuesday Commex with the ARES/RACES team Charles County 7:00PM EOC LaPlata
How to Contact Us:
POBOX 169,La Plata,MD20646
President: Art Audley firstname.lastname@example.org
Vice-president: Charles Hallock email@example.com
Secretary: Bill Palmer, firstname.lastname@example.org
Treasurer: Andrew Davidson email@example.com
Membership/Activities: Bob Davidson, firstname.lastname@example.org
Training officer Bob Curran (KE3GG) email@example.com
Smoke Signals is published monthly as the newsletter of the Charles County Amateur Radio Club, Inc. Items to be published in the Smoke Signals should be submitted by the Sunday before the first Friday of the month. Email submissions are most efficient firstname.lastname@example.org or mail to Michelle Sack PO Box 1182 Waldorf, MD 20604. Permission is granted to reprint.
From our President:
Despite the travel problems presented by washed out roads and bridges, 13 people managed to make their way to the La PlataTrainStationMuseumfor the September 2011 meeting of the Charles County Amateur Radio Club.
AA3RT Art, KB3HNP Joe , KB3KOW Boy Scout Bob , KB3OSF Tim (Accompanied by Melissa) , KB3UYZ Pat, N2OMC Rob , N3SLK Steven (Accompanied by Debbie), W1BJC Bridge Bob, W3JTD Jim, Andrew (not yet licensed), David Tenhoff
The meeting came to some semblance of order @ 7:36PM
With no presentation slated for this month we immediately started with the business meeting.
President: First, let let me offer a big “THANK YOU” and a tip of the CCARC cap to all of those members who participated in radio support during Hurricane Irene. I was out of town, and without Internet access during this time period, but I read all of the emails and appreciate everyone’s efforts during this event. Thanks for helping the CCARC put on another good showing of community support. I received a telephone call from Mike (KA3GRW) just prior to the start of the meeting. Mike informed me that there was no shelter activity in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Lee and that it was highly unlikely that CCARC would be needed so that there was no reason not to have the meeting.
Another big thanks go to KA3GRW and especially KB3KOW who kept us up to date on road closures and flooding reports relating to Tropical Storm Lee. I mentioned this last meeting but thought I would bring it up again-the August/September 2011 issue of the La Plata”Town Notes” contains an article soliciting inputs from residents for the commemoration of the tenth anniversary of the La Plata Tornado which struck on April 28th, 2001. I’ve long thought that the efforts of the CCARC were overlooked, particularly as they applied to the immediate response after the tornado devastated downtown La Plata. KA3GRW (Mike), KB3HNP (Joe), N3YRZ (Michelle), N3YWZ (Lee), W3TOM (Tom) and yours truly (Anyone else I’ve forgotten in the ensuing 9 and a half years?) all provided played a big part in the rescue and recovery efforts as cell phone towers were damaged and those that remained were immediately overloaded.
Here’s a link to the La Plata “Town Notes” for August/September. The solicitation for inputs can be found on page #10:
I’d like to get everyone’s inputs and submit them to the town as a “group package” from the CCARC. Thoughts?
Vice President: Absent (Still on travel)
Treasurer: There were no expenditures for the month of August. We received one late dues payment so we have $24.00 more in the treasury than we did last month. (Fine job Andrew!)
Activities/Membership: With the rescheduling of the Indian Head Century bike ride due to flooded and damaged roads from Tropical Storm Lee, September appears to be a fairly quiet month, however October promises to be quite busy.
Sunday, Oct. 2nd: Indian Head Century 100 bicycle ride (Rescheduled from Sep. 11th) Setup @ 6:30AM, ride starts at 7AM.
Tuesday, Oct. 4th: Quarterly drill at the Civista Hospital
Saturday, Oct. 15th: Jamboree On The Air (JOTA) combined with Parks On The Air (POTA) at the Thomas Stone National Historic Site on Rose Hill Road. All day event. Bob notes that there are plenty of trees available for stringing antennas. Your assistance in this event would be appreciated.
Wednesday, Oct. 19th: Exercise “Capital Shield” at Civista Hospital. [See more below]
Sunday, Oct. 30th: Potomac Heritage 100 (Formerly Civista 100) bicycle ride. KB3KOW will be obtaining a listing of the proposed rest stops and start coordinating with members to man the sites.
Flyboy Bob (KE3GG) has contacted the Charles County Board Of Education (CCBOE) about the possibility of using a room in one of the local schools for a monthly “Kit Building Night”. Nothing heard from the CCBOE to date-more to come.
Boy Scout Bob (KB3KOW) discussed CCARC’s participation with comms support at shelters during Hurricane Irene. There were some “lessons learned” and room for improvement.
Bob also mentions a new effort by the Boy Scouts-a STEM (Science, Technology, Electronics and Math) program and possible tie-ins to amateur radio as part of the radio merit badge.
From the members:
N3SLK-Steven notes that they were without power for over 2 days and discussed the travel difficulties in lower Prince George’s County in the wake of TS Lee.
David Tenhoff-David stated the he’s been studying and is heading to Davidsonville on Saturday (Sep. 10th) morning to take his Technician Class exam. Good luck David!
KB3HNP-Joe discussed his part in manning the shelter during Hurricane Irene and mentioned further “lessons learned” and how CCARC’s support could be improved during future events.
W1BJC-Bob continued the discussion of Hurricane Irene and activities at the Charles County Emergency Operations Center (EOC).
Melissa M.-I asked Melissa if Tim had “twisted her arm” and tried to encourage her to obtained her amateur radio license. When she replied “Not yet” KB3KOW graciously passed on a copy of the most recent ARRL Technician Class study guide to her.
KB3OSF-Tim mentioned the water problems at his new residence at Cliffton on the Potomac-not enough water from the public water supply for drinking or bathing but too much on the roads hindering access to his home. He also detailed his and Melissa’s misadventures while in search of a shower and a place to sleep during TS Lee. Tim and Melissa don’t give high marks to one of La Plata’s hotels.
Tim also mentions problems with Southern Maryland’s now pretty much dormant Linked Repeater system. There are both technical and personal issues that may see a couple of repeaters looking for new “homes” in the near future.
N2OMC-Discussed his exploits during Hurricane Irene. Rob stated that the Baltimore area, where he was during the hurricane, was pretty much unscathed. However, when he returned to St. Mary’s County the after-effects of the storm were most noticeable.
KB3UYZ-Pat mentioned his experience during the recent earthquake. He also said he’s about ready to start stringing an HF antenna. We told Pat to pick a date, send out an email to the group and put on a pot of coffee (And maybe some chili if the weather’s cool.) and he shouldn’t have any problems attracting a few willing volunteers.
Reminders: If you have a new project or radio or communications acquisition that you’d like to show off you’re welcome to do so at any of our meetings. I’m hoping to have someone from the Coast Guard Auxiliary who stands radio watch at the Cove Point lighthouse come to a future meeting to discuss their duties and areas of responsibility. However, boating season is still active on the Chesapeake Bay and this most likely won’t happen until things slow down. In the interim, if you have an idea for a program/presentation or have a presentation you’d like to put on, please contact KB3KOW at email@example.com
Hard to believe, but our annual Christmas dinner is just 3 months away. The October meeting will be held Friday, Oct. 7th with November’s scheduled for Friday, Nov. 4th. If you have a suggestion as to where to hold this year’s dinner please contact Bob at the email address listed above.
My thanks to KB3KOW for typing up notes for me to base this month’s follow up report on. (Obviously Bob has seen first-hand my poor note taking skills during the course of our meetings.) If anything was left out or overlooked the fault is mine.
The meeting adjourned at 8:57PM.
Next meeting : Friday, Oct. 7th at 7:30PM-I hope that many of you will be able to attend. 73, de AA3RT
Potomac Heritage bike ride – 30 Oct
Just a short update. The event coordinators will be having
a meeting tonight (Tuesday) to discuss some of the logistics.
There appears to be a change in the route due to the closure
of Allens Fresh area. They are also supposed to be finalizing
the rest stops along the way. Once I have their firm list, I’ll
send it out and post it on the web site.
For APRS units, we have one unit so far and one volunteer to
be a SAG driver, so in essence, two units. I’m working on a
third and if anyone has 1 or 2 more setups, that should cover
us for the event.
Civista and Exercise Capitol Shield:
First up, thanks to Jim (WB3KAS) for help in the process of setting up a ‘K-Node.’
Background: On Oct 19th CIVISTA will be participating in exericse Capitol Shield. I contacted CIVISTA to coordinate our participation for comms. In the response received back, CIVISTA noted that they may want/need us to actually set up in theirCommandCenterarea. For those of you who have not been to CIVISTA, the coax is run to the Nurses training room on the 2nd floor, where as their command area is located on the ground floor in one of the classrooms.
With this in mind, we set out to find a way that would help support at least email/Winlink operations. The solution, which was tested yesterday (Monday) was to set up the hospital radio, along with a TNC and configure it into a ‘K-Node’ cofiguration which basically acts as a digipeater. This allowed us to set up in the ground floor classroom using a laptop, TNC and HT. Our signals were then received by the hospital system and relayed to the KB3KOW-10 node. In the event that node is down, it is just a simple matter of changing the freq to match the WB3KAS-10 node in PG.
We also took the opportunity to conduct some simplex comms checks between both the second floor and ground floor spaces as well as areas surrounding the hospital (the front doors, the parking lot, the helo pad, etc) and have a better understanding about our ability to communicate on the CIVISTA grounds and within the building.73 Bob
Jamboree on the Air
This year Saturday, October 15th marks the date of the 54th Jamboree On The Air (JOTA). Typically the Scouts inCharlesCountyhold their Fall Camporee but this year due to a number of reason, that event has been moved to November. I received a reqeust from a Scouter to have the JOTA here in the county and figured I’d try to kill two birds with the one projectile from the antenna launcher and try to also active a park in support of Parks On The Air (POTA).
With that in mind, I have received permission from the Thomas Stone National Historic Site, which is also a National Park, to set up and operate on Saturday, Oct 15th.
I believe they will also provide a power outlet and we can make use of their picnic table next to the visitor center as well as the trees to hang up a dipole.
I will be advertising to both the Scouts and the POTA new group within a week or two to give them plenty of heads up. We may need som help. Currently Rob (N2OMC) and I are planning on getting things set up, however, I may end up having to go on travel for the month of October and if so, Rob would need some help running the station and to allow those all important bathroom breaks. More to follow at the next club meeting.
Hello MDC members in the ARRL Atlantic Division. My name is Phil Theis, K3TUF, and I’m running for the Atlantic Division Director position.
Directors serve on the corporation’s Board of Directors, without compensation, and are responsible for financial and administrative policy decisions in the day to day, and long range operations of the League. They serve a three year term and are voted upon by the members in their geographic division. The Atlantic Division Director represents 13,000 such members.
Growing up in the Philadelphia EPA area I was licensed in 1962 as KN3TUF and served in numerous ham radio positions along the way. You can check out my website (k3tuf.com) for all the extremely interesting details of my life
My wish is to keep this hobby exciting and every move I make as Director would take all of the many interests we have into account. We are a diverse bunch of hobbyists and that’s what makes it so much fun.
I want to have the input of all of the members in the Atlantic Division. So I would publish the agenda prior to Board meetings to solicit your feedback. I would also bring the ARRL into the modern communication age by using the most popular forms of social media to reach particularly the newer members of our hobby. We amateurs communicate extensively via the Net and we need to reach those members who use social media but are not club joiners.
In previous balloting for Director, the majority of ballots ended up in the trash; I’d like to see a good turnout in this election process. Please look for your ballot in the coming days and exercise your right to choose your representative at the ARRL Board of Directors. It’s your choice.
And please take a look at my website: k3tuf.com
Phil Theis K3TUF
Signal report please
This evening (Sep 27) Pat, KB3UYZ, and I had a nice QSO on 146.535 MHz while waiting for others to show up for the net. There was one signal that I heard in the beginning but it was too weak to be intelligible, in fact it was just barely breaking squelch. I would be interested in signal reports from anyone that might have been monitoring and/or tried to join in the QSO.
73, Bob, KE3GG
DO YOU REALLY WANT TO LEARN MORSE CODE?
Well, if you do, go to the MDC Section web page, <www.arrl-mdc.net/> and scroll down to “Do you want to learn the International Morse Code?” or click on: <www.arrl-mdc.net/LearnCode/CW.html>.
Then you may read all the instructions and download the ‘mp3′ file. This is a self study guide. It will take you, step-by-step, to help you learn each of the alpha-numeric characters and commonly used punctuation in International Morse Code at your own pace.
If you follow the lesson plan precisely, you should be able to learn
the International Morse Code and have your code speed up to 13 words per minute in four to six weeks, or less.
But remember, this is no easy task and it takes a lot of time and
dedication to learn the International Morse Code.
One testimonial says, “I believe this is absolutely the easiest way to learn the code.” So, give it a try.
2011 MARYLAND-DC QSO PARTY UPDATE
What a difference a year makes. Last year was the first year the MDC QSO Party was sponsored by the Anne Arundel Radio Club <http://mdcqsoparty.w3vpr.org/> and at the end of the QSO Party weekend we received 49 logs. This year we’ve received 86 logs and there could be a couple last minute arrivals as I write this on the morning of 13 September – the last day for submitting logs.
We received 33 logs from MDC stations in 11 counties, Baltimore City and Washington, DC.
• 21 Standard Stations from 8 counties and Baltimore City
– includes one YL and one Youth endorsement (our first-ever
application for the Youth endorsement, a 12-year old General Class licensee from Maryland)
• 8 Club Stations from 7 counties and Washington, DC
• 2 QRP Stations from 2 counties
• 2 Mobile Stations
We received 53 logs from non-MDC Stations
• 49 Standard Stations from 22 states, 2 Canadian Provinces
and 1 DX entity
• 2 Club stations from 2 states
• 2 QRP stations from 1 state
Operating conditions were better than last year but at times it
didn’t seem that way. We will update the QSO Party website to list all the logs we’ve received. Due to some scheduling issues, we won’t be able to review and validate the contest results until
mid-October. Our goal is to publish the official results and notify
the winners shortly after that.
Thanks to all who participated in this year’s QSO Party. The 2012
Maryland-DC QSO Party will be conducted the weekend of 11-12 August and the 2012 Maryland-DC QSO Party Chairman will be Nick, N3CK
73 Bob/AA3RR 2011 MDC QSO Party Chairman
Sunday, October 2, 2011 CARAFEST Columbia Amateur Radio Association PO Box 911 Columbia, MD 21044-0911
Website: <www.carafest.org> Location: Howard County Fairgrounds 2210 Fairgrounds Road West Friendship, MD
Talk-In: 147.135+ (PL 156.7) Contact: Dave Prestel, W8AJR
10160 Tanfield Court Ellicott City, MD 21042-5808
Phone: 443-812-4403 Email: <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sunday, October 16 Fallfest at the Davidson Family Recreation Center Davidsonville, Maryland Check the website www.maarc.org> for more information and directions.
Sponsored by the Mid-Atlantic Antique Radio Club,
Fallfest is an annual event for antique radio collectors and lovers of vintage ham gear. Gates open at 7 a.m. for tailgating. The huge auction begins around noon, and will include ham items such as a National 183D, a Central Electronics 20A exciter, Vibroplex key,
lots of tubes, plus broadcast radios from the 1920s through 1960s.
Admission and tailgating are free. Food will be available on site.
Contact: Brian Belanger, KB3PRS, at <email@example.com> or landline at
Sunday, October 23, 2011 Mason-Dixon Hamfest
Carroll County Amateur Radio Club Website: <http://qis.net/~k3pzn> Location: Carroll County Agriculture Center 706 Agriculture Center Drive Westminster, MD 21157
Talk-In: 145.410 (PL 114.8) Contact: Steve Beckman, N3SB
2145 Bethel Road Finksburg, MD 21048 Phone: 410-876-1482
To search for more hamfests outside the Maryland-DC area,