UMARC/ARROW rack up more than 2,000 Qs on Field Day 2019

We ran four HF stations this year, including two CW and two SSB stations. Also shown in this photo are the GOTA station, the public information table, and the food tent. Photo: Larry Works, KD8MDM.

Dave, N8SBE, our Field Day 2019 head honcho reports:

The U-M Amateur Radio Club and ARROW joined again for Field Day 2019, operating class 4A (four transmitters, no commercial power) and one GOTA (Get On The Air) station. We operated again from the park just north of the Ann Arbor Airport.

The radios included three Elecraft K3s, a Yaesu FTdx5000mp for one SSB station, and the UofM club’s Kenwood TS-590 for the GOTA station.  We used contest filters on all the radios, which all did well in the intense multi-multi setup with minimal co-interference.

Our antennas were held up with 40-ft. masts built up from 10, 4-ft. sections of those surplus fiberglass poles used for camouflage netting in the Gulf wars.  These are handy and lightweight, but require 8 people to put up a mast — four on the guy ropes, one on a ladder to raise and hold up the mast while the sixth guy stuffs mast sections up from under, and the last two to stand about 90 degrees apart and determine when the whole thing looks fairly vertical before tying down the guys.  We use two sets of four guys, one set at the top of the mast, and the other half-way down.  We had two CW dipoles, one a multi-band 80, 20, 15, and 10m (note the absence of 40m), the other a single-band 40m, placed end-to-end to minimize pickup.  Two more antennas for the SSB stations, one an Alpha-Delta CC multi-band, the other a 40m “super-loop”, again placed end-to-end.  It takes six masts total to put up the four dipoles, since we separate the SSB and CW dipoles on either side of the parking area where all the shelters are set up.

When we ‘pulled the plug’ on Sunday at 2pm ET, we had more than 2000 contacts. We worked to obtain as many bonus points as possible, but did leave some on the table, including the visit from an elected official, visit from a served agency, and the satellite contact. We usually manage everything except the satellite contact, although some years in the past, we snagged that one, too.

While totalling up all the points will take some time, I think we did pretty well again this year. Thanks to everyone who helped to make this a fun event.

Here are some photos from Arun, W8ARU:

Don, AC8TO, coaching someone at the GOTA station.

Dinesh, AB3DC, and Arun, W8ARU, enjoying the fine weather.

Stuart, W8SRC, cranking out some Qs, with Don, AC8TO looking on. This was Stuart’s 10th Field Day!

Here are some more photos from Larry, KD8MZM:

WS8U’s generator provided most of the power for this year’s FD.

We tried setting up a Beverage antenna, but results were mixed.

Charles, W8HAX, operates one of the SSB stations.

Dan, KB6NU, operates one of the CW stations.

UMARC/ARROW ARRL Field Day 2019 (June 22 – 23)

The University of Michigan Amateur Radio Club and the ARROW Radio Club invite the public to attend the National Amateur Radio Field Day at the Ann Arbor Airport.

When: June 22, 2 p.m. to June 23, 2 p.m. (24 hours)
Where: Ann Arbor Airport Soccer Field, 801 Airport Dr, Ann Arbor, MI (W. Ellsworth and Airport Blvd.; Across from Costco)

This annual 24-hour national open-house event gives the public an overview of amateur radio and also helps amateur radio operators prepare for emergencies and develop radio communication skills. You will get a chance to meet experts, ask questions, learn how radio operators help local governments in times of need, and even operate the station, under supervision.

Free and open to all ages, amateur radio or ham radio is a hobby where licensed operators use radios to communicate with people all over the world and even with astronauts in space. Please do drop by and experience the amazing world of ham radio and don’t forget to bring along your kids as Amateur Radio might be a stepping stone for them to get involved in STEM-related activities and careers.

More information about Field Day can be found here: http://www.arrl.org/field-day

#ARRLFD #ARRLFD2019

ARROW works the MI QSO Party at the Red Cross

We participated in the MI QSO Party this past Saturday from the Red Cross Station and we ran the station for the full 12 hours of the contest period and we made 328 QSOs and scored 47234 points.

A special thanks to Thom W8TAM for the IC-7300 station and for manning the station for the full 12 hour period and for also donating a Windows machine and a monitor for the Red Cross station. Also, thanks to the following operators: Garry W8GMD, Julie K8VOX, Mark W8FSA and Dan KB6NU and to Jay WB8TKL and Jon KD8MKE and his wife for visiting us.

Dan KB6NU (left), Dinesh AB3DC (right), Thom W8TAM (bottom) piling up the points in the 2019 MI QSO Party
Photos: Thom, W8TAM and Dinesh AB3DC

Thanks to Dave N8SBE (35728 points) and Russ KB8U (55880 points) for submitting their logs on behalf of the ARROW. We are currently leading the Combined Club category with a score of 138,842. If you have not submitted your logs please remember to give credit to ARROW or if you forgot to give credit please resubmit you log and select ARROW COMMUNICATIONS ASSN as the Club.

Also, while at the Red Cross Station, Thom and I also did a lot of clean up work. We have more to do and we plan to discuss this at the next Board and General meetings.  

W8MP goes remote

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Mark, W8MP, making a point during his presentation.

On Wednesday, February 13, 2019, Mark, W8MP (above), gave a great presentation on Remote Ham Radio. Remote Ham Radio is a pay-for-play service that allows you to access some truly great “super stations” around the country. For example, here’s a video showing the antenna system at one of the stations in Eastport, ME, which Remote Ham Radio claims is the closest that you can get to Europe here in the U.S.:

 

There are stations on the East Coast and West Coast, as well as in the heartland, Puerto Rico, and Haiti.

Using these stations isn’t cheap. Remote Ham Radio offers two plans:

  • RemoteDX costs $99/year, plus $0.09/minute to $0.49/minute. This plan gives you access to ten stations with output power up to 500 W and rotatable beam antennas and wires on the low bands.
  • PremiumDX costs $999/year, plus $0.09/minute to $0.99/minute. This plan gives you access to 21 stations, legal limit output power and large antenna stacks and phased arrays (e.g. four-squares).

Because you operate these stations via a web browser, Mark was able to give us a demonstration of how these stations work. He connected to one of the Eastport, ME stations, took a look at the DX spotting window, and selected a station operating 80m CW from Gibraltar. He clicked on the station, and it automatically tuned to that frequency and mode and set up the four-square array to direct the signal to Gibraltar. After two or three calls, the station came back to him.

After that, the presentation took a crazy turn. Tom, W8TAM, spotted someone doing a Parks on the Air activation in Georgia. We then proceeded to work him from the Eastport, ME station and the KP4 station.

The evening ended with a debate on whether or not this service is worth the money. Those in favor argued that you’d probably spend as much on your own amateur radio station as you would for this service. Others were more skeptical. Since we were having this discussion as we were heading out the door, we left it all up in the air (pun intended).

On March 13, 2019, Bruce Blain, K1BG, will talk (remotely via Skype) on entry-level licensing over the years and the ARRL’s proposal to give more privileges to Techs.

First ARROW Winter Field Day a Success!

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Our first Winter Field Day was a success!

We made 251 Qs, operating for 16 hrs of the 24 hour contest on 20/40/80 SSB.  The Wegwaas cabin at Brighton Rec Area was a great location with plenty of room for two antennas on the ladderball posts that were off to the side.

The propane heat in the cabin eventually got us up to sweltering temps, and had a nice table for operating from.  Icom 7300 at 100W, LDG Z11Pro 2, Heil HM-12, everything on battery power, and we even brought the foot pedal & boom mic setup!  Big thanks to W8TAM for putting together this portable++ setup!  The 80m inverted V doublet performed very well, as expected.  It is our favorite antenna for portable ops.

W8TAM making Winter Field Day contacts as W8RP.

The Spiderbeams both stayed up throughout the contest and came down easily.  That is not always the case with this piece of kit!  We used the new-to-us technique of taping each joint with 3M Super 88.  Very impressed with this performance of this tape – expensive but worth it for this application.  I am very proud that W8TAM and I were able to install these antennas in the dark in below freezing conditions safely and quickly.   #beastmode

  • Claimed score: 4255
  • Our multipliers:
    • 3x for SSB Qs on 3 bands
    • 2x for 100w or less
  • Bonuses:
    • 1500 pts not at home
    • 1500 pts no commercial power

From the WFD Rules:
QSO Points: 1 point per Phone QSO, 2 points per CW & Digital QSO… Busted exchanges will be penalized by 1 additional point for each missed exchange or call sign. Duplicate contacts (same call, band, and mode) will not be counted, but will not be penalized.

Mode and Band Multipliers: Count 1 multiplier for each mode operated per band. For example, operating CW and Phone on 80, 40, 15 and 10 meters, CW and PSK31 on 20m, FM on 2meters and 440 would be a total multiplier of 12x.

So you can see that we definitely left some points on the table.  Next year we will be soliciting CW ops and we’d also like to nab the 1500 bonus for a satellite Q.

Thanks to Dinesh AB3DC, Gayathri N8GRU and Dave N8SBE for coming by to make some see our setup and contacts.  Mitch, K8UCH we are so sorry we missed you!    Also thanks to John WA8TON for arranging for the space.  It was great!

I had a caller that knew Roy Purchase, and he said how nice it was to make contact with W8RP.  I told him our club was honored to hold the call – always a thrill to call whiskey eight romeo papa.

Take nothing but Qs leave nothing but footprints!

73 Julie K8VOX

W8ZRF, SK

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I’m sorry to report that Roger, W8ZRF, has passed. Here’s the obituary that appeared in the Ann Arbor News:

Roger, W8ZRF, at Field Day 2006.
Photo: Dave New, N8SBE

Age 98, [Roger] passed away peacefully at his home on Saturday, October 20, 2018. Roger was born in Schererville, IN on February 26, 1920. He married Merna Patrick of Dansville, MI on February 23, 1946 at St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church in Ann Arbor, and is survived by their four children: Maureen (Mike) Watassek of Ann Arbor, Dianna (Tim) Kellman of Ypsilanti, Bob Place of Naples, FL, and Tom (Amy) Place of Brookhaven, GA. He was blessed with eight grandchildren: Lauren (Jennifer) Boik-Watassek, Midori Watassek, Andy (Jodee) Kellman, David Kellman, Brian (Chris) Place, Sean (Robin) Place, Taylor (Carly) Place, Jessie Place. And four great-grandchildren: Luke and Noah Boik-Watassek, Adrian and Geneva Kellman. His only sibling, Vivian Peifer of Schererville, IN also survives. He was preceded in death by Merna, his wife of 57 years, on February 8, 2003, and Lauren Boik-Watassek, his first grandchild, on June 26, 2018. Roger was a proud veteran of World War II, having served his country as a Radioman 3rd Class in the US Navy, Pacific Theatre. Following his discharge, he returned to work at Argus Camera, and spent several years at The University of Michigan, Bendix Aerospace and KMS Industries prior to retirement. A devout and active member of St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church and Knights of Columbus Council 587, Roger was also a proud member of the “”Ave Maria Pew Crew””, which constructed the craftsman style oak pews for the Ave Maria Oratory, Ave Maria, FL. In addition to being an avid amateur radio operator/examiner with a love for travel, he was a dedicated community volunteer, youth baseball/basketball coach, golfer, and bowler. Memories of his unwavering support of family, thought-provoking one-liners, and unending DIY home projects will always be cherished. Visitation will take place at St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church, 530 Elizabeth St., Ann Arbor, on Thursday, November 1, 2018 from 4:00pm – 6:00pm, with a rosary service at 5:00pm. A Memorial Mass will be celebrated at St. Thomas on Friday, November 2, 2018 at 10:00am with Fr. Bill Ashbaugh officiating. Roger’s family will receive guests in the Parish Hall, immediately following Mass. Contributions in Roger’s memory may be made to: Society of St. Vincent de Paul, 530 Elizabeth St., Ann Arbor, MI 48104.

Here are some remembrances from ARROW members:

Dan KB6NU:

I am very sorry to hear this. Roger and Clay really kept ARROW/amateur radio alive in the 1990s and early 2000s here in Ann Arbor by regularly conducting amateur radio exams. He was such a nice guy and always ready to help out with things as he could.
I just Googled Roger and found this oral history recorded at the library just last year: https://aadl.org/aadl_argus-roger_place. I learned a lot about Roger that I didn’t know. And, here’s a picture of his QSL card from 1953: https://www.flickr.com/photos/70251312@N00/8421879190.

Bruce, KT8TD:

I’m sorry to hear that.  I took my Technician exam from them in November 2004.  Some years later after being elected Arrow president, Roger made a gift of the Extra Class license manual.  I took it as a gentle suggestion that I really ought to make the upgrade.  Five months later, in Dayton, I took and passed the exam.  I’ve always been grateful to roger for that subtle suggestion.

Jeff, W8SGZ:

Roger and Clay were like toast and tea.  Warm and comforting, never the least bit objectionable.  With both of them now gone,  there is a large empty space in the goodness of the world.

Ed, AB8OJ:

Roger and Clay were my first contacts with ARROW and with ham radio in general. They always made me feel welcome, and made sure to chat with me at my first few meetings (such as they were back then). I’m honored to have their signatures on my Tech and Extra exams.  I’ll always remember the look of delight on their faces as they told me I had passed. May we all be like W8ZRF and W8JNZ, the best ham radio ambassadors I’ve known.

ARROW DMR repeater up and running

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Panoramic view of Ann Arbor from WoTo

A small contingent of worker bees swarmed in on the Wolverine Tower penthouse and performed a number of tasks, the main task being to remove the 443.5 NBFM repeater and replace it with a Motorola DMR repeater on the same frequency.

Since no Internet connection is active to the site at the moment, it is not linked with any other DMR repeaters. So use Timeslot-2, TalkGroup-2, for LOCAL access. Dinesh reconfigured the DMR repeater to attach to our “future” network connection. Please refer to this guide for programming your DMR radio: https://w8rp.org/how-to-guides/dmr-repeater/

I also took some time to reseat the exciter and receiver cards in the Motorola MSR2000 146.96 repeater (’cause it doesn’t hurt to scrape those 30-year-old connectors from time to time). I also gave the guys a tour of the penthouse and the rooftop so they have a better idea of the “future” Heliax replacement project, and WHY it is delicate to work above the boilers and HVAC that support the building. NOT to place to drop a tool or a bundle of Heliax onto 🙁

The process of gaining access and the support we got from building maintenance was EXCELLENT !!!

The following fine folk showed up onsite to perform the work: WB8TKL Jay, AB3DC Dinesh, AC8TO Don, and K8UCH Mitch. Ulysses N4IYL was on his HT a few miles away to give us signal reports.

– Jay WB8TKL