QCARC Calendar

December 2017
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January 2018
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QC Weather

Snow Showers
Friday 12/15/2017 70%
Snow Showers
Snow showers possible. Lows overnight in the low 20s.
Snow Showers
Saturday 12/16/2017 50%
Snow Showers
Variably cloudy with snow showers. High 34F. Winds W at 10 to 20 mph. Chance of snow 50%. Snow accumulations less than one inch.
Chance of Rain
Sunday 12/17/2017 40%
Chance of Rain
Mostly cloudy in the morning then periods of showers later in the day. High 39F. Winds light and variable. Chance of rain 40%.
Quad-County Weather Page

Latest News

NOTA Special Event

Here is another On The Air Special Event that you can get your HF as well as 2 meter and 70 cm rigs warmed up for. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is beginning their year long NASA On The Air Special Event beginning December 11, 2017 and will ...

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SKYWARN RECOGNITION DAY OPERATING EVENT

SKYWARN RECOGNITION DAY OPERATING EVENT

This year the official date for the SkyWarn™ Recognition Day event is December 2. The event will be in operation from 0000 UTC – 2400 UTC, December 2, 2017. This is a rather simple event, the purpose is to contact as many National Weather Service stations as possible on 80 ...

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2018 Dues Are Due!

2018 Dues Are Due!

The 2018 membership dues for the Quad County Amateur Radio Club are due. Please note the updated dues structure.   A  .pdf can be downloaded using the following link: 2018 QCARC Membership Application Please make checks payable to: Quad County Amateur Radio Club. You can print the completed application, mail it to Quad County ...

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National Weather Service Hazard Simplification Initiative

The National Weather Service is simplifying their hazardous weather products list. Please click on the below link for what they are doing for winter effective October 1, 2017. Looks like they are narrowing down to three categories. http://www.weather.gov/media/iln/HazSimp.pdf

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Autumn SkyWarn Newsletter Available

Autumn SkyWarn Newsletter Available

The 2017 Autumn SkyWarn newsletter is available on-line at: https://www.weather.gov/media/ctp/Spotter%20Newsletters/Autumn2017.pdf    

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Amateur Radio License Exam Session

Amateur Radio License Exam Session

EXAM SESSION 09/29/2017 ALL CLASSES OF LICENSE EXAMS WILL BE OFFERED. Sponsor: Quad County ARC Date: Sep 29 2017 Time: 6:00 PM (Walk-ins allowed) Contact: Joe Shupienis (814) 371-3235 Email: w3bc@arrl.net VEC: ARRL/VEC Location: Penn State Dubois Smeal Building Du Bois, PA  15801

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2017 Jamboree On The Air

2017 Jamboree On The Air

This year the QCARC will activating a station from the Hallstrom Building located at the Camp Mountain Run Scout Camp. The station, N3QC, will be operating on HF bands, considering propagation characteristics to a given part of the World that we intend to communicate with. VHF & UHF frequencies may be activated ...

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W3CDG-11 Balloon Launch In The Air From Pittsburgh

The W3CDG-11 balloon launch is in the air. To watch the progress go to: aprs.fi for the current info. Launch was from the Pgh. Zoo.     The Balloon has landed in the Brackenridge. PA area. Congratulations to those affiliated with the successful flight!

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High Altitude Balloons Pass Nearby

High Altitude Balloons Pass Nearby

          Two high altitude balloons with APRS telemetry reporting transmitters passed just west of DuBois on September 13. These balloons were reporting altitudes of just over 45,000' and temperatures around 12 degrees F. I happened to capture a screen shot one of the balloons as it was posted online, via the WA3UFN-1, ...

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Hurricane Irma The Latest Severe Weather Threat

Hurricane Irma The Latest Severe Weather Threat

  Even though the hurricanes are well south of Pennsylvania, amateurs in our area may still be able to help pass health and welfare traffic. The hurricane watch net should be active as you read this. The net will be active on 14.325 MHz, then switch to 7.268 as conditions change. Check ...

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Baker Trail Ultra-Marathon — Good Test Of Preparedness

Baker Trail Ultra-Marathon -- Good Test Of Preparedness

  Area amateurs recently had an opportunity to actually test preparedness at the Baker Trail Ultra-Marathon where amateurs provided communications along a 50 mile trail where cellular communication was mostly unavailable. This was the real deal in testing the functionality of equipment and abilities of the operators to set up effective ...

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Amateur Radio Parity Act Moves Into The Senate

Amateur Radio Parity Act Moves Into The Senate

  This important piece of legislation that may very well have an effect on more amateur radio operators than what you may first  expect, has moved into the Senate. The legislation has a history of bi-partisan support but we still need to keep aware of what is occurring with the bill ...

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SKYWARN TRAINING – WORTH YOUR TIME

SKYWARN TRAINING - WORTH YOUR TIME

Sometimes things do not all ways as they appear. SkyWarn training may conjure up ideas of intense detailed training for the likes of those who are meteorologists.  No so! This training is for the everyday person on the street, so to say. The training gives the everyday person the background to ...

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Clearfield County SkyWarn® Training Scheduled

Clearfield County SkyWarn® Training Scheduled

The SkyWarn presentation has been rescheduled for July 19, 2017. This training is open to amateur radio operators as well as the general public. It is not required but if amateur radio operators could, also email me if  you anticipate attending at: “bryan at wa3ufn dot com”. Since I initiated the planning ...

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North Western PA Tornado

Severe Weather Awareness Week started a bit early for folks in North Western PA. April 20, 2017 brought an EF0 tornado to Mathews Run in Warren County, just north west of Youngsville, PA. Fortunately there were no injuries or serious damage from the short lived tornado. Details of the tornado can ...

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QCARC Events

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Contact Your US Senators AGAIN! Important!!!

Amateur Radio Parity Act Logo_1111/15/2016

ARRL once again is calling on its members to urge their US Senators to support the Amateur Radio Parity Act (H.R. 1301) when it comes up in the Senate during the “lame duck” session of Congress that adjourns in mid-December. The House of Representatives approved the bill in September, but if the Senate does not follow suit, the bill will die, and the entire process will have to be repeated. ARRL Hudson Division Director Mike Lisenco, N2YBB, who chairs the ARRL Board’s Legislative Advocacy Committee and has been heavily involved in efforts to move H.R. 1301 forward, said today, “The clock is ticking!”

“We begin the e-mail campaign once again, as the US Senate returns to work this week after a month-long hiatus,” Lisenco said. “We were just beginning to build momentum in the Senate following the unanimous passage of the Parity Act in the House when Congress shut down for the 4 weeks prior to Election Day.”

The task is simple: Go to our Rally Congress page, enter your ZIP code, fill in your name and address, press enter, and e-mails will go directly to your Senators. Members may do this, even if they have already contacted their US Senators for support.

“We have to remind our legislators that we are still here and that we need the Amateur Radio Parity Act to become law,” Lisenco stressed. “We must to do this now as we have, at most, only 4 weeks left in the session to get the bill passed this year. Otherwise, we will have to begin the entire process in 2017 with a new 115th Congress.”

There are no guarantees, Lisenco said, and we are subject to the political bickering that goes on daily between the parties, despite the fact that the bill is truly a bipartisan effort. “In order to have a chance at overcoming political obstacles that have little or nothing to do with the legislation, we need our voices to be heard,” he said. “And we need that input today!”

September’s victory in the US House was the culmination of many years of effort on ARRL’s part to gain legislation that would enable radio amateurs living in deed-restricted communities to erect efficient outdoor antennas that support Amateur Radio communication. The measure calls on the FCC to amend its Part 97 rules “to prohibit the application to amateur stations of certain private land-use restrictions, and for other purposes.” While similar bills in past years gained some traction on Capitol Hill, it was not until the overwhelming grassroots support from the Amateur Radio community for H.R. 1301, and ARRL’s relentless and strident efforts on Capitol Hill that this bill made it this far.

As the amended bill provides, “Community associations should fairly administer private land-use regulations in the interest of their communities, while nevertheless permitting the installation and maintenance of effective outdoor Amateur Radio antennas. There exist antenna designs and installations that can be consistent with the aesthetics and physical characteristics of land and structures in community associations while accommodating communications in the Amateur Radio services.”

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Get Ready For Field Day!

2015 Field Day Logo Red Design 1Every year, hams around the country start gathering their radios and warming up their grilles to get ready for the annual ARRL Field Day. This year, the Quad-County Amateur Radio Club has joined forces with the Punxsutawney Area Amateur  Radio Club to participate in a very special 40th Anniversary Field Day operation at the Punxsutawney Municipal Airport in Jefferson County.

In honor of the Club’s 40th Anniversary, the Quad-County Club will use the special-event callsign N3Q. The GOTA station will be operating with the Punxs’y Club callsign K3HWJ as in the past.

Of course there will be hotdogs with legendary “BUX” sauce, made from the secret recipe created by Dick Flanders WA3BUX (SK), served at every Field Day since the Club’s origins! Other food will be available, and everyone is encouraged to bring something to share with the group.

Plans are to operate around the clock, and to have a GOTA station set up for new hams, inactive hams and the public to operate. Additionally a VHF station will be set up to operate on 6-meter and 2-meter SSB/CW/Digital modes.

Most  importantly, a good time will be had by all, as we once again demonstrate to public officials and all of our guests how hams are always ready to work together to set up top-notch radio stations away from the comforts of home and communicate with each other across the miles, to serve our communities.

 

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Contest Results – Fall 2013

WOW! THE DAUNTLESS QCARC contest team warmed up the ionospere during several on-air operating events in October and November. Thanks to the generosity of Club President Peach Caltagarone AB3OG, we were able to string up some pretty impressive antennas at Hummingbird Speedway and rack up some pretty impressive scores, operating from the really nice cabin overlooking Hummingbird Speedway.

Antenna Science

THE MOST IMPRESSIVE antenna was the N3QC Rhombic (orange in the photo), with its beam centered on Southern Europe and the Mediterranian Sea — an area encompassing the largest hotbed of DX Contest operators in the world. In case you’ve never heard of a rhombic, it’s a wire antenna with the wires oriented in such a way as to generate a high-gain “pencil beam” in the desired direction with a very low angle of radiation. Round-the-world communications along a narrow path are possible even in poor conditions.

The N3QC Rhombic is made up of four one-wavelength (on 40 meters) legs with a 53.4° apex angle, suspended 50 feet above ground. The main lobe radiates on a bearing of 63.3° toward Europe, with a take-off angle of 21.2° above the horizon on 20 meters, and 9.2° on 10 meters. Gain is 19.75 dBi on 10 meters, 15.08 dBi on 20 meters, and 10.85 dBi on 40 meters with a 45° takeoff angle and a 60° beamwidth!

The first thing you notice about the rhombic is how quiet it is. Due to its enormous size of 240 by 120 feet (2/3 of an acre!) the aperture is large enough that nearby terrestrial noise is picked up in common mode, and cancels itself out in the feed system. Which brings us to the second thing you notice: Received signals are HUGE! The large aperture means a gigantic capture area allowing the incoming wavefronts to generate strong currents along the wires. On transmit, the nearly 20 dB gain means our 500 watt signal results in an ERP of over 40,000 watts!!!

When we first hooked it to a radio, we could hear European hams on 10 meters. It was midnight in Europe, and they were just chatting with each other using low power. tuning around the 10 meter band, I heard one station in Spain calling CQ and answered him with only 100 watts. He incredulously asked if I was really in W3. He turned his yagi toward the US and we were both astounded by the S9 + 20 dB signal strength. That was a very good sign for our upcoming contest efforts!

The rhombic is a tough act to follow, but it’s highly directional and there was a need to cover areas it didn’t. So up went two G5RV antennas. The first (red in the photo) hung at 43 feet and was aligned parallel to the rhombic’s main beam, to provide coverage perpendicular to it. Specifically, the coverage was planned to cover Japan and the Pacific, as well as the Caribbean and South America. The second G5RV (green in the photo) was suspended at 60 feet and aligned north-south to provide coverage of the US on 80, 40 and 20 meters, and have four lobes on 15 and 10 meters to the NE, SE, SW and NW to supplement the first G5RV.

Although significantly noisier than the rhombic, the G5RVs proved to do their intended jobs and provided solid coverage to their predicted target areas, just as they were designed. Although yagis or tribanders would provide more gain and flexibility than the G5RVs, the expense and effort to install towers and beams was not feasable at this time. The G5RVs were a good compromise, and worked more than adequately. Perhaps in the future, another unterminated rhombic (bi-directional) would better serve Japan, the Pacific islands, the Caribbean and South America. (Or maybe a curtain array, say an HRRS 4/4/0.5, phase-steerable +/- 30°, centered on 330°/150°. Such an antenna would cover 80% of the world’s landmass with about 16 dBi on 20-10 meters.)

The science works in practice, and I am sure that were he still with us, QCARC’s first president Gary Boucher W3GNR would be very proud of our engineering work!

The Radios

WE ARE NOT wealthy. But our club is rich in the generosity we show each other! For example, the rhombic consists of 550 feet of wire, provided by W3BC. He also provided 50 feet of RG-8 coax (enough to reach the ground) and a 4:1 balun. WA3UFN provided 150 feet of RG-8 coax to continue the feed to the shack. W3BC also provided 500 feet of rope, and the insulators used to hold the four corners of the rhombic way up in the air. His baitcasting skills and equipment launched the support ropes over the treetops. AB3OG provided the racetrack location and permission to place the antenna there. Cost to the club: $0.00 — Value: Priceless!

When it came time to operate, W3BC transported a shackful of contest-grade radios. His classic Icom IC-751A transceiver, IC-R71E receiver, IC-2KL solid-state, fluid-cooled linear, and AT-500 automatic bandswitching antenna tuner made up one operating position for the first couple events. His newly-acquired Icom IC-756 Pro III replaced the erstwhile 751 for the Phone Sweepstakes. AB3OG brought his Icom IC-765 for the second operating position. His one-time world-champion Icom flagship rig performed admirably, allowing us to tune out the severe QRM and focus on the signals we wanted.

Additionally, W3TM brought headsets, rig interfaces, voice keyer, CW paddles and footswitches to round out the operating positions. W3BC supplied the logging computers and software. He also made up Great-Circle maps centered on our QTH, with the patterns for each antenna and band superimposed. AB3OG paid the electric bill, and kept the lights and heat running in the beautiful, modern cabin, which made operating comfortable and fun. The nicely appointed cabin was the perfect blend of rustic atmosphere and modern convenience to make our time spent there very enjoyable. Those not operating were able to follow the games on a wide-screen TV, also courtesy of AB3OG.

The Club provided food, snacks and beverages, and KA3MKY brought snacks and served up the world’s best homemade chili. Nobody went hungry, and all the comforts of home were available. Again, the cost to the Club was small.

During the setup, KB3LES helped out with the heavy lifting, and brought his MFJ antenna analyzer which proved to be valuable in locatiing a faulty coax connector. That was the only equipment failure, and the CB-grade connector was completely burned up when we applied 500 watts to the feedline. (A PL-259 that meets specifications will easily handle well over 1000 watts at 50 ohms, but the cheap imitation ones sold in CB shops WILL fail at under 100 watts — catastrophically!!!) Thanks to W3TM who provided a replacement connector on a moment’s notice!

For the Jamboree on the Air, WD3D brought his Kenwood transceiver and a vertical antenna. He demonstrated the ease with which an Amateur Radio Station could be set up and talk to other stations around the world!

The Operations

THERE WAS NO shortage of operating events! We started out with the Pennsylvania QSO Party on October 12 and 13. We operated the full 22 hours of the event, and had a very sucessful experience. Not only did we score 145,000+ points, but we made a “Clean Sweep” of all 67 counties! It was very easy to bust a pileup on our first call, and we received many unsolicited comments about our “big signal”. Operators were AB3OG, W3BC, W3TM and WD3D.

Next was the Jamboree ont the Air on Saturday and Sunday, October 19-20. Boy Scouts from the local troops were invited to attend. A number of hams were present to help out. Wd3D brought a complete station and set it up, and talked to the world. Club members present were W3DWR, KA3FHV, AB3OG, W3TM, KB3LES, KA3MKY, W3BC.

This was taken 10/26/13 around 7:30pm shortly before the half million point threshold…CONGRATULATIONS JOE AND PEACH!!! [KA3MKY Photo]

Then on October 25-27 it was time for the big one… The biggest contest of them all, the annual CQ World-Wide DX Contest. Could we hope to even be heard with all the world’s biggest of the big guns? The answer was a resounding, YES! The rhombic showed its true colors as we again received many reports of a booming signal from all over the world. New Zealand at over 9,000 miles away was booming in on 10 meters. We often could hear “local” stations via long path, with their signals going 24,000 miles the long-way around the world with the characteristic 1/8 second delay or “echo”. The “red” G5RV delivered a dozen QSOs with Japan on 10, 15 and 20 meters! We worked well over 100 countries — DXCC in one wekend! We jokingly suggested that we should shoot for a million points. The truth is that we almost made it: Our final score was over 897,000 points and if we could have had even a couple more manhours on one or the other radio, we would have likely hit the million-point mark! Ops: W3BC, AB3OG. More would have been very welcome and appreciated!!!

Finally on November 16 and 17th, we set up shop for the ARRL November Sweepstakes phone contest. We entered in the multi-operator, single transmitter category. W3BC’s new Pro III was the workhorse, and the radio and antennas performed perfectly. Band conditions were fantastic. The long-path”echo” of our own signal was often heard when we let up on the transmit switch! 10 meters was wall-to-wall with stations all over the US and Canada. It was like being in one of those game show money booths, and we tried to grab as many QSOs as we could. We worked both Alaska and Hawaii right off the bat in the first few minutes, and had collected contacts in 60 different ARRL sections within the first six hours, leaving 23 to be worked for a clean sweep. By the time we shut down for the night, we had made a couple hundred QSOs, and had talked to station in all but seven states.

We started up again on Sunday morning, and found 10 meters was good for DX but not the US. We went to 15 meters and could hear that “long-path echo” on almost every station. I’ve never seen conditions that good in 47 years of being a ham. We settled into systematically tuning the band, and it seemed that on every QSO we picked up one of the needed sections. Before long, we were down to single digit numbers of needed sections. Over the course of an hour, we brought it down to the final four: Newfoundland and Manitoba in Canada, and North Dakota and Kentucky in the US. We tried tuning 20 meters, but the approaching weather front was producing S9 + 20 dB of “static” on that band. Back up to 10 meters, but not many signals, and those we heard we had already worked long before. Then on 15 meters, we almost immediately found a VY2 and the “NL” multiplier was ours. On the TV, the Steelers had just scored a field goal, so that must have been a lucky time for Western Pennsylvania.

A little more tuning around and there was Manitoba! Now we were down to two more sections. On 40 meters, there was Nancy K9DIG calling “CQ Sweepstakes” and in a matter of seconds, North Dakota was in our log! Only one more setion to go! We went down to 80 meters for an hour or two and began to give up hope of the Clean Sweep. We did work a large number of stations in an hour-long pile-up of stations who needed Western Pennsylvania, but none of them were from Kentucky. We then went back up to 40 meters to take a quick run across the band and pick up the few stations we hadn’t worked yet.

The Steelers game was over, everybody had worked everybody else and boredom was setting in. We heard one guy calling CQ and answered him. He replied, “N3QC You blew me out of my chair with that big signal. You’re the loudest station I ever heard!” Yes, our modest station was acting much more like a Big Gun than the little pistol we really were!

As evening fell, the rain was coming down and 20, 15 and 10 meters were closing when we heard a W4 calling CQ on 40 meters. Was he in Kentucky? We threw out our call. No reply. We called again a couple more times. Still nothing. And then…

Another pile-up of stations started calling us. We worked through them, and when they tapered off, we tried calling “CQ Kentucky” a couple times in the closing hours of the contest. We could visualize our hopes for a Clean Sweep sprouting wings and flying away. But up from the ashes, a friendly voice came through the speaker, “There’s a Kentucky down on 3702.”

Off we went!

Sure enough, the Kentucky station was there, working a huge pile-up. We got our ducks in a row, and AB3OG sent our call once along with the dozen or so other stations who sounded like feeding time at the hog trough. But thanks to the rhombic and the amp and the Pro III audio and the operating skill (along with a little luck), there was Kentucky calling N3QC!!! Peach finished the QSO and entered it in the log and then we all cheered the accomplishment. We had made our Clean Sweep!!! Of course that implies that we also worked all 50 states… In only a 24-hour period!

That Winning Season

THE WEATHER WARNINGS started flowing in when there were still a couple more contest hours left to go. Putting safety first, we made the difficult decision to forego the hundred or so more QSOs that would have put us over the 100,000 point threshold and opted to shut down and load all the equipment up. Mother Nature even sided with us and suspended the drenching downpour that had been going on all afternoon and evening. We tore down and removed all the equipment from the cabin, loaded it in the vehicles and then set about securing the antennas for the winter.

Sweepstakes operators were W3BC, AB3OG and KA3MKY, with a nice visit by KB3LES and his XYL Jo. We all had a great time in the Sweepstakes and all the other events. Everyone had a lot of fun and a lot of laughs. The radios and antennas worked perfectly and more than lived up to our expectations. We proved that we could get the techincal part right without spending a fortune. We also proved that we could operate efficiently for long periods without succumbing to exhaustion.

The 2013 Fall contest season had come to a close. Our club suited up and showed up. We made very good scores without overworking ourselves, and probably won some awards — we definitely won two “Clean Sweep” awards — and really, really enjoyed ourselves. The silent key founding members of our Club would be very proud of our efforts, both in the technical and the competitive aspects of the events. We did our best to honor their heritage.

The only dark cloud was that we missed you. There was plenty of fun (and food) to go around, and even if you don’t think you’re up to contesting, you could have shared our excitement and fun while watching us win each little victory and by cheering us on. Yes RadioSport is a spectator sport too, and your team spirit and support would have meant a lot to those of us who were competing on the air. Can we count on your support next time? It really does mean a lot to those of us in the thick of the competition.

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N3QC 2012 Contest Scorecard

Quad-County members participated in a number of contests over the summer months, with good results! Here are some of the official results:

ARRL June VHF Contest

Current Club President Herb Murray W3TM and Secretary Joe Shupienis W3BC hit the bricks to participate in the Rover-Limited category. Activating 5 grids and handing out 92 QSOs, their final official score was 5,406 points, with contacts being made in 48 grids! It was a lot of fun, and they activated some grids neither had operated from before, notably FN02, EN92 and EN91, along with FN00 and FN01. We are fortunate to live in or near so many “rare” grids, and the 6 meter stations were grateful!

That score was enough to win the WPA Section, and to take second place in the Atlantic Division!

Field Day

Overcoming confusion about our location, we stuck it out and had a great time. Finishing in the top 10 of all stations in the WPA section, we scored 2,550 points and most importantly had 26 participants who helped put our signals on the air for the full duration of the event!

That score allowed us to take First Place honors in our 2A-Commercial category for both the Western Pennsylvania Section and the Atlantic Division. We finished 6th place in our category, Nationwide.

Great work, everybody!

CQ WW DX (SSB)

This is “The Big One” — the 900 pound gorilla of contests. Current Vice-President Peach Caltagarone AB3OG graciously opened up his Hummingbird Speedway facilities to the club, and the 16 members and guests who stopped by to operate and observe. We strung up a number of antennas, including a pair of crossed G5RVs and W3BC’s “Half-Rhombic,” a 300 foot monster pointed at Europe.

Results were very good! We logged 91 counties — that’s almost DXCC in a single weekend! the antennas worked flawlessly, digging out European, African and Asian stations well into the wee hours. Then it was back at it Sunday morning, with all the comforts of home — W3BC brought an HD TV and antenna. We were able to receive 11 HDTV stations, and could keep an eye on the football games as we racked up our own score on the air!

Our goal was to introduce non-contesters to RadioSport, to allow everyone to try their hand in a big contest, and to have fun. We did that and more! We finished 2nd Place in the 3rd call district, 17th place Nationwide, 27th place in North America, and 96th place worldwide. With over 8,000 other stations sending in logs, that is quite an accomplishment!

The CQ WW DX (CW) weekend is coming up, as is the ARRL Sweepstakes (SSB) weekend. Gear up for these and be sure to include “Quad County Amateur Radio Club” as your club to help out our club aggregate score! Whatever you favorite on-air activity, it’s coming to your radio soon!

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Need a new antenna? Well find an old one, and fix it up!

      With the risk, that you might say, I can’t do that, I say YES YOU CAN!

The other day, I was looking around for a cheap and simple antenna for my brother in-law.  You see, he was asking me if it’s hard to get a amateur radio license, and if the equipment is expensive, so I told him that he could borrow a radio and coax from me, but, I didn’t have any antenna that he could use. 

That’s when I got to think about a neighbor of mine, a few years ago, he asked me if I wanted an old CB antenna that had been laying outside for the last 20-25 years, and at the time, I had what I needed, so I said no thank you, but now it might be a good idea to ask him, and guess what, it was still laying out there, he said, all he used it for was to knock down hornets nests. So I got the “antenna” for free, took it all apart, cleaned it up, and put it together again.

From what I could figure out, it was 11′ tall, and once it did have 3 ground plane-rods. Further more, it also had a coil of some sorts, connecting the center of the PL connector  with the 11′ radiator, and since I had no clue of size, or number of turns, I started to look on the net for a similar antenna, but it was still just guesswork. As you can see, on the picture at the right, I used what I had sitting around, so its about 1 1/2 turns. Then of coarse I didn’t know how long the ground-plane-rods originally were, so I came up with a “one of a kind” solution. Since I didn’t have any aluminum pipes that would fit, I went another route, if you look close, I put “inserts” into the 3/4″ holes, then 3 pieces of 6′ fiber-glass rods were inserted, and on the rods, I wound about 7′ 22 gauge insulated copper-wire. The fiber-glass rods can be found at Lowe’s, they are used as “driveway” markers. I used electrical tape, to hold the wires in place, but shrink-tubes would be nicer.

Now too the fun part, would this contraption work??  As I said earlier, this was an old CB antenna once upon a time, but what is it now?? I hooked up my trusty TS-440 sat, it has its own antenna-tuner, so I tuned in 28,500 and hit tune, well it showed SWR about 1-1:3, so I moved down to 28,020 and low and behold, it showed SWR 1-1:2! Well I thought, just because it shows low SWR, it doesn’t have to be a good antenna, so I tuned over the 10m band, and heard a station in El Paso Tx I had worked before, he was about S 5-5, so I called him, and he did answer, and gave me a solid S 5-9!! This told me that it was not just a pile of junk sitting on my back porch, so then I tried to tune it on 12m, and there it showed about SWR 1-1:3, which is not to bad!! This antenna turned out to work all bands, except 17m, and I guess 160m!! Not to bad of a pile of scrap!!

So now, I’m asking all of you, go out and “save” old CB antennas, give them a second chance, and put them to work on our HAM-bands! When you are done, tell us how good it works, and how you managed to save it from the “scrapyard” Good luck, and hope to see your article here soon!

Lars KB3WBT the Antennafarmer

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2012 Annual Report

THE QUAD-COUNTY Amateur Radio Club, Inc. proudly presents our 2012 Annual Report, detailing the activities of the past 12 months in this, our 38th year. You may view or download it here:

2012 Annual Report

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Antenna Shootout, UHF Edition

We’re at it again! Before the August 17 meeting, we invaded the large parking lot we use as an antenna test range once again. This time, we brought UHF antennas, and found that despite their smaller size, they were all very efficient. Don KB3LES brought his double diamond array, which may be small, but packed a big punch! Lars KB3WBT ran his Quagi through its paces, and Joe W3BC made reference measurements of his Rover Yagi.

The antennas all performed so well it was too close to call. Don’s antenna had high gain, and it was in almost all directions, Lars’ quagi had deeper side nulls, but was still “lobey” off the back. Joe’s Rover antenna had plenty of forward gain, but when as little as 15 degrees off the target, the signals went away and stayed away.

Don’s antenna had the smallest turning radius, and its wide beamwidth and high gain is perfect for net and repeater operations. It would be particularly well-suited to talking to mobiles, since its wide-pattern coverage would blanket an area better than any other antenna we tested. Plus it was the most unique looking of the bunch! Lars’ quagi was very lightweight being made of PVC pipe, and was easily portable. It would make a great antenna for working distant repeaters. Joe’s Rover antenna was showing the effects of bouncing down hundreds of miles of back roads on countless contest roving missions. A couple of the elements were loose, and could be heard and seen on the receiver as they flopped around in the breeze. It certainly meets its design requirement of hearing only what it’s pointed at, and rejecting strong contest QRM from off the sides and back. Mechanically though, it needs some maintenance before it falls apart, and perhaps a sturdier redesign to keep the elements where they belong.

The exercise could be called a “quest for truth” and there were many truths revealed, even by the simplistic testing methodology we used. Given more time, and more attention to little details, some very accurate results could be obtained, but in our assembly-line session, we learned a lot, and got a good idea of the performance of each antenna under test. We will add these techniques to our inventory, and we’ll certainly be doing more antenna testing in the future.

After we ran out of UHF antennas, we switched the remote transmitter to VHF, and tested Lars’ latest creation—a 5 element two meter antenna that uses metal arrow shafts for elements. It is a clean-looking antenna, and initial test results showed it to have good gain and a very smooth pattern. After twirling it around the compass and recording received signal strengths, we gave it a real test—we dialed up a distant beacon and pointed the antenna its way.

Sure enough we heard a carrier, and then the CW id of WA1ZMS on 144.285 MHz, located on a 4200 foot mountaintop in Virginia, some 253 miles to the south!

The net result was that all the antennas were winners! Every one of them had plenty of gain to pick up the weakest signals, while the off-axis signal sensitivity or rejection differed, making each antenna suitable for a different purpose. That diversity is what makes Amateur Radio so much fun, and gives us choices to meet our operating needs.

Not to mention that everyone there had a lot of fun!

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Shootout at the Range!


Antenna range, that is… The Quad-County ARC held its first-ever antenna shootout preceding the July meeting. Using a low-power transmitter located almost 1/4 mile away, the group of antenna experimenters set up a monitoring position in a large parking lot adjacent to the meeting room on the Penn State DuBois Campus and took signal strength measurements of various 2-meter antennas that they brought for the occasion. The winner was a homebrew contraption made by Lars SM7FYW/KB3WBT.

Larry KB3YJH placed his home-made groundplane atop the test mast and the measured signal strength was good enough to take second place. Lars and Don KB3LES each tested several antennas and found the truth about directivity and gain.

After the meeting Joe W3BC presented a program on computer modeling of antennas. The highlight of the presentation was to input the dimensions of Lars’ blue ribbon winner, and see if it was supposed to work in theory. The answer was surprisingly close to the pattern measured on the test range, with deep side nulls predicted just like those measured on the range, and a fairly large lobe off the back of the antenna, again in accordance with the actual measurements.

It was so much fun, that another shootout is planned for 6:30 August 17th, before the meeting at 7:30. This second shootout will also be for UHF antennas.

Don KB3LES will be bringing his secret weapon, which looks like something from NASA… You’ll have to be there to catch all the fun!!!

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Ham Radio at the DuBois Red Cross Carnival

On Saturday, June 2, 15 QCARC members and guests set up a demonstration station and and gave a public exhibition of foxhunting at the American Red Cross PA Heartland Chapter’s “First Bash of Summer” carnival in the DuBois City Park. Don Jewell KB3LES was the project leader, and provided the HF radio, VHF/UHF J-Pole, antenna analyzer, hardware and know-how. The Punxsutawney Area Amateur Radio Club provided the tent, which turned out to be very much needed when Mother Nature showed everyone who was boss.

Jeff Rowles KA3FHV held down the fort on the HF rig, and the HF antenna system built by Joe W3BC was given a thorough workout. The results were good, and Jeff reported that he was able to work every station he heard. The entire operation was set up in under an hour and it was great to see so many hands make light work of all the heavy lifting. In a Quad-County first, at no time did anyone discover they had left something important at home!

Joe Rouse K3JLR drove in from Strattanville and brought Deirdre and Magi who gave us a special treat: Homemade Ham Radio cookies!

Technology Specialist Lars KB3WBT/SM7FYW led several teams on foxhunts, and fielded questions from curious fairgoers. There seems to be a growing interest in foxhunting locally, and it’s a great opportunity to show the public another side of Amateur Radio they probably didn’t know existed. It’s an activity for the whole family, and participants don’t even need a license to have some ham radio fun!

Jefferson County ARES EC Kevin Snyder KA3YCB, along with assistant EC and Punxsutawney Area Amateur Radio Club President Steve Waltman KB3FPN were both on hand to help out and take part in the activities. Kevin also serves as the Quad-County ARC Public Service Officer, and brought portable tables and chairs for the event. Red Cross Liaison Greg Donahue KB3WKD made sure we had everything we needed, and connected us to the electrical power system for the duration. He also set up PA announcements directing fairgoers to our location.

Before the rainstorm hit, we discussed how much fun it was, and our desire to do more events like these. We look forward to the next events: Field Day, Race Day, Car Show, and Baker Trail Marathon.

Participants:
W3BC, KB3WBT and Kay, KA3FHV, W3DWR, KB3WKD, K3JLR, Deirdre, Magi, W3TM, Jeff, KA3YCB, KB3FPN, KB3LES, JoAnn

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Fox Hunt at Penn State DuBois

We finally stopped talking about it and just did it! Before the April meeting, several members tried their hand at finding W3BC’s hidden UV-3R somewhere on the Penn State DuBois campus. Lars KB3WBT brought his DF tape-measure antenna, and Don KB3LES brought one of his home-built log-periodic antennas with his UV-3R for a receiver.

Ed and Don close in on the fox, as passing drivers gape in wonder...

Stomping around the campus with antennas, the hidden transmitter turned out to be harder to find than expected. Lars reported the signal level picked up INSIDE the Swift building, and Don couldn’t get a good direction as he got closer to the fox.

The “winner” of the first heat was… Ed KB3VWX, who found it without using either a radio or antenna! We’ll have to call him “Eagle Eyes” from now on! Don took some time to introduce Bev W3BEV to the art of foxhunting before heading out to find the fox.

The first to find the fox using proper radio and antenna technique was Don KB3LES. After finding it, he got to silence it, and hide it in a second location. That second location was even harder than the first, utilizing a brick wall, a large flower pot, a metal trash can and a pile of leaves to hide out from the DF antennas. Lars was zeroing in on it when time ran out. Ed “Eagle Eyes” KB3VWX retrieved the radio and we all went inside for the meeting.

Reports were all positive, and some areas for improvement were discussed, notably signal attenuation when close to the fox. Others remarked that passing drivers gave us some astonished looks as we marched around campus with “space antennas!”

Everyone thought it was a lot of fun, and we look forward to perfecting our setups to do it again next month.

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Homebuilt Quagi for 70cm

Hello all readers, this is the Swede again.

This time I have been playing with a piece of pvc pipe and some aluminum wire, the result became a cheap and simple antenna for 70cm.

The pvc pipe is about 57″ end to end and is 5/8 diameter (you can use bigger, if thats in your junkbox) and then a couple of short pieces about 1/2″ used for the reflector and also the driven element. I also got a T pipe, as a “mastclamp” since the antenna only weighs a few ounzes  ;)

Here are the element lengths: Reflector loop 28″ Driven loop 26 5/8″        Directors 11 3/4″ to 11 7/16″ in 1/16 steps….

Element spacing: R-DE 7″  DE-D1  5 1/4″  D1-D2  11″  D2-D3  5,85″  D3-D4  8,73″  D4-D5 8,73″  D5-D6 8,73″

I will bring it to the meeting, so if you have any questions, I’ll be more than happy to answer them.

Lars KB3WBT

 

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ARRL Study – EmComm & Deed Restrictions

Check out the following link for more information about the EmComm & Deed restriction studies that the ARRL is conducting.  There are two links relative the two topics at: ARRL Study

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