QCARC Calendar

November 2017
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QC Weather

Partly Cloudy
Thursday 11/23/2017 0%
Partly Cloudy
Sunshine and clouds mixed. Temps nearly steady in the mid 30s. Winds WSW at 5 to 10 mph.
Clear
Friday 11/24/2017 0%
Clear
Mainly sunny. High 49F. Winds SSW at 5 to 10 mph.
Chance of Rain
Saturday 11/25/2017 30%
Chance of Rain
Showers in the morning, then cloudy in the afternoon. High 43F. Winds WSW at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 30%.
Quad-County Weather Page

Latest News

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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SEVERE WEATHER AWARENESS WEEK APRIL 24 – 28, 2017

SEVERE WEATHER AWARENESS WEEK APRIL 24 – 28, 2017

Since the National Weather Service outline for Severe Weather Week encompasses the weather that we encounter in our area, it might just be a great idea to check the State College, NWS website (http://www.weather.gov/ctp/SevereWeatherAwarenessWeek) for some important information. The information on the web pages just happen expand on the April ...

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WIRES-X , The New Kid on the Block

This article was originally posted January 15, 2016 Just above the horizon – WIRES-X! Recently you may have heard some rather odd noises and unlikely QSOs taking place on the N3QC, 147.315 repeater. The latest update to our repeater was added January 12, 2016 when the Yaesu Wires-X Voice Over Internet ...

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QCARC Events

  • No events.

12 VDC Power Control

 

Many amateur radio operators have equipment operating on 12 VDC power supplies. There are times that the equipment needs to quickly switch to a 12 volt battery back-up. There is a very easy way to accomplish this without any intervention needed to switch back and forth from the AC operated power supply and the battery back-up as needed. I’ve found that the PWRgate meets the need to control a supply of 12 volt power to equipment when the AC power supply fails.
pwrgate
You’ll see in the photo that this unit has the Anderson Powerpole® connections that make connections super easy, if you have adopted Powerpoles® as your method of 12 VDC power connectors a standard. Remember that the Powerpoles® are the standard with most ARES and RACES groups across the Country to make interoperability of powering equipment easy but that’s another topic.

The latest model of the PWRgate has three output connections for the equipment that you may need to power, up to 25 amps. There is a connection for your back-up battery to charge your battery and power your equipment when the AC power supply loses its 120 VAC supply, as well as the input from an AC powered 12 VDC supply.

I can say from experience, I have one in use, this unit works as advertised. It is great to maintain 12 VDC to equipment that may otherwise lock up if the power is removed then reapplied when an orderly shutdown/restart should be done. The PWRgate is offered by an amateur radio operator, who provides fast shipping and super service if an issue may arise. You can visit the web site http://ki0bk.no-ip.com/~pwrgate/LLPG/Site/Welcome.html for more information on the PWRgate and other devices that are available.

 

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Millcreek Adventure Race

triathlon-sign-image-300x244The Millcreek Adventure Race, sponsored by the Brookville YMCA, is set for June 4, 2016.

Chuck Shaffer, KC3EAJ has requested amateurs to provide public service communications for this race. His main focus is the orienteering course between Millcreek & Frozen Toe.

The actual race covers eighty four miles and there are opportunities for as many ham operators to participate as arrive to assist. Chuck will find a place for you. It would be great if 4-5 hams would make it out to assist with the race.

This will be the second year Amateur Radio has been requested to assist with this race. However, if you have helped with the northern leg of the Baker Ultra Challenge, you will recognize much of the terrain. There are safety checkpoints, and orienteering points that he would like covered.

The race starts at 7 a.m. with an 8-mile run in a loop around the Millcreek Boat Launch area just outside of Strattanville. From there, the opening runner tags off to a swimmer who goes on a 2-mile round trip before tagging to the next teammate who bikes 23 miles from Millcreek to Cook Forest State Park at the Clarion River bridge.

The biker then tags a kayaker who boats back to Millcreek some 12 miles away. An orienteer duo or individual awaits the Kayaker there for a 10-12 mile trip to find three checkpoints in the forest between Millcreek and Frozen Toe, which is just north of Corsica.

The final stage starts at Frozen Toe where the successful orienteer team tags off to the anchor leg, who finishes the day on a 9.74-mile run into Brookville and the finish line at the YMCA.

ANY radio amateurs wishing to help with this Public Service Event, Please contact me at KA3YCB@ ARRL.net.

Kevin Snyder, KA3YCB

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Powerpole® Crimp Tool Review

For many hams the go-to 12 VDC connector is the Anderson Powerpole®. I feel the same, this connector is the only one that makes sense forPP crimper convenience and durability of connection among my own radios and if the need arises other power supplies. This form of 12 VDC power connection really makes the issue of interoperability for a power source a non-issue. The connector is recognized across the Country as THE power connector to use for ARES and other public service applications.

Anyway, where this is leading is the issue with installing the connectors on the wire. It really is not difficult but there is a standard, in order to interface with the rest of the world! Amateur radio has adopted the standard that when viewed from the contact side, the mnemonic for remembering the arrangement for the positive connector is: “Red Right — Tongue Top“.
Of red powerpolecourse red is positive while black is negative. Even though there is a standard, I feel it is still a good idea to confirm the connection that your rig may be connected to is verified visually and also electrically using a volt meter or one of the LED connectors that indicate if the connectors are configured to the standard.

 

The installation of the connector contacts can be problematic if the proper crimp procedure is not used. I’ve used the crimping pliers type PP crimper diescrimp tool, until now. I finally invested in a crimp tool made for the Powerpole® connector contacts. I have to say that I should have done it sooner, no exaggeration! There are are several styles of crimpers available with the special dies for the crimp, study their operation and style then decide for yourself which one suites your needs. The version that I settled on has a feature in the tool that helps maintain the alignment of the contact while the crimp in done (see photo). My opinion is that the crimp done with the pictured tool is far superior than the crimping pliers style. Along with the quality of the crimp, there is no distortion to the contact. With no distortion there is no reforming the contact which results in a much easier insertion into the Powerpole® shell and much better contact surface for maximum conductivity.

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Skywarn 2013

The Quad-County Amateur Radio Club is pleased to sponsor a Skywarn training session, conducted by the National Weather Service office in Moon Township, PA. The date is 6:00 pm on Thursday, April 4th, 2013 at the Reynoldsville Fire Hall, 411 Jackson Street, Reynoldville, PA 15851.

This official Skywarn Observer training is now required for all applicants for the ARRL EC-016 course for ARES and Emergency Communications leaders.

This is the only Skywarn training in Jefferson County scheduled so far this year. The Reynoldsville location is conveniently located near the center of the county, just 12 miles from Brookville, 13 miles from Punxsutawney, 12 miles from Brockway and 11 miles from DuBois (although Clearfield County residents should attend a session conducted by the State College NWS.)

Those taking this course will learn how to identify and report severe weather to the National Weather Service as a Skywarn Weather Spotter.

Continue reading Skywarn 2013

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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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2012 Simulated Emergency Test

The annual ARRL SET took place on Saturday, October 6. Quad-County Public Service Coordinator / Jefferson County ARES EC Kevin Snyder KA3YCB set up shop at the Jefferson County EOC, and ably served as net control for the Jefferson County participants. Jerry Bosak WD3D acted as liaison, maintaining communications on HF and VHF with other counties across the Western Pennsylvania section. The American Red Cross PA Heartland Chapter participated as a joint exercise, and requested the communications services of the Quad-County ARC to set up radio links to shelters in Big Run and Brookville.

Saturday morning found club members Don Jewell KB3LES of Falls Creek and Peach Caltagarone AB3OG of Reynoldsville setting up 2-meter stations at the Red Cross shelters in Brookville and Big Run, with Greg Donahue KB3WKD and Joe Shupienis W3BC setting up in the Red Cross Headquarters in downtown DuBois. All stations set up and were able to maintain and relay communications with the Jefferson County EMA and the Red Cross HQ for the duration of the exercise.

The Western Pennsylvania Section scenario was severe weather disrupting power, transportation and communications in the section. The Red Cross disaster drill was coordinated with the WPA master plan, and included simulated tornado damage and hundreds of evacuees in the areas of Brookville and Troutville. As the mission progressed, routine and priority messages were exchanged, including requests for counts of evacuees at each shelter, requests from the shelters for supplies, EMA bulletins, and calls for additional volunteers. Red Cross officials at each shelter were able to communicate with HQ via our Amateur Radio links.

Tactical callsigns and plain-language communication techniques were used throughout the drill, and greatly facilitated accurate and effective communications. Several “problems” were simulated, both by EMA and Red Cross officials, and our amateurs were able to quickly and satisfactorily respond to each with appropriate actions. A couple “real” difficulties occurred which added an air of realism to the exercise.

This was a great opportunity to put Amateur Radio Public Service on display for the public and the served agencies. We promptly got every message through, overcame difficulties and exceeded all expectations. Red Cross officials remarked on the high degree of realism they witnessed in our communications, and praised the operating skills and knowledge of the Amateur Radio Volunteers. They further indicated their desire to equip the headquarters and shelters with antennas and radios, and hope to plan a Red Cross disaster drill in the spring, with live “victims” and official vehicles actually travelling to shelters in all four counties.

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Group Purchase: Baofeng UV-3R Dual-Band HT

NEW Baofeng UV-3R Dual-Band HT

I will be ordering 5-unit lots of Baofeng UV-3R HTs from China as orders come in. The cost is $46.00 per radio, shipped. I will program them with all the local ham radio frequencies of interest free of charge. (If you prefer to do it yourself, here’s the file: QC-Ham)

I can also obtain spare batteries at $3.95 each. Better deal: I found a supplier of 1800 mAH batteries for $4.00 each, which gives 20% longer battery life for a nickel more!!!

These prices are for 5 units or more, so orders will be held until I get at least 5.

Please note, these are the improved “Mark II” version with the dual frequency display and 19 menu functions. Color (red, blue, yellow or camo) units are $49.00 each and take longer to ship (two weeks). The regular ones take a few days. The first group order was for 8, I expect them to be here in time for the Meeting Friday.

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W3PIG Builds Emcomm “Go-Kit”

Kevin W3PIG made a very nice ecomm box. Here are some photos.

Great Job!!!

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ARES Registration UPDATE!

AAttention all Emcomm personnel: You must register on the new WPA ARES website to become or remain a member of ARES! The new WPA ARES website is working very well, and WPA SEC Larry Keller has told us there is no longer any need to use the schedule previously published.

ARES Registration is now open for all WPA ARES members. You are requested to register on the new WPA ARES website, now.

Even if you already registered in the past using the ARRL website or a paper form, you still must use this new system to re-register!

Please visit http://www.wpaares.org to register. The registration system can be entered by clicking on the bottom left button.


Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How do I access the registration page?
    Go to www.wpaares.org. The registration page is accessed from a button on the left side of the homepage
  2. Is my information confidential?
    Information you submit will be available only to the Section Manager, Section Emergency Coordinator and the Emergency Coordinator for your County.
  3. Why collect this information?
    Collection of information on-line is more convenient , an easy to use roster is compiled to facilitate efficient communication with you and more effective response actions in your community and the Section.
  4. How will I know my registration was successful?
    You will receive a confirmation message after you hit the submit button at the bottom. PLEASE DO NOT use ENTER when completing the form. Use the TAB or Mouse to navigate between fields and use the SUBMIT button.
  5. If I make an error, can I correct it?
    Yes, just resubmit ALL data. We recognize duplicates and will use the most recent entry.
  6. Can I register in two counties?
    Yes, if you live on a boundary and serve two counties. You must enter two complete and separate forms.

There is a growing need for ARES emergency communications services, your willingness to help is greatly appreciated.

Questions, contact your EC or AB3ER@comcast.net.

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It’s Field Day!

TTHE BIG DAY is here! All the planning and preparation comes together today at the Old Town Sportsmen’s Pavilion on the Clearfield County Fairgrounds. This morning, we are setting up antennas and radios and computers, and the grill… and everything else!

The contest portion begins at 2:00 pm and ends Sunday at 2:00 pm. Help will be needed to tear down as well, so please stop by. Many hands make light work, you know!

The Public and media are invited, and this year we’re trying something new – a GOTA station. If you don’t know what that is, it’s a “Get On The Air” station to allow unlicensed people, new hams and old-timers who haven’t been active lately to make some contacts at a more leisurely pace.

We are there now, come on over!!!

Update Saturday 10:00 pm

Channel 6 News visited our Field Day site and depending on the other stories (of course) plans on airing their coverage of us tonight on the 11:00 news. Catch us tonight, and stop by in person Sunday after 10 am. The contest period ends for us at 2 pm, but we’ll be cleaning up and enjoying a hotdog and conversing with old friends for hours after that!

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WPA ARES Re-Registration Required

Word has been received from Larry Keller AB3ER, WPA Section Emergency Coordinator, that a new WPA-ARES website has now gone live. The address is the same, http://www.wpaares.org, but the design and content are all new.

All ARES members will have to re-register according to the schedule...
The big story, however is that the new website contains an ARES registration system for Western Pennsylvania ARES participants only. All WPA ARES participants are required to register using the new system to remain ARES members. Due to concerns about server load and manual processing, you are requested to register only by the following schedule:

District Registration date window
North-1 District

    Clarion, Crawford, Erie,
    Forest, Lawrence, Mercer,
    Venango, Warren
June 14-30
North-2 District

    Cameron, Centre, Clearfield,
    Clinton, Elk, Jefferson,
    McKean, Potter
July 1-14
South-1 District

    Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver,
    Butler, Fayette, Greene,
    Indiana, Washington, Westmoreland
July 15-31
South-2 District

    Bedford, Blair, Cambria,
    Franklin, Fulton, Huntingdon,
    Mifflin, Somerset
July 1-14


Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How do I access the registration page?
    Go to www.wpaares.org. The registration page is accessed from a button on the left side of the homepage
  2. Is my information confidential?
    Information you submit will be available only to the Section Manager, Section Emergency Coordinator and the Emergency Coordinator for your County.
  3. Why collect this information?
    Collection of information on-line is more convenient , an easy to use roster is compiled to facilitate efficient communication with you and more effective response actions in your community and the Section.
  4. How will I know my registration was successful?
    You will receive a confirmation message after you hit the submit button at the bottom. PLEASE DO NOT use ENTER when completing the form. Use the TAB or Mouse to navigate between fields and use the SUBMIT button.
  5. If I make an error, can I correct it?
    Yes, just resubmit ALL data. We recognize duplicates and will use the most recent entry.
  6. Can I register in two counties?
    Yes, if you live on a boundary and serve two counties. You must enter two complete and separate forms.

There is a growing need for ARES emergency communications services, your willingness to help is greatly appreciated.

Questions, contact your EC or AB3ER@comcast.net.

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Quad-County is an ARRL Special Service Club

OON MAY 24, the ARRL renewed the Special Service Club status for the Quad-County Amateur Radio Club. QCARC has been an ARRL Affiliated Club since 1978, and became a Special Service Club in 1985. This renewal indicates the Club’s continuing commitment to providing additional services to its members and the communities it serves.

Is it a big deal? Yeah, it kind of is. Of the 43 ARRL Affiliated Amateur Radio Clubs in the Western Pennsylvania Section, the Quad-County Club is one of only three Special Service Clubs currently listed in the ARRL online Club Directory. Nationwide, only 137 SSC clubs are so designated from 2,000 ARRL Affiliated clubs. The national average is under 7% of all ARRL Affiliates are SSCs.

A Special Service Club is not “bigger and better” than other clubs; the designation is conferred upon those clubs that in addition to the usual ham radio activities have made an extensive effort to reach out to their members and communities, provide education and technological expertise to their members and the public, encourage and assist their members in keeping their operating skills sharp for emergency communications should the need arise, and present Amateur Radio to the public in a positive light, attracting new members and new hams by their activities rather than promoting with empty words.

The following description of Special Service Clubs is from the ARRL:

"TRULY SPECIAL Amateur Radio clubs are well balanced in their programs for serving the community, developing club members’ Amateur Radio skills and social activities, striving each year to build on their successes to improve their effectiveness. The objective of the ARRL’s Special Service Club program is to help good clubs organize and focus their efforts on those things that really count. Being an SSC should mean that members have certain skills, that the club as a group has the ability to improve service inside and outside the Amateur Radio community, and that it does so when needed.

To be accepted under the ARRL SSC program, a club must be actively involved in each of the following areas:

  • New Ham Development and Training

    Purpose: Develop an effective, coordinated program of public relations, recruiting, training and ongoing assistance targeted to prospective hams in your community to foster needed growth in Amateur Radio.

  • Public Relations

    Purpose: Establish an effective Amateur Radio presence in your community, including contact with local media and coverage of your activities; Public Information Officer appointment.

  • Emergency Communications

    Purpose: Club members should become skilled in communicating effectively during communications emergencies and be prepared to assist when needed; Official Emergency Station appointment and participation in ARES.

  • Technical Advancement

    Purpose: Continuing education in the technical aspects of Amateur Radio to ensure that your club members are technically competent, familiar and comfortable with modern radio-electronics technology; Technical Specialist appointment.

  • Operating Activities

    Purpose: Active participation as a club in one or more major operating or operating support activities to ensure that your club maintains a high level of operating skill.

  • Miscellaneous Activities

    Purpose: Every active club has its special interests and activities that make it unique, that give it special personality. At least three such activities are required to become a Special Service Club.”

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