Should QCARC continue giving VE Exams before club meetings in even months?

  • Yes, but occasionally on other days and times (67%, 2 Votes)
  • Yes (33%, 1 Votes)
  • No (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Yes, with more months (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Yes, but fewer months (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 3

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Parasitic Emission Update

I have been unable to publish a Parasitic Emission since January, for personal reasons I won’t go into here. I apologize for letting all the readers down, and I realize the importance of a regular newsletter to each and every club. A monthly newsletter serves many purposes, not the least of which is a monthly reminder of upcoming club activities. I hope to be able to resume publication soon.

I also have a duty as QCARC Secretary to publish the minutes of each month’s club meetings on a timely basis, and I have failed to do so. Beginning immediately, I will publish meeting notices and monthly minutes on this website, until such time as I am able to resume newsletter publication.

//Joe W3BC



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


2012 Fall Picnic Review

Reynoldsville Reunion: Ed Golla Jr K3AHS and Mayor Peach Caltagarone AB3OG enjoy the opportunity to catch up on old times at the picnic

Hams and their friends and families turned out at the QTH of Ed Golla for the 2012 annual Fall Picnic on Saturday, September 29. Mother Nature cooperated (for once) and we had pleasant weather for the entire time we were there. Ed K3AHS had a nice fire going to ward off any chill or bugs, while Don KB3LES, Sam KA3ESM and Joe W3BC with help from Herb W3TM and Tom, went to work setting up the antennas and radios. It wasn’t long before the sweet sound of DX on 10 and 12 meter bands filled the autumn air.

VHF, UHF and HF antennas were set up and working

Hotdogs with "BUX Sauce" -- a Quad-County tradition!

The main event at every picnic is eating, and the club-supplied hamburgers and hotdogs along with the covered dishes brought by our members resulted in way more food than we all could eat. Nobody went home hungry!

It’s been said that the two things hams enjoy most in life are eating and radios. It’s probably a tie for first place. Well when we combine the two at a picnic, it’s a sure-fire good time for every ham there.

Brad N3HAO demonstrates that nothing is more fun than a picnic... except a picnic WITH RADIOS!

We’ve had lots of practice taking our show on the road this year, and so we were able to put up antennas covering “DC to Daylight” in a matter of minutes. The bands were in good shape, with great propagation on 10 and 12 meters to Europe and beyond.

Social Networking

Ham radio is the original “social network”–the kids today on “MyFace” have nothing on us! We’ve b een doing it for years, both on the air and off. The picnic was no exception. Everywhere you looked you saw friends, old and new, talking with each other and enjoying a good time. And that’s why all of us were there.



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!


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!!!


YL Night: August Meeting Notes

Our August meeting was home to 21 members and guests who got to enjoy a very excellent program by our special guest Lois Gutshall WB3EFQ. She is the president of the Young Ladies’ Radio League, an international organization of lady hams. She spoke about the activities of the YLRL, how the organization serves radio amateurs and provides international goodwill through service activities worldwide.

Following her presentation, she answered questions and discussed many topics of interest with those in attendance. We are honored to have been visited by Lois, and many of our members and guests expressed their appreciation for her good work and leadership. Recalling that she was our guest in September 1985, she commented that she hopes to see us again in 25 more years. She was encouraged to come back much sooner than that!


Meeting Report: June 2011

WWhat else could possibly be the main topic of the June meeting except Field Day? After getting the meeting started, things settled into a businesslike pace as minutes were read, and reports were given. W3BC reported the club’s ARRL Special Service Club status was renewed after many years of inactivity. He further commented that the Field Day Press Release had been picked up and published by several local news outlets, and that a television news camera crew is expected. The subject turned to Field Day, and visitors Lee and Mary Lewis (N3NWL and N3UDN) shared with us some very useful Field Day pointers from their years of experience at putting on a really great Field Day operation in Ridgway.

Hams from four counties gathered at the Clearfield County EMA Center for their June Meeting. Guests helped finalize Field Day plans, newcomers introduced themselves and guest Steve Waltman KB3FPN presented an engaging technology program to round out yet another good old QCARC meeting!

Mike WB3EQW raised the question of why the club covers four counties, and Club Founder Joe W3BC related the history of the Club’s creation and the rationale behind the large geographic area.

Under new business, W3BC suggested a new program for members wishing to do more for the club — the Dime-A-Day Donor Program. Club members may voluntarily contribute an additional $36.50 each year to go toward the Club’s Educational and Outreach programs. In recognition of these voluntary contributions, they will receive the status of “Sustaining Member” and a certificate bearing witness to that fact. Several contributions were given to the Treasurer. 15 members and guests were in attendance.

After the meeting, Coffee and Donuts were enjoyed, and a 50-50 drawing was held.

The program was then presented by Steve Waltman KB3FPN from Brookville, with help from Tom W3KWT. The program was a demonstration of the capabilities of a Communications Monitor, and how amateur transmitters could be tested easily to be sure they measured up to specs.

Photo Gallery

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May Meeting Notes

The Quad-County ARC May meeting was held Friday, May 20. Despite being the weekend of the Dayton Hamfest, there was a reasonable turnout. Routine business was conducted, the outstanding Spring Banquet bills were submitted for reimbursement, and several people volunteered for Club support positions.

Beginning his term as Technology Specialist is Lars Kvant SM7FYW. If anyone has technology questions, feel free to ask Lars! It’s only natural for Joe W3BC to accept the duties of Public Information Officer, which he did at the meeting.

Field Day discussion resulted in the formation of a committee to look into a location for this year’s effort. By a poll of members present, it will not be held at the EOC this year, but at the Fairgrounds or another suitable park. More details will follow as soon as arrangements have been made.

After the Business Meeting, the coffee and donuts were served, and the evening’s program began. Lars SM7FYW and Don KB3LES put on a very interesting program about radio fox hunting, and discussed the antennas, techniques and technology it takes to find an unknown transmitter.

A drawing was held for one of Don’s antennas that he kindly donated to the club. The lucky winner was Bryan Simanic WA3UFN from DuBois.

Next month’s meeting will be the finalization of Field Day planning, and the program will be Tweak and Peak night. Steve Waltman, KB3FPN will bring a commercial communications service monitor to help check out rig performance and tuning. Bring your VHF and UHF equipment, and Steve will help you get the most out of it!

Photo Gallery

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2011 Banquet: A Success

On Saturday, May 14, 30 local Radio Amateurs and family members gathered at the Fort Worth Hotel Restaurant in downtown Du Bois to take part in the Quad-County Amateur Radio Club Spring banquet. Those attending were from Du Bois, Clearfield, Emporium, Brookville, Big Run, Curwensville, Strattanville, Falls Creek, Rockton, Morrisdale, Centre Hall, Brockway, Bradford and Butler.

After an enjoyable buffet dinner of pot roast and stuffed chicken breast entrees, dessert was served from a cake featuring the Quad-County Amateur Radio Club Emblem. Club Founder and Master of Ceremonies Joe Shupienis W3BC, Publisher of The Parasitic Emission newsletter and the ARRL guest speakers presented Author Awards to all those present who contributed to the newsletter.

The longest-licensed and the newest Amateurs were recognized for their contributions to Amateur Radio and to their communities. Those who serve as Volunteer Examiners were also honored for their service.

John Rodgers N3MSE, Western Pennsylvania Section Manager of the American Radio Relay League, the National Organization for Amateur Radio, gave an update on current activities in the Western Pennsylvania Section and important information on matters affecting Amateurs nationwide. At the conclusion of his remarks, he introduced the evening’s keynote speaker, Bill Edgar N3LLR, who serves on the ARRL Board of Directors as the Atlantic Division Director.

Director Edgar gave a very inspiring talk about the importance of local Amateur Radio Clubs, saying the local club is “where the rubber meets the road.” He discussed the services the ARRL offers local clubs, and strongly encouraged all in attendance to contact the ARRL for assistance in making their club stronger and more vital. He congratulated the Quad-County ARC on its 36-year history, and for its current accomplishments.

Following the keynote address, Club President Doug Rowles W3DWR was assisted by MC Joe Shupienis W3BC and the ARRL guests in distributing awards and certificates to the club members. Herb Murray W3TM received the Outstanding Service Award for 2010 in recognition for outstanding service to the club and membership while serving as Program Coordinator. The long-overdue Charter Member certificates were presented to those charter members in attendance: Sham Hollopeter W3QOS, Bill Zavatsky K3QEQ, Bryan Simanic WA3UFN and Club Founder Joe Shupienis W3BC (WA3IHK).

Certificates of Appreciation were presented to speakers Bill Edgar N3LLR and John Rodgers N3MSE both for their participation in our banquet and in recognition of their extraordinary service to all amateurs in our ARRL Section and Division.

Finally the prize drawings were held, with Janet Lovesky KB3ABK taking home the Grand Prize, a brand new Puxing PX-2A portable UHF transceiver. After that, everyone stayed on and chatted with old friends and new for quite a while while the restaurant staff bussed the room.

The food was great, the speakers were interesting, the prizes were much appreciated, and the conversation shared with friends was extraordinary! Our thanks go out to everyone who participated and we look forward to seeing everyone again soon at our next event!

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April Meeting Report

The April Quad-County ARC meeting featured a very interesting program on APRS presented by Carmine Prestia K3CWP and Woody Brem K3YV. Twenty-one amateurs were in attendance—some from as far away as Clarion and Emporium—and all four counties were represented. President Doug W3DWR called the meeting to order and during the brief business meeting the upcoming Spring Banquet plans were finalized, Field Day discussion was opened and committee reports were heard.

The business meeting was adjourned and the program was presented. Carmine K3CWP and Woody K3YV discussed their use of APRS to track Santa as he visits the neighborhoods in State College every year. They explained how parents can see when Santa’s firetruck will be approaching their neighborhood and take their kids out to see him every Christmas Eve, and the positive public response this has generated.

Carmine demonstrated how this worked by showing their path to the meeting using the online map at aprs.fi. Woody explained the construction of the “dot-box” which is the self-contained APRS rig he constructed inside a toolbox. AS Woody passed his dot-box around the room for the members to look at, Carmine discussed how the boxes were mounted on the firetrucks.

The program was very well received, as indicated by the number of questions from the hams in attendance. There was ample opportunity to discuss APRS technology with the guests and our members who have been using APRS. There were a number of APRS stations on display. Scott W3EOD brought his Kenwood TM-D7 Hand-held APRS transceiver and wrist-mounted GPS that he uses on the trail, W3BC brought his Kenwood TM-D710A and his “Frankenstein” rig, which he constructed from old equipment in his junkox for very little cash outlay. WA3UFN’s Yaesu FTM-350R flexed its APRS muscles, and the equipment used to support the N3QC-2 APRS Fill-in digipeater at the EOC was on display as well.

According to many comments received this was the best Quad-County meeting in quite a while, and we are trying to have more meetings like this one in the future. We hope to see you at the next one!

Photo Gallery

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Meeting Recap: Feb 2011

Fifteen Hams were in attendance at the February Meeting. Quite a bit of club business was discussed, and plans were set in motion for upcoming activities and events. W3BC presented an update on progress on the new website, and with the approval of the members in attendance, he was given the go-ahead to take this website public.

President W3DWR read correspondence received from the Pennsylvania Department of State regarding the status of the Club’s incorporation. The matter was referred to the Executive Board, which will convene to take appropriate action before April 1. W3BC presented his revisions / cleanup of the Club Logo which was accepted as the official logo of the Club. He was directed to register the Logo with the Pennsylvania Department of State as a protected Service Mark.

W3BC challenged the club to undertake a project for 2011 to develop new amateurs by offering licensing classes, providing Elmering and sponsoring VE Exams; to contact and invite licensed hams in the Quad-County Area to come to our meetings and join our ranks; and to strengthen our outreach to the Public through Public Service activities and Media Relations. As a result, several members immediately volunteered their services, and pledged to make themselves available as Quad-County Amateur Radio ambassadors in their communities.

Visitor, John Buttner, KB3OUG, the newly-elected president of the Punxsutawney Area Amateur Radio Club discussed the need for all clubs in the Quad-County area to work together and share their resources. His comments were well received, and a good bit of meaningful discussion followed, opening the door for future expansion of inter-club cooperation.

After the meeting adjourned, Herb Murray, W3TM presented a well-received program outlining tips for successfully obtaining a desirable vanity callsign. Following the presentation, there was a Social Hour with refreshments, fellowship and discussion among old friends and new. The last people to leave were there until after 10:30!


At the February Breakfast

Seven brave souls ventured forth through the elements to enjoy the February QCARC Breakfast. I’m eating mine as I write this!