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QC Weather

Chance of a Thunderstorm
Saturday 08/19/2017 80%
Chance of a Thunderstorm
Cloudy early, then thunderstorms developing this afternoon. Gusty winds and small hail are possible. High 78F. Winds W at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 80%.
Partly Cloudy
Sunday 08/20/2017 10%
Partly Cloudy
Partly cloudy skies. High 82F. Winds W at 5 to 10 mph.
Clear
Monday 08/21/2017 10%
Clear
Mostly sunny skies. High around 85F. Winds SW at 5 to 10 mph.
Quad-County Weather Page

Latest News

he 2016 Baker Trail Ultra-marathon will be held starting at 6:30 AM Saturday August 26, 2017. This year will be on the "northern section" of the trail (Cook Forest to Brookville).  Here is a link for information and to sign up: http://www.rachelcarsontrails.org/bt/ultrachallenge/uc17    Scroll to the bottom of the page. Please mark your ...

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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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Desktop Wallpaper, 4x3, on green

April 2017 Parasitic Emission

In a shocking development, Joe W3BC has finally come to his senses and put out a modest but informative edition of the Parasitic Emission newsletter. You may download it here: Parasitic Emission, Volume 43, Number 1, April 2017

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Pennsylvania Flood Safety Awareness Week

The National Weather Service Flood Safety Awareness Week Begins March 27. Considering we experience flooding in our area rather often, it is likely worth your time to check out the National Weather Service flood safety week web page at http://www.weather.gov/ctp/floodSafetyWeek The week starts out with information on the continuing effort ...

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Please Keep Fire Hydrants Clear

I know this is not directly related to amateur radio but it is directly related to neighborhood safety. It may even be directly related to your safety!

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Basic SKYWARN in Punxsutawney

National Weather Service Pittsburgh will be conducting a BASIC SKYWARN course at the Punxsutawney Weather Discovery Center 201 N Findley St on Thursday April 27, 2017 starting at 6PM. To register, email marlene@weatherdiscovery.org This course is open to ANYONE interested in Weather. Hams are encouraged to attend. If you are a current ...

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I Have My Amateur Radio Operator License – Now What

This question often occurs with newly licensed radio amateurs, and may occur from time to time with those who have been licensed for a few years. One of your first avenues to find out an answer to a question may be your local amateur radio club. Often times there are ...

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Get Weather Ready Before A Tornado

Spring really is not too far away and with the change of seasons some rather interesting but destructive weather can occur. One of the more serious weather phenomenons we have to occasionally deal with is the tornado. While not a frequent issue, it is one that we need to be ...

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NOAA’s  National Weather Service Pages Are Changing

NOAA's National Weather Service Pages Are Changing

If there is anything true about our world it is change! The changes on the NWS pages has been moved to April, as the information states.: "Effective April 4, 2017, NWS will implement the next version of the forecast pages. Highlights will include a standardized look and feel, a mobile-ready landing ...

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Updated QCARC Net Format

Hi folks, by clicking on the Club logo below, you will find the current net format to be used for the VHF and UHF nets. This format was first used for the February 19, 2017 VHF and UHF nets and is available for download so that anyone can run the net. Running ...

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QCARC Events

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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 Protocol (VOIP) was added. More information will follow as we decipher some of the information and operational aspects of this new mode.NodeQSLScreen2

In case you didn’t hear, one of the first QSOs was a 3,565 mile digital contact with a station in England. The English ham was traveling to his home QTH while we were heading down the road in Du Bois, after the brainstorming session of getting the WIRES-X operational. Seeing the information showing a station that was just over 3500 miles away displayed on the radio’s display was quite a surprise!

The contacts are not totally automatic, you actually have to initiate a connection with one of the many WIRES-X nodes around the world. The connection can be made with either a Yaesu FTM-400 in digital mode or, as it it setup on the 147.315 repeater, any analog FM two-meter transceiver with a DTMF keypad (otherwise know as a touch-tone pad) connected to the transceiver. The digital connection to WIRES-X on the repeater is not available as it is set for analog only so that all can use it. You need to know the node number of the location that you want to connect, enter that on the DTMF keypad and the connection should be established. The digital mode displays much more information and has much more utility as well but as mentioned the digital radio is not needed, even a hand-held 2 meter rig can activate and use the system.

This is just a brief overview of the WIRES-X system, there will be much more to come on this website and at the QCARC regular meetings. Stay tuned for some very interesting experiences with WIRES-X!

 

January 16 article addition

I expect there are more questions about WIRES-X, since the announcement at the January Club meeting. Even though I was half of the team that set it up, I still have questions. The best place to begin to learn about the operation is to go directly to the Yaesu WIRES-X web site. Toward the left top of the page you will notice several tabs to connect to information that will better describe what WIRES-X is all about. The member log-in is for registered node users, you don’t need to worry about that part.

The three main information tabs:
The “What is WIRES-X?” tab gives an overview of the system.
The “User page” tab has a very good description, with good pictorials, of the way the system operates. Keep in mind this shows a digital radio operation but it is informative for both digital and analog modes.
The “WIRES-X ID list” tab will take you to the page that lists all of the WIRES-X nodes around the world and you’ll be able to see if there are any located near a city that you may want to talk to. You can sort the lists by clicking on the header for each column: call sign, city, state, country. Keep in mind the node list changes everyday as new nodes are registered.

The 147.315, N3QC repeater WIRES-X system is operating in the analog mode so that everyone can use it.

Stay tuned for more information as it relates to the N3QC/R WIRES-X system.

 

January 21, 2016 article addition

The WIRES-X room node will be connected for the time being. This should enable any one who connects to be able to more easily to use the system. To connect to a node room at a distant location, you will need a DTMF, touch-tone pad, on your microphone or hand-held, then you will need to know the node room number, available on the Yaesu WIRES-X web site . Remember to select the WIRES-X ID list tab to view the node number list.

 

February 3, 2016 article addition

So far the WIRES-X connection has served us well. I think that one of the biggest advantages that I’ve heard is that folks who may have moved from the area may now have the opportunity to get into the local repeater and talk to others they know. This has been proven out with K3AHS, Ed who is able to get into the 147.315 repeater, from his home in Texas, to check into the Sunday net and at other times to talk to hams who are in the area that he grew up.

The local room node is still connected, no issues appear to have resulted in the full time connection. In order to connect to another node you first need to disconnect from the local room by pressing the ” * ” touch-tone pad button. Then listen for the disconnect acknowledgement of an “H” in CW (4 dots, they’re sent fast). Once you hear the “H” enter the node room number of the distant location with a leading ” # “, via the touch-tone pad, to connect then talk to hams from that area.  Remember to read up on the information contained in the above links. This is a system where skimming or guessing just will not work, you have to play by the WIRES-X rules! Remember to play by the FCC rules too and identify when connecting to the nodes.

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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

Yaesu FT-991 A huge step for mankind….

Hello again

It was a while ago since I wrote anything here, but now I really have something to write about!

As maybe some of you know, I took the step, and bought a new radio, the Yaesu FT-991. It is an all band all mode transceiver incl C4FM, where all the best parts from Yaesu’s more exclusive transceivers come together in a very compact sized box. Already the first day, i was struck by the radios very quite receiver and ease of use, even though it’s the first time I’ve ever used a radio with touch screen. But, if you are familiar with a smartphone or a tablet, then you feel right at home with the FT-991. Last weekend, I got to test it’s phenomenal ability to pick out stations just above the noise, even though I had 59+ signals right beside, and without earphones, it was easy to hear what the weak station said, and, to work him! This time Yaesu really hit the head on the nail! I dare to say, that nobody in this price range come even close to the FT-991! It is a radio that will fit in any Go-Box, since it’s even got a built in tuner as well as a built in audio board for digital traffic.   Yaesu FT-991FT-991 Rear Panel

I will bring the radio to the next meeting, so you all get a chance to play a little with it. I hope we get a weather like we had today, so we can put up some antennas, and make a few contacts!

See you all at the QCARC meeting!

Lars KB3WBT

PS: The Yaesu FT-991 price is now even lower, $958 after mail in rebate at RandL electronics, which is a super deal!

A New Satellite in 2017

The New Year of 2016 just arrived but there are some amateurs already anticipating 2017. That anticipation for 2017 stems from a recent announcement that researchers at the Ted and Karyn Hume Center for National Security and Technology, part of Virginia Tech University are preparing to send an amateur radio transponder into a geosynchronous orbit in 2017.

Even though amateur radio satellite communications is not new, this satellite brings the geosynchronous feature of 24 hour, 7 day availability to amateurs in thegeosync pic Americas. Therefore amateurs can expect the satellite to be in the approximate same position, which means less to deal with to locate and maintain a signal to use the satellite. It is hoped that the satellite will significantly help during disasters.

Currently there are plenty of questions relating to the anticipated launch. It is likely the answers will raise even more questions. For the press release you can access the Virginia Tech website.

What About Inversions

Lately many of us have heard stations from rather distant areas on the 147.315 repeater. It is interesting to hear those stations that we normally do not hear but often it is just due to a weather phenomenon called and inversion. I expect that some amateurs sit back and wonder just what is this inversion thing that some offer as an explanation for the unusually distant stations heard and some stations that we can even carry on a QSO with. Sometimes the stations seem as though they are just audible for enough time to hear a call sign but other times long enough for a typical QSO. Then there are times that you may not even be able to hear or access your local repeater and again you will hear folks offer the explanation as an inversion as well.

Consider the simplified diagram of an inversion below. Note that typically as you increase elevation the temperature lowers but with an inversion the opposite happens! You can see the yellow area depicting the inversion, which actually ends up acting as a boundary layer that can either attenuate the signal to and from the repeater or at times signal attenuation can occur to the extent of both blocking the repeater from hearing your transmitted signal and from you hearing the repeater’s transmitted signals. This occurrence can lead one to believe the repeater is off the air. I recall years ago there were trips made to the repeater site when we could not use the repeater, only to find the repeater operating. All due to an inversion. Sometimes the inversion layer is well above what the diagram depicts too, leading to other stations that you will be able to talk with that you would not ordinarily be able. There is another term used for this phenomenon which is called ducting that enables more distant than typical communications to occur, especially on VHF as well as UHF.

Inversions, ducting, tropo and what ever other titles the phenomenon of having radio signals reflected and refracted is an interesting and vast topic of which you can read up on. Look for propagation of radio signals either on the Internet or the ARRL Handbook for Radio Communications, what was previously called the Radio Amateur’s Handbook.

Inversion

Happy Thanksgiving – We Remember

Thanksgiving-Turkey-Dinner-Table2

 

Happy Thanksgiving everybody! This is a traditional time to spend with family and friends, and to remember all those who are no longer with us.

I remember in the early days of the club, that there was a day-long QSO on the DuBois Repeater with hams far and wide in the Quad-County area checking in and out and back in again as their family activities permitted.

My Elmer, K3TFL was the unofficial Master of Ceremonies for those sessions, and the discussions ranged from what was for dinner, to the snowy weather to how to modify an ARC-5.

For our Quad-County hams, our repeater was the “Social Media” of the day. We all knew each other and stayed in touch on the air, making friends and sharing our thoughts all over the coverage area. This regular repeater contact with each other made for stronger friendships, and brought our disparate communities together in a spirit of cooperation and good will. Sadly, repeaters have fallen into disuse, and the social connections have withered away to a great extent.

I wonder; what would happen if we all made the effort to pick up the microphone, and reach out to each other today, and into the future? Would we find a renewed interest in local ham radio, and perhaps make a new ham radio friend or two? The only way to find out is to give it a try.

Why not fire up the radio today, and see who’s on the repeater? I’ll see you… on the air!

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.

 

The QCARC 443.85 Repeater Is Now Dual Mode, Analog/Digital

system-fusionAs of approximately 2:00 PM, 4/8/2015 the analog only UHF repeater was replaced with a Yaesu System Fusion Analog/Digital repeater. This is the same type repeater as used for the 147.315 repeater.

You can still communicate as you have in the past, you will not have to buy a new radio, your radio will not be obsolete. The main difference is that at various times you may hear a noise similar to buzzing or a static like noise, this is likely a digital conversation. The digital conversation noise can be eliminated by setting up your radio’s receiver with a tone squelch of 173.8 Hz. The digital side of the repeater does not transmit the 173.8 Hz tone, therefore your radio will stay quiet until another analog FM radio transmission is received by the repeater. If you want to use the repeater, just talk as you have in the past. The repeater has the capability to automatically detect what type of signal it is receiving and switch to the proper mode to enable you to talk to anyone whether they have a digital radio or the traditional analog FM. Also if you happen to hear or know there is a digital conversation on the repeater you can join the conversation just as you have in the past. When the repeater “hears” your analog FM signal it will switch to your mode and the folks who are using the digital mode will be switched to your analog FM mode. Everyone on the repeater will be able to talk, all automatically!
If you need help setting up your radio with tone squelch, check with one of the officers in the Club, they will be able to direct you to the right ham to help you.

Found at Butler Hamfest

Hi everybody

Since I was just sitting here, I thought that I could show you all what I found at the ham-fest in Butler last Sunday.

Well, lets go back to the beginning in this story. In 1978, I became interested in ham-radio satellites, so called OSCAR satellites. Way back then, the AMSAT OSCAR 7 was the satellite to work. It had an orbit that made it show up every 90 minutes, and covered Europe, northern Africa, and also the US East Coast. To work US East Coast stations, you had about 5 minutes before it went down under the horizon again, so you had to be quick!

Now to the more technical part, the radio you see here at the right, is an Icom 402, it was the state of the art in late 70’s if you wanted to do some SSB on 70cm. It has 3w out-put, and that is not very much, but then again, your average 2m FM radio had a high-power setting of 10w. I used an Icom 402 on the uplink, 435 Mhz LSB, and then the signal from the satellite came back on 145 Mhz USB. The 402 was hooked up to a 46 element J-beam, and the antenna for down-link was a simple 4 element yagi. Right at the 2m yagi, I had a low-noise preamp, to help my Kenwood TS-700 hear the weak signals coming back from the satellite. I would say, that I worked a few hundred  stations via OSCAR satellites.

Now to complete this little story. At the hamfest, I paid $10 for this radio in close to mint condition! Needless to say, it made my day! Of course, there aren’t many 70 cm stations around Clearfield — much less SSB ones — but late last night before I went to bed, I went into my shack, and for some reason I tuned around the band and heard somebody! It was Joe W3BC, and he was operating from W3SO in Altoona, so that was my first QSO on my new “old” rig, Joe also gave me the frequencies for 2m and 6m, since what I stumbled into was the VHF contest, lucky them!

Hope this little essay was worth reading  :)

PS: For all you who are interested, there is a 2m version of this radio and a 6m version, Icom 202 and Icom 502, there is also a fm 2m, Icom 215.

Lars

PS2: This is a 70cm Halo antenna I built for the radio, it’s horizontally polarized and it is Omni directional (same radiation all directions)

Update on Halo, just worked W3SO, Altoona, made op laugh! Will listen for other stations also….

 

The Hamshack Net Moves To WAN-RS

During the month of January, the Hamshack Net has moved to the WAN Repeater System. Testing will continue all month. Meet us there every Wednesday at 7:00 pm on a WAN repeater near you!

The wide availibility of WAN repeaters should allow handheld users an opportunity to check in by using a local repeater instead of DXing the 147.315 machine which may be dozens of miles away!

Here is a recording of the first session (6.5MB download)
This is the second WAN session, January 9, 2013 (12.7 MB)

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!

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