DX Engineering Open House
(Jan 18, 2015) - - Members of the MARC and
amateurs around the area attended MFJ Day at DX Engineering on
Saturday, January 10th.
This was a perfect opportunity for Ham Radio
enthusiasts to shake off the winter doldrums and
make some "eyeball" QSOs with friends. Martin F.
Jue and the DX Engineering
staff were on hand
for consultation, technical advice and new
I saw many folks carrying
out new purchases thanks to the many deals being
offered. A good time
was had by all and we look forward to the next
A nice crowd arrived at DX
The store was stocked with
good prices !
The small show room was
busy with folks !
Amateur Radio Parity Act
Passes Senate Committee
18, 2015) - - The
Amateur Radio Parity Act
S. 1685 has been endorsed by the US Senate Committee on
Commerce, Science, and Transportation. In the voice vote on
November 18, two Senators — Bill Nelson (D-FL) and Brian Schatz
(D-HI) — asked to be recorded as voting “no.” The Committee held
an executive session to consider the various legislative
measures and nominations.
“Our work is not finished on the Senate side of Capitol Hill,
although this is a huge step forward,” said ARRL President Kay
Craigie, N3KN. She urged ARRL members to continue to write, call
and e-mail their Senators about S. 1685 to build up its support
for the future. “We know that members’ response to the call for
a communications blast last week made all the difference for
some Senators on the committee.”
S. 1685 picked up another Senate cosponsor on November 18,
when Sen Jerry Moran (R-KS), who sits on the Commerce Committee,
has signed aboard the bill. “ARRL members in Kansas should
contact his office to say thanks,” President Craigie said.
“Having an additional cosponsor who’s on the Committee is
especially good news.”
On hand to observe the Committee mark-up session were ARRL
Hudson Division Director Mike Lisenco, N2YBB, ARRL CEO David
Sumner, K1ZZ, and ARRL General Counsel Chris Imlay, W3KD.
President Craigie encouraged ARRL members in Florida and
Hawaii to keep contacting Senators Schatz and Nelson, urging
them to change their minds about the legislation. “Don't be
harsh or angry,” she advised. “Keep it factual and courteous,
and don't give up.”
On November 5, US Sen Al Franken (D-MN) signed on as the
second cosponsor of S. 1685. That legislation and its US House
twin, H.R. 1301, call on the FCC to extend the limited federal
pre-emption of PRB-1 to cover private land-use restrictions such
as deed covenants, conditions, and restrictions (CC&Rs). If the
legislation becomes law, radio amateurs living in
antenna-restricted communities would have the opportunity to
negotiate with homeowners associations to install an antenna
that reasonably accommodates Amateur Radio communication.
H.R. 1301 has 114 cosponsors as of November 18. President
Craigie said ARRL members should continue to urge their
Representatives to cosponsor H.R. 1301 and to thank those who
already have signed on.
The Amateur Radio Parity Act of 2015
page on the ARRL website
has more information on how you can become involved.
A Holiday Ornament for
(Nov 14, 2015) - - The club is excited to offer a new
Christmas ornament that would look great decorating your
Christmas tree this holiday season.
Created exclusively by club member Marvin Seacrest of M & K
Engraving for our members, the 3 1/2 inch ceramic ornament
features the club diamond logo with Merry Christmas across the
Price is $4.75 each and are available from M & K Engraving in
Strasburg. Their phone is (330) 878-7500 or by email at
Get your orders in early to be ready before Christmas !
October Program Summary
(Oct 4, 2013) - - Special thanks to Wade - WD8MIU,
Jim - WA8GXM, and Byron - KF8UN for the nice recap from the
Kelley's Island Expedition.
They reported fine weather and reasonable
band conditions during their day of operating. Contacts were
reasonable and they all had a fine time.
Thanks to the team for this club outing
and for the pictures !
Wade, WD8MIU at the
Wade's Portable Equipment
Team Member Brooker, KD8JNX
at the station
September Club Program
(UPDATED Sept 7th) (Aug 25, 2013) -- The program for the September club
meeting will be a kit or homebrew equipment "Show & Tell" night.
We originally planned some sort of a
Show Us Your Heathkit Night but it was decided to open it up
to any equipment you built, bought or just would like to show
off to the club.
I still own several Heathkit products
nearly all of which are still operational. I plan on bringing
along a few of them to the meeting. I hope some of you will also
share some piece of your favorite equipment to share with us.
The plan will be to give everyone 10 minutes or so to show off
their rig and give us a short report on it. Radio's, Antenna's,
whatever you want to bring along will be appreciated. Let's see
what shows up !
We had a nice crowd for our September meeting including several
members who brought along their Heathkits, Radio's and homebuilt
antenna's to show off to the members. Lots of great old Heathkit
memories and stories were swapped and everyone enjoyed looking
and hearing the vintage radios and test equipment.
Thanks to everyone who brought our
equipment for our Show & Tell Night at the club. Sounded like we
will be doing this again in the future !
Heathkits galor filled several tables at the club meeting with
everyone enjoying discussing their favorite kit building
July Club Events
(July 22, 2013) - - It was a busy weekend for the club as we
participated in several public demonstrations that included a
On Friday, July 19th we participated once again
in the annual William McKinley Museum Summer Science Splash. The
club's Emergency Communication Trailer was on display with
several stations setup and running over the entire event. An
information table also greeted visitors as we demonstrated our
hobby to the numerous visitors who were attracted to our trailer
thanks to the vertical mast nearly fully extended with the
American Flag at the top. It was another great event with lots
of people interested in our activities. Event director Lynette
Reiner was again grateful for our support of this event over the
last three years.
Jim - WA8GXM (L) and Gary - WC8W ran our
Friday night net from the trailer while Jim operated on 6 meter
A small information center greeted visitors
The McKinley Monument was our backdrop as
the trailer greeted visitors to the event
Special thanks to the following club members
who staffed the display or dropped by to lend support. They
were, Tony - KD8UXK, Terry - N8ATZ, Ralph - K8HSQ, Jim - WA8GXM,
Gary - WC8W, Mike - WA8MKH, Wade - WD8MIU, Ann - N8GAF and Perry
Then on Saturday, we again setup and displayed
at the Jackson Belden Buehler's Food Market. This was also a
small fundraiser for the club as we grilled hot dogs during the
afternoon. A dreary morning turned into a great afternoon as our
display was well attended with a few visitors stopping by to
have a look at the Communications Trailer.
The Crew hard at work at the grill !
Plenty of Supervisors !
Ready for all the customers !
The Trailer also had a few visitors
Again we were lucky to have many club members
who assisted and visited the Buehler's Fund Raiser. They were,
Wade - WD8MIU, Steve - KD8ACF, Terry - N8ATZ, Jim - WA8GXM, Mike
- WA8MKH, Carol - KB8IMH, Stephen - KC8IDJ, Perry - W8AU, Ralph
- K8HSQ, Don - W8DEF, Don - W8DEA, Gary - WC8W, Tony - KD8UXK,
Igor - K8INN, Stephanie - KD8RDN, Charlie - KB8STV, Bill -
KD8TKX, YL Shirley Treacle, harmonics Shirley and Alexandra,
Barry - WA8WBL and Kathy - KC8IXE.
April Meeting Well Attended
(Apr 7, 2013) - - The April meeting was well attended and
included several special presentations as well as a great
Club member Don Wade, W8DEA was recognized with a Certificate
of Appreciation for his operating achievement during the club's
85th Anniversary Special Event Station. Don had been on
assignment with FEMA during Super Storm Sandy and is finally
back home for a well deserved rest.
In addition to Don, Callsign Plaques were issued to Jack
Wade, N8LCS and Jerry LaRocca, KF8EB. This recognition is issued
to club members who have maintained club membership for 25
years. Congratulations to both Jack and Jerry !
The club program for April was a presentation on the Civil
Air Patrol presented by member Charlie Ssherger, KB8STV with
assistance by fellow CAP Member Don Wade, W8DEA.
The program covered the basics of the Ohio Wing and included
a very interesting powerpoint presentation that covered the
history and mission of the CAP.
The club enjoyed the program and we appreciate Charlie and
Don's efforts and their service.
Don Wade, W8DEA (R)
receives his Certificate of Appreciation from President Mike
Jack Wade, N8LCS (R)
receives his 25 year callsign plaque
Jerry LaRocca, KF8EB
(R) receives his 25 year callsign plaque.
CAP Captain Charlie
Scherger, KB8STV presented a fine program on the Civil Air
Thanks to Ralph Bugg, K8HSQ for the pictures!
Annual Club Banquet Report
2013) - -The Massillon Amateur Radio Club's Annual Awards Banquet was held on Saturday,
January 12th at the Massillon
Senior Center, the home of the MARC with nearly 40 members and guests attending.
After opening remarks from outgoing President
KF8UN, we enjoyed a fine hometown meal
with all the trimmings including lots of great desserts
catered by The Top of the Viaduct Restaurant.
Click Here for a recap
of the full event.
Amateur Radio Licenses at All
Time High Courtesy
of the ARRL
(Jan 18, 2013) --
As 2012 came to a close, ARRL VEC
Manager Maria Somma, AB1FM, had a
good reason to cheer: The number of
radio amateurs in the US reached an
all-time high of almost 710,000.
“2012 was definitely a banner year
for the number of Amateur Radio
operators here in the US,” she said.
“It is amazing to see these new
numbers and to know that Amateur
Radio is experiencing such a healthy
In looking at new and
upgraded licenses, as well as
licensees per ARRL Division (see the
charts below), Somma also crunched
the numbers looking for growth
within each license class -- and all
of Amateur Radio -- over the last 40
years. “This is an all-time high for
Technician, General and Amateur
Extra class licensees,” she said.
“When looking at the three current
license classes, the number of
Technicians, Generals and Amateur
Extras peaked in December at
345,369, 163,370 and 130,736,
Somma explained that the total
number of US amateurs in the FCC
database also continues to grow each
year: “As of December 31, 2012, the
number of licensees reached an
all-time high of 709,575; year-end
totals were 702,056 for 2011 and
696,041 for 2010. The number of
licensees increased at an average
rate of 21 per day, while the number
of US licensees has increased by 7
percent since 2008!” More than 3000
new licenses were issued in 2012
than in 2011, while upgraded license
activity remained steady in 2012.
In the past 40 years, the number of
Amateur Radio operators in the US
has grown at a remarkable rate:
December 1971: 285,000
- December 1981: 433,000
- December 1991: 494,000
The ARRL VEC is by far the
largest of the 14 Volunteer Examiner
Coordinator (VEC) groups in the
country, coordinating approximately
70 percent of all Amateur Radio
exams. “When looking at the
statistics over the last year, the
ARRL VEC sponsored exam sessions and
exam elements taken were up in 2012,
which is a good sign for Amateur
Radio overall,” Somma said.
“Compared with 2011, ARRL VEC exam
sessions in 2012 were up by 8
percent. A total of 6831 exam
sessions were administered in 2012,
compared to 6352 in 2011. Exam
elements were slightly up from
41,096 last year, to 42,473 this
year. The total number of accredited
ARRL Volunteer Examiners (VEs) has
reached an all-time high of 36,682.
The ARRL VEC has been busy meeting
the needs of the Amateur Radio
community by helping people become
radio amateurs or upgrade their
existing licenses. 2012 was a very
good year for Amateur Radio -- I
can’t wait to see what 2013 brings!
MARC Fundraiser at Buehlers
(Oct 1, 2012) -- The club completed another
nice fund raiser at Buehlers Market in Jackson Township on
Saturday, September 22nd. Although the weather was a bit chilly
in the morning, it improved and by early afternoon was very
nice. We did pretty well selling lots of hot dogs and drinks
while promoting our hobby to the public.
It was nice to see the extra tips that many people left for
us when they realized who we were. Many even comments that they
have seen us during the year and noted the public service work
we provide. The tip jar looked pretty full by day's end. This
was nice to see.
Also a special thanks to the following volunteers who staffed
the event. Wade - WD8MIU, Terry - N8ATZ, Steve - KD8ACF, Robert
- AC8GE, Mike - WA8MKH, Carol - KB8IMH, Bruce - KC8RKS, Gary -
WC8W, Don - W8DEF and Jeremy - KB8VHL.
MARC Display's at Menards
(Oct 1, 2012) -- The MARC held a special public
demonstration as part of the club's 85th Anniversary. The event
was held at the Massillon Menards store on Saturday, September
There was a nice write up in the local
newspaper on Saturday morning announcing our event. Attendance
was steady but not overwhelming, allowing us to have more
interactions with the public. We only made two contacts on HF,
one with club member W8AU currently from the LST325.
It was an enjoyable day and demonstration.
We gave a special welcome to a Stark County resident who came to
check out our club and learn more about us. He may event try for
his license at our hamfest.
Thanks to the following for assisting /
helping during our public event. Carl - AB8CC; Robert - AC8GE;
Carol - KB8IMH, Mike - WA8MKH, Leonard - KC8RPB, Don - W8DEF, Ed
- WA8DRT, Jim - WA8GXM, James - WA8HHO, Bud - WA8KWD, Tim -
WB8HHP, Gary - WC8W and Wade - WD8MIU.
MARC Activates Tappan Lake
(Oct 24, 2012) -- The MARC participated in the Annual
Islands-On-The-Air operating event the weekend of October 20-21
by setting up and operating from Tappan Lake Island in Harrison
The clubs EComm Trailer was used for the
event with several club members participating for a total of
nearly 24 hours. This event was also timed to coincide with the
clubs 85th Anniversary Special Event station with additional
club members also operating this portion. Contacts were made on
mostly 20 and 40 meters with a few on 15 and 80 meters. Phone &
CW was used for this event.
Thanks to an announcement in the October
issue of QST Magazine, the bands were busy over the weekend with
several special event stations and the annual Boy Scouts
Jamboree On The Air (JOTA) event taking place over the same
weekend. Lots of contacts were made including many with JOTA
stations all over the country giving scouts an opportunity to
experience Amateur Radio first hand.
The total of our contacts isn't known as
yet but could well exceed over 100 for the weekend. A fine
operating event for the club and we thank the multiple members
who support this event.
The operator and volunteer sheet included
the following members: Club President Byron - KF8UN,
Secretary Robert - AC8GE, Treasurer Gary - WC8W. In addition
were Russ - N8PII, Wade - WD8MIU, Terry - N8ATZ, Jim - WA8GXM,
Mike - WA8MKH and XYL Carol - KB8IMH.
Several local hams also stopped by for a
visit and several members of the public who saw the club trailer
and learned a little about amateur radio.
Operators Russ - N8PII (L)
and Wade - WD8MIU at the station
MARC Welcome's Ohio SEC
(Sept 8, 2012) --- Ohio Section Emergency
Coordinator Matt Welch, W8DEC was the quest speaker at the
September MARC club meeting. His powerpoint program titled "Public
Service Communications 101" covered many of the basic
requirements needed including both training and equipment
necessary to be a part of public service communications.
Matt also covered the current status of
the ARES program here in Ohio and how hams can become more
involved in local ARES operations.
The program was well received by those
present and we enjoyed having Matt join us for our September
Field Day - It's A Wrap !
(July 2, 2012) --- Field
Day 2012 has come and gone and thanks to our core of dedicated
club members, we had yet another successful weekend
Near perfect weather, decent band
conditions and another great Field Day Feast combined for a
great club gathering.
Yes, we made lots of contacts, especially
the CW station thanks to Igor, Perry and a few other operators
who kept the station on the air most of the weekend. Phone did
well and gave lots of other members a chance to operate and have
fun. Six and Two were our extra stations and we enjoyed some
contacts there as well.
The sign in sheet showed over 30 callsigns
with many staying part of the weekend. Lots of thanks to both
the setup and tear down crew as well. Our core group of setup
and weekend operators is getting a little long in the tooth and
it would be nice to see some of our younger operators begin to
take over the reins (we do have some younger operators, don't
All in all, another great weekend and the
score will be whatever it totals up to. The most important part
of the weekend was enjoying a fun radio event with fellow
members, family and friends. I say let's do it again next year !
Thanks to club member Ralph Bugg, K8HSQ, click here to have a
look at this years Field Day pictures posted on Ralph's site.
Link to E. Mike
(Apr 8, 2012) --- Thanks to club Secretary Robert, AC8GE, E.
Mikes presentation has been recorded and is now available for
download on our website as a MPEG 42 MB file. Most media players
will play this file. The presentation lasts about 45 minutes.
You may wish to download it to your computer and play the file
from there. Simply Right Click on the link and select "Save
Target As". If
you missed this excellent presentation, feel free to download
this file !
CLICK HERE for the file...
Annual Summer Splash
(Aug 1, 2012) -- The Massillon Amateur Radio
Club again participated in the annual Summer Science Splash at
the William McKinley Presidential Library and Museum in Canton
on Friday, July 20th. The event showcased local science exhibits
and included special shows, forensics presentations, reptile and
animal shows and of course, amateur radio.
Our exhibit included the club's Communication Trailer with
several static display's that highlighted equipment, an
informative video, various club awards and promotional
literature covering our hobby and the club.
The event was staffed by Terry, N8ATZ, Jim Farriss - WA8GXM,
Gary Kline - WC8W, Ralph Bugg - K8HSQ and Perry Ballinger -
Numerous visitors stopped by our display to have a look at
our equipment and ask about our hobby. Several even expressed
and interest in obtaining their license.
Thanks to all the volunteers who assisted with the event.
Science Director Lynnette Reiner appreciated our participation
again this year and hoped we will attend again next year !
Fundraiser at Buehler's
(Oct 16, 2011) -- The
MARC participated is a community fund raiser sponsored by
Buehler's Grocery Store in Jackson Township on Saturday, October
This event involved the club staffing an outdoor
grill selling hotdogs and drinks over a six hour period. Even
though the weather was cold and windy, we were pretty busy
throughout the day.
The club's Emergency Communications Trailer was on
display to the public with an operating station that drew a few
curious shoppers who stopped by for a look. Although sales were
only moderate, it was a great public relations display for the
club. We have already talked to the folks at Buehler's about
participating in this event next summer when the weather should be
a lot warmer !
Special thanks to the following club members who
participated in this community event.
They were, Wade - WD8MIU; Terry - N8ATZ; Jim -
WA8GXM; Perry - W8AU; Don - W8DEF; Don Wade - W8DEA; Steve -
KD8ACF; Ralph - K8HSQ; Tom - KC8QOD; Mike - WA8MKH; and Pat -
Part of the Grilling Crew at Buehler's !
Ralph Bugg, K8HSQ also took a few pictures of the
Here to check them out !
UPDATED (Nov 25, 2011) -- Again this year the MARC participated in
the ARRL's annual Field Day communications exercise the weekend of
Held again at Petros Park in Perry Township, we
enjoyed great weather (we didn't get wet!), decent band
conditions, a great Field Day dinner and great company. Although
member participation was a little down from previous years, we had
a fun time over the weekend. Both the Phone and CW stations stayed
busy most of the time with very little down time. Nearly all club
members were given the chance to operate over the weekend with
some guest operators having a turn at the GOTA station for a taste
of contest operating.
A special thanks to Stephanie, XYL of Igor, K8INN
who again took on the daunting task of preparing our annual Field
Day Feast. The menu included burgers and dogs, along with barbeque
chicken marinated in a special secret recipe that had us all lined
up waiting for the dinner bell. The result was another great
dinner for the Field Day crew.
Ralph Bugg, K8HSQ was also busy with his new
digital camera capturing some great photo memories for us. Click
Here to visit his photo page website.
NOVEMBER 25th UPDATE !
The ARRL has officially released the scores from this years Field Day exercise and as submitted the clubs final score was 4,290 points on 1,179 QSO’s placing us 87th in the US in Class 2A. A hearty congratulations to everyone involved in helping us achieve another great operating event. While our score was down slightly from last year (by only 200 points), it was still a successful event and I know everyone had a great time. The Canton club again scored very well garnering 9,648 points on 2,522 QSO’s. This placed them 17th in Ohio. Well done guy’s.
Class 2A is a tough category to compete in. It always has the most entries with 387 this year. The Ohio Section also has the most participation with 134 scores submitted this year. We are in good company and we placed very well considering we are in the toughest category in the US !. It won’t be long before we will begin planning for next years event, lets work together to make it another great club event !.
Displays at Safety Fest
(Jun 28, 2011) -- On
Saturday, June 4th, the Massillon Amateur Radio Club participated
in the Annual Ohio Safety Fest held at Clay's Park Resort.
Ohio Safety Fest is an outdoor festival
highlighting safety, crime prevention, police, fire, and other
safety related department partnerships with the community via
informational booths, displays, interactive activities and
The MARC has provided support communications for
many public safety departments during our eighty year history and
have been an active part of our community that entire time and we
were pleased to have been invited to take part in this annual
safety fest by event organizer Chuck Maier.
Our display was centered around our Emergency
Communications Trailer (EComm 1) along with several informational
displays depicting the many facets of our great hobby. Along with
a working HF and VHF station, we also demonstrated Winlink Digital
Communications, ATV and had a working CW practice station that was
popular with the many children that stopped by our table.
Literature on Ham Radio, the MARC and our Skywarn Spotter program
was also available to the public.
The day was a busy one for the club volunteers who
staffed our display. Thanks to club member Ralph Bugg, K8HSQ, we
have lots of pictures covering our participation in Safety Fest. Click
Here to check them all out.
A special thanks to all the members who helped
make this event a big success !
Ham Radio Endures in a World of Tweets
(Feb 20, 2011) --
Somehow it makes little sense that amateur “ham” radio
continues to thrive in the age of Twitter,
Yet the century-old communications technology — which demands
such commitment that you must generally pass an exam to receive a
license — currently attracts around 350,000 practitioners in
Europe, and a further 700,000 in the United
States, some 60 per cent more than 30 years ago.
What is it about a simple microphone, a
transmitter-receiver and the seductive freedom of the open radio
spectrum that’s turned a low-tech anachronism into an enduring
and deeply engaging global hobby?
For a start, there is that thrill in
establishing a magical person-to-person long-distance radio
conversation that no commodified internet communication can
compete with. In a world of taken-for-granted torrents of e-mails,
instant messages and Skype
video-chats, there is a purity and a richness in the shared
experience of exchanging “73s” during a live “QSO” with
strangers on another continent.
Why, the very ham slang that defines the
community — 73 translating as “best regards”, and QSOs as
two-way conversations — tells practitioners that they belong to
a special, mutually curious and highly courteous club. And the
fact that DXers (long-distance amateur operators) take the trouble
to acknowledge received transmissions and conversations by sending
their new contacts custom-designed postcards through the analog
postal service … well, that is charm itself in a world where
it’s considered excessive to end a communication with anything
more effusive than a “bestest”.
You only need study a handful of these cards
to understand, even today, the old-fashioned excitement of
connecting with a stranger who might be many thousands of miles
away. The postcards — known as QSL cards — can be as quirky
and personality-filled as the senders themselves. At times
humorous and characterful, at others terse and geographically
factual, they have naturally inspired their own subculture that
has spurred DXers to collect and display them much as they would
colorful foreign postage stamps.
The cards invariably display as a minimum some
basic factual information about the sender. This will generally
include the radio operator’s individual call sign, his (there
are not too many “hers”) location, and a few details about the
signal detected. And just to show that the Twitter generation did
not invent the linguistic contractions exemplified in text-message
speak, QSL cards too rely on slang and abbreviations to pack
information into a tight space.
So cards will display the “RST” — the
received radio station’s readability, signal and strength;
perhaps details of the sender’s “XMTR” (transmitter) and
“ANT” (antenna); and occasionally a request to reciprocate,
expressed as the shorthand “PSE QSL TNX” (please send an
acknowledgement card, thanks) or the more chatty “hw abt a crd
om?” (How about a card, old man?) Old man, by the way, is not a
reference to the recipient’s age — just as, on the rare
occasions when the DXer is female, she is referred to as a “YL”,
a young lady, whatever her chronological age.
DXers have been exchanging QSL cards since at
least 1916, when Edward Andrews of Philadelphia — call sign 3TQ
— recorded the receipt of a card from 8VX of Buffalo, NY. Over
the next decade, the hobby took off — so much so that, by 1928,
Paul Segal (W9EEA) had formulated an “amateur’s code”
setting out six key qualities to which practitioners must adhere:
“The radio amateur is considerate… loyal … progressive …
friendly … balanced … [and] patriotic,” Segal specified,
always ready for service to country and community.
Since then, the hobby has captivated royalty
and celebrities alike. Among the most celebrated DXers have been
the late King Hussein of Jordan (call sign JY1), Queen Noor (JY1H)
and Juan Carlos, King of Spain (EA0JC). Had you picked the right
moment, you could have chatted to Morocco’s King Hassan II
(CN8MH), the former Sultan of Oman (A41AA) or Bhumiphol Adulayadej,
King of Thailand (HS1A).
If monarchs have never appealed, you could
instead have shot the breeze with Marlon Brando (FO5GJ), prime
minister Rajiv Ghandi of India (VU2RG) or the CBS anchorman Walter
Cronkite (KB2GSD) — not forgetting the singer Cliff Richard
(W2JOF), Joe Walsh of The Eagles (WB6ACU) and genuinely
beyond-this-world DXers such as Yuri Gagarin and Helen Sharman.
It’s little wonder that collectors describe
the buzz of receiving a new exotic foreign card as akin to that of
philatelists discovering a rare commemorative stamp. That explains
why the late Jerry Powell, a New Jersey ham between 1928 to 2000
(W2OJW), proudly displayed the 369 cards he had gathered from
Okinawa to Papua.
Another obsessive collector, Thomas Roscoe of
Brookfield, Ohio (K8CX), has created an awe-inspiring QSL museum
where he displays his trophies from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe. (You
can see his individual cards at hamgallery.com).
Take a journey with Roscoe to Wallis & Futuna Island and
Western Kiribati, to Kyrgyzstan and Kerguelen Island; visit
“states” whose international status is somewhat contentious,
such as the Republic of Ichkeria and the Principality of Sealand;
celebrate one-off events such as Operation Desert Storm in Saudi
Arabia, or the Queen Mary’s last
But it’s not simply the romance of
card-collecting that continues to inspire DXers, nor the blunt
urge to communicate. Instead, hams talk proudly about belonging to
a global “brotherhood,” with few rules and little bureaucracy
and the ability to transcend language, religion and race — while
never quite knowing who they might come in contact with.
Plus, of course, the chance to be a genuine
real-life hero. Days after a magnitude 7.3 earthquake devastated Haiti
in January, amateur radio operators were busy at work connecting
rescuers within the country and contacting survivors’ families.
When a magnitude 8.8 earthquake hit Chile the next month, and the
phone network collapsed, a radio operator named Alejandro Jara
broadcast the first information from the ground.
Hams stepped in on September 11, 2001, and
during Hurricane Katrina. Then there was Tony Pole-Evans, a bird
lover with a short-wave radio on Saunders Island, who famously
risked his life during Argentina’s 1982 invasion of the Falkland
Islands to radio the first news back to Britain that 1,000
soldiers had landed on Goose Green.
How exciting it must have been to intercept
that particular radio call. And boy, what a QSL card to top
one’s collection. You can tweet all you like, but this is the
way to communicate.
Article Reprinted by permission from
Island Historical Marker
(Nov 14, 2010) -- During my annual trip to Put-In-Bay
Island for a day of biking I happened upon this historical marker
by the marina. Placed by the Ohio Bicentennial Commission it
First Ship ~ To ~ Shore Radio
On July 18, 1907, Dr Lee deForest broadcast the
first ship-to-shore radio message from the steam yacht Thelma. The
communication provided quick, accurate race results of the annual
Inter-Lakes Yachting Association (I-LYA) Regatta. Frank E. Butler,
a Monroeville, Ohio native and assistant to deForest, was
stationed in the pavilion at Fox's Dock (known today as the Jet
Express Dock) and received the radio transmission.
The creation of the vacuum tube by deForest
permitted the rapid development of radio and eventually
television. The inventor disliked the existing term
"wireless" and chose a new moniker -- "radio."
On this site wireless-transmission radio broadcasting was born.
The Historical Marker near the marina on
Inducted Into Veterans Hall of Fame
(Nov 19, 2010) -- As an Air Force Chaplain, Leslie A. Peine
has held worship services with astronauts and smuggled Bibles into
Saudi Arabia. Since retiring, he's shepherded the flock at First
United Methodist Church in Massillon and helped spearhead a
project to honor the city's six Congressional Metal of Honor Award
Recently, Les Peine of Jackson Township was also
recognized for a lifetime of service with his induction into the
Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame. Since returning to the greater Stark
County area, Les has also been a member of the Massillon Amateur
The Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame, created by former
Gov George Voinovich in 1992, exists to honor those "who have
honorably served their country through military service and who
have continued to serve and inspire their fellow man with their
deeds and accomplishments throughout their lifetime,"
according to the Department of Veterans Services website.
Les, who also was the keynote speaker for a
Veterans Day assembly at Washington High School, is the third
Massillonian to be inducted into the hall of fame.
A familiar voice on the club repeater during the
morning, we are truly honored to have Les as a member of our club.
A distinguished veteran, Les is also an inspiration to his
community, his country and the Massillon Amateur Radio Club. Click
Here to read about the Veterans Hall of Fame.
Rev. Leslie Peine, of First United Methodist
Church, was the keynote speaker during a Veterans Day assembly at
Washington High School.
Bass Island Expedition
By Tom, WD8MBE
(Aug 2, 2010) -- First,
I would like to thank everyone who donated toward the expedition.
Your support made it possible for us to qualify this island for
the US Islands Award Program.
Second, thank you to all the team members. Our
meetings and watching every detail kept this expedition on track.
Teamwork made this expedition possible from start to finish. Great
Job, NBI Team !.
North Bass Island is the most northern island of
the Bass Island Chain. The only transportation modes to North Bass
are either private boat or plane. Ferries no longer travel there
as the population has dropped from approximately 300 residents to
only 14 full time residents. Luckily we came across Bud Stonebrook,
who helped with our transportation and became our liaison for
Friday, July 23, 2010 the team departed Stark
County and headed north for which would turn out to be a very
interesting trip. The further north we traveled, the wind seemed
to increase. After unloading the vehicles and loading everything
onto the ferry, we realized that we were in-store for a roller
coaster ride. The lake had become very chopp0y. The trip from
Catawba Island to Middle Bass Island lasted about 45 minutes and
several of the passengers, including part of our team, received a
wet welcome from Lake Erie as the waves splashed onto the deck. It
was refreshing as the temperatures were on their way to the 90's.
Upon arriving at Middle Bass, we were advised by
Bud that his brother, Dale, had also traveled from North Bass with
his boat to help with transportation. This saved the team about a
half hour in travel time. Arriving at North Bass, there was a van
waiting to take us to our temporary home, the old school house.
Friday was miserably hot and humid and made
erecting the antennas a laborious job. We had to take several
breaks and drink plenty of fluids as the temperature and humidity
was in the high 90's. Antenna teams were assigned and the vertical
went up in a couple of hours. The dipoles were more difficult to
install as we needed on the roof and the black shingles just made
the heat worse.
All equipment was up and operational around 5 PM
and we were just supposed to do radio checks and some QSO's.
However, once we got on the air, many stations started to contact
us and we had our required QSO's before the day was over. This
turned out to be in our favor as storms rolled in Friday evening
and we had to shut the equipment down. We called it an early night
and tried to sleep in what turned out to be a classroom sauna.
Byron, KF8UN, needed to check into a net at 3 AM Saturday morning
ans woke all of us up. WE were not a happy bunch!
Saturday was a little cooler than Friday, but the
heat and humidity were still very high. Saturday also brought a
change to our operating procedures. IOTA, Island On The Air (Salt
Water), was also having a contest that day. All bands and our
published frequencies were jammed up with contesters. All we could
do was try to operate around them or use some of them for
contacts. Needless to say, we ended up with a total of 168 QSO's.
Our team was; AB8CC - Carl; KD8JNX - Brooker
(part-timer); KF8UN - Byron; N3JJT - Scott; WC8W - Gary; WD8MBE -
Tom; Wade - WD8MIU; Perry - W8AU and Peggy - W8PNT. And we can't
forget Toby - the RF Yorky. He kept the water snakes away and we
kept the coyotes away from Toby.
Look for a more detailed story to be posted soon
on the North Bass Island website at www.north-bass-island.com.
DAY 2010 RECAP
! (Aug 2, 2010) -- Well
folks what can I say, this year was - just nearly perfect ! Yes we
got a little wet taking down the antennas & all but hey- It’s
not Field Day unless it rains a little HI HI !!!
But outside of that
the weather cooperated (mostly) although it was mighty hot and
humid; temperatures above 90 degrees on Sunday, and I bet the
humidity was above 90 % as well ! Outside of a minor computer
glitch at the beginning it went nearly flawlessly. We made (before
any looking at the logs and simply going by the counters in the
logging program) nearly 1000 contacts, both phone and CW, not
including the GOTA station, 6 meter and two meter stations,
digital and of course satellite stations ! Yes we did it all this
We would like to
take this opportunity to THANK everyone who
gave of their time and effort into making this year as “one of
the best” on record ! From set up to tear down, a lot
of people made this happen. We would especially like to thank
Stefanie and Igor Nikishin (K8INN) who planned out and made a
delicious meal on Saturday night. “Hams cannot live by CW
contacts alone” ! Likewise a big THANK YOU also goes to Don
& Linda Finley: W8DEF & K8MOO, for at their own expense
and effort make a very delicious & nourishing Sunday morning
breakfast for those who stayed all night or showed up very early
for the “relief” operators !
I realize I cannot
list everyone who operated this weekend but I would like to list
the few who made the outstanding effort such as Igor K8INN who put
many hours (including the “all - nighter”) into making CW
contacts and THANKS goes to Jason KC8LIN, Dave, KC8WVH, Russ,
N8PII, who pulled the all - nighter and provided the much needed
security and likewise made many contacts for the “effort” ! We
also had perhaps a “first”, maybe at least it’s been a while
but we had a Dad & son effort as Randy, KD8JN and son, James
made a great phone contact team ! I realize this is just a partial
list of operators and hams that showed up for some great food and
comradery. But again THANKS to everyone !
This makes our
claimed score 3,550 points. Adding in 940 Bonus points makes an
estimated score of 4,490 Points.
The total score
will be reviewed by the ARRL and should be published in the
December issue of QST. Congratulations everyone on a great MARC
Field Day Event !
(July 10, 2010) -- The Massillon Amateur Radio Club was
again part of this years Summer Science Splash at the William
McKinley Presidential Library and Museum in Canton on Friday, July
9th from 5:00 - 10:00 PM.
This event showcased local science exhibits and will include
special science shows, a forensics presentation, reptile and
animal shows, science crafts and other programs.
The club participated in last years event and for our exhibit
this year, the club displayed our Emergency Communications Trailer
in addition our display included some radio equipment displays, an
informative video and handout literature used at Field Day. The
booth was staffed by Terry Russ, N8ATZ and Gary Kline, WC8W, Jim
Farriss, WA8GXM and Don Finley, W8DEF. Club President Carl Cunnert,
AB8CC and Skip Westrich, WB8OWM also attended and operated the HF
Station during the event. Numerous visitors stopped by to gaze at
our display and ask questions about our hobby and our activities.
Science Director Lynette Reiner appreciated our participation at
the event again this year and is already looking forward to
another great Summer Splash event in 2011 and you can bet we will
also be there !
Additional information is available on their website at http://www.mckinleymuseum.org.
Gary Kline, WC8W at the Discover World Display
Earns ARRL Special Service Club Status
(May 2, 2010) -- As of
April 6th, the MARC has been granted Special Service Club Status (SSC).
The club held this unique recognition several years ago but it
expired when we did not maintain the basic requirements of the SSC
program. We reapplied back in February and we were notified by
Great Lakes Director Jim Weaver, K8JE that we had once again been
granted this special club ranking.
So what exactly is an ARRL Special Service Club ?
SSC's have gone through a review process above and
beyond the normal requirements for basic affiliated clubs and have
demonstrated proficiency in the following disciplines:
1.) Training and supporting local Amateur Radio
efforts in licensing, upgrading, and continuing education.
2.) Public Relations and improving the
visibility of Amateur Radio, promoting it as a positive force
within their community.
3.) A willingness to become involved in
local emergency drills.
4.) Technical Advancement in the hobby.
5.) Promote Operating Activities within the
6.) Activity in additional miscellaneous amateur
Thanks to our very active club, we successfully
met all of the requirements listed above and were approved for
Special Service Club status.
Field Trip to WHBC Radio
4, 2010) -- The club enjoyed a great field trip for our April
club meeting, a tour of local AM-FM Radio Station WHBC in
At 7:30 PM, members gathered at the station for
our monthly meeting. We had a short business meeting followed by a
slide show covering the history of the station and pictures of the
studio and transmitter sites.
The trip was made possible thanks to club member
Jason Stroll, KC8LIN who now works for the station in their IT
Jason talked about the history of the station and
how it operates today. Jason then gave tours of the station and
the individual studios. Club member David Selby, KC8WVH also a
part time station employee assisted with the tours. The visit
concluded with a great pizza party.
Our thanks to both Jason and WHBC Radio for this
great field trip. Thanks to Ralph, K8HSQ, pictures of our trip can
be viewed by clicking
additional station history is posted on the station website
available here. Additional
station pictures are also posted here.
(Mar 21, 2010) -- On Saturday, March 20th, the MARC participated in the Family Preparedness Expo, sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and held at their Canton Ward in N. Canton.
During the March club meeting one of our guests was Barbera Markle, KB7KEV, a member of the Canton Ward who asked the club for assistance in participating in this event. Club VP Wade Huthmacher, WD8MIU volunteered his Saturday to participate and along with Terry, N8ATZ prepared a display for the event.
The purpose of this Expo was to raise awareness of the importance of being prepared for any and all local emergencies, something that ham operators are well aware of.
The club’s display included literature about Amateur Radio and our club, a video from the League covering public service and various equipment examples. Along with Wade and Terry, the booth was also staffed by Barbera Markle, KE7KEV and her friend Mike Falk, KB7OHV who also provided some display materials used during his time in Oregon ARES.
Other displays included the American Red Cross, FEMA, Fire Safety & Prevention and Kid Fingerprinting courtesy of both the N. Canton Fire and Canton Police Department. Other displays included how to setup a 72 hour Emergency Ration kit, Water Storage and Purification and demonstrations on Alternative Cooking methods by the Boy Scouts of America Venturing Group.
Many visitors attended the Expo with lots of interest in our Amateur Radio Display. We also spoke to several attendees on obtaining their ham radio license including several scouts.
Our thanks to the Canton Ward for giving us the opportunity to promote our hobby and our club and how we serve the community when disaster strikes.
Wade Huthmacher, WD8MIU at Family Preparedness
New club member Barbera Markle, KE7KEV and Mike
a VX-7R HT
(Jul 24, 2010) --
As of last year I became the proud owner of two new fine amateur radio products, the Yaesu VX-7R Handheld and the FT-8900 Quad Band Mobile radio. I had owned the VX7R for a little while and find it a great little radio. Just last fall I finally upgraded to a newer work car and of course decided to treat myself to a new mobile radio as well. I had been running an Icom IC-3200 Dual Band in the old red sled and used a GE Delta Commercial radio for my six meter work. I realized that the new car wasn’t going to work well with the big control head of the Delta radio so I used that as an excuse to upgrade mobile radios. While I do miss the 125 watt output of the GE Delta, I find that I do almost as well using the 50 watt Yaesu. I have always been a fan of Yeasu products, in fact my HF radio is the now obsolete Yaesu FT-840, a modest but very nice 100 watt HF radio.
One of the items on my Dayton Hamvention list this year was the programming software for both radios. The best source of cloning software is from RT Software. Most of the major dealers and distributors carry it and I was hoping for a “deal” at Dayton. I needed both the software and I also wanted a USB style clone cable for my not so new Dell laptop. Up until recently all you could by was serial style cables and you needed to use a USB/Serial adapter cable to fit modern laptop and desktops.
After some price shopping I ended up getting everything I needed from Ham Radio Outlet. Programming kits for both radios cost me about $70.00, a slight discount from normal pricing. I went home a happy camper until I found out that the VX7R kit contained a serial cable not USB as was marked on the box. Lesson #1, always open and inspect the contents of every Dayton purchase before driving all the way home ! As it turned out, this was only a minor inconvenience as my well stocked radio / computer junk box had the adapter I needed. I found out later from my buddy Don, W8DEF that another good outlet for Yeasu programming software is from Bob Freeth, G4HFQ. His website is www.g4hfq.co.uk. Bob’s prices are very reasonable if you only need software, about $15.00 US dollars for either radio.
After a few weekends to catch up on other projects I finally had time to try out my new programming kit. First up was the VX-7R handheld mostly because it was easy to setup on my workbench.
Figure 1 shows the cables and connectors necessary to use the
programming software with a 9 pin serial connector. Once you see the picture you will see why a simple USB cable is easier to use.
The assortment of cables needed when using a
As seen in the picture, you will need to install the programming software first into your computer. I run all Windows XP Operating software but other versions of Windows will work all the way back to Windows 98. Version 4 of the software now works with Windows Vista and Windows 7 Operating Systems.
Once you have the program installed the next step is to connect up all the cables to the radio. Keep in mind you will need the Yaesu Microphone adapter cable thanks to the special screw-in connector used with the VX7R. You will also need a mini to sub mini stereo adapter plug to make the final connection. These are still available from Radio Shack if you don’t have one.
Somewhere along here you will discover that no user instructions are provided with the programming kit probably because it isn’t really isn’t necessary. The software help files explain everything in pretty good detail and the software prompts you along the way.
The cables connected to the radio and ready to
As my VX-7R was mostly programmed anyway I decided to download the current programming to the laptop. A quick click of the Transfer button and the download was complete in about ten seconds. The results are displayed in sort of a spreadsheet format although the file saves the download in a special extension. I have about forty frequencies in mine that includes both ham and public service agencies.
The really nice part of having them in the laptop is that now I can customize them individually including power settings, PL tone frequencies, etc and send it back to the radio in a jiffy. This is much easier than trying to perform it all from the radio keypad.
I’m still learning the software but it makes a great way to keep track of all the settings in your radio. Let me know if you would like to see the programmer work, maybe at a club meeting sometime. Next month I’ll let you know the details of the programming kit for the Yaesu FT-8900.
Anniversary of STS-9
(Nov 28, 2009) -- Amateur
Radio has been carried aboard US Space Shuttles for over 25 years.
It all began in the fall of 1983 with Shuttle Mission STS-9.
On November 28, 1983, STS-9 was launched carrying
Mission Specialist Owen Garriot, W5LFL, and his ham radio into
orbit. For 10 days the Space Shuttle Columbia streaked through the
skies, and for the last seven of those days, hams around the world
were sent emotionally into orbit when they heard Dr. Garriot's
voice break their radio squelch's calling earthbound stations.
But it was just the beginning. Amateur Radio had
moved into it's newest frontier, and it was here to stay. By the
time the flight had ended, Owen Garriot had made the first ham
radio transmissions by an amateur radio operator in space during
the flight. This led to many further space flights incorporating
amateur radio as an educational and back-up communications tool.
QST published an account of Owen's flight in an article in
MARC also took part in this historic flight by activating our club
station W8NP during one pass close to North America and tried to
contact the shuttle. We used our 2 meter rig and a vertical
antenna. Reluctantly after multiple attempts during the short
pass, we were unable to break through the intense pile-up and make
Owen did record over 350 contacts during the
flight with amateurs all over the world. While W8NP did not end up
in his log, the thrill experienced in just hearing his callsign
emanate from space was a great time and made us all proud to be
ham radio operators. The tape recorder was running during our
attempt and you can hear Owens call to earth by clicking on the
audio link below. The recording is in a short WAV file playable by
most media players.
Click Here to hear Owens Calling
from Shuttle Columbia
Owens son Richard, W5KWQ continued the family
tradition by operating ham radio from the International Space
Station during his visit in October 2008, almost 25 years later. Click
Here to read his account on the ARRL website.
Celebrates 75th Anniversary as ARRL Affilated Club
(Sep 5, 2009) -- A very
special meeting was held on August 7, 2009 at the
Massillon Senior Center at our usual start time of 8:00 PM. We
celebrated our 75th year as an ARRL Affiliated Club.
To celebrate this very special achievement, Mr Jim Weaver,
K8JE, Great Lakes Division Director attended our meeting to
present the club with a plaque honoring this great achievement.
This is quite an honor for the club we encourage everyone to
attend the meeting. We are all looking forward to Jim's visit and
being with us to celebrate this great club achievement.
In 1934, members and Officers of the Massillon Amateur Radio
Club voted to become an American Radio Relay League (ARRL)
Affiliated Club. In the succeeding years each new club president
and Executive Board has continued to uphold the standards set
forth by the League to remain an Affiliated Club. We have been
honored to maintain the high standards that come with being an
ARRL Affiliated Club.
Great Lakes Division Director Jim Weaver,
K8JE presents our 75th ARRL Affiliation plaque to the club.
Annual Greater Stark County Fox Hunt Results
Reprinted courtesy of
the AARC Zero Beat Newsletter
J. Myers, KD8MQ
(Aug 1, 2009) -- Well,
the 1st Annual Greater Stark County Fox Hunt is history. The rain
enough for all hunters to find the fox, and gather at Hog Heaven,
for the swapping of tall tales, and some friendly ribbing.
hunt was a joint venture between the
Radio Clubs. The planning committee was made up of John (KD8MQ),
Tom (KC8QOD), Dale (NX8J), Mike (KD8ENV), and Scott (N3JJT).
was simple; As the hunters located the fox boxes, the grabbed the lowest
numbered tag from the box. The hunters with the lowest sum of both
tags were the winners.
day began bright & sunny, but started clouding over as the
hunt progressed. The hunt started just a few minutes after 10
O’clock, with the activation of fox # 1. Signing KD8MQ on
147.51, the signal was weak, but reception was still possible at
the starting line. Within moments, the parking lot was bare, as
the hunters left in pursuit of their prey. At that point, Mike,
accompanied by Scott, left to place fox # 2 in its hiding place,
and activate it
30 minutes after the hunt began, word was received from Tom,
Re-checking their route on the computer, are the 2nd
place team of Richard,
and Don, K8OMO that two hunters had arrived in the vicinity of fox
# 1, and were homing in quickly on the foxes lair. Not long
afterwards, the team of Justin (W8JKC), Jake (KD8GPM), & David
(KC8WVH) arrived back at the starting line with the # 1 tag from
both foxes. This was good enough for first place.
after they arrived, the rain began, so we all retired to the
restaurant, to wait for the rest of the hunters to straggle in.
The 2nd place team of KD6MPN, and K8OMO arrived soon after,
followed later by 3rd place Jason (KC8LIN), and Anthony (KC8FFC).
Dale (NX8J), and Andy (One of the venture crew members) arrived
around the same time as Les (W8TJF), and Gary (WA8ADA), who had
been rained out.
a fine lunch served by the staff at Hog Heaven, we drew for
prizes. The “experienced” copy of “Transmitter Hunting:
Radio Direction finding Simplified” was won by Dale, NX8J. The
winner of the K0OV offset attenuator board, was Richard, KD6MPN.
One interesting note is that both the 1st & 2nd place teams
used offset attenuators using the K0OV design, though K8OMO swears
they didn’t use theirs until they were hunting for fox # 2.
idea for the hunt began last December, when John, Tom, Mike, and
Scott put on a fox hunt for some local scouts. After the hunt, the
idea was raised of an inter-club fox hunt, and the idea was born.
Plans for next years hunt are tentative, but the CQ Magazine
National Foxhunting Weekend in May is being discussed. We’ll
have more information as it becomes available. Thanks to all who
participated, for making this one a success. See you in 2010 !
Participates in Summer Splash
11, 2009) -- The
Massillon Amateur Radio Club was part of this years Summer
Science Splash at the William McKinley Presidential Library and
Museum in Canton on Friday, July 10th from 5:00 - 11:00 PM.
This event showcased local science exhibits and will include
special science shows, a forensics presentation, reptile and
animal shows, science crafts and other programs.
The club was contacted by Science Director Lynette Reiner from
the Museum who wanted to include an Amateur Radio presentation.
Our display covered our own local radio club and amateur radio
in general. It included some radio equipment displays, an
informative video and hand out literature used at Field Day. The
booth was staffed by Terry Russ, N8ATZ and Gary Kline, WC8W.
Numerous visitors stopped by to gaze at our display and ask
questions about our hobby and our activities. Science Director
Lynette Reiner appreciated our participation at the event and has
already asked us to be part of next years Supper Splash which will
celebrate the Museum's 40th Anniversary.
Additional information is available on their website at http://www.mckinleymuseum.org.
Gary Kline, WC8W (L) and Terry Russ, N8ATZ at
the Discover World event at McKinley Museum
Section Manager Joe Phillips, K8QOE (SK)
(Jun 28, 2009) -- Joe Phillips, K8QOE, who served as
ARRL Ohio Section Manager since 1998, passed away suddenly at his
home on Saturday, June 20. He was 68. Licensed in 1959 as KN9SYL,
Phillips first joined the ARRL Field Organization as an Official
Emergency Station (OES) in 1986. He became a Public Information
Officer in 1989 and has served as an Official Observer (OO) since
1997. He was elected Ohio Section Manager in 1998.
A graduate of Youngstown University, Phillips had a career as a
journalist and a teacher. He edited six separate ham radio
newsletters in Cincinnati before becoming Newsletter Editor for
the Ohio Area Repeater Council in 1984, a position he held for
five years. In 1986, Phillips organized the first Ohio Repeater
Directory and in 1992, organized the Ohio Section Ham Radio
Newsletter Contest. He authored a weekly ham radio newspaper
column in the Sunday edition of the Cincinnati Enquirer
called "Ham Call" and hosted a similarly named program
for cable television in the Cincinnati area.
In 1994, Phillips was elected to the Greater Cincinnati Amateur
Radio Hall of Fame, and in 1995, he was the recipient of the
ARRL's McGan Silver Antenna Award. This award is given annually to
a League member who demonstrates outstanding public relations
success on behalf Amateur Radio at the local, state or national
level. Phillips was excited about having his photo on the cover of
the May 2009 issue of QST featuring the annual Dayton
"Throughout a 40-year friendship, Joe and I worked closely
together on many occasions," said ARRL Great Lakes Division
Director Jim Weaver, K8JE. "From his early days of supporting
the county ARES/RACES unit and the Ohio Repeater Council, Joe has
always provided energetic and effective leadership with a
friendly, personal touch. The magnetism of his style of leadership
drew the best from others who soon became solid friends, not mere
ARRL Membership and Volunteer Programs Manager Dave Patton,
NN1N, remembered Phillips fondly: "If you have been to Dayton
you have met and laughed with Joe. He was the master of the Wouff
Hong ceremony. His red jacket is the stuff of legend in Ohio. Joe
was more than a Section Manager -- he really gave all of himself
to ARRL for 20-plus years. With him dies the last paper newsletter
sent to section membership. When I answered his phone calls, he
announced his call with 'Here's your Ohio Nightmare.' He loved
baseball, maybe more than I did. He was a good man, and he is
really going to be missed."
TV Is Coming !
(Feb 7, 2009)The digital transition is underway.
Prepare now! On Feb. 17, some full-power broadcast television
stations in the United States may stop broadcasting on analog
airwaves and begin broadcasting only in digital. The remaining
stations may stop broadcasting analog sometime between March 14
and June 12. June 12 is the final deadline for terminating analog
broadcasts under legislation passed by Congress and expected to be
signed by President Obama. Find out more about the
transition date change. Go
it's already here. Many of the broadcast networks have been
transmitting digital in addition to standard analog television for
quite some time. Digital Television (DTV), is an advanced
broadcasting technology that will enhance everyone's viewing
experience. DTV enables broadcasters to offer television with
better picture and sound quality. It offers multiple programming
choices, something traditional analog TV can't provide.
Converting to DTV will also free up parts of the scarce and
valuable broadcast spectrum. Those portions of the spectrum can
then be used for other important services, such as public safety
services and advanced wireless services. This may even benefit
Amateur Radio by easing up the pressure these services have been
placing on the FCC to re-alocate parts of our amateur bands to
TV stations serving all markets in the US are airing digital
programming today, although most will continue to provide analog
programming through February 17, 2009. At that point, full-power
TV stations will cease broadcasting on their current analog
channels, and the spectrum they use for analog broadcasting will
be reclaimed and put to other uses.
Many if not most of the members of the MARC subscribe to
Massillon Cable TV (MCTV) although several are Satellite
subscribers with the remainder still using traditional
over-the-air TV antennas.
If you are in the last group still using TV antennas to receive
over-the-air signals on TV sets having only analog tuners you will
need to obtain separate digital to analog set-top converter boxes
to watch TV. These boxes receive digital signals and convert them
into analog format for display on older style TV's. Analog sets
connected to such converter boxes will display digital broadcasts,
but not necessarily in the full, original digital quality.
Between Jan 1, 2008 and March 31, 2009, all US households have
been eligible to request up to two coupons, worth $40.00 each, to
be used toward the purchase of up to two, digital to analog
converter boxes. The coupons have an expiration date 90 days after
mailing and must be used by that date. Many retailers carry these
converter boxes for as little as $49.95 (with coupon only
$9.95). Visit www.dtv2009.gov
to get your coupons.
If you are a subscriber to MCTV, this transition is a little
easier. MCTV began the change from analog to digital technology
almost 15 years ago when they installed a state-of-the-art
fiber-optic broadcast cable system. Since then they have continued
to enhance their system with the introduction of their high-speed
internet service, digital TV and phone service, and High
Definition TV (HDTV). Throughout this time they have continued to
provide analog feeds to those customers still using old style TV
sets. As of February 17, 2009 however, customers still using old
style analog TV's will see their screen go dark unless they have
obtained a converter box from MCTV. These simple boxes called the Mini-Max
Converter will be provided at no cost for up to three TV's. If you
already have a digital converter box in your home from MCTV,
you're all set as these converters will continue to work. This
will cover the set it's connected to however, any additional TV's
in your home will need a set-top converter box.
MCTV is contacting all of it's customers on a neighborhood by
neighborhood basis to explain the transition to DTV. They have
also setup a very detailed website that covers this transition to
DTV and is located at www.dtvrollout.com
It would appear that Time Warner Cable TV subscribers will have
it even easier during this DTV rollout and may not have to do
anything at all. Have a look at their website at www.timewarnercable.com
for complete links. There you find links explaining their
transition to DTV service.
Satellite subscribers already use special receivers to view
programming but may need new DTV equipment to receive and view
High Definition digital programming. You should check with your
system provider for complete details.
Complete details on the Digital TV transition can be found at www.dtv.gov.
The ARRL received a request from the FCC asking that ARRL
members provide technical assistance to their communities
concerning the FCC-mandated DTV conversion. Click
Here to read the full article.
This MARC website article was written in an effort to provide
this general assistance to both our club members and the
325 - (Large Slow Target) From the October MARC Newsletter
(Oct 1, 2007) -- Sailors
aboard the World War II Landing Ship Transport or LST's jokingly
referred to their ships as Large Slow Targets because when fully
loaded they could only obtain about 12 knots speed (about 12 - 15
Our own Perry Ballinger, W8AU, is the Chief Radioman aboard the
LST-325 which this past September sailed up the Illinois River to
Peoria to display the WW II Transport ship. They were to leave
Peoria on September 5th but high river water delayed them for
about a week. The main idea was to sail down the river to Alton,
IL and stay there from September 6th through the 11th and then
sail back home to Evansville. If nothing else, Perry got some
quality "radio" time in including a contact with club
newsletter editor Gary Kline, WC8W and of course Rodger Trompower,
KA8FTS and others on the club MRN net.
Perry has been very active from the LST-325 over the past
several years and his travels have been covered in both the club
newsletter and on the website. You
can review some of his past adventures by clicking here.
Great MARC Field Day !
!(Aug 12, 2007) --
Thanks to lots of hard work by many club members Field
Day 2007 was another big success with everyone enjoying good
company, really nice weather, lots of contacts, some especially
great food and loads of FUN !.
From setup Saturday morning to teardown Sunday
afternoon, we enjoyed yet another great weekend communications
As always lots of great memories are generated
with each Field Day and many of which are captured in "Kodiak
Moments". I hope you
enjoy this special Field Day Memories Page, I have also included a few pictures
from the archive from past Field Days !
We also wish to thank the Canton Repository and staff writer
Denise Sautters (firstname.lastname@example.org)
for the great story they did on our Field Day exercise. The story appeared in
the Sunday, June 24, 2007 edition of the paper in the LOCAL section.
Click on the Field Day graphic to go to our annual
Field Day webpage. I also have a whole bunch of great Field Day
pictures from several club members including Gary - WC8W, Jason -
KC8LIN, Don - W8DEF, Ric - K8RIC including some of my own that I
hope to post as time allows. Jason currently has many
pictures posted from Field Day on his website. Go directly to www.kc8lin.com
to have a look !
A special thanks to everyone who participated in
this years event, if you didn't make it this year you missed out
on another great Field Day !. Have a look at our Field Day page to
see what all you missed ! MARC Field
The results from Field Day 2007 have been made
official and are posted below.
Total CW Contacts were 716. Total Phone Contacts were 454.
There were 5 Satellite Contacts, 8 Digital (RTTY) Contacts for a
total of 13 Digital Contacts.
We had 101 GOTA Contacts. This totals to 1,912 total QSO Points
with a multiplier of X2 equals a claimed score of 3,824 points.
We are claiming total bonus points of 1,260 (our best ever).
This figures out to a Grand Total of 5,084 Points !
The final results are usually published in the December issue
of QST Magazine.
in Memorial Day Parade
(Jun 3, 2007) -- The
MARC participated in the annual Massillon Memorial Day parade
using our Emergency Communications Trailer decorated to suit the
holiday with flags representing the Armed Forces along the front.
Several of our honored club Military Service veterans rode in the
back as Ralph Bugg, K8HSQ pulled the trailer.
A special thanks to club members Perry Ballinger - W8AU
representing the US Navy, his son Bob Ballinger - N8KXO
representing the Marine Corps, Perry's grandson Brent Shriver -
KC8EBE currently an active member of the USMC and Jim Farriss - WA8GXM
representing the Air Force Reserve.
The MARC in the Memorial Day Parade
Spring Fox Hunt Results
(Jun 3, 2007) -- Saturday, May 12th the MARC held it's
annual Spring Fox Hunt in conjunction with CQ Magazine's National
Fox Hunt Weekend.
It was a great turnout with eight hunters testing their skills
to find the elusive fox. The Fox turned out to be hiding in a
corner of Massillon Community Hospital buried in a pile of mulch.
Nearly everyone found the general area of the fox but only half
actually found the buried transmitter. Congratulations to Gary,
WC8W who was the first to find the Fox !. The other Fox Hunters
were Tom - KC8QOD, Rodger - KA8FTS, Dan - N8DZM, Don - W8DEF,
Linda - K8MOO, Perry - W8AU and Scott - N3JJT.
More Fox Hunting is scheduled for Field Day weekend. We will be
hiding multiple transmitters somewhere in Petros Park on the Fox
frequency of 145.62 Mhz. Get your Fox Hunting gear ready to go as
we expect lots of participation.
Remember since you are only receiving, anyone can participate,
even non-hams. Just an HT or scanner is all that is needed and
your wits ! Make sure you join us this year ! De Dan -
N8DZM, MARC Foxmister.
The Spring Fox Hunters !
Talk - Are You Connected ?
(Feb 1, 2007) -- Do you read QST Magazine? One section I
always like to read is their column called "The Doctor Is
In". This monthly column always has some interesting project
information covering a wide variety of topics.
A recent item came in from a ham named Davis, KA3SNY who asked
the 'Doctor' what maximum power limits can reliably transmit
through a BNC connector?
The Doctors answer - BNC connectors are rated at 500 V peak.
That translates to 5,000 Watts peak in a 50 Ohm system with a 1:1
SWR, although most folks run less power through them, typically
500 watts or less. One problem is that the cables that are
typically connected to BNC connectors are usually rated for 500
That got me to thinking about the various RF connectors we
depend on to connect our antenna's to our radio equipment. You
would be surprised how many installations are using top notch
antennas fed with expensive grade coax cable yet connected with
improper connectors that aren't properly installed. But that
sounds like the subject of a future column. For now, lets talk
about some commonly used RF connectors.
First a bit more information about the BNC. Developed in the
late 1940's as a miniature version of the Type C connector, BNC
stands for Bayonet Neil Concelman and is named after
Amphenol engineer Carl Concelman. The BNC product line is a
miniature quick connect/disconnect RF connector. It features two
bayonet lugs on the female connector; mating is achieved with only
a quarter turn of the coupling nut. BNC's are ideally suited for
cable termination for miniature to subminiature coaxial cable such
as RG-58, RG-59 and RG-179 to RG-316.
The BNC is designed to operate up to 11 GHz and typically yield
low reflection through 4 GHz. Ham's typically use them to connect
up to our handhelds, ATV and oscilloscopes.
The next connector used in nearly every ham shack is the
venerable old UHF or "PL" style connectors. Invented in
the 1930's by an Amphenol engineer named E. Clark Quackenbush
(yes, I said Quackenbush!), UHF coaxial connectors are general
purpose units developed for use in low frequency systems from 0.6
- 300 MHz. Invented for use in the radio industry, UHF is an
acronym for Untra-High Frequency because at the time 300 MHz was
considered high frequency.
UHF connectors are rated at up to 500 volts peak (same as the
BNC) but with a frequency range of only up to 300 MHz aren't
suitable for the true UHF amateur spectrum we use today. Despite
this, the connector is routinely used on most of the Dual-Band
mobiles being sold today.
Lastly is the Type N Connector. Named after Paul Neill of Bell
Labs after being developed in the 1940's, the Type N offered the
first true microwave performance. The Type N connector was
developed to satisify the need for a durable, weatherproof,
medium-size RF connector with consistant performance through 11
There are two families of Type N connectors: Standard N (for
coax cable) and Corrugated N (for helical and annular cable).
Their primary applications are for the termination of medium to
miniature size coaxial cable, including RG-8, RG-58, RG-141 and
RG-225. RF coaxial connectors are the most important element in
the cable system. Corrugated copper coaxial cables have the
potential to deliver all the performance a system requires, which
is why Hams use this type of cable/connector in most repeater
systems both VHF & UHF. This also helps to hold down
intermodulation distortion. They are also easily installed using
simple hand tools in the field and are highly resistant to pull
Thanks to a solid 50 Ohm impedance, a frequency range of from 0
- 11 GHz and a voltage rating of up to 1,500 volts peak, it is the
connector of choice for most of today's high power amateur and
There are lost of other RF type connectors in use today, but
these are the ones most often used by the amateur community.
Now that you know a little more about them, we can all make
sure we pick the right connector for that next antenna project !.
If you would like to learn even more about RF connectors, review
Amphenol's website at http://www.amphenolrf.com.
Field Day Results
(Nov 24, 2006) -- The
ARRL has posted the official results from this years Field Day and
the club’s score of 4,872 points ended as our final score for
the event. I am pleased to say we placed 9th in Category 2A for
the Great Lakes Division this year, a solid effort. Ohio was a
very active state during Field Day this year, there were 117
submissions for Field Day, more than any other state in the U.S.
The official results are currently posted
in the December issue of QST Magazine and if you look at page 83
you will see that we made it in their annual Field Day review with
a picture of our might Field Day Blimp. This marks the first time
the club has been included with both a mention and a picture from
our Field Day event. The story is also covered on the ARRL
Thanks to lots of hard work by many club
members Field Day 2006 was another great success with everyone
enjoying good company, really nice weather, lots of contacts,
great Field Day food and a whole bunch of FUN !. Click
Here for the complete details of this years event.
(Jul 10, 2006) -- Late
Addition - W8NP Field Day included in the ARRL Webpage Contest
Here to Read it all !
Only a part of the 2006 MARC Field Day Crew !
At Goodyear "Safety Day"
(July 4, 2006) -- On
Friday, May 26th Department 465e held its 2nd annual Safety Day.
This year I was approached and asked if the MARC would like to
participate. After quick discussion at the next club meeting, it
was decided that we would participate.
Attending and operating the club's Ecomm Trailer were Perry
Ballinger-W8AU, Anne Ballinger-N8GAF, Don Finley-W8DEF and Wade
Huthmacher-WD8MIU. The main topic of the day was Emergency
Communications. The mast was extended and an inverted V was hung
from the mast. Four groups (about 15 people each), stopped by
throughout the day and visit the trailer station along with many
other activities scheduled at the Akron Test Facility. We supplied
the volunteers with lunch and after we wrapped things up for the
day, I took the group on a tour of our test lab. All in all we had
a great time, and again a big thanks to the volunteers for
spending their entire Friday donating their time and putting the
MARC in the eyes and minds of others.
73's De Scott, N3JJT.
Massillon Summer Time Festival
(Jul 19, 2006) -- Massillon held it's Annual Summer Time on
Fourth Street Festival last Sunday, July 16th and again this year
several club members took part in this years event which offered a
step back into Victorian time when organ grinders, street
performers, artists and homemade ice cream were the norm of the
As part of this years event, club historian Perry Ballinger -
W8AU along with friend Ed McHugh and assistance from Igor - K8INN
and Scott - N3JJT demonstrated an authentic Western Union
telegraph station. Adorned in typical telegrapher atire, Perry
setup a morse key and sounder sending messages to Igor and Scott
across the street at a receiving station.
Many people stopped by hearing the unique sound of the sounder.
Also on display this year was a Spark Gap Transmitter replica that
could have easily been used on the early ocean going liners. The
unique sound of the Spark Gap attracted numerous visitors to
witness first hand what communications were like in the very early
day's of radio communications. A special thanks to Perry, Igor and
Scott for braving very warm weather and participating in this
to learn more about the Telegraph and Massillon ? Click here for
an interesting look back thanks to Ed McHugh.
The "Telegrapher Crew" on duty
at the Festival
Scott-N3JJT (L), Igor-K8INN and Perry-W8AU
Here for some additional pictures !
Contacts Space Station
(Apr 18, 2006) -- Congratulations
to our resident Amateur Satellite operator Dan Anastis - N8DZM for
the great contact he made with the International Space Station on
behalf of the club. Using the club call W8NP, Dan made a contact
with the ISS last December 14th and has a QSL card to prove it.
The Official QSL Card of NA1SS issued to Dan -
Congratulations Dan for making the great contact
for the club !
Keys and Hams
(Mar 26, 2006) -- I'm a regular reader of ARRL
Contributing Editor Stan Horzepa, WA1LOU and his latest "Surfin"
report is titled "Green
Keys and Hams" and currently appears on the ARRL
The story brings back many fond memories of my early days of
RTTY operating during the early 1980's. Some of you may remember a
short lived splinter special interest radio club around during
that time called "The Stark RTTY Group". During it's
peak it had about 25 members as I recall, some of which are still
around, and held monthly meetings at the old Canton Mellet Mall
General Officies. I held several positions in the club over the
years including newsletter editor. I still have some of the old
newsletters around today and I bring them out to reread every now
"Green Keys and Hams" spotlights the mainstay
hardware teleprinters used by RTTY operators during that era. The
mighty Model 28 ASR was a technological masterpiece of it's day.
You weren't a serious RTTY operator unless you owned one of these
serious Teletype machines.
During my early years just getting started in RTTY I bought a
Model 15 Teletype machine. This smelly, noisy clankity clank
machine weighted in at about a ton and needed a special high
voltage loop power supply to operate. I spent many an evening
fascinated by its many moving parts typing away messages over HF.
Eventually I upgraded to a Model 28 ASR, state-of-the-art RTTY
Teletype Machine and finally I was running with the big dogs. I
even added a gear shift so that I could run eith 60 or 100
Words-Per-Minute (WPM). This was big time operating. It was email
before computers. Through the use of an autostart circuit, you
could leave your equipment on and it would sit quietly and listen
for someone to fire up on our old RTTY frequency of 145.75 Mhz
simplex. Suddenly my Model 28 would automatically fire up and type
out the message.
During those days I still lived at home and my radio room was
on the second floor right above my parents bedroom. I can still
remember their dismay when someone decided to send out a message
(darn that Joe Ebner!), at about 2 AM and the whole second floor
ceiling would begin shaking like an earthquake had just hit. I
think my parents were a little worried that suddenly my 300 pound
teletype machine would come crashing through the floor onto their
RTTY had just started to develop into a full blown digital mode
during these days. This was the days before personal computers so
many of us used the "Green Keys" to enjoy this mode.
Nothing could compare to the sights and sounds of a Model 28
Teletype Machine pounding out the latest ARRL Bulletin at 100 WPM.
The machines were widely used as part of both the Military MARS
system and the National Traffic System (NTS). They were the
defacto standard at that time to send messages.
There were a number of RTTY Magazines that sprouted up during
that time and many of us couldn't wait for the annual CQ RTTY
issue each year.
Another favorite pastime during those years was the printing of
pictures using our Teletype machines. The paper was on a
continuous roll and we routinely sent and received pictures that
were anywhere from 3 to 5 feet long. My favorites were the
scantily clad cleverly posed swimsuit models, amazing what detail
you could print out using a typewriter ! Some of us were lucky
enough to have pictures on pre-punched paper tape. The tape was
fed through the Teletype Machine just like film through a
projector. We even had a windup roll on the other side.
As years progressed new equipment manufactures began producing
some very nice and expensive commercial equipment to run RTTY.
This was just at the beginning of the use of personal computers in
ham radio and paved the way I think for the modern methods of
digital operating we know today. Each year at Dayton Hamvention we
would always drool over the newest high tech RTTY equipment
introduced by many manufacturers like HAL and Infotech.
It's only been a few years ago that I finally decided to get
rid of my venerable Model 28 Teletype Machine. It had quit working
many years ago and try as I may I couldn't get it repaired. I
still have some of my old pictures still rolled up in small film
canisters but they too have dried up and probably wouldn't run
through a machine these days.
Like so many others I eventually succumbed to a modern desktop
computer and a Television style monitor to operate RTTY. Many of
us still have very fond memories of operating the "Green
Keys" long before the ease of using a PC. I encourage you to
check out Stan's article and explore the several links he has
included on the page. I don't think RTTY is nearly as popular as
it once was with the dozen or so other more advanced digital modes
that populate the amateur bands today.
But lest we not forget it all began with the golden sounds of
an old Teletype machine clanking away in many a hams radio room.
Now that was Real Radio !
A great old Model 28 ASR Teletype Machine just
like we used to use !
Attends Multi-County Meeting
(Mar 30, 2006) -- A
Multi-County Coalition meeting was held last Sunday, March 26th at
Tuscora Park in New Philadelphia with several Stark County ARES
members attending including Assistant EC Terry Russ - N8ATZ who
along with Winlink Technical Director Ralph Bugg - K8HSQ presented
a slide presentation on our Stark County Winlink Communications
The meeting included nearly 30 attendees
representing about seven southeastern counties as well as several
ARES Emergency Coordinators, Assistant EC's and District
Coordinators. Additional MARC members in attendance included Net
Manager Michelle Gill - KC8ZEJ and husband Bob - N8DVS.
Club representatives reported on their current
activities and ARES coordinators also reported on their current
public service activities. Discussions also involved the need for
ARES volunteers to become familiar with FEMA's Incident Command
System training courses. Most important were ICS-100, ICS-200,
ICS-700 and ICS-800.
After a short break Stark County Winlink
Coordinators gave a slide presentation on our Stark County
The meeting was well attended with a lot of
information shared with all attendees. The next Multi-County
Coalition Meeting is scheduled to be held on Sunday, July 23rd at
2:00 PM in Coshocton.
Radio Net (MRN)
(Nov 12, 2005) -- The newly formed Massillon Radio Net
(MRN) convenes Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday nights at 7:30 PM EST, on
3650 Hz plus or minus QRM under the direction of MARC member Perry
This CW net is designed to provide new operators with the
basics of traffic handling techniques and other message training.
All area operators are invited to participate in this open and
informal net. The code speed is kept at about 5 wpm to make it
more comfortable for new operators to take part in the net.
The net is operated in the spirit of the National Radio
Emergency Network (NREM). The NREM is designed to provide a 24 -
hour emergency communications capability for fixed, portable, or
mobile stations. It is sponsored by the Michigan Net, QMN. It is
the goal of the QMN organization to promote high-quality public
service and emergency communications activities.
You can learn more about the National Radio Emergency Network
on their website at http://220.127.116.11:81/nren.
You can learn more about the Michigan Net, QMN, and its programs
at their webpage at www.qsl.net/w8ihx.
In keeping with the training directives of the NREN, a recent
training topic is covered in the November issue of the MARC
monthly newsletter FEEDBACK. Authored by Jim Wades, WB8SIW,
General Manager of the Michigan Net, QMN, it covers setting up a
radio station designed for ARES or Traffic Handling work including
a few useful accessories for traffic handling.
If you didn't get a chance to read this excellent story, it is
currently posted on this website. Click
Here to check it over.
Great K8KIP Tower Project
(Dec 19, 2005) -- A nearly year long project to replace a
tower is finally nearing completion for club member Bob Kiplinger,
K8KIP despite several setbacks, one being the terrible fall of
Kip's old tower with our resident tower climber Jim Farriss,
WA8GXM hanging on for dear life.
Jim was severely injured when Kip's old tower gave
way crashing to the ground with Jim was near the 40 foot mark. Jim
had to be extracted by emergency service personnel and was
hospitalized for over a week following the accident. It took
several months but Jim is nearly back to his old self.
With the old tower fully removed and Jim back in
shape the installation of the new tower began several months ago
with Jim leading the project. Despite some chilly fall weather and
with winter snows pending Jim was able to nearly complete the job
thanks to the assistance from Kip, Scott - N3JJT and Don - W8DEF.
Kip was also able to arrange for a bucket lift truck on several
occasions thanks to his brother-in-law that really made a big
difference. Aside from some finish work the job was completed just
after the Thanksgiving holiday.
We have several pictures courtesy of Don - W8DEF
and Terry - N8ATZ that help to tell the story but they don't do
justice to this huge tower. Now we won't say this tower is tall
but it's only thanks to Kip's rural location near Dalton that
meant tower lights weren't necessary !
All towers are built from the ground up which is
true for Kip's tower too except it measures about 18 feet apart
between each of the four legs.
Ladders and Gin Poles help out a lot during
tower projects but can only reach so far. Were at about 30 feet up
Jim, WA8GXM slowly builds the tower one leg at a
time just like a huge Erector Set.
Finally help arrives in the form of a bucket
Jim slowly fits each tower piece in place
secured by several bolts. This tower had over 500 pieces to fit
At about the 90 foot mark, they are finally
reaching the upper most sections. Almost at the far reach of the
The project was delayed by weather and the need
for a higher reach bucket truck. Kip's brother-in-law was able to
arrange for an even taller reach truck. How tall ? You don't
even want to know !
At over the 100 foot mark, Jim literally stands
inside the tower at the very top to secure the antenna mast to the
rotator. The ever careful Jim always belts himself in place.
There's room in the bucket truck for another helper - any
The finished tower with beam in place. Now this
signal we should be able to hear !
Radio Emergency Network
NREN Training Topic
Walk into the
average Emergency Operations Center (EOC) or mobile communications
trailer and one is often confronted with an ARES radio
installation more suited to DX contesting or casual operating than
emergency communications. In some installations, the radio
equipment is the focal point of the installation, consuming
significant desk space, while at the same time, some basic “traffic
handling” tools are often overlooked. Of course, this situation
is to be expected as 90 percent or more of our time as radio
amateurs is typically spent having fun!
In this week’s
training topic, we will discuss “key stations,” which are
typically located at club facilities or served agencies. However,
many of the same rules apply when setting up a home station for
ARES or traffic-handling work. Likewise, we will discuss a few
useful accessories for traffic handling.
What type of
communications equipment for an EOC or club station, one should
select equipment that offers good performance with a minimum
number of “bells and whistles.” For example, in the case of a
High Frequency radio, features that are advantageous for the DX
contester are often of little value for the public service
communicator. In most emergencies, one places a transceiver on a
particular frequency for long periods of time. It is unlikely one
will require the use of multiple VFOs for split operation,
spectral displays, and the like! Furthermore, newer radios, with
complex “menu-driven” controls are difficult to master in a
short period of time. As such, operators arriving from outside the
area to assist or even local operators who may use the radio only
a few times a year during drills or exercises, may find it
difficult to learn or ”relearn” a complex menu structure.
For High Frequency
communications, a basic radio, with volume, a simple VFO and a few
filters is usually sufficient for reliable communications. VHF
radios should likewise be simple. It is often best to program
local and surrounding ARES frequencies into the memory so that all
one has to do is rotate the knob until the desired repeater
Therefore, when selecting radios for an EOC or similar facility,
select a simple, reliable unit that is easy to master with just a
few minutes briefing-time.
Dual band radios
are often encountered in the field. However, a single ”dual band”
radio is not recommended. A failure involving a key component can
result in both bands being unavailable at the location. However,
when two dual band radios are present, they offer some limited
redundancy by insuring both VHF and UHF are available on site.
Ultimately, the basic rule is to select simple, reliable radios
that are easy to master with just a few minutes
Unlike chasing DX,
the primary activity of a traffic handler or emergency
communicator is the management of information. As such, adjusting
the radio is not the focal point of one’s activity. Desk space
must be available for logs, message forms, and the like. Radio
gear can be placed above the writing/work surface using mobile
mount brackets or a solid shelf. In the case of mobile command
posts and similar facilities, all equipment must be solidly
secured to withstand an emergency stop or sharp maneuvers that may
occur when avoiding accidents.
When possible, it
is best to separate voice positions with digital or CW positions
in the radio room. This prevents voice operators from slowly and
subconsciously increasing the volume and “talk level” as they
compensate for ambient noise. All operators, voice or CW should
have headphones available.
A CW station should
always have a straight key available, as well as a few adapters,
which permit operators to bring a favorite “bug” or personal
paddles/keyer from the outside.
The computer is an
integral part of many modern communications centers, whether as
part of a digital communications system or a simple administrative
tool for transcribing messages and keeping radio logs. Regardless
of the computer application, it is important to remember these
1. Software should
be simple and standardized. ARES groups throughout a Section or
region should attempt to standardize software so that most
operators are at least minimally familiar with a particular
application. This again minimizes the “learning curve” for
operators arriving on-scene.
2. A computer is
worthless without a printer. As mentioned in an earlier training
topic, public safety officials do not have time to linger over an
amateur’s shoulder trying to read a packet radio message before
it scrolls away on screen. Be sure to have extra paper, printer
cartridges and the like on hand. A “generic” printer driver
should be resident on the computer hard-drive so that any
available printer can be pressed into service for basic text
printing in the event of a primary printer failure.
3. Be sure the
computer has a floppy disk drive and CDROM drive, which permits
served agency officials to prepare a document on their own lap-top
and then provide it to you on disk for up-load and transmission to
a nearby facility.
traffic handler will likely use the yellow “radiogram” forms
extensively for traffic work. These are an excellent first choice
because they walk one
through the process of constructing the message. However, for the
experienced traffic handler, who is intimately familiar with
radiogram format, other options exist.
A favorite is the
Adams “Rapid Memo” pad stock number SC-1158. These pads,
available at Office Max and similar retail outlets provide a
carbonless form perfect for emergency use in the field. The top
form can be removed for delivery to an official, whereas the
bottom “yellow” form allows one to retain a carbon-copy of all
messages handled. The form is set up with “text boxes,” the
top box can contain the service information, a “To” box
contains the address, and a single large text box is available for
the text and signature. The cost for a pad of 50 is less than
seven dollars, and the booklets containing the message forms are
small enough to be placed in a small “go-kit” or portable
station case, making them ideal for portable operations.
When a computer and
printer or a typewriter is available for transcribing messages,
one may wish to consider the use of QMN Form 9701, downloadable
from the NREN page. One can change the header to reflect the name
of your local net or ARES group. Either way, this form allows one
to place a blank form in a computer printer and print a neat copy
of a message for delivery to a served agency either directly or
A useful tool for
fixed or portable operation is the “tally counter.” This is a
small device that allows one to keep track of outgoing message
serial number simply by pressing a button each time a message is
Two simple versions
are available from the “Ben Meadows” Company (www.benmeadows.com).
These are the desk-mount version, stock number 102996, and the
handheld version, 102954. Cost is approximately 12 dollars each.
By the way, the Ben Meadows company, while catering primarily to
the Forestry and Natural Resources community has a wide variety of
items that may prove useful to the emergency communicator, ranging
from arborists “throw bags” for tossing antenna line over tall
tree limbs to back packs designed for GPS and surveying that are
ideally suited for use in man-pack communications configurations.
Best of all, their customer service is outstanding!
The NREN Web Page
has a variety of downloadable forms available. As mentioned
before, the QMN form 9701 can be printed or used as a template for
the printing of messages for hand delivery or facsimile
transmission to a served agency. The Form 9805 radio log, “borrowed”
from the Air Force, offers a simple, easily duplicated format for
keeping an accurate radio log. The ARRL also offers some useful
forms, such as the FSD-244 Disaster Welfare Message Form, the
FSD-212 “Pink Card,” and similar items. Be sure to have a
variety of these available for use in time of emergency.
agencies use FAX machines, the Internet, and similar facilities as
part of doing business. As such, the delivery of messages via
these methods is considered both desirable and normal. These
resources, when available in a key station or shack permit one to
deliver neat, printed messages to a served agency. Just make sure
they are told to expect the delivery via these methods. Otherwise,
you may find out your message sat unread on a fax machine’s
output tray for a couple of days until long after the emergency
1. When selecting
communications equipment for a key station, select simple,
reliable equipment that is easy to use and master in a short time.
2. Place radio gear
above or adjacent to your work area. Work areas should be open for
handling paper work, radio logs, and message forms.
3. Address issues
of ambient noise. Separate voice positions with digital or CW
positions. Provide “cans” (headphones) for operators.
4. Make sure
adequate message forms are available. Use the option best suited
to the circumstance. Portable operators may wish to use simple
carbonless two-part pads, which are ideally suited to field
deployment. Fixed stations may wish to use forms suitable for
insertion in a mill (typewriter) or computer printer.
5. In the case of a
key station or even a well-equipped home station, give some
thought to alternate methods of delivery, such as FAX and e-mail
delivery. These are part of the modern business environment and
serve to improve accuracy and eliminate misunderstanding in the
A final thought!
Remember that the
quality of customer service is more important than the technology.
Most public safety and relief agency officials care little about
how you send or receive their traffic. Rather, they care about how
well you send and receive their traffic. When an operator is well
trained and messages arrive in a neat, timely, and consistent
manner with all of the required information, Amateur Radio will be
valued and highly sought-after. From the perspective of a served
agency, we are first and foremost, a service, and not a
(article submitted by Perry, W8AU)
Safety Break News
(Sep 10, 2005) -- The MARC completed their late
summer/early fall Safety Break event over the Labor Day weekend.
This years event was at the Northbound Rest Area on I-77 just
north of Dover. The weather was just perfect for this years event
with moderate temperatures and sun shine the entire weekend.
This was our only Safety Break this year and provided a great
service to both the community and our club. It is always difficult
to gather enough volunteers to staff our Safety Break station for
an entire weekend, especially when it also occurs over a holiday
as well. This year 26 club members along with YL's and XYL's
comprised our very dedicated team and we manage to complete a
successful event. The results won't be known until the October
club meeting but we believe we did well considering a slower than
normal holiday weekend freeway crowd.
A special thanks to the following club members for their
volunteer spirit in staffing our safety break this year.
They were -- Ed Clinger-WA8DRT, Rodger
Trompower-KA8FTS, Joe Herrick-WD8BGW, Dan Anastis -
N8DZM, Mike Sciarini-WA8MKH and his XYL Carol-KB8IMH,
Igor-K8INN, Scott McCamish-N3JJT, Saundra Becker-N8TZB
and Shelby Foss-N8XEO who worked a double 12 hour shift !. Terry
Russ-N8ATZ and XYL Lynnette, Ralph Bugg-K8HSQ, Steve
Hall-KD8ACF, Rich Ross-KA8ZQH and XYL Martha, Gary
Kline-WC8W, Larry Fierstos-KC8RKU, Jerry
LaRocca-KF8EB, Matt Kraner-K8MAT, Stan
Smith-WA8NZE, Bob Ballinger-N8KXO, Byron Berger-KF8UN,
Sandy Muirhead-Gould-K8FUN, Don Finley-W8DEF, Perry
Ballinger-W8AU and Jim Farriss-WA8GXM. Our apologies
if we omitted anyone !.. This also includes everyone
who took time to run and bag the donuts, all the cookie
bakers and volunteers who kept our refreshments well stocked over
the weekend !
Part of Summer Time Festival
(Jul 23, 2005) -- Massillon's
Fourth Annual Summer Time on Fourth Street event was held Sunday,
July 16th and several MARC club members took part in this year's
Summer Time Festival which offers a step back into Victorian times
when organ grinders, street performers, artists and homemade ice
cream were the rule of the day.
As part of this years event, club member and
historian Perry Ballinger - W8AU, along with friend Ed McHugh and
club member Don Guisinger, demonstrated an authentic Western Union
Telegraph station. Adorned in typical telegrapher uniforms, Perry
setup a morse key and sounder and transmitted messages to Don
across the street at a receiving station. The demonstration was
very well received with many visitors stopping by at the sound of
the telegraph sounder. Perry's wife Anne - N8GAF was also part of
the Summer Time Festival staffing an old fashion cotton candy
to learn more about the Telegraph and Massillon ? Click here for
an interesting look back thanks to Ed McHugh.
Western Union Telegrapher Perry Ballinger - W8AU
at Summer Time on Fourth Street Festival
Co-Founder Al Kahn, K4FW, Silent Key
(Jun 18, 2005) -- Albert
R. "Al" Kahn, K4FW passed away on June 15th at the age
of 98. An ARRL member, Kahn - together with Jack Burchfield, K4JU,
co-founded Ten-Tec following his retirement from Electro-Voice,
which he also founded and served as President.
Ten-Tec holds a special place with the Massillon
Amateur Radio Club. A Ten-Tec radio is believed to be one of the
first solid state transceiver's ever used during our annual Field
Day club activity as well as our main radio at our club station,
W8NP, currently located at the Massillon Senior Citizens
Ten-Tec's were also usually a main prize at our
annual Hamfest, where many ham operator would discover the pure
joy and simplicity of owning and operating a Ten-Tec radio. They
had the unique ability to produce amateur transceivers that had
the true "look and feel" of classic amateur radio. They
also pioneered several of the innovations thirty years ago that
are the defacto standard even today. CW operators especially liked
the full break-in feature which allowed the receiver to operate in
between the CW signal. Their transmitters are also rated
continuous duty at full power output, something SSTV and digital
operators have long appreciated. Long before current manufacturers
built in SWR protection, Tec-Tec's unique design protected the
finals by simply shutting down the radio with high SWR.
Experimenters and builders could even buy
enclosures that were patterned after their HF radio transceivers.
For the first time you could build your own accessories in
enclosures that would look like your main station. Quite an
innovation that is still going on today.
Even their equipment names envoked visions of
spectrum domination among radio operators. The Argonaut, Century,
Trition, Centurion, Titan, Orion and Jupiter make up only some of
the names from their famous line up over the years.
The club has always owned several Ten-Tec products
as well as many of our members. Ten-Tec's continue to hold a
special place in the history of many ham radio operators and
always will thanks to founder Al Kahn, K4FW.
Here to read the ARRL announcement of Al's passing. Some
additional historical information can be found on the N9VV
Ten-Tec history page. Current Ten-Tec products as well as
their other offerings are available on their website at www.tentec.com.
Part of Summer Time Festival
(Jul 19, 2006) -- Before the telephone and the internet there was
the telegraph. Between the Civil Way and World War II, if you
wanted to contact someone in a hurry you sent them a telegram - a
written message transmitted electrically over wires. The invention
of the telegraph in the 1840's had the same kind of impact on
society that the internet has today. It revolutionized
communication and it's early operators like Massillon native Jesse
H. Bunnell were the "techies" of their day.
Telegrams were used for everything that we now do
by telephone, fax and e-mails; for example, holiday messages,
business transactions, birthday greetings, train movements, stock
reports and perhaps the saddest duty during World Wars I and II -
the announcement of the deaths of service members to their loved
ones. The telegraph was also used to operate synchronized clocks
and alarm systems and send news and sports reports. For over a
century, the telegraph office on election night was one of
the most popular places in town as voting results came in. In the
1920's and 30's, before the advent of long distance telephone
lines, telegraphs were even used to "broadcast" baseball
games. An operator in the press box at the baseball stadium would
send the results of each pitch and play to a radio station by
telegraph. At the station, a broadcaster would
"recreate" the game for the radio audience based on the
HOW TELEGRAMS WERE SENT
You couldn't send a telegram yourself so you would
go to the local office of one of the large companies that operated
telegraph networks - e.g., Western Union or the Postal Telegraph,
fill out a message form and pay a small fee for each word
transmitted. Your telegraph office would transmit the message to
the local office at its destination where it would be written down
and given to a bicycle messenger for delivery. Massillon had its
own local telegraph office for almost 120 years. The first office
opened in 1851, and for many years was located in the Opera House
building. Western Union finally closed their office in Massillon
at 25 City Hall Street SE in 1969.
The telegraph companies used a special language
called Morse Code (named after an inventor of the telegraph -
Samuel F.B. Morse) to send messages. Morse Code was not a voice
language but instead used electric pulses (specific dashes and
dots for each letter), to communicate. Morse Code was sent by an
operator through a telegraph "key" over wires using
electricity. A good operator could send 30 or more words per
minute. When the electric impulses arrived at their destination, a
"sounder" translated them into audible dots and dashes
for transcription into letters and words by another
MASSILLON'S OWN - JESSE H. BUNNELL
A Massillon native, Jesse H. Bunnell, was one of
the most prominent men in telegraph history. Born in Massillon in
1843, just a year before the telegraph was invented, he
became a messenger in the local telegraph office at age 11, and a
full fledged operator by the age of 13. At the start of the Civil
War, he joined the Union Military Telegraph Service and worked
under the legendary Andrew Carnegie. In 1862, he became the
personal telegrapher of General George McClellan, commander of the
Army of the Potomac and later served with General Rosecrans in
Tennessee and Georgia. After the War, Jesse founded the J.H.
Bunnell Company, which became the largest manufacturer of
telegraph equipment in the United States. Bunnell died in New York
in 1899. Although he did not return to Massillon after the Civil
War, Bunnell's brother, a livery stable operator, continued to
live in Massillon until the 1900's.
A Special Thanks to Ed McHugh For The Above
Some Additional Pictures from the Festival
The "Telegrapher Crew" on duty
at the Festival
Scott-N3JJT (L), Igor-K8INN and Perry-W8AU
The replica of an original Spark Gap Transmitter
Scott-N3JJT (L) and Igor-K8INN receiving
messages from Perry
Perry sends a message from a young visitor to
the receiving station
Plans Amateur Radio Operation During Cruise With W8AU Aboard
Courtesy of the ARRL
(L-R) Perry Ballinger,
W8AU, Tom Pendarvis, W0MTP, and Bob Wilder, AF2HD, in the LST-325
LST-325 at Normandy
Beach in June 1944.
W8AU copying CW on a
"mill" in the LST-325 radio room.
W0MTP at the helm of LST-325.
Crossing the Atlantic from
Greece to Alabama in 2000.
LST-325 arriving in
Mobile. She will return here from her upcoming voyage on
May 3, 2005 -- The LST-325, a 327-foot World War
II vessel designed to transport and deploy tanks and troops during
coastal beach landings, will have Amateur Radio aboard when she
cruises up the East Coast and back this spring and early summer.
The historically significant vessel is officially a cruising
museum ship, but she still carries the USS LST-325 name and
World War II marine radio call sign NWVC. For this voyage, LST-325
will be on the Amateur Radio bands as WW2LST.
"Her radio room features functioning vintage receivers and
transmitters that are true to the models she carried into battle
during the 1942-1945 time period, including the RBB, RBC and
TCS-12 receivers, plus the TDE and TCS transmitters," says
Tom Pendarvis, W0MTP, LST-325 radio operator. "The
ship's radio room also carries modern marine and Amateur Radio
transceivers for routine communications."
Pendarvis will share LST-325 radio room duties with
Perry Ballinger, W8AU. Both are US Navy veterans and Navy-Marine
Corps MARS operators. They also split duties working the radios
during the LST-325's two-month cruise of the Mississippi and Ohio
rivers in 2003.
Where applicable, AM and CW operation will occasionally use the
LST's WWII-vintage transmitters and receivers. Phone-patch traffic
will be handled on Navy-Marine Corps MARS frequencies and via the
ShipCom Coast Radio station WLO. During these periods, WW2LST
likely will be off the air due to antenna logistics.
Crewed primarily by US Navy veterans--including some who served
on LSTs during World War II--the ship will depart her home port of
Mobile, Alabama, on or about May 17, bound for Alexandria,
Virginia, where LST-325 is expected to arrive May 26. The
vessel will depart May 30 for Massachusetts
Maritime Academy in Buzzards Bay, arriving on or about June 3.
From there, the ship will sail to Boston's Charlestown Navy Yard,
arriving on or about June 8. On June 11, the USS LST-325
will lead the column of ships with the USS Constitution. On
June 18, Capt Robert D. Jornlin and crew will participate in the
60th anniversary salute to WW II veterans sponsored by the US
Department of Defense. Her final port of call will be on or about
June 20 in Gloucester, Massachusetts. The vessel will set sail for
home on June 22 and arrive back in Mobile on July 4. A
detailed--and still tentative--itinerary
is on the USS LST Ship Memorial Web site.
While in port, the radio operators will attempt to maintain a
reduced operating schedule while also giving ship tours and
participating in port activities. Any additional operating
information or changes will be posted on the USS
LST Ship Memorial Web site. Updates also may be listed as
bulletins with the Maritime Mobile Service Net (MMSN).
Bob Wilder, AF2HD--a retired USAF veteran with sea duty
experience--again will serve as "mission control" for
Amateur Radio operations during the May, June and July cruise. He
also will handle QSLs when an SASE is supplied. QSL to USS LST 325
Amateur Radio Club, 6032 Idlemoore Ct, Theodore, AL 36582-4117.
LSTs--or Landing Ship Tanks--typically had no names, just
numbers. They were strategically pivotal in many Pacific and
Atlantic assaults, and LST-325 made landings in Sicily and
Salerno as well as at Normandy.
Following WW II, LST-325 was on loan to the Greek
government, which handed it over to the USS LST Ship Memorial Inc
at the beginning of the new millennium. In 2001, and showing
manifold signs of age and neglect, LST-325 completed a
4200-mile journey from Crete, Greece, to Mobile, Alabama.
Operating as WW2LST/mm, Executive Officer Jack Carter, KC6WYX
(SK), was on the air throughout the voyage. On board were more
than two dozen sailors--men in their 60s, 70s and older and most
of them retired US Navy veterans--who were determined to deliver
the ship, built in 1942 in Philadelphia, to a permanent berth in
Mobile. Volunteers from all over the US have completed substantial
repairs and updates to the ship since her arrival in the US in
After returning to Mobile this July, LST-325 expects to
be moving northward to a new freshwater home port on the Ohio
River--Evansville, Indiana--where many LSTs and P40s were built
during the Second World War.
There's additional information on the USS
LST Ship Memorial Web site
visits W8AU on board LST 325
(Jun 18, 2005) -- Canton
Amateur Radio Club member Joe Vignos - W1FEZ recently visited
Perry Ballinger on board the LST - 325 during it's stop at
Massachussetts Maritime Academy in Buzzards Bay, MA. Our thanks to
Joe for sharing his visit with us and is reprinted here.
W1FEZ and XYL visited the USS LST 325 on it's 2005 East Coast
Cruise while it was anchored at the Massachussetts Maritime
Academy, in Buzzards Bay, MA on June 7th. We had a nice visit with
our Chapter 21 crew member Perry Ballinger - W8AU, who is one of
the two radioman (and main radio tech). The photo below shows
Perry alongside his "pet project", the restoration of
the Navy TDE Transmitter. From there the LST will proceed to
Boston Harbor to participate in the once a year sail around the
harbor of the USS Constitution, "Old Ironsides".
Perry had sent us an email with a brief description of the
voyage to date, these experiences will certainly make a great
program for a future club program. You had to be there to see all
the work Perry has done on the old radio gear and the sea going
antenna farm, including a foldover mast.
Perry along side the TDE Transmitter on board
Folding J-Pole Project
(May 16, 2005) -- As a
local coordinator of the Amateur Radio Emergency Service, I'm
always on the lookout for idea's that could prove useful while
providing public service communications. While skimming the pages
of the March 2005 issue of QST Magazine I came upon the article
titled "A Backpacker's Delight - The Folding J-Pole".
Authored by Michael Heiler - KA0ZLG, Mike was after a good all
purpose two meter antenna for outdoor use that was physically
strong and durable, yet easily transportable. That formula also
works for public service work. Rubber duck antenna's on our
handhelds are very useful for close repeaters but sometimes you
just need a signal boost, the kind you get from an external
antenna. The Folding J-Pole from KA0ZLG looked like exactly what
we need, an external antenna with some gain that was easy to carry
in the field. I decided it was time to build an antenna.
You don't need to be an experienced antenna builder to
construct this folding J-Pole antenna. In fact it's a great first
antenna construction project for those new to the hobby. I've
discovered over the years that you're not really considered a
bonafide ham radio operator until you've built something !
This useful antenna project should take care of that myth and
officially pronounce you a seasoned ham operator !
Having been a home owner for about 15 years, I've already had
the honor of working with copper water pipe, learning by trail and
error the secret to joining two pieces of piping together by
soldering or sweating as its called by tradesmen. It really isn't
all that different from soldering electrical components together,
it just takes a lot more heat usually provided by a propane torch.
Another useful tool you might want to have is a simple copper
tubing cutter. Mine came from Home Depot for under ten dollars.
My plumbing junk box is usually pretty empty so starting this
project meant a trip for parts. Most of the article material's
list is available at your favorite hardware store. Here's my first
tip for this project - my little subcompact car doesn't carry
anything very long without hanging it outside the window. I
discovered that you can probably buy the copper pipe in five foot
long sections, much easier to carry. Two pieces will do it with a
little scrap left over. Here's my second tip - the list calls for
five feet of 5/16" bungee cord. Easier said than done ! I
relentlessly searched several stores looking for a five foot long
bungee cord only to find that the longest standard length I could
find was only four foot long including the hooks. Try as I might,
this would not stretch enough to fit in the antenna, just too
tight. Thanks again to Don - W8DEF, he found bungee cord on a
spool for only about .37 cents per foot at Demmer Hardware. Just
what the project needed. Don was also kind enough to provide me
with a piece of 1/4 inch thick Plexiglas needed for the feed point
assembly. This can also be a little hard to find locally. I've
decided to add it to my Dayton Hamvention want list.
With materials in hand it's time to cut the copper tubing and
begin assembly. Follow the article for this phase and you won't go
wrong. There are ample pictures and assembly drawings that make it
easy. I had the basic pieces cut and ready to assemble in about 30
minutes. Clean the area of the pipe to be soldered with a light
grit sandpaper to ensure a good joint. Heat the connection with
the propane torch, remove it and let the connection draw in the
solder. The connection doesn't have to be water tight, just enough
to make a good connection. The heat will discolor the fitting and
make a dull looking connection, use a wire brush with your battery
drill to buff it back to a bright finish. Solder only the pieces
referenced in the article.
Construction of the eyebolt assembly into the pipe end cap is a
bit tricky but is still easily done. I did discover that I needed
a third hand to hold the eyebolt assembly steady while I soldered
it into the end cap. Make sure you follow the article instructions
to use only brass bolts with the eyelet or it will never hold.
With some concern, I was able to convince my wife to hold the bolt
with a pair of insulated pliers while the end cap was clamped into
my bench vise. This left my hands free to carefully solder the
eyebolt into the cap. Fill the cap with enough solder to cover the
two nuts. Be careful, one slip of the torch here and I could have
easily ended up in divorce court !.
the J-Pole assembly complete the next part was to fit the bungee
cord through the eyebolt loop and tie it into a knot. Oops, one
problem, the resulting knot was so big it wouldn't fit into the
pipe. After a few attempts, I simply bent it around itself and
used several small wire ties to hold the assembly together. Where
would we be without wire ties !. Finish one side and then feed the
bungee through the remainder of the antenna to the opposite end
cap. Stretch the bungee cord to provide sufficient tension to hold
the antenna together while still allowing it to be pulled apart
for disassembly. Repeat the eyebolt loop at this end and test out
The last section to complete is the feed point assembly. Thanks
again to my buddy
Don, I already had a cut-to-size piece of Plexiglas ready to drill
and mount. Find the center of the piece and use a 3/4" hole saw for
the SO-239 connector. Surface mount the connector with the rear of
the connector centered over the hole. You can use one of the four
mounting holes to secure the connector to the plate. Head for the
junk box and find some hardware to finish the connections as noted
in the article. I used some 14 AWG stranded building wire with
crimp on ring terminals to wire the connector to the antenna and
radiator section. My antenna used the pipe clamps as stated in
Mike's article. With the pipe clamps set at 3 inches from the
bottom of the radiator I measured an SWR of about 1.5 to 1 at
146.00 Mhz. It even tuned up pretty decent on UHF although not
really designed for this purpose. A J-Pole is a third harmonic
antenna on 70 cm and will work on this band just not very
It is important to point out that this antenna is only for
short term portable use, not permanently mounted for long term
exposure to the elements. The connections are not waterproof
although the article gives a few suggestions on this as well. A
short length of one half inch Sch 40 PVC pipe stuck in the ground
makes a fine mounting for this antenna, I used two small diameter
hose clamps to hold the antenna to the PVC.
A close up of the bungee cord inside the
antenna. Ream the cut ends of the pipe smooth to avoid cutting the
How well will it work in the long term ? Hard to say. I don't
intend to leave it up for long periods in the weather but for
short duration public service events where you need more than your
handheld rubber duck this should do the trick. I am looking for a
suitable case to store the antenna as well as a short length of feed line. I only need something about 23 inches long and 4-5
inches wide. Any ideas ?. This was a fun project and cost only
about $15.00 including all parts. Not bad for such a neat folding
antenna. If you decide to build one, let me know how it works out
or if you need any help.
The finished antenna on a temporary mount in my
The antenna folded down and ready for
DE Terry - N8ATZ
What You Preach !
(Apr 5, 2005) -- Have you converted all of your 12 volt
connections in the shack using the new PowerPole style connectors
Since their adoption as the ARES defacto standard power
connector hams have been using these new universally recognized
connectors. Here in Stark County many of our members have been
converting to these new connectors on both mobile and base station
equipment as well as on their spare equipment making it very easy
to quickly power up their equipment whenever and where ever
needed. The Massillon Amateur Radio Club has already converted our
Emergency Communications Trailer power connections using the new
Why is this being stressed so heavily around the ARES community
The primary reason for a common ARES connector is that it will
allow ARES members to connect their equipment to any available
power source in an emergency situation. This could be a fellow
ARES members home or vehicle station, a shelter, fire station,
hospital or any other location where we might be called upon to
setup a station.
They also provide high current capacity. The standard connector
is rated 30 amps, which is sufficient to power VHF and high power
The connectors are simple to install, the terminals may be
crimped or soldered together. One piece of advise if you intend to
crimp the terminal, purchase the RECOMMENDED crimp tool.
Otherwise you could improperly crimp the connection making a
potentially unreliable connection. A poor crimp may also not fit
properly into the plastic housing creating yet another
problem. After heeding a word of advise from fellow ham Jim
Farriss, WA8GXM, I now solder all of my connectors and have had no
problems with them.
I went one step farther with my home shack as seen in the
picture below. My original rats nest of wiring was the result of
years of adding and changing equipment, splicing in to the power
supply as needed. I did take a step in the right direction when I
built a simple multiple powertap using plastic construction box
and added a few banana plugs. This helped but did not clear up the
clutter nor did it provide any additional protection to the
At the Dayton Hamvention several years ago I purchased a
Rigrunner multiple PowerPole strip from West Mountain Radio along
with a supply of 30 amp PowerPole connectors. The Rigrunner is a 5
outlet strip rated a total of 40 amps. A short time later I also
purchased their PWRGate PG40 backup power system. This is a 12
volt backup power system that can supply up to 40 amps
continuously from either a power supply or a battery. It also
provides a modest battery charge to maintain a backup battery. Any
connected equipment will instantly switch to battery power during
a power failure.
After waiting far to long (over a year!), I decided it was time
to install the system. Armed with about 30 PowerPole connectors
and some 12 AWG red & black power wire also picked up at a
hamfest, I proceeded to install the connectors on all of my
station equipment and made up several jumpers to go from the
battery to the PWRGate and to the Rigrunner multi outlet box.
Looking back on it, I wish I would have bought the next size
Rigrunner box. I have already run out of spaces on this one !. Oh
well, Dayton is right around the corner !. I used a 35 watt
soldering iron which heated up the connector fairly quickly making
for a easy job.
One important note to mention. West Mountain Radio strongly
recommends installing a fuse as physically close to the positive
terminal of the battery as possible. A short circuit in a battery
wire, connected to a large battery, will instantaneously cause the
wire to heat sufficiently to possibly cause a fire, not a good
situation. They did NOT put in a fuse in the PWRGate as it would
NOT protect the wire itself against a short.
The picture below shows the installation of my PWRGate
PowerPole backup power system. The battery is a Douglas
Maintenance free type that should provide about 24 hours of backup
service in the event of a power failure. Larger shacks with lots
of equipment might want to consider a larger capacity battery but
this one should power my meager shack very nicely.
So have you converted your equipment to the new PowerPole style
connectors yet ? Now would be a great time to begin. The
connectors are always available at nearly all area hamfests and
many commercial outlets. Installation tips are available from
several websites also. Check out Anderson
Power Products main home page. It lists a lot of technical
information about the terminals, suggested wire gages, etc. Anderson
Power Ideas has some nice tips on actually installing the
connectors and assembling the plastic housing to the connector. It
needs to go on the proper way to lock the connector in place in
the housing. West
Mountain Radio carries the Rigrunner boxes and the PWRGate
backup power system.
This might make a good club project or maybe for Field Day
weekend. Either way now is the time to consider updating your
equipment to these new style connectors.
and still counting
(Feb 20, 2005) -- By
the time you read this the hits counter on the clubs website will
have surpassed 10,000 hits. What does this mean?
It means that our website has been viewed by at least
10,000 viewers since first established. It has undergone at least
three major revisions since then as we updated software and just
plain figured out what the heck we were doing.
That’s quite a milestone considering the
fact that it’s only a small amateur radio club sponsored website
that was originally established as a means to keep members aware
of our club’s activities and to raise awareness of our club and
our hobby to the general community and beyond. So far so good!
It’s hard to imagine that the site went
“On Line” in October 1999. We used QSL.Net as our first
hosting service mostly because it was free and supported only by
donations. This was a great hosting service owned and operated by
a ham radio operator who wasn’t in it for the money, only to
help protect the future of the Amateur Radio Service in his own
way. We kept this service up until two years ago when it was
decided to move the site to a hosting service that provided a
greater level of features and service at minimal cost to the club.
This allowed us more bandwidth which allows the site to operate
much faster and has greater reliability than ever before.
The site averages from 5 to 10 “hits”
every day and it currently about 100 Megabytes in size. Pictures
occupy a large part of the site; the World Wide Web is as much a
visual medium as it is text. I’m just now learning the secret to
posting pictures that look pretty good and don’t require a lot
of space. Maintenance of the site is purely a labor of love with
emphasis on the labor. There are only two people who maintain the
site, Dan Anastis – N8DZM and I. The site is managed using
Microsoft Front Page software which works very well and is easy to
use. I originally created the site using only a text editor and
html commands, a feat that took a lot of time. Standard file
transfer protocol (FTP) software is used to upload the site to the
server. This secure password protected system keeps the system
secure and prevents someone making unauthorized updates to the
One thing we have discovered since setting
up the website. It’s much easier establishing a website than
maintaining one. We try to add something new to the site each
week, usually on Saturdays or Sundays. We devote about five hours
or more per week maintaining the site. Adding new information,
removing obsolete material, pictures, stories, etc takes up a lot
We are always open to ideas for improving
the website and are happy to hear from you. At least we know that
it is being looked at! We hope you like the site and its contents.
Maybe you even find some of the information useful in your
enjoyment of the hobby. If so then I believe we have fulfilled our
mission. Your webmasters work very hard keeping it that way. I
hope you like what we have done.
for New Years Resolutions ?
(Jan 17, 2005) -- Have
you broken any of your New Years Resolutions yet ? Did you even
make any? As we begin this new year why not consider making a few
radio related goals/resolutions and let's all try to stick with
them throughout the year. Need a few ideas ? Here are my Top Ten
Goals for 2005.
1.) Take at least the ARRL Emergency
Communications Level 1 Class.
2.) FEMA and the Red Cross also offer training,
most of it free. Pick one that sounds interesting and see it
3.) Attend the Skywarn Spotter Training Seminar
this year and commit to helping during 2005's severe weather
4.) Have you kept your ARES Registration
information current ? Have you ever filled one out to register
yourself with us ? Click
Here to download an Adobe pdf registration form.
5.) Do you have a shirt or jacket that can
identify you as an ARES Volunteer ? How about a magnetic sign for
your car ? Do you have an authorized Stark Co ARES namebadge ?
6.) Is your Go Kit packed and ready ? Do you know
what a Go Kit is ?
7.) Do you know how to operate your hand held ?
Could you change frequencies or add a different PL tone while
assisting with a public service event ?
8.) Make this the year you become familiar with
digital communications. This will be used more and more this year
during ARES operations.
9.) Do you regularly check in to our Tuesday night
ARES Net ? I don't mean just listening each week, let us know you
are there by checking in with net control. Perhaps even consider
volunteering as a net control operator for our net, it's a great
way to build your skill.
10.) Volunteer ! Help us make the Stark County
ARES stronger by volunteering your time for public service events.
These provide valuable training that help prepare you for
Throughout this year I'll discuss these 10
Resolutions in depth and how you can complete these goals to
become a better ARES volunteer and I hope have some fun in the
For New Years Resolution Number One ?
Russ, N8ATZ - Assistant Emergency Coordinator
(Feb 23, 2005) -- Let's
begin reviewing my ten New Year's Resolutions by talking about the
(1) Take at least the ARRL Introductory
Emergency Communications Course.
Since their inception in 2000, the ARRL Emergency
Communications Certifications were designed to raise awareness and
provide additional knowledge and tools for any emergency
communications volunteer. The Level 1 course has been designed as
an Introduction to Amateur Radio Emergency Communications. The
course has 23 lesson units, normally takes approximately 25 hours
to complete over an 8-week period.
The course introduces the volunteer to the many
facets of emergency communications from our relationship with
served agencies, net operation, basic skills, message handling
procedures, deployment to a disaster scene, equipment
considerations plus many other basic principles of emergency
I believe all ARES members can substantially
benefit from the basic training provided by the Level 1 course.
Another advantage to consider is the $45.00 registration fee is
currently being reimbursed after successful completion of the
course. This has been made possible thanks to a generous grant
provided by the Corporation for National and Community Service and
the United Technologies Corporation. This year will be the last
year for the grant-subsidized courses. Since grant-subsidized
courses began, 4,000 amateurs have had their training reimbursed.
If an eight week online course doesn't fit your
schedule you can order the Level 1 Study Guide through the ARRL
for only $ 12.95. Most area VE test sessions are now offering the
ARECC certification examinations. If you already have experience
in ARES operations this is a great way to obtain your
As amateur radio emergency communications has
continued to evolve, it has become apparent that some form of
formal certification was necessary in order to assure that we
continue to provide trained and professional communicators for
public service events and local emergencies.
Ohio Section Emergency Coordinator John Chapman -
WB8INY encourages all ARES registered volunteers to obtain at
least their Level 1 Certification. Just as we participate in many
emergency communications drills, nets and exercises, it is equally
important to participate in training offered by the ARRL and other
Make this the year you obtain your ARRL Level 1
Emergency Communications Certification !
Day Trophy Presented to W8AL
(Jan 20, 2004) -- The
Canton Amateur Radio Club annual awards dinner was held on
Wednesday, January 19th and several MARC members were on hand to
once again present the coveted Field Day Trophy back to the CARC
recognizing their winning score over the MARC again during 2004
Representing the club at the dinner were President
Joe Herrick - WD8BGW, Historian Perry Ballinger - W8AU who
personally delivered the trophy, Terry Russ - N8ATZ and his XYL
Lynnette. Several other members who hold dual membership also
attending were Rodger Trompower - KA8FTS and his wife Helen -
KC8ZWG. Stark County ARES EC David Beltz - WD8AYE and his wife
Jody also attended.
The Trophy was presented to a packed house to
current CARC President Scott Duncan - KK8D to a rousing applause.
Due to the age of the trophy, it had been decided to enclose it in
a new plexiglass case that would preserve the coveted award for
future generations of CARC/MARC members. Joe expressed a good
natured disappointment at not being able to win back the trophy
during Field Day but promised that new club Vice-President and our
Field Day Secret Weapon Igor Nikishin - K8INN has vowed to bring
the trophy "back home" in 2005.
Mike Harlan - KC8WVJ, CARC newsletter editor and
webmaster of W8AL.org took several pictures of the gala event that
are already posted on their website. Go to www.w8al.org
to view all of the pictures.
Joe presents the Field Day Trophy to Scott
The newly protected Field Day Trophy
Tower Climber - WA8GXM
(12/12/2004) -- Like most of you, I tend to
take our repeaters for granted. Whenever I want to use them I need
only dial one up and key the mike. Fortunately our club has
several excellent repeaters that are available for all of us to
use 24/7/365. Keeping them that way is the responsibility of a few
key club members, one being Jim Farriss - WA8GXM.
We are also fortunate to have as a tower site one
of the best locations in Western Stark County. It is located on
Alabama Avenue, just South of State Route 172 and sits at about
1,300 ft elevation on a 180 foot tall railroad microwave tower.
Jim is literally on call day and night to keep our
systems up and running. To prove the point, several weekends ago
in near freezing weather and wind gusting up to 25 mph, Jim spent
part of his Saturday near the top of the tower changing out an
antenna on his 443.675 repeater. Jim has done this type of repair
many times before servicing the clubs repeaters also.
The pictures below show what's involved every time
Jim has to climb the tower. Donning a safety harness and with no
fear of heights, Jim completed yet another fix. All in a day's
work Jim would say. Of course, we're always looking for the next
club tower jockey. Nerves of steel, able to scale a 200 foot tower
in a single bound while tied to a 30 pound tool belt and hoisting
an antenna with you as you scale the tower are but a few of the
qualifications necessary. Any Takers ???
With replacement antenna in hand, Jim slowly
scales the tower to about the 150 foot mark. This only takes him
about 25 minutes.
Jim is nearly at the top, to small to see from
Once in position Jim climbs outside the tower to
begin the antenna replacement. That's nearly 200 feet in the air !
Assists FEMA During Florida Hurricane Recovery
(Nov 6, 2004) --
Don Wade, W8DEA just returned from the Florida Panhandle
last week after spending nearly an entire month, from September 26
until October 16, helping the FEMA agency in the wake of the worst
Florida hurricane season in quite a few years. Don joined other
fellow FEMA agents in the counties of Escambia and
, two of the hardest hit counties in the
a Field Supervisor for FEMA was assigned the area of
.. Don was in charge of five FEMA
teams that consisted of 10 to 12 people each. The State of
sent in SERT Teams( State Emergency Response Teams) that was
assigned to Don and his Teams.
also sent in teams from the Department of Transportation and
Department of Human Resources that were assigned to work for Don.
There (FEMA) jobs
were to assess the damage to property
and help the citizens in any way they could. The
Teams were made up of people from all over the
and were of all ages. From
, Ohio Michigan but most were from out West,
A typical day for Don
began around 4 30 AM , he would arise and begin to work. He would
do all his own planning and operations on a daily basis get up and
make changes depending on personnel that was available. Don would
like to be on the road by 6:00 AM and call his team leaders and
make sure all the personnel were on the road.
Travel time was about two to two and a half hours,
depending on where they were assigned that day, mainly because
there were no rooms closer. Their days would usually last from 10
to 12 hours a day. Then they would have to drive back. Most of the
work was to assess damage and community relations. Many times they
were the first officials the storm victims would see. They would
listen to their stories and offer their help such as what Don
called Special operations that was to make sure they had Food,
Water, and Shelter either from the government or the Red
Cross, or other agencies working in the area. Don and his teams
would fill out a report on the victims and submit this report to
FEMA, this started the process of recovery for the victim.
They(victim) could call FEMA 1-800 number and start the report in
which Don’s teams would receive and follow up to verify
The picture above is typical of what Don and his teams
encountered every day. They would have to assess the damage,
verify and contact the
owners of the home and then start the process of making reports
the homeowner could receive assistance to repair the damage. The
homeowner in this type of damage could be facing up to a year to
18 months before his home is completely repaired.
the meantime he had to either make arrangements for housing or
FEMA would help, usually in the form of a mobile home placed on
his property and set up with water, electricity and sewer if
available. Many of the sewer departments were overloaded from the
storm and suffered extensive damage, so many of the “FEMA”
homes had to have above ground septic tanks installed which of
course had to be emptied regularly
Some of the special problems that they ran into was that a
lot of the people they helped could not speak English, so the
reports and other paper work was made out in Spanish, Japanese,
and Vietnamese. Since each team was given a vehicle to travel to
their destinations, they were responsible for their own food ,
water and gasoline. Travel sometimes was nearly impossible since
there was so much debris in the roads, not to mention that half of
the roads were covered with sand, that had to be bulldozed away.
in the picture below, you can see some of the debris that was
“just bulldozed to the edge of the street & left for the
clean up crews to remove.” In the background is a hotel that was
damaged by a wave surge that hit the hotel at the 60 foot mark
(that’s five stories up!) and did extensive damage to the hotel.
As you can see, much of the roadways are still covered with
sand and will be probably up to November 1. Semi truck after
semi truck were loaded with debris and hauled away to a
landfill that was especially created to handle the storm
utilities as can be imagined were a monumental task. Power crews
from all over the
were sent to the storm damaged regions to help with the
rebuilding. Crews from Ohio Power,
Edison and others
also helped with the rebuilding. Some areas are still without
power, but soon will have them restored. Don personally seen Ohio
Edison crews in his area. Although much of the utilities were
extensively damaged, most are up and running a month after the
storm hit. Gasoline and food supplies have been restored, in fact
a lot of the fast food restaurants were the first to reopen,
however they were limited because many of their employees had a
hard time just getting to work
and a lot of them had to leave the area because their homes
were destroyed. Total restoration could possible take years to
complete, some will never be the same.
After the initial meeting with homeowner the teams handed
out a flyer and made sure they registered, the process was mostly
up to the homeowner to contact FEMA, give them his name, address
(if anything was left or where he could be reached) and his
social security number. Once they were in the system a FEMA
inspector would come make contact
with them and check out their residence to determine the
extent of damage and what their long term
Don was in
during Hurricane Ivan and tropical storm Mathew. A lot of his work
became frustrating because of the extensive damage and the limited
supplies and manpower that was available. A lot of the victims
were living in tents, or any other shelter they could find. Some
even moved in with complete strangers, just to have
a roof over their heads. Those who helped were wonderful
people to let them into their homes and tried to help in a time of
need. After a period of time they found the system wasn’t moving
fast enough. People had to qualify before FEMA could bring in
trailers for temporary housing. They had to fill out paper work
and this took time, which made their work even more frustrating.
future plans with FEMA are right now quite up in the air. He has
to go back to
for one more month and if the opportunity arises, he might take on
a full time job with FEMA. He is currently awaiting the decision
of his superior before he can make the “ultimate” decision. He
would be permitted to stay in this area and if the need arises, he
would travel to the next “hot spot” He says that anyone can
work for FEMA, it requires a two week training in the Field (just
like Don did) and then a supervisor’s job would be offered. If
you are interested, log onto FEMA’S web site and follow the
selections there for opportunities.
"going away” party during the last few days he spent in
. If nothing else he will have some fond memories and a very
satisfied feeling of being able to help people in their time of
need. Eh!... Hey Don I
see there was no shortage of pizza & pop!
Completes Red Cross Antenna Project
(Jun 12, 2004) -- On
Saturday, June 12th several members of the club completed several
antenna projects, one for the Western Stark Red Cross and the
other at our club station, W8NP.
With the potential merging of the Canton and Massillon Red
Cross into a single unified County Chapter the chapter office on
Third Street will be closing and the building sold. With that in
mind, Red Cross Liaison Jim Farriss, WA8GXM needed to remove the
antenna and tower from the building. This was completed on
Saturday morning thanks to volunteers Don Finley - W8DEF, Rich
Ross - KA8ZQH, Jim Farriss - WA8GXM, Dan Anastis - N8DZM and Terry
Russ - N8ATZ.
After completion of this project, Don, Jim and Terry completed
the installation of the newly purchased Diamond Tri-Band Vertical
antenna at the club station. New coax cable was also installed on
the antenna which will enhance our ability to operate on 2, 440
and 6 meters from the club shack.
Below are some of the pictures taken from the
removal of the Red Cross antenna & tower and the installation
of the new tri-band antenna at W8NP.
Resident Tower Man Jim - WA8GXM begins
disassembly of the Red Cross Antenna and Tower from their offices.
The tower was about 80 feet high.
Jim and Don - W8DEF set the new Diamond Tri-Band
on top of the Senior Center.
The new coax is run from the antenna to the
From the weather head straight down to the
- The Maxim Memorial Station
by Terry Russ - N8ATZ
(Mar 13, 2004) -- Recently the League published a story that
covered the ARRL's Maxim Memorial Station, W1AW. The story details
the recently expanded capability of the station to include many of
the newest digital modes.
Although known the world over for its on-the-air
Morse code practice sessions and news bulletins, most ARRL members
think of W1AW as the first place to visit at ARRL Headquarters in
Newington, Connecticut. And while it is an impressive station with
its rows of bulletin transmitters, guest operating positions and
one heck of an antenna farm, it wasn't always so.
The W1AW story actually began in 1928 when the
first official HQ station went on the air from Hartford as W1MK.
The station we know today was conceived in 1936. A flood in April
of that year would destroy that station and a new headquarters
station was started in Newington on seven acres of land.
Construction was completed in 1938 and with a new call sign W1AW,
the formal dedication took place in September 1938 on Hiram Percy
Since that day, generations of hams have
experienced the thrill of a first contact with W1AW.
I even made the pilgrimage to 225 Main Street,
Newington, CT back in 1985 in my classic gold Cougar, aka The Love
Mobile. I'm not sure how it got that name, maybe because I always
kept pillows handy in the spacious back seat !
The 700 mile journey was great fun. I got to tour
the famous W1AW, Maxim Memorial Station as well as the main
Headquarters building. With a copy of my amateur license in hand I
even operated for a while in the afternoon and made over 300
contacts on SSB and RTTY. The RTTY was sent with a then
state-of-the-art HAL Keyboard and dedicated terminal. No computer
operations at that time.
I have an album of pictures from my visit and I'm
hunting for an old video tape that tours the ARRL and W1AW. Maybe
we'll use it for a future club program sometime. I'll be sure to
bring along the photo album. A few are shown below.
Back in 2001, the League website revisited W1AW
which included a little history and what's currently going on at
the famous amateur station. Click
Here to read that story.
If you're up that way I would encourage you to
stop by and pay your respects. I really enjoyed my short time
there which included a full tour of the headquarters building as
well. Make sure you time it to spend a little time at one of the
now three quest operating stations and experience what it's like
to be on the other end of a pile up !
No matter what your views of the League are, a
trip to ARRL Headquarters is a great way to support the goals of
the League in its fight to maintain the Amateur Radio Service as
it is organized today.
In December 1915, each member of the newly formed
League received in his mail a 16 page magazine called QST --
"the December Radio Relay Bulletin." Its stated
object was "to maintain the organization of the American
Radio Relay League and to keep the amateur wireless operators of
the country in constant touch with each other."
Today, W1AW continues to provide the service that
was the basis for the ARRL's founding nearly 90 years ago.
The famous N8ATZ Crusin Cougar of 1984. What a
great year !
Ready for a trip to W1AW complete with several
radio's. A Kenwood TS-130 for HF, a KDK for VHF, hand helds for
220 and 440 and a Fox scanner. All on a custom built carpet
covered passenger operating table.
Welcome to W1AW !
Grand Old Days of Kit building
by Terry Russ - N8ATZ
(Jan 4, 2004) -- Among the many purchases brought back from
last years Dayton Hamvention, several of us picked up a Ramsey
Doppler Direction Finder Kit. While not a Heathkit, this
formidable project uses current CMOS technology and a large LED
bearing indicator to assist in locating hidden transmitters. The
kit is complete with everything needed to setup a fully functional
Doppler Direction Finding System including four magnetic mount
After sitting unopened in
the box for seven months, my first New Years Resolution was to
finally assemble this kit in preparation of the 2004 fox hunting
season. I decided this might make a good short story for the
website and give some of you first time kit builders an idea of
how to prepare.
The first item in assembling
any kit is setup and preparation. This is an essential part of any
kit building experience and should be done before any of the
plastic parts bags are opened.
Gone are the days when my
eagle eyes could easily assemble the most complex 10,000 part kit
in my dimly lit hamshack operating table. Since Lynnette's son
Christopher has decided to make his own way in the world, I
quickly reclaimed the spare bedroom and have converted part of it
into my new project workroom. Two immediate problems surfaced, one
was an empty room with no worktable and two, only a single 60 watt
ceiling light to see by. Both conditions totally unacceptable. A
trip to the local Wal-Mart remedied the workspace problem with the
purchase of a new heavy duty eight foot plastic worktable with a
light gray top. The light colored surface makes it much easier to
see smaller parts.
The second problem
disappeared when Lynnette got me a new clamp-on fluorescent light
with a built in magnifying glass. She either read my mind or saw
my Christmas list ! The light is just exactly what most of us need
these days as kits get smaller and our eyes weaker.
Now we're getting closer to actual assembly. What else do we need
? Some tools and a soldering iron for starters. Some years ago in
Dayton I purchased a nice Weller variable wattage soldering iron
station that has a built in stand and a moistening sponge. This
little gem has a cushioned keep cool grip and is perfect for this
type of project. The dampened sponge will help keep the tip clean
and helps make perfect solder connection each time. A small coil
of 60/40 rosen core solder placed on my homemade de-spooler is
kept close and we are almost ready.
Time to decide on the tools
needed for this kit. The Ramsey instructions call for only small
needle nose pliers and a pair of diagonal cutters. I must own
about five pairs of both these items. Like a serious sport
fisherman carefully selects his favorite fishing lure, I chose my
3 inch jaw needle nose and small spring loaded cutters. A few
assorted screwdrivers will eventually be needed to assemble the
board into the case but we don't need to clutter up the work
surface with these just yet.
After years of using
whatever moderately heave object In could find to steady the
circuit boards during assembly, I also highly recommend some type
of small vice to hold the board during soldering. One with a heavy
enough base to hold itself steady and plastic coated jaws to
minimize damage to the circuit board.
Remember, kit building is as
much about assembly as it is using it afterward. A few extra tools
and accessories will really help make it a fun experience and not
just a means to an end. Finally I would also suggest a small role
of desoldering braid for the just in case and a good shop rag.
Now that the tools are
ready, what's next ?
Before we open up the parts
bags lets think about what the bulk of the kit is comprised of.
Lots and lots of very tiny parts. The instructions indicate the
kit has 48 resistors, 52 capacitors and inductors, 44
semiconductors and integrated circuits and about 30 other
miscellaneous parts. For some strange reason many present day kit
manufacturers don't package all similar parts in the same bag,
meaning in order to inventory all the parts you have to literally
empty out all the bags. This means 174 parts scattered about over
the work table ! Not a good idea.
has taught me a few tricks over the years to handle this type of
problem and the solution can be really cheap. Head for the
refrigerator and look for the egg carton. This handy container has
12 small individual compartments just right for separating some of
the smaller components. Still have eggs in it ? Make a few
omelets. Small plastic multi compartment boxes work well also. I
also like foam. That's right. those small blocks that come in new
products to protect it from damage. I always keep some around. It
works great for holding small parts by the leads.
Speaking of small parts,
time for a tech lesson. Most of the capacitors, inductors, IC's
and the like have part numbers or values printed right on them
making it easy to identify the part when called for. Except
resistors. All they have are narrow colored bands around them. Now
think back to your old high school
electronic shop days or maybe even the old college days. We
learned in component 101 that the colored bands on resistors
identified the value and tolerance ratings. My shop teacher as
well as my college instructor both were characters so we learned
the color code by memorizing a rather sexist poem to make it a bit
easier. Hey, it was a perfect way to teach a sixteen year old the
color code ! I can still remember it to this day.
If you skipped that class
you can go to almost any ARRL Handbook for a chart of the color
code. Radio Shack still carries a pocket size guide that uses a
color wheel to locate the value. I still like my old poem. What
ever method you choose, consider writing down the value to find it
easier later on during assembly. If all else fails, Ramsey gives
you both the resistor value and it's color code in each assembly
step. Finally, I like a book stand to
hold the instructions at a nice angle for easy viewing and to
What's left before starting
assembly ? Make sure you begin when you have plenty of time
available because time passes quickly when you begin stuffing
parts onto the board. The instructions state this is about a three
evening kit. That probably didn't count the evening I spent just
getting everything ready.
Time to grab a beverage and
maybe a munchie, pull up the chair, fire up the magnifier and
soldering iron and lets get started.
Next month, the actual
73's for now.
Terry - N8ATZ
Grand Old Days of Kit building Part 2
by Terry Russ - N8ATZ
(Feb 22, 2004) -- Since
I posted Part 1 of this story, I started assembly of the main
circuit board and the four antenna boards which called for surface
mounting the components.
If you missed part 1 of the story, you can check
it out using the link above.
I'm glad to report so far so good, no major
problems or catastrophe's and no soldering bridges thanks to good
preparation and the right tools.
Assembly began with the main board which contains
the majority of the kit's components. It is all pretty straight
forward thanks to Ramsey's easy to follow assembly instructions
which takes you through each of the kit's primary circuits and
explains a bit of circuit theory along the way. Most of the
components are easy to install and solder in place.
Here are a few tips that you might find helpful
should you decide to build one for yourself but they can apply to
any kit. Resistors are pretty burly little components designed to
take and dissipate heat. They are not likely to break simply by
bending the leads for placement into the PC board. Other
components however are not so forgiving.
Prebend the leads of diodes, Inductors and
especially the ceramic capacitors by holding the lead close to the
body with needle nose pliers and bending the remainder of the lead
by hand. This technique will keep stress from the component lead
from fracturing at the main body.
Most all the components are pretty tolerant to the
heat from soldering. Semi-conductors are a little touchy but if
you use the right wattage iron and don't apply the heat all day,
you should make a good connection without doing any damage to the
part. I like to apply the heat by placing the iron tip against
both the component lead and the circuit board trace. This evenly
heats the joint and apply solder from the opposite side. When the
connection gets hot enough to melt the solder, it will fill around
the connection and make a good joint. Do not just heat the
component lead. This will create a cold solder joint. While this
may work for a while, they will ultimately fail down the road. The
DDF-1 Kit has a double sided board (circuits on both sides), with
the holes plated through to both sides of the connection. This is
the sign of a better quality board. I've assembled boards that
weren't this way which required soldering both sides of the
connection. This means more heat and greater chance of failure.
are ten multipin Integrated Circuits (IC's) that must be soldered
in place. While I like sockets for these types of components,
Ramsey doesn't recommend them for this kit. While they do permit
easy replacement when necessary, over time they will tarnish are
cause connection problems. Patience and a steady hand are needed
to solder them in place and I always take my time with them. It
doesn't take much to bridge solder between the legs of the part.
Orientation is critical also but the instructions and a full size
pictorial drawing makes this almost impossible to do wrong.
The last major assembly of the main board involves
installing the sixteen positioning LED's to the board. The LED's
are polarized so proper orientation is necessary. The instructions
go to great length to describe how they are to be installed so
that the case will fit afterward. I found that suspending the case
slightly off the worktable allowed the LED's to project through
the case. With all LED's installed and double checking for the
correct polarity, I soldered only one side around the entire bank.
This allowed me to make sure they were still aligned and make any
adjustments necessary. I sniped off the excess leads and soldered
the remaining leads to the board.
All told I spent about three evenings or about six
hours on the main board. I could have finished a bit earlier but
remember I said that building the kit is part of the overall
enjoyment, no need to rush it ! One additional evening was spent
on assembling the antenna mounting boards. This includes the
antenna interface board and the four main antenna
The antenna interface board
accomplishes the solid state switching between each antenna.
Because the board will operate at RF frequencies (i.e. short
component lead length, coax cable connections) are critical.
Remember this is a direction finding kit, any loss in signal due
to poor assembly here will make it less sensitive when looking for
the elusive fox. To help with this process, Ramsey opted for a
"surface mount" procedure to install the remaining
components. This means components are mounted on the trace side of
the board. Component lead length need to be as short as possible,
soldered to the surface trace and trimmed.
Master wood craftsman Norm
Abrams has special homemade fixtures he uses to make it easy to
build the many projects he does, we amateur builders have a few
picture shows my makeshift component hold device to secure surface
mount components to the board. Not quite like having a third hand
to hold the components but it works. Other components can be held
by tape in place while soldering. Use your fingernail to compress
each lead against the board close to the body.
The final installment covers
the assembly of the antenna boards to the interface board. This
involves careful preparation of the tiny RG-174 coax cable and
looks like it may take a while. We'll finish this and the
remaining final assembly on our next installment.
73's For Now
Grand Old Days of Kit building Part 3
by Terry Russ - N8ATZ
6, 2004) -- Our third installment will cover what ended up as
the toughest portion of the entire kit, the preparation of the
RG-174 cable that connects the antenna mount circuit boards to the
antenna interface board. All that is necessary is to prepare four
13 inch pieces of the cable and install them on the boards. Sounds
easy right ?
With a good steady hand I began to prepare the
cable assemblies that would connect the four individual antennas
to the interface board. After cutting the cable into 4 - 13 inch
pieces I had to CAREFULLY prepare each end with a 1/4 inch section
of tinned braid and a 1/4 inch piece of the center conductor. I
found that even my smallest wire strippers didn't do a very good
job of stripping the outer jacket without cutting the braided
section. I found it was necessary to do it all by hand with my
very sharp hobby knife. After they were all prepared you have to
solder the braid section to a very tiny surface pad on the board.
The same had to be done with the center conductor. I found that
too much heat and the inner jacket would short with the outer
braid. It took several tries to get it right.
Preparing the cables took about 5 hours to
complete. A few minor repairs were necessary when I discovered a
few shorts in the cables thanks to a few braid strands. Small
scrap resistor leads are used to wrap around the braid section and
are soldered to the board. This helped to insure a good ground and
also helps to hold the cable in place.
I would recommend leaving lots of time to complete
this portion of the kit. Any solder bridges here or wiring mishaps
will cause the unit to malfunction and will be hard to repair
Once this part was completed it was time to
assemble the four copper clad steel antenna rods. This requires
soldering the antenna rods into short steel standoff's. Sounds
simple enough until you discover the dissimilar materials won't
solder worth a hoot !.
Time to break out the torch. In my well ventilated
garage I clamped the standoff into the workbench vise, and applied
some solder paste around the solder connection. Next problem - the
diameter of the hole in the standoff was way bigger than the
antenna rod. While looks aren't that important here, I at least
wanted the antennas to be somewhat straight.
was finally able to hold them using an old clamp stand I don't use
much anymore. This picture shows the clamp placement. Using
the torch to heat up the antenna rod and standoff, I fed solder
into the opening and hoped for the best. After several attempts to
find the best heat to solder flow ratio I was finally satisfied
with the results. While not my best work, the antennas are solid
and fairly straight. My friend Don - W8DEF found some nice
telescopic antennas that will eventually be used here but we are
still looking for the right hardware to mount the antennas to the
The next assembly is to find some 5 conductor
cable that connects through a DB9 connector to the antenna
interface board. This isn't supplied with the kit and must be
purchased separately. Cable type isn't critical, I bought some six
conductor telephone wire at Radio Shack that works well. Cut
enough wire to reach from the interface board to the main unit.
Thanks again to my bench vise clamps it was a simple task to
solder the leads to the DB9 connector. One minor problem with the
kit, the DB9 connector didn't come with the hood cover that is
normally used here. I found out why when I installed a cover over
the connector, doing so will not allow the connector to be
installed into the main enclosure. The cutout provided in the case
is simply to small. Since this connection will always be inside
the car and protected I may leave it as is. It looks unfinished
without a cover but maybe I'll think of something.
The other end of this cable is soldered to surface
pads on the interface board. Pads one to four are for the
antennas, pad 5 is ground. The instructions state that special
care is needed to insure that the antennas sequence in the correct
order for proper operation of the unit. Since the telephone cable
is made up of colored pairs, just make note of what color is used
for pin 1 and connect this to antenna one on the board. This part
was easy, no braided wire to worry about !.
Lastly you will need to supply a length of RG58
cable that connects the antenna interface board to your radio.
Radio Shack sells coax with a nice copper braid that solders well
to the board. The connections are a really tight fit to small pads
on the board. Take your time here and don't rush. I spent over a
half hour just preparing the cable end for connection to the
board. Use a cut resistor lead to help secure the cable and help
make a better ground connection as is recommended by Ramsey. I'm
still a little worried about all the stress that will be present
on this connection. When I finish and place a plastic cover over
this board, I'm going to try to provide some additional strain
relief at this point probably with some silicone sealer. The cover
provided by Ramsey didn't completely cover some of my solder
connections. A larger diameter plastic cap is needed but I'll have
to find one around the house somewhere.
The last official connection is to install a PL259
connector to the other end of the RG58 cable. I cut my cable to
about 15 feet in length. This should allow me plenty of space to
mount the unit in the center of the dash during fox hunts.
Some initial tests showed that the small flat
magnets supplied for the four antennas didn't hold very well at
moderate highway speeds. Short of taping them down to the car
roof, I'm going to look into some beefier magnets to use here. I
think Radio Shack still carries some hobby magnets that may work
This completes the basic construction of the unit.
The last article in this series will cover initial testing, final
setup and calibration and a road test.
73's till then.
De Terry - N8ATZ
Grand Old Days of Kit Building - Part 4
by Terry Russ - N8ATZ
(Apr 4, 2004) -- Between
setting up a suitable workspace, gathering the necessary tools and
spending about two hours per session assembling the DDF 1
Direction Finding Kit, within 3 weeks the entire kit has been
assembled along with performing some preliminary tests prior to
conducting the always gut wrenching "Smoke Test".
While it survived the initial tests, as normally happens during
the completion of a kit some construction aspects went according
to plan and some required creative thinking in order to complete
the required steps. All in all I was pleased with the kit and for
the most part had a great time building it.
There are 2 1/2 pages of initial testing that you should do and
since this is a learning project as well I encourage you to follow
them as best as you can. I did check for any dead shorts between
power and ground and applied power to the unit. This is called the
"Smoke Test" for us old timers. I am pleased to report
no smoke appeared and voltage checks agreed with the manual.
The manual states that full functional testing requires the use
of a DC voltmeter, a frequency counter, oscilloscope and an audio
generator none of which is mentioned by Ramsey. You will only find
this out once you have purchased the kit. I have everything
mentioned except the audio generator, but I have repaired and
tuned up many a radio without the recommended test equipment. How
much different can this project be?
The functional test requires an oscilloscope which is used to
output of the clock oscillator. The unit should output a square
wave with an amplitude of 5 Volts and a period of 125 ms (8Khz).
My unit was pretty close as shown by the picture. No need for
exact values here, I'm just glad to see a square wave pattern. At
least I know that the oscillator is working. Testing the signal
level indicators, direction indicators and calibration controls
requires the use of an audio generator set to inject a 500 Hz sine
wave with an amplitude of 1 V P-P into the receiver audio input
jack. Since I didn't have the generator I decided to skip this
step for now. If everything else checks out this can be done
during actual field testing of the unit.
The Antenna Switcher testing is next and also turned out to be
the most crucial and confusing aspect of the whole project. Must
have been true because this is where I had my first problem. This
is a critical area as the antennas must turn on in sequence to
emulate an antenna spinning in a circular pattern for the Doppler
DDF unit to operate properly. A single antenna turned on out of
sequence is enough to produce a bogus RDF reading.
Verifying proper operation requires only a DC voltmeter. Before
we continue the instructions will tell you there is a correction
that effects the proper operation of the kit. The screened
enclosure label has been printed incorrectly. The Scan Switch is
labeled backwards. The STOP Mode is actually RUN and vice-versa.
To correct this I broke out my handy dandy labeler and printed up
small replacement labels to overlay the original label. Not
exactly factory but it didn't turn out to bad.
Back to the voltage checks. With the antenna's connected to the
unit by means of the DB9 connector, hook up the voltmeter with one
lead to ground and the other connected to pin 1 of the connector.
RUN and STOP the scan switch until the voltage on pin 1 reads +5
volts. Pins 2,3 & 4 should all read zero volts. This may take
several attempts to find voltage on pin 1. When you have it, pin 1
is now the antenna enable signal for antenna 1. Follow this wire
color to the corresponding mag mount antenna and mark this as
Antenna 1. During my antenna testing the voltage on pin 1 only
rose to +1.5 volts, way short of the +5 volts indicated. The other
pins did however read zero volts as required.
Move the voltmeter lead to DB9 pin 2 and open and close the
scan switch again until the voltage on pin 2 reads +5 volts. Pins
1,3 & 4 should be zero volts. Pin 2 is the antenna enable
signal for antenna 2 and should be positioned to the right of
antenna 1 as viewed from the center of the antennas for a
clockwise spin. Continue on for pin 3 (antenna 3) and pin 4
My setup went according to the instructions except for the low
voltage on the active antennas. I decided to consult Ramsey about
this difference. Email seemed to work best and tech support is
available at techsupport@ ramseymail.com. Within a day Scott from
Ramsey had replied to my question indicating the +1.5 volts was
acceptable. It may have been caused by the low tolerance of some
of the kits components and the long cable length I used between
the antennas and the main unit.
The instructions have one additional test for the proper RF
operation of the antennas. Since the other tests were successful
and this test somewhat duplicated the previous antenna testing I
elected to skip it. If you are totally unfamiliar with this type
of setup however I would encourage you to complete the test.
The reminder of the instructions detail on road operational
tests. Since we have several Fox transmitters available in the
area I completed this portion of the tests with the help of my
fellow ham buddy Don Finley - W8DEF. While the initial tests
seemed OK with the Fox transmitter close we quickly found out the
unit was pointing almost 180 Degrees away from the transmitter
during road tests. Not to good for a direction finder! I could
correct this by using the calibrate control but then the unit
would read incorrectly on the next reading. I was pretty satisfied
that I had wired the unit main board correctly but remembered some
minor problems when checking the Antenna Switcher setup.
Since I had a quick response from Ramsey Technical Support I
decided to email them again for advise on this new problem. Again
within a day Scott had responded. Apparently, despite my best
efforts I had not correctly completed the Antenna Switcher voltage
checks. Ramsey indicated the problem was the antennas were out of
sequence and by reversing the wiring on pins 2 and 4 of the DB9
connector this should correct the problem. I switched the wires on
the connector and repeated the road tests. Sure enough after
initially setting the calibration control with the transmitter
directly in front of the unit, it correctly displayed the fox
location on the LED display as Don and I moved the fox transmitter
around the car.
It was finally time to close-up the case. If you haven't yet
installed the adhesive overlay to the case top go ahead and
install it at this time. Be careful, the adhesive is very strong.
Once positioned it will be nearly impossible to remove without
ruining it. Take your time, start at the bottom and smooth it out
as you work your way to the case top. Ramsey included 3 press fit
knobs for the three controls but I could not get them to fit. The
holes in the knobs were simply too small. I could have reamed them
a bit larger with a drill bit but a trip to my junk box yielded
slightly larger ones that fit fine. I suppose you wouldn't have
even needed knobs here but I always liked a more finished look to
my kits. Radio Shack still carries knobs that would have worked
fine for a few dollars.
With additional help from Don, we have completed several road
tests of the unit with satisfactory results. The unit has
correctly pointed the direction of the Fox during each run even
with very little signal. I have discovered the unit does get a
little confused as signals bounce around buildings, hills, etc.
The Damping Control is intended to compensate for some of this but
I'm not sure it works all that well. The best method was to
continue driving in the last known direction given on the display
until you again get a solid direction reading.
Selecting the best audio level for the unit is a matter of
adjusting the actual radio volume while a signal is being
received. Adjust the DF Audio level control until the two audio
level LED indicators are off. The unit directions state to never
trust a bearing indicator if either LED is lit. Adjust the volume
on your radio and the RDF unit until this is achieved. The units
internal speaker allows you to hear the Fox transmitter along with
the Doppler tone. The tone will change as the car moves about. The
tone will sound like a pure, undistorted 500 Hz sine wave when the
transmitter is not being reflected about. The tone will sound
raspy and distorted during these times and the bearing LED's will
jump around randomly until it receives a solid signal. The unit
should then give you a pretty solid bearing.
While it won't compete with the very expensive Doppler Units,
I'm impressed with the general accuracy of the unit so far. I'll
know better when we begin conducting Fox hunts again this spring.
I had lots of fun and a little frustration assembling this kit but
all in all I think it was worth the money. Several other club
members are also putting the final touches on their units and
should be ready for road tests soon.
Fox hunts are going to be a little easier for all of us this
year and for those knuckle heads who like to interfere with the
area repeaters, we're gonna getcha !
Terry - N8ATZ
Spotlighted in OSJ
(Dec 2, 2003) -- The
Winter 2003 Edition of the Ohio Section Journal (OSJ) features
several items spotlighting the MARC and its members.
Under Assistant Manager news, we received very
nice kudo's from both Southeast ASM Connie Hamilton - N8IO and
Northeast ASM Robert Winston - W2THU. Connie attended out Hamfest
Banquet and both visited our October Hamfest and had a very
Ohio Section News included a great picture taken
at our banquet celebrating our 75th Anniversary and was well
attended by club members and ARRL leadership. Both Section Manager
Joe Phillips - K8QOE and Great Lakes Director Jim Weaver - K8JE
joined us for the evening and then attended the hamfest on Sunday.
Club member Terry Russ - N8ATZ was also included
in the OHJ with his story covering his view of the 2003 ARRL Great
Lakes Convention including his induction into the Royal Order of
Wouff Hong along with Don Finley - W8DEF.
A special thanks to both the ARRL and the Ohio
Section Journal for this special recognition !
Use the link below to download and print out your
own copy from the MASER website. 2003
Winter Ohio Section Journal.
Member Visits Ten-Tec
(Aug 16, 2003) -- During my recent vacation I again had
the opportunity to visit Ten-Tec, the last American manufacturer
of Amateur Radio equipment. One of the friendliest places you'll
ever visit, from the minute you step in the lobby you will feel
right at home. And if you are in the mood to operate, their guest
radio room, although not exceptional, always has a selection of
their finest current equipment set up and ready.
The folks at Ten-Tec are always eager to show off
the place and were glad to give me a short tour of the factory.
Jack Burchfield, K4JU, the current company President conducted our
tour which included the many segments of company operation
including engineering & design as well as their in-house
printed circuit board manufacturing, plastics molding, sheet metal
fabrication & finishing and electronic assembly & testing.
All this as well as the ability to produce their own tooling in a
well equipped tool and die shop. They are literally able to
completely fabricate their radio equipment start to finish all in
house. Only a handful of very specialized components are purchased
from outside sources.
They are currently working on building up the new
Argonaut V, a return of the legendary QRP transceiver. The current
model sports IF-DSP and runs 20 watts.
They will again be hosting their 4th Annual
Ten-Tec Homecoming Hamfest this year on Friday & Saturday,
October 3-4. Events include factory tours, discounts on new &
used equipment, on-air demonstrations of their newest equipment,
door prizes, technical forums and of course a growing flea market
in the parking lot. I visited this event about two years ago and
it was a blast. I highly recommend it if you can get away this
fall. Anybody up for a road trip !
Jack is very familiar with our club as we have
been a strong supporter of Ten-Tec equipment at many of our
previous club hamfests and we are considering the new Argonaut as
a main prize for this years event. Jack has promised to provide us
with a newly available video they offer that talks about Ten-Tec
and includes clips from factory tours. This should make a great
future club program.
Always with camera in hand, I took a few pictures
of both the lobby and the factory during my visit that are posted
below. Want to learn more about Ten-Tec ? Check out their
website at http://www.tentec.com.
73's De Terry - N8ATZ
The lobby area as you enter the front door. Lots
of stuff on display and look at all the old egg shell cases
The main display case. Currently chock full of
cases on sale cheap ! I came home with a few that will find a
project someday !
Ten-Tec's Radio History display. Some radios
that date back to day one. How many do you recognize ? They are
currently looking for a Ten-Tec Triton 4 Series to set on display.
Anyone have one to donate ?
The newest radio in the Ten-Tec line-up, the
Orion complete with Linear Amp. What a dream station if you have
the loot ! I operated here for about a half hour, the radio takes
a bit to learn !
Custom manufacturing is part of Tec-Tec's
history. This operator is finishing the band module case used for
the Scout transceiver. Even though no longer a current production
item, spare parts will be made for years to come.
Custom Cabinets are produced on a daily basis.
These are for a commercial job running the day of my visit. They
also do all their own silk-screening in house on the left.
The left side shows one of the equipment
assembly tables. Much of it still all by hand. The right side is
partially assembled Tuners.
Another assembly area showing Orion parts in
various stages of assembly.
President Jack Burchfield shows off their latest
- the Argonaut V. A super little QRP Radio and one that I hope
will one day sit in my shack !
Orders are hot & heavy for two radios right
now. The Orion and the new Argonaut. The top shelf shows about 30
completed Argonauts ready to go to final testing.
One of several tune up benches currently
finishing up an Orion Rig. Boy would I like to have some of this
equipment on my bench !
Great Lakes Director
(Aug 3, 2003) -- After
being forced to cancel his May visit to the MARC, ARRL Great Lakes
Director Jim Weaver - K8JE visited the club as our guest for our
August meeting and covered several area's of interest to the
members and guests in attendance.
Jim began by explaining his introduction into ham
radio and his goals during his term in office one of which is to
do a better job of informing the members in the Great Lakes
Division of current topics affecting our hobby and those items on
the ARRL's agenda. One way he has already done this is by issuing
via email a monthly Director's newsletter called "Weavers
Words", that is sent to all League members. We hope to
include these newsletters on this website in the near future and
incorporate them in our monthly newsletter. One very important
item on Jim's agenda is the great concern over Antenna Height
Restrictions that affect our ability to communicate effectively.
Jim also spoke on the League's recent success of our 40 meter band
which will greatly reduce the commercial radio services that have
plagued amateurs for years.
Jim also tried to explain why League membership
dues are so high. The main reason, Jim stated is to maintain the existence
of a viable lobbying organization to promote and help maintain the
frequencies and privileges that we currently enjoy.
Finally, Jim covered several short subjects
including the League's idea of establishing new band plans on the
amateur frequencies based on the actual bandwidth used for the
various modes. Jim believes there is some merit to the idea but
believes all league members should have a say in the proposal.
The program was concluded by a short Question
& Answer session.
The MARC gratefully thanked Jim for taking the
time to come and visit us and we hope Jim will be able to stop by
and staff the ARRL table at our hamfest this October.
In Memorial Day Parade
(May 27, 2003) --
On Monday, May 26th several members of the Massillon ARC
celebrated Memorial Day both by participating in the annual
Memorial Day parade and in a special memorial service held at
As the annual Memorial Day parade stepped off, the
club's Emergency Communications Trailer, ECOMM 1, took its place
in the parade adorned with official flags honoring all branches of
the U.S. Armed Services. Banners noting the contribution amateurs
make in the Military Affiliate Radio Service (MARS), also were
proudly displayed on the trailer.
Several club members retired from military service
also participated by riding along in the parade. They were current
Vice-President Master Sergeant James Farriss - WA8GXM of the
United States Air Force, Senior Chief Petty Officer Perry
Ballinger - W8AU of the United States Navy and Petty Officer 3rd
Class Don Wade - W8DEA also of the Navy. Don is also currently a
Captain in the Civil Air Patrol.
The Rev Leslie A. Peine - K8CP also took part in
the morning services. Pastor at the First United Methodist Church
in Massillon, Les spoke at services held at Massillon Cemetery immediately
after the parade. Les was Commissioned an Air Force line officer
in March 1968 and a Chaplain in July 1977. He retired from the
U.S. Air Force in the grade of Chaplain, Lieutenant Colonel having
served 22 1/2 years on active duty and five years in the Reserves.
Also involved in the day's events was club member
Saundra Becker - N8TZB representing the American Red Cross,
Western Stark Chapter who took part in the parade by driving the
chapters newest response vehicle.
Other members who assisted in the parade were
Terry - N8ATZ, Don - W8DEF and XYL Linda - K8MOO and driver
Gary Kline - WC8W.
Here to see some pictures taken during the parade.
Search for the Elusive Fox !
(May 5, 2003) -- Having participated now in several club sponsored "Fox
Hunts" and having suffered the humiliation of not yet being
the first to find it, I can still say I'm having a better time at
this club event than I've had in quite a while. The reason ?
Simple - Fox Hunts are fun !.
Very little equipment is required to join in the
fun. Lets see, a hand held, a rubber duck and maybe a very simple
directional antenna and that will just about do it. Like any
aspect of the hobby, you can add expense to the activity with
sophisticated direction finding systems, Doppler analyzers, RF
Sniffers and the like but its an activity mostly based on skill
which is probably why I haven't been the first to find the elusive
fox yet. Remember, if at first you don't succeed - try a different
I've also discovered that everyone has there own
approach to Fox Hunting. In our case we normally start off from
the Club Shack at the Senior Center together and from there
everyone scatters. A mobile radio does come in very handy
initially as the rigs S-meter will give you a relative signal
strength reading. Since we have established Massillon as boundaries
for the fox hunt, this means it may be hiding anywhere North,
South, East or West of the Center. Only four choices, sounds easy
right ? Not exactly. So how to decide which way to start off ? If
you have a directional antenna, now's the time to use it. These
can be a little difficult to use from the car though. I
constructed a small circular two meter loop out of a broomstick
handle and about three feet of No. 12 solid building wire. It's
not much to look at but it does work. The best it will do is show
a very slight difference in signal strength by standing in place
and rotating slowly in a circle. With any luck you will see this
difference on the S-Meter and get a direction to head for. Now its
off to the races. If you picked the right direction the signal
will get stronger as you get closer to the fox. Consider stopping
and using the directional antenna again to take a bearing. Are you
still going in the right direction. Again with any luck you will
continue to get closer and pick up stronger signals. Terrain,
buildings, etc can deflect the signal and head you in the wrong
direction also. Hey, who said it was supposed to be easy ?
Now the tough part. Once you get close the mobile
radio is no longer useful. You're getting a full signal, which way
do we go now ? Time to switch to the trusty hand held. Using just
my HT and the circular loop hopefully the signal won't be full
scale and I can get a bearing. Attenuating the signal will help if
the signal is full scale. This can be done several ways. You could
use a commercial attenuator if you have one. You can find them at
hamfests or building one. I have an old one that will provide
almost 100 db of attenuation. It's a bit heavy and clunky to use
but it does work. Another way is to just partially disconnect the
Again with a little luck you've narrowed the
search to one end of town. Now what ? At this point I'm probably
using just my HT and have started searching on foot. One trick
I've learned from other Fox Hunters is that you can use your body
to shield the radio. This may also point you in the right
direction, or maybe not. Or you might try my favorite tactic - any
other fox hunters around ? You might be close or they are just as
A whole different strategy is required when you
get this close. A directional antenna in combination with an
attenuator is the best bet. Other fox hunters are using any number
of methods, RF sniffers, portable frequency counters (these will
work if you get within a few feet of the transmitter), field
strength meters, you name it. Remember the fun is in the search,
try different methods. Keep your eyes open for a likely hiding
spot. We never leave the "Fox" in plain sight, what fun
would that be !
In the end it will probably be a combination of
skill and pure luck that finds the fox. Traditionally the
"Fox Finder" gets to be the "Fox Hider" next
hunt. Maybe some time I'll get to hide it. I'm always looking for
that perfect hiding spot. Until then however I'll keep looking and
having a great time in the process ! de Terry - N8ATZ.
Celebrates 75th Anniversary
Update) The club officially celebrated our Silver Anniversary
by holding a pizza party in conjunction with our October club
meeting. Travel schedules did not permit any ARRL visitors but
Section Manager Joe Phillips - K8QOE expressed his personal
congratulations at this great achievement. A special 75th
Anniversary Certificate was shown to the membership that will be
on display at the Hamfest before being permanently displayed at
the club hamshack. Pizza was provided by South Erie Pizza
and included at lease seven different varieties. The Special Event
station was also in full swing during the meeting and we will have
a full wrap up report at the November meeting. Special Event
Certificates are currently being designed by member Perry - W8AU
and should be ready by meeting night.
Memories of our 75th Party
The crowd gathers for Pizza !
Birthday Boy Terry - N8ATZ (L)
with Steve - WD8MIJ and Terry's xyl Lynnette
Big Ed - WA8DRT (C) with Big
John - K8LBZ (R) and xyl Janet
Club President Gene - W8KXR
and xyl Marylin
Founding member Thomas Berbari
- W8GBJ (L) - with Ed - W8PUC and Don - W8DEF
CLUB MEETING WELL RECEIVED
joint area Multi-Club Meeting was held on Wednesday, March 27th.
with 85 area amateurs attending this first of a kind amateur
gathering. The meeting began with opening remarks from Canton ARC
President Mike Robinson - KI0DE, who thanked everyone for
attending the joint meeting. Gene Beckwith - W8KXR, President of
the MARC, pictured above, gave a fine account of the clubs
"active lifestyle", noting the many club activities we
are active in. Six amateur radio clubs or organizations were
represented over the evening, each giving a short report on
current club activities and other items of interest. David Beltz -
WD8AYE, Stark Co ARES Emergency Coordinator with Terry Russ -
N8ATZ, Assistant EC, reported on the renewed commitment of area
amateurs involved in community service and also took the
opportunity to register Stark County amateurs with ARES, a
function that hasn't been updated in nearly 15 years
Robinson then introduced the keynote speaker for the evening, Ohio
Section Manager Joe Philips - K8QOE. Joe's topic for the evening
was "The Future Of Amateur Radio". Joe stated
that Amateur Radio had experienced a period of "negative
growth" during the 1990's, for various reasons and that he
believes that since the Y2K concerns, our hobby has received a
much needed "jump start" as numerous public service
agencies began to investigate alternate means to maintain
communications. Then in September of last year, the hobby was once
again called upon to help establish order after the chaos of 911.
Joe believes that the development of "Homeland Security"
will once again bring our hobby back to the forefront of the
communications world. This will no doubt bring about the
resurgence we have been looking for, bringing many new hams to our
hobby. It's still a passion, and its back stronger than ever.
The meeting concluded about 9:00 PM with
several drawings and refreshments being served. Mr. Marvin Secrest
of M & K Engraving was also in attendance providing name
badges and accessories to those present.
ARES also registered 25 hams, well on our way
to re-registering a new corps of ARES registered volunteers. The
overall success of the multiclub meeting prompted organizers to
consider making this an annual event. A special thank you to the
following clubs for attending this years event, The Alliance ARC,
The Massillon ARC, QCWA Chapter 21, The Tusco ARC, The Canton ARC
and the Pioneer Amateur Radio Fellowship.
Spotlights Jim Farriss - WA8GXM
After an unfortunate spring thunderstorm blew over the
radio tower of club member Jim Farriss - WA8GXM for the second time, most people
would decide fate had spoken and just pay attention. Jim however is not your
average ham. You might think he would just settle for something a little lower -
wrong. When faced with tough odds Jim went looking for something a little
stronger. After a season of searching Jim came across something called an
Aeromotor Tower. Think of those modest tri-legged monsters that the utility
companies use to run high voltage wires over the country side. Now you get the
With a lot of
determination Jim has recently completed both the restoration of the old tower
and the installation of the new one. Here's the complete rundown: (you better
get a Kleenex ready for the drooling !)
The New North Tower raises nearly 100
feet into the morning sky and its solid, the legs at the base are about 18 feet
apart !. It's complement of antennas include a Mosley Classic 36 six element tri
- bander for HF work rotated by a very heavy duty ring rotator. In addition
there are 2 - 12 element M2 stacked two meter yagi's for SSB operation as well
as 4 - 21 element F9 Tonna UHF Yagi's also stacked for weak signal 432
operation. Not bad for starters.
The South Tower is now a modest 80 foot
tall that has been dedicated for mostly VHF/UHF antennas. At the top is an 88
element J - Beam designed especially for Amateur Television (ATV) work. Directly
below is a 6 element High Gain 6 meter beam antenna. Hanging from a side arm is
a dual band vertical for 2 & 440 FM work.
Jim also is a Amateur Satellite enthusiast
and has a modest 30 foot tower that sports KLM 2 & 432 beams mounted to dual
tracking rotators. A side arm also contains a 6 meter vertical.
All this is resting on a hill that
measures out at about 1180 feet elevation making for quite an antenna farm which
definitely make this Western Stark Counties "Towers of Power" !
Click on any of the pictures below to
see Jims very impressive array. The last picture is of Jim's radio shack. This
too is pretty impressive and we'll explore it next time ! PS: The little
spot on the bottom of the left picture is Jim, told you the tower was tall !
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