|Techniques of Best Ops||VT QSO Party Results||VT City Marathon|
|Secretary's Minutes||Parks On the Air||Two Clases: 24 Hams||Congratulations||First Contact Award||Surprise Award||Picokeyer Review||NE QSO Party|
Are you a good operator - or just a mediocre operator? Why do the other guys work all the juicy DX, while you drown in a sea of QRM? Perhaps our program this night will help.
We'll delve into the basic skills to be a great operator - listening, speaking and logging and show you ways to put those into practice. We'll talk about Station Setup, Emergencies, DXing and even Contesting.
For our halftime activity I'll toss in some slides of my visit to KH6-land, including scenes from Pearl Harbor and smoking volcanoes.
Make sure you become a great operator. The DX will not wait around for you!
It was supposed to be a slack year with poor conditions, but it was anything but. Excellent stateside conditions contributed to big runs both afternoons, with just enough DX showing up to make it interesting.
In the Vermont competition, Joe K1VMT repeated his first place finish with 236k, running high power. He mostly ran phone, but used CW and RTTY to fill in multipliers on those modes. Zach W1JXN repeated his second place finish with 161k, running low power. He split time between phone and CW/RTTY and showed up virtually on all bands - even 10 meters. Bob KB1FRW jumped back into competition this year for a 3rd place finish of 77k, all on low power phone. Paul AA1SU ran high power for a 4th place finish of 72k and was very close to taking third place. He had big phone totals and did just enough CW to run up his multiplier totals. Steve W1SFR was 5th with a low power, CW-only score of 40K, which was also the highest CW-only score of all the stations. It was a battle royale for 6th and 7th place with Bob W4YFJ just edging out Arnie W2HDI 19k to 17k. The group at W1KOO was the lone multiop entry as they ran up 15k on Saturday afternoon, running both phone and FT8. Our newest mode, FT8, made its debut with 70 total QSO's, a small, but notable start. We received 22 Vermont logs - a near record, with 43 Vermont stations in every county being logged.
The outside Vermont competition was much tighter and quite exciting. It was a see-saw battle for the top spot with the lead changing hands several times as we checked and re-checked the logs numerous times. After the smoke had cleared, the top spot goes to Dave WN4AFP from South Carolina who eeked out the win with a score of 756. Dave finished 5th last year. Battling all the way down to the wire was Jeff N8II from West Virginia, with a score of 735. Both had 25 QSO's and 14 multipliers, but Dave made one more CW contact to nail it down! Anthony K8ZT from Ohio claims to be one of the best QRP contest ops on the air today. With a 3rd place finish running QRP in the always-challenging Vermont QSO Party, his claim is well founded. We ended up with a flat-footed tie for 4th place with Jeff WB8WKQ from Michigan and Dick N4ARO from Tennessee both scoring 480 points. Jeff had a couple more QSO's and Dick a couple more multipliers. Ultimately, we received a record number of outside Vermont logs - 117 in all.
The certificates have been sent and the top 3 outside Vermont competitors will
be enjoying their maple syrup shortly. We look forward to next year's event!
The Vermont City Marathon is Sunday, May 27th. Invitations have been sent out to all past communicators for this year's event. However, we always lose a few operators and will be looking for more.
There are 3 requirements to be a Marathon operator: have a license, have or get a two meter HT, and willingness to work between 7AM and 1PM on Marathon Sunday. Most of the jobs will be to provide communications at aid stations along the course. We provide all the training, information and a genuine 2018 Vermont City Marathon T-shirt! If you haven't done the Marathon before and would like to be a communicator, contact Mitch at firstname.lastname@example.org. We need to have the team in place by the end of April.
The Marathon is the largest event ham radio supported event in Vermont,
consisting of 8000 runners, 30,000 spectators, 1000 volunteers and 32 ham
operators all compacted into a 6 hour event.
The sign-in sheet showed twelve in attendance, including the speaker. Club Treasurer, Adam KB1LHB called the meeting to order at 7:04 PM.
NEAR Fest The New England Amateur Radio Festival will be held in Deerfield, New Hampshire on May 4 & 5, 2018. Hams from our area will be going down, so car pools are a possibility. There will be tech exhibits, testing, robotics, and radio demonstrations.
Ideas for Future Meetings
We are always looking for ideas for meetings. Please contact Bob KB1FRW if you have a possible topic. All ideas will be considered.
Paul AA1SU was granted a reprieve for this meeting and was volunteered in absentia to bring snacks for the April meeting. NE QSO Party and Parks on the Air These two events will be taking place on May 6th, after NEAR Fest.
Vermont City Marathon
Planning for this event has started. They want us to assist as we have in past years. Date is May 27th.
A class for the general class license will be held at Hamvention in Ohio on May 19th.
It was reported that Kosovo is back on the air.
Guest speaker, Julie Stefanski, Au.D., gave a presentation titled "Hearing Loss and What You Need to Know (for the tech savvy)". Here is a link to a Wikipedia article on Au.D.
Julie is an audiologist at the University of Vermont Medical Center. The presentation covered the anatomy of the human ear, function of an audiologist, types of hearing loss and problems, types of hearing aids, and strategies for preserving hearing. She indicated that if someone has mild hearing loss, it makes sense to have the hearing tested so you have a baseline with which future tests can be compared.
One thing of interest is that the perception of loudness varies at different frequencies even though the sound level (sound pressure level or dBSPL) remains equal. Human ears perceive sound more easily at the core frequencies of 500 Hz to 4,000 Hz. The ear is less sensitive above and below these frequencies. Normal hearing spans the range from 20 Hz to 20,000 Hz. Speech information is in the range of 250 Hz to 6,000 Hz.
Hearing aids are designed for a specific type and range of hearing loss. Lifestyle considerations are also part of the selection process. Hearing aids even come with Bluetooth technology. There are other strategies such as training to help people overcome problems with hearing loss, and surgical interventions such as cochlear implants for profound hearing loss.
The attendees appeared to enjoy the presentation and asked many questions
(along with numerous "what?" jokes).
Vermont Parks on the air, 2018, will begin with
Knight Point State Park
on May 6th around 9:30-10:00 AM near
the parking area. That is also the weekend for the New England QSO party, so
we will be doing both. There will be both a 20 meter and a 40 meter 500 watt
station, and plenty of time for several operators to make contacts. If you're
new to the hobby or an old hand at it, please come by and get on the air!
Two Technician classes, held a month apart, have licensed a total of 24 new hams. The first class was done for Richmond Rescue for their Backcountry Rescue group. Often, these responders work in locations where their radios will not function and ham radio is the only method which will work. The second class was held for a group of friends who work for Reliance Steel and Hazelett Strip Casting. That group was pumped! Several already had their Baofeng HT's hanging off of their packs. I usually do not discuss grades on the exams, but this group averaged 92 on their Technician exams - the highest I have seen!
We hope that the impact of this many new hams in the area will make a big difference in activity level. The 13 graduates of the Richmond class is the largest class in a long time. To put that into perspective, this was the largest Burlington class since 1997. Paul AA1SU was in that class!
These new hams will be getting radios and listening to the repeaters. Please
make a point to get on the air and say hello to them!
New Licensees and Upgrades KC1JGL John Sidaway (Rochester VT) Technician KC1JGM George May (Essex Jct VT) Technician KC1JGN Steven McLafferty (Stowe VT) Technician KD2PKM Steve Jones (Plattsburgh NY) General KC1JHS Scott Ruell (Northfield Falls VT) Technician New Technicians from Mitch's Ham Classes KC1JAW Rick Bragg (Burlington VT) KC1JAX Caleb Combes (S Burlington VT) KC1JAZ Thomas Combes (S Burlington VT) KC1JBA Charles DiSchino (S Burlington VT) KC1JBB David Foote (Jericho VT) KC1JBC Karl Lukhaup (Burlington VT) KC1JBD Teagan Low (Richmond VT) KC1JBE James Sibelle (Shelburne VT) KC1JBF David Auriemma (Williston VT) KC1JBG Wesley Bell (Fayston VT) KC1JBH Michael Voity (Colchester VT) KC1JBI Taylor Ward (Huntington VT) KC1JHW Peter Wendland (Monkton VT) KC1JHX Kevin Armstrong (Grantham NH) KC1JHY Thomas Corr (Richmond VT) KC1JHZ Evan Hamilton (St. Albans VT) KC1JIA Alex Hayden (Milton VT) KC1JIB Brad Hayden (Milton VT) KC1JIC Rick Hayden (Milton VT) KC1JID Chuck Jocelyn (Milton VT) KC1JIE Ryan Lyford (S Burlington VT) KC1JIF Brett Shea (Essex Jct VT) KC1JIG Evan Tougas (Milton VT)
Be on the lookout for a crop of new hamsters, minted from local VE Sessions as
well as classes running at the end of February and March. Call sign blocks to
watch for: KC1JAW-KC1JBI and KC1JHW-KC1JIG, plus a few more! Some already
have their Baofeng's programmed up, so they may make an appearance anytime
soon! Plan to spend some extra time monitoring the repeaters to that we can
all say "Hello!"
Did you know? The ARRL offers a first contact award certificate. Just visit
www.arrl.org/first-contact to enter in some quick info, a few clicks, and then
SUMBIT. The ARRL takes care of all the rest. A great way to commemorate a
first contact with any of our new hams!
Congratulations to Mitch W1SJ and Bob KB1WXM of W1NVT on receiving a surprise
award for FIRST PLACE NEW ENGLAND County Expedition following one of their
recent VTPOTA activations!
Looking for a fun kit to build? Need a code practice oscillator (CPO) to learn CW? Want a versatile memory keyer?
Earlier this year, I had a lot of fun assembling an Ultra PicoKeyer kit available from Dan W7RF at HamGadgets.com. For about $35, the kit includes a PicoKeyer chip, printed circuit board & components, and a 2" x 2" x 1" plastic case available in several colors.
As with many kits these days, the contents arrived in a small padded envelope. The easy-to-follow step-by-step instructions (downloaded) were written with a beginner in mind - assembly took less than an hour to complete. Once I inserted the CR232 coin battery, the kit came alive with a short "73" in Morse code confirming a successful assembly! No need for troubleshooting!
Why use a memory keyer? Because calling CQ over-and-over-and-over again during poor band conditions gets tiring. Maybe you're in a contest and you want to quickly send your call sign, signal report, and a standard exchange (think about the VT QSO party… "UR RST 599 CHI CHI TU 73 . . " ) Even in routine exchanges, I find it clunky to repeatedly send the same information over and over again with each new contact.
The PicoKeyer uses a memory chip for storing and activating preprogrammed messages. Think of these as shortcuts or "macros". You can use either a straight key or paddle to store your messages OR just use the keyer as a code practice oscillator. Activating messages is as easy as pressing one (or a combination) of the buttons. The most recent firmware version allows for two banks of four messages (up to 127 characters each) plus a MYCALL combination for sending your call sign. A knob on the front adjusts the speed from 5 to 60 WPM. For example, QTH report such as "QTH COLCHESTER , VT COLCHESTER , VT" or rig, antenna, and power information such as "RIG ICOM7200 PWR 5W QRP TO DIPOLE UP 35 FT" can be lengthy. Why make the effort when you can just press a button to activate a stored message?
Digging deeper into the menus, I found a lot of other useful features such as
beacon mode, sidetone adjustment, incremental QSO, use of "cut" numbers (T for
zero, N for nine, etc.), and quick QRS/QRQ modes for rapid changes in speed to
match the other person in a QSO. With a Y-splitter, I was able to set up my
station for simultaneous use of both a straight key and paddle. One side
(left) of the Y cable is configured for a Bencher paddle used as a straight
(side paddle) key. The Ultra Picokeyer and a paddle are set up on the other
side (right) for iambic keying. Most of the time I prefer a straight key… but
with this configuration… I can quickly switch to a paddle for rapid DX and
contest contacts. DX'ers don't wait for a slow straight key in a pileup!
Overall, I highly recommend this kit. It is inexpensive, easyto-use, and
To New England radio clubs:
The NEQP is a great time to check out antenna systems and offers a moderately paced opportunity to work new states and countries. You'll find a wide variety of participants, from newcomers to experienced contesters, all interested in making contacts with New England stations.
We're working to make sure that all of the New England counties are active again this year and would appreciate your help. Get on for at least an hour or two and join in on the fun. Please let me know if you can put in any time at all so we can work on activity from the rarest counties. Will you be QRV? Let us know which county you'll be on from with a message to email@example.com.
Oh yes, the NEQP is also lots of fun when mobile. Every time you cross a county line the action starts over again. It's amazing what a 100w radio and mobile whip can do. The QSO Party is 20 hours long overall, in two sections with a civilized break for sleep Saturday night. It goes from 4pm Saturday until 1am Sunday, then 9am Sunday until 8pm Sunday. Operate on CW, SSB and digital modes on 80-40-20-15-10 meters. For each QSO you'll give your callsign, a signal report and your county/state. Top scorers can earn a plaque and everyone who makes 25 QSOs and sends in a log will get a certificate.
Last year we had logs from 177 New England stations and 460 more from around the country and world.
The full NEQP rules are here. The 2017 results are posted and the results since 2002 are also available here.
It's just about a month until the 2018 NEQP. Please make some QSOs even if
you don't want to send in a log.
Here are the important addresses you need. Feel free to ask me directly if you have any questions, firstname.lastname@example.org.
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