Hellgate Static

JULY 2006



Next meeting is July 10, 2006

At St. Patrick Hospital basement meeting room

500 West Broadway

























Hellgate Amateur Radio Club

P.O. Box 3811

Missoula, MT. 59806-3811


HARC Board of Directors

Club President, N7GE, Jerry Ehli at jehli@modernmachinery.com
Vice-president, W7PAQ Frank Kisselbach at fkissel@direcway.com
Treasurer, K7PX, Steve Schlang at ripply1@msn.com

Secretary, AC7UZ, Lewis Ball at ac7uz@blackfoot.net


HARC Meeting of June 12, 2006


The meeting was called to order by President Jerry Ehli (N7GE) at 7:05 PM.


The minutes were approved as presented in the Hellgate Static and by mail out.


Repeater Report:

146.800 repeater is down with problems. It is to be moved soon.  Discussion was held regarding Union Peak.


TORSV was wet on Saturday with around 150 riders registered. About 120 riders made it. Sunday was a very nice day. The tower and portable repeater were used on Sunday.


Tickets are still being sold on the HT raffle at $2.50 each.


We need transport boxes for the Kenwood 940 and support equipment.


Field day will be at Fort Missoula on the 24-25. Breakfast at the Lucky Strike at 7:00 and move to the fort at 9:00 for set up. Help is needed for setup and operations.


A motion was made to spend $150 to print flyers to hand out on Field Day and the Lewis & Clark  events.


The Lewis & Clark special event will be July 2-3-4.   The setup will be during the afternoon on the 2nd around 1:00 PM, and shutting down around 4:00 PM on the 4th.


Net operations will be as follows.

June 14, 2006    Jerry & Eric      NWS

June 21, 2006    Frank & Bill      RC

June 14, 2006    Jerry & Lewis   NWS

July 5, 2006       Steve & Bill      RC

July 12, 2006     Eric & Jerry      RC


The next meeting will be at the St. Pats Hospital meeting room B


The meeting was adjourned at 8:30 PM.


HARC on TOSRV 2006


            It started in the rain.  It had rained all night, and it was raining hard at 6 am Saturday June 10 for the start of the 36th Tour of Swan River Valley.  About 120 cyclists out of 162 entrants started the 200 mile course.   By 10 am the rain had subsided and the highways were drying.  The hardy souls that had braved the weather were well on their way.  Meanwhile, we hams stayed warm and dry.  Good pancakes at Lubrecht too.

            The weather never got worse.  In fact, by Sunday we had sunshine.  The major problem for hams was that the 80 repeater apparently drowned in the Friday night storm.  Later in the weekend it started gasping for air again, but it was too little, too late.  By then we had moved to a combination of 04 and 90 repeaters and simplex.  On Sunday NZ7S took the portable repeater to Summit Lake, where it helped fill the communications hole between Condon and Seeley Lake.  From Seeley back home we got the job done on the “00 repeater” and simplex.  All in all a little frustration helped make TOSRV another memorable occasion.

            The cyclists did pretty well.  A little road rash here and there; a dislocated shoulder: and some flat tires were as bad as things got.  Mechanics rode with N7GE and N7MSU, and bike problems were attended to quickly because of that  arrangement.  We did lose a tandem bike team.  Then, we lost W4YMA.  Then, N7GE also disappeared.  After an hour or so, Bill and Jerry did reappear, thankfully.  The tandem team did not.  Be cell phone they reported that they’d given up.  Nobody is certain of how many cyclists might have finished TOSRV, but you have to tip your hat to all of them that started it.

            MNI TNX to KC7RBC, N7TAE, AC7UZ, NN8A, W4YMA, NZ7S, N7GE and N7MSU donating their time and effort to making this another good, safe cycling event.


N7MSU, Bob



The regular readers of the Hellgate Static will remember a fine article written by a club member (“Kit”, KI4CYV)in the November 2005 issue.  That member has just recently been “published” within the ARRL news and her article about the 2005 JOTA (Jamboree On The Air) was recently put on the ARRL website at the address http://www.arrl.org/news/features/2006/06/29/1/?nc=1 .  Within that article, there are other pics of other club members (Dennis, W7DHB and Frank W7PAQ).  Great job Kit!


Not to be outdone, within the CQ magazine calendar for 2006, there are fine photos of our members Steve Flood, KK7UV sitting in his shack surrounded by his new, old, and in between equipment.  Also within the same calendar, is a nice picture of the antenna farm owned by Lance Collister, W7GJ.


Kudos and congratulations folks!




Field Day, ain’t it great!  There is something that has captured my attention about long nights in the spring surrounded by static crashes and generators running and almost violently screaming into a microphone or whapping out a CQ FD on a key (or keyer). 


This bug is what has stuck with me for 23 years now since the first Field Day I went to with the Hellgate Amateur Radio Club.  For the old timers in the club, that was when we went up to the Mount Sentinel repeater complex.  Soon after, my brother-in-law Mike Moon (KE7LL sk) and I went out to try our bid doing a 2 Bravo on the top of Mount Morrell (East of Seeley Lake, MT).  After he moved to VY1 (Yukon territory), I was left by myself. One could rightfully say I was a teenager with a “bad” habit.  Just that particular habit was done with a mic or a straight key.  That year, I didn’t have “legal” transportation to town and an urge to try it all again by myself, I loaded up an old 1965 Chevy pick-up and drove off into the hills behind my house (you didn’t need a license there!).  From that time on, I was forever going to be “on my own”.


It was that way until Steve Flood (KK7UV) moved into the area.  We decided to try the 2B class.  Sometimes, I guess, things are meant to be.  We have always done fairly well in this class (except the year when my generator blew up our power supplies), and we looked forward to another great year.  Given the use of my in-laws RV last year, things again promised to be another good time.  That was before an evil thing took control of Steve’s stomach and made him hunch over the toilet instead of his Kenwood.   Again, I would be by myself!


Set-up was similar to last year, except for I put up my 80 meter loop instead of my 40 meter version.  This loop was installed in a new and unstudied polygon (read that statement as “that is where the trees are”).  I also brought along my homebrew my 6 meter beam (3Ls) to work Vick Applegate (K7VK) and Steve Schlang (K7PX) who had scurried off to some large chunk of rock in the Bitterroot. 


I relaxed a bit on my code speed, and really never called CQ too long without a Q.  I picked up 570 Q's with 180 CW.  I tried to keep things "balanced", but a run is a run, and I had several hours w/ over 100 Q/hr on SSB.  On CW, I still held my own with some periods of time pushing 50 Q’s/hr (as you would expect with a dropped code speed).  As I said, I relaxed the speed and I think I proved my own theory to myself.  If you go too fast, some people won't call you.  Those that do, will ask for repeats.  Therefore, doing the exchange only once saves the headache.  The keyer is also nice, hitting the "1B MT 1B MT BK" key gives you the chance to get a drink of H2O, and IT doesn't screw up!


Regarding 6 meters, I FINALLY worked some folks up there.  I would suppose it was E skip, but the first guy I worked was Lance Collister (W7GJ) in Frenchtown.  I did however work two AZ and a NM.  One AZ was on CW as was the NM.  The guy I worked in AZ on SSB was +20 dB.  After we cleared I heard him call CQ and he disappeared.  From that point on, he would only "quickly resurface" to call out his last two letters before dipping out again.  I never worked Vick or Steve, but I did hear other folks work him though.  I spent nearly two hours chasing people with no luck, but man was it fun.


Still, I know that there are improvements to be made for next year.  Although I have discussed keyers before, they help a lot at 2:00 AM!  I have changed my belief that sometimes going to the Field day site the evening before can help with some of the easier parts of set-up.  Even this year (when I did show up late) I ended up starting late (I blame forest elves that obviously untied my knot and caused my loop antenna to get hung up in a tree.  It then needed to be “un-hung” and “re-hung”).The best change of all was the simple use of a computer.  THEY KICK BUTT.  No more dupe sheets.  If Steve and I can figure out how to put two computers on a link, I envision smooth sailing.


Again, I need to remember to include simple truths of contesting next year.  Calling CQ always gains you more Q’s.  There aren’t any multiplier points in Field Day, so don’t necessarily look for the “long-haul” for new ones.  Work what you have.  Start early on bands to achieve a spot to call CQ, and don’t be afraid of hitting 80 and 40 during the daytime.  5A stations have to be transmitting somewhere.  You can always find an open spot near the top of the band, less QRM equals more Q’s.  Always look for more hams, in other words, call in the General class portion, not the extra portion.  Let those who don’t realize this fight for space.  As the old saying goes, the best part of a radio is your ears and what is between them.  So that is that.  Hopefully I ended up near the top of 1B in the “non-competition” of Field Day.




On the first day, God created the dog and said:

"Sit all day by the door of your house and bark at anyone who comes in or walks past.  For this, I will give you a life span of twenty years."  The dog said: "That's a long time to be barking.  How about only ten years and I'll give you back the other ten?"

So God agreed.

On the second day, God created the monkey and said: "Entertain people, do tricks, and make them laugh.  For this, I'll give you a twenty-year life span."  The monkey said: "Monkey tricks for twenty years?  That's a pretty long time to perform.  How about I give you back en like the dog did?"

And God agreed.

On the third day, God created the cow and said: "You must go into the field with the farmer all day long and suffer under the sun, have calves, and give milk to support the farmer's family.  For this, I will give you a life span of sixty years."  The cow said: "That's kind of a tough life you want me to live for sixty years.  How about twenty and I'll give back the other forty?"

And again, God agreed.

On the fourth day, God created man and said: "Eat, sleep, play, marry and enjoy your life.  For this, I'll give you twenty years."  But man said: "Only twenty years?  Could you possibly give me my twenty, the forty the cow gave back, the ten the monkey gave back, and the ten the dog gave back; that makes eighty, okay?"

"Okay," said God, "You asked for it."

So that is why he first twenty years we eat, sleep, play and enjoy ourselves.  For the next forty years we slave in the sun to support our family.  For the next ten years, we do monkey tricks to entertain the grandchildren.  And for the last ten years, we sit on the front porch and bark at everyone.



From the

ARRL Contest Rate Sheet June 28, 2006


Steve K7LXC notes that the correct place for a fall-arrest lanyard is the D-ring between your shoulder blades. That will catch you and hold you in a benign posture. The D-ring in the front is for when you use a safety climb cable and slider system with a climbing ladder or pegs.

A club with a tower-on-a-trailer is the envy of many. Just drive, crank, and call, right?  Watch the wind load! Jim W6RMK points out that you may find that a 40-foot mast with a small beam on it has enough overturning moment in a fairly common storm gust (e.g. 60 mi/hr) that outriggers can't keep the assembly upright. He calculates that 60 mi/hr and 9 sq ft is a force of 82 pounds at the top of the mast that works out to 8000 lb-ft on the outriggers.  A 10-ft outrigger would have to take an 800-pound load, supplied by the trailer itself or by ballast on the up-wind outrigger. Similar calculations for a 50-foot mast are shown at http://home.earthlink.net/~w6rmk/antenna/mastcar.htm.

When Eric W3DQ asked some roofers how to prop a ladder against gutters without smashing them, he said they place a 2x6 over the gutter and rest the ladder against that. Simple!

A neat way of automagically storing your coax as you lower your crank-up tower is to find a washer or dryer tub and set it at the base of your tower. The natural coil of the coax will cause it to wrap itself around the inside of the tub when lowering the tower and unwrap itself effortlessly when raising the tower. (Thanks, Dick NJ9K)

A text reference on tower safety is "Tower Climbing Safety and Rescue." This professionally written book is full of accurate, useful information and is available through the ARRL Products Web site at http://www.arrl.org.





Slow QSL Bureau


Nine months went by, and I hadn't received any packets of QSL cards from the 7th Call Area QSL Bureau.  I was sure my account still had money and envelopes enough for a least a couple of mailings.  I hadn't been real active DXing, but I thought something should be waiting for me.  So, I sent an email asking, if I had any cards.


Mark, N7MQ quickly and courteously replied.  (Don't ever think they don't take their job seriously over in Portland.)  According to Mark, the QSL bureau mail has been real slow for almost a year.  They aren't getting many cards coming from anywhere, and only hardcore contesters seem to get many.  I did have a few, which he had already sent to me. 


Those hams who have used the DX QSL bureaus long have recognized system's steady, but slow pace.  It's cheap and slow.  If it has seemed to you that things are really slow now, you apparently are right. The problem doesn't seem to be in Portland though.  I got the impression that there is a lot of frustration among the volunteers that work so hard to make the system work. 


Bob, N7MSU



A new ARRL DXCC entity has come into being! As expected, the United Nations admitted the Republic of Montenegro as its 192nd member June 28, and that action automatically makes the tiny Balkan nation the 336th current DXCC entity.

"According to the ARRL DXCC List criteria, entities on the UN list of member-states qualify as political entities," said ARRL Membership Services Manager Wayne Mills, N7NG. "Therefore, effective June 28, 2006 (UTC), ARRL has added The Republic of Montenegro to the DXCC List. Claims for DXCC credit will be accepted immediately."

Current Montenegrin radio amateurs reportedly may continue using their YU/YT/YZ/4O/4N-prefix call signs until the International Telecommunication Union designates a new call sign block for the new country.

In anticipation of Montenegro's new nation status, the International DX Festival Montenegro, with information on the web at, http://www.yu6scg.cg.yu/international-dx-festival.html, has been set for July 20 until August 12. That's when several international operators will join forces with Montenegrin Amateur Radio operators from at least three different stations using a common call sign in an effort to meet the DX community's need to work the newest DXCC Entity.  Festival organizers have set the ambitious goal of 200,000 contacts for the event, which will use all HF bands.

Montenegro declared its independence on June 3 following a national referendum May 21.


Glacier Waterton International Hamfest and Montana State Convention

Well, the days are longer, and kids are out of school.  The weather is warmer and families are looking to go on vacation.  If you are looking at a quick vacation “get away”, please consider the 2006 Glacier Waterton International PeacePark Hamfest (72nd annual) and the Montana Section Convention.  It will take place on July 14 th through the 16th near Essex, MT. near Glacier National Park.   It is sponsored by the Glacier – Waterton Directors, and will be held at the Three Forks Campground (13 miles west of East Glacier on Highway 2).


Features include a flea market, craft sale, tailgating, vendors, dealer displays, old equipment auction, transmitter hunts, seminars and programs, VE sessions, and meetings (QCWA, ARES, etc.).  Barbeque meals (Saturday bring your own meat and tableware) and breakfast (Sunday) will be available.


Camping is available at Glacier Meadow Park and other areas (406)226-4479.  There will be “talk-in” on 146.52 MHz.


Admission is $18 in advance ($25 at the door) with folks under 16 years of age are admitted free.  Please contact Jim Cummins, N7YO, (406)453-9992 n7yo@mpiwifi.com and www.gwhamfest.org .   





As of early Monday evening, the S.E. station put up at Fort Missoula had “bagged” several hundred contacts.  Things look good so far.  The leadership of Bob Henderson, N7MSU (he was the guy cracking the whip) has produced a good showing of club folks and things look good for the Fourth of July finale.


There is even a six meter station on site, although Steve Schlang’s, K7PX, “opening” never really showed.  This activity has the opportunity to interest more people and show off our hobby in great ways.



We hope the HELLGATE STATIC was interesting for you this month.  Let us know if this newsletter is to your acceptance.  So far, I’ve only heard good things.  If there is something YOU would like to see, or that you feel is overdone, please let me know.  This is the Hellgate Amateur Radio Club newsletter, not mine!  If you have something (even a simple one-liner) please write to me at our address or e-mail me (Craig, KE7NO) at twincreek@blackfoot.net. 


Although this newsletter will probably reach you after the Fourth of July, the ideas should still ring true in our minds.  It is truly amazing that we live in a country such as this where it is not only accepted, but is essential, that we disagree with each other.  As bizarre as it sounds, that is how freedom and the ability to freely speak your mind can exist.  That is why freedom is such a wonderful gift.  Regardless of your personal feelings, we all should be thankful for those who have provided it for us.  We also should be very proud of our military personnel from the past and present, and make future members satisfied with their decision and know that we approve.


Thank you to all veterans that may see this.  Happy Birthday America!