Hellgate Static

Hellgate Amateur Radio Club

P.O. Box 3811

Missoula, MT. 59806-3811


JUNE 2006



Next meeting is June 12, 2006

At:  NOAA National Weather Service Office

6033 Aviation Way



Remember, Field Day is June 24th & 25th.

Come on out to the Fort, help us get prepared, and join us on the air!





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


Meeting of May 8, 2006


The meeting was called to order at 7:00 PM by president Ehli (N7GE).


There was no financial report as Steve Schlang (K7PX) was not present.


The minutes were approved as presented.


The digital system is working, but the voice 146.90 MHz UHF link is down.


ARES field manuals were discussed and it was decided to purchase them.


The Yaesu 757 radio & power supply (which needs much work) will be given to Wayne Van Meter (N7TAE).  A motion was made by Dennis Barthel (W7DHB), seconded by Lewis Ball (AC7UZ). The motion passed.


Report on the Griz Triathlon by Vick Applegate (K7VK) and Jerry Ehli (N7GE) noted there were some problems with coordination.


Dennis Barthel’s (W7DHB) report on the River Bank Run informed us that the portable repeater needed a shorter squelch tail. The operation was well run.


The TOSRV will be June 10 & 11. It will be coordinated by Bob Henderson (N7MSU). Please see below.


Lewis Ball is to contact Frank Bretz to see if a used camp trailer could be obtained for a portable communication station.


Field day will be at Ft. Missoula followed by Lewis & Clark special event on the 4th of July at the same location.  Please see the following articles.


A motion was made to purchase supplies for the National Weather Service antenna. The motion passed.


A motion was made to authorize $200.00 for field day with $100.00 for incidental expenses. The motion was seconded and passed.


Meeting adjourned at 8:20 PM



If you get the chance, please check out page 45 within the June QST.  I’m sure you will recognize the fellows mentioned in the second “Strays” column.


2006 TOSRV


On June 10-11, HARC again will provide communications for the Tour of the Swan River Valley (TOSRV) bicycle rally.  About 300 riders from all over the country are expected to participate.  Some will make the 1-day ride to Seeley Lake and back.  Many others will be going to Bigfork and back for the full 2-day event.


We will need lots of hams with functional 2 MTR radios and motor vehicles to help them out.  Some of us will only be needed on Saturday June 10 to accompany bicyclists to Seeley Lake and back.  But, we also need plenty more out there on Saturday and Sunday that can go to the Bigfork and back.


Make sure your vehicle and radio are in good running condition.  We’ll meet at Bonner Grade School on Saturday, June 10, at 7:00-7:30 am to be dispatched.


Bob N7MSU will be your contact this year.  Let him know that you will be working this event ASAP.  Call Bob at 251-4148 or email at slvrtip@bigsky.net .  CU SN ES TNX DE N7MSU SK



We still have a Yaesu FT-411 2 meter handheld.  It will come with a speaker mic, a short “duckie” antenna and a 5/8 wave glass mount whip, a NiCd charger and 3 battery packs, and a car charger.  Raffle tickets are $2.50 each.  What a deal.  If nothing else, a great rig to sell at a hamfest.


5th Lewis and Clark Special Event Coming Soon

July 2-3-4


Come out to Fort Missoula and help us celebrate the Lewis and Clark Expedition and Independence Day!  W7PX will be running strong July 2-4 this year. This is our fifth Special Event operation on the Lewis and Clark Trail.  We’ll operate from the chapel at the Historical Museum at Fort Missoula.  As usual, we need help, welcome the company and expect to  have lots of fun on the radio!


Equipment setup at the old chapel will be Sunday July 2 at 1 pm (Montana Time).  Take down will be Tuesday July 4 at 4 pm.  Again, your help will be much appreciated.


The major change from past operations is that this time the event will include parts of 3 days, instead of the usual 2-day affair.  Our committee decided on this format to give hams as many opportunities to work us during this period of low sunspot activity.


Everyone that wants to be on the air will get on the air. As usual, this is primarily an HF op for making contacts with other Hams and Lewis and Clark Crazies, just like ourselves.  In the past we’ve used 20 MTR almost exclusively, but this time we’ll try to stay around in the evenings to work 75 and 40 MTRs too.  Hopefully, that way we can make more contacts in Montana and nearby states that share our enthusiasm for Lewis and Clark.


For you VHF fans, we also will have a couple of 2 MTR stations on the air. There  will be an APRS station and we again will have an FM station working through the 147.04 repeater taking call-ins from around western Montana.  If you can’t make it to Fort Missoula, you can at least talk with us on 75 or 2 MTRs.  See details on the Club’s website.


There’s lots of other stuff to do too!  Independence Day celebrations are always great at the Fort.  Want to know more?  Talk with other committee members (K7BA, W7DHB, N7TAE, NN8A, NZ7S) or contact me–Bob N7MSU 251-4148 or email at slvrtip@bigsky.net , HP CU SN,


Bob, N7MSU



Our only candidate at the May 11 examination session passed Technician.  Congratulations to Garrett, KE7HUC.  He received his new call sign the day after the examination!   Thanks to examiners: K7PX, Steve; K7VK, Vick & W7DHB, Dennis. 


One examination session remains prior to our summer break, June 15, 6 PM at the Missoula Public Library.    Hope to see you there.


A Flash of Light, a Crash of Thunder

The first flashes of lightning and rumbles of thunder have signaled the beginning of our thunderstorm season.  Lightning protection ranks right near the top of we ham’s ‘must-dos’.  Two basic rules that apply are first, disconnect all equipment, antennas and power cords when it is not in use or when storms threaten.  Second, properly ground all of your equipment.  Lightning arrestors for cables and AC power-line protectors are also a good idea. 


Several good sources of information on lightning protection exist.  The ARRL Antenna Book and ARRL Handbook are two of the better sources.  Also excellent are two ARRL QST articles, June & July 2002 that are easily accessible on the internet.


Part 1 is at http://www.arrl.org/tis/info/pdf/0206056.pdf. 

Part 2 is at http://www.arrl.org/tis/info/pdf/0207048.pdf.


Another recent guide book, How to Protect your House and Its Contents from Lightning by the Institute of Electronic and Electrical Engineers, IEEE is on the internet at http://omegaps.com/Lightning%20Guide_FINALpublishedversion_May051.pdf. 


Take steps to keep those lightning strikes and transients from killing your equipment! 

Good luck & 73,

Vick, K7VK



O r- How I survived the 2006 7th QSO PARTY

I have been an amateur radio operator of sorts for some ten years now.  During that time I have operated mostly from home but sometimes I have been able to get out and operate from new sites.   I have over the years taken to rating those sites on a scale of one to ten.  The weekend of May 3-4 and 5th had me operating from a new site.  My partners and I traveled East to the remote county of Sweet Grass to find it.  It rated a 9.5 and that is saying something compared to other "antenna" sites I have visited.

At over 5,000' and views to die for one could not ask for anything more as my Elmer always says in such situations.  What with soft mountain breezes, peaks reaching to the sky, wildlife walking, running, flying, honking, eating and at times being eaten all around it was indeed difficult to keep to the task of participating in the 2006 7th area QSO Party.

But alas I actually had traveled to this remote and beautiful spot for the purpose of "Contesting".   Yes that either you love it or hate it occasional occupation of the Amateur Radio Operator.  Oh, it's not too bad once you get in and stake your claim.  I often think of myself during this time as being the runt of a litter, jumping back and forth till a spot opens up and you are able to dive in with elbows, knees and feet kicking. Once you have "landed" it's now time to cut out the interference on either side and start letting the neighborhood know there's a new kid in town.

No poaching should be tolerated on your frequency, keep pounding that brass and outlast them at all costs.  Once they start trying to drown you out with the old closed key trick you really know you have their attention and it will be only a matter of time before they give up.  Of course this will cost you some time and contacts but that can be made up later.  Just remember you too can be found on the "loosing" end of this game.  After all Amateur Radio is indeed a CONTACT sport.  Just dust yourself off and get back on the key, no holds bared and may the best brass pounder win.

With the contest about to start our lead off Operator was in position.  Rig adjusted for max power out, SWR down, Logging Software up and of course the four basic food groups, coffee, coke, chips and peanut butter would meet our nutritional needs.   We were now good to go.  At 0 hour it was total mayhem as the 40 meter band was wide open.  I of course did not witness this, as I was making sure the surrounding area was inspected to prevent any distraction to our current operator.

At approximately 09:00 am local time it was my turn to pull a shift.  Fortunately my partner had gotten us bellied up to the trough so I could start picking up points right away.  Activity was more or less constant with occasional dead spots and pile ups thrown in here and there.  It was also nice of him to bring his external keyer as the newly donated FT 1000 did not have one.  And most important of all we were using Bob's call sign.  This is always a good way to go in case the OO's want to hunt you down for an over zealous defense of your operating frequencies.

Small breaks were taken for "larger" meals and short walks to get the blood flowing again.  It was during one of our breaks we were able to watch the hunting technique of a Sand Hill Crane.  Up to this time I had no idea Prairie Dogs were on the menu.

With evening came the night shift.  No more time for easy slips out the door for a look-see.  Now it was time to get serious as we were heading to the wire.  The contest ended at 1:30pm and we still needed lots of points.

As we fired up the rig it was decided to give 80 meters a try.  A good choice as the signals were wall to wall and ten deep.  I knew I was outclassed here so I turned it over to the old master to get us to the "trough".  Oh they put up some resistance but with patience and attitude we were soon racking them up from our own slice of the pie.

There is only one real problem with long contests.  All the operators on this contest were early risers and early to bed people.  As we rounded nine pm I knew we were in trouble.  Trading places helped some.  And having the TV on also distracted our weary minds from total collapse.  By midnight I was heading for the barn leaving it to Bob and Vick to bring her home.

As I crawled into the back of the pickup bed under a star studded sky I promised myself never again but knew that would be a hard one to keep.

Steve, K7PX


According to the Central Oregon DX Club website (organizers of the 7QP contest), 203 of the 259 “7 land” counties were activated during the contest.  That is a great job, but we all know we can do better (especially since only 40 of Montana’s 56 counties were activated).






In my March 2006 letter, I briefly noted a need for hams to become politically astute as we look to the future.   Due to certain political forces and "market demand", good engineering technology is sometimes put aside in lieu of programs that are not compatible with our service.  In order not to be overrun by these forces, we must become more aware
of the political environment and be mindful that our privileges, operating environment and frequencies are not subrogated.

In the past, the ARRL has encouraged members to write or e-mail federal legislators asking for support for bills and initiatives.  But, how do we both gain a better understanding the legislation that needs our support and how can we better understand the political process?

Gaining knowledge of and participating in this legislative arena is soon to become more formal and very important.  The announcement that House Resolution 230 sponsored by Rep. Mike Ross WD5DVR is now an element of the House Telecommunications Bill (HR5252) provides this opportunity.  A section of this bill requires the FCC to investigate
and report on interference on the HF and VHF frequencies.  For some inexplicable reason, the BPL industry wants this item deleted from the bill!

In support of Representative Ross, each Board member and officer was asked to write his or her House of Representatives member in support HRes 230.  We achieved 100% participation and we believe our support helped foster its inclusion into HR5252.  

During the ARRL Board Meeting last January, I was asked to participate as a member of the Grassroots Legislative Action Committee.  The charge to this committee is to oversee the development and enhancement of the legislative process including:

1) A user-friendly process that will enable ARRL Members to receive timely notification of pending legislation.
2) A structure within each ARRL Division and State to oversee the Grassroots process.
3) A Definition of training activities that increase the knowledge and participation of ARRL members in the political process.

The recommendations of our committee will be presented to the full ARRL Board in July.  As a part of this process, I am charged to identify and appoint politically astute members to serve as Northwestern Division Legislative Action Coordinator, State Legislative Action Coordinators, and State Legislative Action Assistants to fulfill this process.

So, as an individual ARRL member, what does this mean to you?  As noted earlier, hams cannot rely on others to maintain the privileges we currently enjoy.  We must become active and communicate the need for an active, viable, and trained cadre of radio communicators to serve the United States during natural and man-made disasters or in times of crisis.  Our ARRL founder, Hiram Percy Maxim, participated in this political process and we now must continue to follow in his footsteps.  Our survival is partially dependent on the amount of effort we put into this activity. When a bill or activity requires our support (or criticism), we must respond. 

In the future, you will receive information requesting you to communicate with your legislators in support of bills that will
directly or indirectly affect amateur radio.    

In addition, if you have an interest in serving as a division-level appointee in this exciting process, please contact me expressing your interest. Thanks in advance for your support and participation in this effort.  Your participation can certainly result in continuing the lineage we had as new hams and insure our frequencies and ability to serve our fellow citizens is maintained well into the future.

Note: A letter was sent to ARRL members in AK, WA, OR and MT on May 12 requesting you to write Senators serving on the Telecommunications Committee.  We need their support to add language to S2686 similar to language in HR5252.  This need surfaced while this letter to the Northwestern Division was being written.  This is an example how things
happen in "warp-speed" urgency as we deal with our elected officials.  This legislation will have a profound effect on the amateur radio service.  We must make our wishes known!  In this manner, we can influence our destiny.

I'll be in touch again soon. 

Jim Fenstermaker K9JF
ARRL Northwestern Division






Ah, Summer is upon us.....feels good to be outside catching up on antenna maintenance again.  Time to check out all your antennas and support structures.  Guy wires, hardware and fittings.  Expect that you may find some loose or broken parts.  Above all, if you don’t feel safe on your tower, call someone to help.  Our Montana Traffic Net is alive and well.  This thanks to all who support it with their time and effort.  Net manager, Jack Brooks, KD7HWV and I would like to thank everyone who works with NTS traffic and checks into our system.  Many also work with IMN, DRN7 and other feeder nets are unsung heroes.  You all have worked to make MTN a well oiled machine.  In addition, our thanks to newer members who have learned traffic handling procedures and are always willing to take traffic and move it to it's destination.

Our special thanks to the following:
W7IG, Armand, OR      N7TAE, Wayne, MT    W7ARC, Bill, WA     K7SIK, Donnie, MT   AA7OX, Charlotte, ID 

KE7DVV, Marv, WA  W7QM, Allen, WA     W7SMC, Rick, WA    K7PMB, Ralph, OR    W7TVA, Jeri, WA   K7MQF, Larry, WA   AC7AI, George, WA  N7DRP, Betty, WA    K7BDU, George, WA  W7NWP, Homer, WA     W7QFG, David, WA 

N7CM, Clair, OR   WV7Z, Mike, MT  VA7DR, Drew, BC   KD7HWV, Jack, MT   W7LMA, Bob, ID

These and many others have helped us by taking traffic and working with other nets to bring it to it's destination.  If I've missed anyone, please forgive.  We've put this list together out of memory.

We can always use more participation from those stations located in major population centers. Traffic languishes on the Net for lack of a contact point to move it to it's intended recipient.  Check in, we could use your help! Remember, 3910 KHZ, 0030 Zulu time.

My thanks go to all who participate.  You are appreciated.

IMN-W5UYH, QNI-532, QTC-88       MTN-KD7HWV, QNI-2453, QTC-92  MSN-K7YD, KC7CIS (now K7LMT), K7MT and KC5YED-104

73 to all,
Doug, K7YD



We need your help in our ongoing fight against Broadband over Power Line (BPL) interference. As you may have heard, the ARRL was successful in obtaining language in a U.S. House of Representatives bill, HR 5252, requiring that the FCC study and report on the interference potential of BPL systems. The bill was adopted by the House Commerce Committee and will be on its way to the House floor for a vote shortly.

Now we must turn our attention to the Senate, where similar language is needed. Senator Conrad Burns is a member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, which is now holding hearings on telecommunications legislation. We need his support of language addressing the BPL interference issue when the Senate bill is marked up in his committee on June 8.

Please write to him today. A sample letter follows. Please personalize it as much as you can and send it, preferably by FAX to the number shown. Please also send a copy to the ARRL's Government Relations firm:

Attention: Eric Heis, KI4NFC
Chwat & Company, Inc.
625 Slaters Lane, Suite 103
Alexandria, VA 22314
Fax (703) 684-7594 


If you can't send it by FAX, use regular mail - but please BE SURE to mail a copy to Eric Heis so he can hand carry it to the Hill. Regular mail to members of Congress is seriously delayed. Email is not recommended for this particular project.

Thank you for your assistance and support. If you want to email me in reply to this message, please use the email address shown below.

Jim Fenstermaker, K9JF
Director, Northwestern Division
ARRL - The National Association for Amateur Radio







Honorable Conrad Burns
United States Senate
187 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Via FAX 202-224-8594

Dear Senator Burns,

I am writing as one of the more than 3,000 federally licensed radio amateurs of Montana to thank you for your past support of Amateur Radio and to request your help with legislation in the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee.  During the June 8th markup of S.2686, the Communications, Consumer's Choice, and Broadband Deployment Act of 2006, please support an amendment directing the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to conduct a comprehensive study of the potential of "broadband over power line" (BPL) systems to interfere with public safety and other licensed radio services. Appropriate language drafted by the ARRL, the national association for Amateur Radio, reads:

"Within 90 days after the date of enactment of this section, the Federal Communications Commission shall conduct, and submit to the House Energy and Commerce and the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, a study of the interference potential of broadband over power line systems leading to improved rules to prevent the deployment of systems having a potential to cause destructive interference to radio communication systems."

A similar requirement that the FCC study and report on the interference potential of BPL systems is included in HR 5252 as reported out of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.

BPL utilizes electric power lines to serve as the conductors of the broadband signals. Unfortunately, because the power lines are not shielded, they also act as antennas and radiate the signals into the air. These radiated signals will interfere with radio receivers tuned to the same frequency range. BPL has only been deployed to a very limited extent, but Amateur Radio already is experiencing severe BPL interference that the FCC has been unable or unwilling to correct.  Unlike BPL, other methods of providing broadband Internet services to consumers, such as cable, DSL, wireless, satellite and Fiber to the Home, do not pollute the radio spectrum.

Not all BPL systems cause widespread interference to radio. The problem is that the FCC rules do not distinguish between BPL systems with a high potential for interference and those that are more benign. The FCC allows both kinds of systems to be deployed. This places an unreasonable burden on radio users, who must deal with the consequences of the interference. It is also unfair to the responsible BPL companies that have addressed the interference issue effectively but must compete with the spectrum polluters.

The reason we need your help is that the FCC continues to resist growing evidence that its rules are inadequate to protect
radiocommunication systems, including those relied upon by First Responders, from radio spectrum pollution caused by BPL systems. The FCC needs to objectively and carefully review this evidence and adopt rules that will keep interference from BPL within reasonable bounds.  Unfortunately, not only has the FCC shown no inclination to do that, the agency so far has failed even to enforce its existing rules in specific, well documented instances of harmful interference.

Because we need no infrastructure in order to communicate, the Amateur Radio Service is the only 100-percent fail-safe emergency communications resource in the world. The importance of this capability is documented on page 177 of the recent report of the Select Bipartisan Committee of the House of Representatives, "A Failure of Initiative," on Hurricane Katrina. Amateur Radio is included in the list of "What Went Right" in the White House report, "The Federal Response to Katrina: Lessons Learned." Amateur Radio is one of the few communications services that succeeded in Katrina's aftermath.  Interference from BPL emissions will significantly disrupt this unique capability.

Please require the FCC to protect radio services from BPL interference.  Thousands of radio amateurs will be grateful for your support.

___________[CITY, STATE, ZIP]







For Immediate Release             June 19, 2005       CANCEL : June 25, 2006 NOON


The Hellgate Amateur Radio Club (HARC), a Montana organization of radio “hams”, is conducting a special emergency-preparedness exercise.  This year, there will be two locations where the club and its members will be performing this training exercise.  One location will be at Fort Missoula, where the majority of the club will meet, and two other club members will be located near Union Peak near the Blackfoot River valley.


Known as “Field Day”, licensed radio amateurs nationwide take to the countryside and operate from non-commercial power sources.  This is done to demonstrate and practice their ability to provide emergency communications in the event of natural disasters.  This exercise will begin at noon on Saturday June 24, and will end at noon on Sunday, and the hams will operate through the night.


Ham radio has recently supplied communication in many recent disasters such as the hurricanes such as Katrina last year, very large wildfires that have occurred recently in such as areas in Texas and Oklahoma, and during the recent tsunami in Indonesia.  In many of these instances, standard and cell phones were inoperable and regular communication channels were not sufficient.


HARC is affiliated with Missoula County in the Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service (RACES) and the Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) as part of the nation’s Civil Defense.  This nationwide Field Day activity is coordinated by the Amateur Radio Relay League (ARRL), which boast a membership of over one half a million amateurs world wide.  HARC has entered into agreements with the National Weather Service, the Salvation Army and the Red Cross, and often works with several other Missoula based organizations.


To help promote the Incident Command System (ICS) that is used nationwide in emergency situations, the HARC has also developed its Field Day layout using ICS this year.  The Incident Commander is Jerry Ehli, the HARC president, who can be reached at 239-0214.    


The hams that participate in Field Day attempt to contact amateurs in North America and around the world.  Although it is not a “contest”, extra points are given to amateurs for using non-commercial modes of power such as generators or natural energy sources such as solar power, and for using different ways (or modes) of communication.  Often, modes such as single side band voice, satellite and digital transmissions, and even the trusty Morse code can be seen at the same location.


Radio amateurs are not paid for these activities, but provide them in a spirit of public service. 


Please, come visit with the Hellgate Amateur Radio Club!    


Hopefully the last batch helped during 7QP.  Remember the upcoming activities such as Field Day, and the IARU Championships.  Good Luck!–ed.


Ward, N0AX

From the March 8, 2006 edition of the ARRL Contest Rate Sheet


Bottom cold and clammy
- You forgot to put on pants after last sleep break
- Reinstall pants without losing run frequency

Bottom warm and clammy
- Improper bladder control
- Complain about previous operator's lack of shack etiquette

Other operators are looking at you and smiling
- You fell asleep and empty soda cans are now stacked on your head
- Don't swallow or move!

Heavy weight pressing on one side
- Mult operator fell asleep and is leaning on you
- Stack soda cans on his head

Station you're working is using unfamiliar procedures
- You are operating on MARS net outside of band
- Remove one letter from the prefix and log it!

Caller has the best audio you've ever heard
- You are attempting to work shortwave broadcast station news program
- Add a number somewhere in the call sign and log it!

Callers only send one letter at a time
- You are attempting to make a QSO with intermodulation products
- Accumulate enough characters and log it!

Ears ringing, mind unusually clear, station owner yelling
- You just blew up the amplifier
- Point at the youngest operator and keep operating barefoot


We hope the STATIC was interesting for you this month.  Let us know if this newsletter is to your acceptance.  We are STILL in need of articles that are of interest to YOU, AND are supplied by YOU.  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.  We look forward to seeing you at the next meeting.   If not, still help us with some of the activities.  


Remember June has a TON of things to do for the local ham radio operator.  As we all know, it is Field Day, so we hope you come out and join the club at the Fort.  It is also time for TOSRV.  Please help Bob (N7MSU) out if you can.  Regarding Field Day, come out and help the club at their location, visit another club’s location, or “go off on your own”.  It’s too much fun to stay at home!!  WE NEED FEEDBACK!