Hellgate Static

Hellgate Amateur Radio Club

P.O. Box 3811

Missoula, MT. 59806-3811

 

MARCH 2006

W7PX             

http://www.users.qwest.net/~k7vk/

Next meeting is March 13, 2006

NOAA (National Weather Service) Conference Room

National Weather Service Office, 6633 Aviation Way

(see article inside)

At 1900

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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

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Hellgate Amateur Radio Club Meeting

February 13, 2006

 

The meeting was called to order by President Ehli (N7GE) at 7:10 PM.

 

The treasurer’s report was presented at $865.25 + $250.00 from First Night Missoula.  Motion made, seconded and passed to approve the report.

 

The minutes were approved as corrected, the books for the training in Technician, General, & Extra with a motion, seconded, & passed.

 

Old Business

Report of the Lewis & Clark committee: will be at Fort Missoula on the 2nd , 3rd , and 4th of July.

 

Articles are needed for the Static.

 

The Wednesday Sky Warn net has been operating under the new format for 4 weeks with growing success. The HF at 8:30 on 3.947 MHz or 7.268 MHz & VHF at 9:00 on 147.040 repeater. The nets will be called from the National Weather Service, the Red Cross, & the Emergency Operation Center at the Court House.

 

New Business

A dual band radio is needed for the Red Cross. If you have an extra, contact the President, Jerry (N7GE), or Byron (NN8A).

The spring in-to-action park run will not use HARC this year as there was a change in managers and our service was not recognized. The Griz Tri-athalon coordinator will be Byron (NN8A). The YMCA Riverbank Run coordinator will be Dennis (W7DHB).

 

VE testing will be on February 23, 2006 at the Library.

 

Byron (NN8A) is the area Emergency Coordinator. There will be a preparedness drill in March. Each net controller should have a jump kit for 72 hours (food, Med. Water, etc.).

 

A motion was made, seconded, and passed to honor Frank Irish (KA7LEB) as a non-voting life member of HARC with a letter and certificate for the many hours devoted to monitoring the Missoula repeaters & his dedication to the betterment of our club.

 

 A motion was made, seconded, and passed to hold Field Day at Fort Missoula.

 

TORSV will be the first weekend in June.

 

More radios were donated to the club. The ones that can be used will be retained with the rest distributed at more free raffles.

 

The meeting was adjourned at 7:45 and the free raffle was conducted. New homes were found for Scopes, VTVMs, signal generators, power supplies and many other treasurers. 


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JANUARY UPDATE FROM THE SECTION MANAGER

January was a busy month for your SM, with little time for the hobby.  I have been traveling the past two weeks and have not been able to submit reports.  My apologies to those who may wait to read this column.

Have heard many reports while traveling about signals received from Suitsat.  Apparently, they were weak at best for "handheld" coverage.  But, several stations report good signal level on home stations equipped with directive arrays.  Some interference by uplink transmissions were also a problem.  Thanks to those who worked so hard to put the Suitsat program together.

I've seen increasing interest in APRS in my travels.  More stations coming on all the time.  In the Seattle area, it was hard to get a burst in with my tracker, tremendous activity on 144.390.  If you havent already, take a look at UI View, the APRS viewer program.  If you have a newer computer you'll find it works very well.

IMN-W5UYH, QNI-585, QTC-109
MTN-KD7HWV, QNI-3004, QTC-54
MSN-KC7CIS, QNI-87

73, Doug, K7YD

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THE NEXT EXAM SESSIONS

This month we can report that there are TWO exam sessions that are available for the “potential students” out there.  The usual exams here in Missoula, will be at the Missoula Public Library located at 301 E. Main St. on the 16th at 6 PM.  The big exam news is the other potential site that will be available.  Two days earlier (March 14) there will be exams given at 7 PM at Lone Rock School at 1112 Three Mile Rd. in Stevensville.  Any details for this exam should contact Danne at kc7zo@cybernet1.com or Vic at k7vk@arrl.net . 

 

I haven’t heard anything new about Danne’s class (or about folks that have been preparing themselves for exams lately, but the best of luck to all of you!

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Missoula County ARES

Hello from your EC, NN8A,

 

I just wanted to update everyone on the status of ARES.  Mike McCrackin resigned recently as the EC, and I volunteered to take the post and was appointed.  We have been holding the Net again on Thursdays at 2000 hours or 8 pm.  I am planning a drill in March and it will also involve Missoula County RACES or ACS.  The information will be presented on the following nets MNT, Missoula Sky Warn HF, Hellgate Vhf, and the Thursday ARES net.

 

Missoula National Weather Service (WX7MSO) has an hf station set up for Sky Warn now and it was activated on 2/16/06.

81 contacts were made via vhf and hf.  This station also has APRS running full time.  Thanks to NZ7S and W7PAQ and W7XY for the set up.  The operators were W7PAQ, AC7UZ, W7XY, and W7DHB.  Thanks also to all operators providing weather data.  There will soon be a need for a work party at the NWS to install a 75 meter loop.

 

In conjunction with the NWS station the Red Cross station has been beefed up. The HF radio has been an Issue there but will be fixed.  The Yaesu 757 has some problems, so a Kenwood 440 was installed. We are currently seeking a dual band transmitter (vhf/uhf) for the Red Cross, if any one has one to donate please let us know.

 

The Hellgate VHF net on Wednesday nights has been called from these locations now for six weeks and there is an approved attendance record.  The new Sky Warn HF net is called an hour before on 3.947 mhz.  If you can participate on either of these nets please do so as they are important to keep up dated and to sharpen your skills.

 

March 1, 2006 another station will be added to this rotation it will be The Missoula County EOC.  The purpose of using these three stations is to familiarize the operators with all of these stations and to train net control operators and to exercise the equipment and identify equipment problems or decencies. It is to also promote awareness of the served agencies. 

 

Now for some lessons learned from Katrina.

                1) Telephone systems fail during emergency events.

                2) Amateur radio is the only reliable form of communications.

                3) Amateur operators who are victims are not able in many cases to help the situation and outsiders are needed.

                4) Amateur operators who can help must be trained and equipped to stand on their own for 72 hours upon arriving at an                            event!!!!!!!!!!! (This is Important and will be the focus of the first drill.)

 

ARES and RACES are not just for local support but also for helping out in other states and countries.  We do a disservice to the concept by not having teams ready to go any where and help others!!!!  It also helps us train because we gain experience.

 

Thanks for reading.

73’s and good Hammin from NN8A.

PS. see you in late March!!!

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ON BEING A GOOD ELMER

From January 1959 World Above50 Mc Reprinted in February 2006 QST in The World Above 50 MHz

(TNX Gene, W3ZZ)

“If the Technician, as a newcomer, is not well informed on the finer things of v.h.f. life, whose fault is it?.... If the newly licensed ham develops into a trial to his fellows, could it just be that he was not sufficiently indoctrinated  before getting the ticket?  Perhaps it would be well to remember this the next time you work with a prospect, whether he be age 16 or 60.  When he gets a ticket and starts operating his own station he will be a living example of your teaching.  If he is the likable and ambitious sort that most fellows are who become interested in anything as technically complex as ham radio is, even today, the chances are good that he will eventually turn into a good ham.  But we can help the cause along in our work with beginners, in our radio clubs, and by the example that we ourselves set by our own on-the-air methods.  (For the newcomer who follows some poor operating procedures) it may be that he is not doing it intentionally.  We should at least give him the benefit of the doubt, at least, and by our own example provide him an ideal to shoot for as he develops into a full-fledged v.h.f. man.  Calling him names, meanwhile, will do no one any good.”


THIS MONTHS GAME

Answer the question, and find it in the puzzle.  Up, down, front, or back.  Answers will be available in next months Hellgate Static.  Have fun!

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Our club president’s callsign

What band is the 146.80 repeater on

A half wave horizontal antenna found at many “ham” homes

The national amateur organization

A mystical object of unspeakable terror

Found on top of many vertical antennas

Our club’s initials

Used to enforce the principals of decency in operating work

160 meter band nickname

An antenna made of square elements

40 meter band frequency

“Is anyone using this frequency” in morse code

Front element(s) on a yagi array

Cardoid shapes show an excellent …..

The club callsign

What we need at the activities we provide communication for

Long distance contact

Single-side band abbreviation

Producer of the radio that many of us “worked” on         

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MARCH MEETING

The March 13, 2006 meeting is scheduled at the National Weather Service Office, 6633 Aviation Way, just off Highway 10 West and North of the Smoke Jumper Center. Parking is in the Southeast lot.   Come see the new amateur radio station at the National Weather Service Office!


Other suitable meetings sites are being sought.  If you know of any please contact one of the HARC officers.  

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ONE THAT KINDA’, SORTA’, “WORKED”

Craig Nelson, KE7NO and Steve Flood, KK7UV

 

Last weekend my schedule was busy.  It was the 2006 ARRL International DX contest.  I will save you from the general “gunk” about the contest, but, suffice it to say that smoke in the shack was not a good sign.  It wasn’t the rig, but it was the remote coax switch.  This slows you WAY down when you want to switch your antennas, especially when one of the low temperature marks was -27° F.

 

My plan was to improve my antenna arrangement for forty meters for this contest.  The dipole that I was using was at approximately 74 feet at the center, and worked as you would assume a dipole at that level would.  Unfortunately, during the CW portion, the band gets full….VERY FULL.  If you think about where the W6 kilowatt station is, and where Europe is, and who is in the middle (that would be us), you understand the need for a “one-way” antenna.

 

Several antenna ideas have crossed my mind, and as always, they get started NOW, especially since there is around 30” of ice hard snow at my shack.  That, and given the possibility of the temperatures described above, it is definitely antenna weather!  Although I had looked at wire beams, even my addled brain knew better than to try that right now.  As I often do, I visited W4RNL website http://www.cebik.com/radio.html .  The L.B. Cebik website has almost everything you would ever need to string wire across your property.  Check it out!  I found a potential antenna, the vertical Moxon.  I had seen a Moxon several years ago when Steve had erected a horizontal one for 10 and 15 meters during the peak of the sunspots.  As we always joke back and forth, was it going to be a “lightbulb”.  This reference is to an awesome article written in the July 2000 QST by Thomas Schiller, N6BT, called “Everything Works”.  Again, this is a great article that explains the antenna ideas in a simple way by saying that “everything works, but how well”.   In short, the Moxon worked.  How would the vertically arranged Moxon work, I would find out.  Steve was enlisted to produce the “science end” (mostly producing the plots from the EZNEC program written by W7EL Roy Lewallen and other analyzing programs) , I would be the grunt (and hopefully the guy with all the 40 meter European QSO’s.

 

Steve (KK7UV) ran the idea through several computer programs that he has.  Here’s a 40 meter Moxon oriented vertically with the top height at about 70 feet and bottom at about 19 feet.  The dimensions were created with the MOXGEN program (available on the internet) for 7.150 MHz and #12 wire, and the other diagrams are from EZNEC designed by W7EL Roy Lewallen.

 

The dimensions are as follows:

Wires 2 and 5 are 50.24 feet.

Wires 1 and 3 are 7.73 feet.

Wires 4 and 6 are 9.28 feet.

The 3-6 and 1-4 tail gaps are 1.17 feet.

 

Feedpoint Z is as follows:

@7.00 MHz = 26 – j39. SWR 3.3

@7.15 MHz = 58 + j6.  SWR 1.2

@7.30 MHz = 84 + j26. SWR 1.9

2:1 SWR bandwidth = 7.04 to 7.33 MHz

Next is the predicted azimuth plot at the design frequency.  This shows the front-to-back that I was looking for.  Therefore, less W6 noise and more Europeans. 

 

 

 

 

And below is the predicted elevational plot.

 

However, here is what happens at 7.02 MHz when the design is for 7.15 MHz. Forward gain is still about 4.8dbi but F/B deteriorates.  Near 7.0 MHz, F/B is down to 7dB.  You get a similar deterioration up near 7.3 MHz.  So, this is not a wideband performer.

 

As Steve asked me “Perhaps this jives with your observations?”.  The answer was a definite YES.  Although the SWR didn’t show the same progression, I did however see the front-to-back deteriorate to be worse than that shown directly above.  Although I could hear the European stations well, I could hear W6’s and W5’s also well (and the VE’s as you would expect).  It was too loud to meet my hopes.  Why did it react this way you may ask.  Well, I had problems pulling wires # 2 and 5 tight.  My natural skyhooks are ponderosa pine, they are 100 feet tall, but my aim with a fishing rod is not perfect.  I set it up using two trees and the antenna in between as a centenary rope between the two.  I accepted the height of 75 feet.  No matter what you use as a support line, there is deflection.  Mine dropped the top of the Moxon to around 70 feet.  That puts the antenna at the limits described above, and trees move when it is windy.  Too close I know, but it worked.  But, everything works.  Also, the Moxon needs the coaxial feed to enter it at a right angle.  This sounds easy, but tugging here and there always shows problems elsewhere.  The best I could with rope and 12# fishing line was the line leaving the array at a 35% down angle slope, and due to tree supports, coming back toward the reflector element at a 20% slope.

 

Some stations replied right away to my calls (IY4W, SQ9H, and UW8M), others in similar situations took forever to work or I never closed the gap.  There may have been more QRM on their end, but nothing was noticeable here.  I have assumed, that it may well have been reaching my shack at the “magic angle”.  Overall, it was not a gigantic improvement over the dipole.  Plus, it decreased my signal to the Pacific and Mexico.  We had a wonderful gray-line opening on Sunday morning, but without having the ability to work all of the cardinal directions, I have memories, not QSO’s.

 

So, even though there is some promise in this antenna, it comes down tomorrow.  It will become something else.  I’m already thinking of an 80 meter delta loop.  Maybe next year an 80 meter phased delta loop array, or look more closely into the idea of a half square over the creek, or…..   

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So, What ya’ Think?

Please let us know what you thought about the issue.  Send us your ideas.  You can reach me at twincreek@blackfoot.net .  Remember to pay up your dues (myself included!) and best 73’s!!  Craig KE7NO