January 2009 Issue



The Hellgate Amateur Radio Club, http://www.w7px.org, HARC meets the 2nd Monday of each month.

Next Meeting:   January 12   7:00 PM.        Amateur Radio License Examinations  5:30 PM

Location:   Fire Station No 4.   3011 Latimer Street, just off West Broadway near Quality Supply. 

Program:   Digital TV Conversion presented by FCC DTV Outreach Coordinator, Leo Cirbo.

Interested publics are always welcome.


Hellgate ARC members attending this meeting have a chance to win the door prize, a  


You must be present to win!


Upcoming Events

Every Wednesday

Two-Meter Wednesday Night VHF Net, 147.04 MHz (+ offset) 9:00 PM

Every Saturday

ŌHamĶ breakfast, Lucky Strike Restaurant, 7:00 AM

Every Sunday

ARRL Montana Section HF Information Net, 3880 kHz  8:00 AM


Montana Traffic Net, 3910 kHz  5:30 PM (00:30 GMT)

   January 12

Amateur Radio License Exams 5:30 PM      HARC Meeting/Program 7:00 PM

   February 9

Amateur Radio License Exams 5:30 PM      HARC Meeting/Program 7:00 PM

   February 28

Stevensville Hamfest, W8QMD Argus   Stevensville, MT

   March 9

Amateur Radio License Exams 5:30 PM     HARC Meeting/Program 7:00 PM


2009 DUES are DUE!  Please support our area repeater system and Hellgate ARC activities.  Annual membership is $25.00 ($5.00 for additional family members).

(The Hellgate Amateur Radio Club is a 501(c)(3) Non-profit Organization)



New Officers elected at the business portion of the Christmas Party for 2009 are President WG7P Elmer, Vice-president W4YMA Bill, Secretary KE7IZG Mike, and Treasurer N7GE Jerry.   NZ7S Eric and NN8A Byron were elected for another two-year term on the repeater committee.  N7PAS Paul and W7XY Donnie will serve through 2009.  W4YMA Bill as Vice president is the chairman of the repeater committee.  Thanks all for your willingness to serve.

Thanks KE7NO, Craig – Hellgate STATIC editor

KE7NO, Craig produced fine Hellgate STATIC newsletters over the previous 5 years.  Now, family and work duties have limited his availability.   WeÕll miss CraigÕs excellent newsletter preparation.   Happy New Year Craig.  Many thanks for your years of dedicated service to the Hellgate ARC. 


Getting To Know Our Club Members

Articles featuring club members will appear each month as suggested by W4YMA Bill.  If you would be willing to write a brief article about yourself sharing some of your background and experiences please let K7VK Vick or WG7P Elmer know.

This month:

Club President – WG7P, Elmer Myers

Elmer Myers WG7P got involved in ham radio after a lot of encouragement from Phil Barnett KJ7Z and in November of 2006 got his technicians license and passed the written portion of the General requirement.  In the spring or 2007 the FCC dropped the code requirement for the General as well as the Extra Class license and in April he successfully completed the written test for the Extra and was granted his Extra Class license.  After obtaining his license Jerry Reynolds KB7QQ took him under his wing and provided a lot help and guidance, especially in putting up his tower and antennas at his cabin.  He operates VHF/UHF from a 2 meter beam and a dual band Comet vertical antenna.  He operates his Icom 735 using a Cushcraft MA-5B mini beam and 160, and 80 dipoles and a 40 meter double bazooka that Jerry KB7QQ constructed.  The beam and dipoles are attached to a 40 foot tower that cranks up and down using a pulley system designed by Jerry.   Jerry and his sons, especially Dusty, did the physical labor of digging the hole, pouring the foundation and setting the tower.


Elmer and his wife got involved with HARC in the fall of 2006 and have enjoyed the various club activities and the making of many new friends.  Elmer has learned a great deal from his association with the club members and in January, 2009 will serve as club president.  He is looking forward to working with the club to maintain their current repeaters and serve as a communication tool during emergencies and for many of the Missoula area events.


Elmer hails originally from Pennsylvania.  Elmer was born in Altoona, PA in 1940 and graduated from Bellwood –Antis High School in 1958.   He then attended Lock Haven University of PA and received a B.S. degree in 1962 in biology and in 1964 received his M.ED in elementary education from Indiana University of PA.  After three years teaching he became involved in educational administration working in Northern York County, DuBois, and Corry and in 1979 became superintendent of schools in the Pocono Mountain School District, Swiftwater, PA.  He received his PhD in educational administration in 1985 from the University of Pennsylvania and in 1986 became superintendent of schools in Bradford, Pa where he remained for seven years and retired after 30 years in education.  In 1993 he and his wife Liz WG7E came to Montana and Elmer served as Superintendent of Schools for the Lolo School District.  He served as superintendent for eleven years and retired again in 2004.


His hobbies include hunting and fishing which he began at an early age tagging along with his grandfathers.  He has continued those interests to the current day but for some unknown reason with a little less vigor.   He, at one time did quite a bit of fly tying and reloading of ammunition.   Elmer now spends a large portion of time riding his four wheeler in the Fish Creek area, along with his dogs who ride in a specially built box with a roof to shed rain and sun shine.  One of his current hobbies is entering his Golden Retriever, Daisy in AKC obedience trials.  Daisy has earned her Companion Dog (CD) title and they are now working on the Companion Dog Excellence (CDX) title.


He and his wife Liz WG7E spend the majority of their time at their cabin up Fish Creek between Alberton and Superior.  Their family includes six children scattered around the U.S. and their dogs Daisy and Mandy and cat Phantom who rules the cabin.  All of their radio activity takes place at their cabin.



The All Hellgate Award is one of amateur radio's most exclusive and elusive awards.  It is an old award that HARC established prior to 1980.  HARC re-established the award in April 2005 to encourage HARC members to communicate with each other on the VHF/UHF amateur bands (originally it included HF contacts).   You can earn it, but it won't be easy, and you'll need to start now to be successful this year.   K7VK was the first, and hopefully not the last, club member in decades to earn the award. 


Shortly after the club re-established this award in April 2005, several ambitious hams set out to win it for themselves.  But, the rules were tougher than they looked.  In fact, one of the rules requires that a club member must work 25 other club members, and 15 of the QSOs must be simplex during the calendar year.  ThatÕs quite an achievement, considering there have not been many more than 25 dues-paying members in recent years! 


With a little hard work and diligence you too can claim this classy little award.  Check out all the rules on HARCÕs website, Awards at http://www.w7px.org/ and get started now! The Old Gatekeeper will be looking for your logs.   Bob N7MSU


Happy New Year and Thanks to Hellgate ARC Members

ItÕs been a fun and fine 2008.  Thanks to all the Hellgate ARC members for their active support of amateur radio, emergency and public service communications, and the Hellgate Amateur Radio Club. 

Keeping in Touch - Relocated Members Doing Well

KA7LEB Frank is Ôoff the airÕ and in a care facility near his daughter in Indianapolis, IN.  W7DHB Dennis and wife, June, are living near their family and friends in Valencia, CA.  Both are doing well.  Dennis is still ŌhammingĶ to us via email.  


Serious Weather in your Area?  Tune to 147.04 MHz   SKYWARN could be activated!


Annual SKYWARN Recognition Day - Fun As Always  by WG7P, Elmer

The annual Skywarn Recognition Program held on December 5 and 6 at the National Weather Service Forecast Office in Missoula was fun and exciting for those who participated. Jerry N7GE, Eric NZ7S, Byron NN8A, Bill W4YMA and Lewis AC7UZ got things put together for the annual event.  This year the club used an HF vertical and a 40/80 meter dipole for the antennas instead of the clubÕs portable beam.  There was some question as to whether the antennas were radiating as well as they should have, but Saturday afternoon the vertical seemed to working pretty well.  Hopefully we will be able to get some type of permanent antenna in place for emergencies and the Skywarn program next year.

Later in the evening Liz WG7E Elmer WG7P arrived to give a hand.  Almost everyone took a turn at calling CQ but band conditions did not lend itself to many contacts.  IRLP was supposedly working but we werenÕt able to communicate with those attempting to add WX7MSO to their list of contacts.  An attempt was made to get Eco Link up and running but the local telephone connection wasnÕt allowing that to happen.  The highlight of the evening was the arrival of the pizza that was enjoyed by all those present.

Saturday morning Jerry, Lewis, Eric and his son, and Donnie W7XY got things rolling and started to collect a few contacts.  Liz and Elmer arrived in time to help with the muffins and whatever else needed to be done.  Mike KE7IZG and Andy KE7SHZ showed up to give a try at adding additional contacts to the growing list.  Although the home Griz game might have been a factor to the somewhat limited number of participants it was important to support the home team that got a victory that afternoon. 

Evidently band conditions got better in early afternoon as our contact number grew pretty well.  At one time during the afternoon we were averaging approximately 50 contacts an hour.  We were making contacts from as far away as Williamsport, PA, to Texas and states in the South to the West coast.  We were able to make contacts with 33 other NOAA weather stations and ended the day with approximately 175 total contacts.  During the afternoon a group of boy scouts arrived with their leader to listen to the activity and give a hand at making some QSOÕs.  Several of the scouts were able to operate the radio and seemed to enjoy their turn at the microphone. 

All in all this yearÕs event was quite successful and a thanks to all who gave a hand.  Next year we will try to get things set up at least a day early to make sure everything is working up to our expectations and to man the radios the entire 24 hour period throughout the night.    Mark your calendars for the first weekend in December so that you donÕt miss next yearÕs Skywarn Recognitions Day.  (for more on SKYWARN see: http://www.crh.noaa.gov/hamradio/index.php)



Cold means slow and heat means speed for reptiles.  ItÕs the same for our carÕs lead-acid batteries and our radio-mobiling ability.  That starter can get real slow in winter.   At 80F our battery power is 100%, but at 0F it is only 40%.  How much energy is in that battery?  An accurate voltmeter can be your gauge:  12.6v = 100%, 12.4v = 75%, 12.2v = 50%, 12.0v = 25% and at 11.8 v = 0%, a real dead battery.  So much for the term, 12-volt battery?  (More on batteries? See Emergency Power for Radio Communications, by Michael Bryce, a good read from ARRL Publications 2005.)  



This yearÕs Christmas Party/meeting was held at the Montana Club on North Reserve.  Dinner started around 6:00 PM with chicken cordon bleu and the sirloin steak being the favorites for the evening.  The food was very good and even included a dessert that was enjoyed by all.  There were 33 in attendance including 20 members.

John Vugtaveen W7KNT presented a slide show of his DXepedition to the South Sandwich Islands in Antarctica.  His slide show was spectacular showing the animal life and beautiful scenery of that area.  His description and slides of his adventure was quite exciting as he discussed the extremely cold temperatures, surviving a hurricane, and various encounters with local wildlife.  It was a great presentation but might have cast a doubt on his good judgment?  Thanks John for this fine presentation. 


The evening concluded with a gift exchange that was fun and exciting for all who participated.  The valuable gifts range from an antique head set to ceramic decorative houses, miniature tool sets, various books, etc.  Rules for the gift exchange have already been reviewed and will be clearly explained prior to next yearÕs festivities.  (The only business was election of officers for 2009.) 

Mark your calendars for December 14, 2009 as you wonÕt want to miss next yearÕs Christmas Party!!



We are looking for Hellgate ARC meeting program suggestions and presenters, and articles/editors for the Hellgate STATIC.  If you have ideas, contacts and/or volunteers, please contact WG7P, Elmer.


Remember, the January 12 meeting door prize is a fine 2009 75TH ANNIVERSARY GLACIER-WATERTON INTERNATIONAL HAMFEST CALENDAR   See you at the meeting.




We need members to share editing of the Hellgate STATIC.  If you can assist, please let us know.  Even for one month will be a big help. 


Hellgate Amateur Radio Club Officers/Committees



WG7P Elmer



W4YMA Bill






N7GE Jerry


Repeater Committee

W4YMA, Bill (Vice-President

NZ7S, Eric; NN8A, Byron (Thru 2010)

N7PAS, Paul; W7XY, Donnie(Thru 2009)





Exams VE Contact

K7VK Vick



WG7E Liz


Newsletter Editor

K7VK Vick

Rotating Monthly  - Volunteer!







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Hellgate Amateur Radio Club

PO Box 3811

Missoula, MT  59806-3811