July 2009



Monthly Newsletter of the Hellgate Amateur Radio Club

PO Box 3811 Missoula, MT 59806-3811


Meeting: The Hellgate Amateur Radio Club http://www.w7px.org meets monthly, 2nd Monday of every month. Next is July 13 at Fort Missoula


Meeting program: Off-the-power grid operations presented by HARC members.

The public is welcome.


HARC members have a chance to win the Door prize. You must be present to win!

Congratulations to the June winner of a pocket compass, Bob Henderson N7MSU.


Upcoming Events/Exams/Meetings


             July 4

Special Operating Event at Fort Missoula-N7MSU

July 12

Missoula Marathon-KF7CBY

July 13

Amateur Radio License Exams 5:30 pm & HARC Meeting 7 pm at Fort Missoula

July 17-19

Glacier/Waterton Hamfest

July 25

Blackfoot River Cleanup-W4YMA




License examinations will be held July 13 at 5:30 PM at Fort Missoula. If we have stormy weather, the examinations will be held at Fire Station #4. Stay tuned to 147.04 MHz repeater for examination and meeting location changes. If questions, contact N7GE Jerry.


                                                            HAM TRIVIA

What does the acronym MUF stand for? A) Multi-User Frequency B) Military Use Frequency C) Maximum Usable Frequency C) Maximum Usable Frequency (see answer on last page)


July 4th W7PX Special Event

By Bob Henderson, N7MSU

HARC will again be operating a special event station at Fort Missoula on July 4, 2009. We will be setting up and operating an HF station at the Chapel at Fort Missoula around 8 am on July 4th and we need operators and loggers. This is an opportunity to show off ham radio to the public on a very special day in our country’s history. A couple members have offered to display vintage ham radio equipment. If you have some vintage radios suitable for display (not operation), contact Bob N7MSU. Plan on setting up around 8 am and taking down the station about 4 pm. Park on east side of Museum grounds. Our HF station is advertised in July QST, and many hams will be looking for us on that date. We need help, but more importantly it is a fun time on a fun day with many festivities at Fort Missoula. Contact Bob N7MSU at 251-4148 or n7msu@q.com.


HARC Members Help TV Users Go Digital

The Sunday (6/21) Missoulian Business section D, Mark Ratledge's Advice to set up digital converter, has good mention of the members of the Hellgate ARC assisting with digital TV home visits with the Missoula Aging Services. K7IMZ and K7VK are actively responding to these assistance requests, about a dozen so far.



         I was born in St. Ignatius where I went to school through High School. I was the 4th generation to live in Montana and qualify as a member of the Sons and Daughters of the Montana Pioneers. My great grandson Tayvin Lee is the 7th generation.

            My father Irving Ball was K7MEA. My mother was Myrna NQ7D both are SK.

            I have lived in Montana with the exception of a stint in the Army Engineers. Attended higher education in Billings for 1 year (Rocky Mountain College ). While there I met my future wife ( Frances A. Neibauer ).

            I started working in Polson at Cascades Plywood. The shift was eliminated in November 1960. I started at Waldorf Paper Products (The Pulp Mill ), and retired after 43 years in 2003 from the Mill ( Now Smurfit Stone ). Starting as a lab technician, moving to pollution monitoring, and finally to Instrument Mechanic. I have lived in Missoula since 1960, and at my current location for 35 years.

            I was a volunteer with the Missoula Rural Fire Department for 20 years and a board member for 9 years.

            First licensed in 1993 as KB7UNW, then upgraded to AC7UZ. I have been a volunteer examiner for ARRL & W5YI as were both of my parents. I also have a brother Keith ( KB7YUH ) living in Idaho.

            We have a daughter and a son, 3 grand daughters, 6 grand sons, 1great grandson. Lots of potential operators but no operators yet.

I have found emergency & community service of great interest. As a responder to the National Weather Service weather spotter & radio operator, I have been a part of the team and observed the need for more spotters in the remote areas.

            I have built a number of kits and find that I know enough about electronics to be dangerous but not enough to know what I am doing.

One of my greatest disappointments has been the awareness that of the 300+ licensed hams in the area just 20% are club members and supporters, and among those around 30% take an active part in the club activities. I know that many of these untapped hams have radios, skills that are truly amazing. We need to help Liz WG7E and the officers attract these neighbors to become active in Hellgate Amateur Radio Club.




MEETING called to order at 7:00 PM by ELMER WG7P

INTRODUCTIONS were made with 20 present

SECRETARIES REPORT—MIKE KE7IZG — Motion-Donnie W7XY, 2nd Mike AE7MH to approve minutes as presented-- Motion passed

TREASURERS REPORT—JERRY N7GE—absent thus no treasurer’s report


REPEATER—Eric NZ7S has corrected the problems with the 80 repeater and it is fully operational and ready for TOSRV. Bill also mentioned he might review ideas how a repeater fund might be established to finance the annual repeater needs.

NET OPERATORS—6/10 Eric NZ7S, 6/17 Bill W4YMA, 6/24 Elmer WG7P, 7/1 PAUL N7PAS, 7/8 LEWIS AC7UZ


STATIC—MONTHLY EDITOR, JULY BOB N7MSU AUGUST THANKS MIKE AE7MH for the June Static LEWIS AC7UZ agreed to write July “Getting to Know” article

FIELD DAY— pot luck sign up & signup sheets for radio operators circulated again. Saturday June 27th breakfast at Lucky Strike 7 A.M. with set up to start at 9 A.M. at the Fort (Chapel), lunch subs, dinner pot luck with burgers and dogs, Sunday breakfast Costco muffins,

JULY MEETING—Held at Fort Missoula at the Chapel- Jerry N7GE, Eric NZ7S, Larry K7GIS, Steve KK7UV & Lewis AC7UZ will set radio stations

TOSRV—BOB N7MSU—with 12 club members assisting everything went very well and the 80 repeater did a great job. Participants were reminded the club will pay for gas, if requested and accompanied by receipts. Bob was recognized for doing a great job organizing this event again this year

COMMITTEE FORMED TO REVIEW REPEATER ETIQUETTE, Wednesday night net ideas, etc—Jerry N7GE, Jackie KC7RBC, Mike AE7MH, and Frank K7PAQ—committee hasn’t met as of this time.

REQUEST FOR ASSISTANCE ARRANGING STATE YOUTH DIABETIC FUND RAISER—Lewis AC7UZ—reported the Galletin Valley club would be the lead agency dealing with communications and he would like several volunteers from HARC to assist


W7PX SPECIAL EVENT STATION-JULY 4-FORT MISSOULA—BOB N7MSU circulated signup sheets and indicated set up would start at 8 A.M. at the Chapel. Bob also asked that individuals that had old equipment to please bring to the Fort to display.

MISSOULA MARATHON—LEWIS AC7UZ—asked for a volunteer to assist and Mike N7WKR agreed to assist with the event. Signup sheet was circulated

PROGRAM—VICK K7VK set up his portable HF/VHF station in his camper and made various contacts, STEVE K7PX set up his portable CW station that he takes back packing and showed how he puts up the antenna system, and BILL W4YMA showed pictures of his portable HF station and talked about how he put the station together and how it might be used.

GOOD OF THE ORDER—Mike N7WKR announced that Mike K7DER had passed away.

DOOR PRIZE DRAWING—BOB N7MSU won the analog GPS (compass)

MOTION TO ADJOURN—Motion KEVIN W1KGK, 2nd Bob N7MSU to adjourn—motion passed


HARC HISTORY – 60 Years ago

By W7KG Vern Phillips

(W7KG (former W7NPV) Vern Phillips was President of the Hellgate ARC in 1951.)


MISSOULA – 1949 to 1951

            The Hellgate Radio Club of Missoula met once a month at W7FX’s radio business. The club’s newsletter was called “QTQ” and it carried brief news printed on the back of a penny postal card. “QTQ” was sent to the membership and the cards were placed in a hat at the meeting where one was drawn for an attendance door prize.

            The club was public-service minded as evidenced by its regular participation in the ARRL Field Day, emergency communications tests, hamfests and “goblin patrols”, besides being involved with traffic handling on various nets.

            Major frequencies in use in the area (all used AM except 3.520 Mc):

1.985 Mc – Hellgate Phone Net and the Inland Empire Emergency Net

2.406 Mc – Law Enforcement base station transmitters and mobile unit receivers

3.520 Mc – Treasure State Net (CW)

3.995 Mc – Montana Phone Net and International Before Breakfast Club

27.05 Mc – “Diathermy Dodger’s Net”

39.xx Mc – Law enforcement mobile units transmitters and base station receivers

144.138 Mc – Two Meter Net

            Some of the more active Missoula stations were: W7CJB, W7COH, W7DSN, W7ELY, W7FOM, W7FX, W7FXV, W7HDM, W7IBH, W7JOI, W7KGF, W7KGZ, W7KLJ, W7LEP, W7LEQ, W7MAK, W7MJY, W7MKG, W7MVT, W7NCS, W7NDW, W7NEG, W7NMJ, W7NPV, W7NRJ, W7OCR, W7OHH, W7OOY, W7ORJ, W7OVG, W7OXT, W7PGF and W7PX. (W7IBH was at the end of this list for pre World War II hams with the exception of W7PX)(W7IBH and W7OOY were the only YLs).

            Two meter activity was mainly on 144.138 Mc because of crystal control. Most of the rigs were war surplus SCR-522s running from PE-103 dynamotors and using “J” antennas. The SCR-522 with dynamotor was quite a hefty rig and took up a lot of space for only 8 watts output on AM phone.

            27.05 Mc was in the amateur eleven meter band which was shared with the Diathermy service. Diathermy equipment was notorious for its instability and broad band-width. In order to operate, you became a “diathermy dodger”. It was a popular band for hidden transmitter hunts because you could run any mode including modulated CW and, without the need of a control operator, the transmitter could be hidden and be left “on”. The first hunter to find the “bunny” keyed the transmitter with their call sign. One particular hunt had gone on for a long time and hadn’t been found until finally it started getting dark and one of the hunters saw a light up in a tree. The light was coming from a flashlight bulb on a 2-turn loop of wire which had been used to tune the transmitter up and had been left hanging over the final coil.

            “Goblin Patrols” aided the police and sheriff’s departments on Halloween nights. Off-duty officers were assigned to ride along with amateur mobiles to supplement law-enforcement. It was good experience for both parties

            2.406 Mc base stations had very good coverage even to mobile units in neighboring law-enforcement agencies. The major problem was that it was a cross-band situation. The mobile units transmitted in the 39 Mc band and could hear the base station on 2.406 but the cars could not talk to each other for mutual aid.


            Field Days 2009 started at 7:00 AM on Saturday, June 27th at the Lucky Strike with Jerry N7GE, Steve K7PX, Larry K7GIS, Bill W4YMA, Liz WG7E and Elmer WG7P partaking in a little breakfast. Plans were being made for expediting the setup, strategies discused for making contacts, and in general how to have a lot of fun at Field Days. After taking in nourishment the group adjourned to the Chapel at Fort Missoula to begin setup.

            Setup was to start at 9:00 AM, and Lewis AC7UZ, Donnie W7XY, Dusty Reynods W7DGR, Jerry K7IMZ, Mike KE7IZG, and Andy KE7CBY joined the breakfast crew to begin putting up the club beam and dipole and organizing the Chapel for radio operation. The club antenna trailer certainly makes it easier to set up the beam and dipole. Larry and Steve with the help of a hammer, a piece of rope and Steve’s throwing arm, anchored one end of the dipole high in the tree. Before long, the antennas were ready and being attached to the Icom in preparations for the start of Field Days.

            Lewis set up a screen tent where he prepared a table to conduct the Education Class on making a coaxial dipole for VHF or UHF and the DBJ-1: VHF-UHF dual band J-Pole. Liz joined Lewis in the tent with her Public Information Table including the club’s new brochure, membership board, guest register, and other related information. The tent was pretty busy with various club members joining Lewis for the making of the new antennas and others perusing Liz’s table of radio information.

            Steve K7PX set up his portable CW station on the porch of the Chapel with his dry cell battery, solar panel and his fancy shade umbrella where he would be sending out Morse code over the air waves for the next 7 plus hours. As noon arrived, Steve started working his portable key that was attached to his knee, and before long had his first of 30 plus contact he would make throughout the afternoon.

Inside the Chapel, Lewis was starting Field Days by operating the HF rig with Betsy Gleason logging in the contacts using our computer, which makes compiling our contacts for submitting our entry to ARRL a lot easier. Others taking their turn at the radio and computer during the afternoon were Liz, Dusty, Mike KE7IZG, Andy and whoever else was standing around. Bruce WB7OTC showed up during the afternoon, and before long was putting up the vertical antenna that received quite a bit of use during the Field Day operation.

            As 6:00 PM neared, Jerry N7GE fired up the grill and started cooking burgers and Polish dogs for the 18 people that had gathered for the Pot Luck dinner. Mike AE7MH, Norm AE7NW, Byron NN8A, and Fran Fort joined those already at the Fort, for dinner. Jerry did a great job behind the grill and there was plenty of good food enjoyed by all in attendance. There were lots of left overs, not only from the pot luck but from the hoagies that Jerry bought for lunch, that would be enjoyed by those manning the radios throughout the night.

            Contacts seemed a little slow during the early evening, but when Mike N7WKR showed up for his shift at the controls, he seemed to get things going. Those keeping the operation going during the evening were joined by the resident mosquitoes that were met with sprays, wipes, bug lights, spray bombs, etc. Before long they took the hint and most disappeared. Those brave souls that worked the midnight to 6:00 AM shift were Mike N7WKR, Dusty W7DGR, Steve K7PX, Liz WG7E and Elmer WG7P. There were some rumors that some z’s were taken during that time but that was not confirmed. Steve got hot with his CW key during the wee hours of the morning, making many contacts and arousing the interest of those watching, with several either promising to hone their CW skills or learn the code for next year’s Field Days.

            Mike AE7MH showed up at 6:00 AM bringing along a beautiful sunrise. During the morning Lewis, Donnie, Andy, Jerry N7GE, Bill, and Betsy arrived back at the Fort. Contacts continued to be made with Hawaii, Alaska, Pennsylvania, and many different states being logged. Daisy, the Myers’s Golden Retriever even got into the act by doing a little singing, displaying her obedience skills, and playing ball with Steve, Mike AE7MH and anyone else who wanted to play.

            Operations were ended at 11:30 AM with approximately 175 contacts made, with a large portion being CW contacts made by Steve. The operation was dismantled, equipment put away, items dispersed and another Field Day came to an end. Lewis donated his screen room and 2 desk lamps to the club for future use at Field Days, thanks Lewis. All in all, Field Days were a success with everyone enjoying themselves, completing our goals of a 24 hour operation, and having a Pot Luck dinner, and even with the promise of more CW operators for next year.



2009 DUES are Over-DUE!

Please support the area repeater system and club activities. Annual membership is $25.00 ($5.00 for additional family members). If you have forgotten to renew your dues, please contact Jerry, N7GE (jehli@modernmachinery.com)or Liz WG7E (lizm@montana.com).



The club has new magnetic door signs for Hellgate ARC events. Several members have utilized these signs at events this spring and they have held securely to our vehicles and are very visible. Check them out for an event or $8 buys your own sign. Contact Elmer, WG7P if you wish to purchase signs for your vehicle.



HELLGATE STATIC Editors are Needed

Help edit the your club newsletter, the Hellgate STATIC. Put your word processing skills to work for your club! If you can assist, please contact WG7P, Elmer or K7VK, Vick.



By WG7P Elmer

July meeting should be of interest to all hams. We are planning on having four of our members set up a portable operation, as you would in an emergency or when operating off the grid. The stations will be operational and members should be able to make some contacts, maybe picking up a few for the “Worked All Hellgate Award!!” Considering we might need a little more space for setting up the various stations than the Fire House can provide, we will be meeting at Fort Missoula at the Chapel. All activities will be outside.



HAM Trivia Answer– MUF means “Maximum Usable Frequency”








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

N7MSU Bob this month only

Rotating by Month





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Hellgate Amateur Radio Club

PO Box 3811

Missoula, MT 59806-3811