June 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 June 8th 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 May winner of a pocket size multi-meter, Mike Boxell N7WKR.


Upcoming Events/Exams/Meetings


June 8

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

June 13 - 15

ARRL VHF QSO Party – more information at http://www.arrl.org

  June 27 & 28

Field Day ! at Fort Missoula

July 4

Special Operating Event at Fort Missoula

July 13

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




CONGRATULATIONS License Examinees!

Upgrades to General: KF7BTV Dean – the single candidate at the May Hellgate ARC examination session.

Thanks to participating HARC volunteer examiners: AC7UZ Lewis, WG7E Liz, K7PX Steve, K7VK Vick & N7GE Jerry.

Are you ready to upgrade your license in time for Field Day?

Our next exam session is June 8th at Fort Missoula.


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. Plan on setting up around 8 am and taking down the station about 4 pm. Our station will be advertised in 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.




By Bob Henderson, N7MSU

Photo of Summit Lake by Michael Henry, AE7MH


Twelve volunteers from the Hellgate Amateur Radio Club provided communications for the 39th Tour of the Swan River Valley on May 30 and 31. Mostly good weather accompanied the 120 tour bicycle riders and hams for the two-day event, which has often been plagued by bad weather. For a few minutes hail and rain banged away on AE7MH and a few bicyclists on Saturday afternoon, but all survived for another 130 miles of good healthy fun. Great scenery, good food and companionship salved just a hand-full of flat tires and sore muscles on the 224-mile Misoula to Swan Lake round-trip.


The Blanchard repeater (146.800) performed flawlessly for HARC hams. Many thought that “80" had never done better. Simplex communications were needed only for the last 20 miles into Swan Lake. Eric NZ7S clearly did a good bit of surgery on that old box on the hill.


Many thanks to the following hams for the diligent work that helped make TOSRV an success this year: Lewis AC7UZ, Byron NN8A, Bob K7BA, Steve K7PX, Mike AE7MH, Bob N7MSU, Liz WG7E, Elmer WG7P, Bill W4YMA, Donnie W7XY, Mike N7WKR, and Eric NZ7S. HP CU AGN IN 2010 DE N7MSU!


The following pictures were shared by Bill Farrell, W4YMA









  Bill’s camp site at Swan Lake




Riders on the road

                                                            Portable station for evening fun!

ARRL Field Day Tips and Techniques that Everyone Can Use

From www.arrl.org web site

Many amateurs treat ARRL Field Day (June 27-28) as a contest, even though it isn't one. But if your idea of Field Day fun is to go for the highest score possible, ARRL Contest Branch Manager Sean Kutzko, KX9X, offered the following suggestions at the ARRL Field Day Forum at the 2009 Dayton Hamvention.


1) You will get many more stations in your log by calling CQ than by tuning the dial and answering CQs; however, if you're calling CQ and not getting any replies, keep calling. Most major contesters call CQ for several minutes at a time before giving up. Giving up after three or four CQs is giving up too soon.


2) Keep your CQs short and to the point: "CQ Field Day, CQ Field Day, Whiskey-One-Alfa-Whiskey, Field Day." Wait about 5 seconds between CQs -- this gives stations enough time to answer you.


3) Use standard phonetics. "Cute" phonetics don't always get through and they can confuse newer operators.


4) When working a station, you should give your exchange information only once and keep it simple. "Whiskey-One-Alfa-Whiskey, copy three Foxtrot Connecticut, QSL?" If they didn't get all of the exchange, they will ask for a repeat.


5) If you are running a pileup: Once you have pulled a call out of the pileup, give your exchange information first. Here's an example: "Whiskey-One-Alfa-Whiskey, copy 3F Connecticut, QSL?" Don't ask for the calling station's information first -- this will reduce any sense of rhythm and timing in the pileup.


6) If you get a pileup of stations and can't make out an entire call, listen for one letter and ask for it specifically: "The station with Delta only, go ahead."


7) When you get the other station's information, keep your acknowledgment simple. "QSL, thanks, QRZ Field Day from Whiskey-One-Alfa-Whiskey."


8) Find a comfortable pace for you and maintain that pace. You will tire quickly if you are screaming into the microphone or trying to work stations too quickly. This leads to inefficiency.


9) Use a headset with a boom microphone and a foot switch -- this frees up your hands to log QSOs. Writing or typing with a mike in your hand slows you down.


10) Go for as many bonus points as you possibly can. Numerous opportunities exist, from copying the Field Day message to sending traffic to using natural power for QSOs.


These tips should help maximize your score on Field Day. Remember: No matter how you choose to enjoy Field Day, maximize your fun, however you define it.



By Michael Leary, KE7IZG

I grew up in the Rattlesnake valley with my head in the clouds, always thinking of flying. I first became interested in radios in 1976, when a friend’s dad bought him a radio receiver kit from Radio Shack that allowed him to hear pilots and the tower. Wow! Was I hooked. After some persistent bugging my dad took me down to Radio Shack to get mine. This is when I first learned about the basics of radio antennas, transistors, power, etc.


By high school I had a short wave receiver with SSB and could listen to aircraft flying out over the Pacfic and Atlantic oceans. I also heard the then Strategic Air Command broadcasting the Skyking Emergency Action Messages to our nuclear forces, plus the National Airborne Command Post on a test flight. The Cold War, right in my room! Ship to shore phones were quite popular, especially in Russian.


Before CNN and the internet I had continuous news from Armed Forces Radio and the BBC. Numbers stations where quite popular, broadcasting to spies in Spanish, English and even German. The receiver’s noise blanker worked well against the Russian Woodpecker. While I listened to hams I just was not yet interested in the hobby.


I graduated from Hellgate High School in 1982 then attended the University of Washington, graduating with a Math Degree in 1987. During summer or Christmas vacation I heard Air Force Two carrying then Vice President Bush to Texas. The radio op would check in with Crown (the White House) every ten minutes. I also heard the last few hours of the Voyager aircraft making its around the world flight. My heart nearly stopped when they reported that their engines had quit! A quick switch of the fuel tanks saved the day.

After college I was commissioned an officer in the Navy and moved to Pensacola, Florida to start Naval Flight Officer School. Now I could listen to classmates and the Blue Angels on UHF and watch them from my balcony. I also listened to the Hurricane Hunter aircraft as they updated the position of the eye of a hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico. An extended line drawn on a chart through the positions went right through my QTH on the beach!!! Luckily for me it changed course and went to New Orleans, but the winds still added 5 feet of sand to the beach in front of my house!


In 1988 I bought a radio teletype decoder and this really opened up my radio world. I could intercept hundreds of messages to/from ships at sea, hams with rtty, packet or packtor, and even ham satellites! While stationed in Spain I intercepted a message from the Egyptian Foreign Ministry to its Embassy in Kuwait reminding them that they were diplomats and not allowed to carry weapons – Iraq had just invaded Kuwait!

I was a navigator in KC-130 Hercules aircraft. Our part in the Gulf war was mainly flying cargo, but the mission I really liked was the in-flight refueling. We orbited just south of Greece over the Mediterranean Sea as part of an ‘Air Bridge’, refueling fighters and bombers on their way to the Gulf. The best airborne DX contact I got while airborne I made from over Egypt, talking to Guam in the Pacific to set up a phone patch with our tasking authority in Italy.


Later, when I was stationed in Italy I intercepted the International Red Cross messages coming out of Croatia with relief supply convoy schedules, drivers kidnapped or killed, convoys being looted, etc.

I left the military in 1996 and returned to Missoula to get an MBA and Computer Science Degree. Since then I have heard Russian military morse code, both the Mir and International Space Stations, Cuban numbers stations, and airliners on both coasts diverting to alternate airfields after the attacks of September 11, 2001.

While getting my MBA I met my wife, Rae Lynn, and her very young kids, Jessica, J.D. and Jackie. I was introduced to the Hellgate Amateur Radio Club at the Fourth of July celebrations at Fort Missoula a couple of years ago and enjoy getting involved with the many events our club participates in for community service.



By Vick Applegate, K7VK

I received this interesting email from a past HARC member who had come across the HARC webpages.


I just happened to see your web page and had to respond.
My wife, W7OOY, and I lived in Missoula in 1949, 1950 & 1951.  I worked at KGVO radio during the time that the studios burned up town and we built the new plant with two towers on Highway 93 south.

The club newsletter at the time was "QTQ".  QTQ literally means "I can / can you communicate with your / my station by means of the International Code of Signals (.?)".It was put out by W7JOI on a penny postcard and Greg would fill the back of the card each month with whatever news it would hold.  The cards were brought to meetings at Northwest Distributors and placed in a hat where one was drawn for the attendance door prize.

My wife and I were the only husband and wife team in Missoula and hung out on 160 meters and with the "Diathermy Dodgers" on the old eleven meter amateur band.  Our two meter activity was mobile on 144.138 Mc with a war surplus SCR-522 running 8 watts on AM.

I have a lot of good memories of the HRC”(
HARC) “ and all of the gang and was back once for a "Goblin Patrol" in the mid fifties.

W7OOY is now a silent key and I live in Billings. My wife's name was Jeannine.  She succumbed to cancer in 1971 after bearing four children and making her own mark on Ham Radio as Seventh District Chairwoman of the YLRL.

- 73, Vern Phillips, W7KG (former W7NPV)”

Vern is listed on the Hellgate ARC history webpage as President in 1951, his wife, Jeannine was secretary. Thanks Vern!


New Solar Cycle Prediction

From NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center & The K7RA Solar Update


May 29, 2009: An international panel of experts led by NOAA and sponsored by NASA has released a new prediction for the next solar cycle. Solar Cycle 24 will peak, they say, in May 2013 with a below-average number of sunspots.


"If our prediction is correct, Solar Cycle 24 will have a peak sunspot number of 90, the lowest of any cycle since 1928 when Solar Cycle 16 peaked at 78," says panel chairman Doug Biesecker of the NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center.


Read more of this article online at: http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2009/29may_noaaprediction.htm


Do sunspots matter? Many of us are surprised at how good conditions can be with zero sunspots; the weak solar wind and lack of flares and geomagnetic events likely have something to do with it. Many times during the more active solar periods, sunspots were welcomed, but then some event associated with the higher solar activity would make conditions difficult, disrupt the ionosphere and increase absorption.


Read more of K7RA’s article online at: http://www.arrl.org/news/stories/2009/05/22/10831/




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

INTRODUCTIONS were made with 21 present

SECRETARIES REPORT—MIKE KE7IZG Absent— Motion-Donnie W7XY 2nd Bob K7BA to approve minutes as corrected -- Motion passed

TREASURERS REPORT--motion-Bill W4YMA 2nd Donnie W7XY to approve as presented- MOTION passed

501 C3 STATUS --Application has been submitted, been advised we are in an eight week delay and will wait to submit appropriate tax forms. Montana taxes have been filed.

Jerry N7GE reported we had received $150 from TOSRV for 2009 assistance and had received $1250 from the Missoula Marathon for 2008 assistance


REPEATER—BILL W4YMA--          Bill and committee have met and decided they would need approximately $680 to make necessary voice and digital improvement on our repeaters. Bill will be submitting a report outlining the proposed improvements to be made this summer

MEMBERSHIP—LIZ WG7E—Stated some members have still not paid their 2009 dues

NET OPERATORS—5/20 Mike AE7MH 5/27 Frank W7PAQ 6/3 Jerry N7GE 6/10 Eric NZ7S


STATIC—MONTHLY EDITOR, JUNE=Mike AE7MH JULY=Bob N7MSU THANKS Vick for June Mike KE7IZG agreed to write June “Getting to Know” article

FIELD DAY— pot luck sign up, signup sheets for radio operators circulated again, LEADERS REPORTS—LIZ-has made initial contacts for public relations bonus points, JERRY-club decided Saturday breakfast at Lucky Strike at 7 AM, lunch subs, pot luck burgers and dogs, Sunday breakfast Costco muffins, BOB N7MSU-will make preparations but will not be available during Field Day, BILL & LEWIS-will be meeting to make preparations

JUNE JULY MEETING—Held at Fort Missoula near main facility-Vick K7VK, Steve K7PX, Jerry N7GE, & Eric NZ7S will set radio stations in June

RIVER BANK RUN—JERRY N7GE—3100 runners and 13 HARC volunteers with things going well, Tower Pizza followed

GRIZZLY MAN ADVENTURE RACE—BILL W4YMA-approximately 40 participants, 5 HARC volunteers, exciting and a good day followed with dinner at Paws Up Ranch

MAGNETIC CAR DOOR SIGNS-Several still available at $8 each

TOSRV—signup sheet circulated--Participants meet at Bonner School 7 a.m. Saturday May 30

                  Let Bob N7MSU know if you want to stay in Swan Lake campground--food provided at various points along the route--club will pay for gas if requested and accompanied by receipts--Use 146.80 repeater until the Swan Valley and then 146.80 simplex

YMCA TRIATHLON—Jerry N7GE—Approximately 100 participants, 8 HARC volunteers with more needed next year, Bar-B-Q followed at YMCA

CITY CELL PHONE BAN-Elmer WG7P-checked and didn’t see where it has been placed on council agenda, mobile transmitters &receivers exempt on proposed ordinance


W7PX SPECIAL EVENT STATION-July 4-Fort Missoula—Bob N7MSU reported event would be in June QST and things were ready

MONTANA HAM RADIO FORUM—Elmer WG7P, distributed invitation from Great Falls Club for those interested to sign up

OLD EQUIPMENT OR SUPPLIES—Elmer WG7P, if members have items they would like to donate to club they would be auctioned off at club meeting

COMMITTEE FORMED TO REVIEW REPEATER ETIQUETTE, Wednesday night net ideas, etc—Jerry N7GE, Jackie KC7RBC, Mike AE7MH, and Frank K7PAQ

BOY SCOUTS OF AMERICA VENTURE CREW PROGRAM—proposal presented by Frank K7PAQ explaining membership, activities, how HARC would be sponsoring institution, etc. Motion Byron NN8A, 2nd Bill W4YMA for club to sponsor Venture Crew with $30 required fees—motion passed-- Byron volunteered to be the COR (Chartered Organization Representative)

BOB K7BA moved & Byron 2nd to make newly licensed hams associate members for a year—determined HARC By-Laws and Constitution prohibited such action—motion withdrawn—Elmer stated that newly licensed do receive Static, agenda & minutes if email address is available

BILL W4YMA informed club that PBS would be doing a Back Roads to Montana program on Lance W7GI & his EME activities

BOB N7MSU advised the club that when using the club’s generator it is necessary to ground the generator to eliminate radio noise


REQUEST FOR ASSISTANCE ARRANGING STATE YOUTH DIABETIC FUND RAISER—Lewis AC7UZ—reported Doug Dunn K7YD is working with Bozeman club to hopefully have them serve as the lead agency dealing with communications

ANYONE HAVE ITEMS THEY WISH TO BUY OR SELL—Keith KF7AVH looking for antenna tuner liveinmt@yahoo.com

PROGRAM—Byron NN8A once again presented a program dealing with ICS organizational structure


Frank K7PAQ will be on Melita Island July 6—August 12 and could use contacts for Scouts working on their Radio Merit Badge


DOOR PRIZE DRAWING—Mike Boxell N7WKR won the volt meter

MOTION TO ADJOURN—Motion Eric NZ7S, 2nd Bob N7MSU to adjourn—motion passed




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

The club’s June and July meetings should be of interest to all hams. We are planning on having four of our members each month 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 near the main building. All activities will be outside.


Those setting up stations for June are Steve K7PX, Vick K7VK, Eric NZ7S, and Jerry N7GE. July’s stations will be Steve KK7UV, Larry K7GIS, and Lewis AC7UZ. We do need one more station for July, if you are willing to set up an off grid station, please contact Elmer WG7P



By WG7P Elmer


Field Day will kick off Saturday morning at 7:00 AM, and will take place at the “old chapel” at Fort Missoula. (next to the new building)


It is looking like we will be able to man the radios the full 24 hours. With a few more volunteer operators we will operate 24 hours and be able to transmit on two stations. If we could find a couple more CW operators we could maintain 1 CW station and 1 HF station.


We will be having a Pot Luck Dinner at 5:00 PM Saturday evening for those members who participate in field day. We are hoping that family members will join us for the evening and enjoy the get together. The club will provide burgers and dogs for the main meal and members will provide the side dishes. Thus far we will be having potato salad, potato chips, bean salad, cake, other sweet treats, and some bar-b-q, just in case you don’t like burgers or dogs. We are hoping to get more people signed up for the Pot Luck dinner and will accept more side dishes from willing contributors. If you are unable to make the meetings, but want to sign up for the pot luck, side dishes, or to be an operator, contact Elmer WG7P at elmerm@hughes.net or give him a call at 240-8685.



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

AE7MH Mike this month only

Rotating by Month





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Hellgate Amateur Radio Club

PO Box 3811

Missoula, MT 59806-3811