Hellgate Static

Hellgate Amateur Radio Club

P.O. Box 3811

Missoula, MT. 59806-3811


January 2006



Next meeting is January 9, 2006

→→ At: American Red Cross ←←

→→→ 1500 W. Broadway, #E ←←←




























OUR NEW 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


Hellgate Amateur Radio Club

December 12 2005

The December meeting of the HARC/Christmas party was held at Jakers. Many of the club members were accompanied by their spouses and family. The food was good, and the fellowship was better.


A gift exchange was enjoyed by everyone present with very few leaving with the present that they first unwrapped as a choice was given to choose one already selected or one still in the wrapping. One was of all things a smoked ham. There were tools, books, boat anchors, gift box coffee.


Election of officers was held with the slate presented by the election committee of

Gerald Ehli (N7GE) President

Frank Kisselbach (W7PAQ) Vice President

Steve Schlang (W7PX) Treasurer

Lewis Ball (AC7UZ) Secretary

The slate was approved as presented with several write in votes for president.


The next meeting will be at the Red Cross on Broadway & Russell. January 9,2006 at 7:00PM


We all wish the outgoing Board of Directors the best, and we thank them for their service to the club.



Ladies and Gentlemen, Due to a mix-up and misunderstanding between the family, I received two of the 2006 ARRL Radio Handbooks, soft cover version.  However, I only need one, so I have one available for sale at  $35.  That's a discount from $39.95 plus $9 shipping.  The package also includes a CD ROM of the complete book as well as a copy of the first edition of the Radio Amateur Handbook, first issued in 1926; what a bargain!


First come, first served.  Email me at: w7dhb@momtana.com .


--Dennis, W7DHB


W7DHB “Late Christmas Wishes”

Although I had warned about people getting “coal in their stockings”, Dennis, W7DHB sent in his wish list just after the Hellgate Static had been sent to Byron.  Either way, the intent was their.- ed.


I would think that headphones, ARRL books, or ARRL decals / other promotional items (at least for ARRL members) would be very welcome.  However, if not members of the ARRL they may be encouraged HI HI.  I know that personally, the ARRL stuff is great, lots of books on operating etc.


I'd also like a bit of warm weather (guess you got that one!-ed.) so Vick (K7VK) and I can assemble my GAP Titan and get it up over the roof.  I’d also like a new 40-50' crank-up tower and Mosley 33 WARC beam.

--Dennis, W7DHB



We need Hellgate STATICs for the HARC archive.  Do you have any you would like to donate?  We need them if they are pre-1983 copies and any from 2000-2005. 


We're also capturing 'Hellgate ARC History' on the web pages.  http://www.users.qwest.net/~k7vk/history.htm  If you have any updates, additions, or achievements of current or past members, please send them along


Thanks much & 73,

Vick, K7VK 




2005 Skywarn Results

I don't have the final QSO count (check with Bob Henderson) but here is how I remember the operation:


Friday started out OK, but slow.  Some trouble with the dipole, showing rapid fluctuations in VSWR; beam worked OK.  However, Sat morning the band opened up and THINGS WENT WILD.  Bob N7MSU, Steve K7PX, Dennis W7DHB and I don't know who else were kept busy taking turns.  We didn't even turn the beam from ESE.  When I went home at 4 PM, I worked WX7MSO and then heard them work The Solomon Islands.   We picked up at least 30+ weather stations plus many non-WX stations.


Check with Bob or Byron for the final count if you haven't already -- what a blast.


Dennis, W7DHB




Been on topband lately?  With the solar cycle plunging into its 11-year dip, conditions have been steadily improving on the lowbands.  Both 160m and 80m have really come alive this fall and winter.  Or if you’re into DXing the AM broadcast band, some nights are just downright hectic trying to ID station call letters with four or five stations on one frequency.


I’ve been spending most of my radio time on 160m though.  European stations could be heard starting in October, usually for just a few precious nights at a time every couple weeks.  VK, HL, and JA have been workable much more often.


2005 ARRL 160m Contest

The space weather forecast was looking a bit ominous on the afternoon of Friday, Dec. 2.  The A and K indices were hovering high, and a class M3 solar flare and R2 radio blackout was possible.  However, the solar activity did not seem to impact night-time conditions too much.  It seemed the entire east coast was workable for most the first night.  After about 10:00z, it did seem to get much harder to copy them, and the snow static didn’t help.


The second night was much tougher with some rapid and deep QSB on most signals from the E and SE.  I really had to dig deep for many east coast stations.  W6 is usually good for racking up a lot of QSO’s, but their signals were quite weak.  To complicate matters, there was off-and-on snow static, and a few neighborhood electric fences were ticking and popping away.


DX stations heard included P40, 6Y(huge signal), XE, JA, BV, and ZL.


The effects of sleep deprivation were particularly difficult.  I was haunted by phantom signals (No I didn’t QSL any of them) and I was hallucinating movement off to the side of my vision. (Hey! Who’s in my shack?).


I’m not sure why so many ops try to call so far off frequency - like 200 Hz away from QRG?  When you got the filters cranked down to 200Hz, and they dump their call 300Hz away from you, you can’t hear them.  If you open your filters up to 400 or 600, then your “neighbors” are “bumpin’ and tinkin’” on the filter walls, causing QRM.  Sigh.  It seems spotting and zero beating are not important anymore.


I discovered my vertical is quite worthless for receiving during precipitation static.  The snow showers we had thru the contest were very evident and produced S9+10 noise levels on the vertical.  I’m glad I have 3 antennas to choose from.  I took some time to do more A/B/C comparisons on RX with the three antennas.  It is really obvious when you have a low-angle signal coming in as it is stronger on the vertical than the dipole.  As far as TX goes, it seems the vertical and dipole were fairly equal in receiving stations out to about 2000 miles.  The stations well beyond that distance are definitely louder on the vertical.


2005 Stew Perry Topband Distance Challenge

This is always a fun contest.  It is just one night and a 14-hour time limit.  You really have to do some gambling to trade some potential sunrise DX to the west for some sunset DX to the east.  I always opt for the sunrise QSO’s since the east coast stations are in sunlight and they’re not ‘shouting over your head’ to DX the Pacific.  While the ARRL160 contest has a “known” exchange – 599 and the familiar section abbreviations, the “STEW” has only a grid square report.  You have to listen a bit closer for these so you don’t bust them, because busted QSO’s will cost you lots of points.   My participation was cut short by the neighborhood arc welder who apparently was working most of the night trying to finish up a project in time for Christmas. BUZZZZZ.  BUZZZ. BUUUUZZZZZZ.  He was 20 over S9.


What’s Next?

 The CQWW 160 Contests (CW and SSB) are coming up soon, as well as the ARRL DX Contests.  In the meantime, there is lots of winter and lots of darkness left.  Hopefully, the “topband” will stay with us and offer up some more fun (and masochistic frustration) for a few more months.  Dit Dit…


 de KK7UV



G.M. v.s Microsoft

For all of us who feel only the deepest love and affection for the way computers have enhanced our lives, read on. At a recent computer expo (COMDEX), Bill Gates reportedly compared the computer industry with the auto industry and stated, "If GM had kept up with technology like the computer industry has, we would all be driving $25.00 cars that got 1,000 miles to the gallon."

In response to Bill's comments, General Motors issued a press release stating: If GM had developed technology like Microsoft, we would all be driving cars with the following characteristics


1. For no reason whatsoever, your car would crash twice a day.

2. Every time they repainted the lines in the road, you would have to buy a new car.

3. Occasionally your car would die on the freeway for no reason. You would have to pull to the side of the road, close all of the windows, shut off the car, restart it, and reopen the windows before you could continue. For some reason you would simply accept this.

4. Occasionally, executing a maneuver such as a left turn would cause your car to shut down and refuse to restart, in which case you would have to reinstall the engine.

5. Macintosh would make a car that was powered by the sun, was reliable, five times as fast and twice as easy to drive - but would run on only five percent of the roads.

6. The oil, water temperature, and alternator warning lights would all be replaced by a single "This Car Has Performed An Illegal Operation" warning light.

7. The airbag system would ask "Are you sure?" before deploying.

8. Occasionally, for no reason whatsoever, your car would lock you out and refuse to let you in until you simultaneously lifted the door handle, turned the key and grabbed hold of the radio antenna.

9. Every time a new car was introduced car buyers would have to learn how to drive all over again because none of the controls would operate in the same manner as the old car.

10. You'd have to press the "Start" button to turn the engine off.



Four candidates participated in the December 22 examination session.  All upgraded, 1 General and 3 Amateur Extras!  The candidates traveled from Dillon & Thompson Falls, Montana and Garden Valley, Idaho (North of Boise).


Notable was 18 year-old Ben Sharon from Thompson Falls.  He passed not only 5 wpm Morse code, but also Technician, General and Amateur Extra with no errors!  Congratulations


Volunteer Examiners participating in this HARCs 190th examination session included W7DHB, Dennis; AC7UZ, Lewis; N7TAE, Wayne; K7PX, Steve & K7VK, Vick.


The next examination session is scheduled for January 19.  Happy New Year!

Vick,  K7VK  




Danne Guthrie, KC7ZO, is coordinating a ham radio license class to be held Tuesday evenings starting January 17th.  The class will run for eight weeks and cost of $35 including the book, (Now Your Talking), $20 if students already have the book.  Interested students and assistants should contact Danne via email:  kc7zo@cybernet1.com



A cosmic year is amount of time that it takes the Sun to revolve around the center of the Milky Way.  That’s about 225 million years!

Norway has won more medals in the Winter Olympic Games than any other nation!




It is a New Year.  Hopefully, all of us showed up to help out with the First Night Missoula celebration.  Well, as usual, it is time to pony up your dues for the club.  The annual membership is $25.00 ($5.00 for additional family members).  You simply pay them to the Hellgate Amateur Radio Club treasurer (Steve Schlang, K7PX). What do you get for being a club member?  You get more than a “good feeling” in your heart.


You help maintain repeaters in the area.  Without us, “the 04 machine” would not be in existence, or would not be maintained very well.  The various VHF and UHF repeaters have a fairly wide coverage within our area.  They help provide communication coverage for emergency, public service, club events, and routine private use.


HARC also provides portable and fixed HF equipment (radios, towers, antennas, etc.) and the ability to use them in emergencies, public service, and club events.  There are also radio events that occur each year such as Field Day.


By being a member, we have the opportunity to meet people that have been “bitten by the same bug” that bit us.  Whether you find DX or VHF as a draw, “ragchewing” or working traffic, contests or public service, antennas or satellites, boat anchors or QRP, there are folks amongst the group that share the same view.  If you have questions, generally, some one has an answer.  If you are brand new and have LOTS of questions, we have plenty of “Elmers”.  If you are curious about ham radio, we have members of the club that will help teach you and test you.


You also have a wonderful website (see the title page) and a monthly newsletter (either e-mail or “snail mail”).  See you this year and bring someone new along!



Dear Northwestern Division Members,

As you have probably heard, Director Greg Milnes, W7OZ, passed away on December 17, 2005.  I had the pleasure of working with Greg for seven years as we represented the ARRL's Northwestern Division at board meetings and at various hamfests and other events.  He was well respected within the Division and on the ARRL Board.  We shall miss his
leadership, guidance and humor.

A memorial for Greg is planned for 4 PM Friday, December 30, 2005 at the Hillsboro Methodist Church, 168 NE 8th, Hillsboro, Oregon.  Suggested memorial contributions for Greg include the ARRL Foundation and the Hillsboro Methodist Church.  The notice of Greg's passing was on the Oregonian's web site on December 21st.  The web address is:

Messages of condolence can be sent to Greg's wife, Loretta and family at:
740 SE 24th Ave.
Hillsboro, OR 97123

ARRL President Jim Haynie, Division Section Managers able to attend and I will represent the League at Greg's memorial service.

As Greg's Vice Director, I now assume the duty of serving ARRL Northwestern Division's members on the ARRL Board as the Division Director.  My first order of business is to recommend a vice director replacement candidate to ARRL President Jim Haynie.  I will also represent the Northwestern Division at the upcoming ARRL Board meeting in January.

Please address your suggestions and questions to me at: k9jf@arrl.org . In addition, I can be reached at (360) 256-1716.  Please be assured that I will return your phone calls as quickly as possible.  In most instances, you will be asked to leave a message at this number.  Government, industry and our increasing average age challenge the amateur radio operators.  We must strive to insure the long-term survivability of our service.  I welcome your input and opportunity for discussion into 2006 and beyond.
Thanks, in advance, for your support during this transition.  As your Northwestern Division Director, I will represent the best interests of the Division and the future of amateur radio in general. 

Jim Fenstermaker, K9JF




Our VE’s will again be offering testing sessions for amateur radio licenses.   The examinations are scheduled for walk-in candidates.  No pre-registration is required.  Just show up with your photo ID, a copy of your current license and/or a copy of certificates of successful completion of examination elements since your current license. Per the ARRL-VEC and W5YI-VEC, the cost will be $14.00.


The next testing session is January 19, 2006 at the Missoula Public Library (301 E Main Street) at 6 PM.





"If you are recycling a bottle for outdoor use, make sure you see 'PETE' or 'PET' (polyethyleneterephthalate, a.k.a. 'polyester') on the bottom.  PP (polypropylene) and PE (polyethylene) will not hold up so well, particularly if they are food-grade which has limited stabilizer options.  PET is inherently stable, and its structure will also filter UV to give some protection to whatever the project will house." (Thanks, Stan KD4BTH)


We're unlikely to see ham radio construction programs on prime-time TV, but there is an alternative. Bill N2CQR (a.k.a. M0HBR and CU2JL, http://www.qsl.net/n2cqr) has developed "SolderSmoke," a video show for homebrewers.  His latest, SolderSmoke 11, is available at http://www.ourmedia.org/node/123300.  (It's a 36.8 Mbyte file) Topics include "Solar-Powered Station on 80-Meters," "Understanding Solid-State Design," and a few other interesting tidbits.  Bill has also produced some podcasts of himself and KL7R discussing homebrew projects - the URL is http://www.ourmedia.org/mediarss/user/36170, which can be cut-and-pasted into your pod control software or just listen on your PC at http://www.ourmedia.org/node/123300.


A bit late for holiday gifts, but just in time for a winter chuckle, Dick Sylvan W9CBT, has just published "HI HI - A Collection of Ham Radio Cartoons." (http://books.lulu.com/content/177530) If Dick's work looks familiar, you may have seen it in the K9YA Telegraph, a popular ham radio e-zine. While not specifically geared to contesters, the book includes contest-related cartoons and has something for everybody. (Thanks, Mike N9BOR)




At the start of a contest, I am rather like a mosquito in a nudist camp; I know what I ought to do, but I don't know where to begin." (Apologies to Stephen Bayne)- Mike, N2MG from the Contesting.com website.


Well, it is here again.  It is Antenna Repair….. er…. Contest season!  With the ARRL 160 meter and 10 meter contests during early December it is underway.  The Kids Day contest is the second weekend of January (read the article from the February 2005 Hellgate Static) and so is the ARRL RTTY roundup.  The VHF Sweeps and the CQ WW 160 test will finish off January.


As the days get longer, February will begin with the CQ WW RTTY WPX contest and the Asia Pacific test and will finish out with the ARRL International DX contest CW and the CQ WW 160 meter SSB contest.


March will begin with the SSB portion of the ARRL International DX contest and will end with the CQ WW WPX SSB portion.  CU in test, di di dah di dah        di di


QRZ, QRZ, this is KE7NO


We hope the HELLGATE STATIC was interesting for you this month.  Let us know if this newsletter is to your acceptance.  So far, I’ve only heard good things.  If there is something YOU would like to see, or that you feel is overdone, please let me know.  This is the Hellgate Amateur Radio Club newsletter, not mine!  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.