Come one, come all to the February 2023 club meeting on Monday February 20th at 7pm. Members of the community, particularly those with an interest in amateur radio, are always welcome. We meet in Independent Hose Company social hall, located in the rear of the fire company. Address is 310 Baughmans Lane Frederick. We’ll have a presentation by Steve W3ATN regarding satellite communications with ham radio. Please join us either in person (preferred) or via zoom here: Note regarding zoom: Your zoom-installed application MAY indicate you need version 5.10.3 or newer and only allow exit… The only way I was able to get it going was to uninstall my previous zoom version using the Windows control panel and then re-install the newer zoom version.
Tour de Frederick 2023 is Saturday June 10th, and FARC will be providing communications. We’ll need folks to staff rest stops, Support and Gear (SAG) vehicles, and net control. As we get closer, we’ll be requesting volunteers – stay tuned.
The Frederick Amateur Radio Club is sponsoring the FARClub 2M Simplex QSO Challenge on Saturday, February 25th from 7:00 PM until 9:00 PM (but feel free to go later if you choose). You do NOT need to be a club member to participate. The goal is to provide a fun February event without getting cold; an event for both new hams and those who maybe don’t get out like they once did. While I’m a fan of digital, I’d like to keep this an all-voice event, using FM and SSB modes. The spirit of this event is to provide a very local QSO party, but with a couple of twists:
How Low Can You Go Challenge (can be optional). As you make a contact, each end should reduce power to determine the lowest output required to still communicate. Most radios will only support High/Medium/Low. For example, let’s say that K3MMM makes contact with N3LSB. After initial exchange, K3MMM will say “I’m going low”, and then moves to medium power, then transmit something like “N3SLB, medium power, how copy”. If good copy, K3MMM moves to low power and repeats “N3LSB, low power, how copy”. If good copy, N3LSB would then start the step down in power process. If at any point, contact is lost on lower power, move back to full power and complete the transaction. Yes, this will take an extra minute or two, but it can be interesting to see how much or little power is really required. If using an HT, same thing – your high/med/low will just be lower. Log the lowest power required to effectively communicate. You may want to turn squelch down/off for this event.
If you’re a new ham, and would like to participate, but maybe aren’t so sure of how these things really work, I’m encouraging experienced hams to open their shacks for this event, inviting new hams to join them. How will this work? If you’re willing to host a new ham, please comment on this post with your call sign and “open shack” or similar words (i.e. K3MMM Open Shack). If your email is current on QRZ.com, we can put folks together. I’m hoping that with the geographical diversity of our group, there will be someone just down the road for any new ham.
Logs can be in any format, including hand-written. If electronic, I’d prefer ADIF format, but can take .csv or most anything else. Logs are due on or before March 11th – you can email to my call sign @arrl.net or mail to my address found on qrz.com. I’m not going to cross-check logs, but rather count on your spirit and integrity.
***(Update) I’ll be awarding the most-distant contact for both SSB and FM. In addition to your log, PLEASE (please!) let me know your longest contact, including far end call sign and approximate distance from your location.
*** (update) Those using SSB should the weak-signal frequency range of: 144.000 to 144.500, with specific “channels” of 144.100, 144.200, 144.300, 144.400 & 144.500.
In keeping with the T-MARC bandplan for our region (found here if you’re interested) and to save you from looking it up, the standard FM simplex frequencies are below. For FM, we’ll use the 146.415 to 146.595 block of channels, as they’re likely the most familiar with most folks. Specifics are:
Winter Field Day 2023 was both an adventure and a learning experience. While the weather could hardly have been nicer, it is still winter and with even a slight breeze, it was chilly. Rain earlier in the week made things a bit sloppy in the field, but hardly slowed us down.
The morning started clear and bright. Aaron (KC3QPJ) stopped by early for a shakedown cruise of his drone, seen here ready to drop a line for one end of Sandy’s (KB3EOF) off-center dipole. Other antennas included an end-fed 160M half-wave (yes, 80M long piece of wire) graciously loaned to us by Lou WZ3J, as well as a Wolf River Coil vertical. As the morning progressed, radios and power (100% battery/solar – including lights) were sorted out. Many hams stopped by to see our setup and say hello.
Just after 2pm, we started making contacts. At some point, Mrs MMM stopped by bearing chicken, potato salad and rolls, and later in the evening brought over a pot of chili. We were set.
As the sun set just after 4:30, the air quickly chilled. We shuffled things in the shed to make better use of the wood-burning stove.
When full darkness arrived, Steve W3ATN brought out his telescope, providing an extraordinary view of the “green comet” (comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF)), as well as the craters of the moon, the stripes of Jupiter and a distant star nebula. Truly a bonus.
As the night wore on, and temperature cooled, the last of us called it quits before midnight. The Sunday forecast called for rain in the late morning, when we returned in the morning, we made our last contacts and began the tear-down process in hopes of beating the rain. We ended up with well over 100 contacts across various modes and bands. So, it was a good event and like many things in life, we’ll know more for next time. And Summer Field Day (June 24/25) is only a few months away!