By Linda Beard KI5LLB
During Field Day I was ask to show and talk about my Arrow tracking antenna that works with a satellite tracking program called Orbitron. I like this program better than any of the ones I tried because it offers good details on many of the satellites floating around in space. It was working on my old computer which I noticed didn’t connect to my Apple network very well. I had to keep resetting it for an accurate reading. (Orbitron will be on Apple products in the near future, the programmer is working on writing it and said, “He hopes it would be ready soon.”) Orbitron, as well as my Apple program, GoSatWatch, both showed that when the ISS got close to where we were on Sunday it crossed a little too far out of reach to the west of us on its first pass. On the next pass it was a little too far out of reach to the east of us for me to make a contact on Field Day before 2:00. I want to thank Larry for asking me to hold a short class on how to use my equipment because I enjoyed showing it work and I was encouraged to learn more about what can be done with the program.
However, Sunday night I was reconnecting the old computer back to my home internet connection and I thought I would check to see if Orbitron connected properly and was working. It was, so I watched it while I explored what the program was capable of doing. I had been asked if I could program it ahead in time so I would know what path the ISS would take at any given time and mark the time it would be overhead. I didn’t know the answer. I am happy to report that it can program ahead and I can set a program buzzer notifying that the object is coming into range. Thus permitting preparation time before the satellite passes.
I was busy setting my call sign for my home location and forgot to check on Orbitron. When I looked back to check if I set the call sign correctly I saw that the ISS was heading straight over my home location. At 11:20 Sunday night the ISS went through the center of the star marking Crozet. I had unhooked the Yeasu V-8 handheld radio from Arrow. There was no way for me to get the radio reconnected in time to try to contact the ISS before it passed by me. I could only sit and watch the overpass on the screen. I was really upset for little while which inspired me to set a goal. I promised myself that I would make a connection with the ISS as soon as possible. I quickly reassembled my ISS hunting equipment. It sets poised close by me ready to grab and rush out into the night or day. I will be able to track it in the daylight because I will see the ISS go through the star by my call sign.
All I will need to do in order to locate the ISS any where I am in the daytime will be to mark whatever location I am in at that time. So it will be possible to tract and contact the ISS anytime day or night. Great! ISS you will be my contact soon. It was fun to relearn and learn more about my program and show off my equipment. Thanks for allowing me to have a little part in Field Day.
Since late April, most of our repeaters had been sounding and operating very well. However, early in June, I learned the 224.76 had been giving low repeated audio. I had planned some improvements to this machine for some time, so this seemed the perfect time to implement them. On 6/10/15, we visited Buck's Elbow and removed the repeater and duplexers for service.
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Clink on this Link: http://www.newsplex.com/home/headlines/Local-Club-Hosts-Radio-Field-Day-...
June is always a hectic month for the Albemarle ARC. In addition to Field Day it is also the month for the annual MS150 Tour de Vine bike event. 2015 was the 27th consecutive year that the AARC has attended and provided communications support for this important fundraiser. Eleven local area amateur radio operators stepped up to contribute approximately 220 person hours of support. ARRL values our contribution of time at $19 per hour for a total person hour value of $4,180. Counting each repeater used and crediting each participant with at least $300 of personal ham radio equipment adds an additional value of $15,300 for a total value added of $19,480. This is more than a significant donation by the participants and by the Albemarle ARC.
Please click "Read more" below for details.
In the next 2 weeks before Field Day I’ll be using the AARC group email list to send out updated notices as
needed about our Field Day preparations. The reason for this is two-fold: Some members think they have to
have a password to get into our website or to read the Beacon newsletters (not true) so they haven’t as yet
tried to keep up to date on Field Day activities; and we now have passed the time for Beacon
announcements 1st of the month). In short, we’re coming down to the wire and more rapid fire notices are
needed as we approach June 27-28, 2015.
In May we had debits totaling $363.36 and credits totaling $222.06. Activity was light as it usually is this time of the year.
Field Day is the single most important annual event that requires promoting and supporting by the AARC Public Relations Committee.
Phase I has successfully been completed. Phase I includes advance Field Day promotions to television and commercial radio stations, to print media, and to local officials.
Phase II takes place during Field Day itself. Phase II includes welcoming visitors and explaining the operations of each radio position, plus hosting television news interviews.
Since Field Day 2015 will be staged at a new and highly visible location, the 911 Emergency Center at 2306 Ivy Road, publicity for this event far exceeded required tasks outlined by the Public Relation Committee By-Laws.
This past Sunday, members of the AARC and CVRA (Central Virginia Repeater Association) assisted with the Miller School Bike Races. The race course of approximately 16 miles is sufficient length to accommodate 4 race groups simultaneously. The morning race groups started at 10 minute intervals, resulting in sufficient spacing to avoid one field overtaking the one ahead of it. Morning races were as long as 80 miles (5 laps) and as short as 32 miles (2 laps).
Following a lunch break, another 4 race groups lined up for the afternoon event, and since the weather began to deteriorate, the first 3 races were shortened from 3 laps (48 miles) to 2 laps (32 miles) while the 4th race group of Juniors age 9-14 were only scheduled for 1 lap and that remained unchanged.
Check your calendars, we have two important upcoming public service events that will need lots of volunteers.
Sunday, May 31 is the Miller School Bike Race. This race takes place on the Miller School loop, with 4 race groups on the course in the morning and another 4 groups on the course in the afternoon. A number of AARC and CVRA members have volunteered, but more are needed. So if you have time on Sunday morning or Sunday afternoon, please let me know as soon as possible.
The MS150 Bike Tour de Vine is fast approaching. Check your calendars for Saturday and Sunday June 13 and 14. Many volunteers are needed for this event which has had AARC support for around 25 years. There are last minute changes to the courses, and details are still a bit fuzzy. Again this year, the tour will take place from Pollak Vineyard west of Crozet. This event requires manning 4-5 rest stops, as well as maintaining SAG vehicles on the course.
Both of these public service events are a great opportunity to get out and play radio in the field, and to showcase the Amateur Radio Service to the public. Don't pass up on this chance to participate in AARC public service.
Lot's of detailed reports will come along later, but for now...
In addition to 2400+ operating points (Power Multiplier of 2), we earned 1400+ bonus points for Emergency Power, Media Publicity, Public Location, Public Information Table, Message Origination to Section Manager, Message Handling, Satellite QSO, Alternate Power, W1AW Bulletin, Educational Activity, Site Visitation by an elected governmental official, Site Visitation by a representative of an agency, GOTA Station, Web submission, and Youth Participation. The GOTA station WA4TFZ operated for 12 hours during field day. It was constantly supervised by a Coach (W4MBW and/or KA4JJD) and boasts 34 contacts. Two attendees made eight contacts each, two made four, one made three, two made two, and three made one. One attendee was our State Senator, who made a contact. Contacts were made on 10M, 15M, and 20M. Wow!
I posted the Club Bylaws, Articles of Incorporation, and Tax Exempt Letter to this new section of our website
During April your club had deposits totaling $2,099.73 and debits totaling $292.53. If you are interested in "cash on hand" then you must attend our May meeting on the 12th.
This letter from IRS documents that AARC is exempt from Income Tax under Section 501 (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Furthermore, we are a Public Charity.
As such, donations to our club are tax deductible.
I placed a copy of this letter under the Club Documents section.
The Member Directory was updated and posted to the "Member Directory" section of the AARC Webpage, available upon logging in.
For the month of March we had debits totaling $415.35 and credits totaling $218.19.
I just received an email from a former youth member of AARC and am posting it here so that any of you that knew Brian can get in touch.
Brian Meadowcroft KJ4SYJ (former KF4FRP)
vmi2uscg at yahoo dot com
I hope all is well in Charlottesville? The clubs web page looks good, and y'all sound pretty active.
I just wanted to thank you and the club for getting me started in radio 20 years ago. A few things have changed, but I'm back into ham radio and have just passed my Extra test! My Coast Guard unit in Southeast Texas, has assigned me to the Communications Unit Team Leader, partially due to my radio knowledge.
I had no idea what I'd be getting into and learning when I took my class and tests with Greg, N4PGS, back then. The hobby has taken me a long way and really helped provide me a good foothold in college!
If you wouldn't mind forwarding this on to a few of the guys that were active back in the late 90's, I'd appreciate it.
Maybe I'll find you while calling CQ sometime!
April was quite productive for the technical committee. We began with installing the new tone board at Marshall Manor on our April 1 visit. This also involved updating the firmware in the controller to support some new macros that allow us to remotely enable and disable the outgoing CTCSS tone. We can now enable full CTCSS tone squelch on our radios to eliminate hearing other machines on 146.760 and other undesired noises.
What a great start to AARC Public Service events for the year. On Sunday, March 29, 13 members of the AARC turned out to assist with the Jefferson Cup Bike Races. This was the 25th year of AARC support for this event, and you would have thought this year's volunteers had been working most of the years the event has been running.
We maintained fixed location radio communications at the staging area (Walton Middle School), the Start/Finish, at each of the 3 course corners, and with the Rescue Squad ambulance. In addition, we provided 4 mobile stations for each race and for one mobile medic.
So many thanks to the following: Marty W4MBW, Larry K4JZQ, Ed N3US, Mike KA4JJD, AJ KE4AJM, Shannon KJ4VJR, Greg N4PGS, Mike KQ9P, Jon KJ4RPW, Dayton AA4DH, Jeff K4OLW, and Don N4UVA.
Other than some excitement late in February, this report contains good news. I had reported some interference issues on February 24 with the linked repeaters. The issue continued for a couple days, but then resolved and has not repeated. It took us a short time to restore some settings that we had changed while evaluating the issue, but since then, all repeaters have continued to operate well.