Propagation Maps (Updated)

Combined map with BGCCC 2013, Gran Fondo Virginia 2013, Miller School Road Race 2013, MS150 Tour de Vine (multiple years), Jefferson cup (multiple years) race/ride routes, local repeaters, 7.5minute quadrangle grid, and line of sight (LOS) propagation overlay for 146.760, 146.925, and 146.895 repeaters. Created by AK4OL.
Propagation map with bike routes

(sticky) Sunday 2013-09-08 Public Service Event: Gran Fondo Virginia Bike Ride

Gran Fondo Virginia Logo
Image from web site

Volunteers Needed! Contact Joe Flamini W4BXG.

We have sketchy last minute info that our help is needed for an unnamed bike race on sunday:

On another note, Kenneth Kang just e-mailed me informing me of another (new) bike race that he needs comms for. This one is next week (!), on Sunday the 8th. The race benefits an environmental non-profit. Race begins & ends at Walnut Creek Park; races are from 9:30 to 5:30. Looks like four people would do it.

From the sketchy details provided, this appears to be the first ever Gran Fondo Virginia Bike Ride. Not to be confused with a couple other "Gran Fondo" events that take place in Virginia. And the non-profit mentioned would be Better World Betty. Walnut Creek Park is off Old Lynchburg Road near North Garden, VA a bit north of Plank Road and a bit south of Red Hill Road.

Note that the ride actually starts at 9:30AM; hams should try to be be there earlier. Registration is from 7:30 to 9:15 AM.

Additional details I have been able to uncover are below the fold, including route maps and propagation forecasts.

Topo maps for upcoming public service events

reduced resolution topo map of Crozet, VA 7.5minute quadrangle
Crozet quadrangle

The following 7.5minute quadrangles cover the routes for the BGCCC, Gran Fondo Virginia, and Miller School Bike Race: Swift Run Gap, Stanardsville, Browns Cove, Free Union, Earlysville, Waynesboro East, Crozet, Greenfield, Covesville, Alberene, Schuyler, Esmont, and Howardsville. Charlottesville West, Charlottesville East, and Simeon would also be desirable as they cover the area immediately around Charlottesville, including some of our repeater locations.

Miller School Road Race 2013 only needed Crozet and Covesville.

BGCCC 2013 needs: Swift Run Gap, Stanardsville, Browns Cove, Free Union, Earlysville, Waynesbora East, Crozet, and Greenfield

Gran Fondo Virginia 2013 needs: Waynesboro East: Crozet, Greenfield, Covesville, Alberene, Schuyler, Esmont, and Howardsville

Repeater locations include: crozet, covesville, Alberene, Simeon, and Charlotteville East.

2013-09-15 Public Service Event: Boys and Girls Club Cycling Challenge

Volunteers Needed! Contact Joe Flamini W4BXG.
Joe Flamini W4BXG wrote:

Hi, All---
The Boys & Girls Club Race is in two weeks (Sunday, 15 September), and we need a few conscripts. I'm actually gonna be a part of this one, so I need six more souls. Only two of the posts are all day; the other five are only partials.Here are the seven posts:

Old Trail Swim Club (HQ)-- 7:00 on (All day)
White Hall Community Center-- 7:00 on (All day)
Greenwood Community Center-- 8:00-12 Noon
Broadus Wood School-- 11:00- 4:00
Boonesville-- 10:00-2:30
1 SAG-- 8:00-11:00
1 SAG-- 11:00-4:00
They'll provide rides for SAGs; I've got club event radios as before.

I'll send the map in an e-mail immediately following this one.

2013-09-28 AARC Fox Hunt (upcoming event)

May 2013 Fox Hunters
Fox Hunters from May 2013 fox hunt

This will be after our usual every other saturday breakfast. You don't have to come to breakfast but, like last time, we will have the fox there and turn it on at the beginning of breakfast so you can verify your radio is properly set up and hear what it sounds like and even test your antenna close in and at a distance. Then Mike KQ9P will depart early from breakfast and deploy the fox.

Fox hunting is a term for hidden transmitter hunting. One person hides the "fox" and the other people try to find it using radio direction finding techniques.

Frequency: 146.565Mhz

The fox was built by Paul McKee AK4OH.

2013-09-14 9a: AARC Volunteer Examiner Session

ARRL Volunteer Examiner Patch

AARC is holding a VE (Volunteer Examiner) session where people can sit to take their amateur radio license exams in the vicinity of Charlottesville, VA. Walk-ins allowed. There is a modest fee to take the exam. These sessions are held about once every 3 months.
http://www.arrl.org/exam_sessions/charlottesville-va-22906-9999-11

Location: NRAO HQ, 520 Edgemont Road, Charlottesville, VA. google maps link.

WA4TFZ 146.760Mhz Repeater Storm Damage UPDATE: repeater is back up

NOAA Photolibrary image of multiple lightning strikes
Photo Credit: NOAA Photo Library

Bill Pond N0WP writes on Saturday 2013-08-31:

It appears the Marshall Manor repeater site may have experienced some storm related damage today. Mike McPherson notified me around 5:15 PM today that he heard some beeps, then nothing on the 146.760. We did some attempts to reset it, etc. Both the 146.760 and 444.000 appear to respond to commands, key up as expected, however there is no audio output at all. No audio from repeater generated audio, or repeated audio. Carrier hang time seems correct, but zero audio. In the interim, I've disabled both transmitters. I'll play with it a bit more tomorrow, but I think there's a good possibility we'll have to install the spare controller to get it back on the air.

I'll update this as I learn more. At a minimum, I'd expect we'll have to run the Monday night net on 146.895 this week.

Shelby Hamfest: Saturday/Sunday 2013-08-31 to 09-01, Shelby, NC

If you have been paying attention to the new club calendar you know that it is labor day weekend and that in addition to our every other week breakfast bunch gathering (separate story) it is also time for the Shelby, NC hamfest and that traffic in town will be a mess due to a UVA home game.
Shelby Hamfest Logo
Saturday August 31 & Sunday September 1, 2013
Cleveland County Fairgrounds
1751 E. Marion Street, Shelby, NC 28152

Gates open at 7:00 AM each day (August 31 & September 1)
Inside Dealer Buildings will be open 8:00 AM-5:00 PM on Saturday
Inside Dealer Buildings will be open 8:00 AM-1:00 PM on Sunday

Talk-In: 146.880 (-), No Tone - W4NYR Repeater
http://www.shelbyhamfest.org/

Breakfast bunch: Back at Panera

Image of Hot Air Baloon over Panera Bread
Hot Air Balloon over Panera
During AARC Breakfast Gathering
Click to enlarge
Photo Credit: Mark Whitis AK4OL
License: CC-BY-3.0US

Looks like we are back at Panera this saturday. Mike KQ9P writes:

This Saturday is our regular Ham Radio Breakfast Group! Let's make it Panera in the Barracks Road Shopping Center this time. I will be there by about 7:15am. Things usually wind down around 10am. Drop by any time.

Things that I am pretty sure we will talk about are scheduling the next foxhunt and an update on our KickSat satellite ground station project. Anything is fair game, though.

Panera Bread
1121 Emmet St N, Charlottesville, VA ‎
Barracks Road Shopping Center
(434) 245-6192 ‎
www.panerabread.com
lat/long: 38.052218, -78.501571
google maps.

Virtual test equipment: computer audio signal generation tools

plot of sin(x) from -2pi to 2pi using gnuplot

Your computer and sound card can be used in lieu of some pieces of test equipment, particularly audio equipment. A couple times in as many weeks, I have needed to generate tones to send over the radio.

Most of the tools described here run on Linux; most are also available on Mac OS X, Windows, FreeBSD, etc.

AARC Breakfast Group Location Survey

Thanks for all the responses. The results are in!

Question 1 Part A

Review: Cheap SMA to BNC adaptors


(click to enlarge)
I just received an order of SMA to BNC adapters from www.rfsupplier.com. They are cheaper than most other resellers with an adaptor price of $1.60 or $1.80 and $3 shipping for multiple adaptors. More info below the fold for those who are stuck with SMA connectors on their radios, including pictures with various radios and antennas.

Video: "road" to Marshal Manor repeater shack. +Photos

Don't forget to reprogram your radios. See separate headline.

Part 2: This is the last part of the journey to the repeater shack. This is the Safari part of the journey. It does not include the drive to the winery or the drive through the winery which includes some rough and steep but traveled roads. This video starts just as we resume travel after closing the last gate. The site is located on "marshal manor" south-southeast of charlottesville which is actually the back side of the Carter Mountain Ridge but it is not on the portion where the commercial antenna farm and apple orchards are and what locals think of when you say Carter Mountain and is reached by a different route. "Marshal Manor" is actually a subdivision on the west side of the ridge (we are approaching from the west side) though in this video we will basically be travelling north along the ridge. We waited weeks after a rainy spell for this road to be considered passable even with a 4x4 truck with high clearance.

The May 2013 Fox Hunt

Fox Hunt Transmitter (exterior view)We should be scheduling a new fox hunt soon. But not enough was written about the last fox hunt. Here is a picture of the Fox Hunt transmitter used in our May 2013 fox hunt. A fox hunt is a nickname for a ham radio hidden transmitter hunt.

Video: Repeater shack snake evictions

2011 Virginia Earthquake 2 Year Anniversary

Virginia 2011 Earthquake Map
Twitter 8/23/13 12:36 PM ¡CommEmerg: #Albemarle #Charlottesville Today marks 2 yrs since the 5.8 earthquake shook Central VA. Remember: Drop, Cover, and Hold On! (EM 2)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2011_Virginia_earthquake

Great southeast shakeout earthquake drill is coming up on Oct 17:
http://www.shakeout.org/southeast/

Article backdated to anniversary date. Actually written 2013-09-01

Reprogram your radio 146.760 - August Marshal Manor Repeater Maintenance Trip

Al KF4AGT augering hole
Al KF4AGT drilling hole for Flamini ground rod
to be filled with bentonite clay and epson salts
Photo: Mark Whitis AK4OL
CC-BY-3.0-US

The configuration on the WA4TFZ 146.760Mhz repeater has been changed today so that, while you still need to send 151.4Hz CTCSS, the repeater does not send CTCSS. Some CTCSS does appear to leak through from the transmitting station but your radio is likely to not reliably stay unsquelched during reception if your radio is set to require CTCSS inbound. For chirp and many radios, this means the radio needs to be set to "TONE" instead of "Tone Sqeulch" or "TSQL" or something similar. My radio was squelching about half the time. Also, you won't hear the courtesy beep as there is no CTCSS from the transmitter to leak through.

This change was made as a temporary (weeks, months) measure since it is believed that 151.4 from the transmitter side was feeding through into the receive side and causing the repeater to rebroadcast large amounts of noise.

AARC 50th Anniversary Picnic and Silent Auction 2013-09-10 5:30PM EDT

Bill N0WP grill master
Bill N0WP as Grill Master
2012 picnic
Photo Credit: KA4JJD

K4JEC writes: Just a gentle reminder that time is running out to make your reservation for the club’s annual picnic and silent auction – new location offering new scenery. Please help us out by sending your reservation to Don N4UVA. He needs to know who much food and drink will be required to satisfy all the hearty appetites.

In lieu of the normal monthly meeting, we will be having our annual picnic and silent auction.
The location this year will be the Elks Lodge Shelter. I assume this will be the picnic shelter adjacent to the Elk's lodge on 389 Elk Drive where we have held our annual dinner banquet, NOT the lodge on 2nd Street downtown. Also note that it will not be held at Darden Towe park, as it has been in years past, though the primary route to darden towe park seems to be the one that takes you past the Elk's lodge.

Club Activities Calendar

New Google Calendar which you can import into your own google calendar or other calendar apps so you can see AARC events along side your personal events and events from other groups.

Breakfast Bunch Saturday 2013-08-17 Cavalier Diner.

Image of Cavalier Diner, Charlottesville
Photo: AK4OL. CC-BY-3.0-US
KQ9P says:

We'll have a shortage of Mikes at next Saturday's breakfast. As the last Mike standing, I have been authorized by the Council of Mikes to convene breakfast on Saturday, 17 August 2013. I'm going to exercise the privileges of the Control Mike and choose the location: Cav Diner (http://thecavalierdiner.com/, 1403 N Emmet, Charlottesville). I will be there sometime between
7 and 7:15am. They know we are coming (I'm having breakfast there as I type this...). If you beat me there tell them you are with the ham radio group. Turns out that one of the owners is an Italian ham, so we should get a warm welcome!

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