Sunday 2014-06-08: Manassas Hamfest

Northern Virginia's Largest Hamfest.
Manassas Hamfest

Our 40th YearAmerican Radio Relay League (ARRL) logo

Amateur Radio, Computer, & Electronics Show.
An ARRL-Approved HAMFEST Presented by:
The "OLE VIRGINIA HAMS" Amateur Radio Club, Inc.
(A non-profit organization dedicated to the promotion and enhancement of Amateur Radio)
Sunday, June 8, 2014
Prince William County Fairgrounds
Large Outdoor and Covered Pavillion flea market areas, two indoor air-conditioned buildings, several covered buildings and ample parking
10624 Dumfries Road, Manassas, VA 2012-2720 (Route 234)
TALK-IN 146.97- 442.200+ D-Star 442.5125+

Field Day 2014 Signup!

Signup for operating shifts is now available! Click on the big green button to go to the VolunteerSpot Web site:

More details will be available soon...

Tuesday 2014-05-13 - AARC Monthly Meeting

photo of K4DND
Meeting is at 7:30PM EST. Click this button to add this single event to google calendar
Presentation: Dave Damon K4DND will be talking about IRLP

Meeting Location: NRAO Auditorium, 520 Edgemont Road, Charlottesville, VA.
Lat/Long: geo:38.036817,-78.518115
google map

Board Meeting is at 7:00PM, same room. There may be an ARES meeting at 6:30PM in the Parking Lot.

There is a meeting from 4:30-6PM EST of the field day committee at Zoe's Kitchen, Barracks Road Shopping Center between burger king and McDonald's.
973 Emmet Street North
Charlottesville, VA 22903
(434) 995-5334‎
google maps

Sat 2014-05-10 Fontaine Fire Station Grand opening.

Fontaine Avenue Fire Station as seen from Fontaine Ave
Photo: Mark Whitis AK4OL, CC-BY-US-3.0

The grand opening for the New Fontaine Ave Fire Station is Saturday from 11AM to 3PM, Rain or Shine. Be prepared for rain as the hourly weather forecast on weatherbug has 50% chance of rain during the event hours. This is a rare chance to tour the facility. Several members of the club will be working the event through CERT, including Jim Wilson K4BAV, Mark Whitis AK4OL, and Anita Web. Parking is at two off-site locations, with shuttle buses provided (two full size buses and one handicapped shuttle). There will be food, speakers, ribbon cutting ceremony, etc. Speakers at 11:45AM, Ribbon Cutting at noon.
Press Release


Google Maps.
Waypoints are attached in KML format for google earth, KDE marble, and similar programs and GPX format for GPS receivers.

ViewRF RTL-SDR Dongle Spectrum Analyzer

I've successfully built Stephen Ong's ViewRF RTL-SDR Spectrum Analyzer. If you are interested in cool things that you can do with these little devices check out Stephen's YouTube demo and my project page.

73, Mike KQ9P

Dayton Hamvention

The Dayton Hamvention, the largest hamfest in North America is coming Friday 2014-05-16 through Sunday 2014-05-18. Although it is 7 hours away, a number of AARC members will be attending.

Dayton Hamvention banner


Add this specific event to your calendar: Add to Google Calendar

Note that there are one or more hamfests listed on the club calendar in Virginia or neighbouring states almost every weekend for the next 3 months, except for field day and independence day. Of particular note are Manassas (2014-06-08) and Berryville (2014-08-03). The Roanoke hamfest is also the day before Berryville, and the sponsoring group has reached out to our group to encourage attendance (they schedule it when they do for the convenience of vendors, though it is inconvenient for attendees). Also, the Virginia Beach Hamfest is 2014-09-14 and the Mid-Atlantic States VHF conference (PackratVHF) is a 3 day event in PA starting 2014-09-26.

Kicksat launch this Friday 2014-04-18 or Sat 2014-04-19

UPDATE: Kicksat has successfully launched.
Sprites will be deployed around 2014-05-04 15:45 EDT.
Kicksat orbit is predicted to decay around 2014-05-14.

Technical difficulties aside, there is a 40% chance weather will permit kicksat to launch Friday and a 36% chance it will launch saturday for a total probablity of 76%.

Day Chance Weather OK chance launch
Friday 2014-04-18 03:25PM EDT 40% 40%
Saturday 2014-04-19 03:02PM EDT 60% 36%
Postponed n/a 24%

The probability of launch on saturday is lower than that on friday, even though the weather is more likely to permit launch; this reflects the possibility that it may have already launched on friday.

Earlysville Volunteer Fire Department Fundraising Barbecue, Saturday 2014-05-03

Picture of front of Earlysville Volunteer Fire Department with 4 emergency vehicles emerging from bays

Bob Pattison, K4DU, writes:

For quite some time now the Earlysville Volunteer Fire Department (EVFD) has supported the Albemarle Amateur Radio Club (AARC) by hosting our annual Field Day station. At the most recent AARC meeting it was suggested that we, the members of the AARC, should support the EVFD by attending their Spring Barbecue. At that time we did not have the date and time. Today I received information about the event in the mail. I share it now with you.

Kicksat launch scheduled for tomorrow. SCRUBBED

"Our launch is officially on for tomorrow (April 14th) at 4:59 PM EDT. "
Kiscksat (the cubesat) should be transmitting tomorrow evening.
Sprites will be deployed 16 days later.

There is also a lunar eclipse late monday night, early morning (roughly 1AM-5PM) Weather conditions: partly cloudy (wunderground hourly forecast).

UPDATE: Rocket was on the pad but launch was scrubbed due to helium leak. Next launch opportunity is the 18th.

9-10 August 2014 AARC Camp Albemarle Activation, Civilian Conservation Corps On-The-Air Weekend

CCC Logo
Dirk KG8JK in Petosky, Michigan, is organizing the first of what he hopes will be an annual Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) On-The-Air Weekend on 9-10 August 2014. More information about his effort is available at Dirk's event Web site and in the ARRL news item on the topic.

For details about the AARC/Camp Albemarle operation, see the main article (below).

Read more below the fold.

Tue 2014-04-24 Skywarn class

Skywarn logo

There will be a skywarn class in Charlottesville on Tue 2014-04-24 from 6-9PM in the City Council Chambers. This class will teach you how to spot and report severe weather events to the National Weather Service, which relies on a nationwide network of Skywarn weather spotters. Many skywarn spotters are ham radio operators and skywarn nets are organized to relay skywarn reports when phone service is down. Last local class was 2 years ago (apparently 10 years ago in the valley); otherwise, area hams and other interested people need to drive to Dulles/Sterling to take classes. After you take the class, in person, you will be issued a skywarn spotter id.

This class is open to the public; You do not need to be a ham, to take this class.
please RSVP through this link:

Skywarn is supported by AARC, the ARRL, Charlottesville CERT, TJMRC, etc.

About Skywarn:

Many AARC members are skywarn spotters.

The Charlottesville/Albemarle area, and surrounding counties, get severe thunderstorms, microbursts, derechos, tornados, hurricanes, snowstorms, blizzards, sleet, hail, freezing rain, torrential rains, flooding, flash floods, and mudslides. The majority of deaths from Hurricane Camille where in adjacent Nelson County.

Due to the seating configuration (no tables), you might want to bring a clipboard.

AARC April 2014 Monthly Meeting: Contesting (Updated with slides)

The AARC monthly meeting will be held at 7:30PM, Tuesday 2014-04-08. Ed Berkowitz N3US will give a presentation on Contesting. The public is welcome to attend. The board meeting is in the same location at 7PM.

Click this button to add to your google calendar:

Meeting Location: NRAO Auditorium, 520 Edgemont Road, Charlottesville, VA.
Lat/Long: geo:38.036817,-78.518115
google map

Ham Radio License Class (Beginners: FCC Technician License)

ARRL Technicial License Study Manual cover image

The Albemarle Amateur Radio Club will kick-off a Technician Class (the entry level license) on Saturday, April 19, at 9 a.m. in the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, 520 Edgemont Road, Charlottesville. This will be a self-study class requiring the American Radio Relay League Ham Radio License Manual textbook at a cost of $29.95 ordered from The ARRL Ham Radio License Manual will guide you as you get started in the hobby–as you select your equipment, set-up your first station and make your first contact. You will use this book to study for your license exam. Every page presents information you will need to pass the exam and become an effective operator. The class is free and you will be guided by a team of instructor/counselors. The course will end with the FCC Examination on Saturday, June 28, at the Earlysville Volunteer Fire Department at 9 a.m. For registration and/or information, please reply by email to: jecrosby[at]comcast[dot]net

What is ham radio and why would you want to get a ham license and get involved in this exciting hobby? Here is an 11 minute introductory video made by a Canadian club:
And an 8 minute "DIY Magic of Ham Radio" video from the US national ham organization:

More details below the fold.

Jefferson Cup Road Race 2014

Sun Mar 30, 2014
Arrive at 7:30AM, safety meeting at 8:15AM; drivers must attend.

Homepage: none
Facebook page:
Start location:
Leslie H Walton Middle School
4217 Red Hill Road Charlottesville, VA 22903-7922
+37° 55' 15.58", -78° 33' 8.78
geo:37.920994,-78.552439 (calculated from above coordinates)
geo:37.921495,-78.551065 (from google map link on bikereg)
UTM: 715135.8128E 4199874.193N Zone 17

Prepare for rain. Weather forecast as of this writing means rain is likely all morning and possibly into afternoon. At these temperatures, being wet carries a risk of hypothermia!

Kicksat Launch Sunday 2014-03-16 04:41EDT POSTPONED

Image of front and back of kicksat sprite PCB
UPDATE: Postponed, possibly to somewhere between March 30th and April 2nd.
"KickSat is scheduled to launch from Cape Canaveral, Florida on March 16, 2014 at 4:41 AM. To check the latest date, look for 'SpaceX CRS 3' on SpaceFlight Now. I believe the launch will be televised on NASA TV, which you can see both on cable/satellite TV in the U.S. and online."

AARC is running a ground station for this project. Contact K4IB or AK4OL to participate.

2014 VA QSO Party, March 15 and 16.

random map of prior VA QSO party results
The 2014 VA QSO party is this weekend, Saturday March 15, 10 AM - 10 PM and Sunday 8 AM - 8 PM Virginia local time. This is a contest/operating event "to promote amateur radio activity in the 95 Virginia Counties and 38 Virginia Independent Cities". At least on station of each QSO must be in VA; VA stations can work stations anywhere out of state stations can only work VA stations. Virginia Mobile/Expedition stations get a 100 point bonus for each Virginia County/Independent City from which they log a valid QSO. Multipliers are the total number of Virginia counties, Virginia Independent cities, U. S. States (except Virginia), Canadian Provinces, and DX entities. HF (No WARC bands), VHF, and UHF.

2014-03-29 Ham Radio License Test (VE Session)

ARRL Volunteer Examiner Patch

AARC will be holding its quarterly VE (Volunteer Examiner) session where people can take exams to obtain or upgrade an Amateur Radio (ham radio) license, adminstered for the FCC by our ARRL accredited Volunteer Examineers (VEs). Your exam will be graded on the spot.

Earlysville Volunteer Fire Station
283 Reas Ford Rd, Earlysville, VA 22936
Latitude: 38.144678 Longitude: -78.491183. Maidenhead Grid Locator: FM08SD14BR

Add to your google calendar: google calendar button

Tue 2014-03-11 March AARC meeting

Jim Wilson, K4BAV, will give a talk about telegraphy.
Meeting is at 7:30PM. Board meeting a half hour earlier.

Meeting Location: NRAO Auditorium, 520 Edgemont Road, Charlottesville, VA.
Lat/Long: geo:38.036817,-78.518115
google map

Special Edition of The Beacon now posted under "Beacon Newsletter" to the left.

The Beacon was posted late waiting for the minutes of the February meeting. The minutes came in just after posting the newsletter without them. The president asked that the minutes be posted in a special edition of the newsletter. That has been done and can be found in a file "201403 Special" next to the regular edition.

2014-02-23 Hamfest: Vienna Winterfest

Winterfest Logo
The 2014 Vienna Wireless Society Winterfest is on Sunday, February 23 in Vienna, VA (Northern VA) at the gymasium of the NVCC Annandale Campus, 8333 Little River Turnpike, Annandale, VA 22003.‎
geo:38.833216,-77.236872 (Google Maps)
Talkin: 146.91Mhz NV4FM Northern VA FM Association Tysons Corner Repeater. -0.600Mhz, no tone.


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