AARC has a Twitter hashtag!

Although many people have strong feeling about Twitter - both positive and negative - there is no denying that it is very useful for instant, one-to-many communications in certain situations. For those times when it would be useful, let's tweet with the hashtag #albemarleradio.

CERT events and Emergency Alerts

Charlottesville CERT logo

Register for cell phone text message emergency Alerts from the Albemarle/Charlottesville/UVA Emergency Communications Center at https://acuecc.onthealert.com/.

This is separate from the broadcast addressed Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) users of newer model cell phones on participating carriers may be able to receive although the messages may overlap. "Alerts will be utilized to inform residents of evacuations, shelter-in-place situations, major traffic disruptions, Amber Alerts, gas leaks, boil water advisories and weather warnings."

Follow #CommEmerg on Twitter and like the corresponding facebook page.

FALL 2013 Basic CERT class will be Thursdays Sept 12 through Nov 7, 2013, 6:30-9:00PM in the ECC conference room. This time they have avoided a conflict with our monthly meeting but it does conflict with the Northern Piedmont Emergency Net (although I have sometimes managed a late check in after classes and there is a ham radio in the room next to the room where the classes are going to be held).

Berryville Hamfest

logo: Senandoah Valley Amateur Radio Club, Inc. W4RKC.  Since 1948American Radio Relay League (ARRL) logo

The Shenandoah Valley
Amateur Radio Club, Inc.

63rd Annual Berryville Hamfest
and Computer Show
Sunday, August 4, 2013

Clarke County Ruritan Fairgrounds, Berryville, VA

UPDATED AFTER EVENT: Miller School Road Race 2013-07-28 - Public Service Event

Route shown in red with repeater locations as yellow thumbtacks. Click to enlarge or view on
google maps or RideWithGps without repeater locations.

The miller school race is on Sunday, July 28th.

Volunteers are needed; Contact Joe Flamini W4BXG (contact info in club roster). Drivers and vehicles will be provided for the follow operators, so you don't need to put around 222 miles on your car (estimate from last year - it was basically a 16mile course but there are a lot of races and most have multiple laps). In addition, Joe will have a couple mobile radios with cigarette lighter plug and mag mount antennas available.

We will be using the 146.895Mhz repeater on Buck's Elbow. -0.600Mhz, 151.4Hz. Lat/long: 38.104681, -78.744878. Elevation 3149ft+50ft.

New Club Award

Albemarle Amateur Radio Club
Central Virginia Repeater Century Award

Our President states, "To encourage use of repeaters in Central Virginia and in celebration of our 50th year as a radio club, the Albemarle Amateur Radio Club announces the “Central Virginia Repeater Century Award”."

Here are the rules as approved by the Board of Directors:

Only contacts made on repeaters in Central Virginia count for credit. Simplex contacts are not counted for this award. All QSO's count as two points, but only one contact with each licensed amateur can be counted for credit each year. (In other words each person can only be counted as a contact once in a year. Multiple contacts with the same person on different machines will only be counted as one contact).Documentation consists of Date, Time, Machine Used and the Call sign of the station contacted in a log that must be submitted to be considered for the annual award. The annual deadline for submission is two weeks before the club’s December Holiday Dinner which is scheduled for December 10, 2013. (For the 2013 award logs will be submitted to K4DU). Logs are on the honor system, but are subject to inspection when submitted. Award certificates for 100 points or more will be presented at the Annual Holiday Dinner. Contacts made by a Net Control Operator (NCO) for the Monday Night Information Net, The Digital Net or the Northern Piedmont Emergency Net maybe counted for award credit. (All check-ins for a single session may be counted once in a calendar year for a net control operator.) Guest NCO’s for the weekly nets are welcomed and encouraged!

Contacts made after July 9, 2013 are eligible for this award.

Creating Content for the club website - Lesson 2

AARC website resistor/capacitor logo
  • Hyperlinks
  • Images
  • Outlines
  • Tables
  • Floats
  • div/span
  • Stylesheets
  • Microformats
  • Headings
Callsign Frequency
WA4TFZ 146.760Mhz
WA4DND 146.730Mhz

AARC website resistor/capacitor logoYou can use some, but not all HTML markup in your posts/stories on the club website. Just below the box where you type your content, you will see a collapsed section title labelled "Input format". There are currently two setttings: too restrictive ("Filtered HTML" and too permissive ("Full HTML"). Even the "Full HTML" setting doesn't pass your stuff through unmolested and we need to work around some misbehaviour.

This markup will let you do stuff like insert hypertext links, images, outlines, tables, block quotes, and code samples. But Before I show you how to use HTML markup do these things, there is some tedious background info to cover.

HTML is a special type of markup that is both machine readable and human readable. HTML markup generally consists of putting markup around text like this:


Creating Content for the club website- Lesson 1 - simple content

Sidebar image showing 'create content' option

In this tutorial, I will show how to create a basic story on the website with no pictures, tables, lists, code listings, or other HTML. With the information in this tutorial, you should be able to post a simple quick and dirty story on the club website, such as 90% of the stories published in the first 2-1/2 years of this website being hosted using drupal but not a fancier page such as this tutorial page or some of my recent postings. You might have been hoping I would show you how to do those right away, but you need to walk before you can run.

  • The site is run by a program called "drupal"
  • Obtain a username/password if you don't already have one
  • Login. Go to http://www.albemarleradio.org/user/ or use the new login prompt that should now appear on the left sidebar if you aren't already logged in.
  • Now select "Create Content" from the left sidebar under your username/callsign. This is illustrated and highlighted in the picture on the right (if the picture is to small, click on it to enlarge).
  • Now select "story". A story will appear on the home page but eventually scroll off as new content is posted, though you can still go back to older stories. A "page" is used for more permanent content. You may not have permission to create a page but an administrator can promote it. I have also created entries that had the properties of both (field day press release was made a menu item until field day passed). But "story" will usually do.

July 9th Monthly Meeting- Smart meters

The Albemarle Amateur Radio Club will meet in the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, 520 Edgemont Road, Charlottesville, VA on July 9 at 7:30 pm. Charles Battig K4TY will give a presentation on Smart Meters (home electric service meters) and RFI.

The president has called a board meeting for 7 pm. prior to the 7:30 General Membership Meeting.

(text copied from the beacon).

slides Note that I do not condone this content.

FCC approves google TV white spaces database

reduced size view of google TV whitespaces

This is just starting to percolate into the news. The FCC last friday approved release of google's TV white spaces database which documents what unused TV channels may be used for wireless internet access type services in which areas. You can browse a visual representation in google maps:

On this page, you can download these databases that include US, Canadian, and Mexican TV Sations, TV translators, Broadcast Auxillary SErvice Links, PLMRS/CMRS base station operations, Multi-channel Video Programming Distrbutor (MVPD) receive sits, Temporary BAS links, Low Power Auxillary Devices, Fixed TV-band white space devices.
These databases might be more accurate than the usual FCC transmitter and tower databases for parts of the spectrum since if you aren't in this database someone is likely to start transmitting on top of you.

FCC announcement:

Another reminder that unused spectrum is up for grabs.

Internet Radio Linking Project (IRLP)

As some already know, the 146.730 repeater is usually connected via IRLP to the East Coast Reflector (9050). To see the current nodes connected to 9050 go to:

The 73 repeater uses a simplex UHF frequency on the 2nd port of the repeater controller to communicate with another UHF radio at the 4703 node located at Zehmer Hall on UVA grounds. As the 9050 reflector usually has around 30 different nodes connected, when you key up the 73 repeater, your audio has to pass to the UHF radio, transmit to the UHF radio at the node, pass by VoIP to the reflector, located in Michigan, travel by VoIP to the other node computers, and then by whatever connecting hardware is used to pass the audio to the repeater connected to that node. This means that with each transmission, there is a lot of hardware distributed from Michigan to Florida, that needs to be lifted up from its idle state. What does this mean for you the user? All you need to remember is to key your mic and wait a second or two before you start speaking. Also, it is important when the other station stops speaking, wait a couple of seconds before you key up your mic. Also, be aware that there are no repeater controller ID's or courtesy tones that go out on IRLP. There is a short courtesy beep that the link UHF radio gives back on the 146.730 repeater, but the other station needs to know that you are turning over the conversation by ending your transmission with "over" or "back to you".

Does this mean that the 73 repeater shouldn't be used for local conversations? No, local conversations are fine, but the general rules of pauses still need to be applied, because when you are talking locally, your local conversation is going out to the entire reflector population. If you are planning on an extended conversation locally, just DTMF the code 73 and that will drop the 146.730 repeater from the reflector. When your local extended conversation is completed, DTMF 9050 to reconnect to the reflector. Likewise, if you would like to connect to another reflector, or individual node, disconnect from the 9050 reflector, and send the DTMF code for the other reflector, or node. Connections to reflectors will not timeout, they have to be broken by sending 73. On the other hand, connections to individual nodes will timeout in 4 minutes of inactivity.

If you would like to learn more about IRLP visit the IRLP website:

If you have other questions or issues, contact me at:

Jim Wilson K4BAV Field Day Photos uploaded to the photo gallery

Image of AARC Field Day station 2013 Showing radio tents, antennas, and solar panel

Jim's field day photo's have been uploaded to the photo gallery. Mine were posted there five days earlier.

NPEN Frequency List

FrequencyOffsetToneEmergency PowerOther
 52.5250simplex National Simplex Calling Frequency  
 144.3900simplex APRS  
 145.7300simplex VA Section Packet Radio  
 146.5200simplex National Simplex Calling Frequency  
 146.5250simplex National Fox Hunt Frequency/Voice simplex  
 146.5500simplex AARC 2M Simplex  
 146.5800simplex Greene County Simplex  
 147.5400simplex AARC 2M Simplex  
 145.1700minus151.4W4FCO - Fluvanna Countygenerator  
 145.4500minus151.4K4DND - Martha Jefferson Hospitalemergency power 
 146.7300minus151.4K4DND - Carter's Mtbattery and generatorIRLP Node #4703
 146.7600minus151.4WA4TFZ - Marshall Manorbattery onlynet mode links to 444.000
 146.7900minus110.4WW4GW - Spear's Mtsolar and windCVRA link system
 146.8800minus74.4W4RAT - Richmondemergency power 
 146.8950minus151.4WA4TFZ - Bucks Elbowgenerator only 
 146.9250minus151.4WA4TFZ - Heard's Mtbattery only 
 147.0750plusnoneW4PNT - Bear Denbattery only 
 147.1200plus146.2W4CUL - Orange County? 
 147.3000plusnoneKI4ZR - Rockbridge Countyemergency power 
 147.3300plusnoneWA4TSC - Bluemont?NWS Sterling Skywarn

More below the fold...

Field Day clippings from 15 different years of Beacon Back Issues

Sample page from beacon with pictures from Field Day 2003 including Joe W2PVY, W2EIU, W4BZW,K4DU, and the tents

48 Pages from 15 different years, 21.7MB download:

Some pages appear half size due to mixing from different pdf resolutions. Zoom as needed.

Many pages are marked with year and month, but some are not. Here was the list of files (filename is year and month) and page numbers.

AARC Beacon/Bulletin newsletter back issues scanned and uploaded.

Cover of the 1994-06 issue of the beacon newsletter.  Cover prominently mentions Field Day.

I have scanned and uploaded 13 years of past newsletters, 1992-2004. The newsletters are an important part of the documentation of the clubs history. They include:

  • Minutes of meetings
  • Descriptions of past Field Days and other contests and operating events
  • Information about past responses to emergencies
  • History of our repeaters
  • Information about past VE sessions
  • Information about our past public service events
  • Information about our interaction with served agencies
  • Silent Key obituaries
  • Club financial business
  • Who presented what and when
  • Past Foxhunts
  • Donations
  • New Members - when they joined
  • Club Calendar
  • Who held elected offices, and when
  • Club Property
  • Member biographies
  • A record of member's legacy (for family genealogists)
  • Articles on technology and technique
  • 10 or 20 Years ago today...

As many of you know, back during the changing of the guard from last years leadership to this years, I encountered 4 binders worth of back issues of the beacon and although back issues of the beacon are online back to 2005, the contents of several of these binders were not found on the website. I realized that these might be the only copies or one of a few copies remaining of these important documents. If they were lost or destroyed, the info might be gone forever. And their use is limited sitting in the secretary's house where they are not as readily available. Taking leave of my senses, I undertook the task of scanning these beacons. And thus began a tale of fighting with bad drivers, slow software, and misfeeds caused by pages which had been folded, spindled, and mutilated.

Lightning Protection and Station Grounds

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

National Weather Service Blog notes that:

June, July, and August are the peak months for both lightning and lightning fatalities

Slides from Feb 2008 AARC Presentation on Station Grounding and Lightning Protection by Alan Swinger, K9MBQ.

In April 2012, Joe Flamini, W4BXG, gave an AARC presentation on station grounding and lightning.His Powerpoint slides as PDF. Note that he plans to add explanatory text to the slides to make them more useful without a presenter standing in front of you.

Field Day 2013 - W4DO generates 71 spots on reverse beacon network

The reverse beacon network picked up the W4DO call sign 71 times during field day on 15m,20m,40m, and 80m bands. This includes spots from HD9DCO Switzerland, EA4TX Spain, DL1EMY Germany, ON5KQ Belgium, S50ARX Slovenia, DR1A Germany, F5VLY France, VE2WU Canada, and PJ2T Curacao (Island off coast of Venezuela ). All of the spots outside north america were on 15m and 20m except a single spot from France on 40m.
plot of SNR for W4DO as Received by DL1EMY on 20m
plot of SNR for W4DO as Received by DL1EMY (Germany) on 20m on 20130622.

Field Day 2013 photos uploaded

Field Day Photo
Photo Credit: AK4OL

Field Day Photos taken by AK4OL have been uploaded to the Photo Gallery.


Field Day 2013 log

Image of summary.pdf

Field day log file in ADIF format is attached; thanks to Bill N0WP.
Also the summary points file is attached. It does not include bonus points we get for activities unknown to the logging program. This data shown below has also been condensed into a 1 page summary which is attached as a .pdf and .ods (Open Document Spreadsheet) for import into libreoffice, openoffice.org, or recent versions of excel.

There were 845 non-duplicate QSOs, which total 1225 points (1 point phone, 2 for CW or digital). Since all our stations ran at 150W or less, we get a power multiplier of 2, for 2450 points before bonuses. We get Bonus points for:
100% Emergency power - 100 points
Media publicity 100 points
Public Place 100 points
Info Booth 100 points
NTS message to AARC 100 points
copying W1AW message 100 points
1 formal NTS messages 10 points
Natural power QSOs 100 points
for submitting online 50 points
Estimated total bonus points: 760
Estimated total: 3210 points

Last year, our total was 4436

Local TV Coverage of AARC participation in Field Day 2013

CBS19: Field Day Helps Radio Operators Practice Skills 01:56
By Lewis Tingler

NBC29: Amateur Radio Enthusiasts Hold Field Day in Albemarle County 00:50
By Kristen Twiford

NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Albemarle Search & Rescue Meeting, CERT Animal Training

Right after field day:

Albemarle Search & Rescue Monthly Membership Meeting
When: Mon, June 24, 6pm – 8pm
Where: 411 E. High Street Bldg B Charlottesville, Va 22902 (map)
Description: ACSO meeting room.

Also, CERT animal training is on Tuesday and Wednesday.

CERT Animal Response Training
Tuesday, June 25th & Wednesday, June 26th (2-day course), 6:30 pm to 9pm, ECC Conference Room
Please RSVP by this Thursday, June 20th.
Currently, we only have 1 person registered. If you are interested in this two day course, please RSVP to Allison Farole at afarole[at]albemarle[dot]org by Thursday. We need at least 8 participants registered for the class to occur.

Note that you usually need to have already taken CERT basic training to take other CERT classes.

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