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!

August Meeting: Tuesday 7:30PM: Green Bank/Society of Amateur Radio Astronomers conference

Picture of Green Bank Telescope (GBT)
Green Bank Telescope
Photo: Geremia on wikimedia.
Public Domain

The club monthly meeting is Tuesday 2013-08-13 7:30PM EDT at NRAO, preceded by a board meeting at 7:00PM. Presentation: Jim Wilson (K4BAV) will be giving a presentation about his trip to the Green Bank, WV NRAO observatory site for a 4 day Society of Amateur Radio Astronomers (SARA) conference.

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

False tornado alarm.

Weather alert symbol with exclamation point triangle over storm clouds
Daily Progress says someone accidentally pressed a button next to a canned message during a training session. As a result, about 500 people who had signed up for alerts (I posted the link in an earlier story), received calls and text messages warning of a tornado. I was one of them. I had signed up a couple weeks earlier because my phone didn't support WEA/CMAS mobile alerts. In the meantime, though, my phone got smashed (probably on the rough "road" to/from marshal manor repeater site) and I replaced it with a similar but newer model that does support WEA/CMAS. And thought it odd that I didn't get alerts there or on the weather radio or TV. Since WEA/CMAS is a broadcast method while the other system makes calls and text messages to hundreds or thousands of subscribers, the WEA/CMAS method should be much more reliable, faster, and less likely to overload the phone system for those who have newer model cell phones but the other system offers an alternative for older cell phones and landlines.

Breakfast bunch at Sam's Kitchen Saturday 7AM.

Image of breakfast plate at  Sam's Kitchen Restaurant
Sam's Country breakfast plate ($9) plus dutch apple crepes ($6).
Photo: AK4OL. CC-BY-3.0-US
The breakfast bunch (an informal gathering of hams) will be gathering at Sam's Kitchen (not Panera bread as we have been) in Albemarle County about 2.5 miles north of Charlottesville city limits.. Sam's kitchen is not where it used to be and is also not where google maps thinks it is (though this has been reported and they may update). This is in the Woodbrook Shopping Center, Diagonally across Route 29 and Woodbrook drive from Lowes, behind Kohr Brother's Frozen Ice Cream. It is at the center (inside corner) of the L shaped strip mall behind Kohr's where the Mexican restaurant used to be. We will meet at around 7AM and will probably run till 10:00AM or 10:30AM.

Curious about Spear's Mountain?

Summit of spears mountain
Spears Mountain Underground bunker site and Troposcatter reflectors
Photo credit: USGS Gladstone 7.5min quad 2013 USTopo GeoPDF

If you ever wondered about Spear's Mountain in Buckingham County, or Peter's Mountain in Albemarle County, you will definitely be interested in the following.

Recently, Lynchburg's Channel 13 aired a report on the Buckingham site, featuring our esteemed colleague Gordon Winn WW4GW, as well as the current property owner Steve Rann. If you look into the background during part of the interview, you will see the WW4GW repeater antennas and wind generator.

Ever wonder what it would be like to own a 40K square foot underground nuclear hardened bunker complex? Check out http://www.wset.com/story/22982860/the-mystery-of-spears-mountain

Many great photos of the installation can be found at http://coldwar-c4i.net/ATT_Project/Buckingham/

Repeater Maintenance - Marshal Manor and Bucks Elbow

Marshal Manor Tower
Marshal Manor Tower and Shack.
Photo Credit: AK4OL
This photo cost me 300 chigger bites.
We had two Repeater Maintenance trips in the last week.

Wednesday 2013-07-24, Marshal Manor

  • Bill Pond N0WP
  • Jim Owen K4CGY
  • Al Bogden KF4AGT
  • Jeff Bogden KK4SHN
  • Mark Whitis AK4OL

Buck's Elbow, Saturday 2013-07-27

  • Bill Pond N0WP
  • Jim Owen K4CGY
  • Dave Damon K4DND
  • Mike McPherson KQ9P
  • Mark Whitis AK4OL

Read on to learn a little more about these two sites.

August Issue of The Beacon is now available

The August Issue of The Beacon has been uploaded and now available for your information and entertainment.

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.

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