Richmond Amateur Radio Club

All code all day at the Old Dominion Chapter of the Railroad Historical Society station

WA1UQO, K4OSO and KJ4IT hard at work

WA1UQO, K4OSO and KJ4IT hard at work

We set up three stations and three antennas for three bands for W4ZA/100 special event stations.  It was strange.  The CW end of the bands were dead.  The SSB portion was open but crowded with QSO parties and contests.  You couldn’t get a phone-voice signal in sideways if you tried.  Mostly, though, we were about Morse code to celebrate the birthday of Samuel F B Morse and the code end of the bands were not cooperating.  Hams party wherever we are, so we made the best of it.

Code and more code April 16 Hull Street Railroad Passenger Station

Hull St Passenger stationCelebrating the birthday of Samuel F B Morse of code telegraphy fame, the Old Dominion Chapter of the Railroad Historical Society has an open house with lots of code as in CW. The RARC will set up the W4ZA/100 Special Event Station with one or two transceivers and antennas. Licensed hams are invited to send code, receive code, log contacts, watch the operation and/or visit the fine model railroad layout at the museum station.
Saturday April 16 10am to 5pm, Richmond Railroad Museum – Hull Street Station, 102 Hull St. just south of the Mayo Bridge.

Sign up to operate the W4ZA Special Event Station during 2016

Six sponsoring clubs

Six sponsoring clubs

The roaming W4ZA/100 special event station is ready for operations. It is to celebrate 100 years of (organized) amateur radio in Richmond Virginia and environs. If you have a valid FCC Amateur Service license and are a member of one of the six sponsoring clubs, you can sign up to operate as a “W4ZA Special Event Station.”

You get the reservation request form by clicking this link:
W4ZA Special Event Station Reservation Request Form 05Feb16

For the calendar of current reservations click
W4ZA/100 Special Event Station Calendar

Because W4ZA is an FCC-licensed club station, there are some rules:

  • Jerry Williams, KJ4IT, is the manager. When you send your reservation request form to him by e-mail, he will check the dates-times you requested and confirm the dates and times you can operate as W4ZA.
  • You request a band and mode such as 40m PSK, 80m CW, 20m SSB, etc. That means several W4ZA stations can work the same times and bands in different modes but you have exclusive rights to your chosen band-mode for the time you reserved.
  • CQ, CQ, CQ, whiskey four zed alpha slash 100, special event station, one hundred years of ham radio in richmond virginia” is a good way to start. There are lots of hams who like special event station contacts so that will likely get you lots of responses.
  • W4ZA/100 QSL Card

    W4ZA/100 QSL Card

    You should say “Please QSL direct to KJ4IT. Be sure to include an SASE.” means send us a QSL card with a self addressed stamped envelope and we will send you a QSL card. We have a special and colorful QSL card sponsored by six metro Richmond clubs.

  • Log your contacts and send them by an ADIF-compatible file to KJ4IT at kj4it.jw@gmail.com. The collected logs will also go to the W4ZA trustee, Mac McNeer so he can know how the station is being used should the FCC make an enquiry.  K8OI will convert them to LOTW.
  • Of course you can only operate on the bands and modes that your license allows. VHF and UHF contacts are allowed as long as they are simplex, that is no repeaters, Internet links, Echolink, IRLP, etc. The exception is satellites that are repeaters but challenging, so they count.

 

The RARC and the 2015 RVA MakerFest

The RARC and the 2015 RVA MakerFestThere were so many people that the food trucks started running out of food. The first RVA MakerFest in 2014 hosted 4,500 visitors. The second 2015 RVA MakerFest had over 8,000 visitors. The RARC table was near the entrance to the pavilion so we got lots of traffic. A dozen RARC members wearing names tags saying “Radio Maker” had a continuous stream of visitors. Tom Flippen’s function generator fed a moving signal to Bruce MacAlister’s oscilloscope to attract attention. Visitors watched Rob Thomas’ Raspberry Pi based receiver display digital waterfalls and extract the text. RARC hams showed Armand Hamel’s home-built QRPp transceivers. Lots of RARC cards were handed out so visitors can come to meetings, sign up for classes and get involved in ham radio.

RARC Radio School recognized in ARRL publication

RadioWaveWinter2015“Like many organizations of its kind, the Richmond Amateur Radio Club, in Richmond, Virginia, offers licensing classes for new and upgrading hams. But RARC has developed a robust core teaching team that also allows it to provide enrichment instruction to help radio amateurs enjoy their
hobby to the fullest,” began an article in the winter edition of Radio Waves.

The publication is distributed to instructors who are registered with the ARRL.  It’s a means to give other club schools ideas on how to teach and what to teach.

What brought the RARC Radio School to the attention of the ARRL are all the classes we teach in addition to the usual license prep classes.  Classes like “Electronics for Hams,” “Morse Code,” “DStar Setup,” “HF & DX Setup and Operations,” and “Antenna Modeling” caught their attention.

The article included photos taken at the classes by Richmond Times-Dispatch photographer and ham Joe Mahoney, KI4GAP.

RARC at first RVA MakerFest

The first RVA MakerFest at the Science Museum of Virginia was a very busy time. Since this was about “making” we emphasized how hams have been making things for abRVAMakerSept14 compout a century.  On one side of the table was a Panavise, a prototype board, oscilloscope, DMM, soldering station, parts, etc.  On the other side were tiny SDR receivers connected to computers like the tiny Raspberry Pi and Windows and Linux laptops.

At mid-day over 4,000 people had visited. I’ll find out later how large it really got. All I know that those of us staffing the Richmond Amateur Radio Club table hardly had time to sit down. We had 100 cards printed and had 17 left at the end, I was knee-walking by the end!

Bruce MacAlister, W4BRU

RVA Maker Fest includes ham radio September 27 at the science museum

RVAMakerFest logo
The Richmond Amateur Radio Club will be at the RVA Maker Fest at the Science Museum of Virginia September 27th, 10am to 5pm.  “Makers” are people leasing a shared workshop space and equipment where they make stuff.  Sometime it’s a prototype product they plan to sell, sometimes it’s offering to make things as craft, sometimes it’s just for fun.

Hams have been making stuff – building kits, scratch-building from designs, designing entire circuits – since sometime around 1900.  We’ll be showing our making from cobbling together SDR gear to melting solder.  Come visit and see what this maker movement is all about.

The RVA Maker Fest has Facebook and Twitter accounts so you can check it our there.