8000. Actually there were more but that was the rough attendance figure for the RVA MakerFest 2016 at the science museum. We at the Richmond Amateur Radio Club table certainly had plenty of visitors. We had more with real interest than we’d had in the past two years.
Saturday, 24 September, 10am to 5pm, Science Museum of Virginia, 2500 West Broad Street, free admission and ham radio will be there, track level, near the trolley, convenient to the food trucks and the beer. Don’t miss it.
The fall classes have started and registration is over. The next classes are March to May. Check this site in early January for the exact dates of the spring 2017 schedule.
This fall we have 8 for Technician, 5 for General, 9 for Extra, 5 for Antenna Modeling, and 2 for DStar.
We sent ARISS our 100th anniversary QSL card for the 6 July contact. And a SASE, of course. We got their QSL card back.
Below is a panoramic view of the ISS contact on July 6.
At 1:29 UTC (10:29am EDT), 14 students and 6 instructors asked questions of astronaut Jeff Williams, KD5TVQ, aboard the ISS (International Space Station). it was part of the “Space Station Camp,” a joint project of the Science Museum of Virginia and six RVA amateur radio clubs with the RARC taking the lead.
Since our RARC station on a hanger at the airport was not stable by the end of May, we elected to used a phone-patch (“telebridge” in ARISS jargon). It was from Tony Huchison, VK5ZAI, in southwestern Australia. Tony’s station is mostly home-brew and highly modified. His website is very interesting at http://www.electric-web.org/.
Dave Taylor, W8AAS, was our mentor. He helped us when we got into the weeds and attended the contact.
The 145.43 MRA repeater is one of just two wide area VHF analog repeaters in the Richmond metro area. (The other is 146.88, the RATS repeater.) The MRA repeater has its antenna at 700 feet on the WRLH channel 35 tower near route 288 and US60. During the FCC push to narrower-bandwidth digital TV, WRLH set up joint transmission with other channels and abandoned the transmitter at the tower site. The tower owner has told MRA to vacate the tower. Here is the notice and appeal for assistance from MRA president Jim Bates, K8OI.
To All Metropolitan Repeater Association (MRA) Members and the General Public
Sinclair Communications is demolishing the WRLH site
The MRA 145.430 MHz repeater resides at the WRLH site
Sinclair Communications has terminated the MRA use agreement
All MRA equipment MUST be removed from the WRLH site by December 31, 2016
What’s Being Done
MRA is canvassing the Richmond area looking for alternative tower locations
MRA is discussing relocation alternatives with members of the Amateur Radio Community
MRA will comply with Sinclair Communication’s request to remove equipment by December 31, 2016
How YOU can Help!
MRA is seeking input from the Amateur Radio Community regarding ideas, options, and locations
Please share this information with anyone who might be interested in helping create alternative solutions
Please contact Jim Bates to discuss your ideas and share solutions by July 31, 2016
Thank you for your support of the MRA; an association which has been part of the Richmond Amateur Radio community since 1982!
K8OI – President
It’s got pictures and comments on what was new and what was interesting at Dayton this year. Click here Win Grants Dayton 2016 report ver 2-1 for the 10-page PDF with your tour of Hamvention 2016.
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.
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.
There 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.