The week of July 4th the Science Museum of Virginia will have a space station camp for teens. During that week the students will learn about space stations, orbital mechanics and radio. The highlight will be a conversation by ham radio with Jeff Williams, KD5TVQ, an astronaut aboard the ISS (International Space Station). We will know the exact day and time the week before the contact.
The camp is a joint project of the science museum and six RVA amateur radio clubs with the RARC taking the lead.
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.
Jim Bate, K8OI, presented how-to set up a rig for remote control. The presentation slides are here.
RemoteHams Presentation 2015
See Win’s latest report by clicking Dayton 2015 Report with Win Grant
“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.
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 about 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