Richmond Amateur Radio Club

RARC at the RVA MakerFest 2016

rarcatrvamakerfest2016collage8000. 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.

Registration for Radio School classes is over

Radio school iconThe 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.

NA1SS QSL card received

We sent ARISS our 100th anniversary QSL card for the 6 July contact. And a SASE, of course. We got their QSL card back.
ISS-QSL-card-6July2016Below is a panoramic view of the ISS contact on July 6.

IMG_0008

International Space Station Contact done 6 July

KD5TVA-Jeff-WilliamsAt 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.

VK5ZAI-headSince 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/.

VK5ZAI-station-locationDave Taylor, W8AAS, was our mentor.  He helped us when we got into the weeds and attended the contact.

The MRA repeater – 145.43 – must leave its tower

MRAlogo2The 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

 

Quick Facts

  • 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!

Sincerely,

Jim Bates

K8OI – President

(804) 690-9143

jlbates4@gmail.com

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.

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.