|Tower Safety||Meeting Minutes||CQ SS|
|Holiday Party||My First Near-Fest||Field Day Results|
For our next meeting, we are fortunate to have Jim Idelson K1IR join us from his
shack in Sudbury, Massachusetts to give a talk on tower safety. He gave this
talk at both Boxborough and NEAR-Fest and it was very popular. In the wake of
a tower fatality this summer in New Hampshire, Jim did some research and found
that ham radio tower climbing is indeed a very dangerous occupation, as
compared with other types of work. He will go into the reasons why there are
tower accidents and offer up methods used to be safe. If you own a tower, or
even help others with towers, this is a must-attend! Just before the
presentation, we will have the activity that everyone is looking forward to:
Elections! Please be sure to bring your ballot to the meeting or mail it back
right away. Be sure to vote - who knows who or what might get elected!
There were about 13 in attendance. Club president Bob KB1FRW called meeting to order at 7:08 PM.
Nominations for Club Officers
Bob Henneberger K1BIF nominated Bob Allen KB1FRW for President. Seconded by Mitch Stern W1SJ. Bob Henneberger K1BIF nominated Jim Hefferon KE1AZ for Vice President/Treasurer. Seconded by Jeff Bonn N1YD. Bob Henneberger K1BIF nominated Duane Sherwood WL7CVD for secretary. Seconded by Carl Dow AB1DD. No one else expressed an interest in running for office.
General Discussion and Announcements
NEAR fest is coming with a few going. There will be some good forums. It was announced that Mark Robinson is a silent key. Jim KE1AZ volunteered to bring snacks for the November meeting. Bob KB1FRW announced the club trailer is ready. It cost $47 for inspection. We may not be able to keep it at Brian Pease's barn because it has an 8'1" opening, just shy of the clearance needed. Bob would like to develop a packing plan.
The presentation was by Fred Kemmerer AB1OC who gave a live presentation via Zoom. Their club is on the road to becoming the club of the year. In 2015 their club was on a steady decline. They had 40 members and field day, their only major activity, was cancelled. Now they have 240 members plus 50-60 at meetings. They had to decide what kind of club they wanted to be, and selected a mission to encourage and help people be licensed. So then how does a club walk that talk? They did this by focusing on new hams and younger people, and adjusting the leadership team to match those goals. They added new items to field day, focused on STEM learning, and focused on the new hams. They emphasized mentoring new members, being a special services club. Fred emphasized the importance of trying things and trying them fast, that it's OK to fail. They got endorsements and access to teachers. Four teachers provided key help. Other tips included developing quality teaching materials, let kids teach kids, build a strong modern brand. Enable and encourage members to post information. Stop using the paper newsletter and just set up a blog on the website.
They brought in one new member per week through Facebook and their website. Some people drive 100 miles to attend their meetings. They have quality licensing classes with lots of hands on training. They hold two meetings per month, one a regular meeting, and one a tech night. Activities have included a rookie roundup, fox hunt, satellite, ISS contact, and high altitude balloons. They built relationship with parents to help them realize amateur radio can promote growth for kids. He closed his presentation by encouraging a club to focus on a few key goals and put new hams first. The hardest thing about walking the talk is changing your mindset. Start with 2 or 3 people.
Anyone can subscribe to their website at www.n1fd.org.
The presentation concluded with a short Q&A session.
Sweepstakes is coming! The fall classic of ham radio takes place starting Saturday, November 15 at 4 PM and runs through until Sunday night at 10 PM.
This is the contester's contest! It is not a simple 59 VT, but instead you send a short piece of mock traffic, including a number, category, call sign, year licensed and your section. That's a lot of information to copy (or mess up) while signals and noise are all over the place.
Looking to work all states? This is the way to do it! Many participants earn a "clean sweep" of all 83 ARRL sections across the U.S. and Canada. Nothing feels quite as good as nailing someone in Northern Territories or Yukon for that last tough section.
But it will be challenging. Let's face it, conditions are horrible. In last week's CW contest, I couldn't buy a QSO on 20 meters in the late afternoon. It was all 40 and 80 meters until mid-morning. But that tends to level the playing field as there are few 40 or 80 meter yagis out there!
So, shut off the FT8 stuff and get on for the Phone Sweepstakes coming up.
Ham radio is enjoyed best when you get active on the air!
In a mere 5 weeks, it will be time for the holiday party. What do want the party to look like and what foods are you interested in? If you have ideas, please let one of our officers know so we can discuss this. The second Saturday, which will be on December 14th, has worked well in the past. This gets us around folks driving on snowy roads in the dark. I will offer my QTH for the party location. Our usual meeting place at the Wheeler house is generally not available on Saturday.
While I'm a crack operator, I'm pretty mediocre (and not comfortable) at being
a host. This will require everyone letting me know EARLY if they are coming
and what they are bringing so I don't have to obsess over this. And we would
like to make this look more like a family event and less like a hamfest. That
means working on bringing spouses, significant others and older kids. And
that means that the conversations at the party will have to be on other things
besides ham radio. Hopefully we will find a happy medium. Please remember to
save the date for the 2019 RANV Holiday Party.
My hearing isn't as good as it once was and since I am running the RACES Northeast Net on the CABOT repeater on Wednesday nights, I decided to get a headset attached to my ICOM 2730 radio. Knowing that Carl AB1DD has the same radio I sent him an email asking if he knew what I would need in order to attach a headset to the radio. Carl was kind enough to offer to put together the connector that would be needed. He was going to NEAR-Fest and knew he could find the parts. I had never been to NEAR-Fest and decided I would like to go deciding that it would be worth the trip just to see what NEAR-Fest is all about. I told Carl that I going to come to the event. Carl let me know that he and Bob KB1FRW would mark off a parking space for me next to where they camped. It would be near Angelinos food stand. Friday morning, I got up early since the trip is over two and a half hours from my home to the Deerfield Fairgrounds. As I left my home, I was pleased to see the sun shining on the trees across from my driveway.
As I drove along Highway 89 the autumn leaves were aglow as the sun rose overhead. The view from my car was magnificent making the trip worth it if for no other reason than the leaf-peeping. I used my Google Maps app on my phone to provide directions. It mostly worked, but when I got within a few miles of the fairgrounds the app sent me around in circles, telling me to make a sharp left turn where there was no road. I did finally find the entrance to the fairgrounds and followed the stream of cars heading for NEAR-fest. When I got to the lady selling tickets, she said the fee was $10 for entrance and if I wanted to pull up into the event area to park there would be a fee for that as well. I told her that Carl was reserving a space for me near Angelinos and asked if she knew where that was? Her reply was that if I was seeing Carl then she was not going to charge me a parking fee and suggested that I drive up the hill and go to the left. Apparently, both Bob and Carl have been volunteers at NEAR-fest for many years.
I then drove up the hill as advised and did not see any signs for Angelinos. I rolled down both the driver's side and passenger side windows. Shouting out the passenger side I asked a person in a sales stand if he knew where Angelinos was. He did not. I then turned down one street and up asking strangers if they knew where Angelino's was. No one seemed to know. Coming around a corner, I again called out from the passenger side window to another stranger when I heard Carl saying, "I'm right here." I turned my head and there he was standing right next to my car looking exasperated. Carl told me that he had been trying to get my attention from when I first drove up the hill. Oops. He then pointed me to where I should park. Both Carl and Bob were wearing badges that declared them to be Traffic Wardens, and they arrive the day before to help set up for the event. Apparently, they have been doing the event for many years and are well known. After I parked my car, Carl and Bob took me around the show to see many displays of radios, parts, connectors, antennas and various other stuff brought by people to see. As we passed some of the stands Carl would tell the people behind the tables that it was my first NEAR-fest. The people were friendly and eager to sell their products. I saw a sewing machine that was being offered for $40 and mentioned that I recently got a used sewing machine for free. Bob told me that you never just pay the price that is listed. Negotiating is part of the fun. Carl found an electrical connector he needed for only $2. He said it would cost $30 anywhere else.
As we toured the various table displays, we saw many types of antennas and Carl would question me. Holding up a J-pole with various length rods he asked me what frequency this antenna would support. I replied that this was probably a 2-meter antenna.
The commercial vendors were in a big building and Carl said that was where he needed to go in order to find the connecting pieces for my headphone and some other projects he was working on. We entered the tent and I was impressed with the assortment of connectors that were on display. Also, there was a vendor selling t-shirts and hats that could have your call sign and name sewn on.
Looking at the display of T-shirts I saw one with Morse Code displayed. Reading it, I chuckled. Carl asked if I was reading the T-shirt and I said yes.
After walking through the building, I decided to buy one of the hats and have my call-sign and name sewn on. I was told to come back in half an hour and it would be done. I wanted to take a photo of Carl and Bob so I asked them to look my way. Bob said that they should be looking at the tables, but did allow me to take the picture. Continuing on the walk I found a table with USB to radio type connectors. These were the types I was looking for, unfortunately, none of them was the 57B connector. But it was nice to at least see that someone had a few.
Seeing the skeleton on display, Bob laughed and commented on how long it takes to get a hat made. We came around the road back to where my hat was being made and I went in to see if it had been finished. I came out of the building wearing it. Bob informed me that I had it on crooked and Carl said I was just being cool. LOL
I needed to put my ticket in the bucket for the door prize so we headed back towards where the cars were parked. I asked Carl if I needed to be there to win the prize and when he said that I didn't, I asked him to bring me the grand prize since I was going to win it. He said he would.
Around three o'clock I was cold and tired and was facing the 150-mile drive
home so I decided to say goodbye. I had a lot of fun and appreciate Carl and
Bob showing me around. I'll go again when I can.
I got my QST a little early, and I have the results of the 2019 Field Day. Not only did we win 2A, we crushed the competition! Our final score was 14,876 points. Newport Co. RC/Sakonnet 49ers W1LY (W1SYE) was 10,986 points. That's 3,890 points more, or 35%!
Congratulations to RANV on a job well done. Check this web site is a few days to check all the Field Day scores: http://www.arrl.org/results-database
But wait there's more. Also in the December QST are the results of the June VHF QSO Party. Mitch W1SJ operating as WB1GQR finished in First Place in the New England Division for Single Operator Low Power, for which he earned a plaque. He also finished 2nd in the whole country in this category. So congrats to Mitch W1SJ, as well!
Do not forget to vote. Mail in your ballot or bring your ballet to the next meeting.
Currently 39 members receive the RANV Newsletter electronically. To enroll,
just send me an email
You'll get fast delivery, the club
saves a dollar each month, AND the pictures look GREAT!