Cooler temperatures of fall will soon be here and, along with them, the beginning of the holiday season. I’m sure your family, like mine, has some holiday traditions which have been passed down over the years. We carry them on, not necessarily for practical reasons, but as a means of bonding and connecting with past generations. The amateur radio family has its own set of traditions. Some, like QSO procedures, we use regularly regardless of operating mode. Others, like Morse code, seem at risk of fading away into the sunset. Many years ago, a Morse code test was part of every amateur radio license exam. General and higher license exams were administered at FCC district offices. I can still remember that crisp fall day many years ago, crammed into a room full of applicants with my 13 year old hands shaking a little as I waited for the code test to begin…. Read more »
On Sunday Sept 30, 2018, the OVH did communications support for the Prince William Half Marathon for the third time. This time the marathon had 1400 runners and also had 500 additional runners for a 5 k race. The 5 K race was a race within a race. They start after the Marathon runners had left and only did a portion of the course. The OVH was well represented by 18 members. Only one member did not show and that was because of illness. This represents almost 20% of the club. The event ran smoothly and was chaired by Wayne, N7QLK. The three net controls kept a white board of race progress. This included the current locations of 1st male runner, 1st female runner and the last runner. This helped the marathon managers run the event. Also, one runner… Read more »
In keeping with September being national emergency preparedness month, along comes one of the largest hurricanes in recent memory. At this point, it looks like the impact on our area will be limited to a few inches of rain and some gusty winds. However, for those south of us who are in the path of Hurricane Florence, the impact will likely be devastating. Ham radio will play an important role, both in support of local responders and in handling message traffic out of area. Info about HF traffic net times and freqs will appear on ARRL and ARES web pages. As always, two things to keep in mind when supporting any emergency. First, make sure that you and your family are safe. Second, do not self deploy. Begin by contacting your local Emergency Coordinator (EC), state what resources you have available, and he or she will let you know how… Read more »
If you’ve joined us in supporting Tri It Now and larger events, you’ve probably realized that the medium power setting on your HT (typically around 2 Watts)isn’t quite enough to provide reliable comms over the entire course. This is especially true if you’re using the short ducky antenna which came with it. How to improve coverage? Going with a larger antenna and/or adding a “tiger tail” counterpoise is one solution. Bill, K5AE has an excellent video on the topic at tiger tail tail video Or, you can up the power to 5 watts. This usually means buying a larger battery for your HT if you want a useful amount of talk time. If you’ve tried that option, here’s hoping you’ve had better luck than I did. Most of my my Li and NiMH choices seldom lived up to their advertised… Read more »
Ham radio divides the world into Maidenhead grids defined by latitude and Longitude. For example, Manassas is in grid square FM18. If you look up your own callsign in QRZ, you can find your grid square in the detail tab. ARRL is running a contest to see who can contact and confirm the most grid squares. This is done by confirming contacts via Logbook of the world. If you have confirmed contacts in LOTW this year, you will be ranked. OVH Member Jeff Fladling, KM4FTK, has been actively working this contest and now is ranked 10th in Virginia ! He has 776 unique grids confirmed and 3338 QSOS. Congratulations Jeff !!! The easiest way to accumulate grid squares is the new FT8 mode. If any one wants assistance in installing FT8 or logbook of the world, please contact… Read more »
Jay Moore, NQ4T, has his antenna blown down in the windstorms of last spring and was unable to participate in the 13 colonies contest. Since then, he has put up a doublet and is back on the air with a vengeance. With 100 watts from an IC-7300, he has worked Oman on FT8 and Moscow on phone. Here is the link for a recording of his Moscow QSO. http://w4ovh.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/rz3ah.mp3 This is a picture of his new antenna.
To those of you who, although new to both our hobby and the club, have already volunteered for ARES, TriItNow, and several other public service events, a hearty Welcome Aboard! By now you’re no doubt familiar with the yellow mesh ARES vests. They’re great for making you nice and visible to race participants and traffic while you’re out there with your HT. But .. where are the pockets? Where will you put your gear should you deploy in support of a real emergency? Here’s one solution. It’s a rugged vest with MOLLE loops from Canadian company Duty Apparel. Their compatible MOLLE pouches are ideal for your HT, water, and other gear from your ARES go kit (right). The rear panel needed for ARES ID (top right) is easily added either from an old vest or custom made (see Andy’s). *****… Read more »
The 13 Colonies special event is a contest for hams to contact special event stations in each of the 13 colonies. Appropriately, the contest ran from July 1 to July 7 , which includes Independence Day. Each state has a special 1 by 1 call. For example, Virginia was K2B. The idea is to contact all 13 stations for a ‘sweep’. The contest is on all bands and all modes. This was the 10th year the contest has run. For the Olde Virginia Hams, the first known sweep was by Gil KM4OZH, who finished his in two days. Other OVH members participating were Al, KB4BHB, Wayne , N7QLK, John, KG4NXT, and David, KK4ZUU. If any one was missed, contact KG4NXT and we will correct the web article. We should note that we are in good position to work this… Read more »