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 »
Congratulations to the OVH team for another successful Field Day. In true ham spirit, you braved thunderstorms and torrential rains along with high winds which sent your tent tumbling. And, as if that weren’t enough, you added a fox hunt to the activities and managed to fit in a briefing for a couple of ARRL VIPs. Well done! Of course Field Day is more than just a chance to enjoy some outdoor contesting. It’s good training for our role in supporting disaster communications. Some of us still get kidding from friends and family when we tell them about this role. After all, everybody has a cell phone now, so nobody needs ham radio. But just how resilient is all that modern hardware? Well … here’s some fodder from recent events for your response. Among the fires which erupted across the… Read more »
As field day approached, all eyes were on the weather forecasts and the forecasts were not good. On Friday, the rain let up about 1 pm but started again when we gathered at the park to slingshot lines for the antennas. We proceeded and got all the lines shot with the loss of only two weights, The rain actually helped a bit here because the school kids at the site stayed under the pavilion which made it safe for some of the near shots. As we gathered Saturday morning for setup, the rain held off for a time. We had another challenge since Bill South, N4SV, had always setup and configured the logging computers and no one else had. Byron, AK4XR, took the task on and had them all working and logging to the server. Bill , who is… Read more »