Presidents Letter: Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you and your family members. I wanted to get that in first! And please don’t forget to renew your OVH membership for 2019 now! Use the form at the end of this Newsletter or do it online at w4ovh.net. Speaking of forgetting, every time I try to get on the air with the “new” FT8 mode, I have to try to remember what I did last time which didn’t work. One of these days I’ll get it working; and now I see that a new FT8 version has come out so I will have to download that and get up to speed with it. The recent, big FT8 contest with a lot of FT8 activity on HF provided a good incentive for me to get this working at last! I… Read more »
The approaching holiday season and year’s end are traditionally a time for reflection and giving thanks for our many blessings. This Veteran’s Day, lets take a moment to express thanks to our veterans – the young ones who are in harm’s way today defending our freedoms, and those who have gone before, sometimes giving all. Amateurs have a proud history of contributions during our nation’s conflicts. This Veteran’s Day I’ll cover a fascinating but little known part of that history – radios built by American and Allied prisoners of war. For a moment, imagine yourself as a WWII POW. You’re injured, on short rations, and living in primitive conditions. How will you find parts for even a basic receiver? And, of course, the design will be yours (no references or tube manuals). Since consequences of discovery by your captors will… Read more »
On Saturday Oct 20, OVH members assisted with JOTA at Camp Snyder in Haymarket. On site members were Al, KB4BHB, Wayne, N7QLK, Megan Phillips (no call yet), Don, WA2SWX, Ron, N4RDZ (visiting from Seattle), Theresa, KG4TVM, Bruce, KN4GDX and John , KG4NXT. We also had club members contact our JOTA site and talk to our scouts on the air including David, KG4GIY, Charlie , W4YGI (using our repeater’s internet link from Lake Anna) , Ogre, N4OGR, and Jan, KE4TMW. At our next regular meeting, Rob, W4SFK , will present a JOTA report in more detail. If JOTA participant was missed, please contact John , KG4NXT, and a correction will be made.
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
Pinkie Pig here! The last few weeks have been rather hectic. The hams have been assisting at various events around the area, and then there was Hamfest! We had a light turn-out at the May meeting. Don M. gave a great presentation on UBITX, which went right over my little pink head. So, don’t ask me any questions! (I thought it was a new breed of dog, but what do I know? I’m only a pig!) Peaches did not attend, as usual. It was raining, and I think she’s afraid of rain! Perhaps it was for the best because I heard some talk about “bacon”! We also read in another club member for my fan club! Hamfest was upon us before I could pry Peaches off the couch. The day started off dry, and then It rained, and rained, and… Read more »