"The Other Ken", KN4DD, delivering the OVH laptops

Update : OVH Laptops will be used by shelter kids for classes

On October 27th, OVH once again stepped up for the community and donated 9 more computers. This brings our total to 20 usable computers donated. We are not counting the 4 donated laptops that were unusable and gifted to eAsset Solutions Computer and Electronics Recycling of Falls Church. A reminder: 11 laptops were donated by OVH to Gracing Spaces (https://www.gracingspaces.com) on August 31. They, in turn, presented those computers to Fairfax County Social Services for use by the children in their shelters. With regard to this round, seven of those nine computers were laptops. We would like to recognize Art, W1CRO; Butch, W4HJL; AL, KB4BHB; and John, KG4NXT for those laptops. The remaining two computers were Windows 10 desktop machines. Theresa, KG4TVM “re-gifted” these two machines after acquiring them from a friend. After taking delivery of the nine devices from… Read more »

Thanksgiving on Combat Outpost Cherkatah Khowst Province, Afghanistan (U.S. Army)

VP’s Corner

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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.   American servicemembers have a proud history of being able to adapt, innovate, and overcome during the most challenging of circumstances. This Veteran’s Day I’ll cover a fascinating but little known part of that history – radios built by front line combatants and prisoners of war eager for the latest war news. Known collectively as “Foxhole Radios” their circuits embody a unique combination of clever innovation and elegance. (“Foxhole” refers to the fighting holes used by the GIs.) Concerned that local oscillator radiation might give… Read more »

tower near the ground with Al KB4HB, Bob W4HJF, George K4GVT and Gil KM4OZH supervising

Antenna Party for Butch, W4HJL

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On October 20, 2020,  the OVH had an antenna party for Butch, W4HJL.   Butch has a crank down tower at his house.   On the agenda:  1) replace the rotor because control box no longer displayed direction; 2) some of the beam elements were not in same plane as the rest – straighten them; 3) add a 6 meter beam to the antenna.    The crew consisted of Gil, KM4OZH;  George, K4GVT;   George’s brother in law, Tom Schweinfurth, Dick, WN7S; Al, KB4BHB;  Bob, W4HJF and John, KG4NXT.    Butch, W4HJL, cooked us all a fine lunch.    The replacement rotor did not have mounting holes in the right place so the decision was to field repair the old rotor and grease it up.   The field repair was handled most ably by Gil.  There was a lot of banter.   At one point, … Read more »

Ken KN4DD sets up a 2 meter contact for a scout

Scouts On The Air

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On Saturday, October 17, OVH ran Jamboree-on-the-Air (or JOTA) at Camp Snyder in Haymarket, VA.  One of our members , ROB (W4FSK) was our liaison with the scout camp and was also in charge of the camp that day.  We had a troop of boys, a second one of girls and a third troop of Muslim boys. Rob estimates the OVH volunteers worked with about 50 scouts and their leaders, just at Camp Snyder. The scouts that made contacts were given signed contact cards that they can then use for partial credit for several merit badges. John (KG4NXT) brought his IC-7610 so we could have a digital station and both Al, (KB4BHB) and “The Other Ken” (KN4DD) brought their 2 meter mobile stations. The digital station ran FT8 and worked European, Caribbean and US stations. Looking at PSKReporter, the digital… Read more »

VP’s Corner

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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. Learning to communicate using Morse code or “CW” is one such tradition in the amateur radio community. I’m happy to see several of our new hams accepting the challenge. Here are some interesting Morse factoids to encourage you in your studies. Q.  Why do hams call it CW? A.  CW stands for Continuous Wave, meaning a sine wave produced by an electronic oscillator. The first radio signals from spark transmitters were known as “damped waves” and occupied lots of spectrum.   Q. What is… Read more »

Al KB4BHB, John KG4NXT, Don WA2SWX

Junk in the Trunk

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On Saturday October 10, The Culpeper Amateur Radio Association (CARA) held their Junk in the Trunk. This was basically a tailgate only hamfest. The following OVH members are seen there: Don, WA2SWX;   Al, KB4BHB;   Theresa, KG4TVM;   John, KG4NXT;  Woody, N4MQ; Ron, K3FR &    Bill, AF4LL  was also there (Bill is a read-in member). The price of admission was more than reasonable – $5 per car, including cars with stuff to sell. We found the prices to be lower than we expected and there was good stuff to buy. Just as importantly, people were taking Covid-19 precautions by wearing masks. If you do not see pictures below – click the title above

Couple smiling at Ron K3FR

OVH assists Serve Our Willing Warriors (SOWW) bike ride

The Serve Our Willing Warriors bike ride used ham radio for its communications.   The ham radio part was organized by Andy, KJ4MPT and included both OVH and Woodbridge Wireless members.  This was actually a 3 in 1 bike ride — there were courses for 58 miles,  30 miles and 13 miles.  The OVH members helping included Andy, KM4MPT;  John, KG4NXT;  Ron, K3FR;  Byron, AK4XR; Jay, NQ4T;  David, KG4GIY; Greg, KM4CCG; Ray, KM4EKR; and Sandy, KM4JUS. The rest stops were manned by  fire department EMTs from several jurisdictions while the water and snacks were provided by a Fairfax church. Ron, K3FR described his experience as follows: “I was on the course as the ham radio operator at checkpoint ROMEO-11 (St Louis Rd and Foxcroft Rd) in southern Loudoun County, so all of my shots are of metric century riders.  This was… Read more »

Jay NQ4T'S IGate setup

Jay makes APRS iGate for SOWW Bike Ride

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Outside of things like packets bouncing off the ISS, APRS does have a legitimate use other than just playing around with packet. In fact, one of the original uses of APRS by it’s designer, Bob Bruninga, while a research engineer at the USNaval Academy in the 80s, was for plotting the positions of naval ships over HF. He later developed a more advanced version for tracking horses during a 100 mile endurance run. Of course, this was long before the use of GPS that allowed even more accurate position reporting along with automated beaconing. For the SOWW race, there was some very limited APRS usage; a few of the Nam Knights had APRS trackers placed on their motorcycles. The location of our race was quite rural, and there was question as to if the trackers on the motorcycles would be… Read more »

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