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 »

2020 National Preparedness Month

VP’s Corner

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WB6UIE   As we begin National Preparedness Month, Hurricane Laura has devastated portions of Louisiana and spawned systems of severe storms as it swept inland. Northern Virginia was fortunate to escape most of its wrath. We may not be so lucky next time. Now is a good time to check your emergency supplies. Do you have enough food and water for you and your family to last several days?   You can find information about recommended emergency kit contents at https://www.ready.gov Are your radios ready to go and programmed with local repeater frequencies? You can find this info along with the local ARES op plan and training schedule at http://pwcares.org/ In addition to the damage caused by their high winds and wind driven water, hurricanes often spawn tornadoes and systems of violent thunderstorms extending many miles inland from the eye…. Read more »

2 of the Gracing Spaces volunteers taking delivery of the OVH laptops

OVH Laptops will be used by shelter kids for classes

The year 2020 has been one strange year. There’ve been times when I thought “up” must be “down” and “left” must be “right”. This is the only way I (“The Other Ken” – KN4DD) could explain to myself how a mostly respiratory disease could cause toilet paper, frozen pizza and bread yeast shortages. And, as I would soon find out, laptop shortages. When I received a broadcast email from John (KG4NXT) back on August 22, asking for ideas on what to do with newly retired XP laptops, I didn’t think I could help. At first, all I could offer was this: maybe some recycler would offer money for the scrap. And so, with the trap set, John sprung it. Would you look into this please? Based on what turned out to be an outdated memory, I agreed. I had remembered… Read more »

VP-2020-08-An amateur radio operator, Yvette Cendes, KB3HTS, at station W8EDU, 2005-Wikipedia

VP’s Corner

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As 5G and other new commercial wireless systems deploy, competition for scarce radio spectrum will become intense. As stewards of a good chunk of that spectrum, it will be up to hams to justify our allocations. Some are saying that new technology will make our traditional emergency communications role obsolete. So, what else do we bring to the table? How about our long and proud history as a springboard for youngsters who went on to landmark careers as engineers, Nobel Laureates and astronauts? Here are some examples. Edwin H. “Howard” Armstrong, W2XMN Armstrong grew up in suburban New York at the turn of the century and was fascinated by wireless technology. By age 14 he had filled his bedroom with wireless gear and erected a 125 foot antenna on his parents property (no HOAs in those days). He was soon… Read more »