Antenna box

First step in getting the shack back on the air has arrived.

Ordered an antenna entry box for the house from KF7P Metalworks that arrived the other day.

Antenna entry box
Antenna entry box
Antenna entry box
Antenna entry box

It’s a pretty spiffy box with a locking hatch and enough space and grommet holes for future antenna expansion. Feels pretty solid, and the lid already has weather stripping installed to keep the elements out.

Next step will be to mount it to the house and run some coax into the box.

Field Day 2016

Had another good time with Field Day with CARS on the Yorktown this past weekend.

Only had a little bit of rain for Field Day this year, but fortunately nothing severe enough to stop us from operating. New tarps this year worked great for keeping the stations and operators dry. About the only real snafu we had was one of the generators wasn’t working. Fortunately the other generator was able to power both rigs and computers without any complaints.

We had two stations set up, one for phone and one for digital/CW operations. This year I operated on the digital/CW station, doing PSK31 and RTTY on 15 and 20m. Doing digital contesting is a lot less tiring than phone contesting. Hearing that constant noise on phone can really wear you out.

Bands seemed to be a bit up and down while I was operating. There were many times where I’d see the middle of a QSO on PSK or RTTY, wait until it was finished for my chance, but then the signals would disappear. Made for some slow going at times. Sunday seemed a lot better. Not a whole lot of RTTY activity, but there was a lot of PSK going on. Had a nice little run going for the last 30 minutes of Field Day until we called it quits at 2PM.

I was even able to make a contact from home, with just the dipole on my PVC mast propped up against the ladder. Hardly an optimal setup with 3/4 of the ladder line laying on the ground, center up about 4m or so and the ends of the antenna staked into the ground. Didn’t really expect to be able to get out well at all, or for the radio to even tune the antenna, but it did and a station in NH heard me well enough to make the QSO.

Field Day photos.

More VE credentials

I have VE credentials with the Laurel VEC now!

At this year’s Southeast Linuxfest, the amateur radio licensing tests were conducted through the Laurel VEC group. They’re noted for giving free testing sessions, and they also submit the paperwork online, so people who pass can get their new call sign or upgrades as soon as the next day.

Since I already have my ARRL VE credentials, getting the Laurel VE credentials was pretty easy. The team leader verified that I was an ARRL VE, I filled out a form, and done.

Don’t know if there are any other Laurel VEs around me, but their team directory doesn’t show any VE teams in SC. At SELF, I was working with the Star City team under Wally, WD1U. His procedures were all pretty easy to follow and seemed pretty logical. I enjoyed working with Wally and the other team members. Hopefully I’ll get to work with him again at SELF next year.

Museum Ships Weekend 2016

Spent a few hours on the USS Yorktown yesterday activating it for Museum Ships Weekend as WA4USN. I had the Saturday afternoon shift from noon-4PM. Didn’t bother to count how many contacts I made, but managed to get a few in the log.

Operated mostly on 20m in seek and pounce mode as well as sitting on a frequency calling CQ. I wasn’t able to generate any pileups like some of the other ship stations out there, but there were a few times where I got a nice steady flow of contacts.

The band was pretty noisy with lots of QSB while I was operating. Contacts would be booming in one minute, and by the end of the QSO would be almost down in the noise. Still, it was a lot of fun getting back on the radio and making contacts. Getting to play radio on the Yorktown is always a lot of fun.

Charleston area school radio clubs

There are two school radio clubs in the Charleston area that aim to encourage kids to get involved in amateur radio: Dubose Middle School (K4DMS) in Summerville and Palmetto Scholars Academy (K4PSA) in North Charleston. I know K4DMS has connections with CARS, and I think K4PSA might have connections with TARC.

I haven’t worked with either club, but I do hear bits and pieces of some of the activities they participate in, and I occasionally hear them active on the radio. I’ve heard about the clubs doing high altitude balloon launches and operating during the ARRL School Club Roundups.

It’s pretty cool that there are schools with radio clubs around here.