Operating days on the USS Yorktown

To make better use of the CARS club room on the USS Yorktown, Jim/KK4REM has taken on the task of organizing monthly operating days open to any club members. Being on the Charleston Harbour and with an HF antenna at a pretty decent height over salt water, the ship is usually a pretty good place to operate from.

There are several purposes for the operating days:

  • Teach new hams proper operating procedures
  • Let people who might not normally use HF experience HF operations
  • Put the club equipment to use

I was able to make it to today’s operating day, and with the club’s laptops, the plan was to do some digital work as well. By the time I arrived at the club room, there were a few people already playing on the radio making some contacts on 20m. One of the contacts even included someone who served on the USS Yorktown back in the 50s.

Operating in the WA4USN club room on the USS Yorktown
Operating in the WA4USN club room on the USS Yorktown

After a few contacts, the Signalink was hooked up and a couple people were introduced to some of the digital modes. Did a little bit of PSK and some RTTY. I was busy with other things so I don’t know if any contacts were made.

While they were playing radio, I was showing my sound card interface to Rick/N8BKN and discussing the possibility of maybe making it a build project for the club. Bryce/K4LXF showed up a little later and from him I learned a little more about the repeaters that the club maintains.

I also got the opportunity to see the WA4USN repeater room., located a couple decks below the top of the Yorktown’s island. There’s not too much in there: the 2m repeater, a repeater controller and the WA4USN-5 APRS digipeater.

WA4USN digipeater
WA4USN APRS digipeater
WA4USN APRS digipeater
WA4USN APRS digipeater

One of these days I might have to help maintain these repeaters.

Field Day 2014!

Another Field Day is coming up in a couple of weeks and once again I’ll be playing radio with fellow WA4USN club members on the USS Yorktown with CARS. I hope to spend a little more time operating this year.

I’ll also be paying closer attention to the generator and battery hook ups to learn how to set up the rig in the shack on portable power. Hopefully the weather is nice and the propagation is good.

ARRL Field day logo
ARRL Field day logo

Field Day 2013 Part 1

Had a most excellent time at Field Day yesterday on board the USS Yorktown with CARS. I was put in charge of IT, which meant setting up the two laptops and a little local wifi network so that they could communicate and share a log file.

At 1800UTC (2PM EDT), the chaos the activity started. I spent the first few hours in seek and pounce mode (S&P), tuning around 40m at first and then moving up to 20 and then 15m. Was able to rack up a bunch of contacts, but it wasn’t easy. Thunderstorms to the southwest and in Georgia were causing static crashes because of the lightning. I’d be trying to work some strong stations, then 20-30db of noise would just wipe everything out on the frequency for a second or two. That went on for a few more hours, and then the rest of the evening was relatively clear. Then the problem went back to trying to pick out the Field Day exchange with neighbouring stations or groups of Boy Scouts stomping by behind us drowning everything out (the usual chaos).

I stayed on the Yorktown until around 10ish. A few other club members operated and got some pile ups going. I spent some time hanging out at the CW and digital station, taking photos and helping out with the logging on the phone station.

Field Day 2013
Field Day 2013

Field Day on the Yorktown offers a great view of the harbour and the Charleston penninsula while we’re operating.

Field Day 2013
Field Day 2013

This is the CW and digital station in action. Last year the CW station was set up in the club communications trailer out on the pier, but didn’t work out so well there, so it was brought up to the ship this time. The digital station was having a similar problem with noisy bands that we were having on the phone station so I don’t think there were too many contacts being made there.

Field Day 2013 CW/digital station
Field Day 2013 CW/digital station

Back for more Field Day fun today until 1800Z (2PM EDT) and then breaking everything down.

If you’re on the air for Field Day today, listen out for WA4USN. It might be me that’s operating!

Field Day!

Another ARRL Field Day is upon us!

ARRL Field Day 2013 logo
ARRL Field Day 2013 logo

Like last year, I’ll be helping out with the CARS Field Day activities over on the Yorktown. Now that I’ve got a little bit more radio experience under my belt, I’ll be able to help out more with the preparations and will enjoy playing with the radios more than last time.

In preparation for Field Day, I’ve been given the task of getting the club laptops ready: installing updates and performing maintenance, updating the logging software (N3FJP), and getting them networked together so that operators at each station can see what’s going on.

TARC will be having their Field Day activities up in Goose Creek at the Marguerite H. Brown Municipal Center.

If you’re in the vicinity of either one of these Field Day locations, stop by and check out the amateur radio operations!