July Club Meeting and Barbecue Dinner

Historically (for at least two years), the first club meeting following Field Day consisted of going out to eat at some fair to middlin’ buffet. But not this year…

A couple of months ago the board decided to do something different this year. Since 2020 was a washout, and we haven’t done much in 2021 (although at least we’re meeting in person now), a decision was made to have a barbecue dinner, paid for by the club.

Dinner was catered by Mission Barbecue, and there was plenty to go around. We had a good turnout and everyone had a good time. We even sang Happy Birthday to a young visitor!

The August meeting (sans dinner) will be on Monday, August 14. See you there!

July LARC Meeting and Barbecue!

Remember, the July LARC meeting is on the second Monday in July, which is July 12. But wait…there’s more!

As previously announced, we’ll have a barbecue dinner Monday night catered by Mission BBQ! Dinner will begin at 6:30 p.m. and is free for all current (i.e. your dues are paid) club members. For anyone else, it’s $5 (which is a steal!).

See you there!

Tropical Storm Elsa…G.I. JOE style!

While it looks like Elsa (as of the 11:00 a.m. advisory on July 5) is going to provide us with a little rain but otherwise leave us alone, it is a good time, if you haven’t already done so, to review your hurricane preparedness. One thing that many folks don’t think about until it’s already raining is ensuring they have gas for their generator (if they have one). Another is a stock of non-perishable food and a water supply.

From a communications standpoint, it’s wise to make sure your HT batteries are in good shape for both your primary and (if you have one) your secondary. Also, make sure you’re familiar with repeaters in the Lakeland area that might be used in an emergency:

K4LKL (LARC Repeater) 146.685 (-600, PL 127.3)

KD4EFM (SARNET) 442.275 (+5.0, PL 82.5)

NI4CE (“The Big Stick”) 442.825 (+5.0, PL 100.0)

WC4PEM (Polk Emergency Management) 443.900 (+5.0, PL 127.3)

National Simplex Calling Frequency 146.52

Also, know how to program your radio without a computer…one day you might have to.

It would also be a good idea to familiarize yourself with the National Hurricane Center website (nhc.noaa.gov) as well as Polk Ares (polkares.org)

Hopefully we won’t have to use any of this information to deal with a widespread emergency, but as G.I. Joe says…”Knowing is half the battle!” 🙂

As we celebrate this Independence Day…

While you’re enjoying your amateur radio activities, or grilling, or partaking of your beverage of choice or however you choose to celebrate, I think we can all agree…

“And I’m proud to be an American, where at least I know I’m free,

And I won’t forget the men who died that gave that right to me,

And I’ll gladly stand up next to you and defend her still today,

‘Cause there ain’t no doubt I love this land…

God Bless the U.S.A.!”

Everybody have a great holiday, and we’ll see you at the meeting July 12.

The Official LARC Field Day Primer

Once again the biggest amateur radio operating event of the year is upon us…it’s time for FIELD DAY!

Field Day is the last full weekend in June, which this year is June 26-27. As many clubs (including ours) have chosen not to have an official “club” station this year, much like last year everyone is “on their own”, and once again the rules are a little different. Since not everyone is completely familiar with how things work, here’s the lowdown:

Date/Time: Field Day begins at 1800 UTC Saturday, June 26 and runs until 2059 UTC Sunday, June 27.

There are 5 different stations categories:

  • Class A: Club/Non-club Portable (Three or more people)
  • Class B: One or Two Person Portable
  • Class C: Mobile
  • Class D: Home Stations on Commercial Power
  • Class E: Home Stations on Emergency Power
  • Class F: EOC Stations

Exchange: Field Day Class and ARRL (or RAC) section.

For further information (if you are planning on ANY kind of Field Day operation, please) go to www.arrl.org/field-day and review the full rules.

Miscellaneous Field Day bits…

  • Excellent logging software can be found at www.n3fjp.com
  • Remember to use Lakeland ARC for your organization on your entry to give cumulative points to the club
  • Be sure to send photos of your Field Day station blogmaster@lakelandarc.org

Should anyone have additional questions, feel free to contact Fred Delaney, K1DU at 1980K1DU@gmail.com or by phone at 781-854-1150 (be sure to leave a voicemail and he’ll gladly call you back).

Lastly, and most importantly, have fun!

New to the club? Did you get your badge?

The LARC Treasurer is sitting on a large number of name badges for new (and fairly new) members who haven’t claimed their nametags. If you are a member of the club and didn’t receive your nametag, please contact us at blogmaster@lakelandarc.org

Ham Radio Isn’t Just RF Anymore

Visualize this situation with me. You have been in ham radio for many years, and have worked RF, contesting, DXing, CW, satellites, digital modes, etc., with the best station that you could have put together. You have won awards left and right and have QSL cards from all over the world.

But, in the blink of an eye, through no fault of your own, things have now changed rapidly, and not for the better. Your health is declining, and you realize you are not as young as you used to be (no one is getting any younger). Where you live (an apartment, housing subdivision, etc.) is no longer going to allow antennas, RF gear, etc. Or you will have to move into an assisted living center or a medical facility…where RF gear is prohibited, because of possible RFI with medical equipment. The RFI could mean the difference between someone living and dying; and it would mean seemingly never-ending loneliness in your day (especially with visitation limits due to COVID-19).

Yet, this change does not mean that you must give up a lifelong hobby that you love. Rather, you change the way you operate…from RF to internet radio. Now, while the ham radio purists will abhor this, there are advantages:
1) You do not have to worry about RF exposure limits at your shack, since everything is done via your computer and high-speed internet.
2) You do not have to worry about the high cost of rigs, power supplies, TNC’s, SWR meters, coaxial cable, antennas, towers, masts, etc. Most of these modes are free, or at a very modest cost (some exceptions do exist).
3) You can operate portable with just a laptop computer, a headset mic (it cuts out ambient noise), and a portable Wi-Fi device, or high-speed internet. You can do a demo at a high school ham radio club or operate from the sleeping car compartment aboard a passenger train on a vacation trip.
4) Most importantly, you can still get on the air, and talk to people. Plus, for new hams, “mic fright” can be a very real issue to deal with.

You provide a copy of your license to the administrators, pay the applicable fees, install the software, and you are good to go. These include:
A) CQ100. Strictly VoIP (no RF), it offers simulated operations on several HF bands. You can do voice, or such digital modes as CW (via your keyboard or an external keyer), or PSK31 with Digipan or MixW. Cost is $39 a year in US or Canadian funds. Paid users get an add-on called QSO-TV, where you can send JPG files to all on the “frequency”. Usage is free on Sunday from 0000 to 2400 UTC. For new users, there is a free 30-day trial (QSO-TV is not available to trial users). There are also several nets that operate on CQ100, including the QCWA CQ100 Net that meets on Fridays at 11am Eastern Time, on 14.347 MHz on the 20-meter band of CQ100.
B) BlueDV. Done by PA7LIM, with a ThumbDV from NW Digital Radio (only $120), you can do D-Star, DMR, and Fusion, with your computer. With this, I do the QCWA Digital Net on the QuadNet Array (https://openquad.net) every Sunday at 5pm Eastern Time. Numerous other nets are available as well.
C) D-Rats. Originally done by KK7DS, now done by YO2LOJ and IZ2LXI, you can send messages (email and ICS), files, and chat in real time. There are also add-ons for weather data and maps; and some D-Rats Nets on the air.
D) Packet Via Telnet. The NS2B BBS in Penfield, NY, offers RF and Telnet access, and a digital net every Monday at 8pm US Eastern Time. I use the Outpost program, and its related iptelnet client.
E) Echolink. Available via computer or a smartphone app. You talk with hams having single user setups, or those on simplex links, repeaters, or conference servers. Numerous Echolink Nets are available to check into.
F) Winlink 2000, using the Winlink Express program. The registration cost is very reasonable, and you can send/receive messages via telnet or RF.
G) Remote Base Operations. There are some free services, but others can be rather expensive. Basically, another ham is allowing you to operate their station remotely.
For more info and related files, click on the hyperlink on my QRZ bio (my email is good there as well). I would be happy to assist anyone who’d like to operate this way. It makes my ham radio license not just “a sheet of
paper.” – Submitted by: Daryl Stout, WX4QZ, QCWA Life Member

Many thanks to QCWA and author Daryl Stout, WX4QZ, for allowing me to reprint this article from the June 2021 issue of the QCWA Journal. For further information or to inquire about membership (if you’ve been licensed for 25 years) please visit www.qcwa.org

Items of note on this Memorial Day Weekend

Memorial Day Weekend…a weekend of beaches (as it traditionally marks the beginning of summer), barbecues (because it’s a holiday weekend and grilling is just understood), racing (the greatest single day of the year for the race fan as the Grand Prix of Monaco, the Indianapolis 500 and the World 600 are all on the same day) and let’s not forget ham radio…

  • If you’re in the mood for a hamfest, Wormfest 2021 is Saturday at Freedom Park in St. Petersburg. For further details, visit w4orm.org
  • If you’re in the mood for some special event station action, W9IMS is on in honor of the Indy 500…visit the W9IMS page at qrz.com for additional info
  • Don’t forget the “Second Annual Mid-June Pre-ARRL Field Day Tail-Gators Gathering” June 12 at the Mason’s Lodge in Dade City (info already sent out and will likely be sent again)

Most important of all, let’s remember the meaning of Memorial Day…which is to honor all those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for their country. It’s not a day for parties and celebrations…rather it’s a day to honor and reflect, and to be thankful for those who gave their lives so that we can enjoy the freedom which we have. God bless you all.

Field Day 2021

It was decided at the April meeting of the LARC Board of Directors that in light of the ongoing Covid-19 uncertainty as well as the league’s rules favoring home stations that, as was done in 2020, the Lakeland Amateur Radio Club will forego it’s annual Field Day gathering. Anyone who wishes to do so is welcome to operate in the event is obviously welcome to do so, we just will not be sponsoring an official club station again this year.

For addition information and for the latest rules please visit http://www.arrl.org/field-day