WCF ARES Winter Luncheon & Meeting Saturday, January 22

The Winter 2022 Section ARES Luncheon will be held on Saturday January 22nd at 1100 EST, at the Sonny’s BBQ located at 2250 Seminole Blvd. in Largo.   The Winter 2022 Section ARES Meeting will follow the luncheon at 1300 EST, and will be held at the Pinellas County Emergency Operations Center, 10750 Ulmerton Road, Building 1, Suite 267, in Largo.

The Section ARES Luncheon and Meeting is open to anyone who wishes to attend.  The meeting will be available on the Section Zoom account as well.  The Zoom meeting information is available on the Section ARES page which is located at http://arrlwcf.org/wcf-section-programs/ares/.

Are you an ARRL member? If not, you’re missing out!

The Lakeland Amateur Radio Club is a “League Affiiliated” club. The Amateur Radio Relay League has been around for over 100 years, and if it weren’t for the league, amateur radio as we know it today wouldn’t exist.

That being said, there are many benefits to being a league member. Just a few of them are…

  • Journals and Magazines (all league members get their choice of QST or On The Air in print as well as getting all league publications electronically
  • Technical information service
  • Outgoing QSL Service
  • Volunteer Opportunities
  • Advocacy (this is big! The League is the only voice we have in Washington)

If you’re a League member, thank you! If you’re not, won’t you consider joining?

Meeting time!

It’s time for the monthly Lakeland Amateur Radio Club Meeting. Monday night, January 10, 7:00 p.m. at the Parkview Baptist Church, 509 Parkview Place in Lakeland. See you there!

Hamfest Season Kicks in to High Gear

The Christmas decorations are put away and we’re done wishing each other “Happy New Year”, and hamfest season is shifting into high gear!

First on the list is TARCFest this coming Saturday!

If you’d rather go to Orlando than Tampa, the K4KDI tailgate is always a good time.

The Southwest Florida Regional Hamfest is in Fort Myers and is worth a road trip.

And let’s not forget the Orlando Hamcation is coming next month! More on that one in a later post.

Be sure to keep an eye on the hamfest calendar at http://www.arrl.org/hamfests-and-conventions-calendar for upcoming events. 73!

POTA? What is POTA?

If you’ve ever thought it would be fun to activate a park (POTA: Parks On The Air), there is going to be a meeting of POTA activators and hunters on Saturday, January 15 at the Colt Creek State Park.

This will be a combination group activation and social event, and anyone who is interested in learning about POTA is cordially invited to attend. While the pavilion rental is already paid for, event organizers ask for a head count of all that are attending to make sure there is enough food and supplies.

For more information, please check the POTA Facebook group page at https://www.facebook.com/groups/parksontheair or contact contact Bill, K4NYM at kfournym@gmail.com. If someone is not a member of the group they can apply by visiting the Facebook group page, and information about the event can be found on the page under “Events”.

Do something new in 2022!

As we look back on 2021 and look ahead to the new year (it’s already 2022 in much of the world as this is posted), have you considered doing something new in amateur radio this year?

Maybe you’ve considered trying your hand at a contest. The North American QSO Party is coming up in January and it’s a great contest for first-timers (you’re limited to low power and it’s only 10 hours).

Maybe you’ve considered going portable, even activating a part for POTA. It’s lots of fun and you can use equipment you’ve already got! If you’ve ever considered it, there are lots of folks among us who are full of information and tips. PS…check back here soon for more info 😉

Ever thought of doing public service? There are events coming up where hams are always needed to provide communications. The Bike MS Citrus Tour is coming up in March and they always need volunteers.

The Lakeland Amateur Radio Club is always looking for Volunteer Examiners for license testing. There are few experiences in amateur radio as rewarding a new ham pass a license exam.

There may be an entire world of amateur radio that you’ve never considered…all it takes is a little “I think I’d like to try…” to get you on your way!

Best of luck in 2022. May it see us all healthy and happy. 73 and Happy New Year!

NYE = SKN!

January 1 is not only the beginning of a new year, it’s Straight Key Night! While it’s not really a “night” (it lasts for 24 hours), Straight Key Night is a fabulous event where hams break out those straight keys and put them on the air.

Straight Key Night is not a contest…there are no points, and no logs get submitted. The object of this 24 hour event is simply to have fun. Conversational QSOs are encouraged and everyone who participates is a winner!

It runs on January 1st from 0000Z until 2359Z. There is no exchange, only to call “CQ SKN” to show other hams you are participating.

So, dust off that old straight key, warm up that fist and have a good time!

‘Twas the Night Before Christmas…Amateur Radio style

‘Twas the night before Christmas,  
And all through two-meters,  
Not a signal was keying up  
Any repeaters.

The antennas reached up  
From the tower, quite high,  
To catch the weak signals  
That bounced from the sky.

The children, Technicians,  
Took their HT’s to bed,  
And dreamed of the day  
They’d be Extras, instead.

Mom put on her headphones,  
I plugged in the key,  
And we tuned 40 meters  
For that rare ZK3.

When the meter was pegged  
By a signal with power.  
It smoked a small diode,  
And, I swear, shook the tower.

Mom yanked off her phones,  
And with all she could muster  
Logged a spot of the signal  
On the DX PacketCluster,

While I ran to the window  
And peered up at the sky,  
To see what could generate  
RF that high.

It was way in the distance,  
But the moon made it gleam –  
A flying sleigh,  
With an eight element beam,

And a little old driver  
Who looked slightly mean,  
So I though for a moment  
That it might be Wayne Green.

But no, it was Santa,  
The Santa of Hams,  
On a mission this Christmas  
To clean up the bands.

He circled the tower,  
Then stopped in his track,  
And he slid down the coax  
Right into the shack.

While Mom and I hid  
Behind stacks of CQ, 
This Santa of hamming  
Knew just what to do.

He cleared off the shack desk  
Of paper and parts,  
And filled out all my late  
QSLs, for a start.

He ran copper braid,  
Took a steel rod and pounded  
It into the earth  
Till the station was grounded.

He tightened loose fittings,  
Resoldered connections,  
Cranked down modulation,  
Installed lightning protection.

He neutralized tubes  
In my linear amp…  
(Never worked right before –  
Now it works like a champ).

A new low-pass filter  
Cleaned up the TV.  
He corrected the settings  
In my TNC.

He repaired the computer  
That wouldn’t compute,  
And he backed up the hard drive  
And got it to boot.

Then, he reached really deep  
In the bag that he brought,  
And he pulled out a big box.  
“A new rig?” I thought!

“A new Kenwood? An Icom?  
A Yaesu, for me?
An Elecraft, TEN-TEC
Or Flex, could it be!”  
(If he thought I’d been bad  
It might be QRP!)

Yes! The Ultimate station!  
How could I deserve this?  
Could it be all those weekends
I worked Public Service?

He hooked it all up  
And in record time, quickly  
Worked 100 countries,  
All down on 160.

I should have been happy.  
It was my call he sent.  
But the cards and the postage
Will cost a month’s rent!

He made final adjustments,  
And left a card by the key: 
“To Gary, from Santa Claus. 
Seventy-Three.”

Then he grabbed his HT, 
Looked me straight in the eye, 
Punched a code on the pad, 
And was gone – no good bye.

I ran back to the station, 
And the pile up was big. 
But a card from St. Nick  
Would be worth my new rig.

Oh, too late, for his final
Came over the air.  
It was copied all over. 
It was heard everywhere.

The Ham’s Santa exclaimed
What an old ham expects: 
“Merry Christmas to all, 
And to all, good DX.”

73 & Merry Christmas from the Lakeland Amateur Radio Club

(poem written by Gary Pearce, KN4AQ. Used with permission)

Ham Radio, Barbecue and a special ceremony…what’s not to love?

Monday night was the Lakeland Amateur Radio Club December meeting, Christmas Party and Barbecue dinner. 48 fine folks came out for a great dinner catered by Mission BBQ (big thanks to Dave Zdanowicz, KI4WRX for always feeding us so well) and as always a good time was had.

The highlight of the night was conferring a Lifetime Membership in the Lakeland Amateur Radio Club to Jim Scott, KG4PWF. Jim is a long-time member of LARC and is a US Navy veteran. Jim is currently living in Winter Haven in an assisted living facility and is not able to get out and join us for club meetings, so thanks to Zoom we took the meeting to him. We thank you for your service, Jim and are proud to have you as a member.

Here are a few photos of the festivities courtesy of Sunny Clark, K4EMT.