Author Archives: Jimmy Russ

Hamfest Report: Melbourne!

The annual Platinum Coast Amateur Radio Society hamfest (better known as “The Melbourne Hamfest”) is always a good one, and the 56th annual event, which also happened to be the ARRL Florida State Convention, was no exception! Attendance was good, acquaintances were renewed, there were bargains to be had and the forums were excellent.

If you’ve never made the trip over, it’s worth the drive. It’s never too early to start planning for 2022!

Melbourne always has a great swap area in the main auditorium
One of the two smaller rooms with swap tables
The ARRL folks are always happy to answer questions!
Hamfests are more than for bargains…there’s good information to be had, too!
ARRL Southeast Director Mickey Baker, N4MB speaking at the ARRL forum
ARRL Southeast Vice-Director Jim Schilling, KG4ISZ
ARRL West Central Florida Section Manager Mike Douglas, W4MDD (courtesy of Darrell Davis, KT4WX)
L-R Jimmy Russ, AB4KA; Mike Lunsford, KB4FHP and Mike Douglas, W4MDD at the ARRL forum
George Mann, KJ4UW found his way over (courtesy of Darrell Davis, KT4WX)
Dan the Man, Dan Dickey, KN4LEH (courtesy of Darrell Davis, KT4WX)

See you there next year!

It’s Hamfest Time!

Ok, so it’s not in Lakeland, but the Melbourne Hamfest is coming! The 56th Annual Melbourne Hamfest and ARRL Florida State Convention is coming October 8-9 at the Melbourne Auditorium, 625 E Hibiscus Blvd in Melboune, FL.

I could be biased (maybe because it’s where I passed my Novice exam in 1987) but Melbourne is one of the best hamfests around. There are always deals to be had, there’s a great tailgate area and always good forums.

Visit https://pcars.org/wp/melbourne-hamfest/ for details, and see you there!

Remembering September 11, 2001

As we pause to remember the events of September 11, 2001, let’s also make sure we take some time and enjoy the God given freedom which we have. One of those ways is by engaging in ham radio! Among the ways we can “ham” today, there are several special event stations commemorating the day:

  • Saturday, September 11, 1200 – 2359 UTC, the Somerset County Amateur Radio Club and Nittany Amateur Radio Club will activate N3M. Frequencies: 14.293, 7.293, and 3.993 MHz. QSL c/o Nittany Amateur Radio Club, P.O. Box 614, State College, PA 16801.
  • Saturday, September 11, 1400 – 1900 UTC, the Harrisburg (PA) Radio Amateurs Club (HRAC) will operate W3M. Frequencies: 7.265 and 14.265 MHz. For a certificate, visit www.w3uu.org/w3mqsl/.
  • Saturday, September 11, 1200 – 2400 UTC, the Pentagon Amateur Radio Club (PARC) will sponsor special event station K4P. Operation will be in the General-class portions of 80, 40, 20, 15, and 10 meters on CW and RTTY. There will be a special QSL card available via PARC, P.O. Box 2322, Arlington, VA 22202. For more information, contact Gary Sessums, KC5QCN.
  • Saturday, September 11, 1400 UTC – 2400 UTC, members of the Great South Bay Amateur Radio Club (GSBARC), and the Northeast Wireless Radio Club will activate special event call sign W2T.
  • Through September 13, 1600 – 0200 UTC, members of the American Legion Post 10 Amateur Radio Club, Albany, Oregon, will be active as N7F. QSL with SASE to American Legion Post 10, 1215 Pacific Blvd. SE, Albany, OR 97321. Email for more information.
  • Through September 13, 0000 – 0003 UTC, the Wireless Association of New York City, Staten Island, will activate WA2NYC. Frequencies: 28.450, 21.350, 14.340, and 7.238 MHz. D-STAR Reflector XLX020B will be monitored at the top of the hour QSL to Wireless Association of New York City, 233 Wolverine St., Staten Island, NY 10306. Email for more information.
  • Through September 14, N3U will be on the air from Pennsylvania to remember all victims of 9/11. QSL via W3PN. Operation will be mostly on SSB and CW, with some digital activity.

Since we have the inalienable rights to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness, enjoy a little liberty and happiness and get on the air!

We’ll be giving out $20 bills at the club meeting!*

Join us at the monthly LARC meeting this coming Monday, September 13 at 7:00 at the Parkview Baptist Church, 509 Parkview Place in Lakeland (on the west side of the hospital).

Our own Fred Delaney, K1DU will be making a presentation at the upcoming club meeting about FT-8 and other HF digital modes. Be sure to bring a pen and paper as there will be websites and notes that you’ll want to write down.

See you there!

*provided someone brings them and passes them out

Tropical Weather Outlook Email Notification List Unveiled

The ARRL West Central Florida Section has announced a new email list created by ARRL WCF Technical Specialist Joe Tomasone, AB2M to which ARES, ACS, and CERT personnel may subscribe and receive the National Hurricane Center Tropical Weather Outlook. This tropical outlook is issued four times a day during the Atlantic hurricane season (and at other times as warranted) and is priceless when it comes to watching tropical weather.

To subscribe to this new Tropical Weather Outlook email dissemination list, sign up at http://lists.aresdb.com/mailman/listinfo/tropicaloutlook.  Many thanks to Joe for creating this new service.

So how’s YOUR storm preparedness?

24 hours before landfall Hurricane Ida was a Category 1 hurricane. Over the next few hours Ida gained strength rapidly and came ashore as a strong Category 4. With the gulf waters as warm as they are, storms can gain strength in a hurry.

As we are approaching the most active time of hurricane season, how’s YOUR storm preparedness? How are your HT batteries? Ida showed us the folly of depending on cell phones in an emergency. If you had to leave home, do you have any idea where you would go? Is your generator fueled up? Where are your important papers?

The time to plan for this is now! Don’t wait until a storm is bearing down…by then it may be too late.

Why it’s important to be an ARRL member

Yesterday a story broke regarding an Ocala resident who blames issues with her insulin pump on a nearby amateur radio operator. While in this instance the operator has not been a league member for several years, the ARRL is working on this this issue.

There are several lessons to be learned from this:

  • If you’re active, it pays to be an ARRL member! The league can get involved early, and help collapse situations before they get to this point. For example, RFI to medical devices are an issue for the FDA. “The medical device manufacturer is obligated to report it to the FDA as specified at 21 CFR Part 803.” That would have involved the manufacturer, who are likely eager to resolve this issue.
  • Be very CAREFUL when speaking to the press. As an example, if you watch the video, you’ll see the amateur asking why he should lose a hobby that he has enjoyed “half my life” juxtaposed with the complainant saying “I could die.”
  • Be INVOLVED in your community. Give them the opportunity to work things out with you, personally, so YOU can help collapse the situation! Don’t ignore complaints – be proactive!
  • Be AWARE of the FCC mandated RF Exposure requirements and BE ABLE TO PRODUCE the calculations for your own station. Check out http://www.arrl.org/rf-exposure and use the references there and GET HELP from the ARRL Field Organization if you need.

There will be further updates on this, but I’d suggest we all keep apprised of what’s going on, and if your membership isn’t current, this would be an excellent time to renew. If you’re a new ham, there’s never been a better time to join!

https://www.arrl.org/membership