ARRL ARES Communicator's Comments - 2018-04-08

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio Emergency Communications' started by W.T. Jones, Apr 8, 2018.

  1. W.T. Jones

    W.T. Jones Moderator Staff Member Silver Member Golden GPS Recipient AtlDiv EPA Leader AtlDiv ARES Member

    Luzerne County ARES® Sunday Night Bulletin
    "We don't rise to the level of our expectations. We fall to the level of our training."
    Archilochus - Greek Poet and Soldier

    "Success is not Final. Failure is not Fatal. The only thing that matters is the courage to carry on."
    Winston Churchill
    If you are an ARRL member and you have at least noticed what the ARRL Board is doing then here is the information you need to react to it.
    If you are not aware of what the ARRL Board is doing then it is time for you to get informed!


    • Current Versions of Fldigi programs
        • Luzerne County ARES® Information...
        • Luzerne County ARES®Net Control Schedule
        • !Luzerne County LCARES Announcements...
        • Click Here for the Luzerne County ARES®Activities Schedule
        • Click Here for Net Schedules of Interest - updated on 4/8/2018
        • 2018 LCARES Members Operational Status - Net Stats - Bulletin Responses (updated 3/31/18)...
        • Weekly Images
        • An ARRL ARES®Communicator's Comments
          • !In a Hurry?....
          • A New Ham Radio Operator...
          • Maybe Dipoles Don't Cut It?...
          • OH8STN is at it again - communicating...
          • !Spring Skywarn Training...
          • ISS Special SSTV Event on April 11...
        • EPA-ARRL Web site...
        • Ham Radio Links
        • Closing
    Bulletin Date: April 8, 2018
    Bulletin Number: 193

    This Bulletin is for all Amateur Radio Operators in Luzerne County and any interested Amateur Radio Station anywhere.

    Note: A copy of this Bulletin is stored on the web site in .wav file format. This file can be replayed by Fldigi and Flamp to get the complete Bulletin.

    Current Versions of Fldigi programs
    Current Versions of Fldigi Suite
    Fldigi Flmsg Flamp
    4.0.16 4.0.6 2.2.03
    Current as of: April 1, 2018. *Indicates an update in the past week.
    Latest versions available at

    Luzerne County ARES® Information...
    - Important: The Sunday Night Bulletin is required reading for all LCARES Members. If you are busy look for the things with the ! in front of them.

    Luzerne County ARES®Net Control Schedule
    The Rotation Schedule for the LCARES Voice net has been posted on the Last update: March 11, 2018

    Please be sure to review the NCS schedule before the upcoming nets.

    !Luzerne County LCARES Announcements...
    (These will be read by the Alternate NCS during the regular weekly session of the LCARES Voice Net.)

    * - indicates that announcement should not be read on the LCARES Net.

    1. The 2018 Communications Exercise is set for April 28th. The planned frequencies will be on 2 meters and 10 meters. There are plans for 2 fixed locations and at least 3 mobile stations.
    2. N3SRO will be running a second go at the Comm EX Dry Run on April 14th. Dave will be sending out confirmation emails to all those who have signed up already. Interested in helping? Contact Dave at
    3. Just a reminder that both the LCARES Voice Net and the LCADN are canceled for April 17th and 24th due to the Skywarn Training and the LCEMA Quarterly Training (QT). Please see below for registration for the Skywarn Training. If you plan on attending theplease let Dave Elmore, KC3IMJ, know by email at
    4. The "Net Schedules" have been updated with new (and not so new) HF Digital Nets thanks to our friends in New Hampshire. Give them a try. Please let me know if you find any wrong ones.
    Click Here for the Luzerne County ARES®Activities Schedule
    Click Here for Net Schedules of Interest - updated on 4/8/2018
    2018 LCARES Members Operational Status - Net Stats - Bulletin Responses (updated 3/31/18)...

    Note: Credit is given for responding but to win, place, or show the answer has to be correct.
    Sunday Night Bulletin for April 1, 2018 Responses
    1st Response
    2nd Response
    3rd Response
    Apr 2 - 1250hrs
    Total Bulletin Responses for Last Week - 10
    There was some question about my choice of the correct answer last week. 7 out of the 10 respondents agreed with me. Sorry guys.
    Weekly Images

    Sounds like KC3IMJ at Ricketts Glen!

    An ARRL ARES®Communicator's Comments
    !In a Hurry?....
    - I thought I'd leave this in here a few times. Remember, if you are rushed for time look for the items with the !. Those are the items that really need to be read. Everything else is just fluff. Read the important things and the other stuff when you can.

    A New Ham Radio Operator...
    - I am really pleased to announce the Kris Kartsotis of the Reading Area passed his Technician Class license on Friday, April 6th, at the Pottstown Radio Club's testing session. I don't want to say how many years I have known Kris but our acquaintance started when Kris was a System Manager for a company new Reading and I was his HP Support Engineer. Kris had the opportunity to become an HP employee and we have been close friends ever since. Kris is an avid model aircraft flyer at the 222 RC Flying Club. Kris lives near Reading, PA, with his wonderful wife, Betsy, and two great children. Oh, and a Doberman named Sheba who loves bananas and their latest addition, Senna, who just loves food. The picture of Sheba and Senna is to the left. I have been told, and found out that it is true, that Corgis can be stomachs with 4 legs. Look at little Senna's eyes and you can see she is eying up the dinner table to the left.

    Once last note about Kris. Kris' brother, Foster, is N3JKU who lives in Pittsburgh. Foster put the bug in Kris' ear by giving him a "cheap Chinese radio." I'd like to think I fanned the flame but Kris dived in on his own. As soon as Kris' new call appears I'll let everyone know. It is good to add a friend to your Ham Radio friends.

    You may never get to talk to Kris but I am just so happy to have him join the Ham Radio Community.

    Maybe Dipoles Don't Cut It?...
    - The 2018 Comm Ex's purpose is to, sort of, expand your horizons. We are talk on 2 meters with such ease that it becomes second nature to just pick up the rig or mic and talk. It is not a big deal. Using the great repeaters in the area make it a snap for anything above a radio using a piece of uncooked spaghetti for an antenna and a lemon juice battery for power. It is really true that the holder of a Technician Class license has 90% of all the Amateur Radio privileges. The idea is to explore those privileges and make some use of them.

    That is why the idea of using 10 meters for the Comm Ex. The 10 meter amateur band is really very close to 11 meters which is the Citizens Band. I won't go into why it should still be 11 meters and belong to Hams. That argument is very old sour grapes from an old Ham. However, the band's characteristics are pretty much the same.

    10 meters is not all that great of a band unless the propagation is there and you are working Djibouti. But! As an exercise in learning it does make it easier because the antenna lengths are much shorter than they are on 75/80 meters.

    Some times you want to squirt more signal in a specific direction. The first thing to always be sure of is that the destination of your signal is broadside to your dipole. In other words, don't point the ends of the dipole at your target. Show it the broadside of your antenna. Those old time Men o' War ships new that they had to Cross the T to put their ships guns broadside to the target. You want to do that too. I know this sounds elementary but some people still have a problem with it. Hold the wire of the dipole in your hands, stretch out your arms at shoulder height like you're making a T, and face where you want the signal to go. That should be the orientation of your dipole.

    How about a moment to talk terminology here. A Flat Top Dipole (not a Flat Top T - that is a different beastie) is nothing more than a dipole antenna supported at both ends and stretched out sorta flat. It is the usual configuration that we think of when we think of a dipole.

    Now, a Sloper is one where the dipole is supported at one end and the other end is tied to the ground.

    A Sloper is a good antenna to use to squirt signal in a specific direction.


    From the 2014 ARRL Handbook!

    Now that vertical mast on a 10 meter sloper can be about 20ft which is a reasonable height to manage. A 75 meter sloper (3.9 mHz) would need a mast close to 85 feet. That would be tough to manage without a team to raise it and a lot of guying to keep it steady. Still a Sloper is a good form of a dipole to get the signal going in the right direction.

    BTW, the caption mentions "over poor to average earth" which is pretty much what we would have in the Lake Rose Overflow Parking Area. I am not sure about the Rescue Vehicle Area or the "Search Base" but I am pretty sure that you can assume that it really is not much above average.

    The Sloper does not need a 45° angle to be effective. What the idea is you want the angle of take off from the antenna as close to the horizon as possible. A DXer living close to the water wants his signal to go straight to the horizon before it climbs up for its bounce off the ionosphere. This is so he gets the maximum distance for working those stations farther away. The Sloper has the advantage of needing only one support to approach this angle but a regular dipole needs two and height.

    Here's why. In simple terms, the closer the dipole is to the ground the higher the take off angle will be for its radiation. Keeping the antenna close to the ground for that high angle or "near vertical incidence" makes for good local communications. But and there is always a but! The antennas that use Near Vertical Incidence Skywave (NVIS) communications do so depending on Good Old Mother Nature and the Sun to make the ionosphere reflect the signal. Generally that frequency of incidence (the critical frequency) is about 5.5mHz these days. So an antenna close to the ground (less then 1/2 wavelength) at a frequency less that the critical frequency is just squirting the signal straight up where it keeps on going.

    You got to get some altitude on your dipole (at least 1/4 wavelength or better) so that you get your take off angle down toward the horizon. So 16 feet or more is good. 32 would be better. Anything in between is probably OK. So if you mount your 10 meter dipole at top of your head and you are not the Jolly Green Giant you probably won't go too far with the signal.

    If you really want to squirt signal in a specific direction then nothing beats a beam antenna. I am not talking about a monstrous, tower shaking, high up in the air, type of beam. I mean something that you can take with you and assemble on site and add about 4db over a regular dipole in a specific direction.

    This article is from 1999. Yep, last century.

    Its U bolts, nuts, straight bolts, some metal plates, tubing, and a little work. It is not a bad afternoon's effort and most of the parts can come from Home Depot or Lowes. Does it work? Oh my yes. Most of the parts are hanging in my basement. Problem is it is heavy.

    You can overcome this by using a wire beam. Yep, wire. Separate it with PVC and it becomes a beam antenna. Here are the plans:

    Again, more signal in a specific direction. Did you know during World War II the British used wire beams and 50 watts off power from the British Islands to Singapore to communicate with a suit case radio. And to Casablanca too. No, the station was not upstairs at Rick's Place. But they work. See Secret Wireless War by Geoffrey Pidgeon. I have a copy of it and it is fascinating reading. How about a radio built into the speaker of a car - in 1939 with tubes. Never mind - I am off on a tangent here.

    Here is a video about it any way -

    Sorry but I get a little overwhelmed when I think of the radio work that was done in World War II.

    Back to beams....

    There is an option to the Yagi antenna which many folks don't think about. It is called a Moxon by W4RNL(SK). I have used Moxon antennas on 6 meters. They do work. I have seen an 80 meter Moxon antenna as well. It was one of those "don't try this at home on a small lot" antennas. Here are some plans for a 10 meter Moxon beam made with PCV. Why the guy colored it like that is something only he knows. As far as I know that does not help the signal at all.

    You can make a PVC supported beam using just wires inside the PVC pipe. It just takes some experimenting. You can get dimensions from the ARRL Handbook or from the ARRL Antenna Book. The Murgas ARC has a copy of the ARRL Handbook for loaning in its library.

    You can also consider a rhombic antenna. At 28.340mHz the total length of the antenna wire will be about 37ft. You can shape into a rectangle, a diamond, hang it vertically, or horizontally. The shape and feedpoint determine the polarization and the directivity. Usually, IIRMC, it uses a 4 to 1 balun for feeding. The details are in the ARRL Handbook or the ARRL Antenna Book. Rhombics can be a real player when it comes to moving signal in the right direction.

    So a dipole may not cut it. Maybe not. That doesn't mean you are out of the ball game. There are options and the only limit is what you can imagine (a rather over used cliche'), how much work do you want to put into it, and how willing you are to try to succeed.

    OH8STN is at it again - communicating...
    Julian sings my song and I know all of you are tired of hearing it but here is the choir again...

    !Spring Skywarn Training...
    - Well, I know it is hard to believe but Spring is just around the corner. As I am typing this on Monday night there are 35 days until Spring arrives. Spring really is here! As long as the ice goes away I'll be happy. Snow can stay but I really don't want to see any more ice. And I think my YF will agree with that.

    The Luzerne County edition of Spring Skywarn Training will be held on April 17th. Just about 2 months away. I am getting this out in front of folks and will keep it out in front them because I want a good turn out from our Luzerne County Ham Community. It is required for LCARES members to attend one every 2 years but I think that it would not hurt any of us to get to the training as a Refresher.

    Personally I would rather report some summer weather than more ice and snow. Sure would be nice.

    There are other courses being held through out District 3 so anyone not in Luzerne County reading this get to a Skywarn in your county. Skywarn is a "Meat & Potatoes" service that Amateur Radio operators can perform. We are very lucky in this area since we have a Weather Office that supports our efforts. The least we can do is support them.

    Here is the list of Skywarn Classes and the links to register for them. All classes are from 6:30PM to 8:30PM.

    April 17th
    Luzerne County EMA
    185 Water Street
    Wilkes-Barre, PA 18702
    Luzerne County Registration
    Be sure to register because the presenter needs to know how much support materials to bring.

    And more classes for Lackawanna County, Wyoming County, and Susquehanna County will be coming.

    ISS Special SSTV Event on April 11...
    - Russian SSTV Event to Celebrate Cosmonautics Day

    ARISS Russia is planning a special Slow Scan Television (SSTV) event from the International Space Station in celebration of Cosmonautics Day.

    The transmissions are to begin on April 11 at 11:30 UTC and run through April 14 ending at 18:20 UTC.

    Supporting this event is a computer on the ISS Russian Segment, which stores images that are then transmitted to Earth using amateur radio, specifically the onboard Kenwood TM-D710E transceiver. Transmitted images will be from the Interkosmos project period of the Soviet space program ( Images received can be posted and viewed at

    The transmissions which were coordinated with the ARISS scheduling team, will be broadcast at 145.800 MHz using the PD-120 SSTV mode.

    Please note that the event is dependent on other activities, schedules and crew responsibilities on the ISS and are subject to change at any time.

    73 de IW2BSF Rudy

    Many thanks to WB3FKP for sending this item.

    EPA-ARRL Web site...
    - If you have not done it yet then what are you waiting for? Get to the EPA-ARRL web site and either submit your email address or like it on Facebook. It is the place to get the information and news about the EPA Section.

    Ham Radio Links
    N3LLR's Ham Radio Forum
    ARRL Eastern PA Section Web Site
    Luzerne County ARES®
    Harris County Texas ARES® - A great training resource
    Lake County (OH) RACES Personal Go-Kit for Emergency Operations - KE7LHR
    MecklenBurg County ARES® and RACES
    K0BG - The Website for Mobile Amateur Radio Operators (Perhaps the best web site on mobile operations I have found!)
    Origins of Ham Speak - Fact, Legends, and Myths??? - Compiled by AC6V from the Internet and other unreliable sources
    The Petite Prepper
    The VOA Radiogram
    Luzerne County ARES Facebook Page <-- New
    Thank you for copying our weekly digital information Bulletin to all Amateur Radio Operators.

    Send reception reports and comments to

    Have a good week everyone!


    ARRL EPA Section Emergency Coordinator
    ARRL EPA District 3 District Emergency Coordinator
    ARRL ARES® Emergency Coordinator
    Luzerne County ARES®
    ARES and "Amateur Radio Emergency Services" are registered service marks owned by the American Radio Relay League, The National Association of Amateur Radio. Use of these service marks is by permission only. Total prep time for this bulletin - 5 hours.

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