2010 Announcements

01/22/2010 Jim Schwitz WA4CCF Silent Key
Longtime club member Jim Schwitz WA4CCF passed away January 20, 2010. Jim provided the club repeaters and maintained them for many years. He was enjoyed by everyone and will be misssed!

01/12/2010 Licensing Classes Offered
If you or someone you know is interested in grabbing their “first ticket” or upgrading to their General license, the Alexandria Radio Club is offering classes beginning March 2, 2010. Classes will continue each Tuesday through May 4, until the test on May 4, 2010. Of course, as always, the test is set up to facilitate those who have just completed the classes, but is open to all would be examinees. The classes will be held in room HEC#3 of the Health Education Center at Inova Alexandria Hospital located at 4231 Seminary Road in Alexandria, right off 395. Each class will start at 7PM, ending around 9:15PM. The cost is $50, which includes the textbook, test fee and materials. You are not required to attend all (or any) of the classes to take the exam, so if you have to miss a class – no big deal… Walk-ins are welcome, but if you know you are going to come, please drop a line to Rich, KA4GFY, at (703) 960-4096 or email ka4gfy@arrl.net so he can get an idea of the class size.

1/1/10 2010 Officers Inducted
Club officers for the coming year are President Jack Hranicky K5OTZ, Vice President Rick Bunn N4ASX, Secretary Jay Orbin KV3W and Treasurer Randy Laporte KI4MWQ.

07/18/2010 Field Day 2010 – Art Pond – KD4FBT (ALEXANDRIA RADIO CLUB FIELD DAY 2010 PHOTOS)
… is now history. Now is the time to think about ways to improve our setup for next year. I suggest a shift in how we operate. We need to keep safety as our number one goal. Similarly, we need to keep having fun as our second goal. We have always had a laid back Field Day that is not consumed by an overly aggressive quest for points. We do not need to change this approach.

When I started to write this email, I was reminded of a comment a woman made while I was working on her workstation. She told me, “Go Big or Go Home.” My suggestion is that we adopt this philosophy when we plan for Field Day next year. No, I am not suggesting that we drop Field Day. I am suggesting that we do what we are doing to its fullest. The end result will be a Field Day that will be more enjoyable.

So how do we apply this idea? First, let’s look at the coax we were using. Why use RG-8X? If I am climbing Old Rag, I would think about RG-8X. If we are going to do Field Day year after year, I suggest LMR-600 (or better). If our coax runs are 100 ft long, this relates to a 0.5 dB gain on 80 Meters up to a 1.5 dB gain on 10 Meters. The only exception may be a wire dipole where the weight of the coax must be considered. Larger coax will also mean that we can have a greater separation between the antennas. A greater separation will help alleviate the problem that we experienced this year with inter-station interference.

Antennas need to be at the right height. In previous years, we have had dipole antennas that were too low. A dipole up at 1/4 wavelength has a takeoff angle of 68 degrees. This does not make a good Field Day antenna. If we put the same antenna a height of 1/2 wavelength, the takeoff angle is now 29 degrees. This will make a better Field Day antenna. For 80 thru 40 Meters, it is difficult to raise the antenna to an acceptable height. A vertical antenna may be a better choice.

If we use a vertical antenna on a band, why stop at 3 or 4 ground radials? Why not 16 or 32 radials? The cost of wire is low. There is no need to be overly frugal. We also have almost a year to prepare the radials.

Field Day is a good opportunity to experiment with antennas. We have experimented with a phased array and a vertical loop. Are we using this opportunity to model the antennas to see if they will meet our needs?

Let’s continue to experiment with improving the antennas. There are other and better solutions besides a dipole for 10/15 and 20 or a simple vertical for 80 Meters.

In summary, we need to think about where our antennas are pointed, both vertically and horizontally. We also need to think about how to improve the efficiency of our stations. Next year, let’s embrace the attitude of Go Big or Go Home. The end result will be to our benefit.

08/13/2010 Ralph Schneider K4TDX Silent Key (A Founding Member)
RALPH J. SCHNEIDER On August 9, 2010. Beloved husband of Anne Marie Schneider; father of Mary S. Carroll (Michael), Janet S. McCullough (Ken) and Joseph R. Schneider (Lori) and the late Martha Susan. Also survived by five grandchildren; five step-grandchildren; four great-grandchildren and several nieces and nephews. Friends may call at EVERLY WHEATLEY FUNERAL HOME, 1500 W. Braddock Rd., Alexandria, VA on Sunday, August 15, 2010 from 1 p.m. until time of service at 2:30 p.m. Interment at Arlington National Cemetery on Friday, September 10, 2010 at 2 p.m. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to St. Martin”s DePores Senior Center, 4650 Taney Ave., Alexandria, VA 22304.

9/25/2010 DC Volunteer Drill on Saturday, September 25
Emergency Response Exercise – September 25 Be a part of making Fairfax County’s response to future emergencies a success! Volunteer Fairfax needs your help on Saturday, September 25th in their emergency Volunteer Reception Center (VRC) exercise. Standing in line has never been so important! By simply passing through each station of the VRC (role-playing a local disaster volunteer), you will help improve our ability to direct actual volunteers in future emergencies. This is a great indoor event for ages 14 and up, as there is no prior training requirement and no physical limitations. In addition to volunteering, participants will have the chance to gain valuable information on personal preparedness from some Volunteer Fairfax’s community partners.

The event will be held in the Fairfax County Government Center lobby on Saturday, September 25th from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. There will also be additional information and resources on hand to help you better prepare your family, business and property for an emergency. If you are interested in acting as an emergency volunteer for this event, please email Volunteer Fairfax at ERexercise@volunteerfairfax.org. If you plan on volunteering with a group, please include the number of individuals that will be joining you at the exercise.

The Alexandria Radio Club Christmas party will be held at Mango Mike’s (4580 Duke Street, Alexandria, VA) on December 17, 2010 at 7:00 pm. Meals to be announced. We were there two years ago. This date is one week later than the usual monthly meeting due to booking problems with the restaurant. We have to book early in order to get space for this time of year.

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