ARC Short – August 2017


Our next meeting is August 11th at 7PM at the Police Dispatch Center at 3600-Wheeler Ave.  Just off of Duke St on the south side half a block west of Quaker Lane.  Dinner at Atlantis Restaurant at about 5:30 prior to the meeting.  Our program this month will be Howard WD5DBC and the subject will be this years MARINE CORPS MARATHON amateur radio support. 

Scott, N5SQR donated 100 feet of LMR-600 and connectors as well as a Radio Works HF dipoles.  These will be auctioned at the next meeting so that we can find this donation a new home.

Rick, N4ASX has several of the Midland commercial FM radios $35 with a programming cable and software. I have one radio that is programmed with an EPROM but it has 99 channels and is programmed with about every FM repeater and simplex frequency in the area.  The other Midlands can be programmed with a any computer using an inexpensive cable from Bridgeman Electronics.  Rick just purchased 3 programming cables.   Rick will bring them to the September meeting after he make a list of what’s in the radios.


Our July 14th meeting program was provided by Mr. Steven Herman W7VOA.  Steve covered his history in amateur radio with included 25 years of operating in Nepal, India, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, and Bhutan while working for Voice of America (VOA).  Steve also talked about his current assignment as the VOA reporter for the White House press corps. 

Rich, KA4GFY gave us a run down on how we did for Field Day.  Ian on the 40CW station had the most contacts and because they count for twice as much as SSB, he was our biggest contributor, followed by the 40 SSB, 20 SSB 15 SSB and 75 SSB stations all making over 100 contacts each.  Good scores!  Next year will be even better!

Lots of KM calls in attendance, great to see new hams getting into the club. 

DMR Repeater.  We are still awaiting a repeater frequency assignment from T-MARC.  Rich will be the first to get the word and will share it on the net.

President’s Corner

Greetings to all! I came back yesterday from the Berryville ham fest, but with more stuff than I would have liked to come back with. I had a table in one of the buildings set up to sell some of my excess wares. I did catch several club members there, though. Plus, their BBQ chicken and/or beef brisquet lunch is the big selling point of that hamfest.

With the solar eclipse coming on Monday the 21st, there is another opportunity to work the bands. The Solar Eclipse QSO Party will be held that day from 10 AM to 6 PM EDT (1400-2200 UTC). If you’re interested, full description and rules are available at:

Don’t worry if you cannot make this year’s eclipse. There will be another total eclipse crossing the eastern 2/3rds of the US mainland come early April 2024, less than 7 years from now. With that, I wish you well in life and on the bands.


Erik Misavage, KI4BXU


Help needed!

The note below came from the Emergency Coordinator for Prince William Co.  If you would like to participate please go directly to them on the link below.:

73 Rick N4ASX

On Saturday, August 26, 2017, the Marine Corps Marathon Program Office will host the Quantico Triathlon and the Quantico 12K run at Marine Corps Base Quantico. 

Because these two events are going to cover large parts of the base, PWCARES needs help to staff all of the 30 odd locations along both courses. Like most MCM events, we will be starting early and we expect to be finished by early afternoon. 

This is a busy weekend, but if you can give us a few hours of your time, we would love to have you come out. 

The details:

  • Radio: We have done a number of checks and while a mobile radio is preferred, you can do this with an HT.
  • Comfort: You will want to bring a chair. While the race is expected to be quick, there will be periods of time where you are waiting, either for participants to come through or for clearance to leave. If you are sun sensitive you may want to bring some shade.
  • When and Where: We are still working up the details for the initial rally and time. Those will be coming soon, but the race starts with a swim at 0700, so we need to be on the course by then.
  • The maps are attached for your reference.

If you can help us out, please sign up at this link: Scroll down to the “Starting at 6:00 AM Ham Operators” to sign up.

Why do we keep PUSHING the club’s net and repeaters?

For a club without 30 or so ACTIVE members (average for most meetings) and 50 members who pay dues each year, the Alexandria Radio Club as possibly the most repeaters of any club in the area regardless of size.  Much of this equipment has been donated by club members.    Most clubs would be more than happy to sponsor a SINGLE two-meter repeater, and for most of our 53 years, we had only a 1 watt two-meter repeater and the net was held on it as it is now each Thursday at 8PM.  When Jim Schwitz joined the club, he offered to replace the old 1-watt repeater with a set of four repeaters he had built using kit parts.  These were the 147.315, 444.6, 224.82 and 53.13 repeaters.  When Jim became a silent key, the repeaters where is sad shape.  Tim KT4MV, Mike and Craig K4GOR, built new repeaters using commercial equipment and a donation of a Motorola MSF5000 replaced our 147.315 repeater.  Combined with the location we have,  these repeaters cover most of our membership area.

When D-Star arrived, Marshall KI4MWP purchased the first complete D-Star repeater stack and donated it to the club.  This includes 2 meters, 440 MHz and 1.2GHz digital voice repeaters and 1.2GHz Digital Data Repeater.    D-Star gives us a way to connect via the internet with any other D-Star stack in the world.   It takes a little practice but I’ve done it on a few occasions and as D-Star continues to grow the utility improves.  Rich, KA4GFY our trustee has been working to move most of the Virginia D-Star repeaters that have a gateway to a single reflector.  This would allow traffic anywhere in the state from your D-Star handheld or mobile. 

One of the reasons for having repeaters on all these bands (see the list at the top of this newsletter) is to make sure we don’t loose those bands.  Many years ago there was an all out attack on 220Mhz and we lost the bottom 2 Mhz of the band to a commercial experiment that never materialized.  In the early 1970s the CBers wanted a CLASS E CB band and there was a push to take the whole 220Mhz band and they came within a hair of getting that allocation.  The argument was that at the time there were only 350,000 hams and 13 MILLION CBers.  ARRL save the day by noting that the 220 band was being used for links for other repeaters and for various contests.  It might also be remember the 11 meter band (now the CB band) was an amateur band up until 1958.  The 440MHz band is a shared band and many other interests have tried to remove amateur radio from that band. The Navy operates radars in that band andhas asked amateur operators not to operate in some areas.  We cannot operate around the green bank radio telescope observatory.   With other wireless concerns looking for more spectrum to allow folks to text, video chat, insta-whatever,  our bands above 50 MHz are always under attack.  The ONLY way to keep our spectrum is to use it.   When your in the shack, mark up on our repeaters.  Compete in the worked all ARC contest this year.  The FCC listens and knows what’s active.  The FCC also has a task to promote the commercial use of the radio spectrum.  WE get it for free, but lots of commercial entities can make big bucks with what we have.  Don’t let it get away.  Use the repeaters!!!!

Rick, N4ASX

Future Programs

August 11th  –

September 8th  – City EMS or Radio Shop

October 13th  – Other digital radio systems (Need help with system fusion, P25 and DMR) (tent.)

        Nominations for club officers for November election

November 10   – Elections

December 8th – Annual Christmas / Holiday Party

Possible programs: City EMS and Radio system, D-Star part II, Antenna Modeling, Contesting HF/VHF, AMSAT, AMRAD, RF Interference (power company), Logging programs,  Dayton follow up, Marine Corps Marathon.

Let me know what you want to hear about.  HELP!!!!  If you have an idea for a program, please let Rick know and he will try to find someone to provide the program.  If you know someone you would like to have present a program, let me know Rick, N4ASX

Hamfests –

We are heading to end of hamfest season in our area, but there a couple of hamfests close by. 

Several ARC members ventured out to Berryville for the annual Shenandoah Valley ARC hamfest on August 6.  If you missed it, you missed a good hamfest.  While the indoor vendor space was smaller than past years, the outside flea market has grown.  The perfect weather this year may have had some vendors deciding to stay outside rather than inside.  There is always the usual collection of “stuff” that seems to migrate from one basement to another, but also a good collection of newer and old radios, accessories, parts and of course the fellowship that goes with hamfests.  The barbeque lunch was up to its usual high standards.  Kudos to SVARC for a job well done. 

As if you need an excuse to go to the beach, the Virginia Beach Hamfest (also known as the Virginia Section Convention) is September 9, 2017.  The location is the Virginia Beach Convention Center, 1000 19th Street, which is right off I-264 close to the waterfront.   Talk-in on the 146.970 repeater (-) with a 141.3 Hz PL tone.

This year’s CARAFest is on Sunday, October 1 at the Howard County Fairgrounds in West Friendship, MD.  From our area, take I95 North to MD Route 32 West.  Follow 32 West to Route 144.  Take 144 West to Fairground Road on the right. It’s sponsored by the Columbia Amateur Radio Association.  Talk-in is on the CARA repeater, 147.390 (+) with a 156.7 Hz PL tone.

Training –

Our next class is scheduled to start October 3 and end December 5, 2017.  If you know somebody who has always wanted to get their ham radio license, let them know.  The cost is still $50 and includes the book, test fee and class materials.

Contests –

August 12 and 13 – Maryland-DC QSO Party, CW, SSB and digital.  Exchange is entry class and state.  For those of us operating from home, we would be a “standard” station.

August 19 and 20 – North American QSO Party, SSB.  Exchange is your name and state.

August 20 – ARRL Rookie Roundup, RTTY.  Exchange is your name and 2 digit year first licensed.

August 21 – Solar Eclipse QSO Party.  Exchange is the other station’s call, RST and 6 character grid square.

August 26 to August 28 – Hawaii QSO Party.  Exchange is RST and state.

August 26 and 27 – Kansas QSO party.  Exchange is RST and state.

August 26 and 27 – Ohio QSO Party.  Exchange is RST and state.

September 2 and 3 – Colorado QSO Party.  Exchange is name and state.

September 3 and 4 – Tennessee QSO Party.  Exchange is RST and state.

September 9 to 11 – ARRL September VHF Contest.  Exchange is 4 charter grid square.  For most of us, it’s FM18.

September 9 – Ohio State Parks on the Air.  Exchange is your state.

September 10 – North American Sprint – CW.  Exchange is other station’s call, your call, serial number, your name and state.

Repeaters –

We have had many questions on the status of our DMR repeater.  As of press time, I am still waiting to hear from TMARC about a frequency pair for our DMR repeater.  While you can go through the TMARC repeater list and find what appears to be an open frequency pair, it may not be available.  Depending on the predicted repeater coverage, a repeater in Alexandria may cause issues with another repeater on an adjacent frequency in the TMARC area, or with another repeater outside the TMARC area.  That all has to be coordinated and takes time.  I will send an email to the club reflector and in ARC Shorts with the particulars once we hear from TMARC. 

If you look at the DSTARInfo webpage under reflectors, you will notice that Virginia now has its own reflector (62B).  Many other states have their own reflector and the thinking is it would be a good idea if Virginia had one as well.  This could be beneficial during a widespread emergency with another means to talk to the folks at the state EOC in Richmond.  It’s not a replacement for HF, but in an emergency situation, redundancy is good. 

Our 2 meter DSTAR repeater is defaulted to 62C.  To change reflectors, we can easily link to 62B by unlinking from 62C and putting in REF062B in the URCALL field on your DSTAR transceiver.  At the present time, the 70 cm and 23 cm voice repeaters are not defaulted to any reflector.  They can be connected to any reflector by putting the reflector name in the URCALL field and transmitting. 

DSTAR can have a very steep learning curve and if you starting out, it can be intimidating.  The folks at Georgia DSTAR have a great website with a DSTAR calculator that can answer questions about what data goes in which field on the radio.  The website address is

The club repeaters are all up and running.  Make 2017 the year you try a new band or mode.

As always, ham it up and get on the air.


Rich, KA4GFY


Our club has MORE repeaters then just about any other general interest radio club. Look at the banner at the start.  BUT, if you listen to the repeaters they are so quite you wonder if they are working.  Rich, KA4GFY and I (N4ASX) came up with an idea.  Lots of folks played with the ARRL’s National Parks On the Air.  This was a yearlong contest so there was no rush. So we think a contest that get’s folks in the work each other and others over a year would be fun.

To make the contest fair, we will have classes for each type of operator: 2 Meter HT only, Dual Band (2/440) only, 2 Meter Mobile/Base only, Dual Band Mobile/Base only, All bands.  Points are awarded for working club members who have been (within the last two years) or are club members.  You can work club members on each repeater, on simplex on each VHF/UHF band and work them on any mode (D-Star, Packet, PSK-31, CW, SSB, AM, etc.)  So, you can work a member many times but only once per band using the same mode.  We will go from June 10th 2017 to June 10th 2018.  We encourage the use of LOTW, but you can use any logging program or paper.  For those who are not members they too can participate but points are awarded for working Alexandria Radio Club members.  A club member will get a point for non-members they work on our repeaters.

Hope your keeping your logs up to date.  This contest is open to all.

73 Rick N4ASX

Social Events

Monday Night Burgers – There is a group that gets together at 6:15 PM on Mondays at a local burger joint.   Mark up on the 147.315 repeater and join them for the fun.  Mark up on the repeater about 6PM and join the group.  The location does change!  IF you have a good spot, you might make a suggestion.