ARC SHORTS – February 2011

Rich – KA4GFY
January 2011

This issue:

  • News letter and meeting announcement for the Alexandria Radio Club.
  • Club repeaters and detailed info can be found at
  • Club Net: 147.315 (-600Khz, PL107.2) on Thursday’s at 8 PM local time
  • Club Meetings: Second Friday of each month at 7:30PM at the Alexandria Fire Training Center.

Minutes of the last meeting.

Our January 2011 meeting was our kick off for our new club officers.  Marshall, KI4MWP is our new President with Ian, N8IK as our VP/ Program Chair.  The first meeting of the year was our big business meeting which includes the club budget.  Two major items were brought up and one of the most important is that Marshall has been footing the bill for the DSL line for the D-Star stack.   The cost of this support is about $260 Per year (I took very poor notes), but we THE D-STAR users should not expect Marshall to carry this expense on his own.  It was suggested that we establish a paypal account on our website (W4HFH.ORG) so that those who wish to contribute to the DSL/Gateway can do so.  I (your humble editor) suggested that $20 per registered D-Star user would cover the cost for the year.  The discussion did not go to making this mandatory, but if we cannot raise the funds then we may have to.  So, PLEASE if you’re a D-Star user, check into the website and make a donation to keep the gateway open.

Another item brought up was the classes.  As many know we did not hold a Tech/General class the last two semesters, due to the lack of a place to hold classes.  Roy, our webmaster, has volunteered offices in his office building, so it looks like we will be back in the class business again. Rich, KA4GFY, our Professor of Amateur Radio will be organizing soon,

We followed up with a DX Video on Scarbough Reef.  This is THE smallest piece of land to be a DX entity.   Not a place I would like to go, but I wish I had worked them…

Next Meeting

Our next meeting will be on February 11th at the Alexandria Hospital at 7 PM.  For all of the regulars, need to note that we NOW start at 7PM NOT 7:30 as we need to done by 9 PM.

Our program will be a presentation on the up coming Virginia QSO party.  This year we promised not to rush the program.  The club sponsors two awards for this contest.

Richmond FrostFest

February 5th Check into the net on Thursday and arrange carpools.  Many of us leave this area about 7 AM to get there close to the 8:30 opening time, but some of us leave at 7 AM and stop for breakfast on the way.  Two years ago we stopped at the Cracker Barrel in Thornburg.

Washington Birthday Events.

“George Washington Classic” 10-K (and 2-K “Fun Run”) Race
is Saturday, February 19, 2011

Race Distance: Ten Kilometers
Start Time: 8:30am
Start & Finish Location: Eisenhower Valley

NEW! “George Washington Birthday PARADE MILE”
is on Parade Day (Monday, February 21, 2011)

Race Distance: One Mile
Start Time: 12:30pm
Start & Finish Location: Near the parade reviewing stands at King & Royal Street

The Alexandria Radio Club provides safety support for both of these events.  We need at least 8 operators with either mobile or handheld 2 meter capability for both events.  Send Rick, N4ASX an E-mail at N4ASX@ARRL.NET if you can support either or both of these events.

Washington Birthday Parade.

INFO on this parade.    The Parade runs in Old Town from 1 PM to 3 PM but we need to be in place by 12:00 to help with check in and with setting the order of march.  If we have enough volunteers,  we will assign an amateur radio operator to each parade marshal, send the changes to the order to the parade start point and the changes will be put into a spread sheet and sent by D-Star Data to the reviewing stand.  We need about 15 or more operators to do this properly.  Send Rick, a note if you can support this event.

Volunteers are asked to meet at the Fire Training Center and carpool to the parade start point at the elementary school at St Asaphs and Wilkes.

After the parade the amateurs get together for a late lunch or early dinner at either a pizza place or burger place.

Social Events

Many of the club members meet prior to our meetings at the Chicken Out Restaurant at Wilkes and Washington Street at 6 PM.  This is also a chance to meet our guest speaker as we offer to buy dinner for them prior to the meeting.

Monday Night Half Price Burgers – There is a group that gets together at Shooter MaGee’s on Monday evenings at 6:30 PM.  A good burger, and soft drink runs about $8.

Richmond Frostfest February 6th. Many of our members car pool.  As we don’t have a meeting before this event, check into out THURSDAY Night net to coordinate.

A Word or two from the President

Now that  winter has finally decided to settle in here in DC area, ARC members should take the opportunity of those “snow days” to do some exploring of  the frequencies that are available for amateur use.  I mention this as a recent article in the Washington Post mentioned the reluctance of the commercial broadcasting community to fully embrace the FCC’s suggestions that they could be making better use of VHF frequencies, and that they should consider migrating from some of their UHF frequencies.

Another recent article in a different publication discussed the need for commercial users to more fully explore how to best utilize the limited radio spectrum.

We as a club are very fortunate to have a number of repeaters available fo use–2 and 6 meter, 220, 440 and 900 MHz, and 1.2 GHz and the various D-Star repeaters–as well as active participation by members in the various contests and rag chewing on HF and VHF/UHF frequencies.

Our club has been known for its technical knowledge and willingness to experiment and explore how radio technology and spectrum can be utilized.  It is important for us as amateurs to keep up that exploratory spirit in utilizing our radio spectrum,  as it is truly a limited resource.  While there has not been much recent interest shown by the commercial sector in our amateur frequencies,  that is not to say that some new technological development might make a particular slice of the amateur allocation a very desirable target for use by the commercial sector.   If you’ve primary been a VHF/UHF user, think about exploring some of the HF frequencies.  Or if you have generally worked within the HF frequencies, consider exploring what you might be able to do in the GHZ range.    In any event, we are very fortunate to have been given a finite public resource for our use–let’s make sure we continue to make active use of this resource wisely.

73  Marshall



All clubs have their ups and downs.  Some years membership is up and at the same time programs are more interesting and, most importantly, so are activities.  Active clubs attract new members and clubs where the meetings don’t offer some excitement lose members.  This is not the fault of the elected leadership, but the responsibility lies with the membership at large.

Participation is key to the success of the club.  Back in the late 1980’s I watched the Alexandria Radio Club go from 30 members to about 5 members.  At that point, those of us who were left decided that we needed to focus on making the club more interesting.  We worked on getting programs even though the audience was small; we held transmitter hunts, social events, etc.  The result was a growth in the club with new members eager to participate in activities.

We quickly gained a reputation as a very “technical” club and a very “active” club.  But as members average age has gone up and some of our more active members have moved out of the area, I am seeing a down turn in the numbers at the meetings and in the willingness of our members to participate in activities.

Some of the reasons may be the change in meeting location, or the lack of classes that have brought us so many new hams in the past.  The important issue is that those of us who have been club members for a few years, need to take a more active role in the club.  Please don’t assume that the officers you elected are going to come up to you and ask for your help.  Rather assume that, without your help and participate, your officers will assume that the membership just is NOT interested in these activities.

Many hands make light work.  Think about what you would like the club to do and talk about it on the air or at the club meeting.  If you have a question on the state of the ham radio art, the club meeting is a good place to bring it up.  If you have a project you’re working on, share what you’ve learned with the membership.   We have hamfests, operating events, and public service events coming up.  PLEASE volunteer your time and join us.

The club is its members.  You don’t have to lead but you should participate. You drive the club!

Some Upcoming Contests and Radio Events.

State QSO Parties:

Vermont                      Feb 5

Minnesota                   Feb 5

Delaware                     Feb 5

Louisiana                     Feb 12 and 13

New Hampshire          Feb 12

Mississippi                   Feb 26

North Carolina            Feb 27 and 28

State QSO parties are a good place to start contesting since they are generally laid back events.  Most exchanges include a signal report and either the county of the station in the host state or the state of the station outside the host state.  Usually phone and CW.

The CW portion of the North American Sprint on Feb 6 and the phone portion Feb 13.  Sprint contests move quickly with the station calling CQ moving to another frequency once both stations complete the contact.

The ARRL Scholl Club Roundup Feb 14 through 18.  This is primarily aimed at school clubs, junior high, high school and college, but anybody is welcome to compete.  Non school clubs can only contact school clubs, but school clubs can contact anybody.

The CW portion of the ARRL International DX Contest Feb 19 and 20.  This is a great way to work on DXCC.  The exchange is a signal report and the state or province for North American stations or the power for DX stations.  In this part of the world, we hear a lot of European and Caribbean countries.  Occasionally, you can hear African, Asian and Pacific Rim stations when band conditions are good.

If you are looking for something out of the ordinary, you can try the AM QSO party Feb 19 and 20.  The exchange is a signal report, your name and state/province/country.

Above courtesy of Rich, KA4GFY

ARC - Shorts

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