ARC Shorts – August 2011

ARC-SHORTS August 2011 Club Repeaters: 147.315 (PL 107.2), 444.6 (PL107.2), 224.82 (PL107.2), 53.13 (PL107.2), 927.6 (-25Mhz, PL107.2), and 1282.600 (PL 107.2), DSTAR 145.38Mhz, 442.060, and 1284.600


Our next meeting is August 12th  at the INOVA Alexandria Hospital in the Health Education Center (HEC) located to the west of the main visitor entrance.  The hospital address is: 4320 Seminary Road, Alexandria, VA 22304.  We meet at 7 PM and must leave by 9 PM. This month’s program will be Jeremy’s Field Day video and maybe a video from a long ago Field Day.  In addition we will have our Field Day after action review.

July  MEETING MINUTES  from 6/10/2011

Our program in July was Mark Braunstein WA4KFZ. His presentation was on D-Star.  While our club is more heavily involved with D-Star then maybe any other club in Northern Virginia, Mark’s presentation was very good and he answered may questions for those of us who have not experienced D-Star.

Marks’s presentation can be viewed at:

D-Star has many advantages.  The primary advantage is that all signals whether carrying voice or data are .  Mark pointed out that a D-Star signal can be resent over the internet or via other links with no loss of signal quality.  Digital “1”s and “0”s can be recreated.  Another advantage is the ability to direct traffic to one or many operators.  Mark pointed out that D-Star is digital and packetized at the source.  The VHF and UHF D-Star protocols provide a 2400 bps audio input with 1200 bps of error correction (a very robust schema) and a 1200 bps digital channel for GPS or other digital transmissions.

While the internet allows connection all over the world relays can be used without the internet as long as the relays have the IP protocols to send and receive the information.

Mark pointed out that D-Star uses spectrum more efficiently then our standard FM signal and until the signal is degraded to the point where error correction fails will faithfully reproduce a 100% signal.

D-Stars 1.2GHz system provide both digital voice and a separate 128KBps digital channel that allows it to act like a high power wireless router.

This is what we have been using at the Marine Corps Marathon for runner information at the aid stations.

Mark’s program covered other ways to use D-Star such as hot spots, DV Dongles and some other developments.  It was a very interesting program.

With a good percentage of our members present owning D-Star capable radios, our guest had to adapt a bit, but it was a good time to bring up the advantages of D-Star and to highlight the work done by Marshall in building our D-Star “stack”.

Editors Note:  The ability of D-Star to automatically do what ECHO LINK and IRLP can do is one aspect that adds a new dimension to amateur radio.  The ability to use a VHF link to any other D-Star stack in the world provides us a unique ability to pass traffic where HF capability would rely on a series of nets and the condition of the ionosphere.  D-Star does have its drawbacks, but like all aspects of our hobby it is one more technical avenue for us as radio hobbyists to explore and one more tool we can use to support emergency communications when needed.


The 61st Berryville Hamfest was held on August 7th.  As in the past it was a great day to be under the trees.  Lots of boat anchors were bought and sold.

The club took up a great deal of AH6GI’s estate and sold most of it.  A great deal of the equipment was Heathkit gear in various states of repair and disrepair.  With help of Harry, N4CWP,  Larry KK4CBL, Warren Wylupski KA2BWU, and Tim KT4MV we were able to pick up the gear and move it to the N4ASX garage and Larry and I moved what we figured we could sell to Berryville.

Much of the Heathkit gear went for a song, but in the time we had, it could not be tested so we could not guarantee what work or did not work.  I did check out the 8  SB-303 receivers  and they worked on two bands generally.

All of the Heathkit gear will need some TLC.  We also sold three more modern HF radios.  We parted with the clubs ICOM IC-701 which had been a great club radio for over 10 years, but fear not.  We have replaced it with a Ten-Tec Jupiter.  The club also sold AH6GI’s IC 720A and IC725 to new hams that will make great use of these radios.  We also got rid of a few items left over from other estates.  All in all, the club made $1900 with the sales.  Cory’s widow has asked that we apply these funds to new amateur radio operator education.   Rich, our chief instructor, has some ideas for the next meeting.

Berryville was also a great time to meet with other hams we don’t see at meetings, promote the club and for those members who came out, I think we all had a great time.

Our trailer clean up day and Newbies on the Air are on hold until cooler weather.

Up Coming Events

See our president’s notes on the Virginia Beach Hamfest.

Boat Anchors cheap performance

One of our new members Bobby, KK4CKL turns out to be a bit of an old radio collector and restorer.  While we were selling off Old Heathkit gear and talking about other old radios it dawned on me that in an age of solid state DSP HF radios with hundreds of memories and all kinds of functions,  the old rigs still perform the primary functions and do it very well.

I got started in HF with a Heathkit DX-60A CW/AM transmitter and a Lafayette HA-700A general coverage receiver in 1971.  I did not do very well with the pair and only made 5 or so QSO’s, but that was not the fault of the gear, but lack of knowledge on antennas.  I was one very ignorant Novice. (now you know why we no longer have a novice license).  I got back into the hobby in

1978 and at that time Heathkit had a store on US 1 just about 3 miles south of the beltway.  I purchased the HW-2036A 2 meter synthesized mobile and built in a week.  I then purchased an HW-101 kit for over $300 and the power supply for an additional $100 or so.  It took me 60 hours to build the rig and 6 months.  Why 6 months? Well I had this VHF radio and turn it on just as I was sitting down to work on the HW-101.

Selling AH6GH’s collection of Heathkit gear brought back memories of how well the HW-101 worked.  No these radios do not have DSP, a digital read out, AGC control, RIT, dual VFOs and it needs a separate power supply to run it.  It needs to be tuned to THE frequency you want to operate on (tune the receiver front end and the finals for transmit every time.  But these radios have good sensitivity, very good selectivity and when was the last time you told someone on HF to meet you at 14.308264 MHz or when did you log a DX contact as 14.194523 MHz?

What these old tube type and even some of the older solid state radios have is the ability to transmit and receive as well as the newer radios for a great deal less cost than a new high end radio.  A new Ten-Tec Jupiter has ALL the bells and whistles but at a new cost of $1900.  For $150 dollars and some elbow grease you can put an old Heathkit HW-101, or SB-102, or other 1960-1970s radio on the air and generally you will have a power output over

100 watts, a clean SSB signal, and while not a contest radio a very respectable receiver.  If you have $300 – $400 to spend, the 1980s/1990s radio are all over the hamfests.  Kenwood TS-430s, TS-440s, ICOM 701s, 720s, 725s, Yeasu FT-747s,757s.  All area great solid state radios without DSP, but will run on 12 Volts and generally perform very well.

So, next time someone tells you that the hobby is just too expensive, pass the word

Marine Corps Marathon

MCM amateur radio support requires over 120 ham radio operators.  This is THE biggest amateur radio public service event in our area and one of the most complex.  You can do this if you have a 2 meter handheld and a good antenna.  Each year we have high percentage new operators.  There will be a training session for all operators within a month of the race.  The organizational group assigns team leaders for each amateur radio function, so there is always someone to help you get ready for the race.

For security reasons, all volunteers must be in the database by the end of September.  Don’t procrastinate.

To volunteer, go to and sign up as a “Ham Radio”

volunteer.  You will get an e-mail back asking you to go to another website to provide specifics on your abilities and your equipment.  This information and your preferences will determine your assignment on the course.  You will get an assignment and detailed briefing materials long before race day.

Please volunteer.
73 Rick, N4ASX


Virginia Beach Sept 17th.

President’s Corner

We’ve just gone through the hottest July on record here in the DC area, and the first Atlantic tropical depression that may turn into a hurricane has formed in the northeastern Caribbean.   As many ARC members are aware, weather plays a big role throughout our Mid-Atlantic area.   For those ARC members who are interested in being prepared for intense weather situations, there are a number of  resources that you can tap into.   During this time of year, SKYWARN runs a VoIP Hurricane Preparation Net on Echolink Conference *WX_TALK* Echolink Conference Node: 7203/IRLP Reflector 9219,  at 0000 UTC Sunday (Saturday evening at 8 PM ET).    For those who are using DStar, Reflector 34A has the Florida Hurricane net at 2100 EST each Monday night, which is used to provide training for ARES members;  more information  can be obtained at .   The National Capital Area’s  SKYWARN support group also provides a web site with a variety of useful weather related links, located at <>  .  Now is the time to check your equipment and home to make sure that you and your family are prepared for any intense weather situations that may develop in the coming months.   Rick Bunn, our ARES coordinator, can also provide information for those ARC members who may be interested in joining ARES so as  to assist local community officials as needed and directed during weather events.   While waiting for the cool Fall weather to arrive, I encourage ARC members to be prepared for any weather events that may develop over the next several months.

73 Marshall

Also from our President

The Virginia Beach Hamfest will be held on September 17, 2011 at the Virginia Beach Convention Center, 1000 19th St., Va. Beach, Va. 23451. Early Bird admission will be at 8AM and general admission will be at 9AM.

The attached flyer provides basic information and our web site>  ) has more information.

Scheduled forums include Solar Cycle 24 HF propagation and HF antennas for DXers and Contesters with Frank Donovan, W3LPL. These forums are a must for all PVRCers, DXers and contesters.  Also we will have Forums on QCWA, Antennas for new hams, ARRL, DX/LOTW, and more. For a complete listing with times, go to <>  Also we will have DX card checking and Exams.

The VADXCC will host a DX banquet on September 17th at 6:30pm at Buffet City Hibachi Grill, 3877 Holland Road #416, Virginia Beach, Va.  This is an outstanding all you can eat buffet.  The all inclusive price is $15.  Please make reservations with Charlie Chapman, <> .

Or call
757-681-4190.  The $15 will be collected at the door in cash or check only. We are indeed fortunate to have Frank Donovan, W3LPL, who will narrate a video of his 2011, W3LPL open-house.  This is a must for all DX and contest dreamers.

Please pass this information to all your ham friends and ask your various club Points of Contact to forward this email to their distribution list.

Virginia Beach is the largest resort city in the world, over 300 square miles.  We have Yorktown, Jamestown, Williamsburg, and Busch Gardens a short distance away.  We have the USS Wisconsin Battleship available  to tour in Norfolk. And of course will have lots of sand and sun on the beach.  The Neptune Festival is the end of September and the Blue Angels are in town on September 24 and 25.  So lots to do and see.  Hope to see you in Virginia Beach on September 17.

73  Charlie W1WTG

Social Events

Pre-meeting dinner is now at Atlantis in the Bradlee Shopping Center at 5:30 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 McGee’s (Duke and Paxton Streets) on Monday evenings at 6:15 PM. A good burger and soft drink runs about $9.00.

ARC - Shorts

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