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Alexandria Radio Club (ARC)

ARC’s PSA Brochure

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Field Day 2019 Report by Chairman Don KI4D  it was a gorgeous weather weekend with over 70 members and guests participating with smiles.  Please upload additional photos for GIF update at: https://photos.app.goo.gl/GNnGTjp5V7N232ih9

ARC 2019 Field Day Photos

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(Spring 2021 Class Schedule)

First Class Date:  Each Tuesday, March 2nd 2021 (tentative start).
The required FCC Exam will be given on the last session on May 11th 2021.
Class Start Time: 1900 hours until 2100 hours (7:00 PM to 9:00 PM)
Teaching Site: Alexandria Police Department Headquarters, 3600 Wheeler Ave, Alexandria, VA (Just off Duke Street about 1 block west of Quaker Lane) (Changed to Zoom Meetings)
Cost: ARRL License Manual $30.00 + FCC Exam Fee $15.00 + Class Material $5.00 = $50.00. We prefer cash or checks at the first class since PayPal charges us transaction fees.

Licensing Classes

FCC License School Coordinator: Rich Adamy, KA4GFY – contact Rich at (703) 969-6615 or ka4gfy@arrl.net  for additional information.  Rich is assisted by a cadre of instructors who are FCC Extra Class licensees and former industry and military communications specialists

The FCC License Class Syllabus covers 400 question topics from which 35 pool questions make up the license exam. Classes incorporate ARRL PowerPoint Topics & Film Clips portraying the historical evolution of radio communications. License practice exam questions are available on the Internet.

Learning International Morse Code is no longer an FCC license requirement, but is highly encouraged.

FCC Title 47 Telecommunications, Part 97 Amateur Radio Service

Your FCC Registration Number (FRN) You must have an FRN assigned prior to the exam.

ARC-SHORTS Newsletter
November 2020

Rick Bunn – N4ASX ~ Editor ARC Shorts Newsletter (Digital FT8 Op. @ 2019 Field Day) Photo credit – Roy Wright

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 ( DMR IS UP AND RUNNING 442.4125 +5Mhz Color Code 1.)



Next Meeting
Due to the Corona Virus, our next meeting will be on ZOOM. This has worked out well and has as many participants as we have had in our in-person meetings. Encourage others to attend We are also coming to the end of the year and that means that we have to nominate new club officers and vote in November. We have term limits, and this allows new ideas and to share the work of running the club. We can make exceptions to by-laws. This year our treasurer has served two years, but given the COVID-19 issues, many would like to have Richard, KW4UJ, to stay on for another year.

Don, KI4D, has done an outstanding job as president and he has a few ideas that may require changes to the by-laws. He may bring them up at our next meeting.

Last Meeting
Our speaker on October 9th was Steve, W4SHG, the manager at HRO in Woodbridge and HRO’s national sales manager. Steve covered how many of the new HF radios interface with our computers to operate in digital modes and he also covered some of the software that makes these mods more friendly. We, in this area, are lucky to have a ‘Candy Store” close by. Many states are not so lucky.

Don, KI4D, also held a leadership meeting on the 16th and we should hear more about that at the next meeting.

Presidents Corner
On October 16th we notified club members about the passing of Roy Wright (K4AXQ) our webmaster and public information officer (PIO). Roy was 79 when he died on October 14, 2020 at Virginia Hospital Center, Arlington, VA from multiple health issues. He was a longtime resident of Alexandria, VA; but grew up in Galax, VA and attended the University of Virginia earning a degree in Electrical and Electronics Engineering in 1964. Roy later became a career intelligence officer. Subsequently, as a natural innovator and entrepreneur with core Intelligence tradecraft skills, he shared his discipline and intellect with many small business start-ups, becoming cofounder or senior advisor. Roy was a vigorous lifelong learner of new science and technology, constantly pursuing learning, including continuing education (CE) on-line studies. As a volunteer, he served as technical advisor to many organizations, including the Smithsonian Institution. He remained active in a multitude of avocations throughout his life including airplane piloting, amateur radio licensing, and webmaster for many businesses and volunteer organizations. He was an active member of Mount Vernon Unitarian Church and a longtime dedicated member of the Alexandria Radio Club. Cunningham Church
Life Celebration Funeral Home of Alexandria is handling arrangements for Roy. Ted (W9TCE), Ian (N8IK) and Don (KI4D) are assisting Roy’s family with ham radio equipment arrangements, and other matters. To assist Roy’s family with his estate, a public auction for his ham equipment is planned by ARC.

Virginia continues to be under a state of emergency based on COVID19. Based on Executive Order 68 as amended, the latest COVID-19 guidance from the state of Virginia, it is still “Safer to Stay at Home” with advice to continue teleworking if possible, wash hands regularly, maintain six feet of physical distance when outside of home, and get tested immediately if you have COVID-19 symptoms. Although many of the legal restrictions have been lifted under Phase III of opening, the Tidewater region of Virginia has remained under continuing restrictions because of COVID-19 outbreaks. Given the mixed set of indicators concerning reopening the economy and continued spread of COVID-19 in some states, Alexandria Radio Club leadership has not elected to recommend resumption of in-person club activities; we will continue with our virtual meetings using Zoom.

At the November 13th monthly meeting of the Alexandria Radio Club voting will take place for the annual election of officers and for other matters. According to club Bylaws, each member shall have one vote on any issue that comes before the membership, provided that the member’s dues are paid and current. Zoom technology does not allow sufficient capabilities to quickly ascertain membership of those in attendance for voting purposes. For this reason, only currently paid members of our Club will be invited to the November meeting via Zoom. For attendance at this meeting, we are asking everyone to review their membership status and to make sure annual dues are current by November 10th. If you are uncertain about your membership status, please contact the Club Treasurer at treasurer@w4hfh.org. We prefer membership dues payment by PayPal on the Club website, but checks may be sent to Alexandria Radio Club, PO Box 30721, Alexandria, VA 22310-8721. You do not have to have a PayPal account to pay via PayPal. On October 16th, the Club leadership group met to discuss planning for the November meeting and other matters. The club leadership group consists of elected officers, committee chairs, and presidents emeritus. At this meeting a consensus was developed on a set of proposals for presentation to the Club general membership for consideration and voting at the November meeting, including a slate of Club officers for the coming year, the Club Annual December meeting under COVID-19 precautions, and other issues.

This month we are again delighted and fortunate to have as a new club member Jonathan Pruett (KM4NNQ). Please welcome him.

ARC recorded Zoom meetings with featured presentations are located at https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1MG9VUqKOWeoWEWt0oBwychbzh4qILqbI?usp=sharing

The ARRL is urging all members to file individual comments opposing this proposed fee. Obviously, this applies to all amateurs who oppose a fee for amateur radio licensing. The deadline to make your voice heard is November 16, 2020. The reply comment deadline — that is, the deadline for comments on comments already filed — is November 30. See http://www.arrl.org/FCC-Fees-Proposal for more information, and the ARRL guidelines for filing comments on the FCC fee proposal.

Scheduled Activities and Presentations for 2020 updated as ofNovember 6, 2020

• January 10th – MEETING, 2020 Plans & Programs, Membership Dues
• February 1st – FROSTFEST, Richmond, VA
• February 14th – MEETING, VA QSO Party, Gordon Miller ( NQ4K)
• February 17th – George Washington Day Parade Participation
• March 10th – License Classes begin (Ends May 5)
• March 7th – St Patrick’s Day Parade
• March 13th – (CANCELLED) MEETING, AREDN, Joe Porcelli (KT3I)
• March 21-22nd – VA QSO Party Weekend
• March 29th (CANCELLED) WINTERFEST, Annandale, VA
• April 8th – (POSTPONED INDEFINITELY) FIELD DAY 2020 planning committee kickoff (John Marshall Library)
• April 10th – ZOOM MEETING, Alexandria CERT, Dr. Marjorie Windelberg
• May 8th – ZOOM MEETING, WINLINK, Greg Butler (KW6GB)
• May 15-17th – (CANCELLED) HAMVENTION, Dayton, OH
• May 16th – HAMVENTION QSO Party
• June 12th – ZOOM MEETING, FIELD DAY 2020 final briefing
• June 21st – ARC (STAY SAFE) License Class FCC Exams
• June 27-28th – (STAY SAFE) FIELD DAY 2020 Weekend
• July 10th – ZOOM MEETING, AMSAT, Paul Stoetzer (N8HM)
• August 2nd – (CANCELLED), Berryville HAMFEST, Berryville, VA
• August 14th – ZOOM MEETING Ed’s Twinlead Antennas, Dr. Ed Fong
• September 11th – ZOOM MEETING, SDR Trends, Bob Nagy (AB5N)
• October 9th – ZOOM MEETING, Ham Radio Outlet, Steve Gilmore (W4SHG)
You Are Here
• November 13th – Members Only ZOOM Meeting, Year in Review, Elections
• December 11th – Meeting, Christmas party

Please stay safe with masks and keep up with your social distancing.
73 Don, KI4D

As winter comes on, a few items to consider. Change your clock and smoke detector batteries.

If you keep a go kit, think about operations in colder weather.
Batteries of all kinds don’t like cold. Check their charge states.

You may want to add cold weather gear, hand warmers etc. to you go-kits

If your vehicle has not been serviced now is a good time. Also, if your keep emergency gear in your vehicle, good time to check it out.

If you are an ARES volunteer but have not registered with ARES CONNECT, VA please do.
Training – If you have not done IS-100, 200, 700 and 800, please take some time to complete these FEMA classes. You may also want to look at the ARRL classes.

With COVID-19 many of us have spent more time with our stations. Lots of questions came up on VHF/UHF range which was covered in last month’s ARC SHORTS. The best way to get more range is to put the antennas up as high as you can. Use low loss coax. You would be AMAZED at how far 5 watts will go with a decent antenna up in the air and without losing signal through cheap coax.

Some antenna fundamentals regardless of the band
1 – Antennas are like the strings on a music instruments. They work well at one frequency. Or for multi-band antennas, key frequencies for each band. To have them work off frequency you need to think about some way to adjust the match.

2 – Smaller antennas have a higher gain and less efficiency. An example is the mobile whips on HF. They tend to match in a very narrow sub-band and because they are electrical short (below ¼ wavelength) they tend to not be efficient.

3 – Antennas are affected by ground proximity. If you want to radiate up and down as in Near Vertical Incident Skywave (NVIS) then putting the dipole or horizontal antenna close to the ground directs the signal skyward. There may also be a large change in radiation resistance, so a matching network may be needed. Vertical antennas use the GROUND as the second half of the dipole. A good ground makes the antenna work well and a poor ground really hurts efficiency.

In our area, the more ¼ wave radials the better. A minimum of 4 per band. SO if you put up a Hustler 5BTV, you want 4 each ¼ wavelength radials for 75 meters (64’), 40 meters (34’) 20 Meters (16.5’) and 15 meters ( as 15 is a 3rd hormonic of 40 meters you don’t need radials). And 10 meters (8.6” All can be tied to the ground side of the antenna mount and then to the coax outer braid.

4 – Random wire antennas can work, but remember you need to have a good tuner and your pattern will be somewhat unpredictable. I recently talked to Jack, W4JJ and he told me he had improved his mobile HF station with a
stronger antenna mount.

Mobile Capability:
HF, VHF, and UHF
– Icom IC-7100 exciting an ALS-500M amplifier (HF/VHF/UHF)
– Scorpion SA-680 screwdriver antenna covering 10 Through 80
– Diamond 6 Meter monoband antenna
– Mirage B-5018-G, 160 watt VHF amplifier
– Icom ID-5100A Deluxe Mobile – 2m/70cm 50W D-Star Transceiver
– Icom ID-1 1200MHz Digital Transceiver I want to thank Jack W4JJ for sharing his pictures. Lots of amateurs don’t get into running
mobile stations or even home stations that are this capable.
73 Rick

Hamfests –
The spread of COVID-19 (AKA Corona Virus) has put a major damper on hamfests.
As of November 1, 2020, the Santafest in Cheltenham, MD is still on the calendar. Zit’s sponsored by prince George’s County ARES/RACES. Here is the link:

With the ongoing COVID-19 situation, be sure to check the websites to make sure the hamfest has not been cancelled. This may be a lean year for hamfests, or any other activity where people gather in large numbers. Check any hobby/activity and we are all going through the same issues.

The Vienna Wireless Society’s Winterfest scheduled for March 14, 2021 has already been cancelled.

Here’s hoping 2021 will be a better year.

Training –
I am exploring the idea of doing a General Class on-line for those newly licensed folks who would like to upgrade from Technician to General. If you are interested in upgrading, please contact me at ka4gfy@arrl.net.

I am in the process of learning how to do exams on line. It’s not as easy as it sounds. One online exam system looks very promising. Another is slightly complicated on the technical end, but much more involved on the paperwork side.

Being able to offer remote exams gives us another tool in the toolbox. Another alternative may the “drive-in” exam.

The makers of the Flash Player software announced they would no longer support the software after December 2020. The ARRL Exam Maker program runs on Flash Player, so ARRL announced that the current version would be the last. ARRL has suggested an alternative which I am working on.

Contests –
• Nov 7 thru 9 – ARRL Sweepstakes, CW. Exchange is the other station’s call, serial number, class, year first licensed and ARRL section.
• Nov 21 thru 23 – ARRL Sweepstakes, SSB. Exchange – see CW above.
• Nov 28 and 29 – CQ Worldwide DX Contest, CW. Exchange is RST and zone. We are in zone 5.
• Dec 12 and 13 – ARRL 10-meter contest. Exchange is RST and state.
• Dec 20 – ARRL Rookie Roundup, CW. Exchange is Name, 2-didget year you were first licensed and state.

Every Sunday evening at 8 PM local time, the K1USN Radio Club sponsors the “Slow Speed “Contest.” The exchange is similar to a QSO. See the rules here:

Don’t forget, be sure to send in your log within 7 days after the contest ends for all ARRL sponsored contests. ARRL now uses a web application for contest log
submissions. Here is the link: http://contest-log-submission.arrl.org/ Be sure to convert your file to Cabrillo format before submitting. Most logging programs support the Cabrillo format.

REMEMBER to support the CLUB’S score for contests by providing Ian, N8IK your info (Name, Call sign and Grid Square location) and submit your scores for the contests you play in. If the contest asks for a club affiliation, the Alexandria Radio Club is on the list of contest clubs. Contesting is one way we show that we are using our frequency allocations.

Contests may not be your thing, but contests are a great way to show outside interests we do use our valuable spectrum. By showing we use our spectrum, other services will have a hard time proving that we don’t use our spectrum and it’s up for re-allocation to someone else.

Contests can also be a great way to become introduced to HF communications. While it can be intense, pick the contest and jump in. Most contests have a limited exchange so it is usually easy to get what the other station needs.

State QSO parties are a great introduction to contesting. Most are low-key and the exchange is limited.

Speaking of state QSO parties, there is now a state QSO party challenge. You can
start accumulating multipliers by submitting a log in any state or provincial QSO party to 3830scores.com QSOParty Groups.io.forum and State QSOParty.com.

There was some good news about the solar cycle. ARRL reported the Royal
Observatory of Belgium determined the solar minimum between Solar Cycles 24 and 25 occurred in December 2019. For the next few years, we should see improved propagation on the HF bands.

Repeaters –
The club repeaters are all up and running. We are still in the process of configuring the DSTAR server and resolving any issues. Once the server is placed in service, we should have full use of the DSTAR repeaters. They are working in local mode.

The DMR side is working normally with access to the DMR servers.. If you use the DMRVA codeplugs, they have updated codeplugs on their website with the new DMR repeaters added since early this year for many of the popular handheld and mobile DMR radios. The codeplugs include more than just the DMRVA system repeaters. Their website is http://www.dmrva.org/

We have resumed (semi-regularly) the follow-on net on one of the other repeaters after the Thursday net on the 2-meter analog repeater.

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

73, Rich, KA4GFY

Gene Jenkins, N4JEE | engaged in ARC Trailer Construction Team for National Capital Area: Amateur Radio Community Service


  • History as told by Gene Jenkins, N4JEE, Alexandria Radio Club Member

    “The idea for the trailer came during the support for the Salvation Army at the Pentagon after 9-11. They had us set up net control at their headquarters. It was like field day stringing wire in the trees and all. There was a clear need for a mobile command center for Ham Radio. One that could be towed to a location and be on the air in minutes. A while later, a lady donated her silent key husband’s ham shack to the club. We sold off the equipment and dedicated the proceeds to the project. That money with a number of us digging into our own pockets gave us enough cash to buy a trailer. We parked it in my driveway in Fairfax and had work parties most every weekend…

    One of the members had a friend in the Manassas club that had a vinyl cutting machine that volunteered to cut our graphics for us for the cost of the material. When the time came, his equipment was down. I got some estimates from sign companies and none were in our budget. I bought a machine and some vinyl and we learned how to make signs. The machine and vinyl cost much less then the estimates from the sign companies. The original intent was to allow other clubs to use the trailer for emergencies and events. That’s why the graphics are generic and there are points for any club to attach their own banner. Again, the original plan was that an operator could bring their own equipment and be on the air in no time. Over the years the club has populated the trailer with their own equipment so loaning it out wasn’t a good idea.

    Everyone contributed ideas as well as labor to build the trailer. Some of the ideas worked and some didn’t. Those that didn’t have been retrofitted over the years and I’m sure that there are plans for future enhancements in the queue. I’m proud to have been a part of the project and glad that it is still in use on a regular basis and that should a disaster occur in the DC area that the Alexandria Radio Club will be there, with the trailer, to provide support.”

    Prepared by Don Lewis, KI4D

    Download PDF, 322KB


    You are invited to Amateur Radio Roundtable, a new series of W5KUB.com live weekly webcasts.  The webcast is every Tuesday night at 9:00 PM ET (0200 UTC Wednesdays) at W5KUB.COM. To watch click on Live Events and sign in with your existing User Name and Password.

    Amateur Radio Roundtable is an informal discussion of all aspects of ham radio with the intent of allowing viewers to watch this live webcast or be a guest via Skype or Google Hangout.  A question and answer session with viewers will follow each topic.

    The show covers all aspects of ham radio; such as, balloon launches, Satellite, go-kits, emergency communications, SDR, digital modes, DXing, home brewing, and much more. This week’s guests include Arnie Shatz, N6HC, a team member of many great DExpeditions; Eric William discussing SRD; and Franc Dunatov, ZL1SLO, discussing Special Event operations from New Zealand.

    Looks like fun!   <https://www.arrl.org/npota> https://www.arrl.org/npota
    Lots of activation possibilities in this area.

    All – this is a critical time for the survival of hopes that amateur radio will have the same rights and privileges as, or parity with, commercial radio interests regarding antenna installations in communities across the U.S.   ARRL President Kay Craigie, N3KN, has issued an urgent call for League Members to contact Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation members representing their states to urge their support of S. 1685, the US Senate version of the Amateur Radio Parity Act of 2015.  Action on this legislation in the Senate is scheduled this week.

    Neither Virginia Senator Warner nor Senator Kaine is on the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, however, they could be persuaded to be a co-sponsor S. 1685 as is Senator Al Franken of Minnesota, who is also not a member of the Committee.  See link below for ARRL details.

    If the legislation becomes law, radio amateurs living in antenna-restricted communities would have the opportunity to negotiate with homeowners associations to install antennas that reasonably accommodate Amateur Radio communication.

    Taking the time out to contact our Virginia Senators for support of S. 1685 would contribute to the passage of this legislation, and may contribute to amateur radio capabilities to support to the public in case of emergencies.   Phone numbers are listed below,

    • Senator Mark Warner
    • 475 Russell Senate Office Building
    • Washington, DC 20510
    • Phone: 202-224-2023
    • Senator Tim Kaine
    • 231 Russell Senate Office Building
    • Washington, D.C. 20510-4607
    • DC Phone:    202-224-4024
    • DC Fax:    202-228-6363

    –Don, KI4D

    Be sure to copy and submit the practice emergency message each week.

    Sample format

    ARRL Radiogram Sample
    ARRL Radiogram Sample


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