THE CARA OCTOBER MEETING

OCTOBER 2ND AT GREEN ACRES

7:00 P.M. – GENERAL MEMBERSHIP MEETING

OCTOBER BOARD MEETING OCTOBER 30TH AT 6:30 P.M.

 

 

 

If you’d like to see the “pretty copy” of this month’s Smoke & a world of other club info,

Go to the CARA web pages

http://www.k7rdg.org

ITEMS OF INTEREST FROM THE RACES NOTES

Bob Hollister, N7INK

 

Upcoming Events

10/7 Parade in Willcox

10/14 Parade in Benson

10/14 Cochise Perimeter Cycling Classic

10/22 Parade in Tombstone

12/2 XMAS Parade in Sierra Vista

 

The Cochise Perimeter Cycling Classic is (“just around the corner”) so please contact RB Rice to sign up for an assignment. The URL for the race is: http://www.pbaa.com/Home.html#4Cs

 

Paradise After Action Report – Please see it below.  The After Action Report and several photos can also be found at www.k7rdg.org .  Look for the Paradise 2006 info on the main page and click to the link.

 

COCHISE AMATEUR RADIO ASSOCIATION

MINUTES OF THE REGULAR MONTHLY MEETING

 

 

September 11, 2006

 

Call To Order: The meeting was called to order by the President KD7OED. Other officers present were Vice President NJ7C, Secretary KD7HAB, Member at Large WB6OTS. Treasurer KD7TDL was absent due to illness.

 

Secretary Report: The Secretary KD7HAB read the minutes because the minutes were not posted in the SMOKE.  There were no corrections noted, and they were approved on a voice vote after a motion KB7RDG and seconded by K7HVV. 

 

Treasurers Report:  Treasurer's report was given by KD7OED.

The current checking account balance is $5,112.05, and the savings account balance is $10,645.62.  Total of the two accounts is $15,757.67.   Included in the savings account balance is $1,837.25 for the HF Antenna Improvement Fund.  Two outstanding checks have not yet cleared: $200.00 for the vertical antenna that was mentioned in last month minutes, and $75.00 to ARCA for 10% of our May Hamfest profits. A proposed budget for FY 06-07 is still in the works but should be ready next month.

 

Vice President: NJ7C reported that membership statistics are the same as last month. Pictures from the Labor Day weekend expedition to Paradise have been posted on the web site, along with a link to the pictures that WA7UIM & N7KAZ took.

Question was asked if the toolbox list on the web page has been updated. The answer was not lately.

 

Member at Large: WB6OTS reported that the Boy Scout Jamboree On The Air (JOTA) is October 21.  An ad for the upcoming General license class will be in the paper.

 

ARCA REPORT: WB6OTS reported that there are still some hams in Arizona who would like to move the state Hamfest back to Fort Tuthill.  The ARCA board discussed this issue, and elected to leave the Hamfest at Williams for July 6-8, 2007 because of the low cost to rent the grounds.  The 2008 Hamfest will probably be held later in July so as not to coincide with the Independence Day holiday.   Amateur radio license plates will be available later this year, but there is little hope that the state will waive the $25.00 annual fee due to the high cost of making the special plates.  It is hoped that some portion of the fee will be shared with ARCA in the future, but details will likely not be finalized until after the first of the year when the new state legislature meets.  The ARRL Southwest Division convention is supposed to be held in Arizona in 2008; no club has volunteered to host it.   The next ARCA meeting is the Oct. 21, 2006 during the Tucson Hamfest.  If you have anything to go before the council, let WB6OTS or KD7OED know and they will take it up for you.

 

Technical Report: KB7RDG reported that the long-awaited Ultraflex cable finally came in and on Saturday September 2 a crew went up and installed the cable on the repeater.   Initial reports are that it has shown some improvement, although there is another short section of low-quality cable that needs to be replaced.  KB7RDG also received a notice that our repeater equipment is due for an inspection by the Mule Mountain Users Association.  No details are available yet, but the date will be coordinated with EPG and MARS.

 

Material Director Report: AD7HZ was still in the process of moving and was not present.  KD7OED reported that the Saturday crew went through all of KF7TJ’s equipment to determine serviceability, and prepared a list of asking prices for his XYL to approve.  The estate sale list will be posted on the web once she approves the prices.

 

CARA NET REPORT: K4AFN reported that the Mule Mountain net is still held every Thursday at 7:00 PM on the CARA repeater (146.76-).  The group is always welcoming new members, and offers technical help for new (and old) hams as well as a swap section for equipment that you might want to buy, sell, trade, or just give away. 

 

RACES REPORT: KD7OED reported that although there were a couple of RACES call outs over the past month, they were terminated before the MCU arrived on scene.  The new camera has been installed on MCU mast and was demonstrated during Paradise.  Overall it seems to be working fine, although there is a small problem with condensation that is not resolved yet. The generator problem experienced during Paradise could not be duplicated by fleet maintenance, and the MCU is ready for dispatch.  The new MCU fence is up at Green Acres; the MCU will be parked out at CARA in another week or so.

 

Paradise Report: Several people went out with the advance party on Friday and the rest went out Saturday morning with the convoy.  The Army-surplus terminated dipole was erected for use on 30M and down, but the old spaghetti tower and 2-element 20M aluminum dipole were replaced by a collapsible Hexbeam © antenna mounted on the MCU pneumatic mast.   Setup of all equipment went without a hitch due to the cool weather on Saturday, and operations went without a hitch the rest of the day.  But the rains began about midnight and continued through the following day (with projections to continue through Monday), so a decision was made to depart Paradise before the narrow dirt road became impassable to low-clearance two-wheel drive vehicles.  In spite of the curtailed activities, the trip was judged as a success because we gave the MCU a great workout, trained some new operators, and made more than 250 contacts in 36 states during only about 12 hours of operation.

 

Bike Races: The Cochise County Perimeter Classic bike race will be held on October 14th.  It has three different sections and covers the whole county, including a short section that goes in to New Mexico. K7HVV is collecting names for volunteers who can work the race and will be publishing an assignment list next month.

 

Old Business: Cochise County personnel are still working with BLM is on the lease renewal.  No date for the grounds inspection has been set yet, but it is expected sometime within the next few months.   We need to continue our cleanup efforts in preparation for this inspection.  This weekend we will focus on grass cutting in the immediate area of Larson Hall and the other buildings, and on October 7th we will work on cleaning up junk from the northwest corner of the property (this will not disturb the General Class that will be going on that day).   It now appears that Mr. MacMillian’s health will not allow him to assume the caretaker duties, so the club will put an ad in the paper soliciting a new caretaker.  An order was placed with the ARRL for a complete set of books and they should be here by next month.  They will be donated to the Sierra Vista Public Library in memory of KF7TJ.   KD7OED and KD7HAB will also work out details for a QST subscription to be part of this donation.    The club license for call K7RDG has been renewed, KB7RDG will complete the paperwork required to assume trustee duties from W8UXD. 

 

New Business: There was no new business raised by anyone.

 

The next general membership meeting is Monday October 2, 2006.

 

The meeting was adjourned at 7:50 p.m.

 

 

Respectfully Submitted,

 

 

Pat Thies, KD7HAB

Secretary

 

MAINE'S GOVERNOR IS NOW KB1NXP

ARRL Newsletter, Sept. 8, 2006

 

Maine Gov. John E. Baldacci may now be the only sitting state chief executive holding an Amateur Radio license. Following up on an effort begun a few years ago, Baldacci took and passed his Technician license test September 6, and the FCC issued his new call sign, KB1NXP, the following day. Bill Crowley, K1NIT, is the liaison for the ARRL VEC volunteer examiner team that administered Baldacci's Amateur Radio license examination.

 

"We heard that he was interested in getting his license," Crowley told ARRL.  "So I talked to a couple of other people in the Augusta Amateur Radio Association and said, 'You know, we're the guys who could do this. We're right here, right in his backyard, and I think we ought to help him get a license.'"

 

Crowley said Baldacci expressed initial interest in becoming licensed after

learning of the Amateur Radio response following the 1998 ice storm that

devastated a wide area of the Northeast. At the time, Baldacci was

representing Maine's Second District in the US House. He renewed his

interest in 2003, shortly after becoming Maine's governor, promising to add

the goal of getting his ticket to his to-do list and seeking the

encouragement and help of Maine's hams to achieve it.

 

Former Maine State Treasurer Rod Scribner, KA1RFD -- a longtime radio

amateur and instructor -- was recruited to help make it happen. "Rod went up there once a week, very early in the morning, and tutored him -- went

through all the material," Crowley recounted. But the pressures of office

compelled Baldacci to put the project on a back burner.

 

During that lull, Crowley says he occasionally used his back channels at the Department of Public Safety, where he works, to relay messages via

Baldacci's security guards to remind the governor the Augusta club was still eager to give him his ham radio test. "It got to be a standing joke," he

said.  Crowley had an opportunity to deliver the message firsthand in July when he greeted the Baldacci during an official occasion. "I said, 'You know, we've got to get this going,'" he recalled telling the governor. Baldacci asked Crowley to call his office and set up an appointment.

 

Baldacci was a little concerned at that point that he might be behind the

curve since the Technician question pool had changed since he'd worked with Scribner, Crowley said. But he assured the governor that the club members could get him back up to speed in short order.

 

Over coffee early on September 6, Scribner, Crowley and the other members of the VE team -- Don Smith, AE1Q, and Tom Bailey, KB1EKY -- reviewed the current Technician material. "Then, he sat down and took the test and did very well," Crowley said.

 

Baldacci got a taste of Amateur Radio in 2003, when he checked into the

75-meter Maine Sea Gull Net during a visit with members of the Ellsworth

Amateur Wireless Association and other amateurs. On that occasion, the

Governor assured the gathering that the Maine Emergency Management Agency depends on Amateur Radio to support the statewide communications system and said Maine would rely on Amateur Radio volunteers if primary telecommunication systems go down.

 

Now, historic Blaine House in Maine's capital of Augusta could become the

only governor's residence to start sporting Amateur Radio antennas. Perhaps because Maine's motto is Dirigo -- I lead, Crowley hopes Baldacci will serve as a trendsetter among his gubernatorial colleagues across the US. In this instance, the old saying from the world of politics, "As Maine goes, so goes the nation," still may apply.

 

(Editor’s Note: You may remember I’m in Maine right now preparing this newsletter.  Bill Crowley’s father and my mother were cousins.)

 

PARADISE 2006 TRAINING – AFTER ACTION REPORT

Bob Hollister, N7INK

 

 

1. Purpose: The annual trek to Paradise over Labor Day Weekend is used as training event for members of the RACES team to practice a wide variety of operator skills as well as conduct an amateur radio "special event" by operating from a unique location, in this case the Ghost Town of Paradise.  This was the 27th anniversary of this event.

 

2. Exercise Objectives: Familiarize operators with basic MCU capabilities

Provide operating practice to radio operators.  Test new HF Antenna configuration.   Test new MCU Camera installation.  Send Satellite email to Cochise County SO Dispatch.   Send HF Email to Cochise County SO Dispatch.  Re-configure VHF Public Service Radios to add VTAC channels

and change the channel layout.

 

3. Mission Summary: a. The RACES team deployed from the Cochise Amateur Radio Association (CARA) club site at 07:30 on Saturday (9/2)

morning.  After an uneventful convoy to the Paradise training site we set up two HF antennas (Inverted V & Hex Beam).  This was the first use of the Hex Beam.  A lightweight antenna rotor was connected to the top of the pneumatic mast and then the hex beam to it.  Due to the inclement

weather, we only put the antenna up about 30' rather than the full 42' of the mast capability. This combination was still very effective and a total of 265 radio contacts were made including 38 states, two Canadian provinces, and

the Cayman Islands over a total of approximately 12 hours of on-air operation. Operating time was restricted compared to past years as we terminated the training early on Sunday afternoon (1300), and usually had only one radio operator active at a time making voice contacts.

 

b. Dispatch Contact - We sent a number of training emails using both the HF Radio Winlink network Saturday afternoon and via the Satellite network on Sunday morning to several customers.  We also sent successfully a photo attachment taken from the new mast camera over the satellite network as a proof of concept. 

 

c. Sunday morning we began experiencing issues with the onboard 7.5 kW generator.  The fault indicator observed (two rapid flashes of the warning light) that implied low oil pressure and it shut itself off.  After checking the oil

level, a half-quart was added. But, upon restart, the generator continued to shut itself down despite the fact that the oil level showed full and the vehicle was level. A spare generator, brought by one of the team members,

was used successfully for a couple hours as a backup.  However, the continuing rain raised safety concerns as reports from the National Weather Service reports (received via satellite link from the web site and NOAA weather radio) and personal observations from team members deploying to our location on Sunday morning caused me to terminate

the training early. The dirt roads were getting increasingly slippery and muddy and I was concerned about everyone being able to return safely.  Fortunately all the heavy vehicles had 4x4 capability and were able to recover under their own power.

 

d. Over the last few missions we became aware that the Public Service VHF radios in the ACU stack, the cab, and the primary radio operator position did not have a channel configuration that matched our typical mission profile.  Many times it would take an operator several minutes to switch to one our more commonly used channels.  At our request, the IT department loaned us the Kenwood programming cable for the weekend.  The new VTAC channels have been added to the VHF radios and some other channels were realigned to make changing to our more common mission

channels easier.

 

4. Lessons Learned: Despite the reduced deployment team there were several positive lessons learned from the mission.

 

a. Operator Training: We had several new operators and they were able to receive hands-on experience using the HF long-range equipment.  Had the training time been longer, we would have expanded the training to some of the public service equipment as well.

 

b. Hex Beam Antenna - The new configuration of antenna rotor and hex beam proved to be quite successful for long range communications.  Although the HF whips continue to be the quicker deployment method, they do not provide the signal gain or directivity of the hex beam. This tool

would be very useful in checking into the National Communications Shared Resources (SHARES) HF network and with the FEMA HF network during emergencies.

 

c. Inverted-V Antenna - This continues to be a tried and true broadband antenna system.  It was the antenna used for the Winlink Internet connectivity on both MARS and Amateur bands, and was the only antenna used for communications below 14Mhz.  Reliability on 40 meters (7 MHz) to both CA, NV & TX Internet bridge stations continues to be good.  Participation in the daily Arizona Traffic and Emergency Net (ATEN) Saturday evening and the weekly Arizona RACES net Sunday morning provided voice connectivity to stations in several other Arizona counties

as well as Southern California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, and Texas. 

 

d. MCU Mast Camera - The new camera worked quite well.  There was one hiccup. With the high humidity there was condensation on the inside of the dome blocking the view in one direction.  Oddly enough it only affected

about a 20-degree angle in one direction (azimuth 190 degrees).  A coating of Rain-X will be added to help mitigate this problem. The camera control software is quite user friendly and easy to learn.  The capture of a single video frame that can be saved as a JPG file for forwarding via email to Dispatch or any other command center is also quite easy for anyone familiar with basic email skills.

 

e. MCU Trailer Hitch - Fleet added a light duty trailer hitch to the MCU just before our deployment.  The purpose is to allow the MCU to pull a lightweight trailer, primarily for a Porta-Potti or even a single ATV.  The

hitch worked quite well and there was no noticeable load to the truck.  However, the hangers for the safety chains need to be extended to a spot closer to the ballhitch.  We were able to use short chain extensions

(approximately 10" each) to ensure the safety chains could be properly connected.

 

f. MCU Back-up Camera - The MCU back-up camera continues to be problematic.  We have noticed that recently the camera will not always display properly due to lack of signal from the camera to the screen in the cab.  Checking connections at the cab end have not isolated the problem. 

I suggest we next double check the camera itself to ensure that there isn't moisture or other problem in the camera head.

 

g. ACU 1000 Radio Programming - The MCU does not currently have its own programming cable to reprogram any of the radios in the ACU-1000 stack.  The one we used this weekend needs to be returned to IT immediately for their use.  Since there may be situations that a responding agency does not have one of the frequencies currently loaded into our ACU-1000 radio stack, it is recommended that a programming cable be purchased for the MCU to allow radios in the MCU ACU stack to be reprogrammed in the field as needed. 

 

5. Summary - As always, extended training missions such as this provide opportunities to work out procedures and discover problems in a relatively non-stressful environment.  This was such an event.  I regret that the weather situation injected itself into the scenario but it added another

dimension to the training experience.  Despite that, I believe that a good experience was had by all and additional areas of concern were identified for further work.  My thanks to all who participated, radio operators and their family members, and those who assisted in the preparation

phase, execution phase, and finally the post deployment phase. 

 

Participants: Ranny Burke, KE5DJ & Spouse & Guest; Charles Campbell, K4AFN; Ken Carpenter, WA7UIM; Linda Carpenter, N7KAZ; Dale Chidester, NJ7C & Spouse; Bill Epperson, KK7NO; Grant Hays, WB6OTS & Spouse; Bob Hollister, N7INK (RACES Officer); Rich Hotchkiss, KD7RDG; Lee Ilse, KD7OED  (MCU Driver); BJ Kelsey, KE7HFA; RB Rice, K7HVV & Spouse;

Dave Schurian, KD7LSD & Spouse

 

COMPUTER GENDER (from friends on the Internet)

 

A Spanish teacher was explaining to her class that in Spanish, unlike English, nouns are designated as either masculine or feminine. ''House'' for instance, is feminine: ''la casa.'' ''Pencil,'' however, is masculine: "el lapiz.''

A student asked, ''What gender is 'computer'?''

Instead of giving the answer, the teacher split the class into two groups, male and female, and asked them to decide for themselves whether ''computer'' should be a masculine or a feminine noun.

Each group was asked to give four reasons for its recommendation.

The men's group decided that ''computer'' should definitely be of the feminine gender (''la computer''), because:

1. No one but their creator understands their internal logic;
2. The native language they use to communicate with other computers is
incomprehensible to everyone else;
3. Even the smallest mistakes are stored in long term memory for possible later retrieval; and
4. As soon as you make a commitment to one, you find yourself spending half your paycheck on accessories for it.
(No chuckling... this gets better!)

The women's group, however, concluded that computers should be Masculine (''el computer''), because:

1. In order to do anything with them, you have to turn them on;
2. They have a lot of data but still can't think for themselves;
3. They are supposed to help you solve problems, but half the time they
ARE the problem; and
4. As soon as you commit to one, you realize that if you had waited a little longer, you could have gotten a newer and better model.

The women won.


THE COCHISE SMOKE is published each month by e-mail and snail mail.  Editor is Ted Weaver, K9TED tedweaver2@juno.com   Snail mail stuff you’d like to have me publish in Smoke to P.O. Box 6017, Huachuca City, AZ 85616 or use the above e-mail address.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Cochise Amateur Radio Association, Inc. (CARA)

P.O. Box 1855

Sierra Vista, AZ 85636

 

 
                                             “This Is A First Class Publication”