THE SPARK GAP
A monthly publication of the Meridian Amateur Radio Club July 1999
Hello fellow hams - Field Day has come and gone. What can we say - who said we couldn't be there all day? We nearly went 3 days on site, with a lot of work before hand. To all the ones that went the extra mile - I thank you ever so much. Can't name names - you know who you were, and I might miss someone but thanks a whole bunch. Our committees did so much to help.
Building antennas and the cooking was great. Thanks to all who prepared and brought food. The weather was not so great, but it could have been worse. At least there was no lightning associated with all of the rain. We learned a lot about the site, and if we did want it again next year we can build upon what we learned this year. We didn't win anything, but the fellowship was great and enjoyed by all. Now let us get on our antenna project and get the new antenna in place and work on some new projects.
Hope everybody had a safe and enjoyable 4th of July and did remember what it stands for and our pioneers who gave and some gave all for our freedom that we sometimes take for granted.
73,s and 88,s W5OQY CP
How do YOU Look at Things?
One day a father and his rich family took his young son on a trip to the country with the firm purpose to show him how poor people can be. They spent a day and a night in the farm of a very poor family. When they got back from their trip the father asked his son, "How was the trip?"
"Very good, Dad!"
"Did you see how poor people can be?" the father asked.
"And what did you learn?"
The son answered, "I saw that we have a dog at home, and they have four. We have a pool that reaches to the middle of the garden, they have a creek that has no end. We have imported lamps in the garden, they have the stars. Our patio reaches to the front yard, they have a whole horizon."
When the little boy was finishing, his father was speechless.
His son added, "Thanks, Dad, for showing me how poor we are!"
Isn't it true that it all depends on the way you look at things? If you have love, friends, family, health, good humor, and a positive attitude toward life, you've got everything!
You can't buy any of these things. You can have all the material possessions you can imagine, provisions for the future, etc., but if you are poor of spirit, you have nothing!
-- Author Unknown
Cajun Corner by N5JCG
How Ya'll Are? Hope everyone's well. Well June is gone and I hope everyone had a great 4th of July. It was really great to see all the folks at field day. The participation was just SUPER. This was just one good field day, in fact I don't remember when Meridian had as good of one in spite of the weather conditions. Well we can plan for that next year. It did my heart good to see all the folks chipping in to help wherever they could. That is what made it as good as it was. I personally appreciate all the help I got.
What's up for July? VE exams on the 15th for one. Lets encourage all to upgrade and see if we can up our count to the ham community. Introduce a friend and tutor someone. This is the only way we;will keep our hobby. Remember "Strength is in Numbers".
A couple of other things coming: The Emergency Drill on the 18th of September is an opportunity for us to get some great training in. I know Jim WB5OCD would like to have a good drill for us, and I'll bet he is looking for lots of participation. It's not only interesting but one never knows when (not IF) we would need the experience.
I'm also checking on "Amateur Radio Day ". Haven't found out exactly what day it is but I will. It would be another chance for us to promote our hobby. I remember the last time we had a demo in the old mall. Not a lot of work and a good time talking about Ham radio and a real good visit with friends. This is in September I think, and that should be a good time of year. Maybe in the new mall??? Well, until next month.... KEEP SMILING and GOOD HAMMIN'
WX Update by WB5OCD
We have been fortunate in that we have had no bad weather for the past several months. This lack of bad weather means that we have not activated our emergency net and some of us are most likely getting rusty on procedures.
If you can think of a good subject for a training class, I would certainly like to have one.
If you would like to volunteer to be a net controller for the Tuesday night net please let me know. I need two more folks willing to give one night a month. It takes less than 30 minutes to run the net. This is real good practice for a real tasking. Remember folks, this is your program. One or two people can not do everything.
SET - Section Emergency Test
There will be a Section Emergency Test (SET) on 18 Sept. 1999 from 0800 to 1030 hours local. We will have a local event that will run concurrent with the test that will be on the MSPN frequency of 3.862 MHZ. More to come on this one.
ARES - Amateur Radio Emergency Service (click to learn more about ARES)
If you are an ARES member I need a photo for your ID cards. The photo should be a head shot, about the same size as your drivers license photo, 1" wide by 1.5" tall.
There are approximately 155 HAMS in Lauderdale and 21 in Clarke Counties. Please contact any of those individuals that are not members of our group and encourage them to participate. We especially need operators to provide info in the northern parts of Lauderdale and southern parts of Clarke counties.
All area amateur operators are encouraged to participate in the WX program. You DO NOT have to be a member of the Meridian Amateur Radio Club, ARRL or any other group to participate. All you need to operate on the two meter net is a Technician class license or higher, a radio that will operate on the frequencies we will use, and the desire to serve your community.
Being a member of the Amateur Radio Emergency Services (ARES) is also not required but does provide the group with affiliation with a nationally recognized organization with operating agreements with FEMA, NWS, Red Cross, Salvation Army and local emergency management agencies through the state run agency. Novice through Extra class operators can be members of the ARES unit. As a Novice class licensee you can operate outside your license class if a higher class control operator is available. You can also be of other service if you wish to donate your time. If you would like to be trained to function as a net control operator or storm spotter, please contact me on the W5FQ repeater, e-mail using firstname.lastname@example.org, or at 601-644-3226.
Field Day Success by WA5EE
Well...Field Day '99 is behind us...and from my view, it was a rousing success! Thanks to all who participated. Setup started around 4 pm Friday, despite a threat of rain. We got one tent and the LEMA bus set up without TOO much difficulty. A local 2 meter station and some very basic HF were operational Friday evening, though radio troubles kept us from doing much before contest time on Friday night.
Some folks showed up early Saturday to finish setup, and by official starting time at 1 pm, we had a crowd, enough to get the main tower and Jim, WB5OCD's, monster 10 meter beam up. We saw most of the MARC membership, and quite a few others - ham and non-ham amongst the crowd.
Operating continued throughout Saturday, despite some troublesome rain and wind (the main tent only blew down once). Dinnertime was the prime social hour, and drew lots of folks, thanks to Mel, N5JCG who headed up the kitchen effort, and all who brought covered dishes.
Operating continued though Saturday night, with contacts made on 75, 40, 20, 15, and especially 10 meters. Justin, KD5CVJ, was enjoying his late-night contacts so well that guests who rode with him almost had to drag him away, hihi.
By Sunday morning, the ground was pretty well soaked... though I can't confirm rumors some operators were heard using the phonetic "Woodstock 5, Frustrating Quagmire". 6 meters opened just a little bit on Sunday morning, and that, along with 10 meters was where the morning contacts were made. Donna, KD5GWM, made a few contacts on 6m ssb, her first sideband experience, I think.
Later Sunday morning we got more rain and thankfully, some folks returned for the thankless chore of taking it all down. I can't possibly remember all the names, as I was quite sleep-deprived at the time, but hats off to the folks who helped put it all away.
WB5OCD is finishing up the logs for submission, and all who participated will qualify for a pin from ARRL... check for details at the next meeting. Thanks everybody, for making this a fun one...now....we can start getting ready for 2000.
73 de WA5EE
Field Day - Mission Accomplished by WB5OCD
The past six weeks or so prior to field day were pretty well without rain. As Murphy predicted, make a plan and something will foul it up. We needed the rain, yet it sure made field day ops tough.
Set up on Friday was just about impossible due to the almost constant heavy rain. We did manage to get one canopy erected and the LEMA bus driven into place. Two and eighty meter dipoles were erected, and a skeleton crew remained on site for the night.
On Saturday, the thunder showers welcomed WD4Q, Henry, the ARRL's Delta Division Vice Director to the Queen City. Along with his help and many others we managed to get the ten meter, four element, Quagi installed atop its 30 foot tower. Other antennas were erected and field day ops commenced at 1300 hours local. The ten meter Quagi did a super job at forty feet above the earth. Ten meters was open the entire FD period. The antenna was also used on 15 meters with very good results. A six meter, three element beam (made from an old TV antenna) was erected and six meters was made available.
N5JCG did an outstanding job of getting the B-B-Q completed between the rain showers. The food was outstanding, the company was even better, and no one went away hungry.
Over 200 contacts were made during the FD operating period. Some of them were not logged due to the fact that the information was incomplete. This is not real surprising due to the rain blowing into the operating area, the covers almost blowing away due to the tent stakes being pulled out of the soggy ground, and the wet log sheets. Just what emergency conditions might be like in a real disaster area.
We have not completed the logs yet but the following contacts appear firm:
6 meters - 12
10 meters - 56
15 meter phone - 27
15 meter cw - 4
20 meters - 25
40 meters - 18
75 meters - 34Total contacts 176
We did not make as many contacts as some other groups, but our club never expressed an interest in amassing the most points for a class 2A station. We demonstrated that we could set up and operate which I think is one significant aspect of FD. Our field day crew appeared more interested in eating and socializing than in operating. That is not a bad thing. From my perspective the socializing is just as much a part of FD as the operating. The Division's Vice Director (WD4Q) made quite an impact on the participants as he informed us of the latest happenings with the League and encouraged our Field Day efforts. On behalf of the MARC, we thank Henry for the visit.
I would also like to thank N5HGN and his windmill tippers for all their help in making our field day such a success. If they could/would pool their funds and get one good receiver they could operate with us next year.
A BIG thank you to the set-up and tear-down crew for all they did in making the FD efforts of the Meridian Amateur Radio Club a success. I hope someone has photos of KB5ASR and his little red truck taking the beam down. Thank you too, KD5EOE for helping to clean the mud out of the LEMA bus.
The entire FD group would like to express its appreciation to Mr. Eddie Ivy, the Lauderdale Emergency Manager, for his support and the use of the LEMA bus during our FD exercise. That holds true for the Mall Management Team and for Mr. Brown at the Astro Motel for his support with food and equipment transport. I know that I have left someone out and I apologize.
Have a great month
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