A monthly publication of the Meridian Amateur Radio Club July 2009


 Bible Verse

Revelation 22:12-13 And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last. (NKJV)



Next Business Meeting

Next business meeting will be held at the Checker Board Restaurant on Saturday, August 01, 2009. Come join us for breakfast, coffee and fellowship. See Field Day results below.



ARRL Field Day 2009 MARC Results

Call Used: W5FQ    
Class: 3A
Participants: 40    
Club/Group Name: Meridian Amateur Radio Club
Power Source(s): Generator, Battery, Solar
Power Multiplier: 2X

Bonus Points:


100% Emergency power


Set-up in Public Place


Information Booth


NTS message to ARRL SM/SEC


Site Visit by invited elected official


Site Visit by invited served agency official


Youth participation


          Youth operators = 4


          Youth participants = 4


Submitted via the Web


Total Bonus Points





Score Summary:





Total QSOs





Total Points






Band/Mode QSO Breakdown:





















































Submitted by:  Donna Harrison, E.C., KD5GWM



Stuart's First QSO

By Dan Romanchik, KB6NU

One of the great things about Field Day are the stories. Every year, I add a story or two to my repertoire. This year is no exception.

My best story from Field Day 2009 starts about 1:30 pm on Saturday. I was at my post at the public information table/GOTA station. We had been ready to rock and roll for at least a half hour, so a group of us were just sitting around chewing the fat when Stuart and his mother walked up to the table.

Her son was a little on the shy side, so his mother explained that Stuart had seen a listing of our Field Day site on the Internet and had asked her to bring him out to see us. She mentioned that Stuart had been listening to ham radio operators on his little Yaesu handheld scanner for several years and was very excited to actually meet some ham radio operators and see ham radio in action.

Not only that, she said that he had taught himself Morse Code. A kid after my own heart! I quickly volunteered to give them a tour of our Field Day site. First, I showed him our VHF/UHF station, and he seemed really impressed with the five single-band radios.

Next, I took him into the 40m-phone station. I asked how fast he could copy Morse Code, and he said 30 words per minute. I cranked the receiver down into the CW portion of the band, and sure enough, he could copy anything that I tuned in.

At this point, it was still only 1:45 pm, so I told him, "Let's go over to one of the CW stations, and we'll see if we can make a contact." We marched over to the CW #2 station, and after getting clearance from the station captain, I tuned around for a clear frequency and then called CQ. Immediately, N5VV, replied.

At this point, Stuart was so excited; he was shaking a little bit. Since the contest was just about ready to start, I kept the contact short, but that didn't matter. Stuart had finally gotten to see ham radio in action.

Stuart's mother then inquired about taking the test. I explained that our Volunteer Examiners give the test every second Saturday of the month and gave her the URL of our web site. She said that Stuart had been studying and was ready to take the test.

Unfortunately, they had to leave at that point. I told Stuart's mother that we'd be there through 2pm Sunday and to come back any time. She said that they'd definitely be back the next day.

Stuart (Age 13) Makes His First Contact

Stuart and his mother returned about 1:30 pm on Sunday. He wanted to see the VHF/UHF station again, so that was our first stop. He took a couple of photos of the setup, and then I suggested we go over to the GOTA station. When we first got there, someone was at the mike, but shortly afterwards, they got up, and Stuart and I took the controls.

When we first sat down, I made a few contacts using my call to show him how to use the paddle. I noted that holding the levers down produces a series of dits or dahs, and that by tapping the other lever while holding down the first, you can produce a dit between dahs or a dah between dits.

Then, I asked him if he'd like to try it. He said yes, so just to see how it would go, I tuned up to above 7100 kHz. There was no activity up there, so I set the keyer speed to 15 wpm and told him to send my call sign a few times. He reached over with his left hand and sent it perfectly. Now, remember, this is someone who'd never touched a paddle of any kind before. Not only that, he even sent the K (dah-di-dah) iambically! That is to say that he held the dah paddle while tapping the dit paddle to slip in a dit between the two dahs.

Then, I asked if he'd like to make some contacts. He said yes, so I said, "Let's switch seats." We switched seats, and I said, "OK, tune around a little and find a strong station calling CQ." We found K2ZR, and I coached him a little on how to reply. "Now, remember," I said, "we're going to use the W8PGW call sign." When I gave him the nod to send, he reached over with his RIGHT hand and sent W8PGW perfectly! When K2ZR replied with our call and the exchange, I coached him to reply with "4A MI." Not only did he do that, but he slipped in a "R" to denote that we'd copied the exchange. When K2ZR replied with a "TU," I showed him how to log the contact.

That's all the coaching I needed to do. After the first contact, I said, "OK. Now, tune around for another station calling CQ, and we'll make another contact." He was off to the races. As soon as he made a contact, he jumped up to type it into the log. His arms weren't long enough to reach the computer from where he was seated.

When we started, the keyer speed was set to 15 wpm. After a couple of contacts, I asked if he might want to send faster. When he said OK, I bumped it up to 18 wpm. After a few QSOs with only a couple of mistakes, he asked if we could go faster, so I set it at 20 wpm. Again, only a couple of mistakes, so we bumped it up to 22 wpm. There, he started making more mistakes, but let me repeat, he never touched any kind of key before in his life. I have no doubt that with a little practice; he could easily do 30 wpm.

Overall, he made 12 contacts in the 21 minutes he operated the station. Not a bad rate for someone who'd never sent a character of Morse Code in his life, don't you think?

Unfortunately, Stuart was not able to take the test at our July VE session as he was at Boy Scout camp. Come the second week of August, though, he'll be a ham. He even has a vanity call sign picked out for himself. Listen for him--in the CW bands, of course.

Dan Romanchik, KB6NU, is the station manager for WA2HOM, the ham radio station at Ann Arbor's Hands-On Museum, and the ARRL MI Section's Training Manager. You can read more about his adventures in ham radio by going to

Amazing Kid

Posted by: "K2ZR"
Mon Jul 6, 2009 7:21 pm (PDT)

Gentleman, with the permission of Stuart's mom Susan, I present the "rest of Stuart's story" to my fellow FOC members. The first paragraph was Stuart's mom's response to my suggestion that I send K2ZR's QSL card to Stuart. Please read on, you’ll be glad you did! Dick, K2ZR

Quoting Stuart’s mom Susan: "Stuart would be thrilled to receive it. I am really not exaggerating how excited he was/is. He has a recording of all he did there on his hand held recorder and has listened to it over and over. He has also plotted out geographically each contact that he made. Our address follows at the end of this e-mail.

If you don't mind, I'll tell you a little bit of Stuart's history. I'm biased, of course, but he's overcome some overwhelming odds - he is a determined kid, that's for sure! He is a surviving twin. He and his twin brother, Spencer, were born severely prematurely. Stuart weighed 1 pound 13 ounces at birth. His twin died at 9 days after major abdominal surgery for necrotizing enterocollitis (a perforation of the intestine), which Stuart was struck by 3 days later. He also had a major abdominal surgery during which he crashed.

We were told he would most likely not survive even an hour after the surgery. In addition to his intestinal problems, he had major problems with his lungs and was on a ventilator for 45 days. He breathed on his own for the first time at day 45, which is also the very first time we were able to hold him. His stay in the neonatal intensive care unit was 100 days. He survived his prematurity but was left with asthma which at times has been life threatening, gross motor challenges, eye problems, severe migraines, an anaphylactic food allergy, and asperger's syndrome (a high functioning form of autism characterized by perseverating focus on areas of interest - like ham radio :)!

Stuart is a bright, motivated, very sweet boy (again, I'm biased!) who is gifted in music (in addition to playing piano, violin, and guitar, he has perfect pitch, and has composed several pieces of music - one of which will be played by his school orchestra next December), math, computers - any thing technical and that lends itself to patterns (Morse code!). He struggles socially, as he doesn't have many peer related areas of interest. That is a big reason why it is so thrilling to see him make contact with you and other ham radio operators. He really longs for someone to share the high levels of enthusiasm he has for his areas of interest - right now, Morse Code is at the top of the list.

He was so disappointed that he is not going to make the July test date, but we'll definitely get him there in August. Also, I know he wants to blog back to you about his field day. He read the story on my blackberry several times while we were driving him to camp. The first thing he did when he met his camp counselor was to tell him about his ham radio interest, about field day and to play him the recording of his first Morse code contact. Thank you again for making all of this possible."

PS: Quoting Stuart's mom: "Dick, you'll appreciate this, I called the camp today to see how he was doing and they told me he is teaching all of the counselors Morse Code"

Ron, K5XK wrote: A great story from Field Day!



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