Alex W7HU Tells a Heart Wrenching Story

On April 13th, 2021, 7:00pm BARC had a presentation on Zoom by Elixander Valladares W7HU AKA Alex. Alex talked about growing up in Cuba and involving himself in the hobby from his teens. He decided that he wanted to explore the opportunities that were available in the USA, but for this, he had to sneak out of Cuba on a homemade raft. Eventually, on his second attempt he did make his way successfully to the US, although not without quite a few stops along the way. Being a member of the ham radio world provided a certain amount of protection on his journey and helped him to get settled in the US.

It shows what ingenuity, determination and taking chances will get you. What he learned from Amateur Radio gave him the skills to survive. His ability to make contacts and use the radio technology saved the members on his raft. The 2 meter and HF rigs did get help when they were stranded for 18 days in the ocean and had run out of food and water 4 days previously. He survived storms in the Gulf of Mexico on a home made raft. Once he reached Mexico and was in holding cells for months, his amateur radio contacts were invaluable to get him out of that situation. His experience in a communist country like Cuba and his new found taste of freedom in the USA have a profound message to all of us that take our freedoms for granted. Have a listen:


BARC zoom meeting Tues 4/13/21, 7pm. TOMORROW

Presentation by Elixander Valladares W7HU AKA Alex. He will be our April Guest.. Alex will discuss growing up in Cuba and involving himself in the hobby from his teens. He decided that he wanted to explore the opportunities that were available in the USA, but for this, he had to sneak out of Cuba on a homemade raft. Eventually, on his second attempt he did make his way successfully to the US, although not without quite a few stops along the way. Being a member of the ham radio world provided a certain amount of protection on his journey and helped him to get settled in the US.

BARC Notes

Here are issues and items for the membership to read. These are a collection of small notices and items to try and keep everyone informed.

New deep cycle batter installed 4/8/2021.

ARES trailer Maintenance: 4/8/21 The IC7300 radios were all upgraded to v1.40 of the firmware that allows easier switching modes like FT8/CW/SSB modes and other improvements. See Icom web site for details. — New deep cycle battery purchased from “Batteries and Bulbs” and installed in the trailer to get ready for hurricane season (starts June 1st). Over 100 Amp Hrs of power should allow the radios to run for hours before needing the generator to run. Also it seems that the solar panels and charger are working to maintain the charge state.
TO BE DONE: Test the generator for the amount of noise production and if it cannot be suppressed then sell it and get a new one. Test the antennas and program the 2M/70CM radios for all the repeaters in the east. Test and set up the computers for logging with N1MM. Setting up and testing WSJT-X and other software. Consider adding a mobile repeater. Consider adding Viper radio. Other issues? Let us know…


Work in Progress

Meeting Room: Byron is working on getting us back into the ECU meeting site.
Presentations: Byron is working on more speakers for July – December. Any ideas are welcome. Let us know…
Net Control sign up sheet: Please sign up by letting Richard know when you are available to run the 2M net on Monday night at 8PM. Here is the schedule.

More to come so please keep checking this blog for updates.
73 N4PVH


Move over Charlie Brown!

I have decided to try QRP or low power mode. I got myself a used KX2 Elecraft radio that produces about 5 watts of power. I designed a random wire antenna that has a 2 oz lead weight on one end of the wire, I swing it around and throw it up into a tree. The other end goes to a 9:1 Ballun and then to the radio. I tried this out in the backyard and it was working quite well making contacts up and down the east coast. Obviously at the end of the weekend, I had to go home and tried to pull the antenna out of the tree. Unfortunately the lead weight wrapped itself around the limb and it would not let go. So I tied the other end to a garden chair and I hoped that that would be good enough to hold it. I could come back another day and see if I could get it out of the tree. When I came back I found this, watch the video closely.

A natural Calder Mobile?

The winds and the snow has managed to untie the end tied to the chair and flip it up into the tree again. It wrapped itself around another limb and created a loop. During another storm, a limb broke off and got caught in the loop. I now have a Calder mobile that is floating in free space. The weirdest kind of feeling when you see this broken limb that looks like a tree without any roots floating in mid air. Are we back to Avatar? Or has this Charlie Brown tree caught a kite, and antenna and what else is it going to catch?

“Life: what happens to you while you are making plans…” 73 Peter.

April edition of the BARC Ham Chatter is available

Dear Barc Members, friends and Amateur Radio enthusiasts:

The new April edition of the Ham Chatter has been released and can be downloaded as a PDF here:

https://w4amc.com/ham-chatter/

or the April issue directly: Download
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NEW FEATURES OF THE W4AMC.COM WEB SITE:

The BARC meeting information and past video links are here:

https://w4amc.com/next-meeting/
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There is a new “INDEX” to the web page that is organized by the most recent postings, finding articles by the category or a listing of the web pages:

https://w4amc.com/index/
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A new test of a Polling function has been done to see how we could as a group give our input about issues that are coming up.There are only two questions present but I would like to see hw this functions and does it give thee board a good way of getting the membership opinions.

https://w4amc.com/2021/03/27/my-first-poll-block/

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If you know of someone that did not get this notice about the Ham Chatter, please let me know and I will add them to the list.
Thanks for your interest, 73 Peter N4PVH

KA6LMS going QRT!!!

For the fans of the TV show “Last Man Standing” starring Tim Allen, this is the last season of the show and the last episode will air on March 30th, 2021. The Director and Tim Allen has a fully functioning amateur radio station on the show that they use in the show and afterwords. The Last Man Standing special event station will be operating from March 24, 2021 00:00 UTC and ending at 23:59 UTC on March 30, 2021. This coincides with the last day of shooting for the TV Show, concluding its long run. This will be an all-mode, all-band event. The QSL cards will be collector items so get on the bands and “git one”!
During the TV Shows nine seasons, the Last Man Standing Amateur Radio Club operated as KA6LMS from real radios on the set during production breaks and contacted many amateur radio operator fans. During this event, there will be several callsigns on the various modes to contact. Check online at http://gsbarc.org/lms/  for more information.

This is a video interview with John Amodeo from Last Man Standing, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8RmhtCb-m20

Thanks to Judy W3JUU for writing this article. More info from the web page:

Going QRT with a bang! KA6LMS SPECIAL EVENT


If you’re a fan of Tim Allen’s TV series Last Man Standing, you’ll have a final
chance to contact the show’s Amateur Radio Club station before it goes QRT.
The weeklong KA6LMS radio special event starts on March 24 at 00:00 UTC and runs through 23:59 UTC on March 30, which is the show’s final day of shooting.
This will be an all-mode, all-band event.
Fans will have the opportunity to work the bonus 1-by-1 stations; K6L, K6M, K6S, W6L, W6M and W6S.
Stations from every call sign area will operate as KA6LMS/0 through KA6LMS/9, providing nationwide coverage.
The remote operators are a virtual “who’s-who” of ham celebrities, contesters
and podcasters. Many will livestream their operations.
Check spotting sites like DXSummit for pop-up operations on any day and at any time during the event week.
We expect the “on-stage” radios to be in operation from the studio in California
on Saturday, March 27th at 18:00 UTC using 20 Meters and on Sunday at 22:00
UTC using 40 Meters.
Remote stations will act as relays to give everyone an opportunity to make
contact with the stage.
If you’re a fan of digital modes, Saturday, March 27th is your day.
At 17:00 UTC – KA6LMS will be using D-STAR on reflector 12 Alpha, hosted by
the PAPA Repeater System.
At 19:00 UTC – The D-STAR action moves to reflector 30 Bravo, hosted by
Georgia D-STAR.
At 23:00 UTC – Amateur Logic.TV will host the
KA6LMS Multi Mode QSO PARTY
Using: Allstar, DMR via Brandmeister, D-Star, NXDN, P25, Echolink, Hamshack
Hotline, Wires-X and Yaesu System Fusion. A livestream of this activation will
be available at: http://live.amateurlogic.tv

KA6LMS QSL cards will be available for stations who contact the stage directly
or through relay stations. Special event certificates including “Clean Sweep”
endorsements will be available via download.
The KA6LMS radio event is sponsored by the Great South Bay Amateur Radio
Club’s 12 Days of Christmas and K2Heros teams, in association with Amateur
Logic.TV, The PAPA Repeater System and Georgia D-STAR
For more information go to http://www.gsbarc.org/lms/


Brightleaf Emergency Communications Workgroup (BECW)

Recently, the Brightleaf Emcomm Workgroup met to discuss reviving the emergency communications aspect of our club. Any interested members are welcome to join. Members present were KN4FZB, W3JUU, WA4MOK, K4BMH, AC4JL, KG4GVJ, N4PVH. Some of the points that came out of the meeting include:

1-Our interested members need to take the ICS classes 100, 200, 700, 800. These are available online at the FEMA Emergency Management Institute at https://training.fema.gov/emi.aspx During any emergency that happens, these classes will be needed.

2- Byron (K4BMH), by default or railroad, is the Brightleaf Emergency Coordinator. He will coordinate with Pitt County Emergency manager Randy Gentry, and Eastern Branch AuxComm Coordinator Ed Wafford.

3- The group would like to visit the EOC in Kinston and check out the radios and antennas.

4- We need to generate an organizational chart including links to outside agencies and points of contact.

5- We need to review jump kits for 2m and 70cm.

6- Need to visit official shelters and survey the sites to determine if antennas are still in good working order and appropriately placed. Renew/update the information manuals that Dave (KG4CZV) made when he was BARC president.

7- Consider purchasing and installing a repeater (Analog and D-star) on the VOA site C tower (Talk to ECU). We will also talk to Matt (WU2V) about what is available. Evaluate the D-star system as is not a proprietary system, it was designed by amateurs for amateur radio and can pass voice, images and text documents on the network.

8- Need to create opportunities to train members in emergency communications.

9- Bernie (WA4MOK) will visit the Columbia repeater group and re-establish ties with them.

10- Judy (W3JUU) will contact the coastal linking net. 

11- BECW (Brightleaf Emergency Communications Workgroup) will meet on the third Tues of the month at 7pm on Zoom.

12- Other documents we need to generate/stock: ICS forms, list/map of repeaters and PL tones, SOP book and equipment instructions for the ARES trailer. Need to replace the 2kw Generator in the trailer with a Honda (less RF noise).

Thanks to Beth (KN4FZB) for the notes and organization, 73 Peter

A Nice Winter POTA Day

Wednesday January 21 dawned as a cool sunny morning, with forecast for a warm afternoon.  Loading up my QRP gear and my best buddy Charli, a 2 year old beagle/jack russell mix, I headed down Hwy 24 across the White Oak River into Swansboro and on to the Hammocks Beach State Park.  The park sits at the confluence of the mouth of the Queens Creek and the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway, a very pretty spot to spend some time outdoors and practicing my very modest CW skills.

Charli and I went into the park office and informed the Park Ranger that I wanted to activate the park as part of the Amateur Radio Parks on the Air program (POTA).  He was familiar with the program even though I was the last ham to activate the park on April 25, 2019.  I let him know that I would set up out of the way of any walkways and keep my antenna wires visable so as not to create a tripping hazard.

I chose a picnic table on the side of a sunny meadow and unloaded my POTA gear which is contained in a single Harbor Freight Apache hard case, the medium sized case.  My gear for this activation consists of:  Yaesu FT-817nd, LDG Z-817 tuner, a 40-10m linked dipole, old Ham Key paddle, a light weight 23ft ‘squid pole’ extendable mast, pad and pen, and my POTA banner. For power I would be using my Harbor Frieght Viking jump starter/battery pack.  It has a 12v output jack that provides hours of power for a QRP rig.

The linked dipole is made of 26g wire and lightweigth RG174 coax.  I unrolled the wires and unplugged the last links making the dipole a 30m antenna.  The mast supports the center and I wedged it between the legs of  the table so that the inverted V shape is around 15 feet high.  Now on to the really important task:  spotting myself on the POTA spotting page,  This will give the POTA hunters my callsign, site number (K-2734) and frequency.  I chose a clear frequency of 10,122 and started sending my CQs (CQ POTA CQ POTA DE N4PIR N4PIR K).  A passing park visitor stops by and watches and we talk about ham radio and POTA as I send my first calls.  Quickly I receive a return call from VE2LDT in Ontario, giving him/her an RST of 449.  As usual a POTA QSO is short and to the point.  The first call is followed up by K8RAT in Ohio, a frequent visitor to my POTA sessions.  Bill is sounding good at RST of 569 but is followed up with a long period of silence.  I continue discussing the finer points of morse code with my admirer.

After a good 10 to 15 minutes without a QSO I relinked the end dipole links to change the antenna to a 40m dipole.  I repspotted my frequency on the POTA site and started another series of CQ calls on 40 meters at 7.060 which is a good spot for portable operations.  Quickly I hear a nice sound, multiple stations calling N4PIR.  And I’m off!  The calls come quick and strong.  My visitor says goodbye and I work my pileup.  Hams from NY, OH, PA, NC, SC, KY, and GA check in. All are easy to copy and I continue through about 15 QSOs before things slow down.  I work Bill K8RAT again for a QSO on another band.   I do a quick search on the surrounding frequencies and find KU8T, Tom in Indiana, who is activating POTA site K-4178.  I am familiar with Tom as he is a frequent activator that I find on the air on an almost daily basis.  We trade Park numbers as this will give us credit for a Park to Park QSO.    Charli is getting restless so I decide this is a good time to sign off the spotting page with a QRT and take my buddy for her daily walk.  

A successful POTA Activation requires a minimum of 10 QSOs.  I have 17 which is nothing to brag on but it makes for a nice way to spend a warm NC winter day.  CW QRP and POTA plus a nice trail walk.  You can’t beat it.
73 Gary, N4PIR

NC QSO Party was a Hit!

Well, a few intrepid Hams got together with social distancing etc… A total of 4 were spread out over two stations, one pair in Oakwood School, the other in the Ares trailer. As two hams had never participated in a radio contest, this was a ground breaking event for them so the emphasis was on enjoying the experience not trying to get the high score. The secondary mission was to check the equipment and tower at Oakwood. They are in working order and more than a dozen contacts were made. The third mission was trying out the N1MM logging software in a contest situation, preparing and sending the log to the contest scoring web page was practiced.

The annual ritual of having Chili was observed and enjoyed along with ‘Blondies” with chocolate chips (Thanks Beth). Judy W3JUU, Beth KN4FZB, and Jim AC4JL had a great time and wrapped it up by 2pm as duties at home had to be taken care of. The Ares trailer was checked out and the generator run for several hours. There were radio noise noticed on the 20m band especially but worst on the 160m band. An in line noise filter was placed that helped significantly but did not eliminate all the noise. More testing with other generators will have to be done before FIELD DAY as that is coming up soon, so get ready!
73 Peter, N4PVH.