Archive for October, 2010

Another Excellent Tech Class

Today we finished up the second day of our Two Day Technician License Class. This is a formula that we have found be to effective….a bit of a cram to get it done in two days but still able to cover the material.

The class was typical of what we have been seeing….about 1/3 are connected to the local Boy Scout Troop (Scouts and Parents), about 1/3 are in the category of “I always wanted to do this but never got around to it” and 1/3 are connected to public service organizations (fire, search and rescue, etc.).

We registered 24 student but 3 of them dropped out for one reason or another. Today, 21 students attempted the Technician Class Exam and 18 of them were successful (86% pass rate).

Thanks to Stu W0STU, Paul AA0K and Joyce K0JJW for helping to make this happen.

73, Bob K0NR

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Yet Another Callsign Hat

On his blog, W2LG mentioned that he got a new hat with his callsign on it from Astrid’s Embroidery and Quilts. I took a look at their web site and was impressed by the options offered (lots of color and graphics choices).

I also came across 3 Reasons Why Should Buy A Callsign Hat by W1MST, which also referenced the same vendor, run by Todd W8MC.

Of course, if you look in my closet, you’ll find that I am already equipped with several different styles of callsign hats…and a huge pile of other hats. So some people might say I really don’t need another hat.

But I ordered one anyway. It arrived in just a few days and it looks great.

- 73, Bob K0NR

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2010 Fall TechFest

Here is an excellent opportunity to build your ham radio knowledge and skill. The 285 TechConnect Radio Club (www.na0tc.org ) is once again sponsoring the Fall TechFest (Saturday November 6th). This educational event is aimed at the Tech advancing to General, with a good selection of workshop topics.

I often get new Technician licensees (or not so new licensees) asking for help on learning more about amateur radio. The 285 TechConnect Radio Club has taken this on and has created a super environment for technical training.

I will be presenting the VHF workshop for this event. I presented on a different topic last year and it was loads of fun, so I am looking forward to doing it again!

Schedule of Workshops
(order and topic may vary)
Time Topics
9:00 – 9:50 Contesting Using Wire Antennas and 100 Watt Rigs
10:00 – 10:50 DXing Using Wire Antennas and 100 watt Rigs
11:00 – 11:50 The Fun Of Using Classic Radios
12:00 – 12:50 Lunch (on your own) Question and Answer Session for those who stay to eat
1:00 – 1:50 QRP – Make Contacts Like the Big Boys with 5 Watts
2:00 – 2:50 VHF/UHF – Beyond FM
3:00 – 3:50 Audio Processing – Make That Difficult Contact

Registration
Space is limited! Please pre-register.
Cost $10.00 (cash only at the door).

Where
The Inter Canyon Fire Department Station #1. The address is 7939 South Turkey Creek Road, Morrison, Colorado OR check our website – www.na0tc.org.

NAØTC – 285 TechConnect Radio Club
2010 Fall TechFest
November 6, 2010

Be sure to visit the NA0TC web site for complete information.

73, Bob K0NR

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Our First GeoFox Rally

Our local radio club (W0TLM) has been able to help a number of Scouts from the local Boy Scout troop get their Technician Class radio license. (See Results from the Second Technician Class.) The boys are having a lot of fun talking to each other on 2 Meters and using ham radio to support their troop activities.

We started thinking about some other fun activities we could do with them. Somehow the notion of combining some GPS (geocaching) work with transmitter (fox) hunting emerged. It turns out that we are not the first group to have this idea. The North Bay Amateur Radio Club in California had already tried this and named it GeoFox.

Our version of GeoFox,  crafted by Stu W0STU, resulted in a course that had three hidden transmitters  and three checkpoints defined by latitude/longitude, for a total of 6 checkpoints. The total course length was about 3.6 miles.

Using this as a learning opportunity, the Scouts built their own “tape measure” yagi antennas for use in direction finding.

The course was set up in a portion of Pike National Forest, near Woodland Park, Colorado. The Scout troop combined the GeoFox event with a weekend campout. The Scouts worked in teams of 4, with at least one licensed radio operator and a GPS operator. Each team started at 20 minute intervals with instructions to get them to the first checkpoint. At each checkpoint, they found the instructions that would get them to the next checkpoint. In addition to GPS and radio operating, the instructions required the use of some basic Morse code and traditional map/compass. The event crew was in radio contact with the teams as we tracked their progress throughout the course.

The Scouts plan their attack at the start of the course.

The course turned out to be more difficult than planned. Some of the teams got off track into difficult terrain (for one reason or another) and took a while to recover. A few of the teams did not finish the course in time.  Everyone left the event quite exhausted but full of stories to tell about their fun day.

A GeoFox team leaves the starting point, headed for the first transmitter

I think we have the start of a really fun activity for all ages that we will refine over time.

- 73, Bob K0NR

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