I got special permission from Crosstalk editor Jeff WB2ZBN to submit this article later than usual so that I can include Field Day experiences - and what a great Field Day we had! Despite predicted thunderstorms and some heavy downpours on Saturday afternoon we had a record turnout of participants and visitors including family members, many of whom hung around to help with the logistics of the event. The new antenna configuration created by Jim N2GXJ appeared to work well, and Field Day chairman Tony K3TS reports that there were plenty of operators to staff the seven stations that comprised our 7A participation status. Although it's been an active event for many decades, Field Day just seems to be getting better and better for the GCARC.
Since I'm the satellite station operator my Field Day experience is different from those of most others so I'll talk about some unique experiences that I encountered after I worked the critical Field Day satellite contact at 3:30 AM on Sunday morning. This schedule was necessary because I couldn’t get my laptop to run the PST Rotator program needed to rotate the antennas to track the satellites and had to reload everything onto a different computer, after which all of the earlier passes were over. Satellite contacts can only occur when satellites are overhead, and the ISS takes 90 minutes to the circle of the earth (and ended up being the only satellite that we could use), so I had plenty of time to wander around the Field Day site in the middle of the night in between passes. It was mostly quiet although one intrepid CW operator was softly pounding out QSO after QSO in a dimly-lighted tent. Around 4:00 AM I ran into Jim KA2OSV who couldn't sleep and who shortly went back to operate the 20 meter phone station, apparently successfully. Then Herb KT2Y showed up in the Clubhouse about 5:00 AM and we chatted briefly before he went back to his trailer. I racked up a couple more satellite contacts over the next few hours at 90 minute intervals until the breakfast crew comprised of Jeff WB2ZBN showed up and started preparing breakfast. I also took some overnight pictures of the site that will be shown at the General Membership meeting. “Field Night” is an interesting time…
Tech Saturday Covers Hamlib and Node-Red
On the July 8, 2023 Tech Saturday Forum, I'll be talking about two programs that together have captured my imagination for the last couple of months. These are the programs contained in the “hamlib” library that control radios, rotators, amplifiers, and other station components, and the “Node-Red” graphical programming language that can be used to build dashboards that control this type of equipment. There are countless YouTube videos on this topic (see https://bit.ly/3JEdVsb) so you can see how to set up a dashboard for your equipment configuration and individual operating pursuits. I used these programs to replace the hardware-based satellite antenna switcher that had multiple cables connected to the computer with a single Raspberry Pi device that connects wirelessly and whose only external connections are 12VDC power and the antenna relays. We've also built applications that monitor the Clubhouse power meter and display it graphically on the dashboard, and also monitor network speed. Both of these programs work on either Windows or Linux and are free. So if you're interested come on out on Saturday, July 8th and see if you're as fascinated as I am.
Progress on the installation of the two VHF towers is slowly continuing. With help from Stan WA2JRZ, Ron NR2B, and Frank N3PUU we prepared and submitted the zoning application to Harrison Township which amazingly was approved within a couple of days. Meanwhile Frank obtained the tower specifications and installation drawings from the manufacturer which will be included in the building permit application, to be submitted sometime this week. Hopefully that process will be relatively painless after which we can begin the excavation for the tower bases and complete installation before cold weather begins.
Clubhouse Ramp Project
The project to build a ramp for the front of the Clubhouse has made some slow progress with Bill NJ2S having researched and printed the ADA requirements for such a ramp and Carl N2CRW having prepared a CAD drawing of the ramp and its connection to the Clubhouse. Still remaining are the time-consuming tasks of developing a bill of materials for the project and costing out each of the components. Frank N3PUU has volunteered to help with some of the design in his “spare time”, but the project still needs someone to take overall ownership and get it done. Piece meal approaches to projects without anyone taking overall responsibility generally have a low success rate since progress ends when no one is willing to take the next step so we're again reaching out for someone willing to take on this project, gather the resources necessary, and see it through to its conclusion. Please contact me if you’re interested in taking on this important task.
Clubhouse Front Door Lock Code Change
The combination to the lock on the front door of the Clubhouse will be changed on Saturday, July 1st for security purposes. If you already have Clubhouse access come to the Clubhouse on a Saturday to get the new code, or contact Chris Prioli, AD2CS. We'll make a general announcement when the lock code has actually been changed.
Note that all licensed members have access to the Clubhouse and its resources so if you’d like to take advantage of this wonderful Club asset come down to the Clubhouse some Saturday morning or contact me or one of the Club leaders to arrange a time to get checked out on operating the alarm system and equipment.
Car Show On July 29 - NO Clubhouse Parking!
On Saturday, July 29, 2023 a car show will take place on the 4H fairgrounds during the Gloucester County 4H Fair, July 27 - 30, 2023. The cars in the show will be using the “front yard” of the Clubhouse as a result of a trade that we made with 4H to gain additional area for Field Day. Therefore there will be NO PARKING in front of the Clubhouse for GCARC members on that day. To access the Clubhouse you'll need to pay the entry fee for the car show and park in their designated areas across the road. That's what I'm gonna do - I'm interested in both cars and ham radio!
This month we welcome the following new member :
John Peterson, KD2ODE, who has a General Class license and lives in Westampton, NJ
73 de Jon WB2MNF
Full Buck Moon : July 3, 2023 @ 0740 Hours. At this time, the antlers of bucks (male deer) are in full growth mode. This Native American name was noted by Captain Jonathan Carver during his travels in the 1760s. Other animal-related names include Feather Moulting Moon (Cree) and Salmon Moon, a Tlingit term indicating when fish returned to the area and were harvested. As far as the plant world, there was Berry Moon (Anishinaabe), Moon When the Chokecherries are Ripe (Dakota), Month of the Ripe Corn Moon (Cherokee), and Raspberry Moon (Algonquin, Ojibwe), among others. Thunder Moon (Western Abenaki) and Halfway Summer Moon (Anishinaabe) are other variants.