As I write this, the snow, sleet and freezing rain are falling outside my shack window, and my back is sore from scraping and shoveling, but I know that springtime weather is just around the corner. Now is the time to start planning that antenna project, or planning that spring or summer portable operation that know you wanted to do last year, but for whatever reasons, did not. The nice weather will be here before we know it.
The W2MMD station grounding project is now underway, with the inside work being the first phase, and when the weather breaks, the next phase to be done will be the outside perimeter grounding system. The final phase, improving the grounding of the towers, will be done last, possibly in the fall. This system will protect our equipment and our Clubhouse from damage in the event of a lightning strike. We are very fortunate to have our own Ron Block, NR2B, as the grounding system designer, as he is a veritable expert on the subject. We also have a great technical team to do the work, so this project will be done right.
A few weeks ago, I put out a plea for volunteers to help with this project, and got a great response from more than a dozen willing and able hands. This team will make up the HF station grounding task force. The VHF station task force is mostly comprised of members of the GCARC Skunkworks, so I am confident that the biggest hurdle that we faced on this project, which was finding the needed labor, has been cleared. The funding request for the work being done up front will be brought before the membership at the March meeting, and hopefully approved with no issues. Later phases of the project will likely require additional funding.
Field Day is less than 4 months away, which is just around the corner. The Field Day Committee, under the leadership of Vinnie, N4NYY, is currently making plans for another great event. Each year our Field Day just gets better, so if you miss it, you are missing one of the greatest benefits of being a GCARC member. It is the event that I look forward to the most. So put your name on the list to be a band chairman or operator, and make plans to get on the air with W2MMD on Field Day, always the fourth full weekend in June. It's a blast!
The planning for the Hamfest is underway, too, and the date has been set for Sunday, September 12, 2021. Mark that on your calendar, and stay tuned for more details. We already have the biggest hamfest in the Philadelphia area, but it could very well get even bigger if more people come out of isolation later this summer. The timing for us was great last year, but could be even better in 2021.
This month we welcome a new member of the Club. Joseph Novak, N2LWE, who has an Amateur Extra Class license and lives in Malaga, NJ.
That's about all I have for this month. As soon as it is practical and safe, we are going to return to having our meetings at the Pfeiffer Community Center, and the first night back will be Pizza Night. I wish I could tell you when that will be, but right now I can't. In the interim, I hope everyone is well and getting on the air whenever possible. Don't forget the ARRL DX SSB contest the weekend of March 6-7, 2021, your chance to work some new DX without having to work hard for it! 73 to all and good DX!
Tony Starr, K3TS