Greetings all! Springtime is a busy season at my house, as my wife is an avid gardener, so I often have a long list of chores to do this time of year. But it is equally busy down at the W2MMD Clubhouse and W2MMD HF station, where several major improvement projects are coming together nicely. The team of volunteers that has been working on the grounding project has completed most of the work on the HF station, and are on track to have that station up and running by Saturday, May 8, 2021, which is the scheduled date for our first Tech Saturday - Open House. This and other improvements will make our Club's greatest asset even greater. We are most fortunate to have the W2MMD station for our members to use and enjoy, and I for one am thankful that we have such an able team of volunteers who are working hard to improve and maintain it. As I so often say, it is something that most other clubs can only dream about.
Speaking of improvements, when the HF station comes back on line, we will be upgrading its performance significantly, thanks to the generosity of Club member John Hill, W2HUV, who has ordered a new Elecraft KPA-1500 legal limit amplifier for our use. This will make the already big signal of W2MMD even bigger. Hopefully the production issues that have plagued Elecraft due to fires, the pandemic, and worldwide component shortages, are being resolved, and we will have the amplifier on site soon. This, combined with some scheduled antenna maintenance, should make our HF station a formidable performer in the pileups. If DXpeditions resume, and the sunspots cooperate, we could soon be having a lot of fun with our HF station!
Field Day is just around the corner, and much planning and preparation work is already underway. Many of us consider Field Day to be the highlight of the Ham Radio year, and I can say with certainty that it is my favorite event. There is no other 24 hour event that I spend more time planning and preparing for. For example, I am currently in the process of building a 2 element beam for 20 meters, with full size elements, that is specifically designed and optimized for Field Day use. Everything from the way the antenna assembles and disassembles, to the computer-modeled tuning and performance, has been done with Field Day in mind. I am looking forward to putting the antenna on the air on June 26th and making lots of contacts for W2MMD, and I hope that you can join me. If you have been missing out on the fun at Field Day, it is time to change that. Come out and see what you have been missing!
Our annual Hamfest is scheduled for Sunday, September 12, 2021, and much planning and preparation is already being done for that. Many other clubs have cancelled their hamfests, some for a second year in a row, but we are determined for ours to happen as planned, with the proper precautions in place, exactly as we did last year. We were fortunate that the timing of the most severe restrictions being lifted coincided with our September date, and we are hoping for similar good fortune this year. And at this point, the tightening of restrictions on outdoor gatherings is about the only thing that would force us to cancel the event. While a possibility, that is not very likely to happen. We are hoping for a pent-up demand for hamfests to drive our attendance numbers even higher than last year's, and I am confident that we will see at least some improvement to what was, by all of our measures, a very successful event.
Also, with many of the indoor restrictions from COVID-19 being eased, we are on schedule to resume our in-person General Membership Meetings at the Pfeiffer Community Center in Williamstown. Barring a reversal of this trend, we are shooting for the June meeting to resume our old routine. One aspect of that was traditionally that the June meeting was Pizza Night, and we hope to be able to do that again. As such, the May meeting will be another ZOOM meeting, and will be held online. The turnout for the online meetings has been good, but I am really looking forward to an even bigger turnout in June. I am keeping my fingers crossed that we will be able to pull it off. If we can do that, Field Day on June 26th, and the Hamfest on September 12th, I can assure you all that GCARC will have a great summer. Until, enjoy the rest of Spring, and I will see you on ZOOM for the May 5th meeting!
This month, we welcome new Club member, Russell Guise Sr, KD2WDM, from Franklinville. Hope to see you at our meetings and at Field Day.
A big Thank You to Club member Bob Demola, KD2GFL, for volunteering to cut the grass around the Clubhouse. That area is not cut by the 4-H grass cutter, so we have to maintain it ourselves.