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FROM THE PRESIDENT'S SHACK
It is April already and "Things, they are a happenin." The club is already in high gear supporting various horse and bicycle rides in and around the community. If you have not done one of these you are missing a really good time. On the same note, as a club we are looking at a couple of group activities for us in the coming months. In May, how about a field trip to the Owens Valley Radio Observatory? I am looking at setting it up and need to hear how many want to go. It will likely be on a Saturday so everyone can attend.
The fourth weekend of June is Field Day. The club used to put on quite a Field Day activity in one of the local parks. The advantage was that it was in the public view. Local Hams could stop by, chat, maybe work a new mode and have some fun. How about it? Any interest? SARC has other activities going as well. The program for the April meeting is home brew equipment. All equipment builders are urged to bring in what ever you have built and display it. There is also Fox Hunting going on. See the article elsewhere in this newsletter. There is the possibility of having a joint fox hunt with the Kernville group someday.
It is with sadness that we note the recent passing of Dr. Johan Beyers N6PBT. I had not heard Johan on the air recently but in the past he was quite active on two meters. Always a colorful individual, I remember once, when the club was looking at installing a phone patch on a local repeater, at the time, the club bank account was somewhat thin. During the discussion at the meeting as to how best to raise the funds Johan stood up, pulled out twenty dollars and challenged everyone to give a little and we would have the money that night. Sure enough, in fifteen minutes, the money was raised. We will all miss you Johan.
73 es vy gud DX.
PROGRAM Wed 11 Apr
You are the program. Bring in your home brew, home designed, home built, kit construction and whatever else that you have built for our Ham hobby. If it will go through the double doors and can be moved by one hand truck and two Hams, you are urged to show it to the rest of us. Show and Tell will be the program. Any piece of electronic equipment or Ham radio gear will be welcomed. Bring your pet project and show your construction prowess to the club. No fancy speech is required. A demonstration would be nice. Contact Phelps at 375-4905 or [email protected].
RAFFLE FOR N-I-C-E STRAIGHT KEY
Phelps TerHeun KF6ZVD, our 2nd VP, has organized a raffle for a small, very attractive, gold plated straight key to raise money for SARC treasury. This key is in the $100 price range and would look really good at any Ham shack's operating position. It is the Millennium Key, #81 of 100, by Llaves Telegraficas Artesanas. Tickets are $5.00 each or three for $10.00. Get your tickets from Phelps. The key will be on display at meetings and the drawing will be at the June meeting.
PUBLIC SERVICE OPPORTUNITIES
Now is not too early to begin thinking about this two day, nationally known bicycle race from Stovepipe Wells in Death Valley to Whitney Portals above Lone Pine. It is an early and long Saturday and ninety miles from home on Sunday. There is a free picnic in Lone Pine on Saturday. Call Elvy Hopkins NØLV at 384-3589 for information.
RECENT SARC ACTIVITIES
Eastern Kern PSK31 2M FM Part Two
Last month I told you about how Jerry Brooks KK6PA (the fixed station) and I (the mobile station) tested the weak signal capabilities of PSK31 on two meter FM. We found that reliable communications could be conducted from Ridgecrest to Trona and Ballarat using modest station equipment. We also realized that simplex communications to Panamint Springs and the Olancha area using PSK31 would require higher gain antennas at each location.
With the positive results of those QSOs under our belts, Jerry and I thought it was now worth a try to get into Bakersfield. Maintaining reliable communications into Bakersfield would be essential during an emergency such as an earthquake. In all likelihood, at least initially, we would not have telephone or internet service. Jerry and I scheduled the next test to include Inyokern, the top of Red Rock Canyon, California City, Tehachapi, Bakersfield and then hitting Lake Isabella on my way home. We would coordinate using the Randsburg 145.34 MHz repeater.
From the lessons learned during our previous test, in addition to the five-eights wave mobile antenna, I took along a dual band vertical with a claimed gain of six dB on two meters and a four element Yagi with eight point two dB gain. Jerry would use his five-eights wave mobile antenna eight feet high and a five element Yagi at fifty-five feet.
Both of our transceivers were capable of fifty watts output.
This test just confirmed our opinions that PSK31 is a good mode to use for keyboard to keyboard QSOs under less than optimum conditions. Jerry and I were able to complete QSOs between Ridgecrest and the Inyokern Senior Citizens Center and the lowest portion of hwy 178 between the Inyokern Airport and hwy 14 with just five watts and five-eights wave antennas. Both QSOs were completed with 100% copy. Jerry listened to me on the input of 145.34 and found that the signal strengths were about the same on voice and PSK31, which was expected.
The QSO at the top of Red Rock Canyon provided more useful information. Although both stations continued to copy each other 100% on PSK31 using the five-eights wave antennas and five watts, Jerry was not able to hear me on the input to Randsburg repeater. After switching to high power, Jerry reported my voice signal strength was S2 on the input frequency. Yet PSK31 provided 100% copy with no garbled text. Next stop, hwy 14 and the California City turnoff.
It had to happen. At the California City turn off communications check, Jerry was no longer able to hear me while using five watts. Switching to high power and with Jerry using his Yagi, we were able to complete our test QSO with 100% copy both ways. Think you can do that using two meter voice? We could not. Tehachapi would provide the next challenge.
Getting off the highway at Tehachapi Blvd. and pulling along side the road adjacent to a large open field, I didn't even bother trying to contact Jerry using the mobile antenna. I pulled out my portable mast and vertical antenna and got things up into the air. Letting Jerry know via the Randsburg repeater that I was ready to try the QSO, we quickly confirmed good communications both ways with 100% copy. Both of us were using high power and had a received signal strength of S0 to S1. I then set up the four element beam and after swinging it in a 360 degree arc, we were unable to reestablish communications. In all probability, the omni coverage vertical provided better transmit and receive signals because the signals were bouncing off various hills to complete the path. No matter, whatever it takes to do the job.
An hour later found me in Bakersfield. To sum it up, nothing worked. Maybe expecting two meter FM to bounce over, through, and around the Sierra was just asking too much. After a brief stop at the mall to chow down on some orange and Mandarin chicken with fried rice, I headed off towards Lake Isabella via hwy 178.
At Lake Isabella, I set up the vertical antenna in the parking lot near the junction of hwy's 178 and 155. We were able to conduct a simplex QSO with 90-100% copy using high power. This is just amazing considering there were several mountains between us.
We still need to work out a way to reliably communicate with Bakersfield. Although it would have been nice to be able to do this using two meter FM, our equipment just would not support that. Maybe using 13-26 element beams Mt each location might be the answer.
Geo Bun Buster Horse Ride
Alight! Another successful completion of the annual Geo Bun Buster. This is the third of three horse endurance rides that the SARC and IWV Hams help with each year by providing communications support. This was a thirty and fifty mile ride with a total of ninety-one riders starting the courses. All riders complete the same first thirty miles, and then the fifty milers complete a different route for an additional twenty miles. As with all of the other rides we help with, our responsibilities include reporting the position of the lead riders for each group, calling for the horse ambulance, ensuring enough water is available at each watering trough and pointing the riders in the right direction.
The ride started at 0615 hrs which necessitated sending the first Ham out even earlier. Mike Pope KB6NIZ was assigned to the first turn in the course. This turn is about one mile from the start line and a safety observer is necessary in case a horse throws a rider or fails to make the turn. As it was, one rider did get thrown between the start line and Mike, however the horse turned around and ran back towards base camp. The horse was quickly rounded up and brought back to the rider who promptly gave it a severe tongue lashing. A few syllables could be heard back at base camp a quarter mile away. A little better planning this year by the communications leader, KM6JM, got the Hams staffing the next two spots to their sites before the horses arrived. Dennis Farrell W6DWF was stationed at the first official water stop and number check at the top of the hill five point six miles into the race. Although the riders came through this check point in large groups, Dennis was able to get the numbers of all the riders. Good job. Six point one twisty miles farther along the course found the riders at the McCloud Flat area, the next water spot, with Mark Slay KE6SMA collecting numbers. By this time the large groups had been reduced to one or two riders, but still very challenging to hear and confirm the numbers of each horse/rider. As usual, Mark got them all.
Lloyd Brubaker WA6KZV was staffing the next stop along the course, vet check one. This spot seems to be where all the action takes place. If you remember last year, this is the spot where a horse tripped, knocked itself out and got a bit excited when it woke up. Well this year was just a bit different. Coming into the check, a rider fell/slipped/got thrown from the horse and dislocated a shoulder. The horse wandered into the vet check by itself and the rider came in a short time later. Lloyd and the veterinarian got to practice some of their first aid skills by placing the rider's arm in a sling and securing it to reduce movement and pain. It was also determined that the rider did not desire or require advanced medical help. Amazingly, the rider initially thought she would continue the ride, however once the adrenaline started wearing off and the pain increased a bit, she decided that returning to base camp was a better idea. Thus ended loop one.
Loop two continued from vet check one up a winding canyon while climbing 550 feet to Dave Stone KC6UUR, his water trough and number check point. Although not the highest point of the ride, this check point has the best view looking over the valley from Little Lake to points north of Dunmovin. Two and one half miles later got the riders thundering through the next watering hole with Phelps TerHeun KF6ZVD taking numbers. Fortunately, no significant events took place at these two spots requiring anything other than trying to account for all riders. One of the most essential and difficult tasks we have is to keep an accurate list of which riders have been though each check point. Even reading the number back to the rider for verification does not always work as Phelps found out. While trying to determine if Dave and Phelps could secure their check points, we found that several riders were unaccounted for. After checking with the check points before and after these two and after checking with the ride secretary, we were able to account for all riders.
All riders returned to base camp with the thirty milers calling it a day and the fifty milers taking a one hour mandatory rest break after clearing with the vet. As the fifty milers took off on their last leg, they climbed back up the hill to where Dennis patiently waited. After getting their numbers again, Dennis pointed them south this time to head towards Red Hill where vet check three and Jerry Brooks KK6PA anticipated their arrival.
Not much excitement at vet check three this year. Jerry did call for the horse ambulance, a pickup truck pulling a horse trailer, to transport a horse that was pulled by the vet. This made the ambulance driver, April, very happy. After sitting around the warm, dusty base camp all day, this gave April the chance to do her assigned job. Although none of us wants anyone or anything to require emergency service, it is nice to know that, when needed, we are able to respond.
After leaving vet check three, the riders returned towards base camp to the finish line where Bill Seif W6WGS would see some spectacular sprints. While keeping track of the loop three riders, we found that we were missing one final thirty miler. Dennis and Bill were tasked to scan the area with binoculars between their sites in an effort to locate the late finisher. About an hour later, the rider returned to base camp claiming they had completed the fifty mile course. A quick check with Jerry indicated that the rider may have completed fifty miles, but certainly not by riding the Bun Buster course. After a false alert that the last two riders were within sight of the finish line, the real last two riders finished at about 1715 hrs. Ensuring that each water stop had adequate water and cleaning up after the ride by picking up all the water troughs was Alex Higgins' KD6ZUV task. The Geo Bun Buster ride manager and secretary were very impressed with the support provided by the SARC and IWV Hams and commented that this was by far the best support they have received for this ride. All Hams did a superb job in reporting the lead riders through each of their check points and keeping track of the rest of the riders. If any of this sounds interesting, how about signing up to help out with any of the horse rides next year? There is a twelve hour ride in January, a twenty-four hour ride in February and this ride every March. Contact Dave Stone KC6UUR, Lloyd Brubaker WA6KZV or me, Hal Hazel KM6JM, for more information or to volunteer.
Monthly Fox Hunt
The March Fox Hunt was held on St. Patrick's Day, 17 March. The list of hounds was rather short, one team to be exact. Mike WA6ARA assisted by Sparky the wonder dog, was the fox, hiding the transmitter in the city limits, barely. Team Evans, Todd W6TOD and Pam KC6UUS, were the sole hound team. While the hidden transmitter general area was fairly easy to find, the exact location of the transmitter amongst all the pine needles, sticks and piles of dirt was a tad more challenging. The Evans found the transmitter in forty-three minutes, a new record.
Their punishment, er-- award, is the challenge of being the fox for the April hunt slated for April 14, 9:00 am at the Heritage Inn parking lot.
Seems that we are pretty good at getting into the general area but finding the transmitter in the last fifty feet is the hard part. The April issue of QST has a fine close in-sniffer for fox hunting. I have my parts on order for it. Hopefully, we will see a couple more built as well. The Kern River Valley Ham club is now conducting Fox Hunts. Check out their web page at http://kb0dbi.tripod.com/foxhuntpages/ Maybe we can get a group together and head over there some time.
RACES of Eastern Kern Co. has formed an informal steering committee to give direction to our organization. We have quite a bit on our plate and need to prioritize things. We met for the first time a few days ago and had a brainstorming. Only four people provided thirty suggestions without criticism. These are now being put in order of priority and grouped by subject matter. More people are needed to attend these meetings. If you want to be put on the e-mail, list please contact Lloyd Brubaker at 375-7245, [email protected].
Application for funds is being made to the United Way of Indian Wells Valley. We expect to finish the portable packet project soon and go on to other things.
IN THE MILL
Trip to Owens Valley Radio Observatory
The attractions are; The Millimeter-Wavelength Array consisting of six high-accuracy radio telescopes, each 10.4 meters (34 feet) in diameter; An intensive program of microwave background observations is currently underway at OVRO using the 40-meter (130-foot) telescope; New receivers and signal processing equipment have transformed the 27-meter (90-foot) Solar Array telescopes into a powerful interferometer for studying the Sun.
Hear about and observe these exciting programs and hardware in a guided and narrated tour. It is only a short auto trip from RidgeBurg. Car pooling can be arranged.
The Daily Insufficient Does It Again
All Indian Wells Valley amateur radio operators were insulted by the "CB Books" under the photo that appeared on the front page of the 23 March, Daily Insufficient. Here is "the rest of the story" to quote a popular radio commentator.
At the suggestion of the Kern County library personnel, the SARC board of officers agreed to a photo shoot of members donating amateur radio related books purchased with the proceeds from the sale Roger Meng's ham gear. I wrote a page of recent background information, which included the names and call signs of all the SARC members participating in the event and assembled a package of supporting documentation which included the current list of thirty-eight books, two letters and two articles from the AIRWAVES. This package was given to the reporter-photographer with page-by-page explanations.
The words "amateur radio related books" appeared six times in the six pages of documentation given to the Daily Incredible (that they get anything correct). In the top sheet of information that I wrote expressly for the photo session, "amateur radio operator" "amateur radio collection" "amateur radio license" "amateur radio rules" and "development and operation of amateur radio stations" also appeared. This information was, obviously, totally ignored as evidenced by the "CB Books" under the photograph.
Anyone familiar with amateur radio will also know that three of the titles in the photo are not CB books. i.e. "Satellite Handbook" "Radio Frequency Design" "VHF/UHF Handbook" Draw your own conclusions, I have said my piece.
Minutes, Membership Meeting
The 14 March meeting was called to order by 1st Vice-President Dave Stone KC6UUR at 1935 hrs in the Heritage Inn. Fifty-fifty tickets were available. The sign-in sheet was started around. Raffle tickets were also available for the Gold Millennium Key. Drawing for the key will be at the June meeting. Announcements: Lloyd Brubaker WA6KZV provided comments on the 100 mile horse ride. No riders were lost.
The ride ended at 2:30 am There were 130 riders. The next horse ride, the Geo Bun Buster, is coming up. Hal Hazel KM6JM will be coordinating Ham support for that ride. Elvy Hopkins introduced the newest member of the IWV amateur radio community, Gloria Frasier KG6FDV, who is ten years old. The program for the evening was a video on SEMS. A discussion followed. The 50-50 drawing was won by Jerry Harness W6LET. There were seventeen amateurs present at the meeting. The meeting adjourned at 2035 hrs.
As of 17 March 2001 Share account $5,501.27 Draft account 637.35 Total $6,138.62 Obligated funds Relocate 147.00 repeater 574.86 Balance $5,563.76
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See ya in da funny paperz. de NØLV