“Storm Watch”

Newsletter of NZ1U – The Barnstormers Contest Group

                                                            Volume 14 No.1. January 22, 2009

Barnstormers Annual Christmas Party – January 31st


It’s that time again where we celebrate the season and mark the halfway point of our contest season. This year it is to be held on January 31, 2009. The usual format of bring your own drink if you do not plan to drink our “Barnstormers Brew” supplied by Brewmaster KE1LI. Please bring a dish and/or snacks. We want this to be a safe night so if you plan on really partying then I hope you sleep over.


I have a few awards to pass out including a winner this year of the
“K1GX Award”.


So far the menu I know of are chicken wings, chili, snacks, and of course Vic’s scrumptious cheesecake.


The usual start time of about 6PM and who knows when it will end! Please invite friends that might not be on the distribution list and also anyone who might be a candidate for our team.



Let’s Face Reality….


In the last month or so the realization has set in that because we have not put much effort into station maintenance things have deteriorated!


We lost one of the 80M verticals because we failed to fix a broken guy rope. The radials on the 80M 4SQ are in disrepair. The 20M rotor is not turning. The new 40M/6M tower is stuck at 35 feet. Finally during last weekend’s January VHF SS we suffered failures that we knew hounded us in September.


I take much of the blame for all this backlog of repairs.


It has always been my responsibility to get the crew together and accomplish our goals. It has been a tough year to do this but I still should have kept us moving forward.  For many reasons it has been hard to get everyone together and working this past year. Some mine, some yours.


Somehow we have been able to have enough equipment and antennas working to compete is many contests this season but let’s face it, it is no fun when handicapped like we have been.


I have to ask myself and please ask yourself is this what we want? Operating is fun but in the past we have worked hard to be competitive so when the operating time came we enjoyed busting pileups, working far away multipliers, or placing well in contests including the VHF/UHF categories. With the effort we put into maintenance and improvements the past year our level of competition will not be where we would like it to be in the future.


I do not want to turn the Christmas Party into a bitch session so I won’t dwell on all this during the party. I will though either talk to you as a group or individually as to what your feelings are.


I know I will continue to push everyone. I think for one thing I have to attack each of the problems and projects a different way. Split the team into groups to get each little or big goal finished. We have many different talents in our group so I am sure we can do anything we attempt.  Yes, some of you may have to multitask but others can concentrate on a project.


Again we can discuss this at the Christmas Party in a short business meeting or we can schedule another night or day to go over this.  We all have our ideas and projects we want to get done. We all have to get involved and also realize that you might be asked to help on projects that you don’t think interest you. Hey, you might learn something!


A project like the new tower will help you understand where to put guys, why do we use phillystrand, how you tram up antennas. Want to learn how to build a power supply for the 6M amp? This is another project.  Sequencing for safe operating of preamps. We have a full plate of things to do. New stuff to add, old stuff to fix.


In other words, we can no longer just show up and operate. Some effort will have to be put into maintenance and improvements. If we can not get the effort on a certain project or repair then we will have to face the reality that it may have to be dropped or no longer available during contests.


We have been hoping to find new individuals for our group and it is pretty difficult when so much of our advantage is not working. To offer the opportunity for someone to come and operate from a decent station is the draw. Let’s remember that when all was working we placed very high in even the tough M/M category.


I guess this is enough of my “soapbox” ranting but you can see and I hope you realize we are at a point where the “Superstation” stays super or becomes the “Stuperstation”


I am looking forward to next weekend.



73,  Dick