HCRA/SOTA Jerks – 630 meter Challenge Results

The15 States worked by the winner, Bob/WA1OJN

Last fall HCRA and SOTA Jerks put forth a 630 meter challenge to our members. The idea and rules were simple. Get people interested in operating on the new band and offer a $100 prize for achieving the longest confirmed QSO. Yes, there were other rules but lets keep it simple. We’re all about simple!

Staying with simple we’ll let the operators tell their own story.

The WINNER!

Bob/WA1OJN – First Place and wins the $100 prize!

“It’s been a Hell of a ride, and I really enjoyed it!  Thanks for the motivation, got me back to the basics on Ham Radio and I learned a lot! Met some great people and had a lot of fun.”

 

“My longest confirmed QSO ( and the longest in general) was W7UIV in WA state at 2296.96 miles by the link you provided.”

 


“My longest WSPR that was received by another station was LA2XPA in Norway at 3383.5 miles.  See attached PDF.  I know this doesn’t count as a QSO, but pretty amazing. Total of 54 QSOs: JT9(51), FT8(2) and CW(1).”

“All done with a Kenwood TS-440 feeding a WA3ETD 25W converter. Antenna is converted 80M dipole 136 horizontal, 25 feet vertical with home made variometer.”

Thanks for the great effort Bob and glad to see you had fun. As an added bonus Bob will be showing off parts of his 630m station at HCRA’s April 6th Show & Tell meeting – don’t miss it!

 

Jim/KK1W

“First off, a big congratulations to Bob for his outstanding efforts into 630 meters. 54 QSO’s are indeed impressive, there’s not a lot of unique stations to work (yet) on the MF bands. I was quite surprised with the distances possible with low power and small antennas. Some said, “will you even be able to make a QSO across town?”. I guess the answer is YES!”

“I ended up with 29 QSO’s, JT9(25, CW (3) and FT8 (1). I could hear a lot farther than I could work with only 20 watts going into an inverted L antenna. The vertical portion of the antenna is 80′, horizontal about 175′, fed through a fixed tuned loading coil and a half dozen ‘on ground’ radials.  My farthest QSO was with ZF1EJ in the Cayman Islands, a distance of 1668 miles. That means Bob only whipped me by 628 miles! Oh well….”

“My station consists of an Elecraft K3s, MFSolutions down converter modified to be a simple 20W amplifier and an Inverted L antenna. Most receiving was done on a 650′ reversible beverage.”

Nick/K1NZ

Nick modified his IC-735 to work on 630 meters. Unfortunately he wasn’t able to get a viable antenna built before winter arrived. He ended up making one CW QSO with Jim, KK1W, confirmed on LotW for a distance of 7 miles. Hopefully Nick will be up and running on 630 next fall and making lots of digital QSO’s

 


The SWL’s

Al/N1AW

Al didn’t have time to put together a transmit station but received a QSL from AA1A for a beacon reception: Here’s the details:

“Hi,
I am hearing your AA1A beacon on 473.9 KHz. I’m listening with an old IC-706, antenna is a 160m inverted L. The signal does not  indicate on my S-meter, and is pretty close to the noise level, but I don’t expect this rig to be much good at receiving at this frequency. According to QRZ.com I am 105 miles from you in FN32qq. This  is my first go at doing anything on this band.  I have a few other projects to finish before I try to make a transmitter. I wonder what you are using for transmitter and antenna?”
“Maybe you have already heard, one of the clubs I belong to is sponsoring a VLF contest. The info is on their website: http://www.hcra.org/

73,
Al,   N1AW

“Hi Al, QSL 474 cw and that was a rare CW beacon try,  am usually on WSPR for automatic unattended operation. The TX is a IC718 feeding a home brew transverter then in to a PA amp then directly in to the wire vertical loop, forget radials and variometers!!… That is interesting hcra page, let’s get going and show them how its done, eh?? You will need a few dozen watts minus antenna efficiency to come out @ 5W radiated, also you are in the side null of my loop so that’s pretty good receiving…”

N1AW DE AA1A  TNX Al

Frandy/N1FJ

Frandy listened with his K3 for KK1W’s CW signal on 630m and was able to copy it, a distance of 27 miles. KK1W, being lazy, didn’t send a SWL card.

James/WD1S

James did a lot of listening on 630 meters with his Kenwood TS-590. Unfortunately the 590, like the K3s, only generates about 0.5 milliwatts on 630 meters. That’s just not enough power to run barefoot on 630. I’m not sure if James was able to copy signals from either me or Bob, but I think he did. If so the distances would be 37 and 8 miles respectively.

WRAP-UP

That about wraps it up for our first 630 meter challenge. Thanks to HCRA and the SOTA Jerks for contributing $50 from each club towards the prize and allowing us the opportunity to run the challenge. Everyone learned from their efforts: building and tuning antennas for 630m, designing and building loading coils, modifying radios and amplifiers, learning new digital modes, understanding MF propagation…  the list goes on.  Our entrants elected not to ‘sit on the sidelines’ but get active and try new things. Not everything worked as planned but, in the end they were successful and had fun. Isn’t that what it’s all about?

Good luck with your amateur radio adventures in 2018!

’73…
Jim/KK1W

 

HCRA Board of Directors Meeting 29-March-2018

HCRA Board of Directors meeting 29-Mar-2018

Attendees:

President – WM1B (Dave)

Vice President – OPEN

Secretary – N1FTP (Harold)

Tech. Dir – K1YO (Bob)

Program Dir. – W1AST (Larry)

Membership – K1VOI (John)

Absent:

Treasurer – NV1Q (Juergen)

Zero Beat Ed. – W1MOW (Gary)

At Large – KB1RXO (Karl)

——————————— Meeting Open at 7:00pm ———————

President Report:

  • For NEQP, (New England QSO Party), the Hampden County rules and award Plaque will change to “Low Power” to make it more attainable for others.
  • At our next meeting, we will ask the membership for a volunteer to be the HCRA QSL Manager.
  • The Post Office box issue has been resolved by WM1B and N1FTP going to the Agawam Post Office to renew, make document changes, and receive new keys. The PO Box number remains the same.

Vice President Report:

  • OPEN

Secretary Report:

  • Approval of previous Board of Director’s meeting minutes. Motion: K1YO, 2nd: K1VOI, Approved: YES
  • Fifty more copies of the membership welcome package have been made and given to WM1B for distribution.

Treasurers Report:

  • The Treasurers report is available on request.

Program Director Report:

  • Apr, Show & Tell
  • May, ARRL representative
  • Jun, Field Day
  • Sep, Open
  • Oct, DX Engineering
  • Nov, ARRL Section Manager, Ray, KB1LRL

At Large Report:

  • Nothing to report.

Membership Report:

  • 77members so far for 2018 John will put a reminder in Zero Beat for membership renewals.

Technical Director:

  • K1YO informed the BOD that the classes are ready and that he will present the class information at the next member meeting. The classes will be for 2-3 people at a time.
  • K1YO has also received a request for help from N1TA.
  • An article on RFI tracking was found and will be mentioned at the next member meeting as well.

Zero Beat Editor:

  • Nothing to report.

Old Business:

K1VOI is working on W1NY/WB1Z qsl cards. The design has already been chosen.

New Business:

  • Work is being done on Membership dues vs payment tracking. Membership dues needs to be reconciled with the Treasurer.
  • An offer will be made to the membership that if they did not pay their 2018 dues by now and they do at the time of the meeting, they will be good until the end of 2019. Do we need to change when dues are paid to coincide with our Fiscal Calendar as well?
  • More representation is needed at the VE sessions. Hand out welcome pamphlets, help with membership forms, determine interests, offer to bring or meet at the next meeting.
  • The Rookie Round-up is coming and the rules have changed quite a bit to encourage more rookie operators. Bring changes to member meeting and offer help and guidance to potential participants.
  • Greenfield College is offering extended indepth training for the Technicians Class License. WM1B and K1YO are looking into local sites for a Tech Class cram session.
  • WM1B made a very useful “Calendar of Events” document for the BOD to keep track of financial obligations, tax times, insurance renewals, etc.

Open Floor Discussion: (GOO – Good of the Order)

  • Field Day 2018 if fast approaching.
  • K1YO has made an extensive list of what he needs to have done:
  • Need help with the site/equipment setup on Friday June 22.
  • Need help for the tear-down on June 24.
  • Band captains for each station established are needed… list to follow when it is determined how many stations we will operate this year.
  • Assistance is needed for the pre-FD equipment testing in early June. Antenna hardware checks, testing the cable runs, and filter/splitter testing.
  • Food preparation will be handled my Mr and Mrs W1AST.
  • Publicity/Public Relations help is needed.
  • Transportation of the club equipment trailer to/from storage on Friday and Sunday.
  • Station operators and loggers needed during the actual event.
  • Odds and ends like small quiet generators and loaner equipment will likely be needed again.

    All this will be brought up at the next members meeting.

– W1AST has made a great Field Day Proposal for those that help out at the Field Day event. It is the purchase of a uBitz transceiver kit that will be raffled off to only those that help out during the field day event. Details will be brought to the next member meeting. A motion was made and approved for the purchase of the uBitz transceiver. Motion: K1YO, 2nd: K1VOI, Approved: YES.

Next Board of Director’s meeting will be on 19-April-2018.

——————————— Meeting Closed at 9:00pm ———————

From the Shack – Special April 2018 Edition

Dave Fant / WM1B

This special Edition; is a supplement to the April Zero Beat which you will be receiving shortly from our Editor, Gary who is under the weather right now – so. I wanted to get this information out to you right away.

I am really excited to be back in Hampden County! While Florida was nice, it is great to be at my home QTH where I can crank up the 590 and use the home shack! Thanks to the Board members (especially Larry/W1AST) who handled the meetings while I was gone.

Activities
We have some exciting items coming up with Spring upon us, NEQP – our party on the air (More on this later); Rookie Roundup with some new rules that will allow more to qualify as Rookies, Field Day which is our chance as the Premier Radio Club in Western Mass to show off to the communities, and of course our election of officers (More on that later also). So, we have lots going on in the next 3 months. Be sure to come to our April 6th meeting for additional information. We have a lot planned for a really stuffed full night!

April Meeting
At the April Meeting we will have our SHOW N TELL session where you can bring the items that you have been working on over the past cold winter. Where has the SWAP N SELL gone? Well it is coming back! Before the meeting the SWAP N SELL will be present! Bring those odd items from your shack that have been cluttering up you space and pick up a few coins (so you can buy stuff to fill the vacant space!)

Mail Service
Upon my return I was hit with a problem with our mail service. It seemed that many of you had mail sent to HCRA returned as undeliverable. After meeting with the Agawam PO, we determined that the Box had been closed. We were able to get the Box reopened and back in operation. You may have received mail returned to you listed “Non-Deliverable”. This may have included your dues check, applications, or other mail. It turns out that this may have gone as far back as October of last year. This was strictly the result of miscommunication between individuals who were authorized to pick up the
mail. The mail had not been picked up for some time and when the renewal notice was placed in the box, it was not handled and the box subsequently locked and all mail in the box was returned to sender. While this caused some serious problems, it has been resolved with new procedures established to ensure this does not happen again. I personally along with the entire Board, apologize for this mix-up and ask that if you have any questions you contact us. We assure you that all is now operating correctly.
PO Box 562 Agawam, is now open for business!

FIELD DAY
Field day is only three months away – that is less than 90 days! This is one of the most exciting events we have. A chance for the whole club to get together and have a fun weekend. It was the first club event I participated in as a new HAM. Time for all operators, Rookie and Old Time alike to work together and have some fun. Not operating? enjoy a donut or a cup of coffee with others under the Shelter. Once again it will be at the School Street park in Agawam, same place as the last few years. Come on out and become involved, whether it is for a few minutes, a few hours, or the entire weekend. Plenty of different type of activities available, from setting up to operating, to eating, to taking down and packing up. The more that come the less work for a few. Come on and join the fun! Some big  surprises ahead as the time gets closer.

New England QSO Party
May 5-6, 2018
http://neqp.org/index.html
It’s been six years since we had an April “Special Edition” of Zero Beat. The New England QSO Party is just around the corner and we felt we had to ‘do it again’ and get the word out. As it works out the dates are exactly the same as they were in 2012! Go figure.

There’s been a slight change in the HCRA sponsored plaque for NEQP.
Starting this year (2018) the winner of the plaque will be the operator with: High Score, Low Power, and Hampden County. Moving to the low power category (less than 150 watts) will level the playing field and offer greater opportunity for smaller stations to be competitive in this great event.

Last year there were 21 different stations operating in Hampden County completing 538 QSO’s. I’ll bet, with just a little effort, we could do maybe 50% better than 2017 – but we need your help. We need you to get into your ham radio shack and have some fun! Let’s shoot for 30 stations and 750 QSO’s in 2018. With your help I’ll bet we might do even better.

What’s the New England QSO Party you ask?
HCRA has many new members so maybe it’s worth reviewing exactly what a QSO  party is? It’s not like a  regular party. You don’t have to dress up (but you could), get up early or stay up late. What you do have to do is get on the air! In this case amateur radio operators in the six New England states are throwing the party. Hams everywhere outside of New England are invited to contact us and all our friends in the New England states. They won’t be looking for somebody from Ohio or Texas, only people New England states.

Yes, it is a contest, but it’s fun at the same time. There’s competition to work all 67 counties in New England as well as to get the highest score. The winner (outside of New England) will get a lobster dinner for their effort. New England operators get the opportunity to make contacts, hand out counties/states and, if you want to, accumulate points for certificates and awards. The exchange is simple (the exchange is the info you give to the person contacting you) and consists of signal report, county and
state. On phone you would (if you’re in Hampden County) give a signal report, Hampden County, Massachusetts. On CW that would be signal report, HMDMA. The website referenced in the title has all the three letter county abbreviations.

You get one point for each phone contact and two for CW or digital. I wonder how many operators will try the new FT8 digital mode this year? If you think you’ll make a lot of contacts you may want to use a logging program. The free N1MM logger plus supports NEQP and is downloadable at www.n1mm.hamdocs.com/tiki-index.php.

The contest starts at 4:00 PM (EDT) Saturday, May 5th and ends Sunday, May 6th at 8:00 PM. Unlike most contests, you MUST take a break, from 1:00 AM until 9:00 AM Sunday morning. Yes sir, you can even get some sleep with this contest! NEQP is an HF only contest (80/40/20/15/10 meters) on voice, CW and digital.

What, you don’t have a ‘shack’?
Not a problem, why not go mobile! Even better, if you don’t want to battle for the HCRA award, drive to a rare county and operate from there. You’d be surprised how they will hunt you down and put you in their logs on the way to ‘hopefully’ winning that lobster dinner. See the NEQP web page for mobile details.

Awards

High score in various categories will earn you certificates or a beautiful plaque. But even if you don’t win anything every time you get an answer to your CQ you will be helping another operator get a few points closer to a lobster dinner.

As noted above, HCRA sponsors a beautiful plaque for the station operating in
Hampden County that has the highest score while running low power. These are gorgeous plaques and will add beauty to any shack.

Fun Facts
Looking for your Worked All States award? That hard to find Wyoming station will be looking for YOU for a change.

There are three other QSO parties running this weekend also: The Delaware QSO Party, Indiana QSO party and 7th Call Area QSO Party (7QP). If you want to participate in those contests N1MM (and other logging programs) will track your QSO’s automatically. At the end of the contest you end up submitting logs for all four. How cool is that!

The first NEQP was held in 2002. That year two mobile teams from HCRA did a mobile operation roving between counties. N1SR/AA1TE severely trounced KK1W/WB1Z with 17,105 points to 403

In 2005 another HCRA mobile team, this time comprised of N1SR and KK1W using our club call W1NY making QSO’s from 39 New England counties, a record that still stands.

This is a work everyone/everywhere contest. You get points for every contact made  whether inside or outside of New England or outside the United States. That’s pretty cool!
It’s just plain FUN!

HCRA Competition
Although there isn’t a club category in this contest we can still have a little home grown competition.  I’m sure someone will start a Facebook thread posting their successes and scores, then the rest of us can pile on!

Looking for even more fun? Why not open up your station for a multi-operator effort? With all the new amateurs coming on board this is a nice way to welcome them into the hobby and give them a taste of HF operating. Not only will you have fun it’s also a good way to get the shack cleaned up too! There’s nothing like inviting folks over to make you notice all that ‘stuff’ you’ve been meaning to put away, right?

If you’ve never tried HF, contesting or don’t have a station QRV (on the air) yet let us know at the April meeting. We’ll try to get you ‘hooked up’ with someone willing to spend a little time getting you on theair. By the end of the contest you’ll have relegated those ‘training wheels’ in the closet and be operating like a pro!

So mark your calendar for the first weekend in May and plan on some ham radio fun! The rest of the country will be looking for YOU!

ELECTIONS
It is not to early to begin to think about the upcoming elections. Again the more who become involved, the less the work is for a few. We have many available positions so Think about what you would like to do for your club. We hope to have a list of those who are running for the April meeting. We have some important positions to be filled, Zero Beat Editor and Program Director. Larry Krainson has prepared a summary of the Program Director to show what it entails.

Planning A HCRA Meeting, It’s Easier Than You Think!
I hear the comment often “Program Director” is the hardest job on the HCRA board. No, it’s not. It’s really very easy if you know these key steps.
1. You are a ham and have an interest in all things radio and more
2. You go to meetings, flea markets, conventions and are always looking around
3. You look at displays and think, “I’d like to learn more about that”
Those are the main things. Having an interest in ham and electronics and often think you’d like to learn more about an advertisement, subject, radio, nearly anything.

So how do I turn that into a meeting?
1. While reading or being out and about, make a note to yourself to investigate that idea/item, subject/person/whatever further.
2. Possibly approach said person and ask if they would like to come speak to the HCRA and get their email or best contact info.
3. Send them an email asking if they’d be interested in coming and speaking to the HCRA and  if they are, check the schedule and offer some dates.
4. Record the speaker info and confirmation date on your calendar and speaker list with contact info.
5. Send an email with that info to the ZB editor and President.
6. About a week or two before the meeting, contact the guest speaker again to remind them and provide meeting location and time
7. A few days before reach out again and provide your phone number and remind when the doors open (7pm) and what time the meeting starts (7:30pm)
8. Save all email correspondence with the speaker for future reference.

All guest speakers have access to the PA system plus the projector and wifi and mention that to them.

The day of the meeting, bring a mug to hand to them as thanks for speaking to us.

Still don’t have any ideas? Then troll other clubs in New England for some interesting ones and speaker contacts. You can google each New England state ham clubs and read back thru maybe 6 months of their newsletter if it’s on line. Usually there are some very good speakers to be had this way. I think I did this once during the past 4-5 years when I briefly ran out of ideas.

Anything that you’re interested in, others most likely are too. Plan a meeting and everyone will learn more.

I look forward to attending future meetings that you have planned.

73, Larry, W1AST

630 Meter Contest ends tonight at 6:59 PM (2359Z)!

Who will claim the $100 distance prize? Please submit your entry as follows:

WSPR stations received at KK1W on a typical evening

Submit your longest confirmed QSO to Jim Mullen via email or USPS by March 15th 2018
Email: kk1w.jim@gmail.com or USPS to 144 Tower Hill Rd, Brimfield, MA 01010
Enclose an SASE for return of any submitted cards

No need to submit cards unless you can’t copy or scan them. Use the tools linked in the original article to calculate your longest distance confirmation.

To keep things interesting it would be great if everyone who participated, whether or not you confirmed contacts or simply listened on the band, sends me the following:

1. Number of QSO’s made and if possible broken down by mode.
2. Longest QSO (unconfirmed or confirmed).
3. Brief station description (if I don’t already have it).
4. If SWL a brief overview of activity and mode.

Going forward prospective MF operators (630m & 2200m) can make use of this information an an indication of what to expect when they are QRV on Medium Frequency.

The prize will be awarded along with a quick overview of activity at our April 6th meeting. This is also our Show & Tell meeting. Why not enter something you built for 630m? Maybe you can go home with multiple prizes 

Many thanks to everyone participating. You folks are pioneers on a new amateur band. Exciting stuff our hobby and our club, keep up the good work!

HCRA BOD Meeting 22-Feb-2018

HCRA Board of Directors meeting 22-Feb-2018

Attendees:

President – WM1B (Dave)

Vice President – OPEN

Secretary – N1FTP (Harold)

Treasurer – NV1Q (Juergen)

Tech. Dir – K1YO (Bob)

Program Dir. – W1AST (Larry)

Membership – K1VOI (John)

Absent:

Zero Beat Ed. – W1MOW (Gary)

At Large – KB1RXO (Karl)

——————————— Meeting Open at 7:00pm ———————

President Report:

  • Find ways to get out into the community to promote ham radio as well as HCRA.
  • Discussed the importance of a “Get On The Air” station at field day to get interested people on the air. Maybe setup another local repeater group to communicate with. Would benefit both clubs. Make it a part of the visitor station.

Vice President Report:

  • OPEN

Secretary Report:

  • Approval of previous Board of Director’s meeting minutes. Harold suggested changing the wording from “additional Director Positions” to “additional Liaison position’s”. Approved and accepted.
  • Raffle tickets sales are at 90 and it looks like we will meet our quota and be able to have the raffle at the MTARA flea.
  • A table has been reserved at the MTARA flea. Harold will bring our banner and setup shop.

Treasurers Report:

  • The Treasurers report is available on request.

Program Director Report

  • March, John Ellsworth, Vintage Radio Museum in CT.
  • April, Show & Tell
  • May, Steve Ford (WB8IMY) from ARRL
  • June, DX engineering and Elections

At Large Report:

  • Nothing to report.

Membership Report:

  • 68 members so far for 2018 (54 members in total, 8 prospects, 2 family, and 4 lifetime members). John will put a reminder in Zero Beat for membership renewals.

Technical Director:

  • Bob has made some outstanding progress on his technical projects for select club members. He has completed his first overall tests and is very satisfied with the results. More to do and more to follow.
  • Bob has also formulated a list of committees that are needed for a successful Field Day. This will be discussed at our next member’s meeting.

Zero Beat Editor:

  • Nothing to report.

Old Business:

  • A reminder that each director needs to write down what they think their job descriptions are. So far, descriptions have come in from the Technical Director and Secretary.

New Business:

  • The Vice President position is still open.
  • Juergen will order the Yaesu FT-891 and ATAS-120A as the raffle prize for the MTARA flea.
  • Access to our trailer is needed to retrieve the HCRA advertisement board for display at the flea. Bob, K1YO will be handling this.

Open Floor Discussion: (GOO – Good of the Order)

  • Who will be responsible for sending out QSL’s to operators that contacted W1NY and/or WB1Z? John will work on designing and purchasing QSL cards.

Next Board of Director’s meeting will be on 22-March-2018 with a backup date of 29-March-2018.

——————————— Meeting Closed at 7:40pm ———————

HCRA Clublog Challenge 2017 – Results

HCRA encourages its members to get on the air. Every year we host a “Clublog challenge” where members can compete with each other to see who can make the most contacts throughout the year. HCRA and its members use the clublog.org service as a way to keep track of contacts. Members just upload their logs to the site throughout the year and we’ll take care of the rest.

2017 was quite an interesting year. Compared to years before, you can see how the solar cycle affected the amount of contacts that were made this year. There was an approximate 1/3 decrease in band contacts from last year. Only 3 people made DXCC this year compared to 6 last year.

There are some improvements compared to last year. The WARC band counts have increased. 160m is being utilized and there is an increase in 6 meter contacts as well.
There were some members that were more active this year.

We are still a couple years away from solar minimum. Hopefully that doesn’t discourage anyone. There are contacts still to be made! Lots of All Time New Ones (ATNO) out there.

Overall Winners

Category 1st 2nd 3rd
DXCC NU1O (219) NF1G (216) NV1Q (157)
Slots NU1O (660) K1NZ (448) NF1G (420)

Certificates will be available to the overall winners at the February 2018 meeting. 

Band Winners

Band 1st 2nd 3rd
160 KK1W (69) K1NZ (45) WD1S (24)
80 K1NZ (71) NV1Q (52) NU1O (50)
60 K1NZ (31) W1AST (9) KK1W (5)
40 NU1O (133) K1NZ (93) W1AST (53)
30 NF1G (79) K1NZ (79) NU1O (51)
20 NU1O(176) NV1Q (121) K1VOI (108)
17 NF1G (78) NU1O (63) K1VOI (54)
15 NU1O (115) NV1Q (94) K1VOI (60)
12 NF1G (46) NU1O (20) W1MJB (14)
10 NU1O (47) NV1Q (27) K1VOI (16)
6 NF1G (8) W1AST (5) WD1S (2)

Certificates are available upon request. 

Complete Standings

Rank Callsign 160 80 60 40 30 20 17 15 12 10 6 DXCC Slots
1 NU1O 5 50 0 133 51 176 63 115 20 47 0 219 660
2 NF1G 0 38 0 46 85 70 78 44 46 5 8 216 420
3 NV1Q 5 52 0 41 32 121 23 94 8 27 1 157 404
4 K1VOI 0 25 0 49 3 108 54 60 9 16 0 138 324
5 K1NZ 45 71 31 93 79 73 9 46 0 1 0 129 448
6 W1AST 0 14 9 53 15 98 48 31 3 8 5 129 284
7 KK1W 69 27 5 29 7 19 20 6 0 6 1 104 189
8 N1HM 2 3 1 13 0 75 9 35 1 4 1 93 144
9 NT1K 3 28 2 50 0 66 0 36 0 3 1 88 189
10 N1FTP 0 1 0 16 0 68 4 23 0 1 1 82 114
11 N1AW 1 12 0 34 9 33 25 12 0 3 0 81 129
12 AB1WT 1 8 1 7 0 32 40 31 2 5 1 77 128
13 KX1X 0 2 0 37 0 13 3 15 0 3 0 52 73
14 W1MJB 0 5 0 1 1 23 17 19 14 7 0 48 87
15 WD1S 24 7 0 22 3 24 0 0 0 2 2 48 84
16 W1PY 3 5 0 7 3 21 8 2 0 0 0 37 49
17 K1VWQ 1 3 0 10 1 23 1 7 0 7 1 34 54
18 KB1VSX 0 0 0 3 0 8 0 0 0 0 0 10 11
19 KB1VWQ 1 1 0 3 0 6 0 0 0 1 1 7 13
20 KC1PUG 0 1 0 2 1 5 2 1 0 0 0 7 12
21 N1MFL 0 0 0 1 0 3 0 0 0 2 1 5 7
22 KC1BDF 0 0 0 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 1 3

Certificates for anyone who participated are available upon request. 

If you are a current HCRA member, have a clublog account and would like to participate in the 2018 challenge, you can join our club on clublog.org. We’ve written a how-to for those who haven’t joined. You must have a clublog.org account in order to participate. Those who’ve already joined our clublog group in the past are already added for 2018. Just upload your logs.

Thanks for reading,
Jeffrey Bail (NT1K)

630 Meter Challenge

630 Meter Challenge – Halftime Update:

A map of WSPR stations received at KK1W on a typical evening. (http://wsprnet.org/drupal/wsprnet/map)

The HCRA/SOTA Jerks 630 meter challenge crosses the halfway point January 1, 2018. So far close to a half dozen members have made QSO’s or SWL reports on our new, medium frequency (MF) band.  Here’s a quick overview of their achievements so far along with station descriptions and photos. Not sure about the 630 Challenge? Details can be found here. The purpose of the event is to encourage members of both clubs to expand their amateur radio horizons, “Go Low” and enjoy ham radio fun. There’s a list of links at the end to get you started on your exploration below WHYN AM if you’re so inclined.

Stations completing at least one QSO on 630 meters:

Bob/WA1OJN – First member QRV!

WA1OJN’s Shack. The MF Systems 630m converter is at the far right on the top shelf.

Bob was our first member QRV on 472 MHz. Bob hadn’t done any home-brew for many years and was excited by the Challenge announcement at the October meeting.  Here, in his own words, is his description of progress to date on 630m:

I have had QSOs with 13 stations in 8 states on JT9 with a max distance of just under 900 miles.  On WSPR I have been received in north western Canada at 2047 miles.  Unfortunately that guy does not currently have transmit capability.
My antenna is a converted 80M dipole at 25 feet with a length of 137 feet and I am using a WA3ETD converter attached to my TS-440S driving it from WSJT-X software on a Windows XP machine.

WA1OJN’s Variometer for 630m. Remote tuned using a gear motor and controlled by a battery powered switchbox in the shack.

I have been licensed since 1972 and this has really been an exciting project forcing me to get back into building stuff.  I have learned a lot about RFI with my smoke detectors, the importance of proper grounding, impedance matching and a bunch more.  Really gets you back to basics.  It’s really fun to find the limits and try to push it a bit more.  The other night a guy over 1000 miles away had me at -29 on JT9 with my grid square and signal report and just couldn’t get my RRR and 73.  I tried cranking up the power supply voltage but nothing would do it.  Now that I have remote antenna tuning I might have been able to do a quick tune and put him in the log.  It is amazing that even a 300Hz frequency change will require re-tuning.
I have found all the guys to be super helpful and some great chat rooms.  One thing I find interesting, is although most of the HF contacts I have made are using LotW, I would say the majority of the guys on 630M do not use LotW and are into paper QSLs.
Bob/WA1OJN

K1NZ and KK1W share the next spot

Nick/K1NZ and Jim/KK1W made their first QSO on 630 by working each other! Separated by a vast 7 miles here’s their story:

Nick/K1NZ

K1NZ’s Shack

Nick’s station consists of an Icom 735 and a 160m Inverted-L antenna. The Icom is fully capable of transceive on 472 MHz and Nick had been monitoring WSPR and JT9 activity for a few weeks. When KK1W got his station QRV on the new band they decided to try a CW QSO. Guess what, it worked! Signals were weak but readable with a 339R/599S report at Nick’s end. Power was very low at Nick’s station because of high SWR concerns.

K1NZ at work modifying the main board of his IC-735.

Since that QSO Nick has made modifications to the IC735 to improve RX and TX and hopes to get a resonant antenna up soon. One thing is certain, it’s not expensive to get on this band but it takes some ‘experimentation’ and good old ham tinkering to make it happen.

 

Jim/KK1W

KK1W’s 472KHz shack.

Jim’s stations features an Elecraft K3s, MF Solutions converter, an Inverted L antenna for TX and a 650′ Beverage for RX. The K3s is a great receiver on 472 MHz (with the general coverage filter) but sports only a half milliwatt (0.0005 watts) output! Getting that tiny signal boosted is the job of the MF Systems converter. The converter was modified to use only the amplifier portion and puts out about 20 watts.

KK1W’s loading/tuning coil for 630m Inverted L antenna

The Inverted L antenna has 75′ of vertical, about 175′ horizontal and a half dozen 100′ ground radials. It’s tuned with a loading coil wound on a 2 gallon plastic pail.

Results have been good so far with over 20 QSO’s, two on CW, one on FT8 and the balance on JT9 with 9 states and three countries. Jim’s longest QSO to date was with ZF1EJ in the Cayman Islands approximately 1600 miles.

Plans for station improvement include a variometer to replace the fixed tuned coil and more power. With only 20 watts his station is a “rabbit with big ears” hearing much better than it can be heard.

Stations listening on 630 meters:

James/WD1S

WD1S Shack

James is an avid 160m operator with a nice location in Chesterfield, MA. His station consists of a Kenwood TS-590 and various wire antennas. He has been receiving signals on 472 and 137 MHz since the beginning of the challenge.

Like the K3 his TS-590 has very low output on 472HKz. James has tried to work a few local stations but his 1mw signal is just not heard, at least so far.

Frandy/N1FJ

Frandy added a general coverage filter to his K3 and is using a G5RV for receiving. To date he has copied KK1W’s CW CQ and NDB’s lower in the band. He has obtained an MF Solutions converter and hopes to get on the air soon feeding an Inverted L antenna.

Mid-Challenge Wrap Up:

This wraps up our mid-Challenge activities. There are others expressing interest in the band including George/KC1V and Bob/W1QA but we’re not aware of their progress to date.

There’s remains plenty of time to get into the fun of MF over the next few months. Winter months are great for these frequencies with little atmospheric interference. It is amazing the distances achievable on these so called ‘low bands’ and you will be too – if you give it a try. Many ham transceivers and most general coverage receivers can receive below 500 KHz. Besides amateur activity on 472 KHz and 137 KHz there’s many interesting signals at VLF frequencies. Between the two amateur bands are many non-directional aircraft beacons (NDB’s). How many or how far can they be heard? Give it a listen and use one of the links below to see where they are located. Interested in digital modes? WSPR, JT9 and FT8 abound on both bands.

Why not make a 2018 resolution to spin the tuning knob and “Go Low for big fun”

Happy New Year!

’73…
Jim/KK1W

Interesting and useful links:

The links below have proven very useful for our members. They concentrate on the basics and will get you QRV on 630m quickly.

http://www.472khz.org/
http://ae5x.blogspot.com/
http://ve7sl.blogspot.ca/
https://wg2xka.wordpress.com/
http://www.giangrandi.ch/electronics/shortanttuner/shortanttuner.shtml
http://wsprnet.org/drupal/
https://pskreporter.info/pskmap.html
http://www.dxinfocentre.com/ndb.htm

HCRA BOD Meeting 21-Dec-2017

HCRA Board of Directors meeting 21-Dec-2017

Attendees:

President – WM1B (Dave)

Vise President – OPEN

Secretary – N1FTP (Harold)

Treasurer – NV1Q (Juergen)

Tech. Dir – K1YO (Bob)

Program Dir. – W1AST (Larry)

Zero Beat Ed. – W1MOW (Gary)

Membership – K1VOI (John)

At Large – KB1RXO (Karl)

——————————— Meeting Open at 7:04pm ———————

President Report:

  • Dave reiterated that we need volunteers for an “Elmer’s List” where new ham’s as well as current, can talk to, ask advise on, make visits to stations during contests, help with Rookie Roundup, use of Elmer’s equipment? Antenna raising/tear down/maintenance group.
  • Also mentioned was that he will not be here for the Jan, Feb, March meetings and that the Program Director and Secretary will be the hosts for those months.
  • Dave also asked if anyone was interested in going to the ARRL cabinet meeting in Jan. Karl and Jeff (NT1K) volunteered to go.

Vice President Report:

  • OPEN

Secretary Report:

  • 60 members from both clubs attended the Holiday party. A good time was had by all.
  • Raffle tickets sales is slow with only 62 tickets sold so far.
  • Has been in contact with the people at DX Eng. for the upcoming meeting. Catalogs have arrived and we are still working out some issues with internet connectivity.

Treasurers Report:

  • The Treasurers report is available on request.

Program Director Report

  • Jan, guest speaker via Skype, K3LR contesing station.
  • Feb, Vintage Radio Museum, CT
  • Apr, Show & Tell
  • May, Lightning protection
  • Jun, Field day and Elections

At Large Report:

  • Nothing to report.

Membership Report:

  • 43 members so far for 2018 (56 members in total, 8 prospects, 1 family, and 4 lifetime members). John will put a reminder in Zero Beat for membership renewals.

Technical Director:

  • Bob is looking into Webinar’s, Skype, Google Hangouts and other possibilities for discussing Technical issues, slide show presentations, videos… more to follow. Bob will also talk to Doug from the IT department to find out if more bandwidth is available in the Conference Room.

Zero Beat Editor:

  • Nothing to report.

Old Business:

  • Old business items were discussed during the round table discussions by each director.
  • A reminder that each director needs to write down what they think their job descriptions are.

New Business:

  • The Vice President position is still open.
  • Harold will host the January meeting.
  • Larry will host both the February and March meetings.
  • Definitions of Membership. John has completed the definitions and is in the final stage of approval.
  • Liason Positions. Dave is looking at creating some addition liason positions such as Dir of Contesting, Dir of Elmer’s, and possibly Dir of Field Day. More to follow.

Open Floor Discussion: (GOO – Good of the Order)

  • Who will be responsible for sending out QSL’s to operators that contacted W1NY and/or WB1Z? John will work on designing and purchasing QSL cards.
  • Juergen asked who will handle the Club log certificates. He will make some inquiries.

——————————— Meeting Closed at 8:45pm ———————

HCRA BOD Meeting 26-Oct-2017

HCRA Board of Directors meeting 26-October-2017

Attendees:

President – WM1B (Dave)

Vise President – OPEN

Secretary – N1FTP (Harold)

Treasurer – NV1Q (Juergen)

Tech. Dir – K1YO (Bob)

Zero Beat Ed. – WA1MOW (Gary)

Membership – K1VOI (John)

At Large – KB1RXO (Karl)

Absent: Program Dir. – W1AST (Larry)

——————————— Meeting Open at 6:56pm ———————

President Report:

  • A Tech Class is being formulated. A location has been firmed up and a support/trainer is being worked on. More to follow.
  • Volunteers are needed for an “Elmer’s List” where new ham’s as well as current, can talk to, ask advise on, make visits to stations during contests, help with Rookie Roundup, use of Elmer’s equipment? Antenna raising/tear down/maintenance group.

Vice President Report:

  • OPEN

Secretary Report:

  • Holiday ticket sales is slow but should catch up quickly at the next meeting.
  • Raffle tickets sales is also slow. It usually picks up just before and after the Holidays.
  • For sale are HCRA Polo shirts, patches, badges, and tumblers.

Treasurers Report:

  • The Treasurers report is available on request.

Program Director Report

  • Nov 3rd, SWLing and Dxing (N1FTP)
  • Dec, 4th, Holiday Party
  • Jan 5th, guest speaker via Skype from DX Engineering.
  • Apr, “Show & Tell”

At Large Report:

  • Still working on easy ways to drive in and remove Field Day antenna guy support stakes.

Membership Report:

  • 45 members so far for 2018

Technical Director:

  • Working on getting small groups of members to participate in building small projects perhaps in a lab environment. More to follow.

Zero Beat Editor:

  • The first Mini-Zero Beat was published.
  • Zero Beat will now be published every other (odd) month starting in September. For the other (even) months, a flier will be published with upcoming announcements and meetings.

Old Business:

  • The tumblers look great and are given to presenters and can be purchased by the membership.
  • A discussion of whether or not a $25 gas card should be offered to those presenters that travel quite a distance and are not presenting for the purpose of selling for profit. A motion was made and approved. In Favor-8, Apposed-0.
  • Support for Scouting/HCRA – on hold
  • Facebook host, web site – on hold, bring up at next meeting.
  • Raffle tickets, if an individual purchases 10 tickets for themselves, they get the 11th one free.
  • Holiday tickets have arrived and are being sold at VE sessions and at both club meetings.

New Business:

  • The Vice President position is still open. While Dave is in Florida, each BOD member will be given a month to open the meeting and present the presenter.
  • Each BOD member has been assigned the task of writing down their job descriptions/responsibilities.
  • Definitions of memberships has been created and is in the process of being reviewed by the BOD.
  • The Secretary will count and plot attendance of all membership meetings for trend analysis.
  • How do we increase membership? Survey Monkey? Welcoming committee? More to follow.
  • Juergen will be cleaning up and archiving items on our Web site.

Open Floor Discussion: (GOO – Good of the Order)

  • BOD frequency of meetings will be on the 3rd Thursday of every even month. (Aug, Oct, Dec, Feb, Apr, Jun). The BOD will determine if additional meetings are required on a needed basis. Meeting will be held at the Ihop in West Springfield. Dinner at 6pm, meeting at 7pm.

——————————— Meeting Closed at 8:39pm ———————