VLF Contest Announcement

HCRA & SOTA Jerks
VLF Competition

VLF Bandscope

 

As you know the FCC has recently approved amateur radio use on the VLF (Very Low Frequency) bands starting September 15th, 2017. These bands are 135.7 to 135.8 kHZ (2,200 meters) and 472 to 479 kHz (630 meters). More information can be found about the authorization and bands by clicking the links.

It’s unlikely anyone will be using these bands for a SOTA activation but nevertheless the SOTA Jerks have proposed a QSO competition to spark interest in the new allocations. Our two clubs have gathered together $100 to award the winner of the competition. In the spirit of keeping things simple we’ve made the rules easy to follow. It’s up to you, the station builder/operators to do the heavy lifting on this one!

Rules:

  1. Eligibility
    1. All participants must be hold the proper license and permissions to use the VLF bands.
      1. Bands are open to General and above and permission must be secured by applying to UTC.
    2. All participants must be a member in good standing in either club.
    3. No participant shall have held an experimental license for these bands. We are looking for new folks to give VLF a try
  2. Contest Period
    1. Contest starts October 15th, 2017 at 0000z
    2. Contest ends March 15th, 2018 at 2359z
    3. Winner will be announced at HCRA’s April 6th 2018 meeting
  3. Bands
    1. 630 or 2,200 meters only
  4. Mode
    1. Any mode authorized for 630m or 2,200m
  5. Prize
    1. The winner will receive a $100 gift certificate to DX Engineering
  6. Selection criteria
    1. The winner is the operator with the longest distance, confirmed QSO.
      1. Distance determined by Latitude/Longitude of each station.
        1. Here’s a handy on-line calculator: https://www.mapdevelopers.com/distance_from_to.php
      2. Confirmation Proof by LotW or card only
      3. All entries must contain proof of confirmation and the distance calculated between the two stations.
      4. In the event of a tie a drawing will be held to determine the winner.
  1. Entry Requirements
    1. Submit your longest confirmed QSO to Jim Mullen via email or USPS by March 15th 2018
      1. Email: kk1w.jim@gmail.com or USPS to 144 Tower Hill Rd, Brimfield, MA 01010
        1. Enclose an SASE for return of any submitted cards

That’s all there is to it. As of this writing there are at least two transceivers that can be used without modification on VLF frequencies: Kenwood TS590 and Elecraft K3s. The Elecraft K3 can be modified to use these bands. Transverter kits for VLF are available, here’s one for under $100.

VLF Transverter Kit

These bands are more like our AM broadcast bands (think WHYN-AM 560) than traditional bands. Antenna size and power levels are limited so it shouldn’t cost a lot to be QRV on either of the bands. It will take some ingenuity and good ole’ ham ‘experimentation and modification’, which is exactly what amateur radio is all about.

There are many blogs on the web about VLF and the new bands. Here’s one from AE5X to get you started. These bands can be really interesting once you start digging a little deeper. Your efforts represent the start of a new ham radio frontier!

 

Good luck and may the longest QSO win!

’73…
HCRA and SOTA Jerks

Win an Elecraft KX3! – HCRA Raffle

HCRA’s raffle this year is going to be for a Elecraft KX3!

KX3_1920

(Raffle for radio only! Antenna, angle adapter, microphone and keyer not included)

For a mere $10 donation to the HCRA, you get a chance to win an assembled KX3 by Elecraft valued at around $1000.

This is an very popular and excellent HF portable radio that has an excellent receiver, low power consumption, can run on external power or 8AA batteries internally, it can transmit up to 12W and has plenty of options like an 100W amplifier, 2M module, pan adapter, ATU, Roofing filters, internal battery charger, custom CW paddle and others that can be added later.

HCRA has printed only 250 tickets and we will start selling them during field day 2014. Tickets will also be sold at meetings and other events throughout 2014 and part of 2015. The drawing will happen when all 250 tickets have been sold or during MTARA’s Hamfest in March of 2015. Plenty of time to obtain your chance.

Raffle is just for the Elecraft KX3 Transceiver only.
Drawing Date Subject To Change

ARRL 10 Meter Contest This Weekend!

Hello Fellow HCRA Members,

This is a reminder that the 10 meter contest is this weekend and we will again be participating not only as individuals, but also as a club. The band has had some great openings over the last couple months, so there is some potential to see quite a bit of activity during the contest.

A couple of things to remember:

  • For HCRA to get credit for your score, you must have “Hampden County Radio Association” spelled out in the “CLUB” field in the cabrillio file you submit to ARRL after the contest (ex. CLUB: Hampden County Radio Association)
  • If you use ANY assistance (ie Cluster Network, Facebook, QRZ.com, Telephone, etc), you need to change your operating category to Multi-Single instead of Single-Op.
  • Work on setting up logging NOW and not 10 minutes before the contest.
  • READ THE RULES!!!  It can seem daunting, but they’re not too complicated, just detailed.  Knowing what to expect makes all the difference in the world.
  • If you don’t understand something, let us know and we’ll do our best to explain and help get you going.
  • DD gift cards will be awarded to anyone who scores over 100K.
  • HAVE FUN!  Don’t get hung up on the equipment that you have compared to what others are using or how everyone else is doing.  Just focus on your own operating and try to do better than the year before or if you’ve never operated in the contest, set a baseline to try to beat next year.  We do this because it’s fun!

When the contest is over, please send me your claimed score and QSO breakdown so we can update the HCRA page. Below are few useful links for more information. Again, don’t hesitate to ask questions if there is something you don’t understand. Also, if you need a place to operate or want to try HF for the first time, let us know and we might be able to find a station where you can guest op.

General Rules for all ARRL Contests:
http://www.arrl.org/general-rules-for-all-arrl-contests

10 meter contest rules in addition to the general rules:
http://www.arrl.org/10-meter

Contest basics for those new to contesting:
http://www.arrl.org/contest-basics

A deeper look into contesting:
http://www.arrl.org/contest-toolbox-tutorials

GL ES 73 DE W1MSW

2013 Annual HCRA Show & Tell Meeting a Success

Last Friday’s Show & Tell meeting was a great success.  We had 9 members bring projects that were either completed or close to completion. All of the presenters did a great job explaining their projects in detail to the club and the audience had good questions for the presenters.  Congratulations to Juergen – AB1SU (DK1TM) who scored the most points with the audience and chose the Raspberry Pi microcomputer for his prize.  Jeff – NT1K & Dan –KB1VWQ tied for 2nd place and duked it out over the last two prizes.  After the dust settled, Dan went home with the Arduino Uno Microcontroller and Jeff took home two raffle tickets for the KX3 drawing.  All of the presenters did a wonderful job with their projects and we thank you for taking the time to show your fellow club members what you’ve been working on.   Thank you to everyone who was able to make the meeting, including those who were able to tune in via the live stream on the HCRA USTREAM channel.  A special thank you to Jeff – NT1K who setup the live stream and manned the camera throughout the evening.  It’s never too early to start thinking about that project for next year!

If you were unable to attend the meeting, you can always see what you missed here: http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/29659726

Matt – W1MSW

NoBARC Hamfest Tomorrow – August 12th

At my ‘summer shack’!

The weather is ‘supposed’ to be decent tomorrow morning, a perfect time to go to a hamfest. If you haven’t been to one in a while take a ride to the Berkshires and have fun. They have a bunch of good raffle prizes too.

http://www.nobarc.org/hamfest.htm

Maybe I’ll see you there?

Jim/KK1W