Category Archives: outdoor

VHF Contest Award

Another surprise in the mailbox.
On the heels of the 2015 January VHF contest, arrives an award certificate for last year. Seems that with only 13 contacts and 5 grids, I was the band winner in the Alabama Section, Single Op, Low Power category for 222 MHz.

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222 MHz Award

This is not the first time I have received an award, for a fairly minimal contribution. I also received this award in 2010, for the 2009 June VHF contest – again on 222 MHz. That time I had 3 contacts in that band, 2 grids. This time I only had one 222 contact, W4ZRZ… Thanks Jimmy..

These VHF contests may not seem like much to many, but I look at them as a mini Field Day. I set up my (mostly) portable antennas and listen a lot as I do other things. This year for the January event I have 17 contacts across 4 bands (3 on 222 this time). I appreciate these little contests, as I get to check in with a few folks I don’t hear much from thru the year. There is always someone new to the VHF contest world, or VHF SSB for that matter… Oh, BTW, these 222 contacts have all been with a HT on FM, but using a small 4 element beam.

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50 MHz Squalo and 432 MHz Texas Eggbeater

If you haven’t done such a regional contest yet, try one. Sometimes 50 MHz will surprise you – those are exciting contests when the ‘magic band‘ comes to life.
In the Huntsville area, there are plenty of stations to work, even with just a vertical. Do what you can with what you’ve got.
Get some soon, try a VHF contest.!.
Thanks  /;^)

Annual ARRL/ARES SET

That is almost too much alphabet soup.
What that means is that every year those of us that do ham radio, like to test our skills with a large scale exercise – most often coordinated at the state level.
Please read more about ARRL/ARES.            Exercise, Exercise, Exercise…
         “Test what you fly, and fly what you test. . . . . . . ”

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Hmm, mobile email via VHF radio – could be useful. (and fun) /;^)

My goal this year was to operate my VHF Winlink email from the Subaru.
I also needed to activate the MSFC club station WA4NZD for the exercise.
So, I setup the stuff in the passenger seat, and drove to the club station. There had been some power-grid work earlier in the month at the Fox AMC (host site for our Winlink Internet Gateway) and it had only returned to service the day before the Simulated Emergency Test (SET).  I have a 4G/LTE modem available, and could have also operated the mobile station as an internet gateway if needed.
Someday soon, I’ll test the HF mobile capability as well.

The N4WGY-10 gateway was easy to access from WA4NZD, and a few exercise-related messages were sent. I think I heard Bill/KB4NEI check in directly from FAMC as well.  This is a great resource for the community and I’m glad to see even a few dedicated users checking it out weekly, with their own station ‘s readiness review.  Perhaps I can update the W4HMC website with the latest version of the Communications Plan diagram we used as a baseline this year for our SET.  If you are not yet registered with the Madison County ARES group – and want to be a part of this, please check our HMC RACES.org website.

There were several nets activated, and lots of check-ins.
Sounds like a good intro for a future post…

Thanks  /;^)

October sunsets

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Words are not enough to describe this sunset splendor.

Alabama sunsets in October can be breathtaking. Cool air, high thin clouds . . .
Many of my favorite sunset photos are from October, and not just from Alabama. I really want to do some time-lapse video of these, but for now I am content to just sit and watch them in real time. Wow .!.
This one was just last Sunday, Oct 19 2014. Maybe you enjoyed it too.

/;^)

even more header images

So the next phase, was to get more of this new batch of pics into header image format, and into the rotation on the blog here. Next I want to make a gallery page on the blog, as well as some calendars. These were all taken in about a 2 hr span along the Blue Ridge Parkway, traveling south from Asheville, NC.

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