News About UARC and Ham Radio in Utah
UARC Field Day is On!
After looking at state and national recommendations, the UARC Board of Directors has decided that it will be practical to go ahead and enter the annual Field Day operating event sponsored by ARRL. The event (and pseudo-contest) runs from noon on Saturday, June 26, through noon on Sunday, June 27. Setup may start as early as Thursday, June 24. The object is to set up in the field, away from commercial power and buildings, and make as many contacts as possible on a 24-hour period. Tear-down may go on until 4 P.M. on Sunday, June 27.
We will be camping out at our customary location just south of Payson Lakes. We will likely operate at least three simultaneous stations and will need operators and loggers throughout the period. There will likely be other activities and a group dinner on Saturday night. Those who do not yet have at least a Technician class license will have a chance to operate under the supervision of a higher class operator. It can be a great opportunity to see what HF operating and contesting are like.
Our policy on Coved prevention is as follows:
- “The UARC Field Day and Steak Fry, will be held as usual, with the only caveat being that, if you want to participate, we ask that you be fully vaccinated by the time of the event. A person is not considered fully vaccinated until two weeks after the last dose of the vaccine.
- “If you are not fully vaccinated we ask that you follow the CDC’s recommendations that you wear a mask at all times and maintain social distancing.”
What is Field Day? The object of today’s Field Day events is for portable and mobile stations to work as many stations as possible in a 24-hour period. Fixed stations may enter also, but can only work portable and mobile stations. The full rules for the event can be found at: http://www.arrl.org/field-day.
When? The official operating period for Field Day runs from noon, Mountain Daylight Time, on Saturday, June 26, through noon on Sunday, June 25. However people will be on site long before that to set up and just enjoy some time camping in the mountains without the sound of generators running through the night. People will be at the site as early as the evening of Wednesday, June 23. Come whenever you can and leave when you must. To get the real feel of Field Day, though, you really need to participate in some of the overnight operation.
Where? The location is an open field just south of Payson Lakes on the Mt. Nebo Scenic Loop road. The club will provide portable toilets, but other than that there are no amenities provided. You will need to bring whatever is necessary for you to be comfortable for the period you will be there. This may include food, water, and shelter. If you are staying through the evening, even if not overnight, you will want to have a warm coat.
There is also a Forest Service campground, just a half-mile away. For a fee there are campsites available with water, toilets, and picnic tables.
Here is how to reach UARC's site:
- Starting from the Salt Lake Valley, go south on I-15 to the first Payson exit, exit 250. Take the exit.
- Go left at the end of the exit ramp which should put you on Main Street (aka SR-115). (You are really going south at this point although it may seem like east.)
- Turn left on 100 North, aka SR-198.
- Turn right on 600 East, also called “Peetneet Boulevard.” This turn is at the top of a hill at a picturesque old school. Be careful to observe the speed limit
- Follow 600 East until it takes you to the mouth of Payson Canyon. At this point note your odometer reading or reset your trip odometer.
- Watch for landmarks at these approximate mileages from the canyon mouth:
- 11.1: Payson Lakes Day-use area on the right.
- 11.7: Payson Lakes Campground.turnoff on the right.
- 12.3 Guard station turnoff on the right.
- At the guard station turnoff on the right, don't take the right turn, but instead turn left onto a dirt road. Within a few hundred yards you will see the camp area.
According to Google Earth, the coordinates are:
39° 55' 31.11" N., 111° 37' 53.06" W.
What to Bring: There aren’t a lot of amenities on the site so you will need to be responsible for food, water, shelter, and warm clothing for whatever period you will be on the site. If you leave the valley in temperatures approaching 100º, warm clothing may not come immedately to mind as a necessity, but at that elevation, nighttime temperatures can get down near freezing.
Other items that may be helpful might include:
- A chair
- Your favorite key or keyer
- Electronic tools
- Tent heaters
- A hat and suscreen
Why Come? Why go to all this trouble? We can think of a few possibilities.
- Show your operating skill: If you’re a dyed-in-the-wool
contester, you’ll have a chance to show off your skill. We have
a need for those that can make three contacts a minute.
- See what HF is like: If you’ve never operated HF,
you’ll have a chance to try it out and see how to set up a
station. There will be enough General and Extra Class licensees
present that, if you’re only a Technician, then a General or
Extra can usually be found to stay in the tent with you and
serve as the licensed control operator while you make
contacts. It’s a lot different from FM on VHF and UHF. There is
competition for frequencies, fading, changes in propagation,
and a need to tune stations in carefully.
- Prepare for EMCOM: If you’re interested in emergency
communicaton Field Day is excellent practice for conditions you’ll
encounter and skills you will need if you are called to communicate
in a real disaster. You may need to operate many hours without
relief, and you will need to hear and write down information quickly
- Family Fun: This is a great chance to have a nice campout with the family and still get in plenty of hamming time. Come out and give it a try!
Steak-Fry on July 17It has been decided that UARC's annual Steak-Fry will be held this year. It will be on the afternoon of Saturday, July 17, in area 7 of The Spruces Campground in Big Cottonwood Canyon, state highway 190.
As in Field Day, those who have not been fully vaccinated will be asked to wear a mask and maintain social distancing. A person is not considered fully vaccinated until two weeks after the last dose of the vaccine.
Steak prices have changed considerably since our last steak-fry in 2019, so some of the officers are working on determining a price. As soon as we have that and a method for folks to sign up, we will post it here.
2021 License Classes Offered in OremNoji Ratzlaff, KN0JI, has announced the availability of amateur license classes during 2021. Initially, the classes will be taught on line using Zoom. If it becomes more practical later in the year, they may switch to an in-person format in Orem. There is no charge.
To register, email Noji Ratzlaff at email@example.com, and please include your name, your cell number, your town of residence, and your email address (if you're emailing in behalf of another). Our limited account will allow us to handle up to 60 attendees per course, which should accommodate most who want to participate. No pre-requisites required to attend any course; in other words, you can register for the Extra course, even if you have no license at all, but need a good sleeping aid, for example.
|License Class||Run||Ses 1||Ses 2||Ses 3||Ses 4||Ses 5|
FCC Changes “Official License Copy” ProcedureThe FCC has announced changes in the procedure for amateurs to get printed “Official Copies” of their licenses. The following message has appeared on the FCC web site at https://www.fcc.gov/wireless/systems-utilities/universal-licensing-system.
Applicants are strongly encouraged to provide an email address on their license application(s), which will trigger the electronic issuance of an official copy of their license(s) to the email provided upon application grant. Per the timing specified in Rulemaking FCC 20-126, the FCC will no longer print, and Licensees will no longer be able to request, hard copy license authorizations sent by mail.
It is still possible for anyone to get a file that can be used to print the “Official Copy” of his license by using his FRN and password to log into the FCC's system at https://wireless2.fcc.gov/UlsEntry/licManager/login.jsp. It is not clear if the Commision will also maintain this path.
FCC Proposes New FeesThe FCC has proposed new fees for certain kinds of filing. The proposal was released on August 26. There would be a fee of $50 which would apply to applications for new licenses, vanity callsigns, renewals, and requests to receive a printed license. The proposal, released on August 26, 2020, is part of MD Docket No. 20-270, but also identified as “DA/FCC #; 20-116.” Details can be found at https://www.fcc.gov/document/amendment-schedule-applications-fees.
Possible New Law Adds Amendment Favorable to Hams
A bill, HB-101, was recently introduced into the Utah House of Representatives with the intent of outlawing the use of hand-held phones and similar devices while driving a vehicle. Unfortunately, it could have been interpreted to outlaw the use of amateur mobile stations. Section Manager Mel Parkes, NM7P, recently sent to all Utah ARRL members the following announcement:
Great News! Representative Carol Spackman-Moss to amend HB101 to exclude 2-way Radio.The amendment has been introduced in the House and reads as follows:
Many Utah HAM radio operators have been closely following with concern HB 101, a bill targeting Utah’s Distracted Drivers. The ARRL and two-way radio community are deeply concerned about the problems caused by distracted drivers; however, the initial wording of H.B. 101 would have “outlawed” the use of hand-held held two-way radio microphones. The ARRL proposed an amendment to HB 101 to exclude two-way radio operations. Many of you have been actively contacting your legislators in support of this amendment.
As of 9:30 this morning [February 10] the ARRL is reliably informed that the bill’s sponsor, Representative Carol Spackman-Moss has heard our concerns, chosen to work with us, and will be amending her bill to accept the ARRL's suggested amendment, which exempts wireless devices operating under FCC parts 97, 95, and 90, prior to the bill reaching the House floor.
The ARRL wants to thank and commend Representative Carol Spackman-Moss for her prompt attention to and accommodation of our concerns. We all need to actively encourage this type of positive response on the part of all legislators.
Those that may have already contacted their legislator are encouraged to follow-up to thank their representative for their attention and support, and to let them know that we all can” now support HB 101 as amended to exempt two-way radio”.
The ARRL would also like to thanks its members and affiliated clubs, UT VHF Society members, and the entire Utah HAM radio and two-way radio community that have contacted legislators and otherwise help out on this issue.
(iii) “Handheld wireless communication device” does not include a two-way radio device described in 47 C.F.R. Parts 90, 95, or 97.
Our thanks go out to Mel and to Jay Brummett, W7WJB, the Governmental Liason for the ARRL Utah Section. Jay is also the speaker at the upcoming March UARC meeting.
There is no guarantee that HB 101 will be voted into law. Similar bills have been introduced and failed for several years. You can follow the bill's progress at https://le.utah.gov/~2020/bills/static/HB0101.html. A link to the amendment (“House Floor Amendment 1”) can be found along the right-hand side of the page.
Pre-ordering Handbook and Antenna Book
UARC Members ——
With the release of the latest ARRL Handbook and Antenna Book, we are offering a special pre-paid order discount. Purchase either of these titles at the November meeting for a 10% discount off the ARRL list price. This is in addition to the regular free shipping and no UT sales tax that applies to all purchases from the book table.
These are the titles available for the additional 10% discount:
ARRL Handbook 2020 97th Ed. (Softcover, 1280 pages): The ARRL Handbook is your guide to radio experimentation, discovery, and innovation. Item No. 1076 - $49.95 — UARC PRICE $44.95
ARRL Handbook 2020 97th Ed. (Six-Vol. Book Set), Six-volumes (1280 pages): The ARRL Handbook, is divided into six softcover volumes shrink-wrapped together (no box). Item No. 1137 - $59.95 — UARC PRICE $53.95
ARRL Antenna Book 24th Ed. (Softcover, 1024 pages): The ARRL Antenna Book covers antenna theory, design, and practical treatments and projects. Item No. 1113 - $49.95 — UARC PRICE $44.95
ARRL Antenna Book 24th Ed. (Boxed Set, 1024 pages), Limited Edition! The ARRL Antenna Book is divided into four volumes and included in a hard slipcase box. Item No. 1144 - $64.95 — UARC PRICE $58.45
All four books include a unique download code to install a fully-searchable digital edition of the book.
Orders will be available for pickup at the December UARC meeting on 12 December.— Rick Gregory, KG7GOW
UARC's 2019 Field Day Entry
Thanks to everyone who helped out with the club's entry in the national Field Day non-contest, last June 22 and 23. Our score wasn't quite as high as last year, but at least was in the same general ball park. Thanks to those who put in hours operating and those who pitched in for setup and teardown.
A special thanks should go to our Vice-President, Bruce Fereday, KF7OZK, who managed the food preparation for both Field Day and the Steak-Fry.
Mark June 27 and 28 on your calendar for next year. We could use more operators, someone to set up an information table, and someone to send out press releases. If you've never been to a Field Day entry before, give it a try!
New Amateur Radio Club Forming in Murray
Dan, N7XDL, tells us that there is a new club forming in the Salt Lake valley aimed particularly at those near Murray. Dan writes:
The Murray Amateur Radio Club is open to all amateurs, living in Murray Utah or not. Founded by Dan (N7XDL), the club meets monthly on the third Thursday of the month at 6:30 PM at the Murray Fire Station 83, 484 W 5900 S, in the EOC downstairs. In addition, the club meets every Thursday (same time and place) for a training meeting intended to get new hams up to speed on radios, radio technology, and how to communicate. The club also runs a weekly net on Sundays at 8:00 PM on the Ensign Peak repeater at 147.16 MHz tone 127.3. The club supports Murray City's emergency services and disaster response team with supplemental communications. Our webpage is at https://www.murrayarc.org/.
Ray Larsen, SK
It is with great regret that we note the passing of Ray Larsen, W7NMK, on Thursday, April 11. Ray was 98 years old, possibly the oldest ham in Utah.
Ray got his first license in 1933 at age 12, and stayed active in the hobby for virtually his whole life. He served in the military during World War II, and on his return used his electronics skill to get a job at Standard Supply Company.
He helped organize hams to provide communications for the new “Civil Defense” organization at the end of the war.
Ray was a great friend to UARC through much of his life. He created the name of our publication, The Microvolt, in the late 1940's and served on the UARC Board of Directors for many years. He frequently found electronic items he could give away for door prizes at club meetings.
Last December he attended the UARC Officers' Christmas get-together and was amazingly alert for a 98-year-old.
Ray's obituary can be found here.
Problems with the ST-7900D
An inexpensive four-band mobile rig called the “SocoTran ST-7900D” has recently appeared on the market. Four bands and 25 watts for $60 to $80 sounds attractive. But beware. Clint Turner, KA7OEI, put his spectrum analyzer to work and found that the rig has serious problems with spurious emissions. The “four-band” part is also a bit misleading as one of the frequency ranges does not contain any U.S. amateur bands.
The harmonic content of this transceiver is so bad that it does not meet minimum FCC requirements on two meters or the 222-MHz band. Clint was actually able to key up a 70-cm repeater while “officially” transmitting on two meters! The second and third harmonics were only 23 dB down from the fundamental. (The FCC requirement is 60 dB! See 97.307(e).) On the 222-MHz band it's a little better: 42 dB down, but still well below the legal requirement. The lone low-pass filter in the rig does keep harmonics under the wire for the 420 MHz band, but operation on the other two bands will guarantee that you can be heard on frequencies where you should not be, and that you are out of compliance with FCC rules.
See Clint's full report at www.utahvhfs.org. Scroll down to the ST-7900 headline.
Utah Field Day Results for 2018The results are in! ARRL published scores in the annual Field Day operating event (which some might call a contest) in the December issue of QST magazine, a month later than in the last several years. UARC had the second best raw score among entries from Utah, with the highest going to the Davis County Amateur Radio Club. UARC also came in second in percentile within its operating class (3A) among other portable stations.
Below are the results directly from the ARRL database, arranged in order of total score.
|2018 Utah Field Day Entries in Order of Raw Score|
|#||Call||Score||Category||QSOs||Power Mult||GOTA Call||Section||Participants||Club|
|1||K7DAV||7,258||4A||2,072||2||N7CN||UT||55||Davis Co. ARC|
|3||K7UVA||5,212||3A||1,520||2||K7GSL||UT||60||UT Valley ARC|
|4||K7KC||5,192||1D||1,570||2||UT||4||(GSL Contest Club)|
|6||W7RCH||2,540||1F||424||2||UT||20||Cottonwood Heights ARC|
|11||AG7GX||1,048||4A||26||2||UT||13||Cedar Hills Utah LDS Stake|
|24||K7UB||248||3F||89||2||UT||19||Golden Spike ARC|
It is not really fair to use raw score to compare a station with 50 operators and three 100-watt stations to a one-operator, five-watt, battery-operated setup. A better scheme is to use “percentile” to compare a station's score only to others within its own entry class. Percentile for a particular station is the percentage of entries in its class that had lower scores than it did. For example K7CAR in the table below came in 10th place among the 125 stations that entered in the 1B1 class (one-operator portable stations). That means 115 stations had lower scores than he did, putting him in the 92nd percentile.
We can't resist calling attention to the entry of WI7J, James Cowley, from Ivins. He operated in the 2C class — two transmitter mobile. (How do you do that?) He made the top 2C score in the nation, but since there was only one other 2C entry, that put him in the 50th percentile.
|2018 Utah Portable Stations In order of percentile within class)|
|K7DAV||7258||2072||15||137||89.1||80.4||4A||Davis Co. ARC|
|K7UVA||5212||1520||41||346||88.2||79.5||3A||UT Valley ARC|
|AG7GX||1048||26||129||137||5.8||—||4A||Cedar Hills Stake|
|2018 Utah Fixed Stations (In order of percentile within class)|
|K7KC||5192||1570||2||616||99.7||—||1D||(GSL Contest Club)|
|W7RCH||2540||424||3||32||90.6||93.3||1F||Cottonwood Heights ARC|
|K7UB||248||89||37||38||2.6||—||3F||Golden Spike ARC|
Explanation of Entry Classes
The initial number in an entry class is the number of simultanous transmitters used. For example UARC entered in the 3A class, so used three transmitters.
After the initial number is a letter indicating the type of entry:
A class B entry may have a “1” or “2” after the letter. The number indicates the number of operators.
A final “B” after the number of operators indicates battery power.
UARC 2018 Field Day Results
Thanks to all who came out and helped with UARC's 2018 entry in the national “Field Day” event near Payson Lakes. Things went reasonably well with the only panic moment happening when the generator needed oil and we had none on hand. Thanks to N7FOD who came to the rescue.
We did only slightly worse than in 2017, making about 100 fewer contacts on SSB and about 100 more on CW. We had no digital contacts this year so that made the total contact points lower. That was partially compensated for by finding 100 more bonus points than last year. We won't know how our score compares to other groups in Utah and the nation until about November when the final scores are released and published.
Below is a tabulation of our score by band and mode that might offer clues on how we can improve next year.
|Public Information Table||100|
Utah Field Day Results for 2017The results are in! We now know the scores of those stations who operated in the national Field Day contest (aka “operating event”) held last June 24 and 25. We were happy to see that UARC had the best raw score. This has not happened very often!
Below are the results directly from the ARRL database, arranged in order of total score.
|2017 Utah Field Day Entries in Order of Raw Score|
|2||K7DAV||4,504||3A||944||2||N7CN||UT||44||(Davis Co. ARC)|
|3||K7UM||4,456||1D||1,426||2||UT||3||(Utah DX Assn.)|
|4||K7UVA||4,236||3A||1,237||2||K7GSL||UT||55||(Utah Valley ARC)|
|5||N7U||3,452||5A||637||2||UT||75||Rainbow Canyons ARC|
|7||W7RCH||2,642||1F||432||2||UT||16||Cottonwood Heights ARC|
|9||NN7ZZ||1,942||1B1||423||2||UT||1||(West Lea Contest Club)|
|12||KI7EWG||1,368||2A||59||2||UT||15||Draper Ham Radio Assn|
|(Club names are shown in parentheses if the call belongs to a club but the club name was not shown in the ARRL listing.)|
Of course it may not seem fair to compare folks operating three simultaneous transmitters and having enough operators to keep them all going through the night, to a station with one lone operator running QRP on batteries. Perhaps a more fair way to compare different sized operations is to look at the percentile of each entry within its entry class. (Percentile is the percentage of those in the same entry class that got lower scores than the one being rated.) Below we have entries listed in percentile order.
As an example of how percentile works, look at NN7ZZ below. They entered in class 1B1 (one transmitter portable with one operator). There were a total of 102 stations across the country entered in that class. NN7ZZ was 10th of the 102. That means that 102 - 10 or 92 of the entries had a lower score than NN7ZZ, so NN7ZZ's percentile is 92/102 or 90.2%.
| Utah 2017 Portable
Stations (in order of percentile within class)
|Group or Club Name|
| Utah 2017 Fixed
Stations (in order of percentile within class)
|Group or Club Name|
UARC Field Day Results for 2017
Thanks to all who attended UARC's Field Day entry over June 24 and 25. New this year was a number of digital contacts that count for twice the number of points each as phone contacts. There were a few problems with six-meter antenna, a Vee antenna that wasn't really a Vee, RFI into the logging network, and poor performance of the smaller Yagi on 20 meters.
Nevertheless, things turned out fairly well. We made about 200 more total contacts than last year (although not quite as many as 2015) and qualified for more bonus points than in recent years thanks to efforts by Chuck Johnson, WA7JOS, and Mary Jelf, KG7QNG.
Below is our scoring as submitted. As we write this, one day before the submission deadline, there have been 23 Utah stations that submitted entries. We won't know how we compared to others until the results come out on the ARRL web site, probably next November.
|Public Information Table||100|
DX Links from WR7Q Now Online[01-14-17]
Bob Carter, WR7Q, gave us an interesting presentation on DX at the UARC meeting on January 12. His list of helpful links for DXing is available at http://user.xmission.com/~uarc/wr7q.html.
Parity Act Passes House or Representatives[09-13-16]
On Tuesday, September 13, the “Amateur Radio Parity Act,” a bill intended to solve the problem of home owners associations disallowing amateur antennas, passed the U.S. House of Representatives. This was a significant triumph after years of attempts. ARRL members received the following letter:
Dear ARRL member,
I am writing to you today because we are at a crossroad in our efforts to obtain passage of The Amateur Radio Parity Act.
Our legislative efforts scored a major victory in our campaign when The Amateur Radio Parity Act, H.R. 1301, passed in the House of Representatives yesterday, September 12th. The legislation now moves to the Senate, where we need every Senator to approve the bill.
You are one of over 730,000 licensed Amateur Radio Operators living in the United States. Many of you already live in deed-restricted communities, and that number grows daily.
NOW IS THE TIME FOR ALL HAMS TO GET INVOLVED IN THE PROCESS!
- If you want to have effective outdoor antennas but are not currently allowed
to do so by your Home Owner‘s Association, SEND THESE EMAILS TODAY!!
- If you already have outdoor antennas, but want to support your fellow hams,
SEND THESE EMAILS TODAY!!
- If you want to preserve your ability to install effective outdoor antennas on
property that you own, SEND THESE EMAILS TODAY!!
We need you to reach out to your Senators TODAY! Right away.
Help us in the effort. Please go to this linked website and follow the prompts:
Rick- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Rick Roderick, K5UR
ARRL, the national association for Amateur Radio®
Fall Work on UARC Repeaters
[10-07-16] by Clint Turner, KA7OEI
Scotts' Hill Get's New Battery: Several weeks ago Scotts’ Hill was the destination of one of our Wednesday Night Hikes — but there was an ulterior motive: Recent telemetry — and the power bill — indicated that something was amiss as the room was noticeably hotter than before and the power bill higher. Upon arriving and entering the building, we found it to be very noticeably warm, the cause being two-fold: The ventilation fan's bushings had seized, locking its rotor, and one of the nine 12-volt batteries was bulging, smelling of sulfur and very hot to the touch.
The immediate remedy was to unplug the fan and remove the defective battery from the circuit. This had the immediate effect of allowing the building to cool down, but it spelled out another need: To replace the battery bank as soon as possible since some of these batteries — which were pulls from a 300 kVA UPS — were well over a decade old and had been in service at Scotts since 2009.
The replacement was available, but presented a difficulty: Some years ago Bryan, W7CBM, approached the club noting that a fairly new set of “station” cells had been abandoned. These cells, “float charged” since that time, were much less than halfway through their 25-year lifetime and were good candidates for installation. There was one problem: each 6-volt module of three cells weighed well over 800 pounds! Getting them onto the mountain and over the 8-inch door threshold would be a challenge.
With the weather rapidly changing — and the uncertain state of the current battery bank — the pressure was on, but Bryan and his friend and co-worker, Randy, got to work. Borrowing a hoist they were able to lift the modules up, stand them on end and bolt them together. On the day of the installation a portable gantry was set up to put it into Randy's one-ton truck and a myriad of straps used to secure it into place.
On the way to the mountaintop, another two of Bryan's friends joined the caravan and we made our way up the canyon, onto the access road, and up the mountain. Around us, clouds swirled about the higher peaks, occasionally enveloping us in fog while cold wind blew and the snowfall forecast for that altitude seemed to be delayed.
Arriving on site we removed the old battery bank, set up the tall hoist and gantry, lifted the battery bank so that the truck could drive out from under the battery and so that we could attach a set of casters to it. Once on the ground, the smaller gantry was set up, straddling the doorway, allowing us maneuver the 3/4 ton battery through the doorway, over the threshold, and into the building. From that point on, it was just a matter of wheeling it into position, reconnecting the battery, and checking that it was functioning.
Approximately two and a half hours after arriving, we headed off again, down to the valley but just two hours after that, the very strong weather front — the one that spawned several tornadoes and funnel clouds — struck the area and doused the mountains with rain and snow: We were glad that mother nature had delayed 16 hours or so to allow us to complete the project!
Some Surprising Work on the '62 Receiver: A couple of months ago we were notified by Randy (K7SL) that we needed to work on the receiver at the Farnsworth Peak (146.620) site –– but the problem was not what one might expect: The “repair” would need a chain saw.
When the receive site –– some 400 feet away from the transmitter –– was placed in the early 1980s, it was on a (more or less) barren ridge, located distantly to better remove it from the noise from the many broadcast transmitters atop the peak. In the 35 or so years since it was installed, it seems as though some sort of wild brush managed to establish a foothold on the ridge and now it had grown to the point where it had made it difficult to access the equipment box and was now taller than the bottom of the receive antenna itself.
Wielding a chainsaw, a bow-saw, and “loppers,” Gordon and I spent a few hours cutting back the wild brush, gradually re-exposing the rocky ridge and, once again, the ability to just walk up to the base of the tower.
Taking advantage of this opportunity, we also checked the performance of the receiver and noted that it was working as well as it had when last checked a few years ago, but we did find that the coaxial cable had been “nibbled” on by a rodent or deer at some point, exposing a short section of braid and center dielectric. Disconnecting the coax jumper and checking its loss we could see that, although water had gotten into it at some point, its loss was negligible so we re-routed the coax to the center of the tower –– more out-of-reach from larger animals –– and put several layers of tape over the damaged section, awaiting replacement on a future trip.
See also: More Photos.
2016 Field Day Report for Utah Stations[11-22-16]
During November, ARRL published the results of the annual Field Day Operating Event, held last June. Utah's entries in this “non-contest” included 20 from portable and mobile stations and seven from fixed stations including one emergency operating center (EOC). UARC was the top scorer with 5422 points, even though that was somewhat less than last year's 6954 (which was not the top score in that year).
Raw score, though, is probably not the best way to compare success in different entry classes. It is pretty likely that a station with three 100-watt stations will make more contacts than one using a single QRP transmitter on battery power. The best way we have discovered to compare stations in different entry classes is to calculate the percentile each station achieved within the list of other stations across the country in its same operating class. We have made that calculation in the table below.
Using this scheme among the portable and mobile entries, UARC comes in second (with a percentile of 89.0) to WR7Q, Bob Carter, whose single-transmitter, single-operator operation achieved a percentile of 92.3 in the 1B1 class.
The top portable station did even better with a 96.3 percentile. This station was that of the W7RCH operated by the Cottonwood Heights Amateur Radio Club at the Cottonwood Heights EOC. However their competition was a bit less stiff with only 27 stations in the whole country having entered the 1F category (one transmitter in an EOC).
Below is our percentile tabulation. We have included last year's value for those stations which also operated in 2015. Using UARC as an example of how to read the table, we were 36th place among 326 stations that entered the 3A class. This means that 290 3A stations had lower scores than UARC, so 290/326 gives 0.88957. Rounding to three signifiant figures we get a percentile of 89.0.
|Group or Club Name|
| Fixed Stations
(in order of percentile)
Key to Entry Classes
Utah Field Day Scores for 2015[11-04-15]
The results are now available for the 2015 Field Day operating event. Field Day is a nationwide contest-like exercise to test operators' abilities to set up and operate effective portable and mobile stations. It happens on the fourth full weekend in June each year. For 2015 there were a total of 29 entries from Utah. There may have been more stations operating that didn't bother to submit their results.
We like to show results in a way that equalizes the difference between operating classes. A large club station running 10 transmitters at a kilowatt each will probably make more contacts than a two-operator, single-transmitter, QRP operation running five watts. That doesn't necessarily mean that the big station did a better job of operating. The best way to compare stations with very different setups is to see how they did relative to other stations around the country in the same entry class. The mathematical maneuver called “percentile” is a technique for doing just that.
Let's look at UARC's W7SP score. We operated three transmitters, so we were a “3A” entry. (The “A” indicates a club or group portable station.) Our score of 6954 points puts us in 20th place among 3A operations across the country (and Canada). There were a total of 286 3A entries, so 266 got lower scores than we did. That makes our percentile 266/286 or 93.0%. We can say happily that that is the best of any Utah station, although just a hair-width above K7UM, the Utah DX Association station at 92.9. They ran in the 6A class and brought in a total score of 13,742 points, nearly double UARC's.
So how can we do even better next year? Some suggestions include operating for the full 24 hours, getting more operators up to speed on CW, and finding a way to keep tents at a habitable temperature at 4 A.M. Anyone want to volunteer to be 2016 Field Day Chairman?
| Mobile, Portable,
and EOC Stations (in order of percentile)
|Group or Club Name|
| Home Stations
(in order of percentile)
Key to Entry Classes
UARC Field Day Results[08-15-15]
We would like to thank everyone who helped with UARC's 2015 Field Day entry! At least 41 hams took the hour and a half drive to the area near Payson Lakes and spent part or all of their weekend helping to set up gear and make contacts around the country. We did pretty well. The total number of contacts was 2156, 936 of which were on CW and counted for double points.
By the time CW multiplier, power multiplier, and bonus points were considered we ended up with 6954 points, our second best score in the last 10 years, and possibly ever. (Our best score was 8624 in 2012 when we had the CW station and operating help of Max George, NG7M.) Several things probably contributed to our success. Lossy feedlines were replaced, yagis were tuned, we operated the CW station more hours, and we had some very good voice operators.
Of course there's always room for improvement. Apparently we forgot to put the available heaters in the operating tents and from 3 A.M. to 7 A.M. all the operators had given up due to hypothermia. At least one person complained that the setup was not as well organized as might be desired. Perhaps this was due to the lack of a volunteer for “general organizer” that we had been requesting since about February. Anyone want to fill that gap for next year?
There appear to have been 29 Utah stations that sent in their entries this year. We won't likely know all the scores until the folks at ARRL Headquarters get through sifting through the data in about November. When that information is available we will post it here.
Bob Bruninga's Talk is Online[08-17-15]
There have been some requests for the material that Bob Bruninga, WB4APR, the “Father of APRS,” presented in Logan on August 11. Bob writes:
I enjoyed presenting the APRS stuff at your radio club. Someone asked about a copy of my talk. Here it is... I posted the presentation at the end of the first paragraph on the normal APRS page: http://aprs.org.
Since I did mention solar again, .. here is my solar page:
Bottom line: Sooner or later, everyone with sun on their roof is going to go solar. (Since it already costs less than half of utility power). So why keep paying monthly utility bills when your power will be free for the rest of your life when you do finally get around to it. Waiting is just more money down the utility rate hole...(with nothing to gain)...
And 2016 is the last year of the 30% solar tax credit if the present do-nothing congress remains in charge...
Off the Grid Slides Now Available[03-24-15]
Jim Brown's presentation on solar power and living off the grid was well received at our March UARC meeting. The slides from that presentation are now available as a PDF file here. Thanks to Jim for putting the information on line.
Turning Off the Yaesu WIRES Mode[11-26-13]
Users of recent Yaesu VHF transceivers may occasionally receive a complaint that the first few words of each transmission are being wiped out by a CTCSS tone (aka “Touchtone”). The problem is that the “WIRES” or “Internet” mode has been turned on accidentally.
WIRES (Wide-coverage Internet Repeater Enhancement System) is a system designed by Yaesu using Internet to link repeaters and having some similarities to IRLP and EchoLink. In one configuration a user can choose, on a per-transmission basis, whether he is heard only on the local repeater, a single additional repeater, or a whole network of repeaters. The Yaesu transceivers that support this option make it easy to turn the opening tone on and off so that the selection of “local” or “global” may be made quickly whenever needed. The downside of this easy access is that it's easy to turn the mode on accidentally. This can be particularly frustrating to the ham who doesn't live within 500 miles of a WIRES repeater.
Clint, KA7OEI, discovered a PDF file that tells how to disable the tone on several models of Yaesu radios, either in the usual way or semi-permanently. You can find the file here.
Web Site Gets New Look
You've probably noticed a new look to the UARC web site. The new design was created by Gary Wong, AB1IP, who won our web design contest last spring. UARC President John Hardy, K7ALA, recently applied the new design to all the most commonly accessed pages. Thanks to Gary and John!