From the President March 2019

From the President,

March is here and that means the return of SARC in the Park. This is an outstanding opportunity for anybody that wants to get on the air and make a contact, that does not go through a repeater. This is Ham radio….old school!  If you have never operated an amateur radio, now is your chance! The group will be out there, roughly every other weekend, depending on weather. Don’t just stand around and watch, ask somebody if you can operate, they will gladly help you make contacts and talk to somebody over the horizon.

There is a very common issue that has afflicted most hams in the very beginning. This malady is called “Mic Fright”. It’s the fear a new ham has of actually picking up the microphone and saying something wrong or sounding stupid, and it is very normal. A good Elmer will never let you sound stupid, and we have lots of good Elmers in the Schaumburg Amateur Radio Club.

Field Day 2019 is coming. We look forward to this day as it is an opportunity to work on the radio for 24 straight hours. Similar to the SARC in the Park events, Field Day uses all emergency power to make as many contacts as possible. I highly recommend putting your name on the sign-up sheet that can be found our website, WWW.N9RJV.ORG [In mid April – Ed.]. Just showing up thinking a radio station will be open usually ends in disappointment. Typically, there are not a lot of operators in the overnight hours. For example, I walked around the Field day site at around 2 AM, last year. There was nobody on any of the radios, so I sat down on the Sideband Tent, fired it up and started calling CQ. After about 5 minutes I was working pile-ups on the 20-meter band.  I Made about 40 or 50 contacts before heading in for a nap. I remember I had to leave three stations still calling when I turned the radio off. The sideband radio station was not turned on again until after sunrise and breakfast was served. There is no reason for not getting on the radio.

Hope to see you out there.

Geoff Stevens

Volunteer Opportunity – MS Walk

For several years the club has provided communications support and course monitoring for the 3-mile MS Walk. This event has typically been held in Schaumburg, but recently moved to Lake Park High School in Roselle. We will continue to support this great event.

Club members should monitor SARC-ALL for details on signing up which require registering as a volunteer with the National MS Society. We’ll need about 10 hams for the event. The course covers about a 1-mile radius area so an HT should be sufficient for this event.


Skywarn Presentation Notes

John K9WIC presented information about SKYWARN at the club general meeting on March 21, 2019. He’s provided the following notes from his presentation.

Interesting sites with information on storm spotting

List of selected local nets

  • Kane County SKYWARN Net
    • Kane County OEM Repeater
    • 145.47 MHz -600kHz PL 103.5Hz
  • Lake County SKYWARN
    • K9IQP repeater
    • Tactical call sign Lake County SKYWARN
    • 147.180 MHz +600kHz PL 127.3Hz
  • McHenry County SKYWARN
    • K9ESV repater located in Woodstock, IL
    • 146.835 MHz -600kHz PL 91.5Hz
  • Additional Information for Cook County from:
    • Northern Cook Co. Skywarn is a joint effort between members of the North Shore Radio Club, NORA, and Palatine ARES. Severe weather nets take place on the primary 147.345+ MHz (TPL 107.2 Hz) repeater. The NORA 147.09+ MHz (TPL 107.2 Hz) repeater is the backup repeater if 147.345 is down. Spotters may check into this net during severe events. Net control will operate with callsign WX9NC. All severe reports will be relayed from net control to the FISHFAR liaison system as encouraged by the NWS. Reports will be taken from anywhere within the repeaters’ coverage, however, we will actually only activate based on severe weather for Northern Cook County.

Reporting Tips

  • Don’t call in just to “check-in.” This is not a roll call net. Call in if you have a severe event to report, question about the storm, or you need emergency help. If you do not have a notable weather report of interest to the general public, just listen.
  • Don’t call in and say “KC9AAA… I’m on my way to Woodfield Mall and will be monitoring.” No one cares if you are on your way to the mall or where you are unless you have a notable weather report. You may be tying up the frequency unnecessarily just announcing where you are.
  • Don’t call in that your corner sewer is clogged.
  • Don’t ragchew during severe nets. Even casual QSOs are prohibited during severe net
  • Do call net control if an area river is rapidly rising which may cause a road to be washed out.
  • Do call net control if you are bike riding, boating, golfing, your kids are playing outdoor sports, or if you’re part of a marathon team and you would like to know more about the storm’s path or intensity forecasted by the NWS.
  • Do call net control to report property damage, uprooted trees, or large broken branches caused by the severe event.
  • Do report your name/call, location, time, and describe the event.

The NWS Chicago office provides this Spotter Reference Sheet

Three Parks, 4 Days, 4 Degrees

By: Mike KD9KMV

Last week I decided to set myself a challenge. The challenge was to operate from 3 new (to me) State Parks within a week, as part of the POTA (Parks On The Air) program.

Activation 1 – Monday March 4th 2019

Chain-O-Lakes SP, IL – K-0986

With winter temperatures still with us, the gauge in my car measured the outside temperature at 4 degrees F. “Why am I doing this?” I thought as I drove to my destination. Well, I want to prove to myself that I can. Simple as that.

Arriving at any State Park for the first time is interesting. Not knowing the layout of the park, suitable operating positions, etc., especially when the snow often seems to block access to certain sections. Google Maps and its Streetview feature can help for some pre-planning, but it is not a failsafe.

I found a suitable spot that had a picnic bench in just about the perfect place, so I decided to setup.

Here are some photos of the deployment:

Continue reading “Three Parks, 4 Days, 4 Degrees”