SARC in the Park May 26, 2018

May’s SARC in the Park was moved to the fourth Saturday of the month because of inclement weather on the original date. Quite a few radios and operators got on the air outside Schaumburg’s Community Recreation Center this morning.

Chicagoland Marathon

Plenty of club members volunteered their communications skills to help relay information throughout the course for the Chicagoland Marathon. Sunday, May 20th started off with a good downpour that postoned the start of the race about 30 minutes. And things didn’t get any drier from there. We thank everyone who braved the elements for this event. The Schaumburg EMA coordinadator was very thankful for our comittment.

Our members were assigned to various locations including water stations throughout the course, the event command vehicle, “shadowing” event officials, and some even followed the race from on their bikes. Most of the information passed over the radio was regarding the progress of runners through the course which helped water station volunteers operate their stations effectively and provided race officials with eyes on the course which they would not have otherwise had from their fixed location at the command post.

Below you can see some of our members working the event.


Bill KD9JQM operates bicycle mobile to keep track of the marathon’s progress logging about 25 miles.
James AC9PH staying dry while working at mile marker 19.
Matt AC9IG monitors the course from mile marker 4.
Three rounds of rain made the course, runners and volunteers very soggy.

MS Walk

The club supported the MS Walk fundraiser in Schaumburg on Sunday, May 5, 2018. There was a little rain before the event started but it quickly warmed up. Our members were the eyes on the course reporting back to the event organizers how the walk was progressing. We also relayed any requests for first aid or help from the course, but fourtanately we did not need to act on that.

Thank you to everyone who spent their morning at the walk!

The MS Walk progresses through Schaumburg. (W9RKK photo)
Robert W9RKK reporting on the walk progress from the neighborhood section.
Matt AC9IG monitors the walk from inside Boomers Stadium.

Battery Size for Portable Operation

Our message board recently had a great discussion about how to properly size a battery when operating remote.

Robert W9RKK asked:

I’m looking to buy a deep cycle battery for SARC in the Park. What kind of ampere hour rating would be sufficient? I have an Elecraft K3.

Rob N9MVO replied:

The question is: How much power do you want to run?  A good way to start is to assume <50% efficiency, so double the transmit power, and add some to it.  Also, assume 100% transmit time.  Since you don’t actually transmit that much, you actually have more running time than you expect.  Finally, recognize that you cannot suck the battery dry.  Add 30% to the battery capacity to be able to operate without completely exhausting the battery.

If you are going to run low power, e.g. 25 W, you can expect the radio to draw about 5 A, key down.  If you are there from 8:00 ’till noon, you need 20 AH.  Add 30%, and you could use a 26 AH battery.  If you want to run 100 W, the rig will draw about 20 A.  For that, you should have a 100 AH battery.  While it will be heavy, it will give you enough power for SARC in the Park or emergency use.  That 100 AH battery will run your 25 W field day station all night.  24 hours at 100 W on battery is not practical.  The batteries would be excessively large and VERY HEAVY.

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Public Service: Chicagoland Marathon

The Chicagoland Marathon takes place on May 20, 2018 in Busse Woods. Several hams are needed to help monitor the course and provide communications supporting the medical team and supplies logistics. Plan to operate from approximately 6am to 2pm.

The club thanks Frank N9QPD and Phil WB9C for their support of this event in the past. They will be returning this year because the event organizers have specifically requested their help because they demonstrated superior radio traffic management skills in past events. Take this opportunity to hone your sills and work with a great communications leaders.

If you are interested please contact the EMCOMM chairman or John K9WIC.

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RF Tornado Detection, 1959

By Bob W9DXR

With the upcoming weather spotting season, this article we recently unearthed is very timely.  My wife recently came across a newspaper clipping from around 1959 that her family had kept.  At that time the use of black and white television was still predominant and I believe the following method of tornado detection worked best with a black and white TV (you do remember those don’t you?) on an outdoor antenna.

This method is outdated and presented for historical reasons. SARC recommends monitoring a weather radio, weather web site or commercial broadcast for weather severe weather information.

I can attest that the Weller method did work for detecting lightning and strong storms.  There is enough energy at 54 Mhz (approximately channel 2) in a lightning storm to trigger a TV screen to turn white and flicker with the energy.  Although it was somewhat crude it worked well.  Fortunately I was never close enough to a tornado to see my screen turn completely white.  Today we have digital TV and cable in place so we are stuck watching the weather channel or a weather app on our smart phone.   Ahh… the good old days.