Welcome to the
AMATEUR RADIO CARAVAN CLUB
of New Mexico, Inc.
New !!! Reverse Beacon NetworkExplained – The Amateur Radio Caravan Club at its May meeting was honored to have Bill Mader K8TE educate us on how the Reverse Beacon Network (RBN) works. Most hams are familiar with the International Beacon Project that has beacons operating on various frequencies and locations worldwide. These enable us find out if propagation is allowing us to hear a specific location on a certain frequency at that time. This gives us an indication that we should be able to reach other hams in that general location. The RBN is even more sophisticated in that it reports where YOU are heard worldwide. You can call a quick CQ and see on a near-real time animated map which reverse beacons hear you and how strong your signal is. Pretty cool! Also, you can query its database to instantly find out past “spots” such as what stations from a given country or zone have been heard, at what time and on what frequencies. This is a great learning tool for determining when and where you can be heard. Finally you can use the RBN’s Signal Comparison Tool to give you real, quantitative data on how well your signal stacks up with against a friend’s or competitor’s during a contest. This may tell you that you need to make improvements on your end. Bill packed a lot of information into his presentation and opened a lot of eyes on how to find out where our rigs are reaching and when. More information on the RBN can be found online at ReverseBeacon.net. He also cited other useful websites to DXers such as DXmaps.com, VOACAP.com, SolarHam.com, and HamQSL.com. Our sincere thanks to Bill Mader for a most educational evening. Click here for Bill's PowerPoint presentation.
The Club also announced that it will be participating in ARRL’s Field Day on Saturday, June 29th. As always, it will be held in the NE corner of Montgomery Park (corner of Ponderosa and Alvarado NE). We will begin setting up about 9 AM, start officially transmitting at noon, the potluck will begin at 6 PM, relaxing/ragchewing soon thereafter and we’ll probably end our Field Day activities by about 7:30 PM. More information to follow as Field Day draws nearer.
New !!! Summer Radio Fun in the Park – The Amateur Radio Caravan Club invites all hams, wanna-be hams and even the curious to join us for the fourth season of Summer Radio Fun in the Park. This is a monthly get-together in Sister Cities Park (corner of McKinney and Harper NE which is NE of San Mateo & Academy). We set up our rigs for an evening of radio fun…or we come to visit, observe and/or to learn about ham radio. The dates again this year are on the fourth Friday of May (26th), July (28th) and August (25th) [Note: we don’t meet in June as Field Day begins the day after our normal meeting date]. We meet from about 4 PM until dark. Somewhere around dinner time we might even order pizza. Consider these as mini-Field Days to test your equipment and have fun with fellow hams. Bring your rig, maybe a folding chair and/or your questions. All are invited.
A Little Caravan Club Outreach – In April, Caravan Club member Matthew, AG5FT, had an opportunity to visit a fellow Amateur Radio club in the Washington DC area. He reported “The Mount Vernon Amateur Radio Club, K4US, had an open meeting scheduled and because I wanted to meet some local radio enthusiasts I dropped by to say hello. It was very familiar being in the room with fellow hams and we all talked about familiar things... like hams do. They mentioned their repeater was on top of a well known Masonic landmark and I spoke briefly about the Caravan Club and showed some of my radio travel kit. Additionally, I invited them to visit if they ever found themselves in Albuquerque. All in all, a great visit! Thanks so much to the Mount Vernon Amateur Radio club for being welcoming and friendly to an amateur radio traveler!” Way to go, Matt, in representing our club! Click here for their website.
Two Winter Tailgates This Year? – The Amateur Radio Caravan Club in partnership with the Albuquerque Amateur Radio Club had everything arranged for a successful Spring Tailgate…except for the weather. As daylight peaked over the Sandias we discovered that it was overcast, the temperature was in the low 40’s and there was a light rain. Soon the rain turned to a light snow as the temperature dropped. Did that stop our intrepid ham community from attending this long awaited tailgate? No way! The early birds set up their wares under TEAM Technologies' front porch while the other vendors improvised by either bringing a canopy or selling out of their car trunks in order to protect their wares from getting soaked. Since we were unable to arrange for a burrito wagon this time, our very own Don, W5FHA, saved the day by bringing lots of hot coffee and donuts to sell. Thank you, Don! They were a popular commodity as hams looked for a bargain and chatted with old and new friends. All in all, attendance was pretty good for such a miserable day. Our sincere THANKS to our hard-working Special Events Coordinator John Tribou, N5UVQ for coordinating this otherwise wonderful activity.
"The Beast” Explained – Don Wood W5FHA did an outstanding job in explaining the pros and cons of lithium-ion batteries, also known as “The Beast” at the Caravan Club's April meeting. These batteries are popularly used in small electronics such as cell phones, laptops and even electronic cigarettes because of their high current – low weight. However, when not controlled they can catch fire instantaneously. Not just an ordinary fire but three types in one: Electrical, chemical and metal fires. Lithium is a metal that when on fire produces its own oxygen thus traditional type A, B, or C fire extinguishers do not work. Either a very expensive type D extinguisher is needed or very dry sand (playground sand). Very dry sand under high heat will melt into glass that encapsulates the lithium and puts out the fire. Moist sand will turn to steam and make things worse. His talk included several videos showing how quickly and explosively a battery can catch fire under the right conditions.
Don’s key point of his presentation was to keep “The Beast” from escaping by avoiding (1.) overcharging, (2.) over discharging, and (3.) damaging the battery. His advice is to purchase name brand lithium-ion batteries AND chargers made by the same company for that battery. The battery will contain a quality small “controller” inside to keep the battery within high/low voltage tolerances and the charger will not charge outside of those tolerances. If, however, you choose to take apart, say, an old laptop battery to salvage the L-ion batteries inside, Don advised “Don’t” unless you know what you are doing because, if damaged, “The Beast” will quickly escape to cause severe burns or death. The safe way is to recycle old lithium-ion batteries at places such as Lowe’s or Home Depot. Our sincere thanks to Don for an eye-opening program.
New !!! New Mexico QSO Party Pileup – The Amateur Radio Caravan Club caravaned out to the Petroglyph National Monument in west Albuquerque again this year for the annual New Mexico QSO Party. We had about 10 members participate and would you believe all of them were named “Bob”? Actually Party rules dictated that multiple operator stations were to use only one call sign (we chose W5CSY) and one name (we chose Bob). Bob N5JH brought his Yaesu FY-891 mobile rig plus his Comet CHA-250B vertical antenna, the latter which didn’t perform well so we shifted to Merle NM5MW’s Yaesu FT-991 rig plus his Buddipole antenna which came through like a champ. Luckily we had lots of help as we were on the receiving end of a lengthy pileup from about 8:30 AM to about 1 PM. After that, the 20 meter band got messy so we had to listen very carefully to pull call signs “out of the mud”. Finally at 2 PM propagation quit on us so we packed up, thanked the National Park Service for letting us use their patio again this year and headed home. We estimate that we made about 145 contacts in 6 hours – a rewarding (and fun) way for any ham to spend a beautiful Saturday.
Note: We would like to remind members who operated from home during this event that the club would appreciate your mentioning your affiliation with the Amateur Radio Caravan Club when you submit your score. It helps raise the club’s total points.
Chuck Palmer Memorial Tailgate a Success – Area hams gathered early on November12th for the annual Chuck Palmer Memorial Tailgate sponsored by the High Desert Amateur Radio Club. The day started out in the chilly high 40’s but soon developed into a beautiful day. An estimated 20-25 sellers brought an impressive array of radio equipment to sell. While a respectable crowd attended the tailgate not too many removed their wallets from their pockets, i.e. lots of looking but not much buying. Conversely, the burrito wagon, while not offering traditional breakfast burritos, did offer tasty breakfast tacos, corn chip pie and other treats. Something a little different from our standard fare but mighty delicious.
A related tale: To illustrate what great people amateur radio operators are, one of our local hams arrived at the tailgate with a large plastic bin full of equipment to sell - one item of which was an older laptop computer. A boy, I’d say about age 10-12, spotted the laptop and asked how much it cost. It was quickly apparent to the gathering crowd that the seller and the boy were equally eager to make a deal. When the seller asked the boy how much money he had, the boy professed to not having any at the moment as he was waiting for friends to show up. Both parties were obviously disappointed so a stranger, another ham, pulled a dollar bill out of his wallet and handed it to the boy. He immediately handed the money to the seller who equally quickly told the boy that he now owned that laptop. The boy had a very big grin on his face as he proudly left with his new purchase. The seller also smiled as he watched that future ham walk away.
East Mountain Simplex Net Meets on Saturdays- For hams living on the east side of the Sandia Mountains and experiencing problems in making radio contacts, help has arrived. He or she can now chat with the many other fellow hams living locally. The East Mountain Simplex Net now meets at 7:00 PM every Saturday evening on146.55 MHz simplex (no offset, no tone). Some, however, may need to use an external antenna to increase their range. All hams are welcome to join in.
Getting Started in Ham Radio - A new page has been added to the Activities section titled Getting Started in Ham Radio. Thanks to Pete Stine for this write up to help those interested in becoming a licensed Amateur Radio Operator. (click here)
Click on the play button below to listen to an early SCATNet. Net Control was performed every weekday by Vern (W5CSY).
A Net Honoring "Dee" Diedrich, KC5JBO (SK) - We now have a net honoring our longtime friend Landis "Dee" Diedrich aka "The Voice of Amateur Radio in Albuquerque". The JBO.40Net is held each Tuesday from 6:30 to about 7:30 PM on 146.40 MHz Simplex (yes, simplex so there is no offset, no tone). Come join the fun. You may need an external antenna in some areas to check in. For more info go to the website of our very own Mark Goodrum at www.w5mhg.com .
Caravan Club Shirts (& Hats) [Updated]- The Amateur Radio Caravan Club has officially adopted a very nice polo-style tan colored shirt. Each individual shirt will have the club logo (right) on its left side and our first name and call sign on the right. Our goal is for club members show club unity by proudly wearing their shirts during public events such as meetings, Field Day, Summer Radio Fun in the Park, Corn Feed, etc. Our hard- working Special Events Coordinator John Tribou N5UVQ has found a local vendor so no longer needs to order shirts in batches from Wisconsin. This new vendor, Turbo Threads (1503 Golf Course Rd SE in Rio Rancho or (505) 999-1234) offers the exact same shirt as our original vendor. Their shirts sell for $21 or $24 depending on the number of X's in your shirt size. Ball caps are $9 with the club name and logo embroidered in front or $12 to include your name and call sign above the adjuster in the back. Individual members should now order their club shirts/hats directly from Turbo Threads. The shirts come in sizes S, M, Lg, XL, XXL plus Regular and Long shirt lengths. Ladies sizes are also available. Please contact John at email@example.com for more details.
Let Us Tell You About The Amateur Radio Caravan Club
The Amateur Radio Caravan Club is one of the oldest amateur radio clubs in New Mexico. It was established in the 1950s by ham radio operators who shared a passion for the challenges of installing huge, tube type, separate receivers and transmitters in vehicles and then enjoying mobile QSOs as they caravaned to various locations as a club. While installing a modern mobile rig is not quite the challenge, today's Caravan Club members still enjoy QSOs from the road using the Club's repeater on Sandia Crest.
The Amateur Radio Caravan Club meets monthly year around at the Heights Cumberland Presbyterian Church, 8600 Academy Road NE (corner of Academy & Moon NE) from 7 to 9 PM. Actually we start gathering around 6:30 PM to watch the coffee brew and to do a little ragchewing. We encourage you to park at the rear of the church and enter through the single door in the back, walk down the hallway to our meeting room. Our meetings offer an interesting program on some facet of amateur radio each month followed by an intermission and then a short business meeting. We are always finished by 9 PM.
During the summer, we focus on outdoor activities. From May thru August, the club hosts its Summer Fun in the Park program for one evening per month where hams meet at Sister Cities Park in northeast Albuquerque, set up their rigs and get on the air. Others are welcome to stop by to observe, ask questions or to just visit. In June, we co-host our ARRL-sponsored Field Day activity where hams worldwide, limited only to emergency power, try to contact one another. In July we meet for our "Summerfest" dinner at a local restaurant to share delicious food with old and new friends. August brings the Duke City Hamfest, New Mexico's largest hamfest, in which the Caravan Club is fully involved. In September we host our annual Corn Feed, a potluck luncheon in a local park where the club provides freshly-cooked sweet corn. Yum!
In October we conduct our election of club officers. In January we also host our annual "Winterfest" dinner at the Cooperage restaurant in lieu of competing with all the Christmas parties held during December. April is a busy month with the New Mexico QSO Party contest where hams worldwide are trying to contact us hams in New Mexico. This is followed by the Caravan Club hosting its annual Spring Tailgate at the end of April where hams meet to buy or sell radio equipment and maybe swap a few lies.
Ongoing Caravan Club Services
The ARRL Audio News is broadcast on Saturdays at 8:00 PM and Amateur Radio News Line on Sundays at 8:10 PM on the club's 145.33 and 444.000 repeaters. Please tune in and listen to what's going on in Amateur Radio. Our sincere thanks to club member Mark W5MHG for recording and retransmitting these interesting broadcasts for many year now as a public service. Thanks, Mark !
Don't forget the Caravan Club Net on Sunday nights starting at 9 PM on the club's two repeaters. Our officers conduct any club business followed by hams checking-in from throughout the western U.S. This net is hosted by Roy KD5GBY, our long-time net controller. Thanks, Roy!
Amateur radio clubs are a good support for Hams and we would welcome the opportunity to help you in any way that we can. We invite you to come to a meeting, talk to us on our Sunday night Net, and join the Amateur Radio Caravan Club!
Please sign our log, explore our site, and consider joining our growing club. 73
Copyright © 2013, Caravan Radio Club. All rights reserved.
Website Committee: Pete KE5WTM; Mark W5MHG
Site Last Updated: 28 May 2017