Welcome to the
AMATEUR RADIO CARAVAN CLUB
of New Mexico, Inc.
New !!! March Meeting Covered the Popular Digital Operating Modes - This month, Alex Korotkevich W5KAO captivated the Amateur Radio Caravan Club’s meeting attendees with his explanation of the popular digital operating modes. Just when we thought the "dust had settled," new and exciting digital modes have arrived. For example, Joe Taylor's new FT8 digital mode has reinvigorated those hams currently working with digital modes, and piqued the interest of those who haven't yet tried digital. Alex began his presentation by pointing out that many hams already have all the hardware needed to go digital, since much of the processing is done in software. In addition, the required software for most of the digital modes is available for free! Standard SSB radios are capable of digital modes with little more than a computer, some free software, and perhaps an audio interface (sound card) with PTT capability. For those who don't yet have that interface in their shack, they are commercially available at reasonable cost. Otherwise, for those who prefer not to buy the audio interface, Alex provided a simple schematic for building an audio/PTT interface at very low cost. Software such as FLDIGI is available for all popular computer operating systems, and covers more traditional digital modes such as RTTY and PSK31. The newer, robust digital modes by Joe Taylor, including JT65, JT9, FT8, WSPR and MSK144, are available via the freeware software package WSJT-X. Alex went on by describing some of the digital protocols at the bit level, and showing how various digital modes appear on a waterfall plot. He then described the different bandwidths and acceptable SNRs for the various modes. Finally, Alex showed several screen shots of the WSJT-X software configured for several of the JT digital modes. For those attending the presentation, it would be difficult not to get excited about the evolution and utility of the digital operating modes. The club offers our sincere thanks to Alex for a fascinating and informative presentation. For a copy of Alex's presentation, click here.
New !!! 2018 DCHF – Different Date, Different Place This Year. Planners for the 2018 Duke City Hamfest / ARRL Rocky Mountain Division Convention have announced that it will be held on September 21-23, 2018 at the Isleta Resort and Casino. This beautiful resort and convention facility is located 4.5 miles south of the Albuquerque Airport, just off of I-25 (Exit 215), on the historic Isleta Pueblo. Preliminary plans include an HF University, Amateur Satellite Academy, Emcomm College, W1REX Build-a-thon, VE License Review/Testing, an ARRL Forum, Wouff Hong and a SKYWARN class. Please check their website often for updates.
New !!! 37th Annual ARRL and TAPR Digital Communications Conference – Rocky Mountain Ham Radio, New Mexico will be hosting the 37th Annual ARRL and TAPR Digital Communications Conference during the weekend prior to the Hamfest. It will be held on September 14-16 at the Sheraton Albuquerque Airport Hotel in Albuquerque. For all the details, click here.
New !!! February Meeting Drew a Record Crowd – Frank Weiner AD0MX drew the most ever crowd of 40 to the Amateur Radio Caravan Club’s February meeting. He captivated his audience on "A Nuclear Power Generator for Every House". He started by showing a 10-minue TED video that explained nuclear power generation and its history beginning just after World War II. Frank’s slides then explained the problems inherent when using uranium (escaping steam & radiation, huge containment facility costs) to produce electricity. Then he introduced the advantages of a Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor. However, rather than try to explain all the advantages here, Frank has generously forwarded almost all of his program for posting on our website. Click here for his 10-minute video, Frank’s slides, and his handout. Our sincere thanks to Frank for a most informative program.
New !!! WINTER Tailgate Lives Up to its Name – The Winter Tailgate, sponsored by the 146.580 Simplex Group, was pretty well attended considering a morning temperature of 21 degrees. Only the most intrepid hams endured the frigid temperature with the hope of finding a bargain or to visit with old, and new, friends. An estimated 12 to 18 vendors braved the temp to offer their wares but most hams appeared intent on keeping their hands (and wallets) warm in their pockets. However, the Michoacarnaria food truck’s tasty burritos and hot coffee proved to be a hit. As you can imagine, holding an outdoor event in January is always a risk but we are indebted to Gary Horlbeck KH6JTM and his group for sponsoring this event and for securing this new centrally-located tailgate spot.
New !!! Winterfest is a Success – The Amateur Radio Caravan Club held its annual “Winterfest” banquet at The Cooperage on Saturday, January 13th and it was a resounding success. We had about 38 people attend…all enjoying good food and great fellowship. It was a golden opportunity to relax and just visit over a delicious meal. Our sincere THANKS to our new hard-working Special Events Coordinator Mathias Gibbens, K0WBG for arranging this very enjoyable evening.
Trivia Net is Proving Entertaining - Albuquerque now has a brand new net. Mark Goodrum W5MHG and Ken Rindfleisch KO5Y are launching the Trivia Net. It will be held on Tuesday evenings (8 PM) on the Upper Rio FM Society’s linked repeaters (click here). The format will be under development for awhile as they see what works but trivia is always a lot of fun. We encourage all hams to join in.
Amateur Radio Well Represented at the 2017 Balloon Fiesta – As the world famous Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta draws to a close, we can declare that more Fiesta visitors than ever before were exposed to ham radio. For the first time we had a booth in the 7-Eleven Discovery Center tent which attracted tens of thousands of visitors. The High Desert ARC, who arranged for this booth, invited radio clubs from throughout the area to share in this endeavor. The response was overwhelming as hams far and wide stepped up to tell the public about our hobby. We had three rigs set up, a Flex 6500, an Icom 7000 and a VHF/UHF radio. On Wednesday AM, Jim Hunter NM5JH was onsite to conduct the ScatNet, followed by Bruce Campbell NK5W with Rusty’s Raiders. Several young people got on the air, probably for their first time ever. We had many, many visitors from out of state and country stop by for a chat. All in all, a huge success. We are already scheduling a debriefing on November 4th at Mimi’s Restaurant to begin planning for next year. Kudos to the High Desert ARC for ramrodding our ham radio presence again this year; we all enjoyed participating.
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.
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 (& COATS) [Updated]- Our goal is for club members to 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.
Local Vendor – The Caravan Club has found a local source for club shirts, hats and now coats. It is Turbo Threads, 1503 Golf Course Rd SE in Rio Rancho or (505) 999-1234. You can either order items directly from Turbo Threads or wait until for the next consolidated order by our Special Events Coordinator.
Club Shirts - A very nice polo-style tan colored shirt. Each individual shirt will have the club name and logo on its left side and your first name and call sign on the right. These shirts sell for $21 or $24 depending on the number of X's in your shirt size. The shirts come in sizes S, M, Lg, XL, XXL plus Regular and Long shirt lengths. Ladies sizes are also available.
Club Ball Caps - Ball caps are tan colored with the club name and logo embroidered in front ($9) or $12 if you wish your name and call sign embroidered in the back above the adjuster strap.
Club Coats – The club recently adopted TWO styles of club coats. Pete KE5WTM had purchased one style and John N5UVQ a different style:
“Pete’s” Style – Port Authority “Competition”, Catalog # JP54 (regular length) or Catalog # TLJP54 (tall), Sand Dune / True Black color. This model is lined but with no hood. Cost is about $58-$60. Women’s coats not listed for this model.
“John’s Style – Port Authority “Legacy”, Catalog # J764 (regular), TLJ764 (tall) and L764 (women’s), khaki/nutmeg color. This model has a thinner lining but comes with a hood. Cost is also around $58-$60.
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: 9 March 2018