Welcome to the
AMATEUR RADIO CARAVAN CLUB
of New Mexico, Inc.
New !!! December Meeting to Feature KX3 and Summits on the Air – The Amateur Radio Caravan Club is delighted to have Randy Diddel, K5RHD, give his presentation on “KX3, Alex Loop Antenna and Summits on the Air” at its December meeting. Randy is an avid participant in the Summits on the Air (SOTA) program because it combines his two loves – hiking and ham radio. He will show us his lightweight radio equipment, how he sets it up to get on the air plus will explain the SOTA program. Welcome, Randy! We look forward to an informative program.
Our meeting will be on Friday, December 9th (7 - 9 pm) at the Heights Cumberland Presbyterian Church, 8600 Academy Road NE (corner of Academy & Moon NE). We start gathering about 6:30 pm to do a little ragchewing and to watch the coffee brew. We encourage your parking in the rear of the church, entering through the single pedestrian door, walking all the way down the hall and you’ll hear us. Hope to see you there!
New !!! Winter Tailgate at New Location – The 146.580 Simplex Group has announced that it will be hosting their annual Winter Tailgate Swapfest on Saturday, January 28, 2017 (sunrise to noon) at a new location. It will be held in the southeast parking lot of the CNM Advanced Technology Center, 4800 Alameda Blvd NE…but you enter the tailgate on Jefferson St. NE. This new site is across the street from TransCore, our longtime former tailgate site. As always, there is no admission charge and no vendor space fee. Hope to see you there! Click here for flyer.
“Being Prepared” - A heavy dose of preparedness and last-minute ingenuity lead to a successful presentation at this month's meeting -- When November's guest speaker canceled at the last moment due to an emergency, club Program Coordinator Terry Taylor K7XR jumped into action. His decades of amateur radio experience, and the lessons in ingenuity learned along the way, came in very handy at this month's meeting. Thankfully, Terry had a streaming video presentation in mind, and a laptop on which to play it. However, preparedness wasn't enough when dealing with a brand-new video projector, as well as needing an internet connection when none was available. With the help of club treasurer John Niemi KG5KHG, the two managed to engineer a makeshift internet wireless connection using John's phone as WiFi hot-spot. Quick thinking was also part of the formula, as all this engineering happened just moments before start of meeting. Ultimately, the internet connection held, the new projector worked as expected, and the streaming presentation was a success.
The video presentation, entitled "EME on a Shoestring-Almost," was first presented at the 2012 Dayton Hamvention by Bill Ockert, ND0B. The goal of Bill's presentation was to convey that earth-moon-earth, while considered the "Ultimate in DX" due to its half-million mile round-trip, is almost doable on a shoestring budget. The operative word, "almost," means that while doing DX via EME is difficult at best, it is reasonable to expect some success with minimal equipment... if one is extremely patient, has the skill to erect and employ optimally tuned equipment, and has luck on their side with respect to the ionosphere and sunspot activity, and maintains ideal positioning between earth and moon from sender to receiver. Furthermore, extracting very weak signals from noise is a must, so special digital protocols such as WSJT (weak signal JT65) are absolutely mandatory. Of course, having high-gain antennas as well as the proper geography (flat earth) at the antenna sites is also important.
The takeaway from this presentation is that modern digital signal processing technology, combined with the right equipment, deployed in the right fashion with the right conditions, MAY yield some EME success.
Also noted was that "bigger, better, and more powerful" potentially leads to more EME success; however, those things don't necessarily come on a shoestring budget.
New !!! 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.
2016 Duke City Hamfest Completed – From all reports, Amateur Radio Caravan Club members thoroughly enjoyed the 2016 Duke City Hamfest. From beginning to end, club members pitched in to help make it a success.
Some DCHF highlights:
Thursday afternoon – Club members helped haul supplies to the meeting site (Albuquerque Marriott Pyramid Hotel), set up tables and ran cables.
Friday - The Hamfest opened with an impressive number of vendors, an all-day HF Academy, and a full array of forums. That evening there was a mixer where attendees could visit with the vendors while enjoying snacks and an open cash bar. It was MC’d by Chip Margelli, K7JA, noted DXer and part of the winning team on the "CW versus text messaging" segment that aired on Jay Leno's Tonight Show. The grand finale was a live auction for a very special ‘R390A receiver’ in mint condition and valued at up to $3,500.
Saturday – The day started at 6 AM with the outdoor tailgate. We counted 23 vendors this year plus lots of hams buying, selling…or just greeting old and new friends. This was followed by the DX/Contesting breakfast, VE testing, a video forum with Bob Heil, K9EID, and many more interesting forums. The day ended with our traditional Saturday night banquet. Chip Margelli ably served as our master of ceremony and our featured speaker was Jay Bellows, K0QB, the ARRL’s International Affairs vice president. Also speaking were Brian Mileshosky, N5ZGT, ARRL’s 2nd Vice President; Dwayne Allen, WY7FD, Rocky Mountain Division Director; Ed James, KA8JMW, NM Section Manager, and Bill Ripley, KY5Q, Chairman of the DCHF. The meal was outstanding and the fellowship even better.
Of special mention here are the young people involved in Albuquerque Public School’s STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) program. They displayed many of their projects at the Hamfest and were fully prepared to discuss them with all comers. The highlight on Saturday was their launching of two high altitude balloons with payloads that they had designed, fabricated and tested. Once launched, they staffed a command center at the hotel to track each balloon’s route and to download live data each was measuring plus on-board photos. Of course, they also had a chase crew out there tracking each balloon so they could retrieve the payloads. The students that I talked to showed amazing knowledge about what they were doing and all confessed that they wanted to become engineers or scientists because of what they were learning today.
Sunday – The day started with a New Ham/Youth Breakfast with Chip Margelli, K7JA, the featured speaker. After breakfast came several forums to finish up the Hamfest. At 1 PM the closing activity was the final prize drawings…and there were plenty of really nice prizes to win. At that point the 2016 Hamfest was over and planning for next year’s event began.
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 New Net Honoring "Dee" Diedrich, KC5JBO (SK) - We have a new 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) - The Amateur Radio Caravan Club has officially adopted a very nice polo-style tan colored shirt. Each individual shirt will have the club logo (see top of this page) 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 from Wisconsin. This new vendor, Turbo Threads, 1503 Golf Course Rd SE in Rio Rancho, offers the exact same shirt for about $25 plus an optional ball cap with club name and logo in front for about $12 and your name embroidered in back, above the adjuster, for about $3 more. John is now taking requests for an initial consolidated order for this new vendor so if interested, please contact John. After that, individual members can order 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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: 08 December 2016