Welcome to the
AMATEUR RADIO CARAVAN CLUB
of New Mexico, Inc.
New!!! – Jim Frazier to Explain Digital Signal to Noise Ratios - The Amateur Radio Caravan Club is excited to welcome Jim Frazier, KC5RUO who, at its October meeting, will be presenting an outstanding program/demonstration entitled “Visual Demo Reveals Actual FT8, JT65, and JT9 Signal to Noise Ratio”. He asks “Have you ever wondered why FT8, JT65, and JT9 report a Signal-to-Noise Ratio (SNR) typically in the negative range of -27 dB to -1 dB, but yet, you can clearly hear the musical Frequency Shift Key (FSK) tones and watch the FSK tones rise above the noise floor on your panoramic spectral display? SNR measurements in this range imply the received signal power level is below the received noise floor, but in reality, the FT8, JT65, and JT9 signals are actually well above the noise. This demonstration explains that the FT8, JT65, and JT9 SNR reports are referenced to a much wider noise bandwidth (2500 Hz) than the actual detection noise bandwidth required to successfully decode the digital data represented by the received FSK tone. The FSK Tone SNR is much larger, and along with forward-error-correction coding, results in error-free message reception”.
Jim was first licensed in Nov 1995 and holds an Amateur Extra certificate. His primary interests are in the HF digital communication modes and emergency communications. He is a member of the Bernalillo County and Sandoval County ARES. Jim was presented the ARRL New Mexico Section National Parks on the Air Top Individual Activator Award in 2017 and recently presented The Real FT8, JT65, and JT9 Signal-to-Noise Ratio Revealed at the ARRL/TAPR Digital Communications Conference held in Albuquerque, September of this year.
Our meeting will be on Friday, October 12th (7 - 9 pm) at the Heights Cumberland Presbyterian Church, 8600 Academy Road NE (corner of Academy & Moon NE). We start gathering about 6:15 - 6:30 pm to do a little ragchewing and to watch the coffee brew. We encourage 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 !!! Socorro Hamfest/New Mexico State Convention Up Next – The Socorro Amateur Radio Club has announced their Socorro Hamfest/New Mexico State Convention will be held on Saturday, October 20th (8 AM – 2 PM) at its traditional site – the NM Fire Fighters Academy, 600 Aspen Street in Socorro. This is always a popular event for Albuquerque hams as it is an easy drive down I-25 to Socorro (79 miles/1 hr,15 min) and they can be home in time for dinner.
Activities actually begin on Friday, October 19th with a 1 PM tour of the VLA followed by a banquet/award ceremony that evening at 6 PM. Norm Fusaro W3IZ, ARRL Affiliated Club/Mentor Program Manager, will be the guest speaker at the banquet. The hamfest also offers a tailgate/swap meet, a fox hunt, forums, lots of prizes on the hour and half hour and more. For more information and map, go to their website www.socorroara.org/socorro-hamfest. For a flyer to post on your refrigerator Click Here. Hope to see you there!
New !!! DCHF/RMDC Was a Huge Success – This year was New Mexico’s turn to host the Rocky Mountain Division Convention and the Duke City Hamfest, due to its advance planning and hard work, came through with an outstanding event. The event was held at the Isleta Resort & Casino on the Pueblo of Isleta south of Albuquerque. All attendees agreed that this was a first-class facility and are looking forward to returning for the contracted next three years. There was lots of space for all activities (registration, forums, banquets, commercial vendors, indoor tailgaters, club tables…). Outdoors, there were about 70 spots for the outdoor flea market (tailgate) as well as for a successful launch of Valley High School’s near space balloon. And the food! The resort staff served the tastiest meals in DCHF memory.
Friday morning began with three all-day forums (AMSAT Academy, EmComm College and HF University 2.0). Registration opened at 9 AM followed by 11 forums throughout the day plus the outdoor flea market from noon to 5 PM. At 5 PM, the mixer began with a cash bar followed by a plentiful (and delicious) buffet. The resort staff kept the food coming! ARRL Emergency Services Coordinator Mike Corey KI1Uwas the evening speaker who explained ARRL’s involvement during the “Hurricane Season of 2017”. An impressive beginning of the weekend.
Saturday found the outdoor tailgate crew open for business as 6 AM thru noon. This was followed by Dave Jorgenson WD5COV speaking on DX/contesting during the breakfast banquet at 7:30 AM. The rest of the day including 31 forums on a WIDE variety of topics. This was also the big day for all of our commercial vendors who offered the crowd an impressive variety of wares. At 5 PM, the Saturday banquet began with a cash bar followed by a delicious buffet and lots of great fellowship. The banquet’s speaker was the ever-inspirational Bob Heil, K9EID, owner of Heil Sound. For those with some energy left after a full day, the Wouff-Hong Ceremony was held from 10 to 11:30 PM.
Sunday began with the farewell breakfast banquet at 7:30 AM featuring the results of the near space balloon flight (which landed, as projected, near Moriarty, NM). Registration and the commercial vendors/indoor flea market were opened for their final day from 8 AM to noon. There were also 11 forums held in the morning. At noon, the ever-popular final raffle was held with lots of prizes won.
In conclusion, our sincere thanks to chairman Bill Ripley and his hard-working board and many volunteers for arranging an outstanding Hamfest/Convention. We also want to especially recognize the Isleta Resort’s staff for doing a first-class job for helping us every step of the way. (Note: Below are probably way too many photos of the event but we wanted to give those that could not attend a feel of what they missed).
[Another Note: For those interested in downloading the DCHF speakers’ presentations, many are now available on the DCHF website. Click Here ]
New !!! Ham Volunteers Needed at Balloon Fiesta – Again this year, amateur radio has been provided a booth at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta (October 6 - 14). It will be in the 7- Eleven Balloon Discovery Center (a big white tent on the north end of the field). Before and after balloon launches, visitors pour into “our” tent wanting to see what there is to see. For us hams, who by our nature are communicators, this is a great opportunity to tell the public about our great hobby. Our part of the AIBF bargain is that we staff our special event station for all 9 morning and 5 evening events and tell how ham radio is linked to ballooning, e.g. chase crews, gas ballooning, etc. As a sweetener for volunteering, you will be given a FREE parking pass ($10 value) and FREE admission ($15 value) for the day(s) you volunteer. Last year, we were blessed by hams from every club in the area stepping up, and even from Valencia County. We need a repeat this year as this event has to be a group effort; no one club can carry the load alone. To volunteer, please contact Dave Johnson, N0LVA, at daveN0lva@gmail.com. For a printable list of available slots Click Here.
[Note 10/04/18: At this late hour our volunteer slots are 89% filled with only 9 empty slots available (4 slots in the morning and 5 in the evening). This is a tribute to all the wonderful ham radio operators who have stepped up to share our hobby with the tens of thousands coming past our booth. The morning shifts should arrive about 4:30-5 AM to beat the crowd and are usually done by about 9:30-10 AM. The evening shifts fit nicely for hams that have real paying jobs during the day. You should report to the booth by about 4:30 PM in order to avoid joining the incoming traffic. Your “job” is to talk to the public about our wonderful hobby until about 9 PM. At that point the fireworks begin. That is your signal to close up the booth, get in your car and have a leisurely drive home. Or, after watching the fireworks, you can join the thousands of other drivers and be home by about 11:30 PM. Your choice. Also, Dave Johnson and John Scott, booth coordinators, have put their names on the list many times as place holders. Now that the list is filling up, they will have NO PROBLEM if someone would like to take any of their places. Booth coordination already keeps them more than busy].
Our NM QSO Party Results - The Amateur Radio Caravan Club participated in the annual New Mexico QSO Party where hams all over the world try to contact as many New Mexico counties as possible while we in turn try to contact other counties in our state as well as outside. The weather for the previous few days had been cold and extremely windy. With great hopes of a break in the weather we arrived at the Petroglyph National Monument’s visitor center to a cool 40 degree morning temperature and a “breeze”. Fortunately we remembered to dress WARM. We had a respectable number of club members come to participate and some visitors stopped by. Unfortunately the bands didn’t do the same. Using an Icom 7300 transceiver and an MFJ “Hamtenna” dipole antenna we began on 40 meters until 10 AM and made just ONE contact…in Rio Rancho in nearby Sandoval. We then switched to 20 meters until 2 PM when that band died completely. At that point we called it a day. Sadly our 24 contacts (really!) won’t win any prizes but hopefully our members who participated from their shacks at home can bail us out.
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.
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.
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- 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 coats. It is Turbo Threads, 1503 Golf Course Rd SE in Rio Rancho or (505) 999-1234. You can order items directly from Turbo Threads.
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 – A club coat is also available from Turbo Threads:
Port Authority “Legacy”, Catalog # J764 (regular), TLJ764 (tall) and L764 (women’s), khaki/nutmeg color. This model has a thin lining and comes with a hood. Cost is 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. September 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; Bob N5JH, Mark W5MHG
Site Last Updated: 28 September 2018