Welcome to the
AMATEUR RADIO CARAVAN CLUB
of New Mexico, Inc.
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 (25th), July (27th) and August (24th) [we don’t meet in June as Field Day begins the day after our normal Summer Fun date]. We meet from about 4 PM until dark. Somewhere around dinner time we 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. Click here for flyer.
New !!! Antenna Talk by Bill Mader K8TE Gets Amazing Reception! - A record crowd was on hand for Bill Mader's talk on "HF Antennas and Propagation" at this month's Caravan Club meeting. Bill is known for his dynamic and informative talks and he did not disappoint. As president of the Albuquerque DX Association, a Duke City Hamfest board member, and nominee for the position of New Mexico's ARRL Section Manager, Bill has a vast array of knowledge covering many aspects of Amateur Radio. Bill's antenna presentation covered several aspects of antennas and propagation, including an indispensable list of facts vs. rumors, a discussion of the ubiquitous dipole antenna, techniques for determining antenna performance, and tools for helping to analyze and predict propagation.
Some of the highlights of Bill's talk are as follows: First that NVIS is a myth, and that low antennas only decrease performance without actually directing waves skyward, especially for higher frequencies. Thus, NVIS should be ignored; consequently, the antenna deployment rule is always "the higher, the better." Second, low VSWR does not a good antenna make, nor do shiny, small antennas work better because they are... shiny. Third, that good DX does not require a towering beam antenna, or even good sunspot activity, especially with the newer, low SNR digital communication methods such as FT8. Bill also points out that half-wave dipole antennas "rule the roost," and higher placement should be the first priority for good dipole performance, then size/length follows next. He stresses that proper choking is required for dipoles in order to reduce RF feedback, and Bill explains several types of chokes and their implementation.
Bill then goes on to describe several real-time feedback methods for determining antenna performance, including the Reverse Beacon Network and the WSPR network. These performance analysis techniques are necessary, as Bill states, because on-the-air signal reports by fellow hams are notoriously inaccurate. One feature of WSPR as an analysis method is that website reports generated from WSPR beacon spots can be used to make a direct, head-to-head comparison of two different antennas transmitting simultaneously via WSPR protocol. Finally, Bill discusses how to predict HF propagation via an understanding of sunspot activity and its cycles, as well as using a very popular analytical software tool for propagation prediction called VOACAP. All in all, a very fascinating and informative presentation was heard by all who attended. The Caravan Club is sincerely appreciative of Bill's outstanding presentation to the club. (Click here for Bill's program)
New !!! Eastern New Mexico ARC Tailgate – Budd N7EOJ announced that on Saturday, May 26 (Memorial Day weekend) the Eastern New Mexico Amateur Radio Club will be hosting their annual tailgate/swap meet and pancake breakfast. It is a drive from Albuquerque (4 hrs, 8 min) to Clovis, NM but for those of you that never saw a tailgate that you didn't like this should be a lot of fun. Budd also mentions that nearby Clovis AFB will be holding an open house with performances by the Thunderbirds that afternoon. A great way to enjoy Memorial Day weekend? For more details contact Budd at email@example.com. Click here for their flyer.
New !!! Spring Tailgate a Huge Success – The Spring Tailgate, sponsored by the Amateur Radio Caravan Club drew a large crowd due to its very favorable weather - as compared to light snow last spring - and a more centralized location. There were plenty of vendors displaying their treasures for sale, even one or two selling equipment from silent keys. Maybe most impressive was the collection of ARRL Handbooks for every year for the past 30 years (see photos below). David, KE5VSE was there serving as net control for that morning’s ScatNet…from the hood of his truck. We were unable to find a burrito wagon willing to join us but our intrepid treasurer John N5UVQ saved the day by arriving carrying donuts and hot coffee for sale. Our thanks to our special events coordinator Mathias K0WBG for his hard work in arranging this successful tailgate.
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 !!! A New Tailgate in Town – Ken KO5Y (aka “Mr. Trivia Guy”) has announced a new tailgate to be inaugurated on Saturday, June 16th (dawn to about 10:30 AM). It will be called the Albuquerque QSO Tailgate and will be held in the north parking lot of American Legion Post 49, 11007 Central Ave NE (at Elizabeth NE between Eubank and Juan Tabo) in Albuquerque. Ken is also announcing that there will be a raffle for a 30 watt dual band (VHF/UHF) mobile radio...with a new twist. He will sell only 30 chances at $5 per ticket. That really improves your odds of winning for not too much money. As usual there is no charge for vendors nor admission. Please spread the word about Albuquerque’s newest tailgate. We hope to see you all there!
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 !!! 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.
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:
[Note: We just learned that Port Authority has discontinued the color for the “Pete’s” Style coat. Sorry.]
“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. 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; Mark W5MHG
Site Last Updated: 15 May 2018