Welcome to the
AMATEUR RADIO CARAVAN CLUB
of New Mexico, Inc.
New !!! Vector Network Analyzer Explained – The Amateur Radio Caravan Club meeting in December had a full house as Bryan Burns, WA5VAH, presented a fascinating program on the new, low-cost Vector Network Analyzer (VNA). He started by explaining how VNAs are used to very accurately measure an impressive number of values on an equally impressive list of radio components (antennas, cables, filters,…) He started with some history of the VNAs and how their size and cost has shrunk since the 1980s. An example is that thanks to microprocessing their costs have gone from hundreds of thousands of dollars down to just $600 today for the miniVNAtiny analyzer. After explaining the capabilities of this VNA and the free VNA/J software that is needed, Bryan showed us how to calibrate it (an important step) and then connected it to coax cables and various antennas to demonstrate various measurements useful to amteur radio. Bryan’s impressive program seemed to divide the audience into one of two groups: (1.) hams that had never heard of a VNA but now know that it exists and are familiar with its capabilities, and (2.) hams experienced in electronics. Maybe this second group could be best illustrated by a conversation overheard afterwards as we were leaving: “I can already think of two uses at home for this device”. If you want more information on the VNA, Bryan has generously provided his entire presentation + more to us (click here). Once again, Bryan, thank you for a very educational evening!
New !!! Winterfest is Coming – The Amateur Radio Caravan Club will be hosting its annual Winterfest banquet on Saturday, January 13, 2018 in lieu of its regular January meeting. It again will be at The Cooperage restaurant, with its killer salad bar, 7220 Lomas Blvd NE. We will begin gathering about 5:30 PM and eat at 6 PM. For now, Mathias Gibbens, K0WBG, the club’s new Special Events Coordinator, is requesting that members and guests notify him with a head count at K0WBG@arrl.net if they will be attending so he can notify the restaurant. Everyone is welcome.
For those that don’t know about our Winterfest, this is the club’s holiday party. We learned long ago that with all of the office and other holiday parties going on during December it is almost impossible to pick a date for ours. Hence, we postpone ours until January and have a great time. We order off the menu and receive separate checks.
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 27, 2018 (sunrise to about 10 AM) at a new location. It will be held in the north parking lot of the Stoneface Tavern, 8201 San Pedro Dr NE. Location is just north of Paseo Del Norte on San Pedro at Carmel Ave. Please note that this is an outdoor event so dress warmly. As always, there is no admission charge and no vendor space fee. Hope to see you there! Click here for flyer.
New !!! Trivia Net On The Air - 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.
New !!! New Mexico TechFest Call for Papers – The fourth annual New Mexico TechFest, an ARRL-sanctioned operating specialty event organized by Rocky Mountain Ham Radio - New Mexico. This unique event will be a day of quality presentations, demonstrations, and instruction provided by some of New Mexico’s leading technical hams on a variety of emerging and relevant topics within amateur radio to advance and expand attendees’ technical knowledge, facilitate collaboration, and discuss ideas with one another.
The TechFest will take place on Saturday, February 24, 2018 and will occur at the New Mexico Veterans’ Memorial Event Center located at 1100 Louisiana Blvd SE, Albuquerque, NM 87108. Admission is $10; online registration will open January 6, when the event’s presentation lineup is announced.
*** CALL FOR TECHFEST PRESENTATIONS *** The New Mexico TechFest seeks presentations on emerging and relevant amateur radio technical topics, techniques, and applications. Presentations will generally be 50 minutes in total length. Hams interested in presenting are asked to submit abstracts about their proposed topic for consideration by January 1st. Visit the New Mexico TechFest website noted below for submission details and key dates.
A limited number of AC-powered tables will also be provided at TechFest for attendees wishing to conduct ham-related technology/project demonstrations or short posterboard presentations at various times throughout the event. Hams interested in participating in this aspect of TechFest should likewise submit an abstract describing their proposed demonstration/posterboard for consideration by January 1st.
Additional details about the New Mexico TechFest, for both attendees and potential presenters, (including a printable event flyer suitable for posting on ham listserves, your club’s website, or your club’s newsletter) can be found at http://www.rmham.org/wordpress/new-mexico-techfest
Chuck Palmer Memorial Tailgate a Moderate Success - We couldn’t have asked for nicer weather for a tailgate in November. A modest crowd attended the High Desert ARC-hosted Chuck Palmer Memorial Tailgate, checked out lots of radio equipment for sale with what appeared to be moderate sales. The freshly-made breakfast burritos and hot coffee served by the Michoacanaria food truck were a hit. We were also honored that David KE5VSE chose to conduct the Saturday ScatNet from the tailgate. Most of all the crowd enjoyed ragchewing, especially making “eyeball“ QSOs with people they have heard or talked to on the air.
New !!! 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.
Duke City Hamfest a Huge Success at New Venue [UPDATED]– The Duke City Hamfest started on Friday, Aug. 11th with a very respectable crowd at the Sid Cutter Pilots’ Pavilion in Balloon Fiesta Park, home of the world-famous Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. This new venue offered the usual challenges of any new venue but the crowd seemed to be pleased. Our sincere thanks to our partner, the City of Albuquerque, and all of the Hamfest volunteers and especially the crowd for making this year’s event a huge success. Highlights of the Hamfest include:
Friday, Aug. 11th - The Hamfest started with Bill Mader, K8TE, conducting his popular all-day HF University. At noon, the other doors opened with a rush to the commercial vendor and indoor tailgate tables. Lots of bargains to choose from. The first of many educational forums also began after lunch. In the late afternoon a severe thunderstorm passed through which made walking outside to the forum tents challenging but the rain stopped within an hour. At 5 PM, the vendors and DCHF board hosted a mixer/auction followed by opening remarks by guest speaker ARRL honorary vice president Bruce Frahm, K0BJ.
Saturday, Aug. 12th – The outdoor tailgate started at “O-Dark-Thirty” under a street light and continued for most of Saturday. Again, lots of bargains. Of course, the indoor vendors also were open for business all day until 5 PM. At 6 PM, at the ARRL Awards Banquet, we were treated to a delicious BBQ dinner and followed by our keynote speaker Bruce Frahm. Unfortunately, NM Section Manager Ed James, KA8JMW, who was to present the awards, had to cancel due to a severe power failure at home.
Sunday, Aug. 13th - Our final day of the Hamfest opened at 8 AM again with registration, indoor flea market and commercial vendors. At 9 AM the National Weather Service offered a 3-hour SkyWarn class. Seven additional forums on a variety of topics were offered including STEM, a Kit Build-a_Thon, amateur radio digital modes, and even ham radio on-air etiquette. At noon, the Hamfest closed with a crowd awaiting its chance to win a fabulous radio in the final raffle drawing.
Next Year - We are already looking forward to next year’s big event. It will be New Mexico’s turn to host the combined Rocky Mountain Division Convention / NM State Convention / Duke City Hamfest which will encompass all four states in the Rocky Mountain Division (Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming)…and more. Hamfest president Bill Ripley, KY5Q, announced at Saturday’s banquet that he hoped to hold next year’s event in a hotel somewhere in Albuquerque. We hope to see all of you there next year!
[UPDATE - Many but not all forum speakers have graciously posted their slides on the Hamfest website. To get more details about a forum topic (click here) to go to the Hamfest site, then click on Schedule and then on Slides.]
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: 01 December 2017