Welcome to the
AMATEUR RADIO CARAVAN CLUB
of New Mexico, Inc.
New !!! Summer Radio Fun in the Park – The Amateur Radio Caravan Club will be hosting its second of three monthly Summer Radio Fun in the Park events on Friday, July 27th. We set up our rigs for an evening of radio fun and invite all hams, ham wanna-be’s and even the curious to join us. We meet in Sister Cities Park (corner of McKinney and Harper NE which is NE of San Mateo & Academy) from about 4 PM until dark and somewhere around dinner time we order pizza. Bring your rig, maybe a folding chair and/or your questions. All are invited. Click Here for flyer.
New !!! Langer on the History of the Caravan Club – At the July 13th meeting of the Amateur Radio Caravan Club, Mike Langner K5MGR entertained us while explaining the history of our club. His PowerPoint presentation was filled with humorous side stories about baby steps taken by our predecessors in developing technology on the AM band to meet their needs in the pre-FCC era of no regulations. This experimentation included over-powered mobiles quickly draining car batteries, causing RFI on neighbors’ TV sets and even a few electrical fires. He mentioned that the first nets were on 29.6 MHz AM simplex – a frequency shared by and much to the displeasure of local businesses. Later, the first repeater was on 146.46 MHz located in the Tijeras Canyon area but could not reach outside its immediate area. Mike could not pinpoint the year that the Caravan Club was founded but said that it was prior to 1957 (we’ll need help from our old-timers on that date). In conclusion, we are again deeply indebted to Mike for another of his factual and entertaining programs. His knowledge of radio history is awesome and a real asset to our community. Thanks, Mike!!!
New !!! Bill Mader Named ARRL Section Manager – At the July Caravan Club meeting Bill Mader K8TE announced that effective July 1st he was appointed the ARRL’s newest New Mexico Section Manager. Most New Mexico hams have known Bill as an avid DXer/contester, presenter of a wide variety of amateur radio-related programs at area club meetings and as the chief instructor of numerous day-long "HF Universities" at Duke City Hamfests. His radio knowledge is unmatched, his enthusiasm and humor entertaining and now NM hams are privileged to welcome Bill as our new section manager.
New !!! August 11th Tailgate – Ken KO5Y has announced another new tailgate to be inaugurated on Saturday, August 11th (6 AM to about 10:30 AM). This one promises to be drier this time. It too 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...and you enter the tailgate through the gate off of Elizabeth. Ken also announced that again he will be sponsoring a “5/30 raffle”. This means that he will sell only 30 chances at $5 each for a nifty prize to be announced soon. 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!
Field Day a Modest Success – The Amateur Radio Caravan Club hosted its annual Field Day activity again on June 23rd in Montgomery Park in NE Albuquerque. We like that spot because it offers lots of grass and shade trees. We met about 9 AM to set up our rigs. We were gratified by all the hams that showed up to help set up…and learn. Turns out that we were able to set up rigs on four different bands. Don W5FHA set up his BuddiPole antenna and got on 20 meters. He also installed his solar panel to supplement his batteries. Mathias K0WBG - and later John N5UVQ - got on 40 meters using Neall W5NED’s 18-foot mast and Pete KE5WTM’s 40-meter Hamtenna dipole. Terry K7XR borrowed Neall’s multi-band end fed wire antenna to set up a CW station. Finally, although it doesn’t count during field day, Richard N5XZZ set up a demonstration VHF station using his “go kit” in a suitcase, a solar panel and his homebrew J-pole antenna that he and Kermit KB5HA had built. This field day was obviously a team effort.
At noon (MDT), field day officially began with all HF stations on the air. In viewing the log sheets about an hour later, only Terry, on CW, was making any contacts and had about a half page filled in…and even he, in desperation on occasion, resorted to using a microphone (gasp!). We were able to hear lots of “CQ Field Day” out there but for the most part were unable to connect.
Finally, the grand finale. By 5:30 - 6 PM hams and spouses were arriving with food and at 6 PM we began our traditional potluck dinner. The variety of food offered was awesome and soon everyone was busy eating amid dinner conversation. After that, the crowd sat back and enjoyed more ragchewing, then packed up their gear and leftovers and headed home after a wonderful day of "playing radio".
Inaugural Albuquerque QSO Tailgate Washed Out – Well, New Mexico certainly welcomed relief from its drought but it could have waited a couple of hours. The inaugural Albuquerque QSO Tailgate, long planned by Ken KO5Y and Mark W5MHG to fill a tailgate void in mid-June, was met first thing Saturday morning by a light, steady rain. Kind of reminds us of the inaugural Dayton Hamvention last year at its new location in Xenia, Ohio. It too experienced rain but a year later it was met with wonderful weather and we hope to see the same here next year. Reports from Albuquerque’s American Legion Post 49’s north parking lot indicated that there were plenty of intrepid hams onsite early plus as a couple of tents and some canopies set up to keep merchandise and hams sheltered. However, as the rain continued, even the most prepared ham was beginning to feel the chill so headed home. By the time this writer arrived at 9:20 AM, the parking lot was empty. Now all of us can look forward to the upcoming ARRL Rocky Mountain Division Convention / Duke City Hamfest on September 21-23 when we will have TWO tailgates. See you then!
Bryan Burns Uses FT-8 to Compare Two Antennas – The Amateur Radio Caravan Club was treated to an outstanding presentation by Bryan Burns, WA5VAH at its June 8th meeting. His topic was “Real-World HF Antenna Performance Comparisons Using FT-8 Digital Mode”. He began by describing how FT-8’s super accurate clock and ability to measure signal-to-noise ratios (SNR) were critical to his project. Using two base stations both using FT-8 digital mode software he compared his $40 homebrew 20-meter 16-foot vertical antenna vs his $400 Gap Challenger 8-band vertical. Both antennas were installed about 10 feet apart. He made the assumption that a distant transmission will arrive simultaneously at both antennas and its SNR can be measured by FT-8. He had both radios measure transmissions for many months so he had lots of data to statistically process focusing specifically measuring SNR. He then used PSK Reporter software to map the data. Bottom Line: He found that his $40 copper tube homebrew vertical worked best. If you would like to see a copy of Bryan’s program, click here.
Summer Radio Fun Event Fun but Where Was the Propagation? The Amateur Radio Caravan Club-sponsored Summer Radio Fun in the Park was a moderate success. Attendance was respectable with four hams setting up their rigs utilizing different modes, bands and four different antenna types. Terry K7XR on CW used his homebrew loop antenna which successfully reached several reverse beacons. Don W5FHA used his Buddipole; Art N5ART brought his small vertical and Pete KE5WTM mounted his 20-meter Hamtenna dipole on Neall’s (W5NED) 18-foot telescopic mast. All of us could hear other hams (IN, GA and even overseas) but none of us could make a single contact, i.e. the bands were DEAD. However, all was not lost. Five pizzas arrived and quickly consumed after which we spent the rest of a delightful evening ragchewing. [Reminder: There will be no Summer Fun event in June due to Field Day occurring on the day after our normal 4th Friday in June. See you in July and August.]
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 !!! 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: 2 July 2018