Welcome to the
AMATEUR RADIO CARAVAN CLUB
of New Mexico, Inc.
New !!! July Meeting Drew a Full House – The Amateur Radio Caravan Club’s July meeting had a full agenda starting with our guest speaker Jim Hunter, NM5JH, filling in a packed audience on the Upper Rio FM Society’s upgrades to its repeater system (click here for his PowerPoint presentation). His bottom line was that their old system was obsolete, impossible to get parts for and had no documentation. Thus, their board decided to embark on a complete modernization. They agreed that as each repeater failed it would be replaced with a new system (antenna, repeater, wiring and backup power source). Most repeaters are now replaced and in operation with just a couple to go.
Also at the meeting, we met with Rosalie Rayburn, a staff writer for the Albuquerque Journal. In June, our hard-working special events coordinator John Tribou, N5UVQ, noticed a lack of publicity for ARRL’s Field Day so he contacted the Journal. Several of us sat down with her to describe what amateur radio is all about. Evidently, she will publish her story in its “Life” Sunday supplement, hopefully just before the Duke City Hamfest. Great Job, John!
Also at the meeting we got our first look at a possible club jacket. Pete Stine, KE5WTM, conferred with Turbo Threads, our supplier of club shirts and caps, about a light jacket with our club logo and his name and call sign. This resulted in his purchasing our preferred choice which arrived in time for our member to inspect and even try on. The general consensus was, with winter coming on, this might be a popular jacket to have.
New !!! July 28th Summer Radio Fun in the Park – The Amateur Radio Caravan Club invites all hams, ham wanna-be’s and even the curious to join us for our second of three Summer Fun activities this summer on Friday, July 28th (4 pm to dark). For those that are new to this event, this is a monthly get-together in Sister Cities Park (corner of McKinney and Harper NE which is NE of San Mateo & Academy) on the fourth Fridays in May, July and August (we skip June as Field Day is the next day). We try to set up at least CW and SSB rigs using a variety of antennas. We might even tune an antenna and learn how to use an antenna analyzer. Somewhere around dinner time the Club even orders pizzas for us. We welcome new hams and the just plain curious so come ready to observe and ask all your questions. Consider our activities to be mini-Field Days to test your equipment and have fun with fellow hams. Bring your rig, maybe a folding chair and get on the air. All are invited.
New !!! Duke City Hamfest – The website for the Duke City Hamfest 2017 is now up and pre-registration is being accepted. Their website address is pretty easy to remember - DukeCityHamfest.org - and contains lots of new information. The dates are August 11-13th and will be held at a new location – the Sid Cutter Pilots Pavilion - at the south end of the Balloon Fiesta Park, home of the world-renown Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. Click here for map, photos and site report.
New !!! Project Amelia Earhart – I found this on the ARRL website: Fellow ham Brian Lloyd, WB6RQN, is currently attempting to fly around the world following Amelia Earhart’s original route 80 years ago - until she disappeared somewhere over the Pacific. As his flight will include long legs from Point A to Point B with nothing to do, he is encouraging fellow hams to contact him. The basic details on Project Amelia Earhart can be found on his website http://projectameliaearhart.org/ham-radio/ and a more detailed log on his Facebook page under Project Amelia Earhart (https://www.facebook.com/AmeliaEarhart80/). Stop by his websites periodically to track his progress and maybe even talk to him.
Summer Radio Fun in the Park a Modest Success – The Amateur Radio Caravan Club conducted its first of three Summer Radio Fun in the Park activities on May 26th. We had two radio systems there: First was Terry K7XR’s CW rig including his homemade 30 foot vertical antenna with 32 radials. He was successful in reaching a couple of countries in Europe when propagation was good in the early afternoon. He also demonstrated his battery-powered drill motor used to reel in 4 radials at a time. Very efficient! The second was Pete KE5WTM’s FT-857D and his 20 meter Hamtenna dipole. Once everything was set up, Pete, with the help of several knowledgeable hams discovered that not enough juice was reaching the transceiver from his battery plus his autotuner also needed power. Things to work on before Field Day? However, four pizzas arrives about 5:45 PM that needed our immediate attention so we took time out to address this issue. Afterwards, with full bellies, we opted to kick back and ragchew.
"The Beast” Explained – Don Wood W5FHA did an outstanding job in explaining the pros and cons of lithium-ion batteries, also known as “The Beast” at the Caravan Club's April meeting. These batteries are popularly used in small electronics such as cell phones, laptops and even electronic cigarettes because of their high current – low weight. However, when not controlled they can catch fire instantaneously. Not just an ordinary fire but three types in one: Electrical, chemical and metal fires. Lithium is a metal that when on fire produces its own oxygen thus traditional type A, B, or C fire extinguishers do not work. Either a very expensive type D extinguisher is needed or very dry sand (playground sand). Very dry sand under high heat will melt into glass that encapsulates the lithium and puts out the fire. Moist sand will turn to steam and make things worse. His talk included several videos showing how quickly and explosively a battery can catch fire under the right conditions.
Don’s key point of his presentation was to keep “The Beast” from escaping by avoiding (1.) overcharging, (2.) over discharging, and (3.) damaging the battery. His advice is to purchase name brand lithium-ion batteries AND chargers made by the same company for that battery. The battery will contain a quality small “controller” inside to keep the battery within high/low voltage tolerances and the charger will not charge outside of those tolerances. If, however, you choose to take apart, say, an old laptop battery to salvage the L-ion batteries inside, Don advised “Don’t” unless you know what you are doing because, if damaged, “The Beast” will quickly escape to cause severe burns or death. The safe way is to recycle old lithium-ion batteries at places such as Lowe’s or Home Depot. Our sincere thanks to Don for an eye-opening program.
New !!! 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.
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.
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) [Updated]- The Amateur Radio Caravan Club has officially adopted a very nice polo-style tan colored shirt. Each individual shirt will have the club logo (right) 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 in batches from Wisconsin. This new vendor, Turbo Threads (1503 Golf Course Rd SE in Rio Rancho or (505) 999-1234) offers the exact same shirt as our original vendor. Their shirts sell for $21 or $24 depending on the number of X's in your shirt size. Ball caps are $9 with the club name and logo embroidered in front or $12 to include your name and call sign above the adjuster in the back. Individual members should now order their club 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 email@example.com 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: 18 July 2017