Welcome to the
AMATEUR RADIO CARAVAN CLUB
of New Mexico, Inc.
New !!! Improv at the Caravan Club Meeting – The Amateur Radio Caravan Club met on Friday, September 8th to hear Mike Pooler NM5P speak (literally) on “DXing on 100 Watts or Less”. He brought his PowerPoint presentation but our laptop wouldn’t accept it - sooooo he spoke extemporaneously. Did a pretty good job too considering the circumstances. In lieu of his slides being seen at the meeting, he graciously gave them to your webmaster to put on our website. However, the club's web software won't allow us to install it, even compressing it to a smaller size. Sorry!
Some of Mike’s key points in his presentation were that he uses a varietyof antennas including a 6BTV Hustler vertical, and a “Quagi” (a quad + yagi) by Tom McKay in Canada. Mike installed the radials for his vertical antenna above ground, including one that has a clip on the far end so when not in use he can unclip it and rolls it up out of the way. The others are high enough to not be a hindrance in his back yard. He says his success in DXing depends heavily on the sun cycle so lately he hasn’t been to active due to our being near the bottom of a cycle. He also related how he once made a QRP DX contact from his truck. Being mobile he was assisted by a "10,000 foot tower", by driving to the top of our nearby Sandia Crest. He also put in a plug for PowerPoint software which not only creates powerful slide presentations, it also has many other features. It is the only software he needs to make eye-catching QSL cards and other documents. Many thanks to Mike for an interesting talk…and our apologies for our technical difficulty.
During the business part of the meeting out treasurer/membership chair reported that the club now has 97 member and growing. The club decided to keep our Winterfest each January as our own identity but to continue to invite any hams (and families) to join us. The food is always good and the fellowship even better. Finally, John N5UVQ and Pete KE5WTM each purchased different coats from Turbo Threads as samples for the club to consider as its club coat. Nothing was decided at the meeting but it was fun for members to look them over and try them on.
New !!! Corn Feed Coming Soon – The Amateur Radio Caravan Club will be hosting its annual Corn Feed on Saturday, September 23th (at noon) at Montgomery Park in NE Albuquerque. The club provides fresh sweet corn which is boiled onsite in the club’s cooker. The club will also provide paper plates, eating utensils and napkins. Being a potluck, participants are to bring their favorite dishes (and serving utensils). A limited number of tables and chairs will be provided but, to be safe, if you have them, you might want to bring your own chairs plus a small table. After enjoying a delicious meal, it will be time to sit back, relax and visit with fellow guests. Can’t get any better than that! Oh, and since we are a ham radio club, why not arrive early, bring your rig and get on the air?
For those that are not familiar with Montgomery Park, it is northeast of the San Mateo / Comanche NE intersection. We meet in the NE corner of the park at the corner of Ponderosa & Alvarado NE (by the tennis courts). Hope to see you there!
New !!! Summer Fun a Radio Bust - The final session of the Amateur Radio Caravan Club’s Summer Radio Fun in the Park for this year was still a very enjoyable evening in spite of very little propagation. According to information from the club’s program coordinator and CW enthusiast Terry, K7XR, we are experiencing a ‘rare severe geomagnetic storm’. According to Google: “The geomagnetic storm is the result of a pair of coronal mass ejections, or CMEs, that left the Sun on March 15 and are now interacting with Earth's atmosphere and geomagnetic field”. Bottom line is that we turned our miserable radio fun into pizza fun instead. We had a nice turnout anyway resulting in lots of good conversation among ham friends. The temperature was in the mid 80s with a gentle breeze making for an almost perfect evening.
New !!! Ham Radio Needs your Help at the Balloon Fiesta – Thanks to the High Desert Amateur Radio Club, ham radio has been offered a golden opportunity to market its hobby at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta…but they can’t do it without your help. The AIBF, for the first time, has offered amateur radio a booth in its big white 7-Eleven Discovery Center tent at the north end of Balloon Fiesta Park. Tens of thousands of visitors (or more) from around the world will visit this tent during slack times before or after balloon launches each morning and evening. Most visitors will not be familiar with ham radio so rather than spending your time trying to make radio contacts, you will be meeting and greeting the public and telling them about our hobby. The AIBF has also requested that we include how amateur radio relates to ballooning in our discussions. Topics such as chase crew communications, APRS, STEM high altitude balloon launches, and gas ballooning should fill that bill.
The Fiesta runs for 9 days (Saturday, October 7th thru Sunday, October 15th). During this period we will be required to staff our booth all 9 days in the morning and during the 5 evening events (Oct. 7,8,12, 13 & 14). We hope to recruit 4 volunteers per shift so each will have time to look around the Fiesta. One club cannot staff all of these shifts alone so hams from throughout the Albuquerque area are asked to step up. During your shift(s) you will be free to where your club shirt, post your club logo or banner, hand out club brochures. For volunteering, you will be given a free parking pass ($15 value) and a free gate pass ($10 value) for that day. And remember, ninety-five percent of your time will be meeting and greeting the public, not trying to make radio contacts. The Discovery tent will be open from 6 to 11 AM and from 3:30 to 7 PM but it would behoove you to arrive at least an hour early to avoid heavy traffic. An early arrival will give you time get a bite to eat before the tent opens.
After checking your calendar, if you can work a shift or two call John Scott, KF5ROL at 228-0023 (cell) or email him (click here). Please don’t pass up this opportunity to tell others about our hobby. Recruiting younger hams into the hobby is always a plus.
New !!! Socorro Hamfest Coming – The Socorro Amateur Radio Association has announced that its 2017 Socorro Hamfest will be held on Saturday, October 21st ( 8 AM – 2 PM) at its traditional location – the NM Firefighters Academy - in west Socorro. Admission will be free. It will actually begin on Friday with a “Ham’s Tour of the VLA” (50 miles west of Socorro on Hwy 60) at 1 PM, followed with its Hamfest Banquet at a new venue in Socorro at 6 PM (speaker TBD). On Saturday, there will be an outdoor tailgate, indoor swap meet and several forums. Prizes will be awarded every half hour; must be present to win. Check SARA’s website for directions and the latest details. Hams in Albuquerque find this to be a small but very friendly Hamfest within an easy 1 hour drive each way. A nice way to spend a Saturday yet be home in time for dinner.
New !!! 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.]
"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.
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: 03 September 2017