Welcome to the
AMATEUR RADIO CARAVAN CLUB
of New Mexico, Inc.
New !!! Summer Radio Fun in the Park (August Activity) – A reminder from the Amateur Radio Caravan Club that its final Summer Radio Fun in the Park activity for the year is scheduled for Friday, August 23rd. We meet 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. We invite all hams, ham wanna-bees and even the curious to join us. We meet from about 4 PM (or earlier) until dark. Somewhere around dinner time the club even springs for pizza. Bring your rig, your favorite beverage, maybe a folding chair and/or your questions. All are invited. Click Here for a flyer/map.
New !!! Ham Volunteers Sought for Balloon Fiesta Booth – The High Desert Amateur Radio Club is seeking hams to help staff a ham radio booth at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta (October 5-13). Again, this year the booth will be inside the big white 7-Eleven Discovery tent at the north end of the field. This is a high traffic spot which offers us a fantastic opportunity to tell tens of thousands of Fiesta visitors about our wonderful hobby. We will need lots of areawide volunteers (9 morning and/or 5 evening shifts) in order to meet our obligation to the Fiesta folks. Duties for each shift will include one or two hams on the air and 2 or 3 more interacting with visitors from all over the world. Oh, and there will be ample opportunities for each volunteer to walk around the Fiesta during their shift. It’s a lot of fun telling folks about our hobby. As a sweetener each volunteer will be given a FREE gate pass and a FREE parking pass for their day. To avoid traffic jams, in the morning you should plan on arriving by about 4:30 – 5 AM and in the evenings by 4 PM. If you or your club is interested in participating in this fun event, Click Here to see the slots that are still available. To volunteer, please contact Dave, N0LVA at email@example.com . Hurry! First come, first served.
New !!! 2019 DCHF –The 2019 Duke City Hamfest is coming up fast (September 20-22) at the top-of-the-line Isleta Resort and Casino Convention Center. 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.
The agenda includes HF University 3.0, AMSAT Academy, and Emcomm College all-day courses plus five simultaneous forum rooms with talks emphasizing five forum tracks : Technical/DYI; Digital Operations; Emergency Comm/Public Service; Antennas; and General Interest. Also, indoor and outdoor flea markets, VE License Testing, Wouff Hong induction ceremony, a half-day SKYWARN class, craft classes, hearing tests, and lots of fabulous raffle prizes. There will be distinguished guest speakers at the Friday night FREE mixer, Saturday & Sunday breakfasts and the Saturday evening banquet. Please check the DCHF website for a complete list of activities. See you then.
Bogs, Dogs and Logs Explained – At the August 9th meeting of the Amateur Radio Caravan Club, Jim Koshmider, K8OZ, focused on small receiving antennas that can make a big difference in hearing contacts. He started out by listing the advantages of having one or more low-noise receiving antennas in your yard oriented in different directions (and using an antenna switch to check each antenna to determine which is receiving best). Better yet, some newer transceivers have built in switches that allow you to switch between your receiving and transmitting antennas. Jim said that by placing receiving antennas on the ground, they don’t pick up noises that a dipole at 30 feet in the air would. Just avoid routing it near metal objects. To build a low noise receiving antenna, however, you must use insulated wire (never bare wire). He then explained BOGs (“Beverage antennas On the Ground”) which have the transceiver attached on one end of the wire and a load-resister to ground on the other end. DOGs (“Dipoles On the Ground”) is just another variation while LOGs (“Loop antennas On the Ground”) are an even more compact antenna for those with even smaller yards. “Snakes” is a receiving antenna wound randomly around your yard on the ground with a tuner attached to the antenna. The question was raised about also transmitting using this antenna. “No, it would not perform well; higher is better”. Our sincere thanks to Jim for another very educational talk.
During the business part of the meeting, Tim Cline KD5YMT, volunteered to serve as interim club Secretary until someone is elected at our October business meeting. Thanks, Tim! We also put in a call for volunteers to staff the ham radio booth at the upcoming Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. The club also received requests to advertise two upcoming ham radio events: (1.) The W4DXCC Convention (w4dxcc.com) will be held during September 20 – 21, 2019 in Pigeon Forge, TN, and (2.) the Harvey House on the Air special event stations will be held on Saturday, Sept. 14th (9 AM-5PM local). As you probably know, Fred Harvey built and operated 84 Harvey House Hotels and Restaurants (both commonly referred to as Harvey Houses) along western railroads. Thirteen Harvey Houses were constructed in New Mexico, including one in nearby Belen. The Valencia County Amateur Radio Association is one of an expected 15 activations this year, so be on the lookout for HHOTA special event stations. For more information, click on their website www.qsl.net/vcara.
2019 Don Grab Memorial Tailgate #2 – On August 3rd, local hams gathered at American Legion Post 49’s north parking lot for the second summer tailgate this year honoring the late Don Grab K5BIS (the first one was on June 29th). There were about a dozen vendors offering a wide variety of radio equipment for sale. Mark W5MHG was there hosting the Saturday ScatNet and Ken KO5Y raffled off a nifty TYT portable radio. Mostly, though, the crowd appeared to be meeting and greeting old friends and making new ones. Our thanks to Ken KO5Y and Mark W5MHG for hosting both summer tailgates again this year.
Summer Radio Fun in the Park – The Amateur Radio Caravan Club hosted its second of three Summer Radio Fun in the Park events for this year on July 26th (the last one will be on August 23rd). We had fourteen people show up at Sister Cities Park but NO propagation (again). We were honored to have New Mexico Section Manager Bill Mader, K8TE and his wife Judy participate. Bill set up what appeared to be a 40-foot vertical antenna using two counter poises strung to the lower limbs of two trees. Using CW, he made only one contact – to Montreal. Terry K7XR also had his lone contact to the same ham in Montreal. Otherwise, the rest of us were skunked. This disappointment was offset by two other activities: (1.) our Caravan Master Don KF5MEF arrived with the tools and makings for fabricating about a half dozen J-pole antennas using ¾” copper pipe. Don and the Ham brothers (Ken AG5UY and David N6SIK) teamed up to cut and polish the necessary components, and (2.) six pizzas arrived about 5:30 PM resulting in the dinner bell being rung. After a nice, laid back meal, at 6:15 PM it was suddenly interrupted by a lightning bolt hitting just east of the park. This got our firm attention! Ham gear and lightning doesn’t mix well so we quickly packed up our gear and headed home. Overall, we were blessed with very pleasant weather for about 3-1/2 hours so we’ll call this event a modest success.
Winterfest is a Success – The Amateur Radio Caravan Club held its annual “Winterfest” banquet at The Cooperage on Saturday, January 12th and it was a resounding success. We had about 40 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.
Socorro Hamfest is Well Attended – Many of the Amateur Radio Caravan Club traveled to Socorro, NM, to attend the Socorro ARA’s Hamfest / NM State Convention on Saturday, October 20th. It was an easy 90-minute drive mostly on I-25. Arriving about 8 AM and looking west we were treated a beautiful sunrise on “M” Mountain. Upon entering the New Mexico Firefighters Academy campus we were impressed by the large number of outdoor tailgate vendors already set up and in business. Entering the building we were greeted by the prize table. It contained an impressive number of Icom radios as major prizes plus another table stacked with lesser prizes for drawings every hour and half-hour. The crowd was said to be larger than those for the last two years. We certainly can’t complain about the indoor vendors either. There was even a student from nearby New Mexico Tech offering to test our handheld radios. There is a future electronic engineer, for sure! To top off the event, there was a food wagon onsite offering a wide variety of delicious food items at prices lower than what we are used to in Albuquerque. All in all, a superior event. Our sincere thanks to the folks in the Socorro Amateur Radio Association for all their hard work in hosting this event.
Ham Radio Represented at the 2018 Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta – For the second year, amateur radio staffed a booth inside the AIBF’s 7-Eleven Balloon Discovery Center at the north end of the balloon launch field. Before and after each balloon launch thousands of visitors head to the Discovery Center to explore what it has to offer. The High Desert ARC did an excellent job in coordinating the booth again this year. In order to staff the booth with six volunteers for 9 morning and 5 evening shifts is a MAJOR accomplishment. That’s 84 slots! No one club could fill that many slots by itself. Thanks to hams from all over the Albuquerque/Rio Rancho area for stepping up. A special thanks to John KF5ROL and Dave N0LVA for ramrodding this event. It required a lot of hours coordinating this event with both the AIBF and the ham volunteers. Well Done !!!
We focused on VHF/UHF, 20 meters and 40 meters in the booth. On Wednesday morning Jim NM5JH conducted the ScatNet in the booth followed by Bruce NK5W with Rusty’s Raiders. On Friday AM, Bob N5JH ran the ScatNet onsite followed by Joe K5STI on Rusty’s Raiders. However, between the PA announcements outside, parents and kits talking inside the tent plus us hams discussing ham radio with visitors nearby, it was a miracle that any of these net controllers could distinguish one call sign from another. In fact, the noise level in the tent was so constant that we rarely could make contacts using SSB on either HF band; we needed headphones. Thank goodness for the FT-8 digital mode on 40 meters. We were very successful in making digital contacts worldwide. All in all, our volunteers seemed to have a great time playing radio and discussing our wonderful hobby with our visitors from all over our nation and the world.
DCHF/RMDC Was a Huge Success – This year was New Mexico’s turn to host the Rocky Mountain Division Convention and the Duke City Hamfest, due to its advance planning and hard work, came through with an outstanding event. The event was held at the Isleta Resort & Casino on the Pueblo of Isleta south of Albuquerque. All attendees agreed that this was a first-class facility and are looking forward to returning for the contracted next three years. There was lots of space for all activities (registration, forums, banquets, commercial vendors, indoor tailgaters, club tables…). Outdoors, there were about 70 spots for the outdoor flea market (tailgate) as well as for a successful launch of Valley High School’s near space balloon. And the food! The resort staff served the tastiest meals in DCHF memory.
Friday morning began with three all-day forums (AMSAT Academy, EmComm College and HF University 2.0). Registration opened at 9 AM followed by 11 forums throughout the day plus the outdoor flea market from noon to 5 PM. At 5 PM, the mixer began with a cash bar followed by a plentiful (and delicious) buffet. The resort staff kept the food coming! ARRL Emergency Services Coordinator Mike Corey KI1Uwas the evening speaker who explained ARRL’s involvement during the “Hurricane Season of 2017”. An impressive beginning of the weekend.
Saturday found the outdoor tailgate crew open for business as 6 AM thru noon. This was followed by Dave Jorgenson WD5COV speaking on DX/contesting during the breakfast banquet at 7:30 AM. The rest of the day including 31 forums on a WIDE variety of topics. This was also the big day for all of our commercial vendors who offered the crowd an impressive variety of wares. At 5 PM, the Saturday banquet began with a cash bar followed by a delicious buffet and lots of great fellowship. The banquet’s speaker was the ever-inspirational Bob Heil, K9EID, owner of Heil Sound. For those with some energy left after a full day, the Wouff-Hong Ceremony was held from 10 to 11:30 PM.
Sunday began with the farewell breakfast banquet at 7:30 AM featuring the results of the near space balloon flight (which landed, as projected, near Moriarty, NM). Registration and the commercial vendors/indoor flea market were opened for their final day from 8 AM to noon. There were also 11 forums held in the morning. At noon, the ever-popular final raffle was held with lots of prizes won.
In conclusion, our sincere thanks to chairman Bill Ripley and his hard-working board and many volunteers for arranging an outstanding Hamfest/Convention. We also want to especially recognize the Isleta Resort’s staff for doing a first-class job for helping us every step of the way. (Note: Below are probably way too many photos of the event but we wanted to give those that could not attend a feel of what they missed).
[Another Note: For those interested in downloading the DCHF speakers’ presentations, many are now available on the DCHF website. Click Here ]
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- 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 coats. It is Turbo Threads, 1503 Golf Course Rd SE in Rio Rancho or (505) 999-1234. You can order items directly from Turbo Threads.
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 – A club coat is also available from Turbo Threads:
Port Authority “Legacy”, Catalog # J764 (regular), TLJ764 (tall) and L764 (women’s), khaki/nutmeg color. This model has a thin lining and comes with a hood. Cost is 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; Bob N5JH, Mark W5MHG
Site Last Updated: 18 August 2019