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New !!! Constructing Low-Noise Receive Antennas – The Amateur Radio Caravan Club’s meeting room was packed for its February meeting as Jim Koshmider, K8OZ, showed us several noise-quieting receive antennas.  Frequently, when on the low bands, operators can pick up weak signals but the QRN (background noise) is so great that they cannot understand them.  Jim showed how to construct noise-reducing antennas with high signal to noise ratios that cut the background noise and increase signal strength toward the target contact.  Not only that, these antennas are small enough to fit into small, city lots. On the whiteboard, Jim illustrated how to build five shaped-named antennas: the “Ewe” (inverted “U”), “Flag”, “Delta Loop”, “Pennant” and “Loop” antennas. The first two are stationary, pointing in just one direction while the Delta Loop, Pennant and Loop antennas can be built off the ground to rotate.  He also mentioned that all of them can be constructed using lightweight framing, such as wooden furring strips, fiberglass or PVC plus 18-gauge wire (he uses furring strips and 18-gauge stranded, insulated wire (for its flexibility) for his four receive antennas pointed in four directions. He combines this with a vertical transmit antenna and a switch to manually alternate between transmit and receive and does reasonably well in reaching distant contacts on the low bands.  Our sincere thanks to Jim for a most educational program.

New !!! Technician Level Licensing Class Coming SoonJim Hunter, NM5JH, and the El Malpais VE Group is offering a Technician Level licensing class on April 5 – 7, 2019.  The Technician level ham radio license is the first level for those wanting to get into ham radio. The class will be held in the community room of the APD Northwest Area Command Center (10401 Cibola Loop, NW). The station located on Ellison Dr NW one block west of Coors Bypass and right across (north) from Cibola High School. The classes will be held on Friday evening and all-day Saturday and Sunday.  While the information is fresh in the students’ minds, volunteer examiners (VEs) will administer the exam for Technician.  If you pass, you will be a ham about a week later when you find your name and call sign on the FCC website.  If you are interested in signing up for the class, please call Jim Hunter at (505) 259-3551 (cell).  For more details, Click Here.

New !!! General Licensing Class Being Offered in April/MayJim Hunter NM5JH and his group have announced that they will be offering a class for technicians wishing to upgrade soon.  The class will cover all of the theory behind all of the test questions and will be held over two weekends – April 27-28 and May 4-5 from 8:30 AM to 5:30 PM.  It will be held at the APD Northwest Area Command’s community room (10401 Cibola Loop NW) which is on Ellison one block west the Ellison/Coors Bypass intersection and just north of Cibola High School.  Also, please note that the exam question pool for General expires on July 1, 2019 so this will be Jim’s last class using the current test questions. If you wish to sign up, phone Jim Hunter at 505.259.3551 (C).  For more class information, Click Here.

New !!! Amateur Extra Class Beginning in March - Frank Warren AB5WJ will once again be offering an Amateur Extra class beginning in March. He’s looking for a minimum of 5 students. A planning meeting of those signed up will be held in the last weekend of February to decide whether the class will meet on a Saturday or Sunday starting in March--or if there are enough students, he is willing to repeat the class to different groups of students on Saturday AND Sunday.  His weekly classes cover all­ of the material behind the exam questions so you will come away with a much better understanding as oppose to just memorizing the answers to the test questions.  Thus, his classes typically last three months (or until you feel you are ready for the exam).  Frank also brags a 99% success rate over the past few years. Further, his is the only class, that I know of, in the area that teaches the AE material and he only teaches it once a year.  To sign up contact Frank at 962-9212 or AB5WJ@cableone.net. The class will be held at his house in Rio Rancho.

New !!!  WINTER Tailgate Lived Up to its Name – The Winter Tailgate, sponsored by the 146.580 Simplex Group, was pretty well attended considering a cold, clear 28-degree morning with no wind.  Our intrepid hams endured the brisk temperature with the hope of finding a bargain or to visit with old, and new, friends.  An estimated 18 to 20 vendors braved the temp to offer their wares.  Word has it that some of the vendors did well early but later most hams appeared more intent on keeping their hands (and wallets) warm in their pockets.  As you can imagine, holding an outdoor event in January is always a risk but we are indebted to Gary Horlbeck KH6JTM and his group for hosting this event, for securing the very centrally-located north parking lot of the Stoneface Tavern for this event and arranging such fine weather. 

DCHF Needs Our Help - Cathy and Pete Spotts, registrars for the 2017 and 2018 Duke City Hamfests, are embarking on an ambitious marketing project for next year’ Hamfest.  They want to collect email addresses from several thousand of hams in New Mexico and surrounding states via QRZ.com. They have divided all those hams call signs listed on QRZ.com into batches of just 500. That is where we come in.  With many hams volunteering to spend a few hours searching for email addresses on QRZ.com within “their” group of 500, the Spotts can reach their goal of inviting even more hams to the 2019 DCHF. The process is strictly “copy and paste”.  You copy a call sign from the spreadsheet, paste it on QRZ.com.  If that ham has listed their email address, you copy and paste it to the spreadsheet and move on to the next call sign.  If no email address, you just type NA in the email column. Since freezing weather is upon us, what better way to stay warm indoors while helping ham radio?  Click here for more information.  If you wish to take on a batch, please email Cathy at cspotts54@gmail.com and she will send you a spreadsheet with 500 call signs plus instructions. For more information, click here.

New !!! New Mexico TechFest Seating Now Filled– The 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 23, 2019 and will occur at the New Mexico Veterans’ Memorial Event Center located at 1100 Louisiana Blvd SE, Albuquerque, NM 87108. This year’s topics are now posted on the TechFest website. Admission is $10 but registration is now CLOSED; the 80 seats have been filled. To see the list of speakers, click on http://www.rmham.org/wordpress/new-mexico-techfest . To download a flyer for your refrigerator, click here.

New !!! 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:    09 February 2019