ARRL ARES Communicator's Comments - 2018-09-09

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio Emergency Communications' started by W.T. Jones, Sep 9, 2018.

  1. W.T. Jones

    W.T. Jones Moderator Staff Member Silver Member Golden GPS Recipient

    [​IMG]
    Luzerne County ARES® Sunday Night Bulletin
    "We don't rise to the level of our expectations. We fall to the level of our training."
    Archilochus - Greek Poet and Soldier

    "Success is not Final. Failure is not Fatal. The only thing that matters is the courage to carry on."
    Winston Churchill
    Download Version
    If you are not aware of what the ARRL Board is doing then it is time for you to get informed!

    MY ARRL VOICE

    • Current Versions of Fldigi programs
    • Luzerne County ARES® Information...
    • Luzerne County ARES®Net Control Schedule
    • !Luzerne County LCARES Announcements...
    • Click Here for the Luzerne County ARES®Activities Schedule
    • Click Here for Net Schedules of Interest - updated on 8/4/2018
    • 2018 LCARES Members Operational Status - Net Stats - Bulletin Responses (updated 9/2/18)...
    • Weekly Images
    • An ARRL ARES®Communicator's Comments
      • Follow-up on "I Am A Sentimental Old Jerk But"...
      • Corollary to "Time Heals All Wounds"...
      • The SSES Practice Drill Comments...
      • Hurricane Florence...
      • Beware the Barracuda...
      • October 1st...
      • FT8 Commentary from AB3ZI....
    • Ham Radio Links
    • Closing
    Bulletin Date: September 9, 2018
    Bulletin Number: 215

    This Bulletin is for all Amateur Radio Operators in Luzerne County and any interested Amateur Radio Station anywhere.

    Note: A copy of this Bulletin is stored on the www.w3luz.org web site in .wav file format. This file can be replayed by Fldigi and Flamp to get the complete Bulletin.

    Current Versions of Fldigi programs
    Current Versions of Fldigi Suite
    Fldigi Flmsg Flamp
    4.0.18 4.0.7 2.2.03
    Current as of: September 9, 2018. *Indicates an update in the past week.
    Latest versions available at http://sourceforge.net/projects/fldigi/files/
    or at http://www.w1hkj.com/

    Luzerne County ARES® Information...
    - Important: The Sunday Night Bulletin is required reading for all LCARES Members. If you are busy look for the things with the ! in front of them.

    Luzerne County ARES®Net Control Schedule
    The Rotation Schedule for the LCARES Voice net has been posted on the www.w3luz.org. Last update: August 1, 2018

    Please be sure to review the NCS schedule before the upcoming nets.

    !Luzerne County LCARES Announcements...
    (These will be read by the Alternate NCS during the regular weekly session of the LCARES Voice Net.)

    * - indicates that announcement should not be read on the LCARES Net.

    1. The 3rd Quarter Message Challenge is now on the web site. The Single Resource Team Members can begin sending their messages to the EC at any time. Remember that each member of the SRT need to send one message per quarter to remain that their SRT level. If any member of the LCARES wants to try to send one of the messages they will be accepted, critiqued, and appreciated.
    2. Feedback on the SSES Practice Exercise should be sent to ec@w3luz.org as soon as possible. All comments are appreciated.
    3. The Beware The Barracuda Triathlon is coming up on September 15th and 16th. There is a need for 5 to 6 operators on Saturday and if we had 10 for Sunday that would be great. The event is a short one and we are usually done before noon. Volunteer with an email to ec@w3luz.org or he'll find you.
    Click Here for the Luzerne County ARES®Activities Schedule
    Click Here for Net Schedules of Interest - updated on 8/4/2018
    2018 LCARES Members Operational Status - Net Stats - Bulletin Responses (updated 9/2/18)...

    Note: Credit is given for responding but to win, place, or show the answer has to be correct.
    Sunday Night Bulletin for September 2, 2018 Responses
    1st Response
    Bob-N3PQP
    2103hrs
    2nd Response
    Rich-KC3FKW
    2105hrs
    3rd Response
    Bill-KC3HLT
    2106hrs
    Total Bulletin Responses for Last Week - 6

    Weekly Images
    [​IMG]

    This Tuesday marks the 17th Anniversary of 9/11. I still get chills thinking about that day.

    I hope that all of you remember that day, if you were alive, and keep the memory of those people who died securely in your mind.

    Terror should be a powerful memory enhancer. If you don't remember and act accordingly then you may have to relive that terror again and again.

    An ARRL ARES®Communicator's Comments
    Follow-up on "I Am A Sentimental Old Jerk But"...
    - Thank you to all of you who sent condolences. Very much appreciated by me. My only wish is that I could explain what happened to Remi, the blond lab, because that poor boy has had a tough time. He keeps running around and looking for Hershey. He is getting better but at the mere mention of Hershey's name he starts again. As I have been told "time heals all wounds" and I hope it happens quickly for Remi.

    Corollary to "Time Heals All Wounds"...
    - Time Wounds All Heels! (I heard that some where but don't know where.)

    The SSES Practice Drill Comments...
    [​IMG]
    - What I have heard so far indicates that the digital operation was successful. I still have to catch K2PG and get his impressions on it.

    On a side note not related to digital. I listened to what few voice messages that were passed and I have to say that they were done very well. Good work.

    Comments:

    KB3MMM - "Ubuntu laptop worked fine and once I transferred the custom forms to my Surface tablet it worked."

    N3PQP/N3TGI - "Advised that the signal from the repeater has degraded since the first and second message transmissions. I've copied all messages but the signal at Slocum is varying from noise to almost full quieting on all transmissions. I have not changed anything here. Any faster xmissions probably won't make it. The signal is full scale but noisy. Repeater is not hearing as well as it did at first. IDs are full quieting."

    NOTE! If anyone else noticed the repeater fading during the exercise please get in touch with me as soon as possible!

    KB3AC (Northumberland County) - "I am happy to report Ed KK4FYV and I were able to receive all 10 messages that were sent from the EOC and one that was sent from the field (?). I could almost hear one voice message sent from Huntington Twp. (?) but it was just to scratchy to hear the entire message."

    KC3HLT - [​IMG]

    KC3FKW/KC3IMK - "Location: Conyngham Twp Municipal Building
    Operators: KC3FKW assisted by KC3IMK

    1. General comments on location and set-up:
    The building itself was very small with the exception of a large meeting room at the end of the building, away from our location. We were set up at the end of a short hallway in front of an emergency exit, given a rolling metal cart for our radio and laptop, and two chairs. There was no other room on the cart to use for a writing surface, however I did bring a clip-board, so this became a non-issue. At first the location did not seem the greatest, however it did keep us away from pedestrian traffic, since the Township offices were still open and a number of individuals did come in to conduct business.
    There was no antenna for our use, and no windows in which to put a mag mount antenna. Signal reception was very poor, until they allowed us to open the emergency door. We placed the mag mount on top of this metal door, which apparently gave us a line of sight to the repeater, at which time reception with the EOC became full quiet. I doubt that any location in or around the building would have offered this quality.

    2. Equipment used:
    Baofeng BF-F8HP Hand Held radio
    Larsen dual band mag mount antenna
    Lap top computer provided by LCARES
    External USB microphone

    3. Equipment problems:
    We were set up and in communication with the EOC by 1800 hrs. All 10 messages were received with relatively little complications other than computer issues. The computer locked up on three occasions, specifically at 1836 hrs, 1850 hrs, and 1945 hrs. FLDIGI became unresponsive, and the only way to remedy was to shut down and reboot the computer. Resend of a message was required on one occasion, since we did not see the problem until after the start of a transmission. The problem was somewhat avoided by periodically clearing the receive panel in FLDIGI, however it did not eliminate it from occurring. Other than this, no significant issues.

    4. Drill:
    Everything went smoothly until toward the end of the exercise. There was confusion concerning when evacuation status was issued for the municipality. It was cleared up at least for our benefit when an announcement came from net control that we were to wait until a 10th and final message would be sent. This scenario appears to be the same as the one used two years ago, and this same problem occurred.

    5. Issues:
    Mostly with equipment. There was no 2 meter antenna at the building for our use (at least no one was aware of one). There did not seem to be a printer available to us, so all messages had to be transcribed from the terminal. Would be nice to have a computer mouse, instead of having to use the keypad. Finally, although not a problem for our location, each operator should have a checklist of minimum required equipment and supplies needed, as well as back up equipment and supplies in the event of problems occurring.

    Overall, I think everything went very well and we had a successful exercise."

    I did get a voicemail from K3DBG about Shickshinny but I hope it puts something in writing. Shick has had its problems and I am glad to hear that K3DBG did not experience any of them.

    If anyone has comments please send them to me at ec@w3luz.org.

    Now comments from me. I am happy with things as they went. K3TOW and KA3EEO performed at their higher than excellent level. I had Rick do most of the typing and message prep. He and Carol coordinated the sending. I didn't do much except spell Rick at the keyboard from time to time. It is a good feeling to know that it just works.

    There were reports of laptop hangs. I think that it is not Fldigi per se' but Firefox. Not 100% sure but I am sure as I can be with my experience. Fortunately, even with the hangs moving the messages did not suffer. I'll take that as a plus. After all we are doing this on a shoestring.

    There was one gotcha for the EOC crew and it was not something they did. You find things in all exercises that are not expected. This was the Governor's Evacuation Order. I did a copy and paste into a Flmsg Blank Form. Well, it worked but it was not pretty. Here is what it looked like...

    ORDERS EVACUATION (REV 1) (SSES EAS # 7 GE-Ordered
    Evacuation-KI)
    RERP 15 MINUTE NOTIFICATION PROCEDURES

    This is an Exercise


    WHEN 15 MINUTE NOTIFICATIONS IS IMMINENT:

    PEMA HAS RISK COUNTY(IES) AND OTHER STATE EOC(S)/RISK COUNTIES (IF APPLICABLE)
    ON THE PLANT’S EMERGENCY NOTIFICATION LINE (ENL) OR PRIMARY MEANS.

    “This is the Commonwealth Response Coordination Center with an initial
    notification message.”
    “Please stand by for Roll Call” (Complete Roll Call)
    SSES
    X Columbia
    X Luzerne
    X PEMA

    To: All risk Counties:

    The time is ___1935___.

    At __1945______, the Counties will X simulate sounding the sirens for
    3 minutes.
    (+ 3 minutes)

    At ___1948___, the Commonwealth Response Coordination Center will X simulate
    activation of EAS.

    By the authority of Gov. Exercise

    The Governor has announced that a General Emergency exists at the Susquehanna
    Steam Electric Station and

    X ORDERS the evacuation of all persons within the 10-mile EPZ. Based on
    events at the plant:

    No release of radioactivity has occurred due to the event.

    X A release of radioactivity X has occurred is imminent – with wind
    direction from the 270____degrees at __6_mph.

    The Commonwealth Response Coordination Center will provide your EAS station
    the ‘general evacuation’ EAS Announcement with instructions to administer
    Potassium Iodine (KI) according to emergency workers, special populations
    and the general public.

    At 1950 the      notification will terminate.
    (+ 2 minutes)

    X This is an Exercise
    X This is an Exercise


    For Immediate Release Commonwealth Response Coordination Center
    Date: 9/6/18 Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency
    Time: _1935______ 717-651-2001
    SSES EAS #7 GE-Ordered Evacuation-KI

    There has been an incident at Susquehanna Steam Electric Station.

    This is a General Evacuation Emergency Alert System Announcement

    This is the Commonwealth Response Coordination Center, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
    The following message has been released by the Director of the Pennsylvania
    Emergency Management Agency:

    The Governor of Pennsylvania has announced that a GENERAL EMERGENCY was
    declared at the Susquehanna Steam Electric Station and ORDERS the evacuation
    of all persons within the Emergency Planning Zone of Columbia and Luzerne
    Counties.

    The Secretary of Health has advised that emergency workers and special populations
    should take potassium iodide (KI).

    The Secretary of Health has also advised that the general public should
    take KI and evacuate.

    If you live within the ten-mile Emergency Planning Zone, consult the telephone
    directory for detailed evacuation instructions. If you need a place to
    stay, you will be assigned to a mass care center after reporting to the
    reception center.

    If you require transportation assistance, refer to the telephone directory
    for the telephone number. If you are unable to make contact, call your
    local police or fire department.

    Stay tuned to this station for official bulletins and special instructions
    issued by the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency.

    PLEASE REBROADCAST THIS MESSAGE EVERY 15 MINUTES

          Director/PEMA Current Emergency Classification Level
          PIO Unusual Event      
    Alert      
    Site Area Emergency      
    General Emergency X




    X This is an Exercise

    There were some gotchas that I addressed manually. First the Susquehanna Steam Electric Station is selected from a drop down list and did not copy so I had to go back and type that text into the copied form. Next the alignment is not quite right.

    The fix is to put this into a form. The problem is what form? These are called the General Emergency Messages and come from PEMA. They are identified by that form designation at the top right. In this case it is SSES EAS # 7 GE-Ordered Evacuation-KI which means General Emergency Ordered Evacuation and take the Potassium Iodide. There are other forms. General Emergency Ordered Evacuation No Potassium Iodide, Shelter In Place with KI, Shelter In Place No KI, and so on. The solution is to have the potential forms ready in Fldigi but that has an obstacle.

    The forms belong to PEMA and if you were around in 2014 for the Hostile Action drill you can remember what as mess PEMA made of those forms. Ron Remsky is going to attempt to get the forms to me next Tuesday when he meets with PEMA. If he is successful then I still have 2 problems.

    I have to create the html code (fairly easy) and then get them to everyone who has a laptop (not so easy without a meeting).

    The form will speed the transmission because the copied version takes more than 3 minutes (not repeater friendly) but it can be overcome with compression if needed.

    So this will have to be worked out because Ron made a special visit to the LCARES room about it. We will do it. I'll need some cooperation from the group but I know that I'll get that. I'll work on the code as soon as I can get the forms. In the mean time I may do some testing on the Tuesday night net with what we have. I won't expect K3TOW to have to manually edit the form.

    BTW, as far as changes to this form - I have gone back to 2012 and this form and its various incarnations have not changed in 6 years.

    One last comment - We looked really good Thursday night. That is because we got things quickly thanks to Bill Sharksnas at the Ops Table getting them into Knowledge Center quickly for us. Billy, Tanisha, and Dave at the Ops Table did all that they could to make the drill a success and they worked hard. Our good friends in the 911 asked me several times if we were getting everything we needed. That is the sign of friends and we really appreciate the 911 crew. Remember it is nice to be part of a team.

    Here is my list of participants - If I missed anyone let me know:

    Date 09/06/18
    Event/
    Callsign SSES Practice Exercise
    AB3ZI X
    K2PG X
    K2OZO X
    K3DBG X
    K3IK X
    K3TOW X
    K3VQR X
    KA3CWR X
    KA3EEO X
    KB3ACO X
    KB3MMM X
    KB3VS X
    KC3EPX X
    KC3FKW X
    KC3HLT X
    KC3IMK X
    KC3JMO X
    KC3JXL X
    KC3KRE X
    N3PQP X
    N3RN X
    N3SRO X
    N3TJI X
    WB3FKP X
    WN3LIF X
    Total Response 25
    A very big thanks to all for your efforts! Now we just have to prove it to the Feds on October 16th.

    Hurricane Florence...
    - That kind of reminds me of Jan's Aunt. Not really. She is a peach of a lady and love her dearly.

    But the Hurricane Flo is headed toward land and it looks like South and North Carolina are going to get the brunt of it. It appears that Tropical Storm Winds will be in Maryland on Wednesday Night about 8:00PM. The next 48 hours should prove to be interesting. The old admonition of "Keep Your Powder Dry" can be changed to "Keep your radio dry and your batteries charged." No one is certain where Flo will end up going but we are going to be getting rain starting Sunday evening from the remnants of the previous tropical storm. It just pays to be prepared.

    [​IMG]

    Note that this is the earliest reasonable time for TS Winds. The time to prepare is not Thursday at 8AM. The time to prepare was last week.

    Beware the Barracuda...
    - Got a text from Rob Gould and he is anxious to have us at Eagle Rock again this year. Eagle Rock is near Hazleton in case you didn't know. It is an easy ride.

    It is a 2 day event and an easy one to handle. On the 15th we keep an eye on the youngsters along their bike course. On Sunday we keep an eye on the adult bikers on their course and report back to the beach on who is in the lead. Same story. Lead Male and Female riders.

    Here is who we have so far.

    Beware the Barracuda – September 15-16. 2018
    Saturday Sunday

    WN3LIF WN3LIF

    KB3VS AB3ZI

    AB3ZI KC3FKW

    N3SRO KC3JXL

    KC3JXL KC3HLT

    KC3HLT KC3HLS

    KC3HLS


    We are good on Saturday but could use at least 2 more on Sunday. I'll be pinging folks during the week.

    Here is the Bike Course Layout.

    [​IMG]

    On Sunday we need operators at 10 (turn around), 11, 12, corner of Cheyney and Tuscarora, 13, 14 (upper right corner of the map). We will also need an announcer operator. The Youth Race on Saturday is a short one that follows Lake Valley Drive. Arrival time for us 6:30AM at the Transition Area. KC3HLT will be our Net Control from there. I hope to have KC3HLS at the corner of Cheyney and Tuscarora since he did a great job there last year. As soon as I have definite information on operators I will make more assignments. Watch your email during the week.

    There is definitely too much going on in September and October. It is just like June used to be with the Wilkes-Barre Duathlon and Field Day.

    October 1st...
    - The announcement was made during the SSES Exercise about my retirement as the ARES EC. The round of applause was gratifying but I don't know if was in appreciation or if they are glad to see me go. Probably a little bit of both.

    Look, stepping out of this role isn't easy for me. Except for when I was traveling for HP I was still involved all the time and even then when I was home I always managed to visit the EOC regularly. Floods, storms, forest fires, Hazmat, bombs (I didn't like them at all), and civil unrest! I have been there for all of them. Well, not all. I was not there for 9/11. As I looked around the room on Thursday night I remember all the old faces that are no longer there. The one that I miss the most is Al Edwards. He was the brains behind the EOC when Nick Souchik was the Civil Defense Director. He knew everyone and just about everything. He was my mentor for a lot of things. That was long before there was ICS and NIMS. But Al in all respects was the Incident Commander for many of the things that happened in Luzerne County. He was cool, calm, and direct. He could say please with the force of an order. He knew the Susquehanna River from the NY border to Cold Harbor. He started having Hospital Mass Casualty Drills when no one else thought of having them. Imagine a drill with 100 mock casualties. Ambulance companies calling from surrounding counties asking to be included in the drills. It was a really heady time to be part of things like that. And Al made a really mean chicken and waffle breakfast too.

    We were a very close bunch back then. The comm center was in the basement with Civil Defense and the coffee machine and donut boxes were in between on the counter. Al told Nick that I needed a key to the court house and I got one. Strange as it may seem no one even questioned it. It was a very interesting time.

    I guess I am a dinosaur. A better name would be an old fossil. I still am apolitical in that I don't give a rodents rotund posterior who knows what we do as long as it is done better than anyone else could do it. Titles have never impressed me. The competence of the person holding the title is what impresses me and that will never change. I can be very set in my ways. Those are the "ways" that I have learned over the years that work. So I tend to stick to them. I will never be so hidebound as to ignore new ways that might improve the way we do things but those who deviate from the tried and true without good justification will hear about it.

    The one way that I was taught by the first person I ever worked for was to appreciate and thank everyone that does something for you. He meant in a way of a manager to an employee. However I carried it along to working with volunteers. Not everyone can do everything all the time. But I appreciate even the minuscule effort from anyone who does something for me. I try to say thank you to everyone and let them know that I didn't make things a success - they did. And if something goes wrong they are not at fault - I am.

    So why I am giving it all up? Well, not all up because I will stay as an EMA volunteer as the ACS Officer. The real reason is I am just tired of trying to get people to do things. That is the hardest part of the EC's job. And that sentiment is shared by 90% of all the ECs, DECs, and SECs nationwide. The main part of the job is being a motivator. If you cannot get people to do things then you are in the wrong position.

    And I want to play radio a bit. If you are the EC and you are touching a radio then you are doing something wrong. The EC/DEC/SEC should never operate the radio except to straighten things out when they go wrong or answer a question. I have, as the SEC, fired an EC because he always put himself at the radio of the busiest position possible. He said he could not get people to work the events and that was enough for me to know that he needed replacing. Actually, all he wanted to do was run the radio.

    Every time there is a project or event the EC needs to go round up the troops and get them out there to do the job. I will say that in my entire time as the Radio Officer/Emergency Coordinator I was never disappointed by the turnout. But the effort of getting the folks lined up takes its toll. The Army has this nice feature of being able to issue orders and people snap to and get it done. Tain't so with volunteers. They may be gung ho today but tomorrow they are older and not so gung ho. Take W3DZH for example. Joe was always there when needed. One day he came to me and said "I'm getting too old to drive to Salem Township" and he was absolutely right. You can't expect the volunteers to be the same ones forever. So that never ending battle has taken its toll on me. I cringe at the thought of asking more people to do more things again. I really want a position in EMA where I can be a technician and Brian Mundie has asked me to consider moving into the RAD group. I just may take him up on that.

    And I'll keep an eye on the LCARES room and equipment. Lots of little projects that I want to get done now that I won't be handling the people. The Murgas Trailer, the layout of the room, the new grounding system, possibly some new monitors for the computer, a suitable operating position for the Fldigi operator, getting APRS up and running again, and more. Projects that I can tackle as I see fit. And maybe pass on some of the knowledge that I have to others so that they can help N3SRO.

    Come October 1st N3SRO will be the ARES EC for Luzerne County. I'll have operational control until October 17th but he will be able to start shaping the ARES to his ideas. There are things that might change because the load will now be on his shoulders. What could be affected? Lots...

    What will change the most is that the emails from me will stop and the ones from N3SRO will start. You'll hear from him and not me. He'll hear from me but that is another change that is coming.

    Will I miss being the EC. Hell Yes! But as W3DZH said "I am getting too old for this!" Time for some young and fresh ideas. I am looking forward to seeing the good stuff that N3SRO comes up with. I think it is really time after 42 years for a new long term change in LCARES Leadership. What I hope will happen is the embracing of the new technology. Not the same old run with an HT or Mobile Rig type stuff. There are many promising things that can be utilized for LCARES. I have moved us into the 20th Century with the use of Fldigi. I hope I live long enough to see us move toward technology like AREDN. Time will tell.

    FT8 Commentary from AB3ZI....
    FT8, a Field-Expedient Antenna, and 5w: Some Observations
    by AB3ZI

    Fellow ARES Members,

    I thought I’d share some anecdotal evidence for the utility of the new FT8Call mode based on a recent portable outing of mine on September 2 (and given its leveraging of the FT8 modulation scheme).

    When I make the trip down to the Lehighton area (FN20eu) to operate from my current portable/field location, I like to cover new operating ground each time. My primary antenna is a home-brew 40m off-center fed dipole (OCFD) slung up into the trees at an elevation ranging from about 15’ to about 30’ . . . it’s been serving me well from a location about 840’ above sea level.

    While my OH8STN-inspired 15Ah LiFePO4 battery pack and (as of the last week of August) 60w PowerFilm solar panel have permitted me, so far, to operate a full day and into the night QRO, I do like to experiment with QRP ops from time to time. The September 2 outing presented an excellent and instructional opportunity to do just that.

    A challenge of Walt’s from 2017 (I believe it was) got me thinking about adapters as solutions. You may recall that the challenge was to move signals into and out of a rig in a disaster scenario sans coax. I responded incorrectly, but the correct answer did get me thinking about adapters that might merit their place in a field ops kit. I was able to assemble one set from a 90 ell UHF male-female adapter, a UHF-BNC adapter, and a BNC binding post adapter. The transition to BNC was necessary since I could not locate the critical binding post adapter in a UHF variant.

    On my recent outing the only wire handy was an ~8’ section of 12 AWG cabling I had removed from my FT-857D’s power cable to eliminate some voltage drop from the battery to the rig. I attached each conductor to the two binding posts (below . . . imaged with my trusty flip phone), and hoped for the best. As you may be able to discern, the conductors rise from about waste height at the rig connection to about 6’ while passing through the handy gazebo supports.

    [​IMG]

    Figure 1: Gazebo Station w/ 16’ Field-expedient Dipole

    [​IMG]

    Figure 2: Adapter Assembly

    I operated for an hour or so with that antenna, 5w (mostly), on FT8 (mostly). One reason for the power level was a concern over RF exposure . . . I haven’t performed the research, but I do suspect that the medical community (more than a century after the development of radio) still does not have a firm grasp on just how RF energy affects the body, especially at the cellular level. Perhaps some other operators can correct my misconception.

    Anywho, I did not take the time to sweep the field-expedient antenna with my analyzer for use with my manual tuner (so it may very well have tuned on 40m or 80m), but my LDG AT-11MP (thanks, KB3FVF) was able to match 20 (omitted in my notes, but <2.0:1, I am sure), 17 (1.5:1), 15 (1.0:1), 12 (1.0:1 . . . first time I’ve been able to tune anything to 12m!), 10 (1.1:1), and 6 (1.0:1) meters well. A few phone signals were barely readable on 80m, and I was only able to Rx on 30m. I did make a spot check on 40m with my analyzer (at the FT8 frequency of 7.074), but the manual transmatch settings I selected did not permit me to Tx. Nevertheless, 40m FT8 signals were coming in strong. I experienced spotty reception of one WWV frequency: 15.000 MHz.

    Here’s a sample of decoded stations . . . I detected a number of phone signals on 20m and many DX stations with FT8 (I’ve been encountered quite a few unfamiliar prefixes only on account of FT8 operating):

    A92AA . . . Bahrain
    MM0BSM . . . Scotland
    HI8AYR . . . Dominican Republic
    EA1MK . . . Spain
    MW3FLI . . . Wales
    HA1RB . . . Hungary
    LA8HAA . . . Norway
    IW8DKM . . . Italy
    VY2JB . . . Canada

    Here are my spots, in chronological order, per PSKReporter.info. Analysis is left to the reader. I did call CQ on CW a few times on a few bands, but no reported spots of those transmissions (I’ll probably perform some more testing of that mode, as well as other digital modes). No spots were logged for Tx on 15, 12, or 10 meters.

    Rcvr

    Band

    Mode

    Distance (miles)

    Time (UTC)

    K7RE

    20m

    FT8

    1492

    18:00:31

    AE4IN

    20m

    FT8

    816

    18:03:00

    W4DXX

    20m

    FT8

    851

    18:03:29

    NE9O

    20m

    FT8

    925

    18:04:00

    KM4LRH

    20m

    FT8

    1048

    18:06:30

    AC5Q

    20m

    FT8

    853

    18:06:32

    KE0A

    20m

    FT8

    1207

    18:10:29

    K0PLQ

    20m

    FT8

    1577

    18:10:30

    K0DV

    20m

    FT8

    911

    18:10:30

    K0MHC

    20m

    FT8

    1090

    18:10:31

    WC4U

    20m

    FT8

    855

    18:10:32

    W5WI

    20m

    FT8

    1487

    18:11:00

    W9MDB

    20m

    FT8

    864

    18:11:29

    WB4KDI

    20m

    FT8

    810

    18:15:00

    K1USA

    20m

    FT8

    944

    18:16:29

    KD0KZE

    20m

    FT8

    971

    18:20:59

    W0SHL

    20m

    FT8

    927

    18:21:00

    KG5THG

    20m

    FT8

    1427

    18:21:02

    VA3ROM

    20m

    FT8

    888

    18:21:59

    KJ4LTA

    20m

    FT8

    854

    18:22:29

    WF3H

    20m

    FT8

    1513

    18:22:30

    W5LD

    20m

    FT8

    1179

    18:23:00

    AB4EJ

    20m

    FT8

    848

    18:23:00

    KE0U

    20m

    FT8

    1037

    18:24:00

    K3PP

    17m

    FT8

    40

    18:30:44

    AC7NU

    17m

    FT8

    2408

    18:34:44

    K1SIX

    6m

    FT8

    240

    19:00:14

    Although I’ve only been working FT8 for a few weeks, it was released to the amateur radio community around Q3 2017, if I’m not mistaken. My preparation for FT8 ops included viewing YouTube videos by OH8STN, KB9RLW (That Old Tech Guy), and KJ4YZI (Ham Radio Concepts). I’ve since come across a valuable operating guide by kiwi Gary Hinson, ZL2IFB. I’ve uploaded that 65-page document to the Files/Other Documents folder of the K3YTL Groups.io account.

    Best DX via weak signal digital modes de AB3ZI.


    Ham Radio Links
    N3LLR's Ham Radio Forum
    ARRL Eastern PA Section Web Site
    Luzerne County ARES®
    Harris County Texas ARES® - A great training resource
    Lake County (OH) RACES Personal Go-Kit for Emergency Operations - KE7LHR
    MecklenBurg County ARES® and RACES
    K0BG - The Website for Mobile Amateur Radio Operators (Perhaps the best web site on mobile operations I have found!)
    Origins of Ham Speak - Fact, Legends, and Myths??? - Compiled by AC6V from the Internet and other unreliable sources
    The Petite Prepper
    The VOA Radiogram
    Luzerne County ARES Facebook Page <-- New
    Closing
    Thank you for copying our weekly digital information Bulletin to all Amateur Radio Operators.

    Send reception reports and comments to ec@w3luz.org.

    Have a good week everyone!

    73,

    W.T.
    WN3LIF
    ARRL EPA Section Emergency Coordinator
    ARRL EPA District 3 District Emergency Coordinator
    ARRL ARES® Emergency Coordinator
    Luzerne County ARES®
    email: ec@w3luz.org
    3:16
    ARES and "Amateur Radio Emergency Services" are registered service marks owned by the American Radio Relay League, The National Association of Amateur Radio. Use of these service marks is by permission only. Total prep time for this bulletin - 5 hours.
     

Share This Page