Bob Lear Jul 5 at 11:34 AM

Fodder for the NGARC Newsletter. Miscellaneous ramblings from W4ZST.

I've been very busy with hamfests and especially the June VHF contest and finally have time to put down some thoughts to pass on.

The Dayton Hamvention was excellent. We had a great time again. Just a little rain that didn't upset things too much. Elecraft introduced the new KX2 radio and we saw a lot of folks carrying them under their arms around the hamfest. The new Icom 7300 was very popular too and was selling out quickly. Two of the hams in our group came home with one for each. As always there was just too much to see it all. Reported over 22,000 visitors. We were in the flea market area outside with many tables set up under our 4 festival tents selling some stuff for ourselves and a lot of stuff from SK sales that the Fourlanders Club was handling. As usual we ate well every night we were there. Kim WG8S of the Fourlanders put together a 'replacement' VHF banquet at our hotel as the long-running Friday night VHFers banquet has not been held for several years. We had a nice turnout of 45 hams. I sat with 4 hams from Denmark and another from England who were VHFers and we had some interesting conversations. We also discovered a fantastic BBQ place in Centerville that is high on our 'best' list! In Ohio, Go figure!

Sherman W4ATL took some pictures of us and around the hamfest posted here. http://shermanbanks.net/Mary_and_Sherman_Web_Site/Photos/Pages/05.2016_Dayton_Hamvention.html Here is a link to the Hamfest Program that they give out. http://hamvention.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/Hamvention-Program-2016.pdf Just the listing of topics in the forums is an education in the varieties of activities in Ham Radio. Recommended reading.

We heard about a "Maker" Builder Bar in downtown Dayton when we were there for the hamfest and had to check it out. Very interesting idea. It wasn't busy when we went in but there was a family and the dad was teaching his son how to solder and a young couple where the guy was showing his girlfriend how to solder. Beside the six soldering/assembly workbenches, they had various electronic kits for sale (like from adafruit.com, sparkfun.com, jameco.com, electonickits.com, vakits.com and others), at least SIX thermal 3D parts printers attached to PC's with design software on them where one could design and print an object for some fee per hour. Nice way to have access to the expensive 3D parts printers. The place is a bar and had a few beers on selection, soft drinks, made sub sandwiches and had some cool retro stuff like a "Pong" game running on an old CRT TV. If you don't know what that is, then ask someone older than you are! It was a hoot. Just wish there was something like that available to us, especially the parts printers and design software. Bill and Jim were with me and really thought hard about wanting to do that somewhere in North Georgia themselves, it was such a neat idea and of course as nerds, we figured it would be a money maker! Sure hope it is for the owners. Bill took some pictures and they are posted here if you want to see them: https://goo.gl/photos/BMkRyUb7YCeRNrrr9

The June VHF contest took up most of my time after Dayton. We did the contest from my QTH because of a reservation problem with the campground this time. We will be back on the mountain top for the September contest. We had very good propagation for a change that resulted in almost 500 Q's on 6m, from Washington State to Spain (only one Q to Eu) and down into the Caribbean. Unfortunately, when 6m is wide open during a contest, most of the single op stations stay on 6m and the numbers for 2m and up really suffer. Only 120 Q's for the three higher bands. We did make EME Q's on 2m(18) and 432(3), so that helped stem the boredom of the higher band operators. We had a record score for operating here at my QTH and our highest June score in several years. Close to 140,000 points. (I've been doing some reviews of our logs over the years and we've only been out of the top ten twice in the past 13 years.) We had 13 operators here for the contest and several folks from the NGARC club came by to visit for a while on Satuday: David KM4LJM and his son Josh KM4LNP, Rick KM4OHS and Rick KK4LPP. Jerry W5TDY cooked a couple of excellent briskets with beans, potato salad and slaw to go with them and it was a Saturday night feast for sure. See what you missed!! Sherman also took some pictures at the contest posted here: http://bit.ly/1UsLbmQ

The North Fulton Club borrowed the 15kW generator and one of the tower trailers for Field Day. I didn't get out this year for FD, but heard they had a good time. I got on and made a few contacts from here at home but was surprised by the lack of propagation on 10 and 15 meters. Such a shame as those bands usually are as wall-to-wall on FD as 20m was this time.

I found a note on my desk about some Morse Code items that might be of interest. Look under resources for pdf files on this interesting page: www.morsecode.nl/ Also, for anyone interested in studying CW, I found my 'Learning CW' CD's and can loan them out or make copies. Elton got them, learned CW and now is very active on the bands with CW and having a ball. Also congratulations to him for recently upgrading to Extra Class.

For those interested there are a number of SSB VHF nets on regularly that should be reachable from Dahlonega with 100W and a beam antenna: The "Buzzard" 6m net is called out of LaGrange GA on Monday nights. The recently reached a milestone of 20,000 check-ins! They will also send you a certificate for making 6 check-ins yourself and there are some other certificate levels too. Frequency is 50.155 and they look this way at about 7:15 and 8:15. I'm still working on my six for a certificate. They have as many as 74 checkins or more for the net. You should be able to hear a lot of them but some with beams not pointed our way will not be heard here.

The Southeastern 2m SSB net is called out of Gillsville or Hartwell on Monday nights also. Frequency is 144.210 and the net starts at 8PM when he is looking South but you can probably hear him anyway. He is probably calling W or NW for our area about 8:30 or later depending on how many check-ins he has. Many nights there are 30 stations checking in.

There is also a net on 432.090, Wednesday nights, 9PM that has been going on for over 30 years. It's the Southeastern 70cm net called usually by two stations in Charlotte. Need a decent antenna for them but there are other stations closer that will relay you in and the net controls will look for you too. Many nights they will have 30 check-ins too.

There are a number of other SSB nets and many FM nets too around. I'll keep looking for more to report to you.

73 from Bob W4ZST