TARS needs volunteers to answer to the call to provide communications support and safety oversight to the Tallahassee Marathon on Sunday, February 5th. If you have participated before and would like the same checkpoint, please let John Pantoja, KM4FAM, know. If you are unable to participate the entire time he can make provisions for you. You can work a full or part day shift in either the morning or mid-morning-to-afternoon slots (and check in on the air.) The first portion of the course will be shut down starting around 10:30 a.m. In addition to the normal checkpoints, there is a need for NCS, SAG wagon and a liaison for Medics.
The 2016 TARS Holiday Party December 1st at LongHorn Steak House
At the October meeting, members voted to use the Longhorn’s ‘Specialties’ menu to determine what menu items to choose from. The choices are: Flo’s Filet- 8 oz. cut of beef; Outlaw Ribeye- 18 oz. bone-in steak;Salmon – 10 oz. grilled with bourbon marinade; and Chicken – two grilled breasts, with a parmesan garlic crust. All entrees include mixed green or Caesar salad, honey wheat bread and fountain drink, coffee or tea. Addition items such as wine, beer, appetizer or dessert are available at an addition cost. The cost will be $23.99 plus tax and tip. Each individual will be billed by the server at the dinner.
We have room for 45 guests , so if you wish to attend send an email to Gerry at firstname.lastname@example.org .
The Tallahassee Amateur Radio Society will sponsor an Amateur Radio Technician License Class on Saturday, June 11th 2016. The class will run from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM (with a VE Exam Session following the class) and be held at The Capital Area Chapter of the American Red Cross, 1115 Easterwood Drive in Tallahassee (near Tom Brown Park). This will be a one day class with a short break for lunch. Morse code is no longer required for an Amateur Radio License. There is no charge for the class. A $15.00 Exam Fee (cash or check) will be collected at the beginning of the VE Testing Session following the class. Please bring a photo id for the testing session.
Before you take the VE License Exam, you should sign up for a FCC FRN Number FCC FRN Registration. Follow the link and click on “New User Register”, it will ask for your SSN one time during registration. The FCC FRN number is safer than using your SSN when you take VE Exams and complete the paperwork to apply for your FCC Amateur Radio License. Bring this FRN Number when you come to the License Class on June 11th!
Interested students should order/borrow a copy of the current ARRL License Manual (Technician) with the Exam Practice Software (Windows PC) CD before the class and review the material and question pool before the class meets on June 11th. The License Manual may be ordered online directly from the ARRL ARRL License Manual for $29.95, or one of the local book stores.
A copy of all the current Question Pools (Technician, General and Extra) may be downloaded from ARRL Question Pool or NCVEC Question Pool (NCVEC.org). You may wish to try one of the “on-line” practice exams in addition to the CD software that comes with the License Manual. QRZ-Hamtests is one of the more popular ones available; the ARRL also has recently started an on-line exam review. You can sign up with a free account and it will remember what question areas you need to work on before you take the “real license exam.”
For more information contact TARS TallyAmateurRadio@gmail.com .
(Links for non-electronic version of the flyer)
ARRL Getting Licensed http://www.arrl.org/getting-licensed
ARRL Question Pool http://www.arrl.org/question-pools
ARRL Exam Review http://arrlexamreview.appspot.com/
ARRL License Manual http://www.arrl.org/shop/Licensing-Education-and-Training/
NCVEC Question Pool http://ncvec.org/
FCC FRN Registration http://wireless.fcc.gov/uls/index.htm?job=home
HandiHam.org Technician Pool (Questions and Correct Answers in MP3 Audio Format) https://handiham.org/local/blind/2014-2018_technician_pool.htm
The Technician Class taught by TARS on September 26 was a resounding success. Twelve students attended.
The Technician License Exam following the class yielded eight new Technicians. Two of the students went on to pass the General exam. The remaining two students plan additional studying and will take the exam at the regular VE session in October.
At the June meeting, the following officers were elected to serve from July 2015 to June 2016:
- President: Gerry Gross, WA6POZ
- Vice-President: “Chief” Fusilier, KA5USN
- Secretary: Norm Scholer, K4GFD
- Secretary: Robert Clark, K9K9HVW
- Board Member at Large: Stan Zawrotny, K4SBZ
At the May TARS meeting, Stan Zawrotny, K4SBZ announced the winners of the first TARS HF WPX Contest. This contest was held using the CQ Worldwide WPX Contest on March 28-29, 2015 as a framework. First Place in the High Power category went to Gerry Gross, WA6POZ, with Stan Zawrotny, K4SBZ, taking Second Place. In the Low Power category, Theo Titus, K4MVL, won First Place, Bob Clark, K9HVW, came in Second and Jeff Lockwood, N4TML, took Third Place.
Comparing scores worldwide and nationally, Theo’s 302,112 points ranked him 218th (top 14%) worldwide and 34th (top 8%) nationally in the Low Power category. Gerry’s 431,364 points in the High Power class put him in the top 30% nationally and 35% worldwide. Other participants can view their scores compared with other entries at http://www.cqwpx.com/claimed.htm?mode=ph.
It’s Fun! It’s Easy!
Be sure to enter the Florida QSO Party – TARS Club Contest. It will be fun. It will be easy. Even if you have never entered a contest before.
We have chosen the Florida QSO Party because it is an easy contest to participate in. You don’t have to work DX because the object is to work as many states as possible. You can operate on 40, 20, 15 or 10 meters.
The contest is both Saturday and Sunday, so you can operate during the day either day or Saturday evening and choose your band. There are two time periods: Noon to 10 pm Saturday and 8 am to 6 pm Sunday. 20, 15 and 10 meters should be open during the daylight hours and after dark there is 40 and maybe 20.
New to Contesting?
Does it sound interesting, but you have never entered a contest? Never fear. It is easy. Read on. I’ll guide you through it, step by step.
The first thing you have to do is make a contact. (I will talk SSB here although the ideas are similar for CW and digital.) There are two ways of making contacts: “running” and “search and pounce.” Running is simply sitting on an open frequency and calling CQ. It is the most efficient because the other stations come to you. However, you need to have experience in handling a pile-up if many stations want to contact you. More on that later. So, for most contests, you might start out with search and pounce (S&P) which is just searching for someone else calling CQ. When you find them, just give your callsign once, using standard phonetics, and listen to see if they come back to you. If not, try again.
The main thing about a contest is the exchange. After the other station has come back to you and probably given his exchange, you should give your exchange. Read the rules to see what the exchange is for the contest you are participating in. It will usually be something like signal strength and state or RS and a one-up serial number. So you would say “five-nine Florida” or “five-nine zero-three-seven.” And you are done (unless you need to do a repeat). I usually say QSL or Thank You before saying Five-Nine Florida. (Note: Signal strength for contests and DXpeditions is always 5-9, even if you can barely hear them. Most software even automatically enters 59.)
Log the Contact
Now you log the contact and move on to the next one. We will talk about contest loggers later.
It is Really That Simple
- Find a station calling CQ: “CQ Contest CQ Contest This is Whiskey 2 Alpha Bravo Charlie Calling CQ Contest”
- Call him: “Kilo 4 Sierra Bravo Zulu”
- He answers: “Kilo 4 Sierra Bravo Zulu You are five nine New York”
- You give your exchange: “QSL You are five nine Florida”
- He QSLs: “Kilo 4 Sierra Bravo Zulu, Thank You. This is Whiskey 2 Alpha Bravo Charlie QRZ?”
- Log the contact!
This is the Florida QSO Party. Everyone is going to want to work YOU. You can’t effectively use S&P when you are the fox and they are the hounds. They will be using the S&P technique that I just described. You almost have to RUN. So let’s see how that is done. Don’t fear… It is also easy. Matter of fact, you just sit there and wait for them to come to you. (You can still do a little S&P if you want other Florida contacts.)
First you need to find an open frequency. (This sometimes is the hardest part). You want as many contacts as possible, so even if you are an Extra Class, find a frequency in the General Class band so that you aren’t excluding anyone. For the Florida QSO Party, I recommend 20 or 15 meters. 10 meters is also a possibility if it is open, but your contacts will be mostly in the West. If it is in the evening on Saturday, you can use either 40 or possibly 20. It is standard to choose a frequency ending in a multiple of .25; e.g., 14284.00, 14284.25, 14284.50, 14284.75, etc. You may have to search to find an open frequency with no one nearby. Once you do, say, “Is this frequency in use?” and pause. When you find an open frequency, hold on to it. Don’t pause for too long in between CQs or QSOs. Any longer than 30 seconds and you are likely to lose the frequency in a busy contest.
Please note the Mobile Frequency Windows in the rules. These are frequencies that they request we leave free for Florida hams who are operating mobile during the contest. Some of them are trying to activate as many counties as they can during the weekend.
For the Florida QSO Party, you simply call, “CQ Florida QSO Party” a couple of times and give your callsign phonetically. Pause a little, then call again until someone calls you. If things get hot, you may only have to say it once and give your call twice before waiting. Sometimes, it is good practice to add a CQ at the end for someone who is just tuning by: “CQ Florida QSO Party. This is Kilo 4 Sierra Bravo Zulu, Kilo 4 Sierra Bravo Zulu calling CQ the Florida QSO Party.” Some people replace the last CQ with “Q-R-Zed” (QRZ = who is calling me?) instead.
When you hear someone give their callsign on your frequency, simply give them the contest exchange: signal report and your county. So, if you live in Leon County, you would say, “Kilo Delta 7 Hotel Tango Whiskey, you are Five-Nine Leon.” (Everyone is 59, even if you can barely hear them and it took six tries to get their callsign right). The counties have three character abbreviations: Leon – LEO, Jefferson – JEF, Gadsden – GAD, Wakulla – WAK for use in their contest loggers. (Check http://www.floridaqsoparty.org/cota.php for others). Some people give only the abbreviation (“L-E-O”), others give both (“L-E-O, that’s Leon County”). Do what feels comfortable to you.
They should come back with a signal report and their state, just like I demonstrated in the S&P example.
When they have finished giving their exchange, you need to say thank your or QSL and move on to the next contact. This is usually done by using QRZ, pronounced “Q-R-Zed.” So you might say, “Thank you for Arizona. This is Kilo 4 Sierra Bravo Zulu, Q-R-Zed the Florida QSO Party.” Hopefully, you will have someone else already waiting to work you. This is called a pile-up. If you don’t, then call CQ.
Most contests have a scoring algorithm that involves “multipliers.” Yes, you want a lot of contacts, but you also want a lot of multipliers to multiply those contacts by. In the case of the Florida QSO Party, the multipliers are states. You want to get as many states as possible because 400 Qs X 15 states = 6000 points, but only 200 Qs X 40 states = 8000 points. In some contests, you can get two multipliers by working the same station on different bands, so always read the rules for the contest that you are participating in.
Contest Logging Software
Your regular electronic logbook or digital decoder may have a contest feature. Most that do have limited features, but may be sufficient for your use.
The top two contest logging packages are N1MM and the N3FJP. N1MM is the most frequently used, mostly because it supports RTTY by running MMTTY internally. Also, it is free, while the others require a fee. N3FJP has more features. Other popular contest logging software include WriteLog and Win-Test. All contest logging software focuses on fast entry of contacts. They all produce the Cabrillo logs required for log submission as well as ADIF files that can be imported into your regular electronic log.
N1MM Logger http://n1mm.hamdocs.com/tiki-index.php
N3FJP Logs http://www.n3fjp.com/
WriteLog for Windows https://writelog.com/
Once the contest is over, use your contest logging software to produce a Cabrillo log and email it to the address given in the contest rules. You should get an email within minutes from the big contests confirming the receipt of your log or telling you about any errors you may have made. A contest robot reviews your log immediately. You may resubmit your log as often as necessary to correct any errors.
Then sit back and wait. The big contests take months before they publish the results.
For the Florida QSO Party – TARS Club Contest, email the same Cabrillo log to K4SBZ,Stan@gmail.com. You will get an email verifying your submission. Results of the contest will be announced at the June TARS meeting.
If you have more questions, please contact Stan, K4SBZ, at K4SBZ,Stan@gmail.com.
HAVE FUN! JOIN IN!
In Lieu of our December meeting, TARS had their annual Holiday Party, held at the Capital City Country Club.
There were many eyeball QSOs. We once again met each other’s spouses.
Our Prez, Gerry, WA6POZ, was the emcee for the evening. He wore out the batteries in the mic and they had to supply him with a fresh set.
We had a buffet dinner of steak, chicken and all the extras. There was enough for seconds (and thirds).
Larry, KI4MAJ, last year’s recipient of the TARS and Feather Award, held the audience in suspense while he read the presentation for this year’s award.
The award was presented to Stan, K4SBZ.
Gerry and Norm handed out the door prizes.
There were many, sometimes valuable, prizes this year.
Norm, K4GFD, was in charge of the drawing.
And the prizes brought smiles to their lucky winners.
Everyone went home full of good cheer, prepared to take on another year of Amateur Radio challenges.
(Photos by Sal, K4YFW, and Stan, K4SBZ)
On Saturday, June 28th, dozens of radio amateurs gathered in a small clearing in Tom Brown Park to embrace the many joys of their hobby.
Everyone is ready to do it again next year!