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Owatonna Steele County Amateur Radio 13-Apr-2017

OSCAR News - July, 26

OSCAR Meeting
The next regular OSCAR meeting is 08-July: 9: AM (local time) at Hardees in Owatonna.

Local News
Willis KAKEL reports that Walter Barfknecht recently passed his Technician exam. Congratulations to KCYAT on his accomplishment.

Shane WNKA was featured in an article on geocaching in the Owatonna People's Press.

OSCAR Web Site
The editor reached the 20MB storage limit for the web site. This means that some pictures from previous years will be dropped to make room for current pictures. As you follow the links below for Field Day and the EOC, you will see incomplete sets as a result. The editor will complete the organizing over the first week of June.

Field Day
OSCAR had a nice day at the Crane Creek Park, despite high noise levels and a severe storm front. Using NUW, the group ran 4A with two stations running HF phone, one digital modes, and one CW. The approaching storm front kept the HF floor level extremely high and made making contacts difficult. The operation stopped for safety considerations as the front approached. Most of the participants were then enlisted for storm spotting activities as the front moved through the county. After the weather net was secured, everyone returned to the Field Day sight and continued operating.

Thanks to Kris KCREO for spearheading the event, XYLs Sue Koplen and Linda Karnauskas made sure the group did not go hungry or thirsty. Selected pictures are posted in the Archive section of the web site. Contact Tom NUW if you want a copy of the complete set from Tom and Mark WAF.

Steele County EOC
Work continues at the Steele County EOC. Updated Pictures show the progress. Kris KCREO donated a Kenwood 211-A and PK-88 for a packet operation. Computer and phone lines are now ready for SKYWARN operations.

Emergency Exercise
Amateur Radio operators have been asked to participate in an emergency exercise on Saturday, 16-Sep. This would be a drill with several Steel County agencies. Planning continues on the details, but the drill is scheduled for the morning and early afternoon. Drills are a good opportunity to test equipment, procedures, and working relationships. Please give consideration to making yourself available. Contact Tom NUW with any questions and RSVP. Thanks for your support.

Owatonna Repeater
Dale WBPKG and Tom NUW worked at the repeater site on Friday, 16-Jun. They found the antenna and coax to be in good shape, but found the duplexers onthe receive side to be out of tune a bit. The duplexers were adjusted and the early returns are the repeater is hearing better.

While making an adjustment, the squelch control was knocked out of position. Although the squelch was adjusted the squelch for the noise level that day, it turned out to be too low as the repeater kept activating from noise most of the weekend. The PL on a couple of times to keep the repeater from staying on. Tom N0UW went back into the repeater site Wednesday, 21-Jun and increased the squelch level. It appears the new setting the desired affect.

Users should note the repeater normally has the PL turned off. The (110.0 Hz) PL may be turned on by a control operator during short periods of high noise levels. The repeater defaults to the PL when there is a power outage and the power comes back on. Unless there are other problems, one of the control operators will turn the PL back off.

If you try to access the 145.49 machine and it does not respond, try accessing the repeater with a 100.0 Hz PL tone. Also note the time-out timer was changed slightly. The new setting requires a 1-second delay between transmissions to reset the timer.

Thanks for your patience.

Emergency Communication GO Pack From NUW
Most of the licensed operators are willing to help out in a communications emergency. Beyond a HT with (maybe) charged batteries, do we know what equipment and supplies should be brought? Are we prepared to quickly gather the necessary equipment?

The following list was put together after a lot of research, thinking and trials. The basic scenario is to provide short range VHF communications for an 8-hour period at night. Many of the items are in a small case that can be picked up off the floor on a moments notice. A list is kept with the bag to identify items to be gathered quickly without having to think about it.

  • HT programmed with local operating frequencies. (Dual band is worth bonus points)
  • Cheat sheet for programming your radio.
  • Extra battery pack or a dry cell battery pack and 2 extra sets of batteries.
  • Charger cable for use in your vehicle.
  • Power adapter for use with 110VAC.
  • Portable antenna to substitute for the rubber duck.
  • Coax and adpaters to connect antenna to the HT.
  • Speaker-mike or headset.
  • Notebook, pens, and pencils.
  • Medications: prescriptions and pain relievers.
  • Multi-tool. (Leatherman or a Swiss Army knife)
  • Flashlight (Don't forget the extra batteries)
  • Snacks and liquids.
  • Snacks / Chewing Gum etc.
  • Basic first-aid kit. (At least a couple of bandages)
  • Cash (Don't forget coins for vending machines)
  • Individually wrapped towelettes (from yout favorite BBQ restaurant)
  • Identification. (Driver license, Steele County badge)
  • Visible Identification (Amateur radio logo hat, day-glow vest)

A new design for the International Reply Coupon (IRC) has been selected. The new design was inspired by Michelangelo's painting on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel -- two fingers about to touch framed in a postage stamp, representing the notions of communication and exchange. The new IRC is expected to be available July 1, and will be valid until December 31, 2009. The current IRC is valid through December 31, 2006.

Ham Radios and Emergency Preparedness From
This interesting article in the Washington Post highlights the Katrina story of one group and working it into Field Day.

SOS Network Test From AR Newsline
The Connecticut based National SOS Radio Network conducted a test of a new emergency communication system on Saturday, June 17th. The public emergency drill was open to all Connecticut residents. Several thousand people appear to have participated. The National SOS public emergency network is suppose to utilize Family Radio Service compatible radios, amateur radio operators, and General Mobile Radio Service users.

"D-Star" Users Net From AR Newsline
An informal "D-Star" users net is now on 14.292 Mhz on Saturdays at 4 p.m. Eastern time. D-STAR is an open digital protocol published by Japan Amayeur Radio League and commercially suppoted by ICOM. The narrowband mode and digital modulation scheme supports linking, position reporting, and semi-weak signal mode on VHF simplex.

The Hard Drive turns 50 From AR Newsline
According to Hitachi, the first ever hard drive was called the RAMAC and designed for use in in the IBM System 305 Computer. It required fifty 24-inch diameter platters coated with iron oxide paint mounted on a rotating spindle to store only 5 megabytes of data.

On The BPL Front From Multiple Sources
Responsibility for acting on interference complaints regarding Broadband over Power Lines has been transferred from the FCC's Office of Engineering and Technology to the Commission's Enforcement Bureau.(CQ Magazine)

The Communications Opportunity, Promotion and Enhancement Act of 2006 contains a provision requiring the FCC to conduct a study of BPL's interference potential. HR 5252A passed and and awaits for Senate action. (ARN)

The FCC's Enforcement Bureau directed the Manassas, Virginia, BPL system to take appropriate steps to eliminate harmful interference to Amateur Radio operators. The FCC wrote two letters detailing what it wants the city and BPL operator COMTek to do to ensure its system complies with Part 15 rules governing BPL systems and even hinted that it may shut down all or part of the system.(ARRL)