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Owatonna Steele County Amateur Radio 14-Apr-2017

OSCAR News - July, 2Ø1Ø

OSCAR Meeting
The next OSCAR meeting is 10-Jul @ 9:00 AM, the second Saturday of the month. Meetings are held in the meeting room at the Owatonna HyVee, 18th Street @ Oak Avenue.

Local News
The Paradise Theatre in Faribault produced Cinderella in June. Our own Sandee KAKSA portrayed the Queen while Linda KAKSF had the role of step-sister Grace.

ARRL Affiliation
After a long process and some delays, the ARRL approved OSCAR as an Affiliated Club. OSCAR is now listed on the ARRL web site. The picture below was taken at the 12-Jun OSCAR meeting. Frank N1UW is the Affiliated Club Coordinator for the MN Section. He presented the Certificate of Affiliation to club officers Brian KBDD, Mike KDDKC, and Dennis NRPI.

Remember that ARRL Affiliated Clubs receive a commission on new ARRL memberships ($15) and renewals ($2). See Mike KDDKC when applying for a new ARRL membership or renewal.

Field Day From NRPI

"I thought we had a terrific Field Day, despite the inclement weather we had roll through. Obviously this put a damper on our overall score, but didn't put a damper on our fun! I think the fact that we were able to stop with Field Day, get shut down, lower the antennas, go out spotting, then come back and setup and resume operating really shows our skills as a club to handle emergency situations. Of course Field Day is an exercise of emergency situations, and I think our group handled it in a first class manner.

Everyone in the group puts an enormous amount of effort into our Field Day, and it really shows. I attended another club meeting last night with my dad and while they were discussing the results of their Field Day we both thought to ourselves "we sure are lucky to have the group effort we do" as they discussed some of the pitfalls they encountered including lack of participation especially with tear-down.

Thanks to everyone who participated and made this another successful and fun Field Day. I truly learned to appreciate the fact that it's not about points, it's about the fun, and people getting together to make things happen. We have a superior group of people, and I look forward to next year already." - Dennis NRPI

Field Day certainly was exciting when the severe weather blew through Saturday night. Operations were halted around 9PM when lightning entered the area. Coax was disconnected and antennas lowered. SKYWARN was activated about 9:15 and most of the group left the site to spot. Operations resumed about 1AM after the lightning left the area.

About 20 folks participated in the 5A operation one way or the other. Honorable mention goes to Brian KBDD, Mike KDDKC, Larry KRK, Dale WBPKG, Matt KAPQW, Dennis NRPI, Dennis NRPJ, and Tom NUW for spending the night. Brian KBDD ensured no one went hungry with outstanding meals.

We made 1054 contacts, 593 CW and 461 phone. Matt KAPQW continued the tradition of outpacing everyone combined on CW with over 590 contacts. A clean sweep of sections was missed by 2, Newfoundland and the Northwest Territories. Contacts by band: 40m: 536, 20m: 295, 15m: 171, 10m: 51, and VHF: 1. The graph below shows the number of contacts made during the event, clearly showing when the storm came through.

Word on the street is everyone had a good time. Many thanks to Dennis NRPJ for heading up the planning. The Owatonna People's Press included a couple of nice articles on Wednesday (23-Jun) and Sunday (27-Jun).

ARES Activation
Following the 17-Jun tornadoes, Steele County was contacted twice to lend support for relief efforts. The first occurred that night when a request was made to set up a communications link for the Red Cross from Rochester to Blooming Prairie and Ellendale. Dan AC0DA and Matt KA0PQW contacted about midnight and offered to set up the communication links. As the arrangements were being completed, the Red Cross decided support from Amateur Radio was not required. Many thanks to Dan and Matt for stepping up to support the request.

MN ARES made several requests to support Wadena operations. Marv NFJP was kind enough to respond and make the drive. His role was to follow a bus load of volunteers to a work assignment and run communications back to the EOC. Communications were handled by simplex because there were not any repeaters that could be accessed. Marv indicated the local residents were very appreciative of the volunteers.

OSCAR Repeater
The June Newsletter mentioned the repeater would be affected by some upgrades at the repeater site. To eliminate some interference, all of the radio installations are being fed to a single antenna pair (1 RX and 1 TX) through a "combiner" (shown at right). The RX antenna remained at the top of the tower and the TX was connected to an antenna on the south side at a lower elevation.

The main benefit for OSCAR is the elimination of the interference we experienced from the bus company. School ended right after the work was completed, so we do not know if that benefit was achieved. Unfortunately, the position and elevation of the TX antenna on the water tower produced a large attenuation of the repeater TX signal to the north.

Wenger Band Festival
The June Newsletter mentioned that OSCAR might be asked to help during the Wenger Band Festival. In the end, our assistance was not requested. Many thanks to those that offered their assistance.

Waseca Triathlon From WBZFH
Viking ARS is asking for assistance from OSCAR to assist in the Waseca Triathlon. All segments of the race start and end at Clear Lake Park, with the first race beginning at 7:30AM on 01-Aug. About 14 operators to provide communications for the bike race. If you are able to help, contact Jon WBZFH: wb0zfh@hotmail.com.

ARES District 1 Calendar From KRGR
The ARES District 1 Emergency Coordinator started a calendar page to reflect happenings across the district.

Repeater Live Feed From KBRXR
The June Newsletter mentioned a live OPD feed was available. Now available is a live feed of the OSCAR Repeater (145.490) is available on the internet. You can hear what may or may not be happening. Click on the speaker icon under the word listen you must allow pop ups for the site since an external player will bring the audio player.

Wireless Microphones From FCC
The deadline for wireless microphones to move off the 700 MHz band was 12-Jun. This band is being cleared for use in public safety communications and 4G wireless devices. This is one of the components of the overall plan for the transition to DTV. Users operating wireless devices in the band after 12-Jun may be subject to monetary forfeitures, seizure of the radio equipment, or criminal sanctions. The FCC includes an Equipment List by manufacturer.

UK Analog Radio From AR Newsline
The UK has established the year of 2015 as the end of analog broadcasts in the commercial FM broadcast band (87.5 MHz to 108 MHz). DAB will be the replacement mode. Long range plans are to replace analog with digital on the lower bands at 198 KHz and 500KHz to 1.6 MHz. One group is starting a national effort to save the existing analog modes. A subsequent new law, however, constructs a framework of conditions rather than fixing a date. It requires digital coverage and listening-share to reach a certain level before FM the transmitters are actually turned off.

Space Junk From Telegraph
The amount of debris circling us in space continues to increase, and may be reaching a critical limit. The current count is approximately 1,100 satellites with over 370,000 pieces of "junk". The debris may be as small as a nut or as large as a satellite that is no longer functioning. If there is a collision between anything, the result would probably be even more pieces of junk. A collision between two satellites last year resulted in 1,500 pieces of debris. AS the number of pieces increase, so does the probability of a collision. The fear is a chain reaction could develop and significantly alter the performance of the satellite based systems we now rely on.

Reverse Beacon Network From AR Newsline
Observations on world-wide propagation conditions can be reported using a reverse beacon network. Volunteers monitor the bands and report what is heard on the group website. The network currently involves a small group reporting on an irregular basis.