July 2012

NO July Meeting

There will be no July meeting. Field Day was the July meeting.

Field Day - June 23 & 24 – 2012 by Tony Brignole

Field Day was great and I had fun. I hope you all did to. It was not as tiring to me as it was a few years ago. Probably because we kept it simple. One fellow saw the article in the Bartlett Express and stopped by to donate an old National NC109 Short wave receiver. It is a late 50s early 60s vintage but was in mint condition. We will check it out and decide what to do with it. We may use it as prize for FreeFest next year or raffle it off. It appears to be worth around $200.

We had tremendous press coverage in the Bartlett Express. As you know, Editor Julie Ray came out Sunday and spent nearly 4 hours with us. She even made a contact with a station in Ohio. Get a copy of the June 28 edition of the Bartlett Express. We are the cover story and the photo is in full color. I have tried to scan the article in but it may be too large to send. I tried to down size it so it would be easier to handle but it still pushes around 5 megabytes.

The JPG files were too big to load on this page and were sent out with the newsletter. If you need/want a copy and your ISP can handle it contact me at abrigno@comcast.net and I'll send you a copy.

Excerpts from the article:

KJ4BDU might not mean much to the average person on the street.

However, an amateur radio operator might know that the call sign KJ4BDU is Dennis Foster.

Foster is the 2012 president of the Mid-South Amateur Radio Association. The group, along with sister clubs, Delta Amateur Radio Club and the Tri-State Repeater Association, recently competed in the American Radio Relay League’s ham radio Field Day communications exercise on June 23-24. If the word “exercise” strikes fear into your heart, it need not. The Field Day communication exercises are conducted over a 24-hour period for ham radio operators around the world. Radio operators show off skills, test their emergency communications readiness and participate in communication contests.

Contests such as the one in which Hugh E. Wardlaw III, better known in the “ham radio” community as WB4SLI, participated.

Wardlaw brought what he calls his “urban escape vehicle” to the preset location for the field day exercise at Country Club Estates on LaCosta Drive. The vehicle is an RV motor home that Wardlaw takes on location.

Being mobile means that he is on the road quite a bit. On the back of the RV is a radio frequency, 146.52 that he listens to on the road. Under the frequency numbers is his call sign, WB4SLI and his wife Linda’s call sign, WB4SLJ. The call signs for Wardlaw and his wife are one letter apart.

Wardlaw explained that when he was a young boy, he and his father trained and tested for an amateur radio license together. The Federal Communications Commission regulates amateur radio licenses. A license is granted to individuals of any age once they demonstrate an understanding of both pertinent FCC regulations and knowledge of radio station operation and safety considerations.

At that time an individual call sign is issued that identifies the user. So when the Wardlaw father and son team were granted a license, their call sign was one letter apart.

That was many years ago and the elder Wardlaw relinquished his call sign. For an extra fee, a licensed ham radio operator may request a “vanity” call sign. This is exactly what happened in the Wardlaw family. Linda Wardlaw requested and was granted her father-in-law’s relinquished call sign.

Another colorful character at the Field Day exercise was Pat Lane, who has been an engineer at WKNO for 47 years and has been licensed as a ham radio operator since 1957.

According to participants of Field Day, Lane is somewhat of a celebrity in the continuous wave activity of ham radio. Continuous wave is better known as Morse code. Legend has it that Lane can send Morse code faster than the popular girls at the local high school can text the latest gossip.

A novice might send Morse code in words, but much like phone texting, Morse code can also be sent condensing phrases.

“Lol” means laugh out loud in texting, which can save time and space. Morse code, which predates texting by 100 years, uses condensed phrasing as well. The number 73 is best wishes; 88 is love and kisses.

According to Joe Lowenthal WA4OVO, director of training with Delta Amateur Radio Club, amateur radio service has a few fundamental purposes.

Amateur radio is a voluntary noncommercial communication service especially with respect to providing emergency communications, the amateur’s proven ability to contribute to the advancement of the radio art, advancement of the skills in both the communications and technical phases of the art, expansion of the existing reservoir with the amateur radio service of trained operators, technicians and electronics experts, the amateur’s unique ability to enhance international goodwill.

One example of the serious side of amateur radio use was the ability to communicate during the aftermath of hurricane Katrina in 2005.

When no other form of communication was available, anyone with the ability to string a wire and a radio could communicate important information saving time and saving lives during the disaster.

Whether that meant relaying that no emergency personnel were needed and to move on to an area where it was needed, or if it meant a call for help, ham radio operators were behind the scenes getting information through.

While ham radio is a great hobby for all ages, it is especially enticing to retirees. Having the time to participate in ham radio activities, the social aspect of hams and the service ham radio provides in emergency situations makes this activity suitable for people that have retired.

The amateur radio operators practice their skill by providing communications for such events as the Swamp Stompers race through Shelby Forest in January, March of Dimes Walk for Babies, Diabetes Tour de Cure bicycle ride, Memphis In May Triathlon, the two-day Multiple Sclerosis 150 Bike Ride, St. Jude Memphis Marathon, and parade marshals.

For anyone interested in amateur radio, Lowenthal will be conducting a Technician license class starting July 2 and every Monday thereafter until Aug. 6.

Classes will be held from 6:15-9:30 p.m. at Lord of Life Lutheran Church. Preregistration is required.

To register, call Lowenthal at 683-2701 or 628-4318 or by e-mail to wa4ovo@gmail.com with name, e-mail address and cell phone number.