Thursday, December 31, 2009

Next Coastal Amateur Radio Society Club Meeting

The next monthly meeting of the Coastal Amateur Radio Society will be on Monday, Jan 11th at 7:00pm at the Whitebluff Presbyterian Church Education Building. We'll spend some time brainstorming about things we might want to accomplish in 2010.

We will have a board meeting at 6:00pm prior to the regular meeting.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

My Son Zane is Headed to Iraq

Not radio related but here's a little slide show of my son Zane from baby boy to American soldier. He's heading to Iraq on Monday for a year. He's a infantryman with the 3rd Infantry Division based at Fort Stewart, GA.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

QSL Card from USS Cobia Amateur Radio Station

Recieved a nice QSL card today from a contact I made with the USS Cobia Amateur Radio Club, call letters NB9QV. They were on the air commemorating the 66th birthday of the submarine USS Cobia SS-245.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

NWS Charleston Skywarn Recognition Day

We had a great visit to the National Weather Service in Charleston this weekend to operate the amateur radio station WX4CHS for the Skywarn Recognition Day event. I picked up Mac-KF4LMT at about 1945 and we met Dan-KF4MND at the Cracker Barrell just after 2000. After we grabbed a late dinner we hit the road to Charleston around 2100. It rained the whole way. In fact it rained the whole time we were there and the whole way back. But we got to the NWS office near the airport just before 2300. Bobby-W4SKD met us at the front door and we signed in for the evening. We took a quick tour around the center and met the forecasters that were working the mid shift. Let me tell you, they are some weather watchin fools. All kinds of monitors and radars and such and they were constantly updating forecasts and other information throughout thier shift. It was good to spend some time with them and learn more about the NWS. Bobby then gave us a quick run down on the radio station and we began to operate right away. Dan setup some nice Echolink connectivity between a station in Summerville and our home station in Savannah. This allowed for us to talk from the NWS back to Savannah on 2 meters and coordinate with several of our buddies about where we would be operating on HF. I started out on 80 meters using the Icom-746 and quickly contacted several stations back in Savannah. Greg-N4VAD and Jerry-W4SGA among them. As Dan began making some VHF contacts on the South Carolina Linked Repeater System, I began to search for and make contact with several other National Weather Service Stations across the country. Some included:
- Morehead City, NC
- PeachTree City, GA
- DeMoines, IA
- Upton, NY
- Morristown, TN
During the course of the evening we all got a chance to operate the station and make quite a few contacts considering the time of day. Mac did a great job of leveraging his blog and Twitter to provide real time updates on our activities to include photos. The time really flew by and before we knew it it was already 0500. So we thanked the forecasters and our great HAM host Bobby and hit the road back to Savannah. We had a really great time there and have plans to strenghthen our relationship with the NWS and our radio friends in South Carolina. Even talks about figuring out how we can link one of the Savannah area repeaters into the South Carolina repeater system specifically for Skywarn purposes. We arrived back in Savannah about 0730 and met some of our other radio pals at breakfast. Overall a great "radio field trip". Already looking forward to next year.

More Amateur Radio Upgrades In Savannah

Congratulations to the following operators on thier license class upgrades today. Great job guys!

Bill Taylor-KC4HXJ, upgrade to Amateur Extra
Kirk Meals-KJ4PTP, upgrade to General

Appreciate the VEs who administered the exams today, especially Bob-W4WTO for the use of his facility, and Steve-K4SDJ for his expertise in the administration process.

We've had a great year for new licensees and upgrades. Here are the totals

Technicians - 14
General - 5
Extra - 6

Friday, December 4, 2009

Skywarn Recognition Day

This Saturday, Dec 5th is Skywarn Recognition Day. Amateur Radio operators across the country will be operating radio stations at NWS offices trying to make contact with other NWS offices and as many hams as possible to celebrate the contributions that volunteer Skywarn radio operators make to the National Weather Service. This year, Amateur Radio Operators from Savannah have been asked to operate a shift at the NWS Charleston amateur radio station. I will be heading up to Charleston tonight with Mac-KF4LMT and Dan-KF4MND to work the midnight to 0530 local shift at the NWS Charleston station. We'll be active on HF and VHF using the callsign WX4CHS, so listen out for us. As part of the special event operation, the contact exchange will consist of call sign, signal report, location, and a one or two word description of the weather. Mac-KF4LMT will be making blog posts and Twitter updates from the station. Will update again tomorrow with some pictures from the station.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Chatham County EOC Activated Today

As many of you know, the CEMA EOC activated today to be ready to deal with possible impact of the severe weather that we had in the area today. We have a HAM station (N4CEM) at both EOC locations and CEMA considers us a valuable part of thier backup communications plan. Consequently, we were asked to man the station during the activation. I arrived at the station at about 3:00pm and stay until the event was terminated at about 8:00pm. Things went pretty well from our perspective. Got good radio checks and great participation from our local HAM community. Although the weather proved to be uneventfull for us, it was still a great opportunity to practice our procedures. I discovered a few shortcomings with the station that we'll address. But hey, that's why we go through the motions. Each activation provides us with valuable information that'll make us even better for the next one. Special thanks to the following operators.....hope I don't leave anyone out.


"When all else fails......amateur radio."

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Good Day On The Radio

Made some great contacts this past Saturday after raising one of my long wire antennas out back about 15 feet higher than it was before the wind blew it out of the trees last week. The folks in Japan were having a contest and they were coming in really strong on 20 meters most of the afternoon and into the evening. I was able to contact four stations in Japan. 40 meters was also open into Europe and I made some nice contacts with Bulgaria, Poland, Serbia, and Belgium. Also snagged my first couple of contacts with Greece. Later on I made some PSK-31 contacts to Cuba and Spain. You can track my contact log at the very bottom of this blog.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Two New Extra Class Operators in Town!

Congratulations to Tom-K4GIV and Paul-KC2NYU for passing the Extra Class exam today! Great job guys!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Savannah Area Veterans Day "Vet Net"

We commemorated Veterans Day here in Savannah by holding a special net on Nov 11th. We called this the "Vet Net". Don't think that we've ever done anything like that around here before. The net started at 2100 on the ARCS 146.970 repeater with me assuming network control station duties. What a great time we had as we learned about the military service of several of our fellow HAMs. As each operator checked in they told us a little about the time that they spent in the military. We used the following template:

- Callsign
- Name
- Branch of service
- Rank
- Years served
- Job (MOS, AFSC, Specialty)
- Countries served in, other notable facts or memories

It was so interesting to listen to the wide range of experience. We also had folks check in to pay tribute to family members who have served or are serving. What a great gathering of patriots!

We had a total of 26 checkins and of the 16 veterans who checked in, we had six Army, five Air Force, three Navy, one Marine, and one Coast Guard. You'll never believe this but what a special treat it was when we had a veteran check in aeronautical mobile! Yup, Terry-N7RUE was traveling "Space A" on a military transport that was passing about 50 miles off the coast of Georgia on the way to MCAS New River, NC. Terry was coming in loud and clear on his handheld from the aircraft. Terry mentioned that he had checked with the aircraft commander for permission to use his radio and that he had gotten the ok. Wow, a veteran, aeronautical mobile, on a military aircraft, checking in to our "Vet Net"!! We couldn't have planned that if we tried. How will we be able to top that next Veterans Day?

Here is a list of our veterans who checked in. God Bless one and all!
Mac-AF4KL - US Navy
Ryan-AJ4MY - US Coast Guard
Dan-KF4MND - US Army
Peter-KJ4FAW - US Army
Paul-KC2NYU - US Navy
Andy-KJ4ABR - US Air Force
Ken-KI4TYO - US Army
Ken-W4JKG - US Air Force
Bill-KC4HXJ - US Army
Tom-K4GIV - US Marine Corps
Joe-KI4DZK - US Air Force
Bill-KT4KH - US Army
Doug-KF4EFP - US Air Force
John-KI4VVW - US Navy
Terry-N7RUE - US Army
Guy-K4GTM - US Air Force

Saturday, October 24, 2009

GA Baptist Disaster Relief Training in Toccoa

Lorie and I drove up to the Georgia Baptist Conference Center in Toccoa, GA this weekend to attend some advanced disaster relief training. This was "Phase 2" training for all of the ministry areas and Unit Director "Blue Cap" training for those who will lead a ministry team during deployments. I recieved my Unit Director Blue Cap which authorizes me to lead a Communications Unit. I appreciate Chris-AE4XO for recommending me and for Larry-W4WLT for clearing the way for me to become a Unit Director. I also got to meet Felton-AF4DN who calls our weekly Baptist Emergency Amateur Radio Service net each Sunday. The training was great and the conference center is really awesome. After the session, Lorie and I went over to Toccoa Falls for a little while before heading home to Savannah.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Amateur Extra Class

We started a new Amateur Extra Class Operator course tonight. Carroll Baker - WX4Y is the instructor. The class will meet for four consecutive Thursday evenings from 6:00pm til 9:00pm. Carroll is teaching from the ARRL Extra Class Study Guide. We had a great turnout tonight with 11 operators in attendance. There will be a VE Session on Nov 14th. Those in attendance were:

W4REQ- Ralph
K4GIV- Tom
KJ4FAV- Paul
KJ4FAW- Peter
KI4RXW- Chuck
KI4DZD - Edward
KC2NYU- Paul
KJ4KOB- Keith
KC2HXJ- Bill
KJ4HAC- Aric

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Oct 17 JOTA

Had a great time at the Boy Scouts Jamboree on the Air yesterday at the Mighty Eighth Air Force Museum. Got there after breakfast around 8:30 or so and found a spot to set up the radios and put up and antenna. Ran my station off the generator this time and discovered some noise that I'll continue to troubleshoot. Made some contacts on voice and PSK-31 but mainly spent the time teaching scouts about amateur radio. The weather was cooler than we've had in a while but really made for a nice day. We had as many as 15 or so HAMs and 80 scouts throughout the course of the day. Looking forward to next year.