Saturday, May 9, 2009

Armed Forces Day Crossband Military/Amateur Radio Communications Test

Today was the Annual Armed Forces Day Crossband Military/Amateur Radio Communications Test. Here is an overview from the official test document.

"The annual celebration features traditional military to amateur cross band communications SSB voice tests and copying the Secretary of Defense message via digital modes. These tests give Amateur Radio operators and Short Wave Listeners (SWL) an opportunity to demonstrate their individual technical skills, and to receive recognition from the Secretary of Defense and/or the appropriate military radio station for their proven expertise. QSL cards will be provided to those stations making contact with the military stations. Special commemorative certificates will be awarded to anyone who receives and copies the digital Armed Forces Day message from the Secretary of Defense."
I was able to make contact with eight of the fifteen or so military stations that were operating. The Military station transmits on thier designated frequency range and we recieve there. Then we transmit in the Amateur frequency range and they recieve there. So I set up the Kenwwod TS-440 to operate in Split mode. Worked well. Here is a list of my contacts.

NAV4 - Navy/Marine Corp MARS, Great Lakes, IL - 14467/14328
WAR - Army MARS, Pentagon, Arlington, VA - 13512.5/14325
AIR - Air Force MARS, Andrews AFB, MD - 13985.1/14260
NAV3 - Navy/Marine Corp MARS, Corpus Christi, TX - 13974/14240
AAZ - Army MARS, Ft. Huachuca, AZ - 14402/14211
WUG-231 - Army MARS, Memphis, TN - 7360/7270
AAC - Army MARS, Lexington, KY - 7363/7295
NBL - Navy/Marine Corp MARS, Chelmsford, MA - 14391.5/14325

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Got my 1st New Zealand contact tonight!

Finally got my first contact to New Zealand tonight. Talked to Al, ZL1BD just north of Hamilton on 20 meters, 14.271. Good conditions tonight. I had him at a 57 and he had me at a 55.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

ARES Support of Memorial Medical Center Hurricane Exercise

We had a successful exercise today in support of Memorial Medical Center here in Savannah. Memorial is one of our "Served Agencies" here in Chatham County and we have a very good relationship with them. This was a Hurricane Exercise for the Region J hospitals which includes hospitals in about 11 counties along the coast of Georgia. Memorial has done a very good job of recognizing the benefits of amateur radio and incorporating us into thier disaster planning. They have built a very nice station at the hospital and our local ARES group tests it regularly. Today's exercise called for us to be prepared to communicate with other hospitals in Region J in the event of failure of primary communications methods. Steve-K4SDJ did a great job in coordinating our resources with Jimmy Gordon at the hospital and we had plenty of time to plan our support schedule.

Mac-KF4LMT and I arrived at the hospital at 0700 and Jimmy led us to the room where we keep the amateur radio station which is nicely housed in a "Go Kit". See pictures below. We moved the go kit to the operating location (one of two designated on the campus) and began to set everything up. First thing was to put the antenna analyzer on the feed lines to test our antennas for resonance on all bands that we might be called to operate on. Everything checked out and we connected the Kenwood Dual Band VHF/UHF radio and the Kenwood TS-480 HF radio. Got quick comm checks on our local ARES repeaters and then tuned the HF radio up to the the designated Georgia ARES freq on 80 meters. We had been advised that we would be communicating with the Screven County Hospital up in Sylvania and I had spoken with the ARES Ham up there over the weekend so we put out a call on the 146.970 to Bob-K4BG. Bob came back to us and we exchanged signal reports. Next we moved over to 3975 to be sure we could establish reliable HF comm. Worked fine. Soon thereafter we were contacted on the freq by Greg-N4VAD operating at Wayne Memorial in Jesup. Bob decided it would be a good idea to actually pass some traffic so Mac generated an ARRL Radiogram test meesage and passed to Bob-K4BG at Screven. Good copy. Next Bob and Greg each passed a message that I copied. Fortunately I had a Radiogram form in my bag. This was very helpful since neither Mac or I had ever passed any message traffic before. Good training. Thanks to Bob and Greg for being patient with us!

About halfway thru the exercise Jimmy had me come into the command center and give a brief overview of ARES and our capabilities to the hospital leadership. Went well and I appreciate Jimmy giving us the opportunity to show what we can do.

Not much else occured for the rest of the exercise and we terminated our links to Screven County and Wayne Memorial and shut down the station just after noon. Successful exercise.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Local Fox Hunt Makes it into May issue of CQ Magazine

The May issue of CQ Magazine has a very comprehensive article on the Annual CQ WW Foxhunting Weekend. And what do you know, they mention the local fox hunt that we had here in town back in February! They reference the K4GTM blog and the Amateur Radio Club of Savannah on page 40. It's awesome to have local activities make it into national publications.

MS Bike Ride Day Two

Had another great day providing communication support for the MS Bike Ride event. Once again we met for breakfast at 0600 and then took our respective positions within the route. Today, we had Steve-K4SDJ as Net Control, Lester-KF4JBQ in vehicle 2, Mac-KF4LMT in vehicle 3, Myself-K4GTM in Vehicle 4, Kevin-WD0GFG at Rest Stop 1, and Bill-K4WCS at Rest Stop 2. This was a very well coordinated event and we got to meet and work with lots of other fine volunteers.