Tuesday, December 7, 2010

2010 CARS "Amateur of the Year"

Congratulations to Kevin Bell, KW4B for being selected as the Coastal Amateur Radio Society "Amateur of the Year".  Kevin has done an outstanding job this year and the club certainly recognized that. Great job Kevin!

We also announced the slate of officers for 2011.

President - Guy McDonald, K4GTM
Vice Pres - Kevin Bell, KW4B
2nd Vice Pres - Peter Levesque, KJ4FAW
Treasurer - Billy Elmore, KG4SZS
Secretary - Raymond Schrum, KJ4HAE
New Board Member - Paul Snedeker, KJ4FAV

Saturday, December 4, 2010

B-17 "City of Savannah" Update

The B-17 restoration project is moving along nicely.  The floor in the radio compartment is now installed and the spare transmitter tuners are installed on the right side aft bulkhead.  I was at the museum yesterday to meet with Richard, the project manager to discuss our electrical requirements for the compartment.  We'll have our own distribution point in the compartment for 110vac and they will be installing a 28vdc power supply for us to run our radio gear.  We'll also install a 12vdc supply to run an amateur radio transciever.  Things are coming along nicely. 

It really is a privelege for the local amateur radio community to be involved in this historic project!

Follow the project at the Mighty Eighth Air Force Museum website:

2010 Skywarn Recognition Day

On Saturday morning, Dec 4th a group of HAMs from Savannah made the trip up to the National Weather Service in Charleston, SC to operate the WX4CHS radio station for the annual Skywarn Recognition Day event.  The team consisted of Steve-K4SDJ, Mac-KF4LMT, Peter-KJ4FAW, and Dan-KF4MND.  I was not able to make the trip and stayed behind in Savannah to coordinate activities on this end.  The team arrived just before 1100 and wasted no time getting things setup to operate for thier four hour shift.  Dan set up an Echolink node and tested to the W4SGA node on the 146.970 repeater in Savannah.  Dan also set up a live video feed via Ustream so that anyone could watch the activities there at the NWS via the Internet.

Mac was the first to get on the air with the HF station and began to rack up contacts on 20 meters.  Dan and Peter also took thier turns on 20 and 40 meters.  They were able to make a total of 68 contacts across the country.

Steve-K4SDJ set up his D-Star DV Dongle and made contacts with three other NWS stations and 17 other HAM stations all across the world.  Steve made a connection to the KJ4GGV repeater in Pembroke and I was able to contact him via RF from my station. 

What a great event and we got to test several methods of establishing comms from Coastal Georgia to the NWS in Charleston.  This will prove valuable in times of severe weather.

Thanks to Bobby-W4KSD and the folks at NWS Charleston for hosting us.

Photos available on the Coastal Amateur Radio Society Facebook Page

Sunday, November 28, 2010

KJ4YQB Builds 6 Meter J-Pole

New local HAM Chris-KJ4YQB built him a copper pipe 6 meter J-Pole over the Thanksgiving weekend. Way to go Chris!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Personal Weather Station Back On The Air

Got my personal weather station back on the air and reporting to Weather Underground.  Mounted the wind gauge on the top of my HAM radio VHF/UHF antenna.  Rain gauge and barometer on the antenna mast.

Station Data and History

Full Screen Rapidfire Flash View

Saturday, November 20, 2010

New HF Antenna Up At KJ4WBF Radio Shack

After the normal Saturday morning breakfast at Sunny Side Up, Kevin-KW4B, Mark-KA4CID, and myself-K4GTM headed over to John-KJ4WBF house to string up an HF antenna. John has some nice trees that are positioned pretty well for a long wire antenna. Kevin launched some line up in the trees with his air cannon. He's getting pretty good with that thing! Once we got the G5RV hoisted up between the trees and tied off, we went in to John's radio shack and gave it a try. Mark put his Bird watt meter inline so that we could measure the SWR and everything looked fine on all of the HF bands at 80m and above. John made his first HF contact on the new radio station with an operator in Utica, NY. First of many to come I'm sure! So the station is working great, the antenna installation is very stealthy, and John's wife prepared some pulled pork sandwiches for us when we were done. It's always fun to help an new HAM get on the air!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

2010 Savannah Area Veterans Day Net (Vet Net)

The 2010 Savannah Area Vet Net was great.  We had a total of 19 checkins including 14 veterans.  Seven Army, six Air Force, and one Navy.  It was great to hear about everyones time in the military and about all of the family members who have served or are currently serving.  Here is a list of the vets and thier branch of service.

AF4KL - Navy
W4REQ - Army
WA0CGZ - Air Force/Army
W4JKG - Air Force
W4OQV - Army
WN4Q - Air Force
KJ4BSM - Army
KJ3FFD - Air Force
KJ4WBF - Air Force
KJ4FAW - Army
KF4MND - Army
KI4FJO - Army
K4GTM - Air Force

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Congratulations to Dustin Hetzel, KI4MQD. Recognizing what Amateur Radio can do for the community, he has included ARES in many CEMA activations and invited ARES to take part in training operations.

From the Chatham County Emergency Management Website:

On November 9, 2010, two CEMA Staff members received awards from the Emergency Management Association of Georgia (EMAG). Assistant Director Dennis Jones received the President’s Award for outstanding support and leadership for his efforts to lead EMAG in assuming direction and coordination for the 2010 State Emergency Management Conference. “While the top of the water seemed smooth as glass, we were working our hardest to manage the turbulence underneath. The success of the conference is directly related to Dennis’ leadership,” said EMAG President Kenny Calhoun.

Emergency Management Specialist Dustin Hetzel received the Jack Hobb’s Award for his support and dedication to the Amateur Radio Community throughout Chatham County and Coastal Georgia. Dustin was signaled out for his efforts to work closely with regional amateur radio groups and to coordinate effective partnerships between the groups and the emergency management community.

“CEMA is indeed fortunate to have staff with a level of dedication, knowledge and commitment that is so far above the norm it is recognized at the state level for its excellence,” said CEMA Director Clayton Scott.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

"Flying Fortress 5K" Communications Support

Had a great time providing communications support for the "Flying Fortress 5K" race this morning at the Mighty Eighth Air Force Museum.  Nine members of the Coastal Amateur Radio Society (CARS) positioned at strategic locations along the race route to provide any necessary communications from the route back to the start/finish line.  Several of us met at the Cracker Barrell at 0630 to have some pre-race breakfast.  About 0730 we headed over to the museum to get our location assignments and agree on a frequency to use.  Once we all had maps and location assignments, we headed out on the course.  Steve-K4SDJ stayed at the start/finish line and acted as net control.  Once all operators were in place we all got good comm checks with net control and waiting for the race to start.  After a short kids race, the "Flying Fortress 5K" got underway at 0830.  Operators provided status of the lead runner as he passed the various check points and also kept thier eyes open for any injuries along the route.  It was a beautiful morning with temps starting on the upper 30s and rising to just about 40 by race end.  The winning runner finished the race in just over 15 minutes but the last runner completed to course by about 0930 or so.  Once the last runner passed each check point, each operator made thier way back to the start/finish line.  Awards were presented and all activites completed around 1030.  What a great event to raise money for the restoration of the B-17 "City of Savannah" and a great opportunity for us to practice our net procedures in other than normal conditions and without the benefit of our repeaters.  Thanks to the following radio operators:

Steve - K4SDJ
Sue - W4SWJ
Russ - K4YGD
Lynn - KD4POC
Mac - AF4KL
Irene - KF4RFF
Paul - KJ4FAV
Ken - W4JKG
Guy - K4GTM

Monday, October 25, 2010

Oct 2010 GA Baptist Disaster Relief Training

On Thursday, Oct 21st, Doug-KF4EFP and I traveled to Norman Park, GA to attend the Georgia Baptist Disaster Relief Unit Director Roundtable and Phase 2 training session.
I drove out to Doug’s house in Rincon arriving around 1015. We loaded up in Doug’s truck and headed over to Statesboro to pick up the GA Baptist Comm Unit 5C which we keep stored at the Statesboro Bulloch County Airport. The Ogeechee River Baptist Association sponsors the communications unit and worked it out with the airport for us to store the unit under one of their open hangers. We arrived at the airport around 1130 and checked in with airport personnel. After checking out the tires, lights, and such we hitched up Doug’s Dodge Ram to the trailer and pulled out.

After a brief stop at Subway for a sandwich we were on the road toward Norman Park. We decided to drive down through Claxton, Baxley then Alma where headed east traveling through Douglas, Ocilla, and Tifton before arriving at the Georgia Baptist Conference Center in Norman Park, GA. We pulled in right around 1600. Plenty of daylight left so we scouted out a place to setup the unit and got it unhitched for the truck.

Doug and I checked in and received our rooms keys, agenda, and assorted paperwork for the conference. Now that we were all checked in we went back out to the comm unit and setup the local repeater frequencies in our 2 meter and 70 cm radios and got some comm checks. Then decided to go ahead and put together a 40 m hamstick dipole and put it up on a mast to give it a try. Got it up and operational and coordinated to try and make contact with Mac-KF4LMT in Brunswick. Conditions were not the best but we did manage to contact Mac. Satisfied with things, we went ahead and broke down the antenna and closed up the unit for the night.

Getting hungry by now so we decided to head over to Moultrie and grab a bite to eat at Zaxby’s. Doug’s GPS and my GPS were not exactly in agreement on how to get to Zaxby’s and we ended up calling to get directions. After chow we headed back to Norman Park to get some sleep.

Friday morning we met the rest of the attendees in the cafeteria for some breakfast. After breakfast we gathered in the conference room for our Unit Director Roundtable. Unit Directors from around the state who have responsibility for supporting, maintaining, and operating the various feeding units, cleanup and recovery units, shower units, supply units, and comm units met to provide updates on their ministry area and to discuss future activities. The roundtable finished up around 1600.

At 1700 everyone gathered for a Volunteer Appreciation Dinner with entertainment. Good food and fellowship. At 1930 each ministry area broke out into various sessions to provide Phase 2 training to Disaster Relief volunteers. Larry-W4WLT led our session with three HAMs going thru the training. In addition to Doug and me, we also had Horace and Ed representing Communications Unit 14C which is positioned up in North Georgia. We were able to spend a little time in the comm unit before shutting down for the night around 2100.

Saturday morning came early with breakfast at 0700. Then we all met at the comm unit at 0800 and began the Phase 2 training and unit familiarization training. Larry kicked things off and then handed it over to me and Doug to carry on. Doug gave instruction on providing external power to the unit and walked the team through the power up sequence. Once powered up, I walked the guys through the contents of the unit including radios, antennas, and all of the various support equipment. We also walked through typical use of the unit when deployed to the scene of a disaster. The guys were very attentive and asked lots of great questions.

Once everyone felt comfortable with the layout of the unit, we set up the same 40m hamstick dipole that Doug and I used the night before. We let the guys put the mast and antenna together and then we put the analyzer on it and made a few adjustments to bring the SWR down. We connected the antenna to the HF radio and Jonah tuned up to the South CARS net and began to try and check in using the call sign of the unit, N4GBC. The band was in very good shape and the noise floor was very low. While Jonah manned the HF radio, we brought up the VHF and UHF radio up and tested to the local repeaters again. We raised a local HAM, Tom who was in Moultrie. Tom said he would come by and visit us later in the morning.

I contacted Mac-KF4LMT back in Savannah on the phone and asked him if he could meet us on 40m. He was all too happy to oblige and we had a great QSO. Jeff and Jonah were about to chat with Mac as well as they got familiar with the Kenwood HF radio.

As the morning progressed we received a call from Mike-KE4FGF on the local repeater. Mike said he was heading over to visit with us after having breakfast in Moultrie with some fellow HAMs. Mike is the SEC for the GA ARES program and we were very happy to have him coming over to see us. Right about the time Mike arrived so did Tom James-W4TBJ, his wife Theresa-KJ4NBG, son Tommy-KJ4SWI and daughter Taylor. Had a great visit with all of them and enjoyed showing them around the comm unit. Tom and Theresa expressed interest in joining the disaster relief ministry and we gave them info on the next Phase 1 training to be held in Waycross on Jan 15th.

As 1130 rolled around, we began to break down the unit and stow everything so that we could meet the other ministries for lunch in the cafeteria. We said so long to Mike, Tom, and Theresa as well as Horace and Doug who decided to get an early start back to North Georgia. It was a very successful session and I think we all benefitted greatly.

Had lunch with everyone else at noon then hooked the trailer back up to Doug’s truck and pulled out of Norman Park just before 1300. Took the same route back to Statesboro and on the way talked to Dan-KF4MND on 2 meters as we passed by Glennville. Got to Statesboro around 1600 and stowed the unit at the airport. Another hour to Doug’s place in Rincon to pick up my truck and I was on the way back to Savannah. I was home around 1800 or so. What a great trip.

Learn more about our ministry at http://www.georgiabears.com/.