Saturday, January 22, 2011

2011 Statewide Georgia ARES Conference

We had a really good statewide ARES meeting this year.  Our day started very early this morning when Steve-K4SDJ picked me up at 0400.  We drove over to pick up Lester-KF4JBQ near Kensington Park then out to Pooler Parkway where we picked up Peter-KJ4FAW.  We headed west and when we started getting near Dublin we gave out a shout for Bob-WN4Q on the 145.150 repeater.  Bob met us at the Cracker Barrel at 0600 and we had a nice breakfast before continuing on to Forsyth.  We arrived at the Georgia Public Safety Training Center (GPSTC) around 0815.  Over an hour before the meeting started.  That gave us some time to catch up with other HAMs that we usually only talk to on the radio.  Always good to put a face with a callsign.

The meeting got started at 0930 with welcome and introductions of Section Officers and Area DECs.  The first guest speaker of the day was Robby Westbrook who is the EMA Director for Cherokee County.  Mr. Westbrook gave us some great pointers on how to build a strong releationship between the local ARES teams and the county EMAs.  He referred to the relationship as an "Extreme Partnership" and couldn't say enough good things about the ARES program.  He also stressed the importance of professionalism in what we do and how we interact with other agencies. 

Next, and at several times throughout the day, there were door prizes given out.  Quite a few ARRL books, mugs, and such as well as the grand prize of a Wouxon Dual Band Handheld radio.  Good stuff.

Lunchtime started at 1100.  Most folks either brought a lunch with them or ran out and grabbed a burger and brought back to the conference.  The lunchtime session was a full two hours to allow for folks to eat and visit a variety of forums and displays that were set up like breakout sessions.  This was the best part of the day in my opinion.  It really allowed for some great collaboration with other HAMs from across the state.  Here is a list of the forums:

- National Weather Service:   Lynn Bianco, KN4YZ
- Public Health:   Barry Kanne, W4TGA
- Digital:   Tom Olley, KG4VUB
- Nets and Traffic:   Charles Pennington, K4GK
- D-Star:   John Davis, WB4QDX
- Peach State Intertie:   Jimmy Burgamy, WB4NFG
- Zoning Issues & Solutions:   Charles Pitchford, N4QET
- Mobile Comm:   Clyde Mathe, WB4BDP

The general session started back up again at 1300 with our second guest speaker of the day.  Lans Rothfusz, KD5EJN who is a meteorologist with the NWS Peachtree City gave a nice update of how things are going at the NWS.  Lans also had great words to say about the fine work that HAMs and Skywarn weather spotters do for the NWS.  He gave us a glimpse into some of the technology advancements that are on the way in the weather forecasting world. 

Next we heard an update on how things are progressing on putting together a universaly recognized badge for ARES members across the state.  More work to be done. 

Next, Mike Brown, KE4FGF recognized all of the top nominees for the Georgia ARES HAM of the Year and then announced the winner to be Jim Millsap, WB4NWS.  After some final comments from Mike Brown, KE4FGF who is our Section Emergency Coordinator and from Dr. Gene Clark, W4AYK who is our ARRL Section Manager, we adjorned right around 1530.

What a very good meeting this year highlighted by the two hour breakout session and collaboration with fellow ARES members. 

Steve, Lester, Peter and I hit the road and made it back to Savannah just after 1800.  It was a long day but well worth K4GTM

Flying Fortress 5K Certificate of Appreciation

The Coastal Amateur Radio Society received a very nice certificate of appreciation from the Mighty Eighth Air Force Museum for our assistance during the 1st Annual "Flying Fortress 5K" run back in November. 

We are currently helping to restore the radio compartment of the B-17 "City of Savannah" and really having a great time with it.  What an honor for our club to be part of this project.  We were very happy to assist with the 5K run by positioning radio operators along the race route to relay information back to the start/finish line. 

Note that this certificate includes an authentic piece of fabric from the B-17 horizontal stabilizer.

Allied SX-190 Shortwave Receiver

I'm now the proud owner of a 1971 era Allied SX-190 Shortwave Receiver that a friend of mine gave me! 

There were two models that were manufactured between 1971 - 1973.  The SX-190 for SWL and the AX-190 for the HAM bands. Cost about $250 new in 1971. As you can see this one has had some of the mods done to it. It's working great and it has a Heathkit HS-24 external speaker with it. 
I sure do love it when non-radio friends have something they don't want, don't like, or don't appreciate and they give it to me!

Friday, January 21, 2011

NanoSail-D Satellite Tracking

I started tracking and listening for the NanoSail-D satellite that was recently launched into low earth orbit.  NASA has asked amateur radio operators for help in listening for the packet data and reporting it to the NanoSail-D dashboard.  Listened for it a couple of times today but did not hear it.  Will keep K4GTM

NASA seeks Amateur Radio operators' aid.
The US Space Agency NASA has asked for the help of Amateur Radio operators to help in receiving the signal from NanoSail-D on 437.270MHz.

The NASA Press release says:

Wednesday, Jan. 19 at 11:30 a.m. EST, engineers at Marshall SpacemFlight Center in Huntsville, Ala., confirmed that the NanoSail-D nanosatellite ejected from Fast Affordable Scientific and Technology Satellite, FASTSAT. The ejection event occurred spontaneously and was identified this morning when engineers at the center analyzed onboard FASTSAT telemetry. The ejection of NanoSail-D also has been confirmed by ground-based satellite tracking assets.

Amateur radio operators are asked to listen for the signal to verify NanoSail-D is operating. This information should be sent to the NanoSail-D dashboard at:

The NanoSail-D beacon signal can be found at 437.270 MHz.

The NanoSail-D science team is hopeful the nanosatellite is healthy and can complete its solar sail mission.

After ejection, a timer within NanoSail-D begins a three-day countdown as the satellite orbits the Earth. Once the timer reaches zero, four booms will quickly deploy and the NanoSail-D sail will start to unfold to a 100-square-foot polymer sail. Within five seconds the sail fully unfurls.

Read the full NASA Press Release at