Dear Diary


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Field Day 2013 at WA4FC

After a year of planning and discussion, the Fieldcomm shack was the site of the WA4FC Field Day station, on June 22 and 23, 2013. Six amateur operators and one guest attended the event.

Two HF stations, a Yaesu FT-857 and FT-897, were connected to the shack’s numerous antennas, providing access to frequencies from 160 meters, all the way to UHF. Both stations were connected together by N1MM logging software, providing PC-based rig control, as well as real-time logging, scoring, and dupe-checking.

Over the 24 hours of operation (minus a couple for rest), the team logged an impressive 1373 contacts, on bands between 160m and 6m, and modes including voice, CW, and RTTY. Contacts were made to 49 of 50 states (missed Alaska), Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, and all Canadian provinces/sections, except Newfoundland. There were no contacts made to the Canadian territories, most likely due to the lack of participation from those areas. A couple of DX contacts made it into the log, but since this is primarily a W/VE contest, there was little effort to work these stations.

A full summary and score analysis will be posted soon.

Many thanks to those who attended:

Doug Renn, KD4GIE
Jay Lovelady, KD4BPZ
Jamie Stapleton, KD4RJN
Jennifer Stapleton, KK4RER
Scott Galloway, AE4TC (our CW specialist)
Jason Triolo, KD4ACG

Gary West, K9DOG
and non-ham guest Steve Barlow.

Special thanks to Jay and Doug, for providing the use of the Fieldcomm facilities for this event.

The final score is yet to be determined, once the worksheet is completed, and the bonus points are calculated. Pictures from the weekend will also be posted soon.

2012-05-08 16.20.05

Posted in WA4FC Shack | Leave a comment

Taking it WAY back…

For those of you who remember BBS’s (and it should be all of you if you are reading this) take a stroll back in time through this series.  This is an eight part series on BBS’s and the contributions they have made to modern computing.  Doesn’t this take you back to the days of The Blue Ridge Express (BRE) in Petersburg, Va?  I for one recall being a frequent visitor to the BBS and met up with a kid named “Jay” who enthusiastically asked allot of questions about Ham Radio.  Isn’t it amazing how technology has changed and changed us all.  Thanks for reading.



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Video beacon reception report

From Midlothian, VA:


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P25 vs FM mode on 900Mhz with EF Johnson 5100′s

I captured P25 digital and FM audio and video from the Richmond, VA 900Mhz repeater (WA4FC/R). Thanks to Dave (N4MW) and Fred (WB4KXS) for the great dialog :)

Thanks to FieldComm for repeater use, care, and feeding:

The HT’s we’re all using are EF Johnson 5100′s configured with both FM and P25 modes.


Posted in 900 MHz, Digital ops | 1 Comment

New WA4FC/B beacon system online and frequency change

On 2/20/2013 our new dual band 6 and 10 meter beacon system went online from grid FM17hd in Prince George, VA.  Previously, we had run two separate stations from two different locations.  We were able to consolidate IMG_3693hardware and use the better of the two locations – a water tower at 200 feet.  Those involved in the install include KD4GIE, KD4BPZ and N4MW (also the builder of the transmit hardware).  Check at this link for further pictures of the system.

The 10 meter frequency is still 28.231 MHz, and we have  migrated to 50.078 MHz for the 6 meter station.

The current station transmits with 5 watts on both bands, gives the callsign, grid square and series of dashes.  The antenna for 10m is a Ringo AR-10 and for 6m the antenna is a M2 loop.  Both are at the 200 foot level and have a 100 foot feed of of RG-213.


Posted in Beacons, Life above 30 MHz | Leave a comment

Where is June Cleaver when you need her?


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Dissasembly of a 900 MHz EFJ 5100

I recently had an opportunity to break open one of my 900 MHz EFJ radios.  It had developed a problem on transmit with the audio, and as part of normal troubleshooting, I wanted to remove the housing and re-seat some of the flex connectors inside.  Luckily, I was able to resolve the audio with this procedure.  While inside, I snapped a few pictures to show.

If you look at the second picture in the first row, I have the screwdriver underneath a flex cable.  This is where signals from the PTT and other buttons travels from the UI (user interface) board to the rest of the radio.  This board is then interfaced to logic board (small board at the bottom in the frame).  The logic board is connected to the pretty blue RF board via flex as well. Hopefully no one has to go inside of their radio anytime soon!

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My new radio

I took a quick second to pose in front of the Hilberling PT-8000 HF transceiver at the Frostfest recently.  This is arguably one of the best HF radios on the planet.  I’ve been lucky enough to become acquainted with his US dealer, as well as the Hilberling team themselves.  But I haven’t quite made accommodations to bring one home yet….I’m still rolling quarters.

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Qso with N9VU

N9VU and myself had an impromptu QSO via the new fieldcomm IRLP node (more on that later, I am still testing).

An interesting mix of equipment was used to complete the QSO.  As you can see, I was using a Motorola XPR6550.  Gary was using a Motorola GP68/CDM1550 into a Motorola Quantar repeater, which was then going through the IRLP network to my Motorola GM300 link radio, and then to my XPR portable.  You can complement Gary on his fabulous audio if you wish.  OVER.

Posted in Life above 30 MHz, Motorola stuff | Leave a comment