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Posted Jan 1, 2013

Happy New Year to all North Carolina Hams and their loved ones. May 2013 bring good health, wisdom, prosperity and super QSOs to all.

ANOTHER SUCCESSFUL BALLOON LAUNCH - On December 15th, students at Western Carolina University (WCU) launched their fourth high altitude, or "near space", balloon from the Jackson County airport near Cullowhee. As with flight #3, Automatic Packet Reporting System, or APRS, was used to track the balloon, which traveled over 150 miles to Monroe, NC. The first two launches used cell phones to track the balloons and they were never found. The Haywood County Amateur Radio Club worked with students and faculty of the Physics and Geology Depts. at WCU to help with the radio equipment and with the balloon's recovery. The launches at WCU follow the one earlier this year by James McNichols, KK4ETE, at Asheville's Carolina Day School. Near Space balloon launches have become popular science projects in high schools and colleges alike.

NORTH CAROLINA'S LONGEST LICENSED HAM HONORED BY C.A.P. - The North Carolina Civil Air Patrol's NC Wing honored 98-year old Weldon Fields, W4AJT, and two other volunteers in Burlington on November 10th for their patrol work during World War II. Colonel Weldon served as a communications officer at Coastal Patrol Base 16 in Manteo, and accumulated 150 hours of patrol duty looking for German submarines off the North Carolina coast. Following the war, the German admiral who commanded subs off the Outer Banks said he moved them further from the coast because of those "damn orange and yellow planes." Earlier this year, Weldon and 100 year old Bill Finch, W4EHF, of Greenville were named recipients of the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, the State of North Carolina's highest public service award. Weldon got his license from the Federal Radio Commission, predecessor to the FCC, in 1930.

TALL SHIP CAPTAIN AND HAM MISSING FROM HURRICANE SANDY - Robin Walbridge, KD4OHZ, captain of the HMS Bounty, is believed to have perished off Cape Hatteras during Hurricane Sandy. Walbridge, whose QTH is listed as Florida, was skipper of the 50 year old replica of the original Bounty. The ship, which was built for the 1962 movie "Mutiny On The Bounty", was on its way to Baltimore. According to, the ship's electrician Doug Faunt, N6TQS, said Walbridge tried to contact the Coast Guard on HF phone when the ship was sinking, but he believes it was an email the captain sent via Winlink which brought a C-130 and a helicopter to rescue 14 crew members. Walbridge's body has not been found.

NC QSO PARTY CHANGES - Several changes have been made to the upcoming NC QSO Party, which will be February 24th. The contest begins two hours earlier than in the past, starting at 10 AM local time (1500 UTC) and going to 7:59 PM local (0059 UTC, Feb. 25). And for the first time, 6 and 2 meters have been added as bands, so Technicians can participate in full. There are also incentives for mobile and "expedition" (portable) stations to operate. For rules and news, go to and plan to get on the air for the party.

ARES - Due to administrative changes within Army MARS, North Carolina Emergency Management (NCEM) agency licenses have switched to Navy MARS. MARS (Military Auxiliary Radio System) serves as a key partner with ARES in North Carolina, especially in digital communications.

HAMFESTS - January 12, FirstFest, 7AM - Noon, Summit School Dining Hall, 2100 Reynolda Road, Winston-Salem. Talk-In 146.64 (100Hz). Sponsored by the Forsyth Amateur Radio Club. more info at:

MEDIA HITS - None known for December PUBLIC SERVICE & SPECIAL EVENT STATIONS - None upcoming listed

LICENSING CLASSES: Jan. 3 - Feb. 28, General Class license, Oriental. More info from ; Jan. 10 - Feb. 21, Technician Class, Skyland. More info from ; Jan. 17 - March 7, Technician Class, Wilkesboro. More info from If your club will be hosting a licensing class coming up, please register it at:

NTS NOVEMBER TRAFFIC REPORT - TOTAL CHECK-INS (QNI) 2355, TOTAL MESSAGES LISTED 912 STATION ACTIVITY REPORTS (SARs) K4IWW 382, W4DNA 366, W2EAG 257, WK4P 216, KF4OCU 108, KC4PGN 103, WB4ZIQ 103, KJ4RUD 101, AK4RJ 80, K4JUU 51, W4TTO 43, KJ4JPE 42, KK4BVR 38, KS4PG 38, KE4AHC 35, N2RTF 26, KA4IZN 13, W3HL 11. PUBLIC SERVICE HONOR ROLL (PSHR) KK4BVR 188, W4DNA 160, WK4P 150, WB4ZIQ 145, K4IWW 130, AK4RJ 120, W2EAG 110, K4JUU 105, KJ4RUD 100, W4TTO 100, N2RTF 91, KJ4JPE 90, KF4OCU 80, KS4PG 78.

SILENT KEYS (SKs) - We regret to report the passing of the following North Carolina Hams -Bill Usher, AG4PA, Wilmington and Bruce Morris, KI4ME, of Raleigh.

QUA* - Happy New Year. Last year at this time, I told you the story of the Ham who made a new year's resolution in 1983 to make at least one QSO a day. Since then, he has kept his pledge and has logged almost 20,000 QSOs, mostly QRP. I felt so inspired that I tried to emulate his commitment, but by mid January, the realities of family and work broke my spree. However, I did get on-the-air more in 2012 because I used every QSO to see how I could become more efficient with my on-air time. For that reason alone I was grateful that I undertook the challenge, even if my literal application of a QSO a day fell apart after a couple of weeks. 2013 will be the peak of this sunspot cycle. True, we're all a little frustrated that the bands haven't been more robust, but many who participated in ARRL's 10 meter contest December 8th and 9th racked up hundreds of QSOs under less than ideal conditions. If you're looking for inspiration, I encourage you to read the story in the January issue of QST on pages. 78-79 about the quest of Ron Pollack, K2RP, to earn Five Band Worked All States. With 100 watts, a wire antenna and a full time job, it took Ron six years to get his 5 Band WAS. As Ron says in the closing paragraph of his story, 10 and 15 meters are beginning to open up daily, so take advantage of Solar Cycle 24. Happy New Year. *QUA - CW net control signal meaning, "Do you have news for me?"

73 de Bill N2COP Follow the North Carolina section on its web site at and on Facebook at NC ARRL