Posted Mar 2, 2023
FEBRUARY 28, 2023
GREETINGS FROM THE HIGH COUNTRY
The sky is clear, the fog is gone, but there is a 25 mph wind and the temperature is around 55 degrees at midday. The webcam at Beech shows no activity and Sugar shows about a dozen people out on some pretty skimpy snow.
NC QSO PARTY
A big congratulation goes out t the Raleigh Amateur Radio Society for the very successful NC QSO party they organized and held this past Sunday (February 26). I got on the air and made contact with stations in 30 of the 100 North Carolina counties and heard lots of familiar calls. It seems that most people had a good time.
HOW IS MY SIGNAL?
In any contest, operators want their signal to sound good and have good coverage. Lots of factors are involved: band conditions, audio settings, transmit power, antenna efficiency and interference from adjacent frequencies. Something that is more often a problem than many of us wish to admit is the rf noise at our location which may seriously limit our ability to hear another station which would be otherwise be clear except for localized rf noise.
You may want to take some time and watch a recent YouTube that deals with tracking down local interference sources in your neighborhood. The video gives some useful tips that you might want to consider.
HAMFESTS, HAMFESTS COMING YOUR WAY
The following hamfests are on the schedule over the next two months.
March 4, the Clingman Hamfest is to be held at the Clingman Community Center near Ronda in Wilkes County. Information can be found at https://www.clingmanhamfest.com
March 10-11, the Mecklenburg Amateur Radio Society will hold its Charlotte Hamfest at the Cabarrus Conference and Event Center near Concord, NC. Friday afternoon from 3-7 pm and Saturday from 8 to 4. Details can be found at https://charlottehamfest.org ,
RARSFEST will be held on April 8 at the Jim Graham Building of the NC State Fairgrounds. Information can be found at https://www.rarsfest.org
The Forsyth Amateur Radio Club will hold the Winston-Salem hamfest on April 15 at the Robinhood Road Baptist Church, 5422 Robinhood Road, Winston-Salem, NC. Details can be found at https://w4nc.com/hamfest
NEW GENERAL LICENSE QUESTION POOL RELEASED, EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 2023
The National Conference of Volunteer Examiner Coordinators (Question Pool Committee has released the 2023 - 2027 General Class FCC Element 3 Question Pool which will become effective on July 1, 2023.
According to the Conference of Volunteer Examiner Coordinators, “the new pool incorporates some significant changes compared to the 2019 - 2023 pool. Its 432 questions were modified slightly to improve wording or to replace distractors; 51 new questions were generated, and 73 questions were eliminated. This resulted in a reduction of 22 questions, bringing the total number of questions in the pool from 454 to 432. The difficulty level of the questions is now more balanced, and the techniques and practices addressed have been updated.” For more information, go to http://www.ncvec.org/page.php?id=369 .
NEW RULES FOR 2023 FIELD DAY IN THE WORKS BUT NOT YET RELEASED
Public comments seem to indicate that the point differential between cw and voice contacts will be eliminated and that here will be a 500 watt power limit. Information from the January board meeting suggests that a committee at HQ is working of the changes but no document has been released yet.
Field Day is always held on the fourth weekend in June and will be held this year on June 24 and 25.
Two DMR repeaters that are part of the PRN DMR system were recently reconnected to the PRN CBridge after having operated in stand-alone mode for a while. Road and weather conditions prevented access to the Wytheville PRN repeater but, after a service party, it is communicating with the PRN CBridge and carries the standard PRN talkgroups that are described at https://ncprn.net/talkgroups Work was also recently done at Fancy Gap which resulted in the WX4F DMR repeater. It, too, carries the standard PRN talkgroups.
Operators in this part of the state are reminded that the High Country UHF Digital Net is held at 8 p.m. on Tuesday night on the local talkgroup on the following uhf PRN DMR repeaters: Roanoke, Wytheville, Fancy Gap, West Jefferson, Wilkesboro, Boone, Sugartop, Lenoir, Spruce Pine, Albemarle, Crowders, Wingate, Charlotte, Hendersonville, Sylva, Cashiers and Franklin. If you are within range of any of the listed repeaters you are invited to check in and offer comments.
In addition to the weekly scheduled net, these repeaters can be linked at any time there is a need (flood, ice storm, tornado, etc.) and can provide a direct connection from counties to the NCEM Western Branch Office near Conover.
A very good but separate DMR system, referred to as the WNC system, holds a net on Thursday evenings at 8:30 p.m. The WNC system consists of uhf DMR repeaters near Morganton, Marion, Asheville, Mars Hill, Hendersonville, Waynesville and Franklin. These stations are not part of the PRN system and carry a different set of talkgroups than the PRN system, Information about the WNC system can be obtained by dropping a note to WA4TOG or W4FOT.
Still another DMR system is being built out in eastern North Carolina as part of the NC4ES system which is affiliated with the Eastern Healthcare Preparedness Coalition. The EHCP system links a number of hospitals and provides rf coverage for a large portion of Eastern North Carolina. Information can be obtained at nc4es.org.
CLUB COMMISSION PROGRAM
ARRL recently initiated a program in which clubs process new and renewal applications for membership in the ARRL. The club collects the application and the membership dues and sends both items to ARRL. ARRL will return to the club a commission of $5 for renewing member or $15 for a new member.
As an added incentive to get NC clubs to participate in the club commission program, the NC ARRL Section will award a copy of 100th Anniversary Edition of the ARRL Handbook to the club that submits the largest number of new or renewed memberships through the CLUB COMMISSION program between January 1 and March 31 2023.
ARRL data on membership is posted at the end of each month, along with comparisons for the same month a year earlier. Set out below is data for the end of January.
January 2023 January 2022
North Carolina 4482 4677
Roanoke Division (WV, VA, NC, SC) 12395 12867
USA 150933 158573
2023 will likely be the hamfest year to be remembered. After a huge slowdown due to COVID, there are a lot of hamfests coming up. In addition to those listed above, there will be hamfests in Cary, Fayetteville, Goldsboro, Shelby as well as two hamfests in South Carolina that are not far away. Get out, visit with friends, and support the clubs and dealers that have gone to a lot of trouble to make the hamfest possible.