Field Day Memories

With field day coming up I thought I would share a couple of pictures.

Past Field Day QSL and Club Station

Past Field Day QSL and Club Station

The first is a QSL card from Dave Garrish Sr. in 1990 when I ran the novice station for my very first field day. We had Field Day at Vint Hill. Dave sent this to me as a memento. Notice the call sign, this is where the club call came from. After Dave senior Died, I went to Dave Jr., I was club president at the time and asked him if we could get the call sign. He was all for it and later we got it bequeathed to the club.

The second picture was when AB4YK was president and we had our first field day at Crockett Park. Neil do you remember what year it was? This was the year it rain mostly and Neil delivered lunch via truck while we huddled in our tents. We had Wendy’s Chile and Hot Coffee and it was greatly appreciated  Also notice the Club Flag, it was the first year for it too. Karen Sue Walker and My Wife, Joyce Gould made the flag.<

73, N4YXW

W4VA at Girl Scout Adventure Day

Fauquier County hosted the Girl Scouts Adventure Day at the county fairgrounds May 18 2013.  Several members from FARA set up a display and an HF/VHF station to demonstrate amateur radio.  Although the weather wasn’t very cooperative dozens of visitors to the booth came away with their first QSO and a souvenir QSL card from W4VA.  The girls learned about morse code too, and had a chance to try their hand with a key.  The Warrenton Spring Festival turned out to be a great source of local operators who gave the visiting girls lots of conversation thanks to fine 3rd party work by Frank and Spence.

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Thanks to all who set up, tore down, and represented amateur radio:  Frank W4NHJ, Spence KG4GFW, Greg KI4ZKJ, Jim KG4YLZ, Connie KD4SJD, and Bob KK4KVM.

Mark KD6AKC

“Radio Hams” from Fauquier County participate in State Amateur Radio Competition

Fauquier County, VA – Your County’s “hams” will participate this weekend in an amateur radio event called the Virginia QSO Party (VAQP).

A QSO being the ham code for a single contact between two amateur radio operators, the ‘Virginia QSO Party’ pits individual operators and radio clubs against each other in an attempt to make as many contacts as possible during the weekend event each March. The points are further multiplied by the number of Virginia Counties and Independent Cities contacted providing a bonus for those who make an effort to reach as many locations within Virginia as possible using the radio waves.

K1RA operates from Skyline Drive

K1RA operates from Skyline Drive

Amateur Radio Operators have much radio spectrum available to use from Shortwave HF to frequencies adjacent to the FM broadcast band and beyond. While certainly a competition, the Virginia QSO Party is also an exercise on how to make the most of this radio spectrum to establish reliable communications within Virginia be they between the counties of Fauquier and Prince William or Fauquier and Lee using the sky as a radio wave mirror.

This radio wave mirror in the sky is called the ionosphere and is constantly changing by the hour, the season and the eleven year solar cycle.  We are in or near the eleven year solar maximum.  In fact a coronal mass ejection (CME) hit Earth’s magnetic field at approximately 1 am this morning. This may challenge shortwave communications as the ionosphere reacts to the Sun’s fury. Participating in a contest like this is a bit like playing a field sport where the field’s dimensions change minute by minute.

The organizers of the Virginia QSO Party give awards to acknowledge excellence. Two of these are club awards given to the best scores tallied by members of amateur radio organizations. The Fauquier Amateur Radio Association (FARA) has won one of the club awards since 2006. FARA won the second award in 2011 and 2012.  We hope to repeat the twofer win again this year.

FARA Members during VAQP

FARA Members during VAQP

The members of the Fauquier Amateur Radio Association work very hard to field the members in a winning combination of base station, portable and mobile radio operations in Fauquier County. Additionally, the mobile and portable operators make radio contacts from dozens of the 134 counties and cities within Virginia on routes that take some all the way to southwest Virginia.

The win of both club awards the last two years supports the notion FARA members have honed the skills to establish communications between any two points in Virginia without need of terrestrial infrastructure.

If you see amateur radio operators this weekend putting up additional antennas in their backyards or see vehicles bristling with antennas of every size roaming the state, know the Virginia QSO Party is again testing the ability of hams to make contact with each other state wide. Root for your home team hams… root for FARA.

VAQP Rare County Watch
Many members will activate rare counties this weekend including N4YXW/M, N3KTU/M, K4G/M, AB4YK/M, W8KRZ/M and N4RP/M.

AB4YK in particular will have a route through very rare counties in southwest Virginia including on Saturday WAS, BRX, SCO, LEE, WIS, NRX, WIS, DIC, BCH. RUS, TAZ, BLA and WYT. Sunday he will visit WYT, SMY, WYT, GRA, CRL, GAX, FLO, PAT, PUL and MON. He has HF on 80 and up with high power so look to get a rare one from him.

VAQP Spotting Network
A VAQP spotting network is available for any VAQP participants. It has a traditional telnet portal along with a handy web interface.

March meeting topic Amateur Station Ground

Steve K3KQ presents info on Amateur Station Grounding

Steve K3KQ presents info on Amateur Station Grounding

Steve K3KQ provided an informative presentation on station grounding. Information covered included Electrical Safety, Lightning Protection and Signal Return and EMI used Three Lane Bungee Run concerns. Steve discussed an important reference document, namely the National Electric Code Handbook NFPA 70. He covered various grounding and bonding concerns for both electric power systems, towers, antennas and stations. Steve provided many example installations of both what to do and what not to do, including numerous pictures. Finally he wrapped up with a plethora of reference material one can find online. If you would like to review or download his presentation, please click here.

Feb. meeting covers upcoming VaQP 2013

FARA & Virginia QSO Party 2012

John KX4O & Andy K1RA present VaQP Info

John KX4O and Andy K1RA presented information on the upcoming Virginia QSO Party. The event is held in two sessions, from Saturday, 16 March 1400 UTC – Sunday and 17 March 0200 UTC and Sunday, 17 March 1200 UTC – 2400 UTC. (For Virginians this is Saturday 10 AM – 10 PM and Sunday 8 AM – 8 PM Virginia local time.) The object of the event is to activate and contact as many Virginia Counties and Independent Cities as possible on all amateur bands and modes. For more rules and information click through to the following URLs: Sterling Park ARC VaQP Sponsor and VaQP Statistic, Info and Operating Aids