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Macoupin County ARES Net

Thursday 9:00PM



Macoupin County ARC Net

Thursday 8:30PM

444.250 103.5+


Okaw Valley Net

Sunday 9:00PM

444.250 103.5+


W9VEY Memorial Net

Monday 8:30PM


West Central Illinois Hamfest Update

Everything is falling into place, just as it should, for the West Central Illinois Hamfest. Last month a joint meeting between the Montgomery Amateur Radio Emergency Corps and the Macoupin ARC and final details and preparations were worked out: Three vendors coming, Dit and Dash Radios, D&L Antennas and Jasonís Computers. Illinois Emergency Management Agency will once again have the ITEC trailer and communications van on public display.

In the morning, Mel Whitten, K0PFX will present a forum over digital radio communications and the ARRL IL Section Manager Tom Ciciora, KA9QPN will present the ARRL forum.

All members are reminded to assist with hamfest setup on Friday, July 31 at 4:00 pm and with tear down on Saturday. Prize drawings at noon. 1st prize is an HT, 2nd prize is $20.00. This is an ARRL sanctioned hamfest.

Upcoming Public Service Events
Kate Petroline of the Macoupin County Health Department kindly asks for the clubís assistance with the Flu Clinic to be held on Saturday, September 26 at the Macoupin County Fairgrounds. In the past, volunteers received free flu shots!

Also, keep in mind that Sunday, September 13th will see the MS 150 bike ride enter southern Macoupin County. As of last club meeting, ham radio communications was not required, but keep the date in mind if we are asked to provide communications.

The Springfield Capitol Century Bike Ride will also take place on Sunday, September 13, 2015. Jesse Hunter, W9ABS spearheads communication coordination for this event and the Springfield Bicycle Club.

All of these organizations are so grateful for the service that Amateur Radio provides and it gives us, as radio communicators, the opportunity to put our skills into practical, public service.

Will you be there?

Anyone Interested in Starting a Tri-County Skywarn Net?  

On Monday, July 20th a rapidly moving severe thunderstorm entered into Macoupin County from the northwest and traveled southeasterly across the county. Hardest hit were the communities of Modesto and Carlinville.

Skywarn storm spotter, Mark, WD9HBF came on frequency (WS9V repeater) and gave frequent updates regarding wind strength and rain. Other ops began to give reports and a general of idea of who and where they were began to materialize. Soon the NWS office in St. Louis brought up the link and damage reports were passed back to to St. Louis.

Area ops found a place to pass weather related traffic. Unfortunately, there is a perception among area hams via the WX link when itís up that unless your weather observation is "unless it spins, donít turn it in." That perception is both good and it is bad. Having been in the position of WX net control at the NWS in St. Louis for over ten years, I can assure you that meteorologists need to know that spotters are out there with reliable information. "Unless it spins, donít turn it in" is overkill. Heavy rain resulting in flooding (water over street curbs, intersections with standing pools of water), hail stones dime size or larger are all indicators of a stormís strength. So are roofing shingles and tree limbs down from winds. NWS meteorologists need to know that they can count on getting reliable WX reports from Greene, Macoupin and Montgomery coun-ties.

When an op from Montgomery County offers information concerning storm damage on the 444.250 repeater and heís told to tell his countyís EMA director that information, because acting net control doesnít have jurisdiction there, the overall impact is discouraging to not only that op, but to any potential check-ins. To be sure net control was busy with other things, but the point is there wasnít an official area WX net with a net control in place. A net control is needed not a WX editor.

Letís take a closer look at the problem. The WS9V/R and the linked repeaters provide an extremely wide coverage area in Illinois which is especially useful to meteorologists at the NWS office in St. Louis. When the link to the NWS is up, weather related traffic of a non-severe nature does not need to be on the repeater.

Yet, local ops are interested in the WX and they want to pass along ANY WX related information. Folks are genuinely interested in knowing where it is raining especially if there is even a hint at any severe WX.

July 20th an impromptu weather net formed and ops from around the area felt comfortable enough to informally check-in. We need more of that.

So I propose a tri-county Skwarn net to be held on an-other repeater for the ex-pressed purpose of passing along WX traffic and if severe WX is spotted a liaison can pass it along on the WS9V/R system. Likewise, if the NWS needs info from a specific area then the need can be passed along and acted upon.

What do you think?

Field Day 2015, K9MCE vs AD9OV!  
According to Wikipedia, "Since the first ARRL Field Day in 1933, radio amateurs throughout North America have practiced the rapid deployment of radio communications equipment in environments ranging from operations under tents in remote areas to operations inside Emergency Operations Centers(EOCs). Operations using emergency and alternative power sources are highly encouraged, since electricity and other public infrastructures are often among the first to fail during a natural disaster or severe weather." Field Day has a proud history in the annals of Amateur Radio! Seven members of the Ma-coupin County ARC, K9MCE provided Field Day communications at the Illinois Emergency Management Auxiliary Communications building in Springfield using the call sign NC9IL. Jim N9LQF, Mark, WD9HBF, Bill, W9FJ, Skip, WS9V, Ron, KO0Z, Tom, KC9WOH and Jared, KC9ZMD. Jared supervised the GOTA station and brought a couple of young visitors to Field Day!

Field Day offers Amateur Radio operators the opportunity to test their equipment and skills under field conditions. When Murphy strikes, ham radio ingenuity needs to prevail. Jim, N9LQF, embodies that attitude best with his quote, "Assess, overcome and prevail!"

FD certainly provides plenty of opportunities to assess, over-come and prevail, ranging from RF connectors, coax, antennas to regulating the proper flame for a gourmet dinner!

To make FD even more exciting, the FB ops with the Okaw Valley ARC, AD9OV, initiated a FD challenge to K9MCE. Last year they edged out K9MCE! The traveling trophy didnít need to travel far from Greenville.

Instead, club president Mark Kerhlikar, WD9HBF presented the trophy to Okaw Valley ARC president Ken Norris, KK9N at their Christmas banquet. It would be impossible to find a more generous and sportsman like group of win-ners! AD9OV club members could not have been more gracious. Never has losing a challenge been such a fun experience!

Still a loss, is a loss and this year it is K9MCEís hope to extend the same hospitality shown to us, the difference being to AD9OV!

Both clubs enjoyed air-conditioning. Okaw Valley ARC operated from an air-conditioned building in Patriotís Park in Greenville and put wire antennas high up in the air. They also effectively arranged their operating stations much like K9CTís contest farm. FB AD9OV! K9MCE operated in Springfield and the small room at the Aux Com building does not lend itself well to contesting. The K3 rigs were top of the line, but lack of familiarity with the antenna arrangement on the roof hindered our efforts for maximum band efficiency. We made due by moving one of the stations outside, but locating it indoors down the hall would be another alternative.

Both teams ate well. AD9OV had "Pig Wings" and K9MCE dined on BBQ hamburgers, chicken and pork courtesy of chef extraordinaire WD9HBF!

Okay, now on to the really important information. How well did Team K9MCE/NC9IL do this year?

The really important part of FD , and contesting in general, is not to only have fun, but to learn from the experience. What did we, as a team, do well and what can we do better? Team K9MCE has been doing just that . Past stats tell the story: In 2013, at Blackburn Collegeís soccer field, the club used computer logging software. K9MCE had 366 contacts. 179 CW Qs and 187 phone Qs. In 2014 at Camp Bunn, our club made 548 contacts, 262 CW and 286 phone. This year, in Springfield, the club made 674 contacts, 328 CW and 346 phone. Every year, Team K9MCE has made significant improvements. Mostly, in the area of generating contacts. This year we made a valiant effort to work 6 and 2 meters, but VHF propagation just wasnít to be found. But at least we tried. This year three, dedicated efforts were made to work SO-50 ( a club first!), but a two-way QSO didnít happen. This year we did get a message off to our section manager using the NTS thanks to Jim, N9LQF.

We did make an effort to con-tact as many elected officials as we could. Our primary elected official didnít make it again this year; however, thanks to Mark and Ron, a road commissioner and a state legislator visited our FD site and they learned more about Amateur Radio and emergency communications! A big shout out to Commissioner David Beck and to State Representative Avery Bourne! Too bad, the ARRL doesnít award more points for an elected officialís position in government!

So whatís the bottom line for K9MCE/NC9IL? We have a claimed score of 2008 pts and 890 total bonus points. Will we be hosting AD9OV? Weíll have to wait until the official ARRL posting this fall. Stay tuned!

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  Updated: Tuesday, 04 August 2015

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