PCARA
POLK COUNTY AMATEUR RADIO ASSOCIATION
PCARA
Archives of the N9XH.org Front Page
2012
KB3WYL's "Harmonic" Elizabeth
KB3WYL_Elizabeth
December 20, 2012 - Elizabeth Lena Jean Stencil was born to her proud and thankful parents on Thursday. Joe KB3WYL holds his "harmonic" bundle of joy while Grandpa Mark W9GWG takes their picture.
 
PCARA Leadership Team - 2013

December 8, 2012 - The PCARA elections are over and the following members will assume leadership roles in 2013.

President - Rick W9WS
Vice President - Mark W9GWG
Secretary - Ben KC9ROI
Treasurer - Chris KC9NVV

Congratulations to the new leadership team. A special thank you to Carlos N9GIM and Mike KK9MC for serving the club this past year.

 
Ben's Robotic Vision - Wireless Remote Control Over IP
KC9ROI_Robot1
November 10, 2012 - What do you get when you combine a video camera, a vacuum cleaner a laptop and some pie? A robot with vision! Ben KC9ROI hacked together a "vision robot" by using a robotic vacuum cleaner, less its cleaning mechanism as a platform... added an IP camera and tied it all together with a "Raspberry Pi" ARM processor running Linux. Incredible imagination and ingenuity went into the concept and implementation.
KC9ROI_Robot2
November 10, 2012 - The unit is driven using a game controller tied into a wireless "bluetooth" device. A wireless internet camera sent a live picture to Ben's laptop as he steered the device through a doorway and down a hallway. He was also able to maneuver the unit under the meeting room table where he negotiated his way through chairs and members legs! So how cool is this!
 
Wind It Up? - Dit Dit Dah Dah Dit Dit
AB9LV_MorseTrainer_Instructograph
November 10, 2012 - Fred AB9LV brought in his 1930's vintage Code Instructograph Instructor built in Chicago from 1929 to 1983 by the Instructograph Company. This particular unit needed an external oscillator or light. A paper tape with holes cut for dits and dahs was spooled up and traversed the mechanism propelled by a hand crank motor. The holes in the paper tape allowed a set of "key" contacts to make and break, sending code practice at any set speed. A discussion regarding this unique piece of equipment stimulated additional club conversation about starting a code practice class, possibly over the air. Stay tuned!
 
Osceola Boy Scouts - Ham Radio Jamboree
Boy_Scout_Ops2
October 20, 2012 - Boy Scout Troop 131 from Osceola participated in JOTA (Jamboree on the Air) activities by setting up a portable ham radio station and making lots of contacts. The location was the Boy Scout Meeting Hall located at Shillberg's Park. Ten Scouts and six parents participated. (Photos: Rick W9WS)
Boy_Scout_Ops
October 20, 2012 - The scouts were able to contact an ON5 in Belgium, and they made contact with K9BSA where their local scouts were operating from the Monticello Railroad Museum in Monticello, Illinois.
Boy_Scout_Radios
October 20, 2012 - A very nice station was put together for the JOTA event. Rick W9WS assisted with the operations while Steve NØXC provided logistic support and also ran a radio merit badge class. JOTA is an annual event held during the 3rd weekend of October. In 2010 there were a reported 700,000+ scouts from nearly 6,000 ham radio stations participating. Bill K9WEN stopped by to lend a hand and observe the activities as well.
Boy_Scout_Steve
October 20, 2012 - Steve NØXC provides instructions to the scouts about making contacts. The group used the PCARA club call N9XH for the event. Sitting at the controls is Steve's son Ben KC9ROI who also provided his expertise and leadership. There is at least one Scout and his parent who are very interested in obtaining their ham radio licenses.
 
AC Mains Replaced & Clean Up at N9XH Tower Shack
N9XH_Power_Mains
October 17, 2012 - The commercial AC Mains were replaced feeding the N9XH tower shack. A power crew from Northwestern Wisconsin Electric Company brought in a bucket truck and removed the old service lines and replaced them with new lines. The old lines had several splices and the existing weather head insulation had become cracked and needed service. (Photos: Rick W9WS)
N9XH_Meter_Box
October 17, 2012 - Mark W9GWG installs a new meter box to the side of the N9XH tower shack. A new electrical pipe conduit and weather head were also installed. New wiring was attached to the meter terminals. The interior shack wiring was updated in April 2010 including a new breaker panel.
N9XH_Tower_Shack
October 17, 2012 - Work on the tower shack AC Mains was completed by: Mark W9GWG, Bill K9WEN, Rick W9WS, Chris KC9NVV and Greg N9CHA. In this photo you can see the new weather head above the roof line. The area around the shack was also cleaned of debris, weeds, stumps and miscellaneous trash.
N9XH_Stump_Removed
October 17, 2012 - Bill K9WEN uses his chain saw to remove a stump from the tower shack security fence line. All weeds and debris were removed from the area. The fiberglass sections laying on the ground are pieces of the two commercial antennas that were once on the tower. They had been destroyed by wind and multiple lightening hits over the years and removed back in 2009.
N9XH_Tower_Trap_Rock
October 17, 2012 - Chris KC9NVV spreads a shovel full of trap rock over the ground cloth that was laid down to control weeds. In July 2011 a crew of PCARA members cleaned the area of weeds, but in just a year, more had grown and became entangled in the fence. With the addition of the ground cloth and trap rock the hope is the weeds can be more easily controlled.
N9XH_Trap_Rock
October 17, 2012 - Bill K9WEN and Mark W9GWG shovel trap rock which was spread around the perimeter of the tower shack. Rick W9WS and Chris KC9NVV spread it out over the ground cloth and formed a 2" layer inside the fenced area.
N9XH_AC_Cover
October 17, 2012 - The tower shack air conditioner was covered by Greg N9CHA getting it ready for winter. The tower shack is in overall good condition thanks to the many PCARA club volunteers who perform routine maintenance work.
 
Going Portable - Dale W9DKB
W9DKB_Portable_SSB
September 29, 2012 - Operating portable is a lot of fun! Dale W9DKB put up a 40 meter dipole using a single lift point, creating an inverted vee in Marathon Park, Wausau, WI. Using his FT-817 and a home-brew 100 watt amp on batteries, Dale made several contacts including those operating in the Texas QSO Party over the weekend.
W9DKB_Portable_RTTY
September 29, 2012 - Using his 40 meter inverted-vee on 15 meters, Dale W9DKB fired up his laptop and made several RTTY QSO's into Europe. Going portable can be a challenge, but if done often enough your portable kit becomes very efficient. Within 20 minutes Dale had his antenna up in a giant pine tree, radio hooked up and laptop decoding digital signals. It doesn't hurt that the weather was perfect as well! His gel-cell radio batteries allow for all day operations.
W9DKB_Portable_Antenna
September 30, 2012 - Dale W9DKB launches his antenna support up into a tall pine tree in Marathon Park, Wausau, WI. Streaming sunlight bursts through the trees making for a wonderful portable ham radio set up. Dale uses a "wrist-rocket" sling shot and a fishing reel combination to launch a monofilament line over a high branch. Then he pulls up a light weight nylon cord for the antenna.
 
WE9COM 147.075 110.9 pl Meteor Hill On Air
WE9COM_MeteorHill_Antenna
Photos: Rick W9WS
September 28, 2012 - High above Meteor Hill, northeast of Rice Lake are two professional tower climbers working on the WE9COM repeater antenna. The new repeater was installed and put into service on 147.075 +600 110.9 pl. The new tower installation was completed by professional contractors.
WE9COM_WA8WG_KB9ENO
September 28, 2012 - Initial check-out of the system being completed by Bill WA8WG (left) and Bill KB9ENO (right). Both hams are very involved in the WeCOMM system of analog and digital repeaters. Their goal is to support and facilitate emergency, disaster, and public service related communication systems. Rick W9WS (PCARA President) and Greg N9CHA volunteered to help install the new repeater.
WE9COM_N9CHA_Cabinet
September 28, 2012 - Greg N9CHA hauls the new 147.075 repeater cabinet to be installed by Bill WA8WG. The repeater was tested and benchmarked, and is now ready for service.
 
W9WS Fall Clean Up - 40 Meter Vertical
W9WS_40V_FeedPoint
Photos: Rick W9WS
September 23, 2012 - Connections to Rick W9WS's 40 meter vertical are all cleaned up and ready for QSO's. Ground mounted verticals exhibit low radiation angles and are great for DX. Rick is looking forward to many warm nights in his ham shack during the cold days of winter.
W9WS_40V_SWR
September 23, 2012 - Excellent SWR reading on Rick's 40 meter vertical. He reports building the antenna several years ago from materials purchased from the hardware store, and was able to do his clean-up repairs from materials on hand for no cost.
W9WS_40V_WellHead
September 23, 2012 - Many of the homes in Polk County have their own water well. Rick's 40 meter vertical utilizes the deep well casing as a ground. He also has several 32' radials laid out around the base. He used lawn staples to hold the wires in place and over the years they have settled down into the grass.
 
N9XH-3 APRS Returns to the Air
N9XH_APRS
September 15, 2012 - A new APRS digipeater is on the air from our tower shack in Balsam Lake. For the past several weeks the club had been running an experiment to see the effectiveness of the iGATE by itself, located at the Government Center. Coverage gaps in the county were expected and confirmed. Having a high-elevation digipeater on the air will fill in most of those gaps.
 
Perfect Fall Weather For Antenna Installation
W9GWG_KF6OZ_Antenna
September 8, 2012 - Mark W9GWG and Mel KF6OZ work on the center feed point of a new antenna installation. The 300 foot, center fed antenna was erected at Mel's QTH on Saturday after the PCARA club meeting. (Photos: Rick W9WS)
W9GWG_SpudGun
September 8, 2012 - Using his home-brew spud-gun, Mark W9GWG shoots a projectile into a tall tree used for one end of Mel's dipole. The spud-gun was also used this year at Field Day to help put up the club's 40 meter antenna.
KF6OZ_Antenna
September 8, 2012 - Mel KF6OZ secures one end of his new antenna. Mel enjoys digital modes and has a long history with RTTY. Back in the 1950's Mel was a USAF Radio Operator in Morocco. This new antenna installation will enable Mel to spend more time on PSK31 and Olivia, his favorite modes.
KF6OZ_CenterFed
September 8, 2012 - It's in the air! Mel KF6OZ's new 300 foot dipole is up and ready for operation. The open-wire feeder is transformed by a 6KV 6:1 balun which is then hooked to a balanced tuner.
 
KC9PJG Builds His First Dipole
KC9PJG_10M_Dipole
August 25, 2012 - Jon KC9PJG purchased a new HF rig and is ready to get it on the air! With soldering gun in hand, he made quick work of getting a 10 meter dipole put together. With a little help from Greg N9CHA, Jon measured and cut each leg of the antenna to specifications he learned from the General Class License Manual.
 
Home-brewing a 4-pos Coax Switch - KC9GHQ
KC9GHQ_FAS1_Inside
August 4, 2012 - Need a remote HF antenna switch? Mark KC9GHQ did so he made one! Using a schematic he found for the Yaesu FAS-1-4R, the remote antenna switch for his Yaesu transceiver, Mark home-brewed his own version. Now using only one coax and a control line from his ham shack, Mark can select any one of four HF antennas.
KC9GHQ_FAS1_Outside
August 4, 2012 - The finished unit, water tight and ready to install. The relay box will be mounted with the coax connectors facing down. A portion of his schematic is seen to the right. Mark assembled each of the components then used a yellow high-lighter to verify his construction against the drawing as a double check before applying power. This simple project can be used by anyone needing a remote coax switch. All that's needed is a 4 position switch in the shack!
 
Mike KK9MC New ARRL Assistant District Coordinator,
Northwest Wisconsin ARES/RACES
Chris KC9NVV Northwest Wisconsin DEC and Mike KK9MC Assitant NW Wisconsin DEC
Photo: Greg N9CHA
July 14, 2012 - In a statement issued today by Chris KC9NVV (left), Wisconsin ARES/RACES DEC Northwest District, he introduced the new Assistant District Emergency Coordinator for the Northwest District, Mike KK9MC. The NW District includes 11 counties. Mike also serves as the PCARA Secretary.
 
PCARA Adds "Proceedings" to Library
W9WS_Proceedings
Photo: Greg N9CHA
July 14, 2012 - PCARA President, Rick W9WS, proudly accepts a very generous donation of two "proceedings" books. A copy of the 2009 Central States VHF Society proceedings and ARRL/TAPR Digital Communications Conference 2009 are now a permanent part of the clubs library collection. The donation was made by John AG9D, ARISS Technical Mentor from Montgomery, IL. John's association to the club was initially made during a visit to NW Wisconsin in 2011, then subsequently in 2012 as the PCARA was asked to support an ARISS Contact on May 7th between Astronaut Don Pettit aboard the ISS and students from Farnsworth Aerospace Magnet School in St. Paul, MN. John returned for a visit in June of this year to help with Field Day setup at the Polk County Justice Center.
 
Sample Your RF
RF_Sample_Scope
June 30, 2012 - If you're on HF, you will want to check your output to be sure your signal is clean and distortion free. One simple little shack accessory is an RF Sampler. Mark W9GWG and Greg N9CHA built and tested this little devise which uses a 50 ohm resistor in series with a 5pF capacitor and back-to-back 1N914 diodes. This project is a follow-on from Steve NØXC's oscilloscope presentation.
 
Field Day Fun 2012
Joseph_First_Contact
Photo: Dan KB9OBF
June 23, 2012 - First HF contact by young Joseph, son of Dan KB9OBF and Missy WAØCUK at the PCARA 2012 Field Day in Balsam Lake. Joseph's sister Jasmine also made her first HF contact during the event.
KC9PJG_Beam
Photo: Rick W9WS
June 23, 2012 - Putting the beam together; Jon KC9PJG and Mike KK9MC work to assemble the coax to the 6 meter beam. The tri-band HF beam is mounted just below it on the same mast.
Beam_Install
Photo: Greg N9CHA
June 23, 2012 - Getting the mast with the beams attached is a group effort. On the ladder is Mike KK9MC and Steve NØXC; on the coach roof is Ben KC9ROI, Chris KC9NVV and Joe KB3WYL.
N9XH_Comm_Center
Photo: Rick W9WS
June 24, 2012 - The Field Day operations center for the PCARA club. Through the generous support of the Polk County Sheriff's Department, their Communications vehicle makes for an excellent set-up.
 
When It's Hot... It's HOT!
N9XH_6m_Beam
Photo: Greg N9CHA
June 9, 2012 - The club's new 6 meter beam, only 6 feet off the ground, enabled Greg N9CHA to make over a dozen QSO's up and down the east coast of the US. Then, simultaneously, Idaho, New Mexico and Arizona. This weekend is the ARRL June VHF QSO Party where you exchange grid square locations. The band was crowded with lots of stations calling. Let's hope the magic band is open during Field Day. The beam will be mounted to the mast of the mobile EOC.
 
W9GWG Beam - Diagnosed and Repaired
W9GWG_AG9K_TrapRepair
Photo: Greg N9CHA
June 6, 2012 - Josh AG9K replaced a 15 meter trap then re-tensioned the driven element bridal of Mark W9GWG's Cushcraft A3S HF beam. After studying the data, Greg N9CHA determined the high SWR Mark was experiencing must be the fault of one or more of the 15 meter traps. Thankfully, Dan KB9OBF had one available for Mark to install. Josh and Mark decided to change out the "west" side trap of the driven element which just so happened to be the faulty part!
15 Meter SWR Plot
W9GWG_15m_SWR
June 6, 2012 - The data in chart form provides for an excellent summary for Mark's 15 meter segment of his beam antenna. The left side (vertical axis) is SWR, the bottom (horizontal axis) is frequency. The top line shows the "before" (red) measurements which obviously indicates a problem. The ideal SWR for this antenna is colored blue, and the data collected after the trap was replaced is in green.
 
Are You Ready For Field Day?
Field_Day_2011_KC9ROI
Photo: Greg N9CHA
June 3, 2012 - Ben KC9ROI makes his first HF contact during Field Day 2011. He and his fellow club members will join forces to participate in the 2012 activities. All are invited (and encouraged) to attend, especially those who may have gotten their ham license during the year or those who are interested in the hobby but have not yet had a chance to operate on the air. The ARRL Field Day is June 23rd & 24th. The club will set up their gear in the Polk County Justice Center parking lot in Balsam Lake starting at 8am Saturday the 23rd.
 
Dayton Hamvention 2012
Dayton_FleaMarket
May 18, 2012 - The flea market at the Dayton Hamvention is huge! Greg N9CHA and his friend Dick AH6EZ spent nearly the entire day walking only a little over half of the available spaces. Bright skies and a cool breeze kept the festers active.
N9CHA_DoorPrize
Photo: Dean KC9EOQ
May 18, 2012 - Winning a door prize is very unlikely considering there are over 20,000 attendees to the Dayton Hamvention. But on Friday, Greg N9CHA got his ticket pulled and won one of coveted prize bags. A soldering iron, wire cutters, coupons, drink cooler and other items were stuffed inside the prize bag.
ARRL_Banquet
May 17, 2012 - The annual ARRL Donors Appreciation Reception held at the Meadowbrook County Club near Dayton, OH was attended by PCARA club member Greg N9CHA. Dave Sumner K1ZZ provided the keynote address entitled "The Reason Why," an impassioned presentation highlighting current and former members of the League and IARU. The tireless work of many hams help keep the "passion" of ham radio alive around the world by representing us all.
ARRL_Banquet_N9CHA_N3KN_AH6EZ
Photo: Dean KC9EOQ
May 17, 2012 - ARRL President Kay Craigie introduced the key note speaker and special guests at the Reception. Greg N9CHA (left) and Dick AH6EZ (right) attended the event as special guests of Central Division Director Dick Isely W9GIG. This was the 10th annual reception held in honor of members who make contributions to Amateur Radio, helping to fund many different projects such as the Spectrum Defense Fund, keeping our privileges away from commercial interests.
ARRL_Banquet_DJ0QN_N9CHA
May 17, 2012 - Greg N9CHA (right) meets an "on-air" friend Mitch DJØQN and his wife. Mitch and Greg's father Chuck WD9GWG have frequent QSO's on IRLP. Mitch and his wife live in Munich, Germany and traveled to the US to attend the Hamvention. Mitch was recognized as a member of the ARRL Maxim Society.
 
SUCCESS! Farnsworth Aerospace Talks to ISS
Farnsworth_09
Photos: Rick W9WS
May 7, 2012 - Students from Farnsworth Aerospace school in St. Paul await their turn with great anticipation to ask questions of astronaut Don Pettit aboard the International Space Station. The PCARA facilitated the contact using amateur radio to make the voice connection directly from the school.
Farnsworth_10
May 7, 2012 - Several members of the PCARA tech team monitor the radio equipment as they try to make contact. (l to r) Bill WY9E, Steve NØXC, Mark W9GWG, Ben KC9ROI, Dale W9DKB and Mark KC9GHQ.
Farnsworth_11
May 7, 2012 - The auditorium at Farnsworth Aerospace just prior to the contact with Don Pettit. 6th graders, teachers, school officials and local community members waited in anticipation until the ISS came up over the horizon at 11:16am. The students, who called themselves the "ARISS Team" practiced their questions earlier in the morning. The equipment had been tested many times as well.
Farnsworth_12
May 7, 2012 - Contact with astronaut Don Pettit! One of the students from Farnsworth asks his question as Greg N9CHA holds the microphone. Pettit did a fantastic job of answering the questions; everything from what they eat every day to what they wear and how they sleep aboard the station.
Farnsworth_13
May 7, 2012 - With the contact over, the audience of students and guests erupted in applause. Smiles all around as they recognized their accomplishment. The experiment of contacting Don Pettit aboard the ISS was a success.
Farnsworth_14
May 7, 2012 - The TEAM! Students, ham radio operators, school officials and invited guests pose for a photo after the contact with astronaut Don Pettit. The local media was present and ran news stories in print, on the radio and television. No doubt this is an experience all will remember.
 
ARISS Contact Set-Up "We're Ready!"
Farnsworth_ARISS_01
Photos: Rick W9WS
May 5, 2012 - This high angle view shows several PCARA club members working hard at Farnsworth Aerospace Magnet School in St. Paul running cables and setting up the ham radio equipment. The ARISS contact will take place Monday May 7th at 11:14 am local time. The ISS downlink can be heard on 145.80.
Farnsworth_ARISS_2
May 5, 2012 - The main operations table has 2 TS-2000 transceivers, tracking computer running NOVA, a Yaesu Rotor system and AEA-ST1 controller. Audio is being distributed to the local PA system in the auditorium, Skype and IRLP. Students who ask their questions and the answers by astronaut Don Pettit will be broadcast through a school audio/video system so all can watch.
Farnsworth_ARISS_3
May 5, 2012 - PCARA club members, Mark W9GWG, Steve NØXC, Ben KC9ROI, and Mark KC9GHQ practice their operations for the ARISS contact on May 7th. The club members rehearsed switching from the primary radio to the back-up as well as changing frequencies based on doppler.
Farnsworth_ARISS_4
May 5, 2012 - Bill WY9E logs into the local IRLP node on UHF. He will announce the contact details to the local hams in the Twin Cities and also make the audio available to the Discovery Reflector 9010. Hams from around the world can then join the Reflector and listen to the contact.
Farnsworth_ARISS_8
May 5, 2012 - Steve NØXC and Mike KK9MC attach the feed line to the beam antenna. It was brought up to the roof via a rope which was handled by Steve NØXC, Ben KC9ROI and Chris KC9NVV.
Farnsworth_ARISS_7
May 5, 2012 - "I can see the tower!" says Bill WY9E and Greg N9CHA. The club is using the K9EQ UHF repeater located in Shoreview for access to IRLP. The aiming of the antenna was made very easy as it was a simple task to site the tower.
Farnsworth_ARISS_6
May 5, 2012 - Whatcha' got there Mike? Reaching down into the roof mounted air vent, Mike KK9MC goes fishing for cables. The crew below tied the cables to a rope which then got hoisted up through the vent and onto the roof. This path for the cables worked out great, allowing easy access to the auditorium.
Farnsworth_ARISS_5
May 5, 2012 - The Az/El beam, the egg-beater and UHF beam are in place awaiting contact. The small plastic case with the yellow top contains the gel cell batteries used to power the pre-amps. The City of St. Paul can be seen on the horizon. It took the club members about 2 hours to hoist all the equipment to the roof and get it set up. There are sandbags wrapped in plastic holding down the tripods.
 
Farnsworth Aerospace Magnet School - Practice
Farnsworth_1
Photos: Rick W9WS
April 20, 2012 - Students who have been selected to participate in an ARISS contact coming in early May practiced their communication skills on Friday in their St. Paul classroom. Greg N9CHA, an ARISS Mentor, holds the microphone as the young lady above asks Chuck WD9GWG about ham radio equipment. Chuck, in Osceola, was operating his IRLP node and connected to the K9EQ repeater/node located in Shoreview. Rick W9WS, president of the PCARA, also attend to support the training effort.
Farnsworth_2
April 20, 2012 - A short introduction to amateur radio was provided as the students asked questions and learned about the equipment and club members who will be supporting the ARISS contact between the St. Paul school and the ISS. As a part of their studies, the students have been involved in STEM curriculum. Science, Technology, Engineering and Math courses are a requirement at Farnsworth.
Farnsworth_3
April 20, 2012 - Explaining what a beam antenna is and what it does was a part of the introduction to ham radio. Greg N9CHA explains the reasons why a beam will be used to talk to the astronauts aboard the International Space Station. There are 19 questions ready to be asked during the nearly 11 minute orbital pass (optimum) so having a strong signal both to and from the ISS will be important.
 
Club Power Supply Project Continues
AB9LV_PS_Crew
April 17, 2012 - Several members of the club got together and continued the assembly process of the Astron 35amp power supply rebuild. Shown above are, (l to r) Robert KD6TWC, Mark KC9GHQ, Fred AB9LV and Mark W9GWG. The group completed the regulator board assembly and installed the new pass transistors.
KD6TWC_PS
Photo: Greg N9CHA
April 17, 2012 - Inserting components and soldering them to the regulator circuit board was accomplished by Robert KD6TWC. Everyone in the group had a chance to contribute. As each part was inserted, an explanation of its function was discussed in order to further everyone's knowledge of the design.
 
W9GWG Puts Up Stop And Gets Go on 144 MHz
W9GWG_Stop_Sign
April 17, 2012 - Looking for a ground plane? Here's a great idea! A full sized aluminum Stop sign. Mark attached the sign to the underside of his fiberglass topper, then added the proper connector and antenna mount. This antenna is going to be used for both packet radio and APRS. Hmm... let's drive around his neighborhood to see if there might be a sign missing somewhere! (Nope, it was donated by a special friend of his who is attached to a nearby city garage.)
W9GWG_Truck
April 17, 2012 - Just can't have too many antennas! Mark W9GWG's truck now sports 4 ham radio antennas. Each are well mounted and tested. He runs HF, VHF and UHF on a regular basis from his truck. Today he added the 5/8th 2-meter antenna and the 80 meter Hustler resonator.
 
ARISS Contact Team N9XH is READY!
N9XH_ARISS_Training
Photo: Rick W9WS
April 14, 2012 - The N9XH Ground Station Crew is getting ready! Several PCARA club members will be responsible for installing and operating the radio equipment necessary for the ARISS contact between the Farnsworth Aerospace Magnet School in St. Paul and the International Space Station in early May. Shown above are: (Seated l to r, Chuck WD9GWG, Ed W9ABA, Mark KC9GHQ, Ben KC9ROI, Steve NØXC, Bill WY9E. Standing l to r, Bruce N9BLU, Mike KK9MC and Dale W9DKB)
 
KC9ROI AMSAT Journal Article
KC9ROI_AMSAT_Journal
Photo: Rick W9WS
April 14, 2012 - Due to the efforts of Ben KC9ROI receiving some of the last images from ARISSat-1, the AMSAT Journal editors picked up on the story from our club web site and published photos and text highlighting his accomplishments. Greg N9CHA, an AMSAT Member and ARISS Mentor presented Ben with a framed copy of the article at the April club meeting.
 
Power Supply Re-Build Project
KC9GHQ_PS
Photo: Robert KD6TWC
March 21, 2012 - Several members of the club got together to re-build an Astron RS-35A power supply. Mark KC9GHQ shown above is working on the removal of several components which will no longer be needed. Fred AB9LV, the leader of the project, orchestrated the rebuild at the club ham shack. A new regulator assembly will be installed which was designed by John W5BWC.
 
ISS Tracking Hardware Explained
SatTrackingHardware
Photo: Rick W9WS
March 10, 2012 - The satellite tracking hardware which will be used for the ARISS contact in May between the ISS and Farnsworth Aerospace Magnet School in St. Paul was on display and demonstrated during the March PCARA club meeting. A laptop running NOVA, Yaesu Az/Ex rotor controller and an AEA ST-1 tracking interface will be installed at the school for the contact.
PCARA_Member_Photo
Photo: Rick W9WS
March 10, 2012 - Several members of the PCARA attended the March club meeting. Many of these hams will participate and support the ARISS contact coming in May. A news article is being written about the club and its involvement with this very special ham radio event. Club President, Rick W9WS is not shown as he is the photographer for this club photo. The PCARA has grown to 50 members.
 
Bill K9WEN Gets "Cagey"
K9WEN_Cage1
Photo: Greg N9CHA
February 27, 2012 - If you've been around ham radio for some years, you have no doubt heard of the "cage dipole" antenna. This wire antenna was extremely popular in the 1920's due to its simple design and wide-band coverage. Bill K9WEN heard a few guys talking about the cage dipole on the air the other day and decided to construct a 40 meter version for himself.
 
K9WEN_Cage2
February 27, 2012 - Using PVC "knock-out plugs" as spreaders, stainless welding wire for the elements, lead compression clamps, and an old center insulator, Bill assembled his cage dipole. So far he has had very good results. Contact Bill for more information. He posted several images on the club's Yahoo Groups.
 
Tech Bench Ready For Use
TechBench
Photo: Greg N9CHA
February 14, 2012 - The club tech bench is really starting to take shape! Last year the idea of having a place to work on projects came up at a meeting and it was supported by all. One of the desks in our ham shack has now been dedicated to the task. Thanks to the many club members who have donated-for-use some of their test instruments. Also, thanks to Mark W9GWG and Mark KC9GHQ for organizing the bridge and re-mounting the cork boards.
 
ARISS Contact Explained
N9CHA_ARISS_Contact_Feb
Photo: Rick W9WS
February 11, 2012 - The ARISS Contact between the ISS and Farnsworth Aerospace Magnet School in St. Paul is coming in May. In order to get a full understanding of the requirements our club is expected to fulfill, ARISS Mentor Greg N9CHA presented an overview during the February PCARA club meeting. The March meeting will highlight satellite tracking software and hardware.
 
Ben KC9ROI Receives AMSAT Award
KC9ROI_AMSAT
Photo: Rick W9WS
January 14, 2012 - Receiving some of the last images from ARISSat-1 and braving the cold to do it, Ben KC9ROI gained the attention of several AMSAT members including Bruce KK5DO. Bruce is AMSAT's Director of Contests and Awards. He sent a personalized "Satellite Communicators' Club highlighting Ben's achievement. The award was presented to Ben by Greg N9CHA at the January 2012 PCARA club meeting. To find out more about AMSAT click here.
 
NØXC Oscilloscope Presentation - Part 2
N0XC_Scope1
Photo: Rick W9WS
January 14, 2012 - Steve NØXC demonstrated several practical uses of an oscilloscope at the January PCARA club meeting. Supported by his son Ben KC9ROI, the hams showed how to display an HF RF carrier and measure it's amplitude. This measurement was then converted to power in watts.
N0XC_Scope2
Photo: Rick W9WS
January 14, 2012 - Steve NØXC demonstrates a two-tone audio signal which was injected into an HF rig to measure the linearity of the transmitter. Additionally, Steve demonstrated how to set your microphone gain for proper modulation and the actions of the transceivers AGC and ALC circuits.
 
Ham Radio "Family" Grows
W9GWG_Family
January 12, 2012 - The Stencil Family now comprises 3 hams! Mark's son Joey received his Technician License and is now KB3WYL (currently living in Pennsylvania, but is moving back to the midwest soon). His Daughter Tami KC9UVM upgraded to General Class. Mark W9GWG is an Extra Class!
 
KC9ROI's Technique For ARISSat-1 Images
KC9ROI_ARISSat-1
January 3, 2012 - Ben KC9ROI captured the signal from his new HT and fed that signal into his laptop to record the audio from ARISSat-1. He's bundled up and braving the cold temperatures in the photo above! Ben also used his laptop to track the satellites path across the horizon. The satellite re-entered the atmosphere on Wednesday, January 4th. Ben was able to record some of the very last images sent before the "experiment" de-orbited. It is thought the impact was in the South Atlantic.
 
ARISSat-1 Photos - The End of a Successful Experiment
ARISSat-1_1 January 3, 2012 - This view from space was taken by amateur radio experimental satellite, ARISSat-1. Ben KC9ROI and his father Steve NØXC used Ben's new HT and the tape measure 2 meter yagi they built during the November 2011 club meeting to downlink the signal. You can see a part of the VHF antenna in the right side of the frame.
ARISSat-1_pix January 3, 2012 - This fantastic view of the earth and the blackness of space was captured by Ben KC9ROI and his father Steve NØXC. The experimental satellite has discontinued sending data and photos due to it's de-orbit. Hams from all around the globe participated in the fun. AMSAT is close to building and launching project FOX. Be sure to check out the www.amsat.org web site for more details.
Keeping the New Year Net Tradition Going
W9GWG_NewYearNet
January 1, 2012 - Mark W9GWG kept the tradition of the PCARA New Year check-in net going by calling all amateurs on the N9XH repeater at 12 midnight. Those who participated along with Mark were: Mark KC9GHQ, Carlos N9GIM, Toby KC9UFN, Chris KC9NVV, Greg N9CHA, Chuck WD9GWG, Josh AG9K, Dan KB9OBF, Russell KCØIVL and Anita KDØJTD. Mark also serves as Vice President of our club as well as the net control manager.
N9XH - Polk County Amateur Radio Association - 1732 Forest Circle - Balsam Lake - WI - 54810 - Info@N9XH.org