Archives March 2012

New Repeater Room Update – March 24th

Saturday the technical team finished installing the HVAC unit, sealing the entry door, installing the port for the hardline cables, and painted the walls.  The last task is to paint the floor and then the room is to be ready to move into.   When the floor is completed then a work day will be schedule to move equipment and antenna cabling into the new area.  This is all exciting because there will now be enough room for the new D-Star repeater equipment and for new Allstar equipment which will interface with the 146.760 repeater.  Once the equipment is installed VARC members will be able to work the world on the VHF and UHF bands both with digital and analog voice.  More work days are to be scheduled.  VARC members say thank you to our technical team for their great work!

Amateur Radio Testing – March

Amateur Radio license testing was held again at the public library in Valdosta on Saturday March 10th.  Only one preregistered amateur came to take an exam.  They tested for extra class and passed in very little time with flying colors.  VARC members would like to express their congratulations to you on passing extra class!

We would like to take time here to show our appreciation for our testing volunteers Larry Leonard and Gene Milton who generously give of their personal time to help those who want to become amateurs or to advance the ranks.  Thanks guys for the super job you are doing!

Remember the next testing session will May 12th at the Valdosta public library.  Please contact us if you plan to attend the session.

VARC supports 5 K Run

On Saturday March 10th members of the VARC met at VSU for the Azalea Festival 5 K run.  The weather was cool and very pleasant for the event.  As usually members were positioned in order to provide synchronized timing for the run.  Members were placed at the 1 and 2 mile locations with a time keeper.  A radio transmission on the 146.760 repeater was sent at the exact time that the run started in order for the time keepers to set their stop watches.  As runners would pass the mile markers they could keep up with their time.  VARC members reported runners as they passed their station locations.

The first runner to the finish line was a young boy who said that he was about to be first because he was able to take the inside line and beat out two other runners.  Everyone made it back to the finish line with no injuries.  After the run many members went over to the festival to enjoy the food and fun.  Once again the Parks and Recreation leadership expressed their gratitude to VARC members for their continued support of  events like the 5 K and the bike rides.

Club Meeting – March

The March VARC club meeting was on Tuesday the 6th.  Members met at Applebee’s for supper and to enjoy socializing with each other.

A report was made for the Century bike ride which was held the previous Saturday during very dangerous weather conditions.  Amateur radio and VARC really shined during this event.  The severe weather really showed the need for members to have spotter and ARES training and to always be ready.

Other interesting discussions during and after the meeting were related to the new Navy electro-magnetic rail gun that can shoot 100 miles,  J-pole antennas, the Italians experimental work with vorticity radio wave technology, Aircraft navigation technology history, interesting information about Rommel’s 10 meter band tank to tank communications during World War II,  2M/440 Mobile antennas and how to install NMO mounts on vehicles, Physics and the latest developments on photon entanglement experiments and many other interesting subjects related to amateur radio, history and science.

Members were also reminded of the 5 K run coming up Saturday and the Hamcram session coming up in April.

Stormy Century Bike Ride

Starting early at 6 AM VARC members met for a hearty breakfast before the 2012 Century Bike Ride.  The Valdosta/Lowndes Parks and Recreation usually puts on this event during the first weekend in March.  Several riders from all over the U.S. come to participate in one of the four routes.  The shorter routes are the 29 mile, 48 mile, and 77 mile.  The longest is of course is just over 100 miles.

VARC members support this yearly event by providing both voice communications and GPS tracking support.  Voice communications are carried out on one of the local repeaters. High tech GPS tracking is provided by APRS configured radios (radio-robots) that are temporary installed in the each of the routes “sag wagon” or the vehicle that follows behind the last rider.  Like some of their human counter parts these “radio-robots” can operate very dependably under various adverse conditions in order to carry out their mission.  A good part of this mission is to transmit GPS location data  to area digi-peaters as the sag wagon moves about. The GPS data is then funneled to a local iGATE station that is connected to the internet.  The data is then farther relayed via the web cloud to the website located in Finland.  Net control operators for the bike event can then view the GPS location data on a Google Earth interface which allows them to track the vehicle positions. They can also overlay real time weather information on the same map in order to support the riders and event personal with up to the minute weather data for the various routes.

Due to the severe weather present during this particular ride the weather information was highly important.  Safety of the rider is paramount for these type of events and the actions executed today by VARC members played a very vital role in its assurance.  As tornado watches, warnings, and other severe weather struck the bike route areas several mobile members and radio-robots along with control operators feverishly worked together to ensure voice and data information flowed to the correct locations and event leaders.  As a result of this heroic support effort of VARC team everyone made it through each route safely! The Parks and Recreation leadership once again expressed their appreciation to the VARC for its continued radio communications support and its dedication to the community at large.  Super work VARC team!