|Monthly Newsletter Dedicated to the Advancement of Amateur Radio July, 1999|
FIELD DAY REPORT
MAARS members participated locally in the annual ARRL sponsored Field Day event. The group gathered at the shelter in Manhattan City Park shortly after 8:00 A.M. Saturday, June 26. The setup of radio equipment and antennas was begun. We put up a 20-ft. tower section supplied by Mike, NØPVU. It was secured to the north end of the shelter with clamps and guy lines. We put together a 4-element 10 M beam antenna supplied by Norm, NØJCC, and mounted it on the 20-ft tower. Another was a multiband center fed wire supplied by Kenny, KBØRPV. Some difficulty was experienced in getting a line over a high branch of a nearby tree, which was used to pull up the antenna center and feed line. The ends of the wire were supported several feet above ground by a power pole on the east end and another tree for the west end, in an inverted V. A 2-meter J-pole antenna was also erected for local communication. The equipment setup was completed by about 11:30 A.M. in time for a lunch break before the official start of operation at 1:00 P.M. CDT.
We operated as a class 1-A FD station, one transceiver on the Novice portion of 10 M SSB and the other mostly on the 40 M band SSB. The 10 M band was open with good propagation Saturday afternoon. We used computer logging, using a logging program supplied by Chuck, AAØRI, and computers supplied by Mike, NØPVU and Brian, KCØDWX.
We composed a short message in formal message form advising of MAARS participation in Field Day. Kenny sent this to the Side Band Net on 3920 Khz at 6:30 P.M. This message transmission allowed us to add 100 points to the FD total.
During the night, Myron, WØPBV, and Henry, KAØSWM, and others worked inside the city-owned former school bus. They planned and put up in temporary form, by means of card board and tape, a replica of possible interior partitions and other furnishings that would convert it into a mobile communications center.
About 4:00 A.M. Sunday morning a thunder storm moved in and convinced Henry and Myron to cover the radio equipment in the open sided shelter with canvas which Mike had brought in his camper trailer for this purpose. A good decision, since there was enough wind to blow rain on to all the tables in the shelter.
The number of Field Day contacts made was approximately 160. The exact number was not yet determined at the time of this writing. There was some operation Sunday morning after the thunder storm cleared, on the 10-meter band. Band conditions were not as good as on Saturday. At about 11:00 A.M. we began the take down of antennas and equipment.
Big contributors to this FD operation were: Henry, Chairman of the FD event, who was responsible for most of the pre-planning, making sure the park shelter was reserved, ordering the FD instruction and scoring info, and many other chores. Mike was also on the scene supplying the antenna tower section, a computer, the use of his camper-trailer with air conditioning and cold drinks and other equipment. He also prepared hamburgers for the evening lunch. Lenore, NØTSN, assisted with pre-planning and delivering the MAARS banner to the field day site. Other equipment suppliers were, Kenny, KBØRPV, Brian, KCØDWX, Francis, WØEVJ, and Myron, WØPBV.
Norm Dillman, NØJCC
How to use Ham Radio in a really noisy place.
If you've been reading this newsletter you know that all of the Solar Car Team is licensed and that we use Ham Radio (KSØLAR) for many different things including voice communication and 9600 baud telemetry via 440 MHz. We used APRS with mapping software on the race but it tended to interfere with the communication with the driver. And we had trouble getting SSTV to work right.
Another problem we solved for the race was hearing the driver when the car was accelerating because of the motor noise. The driver had trouble hearing us too. Some padded ears phones and an HT with good audio solved the drivers problem but we had to use a special noise cancelling mike to hear him. Bob Heil, the world famous audio guru, built us a special boom mike with two of his cartridges connected out of phase and pointing in opposite directions. The noise was greatly reduced but the driver's voice level was also noticeably lower than the other radios. We built a little audio amplifier with a dual CMOS op amp that gave a gain to FOUR to balance the audio level. The amplifier used two AA cells and only drew 32 microamps. We figure the amplifier will run for months so we didn't even put a power switch on it. It really worked great. If you ever need to use your radio in a noisy place I'll give you the little circuit. It's easy to build if I tell you all of my mistakes.
I listened for you all on Sunday morning of Field Day but didn't hear anyone. I only made one contact but was thinking about you. I hope you had a great time.
June 11, 1999
In Phyllis Dillman's (President) absence the meeting was presided by Henry Bachman, Vice President.
This was a short meeting to finalize plans for field day. Henry gave a report on Field Day they would have two stations: novice and HF. Generators would come from the EOC van and antennas were needed. Mike would be preparing breakfast on Sunday morning. Lenore would bring the banner. In spite of possible bad weather and the Country Stampede that weekend I am sure that field day will turn out successful.Set-up time will be at 8:00 a.m. and we will start at 1:00 p.m. The club's call sign KSØMAN will be used for the HF station and Mike's call sign NØPVU will be used for the novice station. The club will be using Norm's beam for 10 meters. A logging program will be used to work on 3.1.
Lloyd passed around pictures of past balloon launches. The next scheduled balloon launch will be on Saturday, June 19th. The winner for the Kansas Amateur Of The Year will be decided at the Salina hamfest in August. We will keep you posted.
The next club meeting will be on Friday, July 9th at the Red Cross building on Poyntz.
FROM THE EDITOR'S DESK
Chuck Carter, AAØRI
Sunrayce99 ... Washington, D.C. to Epcot, Orlando, FL
Day one of the race began at the Mall in front of the Capitol Building in the rain. Fred, KØTCS; Nadine, KØUHF; Phyllis, NØMJB; Linda, NØOYE; Connor; and Grace Ann were at the start line to cheer KSU as they started the rayce. The finish of the day was at the University of Virginia. Kansas State finished in 6th position and had used up 1/2 of their battery capacity.
Day two began with rain forecast for the entire day. The route took us to Raleigh, NC. Kansas State decided that with 1/2 of their power used up and no sun in the forecast to trailer all day to the finish line at North Carolina State University. They figured that they might be able to get some charging in at the finish line while the competitors were depleting their energy racing. We all thought that this was a good strategy at the time and I am still sure that it was. We would have had to trailer some part of the day anyway as we had to travel about 200 miles and only had 1/2 a charge in our batteries. The penalty for trailering is 8 hours plus 1.5 minutes a mile. The 8 hours was a forgone conclusion, the 1.5 min/mile was the gamble in strategy. As a result of the all day trailer ride we finished the day tied with 4 other schools at 25th place with an overall finish of 18th place. We were able to do some charging that evening to help our situation.
Day three began with overcast and the prospect of more rain. The route took us to Lowe's Motor Speedway in Charlotte, N.C. Although it was cloudy it was bright and our team finished in 1st place for the day. This was even after a Kamakazi grandmother turned into our solar car. We lost a full hour waiting for the Sunrayce officials and police report. The first place finish showed everyone we were for real. We were able to charge that evening and in the hours before the start at 10:00 A.M. on day 4. Charlotte was an interesting stop, there were Winston Cup cars testing on the track as well as a celebrity race in the evening. We moved back up to 7th place overall and thought we had a chance of finishing in the top 3 as we were only 4 hours out of 1st place at that time. We knew we had one of the fastest cars in the competition, it just needed sun!
Day 4 began with SUN, we weren't sure what it was by then! The route took us to Clemson University at Clemson, SC. We arrived in 2nd place for the day and moved up to 6th overall. It was overcast again so we couldn't get much charge that evening. You wouldn't believe the size of Clemson's football stadium ... it must hold 100K people.
Day 5 began in the rain, the teams were calling it the no sunrayce by then. Spirits were really low even on the teams doing well. Two minutes out of the starting line, Ohio State's trailer was involved in an injury accident that stopped the entire race for about 1 1/2 hours. The race was re-started after the accident was cleaned up and KSU ran well for several hours. Eventually the clouds/rain slowed us up until we had one of our batteries voltage drop to the danger point. We had to back track with our trailer and pick up the car for the rest of the day's trip. Another 8 hours plus in penalties. We finished in 14th position for the day and dropped to 7th overall. Lots of teams had to trailer which helped us hold our position. We had a dual destination that evening, supper at Mercer University with the cars to be sealed in the trailer and transported to Georgia Tech on the other side of Atlanta for the completion of day 5.
The next day was a rest day at GA Tech parking lot. There was lots of sun in the afternoon and everyone got a good battery charge as well as a few sun burns running around.
Day 6 began in Atlanta traffic and went northeast to Athens, Ga., then turned south to Mercer University, Macon, Ga. for the evening. With a full charge, KSU was able to finish in 3rd for the day but still 7th overall. We were back to about 1/2 charge again, but able to pick up a little sun between the clouds that evening.
Day 7 began with (guess what) more rain. We started out on time and passed a few cars. The rain got so bad that there was flash flooding and the drivers couldn't see a thing. There are no wind shield wipers of course. We had one battery give out again, so trailered about 1/2 of the distance for the day finishing in 7th place and still in 7th overall. Needless to say almost everyone trailered some part of that day. We got no charging that evening as it rained until dark.
Day 8 began with bright overcast and our batteries were in bad need of a charge. The team decided to charge as long as the skies stayed bright then trailer in to the finish line. The plan was to have a great sprint to the finish line at the end of the race the next day. Unfortunately the two cars that could catch us did so putting us into 9th position overall at the end of the day.
Day 9 began with dark skies, but it wasn't raining. KSU started in 23 position (cars start in 1 minute intervals according to their finish the day before). They passed the 22 cars in front of them and finished 1st for the last day of the race. After passing 22 cars, they finished 16 minutes ahead of the second place car from Messiah College. KSU finished 9th overall but without the hour lost waiting for the officials during our 3rd day accident we would have been in 7th place.
The race was one in which strategy played a very important part. With more sunlight the outcome could have been very different. Most of the better cars were designed to be efficient at 50 mph with sunlight, the winners were the most efficient averaging 25 mph. Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, KSU, MU and others should have been at the top of the heap.
Fifty schools built cars for the race, 40 went to the qualifiers and only 29 qualified. Everyone who raced was a winner!
The top 15 finishers were on display at Epcot for two days after the race. We had a nice banquet and award ceremony at the U.S.A. Building on the International Lake as well as having a front row view of the fireworks/light display.
Dave Soldan, NØIN, Daniel Soldan, KBØOTV and I took turns at driving the truck with the trailer. It was an experience in itself - no muffler, no air conditioner/defrosters and bad wiper blades. We replaced the wiper blades and had the A/C repaired on the rest day in Atlanta. The A/C worked 1/2 day after spending $100 on it! Also there was no anti sway bar for the trailer hitch.
Phyllis, NØMJB, Linda, NØOYE, and Grace Ann did the laundry and lunches for the team. We all had a fun time in spite of the lack of sunshine.
There's lots of info and pictures on the web at: www.sunrayce.com/sunrayce
In June we paid $7.09 for having the newsletter printed and $20.54 for the telephone bill, leaving a balance of $20.00 cash on hand, $38.65 in the checking account and $2,107.47 in the savings account.
If you would like to become a member of the American Radio Relay League and receive the monthly issue of QST, your treasurer has a form you may use to apply. The club keeps $5 of each new member's dues and $2 of each renewing member, so even if you are renewing, do so through the club. The main thing to remember is that if you join through the club, your check must be made out to MAARS. When the form is sent in, the treasurer writes a new check deducting the amount which the club is permitted to keep. They will not reimburse the club. If you are renewing, bring your notice for renewal along to the meeting or send it to the Treasurer at the MAARS address.
August 7 - SMARC Hamfest - Springfield, Mo.
August 22 - Kansas State Convention, SVARC Hamfest - Salina, Ks.
August 28 - Chanute Hamfest, Chanute, Ks.
October 2 - Warrensburg Hamfest, Warrensburg, Mo.