EVQRP/GOTW – Notes are from Dave/AC7FF:
June 13th: Wednesday’s gathering proved that there are many who are Willing to Gather to play radio during the summer season. I set up my FT-991 and Tony pole on 20m for the GOTA station on FT8. Troy (K7TJK) set up his FT-857 and SignalLink that was in an ammo can go box. It looks really great and has room to add more equipment! He also set up his homemade antenna hanging from a painter’s pole that can operate on 20m and 40m. He uses the umbrella hole in the picnic table to support the painter’s pole. If you want to see a great, inexpensive HOA-friendly HF antenna option, come see Troy’s antenna. He was also set up on FT8 and made several contacts, including New Zealand! Andy (KG7KWG) brought out his FT-450 and a new Off Center Fed (OCF) dipole he purchased from Ebay. He set it up on his new jackite pole. Andy has a really nice support for his jackite pole that he made. This would be another great option for those of you in HOAs who are looking for a quick way to deploy an antenna that also breaks down and stores easily. Andy made a contact on 20m voice to Puerto Rico! Dan (N7DSX) set up an external antenna on a tripod for his HT. Al (KG7BMI), Brad (N7LZD), and Rick (W9JRF) also stopped by to visit and see what stations were set up. It is always great to spend time visiting with all the hams at these gatherings.
June 1st: We had another great week for attendance with 13 people at the Gathering. I came early to set up so Jay (N1RWY) could help me set up my computer for FT8. I am looking forward to learning another digital mode. Jay also presented Ken (KI7YIS) with the radio offered as a a prize to an operator who tested and upgraded. Congratulations, Ken! Enjoy your new radio! Thank you, again, to Jay for offering an excellent incentive to upgrade.
I set up my 20m-30m-40m SOTAbeams linked dipole hanging from a 31 foot jackite pole and my Yaesu FT-991. I started the evening out on 20m. Rick (W9JRF) set up his Yaesu FT-817 with Tokyo High Power Amplifier and a Buddipole vertical antenna on 20m. Rick also brought his granddaughter. It is really nice to see youth interested in ham radio. Ryan (KE7WO) started out with his Yaesu FT-817 and a Miracle Antenna. Ryan has a really great setup for a backpack, including a small computer. He was having trouble with FT8, so Rick and Troy (K7TJK) helped him solve his issue. Ryan switched to an antenna using a 7m crappie pole. It is very light and collapses to a length easy to carry in a backpack. He was able to make his first FT8 contact to Los Angeles.
Rick let us all know about a special event station, 9Y4FIFA, on 20m. Since I was running the GOTA station, I switched over to 20m voice so we all could listen and try to make contact. This was a special event station sponsored by the Trinidad and Tobago Amateur Radio Society to commemorate the 2018 World Cup in Russia. Rick tried to make contact, but they rotated their beam to a different area. When they came back to North America, I was fortunate to make contact. Ken then took the mic and got his first HF experience with a pileup! Ken tried to make contact until the station shut down for dinner. Great work, Ken, on working your first DX pileup! Troy (K7TJK) set up his satellite station. He tried to make contact through several passes, but the satellites were not cooperating. Remington (KI7VGZ) was able to work another special event station, W4T, on Rick’s station. W4T is a special event call used by the Silver Comet Amateur Radio Society to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Silver Comet Trail opening to the public. Rick was also able to hear the USS Nautilus station, but it was barely above the noise floor. Rick did make contact to New Zealand. I am always in awe of sitting in a park, on battery power, with a portable station on 45W, making contacts like this. Towards the end of the evening, I switched to 40m (which is very easy with the linked dipole), and tried several times to make contact with Rick (KF7MCA) up in Prescott. Unfortunately we weren’t able to connect.
Brian (WB7VEV), Bob (N6OPR), and Dave (AC7FF) also stopped by the Gathering. We also had several first time visitors: Dick (HR1/K2LCT), Bud (W0XH) and Kevin (KI7KWH). Dick showed us an HDTV device that he purchased for $13 on clearance at Wal-Mart. He saw on the Hackaday website how to convert it to an SDR. He also told us about the POTA Facebook group – Parks on the Air. We are so glad to see new faces join us at the park.
May 25th: Friday night’s Gathering was the most attended thus far. We had 19 hams show up to the Gathering. We started off the evening a little gun shy from our previous weeks experience of getting set up then finding out that the Cottonwood Ramada had been rented for the evening, so set up was a little slower on Friday evening. We had 3 stations set up, Rick (W9JRF) set up his FT-817 along with his 45 watt amp and a Buddipole Vertical on 20m. Rick made. Rick made 3 contacts, one was (W3FF) Budd who is the owner of Buddipole in Oregon, he also made 1 contact to Rocco VE3YJ in Canada and the last one was the Special Event at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (W9IMS). Christi set up her FT-991 and her Tony Pole on 40m and showed Rick Krieger (KF7MCA) BPSK31 on her station Both Christi and Rick (KF7MCA) used Rick’s (W9JRF) Ft-817 and made a contact each. Christi and Rick (KF7MCA) both made a contact to Budd (W3FF) from Buddipole. I set up my FT-857d and Sotabeams linked dipole on 20m and made a contact to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Special Event station (W9IMS) and I got a new country as well, Rein (ES6RW) in Estonia. Christi also used my Radio and made a contact with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (W9IMS) as well. They have been running a Special Event station for about 2 weeks now and if you work all 3 Special Event stations 2 in May and 1 in September you can get a Special QSL card or Certificate. Christi, Rick and I have now worked 2 of the 3 Special Event stations and are trying for the clean sweep to get the card and certificate. Kevin (K9NTZ) and his wife Debbie stopped by, Judy (KF7JLF) and Tony (K7AJF) maker of the maker of the Tony Pole also stopped by. Also in attendance Jay (N1RWY), Andy (KG7KWG), Joe (N2QOJ), Brian (WB7VEV), Frank (KI7YGP), Mike (KI7WIB), Ken (KI7YIS), Ken also made his first hf contact to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on 20m, Remington (KI7VGZ), Bob (N6OPR), Matt (K7BMP) and Jamie who is Bob’s (N6OPR) friend and also a ham stopped by for the evening as well.
May 20th: Friday’s Gathering was a bit challenging to start off the evening. We started to set up at the Cottonwood Ramada and most of us had pretty much every thing set up when we were informed that all of the Ramada’s including the Cottonwood Ramada had been reserved for a wedding party, so we packed up our equipment and moved to the front of the park at the big soccer field. Once we got set up again we had a great evening and lots of great fellowship. I set up my FT-857d with my Sotabeams linked dipole and showed Micah (KI7WHY) BPSK31. I was able to make a very nice QSO with David (KM6CPQ) in California on 20m and Micah was impressed how you can use the radio along with the digital software and a computer to make QSO’s. That was my only QSO of the evening. George who was put in contact with our group by Joe (N2QOJ) had some problems with his radio. George is in the military and is in Special Forces and was trying to get his radio (which is highly classified) to talk back to the base station in Florida. George was handed this radio by his commander and was told to make it work. Since he has no ham license he turned to the Amateur Community for help. We worked with him 2 nights and got him a little closer to making it work. Jim (KF7E) showed up and along with Christi (KG7NAD) and Rick (W9JRF) they worked with George during the evening with different antenna configurations. I do believe they got close but came did come up short. Lets just say this radio is nothing like we would see in the Amateur Radio world and is used for covert operations. Jay (N1RWY) showed up with his new puppy and everyone there fell in love with Lincoln his new addition to the family. Andy (KG7KWG) helped Micah with his portable radio problem, I believe they were able to figure out the Micah had a bad adapter going from his radio to his portable antenna because he could hear with the radio at the park. Remington (KI7VGZ) showed up as well. Troy (K7TJK) set up his portable Satellite station and was unable to make contact to a couple of hard satellites. Mike (KI7WIB) stopped by with his portable satellite equipment as well and I believe no QSO’s were made. Bob (N6OPR) stopped by as well. Dan Smith stopped by with his wife Leslie. Dan informed me that he is studying for his General ticket, when you get ready to upgrade Dan let me know. Most of my evening was having great fellowship with Bob (N6OPR) Dan (KI7YDI) and Dan’s wife Leslie.
May 13th: This Gathering seemed to net more people. Even with the crappy weather conditions with the wind and dust 15 people decided to brave the elements and come out to the Gathering. Christi (KG7NAD) set up her FT-991 along with her Tony Pole on 40M, Rick (W9JRF) set up his FT-817 and Hy Power 45 watt amp along with his Buddipole vertical on 40M, I set up my FT-857d and my Sotabeams 20/30/40 linked dipole on 20m, Troy (K7TJK) brought out his satellite equipment (Baofeng HT’s and an Arrow 2/440 Yagi antenna) to chase the birds. Micah (KI7WHY) started on 20m on my radio and made 3 contacts (KN8Y) in Summit Point West Virginia and (W9IMS) in Indianapolis Indiana. (W9IMS) is a special event station at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.They are the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Amateur Radio Club and they have been operating at the Speedway since May of 2004. For more club history go to QRZ.com and look up (W9IMS). Micah also made 1 other contact but forgot to log his contact. Rick (W9JRF) made a couple of contacts. I believe he also made 2 contacts both to (W9IMS) one on 20M and the other on 40M. We had a brand new ham Dan Smith (KI7YDI) come out to the Gathering. Dan had just received his call sign that day and made 1 contact on a repeater. We put him the behind the mic and using the EVQRP club call he made his first hf contact on 20m to (W9IMS). Way to go Dan. Ryan (W7CQB) who showed up for the second time also made a contact to (W9IMS) on 20m. Way to go Ryan, good job. Troy (K7TJK) made 3 Satellite contacts (AF5CC) EM04, (N9EAT) EN41 (and yes that is his call sign) and (KG0MW) EN13 with a Baofeng handheld and a dual band Yagi antenna. At one point or another during the evening I believe most if not all made at least 1 contact to (W9IMS). Ron (K7RWE), Matt (K7BMP), Janell (KF7WWJ) her husband Jim (KC7QPI) and another new comer to the Gathering and lives in the same neighborhood as Micah, Brian (WB7VEV) showed up as well. Bob (N6OPR) showed up as well, and Frank showed up as well. Frank is currently studying to take his Technician test. When you get ready Frank, let me know and we can put a testing session together at open of the Gatherings for you. At one point I know Rick (W9JRF) was helping Ryan (W7CQB) set up his buddipole and they were trying to get it to tune on 40M. I believe I asked Ryan if they got it to tune and I think the answer was no, they need some other parts to get it to tune. I just remember that there was a lot of activity going on and it was hard to keep up with all of it. At one point Rick (W9JRF) took his antenna analyzer to the parking lot and was helping Jim (KC7QPI) with his Tar heel antenna on his vehicle. Even with the wind and dust I had a really great time, and as always I looked at my watch and it was 21:15 hrs and time to break down. Park nights seem to fly by and I always look forward to the next Gathering. I want to thank all of you that came out including all of the newer hams, the EVQRP group holds these events to help the newer hams see that when they get there ticket that there are several options for you to get on the air, that you are not just limited to repeaters. Also we hold these events so newer or seasoned hams will blow the dust off of their equipment and get on the air. We HIGHLY encourage anyone with portable equipment to please bring it to the park and set up. You can build a modest station that will get you on the air and making contacts, and you don’t have to spend thousands of dollars to do it. I think the most 1 question most asked is what is the best antenna or best radio that I can get, my answer to that questions is the one that gets you on the air making noise. I believe the hardest part is trying to figure out what you want to do in Amateur Radio and how you want to operate.
May 2nd Gathering: Last week we had a really good turnout. We had several new hams and 1 that is studying to take his test in the next couple of weeks. We had 3 stations set up and one satellite demo station up as well. Rick (W9JRF) set up his new buddipole 6 meter yagi 3 element antenna along with his FT-817 and his 45 watt amp. Jason Oliver (KI7WIC) came to the Gathering and helped Rick configure his antenna. Rick turned on his radio and didn’t even need to spin the dial, there was a signal when he turned it on. He talked to Dick (K1LCT) who lives in San Tan Valley on 6 meters. He had a nice QSO with Dick and was informed that there was a 6 meter net at 19:00 hrs. Rick did tune into that net and was able to talk into Apache Junction simplex from Queen Creek, good job Rick!! Christi set up her FT-991 and Tony Pole on Digital (BPSK31) and showed another new ham Ryan (W7QCB) how BPSK31 worked. I set up my Ft-857d and a Sotabeams 20/30/40 linked dipole on CW and called CQ with no takers on 20 meters so I spent the remainder of the evening talking to a new ham Mike (KI7WIB) about antennas, different setups, APRS and learning Morse code. Also Troy setup a demo on Satellite contacts for the group. Unfortunately no contacts were made by satellite this evening. Frank who is studying for his Technician ticket came down from Mesa to check things out. All of the new hams that showed up were really excited and each one had there own niche that they wanted to pursue. They all had really great questions and we really like it when new hams show up and are excited to see what is available to them in this wonderful hobby. Like always, it seems that we had just set up and then its time to break things down. Where does the time go? Time does really fly by when your having a great time