School Club Roundup ’17

Join the MSU Amateur Radio Club for School Club Roundup 2017
2121 EGR 3 to 6p. Oct. 16 thru 20 (five days)

Operators and Loggers needed….(no license or experience necessary)

(call 517.432.5515 or 517.303.6741 or email oxer@msu.edu) to reserve your time slot.

Objective: To exchange QSO (contact) information with club stations that are part of an elementary, middle, high school or college. Non-school clubs and individuals are encouraged to participate.

Sponsored by the ARRL, its Hudson Division Education Task Force and and the Long Island Mobile Amateur Radio Club (LIMARC) to foster contacts with and among school radio clubs.

Award certificates will be issued for the following US and DX categories:

Schools: Elementary, Middle/Intermediate/Junior High School, High School and College/University
Non-school Clubs, Individuals

FOMARC is Born

This past week the Friends of the MSUARC had their first meeting. They now officially exist! Fourteen “Friends” met (in person and via teleconference) to approve the Bylaws and to begin discussions of how the new organization can best assist in strengthening the MSUARC.

A groups.io presence has been established as a hub for conversation and communication. We hope you’ll join it herehttps://groups.io/g/FOMARC

We would like to announce the first two events to be sponsored by the Friends of the MSUARC. Though these events are focused on the student members (and prospective members) of the MSUARC, everyone (student or not) is invited – and we hope you will all consider attending!

Event #1 – Free Lunch! Tuesday September 19, 2017 11:30am – 1:00 pm

Yes, there is such a thing as a “free lunch” – that is, if you’re a student member of the MSUARC (or prospective member). Please join us for lunch at the Crossroads Food Court in MSU’s International Center – on North Shaw Lane, directly across the street from the College of Engineering Bldg. (https://eatatstate.msu.edu/campus-dining/crossroads) We will try and stake out a few tables on the North side of the eating area (near the large windows). This is an informal get-together. No agenda, just a chance to say hello and share stories (some true and some…). Everyone should get their food in the Food Court and then come over and join the group. Student members (or prospective student members) of the MSUARC will receive $10 to cover the cost of their meal. Come and join the group when you can. Leave when you have to. We’ll plan to be there between 11:30 am and 1:00 pm.

Event #2 – Visit to the WKAR Control Room Thursday September 28, 2017 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm

MSU has one of the only broadcasting facilities in the US where the control of television, AM radio and FM radio are all contained in the same control room. We will be touring this control room, located in the Communication Arts & Sciences Building, to learn more about this fascinating operation. Parking is available in the Parking Ramp (corner of Trowbridge Road and Red Cedar Road) and then walk the few steps to the South entrance to the Comm Arts Bldg (http://wkar.org/directions-and-map#stream/0). We will meet at the South entrance to the Comm Arts Bldg. While visiting WKAR we’ll also learn that the Comm Arts Bldg is actually two buildings – one inside the other. Though it appears as one building from the outside, the larger/taller building is U shaped and surrounds the shorter WKAR building on three sides. The two buildings are structurally not connected! Why?

We look forward to seeing you at these two events. And, bring a friend!

73 –

Joe W8JRK
for the Friends of the MSUARC

Join us at Field Day 2017!

Again this year, MSUARC will be teaming up with the Central Michigan Amateur Radio Club on Field Day. Here’s a quick overview from their website.
Objective:

To work as many stations as possible on any and all amateur bands (excluding the 60, 30, 17, and 12-meter bands) and to learn to operate in abnormal situations in less than optimal conditions. Field Day is open to all amateurs in the areas covered by the ARRL/RAC Field Organizations and countries within IARU Region 2. DX stations residing in other regions may be contacted for credit, but are not eligible to submit entries.

Dates:

Field Day is always the fourth full weekend of June, beginning at 1800 UTC Saturday (2:00pm EDT)and running through 2059 UTC Sunday (4:59pm EDT). Field Day 2017 is June 24-25.

Bands:

Any Amateur Radio band except 12, 17, 30 and 60 Meters.

Log Submission Deadline:
Entries must be postmarked, emailed or submitted by Tuesday, July 25, 2017. Late entries cannot be accepted.
To view logs received see Field Day 2017 Results
Terms of Entry:
– Entrants agree to be bound by the provisions and intent of ARRL contest rules.
– Entrants agree to be bound by the regulations of their national licensing authority.
– Entrants agree to be bound by the decisions of the ARRL Awards Committee.
– All entries become the property of the ARRL.
Contact Information:

For Field Day information contact ARRL: fdinfo@arrl.org or (860) 594-0232.

Awards:

Field Day is not a contest; no certificates are awarded.

Location:

CMARC Field Day location is the back end of Rayner Park, 622 E. Ash, Mason, Mi. Rayner Park is located next to the Ingham County Fairgrounds, right across from Dairy Hill. Drive into the park, past the playground, pavillion, and volleyball field, and turn right on the gravel road leading to the back of the park.

Field Day Talk in Frequency:
145.390 MHz (100Hz CTCSS)

The Generosity of a Legend

Dr. Ed Liebler, W8RNE is a legend at Michigan State. A veterinarian by training, Ed became a lawyer when he was looking to expand his knowledge, and spent much of his professional life as a building contractor, constructing post offices across the state. Ed’s passion for finding things out naturally lead him to amateur radio, an “essential avocation” with many dimensions that fascinated. He was an avid contester, a DX Century Club member, a kit builder, and a regular participant in MSUARC activities.

So it was natural for Ed to want to create a legacy that would inspire the curiosity and creativity of future generations. When he decided to disassemble his elite contesting station setup, the club became his beneficiary.

On June 13 a crew of MSUARC members gathered at Ed’s QTH. A crane was hired to do the high altitude work, and piece by piece, we gently pulled apart the puzzle pieces of W8NRE’s tower and antenna system, for re-deployment at W8SH. In addition, Ed generously donated his pristine TenTec Omni and Centurion amplifier to the club, along with a dozen peripherals, all state of the art and all with low time on the components.

It is said that if we find our way to greatness, it is because we stand on the shoulders of giants. Few Michigan State alumni have had stronger shoulders than Dr. Ed Liebler. And the MSU Amateur Radio Club will be forever grateful for his generosity and friendship.

Memories from 1958

With the latest School Club Roundup in the books, here’s a look back to a contact confirmation from 1958 between MSUARC and the Wisconsin Badger Amateur Radio Society. Special thanks to Tim Czerwonka  for sending scans of this classic W8SH QSL Card our way.

The Michigan QSO Party – April 15

It’s the most important radiosport competition of our year. The Michigan QSO Party happens April 15-16. It’s our annual competition with our friends in Ann Arbor to see who can generate the highest overall score.

Come join us as we compete to keep the “ole log” here in East Lansing. 2121 EGR Saturday April 15 from Noon to Midnight.

Spring Build Night

Congratulations to all who converged on the MSU Maker Space rm# 2228 Engineering Building on March 23 for MSUARC’s Spring Build Night!

The magical aroma of solder was in the air as 12 club members constructed a capacitance meter (right). The device reads out the values on the 4 element LED display and can also feed data through an interface in real time to a laptop computer.

The club treasury provided funds for the kits and our group was able to take advantage of the full resources of the Maker Space for soldering irons and other tools.

Special thanks to Gregg, WB8LZG for making the arrangements and to Dennis, KB8ZQZ for watching over us as we tried to read resistor values and place the components into the right spots on the PC board.

Gregg WB8LZG gives a thumbs up while Ed, W8EO concentrates on construction.
Anton, KK6NA pays attention to detail as he applies solder to a connection.

What we learned at the Collegiate Amateur Radio Forum in Orlando

It’s no secret that recruiting a new generation into our essential avocation is a challenge these days. Technological innovations can diminish the wow factor of amateur radio and the time constraints college students face make it tough for them to get actively involved in ham clubs. But it turns out that the same things that enticed many of us more seasoned souls to engage are still important, and still work.

A group about 20 of us gathered at the 2017 Orlando Hamcation as part of the ARRL’s Collegiate Amateur Radio Initiative. Tom Gallagher, NY2RF, opened the conversation, expressing the league’s total support for our efforts. He’s doing a terrific job at the helm of an evolving organization that must walk a tightrope to serve an eclectic and often opinionated constituency.

Then it was time for the conversation.

We covered a number of topics which I’ll try to collate into some common buckets.

Getting the word out: Andy Milluzzi, KK4LWR is the President of the University of Florida’s Gator Amateur Radio Club. He pointed out that the fast-growing maker community is where potential radio amateurs are most likely to be found. Maker spaces exist in just about every college town and partnering with them is an easy way to get at the low hanging fruit.

Ed Oxer, W8EO, talked about MSUARC’s activities at Sparticipation, our annual fall gathering of student run organizations. Having a highly visible and attractive presence there yielded productive leads and prospective members.

Some clubs hold their own mini-hamfests, where the swap and shop dimension often yields gifts to the club as the shadows lengthen and alumni don’t want to haul their gear back home.

And, as always, showing off the magic often is the most effective way to grab attention.

Demonstrating the Art: Taking station operations public was suggested by a number of participants. Setting up radios, or remote connections in high traffic areas, where the curious might collect, had the festive feel of the broadcast remotes that many of us who pursued our hobby into a profession used to do. Holding an alumni tailgate with a special events station turned out to be a great way for former students to reconnect and selling club t-shirts there raised some symbolic funds.

Keep your antennas connected to software defined radios that display a visual bandspread in colorful waterfall eye candy for all to see.  A corollary might be to set up an automatic downlink and display of NOAA satellite pictures. Install a flat screen monitor outside your shack, or negotiate a campus wide cable channel and create a rotating presentation of real time DX spots, weather radar and live screen grabs from active rigs. Hook up a webcam that automatically streams live video and rig audio from your shack. Install an APRS I-Gate and connect trackers to your school’s mascot on game day (Like we do with Sparty). Make your shack accessible over the Internet for students who might want to log some contacts from their dorm rooms.

Creating and promoting browser based SDRs can help the curious get a taste of the bands before committing time and energy towards a more active role.

Sponsoring build nights, in concert with maker space partners, with a particular focus on the newest generation of small footprint processors, like the Arduino and Raspberry Pi, demonstrating the latest in digital RF technology and participating in every radiosport event possible gives participants a taste of the depth and breadth of amateur radio in the new millennium. Alumni play a huge role here and can offer both expertise and equipment.

Strategic Partnerships: Find a person or organization who regularly offers ham-in-a-day classes and strategically funnel prospects to them. Reach out to faculty and staff to determine internal interest and solicit mutually beneficial relationships. This might lead to professors offering and automatic 4.0 to those who got licensed. And identifying the right staff member to be the club’s steward is crucial. It needs to be someone who has bought into the vision and has the clout to help execute it.

Work side by side with students and teachers to help create trackers for balloon launches, telemetry for robotic projects and expertise with the 3D printing applications that many hams use to build cases for our own projects. All of these activities position the ham club as a go-t0 resource.

Scouting and amateur radio have a long and storied relationship. Eagle scouts are ideal prospects for any higher education institution and many have likely been exposed to our art during Jamboree On The Air.  Working with local schools, perhaps facilitating an Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) contact or advising a high school ham club can fill the pipeline with hot leads for future membership.

The Gear: In a world where students are always upgrading to the latest smart phones, it’s important to keep your shack state of the art. Alumni can assist, perhaps with a “rig on loan” program, crowdfunding for new equipment purchases or outright donations of radios, antennae and associated accoutrements. As mentioned above, access should be easy, perhaps available on line even to alumni who have contributed to the club’s endowment.

One of your club committees should be a shack update group, who focuses solely on the care, maintenance and cool-factor of the gear and the space that displays it.

An ideal club set-up might include one or more repeaters, the second an ever evolving platform for testing new modes; at least two HF operating positions with remote access, a fully automated satellite station, and a plethora of handheld rigs that students can check out.

Mentorship: And herein lies the ultimate key to success. Once a prospect has raised a hand, seek out a cadre of experienced hams who are willing to shepherd the willing into our world, inviting the to attend events and meetings, accompanying them to hamfests, assisting them with programming their radios and encouraging the to take steps outside of their comfort zone. At some point in each of our careers, someone did exactly that for us. There was that one person who fired our imagination, enabled our enthusiasm and cheered our participation.

Quality time is the most valuable thing we can give. It also has the potential to create the biggest return on investment, cementing lifelong friendships and inspiring the mentees to ultimately become mentors in their own right.

If we are to preserve the true magic of amateur radio, the most important thing we can do is “pass it on”.

Hear the entire ARRL Collegiate Amateur Radio Forum at the 2017 Orlando Hamcation: