Amateur Radio From Loudoun County VA

July 2001

The LARG Radio News - DE K4LRG

The Loudoun Amateur Radio Group, P.O. Box 1004, Purcellville, VA 20134

President Dennis Boehler KF4TJI (703) 777-9427
Vice-Pres. Mark Gillam N3GMW (540) 822-5690
Secretary Carol Boehler KF4TJJ (703) 777-9427
Treasurer Tom Garasic NA4MA (703) 753-0568
Editor John Unger W4AU (540) 338-4620
Training Bill Buchholz K8SYH (540) 338-6928

No scheduled club meeting on July 21, 2001! Instead, we have scheduled the next LARG balloon launch on that date; see below for details.

June Club Meeting - Preparation for Field Day

Field Day Results - Well, another successful LARG Field Day is over and done. All of those who participated agreed that this year's event was one of the best ever despite trying a whole host of "new" things: computer logging, setting up five HF stations so that we were in the 5A category, and powering three of those stations with battery power only. The bottom line is that we made 2946 QSO's, including 136 dupes. The breakdown of the 2810 "good" QSO's are shown on the attached table (Note: those of you getting this Newsletter via email will have to go the the LARG website to view the table). These totals are almost 1000 greater than our best efforts in the past. Congratulations to all the folks who made this Field Day so successful.

Balloon Launch - All the systems are "go" for the launch, tracking, and recovery of the LARG "Sky-Eye" balloon on July 21. Tom, WB3AKD, led the team that assembled the instrument package for our third balloon launch, which is the most ambitious in terms of the instrumentation. We will have new temperature and pressure sensors, improved RF shielding, and a still camera package designed by Bob, W4POF, to take still photos on board the flight every three minutes.

The data from the balloon will be transmitted on 145.650 MHz as a continuous CW-modulated FM signal and will send data on barometric pressure (altitude), inside and outside temperature, and battery voltage.

Mission Control will operate from Craig's, N4OHE, mountaintop QTH and will attempt to plot the position of the payload from bearings obtained from the tracking team and will record the telemetry from the payload instruments. Mission Control will also coordinate the other teams as necessary and function as a communications relay station.

The communications frequencies will be 144.945 FM and 7.185 +/- LSB and 7.015 +/- CW; the HF frequencies will be used mainly to communicate with the launch team and the more distant tracking teams that have HF capability.

Norm, AI2C, will coordinate the tracking / recovery operations. We will have our initial tracking sites located further from the projected balloon track in order to improve the bearings we get. The launch team will be led by Bob, W4POF.

The final Sky-Eye committee meeting will be held at the Purcellville Library, Robie Room, from 1800-2000 on July 18. If you want to help out during the launch, come to the meeting or contact Tom or Norm.

Club News - The information on the next page was received from Temp, W4HZV, via email when he was north of the Arctic Circle in his amateur radio equipped motor home in early July.

Saga One of our travels during our BIG Alaskan Adventure was our trip to the Arctic Circle.

Here are some of our notes........ We left from Fox, AK (just North of Fairbanks) about 8:00AM, leaving the PU at the campground. We traveled two highways, the Elliott and the Dalton, however most of our travels were on the Dalton. The Dalton Highway is a 400+ mile gravel road, built to support the Trans-Alaska Pipeline. There are just a few stops along the way and most have very limited services. This Road is mostly used today to service the Prudhoe Bay oil fields.......lots of BIG trucks going and coming, however we found them to be courteous. By the way, this Road is used the year around!

The Trans-Alaskan Pipeline goes from Prudhoe Bay in the North to Valdez, AK in the South. It's construction, as it traverses the land, is a marvel in itself. They had to consider all sorts of environmental issues such as animal migration, river crossings as well as not disturbing the permafrost. If the ground supporting the pipeline structure was to be warmed, it would become unstable. The oil enters the Pipeline at quite a high temperature; comes out at about 215 degrees in Valdez. For you engineers out there, we'd describe this as if you were building a vehicle for space travel.....quite a fete that was build in a relatively short time.

Our first stop going up and our last stop returning was at the Arctic Circle Trading Post. The Trading Post is run by a true bush family that have 18 kids (some are foster). We didn't get a chance to meet the parents, but we did meet some of the kids.....all home schooled, having various talents, etc. Here we also met Kris Graef, the Editor of The Milepost. She was checking her routes and on her way to Deadhorse. She also told us that we were among the very few who would venture up to the Arctic Circle with such a 'large' motorhome. Guess we were just to dumb to know any better!

Our next major going and coming stop was at Yukon Bridge crossing. This is a major stop for the truckers as well as tourists. The BLM has a nice resting station here...even includes a manned information center. The Native Alaskans also use this as a transportation exchange point to one of there villages further down the Yukon, accessible only by boat (dog sled in Winter). This is also the last crossing of the Yukon River before it reaches the Bering Sea. We met two young Austins here who were kayaking the Yukon from inland somewhere to the Bearing Sea. Better them than us! From this point, we were about 50 miles from the Arctic Circle.

We arrived at the Arctic Circle about 3:30 almost 8 hour drive covering a little less than 200 miles. There really isn't much there......a big sign, a few picnic tables and of course several pit toilets. Here about all one can do is take pictures of the 'Event' at the 'Arctic Circle Sign', that is if the mosquitoes and black flies don't drag you off. Even furry Flip Flop wanted to come in the 'House'! We stayed the night up there at the BLM CG. Here we were able to send several e-mails confirming that we 'made it'. Also had several nice radio contacts...QSOs with Leo (K9GDI), David (KI5OJ) and Wes (WA4TSC) to name a few.

We returned to Fox, AK the next day (4th of July). The weather was good going and coming til just about 1 hour out on our return trip. At that point it began to rain a bit.

Some observations..............we traveled thru some very harsh country. As we traversed further North, the vegetation got very scrubby and we didn't see much wildlife either......just a few birds and a squirrel. Nothing much up there that man has been able to screw up or junk up either.......just miles and miles of land with a road in and out. Why did we do this?........for us, this was one of our main objectives in coming here.....a once in a lifetime Adventure doing something not all that many folks have done.

Field Day Notes...........We operated for several hours from Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada. Made about 40 contacts, but did not keep a log. Later on we learned that we probably were the only station in the whole of the Yukon who was on..........sorry now I didn't do a log. Most stations could not figure out where "VY1/W4HZV" was........the logging programs put the Yukon with in the Northwest Territories which is NOT the Yukon! The DXers who understood were really glad to get the contact including Bob, K8NY in Charlestown.

Calendar of Events:

Every Third Saturday 8:30 a.m. Club Meeting - 7/21/2001 - Balloon Launch
Weekday Mornings and Evenings Commuter Net, 147.480 MHz Simplex
Every Sunday 8:00 p.m. Club Radio Net, 147.480 MHz simplex
Every Tuesday 8:00 p.m. LARG Slow Speed CW Net - 28.050 MHz