Amateur Radio From Loudoun County VA

October 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

The next LARG Club meeting will be on October 20, 2001, at 8:30  a.m. in the Conference-Training Room at the Leesburg Police Station on Plaza Street The facility is located on Plaza Street between East Market Street and Edwards Ferry Road. Talk-In is on 147.480 MHz. You can join other LARG members for breakfast (~7:30) before the meeting at the International House of Pancakes located in the Shopping Center with Walmart, just off of Rt. 15, north of Leesburg.

September Club Meeting Notes - John, KG4L, gave us a fascinating demonstration of the ATV payload that he is putting together for a future LARG balloon flight. John's system consists of a color video camera, a GPS receiver and GPS captioner, and a video transmitter that operates on the 440 UHF band. Of course, the complete, working payload also contains numerous bits and pieces from John's ample junkbox.

October Club Meeting Plans - It's that time of year again! The summer / fall hamfest season is over so it is time for our very own LARG MINI-HAMFEST. If you don't remember, these are very informal, free-form events. Bring all your ju..., whoops, we mean valuable electronics and after the completion of our normal club meeting just set you items out and see what everyone else has brought. Remember, the idea is to leave with less than your brought! We have no formal rules, but try to keep most items below the $5.00 to $10.00 price range.

September 11 Event Response - LARG can be very proud of its members participation in the post-attack communications efforts. We manned temporary emergency radio stations at the Red Cross HQ in Leesburg and at a Red Cross field site near Dulles Airport. LARG members also helped out at the Pentagon site.

October 13, 14 - Pennsylvania QSO Party. Please get on and give out a few QSO's to our friends to the north. Bill, K8SYH, will be in the Keystone state operating during this event, so be sure to look for him operating portable again from a campsite in rare Somerset County. Take a look at for more information about times and frequencies. Remember to tell the PA stations to get on and give out a few Q's in the VA QSO Party to reciprocate!

Club News - - Our Technician license class, organized by Bill, K8SYH, is off to a tremendous start. We have 15 students attending the class, the most we have ever had for one of our license classes... ... It was nice to see Temp, W4HZV, for a few days as he stopped by his home base on the way back from a summer in Alaska and northwestern Canada before continuing on to Florida. His motorhome mobile station puts out an impressive signal, which he proved by working Wes, WA4TSC, from Alaska a number of times... ...

A Short Overview of Amateur Radio Contesting

Why should you enter a ham radio contest? Well, for one thing, they are a lot a fun; and probably you have already been in at least one "contest" - the annual ARRL Field Day exercise that LARG enters every year. The fall-winter-spring season is the prime contesting time. Not only do the colder and shorter days keep us indoors more, but atmospheric conditions are more stable (e.g., fewer thunderstorms disrupting the HF bands). But here are some specific reasons that you may want to get on the air for a contest this winter:

1. You are guaranteed to improve your operating skills, whether you use SSB or CW.

2. You will learn all the capabilities of your station: transceiver, accessories, antennas, etc. 3. You will learn more about HF or VHF/UHF propagation.

4. You will have to opportunity to talk to many other hams in a short amount of time.

5. You will be able to add to your list of new countries, zones, etc. (Note: contesters are good QSLer's.).

What kind of contests are there for you to enter? There are contests for just about every aspect of amateur radio interest: SSB, CW, FM, RTTY and other digital modes; and covering all the ham radio spectrum from 160 meters to 10 GHz. However, the HF WARC bands, 30, 17, and 12 meters are always kept contest free. Many contests are mode specific, e.g., CW only. Others are band specific: ARRL 10-meter contest. Contests can be roughly divided into HF (160 meters through 10 meters) and VHF (6 meters and up). Although in some contests, like the Virginia QSO Party, you can make QSO's on both HF and VHF bands. Some of the contests that are the most fun for a small club like LARG are those that have a category for a club team entry. Some of the contests that have a club entry are coming up in the near future:

ARRL Sweepstakes CW - 11/3 - 11/4/01

ARRL Sweepstakes SSB - 11/17 - 11/18/01

ARRL 10-meter Contest - 12/15/01

ARRL DX Contest CW - 2/16/ - 2/17/02

ARRL DX Contest SSB - 3/2 - 3/3/02

VA QSO Party - 3/16 - 3/17/02 (This is the BIG ONE!)

Rules for these and other contests can be found on the ARRL web site and a listing of upcoming contest times and dates can be found in QST's "Contest Corral" section.

Equipment You do not need 150' towers and a cloud of aluminum tubing to enjoy contests and contesting. Most of us compete using modest stations and wire antennas plus maybe a tribander. We measure our success mostly against ourselves and try to better the scores we got in previous contests. Of course, it's fun to compare scores with your buddy across town who's using the equipment similar to yours. You do have to know how to operate your equipment efficiently and well. If you have any questions about entering a contest or how to log the stations you work or how to submit your log, you can contact members of your friendly LARG Contesting Committee; also they will be glad to show you their stations and how they have set them up to be efficient and easy to use for ham radio contests:

John, W4AU, 540-338-4620 or [email protected]

Norm, AI2C, 540-338-2584 or [email protected]

Paul, N4PD, 703-771-9284 or [email protected]


Calendar of Events:

Every Third Saturday 8:30 a.m. Club Meeting - 10/20/2001 - Leesburg PD
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