Amateur Radio From Loudoun County VA

October 2002

The LARG Radio News - DE K4LRG

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

President Mark Gillam N3GMW (540) 822-5690
Vice-Pres. Larry McCaig KC1YC (703) 443-2397
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 October 19, 2002, LARG Meeting will be at 8:30 AM in the Leesburg Holy Trinity Lutheran Church at 605 West Market Street. The church is located at the intersection of Market Street and Catoctin Circle on the west side of town. It is just east of the bypass. From the Bypass, take the Leesburg exit at the west end of town and the church is on the right just past the stoplight. Please enter through the door on the east side of the building. There are both steps and a ramp by the door. 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.

October Club Meeting Plans - We will select the entr,es for the Annual LARG Christmas Dinner to be held on December 18 at the Tuscarora Mill Restaurant. Tom, WB3AKD, will discuss the plans and schedule for our fall balloon launch. John, W4AU, will go over the fall - winter contesting season and give out some tips on having fun in all the upcoming contests. Remember, the November club meeting will the last one for 2002; the Annual dinner will replace our December meeting.

Club News - It looks like a number of LARGer's got on the air for the Pennsylvania QSO Party this last weekend. Special congratulations go to Bill, K8SYH, who operated portable in the rare Somerset County and who not only set a new record for that county but also got a clean sweep, working all 67 Pennsylvania counties. Charlie, K4LJH, reports that he had great success with a low, 40-meter Windom and his Kenwood TS-520 while operating portable along the coast of Maine last month. Charlie not only worked many of us in Loudoun county in the evenings but also managed to work some DX.

Contesting - The fall and winter season features a number of interesting and fun contests. You don't need to "compete" to enter a ham radio contest. Contests are a great way to check out your radio and see how it performs or to work states and countries that you need for a Worked All States or DXCC award. Here are a few ideas for hams just starting out with low-power stations that don't have gain antennas; we hope some of these hints will reduce your frustration level and let you enjoy some contests during the next few months. Come to the meeting for more and to get your questions answered. First, lets look at the ARRL Sweepstakes SSB Contest, to be held the weekend of November 16/17:

1.) Read and understand the rules.

2.) Listen a while before you begin to operate. Hear how the others are giving their exchanges and the pattern of operating.

3.) Avoid repeating yourself; give you call sign once; give your exchange once. If the ham on the other end didn't copy everything, he will ask you for a repeat. Speak crisply and rapidly, but clearly enough to be understood; use phonetics for your callsign; say "Virginia" for your section, and use phonetics for your precedence. If the guy comes back with "section?", say "Virginia, victor alpha".

4.) Pick you operating times and bands: Try to find a block of time when you can be on the air for at least a few hours, more-or-less continuously. This approach will give you time to get a feel for propagation and let you get comfortable with the signal levels of the other stations. For example, avoid 40 meters at night; too much interference from shortwave broadcast stations.

5.) The "big guns" in this contest tend to run out of new people to work on Sunday afternoon and evening. This time period is a good one to operate; 20 meters should be nice and open to the western U.S. Try and find a clear space high in the band on 20 meters and try calling CQ rather than search-and-pouncing (S&P). Don't be disappointed if no one responds to your first call; keep at it for at least 5 minutes. If you don't get any responses, go back to S&P.

Calendar of Events:

Every Third Saturday 8:30 a.m. Club Meeting - 19 October 2002
Leesburg Holy Trinity Lutheran Church
Weekday Mornings and Evenings Commuter Net, 147.480 MHz Simplex
Every Sunday 8:00 p.m. Club Radio Net, 145.310 MHz down 600 KHz
Every Tuesday 8:00 p.m. LARG Slow Speed CW Net - 28.150 MHz