Elmer Nights at SCARS — Menu
September 25, 2018, was the first Elmer Night at the Norman Red Cross building. The idea was to meet every Tuesday night from 6:30 pm to 9:00 pm. Local nets, web pages, Facebook, and the daily McMeetings at McDonald’s passed the word of the new endeavor. The expectation was that a few people would show up, and attendance would slowly build over the next few months. There were a dozen people in the building by 6:30 pm and by the end of the night, over 30 people had spent the evening together. Half of the group were Elmers, and the others were seeking help. Some needed a little help. Some needed a lot. That night ten entire HF stations walked through the doors. Icom 7300’s, Elecraft KX3’s, Yaesu 991’s and a whole lot more. $20,000 worth of radio gear that was purchased by people that couldn’t get them connected, or even get them turned on, brought them in. Elmers were found for every radio and by the end of the night each of the radios had been properly set up, their owners hooked them up and tested them on dummy loads, service monitors, or on-the-air.
The need for this activity was great. The energy generated during that first night has repeated itself weekly for almost a year now. The weekly attendance still averages 25 people. However, there have easily been over 200 different people through the doors. The people attending are what makes this event. There are a group of twenty or so dedicated Elmers that routinely show up to share their knowledge. The only planned agenda item is to “Open Doors.” What walks in is always a surprise.
Early on, a dozen people chose to learn some Morse code. They would bring in some recorded messages and send CW on code oscillators to each other. Some increase their speed and became more comfortable on-the-air.
As the weeks moved on, the activities kept expanding. Any available flat surface was used to design antennas, radios, systems, and more. The whiteboards get filled with propagation charts and computers arrived to show schematics, operating manuals, and videos of all types. Over time it has become harder to differentiate the Elmers from those seeking help. One week a new ham learns how to program his DMR radio using his laptop. The next week this guy brings his laptop showing how he was able to add the channels and zones that we needed for his area of town. On the third week, this new ham is showing a 20-year veteran ham how to program his first DMR device.
One of the hams bought a new 6-meter vertical antenna and needed help to get it working. There’s a spare tripod at the Red Cross, so they built the antenna and got it running. One of the most popular efforts during these evenings it the flag pole out front. When someone either buys, builds, or finds an antenna, they hoist it to the top of the flagpole. Typically it’s tied off to some trees, and then tested and tweaked by a dozen or so hams, provided two dozen different solutions! In this picture, you also see two hams working on an RTTY reception project. They used their phones to decode some signals sent from the International Space Station.
A college student recently upgraded to General. He was the first one to arrive at the following Elmer night. One of the Elmers helped him make his first HF contact. After two or three contacts, he was running by himself. Three hours later, he was the last one straggling out of the building.
One of the more recent activities involved a mag loop antenna. Thomas Hays built a 20/40 meter mag loop antenna that he was ready to test. He brought the antenna and his HF go-box to test his setup. In the picture above, the computer shows the SDR waterfall and is used to tune the antenna capacitor. He called CQ on 20 meters and received a return call from New Hampshire. The club dipole was used to compare the signals with the new antenna, and it tested out just fine.
One of our members, David Hickman, travels the world for his ‘day-job.’ To allow him to operate his station from anywhere with an IP address, he’s built a Flex 6300 system that includes a remote antenna grounding system. During one of his weeks at home, he and his daughter brought the three different connection methods that he uses on the road. He brought a PC to show FT8 efforts, a tablet to show how that operation worked, and his Maestro remote front panel. It was so neat to see all three of those interfaces work simultaneously, and we were able to talk to the radio room on 80 meters using this setup.
What has become common is that people are coming from miles around. Norman, OK is a suburb of Oklahoma City, and is on the south side. Each week, some hams travel an hour to get to the event. While it’s uncommon, there have been attendees that have driven two and three hours to get help with their radios.The pictures and stories could go on for days, but the following are projects that have happened at various Elmer Nights:
- Antenna design
- RF noise abatement
- “Next radio” purchases
- Radio training Radio repair
- Duplexer tuning
- DMR radio programming
- Analog radio programming
- On-air radio practice
- Morse Code practice
- Antenna building
- AREDN setup
- DMR hotspot setups
- Soldering practice
- Upgrade to General help
- Upgrade to Extra help
- Processing FCC paperwork
- Responding to ARRL requests for RF noise abatement
- Helping hams with special needs to use their equipment
- Building WSPR test radios
- Testing antenna from the flagpole
- QSL card creation
- Confirming contacts with QSL
- Setting up QRZ.com accounts
- Teaching kids radio skills
- ARES nets
- SDR programming
- SDR web interface
- GNU radio programming
- Computer setup/repair
- Upgrading computers
- Linux setup
- Coax crimping
- Model rocket telemetry and thrust vectoring
- NOAA radio download
- Getting kids involved in amateur radio
- Building measuring tape antennas
- Hidden transmitter hunts
- Building an 80 M dipole
- Computer networking
- Testing UHF repeaters
- Organizing Red Cross radio equipment
- Organizing club equipment club radios
- Setting up for Field Day
- Planning presentations for local civic groups
- VHF / UHF radio etiquette.
- And a whole lot more…
Recently, non-hams have been showing up to learn how to get licensed each week. When asked how they heard of this event, the typical answer was that a friend or family member had pointed them towards Elmer Night, or, they found the event on the club website. https://w5nor.org/elmernights
We’re starting to hear reports from a number of ham spouses, (OK, mine included), that are reminding their hams about Elmer Nights. The typical comment is “Don’t you have some place to go tonight to be with your friends???” I’m going to think that they are encouraging their ham to participate in the group, and aren’t simply looking for a quiet night for themselves. (That’s OK, to…)
Throughout the year many upgraded members have donated their training books to the effort. The non-hams are given the opportunity to get-on-the-air and are given training materials to start their journey. Should they need help, they are encouraged to come back, and they can receive one on one training.
The best summary of this effort comes from a long-term member. Recently, on the way out the door, he said, “Thanks for making this happen. It’s a lot more fun this way!”
OKDXA Meeting — Menu
A bigger story will be in next week’s newsletter, but the OK DX Association will host a $15 per person, buffet at the Cattle Country Inn in Stroud, Saturday, October 19th at 6 PM. The buffet opens at 6:15 with fried chicken, fried catfish and roast ham, salad, lots of veggies, and desserts. Bill Priakos, W5SJ, will be presenting about the TX5T Austral Islands Dxpedition he was on. Put this on your calendar, this place has great food, and you don’t need to be a member of the OKDXA.
Newsletter News — Menu
This newsletter is announced in a number of places. Feel free to subscribe to the way that suits you best. If you’re an email person, you can subscribe by visiting https://w5nor.org/email. If you’re a twitter person, visit us at https://w5nor.org/twitter. And, each newsletter announcement is posted on the Facebook group at https://w5nor.org/Facebook. And, if you like to search this yourself, you can go straight to the newsletter at https://w5nor.org/newsletter. Any way you found the newsletter, we’re glad you made it.
And, this newsletter should be for, and about, you. If you have a neat build project to share, or an interesting QSO, a new radio review, a new idea, an upcoming event, or if you’d like to help produce the newsletter, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. These don’t have to be polished articles, we’ll edit as required. Don’t forget a picture or two, that picture is worth a thousand words.
Local Hamfests — Menu
Briefly, here’s the list of the upcoming local hamfests. Hamfests are always great places to buy new equipment, sell your underused equipment, and find that great flea market bargain. They are always a great place to meet local hams and learn some new tricks.
09/21/2019 | Reno County KS Hamfest | Location: Hutchinson, KS
10/05/2019 | Wichita Area Hamfest | Location: Wichita, KS
10/25-26/2019 | Texoma Hamarama Hamfest | Location: Ardmore, OK
11/2/2019 | Enid Hamfest | Location: Enid, OK
3/7/2020 | Elk City Hamfest | Location: Elk City, OK
4/10-11/2020| Green Country Hamfest | Location: Claremore, OK
6/7-8/2020 | Ham-Com | Location: Plano, TX
7/24-25/2020 | Ham Holiday | Location: OCCC – OKC, OK
08/22-23/2020 | Joplin Hamfest | Location: Joplin, MO
09/05/2020 | Arkansas State Convention | Location: Mena, AR
The ARRL maintains a list of all US hamfests if you would like to travel. Click here for the ARRL list of those within 250 miles.
Podcast: The Doctor Is In — Menu
September 12, 2019
The Doctor discusses the wide variety of coaxial cable connectors, including some you may not recognize.
Podcast: So Now What? — Menu
September 19, 2019
ARRL Letter — Menu
SB DX @ ARL $ARLD037 ARLD037 DX news ZCZC AE37 QST de W1AW DX Bulletin 37 ARLD037 From ARRL Headquarters Newington CT September 19, 2019 To all radio amateurs SB DX ARL ARLD037 ARLD037 DX news This week's bulletin was made possible with information provided by EA4NF, KV1J, The Daily DX, the OPDX Bulletin, 425 DX News, DXNL, Contest Corral from QST and the ARRL Contest Calendar and WA7BNM web sites. Thanks to all. FIJI, 3D2. Heli, DD0VR will be QRV as 3D2VR from September 23 to 27. Activity will be on the HF bands using only SSB. QSL to home call. UGANDA, 5X. Anton, ON6NL is QRV as 5X8C from Entebbe until October 7 while working on telecom training. Activity is in his spare time. This includes an entry in the upcoming CQ World Wide RTTY DX contest. QSL to home call. GUYANA, 8R. Rudi, DK7PE will be QRV as 8R1CW beginning September 21 and here for a week. Activity will be in his spare time. QSL to home call. TONGA, A3. Grant, VK5GR, Oly, VK5XDX and Andrew, VK5AKH will be QRV as A35JT from Tongatapu, IOTA OC-049, from September 22 to October 7. Activity will be on 80 to 10 meters using CW, SSB and various digital modes. This includes entries in the upcoming CQ World Wide RTTY DX and Oceania DX contests. QSL via M0OXO. NAURU, C2. Operators Yuris, YL2GM, Jack, YL2KA, Kaspars, YL1ZF and Kristers, YL3JA are QRV as C21WW until September 25. Activity is on 160 to 6 meters, and possibly 60 meters, using CW, SSB, RTTY and FT8 in DXpedition mode. QSL via YL2GN. SOUTH COOK ISLANDS, E5. Fred, DH5FS is QRV as E51SFS from Aitutaki Island, IOTA OC-083, until September 25. Activity is holiday style on 40 to 10 meters using CW and FT8. QSL to home call. SPAIN, EA. Special event station AM500SAN is QRV from September 21 to 29 to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the first circumnavigation. QSL via EA7URF. BALEARIC ISLANDS, EA6. Philippe, EA4NF is QRV as EA6/EA4NF from Formentera Island, IOTA EU-004, until September 23. Activity is on the HF bands, including various Satellites, using SSB and FM. QSL via LoTW. ST. PIERRE AND MIQUELON, FP. Eric, KV1J will be QRV as FP/KV1J from Miquelon, IOTA NA-032, from September 24 to October 8. Activity will be on 160 to 6 meters using primarily SSB, RTTY and FT8 with some CW. This includes some activity on the analog Satellites, as well as being an entry in the upcoming CQ World Wide RTTY DX contest. QSL to home call. HONDURAS, HR. Operators W1UE, N2WQ, LZ5VV, SP4Z and VE3JI are QRV as home calls/HR9 from Roatan Island, IOTA NA-057, until October 7. They will be QRV as HQ9X in the upcoming CQ World Wide RTTY DX contest as a Multi-2 entry. QSL HQ9X via KQ1F and all others to home calls. MINAMI TORISHIMA, JD1. Kazu, JD1BNA plans to be QRV as JD1BNA/JD1 from September 25 to 30. Activity will be on 160 to 17 meters using mostly CW with a little SSB and FT8. QSL direct to JL1UTS. AUSTRIA, OE. Special event stations OE190APD, OE192APD and OE196APD will be QRV from September 21 to October 20 to draw attention to Animal Protection Day that takes place on October 4. QSL via OE3BKC. PAPUA NEW GUINEA, P2. Tim, KD5SSF plans to be QRV as P29ZL from Ukarumpa and active until April 1, 2020. Activity is mainly on 40, 30 and 20 meters from 0800 to 1200z using SSB and FT8, and FSKCW. QSL via W1YRC. SEYCHELLES, S7. Lance, W7GJ is QRV as S79GJ from La Digue Island, IOTA AF-024, until October 5. This is a 6 meter EME DXpedition. When the Moon is not visible, he is active on 20 and 6 meters using SSB and some FT8. QSL direct to home call. CRETE, SV9. Frank, PH2M is QRV as SV9/PH2M until October 3. Activity is holiday style. QSL to home call. EAST KIRIBATI, T32. Ken, KH6QJ is QRV as T32AZ on Kiritimati, IOTA OC-024, until September 24. Activity is on 80, 40, 20 and 15 meters using CW and SSB. QSL to home call. THIS WEEKEND ON THE RADIO. The ARRL EME Contest, ARRL 10 GHz and Up Contest, All Africa International DX Contest, Collegiate QSO Party, NCCC RTTY Sprint, NCCC CW Sprint, Activity Group of Belarus 80-Meter NEMIGA Contest, SARL VHF/UHF Digital Contest, Scandinavian Activity CW Contest, Iowa QSO Party, QRP Afield, New Hampshire QSO Party, New Jersey QSO Party, Washington State Salmon Run, Wisconsin Parks on the Air and Feld Hell Sprint will certainly keep contesters busy this upcoming weekend. The 144 MHz Fall Sprint and Classic Phone Exchange are scheduled for September 23. The UKEICC 80-Meter CW Contest, CWops Mini-CWT Test, SKCC CW Sprint and Phone Fray are scheduled for September 25. The Canadian National Parks on the Air, CNPOTA, operating event runs for the entire year of 2019, with special stations active from Canada's parks and historic sites. Please see September QST, page 80, and the ARRL and WA7BNM Contest Web Sites for details. NNNN /EX
Amateur Radio Newsline — Menu
– AMATEURS KEEP COMMUNICATIONS ALIVE IN FLOOD-RAVAGED KERALA
– HAMS HELP REUNITE FAMILY IN INDIA
– STRANDED TEXAS HAM ‘SAVED BY A SATELLITE’
– YOUNG ROMANIAN HAMS HAVE A PEAK SOTA EXPERIENCE
– NEW CONTEST OFFERS HAMS A DIGITAL DARE
– TURKISH AMATEURS LAUNCH NATION’S FIRST DIGITAL MODE CLUB
– MEET THE AMATEUR RADIO NEWSLINE AMATEUR RADIO CLUB WA6ITF
– SOTA ACTIVITY DAY HONORS NEW ZEALAND SILENT KEY
– WIA ANNOUNCES TROPHY WINNER IN CONTEST CHAMPIONSHIP
– VOLUNTEERS NEEDED FOR 60-MILE BIKE RACE UP ARIZONA MOUNTAIN
– WORLD OF DX
– IT’S A DOG-GREET-DOG WORLD ON THE SUMMITS
The Amateur Radio Newsline can be found at ARNewsline.org.
Odds and Ends — Menu
- All those links
- ARES Memory Settings (Red Box at the bottom of the page)
- Collector and Emitter Archive
- YLRL Nets and other info
- Real-time Solar Weather
- SCARS Officers
- HF Net List
- Norman VHF Repeaters audio stream
- ARRL Outgoing QSL Service
- Announced DX Operations
- D-Star stuff
- Real-time lightning data
- Oklahoma ARES Voice Over IP Net
SCARS Is On The Web — Menu
- Homepage: W5NOR.ORG
- News and Updates: SCARS Newsletter
- Repeater Resources: SCARS Repeater
- Oklahoma DMR Resources: OKDMR
- Facebook: SCARS Facebook
- Twitter: W5NOR
- Email: email@example.com
News, links, repeater info, hamfests, licensing, and more are linked from the menu sidebar at the SCARS Homepage – W5NOR.ORG!
73 de Mark N5HZR