Tom NY4I is forming a multi-club one-day General Workshop.
THIS IS NOT A CRAM SESSION. You must do pre-work from the book. Our goal is to work with the material you have learned by self-study, clarify some topics and teach you how to be a general. We want people to know what to do with their general class license when they get it.
We will start 6 weeks before the scheduled workshop day. Each student is REQUIRED to purchase a Gordon West General Class Study manual. The students have to commit to doing the work ahead of time with help from our instructor team to understand anything along the way. When they got to the session, we did a high-level review of the questions but more importantly, we sat them down at the radio (using the well equipped SPARC HF station) so they knew how to use their radio. Having the beam outside to show the difference between the director and reflector, having a working HF station so we can show digital modes, etc makes for a much more hands on session.
We plan a session to be held on a Saturday starting at 8:30 AM at the SPARC clubhouse in Pinellas Park. We have coffee available. The students bring a sack lunch. They spend the day reviewing any areas they have questions and also get experience hands-on with the equipment. An example is something simple but it illustrates the intent. Last time I brought my box full of coax connectors and adapters. They read about N connectors in a question, but passing them around and seeing them up close makes them better hams. Due to the need for a fully-operational HF station, plus for the amount of room we have, the location has to be the SPARC location in Pinellas Park. That is quite centrally located to everyone.
A the end of the day, a VE team comes in and gives tests to all the students. No one that was an instructor in the workshop is permitted to participate in that test session. That is just to avoid any appearance of impropriety.
The expectation is that the student could really pass the test after their pre-study work. This gives them a specific date to get it done. The students have to do the work up-front. If they think they cannot crack the book and just attend a one-day class, they will most definitely fail. That is on them. If they participate, and respond to our interim sessions (a few conference calls emailing questions) and come to the session wide-eyed and bushy-tailed, they will pass. We had 6 out of 6 pass the last time we did this session.
We will set a date only after we gauge the interest. I have to limit this to 20 people. The first 20 people that respond are on the list. We can then decide on a weekend.
The optimal student is self-motivated, willing to make studying for a General class license a priority and electronically available (email, etc). Please respond to Tom NY4I@arrl.net. Please let me know if you are interested in upgrading to General with this workshop format. Note this info is being shared with other clubs in Pinellas County so if you are seriously interested in upgrading to General, reply today!
Due to a last minute cancellation at DMI, we were able to participate in the NAQP RTTY contest. Operators participating on the W4TA Multi-2 category team were: Ron KP2N, Bob N2ESP, Dee N4GD, Tom NY4I and Johnnie W4TSP. The team used N1MM+ logging software which incorporates the MMTTY RTTY engine. This facilitated the ability to display real time contest statistics on our big screen TV as well as live on our web page. We ended the contest early as thunder storms approached. Claimed score for this event was 446. Thanks to all those that participated.
Click on the map at the top of the menu on the left to see a real-time summary of the SPARC Field Day effort. This information comes directly from the logging computers via a Raspberry Pi. We hope you make it down to the club station today but if not, you can watch our progress.
This year, SPARC contest station W4TA participated in the Florida QSO Party with a special 1×1 call: W4S. 2017 marks the 20th anniversary of the FQP. In celebration, twenty Florida stations were given special 1×1 calls such that the proper suffixes, when combined together, spell out FLORIDA SUN as part of this year’s FQP spelling bee. That means that the rest of the country was looking for us.
N4RI works the CW station [N2ESPhoto]
Things started slowly for the CW station on 40M while the SSB station took off like a rocket on 20M. It’s safe to say propagation was equally poor for all event participants. Having amplifiers to drive our new antenna system enabled us to be heard around the country. We worked all 50 states and 8 of the 9 Canadian provinces, with a few DX countries thrown in for good luck. We were also fortunate to work SPARC member Lisa KC1YL who was at her northern QTH in CT. Thanks for the Q Lisa.
The FQP started Saturday at noon, and so did the food. Many thanks to Tom W4CU for the crockpot of chili and to Bob WB4MCF for the donuts. Sunday morning we were treated to fresh bagels courtesy of Tom NY4I.
KB8ESY (L) backup logging while N4GD (R) working the phone station [N2ESPhoto]
SPARC has a policy of encouraging newcomers to our hobby. We invite new hams and first timers to join us in the fun. While this can have a short term negative effect (on our score) the long term effect is very positive. In this sprit, Dave KR4U told us of his five minute QSO. We all looked at him in amazement, as Dave is a proficient CW operator. We all know that propagation was lame at best with lots of QSB. But five minutes? Must have been a lot of fills…FIVE MINUTES? Dave went on to explain that he was calling CQ FQP and a station returned around 5 WPM. Dave reduced his speed and sent our exchange. What ensued was hi, my name is … my QTH is… my radio is… my WX is… the typical newbie QSO. Dave recognized the situation and kept the QSO going…for five minutes. The toughest 2 points in our log, but worth 1000 QSO quality points. Thanks Dave for acting in the true amateur tradition.
KP2N (L) backup logging while KB8ESY (R) works the phone station [N2ESPhoto]
Operators participating in this event were Bob N2ESP, Dave KR4U, Dee N4GD, Johnnie W4TSP, Paul KA4IOX, Rex, KB8ESY, Ron KP2N, Scotty N4RI, Tom NY4I and Tom W4CU.
The final score indicated 613 CW QSOs and 733 SSB QSOs. A great showing for SPARC as we represented Pinellas County to the ham radio community.
This month, join the contesters at SPARC Contest station W4TA as they use the special 1×1 call sign W4S in the Florida QSO Party. The object of the Florida QSO Party is for everyone to work Florida (67 counties) and Florida to work everyone.
This year is the 20th anniversary of the FQP. In celebration, twenty Florida stations have been given special 1×1 calls such that when the proper suffixes are combined together spell out FLORIDA SUN (e.g. SUN = W4S & K4U & W4N). Working the right combination of these stations makes you eligible for the FQP Spelling Bee Award.
SPARC will be operating as W4S for 10 hours (April 29 1600Z (Noon EDT) – 0159Z (9:59 PM EDT) Sunday, April 30 1200Z (8 AM EDT) – 2159Z (5:59 PM EDT) 20 Hours total using both CW and SSB modes. If you would like the opportunity to work the receiving end of a pile up, please sign up with Ron, KP2N.