ANNUAL ARMED FORCES DAY CROSSBAND MILITARY/AMATEUR RADIO COMMUNICATIONS TEST (09 MAY 2009)

The Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard are co-sponsoring the annual military/amateur radio communications tests in celebration of the 59th Anniversary of Armed Forces Day (AFD). Although the actual Armed Forces Day is celebrated on Saturday, May 16, 2009, the AFD Military/Amateur Crossband Communications Test will be conducted 09 May 2009 to prevent conflict with the Dayton Hamvention (15-17 May 2009), which is the same weekend as the actual Armed Forces Day.

The annual celebration features traditional military to amateur cross band communications SSB voice tests and copying the Secretary of Defense message via digital modes. These tests give Amateur Radio operators and Short Wave Listeners (SWL) an opportunity to demonstrate their individual technical skills, and to receive recognition from the Secretary of Defense and/or the appropriate military radio station for their proven expertise. QSL cards will be provided to those stations making contact with the military stations. Special commemorative certificates will be awarded to anyone who receives and copies the digital Armed Forces Day message from the Secretary of Defense.

MILITARY-TO-AMATEUR CROSS BAND SSB & CW TEST CONTACTS.
Military-to-Amateur cross band operations will take place on the dates/times in ZULU (UTC), and frequencies listed below for each station. Voice contacts will include operations in single sideband voice (SSB). Some stations may not operate the entire period, depending on propagation and manning. Participating military stations will transmit on selected Military MARS frequencies and listen for amateur radio stations in the Amateur bands indicated below. The military station operator will announce the specific amateur band frequency being monitored. Duration of each voice contact should be limited to 1-2 minutes. The following stations will be transmitting on MARS frequencies listed below which are provided as “Window/Dial Frequency” in kHz.
Some stations will use CW to provide the opportunity to check in by Morse Code

Army Stations
STATION: AAZ (09 May 1400Z – 10 May 0300Z)
Frequency Emission Amateur Band
4038.9 kHz LSB 80M
6913.0 kHz LSB 40M
14.402.0 kHz USB 20M
13996.0 kHz USB 20M
18211.0 kHz USB 17M
7577.0 kHz CW 40M
13507.0kHz CW 20M

7639.5 kHz RTTY 40M
13512.5 kHz MT-63 20M
Location: Fort Huachuca, AZ
Address:
Commander NETCOM/9th ASC
ATTN: NETCOM-OPE-M (MARS) (31)
2133 Cushing Street
Ft. Huachuca, AZ 85616-7070
POC: Mr. Dewayne Smith
DSN: 821-7324
Commercial: (520) 533-7324

STATION: AAC (09 May 1300Z – 10 May 0100Z)
Frequency Emission Amateur Band
3348.5 kHz LSB 80M
7363.0 LSB 40M
9180.5 MT63 USB 30M
13910.5 kHz USB 20M
Location: Lexington, KY
Address:
HQ 1st BDE, 100th DIV (IT) MARS Station
Barrow Army Reserve Training Center
1051 Russell Cave Pike
Lexington, KY 40505
POC: Barry Jackson
Commercial: (859) 227-0137

STATION: ABH (09 May 1600Z – 10 May 2300Z)
Frequency Emission Amateur Band
3195 kHz LSB 80M
3360 kHz LSB 80M
4440 kHz LSB 80M
4466 kHz LSB 80M
7360 kHz LSB 40M
7720 kHz LSB 40M
8040 kHz LSB 40M
8094.5 kHz LSB 40M
14483.5 kHz USB 20M
14489.5 kHz USB 20M
17443.0 kHz USB 17M
17592.5 kHz USB 17M
20978.0 kHz USB 15M
20559.0 kHz USB 15M
Location: Schofield Barracks, HI
Commander, 396th Signal Company
30th Signal Battalion, 96857
POC: WO1 William Pemberton
Commercial: (808) 655-3387

STATION: ALM (09 May 1600Z – 10 May 2300Z)
Frequency Emission Amateur Band
13741.5 kHz USB 20M
4003.0kHz LSB 80M
7317.0 kHz LSB 40M
Location: Fort Wainwright
Commander, 507 the Sig Co, 99703
POC: CW4 Roderick Mitchell
507th Signal Company
Commercial: (907-353-0082

STATION: WAR (09 May 1200Z – 2400Z)
Frequency Emission Amateur Band
4020.9 kHz LSB/CW 80M
7504.0 kHz LSB/CW 40M
13512.5 kHz USB/CW 20M
20518.5 kHz USB/CW 15M

Location: Pentagon, Arlington VA
Address:
Pentagon ARC
PO Box 2322
Arlington VA 22202
POC CAPT Rick Low, USN
Station telephone:
Commercial: (703) 693-8423 DSN 223-8423

STATION: WUG-231 (09 May 1300Z – 10 May 0200Z)
Frequency Emission Amateur Band
4032.9 kHz LSB 80M
7.360.0 kHz LSB 40M
6.826.0 kHz LSB/CW 40M
14486.0 kHz USB 20M
14663.5 kHz USB/CW 20M
20973.5 kHz USB/CW 15M

Location: Memphis, TN
Address:
USACE Memphis District Office
ATTN: Jim Pogue
Public Affairs Office Room B-202
167 N. Main St.
Memphis, TN 38103-1894
POC: Mr. Jim Pogue
Commercial: (901) 544-4109

STATION: AAV (09 May 1300Z – 2000Z)
Frequency Emission Amateur Band
4038.9 kHz LSB 80M
7360.0 kHz LSB 40M
13963.5 kHz USB 20M
FORT MONMOUTH NJ
POC WILLIAM FITZSIMMONS
DIRECTOR REGION 2
N2LMU@JUNO.COM

Air Force Station
STATION: AIR (09 May 1200Z – 2400Z)
Frequency Emission Amateur Band
4517.1 kHz USB 80M
6996.1 kHz USB 40M
13985.1 kHz USB 20M
20737.6 kHz USB 15M
ROBERT WILLIAM STROH, A1C, SCORB, USAF
GLOBAL SYSTEM RADIO OPERATOR
89 CS/ 89 ASG
ANDREWS AFB, MD
DSN: 858-3109
COMM: 301-981-3109

STATION: AIR-2 (09 MAY 1200Z TO 2400Z)
Frequency Emission Amateur Band
4590.1 KHZ USB 80M
7540.1 KHZ USB 40M
13993.1 KHZ USB 20M
POC: Mr. AL EIERMANN
ADDRESS: AFCA / AF MARS
203W LOSEY ST
SCOTT AFB, IL 62225
COMMERCIAL: (618) 229-5963

Navy/Marine Corps Stations
STATION: NAV (09 MAY 1200Z – 09 MAY 2330Z)
FREQUENCY EMISSION AMATEUR BAND
4010.0 KHZ LSB 80M
7348.0 KHZ LSB 40M
14478.5 KHZ USB 20M
20994.0 KHZ USB 15M
ADDRESS: HQ NAVMARCORMARS RADIO STATION NAV CHEATHAM ANNEX BLDG. 117
108 SANDA AVE
WILLIAMSBURG, VA 23185-5830
POC: BO LINDFORS
COMMERCIAL: (757) 887-4494 DSN: 953-4494

STATION: NAV3 (09 MAY 1200Z – 10 MAY 0400Z)
FREQUENCY EMISSION AMATEUR BAND
4014.0 KHZ LSB 80M
7394.5 KHZ LSB 40M
13974.0 KHZ USB 20M
20997.0 KHZ USB 15M
ADDRESS: NAVMARCORMARS RADIO STATION NAV3
9035 OCEAN DR SUITE 3A
CORPUS CHRISTI, TX 78419-5234
POC: ITSC (SW) BROWN
COMMERCIAL: (361) 961-5002 DSN: 861-5002

STATION: NAV4 (09 MAY 1200Z – 10 MAY 0400Z)
FREQUENCY EMISSION AMATEUR BAND
4011.5 KHZ LSB/MT63 80M
7376.5 KHZ LSB 40M
14467.0 KHZ USB 20M
21758.5 KHZ USB 15M
ADDRESS: NAVMARCORMARS RADIO STATION NAV4
615 PREBLE AVE
CAMP BARRY, BLDG. 153
GREAT LAKES, IL 60088-2850
POC: ITC (SW/AW) STEPHEN ANDERSON
COMMERCIAL: (847) 688-3787 DSN: 792-3787

STATION: NBL (09 MAY 1200Z – 10 MAY 0400Z)
FREQUENCY EMISSION AMATEUR BAND
4041.5 KHZ LSB 80M
7371.5 KHZ LSB 40M
14391.5 KHZ USB 20M
20623.5 KHZ USB 15M
ADDRESS: NAVMARCORMARS RADIO STATION
4 LANTERN LANE
CHELMSFORD MA 01824-1316
POC: ROBERT VETH, DIRECTOR REGION ONE
COMMERCIAL: (978) 256-5264

STATION: NPL (09 MAY 1500Z – 10 MAY 0400Z)
FREQUENCY EMISSION AMATEUR BAND
4003.0 KHZ LSB 80M
7351.5 KHZ LSB 40M
14463.5 KHZ USB 20M
20936.0 KHZ USB 15M
ADDRESS: NAVMARCORMARS RADIO STATION
937 NORTH HARBOR DRIVE
SAN DIEGO, CA 92132-5100
POC: ITC (SW) TIGHE
COMMERCIAL: (619) 532-1490 DSN: 522-1490

STATION: NUW (09 MAY 1500Z – 10 MAY 0400Z)
FREQUENCY EMISSION AMATEUR BAND
4044.0 KHZ LSB 80M
7381.5 KHZ LSB 40M
13528.5 KHZ USB 20M
20952.5 KHZ USB 15M
ADDRESS: NAVMARCORMARS RADIO STATION
260 W. PIONEER FSC BLDG.
NAS WHIDBEY ISLAND, WA 98277
POC: MR. DIGGER O’DELL
COMMERCIAL: (360) 675-2823 DSN: 820-8038

PART II. SECRETARY OF DEFENSE MESSAGE TEST VIA DIGITAL MODES.
The Secretary of Defense message will be transmitted via digital modes including RTTY, PACTOR, AMTOR, PSK-31, MFSK and MT63 from the stations listed below, including frequencies, mode, and date/time in Zulu (UTC). All frequencies are listed for center of intelligence. Offset as appropriate for your TNC. Sound cards modes will use standard factory settings (Note: Not all stations may necessarily operate on all the frequencies listed, depending on propagation and available equipment.)

Army Stations
STATION: AAZ (HQ Army MARS and Western Area Gateway, Fort Huachuca, AZ)
Frequency Mode Broadcast Date/Time
6988.0 kHz RTTY 10 May/0110Z
PACTOR FEC 10 May/0130Z
MT63 10 May/0220Z
PSK-31 10 May/0250Z
14402.0 kHz RTTY 10 May/0110Z
PACTOR FEC 10 May/0130Z
MT63 10 May/0220Z
PSK-31 10 May0250Z

STATION: WAR (Pentagon MARS Station, Washington, DC )
Frequency Mode Broadcast Date/Time
6988.0 kHz Olivia 09 May/1700Z and 2300Z
MT63 09 May/1715Z and 2315Z
14440.0 kHz PACTOR FEC 09 MAY/1730Z
RTTY 09 MAY/1745Z
4020.9 kHz PACTOR FEC 09 MAY/2330Z
RTTY 09 May/2345Z

STATION: AAV
Frequency Mode Broadcast Date/Time
3243.5 kHz MT63 10May/0030Z
7358.5 kHz RTTY 10 May/0100Z

Air Force Stations
STATION: AIR-2 (Scott Air Force Base)
Frequency Mode Broadcast Date/Time
7831.1 kHz RTTY 09 May/1930Z
MT63 09 May/2030Z
MFSK 09 May/2100Z

14877.1 kHz RTTY 09 May/2130Z
MT63 09 May/2230Z
MFSK 09 May/2300Z

Navy/Marine Corps Stations
STATION: NAV (HQ NAVMARCORMARS RADIO STATION, WILLIAMSBURG, VA)
FREQUENCY MODE BROADCAST DATE/TIME
7346.5 KHZ RTTY 75 BAUD 09 MAY/2340Z
AMTOR FEC 10 MAY/0010Z
MT63 10 MAY/0040Z
14480.0 KHZ RTTY 75 BAUD 09 MAY/2340Z
AMTOR FEC 10 MAY/0010Z
MT63 10 MAY/0040Z

STATION: NAV3 (NAVMARCORMARS RADIO STATION, CORPUS CHRISTI, TX)
FREQUENCY MODE BROADCAST DATE/TIME
7393.0 KHZ RTTY 09 MAY/2340Z
AMTOR FEC 10 MAY/0010Z
MT63 10 MAY/0040Z
13975.5 KHZ RTTY 09 MAY/2340Z
AMTOR FEC 10 MAY/0010Z
MT63 10 MAY/0040Z

STATION: NAV4 (NAVMARCORMARS RADIO STATION, GREAT LAKES, IL)
FREQUENCY MODE BROADCAST DATE/TIME
7375.0 KHZ RTTY 10 MAY/0240Z
AMTOR FEC 10 MAY/0310Z
MT63 10 MAY/0340Z
14468.5 KHZ RTTY 10 MAY/0240Z
AMTOR FEC 10 MAY/0310Z
MT63 10 MAY/0340Z

STATION: NBL (NAVMARCORMARS RADIO STATION, GROTON, CT)
FREQUENCY MODE BROADCAST DATE/TIME
7370.0 KHZ RTTY 09 MAY/2340Z
PACTOR FEC 10 MAY/0010Z
AMTOR FEC 10 MAY/0040Z
14393.0 KHZ RTTY 09 MAY/2340Z
PACTOR FEC 10 MAY/0010Z
AMTOR FEC 10 MAY/0040Z

STATION: NPL (NAVMARCORMARS RADIO STATION, SAN DIEGO, CA)
FREQUENCY MODE BROADCAST DATE/TIME
7350.0 KHZ RTTY 10 MAY/0240Z
PACTOR FEC 10 MAY/0310Z
AMTOR FEC 10 MAY/0340Z
14465.0 KHZ RTTY 10 MAY/0240Z
PACTOR FEC 10 MAY/0310Z
AMTOR FEC 10 MAY/0340Z

STATION: NUW (NAVMARCORMARS RADIO STATION, NAS WHIDBEY ISLAND, WA)
FREQUENCY MODE BROADCAST DATE/TIME
7380.0 KHZ RTTY 10 MAY/0240Z
PACTOR FEC 10 MAY/0310Z
AMTOR FEC 10 MAY/0340Z
13530.0 KHZ RTTY 10 MAY/0240Z
PACTOR FEC 10 MAY/0310Z
AMTOR FEC 10 MAY/0340Z

SUBMISSION OF SECRETARY OF DEFENSE TEST MESSAGE ENTRIES.
Transcripts of the RTTY, PACTOR, AMTOR, PSK-31, MFSK and MT63 receiving test should be submitted “as received”. No attempt should be made to correct possible transmission errors. Provide time, frequency and call sign of the military station copied, including name, call sign, and address (including ZIP code) of individual submitting the entry. Ensure this information is placed on the paper containing the test message. Each year a large number of acceptable entries are received with insufficient information, or necessary information was not attached to the transcriptions and was separated, thereby precluding issuance of a certificate. Entries must be sent to the appropriate military address as follows:

a. Stations copying Secretary of Defense message transmitted from AAZ/WAR/AAV send entries to:

Armed Forces Day Celebration
Commander NETCOM/9th ASC
Armed Forces Day Celebration
Attn: NETC-OPE-MA (MARS) (31)
Fort Huachuca, AZ 85613-5000

b STATIONS COPYING SECRETARY OF DEFENSE MESSAGE TRANSMITTED FROM
NAV, NAV-3, NAV-4, NBL, NPL OR NUW SEND ENTRIES TO:
ARMED FORCES DAY CELEBRATION
CHIEF, NAVY-MARINE CORPS MARS
CHEATHAM ANNEX BLDG 117
108 SANDA AVE
WILLIAMSBURG, VA 23185-5830

c. Stations copying Secretary of Defense message transmitted from AIR-2 send entries to:

Armed Forces Day Celebration
AFCA / Chief, AF MARS
203W Losey St
Scott AFB, IL 62225

Lots of little stuff going on…

I went to the HAMBASH in Kansas City this morning. Pretty big venue, most all of the tables were filled – also some quality vendors around the periphery. Lots of old-time rigs that looked like they were in good shape. Only saw one table were there was a guy selling DVDs (that had nothing to do with ham radio). They had an XYL Lounge upstairs, with coffee and cookies. There were a few city/county EOC radio shelters setup outside but by the time I got out there, my daughter had hit the meltdown stage and so we headed back home for her nap.

Did I buy anything? Of course. I got some antenna wire for a horizontal loop antenna project that I want to complete soon. Also some black Dacron line to use to help raise the loop. There was also a mini-hamfest near the parking lot were I found an old dummy load for $15 and a bunch of old Motorola gear that included these plastic wedge radio/phone stands that I think would be perfect for placing a mobile radio on when you are using as a base to better allow you to see the front of the rig (I bought two for $1 each). HAMBASH was quite crowded, despite the rainy weather outside.

Yesterday, the weather was great and I got a chance to take my daughter out on a bicycle ride again. Wanting to improve the TX capability of my bike-mounted TH-D7A for APRS, I built an HT Tigertail. I did notice significant improvement on my ability to get out on APRS when using the Tigertail (still with the power set at 500mW).

Tomorrow I want to try to launch my horizontal sky loop. I’ve got plenty of antenna wire and support line. I have ladderline for the feedline. I should be set. I hope the weather cooperates.

Rainy Sunday

It has been a cold, rainy Sunday. We are on short final for the delivery of child number two… about 12 more days. Spent part of the day finishing the fixes to the nursery. Despite the rain, I BBQ’d two excellent steaks for dinner. I spent a good amount of time at Fort Lewis, WA so BBQing in the rain is no big deal.

Yesterday I mounted a bike seat for my daughter (age 3) on the back of my underused Trek bicycle. The weather was pretty nice, sun and a little cool. I decided to take along my TH-D7A and mounted my Garmin eTrex on the handlebars… I was APRS bicycle mobile again (with a small passenger). I kept the power setting at EL (50mW) and had good luck getting digipeated by N7FTM, which is nearby. To get a little better coverage and maintain the low draw on the battery, I configured the home TM-D710A to digipeat only the packets from my TH-D7A. I hope the weather improves soon so I can do some more bicycle mobile testing. A speaker-mic would also be a great addition to the setup.

I have been doing a little more reading on APRS (when I should be working on homework). One item that I found very intriguing was CQSRVR. There is a good run down of that feature here and Bob “Mr. APRS” Bruninga’s, WB4APR, recent article in QST. What amazes me is that the CQSRVR feature is not used more often. I have also had a great time playing with aprs.fi. I am a long time user of findu.com, but aprs.fi is just a wonderful tool to use in looking at APRS data.

It is time to get ready for Field Day. The plan is to road trip out California and link up with my dad, KD6EUG, at his cabin in Mi-Wuk (near Sonora, up in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. We will be a 2A operation. My rig will consist of my resurrected ARSIB (Amateur Radio Station In a Box). The ARSIB is based around the FT-817ND. To give the FT-817ND a boost, I’ve paired it with a 100W Tokyo HyPower amplifier. The tuner remains the LDG Z-11 PRO. I would like to have both a rig control interface and control cable from the radio to the amp but the the FT-817 has only one ACC input. Enter the CAT MATE – I am hoping this will solve the ACC input limitation. For a logging program I think we will go with the N3FJP logging software. It offers the ability to have two (or more) seperate stations have a combined log. It also features a software-based voice and CW keyer, which may come in handy. The downside is it is a Windows only program and it does not have integrated PSK-31. This will require a manual work around to add PSK-31 QSOs. I need to get all the pieces and parts together and start testing everything out to make sure there are no surprises. We will be busy enough stringing antennas and I want to minimize any adjustments I need to make to my own equipment during actual operation.

Send these commands to UI-VIEW as a message

I’ve been having fun using my TH-D7A with the UI-View32 setup at the home QTH. The commands below allow me to send a message from my TH-D7A back to my home rig and get a specified response:

?APRSP – sends back a location beacon.
?APRSS – sends back the status text.
?APRSO – sends back your active objects.
?APRSD – sends back a list of stations that have been heard direct.
?APRST (or ?PING?) – sends back the route by which the query was received.
?APRSH – sends back information on when was last heard.
?VER? (not an APRS query, but some APRS software supports it) – sends back information on the software version in use.

With “Remote commands” enabled in UI-VIEW, you can send the following commands that are specific to UI-VIEW

QAS – causes your system (the Ui-VIEW station) to Query All Stations.
QWS – causes your system (the Ui-VIEW station)to Query WX Stations.
BCN – causes your system (the Ui-VIEW station)to send a beacon.
LGS (or LG1) – enables logging at (the Ui-VIEW station),
using a log file named according to the date.
(This command must come from the station callsign.)
LGX (or LG0) – disables logging at (the Ui-VIEW station). (This
command must come from the station callsign.)
DX – causes your system (the Ui-VIEW station) to send an abbreviated best DX report.
!program – when sent to (the Ui-VIEW station) runs a program in the RCOMMAND directory

Wheat State Wireless Association

In meeting my requirement to speak to a community group, school, or other organized gathering of citizens – I debuted my presentation tonight to the Wheat State Wireless Association’s April club meeting – located in Paola, KS.
The club had about a dozen members in attendance – seems like a very nice club, a good number hams who were very friendly and welcoming.
Overall, I think the presentation went well. I think I am going to add a slide that shows the specific equipment that I used while in Iraq and maybe another slide showing the WinLink path between Germany, my station in Iraq, and the one in Qatar. I think maybe a handout as well that includes some of the QST articles that talk about amateur operations in Iraq. The presentation time ran about 30 minutes or so. It seemed like the audience was interested and there were a handful of questions afterwards. One young woman approached me afterwards and told me about how her grandfather was a member of Navy MARS during the Vietnam War and operated phone patches. She said she had never really understood what that was about and that my presentation made her realize the great value her grandfather provided the military personnel and their loved ones. She also said she remembered going into his radio room that had racks of old tube radios and the distinct smell that used to produce when they were in operation.
I have my notes mostly finished and will add a link to my presentation slides here soon.

TM-D710A and UI-View32


I was able to interface my TM-D710A with UI-View32. Previously I was using UI-View32 along with a Kantronics KPC-3+ and a dedicated FM rig (FT-1500) with a direct packet connection. This set up worked well – UI-View32 puts the KPC-3+ into KISS mode and the rest of the settings are pretty straight forward. The advantage of using the TM-D710A (one of many) is that with its two radios in one I can run my APRS station and also get on the local repeaters while only using my one VHF/UHF antenna.

I use Weather Display in conjunction with my Davis Vantage Pro2. Weather Display is an amazingly powerful application and it works well with UI-View32, allowing my APRS station to transmit my weather data in addition to my position info.
Configuring TM-D710A and UI-View32 to work together is little more tricky.

The TM-D710A has a built-in TNC. When you use the TM-D710A in a mobile configuration, the TNC runs in APRS mode. When used with UI-View32, the TNC operates in standard packet mode. It looks like it is possible to use the TNC in KISS mode, but I am not sure how to do that with UI-View32. The directions from Kenwood for the TM-D710A include a recommended CMD file to be used with UI-View32. I used the recommended CMD file and UI-View32 and the TM-D710A worked together up to a point. What was missing were two TNC commands that allow UI-View32 to see the received APRS traffic and then display the traffic on the UI-View32 map. Here is what the CMD file looks like now:

;This is a sample TNC initialization file for use with
;the Kenwood TM-D710A.

[SETUP]
;DON’T alter anything in this section unless you are
;sure you know what you are doing!
COMMAND_PROMPT=cmd:
COMMAND_CHARACTER_CODE=3
ESCAPE_CHARACTER_CODE=
CONV_COMMAND=CONV
MYCALL_COMMAND=”MYCALL ”
UNPROTO_COMMAND=”UNPROTO ”
NO_BEACON_COMMAND=BEACON EVERY 0

[INIT_COMMANDS]
^C^C^C
;Control mode on.
TC 1!TS 1
;Select TNC PKT mode on A band.
TN 2,0!TN 2,0
;Waiting for command prompt.
^M!cmd:!5
;Repeating the first two commands is not an error!
ECHO OFF
BEACON EVERY 0
ECHO OFF
BEACON EVERY 0
;Also UI-View32 to see incoming APRS traffic
MON ON
MCOM ON

This Weekend…

Joseph Sheehan Bicycle Road Race: Today I helped support a 52.9 mile bicycle race between Leavenworth and Atchison, KS. The weather was miserable. A cold morning to begin with. Then rain… and sleet. Even snow. I was positioned at a intersection that crossed the highway which served as about the 10 mile mark and then 40 mile mark on the route back. 52 cyclist made it to the 10 mile point and not more than 20 went on to finish the race. I couldn’t believe that many of the guys hung with it. Those were some dedicated folks.
There were four of us supporting the race, positioned at key spots along the route (inside our nice, warm vehicles). I was able to have several “lessons learned” for this event. I had a distinct lack of planning and preparation.
(1) I didn’t fully check my rig prior to the event. I was at the event site trying to do a radio check with net control with no results.
(2) When it is time to troubleshoot, you have to use logic. When time is short (because of lack of preparation) and problems come up, you have to keep your head. Troubleshooting a radio system is pretty basic. Start from one end and work to the other. Finding that the antenna feedline isn’t properly connected to the rig should be an easy fix.
(3) Having an HT as backup is good. Knowing how to change the settings on it is critical. One of those Nifty manuals or smart cards does the trick.

That being said, thanks to the quick thinking of the net control I was able to initially talk to him on my HT using a repeater that didn’t require a tone (I’d forgotten how to change the tone setting on my Kenwood TH-D7A). I eventually figured out how to set the tone and was on the repeater with the other folks. Then with a bit more thought and troubleshooting, I discovered my feedline connection to the rig had come loose and with that fixed I was back in business. Part of the problem is that I have a relatively new rig in the truck, the Kenwood TM-D710A. It is a very complicated rig and I have only scratched the surface on how to operate it. I was able to interface it with the Garmin Nuvi 350 thanks to a cable from Argent Data Systems. The cable allows the D710A to pass APRS data to the Nuvi and the Nuvi plots the data as waypoints. It works pretty well.

Big week ahead. I mentioned before that I have some specific graduation requirements for the course I am in at Fort Leavenworth. This week I should be able to complete another of the requirements: speak to a community group, school, or other organized gathering of citizens. I have put together a presentation concerning my operations of both amateur radio and MARS station while in Iraq and will be giving the presentation to one of the local amateur radio clubs. The presentation, in addition to my operations, covers the history of the US Army and amateur radio while deployed overseas. It has been fascinating researching the operations of previous Army hams from WWII (Germany and Japan), Korea, Vietnam,

Spec/5 Dennis Vernacchia operating MARS Radio Station AB8AY, out of relocated radio station in quonset hut, puts radio-telephone calls through to the states for the troops stationed at LZ Betty and to co-ordinate Operation Vietnam Merry Christmas
Spec/5 Dennis Vernacchia operating MARS Radio Station AB8AY, out of relocated radio station in quonset hut, puts radio-telephone calls through to the states for the troops stationed at LZ Betty and to co-ordinate "Operation Vietnam Merry Christmas"
Desert Storm, Afghanistan and Iraq. I also cover the history of amateur radio in Iraq from the early days in the 1920s through the Saddam period and then today. Once I get my slides spiffied up a bit more and add some notes, I will post a link here so those who are interested can take a look. My final requirement is: write professionally by submitting a letter to the editor, Op-Ed piece, or article for publication. My intent is to turn the presentation into an article and then send it to ARRL’s QST. Most of the article is done – I hope to get it completed this week as well.