Another Great GOTAhams day

Saturday June 15 was another really wonderful day with My GOTAhams Family, Mark set up a hospitality booth at the Claremont Swap meet and served up free hot coffee and some Doughnut bites that were enjoyed by attendees including some quietly famous Amateurs including Bob Brehm of Palomar Engineers (Kathi and I have attended his RFI seminars at a couple Hamfests). Mark, Jack, Bruce, Bob, Charles, Chris, James with his son Samuel, Kathi and I talked with many new and old friends promoting Ham Radio, Field Day and of course our fledgling club. I almost forgot, A very generous Ham at the Swap Meet donated two thirty foot push-up antenna masts to our club that we will definitely be using for Field Day. after close of the swap meet, as usual we went to San Dimas Canyon park and set up our field station with the “GOTAhome”. As usually happens with these outings, the typical struggles with new canopies, setting up slightly different antenna configurations and setting up Bruce’s new Yaesu FT991A we finally got on the air. Well this was “Kids Day” so we were hoping for some of those contacts but we mostly heard the Big Gun stations responding to QRP stations on the eastern seaboard, nothing was really heard close to home. Our New member Charles KM6CEM sat down at the IC-7300, got comfortable tuning the rig and made a contact with W6GGI, operating from Pismo Beach. I was impressed with how well a 80 meter off-center fed diploe could quickly tune almost flat and how broad-banded it was on nearly all bands 80 and below. I do believe this may be our “go-to” all bander for Field Day along with our Diamond CP-6AR Vertical. We were visited by new friends from the general public and old friends with whom we’ve spent other field days. Kathi fed the hungry crew with a giant Sub sandwich from Capri Deli in Covina along with cold drinks and chips supplied by Mark. These Field Operations are very energizing but sure leave me tired the next day. I hope to see LOTs of smiling faces Saturday the 22nd at East Shore RV park, look up our information on our Field Day page. ’73 Ken KC6WOK

Counting down to… Field Day!

It has been a busy weekend working on the GOTAhome adding our second solar panel, adding a larger fuse and testing a new remote for the 2000 watt pure sine wave inverter/charger etc. We have also been researching things other Radio Clubs are planning for Field Day, that has been an adventure in itself. I know what we have planned, we haven’t been secretive in the least and our plans are fully in line with ARRL’s description of the true spirit of field day, “Amateur Radio’s open house”.

ARRL begins a lengthy description and within the first two paragraphs states that “Field Day is NOT a contest”. I personally view Field Day as Ham Radio’s largest “Social Event” of the year and would like to keep that spirit at our field day site as we do at all our monthly field events.

Many of the clubs are pushing to “Stay away if you are unwilling to work” and /or ” Radio is not a spectator sport”… Really? If anyone at all feels put off by this type anti-social behavior, please feel free to “spectate” at our Field Day site.

You are welcomed to watch, listen, have a bite to eat, ask any questions and just “Hang Out” to learn what Amateur Radio, Emergency Communications, CERT, and disaster response is all about. Bring your kids, friends and family members, we are a friendly group regardless of what you have heard or experienced about other Radio Clubs or field Day sites. GOTAhams welcomes Kids with activities to do involving Communications, Electronics and STEM focused projects including hunting hidden transmitters.

GOTAhams looks forward to meeting anyone with an interest in wireless communication whether you are a licensed operator and want to sit down at a transceiver or just want to find out what we do in this hobby. Even unlicensed folks can “Get On The Air” with our GOTAhams G.O.T.A. station and communicate with folks all over the country without the help of the internet! “When All Else Fails, Ham Radio Prevails”!

Me and all my “GOTA’s” will see you there ’73 Ken KC6WOK

A day at “Antennas in the Park”

GOTAhams officers Mark Arlotti KM6AHY, Kathi Mixon KD6CAF and Ken Mixon KC6WOK spent the day in Fullerton with Fullerton ARC and HomingIn ARDF chasing some elusive electronic “foxes” with a newly constructed tape measure beam antenna. our hosts served lunch and were wonderful hosts and really great mentor/elmers showing us the basics of radio direction finding. Radio Orienteering as it is also known is lots of fun and should be on every Hams “Bucket List” if you get an opportunity. I definitely see some version of this being added to our GOTAhams field operations and another opportunity to get the Youngsters and non-Hams involved as this is a receive only radio-sport so no license is required. Check out more ARDF information at our ARDF page (click here)

April adventures re-cap?

Its been a while since my last blog, but some updates and upcoming events are in order.

Our members have been quite busy, Bruce and Jack upgrading to General privileges at the end of March and Vic upgrading just 2 weeks later! I am so proud of these friends! Now… it is Your turn to help others get their Amateur license or upgrade to your level. Doing that kind of mentoring is what the hobby is about and the pride you will feel is certainly worth the time you will invest.

Kathi and I had planned on doing the “Homingin” transmitter hunt on April 20, unfortunately working long hours led to some foot issues so we opted for the Claremont swap meet and came across a couple of GOTAhams hanging out with Richard Pryor. We also did some shopping and picked up a couple used Alliance U100 antenna rotators. Used (discontinued) rotors might seem like a fools game but I happen to know of a Ham that rebuilds and supplies parts for those and many other popular antenna rotators, Norms Rotor Service. Hopefully I can build myself a poor mans satellite tracker system out of this $20 purchase.

In our “Shack” we do a little kit building and play with homebrew antennas. I soldered together a really cool Morse tutor kit by K1EL.com for Kathi. She did the calibrating on it and now has a nice little tutor touch keyer for her CW practice.

I started building a T-hunt antenna with offset attenuator from www.kc9on.com and a few pieces of PVC pipe adorned with tape measure pieces cut out of a FREE Harborfreight 25′ tape measure. Our long plan for this antenna is to aquire a few “Fox” transmitters, have a fun little antenna build day in the park and get all the GOTAhams hunting those little foxes down! I would like to get a few kids at field day playing with these antennas. Fox hunting is a Receive only event requiring no amateur license to participate! Lets get the YLs out there hunting also!

Homingin.com is holding another event on May 4th if anyone wants to learn from some experienced Transmitter Hunters.

Kathi is tirelessly reading every word of the field day rules (as I’m sure Mark is) making sure all rules are followed and our field day submissions are correct. It was brought to our attention that another local Ham club began their field day planning assuming the wrong date!? Rest assured our date IS correct including Kathi calling the ARRL to be reassured we have that date correct.

GOTAhams is planning our picnic in the park at San Dimas Canyon park on May 18th, same day as the Claremont Swap Meet. We are looking forward to seeing you at the swap and at the park!

Ken KC6WOK