FWRC holds first indoor meeting of pandemic

The October Fort Wayne Radio Club regular meeting was held on Thursday 15 October, 2020. And, it was held indoors!  Yes, indoors at the Allen County Public Library (ACPL) in downtown Ft. Wayne to the delight of those who attended. We had a regular business meeting which included determining club officers and Board members for the 2021 club year.  Minutes from the meeting will be published shortly.

We have also obtained use of the ACPL venue for the months of November and December, and hope to be able to continue using it in 2021 for the foreseeable future until we can find another meeting location, perhaps back at the Good Shepherd United Methodist Church should they decide to open their doors to outside groups again.

The facilities at the ACPL are outstanding as you can see from the photo of the October meeting above. We have the use of meeting rooms A & B which can accommodate up to 126 people in a Corona virus-compliant environment.  The picture depicts just one half of the space that Rooms A & B provide for a meeting space.

The October meeting included thirteen attendees. We hope to see many more for the November meeting.

Club President Carole Burke is working on a special speaker to address the November attendees on the details of a unique communication system that functioned quite well in the days prior to the invention of wireless.  She is being coy about the exact details but is sure that everyone will enjoy the presentation.

The November meeting will occur on Tuesday, 17 November, 2020 and will start promptly at 7:00 pm, so jot this date down in your calendar.  Remember, you can park in the garage beneath the library. And if you hold an ACPL library card the parking is free. Otherwise they charge $1.00 per hour. (It’s easy to obtain a library card if you are a resident of Allen County).

FWRC to meet at downtown library on new dates

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Allen County Public Library main branch

FWRC secretary Al Burke, WB9SSE, announced that the club has booked the main, downtown branch of the Allen County Public Library, 900 Library Plaza, for general meetings Thursday, October 15; Tuesday, November 17; and Tuesday, December 15. Note that these dates are different that those originally planned for these meetings and on different nights that the club’s traditional Friday meetings, because the space was not available on the normal dates.

The club booked Rooms A and B, which have a combined, normal seating capacity of 126 and will therefore accommodate at least 30 people with required social distancing. Members who enter the building from the Library Plaza entrance will bear to the left to find the meeting room. Those who park under the building will arise at the west entrance and will walk toward the Library Plaza entrance and turn right.

In a separate communication, FWRC president Carole Burke wrote that meetings will begin promptly at 7 p.m., because the building closes at 9 p.m.

Parking is convenient under the building and is free to library card holders. Otherwise it’s $1.00 per hour. Library cards are free to anyone who can document Allen County residency. Parking is also free to card holders in the library’s surface lots.

Update on FWRC digital repeaters

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Fort Wayne Radio Club Parrot Road repeater enclosure

The Fort Wayne Radio Club provides a D-STAR repeater operating on 442.99375(+)  MHz from its Parrott Rd. site near New Haven, plus an analog FM /C4FM digital (Fusion) repeater operating on 146.940(-) also located at the Parrott Rd. site.  Both antennas are up about 270’ so both machines have pretty respectable coverage. Both machines operate with the club’s W9TE callsign.

The FM / Fusion machine gets a reasonable amount of use, predominantly in the analog mode. It has a significant footprint.  Operation in the digital (Fusion) mode seems sparse, probably because we have not yet implemented the Fusion Wires-X technology that would interface the machine to worldwide Fusion users via the internet. I note a  number of stations (8) in the Ft. Wayne area that are listed as Fusion nodes, (see www.yaesu.com/jp/en/wires-x/id/id_usa.php), but I rarely hear then talking to one another in the digital mode on the 146.940 machine.  We are just beginning to look into what it would take to interface the 146.940 machine to the internet via Wires-X. It gets down to money for the Wires-X hardware, and the time plus expertise required to work the software and network tasks the interfacing will require.

The D-STAR machine had been working just fine. There was a moderate amount of traffic heard on it, especially on the weekends when it would be connected to an international reflector. However, recently we have been experiencing a problem with internet connectivity at the Parrott Rd. site. We use a 900 MHz data radio link from Phil Hooper’s QTH (AB9IZ) to the Parrott Rd. site, about one and a half miles away. Phil provides the internet access at his house and it’s piped to the Parrott Rd. site via the data radio. We are currently trouble shooting the problem and suspect we may have a sick 900 MHz data radio.

We must correct the internet connectivity problem to enable the Ft. Wayne D-STAR node to once more become fully functional. We must also solve the internet connectivity issue if we are to implement the Wires-X technology with the Fusion machine to allow it access to the internet too.

Club election email sent

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Sep. 18, Steve Nardin, W9SAN sent email to all club members with an attached document that explains the procedure for the election of club officers this year.

If you are a current member and did not receive the message, it’s possible that club records lack your current email address. Contact Steve directly at w9san@arrl.net.

Outdoor FWRC meeting Sep. 18

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Steve Nardin, W9SAN announced via email today that the Fort Wayne Radio Club will hold its monthly general meeting Sept. 18, at 7 p.m. in the parking lot of Good Shepherd United Methodist Church, 4700 Vance Avenue. The weather might be colder than usual, so Steve encouraged members to consider bringing a sweater, sweatshirt or jacket. He also requested members to bring a chair and a mask to wear.

Steve reported that club leaders are searching for an indoor location for subsequent meetings.

He also reported that they are working on email or postal mailings to enable all members to vote in the coming election of club officers, regardless of members’ ability to attend meetings in person.

Steve wrote that club leaders plan to mail membership forms, since the club will not be able to collect dues during the Fort Wayne Hamfest this year. They still hope, however, to offer a raffle of some kind as an incentive to pay dues before the first of December. Steve encouraged members to contact a member of the club board of directors with any suggestions for raffle prizes.

NWS Plans Online-Only Autumn SKYWARN® Storm Spotter Class

SKYWARN Spotter Training graphic with SKYWARN, WRN and NWS logos.

The northern Indiana office of the National Weather Service (IWX) will resume SKYWARN® storm spotter training this fall, but only via the internet. The office plans to teach its class via the GoToWebinar service, which supports Windows, Mac, Linux and Chrome computers, as well as iOS and Android mobile devices. As is always the case with NWS SKYWARN classes, there will be no cost to attend.

IWX plans to offer the class six times this fall:

  • Wednesday, October 14, noon – 2 p.m.
  • Thursday, October 15, 5 p.m. – 7 p.m.
  • Wednesday, October 21, noon – 2 p.m.
  • Thursday, October 22, 5 p.m. – 7 p.m.
  • Wednesday, October 28, noon – 2 p.m.
  • Thursday, October 29, 5 p.m. – 7 p.m.
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September fox hides in weeds

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fox cartoon

The weather on 13 September was perfect for this month’s edition of the FWRC Foxhunt; mild temperatures in the 70s and slightly cloudy with a gentle breeze. A good day to be outside. But despite the gorgeous weather, we only had two foxhunt teams show up at the Cobin Memorial Park starting point. Team #1 consisted of Al & Carole Burke, WB9’s SSE & RUS plus Jim & Annie Pliett, K9OMA & KA9YYI. Team #2 consisted of Steve & Linda Nardin, W9’s SAN & LAN, plus their grandson Alex.

Charles Ward, KC9MUT served as the fox. He choose the parking lot of the Harlan Community Park in Harlan, Indiana, and quite effectively hid the microfox at the bottom of a section of chain link fence barrier, which was located in a field filled with weeds, by attaching it to the bottom structure of the barrier using a magnet. The (expletive deleted) thing was essentially invisible. He implemented the high power fox using a yagi at the top of his truck mounted telescoping mast, about 30’ high, and drove it at one point with about 100 watts on 146.430 MHz

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2020 Fort Wayne Hamfest Canceled

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Fort Wayne Hamfest Logo

FWRC recevied today the following information from Fort Wayne Hamfest Chairman Joseph Lawrence, K9RFZ:

“The Fort Wayne Hamfest Steering Committee has closely followed the progression of CDC, Indiana State, and local Health Dept individual recommendations and large gathering guidance. Consultation with annual volunteers and long-time loyal vendors indicates a growing consensus their attendance would be limited due to pandemic concerns. Our host venue is going to great lengths to minimize infection risk, recently published recommendations stating, “Individuals 65 years of age or older, or those in high risk categories with underlying health conditions, should consider not attending any event at the facility.” The Indiana Governor has extended the mandatory mask wearing order through the end of October.

“In the face of this much credible pandemic risk, the Steering Committee has decided to cancel this year’s Fort Wayne Hamfest for the health safety of our valued guests, vendors, and volunteers. We share your disappointment and hope for a swift end to the pandemic so we may again meet for eyeball QSOL’s and support favorite ham gear vendors at hamfests across the country.

“We look forward to hosting a healthy and safe Fort Wayne Hamfest on November 13 & 14, 2021. See you next year!”