Our updated QSL cards for this year’s Thirteen Colonies Special Event came back from the printer last week. This let us get about the business of responding to all of the QSL requests to the K2K New Hampshire Station. This project took the better part of two days to complete. We replied to approximately 450 direct QSL requests as well as 180 Buro QSL requests from previous years. The net was that I filled out about 630 cards in about two days. We expect that this batch of QSLs will represent about 2/3 of the QSL requests that we will receive for the 2013 Event.
I believe that operating awards serve several important purposes within the Amateur Radio community. First, they encourage operators to get on the air and operate. Each award is different in this respect – some encourage DX’ing (ex. ARRL DXCC awards) while others encourage specific types of contacts (ex. the RSGB IOTA awards) and others are designed to encourage operators to provide the best possible experience in on the air events. At a personal level, operating awards several two important functions – they give us a means to test the performance of our stations and our skills as operators and they provide us with motivation and encouragement to improve both. Occasionally, an operating award comes along that really means a lot and I am happy and proud to say that I’ve recently achieved one of these. I’ve been active in the Thirteen Colonies Special Event for three years now and I’ve been working to improve our station and my skills as a pileup operator throughout this period. The 2011 event was my first experience operating a special event station (K2K New Hampshire) and I made several hundred digital contacts that year. In 2012, we used the Thirteen Colonies Special Event to prove in our new shack and made over 1,000 contacts using a mix of digital modes and SSB phone. This year, I set out to achieve the Top Operator Award in the high-power, single op category using our recently completed station including our tower-based antenna system and high-power setup. As you can see from the photo above, this effort was successful and provided an award that I will always be very proud to display in our shack.
2013 Thirteen Colonies Top Operator Certificate
I was able to make 5,812 contacts over the 6 1/2 days of the 2013 Thirteen Colonies Special Event. These contacts were made across all of the non-WARC bands from 160m – 2m. You can see more of the details of the contacts that Anita (AB1QB) and I made this year here. I’d like to thank Ken Villone (KU2US) who runs the Thirteen Colonies Special Event and Richie Feola (W1STT) who is the New Hampshire coordinator for the event for providing us with the opportunity to be part of something very special.
New K2K New Hampshire QSL Card
Richie (W1STT), Anita (AB1QB) and I have been working on a new QSL card for the Thirteen Colonies K2K New Hampshire station. I think it has turned out quite nicely. The new cards are in the process of being printed and we’ll be sending out the new cards to those who have QSL’ed contacts with K2K this year as soon as we receive them.
Thanks so much to everyone who participated in the 2013 Thirteen Colonies Special Event. I hope that we created some good memories for everyone. This is certainly the case for me.
I recently learned of the Sci-Tech Discovery Center in Frisco, Texas USA. This fine facility is dedicated to helping young people to learn about Science and Technology and to hopefully encourage them to pursue Science and Technology learning and vocations. A group of local HAMs in Texas has teamed up with Sci-Tech to install and operate a very nice Amateur Radio Station at Sci-Tech. I recently met with Barry Goldblatt, WA5KXX to tour the station at Sci-Tech and to learn more about what Barry and his team are doing with the Boy Scouts and other youth groups to promote Amateur Radio among young people in the Dallas, Texas area. The following is Barry’s description of his work and progress at Sci-Tech. I think that you will find his article interesting and enjoyable. The Sci-Tech HAM team is currently working to raise funds to create a more private area for young operators to discover Amateur Radio at Sci-Tech and to further expand the station’s capabilities. A link to a website where you can make a donation to help with this expansion is included at the end of the article (I suggest that you note in the comments that the donation is being made to benefit the Amateur Radio Station if that is your desire). I believe that the work at Sci-Tech truly represents the Amateur Radio community at its best.
The project began with a donation by David and Diana Brandenburg of the Brandenburg Life Foundation in February 2012. David, K5RA, has provided funding for amateur radio stations in schools and museums throughout the country including the Heard Museum in McKinney, Haggard Middle School in Plano and the Saint Paul School in Richardson. Additional funding for a WeatherBug commercial-grade weather station was provided by the Goldblatt Family Trust. The installation at Sci-Tech provides up-to-the-minute reporting of weather conditions on the Internet and is used by WFAA Channel 8, an ABC affiliate, as well as other news organizations that monitor weather in the north Texas area.
Tower Mount At Sci-Tech
The clubs went to work immediately on the antenna installation and station design. That was not an easy task. The Sci-Tech Discovery Center is located in a commercial tilt-wall structure with 50-foot walls. PARK President, Kip Moravec, AE5IB, designed an antenna mount that would clamp to the perimeter wall and allow the Rohn tower section to pivot down for easy servicing of the antennas, the rotor, and the weather station components. The mount was constructed using quarter-inch steel angle stock and weighed over 400 pounds. It took one full day to cut the steel and drill the necessary holes so the structure could be assembled and then powder-coated to protect it from rust and match the color of the building.
Once the antenna mount was complete, MARC President Walter Lemons, AE5IT SK, President of the McKinney club, along with Rusty Delaney, K5FEA, and other members of the team loaded it onto a flatbed trailer for transport. The team hauled the mount to the roof of the building and began the installation. It took two sessions the use of a 50 foot lift to position and secure the mount in place. The team then installed the Rohn tower sections and added a Force 12 C3SS 10, 15, 20-meter beam, a VHF-UHF vertical and the weather station components.
During these two sessions, other members of the team began drilling a three-inch hole in the building wall for the cable entry. Again, this was not an easy task, since the walls are eight-inch-thick concrete. The cabling run from the tower to the station measured 175 feet. Cabling included coax runs of LMR 400 for the HF-6 frequencies and LMR 600 for the VHF-UHF frequencies plus wire for the Yaesu antenna rotator, WeatherBug weather station and two runs of CAT-5 Ethernet cable. The CAT-5 cables are reserved for a future installation of HSMM equipment.
HAM Station At Sci-Tech
A second team that included Tony Campbell, W5ADC, completed the cabling and connected the radios for their first QSO on September 15. Rusty Delany, K5FEA, made the first VHF contact. Dan Howard, KE5CIR, and Michael Porter, KF5LDJ, from the Lake Area Amateur Radio Klub (LAARK) made the first HF contact with N1LS in Colorado on September 29 in preparation for the upcoming JOTA event.
This installation was extremely complicated and arduous because of the building structure and the fact that the teams were working during a hot Texas summer. The Brandenburg Life Foundation, the Goldblatt Family Trust and the Sci-Tech Discovery Center are extremely grateful to club presidents, Walter Lemons, AE5IT SK, and Kip Moravec, AE5IB, and the members of the McKinney and Plano radio clubs for their expertise and hard work. This installation would not have been possible without their help.
Sci-Tech Antenna System
In July 2013 Sci-Tech was provided with a much-needed expansion by the City of Frisco Community Development Commission (CDC) at their June 2013 meeting. The 3,800 square foot expansion will provide for more classroom and exhibit space. The expansion provides enough room so that the amateur radio station equipment can be moved to a permanent location. The new 60 square foot “shack” will feature sound-proofed walls and a glass door and viewing window. The enclosed space will allow Sci-Tech to expand its amateur radio programs and sets the stage for a special event station day later in 2013 or early 2014. There are plans to add more functionality to the installation including HSMM capability.
Sci-Tech currently opens the station to the public one day per month. Planning is underway to develop a radio exploration camp for young visitors during the summer of 2014. Ideas for other events include an all-night DX party and a Boy Scout One-Night Radio Merit Badge
More information is available about Sci-Tech by clicking here. Sci-Tech is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization located in Frisco, TX that delivers innovative educational experiences for all ages in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).
The 13 Colonies Special Event for 2013 has come and gone and I wanted to share our experiences as one of the Special Event Stations for New Hampshire. We operated for 6 1/2 days mostly on SSB Phone and some using Digital Modes. The response to the event was even bigger than last year with some 80,000+ QSOs being made by the 13 Colonies stations. The pileups during the first few days of the event were huge! We did quite well for New Hampshire completing over 6,200 QSOs. We also operated on all of the non-WARC bands that our station can support. The following are some statistics from our operations during the event:
K2K Operations From Our Station – QSOs By Band And Mode
We worked all states in the US including Alaska and Hawaii, several US territories and some DX. The DX participation in the event was quite good and this enabled us to work stations on all continents across the world.
There are always many memorable QSOs during an operation like this and this year’s event was no exception. Some of the QSOs which stand out include those with young operators and operators who made their first HF QSOs ever. I also had an operator from Guadeloupe (FG4NN) respond to my CQ calls on 6m as well as several stations in Japan calling in during my digital operating sessions. We also encountered several /AG folks (operators who had recently upgraded to General Class). The QSOs on the Top Band (160m) and on the 6m and 2m Bands were also special as these bands are less commonly used during the 13 Colonies Special Event. Most everyone that we talked with was very appreciative of the event which is what makes doing something like this so much fun!
We will have quite a bit of QSL work to do along with the other 13 Colonies Stations and this will no doubt bring back more good memories from our operations last week. Thanks to everyone who made the 13 Colonies Special Event a success this year. We are already looking forward to 2014.
The 13 Colonies Special Event begins today. This event commemorates the July 4th Independence Day in the United States of America. There are stations (K2A through K2L) on the air in each of the states that were one of the original 13 Colonies here in the USA. There is also a bonus station at Independence Hall in Philadelphia, PA (WM3PEN). If you work one or more of these stations, you can send for a QSL card with the state’s flag plus you can request a certificate (shown above – see the website for details on how to request a certificate). If you work all of the colonies/states, you can receive a certificate indicating this. We will be operating as K2K, one of the New Hampshire Stations in the digital (RTTY & PSK) and SSB phone modes. Richie (W1STT) will also be operating as K2K in SSB mode and Mike (N1IW) will be operating as K2K in CW mode. We will be on all bands 80m – 10m (including some 160m, 6m and 2m operation if there is interest). This event has become fairly large – the 13 Colonies Stations completed over 62,000 QSOs as part of the 2012 event. The event welcomes all Amateur Radio Operators around the world. Operations begin this morning and run through Saturday, July 6th. I hope that some of our readers will find some time to work us as part of this event. You can find our operating frequency on the spotting cluster or at this 13 colonies spotting cluster page. To our readers in the USA – have a very happy and safe July 4th and God Bless America!
Anita and I have participated as operators in the 13 Colonies Special Event for the last two years. The idea of this event is to work a special event station in each state that represents one of the original 13 Colonies. A nice certificate is awards for working one or more of the special event stations and a special endorsement is added for operators working all 13. The event takes place over the July 4th Holiday in the United States. We have operated as K2K, the New Hampshire event station for Digital Modes and this year, also some SSB Phone. This event is a lot of fun and Anita and I did it as the first significant operation from our new Shack. Richie Feola, W1STT is the overall coordinator for the 13 Colonies New Hampshire portion of the event and he has been very gracious in helping us to sort out how to approach our station and the operations for the 13 Colonies Event. Richie is a great contest operator and has a big station near us. Richie, Anita and I got together last evening to send out QSL cards for our operations associated with the 13 Colonies Special event this year. It is always very enjoyable to read the notes and letters from those who send us cards from a special event such as the 13 Colonies. We are already looking forward to 13 Colonies Special Event 2013!