West Palm Beach Amateur Radio Group, Inc.
a Florida Non-Profit Corporation

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On Saturday, February 3, 2018 we held a Foxhunt followed by a club picnic. Both events were held at the South Florida Science Center and Aquarium in West Palm Beach. We had six hunters looking for two hidden transmitters. The hunters had one hour to find the ‘foxes’ but our first and second place finishers only needed 23 and 24 minutes respectively to find them. The team of John Henkelman KN4BNN and Shalimar Debusk KN4BNO finished with the shortest elapsed time and took First Place and a $50 prize. Second place went to Rich Sagredo (waiting for callsign) and he took home a Baofeng UV-5R dual band HT for his efforts.

The club picnic followed the Foxhunt. We had a good turnout. The club extends a heartfelt thank you to Jon Brown WW4JB and Polly McMullen KK4PM for all the work they did in purchasing the food and drinks and for setting up the serving tables. The picnic wouldn't have been the success it was without their help.

The February club meeting will be held on February 28, 2018 at 7:00 PM at the South Florida Science Center and Aquarium. The Program for the meeting will be “Basic Antenna Construction” and will be given via Skype by Tim Duffy K3LR. Tim is the COO and GM of DX Engineering and a noted contester. Tim has one of the biggest contest super-stations in the US and it’s located in northwest Pennsylvania.

Tim Duffy's Bio:

Tim has been an active amateur radio operator for over 45 years. He has hosted 132 different operators from around the world as part of the K3LR Multi-Multi DX radio sport contest efforts since 1992. He was the Atlantic Division Technical Achievement award winner in 1998. Tim was moderator of the Dayton Contest Forum for 10 years and has been moderator of the Hamvention Antenna forum for 33 years. He is a founding member and current President of the North Coast Contesters. K3LR serves as chairman of Contest University (11 years), the Dayton Contest Dinner (25 years), chairman of the Top Band Dinner – as well as coordinator of the Contest Super Suite (32 years) in Dayton during the yearly Hamvention. He is founder and moderator of the popular RFI Reflector (RFI@contesting.com) since 1999. He has been a guest on Ham Nation many times. Tim was a member of Team USA at the World Radio Team Championship – four times and will operate in Germany for WRTC2018. Tim serves on the board of directors of the World Wide Radio Operators Foundation (WWROF) as Vice Chairman and the Radio Club of America (RCA) as President and a member of the RCA executive committee. Tim is President of the Mercer County Amateur Radio Club (W3LIF). Tim was elected to the CQ Contesting Hall of Fame in 2006. He was honored with the prestigious Barry Goldwater Amateur Radio service award by the RCA in 2010. K3LR was honored as Ham of the Year for 2015 by the Dayton Amateur Radio Association. Tim is the Chief Operating Officer and General Manager at DX Engineering. He is a graduate of the Pennsylvania State University.

Successful VE Session on Feb. 3, 2018

On February 3, 2018 the club held its regularly scheduled Volunteer Examiner (VE) test session at the Science Center. We had a total of eight candidates taking tests. Out of that group we got two new Techs, three new Generals and one new Extra class ham. One of the candidates passed both the Tech and General exams with only one question wrong between the two tests combined. We were able to qualify one candidate for a General class license without even administering the test. He was able to prove that he was licensed with a Technician class license prior to March 31, 1987 so he was grandfathered to General.

Thanks to our Volunteer Examiners Robert Hagans (W4SOG) (Team Leader), Jon Brown (WW4JB), Zoran Milenovic
(KM4ZM), Polly McMullen (KK4PM) and Steven Werner (KD3WK).

Amateur Radio on the International Space Station Logo

WPBARG Links Students with Astronaut in Space Via Ham Radio

Last year, the South Florida Science Center and Aquarium (SFSC&A) submitted a proposal to the "Amateur Radio on the International Space Station" (ARISS) program to host a radio contact with the crew on-board the International Space Station (ISS). The proposal included the West Palm Beach Amateur Radio Group as its partner to provide technical assistance. In a December 15, 2016 press release, the program announced that their proposal was selected to "move forward into the Next Stage of the ARISS Selection". Only 11 schools/organizations qualified for the second half of 2017. A successful contact with the space station was held on November 6, 2017.

Local students were given the chance of a lifetime to talk live with an astronaut in space. During the radio contact, eleven young students talked with Italian astronaut/ham Paolo Nespoli and asked questions they had prepared. The students, ranging in age from 7 to 12, were selected after writing an essay on what one question they would like to ask an astronaut. There was only a nine minute window where the ISS was in range for a radio contact. The ISS travels about 17,600 miles per hour and is over 250 miles above earth.

Members of the WPBARG were actively involved in the event. The lead technical person was Jim Nagle KF4OD and he was assisted by Rex Rathbun AJ4GC. Jim initiated the contact by calling, "NA1SS this is WS4FSC." NA1SS is the callsign of the ISS and WS4SFC is the callsign for the club's radio station. After a couple calls, the ISS replied and the contact began. Jim then handed the microphone over to the first student for him to ask his question. After receiving the answer from the astronaut, the next students followed with their questions. Things went so smoothly that some students had time to ask a second question.

The WPBARG was previously given the opportunity to conduct a radio contact with the ISS at the Science Center in 2012.

Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) is a cooperative venture of the Radio Amateur Satellite Corporation (AMSAT), the American Radio Relay League (ARRL) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in the United States, and other international space agencies and international amateur radio organizations around the world. The primary goal of ARISS is to promote exploration of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) topics by organizing scheduled contacts via amateur radio between crew members aboard the ISS and students in classrooms or informal education venues. With the help of experienced amateur radio volunteers from amateur radio clubs and coordination from the ARISS team, the ISS crew members speak directly with large group audiences in a variety of public forums such as school assemblies, science centers and museums, Scout camporees, jamborees and space camps, where students, teachers, parents, and communities learn about space, space technologies and Amateur Radio.

Jim Nagle, KF4OD being interviewed by media

Jim Nagle, KF4OD, being interviewed by media.

Foxhunt Winners 02-2018

February 2018 Club Foxhunt Winners

The February 2018 club Foxhunt winners were Rich Sagredo (waiting for callsign) (L) - Second Place and the team of Shalimar Debusk KN4BNO (C) and John Henkelman KN4BNN (R) - First Place.