Pearl Harbor Day and Ham Radio…


This is a shot of the USS North Carolina right after she arrived in the 60’s

If there is anyone, beside me, reading this you know I’m a new Ham Radio(Amateur Radio) operator. I’m only at the first, of 3, levels in which you can be at in the US. With that said I am still, over all, getting my feet wet in what is out there. There are a 1000+ ways to go at the hobby. I am a hands on kind of guy, so I like building things. Particularly circuits and antennas. Nothing to crazy, but I have built myself a very well tuned ground plain antenna for 2 meters. One of the other things I am doing is trying to be active in the ham community locally. I have attended several functions the club has put on over the past 2 months and also joined the local ARES chapter. One of the functions I took part in was the Pearl Harbor Day radio ops the local club put on.

Azalea Coast Amateur Radio Club is the club here in town. Several of the members have over many years restored and worked with the USS North Carolina Battleship here in town. These folks have gone in and explored the battleship, restored rigs, and operated on them. Plus all the gear surrounding the radio operations; generators, wiring, etc.. So every year for the past several they have radio events on the battleship. This year I took part in one and it was awesome!

Sitting probably in the Cape River in Wilmington, NC

Sitting probably in the Cape River in Wilmington, NC

This all went down on the 6th and 7th of December 2011. On the 6th we went in and tested the waters, so to speak. Course the night of the 6th the airwaves were basically silent for us. Three contacts were made and that’s it, no more. Now with that said some guys had met the previous Sunday afternoon to this and managed many contacts, plus they contacted a station at Pearl Harbor and another ship in San Diego, CA. On the 7th we met on at a fine local eating establishment for breakfast and then proceeded to the ship. There are several radio rooms on the ship but for our activities the guys doing CW/morse code worked 4 decks down in Radio II(I believe) and my group worked SSB voice on 20meters in Radio Central(I believe).

At sea in the 1940's

At sea in the 1940’s

Working this day on 20meters was awesome! Probably one of the coolest things I’ve done! I was the 3rd operator to take a 30 minute shift. It was nerve racking and absolutely awesome all at the same time. I have no, nil, nada experience on the HF bands and the etiquette down there is very specific and, for me at least, difficult to grasp that day. There’s all this verbal short hand and jargon, that in passing I’ve heard, but had no clue how to implement it. But with that said the guys in the room were super nice and patience with this noob. I made roughly about thirty contacts. Including 2 from Canadian, 1 UK and even another museum ship, my fav, in Tampa, FL. It was the USS American Victory, W4AVM. During the operation we logged roughly 140 – 150 contacts. To my knowledge we had 5 to 7 countries, 25ish states, and 2 museum ships. During that time we also talk to one ham whose father was on the USS North Carolina during it’s tour and one ham who was a chief engineer in the yard in which the ship was built.

Over all this was a day that I hold high, not only did I get to operate my first HF comms, but I did it to help celebrate the memory of the USS North Carolina and Pearl Harbor Day.

The USS North Carolina sitting in the Cape River across from Wilmington, NC

The USS North Carolina sitting in the Cape River across from Wilmington, NC


My Travels

So this past weekend I traveled to central Virginia. On my way I decided to field test a little system I had thrown together for keeping track of repeaters. Now to preface this; my system I going to describe to you was completely free to me using tools and software in which I already owned. I’m sure there’s probably commercially available products to do this for you.

To start let me give a short description of what I was actually doing. Using Microsoft Streets and Trips mapping software I imports a CSV file, actually a couple, into one map of my route I take to Lynchburg. What was in this data I imported you ask? Well, repeaters, all the repeaters I would remotely be able to pass on my route.

Here is my list of tools:
Microsoft Streets and Trips(what I had)
ASUS Laptop
GlobalSat BU-353 Waterproof USB GPS ReceiverUSB extension cable

To start off I searched the web for repeater data and found several sites that allowed me to pick and choose areas of which to export. There were a couple formats I cold have exported but I chose a simple CSV, comma separate value. Very simple and lots of software understands that format. Next I opened up all those CSV’s in excel, but most any spread sheet program would work. The data given from the sites was to much. I purged some columns of data. What I kept was the; Lat&Long, Freq, PL Tone, and callsign/name or club affiliation.

Now what I’m working with is two spreadsheets for North Carolina and two for Virginia, I merged the two sheets per state together but kept the two states separate, felt like it was just a good idea for future development.

Now the following steps are pretty easy and straight forward. With that said if you use software that’s not Microsoft Streets and Trips it may not be. Using the import wizard in the software I imported them as I believe point or way-points. But they were added to the open map I had as a addition of some kind which gave me a little ability to edit them. So all I did next was create a new icon in the “.GIF” format. The gif allows for transparent background. So I created a very small little tower icon that dots each place on the map to where a repeater is. Each little tower can be clicked to display the repeater info respectively.

Side note of two things. First during importation of the data you have to ability to go in and label what each column of data actually is telling S&T’s that Lat actually is Lat and there’s 3 available user data slots in which you can put the repeater specific data, Freq, PL and etc…

Now after all that work here’s what I came up with 68 contacts over 5 hours(while driving). Plus one club-net check-in(South Wake ARC). All on 2 meters, 144 – 148mhz. Really all of that didn’t span anymore than 2 or 2.5 mhz of the band. I didn’t go very low, really. I’ve never took part in any contests in ham radio and nor am I a pro or expert in any way. But for me I am very pleased with my results!!

Keeping safety in mind I really wasn’t able to record contacts and wasn’t really even thinking about it till like halfway back riding home but here’s a few:

South Wake ARC – net check-in


First Post…

So I’m a relativity new ham radio operator. My callsign is KK4EQM. I’m active on 2 meter and 70cm and I would be active on 6 meters but eastern north Carolina is basically silent down in the 50 mhz area.

I’ve got an ICOM mobile rig in my truck, dual bander, that my dad gave me (KA4HOT) and a Yaesu VX-8DR, a handy talky, that I picked yup. I also am very active on EchoLink and have an APRS becon APP on my Droid cell phone. My HT can do APRS but I haven’t been able to buy the GPS unit for it yet. I really like my Yaesu HT! It works 6m, 2m and 70 cm. According to the booklet it will do 1.25m, 220 mhz I think, with an output of 1 watt but I don’t think I’ve ever tried it.

I also am a big fan of building antennas. I’ve built a few dipoles and an awesome ground plane antenna out of nothing but a SO-239 connector and some 14 gauge copper wire. Works great at 16 feet on my painters pole mast!

For now I’ve gone on enough, but check back often as I hope to write as I continue to learn. My next step is to get my general.