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Hidden Oaks Middle School Returns to Space
Hidden Oaks Middle School Students and Teacher
Photo: Greg N9CHA
May 12, 2016 - Students and teachers from Hidden Oaks Middle School (HOMS) of Prior Lake, MN are returning to (near) space. Students Ali and Julia are pictured above with teacher Beck Stark. In May of 2014 ham radio operators from the PCARA helped support an ARISS contact between the school and Astronaut Koichi Wakata. The school is one again developing a project which will take them into the stratisphere; a High Altitude Balloon flight scheduled for later this month.
Dr. Flaten with University of Minnesota students during a high altitude balloon launch.
Photo: Greg N9CHA
May 12, 2016 - James Flaten, Ph.D., Associate Directir of NASA's MN Space Grant Consortium and professor at the University of Minnesota is shown on the left assisting his students during a high altitude balloon launch. The students launched two "stacks" of payloads on February 6th, each carrying experiements and APRS transmitters. Steve NØXC and Greg N9CHA attended the launch and participated in the recovery of the payloads using an in-car APRS tracking system.
Ben KC9ROI and his brother Will developed the data collection payload.
Photo: Ben KC9ROI
May 12, 2016 - For the past several months, PCARA members Steve NØXC, Ben KC9ROI and brother William have been developing a payload to fly to near-space as a part of the HOMS project. Pictured is the flight hardware integration of an Arduino processor being used to collect and store flight data including battery voltage, temperature inside and outside of the payload, and GPS coordinate data.
Greg N9CHA helps present information about amateur radio and high altitude balloons.
Photo: Laura Kuechenmeister
May 12, 2016 - PCARA member, Greg N9CHA explains the details of how amateur radio will be used to track the HOMS high altitude balloon payloads. Greg and Dr. Flaten were invited to present project details to the Middle School students so they might have a better understanding of what can be expected during flight, and offer suggestions on payload development.
Introduction to Amateur Radio - Chris KC9NVV
KC9NVV Valley Christian School Presentation
May 10, 2016 - Chris KC9NVV, club Treasurer and ARES/RACES DEC presented a program introducing amateur radio to students at Valley Christian School, Osceola. Chris answered questions about the hobby including a thoughtful query from a young man who asked, "What do the astronauts eat aboard the International Space Station?" A lively demonstration of radio teletype, Morse code, and voice were also presented. With an antenna set up outside the classroom, Chris, and assistant Greg N9CHA had some of the kids talk through the N9XH repeater to Becky KD9FZN. Favorite colors, pet names, and what classes were most enjoyable filled out the conversations. After the presentation, several students asked for more information!
K9WEN Tower Project - Just Add Water (Cement)
K9WEN Tower Base
May 7, 2016 - One of the most important steps in putting up a tower is proper planning, good quality materials, and strong engineering. Bill K9WEN has taken the time necessary to plan and construct a heavy steel tilt plate for his 40' tower project. Osceola is a challenge when it comes to digging a hole. Glacial deposits including trap rock is very hard to dig and requires lots of patience and plenty of strength. Next step, add the cement!
Becky KD9FZN First Antenna & Ham Shack Installation
KD9FZN Antenna Mast
Photo: Becky KD9FZN

April 23, 2016 - One of our newest members, and a recently licensed ham, Beck KD9FZN, installed an antenna mast to her home on Saturday. The 2" aluminum mast is 20' tall, with a 4' fiberglass mast mounted on top. At the very top is a Diamond X50 VHF/UHF vertical antenna.

Becky and her husband Jon mounted the mast to the gable end of their home using lumber tied into the facia. U-Bolts fasten the mast to the roof. At the base they dug out a portion of dirt to accommodate a patio tile and a aluminum car wheel to act as the lower support. Once backfilled the bottom portion of the mast is securely in place. An 8' ground rod was installed as well.

At about the 6' point on the mast is an Icom AH-4 auto tuner which will feed a 150' length of wire supported by two nearby trees. This end fed antenna will be cable of 80 - 10 meter operation.

Coax cables include a 65' length of LMR-400 used for the VHF/UHF antenna. Another 65' length of Belden 8214 for the HF station, and a 65' length of multi-conductor shielded control cable which attaches between the rig and the tuner.

Becky has a first-class ham shack too. She is using the Yaesu FT-8800 for both VHF and UHF FM communications. On HF she has an Icom 756Pro. Both rigs are powered by a 30 amp linear power supply and Rig Runner. Digital modes are supported using a Signal Link interface and a laptop computer.

Look for Becky on the air! She listens regularly to the N9XH repeaters.

Looks Like New! - KD6TWC's SB-221
SB-221 2KW Linear Amp
Photo: Rick W9WS
April 16, 2016 - The Heathkit SB-221 2KW linear amplifier... owned by Robert KD6TWC and brought back to life by Rick W9WS. Utilizing 2 3-500Z tubes, this 80-15 meter amp can produce 1200 watts from a 100 watt exciter. Wired for either 120vac or 240vac, this 1976 model unit is not as popular as its predecessor, the SB-220. The only difference was the elimination of the 10 meter band on the SB-221. However, licensed amateurs could purchase the parts needed at time of assembly to accommodate the higher frequencies. Robert's model has a new black front panel rather than the typical green one which was provided to the original owner. The sleek, black panel gives the amp a commanding look and will be a much-treasured addition to his ham shack.
2nd Net - 9pm
9th Net - 9pm
16th Net - 9pm
23rd Net - 9pm
30th Net - 9pm

Mark W9GWG
Vice President
Bill K9WEN
Greg N9CHA
Chris KC9NVV

N9XH - Polk County Amateur Radio Association - 1732 Forest Circle - Balsam Lake - WI - 54810 - Info@N9XH.org