Archives of the N9XH.org Front Page
December 31, 2009 - Mike KC9JIK with the deer he bagged during the past hunting season is shown above. He took time out from his ham radio activities to pursue one of his other hobbies, hunting. It's interesting to hear Mike talk about hunting, guns, family and friends on the PCARA repeater. Diversified interests among the ham community is what keeps the conversations fun and rewarding!

December 28, 2009 - The PCARA will host a series of four classes to all hams who currently hold their Technician Class amateur radio license and wish to upgrade to General. If you have been wanting to take advantage of the HF bands and expand your operating privileges, now is the time. The classes will be taught by Greg N9CHA, ARRL Registered Instructor, Central Division. For more information, please visit the "Ham Radio License" link. Please contact Greg N9CHA to register for these informative and exciting classes. Or, just show up to the first class, there is plenty of room.

Contact Greg N9CHA by clicking HERE.

December 28, 2009 - The PCARA is offering FREE ham radio classes to those interested in upgrading their operating privileges to General Class. For a detailed syllabus, please click on the "Ham Radio License" link.

January 16th - 8:30am to 4pm - Lessons 1 - 4
January 23rd - 8:30am to 4pm - Lessons 5 - 8
February 20th - 8:30am to 4pm - Lessons 9 - 12
February 27th - 8:30am to 4pm - Lessons 13 - 16

Class Location: Polk County Justice Center, Multi-Purpose Room
Class Times: 8am to 4pm (bring your own lunch, drinks and snacks)
Materials Needed: ARRL General Class License Manual (6th ed), scratch paper, pencils, highlighter, calculator (with square root).
Optional Materials: ARRL General Q&A Manual (3rd ed)

December 12, 2009 - Congratulations to the following club members for taking on the leadership positions in our club!

President - Rick W9WS
Vice President - Mark KC9PJJ
Secretary - Mark KC9GHQ
Treasurer - Carlos N9GIM

The membership voted on December 12th during the regular monthly meeting. Be sure to congratulate our new leadership team the next time you see them or talk to them on the air. If you're interested in attending our meetings, please refer to the dates posted in the right column and click HERE for our meeting location.

December PCARA Meeting Agenda
December 06, 2009 - You'll want to attend the December meeting of the PCARA this coming Saturday. It's our annual election meeting! Also, bring your HT to the meeting along with your manual. Have you ever wondered how to activate a certain function or have a question about how to store a frequency in memory? Your fellow club members will help you figure out how to better use your HT.
SKYWARN Recognition Day - December 5th
November 28, 2009 - I would like to mention the 11th Annual SKYWARN recognition day starts next weekend. It seems like a good contest to have fun with! All may participate. Contacts can be made via Repeaters, IRLP, Echolink and HF. The event is co-sponsored by the ARRL and the National Weather Service.
73, Fred AB9LV
N9XH Packet Station "Testing"
November 27, 2009 - The N9XH packet radio equipment was moved from the Government Center to the Repeater Tower and placed into service. It is currently hooked up to the Phelps-Dodge antenna on the East side-arm. The Node is called WIPOLK, and the BBS is called BALBBS. The frequency remains the same, 145.01. Give it a try. For more information, please contact Mark KC9GHQ.
J-Pole On The Air! de KC9PJJ


November 20, 2009 - Mark KC9PJJ recently built a dual-band J-Pole out of common "hardware store" components. With help from Mark KC9GHQ and his Dremel tool, the two PCARA members cut the copper pipe elements to plan. Mark installed the antenna to a mast, then fastened the mast to a tree in his yard. The antenna has been working very well, reports Mark. He's been able to work several local repeaters and has made a big difference to his operations.
Photos: Mark KC9PJJ
Jim K0KFC Presents: "Lightning and Grounding"
November 14, 2009 - The importance of properly grounding your station is well known to amateurs. But just what is involved? How do you install a proper ground system to keep your shack safe? PCARA member Jim K0KFC provided answers to those questions and more during the Saturday club meeting held at the Polk County Justice Center. Photo: Rick W9WS
Ham Antennas Installed on Tower
November 7, 2009 - Installation is complete. The PCARA now has three ham antennas mounted to the Balsam Lake tower. At the top, the Andrews DB-224 repeater antenna. Two cellular antennas are mounted just below on side arms. Next is the Phelps-Dodge 2 meter antenna, and on the lowest side arm is the dual-band Hustler G6-270.
Photo: Rick W9WS
WI Assembly Bill 429 Amendment Proposed
November 3, 2009 - Jim Lackore, AD9X, State Government Liaison for Wisconsin, has been informed that Representative Smith has proposed to the committee that his Assembly Bill 429 be amended to exclude amateur radio operators. Mr. Smith used the verbiage that Jim Lackore recommended when they discussed amending this bill at a meeting. The bill reads like this:

"No person may drive a motor vehicle while using a wireless telecommunications device (to transmit verbal communications,electronic mail, text messages, or any other electronic communication to one or more persons not physically present with the device's operator) unless any of the following applies:"

The portion of the bill which the proposed change is to be made reads like this:

"The person using the wireless telecommunications device is an amateur radio operator who holds a valid amateur radio operator's license issued by the federal communications commission and is using dedicated amateur radio 2 way radio communication equipment and observing proper amateur radio operating procedures."
N9XH Repeater Gets New Antenna
November 2, 2009 - Silhouetted against the evening sky, our new DB-224 and installation technician Jason kneeling on the top plate. The photo also shows two side-arm mounts where cellular antennas are mounted, the retired public service antenna that was later removed, and our new collinear dipole antenna.
Photo: Mark KC9PJJ
New Feature! Check the Contest Calendar Link
October 17, 2009 - Take a look at the left side of the page... there is a new link for you to use for finding out what contests and operating events are available for you to work!
N9XH Trustee Attends W.A.R. September Meeting
October 17, 2009 - Rick W9WS, N9XH repeater trustee and Greg N9CHA, repeater builder (shown above right) attended the September 2009 meeting of the Wisconsin Association of Repeaters in Eau Claire. W.A.R. Chairman Gary N9UUR and the board traveled to Northern Wisconsin to hold their meeting. More information about W.A.R. can be found on their web site, www.wi-repeaters.org.
OSCAR 1 Displayed at Air & Space Museum
October 12, 2009 - The very beginning of the amateur space satellite effort is exemplified by this model of OSCAR 1, made by the hams who built the original which flew in space. Launched on December 12,1961, a group of California amateurs developed this 11 pound satellite which incorporated a 2 meter transmitter which sent "hi hi" in morse. The speed of the transmission was varied by the temperature of the space craft. The satellites battery lasted 3 weeks, followed by it's re-entry to earth at the end of January 1962. (312 revs).
New ISS Antennas Displayed during AMSAT Symposium
October 12, 2009 - Lou McFaden W5DID is holding the new ARISS antenna which will be installed on the International Space Station next year. It's going to fly to the station this coming November. The antenna elements are built from spring steel, similar to a tape measure and enclosed in a protective film. Designed for 2 meters with parasitic elements for UHF, the antenna will support on-station ham radio activities such as school contacts through the ARISS program.
ARISSat-1 Mock-up on Display
October 10, 2009 - The AMSAT ARISSat-1 model was on display at the 2009 Symposium in Baltimore, MD. This mock-up was used to determine such things as space for radio and control equipment, battery, the Russian Kursk experiment and astronaut interface to controls.
The ARISSat-1 will be shipped to Russia for integration with the Kursk experiment, a device which will measure the amount of vacuum in the atmosphere as the satellite de-orbits the earth.
Video cameras are employed to take pictures of the earth. A transponder capable of CW, PSK, FM and SSB has been designed using software defined radio techniques. The satellite will fly aboard a Soyuz mission next spring to the ISS. An astronaut will "launch" ARISSat-1 during a special EVA.
October 10, 2009 - The next generation of ham satellites will be built in this form factor, the CubeSat. It can be launched from a special launcher from the Shuttle, or configured for a "ride-along" on a commercial or scientific satellite.
AMSAT Celebrates 40th Year
Oct. 9, 2009 - Perry Klein W3PK, AMSAT's 1st President (1969) poses for a picture while cutting the ceremonial cake during a special birthday party celebrating AMSAT's 40th anniversary. 117 hams attended the first day of the 27th Space Symposium and AMSAT-NA Annual Meeting in Baltimore, MD.
October 9, 2009 - PCARA member Greg N9CHA is pictured above (left) with one of AMSAT's Past Presidents, Bill Tynan W3XO. Several of the past leadership team of the the space enthusiasts celebrated the 40th anniversary of the group. Current and future amateur space satellites, programs and educational initiatives were discussed on Friday, the first day of the conference. The Radio Amateur Satellite Corporation is hosting it's 3 day conference at the Four Points Sheraton Hotel located at the BWI airport, Baltimore, MD.
PCARA Members Participate in October SET
Oct. 3, 2009 - Several members of the Polk County Amateur Radio Association participated in the Simulated Emergency Test today. Each year, in order to prepare for an actual emergency, amateur radio operators cooperate with local government officials to provide communications when commercial and public service channels become over-loaded or fail. Rick W9WS is pictured above operating the clubs ham shack radio equipment.
October 3, 2009 - Mobile packet radio station built and implemented by Mark KC9GHQ for the October 2009 Simulated Emergency Test. By using packet radio, Mark can provide text communications to served agencies. From his vehicle, he can also send electronic mail by using ham radio infrastructure known as Winlink2000 RMS nodes. These nodes are distributed throughout the county and provide a gateway between packet stations in the field and the internet.
Polk County RACES Supports Simulated Fire Event
September 12, 2009 - Amateurs from Burnett County ARES and EOC Director Bobbi Sichta requested additional communications capability from Polk County EOC Kathy Poirier and the Polk County RACES during the Grantsburg Simulated Forest Fire exercise. Seven members of Polk County ARES volunteered; Rick W9WS, Chris KC9NVV, Mark KC9GHQ, Carlos N9GIM, Dan KB9OBF, Mark KC9PJJ and Greg N9CHA.
September 12, 2009 - Most of the communications consisted of relaying reports of water tanker and pump operations from various fill sites where the fire fighters needed to draw water. Tim Harman KB9WXD, a volunteer fire fighter from Grantsburg served the event as the Water Supply Officer and directed pump and tanker operations. He worked with Net Control operators Dan KB9OBF and Kris KB9KRH to help direct the effort.
Fire Departments, Law Enforcement, Amateur Radio RACES volunteers and several other agencies learned how to work together in order to serve the public by fighting wild-land fires.

September 12, 2009 - The amateur radio operators utilized both the Siren Repeater 146.625 and a simplex frequency 146.55. The event started at 12 pm and concluded at 4:15 pm. A de-briefing session was held at the Grantsburg Community Center. RACES operations were reported as "all went smoothly" by Kris KB9KRH. An excellent meal was provided to the volunteers.
Also participating in the event was ARRL DEC Ed Jacobsen KB9KJE.
Photos: Rick W9WS & Greg N9CHA
Click HERE for more information and additional photos.

"Clear View Sites" - Revisited
August 24, 2009 - After 6 years the "clear view" sites identified in Polk County have been revisited and all remain valid. Mark KC9PJJ (left) and Chuck WD9GWG (right) visit site #13 near Dresser. Mark and his wife decided to spend a portion of their weekend driving around Polk County using the "clear view" map as their guide. 200+ miles later, they reported that the sites identified in 2003 remain good vistas for spotting severe weather.
Bud KB9ZAZ (sk) and Chuck WD9GWG surveyed the county in August of 2003 in search of sites which meet the "clear view" criteria: "A site which enables a viewing distance of 4 to 7 miles, or greater in one direction. The emphasis is on the Westerly directions since most Tornado's come from that way. 17 sites are identified in Polk County.
Northwest Wisconsin's topography consists of rolling hills, river valleys and gorges, low laying lakes, agricultural fields, tall stands of trees, marsh lands and ponds. <MORE>
New Repeater Antenna Tested "OK!"
August 24, 2009 - The new N9XH repeater antenna is ready for installation! Today the Andrews commercial-grade antenna was tested at the WD9GWG QTH. Pictured above is Chuck WD9GWG (left) and Mark KC9GHQ (right) who assisted with the testing. Greg N9CHA noticed that the current antenna being used for TX is exhibiting some inconsistent VSWR performance. Installation is scheduled for this fall. It is anticipated that we can fully duplex this antenna which will enhance the performance of the N9XH repeater.
Wisconsin QSO Party 2009 Results
August 14, 2009 - Did you participate in the WIQP this year? The results are in. The event is sponsored by the West Allis Radio Amateur Club and they have posted the 2009 results. You can click HERE to visit their site, or click HERE to view the results (Acrobat Reader). This year Greg N9CHA and others got the club station N9XH on the air. Next year's event is scheduled for March 14th, 2010,
Bud Larson KB9ZAZ - SK
August 9, 2009 - Bud passed away at 3:30 pm at the Osceola Medical Center on Sunday, August 9th, 2009. The PCARA sends its condolences to Bud's family.
AB9LV Tower Project Successful!
August 8, 2009 - Members of the PCARA gathered at Fred AB9LV's QTH on Saturday to lend a hand during his tower raising. The clouds parted, the rain and potential lighting dispersed allowing the project to continue as planned.
Photo: Rick W9WS
August Meeting Location Change
August 1, 2009 - The August club breakfast and meeting location has been changed for this month only. We will meet at "The New Frontier" restaurant in Turtle Lake, WI at 8am. The restaurant is located across the street from the St. Croix Casino & Hotel. Their address is 440 US Highway 8 and 63, Turtle Lake. After the breakfast meeting all are invited to AB9LV Fred's place for a tower raising project.
K0KFC Attends 2009 Central States VHF Conference

July 25, 2009 - PCARA club member Jim K0KFC attended the 2009 Central States VHF Society conference in Chicago. Jim is the chairperson for the "States Above 50 MHz Award Program" and presented several awards at the meeting and banquet. The conference ran from Thursday through Sunday offering an array of activities including technical presentations and an RF test range for measuring antenna performance. You can click HERE to visit the Societies web page for more information.

"SuitSat-2" Presented at CSVHFS Conference

July 25, 2009 - Gould WA4SXM stands behind the system architecture which makes up the "SuitSat-2" platform. There will need to be a re-package of the hardware since the Orlan space suit which was to be used for the project has been discarded. Gould is the System Engineer and showed off the functioning prototype including the hardware, antennas and software. The completed "space-ready" system is scheduled to be delivered to Russia in December, 2009 with an EVA deployment from the ISS planned for Spring of 2010. More information about "SuitSat-2" can be found HERE.

ARRL President Joel Harrison W5ZN
"Keynote Speaker" at CSVHFS 2009
July 25, 2009 - Joel Harrison W5ZN, President of the American Radio Relay League is pictured above with Kermit Carlson W9XA, 2009 President of the Central States VHF Society. Joel presented the keynote address at the Saturday evening banquet. His message included an informative and humorous history of Hiram Percy Maxim W1AW, the founder of the ARRL.
DAYTON 2009 Video
July 10, 2009 - You're seen the QSL card below, you know about the annual Dayton Hamvention, now see the videos! Richard Garriott's presentation is one of many available on the AMSAT web site. Have high-speed internet access? Click HERE!
July 10th, 2009 - QSL card from Richard Garriott W5KWQ (NA1SS) to PCARA club member Greg N9CHA who made contact on October 15th, 2008. Garriott was on board the International Space Station nearly 25 years after his fathers flight (Dr. Owen Garriott W5LFL) aboard Columbia and Spacelab 1.
The contact was made using a TS-2000 and a homebrew 2 meter egg-beater antenna mounted in the attic. Both Greg and his father Chuck WD9GWG were successful in downloading several SSTV pictures sent during the historic flight. Richard Garriott was a featured speaker at Dayton 2009, and has personally answered every QSL request to hams around the world.
PCARA 2009 Field Day Successful and Fun!
Revised Score Totals Now Available!
June 29th, 2009 - Field Day 2009 is now history. The PCARA set up operations near Balsam Lake, WI this year, and utilized the Polk County Emergency Command Center vehicle. Special thanks to Kathy and her team at the Polk County Emergency Management office. The club operated 3A, three transmitters using emergency power. Click HERE for more details and photos!
June 29, 2009 - Tri-band beam getting ready to be installed. PCARA Club members worked together to raise the beam into position atop the Emergency Command Center. A rotor was also installed. A special adapter was manufactured by Bruce N9BLU to join the rotor to the mast. Pictured above are (l to r) John KC9PJG, Marv KC9IRT, Rick W9WS (back to camera) and Mark KC9PJJ. To see more pictures and read more about FD2009, click HERE.
The N9XH "Jungle" Under Control!
June 18th, 2009 - Keeping the weeds under control around the repeater shack is an on-going issue during the summer months. Chris KC9NVV is seen above chopping away at the over-growth. It's been a rather dry spring, but that did not seem to slow down the volunteers. Just getting into the repeater shack was like hacking your way through a jungle!
Field Day 2009 - We're Ready!
June 27th & 28th are the dates for the ARRL 2009 Field Day event. Preparations for the PCARA club field day are just about finalized. Are you ready? Will you join the club this year? Operate from home? Set out and operate on your own or with other ham friends?
Wisconsin 1st in 2008 SET!
ARRL QST July 2009 - "One of the main goals of a simulated emergency test is to provide a public demonstration - to served agencies and through the news media - of the value to the public that Amateur Radio provides, particularly in time of need."
The PCARA did it's part too. Fred AB9LV, our ARES EC provided a tally of 66 points to ARES Coordinator Ed KB9KJE. Mark KC9GHQ served as Net Manager and posted 60 points for the club's Section Net.
The event took place on Saturday, October 4, 2008. The SET Scenario developed for this exercise was a "Snow and Ice Event" which included Polk County ARES communications support.
You can read more about the event and review the supporting documents for the 2009 SET by clicking HERE.
New Solar Resource Page Link
May 30, 2009 - Users of the N9XH.org site now have a Solar Resource Page link to the WM7D.net web site. By clicking on the link, you can find the current solar flux report. Also, the much-used K7RA Weekly Solar Report can be found on this site.
Polk County EOC/Osceola Hospital Test Successful
May 30, 2009 - PCARA club president, Rick W9WS reported that the communications test between the Osceola Hospital and the Polk County Emergency Operations Center (Balsam Lake) was a success. At the request of Kathy Poirier, Polk County EMC, and the Osceola Hospital, a radio test began at 0800 Saturday morning to verify the newly installed VHF and UHF radio antenna atop the Hospital. Chris KC9NVV and Mark KC9PJJ handled duties at the hospital while Rick W9WS activated the club station, N9XH.  Excellent communications was established between the Hospital and the EOC using the the 147.195 repeater; VHF and UHF simplex. Reliable communications was maintained with as little as 5 watts. The Osceola Hospital and the EOC are 15 miles apart. Chuck WD9GWG and Mark KC9GHQ monitored and provided assistance as needed.
Packet System Update

May 25th, 2009 - Chris KC9NVV, Mark KC9GHQ (pictured above) and Greg N9CHA got together to determine why the packet node and bulletin board system has been exhibiting poor performance lately. An undetermined noise source was measured at the antenna but not in the local vicinity of the system. More tests are needed to find the noise. The system is operational on 145.01.

High Altitude Balloon Launch - SARA Says TNX!
May 16, 2009 - On behalf of the Stillwater Amateur Radio Association and the University of Minnesota, we thank the Polk County Amateur Radio Association for the use of the Balsam Lake Repeater during the U of M high altitude balloon launch today and special thanks to Chris KC9NVV who this morning assisted the tracking team in the Turtle Lake area by providing position reports from the APRS.FI web site.
For as yet undetermined reasons we had unreliable direct reception by our tracking vehicle in the Turtle Lake area. The U of M teams tracking along with the balloon received transmissions reliably.
The payloads came down in the middle of a farmer's field in the hilly country south east of Barron and were easily located and recovered. Mobile and on foot we could not hit the repeater reliably from the landing area and had to move to simplex.
We look forward to working with the Polk County Amateur Radio Association in the future.
73, John Harvard KCØUHY - Stillwater Amateur Radio Association
More Details About Field Day

May 9, 2009 - During the May club meeting, Dan KB9OBF presented the most recent updates to this years Field Day event. The club will operate from the "Dump Site" south of Balsam Lake on June 27th and 28th. All are encouraged to attend. Click HERE for details regarding the PCARA Field Day 2009.

Come for Pancakes, Stay for Ham Radio Fun
April 11, 2009 - Dan KB9OBF serves up some delicious pancakes during the 2008 PCARA Field Day event. It appears he will be mixing up a batch again for this year! Don't miss out, attend the event on June 27th and 28th. The club will be at the "dump site" just south of Balsam Lake off Highway 46. The public is encouraged to attend. If you've ever wondered what ham radio is all about, the PCARA members will be glad to show you around. Come for the pancakes, stay for the ham radio fun!
Field Day Plans: More Details!
April 11, 2009 - Additional information regarding Field Day were presented by Dan KB9OBF at the April club meeting. Several members have stepped up to participate in all or a part of the 24 hour event. Click HERE to review Dan's update.
SCVRA and PCARA Hams Unite:
Ham Radio Class Success!
March 22, 2009 - Both the Saint Croix Valley Radio Amateurs and the Polk County Amateur Radio Association joined forces in March by presenting a weekend ham radio class and license test. The entry level Technician course was taught by members of the SCVRA. VE testing was conducted by volunteers from both clubs. Pictured above are students preparing for their test with Mark KC9GHQ, Marshall KA9PKK, and Phillip K0CD (l to r) handing out exams.
(Photo: Connie KC9GYM)
March 22, 2009 - Volunteer Examiners look over the test results as each of the students submitted their exams for grading. Seated at the VE table are; Marshall KA9PKK, VE Coordinator Phillip K0CD, Mark KC9GHQ and Fred AB9LV (observing). Several of the students passed their entry level Technician test as a result of the weekend class sessions. Congratulations to all those who organized the event and the students involved!
(Photo: Connie KC9GYM)
April Meeting To Feature Field Day Discussions

March 22, 2009 - All are invited to our April 11th club meeting. We will be discussing our plans for this years Field Day event. Club Field Day Coordinator, Dan KB9OBF will present an outline of this years efforts. Come and join us!

PCARA Members Participate in WI QSO Party
March 15, 2009 - Sunday afternoon, March 15th several PCARA members participated in the 2009 Wisconsin QSO Party operating event. The club's station, N9XH was on the bands from 13:00 to 18:30 local time. Greg N9CHA started the operations using the club's TenTec Jupiter transceiver and a TenTec Centaur amplifier borrowed from Rick W9WS. Chris KC9NVV, Mark KC9GHQ and Dave KC9GYH also joined in. Summary: 79 Phone contacts, 30 WI Counties, 9 States. Total Score Submitted: 3081.
PCARA March Meeting Featured Communication Readiness for Emergencies
March 14, 2009 - Chuck WD9GWG presented personal anecdotes of communications exercises from his experience in the US Navy to emphasize the importance of being ready to respond to an emergency.
Packet Radio Update
March 14, 2009 - Mark KC9GHQ demonstrated packet radio capabilities during the March PCARA meeting.
Amateur Radio Class - Become a Licensed Ham
Amateur Radio Classes will be held on the weekend of March 20-21-22, 2009. The license class is being presented by our friends in the St. Croix Valley Radio Amateurs (SCVRA) club, with assistance and participation by our club (PCARA).
PCARA Repeater Working Better Than Ever
After a few years of frustrating efforts, the PCARA repeater, 147.195+ (110.9 pl) is running better than ever. The mystery seemed to have been solved by using two co-located antennas on our tower rather than trying to duplex a single antenna. Club members have reported excellent Polk County coverage and beyond.
Packet Radio Update
The club operates a packet radio NODE and PBBS on 145.01. You are welcome to leave a message at any time. If you are interested in packet radio, and how we are using it here in the NW section of Wisconsin, click HERE.
N9XH.org - Established February 17, 2009
N9XH - Polk County Amateur Radio Association - 1732 Forest Circle - Balsam Lake - WI - 54810 - Info@N9XH.org