Archives of the N9XH.org Front Page
PCARA Members Visit NWS Chanhassen
Photo: Chris KC9NVV
December 3, 2011 - Josh AG9K is sitting at the amateur radio control desk at the National Weather Service in Chanhassen. Members of both the PCARA and the SCVRA attended the open house celebrating the 13th Annual SKYWARN Recognition Day. The event is co-sponsored by the ARRL and the NWS as a way to recognize the commitment made by ham radio operators in helping to keep their communities safe.
APRS iGATE Up and Running
Photo: Greg N9CHA
November 23, 2011 - An APRS iGATE was installed using N9CHA-4 as the call sign on 144.39. The installation resides along side the Winlink RMS node. Chris KC9NVV, Mark KC9GHQ (above) and Greg N9CHA installed a Win2000 computer which was donated by Steve NØXC. The system is running the latest version of UI-View and is configured to "gate" local APRS users into the network. A Netgear FS105 5-port switch was also installed to allow internet access to both the Winlink RMS computer and the iGATE. An Icom IC-2AT FM HT is being used for the transceiver along with a TNC-X as the TNC. The iGATE is utilizing the VHF antenna mounted to the tower on top of the Government Center penthouse.
PCARA Members Participate in Fox Hunt
Photos: Rick W9WS
November 12, 2011 - Looking for the fox transmitter are (l to r) Ben KC9ROI and his father Steve NØXC using a freshly built tape measure yagi. The exercise taught hams how to find a hidden transmitter by using a directional antenna.
November 12, 2011 - Diana KC9SLN checks the parts necessary to build a tape measure yagi. All of the PVC pipes were cut to length by Mark W9GWG and the necessary pipe fittings were made available to the hams who assembled the project.
November 12, 2011 - The tape measures were easily cut to length using tin-snips. Bill WY9E used the measurements on the tape itself to easily cut it to length. A director, driven element, and reflector were measured and cut to assemble the project.
November 12, 2011 - Looking for that elusive fox transmitter is Dan KB9OBF. He constructed his tape-measure yagi just moments before and then took to the "range" to look for the fox.
Photo: Greg N9CHA
November 12, 2011 - Using various de-tuning techniques were required as the signal from the hidden transmitter became stronger and stronger. Above left is Mike KK9MC pointing at the transmitter. In for foreground are two prospective hams, Brian Anderson and his son Thomas. By folding the yagi elements they were able to successfully de-tune their antenna enough to locate the transmitter just feet away from where they first detected the very strong signal.
Josh AG9K Appointed Polk County EC
Photo: Greg N9CHA
November 9, 2011 - In a statement issued today by Chris KC9NVV, Wisconsin ARES/RACES DEC Northwest District, he introduced our new EC for Polk County. "I am pleased to announce that Josh AG9K has been appointed the new EC for Polk County ARES/RACES. I know Josh will do a great job, congratulations." Both hams are members of the Polk County Amateur Radio Association.
Chris KC9NVV Appointed ARES/RACES NW District DEC
Chris KC9NVV during the 2010 SET - Photo: Rick W9WS
October 28, 2011 - "I am pleased to announce the appointment of Chris Keezer, KC9NVV, as our new District Emergency Coordinator for the Northwest District.   Chris will be filling the position Edward Jacobsen, KB9KJE, has held for the past several years. I wish to thank Ed for his years of service to Wisconsin ARES/RACES." The announcement was made today by Gary Sorensen, W9ULK, Wisconsin ARES/RACES Section Emergency Coordinator. Congratulations to Chris on his new appointment!
Antenna Build & FOX Hunt - Nov. 12th
October 27, 2011 - PCARA members will be building this 2 meter tape-measure yagi at the next club meeting on November 12th. Several kits with all the parts necessary have been put together, ready for assembly. There will be a FOX hunt with the prize of a free breakfast going to the ham who finds the FOX the quickest. Join in the fun!
Polk ARES/RACES Makes Headlines
Photo: Greg N9CHA
October 26, 2011 - Headlining the "Northern Currents" section of the Inter-County Leader this week is an article titled, "Communicating during emergencies." Photos of Chris KC9NVV and Chuck WD9GWG are featured on this whole-page news story. The article highlights the SKYWARN and other Emergency Communications hams in our club provide our neighbors. Mike KK9MC is quoted in the article as well.
Mark KC9GHQ Confirms "Space" Contact
October 25, 2011 - This handsome certificate was issued to Mark KC9GHQ in recognition for his ability to receive an SSTV signal from AMSAT's ARISSat-1 Satellite in August. Using an Icom 2 meter receiver and an egg-beater antenna, Mark got up very early to catch the morning pass.
A "Loop-Helix" Spotted at KK9MC's QTH
Photo: Greg N9CHA
October 10, 2011 - Is it a loop? Is it a helix? Is it a loop-helix? Mike KK9MC must have been doing some experimenting in his work shop trying to create an awesome antenna that would exhibit both circular and linear polarization! Made from copper water pipe, this loop-helix is proudly displayed in Mike's front yard. Or, could this be simply a lawn ornament? Hmm... perhaps.
Mike KK9MC Antenna Work
Photo: Greg N9CHA
October 10, 2011 - Mike KK9MC was out taking advantage of the warm October weather replacing coax and getting his VHF antennas ready for winter. Chuck WD9GWG and Greg N9CHA lent a hand.
SET Results Encouraging
Rick W9WS at the HF Station - Photo: Greg N9CHA
October 1, 2011 - The Simulated Emergency Test results are very encouraging! 13 members of the PCARA participated, they are; Chuck WD9GWG, Mark KC9GHQ, Mark W9GWG, Mike KK9MC, Dan KB9OBF, Carlos N9GIM, Len KC9TPV, Diana KC9SLN, Rick W9WS, Ed W9ABA, Chris KC9NVV, Bill WY9E and Bill K9WEN. The morning started with a "one call" to all club members by Polk EC Chris KC9NVV. The operation this year centered around a severe weather "wind event" in the NW portion of the county. Communications between stations was handled through the use of 2 meter FM, packet and 75 meter HF. Messages were also handled through the use of Winlink. The County Mobile EOC was also deployed for use.
Getting Ready for the SET
Photo: Greg N9CHA
September 21, 2011 - Polk EC Chris KC9NVV (left) and Mark KC9GHQ (right) prepare two antennas which will be used during the Simulated Emergency Test on October 1. The fiberglass mast supports a dual-band vertical (which Chris is pointing to) and a 3 element 2 meter beam. The mast will be affixed to the Polk County Mobile EOC hydraulic antenna mast during the SET supporting communications to the N9XH repeater as well as others in the surrounding counties.
Max KØDPT Donates "Thousands" of Resistors to Club
Photo: Greg N9CHA
September 5, 2011 - Need a 1/4 or 1/2 watt resistor? Look no further! The PCARA received a very generous donation from Max KØDPT of Forest Lake, MN which included thousands of resistors. Max is an RF Engineer, who once worked for EF Johnson and is now a professional RF Engineering Consultant. He is pictured above (right) with PCARA President Rick W9WS (left) who graciously accepted the donation on behalf of the club.
KC9GHQ Installs Enhancements to Antenna System
Photo: Greg N9CHA
August 20, 2011 - Mark KC9GHQ installs the hairpin matching section to his Ringo Ranger in preparation for upgrade work to his antenna system. Mark enjoys packet radio and decided to make some updates to his antennas including new feed lines, a new 2 meter antenna and a new dual-band antenna.
Photo: Greg N9CHA
August 20, 2011 - Mark is installing his new Comet GP-3 dual-band antenna to the fiberglass mast he has attached to his chimney. You can also see a tripod laying on the roof which was temporarily tilted over during the antenna upgrade. Preliminary reports are the antennas are working well.
PCARA Club Receives Visit from FRRL President AG9D
Photo: Chris KC9NVV
August 15, 2011 - Club President John AG9D of the Fox River Radio League, a ham club representing members from the Fox River Valley area in NE Illinois, visited Polk County and stopped in to say hello to several members of the PCARA. Shown above is (l to r) Greg N9CHA and John AG9D. Besides his involvement with the FRRL, John is an ARISS Mentor and AMSAT representative.
W9GWG Tower & Antenna Party
Photos: Rick W9WS
August 13, 2011 - The highly anticipated and exciting tower raising and antenna installation party resulted in much success at Mark W9GWG's QTH. Several members of the PCARA met for a quick breakfast and monthly meeting before adjourning to Dresser, WI where the fun began.
August 13, 2011 - Antenna installation consisted of mounting an HF Tri-Band +40 beam, H/V VHF beam, and a V/U vertical. Jim and Bill K9WEN install the coax cables to the mast while Greg N9CHA bundles them for the ride to the top via the Hazer. The "Hazer" is a device which allows easy deployment of antennas by use of a winch to raise and lower them with ease.
August 13, 2011 - Mark W9GWG had a tilt over tower base built by fellow club member Fred AB9LV. The base was dug into the ground and cement poured a few weeks ago. The Cushcraft A3S was mounted to the mast including a 40 meter add-on kit that incorporates a bridal to keep the driven element from drooping. All of the feed lines and control cables are buried underground and emerge in Marks ham shack through a PVC pipe.
August 13, 2011 - Mark KC9GHQ assembles one of the many connectors to the feed lines which are routed to a weather proof box at the tower base. Mark W9GWG decided to use LMR-400 Ultraflex cable for all of his RF feed lines. The job of installing the cables and antenna took about 5 hours. Preliminary tests indicate all is working well. Good DX Mark!
KC9GHQ Captures Signals From Space
August 8, 2011 - An image from space! This ARISSat picture was captured by Mark KC9GHQ on Monday August 8th at 10:42 am local time. You can easily see the curvature of the earth and the blackness of space in this image. The noise bands are due to the random rotation of the little satellite causing the orientation of its antenna to change rapidly.
August 8, 2011 - The Earth Station antenna mounted on the pool deck at KC9GHQ's QTH. Mark is using a home-brew "eggbeater" antenna mounted to a tripod. This type of antenna has good horizontal/vertical polarization capabilities in a 360 degree azimuth.
August 8, 2011 - Mark's Earth Station consists of an Icom IC-820H VHF/UHF all-mode rig and a laptop running MMSSTV. He has an audio patch cord hooked up to the headphone jack on the radio going into the input on his laptop. The ARISSat downlink on FM is 145.95.
Task Force Controls Weeds
Photo: Rick W9WS
July 17, 2011 - Standing in front of the repeater tower shack are (l to r) Mark W9GWG, Chris KC9NVV, Greg N9CHA and Toby KC9UFN after spending an hour or so whacking the weeds and brush which have been growing profusely in and around the installation. Rick W9WS (not shown) and the crew worked in the stifling heat to get rid of the nasty over-growth.
Photo: Rick W9WS
July 17, 2011 - Through the hazy morning light the over-growth of weeds and brush can be seen prior to the crew's efforts to clean the area. Getting rid of the growth enhances the ability for air to circulate around the building, keeping the radio equipment cooler. Vines were removed from the tower and feed lines as well.
Photo: Rick W9WS
July 17, 2011 - Raking up the debris is Toby KC9UFN with Mark W9GWG getting ready to assemble a much needed clamp to the UHF packet antenna mast. The crew did an excellent job of cutting down and pulling the growth from the fence and antenna structures.
Bike Northwoods Tour - "Ham Support"
Photo: Chris KC9NVV
July 16, 2011 - Bikes lined up along the road side during a cycling break were observed by PCARA member Chris KC9NVV who attended and helped support the 2011 "Bike Northwoods Tour" coordinated by bikewisconsin.com. Chris and several other ham radio volunteers provided communications for the week-long event. Starting on July 9th in Iron River, the 370 riders completed a loop extending some 321 to 363 miles depending on the route selected, finishing on July 15th. "A lot of the route was not well covered by cellular service," commented Chris. "The riders were glad that we were there to keep them safe and provide information."
N9XH Field Day
Photo: Rick W9WS
July 7, 2011 - Josh AG9K and Chris KC9NVV assemble the Tri-Band Beam to the rotor on top of the Mobile Command Center during Field Day.
"I Made My 1st HF Contact!" Field Day 2011
Photo: Greg N9CHA
June 27, 2011 - Ben KC9ROI is sitting at the controls of one of the PCARA ham stations during Field Day, an annual event sponsored by the American Radio Relay League where hams from all across North America and the Pacific practice and show off their communication skills. Ben made several contacts during the event and proved to be an excellent operator!
June 27, 2011 - There were antennas to be built for the Field Day exercise. With John NØTCN looking on, his wife Denise and Michelle KC9TYL assemble a balun to the 80 meter dipole.
June 27, 2011 - Chris KC9NVV helps Bill WY9E and John KC9PDJ get the 6 meter beam elements straight during assembly on Saturday morning. There was a large 6 meter opening this year which was exciting for the operators.
June 27, 2011 - Getting the tri-band beam up onto the Command Center and installed takes teamwork. Marv KC9IRT, Bill WY9E, Dan KB9OBF, Josh AG9K and Chris KC9NVV work together to lift the beam into position and fasten it to the mast.
PCARA Field Day - Justice Center
June 22, 2011 - The Polk County Amateur Radio Association will hold its annual Field Day on June 25th and 26th. The set up will start at 9am Saturday morning. The club goes on the air at 1pm and will continue to operate for 24 hours. Operations will be located at the Justice Center parking lot in Balsam Lake. All hams are invited as well as those who are interested in amateur radio. This is a fun annual event so come out and join us!
Packet Radio Seminar - Intro to Outpost PMM
Photo: Rick W9WS
May 14, 2011 - Bill WY9E studies "Outpost" an application used for packet messaging. By setting up Outpost with a TNC hams can send and receive text messages from each other or via an RMS Gateway connected to the internet like the N9XH-10 node on 145.01 located in Balsam Lake.
Photo: Rick W9WS
May 14, 2011 - Reviewing the settings of Outpost are (L to R) Greg N9CHA, Mike KK9MC, and Brian WØCON. Multiple computer and radio setups were available for the packeteers to use. HT's, mobile rigs, laptops, TNC's and sound-card cables were mixed and matched to show the versatility of packet radio hardware.
Getting Ready for Field Day
Photo: Greg N9CHA
May 14, 2011 - Getting ready for Field Day. Rick W9WS and Marv KC9IRT, with help from Dan KB9OBF aligned the tri-band beam and marked all the elements for easy installation. The driven element was checked on all 3 bands using an antenna analyzer. The work performed will make it very easy during FD setup.
Always Something to Learn
April 26, 2011 - If you've ever been asked, "what's that ham radio stuff all about?" One answer might be, "learning new things!" Josh AG9K (left) visited with Chuck WD9GWG in his ham shack to review the newest release of Ham Radio Deluxe, an integrated software program offering radio control, digital modes operation, satellite tracking, log book and many others. Photo: Greg N9CHA
Strategic Planning?
April 19, 2011 - Take a close look and you'll see Mark W9GWG's proposed Kenwood? radio on his closet ham shack shelf. Just what do you have in mind Mark? Stay tuned for more! Perhaps we'll get an explanation?
Making Your Own EEPROM Programmer
April 16, 2011 - Mark KC9GHQ got out his soldering iron to make an EEPROM programmer for the GE Phoenix SX X2212's. Surplus radios wind up in amateurs hands and need to be programmed for ham radio frequencies. The programming software is readily available and the EEPROM programmers are usually built up using a parallel cable and chip socket. Photo: Mark KC9GHQ.
Club Members Receive Valuable Training
April 14, 2011 - Len KC9TPV (seated) reviews radio programming software with (l to r) Michele KC9TYM, Diana KC9SLN, Michelle KC9TYL and Ruth KDØLUL. Additional training included how to use the N9XH repeater, how to participate in a round table QSO, proper calling techniques and checking into a directed NET. Michele KC9TYM and Michelle KC9TYL are members of the North Pines Mounted Search & Rescue group. Both are new hams looking to enhance their communications during training and actual events. Len KC9TPV, Diana KC9SLN and Ruth KDØLUL are stepping up to support this effort by providing operational training and communications expertise. Photo: Greg N9CHA
Providing a Helping Hand to WDØFUV
April 4, 2011 - Mark W9GWG, Chris KC9NVV (standing, left), and Josh AG9K (standing, right) took a little trip to Forest Lake, MN to help Mike WDØFUV (seated).  A few weeks ago on the "25/85 Sunday Night Swap Net" Mike put out the request for help to move his ham shack upstairs. Due to some recent health concerns he felt it would be better to have his radios where they are more accessible.  Mark W9GWG called Mike to arrange a time that would work and then assembled a PCARA “Geek Squad” to make the house call.  It was a very enjoyable time spent with Mike and his family.  It's just another example of the fellowship and friendship we all share in this great hobby.  Photo: Mark W9GWG
Winlink RMS N9XH-10 Installed
March 29, 2011 - The club's Winlink RMS node is on the air. ARES/RACES EC Chris KC9NVV, Mark KC9GHQ installed the computer, transceiver, power supply and TNC. The node is on 145.01 and uses the dual-band antenna mounted to the North side of the penthouse at the Government Center.
W9GWG "Launcher"
March 21, 2011 - Having trouble getting your wire antennas into a nearby tree? This "launcher" built by Mark W9GWG might just be the answer! Mark is in charge of the clubs' Field Day event this year and wanted a method of putting wire antennas up using trees as supports; a very common requirement. This device works entirely on compressed air. Mark reports that with 10 psi pumped into the air chamber he is able to easily launch a projectile with 50 pound test line attached a distance of 75 yards. He is considering adding a larger reel of line to allow the projectile to travel farther and achieve a higher apogee.
March 21, 2011 - 4" PVC pipe was used to create the pressure vessel, cut to 10" in length. One end has an end cap, the other is a threaded reducer which allowed Mark to insert a 3/4" pipe nipple. He then attached a ball valve and another pipe nipple. Finally, the barrel was made from a 3' length of 1 1/4 inch PVC.
March 21, 2011 - An air valve was attached to the end cap allowing for a tire pump to be used to pump up the pressure vessel. To monitor the pressure, a gauge was also added. Be sure to contact Mark W9GWG for construction procedures and a list of materials. (note: Please be careful! Watch for power lines, and don't let anyone stand down range of the barrel during use) Photos: Mark W9GWG

March 21, 2011 - Pictured to the right is the projectile Mark built. It's made from 3/4" PVC and a couple of end caps. An eye-bolt is secured to the end so the fishing line can be attached.

Nearly all of the materials can be obtained from local hardware stores or home centers. The air valve used to fill the pressure vessel came from a local tire and repair shop. If you build one of these launchers, Mark said it's important there is a diameter reduction between the pressure vessel and the release valve. He went from 4" to 3/4" before he put in the release valve. Earlier attempts failed because not enough volume and pressure could be released quickly.

KK9MC Ham Shack
March 14, 2011 - Here is the efficient layout of Mike KK9MC's ham shack. He is using the Kenwood TS-440S and a Cushcraft R-5 antenna on HF. He uses both a Bencher and MFJ key and paddle for CW. His trusty Kenwood TH-225a HT is shown in the photo along with an RS-HTX 200 series VHF mobile rig, power supplies and Kenwood desk microphone. Nice layout! Photo: Mike KK9MC
The "Evolution" of the W9WS Ham Shack
February 28, 2011 - A very impressive shack layout has been completed by Rick W9WS by adding a "bridge" for some of his equipment. Using simple building materials and some paint, Rick was able to lift his equipment up off the desk top and make it more comfortable to operate. There is about a 30 degree back-tilt to the new installation which makes reading the control labels much easier.
Photo: Rick W9WS
NØXC "Oscilloscope" Presentation
February 12, 2011 - Steve NØXC and his son Ben KC9ROI brought several oscilloscopes to the PCARA meeting today and demonstrated how they can be used to measure voltage and frequency. Steve has been around test equipment all of his ham radio career. Above he is showing Ed W9ABA how to adjust the frequency marker generator. Steve plans on bringing the test equipment back to a future meeting to show club members how it can be used to trace a signal through a circuit. Photo: Rick W9WS
2 Upgrades, 1 New Ham
February 9th, 2011 - Congratulations go to Mark KC9GHQ for passing his Extra exam, Diana KC9SLN for upgrading to General Class, and to her husband Len for getting his Technician license. Mark W9GWG also attended the VE session in Lakeville, MN but will have to re-test in the future. The next time you hear these fine hams on the N9XH repeater, let them know how proud we all are of them!
Extra Class Study Group - "Antennas"
January 22, 2011 - The PCARA Extra Class study group reviewed antennas and feed lines at the Polk County Judicial Center on Saturday. In the photo above, the hams utilized some of the special features built into the MFJ antenna analyzer, in this case, trying to determine the actual length of random pieces of coax. The following amateurs participated in the study group: Mark W9GWG, Jon KC9PJG, Bill KC9PUF, Jerry KC9PUD, Mark KC9GHQ, Josh KC9QXN, Chris KC9NVV. Greg N9CHA led the group with help from Rick W9WS and Fred AB9LV.
Photo: Rick W9WS
W9GWG de WXØGLD "NWS in Goodland, Kansas"
January 21, 2011 - Mark W9GWG participated in the 2010 Skywarn Recognition Day activities sponsored by the National Weather Service and was rewarded by this handsome Certificate. The event was held on December 4th.
January 21, 2011 - The NWS in Goodland, KS sent out this colorful QSL card in recognition of the 2010 Skywarn Day activities. Mark W9GWG worked them on 75 meters and received this QSL.
Extra Class Study Group - Electronic Components
January 15, 2011 - Several members of the PCARA and other hams from the area have been participating in an Extra Class study group organized by Greg N9CHA. The study of electronic components, how they work and their function was the focus of Saturday's class. Next week, the 22nd of January, the group will study how antennas and feed lines work. Photo: Rick W9WS
February Meeting to Feature Oscilloscopes
January 9, 2011 - Do you own an oscilloscope? Have you used it? The photo above is from the General Upgrade class held in January and February of 2010 where the class used an oscilloscope when studying rectifiers. During the February 12, 2011 meeting, Steve NØXC will be showing us the features of an oscilloscope and how to use one. You'll want to be sure to attend! Photo: Rick W9WS
Congratulations to the PCARA Leadership Team!
January 8, 2011 - Club elections were held during the January 2011 meeting. Nominations consisted of last years leadership team. No other nominations were presented. The members voted by paper ballot and unanimously elected the following members to continue their leadership duties:
President: Rick W9WS
Vice President: Mark W9GWG
Secretary: Mark KC9GHQ
Treasurer: Carlos N9GIM
Elections are regularly held during the December meeting, however severe weather cancelled the meeting, and the elections were postponed until January.
Extra Class Study Group
January 6, 2011 - A study group has been formed by those interested in obtaining their EXTRA CLASS license. Several members of the PCARA will meet on Saturdays in January to study for the 50 question test.
New Shack Layout - W9WS
January 2, 2011 - Rick W9WS has been busy at his QTH. Above is a photo of his very handsome ham shack layout. Rick added a new rig this year, a Yaesu FT-1000 Mark V Field. It proudly sits at the center operating position along with his venerable Drake equipment. Rick spends most of his operating time on CW. He is looking forward to many enjoyable hours spent in his new shack. Photo: Rick W9WS.
N9XH - Polk County Amateur Radio Association - 1732 Forest Circle - Balsam Lake - WI - 54810 - Info@N9XH.org