Archives of the Front Page
N9XH Internet Project - Installation Completed
N9XH Subscriber Module
Photos: Rick W9WS & Greg N9CHA
August 6, 2016 - Mounted to the west leg of the tower where the club's N9XH repeater and APRS systems are located, is a new internet subscriber module. Located at 120' the module points towards the Polk County Government building where the access point had been installed the week before.
Tower climb
August 6, 2016 - Project manager Rick W9RGS asked his friend Mike if he would climb the tower and install the module. Once fastened to the tower, a shielded CAT5e cable was laced down and secured. The module receives its power from the cable as well as transporting data.
Subscriber unit install
August 6, 2016 - Mike secured the cable to the tower leg as he descended. He is perched just above the UHF beam pointed toward Taylors Falls as a part of the remote link serving the St. Croix River gorge in Polk County.
W9RGS drone
August 6, 2016 - A camera drone was used during the installation to document the process. It also provided a great reference point for height. Rick W9RGS, drone pilot and project manager, was able to tell Mike how high above the ground the drone was, which in turn indicated the expected height the subscriber module needed to be mounted.
W9RGS drone pilot
August 6, 2016 - Rick W9RGS controls his camera drone during the installation of the internet networking subscriber unit. Rick served as the project manager and efficiently and skillfully negotiated the entire installation process.
Field Day Fun - 2016
Photos: Rick W9WS
June 25, 2016 - Bill K9WEN reported he had a G5 up this year as my BTV was missing in action at the shack.
June 25, 2016 - We had good hot dogs n mac n cheese for lunch, cheese burgers n beans for supper and English muffin egg n sausage biscuits for breakfast.
 June 25, 2015 - I was able to use all the bands but mostly stayed on 20.. Made several contacts to Hawaii and Puerto Rico as well.....
Field Day 2016 - Are You Ready? - June 25th - 26th
Field Day 2016

Field Day 2016:

2054 200th Ave., Centuria, WI 54824 
June 25th & 26th
1:00pm Saturday to 1:00pm Sunday

Setup: 9am Saturday

June 22, 2016 - It's Field Day time again!! Dan KB9OBF invites everyone to attend this year's exercise. The location is at John's QTH again this year. Set up usually starts around 9am Saturday. Join in the fun!
Peppa Pig Journey to Near-Space
Hidden Oaks Middle School - PeppaSpace
May 27, 2016 - The StarTribune reported a nice story about the Hidden Oaks Middle School high altitude balloon flight which took place on May 24th. The data collected during the flight indicated the balloon rose to over 85,000 feet - 16 miles - surpassing the goal of 80,000 feet. A low temperature of -40 degrees and a maximum speed of 117 miles per hour were also recorded.
Hidden Oaks Middle School - PeppawithSchool
May 27, 2016 - Peppa Pig is now an experienced traveler. Three-hundred middle schoolers watched as two high altitude balloon's payload tracked their path, captured photographs and collected data on temperature, altitude and air pressure so students could analyze it in science class. APRS tracking transmitters were attached to both flights, KC9ROI-11 and N9CHA-11. "It's one of the rare opportunities for [students] to get real data," said Becky Stark, science teacher. "We had perfect weather." (StarTribune)
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.
"Space Weather" Presentation - Noel Petit WBØVGI
WBØVGI Magnetomer
Photos: Rick W9WS
April 9, 2016 - What is it? It's a Magnetometer of course! This instrument was on display during the program presented by Noel WBØVGI at the April club meeting. Through a research grant from the National Science Foundation, Noel was instrumental in the MACCS (Magnetometer Array for Cusp and Cleft Studies) project implementation and post processing of data. Amateur radio operators enjoy the results of this data combined with other observations of space weather and it's affects on the layers of our earth's atmosphere relating to radio propagation.
WBØVGI Space Weather
April 9, 2016 - Noel WBØVGI prepared and delivered an excellent presentation on space weather during the April PCARA club meeting. The effects of the suns' energy and how it relates to the magnetosphere and radio propagation is a topic Noel is well versed in. He teaches computer science at Augsburg College in Minneapolis and is instrumental in the measurement of space weather around the globe. Noel and his team of scientists and students provide data which is compiled into the K-index used by hams as a forecasting element of MUF.
Kit Building Fun!
Rick W9WS putting together a battery voltage monitor kit
Photos: Greg N9CHA & Rick W9WS
March 12, 2016 - Solder smoke! Is there anything so enjoyable to a ham radio kit builder? Rick W9WS inspects his work as he assembles a battery voltage monitor kit. The members brought in their soldering stations, tools, magnifying lenses and lighting to participate in the March 2016 kit building portion of the club meeting. The cost of the kits were under $20/ea with most of them around $10. In an hour the members had their kits built and tested.
Mark W9GWG, Greg N9CHA and Wayne KC9RBL enjoy kit building
March 12, 2016 - Mark W9GWG, Greg N9CHA and Wayne KC9RBL joined in the fun of putting together various electronic kits. Mark assembled a code practice oscillator while Wayne tried his hand at an electronic clock kit.
Bill K9WEN kit building
March 12, 2016 - Bill K9WEN examines each component prior to installation. He selected a clock kit that allows you to program the current time, set an alarm, and display a countdown. Each of the members brought different experience levels to the exercise. Everyone had a great time.
43rd American Birkebeiner - Ham Radio Support
Birkie 2016
Photos: Rick W9WS
February 20, 2016 - Once again this year, the American Birkebeiner ski race was supported by ham radio volunteers, including many from the PCARA. Radio communications from the various checkpoints and aid stations is a vital part of keeping the race officials aware of conditions during the Cable to Hayward event. PCARA volunteers: Chris KC9NVV, Rick W9WS and wife Paula, Paul KB9TYC, Tom AC9LG, Duana KC9UVK, Dale W9DKB, William N9DIW and Greg N9CHA.
Birkie 2016 ski race
February 20, 2016 - Of the 10,500 skiing participants, only a few could not make the entire journey down the course. When a skier dropped out, the ham radio operator at the aid station took down the bib number and recorded the reason as an equipment failure, medical reason, or fatigue. This information was then relayed to net control where the data was logged into a database system being monitored by race officials.
Birkie 2016 Volunteers
Photos: Greg N9CHA
February 20, 2016 - Volunteers from all walks of life, from all areas surrounding the Northern Wisconsin event make the Birkie possible. Handing out water, food, energy drinks and supplements, clearing the trail of debris, parking, hauling supplies, and many other tasks are cheerfully accomplished by people who want to support the event. Wally N9VAO, EC Sawyer County and Chris KC9NVV DEC NW WI have been working together for months recruiting and planning the ham radio component of the race. John N9UPC set up a new repeater in Hayward as well as a cross-band link to provide course-wide coverage.
OO Tipper
February 20, 2016 - At the support station set up at "OO" Greg N9CHA and William N9DIW implemented a 20" antenna mast system. The base of the "tipper" is positioned under the van wheel and the mast is put together and tipped up into place. The antenna was used to cross-band the signals since a 5 watt hand held was not efficient enough to communicate directly.
OO tipper mast
February 20, 2016 - The "tipper" antenna mast can be seen in the center of the photo, blending in with the surrounding trees. An FT-8800 was programmed for use, running 10 watts out to the VHF repeater near Hayward, and 5 watts on UHF to the local hand helds. Power was supplied by a deep cycle battery and voltage regulator.
Life Membership: Rick W9WS & Marv KC9IRT
Rick W9WS Lifetime Membership in the PCARA
February 13, 2016 - President Mark Stencel W9GWG presented Past President and long time club member, Rick Radke W9WS with a Life Membership Certificate. Rick has been a ham for 50+ years and a club member for 10+ years, qualifying him for a Life Membership. Marv Anderson KC9IRT also achieved this milestone.
Don W9LRQ "Slingshot 2 Meter Antenna Project"
Don W9LRQ's slingshot antenna
January 9, 2016 - Two "slingshot" antennas mounted to a mast on top of the garage roof of Don W9LRQ's QTH. Don presented construction details of his work and provided a discussion of how they have performed.
Microphones 101 - How They Work and Why
Greg N9CHA Club meeting program about microphones
Photo: Rick W9WS
January 9, 2016 - What is a microphone and how does it work? What's the difference between a recording microphone and a communications microphone? These questions and more were answered during the January club meeting. A live example using audio frequency spectrum analyzer software showing the band-pass of an HT signal was used to illustrate the differences and to highlight the importance of using different microphones for various purposes.
Your 2016 Leadership Team
N9XH Leadership Bill K9WEN Mark W9GWG Chris KC9NVV Greg N9CHA
Photo: Rick W9WS
January 9, 2016 - The 2016 PCARA Leadership Team is pictured above. L to R: Vice President Bill K9WEN, President Mark W9GWG, Treasurer Chris KC9NVV and Secretary Greg N9CHA.
PCARA - Happy New Year 2016!
Happy New Year 2016!
January 1, 2016 - Best wishes from your ham radio friends from Polk County! The participants of the "New Year's Net" were: Mark W9GWG (NCS), Greg N9CHA, Don W9LRQ, Russell KCØIVL, and William KD9DIV. Our first meeting of the new year is January 9th at our new location: The Polk County Justice Center. Sincere thanks go to our former President, Rick W9WS and former Vice President, Bill WY9E. Both men served our club well over the past year(s). Welcome to our new President, Mark W9GWG and new Vice President, Bill K9WEN. Let's all have fun in 2016!
N9XH - Polk County Amateur Radio Association - 1732 Forest Circle - Balsam Lake - WI - 54810 -