Suffering from COVID-19 induced hamfest withdrawal?

The first QSO Today Virtual Ham Expo Saturday and Sunday, August 8 – 9, has confirmed what it’s calling “a packed lineup of over 70 great speakers” for the ARRL-sanctioned event. Attendance is free and registration is open.

Presentations will cover a range of topics, with two tracks focused on providing hands-on, practical advice for those just getting started in amateur radio. Steve Johnston, WD8DAS, will demonstrate basic soldering techniques for repairing equipment and building projects. Marcel Stieber, AI6MS, will offer an overview of common battery types, discussing the pros and cons of each — including battery chemistry, common uses and misuses, and everyday application tips.

For experienced operators, topics will cover new techniques, equipment upgrading, 3D printing, and more. Glenn Johnson, WØGJ, will attempt to answer the question, “Is 3 dB Worth a Divorce?” and cover a wide range of antenna topics. Jim Veatch, WA2EUJ, will explain how to build a QRP radio. In his presentation, “The Slot Antenna — Undiscovered Country for Most Hams,” John Portune, W6NBC, will demonstrate how a satellite TV dish can be “slotted” to make an effective outdoor 2-meter or UHF antenna for use in antenna-restricted neighborhoods.

Prominent youth educator Carole Perry, WB2MGP, will moderate a lineup featuring amateur radio’s future leaders. Audrey McElroy, KM4BUN, will speak on, “Getting Girls Involved in STEM, Specifically Amateur Radio!” while hot-air ballooning will be the focus of a talk by Jack McElroy, KM4ZIA, “Highly Flying Kids with HAB.”

QSO Today’s Eric Guth, 4Z1UG, says that one challenge to any ham radio convention, whether in person or virtual, is keeping the content of presentations from becoming overly complicated and overwhelming. “For our inaugural virtual Expo, we’ve made sure that there are great speakers for both beginners and experienced hams,” Guth said. “We’ve asked all of our speakers to be laser focused on their topics while providing hands-on, practical advice.” Each presentation will wrap up with a live question-and-answer session.

For more information or to register, visit the QSO Today Virtual Ham Expo website. Attendance is free, and there are early bird prize incentives for registering by July 24.

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It’s like Deja Vu all over again (again)

Much like June, May, and April before that, a face-to-face meeting is not advisable for July. Our meeting on July 14 will be an On-The-Air Net at 6:00PM on the 146.880 repeater. Attached below are the meeting minutes for June, presented in hopes of fulfilling any unmet need for adventure and intrigue.

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That’s a Wrap!

Now that Field Day 2020 is in the books, a few reminders:

  1. The deadline for submitting your Field Day entry is July 28, 2020. Late entries will not be accepted.
  2. A 50-point bonus may be claimed by a group submitting their Field Day entry via the https://field-day.arrl.org/fdentry.php web app.
  3. For 2020 only, an aggregate club score will be published by the ARRL, which will be the sum of all individual entries indicating a specific club. To have your individual score count towards the WB5SPA club score, choose “Spa ARA” in the club pulldown on the web app. If submitting your entry via mail or hard copy, be sure that your entry for club name exactly matches “Spa ARA” (no quotes).

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Field Day 2020 (The COVID-19 Edition)

Field Day 2020 (The COVID-19 Edition) Field Day is scheduled for June 27-28, 2020. Unfortunately, it is just not advisable to gather as a club for Field Day this year, but there are still ways that you can individually participate. If you would like to discuss how you can still experience Field Day this year, join us Tuesday night (6/23) at 8pm on Google Meet and let’s talk about it.

If you were unable to join the discussion, here is a PDF of what was discussed: http://wb5spa.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/FD2020.pdf

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It’s like Deja Vu all over again

Much like May, and April before that, a face-to-face meeting is not advisable for June. Our meeting on June 9 will be an On-The-Air Net at 6:00PM on the 146.880 repeater. Attached below are the meeting minutes for May should you desire an all natural sleep aid.


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Radio in the Time of COVID-19

Much like April, a face-to-face meeting is not advisable for May. Our meeting on May 12 will be an On-The-Air Net at 6:00PM on the 146.880 repeater. Attached below are the meeting minutes for April for your reading pleasure.

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March Meeting Minutes

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March is Member’s Choice!

The SPA Amateur Radio Association will meet at 6pm Tuesday night (March 10) at the Garland County Emergency Management building. It’s Member’s Choice! You get to choose the topic. Jump over to Facebook and leave a comment with your choice from the list of topics and we’ll see you there!

UPDATE: The votes are in. We will be discussing Parks on the Air at this month’s meeting. Come join us for the discussion!

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February Meeting

Our next meeting will be held on Tuesday, February 11 at 6pm. We will continue our discussion about DMR, and how we can expand our capabilities in Hot Springs. The meeting is open to all regardless of whether you are licensed or not. Make plans to attend and we will see you there!

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Winter Field Day 2020 Rewind

For 2020, SARA’s winter field day gathering was held at Entergy Park just above Carpenter Dam. Attendance was outstanding with a total of seventeen people checking in. For a “winter” field day, the weather cooperated nicely with a sunny day and temperatures in the mid 50’s. The club operated as One Oscar (one transmitter, working outside) for approximately 3 hours making a total of 30 voice contacts. Bonus points were garnered for working outside, away from home, using no commercial power for transmitting. Thanks to everyone who stopped by!

Station details:

Drawing a crowd
Operating off of the grid
Operating position
QSO Map
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