PVRC Newsletter February 2015

PVRC Newsletter
February 2015
President’s Letter – Ethan K8GU
s I write this, the CQ WW 160 CW
and ARRL January VHF contests are
underway. Time is of the essence around
the K8GU station these days, but I’ll
probably get on VHF for a bit and work
a few PVRCers and friends since I still
don’t have an antenna up for 160.
Why are you a member of PVRC?
Chances are, someone worked you on
the air in a contest or saw your score in
the results and invited you to a meeting
or to operate together. Or maybe you’ve
been around since the dawn of time. Are
you getting anything out of your
membership? Are you learning to
become a better operator, learning more
about amateur radio, especially
contesting and DXing? Are you meeting
other hams who share common
interests? I hope so. One of the great
things about competition of all kinds is
that it’s a process of constant
improvement, of self and of equipment.
...and once you can’t improve anymore,
you can share it with those of us who are
still improving!
Back in the days when the SNR on the
CQ-Contest reflector was a tad bit
higher, Trey, N5KO (WN4KKN at the
time), keyed a brilliant essay on what it
takes to win contests. There are a
number of other contributors to this
worthwhile thread, including our own
Fred Laun, K3ZO. N5KO’s thesis is that
there are no secret tricks, only years of
experience and mentoring that yield the
skills of a top operator. The thread can
be found here and is worthwhile to read.
As a club, we provide a venue to hone
our skills. We are the ones who spur
each other on to keep our butts in the
chair a little longer or provide
encouragement and advice. That brings
me to a point I was remiss in addressing
last month: Ex-officio President KE3X
requested that I call attention to the list
of Presidents’ Awardees from 2014
which were not announced in the
Newsletter. They can be found in the
table below.
Ken noted when he presented a number
of the Awards at the Holiday Dinner in
Fairfax that this list is incomplete
because several other well-known hosts
have received similar awards in the past
few years. Anyhow, this goes to show
that most of the chapters have one or
more gracious hosts and skilled mentors
from whom we can all learn a great deal.
Thank you for your commitment to
For CW contesters, February ends the
winter contest season with the NA
Sprint and ARRL DX. Phone ops get
another month with ARRL DX and WPX
in March. And, if you are a RTTY nut,
your contest season is still in full swing
for a few months although February is
busy. Post your plans to the reflector!
Get us excited! I’m hoping to be back in
KH8 for ARRL DX CW, but that’s still
tentative for the moment. See you on
the bands...
2014 PVRC President’s Award Winners
Nate Moreschi
Tim Shoppa
Howie Hoyt
Mark Sihlanick
Frank Donovan
Steve Bookout
Jim Nitzberg
Bill Mara
Bruce Meier
For Sustained Outstanding Performance In Low Power Contesting Within PVRC
PVRC Most Improved Contester - 2014
For Outstanding Service as PVRC Webmaster
For Outstanding Service as Head of PVRC Southwest VA Chapter
For Outstanding Service in Station Hosting and Mentoring New PVRC Members
For Outstanding Service in Station Hosting and Mentoring New PVRC Members
For Outstanding Service in Station Hosting and Mentoring New PVRC Members
For Outstanding Service in Station Hosting and Mentoring New PVRC Members
For Outstanding Service in Station Hosting and Mentoring New PVRC Members
The $25.01 Headset: Ain’t Pretty, But Great Personality – Art K3KU
If you've been following the CQ-Contest Reflector lately, you saw my queries about a certain
boom-mic headset. I think I'm going to have to replace this home-brew job I made about
eight ago. It's a K6LL design, passed to me by W3LPL.
Frank called it the $25.01 special: your on-hand headset, a piece of wire from your junk box
(I think my red wire is #10), a penny, and a Heil element for $25 (back then). The foam
rubber baffle is my own innovation.
My headphones are Montgomery Ward, model GEN 650A, probably pre-1969. The Nylon
lacing cord is likely from 1962
K6LL - I still have a couple of these kicking around! I don’t use them anymore though,
because now my mic audio is routed through a sound card, and good quality computer
headsets are relatively inexpensive. The Elecraft K3 is also set up for computer mics. I am
using a Yamaha CM500 headset, and I’m very happy with it.
Pulling an All-Nighter – from www.bbc.com via N5AW
When Kevin Morgan pulls an all-nighter he relies on a tried-and-tested strategy to get him
through. His work area is brightly lit, he often eats a snack part-way through the evening and
he takes a 90-minute nap before going to work. He also makes sure there is plenty of
ground coffee available.
The stuff of a sleep scientist's nightmares? Not exactly. Just ask the scientist. Morgan is a
professor of psychology and director of the clinical sleep research unit at the University of
Loughborough in the UK.
Although sleep scientists do not advocate working through the night, Professor Morgan says
there are a few benefits. "There are fewer distractions at night," he said. "You can control
your environment."
Advisable or not, all-nighters are part of life for many of us, whether due to heavy workloads,
the demands of international working practices or our own habits.
Sixty percent of students surveyed by researchers at St Lawrence University in New York
stayed awake all night at least once since entering the school, according to a 2008 study.
The practice isn’t limited to students cramming for exams. A 2012 survey commissioned for
the UK teachers' magazine TES Connect found that 70% of 1,600 primary school teachers
questioned had stayed up all night to complete work at least once in the previous three
All-night study spaces are a feature of many universities today, including reading room
facilities at the University of Chicago in the US and the University of Bristol 24-hour
Computer Room in the UK.
Asleep on the dinner plate
Paul Haswell, a Hong Kong-based partner at international law firm Pinsent Masons, is not a
fan of all-nighters. Yet Haswell, a specialist in technology, employment and commercial law,
finds they are sometimes unavoidable.
"I do not think that me or my team are as effective if they are sleep deprived," Haswell said.
"I’d rather have a well-rested, efficient and stress-free team than one which is fighting to stay
Staying awake all night can also play havoc with your personal life, as Haswell discovered
on a dinner date the evening after he had pulled an all-nighter as a junior lawyer.
"I was absolutely exhausted, but couldn’t dare cancel the date as I’d been planning it for
months," said Haswell. "I ended up falling asleep during the starter. Woke up with my head
on the table and a waiter explaining that my date had left in disgust. I never saw the lady in
question again!"
Scientific research tells us that poor sleeping habits are bad for our health and well-being.
The St Lawrence University study found that the marks for students who had never pulled
an all-nighter were 7% higher than the marks for students who did stay up all night.
People who sleep fewer than six hours a night are more likely to develop impaired fasting
glucose, a condition which precedes Type 2 diabetes, than people who sleep for longer,
according to researchers at New York’s University at Buffalo in 2009. And a sleepless night
can lead to short-term euphoria and impaired decision making ability, according to scientists
at the University of California, Berkeley and Harvard Medical School in 2011.
"Pulling an all-nighter is risky on several levels," said Dr Charles Czeisler, Baldino Professor
of Sleep at Harvard Medical School. "You are also at acutely increased risk of causing an air
or motor vehicle accident should you fly or drive after being awake all night."
Despite the risks associated with all-nighters, many of us do it. So what can we do to stay
productive through the small hours and still function the next day? Here are some tips from
the experts.
Bank sleep
Czeisler advises having a snooze once you realize you will not be going to bed that night. "If
we take a mid-afternoon nap, the decrease in performance which normally occurs as we
work on will be much less," said Czeisler. Maintaining good, regular sleeping habits most of
the time can help us cope with an all-nighter, said Morgan.
"Do a bit of 'sleep banking' and get the amount of sleep you need most nights,” Morgan said.
“Don't allow unnecessary sleep debts to accrue in your life, and this will help when you do
have to work through the night."
Nourish yourself
"Protein keeps us alert," advises Paula Mee, a dietician, nutrition consultant and broadcaster
based in Dublin. "So the evening before you are going to stay up all night have a meal which
is rich in protein, for example a chicken breast or a salmon cutlet. Too many carbohydrates
can make us sleepy."
"You do not need to have another full meal during the night, our bodies have reserves for
events like this," said Mee. "But mid-way through the night you could have a protein snack,
perhaps some nuts and seeds, to help keep you alert."
Work in bright light
"Light is a signal of wakefulness for our biological clock and tells us that it is time to be
awake and active," said Docteur Joëlle Adrien, neurobiologist and Research Director at
l’Institut national de la santé et de la recherche médicale (INSERM) in Paris, France's
national institute of health and medical research.
But be sure the light is the right colour. "Research shows a blue-tinted light will wake you up
best, such as a blue-LED light," Adrien said. "Yellow light is not good for staying awake. It
relaxes us, so avoid it if you want to work through the night."
Plan your night-shift tasks
Our cognitive ability will diminish as we work through the night, leaving us less able to
perform tasks which require computing information, Morgan said.
"Divide your tasks in to two categories: cognitive tasks, which require thinking,and
computing, and other tasks which are more routine, such as formatting your work," said
Morgan. "Do the cognitive tasks first. You want your facts to be right."
"The more routine and pedestrian tasks should be done later, formatting your document for
example," Morgan said.
Drink coffee
Caffeine reduces the effects of adenosine, a chemical that humans produce which makes us
feel tired.
"Use caffeine strategically," Czeisler said. He advises drinking a cup of coffee at hourly
intervals throughout the night.
Keep warm
Our body temperature dips to its lowest around 03:00 to 04:00. "You don't want to be
distracted by being cold," Morgan said. "So make sure your environment is comfortably
warm. I always have a fleece handy."
Take a morning-after nap
"Once you have finished your task, say around 08:00, send off the email and then go to bed
for 90 to 100 minutes, which is long enough to allow us to have one full sleep cycle," Morgan
said. "That should be enough to keep you functioning throughout the day, but not for driving,
so never drive the day after an all-nighter."
And go to bed early that evening, he added. “You should be able to get back into your
normal routine fairly easily," he said.
Just say no.....
"Tell your boss it is not reasonable to work through the night," is the advice of Adrien when it
comes to an unexpected all-nighter. "Sleep deprivation has a very strong impact on your
health. Of course, you may need to be diplomatic, and say OK, just this once, but not again.
Just tell your boss no."
Original article here.
North American CW Weekend, June 5-7 – Don W4ZYT
The North American CW Weekend will be held in the DC area June 5-7. This has been a
nice gathering of CW enthusiasts and others just interested in Morse communication.
This is a month later than in previous years, to allow for a broader participation. The CW
Weekend is for Morse code aficionados of all stripes: members of FOC, FISTS, CWOPS,
Straight Key Club, and Morse Telegraph Society, or any individual with a special interest in
Morse code communication.
Rooms have been reserved at the Fairview Park Marriott in Falls Church, Virginia, at the
special rate of $99 per night. The special rate will be honored a day before and two days
after the weekend for CW Weekend participants. A hospitality suite will be available at the
Marriott for socializing and libations on Friday and Saturday evenings. Contact Marriott
reservations at 800-288-9290 or 703-849-9400 and specify "The North American Weekend
Room Block." You may also make reservations via the web site at www.marriott.com/wasfp/.
Enter "RIARIAA" in the space for the Group Code to obtain the special room rate.
The Weekend kicks off with an informal pizza dinner on Friday, followed Saturday morning
by brunch hosted by N3JT at his McLean home. The afternoon is free for touring or
shopping. Cocktails and dinner follow at 6 pm at Clyde?s Restaurant at Tysons Corner. We
generally meet on Sunday morning at the Marriott for an informal breakfast before heading
home. On Sunday afternoon, tours of the world famous W3LPL station and antenna farm
may be available by pre-arrangement with Frank.
A modest registration of $25 per person is requested to defray the cost of the hospitality
suite and refreshments. Contact W4ZYT, Don, at [email protected] to register or for
questions. Come and join your fellow brass pounders for a pleasant and memorable event!
Membership News
PVRC added several new members since the last newsletter. Please welcome:
Charles K4UQ from the Southwest Virginia Chapter
Bob W4OGH, Pete N4UP, Gabrielle N2GTS, Mike AE4ML, Owen KK4URZ, Dave
N4DSF and John N4QWF in the Rappahannock Valley Chapter.
Chapter leaders please remember to complete the Meeting Attendance Report.
Upcoming Contests and Log Due Dates
Contests This Month
Logs Due This Month
Feb 8 - NA Sprint CW
Feb 14 - PACC
Feb 21 – ARRL DX CW
Feb 27 – CQ WW 160 SSB
Feb 28 – NAQP RTTY
Feb 3 – ARRL RTTY Roundup
Feb 25 – ARRL VHF
See WA7BNM’s Contest Calendar for more detail and the latest information.
From the PVRC Treasurer – Bill N3RR
PVRC has chosen not to implement an annual Dues requirement. We depend on the
generosity of all of our club members to finance our annual budget. In addition, active
PVRC members are expected to participate and submit logs for at least two PVRC Club
Competition contests per year.
When contemplating your donation to PVRC, each member should consider the benefit
you are receiving from PVRC and its many opportunities for your personal growth in our
wonderful hobby, then donate accordingly.
Direct donations to PVRC via Credit Card or PayPal may be made by clicking this
"Donate" button and clicking the next Donate button that appears on your screen:
Eyeball QSO Directions
The latest info on local club meetings and get together will always be sent out on the
PVRC reflector and posted on the PVRC web site.
NW Region: Meetings are generally held on the third Tuesday of each month at the
Golden Corral Frederick, MD
5621 Spectrum Dr.
Frederick, MD 21703
(301) 662-5922
From Interstate 270 south of Frederick, MD
take MD Route 85, "Buckeystown Road" NORTH.
First right on Spectrum Drive.
Restaurant is in a couple of blocks. Most arrive about 6 PM for dinner and informal
discussions. The meeting begins at 7:00 PM.
Contact: Jim WX3B
Central Region: Meets monthly the second Monday of each month, except June, July &
August). The location alternates between the below MD and VA locations. Pre-meeting
dinners start at 6:00 pm and meetings start at 7:30 pm.
VA LOCATION: Anita's, 521 E. Maple Ave, Vienna, VA. Tel: 703-255-1001. Meets at
this location during the months of February, April and October.
Contact: Rich NN3W
MD LOCATION: Max’s Café. 2319 University Blvd W, Wheaton MD 20902. Tel: 301949-6297 People usually begin arriving at the restaurant around 6:30. Meets at this
location during the months of January, March, May, September and November. Contact:
Art K3KU
The Laurel, MD Region: Bill N3XL The PVRC get-together is held at the first LARC
meeting each quarter at the clubhouse.
The Annapolis Crew: Dan K2YWE Meetings are held on the 4th Wednesday of each
month at Broadneck Grill in Annapolis. We gather at about 5:30 PM and order dinner
about 6. We break up usually before 8 PM. E-Mail K2YWE to be put on the e-mail
reminder list.
PVRC-NC: The PVRC NC-East chapter meetings are held at Manchester’s Bar and
Grill on the 9100 block of Leesville Rd. in North Raleigh, with “QRM” beginning at
6:00pm and the dinner meeting following shortly thereafter. The meeting is held monthly
on the 1st Thursday of most months, cancellations or changes usually announced on the
PVRC-NC website. The PVRC NC-West Chapter holds its meetings on the 4th Monday
of each month at the Mellow Mushroom, 314 W. 4th St., Winston-Salem, NC. Ragchew
at 7:00pm, dinner meeting starts at 7:30pm. All contesters and interested guests are
Over the Hill Bunch: The group meets for lunch at noon alternately in Maryland at the
College Park Holiday Hotel Route 1 and the Beltway or in Virginia at the Parkview
Marriot near route 50 and the Beltway. Meetings generally are held on the last
Wednesday of the month and are subject to change. Meetings are announced by EMail. All PVRC members, non-members interested in membership and guests are
welcome. For information contact Roger Stephens, K5VRX, 703-658-3991 for Virginia
meetings; or Cliff Bedore W3CB or get on 147.00 for Maryland meetings.
Downtown Lunch Group: Meets on the 3rd Wednesday or Thursday of the month in
the downtown area of Washington, DC. Locations occasionally change, but are always
Metro accessible. Details are sent out on the PVRC reflector. Feel free to contact Eric
W3DQ or Brian WV4V for details and directions.
Southwest VA Chapter: The Southwest VA group meets each Wednesday at about
8:30 AM at Hardees at 20265 Timberlake Road in Lynchburg, VA. This is an informal
gathering, but normally has about 10-12 attendees. Contact Mark Sihlanick N2QT, Tel:
Southern Maryland Chapter: We meet on the last Wednesday of each month at
Nicolletti’s Pizza located at: 22741 Three Notch Road, California, MD 20619 Phone:
301-863-2233. Check out their menu here.
Talk-in on 145.350 (-) PL-156.7
Meet and Eat 6:30 – 7:30, PVRC meeting afterwards.
Contact the Chapter Chair, Tom Shelton, ND3N at GL1800Winger<at>Verizon<dot>net
or (240) 434-3811 with any questions
The Tidewater Chapter meets the 3rd Tuesday of every month at Frankies Place for
Ribs located in the Fairfield Shopping Center on the corner of Kempsville Road and
Providence Road in Virginia Beach, VA. The dinner starts after 6:00 PM and the joint
VADXCC and PVRC meeting starts around 7:15 PM. All Amateurs are invited.
If you’d like to add or correct a listing, contact K3TN for inclusion in the Newsletter!
Now a Word From Our Sponsors
PVRC doesn't ask for dues, but the Club does have expenses. Please donate online
here. You can also support the Club by buying from the firms listed who advertise in the
newsletter, or by getting your company to sponsor the newsletter!
By Scott KA9FOX
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Attention: Contesters
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Mic/PTT cable Headset cable RX Audio: L/R cable From Footswitch Your Radio The RF Connec on’s Mike‐Link Problem #1: Foot Not Near Footswitch, QSO Missed
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Problem #3: Brand ‘Z’ comfortable headset solves
problem #2, BUT increases external background noise
Solutions #2 & #3
Use Shure BRM440M
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Problem #5: Operating CW, you have a “pain in the
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