Saturday, August 13th, I was up bright and early to help support the Boys & Girls Club Smart Smiles 5K race at the Mariners Museum Park in Newport News, VA. I reported to the Coordinator and then went to my assigned position. I was on a shaded road, enjoying the 70-some degree weather and gentle breeze, which was so welcome after too many “feels like 100+” days!
Our purpose was to provide safety coverage for any runners that experienced difficulties, and also to keep the race coordinator informed about race progress.
Luckily, there were no incidents, and everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves. It was a pretty laid-back “race”. There were families with children, old folks, young folks, serious runners, walkers … just about any demographic you could imagine.
For the most part, our primary repeater worked well, but I had occasional problems with the Net Control station dropping into the noise. The backup repeater was much more solid, so I had my backup portable tuned to that.
All in all, it was a beautiful day for a race, and a great way to spend a morning in the park!
As of yesterday afternoon, the W4MT UHF & VHF FM repeaters were back on the air. We got the repeater cabinet moved to the new site and connected everything up and threw the power switch to ON!
As usual, it was not without its hiccups. Although everything had checked out before installing, the reflected power was high. That was resolved to a bad connector and remedied. Then we found that the control receiver was not working … that was a bad 1-amp fuse.
Finally, everything was up and working properly. We left well enough alone and wrapped up our endeavor for the day. We’ll go back and take care of grounding and cable dressing shortly.
It’s really nice to hear the repeater back on the air. Actually, it has been operational, but with limited range due to compromises with the antenna height. Now, with the antenna at a decent height, it sounds great.
It’s eerie at work this week. Normally, we have a steady flow of customers in and out of the shop, all having some sort of communications difficulty. This week, I think I can count the number of visitors on the fingers of one hand … the Coronavirus is definitely affecting business. Traffic is noticeably lighter when I head home after work, and it’s odd seeing all the empty restaurant parking lots.
I’d much rather be at home, isolating myself. My wife and daughter are both at home this week, due to their workplaces being closed. I’m in the at-risk group … chronic illnesses, over 66, etc. But since I’m working in the public-safety field, I’m considered “essential personnel.”
FT-modes have been pretty busy this week. I’ve worked a lot of Europeans. I’ve seen quite a few Asian stations, but haven’t managed to work any. I check the spotting page for POTA frequently, and see lots of posts, but when I go to the indicated frequency … nada! Forty and twenty meters are not being cooperative for CW and SSB.
Today is the first day of Spring, and the temperatures are supposed to climb into the mid-seventies, but it’s still gray and dreary-looking outside. Tomorrow is supposed to be in the eighties … maybe Spring is actually here?
Not me, folks! All I did was help with communications. The race was a Marathon/Relay/50K.
It was held on the Noland Trail, which is part of the Mariner’s Museum here in Newport News, VA. The trail is a loop around Lake Maury, and is a total distance of 4.8 miles. The race was obviously several loops. There were 300 runners, and they were started in waves of the different skill levels. The event was part of the museum’s ARRRtober Festival ( with family-oriented pirate-themed events).
I managed to do some reading, because I was nowhere near the action or runners. As a matter if fact, I never saw the participants. I was guarding an entrance to the trail to keep non-participants off the track during the event … basically letting them know why the gate was locked. It was a beautiful day … mildly chilly, even, in the early morning with a slight breeze. The high during the day was in the low 70s. I was onsite at 5:30 am for the 7 am start, and worked until noon, when my shift ended. I believe that the finish line was no longer manned after 3:15 pm. I don’t know how many of the 300 finished the race.
All in all, it was a great day, and I really enjoyed the chance to get out of the house and into the fresh air. The Mariner’s Museum also is K-4567 in the Panks on the Air database. It’s part of the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail. Just down the street is the Virginia Living Museum, which is also part of the trail. Of course, as long as I’m within 100 feet of the water around here, it’s on the trail. Gonna have to activate this one soon!
Been slackin’ a bit, lately. Lots of non-ham activities. Teaching classes, honey-dos … lots of mini-things. Ham radio has been shoved to the background for a bit.
I noted that my progress in unique parks worked has been static at 189 for a while, but I did work a couple yesterday afternoon … one in Wisconsin and one in Michigan.
Lots of noise, though. I tried to hear a couple of others, but they were just too weak and under the noise floor on 40 meters. To add to that, there was some sort of periodic pulse interference and the usual Broadcast Interference that pops up in the afternoon.
The station in Wisconsin was down in the noise when I started listening to him, but over the course of time, his signal increased to a 59. If I recall correctly, he was on 20 meters. That pulse noise was there intermittently also.
This coming Sunday, I’m helping the club provide communications for a combined Marathon/50K/Relay at the Mariner’s Museum Noland Trail. I’ve got to be at the race venue at 5:45 am … no sleeping in at all on Sunday!