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Madison Marathon 2013

Date: 2013-11-10 00:00:00 -0600

On Sunday, November 10, 2013 I helped with communications for the Madison Marathon.

My thanks to Dane County ARES for letting me particpate and doing all of the organization that let me basically just show up and help.

This was my first Public Service Event.

I don't have any major issues or problems to report, except for a problem at the beginning of the event with an antenna on the primary repeater, which was quickly resolved, communications worked really well. The weather was excellant. It was cold, espeically getting there at 06:30AM. I was very glad to have my 5 layers under my volunteer t-shirt and safety vest. The coffee and soup in thermoses in my backpack were good to have, too!

It was heartbreaking, it was inspiring.

What made it hearbreaking and inspiring was seeing some of the special runners. Seeing and hearing people cheering on friends and family. Watching as one runner collapsed at the finish line and the Madison FD roll them away on a stretcher. Hearing the calls over the Net as runners were not able to finish the event and had to request to be picked up. Overhearing runners talk about running through cramps, throwing up. Seeing runners collapse, crying, into loved ones arms. Friends and family posing with runners to get pictures to capture the moment. The lady that was running on her 50th birthday. All of these things affected me.

These are some of the 'wheelchair' athletes prepping in the chute.

I had never heard of this group before, but they are very, very cool. myTEAM TRIUMPH:

myTEAM TRIUMPH is an athletic ride-along program created for children, teens, adults and veterans with disabilities who would normally not be able to experience endurance events such as triathlons or road races.

This is Fireman Rob a Madison firefighter, athlete and motivational speaker. He competes in road races and the running portion of triathalons wearing 50lbs of firefighter gear. For this event he also did it pushing one of the team captains for myTEAM TRIUMPH.

After all the long races started, they held a 1k Kids Run.

The offical photographers needed a ladder to setup on...

One of the myTEAM TRIUMPH captains finishing the race.

One of the first wheelchair finishers.

I had to take a picture of this ladies shirt as I was taking some lost and found items to the Info Tent.

Another firefighter running, this one for Breast Cancer Awareness.

When I mentioned that this was the shortest Medical Support person I had seen, I was informed that he was also the most senior.

Another of the myTEAM TRIUMPH captains finishing the race.

Running to support our Vetrans.

As I was walking out, heading for my car, I saw this guy go riding by...

Will I be doing this again? In a word, Yes. I helped several people directly as well as participating in the Net with my fellow Amateur Radio operators supporting the aid stations.

This was a good day.


For those that might be interested in my setup:

My Layers:

  • Spandex/polyester base layer
  • longsleeve t-shirt
  • turtleneck
  • sweater
  • pullover windbreaker
  • voluneeter tshirt
  • yellow safety vest

My Gear:

I used a Wouxun KG-UV3D 2M/70cm HT with a 16" Diamond SRJ77CA whip antenna for communications, with an external mic and earphone. I had a spare battery, as well as an AA battery pack with two sets of batteries ( 10 AA total ).

I had a 40oz thermos of coffee, a thermos of soup, a peanut butter and jelly sandwhich, almonds, creamer and sweetner for the coffee and even some dark chocolate Hershey Kisses, all thanks to my lovely XYL, Jane.

I had a fleece scarf and mittens/fingerless gloves. ( I wore my knit fingerless gloves. )

I had a compartment clipboard with all the notes and map of each aid station location, extra pens, sharpies, ruled paper, 3x5 cards and a grid paper pad.

I also had all of the maps, roster of who else was on communicaions and other documentation saved on my Nexus7.

All of this fit into my backpack. The same one that I used to carry my books around in high school... over 18 years ago now.

I was also carrying my Nikon D40, which is what I used to take all of these pictures.


The J-Pole goes mobile

Date: 2013-11-08 00:00:00 -0600

This weekend, along with many other volunteers, I am going to be helping with communications for the Madison Marathon.

This will be my first Public Service Event, so I want to make a good impression on my fellow hams. Since an HT antenna is notorious for not quite being good enough, I decided to mount the J-Pole sitting in the garage to my station wagon. I also have a little mag mount antenna on the hood, just in case. I will have the 2M mobile rig that was gifted to me by Troy KB9AZZ when I first got my license, as well as my Wouxun HT with spare batteries. Hopefully that is enough!

I used the bikerack, zip ties and a short piece of conduit to secure and stabalize it.

image1

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New Radio Laptop

Date: 2013-10-26 00:00:00 -0500

Yesterday afternoon I stopped by UW SWAP and picked up a Lenovo ThinkPad R60 running MS Windows 7 Home Premium. My previous radio laptop was the ThinkPad T60 running MS Windows XP Pro, it too was purchased at UW SWAP.

With the demise of WinXP coming ( Microsoft is ending support for it in April 2014 ) I had thought about putting Win7 on the T60, but that would end up costing me $90 to buy an OEM copy of Win7. When I saw that UW SWAP was running a special and selling the R60 for $100 it turned into a no brainer.

After I started installing all of the software that I use to make my life easier and the software specific to contesting, rig interface and the like, I started thinking about managing nm9o.com from this laptop, without having to have access to my server at home.

So I decided to install jekyll in Win7. This is not as easy as it should or could be. Some of the issues that I ran into were due to my use of some other ruby gems to resize images, but other issues were just due to known bugs not being fixed in official released versions yet. Anyway, that's another story, that I don't really want to get into here :).

I installed cwRsync using a package and instructions from rsync.net, which allows me to continue using the Rakefile that I already have.

The result is that this laptop SHOULD be able to be my primary radio machine for a while, including updating my website and keeping track of contacts.

To keep track of contacts I have been using N3FJP Amateur Contact Log, and I have also been using his other log programs for state QSO parties and other contests. I think I am going to poke around at N1MM and see if I can make that work. The ability to add custom defined contest information could be handy. There is also apparently an ability to generate a cabrillo formatted file, which N3FJP only does for contest specific programs.

Oops... just remembered that I need to do some stuff with LOTW.

New Radio Laptop
R60


N2F Special Event Station

Date: 2013-10-06 00:00:00 -0500

While spinning the dial around on 20M looking for California QSO Party contacts I ran across the special event station N2F, National Fire Prevention Week. 14.347 MHz
Check the QRZ page for more details.


New QSL card to send out

Date: 2013-08-02 00:00:00 -0500

After spending a couple of weeks poking around and trying different things, I finally settled on a new QSL card design.

Current QSL Card

Writing a script to generate QR codes for another project lead me to explore putting a QR code on my QSL card. The code in the top right corner is a link back to this website.

I was tempted to try to get a QR code of a vcard with my contact info, but that was a little too much information, unless I wanted to make that the majority of my qsl card!

Now to get them actually sent out... I think I should have picked up some more stamps.

The picture was taken off of my deck in 2008 one morning.


Morse Ringtones, update

Date: 2013-06-25 03:48:39 -0500

I used morseringtones.com to generate ringtones for my android phone. I used callsigns for those that had them, and names for those that did not. The only problem that I ran into was that the volume was a little low. After doing some searching online I discovered mp3gain and so I updated my script to grab ringtones.

#!/bin/bash

for i in $(cat list.txt)
do
  if [ ! -f "${i}_medium.mp3" ];then
    wget -O /dev/null "http://morseringtones.com/cgi-bin/generate_ringtone.sh?text=${i}&speed=medium&pitch=600&repeat=3" 
    wget http://morseringtones.com/working/${i}_medium.mp3
  fi
done

# Amplify the volume

if [ -x $(which mp3gain) ]; then
  for i in *.mp3
  do
    mp3gain -g 10 ${i}
  done
fi