Sunday, June 6, 2021

The Dream Team Strikes Again!

Norton Knob

CVARC owns, operates, and maintains two repeaters in the Clearwater Valley. The 76 repeater is located on Norton Knob with numerous other repeaters and antennas, including local emergency services and regional National Public Radio.

Each year, the club pays its "rent" for housing and powering our repeater and antenna at Norton Knob by weed eating at the site each June, both to improve the appearance and to create a much-needed fire break around the building, antennas, and power lines.

We have always had a pretty good turnout of club members and equipment, and we usually complete the job in under two hours. Thanks to the turnout of eight members on June 5, 2021, and to Doug (KG7ZLE) bringing along his rider mower, the work was completed in just about one hour! 


Pictured left to right: Don (W7PJ), Kelly (KE7LY), Fabien (KJ7YXJ), Randy (KI7AVF),
Greg (AI7FM), Dave (KG7SRR), Doug (KG7ZLE), and Steve (W7HAT).

This also gave Don (W7PJ) and Steve (W7HAT) a chance to work together to remove a number of pesky wild rose bushes and treat the stumps in hopes they won't be there next year, as well as for Kelly (KE7LY) to give some attention to moss and lichen growing on the little sidewalk and building foundation.

Thank you to the Dream Team for this year's work! A special thanks to those who come up every year for this effort, and a warm welcome and thanks to first timer Greg and brand new ham operator Fabien for jumping in so readily and contributing. It was a good and productive time for all.

This year, we were treated by the visit of site owner Neal Johnson. Neal brought the Dream Team a cooler of water and sodas for refreshment and lent a hand here and there. Thank you, Neal.


Saturday, February 6, 2021

CVARC Raffle is in progress! (Drawing July 4, 2021)

CVARC has initiated its first fundraising raffle, and we have some tremendous prizes. Take a look!

To purchase tickets, ask any CVARC member, email cvarc.idaho@gmail.com, see Kelly at the Krystal Cafe in Orofino or visit one or our public sales. Next public sale is:

Cloningers Harvest Foods on Main Street, Kamiah  Saturday March 6th, 2021 10am-2pm

For those who purchase tickets, thank you for your support of amateur radio in the Clearwater Valley, and good luck! Ticket purchaser must pass all federal and state requirements owning a gun.

Click here to view/print Raffle Poster.

1st
PRIZE
RUGER 556 RIFLE
with Nightforce C599 riflescope
(.2 Mil-Radian * ILLUM * PTL * FC-MIL)
and 200 rounds of .223 ammunition



2nd
PRIZE
800 ROUNDS of .223 AMMUNITION

3rd
PRIZE
$100 CASH

With the goal of raising enough funds to replace the 76 repeater on Norton Knob, CVARC has initiated its first fundraising raffle. Line up and get your tickets to buy or sell!

The 76 repeater has been hosted on Norton Knob (site owned by Neal Johnson, where numerous emergency response repeaters and antennas are located) has been there for 20-some years. The model repeater is no longer manufactured, and it is difficult to get replacement parts. In addition, only one individual in the region has the knowledge to repair this repeater when it has problems. The time has definitely come to upgrade.


Secure(r) Communications for Ham Operators

Amateur radio communications is not a private or secure method of communications. Anyone with a scanner that will pick up signals in the amateur bands can hear our conversations.

However...

According to FCC rules, operators are not allowed to encrypt their radio signals for the purpose of disguising the content of the message, with only the exception of sending control signals (vs person-to-person messages). The use of spread spectrum transmissions is allowed in certain bands, but again, not with the intent of obscuring the meaning of the communication; it is primarily a method for reducing interference and providing multiple uses within the band.

So, can amateur operations be secure? Technically, no. But there are ways operators can decrease the likelihood that unsavory listeners will glean information we don't want them to have. 

One of these practical methods is to use the same precautions when conversing as you would when using social media. That is, don't discuss personal, personally identifiable, or otherwise sensitive information on the air. Don't talk about your upcoming vacation, when your house is likely to be empty and unguarded. Don't share anyone's personal address, phone number, date of birth, etc. Let caution be your guide.

One bit technology available to amateur operators that is essentially private is Winlink, which is a worldwide radio messaging system that uses amateur-band radio frequencies to provide radio interconnection services that include email with attachments, position reporting, weather bulletins, emergency and relief communications, and message relay. This operation method is also great for getting messages out to loved ones who are not hams during an emergency when other forms of communication may be cut off.

Using any email, including Winlink, you can also send a text (or Short Message Service - SMS) to a cell phone, which is likely to result in messages being more timely received. To send an SMS message, you need to enter the recipient's cell phone number and their carrier's SMS domain in the To: line of your email. You can reference the Text Message Via Email document for carrier email domains. You can also ask your contacts to send you an email via their SMS application and keep record of it for future use.

But even then, keep in mind that there are entities that may be able to gain access to these stored communications via security breaches or through court orders. The only true secure communications are private face-to-face conversations.

Side note: The FCC recently published Enforcement Advisory FCC Public Notice DA 21-73"to remind licensees in the Amateur Radio Service...that the Commission prohibits the use of radios...to commit or facilitate criminal acts.

Presented by Don W7PJ at the regular monthly club meeting on February 4, 2021.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Very Cool Video on Waves

Very cool video on waves. It really helps take the mystery out of impedance. Be sure to watch to the end.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

CVARC Meeting - April 2017

Highlights:
  • Four club members passed their General exam on March 11. Congratulations!
  • Testing on club meeting night requires 48 hours notice to ensure three VEs are available.
  • The 76 repeater is experiencing problems receiving low-power signals; it is accepting higher-powered signals and transmitting fine. Not sure yet when it will be inspected for repair.
  • The 49 repeater's performance is not predictable. It's suspected the feeder cable needs replaced.
  • Morse Code class resumes Thursday, April 13 for those interested.
  • The new club website was announced (you've found it!).
  • Field Day is Sat/Sun June 24/25. Checking to see if CVARC can have Field Day at Fraser Park this year.
  • Presentation: Antenna Basics, Part 2. Presentation will be available on this site soon.
Full Minutes: CVARC Meeting Minutes - April 2017

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Welcome!

Clearwater Valley Amateur Radio Club now has a website on the free blog host site Blogger.com. Club Members and other interested parties are encouraged to visit this site to see what's going on with the club in general, as well as to access the club's administrative documents, such as the Constitution and By-laws and meeting minutes.

The admin of this site will intends to add content of interest at approximately every week but will post at least monthly. Member and visitor comments are welcome; note that all comments are moderated to help keep spam posts off of the site, so your will not appear instantly.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

CVARC Meeting - March 2017

Highlights:
  • Updated Constitution and By-Laws adopted by quorum of club members.
  • Membership dues for continuing members are due by March 31, 2017.
  • The 76 repeater is not "hearing" signals less than 50W at this time. Low-powere hand-held units are not connecting.
  • Problems with the 76 repeater preclude its use for Sunday Night Net. Net will be conduction on the 49 repeater until further notice.
  • Presentation: Antennas - Don G
    There is no simple answer to the question, "What type of antenna should I use?" It will depend on each user's available space, funds, and the intended purpose. Some topics discussed were:
    • Affect on performance: antennas produces gain but do not “amplify” 
    • “Gain” refers to the antenna’s ability to focus energy in one direction over another. Gain in dB is obtained by narrowing the focus of the signal beam 
    • A saltwater stream can be used as an antenna (watch video)
    • Antenna lengths and the “Antenna Tool” android app for determining need lengths
    • Antenna mounts and ground plane 
Full Minutes: CVARC Meeting Minutes - March 2017