Amateur Radio: Special Event Stations to Look For: 15-16 December 2012

It looks like this weekend is thin for special event stations but I did find information for two.  I’m quite interested in the Wreaths Across America event and look forward to trying to make contact with WB0RUR and K5KVN, the last time they had a special event I missed making contact with them.  Here’s hoping for better luck this time.

15-16 Dec, 1300z-0000z, N5W – Wreaths Across America:  Gary – WB0RUR and Kevin – K5KVN will be on the air from Fayetteville National Cemetery in Fayetteville, AR to honor Wreath Laying Day.  They’ll be on or near 21.280, 14.240, and 7.230.  QSL via Gary Darnell, WB0RUR, 825 N Fox Hunter Rd, Fayetteville, AR 72701.  Wreath Laying Day honors veterans by laying Christmas wreaths at the headstones of Arlington National Cemetery and National Cemeteries throughout the country.  For more information see  Fayetteville National Cemetery is one of the original National Cemeteries commissioned by President Abraham Lincoln.

16-21 Dec, 1500Z-1111Z, KC2UFO – Game Over:  The Skywatchers and Communicators of Merritt Island, FL will be operating a special event station leading up to Mayan Calendar’s End of the World on 21 December.  They’ll be operating from various locations on or near 14.260 and 7.050.  See for QSL instructions.

For those that tried to listen out for the 1937 Ensor Transmitter last weekend, they sent out an update on the QRZ forums explaining why they weren’t heard.  They had some issues with the antenna system and weather then eventually the transmitter.  From their QRZ Forum post:

Saturday evening, 12/8/12 we attempted to return the 1937 W9BSP-W9UA AM Transmitter to the air after a 40 year hiatus. We had spent this last week chasing down some final quirks, neutralizing, tuning and generally tweaking. We completed testing Friday and felt that everything was in order.

This evening about 6 PM CDT, a light misting rain developed at the museum. At 7 PM, when we threw power to the wire, we found our SWR had gone off the scale. We then rechecked the antenna system using the station’s Icom 751 at 40 watts AM. All Okay. Switching back to the trasmitter the situation had not improved.

Loading the transmitter into a oil cooled dummy load showed that the problem did not reside in the transmitter. A scramble then insued to check each component of the antenna system, bypassing and swapping out cables and the external tuner.

We determined that the 160 meter fullwave loop antenna was not handling the 350 watts PEP of AM carrier. We had checked this antenna previously and had a 1 to 1 match before the rain. At this point we tried our inverted V dipole without success.The dipole had previously shown an issue with the high power of the 1937 transmitter, it had not been improved by the rain.

We then attempted to rematch the loop antenna system to the 1937 W9BSP transmitter at power, so we could proceeed with our Return to Air Event.

A sudden frying egg sound and the snap of an arc in the final tank circuit told us that trying to load the wet antenna directly had failed. Switching back to the dummy load showed us that we now had developed problems in the transmitter.

The air in the kitchen of the farmhouse that our radio room adjoins now had a distinct ozone tinge. It was decided that we would have to cancel the event for the evening.

We have great confidence that the current problems are correctable and we will be rescheduling our event when we have resolved them. Our primary problem at this time appears to keeping the antenna dry, or locating the weak spots in the antenna system.

I would like to thank all those who came out to the Ensor Museum for the evening, and everyone who participated in the impromptu standby net to hold 3885 for the event.

The W9BSP Ensor AM Transmitter be heard!

73 to all

Joe Krout, W0PWJ
Marshall Ensor Memorial Organization

For more information on special event stations over the weekend, check out Jerry Taylor, KD0BIK’s Practical Amateur Radio Podcast. Each week he presents info on various special event stations that will be active over the coming weekend.  There’s lots of good info in Jerry’s podcasts in addition to the special event station info, give them a listen!

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