Operating Events

Besides Field Day, many AARC members participate in On the Air contests and activities is the club, using the K0USA callsign (with permission of course)  Learn more about our efforts here.

 In case you haven't heard... On August 21, 2917, a total solar eclipse will cause the shadow of the moon to traverse the United States from Oregon to South Carolina!

(Omaha is not in the path of totality, but will see a partial eclipse of 98%.   ) 

Although the ionospheric effects of solar eclipses have been studied for over 50 years, many unanswered questions remain. HamSCI, a Ham Radio Citizen Science Investication, is inviting amateur radio operators to participate in a large-scale experiment which will characterize the ionospheric response to the total solar eclipse and target open science questions. HamSci is  sponsoring the Solar Eclipse QSO Party which will take place on August 21, before, during and after the event.  The data from the QSO Party will be used to Study the effect of the eclipse on radio wave propagation. 

Would you like to participate? The Ak-Sar-Ben Amateur Radio Club has been invited to Homestead National Monument of America to participate in their activities, and will be active on HF on August 21, 2017.     Homestead National Monument is one of NASA's official viewing sites, and is also playing host to several organizations and PBS Science programs.

The AARC will be an active participant in the Solar Eclipse QSO Party. Our footprint will be small, much like a National Parks on the Air activation.  Our exact location is still pending, but Homestead staff is trying their best to keep us front and center.  So hopefully we can get some interest and educate a few folks about amateur radio.    

There are lots of activities at the park for kids of all ages, so if you are looking for a great place to watch the eclipse, Homestead should be on that list.  The K0USA team would welcome some relief operators, loggers and people to talk to curious people walking by, so please consider coming down.  However, this is no parking allowed on the property that day.  But there are free shuttles from Beatrice (only 4 miles away) which start running at 6:00 am and running until 6:00 pm. There is lots of free parking available in Beatrice. (There will be programs by NASA and lot of other things going on in Beatrice as well)

Even arriving earlier than 6:00 am will not get you parking on the site any vehicles parked at the site need to be removed prior to 6:00 am on 08/21.  At this point even the K0USA team does not have parking priveleges on the park grounds.  Members of this team do have  a lot of experience traveling light after a year of National Parks on the Air, so a quick drop off of equipment should be all that is needed, and the truck will need to be parked off site and the driver shuttled back to Homestead.    If you think you are coming.. send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and let them know.   If you plan go to Homestead then  please review their rules and parking and shuttle information.   There will be food vendors on site, but it is recommended you at least take snacks and a refillable water bottle.  

But, if you can't, or don't want to travel to see the eclipse, you can still help out by getting on the air with the Solar Eclipse QSO Party, a contest-like operating event designed to generate data for studying the eclipse!  There are also a LOT of other Special Events going on on the air that day.  Several are listed at: http://www.arrl.org/news/many-special-events-will-be-on-the-air-to-mark-the-total-solar-eclipse-in-august .  If you have APRS.. check out this link http://www.hamsci.org/article/aprs-and-total-solar-eclipse -  Event Nuts and Volts magazine has an article about various projects: http://www.nutsvolts.com/magazine/article/the-solar-eclipse-and-ham-radio - Look for How Can You Participate near the bottom of the article.   As well as http://www.hamsci.org/projects/2017-total-solar-eclipse/get-involved.  

 

Museum Ships Weekend is an annual operating event in which hams operate on the amateur radio frequencies from retired maritime vessels, both military and commercial.   To be a participant the hams participating must be on or within site of the ship they are activating.  An established physical memorIal to a ship is considered the same as operating from the ship as long as the group/person is operating form the Memorial or within sight of the memorial.   

The Ak-Sar-Ben Amateur Radio Club will be operating from the radio room and fan tail of the ship on June 3 between the hours of 10:00 am and 3:00 pm only.    (These are the normal operating hour for the park)   Everyone is invited to come out and get on the air and look around the ship.    

So far the plans for operations include PSK operating from the radio room of the USS Hazard, 20m SSB from the fantail, and a CW operator stopping by and operating from his car from 20 and 40m.  SSB will change bands as conditions dictate.  All stations will be using the callsign KØUSA.

The Museum Ships Weekend Event is sponsored by The Battleship New Jersey Amateur Radio Station.  Details of the event and a list of participating ships can be found at http://www.nj2bb.org/museum/  - the list is expected to grow to over 100 before the event starts.   

The USS Hazard  will be one of two minesweepers participating in the event and the only WWII Minesweeper.   

USS Hazard (AM-240) is an Admirable-class minesweeper that served in the United States Navy during World War II. Hazard was launched on 1 October 1944 and was commissioned on 30 December 1944. The vessel was built by the Winslow Marine Railway and Shipbuilding Company of Winslow, Washington. Hazard was fitted for both wire and acoustic sweeping and could double as an anti-submarine warfare platform.

The Admirable class of minesweepers were also used for patrol and escort duties. Hazard first served in this capacity, escorting a convoy from San Francisco to Pearl Harbor, and then running with convoys to Eniwetok and Ulithi. In March 1945, the sweeper was sent to Okinawa, where she first performed anti-submarine patrols before sweeping the waters off Kerama Retto in keeping with the minesweeper's slogan, "No Sweep, No Invasion." 

At the war's end the ship cleared the seas off Korea and Japan for the occupation forces. Returning to the United States in 1946, Hazard was decommissioned and joined the reserve fleet. 

Stricken from the Navy Register in 1971, Hazard was purchased by a group of Omaha, Nebraska, businessmen and is open to the public along with the submarine USS Marlin (SST-2), an A-4 Skyhawk, an A-7 Corsair II, and an HH-52A Seaguard US Coast Guard helicopter at Freedom Park on the Missouri River waterfront in East Omaha. Hazard earned three battle stars for her World War II service. Hazard is a National Historic Landmark, the only Admirable-class minesweeper left in the United States. 

 

The stated objective of the Nebraska QSO Party is for stations outside of Nebraska to work as many Nebraska stations and Nebraska counties as possible and for stations in Nebraska to work everyone.   This year, it also helps celebrate the Nebraska Sesquecintennial.  

The 2017 edition of the Nebraska QSO Party will be held on April 22 and April 23.  Official Rules can be found at the QCWA Chapter 25 web site.  Keeping score is made easy with specialized logging programs like N3FJP's customized QSO Party logs, and are a software bargain.  You can get their NE QSO Party log for a mere $8.99 or purchase the entire package of his software for less than $49.99 (and includes life time updates).  N3FJP software is used by the Ak-Sar-Ben Amateur Radio Club for their Field Day operations.

KD0MMG and K0CTU working the NE QSO Party from Rock Creek StationIn 2016, the Ak-Sar-Ben Amateur Radio Club took first place in the "Club Category".  The NPOTA group combined their activities with the NEQSO Party.  They activated two Nebraska Counties and 4 National Park NPOTA entities.   Rock Creek Station State Park in Jefferson County included the Pony Express Trail, Oregon Trail and the California Trails. And their favorite site to go to Homestead National Monument in Gage County.  The efforts also earned them second place in the "Rover Category".

For 2017, the K0USA team is working with the volunteers at Freedom Park and hopes to activate the radio room on board USS Hazard WWII - Mine Sweeper for Saturday Operations.  Stay tuned here and on FACEBOOK for updates.  The radio room is small on board the Hazard, but the QSO Party team promise to make room for guest operators.  Nebraska is a fairly rare state, so contacts are usually pretty steady.  Throw in the USS Hazard and it could be pretty busy.   

NPOTA 100th Birthday CrewEarly in the morning of December 31, 2016, NPOTA regulars, KA0VNY, N0TRK, K0CTU & KE0BHP met at Nebraska Crossing and grabbed a quick breakfast at McDonalds. KB0FBI and K0KUP joined the caravan to Homestead National Monument for the final day of National Parks on the Air. The group arrived at the site right at 9:00 am bringing with them chili - provided by KA0VNY and cinnamon rolls from N0TRK and set up 3 stations: one on 40 meters, one on 17 meters and one on 20 meters.

The bands were not in the greatest shape, but the trio of stations managed a steady stream of contacts. Over the course of the day WE0BEP, K0NEB and NU0C joined the group and helped with the operation and logging.

At about 4:00pm, CST they began the final phase of the year long operation. While most of the equipment was packed into the various cars, K0CTU and N0TRK just didn't want to stop. They moved their operations into the car so that their host for the day, Ranger Doris, could close up the buildings at 5:00pm CST - also known as 23:00 UTC.  Only an hour left in the event.

Since the team had been given the secret to exiting the park even after the gates had been locked (and confirming with park staff weeks before that it was OK) K0CTU and N0TRK began operations on 20 meters from their car.

The stations that they worked were strong, but not numerous. So, with the setting of the sun, the pair changed from their trusty 20 meter MFJ Ham Stick to their reliable 40 meter MFJ Ham Stick. For their efforts the propagation gods granted them with an NPOTA pile up. They worked in the dark and cold of the evening, grabbing as many call signs as quickly as they could with a quick "you are 59 from Mike November 46, QRZ". But at 23:59 with the logging of NA4MM from Montgomery Alabama, it was over.

The total for the day on all bands was 575. Numbers are still being tabulated, but at this point we know K0USA managed at total of 25 site activations and has confirmation of working 164 unique National Parks units.

Over all, National Parks on the Air has generated 1,104,684 QSOs out of 21,057 activations around the country.   Nearly 1500 unique callsigns took part in the activations, and nearly 17,000 hams have uploaded logs to Logbook of the World. The final deadline for all logs, both the NPS Site Activators and the Chasers is January 31st. So we have to wait until February for the final results.

Now, the group has to work on getting those QSL cards out! But the rumor is that they will be back at Homestead as K0USA/NE150 and of course for the Darkness over the Prairie event during the total eclipse in August.

Winter Field DayThere really is a Winter Field Day, and this year, it takes place over the January 28 - 29th weekend, sponsored by the Winter Field Day Association (WFDA). The annual event’s stated purpose is to encourage emergency operating preparedness in the winter, but it’s also a great opportunity to operate in the great outdoors. The WFDA describes itself as a dedicated group of Amateur Radio operators who believe that getting ready for emergency communication in a winter environment is just as important as the preparations and practice that take place at ARRL Field Day each June, all while taking some additional unique operational concerns into account. The WFDA points out that disasters are unpredictable, and its goal is to help enhance operators’ skills and prepare for all environmental conditions typically found in the US and Canada throughout the entire year.