Busy Weekend: CARC supports Mini Maker Faire and Tour de Cure

13238992_1302284876466280_7706223176795686403_nMore than 30 members of the Columbia Amateur Radio Club supported two major events in downtown Columbia on Saturday, May 21: The Tour de Cure and the Mini Maker Faire at EdVenture.

The larger of the events, the Tour de Cure, saw 25 amateur radio operators stretched out across the midlands supporting riders on bike loops up to 100 miles long. Operators were stationed at rest/water stops, the command post in downtown Columbia, and drove sweep/support and gear vehicles to help riders in distress.

CARC Event Committee Chair Tammy Livingston, N4TAL, said the ride was “very successful” and only a few riders suffered injuries or dehydration.

“We did have one medical SAG but that young lady is doing well. We will likely review event protocol for this as there are some learning opportunities here,” Livingston said. “We also handled re-assignments well and I really appreciate everyone being so flexible. Flexibility is critical for these large multi-crew events.”

mmf-ah-16Over at EdVenture, a small-but-devoted group of CARC operators shared the hobby of amateur radio with children and adults at the Mini Maker Faire. This is the fourth consecutive year CARC has supported the faire, and we stuck to the familiar formula of teaching youth the “secret code” of Morse Code and showing off kits and homebrew gear. We also added some “live radios” this year to show off software-defined radio, DMR, and we monitored the repeater for the Tour de Cure.

“The Faire always provides an opportunity to share amateur radio with people who haven’t heard of the hobby, or perhaps they think it’s an outdated past-time with no relevance in today’s smartphone era,” said CARC President Andy Haworth, KK4DSD. “It’s always fun to point out that the cell phone in everyone’s pocket is basically a radio. Showing off software-defined radio and some of the more experimental technology gets children and adults excited.”

CARC’s next major event will be ARRL Field Day on June 25.

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May 2 general meeting notes

The Columbia Amateur Radio Club held their May general meeting on May 2. The following are documents, links and information relevant to the topics discussed.


Jack Jackson, W4EFZ, gave a presentation on microwave communication during our May meeting.

Microwave resources

Jack Jackson, W4EFZ spoke on microwave communication and offered up many links to suppliers for items related to building a microwave system.

Volunteers needed

We have three events planned on May 21: The Tour de Cure in downtown Columbia, the Mini Maker Faire at EdVenture, and the BioBlitz in Congaree National Park.

There is a pressing need for volunteers for the Tour. Please contact Tammy, N4TAL if you can offer your services (n4tal@att.net).

We are looking for 4-5 volunteers for the Mini Maker Faire to man the booth from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. at EdVenture. We will need some folks willing to work with children, as well as individuals who are comfortable talking to the public about amateur radio. Please contact Andy, KK4DSD, if you’d like to volunteer (kk4dsd@arrl.net).

Tom, W1TEF, is heading up the BioBlitz effort at Congaree. Tom will activate the park as part of the NPOTA initiative, and there are plans to offer information about ham radio and the club at the event. Please contact Tom if you want to help with that program. (w1tef@swsports.org).

Field Day plans taking shape

Our vice president, Steve, KI4VGA, presented plans for ARRL Field Day during both the board meeting and the general membership meeting on May 2. The board approved a proposal to use the S.C. State Guard Armory, at 551 Granby Lane, in Columbia, and the plan was ultimately approved during a vote of the general membership.

Field Day is scheduled for June 24-25. More information concerning Field Day will be presented at our June meeting.

Club ID badges

If you still need a CARC photo ID badge, please e-mail Dave, W4DMC, at david@calhounems.org. Be sure to indicate your name and callsign and attach a photo of yourself (a headshot in front of a neutral background).

Upcoming events

Permanent link to this article: http://w4cae.com/may-2-general-meeting-notes/

April 4 general meeting notes

The Columbia Amateur Radio Club held their April general meeting on April 4. The following are documents, links and information relevant to the topics discussed.roger_mull

Main presentation

Roger Mull, KD4JQJ, of SCETV Engineering, delivered a comprehensive introduction to the world of “Digital Mobile Radio” or DMR. Check out his presentation for a look at the technology, some suggested radios and how to get started with this fascinating mode.

Volunteers needed

Tammy, N4TAL, is searching for volunteers to assist with the MS Walk on Saturday, April 9, Please e-mail her at n4tal@att.net if you would like to help out. This is an easy event and can be worked with a handheld radio.

April Workshop: CW Class

Tom Francis, W1TEF, will be conducting a multi-day Morse Code class April 20-23. Time and location is still to be determined. We will update here once we get details finalized, but save the dates if you are interested in learning the code.

Contesting 101 Class

The Swamp Fox Contest Group will present a “Contest Basics” class in Columbia, SC on Saturday April 30th at the ETV building near downtown Columbia (1041 George Rogers Blvd, Columbia, SC 29201).

The course is geared toward any amateur who is interested in contesting, but doesn’t know much about how to actually do it. It will be focused heavily, but not exclusively, on HF contesting. Although equipment and antenna use specific to contesting will be discussed, it is expected that students will be licensed amateurs with a working knowledge of radio communications.

If you’d like to participate, please RSVP to:

Dave Fuseler, NJ4F
President, Swamp Fox Contest Group

More details on the class can be found here: www.swampfoxcontestgroup.com/education


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Gallery: Balun/Antenna Workshop

march-workshop-6Bill, W4FSV, hosted the Columbia Amateur Radio Club at the Calhoun County Auxiliary EOC Saturday, March 19, for a balun and antenna-building workshop.

The EOC was packed with more than 15 participants. We constructed a simple balun which could be used to create an off-center fed dipole or delta loop antenna.

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