Slack! An excellent way for your Ham Radio Club to keep in touch!

I just wanted to share this excellent service, called Slack, which is an online messaging platform that works across multiple platforms & devices seamlessly! Our club was looking for a better way to keep in touch, and what better way than real-time!

slack

Lets face it… we can’t always be on the repeater, or monitoring (lurking as some call it) to see what’s going on, but we do like to keep in touch and abreast of what’s going on in the club, so our VP, KG5CDP, Brandon, decided to introduce Slack to the club, and boy am I glad he did! Sure, there’s Facebook, Twitter, and all other kinds of social platforms, but we wanted one specifically for our club, and that’s what we got with Slack! We’re able to invite members by their email address & they join in on the conversation…

In our Slack account we have several channels within, some devoted to propagation alerts, signing up for the Thursday night net we hold every Thursday @ 8pm, and even a channel devoted to our new DMR repeater that’s up and coming. It’s nice to be able to periodically check in throughout the day and see what folks are upto. Homebrew projects are a regular occurrence within the group, and it’s so cool to see what folks are building! Slack is absolutely free. Microsoft is even trying to compete with their setup because it worked so well. Seamless integration across everything is what drove us to it.

slackmenu
A preview of the N5OAK Slack Room

 

It’s a great way for clubs/groups to keep in touch. If you’ve been out for awhile, Slack will archive upto 10,000 messages (I think) for you to go back and catch up on anything. Communication within a club is key to its success IMHO, plus I’ve had lots of fun with Slack, almost more so than any other social platform!

Just a fun recommendation for your club!

Happy Friday 🙂

73

K5ACL

Winter Field Day is getting closer!

Well, you certainly won’t feel it in Texas anyways… Winter that is. 😛 I was wearing shorts & sandals about a week ago, the weather here is so up and down, I do miss having seasons as I’ve experienced elsewhere! Winter Field Day is just around the corner, and our club, the N5OAK is hard at work preparing for a really exciting day of operating, if you or anyone you know might be interested in getting on the air and are in the Central Texas area (Luling to be exact), then let me know and i’ll be happy to provide details on the event. I think they’re even trying to setup a “GOTA” (Get on the Air station) for folks that are new to HF.

Here’s a rough draft of our layout for WFD (Courtesy Photo: K5URU):

wfd-layout
Yellow = Antennas

 

So far there’s at least 8 HF stations that I know of that will be there (some with VHF/UHF capability), there’s also a planned satellite station that I’m looking forward to learning how to operate (if we can get through to the bird on a contest day!).

There’s plenty of space to go around from the above aerial, so it will be fun to experiment! I may just end up taking my sleeping bag and crashing in the back of my pickup truck to get some shuteye on Saturday night (hardcore eh?). During the last ARRL field day, I attempted to stay up throughout the whole thing & operate, but I bet we’ll have a bit bigger crowd this time & I’ll be able to catch some Z’s while other folks operate! We will also take advantage of setting up the equipment prior to the contest starting @ 1900UTC on Saturday. We have everything from DMR simplex, Broadband Hamnet, Satellite Ops, SDR, and lots and lots of radios! It will be interesting to see the coordination between us operators @ the field site to ensure we all operate on different bands!

This will be my Kenwood TS-480SAT’s first real-world test in a contest environment, I’ve only ever used it for casual operating up until now. I’ve still yet to tap the IF out in it, I need to crack the case and plug in the coax wire I got from mypanadapter.com. This way i’ll be able to use my SDRplay as a panadapter. I think having a panadapter out @ Field Day will be a huge advantage. Stay tuned for a wicked cool setup, pics to follow!

Thanks to N5OAK members for making this event possible, if there’s one thing ham radio needs more of, it’s field days! We’re having a club meeting tomorrow to discuss everything (and breakfast!) Nothing like discussing ham radio ops over a nice warm cup of coffee & some breakfast tacos!

www.n5oak.org

www.winterfieldday.com

73

K5ACL

Winter Field Day (2017) Prep

Field day is probably one of my favorite events in ham radio. It’s the day when hams from all walks of life get together for a common goal – to contact as many stations as possible within a given time period! (that & have as much fun as possible doing it!). This particular event is my first (Winter) Field Day, which isn’t run by the ARRL, but it is promoted by the ARRL 🙂 There’s all sorts of planning that goes into such an event, i.e. location, gear, food, power requirements, etc, but I’m lucky to have some really capable & friendly folks in the N5OAK who have been planning the event for quite some time! I think this will be the N5OAK’s first actual entrance into the contest.

We’ll be using a site out in Luling, TX with lots of space for antennas! I’ll be stringing up, tuning & trimming a new portable OCF that I can use whilst HF mobile. I originally had plans to put up a vertical of some sort, but verticals usually require a bit more deployment time, and as such, I wanted to keep my setup & break down time as quick as possible. (I learned that lesson from the last field day!). It’s no fun breaking down a station in the pouring rain with mud all underneath you & your gear!

We have 6 operating stations planned so far, some will include VHF/UHF capability, and you can bet that we’re going for that satellite QSO bonus! An extra 1,500 points! I think we’re also going to be using our own power generation equipment, so that’s another 1,500 points!

I’m most looking forward to this field day because it allows a lot of different modes to be worked, and I think events like that really bring folks together, because lets face it, not everyone does voice… not everyone does cw… not everyone does digital. An event like this can allow hams who are proficient in those areas to really show others, and give them an opportunity to try something that they might just be surprised they like! (I’m especially looking forward to the Satellite qso tutorial!)

My station will be designated the voice station, so I’m planning on using my Kenwood TS-480SAT, and an off-center fed dipole. I’ll also have a headset this go around, as well as panadapter capability. Might be a bit much for field day, but if we’re already going to have laptops for logging purposes, I’m going to take advantage and put a panadapter up! I have an HP S140U external portable monitor that runs on USB power only that will serve as the panadapter screen, while the logging software stays on the primary screen, cool huh? I’m planning on capturing the whole event on film/camera, so stay tuned! I hope to hear you on the air for WFD, look for us & work us on the bands as N5OAK!

If you’re interested, check out WinterFieldDay.com for all the official details & rules.

73

K5ACL