MARA 2021 HAMFEST

Our tentive date this year is 12 Sept.  We are still looking for a venue

but are starting to collect door prizes.  Tabitha/KL4FZ is putting together our

door prize request letter and will have it out to the gang soon.  He need

volunteers to help on various tasks for the hamfest.  Please contact

Chris/KL5BF to assist.  Need door prize coordinator, BBQ cook & barbee,

need programs and presenters, will need VEs to conduct testing at 1400, will

need folks at the gate and the MARA Country Store, setup and tear down crews.

Send all quires or info to MARA Email.

Portable Operations Work Shop

This year we are resuming our in-person workshops with two PORTABLE OPERATING WORKSHOPS planned. The first will take place at 1000 on Saturday, May 1st at Finger Lake State Recreation Site in Wasilla.

This won’t be your grandpa’s dry ham radio lecture either. We will be getting hands-on under field conditions and setting up a variety of stations (including HF). This is fast-and-light field radio at its best, and will be held rain or shine.

See just how portable a backpack HF station can be. Learn to set up a single-operator portable VHF contest station. Or if local parks are your thing you can see how a combined HF-VHF Parks on the Air activation works. Don’t miss out!

POTA, What is this?

Well POTA is Parks On The Air.  Do you want have some fun, well this is it and it good practice for operating away from your home station. A lot of Alaskans like to get into the outdoors, fishing, hunting, hiking, ATVing, boating, or just plain camping.  Now it's possible you just want to get away from the hussle and bussle from the city and others for peace and quite.  But how would you like to help your state to improve getting folks interested to visit and help our small businesses.   Ham operators are always interested in talking up their station, home, and interest you have.  Well go to a park, any type and setup your portable station and call CQ CQ POTA, Denali National Park. This winter we held Winter Field Day at Finger Lake and had a blast.  Below is a link to a video that tells you all about it.  Enjoy.      POTA

Alaska River Watch and Fire Status

State Fire Status

River Watch Program

HYDROLOGIC OUTLOOK
NWS ALASKA PACIFIC RIVER FORECAST CENTER
ANCHORAGE AK
10 AM AKDT WED MAR 10 2021

..SPRING BREAKUP OUTLOOK FOR ALASKA...

The spring breakup flood potential for major rivers in Alaska is
considered as follows:

..Kuskokwim River: Above average

..North Slope Rivers: Below average

..Koyukuk Rivers: Below average

..Tanana, Yukon, and Copper Rivers: Average

..Rivers along Turnagain Arm, Gulf of Alaska, and northern Southeast
Panhandle: Above average

..Other Rivers across Alaska: Average

This outlook is based on observed snowpack, ice thickness reports,
and long-range air temperature forecasts. It is important to
remember that while Alaska has experienced mostly mild winters for
the past decade, that `average` is defined over a longer period.
Average flood potential may be higher than in recent memory.

River Ice: March ice thickness data are available for a limited
number of observing sites in Alaska. Late February/early March
measurements indicate that ice thickness is near average across the
state with an exception being at the Yukon River near Galena, which
is below normal. Cumulative freezing degree days are above average
at sites along the Gulf of Alaska (i.e. colder than normal) and the
northern Southeast Panhandle, but normal or somewhat below normal
elsewhere.

Snowpack: analysis of the March 1st snowpack by the Natural
Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) indicates greater than normal
snowpack in the Kuskokwim Basin, 150% of average. The Koyukuk River
basin and the North Slope have snowpacks significantly below normal.
The Yukon and Copper River basins and the rest of the Interior have
relatively normal snowpacks. Snowpacks in basins along the Gulf of
Alaska and the northern Southeast panhandle are significantly above
normal in some locations.

Climate Outlook: the most important factor determining the severity
of ice breakup remains the weather during April and May. Dynamic
breakups with a high potential for ice jam flooding typically
require cooler than average temperatures for most of April followed
by an abrupt transition to warm, summer-like temperatures in late
April to early May. The outlook for March suggests an increased
chance of below average temperatures over southern Alaska and above
average temperatures over the North Slope. The longer, 3-month
outlook, which includes March, April, and May, also indicates
increased chances of below average temperatures in southern Alaska,
and above average temperatures in northern and northwestern Alaska.

The next Spring Breakup Outlook is planned for the second week in
April, 2021.

Current River Watch Flood Map

Discussions have begun with the Alaska Weather Forecasting offices.  There are some disturbing facts that may affect Alaska severally as breakup begins and spring continues. It is noted the ground is still frozen, the temperatures are rising and now the storms coming in are mainly rain and could become heavy.  So as happens every year, the ice breaks up and begins to flow down river, blocking areas and causing flooding.  Since the ground is still frozen and snow is melting in the mountains and low lands, there is no place to go except into the rivers, rising the levels.

As I had put out earlier we have been asked to assist the Fairbanks and Anchorage Weather Forecast offices by submitting reports of what we have observed.  As hams scattered around Alaska and near a lot of river and streams we would be the first to observe the water rising.  So as discussion continue with the various forecasting offices, we need to prepare for 2 things.  One lets take notice of the level of the water in are area, either driving around, at home or while flying.  First of all be very careful, we don't need to travel a lot yet until we get control of this crazy virus.  2nd, if your area has flooded in the past, its going to flood this year like the worst flood we have had in the past.  Get your important items packed in waterproof containers.  Some times zip log bags, Tupperware and storage containers can save our pictures, important papers, books and electronics.

I have been putting out info and links as to where you can go to get weather spotter training and begin training for our new ALASKA SKYWARN program we are developing.  Harry/AL6F works for the Fairbanks weather office (KL7FWX) and they have a complete ham station, with Winlink established. for emergencies.  Harry is heading up our SKYWARN program.  Carol and I have taken the weather spotter training several times and just completed it on line again, but if you haven't, go to the links I provided on the MARA ARES website www.kl7jft.org and take the course.  There is a great reference book and a small test at the end. That is step one.  Next will be the SKYWARN courses that goes further into what it's about.

SKYWARN is very critical in the lower 48 where they have hurricanes, tornadoes and flooding.  Well all we have is earthquakes, flooding and snow and wind storms.  So with our unique capabilities and scattered like we are we can pass this valuable info onto the weather forecast offices to help them do their job better and could help save your neighbor and friends.  Now you may not want to be an official spotter, that's fine, but at least you have a little knowledge that would help you to help us.

To start, safely go to your near river and streams where you've seen flooding in the past and will probably see again and put in a marker, or put a surveying tape on a tree at the edge, something for a starting reference and log in the time and date, location, (lat and long if you have it), and check it about the same time each day. Driving back and forth to the store or work once we get back to it, check it and keep track of what you find.  Maybe you have an old broken measure tape fasten it to the marker or tree so you can use binoculars from a safe distance to see how the levels have changed.  Is there ice flowing are trees or ice blocking the river or stream. Do we have erosion picking up that may affect a house, neighborhood, or road?  It doesn't take you long and it is very important.

Start monitoring the VHF and HF nets and pass info along to the Net Control or get a message to me, Don/KL7JFT or Harry/AL6F.  Hear are some links that you can use to find out about flood warnings:

River Summary

Interactive River Map

Now to report weather or flooding go to these sites and please email KL7JFT and AL6F or if you have any questions.

RFC/River Forecast Center

For Fairbanks AOR:

For Anchorage AOR:

 

SOTA-POTA Saturday 13th MAR

Hello group,

Don't forget that this Saturday Alaska VHF+ is doing another Parks on the Air activation, and this time it will also be a Summits on the Air attempt at the same time.

Weather permitting, I will be hiking up a peak called The Hideout, just north of Skilak Lake. The plan is to be on the air for the 2 M SSB net at 0930 and make a few contacts there. I will have a good antenna but will be running QRP, so keep an ear out for a weak signal in the background.

If you can't hear me on VHF then keep an ear on 20 M FT8 around 1030. I'll be switching to that band and mode to make contacts outside of Alaska, but locals should be able to pick me up too.

For Summits on the Air this peak is "KLA/KM-456". It is within the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, and counts as K-0149 for that program.

Brandon Clark, KL7BSC

https://brandonclarklabs.com/

MAR STATEWIDE QUARTELY COMEX

The Section Exercise will be in MAR 13th 2021 (TBD) from 0900 to 1400

All modes will be allowed also relays.   We will use WinLink, voice, CW and any other method that works.   All messages will begin and end with EXERCISE, EXERCISE so we don't upset any folks who might see the messages.  Please use ARRL radiogram. NOTE: Winlink does have a race template to use. You can report in and out times, number of dogs,, dog drops, any requests, and team scratches.  Let Race HQ, know the name of your Dog Race and the number of entries.

Linda/AD4BL/SEC would like all messages copied to her station when possible.  While this is a fun exercise it is also very important as we will be testing all our methods and links.  We will also have new amateurs on the system who might need your assistance and trying out new pieces of equipment.  This is a prototype for how we will operate in the event of an actual emergency managing dispatches, support convoys, and the like.

KL7EDK AND KL7JFU will be the hubs.  All traffic intended for the RACE HQ will go to KL7JFU  - NO EXCEPTIONS.  KL7JFU will act as Race Central and will have the authority to activate any air or ground support request for assistance.

All H/W traffic will go to the Special OPS group manned by AL7N either via CW or Winlink.

If sending real traffic please write:  complete address, phone number, and email address and sign with your full name, callsign, and location so there is a better chance of getting them delivered.

If sending messages to "agencies" please write a complete address, phone number and email address and add your phone number and email address to your signature.

 

Winter Field Day

Results of Winter Field Day

As we have all read on other posts, Brandon has done a wonderful job reporting on the event.  It was a great turnout for it.  As he mentioned we had probably about 10 people onsite at our peak, there was possibly even more I think.  Over the course of the day, I think we had between 25 and 50 people there.  Ham's of all levels were there and even non-ham's.  MARA members and nonmembers alike.

Of the stations on the air, Bridgit was onsite running and powering her full digital rig from her Prius using a dipole at the parking lot, Brandon was actually in a tent on the lake with his rig operating full digital as well, and I wound up in the SE corner of the lot with my heated tent and running strictly voice and the primary location of all training going on for hams.

As the stations shutdown and dispersed, I wound up staying a little while longer and trying to make contacts, playing the bands but eventually decided at 1630L to shutdown and go warm up at home.

WE really appreciate ALL that participated in both setup: Kevin Early (WL7BZ), I believe Rob one of our newly minted hams from the last test session, and forgive me I do not remember who all was there.  Last but not least, for George showing up and helping me to finish up the teardown.  Setup and teardown is the hardest part, but assistance with that was GREATLY appreciated!  My thank you to all that I have mentioned and those who were there that I did not mention - I apologize to those whom I may have omitted.

I explained to my wife (non-ham... yet!) about the satellite ham work and that really caught her interest, so she returned with me back to the site and watched and learned as did my neighbor Kevin Early about how to do AMSAT work during the first pass from 2012L to 2027L and we made enough contacts to cover both Bridgit and I operating as a team as well as for Brandon operating independently, so we got our extra 1500 points for each team for the satellite work.

After Craig had left around 2030L after the first pass, and we decided to not attempt any of the other passes at Finger Lake.  The remaining three of us left the site shortly after.  I was on my way home when another non-ham call at 2040L wondering where we were.  I had to explain that satellite contacts are only 15 minute windows.  Apparently a few others were onsite expecting to observe our operation.  We apologize to anyone who was expecting to see the satellite contacts, but based on report from Craig, we had more contacts during the first pass than he achieved at his home during the second pass.  I also apologize for not being there running the MARA equipment after dark, but temperatures we dropping and I really did not feel up to being out onsite as the temps were projected to be nearly -9F that night.

All photos are posted on the MARA Club Facebook page.

Winter Field Day MARA Slide Presentation

Parks on the Air (POTA)

I wanted to send out a reminder that AK VHF+ is doing our first Parks on the Air activation tomorrow. Some of you probably received the email earlier this week (if not, let me know and I can add you to our list).

The plan is to transmit from the Glen Alps trailhead at 1030 local. If anyone wants to stop in person to see the setup you're more than welcome. We will run FT8 on 6 meters to start. Once activity on FT8 dies down we will go over to 50.125 SSB for a little bit. Antenna polarization will be horizontal in keeping with typical usage on the weak signal sub-bands.

If you don't have a dedicated 6 meter antenna you can probably use a tuner and an HF dipole to try it out. I've done that before with good success. Don't worry about gain - the station is going to be at a very high location, signals may reflect off the snow, 6 meters has VERY good diffraction around obstructions, and FT8 has excellent weak signal performance. It's free and fun, so don't miss out.

Hope to hear you on air,

Brandon/KL7BCS

Storm Damage Reporting

The National Weather Service needs are help, whether you are a ham, weather spotter or an individual who seen storm situations and damage they may of caused.  The below link is the short report you can fill out and send to the weather station in your area, be it Anchorage or Fairbanks.

This is valuable information, especially if a dollar value can be added to the damage assessments (realistic not just inflated for effect).  There is a section in the storm report page just for high winds.

https://www.weather.gov/aprfc/submit?site=afc

 

Harry/AL6F

Alaska SKYWARN Manager