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Sunday, September 27, 2015

WVDXA Fall Chili Lunch

Group Photo at the WVDXA Fall Chili Lunch
N8RR's Elmer Award
The WVDXA Fall Chili Lunch at the home of Frank, KA8SYV, and his gracious wife, Paula, was a rousing success!  Above you can see a shot of all 25 who attended.  (All photos are courtesy of Hal, W8HC.)

Frank presents the Elmer Award to N8RR
At the meeting, Frank, KA8YSV, presented Charlie, N8RR, with the Elmer award seen on the right.  As Frank made the presentation the group burst into a huge round of applause!  A close-up of the award can be seen on the right.  Click on any photo to see a larger image.

During "Show and Tell", Jim, K4JWA, gave a demonstration of his "Air Boss" launcher.  Putting antenna wires over tall trees is now a relatively easy matter.  Jim has a neat "Go Bag" with a motorcycle battery, a compressor, guage, etc. to charge up the Air Boss.   When fired, it launches a large sinker 100-feet or more into the air and that pulls a fishing line out of the reel attached to the tube.  Tie a larger line on the end with the sinker and reel it back in.  Beats a slingshot for sure!

K4JWA & the Air Boss
Also at "Show and Tell", Charlie, N8RR, demonstrated his SARK Antenna Analyzer to several interested members.  And, Clark, W8TN, displayed a mint DX'ing tool from 30 years ago - The DX Edge.  This grey-line sliderule was donated to Clark by Wally, W8LRL.

The absolute highlight of the meeting was when the entire group sang "Happy Birthday" and presented a card signed by everyone along with a Birthday Cake to Jimmy, W8JA's mom, Oleta.  She just celebrated her 91st Birthday yesterday!  What an amazing woman!
Oleta's 91st Birthday!

Since ALL three of the WV ARRL DXCC Card Checkers were in attendance, everyone could get their QSL's checked!  Donations for the upcoming FT4JA DX'pedition were collected by Larry, K8YYY.  Hal, W8HC, again thanked the club for it's donation to the upcoming VK9WA DX'pedition where he will be one of the operators. And, lots and lots of DX stories, tips and tricks were shared by everyone.  Not to forget, we consumed two different kinds of chili, nachos, donuts, two different kinds of AWESOME pie and some OUTRAGEOUS lemon cake, brownies, cookies, beverages, and so on - you get the idea - We Ate WELL!

W8ZT Enjoys the Chili!
Everyone who had a hand in this affair, even if all they did was show up, is to be commended!  It was another FANTASTIC WVDXA get-together.  And, we decided to try and schedule some kind of similar event every three months, even if we have to have it at Golden Corral.  Email is nice, but getting together like this really gets the DX juices flowing!

Attendees included:  Clark, W8TN, & Evelyn, Dave, W8IW, Janice, KC8BFF, Rick, W8ZT, Larry, K8YYY, & Beckie, Mary, KD8IPW, Jim, K4JWA, Dave, WA8WV, & Mary, Tim, K8RRT, Joe, WV8WVU, Frank, KA8SYV, & Paula, Bart, WT8V, Garry, W8OI, Jimmy, W8JA, & Oleta, Alan, W8OP, Charlie, N8RR, Rick, WV8RC, & Charlotte, Bob, WA8VPN, and Hal, W8HC.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

W8TN named Outstanding West Virginia Amateur of Year

W8TN (left) presented WV Outstanding Amateur
plaque by ARRL Section Manager N8SFO
Clark Stewart, W8TN, was honored at the West Virginia ARRL Convention on August 22, 2015 as the Outstanding Amateur Radio Operator of the Year in the state.  The recognition was based on his activities during the calendar year 2014.  During an awards ceremony he was handed a beautiful plaque by WV ARRL Section Manager Phillip Groves, N8SFO. 

The award is given annually by the West Virginia State Amateur Radio Council after receiving nominations from clubs and individuals from around the state.   I was happy to write Clark's letter of nomination, pointing out the following.
"In my opinion, Clark has been deserving of this honor for many years.  Since getting his first license in 1964 he has always been active, helpful, knowledgeable, courteous and tireless in advancing amateur radio and leading other hams by example.  But what he achieved in 2014 for amateur radio in West Virginia truly was astounding. 
A prime example, which took a huge amount of his time during that year, was the October W1AW/8 operation from West Virginia.  W8TN was the “back office” for that highly successful week-long event.  Starting months in advance he set up a Blog, an Online Schedule for the many volunteer operators, and a Google Group Email Reflector and Chat Page.  He helped hams statewide install and train on logging programs, built sample macros for CW and RTTY operation and helped Hal, W8HC, sort out the bugs in final logs.  He put hundreds of hours into this operation which resulted in more than 40,000 QSO’s from W1AW/8 in WV during that one week of operation.
He led the effort to resurrect the long dormant West Virginia DX Association in 1963 and now serves as its President.  In January 2014 he urged the WVDXA members to compile an inventory of their ham radio related items to help their survivors who may not be hams to know the value of their equipment.  He constantly shares such advice and his knowledge of ham radio by answering questions from hams (not just in the WVDXA) on just about anything.
In April, 2014 he spent dozens of hours migrating the WVDXA members to a new Google Group email reflector after AOL and Yahoo changed the way emails to mailing lists were handled. 
Clark annually reminds WVDXA members how to save their Logbook of the World Certificates and helps many hams each year with LoTW issues.  As a case in point, a WVDXA member, W8UV, was trying to complete his Triple-Play award in September 2014 but could not get a RTTY QSL on LoTW from Hawaii.  Clark, on behalf of Phil, contacted the KH6 station and after 6 hours on the telephone remotely working on the Hawaiian’s computers, managed to fix the LoTW issue so that more than 10,000 QSO’s could be loaded up to LoTW. 
In this same way, he helps dozens of hams with computer issues by remotely connecting to their computer and solving their computer issues on a weekly basis.  He constantly helps people with the Logger32 logging program and publishes tips on his personal Blog ( about that logging program.
Clark will help any ham with any problem and does so regularly.  He helps install antennas, troubleshoots “shack” problems, teaches basic electronics, helps young people learn Morse Code, conducts ham radio forums, and fund raises for ham radio projects such as DXpeditions to rare countries and entities.  Under his leadership the WVDXA has raised more than $10,000 to help ham radio causes.  He does this constantly and certainly did it throughout 2014.
He has worked and confirmed every DXCC entity in the world except for North Korea and has personally operated on several rare DXpeditions around the world.  He has even worked beyond this world, including arranging communication with the Space Shuttle by students in Davisville, WV.
But Clark’s greatest attribute, in my opinion, is his almost constant desire to help others.  As an example of that, on November 2, 2014, Tim Stinespring, K8RRT, was in a serious auto accident.  W8TN immediately drove to the hospital, sat with Tim’s wife and daughter, and spent an enormous amount of time helping Tim and his family with the practical and legal issues of his accident.  Since Clark is an attorney, his expert advice, given for free, was a Godsend.
Clark Stewart is the real deal.  So it is with great pleasure that I nominate him to be the latest WV Outstanding Amateur, and I ask you and the other voters to give him careful consideration for this honor."
The WV State Amateur Radio Council obviously agreed.  They bestowed the honor on our WVDXA President as a number of WVDXA members, as well as other hams from around the Mountain State, watched with great pride.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

WVDXA Supports Clublog Again

Upon unanimous consent of the membership, 'da Prez made a donation to Clublog in the name of the WVDXA in the amount of $100.00 U.S. (£64.13 British Pounds).  This will help support the operation of this great resource that many of us use at least weekly (if not daily!)  Below are comments about the current and future expenses of Clublog from their website:

Current Expediture

The running costs for Club Log between 1 April 2013 and 1 April 2014 were £10,230 ($16,368)
Most of our costs are for utilities. Club Log is a very intensive application that analyzes a vast database, and it also receives large volumes of visitors. For example, hosting a large expedition typically results in over a million page loads in a few weeks. The servers (main and standby in two different locations) each require a fast internet connection, electricity and cooling 24/7/365. Other expenses include subscriptions to directories and news services, conventions, security certificates, fees paid to our helpdesk supplier (Freshdesk), and disk storage for backups.

Future Expenditure

In 2015 and beyond, there are several new projects related to Club Log which will need a lot of disk storage and perhaps some RF equipment that we're planning ahead for. Additionally, it is becoming clear that a new server for running reports will be needed, separate from the main service, so that at busy times less juggling of resources is necessary. At the moment, Most Wanted charts are being scheduled to be updated at quiet times between expeditions, for example. This is a trend that will probably continue and it's going to be necessary to expand a little to keep up!

Looking at the donations list over the last year, it appears that Clublog's running costs average $1,364 a month.  Adding up the donations in May 2015, they only received $1,079 during that month.  But the April receipts totaled $2,277 so they more than made up for the May deficit in the prior month.  March was even better with $3,156 being received.  That means they received about $2,400 more than their running expenses for that 3-month period.  Hopefully the remaining 9 months have supplied enough funds to help with the future expenditure plans.  This looks good for the future health of Clublog.

The following email was received in acknowledgement of our donation:
Dear West Virginia DX Association (W8AH),

Thanks for your generous donation to Club Log! Each time a user performs an
upload or uses the expedition search tools, a donor's name is displayed at
random, as mark of appreciation.

Your donation ensures Club Log is free of charge and free from advertising.
It is thanks to the fantastic kindness of regular users that the running
costs are covered.

So thanks again, and I hope you continue to enjoy using the site! It's a
pleasure to have your involvement, and I am very grateful for your

vy 73,
Michael G7VJR