K4KDJ and the Fall 2014 School Club Roundup

K4KDJ was on the air during the week of October 20-24, 2014 for the Fall 2014 School Club Roundup.  The School Club Roundup is a week-long, biannual ham radio contest sponsored by the American Radio Relay League with a focus on increasing ham radio activity in schools radio clubs of all levels.  This semester's effort was led by Virginia Tech student John Herrick, KK4BSM. Other operators included W2NAF, and KJ4OAP. We also had help from numerous loggers and people providing support in various ways, including KM4EGE, KV4RJ, K3IW, KB3WPR, and many others.

For Fall 2014, K4KDJ claimed 1057 QSOs (contacts) and 358,848 points.  This is the highest score for the SCR in VTARA history, and likely the second highest score in School Club Roundup history to date.

VTARA Participates in Jamboree On the Air

On Saturday, October 18, 2014, members of the Virginia Tech ARA and the Floyd Amateur Radio Socitety introduced about twenty scouts and parents to amateur radio at the Chantilly Festival Farm in Floyd, Virginia during the annual Jamboree On the Air (JOTA). JOTA is an internation event that takes place the third full weekend of every October with the aim of connecting boy and girl scouts around the world through amateur radio. The scouts came from Blacksburg Troop 704 and various cub scout packs in the New River Valley Area. All operations were conducted under the N4USA call sign of the Foundation for Amateur International Radio Service (FAIRS).

Ham Radio License Test/VE Session Tonight

The Virginia Tech Amateur Radio Association will be holding a Volunteer Examiner (VE) session this evening:

A VE (Volunteer Examiner) Session is the time when amateur radio license exams are given.  At a VTARA VE session, tests are given for all three classes of the United States Amateur radio license.  In order, these classes are Technician, General, and Amateur Extra.  Higher class licenses come with more operating privileges.

Note that parking on campus after 5 PM is free in both F/S (Faculty/Staff) and C/G spots.  The Drillfield has different rules, so don't park there.  Town metered spots are also free at this time.

These tests are coordinated by the American Radio Relay League (ARRL) according to the rules set forth by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

When you come to take an exam, please bring:

  • Photo ID
  • $15 (Cash/Check/All Major Credit Cards)
  • Social Security Number or FCC Registration Number (FRN)
  • Pen/Pencil
  • Calculator (optional; we reserve the right to clear/check calculator memory or deny its use)

Homecoming Parade and NRV Rocket a Launch Success!

This past Saturday, September 27th, 2014 VTARA volunteers helped out with both the VT Homecoming Parade and a New River Valley Rocket Launch. Special thanks to all of the volunteers who came out to help make both events a success!

Homebrew Night during this Wednesday's VTARA Meeting

We've had a strong start to the year with an impressive turn-out at GobblerFest and a number of new members at our first two meetings.  We're kicking off our first non-business meeting with a call for all members to bring their works-in-progress.

VTARA Meeting, September 10, 2014

Our second VTARA meeting was held tonight at 7pm in Squires. Below are some of the topics discussed:

09/04 VTARA VHF Simplex Net Report

Since it was the first Thursday of the month, we ran a simplex net yesterday on 146.715. Here's the net report:

VTARA Attends Dayton HamVention 2014, ARRL 100th Birthday Celebration

Members of the Virginia Tech Amateur Radio Association attended the 2014 Dayton HamVention from May 16-18, 2014. Many of the club members served as exhibitors while at the HamVention. In addition, VTARA took part in the 100th Birthday Party for the American Radio Relay Leage and the Annual Collegiate/Young Adult Ham Radio dinner, founded in part by VTARA in 2013.

VTARA Contingent to Attend Dayton Hamvention

The Virginia Tech Amateur Radio Association will be sending a contingent of members and friends to the 2014 Dayton Hamvention. The Hamvention, which will take place from May 16 - 18, 2014 in Dayton, Ohio, is one of the largest annual gatherings of amateur radio operators in the world. The Hamvention program is quite diverse, including a trade show, forums and talks, special dinners and gatherings, and an extremely large radio flea market. Since 2014 is the Centennial Anniversary of the American Radio Relay League (ARRL), many special events have been planned for this Hamvention, including the release of a Centennial Video and an ARRL birthday party on Sunday morning. The Hamvention will also continue its tradition of a Collegiate and Young Adult Ham Radio Dinner, started by VTARA in 2013.

Members of this year's VTARA contingent will be officially representing many different organizations within amateur radio, including:

*Zach Leffke, KJ4QLP, Amateur Satellite Corporation (AMSAT)
*Nathaniel Frissell, W2NAF, Radio Scouting
*Kay and Carter Craigie, N3KN and N3AO, American Radio Relay League (ARRL)
*Bob and Sharon McGwier, N4HY and N1SMM, FlexRadio
*David and Gaynell Larsen, KK4WW and KK4WWW, Foundation for Amateur International Radio Service (FAIRS)

Also attending from VTARA:

*Ben Williams, KK4EWT
*Kenny Lewis, K4NNW

For more information on the Dayton Hamvention, please visit http://www.hamvention.org/.

VTARA Members at the 2013 Hamvention: Andrew Kriz KK4APR, Zach Leffke KJ4QLP, Ben Williams KK4EWT, Nathaniel Frissell W2NAF, and Kenny Lewis K4NNW

April 23, 2014 Meeting: Spring 2014 Update on Virginia Tech 10 GHz Moonbounce Efforts

Undergraduate students in the Virginia Tech Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) department are working toward communicating with other amateur radio operators by reflecting signals off of the moon (Earth-Moon-Earth/EME/Moonbounce) The students are working with Dr. Denis Sweeney and Kim Homer to convert an abandoned KU-band uplink facility on the Virginia Tech campus for use as an EME station in the 10 GHz amateur band. This presentation was given to the Virginia Tech Amateur Radio Association on April 23, 2014.


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