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The Noise Blankers Radio Group

Our Mission:

Do radio stuff.
Have fun doing it.
Tell others how much fun it is.

Do radio stuff. Have fun doing it.
Tell others how much fun it is.


Friday
Mar272015

Storm Hunting With K5KAC

By K5KAC
A first-hand account of tornadic storms in Northwest Arkansas on Wednesday, March 25, 2015

In the Ozark Highlands, any freak weather event is met with awe and a healthy amount of respect, but more importantly it’s a great source of entertainment. I was in my socks, cleaning the QTH, and listening to the scanner traffic on my trusty Bearcat 145XL. I knew that there was a threat of severe weather in my area, and I was giddy at the idea of finally getting a change in the weather. It’s been a long winter, folks.

Around 4:30 p.m., I heard the local weather nets to my west start lighting up. It sounded like a large thunderstorm was brewing in the Springdale-Rogers area. I listened to the reports of the storm moving east, heading for the northern portion of Madison County.

I headed to a peak (1800 ft) behind my house where I could get a good look to the north. I could see the large dark mass, but there was no real definition to it yet. I checked the radar and noticed a little hook forming at the bottom of the thunderstorm. I heard hams reporting that it had crossed Beaver Lake and was continuing to track northeast and gather intensity. My stomach started to feel a little light.

I steered down the hill and set my sights for the open area of elevation about 5 miles south of the storm's path in Forum, Arkansas. I parked in a driveway on Highway 23 that had direct north-south access. Hopping out of my car, in socks, the first thing I noticed was the warm air sucking around me and toward the storm. The thermostat was hovering at 73 F at this point.

I set up my vehicle and started communicating with my other Noise Blankers, and most importantly, our chief meteorologist K5KVN, so I could send and receive live updates. I regret to add that I did not check in to the poorly assembled net I heard on one of my local repeaters. However, I did monitor a few nets.

I snagged a picture at 5:34 (shown to the right), which I knew was a textbook wall cloud formation. The storm was already tornado warned, and the National Weather Service in Tulsa was doing an excellent job of disseminating information. Our local TV meteorologists also did a fine job of taking reports from social media and spreading the information. I could virtually watch the storm as it morphed into a EF1 tornado.

As the storm passed to my north, I felt the temperature drop by 15-20 degrees. I checked the radar and saw that the strongest point of the storm had passed Highway 23, and it was safe to venture a little further north. I stopped one mile south of the Highway 12/23 junction and met up with a first responder who was heading south. He reported that there was no serious damage to Clifty, so we ventured back north to offer help (we are both first responder trained) and to survey damage.

Luckily, there were no injuries. For about a half mile area north of the Highway 12/23 junction, I saw trees uprooted, a small shed blown about 20 feet, a service line to a house fallen, and shingles blown from the roof of a house. I could see the green-hued storm off to my northeast, now making its way into Carroll County. Nursing a nasty headache from the sudden pressure change, I took off my soaking socks and headed home.

Editor's note: Here's a great scientific explanation of the storms that hit Arkansas and Oklahoma that day.

 

 

Monday
Feb232015

Woo Hoo! Look Who's Two!

MEMO - DRAFT - FOR DISCUSSION ONLY

To:       Noise Blankers Radio Group associates
From:   Kevin Thornton K5KVN, Public Information Officer
Re:       HamHijinks.com's 2nd birthday!

I am proud to tell you that we have hit another milestone for our award-winning group. Two years ago, we were jacking around when we should have been working came up with a brilliant idea - let's use our useless professional journalism and communications skills to start a website of hilarious ham radio news bits.

I remember when Gary WBØRUR said, "This is the stupidest idea I've ever heard!" "It'll be a hit!" He was right.

Nathan K5KAC was the first to ask, "Why would we spend our free time doing something like this?" "How can I help?" That's the kind of sour "can-do" attitude we can do without like around here.

Andy K5PO got it right when he said, "Forget you." "I'm in!"

I wish I had the time to find better employees thank each of you for your contributions to this project. Because I am so busy, I ask that you individually take a moment to ask yourself if you are pulling your weight pat yourselves on the back. 

I know many of you are wondering why no one is advertising with us and we are still doing this for no money asking yourself how you can help make this burden thing called HamHijinks.com a cash cow even better. 

Remember to just keep it funny, you LIDS team. Let's take the time to laugh at ourselves and our hobby every once in a while. Loosen up.

Please get back to work come to the breakroom today to enjoy some cake, topped off with two Baefeng candles.

Thanks for nothing all that you do.

73,

Kevin K5KVN

 

 

Sunday
Feb222015

Coming Up Next

The Noise Blankers Radio Group HQ has been sparsely populated lately, as many folks have "called in sick" to work the recent DXPeditions. Now that those are in the log, we might actually get some real work done.

Hamfest season is just around the corner and we are making plans to attend a few. Lookout Claremore, we are coming to your Green Country Hamfest and have reserved a table to sell some stuff! Then we will head down I-49 to Ft. Smith for the Hanging Judge Hamfest in April. Good times and cheap coax will be had by all. (p.s., did you see this study that determined the top reasons for attending hamfests?)

A couple of years ago, we activated Horseshoe Island on Beaver Lake for the first time ever. We have been talking about an excuse to do it again and this is probably it: the U.S. Islands Awards Program's One Day Getaway event on May 9, 2015. Look for a blog post about that in the future.

 

Friday
Dec192014

23cm Band Appreciation Day: December 29

Often, when sitting in the Noise Blankers Radio Group clubhouse, with the smell of burnt plastic in the air from leaving the hot soldering iron on the card table, and the sounds of malicious QRM in the DX pileup echoing off the particleboard walls, our minds wander... thinking about what we can do to advance the hobby we love.

This week's idea is courtesy of K5KAC, a nice guy who often seeks out opportunities to stick up for the little guy. In this case, it's a little wavelength. Tiny, in fact.

That's why we are creating "23cm Appreciation Day." It's a big day for a tiny wavelength!

On Monday, December 29, amateur radio operators around the world will pause to think about something they have never thought about before - the 23cm band. It's a band none of us have used, but we sure appreciate it!

Here's how you can get involved:

  1. Share the graphic at the bottom of this post on your Twitter, Facebook, Flickr and other social media pages and use the hashtag #23cmDay
  2. Designate a moment on December 29 to think about the neglected 23cm amateur radio band.

We don't have any way to operate in the 23cm band! But we love it! That's the spirit of #23cmDay!