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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.


Tuesday
Nov122013

Your Club Is Doing It Wrong

A Noise Blankers Editiorial By K5KVN

I'm not saying our club is the greatest on earth, but I would rent a limo and ask it to the prom.

I have done the club thing since I was first licensed in 1994. Back then, I was a member of the University of Arkansas club (W5YM). I was president for two years, too. After I graduated, I helped start a new club called Amateur Radio Klub of the Arkansas Northwest (ARKAN). I was a charter member and president.

Work and a baby took priority for the next few years and club politics became an unfortunate burden, too. So, I backed out of the club scene...until we started The Noise Blankers Radio Group last year.

Here are three points that make The Noise Blankers Radio Group work well.

Like-minded
We act, work and play similarly. That's not earth shattering, is it? We all know that people who think the same way tend to get along.

The Noise Blankers have a similar "don't take things too seriously" viewpoint on the hobby. We think making fun of ourselves is healthy. Our members must share the same viewpoint and be active on social media and the radio. Our mission: “DO RADIO STUFF. HAVE FUN DOING IT. TELL OTHERS HOW MUCH FUN IT IS.”

Find your strength
Our club quickly found a "niche" and began to exploit our best qualities. Put it this way: find your club's strength and use it to its full potential. Your club may have a membership full of talented webpage programmers. If so, perhaps you set out to have the best ham radio club website on the internet. Or, maybe your club has an abundance of "tinkerers" and you help school kids build kits. For us, it was a common background in professional broadcasting, communications and public relations. We use our similar professional experience (the stuff we do well and get paid to do) to enhance our enjoyment of the hobby.

Stay loose!
Here's a catchphrase that WBØRUR sent me a few days ago: "Loosen Up The Squelch Bro!" He mentioned it to me and other club members in our 24/7 chat room. (We currently use Facebook Messenger.) That chat room really is active 24/7. It’s where we take care of club business, send jokes, post DX spots, send pictures or share random thoughts.

That "open line" is where we have our best ideas. It's our 24/7 club meeting. It's where we came up with the name "Noise Blankers Radio Group." (Have you noticed we don't use the word "club" in our name?) One day, we were sending funny ham radio news headlines to each other. There was much LOL. And that's how hamhijinks.com was born! Then there was the time that one of us suggested in the chat that we should get our VE credentials. That was 11 a.m.; by 3 p.m. we had all passed the VE exam.

From day one, we have worked to keep it simple with a light-hearted focus. We stay in touch with near real-time communications amongst ourselves, take quick action on things that need a decision, keep a "GET 'ER DONE" attitude and have NO burdensome and antiquated voting/meeting procedures. In this group, there shall be no “analysis paralysis.”

That’s how we roll. It’s a situation that works for our “club.” Your mileage may vary. What works for you? What makes your club great?

Wednesday
Oct302013

3rd Annual Worked All Twitter Contest Nov. 27 – Dec. 1

It’s time again for the Worked All Twitter Contest (#WATwitter). This is a fun, loose “contest” to bring together those that love amateur radio and Twitter. The contest was the idea of Connie Bird Mah NR4CB three years ago to help amateurs that often chat on twitter about ham radio to get on the air and actually meet each other through the radio. The contest has traditionally occurred over the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday weekend.

The Noise Blankers are a big fan of Twitter and of the #WATwitter contest. Most of the club has been active on Twitter for a number of years with dedicated amateur radio-focused Twitter accounts. I personally feel that given how much passion we have about amateur radio, it’s best to dedicate a Twitter account just to the topic. It allows you to use your callsign as your Twitter handle and keep the conversations fun and focused. Heck, The Noise Blankers collectively maintain five amateur radio focused twitter accounts in our small club alone!

In fact, we actually met one of our club members on Twitter! After exchanging a few Tweets with Nathan Shinn K5KAC, I realized that he shared our same odd sense of humor and lived just a few miles down the road. A short time and a few Tweets later we extended an offer to join our sorry excuse for an amateur radio club, WR5P.

And of course we have out ham-based humor account @HamHijinks where we post absolute rubbish stories mocking mostly ourselves. But I digress—the contest! I’ll leave it to Connie herself to explain the basic rules of the loose contest:

- Dates: Wednesday, 27 November – Sunday, 1 December 2013
- Who: Any licensed operator, especially those who use Twitter
- Where: All bands, all modes. To let as many people as possible participate, use the portion of the band open to the most people, i.e. the technician class portion of 10m, the general class portion of 20m, etc.
- Exchange: your normal exchange plus your Twitter handle, especially if it’s not your call sign.
- Spotting: Self-spotting is practically required. Tweet your frequency, interact with people on Twitter, set up skeds, get those states you’re missing for WAS, work old friends for the first time, and make new friends.
- Hashtags on Twitter: #WATwitter and either #hamradio or #hamr. Use these hashtags in your tweets, and search for others who are using them. Interact!
- Have fun! Log your contacts, tweet your tallies to others, but there are no scores or awards. This is about enjoying our hobby and connecting with fellow hams over the long holiday weekend.

We look forward to working many of you on the air. If you’re new to Twitter, that’s fine too! It’s a great opportunity to meet (and follow) many new ham friends and connect with them through one of the most popular social tools. It’s clear us hams like to connect and Twitter provides a laid-back, low commitment way to do it. The Twitter ham radio community is vibrant, growing daily and has been a great place to share DX stories, gear advice, make skeds and more.

For the latest on the contest check out Connie’s blog at http://bionic-nerd.com, check back here, or follow the #WATwitter hashtag on twitter!

73,
Andy, K5PO

Monday
Oct282013

Club Minutes - SOME REDACTED - October 2013

The Noise Blankers Radio Group met at Jose’s Mexican Restaurant in Springdale, Arkansas, on October 16, 2013.

Present:  Gary WBØRUR, Andy K5PO, Kevin K5KVN, Nathan K5KAC, Fred WD5DKA (and his harmonic, Travis)

Also present: a briefcase, a collection of Army figurines, a WW2 helmet, various handie-talkies

Not present: Steve K5OY (Chief Attendance Officer)

The waitress took the food order. Note: K5PO choose the “Taco Party.” This large festive tray of taco meat and toppings is intended for multiple persons; however Andy ate it solo.  Several alcoholic beverages were also selected by the club members.

Having a quorum, the club began the business portion of the meeting.

MEETING

The club agreed again this year to support event communications for Wreaths Across America, December 14, 2013, at the U.S. National Cemetery in Fayetteville, Ark.  (This non-profit event helps place memorial wreaths on headstones at all U.S. National Cemeteries world-wide.)  Radio support is vital to the loading and unloading of shuttle buses at the Fayetteville event. Attendees are transported from a nearby college parking lot to the cemetery due to parking constraints. [Read last year's report]

All members agreed with Fred’s son, Travis, that hand grenades make a cool explosion.

An issue with the club's promotional window stickers was brought up by WBØRUR. The stickers seems to be peeling apart. However, this is now no longer an issue as he discovered another sticker he had forgotten about while cleaning the shack.

PRACTICUM

Attempting to hone finely crafted radio skills after years of neglect, WBØRUR and WD5DKA tried the “cross-band” repeat function set up by K5KVN on his Kenwood D-700. Using two of the “Amazing $31 Baofeng handie-talkies,” the group was able to use K5KVN’s very expensive vehicle and thousands of dollars worth of radio equipment sitting in the parking lot to talk across the table.  RUR asked DKA to “pass the salsa” via 440 in and 144 out. WD5DKA communicated that “we are out of salsa” via 144 in and 440 out. In all, the cross band function was deemed a success and it was agreed that this new-found ability will come in handy for the Wreaths Across America event.

DISCUSSION

It was agreed by all club members present that Hitler died in a bunker from either a cyanide capsule or gunshot wounds. The group seemed evenly divided on this question, although no one felt compelled to use our collective hundreds of dollars in smart phones and Google it.  We agreed that Eva Braun (like the shaver) was with him.

TREASURER’S REPORT

Treasurer K5KVN reported the club is running a deficit due to a number of expenses, such as web hosting. We agreed to raise the debt ceiling until February 1, 2014, and everything should be ok. It was collectively agreed upon that K5KVN should once again win the ARRL national video contest ($250 second prize) award so we can have at least some sort of funding.  

MORE DISCUSSION

Brief conversations about K5PO’s Elecraft K-3 and K5KVN’s FT-DX3000, K5KAC’s dipole and WD5DKA’s “soon to get off the repair bench” mobile rig.

It was noted that K5KVN needs a tower.

There was additional conversation about how Hitler would have handled setting up his personal computer to use Logbook of the World.

GEAR FOR SALE


The club currently has no gear for sale.  Members are in a constant “acquiring” state.

DISCUSSION CONTINUED

As another round of drinks arrived, club conversation turned to ██████████████ sitting across the room and the ██████ with the ███ ███. All agreed that ARRL needed to ██████ ███ █████████  - preferably ███████████████ – and do it by the Spring of 2014.

K5KAC mentioned he had a bad case of █████████ and the group would enjoy seeing ██████ before he goes to the physician. Photos were taken.

WBØRUR excused himself to go ████████████ on the ███. When he returned, he also ███ and ████ed.

It was agreed that Hitler would not █████████ nor would he ██████, but Travis thought he would probably ██████ before he █████ with Eva Braun. At this point, WD5DKA jumped up and ███ on the ███████, before knocking over his ██████ and offending the █████ sitting two tables away.  

Because K5OY missed yet another club event, it was decided that he should ███████████████ with much vigor.

It was agreed by all that the meeting should adjourn before the group was escorted out.

Respectfully submitted by club president WBØRUR.

Tuesday
Aug202013

When We Were Granted ARRL Affiliation

Once again, the phone rang. And just like the last time, it was first thought to be a prank call. However, today it wasn't money they wanted to give us. It was perpetual friendship.

As of today, the Noise Blankers are an ARRL-affiliated club. Club president Gary WBØRUR offered these words when Kevin K5KVN told him the news: "Someone find out what sort of responsibility that entails."

Heck, we are as surprised as anyone. If we were a national amateur radio organization, we wouldn't accept us as an affiliated chapter.

Even the shack cat reacted to the news with jaw-dropping amazement: