Who Are The Noise Blankers?
<humor>Although The Noise Blankers Radio Group is an ARRL- and FCC-recognized club based in northwest Arkansas, we doubt the validity of our club on the grounds that we don't believe a legitimate club would accept us as members. </humor>
We aren't a membership club, per se. We like to say we are an activity group. As such, we don't have regularly scheduled meetings. Honestly, most of what we do is spontaneous and coordinated via social media. We'd love to have you join us at upcoming event, just follow us on Twitter or Facebook.
Our Mission Statement:
- Do radio stuff.
- Have fun doing it.
- Show people just how fun it is.
Members (click for bio):
While in high school, Andy got a CB radio in his Jeep on the recommendation of a friend. One evening he began to hear signals fluttering in from across the country. How did this very short-range method of communication suddenly allow him to hear people talking from coast to coast, he wondered? His interest in radio was piqued!
He never developed a great deal of interest in CB, but years later he started to inquire more about radio. Just how did that "skip" occur? He began to study the science of propagation which lead him to discover amateur radio. His studies continued and soon he found himself in front of a few VEs passing the Tech and General test elements in a single sitting (and later, Extra!). And his radio journey had begun!
An avid "gear head," Andy thinks he has room in his shack for every piece of gear he has ever heard of, and is always on the lookout for the next piece of "must-have" radio gear to collect dust. His wife refers to his closet as the "booby trap" since opening the door will cause a surely fatal landslide of coax, microphones, antenna isolators and Yaesu packaging to come crashing down on an unlucky explorer.
When not yapping on 160m SSB or playing in a RTTY contest, Andy likes to go exploring in his Jeep, canoe, camp, lift weights, ride his road bike, play a bit of tennis or just enjoy some fish tacos with his lovely wife Kayla. Andy is a member of the ARRL, an ARRL Volunteer Examiner (VE) and the club's vice president.
One of his first toys was a rocker-type electrical switch discarded by his grandfather.
Over time, the fascination with switches, knobs, meters and glowing lights turned into the hobby of ham radio. First licensed as a Novice class in 1975 with the elmering of his step-father (Bill KØDEW) Gary upgraded to General in 1976 (or was it 1977?). He loves to tell stories of the "old days" with "crystal controlled 75 watt radios." Gary upgraded to Extra in 2006.
Although you’ll often find Gary on SSB, his favorite mode is CW. "Any jackwagon can pick up a microphone and speak into it. It takes skill to work CW," Gary says sarcastically. He also works PSK31 and JT65.
After years of using dipole and vertical antennas, in Spring 2012 he erected a 65 foot tower with a 9 element Cushcraft tri-band beam on top. Perhaps he’s compensating for something?
Gary is an FCC Auxiliary "Official Observer" and is celebrating his 37th year as a ham radio operator by working all the DX he can! He has more than 200 DXCC entities confirmed and is constantly adding more. In addition to DXCC "Mixed" and "CW" endorsements, he also holds Worked All Continents and Worked All States. And because he's an overachiever, he finished Triple Play.
Just so you know, Gary is very particular about the "slash" being included in his "0" call sign. Like this: Ø
He is a member of the Missouri DX and Contest Club, and the Royal Order of the Wouff Hong. (Look it up!) He is a member of ARRL, an ARRL-certified public information officer, ARRL Volunteer Examiner (VE), Official Observer and the club's president. Gary blogs frequently on www.wb0rur.com
Kevin got his first police scanner when he was 14. After hearing a "be on the lookout" issued for his cousin on the county police frequency, he was hooked. "Dad, the cops are looking for Cecil again!" Then, he heard some folks talking about storms in the area, referring to each other with letters and numbers. His dad told him they were ham radio operators. The rest is history.
First licensed in 1994, his favorite radio activites include contests, contacting and producing special events and keeping an ear to the scanners.
He takes care of this website, serves as the club treasurer and handles public relations duties for the group. He is a lifetime member of the ARRL, an ARRL-certified public information officer and an ARRL Volunteer Examiner (VE).
Steve Gibbs, K5OY, had his first exposure to the radio when his grandfather gave him an Echophone Commercial shortwave receiver. Being a bright child, Steve tried for years to make a contact with very poor results. Probably the only licensed CB operator in the group, Steve received his KDM0648 call sign in 1969. And if you needed more to be astonished at his remarkable career, Steve recounts the tale of his first DX contact in 1993 with a VK7 in Hobart. For months, he wondered where in British Columbia, Hobart was actually located. Today, Steve’s superstation is located in northern Bentonville, Arkansas, and features a 14 foot vertical tied to a tree so the neighbors don’t see it. Steve is the club's Chief Attendance Officer and NEVER misses a club event.
Nathan's first memories of Ham Radio are wandering into his grandfather's, K5KAC (sk), shack. He recalls watching his grandfather bang away at a big heavy Navy key through a dense cloud of cigar smoke. As his mind grew heavy with the inhalation of second hand smoke, he was thinking "that's pretty cool" before his Mom pulled him out and told him to "leave Earl alone." Over the years, he walked into that shack many times to watch him send and receive RTTY and packet or have a surprisingly swear-free QSO on 80m. "What is this magical device that cleans up Granddad's language?" he thought. This piqued his interest in radio, but he never really immersed himself in the hobby, instead opting for computers and music.
After graduating from Hendrix College in 2008, Nathan moved into is Grandfather's house to fix it up and take care of it. High atop an old utility pole he noticed a Ringo Ranger shining in the sun. He saw the long tail of coax wrapped around the pole at the bottom and decided to attach it to a 2m rig to see what would happen. He was hooked. He listened in to weather nets, ragchews and shortwave for four years before deciding to get his ticket in 2012 (KF5OQB). Nathan's interest in the hobby quickly grew and he was soon on HF, where he now spends the majority of his time.
He is one of those few hams who has no background in engineering, but he likes to tinker. He feels at a home in a room full of static, SSB signals, and packet squawks. His interests are mainly hybrid tube rigs and wire antenna building. He plays on all bands, but tends to Summer on 20m and Winter on 80m. When not on his roof endangering his life throwing wire antennas into trees and positioning the 2m beam, you can find him volunteering with the Huntsville, Arkansas, Fire Department or enjoying the wonders of Madison County. Nathan is an ARRL Volunteer Examiner (VE).
A History of The Noise Blankers
- March 2012: Gary WBØRUR raises his tower. Tower envy spreads throughout northwest Arkansas.
- June 23-24, 2012: Field Day, category 2E using generator power from Andy's shack, callsign K5PO. Read all about it.
- August 2012: Decided we should give ourselves a name, to help brand our activities.
Rejected club names: The Kerchunkers, The Dirty Harmonics, Loose Wires, Couple Sections Short, Zombie SKs, Here Comes Honey Boo Boo's CW Operators
- September 2012: We made t-shirts! Lookie
- September 30, 2012: Produced the 1st activation of Horseshoe Island, callsign K5H
- November 2012: Advocated for the redesigning the Arkansas amateur radio license plate, in an effort to make them less expensive and get some publicity for the hobby. Idea was shot down by cranky OMs who are adverse to change, even if it will save them money. [Spoiler Alert: We'll be back.]
- December 2012: Started a conversation on how to fix the LOTW logjam.
- December 15, 2012: Provided radio communications for the Wreaths Across America event at Fayetteville National Cemetery (Arkansas) and put N5W on the air to commemorate the ceremonies. Between parking cars and coordinating shuttle buses, we made a video.
- January 2013: Launched Ham Hijinks, featuring humorous, totally made up, ham radio news.
- February 2013: Received club callsign from FCC; immediately applied for a vanity callsign.
- February 2013: Launched two new Twitter profiles - @WR5P and @HamHijinks.
- March 2013: Vanity callsign WR5P is assigned to The Noise Blankers Radio Group.
- April 2013: The group wins 2nd place in the 2013 ARRL QST Video Contest.
- May 2013: The Noise Blankers Radio Group applies for ARRL Club Affililiation.
- June 2013: WR5P is used on the air for the first time in history at field day.
- August 13, 2013: Hamhijinks.com is redesigned. NOW WITH EVEN MORE FUNNY!
- August 20, 2013: The Noise Blankers Radio Group receives ARRL Club Affiliation.
- December 14, 2013: Provided parking coordination and radio communications for the Wreaths Across America event at Fayetteville National Cemetery (Arkansas). Read "Wreaths, Radios and Road Cones."
- May 2014: Kevin K5KVN and Andy K5PO represent the Noise Blankers Radio Group at the Dayton Hamvention.
- September 2014: The Noise Blankers Radio Group is a bonus point station in the Arkansas QSO Party. Remarkably, OMs actually answered our CQs that weekend. All this time, we thought our gear was broken.
Stay tuned for more...