HacDC Amateur Radio Club Braves Flood, Practices Emergency Operations

W3HAC on the air at Hains Point, Saturday, June 27, 2015W3HAC on the air with Andrew (left foreground, KC9WER) and Christine (right foreground, KC3CIF) making radio contacts, and Don (K6ZO), Sumter (KM4ITT ) and Pat (K0oo) working on one of the transceivers.

On Saturday, June 26th, the HacDC Amateur Radio Club set up camp at Hains Point, Washington, DC, to enjoy a day away from home making radio contacts across the continent and testing its readiness to provide communication services in case of emergencies or disasters.  The weather answered the call with realistic challenges, as heavy rain brought flood conditions and tidal surges.  Though solar panels and a generator the club had ordered did not arrive in time for testing, Andy Roszak (call sign KC9WER) brought a 4-kilowatt gasoline-powered generator that enabled high-frequency (HF), very-high frequency (VHF), and ultra-high frequency (UHF) transceivers to operate all day long independent of the AC power grid.

A finger of land stretching south into the Potomac River and forming part of DC’s 700-acre Potomac Park, Hains Point is home to a variety of recreational facilities including a swimming pool and a golf course.  Permit in hand, we set up our tent, transceivers and antennas out towards the park’s southern tip at a spot nestled into the treeline. With a fine view of Potomac River tour boats and the airport across the river, we settled in for an idyllic day of ham radio.

Thunderstorms warned of in weather reports never materialized, but the “minor inundation of low-lying shoreline” that the National Weather Service predicted delivered as promised.  Heavy rain progressed through the afternoon until soaks from above, seeps from the ground, and surges from the river combined to drive us out antenna, transceiver, and tent from our campsite.  At last, just as we sought a dubious higher ground at the nearby parking lot, the Park Police came out and told us to pack our things and go: “How long are you people planning on staying here?”  The water was beginning to flood our exit road.

Proven this time out was our continuing ability to operate “in the field,” even under adverse conditions.  Spirits were high throughout, proving once again that everything is more fun in driving rain and mud, with wet feet.  Wait . . . did I type that?  In fact we had a blast out there!  Next year maybe we will make a camping trip of it.

Andrew (KC9WER) captured some fine video of the event with his GoPro, which you can now see here:


 And, here’s a sampling of the weather we encountered:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATour boats plied the swelling river.  Just out of view in the foreground, so did a cluster of ducks.

In rising waters, Darian (AB3WB) takes down the guy wires for his antenna.With the high water driving us from our campsite, Darian (AB3WB) collected his antenna, guy wires first.

Darian (AB3WB) gives chase as the last guy wire pulls the antenna to the ground.Our escape from encroaching water got a little help from gravity.

For more pictures of Field Day 2015 with W3HAC, visit our companion site at https://www.harc.hacdc.org/!

NPR Segment on ArduSat features HacDC Summer School!

NanoSatisfi's ArduSatHacDC’s Summer School 2013 was featured a few days ago in a NPR story by Geoff Brumfiel about the upcoming ArduSat launch. ArduSat is an Arduino-enabled satellite that you can buy time on to run your own Arduino-powered extra-terrestrial experiments that make use of the nanosatellite’s “STANDARD sensor package.” Read more about it and listen here (includes workshop photographs by NPR’s Heather Rousseau):

Tiny Tech Puts Satellites In Hands Of Homebrew Designers

ArduSat image 2013 © NanoSatisfi, Inc

HacDC Amateur Radio Club Field Day 2013

When: June 22-23 2013   arrl_logo
Where: HacDC Space
Talk-in Frequency: 146.500 MHz Simplex
Set-up: Saturday Morning
Contesting: 2:00 PM Saturday until 2:00 PM Sunday
Tear down: Sunday Afternoon
Please join the HacDC Amateur Radio Club participate on ARRL Field Day.   Field Day is a national amateur radio emergency preparedness drill and informal contest to make contact with amateur radio operators all over the United States and  Canada.   We will run our radios on solar power and batteries to practice how we might operate in an emergency.
Whether you’re a currently licensed radio operator, interested in learning more about ham radio, or just want to join us for food and fun – you’re invited!

HacDC Amateur Radio Club Announces Speaker Jim Cross

HacDC’s Amateur Radio Club announces its first speaker, Jim Cross. Cross is the American Radio Relay League (ARRL) Maryland-District of Columbia Section Manager, and he will make a presentation on the ARRL and amateur radio communications in emergency response. The presentation will take place Wednesday, April 11 at 7:30pm at HacDC.

The ARRL is the largest membership association of amateur radio enthusiasts in the USA. ARRL is a non-profit organization, and is almost a hundred years old. The ARRL represents the interests of amateur radio operators before federal regulatory bodies, provides technical advice and assistance to amateur radio enthusiasts, supports a number of educational programs and sponsors emergency communications service throughout the country.

Amateur radio has consistently been the most reliable means of communications when other systems fail or are overloaded.  Jim will discuss the training, preparations and organizations in amateur emergency communications and how to get involved.

For more details, check out the event on Meetup.