Christmas RARC Gathering 2015
December 12 , 2015
Sassafraz Restaurant , Union City, TN
The Reelfoot Amateur Radio Club's annual Christmas holiday gathering was once again held at Sassafraz Restaurant located in Union City, TN. This year the weather felt more like pre-Easter than a pre-Christmas event with warm temperatures and impending thunderstorms in the area.
We had an excellent turnout, in fact the best in recent memory- Glenn N4MJ, RARC President and XYL Linda; Bob K9IL, RARC Vice-President; Jamie WB4YDL, RARC Secretary-Treasurer and XYL June; Art WA4EQO; newest member Gene KM4MUN and XYL Pam from Bardwell, KY; Noel KJ4UNX; Phillip N4PWG; Jeff W5VNH and XYL Diana; Harrell WD4LAR and XYL Carrie; Ray N4SLY and XYL Dolly KN4SLYand Michael AK4VU and his guest, Peggy.
Bob K9IL and Rose W9DHD provided their wonderful array of door prizes that they spent a great deal of time constructing. Unfortunately, Rose was unable to attend the event. There were beautiful faux floral arrangements and caroling snowmen. There was also two pretty nativity scenes and a bust of the Virgin Mary and child. There were several sleds and even a "Warm Winter Welcome" scene of a lounging snowman and a bench with his presents. All were beautifully constructed and added to the Christmas spirit and tradition of the event.
As is the tradition for this event, no formal business occurred at this 'meeting' . Everybody was too busy enjoying the great food selections provided by Sassafraz Restaurant. Many selections included seafood, pasta, and steaks / burgers. The salmon was particularly good as was the pasta ! As was the case last year, no one pressed their luck (or their buttons !) by ordering dessert !
The year 2015 began as did 2014 with an entry into the ARRL RTTY Roundup on the first weekend of the year. Using the same setup as the previous year which netted a 7th place finish nationwide in the M/S LP class, the RTTY team made over 80 more QSO's and had a higher overall score; however, they came up short on country multipliers. The effort was excellent for the team consisting of Todd W4TZX, Jamie, WB4YDL, Phil N4PWG, Mike AK4VU, and Glenn N4MJ. This next year, the RTTY Roundup starts the day after New Year's Day and it was elected to take this year off to be with our families during the holiday weekend.
There were several on air activities and a few horn toots for RARC members. Bob K9IL followed up his excellent showing last year's Tennessee QSO Party with a 2nd place finish in the high power, TN, CW class. Glenn N4MJ caught the QRP itch and promptly won the North American QRP CW Sprint two months in a row in the keyer/keyboard class. As an avid chaser in the Summits on the Air program, Glenn is looking forward to the forthcoming National Parks on the Air event which has a similar format of activators and chasers. Several are looking forward to participating in that year long event.
Ray N4SLY was also recognized by Tennessee Governor Haslam for his fine work and commitment to the regional weather net run nightly on the Trenton repeater. A formal presentation of a very nice certificate of appreciation was given at a recent meeting.
The annual Ides of March Hamfest was the 8th in the club's history and was back at the old digs of the National Guard Armory after extensive remodeling. It was a beautiful sunny day in stark contradistinction to the previous year's monsoon at the fairgrounds location - and attendance was good ! The staggered prize ticket arrangement was again successful, particularly for the vendors, which included RT Systems Software, makers of programming cables and software for various programmable radios. Looking forward to the Ides of March Hamfest 2016, which lands on the Saturday before Easter !
The annual Field Day event turned out to be a shining moment for the Reelfoot Amateur Radio Club this year despite the usual wildness of the scene. We decided to spread the antennas out a bit this year and Todd W4TZX was instrumental in getting this properly set up. We even used a ladder in the middle of a bean field as a dipole support ! The usual adversities of flash thunderstorms, a few balky pieces of hardware and one unforced error of "wrong coax" rounded out the challenges. Steve KK4NNH took command of the GOTA station and he and his crew did an outstanding job. The Magic Band was incredible this year and provided many points. In fact, with the same number of operators as last year (including 2 unlicensed guest operators), the club nailed down the highest score ever achieved in its history - 7074 points ! This was good enough for number 1 in 3A category in both state and Delta Division and 19th overall in nationwide 3A category entries. We were all tired, sun burnt, and dirty at the end but THAT was a Field Day !
Finally, we did not participate in the annual Jamboree on the Air (JOTA) Boy Scout event in October as last year, but we have to give a huge shout out to our new Eagle Scout Samuel KK4SJE ! What a huge accomplishment ! Congratulations to Sam and his proud parents !
The year 2016 will arrive with the promise of hope and hopefully a bit less hectic than 2015. The Ides of March Hamfest might as well be called the Easter Parade Hamfest for 2016 ! We'll see if RARC can meet and surpass this year's incredible Field Day effort. Hopefully we'll see more new members and our youth become interested in our wonderful hobby.
The next regular scheduled RARC meeting will be on January 28, 2016 at the Obion County Public Library in Union City, TN. The Net Control Station and Refreshment assignments are now posted. Until next time ...
Have a Very Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and Good DX!