Thursday, June 13, 2013

How to get to UARC's Field Day site

As with the past several years, UARC is holding Field Day in a clearing near the Payson Lakes campground on the Nebo Scenic Loop. 

Here’s how to get there:
  1. Assuming you are starting from the Salt Lake Valley, go south on I-15 to the first Payson exit, exit 250. Take the exit.
  2. Go left at the end of the exit ramp which should put you on Main Street (aka SR-115). (You are really going south at this point although it may seem like east.)
  3. Turn left on 100 North, aka SR-198.
  4. Turn right on 600 East, also called “Peteetneet Boulevard.” This turn is at the top of a hill at a picturesque old school.
  5. Follow 600 East until it takes you to the mouth of Payson Canyon. At this point note your odometer reading or reset your trip odometer.
  6. Watch for landmarks at these approximate mileages from the canyon mouth:
    1. 11.1: Payson Lakes Day-use area on the right.
    2. 11.7: Payson Lakes Campground.turnoff on the right.
    3. 12.3 Guard station turnoff on the right.
    At the guard station turnoff on the right, don't take the right turn, but instead turn left onto a dirt road. Within a few hundred yards you will see the camp area. 
According to Google Earth, the coordinates are:   39° 55' 31.11" N., 111° 37' 53.06" W.
Google Earth view of the UARC site with respect to the Payson Lakes picnic area and campground.


Unless you have arranged to stay at the Payson Lakes campground, you will need to bring everything you need with you - including water, food and necessary shelter.  Because this site is at a fairly high altitude, you should also bring some warm clothes - even though it is in the middle of June - as it has been known to get down to freezing overnight!

We hope to see you there!

More on UARC Field Day!

More about UARC's Field Day preparations!

The A-3 Yagi goes up. (UARC Field Day 2011)
Every year, ARRL Field Day is the biggest operating event in all of amateur radio. Amateurs from across the U.S. and Canada try to work as many stations as possible from portable and mobile stations operating away from normal fixed station sites. The point of such an event is to test our capabilities to operate in an emergency when normal stations and utilities may not be available.

UARC’s entry in Field Day has become one of the most popular events of the year. It provides a chance to combine a family campout, an escape from the heat of the valley, and an opportunity to operate from a wonderful radio location.


Field Day takes place on the fourth (not necessarily the last) full weekend in June every year. That puts the 2013 event on June 22 and 23. Actual operation runs from noon on Saturday through noon on Sunday. However, setup begins sooner. UARC members will be on site as early as Wednesday the 19th. The rules allow for no more than 24 hours of setup activity, but a rule change for this year allows the 24 hours to be spread out over a longer period. This will allow us to use the full setup period without needing to be checking the tower alignment at 3 A.M. We may begin setting up as early as 6 P.M. on Thursday evening.
The bottom line is this: come when you can and leave when you must.

What Happens? 

We will set up two or three SSB and CW stations on the HF bands and operate them in shifts for the full 24-hour period. We will be anxious to find operators and loggers to keep the contacts coming in as fast as possible. If you like late-night and early-morning operating, your skills will be in particular demand. Depending on equipment and conditions we may also have a VHF station and/or a satellite station.

Google Earth view of the UARC field day site with respect to the Payson Lakes campground


We will be setting up stations in our traditional location, an open field near Payson Lakes on the Nebo Scenic Loop.

Here’s how to get there:
  1. Assuming you are starting from the Salt Lake Valley, go south on I-15 to the first Payson exit, exit 250. Take the exit.
  2. Go left at the end of the exit ramp which should put you on Main Street (aka SR-115). (You are really going south at this point although it may seem like east.)
  3. Turn left on 100 North, aka SR-198.
  4. Turn right on 600 East, also called “Peteetneet Boulevard.” This turn is at the top of a hill at a picturesque old school.
  5. Follow 600 East until it takes you to the mouth of Payson Canyon. At this point note your odometer reading or reset your trip odometer.
  6. Watch for landmarks at these approximate mileages from the canyon mouth:
    1. 11.1: Payson Lakes Day-use area on the right.
    2. 11.7: Payson Lakes Campground.turnoff on the right.
    3. 12.3 Guard station turnoff on the right.
    At the guard station turnoff on the right, don't take the right turn, but instead turn left onto a dirt road. Within a few hundred yards you will see the camp area.
According to Google Earth, the coordinates are 39° 55' 31.11" N., 111° 37' 53.06" W.

How can I participate:

You can help with the planning, setup, operating, logging, or all of the above! For details, get in touch with this year’s Field Day Chairman: Brett Sutherland, N7KG,
You can also join the UARC Field Day reflector. Just send e-mail to: If you have a Yahoo ID, another way to join is to go to

Maybe you would like to take over administration of a particular portion of the effort. Brett lists the following focus areas:
  • Antennas — Beams
  • Antennas — Wire
  • Rigs
  • Tents
  • Towers
  • Power generation
  • Alternative power
  • VHF
  • Satellite
  • Education sessions
  • Hauling trailers — especially the tower, and we pay fuel cost
  • Food prep for the pot luck
  • Operators
  • Scheduling operators
  • Kids events
  • Network setup
  • Camp communications — including announcements about scheduling, help needed wherever, who has xyz etc.
  • Talk-in control
Other Details to consider before arriving:

The area where we will be camping is just an open field with no improvements. There are no water sources, tables, or fire pits. Fires may be prohibited depending on the danger at the time of Field Day. Bring all the food, water, and shelter that you will need for the period you will be present. Don’t forget coats. It may be summer, but it gets cold at night at that elevation.

There is an improved Forest Service campground within a half-mile of the site, so it is quite practical to camp there (for a fee) and commute over to the Field Day site.

On Saturday night there will be a group pot-luck dinner. The club will supply a main dish (Doug, WE7BBQ, is in charge). Bring whatever else you would like and a dish to share pot luck style.

Other useful things to remember are sunscreen, tools, a chair, and spare fuses.

What does all this accomplish?

There are a lot of characteristics of Field Day that are common with those of emergency operation. They include:
  • The need to copy a lot of information quickly and accurately.
  • The need to establish a station away from normal station locations
  • The need to improvise quickly when something doesn’t work
  • The need to put in a lot of operating hours while keeping accuracy high
If you’ve never operated HF before, Field Day is a great opportunity to see what it’s like. There will likely be enough operators with higher-class licenses that you can make contacts while someone else serves as the licensed control operator. There will also be a chance to see HF stations set up from scratch.

So come out! Most people say they have had a great time. And come to the June meeting for more information and a chance to ask questions.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Field Day 2013!

It happens at about the same time every year - Amateur Radio Field Day!


Held during the fourth full weekend of June - this year on the 22nd and 23rd - Amateur Radio Field Day is an event where amateurs throughout the country go out, away from their normal shacks and antennas and set up stations using temporary antennas and emergency power!
Manually tilting the tower up during setup for the 2011 Field Day


One of the main points in the FCC rules that justify the existence of  amateur radio refers the need for maintaining a pool of technically competent volunteers that are willing to volunteer in the event of an emergency - and this is ostensibly the very reason why many people, especially in Utah, get their amateur radio license.

It would, therefore, make sense that one might actually want to do something to gain experience toward this end - that is, operate under conditions where one must set up a usable station out in the field and then operate it for a period of time!


This year, UARC's Field Day will be where it has been for the past several years - an open meadow near the Payson Lakes campground in Payson Canyon.  In this meadow, in a clearing among the trees, we will set up (at least) two towers with Yagi antennas, multiple wire antennas, and several operating tents.  Around the periphery will be many people's camping arrangements varying from the tents to the backs of vehicles to fancy trailers and RVs!

From Salt Lake, the Field Day site is about a two hour drive and 20-40 minutes of this is the ascent of Payson Canyon where one emerges into the cool mountain air - quite a contrast with the typically warm valley of that time of year!

For directions to the field day site, keep a look out for the upconing June issue of the Microvolt, or you can look at the directions in last year's Microvolt which may be found here:

What to expect
Some of the antennas at the Field Day site

In contrast with the valley, it can get quite cold at nights at 8000+ feet in the mountains so dress accordingly and prepare for temperatures as low as the high 30's and low 40's in the wee hours of the morning!  In the day it may get into the 80's, but this is cool compared to the oft 100+ temperatures of the valley!

Because of the altitude, it's also advised that one brings sunscreen as well if you plan to spend any time out in the open.  While bugs aren't usually too much of a problem, it would be a good idea to bring mosquito repellant, as well.

Make sure that you bring all the food and water that you'll need for the time that you'll be spending on site.  Fortunately, there are a number of places to shop for food in Payson - a 20-40 minute drive (each way) at the bottom of Payson canyon.

For the meal on Saturday Night, UARC will supply the main meat item while the rest of the meal is pot-luck, provided by the attendees.

On site, there will be porta-potties as well as a reasonably-sized pool of generators:  If you have something that you wish to plug in, please check with a neighbor of yours that might have a generator - and also, the club will have a large-ish generator on site from which a reasonable amount of power can be pulled.

Setting up for Field Day

The Utah Amateur Radio club has two towers:  A large one (80 feet) on a trailer (along with a generator) that requires a 3/4-1 ton vehicle to tow it and a much smaller tower that, with the mast, extends to 30-35 feet and on each there will be a multi-band Yagi antenna.  Between these two towers as well as into the trees surrounding the clearing will be strung several wire antennas for the lower HF bands such as 80/75 and 40 meters.
Much of the setup at the 2012 UARC Field Day

With recent rules changes, we will now be allowed to start setting up as early as Thursday afternoon (with certain restrictions on the amount of time we can take to do the setup) and because of this, it is common for a number of people to show up on Thursday - or even earlier - to stake a claim for their camping spot.  On Sunday afternoon, teardown takes much less time - typically 2-4 hours - and help is appreciated to do so!

Field Day operations

The actual time of Field Day operations commence at precisely 12:00 noon on Saturday and continue until 12:00 noon on Sunday, around the clock!  Because of this, we'll be asking for volunteers to help "man" the various stations during this 24 hour period.

The Utah Amateur Radio club will have either two or three main stations from which anyone - licensed or not - can operate.  In addition to these stations, there will also be a "Get On The Air" station where there will be, on hand, people to assist those who have never been on the air - or are just new at this whole "radio" concept!  On the other extreme, there is always at least one station devoted entirely to those who use Morse Code to communicate and, typically, another station that is somewhere in-between.

To learn more about Field Day

To learn more about Amateur Radio Field Day, you are encouraged to come to the June UARC meeting which will be held on June 13 at 7:30 PM at the University of Utah campus:  See the UARC web site for more details on how to get to the meeting:

Also, be on the lookout for the June Microvolt for instructions and details about this meeting, Field Day itself, and the upcoming planning for the event.
It takes quite a few volunteers to set up even the smaller antennas!

Volunteers needed!

An event like this cannot occur without the help of people willing to volunteer time and effort.  Prior to Field Day, there will be one or two planning meetings to make sure that the necessary equipment is on hand, organized and working as well as to make sure that everyone involves knows what needs to be done.

An incomplete list of such things is:
  • Radio operators.  We would like to keep as many stations operating as possible during the entire 24 hour period, particularly the CW station and at least one Phone (SSB) station.  As you can imagine, things often get a bit lean in the wee hours of the morning when it comes to volunteers!
  • People willing to bring/tow things.  In particular, it's always a bit of a challenge to find someone to tow the club's larger tower/trailer.  Although equipped with surge brakes, it will take at least a 3/4-ton vehicle to tow this trailer (a 1 ton will do so comfortably) up and down Payson canyon.  There are a number of smaller items to be towed such as the small tower trailer and the porta-potties, but these are such that practically any vehicle with a hitch will do!
  • Field Day Committee members.  There are a number of people who are required to make sure that everything that needs to get done actually does get done!  These responsibilities range from making sure that all the necessary equipment arrives on site to helping set up the tents, setting up antennas, setting up the stations, running power and data lines, and assisting those in the GOTA (Get-On-The-Air) tent with having their first on-the-air contacts!
We look forward to seeing you there!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

UARC Tee Shirts now available!

The newly-redesigned UARC Tee shirts - front.
The Utah Amateur Radio Club has now has Tee shirts available for purchase!  As can be seen in the picture, they are a "sport gray" color which means that you'll look great in any season!

They are available in sizes Small, Medium, Large, XLarge, XXLarge, XXXLarge, and XXXXLarge and are
priced at $13.50 for the shirts as shown below with an additional $5 if you want your call sign on the sleeve.

Payment can be made by check, cash, or those with PayPal membership (it's free!) can make payment by sending the appropriate amount to:


 When you order, please include the following:
  • How many you want!
  • The sizes of each shirt
  • If you want your callsign on it, remember to tell us what it is!
  • If you are ordering shirts for more than one person and want callsigns to be printed, make sure you tell us which shirt gets which callsign!

If you would like to purchase them please send an email to Morris Farmer at, you can go to the UARC web site to make payment. If we hear from you by March 8th we should have the shirts available for the UARC meeting on March 14th.

The UARC Logo on the back side of the shirt.

A close up of the logo on the front of the shirt.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Update on the "Noise Problem" on UARC's 146.760 repeater

A bit of an update on the aforementioned noise problem on the 146.76 repeater's UHF link.

If you recall from a previous post (link) there was a source of noise that caused the UHF link used for Echolink and IRLP connections to "flap" - that is, if an internet connection was brought up, there would be bursts of noise that made communications rather difficult.
The site of the '76 repeater on Lake
Mountain during the summer when
there wasn't lots of snow on the

Initially, we thought that the problem had "fixed itself", but it now seems that this isn't the case and the noise will occasionally return.

We still can't get up the mountain to adjust the squelch on the UHF link receiver so we have configured the UHF link transmitter to be keyed up continuously, thus blotting out the noise source.

The side effect of this is that if an Echolink or IRLP connection is brought up, the repeater will be keyed continuously while that internet connection is active.  Rather than have the "Ker-Chunk" when one of the local users of the repeaters unkeys their transmitter, you will only hear the "Ker" part.

At some point we may add a beep to indicate to the local listeners that the local 2-meter user of the repeater has unkeyed, but that has not been done as of the time of this writing.

Hopefully, we'll soon get a chance to investigate the problem and, perhaps get atop the mountain to turn up the squelch a bit!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

February UARC meeting: DX Topics!

Mark, W7HPW
One of the facets of amateur radio that sparks the imagination of many hams (and would-be hams) is DX — the chance to work foreign countries in exotic places.

Our next meeting, Thursday, February 14, will feature Mark Richardson, W7HPW, telling us about some of the facets of DX. We hope to have more details shortly, but Mark is a seasoned DXer with some serious power and antennas and can fill us in on a lot of the secrets of the DX recipe!

We hope to see you there!

The room assignment for February:

Our February meeting will be in the Warnock Engineering Building, room L105.

For those who remember when we met in what was called the “Engineering and Mines Classroom Building,” down on the bottom floor, it's on that same floor, just a little ways down the hall - and all of it is now considered part of Warnock.

Getting there from the main (east) entrance:

If you enter the Warnock building on the main floor (e.g. through the east door), you need to get to the southwest corner of the building to find the stairway and elevator that go down to the L1 level. To do this, as you enter the open area on the main floor, notice some conference rooms along the far wall of the open area, left of the main corridor. Turn left along the pathway that goes past these rooms and follow it into a hallway that soon makes a sharp right turn. Follow the hall through the right turn and continue until you find the elevator and stairs near the end of the hall. The lowest floor accessible via the elevator or the stairs is your destination. Once there, look for room 105.

When are the UARC meetings held?

UARC meetings are held on the second Thursday of each month at 7:30 P.M., in the Warnock Engineering Building on the University of Utah campus. See the map for information on finding the building. Rooms for the remaining Spring 2013 meetings are as follows:

February:   L105 (Three levels down from the “main” floor)
March: 2230
April: 2250

Of course, the meeting will include the “standard” meeting features:
  • Availability of ARRL books from Brett, the “book lady”
  • An opportunity to join UARC or renew your membership
  • An opportunity to join ARRL or renew your membership
  • The chance to meet face-to-face the people you talk to on the air
  • The “Meeting after the meeting”: A chance to enjoy pizza or other gastronomic delights with other hams. It happens at Litza's Pizza, 716 E. 400 South.
  • The “Meeting before the meeting”: A similar get-together for those who can leave work early enough to get there by 5:15 P.M. The February get-together will be at “Charlie Chow's Dragon Grill,” 255 E. 400 South in Salt Lake City.

Monday, January 28, 2013

The UARC "Ham Hotline" is back!

The Utah Amateur Radio Club
Ham Hotline:  801-583-3002
After several months of absence, the Utah Amateur Radio Club's "Ham Hotline" is back in service.

The telephone number for the hotline is 801-583-3002.

If you have a question about any upcoming UARC events, events of note sponsored by nearby (Utah) clubs, upcoming sessions for amateur radio license testing or a technical or regulatory question related to amateur radio, this is a place to start!

Currently, this telephone number is directed to Linda, N7HVF and you may get an answering machine during business hours or when she is not home.  If Linda doesn't have the answer for your question there's a good chance that she can direct you to someone who does!

Why was it offline for so long?

We're not quite sure.  Several years ago this the ham hotline was "ported" to a VOIP service to reduce the costs and this worked fine for quite a while.  Suddenly - several months ago - we got word that it no longer worked and after some digging around we discovered that the VOIP provider had inexplicably cancelled the service and returned it to the pool of available numbers.  When asked why they had done this, we could not get any sensible answer!  (Yes, we'd been paying our bill on time!)

Fortunately, the number was still available so we obtained it through a different provider and, eventually, got it back into service!