Thanks for taking the time to take a look at the Bloomington Amateur Radio Association.

We are a group of amateur radio operators based out of Bloomington, MN. Monthly meetings are held the first Tuesday of every month (except July and August).

KDØCL (2-Meters)

Status: Online
Transmit: 147.0900 MHz
Receive: 147.6900 MHz
Tone: 100.0 Hz

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Become an Operator

Looking for information on how to become an amateur radio operator? Find information on upcoming classes, exams as well as study information for all levels here.

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2018 Club Officers

President: Bill Mitchell (AEØEE)
Vice President: Martha Lamas-Krogstad (OA4ABC)
Secretary: Dan Royer (KEØOR)
Treasurer: Steve Huntsman (AAØP)

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Field Day 2019

The premiere operating activity of the year takes place Saturday June 23 until midday Sunday June 24.

The Bloomington Amateur Radio Association joins the Richfield Radio Club at the Richfield Community Center on Nicollet Avenue for this event.

Please show up around 10 A.M. to help setup.  Radio operations begin at 1 P.M. Saturday and conclude at 1 P.M. on Sunday.  Help tearing down is most appreciated.

June VHF Club Challenge

On behalf of the Bloomington Amateur Radio Association, I would like to issue a challenge to local clubs around Minnesota (including their membership in surrounding states): can you get more stations on the air and logs submitted for the ARRL June VHF Contest than BARA?

With Field Day on the horizon, the June VHF contest is a good opportunity to get operators on the air and making contacts, even if it’s only on 2m/70cm FM. It would be fun to see if you can put your microphone where your mouth is and make a few contacts during the June VHF contest. The contest runs from 1:00 PM CDT Saturday 6/9 (1800z) to 9:59 PM CDT Sunday 6/10 (0259z Monday 6/11).

To make things a little less intimidating, I suggest three half-hour FM focus times during the contest, 4:00-4:30 PM Saturday 6/9, 8:00-8:30 AM Sunday 6/10, and 9:30-9:59 PM Sunday 6/10, using a frequency of 146.550 MHz (and 446.000 MHz). With these focus times, a casual operator doesn’t need to spend the whole weekend looking for contacts, and there’s even a category exclusively for FM-only operators.

The information exchanged is your four-character grid square, and you will need to log frequency, call, grid square, time (UTC) and mode. In Bloomington and the southern Twin Cities metro the grid square is EN34, but you should check yours before participating in the contest.

If you are interested in a quick overview of how to participate in a VHF+ contest, complete with recommended scripts for contacts, I urge you to take a look at this 2-page guide. For a more detailed discussion of VHF contesting, including modes other than FM, there is a longer guide here. Full rules for the ARRL June VHF contest can be found on the ARRL website.

Make sure that after the contest you submit your log to the ARRL! You can enter the data from paper logs and submit them directly using this web tool.

I hope to hear you on the air!
Bill
AE0EE
President, Bloomington Amateur Radio Association

The forecast on Sunday afternoon looks quite nice, so I’m planning to operate portable on 20 meters at Kenwood Park, somewhere on the hill near the center of the park from 2-5 PM CDT. If you’d like to come by and join me, you’re welcome to do so. It’ll be a bit like Field Day, except shorter (but very likely good weather). Bringing a pair of headphones/earbuds and a logging device (pad of paper, notebook, phone, computer) is recommended.

Left to my own devices I’ll be operating using Morse code, but I’ll have capability for all modes including voice, FT8, and RTTY for anyone who wants to join in and doesn’t know code by ear.

April Meeting Canceled

After consultation with the forecast products from the National Weather Service forecast office in Chanhassen, we have decided to cancel the in-person meeting tonight. Heavy snow throughout the day will make travel difficult this evening, and the BARA meeting is not sufficiently important to hold in-person.

However, we will take this opportunity to make use of the BARA repeater (147.090 MHz, +600 kHz offset, no tone), and will hold a net at 7:30 PM CDT. The BARA amendment vote will be held in May.

I hope to hear you on the air tonight!

April 3 Meeting: Bylaws Change

At the February meeting, a change in the Constitution and Bylaws was proposed to eliminate the requirement to hold a post office box. We did not reach a quorum at our March meeting. The change is now on the agenda for the April 3 meeting (7:30 PM, Haeg conference room, Bloomington Civic Plaza). The document showing the changes (eliminating the post office box requirement, updated dates, and a few minor corrections to names and locations) can be found here.

Meeting Date Change: Next Meeting Tuesday Feb. 13

Because of a conflict with precinct caucuses on Tuesday Feb. 6th, the BARA meeting has been rescheduled for Tuesday Feb. 13th. We will still meet in the Haeg conference room at Bloomington Civic Plaza at 7:30 PM, and our program will be on Logbook of the World.

As a reminder, if you haven’t already downloaded the TQSL program and submitted your request for a certificate, you should do that soon. To get your certificate you will need to receive a postcard the ARRL sends through the postal system, which can take a while. Instructions on how to do all this can be found here.

Similarly, the November meeting has been rescheduled to Tuesday November 13th, 2018, to avoid conflict with the general election. See the Secretary of State’s website for information on voter registration, early/absentee voting, sample ballots, polling places, and other elections-related information.

The ARRL International Grid Chase begins January 1st

A new and exciting operating event will kick off on January 1, 2018, at 0000 UTC (New Year’s Eve in US time zones), when the ARRL International Grid Chase gets under way. The year-long event hopes to build on the success of the highly successful 2016 National Parks on the Air (NPOTA). The objective is to work stations on any band (except 60 meters) in as many different Maidenhead grid squares as possible, and then upload your log data to ARRL’s Logbook of The World (LoTW). Registration is free, and it costs nothing to use LoTW. Many hams are familiar with grid squares from the VHF/UHF and satellite realms, and everyone lives in one. ARRL’s VUCC is based on grid squares, and some contests on HF, as well as on VHF and UHF, also use them as a scoring factor.

John Morris, G4ANB, came up with the locator system, which the VHF Working Group adopted in 1980 at a meeting in Maidenhead, England — thus the term “Maidenhead grid square.” The system divvies up the entire globe into 324 fields, each containing 100 grid squares 1° latitude by 2° longitude in size. With 32,400 potential grid squares, it’s not likely that anyone will run out of challenges, even though some grid squares are surrounded entirely by water, are in areas that are uninhabited, or are difficult to access.

If you don’t know your grid square, David Levine, K2DSL, has an online calculator. Just enter a postal address, ZIP code or a call sign, and his site will tell you the grid square for that location. For example, enter “W1AW” and the site will return “FN31pr.” For the purposes of the ARRL International Grid Chase, though, just the two initial letters and the two numbers that follow (e.g., FN31) are all you need to know.

Once you get active in the chase and start uploading your log data, each new grid square contact confirmed through LoTW will count toward your monthly total. Getting started is simple: Turn on the radio and call CQ or “CQ Grid Chase,” or listen for others doing the same. Make the contact, exchange grid squares, log it, and move on to another. At the end of each month, your totals on the Grid Chase Leader Board will reset to zero, although the system retains all monthly data to determine top finishers in various categories at the end of the year.

Any contact you make in 2018 can count for your Chase score; it doesn’t have to involve an exchange of grid squares. As long as the other operators participate in LoTW, you’ll get credit automatically when they upload their logs. This means that contest contacts will also count, as will contacts with special event stations, or other on-air activity that uses LoTW to confirm contacts.

Some radio amateurs live in sparsely populated grid squares, and if you’re one of those, you could find yourself handling a pileup! Expeditions to hard-to-reach or rare grid squares will undoubtedly evolve. You also can travel to one of those grid squares yourself. Some vehicle or hand-held GPS units can be set to display when you are in a particular grid square. Apps are available for smartphones or tablets, such as Ham Square for iOS devices or HamGPS for Android devices.

There are no restrictions on modes or bands, as long as they are legal. Satellite contacts are valid for the Chase. The event is open to all radio amateurs.

Awards

As all contacts are uploaded to LoTW, participants may use their contacts toward other ARRL awards, in addition to the overall monthly and annual Grid Chase recognitions. These other ARRL awards include the grid-based VHF-UHF Century Club (VUCC) and Fred Fish Memorial Award, as well as Worked All States (WAS), WAS Triple Play, DX Century Club (DXCC), and Worked All Continents (WAC).

Complete details of the ARRL International Grid Chase will appear in the December 2017 issue of QST. The digital edition is available on Friday, November 10.