Recent Posts

Pages: [1] 2 3 4 ... 10
1
At NEAR-Fest XX in October 2016 Lynn gave us an excellent presentation on how clubs and organizations can easily apply to the IRS for tax exempt, aka 501(c)(3), status.  We made a video of her forum and here it is for everybody to enjoy.

Thanks, Lynn......

https://youtu.be/AT4fWLRvT04
2
NEAR-Fest XXVI - October 11 & 12 2019 / Ham Jam Oct 2019
« Last post by Whoz Your Daddy on September 15, 2019, 06:37:49 AM »
Ok Jammers! Get ready!!!!
3
NEAR-Fest XXVI - October 11 & 12 2019 / The Apollo XI Mission in its Entirety
« Last post by W1RC on August 22, 2019, 01:05:34 PM »
Stolen from AMFONE

https://apolloinrealtime.org/11/

Fascinating........
4
To all Tower owners in the Amateur Radio Community – a must read!  By Mark Pride, K1RX
 
Many old timers in the hobby that own a tower, perhaps in the air for 20, 30, 40 or 50 years, need to take this article seriously as it could provide life saving information to you and your ground crew. This is a cautionary article for all that have a tower no matter how long its been the air.  What occurred at a NH amateur station recently provides a lesson for all of us tower owners. Although the article speaks to a Rohn 25 guyed tower product, it could be prove helpful to others.
 
 K1JGA and K1EEE tower tragedy
 
A crew of amateurs gathered at the home of K1EEE to take down two 40 ft. Rohn 25 towers.  The details of the tower which collapsed and its failure is provided below.  It was a very unfortunate accident which took the life of Joe G. Areyzaga, K1JGA.  The owner of the tower, K1EEE suffered multiple injuries but did survive.  We all in the amateur radio community extend our prayers and condolences to the families affected by this tragic event.
 
Tower Description
 
One of two forty foot (40 ft.) Rohn 25 towers, with one set of guys at the 35 ft level was to be taken down. The base was the BPH 25 hinge plate on a concrete pad of unknown depth. This used tower had only been up 3 years. 
 
NOTE:  Following the accident, the owner learned one leg of the hinge plate had been previously repaired but the material used was not galvanized.
 
With the reasonable expectation the tower would support itself to 40 ft, the guy wires were disconnected from the anchors and the top section was to be removed. The top section to be removed had a rotor shelf and one torque assembly mounted at the 35 ft. level along with the three guy wires. The gin pole had not been raised at that point.  The antenna, mast and rotor were previously removed.
 
Lesson Learned
 
At the time of the initial install, the tower was self supported to 40 ft until the first set of guys were attached per Rohn specifications. That may have been the case then, but after many years of exposure to the elements, one can no longer expect the same!
 
Prior to the start of the tower take down, the tower was thoroughly inspected and found to be in acceptable condition.  The base was dry and free of any water. No obvious problems were found.
 
The general reason for this tower collapse was corrosion at the junction of the hinged base short legs (one leg previously repaired and welded as noted above) and the bottom of the lowest Rohn 25 section occurred primarily from the outside and some inside as well and thus weakened the structure. The first point of failure was the repaired and non-galvanized short leg of the hinge plate. When the guys were removed from their anchor points (necessary to remove the top section), the tower was free standing with the two climbers at 35 ft.  It's clear that the tower deflection from the vertical was extreme enough to make the overturning force at the base (the bending moment) great enough to cause base failure.
 
The proper installation of the hinge bracket (BPH 25) requires mounting it on a flat concrete surface, secured with bolts placed in the concrete, surrounded by a beveled edge for water run off.  Normally, all of the hardware associated with the hinge plate are galvanized and able to withstand the wear and tear of Mother nature.  However this base was slightly recessed where the plate sat and there were some gaps under the plate. This created the opportunity for water or ground contaminants to collect. It is presumed the previously repaired short stubby leg of the bracket began to corrode while sitting in water. Years of this kind of exposure slowly weakened the metal.  Subsequent movement by climbers at the top of the unguyed tower led to breakage at the base.
 
NOTE:  Rohn towers are very high quality and generally last many, many years with proper installation and maintenance.  It is a very popular tower in the amateur radio community. And where tower sections join, they typically show little wear as water drainage occurs easily and there is a limited chance for collecting contaminants and held for long periods of time.  Or where tower materials come in contact with the earth, the normal galvanizing process is more than adequate for a long lifetime. But what is noted here is areas that are in contact with the ground or areas such as the repaired leg of the bracket that can accumulate harmful materials and therefore become a danger over time.  Clearly there are areas on a tower that are difficult to inspect however, the Rohn design usually lends itself to high levels of confidence that these blind areas are within acceptable standards if installed per the manufacturers specifications.
 
JGA Safety Guy Technique for Tower Take Downs in honor Joseph G. Areyzaga,  K1JGA (SK)
 
When dealing with unknown tower installations that require removal, it is absolutely critical to err on the side of extreme caution.  The technique described below is one approach and a simple one to help safe guard all involved.
 
A suggested safety procedure that should be applied during any tower take down of this type is attaching a set of additional guy wires at either the 10 or 20 ft. level prior to any work on the tower.  By applying a set of guys near the base, further stabilization of the tower base can be achieved.  Using this added set of guy wires reduce stress on the legs (twisting, flexing, bending) and prevent breakage at the very bottom of the section just above the concrete surface or surrounding areas.  Then what would remain after the tower is taken down to the Safety Guy set becomes very manageable (10 or 20 ft. to be lowered to the ground).
 
And in honor of our friend and now silent key, Joe, K1JGA, I am naming this important safety procedure the “JGA Safety Guy Technique” with the hopes all of us will not forget Joe but more importantly, keep us all safe while our old towers are taken down.  In particular, towers that have been up for our entire ham career and its maintenance history may be questionable require special attention.  Of course if the base shows significant deterioration, corrosion and breakage, the tower should NOT be climbed!  It should be removed by other means (cut down if the landing area is open and clear or by crane or similar).
 
The suggested collection of material that comprises the JGA Safety Guy Technique include:
 
Three (3) lengths of unbroken or spliced guy wire (3/16 inch EHS or larger) longer than the lowest guy to be sure it is long enough (DO NOT USE ROPE!);
 
Guy Grips for each end of the guy wire;
 
A come along at each guy anchor point for proper tensioning and;
 
A reliable heavy duty attachment device to connect to the existing anchor.
 
The attachment to the guy anchors should be done in a way that does not interfere with the existing guy anchor assembly (turnbuckles, etc.).  If the JGA Safety Guy kit is to be used in multiple tower take downs of varying heights, use of the Guy Grips will allow full flexibility of locating the attach points where they are needed, without cutting cable.  Just make the cable length longer than you might need to give you enough head room.  One further consideration: Rather than just use this technique near the ground, consider always using it no less than 10 ft. below where you may be working I.E. erecting or dismantling a tower, place the JGA kit 10 ft. below the location you are either installing or removing the next section.  Therefore, the guy lengths need to be approximately the same length as the longest guy (upper guy). This will assure maximum safety. With the guy grips, it is easy to relocate them, as you adjust the length of the temporary guy at each point on the tower.
 
As part of your annual maintenance plan, include keeping the base free of debris, dirt, trees, plants etc. to protect this area from any long term damage. Consider making one of these JGA Safety Guy kits for your club to be used as necessary. 
 
Best to use the JGA Safety Guy Technique and find the tower base was just fine, than not use it and suffer a similar situation or worse!  Stay safe!
 
5
NEAR-Fest XXVI - October 11 & 12 2019 / Joe “JoJo” Areyzaga, K1JGA, SK
« Last post by W1RC on July 30, 2019, 07:11:51 PM »
Joseph G. Areyzaga, K1JGA, of Manchester NH accidentally became a Silent Key on Saturday, July 27th 2019 at Deerfield NH.  Joe and Michael Rancourt, K1EEE, were taking down Mike’s tower when it suddenly collapsed.  They were both wearing safety belts and fell 40+ feet tethered to the tower.  Joe and Mike were transported to the Elliott Hospital in Manchester NH where sadly Joe did not survive his injuries.  Mike was very seriously injured but fortunately he is recovering.

There is a valuable lesson to be learned from this tragedy.

Both Joe and Mike were regular attendees at NEAR-Fest.  “JoJo” was very active on the Interstate Repeater Society 146.850 Derry repeater and a volunteer in the NEAR-Fest Thursday night campground crew run by Joe, K1JEK, and the Port City club.  Mike was a member of the Contoocook Valley Radio Club and was instrumental in building KA1SKY which is the amateur radio station at the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center in Concord NH, a gift from NEAR-Fest nearly a decade ago.

We want to express our condolences to Joe’s XYL Elizabeth and his six sons and daughters as well as our hopes to Mike for a speedy and full recovery.  NEAR-Fest XXVI is dedicated in Joe’s honour and memory.

Photo below:  Happier days:  K1JGA in full WW-II flight gear at the BC-348 radio receiver on a B-17 bomber.......

Article in NEW HAMPSHIRE UNION LEADER July 31 2019

https://www.unionleader.com/news/safety/ham-radio-operator-killed-in-deerfield-tower-crash/article_e21dadf3-3ec7-544c-8da0-1c05f864c806.html

Wonder why it took them SIX DAYS to cover this story?

News Report from WMUR-TV.  This also took five days to break the story.

https://www.wmur.com/article/ham-radio-operator-killed-when-tower-he-was-dismantling-collapses/28570300

Obituary from THE NEW HAMPSHIRE UNION LEADER July 31st 2019

Joseph G. Areyzaga, 52, of Goffstown died tragically on July 27, 2019 at the Elliot Hospital in Manchester, NH.

He was born on August 11, 1966 in Boston, MA to the late Frederick Areyzaga and Mary Eatherton.

Joseph is survived by his loving wife Elizabeth Areyzaga, 49; Sons: Tyler and Andrew Fournier and Joseph McHatton; daughters: Michelle Areyzaga; Courtney and Stephanie Fournier; and many siblings, aunts, uncles, nieces, and nephews.

Joe worked as grounds supervisor for Aramark for 20 years. He was a ham radio enthusiast, avid boater, the ultimate helper, a true
Renaissance Man. He was a family man who enjoyed spending time with loved ones with a plate full of steak tips and cold one. He was revered by all for his selflessness and willingness to help anyone in need.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to The Interstate Repeater Society.
7
BLOUSON PN VOL PILOTE DE CHASSE ARMÉE DE L'AIR FRANCAISE

The French fighter pilot flight jacket, officially called “Le Blouson PN" (Personnel Navigant or “aircrew”) is a lambskin leather military flight jacket that was issued by the French Armée de l’Air from 1970 to 1995.

The official government contract production jackets were only  issued to pilots of the Armée de l’Air (the French Air Force) and later to the Police de l’Air et des Frontières...(aviation police and border guards).  They were also known as “French Jaguar jackets” because the Armée de l’Air flew Jaguars as did the RAF in the Seventies.  The Blouson PN was in use for nearly a quarter of a century until it was discontinued and replaced by a flight jacket made from a synthetic fabric called Kermel.

In the late 1990s many were sold off by the French government and marketed through surplus stores in used condition, many with names in them.  Some were destroyed. 

French military sizes (88, 92, 96, 100,  104, 108...) correspond to the chest size in centimeters and equals to twice the French civilian suit size.  You can easily figure out the size of these jackets by measuring the distance between the upper shoulder seams. The suffix (C,M,L,X) determines the length of sleeves and back (from Short to Extra Long)

As an example, the military size 100L equals to a French 50 (or US/UK 40) with 'long' arm length. This should fit a 40 to small 42 (a French 50 to small 52) depending on how tight you want to wear it.  To convert centimeters to inches divide the length by 2.54.

There are MANY copies and reproductions being passed off as genuine PN Jackets so BUYER BEWARE.  Regardless of their origin, almost all French Armée de l’Air PN pilot jackets, offered for sale on Ebay, are described as being VRAI, AUTHENTIQUE, VERITABLE (real, authentic, genuine). Nevertheless, as with many things on Ebay, you'll find the best, the worst and everything in between.

Some of these jackets were not supplied by the Armée de l’Air  as official equipment but were actually purchased on military bases that were made to order by the master tailor.  Admittedly these might totally conform to Armée de l’Air PN pilot jacket specifications but even then they are considered civilian copies whether they were used by PN or not. 

If they don't have the “Ordre de Marche” (contract number, size and year of production) it is probably not authentic unless it is clear that the label is missing.

As if it was not already complicated enough, a number of official manufacturers, also produced civilian copies (identical finish and cut, but often in a heavier less supple leather. Even more embarrassing, inferior copies (often of poor quality and of cheap Korean leather) were sold on Armée de l’Air bases that resurface now and again on eBay offered by people who are totally convinced having one that is genuine based on that it was bought on a military base as proof.

So how do you tell?

Distinguishing characteristics of a genuine “Blouson PN” jacket ("Blouson de la Dotation" or Jacket from the Air Force Endowment)

1.    Your jacket should have seven pockets (two exterior pocket, two inner 'orders' pockets, as well as one pocket in the lining with the orange “emergency vest” that serves as safety vest but also in case of crash, in order to be able to be spotted quickly. It goes over the leather jacket. There is another pocket on the chest for the rank tab (“Fourreau de Grade”) and one pocket with pen holder on the left sleeve.  The sleeve on the pocket is now rectangular, but earlier models have oval pockets (the shape of the latter was deliberately designed because it allowed the wearer to store a compass). 

2. Elastic knit cuffs in the lower sleeves.

3. Waist adjustable with buttons or snaps, three positions

4. A label with the name of the French manufacturer, ((MJ As du Cuir - MIC - Cassi Sàrl - Alto Cuir (Levroux) - Jacquin) also showing the  military size and contract number (Ordre de Marche).  These manufacturers who made the  authentic jackets, also marketed very similar cut and quality copies, but with other components/materials (leather thicker than authentic, other brands of zippers, etc.

5. Main zipper (fermeture à glissière) is a heavy two way brass zipper marked ECLAIR (“lightning”).  The ECLAIR-Prestil company manufactured a specific model of zipper for the Army that was not available to the general public.  The "AILEE" (Wing) brand of zippers) was also used in the manufacture of the first generation jackets in the 1970s.  Definitely not YKK.  An important note about the zippers:  For the authentic jackets, the French Army supplied the manufacturer with all the components (zippers, etc) they needed.  No discussion of the zippers would be complete without providing the answer to an often asked question:  ”Why the double zipper?” 

Here is the answer:  When the pilot was seated in the cockpit he sat on a survival package containing the parachute.  Then, if he were forced to eject, he needed to manually attach himself to this survival equipment by a harness.  His jacket was normally zipped closed so he would have to to open the jacket’s zipper from the bottom in order to do this.

6. A one-piece back panel.  There is no horizontal seam in the back.

7. A red orange (NOT YELLOW) emergency vest stored in
a small pocket in the lining

8. A removable brown (and NOT BLACK) synthetic mouton
fur collar, fixed at first by button later by zipper.

9. A black (and NOT BLUE) removable lining fixed by zipper
and velcro (but not on first generation jackets; those with the
circular pocket on the left sleeve). Recent models (and/or imitation jackets) have a removable lining attached by a black zipper made by YKK.

10.”Zig Zag” stitching on collar.

11. 4 ventilation holes in both armpits.

Please keep in mind that the copies/reproductions most often fail on criteria 4,5, 6 and 7.

Armée de l’Air fighter pilots were very disappointed and unhappy when the blouson PN was discontinued in the mid-Nineties and replaced by the Kermel fabric jacket.  To this day the student pilots who come out of the Cazaux Development school can buy one from the Master tailor. Since the Belgian student pilot also pass through this school they can wear this type of jacket as well, but it is not official issue.  That said, almost all the student pilots buy one, even if its cost is quite high (about €400 euros) and for a pilot student, it is a great deal of money.

Notwithstanding, even today this jacket is still much sought-after and treasured by pilots, aviation enthusiasts, collectors and those who appreciate fine military leather jackets.  So, other than taking your chances on eBay to have a genuine Blousin PN the only solution is to visit the master tailor of the Base Aérienne 120 at Cazaux.

Bonne chance!

Copyright 2019 Michael Crestohl
All rights reserved.
8
Thanks for the post of the links.
9
Spring - May 2019 HAMfest videos (2) ready for viewing...Spring - May 2019 HAMfest videos (2) ready for viewing...Spring - May 2019 HAMfest videos (2) ready for viewing...




1st to hit the InterNet - Joe Casieri - KA1JBE - Deerfield Fairgrounds May 2019 HAMfest Video (Quadcopter):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j3tDFzYOwgU&list=PLNZZSXy-YqBIUT9_rQsmFTRcCcRhMQiyR

2nd - Burt Fisher - K1OIK - Deerfield Fairgrounds May 2019 HAMfest video: (in collaboration with Joe Casieri - KA1JBE)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qk6OtoB32fc&feature=youtu.be
10
NEAR-Fest XXV - May 3rd and 4th 2019 / Re: Ham Jam May 2019
« Last post by DrOptigan on May 07, 2019, 03:35:15 PM »
That was fun! :D Thanks to everyone who showed, or tried to show, and everyone who tolerated my singing and organ playing. ;) See ya's in the fall!
-Adam
Pages: [1] 2 3 4 ... 10