The University of Michigan Amateur Radio Club, as part of an ongoing celebration of the club's 100th Anniversary, hosted a special event station on April 14th, 2013. The event was held on the recognizable Central Campus Diag, and recognized the University's first licensing as station 8XA in June of 1913.
At 9 AM local, hams from around Ann Arbor begain arriving at the Diag, organized somewhat on the Club's repeater just a few hundred feet away. The weather wasn't unusual for a Michigan April - cold with a bit of snow. Equipment was unloaded without too much effort, thanks to convenient parking in a nearby loading dock. As the pile of tables, tents, radios, and antennas on the Diag grew, a few of our volunteers were assigned to begin setting up - starting with 2 pop up tents to house the operators and radios.
As we finished unloading, the University Arborist arrived... much to our surpise, in a bucket truck. It was requested by the University that we be supervised so we wouldn't damage any trees on the Diag, but the work order we submitted said nothing about heavy equipment. So as the Arborist pulled up with the truck, our excitement was confirmed when he walked up to us and asked "Are you the radio club?".
Why, yes we are!
We had planned, optimistically, on operating 4 separate stations: HF SSB, HF CW, HF Digi, and VHF SSB/FM. Luckily enough, we were able to employ all four with some success:
Unfortunately a few days before, the Sun released a sizable solar flare... so we were stuck in a near-blackout of communications. Band noise was up, and propagation was down - but we were not deterred! We did make a few good contacts, especially on CW and PSK31. At one point, "Spain!" was announced, and a little later, "Jamaica!". In a positive light, the bands made every contact something of an acomplishment. And of course, our Echolink node proved reliable as always.
When the day was complete, we ended up making around 86 contacts! Not bad at all... and overall it was a learning experience for every member of the club.
Keep an ear out for a smaller event this fall. We're looking to plan a contest just for hams who are UM alumni, possibly coinciding with Homecoming.
This event wouldn't been possible without the support of friends of UMARC. Amateurs from around Ann Arbor and the country dontated time, money, equipment, and know-how to help the event fall into place. Please forgive us if we forget you on this list, but know that your efforts are greatly appreciated.
Thanks go to:
Special thanks also to: