GCARA Field Day
GCARA Field Day

Gold Coast Summer Field Day 2024 – June 22/23 2024

The Gold Coast Amateur Radio Association will sponsor its ARRL Field Day event on June 22/23 , again at Quiet Waters Park in Deerfield Beach.

All interested parties, licensed amateurs and others , are invited to attend and participate. As in the recent past, we will set up 3 operating stations , one each for Single Sideband (SSB), Morse Code (CW) and Digital (primarily FT-8 or FT-4) modulation.

In addition, we will have other activities including various equipment demonstrations and satellite contact attempts.

Food will be available  (please indicate your interest in advance)  and we do have an open shelter with bathroom facilities. Those who wish to stay overnight will be welcome and can help us remain on the air through the evening hours. They should bring their own sleeping equipment (Bags, cots, blankets, air mattresses, tents, etc.)

Setup will begin at 8 AM Saturday and we will go on the air at 2 PM for a period of 24 hours.

 Advance reservations for operating time on the SSB station will be available  on the website (below)

We seek volunteers for this effort and encourage anyone willing to chip in and help us to contact the undersigned 

This will be an interesting and fun event. Do plan to join us.

Additional details wil be available on our website (www.w4bug.org) and in future announcements. Also questions  can be addressed to the undersigned.

Joe McGee, NX4T

Ricky Eaton, KD4HGR

Field Day Chairmen


2024 ARRL Field Day is June 22-23

Quiet Waters Park
401 S Powerline Rd,
Deerfield Beach, FL 33442

ARRL Field Day is the most popular on-the-air event held annually in the US and Canada.

Field Day is ham radio’s open house. Every June, more than 40,000 hams throughout North America set up temporary transmitting stations in public places to demonstrate ham radio’s science, skill and service to our communities and our nation. 

Field Day
Field Day

2024 ARRL Field Day Theme: Be Radio Active

The theme for 2024 ARRL Field Day is “Be Radio Active.” The event will run on June 22 – 23, and it will be one-part contest, one-part emergency communications exercise, and one-part open house — and a great time. The theme encourages radio amateurs to take advantage of the peak of Solar Cycle 25, which we are nearing. Activity this year is likely to be extremely high thanks to favorable solar conditions. The upper HF bands, such as 15 and 10 meters, should benefit most from the Cycle’s peak.

There are resources available already for clubs and individuals to make their Field Day plans. ARRL will publish more information and tools so that hams can make the most of the event as it draws near. Amateurs interested in learning more are invited to join the Field Day Facebook group to connect with others who are planning for the big weekend.

Find links to all of the resources on the ARRL Field Day web page at www.arrl.org/field-day.

DAVE HOWARD Candidate for Broward County Sheriff

David Howard will be discussing Emergency Communications and the value of the volunteers in the ham radio community.

David believes that real public safety involves building trust with the communities they serve, understanding their unique needs, and working neighborhood-by-neighborhood to prevent crimes BEFORE they happen. 

He’s running for Broward County Sheriff to make every community in Broward County safer. As Broward County Sheriff, he’ll take on the mess in Broward County and build a safer county, one where our Sheriff actually works to make sure kids are safe in their own yards, our seniors feel safe in their homes again, while we reduce violent crime and gang activity.



Meeting ID: 823 3968 9781

Passcode: 565513

Come one, come all, to see what Ham Helpers has received in donated radio equipment. The Free Flea will take place at 2725 NE 14 Ave. Wilton Manors, 33334 from 8 am to 2 pm on Saturday, April 13, 2024.

It is open to all hams, family and friends. Free tailgating.

There will be an ICOM IC-7610 for auction with a starting bid of $750.00. The winning bid will be announced Saturday at 2 pm. Contact information : kennyh4600@gmail.com (ke4nc).

You must come and see what Kenny has scooped up in his trips around Florida. We will see you there!

Submitted by Melanie Fernandez KJ4VCT

Many of you do not know what goes on in planning a Field Day so I thought I would review some of the processes of this past Winter Field Day.

When someone volunteers to head up the committee, in this case Joe McGee NX4T, they map out what they would like to see happen. Joe wanted to see as many different hams as well as club members attend the Field Day and have a good experience. He first thought of how to bring that about and came up with an idea to reach out by Post Cards to hams all over the Broward County area. Normally we had only used the emails we have in our database in the past. The Board agreed to support the project and Joe went to work designing the post cards with the help of Tom Savoca K9TJS, our PIO and webmaster over the December break period. After the design was complete it was sent off to the printer and when they were received by Joe, he went busily to work hand addressing the Post cards using the info from the FCC database for all the general and extra license holders in Broward County. He addressed some 400 cards and since he had not included call signs on them and the general thought was that it would be a better way to bring attention to the cards, a great friend to the club and most gregarious member, Aurora Figueiredo WD4AGF, then took the cards and added all of the call signs to them and sorted them by zip code for easy mailing. I then took all to the post office and put them in the mail.

Of course, although the hopes were that people would RSVP for food prep purposes, we did not get any and thought perhaps the Post cards may not yield any results. On WFD, we found that we got a 3% response in attendees and the visiting hams were delighted to be invited and meet our worker bees for the club. Some had issues with their antennas and other things in their shack but they were introduced to Jeff Stahl K4BH, Ricky Eaton KD4HGR, Tom McClain N3HPR, and Joe McGee NX4T to discuss the issues and get better ideas and the promise of future help with the problems.

It was wonderful to have satisfied people in our midst and we felt the Post Card effort was not in vain.

Joe McGee NX4T also felt that it was of the utmost importance for all visiting hams get a chance on the air during a Field Day so Joe again enlisted the able aid of Tom Savoca K9TJS to write a program where people could register for a time slot on the air of their choosing in half hour increments. This would, one, insure everyone got a chance to get on the air when convenient for them and two, the radio would be busy all day and night long. Thanks to these two gentlemen, who worked all through the Christmas holidays on the program project, its objective was met. Someone was on the radio at all times supporting the club by operating. We had over 15 different operators as opposed to the usual 3 or 5 we normally had on the radio. Some were first time operators and were given a chance to get their feet wet on the air. The GCARA Board were all happy with the result of the efforts of Joe and Tom and the support staff at the WFD. It was a first and it won’t be the last!

Now, if this intrigues you, we would like to invite your participation in the summer ARRL FIELD DAY. With the new ideas Joe spawned for inviting and operating, we managed to gather 54 visitors, all of whom were treated to a good time. The opportunities to shine are endless and Joe has more fun up his sleeve for the summer, as a consultant, to the contest. I admire his enthusiasm and genuine desire to mentor hams. He works with many newbies or shut ins who need help with equipment or whatever. He is one of the most socially active hams among us and I am so pleased he serves as a director in the club. I am also pleased with the hard work and creative designs of Tom Savoca KJ9TJS who saw these 2 involved projects through all of the time constraints and effort it took with such positive feedback and energy. Gentlemen, GCARA thanks you.

……….and that’s the rest of the story!

Submitted by Melanie Fernandez KJ4VCT

Saturday morning ” ham” breakfast.

From 7 to 9 AM interested Hams meet since 1994 at JJs Cafe for breakfast.

Everyone is welcome to join.

JJs Cafe
6051 NW 31st Ave,
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33309

We will be raffling of a 2024 Field Day shirt, size Large, and a 2024 Field Day Cap, separately for Field Day. The items were donated by Aurora Figueiredo KW4AGF. Thank you Aurora, and may the new owners get a lot of use out of the items.

Raffle for 2024 Field Day


April 2024 and May 2024 have been busy months for the GCARA. 

In April, I had the pleasure of going to the 85th Anniversary of West Palm Beach Amateur Radio Group up in the Cox Center in West Palm Beach. Barry Porter K1PB, representing the ARRL, was sitting next to me at the entrance greeting all the ham visitors which included those from West Palm Beach and Broward County. I met some snowbirds from New York and New Jersey and welcomed them to check out our Website W4BUG.org and catch a Zoom meeting or two at their convenience. 

It was nice to see visitors like Jan Wheltan KK3W, who is a member of many of the clubs in North Broward and WPB, including ours. His Satellite set up is impressive and he shares his talents at various clubs during Field Days and has attended our Winter Field Day in the past. 

Also, surprise, surprise, I talked to Mark Blanchard KQ4RRG, an enthusiastic new GCARA member who is making the rounds to various clubs, lunches, and picnics and making new ham friends. Way to go Mark! One of the best ways to enjoy and learn in this hobby is by total immersion in the culture and meeting various hams with specialized interests. It makes for a well-rounded experience, and I wholly advocate sharing the wealth of information in this exciting hobby. Before any of us is a club supporter, we are hams, after all, and there should be no limits to who or what we know.

I also had a good conversation with our club member, David Pomerantz KO4DKN, a Boynton Beach resident, who has made a mark by supporting many clubs and in particular, the Palmetto Club in Davie by serving as their VE Leader for testing. Here is another example of full immersion in the hobby being enjoyed by this delightful and positive ham.

I was excited to talk to our old friend, Robert Molledo of the National Weather Service in Miami who manned a booth for the NWS at the Cox Center. He, as always is bright, articulate, and very full of good information for all South Floridians. He is one of the dedicated people in Meterology who makes good information available, whether on Hurricanes or Space Weather. He is one of GCARA’s favorite and steadfast speakers and we have enjoyed a long association with him. Whether a weather lecture or teaching a SKYWARN class to us, he has been a stimulating and excellent speaker. Thank you, Robert, for all you do, for and with the ham community.

The Red Cross of PB County was represented there as well as CERT, and the PB County Shelter Volunteers who were also explaining how the animals are cared for during the storms at the shelters. The whole tour of services was indeed fascinating and populated by the best and brightest young volunteers of Palm Beach County. I was very impressed and felt very hopeful by the number of young volunteers in the community.

My favorite display was the gentleman (I am sorry I did not get his name) that manned a Morse Code key and let everyone use CW to send their initials to a dummy load. He was so interesting and very helpful in letting people know how they can still learn Morse Code and use it for emergency communications or rag chewing. The Morse Code Hams are generally older and are among the most interesting hams I have met because of their place in history as well as their occupations in life. Dedicated to amateur radio, they have been integral in radio communications in the armed forces as well as civic groups in times of distress. Talking to this gentleman, rekindled my excitement for learning and using CW again. I highly recommend that we continue to learn and maintain this method of communication.

Special thanks to Jo Cummings N2QDT, who invited me to this event and worked hard to pull it off, as well as introducing me to the President of the WPBARG, Michael Mathis K1WX, who is a younger, enthusiastic ham who has served as the President for 2 years now, making a positive mark on this older club. His positive and cheerful attitude has been an asset to keeping the club on track and in focus for its future in the world of amateur radio. 

May 4, 2024, was GCARA’s Spring/Summer Picnic at Vista View Park in Davie. The weather was gorgeous with white puffy clouds and a nice, continual breeze that cooled off the 84 degree day. Thirty hams attended and many were newcomers to the club and I was so excited to meet and talk with them as well as watch while they pitched in to help us with set up and serving. Special thanks to Mark Blanchard KQ4RRG, who jumped right in from the get go, helping carry ham equipment for Mike Wolf KD4QVP, who brought his radio and antenna to the park to operate, and also to help Ben Echavarria NB7BBE unload his car of all of the equipment he had brought to show and tell. 

What an amazing group of men and women in this venture. Highly social couple, Jerry KN4UPI and wife Terry Tyler, were there cheerfully making conversation with everyone and supporting the effort with Jerry’s sense of humor. Terry pitched in and helped with the food service, helping to set up and break down at the end. Thank you, Terry, for your assistance.

Tom McClain N3HPR (or “Dr. Tom” as he is affectionately known to me) brought goodies baked by his precious wife, Sandy McClain N3LKW, but who was under the weather from medical treatments on the day of the picnic and could not attend. Thanks, Sandy for those Um-m-m Good treats!

Also, in attendance, with her county wide known CHILI, was Ricki Witte KJ4FSJ, who was gracious enough to prepare and serve up her chili. It was crazy good, not spicy, and is always requested at our gatherings. Thank you, Ricki!

Chef de Jour was Mike Wolf KD4OVP, of Traffic Net fame, and he perfectly cooked up some of the tastiest burgers, hot dogs and organic chicken breasts to the group of hungry hams. With Mike present, you not only have a cook, but you get entertainment throughout the process. 

His side kick, Kenny Hollenbeck KE4NC, who faithfully stores and maintains the grill for our club, was there assisting in preparing the grill for use and cleaning it up and breaking it down after the picnic. We are so lucky to have Kenny’s help with this aspect of food preparation because without the grill, we would not be able to offer such tasty treats to our membership. Thanks, Kenny for all you do to help us out!! (and Sally).

We would not be able to purchase food and transport it to the parks without our Hospitality Team, in the persons of Gerald Deitch W4LST and David Warner KB4ICU, who generously give of their time and body strength to help me shop, store safely on ice, and bring the food to the venue. These two gentlemen are also cheerful volunteers in many other efforts and support the Parrot club as well as ours. If you have an Explorer sized SUV, or large covered truck and you are able to help the Hospitality Team out on our shopping excursions, kindly contact me, Melanie, (954-560-3706) and let me know. This club moves on its belly and there are plenty of goods to haul. Jerry has been my partner in the shopping and hauling of goods for over 8 years and without him, I could never have achieved the food service we provide. Thank you, Jerry, from the bottom of my heart, and also, thank you to Dave Warner who is a whiz as a human calculator and can cube out the van very efficiently. They have been in it with me to the bitter end and it is time to give Jerry a well-deserved rest. We are also looking for a convenient place to store our two large coolers and supplies. If anyone has room in their garage or storage facility, also, kindly give Melanie a call. Thanks.

This month’s message is so long because I did not get out the April message in time and decided to combine these two messages. I sincerely hope I do not cause a digital overload on the readers.

In closing, whether I mentioned you publicly or not, I saw you and noticed your role in our effort and please accept my thanks. Without gracious people like you, GCARA would not be the club it is. It is full of the most generous and positive individuals who are so supportive and giving to the club. Many hands make light work and I encourage those who have not yet volunteered to do something, to join in and feel the good feeling of being a help to others. Whether for the club or the community, the feeling is a reward in and of itself. Thank you to all!

Click to download and print the PDF version NOTE: Meeting minutes are posted online as a draft for review until approved at the following meeting. Corrections can be sent to the Secretary, currently rickiwitte4@gmail.com.


 CQ, CQ, CQ! Calling all Parrots & Ham Radio Enthusiast’s!

 2 meter Fox Hunt and HF Radio Station Setup for Contacts

 Date: Saturday, April 20th
 Time: 10 am to 4:00 pm
 Location: Markham Park
Markham Park
& BBQ Picnic

16001 W State Road 84
Sunrise, FL 33326
Click Here: Directions
Lunch: RSVP

Please RSVP TODAY! Click Here: Event RSVP

Join us! Event Highlights:
 Fox Hunt & Stations setup for contacts

All you need is your:
Fox Hunting
Dual band 2m/70cm HT

If you wish to setup your station to make contacts

We will have tents for shaded space for everyone to be comfortable.
Click here for Details and Lunch RSVPhttps://parrotarc.org/parrot-events/

Get ready to find the FOX and connect with fellow Radio Enthusiasts!

Everyone is welcome!

Please RSVP if you would like to have lunch so we bring enough food for all of us who wish to eat.

See you at Markham Park on Saturday, April 20th, from 10 am to 4:00 pm.

The Parrots🦜 fly far and high! 
When all else fails we’re still talking!

About our guest speaker:

Our guest speaker in August 27, 2024 will be Ian Barton (VK5AIB). Ian has been licensed since July 1977 and over the years has had an interest in
RTTY including “Glass RTTY” & Packet radio. In 1992 he ceased all operations upon moving location to a much smaller block which couldn’t
accommodate his previous 50ft free standing tower and antennas. Back in about April 2023 he recommenced operations after chatting with Henry
Seidner about FT8 and the ICOM IC-7300 but this time with a Cushcraft R8 vertical antenna rather than the HyGain TH3 he had in his previous days.

Due to “domestic pressure”(!!!) it was important to Ian that he be able to bring his antenna to ground quickly and by himself in the event of
inclement weather so Ian will demonstrate to us the approach he has taken to bringing this about. He will also share information about operating
amateur radio “down under”.

Speaker info submitted by Henry Seidner WA2ROA Boca Raton ARA Vice President

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