GCARA celebrated summer yesterday, July 10, 2021, with a picnic and mini-Field Day with about 30 of its members. Although rain was forecast as usual in July at this time of year, our intrepid group braved the infrequent drops and enjoyed a feast for both the stomach and the eyes.

I want to extend a special vote of thanks to Gerald Deitch W4LST who planned the menu and did all of the shopping, transported the food, and then was “Chef de jour” for our hungry hams! He did a lot of hard work and heavy lifting to get the food to the park implementing strict food preservation protocol and was assisted by his wife when it came time to lift the heavy large coolers into his Explorer. Those coolers weigh more than 100 pounds when you consider about 80 pounds of ice each and 25-40 pounds of food and beverages. That is a monumental task for one person and I want to thank Gerry from the bottom of my heart for volunteering to do this picnic. In the future, I envision more than one person coordinating the food and beverages or getting ready-made food to serve. I know from personal experience throughout my tenure as food chairman that the job is just too much for one person. Thank you Gerry for your unselfish and patient contribution to the preparation of our food today.

Okay! There were goodies for the eyes, too. We were blessed to have five show and tell exhibits brought to the picnic for us hammies to look at and enjoy. Charlie Artner KN4VDW took photos and will post them on the website for all to enjoy. Our VP Joe McGee brought some vintage ham equipment from military use for us to see the stuff he started with. It brought fond memories to some of the older hams who recognized all of it and had used it as well. Many stories were exchanged about experiences with the equipment. He also brought an antenna tuner, and other equipment to offer for sale from his collection. We may see this equipment listed on a MailChimp ad or the website in the future. Joe offered a 50/50 split with the club. Thank you, Joe.

Kenny Hollenbeck KE4NC was kind enough to bring his homebrew radio equipment and the hams were thrilled to hear how Kenny put together his operational center. Kenny is an expert in communication using things he finds around the house or utilizing unusual and varied designs to build his equipment. He makes it all work and shows a lot of creativity in doing so. I am always excited to see what he will come up with for antennas or communication gear. It is truly unique and outside-of-the-box thinking. Good work Kenny! And. Kenny, thank you also for lugging your grill to the park, as you tend to do faithfully for every club function. We appreciate your contributions to the club!

A member new to the club, Ben Echavarria N7BBE, brought his radio go kit with his design of solar power and battery set up using an $8.00 Plastic box from Walmart that contained his lightweight 20 V battery and connections for his flexible solar panel. He showed me how he had drilled the holes for the connections along the upper rim of the case and how the case supplies his continuous emergency power. There was lots of ingenuity here as well and it was a treat to see how different minds utilize their creativity to make contacts.

We were happy to see the return of Mickey Galper, AA4AC, with a demonstration called “All Digital Modes with just a PC”. With the use of his computer alone, Mickey was able to use DMR, D-Star, GMC, Fusion sites without repeaters for those entities. The software has enhanced Mickey’s radio experiences on the digital outlets without the use of a radio or antenna. Mickey stressed it does not replace radio, it merely enhances the amateur’s radio experience. This works for all digital modes and Mickey will be giving a demo of its use during our November Meeting after our elections. Originally seen on the W4BUG website, Mickey successfully backtracked the info and found the source code. Thank you Mickey for your enlightening display.

Last, but not least, Mike Samokieszyn KF4ZW, known to us as “Mike Sams” brought his “shack in a rolling Gator box”. It was a beauty to see all of the intricate connections and his antenna array and how he neatly engineered his station. I marvel at people’s ingenuity. (Mike Sams, by the way, has been instrumental in helping Ricky Eaton KD4HGR and Joe McGee NX4T with the router problems and programming end of our remote station. Between those three gentlemen and our HF Guru AL Flapan, AF4FA, we have been enjoying the use of our HF station for several months. No problems have been too big for these 4 brains!!!)

The “Show and Tell” portion of the picnic was so good, it has been difficult to choose a winner from our contest. Each of the four entrants showed great ingenuity and a winner will be announced shortly.

Unfortunately for some, being full of food and too excited talking to one another, we opted not to do the Foxhunt this picnic. It will be back at our next event with hopefully better weather and a larger group at an opportune time.

I was pleased to meet our three newest members, Terry Delmonaco KM4HJJ, Ric Green KG4ARU, and John Hale KA4WKS (who brought his son Nick along). Besides being our newest members, John and Terry have donated their Fusion equipment to the club as a backup for our repeater. They are currently working closely with our Repeater trustee, Ricky Eaton KD4HGR, at John Knox Village. Thank you gentlemen for attending the picnic and meeting some of our other members.

Our third annual Picnic at Vista View Park was a success on many levels. We came, we socialized, we learned and we broke bread together for a few hours and we became closer as a result. We were able to enjoy the company of an older member, Hope Smith WB3ANE, and some of the newer members like Barry Gardner KO4FBU and others mentioned before. What a treat to see humanity at its best.

For those of you who could not make it, we missed you and hope that we will see you the next time!

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