2017 Fargo Hamfest, visits to 55N et al

For the second year in a row – wow – I ventured to Fargo – a few hours south of the city of Winnipeg here and attended the rrra.org hamfest.  Usual place is in West Fargo on the Red River Valley Fairgrounds.  They have access to a good sized venue (Hartl Building) which provides ample table space for flea market items and lots of walking space to meet and chat.  Was great to head back – met some old friends and met some that I’ve met on-air but not in face.  I also attended a couple of discussion sessions and managed to talk to other fellow ham geeks.  Always learn something new.  The XYL and I arrived the evening prior and settled into our hotel.  I knew there were other hams from our city heading down but it was getting quite late after dinner, we turned in for the night — as you know, the door opens at 8am and sure enough -there was a line-up to get at that time too 🙂

There must have been a dozen of us Winnipeg hams that came down – what a turnout!  I was able to pick up a unit I had been looking for, so all was not lost.  Others picked up more (heavier) stuff than I.  Some of the antennas looked nice, but a little honda can only hold so much.

I was surprised – for once in quite some time, I actually won something!  A $50 voucher from the ARRL!  Awesome.  I’m already a member and I’ve been looking at getting an updated manual for some time, so this was just perfect timing.

Yup – it’s true!

We also checked out their emergency vehicle they have – wow – looks great and there were some good ideas as well:

Checking out the emergency vehicle setup

General lay of the area:

Great event – would go again – good show guys!

A week (or so) prior to this, a few of us (William VE4VR, Wyatt VE4WDZ and myself Dan VE4DRK) spent a few hours on our main site 55N to replace some items.  Seems the “newer” switch we put in place did not fare well with the on-going power issues at that location.  Half the ports were toast  – so some of the hams/hamgroups that use our services had no service.  So we replace it with a better switch (Cisco) and then time is spent re-routing, identifying and cataloging the connections.

rewiring the rats nest
Our northern tower portion

Recently, William VE4VR also made a run out to our local VE4MAN repeater at Starbuck and was able to remotely configure the raspberry pi Allstarlink node to point to our new switch at 55n.  So, we can get that back on the air and possibly testing more.  He’s been busy – with also running out to our inkster site and reconfiguring the 3GHz system to see if we can get it working better – may have to replace a sector with a dish…

Well, I’ve got more work to do to get my older 6m capable radio on the air with it’s new amplifier and to get my other HF radio setup with a winlink system. I’m already running the packet winlink on 145.01 (yes, you did hear that right) via Werner VE4UA’s VHF gateway.  Am interested to see an HF gateway running as well – hopefully it will work out.

One item I was surprised to see .. I do the odd contesting now and then and then this came in the mail:

2016 Sweeps!

I’m not a power-station, in fact, I have mediocre antennas – so I was tad surprised – where were the rest of you! 😉  Oh yeah – my contest call is VE4EV in case you were wondering….

All for now . until I get more time to write something else up.

73, Dan ve4drk

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