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Welcome to the application and assignments page
for amateur radio operators participating in the
Marine Corps Marathon 2023.


Apply for any unassigned entry labeled: Volunteer - Role TBA

In the minutes/hours that follow, leadership will approve your application and then (at some time right up until race day) assign you a specific assignment and/or sublocation (example: a specific mile marker or other duty).

Important note: In the weeks leading up to the Marine Corps Marathon, leadership may need to reassign some operators, sometimes more than once. If we do, you will be notified. Note that at any time, volunteers can refer back to this page and to their assignment to check for any new details.

Some volunteers may have more than one assignment. They will be advised when this is the case.


Click here to get back to the MCM Ham Volunteers Club ➡️
  • 0 replies

Solar panel question
Hi fellas,

Anyone know stuff about solar panels?  I know enough about them to know I don't know much about them.   I have one I bought at a flea market.  I googled it to make sure I was getting a killer deal and it's sold as a 20 amp, 12 V polycrystalline panel.
Now when I got it home and put my meter on it, at night in the garage with two lightbulbs on the ceiling it measured 11 volts which is pretty darned good for just a couple of 60 watt bulbs 20 feet away.  When I checked in in the full sunlight today the meter read 21 volts.

I went online hunting a charge controller for it, and I see similar panels that are 20 amp/24 volts.  I just want to make sure it't actually a 12 volt panel so I don't ruin a battery or fry a 20 amp/12 v charge controller.   I don't understand all the tech stuff but the sticker on it says,

LSC: 1.30A
VOC: 21.7 V
IMPP: 1.20A
VMPP: 17.3V

I don't know what any of those acronyms mean, but I see 20 amp charge controllers range in price from fifty bucks to a hundred and fifty bucks.  Am I right in thinking this is a "regular" solar panel similar to my little 8 watt panel that I can connect to a 20 amp charge controller like this one here https://www.renogy.com/new-edition-voyager-20a-pwm-waterproof-solar-charge-controller/ and charge a regular old 12VDC flooded deep cycle battery?  I'd rather ask VS buying a $100 charge controller just to connect it up and "poof" it in a cloud of white smoke.
  • 8 replies

A Ham in Her Own Right
In the US, for every 20 hams only 3 are YL's.  Why do you suppose that is?

    • Agree | Support
  • 13 replies

Lightning risk
When lightning strikes a home antenna, several things can happen.

Damage to the antenna: The immediate and most obvious effect is that the intense energy from the lightning can physically damage or destroy the antenna.

Damage to connected devices: Lightning strikes can generate a significant electrical surge. If the antenna is connected to electronic devices in the house, such as a television or radio, the surge can travel through the wiring and damage or destroy these devices. It can also potentially damage other connected devices or appliances if it gets into the home's electrical system.

Fire hazard: The intense heat generated by a lightning strike can ignite nearby flammable materials and potentially start a fire.

Electromagnetic pulse: The lightning strike can produce a brief but intense electromagnetic pulse (EMP), which can damage sensitive electronics.

Potential injury to people: If someone is near the antenna or using a device connected to it at the time of the strike, they could be injured by the electrical surge or by flying debris if the antenna is destroyed.

For these reasons, it's essential to have proper grounding and lightning protection measures in place for antennas and other structures that are likely to attract lightning.

As for unplugging gear…

Yes, lightning can indeed damage a radio or appliance even if it is turned off. The extremely high voltage of a lightning strike can create a surge of electricity that travels through electrical wiring. Even if a device is switched off, the surge can still reach it through the power lines and cause damage. 

This is why it's often recommended to unplug electronics and appliances during a severe lightning storm. Being switched off doesn't disconnect them from the power line, but unplugging them does. For extra protection, people can also use surge protectors which are designed to absorb the excess voltage and prevent it from reaching connected devices.

How well protected are you?
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Sources of solar weather prediction
As many hams are, I am keenly aware of the impact, both good and bad, the sun imparts on our ability to propagate signals. In thinking about this, I thought I would look around and see what was out there in terms of sources. By sources I don't so much mean those who simply interpret the data but more importantly those that truly observe the sun and give us evidence-based data.

Here is a list, I'm sure you can add, if so, please do. Later, we should also add these to our Weblinks directory (in the propagation section): https://hamcommunity.com/links/category/3-propagation-solar-weather/

Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC): The SWPC, run by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), provides real-time monitoring and forecasting of solar and geophysical events. https://www.swpc.noaa.gov/

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA): NASA's various missions like the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) and the Advanced Composition Explorer (ACE) provide continuous monitoring of the sun and space weather conditions. https://www.nasa.gov/

Space Weather Canada: Provided by the Canadian Space Weather Forecast Centre, this site gives updates on space weather conditions and their impact, including effects on communication systems. https://www.spaceweather.gc.ca/index-en.php

Institute of Space and Astronautical Science, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (ISAS/JAXA): JAXA provides real-time data on solar weather through their various space missions. https://www.isas.jaxa.jp/en/

European Space Agency (ESA): The ESA's Space Weather portal aggregates data from several space weather observatories across Europe. https://www.esa.int/

Stanford University's Solar Center: Stanford's Solar Center offers educational resources on solar weather, and its VLF group studies the impact of solar weather on Very Low Frequency radio waves. https://solar-center.stanford.edu/

Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BOM): The Space Weather Services (SWS) division provides reports and alerts on solar weather and its effects. https://www.bom.gov.au/space/

Royal Observatory of Belgium's Solar-Terrestrial Centre of Excellence (STCE): The STCE provides regular reports and forecasts on solar weather and its impact on Earth. https://www.stce.be/

NASA's Integrated Space Weather Analysis System (iSWA): This is a flexible web-based system for NASA-relevant space weather information that allows the user to customize the layout of a wide array of data feeds ranging from the Sun to the Earth. https://iswa.gsfc.nasa.gov/
  • 0 replies

What are the compliments or complaints for or against the ARRL?
I'm not trying to start a controversy but rather I'd like to see what the predominant feelings are regarding the ARRL in the hope that there can be an ongoing dialogue.

Before asking AI4HAM and posting here, I'll bring your attention to some of the comments posted on Ham Census. Even without being registered, you can see some of them here: https://hamcensus.org/results-highlights-page/#samplecomments (to see all the comments you need to take the full census here: https://hamcensus.org)

So let's as AI4HAM: What are the main complaints amateur radio operators have against the ARRL?
  • 10 replies

VarAC is a FREE, modern HF P2P real-time chatting application for the amateur radio operator that leverages the glorious VARA protocol.

Calling Frequencies
Chat rooms & Nets
(USB dial)

Primary calling frequencies:
20m - 14.105 MHz 
15m - 21.105 MHz
10m - 28.105 MHz
40m - 7.105 MHz
80m - 3.595 MHz

Weekly Broadcast-mode chat room (Net)

Sunday, 20M Slot-15 (14.108.750 Mhz)
14:00-16:00 UTC

Additional calling frequencies:
160m - 1.995 MHz
60m - 5.355 MHz (non-US)
30m - 10.133 MHz
17m - 18.107 MHz
12m - 24.927 MHz
6m - 50.330 MHz

Amateur radio frequencies are a shared resource.

They're not "ours" nor "theirs".

Please be respectful and monitor the frequency before transmitting
  • 0 replies

Radio stand
I've been working on my radio stand the last few days.   The problem was I do a lot of nets at night and the buttons on my radio aren't backlit so I have to keep a little penlight on my desk.  When I need to make an adjustment I have to use the penlight.   Plus I have a small desk.  The radio will go underneath and the shelf on top will be for storage space, such as for my headphones.

I made it out of oak.  I put louvers on the side for ventilation, not that I think I need it, the radio never gets very hot.  But it doesn't look so plain-jane with the louvers.  I think with 3 or 4 coats of gloss polyurethane it'll look nice.   The channels I routed in the underside are for LED's.  I plan to make a little shade out of brass with LED's to gently illuminate my radio face and they'll go in the channel across the front (white arrow) .  The long channel (yellow arrow) is for the wires for the LED's.  I'll run the wires in the channel then fill it with clear epoxy to make the wiring permanent.

I plan to put some brass finials and brass rail around the top to match the time zone clock/lamp I made awhile back.  















    • Agree | Support
  • 6 replies

Marine Corps Marathon Hams - official site
Ham Community, a comprehensive platform built for and by amateur radio (ham) enthusiasts, takes great pride in announcing its role as the new hub for amateur radio operators volunteering with the Marine Corps Marathon. As the official website for amateur radio operators serving this prestigious event, Ham Community will be the hub for communication and coordination, fortifying the tradition of using amateur radio for public service and emergency communications.
  • 2 replies

FD 2023
ARRL / RAC Field Day 2023. If you have Field Day 2023 images feel free to upload them here.
  • 3 replies

Fast Track Ham Education
Michael Burnette, AF7KB, started playing with radios at age 8 when he found some plans in a comic book for a crystal radio made from little more than a rusty razor blade, a safety pin, and a coil wound around the cardboard tube from the inside of a roll of toilet paper. The silly thing worked, and he was hooked. As a commercial broadcaster for 25 years, he did a bit of everything from being a D to serving as a vice president and general manager with Westinghouse Broadcasting (now CBS/Infinity.) By 1989 he owned his own stations in Bend, Oregon, which afforded him abundant opportunities to repair those stations, often in the middle of the night in a snowstorm. In 1992, Burnette left the radio business behind, and took to traveling the world designing and delivering experiential learning seminars on leadership, management, communications, and building relationships. He has trained people across the US and in Indonesia, Hong Kong, China, Taiwan, Mexico, Finland, Greece, Austria, Spain, Italy, and Russia. In addition to his public and corporate trainings, he has been a National Ski Patroller, a Certified Professional Ski Instructor, a Certified In - Line Skating Instructor, a Certified NLP Master Practitioner, a big-rig driving instructor, and a Certified Firewalking Instructor.

Kerry Burnette, KC7YL, was the original inspiration for the first Fast Track license course, which started as a set of notes for her to use preparing for her Technician exam. A graduate of the University of Washington, Kerry spent a decade teaching high school math and science and holds a Masters of Education degree.
  • 0 replies

What are your thoughts on N1MM?
N1MM, as we all know, is well-regarded by many amateur radio operators for its extensive features, ease of use, and frequent updates. It is particularly popular among contesters and DXers. The software is free to use, which is another reason for its wide adoption.

Some of the positive aspects people appreciate about N1MM Logger include:

1. Extensive feature set: N1MM Logger supports a wide range of contest types and radio protocols. It provides an array of tools and functions for logging, tracking, and analyzing contacts.
2. Customization: The software is highly customizable, allowing users to tailor it to their needs and preferences.
3. Active development and support: The developers are active in the community, providing regular updates and addressing user feedback. The user community is also a valuable resource for support and advice.
4. Integration with other software: N1MM Logger can integrate with various other applications and services, such as CW skimmers, digital mode software, and online log submission platforms.

However, some operators may find the software challenging to set up and configure, especially if they are new to amateur radio or contest logging. Additionally, since it is a Windows-based application, users who prefer other operating systems might have to use emulation software or search for alternative logging applications.

Overall, N1MM Logger is widely considered a powerful and reliable logging application for amateur radio operators, though its ease of use and compatibility may vary depending on the user's experience and preferences.

Currently, my field day team uses it, though I have used others in the past.

What about you all, what are your thoughts on N1MM?
  • 6 replies

Starting out
I initially thought that GMRS was what I wanted so I obtained a GMRS license. I’M A VERITABLE NEWB here. The prospect of being able to communicate around the world however - is appealing. I have a couple of questions that maybe the group might be able to answer…

1. What is the HAM radio called on the FCC dropdown list and is the FCC who administers the Amateur test? 

2. I’m looking mainly to make sure I have a communications device in my home that allows me to communicate with my kids & family off of traditional devices (incase they’re ever not working). As well as to obtain reliable news from around the world that doesn’t make it to mainstream channels. Is HAM a good way not only to connect with a cool network around the world (and with your own family internally) - but also to stay tuned into events around the world?

3. Why/how did you get involved with HAM radio? What do you love about it?

4. Around how much is the cost for a beginner (but well functioning) system? What should I expect to invest on the front end?

Nice to meet everyone and thanks for sharing your thoughts!
  • 8 replies

Secrets to a great ragchew net?
I've always wondered what the secrets to a great ragchew net are. Net control gets on and calls for checkins... so what does it take to have a critical mass of operators and keep the net alive for years. Thoughts?
  • 13 replies

The first SSB TXC
Does anyone remember Swan Engineering? For years I had one of their promotional brochures. I had found it in my dad’s stuff after he passed. Like an IDIOT, I threw it away when we downsized; that’s one item I wish I would have kept.

Even more amazing would be if someone on Ham Community had actually seen one of those very early SSB transceivers. Incredibly, you can find one like the one in this photo for a couple of hundred dollars 🥸 Wow.
  • 3 replies

QSL Card Check @ WINTERFEST 2023
QSL Card Checking, and information about the 4 Area incoming QSL Bureau are available at WINTERFEST 2023 at Oakton HS on Sunday, March 19th.
For DXCC or WAS Card Checking follow the instructions found at: https://p1k.arrl.org/onlinedxcc/ or use the paper form found at: http://www.arrl.org/files/file/DXCC/Application%20forms/DXCC_Application_Form_Nov_2022.pdf
If you plan to bring QSL cards to check, fill out the record sheet found at: http://www.arrl.org/files/file/DXCC/DXCC%20Record%20Sheet%202013a.pdf  prior to arriving at the Hamfest.
The outdoor tailgating area opens at 7:00 am and the indoor market fair opens at 8:00 am.  The Hamfest closes at 2:00 pm.
Purchase your admission/raffle tickets here: https://ticketstripe.com/VWS-WinterFest-2023  You do not need to be present to win the raffle. More info at https://viennawireless.net/wp/events/winterfest/ 
  • 0 replies

Seeking speaker for: Digital modes, antennas, contesting how to, baluns, ununs, kit building
Third tuesday of the month
  • 0 replies

Manassas Tailgate
Welcome to the Manassas Tailgate.  June 3rd Rain date of June 10th.  The Virginia QSO awards ceremony and certificates will be held here. 

Website: https://w4ovh.net/welcome-to-manassas-hamfest/
Email for information: wa2swxdm@gmail.com
Club: Ole Virginia Hams
On site testing?: No
Conferences / Workshops?: Yes
Flea market: Yes
Indoor / Outdoor: Outdoor
Cost: $5 person - or $20 to sell ( includes one admissin)
Ham Community attending?: We will not be attending
  • 0 replies

New "ROVER" Category for 2023 Virginia QSO Party Explained
The 2023 Virginia QSO Party Non-Fixed Station Categories–EXPLAINED
Introducing the “Rover” Category (Experimental for 2023)

The 2023 Virginia QSO Party on the weekend of 18-19 March 2023 is fast approaching. To ensure all our non-fixed station operators have equal contest opportunities, the Virginia QSO Party (VAQP) has added a “Rover” category for 2023. The VAQP committee wishes to recognize amateurs whose use of retractable antenna masts, non-mobile support structures, commercial power, or an external operating position would preclude traditional mobile classification. Descriptions of each category and a handy chart follow below.

Whichever of the three non-fixed station categories you choose, stations should identify their callsign with /M (not Rover or Expedition) and operators contacting you must log you as /M to earn three points. For complete VAQP contest rules, go to ‪http://bit.ly/3Y14yXX

Mobile – A station operating from a vehicle which is capable of operating while in motion and operates stationary in the same configuration. The mobile can travel and move at any time without having to disconnect any wiring or change any antennas. A mobile station is self-contained and is capable of legal motion while operating. Commercial power may not be used. Contacts may be made while moving or stopped.

Rover (experimental for 2023) – A vehicle that is not a mobile or expedition station. The rover may make contacts while stationary and/or while moving. The rover may change equipment and deploy antenna configurations. The rover may operate from a vehicle and/or off a vehicle. The rover may or may not use commercial power.
  • 1 reply

Cape May Concrete Ship SS Atlantus POTA Activation K2AA AA2SD
Thanks to all that contacted me today from Cape May Point in front of the concrete ship. It was a very cold and windy day, but I was able to activate all 4 bands 10, 15 ,20 and 40 Mtrs.  You can still see the remnants of the concrete ship, I took these photos this morning with a zoom lens from the beach, check out the You Tube of today. I used a vertical antenna with 4 radials on the ground and activated on 10-15-20 and 40 Mtrs...a fun day with Parks on the Air.

Thanks to all with the help on the spotting pages, we successfully activated this park today!

    • Like | Congratulations
  • 2 replies

His name was Jack Phillips and he sent the most famous radio message in history. Well, if not the most famous, it was at least among the most infamous. At the tender age of 25, he was the senior radio operator and had already amassed years of experience.

The night his message became famous (April 15, 1912), Jack operated a 600 meter rig running 5 kW, although only about 500 W actually made it to the Twin T antenna array. His spark gap transmitter wasn’t all that efficient, you see.

He operated using the call MGY, the callsign designation for the ship he served on. As an employee of the Marconi International Marine Communication Company, Jack Phillips was well versed in the Marconi radio procedures – including the usage of CQD (meaning – All Stations Distress). So when his ship, the Titanic, collided with an ice berg and began taking on water, Jack signaled to anyone who had a receiver CQD de MGY.

Following the collision, Harold Bride (the junior wireless operator) reported to the radio room. As the ship was sinking, Harold suggested Jack use the newer internationally recognized distress call, <SOS>. Half joking, Harold added, “This may be your last chance to use it.”

Although the Titanic was not the first ship to use the prosign SOS, it was the first (and last) to use both distress signals. Unlike Jack Phillips, Harold Bride was one of the survivors of the disaster.

This is a link to a facsimile of what the CQD/SOS call from the Titanic probably sounded like:


By the way, as an historical side note, the ham radio operators on the eastern US seaboard spontaneously stayed off the air the night the Titanic sunk. They, instead, copied the rescue traffic as it happened in the North Atlantic. The next morning, thanks to the hams copying the names of the survivors as they were transmitted throughout the night, the newspapers were able to publish a survivors list.
  • 1 reply

Ham Community and our various sister projects will be attending and exhibiting at Hamvention 2023.
Find us in Booth 1809 in Building 1.
Drop by to say hello, join us, and pick up this year's giveaway... it's our nicest one so far.
Website: https://hamvention.org
Email for information: tickets@hamvention.org
Contact or support URL: https://hamvention.org/contact-us/
Indoor / Outdoor: Both... indoor exhibitors and outdoor flea market
Rain or shine?: Rain or shine
Cost: $26 in advance, $30 at the door
Ham Community attending?: We will be exhibiting,We will exhibit indoors
  • 1 reply

Amateur Radio License Exams
The Sterling Park Amateur Radio Club (SPARC) will conduct an Amateur Radio license Examination Session for Technician, General and Extra Class.

Exam session begins at 2:00 pm at the Eastern Loudoun Sheriff’s Station located at 46620 East Frederick Dr., Sterling, VA 20164.

The exams are by appointment only (no walk-ins). Prior registration required, contact Gordon, NQ4K, at gormil@aol.com.

Fee for exam and FCC license application.

Website: http://arrl.org/exam_sessions/sterling-va-20164-31
Email for information: gormil@aol.com
Contact or support URL: http://arrl.org/exam_sessions/sterling-va-20164-31
Indoor / Outdoor: Indoor
Cost: Fee of exam and license application
Regularity: One-off
  • 0 replies

Good and bad experiences...
I'd love to hear some of your good and bad experiences with public service events. I'll start it off with a mini mini beef of mine and that's toilets. It may seem silly, but on one of my first marathons, as an operator, they put me at a mile marker that has zero facilities. Not fun. Plus it was a downtown so no nice tree to hide behind. I also wish that there were more hams involved in these types of events. It's often a problem to have a critical mass of operators making the operation somewhat inefficient. Last thought is parking. Often there is no parking at public service events, especially on races, so you may end up walking a few miles...
  • 5 replies

Easy to hang dipoles!
Well, I finally "upgraded" from the strings with lead weights on the end, tater guns, rods and reels with a lead weight on the end, slingshots, and bows and arrows.

I could only get my 40 meter dipole up 26 feet in the pine tree because thats as far as I could sling the string with the fishing weight on it.  Took me about 15 tries and I almost put my eye out.  Got tangled up twice, broke the string trying to get it loose, and the weights are still up there hanging in the tree.  But them limbs up there 60 or 70 feet up sure are appealing.  I just didn't have a way to get my rope that high.   I bet my dipole would perform a lot better at 70 feet than 26.

SO... I got my drone license so all I have to do is tie a string to the hook on the belly, and fly it over the branch I want the dipole leg to secure to then land the drone.  Once the smaller string is over the limb I can tie the larger rope on the end of the dipole leg to it and pull it over the limb.   Why is it that everyone in the club all of a sudden has a dipole they need hung???????


    • Agree | Support
  • 13 replies

Ham Mega Pad (XXXL)

Ham Word Cloud Pad (XL)

Ham Codes, Signs, Words (Medium)

Ham Band Edges mousepad (Small)

Ham Alliance

Ham Alliance - Billboard - 970*250px

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