Saturday April 21, found over a half a dozen SFTARC members sitting in an 1881-vintage barn hamming it up on 20 and 40 meters. Proving that it takes more than a little rain to keep the SRTARC off the air in a portable setting, the SFTARC participated in the Jr. Ranger Day program at the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve located near Strong City, KS, just over a 100 miles SW of Olathe.
In addition to seasoned hams, a couple of relatively new hams, Denise, KE0QKU, and Marty, KE0PEZ, worked 40m and 20m SSB respectively. The club’s trusty Cushcraft R5 vertical was used on 20m with an Alinco DX-70 transceiver while a Kenwood TS-830 operated into a 30/40m fan dipole. Propagation from 9 am to noon was nothing to brag about. In the end, the team made 58 contacts, but the fun of operating from this National Park Service historic site made the operation a success in the minds of the participants. Some technical difficulties made for unsuccessful 30m CW operation and with the marginal 20m propagation the team did not even try to work 17m.
A CPO and straight key, along with an old-time straight key and sounder, let the few youth that participated in the event try their hand at the Morse code. In addition to the ham radio activity, the kids also got to try their hand at mock steer roping and receive a Jr Ranger Certificate. NPS personnel appreciated our participation and one ranger even prepared some hot coffee and a hot chili meal for the team--perhaps to help compensate for the chilly temperature in the barn.
SFTAC members Del, K0DDS; Bob, KC0TZX; Jim AC0KN; Jeff, KA0CAZ; Larry, KD0RIU and Jim, K0NK, participated in the event along with Denise and Marty. This was the SFTARCs third year of participating in the Jr Ranger day and there is already talk of doing it again next year. Thanks to all that participated.