Members of the W9IMS Amateur Radio Club are revved up for the 103rd running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race. For the past 16 years this official Amateur Radio Club of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway has made contacts globally during the time leading up to each race. The special event station goes on the air May 20th and will take check-ins until after the race on May 28th. The operators can be worked on 20 and 40 meters SSB and on FT8. This is the second special event station this year for W9IMS. They were most recently on the air during the Indy Grand Prix, which was held May 11.
QSL information is available at QRZ.com.
Look! Up in the sky! It's a bird, it's a plane - wait, it's a ham radio operator! Andy Morrison tells us about some high-flying hams beneath those parachutes.
ANDY: We all know there are stars in the sky - but what about AllStar in the sky? The radio link network is expected to add a whole new dimension to Mission 35 of the Parachute Mobile hams at their next skydiving-with-a-radio adventure in California. The hams are jumping off into the high altitudes above earth on Saturday May 25th, parachutes and radios at the ready. According to Rob KC6TYD, the team's AllStar node, built by Fred W6BSD, will be making its debut as another means of making contact. It will be available as will EchoLink. The hams taking that leap of faith out of the airplane are also looking to make 2 meter QSOs on 146.430 simplex and 20 meter QSOs on 14.250 MHz, all beneath the canopy of their parachutes - and of course, the sky.
W2JLD will have the W6BSD - L Allstar node #42222(parachute allstar) and the allstar node #40490 also W6BSD - R Echolink Node #891334
Parachute Mobile for AllStar users
Parachute mobile is all about the fun of jumping out of a perfectly working airplane and sharing our thrill with our ham friends. Parachute Mobile is also about tinkering with electronics and experimenting. Over the years we went from simplex VHF contacts to HF, APRS, video, and digital communication. Our latest addition to the mix is AllStar. We have built an AllStar infrastructure to allow people around the world to make QSOs with our skydivers.
Here is what our AllStar infrastructure looks like:
If you want to have a QSO with a skydiver using AllStar, simply connect to node 40490. During the parachute mission, we run a net on the parachute mission frequency. After you connect to the AllStar node, introduce yourself to Net Control. Net Control will keep you informed of the status of the mission. He will entertain you with stories of previous missions. He will provide updates about the weather, wind and jump conditions at the jump site, and more importantly will give you an estimate for the next jump time.
When the skydiver is at the airplane door, ready to jump, listen carefully to Net Control. Before you can make a QSO, Net Control will talk to the jumper for a couple of security checks and as soon as the jumper is ready to make contacts he will give you the go ahead.
To make a QSO with the skydiver, wait for him to be ready. When you hear QRZ, just throw out your call sign. Please speak clearly: at 10,000 feet (3,000 meters) in the air, with the wind noise, it can be hard to understand you. The jump time is short and there is no time for a ragchew during these QSOs. Once your call is in the log the skydiver will say QRZ and take the next call.
Everyone with access to an AllStar node is welcome to connect to our node (40490). You can be on a local repeater or a micro-node, it is fine with us as long as you follow a few rules:
Good luck to everyone. We are doing this for fun and want to share the fun with you.
Ham radio operators Mark Meltzer, AF6IM, and Michael Gregg, KF6WRW, were chatting on a repeater in 2008 and learned that they shared skydiving as a second hobby. They talked further about combining the two hobbies and the Parachute Mobile Project was born.
We operate amateur (ham) radio gear while skydiving. Radio jumps are usually HAHO types (high altitude high opening) to give maximum hang time for radio communications. The jumpers are supported by a team of experienced hams, one team at the drop zone and the other at mission control which is usually sited on a mountain peak overlooking the drop zone. Our jumps, or missions, as we refer to them, are great opportunities to make a contact and receive a special QSL card.
The jumpers carry a variety of gear depending on the mission profile: FM and SSB transceivers, 20 meter PSK beacon, APRS transceivers with GPS and physiological telemetry, data and voice recorders, batteries, DF locator beacons, and trailing wire antennas with cutaway releases. APRS I-Gates and other specialized airborne and ground equipment are also deployed.
Higher jumps are planned, up to as high as 24,000 feet (with oxygen) subject to FAA clearance. AF6IM made two freefall jumps from 24,000 feet, but sustained parachute flight starting from those altitudes raises all sorts of life support and safety issues that must be fully addressed before we take this next step. Our team made HAHO radio jumps from 18,000 feet for Radiofest 2010 in Seaside, California, without oxygen gear, but that is as high as we can go without masks and tanks. HF SSB comms, PSK 31 comms, and additional telemetry data are all on the menu for future missions.
We welcome new members. There are no dues and no stuffy formalities, but you are expected to work diligently on mission preparation and execution and show up on time and prepared. We are an inclusive not exclusive group. Our experienced team members can train you to help at the drop zone or at mission control. If you are a proficient and safe ham skydiver, talk to us about joining our jump team.
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