WB3DZO Wind Issues

After more than four years of uninterrupted service, Friday's wind storm pushed a few of our link antennas out of alignment. We apologise for the inconveniences and will work to get everything restored this week.

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SK Sharon Dobson K3DUH

Sharon Kay Dobson, 54, of Reisterstown, Maryland, passed away on Sunday, January 14, 2018 in her home. She was born on March 13, 1963, and was the daughter of the late Preston Donald Winemiller and Mary Patricia (Long) Winemiller. She was preceded in death by one brother, Preston Donald Winemiller, Jr. She is survived by her husband William A. Dobson, III and daughter, Patricia A. Dobson.

Sharon, K3DUH, was an active in the Amateur Radio community and President of the Baltimore Amateur Radio club. She published three novels—Murder at Swan Cove, Middle Plantation and Witness to War with a fourth book, Finding Emily that is scheduled for release in 2018.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. on Thursday, January 18, 2018 at Beth Israel Congregation, 3706 Crondall Lane, Owings Mills, Maryland 21117. In Lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Beth Israel Congregation and St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital.

The Baltimore Amateur Radio Club


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BRATS Bring Yaesu Fusion to MS Challenge Walk

The BRATS brought out the big guns, bringing our new portable DR-2X repeater to the 2018 MS Challenge Walk in Cambridge, MD. Despite setting up on the wrong side of the hotel, the repeater worked great, providing perfect coverage even for HTs inside of a car throughout the event. With a mix of analog and Yaesu Fusion HTs and mobiles, we operated in full auto mode throughout the weekend.

MS Walk 2018 A

Yaesu DR2X

As always, the BRATS drove a lot to help keep the participants safe!

MS Walk 2018 driving

Despite the rain on Sunday, the walkers, volunteers, and staff weren't going to keep us from having a great time getting a few more laps in!

MS Walk 2018 Sunday inside

A special thank you to Bob WA3SWA and Jim KB3SKN as always for being our first SAGs on the course, N3GXH and K0RYX for bringing the repeater and equipment to make sure we could run without issues, KW0TTR for riding as a bike ham to give us maneuverability and direct reports, and Brad K5KNK for his support throughout the event, especially with pulling route markers long after the rest of us were off the course!

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BRATS Host 5th Annual Ernie L Walker Memorial JOTA!

On Saturday, October 21, the BRATS hosted the 5th annual Ernie L. Walker Memorial Jamboree on the Air in conjunction with Scouts and Leaders from the Boy Scouts of America. The BRATS hosted 111 Scouts and over 100 family members throughout the day, logging 34 contacts, including QSOs with Germany, Italy, Sweden, Austria, France, Bermuda, Canada, Mexico, and even Oman!

We also had a satellite/ISS Demo from Andy N3AWP. Conditions didn't allow us to make contact, but Andy put on a great presentation and the Scouts and adults in attendance came away with a greater understanding of AmSat operations. Thanks Andy!

The new Low Band Systems quadplexer and bandpass filters worked great, enabling simultaneous 20 and 40m operation from two radios. We had far fewer issues with interference than when we were running on separate antennas, and signal quality was much improved on 40.

Ted WA3AER works with Scouts to make contact

Ted WA3AER works with Scouts to make contact

The BRATS wish to thank our hosts, the crew of the NS Savannah including the ship administrator Erhard Koehler, the QA representative, and Eric, for their assistance throughout the day, and Cliff Marks KB3VQU for again climbing the mast to get our antenna hoisted.

We're also deeply indebted to Chris Gutberlet and Mark Huete for the organization and time involved in filling out all the requisition forms necessary to host an event aboard a floating nuclear power plant, and Leah Huete KC3DFM for all the wonderful photographs taken throughout.

And of course a special thank you to the BRATS members that help make this event a success, from providing the heavy-lifting necessary to setup 11 Jamboree on the Internet stations, 2 HF radios, multiple VHF setups, a long wire antenna, and the support to keep 120 Scouts organized. Thanks to WA3AER and KA3ZMN for their support keeping the radios running, K2GZL, K2AGR, K5KNK, K5DKN, KW0TTR for their help throughout the event, and especially K0RYX and N3GXH for their technical expertise and efforts in organizing and helping this event come together.

Kevin KB3PLX Helping Scouts get on the air

Kevin KB3PLX Helping Scouts get on the air

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Baltimore time lapse

Updating daily overnight

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BRATS Help Keep MS150 Safe and Smooth!

The BRATS stepped up this year in the face of declining volunteerism overall, helping deliver over 400 pounds of ice and 20 gallons of water to rest stops, manning rest stops when necessary, assisting with 8 tire changes, and SAGging 12 cyclists. The BRATS team drove over 2,500 miles, and had a blast doing it.

We also invested heavily in APRS trackers, and changed settings to guarantee more frequent position updates. We were able to track one bike mobile, the supply trucks, and three additional non-ham SAG vehicles, in addition to all of our vehicles, providing a much more complete route picture.

In response to complaints from the local club (seriously, what amateur radio club asks how much you're being paid to volunteer?) the BRATS brought along our own repeater. With some unanticipated filter issues we ended up running simplex, but 100w simplex through a 17' 9 dB antenna provided great coverage for the entire event. As bad as the Yaesu Fusion DR1X repeaters are, they do include good filtering, and we'll be making some upgrades to our portable repeater equipment in the offseason.

The BRATS trailer tower and antenna setup for the MS150 Chesapeake Challenge

The BRATS trailer tower and antenna setup for the MS150 Chesapeake Challenge

A very special thanks to K0RYX, N3GXH, and K2GZL for all their help in cleaning up our tower trailer and prepping it for the journey, and for helping put together our equipment package. And thank you to our awesome team that shows up year after year assisting this and our other events, including Bob WA3SWA, Jim KB3SKN, Floyd K5KNK, Cameron KW0TTR, and Brent K2AGR.

No thank you would be complete without recognizing Jason KC3FET for all of his time and efforts spent with the Society before and during the event to make sure it was a success.

Thank you all and we'll see you in the fall for the MS Challenge Walk!

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BRATS Tower Trailer Restored!

A few BRATS volunteers took it upon themselves to restore our 50+ year old 50' tower trailer to it's original condition! See the incredible before and after photos below!

The BRATS acquired the tower trailer sometime in the 1980's from Baltimore City Civil Defense. The tower trailer has been used by the BRATS for over 30 years to provide support during public service events and Amateur Radio Field Day.

Over the past few years, the BRATS have identified a growing number of concerns with utilizing repeaters operated by other clubs during public service events outside of the Baltimore area. This prompted the need for the BRATS to build a 175W portable repeater which will utilize the tower trailer to provide paramount coverage and reliability during public service events.


IMG_20170602_191100 IMG_20170602_191032





Special thanks to Shane K2GZL, Oryx K0RYX, and Lizard N3GXH for the hard work and dedication it took to restore the tower trailer! Here's to another 50 years!

If you're interested in volunteering with the BRATS, please let us know by visiting our Public Service page!

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It is with great sadness that we pass along the silent key notice for long-time BRATS member Charlie Schnepf WB3LKB. Charlie retired from WMPT, and was a go-to guy for many years for his expertise in audio, video, and ATV. Charlie also created the Clipper database used to track BRATS membership for many years.

Viewing will be Sunday at the Schimunek Funeral Home at 9705 Belair Rd, Nottingham, MD from 3PM to 5 PM and 7PM to 9PM.

The funeral is at Epiphany Lutheran Church, 4301 Raspe Ave. Baltimore, Md 21206 on Monday June 12th at 11AM.



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WB3DZO Portable Repeater test success!

N3GXH, K0RYX, and KB3PLX traveled to Easton, MD on a rainy Saturday for a quick proof of concept/trial run of the portable repeater for the upcoming MS150. Using a smaller 30' pole tower, the group was able to show only marginal gaps in coverage over most of the course.


Oryx K0RYX checks the wattmeter as we fire up the amplifier

Portable site for repeater test

Portable site for repeater test

Using the 30' tower, coverage matched very close to the software predictions. When we upgrade to the 50' trailer tower, we expect no issues for the event. For Saturday, the course covers Black Walnut Point, on the southern tip of Tilghman Island, to Cordova Park, and 100 miles of road in between.

Repeater coverage

To volunteer, please click here or on the Public Service tab above!

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It is with the heaviest of hearts that we report on the passing of one of BRATS' founders, Heru W3WVV.

Visiting hours at Singleton's Funeral Home, Glen Burnie, Tuesday, Oct 25, 3-5 and 7-9 PM. Memorial service Wednesday at 1:00 PM.

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