OVARC HF Special Interest Group (SIG)

fairbank operating

OVARC has formed a Special Interest Group (SIG) named Radiosport and Field Activities (RAFA).  The mission of this SIG is to promote outdoor ham radio events, ham radio contests, and operate whenever possible on an "off-the-grid" mode. The SIG Chairman is Tom Kravec W8TK. The SIG plans to organize up to 12 events per year.

These events will mainly consist of "mini-field-day"events and ham radio contest participation. The field events will take place at selected locations in/or near Tucson.  The SIG is open to any OVARC member, regardless of your license class or experience in field activities. If you have an interest, just show up.

These events will be geared to offer enjoyment of the outdoors with club members that are enthusiastic about HF radio. No one will be required to operate, you can just come out to watch and learn.  The aim is to allow participants to gain knowledge and expertise in learning about HF operating, learn about logging tools and methods, and gain experience with "off-the-grid" ham radio ops. These events will be open to all OVARC members regardless of license class as General and Extra class licensees will be available as control operators. Operators will use CW, SSB and Digital modes on HF bands. Lastly, the SIG will offer a forum to ask anything about ham radio and learn from experienced ham radio operators in the group.

Please contact Tom Kravec This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Fred Bresani This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you wish to be placed on the SIG's regular roster, feel free to ask any questions.

2018 Radiosport and Field Activities Calendar of Events

This is a tentative schedule for Radiosport and Field Events Special Interest Group.  All activities and dates should be considered tentative until an article is published on the website or newsletter or announced at a membership meeting.  

January 6 Tom Mix birthday celebration from Tom Mix Memorial on Rt 79.
February 3 Commemoration of Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848 which ended Mexican-American War.  Operation from Titan Missile Museum.
March 10 Commemoration of Battle of Picacho Pass in 1862, westernmost battle of the American Civil War.  Operation at Ironwood group area, Picacho State Park.
April 21 170th anniversary of the Gadsden Purchase which made much of the American southwest officially part of the USA.  Operation from Colossal Cave.
May 5-6 7th Call Area QSO Party at W8TK.
June 23-24 Field Day at W8TK property.
July 4 Mt. Lemmon Independence Day celebration.  Ross and Hanna are hosts.
August 18 243rd anniversary of first Presidio Real de San Agustín del Tucson, precursor of the city of Tucson, Arizona.  Operation from downtown.
September 15 132nd anniversary of the final surrender of Geronimo at Skeleton Canyon, Arizona.  Operation from Chiricahua National Monument.
October 27 Shootout at OK Corral, Tombstone.
November 18 40th anniversary of founding of Oracle State Park.
December 8 Pearl Harbor remembrance from USS Arizona memorial on UA campus.

July 4th, 2018 Mt. Lemmon Parade Certificate of Appreciation

Mt. Lemmon 4th of July, 2018 Parade

Certifcate of Appreciation from the Mt. Lemmon Women's Club

Antenna testing event

Antenna testing at WT8K

Sunday April 8, starting at 8 AM

Sunday April 8 the second OVARC antenna testing event will take place at W8TK, with setup starting at 8 AM.  See directions and photo below.

The testing will be similar to that done at Picacho Peak but with enhancements.  There will be more space for antennas.  The event is antenna testing only, eliminating conflict with nearby transmitters or shared time. There will be equipment for testing both HF and VHF/UHF antennas.

As before, antennas can be tested or directly compared one to another for received signal amplitude, noise floor, SNR, and 'copyability' using an SDR.  This works best if there are two or more antennas for each band tested.  Although there are limitations due to QSB, differing directionality among antennas, etc., this is an opportunity to see how various antennas might perform in a real-world field setup.

Bring HF, VHF, and UHF antennas, or just show up to cheer the antenna raisers along.  Extra hands to raise masts and tie off guys will be warmly welcomed.  There will be plenty of time to look around, ask questions, and 'talk antennas.'

Setup:  Bring your antenna(s), supports if you have them, and coax if you can.  There will be several supports and coax available but more is better.  To help planning, please give some idea of the antenna type(s) you will bring and how they will be hung / mounted.

If you are likely to bring an antenna, please send a note to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. so we have some idea of the number of antennas to expect.  A note is NOT required.  Last minute antennas will be welcomed.

Directions to W8TK

From Thornydale, take Lambert west 0.8 mile until it appears to end.  Turn right (north) and in about 0.4 mile you will encounter a short wall with mailboxes on your left (see photo).  You will also see my 80 ft tower.  Take the dirt road next to the mailboxes west to the first driveway on your right.  We will be setting up on the east side of the casita.  Be prepared to deal with cactus! 

Note that this will be the location for Field Day 2018.


Wings of Freedom Tour

Wings of Freedom Tour at Marana Regional Airport

Saturday, April 7, 0900-1500 MST

On Saturday, April 7, 0900-1500 MST, OVARC will stage an operating event at the Wings of Freedom Tour at Marana Regional Airport.  The Tour includes some WW2 vintage aircraft which will be open for tours and all of the planes will be flying, so you may sign up for a flight if you wish.  In addition, there will be lots of antique military gear on display, including everything from vehicles to typewriters.  OVARC was at the Tour last year and we had a good time.  Details on which aircraft will be included this year as well as info for those wishing to fly are at:


The Tour admission fee is $15 per person but you can get admissions for 2 persons for  $15 with a Groupon coupon which is available now:


The Tour has an entrance and parking area separate from the main airport entrance.  Look for a tall flagpole on Avra Valley Road west of I-10 and east of Sandario Road.  We will use our usual HF radio setup and antenna, and anyone who wishes to operate will have an opportunity.  In addition, lots of Elmers will be available to assist operators and answer questions on anything ham radio related.  Operation will utilize SSB, CW, PSK, and FT8.  The operation is listed in QST's Special Events Stations in the April issue, so we hope for lots of contacts and we will issue certificates for QSLs.  Bring a chair and your lunch.