Category Archives: GCARS Special Events

Civil Air Patrol & GCARS/GAARC/GC ARES/RACES Team Up!

On August 1, 2017, GCARS, GAARC & GC ARES teamed up with the Gastonia Composite Squadron of the Civil Air Patrol.  At the request of the squadron leadership, we presented a nearly 2 hour program introducing the group (and in the main, the cadets) to amateur radio and its many facets: radio history & theory, transmission modes, radio applications and new technology. We demonstrated HF, VHF, and UHF radios, using analog and digital voice and data modes.

Annlette, KV4WB, GCARS President (and GAARC and GCARES member) smiles as she helps the CAP cadets learn about amateur radio


Bill Stevenson, AJ4JZ, GCARS VP and GC ARES Emergency Coordinator (and GAARC member) presents amateur radio to the Gastonia CAP squadron

The cadets of the squadron were very responsive, asking many bright questions and displaying fine manners and discipline. A couple of the adult members of the squadron are hams and they enjoyed the update on many of the new technologies in amateur radio today.

It was a great night- we greatly appreciate the opportunity to visit with the Gastonia CAP. We have been invited back to the Gastonia CAP on November 28, 2017, to give a presentation on “Satellite Communications”.  Cheerfully, we look forward to working again with this great group, a group that shares our passion for public service and technology!

Check out the Gastonia CAP Composite Squadron’s FaceBook page. 



2017 Winter Field Day Results Finally!



Hey GCARS Family and Friends,

Just found out (just was posted on their site recently) that GCARS did very well in the 2017 Winter Field Day Contest.

GCARS placed 10th overall in the Outdoor category and 5th in the “2 Oscar” category, with a score of 9044! This is a great result for our first WFD and very casual contesting style! 

Great job to all those who participated in Winter Field Day 2017!

(If you were wondering about ARRL (Summer Field Day 2017), the log deadline is 7-25-17, and we should have the results in about a month and a half afterwards).

7-22-17: 70 cm Fox hunt! (Hidden transmitter location contest)

No, we are not really chasing foxes! We are going to try to find a hidden transmitter on the 70 cm band. NC0G, George, will be our venerable “fox” and try to out smart the participants as he hides the transmitter somewhere in Gaston County. It’s hide-and-seek on steroids! Much fun, but also with a practical use: it sharpens our radio-direction finding skills to assist with public services, such as locating lost seniors, illegal transmitters causing harmful interference, or even downed aviators.

NC0G, a.k.a., “the Fox”

The “fox hunt” will begin at 10 a.m., July 22, 2017. There will be a preliminary breakfast for the teams to meet and greet at the restaurant known as “Grits and Greens” in Lowell, NC at 8:30 a.m.

Anyone is welcome to participate: you don’t need to be a licensed ham to receive a signal (only to transmit one).  Come on out, it will be a lot of fun!

Below is an example of a directional antenna we built for the 70 cm band:

GCARS President, Annlette, KV4WB, holding a 70 cm “Moxon” antenna that she built.

DMR (Digital Mobile Radio) is Coming to Spencer Mountain!


Here is some BIG news:

DMR (Digital Mobile Radio) is coming to Spencer Mountain.  Due to a generous gift from Gerald Rankin, AG0R, the Gaston County Amateur Radio Society is very shortly (and Lord willing), going to have a DMR amateur radio repeater on top of Spencer Mountain, North Carolina, on the 70 cm band. The DMR repeater will allow hams with a DMR radio to communicate with other radio amateurs locally, regionally, nationally, and even globally using a quality of voice communications similar to 3G cellular phones.

We have a Hytera RD622 digital repeater,

which we plan to connect to the Brandmeister network, a global amateur radio DMR system with hundreds of talk groups all over the world.

Right now, we are in the process of setting up the repeater, getting things straight with our prospective internet service provider, and testing the system. We hope to have this working before the end of May 2017.

DMR is an exceedingly affordable and robust digital mode. HT’s can be had for under $100 dollars (Like the TYT MD-380). Users are required to get a radio identifier number from DMR-MARC, which is the master group for issuing DMR identifiers so that users can work all the current internet linked DMR networks.

Go to this link here to register for a DMR id number (it’s free):

You do not need to have a radio to get a number. If you are thinking about doing DMR, then you should go ahead and get a number from DMR-MARC.

If you want to experience the excitement of DMR now, you can listen to any talk group you would like on the Brandmeister “Hose Line” which is a web enabled dashboard for listening to DMR traffic on the internet. It only requires a current web browser and the ability to process sound. Give it a try:

More information to come about how to set up your radio “code plug” and which talk groups will be enabled from the N4GAS DMR repeater.


Bill Stevenson



GCARS works the Caromont Criterium at Belmont

This past Sunday, April 23, 2017, the Gaston County Amateur Radio Society provided supplemental communications, helped spectators and acted at crossing guards at the fifth annual Caromont Health Belmont Criterium bicycle races.  It was a rainy, cold day, but the hams of GCARS stepped up to the challenge, and volunteered from 11:30 a.m. until 7 p.m. The action was exciting and we got a real taste of operating in less-than-favorable conditions. Many thanks to all the hams who participated! We received thanks from and an informal invitation to help again next year from the race organizers.

The Lonely Outpost at the Criterium in Belmont

NG2M, JD, and KV4WB, Annlette, walking to the infamous Glenway Curve!
AJ4JZ, Bill and NG2M, JD pose at the dangerous Glenway curve.
Tindol Subaru pace car leads the way!
Men’s C5 Races thunder to the start/finish line.
Lady Pro-Racers storm the first corner! NC1G, Mark, watches before the rain comes!
NC1G, Mark (in the blue coat) guards the crosswalk as the male pro-racers shoot by!
Some but not all of the hams at the Criterium. Sarah (wanta be ham); AK4BX, Jeff; Chantel, KM4LWL; Annlette, KV4WB; NG2M, JD.

Winter Field Day Update!

Winter Field Day begins tomorrow, January 28th & 29th!! Here’s some updated info.  We look forward to seeing you tomorrow!


Date:  Saturday, January 28th  & Sunday, January 29th, 2017 

Time:  10:00 am – SETUP

2:00 pm – ON THE AIR

Place:  1808 Ratchford Dr Dallas NC (across from the 321 Flea Market)

Contact:  NC0G (George Poteat) for more information about the event

Since all of our operations will be conducted inside the club camper/trailer, we will have 2-3 stations running (depending on weather conditions and the number of active operators that sign up).  Ideally, there will be 2 operators per station.  

We will have limited space inside the camper, so I will setup an Operator Schedule on 3 hour increments.  

There will be no need to tow the trailer to a location.  The trailer is already setup in the Poteat field, but help with antenna and rig setup will be needed at 10 am.  Winter Field Day will begin officially at 2 pm on Saturday Jan 28th.


Saturday 2 pm – 5 pm

Saturday 5 pm- 8 pm

Saturday 8 pm – 11 pm

Saturday 11 pmSunday 2 am

Sunday 2 am – 5 am

Sunday 5 am  – 8 am

Sunday 8 am  – 11 am

Sunday 11 am – 2 pm


As with all outdoor events, we have to eat well and be comfortable.  NC0G will fire up the smoker and smoke a pork butt and we will get hamburgers and hotdogs grilled on the BBQ.  Below is a list of additional items needed to make this event a success.


hotdog buns

hamburger buns



potato salad

fruit salad

specialty side items (cook’s choice)


sweet tea/unsweetened tea


potato chips

dessert (cookies, cake, pie)

plates/plastic ware/cups/napkins

gas for generator


Let me know if you have any questions or concerns.

Best Regards,

Annlette Key

KV4WB  ann*lette*key*@*gmail*.*com (omit *)