Eclipse Balloons

April 8, 2024 – Balloon Tracks — Click on image for full size

Monday was not only a solar eclipse day it was a big balloon days.  As my Weather Balloon tracking system pick up 29 balloon were launched that day.  A lot of them were flown thru the eclipse path that day.  The above picture reflects what my station here in Oakdale was able to be picked up.  Most of the tracks near the lake were received once the balloon at above 80,000 feet.  Researching  it seem most were launched from Lima, OH and other were launch from along the Lake Erie shoreline.

This is just one of the many services Ham Radio is good at.  What good is all this data well at a resent Skywarn training session Fred McMullen from the Nation Weather Service confirms that they do view the daily since it a good place to be able to download the balloon data.  The image below show the location of the 12 ham radio tracking stations around the metro Pittsburgh area.  They automatically receive the data and relay it via the Internet to the above website. What equipment is needed to do this tracking? Just an Raspberry PI, RTLSDR dongle, and a antenna is all you need.

Public Demo W3C @ Carnegie Library

A Library & So Much More…

Fun for Everyone!
Saturday, April 20, 11:00 AM – 3:00 PM.

Learn more here:

Steel City ARC will be doing a public demo out in the parking lot of the library.  Come out for the fun and to support the club as we show Ham Radio can be fun! We will also be having a special event station W3C from April 15-22nd.


Save The Date
July 20, 2024

Steel City Picnic At Raccoon State Park
And POTA Event

Steel City will be hosting a club picnic out at Raccoon State Park the Saturday July 20th with a rain date of July 21st.   SCARC will be doing a POTA activation at the park during the picnic get your radio able to go mobile and bring them out to the park.  Hamburger & Hot Dogs and all the picnic fixing will be served.  This will be a great chance for beginners to see how to do a POTA activation.  Old timers will be get a good day outside having some portable fun.  This will be open to all ham radio operators.

EVENT LOCATION: Raccoon State Park

2024 Corn Roast

SCARC Corn Roast
And Open  House

Sunday August 18th @ 1:00 PM

Open to all SCARC members
Pending member’s.

This year Corn Roast is an open house year.  We will be inviting our nearby amateur radio club’s leadership to this event.  This will let us show off the club to other hams and will let us enjoy the company of our larger ham radio community.

Don’t miss the fun or


Don’t miss the fun or


2024 World Amateur Radio Day

What: 2024 World Amateur Radio Day

Who: All amateur radio operators worldwide

When: Tuesday, April 18, 2024 at 0000 UTC until Wednesday, April 19, 2024 at 0000 UTC

Where: A global event covering all regions of the International Amateur Radio Union (IARU)

Why: World Amateur Radio Day, held on April 18 each year, is celebrated worldwide by radio amateurs and their national associations which are organized as member-societies of the International Amateur Radio Union (IARU). It was on this day in 1925 that the IARU was formed in Paris. American Radio Relay League (ARRL) Co-Founder Hiram Percy Maxim was its first president.

The theme for 2024 is “A Century of Connections: Celebrating 100 years of Amateur Radio Innovation, Community, and Advocacy”

Amateur radio experimenters were the first to discover that the short-wave spectrum could support long-distance radio signal propagation. In the rush to use these shorter wavelengths, amateur radio was “in grave danger of being pushed aside,” the IARU’s history has noted. Amateur Radio pioneers met in Paris in 1925 and created the IARU to promote the interests of amateur radio worldwide and to protect and enhance its spectrum privileges. Today, the IARU is a federation consisting of more than 160 national amateur radio organizations in as many countries and separate territories. The International Secretariat of the IARU is ARRL  The National Association for Amateur Radio® in the United States.

How: World Amateur Radio Day is not a contest but rather an opportunity to “talk” about the value of amateur radio to the public and our fellow amateur colleagues. It is also a great opportunity to talk about your radio club and amateur radio in local media as a lead-up to ARRL Field Day (held each year during the fourth full weekend in June) and another ham radio related activity in your community – such as volunteers who serve in local emergency communication readiness including the ARRL Amateur Radio Emergency Service®.

Steel City @ WASHfest

Steel City @ WASHfest

On Sunday Feb 25th the Steel City ARC will be having two tables at the WASHfest Hamfest.  One table will be promoting the club and the other table will be for SCARC members to sell items.  As always members are encourage to stop by and say Hi or even man the booth and talk about the club to the hamfest goers. We will have extra chairs for SCARC members to rest there feet while enjoy the hamfest.

Weather Balloon Tracking

For the past month I have been running this weather balloon tracking program. Its called “auto_rx” and it is a great piece of software.  This software lets you receive weather balloon data and uploads it to the Sonde-Hub Tracker website so other can see the balloon tracks.  For running the software locally you can get real time data it has an internal webserve so any computer in your house can see the data from the balloon and follow its plot on a map, and one of neater things it can do is to plot earlier received balloon paths.

Now my setup is a Raspberry PI 5 {A 4 would work} an RTL-SDR receiver and one of Arts WA3BKD J-Poles.   As you can see I can track a balloon all the way beyond State College. These balloons often reach a height of 107,000+ feet.  So I can hear it from a pretty far way usually its the curvature of the Earth causing me to loose the signal.  While my station is receiving the signal it will also forward the data to the Sonde-Hub Tracker website. It is neat to see your callsign as the station providing the data.

Now my setup has only one RTL-SDR dongle so I can only track one balloon at a time. The software can handle more than one RTL-SDR at a time. So right now once I loose the first track it will start scanning again and often picks up the balloon coming from Cincinnati, OH. Also a couple of times when the wind is blowing from N to S it will pick up Canadians balloon at their peak altitude.

Below are the links to the Sonde-Hub Tracker website and Auto_rx software, the balloon are launched at 6:00 AM and 6:00 PM and are airborne for an hour to an 1 1/2 hours.   People do use this software to track and recover the balloon payloads.  It just another neat part of this wonderful hobby.

Website: Sonde-Hub Tracker
Software: Auto_rx

Winter Field Day 2024

JAN 27 & 28. 2024
This Year We Are Doing Something Special
Operating From Raccoon State Park {Cabins}

Check Out MEMBER ONLY section
For Signup Sheet

Look for the club at Cabin #6 @ Raccoon State Park. 


  • Setup: 2:00 Friday  @ Club House To Load Up
  • Friday Dinner: 6:00 PM
  • Breakfast: 8:00 AM
  • Finish Setup: 10:00 AM
  • Lunch 12:00 Noon
  • Setup Testing: 1:00 PM
  • Contest Start Time: 2:00PM Saturday
    • We will need 6 people for all the contest times
      • 3 Operators
      • 3 Loggers
  • Dinner: 6:00 PM
  • Breakfast: 8:00 AM
  • Lunch: 12:00 Noon
  • Contest End Time: 2:00 PM Sunday
  • Tear Down: 2:00 PM Sunday

Stations Equipment:

  • Go Box – FT991 and FT7900
  • Two More – HF Radios – Either Club or Member
  • Go Box Accessory Kit
  • N3LRG – IC-820 for 2m contact to SCARC repeater
  • N3LRG – G5RV antenna
  • WA3BKD – Long Wire and Tuner
  • Two more HF antennas looking for members
  • Three Laptops for logging.
  • PC For log storage
  • Wifi Router & UPS for linking laptops
  • More Items to be listed…

Driving Map to the Cabin #6 – Click Here    

Click for Full Size

Winter Field Day Description

At the Winter Field Day Association, our mission is to encourage emergency operating preparedness during the winter months when the potential for freezing temperatures, snow, ice, and other hazards may present unique operational challenges.

We sponsor the Winter Field Day Exercise in the form of a contest to encourage you to participate. Although we have a Class for Home stations, we highly encourage setting up remote and outdoor operating positions. Operating out in the field, away from the comforts of home, is the best way to increase your level of preparedness for disasters and improve your operating skills in subpar conditions.

WFD is a learning experience, and we hope at the end of this year’s WFD exercise, you will feel more confident about your ability to adapt and overcome adverse weather conditions. Please read through the rules thoroughly. If you have questions, contact us on our website or social media for clarification.

At the WFDA, we use the term contest very loosely around here, so don’t get too hung up on our rules. At the end of the day, your total points don’t matter. What you learn during WFD and your ability to adapt and overcome sudden obstacles is what will help you during unexpected emergencies. As we continue with another year of the WFD exercise, we want to encourage participants not to chase the contacts or the points but to test their abilities and equipment. If you want to exchange signal reports, please give each other accurate information, so the other station knows how well their station is working.

Finally, have fun with the event, talk about the temperature, meet new friends and make memories as you continue to enhance your skills as an amateur radio operator.

For More Information:

Software Define Radio’s

Do you know with as many servers we have out in the “Hut”, that Steel City club runs a SDR Receiver from the club house.  It was installed by W2BRS and has been online for many years now.  The primary purpose is to let operators listen to their own transmissions and to quick check on band conditions. The receiver also picks up the most popular Short Wave radio stations and the popular AM Broadcast band.  We have most of the clear channel station bookmarked on the receiver so it’s easy to tune to any of them. So if you want to listen to the ball game from another city at night the AM band become alive and you can listen to cities from around the country.

Steel City SDR Receiver:

Here are some of the most popular frequencies:
KDKA AM RADIO – 1.020 Mhz
ECARS 40m Moring Net – 7.255 – {Most Days Mornings}
PA Health and Wellness Net – 3.983 Mhz – {Weekdays 9:00 AM}
Breezeshooter 10m Net– 28.480 Mhz – {Mondays 9:00 PM}

Want to listen to more options? Mike King, WA3PYU use these next two websites to listen to weak signals from the net’s he listen too around the state.  These are useful for checking your signal since the SCARC receiver can be desensitize by our transmitters so close.

Look here for SDR receivers from around the world:

24th Annual WASH Two Meter Contest 

This January will mark the Twenty-Fourth Annual WASH 2 Meter Contest. We’re looking
forward for a chance to stretch our legs, our wheels, and our antennas once again! Join us for a fun operating event, where you can hear some old friends, and maybe make some new ones, as well as net yourself a free Door Prize Ticket for WASHFest 2024 just for submitting a log! See you on the air!

Date & Times: Saturday, January 13th , 2024 from 7 to 11 PM EST.

Needed Forms:

Logging: Wash-2m-Logging-Forms.pdf
Entry Forms: Wash-2m-Contest-Entry-Form.pdf


  • To have fun!
  • To make as many contacts as possible
  • To have more fun!

Band, Modes & Frequencies: The contest will take place solely on the 2 meter band.

FM : 

  • FM simplex only, no repeater contacts.
  • The FM frequencies are all standard 2 Meter Simplex frequencies, as per the ARRL 2 Meter
  • Band Plan, every 15 kHz, from 146.505 to 146.595 MHz, and 147.450 to 147.580 MHz.


  • 144.05 to 144.1 MHz Only. (See ARRL 2 Meter band plan)
  • CW Notes: Listen for CW QSO’s around 144.1 MHZ 15 minutes after the hour
  • SSB & AM: 144.2 to 144.275 MHz Only. (See ARRL 2 Meter band plan).
  • Voice Notes: → Listen for SSB & AM QSO’s around 144.2 MHz 30 minutes after the hour
  • Digital (including RTTY): 144.51 to 144.55
    MHz. (See ARRL 2 Meter band plan) Multiple
    digital modes may be used, and participants
    are free to use any generally accepted Digital
    mode, but only ONE Digital QSO with a given
    station regardless of mode.

FULL RULES HERE:  WASH 2024 2m Contest
WASH-FEST 2024:  Feb 25th