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Tuesday, January 29, 2019

After The RTR - There Is Quartzfest

I decided to obtain my Ham Radio Technician License for emergency communication where there is no cell service, specifically in Utah.

I learned of Quartzfest prior to my arrival in Quartzsite, and since it started after the RTR, I decided to stop and check it out for one night.

The Quartzfest is held on BLM land off US 95, about 5 miles south of town.  I found a nice level spot to camp and in checking out the fire ring, I noticed it was littered with cigarette butt filters.  I took the time to clean the site.

There were two other Four Wheel Campers (FWC) near me.  One to my right towards the center of the event was a man from the RTR that I met.  The other, in the picture above, was from Alaska.  He stopped by to introduce himself.  He bought his truck and FWC in 1998.  Each year he drives down from Alaska for nearly 6 months.

Both men were pleasant to talk to and I got to learn about their travels.

The reason I came to Quartzfest was to learn the proper way to communicate using the ham radio.  This includes the frequency usage.

This group published the frequency they were using for the event.  I had plugged it into my portable radio at the end of the RTR and I could hear fold on it about 7 miles away.

There were general announcements and this served well for letting g folks in attendance what and when things were going on.  

After I set up camp, I heard on the radio that a guy at Quartzfest had set up a tv camera and was broadcasting it on a cable TV channel.  I scanned that channel with my TV and I was able to watch the area around where he was parked.

I learned of the evening campfire starting so I decided to head over.

At the campfire I met more folks there.  Two of which were at the RTR.  They said they met on 52.  I asked what was 52.  What a newbie statement, so I explained I was new and knew nothing.  They said you know channel 52.  I gathered that was the decimal 52 and needed the first 3 numbers.  They said 146.52 and it’s the national calling frequency.  Ok.  Now I’ve got it.  I told them I did not know that and thanked them.  They said it’s like channel 19 on CB Radio.  

Here is what a Google search delivered for my question.

“The simplex calling frequencies (146.520/446.000 Mhz) are intended for FM simplex communication, while the other pair (144.200/432.100) are for SSB. In general use, the term "simplex" implies FM modulation since FM is commonly used in both simplex and duplex operation.”

Yes I needed to learn the basics and was getting it.

After feeling a bit embarrassed, I headed back to my camper in full moon light.

I was leaving the next morning and it would have been nice to stay and learn more, but it was time to head to San Diego to see son and family, as I do each year.

From the posters above you can see there are others Ham gatherings in Arizona that you may want to attend if you are interested in Ham Radio.


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