It’s Radio-Active: Charlotte amateur radio club transmits message to Iceland

By Michele Dotson: Staff Writer

Screen Shot 2013-07-30 at 1.33.09 PMMembers from the Charlotte Amateur Radio Club set up their equipment every other Saturday in the Assay office at the Carl J. McEwen Historic Village in Mint Hill.  Their priorities are to provide information to the public about the history of ham radio, and to help those interested learn how to begin their hobby by offering support from the club which meets once a month.

The cost of getting into the hobby is not exorbitant and are mostly incurred over time.

“It doesn’t take a whole lot of money to get into ham radio,” says club member and vice president Joe Ducar. “The antennae is the most important part of the set up, and it’s fairly inexpensive. You can get one for about $45,” he says.

Other expenses are associated with purchasing the radio, a “to go” box, if you plan to use your radio in remote locations, instructional manuals, and fees for taking the FCC tests. In the United States there are three kinds of ham radio licenses; the technician class, the general class and the extra class. Each class requires more extensive knowledge of ham radio operation and theory, and provides the user with access to more frequency options worldwide.

Gone are the days with the need for huge, unsightly towers that are restricted in many neighborhoods.  Websites offer advice on how to “stealth” your antennae so it is still effective but not unsightly on your property, like what has been done at the assay office.

“Conditions here at the assay office are not always the best,” says Ducor.  “We’re here at a fixed time, and that can be a disadvantage. But we have made contact with so many places around the world. We have even talked with people from Iceland and Greenland.”

But in this age of email, Twitter, Skype, and iPhones, it seems unlikely this hobby would survive much into the 21st Century. Surprisingly, though, the latest FCC information posted in August 2012, indicated that there are over 755,000 licensed operators in the United States alone, which was an increase of 30,000 from the year before. Some attribute the increase to the phasing out of the Morse code test as part of the licensing requirements. But for others, it is just the right time to get started.

John McDermott has been involved with ham radio for less than a year. After fostering an interest for many years, McDermott decided it was time to do something about it. He located the club through an internet search, and was extremely impressed by his first visit.

“I can’t say enough about the club,” says McDermott. “They were willing to help me get started, and answered all my questionsInside the assay office, posted on the wall, is a world map full of pushpins. Each pushpin on that map represents a successful contact like the one in Iceland. That’s a person-to-person contact with someone from another country; another culture, and a personal connection to another fellow human a world away that shared the same desire to reach out and make a new friend.It’s easy to see why this hobby is enjoying a regrowth of popularity.The Charlotte Amateur Radio Club meets Thursdays at 7:30 pm in the Salvation Army headquarters building located at 501 Archdale Drive, Charlotte. For further information, contact www.w4cq.us

 

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Mint Hill board holds budget workshop

Mint Hill commissioners and staff meet to discuss the 2013-2014 town budget. PHOTO BY DEREK LACEY

Mint Hill commissioners and staff meet to discuss the 2013-2014 town budget. PHOTO BY DEREK LACEY

The Mint Hill Board of Commissioners met with other town leaders to discuss and plan the 2013- 2014 budget at a workshop meeting Tuesday, April 23.

Budget requests were presented from Mint Hill Fire and EMS, public works and police department, and commissioners approved special requests from nonprofits in Mint Hill.

David Leath, Fire/EMS Director presented the Fire Department’s budget report to the commissioners. The budget will stay much the same as the 2012-2013 budget, requesting more money for uniforms, turnout gear and office supplies.

Leath requested $20,550 for new uniforms, a cost that breaks down to $925 per employee, as well as $12,500 for five complete sets of new turnout gear, and $2,000 for a new computer for the department.

Tim Garner, public works director, presented the budget request for the public works division, which included four items: a backhoe at $93,500, two mower decks at $12,800, lettering and decals for trucks at $2,964.00, and repair costs for the town’s street sweeper, at $58,659.

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Adventures and history in herbs

by Derek Lacey / Staff Writer

The herb garden at the Carl J. McEwen Historic Village. The doctor’s museum is in the background. PHOTO BY DEREK LACEY

The herb garden at the Carl J. McEwen Historic Village. The doctor’s museum is in the background. PHOTO BY DEREK LACEY

 

At the Carl J. McEwen Historic Village, right next to the Doctor’s Museum, which showcases historical medicinal techniques, there sits a small herb garden.

Roses, Foxglove, Thyme, sage, lavender, oregano, peppermint, and even catnip all grow in the garden, and all have medicinal properties and were once used by doctors.

In 1997, Virginia Frazier helped a Girl Scout, Blair Gutledge, with her project, an herb garden at the Mint Hill Historical Society.

After Gutledge grew out of girl scouts and moved on, Virginia and her daughter Brenda Dills would resurrect the neglected herb garden every year, to keep the plants growing and healthy. They decided it would be smarter and easier to just maintain the garden themselves, which they still do today.

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Hospital tells chamber timeline on track for 2014

Carol Timblin and Larry Ferguson, outside the general store at the Mint Hill Historical Society’s Carl J. McEwen Historic Village. PHOTO BY DEREK LACEY

“Step Into History, The Carl J. McEwen Historic Village,” a 12-minute video produced by the Mint Hill Historical Society, earned statewide recognition last month, winning a Paul Green Multimedia Award from the North Carolina Society of Historians.

It started with a need to take something to schools and other organizations, to show them what the Historical Society and the Historic Village had to offer.

With a matching grant of $2,500 from the Arts and Science Council, work was underway, with Historical Society co-founder Carol Timblin writing and producing, and member Larry Ferguson serving as director and videographer.

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Local histories for sale at historical society

The Mint Hill Historical Society provides hands-on, environmental learning that includes an entire village of restoration. What visitors may not know is that it also offers reading materials for sale. Residents and visitors inspired by historical learning at the society can continue their education on their own time through books on local history.

The Presbyterian Gathering on Clear Creek by Russell Martin Kerr and Over Flow on Clear Creek are two books for sale through the historical society that focus on the Mint Hill area. The Presbyterian Gathering focuses on the founding of Philadelphia Presbyterian Church in the eighteenth century and is for sale for $25.

Over Flow on Clear Creek is a genealogy of descendants of James Flow (1821-1877) and David Flough (ca 1740-1792) of Mecklenburg County. It was written by Ken Flowe and Gail Flowe Honeycutt and is for sale for $55 at the historical society.

Part of the Images of America Series, the Mint Hill picture book provides citizens with a history recorded through photographs. The Mint Hill Historical Society published the book in honor of its twentieth anniversary. It can be purchased at the society or its website at www.minthillhistory.com/Society_News.cfm. For more information about the Mint Hill Historical Society and its literature, call 704-573-0726.

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Burdicks celebrate 50 years

Charlie and Jane Burdick celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary Saturday, August 4 at the Mint Hill Historical Society.  Their family and friends traveled from across the U.S. for the occasion.
The Burdicks were married Saturday, August 4, 1963 in Minnesota.  They have two daughters and five grandchildren.  They met their senior year at the University of Minnesota and married when they were 23 years old.
The party had an old-time southern feel.  The historic buildings, folk band, and gospel singers Karen and William Lindzy Washington provided the ambiance.
Dinner was provided by a caterer and served in the schoolhouse, and a bar was on site.  Tables and chairs were set under a tent, lit by strings of lights.
The Burdicks both volunteer at the historical society.  Charlie works on the grounds and Jane as a docent.  It’s a special place for them. Continue reading

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