Donald Purnhagen K4ILG Silent Key

Donald Purnhagen K4ILG, PCARS Club Secretary for the past few years, passed away suddenly on the evening of April 6th. He leaves behind his wife Analyn, & his 3 daughters, plus children from previous marriages & several grandchildren. Donald was 65 years old. A Funeral Service was held on April 14th, with several members of PCARS in attendance. PCARS Club President K5LD spoke at the service, by the request of Donald’s family, on behalf of PCARS & the Amateur Radio community in general.

I had met Donald in 2017, at SKYWARN Recognition Weekend, during the late shift. Donald had just gotten his General & was still learning about HF. He operated during the overnight shift, had a great time & was hooked! Donald joined PCARS shortly afterwards & began getting involved in club activities. He volunteered frequently, as time allowed, as he spent quite a bit of time with his 3 daughters. But that didn’t stop Donald, & many a time, he would bring 1 or all 3 of his daughters with him to activities & events. You could say the girls grew up with Amateur Radio, around their Dad. They would come out for Kids Day, Field Day on the GOTA Station, & sometimes come with him during an overnight contest shift at W4MLB. Donald loved contesting & he was our overnight operator much of the time.

Being a Laurel VE, I encouraged Donald to go out for his Extra ticket. He was not completely confident at the time, but he went for it anyway. He passed his Extra & we celebrated after the VE session with a nice Charlie & Jake’s lunch. He was thrilled to pass his exam & he went on to become a Laurel VE himself. He later went on to become a part of several VE test sessions.

Donald went on to become PCARS’ Secretary, as well as its Webmaster. With Donald’s new improved Website, he replaced a 30 plus year old site with an updated modern one, full of content & easy to use. He made updates easy to do & did some great work for the Melbourne Hamfest, coming up with a new easy to understand flyer & reusable forms.

He was also heavily involved in Emergency Communications, becoming PCARS’ EC & later on, EC of the South Brevard area. He did the various training courses for the county. Donald also worked with PCARS’ Go Kits & organized & ran a few local PCARS SETs, to test out the Go-Kits.

Moreover, Donald truly loved being a part of PCARS & on the PCARS’ Board of Directors as an officer. Donald was a friend to everyone he met. & will surely be missed, by always wanting to be involved & lending assistance when needed. This Website is Donald’s legacy.

New Station Open House & Dedication Held on 4/22/23

The Platinum Coast Amateur Radio Society (PCARS) recently held a Dedication & Open House of its new club station facilities, on the grounds of the Melbourne Fire Department Training Center, on Saturday, April 22, 2023. The event was well attended by club members, local officials, members of the Titusville Radio Club & other visitors.

PCARS is the largest amateur radio organization in the Melbourne area, and has been in existence since November, 1964—almost 60 years—and is still going strong. PCARS enjoys a current membership of over 150. The club is active in many local, national, and international events, including community events, scouting events, emergency communications, and other amateur radio related events.

With our continuous growth and activities, we had outgrown our previous facilities, which housed our club station equipment. Within the past year, we have replaced that facility with a much larger one, more than doubling the usable space. A member of PCARS, Dan Gravereaux N1ZZ, was instrumental in planning & leading a committee of club members, known as the Shack Committee, in obtaining the structure for the new station.

Some months back, a PCARS Dedication & Open House Committee was formed, & was chaired by Bob Creswick NB4C. Lots of time & effort went into planning the event. In the process, it was decided to honor PCARS member & Silent Key Greg Bowman N4EN, for his efforts toward obtaining the new trailer. Greg was a member of the Shack Committee, led by Dan N1ZZ. With Greg’s background of business & real estate knowledge, as well as being PCARS’ Treasurer, the funds were readily available for the trailer purchase, as well as other items that needed to be taken care for the delivery of the trailer. Sadly, Greg would become a SK before PCARS could take delivery of the trailer.

At the Dedication, PCARS President Walter Aucoin, Jr. K5LD, spoke a few words about Greg’s legacy & what he had done to make the new trailer happen. The new trailer was named the Greg Bowman Memorial Amateur Radio Station, in Greg’s honor. Dan N1ZZ & Mary Oian KG4VLO, Greg’s widow, cut the “coax” (Instead of a ribbon) & a plaque mounted outside of the door, was unveiled by Dan & Mary, afterwards, to begin the Open House.

N1ZZ & KG4VLO unveiling the plaque

Official local leaders from the City of West Melbourne joined PCARS on this wonderful day, including Mayor Hal Rose, Councilman Pat Bentley & PCARS’ own Councilwoman Andrea Young KO4PHN. We were delighted to see them & took them on a tour of the station afterwards.

L-R, NB4C, Mary Oain KG4VLO, Mayor Hal Rose, Council Members Pat Bentley, Andrea Young KO4PHN, & K5LD

PCARS’ Club Station W4MLB operated as a Special Event station for the day, with Mark Burke W9MGB operating the station. Mark did rather well, with 66 contacts in the log, with 5 DX contacts as well.

L-R, Andrea Young KO4PHN, Pat Bentley, Hal Rose & W9MGB at the mic.
Members & visitors tour the Station during the Open House

All in all, the Dedication & Open House went well & we look forward to operating from the new Facility for years to come! Thanks to all that made the day possible & successful.

** Photos provided by Gwen Kurzen Photography. We thank Gwen for her excellent service!**

73 de K5LD

PCARS Field Day — 2023 is June 24-25

This year, Field Day is back, in full force. We are planning a complete activation of W4MLB, including CW & SSB stations, a 6 Meter station (if the band opens), a satellite station, & last but not least, our GOTA (Get on the Air) station, for hams licensed than a year, and also non-hams, family members, etc. 

Here is a very brief Field Day itinerary:

  • Friday,  June 24 —  
  • Saturday, June 25
  • 2PM Saturday — Field Day starts!!  “If you ain’t calling, they ain’t going to answer” – AF4Z Pizza & refreshments will be provided for the evening/overnight operating crew.
  • Sunday, June 26 — Field Day shuts down at 2PM. TEAR DOWN BEGINS.  This involves taking down everything temporary  (crank up tower, antennas, cables, etc.) & storing it back in place. This is always the most difficult part of Field Day, as most people are tired, ready to go home, etc. But, everything that was set up, must be taken down.

I can’t tell you how many times  I stayed after a full weekend, to assist K9ES, the formal Field Day Chairman, to take everything  down with little or no help. If you don’t come out for anything else all weekend,  please consider coming out at the end to help.

More information will be forthcoming, & the June General Meeting program will be dedicated to Field Day.