Greetings! It’s been a minute, but welcome to the new and improved RWK Chawed Rag. When I accepted the job of RWK President, one of the tasks that I took on was to “reinvent” The Chawed Rag for the year 2021. The goals were 1) Make the CR more “accessible” (which means that you would have to go through fewer steps to actually read an issue), Make the CR more “timely” (commit and stick with a “fourth Monday” publishing schedule – which I’ve missed!), and 3) Make the CR more “content rich” with more articles and information. Being that this is 2021, I also wanted to integrate the CR content with the RWK Website, so that the CR itself and articles are individually available on the website (and searchable) and you don’t have to dig through a pdf to find something that you read a few months ago.
So we’re almost there. This is the work-in-process towards that goal. You will see some short pieces below, but the longer ones will have an intro “tease” paragraph and a “Read Full Article” link to the actual post on the website. The ultimate goal is to have the bulk of this be in a formatted email (similar to a bunch of email newsletters that you probably receive already). You can read the tease paragraph and decide whether you want to “read more”. We’re not there quite yet, so bear with me for a bit longer.
Now, what we need from you: we need to know what you’re “up to” in radio. New antenna? Worked any rare DX? Have a radio for sale? Write a paragraph or two and take a photo with your phone. We don’t need pages-long articles and there is no longer a “first here” rule. It just has to be of general interest to the RWK membership. Seen a good YouTube video on a ham radio subject? Let us know and send us the link. Oh that’s right, the new and improved CR can also include video and audio content. If it’s of interest to RWK members, we’ll consider including it.
Thanks for your patience, and it’s good to be back!
It’s been a strange year. Even with the vaccine and the end of official quarantine, it still feels a little like life in slow motion. During the summer, it was good to see fellow hams at the weekly lunches and at the three in-person meetings that we had, and hopefully we can get back to that soon.
As hams, we should be good at communications, and thankfully radio has very few limits and certainly shouldn’t be affected by a virus. So the question remains Why are the repeaters so quiet?
I’ve had more than one new ham say “I’ve listened to your repeaters and don’t hear much” and I’d like to know why that is. I know that less people are doing the traditional morning and evening drives to and from work, but that doesn’t explain the evenings or weekends. I can’t believe that everyone has become shy all of the sudden. I do know that activity breeds activity, so I wish we all could be more like KD5OUG who throws his call out most every time he is in his car. The RWK has a reputation as a friendly club and I want us to live up to it. So the next time you’re in your car or just in the shack, throw your call out. And the next time you hear a call that you don’t recognize, introduce yourself and say hello!
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Question for the Klub: Richardson High School has a club station license. The trustee is a ham that taught there from 2018-2019 but no longer is there. Does anyone know anyone in the science faculty at RHS or has a kid at RHS that can get us a lead at the school? We would like to find out if there’s any interest in restarting the RHSARC and getting more high school kids interested in radio. If you know anything, please let me know.
Thanks for being a RWK Member! – 73 de KD4C
By Chip Coker KD4C
At a recent RWK Hungry Hams lunch, I had a conversation with Tim Bratton K5RA about the Klub’s history. I’ve been attempting to document some of the history of the RWK and trying to find some of the details of the early years of the RWK. This kicked off a trip down memory lane for Tim and Dave Cummings WA5TET, where they started spouting callsigns and names and who worked where. I knew none of this and almost pulled out my phone to record it. Instead, Tim agreed to go back and find some old QST listings and document some of the things that he remembers and try to canvass the people that are still around.
One of the things that Tim remembered (and I had heard this from others) was that the RWK (in those days it was the Richardson ARC) scored very highly in multiple Field Days. He has found QST listings that show RWK as top 10 ranked for several years in the early 70s (#1 in Class 2A in 1971!).
Another interesting tidbit is how the Klub ended up with the K5RWK callsign. William (Bill) Baugh had the K5RWK callsign up to 1968, when he died prematurely, and somehow the klub got that call assigned to a club station license. Before the club had K5RWK, it appears that they competed in FD using various members’ callsigns and that there was no club station license (we have been unable to find a club license for the Richardson Amateur Radio Club in old callbooks). In 1969, it appears that the klub competed as K5RWK but entered as the Richardson Amateur Radio Club.
We would love to know what you know about the early years of the RARC/RWK. Please drop a note to Tim or me (KD4C) and we will continue to update you with what we find. I’ve started a RWK History page on the website to capture and share this history: https://www.k5rwk.org/rwk-history/
ARRL VHF Contest Experience
By Ken Hansen, N2VIP
I am not a Contester – sure I participate in Field Day, but rarely do I make a point of participating in other contests, I rarely find myself with sufficient time to participate in any meaningful way. But with encouragement from a few friends, I committed to participating in a recent contest. With a very modest setup – an Icom IC-705 QRP radio, an external 9 amp Bioenno battery, and an Elk dual-band Log Periodic beam on a 6′ tripod on a second floor balcony in NJ (Maidenhead Square FN20io), I went forth and worked the recent ARRL VHF Contest. Read Full Article ->
FCC License Fees Update
Due to recent congressional actions, the FCC announced earlier this year that they will be charging $35 for new licenses, upgrades, vanity grants and renewals. Administrative updates (such as address changes) will not require a fee. We have been awaiting notice from the FCC about just when this fee would go into effect, due to the interaction with the Volunteer Examiner program. Reports from people that have been on conferences with the FCC about this suggest that the fees won’t be implemented before the new year, and there will be a 90 day notice before the fees will go into effect. Keep that in mind if you are planning on upgrading or applying for a vanity callsign in the near future. – Michael WT9V
Project of the Month – September 2021
Product Review: DIY Mini Spot Welder
By John Slaughter WB5HSI
Recently I was faced with trying to repair a battery-operated device and had the usual problem of how to make connections to the battery. Normally a spot welder is used to weld nickel strips to the battery terminals. While it is possible to solder to a battery, it is not recommended and with Li-ion batteries there is the real risk of uncontrolled discharge and fire due to the flammable electrolyte.
K5RWK Repeater Updates and Improvements
By Chip Coker KD4C
As we mentioned earlier in the year, we’ve been hard at work planning some improvements to the K5RWK repeater systems. There are three separate activities in work.
- Improvements to the main Palisades repeater site
- Relocation of the UHF 443.375 Repeater to East Renner
- Replacement of the DMR Repeater at the UTD site
Katherine Forson KT5KMF Receives the 2021 ARRL Hiram Percy Maxim Memorial Award
The recipient of the 2021 Hiram Percy Maxim Memorial Award is our own (well, partly) Katherine M. Forson, KT5KMF, of Plano, Texas. A Technician in 2013 at the age of 9, a General in 2017, and an Amateur Extra in 2018, Katherine’s enthusiasm resulted in her appointment as the North Texas Section Youth Coordinator in 2019. Katherine and “driver” led our foxhunts for “Wheatley” for over a year, but she’s done far more than that. Read more about her award ->
Don Bowen K5LHO – SK
We were saddened to hear of the passing of Don Bowen K5LHO on August 13, 2021, after a short illness.
Don was one of the earliest members of the RWK, held many leadership positions in the club, including treasurer for many years. Don was voted “Director Emeritus” in 2019 in honor of his long-time RWK service.
Don had a very long career with several area companies and then “retired” and worked part time for UTD for another 20 years. Don and his wife Gwen K5JRT are long-time residents of Canyon Creek. Read Full Article ->
Last Month’s Program
If you missed last month’s RWK General Meeting, you can always watch the video available from the RWK website.
We had a repeat visit from Dr. Ed Fong, inventor of the popular dual-band 2M/440 antennas. Ed explained how the antennas work and how it was a challenge to fit 220MHz into the design to create a tri-band antenna.
Several people in the Klub have Ed Fong antennas but he has offered another group purchase if there is sufficient interest.
You can always view the RWK Calendar to see our monthly events.
RWK New Members
We have several new members for the month, including some new hams that our VE Team tested recently. If you hear them on our repeaters, please say hello.
Andy Ulrich KI5ROD
Ryan Watts KI5RRL
Chris Nichols K5PSK
Eric Robertson W5MWM
Nick Strain KI5RTX
RWK Membership – 322 Active Members
To check your renewal date and Renew your RWK Membership, go to https://www.hamclubonline.com/ and select Pay Club Dues from the menu.
RWK holds at least one foxhunt every weekend and many weekends there are two foxes available to hunt. A monthly prize drawing is held for klub members that successfully find the fox.
You can always “watch” the hunt in real time by viewing the foxhunt logs:
To read more about foxhunts and learn some hunting tips, see our foxhunt page: https://www.k5rwk.org/foxhunt/
Interested in Helping the Klub?
The Klub needs YOU! We are looking for members that want to help with the following:
- Website content updates
- Ham Activities (Field Day and Public Service events)
- New Ham Coordinator
- Foxhunt Data
Contact KD4C for more information.
The Klub has a few ham assets available for sale to Klub members at a deep discount. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if interested. Have something to sell? Send a short description, photo, and offer price to us.
Starter HF Radio – Alinco DX-SR8T – $275
This would make a great starter radio for a new General. All bands, All modes, 100W. Entry level features. Radio sold for $500 new. From SK Estate.
More Info: http://www.alinco.com/Products/ham/hf/DX-SR8/
Dual-Band 2M/440 Mobile – Yaesu FT-5100 – $90
Older model Dual-band Yaesu mobile with lots of buttons and minimal menus. Dual RX. Easy to use. High Power (50/35). From SK Estate.