As promised (and on schedule!), here’s The Chawed Rag for November 2021. Thanks to all of you that sent me notes on the September relaunch – I appreciate the thanks and the feedback. I’m still interested in what everyone thinks and what else you would like to see. Also, we always need your content so snap some pics of your latest tinkering or if you have seen something that has really helped you in ham radio, send it this way. – KD4C
Greetings RWK and Happy Thanksgiving!
I’d like to thank everyone that participated in our annual Show&Tell Night. I really think the quality of the projects that were shown were outstanding. Proof that we have more than our fair share of tinkerers. If you missed it, see the right column for the highlights and a link to the recording.
Given all the challenges of the past year, one of the things that I’m most happy about is the RWK VE Team. Even with all the isolation, we’ve been able to keep getting new hams licensed and existing ones upgraded, thanks to remote testing. We started remote testing just before March 2021 and in the eight months since, we’ve held 35 test sessions and gotten 125 licenses issued (84 Tech, 30 General, 11 Extra) – many from the local area.
Based on that success, I’m happy to announce a new benefit for RWK Membership – Free License Testing! If an RWK member wants to upgrade, the RWK VE Team will pay the testing fee to W5YI VEC (note that this does not cover any fees that the FCC may charge in the future). And for you Extras out there, sorry we can’t upgrade you further, but you can be a part of the VE Team – just send a note to WT9V if you’re interested.
Also, the DARC has asked us to help supply volunteers for the Annual Turkey Trot event on Thanksgiving Morning. If you’re interested, please see the DARC website for more information and a signup page. The Dallas Marathon is coming up the second week in December and they need volunteers as well. It’s always a big event and can be a lot of fun. Go to DallasRACES.org to sign up.
Finally, it started as a side conversation at a Hungry Hams Lunch over a month ago. Tim Bratton K5RA was there and I happened to sit next to him. I don’t know Tim that well but I did know that he’s a long-time member of RWK (since 1973!). I mentioned what I had heard about the Klub’s history with Field Day and he started spouting callsigns and names. Long story short, but Tim has done a fantastic job documenting RWK’s history with Field Day and you can read it below. Thanks Tim! And for others of you that have been around awhile, I want you to share what you remember of the Klub’s history.
Thanks for being a RWK Member! – 73 de KD4C
Richardson Christmas Parade
The Richardson Christmas Parade is on for this year. It’s the 49th Annual (not sure if that counts last year)! It’s on the West Side this year – Saturday December 4th at 9AM.
We’re providing communications support for the parade staff as we have in the past so we need your help. Bob Perkins W5RLP is this year’s coordinator and he’s looking to fill positions for the parade – Net Control, Start, Finish and points in between. Reporting will begin at 6 to 7 am and finish at about noon but not all positions will require the full period. Basic radio requirement is an HT (ear piece and safety vest recommended). More details and assignments will follow.
If you are interested and haven’t already volunteered (and thanks to those that have!), please sign up using this form: https://forms.gle/U3GCsAGGHdGTRBaN9
If you have any questions email Bob Perkins at email@example.com
Fall Contest Update
By Jon Suehiro NN5T
Just a reminder that there are several big contest events coming up in the next few weeks.
CQ Worldwide DX Contest – CW
When: 0000Z, Nov 27 to 2400Z, Nov 28 (Friday, Nov 26 18:00 CST ~ Sunday, Nov 28 18:00 CST)
CW version of CQ WW, if you want to work DX on CW and feel the world, set Thanksgiving event so you can sit in your shack without interruption. Of course, you can schedule the break to watch the football games. Exchange is simple RST + CQ Zone, so concentrate to copy the call sign in the weak signal condition. Comfortable headsets are must.
ARRL 160-Meter Contest
When: 2200Z, Dec 3 to 1600Z, Dec 5 (Friday, Dec 3 16:00 CST ~ Sunday, Dec 5 10:00 CST)
Objective: For Amateurs worldwide to exchange information with W/VE amateurs on 160-meter CW.
Usually the 160 condition peaks around this contest. If you have never operated on 160, run any wire as long as, and as high as possible and drop the ground wire (120’ long if possible) within the back yard and see if antenna tuner accepts your setup. This is the CW world-wide event, but start to work North America stations first. Band will be packed and big guns have great years so you can try with your small pistol. Read about ‘gray line propagation’, you have to be experienced to know how low band is excited. If the condition is good, signals from Europe or JA will come up from nothing to S-9 level and disappeared in just the matter of 10 minutes. Be a fan of excited 160 meter.
RWK Field Day History
By Tim Bratton K5RA
What exactly is the American Radio Relay League Field Day?? Is it a radio communications and emergency preparedness exercise? Is it a radio operating contest? Is it a vehicle to experiment with new technology? Is it an activity to promote amateur radio? Is it an outdoor activity like camping? Is it a social event? Answer: it is all of the above. Each Field Day activity is whatever the participants want it to be.
First held in 1933, Field Day is an operating event with enormous popularity. If you research the history of Field Day, you can find many local club groups that have participated for decades. One east-coast ham received a plaque in 2017 for participating in Field Day for fifty continuous years. That man loves Field Day and so do a lot of other people!
In 2020, even with the COVID pandemic keeping people at home and away from group activities, ARRL Field Day had 18,886 participants and 10,213 entries. In 2019, a year more representative of Field Day activity, over 36,400 radio operators from all 83 ARRL/RAC sections and several DX countries participated in the Field Day event.
In 2019, there were over 3,100 entries whose stations made over 1.1 million QSOs in the 24-hour event. Class A (stations set up in the field running on emergency power) had 1110 entries. Class D (home stations, commercial power) had 769 entries. Class E (home stations on emergency power) had 452. Class F (Emergency Operating Center (EOC) stations) had 196. Class 1A (one transmitter Class A) had 142 entries. Class 2A had 358 entries. Class 3A had 309 entries. Class 4A had 141 entries. Over the years, the maximum number of simultaneous transmitters for any club has typically ranged from mid-teens to mid-twenties. Since 1963, the Richardson Wireless Klub or Richardson Amateur Radio Club has operated in Classes 1A, 2A, 3A, 2F, and 3F.
ARISS Operating SSTV In Early December
By Chip Coker KD4C (source AMSAT)
One of the easiest ways to get started with amateur satellites is to start with maybe the most known and prominent one – the International Space Station (ISS). It orbits around 250 miles overhead and the orbit period is around 90 minutes, which means that you can hear more than several passes per week, and since the ISS is in Low Earth Orbit (LEO), you can hear it with a handheld and usually don’t need any special antennas.
RF Bits & Bytes
History of the Ham Radio Callsign
Mike Ritz W7VO has a short video presentation of the History of the Ham Radio Callsign, and it contains some very interesting historical tidbits. He presented at a recent QSO Today Virtual Ham Expo and it has now been made available to all (with a corresponding write-up).
Is Ham Radio Doomed?
OK, this is a bit of a clickbait headline, but you can hear our friend Jason Johnston KC5HWB’s take on whether Ham Radio is Dying…
W5RLP Foxhunt Antenna Holder
Bob Perkins W5RLP has utilized the latest in PVC engineering to create an antenna holder for tape measure foxhunt antennas!
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 four presenters for this year’s Show&Tell:
- A Nearly Homebrew Receiver for HF and above – Eric Silverthorn NM5M
- A 3D printed Speaker and Radio Containment Box – Logan McWaters Ki5NON
- Dual band APRS Digi and Tracker – Andrew Koenig KE5GDB
- Demonstration of the Morserino32 – Nick McCarthy K5NJM
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.
Ryan Hambacher W5RNK
Jeffrey Waite KI5SDS
Mike McKenna KF5BYF and Kamden McKenna (11) Not Yet Licensed
Rees Bowen KA5RTB
RWK Membership – 326 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.
Heathkit SB-200 Linear Amplifier – $350
These amps were very popular and many of them are still in use and work very well. This amp is from a SK estate and looks to be pristine, but probably could use some recapping and the other things that a 30 year old amp needs. It’s wired for 220v. Contact me for detailed photos.
Dual-Band 2M/440 Mobile TYT TH-8600 – $90
Almost new, with box, mic and power cable. The bright display is nice in a car. These radios are still for sale and are $135 new, so here’s a chance to score one for 30% less.
Legal Limit Tuner – MFJ 989C Versa Tuner V – $225
This world-famous 3 KW MFJ-989C VersaTuner V features two massive transmitting capacitors and a roller inductor with a three digit counter. Super heavy duty balun for balanced lines. Built-in Antenna Switch and 300W Dummy Load. Cross-needle meter. From SK Estate.
We also are members of Kroger Community Rewards, so if you shop at Kroger, we can get $! Here is information on how to sign up.