Here’s The Chawed Rag for February 2022. Let me know what you think (good or bad) and what else you would like to see in the CR. 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 I hope we are finally done with the cold and headed into spring!
I’m excited to help kick off what should be a 3 month RWK program to learn CW. We as hams are no longer *required* to learn CW, but nevertheless it’s an intriguing desire for lots of new hams. We’re kicking off a semi-structured program that will get interested hams on their keys (or keyers). We’ve had a fair amount of excitement around the CW program and it’s time to get going on it. Read more below on how to get onboard! (and elsewhere in this issue you can find a straight key for sale if you need one)
This weekend is the Irving Hamfest at the Bingo Hall. RWK will be there in two ways – We will have a table full of SK equipment for sale and our VE Team will be conducting license testing from 9-11am. We hope to see you there (and we hope that you will stay a few minutes behind the RWK table so that we can wander around for a bit).
It looks like it will be time to go back to in-person meetings in April! We considered it for March but we already have a program lined up, but April is looking good. Please stay tuned. It will be good to see everyone (and I will be glad to get the stuff out of my garage that I’ve been collecting to give away).
And finally (insert broken record sound here) please share any interesting ham-related stuff you’ve been doing with the club. Doesn’t matter how raw or badly written, we’ll make you look good and help you show off what you’ve been doing. With over 300 members, if everyone in the klub sent just one contribution to the Chawed Rag each year, we would have plenty of content for each issue.
Thanks for being a RWK Member! – 73 de KD4C
Learn CW with LICW and RWK
By Chip Coker KD4C
We had a good crowd for the RWK February Meeting “How to learn and have fun with Morse Code”, even though it was Valentine’s Day (not quite sure what that means…). If you missed it, you can watch it here. The Long Island CW Club guys (Howard and Jim) did a good job of showing how learning CW is not the daunting task that everyone is afraid of and can actually be fun! And they know how to do it so that you will be successful.
As we mentioned last month and at the February Meeting, this is the first part of our Learn CW Program in conjunction with the LICW folks – they have a long history of knowing the best way to teach CW and hundreds of successful students – on learning the code. Then we’re going to have RWK practice sessions and “QSO nights” on the air to let the new CW students practice on the air in a low pressure, non-threatening environment. We have plenty of old CW guns (I’m looking at you NN5T, KG5P, and NM5M and many others!) that hopefully will want to QRS and be involved in helping the new guys (and YLs) out.
How Do You Get Started?
- Send a note to David Nathanson K5CU (DavidCDN at pm dot me) and say “Add me to the Learn CW Program”
- Register with the LICW Club ($30) (tell Howard that you are with RWK) and attend their Intro Session (usually Monday evenings)
- Pick a Beginners 1 (B1) Session from their calendar and start attending the weekly sessions.
- Start learning! David will be in contact about the start of the RWK activities once everyone has some characters under their belt.
- You will need a key and/or keyer paddles (RWK has a key for sale in this CR!, Joe KI5O has a MFJ-407E keyer for sale for $90 if you are in the CW Program, and Bob KG5WRY has donated a pretty good set of 3D Printed Paddles) and a way to generate practice tones (see Bob’s project below).
We have 6-7 people already signed up and learning, so you will be in good company, and I’m hoping for another 7-10 to get onboard! For full details on how our RWK program is going to work (and to register with the LICW), please go to our special page on the RWK Website: https://www.k5rwk.org/learn-cw/. Hopefully, by summer we should have a new crop of CW ops to
free up the FT-8 airways enjoy the uncrowded CW sub-bands!
ARRL International DX Phone contest is this weekend (Mar 5-6). The upper bands have been heating up (especially 15M) so this should be a lot of fun. Expect to see an email from Jon soon!
CQ WW WPX Contest – SSB is the end of March (26-27th) is similar – amateurs worldwide contact as many amateurs and prefixes as possible during the contest period.
The ARRL World Wide Digital Contest will debut on June 4-5, 2022. All non-RTTY modes are permitted. All HF bands from 160 through 10 meters (WARC bands excluded), plus 6 meters are allowed. Going forward, RTTY will be the sole mode for the ARRL RTTY Roundup, which will continue to take place in January. Read the full news release for Full Details.
The ARRL has also modified the permanent Field Day rules based on user survey. Starting this year, the maximum PEP output for a transmitter used by anyone submitting a Field Day log will be 100 W. A couple of changes instituted initially as accommodations for the COVID-19 pandemic will remain: Class D (Home) stations will continue to be able to earn points for contacts with other Class D stations. The club aggregate scoring change initiated in 2020 as a temporary measure will become part of the permanent rules. In the aggregate scoring plan, the scores of individual stations are combined under the score of a single club. Full Details
Quick and Dirty Code Practice Oscillator
By Bob Hill KG5WRY
With all the excitement around learning Morse code via the Long Island CW club, it was time to collect the tools needed to learn CW. One of the tools needed for this adventure is the code practice oscillator. Here’s a *very* easy solution for a “Quick and Dirty” Code Practice Oscillator that you can easily hook up.
Taking Back My Power
By Rob Forson K5WFR
My family and I suffered through several days with no power during the winter storm of February 2021. Long before the inside temperature dropped into the lower 40’s, I swore that we would not be left in that situation again. As soon as the lights came back on, I started investigating different options for generators that could power necessary household equipment during an extended electrical outage.
Read on to find out more about my selection criteria and what I decided on…
My Ham License Plate Renewal Story
By Doug Kilgore KD5OUG
I just noticed that the registration sticker on my Nissan Cube expired 02-20. I never received a notification from the state by mail that it was time to renew. So we have been driving the Cube with an expired registration for a year.
I took the Cube to the Nissan dealer and passed inspection.
I tried to renew online but I got the message that I needed to contact my county tax office. So I looked up the office and tried to get in contact by phone. Very long wait so I gave up. So I’ll do it the old fashioned way – go in person and stand in line.
On Friday I went to the tax office on the corner of Hillcrest and LBJ freeway. There were only 6 people ahead of me. So I was given a number and I sat down. Waited about 5 minutes (not long enough to get out my cellphone to check Facebook). Then my number was called.
I gave the clerk my passing inspection paper and my insurance papers. The papers said license KD5OUG.
“Sorry, we can’t renew because the registration expired for KD5OUG. You’ll have to get a new license plate with a new number. And pay for 2 years. And you can go online to myplates.com and get the ham license plate.”
I paid for 2 years and left with a new non-ham license plate. So now the Cube is legal. At home, I went online to myplates.com. They couldn’t issue KD5OUG because it was already in use. Argh……
My Subaru has license KD5OUG and it’s registration expires next month 03-22. I have not received a notification from the state for that renewal either. I need inspection. So back to the Subaru dealer (I say back because I was there earlier this month for an oil change. Sure would have been nice if they had mentioned that my registration expired in less than 60 days.)
So Saturday afternoon I went online to make an appointment for a state inspection of my Subaru. Filled out the online form with VIN and other stuff. A drop down menu was presented listing various services – but state inspection was not listed. So I called the Subaru dealer. “Thank you for calling Ewing Subaru. For service department, press 1.” I pressed 1 and got the message that all service reps were busy. I could leave a phone number and the first available would call me back.
(Click) I was never able to leave a number.
Monday morning I was able to talk to a human being and make an appointment. Inspection passed.
So back to the tax office to register the Subaru and figure out what to do for my Cube. Subaru was renewed without a hassle. Now for the Cube. I had a copy of my amateur license and the form VTR-53 Application for Mobile Amateur Radio Operator License Plates. Since I still have the old KD5OUG plates, I don’t need new physical plates. Can the records be updated to show KD5OUG? “Need to talk with supervisor about that”.
The saga continues. Supervisor says OK but the computer records from last Friday have not been processed so I need to return to the tax office on Wednesday to make the change.
So a word to the wise for all ham operators with a ham radio license plate — check the vehicle registration so you won’t lose the plate.
Epilogue: I was able to get my Nissan Cube re-registered with a KD5OUG license plate. It cost an additional $8.70 after waiting thru 3 games of Solitaire on my cellphone.
Epilogue for the Epilogue: I did receive a mail notification yesterday about registering the Subaru. But I had already renewed.
These ham radio related events are coming up soon.
Irving ARC Hamfest – Mar 5th
The Irving ARC is planning a hamfest on March 5th 8am-2pm at the bingo hall. Tickets ($5) are on sale and Tables are $10. They reserve the right to cancel up to Feb 28 (with full refund). Full details: https://irvingarc.org/hamfest/
QSO Today Virtual Ham Expo – Mar 12-13
This edition of the QSO Today Virtual Ham Expo will showcase a wide range of topics with appeal to newcomers and veterans alike. It’s a chance to update your amateur radio knowledge and get exposed to cutting edge ham radio technology as well as practical operating and building techniques. Like a live ham radio convention or hamfest, the Expo has presentations, exhibits, and state-of-the-art “lounges” for face-to-face interaction among participants. Some 60 ham radio luminaries will address a multitude of topics, from DXpeditions to Solar Cycle 25.
Full info: https://www.qsotodayhamexpo.com/
SKYWARN Training 2022
We’re coming up on the spring weather season, and that means it’s time to refresh our knowledge of weather spotting skills. The Dallas/Fort Worth NWS office conducts annual training for storm spotting and the 2022 schedule has been posted and sessions are underway. Like the past two years, most of the training sessions are live virtual/online – both evening and Saturday morning times are available. So get trained (or refreshed)! The full schedule is available here: https://www.weather.gov/fwd/skywarn
Fox & Hound?
Nick McCarthy K5NJM has had help finding the fox…
RF Bits & Bytes
New M-17 Mode Promoted at HamCation
Jason KM4ACK takes us through a new open source digital voice-data mode (similar to Fusion, DMR, etc) that was showcased at the recent Orlando HamCation. More info: m17project.org
Last Month’s Program
If you missed last month’s RWK General Meeting, you can always watch the video available from the RWK website.
Last Month we had Howard Bernstein WB2UZE and Jim Crites W6JIM from the Long Island CW Club with “How to learn and have fun with Morse Code”
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.
Ron Mares KO4WPP
Tony Soria KI5TTE
Trey Burns KI5TTD
RWK Membership – 342 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/
We always have a good group for our weekly Hungry Hams Lunches every Weds at noon at Sonny Bryan’s BBQ on Campbell at UTD. Why not join us?
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.
J-38 Straight Key – $40
Vintage J-38 Straight key on solid base with shorting bar and cable. Great key for learning CW.
Icom IC-735 HF Radio – $300
Great starter radio! Easy to use 100W 160-10M all mode w/ gen coverage receiver. From SK Estate.
Kenwood SM-220 Station Monitor – $175
The SM-220 is an oscilloscope and two-tone audio generator designed to test the output of an SSB, RTTY and digital waveforms. General purpose 10MHz scope and built-in attenuator for 40w-2KW signals. 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.