Here’s The Chawed Rag for May 2022. We always need more content so snap some pics of your latest tinkering or if you have seen something that has really helped you in ham radio, see the right column below on how to submit it. Let me know what you think (good or bad) and what else you would like to see in the CR. – KD4C
I hope you’ve had a fun ham radio month. As I mentioned last month, the HF bands have been on fire! I worked 15 new states on 6 Meters a few days ago! Those that have been paying attention know that I’m a big fan of 10 Meters. The picture to the left shows a pretty rare (at least for the last several years) occurrence – 10 meters open for a full 24 hours! It’s time to get your station ready for Cycle 25, so get to work on those antennas, start watching the Solar Flux Index (which was 177 last week!), and get on the air. If you need help with antennas or other station work, please let us know and we’ll find people to help.
We’ve had two in-person meetings now (since our return to Saint B in April) and I’m finally thinking that we’ve got the basis of a good routine down, but there’s always room for improvement. So if you’ve been to one of the past two meetings and you have an idea of something that we need to improve, please let me know. And speaking of meetings, our VP Bob Perkins has been hard at work lining up meeting programs for the rest of the year. We will continue to have a mix of local and remote programs for the in-person meetings – our goal is to have the best programs available across a wide range of ham radio interests, and we have chosen not to limit meeting presenters to only those that can present in person. We hope that you agree.
We’re also going to expand our very successful Ham VE Testing program to include an in-person testing session prior to the monthly RWK meeting. At least two other local clubs also test prior to their meetings and this way we don’t have to wait for the church to make the classrooms available. We’re still not sure of the demand for in-person testing since we test online every week, so this will be a good “test” to see if in-person testing is still wanted/needed. We will be using the same electronic testing system – Exam Tools – that we use for online, but instead of computers and zoom, we have tablets. Most all paper-based testing and template grading is being phased out since Exam Tools is much faster – applicants get instant grading and their licenses are issued in a few short days. If you would like to participate in the in-person sessions, please contact WT9V to make sure that you are accredited with W5YI-VEC and we will need to get you set up and trained on the Exam Tools system.
Your Board of Directors has been discussing Field Day 2022 and we will have more concrete plans closer to the June meetings (meeting on the air & in-person). But we’re trying to have a more normal Field Day than in the past couple of years, including a group meal and some demonstration activities in addition to multi-station multi-mode operating. I know I say this every year, but if you are a Technician and have never operated HF, this is a great opportunity to get your feet wet. Sure the bands will be packed, but that just adds to the excitement.
Finally, please share any interesting ham-related stuff you’ve seen or have been doing. Doesn’t matter how raw or badly written, we’ll make you look good and help you show off what you’ve been doing – see the right column for details. 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 (feedback: email@example.com)
Jon Hamfest / Dayton Hamfest
It’s Tropo Ducting Season
Or “Why Do I Hear Strange Things On The Repeater Frequency?”
By Chip Coker KD4C
Have you ever listened to the repeater frequency and swear you heard stations you didn’t recognize and a strange repeater ID? Well chances are your ears weren’t deceiving you. This is the result of a weird atmospheric phenomenon called Tropospheric – or Tropo – Ducting. Ducting can happen any time but is especially common in warm summer months with high humidity.
Most of us are familiar (as much as we can be) with HF propagation effects and the long-range communications paths that they provide. HF propagation is mainly the result of the Ionosphere, an upper level section of our atmosphere. Various levels of the Ionosphere react to charged particles from the Sun and cause bending of radio waves over short to long – even worldwide – distances. These effects rarely affect any frequencies above 50 MHz due to the level of charge that would be required. Signals over 50 MHz usually just go straight through the Ionosphere and out into space.
But if weather conditions on earth are right, the Troposphere – a much lower layer in the atmosphere than the Ionosphere – can exhibit much different effects on frequencies significantly above 50 MHz!
Group Foxhunt & Ice Cream Social
By David Nathanson K5CU & Chip Coker KD4C
As an attempt to jump-start those that have wanted to start hunting but weren’t sure how to begin, KD4C followed a small foxhunter group a few weeks ago and gave them tips and suggestions as they hunted. The group agreed that this was very successful and that we should expand it.
A group outing was planned for the Saturday after the monthly breakfast and, after a brief training session by Foxhunter Extraordinaire KG5WRY, off we went in a hunting convoy. I’m happy to report that both foxes were indeed found and that everyone seemed to enjoy the outing (and hopefully learned a lot about hunting). A post-hunt celebration was held at Braum’s, where hunting tales were told and everyone enjoyed well-earned ice cream! Thanks to K5CU for the idea and organization.
Pics From the Dayton Hamvention
Ken N2VIP sends a Google Photo album of pics that he took from the Dayton Hamvention last weekend. If it’s Dayton, there must be rain and mud… Thanks for the pics, Ken!
Google Photo Album:
Support RWK Through New & Renewal ARRL Memberships
by Chip Coker KD4C (compiled from ARRL Club News)
As an ARRL-affiliated club, the RWK has always been eligible for a modest commission for new and renewal ARRL memberships from RWK club members. However, this process has always been such pain that we haven’t taken advantage of it. With the recent change to the ARRL website, this process is now much easier.
If you are joining the ARRL for the first time, the RWK is entitled to $15 of your ARRL dues, and if you renew your ARRL membership, the RWK is entitled to $5. You now can just apply directly on the ARRL website (instead of filling on a paper form). When you apply (or renew), there will be a place on the application form for you to designate the Richardson Wireless Klub as your primary club. If you do that, then RWK gets the money that we are entitled to. (this change is effective June 1 2022)
Link to join/renew your ARRL Membership: https://home.arrl.org/action/Membership/Join-ARRL
You can read my separate piece on Why Should I Join/Renew My ARRL Membership that was in a recent Chawed Rag.
CQ WW WPX Contest CW This Weekend
by Jon Suehiro NN5T
After coming back from Dayton, I was surprised to see Sunspot Number was hitting 170-sh. 15M has been opening to Zone 22 incredibly well every night and morning.
Like WPX SSB, the WPX CW contest is for anybody everywhere, especially if you have any unique prefix (or use advantage of /5 rule even more unique — if your call is KS7x/5, then WPX multiplier would be ‘KS5’).
For those who are in the Learn CW course, are you ready for some real CW excitement ? Program your contest logger (I use N1MM) with your call and 599 001 (5NN %3, in my case with WriteLog to send 3 digit serial number starting at 001 automatically), you just need to concentrate to copy the callsign and number from DX stations. S&P (search and pounce) is the easy way to start.
K5RWK 599 001 de NN5T (unique prefix owners are especially encouraged to be on the air). 73 ES GL CU SOON (starting in 4 hours)
CQ WW WPX Contest, CWB: 0000Z, May 28 to 2359Z, Mar 29
Full Rules and Info: https://www.cqwpx.com/rules.htm
RWK Learn CW Program – Field Day Edition
By David Nathanson K5CU
One of the goals of our Learn CW program is to increase CW operation during Field Day (mainly so Jon wouldn’t feel so lonely). We will have the perfect opportunity, as the Field Day rules allow for a “Get On The Air” station. If your Field Day team starts setting up at 10am (Field Day officially begins at 1pm CDT), then you are allowed one station that can start operating as soon as it is ready (which we should be able to do in just a few minutes). I want our GOTA station to be dedicated to slow speed FD QSOs by people that are in the Learn CW program. Sure, there will be many stations on the air, but the environment couldn’t be better – you will be able to use your (not the club’s) callsign and we will have plenty of backup to help you copy the simple FD exchange and help you log QSOs. If you think you’re ready (and we will definitely have at least one practice session before FD), please let me know that you want to try your hand and “GOTA” with CW during Field Day.
Using Nano VNAs – Band-Pass & Band-Stop Filters
By Mike Jahrig KG5P
Last time we discussed investigating the properties of low pass and high pass filters using the Nano-VNA. Today we will discuss 2 additional common filter types, the band-pass, and band-stop (sometimes called notch) filters.
Below are the filter use instructions from my Yaesu Ftdx-3000 manual.
As you can see, the band-pass filter on the left can be adjusted to move the IF passband up or down in frequency so it will reject interfering signals like QRM or heterodyne below and above the passband settings.
On the right is the notch or bandstop filter. This allows you to put a “notch” in the passband somewhere that nulls out an undesired signal but retain the original passband limits.
You probably have one or both of these filters on your HF rig.
Upcoming Ham Radio Events
These ham radio related events are coming up soon.
CQ WW WPX Contest – CW – Sat-Sun May 28-29
See other section in this CR and email from Jon NN5T for more information.
DFW Ham Expo – Sat June 11th
New hamfest co-sponsored by DCARA. Held at Grand Stage in Lewisville Music City Mall (former Vista Ridge Mall on I-35E in Lewisville). More Info: https://www.dfwhamexpo.com/
North Texas Bike Rally – Sat Jun 11th
On Saturday, June 11th, St. Jude will be hosting the North Texas Bike Rally. This event is based out of Westlake/Trophy Club/Roanoke. Volunteers are needed for all positions: rovers/tail, rest stops, and net control. Reporting times will be as early as 6:30AM, and the event should be wrapping up just after noon. This event is open to any licensed radio operator. Contact KE5GDB for any questions.
North Texas Bike Rally signup: https://forms.gle/RUDAXkVUxghpBuN28
North Texas Bike Rally general information:
ARRL Field Day – June 26-27
See other information in this Chawed Rag and stay tuned for full RWK Field Day info.
Pic of the Month
Here’s a pic from the most recent Hungry Hams Monthly Breakfast – We had a great crowd (23!). You should join us next month…
Ham Radio Bits & Bytes
Moonbounce Is Easy When You Have a 150 Foot Dish!
Interesting that this dish works from 20 MHz up to 2GHz…
Top Five Software Defined Radios (SDRs)
Since our program this month features uses of SDRs, I thought I would pull this back out for those that haven’t seen it. The vid is from 2020 but it’s still relevant today and discuss the main points around selecting an SDR for ham radio use.
Last Month’s Program
Last Month we had Jack Spitznagel KD4IZ presenting on SDRs “Ways to use the RF “Swiss Army Knife”. We hope you learned about some things that can be done with Software Defined Receivers.
If you missed last month’s RWK General Meeting, you can always watch the video available from the RWK website.
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.
Thomas Williams KT1ME
“Butch” Adair WA5SLG
Adam Butt KE5MMK
Al Alexander KN5EEE
Chris Heydrick KI5VEI
Stephen Donaldson KI5VLV
RWK Membership – 355 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 Hats Are Back!
We have a new supply of the popular RWK Hats. They are available at any Hungry Hams lunch or you can order from the website and we will mail it to you!
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.
Legal Limit Tuner – MFJ 989C Versa Tuner V – $200
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.
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?
Don’t forget about the Hungry Hams Monthly Breakfast every second Saturday at 8am at Southern Recipes Kitchen on Plano Parkway.
Share Your Activities In The Chawed Rag
The RWK is always looking for content to publish in The Chawed Rag. If you have an article, technical subject, project or fun story you would like to contribute, please submit it to the editor at email@example.com.
To submit an article to the Editor for consideration, please put your article into a single Word Document, or if that is not possible, collect all of your article’s components into a folder and create a zip archive of all of it. Then simply email the Word Doc or zip file to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
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.
The Chawed Rag
A monthly publication of the Richardson Wireless Klub, PO Box 830232, Richardson TX 75083. The Club Callsign is K5RWK.
Content from this newsletter may be reused by other Amateur Radio organizations with appropriate credit and source linkage.
Contributions are welcome – please send material to email@example.com
President – Chip Coker KD4C
Vice-President – Bob Perkins W5RLP
Secretary – Phil Cook N5UH
Treasurer – Michael Masterson WT9V
Trustee – Andrew Koenig KE5GDB
Education – Bob Hill KG5WRY
Public Service – Don Klick
Quartermaster – Jon Suehiro NN5T
Past President – Mark Beebe W5YF
Meetings of the Board of Directors are held monthly on the first Thursday of the month and are open to any member in good standing of the club. Please contact any club officer if you would like to attend.