Here’s The Chawed Rag for July 2022. We’ve got a fun Parks on the Air outing, record Field Day submissions, how to use Ham Club Online, more on the Nano-VNA from KG5P, and so much more. Hope you enjoy! – KD4C
I hope you’ve had a fun ham radio month. With the recent record heat, there’s been both good news and bad news. The bad news is that a lot of us probably have lots of outside antenna work that we can’t get done. The good news is that in addition to the sun giving us record 100 degree days, we are also hitting very high sunspot numbers, providing lots of band openings and hopefully hinting at a better-than-normal Solar Cycle 25.
What is Solar Cycle 25, you say? Well if you’re a new ham (or you’ve just been under a rock for the past 11 years), you might not know that the Sun’s spinning magnetic core produces fluctuations in the amount of ionizing radiation that is produced (and that hits the Earth). These fluctuations occur in roughly 11 year cycles, and we are now starting Cycle 25. This ionizing radiation directly influences radio propagation and “whether the bands are open”. How does it all work and how do you know? Well, sorry for the long tease, but that’s what our August General Meeting speaker (Carl K9LA) will be explaining! If you want to know how to turn all those SFIs and Kp’s and MUFs into information that you can actually use, you should come.
As a bonus to attending the meeting in person, we usually have a “free stuff” table, where the klub or one of the members place stuff that needs a new ham home. Most of the time, it’s small items or parts or cables, and if it’s on the table and you can use it, you’re welcome to take it (first come…). Conversely, if you have something that might be of use to another ham, you can label it, bring it and add it to the “free table”. There is one requirement: If it is still there at the end of the meeting, you must take it back home with you (If you leave the meeting early, take it with you when you leave). We can’t leave electronic trash at the church, and it’s not fair to ask the few club members that stay around and clean up after the meeting to haul your stuff out! So if you bring it and it doesn’t find a new home, it goes back to the old one.
We also have some “for sale” items from the RWK and these will be on the “check in” table. Members have gotten some pretty good bargains in the last few months, so make sure you have a look.
Enjoy the band openings and we will (hopefully) hear you on the MOTA and see you on the 8th.
Thanks for being a RWK Member! – 73 de KD4C (feedback: firstname.lastname@example.org)
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.
This Month’s Chawed Rag Features
RWK Parks-On-The-Air Outing Coming In September
As announced at the July RWK Meeting, we are planning a Parks-On-The-Air (POTA) outing to the Spring Creek Forest State Preserve in Garland. Texas State Park K-4423 is the closest POTA-eligible location to Richardson (and only about 10 minutes from here). This is a prime opportunity for you to learn how a POTA activation is conducted (or to just go play radio in the park). Come see why POTA has generated over 6 million QSOs in the last year or so.
The outing is planned for the third Saturday in September (Sept 17th). Eagle-eyed RWK members will notice that is the same day as the RWK Hungry Hams breakfast (at Southern Recipes Kitchen). The current plan would be to assemble at the breakfast then convoy to the park around 10am and operate until mid-afternoon. Come for breakfast or just come to the park later.
We’re planning two or three different stations (similar to Field Day), probably separated by band and/or mode. You are welcome (encouraged even!) to bring your own POTA setup (Radio, Antenna, power) but the club will also have equipment that can be used so you aren’t required to bring anything except yourself (and possibly a camp chair). There will be food, fun and a bunch of radio. We will be asking for sign-ups towards the end of August so you still have time to work on your POTA antenna.
For those not familiar with POTA, you’re encouraged to watch Don Weeks N5SKT’s General Meeting presentation from December 2021 or visit the Parks-on-the-Air website. Here’s a short video of David KG5EIU (and Bill KF5ZBL) and their (fancy) POTA setups:
ARRL Field Day 2022 Contacts Rise to Over 1.2 Million
From the ARRL Letter
Updated numbers from ARRL Field Day 2022 now show 1,235,265 total reported contacts as of July 26, 2022. ARRL Contest Program Manager Paul Bourque, N1SFE, reported that 4,774 Field Day entries have been submitted, and there were 28,250 Field Day participants.
The class breakdown for 2022 is as follows:
- 1,141 Class A (club / non-club portable)
- 598 Class B (one or two person portable) and Battery (one or two person portable)
- 56 Class C (mobile)
- 2,093 Class D (home stations)
- 735 Class E (home stations using emergency power)
- 151 Class F (Emergency Operations Centers)
The last day to submit entries was Tuesday, July 26, so the numbers will change in the coming weeks.
Plano Balloon Festival 2022 Looking For Volunteers
The Plano Balloon Festival is back for 2022. This is the 43rd year of the festival, a three day event from September 23rd through the 25th.
As in years past, the Plano Amateur Radio Club is looking for communications support volunteers. There will be a reduced number of balloons and will not require as many resources as in years past, but you can go here for more information and to sign up as a volunteer.
What Is Ham Club Online (and why should I care)?
By Michael Masterson WT9V
HamClubOnline (HCOL) is the system that we use to manage club membership, including new applications for club membership and when everyone’s memberships are up for renewal. HCOL also handles other important things like sending out reminders for club activities, club file storage, club asset control, elections/polls, and emergency alerting, among other things. For the club officers, it really makes it convenient to manage a club the size of RWK, but what does it do for the members?
Two of the things that are most useful to the average club member are extending their club membership, and finding other club member’s contact information, both are quite easy with HCOL.
Using Nano VNAs – Component Measurement
By Mike Jahrig KG5P
(Part 4 of a series)
Last month we discussed four types of filters and investigated their behavior using the NanoVNA. This month we will use the Nano to identify the values of some junk box inductors and capacitors to see if their markings agree with the NanoVNA display.
Upcoming Ham Radio Events
These ham radio related events are coming up soon.
Rookie Roundup – RTTY – Aug 21
If you want to learn RTTY, this is the best time. Only 6 Hour the evening of Aug 21. http://www.arrl.org/rookie-roundup
Worldwide Digi DX Contest – Aug 27-28
4th FT8 / FT4 only DX contest sponsored by a collaboration between the World Wide Radio Operators Foundation (WWROF) and Slovenia Contest Club https://ww-digi.com/
ARRL September VHF Contest – Sep 10-12
Always a popular event. Get your 6M (and up) antennas tuned and ready. All mode on 50MHz and up. http://www.arrl.org/september-vhf
Belton Fall HamExpo – Sept 30-Oct 1
Don’t miss it! https://tarc.org/hamexpo-schedule/
Chawed Rag Pic of the Month
Meet “LMC” – Lisa Marie Coppoletta KI5WEP from San Marcos. The RWK VE Team tested her not long ago and she joined the klub right after. Since then we’ve hosted her at least twice on the Friday Lunch Bunch and Josh N4NZ helped her program her assortment of HTs. She’s very energetic and interested in working with her local area. “I am encouraging the City of San Marcos Neighborhood Commission to meet the need for Emergency communications. Presently I am working on getting block captains with FRS Radios to communicate with GMRS and Ham Radio Operators”
Ham Radio Bits & Bytes
RF Line of Sight Link Tool
We think of Texas (and Richardson) as being flat, but sometimes just 30 or 40 feet in elevation either way can really affect line-of-sight signals (such as to-from our repeaters). Ever wondered how to figure out if you have a true line-of-sight path between two points? There’s a tool for that!
Need a Choke?
Watch this to see how to build your own well-performing common-mode choke for half the price. Here TheSmokinApe measures a build-your-own choke against a commercial product for twice the price. You probably need something like this on your antenna and they’re easy to build! (see part one where he discusses the different types of “tow-roids” and how to measure their effectiveness).
Which Coax Should You Use?
By now you should know that I’m a fan of Callum M0MCX. Here’s a short bit where he gives some examples of power losses by choosing the wrong coax. You should pick your coax based on the highest frequency you plan to use it for, the maximum power you plan to use, and the expected length and SWR of your antenna. If you know all that, then you can pick the best coax for your antenna installation. Don’t cut corners on coax – get the best you can afford for what you need!
Last Month’s Program
Last Month we had Jim Wilson K5ND presenting on the “magic band”. You, too, can capture the MAGIC of six meters. It takes some time and skill, but you’ll achieve incredible results from an average station.
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.
LISA M COPPOLETTA KI5WEP
ANGEL A HERNANDEZ KI5WIF
Lynn B Alexander KE8VDS
Christopher M Robinette KF5PSL
EDWARD P SULKIN KI5RZL
MATTHEW HARANG KI5WIP
RWK Membership – 354 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 email@example.com 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 third 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 email@example.com.
Need to Renew Your ARRL Membership?
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)
Here’s the link to join/renew your ARRL Membership: https://home.arrl.org/action/Membership/Join-ARRL
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.
Set up AmazonSmile and the Klub will receive a small percentage of your Amazon purchases. We’ve received over $900 to date cause you guys buy lots of stuff!
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, notification, and source linkage.
Contributions are welcome – please send material to firstname.lastname@example.org
President – Chip Coker KD4C
Vice-President – Bob Perkins W5RLP
Treasurer – Michael Masterson WT9V
Trustee – Andrew Koenig KE5GDB
Education – Bob Hill KG5WRY
Public Service – Don Klick
Social – David Nathanson K5CU
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.