Here’s The Chawed Rag for October 2022 (it’s still October, right?). We’ve got more on Show & Tell night, QRP “Foxhunting” on HF, the History of the RWK Repeater, an inspiring story of a new ham (and RWK member!), Chris White builds a “brick” for his QRP KX3, KG5P shows us a Pico W, lots of coming events, and so much more. Hope you enjoy! – KD4C
I hope you’ve had a fun ham radio month and are taking advantage of our recent great HF band conditions. As I write this, we are just finishing up one of the biggest DX contests of the year (CQ WW DX – SSB). I hope last month’s presentation by Tim Duffy K3LR got some of you excited about participating in some contests. Not everyone is serious about being at the top of the contest rolls, but even if you’re not, participating in a contest in even just a small way can be a fun experience (not to mention helping you to catch some rare DX or those elusive states). There are more contests coming up in the next couple of months so watch Tim’s presentation if you missed it and want to get started.
This is the final reminder that our annual Show & Tell Night is coming up in November, and this will be the first one in person in a couple of years. Here’s what we would like you to show: New projects, products or things you’ve built or assembled that you use for ham radio or related activities. These are not necessarily electronics builds or things that involve soldering, rather just unique solutions that make radio easier or more fun. For example, after watching our presentation from June about the Shack rebuilding, I spied an antenna patch panel that W7UUU had incorporated into his new shack design. I’ve done something similar and I’ll be showing that off in November.
We’re not looking for an involved presentation – 5 minutes max and a couple of good pictures (or video) and/or the actual item. I’m betting that we can show off 8-10 items that will get people talking about how they want to do something similar. Bob W5RLP has created a form where you can list your Show & Tell entry:
Finally, as we head towards wrapping up the year (hard to believe), it’s time to consider who you as members want to lead RWK into 2023. Andrew KE5GDB is again heading our Nominating Committee for 2023 RWK Officers. If you are interested in helping RWK by serving as President, Vice President, Secretary or Treasurer (our elected positions), or if you are interested in knowing more about what that entails (, or if you just want to get rid of me!), please contact KE5GDB. Nominations will be accepted through the November RWK General Meeting, and the Nominating Committee will conduct elections (if necessary) via Ham Club Online ballot.
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
A Different Kind Of Fox Hunt
By Dick Burroughs N5KIP
QRP Fox Hunts on HF differ from the familiar weekend RWK fox hunts. QRP hunts are held in the CW portion of the 80, 40 and 20 bands. The object is to locate the frequency of the fox and complete a successful exchange of call, signal report, state, name, and power.
Fox hunts are held during two seasons. The winter season consists of 40 meter hunts on Tuesday evenings and 80 meter hunts on Thursday evenings. The summer season is held Tuesday evenings on 20 meters. Each season consists of 10 weekly hunts with breaks for holidays. Two foxes are on the air for each 90 minute hunt beginning at 8:00 pm local time in the Dallas area (i.e., CST or CDT as applicable).
RWK members Brian Murphy (WB8QZM), Mike Dooley (N5BGZ) and Dick Burroughs (N5KIP) participated in the QRP Fox Hunt 2022 summer season. Brian, who began QRP fox hunting after returning to ham radio in 2021, obtained the highest score of all new fox hunters during the 2022 summer season and was given the Top Hound Award. Mike and I are old hands at QRP fox hunting. During the 2022 summer season, 128 hounds made one or more contacts and a total of 1024 contacts were recorded.
QRP Fox Hunts began in the mid 1990s to promote QRP activity on the bands and acquire practical knowledge regarding HF propagation. Hunts are also a fun low stress way to gain experience in CW contesting and split operation. Most foxes operate split early in the 90 minute period of the hunt due to pileups. As the number of hounds calling diminishes, foxes tend to switch to simplex operation.
Both foxes operate CW within 10 kHz of the standard CW QRP calling frequencies (3.560, 7.040 or 14.060 MHz). All participants operate at 5 watts or less. The fox stations submit a list of their contacts from each hunt to the scorekeeper. A hunter is not required to submit a log. Each successful contact counts one point (or pelt). A hunter who makes all 20 possible contacts during a season would accrue a total score of 20 pelts.
A near real time online map of stations worked by the foxes allows hounds to visualize propagation as it occurs. Foxes and hounds are found throughout the US and Canada. An active email list keeps participants informed regarding upcoming hunts and past results. Additional information is available from the QRP Fox Hunt website: http://www.qrpfoxhunt.org/
Link to a PowerPoint presentation: https://www.slideserve.com/dezso/qrp-fox-hunts
The Mysterious History of the RWK Repeater
By Chip Coker KD4C
I was going through some old documents from the storage unit the other day and ran across some interesting information regarding the origins of RWK’s 147.12 Repeater. Not the great system that we have today – but how RWK ended up with the original repeater. Disclaimer: The following is what I’ve been able to piece together from the documents that I found and a few people that were around at the time. I’d love to fill in the gaps and get it all documented, so let me know if I’m missing things or have something wrong!
Evidently the origin of our RWK Repeater frequency begins with Gerald Williamson K5GW from Texas Towers. At the time, Richardson High School had a Low Power TV Station that was used by the school district, and there was a small broadcast tower installed at RHS. Gerald had a 2M repeater installed on that tower on our 147.12 frequency operating as K5GW. At some point, the repeater had technical difficulties due to a lightning strike and needed to be sent off for repairs. Gerald approached RWK in 1999-2000 to see if we wanted to assume the repeater and frequency, since he was planning to move 45 miles out of Richardson and didn’t want to worry about the repeater from such a distance. After some protracted discussions, RWK accepted the repeater and frequency and operated it under the K5RWK callsign, still based at the RHS site.
Shortly after this transfer, the Richardson School District eliminated the Low Power TV Station and decided to remove the tower. I’ve been told that RWK didn’t find out about this until one day the tower was gone and the repeater was no longer on the air! The search for a new location ended up at the (now old) Methodist Hospital on Campbell and Collins. The K5RWK Repeater was moved to to the Hospital roof and operated there for awhile (slightly higher than the RHS tower). The Hospital roof is now the home of our backup repeater.
I’m told that, after a few years operation on the Hospital, the repeater was moved to its current Palisades II tower location. I’ve been told that the City approached RWK and asked us if we wanted part of their leased space. Thankfully someone must have said “yes”.
If you were around during this interesting period and can fill in some of the details (timeframes, equipment, etc), please send me a note so that we can get it documented!
“Seeing” His Way Into Ham Radio
By Michael Masterson WT9V
Recently the RWK VE Team tested Marshall, a friend of Larry KI5UXC. Marshall, who is sightless, had been interested in radio for some time. After some encouragement from Larry, Marshall had been studying for his Technician Exam. He joined RWK and had been working with Michael WT9V to make sure that we could test him using his assistive technology. The ExamTools VE software that our team uses is compatible with Marshall’s assistive screen reader software, and we tested Marshall at a recent RWK VE session, where he passed his Technician Exam. Here’s the moment where he found out that he passed!
Since then, Larry has taken a trip to Austin, where Marshall lives, to help him get equipped. Larry reports “He now has a Kenwood TM-V71A with one of the last voice chips in the world! And a TS-590GS, also with the voice chip. That is really the last voice chip in the world! Fantastic radios, both of them!”
“I also put up a stealth multi band dipole for 10, 15, and 20m and got it tuned. Then put up a 40m dipole (bent around a corner). I should have taken him a VHF/UHF external with some gain but that will be for another time. He has a small antenna in his shack on a metal plate that will allow him into the N5OAK repeater on the south side of town.”
While Larry was in Austin helping Marshall, we again got the privilege of testing Marshall for his upgrade to General. Again, he passed on the first try and Larry was there to help him celebrate! “Once he learns to navigate his TS-590 front panel and gains a little confidence with its operation, I hope to hear him on 40M soon and have a QSO.”, says Larry.
Larry has also gotten Marshall tied into the Handi-Hams community, where assistive technologies for ham radio are shared.
Please thank Larry for being a great RWK representative and listen for Marshall on the air!
Building the Hardrock 50 HF Power Amplifier for QRP Rigs
By Chris White WX7V
I love my Elecraft KX3 but as I learned on a mini-DXpedition to St. Martin this summer, sometimes 10 or even 15 watts is not enough power to make a decent QSO rate, even with a resonant antenna. I know I could buy a 100w rig for travel, but I’d like to keep the KX3 and get more use out of it. The KX3 travels nicely, and the antennas, cables and batteries all pack down into a backpack that’s convenient for air travel.
There are several HF power amplifiers on the market designed for portable QRP radios, including the Elecraft KXPA100, the RM ITALY MLA100 and Chinese made MX-P50M which is currently “Amazon’s Choice” for what that’s worth.
After some research I settled on the Hardrock 50 which is a complete amplifier kit that is FCC approved for commercial sale by HobbyPCB.com. The amplifier is based on Jim Veatch’s award winning design developed for the ARRL’s 2nd Homebrew Challenge competition. The Hardrock 50 covers 160M – 10M bands and supports auto band switching with an optional rig interface.
Getting Started with Raspberry Pi Pico W
by Mike Jahrig KG5P
Have you wondered what a Raspberry Pi Pico W is? It’s a small microcontroller that allows you to do very small repetitive tasks – it’s really nothing like a traditional Raspberry Pi, but it is suited for quite a bit of small projects and you should know how to use one. This month I will show you how to set up a simple web server to retrieve and post information from the Pico W to a web page.
At this writing the Picos are in stock at Microcenter for 7 bucks. Well, maybe not. In fact they are about the only Raspberry products available in the US and Europe unless you want to pay outrageous prices.
You can program the Pico using various languages, BASIC, C++ or Micropython. I will use Micropython in this project. Micropython is a version of Python designed for use with microcontrollers or embedded hardware like the Pico. It contains its own set of support libraries and modules. Today we will install the firmware and my favorite IDE, Thonny.
Upcoming Ham Radio Events
These ham radio related events are coming up soon.
ARRL Sweepstakes – CW – Nov 5-6
ARRL Sweepstakes – SSB- Nov 19-20
Work all US and Canada Sections for a “Clean Sweep”. http://www.arrl.org/sweepstakes
DCARA Turkey Roll – Nov 19th
Turkey Roll is just around the corner. This is one of the largest bike rides in the area. The course will be somewhat similar to years past, but the start/finish area has moved to the New Denton Bronco High School. DCARA is looking for volunteers to cover all positions: NCS/ANCS, SAG/rovers, and rest stops. This is a great opportunity to use your go-kits and demonstrate your operating skills to the public. Sign up link: https://forms.gle/ete2rDPZ5tWFXMFG8
More event info: https://www.discoverdenton.com/events/annual-events/turkey-roll-bicycle-rally/
Richardson Christmas Parade – Dec 3rd
This year marks the 50th Annual Christmas Parade for the City of Richardson. RWK will again be assisting in parade communications and we’ll be looking for volunteers closer to the event. Parade is on the East side this year (Plano Road). More info: https://www.cor.net/departments/parks-recreation/community-events/christmas-parade/
Dallas Marathon – Sun Dec 11th
Amateur Radio is an integral part in making the Dallas Marathon a success by providing a public service radio communications network for safety and logistics. The many Amateur Radio Clubs in and around the Metroplex have supported the Marathon for nearly 40 years. If you would like to volunteer (or for more information): https://sites.google.com/site/dallasmarathoncomms/home
Chawed Rag Pic of the Month
RWK had another POTA outing in October after the successful September POTA outing. We learned a few lessons in September that we wanted to try out, and we had a few Technicians that wanted to try their hand at operating HF. Another great afternoon (and the Spring Creek Forest Preserve is really a great place for POTA)
Ham Radio Bits & Bytes
Modeling Common Dipole Variations
Do you have a non-perfect dipole that hangs down at the ends or otherwise can’t be in a straight line? Use EZNEC software to see just what happens!
Solar Storm Forecast from Tamitha Skov
If you want to keep up with what’s going on with the Sun (and how it’s going to affect radio propagation), then Tamitha Skov’s YouTube channel should be your first stop. Nicknamed the “Space Weather Woman”, Skov does short weekly forecasts predicting conditions that affect our radio propagation and solar storms.
Last Month’s Program
Last Month we had Tim Duffy K3LR (you may know him as the head of DX Engineering) on Getting Started with Contesting. Tim is an avid and very experienced contester (and has a wall of plaques to prove it!) and will tell you how to get started with basic contesting, which contests are the most popular, and what you need to get started. He will also go over Contest University, the premier seminar held in conjunction with the Dayton Hamvention, where the best of the best share tips and tricks. If you’ve wanted to get your feet wet in contesting, then you’ll want to see Tim’s presentation.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.
Marshall Levett KI5YIA
Wilson Little NT5AT
Logan Pulley N9QZ
Robert Latlippe NC1RL
RWK Membership – 345 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.
Micro(u)BitX Transceiver – $100
This kit has been assembled and seems to work, although we’re not sure how well. It came from a SK estate and would be perfect for someone who wants to experiment with it (there are lots of upgrades to be made). Comes complete with case and 2 Line LCD display (did I mention there were upgrades?). For more information about the microbitx series: https://www.hfsignals.com/
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) Web renewals with club is still in work at ARRL
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 Administrator
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 KG5CK
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.