Here’s The Chawed Rag for January 2023. We’ve got great propagation, Winter Field Day, President’s Dinner Highlights, the Warren Bruene Award for 2022, RWK Elmer of the Year, part 3 of KG5P’s Pico project, lots of upcoming events, a new dish(!), and an easy vertical for POTA or your backyard, and so much more. Hope you enjoy! – KD4C
As we start 2023, I hope that you’ve noticed the great band conditions that we’ve had recently. Cycle 25 seems firmly in the upswing and early signs are that it might be better than average. As you should remember from last August’s RWK Meeting with Carl K9LA, a couple of key numbers to keep an eye on are the Solar Flux Index (SFI) which correlates to the Sun Spot Number (SSN) and the Planetary K Index (Kp). For SFI, anything over 100 is good and over 200 is usually great. For Kp, lower is better and anything less than 4 is “normal”. The graphic below was from the morning of Tuesday Jan 17th:
As one that has experienced both really good and really bad solar cycles, I want to encourage you to take advantage of this upswing in Cycle 25. The best time in the solar cycle is the upswing, and we are there! So do whatever you need to do to get back on the radio. Get a new radio! Fix that broken antenna! We are consistently experiencing world-wide activity on 10M all day, every day. It won’t last forever, please don’t miss it!
Thanks to all that came out for the 2023 RWK President’s Dinner. We had a great crowd and a good dinner and a bunch of people won door prizes. It was good to be able to see everyone and we’ve had lots of appreciative comments. See below for pictures.
As far as ham activities, we’re coming up on Winter Field Day (see below) and also the start of the 2023 hamfest season with the Cowtown Hamfest this month and Irving Hamfest in early March. We’re also planning our second annual group/team foxhunt. Hopefully there will be something to make you get out of the house!
Speaking of getting out of the house, we’re back to our regular schedule of General Meetings in February, and our program will be by Dr. Bob Heil K9EID, a legend in the audio business. He will have some tips on the best way to hook up and configure your microphone and HF radio to obtain the best possible sound and break through that pile-up!
And finally, I want to thank everyone for voting me as the 2022 recipient of the RWK Warren Bruene Award. The club takes the award very seriously and I’m proud to be another in a growing list of hams that have made RWK what it has become – one of the biggest and best radio clubs in Texas! But you’re stuck with me for another year and there are a few things that we’re going to get started in 2023 to make RWK even better. Stay tuned!
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
Winter Field Day 2023
By Chip Coker KD4C
RWK is planning a POTA-style Winter Field Day 2023 at our POTA Park-of-choice – Spring Creek Forest Preserve (in Garland – about 6 miles east of Richardson City Hall). We’re planning on a 6 hour outing (setup shortly before 12pm and operation from 1pm to 7pm. Operations will be weather permitting, so if it’s raining or very cold we won’t be there – Cross your fingers for good weather! The goal for our WFD is to 1) get on the air, and 2) Have fun! I’m encouraging fun over points but you can be as competitive as you want on the air. Again, this is a perfect opportunity for Technicians to get on the air (under the club license if you’re not on 10M, or under your own call if within the Tech allocation). There will be plenty of stations to work and band conditions have been spectacular of late. Stay tuned to the website and the groups.io list for final details and get ready to work some stations! https://winterfieldday.com/
2023 RWK President’s Dinner
By Chip Coker KD4C
RWK held an actual live, in-person President’s Dinner on January 8, 2023! While that shouldn’t be big news, it has been three years since we were able to hold such an event (the last President’s Dinner was in 2020), primarily due to the pandemic. We had 82 members and guests, some good Italian food and desserts, good fellowship and eyeball QSOs, a recap of 2022 (a bit too long – sorry about that!), some humorous and serious awards, and 20 door prizes.
I was happy to recognize Dave Russell W2DMR has having traveled the longest distance to get to the dinner – a bit over 54 trillion miles (around the sun)! I got to provide special thanks to Logan Ki5NON and his father Travis KI5PGM for shepherding “Wheatley” throughout 2022 in support of our RWK Foxhunt program. I was proud to award Larry Pollis KI5UXC with RWK Elmer of the Year for 2022 (read more below), and I was glad to award Eric Robertson WW9K (formerly W5MWM) with the Golden Microphone as the “Voice of the RWK” for his presence on the 147.12 repeater. Eric is always quick to respond with a friendly greeting to anyone that pops up on our main repeater (which more of you should do!) and he is the embodiment of an active, involved RWK member, having participated in most all of our 2022 activities (cause you know that we keep attendance records!). We need more members like Eric!
Special thanks to Doug Kilgore KD5OUG (for wrangling Aboca’s), Shawn Prestridge KI5PXG (for his audio equipment and for providing tunes during the event), and the entire RWK Board and especially Josh Barfield N4NZ for collecting and dispatching our lot of door prizes to their new radio homes. We will have the full complement of pics uploaded to the website soon.
Chip Coker KD4C Receives the Annual RWK Warren Bruene Award for 2022
By Michael Masterson WT9V
It is with great pleasure that I was privileged to present the 2022 Warren Bruene Award to Chip Coker KD4C at the annual Richardson Wireless Klub President’s Dinner. It was clear that the club has recognized the effort that Chip has put into the club, as he was the overwhelming winner with 2/3rds of the votes cast.
During the years that Chip has been club president, he has worked tirelessly to try and make RWK better than ever. “RWK has so much potential! With a club our size and the amount of smart, technically-minded hams that we have, RWK has the potential to be one of the best radio clubs in the state – if not the country – and that’s been my goal as RWK President,” said Chip. “We need to be creating more opportunities for our members and for new hams to promote the hobby.”
One of the first things that Chip told me when he became president was “I’m tired of us not holding VE sessions because of COVID, I know you’re doing sessions online, make something happen!”, so I did, and Chip has been at almost all of the sessions the VE team has held. With that and so many other aspects of the club, he doesn’t just participate, he leads.
Larry Pollis KI5UXC Awarded RWK Elmer of the Year for 2022
By Chip Coker KD4C
In September 2022, the RWK VE Team got a special request from a blind person that wanted to test for his Technician license. That’s when we met Austin resident Marshall Levett and found out that Larry Pollis KI5UXC had been encouraging him to study and get licensed. Larry had set Marshall up with several study resources and, as we found out, Marshall was now ready to get tested. Fortunately, Michael WT9V has some limited experience with using the ExamTools VE testing platform with assistive technologies (such as screen reading software) to test blind candidates, and we knew that it would work. So the exam for Marshall was set, and I was one of several RWK VEs privileged to watch Marshall get 34/35 on the first try for his Technician license. Marshall, who lives in Austin, also joined the RWK and has participated on several of our “Friday Lunch Bunch” Zoom calls.
Over the next couple of months. Larry continued to work with Marshall on researching which radios supported assistive technology and helped Marshall obtain a Kenwood TM-V71 with a voice module and also (in anticipation of an upgrade to General) a Kenwood TS-590S also with a voice module. Larry also worked with Marshall on studying for his General class upgrade, which Marshall obtained in December 2022 (also 34/35 and also with the RWK VE Team). Larry worked with Marshall on learning the placement of the knobs and buttons on the radio, and understanding which were active through the voice module – basically teaching Marshall how to use his new radios. Larry also installed some antennas at Marshall’s QTH in Austin. After radio installation, there was a problem with audio bandwidth that Marshall couldn’t resolve (something not covered by the voice module) and Larry helped him get it working and got him on the air! Larry continues to help Marshall as he gets started in his Ham Radio journey.
We should all aspire to embody the spirit of Elmering that Larry has shown with Marshall, and I was pleased to award Larry with the RWK Elmer of the Year Award for 2022 for his going over/above the “line of duty” to get Marshall licensed, upgraded, and on the air!
Basic Temperature Sensor using the Raspberry Pi Pico W (Part 3 of 3)
by Mike Jahrig KG5P
This month I will combine code described in previous issues and create a usable weather station application that will run on a Pico W. This application will read data output from the BME-280 sensor, reformat it into units familiar to Americans, display it on a HTML client and also log the data as a .csr file. In addition, it will call the NTP pool to obtain the date and time which will also be displayed and logged.
Upcoming Ham Radio Events
These ham radio related events are coming up soon.
Cowtown Hamfest – Jan 20-21
The first hamfest of the 2023 season is upon us. Hopefully the weather will be better this year! https://www.cowtownhamfest.com/
CQ WW 160M Contest – CW – Jan 27-28
A favorite for 160M aficianados. See the website for rules and details: CQ World Wide 160-Meter Contest, CW
Winter Field Day – Jan 28-29
Winter Field Day (not an ARRL Field Day function) can be a good alternative to our sweltering Texas summers. See above for RWK participation in WFD. The rules are a bit different so read them carefully (Note: no FT-4/8 allowed for WFD). Winter Field Day
Annual NWS SKYWARN Training – Feb 18 (Garland)
We’re coming up on the spring weather season, and that means it’s time to refresh our knowledge of weather spotting skills. The Fort Worth/Dallas NWS office conducts annual training for storm spotting and the 2023 schedule has been posted and sessions are underway. Live sessions are back this year and a few 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
Irving Hamfest – Sat Mar 4th 8am-2pm
For RWK, the Irving Hamfest is a great way to kick off the hamfest season. Get there early to find the big bargains. https://irvingarc.org/hamfest/
Chawed Rag Pic of the Month
Andrew Koenig KE5GDB checks the positioning and speed of the new RWK “airFiber” 1 Meter Dish, while Kevin Sims KD5YVL inspects the mounting on the roof of the Palisades Building. This dish provides a very high speed connection between RWK and DCARA’s site on Guinn Hall in Denton, some 28 miles to the northwest. This high-speed link will allow the collection of camera streams from weather cameras in multiple locations in North Texas to our camera server atop Palisades – allowing multiple municipalities to have a “bird’s eye view” of the weather. It will also support interconnection of our repeater systems in times of severe weather and networking of North Texas-Wide AREDN systems.
Ham Radio Bits & Bytes
Need A Low-Cost Mount For A Vertical?
If you want to work POTA (or even just put up a backyard vertical), this is a great (and cheap) solution. You can get galvanized 12″ nails from Home Depot or Lowes for around a buck and then use this mount. With some simple hardware, you can have a DIY vertical in no time!
Looking to Ditch Twitter? Morse Code Is Back
Here’s an interesting piece in Smithsonian Magazine about a resurgence in interest in Morse Code:
Last Month’s Program
Last Month we had the President’s Dinner in lieu of our General Meeting.
If you missed last month’s (or any previous) 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 see them at RWK events or hear them on our repeaters, please say hello.
Ken Burke KD5UDJ
Alex Pogostin KI5ZBY
Kevin Stevens KI5YYO
Joe Hammond KI5UKE
Jeff Wallach N5ITU
Randall Berger WA0D
RWK Membership – 343 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.
Support RWK by Buying 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.
Original content from this newsletter is Copyright 2022 by the Richardson Wireless Club and the bylined author(s). Content may be reused by other Amateur Radio organizations with appropriate credit, notification (to the Editor), and source linkage.
Contributions are welcome – please send material to firstname.lastname@example.org
President – Chip Coker KD4C
Vice-President – Bob Perkins W5RLP
Secretary – Josh Barfield N4NZ
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.