Here’s The Chawed Rag for May 2023. We’ve got DFW Ham Expo this Saturday, Field Day 2023, 6 Meter propagation basics, WB8QZM caught foxhunting on video, Contest University 2023 at Dayton, a new approach to a foxhunting attenuator from N5HD, the “Best Coax Connectors” (IMHO), vintage ARRL ham radio promo video, and so much more. Hope you enjoy! – KD4C
We are officially into the 6 Meter season, with multiple openings per week. If you’re a 6M fan, the next month or so is for you! After getting mad listening to Jon NN5T talking about the stations he heard that I did not, in a fit of insanity I now have a new 6M three element yagi. So far, it’s working great, but it remains to be seen that it will make up for the NN5T “secret sauce”. Since it’s 6M time, read below for more on “6M”magic band” propagation and how to build a great 6M station.
We’re also starting the countdown to the largest annual amateur radio event of the year – Field Day. Always the last full weekend in June (this year it’s June 24-25), Field Day has its roots as a nationwide emergency preparedness exercise, where hams set up stations away from their home QTH and attempt to communicate with other stations across the country and Canada. Many people think that Field Day is a “contest”, but it’s not – it’s just an opportunity to prove that you can communicate with all 71 ARRL sections. You’ll never hear the bands more crowded than on Field Day weekend, with around 40,000 hams on the air on multiple bands and modes. Read below to see how you can participate in RWK’s Field Day this year.
With the onset of Summer, I’m unilaterally declaring the end to the Spring Weather Season! (I’ve been known to be wrong). We’ve had a busy one this Spring, and luckily we’ve escaped much weather damage here in Richardson. We have had some equipment damage, however. During one of the most recent SKYWARN nets, the Palisades building (home of our repeaters, cameras, servers and networking equipment) took a lightning strike that knocked out our primary network switch. Even with our in-line cable surge suppressors that usually protect the cameras and inter-tie radios, we still had a progressive failure resulting in a dead $500 switch. We do budget for these things and we’ll have a replacement in place soon, but it’s just a reminder that all our great repeaters and systems are expensive and require money to be properly maintained. That money is your annual club dues! So thank you!
I was very happy with the kickoff of our new QRV Tech series. We had 20 or so members watching Shawn KI5PXG talking about oscilloscope basics and things that hams can do with the new digital scopes (recording is available on the website). Each subject may not be for everyone, but just great for some! Next month, we will be building a 1:1 Choke Balun – suitable for building a dipole – as part of our Field Day outing, and we have a list of future QRV Tech subjects for the rest of Summer and Fall.
Finally, this Saturday is the second Hamfest in our area this year (after the Irving Hamfest in March) – DFW Ham Expo in Lewisville. It started small last year and will be bigger and better this year. It’s no Ham-Com, but having and supporting hamfests in our local area is important and good for the ham community, so you should go. Plus, you might find the bargain that you’re looking for! See below for more info.
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
Field Day 2023 Is Coming June 24th
By Chip Coker KD4C
Plans are coming together for Field Day 2023 on Sat June 24. We’re going to make it fun for RWK. Although Field Day is not a traditional “contest”, many clubs treat it as such. with a “get points at all costs” approach. I’m hoping that our Field Day prioritizes fun over points. To that end, here’s what we’re planning:
Field Day will again be at the Richardson Emergency Operations Center (EOC) (Plano Rd & Lookout – see map). There’s just too many reasons to have it here (namely lots of parking and air conditioning – it is June in Texas after all). Field Day is basically a nationwide Emergency Preparedness exercise, so some think it’s not a “traditional Field Day” if we are not in a field, but there’s a reason that the rules have a specific operator class (F) for Emergency Operations Centers – the rules encourage us to be familiar with that facility in case we need to use it for real!
Contest University 2023
By Chip Coker KD4C
Every year preceding the Dayton Hamvention, Contest University is held at an area hotel. It’s attended by a “who’s who” of contesters and aspiring contesters and there is a day full of great presentations on all things that contesters – as well as most hams – are interested in: Techniques, radios, antennas, etc. Lots of subjects.
After the seminar is over, some of the presentations are made available for viewing by a larger audience. We all win! Follow the link to the complete Contest University Main Room presentations for this year (it’s over 8 hours, but you can skip ahead to what you’re interested in – see the “more info” for the times).
There are also some side room presentations. I haven’t found the videos for these, but you can see the presentation files for many of them here: https://www.contestuniversity.com/files/
Fundamentals of 6 Meter Propagation
Frank Donovan W3LPL recently wrote an article in the May 2023 QST and also presented at this year’s Dayton Hamvention antenna forum (hosted by Tim Duffy K3LR). If you are interested in a 6M propagation tutorial (and how it differs from traditional 80-10M propagation, you should read the article or view his presentation slides. http://www.k3lr.com/Dayton/Dayton2023/W3LPL.pdf
I haven’t been able to find a video of his Dayton presentation this year, but here is an excellent (if a bit long) presentation from last year where he covers the basics of 6M propagation as well as some great tips on building a great 6M station.
Brian WB8QZM Caught Foxhunting on Camera
By Chip Coker KD4C
I swear he’s not paying us, but it seems like every month in the Chawed Rag, Brian WB8QZM seems to get mentioned for something related to Foxhunting. This month’s “Brian is Foxhunting” feature is a YouTube video of some random guy hanging around White Rock Lake and talking to people about what they’re doing. After some non-related people, he stumbles on Brian and Chris KV2T hunting the White Rock Lake foxes. There’s some sketchiness with a homeless camp and a tripwire, but otherwise – subjects notwithstanding – this is bad amateur video at its best. I applaud Brian and Chris in their persistence, but I probably would have told this guy to literally take a hike (around the lake).
Active/Passive Attenuator for Fox Hunting
by Dwaine Hurta N5HD
The W0QE active/passive transmitter hunting attenuator is an excellent tool in hunting down those pesky hidden foxes and I highly recommend it.
The design can be found at
The common parts can be purchased from a supply house such as Jameco Electronics.
The design does use a few uncommon parts not usually found in your junk box: the 1K dual-taper pot was purchased from Jameco Electronics (Taiwan Alpha RV24BF-10-15R1-A1K), the 3PDT toggle switch was purchased at Jameco Electronics (C&K 7301L40D9CBE), and I found the Mini Circuits Laboratory SBL-1 mixer on Ebay.
It was built in a Hammond Manufacturing 1590B diecast box from Jameco or Amazon. The attenuator requires 3 volts of battery power which can be dual AAA batteries (I used a CR123A lithium battery) so you might order a battery holder for your battery as well. It is better to use shielded wire for the antenna connections to get the best range of operation of the passive attenuator.
If you are ordering from Mouser, I also recommend getting a couple of clamp-on ferrite chokes for your hunt antenna coax (using one at the antenna and one at the end of the coax). These fit RG-58 coax perfectly. https://www.mouser.com/ProductDetail/623-0446164281
Good Luck and Good Hunting! – N5HD
Upcoming Ham Radio Events
These ham radio related events are coming up soon.
DFW Ham Expo – Sat June 3rd 9am-3pm
At Vista Mall – Lewisville TX. Dallas/Fort Worth/Denton’s Newest Hamfest is back for a second year. Join us in Lewisville on June 3rd 2023. 50+ tables + outside tailgate area + great prizes. We’ll see ya there! https://www.dfwhamexpo.com/
ARRL Digital Contest – June 3rd
This is the second year for this new contest (originally part of the RTTY contest). http://arrl.org/arrl-digital-contest
June VHF Contest – Sat June 10th
The premiere VHF event of the season. http://www.arrl.org/june-vhf
For more information and tips, please review Jim Wilson’s (K5ND) presentation to RWK in Feb 2021: https://www.k5rwk.org/2021/02/04/general-meeting-february-2021-vhf-contesting-and-roving/
Field Day 2023 – Sat June 24th
See above for RWK’s Field Day plans
Chawed Rag Pic of the Month
Our May 2023 RWK General Meeting set a new attendance record! 73 Members and 4 Guests – at least since we’ve been keeping records. If you were one of those – either in person or on Zoom – Thanks! If not, we wanted you to know what you were missing! Our pre-meeting RWK Social Hours are popular and allow you to chat with your fellow members, so come at 6PM and find out what you’ve been missing!
Ham Radio Bits & Bytes
The Best Coax Connectors (!)
I haven’t featured a Callum video in awhile, so here’s a goodie. One of the subjects that continually comes up is Coax Connectors – What’s the best? Solder or Crimp? Best Practices, etc. If you’ve heard me talk on the subject, you’ve no doubt heard me say that “I’ve soldered my last Coax Connector” (soldering the center conductor doesn’t count). Never again will I destroy coax dielectric by trying to solder the shield to those small holes in the PL-259. I know that some of you have “the best technique” for doing it – fine, continue destroying your coax. The better way is crimping the shield using crimp-type connectors – more reliable, doesn’t destroy the dielectric, better mechanical connection, etc. But the problem with both the soldered and crimped coax connections is that neither is totally waterproof (even with heatshrink applied on the outside). If you need a watertight connection – here’s your answer: The Clamp Connector. So, in this video, Callum M0MCX is doing a bit of product placement for the M&P connectors, but you don’t have to buy Clamp Connectors from M&P. They are available from other suppliers too. But you should know about Clamp Connectors – they are truly the Best Coax Connectors!
Single Sideband Was Good Enough For AT&T
Before the advent of Nationwide fiber-optic transmission systems, AT&T used “long lines” terrestrial microwave stations to move long distance phone calls around the country. This short Bell Labs video shows how SSB was being used to increase the trunk capacity for the long lines system.
“This Is Ham Radio” – Dave Bell Film from 1970
Film and TV Producer Dave Bell made several promotional films for Ham Radio. These are a good look at what Ham Radio was like in the 1970s and 1980s – and how much has changed and how much has stayed the same!
Last Month’s Program
Last Month we had Antenna Analyzers – What’s Really Going On by RWK Member Kevin Grantham N5KRG. Smart Hams use antenna analyzers every day to save work while building and tuning antennas – but few know what’s going on inside the analyzer box? Kevin will attempt to get us “in the know” on these useful devices.
If you missed last month’s (or any previous) RWK General Meeting, you can always watch the video available from the RWK website.
Click on the calendar image below and 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.
Todd Miller KI5VBF
Ian Duncan AE5ID
Ben Plunk KI5ZVU
Deb Shinder KC5DEB
John Donoval KC5JMD
RWK Membership – 333 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.
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 2023 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
Activities – Bob Hill KG5WRY
Public Service – Don Klick KG5CK
Education – Shawn Prestridge KI5PXG
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.