Here’s The Chawed Rag for June 2023. We’ve got Field Day 2023 Wrap Up, the annual 13 Colonies Event, the Future of DXpeditions, John AF5MN works POTA after Belton, build your own Battery Box, “Passionate” hams, and so much more. Hope you enjoy! – KD4C
Field Day 2023 is a wrap! Overall it was a great Field Day and hopefully everyone had lots of radio and fun. Our turnout was fantastic this year – 55 members and 15 guests (and hopefully some of those guests will have become members by the time you read this). That’s 10 more people than last year’s field day. Of course, the air conditioning probably had something to do with it.
I’d like to thank everyone that came out to help set up, operate, and tear down, and in other ways make the event a success. We literally couldn’t do it without your help. See more below.
A special thank you to Bob KG5WRY for (again) going beyond the call to produce the Choke Balun kits and run the build during Field Day. I’ve heard that it was a lot of fun (I was a little busy and haven’t build my kit yet but hopefully I will have time next week). BTW, there are a few kits left and we will have them available for sale at the July meeting. The build instructions are spectacular so it shouldn’t be a problem to assemble one if you’re interested.
Coming up the first of July is the Annual 13 Colonies Operating Event. Based on how this event has sucked me and about a dozen other RWK members in over the last 3 years, you should check it out if you haven’t before. It’s a lot of fun and a nice change from the frenzy of Field Day. See below for details.
Later in July we continue our QRV Tech series. Do you have a SDR (Software Defined Radio)? Anything from the $30 RTL_SDR to the various models of SDRplay. This month we’re going to show you all that can be done with these cheap devices. Stay tuned…
Hopefully you’ve noticed some younger RWK members at recent RWK events. This has been a focus of several of the Board Members, with some great results. We’ve attracted a dozen or so new members that are 30 and under! (Side Note: we’ve lowered the average age of RWK members by over a year!). Please welcome them at our events. Most are new hams and may have questions, so be the friendly members that I know you are, and help all you can.
Thanks for being a RWK Member! – 73 de KD4C (feedback: email@example.com)
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 Wrap Up
By Chip Coker KD4C
Thanks to everyone that came out for RWK’s 2023 Field Day. We had a record crowd (at least in recent years) of 55 members and 15 guests. We had three stations (plus the free VHF station), lots of QSOs, lots of pizza, and lots of fun – what more is there to Field Day?
Once again, the Richardson EOC was a great backdrop to our Field Day. It’s a great facility, and on a 100+ degree day in June, the air conditioning was very welcome. Setup went smoothly, and due to the earlier start (to avoid the heat) we were ready well in advance. We even got in a few GOTA QSOs before the 1pm start. We managed to get central logging working this year and we had high-tech screens that showed QSOs logged in real-time from all the stations.
We had lots of antennas outside to look at (double the number from 2021), including Don’s BuddiHex and some rogue News Van! We had a decent 6M opening and overall OK (not great) band conditions. Even lots of people on the CW station, which was good for NN5T. Inside, there was always something going on, including a Choke Balun Build led by KG5WRY and KI5PXG. Field Day should always be a learning experience!
We have a few pics in the gallery below and the full set will be in our NextCloud slideshow. If you took any pics at RWK Field Day, we would love to have them. Please send me an email and we will work out how to get them from you.
It wouldn’t be Field Day if we didn’t have some problems, both operational and technical. Operationally, we had a couple of station hogs that weren’t encouraging or helping hew hams get on the air. Field Day is an excellent opportunity for new hams and we should be doing everything we can to make that happen. Technically, we had some new inter-station desense type interference that we haven’t seen before. One of the technical challenges for Field Day is how to operate efficiently in close proximity to other stations. All things that we need to work on for next year!
We hope that you operated Field Day from home after you left (or if you couldn’t attend). As a reminder, you can help RWK out by submitting your Field Day log entry and tagging “Richardson Wireless Klub” in your submission. Every little bit helps, so even if you only made a few QSOs, you can still submit your logs.
For full details on how to submit your log, check the ARRL Field Day website: http://www.arrl.org/field-day
Click for the Full Field Day 2023 Picture Gallery
15th Annual 13 Colonies Special Event
The annual 13 Colonies Special Event is returning for the 15th year on July 1-7th. This very popular multi-day event (over 260,000 QSOs in 2022!) encourages you to work one station in each of the original 13 US colonies, plus a number of special stations. Stations are on the air on multiple bands and modes, so you will be able to snag them all with a little patience.
For a $5 donation, you can get some really nice “wallpaper” for your shack. The artwork is always outstanding and you will be proud to display it.
Full Rules and Info: http://www.13colonies.us/
The Future of DXpeditions
By Chip Coker KD4C
Did you work the recent VP6A DXpedition to Ducie Island by the Northern California DX Federation (NCDXF)? Ducie Island is an uninhabited atoll in the Pitcairn Islands and has a total area of 1.5 square miles, including the lagoon. So, tiny and barely above sea level at high tide. So a unique approach was called for to carry out a DXpedition to this remote place off the west coast of Chile!
That unique approach consists of RIBs – Rigs In Boxes. Totally self-contained radio, tuner, amplifier, control logic, and remote link, in a waterproof case the size of golf clubs. Ducie is using 4 RIBs along with a support amphibious vehicle that contains a generator and the remote link. Some operation is from a support ship located just offshore, while other operators are totally remote, connected by StarLink to the support ship. Daily visits are made to the island to refill the generators, but no one stays on the island – the local crew lives and operates from the support ship. All communications from the operators to the RIBs is via 900MHz high speed link.
The primary goals of this type system are 1) ease and speed of deployment – “hours instead of days”, and 2) providing a much more eco-friendly footprint to the location (no nasty humans to leave a mess) – they can literally leave no trace that there was ever a DXpedition, which apparently matters when trying to get approval from the local powers-that-be.
I’m sure that there will be strong feelings both pro and against for this type of setup, but based on the success of the first two outings, I’m willing to bet that this is not the last you will see of this type of DXpedition!
For more information on the NCDXF Ducie DXpedition (and more pics): https://www.dx-world.net/vp6a-ducie-island/
Activating Mother Neff State Park
By John DiFilippo AF5MN
I really enjoyed the RWK Parks-On-The-Air (POTA) group activity a couple of months ago when we activated the Spring Creek Forest Preserve in Garland. Seeing everyone’s go-kits and set-ups that day inspired me to try my hand at activating some parks on my own. So I decided to operate from Mother Neff State Park on my way back from the Belton Ham Expo in April.
Mother Neff is a tiny state park about 10 miles west of I-35 on SH107 close to Belton. The drive on the way to and from the park passes through some really pretty Texas countryside and farmland as it takes you through Bruceville-Eddy and Moody. The Park Designator is K-3042 and the grid square is EM11gh. Mother Neff isn’t close to any high population areas so, as of this writing, it only has 119 activations (8035 QSOs) which is relatively low for park activations around the DFW Metroplex.
Explorer Battery Box on Sale for July 4th
by Chip Coker KD4C
The Explorer Battery Box from GigaParts is on sale for the 4th. Regularly $99, it is on sale for $79 (plus you can use Jason’s code “KC5HWB” for an additional 5% off. This is a lower priced (and better) alternative to the usual Powerwerx boxes available from HRO.
I bought one of these last year and have used it for a couple of our POTA outings. It’s got tons of ports – 5 PowerPole inputs/outputs, 2 USB 2.4A ports, 2 USB QC ports, 1 USB-C, and a built-in Voltmeter. You can use almost any battery you want, but I packed mine with a couple of Dakota 10AH LiFePO4 and a couple of cheap Miady 8AH LiFePO4 from Amazon. That’s 36AH in this box, and it’s not heavy! That’s enough battery (maybe more than enough) for a day or two of POTA plus charging your phone and tablet. Dakota is having a 10% Off sale sitewide until July 6th (Code: POWERUP) so two great deals to build a useful, lightweight battery box!
Upcoming Ham Radio Events
These ham radio related events are coming up soon.
Annual 13 Colonies Event – July 1-7
See above for details. Full Rules and Info: http://www.13colonies.us/
IARU HF World Championship – Jul 8-9
CW only, SSB only or both in 24 hours. Great contest to work world IARU member society HQ. http://www.arrl.org/iaru-hf-world-championship
CQ Worldwide VHF Contest – Jul 15-16
6m and 2m worldwide. Usually the VHF summer condition peaks around this contest. Good luck in DX. http://www.cqww-vhf.com/
Chawed Rag Pic of the Month
Ham Radio Bits & Bytes
Passionate Hams Make The Case For Ham Radio
Over on Hackaday, there recently was a group chat to counteract the “outsider perception” of hams, namely “Hams are often thought of as being in two camps: old guys who can’t figure out modern technology or conspiracy theorists who think their knowledge of radio will give them an edge after the world becomes a post-apocalyptic hellscape.“
Two relatively new hams make their case for what ham radio is and can be in the 21st century. It’s a good read and shows that ham radio could use some marketing assistance from all of us!
Six New Things to Try for Long-time Hams
Callum M0MCX has some suggestions for new things to try in ham radio if you’ve been a ham for a while and just do the basic stuff (HF SSB/CW and 2M repeaters). As hams, we should always be “advancing the radio art” – what have you done lately to fulfill that?
Last Month’s Program
Last Month we had Radio Contesting: Move to the Next Level by Gary Sutcliffe W9XT. Gary is an avid contester and writes a column for the ARRL National Contest Journal (NCJ). If you’ve participated in a minor way but were intimidated, frustrated, or wanted to know how to get better as well as make it more enjoyable, Gary has some tips.
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.
Ben Rezac KF0LEZ
Nick Reed KJ5BKA
Jim Skinner WB0UNI
Tony Mendina NT5TM
Kapil Apshankar KJ5BIX and his son Om KJ5BJA
Jacqueline “JP” Prescott KJ5TXY
Jason Brady KF5DEB
Daniel Hemmi KJ5BMY
Joe Rodgers N5WY
RWK Membership – 342 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.
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 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.
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 email@example.com
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.