Here’s The Chawed Rag for August 2023. We’ve got a packed issue this month – Shawn’s DXpedition to Turks, an RWK opportunity for North Texas Giving Day, Ed Fong antenna group buy for RWK Members, a ham radio propagation experiment for the upcoming eclipses, Marshall KI5YIA upgrades to Extra, some Wheatley news, Carl W5SU has a “poor man’s remote”, the usual upcoming events and news and so much more. Hope you enjoy! – KD4C
Well despite the multiple 100+ degree days, I hope you have been able to get in some fun radio activities. The hot days have not seemed to put a stop to foxhunting – we’ve had record numbers of hunters for the past several weekends (I guess good air conditioning helps)! Wheatley is going through some changes (read below) but rest assured, your loyal foxes aren’t going anywhere.
Our September RWK Meeting should be an interesting one. We have Al Ward W5LUA from the North Texas Microwave Society (NTMS) presenting on EME Adventures on the Microwave Bands. For you new hams, EME stands for “Earth Moon Earth”. Yes, that means communicating using the Moon as a big reflector! In the old days, you would need a huge yard and massive antennas and power amplifiers to have an EME QSO. Now you can do it with modest sized antennas that can fit in a neighborhood backyard (and of course a bit of skill!). Al will show us how to get hooked on this rare mode!
In October, you get to
suffer hear me talk about Logging and QSLing – Past and Present. With the advent of electronic logging and QSLing, ham radio is in danger of losing one of its’ most nostalgic icons – the QSL Card. I plan on showing some of the past magic of sending and receiving QSL cards and how you can combine that with modern logging and QSLing practices.
And Bob W5RLP would want me to remind you about our annual Show&Tell meeting in November. This is your chance to spend 5 or so minutes showing off something that you’ve done or built over the past year. It’s always interesting to see what people have been up to, and there are usually some good ideas shown.
We’re still hoping to do another POTA event when it’s not 110 degrees out – probably in mid September – stay tuned. If you need a good POTA antenna (and haven’t built KG5WRY’s Spike Vertical), then maybe you should look at an End-Fed Half Wave (EFHW) antenna. Our own Joe KI5UKE led this month’s QRV Tech and explained End-Fed Half Waves and then showed how to build one. You can watch the video on the RWK Website and he still has a few kits available so check at the next RWK meeting.
We’ve had some discussions on how we can improve Field Day and eliminate some of the technical problems that we had last June. One of the suggestions was to upgrade one of our radios to something that would have good band filtering. Read below on what we want to do and how you can help make it happen.
And speaking of improving things and keeping them interesting, we are always looking to improve our RWK meetings. We’ve made a lot of progress in the past few years, and one of the things that we did was to remove the “club business” from the General Meeting. The RWK Officers and Directors have a separate meeting (first Thursday of the month) to discuss (and sometimes discuss loudly) things like money and plan upcoming activities for RWK. It’s stuff that (in our experience) most people don’t care about (and if you’ve ever been to another club that has a “business” segment, you’ll know what I’m talking about), but it’s stuff that needs to get done, so we do it separate from the main meeting. However, if you ARE interested in “how the proverbial sausage is made”, you (as a RWK member in good standing) are welcome to attend on a non-voting basis – just ask any current Officer or Director for an invite. But there’s a cautionary tale – if you show up, we might put you to work!
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
Let’s Get RWK a FT-DX10 on North Texas Giving Day
By Chip Coker KD4C
RWK currently has 3 HF rigs that are used for Field Day / Winter Field Day and various POTA events. Our current inventory is a Kenwood TS-590S, an Icom IC-7300, and a Yaesu FT-450. We try to stay somewhat brand-agnostic with one radio from each of the three big brands, so everyone has a chance to experience and operate their favorite brand radio. It’s also a perfect way to let new hams operate various radios in a RWK event setting, prior to purchasing for themselves.
However, of the three radios, our FT-450 is the least used by far and some would say that it is way behind in terms of technology. It does not lend itself to digital modes and only has rudimentary CAT control, so we rarely use it for Field Day or POTA activities.
I think it’s time for RWK to “update” the Yaesu leg of the RWK triad to a FT-DX10!
Why do it now? North Texas Giving Day is an annual fundraising event run by The Communities Foundation of Texas. The annual event is an easy way to bundle charitable donations to various beneficiaries. In addition to the primary donations, we also get a percentage match from the CFT on all NTGD donations. In effect, it’s free money!
I’m asking for everyone that is able to please participate in North Texas Giving Day on Thursday September 21st, and include RWK as one of your beneficiaries. Our goal is $750 to trade up to a Yaesu FT-DX10, and that’s only 30 people giving $25 each! We should be able to do that, and in plenty of time before the black Friday Yaesu sale! So if you are able, please donate to the RWK radio drive on or before Sept 21st! As always, your donations to RWK are tax deductible. Early giving starts now.
Here’s the link to donate towards the FT-DX10 campaign: https://www.northtexasgivingday.org/story/5jnsbf
If you want to just give to the club, here’s the direct link to our RWK NTGD page: https://www.northtexasgivingday.org/organization/RWK
My first DXpedition experience to The Turks & Caicos
By Shawn Prestridge KI5PXG
I know that many people think about doing a DXpedition but are intimidated by the idea, assuming that the amount of work needed to prepare for such a trip won’t offset the fun you can have with your favorite hobby. To encourage more people to try their hand at a DXpedition, I put together a short summary of my experience with my first DXpedition (which happened to be at The Turks & Caicos Islands – TCI).
While planning took a bit of time (and I stressed about the unknown of getting my radio equipment into and out of a foreign country), the transit side of the equation was almost a non-event. Finding out how to get the license was definitely the most difficult part of the whole process,
Group Buy of Ed Fong Antennas
By Michael Masterson WT9V
Well folks, it’s that time again, As Ed offered during his recent presentation at the July RWK meeting, we’re going to do another group buy for Ed Fong antennas. Ed pays his students to prepare the materials for the antennas that he assembles and tunes himself. Thus the proceeds from the antenna sales go towards helping tomorrow’s RF engineers get educated. The last time we did this (in 2019), RWK produced the largest order Ed had ever had to that point. Will we top it this time? Who knows? We’ve got a bunch of new people since the last time – here’s your chance to save up to 20%!
We’re going to take orders from RWK Members through the end of September, and then we will send one combined order to Ed. I’ve set up a order page on our square account to make the ordering and payment process easier (at least I hope it will be). I listed the regular prices from Ed’s Antennas web page, as well as the discount we’re getting with the group buy. Once the shipment is in, you can pick up the goods at the next club meeting, or if you like, you can arrange to pick things up at my place.
If you want to have things shipped to you, there will, of course, be an extra charge for that. Also, due to the size, the TBJ-1 (tri-band) won’t be something that I’ll turn around and ship – if you can’t pick it up from us, you’ll have to get that from Ed directly.
As a reminder, most all the antennas are the antenna elements and PVC endcaps only. You’ll need to go down to Lowe’s or Home Depot and get a particular stock number of PVC pipe that Ed has tested and made sure won’t interfere with the antenna’s performance (in his testing, he’s found some PVC that had metallic particles that kept the antennas from working properly).
The link for the RWK Square page is: https://k5rwk.square.site/shop/ed-fong-group-buy/4
If you have any questions at all, please contact me (WT9V) before you order.
Ham Radio Operators, We Need Your Help During Solar Eclipses
From NASA Science
Ham Radio operators, we’re calling you! Members of the Ham Radio Science Citizen Investigation (HamSCI) will be making radio contacts during the 2023 and 2024 North American eclipses, probing the Earth’s ionosphere. It will be a fun, friendly event with a competitive element — and you’re invited to participate.
Both amateur and professional broadcasters have been sending and receiving radio signals around the Earth for over a century. Such communication is possible due to interactions between our Sun and the ionosphere, the ionized region of the Earth’s atmosphere located roughly 80 to 1000 km overhead. The upcoming eclipses (October 14, 2023, and April 8, 2024) provide unique opportunities to study these interactions. As you and other HamSCI members transmit, receive, and record signals across the radio spectrum during the eclipse, you will create valuable data to test computer models of the ionosphere.
For more information, go to https://hamsci.org/festivals-eclipse-ionospheric-science
Here’s the presentation that they gave at Dayton this year, with details on their proposed Solar Eclipse QSO Party: http://www.k3lr.com/Dayton/Dayton2023/W2NAF.pdf
Marshall Levett KI5YIA Upgrades to Amateur Extra with RWK VE Team
By Chip Coker KD4C
Many of you will remember that last year, the RWK VE Team tested RWK Member Marshall Levett KI5YIA when he got his Technician and General class license. Marshall, who is a friend of Larry KI5UXC, is blind, and passed his amateur radio exams with the assistance of screen reader assistive software for the visually impaired. We presented Larry with the RWK Elmer of the Year award for 2022 for his efforts to help Marshall acquire and set up his station (complete with radios that have voice modules) and antennas.
Well I’m happy to report that Marshall upgraded to Amateur Extra on Aug 24, again with a dozen members of the RWK VE team cheering him on. He seemed to be very happy and also very appreciative to Larry and the RWK for our encouragement and support. Marshall is frequently on our Friday RWK Lunch Bunch group (he lives in Austin), but he promises to get back up this way and make it to a meeting or another Hungry Hams lunch soon.
Congrats Marshall!, and hope to hear you on the air in the Extra segment!
The Wheatley Torch has been Passed
By Chip Coker KD4C
After over 2 years of taking excellent care of Wheatley, Logan Ki5NON and Travis KI5PGM are passing the torch. Logan is starting college at UNT and won’t have the time to take care of Wheatley, so we’ve taken Wheatley back and Bob KG5WRY is looking after him. Fox#1 is back with KD4C for a time also. As part of the change, you may notice a new logging system for Wheatley (actually the same system used by Fox#1). We plan on trying to unify the logging between both foxes later this year.
The other major change is that Wheatley is now owned by RWK. Danny K5CG built Wheatley in 2019, and he’s been operating reliably ever since, but it just made sense to take Wheatley off Danny’s hands (since he’s probably not going back to Danny any time soon). You’ll notice a new CW ID to accompany all of the usual Wheatley voice clips.
I really want to thank Logan and Travis for being excellent handlers of Wheatley. They just “did it”. Placements every weekend, logging, charging, it all just worked (well, there was that one time at the hospital…). We couldn’t have had better stewards of the RWK Foxhunt program, to enable it to grow and be the envy of all the local clubs. Thanks Logan and Travis! And Logan – don’t you have homework you should be doing?
A Poor Man’s Remote for HF or VHF/UHF
By Carl Solomon W5SU
A couple years ago I heard a guy on 20M talking about using a Bearcat wireless speaker-mic, so I decided to try it. The model number is BC906W and it’s actually intended specifically for Uniden Bearcat CB radios. The receiving/transmitting unit is a cradle that mounts to the wall and has a cable which is terminated with a 6 pin mic plug dedicated to one of the Bearcat CB radios.
I’ve adapted it for my transceiver, a Yaesu FTDX-3000, with a simple interface box, and have used it successfully on HF SSB. It can be used for either HF or VHF/UHF radios. Its’ range is claimed to be up to 100 yards, so I’m able to carry on a QSO while physically away from the radio… either from the sofa in my den, the bedroom, kitchen while having a meal, or even on the front or back yard. It’s even worked from across the street as far as a couple of houses up the block. Still another application is the ability to remotely key the transmitter to put out a carrier while pruning a dipole, checking power or SWR, or making other adjustments while at the antenna.
Upcoming Ham Radio Events
These ham radio related events are coming up soon.
September VHF Contest – Sep 8-9
ARRL VHF Sep Contest – http://www.arrl.org/september-vhf
QSO Today Academy – Sep 8-10
Get ready for the QSO Today Academy Event, your one-stop spot for everything amateur radio! This event evolved from the six Virtual Ham Expo conventions first launched in August 2020 during the Covid19 pandemic. The Academy now brings 26 top-quality, pre-recorded presentations in a “semi-live” format. https://qsotodayhamexpo.com
Queen Wilhelmina Hamfest – Sept 8-9
Come enjoy the beauty of Rich Mountain with family and friends. Y’all come enjoy the mountain, fellowship, and let’s get acquainted. Just 13 miles west of Mena, Arkansas, on Hwy 88, Queen Wilhelmina State Park sits at an elevation of 2500 ft on Rich Mt. http://www.menahamfest.net/
Annual Route 66 Event – Sept 9-17
Amateur radio clubs using special 1×1 callsigns operate from cities on or near the historic Route 66 from coast to coast. This year marks the 23rd year of this great radio event. Full Rules and Info: https://w6jbt.org
Belton Hamfest – October 6-7
Don’t miss it! https://tarc.org/hamexpo-schedule/
Chawed Rag Pic of the Month
Ham Radio Bits & Bytes
The Origin of DigiKey comes from Ham Radio
Have you ever bought components from DigiKey, the electronics distributor? Did you ever have any idea on how the company got its name? Hint: it has everything to do with Ham Radio!
The Apollo Computer Was A Marvel
So you probably have a computer in your pocket that has 1 Million times the power of the computer used in the Apollo space missions. Nevertheless, it was a marvel back in the days of the early 1960s. We sure have come a long way, but I’m still amazed by what they could do given the restrictions of e.
Last Month’s Program
Last Month we had Mike Ritz W7VO on HF Noise Mitigation. An educational seminar to help both new and experienced amateurs who are on HF and finding themselves plagued with noise. We’ll learn what “noise” is, about the various sources of noise, and how to mitigate those noises using a variety of techniques. This will be followed with a live “noise tracking” demonstration using a low cost AM receiver, and also a low cost SDR and loop antenna.
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.
Drew Dodson KJ5BXO
Eddie Guerra KJ5BQK
Donnie Swango W5DHS
RWK Membership – 336 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.