Here’s The Chawed Rag for November 2023. We’ve got details on our Holiday Meeting, the upcoming President’s Dinner, our new UHF Multi-Mode Repeater, FCC Rules Changes, Field Day 2023 Results, our New FT-DX10, a bit of nostalgia from Larry KI5UXC, the usual upcoming events and news and so much more. Hope you enjoy! – KD4C
Our December RWK Meeting will be an RWK Holiday Hospitality Hour similar to what we did last December. We’ll have a selection of Treats and Hot beverages and round table seating. We will do our usual meeting announcements and then have a shorter program from Andrew KE5GDB on the uses of our new UHF multi-mode repeater (see below). Bring your favorite HT to the meeting and be prepared to discuss why you like it.
Thanks to everyone that volunteered for the Richardson Christmas Parade! We had close to 30 volunteers which allowed us to cover each spot with 2 people. Thankfully it was a fairly non-eventful event but you never know and that’s why it’s great to have the coverage. And thanks again to Bob K5RLP and Don KG5CK for organizing this year’s event. There were some people changes at the City this year but everything ended up great because of their planning.
The RWK’s new FT-DX10 is here! I was waiting for a Black Friday sale and HRO came through as expected. Can’t wait to get it out and on the air (see below for more).
Speaking of “See Below” there’s some good news re: our Field Day 2023. And Winter Field Day is just around the corner (last full weekend in January). I expect that we will operate in “our” POTA park similar to what we did last year, but that’s still to be set. Think of it as POTA on steroids. Here’s hoping that we will have good weather!
Several have asked about plans for our January President’s Dinner. Well Doug KD5OUG has come through again and we should be returning to Aboca’s on Sunday Jan 7th. The dinner should be similar to what we did last year and the price should be the same ($25/pp), at least for cash. You should be able to purchase tickets at the December meeting, and we will have online ordering set up soon. Like last year, we should have a good assortment of door prizes with the ticket system like last year. Let’s make it another successful dinner!
Finally, I asked this last month, and I’m asking again. As we wind up the year, it’s time to ask you two questions: 1) what are we doing right or wrong as a club?, and 2) do you want to get more involved with making RWK a great club? If you’ve got thoughts on either (or both) of those subjects, we would love to hear from you. Please send any feedback (good or bad) to the email below (or to any of the officers in the right column below). We will be looking at leadership for next year soon, and your comments and suggestions will factor into our planning and the nominating committee’s actions.
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
K5RWK’s New UHF Multi-Mode Repeater
By Chip Coker KD4C
Way back in 2021, we had a plan to upgrade our K5RWK UHF Analog repeater and move it to a better location. Well, after COVID and some other extended delays, I can report that it’s now on the air, but still at the old location on top of the old Methodist Hospital at Collins and Campbell.
So what’s changed? The old UHF analog repeater on 443.375MHz has been retired and replaced with a more powerful Motorola MTR2000 running 60 watts (still on 443.375MHz). Thanks to a 2021 Micro-Grant from the Irving ARC, we have a new commercial-grade UHF antenna and a set of new TX-RX Systems UHF duplexers. The repeater has a MMDVM board that allows it to repeat multiple modulation modes (more on this in a bit). The new repeater and duplexers are in a new self-contained environmental enclosure.
Why is it still in the same location? We had intended to move the entire new UHF repeater to the East Renner Water Tower, but we’ve been unable to get the antenna installed on the Water Tower (we’re not allowed to do the installation – must be a city-licensed contractor). Because it’s a low-priority project for the city, and because other things keep happening (like the City Hall fire), we could never get the antenna install scheduled, so the project got stuck for over a year.
Will it get ever get moved? We hope that we will be able to move it to the East Renner Water Tower or some other high location on the east side of town (which was the point for doing the upgrade) at some point. In the mean time, we wanted to get it on the air (and Andrew wanted to reclaim the space in his garage).
Is the performance better in the same location? Yes, the equipment is much better, the transmitter is running a higher power (approximately double the old TX power), and the antenna has a significantly better radiation pattern. If you had trouble using the old UHF repeater, this should be significantly better. Also, don’t forget that you get a performance boost with the digital modes.
What’s up with the Multi-Mode stuff? The new repeater will do Analog FM (like the old one), but it will also repeat DMR and D-STAR. How can it do that? Ultimately the RF portions of the repeater don’t care what the modulation scheme is – it’s all the same at RF. At the heart of the repeater is a MMDVM (MultiMode Digital Voice Modem) that steps in and handles the Digital waveforms. So you can use this repeater with an analog FM radio, a DMR radio, or a D-Star radio. You can only do a single mode at a time (there’s 15 seconds between mode changes), and it’s NOT a cross-mode repeater. FM analog radios can only talk to other FM analog radios, DMR only to DMR, D-Star only to D-Star.
Why not Fusion/WIRES-X also? Because we have a perfectly fine YSF repeater on Palisades (444.725MHz) with a much taller antenna and wider range. We don’t need this for Fusion in addition to that one.
DMR and D-Star can be linked. Can we link this new repeater? Yes, D-Star (K5RWK B) can be linked to external Reflectors just like a normal D-Star repeater. The DMR mode is tied to the Brandmeister network, so you can activate most any Talk Group that’s available on Brandmeister. People paying attention might ask “wait, my hotspot is on Brandmeister. Can I talk to this repeater using my home hotspot?” Yes, if you are connected to the same Talk Group on your hotspot as the repeater is, then you can have a conversation with someone on the repeater (this is completely different than what’s available on our other DMR Repeater at UTD)
Why do you have DMR Repeaters tied to two different systems? Basically, there is a place in the world for both. Our DMR repeater at UTD does what it does and does it well. It’s only linked to the most popular Talk Groups on the DMR-MARC system, and that is done to maintain as much “quality” as possible on the system. This MultiMode with DMR opens up the Brandmeister world to repeater users, but with that comes all the “wild wild west” that entails. Right now, it’s all open, but we reserve the right to ban any problem child TGs in the future.
How do I use it? If you have a radio programmed for the old FM repeater, everything should still work. If you have a DMR, program this into a new channel along with your desired BM talkgroups. If you have a D-Star radio, program a K5RWK B channel (it’s probably a bit new to show up in the D-Star directory) and go! Remember, each mode will have to be a separate memory channel in whatever radio, you’re using, and I’m not aware of a single radio that will cover all of the modes. If you need detailed help in programming, just ask.
What do I do next? Come to the December RWK meeting. Andrew KE5GDB will be presenting an overview of the new system and you’ll have a chance to ask questions then.
FCC Adopts Rules To Modernize Amateur Radio Service and Foster Innovation
From FCC News Release
WASHINGTON, November 13, 2023—The Federal Communications Commission today adopted new rules to incentivize innovation and experimentation in the amateur radio bands by removing outdated restrictions and providing licensees with the flexibility to use modern
The Report and Order adopted today eliminates the baud rate limitation—the rate at which the carrier waveform amplitude, frequency, and/or phase is varied to transmit information—in certain amateur radio bands. Instead, the Commission establishes a 2.8 kHz bandwidth limitation in the applicable amateur radio bands. The changes will enable the amateur radio community to operate more efficiently, including in support of emergency situations when appropriate, and foster experimentation, which is a core principle of the amateur radio service.
The FCC also adopted a Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking which proposes and seeks comment on the removal of the baud rate – sometimes called the symbol rate—limitation in the VHF and UHF bands and in the 2200 meter and 630 meter bands, which the Commission allocated for amateur radio use after it released the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in 2016. It also seeks comment on the appropriate bandwidth limitation for the 2200 meter band, the 630 meter band, and the VHF/UHF bands.
Report & Order: https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/FCC-23-93A1.pdf
Field Day 2023 Results
Field Day results are always published in the December QST. Pages and pages of listings of calls and points, but there’s usually only one entry that you’re interested in – How did your club do?
Pretty good actually! Remember me hounding everyone after Field Day about submitting your score and tagging RWK? Well it yielded some pretty good results.
Richardson Wireless Klub had 5,768 points from 15 contributors (Our K5RWK stations at the EOC, plus 14 of you that operated from your home QTH on Sunday). As a comparison, DARC had 5262 points from 4 contributors, and DCARA had 766 points from their W5NGU station and no additional home operators. DARC’s W5FC station did beat our K5RWK EOC operation, but they were on for the entire 24 hours and we had some interference problems that never got solved. Working as a group yielded some pretty good results for RWK!
But…. It’s not a contest!
Our FT-DX10 Is Here!
And speaking of Field Day, our recent campaign to replace our old FT-450 with a modern HF radio was a success, and we’ve just been waiting on the expected sale to purchase the radio. As expected, HRO came through with the Pre-Black Friday sale on the Weds before thanksgiving, and we now have our new DX10!
I loaded some settings, updated the firmware, and set the callsign in the radio, and I have reconfigured our Yaesu Field Day kit for the FT-DX10. It’s now ready for it’s first outing and you should see it at a club meeting or POTA event soon!
As I mentioned previously, we plan on having a recognition plate of some sort to be affixed to the radio, so this is your last chance to let me know if there are any correction to the names below. Thanks again to the following members that made it possible for RWK to have this great radio.
A Bit of Nostalgia
By Larry Pollis KI5UXC
Back in day, as they say, in my previous ham life, I had a phone-patch! For you younger folk this was a device that connected a transceiver to the telephone land-line. What’s a land-line you ask? Well, that is for another story.
This memory starts in 1976 and continued for many years. I was licensed as WB4UPA and lived in Hampton, Virginia which is very close proximity to the Norfolk Naval Base. Which is in Hampton Roads Harbor. Which is connected to the lower end of the Chesapeake Bay. Which empties into the Atlantic Ocean! Therefore, being a Naval Base, it is home to lots of Navy ships. Big ones (think “carrier”) to smaller ships to “boats”. The kind that goes under water. I used to have a fishing boat and I would go fishing and occasionally take some friends and give them a tour of said ships. You could drive my boat (not the kind that goes under water) up to and around the ships at anchor and get a pretty nice idea of just how small my boat really was. It was fun and I did catch a lot of fish.
Now why am I setting this picture, you might ask?
One of my fondest memories from that time as a ham was to conduct phone traffic from the ship’s crew members going to Europe and points East and returning. At that time there was no cell phones or internet and being on a ship meant that they were cut off from any communication with mom and dad, wives, and/or their girlfriends. So a ham comes to the rescue. Many nights a week I would tune to 14.200 MHz (or somewhere close to there. My memory gets a little weaker as time moves on) and listen for one of the ships. Once contacted, the radio operator aboard would invite a sailor to come into the “shack” and make a call through my station to someone at home. He would give me the phone number and I would place a collect call to the distant party. Imagine, answering the telephone and hearing “I have a collect call from Larry. Will you accept the charges?” And they always said yes! Who is Larry?! Why is he calling collect? [and what’s a “collect call” – Ed.] They must have been sufficiently briefed that this could happen because they always said yes! Yes, redundant I know but it was still a surprise that the calls were never questioned.
After explaining the person on the other end that I would connect my phone line to my radio via the phone-patch and they would be able to talk to and hear the sailor. I briefed them to say “over” and that I was always listening to the conversation. I would transmit to the ship that I had this person on the line and to go ahead and say hello. And the conversation would ensue. And you could hear the joy and happiness from both ends. What a thrill!
The conversations never lasted too long; five minutes or so. There was usually a queue of sailors waiting their turn and this would continue. Usually until the queue had been exhausted or conditions worsened. And then a rinse and repeat the next evening.
So much fun. So much joy. It’s one of my most enjoyable memories in my early ham life. I miss it.
Upcoming Ham Radio Events
These ham radio related events are coming up soon.
ARRL 10M Contest – Sat-Sun Dec 9-10
Time to work 10M at close to the Cycle 25 peak!
Cowtown Hamfest – Fri-Sat Jan 19-20
The first hamfest of the season. Forest Hill Civic and Convention Center. http://www.cowtownhamfest.com/
Orlando Hamcation – Feb 9-11
One of the biggest of the year. https://www.hamcation.com/
Chawed Rag Pic of the Month
Ham Radio Bits & Bytes
Choose The Right Coax For Your Frequency and Antenna
Callum M0MCX reminds us again that Coax DOES matter in how much total power gets to the antenna.
NASA Launches its First On-Demand Streaming Service
I know we have some serious space nerds as RWK members. While it’s not explicitly radio-related, NASA has started a new NASA+ streaming service and apps for multiple devices. It’s free and ad-free. You can read more here: https://www.nasa.gov/news-release/nasa-launches-its-first-on-demand-streaming-service-updated-app/
Last Month’s Program
Last Month we had our annual Show & Tell night, with 7 different presentations by RWK members.
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.
Glen Fowler N5TDJ
Tracy Hamilton KJ5CXJ
Eric Mutton KJ5DIF
RWK Membership – 352 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 Klub 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
Youth – Joe Hammond N1JOE
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.