The Chawed Rag – January/February 2024

Volume 54 Issue 1 – January/February 2024

Here’s The Chawed Rag for January/February 2024. We’ve got my “State of the RWK”, our 10M Propagation Beacon (and how to use it), Upcoming Hamfests and SKYWARN training, Katherine Goes To Antarctica, a couple of recent SKs, a look back on our first year of QRV Tech, the usual upcoming events and news and so much more. Hope you enjoy! – KD4C

President’s Update

Greetings RWK!

It’s been a minute since we’ve had a Chawed Rag – I think he got lost at the President’s Dinner and just now wandered back. We’ll try to get him back on schedule!

Speaking of the President’s Dinner, it was good to see everyone that went. The start of the year always presents an opportunity to look back on the previous year to see what we’ve been doing well, and to look forward to see what things need to be improved. Sort of a “State of the RWK”…

Overall, I think we are doing pretty well as a large Ham Radio Club in a mid-sized suburb! The numbers reinforce that. We start the year with a new record of over 360 members! I wish we had that many members active and on our repeaters, but everyone participates in their own way. As you should know by know, I’m a numbers guy and I like to track everything (you can blame SMU for that). We track attendance at most all RWK functions, and I can happily say that member attendance is growing at most everything that we do as a club!

Our General Meetings are averaging almost 70 members each month (up from 55 last year) so hopefully that shows that you like how we run our meetings, you find some value in interacting with other RWK members and maybe learn something from our programs. Our Foxhunt program is still going strong after almost 5 years, and the number of “Fox Finds” was at a record high last year – 1,452 Fox Finds! You guys seem to like hunting the Foxes, and they like the attention. Even our “Hungry Hams” breakfast and lunch social gatherings have seen some record attendance in the last year. Not terribly surprising since we know that Hams like to eat, but there’s always some interesting discussion included, and sometimes some radio-related activity afterwards. Also, our VE program is responsible for many new hams in the area as well as several member upgrades.

We’ve started some new activities over the past year or so that have also been popular. We’ve managed to get several people hooked on POTA activations, based in part on our group POTA events and portable antenna developments. We also kicked off our “QRV Tech” Technical series (see below) that explains more specialized tools and topics that might not be suitable for a full General Meeting program. I’m especially proud that those have met or exceeded our goals, and we are continuing them into the new year. The final objective that I’m very happy with is our renewed focus on younger hams and our stewardship of the K5UTD club and members. We’ve managed to lower the average age of an RWK Member by almost 2 years! Now don’t you feel younger?

So that’s how I think we’re doing as a club. How do you think we’re doing? What else should we be doing to keep all 360+ of you interested in Ham Radio and on the air? 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).

And speaking of RWK Officers and Directors, we’re going to lose a couple this year (no, not *that* way). Bob Perkins W5RLP, for some unknown reason, has decided that he likes Florida better than Texas, so he’s moving sometime in the Spring. He’s done a great job in finding great programs and wrangling presenters for our monthly meetings, and he’s made my job easier. We’re going to have a hard time replacing him as VP. And the other Bob, Bob Hill KG5WRY, is doing some well-deserved traveling this Spring and Summer (in his newly repaired RV) so we’re looking for a new Activities Director. Bob did so many things for RWK (over and above the Activities stuff) that he leaves several large holes to fill. Hopefully, we will be able to continue the “Radio at the Meeting” tradition that was started and perfected by Bob and that many of you seem to enjoy.

We’re planning our usual RWK Spring activities – We’ll have a Spring POTA event soon (probably in conjunction with TX State Parks on the Air), and what would Spring be without a Group Foxhunt? Also, see below for the Spring Hamfest schedule. One comment about our activities: If we ask for RSVPs for an event (via a HCOL Calendar Event), we are seriously trying to judge whether people are interested. If you are interested, PLEASE RSVP! You can even say “maybe”. We asked for RSVPs for Winter Field Day and only 4 people said “yes”. Facing a deteriorating weather forecast, we decided to cancel our planned POTA WFD event. Right after that, I got several messages expressing “displeasure” about the cancellation – from people who didn’t RSVP! So please let us know!

Thanks for being a RWK Member! – 73 de KD4C (feedback:

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 350 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 10M Propagation Beacon

By Chip Coker KD4C

The RWK maintains a 10 Meter CW Beacon that is part of the worldwide IARU Beacon Network. Through our beacon and others operating worldwide, you can determine real-time propagation on 10M. It is installed on the roof at the Methodist Hospital at Campbell and Collins along with some other RWK equipment.

The purpose of the beacon is to provide a known consistent signal that is on the air constantly – day and night, winter and summer – for detection by hams and known Reverse Beacon Stations (RBS).

The beacon transmits 24 hours/day on an IARU-Coordinated frequency of 28209.0 kHz. Transmission is 15 WPM CW “VVV DE K5RWK/B EM12PX   K5RWK/B EM12PX   K5RWK/B EM12PX   E E E E E E”  on a one minute repeat cycle.

The RWK beacon is AA7DJ Custom-designed compact 10 Watt 10M beacon that utilizes a 4x5x2 inch (100x125x50 mm) aluminum box with a single printed circuit board inside with a frequency synthesizer and controller and a two-stage power amplifier. The beacon transmits into a Cushcraft AR10 10-Meter Ringo Vertical Antenna. This antenna is a 1/2 wave vertical antenna with a low angle of radiation for good long-haul DX. This antenna is located on a 100-foot building in Richardson TX (EM12px) with a full 360-degree view of the horizon.

The beacon was a gift to RWK from Jeffrey Smith N5TIT, who originally purchased the beacon in 2021 and approached RWK for a location to install it. Jeffrey subsequently has moved to Colorado and he donated the beacon to RWK with the understanding that we will take care of it and keep it on the air.

How Do I Use The Beacon?

You can always listen to the beacon in the North Texas area to check your radio or antenna, but the best use of the beacon is not for you to hear it – It’s to see who else in the world can hear it. Cause if they can hear a 10w CW beacon, then it’s likely that they can hear your station at whatever 10M frequency you are on. The beacon is a great source of real-time propagation information. There are stations worldwide that “sniff” the CW signals of ours and many other CW beacons, and then report the results to the Reverse Beacon Network. You can look at the RBN anytime of the day (or night) to see just where the beacon has been received.

Recent image from the Reverse Beacon Network to see who is hearing our K5RWK/B 10M Propagation Beacon.

You can click on the following link to see the latest info:,-86.61,2.40&rows=25&spotters=1&max_age=2,hours&spotted_call=K5RWK/B&hide=distance_km

At the peak of Cycle 25, 10 Meters is open daily worldwide, and this tool will help you make the most of it!

Upcoming Hamfest Schedule

We’ve started the spring hamfest season! (and already missed a couple). Here is our list of the upcoming hamfests in our area:

March 2 – Irving Hamfest (Irving ARC)

70 tables of goodies and great door prizes. Only 6 hours (8am-2pm) and an easy drive from Richardson!

April 12-13 – Green Country (OK) Hamfest

A short drive from the metroplex to Claremore (Tulsa) and the best hamfest in Oklahoma.

April 13 – Belton Spring Ham Expo

One of the best in Texas!

May 17-19 – Dayton Hamvention

The grandaddy of them all. Every ham should go to Dayton at least once! Several inside sheds with vendors and manufacturers as well as large outdoor flea market. Take your mud boots!

June 14-15 – DFW Ham Expo

For the third year, Twice the Hamfest! Twice the time (Friday and Saturday), twice the space, twice the tables. This upstart hamfest just keeps getting bigger and better.

Annual SKYWARN Training Schedule

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 2024 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:

RWK Membership

Katherine Goes To Antarctica

By Katherine KT5KMF

In November, as part of an A&M education abroad group, I traveled to Argentina and Antarctica. We flew from Houston to Buenos Aires, then to Ushuaia, and finally boarded the cruise ship Ocean Victory. I participated in citizen science (a type of project where anyone can participate in easy data gathering to help larger organizations) with my oceanography class and was also part of a meteorology research group. Other groups on the study abroad were from education, psychology and cruise tourism classes, while some graduate students were working on other projects.

As part of my meteorology research group, and since my professor (WX5DC) is a ham, we worked on preparing to operate while we were abroad. I was tasked with researching and coordinating getting the appropriate reciprocal licenses while one of the other group members (also a ham – KJ5CEQ) built a QDX transceiver. When we left, we packed a Wolf River Coils antenna, a pre-built QDX, the QDX that was built by KJ5CEQ, my NanoVNA, as well as WX5DC’s antenna tuner and Xiegu X108G radio. We also brought HTs which we used to make contacts with each other while on land. Unfortunately we couldn’t set up for HF on land, since nothing except the bottom of our boots could touch the ground under the biosecurity restrictions.

KT5KMF and the portable setup on the deck enroute to Antarctica (with the 13F wind chill) (Pic: WX5DC)

We were able to set up on the back deck of the ship when the weather allowed and the seas were calm. Although the band conditions weren’t great, and we were operating with very low power, we were able to make several FT8 contacts, including Madeira Island (off NW Africa coast) and Argentina. We were also able to talk to several people in the United States using only 20 watts! Aside from ham radio, I got to see some amazing scenery, watch penguins and seals up close in their natural environment, experience life on a ship during 15 foot seas, and learn a lot about Antarctica!

Some of the local DX (Pic: KT5KMF)

Marshall Levitt KI5YIA and Charlie Harris KF5DBN – SKs

We’ve lost two RWK members since the last Chawed Rag…

Marshall Levitt KI5YIA (upon passage of his Technician exam)

Marshall Levett KI5YIA passed away unexpectedly on December 22, 2023. He was 75.

Marshall lived in Austin. We first met Marshall when the RWK VE Team tested him for Technician, which he passed with an almost perfect score. This was no small feat for Marshall because he was completely blind. He used screen reader technology to assist with “reading” the exam.

After getting his license, Marshall’s next step was to get on the air, which he did with the assistance of Larry KI5UXC. Marshall would participate in RWK Friday Lunch Bunch zoom meetings and showed up a few times at the Weds Hungry Hams lunch. Marshall eventually earned his Extra class license, again with the assistance of the RWK VE Team.

It’s good that ham radio was able to provide some excitement and adventure to the last few years of Marshall’s life and it was our pleasure to have him as a member of RWK.

Charlie Harris KF5DBN

Charlie Harris KF5DBN went SK on 11 February 2024 after a short illness in Dallas. He was 83. Born in Tulsa, OK. Charlie lived all over the country during his training as a cardiologist. He practiced in many places but ended his career in Temple, Texas at the VA. Our vets held a special place in his heart.

After VA retirement he moved up around Meadow & Central to be closer to his grand kids. His pursuits included flying private planes, fishing and ham radio with the rank of general class. Charlie was an RWK member and enjoyed the meetings and field day adventures. He enjoyed CW as well as SSB & AM phone operations. Left to cherish his memory are many good ham friends, his wife Fran, 3 sons, and many grandchildren. Fair winds and following seas to you Charlie! (Thanks to Grant W5XJ for Charlie’s SK message)


QRV Tech Education Series

By Chip Coker KD4C

We’re coming up on a full year of our QRV Tech Education Series and I have been pleased with the response to our first year! Our goal was to educate members on some more or less specialized topics – from test equipment to microcontrollers to SDRs to antennas. We realize that not everyone will be interested in each subject (which is why we’re not making them presentations for General Meetings) – we’ve been aiming for 10-20 people or so each session and I’m happy to report that we’ve met or exceeded that!

As with our General Meetings, we record each session so that you can watch it later if you miss it (or want to revisit anything. Here’s a list of some of the topics that we covered in the inaugural year of QRV Tech:

Qscilloscope Usage in Ham radio
Getting Started With Software Defined Radios (SDRs)
The Magical End-Fed Half Wave (EFHW) Antenna
The Versatile NanoVNA
Navigating and Logging POTA
How to Solder Correctly
What is Winlink?
HF Antenna Shootout

If you are interested in any of the above, the QRV Tech recording is available. Please let us know what you are interested in – We’re always looking for new topics to present!

POTA in Winter

Upcoming Ham Radio Events

These ham radio related events are coming up soon.

ARRL Inter. DX Contest – SSB- Sat-Sun Mar 2-3

Cycle 25 is peaking, are you enjoying DX on HF SSB ?  If so, it’s time for ARRL DX Contest.  DX including AK/HI/PR/VI is seeking contact with U.S./Canada stations.  So, no pileup competition with your neighbors.

Round One of the YOTA Contest – Sun Mar 10

The first round of the Youngsters On The Air (YOTA) Contest begins at 1000 UTC on Sunday, March 10, and concludes at 2159 UTC. The objective of the event is to increase the amount of ham radio youth activities. The contest is organized by the IARU Region 1 Youth Working Group, in cooperation with the Hungarian Radio Amateur Society. For more information, visit the YOTA website at

North American RTTY Sprint – Sun Mar 10

The North American RTTY Sprint takes place starting at 0000 UTC on Sunday, March 10 (Saturday evening in North America), and concluding at 0359 UTC. Full rules and contest details are available at

GO KIT Challenge – Sat Mar 16

The Fifth Annual Go-Kit challenge is March 16th in Highland Village. This is a very informal and fun way to show off your portable rigs as well as get ideas for your next build. Every year it has been bigger and better and I’d expect nothing less this year. There’s no cost to enter and you might walk away with a prize! To quote their website: “AN HT in a CARDBOARD Box is not what we are hoping for.  Build something great and inspire others!!” Questions to Scott Boutwell KG5RJR at DCARA. 8:00am – 12:00pm (setup starts 7:30 am)

TX State Parks on the Air – Apr 20-21

Go out and activate your favorite State Park!

Chawed Rag Pic of the Month

When Shawn KI5PXG hunts the Foxes, he brings a crowd!

Ham Radio Bits & Bytes

The History of the TRS-80 – Will It Still Work?

OK, this is a *bit* longer than the 10 minute clips that are usually in Bits & Bytes, but I had a TRS-80 Model III and thought this video was interesting and many of you would like it. Skip to the end to see it working.

The Trouble With The Blue LED

Red and Green LEDs have been around for over 50 years, but inventing a Blue LED (and thus anything that needed to produce full color or white light) was a problem that didn’t get solved until recently. This is the story of how the Blue LED was made.

Last Month’s Program

Last Month our program was on Locating Power Line Noise (and other RFI) with is Jeff Stuparits, W4DD. Radio Frequency Interference (RFI) can be generated from many different devices and can decrease or totally eliminate your ability to hear stations on your HF or VHF radio. 

If you missed last month’s (or any previous) RWK General Meeting, you can always watch the video available from the RWK website.

Upcoming Events

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.

Neil Gould NE5IL

Steven Boston K2SAB

Dein Elliott AI5MC

Cassandra Servin KJ5DPZ

Mario Batista K4WSX

Alice Beideck KI1TEN

Craig Newman KC5IOM

Wayne Szot KI5EWQ and Robert Szot KG5VSW

Brandon Moreno KJ5EAG

Ron Recsnik KOQE

RWK Membership – 370 Active Members

To check your renewal date and Renew your RWK Membership, go to 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!

For Sale

The Klub has a few ham assets available for sale to Klub members at a deep discount. Please email if interested. Have something to sell? Send a short description, photo, and offer price to us.

Weekend Foxhunts

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:

Hungry Hams

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?

Hungry Hams Lunch
Recent Hungry Hams Lunch at Sonny Bryan’s BBQ (Photo: KD5OUG)

Don’t forget about the Hungry Hams Monthly Breakfast every third Saturday at 8am at Southern Recipes Kitchen on Plano Parkway.

Recent Hungry Hams Breakfast (Photo: KD4C

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

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

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:

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

Club Officers:
– Chip Coker KD4C
Vice-President – Bob Perkins W5RLP
Secretary – Josh Barfield N4NZ
Treasurer – Michael Masterson WT9V
Trustee – Andrew Koenig KE5GDB
Activities – TBD
Public Service – Don Klick KG5CK
Education – Shawn Prestridge KI5PXG
Membership –
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.