The Chawed Rag – March 2024

Volume 54 Issue 2 – March 2024

Here’s The Chawed Rag for March 2024. We’ve got a potential Baofeng killer, FCC changes, upcoming hamfests, rebuilding the K5UTD antennas, spring antenna maintenance, the usual upcoming events and news and so much more. Hope you enjoy! – KD4C

President’s Update

Greetings RWK!

It’s March, and there are sooooo many radio things going on. Hope you’re not going to miss them! We’ve got upcoming hamfests (see below), some spectacular DX openings on both 6M and 10M, and one of the contest events of the year is this weekend – the CQ WPX SSB contest, one of the largest HF contests of the year, (again, see below). There should be something for everyone.

I know I mentioned it last month and at the Feb meeting, but we’re going to lose Bob Perkins W5RLP soon. For some unknown reason, has decided that he likes Florida better than Texas, so he’s moving sometime in the next couple of weeks. 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. Hopefully he will still choose to be a RWK member and join us on Zoom for meetings, but we’ll miss him in person at the lunches and breakfasts and other in-person activities. Be sure to wish him Bon Voyage at the April meeting! Thank you Bob!

And speaking of replacing Bobs, we’ve managed to wrangle Adam KE5MMK to replace Bob Hill KG5WRY as Activities Director. Adam has already taken on Wheatley duties for a few months but I think he would like some time off periodically – if you’re interested in taking care of Wheatley for a few months, please let Adam know.

Our next event is a Spring POTA event on April 20 at the newly-relabled US-4423 (in conjunction with TX State Parks on the Air) – weather permitting of course. So start dusting off and sprucing up your POTA setup – or just come and use ours! And RSVP when you see the HCOL invite to let us know that you’re interested!

And finally, if you’ve been under a rock, don’t forget about the Solar Eclipse that will occur early afternoon on April 8th (the same day as our RWK April meeting!). We should have about 3-1/2 minutes of totality if the weather cooperates. Take safety precautions when viewing the Sun and bring your eclipse stories to the meeting that evening!

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 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

Have We Found The Baofeng Killer?

By Chip Coker KD4C

We’re all familiar with the cheap and ubiquitous Baofeng HTs. Well what if I told you that there was a new HT that was cheaper (!) and better AND had modifiable firmware. That HT exists today, and you can have one for somewhere around $20 (and maybe a week or two shipping time).

The radio I speak of is the Quansheng UV-K5(8) and/or the UV-K6 (both are available and seemingly the same), and it’s available on AliExpress for under $20. Quansheng radios have been around for several years and have generally been good performers – seemingly more popular with the GMRS set than hams. But this new HT is a gamechanger! Someone has figured out that the Quansheng firmware is stored in flash memory (not read-only) and that it’s possible to update/modify/patch the radio firmware (via the USB cable) to add features and capabilities that weren’t originally provided, and these new features are pretty cool!

To date, hams have figured out how to do the following to the basic radio:

  • Change the display layout and fonts – and even add a spectrum display
  • Add a RSSI (Received Signal Strength Indicator) value to the screen – extremely handy for foxhunting – much better than a bar graph s-meter
  • Open up the frequency range of the radio down to 15 Meters (the lower limit of the hardware chip in the radio)
  • Add air band capability and AM reception to all frequencies
  • Add SSB mode to receive SSB and CW
  • Remote control the radio via a connected USB cable and the Quansheng Dock desktop software.

There are at least 4 different variants of firmware available, all by different developers, and I’m sure there will be a bunch more. The basic changes are made by patching the original firmware. But because there is limited free memory, some of the more extensive mods replace the firmware completely. Someone has also developed a drop-in hardware mod that extends the lower frequency range to much lower than 21 MHz (although it’s still receive only and I think I would be skeptical of the performance).

And that’s just what has happened in the last 4-5 months. I can only imagine what else people will do with this little beauty. And uploading the firmware couldn’t be easier. You don’t have to use special software for your computer – you can do it using a web browser (Edge or Chrome) and your favorite Baofeng programming cable.

It’s one thing to gamble on modifying your precious Yaesu or Icom, but this radio is only $20! If you screw it up, it’s not a big loss (and I have yet to hear someone screw it up). I have two of them – one with just the mods helpful to foxhunting, and one to go crazy with. I can confirm that the RSSI works great, Airband mods work, I can use it on 220, and it will receive down to 21MHz. The other mods are still on my to-do list, but I’m interested in the spectrum display and the remote control mods.

If you are interested in joining the crowd and playing around with this radio, go direct to AliExpress and get one (you can also pay $30 and get one from Amazon). Note: there is also a UV-K5 (no “8”) available – it’s a slightly different radio with a different display/case and worse speaker – in my opinion, the (8) model is better). Once it arrives, go to UVMOD ( (using Edge or Chrome) and read the instructions to flash the firmware.

If you want to find all the current mods to this little radio, YouTube is your friend. There are dozens of videos showing the latest options.

If there is enough interest, we might be persuaded to include this in an upcoming QRV Tech session.


The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has announced an upcoming change to the Commission Registration System (CORES) that licensees use to pay any application or regulatory fees, manage or reset a password on an existing FRN, or request a new FRN. Beginning March 29, 2024, multifactor authentication will be implemented.

Users will be prompted to request a six-digit secondary verification code, which will be sent to the email address(es) associated with each username. The user will then need to enter the code into CORES before they can continue.

In a public notice, the FCC said this change will make the system more secure. “This additional layer of security will further safeguard against unauthorized access, thereby enhancing the overall integrity of information contained within the CORES system and improving the security of user data,” it read.

The Public Notice can be found in PDF format at, .

The FCC recommends that users confirm they have access to their username account email and to add a secondary email address, if need be.

Resources are available for those who need assistance with the system. For inquiries or assistance regarding the implementation of multifactor authentication on CORES, submit a help request at, or call the FCC at 877-480-3201 (Monday through Friday, 8 AM to 6 PM ET).

SHAMELESS PLUG: If your license is coming up for renewal and you just don’t want to have to deal with the FCC and the CORES system, you can just let W5YI’s Complete Renewal Service handle it for you. Sure it’s more than the FCC’s $35 renewal fee, but you also don’t have to deal with the FCC at all to get your license renewed.

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:

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.

RWK Membership

K5UTD Antennas – Phoenix From The Ashes

By Chip Coker KD4C

Several years ago, someone at the UTD Facilities Department thought it would be a good idea to remove and trash most of the ham radio antennas and coax/heliax that had been installed on the roof of the Engineering Building – antennas that were connected to the K5UTD Club Station in that building. At the time, the K5UTD Amateur Radio Club was not very active, and it was months until the damage was detected.

Lots of things have changed. Today, the K5UTD ARC is back from the dead and there are several new and active members – many are also members of RWK, and you may have seen them at recent RWK meetings. However, until recently they had a fairly well equipped club station with no working antennas. Over the past few months, they – with some labor and expertise from RWK – have been re-installing new and repurposed antennas to get their stations back on the air. To date, there are now several VHF/UHF antennas and a massive Cushcraft multiband vertical that have been mounted and connected. With the HF vertical, the K5UTD HF station is back on the air and making stateside and DX contacts!

The re-installed satellite array at K5UTD (Photo: KD4C)

Recently, the satellite station antennas were taken down, refitted, and reinstalled on the mini-tower, using a new Az-El rotor system. The old elevation rotor sat on the roof upside down for several months and collected about half a coke can worth of water through the drain hole. I’m happy to report that the re-installed satellite array has made its first contact!

Still to come is the installation of a new Skyhawk multi-band beam on the existing, slightly bent, tower on the roof. Ask the UTD kids about how the tower acquired the bend! Don’t worry, it’s fully guyed and not going to fall over!

Working to raise the satellite array tower on the roof. Note the (slightly bent) tower in the background. (Photo: K5SUS)


Spring Antenna Maintenance

By Chip Coker KD4C

As the weather warms up, it’s a good time to consider antenna maintenance and readying your antennas for Summer – before it gets oppressively hot. It’s easy to forget that things left outside tend to deteriorate if left untouched – antennas are no exception. So take a look at things while it’s still nice outside!

  1. Sweep Your Antennas – Use your NanoVNA to check your antennas on each band. Have they changed? Is the SWR still the same?
  2. Check your Antenna Supports – Do you have masts or ropes holding up your antennas? Chances are they may have changed over winter. Make sure that there are no bad rust spots on masts and that the mounting is still secure. For ropes, make sure that nothing has rubbed or frayed.
  3. Check your Coax – look at your coax terminations and make sure that they don’t show signs of water or corrosion. If in doubt, you can always chop off a few inches and reterminate with new coax connectors and then reapply waterproofing (self-amalgamating tape). If you have a NanoVNA, terminate your coax at the antenna and sweep it using the TDR function to look for kinks or shorts.
  4. Check Antenna Hardware – if you have wire antennas, check the hardware where the wire attaches to the support or balun. Is it rusted? That can cause problems. Use stainless steel hardware wherever possible rather than zinc-coated.
  5. Check your Grounding System – are your surge/lightning protectors still functioning? Are the insert plugs still effective? Any corrosion on the grounding system (ground rod and bonding wires)? Now is a good time to fix or replace.

We all forget how quick it gets hot here – do it now while you still can go outside!

Talk with an expert

Upcoming Ham Radio Events

These ham radio related events are coming up soon.

CQ WPX – SSB- Sat-Sun Mar 30-31

The objective of this contest is for amateurs around the world to contact as many amateurs and prefixes as possible during the contest period. The contest covers these six frequency bands: 1.8, 3.5, 7, 14, 21, and 28 MHZ. The contest runs for 48 hours over the last weekend in March. For us on Central Time, the contest begins at 7 p.m. on Friday and ends at 7 p.m. on Sunday. The exchange is your signal report and a sequential contact serial number starting with the numeral 1. Single Operator stations may operate 36 of the 48 hours, and off times must be a minimum of 60 minutes, during which no QSO is logged. Detailed rules are at

HamSCI Solar Eclipse QSO Party

Hams across North America are asked to participate in a study about how the ionosphere functions by getting on the air to help scientists in a series of ionospheric experiments. The Solar Eclipse QSO Party (SEQP), one of the events to be held during the HamSCI Festivals of Eclipse Ionospheric Science, will be held from 1400 to 2359 UTC on April 8, 2024. Participants are encouraged to operate before, during and after the eclipse passes over the continental U.S. The SEQP is unique among ham radio competitions as it awards points for two-way QSOs (ham-to-ham contacts via radio) and bonus points for reception reports from CW skimmers, Reverse Beacon Network, PSKReporter and the like. The exchange is an accurate signal report and your four-digit grid square. Complete rules are available at

VHF/UHF Spring Sprints

Of interest to weak-signal VHF/UHF amateur radio operators, the 144 MHz Spring Sprints, sponsored by the Central States VHF Society, begin on Monday, April 1, at 1900 local time, and concluding at 2300 local time. The 144 MHz Spring Sprints are the first of a series of five events, each focusing on specific bands. The remaining dates are as follows:

  • 222 MHz – Tuesday April 16, 1900 – 2300 Local
  • 432 MHz – Wednesday April 24, 1900 – 2300 Local
  • Microwave – Saturday May 4, 0800 – 1400 Local
  • 50 MHz – Saturday May 11, 2300z through Sunday May 12 2024 0300z

For rules and more information, visit

TX State Parks on the Air – Apr 20-21

Come out to SCFP with RWK’s group POTA on Apr 20th or go out and activate your favorite State Park!

Lewis & Clark Trail on the Air – June 1-16

The Lewis and Clark Trail on the Air special event is an on air activity that commemorates the historic Lewis and Clark Trail. The trail covers 4900 miles through 16 states. Operating modes include SSB phone, FM phone, CW, and FT8. Any combination of modes toward working all 16 states is allowed. A schedule for planned operations for each participating state will be posted on the CCARC website. Certificates can be requested for two classes of participation: the Expedition Partner Certificate (awarded to any station working all 16 states) and the Trail Companion Certificate (awarded to any station working one or more states). The event is sponsored by the Clark County Amateur Radio Club with support and participation from clubs in all 16 states along the historic trail.

Chawed Rag Pic of the Month

Youth-on-the-Air/POTA Outing at US-4423 On March 10 (Photo: KD4C)

We had a fun park outing on March 10 working the Youth On The Air (YOTA) Contest Round 1 from our POTA Park (Spring Creek Forest Preserve K-4423 in Garland just east of Richardson). Joe N1JOE, Ron K5SUS, Logan N9QZ, Alice KI1TEN, and Reese KJ5COP made over 100 QSOs in just a bit over 3 hours. We also broke in the RWK’s new Yaesu FT-DX10, which performed great as a POTA radio.

Ham Radio Bits & Bytes

Fifth Annual Go-Kit Challenge

The Fifth Annual Go-Kit challenge was 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. To quote their website: “AN HT in a CARDBOARD Box is not what we are hoping for.  Build something great and inspire others!!”

Several YouTubers were out at the Go-Kit Challenge. Here is Mike K8MRD’s video so you can see what you missed:

Mike K8MRD covers the highlights of the Fifth Go-Kit Challenge in Highland Village

Look Back at 1970’s CB Radio in the USA

A somewhat nostalgic, somewhat humorous “historic” PR-style look back at the brief history before CB radio turned into an absolute cesspool. Eagle-eyed viewers will see an I-35W freeway sign.

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.

Last Month’s QRV Tech

Shawn KI5PXG discussed the HF bands (10m-160m) and their characteristics. We will also demonstrate different online propagation calculation tools (such as Hamclock, PSKReporter, and VOACAP) so you can get an approximation of how the bands are behaving in real-time and how they are forecasted to behave over the next few days. You can watch the video here.

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.

Thea Youngblood KY5W

Bob Beauchamp KJ5EUV

Kevin Gibbs KG5JRG

Jason Stewart KJ5EVU

Josh Silguero KJ5EUM

RWK Membership – 372 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 – Adam Butt KG5MMK
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.