Newsletter – The Chawed Rag

The RWK publishes a monthly on-line newsletter, The Chawed Rag“, for members and others interested in the Klub’s activities. The latest issue is below and you can find the most recent issues to the right. The back issue archive of our printed newsletters is here!

  • The Chawed Rag – May 2022
    Volume 52 Issue 5 – May 2022

    Here’s The Chawed Rag for May 2022. We always need more content so snap some pics of your latest tinkering or if you have seen something that has really helped you in ham radio, see the right column below on how to submit it. Let me know what you think (good or bad) and what else you would like to see in the CR. – KD4C

    President’s Update

    Greetings RWK!

    I hope you’ve had a fun ham radio month. As I mentioned last month, the HF bands have been on fire! I worked 15 new states on 6 Meters a few days ago! Those that have been paying attention know that I’m a big fan of 10 Meters. The picture to the left shows a pretty rare (at least for the last several years) occurrence – 10 meters open for a full 24 hours! It’s time to get your station ready for Cycle 25, so get to work on those antennas, start watching the Solar Flux Index (which was 177 last week!), and get on the air. If you need help with antennas or other station work, please let us know and we’ll find people to help.

    We’ve had two in-person meetings now (since our return to Saint B in April) and I’m finally thinking that we’ve got the basis of a good routine down, but there’s always room for improvement. So if you’ve been to one of the past two meetings and you have an idea of something that we need to improve, please let me know. And speaking of meetings, our VP Bob Perkins has been hard at work lining up meeting programs for the rest of the year. We will continue to have a mix of local and remote programs for the in-person meetings – our goal is to have the best programs available across a wide range of ham radio interests, and we have chosen not to limit meeting presenters to only those that can present in person. We hope that you agree.

    We’re also going to expand our very successful Ham VE Testing program to include an in-person testing session prior to the monthly RWK meeting. At least two other local clubs also test prior to their meetings and this way we don’t have to wait for the church to make the classrooms available. We’re still not sure of the demand for in-person testing since we test online every week, so this will be a good “test” to see if in-person testing is still wanted/needed. We will be using the same electronic testing system – Exam Tools – that we use for online, but instead of computers and zoom, we have tablets. Most all paper-based testing and template grading is being phased out since Exam Tools is much faster – applicants get instant grading and their licenses are issued in a few short days. If you would like to participate in the in-person sessions, please contact WT9V to make sure that you are accredited with W5YI-VEC and we will need to get you set up and trained on the Exam Tools system.

    Your Board of Directors has been discussing Field Day 2022 and we will have more concrete plans closer to the June meetings (meeting on the air & in-person). But we’re trying to have a more normal Field Day than in the past couple of years, including a group meal and some demonstration activities in addition to multi-station multi-mode operating. I know I say this every year, but if you are a Technician and have never operated HF, this is a great opportunity to get your feet wet. Sure the bands will be packed, but that just adds to the excitement.

    Finally, 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.

    Thanks for being a RWK Member! – 73 de KD4C (feedback: president@k5rwk.org)

    Jon Hamfest / Dayton Hamfest


    It’s Tropo Ducting Season

    Or “Why Do I Hear Strange Things On The Repeater Frequency?”

    By Chip Coker KD4C

    Have you ever listened to the repeater frequency and swear you heard stations you didn’t recognize and a strange repeater ID? Well chances are your ears weren’t deceiving you. This is the result of a weird atmospheric phenomenon called Tropospheric – or Tropo – Ducting. Ducting can happen any time but is especially common in warm summer months with high humidity.

    Most of us are familiar (as much as we can be) with HF propagation effects and the long-range communications paths that they provide. HF propagation is mainly the result of the Ionosphere, an upper level section of our atmosphere. Various levels of the Ionosphere react to charged particles from the Sun and cause bending of radio waves over short to long – even worldwide – distances. These effects rarely affect any frequencies above 50 MHz due to the level of charge that would be required. Signals over 50 MHz usually just go straight through the Ionosphere and out into space.

    But if weather conditions on earth are right, the Troposphere – a much lower layer in the atmosphere than the Ionosphere – can exhibit much different effects on frequencies significantly above 50 MHz!

    Read Full Article ->

    Group Foxhunt & Ice Cream Social

    By David Nathanson K5CU & Chip Coker KD4C

    As an attempt to jump-start those that have wanted to start hunting but weren’t sure how to begin, KD4C followed a small foxhunter group a few weeks ago and gave them tips and suggestions as they hunted. The group agreed that this was very successful and that we should expand it.

    A group outing was planned for the Saturday after the monthly breakfast and, after a brief training session by Foxhunter Extraordinaire KG5WRY, off we went in a hunting convoy. I’m happy to report that both foxes were indeed found and that everyone seemed to enjoy the outing (and hopefully learned a lot about hunting). A post-hunt celebration was held at Braum’s, where hunting tales were told and everyone enjoyed well-earned ice cream! Thanks to K5CU for the idea and organization.

    KG5WRY doing some Foxhunting Training (Photo: David K5CU)
    Finding Fox#1
    Victory finding Fox#1 (Photo: Chip KD4C)
    Wheatley was contained (Photo: Buddy KF5LJD)

    Pics From the Dayton Hamvention

    Ken N2VIP sends a Google Photo album of pics that he took from the Dayton Hamvention last weekend. If it’s Dayton, there must be rain and mud… Thanks for the pics, Ken!

    Google Photo Album:

    https://photos.app.goo.gl/WV5yAmLFAB5WiUDA9

    Support RWK Through New & Renewal ARRL Memberships

    by Chip Coker KD4C (compiled from ARRL Club News)

    As an ARRL-affiliated club, the RWK has always been eligible for a modest commission for new and renewal ARRL memberships from RWK club members. However, this process has always been such pain that we haven’t taken advantage of it. With the recent change to the ARRL website, this process is now much easier.

    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)

    Link to join/renew your ARRL Membership: https://home.arrl.org/action/Membership/Join-ARRL

    You can read my separate piece on Why Should I Join/Renew My ARRL Membership that was in a recent Chawed Rag.

    CQ WW WPX Contest CW This Weekend

    by Jon Suehiro NN5T

    After coming back from Dayton, I was surprised to see Sunspot Number was hitting 170-sh.  15M has been opening to Zone 22 incredibly well every night and morning. 

    Like WPX SSB, the WPX CW contest is for anybody everywhere, especially if you have any unique prefix (or use advantage of /5 rule even more unique — if your call is KS7x/5, then WPX multiplier would be ‘KS5’).

    For those who are in the Learn CW course, are you ready for some real CW excitement ?  Program your contest logger (I use N1MM) with your call and 599 001 (5NN %3, in my case with WriteLog to send 3 digit serial number starting at 001 automatically), you just need to concentrate to copy the callsign and number from DX stations.  S&P (search and pounce) is the easy way to start.

    K5RWK 599 001 de NN5T (unique prefix owners are especially encouraged to be on the air).  73 ES GL CU SOON (starting in 4 hours)

    CQ WW WPX Contest, CWB: 0000Z, May 28 to 2359Z, Mar 29

    Full Rules and Info: https://www.cqwpx.com/rules.htm

    RWK Learn CW Program – Field Day Edition

    By David Nathanson K5CU

    One of the goals of our Learn CW program is to increase CW operation during Field Day (mainly so Jon wouldn’t feel so lonely). We will have the perfect opportunity, as the Field Day rules allow for a “Get On The Air” station. If your Field Day team starts setting up at 10am (Field Day officially begins at 1pm CDT), then you are allowed one station that can start operating as soon as it is ready (which we should be able to do in just a few minutes). I want our GOTA station to be dedicated to slow speed FD QSOs by people that are in the Learn CW program. Sure, there will be many stations on the air, but the environment couldn’t be better – you will be able to use your (not the club’s) callsign and we will have plenty of backup to help you copy the simple FD exchange and help you log QSOs. If you think you’re ready (and we will definitely have at least one practice session before FD), please let me know that you want to try your hand and “GOTA” with CW during Field Day.

    Using Nano VNAs – Band-Pass & Band-Stop Filters

    By Mike Jahrig KG5P

    Last time we discussed investigating the properties of low pass and high pass filters using the Nano-VNA.  Today we will discuss 2 additional common filter types, the band-pass, and band-stop (sometimes called notch) filters.

    Below are the filter use instructions from my Yaesu Ftdx-3000 manual.

    As you can see, the band-pass filter on the left can be adjusted to move the IF passband up or down in frequency so it will reject interfering signals like QRM or heterodyne below and above the passband settings.

    On the right is the notch or bandstop filter.   This allows you to put a “notch” in the passband somewhere that nulls out an undesired signal but retain the original passband limits.

    You probably have one or both of these filters on your HF rig.

    Read Full Article ->


    Upcoming Ham Radio Events

    These ham radio related events are coming up soon.

    CQ WW WPX Contest – CW – Sat-Sun May 28-29

    See other section in this CR and email from Jon NN5T for more information.

    DFW Ham Expo – Sat June 11th

    New hamfest co-sponsored by DCARA. Held at Grand Stage in Lewisville Music City Mall (former Vista Ridge Mall on I-35E in Lewisville). More Info: https://www.dfwhamexpo.com/

    North Texas Bike Rally – Sat Jun 11th

    On Saturday, June 11th, St. Jude will be hosting the North Texas Bike Rally. This event is based out of Westlake/Trophy Club/Roanoke. Volunteers are needed for all positions: rovers/tail, rest stops, and net control. Reporting times will be as early as 6:30AM, and the event should be wrapping up just after noon. This event is open to any licensed radio operator. Contact KE5GDB for any questions.

    North Texas Bike Rally signup: https://forms.gle/RUDAXkVUxghpBuN28

    North Texas Bike Rally general information:
    https://www.stjude.org/get-involved/fitness-fundraisers/bike/north-texas-bicycle-rally.html

    ARRL Field Day – June 26-27

    See other information in this Chawed Rag and stay tuned for full RWK Field Day info.


    Pic of the Month

    Here’s a pic from the most recent Hungry Hams Monthly Breakfast – We had a great crowd (23!). You should join us next month…

    May 2022 Hungry Hams Breakfast. Photo: Chip KD4C

    Ham Radio Bits & Bytes

    Moonbounce Is Easy When You Have a 150 Foot Dish!

    Interesting that this dish works from 20 MHz up to 2GHz…

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zj3ZuphVxsE
    The 150 Foot Stanford Dish was built in the 60s and is still in use.

    Top Five Software Defined Radios (SDRs)

    Since our program this month features uses of SDRs, I thought I would pull this back out for those that haven’t seen it. The vid is from 2020 but it’s still relevant today and discuss the main points around selecting an SDR for ham radio use.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yXhK_uszS2s

    Last Month’s Program

    Last Month we had Jack Spitznagel KD4IZ presenting on SDRs “Ways to use the RF “Swiss Army Knife”. We hope you learned about some things that can be done with Software Defined Receivers.

    If you missed last month’s 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.

    https://k5rwk.org/events/

    RWK New Members

    We have several new members for the month, including some new hams that our VE Team tested recently. If you hear them on our repeaters, please say hello.

    Thomas Williams KT1ME

    “Butch” Adair WA5SLG

    Adam Butt KE5MMK

    Al Alexander KN5EEE

    Chris Heydrick KI5VEI

    Stephen Donaldson KI5VLV

    RWK Membership – 355 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!

    RWK Hat

    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 president@k5rwk.org if interested. Have something to sell? Send a short description, photo, and offer price to us.

    This world-famous 3 KW MFJ-989C VersaTuner V features two massive transmitting capacitors and a roller inductor with a three digit counter. Super heavy duty balun for balanced lines. Built-in Antenna Switch and 300W Dummy Load. Cross-needle meter. From SK Estate.


    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:

    Fox#1: http://www.kd4c.com/foxhunt-log/

    Wheatley: https://sites.google.com/view/wheatley-website/home

    To read more about foxhunts and learn some hunting tips, see our foxhunt page: https://www.k5rwk.org/foxhunt/

    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 second 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 editor@k5rwk.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 editor@k5rwk.org.

    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

    Contact KD4C for more information.

    Support RWK

    Set up AmazonSmile and the Klub will receive a small percentage of your Amazon purchases. We’ve received over $900 to date cause you guys buy lots of 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.

    Content from this newsletter may be reused by other Amateur Radio organizations with appropriate credit and source linkage.

    Contributions are welcome – please send material to editor@k5rwk.org

    Club Officers:
    President
    – Chip Coker KD4C
    Vice-President – Bob Perkins W5RLP
    Secretary – Phil Cook N5UH
    Treasurer – Michael Masterson WT9V
    Trustee – Andrew Koenig KE5GDB
    Directors:
    Education – Bob Hill KG5WRY
    Public Service – Don Klick
    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.

Share your experiences

The RWK is constantly 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 editor@k5rwk.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 editor@k5rwk.org.

If your file is too large to send by email please feel free to upload the files(s) to our Public Upload folder and follow up with an email to the Editor notifying him/her of the upload.

Why “The Chawed Rag?”

Ham radio operators love to talk! In addition to the potential emergency communications services or special event communications provided to their communities, hams enjoy chatting with fellow hams on the air. Hams exchange information about their locations, radio equipment they use, antennas, tuners, etc.

Additionally, hams often discuss the weather and exchange personal and family information. With regular communications, they develop on-the-air friendships. Such discussions are characterized as “chewing the rag” with a friend or several friends over a network or a roundtable. That is the origin of this newsletter’s strange name.

Rag chewing with fellow hams is something that you must experience to appreciate. Ham radio is fun!  Nothing beats a nice round table discussion on the repeater or on 3.890 AM if you have HF and 100 watts of carrier. If you want to explore amateur radio, contact one of our board members and join us at one of our monthly meetings. Our monthly meetings are free to all. You are always welcome…no license required. Just keep any political or religious discussions for off line!

Most Recent Issues

Here is an excerpt of the most recent Chawed Rag issues. Click on the title to read the full issue.

  • The Chawed Rag – May 2022
    Greetings RWK! Here’s The Chawed Rag for May 2022, including Propagation and Tropo Ducting, Group Foxhunt & Ice Cream Social, Ken Hansen’s Dayton Pics, Updates on renewing your ARRL membership, CQ WPX CW contest, Upcoming Events, Learn CW program Field Day Edition, KG5P Using the Nano-VNA Part 3, and more!
  • The Chawed Rag – April 2022
    Greetings RWK! Here’s The Chawed Rag for April 2022, including Foxhunting for Real, RWK Polo Shirts, The Importance of Phonetics, Upcoming Events, Learn CW program update, KG5P Using the Nano-VNA, and more!
  • The Chawed Rag – March 2022
    Greetings RWK! Here’s The Chawed Rag for March 2022, including return to in-person “hybrid” meetings, FCC Fees info, How to manage groups.io, Learn CW program update, Upcoming events, KG5P Using the Nano-VNA, and more!
  • The Chawed Rag – February 2022
    Greetings RWK! Here’s The Chawed Rag for February 2022, including details on our “Learn CW” program (and a simple code practice oscillator), Rob Forson’s search for an emergency generator, Contest News, Upcoming events, KD5OUG vs the Texas DOT, and more!
  • The Chawed Rag – January 2022
    Greetings RWK! Here is The Chawed Rag for January 2022. Details for a new program to learn CW, WT9V wins the Warren Bruene Award, Antenna Modelling, and more! Comments welcome… – 73 – Chip KD4C
  • The Chawed Rag – December 2021
    Here’s The Chawed Rag for December 2021 (it’s still December, right?). I’m still interested in what everyone thinks and what else you would like to see. Also, we always need your content so snap some pics of your latest tinkering or if you have seen something that has really helped you in ham radio, send…
    Read more
  • The Chawed Rag – November 2021
    As promised (and on schedule!), here’s The Chawed Rag for November 2021. Thanks to all of you that sent me notes on the September relaunch – I appreciate the thanks and the feedback. I’m still interested in what everyone thinks and what else you would like to see. Also, we always need your content so…
    Read more
  • The Chawed Rag – October 2021
    As promised (and on schedule!), here’s The Chawed Rag for October 2021. Thanks to all of you that sent me notes on the September relaunch – I appreciate the thanks and the feedback. I’m still interested in what everyone thinks and what else you would like to see. Also, we always need your content so…
    Read more
  • The Chawed Rag – September 2021
    Greetings! It’s been a minute, but welcome to the new and improved RWK Chawed Rag. When I accepted the job of RWK President, one of the tasks that I took on was to “reinvent” The Chawed Rag for the year 2021. The goals were 1) Make the CR more “accessible” (which means that you would…
    Read more
  • Chawed Rag – November 2020
    Chawed Rag – November 2020 The November issue of The Chawed Rag is available, featuring articles on:– Wi-Fi or the Wild West – A Brief History of Technology and Computers– “From the desk of Dick Morgan, K6RAH”– Leadership Corner by Treasurer Danny Siminiuk reflecting on his tenure as Treasurer of the RWK.– Technical Article –…
    Read more
  • Chawed Rag – October 2020
    Chawed Rag – October 2020 The October issue of The Chawed Rag is available, featuring articles on:– Tips for Getting Started with Fox Hunting– Field Day 2020 Antennas– Leadership Corner by President Mark Beebe on Club Activities during the pandemic. The full issue is available here
  • Chawed Rag – August 2020
    Chawed Rag – August 2020 The August Issue of The Chawed Rag is available, featuring articles:– Remote Testing During the Time of COVID-19– Helmut Oscar “Hal” Wolff, N5BT (SK)1928-2020– BAOFENG Radio Modification– Third in a Series – 12 Resistor Cube Problem Solved– The Leadership Corner by Past President AF5MN has some great tips for new…
    Read more