January 16, 2019

It's Thursday, which means it is net day!

The Rusk County Amateur Radio Club weekly net is tonight! All hams are welcome to participate in the net on the club's Henderson repeater at 146.78 MHz. Don't forget the 131.8 PL tone! You may also click on the Members tab and join us in the chat room during the net. So, grab your HT and join us at 7:30 pm for the net! NOTE: If this is the FOURTH THURSDAY, then there is NO net tonight, because it is our regular meeting night! You welcome to that as well!

October 15, 2018

Program a Baofeng by Hand

I have always avoided learning how to program my Baofeng handi-talkies by hand because it was just too easy to plug them into a laptop and use the CHIRP programming application to program them with.

But, if you don’t have a laptop handy or you can’t find your programming cable, these directions should walk you through the steps to program a Repeater’s Frequencies into your handi-talkie. There are a lot of different versions of the Baofeng radios out there so your’s menu numbers may be a bit different. You will just have to give it a try and see.

Remember, the basic keystrokes for changing menu items is:
 [MENU] [Use Arrow buttons to chose menu item] [MENU] [Use Arrow buttons to chose value] [MENU] [EXIT]

Baofeng Programming:

  • Switch to Frequency Mode:
  • In top line, press the numbers on the keypad to set the repeater’s X-mit Freq.
  • Menu 13: Select the CTCSS tone to transmit
  • Menu 25: Select Offset Shift, + or -
  • Menu 26: Set Offset, 000.6000 for VHF, (005.000) for UHF
  • Press PTT to test  (Freq. should shift by 600 KHz, in the correct direction)
  • Menu 27: Store programming into Memory Channel Number
  • Press *  (Reverse Freq. will be displayed)
  • Menu 27: Store in Memory Channel Number (Same as above)
  • Switch to Channel Mode:
  • Tune to programmed Channel Number

  • Test programming by pressing PTT

  • NOTE: Menu 28: Will delete programming in Channel Number if you made a mistake and need to start over. It's a good idea to delete a menu BEFORE trying to write to it, just in case it was already assigned once before.

Give it a try. If it works you can copy and past these steps into your NOTES application on your iPhone or iPad. Android probably has a similar application where you could store the notes for later use.

-.- -. ..... --.

October 09, 2018

Roger Newell, AC5VX, SK

Our sympathies go out to the family of Craig (AF5RI), one of our club members, on the passing of his brother-in-law and fellow ham, Roger Newell (AC5VX).

Many Rusk County hams knew Roger from his frequent visits to local radio events and hamfests. If Craig was talking about new technologies, a new radio or some amazing radio experience he had, the conversation usually began with, "Well, my brother-in-law Roger..."

Roger's family is planning a graveside service this week. Details are available at Crawford A Crim's website.

Roger's wife (Craig's sister) has asked, in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Rusk County Amateur Radio Club to help promote the hobby that was such a big part of Roger's life. Donations made be made at any branch of Texas Bank or by PayPal.

October 06, 2018

RCARC joins with BSA for JOTA!

We have a great opportunity to help out the Boy Scouts AND showcase Amateur Radio! The Jamboree On The Air (JOTA) is the 3rd Weekend in October and is a three-day ragchew event for scouts across the country! But they need our help to get on the air. Here's more about JOTA: http://www.arrl.org/jamboree-on-the-air-jota

The Henderson Boy Scout leadership CAME TO THE RCARC, requesting our help in getting their kids On the Air! We met with the leaders tonight and worked out some of the details.

What we will do: 

We will set up one (maybe two) HF station(s) at the OEM for Saturday, October 20th, 10am - 4pm. We will be ready for both voice and data (PSK and maybe FT8). The scouts (ages 5 thru 18) will come and go (with leaders) and spend some time talking on the air with other scouts as well as learn about ham radio.

What we need...VOLUNTEERS!!!

  1. Volunteers to help set up Friday afternoon from 5:30-7pm. We'll put up one or two antennas as well as setup the radios and do some on-air testing.
  2. Volunteers to serve as control operators for the scouts from 10am-4pm. We can work in shifts of 1-2 hours or so, depending on how many we have available.
  3. Volunteers to greet folks and talk about how much fun it is to be a ham! ANYONE can do this!! Don't be shy! 
  4. We've the equipment worked out, we just need folks willing to help! This could be an EXCELLENT opportunity to showcase ham radio. Let's not disappoint them!

October 05, 2018

A new frequency for W5ETX repeater

The guys from Tyler have the W5ETX repeater back up and running, although the frequency has changed. The antenna is located on the roof of the UT Health Henderson hospital (formerly ETMC).

Previously, the repeater was on 146.92 MHz and linked into the W5ETX network of repeaters across East Texas. However, the group (ETECS) recently installed a new repeater in Rusk (Cherokee County) and due to frequency coordination issues, moved that repeater to the 146.92 frequency, requiring the Henderson repeater to change.

John Newman (N9JN) says that process has been completed and the repeater in Henderson is back up and ready to go. Please note the NEW frequency: 147.04 MHz with n offset of +0.60 MHz. The PL tone remains the same as before, 136.5. It is still connected to the entire W5ETX system through a link to Tyler.

Take time in the next few days to reprogram your radios since the machine will again serve as our backup repeater for events and nets.

October 02, 2018

Club honor's KZ5S's son with donation

The Rusk County ARC's members honored Richard Johnson, the son of member Ken Johnson (KZ5S) after he passed away unexpectedly August 5th 2018. Ken has been an active member of the RCARC since it was formed nearly six years ago.

Although he was not yet a ham, Kan said his son had an interest in amateur radio and was studying to take his license exam. The club unanimously decided to donate a selection of amateur radio books to the Rusk County library in Richard's honor.

The books will be available to anyone with a library card. Richard's obituary is available on Sunset Memorial Park's website.

September 28, 2018

Kilgore tailgate sale planned for Nov

The East Texas Amateur Radio Tailgate Sale in Kilgore is being planned for November. The event is co-sponsored by the Regional Amateur Radio Clubs and the Texas Broadcast Museum and will be held in the museum's parking lot.

The tailgate sale will be Saturday, November 10, 2018, from 7:00 AM to 12:00 noon. Best of all, it's absolutely free to all. Just bring your ham radio sale items and any tables, chairs or other displays that you want to use. No electricity will be available.

Tailgate sale parking space on first-come, first-served basis. Be sure to bring water, sodas, and snacks as there may not be concessions available.

July 30, 2018

Find an HF signal from anywhere

With the advent of Software Defined Radios (SDRs) you can now listen to an HF receiver via the Internet. Fortunately, many people have made their SDRs available for public use and listed them on websites. To listen, all you need is an internet connection and a modern web browser. Most cover 1 Mhz to 30 Mhz.

Even better, there are now a host of "extensions" that allow you to use the received signals in a number of ways. One in particular uses "Time Delay of Arrival" (TDoA) to compare the same signal received at two or more SDRs in different locations. Using the clock from an attached GPS receiver at each location, the approximate location of the signal's transmitter can be determined.

It's a relatively complex process that has been made super simple. Read more about the process and find specific steps on how to located a signal here.

July 27, 2018

Hospital repeater to change frequency

The W5ETX repeater located on the UT Health Henderson (formerly ETMC) hospital is changing frequency. According to an email from John Newman (N9JN), an officer with the East Texas Emergency Communications Service (ETECS) in Tyler, the group is shifting the frequency in order to bring a new repeater into the linked system.

John explained, "ETECS purchased the 147.04 MHz repeater in Rusk. Our intent is to include that repeater into the ETECS (W5ETX) system. We wanted to use the 136.5 Hz tone on all of the ETECS repeaters."

"We found that there is another repeater in Livingston at 440 feet also on 147.04 MHz and using a 136.5 Hz tone. When Mike Miles in Lufkin keys up our Rusk repeater, he also bring up Livingston and vise versa."

"So, we have coordinated moving the 147.04 MHz frequency to Henderson and moving the 146.92 MHz frequency to Rusk. Both to have the 136.5 tone. There shouldn’t be an issue with 147.04 MHz and 136.5 tone from Henderson since the antenna is just above the hospital."

"Thomas Moss is programming the Rusk repeater and another set of cans to 146.92 MHz and we will try to get installed in the next week or so. After it is in place, the Henderson repeater will be programmed to 147.04 MHz."

"Additionally, we have discussed ad hoc, on frequency, link to 147.14 MHz in Palestine from Rusk. Moving Rusk to 146.92 allows for additional margin for that link."

July 26, 2018

Tyler ARC hosts monthly "Shop Night"

The Tyler Amateur Radio Club hosts a "Shop Night" each month, allowing guests to test some really nice rigs.

Through the gracious effort of Michael Fowler, W5FOW, club members (and guests) have a monthly hands-on opportunity with quality radios and test equipment. According to the club's website, TylerARC.org, 15 hams gathered to learn more about operating HF radios during the last shop night.

Shop Night happens the first Thursday of each month at about 6 PM, at the DCTexas shop at the southeast corner of Broadway and Front street. Read more on their website.