October 09, 2017

Not your "traditional" ham radio club!

The Land Ops Radio Club is not your traditional amateur club. The group mixes high adventure, 4x4 vehicles and ham radio for some interesting experiences. The member call it just plain fun.

As evidenced by some of the comments the group has gotten on public forums like QRZ.com, the club's "unusual" activities are not to everyone's liking. Some people have objected to mixture of ham radio, flying drones and internet technologies.

Whatever your taste, the group is definitely breaking new ground and seem to be drawing a a huge interest from their region and beyond. You can find our more by going to their website, where they have produce several videos of their activities.

September 29, 2017

ARRL Releases New Band Plan Guide

The ARRL has released a new band plan guide reflecting the addition of the 2,200 meter (you read that right!) and the 630 meter bands. The guide is available as a pdf download here or you can order pre-printed copies directly from the ARRL.

The new bands were added to amateur spectrum back in March of this year. ARRL CEO Tom Gallagher, NY2RF, called it "a big win for the Amateur community and the ARRL. We are excited by the FCC’s action to authorize Amateur Radio access for the first time on the MF and LF spectrum."

You can find the whole story on the new bands on the ARRL's website.

September 15, 2017

Two new hams arrive for duty on ISS

There are two new hams aboard the International Space Station. Mark Vande Hei, KG5GNP, and Joe Acaba, KE5DAR, both American astronauts, and Alexander Misurkin, a cosmonaut, arrived at the International Space Station on September 12.

Get the full story from the ARRL's website here!

September 14, 2017

Hams help during hurricanes

There were thousands of hams helping out during Harvey and Irma. That resulted in hundreds of great news stories about the good that hams have done. Here is a nice story in the USA Today about a couple of guys in Florida helping during Irma.

Here's the link to the full story.

August 01, 2017

Solar Eclipse QSO planned for Aug

Darkness is coming! On August 21, 2017, a total solar eclipse will cause the shadow of the moon to traverse the United States from Oregon to South Carolina in just over 90 minutes. Although the ionospheric effects of solar eclipses have been studied for over 50 years, many unanswered questions remain.

At least one group, HamSCI, is inviting amateur radio operators to participate in a large-scale experiment which will characterize the ionospheric response to the total solar eclipse and target open science questions.

Would you like to participate? Help out by getting on the air with the Solar Eclipse QSO Party, a contest-like operating event designed to generate data for studying the eclipse! Other ways to get involved include making HF Frequency Measurements, recording HF spectra, setting up a Reverse Beacon Network Receiver, participating in VLF/LF receiving experiments, and listening to AM broadcast stations.

Click here for more information.

PDF of ARRL Story on Eclipse

July 29, 2017

New APRS Satellite to be deployed

A new satilite supporting APRS will be orbiting the earth soon. The QIKCOM-1 module containing an APRS transponder and Terrestrial Alert beacon will be deployed from the ISS on 21 Aug 2017.

Built as a student project Amateur Satellite module at the Naval Academy, and attached to the NovaWurks SIMPL spacecraft, it will function identically to the ISS transponder on 145.825 MHz with the same ARISS alias and once they widely separate, will permit possible dual-hop experiments between it and the ISS APRS digipeater.

Read more about it here.

July 27, 2017

A Chance to Listen to the Stars on HF

The Arecibo ionospheric HF heating facility will be operational for a research campaign from 24 to 31 July 2017. Because the facility transmits on the HF frequencies 5.125 and 8.175 MHz, it is possible that its signals can be heard world-wide.

QSL cards are available for interested listeners. The new Arecibo ionosphere HF heater nominally transmits 600 kilowatts net power (100 to 200 megawatts effective radiated power) and has a unique Cassegrain dual-array antenna design that increases the gain of three crossed dipoles for each band using the signature 1000 ft spherical dish reflector.

Here's the complete article.

July 05, 2017

Hospital Repeater back to FULL power

Thomas, a ham who works with ETMC in Tyler, has replaced the hard-line in the W5ETX machine (146.92). The repeater is located at the top of the ETMC hospital in Henderson and is owned by the ETACS group in Tyler.

The repeater was having some issues getting out and Thomas discover the SWR was off the charts a couple of months ago when he was trouble-shooting the problem. He also noticed there was water in the feed-line. He turned the repeater down to 5 watts to protect the radio.

Sure enough, he was able to locate the source of the problem a couple. Apparently, a portion of the hard-line jacket had been cut and water had gotten in. It had completely corroded the inside to the point that the whole line was being held together by what remained of the jacket.

Since then, he has installed new feed-line and brought the repeater back up to full power! Don't forget, the repeater is continuously linked to the other W5ETX machines in Tyler, Hawkins and Edom.

June 22, 2017

Mayor declares Ham Radio Week

Henderson Mayor Pat Brack proclaimed June 19-25 Amateur Radio Week during a ceremony at city Hall Wednesday. RCARC President Kieth Ballow, KN5G, was on hand for the recognition and thanked Brack for the city's support.

The proclamation recognized local hams for their efforts in emergency communications, storm spotting and disaster preparation. The mayor noted how local amateurs have contributed to making Henderson a safer community.

The proclamation comes in advance of Saturday's annual Field Day exercise where local hams will operate a special station at the Rusk County Courthouse. Field Day is a national exercise involving thousands of ham across the country. It runs from 1pm Saturday, June 24th through 1pm, Sunday June 25th. The public is welcome to stop by and learn more about amateur radio.

June 07, 2017

Field Day is just weeks away!

Field Days is almost here and it is time to think about specifics!

The club has, once again, received permission to hold Field Day 2017 at the Rusk County Office of Emergency Management (OEM) which serves as the county's Emergency Operations Center or "EOC". There is a special provision in the ARRL Field Day rules that allow for EOC operations and would classify our station as an "F" station. Since last year, several power line transformers in the area have been replaced due to excessive RFI and we are hoping it makes a difference in the noise floor this year!

GUESTS WELCOME! If you've ever had any interest in ham radio, Field Day is the BEST time to see it first hand. Join us anytime during Field Day. You'll get a chance to see how much fun it can be to "work the world!"

Going over the rules, here are some thoughts:

Number of Transmitters: Field Day rules classify all participating groups by the number of radios they have transmitting simultaneously at any time during the event AND the type of operation (low power, off the grid, individual at home, at an EOC, etc.).  Some example classifications could be: 1A, 5A, 2B, 1C, 3F, etc.

Class Designation: Class F (EOC) stations are eligible for a "free" VHF station (doesn't count as an additional station) as long as it is used exclusively above 50 MHz. Some club members expressed the desire to have 6m station and this could be it!

GOTA Station: If we have at least two transmitters ("2F") or greater, we're also eligible for a FREE "GOTA" station, but it must use a DIFFERENT callsign. GOTA stands for "Get On The Air" and can be operated by new hams, unlicensed visitors (under the oversight of a control operator) and hams who have been inactive for a long time. To have this station, requires the commitment of one ham willing to set up and operate this station. If you're willing to take on this job, let us know!

Data vs Voice: Data QSOs are worth two points, (voice only 1 point) so the more data, the better. Many of us have the ability to work PSK and other types of data.

Conclusion: Thinking about all this, the best setup might be two HF stations (classification "2F"), with at least one, maybe both, capable of working data. This would allow a maximum of FOUR (Wow!) stations to be on the air at all times (with the free VHF/UHF and GOTA stations). Additionally, if each station stays at less than 150 watts we double our QSO score.

Bonus Points: As far as bonus points go, we should be able to get the following (each worth 100 pts.):

Publicity Bonus
Emergency Power Bonus (must test the generator at least once during event)
Alternate Power Bonus (if someone can bring a battery charged by solar and use it to make five QSOs)
Public location Bonus
Public Table Bonus
W1AW Bulletin Bonus (via PSK)
Educational Activity Bonus
Elected Official Visit Bonus
Agency Representative Visit Bonus

Additionally, we can get more points via:
GOTA Station (Varies based on number of contacts and operators)
Youth (20 points for each participant under 18 that makes at least one QSO, Max 100 pts)