April 07, 2018

Large turnout for NWS Storm Training

It was a pack house at the Rusk County Sheriff's Department's training room Thursday evening for the National Weather Service's annual Skywarn training class.

Chris Nuttall, a forecaster at the Shreveport office, explained weather theory, storm recognition and how to read radar images. Everyone who attended the class is eligible to receive an official Skywarn Trained Spotter certificate.

April 05, 2018

Want to become a Ham?

We are planning a new Technician License class for anyone interested in getting their first ham Radio license. We are considering several different days and times, trying to accommodate as many people as possible.

All instructors are volunteers and instruction is provided free of charge. There are some recommended study materials which we will discuss during the first session. We will also recommend a first Radio to use once you earn your license. 

March 20, 2018

ARRL asks for more room for Techs

ARRL has asked the FCC to expand HF privileges for Technician licensees to include limited phone privileges on 75, 40, and 15 meters, plus RTTY and digital mode privileges on 80, 40, 15, and 10 meters. The FCC has not yet invited public comment on the proposals, which stem from recommendations put forth by the ARRL Board of Directors’ Entry-Level License Committee, which explored various initiatives and gauged member opinions in 2016 and 2017.

“This action will enhance the available license operating privileges in what has become the principal entry-level license class in the Amateur Service,” ARRL said in its Petition. “It will attract more newcomers to Amateur Radio, it will result in increased retention of licensees who hold Technician Class licenses, and it will provide an improved incentive for entry-level licensees to increase technical self-training and pursue higher license class achievement and development of communications skills.”

Specifically, ARRL proposes to provide Technician licensees, present and future, with phone privileges at 3.900 to 4.000 MHz, 7.225 to 7.300 MHz, and 21.350 to 21.450 MHz, plus RTTY and digital privileges in current Technician allocations on 80, 40, 15, and 10 meters. The ARRL petition points out the explosion in popularity of various digital modes over the past 2 decades. Under the ARRL plan, the maximum HF power level for Technician operators would remain at 200 W PEP. The few remaining Novice licensees would gain no new privileges under the League’s proposal.

Read the entire article on the ARRL website here.

March 14, 2018

Digital Training Day set for Saturday

A Digital Training Day has been set for Saturday, March 17th, from 9 am - Noon. We will again meet at the South Main Church of Christ (402 S Main, Street) and probably have lunch somewhere after we're finished. This second training day will build on the success of the first day held last month.

Topics for the DTD include:
  1. Refresher on using FLDigi, FLmsg
  2. Radio to Computer interface options
  3. Direwolf install and demo, (software TNC) for Packet
  4. Winlink install and demo, VHF & HF
  5. APRS Tracking & Messaging demo, (RF & Cellular)
All the above digital modes, (except FLDigi & FLMsg) require a wired connection from your computer to your radio, so remember to bring your interface with you. The link below shows a pretty good list of interface options available, from a few dollars to more expensive.


Interfacing your computer to your radio is the next logical step for using digital modes with Amateur Radio. Most of the interface options will allow you to connect your computer to your VHF radio or to your HF radio. This opens the door to all sorts of digital modes being used on the HF bands.

If you don’t have an interface yet that is fine. Come on out Saturday morning and get a first hand look at some of the various interfaces and how they are connected between the computer and radio.

Here are some more links with information on digital modes:

APRS Node now online in Henderson

The new APRS node is now online at the Rusk County Sheriff's Department near downtown Henderson. The antenna is located on the roof of the SO, approximately 40 feet in the air. So far, reception reports have been good, with the best reception coming from around town and to the north.

The node was built using a RaspberryPi running Direwolf 1.4 as a digipeater and an iGate to move data between the RF channel and the Internet. The node is connected to an Icom 8000 running at 60 watts into an omni-directional antenna. The power supply was provided by the Rusk County OEM.

Local users can use the node by setting up their own APRS radio or system and tuning to 144.39 MHz. The node operates under the callsign W5CWT-15. To view users, visit aprs.fi and center the map on Henderson.

ARES stations plan to use the new node during storm spotting operations to track spotter positions and exchange messages.

March 01, 2018

N5IKB (Del Moore), SK

Many of you have talked to Mr. Del, early of a morning on the Henderson repeater, over the years. Sadly Del passed away this past Tuesday. He was born in 1924 (full name was Howard Delwin Moore Jr.) and married Sally Davidson on Oct. 21, 1950. Del was always a pleasure to talk to on the radio.

Funeral services will be held at 2 p.m. on Sunday, March 4, at the First United Methodist Church in Carthage with Rev. Kevin Otto and Rev. Leah Hanks officiating under the direction of Jimerson-Lipsey Funeral Home.

Interment will follow in Rock Hill Cemetery. The family will receive friends from 5-7 p.m. on Saturday at the funeral home.

February 26, 2018

SKYWARN Storm Spotter Training Set

The National Weather Service in Shreveport, LA will provide free SKYWARN training in Rusk County on April 5th, 2018. The training will be held at the Rusk County Sheriff's Department's training room and is open to the public.

 NWS staff will teach both Beginner and Advanced SKYWARN levels including basic storm identification, storm mechanics, severe weather indicators, spotter safety and best practices. The "Advanced" level will include topics on radar products and in-depth meteorology.

The training is required for all active ARES storm spotters in North Texas.

February 19, 2018

Fldigi Day deemed a "Success"!

Several Rusk County amateurs took part in an "Fldigi Day" Saturday to hone their digital messaging skills. Hams learned to setup the software, connect VHF radios and both send and receive messages.

The day served as an importance milestone in the run-up to a region-wide emergency preparedness drill on April 18th, involving 19 counties across Northeast Texas and dozens of healthcare facilities. Amateurs will provide communications for several locations simulating a power outage due to a massive storm system.

After making sure all the technical details were correct, the hams then fanned out across the city and exchanged messages from their vehicles. The training day turned out to be a success and provide a handful off lessons which will be incorporated into the next round of preparation.

February 11, 2018

Fldigi Training Day set for Satruday

Club members will have an opportunity to hone their VHF digital skills on Saturday (February 17). We will meet at the South Main Church of Christ (402 S Main) for some classroom time before heading out into the field to put the theory into practice! The training day will be one more step toward training for emergency events such as the upcoming regional hospital communications exercise in April.

We will meet at 9 a.m. at the church building(southeast corner entrance, look for signs). Bring your laptop, android tablet or phone, handheld radio, mobile VHF radio (with power supply and antenna), sound interfaces, cables and we'll load software, configure it and practice sending and receiving digital messages. 

We will work primarily with Fldigi and Flmsg. We'll discuss forms and templates as well as connections and best practiced. (NOTE: If you don't have any equipment, DON'T WORRY, you're still welcome to come and learn what you'll need in the future!)

We'll then head out across town and have a little fun exchanging messages in a "real world" setting. 

Around noon, we'll have lunch somewhere here in Henderson and debrief over a burger. Join us!

February 10, 2018

New DXCC Mobile award announced

This week, the ARRL announced a Mobile DXCC Operating Award available to radio amateurs who have contacted at least 100 DXCC entities from a working vehicle equipped with antennas and a power source capable of operating while in motion. Previously, the DXCC award had to be earned from a single location.

ARRL Radiosport Manager Norm Fusaro, W3IZ, advised those pursuing the award to put safety first.

“Distracted driving is a serious concern, so we hope all mobile operators exercise care when operating from a moving vehicle,” he said.

Full, official details are on the Mobile DXCC Operating Award page.

January 07, 2018

Club's email list moved to Groups.io

Watch your inbox for a change in our email list! After several problems with Yahoo, we have migrated our email list to a new service hosted by Groups.io. The email list allows members who have signed up, to send an message to the entire group by sending a single email to RuskCountyARC@groups.io.

Members can easily subscribe, unsubscribe and change their address or settings. You can also visit the group's page to view and search old messages as well as the calendar of events.

The transfer is relatively easy, but will require members to create a Groups.io account. Just follow the instructions in the email. The new system will provide the same features we had at Yahoo, plus a few new items including a hosted Chat platform.

If you are not on the email list, simply go to the club's join page and sign up. You can unsubscribe at any time. Several other ham radio groups have also recently switched to Groups.io, so when you're there search for something that interests you!