June 11, 2020

In-Person Meeting Planned for June

The RCARC is planning an in-person meeting for their monthly June club meeting. The meeting will be at 7pm on Thursday, June 25, 2020. Due to the Fire Station still being closed for outside use, the club with meet at the South Main Church of Christ, 402 South Main. The easiest parking wil located on the Van Buren side of the building. Look for signs.

All visitors are welcome to attend, licensed or not, you do not have to be a member of the club. The location is large enough for social distancing. Visitors are welcome to wear a mask and hand sanitizer will be available. Here is a page showing the layout.

March 18, 2020

Louisiana ham fined $18,000 by FCC

From the ARRL - In an enforcement case prompted by complaints filed in 2017, the FCC has imposed an $18,000 forfeiture on Jerry W. Materne, KC5CSG, of Lake Charles, Louisiana, for intentional interference and failure to identify. The FCC had proposed the fine in a Notice of Apparent Liability (NAL) in the case in July 2018, and, based on Materne’s response to the NAL, the agency affirmed the fine in a March 12 Forfeiture Order (FO).

As the FCC recounted in the FO, an FCC agent “observed Materne causing intentional interference to a local repeater by generating digital noise into an analog radio.” The agent further reported that Materne failed to transmit his call sign, as required.

Materne disputed the FCC’s findings, arguing that the NAL should be canceled because the agent “was mistaken in his determination that the source of the interference was Materne’s station” as his

March 16, 2020

March meeting planned for ON-AIR

The Rusk County Amateur Radio Club will hold it's regular monthly meeting in March on the air. Due to COVID-19 restrictions implemented by the City of Henderson, the club's regular meeting room at the Fire Department is not available.

So, the club has decided to hold the meeting on the club's N5RCA repeater. The meeting will be on Thursday, March 26. The meeting will start at the typical net time of 7:30 p.m. instead of the normal 7 p.m. meeting time. This will help avoid interference with another net held the same frequency (on a different repeater). The N5RCA repeater is at 147.68 (- offset, PL131.8).

Several members noted that holding the net on the 2-meter repeater complies with the CDC recommends staying at least six feet from each other people to prevent the spread of COVID-19 since two meters is slightly longer than six feet!

February 27, 2020

Building a Power Distribution Box

Karan and Keith solder the connectors.
The Rusk County ARC built power distribution boxes during their February club meeting. The boxes, based on a design from AE5CZ and a similar build by KK6OYV, accept a single input and provide three outputs for radios, tuners or other devices.

The club used an online 3D Printing service (CloudCraft) to produce the cases and sources the Anderson Powerpole connectors from Powerwerx. Several of the members who built the boxes are relatively new hams who also benefited from the soldering practice.

The soldering job, in fact, was a little more difficult than expected as the connectors needed to be carefully aligned in order to fit inside the final case. Also, most builders added two small copper wires as "bus bars" across the bottom of the connectors to strengthen the solder joints.

The kits came in right around $15 each and we still have two extra kits still available is anyone would like one.

Adding a bus bar proved very tedious, but effective.

Danny's is ready to go into the case.

It's finished! (With some added decoration)

January 26, 2020

Winter Field Day heats up!

A handful of Rusk County hams made a good showing for Winter Field Day 2020 over the past weekend. Keith, KN5G, offered his "deer camp" to host the station and even with a few sprinkles at the very end, it was a perfect location.

The station consisted of David's, W5CWT, go-box with a FT-991 and Keith's LiFePO4 30Ah battery. The battery kept the station on for nearly 10 hours without a hitch. Group erected an end-feed long wire antenna, an inverted-V and a multi-band BuddiePole. All three antenna's performed well across the bands.

The group also enjoyed hot dogs grilled on the campfire (thanks Stephen for the chili!) and some coffee to stay warm.

January 24, 2020

Learn more about Powerpoles!

David, W5CWT, presented a presentation on Powerpoles at the January club meeting. Powerpoles are the standard for ARES and RACES groups across the country and have become the typical power connector for most amateurs.

Powerpoles are easy to install and provide a simple and safe way to connect your gear to someone else's power supply. There are even several powersupplies and radios that come already equipped with powerpoles.

The club will hold a "Build Night" next month (February 2020) during the club meeting to construct a Power Distribution Unit using powerpoles. The unit will accept a single input and have three output connectors to run a radio, a tuner and something else. Cost to build the project is $15. Let us know if you want to participate by registering here.

The presentation is available here (thanks to the unknown ham who originally created it!)

January 21, 2020

New Section affects Sweepstakes

A new section has been announced by the Radio Amateurs of Canada (RAC). The RAC is Canada's equivalent of the ARRL in the states. The change will bring the total number of "Sections" used as multipliers in many ham radio contests to 84. That will also be the number of Sections needed for a clean sweep in the ARRL November Sweepstakes (SS) this year.

The new section resulted from the addition of Prince Edward Island (PE) and will become effective on April 1 2020 (not a joke!). RAC said its Prince Edward Island members have been working for some time to create a separate Section for RAC ARES activities there. The provinces of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick will continue to be in the Maritimes (MAR) Section.

To see a map of all the ARRL/RAC sections, as well as a ton of other good information, visit EI8IC's very complete website.

November 15, 2019

Annual Christmas Party Set for 12/19

The Rusk County Amateur Radio Club's annual Christmas party is being planned for mid-December. The club has made reservations at Sal's Italian Restaurant for December 19, 2019 at 7:00 p.m. Members, spouses, children and other guests are all invited!

This meeting will take the place of our regular monthly club meeting. So mark you calendar and join us for a festive holiday dinner!

November 05, 2019

New Repeater Report added to website

We've added a new feature to the RCARC website to help us keep tabs on our repeaters. Frequently, when we discover a repeater is down or a digipeater is not working, someone will say, "Yeah, I tried it two weeks ago and it was doing that." The fact is, it can't be fixed if we don't know it's broken.

So now, if you have an issue with a repeater such as you notice interference getting into the machine or a digipeater is not responding, simply go to the RuskCountyARC.com web page, find the link to the Repeater Report and log your report. Then an alert will be sent to the repeater trustees and they can begin to diagnose the problem!

A link to the Repeater Report form is located on the left side of the website just below the list of repeaters in the area. We've also added a "Status" indicator next to each repeater or node. The indicator is a small, red or green circle to show whether the repeater is operational or not. Is the status is ● then the repeater is up. If is  then the repeater is down. We will try to keep the status indicators as current as possible.

November 01, 2019

Find your way to a "Digi" today!

Since a lot of us are tinkering around with WinLink and Packet Radio now, this list from the ETECS.org website.  It gives a pretty good list of the local Gateways and Digi-peters in and around East Texas. Click on the image for a larger version.

To use a Digipeater with Winlink Express, simply choose the "Digipeater" option when selecting a station in the packet radio session. Then, enter the dipeater callsign and SSID (the nubers as the end) in the box showing "via." One example is connecting to N9JN-10 via W5ETX-3. In other words, your signal will "hop" from your station to the W5ETX-3 and then hop again to N9JN-10.

If you imaging your are on one side of a creek and the Winlink node is on the other, then it's kind of like hopping on a rock to get across a river. You can hop on several digipeaters, but remember, each hop takes time and the more you add, the slower your connection will be.

Some digipeaters have mailboxes attached to them (think 1980s computer BBS systems). You can leave messages and check for mail to you. They are not connected to the internet, so the messages will not forward to another system.