October 24, 2014

It's official: ARRL Affiliation!

The American Radio Relay League (ARRL) has officially recognized the Rusk County Amateur Radio Club as an affiliated society! The notification came early today (October 21) in a letter from Norm Fusaro, W3IZ, of the national association for amateur radio. The club is now a part of the West Gulf Division.

Dr. David Woolweaver, K5RAV, who serves as the director for the West Gulf Division, offered his best wishes on the occasion.

"Congratulations on your club's affiliation," said Woolweaver in an email this morning. "If there is anything that I can do to support your efforts, please let me know."

The affiliation means that the RCARC now can benefit from a large variety of resources available from the ARRL. The club will also receive a small portion of the ARRL dues paid my club members.

RCARC elects new officers for 2015

Rusk County Amateur Radio Club members elected new officers Thursday night during the regular monthly meeting. All five current officers have served in their respective positions for two years, the maximum allowed by the club's constitution. Most of the officers will stay on in some capacity with exepction of James (KF5YAF) who will turn over the office of treasurer to Lester (K5UNL). Next years officers also include Michael (WX5WMS) as Public Information Officers, Keith (KN5G) as Secretary, Craig (AF5RI) as Vice President and David (W5CWT) as President. The new officers will official assume their new roles on January 1, 2015.

The meeting marked the largest number of attendees yet, with 20 members and guests, some from as far as Tyler. 

The club also finalized plans for a booth at this year's Syrup Festival, scheduled for Saturday, November 8th. The club will set up a demonstration radio as well as have free literature on hand for anyone interested in amateur radio.

October 19, 2014

Tailgating in Paris - Not France!

Several Rusk County Amateurs flew into Paris this weekend for a little bit of radio culture. Instead of wine, cheese and stroll down the "Champs Elysees,"  local hams dined on hot dogs and shuffled around the flea-market booths. The Main Trading Company (well-loved by many East Texas amateurs) hosted a Saturday tailgating meeting in their hometown of Paris...TEXAS...complete with food and fun.

In addition to giving away items throughout the day, several radio vendors were on hand to answer questions and show off new products.

October 03, 2014

Ham club honors local Electric Co-op

Rusk County Electirc Cooperative accepts a plaque from the
Rusk County Amateur Radio Club.
A local amateur radio organization recently honored Rusk County Electric Cooperative for its on-going support of emergency communications. Members of the Rusk County Amateur Radio Club, often called “hams”, presented the co-op with a special plaque during a ceremony at the electric company's offices.

“The co-op has been indispensable in helping us provide communications in Rusk County--especially in times of emergencies,” said Keith Ballow, president of the radio club. “They have provided valuable space for our antenna and equipment which has allowed us to conduct storm spotting and prepare for major disasters.”

“We are very pleased to be able to help,” said Rhett Reid, who serves as the co-op's manager of engineering. Reid oversees the technical details of partnership between the two groups.
The co-op's general manager, Richard McLeon, noted that helping the community, especially in times of need, is a part of the cooperative philosophy. “This co-op is owned by its members which make up this community. So, supporting and sustaining the community by definition supports our members. And we are committed to those principles.”

For the past year, one of the co-op's 400-foot radio towers has served as a platform for an amateur radio repeater system. Licensed as “N5RCA” by the Federal Communication Commission, the repeater is owned by the club and is regularly used to relay both routine and emergency messages across a twelve-county area in East Texas and western Louisiana.

Before moving to its current location, the repeater stood on a water tower in Henderson. Ballow said the location severely limited the range of the repeater and meant important information could not be shared with other counties.

“It's made all the difference,” explained Ballow. "Rusk County Electric has been a great partner. They've really done a lot to make the community service we provide possible. We just can't say enough of how thankful we are for their continued support of ham radio and emergency communications."