December 26, 2015

Storm Outlook added to Weather Page

In a continual effort to make the RCARC website as useful as possible, we've added graphics provided by the Storm Prediction Center to our weather page.

The SPC, a part of NOAA, creates storm prediction models every day for the next eight days. We've added five small images to our Weather Page (just below NOAA's national weather loop) as well as links to the full pages with detailed information on each day's prediction.

 If there is not a measurable chance of severe weather on a specific day, the image will be mostly blank and include text stating there is no expected severe weather that day. The SPC updates these images and their corresponding pages once a day unless rapidly changes weather patterns require quicker updates.

 To view the complete weather product on NOAA's site, simply click one of the images.

December 21, 2015

Fun at the Christmas Dinner!

Several members of the Rusk County Amateur Radio Club gathers for a Christmas Dinner recently. The group enjoyed a variety of Mexican dishes in the company of fellow hams.

Among the festivities, several awards were given including New Ham of the Year, to Dana Ashby and Net Control Operator of the Year to Eric Smith. Craig Roquemore, Tommy Vaugh and James Pike were also recognized for their service to the club over the past year.

December 15, 2015

FT-991 and Digital Modes

The Yaesu FT-991 transceiver is a relatively new offering from Yaesu. It covers the HF bands, 6 Meters, 2 Meters and 70 cMeters amateur bands and offers All Mode operation on those bands.

After receiving my new FT-991 I wanted to get it hooked up for the digital modes, but the owner's manual didn't go into any details about using the FT-991 in this mode. After some time spent searching the Internet I discovered that the FT-991 actually has a built-in soundcard that can be accessed and controlled by installing one standard USB cable between the radio and your computer. The data signals for CAT control of the radio as well as the data signals controlling the on-board soundcard all travel across this one USB Cable.

Bottom line is this; the FT-991 does not require an interface, like the SignaLink or any kind of level conversion, isolation to communicate with your computer!

Should anyone else be looking for some assistance with getting a FT-991 hooked up to their computer, a short write up containing my notes can be seen here.


December 08, 2015

Club Christmas Dinner

Club Christmas Dinner..

Make your plans and mark your calendars now to attend the Rusk County Amateur Radio Club's Christmas Dinner.

Tuesday, December 15, at 7:00 p.m.

Bring your spouse, children, and your appetite, and share in the fellowship during this special time of year. Our club has a great and diverse group of members and we want to spend this evening with our fellow amateurs and their families to celebrate the Christmas Season.

The club has a room reserved at Sombrero's Bar and Grill, so we should have plenty of room to visit and enjoy each other's company during the meal.

The restaurant is located in Henderson, at 405, Hwy 79 South, across from the old Sonic.

Merry Christmas !

November 18, 2015

A nice multi-band antenna that works!

by KN5G - It's always a struggle, trying to decide what antenna is simple but effective and worn't break the bank. For me, this multi-band antenna has been a real pleasure to use. Takes a little time and effort to install but well worth it in my opinion.

Just switch to the frequency you want to use, hit the auto tuner and you’re ready to call CQ! And you don’t have to put up 500 feet or wire if you don’t have room for it.

Just figure out the length you have room for and put that up. You lose the lower bands but you still have a multi-band antenna for the higher bands.

Here's the full article on the SkyWay Antenna in PDF format.

And for more information especially useful for "new hams" check our our New Ham page. - Keith

November 16, 2015

Club gives away new TV

Guy Bridges of Laneville won the grand prize, a large 42" HDTV, during the RCARC's recent fundraiser. Guy's name was drawn from the dozens of entries during the giveaway on Sunday at the Syrup Festival. Guy, who works at Luminant with Keith (KN5G), got his hands on the new TV Monday morning when Keith delivered it to him at work.

Congratulations to Guy and thanks to everyone who donated to the club during the fundraiser!

November 12, 2015

Henderson linked to Tyler and Hawkins

KC5KCT (left) and N9JN install a
VHF Yagi linking the new repeater
with a sister repeater in Tyler.
A new repeater linking Henderson to Tyler and Hawkins was installed Thursday, November 12th. The new machine, carrying the W5ETX callsign, is the result of many hours of work by Thomas Moss (KC5KTC) and John Newman (N9JN).

Moss, who works for the ETMC Hospital system and Newman, who is part of the East Texas Emergency Communications Systems club in Tyler, began dreaming of a network of repeaters located on hospitals all across East Texas years ago. Recently, the project got a major boost when new government funding became available for emergency equipment.

October 29, 2015

Field Day station places in West Gulf!

The Rusk County ARC's Field Day station, K5R, took first place in the 2F category in the West Gulf Division! The club operated at the Rusk County Office of Emergency Management's Emergency Operations Center, qualifying for the 2F designation and made 734 contacts over 24 hours during the contest in June.

That was enough to bring the club's total score to 1740 which was nearly 500 points more than the next 2F station. The West Gulf division includes the North Texas, South Texas, West Texas and Oklahoma sections. Overall, K5R placed 28th among all the 2F station across the country. Several club members participated in the event helping the club earn the distinctive honors.

October 27, 2015

RCARC planning for Syrup Fest

Syrup Festival 2015
The Rusk County ARC will be setting up a booth, once again, at the Syrup Festival in downtown Henderson Saturday, November 14th. We will be on the grounds of the County Courthouse. We'll need all the hams we can get to help out with the day, showing off ham radio and greeting visitors. Also, we'll be giving folks a chance to enter a drawing for a 42-inch HD television! So make plans to join us at the RCARC booth at the Syrup Fest from 9am - 2pm.

We also have a new opportunity for public service this year! The RCARC has agreed to help Henderson Main Street with communications for the Christmas Parade. The parade will be Thursday evening, December 3rd at 6pm. The club needs as many Technician or higher class operators as possible to volunteer. Please contact David ( if you can help.

October 25, 2015

New 2016 Officers and New Dates

Christmas Dinner 2014
The RCARC recently elected new officers for 2016 and set dates for its November and December meetings. Each October, the RCARC is required to elect new officers. This year, most of the officers were eligible to serve another year in their current slots and agreed to do so.

However, on January 1st the Secretary slot will be vacant due to a lack of nominations during the October meeting. That means we must elect a secretary before December 31st! If you would be willing to serve in this position (or would like to nominate someone), please contact David ( as soon as possible! The other slots will remain the same with: WX5WMS (Michael) as Public Information Officer, KF5UNL (Lester) as Treasurer, AF5RI (Craig) as Vice-President and W5CWT (David) as President

Also, the club voted to hold the November meeting on Tuesday, November 17th, 7pm, at the Henderson Central Fire Station. The change is required since the regular meeting dates falls on Thanksgiving. Also, the club has scheduled its annual Christmas dinner meeting for December 15th at Sombreros at 7pm.

October 20, 2015

One way Amateurs can help out!

This comes from the hams down in Harris County who helped out the local emergency preparedness office with communications. The office sent out several teams of people to survey the level of preparedness in the community. They created a nicely produced video highlighting the efforts. One interesting note, this happened just prior to a massive flooding event in the region.

October 14, 2015

NU5G's Fusion Repeater is on the air

NU5G's DR-1X Repater up an running
Thanks to a general discount program by Yaesu, Jon (NU5G) recently installed a new Fusion Repeater replace his previous system on 442.30 MHz. Jon said the best thing about the new equipment is, "how ridiculously easy the setup is. It was almost plug and play."

According to Jon, the Fusion repeater is running at the 50-watt setting with a 131.8 Hz tone used for access control. Jon notes that is running in FM fixed mode, "until we have some folks win the lottery and buy some of the digital radios."

He added the 131.8 tone on the transmit side of the repeater to help reduce interference at the operator end. If users want to take advantage of the transmit tone, simply turn on the "TSQ" feature on their radio which enables the tone on both the transmit and receive sides. (While the transmit tone is required by operators want to use the repeater, it will not effect reception if users do not use the TSQ function.)

Fusion DR-1X Touch Screen
The repeater's antenna is a 16-bay DB-420b fed by Andrews half-inch Heliax. However, it is only up at 55 feet. The duplexers are two-cavity, 100-watt Motorola units with notch filters at opposing frequencies.

Jon said there are pros and cons to the unit.

"I have to say that the receive and transmit of this repeater is spectacular without performing any adjustments. If we get some height, it could be a beast. On the down side, I had an initial problem with the touch screen not working because the black faceplate was putting pressure on the edge of the screen. But it is working fine now."

Users may notice there is no courtesy tone with the new controller, just a short squelch tail. Jon says that is simply a feature of the Fusion DR-1X system. As Jon notes, "it is simply something to get used to."

October 03, 2015

Newest Antenna Project

Cushcraft 26B2 Boomer

Today's project is assembling a pair of 13 element Cushcraft YAGI antennas, (26B2). I didn't realize they were going to be so LONG! In the photo you see one boom assembled, and it pretty much takes up the entire living room!

The inset picture shows the pair of antennas in a vertical arrangement, but mine will be mounted horizontal for SSB and weak signal work. The antennas will be phased with a coaxial harness to match the 50 ohm impedance of the feed line and transceiver.

Currently I have a 10 element Cushcraft YAGI, mounted horizontally that I can work stations on SSB with, into Denton, TX., Houston, TX. Oklahoma and Arkansas. I'm hoping that with the higher gain of the dual antennas that my range will be a good bit greater.

More to come as this project progresses.


September 12, 2015

Even an "Amateur" can catch a Fox!

Several members of the Rusk County Amateur Radio Club turned out on a beautiful Saturday morning to hunt down a fox! The "fox" (a two-meter transmitter and a special message recorder) was built by AF5RI (Craig) and hidden by W5CWT (David). KF5YAF, Eric, turned out to the be the quickest and the most efficient, finding the fox first and traveling the shortest distance to get to it (just five miles)!

The crew had gathered at Denny's to check in and listen for the first tones of the fox. Then they were a variety of directions! It took nearly 30 minutes for the first of the hunters to show up near the site of the fox, which was hidden near Montgomery Achievement Center on Ruby Drive.

After some final tweaks to their radios in an attempt to attenuate the signal as much as possible, the hunters closed in on a large tree near the edge of the property. There, tuck in the crook of the branches, was the fox!

September 11, 2015

New Ham is on the Air!

Congratulations to our Newest Amateur, Dana Ashby - KG5JGY

After an extended wait, while the FCC's computer system was up-graded and his technician application floated around in the USPS's system for a couple of weeks before arriving at the W5YI's office in Arlington, TX., Dana's new call sign finally showed up on the FCC's website late Thursday evening.

Was good to hear Dana on the Henderson repeater early Friday morning from his QTH in the Laneville community. Be sure to give Dana a warm Amateur welcome when you hear him on the air the next few days!

September 06, 2015

Freedom Link Skywarn Group

Here's something new for you to check out. The FREEDOM LINK SYSTEM is a network of 7 linked repeaters spanning the North East corner of Texas, North West Louisiana, South West Arkansas, and South East Oklahoma.The nearest repeater to Henderson and Rusk County is the 146.640 repeater, located in Longview, Texas, with a 136.5 Hz. Tone. 

Coverage Area of Freedom Link Repeaters.
The purpose of this linked network of repeaters is to enhance communications during Skywarn operations and periods of inclement weather.  Please be mindful that there may be active weather events far removed from our local area and refrain from adding non-emergency traffic to the network when these events are ongoing.

Otherwise, it's a rather novel idea to have such a large area of 2 meter, FM voice coverage, especially when traveling North - South along the coverage corridor in North East Texas. Just program the seven networked repeaters into your mobile radio and switch to whichever repeater you are in range of when traveling.

The repeater planned for the Henderson Hospital will be configured in a similar, (but different) linked network when it goes on the air later this year.

To find out more about the Freedom Link System, visit their website at:


August 30, 2015

Watch out! Intruder Alert from DK2OM

Strange signals are often present on the Amateur radio bands. But who can tell what they are or where they come from? That's DK2OM's passion. Like a lion hunting his prey, Wolf scans up and down the bands looking for signals that are out of place. Using more than $25,000 worth of high-end equipment and software, he analyzes what he finds and reports it to the DARC (Germany's version of the ARRL). They, in turn, work to prevent the signals from returning,

Wolf says some of the worst offenders currently are the signals from Russian and Iranian OTH (Over-The-Horizon) radar. These extremely powerful signals are designed to peak over the natural curvature of the earth and detect missiles or aircraft up to 3,000 miles away. The signals often result in broad swaths of noise in the 20-meter amateur band.
Thanks to VoIP technology, DK2OM was able to tell his story to the members of the RCARC during the August meeting and encourage them to join the hunt to intruders on the ham bands.
Listen to the complete by clicking on the video. Here is Wolf's latest Intruder Report and more information about his work. Thanks to DK2OM for his monitoring work and giving up time to speak with us!

August 18, 2015

Soon to be New Ham in Rusk County

Congratulations to Dana Ashby on passing the Technician Exam last Saturday morning! Not only did Dana pass the exam, he aced it with 100% correct answers.

Dana had been studying the Tech theory manual and arranged for us to meet him this past Saturday morning at the Fire Station and administer the exam.

My thanks also to Ken KZ5S and Craig AF5RI for assisting with the exam. As soon as the FCC gets Dana's license granted, we can expect to hear him on the air!

July 31, 2015

Shreveport Hamfest set for Aug 8

The Shreveport Hamfest has been set for Saturday, August, 8th and is expected to be bigger and better that than last year's success. The Shreveport Amateur Radio Association which hosts the event have moved it to the Ag Building on the Louisiana State Fair Grounds in Shreveport. Organizers say this will allow for more parking and much more room to move around.

Several presentations are scheduled including one from George Thomas, W5JDX, a broadcast engineer and regular co-host on Ham Nation as well as producer of AmateurLogic.TV. Tommy Gober, N5DUX, and instructor for the ARRL Education Technology Program and faculty member at LeTourneau University, will discuss WebSDR with the Raspberry Pi.

The hamfest's vendor list has also grown this year with MFJ and Main Training both expected to be on hand. The event's website shows that all vendor booths have been sold out.  More than a dozen radios will be given away including a Yaesu FT-991 and a Kenwood TS-480 SAT.

Admission is $5. More information and directions are available at

July 29, 2015

New Winlink Primer by Area Ham

Many of us in Rusk County have worked with Winlink either at home or during an emergency drill. Even more of us have at least heard about it and may have thought about diving into it some day. That would be a good idea since Winlink is quickly becoming one of the standard tools used in emergency communications by hams.

While there is a lot of information out there, some of it can be confusing. Now John, N5TIM, has drawn on his extensive experience in emergency communications to create a nice primer on the Winlink system and how it can be used effectively.

The document was recently posted to the North Texas ARES Yahoo site and we are making available here for anyone interested in learning more. (And just FYI, I never remember to ask him why his callsign is "TIM" when his name is John.)

Click here to read or download the Winlink System Information.

June 23, 2015

2015 Field Day a great success!

This weekend, the Rusk County Amateur Radio Club hosted a local Field Day station as it participated in the nation-wide emergency preparedness event. This year's station was again at the Rusk County Office of Emergency Management's Emergency Operations Center, located at the rear of the county courthouse, 115 North Main Street in Henderson, TX.

Several club members helped out this year, from 1pm Saturday through 1pm Sunday. The club's special event callsign, K5R, even drew several pile-ups that sent the adrenaline pumping for whoever was operating at the time. And special kudos to Tom, who logged like a mad-man for throughout several pile-ups. Also thanks to Richard, K5RRB, for providing the perfectly cooked rib dinner Saturday night!

This year's Field Day operation netted more than 700 contacts on several bands thanks to a new vertical antenna installed, at least temporarily, on the roof of the OEM building. The final score is still being tallied thanks to several opportunities for bonus points.

Each year thousands of amateur radio operators take part in a two-day emergency communications drill which often feels like more of a contest. Each station attempts to contact as many other statinos as possible while operating from remote or unique locations.

June 01, 2015

Survey flight over the OEM roof

Jon, NU5G, brought out his remote-controlled helicopter Monday to perform a fly-over of the OEM building. The club is planning on placing an HF antenna on the building for use in emergency communications but access to the roof is extremely limited. in order to avoid using costly equipment to climb to the top and get a peak for planning purposes, Jon took to the air and got a great shot of the roof.

The roof was surprisingly sparse. But that actually makes sense, considering it was built as a jail and would have been designed to prevent easy access from inside the building.

The next step it to look closely at the video footage and decide exactly where and how an antenna can be secured to the roof.

May 19, 2015

Sugru: Duct Tape meets Playdough!

Can there be something as fun and creative as Playdough and as practical as duct tape? As a ham always looking for cool new things, I think so! It's called Sugru.

It's a new material which looks and feels like Playdough in your fingers. It comes in variety of vibrant colors and can be molded into a million different shapes. But it's after you shape it that the magic begins. simply let is sit for 24 hours to "cure" and it turns into a firm, almost rigid form of rubber. It will adhere to most surfaces and is waterproof and durable.

My first experience with Sugru came after my son dropped his table computer and splintered off a small piece of rubberize plastic trim around the edge. With a pea-sized ball of Sugru, pressed into the hole where missing piece had been, his tablet was as good as new and it was almost impossible to see the repair.

I used large marble-sized ball to create a mic holder for my FT-100D. It's looks good and works well. The Sugru website has hundreds of creative ideas of how to use the interesting stuff. There are a couple of downsides.

Once you open the Sugru package, it starts curing, which means you have to use it or loose it. for that reason, they sell it in small, single-use packets (about the size of a bite-size miniature candy bar). And it's not the cheapest fix. It comes in a pack of three for $12 or eight for $22.

Intruder Alert! Who's on the band?

Wolfgang Hadel, DK2OM
If you've spent any time at all cruising through the HF bands, you've likely come across an out-of-place signal or two. Perhaps it was an voice in the middle of the 20-meter CW sub-band or music playing at the top of 15 meters. Perhaps it was a strange data signal that sounded like RTTY but just kept repeating itself over and over again. "Where is that coming from?" you thought.

If you're Wolfgang Hadel, it's just another day on the hunt. Wolf, better known as DK2OM, spends a good portion of his time listening for rogue signal in the ham bands and trying to figure out who it behind them. He co-ordinates the International Amateur Radio Union's Monitoring System in Region 1 (Europe, Africa, Middle-East and Northern Asia). Each month Wolf compiles a newsletter highlighting what he has found and it can be very interesting reading to say the least.

Each report is filled with a spreadsheet of signals heard and their possible sources. There is also some graphs which show just have much of the bands some signal cover.

Wolf often forwards information on the worst offenders to governmental authorities who in turn can file formal complaints. In one recent case, and intruding signal even interfered with emergency traffic originating out of Napal, which is recovering from the effects of a massive earthquake.

Here is a copy of the most recent monthly report.
There is shorter version with the most recent updates available here.
Visit the monitoring system's website for more information.

May 08, 2015

Fun Stuff from the ARRL's Contest Guy

I've never scored very well in a contest, but I do appreciate the ARRL's regular "Contest Update." It goes well beyond the normal list of events and where to find contest rules. In fact, Ward Silver, NØAX, goes out of his way to compile a TON of interesting tidbits of information that appeals to more than typical contester.

Here's a some of this week's update I thought was interesting:


Measuring RF power/signal strength accurately is a non-trivial undertaking. Mike N8MSA strongly recommends this Keysight (nee Agilent nee Hewlett-Packard) tutorial or this older, more detailed treatment. Both cover the complexity caused by different modulation types, bandwidths, onset rise-time and numerous other factors.

A sky full of CubeSats? There will be if Planet Labs gets enough funding to fulfill its dream of taking one full-Earth snapshot every day! (Thanks, John WV8H)

Repurposing champ, Charlie NØTT found a great method of cable control. "I use plastic guttering from the local home center for use as a wiring/cable tray. I homebrewed some brackets to attach it to the back of my desk then cut access holes I wanted with a hole saw/drill."Every time we turn around there is a new technique to do something in your own lab which previously required special machines and techniques. Here's an EE Times story about alternative ways to do your own PCB fabrication.

Brian N9ADG found a one-dollar add-on clip to fix that RJ-45 connector with the broken-off tab that allows your microphone to fall out of the rig and under the passenger seat where you can't reach it and have to pull all the way over to the shoulder to get it and then you can't merge back on to the highway and wind up late! Wait, what was I talking about?

Technical Websites of the Week - Glenn WØGJ spotted this article about disturbances in the upper atmosphere resulting from the recent earthquake in Nepal. Does this imply a mechanism for short-term propagation caused by quakes? On the Sun, nano-flares can stir things up and add heat to the corona - like it needs to be any hotter - resulting in changes in our upper atmosphere, too. Elsewhere, the Daily Mail takes the pulse of Ol' Sol with an article about two-year cycles inside the Sun driving big solar storms. Big cycles, little cycles - as long as they make sunspots, who cares?

If you're an ARRL member and would like to receive the ARRL Contest Update yourself, you can sign up here.

May 02, 2015

New Section Manager for ARRL's NTX

Nancy McCain, K5NLM
The ARRL North Texas Section has a new Section Manager. Nancy McCain, K5NLM, from Fort Worth, formally took over the position on May 1, succeeding incumbent SM Chris Brewer, N5GMJ. Brewer resigned due to increased work and family commitments.

ARRL Field Services and Radiosport Manager Dave Patton, NN1N, made the appointment in consultation with Brewer (who recommended McCain for the post) and ARRL West Gulf Division Director Dr David Woolweaver, K5RAV. Brewer, of Saginaw, has served as the North Texas Section Manager since April 30, 2013.

McCain, who is presently a North Texas Assistant Section Manager, has been active in ARES, RACES, and in Army and Navy MARS. She is a retired emergency management specialist. She will complete the current term of office as North Texas Section Manager, which runs until March 31, 2017.

Here's the full story on the ARRL's website.

April 28, 2015

N9JN talks up Emergency radio in E.TX

John Newman, N9JN, visited the Rusk County Amateur Radio Club during its recent April meeting to talk about emergency communications in East Texas. John is a director of the East Texas Emergency Communications Services club in Tyler. He also works with the state-wide RACES group. John spoke about the organizations efforts to serve numerous agencies in the region during local disasters.

John also brought Gene Coldwell, WB5CTQ, and Mark Taylor, W5MCT, with him to talk about digital communications and training opportunities. All three amateurs have used amateur radio to provide assistance to local cities, counties, non-profit groups and even the state of Texas.

Mark also gave a brief demonstration of Fldigi, even receiving a form on an android tablet.

April 25, 2015

Tropo opening brings in 2-meter DX

By KN5G - There was a nice tropo opening (Tropospheric Propagation) Saturday morning around 10:15 a.m.  I managed to work three stations on 2 meter single sideband, to the Southwest. The farthest station, XE2OR, was down in Mexico!

April 17, 2015

Club shows off at Electric Co-op Expo

Craig (AF5RI) and David (W5CWT)
man the RCARC booth
at the  2015 RCEC Expo
Members of the RCARC were on hand at the Rusk County Electric Cooperative's (RCEC) annual expo, Thursday, April 9th. Club members showed off a little 20-meter activity, thanks to Richard's (K5RRB) coax and antenna. The RCEC holds a special place in local hams' hearts, since it hosts the club's repeater antenna on the co-op's 400-foot communications tower, just northeast of Henderson.

It is the second year the club has been on hand for the farm and ranch expo. The club participates in the emergency services and health and well-being section of the event, demonstrating the role of Amateur Radio in times of emergencies.

And as fate would have it, that role came in handy as a series of storms rolled into the area prompting an early end to the expo. Several local hams broke-down the booth and then headed out to spot storms. By the end of the evening three separate areas of rotation and at least one wall cloud were spotted by members of the SKYWARN net.

April 01, 2015

Featured Shack: K-Zed-5-Sugar! (Ken)

Ken's "Sugar-Sweet" Shack
This month, Ken, better known as "K-Zed-Five-Sugar," opens his shack to reveal the mysteries inside. Along the way, he tells how he got started in ham radio and became KZ5S, although didn't start with such a "sweet" callsign.

In fact, he took a break from it all and pursued a long career in the telephone industry where he was president of a contracting company with more than 500 people pulling telephone cable across the state of Florida.

Ken picks up the story...

"I got Interested In Radio Back in 1955 Living In Orlando Fl when some one gave me a CB HT, I heard some one on that radio and after many days of playing with it I talked to him and from there I went into CB big time. In 1976 I took my first ham test as Novice (WD4DDP) one month later I took my Technician test, and one month later In Tampa Fl at the FCC office I took my General test at 13 words a minute code (N4ALP )."

"My first Ham radio was a Yeasu FT 101 EE, down the road I got a Kenwood TS 130 S." "I enjoyed the radio but in 1984 my work took me away from my hobby. In 2005 I took my extra class, I got my Call (KZ5S) have been hooked on ham since. I joined the Amateur Club in Jacksonville TX and served as president for one term, and when I heard about the ham's in Henderson setting up a Club I jumped in where there is a great bunch of people."

 Here's a look at Ken's station...

Ken, KZ5S
"On the top shelf is a jetstream 75 amp power supply with a purple onion for good luck. On the next shelf down is my computer windows 7, an MFJ 962 D Versa Tuner 111, a Swan wm-3000 watt meter and an MFJ 4726 antenna switch. On the lower shelf left to right is a FT 2800 FM 2 meter set up, a Kenwood 25 amp power supply and an MFJ 993 Automatic Antenna Tuner."

"Under that is the IC 718 Transceiver. Next to it is an IC 125 power supply. On top is my Signalink USB and an IC 746 Pro Transceiver. On top is ten-tec code keyer and last is the lamp made from a D104 MIC. And just out of site is my AL-811 H amp. 73 De KZ5S"

March 07, 2015

NBEMS connects Hams in Emergencies

Software for emergencies
Emergencies breed chaos. Planning helps to minimize it. Let's face it, chaos and confusion will always be a part of emergencies, but knowing what tools to will use and being familiar with how they work can go along way to reducing the stress and urgency of responding to sudden situations. Recently, at a club meeting, I was giving a brief overview of how we might respond in an upcoming emergency drill. One of the hams in the room admitted, my overview when right over his head. I'm certain he wasn't alone. Now is the best time to learn.

So when an emergency happens, what tools will you use? Part of the joy of ham radio is the fact that it is such a varied and diverse hobby. There are dozens of modes, hundreds of radios, and an infinite number of frequencies to use. How will anyone ever communicate with anyone else?  That's where NBEMS steps in.

The Narrow Band Emergency Messaging System (or NBEMS) is a suite of software that connects hams in emergency situations. It provides a single set of programs and operating concepts that can unify a group of hams. NBEMS is based upon the idea of keeping the things cheap, using simple,

March 02, 2015

Winlink Packet Gateway Up at OEM

A new packet station is up and running at the Rusk County Office of Emergency Management, providing a Winlink gateway for local amateurs. The station is designated as W5CWT-10 and can be reached on 145.07 MHz.

The station is using the OEM's Icom V8000 radio at about 70 watts, connected to a large onmi-directional antenna above the building. KN5G was able to work the station from a little less than six miles away. Additional reports would be helpful in determining actual coverage area.

Although the station can be used as a digipeater, its primary function is to provide a local packet gateway to the Winlink system. Winlink is a volunteer-supported network of email servers located around the world. Access to the servers is provided by thousands of VHF and HF "gateway" stations.

HF gateways typically use the "Pactor" protocol or a similar open-source protocol called "Winmor." VHF station generally use packet the protocol. Radio amateurs can log into the system via a gateway and send or receive email messages, including ones to or from regular, non-amateur radio internet users.

To use the system, an amateur needs a radio, a computer and an interface to connect the two. In the past, a physical "TNC" or radio modem was required to act as an interface between the user's radio

February 18, 2015

Featured Shack: NU5G, Jon

NU5G, Jon, at his station in Henderson.
For this month's featured shack, we peek in on NU5G's station. Although Jon is a relative late comer to ham radio, what he missed out on in time, he's made up for with an avid spirit of exploration. Jon tells the story best in his own words.

I have always had a passion for electronics and when Christy and I got married, I got a formal introduction to Ham Radio. Her family was full of heavy hitters in Ham. Her dad, Gerald (AD5Z), got me hooked and then has been my Elmer when I was lost and scratching my head. Christy’s Grandmother, Nell (WA5JOC), embodied the spirt of ham like no other, serving nearly three decades in the Ladies Auxiliary at Henderson Memorial Hospital. Lynn Roy (W5LD) was old school Ham radio. He helped start and operate KGRI here in town, was the Roy in Roy & Siler Radio Shack and an owner of Lynn Roy-Wayne Freeman Co. which sold and serviced Air Conditioning, Radios, and Televisions. I have a lot to live up to in order to carry on the torch.

I decided in 2009 that it was time to get my license. I studied hard and could not wait for a local session. Christy, Alexis and I drove to Crockett so I could take the test and in June of 2009 was

January 25, 2015

First Club Meeting of 2015

Members of the Rusk County Amateur Radio Club met for the first meeting of the year this past Thursday evening, Nine members were present for this meeting. Incoming club officers for 2015 were recognized, President - David Chenault, Vice President - Craig Roquemore, Treasurer - Lester Davis, Secretary - Keith Ballow, and Public Information Officer - Michael Searcy.
Ken Johnson accepted the duties of Net Control Coordinator for 2015.

President, David Chenault speaking about WinLink
David Chenault presented outgoing, President, Keith Ballow with a plaque of appreciation for his service as the first president of the club.

Other items of business discussed included the report that the club repeater's, updated information had been sent to the Texas VHF/FM Society, the repeater coordinating body for the state of Texas, and reflected the club's callsign, N5RCA having been programmed into the repeater's controller for ID purposes.

David advised members of an upcoming regional emergency drill, planned for April 9th. Members also discussed some pending changes to the club's bylaws to support the club's efforts to acquire 501-C3 status.

Members Jon Brunner, Eric Smith, and Dudley Craig volunteered to serve on a newly formed "Awards Committee". More information on this will be forthcoming at future meetings.

David Chenault discussed and showed examples of the club's webpage and Yahoo E-Mail Reflector. David closed out the meeting with an informative presentation on WINLink and the various methods and modes by which it can be used for emergency communications.

Following the meeting, Eric Smith let members try their hand at flying his quad copter!

The Rusk County Amateur Radio Club holds a monthly meeting on the fourth Thursday of each month at 7:00 p.m. at the Central Fire Station on West Main Street in Henderson, Texas. Area Amateurs and the public are invited to attend.