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 (w5cwt@arrl.net) 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 (w5cwt@arrl.net) 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.