October 09, 2017

Not your "traditional" ham radio club!

The Land Ops Radio Club is not your traditional amateur club. The group mixes high adventure, 4x4 vehicles and ham radio for some interesting experiences. The member call it just plain fun.

As evidenced by some of the comments the group has gotten on public forums like QRZ.com, the club's "unusual" activities are not to everyone's liking. Some people have objected to mixture of ham radio, flying drones and internet technologies.

Whatever your taste, the group is definitely breaking new ground and seem to be drawing a a huge interest from their region and beyond. You can find our more by going to their website, where they have produce several videos of their activities.

September 29, 2017

ARRL Releases New Band Plan Guide

The ARRL has released a new band plan guide reflecting the addition of the 2,200 meter (you read that right!) and the 630 meter bands. The guide is available as a pdf download here or you can order pre-printed copies directly from the ARRL.

The new bands were added to amateur spectrum back in March of this year. ARRL CEO Tom Gallagher, NY2RF, called it "a big win for the Amateur community and the ARRL. We are excited by the FCC’s action to authorize Amateur Radio access for the first time on the MF and LF spectrum."

You can find the whole story on the new bands on the ARRL's website.

September 15, 2017

Two new hams arrive for duty on ISS

There are two new hams aboard the International Space Station. Mark Vande Hei, KG5GNP, and Joe Acaba, KE5DAR, both American astronauts, and Alexander Misurkin, a cosmonaut, arrived at the International Space Station on September 12.

Get the full story from the ARRL's website here!

September 14, 2017

Hams help during hurricanes

There were thousands of hams helping out during Harvey and Irma. That resulted in hundreds of great news stories about the good that hams have done. Here is a nice story in the USA Today about a couple of guys in Florida helping during Irma.

Here's the link to the full story.

August 01, 2017

Solar Eclipse QSO planned for Aug

Darkness is coming! On August 21, 2017, a total solar eclipse will cause the shadow of the moon to traverse the United States from Oregon to South Carolina in just over 90 minutes. Although the ionospheric effects of solar eclipses have been studied for over 50 years, many unanswered questions remain.

At least one group, HamSCI, is inviting amateur radio operators to participate in a large-scale experiment which will characterize the ionospheric response to the total solar eclipse and target open science questions.

Would you like to participate? Help out by getting on the air with the Solar Eclipse QSO Party, a contest-like operating event designed to generate data for studying the eclipse! Other ways to get involved include making HF Frequency Measurements, recording HF spectra, setting up a Reverse Beacon Network Receiver, participating in VLF/LF receiving experiments, and listening to AM broadcast stations.

Click here for more information.

PDF of ARRL Story on Eclipse

July 29, 2017

New APRS Satellite to be deployed

A new satilite supporting APRS will be orbiting the earth soon. The QIKCOM-1 module containing an APRS transponder and Terrestrial Alert beacon will be deployed from the ISS on 21 Aug 2017.

Built as a student project Amateur Satellite module at the Naval Academy, and attached to the NovaWurks SIMPL spacecraft, it will function identically to the ISS transponder on 145.825 MHz with the same ARISS alias and once they widely separate, will permit possible dual-hop experiments between it and the ISS APRS digipeater.

Read more about it here.

July 27, 2017

A Chance to Listen to the Stars on HF

The Arecibo ionospheric HF heating facility will be operational for a research campaign from 24 to 31 July 2017. Because the facility transmits on the HF frequencies 5.125 and 8.175 MHz, it is possible that its signals can be heard world-wide.

QSL cards are available for interested listeners. The new Arecibo ionosphere HF heater nominally transmits 600 kilowatts net power (100 to 200 megawatts effective radiated power) and has a unique Cassegrain dual-array antenna design that increases the gain of three crossed dipoles for each band using the signature 1000 ft spherical dish reflector.

Here's the complete article.

July 05, 2017

Hospital Repeater back to FULL power

Thomas, a ham who works with ETMC in Tyler, has replaced the hard-line in the W5ETX machine (146.92). The repeater is located at the top of the ETMC hospital in Henderson and is owned by the ETACS group in Tyler.

The repeater was having some issues getting out and Thomas discover the SWR was off the charts a couple of months ago when he was trouble-shooting the problem. He also noticed there was water in the feed-line. He turned the repeater down to 5 watts to protect the radio.

Sure enough, he was able to locate the source of the problem a couple. Apparently, a portion of the hard-line jacket had been cut and water had gotten in. It had completely corroded the inside to the point that the whole line was being held together by what remained of the jacket.

Since then, he has installed new feed-line and brought the repeater back up to full power! Don't forget, the repeater is continuously linked to the other W5ETX machines in Tyler, Hawkins and Edom.

June 22, 2017

Mayor declares Ham Radio Week

Henderson Mayor Pat Brack proclaimed June 19-25 Amateur Radio Week during a ceremony at city Hall Wednesday. RCARC President Kieth Ballow, KN5G, was on hand for the recognition and thanked Brack for the city's support.

The proclamation recognized local hams for their efforts in emergency communications, storm spotting and disaster preparation. The mayor noted how local amateurs have contributed to making Henderson a safer community.

The proclamation comes in advance of Saturday's annual Field Day exercise where local hams will operate a special station at the Rusk County Courthouse. Field Day is a national exercise involving thousands of ham across the country. It runs from 1pm Saturday, June 24th through 1pm, Sunday June 25th. The public is welcome to stop by and learn more about amateur radio.

June 07, 2017

Field Day is just weeks away!

Field Days is almost here and it is time to think about specifics!

The club has, once again, received permission to hold Field Day 2017 at the Rusk County Office of Emergency Management (OEM) which serves as the county's Emergency Operations Center or "EOC". There is a special provision in the ARRL Field Day rules that allow for EOC operations and would classify our station as an "F" station. Since last year, several power line transformers in the area have been replaced due to excessive RFI and we are hoping it makes a difference in the noise floor this year!

GUESTS WELCOME! If you've ever had any interest in ham radio, Field Day is the BEST time to see it first hand. Join us anytime during Field Day. You'll get a chance to see how much fun it can be to "work the world!"

Going over the rules, here are some thoughts:

Number of Transmitters: Field Day rules classify all participating groups by the number of radios they have transmitting simultaneously at any time during the event AND the type of operation (low power, off the grid, individual at home, at an EOC, etc.).  Some example classifications could be: 1A, 5A, 2B, 1C, 3F, etc.

Class Designation: Class F (EOC) stations are eligible for a "free" VHF station (doesn't count as an additional station) as long as it is used exclusively above 50 MHz. Some club members expressed the desire to have 6m station and this could be it!

GOTA Station: If we have at least two transmitters ("2F") or greater, we're also eligible for a FREE "GOTA" station, but it must use a DIFFERENT callsign. GOTA stands for "Get On The Air" and can be operated by new hams, unlicensed visitors (under the oversight of a control operator) and hams who have been inactive for a long time. To have this station, requires the commitment of one ham willing to set up and operate this station. If you're willing to take on this job, let us know!

Data vs Voice: Data QSOs are worth two points, (voice only 1 point) so the more data, the better. Many of us have the ability to work PSK and other types of data.

Conclusion: Thinking about all this, the best setup might be two HF stations (classification "2F"), with at least one, maybe both, capable of working data. This would allow a maximum of FOUR (Wow!) stations to be on the air at all times (with the free VHF/UHF and GOTA stations). Additionally, if each station stays at less than 150 watts we double our QSO score.

Bonus Points: As far as bonus points go, we should be able to get the following (each worth 100 pts.):

Publicity Bonus
Emergency Power Bonus (must test the generator at least once during event)
Alternate Power Bonus (if someone can bring a battery charged by solar and use it to make five QSOs)
Public location Bonus
Public Table Bonus
W1AW Bulletin Bonus (via PSK)
Educational Activity Bonus
Elected Official Visit Bonus
Agency Representative Visit Bonus

Additionally, we can get more points via:
GOTA Station (Varies based on number of contacts and operators)
Youth (20 points for each participant under 18 that makes at least one QSO, Max 100 pts)

May 04, 2017

Winlink node experiencing difficulty

The local Winlink Node (W5CWT-10), located at the Rusk County OEM office, has been experiencing some difficulties over the past month. The node is still active on 145.070 MHz but seems to have an attenuated signal on the transmitter side.

While we continue to diagnose the cause of the problem, you may experience difficulty connecting to the node. All signal reports are welcome. Simple email us the specifics, including your location to W5CWT-at-arrl.org.

March 20, 2017

Hospital repeater gets new mount

The antenna on the roof of EMTC Hospital in Henderson has been leaning a little for past year. After being upgraded and put on the air as the W5ETX's Henderson repeater by the ETECS Group in Tyler, a storm blew through and knocked it about 20 degrees off center.

This week, according to ETMC's facilities director and fellow ham, Thomas Moss, crews were on the roof working on another project and took advantage of the opportunity to straighten the antenna and re-secure it to the equipment building.

The repeater is currently off the air while the work is being done and Moss says he hopes to have it back up and running by early to mid April. The W5ETX repeater is linked by RF to other W5ETX repeaters in Tyler, Hawkins and Edom, providing easy coverage across most of East Texas.

March 01, 2017

N5L Special Event Station Planned

Rusk County amateurs are planning on commemorating the 80th Anniversary of the New London School Explosion with a special event station. Club members plan to operate the station (designated N5L) on March 18, 2017 from 8:00 am to 6 pm at the New London Museum. (Visit our Special Event Page for more details)

Thanks to the generosity and cooperation of the museum, the station will be operated from within the London Museum and Tea Room, across the highway from the school site. The station will run concurrently with events commemorating the 80th anniversary of the explosion. The station plans to be active on both SSB and PSK on the 40, 20 and 15 meter bands. We plan on erecting an antenna using a large tower already located at the site.

A QSL card and a Certificate will be available for all stations completing QSOs with N5L. To receive a printed QSL card, please send your own QSL card along with a SASE (at least 3.5" x 6") to "Attn: N5L QSL" and the club's address below. For a printed certificate, please send $1 and a SASE (at least 8.5" x 11") to "Attn: N5L Certificate" and the club's address below.

February 27, 2017

Skywarn Class set for February 28th

Rusk County residents will have an opportunity to refresh their storm-spotting skills (or learn them for the first time) this week.

The National Weather Service will be in Rusk County on Tuesday, February 28, 2017. The class will run from 6 pm - 9 pm at the Rusk County Sheriff's Department Training Room, 210 W Charlevoix St, in Henderson. (Click link for a map).

The free training will include both Basic and Advance level training sessions and is open to the public. Hams, along with local EMS, firefighters and first responders are encouraged to attend.  Rusk County Office of Emergency Management is organizing the classes, so if you plan to attend, please RSVP emailing Patrick Dooley at patrick.dooley[at]ruskcountyoem.org so he can get a head count.

February 23, 2017

RCARC February Monthly Meeting

The RCARC met tonight, Feb 23, 2017, and 9 members were present.

The special event on March 18, 2017 at the New London School Museum commemorating the 80th anniversary of the explosion was coordinated with the members to have a Special Event Station [N5L] for this day.

February 09, 2017

HAM Breakfast

Breakfast Get Together !
Join us this coming Saturday morning, Feb. 11, at Denny's for a HAM breakfast and fellowship.
We will meet at 9:00 a.m. at the Denny's in Henderson, TX. Bring your appetite and be ready to share some tall tails with fellow amateur radio operators!

January 29, 2017

Local Ham couple on Texas Reporter!

In case you missed it, here's a clip of an interview with John and Jo Ann Keith of Gilmer. It looks like the clip aired back in November, 2016.

John and Jo Ann are probably familiar faces and have been to our club on a number of occasions and talked about several topics, including the National Traffic System.

What you may not have known is how they met and how Ham Radio has kept them together! Enjoy!