October 15, 2018

Program a Baofeng by Hand

I have always avoided learning how to program my Baofeng handi-talkies by hand because it was just too easy to plug them into a laptop and use the CHIRP programming application to program them with.

But, if you don’t have a laptop handy or you can’t find your programming cable, these directions should walk you through the steps to program a Repeater’s Frequencies into your handi-talkie. There are a lot of different versions of the Baofeng radios out there so your’s menu numbers may be a bit different. You will just have to give it a try and see.

Remember, the basic keystrokes for changing menu items is:
 [MENU] [Use Arrow buttons to chose menu item] [MENU] [Use Arrow buttons to chose value] [MENU] [EXIT]

Baofeng Programming:

  • Switch to Frequency Mode:
  • In top line, press the numbers on the keypad to set the repeater’s X-mit Freq.
  • Menu 13: Select the CTCSS tone to transmit
  • Menu 25: Select Offset Shift, + or -
  • Menu 26: Set Offset, 000.6000 for VHF, (005.000) for UHF
  • Press PTT to test  (Freq. should shift by 600 KHz, in the correct direction)
  • Menu 27: Store programming into Memory Channel Number
  • Press *  (Reverse Freq. will be displayed)
  • Menu 27: Store in Memory Channel Number (Same as above)
  • Switch to Channel Mode:
  • Tune to programmed Channel Number

  • Test programming by pressing PTT

  • NOTE: Menu 28: Will delete programming in Channel Number if you made a mistake and need to start over. It's a good idea to delete a menu BEFORE trying to write to it, just in case it was already assigned once before.

Give it a try. If it works you can copy and past these steps into your NOTES application on your iPhone or iPad. Android probably has a similar application where you could store the notes for later use.

-.- -. ..... --.

October 09, 2018

Roger Newell, AC5VX, SK

Our sympathies go out to the family of Craig (AF5RI), one of our club members, on the passing of his brother-in-law and fellow ham, Roger Newell (AC5VX).

Many Rusk County hams knew Roger from his frequent visits to local radio events and hamfests. If Craig was talking about new technologies, a new radio or some amazing radio experience he had, the conversation usually began with, "Well, my brother-in-law Roger..."

Roger's family is planning a graveside service this week. Details are available at Crawford A Crim's website.

Roger's wife (Craig's sister) has asked, in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Rusk County Amateur Radio Club to help promote the hobby that was such a big part of Roger's life. Donations made be made at any branch of Texas Bank or by PayPal.

October 06, 2018

RCARC joins with BSA for JOTA!

We have a great opportunity to help out the Boy Scouts AND showcase Amateur Radio! The Jamboree On The Air (JOTA) is the 3rd Weekend in October and is a three-day ragchew event for scouts across the country! But they need our help to get on the air. Here's more about JOTA: http://www.arrl.org/jamboree-on-the-air-jota

The Henderson Boy Scout leadership CAME TO THE RCARC, requesting our help in getting their kids On the Air! We met with the leaders tonight and worked out some of the details.

What we will do: 

We will set up one (maybe two) HF station(s) at the OEM for Saturday, October 20th, 10am - 4pm. We will be ready for both voice and data (PSK and maybe FT8). The scouts (ages 5 thru 18) will come and go (with leaders) and spend some time talking on the air with other scouts as well as learn about ham radio.

What we need...VOLUNTEERS!!!

  1. Volunteers to help set up Friday afternoon from 5:30-7pm. We'll put up one or two antennas as well as setup the radios and do some on-air testing.
  2. Volunteers to serve as control operators for the scouts from 10am-4pm. We can work in shifts of 1-2 hours or so, depending on how many we have available.
  3. Volunteers to greet folks and talk about how much fun it is to be a ham! ANYONE can do this!! Don't be shy! 
  4. We've the equipment worked out, we just need folks willing to help! This could be an EXCELLENT opportunity to showcase ham radio. Let's not disappoint them!

October 05, 2018

A new frequency for W5ETX repeater

The guys from Tyler have the W5ETX repeater back up and running, although the frequency has changed. The antenna is located on the roof of the UT Health Henderson hospital (formerly ETMC).

Previously, the repeater was on 146.92 MHz and linked into the W5ETX network of repeaters across East Texas. However, the group (ETECS) recently installed a new repeater in Rusk (Cherokee County) and due to frequency coordination issues, moved that repeater to the 146.92 frequency, requiring the Henderson repeater to change.

John Newman (N9JN) says that process has been completed and the repeater in Henderson is back up and ready to go. Please note the NEW frequency: 147.04 MHz with n offset of +0.60 MHz. The PL tone remains the same as before, 136.5. It is still connected to the entire W5ETX system through a link to Tyler.

Take time in the next few days to reprogram your radios since the machine will again serve as our backup repeater for events and nets.

October 02, 2018

Club honor's KZ5S's son with donation

The Rusk County ARC's members honored Richard Johnson, the son of member Ken Johnson (KZ5S) after he passed away unexpectedly August 5th 2018. Ken has been an active member of the RCARC since it was formed nearly six years ago.

Although he was not yet a ham, Kan said his son had an interest in amateur radio and was studying to take his license exam. The club unanimously decided to donate a selection of amateur radio books to the Rusk County library in Richard's honor.

The books will be available to anyone with a library card. Richard's obituary is available on Sunset Memorial Park's website.

September 28, 2018

Kilgore tailgate sale planned for Nov

The East Texas Amateur Radio Tailgate Sale in Kilgore is being planned for November. The event is co-sponsored by the Regional Amateur Radio Clubs and the Texas Broadcast Museum and will be held in the museum's parking lot.

The tailgate sale will be Saturday, November 10, 2018, from 7:00 AM to 12:00 noon. Best of all, it's absolutely free to all. Just bring your ham radio sale items and any tables, chairs or other displays that you want to use. No electricity will be available.

Tailgate sale parking space on first-come, first-served basis. Be sure to bring water, sodas, and snacks as there may not be concessions available.

July 30, 2018

Find an HF signal from anywhere

With the advent of Software Defined Radios (SDRs) you can now listen to an HF receiver via the Internet. Fortunately, many people have made their SDRs available for public use and listed them on websites. To listen, all you need is an internet connection and a modern web browser. Most cover 1 Mhz to 30 Mhz.

Even better, there are now a host of "extensions" that allow you to use the received signals in a number of ways. One in particular uses "Time Delay of Arrival" (TDoA) to compare the same signal received at two or more SDRs in different locations. Using the clock from an attached GPS receiver at each location, the approximate location of the signal's transmitter can be determined.

It's a relatively complex process that has been made super simple. Read more about the process and find specific steps on how to located a signal here.

July 27, 2018

Hospital repeater to change frequency

The W5ETX repeater located on the UT Health Henderson (formerly ETMC) hospital is changing frequency. According to an email from John Newman (N9JN), an officer with the East Texas Emergency Communications Service (ETECS) in Tyler, the group is shifting the frequency in order to bring a new repeater into the linked system.

John explained, "ETECS purchased the 147.04 MHz repeater in Rusk. Our intent is to include that repeater into the ETECS (W5ETX) system. We wanted to use the 136.5 Hz tone on all of the ETECS repeaters."

"We found that there is another repeater in Livingston at 440 feet also on 147.04 MHz and using a 136.5 Hz tone. When Mike Miles in Lufkin keys up our Rusk repeater, he also bring up Livingston and vise versa."

"So, we have coordinated moving the 147.04 MHz frequency to Henderson and moving the 146.92 MHz frequency to Rusk. Both to have the 136.5 tone. There shouldn’t be an issue with 147.04 MHz and 136.5 tone from Henderson since the antenna is just above the hospital."

"Thomas Moss is programming the Rusk repeater and another set of cans to 146.92 MHz and we will try to get installed in the next week or so. After it is in place, the Henderson repeater will be programmed to 147.04 MHz."

"Additionally, we have discussed ad hoc, on frequency, link to 147.14 MHz in Palestine from Rusk. Moving Rusk to 146.92 allows for additional margin for that link."

July 26, 2018

Tyler ARC hosts monthly "Shop Night"

The Tyler Amateur Radio Club hosts a "Shop Night" each month, allowing guests to test some really nice rigs.

Through the gracious effort of Michael Fowler, W5FOW, club members (and guests) have a monthly hands-on opportunity with quality radios and test equipment. According to the club's website, TylerARC.org, 15 hams gathered to learn more about operating HF radios during the last shop night.

Shop Night happens the first Thursday of each month at about 6 PM, at the DCTexas shop at the southeast corner of Broadway and Front street. Read more on their website.

Shreveport Hamfest set for Aug 10-11

This year, the Shreveport-Bossier Hamfest will encompass two days this year! The event will run August 10-11, 2018  at the Louisiana State Fair Grounds in Shreveport. This year organizers promise it to be, "bigger, better and more of everything."

The hamfest runs Friday afternoon and all day Saturday and includes a fish fry Friday evening. Adults are just $5 for admission and children 12 and under are free. For more details, visit their website: ShreveportHamfest.k5sar.com

Hamfest Schedule:

Friday, August 10.
Set-up, 8am-5pm.
Hamfest Open, 5pm-7pm.
Fish Fry, 7pm.

Saturday, August 11.
Set-up, 6:30am-7:30am.
Hamfest Open, 8am-3pm.

June 15, 2018

N5RCA set for Field Day 2018

The club has, once again, received permission to hold Field Day 2018 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.

Field Day runs from 1pm on Saturday, June 23, to 1pm Sunday, June 24th. We'll begin setting up Saturday and have dinner around 6pm Saturday evening.

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

April 07, 2018

Large turnout for NWS Storm Training

It was a pack house at the Rusk County Sheriff's Department's training room Thursday evening for the National Weather Service's annual Skywarn training class.

Chris Nuttall, a forecaster at the Shreveport office, explained weather theory, storm recognition and how to read radar images. Everyone who attended the class is eligible to receive an official Skywarn Trained Spotter certificate.

April 05, 2018

Want to become a Ham?

We are planning a new Technician License class for anyone interested in getting their first ham Radio license. We are considering several different days and times, trying to accommodate as many people as possible.

All instructors are volunteers and instruction is provided free of charge. There are some recommended study materials which we will discuss during the first session. We will also recommend a first Radio to use once you earn your license. 

March 20, 2018

ARRL asks for more room for Techs

ARRL has asked the FCC to expand HF privileges for Technician licensees to include limited phone privileges on 75, 40, and 15 meters, plus RTTY and digital mode privileges on 80, 40, 15, and 10 meters. The FCC has not yet invited public comment on the proposals, which stem from recommendations put forth by the ARRL Board of Directors’ Entry-Level License Committee, which explored various initiatives and gauged member opinions in 2016 and 2017.

“This action will enhance the available license operating privileges in what has become the principal entry-level license class in the Amateur Service,” ARRL said in its Petition. “It will attract more newcomers to Amateur Radio, it will result in increased retention of licensees who hold Technician Class licenses, and it will provide an improved incentive for entry-level licensees to increase technical self-training and pursue higher license class achievement and development of communications skills.”

Specifically, ARRL proposes to provide Technician licensees, present and future, with phone privileges at 3.900 to 4.000 MHz, 7.225 to 7.300 MHz, and 21.350 to 21.450 MHz, plus RTTY and digital privileges in current Technician allocations on 80, 40, 15, and 10 meters. The ARRL petition points out the explosion in popularity of various digital modes over the past 2 decades. Under the ARRL plan, the maximum HF power level for Technician operators would remain at 200 W PEP. The few remaining Novice licensees would gain no new privileges under the League’s proposal.

Read the entire article on the ARRL website here.

March 14, 2018

Digital Training Day set for Saturday

A Digital Training Day has been set for Saturday, March 17th, from 9 am - Noon. We will again meet at the South Main Church of Christ (402 S Main, Street) and probably have lunch somewhere after we're finished. This second training day will build on the success of the first day held last month.

Topics for the DTD include:
  1. Refresher on using FLDigi, FLmsg
  2. Radio to Computer interface options
  3. Direwolf install and demo, (software TNC) for Packet
  4. Winlink install and demo, VHF & HF
  5. APRS Tracking & Messaging demo, (RF & Cellular)
All the above digital modes, (except FLDigi & FLMsg) require a wired connection from your computer to your radio, so remember to bring your interface with you. The link below shows a pretty good list of interface options available, from a few dollars to more expensive.

Interfacing your computer to your radio is the next logical step for using digital modes with Amateur Radio. Most of the interface options will allow you to connect your computer to your VHF radio or to your HF radio. This opens the door to all sorts of digital modes being used on the HF bands.

If you don’t have an interface yet that is fine. Come on out Saturday morning and get a first hand look at some of the various interfaces and how they are connected between the computer and radio.

Here are some more links with information on digital modes:

APRS Node now online in Henderson

The new APRS node is now online at the Rusk County Sheriff's Department near downtown Henderson. The antenna is located on the roof of the SO, approximately 40 feet in the air. So far, reception reports have been good, with the best reception coming from around town and to the north.

The node was built using a RaspberryPi running Direwolf 1.4 as a digipeater and an iGate to move data between the RF channel and the Internet. The node is connected to an Icom 8000 running at 60 watts into an omni-directional antenna. The power supply was provided by the Rusk County OEM.

Local users can use the node by setting up their own APRS radio or system and tuning to 144.39 MHz. The node operates under the callsign W5CWT-15. To view users, visit aprs.fi and center the map on Henderson.

ARES stations plan to use the new node during storm spotting operations to track spotter positions and exchange messages.

March 01, 2018

N5IKB (Del Moore), SK

Many of you have talked to Mr. Del, early of a morning on the Henderson repeater, over the years. Sadly Del passed away this past Tuesday. He was born in 1924 (full name was Howard Delwin Moore Jr.) and married Sally Davidson on Oct. 21, 1950. Del was always a pleasure to talk to on the radio.

Funeral services will be held at 2 p.m. on Sunday, March 4, at the First United Methodist Church in Carthage with Rev. Kevin Otto and Rev. Leah Hanks officiating under the direction of Jimerson-Lipsey Funeral Home.

Interment will follow in Rock Hill Cemetery. The family will receive friends from 5-7 p.m. on Saturday at the funeral home.

February 26, 2018

SKYWARN Storm Spotter Training Set

The National Weather Service in Shreveport, LA will provide free SKYWARN training in Rusk County on April 5th, 2018. The training will be held at the Rusk County Sheriff's Department's training room and is open to the public.

 NWS staff will teach both Beginner and Advanced SKYWARN levels including basic storm identification, storm mechanics, severe weather indicators, spotter safety and best practices. The "Advanced" level will include topics on radar products and in-depth meteorology.

The training is required for all active ARES storm spotters in North Texas.

February 19, 2018

Fldigi Day deemed a "Success"!

Several Rusk County amateurs took part in an "Fldigi Day" Saturday to hone their digital messaging skills. Hams learned to setup the software, connect VHF radios and both send and receive messages.

The day served as an importance milestone in the run-up to a region-wide emergency preparedness drill on April 18th, involving 19 counties across Northeast Texas and dozens of healthcare facilities. Amateurs will provide communications for several locations simulating a power outage due to a massive storm system.

After making sure all the technical details were correct, the hams then fanned out across the city and exchanged messages from their vehicles. The training day turned out to be a success and provide a handful off lessons which will be incorporated into the next round of preparation.

February 11, 2018

Fldigi Training Day set for Satruday

Club members will have an opportunity to hone their VHF digital skills on Saturday (February 17). We will meet at the South Main Church of Christ (402 S Main) for some classroom time before heading out into the field to put the theory into practice! The training day will be one more step toward training for emergency events such as the upcoming regional hospital communications exercise in April.

We will meet at 9 a.m. at the church building(southeast corner entrance, look for signs). Bring your laptop, android tablet or phone, handheld radio, mobile VHF radio (with power supply and antenna), sound interfaces, cables and we'll load software, configure it and practice sending and receiving digital messages. 

We will work primarily with Fldigi and Flmsg. We'll discuss forms and templates as well as connections and best practiced. (NOTE: If you don't have any equipment, DON'T WORRY, you're still welcome to come and learn what you'll need in the future!)

We'll then head out across town and have a little fun exchanging messages in a "real world" setting. 

Around noon, we'll have lunch somewhere here in Henderson and debrief over a burger. Join us!

February 10, 2018

New DXCC Mobile award announced

This week, the ARRL announced a Mobile DXCC Operating Award available to radio amateurs who have contacted at least 100 DXCC entities from a working vehicle equipped with antennas and a power source capable of operating while in motion. Previously, the DXCC award had to be earned from a single location.

ARRL Radiosport Manager Norm Fusaro, W3IZ, advised those pursuing the award to put safety first.

“Distracted driving is a serious concern, so we hope all mobile operators exercise care when operating from a moving vehicle,” he said.

Full, official details are on the Mobile DXCC Operating Award page.

January 07, 2018

Club's email list moved to Groups.io

Watch your inbox for a change in our email list! After several problems with Yahoo, we have migrated our email list to a new service hosted by Groups.io. The email list allows members who have signed up, to send an message to the entire group by sending a single email to RuskCountyARC@groups.io.

Members can easily subscribe, unsubscribe and change their address or settings. You can also visit the group's page to view and search old messages as well as the calendar of events.

The transfer is relatively easy, but will require members to create a Groups.io account. Just follow the instructions in the email. The new system will provide the same features we had at Yahoo, plus a few new items including a hosted Chat platform.

If you are not on the email list, simply go to the club's join page and sign up. You can unsubscribe at any time. Several other ham radio groups have also recently switched to Groups.io, so when you're there search for something that interests you!