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 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.