THE SPARK GAP A monthly publication of the Meridian Amateur Radio Club December 1998
Christmas Party 1998
This year's Christmas party has been set for Tuesday, December 15th at 7:00 at Queen City Truck Stop.
73's Phillip KD5CBK
President: Dennis KI5FW
Vice Pres: C.P. W5OQY
Secretary: Bill KB5ASR
Treasurer: Ross WB4ZIK
Editor : Darrell W5MAV
Club meets every Saturday 10 A.M. at Queen City Truck Stop. All visitors and new members are welcome. Some folks come early for breakfast.
Happy Holidays - Christmas is just around the corner and if it wud just turn cooler it may just feel like it. I know everyone has been enjoy'n the great weather but it needs to get colder so it will seem more like Christmas.
A reminder to all about the Christmas Dinner tues. Dec. 15th (I think) at 7:00 pm at the Queen City Truck Stop. The normal meeting room will be available fer us to gather and enjoy a gud holiday meal together. U don't have to be a member of M.A.R.C. to eat with us. Bring ur wife, husband, harmonics, boyfriend, girlfriend or any one who may be interested in u and amateur radio. I heard a rumor that ole SANTA mite just show up.........
1998 has been a pretty gud year fer M.A.R.C. The repeater is working gud (still working on antennas). We are a ARRL affiliated club with benefits to that. The last report from ROSS was that we got a little monies in the bank. We picked up new members this year and hope to grow more next year. At the January 1999 meeting we will elect new officers to direct the club fer that year. Let's all rally around the new electors and all support them and the club.
Another reminder is CLUB DUES will be due in January fer next year. Club dues are $18.00 per single member and $20.00 fer family membership (gud deal fer Phillip, KD5CBK). Remember also that u have to be a paid up club member to vote on new 1999 club officers.
Merry Christmas to All "Christ was born to die fer u and me"
73's from the family of KI5FW, Dennis, Gayla (KB5VAD) and harmonics, Taylor and Kendal.
Vice President Report:
Hope everyone made it thru the turkey day. I sure ate too much. Took me a week to get back to size.
Boy what pretty weather, a person that would complain about it would complain if they were whipped with a new rope. The year is almost gone. It sure went by fast. Like 6 mo.s.
Time to vote again for officers. Be thinking of your candidates. Would like to see us have more activities. Don't forget Christmas dinner. Hope you have a happy and a safe Holiday season. And please remember why we have the season for Him who gave all. 73.s and 88.s from VP Corner.
Another year is drawing to an end. I want to thank all of you that have sent me encouraging comments concerning The Spark Gap. In addition I want to thank the very talented and underpaid contributors N5JCG, N5HGN, KB5DKW, WB5OCD, and all others who have helped me with our monthly publication. They have really helped out with informative information that I just do not have time to research while school is in session.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, and may God's blessings be with you all.
HF Net Report
Amateur Radio offers many different things. CW, RTTY, ASCII,Packet, ETC are just a few. One thing that I've found that is rewarding is Traffic Handling. If you've never done it you may be missing out.Traffic nets meet every day and some two or three times. If you have the ability to, it might be interesting to go and listen in. Some of the Mississippi traffic net frequencies and times are:
- Magnolia Section Net.... 3862.5 @ 0600 wekdays....0700 on weekends & holidays
- Mississippi Section Phone net....3862 @ 1800 Daily
- Missisippi Traffic Net....3665 @ 1845 Daily
- DRN5 ....7280 @ 1030 & 1530....Mon thru Sat.... & 1345 & 1530....Sun.
Traffic Handling can be fun and In case of emergencies can provide pertinent information into and out of afflicted areas. I would like to be able to send and recieve messages for the people we put into shelters during these times. These are the people that leave their homes and possessions to avoid catastrophies. It is not a complicated thing. With a little knowledge of traffic handling you may be able to at least provide someone with information that would not normally be recieved. Think about it...... Put yourself in that position for a moment and ask yourself if you would appreciate getting information about friends and family that chose to "RIDE IT OUT", or to find out about damages or even if roads are opened for you to get back to all you left.
Some traffic handlers are really dedicated and do it on a daily basis. Some do it often and some whenever they can. Even if you don't want to handle traffic on a regular basis, I don't know anyone who wouldn't help out during a crisis and a little experience would greatly help. How do I get experience? Go listen to the traffic nets or ask someone that handles traffic.I can assure you it can be very satisfying.
For those who have internet acsess you can go to the following URL and check out the MISSISSIPPI AMATEUR RADIO homepage. There is a lot of info there about Mississippi amateurs and some links to other "HAM" related subjects. http://www.datasync.com/~w5oxa
Hope all had a great Thanksgiving holiday and looking foward to the celebration of the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. May He look over you and yours through the holiday season and all the days to come. TRUST IN THE LORD AND HE WILL MAKE STRAIGHT YOUR PATHS.
73s & good HAMMIN'
We have again been blessed with nice weather for this past month. The report for Sunday (5 Dec) and later indicates that the jet stream will be heading south and will bring some of the cold air that is usual in our area this time of the year.
Does that mean that our trolling motor mobile stations, C. P. and Wes, will be off the lake for the duration? I do not know. We will just have to monitor their activities and see if they cover their boats with a tent or come up with some other ingenious method to keep out the cold wind.
I include the following paragraph in the WX section of The Spark Gap because we as a community really do need ALL area amateur operators in our program. Supporting the community in which one lives is one of the main reasons that amateur radio has been allowed to exist in recent times. The phone, a letter, or E-mail will allow you to communicate. There are agencies out there that desire the frequencies allotted to our service. Community service is the major way that we maintain what we have.
All area amateur operators are encouraged to participate in the wx program. You DO NOT have to be a member of the Meridian Amateur Radio Club to participate. All you need is a Technician class license or higher, a radio that will operate on the frequencies we will use, and the desire to serve your community. If you would like to be trained to function as a net control operator or storm spotter, please contact me on the W5FQ repeater, at firstname.lastname@example.org using E-mail, or at 601-644-3226.
You may know a HAM in the Lauderdale County area that has not been active for a while. If so, I encourage you to discuss with them the program we are attempting to establish and get them to participate in our meetings and Tuesday Night Nets. Some of them may be retired which would allow them to assist during the periods when most people are at work and can not monitor the weather. Please spread the word.
The Ghost of Christmas Past
You can't think of December without thinking about Christmas. For some reason (call it the Christmas spirit or call it what you want) most of us at some point in time during the holidays experience something called nostalgia. As we grow older the nostalgic feelings we have seem to intensify and appear with more frequency.
Nostalgia is a strange experience. It can start just by staring at Christmas tree. Your mind begins to wander, and the next thing you know you might be reliving some moment in time that was previously locked up tight in some corner of your mind. The strange thing is that for a brief moment you don't just remember the event. You actually see, smell, feel, and think just like that little boy locked up in us all. You can see the world through the eyes of your past.
At this point I am going to get nostalgic. I had an uncle who, as a young man, went off and joined the merchant marines as a shipboard radio operator. He told me that he didn't know anything about Morse code and neither did anybody else in the school he went to. He said that they just put them in a room and started listening and sending all day long. I guess they thought you either get it or you don't. Well, my uncle did not like being away from his family all the time so after a couple of years, he planted his feet firmly on the ground here in Meridian. However, he always had a short-wave receiver close by, and it would always be tuned to some cw frequency. (He could talk to you and copy code at the same time). As a little boy, I was intrigued by the strange noises that came from his radio, and that curiosity survives even to this day.
In today's world we have cellular phones, computers, hundreds of TV channels and too many other shiny play prettiest that make amateur radio pale in comparison. Where are the new hams going to come from? Without them ours is a dying hobby, in its death throes. What will be the attraction? I think that since we are an elite group of individuals, we should celebrate that fact and proudly put our differences forward. We are an elite group because we all have established an interest in something called radio waves, and we pursued and proved our desire to learn about this basic phenomenon and that is the underlying link that holds us together. The test we take are not designed to keep you out of the hobby but rather give you the information you need to continue your pursuit of ham radio. Morse code is the utilization of radio waves in its simplest form. It is something you need to know about. It is getting back to the basics. It is a type of communication that is easy to experiment with. But yes, you have to work for it just like you have to work for anything else you want. You can either do things that just require a credit card and nothing else out of you or you can go through the ranks and do something that you will be proud of because it is more than just something you bought.
And we all have been where you are and that bonds us closer still. I guess this is where I mention that you can have nostalgic feelings even about ham radio. I took my general exam in New Orleans from the FCC. I think it was the last test session they gave before the volunteer examiner program went into effect. I took my advanced and extra through the VE and believe me the VE program doesn't have near the fear effect of the FCC. I remember my first CW contact, shaky fists and all. I remember the first time I finger-talked with someone who didn't know my language and I didn't know his. It is all these things that we should celebrate and when things are looking tough and some older ham tries to spur you on in your conquest of ham radio. Don't take offense, he is just trying to help you create some wonderful Ghosts of Christmas Past that you will relive the rest of your life with pride and save our hobby in the meantime.
Lost and Found by KB5DKW
J.D Brown (KB5IFO) strange but true: I am sure that his son (KD5CPV) will agree that Identified Flying Object is not likely to be forgotten if you ever know him. A professional pilot and electronics repairman by trade, he had little choice about becoming a ham. It was just bound to happen. He visited me from the air back in October by buzzing the house until he got my attention and I came outside. I live on 5 acres in a small house surrounded by pine trees, but he got down in the clearing low enough that I could see him wave and notice that he was wearing blue jeans. He was flying a shiny new yellow Rockwell Thrush sporting a 900 horsepower turbo-prop engine with G.P.S. equipment but no 2 meter capability that he normally flies with. He did not need it for me to know who he was. Nobody else but Chuck Yager can fly like that, and he does not do crop dusting work.
I became reacquainted with Mr. Brown while filling in for another HAM who was teaching a class in Charley Whiskey back in 1991. If you can describe a person's demeanor with color and music then J.D.s would be bright orange and loud rock and roll. Some people in town are still not speaking to each other because of this personality trait of his. J.D. rapidly rose to General Class and joined M.A.R.C. He and I became instant friends. He was rough and nasty on the outside but solid gold on the inside. Somehow, the ladies knew that instinctively and most of them liked him at least a little bit.
He was a whole lot of fun to be around if you did not take yourself too seriously but unfortunately some people did. When he saw this happening he would come back around for a strafing run with all guns ablazeing - shoot you full of holes and then rub salt in the wounds. No riding the high horse with J.D.
Riding with him in an airplane was an experience, and he did not need a crop duster to show off. I am not a pilot and will never be but have been around aircraft as a mechanic in the Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, and Thailand thing and worked for MS Air Guard after that for a number of years. However, I have never seen anybody do the stuff he did. I never pulled "Gs" in a Cessna 152 before but now understand the difference between a "slip" and a fall from 5,000 feet. That is when cigarettes float in the air. Given a "crop duster" he was really fun to fly with - if you are not prone to nightmares then go for it !
J.D. lived in Meridian with his elderly Mother (now gone to Heaven) during the off season. While he was working he lived in Arkansas. His land-lord a man of about 60 lived in the other side of the duplex with his girlfriend who was a black woman, but he let J.D put up a 40 meter dipole. He was just as loud on 40 meters in Arkansas as he was in Meridian even though you could jump up and touch the antenna, because J.D. is afraid of ladders and 'high places'.
His land-lord dressed in "over-hauls" that were too short with a shirt and tie and yellow socks that made up the difference down to his penny loafers. He was brain damaged from a car wreck (but not the part of his brain that regulated his finances ). He allowed J.D. to bring no females into the apartment. My wife accompanied by myself was the only exception. He dressed the same all the time, even when he went to church (which was right across the street). He was dressed like that at J.D.'s wedding which was held in a BAR that his new wife had bought for him. Several people were married the same night in the same bar. The Preacher, the J.P. (Marrying Sam) or whoever he was did a good business that night using the power vested in him by the Great State of Arkansas.
My own dear, sweet wife sang a country song for those country folks. She called them "homey people" and had MORE fun than I did. J.D. also soon grew tired of the bar-room scene and traded it off for an airplane. Once again, a woman has taken away my best friend and sporting buddy but, I can't blame him 'cause I likes 'em myself! She keeps me off the street and she keeps me out of trouble but sometimes at night when I hear the wind blow, I wish I was crazy again".... John Cash
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