THE SPARK GAP A monthly publication of the Meridian Amateur Radio Club February 1999
President: C.P. W5OQY
Vice Pres: Phillip KD5CBK
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.
I'm honored to be named your President for the year of 1999. Don't know whether to be happy or sad. One, two, or three of don't make a club. Its a team effort, as those of you that have served before. I want lots of support from everyone of you. If not, we wont have much of a year. As someone said a while back, if you come with a problem, present some possible solutions.
This is a very important year going into a new millennium. In spite of what goes in Washington, this still is the best country in the world, and we are so blessed.
A tidbit for you!!!!!!!! your wandering minds: What is the difference between the weather bureaus "Partly cloudy" and "Partly sunny"
Hope everyone has a good year and happy amateuring.
73.s and 88.s All from the Prez - CP W5OQY
Vice President Report:
Hope everyone is enjoying this Spring feelin' Winter weather. Thanks for your vote of confidence... I'm looking forward to this year as VP. I Hope this year is full of great accomplishments for MARC. This year has started off with a bang... Congratulations are in order to our new and upgraded Hams, Gary KD5GCL, Robert KD5GCK, GENERAL Doug, and Steve. (I Hope I haven't left someone out) We've been blessed with not so bad weather, but it's good to know our weather net is coming along so well.
See You Later
Congratulations to the official 1999 MARC newly elected officers. I have heard they have some great ideas already in progress.
A BIG THANK YOU to WB4ZIK (Ross) and StratoNet for hosting the new MARC web page.
Have a great month.
73s Darrell W5MAV
Good News from the VE Team
Back on Jan. 14,1999 the Meridian VE Team had a very gud testing session. The exams were given on a different day at a different location. The response was gud and and we will try this again on Feb 25, 1999. SO GET READY!!!
The exams in January were given on a Thursday nite and was held at the L.E.M.A. office in downtown Meridian. It seems maybe during the week more people are able to attend and test because so many folks are working on Saturdays.
There were eight (8) people to show up and test that Thursday nite. We got two(2) new HAMS in the area from this testing. Congratulations go to Gary (KD5GCL) and Robbie (KD5GCK) on their new calls. When you here these OM on the air make them feel welcome to our Hobby... Also we want to congratulate three more guys on their upgrades.....Doug (KD5FKP) now a General Class radio operator, Steve (KD5CHD) on getting his Extra theory behind him, and Benny (KD5DVP) for passing his General theory.
And very importantly (new word) I personally wud like to thank the other VOLUNTEER EXAMINERS that showed and made this exam session possible, and they are...Ronny KB5DKW (extra), Gene W5MBJ (extra), Mel N5JCG (extra), Dog(n) WD5HLD (extra) and Russell WA5EE (advanced). Without these guys we would not have a local VE TEAM. When u see or talk to them on the air, thank them fer taking time out of their schedule to help out.
Agn... VE EXAMS will be Feb. 25, 1999 again on a Thursday nite at the L.E.M.A. office. Registering will begin at 6:30 and exams start up at 7:00 PM. Talk in will be on the 146.700/rptr. Study hard and work on that code.
C U there........... Dennis KI5FW
WX UPDATE by WB5OCD
Most of you know by now that there is another 2-meter repeater in the Meridian area. This is very good for our community. The .70 repeater has been very reliable but the redundancy offered by the .97 machine is significant. It could be the number one communication system if .70 is disabled for some reason. There are skilled and resourceful folks on the .97 machine that would be a great addition to our pool of operators. Repeaters are not cheap to bring into being and keep operating. I am sure that the .97 repeater group would appreciate any financial support you might wish to provide.
We have had several storm systems move through our area within the past two weeks and we have been lucky. There was no loss of life and very little property damage. The same can not be said for Arkansas and Tennessee.
Much has been learned over the past month about emergency operation in Mississippi. Eddie Ivy, CEO of the Lauderdale County Emergency Management Agency, is very receptive about incorporating our group into his operation. We would basically work for him in an emergency and also provide support to the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency and the Mississippi Section Coordinator.
At the local level we hope to incorporate SKYWARN into our operations. That is basically what we have been doing (informally with our wx net) in the past. Hopefully this activity will be incorporated into our operations on a wide scale. It can definitely aid in what we can do to support LEMA. It was very encouraging to hear several of their people talking about getting their HAM licenses because they heard from HHQ types that everybody in the emergency management business needed to be a HAM.
Our Clarke County operators are not being left out either. The loose, informal way that we have worked between the two counties will become more formalized and hopefully will provide better networking in emergencies. Northern Clarke County is well represented with amateurs. We need to gather support for the southern and central part of the county as well.
No formal emergency net has been called during the areas recent bad wx. This has upset some of you. There are several reasons for this. Anxiety caused by activation was the major reason. The net was in operation 24 hours per day; however it was not a directed net. Wx was being discussed, bulletins did go out, and the repeater remained available for everyone to use. The question of who can call the net (LEMA, Section Manager, or someone locally) has also been kicked around. Be prepared for the net to go into operation during the next bad storms to hit the area. This will be done to test/exercise the net if for no other reason. Do not be alarmed when it happens.
Mel's enthusiasm for net operation has rubbed off and there are now more people checking into the MS Section Phone Net (0000 hrs. UTC on 3.862 MHz) than at any time in the recent past. There are also several ops that are listening that do not yet have HF privileges. This is great. They will be prepared in case there is a need for net control stations on our local nets. Please listen in and see what goes on. Don't be afraid to check in if you have the proper license.
The recent VE testing session at LEMA went very well. The turnout was impressive. Those of you that have been operating for a while are urged to help get the new licensees up and running. Encourage them and teach them proper operating techniques. If not nurtured their desire to be in HAM RADIO will die, and the effort they placed into getting their license and that of the VEs will be wasted.
Still waiting on times and dates for the next Wx training sessions. Will provide update as soon as I get the word.
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 email@example.com using E-mail, or at 601-644-3226.
FCC issues 5-MHz Experimental License to ARRL
The FCC has issued an Experimental Radio Service license to the ARRL to permit two-way tests in the vicinity of 5 MHz, the most likely site of the next amateur HF band. The license, bearing the call sign WA2XSY, was issued January 8. A group of 15 current amateurs in various parts of the US and the Caribbean will conduct experimental, two-way RTTY and SSB transmissions within the band 5.100 to 5.450 MHz. To avoid interfering with existing services, the participants will confine their operations to the least-populated 50-kHz segment.
''The idea is to show that an amateur allocation there will improve our emergency communication capabilities by filling the gap between the 3.5 and 7.0 MHz bands,'' said ARRL Executive Vice President David Sumner, K1ZZ. Sumner pointed out that several of the participants are phone net members in the Caribbean and Gulf area who frequently handle hurricane-related traffic and now must alternate between 75 meters and 40 meters. Other participants are members of a nationwide digital data-forwarding network.
The Experimental license is good for two years. Two studies by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) include an allocation at 5 MHz among the future spectrum needs for the Amateur Service. The subject is not likely to show up on the agenda of a World Radio communication Conference for several years, however.
Participants in the WA2XSY experiment may run up to 200 W effective radiated power. Similar multi band trap dipoles capable of operation on 80 and 40 meters as well as at 5 MHz will be employed at each station location. Operation by participants will consist of short transmissions to determine propagation characteristics.
Participating stations are located in New Hampshire, Tennessee, Ohio, Florida, Mississippi, Wisconsin, Indiana, California, Utah, New York, Texas, the US Virgin Islands, and Maryland.
From ARRL Headquarters
Newington CT January 23, 1999
Lost and Found by KB5DKW
In response to Bill Scaggs's article in The Meridian Star
"Sunset for Mr. Morse's Code"
Thank you Dr. Scaggs for your fine article on Samuel F.B. Morse and his code. I found it informative, anesthetically pleasing, well arranged and it would please me to expound a bit. I have pursued Morse code as a hobby and an art form for many years now as a licensed amateur radio operator and am not about to sit back and watch it go the way of the "steam train" without a fight for it's life (hopeless romantic? perhaps!).
The international 'radio sub-culture' as we are some times called is just too involved with the code to give it up. We as HAMS will always use it as a mode of operation along with radio Teletype, packet switching, amateur television, radio FAX and many different forms of voice communication bouncing signals off satellites, repeaters, and the Moon (not to mention the WEB).
The word "Radio" itself is just a shortening of the word "radio-telegraph". I can dah dit-dah dit-dah-dit-dit dah-dit-dah with another ham operator across the Ocean who speaks little to no English by using our system of abbreviations and 'Q' signals that have evolved through nearly a hundred years into the "Ham Talk" of today. I can do this with a cheap radio a key and a piece of wire for an antenna.The purpose of code is not to amaze and befuddle the public because we have nothing to hide. Morse code or as we say CW (continuous wave) is just a way of using the full power of a transmitter by switching it off and on to SPELL with.
Sometimes we forget and say the short hand out loud when we are using voice communication even though the FCC does not recommend this as good operating procedure. For instance in the event of a very serious emergency, you would say 'May day' and not S.O.S.
Originally C.Q.D. was the distress call. That stood for 'Come Quick Danger'. The S.O.S. (which does not stand for anything) call went into effect just before "That Great Ship Went Down" in 1912. Most likely both versions of the distress call were sent out by the Titanic.
The beat frequency oscillator and automatic gain control were not yet invented and the code was heard as a wicked 'hiss' in the receiver with the volume unregulated except by hand. This would result in a nearby station practically blowing the earphones right off your head if they were to unexpectedly transmit while you were listening to a distant station. To make things worse, two versions of the code were in use at the time. The American version with long and short dashes and the International version which we use today. They were different just enough to drive you nuts.
Even with the fine equipment available today and only one type of code to learn, for some people (who are otherwise very bright) the code is hard to master. For me it was a matter of rhythm like the music of the whistle and the 'clickity-clack of the railroad track' as I try and pick GUITAR "Jimmie Rogers style". It is a joy for me and will be for life.
The interpretation of Morse code at 5, 13, and 20 words per minute remains a requirement to get an amateur radio license from the Federal Communications Commission with the exception of the entry level ticket. Some adjustments are in the mill but the "CODE" will remain in the amateur radio service for many years to come. So, if you are a rugged individualist with interests that span both ART and TECHNOLOGY, The Meridian Amateur Radio Club meets every Saturday at 10:00 AM at the Queen City Truck Stop near I-20.
I am Ronald Grayson (KB5DKW) CU there, 73
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Have a great month
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