THE SPARK GAP A monthly publication of the Meridian Amateur Radio Club December 1999
The year has come and gone. Hope everyone is Y2K ready. Guess I am. Don't expect anything much different. I'll get me a little water, food and some fuel stored up. Borrow a few $$$ and ready or not I say, let it come. The weather has sure been in our favor this year. Not much rain. My fish are swimming around with fins sticking out of the water. It will come though. Just hope it will not be stormy with flooding.
Well the elections are over. We have a good crew for next year. Let us all support them and have another good year. I really thank each and every one of you for the support that you gave this years presidency. We had lots of fun and got our antennas up. The repeater seems to reach out better. Maybe we can add to our effort next year and have a better one.
Its been my pleasure to serve as president this year. Had a good time and hope all others had one also. You guys are a great bunch.
May God bless each one of you, and I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas season and a Happy New Year. Please remember he who gave all on the cross for us to have life beyond. Even Jesus the Christ.
73,s and 88,s C P W5OQY
From the Editor:
Elections for Year 2000 officers took place during the MARC meeting on December 4, 1999.
The following are the results of this election.
Your Y2K Officers are:
K5XC - Gary Galloway
WB5OCD - Jim Stevenson
KB5ASR - Bill Roberson
WB4ZIK - Ross Wingo
The first issue of The Spark Gap was published during June of 1996 in an effort to keep area amateur radio operators informed and in touch with issues that relate to or effect our hobby. Thank you all that have supported my efforts with news, articles, and your comments.
Please remember our Christmas party which will be held at the Queen City Truck Stop on Tuesday, December 14 beginning at 7 PM. Bring the wife and Kids - we will order from the menu.
May our Lord Bless you always and in all ways. Merry Christmas.
Darrell & Debbie
Hope to see everyone at the truck stop on Tuesday, 14 December, for the 1999 Christmas party. It has been a busy year, much has been accomplished, and it would be great to see each of you there. Brenda will be there so you have the opportunity to tell her whether I should receive a present this year or not.
If you are not able to attend the party I hope that you and each member of your family has the greatest Christmas ever.
In either case, may God bless, guide, and keep you in His boundless love during this holiday season and in the coming year. Jim (WB5OCD)
ARES NEWS by WB5OCD
Eight of the ARES members attended a training class hosted by Mr. Eddie Ivy, the LEMA Director, on 20 November at the MCC campus. It was a very interesting meeting with LEMA, American Red Cross, Mississippi State Guard, and one other agency (who I could not identify) giving talks on their duties during emergency situations.
The presentation gave the attending amateurs an overview of how the different agencies fit into the Mississippi Emergency Management Agencies response to emergency operations. As amateur operators we can assist some of these groups to communicate if they ask for our help. The basic program is already in place with the National Traffic System which handles messages. The only other asset needed is you and your willingness to assist if needed.
This meeting was something of a short notice surprise, and I was not knowledgeable of what to expect when the group arrived. Will try to do better in the future about getting this sort of info out. The more contacts we have in the emergency business the more aware we can be of what is going on with other agencies.
The ARES group is moving ahead with completing its station in the LEMA building. We currently have one VHF and one HF radio in operation there. We have a second radio, packet controller (loaned by KB5ASR), antenna (donated by MARC), and most of the computer parts (donated by LEMA) to make a working packet system. The computer is currently in for repair. This upgraded capability will give us a more secure link with the NWS SKYWARN unit and the Red Cross in Jackson. All this effort adds up to an increased ability to respond if our group is needed. It also gives us a much closer ties to the agencies that we are likely to serve.
The Clarke and Lauderdale County Emergency Plan is currently being written and hopefully will be out soon. The plan essentially revolves around the SKYWARN program with other communication needs falling into second place. It is difficult to support much more than that with the limited number of people and lack of funds that we have in this area.
As this year comes to an end there are twenty-seven members on the record as part of of the Meridian Area ARES Group. There are about twenty more amateurs that are not official members of the group but are active when a situation such as bad weather develops and they are needed. It has been really great to watch your individual talents molded into a group effort and packaged so community leaders listen when you activate your nets. Keep recruiting so that our numbers will grow and we will try to provide new classes to develop our skills.
WX NOTES by WB5OCD
The past couple of months have been extremely nice. Cool days and cooler nights. Just great for working outside and sleeping without the air conditioner running. The lack of rain continues to create a situation where there are a lot of grass and woods fires being called into the 911 system.
The lack of rain has also caused many lakes in the area to shrink to a fraction of their normal size. I saw one this morning that was ten or twelve feet lower than normal. You boaters continue to use caution when doing your thing cause there is no telling what is lurking just under the surface.
Rumors abound as to what we can expect this winter. Some experts say it will be wet and warmer than normal and others say that it will be wet and very cold and that we should expect ice storms. Still other experts say we will continue to have a dry winter. Do not know which way it will turn out but it works best if you are prepared for them all.
It's as easy as IOY
ARRL Headquarters Newington CT
To all radio amateurs
Nominations for the ARRL Instructor of the Year awards are due to section managers by January 31.
It's simple to nominate an exceptional ham radio instructor, teacher or recruiter to receive one of the four annual awards. A nomination form is available on the Web or by mail. Each award nomination requires endorsements and testimonials from others.
Two of the four annual awards honor instructors. The ARRL Professional Instructor of the Year award recognizes paid instructors, such as those teaching through adult education, while the Herb S. Brier Instructor of the Year Award recognizes an unpaid volunteer instructor. The ARRL Professional Educator of the Year award recognizes a teacher who incorporates ham radio into a school curriculum. The ARRL Excellence in Recruiting award goes to a person who has gone the extra mile to introduce others to Amateur Radio.
Award winners receive a handsome plaque and recognition for their time and effort in service to the ham radio community. Runners-up get certificates.
To get an Educational Awards Nominating Application, visit http://www.arrl.org/ead/award/application.html or contact Jean Wolfgang, telephone 860-594-0219; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
A Ham's Night Before Christmas
'Twas the night before Christmas, And all through two-meters, Not a signal was keying up Any repeaters.
The antennas reached up From the tower, quite high, To catch the weak signals That bounced from the sky.
The children, Tech-Pluses, Took their HT's to bed, And dreamed of the day They'd be Extras, instead.
Mom put on her headphones, I plugged in the key, And we tuned 40 meters For that rare ZK3.
When the meter was pegged by a signal with power. It smoked a small diode, and, I swear, shook the tower.
Mom yanked off her phones, And with all she could muster Logged a spot of the signal On the DX PacketCluster,
While I ran to the window And peered up at the sky, To see what could generate RF that high.
It was way in the distance, But the moon made it gleam - A flying sleigh, with an Eight element beam,
And a little old driver who looked slightly mean. So I thought for a moment, That it might be Wayne Green. But no, it was Santa, The Santa of Hams. On a mission, this Christmas, To clean up the bands.
He circled the tower, Then stopped in his track, And he slid down the coax Right into the shack.
While Mom and I hid Behind stacks of CQ, This Santa of hamming Knew just what to do.
He cleared off the shack desk Of paper and parts, And filled out all my late QSLs For a start.
He ran copper braid, Took a steel rod and pounded It into the earth, till The station was grounded.
He tightened loose fittings, Resoldered connections, Cranked down modulation, Installed lightning protection.
He neutralized tubes In my linear amp... (Never worked right before- Now it works like a champ).
A new, low-pass filter Cleaned up the TV. He corrected the settings In my TNC.
He repaired the computer That would not compute, And he backed up the hard drive And got it to boot.
Then, he reached really deep In the bag that he brought, And he pulled out a big box. A new rig? I thought!
A new Kenwood? An Icom? A Yaesu, for me?! (If he thought I'd been bad it might be QRP!)
Yes! The Ultimate Station! How could I deserve this? Could it be all those hours that I worked Public Service?
He hooked it all up And in record time, quickly Worked 100 countries, All down on 160.
I should have been happy, It was my call he sent. But the cards and the postage Will cost two month's rent!
He made final adjustments, And left a card by the key: "To Gary, from Santa Claus. Seventy-Three."
Then he grabbed his HT, Looked me straight in the eye, Punched a code on the pad, And was gone - no good-bye.
I ran back to the station, And the pile-up was big, But a card from St. Nick Would be worth my new rig.
Oh, too late, for his final came over the air. It was copied all over. It was heard everywhere.
The Ham's Santa exclaimed What a ham might expect, "Merry Christmas to all, And to all, good DX."
(c)1996 Gary Pearce KN4AQ Permission granted for any print or electronic reproduction.
Some Food for Thought
Even though I clutch my blanket and growl when The alarm rings, thank you, Lord, that I can hear. There are many who are deaf.
Even though I keep my eyes closed against the morning light as long as possible, thank you, Lord, that I can see. Many are blind.
Even though I huddle in my bed and put off rising, thank you Lord, that I have the strength to rise. There are many who are bedridden.
Even though the first hour of my day is hectic, when socks are lost, toast is burned and tempers are short, thank you, Lord, for My family. There are many who are lonely.
Even though our breakfast table never looks like the pictures in magazines and the menu is at times unbalanced, thank you, Lord, for the food we have. There are many who are hungry;
Even though the routine of my job often is hard, thank you, Lord, for the opportunity to work. There are many who have no job.
Even though I grumble and bemoan my fate from day to day and wish my circumstances were not so modest, thank you, Lord, for life.
Have a great month
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