THE SPARK GAP A monthly publication of the Meridian Amateur Radio Club April 2000
Hello all. On March 23 a very successful VE session produced five upgrades.
KB5VE - Dale Hankins - Passed Extra Class theory
KD5GWM - Donna Harrison - Passed General Class Theory
KD5JRE - Jared Wright - Passed General Class theory
KD5JYJ - Debbie Hover - Passed Technician Class Theory
KD5JYK - Brenda Stevenson - Passed Technician Class Theory
They must have had good instructors! If you haven't congratulated these folks give them a shout next time you hear them on the MARC repeater.
Recently, I had the pleasure of attending advanced Skywarn training in Tupelo Ms. The session lasted from 9:00 AM until 3:30 PM. I highly recommend this training to anyone who is involved in weather related activities.
One of the most interesting aspects of this course was learning about EMWIN technology. EMWIN is an acronym for Emergency Management Wireless Information Network. EMWIN was developed by the National Weather Service to provide a low cost means of transferring weather and emergency data from a central point to an unlimited number of interested parties in range of the data signals. Recently, it has also been made available on the Internet for customers who are not in range of a wireless broadcast.
It is possible to intercept the EMWIN satellite transmission and retransmit on a local VHF radio frequency to allow reception using a scanner or receiver and a demodulator. These local area rebroadcast stations can tailor the data stream to provide localized information that fits the needs of their emergency managers and local citizens.
The National Weather Service provides the signal down-link from two GOES satellites, and rebroadcast of the down-link signal becomes a local area effort.
If you would like to experiment with the EMWIN data stream on the Internet, you will have to download Weather Node at the following URL: <http://www.weathernode.com>.
Be warned, Weather Node is a whopping 11 meg program. Be prepared for a two hour wait if you have a slow connection. If you do not have software that decompresses zip files, you can download a 30 day free trial of NetZip <http://www.netzip.com> . Weather Node is free of charge!
You will be amazed at the information available on EMWIN. There are over 40,000 pages of text alone down linked from the satellite daily plus tons of jpg. animation's and gifs. Weather related warnings appear on your screen just seconds after being issued by The National Weather Service.
On Thursday, March 30 2000 there was a demonstration EMWIN at Threefoot Internet Services in Meridian. We set up five lightning quick computers in the Threefoot Cyber Cafe and had a group participation, hands on session.
We are getting plenty of inquiries from around the state about EMWIN. As a result, we are looking into the possibilities of getting the direct down link from GOES8 and broadcasting the data stream on VHF.
If you do not have your picture posted on the MARC <http://www.meridianarc.org> web site, contact me or W5MAV. My new e-mail address is email@example.com
VICE PRESIDENTS COMMENTS
Our beloved President left me in charge again this month. I would only like to mention that while campaigning for this highly paid office position, promises were made that I would not have to chair any meetings or make any decisions. Noting that, lets move on to the only real business that was discussed.
Field Day preparations are under way. Antennas were discussed, cautions about the children which might be playing in the area, where chow would be obtained, and finally the manner in which operators would be secured for the efforts that will finally end Don Quixotes reign as local FD points leader.
The next meeting will be held on the last Saturday of April due to the many folks in the club that will attend the Birmingham Hamfest. WB5OCD
Seems like the spring weather is running late this year. Unseasonably warm yet we are still having temps near 30 at night. Lots of potentially bad WX moving this way as the Jet Stream pushes south and its leading edge picks up moisture from the Gulf. Bill Gray, hurricane forecaster, predicts the Atlantic will spawn 11 named storms, seven of which will be hurricanes, three of these are supposed to be intense storms.
La Nina is supposed to continue to play a part due to the cold water in the eastern equatorial tropical Pacific. This season will be slightly less active than last. My family just hopes that Bill is correct and that the storms stay in the Atlantic. With the Gulf waters being very warm (due to the warm winter) storms that enter this area could increase in intensity before the hit our beaches. WB5OCD
March was a very busy month. We had a storm come through that caused major damage in parts of Lauderdale County. The aircraft in the photo below was flipped by the high winds that passed through the Meridian Airport. Rumor has it that this bird belongs/ed to a ham. My dogs house ended up in the same position about 12 miles away from the airport. Thanks to all of you that stayed around for this event and provided us with the information that the NWS needed.
The tower work is a little closer to being completed at the LEMA building. The six meter antenna was removed from its mount and repaired. The two meter packet antenna has been attached to the arms that will hold it on the tower and tuned. Both of these antennas are ready to be affixed to the tower at our first opportunity. If you are interested in helping let us know. WB5OCD
Key Field - Meridian, MS
Ham University is the premiere Windows program for studying for your FCC Exams. The latest version, 2.001, lets you study and practice with the latest Question Pools due to go into effect April 15th -- as well as helping you learn Morse code.
You can test yourself on written questions that are giving you a problem or you can take a mock exam to see how you would do. In addition to a formal series of CW lessons, HamU contains a wealth of practice exercises and the popular game, PentodeÆ, designed to make learning the code fun.
Ham University is sold over the Internet by the author (Michael Crick) and in retail stores by Timewave Inc. - currently under the name Morse University. This new release is a free upgrade for owners of version 2.000 and is half price to owners of earlier versions of Ham University.
You can learn more about Ham University at our web site (at http://crick.com/Hamu) or you can check out a fully featured demo copy for a week by going to the following URL: http://crick.com/hamu/download.html.
Michael F. C. Crick (firstname.lastname@example.org) at MICA
MICA is a family company located at 2845 - 140th Avenue NE, Seattle WA whose main products are Ham University and WordZap (The Action Word Game!). Michael Crick is a veteran programmer who previously worked on the development of Microsoft Windows, Word, Help, Access, Encarta, and the Internet -- and also authored several popular computer games
"Thanks in part to Ham University, I passed Element 4B (aced it, I think). With the new licensing, 4B and my 13 wpm will get me Extra on April 15. I will talk up your program! It helped me with both Advanced and Extra. -- William P. Arnold (KD4TOR) (unsolicited -- quoted with permission)
April 15 Test session
There were 4 people at the exam session.
C.P. passed his Extra (W5OQY) Brenda (KD5JYK) passed her GENERAL written. And a couple of fellers who I can't remember their names, One from Jackson and one from New Hebron passed there GENERAL. There were 16 people at the paperwork session. 11 went to General and 5 went to Extra.
CONGRATULATIONS to ALL. 73 M3L
6-7 May 2000
Alabama Section Convention
Glenn Glass, KE4YZK
8368 Country Circle
Pinson, AL 35126
WHAT'S THE FREQUENCY, DENNIS?
Ham moviegoers report seeing previews for the new movie Frequency, starring Dennis Quaid and directed by Gregory Hoblit, that's set for an April release. The ARRL was consulted in the interests of accuracy and came up with an unused W2 call sign for the movie's protagonist to use. The movie also recently got a plug on Entertainment Tonight.
Frequency is billed as a sci-fi thriller, but boat anchor fans may believe the movie was made just for them. The gist of it is that a long-dead father and his adult son meet up on the airwaves via ham radio (during the mother of all sunspot cycles), and the son tries to prevent his father's death by altering the past. Both also attempt to prevent a murder. It reportedly winds off into the ozone after that, but we don't want to spoil it for anyone.
According to someone who caught one of the trailers, the son (Quaid) uses an old Heathkit sans cabinet. "I guess the idea is to nail down the point that this is an old radio because you can see all the tubes glowing right out in the open," said Avery Comarow, W3AVE, who caught the preview. Information on Frequency is available at http://www.frequencymovie.com
Visit the International Movie Database at http://us.imdb.com/Title?0186151 for additional details and a look at the trailer.--thanks to Mark G Ewell, KC5IZN and Avery Comarow, W3AVE (via John Dilks, K2TQN)
Have a great month
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