THE SPARK GAP A monthly publication of the Meridian Amateur Radio Club February 2001
Response to our County wide mailing has been good. To date we have five new members. WB5BRF - Robert Whitlock, KC5NIQ - Olga Whitlock, KE4XF - Thurman Carmichael, Jr, KD5MUA - John Hodge, and WB5BNV - Fred Gray. Please give these new club members a BIG MARC welcome when you hear them on the air.
The new checks finally arrived at the end of January, and our insurance has now been paid.
Please read and respond to the article below, "Tragedy in Texas. You do not need to be a club member to make a donation. The is a joint effort by MARC and all operators on The Spark Gap mailing list to make a difference. Police officers put their lives on the line every day they go to work. We would like to send our donation to the Aubrey Hawkins family after our March 3rd business meeting.
Thanks! Have a great month.
Minutes of 1/6/01
January Business Meeting
1. Repeater insurance is due.
2. PR Committee formed in November has been directed to oversee any PR concerning any club outing including field day.
3. Tailgate Hamfest was discussed and Dennis will head up formation of such.
4. Jim passed out ARES packets.
5. Also letter to be mailed from club was read.
Minutes of 1/27/01
February Business Meeting
1. Boy Scout demo at MCC was held before meeting.
2. Dues have been received and a more accurate total was presented to members.
3. As soon as checks are received, insurance will be paid.
4. Michael mentioned possibility of taking up a collection for police officer/ham who was killed by Texas prison escapees. Donations from members who wish to donate will be collected.
5. Community Day will be held March 17th Club will participate with demo.
6. VE Testing is set for Thursday, February 8th at 7PM. Test session will be at L.E.M.A. located on 14th Street and 24th Avenue.
Tragedy in Texas
On December 24, 2000 at approximately 1829 hours, Officers from the Irving Texas Police Department responded to a suspicious circumstances call. As the first two Officers arrived on the scene of Oshman's, a sporting goods store, one officer went to the rear and the other to the front door. The initial call had been that multiple suspects had entered the business near closing and forced all employees to one area of the store in a robbery attempt.
Officer Aubrey Hawkins ( KC5USI ) of the Irving Police Department had responded to the rear door as the suspects were leaving and as multiple shots rang out Officer Hawkins was mortally wounded and later after being transferred to Parkland Hospital died from his wounds. Officer Hawkins had been shot 11 times, 5 of those in the head, and ran over repeatedly with a vehicle. The suspects fled in a vehicle belonging to a store employee. These suspects were later identified as the seven (7) escapees from the Connaly Texas Correctional Facility located outside of Kennedy Texas.
Officer Hawkins had been serving the Irving Police Department since 1999 and also licensed with a technician Ham ticket the same year. Officer Hawkins should be commended for his ultimate sacrifice in the cause of justice and service to his community.
The Meridian Amateur Radio Club took a vote at the January 27th meeting and agreed that donations will be taken to send to Officer Hawkins (KC5USI) family. All donations can be given or sent to the MARC Treasurer, Debbie Hover (KD5JYJ) at any meeting or mail to:
Aubrey Hawkins Fund
c/o Debbie Hover
11785 Nancy Drive
Collinsville, MS 39325
Lets all get behind this cause and support this.
73, Michael Harbour
(QSWA) PSK31 & MFSK16
This was sent to me from K6MG and was
written by Don, W5AJX. Thanks Earl and Don!
To make things very very simple for running digital modes I would suggest getting a RIGblaster unit. This unit acts as an interface unit between the rig and the computer's sound card and serial port. No wiring, soldering, or special plugs needed. West Mountain Radio puts out this unit. There web page is: www.westmountainradio.com/RIGblaster.htm Be sure to put capital RIG in RIGblaster or you will not get to the site.
The software is FREE and it is being revised almost weekly.
DigiPan software can be downloaded from: www.members.home.com/hteller/digipan This software is used for PSK31.
Stream software can be downloaded from: www.qsl.net/zl1bpu That is ZL1BPU I like this software as it has PSK31, MFSK16, and a few other digital modes included. I think it is better for receiving weak signals and fading.
There are other FREE software for these modes and you can check them out by going to link on some of these boards.
I run an Alinco DX77T at 30 watts and on 20 meters I use a dipole antenna that is 5 feet 5 inches off the ground and I have no problem working stations or them working me. I also run a 6 foot high Outpost/Outbacker Stealth Plus all band vertical on the other bands. Yep, I am one of the lucky hams that has deed restrictions but can't tell when I am on digital.
Also with sound card software one can work SSTV.
If one wants, run an audio cable from your rigs external speaker jack to the input jack on your sound card. Then download the FREE software and install it on your computer. Then listen on following frequencies and you should be able to hear and copy digital signals.
Here are some frequencies:
I work 20 meters mostly and work both modes. On 17 meters I work only MFSK16 as I have not heard any PSK31 signals when I listen. I have not tried the other frequencies as yet due to time does not permit me to ham a lot each day.
Real cheap project to open up a new world of "Ham Radio." Almost everyone has computers and rigs, just tie them together and away one goes.
Letter from KC5CZX
Hi Darrell long time no e-mail... After a yr. of being in the shop my repeater will be up and running next week. When he said he would work on it on his own time he wasn't lying. I provided all the parts - he put them all together and made it work. The repeater is made from a RCA-700 uhf base radio putting out 10 watts thru the duplexer. It should cover most of Lubbock without much trouble...
So if U are ever in Lubbock Tx. go to 444.175 pl 123.0 will happy to hear from U.. The web site has also changed to www.texasdon.com check it out and sign the guest book.
There will be ups and there will be downs, there will be times when things make sense, there will be times when they won't, but you'll always be on an adventure of meaning if you live for self, family, and others.
Christopher Reeve, Actor
If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.
James 1:5 * New International Version
Love is a fruit in season at all times, and within reach of every hand.
Mother Teresa, Catholic missionary
VHF or Cell Phone?
You make the Call ... VHF or Cell Phone? (U.S. Coast Guard recommends VHF radio for emergencies)(Brief Article) Author/s: Becky Squires Issue: March, 2000
It seems like everyone on the water is using a cell phone to call for help. The U.S. Coast Guard even has a special number in most coastal areas -- [CG.sup.*], or [24.sup.*] -- you can punch in to reach them directly.
But depending on a cell phone to get you help when you need it on the water is right up there with depending on a blow-up plastic dolphin to be your boat's primary life raft. It's better than nothing, but not the ideal choice in an emergency.
U.S. Coast Guard Captain Gabe Kinney, who heads the search and rescue operations, says, "Whenever we hear a mayday, whether it's through flares, cell phones, or VHF-FM radio, we respond. But boaters need to know that cell phones, unlike VHF radios, aren't made for the marine environment."
What's wrong with using a cell phone to call for help from your boat? Plenty, according to Kinney, who estimates that roughly 10% of all may day cells come in by cell phone.
The biggest downside to using your cell phone to call the Coast Guard, says Kinney, is that you are just making a single, point-to-point call. "You're calling the Coast Guard alone. But when you're on VHF Channel 16 and calling for help, other boaters in the area can hear you and answer, too," he said.
"Often, they are lots closer than a Coast Guard boat and can get to you more quickly. Good Samaritan boaters do a fair amount of rescues, but they won't know you're in trouble if they don't hear your call for help," Kinney said.
Second, cell phones don't have nearly the range that VHF radios do. Once you leave your phone's calling area, it may not reach anyone, including the Coast Guard. VHF radios generally work with a 25-mile radius.
Third, cell phones work only as long as their batteries do, and most people don't bring extra cell phone batteries with them when they go out on the water for the day Hard-wired VHF radios, or VHF radios powered by cheap and readily available AA batteries, are a lot more reliable.
Last but certainly not least, the U.S. Coast Guard has a much harder time finding you when you're using your cell phone on the water. Its radio-direction finding equipment won't work with cell phones, and cell phone towers ashore are usually directed inland, a way from the water, Kinney said.
But, since you can now by a GPS (Global Positioning System) receive for about $100, why not just read your GPS and tell the Coast Guard where you are when you're calling them on your cell phone? Says Kinney, "In theory you can do that. In practice, it's often something else.
"Suppose, for example, you find yourself on Lake Michigan on what you expected to be a nice afternoon. Instead, a thunderstorm blows up and all of a sudden you're in six-to-seven-foot seas, a through-hull is leaking and your bilge pump dies. You're standing in water up to your knees in the middle of your pitching boat, your GPS in one hand, your cell phone in the other, trying to tell the Coast Guard where you are," says Kinney.
"It would be a lot easier if you were calling for help on the VHF, because our radio-direction finders would tell us where you are. There might even be a boat close enough to see you through the pelting rain," he said.
For offshore boating, you will want to supplement your VHF radio what a single sideband radio, which can transmit literally thousands of miles away. For inland and coastal boating, VHF radio is definitely the most dependable form of emergency calling.
And your cell phone? Don't leave home without it. Use it to call restaurants for dinner reservations, other boating friends on the water, your mother and your boss. Just don't count on it as your only source to get help on the water. Boat/US Magazine
Have a great month
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