A monthly publication of the Meridian Amateur Radio Club August 2007


 Bible Verse

Romans 5:1-5              (1) Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:   (2) By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.    (3) And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; (4) And patience, experience; and experience, hope:  (5) And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.



HAM Classes Scheduled

In the ARRL Letter Vol. 26, No. 28 it was announced that on July 11, the FCC released their Order regarding the recommendations of the independent panel reviewing the impact of Hurricane Katrina on communications networks (the Katrina Panel).

The Commission noted that "the amateur radio community played an important role in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and other disasters," and instructed the PSHSB to "include the amateur radio community in its outreach efforts."

Are you ready for the next "Katrina"?

Attend our classes.

See the schedule published in this issue of The Spark Gap. Contact Fred Gray for pre-registration information by emailing

Fred WB5BNV 


LEMA Antenna Party

Wanted to take a couple of minutes and thank each of you individually and as a group for turning out this morning at the tower party. Those of you that sent equipment or thought good positive thoughts for us are also appreciated. Prayers for our safety are most welcome too.

We got a lot done towards getting the tower installed and making the HAM COMM system at LEMA fully functional. More work is still needed but the tough part (getting the holes drilled in the wall and the first piece of tower installed on the base) is completed. The holes will get drilled in the stress plates ASAP. NOTE I may get a couple of pieces of steel with larger cross sections to spread the footprint of the tower bracket on the wall so there is less stress than would be on a two inch wide pad. The small pad would most likely work and I may be over safety conscious here but in this case larger just seems to equate to safer. The two extra sections of tower you installed were just gravy on the 'taters.

Bill and Fred worked on the PACKET system and found the TNC may have been causing trouble. Fred installed new software on the computer at our station and we should be able to send PACKET messages. Charles hooked up and checked out the new LDG PRO 200 AUTOMATIC ANTENNA TUNER today and it worked fine. Will take a couple of times using it to get used to it but it is very easy to use.

Special thanks to Dennis and Doug for playing squirrels. I sure hope someone got a couple of good pictures of them in their climbing rigs. All that safety gear sure looked good.




Next LEMA tower party

The next LEMA tower party will be held at 0800 hours on 11 August if things happen according to plan.

I have got to drill holes in the metal stress plates that go on each side of the wall, drill four more holes in the wall to secure the stress plates, enlarge the holes in the tower bracket and attach the tower to the bracket prior to any more tower going up.

I also need to spread out the bottoms of the tower legs so they will fit without a struggle. If you have something that will allow this to be done easily that would be great. When the last stick of tower goes up we hope also to install the long wire antennas on the tower. I still need to make up the multi-band dipole antenna but need your help for that.

If you have antenna wire, guy wire. rope or anything else you think might support this project please let me know. I have two pieces of copper antenna wire but it will not be enough for the project. Carley donated several porcelain insulators that will help insulate the wire from the antenna connection material (rope). Would like to include 80, 40, 20, and 10 meter wires on this antenna as a minimum. We will also need to make up a separate wire for the MEMA freq. but we can do that later.

Thanks for your help and suggestions.

For the next tower party at LEMA we need some GUY WIRE to secure the tower.  Would you please send this request out to all the folks you have in the club's database and see if anyone has any they are not planning to use and are willing to donate to the effort.

Thanks, Jim



Service Agencies and Background Checks

The League addressed the issue of served agencies, such as the Red Cross, requiring that hams be required full criminal and credit checks prior to the served agency using said hams in an emergency. The policy below makes good sense and all of us that have gone through the NCIC check with LEMA should be allowed access to served agencies. Jim/ W5ED

The ARRL Board of Directors took action on two pressing matters, background checks and emerging digital technologies, at its second meeting of 2007, held July 20-21 in Windsor, Connecticut. Invited guests included IARU Vice President Tim Ellam, VE6SH, and Radio Amateurs of Canada President Earle Smith, VE6NM.

A major concern at this Board meeting was the topic of served agencies and background investigations. The Ad Hoc Background Investigation Committee agreed that pursuing federally recognized credentialing for Amateur Radio volunteers was critical for the Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) to function. The Committee chairman, ARRL Atlantic Division Director Bill Edgar, N3LLR, proposed that the Board adopt a policy with regard to Memoranda of Understanding with the various served agencies.

The Board adopted a policy that "communications volunteers participating in ARRL-sponsored programs should not be required by served agencies to undergo background investigations of any kind," but notes that criminal background checks--performed by law enforcement agencies--are "generally acceptable." The policy continues, "It is not reasonable for a served agency to require these volunteers to consent to credit checks, mode of living investigations or investigative consumer reports. In negotiating or renegotiating Memoranda of Understanding that commit the League to provide volunteer emergency communications support, the League must be assured that these volunteers will not be required by the partner organization to consent to credit checks, mode of living investigations or investigative consumer reports."

ARRL Letter, Vol. 26, No 30 (27 July 2007)



HAM Classes Schedule

Date Subject Instructor
August 18, 2007 Written Message Handling Fred Gray, WB5BNV and Mel Oubre, W5MLO
September 22, 2007 HF Antennas Russ Brown, W5RB
October 20, 2007 HF Propagation    Bill Robinson, KB5ASR
November 15, 2007 Chasing DX  Steve Blackwell, K5DAD
December 15, 2007

VHF Antennas

Dennis Carpenter, NO5C 
January 12, 2008 VHF Packet  Bill Robinson. KB5ASR
February 16, 2008 HF Digital, (RTTY, PSK31, etc) Fred Gray,WB5BNV



PSK-31 and MT63

NR1 R K5DMC CKNC Kiln MS 1244Z Aug 01 Fred WB5BNV Meridian MS Via MS Dig net In the mind of the sender, there is a need to augment the existing VHF Packet network with a HF digital network using a mode which will give us the capability to send written (Text) messages state wide. The ARRL digital national traffic system has for a long time used Pactor but this mode is not widely used in the state. It is hoped that a network using MT63 mode will develop in Mississippi to serve the purpose. Tests comparing PSK-31 and MT63 are being done to evaluate MT63 as a means of handling message traffic. Testing is being done on 3596khz USB weekday mornings at around 9am. 73's Jerry K5DMC

For the latest operating schedule, please contact Jerry, K5DMC, at

Thanks, WB5BNV



FIELD DAY 2007 Results

79 CW Contacts  158
1 Digital Contact      2
70 PH Contacts    70
Subtotal QSO points 230
Power multiplier *   2
Total QSO points Claimed   460
Emergency Power points   200

Set up in public place

Information Booth   100
W1AW FD Message   100
Natural Power QSO Completed 100
Visit by served agency official (NEMA)  100 applet submitted     50
Total FD 07 Points   1210

Total is down this year partly due to poor band conditions reported by most teams.  I think the heat may have played a part in this years lower total as well. Jim




MFJ 35th Anniversary! ARRL DAY IN THE PARK September 7-8, 2007 Factory Tours -- Fri. & Sat

  • Swapfest/Tailgating MFJ Parking Lot -- Sat.
  • Door Prizes, Freebies -- Fri. & Sat.
  • VE License Exams --Sat.
  • Special Event Stations --Sat.

For more information contact Richard Stubbs,
(662) 323-5869 or email to:




Have a great month


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