A monthly publication of the Meridian Amateur Radio Club August 2009


 Bible Verse

NKJV Romans 1:1-2 / I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.



Next Business Meeting

Next business meeting will be held at the Checker Board Restaurant on Saturday, September 05, 2009. Come join us for breakfast, coffee and fellowship. The next VE Session is scheduled for September 17th at 1800 hours at the LEMA Office




The W5VZK Hurricane Digital Relay Station will be on the air during Hurricane season.

The station consists of….

Station 1. Call-W5VZK, Pactor I. Airmail software. 3595.9KHZ. IC735, Pk232, end-fed long wire.

Station 2. Call W5VZK-1, HF Packet, 300 Baud. 3589KHZ, KAM-XL, IC718, G5RV. UPON REQUEST

Station 1 may be used in this manner for handling traffic.

Any message placed on this station must be either picked up by the addressee or manually handled by me. For instance: if you have a message for MEMA, (or an EOC) and they agree to periodically contact W5VZK, you may leave a message and they will pick it up when they contact the station. Or the reverse; MEMA can leave a message to be picked up by you when you next contact W5VZK. Please see AE5V's instructions for "Point to Point Airmail" at:

If you leave a message on W5VZK, which needs to be re-filed to the Internet, I will do that using my personal Internet account. If you leave a message on W5VZK that is Health and Welfare for the NTS, I will re-file that message into the NTS. Basically, it is a bulletin board with no automatic forwarding with the messages being stored in the Airmail software.

Station 2 (UPON REQUEST) will operate the same way except the message is stored in the KAM-XL mailbox. Once again, no automatic forwarding.

If a message is placed on the KAM Packet mailbox for MEMA or a station that is working only Pactor I, I will move the message to the Pactor station or the reverse.

The advantage of using these stations for traffic handling is…

  • 100% error correction.
  • Speed
  • Limited operator attention is required.
  • Only one HF station is required by those at EOC's or remote locations.
  • The same gear being used for 3862khz can also be used on either of these stations. Just add the TNC. All of the TNC's below were very popular during the peak years of Packet operation and should be readily available.

The Airmail software is free. It may be downloaded at

The TNC's that will work Pactor I/Airmail are…. KAM+, KAM98, KAM-XL, PK232, PK900, DSP-1232, DSP-2232, MFJ-1276, MFJ1278B, DXP38, PTC1 and of course the SCS Modem.

Almost all of the older TNC's that worked VHF Packet will also work HF 300 Baud Packet.

The Pactor I station is on the air at this time and will remain on the air until the official end of Hurricane season.

During an actual event, I will be able to monitor and ensure smooth traffic handling during the hours of 7AM til 9PM. This means that during an actual event, any traffic placed on either of these stations will only receive my attention during the above hours.

I will also have a station on 3862KHZ for coordination or whatever.

I will be in Colorado from September 7 through September 16. No Hurricanes during that time please.

If you have any problems setting up your station or contacting my station please contact me.

Test early and be ready!

73 Fred W5VZK



Vice Presidents Comments
From The 1 August 09 Meeting

1. Doug (KD5GBQ) is going to check with the Coca-Cola folks to see if we can get a new Field Day Banner. Our old one is in shreds.

2. The FEMA Trailer that was discussed at the past couple of meetings was discussed and it was decided that the club could not afford it at this time.

3. There is approximately $520.00 in the treasury.

4. Rich McGinnis is the newest member of the club so be sure to say hi when you see him.

5. Getting a 100 hertz tone on the repeater is an on going project. At this time Charles (KB5SZJ) has the repeater manual and is working on a cable to get the controller talking to the transmitter. Charles would you please bring the manuals and cable to the Sept. meeting so we can take a look and see what needs to be completed? Thanks.

6. We should have scored over one thousand points this year at Field Day if Donna's (KD5GWM) count is correct. This is one of the better totals we have had in the last few years. Was great to see all the visitors such as the MS State Guard and Cheri Barry (Meridian's new Mayor) at Coot's Crossing this year.

7. Russ (W5RB) the VE Liaison for this area reported that there were no sessions scheduled for August. The next VE Session is scheduled for 17 Sept. 09 at 1800 hours at the LEMA Office unless there is a change.

8. Rick (AE5FE) made a motion to authorize up to $150.00 to be spent on the repeater to get the tone working properly. After much lively discussion the idea was voted down with Rick voting against his own motion.

9. Mel (W5MLO) reported that Ralph (W5CPO) was not doing very well. He urged members to stop by and see Ralph and Kathy if they could. NOTE: Ralph Moore became a SILENT KEY somewhere around 1100 hours on 1 August. Our condolences go out to Kathy and other family members.

10. Rick made a motion to appoint five people to act as a REPEATER COMMITTEE. Bill (KB5ASR) was made Chairman with Russ, Dennis (NO5C), Charlie, and Jim (W5ED) to help him. The motion was passed with a caveat to make this a standing committee at a future meeting.

11. We need a better handle on how many, what kind, and who's on any committee that the club currently has. Some committees come and go and it seems like some hang around for a time. Any of those that are hanging around at this time need to be identified and controlled.

12. With the actions taken at the 1 August meeting with a new REPEATER COMMITTEE having been appointed we need to take action to dissolve the REPEATER TONE COMMITTEE that still exists. I failed to do so at this meeting because my PARLIAMENTARIAN did not tell me it needed to be done. Bad PARLIAMENTARIAN!!!

13. A note on meeting etiquette is due at this point. We all have our own pet peeves and prior experiences; some good some not. Please be courteous to the person who has the floor and give them a chance to present their idea. If the meeting is conducted properly every individual who desires to speak will have his or her turn. Please maintain your cool no matter how many times you have heard a subject, idea, project, or whatever brought up. There is a place in the rules for an orderly discussion of the subject on the table. We have a lot of new folks in our community and they are not familiar with the aches and pains of old projects. We have to take our time and explain things; remember us old timers too that forget things. -- I think just being courteous to one another pretty well sums up what I am trying to say.

14. The club's next scheduled meeting is 5 Sept. 09 at 1000 hrs. local at the CHECKER BOARD RESTAURANT unless changed. Hope to see all of you there.

15. The meeting was adjourned at 1110 hours local.




Rick’s Radio & Electronic Parts Emporium

Dear, Meridian Amateur Radio Club

I have a proposal that will benefit your members as well as your Amateur Radio Club. I have established a web store that is specifically designed to provide high quality new and used components to the Amateur "home brewer" at affordable prices. To get a better idea of the range of products offered, visit our store at Please keep in mind that the inventory is very fluid and new products are added on a daily basis.

Where do these products come from? Most of the electronic parts are new and come from inventory purchases from manufacturing operations, which for whatever reason are disposing of inventory. Many of the hard to find components (i. e. RF variable inductors) are removed from commercial HF transmitters. We are now in the process of "parting out" some commercial broadcast equipment, a great source of transformers, panel meters, and transmitting tubes. The radios offered are generally derived from SK estate sales.

We also have a comprehensive SK estate sale program. This program includes receiving the estate equipment, testing the equipment, (repairing the equipment if needed and authorized by the estate), listing the equipment in our web store at an estate agreed to price, selling the equipment, and packing and shipping the equipment. This is all done on a commission basis. Our store is linked to E-bay, and, which result in timely disposition at the best available prices.

We propose that you distribute this information to your members on an ongoing basis. In return, we will issue your club a Promo Number. This number will be unique to your club. You would then distribute this number to your members. Any member ordering from our web store, using this code, would receive an automatic 10% discount at the time of checkout. Our company will remit an additional 5% to the club for its general fund; I would rather spend the money in the form of a discount rather than advertising. Considering that there is no sales tax combined with our existing favorable pricing will result in a savings greater that 25% or more to the buyer.

I have assigned the promo number 1005 for the Meridian ARC. It is active now.
Please advise me of the date for your Club's annual event (hamfest or banquet etc) and I will try to attend. If that's possible I will at least prepare a "goody box" for you to use as a door prize or raffle off.

Also, I have several items that are very heavy or bulky in size (i.e. Rack cabinets and High voltage plate transformers, 105 lbs) that might cause a member not to purchase because of excessive freight charges.  Those interested in those items should call me and I will works something out to deliver it to them personally (My mother in law lives in Brandon MS and we go over there all the time)

Please call me if there are other questions.  Thanks and welcome.

Best 73's
Rick Hunt K5FWQ
Rick's Radio and Electronic Parts Emporium
Phone: (281) 740-3432



Passing the Tech Test
By Dan Romanchik, KB6NU

I teach One-Day Tech classes. At the start of each class, I go over the following to help focus students on what to keep in mind when taking the test. It occurs to me that these are good tips no matter who is taking the test; so if you know someone who will be testing soon, please feel free to pass along this advice.

Technical Topics
The Tech test is not very technical, but there are three technical topics that you need to know:

  • Ohm's Law,
  • how to calculate power, and
  • the relationship between frequency and wavelength.

Ohm's Law
The basic formula for Ohm's Law is voltage (E) equals current (I) times resistance (R), or E = I x R. On the test, there are several questions where they give you two of the values and ask you to calculate the third. If you're asked to calculate the current, you use the formula, I = E / R. If you need to calculate the resistance, use the formula R = E / I.

How to Calculate Power
The formula for calculating power is power (P) = voltage (E) times current (I), or P = E x I. To calculate the current drawn, when given the power being consumed and the voltage applied to the circuit, use the formula I = P / E.

Relationship Between Frequency and Wavelength
There are several questions that require you to calculate the wavelength of a signal or some fraction of the wavelength. The reason for this is that antennas are often a fraction of a wavelength.The formula that describes the relationship between frequency and wavelength is wavelength in meters = 300 / frequency in MHz. One question asks for the approximate length of a quarter-wavelength vertical antenna for 146 MHz. To figure that out, you first calculate the wavelength:

wavelength = 300/146 = 2.05 m or about 80 inches

One quarter of 80 inches is 20 inches, and the antenna will actually be a little bit shorter than that because radio travels more slowly in wire than it does in free space. The correct answer to this question is 19 inches.

That's all there is to the technical part of the test!

There is lots of questions on the test about operating safely and being safe when working on antennas. My advice when answering these questions is to always choose the most conservative answer. The two exceptions are when asked what is the lowest voltage and current that can hurt you. For these questions, the correct answer is the second lowest choices.

There are lots of questions about what to do in emergencies. There are two things to keep in mind when answering these questions:

  • You should do whatever you can to help someone who is in an emergency situation.
  • You can even break the rules to help someone in an emergency situation. This includes operating on frequencies you are normally not allowed to operate on and communicating with other stations in other radio services.

Miscellaneous Tips
Here are a couple of other miscellaneous tips:

  • The answer is 'D.' If one of the answers to a question is, "D. All of these answers are correct," chances are that is the correct answer. There are 18 questions with this option, and of those 18 questions, there are only two questions--T3B06 and T5B03--where that is not the correct answer.
  • Long-Answer Rule. Where one answer is a lot longer than the other options, chances are that this is the correct answer. I haven't done an exhaustive study of this, but when one answer is very long, take a good, hard look at it.

That's all I have. Good luck on the test!

When not helping people pass the Tech test and become good amateur radio operators, Dan likes to work CW on the HF bands and collect QSL cards from stations whose call signs spell words. To see what else he's up to, go to


iDitDahText - Morse code Keyboard

iDitDahText is a keyboard alternative for the iPhone and iPod touch that allows you to enter characters by tapping their Morse code. Cory Johnson, KE5AXT



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