THE SPARK GAP
A monthly publication of the Meridian
Amateur Radio Club November 2010
1 Timothy 6:6-10 / But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. (NIV)
MARC Christmas Party
Our annual Christmas party will be held on Saturday, December 4th beginning at 6 PM at the home of Ross and Wanda Wingo, 3416 Causeyville Whynot Rd, Causeyville, MS (see directions below). Please call Wanda (601) 644-3777 or Debbie (601) 626-0053 if you have any questions.
If you wish to participate in gift exchange, please bring a gift and limit the cost to $5. The club will provide a meat tray and drinks. You are asked to bring a potluck dish however this is not a requirement. If you are not sure what to bring, please call Wanda or Debbie for a few suggestions.
We look forward to seeing all of you at the Christmas party.
Driving directions to 3416 Causeyville Whynot Rd, Causeyville, MS
- From Meridian take Hwy 19 South toward Butler, AL
- Drive approximately 12 miles
- Drive past MARS Manufactured Mobile homes on right
- The next crossroad is Causeyville Whynot Rd
- Turn right onto Causeyville Whynot Rd
- Drive approximately 2.3 miles
- Destination will be on the left (Look for “WINGO” sign and balloons
Congratulations to Albert McDonald, K5CQJ and Jamie Crout, AE5VF on upgrading their license to Extra Class. Congratulations to Fred Hutchison, FB5IMF for passing his Tech and now is a new ham in the Meridian area. During the last test session (9 Nov 2010) of W5YI-VE Test Team, Raymond Sahut, KA5ZZJ was grandfathered to GENERAL class license! He his now a GENERAL class operator!
Spotter Training Course Schedule
South Central Mississippi Skywarn is hosting a National Weather Service Storm spotter class on Tuesday November 30th at 6PM at the Whitehead Technology Building, Ellisville, Mississippi
If coming from Laurel on Interstate 59 take exit 85 (Hwy 590) and turn left and cross bridge and take first right. If coming from Hattiesburg on Interstate 59 take exit 85 (Hwy 590) and turn right and take first right
If you are planning on attending the spotter training course, please call David Houston (KE5OVX) at 601-649-6655 to register.
Sessions typically last for one to two hours and cover the basics of how to detect severe weather and relay severe weather information.
Book Loaner Program
Several Members of the ARC Key Chapter and of the MS State Guard have expressed an interest in getting their Technician License. Down the road I am sure there will be other groups that could use our help.
State Guard Members in particular are solely responsible for almost everything they have and do financially. If there is enough support in our community, I would like to set up a "loaner" or even donated book program to help some folks get started.
If you have an interest in helping out please let me know what you have, what you are willing to do, and how I can get the books from you. Current study guides are what we need.
I think a loaner or donated program for folks trying to upgrade would also be a good idea.
Rick, AE5FE / (601) 632-4104
Is Ham Radio Dying?
By Dan Romanchik, KB6NU
If you've been around ham radio for even a year or two, you've no doubt heard or participated in the debate as to whether or not ham radio is dying. The question is as perennial as the grass.
Recently, this was a topic of discussion on the ARRL PR mailing list. Allen, W1AGP, the ARRL's Media & PR Manager, generated a chart to show that ham radio is NOT dying. It showed the number of licensees in the U. S. every year from 2005 to 2009:
This chart as drawn is a good example of how you can lie with statistics. The y-axis started at 640,000, so the rate of increase in the number of licensees looked quite dramatic. Even so, the good news is that the number of licensees is quickly approaching 700,000, and should surpass that number shortly.
Upon seeing this chart, Jerry, N9TU, did a little statistical analysis of his own. Of the 83 licensees in his zip code, nine are deceased and one has expired. There are four Novices, 36 Techs, 18 Generals, 5 Advanced and ten Extras.
From this data, he deduces, "If this is an average sampling of deceased members, expired members and club licenses, there are roughly 90,000 fewer licensees than shown in the data nationwide. I have no clue of the error rate involved with my data. Your results may vary." My guess is that his zip code is probably pretty typical, and that his analysis is essentially correct.
There's also the question of activity. It's my guess that nearly half of all licensees are inactive, and that if we could figure out a way to activate those hams, then we'd really be able to say that our hobby is not dying. It's something worth thinking about, but there's certainly no easy answer to this problem. As Yogi Berra is purported to have said, "If people don't want to come out to the ball park, there's nothing you can do to stop them."
Overall, though, I think the numbers are headed in the right direction. Ham radio is NOT dying. Let's all keep up the good work.
When not pondering whether the reports of ham radio's death have been greatly exaggerated or not, Dan operates CW on the HF bands, teaches ham radio classes, and blogs about ham radio at www.kb6nu.com. All comments welcome and appreciated. E-mail them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pearl River County Amateur Radio Club
4TH Annual Hamfest
A reminder to all amateur radio operators in the area - as well as others who are interested...
Pearl River County Amateur Radio Club (PRCARC) will hold our fourth annual Hamfest Saturday, December 11 at the old National Guard Armory in Poplarville, MS. The armory is located at the intersection of Highway 11 and Highway 26.
Doors will open at 8 a.m. - with admission costing $5 - which gives admission plus one ticket for the door prize drawings.
We at PRCARC feel blessed that our Hamfest has grown each year we have held them, and this year is no exception. In addition to vendors, table sales and concessions, we will have two forums this year - a QRP forum run by L.D. Jones of Laurel at 10 a.m. and an ARES / ARRL forum at 11 a.m.
We will also have VE testing at the hamfest starting at 8 a.m. Testing for all license levels will be offered. Anyone wishing to test should bring $14 cash and a photo ID, as well as proof of previous license for those wishing to upgrade.
Vendors this year who have already agreed to be there include: VIS, Cedar City Sales, Palmetto Antennas, The Sign Man of Baton Rouge and Icom America.
Additionally, we will have an ARRL card checker for DXers in house.
Also, we will have displays including the Emergency Operations Center Communications trailer, the communications trailer owned and built by Ray Luke, and a display from the Gulf Coast Search and Rescue.
Mississippi Section Manager Malcolm Keown will be with us to represent the ARRL.
We will also have our friends from the Remote Control community with us. Northshore / Slidell Radio Control Club will join us with their radio-controlled aircraft, boats and cars. Weather-depending, they will be able to put on a show for us outside the armory.
Over the years, we have developed a reputation for running the friendliest hamfest in the area - and that is a reputation we will work to continue to earn. We look forward to seeing our friends, neighbors and fellow radio enthusiasts at the hamfest.
Any questions can be addressed to any club member or to:
Larry Wagoner (601) 590-0553
Ron Smith (601) 590-6336
Roger Aubert (601) 795-3570
Tables cost $10.
Please mark your calendar and plan to join us. Remember that December 11 is just before Christmas - just the right time to get a gift for that special person in your life - or maybe for yourself!
Larry Wagoner - N5WLW
PRCARC Training Officer
PIC - MS SECT ARRL
Have a great month