A monthly publication of the Meridian Amateur Radio Club April 2011


 Bible Verse

1 Peter 1:22 / Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart. NIV



President’s Report

I have been a little pressed for time and have not been able to get the newsletter published earlier like I was hoping to do; therefore this month will be a quick update.

First, our next business meeting will be held on Saturday April 9th, 2011. I had hoped to have a short program on building a dipole antenna, but our instructor had to be out of town this Saturday.

Thank you Rick AE5FE for the informative PowerPoint Presentation that covered the 2011 National Level Exercise that will take place on 16 May, 2011 involving 8 states simulating a major earthquake in the New-Madrid fault area. As I am writing this, the news media is reporting yet another earthquake in Japan. Please be prepared to assist in emergency communications should a disaster occur in your community.

The 100Hz PL Tone is working as advertised. I have not heard from anyone needing help programming their radios. Please remember, there are club members very willing to help with this if needed.

At our March meeting, I asked for volunteers for a Field Day committee and only ONE individual has stepped up to the plate. There was not a large crowd at the meeting so I thought I would simply publish the request here. The Field Day committee needs to simply decide what radios will be used; how many radios; what type of antennas; setting up and breaking down before and after official hours of operation; what class will we operate as; and how we will log contacts made during operations. Field Day is only two months away. The Ross Wingo family has generously volunteered to host this year’s Field Day event. This is a really nice location and the accommodations are very comfortable.

My request: If you would like to help out with Field Day planning, please give Darrell a phone call at (601) 626-0053. I look forward to hearing from YOU.

Lastly, on March 26th, the chase team from Titans in Space came though Meridian. The balloon launch was late getting off the ground so several of us got to visit with the group from Jackson while having breakfast at the Checker Board Restaurant. Thank you for stopping by! Also, due to the late launch, this put the path of the Titans in Space balloon very close to the north end of the Naval Air Station where the Wings Over Meridian air show was taking place. There were a few of our local HAM operators stationed there and they quickly alerted air show officials of the balloons path. Job well done!

73, Darrell, W5MAV



Next Business Meeting

The next business meeting will be held in the back room of the Checker Board Restaurant on Saturday, April 9th, 2011.



Meridian W5YI VE Team

The Meridian W5YI VE Team is pleased to announce the second Revitalization Seminar to be held Friday, April 15, 2011 starting at 7:00PM at the EMEPA conference room in Meridian, MS located on Hwy 39N. The following topics will be covered: NVIS Antenna system: Pros and Cons! Dipole Antenna building: Theory and examples! Everybody is welcome!

For information contact:
Eldon Richardson, W4IOS
Cell phone: (601) 604-2063

73s Regards, Eldon, W4IOS



New Mars Rover to Feature Morse Code

From ARRL Letter

As the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) builds the next Mars rover -- this one is named Curiosity -- to deploy to the red planet in the fall of 2011, they're having a little fun with it. Back in 2007 when the Curiosity team was putting together the rover, its wheel cleats had a raised pattern with the letters "JPL," leaving a little stamp of the rover's birthplace everywhere it rolled. "At the time, I asked whether the real rover would have those wheels, and they said, no, they weren't going to get to advertise JPL with each turn of each of the rover's six wheels; the real rover would have some other pattern," said Emily Lakdawalla of The Planetary Society in her blog. Lakdawalla is the organization's Science and Technology Coordinator.

Lakdawalla said that there is nothing special about the shapes of the markers in Opportunity's wheels; they are just square holes through the wheels through which the wheels were bolted to the lander during cruise and landing." Opportunity is the name of the rover that went to Mars back in 2003. "But Curiosity didn't need holes in its wheels for attaching to any lander -- there isn't one. So the engineers got to make the markers in any shape they wanted to."

But in March 2011, she saw a video of the rover as it is today: "I had to chuckle at those 'visual odometry markers' [on its tires]. Before I explain why, I'll point out that they really are useful things to have in rover wheels. The repeating pattern of the 'visual odometry markers'... makes it fairly easy for both the rover and human operators to determine visually how far the rover has roved using rear-view imagery."

So what pattern did JPL choose to put on Curiosity's wheels? One that Lakdawalla called "very amusing. The holes are in a pattern of short squares and longer rectangles -- almost like dots and dashes. Morse code." And what does it spell out in Morse code? JPL.

J . - - -
P . - - .
L . - . .

According to JPL, Curiosity is about the size of a small SUV -- 10 feet long (not including the arm), 9 feet wide and 7 feet tall -- or about the height of a basketball player -- and weighs 200 pounds. It features a geology lab, rocker-bogie suspension, a rock-vaporizing laser and lots of cameras. Curiosity will search areas of Mars for past or present conditions favorable for life and for conditions capable of preserving a record of life. It is set to launch between November 25-December 18, 2011 from Cape Canaveral, Florida and will arrive on Mars between August 6-20, 2012. The prime mission will last one Mars year, or about 23 Earth months.

Sent in via W5RB. Thank you!



Have a great month


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