A monthly publication of the Meridian Amateur Radio Club November 2011


 Bible Verse

James 1:22-24 / But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes self, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. (NKJV)



President’s Report

Our next business meeting will be held in the back room of the Checker Board Restaurant on Saturday November 12th, 2011. Come join us!

During the November business meeting, we generally open the floor for nominations for your Meridian Amateur Radio Club officers. Please start considering who you would like to nominate to fill these positions for the upcoming new year. Next month at the December business meeting nominations can still be accepted and following any new nominations, it will be time to VOTE for your new 2012 club officers.

I have talked to the Wingo family and they have once again offered to open up their home for our 2012 Christmas party. In the past, our Christmas party has normally been held on the first Saturday in December, but due to a conflict with the schedule, this year it will be held on the second Saturday during December. I’ll have more information in the December Spark Gap.

Last month I failed to recognize the efforts of the local Volunteer Examiner teams. These updates follow. Thank you to all the volunteers that make the VE program such a huge success.

73, Darrell, W5MAV



Meridian VE Team Reports

Test results of The Meridian W5YI VE Team for the following date: Oct 11, 2011 / Charles Whitlock, KF5MSW took his General Class Operator test, PASSED and was advance to General Class Operator. When heard on the air we need to welcome him to the world of HF. Congratulations!

73s Regards, Eldon, W4IOS

Congratulations to Gary White of Quitman, who passed both his Tech exam and his General at the ARRL VE session on 9/22. Gary is now KF5MWE.

Next session is 11/17/2011 at the LEMA office, 6 PM.

73, Russell, W5RB



Emergency Activation System

On 9 November the first ever national test of the Emergency Activation System, or EAS, was conducted. This was a cooperative test of the FCC, in cooperation with the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to conduct a nationwide activation of the system at 1 p.m. Central Standard Time Wednesday, November 9th.

According to FEMA, all EAS participants were required to take part. This included over the air radio and television broadcasters, other television providers, satellite and digital radio along with cable and wire-line video providers.

Although local and state aspects of the Emergency Activation System holds routine weekly and monthly basis, there has never been an end-to-end nationwide test of the system. That changed on November 9th.

While personal radio emergency communications groups like ARES, RACES, REACT and the like were not required to take part in this first ever national EAS test, the Lauderdale-Clarke Counties MS ARES activated the Meridian Area Emergency Net (MAEN) as part of a local training exercises in response to the national EAS alert and in support of the Lauderdale County Emergency Management Agency (LEMA).

During the test WX5MEI at LEMA operated on the W5FQ 2-meter repeater. There were 14 check-ins on the 2M circuit. Check-ins included Anderson Hospital, Rush Hospital and American Red Cross all in Meridian. MAEN check-ins also came from Enterprise, Meridian, Quitman, and Savoy as well as several mobile and portable stations in the Meridian area. Check-ins were also accepted on packet radio using the WX5MEI-10 mail box. NTS message traffic was handled via Packet Radio and one WinLink message was handled.

During an interview with WTOK TV Meridian, David Sharp, Director of Lauderdale County EMA discussed how Amateur Radio Operators in the area are available to assist with communications overloads as well as keep the EMA ahead of other situations in real time across the state, particularly during periods of severe weather.



Wave Theory

Wave theory; a picture is worth a thousand words. Old Bell Labs film showing the pattern of radio waves providing a visual representation of words and math concerning SWR, etc.



On a recent 350 mile trip from home in Davenport, Iowa to my hometown south of St Louis, Missouri, I heard very little 2 meter activity on any repeater. I was not even able to make a contact on 146,520 simplex. Years ago, I always heard many 2 meter conversations on the same trip.

I don't think we are listening to the 2 meter repeaters any longer. I also think the repeater coordinator requirements are discouraging operators from using 2 meters. With emphasis on "communications interoperability" and our current tone requirements, are we simply regulating our service out of existence? What about the person trying to use a repeater for emergency purposes?

It is a hassle trying to program a different tone for each of the repeaters while driving. I don't recommend it! Traveling with 2 meters was much more fun when one was able to dial up a repeater and use it without having to look up and set the tone. I always found the conversations of people dropping in on our repeaters while passing through the area quite interesting and enjoyable. Look at the amount of good equipment on ham-fest tables that operators are forced to replace because it cannot store a unique tone for each frequency.

Davenport, Iowa



Pearl River Amateur Radio Club Hamfest

The Pearl River County (Mississippi) Amateur Radio Club 2011 Hamfest is coming up soon! Scheduled for Saturday, December 10 at the old National Guard Armory in Poplarville - located at the intersection of Highway 11 and Highway 26. This fest promises to be a real winner - and just in time for Christmas shopping for that special ham on your list - or maybe for yourself!

Make plans to join us - Saturday, December 10 - 8 a. m. to 1 p.m. More details to come!

Larry Wagoner - N5WLW
PRCARC Vice President / Training Officer
Mississippi Correspondent
Southeast Repeater Association


You Can Enjoy Contests Even If
You're Not a Contester

By Dan Romanchik, KB6NU

I often talk to guys who say that they're not contesters. Some even go so far as to say that they hate contests. I'm really not a contester, either, but I do enjoy operating them from time to time. There are several ways to enjoy amateur radio contests even if you're not a "contester."

This weekend, for example, the CQ World-Wide (CQWW) SSB DX contest was being held. As usual for a Saturday morning, I was down at WA2HOM (www. wa2hom. org), our club station at the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum ( Now, the museum is only open from 10am - 5pm on Saturdays, so there's no way I'm going to score very highly in the contest, but I still decided to participate.

What I did was take advantage of the contest activity to add countries to our DXCC list. Over two hours of operation, I managed to make 63 contacts, including at least five new countries. The new countries that I added to our log included Iceland, Northern Ireland, Scotland, the Cayman Islands, and Madeira Island.

None of these is rare DX, but for whatever reason, we hadn't worked them before. Now, we have. In addition, some of the big contesters will travel to exotic locales and operate from places that normally have no or few ham radio operators. Contests are good opportunities to get those countries in your log.

Operating in a contest is also a good test of your radio and antennas. It's true that contest signal reports are basically meaningless, but if DX stations regularly hear you on your first or second call, then chances are your antennas are working well. If they're continually asking for repeats or never hear you at all, it's a good bet that you need to do some antenna work.
Working a contest can also improve your operating skills. In a CW contest, for example, the good ops are generally operating at 25+ words per minute. That's OK, though, because it forces you to copy that fast, and because you know what the exchange format is, you pretty much know what characters to expect. Try it sometime. You'll be surprised at how fast you can copy during a contest and how much your CW speed improves.

If none of the above reasons convince you, and you're still a bit apprehensive about jumping into one of the bigger contests, let me suggest that you try one of the smaller contests. State QSO parties, for example, are a lot more laid back than say the ARRL Sweepstakes. The CW speeds are a lot lower and the phone contacts are a lot less intense. You may even learn something about a particular state's geography. You will for sure learn a lot of county names.

It's all about having fun. And you can have fun in a contest, even if you don't have the time or the equipment to be competitive.


When not worrying about the proper county code for Goochland County, Virginia, Dan blogs about ham radio at www. kb6nu. com, teaches ham classes, and rag-chews on 30m and 40m CW. You can e-mail him with comments or questions at



ARRL Affiliated Clubs Sweepstakes Bulletin 2011

Larry Hammel, K5OT
Sweepstakes Contest Manager

Clubs are always looking for operating events and opportunities that excite and motivate their members to be active, especially on HF. This year's ARRL November Sweepstakes certainly fits the bill and - for the first time in years - the bands will have plenty to offer Technician license-holders, too! Sweepstakes - or "Sweeps" among friends - is a contest in which modest stations can do very, very well. There's no need for giant towers and antennas or legal-limit amplifiers - a backyard dipole or vertical and a "barefoot" HF rig will do just fine. In fact, SS is one contest in which antennas can be too high!

Because Sweepstakes brings out so many US and Canadian operators, it is very popular for friendly "contests within a contest" between clubs and between club members. A club contest to work the most sections, make Worked All States, or ring up the highest score is a nice way to wrap up the season with awards being presented at the year-end meeting. Many clubs have a friendly competition with other nearby clubs for local bragging rights. Even small clubs can get into the action on a national scale in the Local category of the ARRL Affiliated Club Completion.

College clubs can participate in two ways. The first is to submit a score in the School Club category of the main competition. With its 30-hour time limit, the shared-operating nature of the category fits right in with the busy fall semester. Give the Phone weekend (Nov 19-20) a try before heading home for Thanksgiving break! The second is to participate in the Collegiate Championship, sponsored by Ken Harker, WM5R. Ken has compiled a long list of yearly winners for each of the NCAA Division I Conferences - has your school's club participated? The web site is currently being updated with the 2010 scores and we need some help sorting out the current conference assignment for the record-holders - any volunteers? Finally, for a relaxed "practice" opportunity, try the ARRL's School Club Roundup from Oct 17-21.

Did we mention the opportunities for Technician licensees? Techs have a large chunk of 10 meters available to them on both Phone (28.3-28.5 MHz) and CW (28.0-28.2) but in recent years, there hasn't been much activity due to quiet solar conditions. Lately, the solar flux has been kicking up to 120 and higher, meaning that 10 meters opens up coast-to-coast and beyond! If your club's Techs have been wondering what all the fuss is about 10 meters, be sure to encourage their activity during Sweeps. Perhaps one of those intra-club challenges we were talking about?

If you'd like to know more about Sweepstakes, download the Sweepstakes Operating Guide - there are simple explanations of the rules and a list of resource articles and web sites to help you get the most from your Sweepstakes weekend. Maybe you'll even bring home the coveted "Clean Sweep" coffee mug!

CQ Sweeps!

73, Larry Hammel K5OT




Have a great month


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