A monthly publication of the Meridian Amateur Radio Club April 2012


 Bible Verse

John 16:33 "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." (NIV)



President’s Report

We had one of the largest turnouts that I can remember for a long time at the March business meeting. Thank you all that came out and participated.

A nice THANK YOU to Bill, KB5ASR for taking the repeater trustee position.

Dennis, NO5C is trying to find an inexpensive location to host a swap fest here in Meridian. If you know of a potential location for this, please follow-up with Dennis.

I found a couple of interesting ideas on the Olive Branch Amateur Radio Club (OBARC) Yahoo group page. One was sharing ideas about what you have in your "Go Kit" in the event of an emergency. The second is concerning a Rookie Roundup article that was written by Tim Billingsley. Tim makes a valid point about new operators and getting them on the air. In light of that I would like to have some discussion on MARC participating in a Rookie Roundup. What a great opportunity to help our newly licensed operators.

"One of the most common concerns expressed by clubs is they want to help their new hams get on the air and learn HF operating skills. Field Day is a great opportunity - and many hams made their first HF QSOs on that last full weekend of June - but it only comes once a year. That's where the ARRL Rookie Roundup comes in.

The Rookie Roundup is a contest especially for new hams - those first licensed in the current and preceding two years - and it occurs three times a year on the third Sunday of April, August, and December. Each contest uses a different mode. April is the SSB contest, RTTY is featured in August, and December is a Morse code contest."

Lastly, I hope we will have a host of volunteers to chair an ARRL Field Day committee. Field Day 2012 is right around the corner and it is not too soon to start planning.

73, Darrell, W5MAV



Next Business Meeting

The next business meeting will be held in the back room at the Checker Board Restaurant on Saturday, April 14, 2012 beginning at 10 A.M. Come join us for breakfast, coffee and fellowship.



Memorial for Russell W5RB/SK

Russell's Memorial Celebration has been delayed due to the current health situation of Mrs. Brown. I'll keep you updated as I hear how things are progressing. 73



Meridian W5YI VE Team Report

The Meridian W5YI VE Team conducted an exam session, Tuesday April 10, 2012 with the following results: Haylee H. Haralson of Newton, Ms took his element 2 exam, passed and is now holds a Technician Class Operator license. When heard on the air please welcome him to the Amateur Radio world!! IN GOD WE TRUST!

73s Regards, Eldon, W4IOS



Meridian ARRL VE Team Report

The VE Exam for March 22nd had two candidates. I am happy to report, Dan McKiever became a technician and Michael Smith passed his general. Please give them a nice welcome when on the air.

The next exam will be held on May 24th at 6 PM at the Lauderdale Emergency Management Agency (LEMA) office, 2525 - 14th Street, Meridian, MS. See for the latest information on upcoming exams.

Thanks, Jim



Free Circuit Design Tools for Ham Radio

By Dan Romanchik, KB6NU

About a week ago, I started looking for a schematic capture program so that I could easily generate some simple schematics for my upcoming Extra Class study guide. Since I use a Mac as my main computer, I first asked on the Ham-Mac mailing list if anyone knew of a good one. I got several recommendations, including:

- Diptrace (,
- Eagle (, and
- McCad (

Eagle looked like a good choice, although several people mentioned that the user interface "left much to be desired".

Then, I remembered that I had OmniGraffle, which is a general-purpose diagramming tool. Googling around, I found several sets of electronic symbol libraries that could be used with OmniGraffle. I installed them, and generated a couple of figures for the study guide section that discusses T-network and pi-network filters. It was a reasonably good solution to my problem.

A Web solution
A couple of days ago, though, someone on the local Maker mailing list, pointed me towards CircuitLab (, an online schematic capture tool and circuit simulator. I haven't tried the circuit simulation yet, but the schematic capture tool is really easy to use. It's much easier to use for drawing circuit diagrams than OmniGraffle.

CircuitLab Example

Another benefit is that it doesn't matter what computer you're using. Because it runs in a Web browser, it doesn't matter whether that browser is running on a Mac or a PC or even a Linux box.

If you set up an account, you can save circuits to your "workbench." To get you started, there are some sample circuits, such as the 555 timer circuit shown in Figure 1. There's also some decent documentation and a forum where you can discuss circuits and get some help.

Finally, the price is right, too. It looks like using CircuitLab is completely free. I couldn't find any pages that required payment.


When not searching the Web for circuit design tools, you'll find KB6NU working 30m CW and twittering away about his contacts. His Twitter id is @kb6nu. He would love for you to follow him there. If you don't tweet, you can still read his blog at

NOTES: I'm going international! Please welcome Oskar Sverrisson, TF3DC, of the Icelandic Radio Amateurs ( to the list. This column is going out to 291 newsletter editors. I'd love to top 300 subscribers. If you know of a club newsletter editor who is not on the list, please invite them to join. Dan



Request for CC & R and EmComm Information

We need your assistance!

The FCC has released a Public Notice soliciting input for the Congressional directed study of Amateur Radio Emergency Communications and Impediments to the amateur's ability to provide those communications. This is the ARRL-proposed study which we have been seeking for the last 3 years.

To assist the ARRL in gathering pertinent information for their comments - and to spread the word to the Amateur community as quickly as possible, I am asking that you please send the following to the various email lists/distribution mechanisms in your sections.

TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE! The FCC is only allowing 45 days for comments and will be closed on May 17, 2012. In order to allow the ARRL to review the comments from the members and include them in our comments, we have set up the mechanism described below to allow quick input from members. To allow us the time to compile this information we are asking the information be provided to us by WEDNESDAY APRIL 25, 2012.

Thanks for your assistance in this project. We are in a position to try and obtain some relief for those who live in deed-restricted / CC&R limited communities. NOW IS THE TIME TO ACT!

Thanks and 73!

Dan Henderson, N1ND
Regulatory Information Manager
ARRL, the national association for Amateur Radio


Do you live in a CC&R- restricted community or participate in EmCom activities? Have deed restrictions / HOA covenants prevented you from erecting amateur radio antennas? Have these restrictions prevented you from full participation in emergency communications activities during disasters?

If your answer is "Yes", ARRL needs to hear about your experience.

As you are probably aware, Congress has directed the FCC to conduct a study of the uses and capabilities of Amateur Radio Service communications in emergencies and disaster relief. The FCC was directed to identify

"impediments to enhanced Amateur Radio Service communications, such as the effects of unreasonable or unnecessary private land use restrictions on residential antenna installations." Finally, the study is to make "recommendations regarding the removal of such impediments."

The FCC has issued a Public Notice - DA 12-523- soliciting input from the public as part of their study. The ARRL is gathering comments from the Amateur Radio community to present as part of its comments on the public notice.

The ARRL is looking specifically for input in two specific areas:

  • Recent Amateur Radio involvement in actual emergency communications and disaster relief;

  • Specific details about how CC&Rs and other private land use restrictions have impaired licensed Amateurs to participate fully in these disaster relief communications.

If your ability to participate in ARES, RACES, SKYWARN, CERT, or other emergency and disaster relief communications has been limited because the inability to have adequate antennas due to CC&Rs, you are asked to provide that information to the ARRL.

First, we recommend that you prepare a narrative of your exact situation, in as much detail as practical. Some areas for you to consider in writing your story might be:

  • Were there alternative properties without CC&Rs in the area you wished to reside?

  • What exactly does your CC&R allow / prohibit (please include a copy of the specific wording

  • Have you applied for a waiver of the CC&R with the Home Owner’s Association / Architectural Review Committee but were denied? If so, what was the reason?

To assist you in sharing your information with the ARRL, please visit the special ARRL web site built to allow you to readily provide the pertinent information at

This page will present you with an overview of what we are asking and have links to the two forms for you to complete. Please be as factual as you can with the information you provide and please provide only information about events and activities in which you were directly involved.

If you wish to write out the details of your situation in advance, please do so. Then, they can be either uploaded from the web site or they can be sent as an email attachment to an email sent to

Keep in mind that the FCC study does not apply to ordinances and zoning laws implemented by the government - such as towns, cities or counties. PRB-1 covers those situations.

TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE! Congress directed that the FCC provide the report back within 180-days and that clock is already counting. The FCC is only accepting comments for a 45-day period, which will end May
17, 2012. In order for the ARRL to collate your information in a common report, we ask that you send in your information no later than WEDNESDAY APRIL 25. If you need more information, please contact The time to act is NOW!




Have a great month


Last Month Next Month

Back to The Spark Gap