A monthly publication of the Meridian Amateur Radio Club June 2012


 Bible Verse

Luke 14:28 "Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won't you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? (NIV)



President’s Report

First off, please be sure to read the Bible verse above as one of our readers thought it would be very appropriate for amateur radio operators.

When heard on the air, please welcome MARC member Daniel McKiever, KK4ICF. Congratulations Dan on earning your General class license. Congratulations to Jim, AD5OW for winning FIRST place in the Mississippi Section VHF Limited Rover contest.

A special THANK YOU to Jim, Raymond, and Steven from Hattiesburg, Mississippi Hub City Amateur Radio Sales for bringing their trailer up to our May business meeting loaded down with a good variety of amateur radio gear. Jim gave a nice presentation about their company and customer service. I know it cost a lot for fuel and your time is very much appreciated. Please visit their web site for more information on products and first class customer service.

2012 Field Day has started taking shape. Our Field Day chairman has a few Boy Scouts that plan on participating. We have arranged a training session so they can earn their radio merit badge. In addition we are planning on having a Get on the Air (GOTA) station so the scouts (and others) will have the opportunity to get on the air. KB5ASR and WB5BNV will have digital stations setup so the scouts can see a digital mode of operation.  

This year MARC Field Day 2012 will again be hosted by the Ross Wingo family. We need your help to make Field Day a success. Please see more details about Field Day 2012 below.

73, Darrell, W5MAV



Next Business Meeting

The next business meeting will be held in the back room at the Checker Board Restaurant on Saturday, June 09, 2012 beginning at 10 A.M. Come join us for breakfast, coffee and fellowship.



What LEMA/ARES (Clarke and Lauderdale County) would like to do for Field Day?

We will install a packet rig in the LEMA trailer which will be on the Field Day site, same place as last year.

We ask that everyone at Field Day and everyone who visits the Field Day site originate a NTS message to someone they know. All they will need for the address is a name and email address. These messages are to be given to Bill R. who will act as a relay. Bill R will deliver the messages to the LEMA comm trailer via VHF Packet by placing them on W5FQ-10 packet bulletin board. The LEMA trailer will then retrieve the messages from the W5FQ-10 bulletin board and place these messages on (winlink-radio E-mail) for delivery. We hope to accomplish three things.

1. Expose everyone to the NTS message form and system.
2. Demonstrate the capability of Outpost on VHF Packet for message delivery.
3. Demonstrate the capability of Winlink. Everyone will be most welcome to operate the equipment at any point in the message delivery process.

Thanks Rick, AE5FE



Field Day 2012

June 23-24, 2012 / Click Here for ARRL Field Day Rules

MARC Field Day location will be on the property of Ross and Wanda Wingo. Please arrive early Saturday morning to help with setting up and getting ready to operate. The building is air conditioned, so plan on staying for the entire twenty-four hours. If you get tired of operating the radio, there is a nice lake that will be made available for fishing and swimming.

Driving directions to 3416 Causeyville Whynot Rd, Causeyville, MS

  1. From Meridian take Hwy 19 South toward Butler, AL
  2. Drive approximately 12 miles
  3. Drive past MARS Manufactured Mobile homes on right
  4. The next crossroad is Causeyville Whynot Rd
  5. Turn right onto Causeyville Whynot Rd
  6. Drive approximately 2.3 miles
  7. Destination will be on the left (Look for "WINGO" sign and the Meridian Amateur Radio Club banner)

Dinner will be served around 6 PM on Saturday evening June 23rd. As in years past, many of you have brought along a dessert. This has always worked out well and many of us will appreciate you doing so again. Please keep in mind that this is only a suggestion and not a requirement.

We hope to see all of the MARC members and encourage you to invite a friend. Non-member hams from the area are always welcome to come operate with us as well.



Dayton Hamvention 2012: Another great ham radio experience

By Dan Romanchik, KB6NU

My Dayton experience started at 3:45 am Thursday morning. That's when I had to get up so that I could make it to the Fairborn Holiday Inn in time for the first session of this year's Four Days in May (FDIM) conference. FDIM is a one-day conference put on by the QRP Amateur Radio Club International ( and is a great way to start the "Dayton experience."

This year, we were treated to six very fine presentations. They included talks on using microcontrollers for various projects, software-defined radio, VHF and UHF for QRPers, homebrewing with "hollow state" devices (more commonly known as tubes), using open-source electronic design tools, and operating pedestrian mobile. The two talks that I enjoyed the most were "Hollow State (Thermatron) Homebrewing" by Grayson, TA2ZGE/KJ7UM and "Leveraging Free and Open Source Tools in Homebrewing" by Jason, NT7S.

Friday morning, I got up early again, so that I could make the 7:30am bus to the Hamvention. We arrived about 8:00 am, just as the gates were opening. The first thing that I did was to head to the FAR Circuits tent, which is-as the name implies-at the far end of the flea market. There, I made my first purchases, a board to make a regenerative receiver and one to make an audio breakout box.

The rest of the day was a combination of wandering the aisles of the outdoor flea market, fighting the crowds inside the arena, attending seminars, and meeting people that I know. By the time, 4:30 pm rolled around, I was pretty hot and tired. Temperatures topped 80 degrees, and on the blacktop surface of the flea market, temperatures were undoubtedly higher. I was happy to get on the bus and head back to the hotel.

Saturday, was pretty much the same story, except it was even hotter. The temperature almost hit 90 degrees. I didn't bring any sunscreen, either, so I got a little rosy.

I ran into some people that I knew that had just come down for the day, or perhaps that I'd missed the day before. One guy I ran into at the Ohio Repeater Council booth, pulled out his new Elecraft KX-3 and gave me a quick demo. It's actually quite a cool, little radio. I'm still saving up for a K-3, though.

Around noon, I went to the food court for a slice of pizza and a glass of beer. Seating is catch as catch can, so I shared a table with several other hams. This is great because you get to meet all kinds of different people.

This year, an older gentleman sat down next to me with his beer. We got to chatting, and as it turned out, this was his 55th straight year attending the Dayton Hamvention! He started going before it was even held at Hara Arena, and even after they moved to Hara, they didn't use the entire facility as they do now. I'm really glad that I got to speak with him.

So, what did you buy?
I didn't really go down to Dayton with much of a shopping list. In addition to the PC boards, I did pick up a bunch of other little stuff including some strain reliefs; more clamp-on ferrite cores, a paddle pad from Vibroplex ($1) to keep the paddle down at the club station from sliding around, and some tube sockets! One of the vendors there had a box of tube sockets that they were selling for a quarter apiece or five for a dollar. I picked out five and paid the lady, and as I was walking away, I decided that they were such a good deal that I went back and bought five more.

My biggest purchase was NT7S's OpenBeacon QRSS transmitter (www. etherkit. com). It cost me $40. It looks like a very nice kit, and I'm hoping to be on 30m QRSS shortly with it. The nice thing about this transmitter is that it has a microcontroller that lets it transmit DFCW and Hellschreiber, in addition to CW. It should be fun to both build and operate.

Too rich for my blood.
In other news, both Kenwood and FlexRadio both introduced new radios at Dayton. Perhaps the most buzz was around the Kenwood TS-990. All they were showing was a prototype under a Plexiglass cover. In addition to being incredibly expensive, the radio is huge! I heard someone joke that to produce this radio, Kenwood is going
to have to corner the market on buttons and knobs. If you've seen the photo in QST (which was allegedly produced with Photoshop), you'll know what I mean.

The other radio with a bit of buzz is the new FlexRadio FLEX-6000. For the past couple of weeks, the FlexRadio web site was proclaiming that this radio was going to be a game changer. Perhaps it is, but at $6,000+, this radio is out of my league and too expensive for the majority of radio amateurs. That being the case, I really don't know what all the buzz is about.

I'm sure that the TS-990 and the FLEX-6000 are both great radios, but I think that the law of diminishing returns applies here. At some point, are you really getting $6,000 or $12,000 of fun out of the radio? I don't think that I would.

Well, that's it. Another Dayton Hamvention is in the bag. It was a lot of fun, and I'm already looking forward to next year. I've already contacted one of the forum organizers about adding an adult education forum. I think that's something that's both needed and would be popular. I'll just have to make sure to leave enough time to hit the flea market and grab some more tube sockets or coax or whatever.


When he's not tromping around flea markets, or attending conferences, Dan, KB6NU, writes books about ham radio. His latest, 21 Things to Do After You Get Your Amateur Radio License, is available as an e-book from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or from his web site, You can e-mail him with comments, questions, compliments, or brickbats at



Have a great month


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