A monthly publication of the Meridian Amateur Radio Club February 2013


 Bible Verse

Matthew 22:29 / Jesus replied, You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God. (New International Version)



Next Business Meeting

The next business meeting will be held in the back room at the Checker Board Restaurant on Saturday, February 09, 2013 beginning at 9:30 A.M. Come join us for breakfast, coffee and fellowship.



Treasurer Report

Dues have started out rather slow this year. Please bring your dues to the Checker Board Restaurant on Saturday mornings or mail them to the address below. Thank you for your support. Dues are:

  • $23.00 per Year per Member
  • $25.00 per Year for Family
  • $15.00 per year if 65 or older

c/o Debbie Hover
11785 Nancy Drive
Collinsville, MS 39325

73, Debbie, KD5JYJ



Lauderdale Repeater Group w5LRG
146.970 - ki5fw/R (pl 100hz)
444.500 + w5LRG/R

GE to all: As some of you already know that it is the time of year for both the Lauderdale Repeater Group and Meridian Amateur Radio Club to jointly pay for Liability Insurance to cover both groups and repeater sites. This year’s premium remains the same price or $325.00 for a one year policy. Both groups will pay half of the premium ($162.50 each). I urge everyone to help pay for this expense. If you use any one of / or both repeaters just remember these things do not stay on the air all by themselves. All donations will be greatly appreciated. Dennis NO5C

Contributions can be mailed to:
Lauderdale Repeater Group w5LRG
c/o: Dennis Carpenter
7760 Vanzyverden Road
Meridian, MS 39305



Meridian W5YI Volunteer Exams

Here are the dates for W5YI test sessions 2013: Test dates are the 2nd Tuesday of each month except August. Test start at 7:00 PM at the Meridian Aviation building at Meridian Airport. Meridian Aviation building is the large building BEFORE getting to the airport main terminal. If coming south from I-20/I-59 it will be on the right side of the road. Cost of the test is $14.00

Walk-ins will be accepted BUT pre registration is highly encourage! Call me if there is any questions. Eldon Richardson, W4IOS @ 601-604-2063 (cell phone).

Feb 12, 2013
March 12, 2013
April 9, 2013
May 14, 2013
June 11, 2013
July 9, 2013
August ***** NO TEST THIS MONTH *****
Sept 10, 2013
Oct 8, 2013
Nov 12, 2013
Dec 10, 2013


73s Regards, Eldon, W4IOS




How to Use Your Android to Help Your Local Weather Forecaster Share

By Tyler Riggs on January 17, 2013 in Android, Apps

If you own an Android smart phone, you might not realize it, but there’s something you can do to help make meteorologists — the men and women who collect and analyze data to make predictions about weather — better at their jobs.

This month’s edition of Wired Magazine features an article from Nancy Gohring about a group of atmospheric scientists who are starting to collect data about atmospheric pressure in various locations, data that is collected by thousands of Android smart phone users running an app called PressureNet.

PressureNet is an app that utilizes the barometric pressure sensor that is built into several models of Android devices (including the Galaxy Nexus, Nexus 4, Nexus 10, Galaxy S3, Galaxy Note, and several others) and aggregates the pressure data. With the app, individual users can view graphs of pressure readings taken from other users in their area, but the real power seemingly could come if millions of people started using the app. That, scientists say, would give meteorologists enough data to be able to gain a huge advantage in predicting when and where storms hit.

As meteorology stands today, scientists can tell with some accuracy that it is going to storm tomorrow, but they’re really just guessing when they predict exactly when and where a storm will hit. Certainly, the weather predicting technology your TV weather man is using can’t predict with any reliability which individual streets or neighborhoods will be hit by storms, and when. But with potentially millions of mobile devices taking atmospheric readings, geotagging said readings, and submitting them to a database for constant analysis, scientists believe they could predict exactly when and where thunderstorms would hit with as much as six hours’ notice.

The Wired article indicates that nowhere near enough people are using PressureNet currently, but during Hurricane Sandy in the New York area, last year, a spike in app downloads occurred and scientists started getting enough atmospheric information to be of some use.

The theory is that if thousands or millions more Android users around the country start using the app, we could start to see a revolution in the way that weather forecasts are made.



How Do You Choose an Antenna Analyzer?
By Dan Romanchik, KB6NU

A reader recently e-mailed me: "In the past you told me you started with the Autek RF-1, and later moved to the Palstar ZM-30. I am finally getting around to thinking about purchasing an antenna analyzer, but I am stumped by the choices. In order of increasing purchase price this is what I've turned up:

* Autek RF-1 - $139.95
* Autek RF-5 - $229.95
* Rig Expert AA-54 - $340.00
* Palstar ZM-30 $399.99
* W4RT Electronics MiniVNA $399.99
* Rig Expert AA-230PRO $690.00
* Timewave Technology TZ-900S $899.99

"How does one decide? Where does one go to find out the differences? Other than asking a fellow ham, how does one find out which one is the best antenna analyzer without paying an arm and a leg (unless the feature(s) so purchased are deemed worth the cost)?

"Thanks! 73"

When I replied, I noted that he had actually missed several other good choices:

* Autek VA1 - $199.
* MFJ 259B - $240.
* YouKits FG-01 - $250.
* Comet CAA500 - $450.

The Autek VA1 is actually the antenna analyzer that I first purchased. The MFJ 259B is arguably the most popular antenna analyzer on the market. MFJ has several other models with different feature sets. The YouKits FG-01 is a very cute, little analyzer with a small graphical display. It is made in China and sold in the U. S. by TenTec.

So, how do you choose just one from this list? Well, I think the first thing that you have to ask yourself is how you're going to use the analyzer. If all you're going to do is to check the SWR of your HF dipoles, then buy the Autek RF-1. It's the least expensive unit, is reasonably accurate, and is small and lightweight, making it easy to use outside where your antennas are located.

If you want to do some more serious frequency analysis, then you should be looking at the W4RT miniVNA or, if you have more cash, the Timewave TZ-900s. These instruments can help you do a lot more in-depth analysis of your antenna system. The software for the miniVNA, for example, will easily plot the SWR of a multi-band vertical antenna from 3 - 33 MHz.

Some antenna analyzers do more than just SWR. For example, what sold me first on the Autek VA1 and then on the Palstar was that they also measured reactance. So, you can use the antenna analyzer as an LC meter as well. Palstar also says that you can use the ZM-3 as a low-level signal source. While I have used my Palstar to measure inductance and capacitance, I have yet to use it as a signal source.

Next, you need to consider what bands you'll be using it on. Many antenna analyzers only cover the HF bands. That's a bummer if you like operating 6m, or like to experiment with VHF/UHF antennas. A friend of mine bought the Palstar antenna analyzer after talking to the company at Dayton. At the time, they said that they were planning to come out with a model that covered 6m, as well as the HF bands.

Unfortunately, they never did come out with a 6m version, and he was sorely disappointed. He ended up buying a miniVNA instead. The miniVNA can be used up to 170 MHz right out of the box, and up to 1.5 GHz with an optional extender.

Asking your fellow hams about the antenna analyzers they have is actually a good way to figure out what's best for you. If you ask nicely, they might even let you borrow their analyzers or come over and show you how it works on your antennas.

Reading the reviews on eHam is also a good way to gather information before making a purchase like this. You certainly have to take the reviews there with a grain of salt, but if several reviewers mention a particularly good or particularly bad feature of a product, then it's certainly something worth taking a hard look at.

If you're new to the hobby, starting out small and working your way up might be a good strategy. You could buy one of the less expensive models and get used to how they work, then sell it and make the leap to a more sophisticated unit. The way things are going, you should be able to sell your first antenna analyzer for at least 80% of what you paid for it.

The March 2012 QST contains an in-depth review of four analyzers (available online to ARRL members), including the Comet CAA-500, MFJ-266, RigExpert AA-54, and the Youkits FG-01. Each analyzer reviewed had various plusses and minuses. Even if the unit you are considering was not reviewed, the article provides a guide to the kinds of questions you should be asking as you go through the selection process.


When he's not analyzing antennas, Dan, KB6NU blogs about amateur radio at KB6NU. Com, writes and publishes the "No-Nonsense" series of amateur radio license study guides, and just has fun with amateur radio. You can reach him by e-mail at, @kb6nu on Twitter, or on 40m CW many evenings.



Upcoming Events

The Birmingham Alabama Ham Fest is just days away. The dates are March 2-3, 2013.

Please pass the word to your club members through club meetings, on nets, and in QSO’s with your fellow hams. Feel free to put it on Web pages or forward this email.

More information and complete details are available at www. w4cue. com/fest2013. html. The theme of this Ham Fest is Low Power Operation (QRP). The prizes to be given away total well over $2,000.00.

QRP Forums include:

Why QRP – by Ken Evans, W4DU (President of QRP ARCI)

QRP DX – by Craig Behrens, NM4T (Yes you can work DXCC with only 5 Watts)

For more information please contact Bob Thomas, KC4AF, or (205) 283-4000 or David Ihle, WB5MSB at

See you in Birmingham

73’s David Ihle, WB5MSB


Have a great month


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