A monthly publication of the Meridian Amateur Radio Club May 2018


Happy Mothers Day


 Bible Verse

Galatians 5:13-14 You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” (NIV)



President's Report

Hello all,

First off let me start by saying that April has not been to great to us this year, between friends passing and tornadoes running through the county. But I will say this, GOD is good and we are still here. I briefly had a chance to look at some of the damage the was laid down in our fair city, from houses having minimal damage to houses being torn apart. Call it a sign, call it what you will. This was what I call a sign that we can and will come together in times of need to help our fellow person. I hope this compassion is a sign we will succeed in our endeavors.

If you know someone who would like to take the tech test, we have one coming up this month.

GOD bless us one and all.

73's Charles Grisham KB5SZJ



Next MARC Business Meeting

The next business meeting will be held at the Checker Board Restaurant on Saturday, May 5th beginning at 10 A.M. Come join us for breakfast, coffee and fellowship.



Exam Session

The Meridian Amateur Radio Club will hold an Exam Testing Session on Saturday 5/26/2018. It will be held at the Lauderdale County EOC located at 2525 14th Street, Meridian, MS at 1:00 PM. Pre-Registration is preferred, but walk-ins are welcomed.

For more information:



Tower Help Needed

In the near future I will need someone to come take down a tower for me. It’s about 80ft with a Ringo Ranger antenna on top of it. If you know anyone that can do it, can you get me some contact info or have them get in touch with me? Thanks.

Cory Johnson
(601) 938-2481



Lauderdale Repeater Group w5LRG
146.970 - ki5fw/R (pl 100hz)
444.500 + w5LRG/R
145.410- no5c/R w/100hz tone access

GE to all: 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 of $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



“Alexa, help me with ham radio”
By Dan Romanchik, KB6NU

I have had an Amazon Alexa for nearly a year now. Mostly, I just use it to listen to internet radio stations or tell me a joke, but I think it has more potential than that. For example, I’ve written before about how I’d like to develop an Alexa skill to control my IC-7300. I haven’t gotten around to that yet, but, Joe, N3HEE, has just published an Alexa skill called Continuous Wave. It’s designed to help you learn Morse Code.

To use this skill, you have to first enable it. Once enabled, say, “Alexa, open Continuous Wave.” This opens the skill at the main menu. You can then say any of the following at any voice prompt…

  • Learn
  • Practice
  • Alphabet
  • Common words
  • Random words
  • Words
  • Sentences
  • Call signs
  • Contest
  • Quick Brown Fox
  • QSO
  • Help
  • Stop – To end your session.

I’ve just played around with this app for a short time, but I've found it to be quite entertaining. It does, however, have one big drawback. You can’t set the speed. It’s currently limited to sending at 20 words per minute only.

Also, the learn function could use a little refining. When you give the command “learn,” it asks you for a character, sends that character three times, and then asks you for another. If you could set the speed at which the skill sends characters, it could teach a character like the K7QO Code Course, first sending the character slowly, then ramping up the speed.

Overall, though, I think this is a great first shot at a usable Alexa skill for teaching Morse Code. I hope this is the first of many versions of this skill.

Other ham radio skills

While I was poking around on Amazon, I decided to see what other amateur radio skills might be available. Here are a few that I found:

  • Ham Exam. Ask Alexa to ask you questions from the Technician Class question pool.

  • Ham Lookup. Allows you to look up amateurs by call sign. Information is provided from the database.

  • Ham Radio Propagation Forecast. Reports the latest forecasts directly from HamQSL (run by N0NBH).

  • ARRL Audio News. Adds ARRL Audio News to your Alexa flash briefing.

Building your own voice app

The Continuous Wave Alexa skill was developed using tools found at VoiceApps.Com. Two other web sitesPullstring and StoryLine—also have tools to help you build voice apps. And, Amazon has an online tutorial that will teach you how to build an Alexa app. I'm just getting started with these tools, so I can't recommend one over the others, but they do look like they'll make developing voice apps easier.

Since I'm currently in the process of updating my No Nonsense Technician Class License Study Guide, it occurs to me that I should also develop an Alexa skill for drilling students on test questions. I guess you could call them audio flashcards. Stay tuned for that.


When he's not trying to figure out how to build voice apps, Dan blogs about amateur radio at KB6NU.Com, teaches ham radio classes, and operates CW on the HF bands. Look for him on 30m, 40m, and 80m. You can email him about the voice apps that you like at



Are We Ready

National Weather Service Damage Survey


Rating:                 EF2
Estimated Peak Wind:    115 mph
Path Length /statute/:  8.55 miles
Path Width /maximum/:   780 yards
Fatalities:             0
Injuries:               0

Start Date:             4/14/2018
Start Time:             10:43 AM CDT
Start Location:         2 SSW Meridian / Lauderdale County / MS
Start Lat/Lon:          32.3558 / -88.7321

End Date:               4/14/2018
End Time:               10:53 AM CDT
End Location:           2 ENE Marion / Lauderdale County / MS
End Lat/Lon:            32.435 / -88.6209

Summary: This tornado developed just to the north of I-20 along Highway 19 N. It crossed through downtown Meridian, causing tree damage to much of the area. It caused structural damage to a few buildings along 14th Street, including roof and facade damage. The tornado reached its strongest intensity of EF2 strength as it neared 23rd Street. Here it snapped a couple of power poles, along with multiple hardwood and softwood trees. In addition, it tore the roof off of an apartment building and a portion of a building at Magnolia Middle School. Video evidence also indicated the tornado tore the roof off of a home near Grandview Avenue along with the loss of some exterior walls. The tornado continued to track northeast and generally followed Highway 45. Damage mainly consisted of trees being snapped or uprooted. Some of these trees fell onto homes. The tornado lifted near Willowlake Road. 

EF Scale: The Enhanced Fujita Scale classifies tornadoes into the following categories.

EF0...Weak......65 TO 85 mph
EF1...Weak......86 TO 110 mph
EF2...Strong....111 TO 135 mph
EF3...Strong....136 TO 165 mph
EF4...Violent...166 TO 200mph



Quote of the Day

Lose all your excess weight, break all bad habits, make changes to become the most productive person that you can be, and produce the greatest value from each day. Jennifer Leigh Eckman, Christian Author



Have a great month


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