A monthly publication of the Meridian Amateur Radio Club September 2019


 Bible Verse

Ezekiel 37:4-6 / Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life. I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord.’” (NIV)



President's Report

Good Day all,

At the moment I'm currently watching Hurricane Dorian crossing the Bahamas and making way for Florida. This is a reminder that we are only tenants here on Earth and we must bow to the destructive forces that have been placed around us. The Hurricane Net is up and running with reports of where it's going and where it's been.

The ARRL deployment kits are here and in storage until needed. Thanks to Malcolm W5XX, Robert Hayes KC5IMN, and Ken Bailey K1FUG for helping make this happen. It is definitely an honor to host these kits.

A packet station has been setup at Darrell's home and is operating nicely. Thanks to Fred Gray for helping to get it on the air. Also we will have a work session there one weekend to get a few antennas moved and installed. One of these will be for APRS to make the fill in between Meridian and Philadelphia.

Please come join us for our meeting this Saturday at the Checker Board Restaurant.

73 Charles Grisham KB5SZJ



Vice Presidents Report

We had a good trip to Huntsville Ham Fest. They reported the biggest crowd ever on Saturday. One of the best parts for me is visiting with people I talk to on the radio and only see at Ham Fests.

Keep one eye on the weather. Everyone needs to check their emergency power. They can't decide what Hurricane Dorian is going to do or direction of travel. Better to be prepared.

God Bless America. Keep Praying. Our list seems to get longer.

Frank, KF5ETN



Next MARC Business Meeting

The next business meeting will be held at the Checker Board Restaurant on Saturday, September 7th beginning at 10 A.M. Come join us for breakfast, coffee and fellowship.



DXpedition to use FT8 robot?

By Dan Romanchik, KB6NU

It’s inevitable. At some point, machines are going to render humans irrelevant. It’s been a recurring theme in science fiction since before I was born (1955), and there are numerous predictions of the Singularity, the point in time when  machines will be  smarter than human, occurring between 2030 and 2045.

It may happen in amateur radio sooner than we think. A couple of days ago, one of my readers, sent me a link to a blog post by John, AE5X: Automated FT8 “FoxBot” in upcoming DXpedition – confirmed. He wrote:

“A DXpedition to Tokelau will take place from 1 to 11 October and it will be your chance to work an FT8 robot operating in Fox/Hound mode.

“Stathis SV5DKL has been working on a “FoxBot” for some time now, is listed as a partner to this DXpedition and has confirmed that the DXpedition will be using his FoxBot.”

John has since updated this post, noting “The SV5DKL logo has now been removed and the DX team will be in ‘full compliance’ with the mode.” Full compliance meaning following the rules set up by the ARRL DXCC rules.

The ARRL is, of course, against the use of robots. A recent ARRL Letter noted:

“ARRL has incorporated changes to the rules for all ARRL-sponsored contests and DXCC, prohibiting automated contacts and requiring that an actual operator is initiating and carrying out a contact. These changes also apply to Worked All States (including Triple Play and 5-Band WAS), Fred Fish W5FF Memorial, and VUCC awards. The changes are effective immediately and affect the rules for both HF contests, and VHF/UHF contests as well as DXCC.

“A resolution at the July ARRL Board of Directors meeting pointed to 'growing concern over fully automated contacts being made and claimed' for contest and for DXCC credit. The rules now require that each claimed contact include contemporaneous direct initiation by the operator on both sides of the contact. Initiation of a contact may either be local or remote.”

As AE5X says, however, the use of FT8 robots in the future is a certainty. Sooner or later, some DXpedition is going to use an FT8 robot without saying anything about it. How is the ARRL going to know that a DXpedition is using robots if the DXpedition operators don’t tell them?

I’m wondering when some DXpedition is going to give up on SSB and CW altogether. Why bother with those modes when you can make hundreds or thousands more contacts by just operating FT8?

Another thought just occurred to me. If the ARRL gets its way and Techs are awarded HF digital privileges, how long will it take for some enterprising Tech to make the DXCC Honor Roll using FT8 exclusively. Oh, the horror of it all!



Dan Romanchik, KB6NU, is the author of the KB6NU amateur radio blog (KB6NU.Com), the “No Nonsense” amateur radio license study guides (KB6NU.Com/study-guides/), and often appears on the ICQPodcast ( When he's not wondering when robots are going to take over the world, he likes to (manually) operate CW on the HF bands.



Quote of the Month

“It Doesn’t Matter Where You Came From. All That Matters Is Where You Are Going.”- Brian Tracy



Have a great month


IDrive Remote Backup


Last Month Next Month

Back to The Spark Gap