A monthly publication of the Meridian Amateur Radio ClubMay 2020


Memorial Day

 Bible Verse

1 John 1:5-10 Light and Darkness, Sin and Forgiveness

This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.

If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.



President's Report

Hello all,

Here we are again; another month of social distancing. Hopefully soon we can all get together again for fellowship. Until then we can hold our Saturday morning meetings, along with the monthly meetings on the air. It's just another way to enjoy the hobby a little more. One thing I can say is that the nets are looking good. We have several checking in and from what I hear, more will be joining in before long. If anyone has a suggestion for an on-air class they might like on a Saturday morning or Tuesday night, please send us a note:

That's all for this month. See you when the quarantine is lifted.

Charles Grisham, KB5SZJ



Next MARC Business Meeting

The next business meeting will be held on the W5FQ repeater 146.700 / -600 offset on Saturday, May 2nd beginning at 10 A.M.



RRI YouTube Channel - Training Programs

From: James Wades
Date: May 8, 2020 at 10:24:20 AM CDT
Subject: RRI YouTube Channel - Training Programs

Hello Everyone:

As you know, RRI has embarked on the development of training material to promote and enhance traffic handling and emergency communications. We are in the process of posting recordings of our training classes to YouTube so they can be viewed by those interested in public service communications.

As of this morning, there are two classes posted. These are:

Emergency Communications Planning - TR-006:

Introduction to the Traffic System - TR-002:

Over the coming weeks, we will be posting additional training videos to our RRI Channel. Therefore, please consider subscribing so that you receive notifications when new videos are posted.

Also, please note that RRI does issue training certificates to those that attend a live class, be it in-person or on-line. However, training certificates are not issued for videos viewed individually. However, we hope the materials proves useful and instructive to all concerned.

73, James Wades (WB8SIW)
Radio Relay International
833-377-0722 x 700



Black Warrior Hamfest - POSTPONED

Black Warrior Hamfest · Due to COVID-19 concerns, the Black Warrior Hamfest will NOT take place on May 2nd, 2020 as originally planned. We are investigating an alternate date, but that will depend on our venue (a school), our vendors, and the COVID-19 status at that time. We'll post a follow-up as soon as we have more information.



A modest proposal (for the next Extra Class question pool)

By Dan Romanchik, KB6NU

At our last club meeting, I was discussing the changes to the Extra Class question pool with someone, and the topic of memorizing the answers popped up. As I always do, I mentioned that many of the questions you can only get right by memorizing the answer. At that point, someone down the way piped up. "Not me," he said, "I studied the material so that I didn't have to memorize the answers."

At that point, the president called the meeting to order, so I didn't get to challenge him on that point, but that statement is just plain wrong. First of all, it's true that some questions you can only get right by memorizing the answer. Almost all of the rules questions are that way, for example.

Man Testing

Secondly, there is no way to study the rest of the material in any depth and still have time to actually be an amateur radio operator. The amount of material that the Extra Class question pool covers takes an electrical engineering student four years or more to study thoroughly. And even then, some topics are bound to get short shrift.

So, we're back to memorizing. I would say that even an "engaged" person will memorize about half the answers. I'd go even further and say that those that "study" the technical topics, don't study it as thoroughly as a college student would.

For example, there are a dozen questions in Section E7G - Active filters and op-amp circuits: active audio filters; characteristics; basic circuit design; operational amplifiers. Despite the name, you don't need to know how to design or build an op-amp filter. All you really need to know is that op-amps are high gain devices and if you have a circuit like the one shown below, Vout/Vin = RF/R1.

Figure E7-3

These concepts are relatively easy to learn. but there are also two questions on filter "ringing." Honestly, you're better off just memorizing the answers to those questions unless you have a real interest in active filters that use op amps. Wading into the mathematics isn't all that hard, but when you consider this is only one of dozens of topics, you can see where doing any kind of in-depth study is going to take you months, if not years, to accomplish.

A modest proposal

The end result of this approach to testing is that we have many Extra Class licensees who know about a lot of things, but not in very much depth. Perhaps that's OK. Perhaps that's just what the question pool committee of the National Council of Volunteer Examiner Coordinators (NCVEC) was shooting for. If, however, we want an Extra Class license to denote that the licensee has some real technical expertise, I have a modest proposal.

Basically, my idea is that instead of testing on an incredibly wide range of topics, we test applicants on a set of basics, plus one or two particular topics. These would be topics that the person has expertise in already or enough of an interest in to study the topic in some depth.

Below are the topics that I would consider to be basic and some that I consider to be more specialized. This is, of course, not an extensive list.

  • Basic questions (20 questions, everyone takes this part of the exam)
    • Safety
    • Rules and regulations
    • Electrical principles/basic circuits
  • Technical Interests (Choose two, 20 questions each)
    • Antennas and transmission lines
    • Radio wave propagation
    • EMI/RFI
    • Analog and digital design
    • Digital communications and networking
    • Software/software-defined radio
    • Operating: contests, DXing, direction finding, etc.
    • VHF/UHF

The questions in each of the technical interest question pools would be designed to really test the knowledge of the person taking the test. We'd have to figure out a way to make them difficult enough so that one couldn't just simply memorize the answer. Questions could appear in one or more technical interest test. For example, a question on VHF/UHF propagation could appear in both the Radio Wave Propagation and VHF/UHF question pools.

Having said all this, I realize that this would not be easy to implement. You'd have to first decide on the topics and then enlist experts for each of the topics and get them to come up with a list of 80 - 100 questions each.

I realize that this has very little chance of being adopted, but it's interesting to think about, no? And, we have four years to do this, so it could be possible.


Dan Romanchik, KB6NU, is the author of the KB6NU amateur radio blog (, the "No Nonsense" amateur radio license study guides (, and often appears on the ICQPodcast ( When he's not thinking up ways to make the lives of the NCVEC question pool committee more difficult, he likes to build stuff and operate CW on the HF bands.



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