DELTA AMATEUR RADIO CLUB


SPARKS
Web Edition

SPARKS P.O. BOX 750482 MEMPHIS, TN 38175-0482 / VOL. 13 / SEPTEMBER 1999

W 4 B S    R E P E A T E R    S Y S T E M

146.82, 147.36, 224.42, 443.2 & 145.03 Packet


PRESIDENT’S PAGE

At the August meeting I had to deviate from the normal agenda because of some matters that presented themselves to the club at a very late date. Several members from the Midsouth Amateur Radio Association attended our meeting and presented Delta Amateur Radio Club with a proposal to merge the two clubs into one. The initial proposal that was presented before the membership by Hamp Williford, K5JY, past president of MARA, was that the two clubs merge and that a name change be made. As one might expect, there was an enormous amount of discussion centering around the name change issue. From the Delta Club perspective, there was resistance to such action. The common feeling among members was that there was a tremendous amount of history surrounding Delta Amateur Radio Club and to change the name would neutralize that history. At the same time, the Midsouth Amateur Radio Association, the oldest amateur radio club in the Memphis area, wanted to preserve their history, thus the reason for suggesting the name change.

Discussion of this topic and several others related to past events involving the two clubs ensued. To many of the members in attendance, there was the feeling that we spent too much time discussing this issue. However, I felt that as long as there was one person in attendance who had something to say I was obligated to carry-on the discussion. Unfortunately, because of this topic, and the time that we spent on it, as well as an update on the Dixiefest, there wasn’t time to have the program.

Several days after the meeting I received an e-mail from Hamp Williford, K5JY, informing me that the members of MARA that attended our meeting had decided to withdraw their proposal to merge with Delta Amateur Radio Club. They feel that the right course of action for them was to reorganize and try to rejuvenate interest in the oldest amateur radio club in the Memphis area.

As many of you know, there has been a lot of talk about whether there is going to be a Memphis Hamfest this year. At one point Delta Amateur Radio Club was approached to assist in putting on such an event in October. Unfortunately, when we went to the agreed upon meeting site to discuss this issue there was no representation from the other organization. We found out later that word of the meeting had not been communicated to all the right people and consequently the meeting never occurred.

However, at that same meeting members from two clubs, Dixie Amateur Radio Group and Delta Amateur Radio Club decided that they would organize a hamfest for the Memphis area. After some discussion it was decided that not only would they be involved in sponsoring a hamfest, but that they would invite other amateur radio clubs in the area to participate as well. To date, there are six clubs involved in this effort: Dixie Amateur Radio Group, Hickory Withe DX Club, Olive Branch Amateur Radio Club, FedEx Amateur Radio Club, Tri-State Repeater Association, and Delta Amateur Radio Club.

All of the committee chairs have been filled by members from the various clubs. The date of the event will be February 12, 13, 2000. It will be held in the Shelby County Building at the fairgrounds, and will be the site of the ARRL Tennessee State Convention. All this was accomplished in two short weeks.

There’s an awful lot of work to be done between now and February 12th, so if you have an interest in getting involved just let me know and I’ll see that your name is given to the right individuals.

We are fast approaching that time of the year when we start looking toward presenting a slate of candidates for next year’s Board of Directors. It is my duty as President of Delta Amateur Radio Club to appoint members to a Nominating Committee. This committee is comprised of three individuals plus myself as President. I have asked Don Cook, KJ5PO, to chair this committee. In the next couple of weeks I will be talking with two other members of our club about being on this committee.

This is also the time for those of you that have an interest of serving on the board to think about the various positions that area available. If you would like to be considered for nomination for one of the board positions, please let Don Cook know as soon as possible. Please remember that in order to be considered for a board position you must meet the following criteria: 1) be a member in good standing of Delta Amateur Radio Club, 2) hold a valid amateur radio license, and 3) have attended 50% of the meetings from November of last year through October of this year.

One last item and then I’ll bring this article to a close. On September 24th, 25th and 26th we will be sponsoring a Special Event station in conjunction with the Bartlett Celebration. This year the event has been expanded to three days, with a 5K run being held on Friday evening. In arranging to have a Special Event station associated with this event, the city of Bartlett has asked Delta Amateur Radio Club to provide communications for the 5K Run. Tommy Thompson, KD4TJO, and Jim Cissell, KI4I, are working out the details for this aspect of the event. If you’ve worked one of the other community service events like the Memphis Marathon, you know how much fun this can be. So, if you’re interested in helping out, contact either Tommy or Jim. And of course there’s the Special Event station. Come out Saturday and Sunday and get your hands wet working some HF. The bands are getting better each day so there’s always the possibility of getting some rare DX while you’re working the event station.

That’s it for another month. I’ll see you at the meeting and I’ll be spending some time at the Special Event station trying to pickup some of that rare DX.

73,

Ben, KU4AW


CW -- REVISITED

The September program will be the program that was scheduled for the August meeting, two of our brass pounding maestros showing you the proper way to hold a CW QSO. Due to a medical emergency at the home QTH, I had to miss my first meeting since joining Delta Club last year. From the feedback that I received, I'm not sure we would have had time for this program and still had room for the considerable discussion that transpired regarding the possible merger with M.A.R.A. Anyway, the much-awaited W4VAC and K4DIT CW concert has been rescheduled for our September meeting. Bring a pen or pencil and some paper to copy on and hear these two accomplished aficionados of the CW art.

Congratulations to all those folks who passed their tests at our August testing session and also to those that passed at the Methodist South training session.

Dadadididit Didididadah, K4TTA


SEPTEMBER 14
CLUB MEETING

7365 HWY. 70

BARTLETT, TN

MEETING STARTS AT 7:00 PM

The September program is on CW Operation
by

Chuck, W4VAC and Ken, K4DIT
(yea, we know...it was supposed to be last month)


SECRETARY'S REPORT

We received two applications at the membership meeting. Please be sure to say hello to Richard Cosgrove, KG4DSB, and Greg Billings, K4GRB, when you hear them on the air. And we received two renewals as well from Craig Curtis, KF4FSZ, and Ron Turner, K4WNY.

Thanks bunches to Amanda Pace (who is studying very hard for her Novice/Tech exam so she can get her learner's permit to drive) for helping sell tickets for the hand sewn quilt to be raffled at the Christmas Dinner. And thanks to Mary Jamerson for the cupcakes she baked, and to everyone else who brought in something for our refreshments. See you next month!

73,

Kathy, KE4UYU


VE REPORT

Summer is over and the children are back in school - how short it seemed to be. It is time that we all are careful in the school zones for those that seem to be unaware that the traffic is much larger and stronger than they - and that their health and welfare may well lie in your hands.

The August testing session was a busy one. Thank you to Steve N4SG, Don KJ4PO, Jim N4ZCO, and Francis WA4ZYN for providing the much-needed assistance at this session. We administered 9 elements with 5 being passed to 6 applicants. With this we have 3 new technicians in our group. At this writing, August 18th the FCC has not as yet got the ULS up and running where I am able to get the new call signs of those who participated at this session. That will have to wait until next month for all of us to congratulate the new accomplishments of our fellow HAM operators.

As I announced at the last meeting, the FCC terminated the ability of the ARRL and all other testing VEC's to submit applicant data to them until about August 16th. The ARRL has written and said that when they are able to, they will send the oldest test sessions to the FCC first and then work forward to the newer sessions. With there being more than 2000 testing groups just with the ARRL (and there are about 18 different VEC groups in the United States) you can imagine the overwhelming task that is at hand. Hopefully this will not take too long to get the new call signs so that everyone can enjoy the hobby in a timely manner. I guess we should all be thankful for the short delays. I can remember when the NO CODE TECH Class was first started on February 14, 1991; it was a 6 to 8-WEEK waiting period for your paper ticket to come in the mail. Some people even waited 12 WEEKS and at that time ticket had to be in hand in order to operate, unlike today when your call sign is on the Internet you are free to oerate.

We should all be grateful for all the small favors that are granted us daily. See you at the next meeting.

73,

Joan, KN4PM
VE Liaison


VE TESTING:

Don’t forget the monthly Volunteer Examiner testing session. Registration begins at 5:30p.m. and testing begins promptly at 6:00p.m. Please remember to bring two forms of identification the original and copies of any existing licenses or CSCE’s you might have. Please be on time for registration, as you will not be allowed to enter the testing session after 6:00 p.m., so our volunteer VE team can finish in time to attend the club meeting. Call Joan Thorne 366-9722, if special testing arrangements are required.


ONE DAY CLASS

What a wonderful one day class Melinda had for the no code tech license. A big thank you to all who assisted in the teaching of that class. The testing session that followed was like none that we had before - held in the recovery room at Methodist South - no surgery going on since it was Saturday afternoon. All we had for tables were the recovery room beds and bedside stands. We brought a camera in for a picture, but we were so busy that we never did get the chance to take the picture. There were 13 people that took 26 elements at this session. Of those 26 elements 14 were passed and 6 people earned their no code tech license. Three other persons earned one of the two elements.

A HUGE THANK YOU to Bill WA4MJM, Jim KI4I, and Francis WA4ZYN for their wonderful help - the paper work is amazing and we finished the session in a record one hour and 15 minutes. Needless to say all were busy and organized (that helps a lot).

Hopefully the call signs will not take too long to process, but as you recall the FCC had changed to the ULS and their database has been down since August 8th. Only yesterday, August 27th was the ARRL able to forward some 500 testing results. If the ARRL has that many imagine what is out there with the other VEC teams (W5YI, CAVEC, WSCAR, etc), the chore is a nightmare. I'll keep a watchful eye out and let them know when I find the call signs so that they can all get on the air.

73,

Joan KN4PM
VE Liaison



W4BS REPEATER SYSTEM

146.82 net 8:00 PM

147.36 tone = 107.2
(BACK ON THE AIR AT A TEMPORARY LOCATION)

224.42 1.25 m reptr

BACK ON THE AIR

443.20 patch, 107.2

145.03 packet / bbs


DixieFest

Well we are off to a great start to the New Hamfest for the New Mellennium. Currently there are 6 clubs or groups that are putting the hamfest on, Dixie ARG, Delta ARC, Fed-Ex ARC, Olive Branch ARC and The Tri-State Repeater Association. That is an outstanding effort for a one-year-old hamfest. Last year the DixieFest sold 98 tables and had 1427 people thru the door and that was all done by one of the smallest groups in the area. This year we hope to sell over 200 tables and I would not be surprised to see 3000 thru the door.

The Delta Club and the Dixie Group co-sponsored a table at the Huntsville Hamfest and we passed out over 2000 flyers about the event. It was well worth the trip. I did not even really get to look at the items on the tables because I was walking and talking to vendors and flea market folks. I feel that this will be a sell out in just a couple months, so get your tables soon. Now it is time for the hard part. We need folks to work the event. We need people on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. I am estimating that it will take about 300 man-hours over those 3 days so we will need as many folks as we can get. You will be rewarded for your efforts by knowing that you helped put together one of the best hamfests that this area has seen in a while. When you are ready to sign up, see Kathy, KE4UYU or Melinda, KE4DXN. They will get you on the list and someone on the committee will contact you to get the info to you on what needs to be done. The hamfest has a Web Page up it is located at http:// www.dixiefest.org. Please come see it.

73,

Jeff, KB5SFV


CONTEST CALENDAR

Here are a few of the contests coming up in the next few weeks...

Tennessee QSO Party
1800Z Sept 19 to 0100Z Sept 20.
All bands excluding 30, 17 and 12 meters.
Send RS(T) and state/province/DXCC country (TN stations send county).
TN stations work anyone; others work only TN stations.
For more information on other contests check out the arrl web site at: www.arrl.org/contests/months/sep.html


PACKET UPDATE...

Hal Communications Corporation has been building high end digital data decoders for years. They have just come out with a new DXP38 HF modem for amateurs. The unit uses a Digital Signal Processor chip, which takes the place of older analog modems. The unit can copy weak signals better than analog designs. Another nice feature of this HF modem is a scope type tuning indicator, which allows easy precise tuning to receive the signal properly.

The tuning indicator gives a visual display of space and mark frequencies, which is a must for HF work. If you are looking for a new HF modem that can get the weak signals check out the DXP38 HF Modem from HAL.

James Butler KB4LJV


AMATEUR HARDWARE UPDATE....

Many of the new super small HTs use a new kind of antenna connector. The one I am used to is the BNC style. This new style is a threaded screw on type and is smaller to fit the new radios that have less room on the case for the antenna connection.

This month's project is the HT PIGTAIL. This adapter will allow you to hook up your HT to an external mobile or base antenna when needed. The pigtail has a short length of RG58 coax cable with a PL259 connector at one end and the small male connector to attach to the HT at the other end. The Candy Store sells these small connectors ready to attach to coax cable. The PL259 can be replaced with a female SO239 or BNC connector as required. The Pigtail is easy to build up and makes it easy to experiment with different antenna designs.

I will have the HT PIGTAIL at the meeting to show and answer questions on for those who wish to build up their own. SEE YOU AT THE MEETING....

James Butler KB4LJV


New Repeater Site

Well it has been a long year since we were first informed that we would have to move the .82 machine to another site because of the planned dismantling of the old WPTY television tower. At first we were thinking that it had to be done in a few short weeks and several members suggested potential sites for us.

The task just kind of fell into my lap to coordinate the move to a new site, wherever that may have been. Luckily, I didn't have to look too far. I called and spoke to Steve Pickle with Clear Channel Television (the parent company of WPTY Channel 24 about the possibility of us obtaining donated space on their new tower, which at that time was nothing, more than a plot of land.

Steve and I had never really spoken much in the past but I think we've become much closer as things have transpired in the last year. He and WPTY have been long time supporters of Delta Club and with a little information about what our entire club does for the community under his arm, Steve went to bat for us again. He got it approved for us to have space on this beautiful new tower of theirs and helped in any way he could to make the transition a smooth and less expensive one for us. He put me in touch with another user at the old site when he found out that they were going to abandon their 1-5/8" heliax and install new stuff at their new site. A few phone calls to the contact person there and we were given permission to assume ownership of their old feedline when they moved their equipment. This in itself was a tremendous savings to the club when you consider that heliax of that size runs about $15 per foot and we have 700 ft. of it on the site. We also ordered a new antenna and with a lot of help from too many people to mention here, the machine was moved to the new site in July, It seems to be much improved over the old site.

Photos below - top photo it the old site (ours is the single antenna on the left) Middle and bottom shots are of the new site with the antenna mounted on a work platform at 500 feet above ground.

73,

Tommy, KD4TJO


Repeater Committee Report

I am sure you have thought to yourself many times over, ”Gosh, there’s a repeater committee lurking out there somewhere, but I don’t know what they do, or even who they are?” I’m sure this has kept countless Delta hams from a good night’s sleep, concerned about that last transmission, or whether she/he ID’ed at 11 minutes instead of 10, or some other dastardly deed. But no, we’re not the repeater cops, just waiting for that fatal slip of Part 97 by some luckless ham. We’re the guys you hear on the W4BS system on a day- to-day basis.

First a word about how I have organized the repeater committee, and then I will introduce you to the various members. The W4BS system (I refer to “system” as opposed to repeaters because we want to think multi–part system rather than in terms of single repeaters) is big. To adequately handle all the responsibilities associated with each machine, various individual Delta members have volunteered to manage a specific machine in the overall system.

What a repeater manager does is:

1. Assume responsibility for the day-to-day operation of the machine.

2. Repair, correct, refer to our technical gurus, or otherwise intervene in any equipment breakdown or malfunction.

3. Prepare and implement a yearly budget for both maintenance and IMPROVEMENT of the machine.

4. Handle the interface with the rest of the system.

5. Monitor for Part 97 compliance.

We have a cadre of high level technical expertise who have graciously offered to serve as advisors to the committee, and will assist the managers if the problems appear to be past the level of the other committee members.

At some point, interference, malicious or otherwise, will raise its ugly head, so that a semi-autonomous “Interference Sub-Committee” has been formed with a prominent community ham as the Chair. He will develop his own team of “Interference-Busters.”

In addition to the aforementioned individuals, there are a group of control operators who will be trained in repeater operations, will assist the managers as required, and who make up an overview group, with the trustee, who will tend to system-wide planning with the managers.

So that is the structural form of the repeater committee. The volunteers for each group are as follows:

Managers:

1. KD4TJO, Tommy 146.820

2. N9GSA, Suresh 443.200

3. KU4AS, David 147.360

4. KD4NOQ, David 220 MHz

5. OPEN – Packet machine

6. OPEN – Proposed 1.2 GHz machine

Gurus:

1. AB4NH, Tim

2. AFF2M, Gary

3. Not yet confirmed volunteer

The Shadow:

1. KB4KA, Terry

Gophers:

1. KU4AW, Ben

2. K4TTA, Tom

3. KU4NH, Kurt

4. WA4MJM, Bill

As you can see, there are a few open positions left, so if you are interested…

Now, in an organization as large as this, there are almost certainly going to be some problems to arise. In fact, this has already occurred on my watch. Fortunately, the problems have not been so serious such as to warrant an OO sending a pink slip; nevertheless a complaint was lodged and has had to be dealt with. Well, this is what a trustee does from my interpretation (that IS my license out there on the line). No offense to anyone involved, but in the future to act on a situation which I do not witness myself, I will need the following information:

1. What, specifically, occurred, along with any language, etc. used.

2. When the situation occurred, including date/time, frequency.

3. Who, specifically, was involved?

4. Who is lodging the complaint?

All this is, preferably, in writing. Given that I have these specific bits of information, I will be glad to deal with any clear-cut violations of the FCC rules and regulations. A tape recording of the occurrence is always appreciated.

I believe the standard to which Delta has always adhered is high, and is always family oriented. The criteria I use are whether my 9-year-old granddaughter should hear what transpires on our repeater system. Keep in mind that Kirsten might be listening all the time and you will be in good shape! And keep in touch. I can always be reached on –the- air, on the phone, or by e-mail. I’ll be happy to listen to your ideas.

73

Bill, WA4MJM
W4BS Trustee


DixieFest
The NEW Hamfest for the NEW Millennium
February 12-13, 2000
Shelby Co. Building at the Fairgrounds
Sat. 9-5 Sun. 9-2


Other Important Contacts

                                                                            VE Liaison                                  Membership Chairpersons
                                                                             Joan Thorne, KN4PM                 Ben Barth, KF4GNC
                                                                             737-5795                                     Eloise Barth, KF4GNB
                                                                             joant@mem.net                            eloiseb@aol.com
 


1999 Board of Directors

E-Mail Us...

Ben Troughton.............................................................President....................................................... bktrough@mem.net

Kurt Schropp..............................................................Vice President ...............................................kschropp@utmem1.utmem.edu

Kathy Troughton.........................................................Secretary........................................................ktrou@nb.utmem.edu

Don Mills....................................................................Treasurer .......................................................k9dm@arrl.net

Dick Cookenham........................................................Dir. of Training...............................................ECookenham@aol.com

Tommy Thompson......................................................Dir. of Publications.........................................melindat@home.net

Tom Richardson.........................................................Dir. of Programs ............................................duffer@ix.netcom.com

Eddie Trammel...........................................................Dir. of Meetings & Special Events...................kf4qfw@gateway.net

Bill Hancock...........................................................…Repeater Trustee ...........................................billwa4mjm@aol.com


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