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The HOTLINE
Official Newsletter for the
Heart O’ Texas Amateur Radio Club
Waco, Texas

 

Volume XXXVIII, Number 5                                                  May 2013

 

June/July Special Events

 

At this month’s meeting, you can participate in a discussion about the upcoming ARRL Field Day (June 22-23) and a new special event (involving bicycles!) that we have been invited to help support in July.

 

President’s Corner

by Clint Anderson, AE5CA

I have had some very interesting experiences this month involving a lot of changes going on in my life. Some will be long term changes; others, not so long. I would like to share some of the thoughts I had as a result.

On April 25 I had the privilege of attending my middle daughter’s college graduation. She earned her degree in Politics from Southern Virginia University. The commencement speaker was Mitt Romney. He challenged the graduates to leave the comfort of the shallow water and venture into ae5ca-2013.jpgthe deep. I have come to realize that I, too, need to look for the next opportunity to learn new things. I need to take some risks and reach for better things. If I just stay within the comfort of what I know now, I will never gain more ground than I have now. I might not always be successful at my new challenges, but I will learn from each of them.

On May 4, the following weekend, I found myself in Utah attending the wedding of my oldest daughter. I am thrilled for her that she found a husband with whom she seems to be very compatible. I recognize that they will have some challenges for the next few years—while she finishes her degree, and her husband finishes law school. After the wedding, I spent a couple days in Utah helping my dad with a few things. I visited some of the places I used to hang out while growing up, and was reminded just how far I have come. While I was in Utah, I didn’t totally forget my radio skills: I managed to check into the Bakers’ Dozen Training Net using Echolink!

http://media.khou.com/images/470*261/WTX+Explosion+C+Lead.jpgBack in Texas, last weekend I had the opportunity to provide communication support for the relief efforts in West. While it was a long and tiring day, I was glad I volunteered. My heart really goes out the people who, in less than a second, without any warning, had their whole lives turned upside down. The damage from the blast was incredible. It was hard to comprehend. I found it amazing that more people were not killed. Yet here, these people were doing their best to overcome what had been thrown at them—and busy rebuilding. This was an opportunity for me to use the talents I have been given to—in some small way—help these people to get back to their “new normal.” And I am honored to be a part of the willing Ham Radio Community helping with this effort. It was an impressive response.

Finally, this past Saturday I was able to contribute some time to the second APRS tracker workday. As I helped assemble the trackers, I realized just how much work went in to hand-building each one. I would like to thank all those who gave their time and skills to make this possible. Not only did the Club funds subsidize the cost of the trackers, but the dedication of several Club members is woven into each tracker being assembled. A lot of very talented people made this project possible. And, of course, the abundant APRS-related  information these trackers will provide during special events will be a great help.

So, I’ve had a busy month, but I would not have wanted to miss those opportunities. And, while not everything I did was related to Ham Radio, many of my experiences of the past years working with my fellow Ham Radio Operators prepared me for what I faced this past month. I thank each of you for that, and hope you will likewise consider how your participation in our hobby, in so many ways, is really preparing you for your next challenge.

73, Clint AE5CA
HOTARC President

 

For the Record...

 

HOTARC Meeting of Members
April 25, 2013

Vice President Rodney Baden, K5YKC called the meeting to order at 7:01 p.m. in the W5NCD Workshop Meeting Room. Wayne Branscum, KD5SMC opened the meeting with prayer. There were eighteen (18) full members present. We also had two (2) visitors present. Our visitors were Judy Reamy and her daughter. She is a ham but did not remember her call. Rodney welcomed everyone to the meeting.

The Treasurer Reports...

 

Heart O’ Texas Amateur Radio Club
Treasurer’s Report, April 2013

Beginning Account Balance                              $ 7,009.63

Income

       Dues                                  $ 135.00

       APRS Trackers                  120.00

       Interest                                    0.06

       TOTAL Income               $ 255.06

Expenses

       Trailer registration                        $    112.00

       PayPal fees                                               6.78

       TOTAL Expenses                            $ 118.78

Ending Account Balance                                    $ 7,235.91

Uncleared activity (as of 5/12/2013)
 Credits: Shirts $82.00, APRS trackers $360.00
 Debits: PayPal fees $12.14
 Amount in account: $                                         $ 7,665.77
       (incl. Flower Fund: $251.21)

Submitted by
Norris Martin, KB5SLI
HOTARC Treasurer

Minutes: A motion to approve the minutes as written was recognized from Scott Hamilton, K5ZOH with a second coming from Ralph Ratta, K9RWR. The motion vote passed unanimously.

Treasurer’s Report: A motion to approve the Treasure’s Report was recognized from Larry Carlson, AA5LC with a second coming from Ralph Ratta. The motion vote passed unanimously.

Committee Reports

ARES: Ed Hynan, KC5KNI reported that he is now in the process of updating the ARES identification cards. This is done on a two year cycle. If you are an ARES member and wish to continue your membership, please update and return the information page that Ed is giving to you. If you would like to become a member of ARES, fill out an application. The form can be printed from the HOTARC Website. You can also get a copy from Ed or Jim, KA5QKL. There is no cost for membership.

Trailer: Ralph Ratta reported that the trailer is in good working condition. The trailer painting committee (Amy Oakley, Ralph Ratta, and John Chamberlain) still needs to meet and recommend what could be done to refurbish the fading paint (paint vs skin mat).

Repeater: In Norris Martins absence, Rodney asked for reports on repeater activity. The group concluded all appears to be working well with no determined problems.

D-Star: Rodney and Jim went to TX DPS Waco’s headquarters last week and met with the District Coordinator for Texas Division of Emergency Management Martin Widtfeldt. The meeting went well and he is very excited about working with us on the communications systems in place to keep them up to date and tested on a regular basis. He has a list of equipment that belongs to TXDPS and at this time, all but one piece of equipment is accounted for. He is working with Kevin Lemon at Austin to determine the location of the one misplaced item. D-Star is still limited to local activity due to computer problems. The contract between HOTARC and the TX DPS is moving along and will be ready before the May expiration date. The system still needs a rack, sliding mouse/keyboard shelf, and flat panel monitor to upgrade the system to DPS standards. Ron Garrett, KB5TDY has these items and will give them to the club. Thanks Ron! In the future, the 440 MHz can will be readied for installation besides the 2 meter system. It will need some equipment but will work on that later.

Web page: John Chamberlain, AC5CV, was still flying home but the Web system is running good. If you did not pay your dues, you will notice that you are no longer a club member in the HOTARC webpage member’s directory. To remedy this, please pay your dues by PayPal or check (to HOTARC).

ATV: Larry, W5NCD & David Bush, KC5UOZ reported that HH-Mesh is moving forward. HH-Mesh and ATV seem to be merging together. Nodes are set up around the area at numerous locations but at this time, we are mostly working on point to point connections. Rodney spoke to the Speegleville Fire Department chief last week and obtained permission to remove the old 37 MHz antenna and replace it with a 12dB high gain 2.4 GHz HH-Mesh antenna on the top of their fire tower. The only problem now is getting people to climb the towers and install the equipment. Ron Garrett will ask a friend that said he would be willing to do this for the club if he is still interested in helping the club. If he is, we can move forward with dates and times and work out what we will pay him for the work.

Education: Rodney told the group that another Technician class will probably be scheduled in August with a General class following it in September.

Public Relations: Rodney reported that the Bearathon went well. Unfortunately, we still did not make the “Thank You” list section. Amy is continuing to work on post cards for VIPs at Field Day and invitations to our members of Congress, County Judges, and Mayors. Amy is also still working on Boy & Girl Scouts and Young Marines to get them interested in Field Day. Amy will try to send the post cards out by May 1st. Also, remember the email address, FieldDay@HOTARC.ORG to give to your friends to help spur Field Day interest.

Special Events: Jim Jud, KA5QKL reported that the Bearathon was a success. The incident at Rest Stop 8 was investigated and results indicated the rest stop captain did this on her own and did not have the permission or knowledge of the Bearathon committee. Haley (race chair) ask me to convey the Bearathon committee’s sincere apologies for the problems caused to our communication team member. Jim read a thank you card received from Haley. The note is attached. The Komem Race chair still has not replied to our emails. Jim will wait for a month and then send another email asking them if they would like our help. The Waco Wild West Century Bike Ride is scheduled for September 28, 2013 and APRS tracker project needs completion so club can build units. Discussion will follow under Old Business.

Old Business:

·         APRS Tracker Radio system. Ron Garrett, KB5TDY, has volunteered to be the APRS Tracker Captain. At present, HOTARC has determined that an APRS unit will cost $220. As an incentive, HOTARC will give $100 for the first ten (10) units with the members providing $120 to complete the purchase. If needed, HOTARC will provide $50 for the next ten (10) units while the members provide $170 to complete the purchase. After that, any purchase will be the responsibility of the member. Bill Feltenberger, KD5UEW, made a motion with a second by Ralph Ratta that HOTARC buy ten (10) radios for the trackers. This does not include parts needed to complete the units. The vote was eight (8) for and six (6) against. The motion carried. Before the units are given out, the members need to agree and sign the contract (between HOTARC and the members). The contract, at the present time, is still under construction and will need to be completed by Clint.

·         Caps & Shirts. Wayne has not searched for prices on caps but prices have not changed for shirts. The shirts are made by Hanes and are good quality. The club decided to only order blue shirts so HOTARC will have blue shirts and red caps. Jim will send club members an email asking them if they want shirts, how many, size, and with or without pockets. When the order is complete, Jim will give the list to Wayne to order. When the shirts arrive, Wayne will pass them to Clint to have the embroidery work done. The total cost of the shirts will be $14 for no pocket polo and $18 for pocket polo types.

·         HH-Mesh. The W5NCD antenna has been changed. David has a new antenna for his house but, at the present time, there is no one to climb the towers. The Speegleville FD tower has the same problem. Hopefully, Ron will find the solution (see ATV notes).

·         Insurance for trailers was due but decision was needed to stay with current insurance company or move to ARRL. Larry Carlson made a motion, second by Scott, to approve money and purchase insurance from ARRL with the $100 extra added. Motion passed unanimously.

Name, Call

Field Day Commitment

Robert Barton, W7OES

Supply Saturday’s noon meal

Ruth Bush, KF5PGJ

Help with snacks

Scott Hamilton, K5ZOH

Chairman for Information Table

Ron Garrett, KB5TDY

Supply radio, tuner, power supply & cable for GOTA

Ralph Ratta, K9RWR

Monitor generators and refill gas & oil as necessary

Ron Garrett, KB5TDY

Same

Larry Carlson, AA5LC

Same

Rodney Baden, K5YKC

Supply HF voice transmitter & power supply

Ralph Ratta, K9RWR

Supply backup radio for HF Voice

Clint Anderson, AE5CA

help order Field Day shirts

Jim Jud, KA5QKL

same

Wayne Branscum, KD5SMC

same

Mike Hancock, N5TCC

Originate or pass 10 traffic messages and

Originate a message to our section manager and

Copy the W1AW bulletin from the schedule

Amy Oakley, KF5PGB

Help with greeting

Rodney Baden

Coordinate greeter schedule

Clint Anderson

Compile points package & send to ARRL

Ron Garrett

Monitor 2m/440 for hams needing directions

Scott Hamilton

same

Ron Garrett

develop & monitor schedule for HF Voice and CW

New Business:

·         Marty Godfrey, KF5IXZ applied for membership. Motion made by Scott with a second from Ed to accept him as a member. Vote was unanimous. Marty also has family who will join the club as family. His family includes: Wife: Susan, KF5OHM, Son #1: Colt, KF5PVZ, Son #2: Riley (no call). WELCOME Aboard Marty & family!

Meeting Close:

Ed Hynan made a motion to close the business meeting at 8:19 p.m. and all present agreed.

Special Presentation: Field Day Preparation

Presented by: James Jud, Special Events Coordinator & Ralph Ratta, Director. Field Day will be June 23rd and 24th this year. HOTARC needs to be ready to start setup with all gear ready to go. This requires preparation and planning. Yesterday, Hewitt Parks Department sent Jim an email telling him that HOTARC will not get Hewitt Park as planned but will be moved to Warren Park. The club will need to decide if this location will be acceptable or do we move to another location. We them moved on to the planning of Field Day using the spreadsheet compiled for last year. The individuals who volunteered from the floor were (listed in table):

Submitted by:
James M. Jud, KA5QKL
HOTARC Secretary

 

 

 



Hurricane Watch Net (HWN)

by Ed Hynan, KC5KNI
McLennan County Emergency Coordinator

Hurricane season begins on 1 June and ends on 30 November. It is during this time that Hurricane Watch Net (HWN), the primary wide-area amateur radio hurricane response and information source, is activated. The HWN serves as eyes ares_logo_hi_resand ears for the National Weather Service, and relays official weather bulletins to those monitoring the Net in affected areas. The Net also serves as a back-up communication link between NWS forecast centers, EOCs, and other disaster relief efforts. As with our local Bakers Dozen Weather Net, we provide real time confirmation of severe occurrences to the NWS. The HWN does the same over a wide area.

The HWN is activated for all hurricanes that are a threat to land in the Atlantic and Eastern Pacific. The Net will normally activate when a hurricane is moving towards land at a range of 300 miles. The National Hurricane Center may occasionally request activation for a tropical storm or a storm that is over 300 miles from land.

Once activated, the HF HWN has the following primary functions:

1.      Disseminate hurricane advisory information to marine interests, Caribbean island nations, emergency operations centers, and other interests in the Atlantic and Eastern Pacific.

2.      Obtain weather information from reporting stations and observers who are not part of the routine network for the National Weather Service.

3.      HWN_Logo.pngFunction as a back-up wide-area communication link for the National Hurricane Center, emergency operations centers, and the National Weather Service, and other vital interests involved in the protection of life and property before, during, and after hurricane events.

4.      Relay initial damage assessments to the National Hurricane Center.

The HWN and the operation at W4EHW at the National Hurricane Center in Miami are staffed entirely by volunteers. Net operations are usually conducted on 14.325 MHz, although when band conditions warrant the Net moves to 3.950 MHz. Standard operating procedures, operating tips, reporting forms, and tips on taking observations can be found at: http://www.hwn.org

 

 

APRS Trackers

By Larry Bush, W5NCD
and John Chamberlain, AC5CV

If you’ve been attending the HOTARC meetings, or following the HOTLINE, you know that HOTARC has embarked on a project to equip the Club with a fleet of APRS trackers for use in special events. To recap: The Club received a generous donation from the Waco Wild West 100 Bicycle Tour, encouraging us to employ a fleet of trackers at this Fall’s WWW100 event. The Directors proposed (and the Members agreed on) a plan to offer HOTARC members an opportunity to jointly finance ($100 by the Club, the rest by the member) the creation of a tiny tracker built into a handheld 2m radio, as designed by W5NCD. A similar design is currently being used successfully by a half dozen or so HOTARC members.

Following research and purchase of the required components (Yaesu V8 and Icom V80 radios, TinyTrak kits, GPS receivers, voltage regulators, antenna hardware, and so forth), on the morning of Saturday May 11, 2013 the assembly process began at the W5NCD workshop! Ron Garrett KB5TDY, “Crash” Hancock N5TCC, Jason Unwin KF5UEF; and Larry Bush W5NCD worked as a well-oiled machine! While Ron assembled the components onto each breadboard for TinyTrak kits, Crash and Jason cut mag mount antennas to length, built-up 12V power cords, and cut/labeled GPS receiver cables. Larry built up custom voltage regulator circuit boards designed to deliver the correct voltages to the radio, the TinyTrak circuit board, and the GPS receiver. The photos here show the work completed this first day.

On the next Saturday, May 18, the team (joined by Clint Anderson AE5CA and John Chamberlain AC5CV) completed the construction of 7 more trackers, finished the assembly into the battery cases, programmed the tracker s with precise offsets to avoid “packet collisions” during special events, programmed the radios to operate on the packet frequency, and assigned the member call signs to the APRS signals.

If our counts are accurate, the project has successfully completed eleven new trackers, and will be soon be delivered to the new recipients. We recommend that other similar trackers in the Club have their programs adjusted to join the fleet so they can “play nice” during special events. It is feasible that during our next special event we could have over 15 trackers operating concurrently!

In the coming weeks, watch the maps generated by http://aprs.fi closely for the tracking signals from our new trackers!

 

Handheld radio battery cases hollowed
out and wired: ready to receive circuitry.

Assembled TinyTrak and
Voltage Regulator boards

2m antennas and 12V power cords

A completed Tracker

 

 

The HOTLINE is the monthly newsletter of the Heart O’ Texas Amateur Radio Club (HOTARC), Inc., a nonprofit corporation, chartered by the State of Texas and principally located in Waco. It is permissible to use any of the original material contained herein, provided proper credit is given to the source.

Edited and Published by John Chamberlain AC5CV, AC5CV@arrl.net

2013 Board of Directors
Back:  K5ZOH, W5NCD, AA5LC, K9RWR
Front: AE5CA,  K5YKC,  KA5QKL, KB5SLI

HOTARC 2013 Board of Directors

President: Clint Anderson AE5CA, 855-5080, AE5CA@grid-em11.com

Vice Pres: Rodney Baden K5YKC, 857-9760, RBaden@hot.rr.com

Secretary: Jim Jud KA5QKL, 235-2315, jjud654@aol.com

Treasurer: Norris Martin KB5SLI, 829-2138, KB5SLI@flash.net

Past-Pres.: Scott Hamilton K5ZOH, 717-0755, DrPSHamilton@gmail.com

Director (2013): Larry Bush W5NCD, 848-5155, LBW5NCD@gmail.com

Director (2014): Larry Carlson AA5LC, 662-4106, LMCarlson1@att.net

Director (2015): Ralph Ratta K9RWR, 722-8804, ralph.ratta@gmail.com

Club Repeaters

145.15 MHz (input at –600 kHz, tone 123 Hz)

146.98 MHz (input at –600 kHz, D-Star)

442.875 MHz (input at +5.0 MHz, tone 123 Hz)

ATV: 421.25MHz (Cable 57), input 439.25 MHz (Cable 60)

VE Testing

Our next test session will be Saturday June 22 at 2:00 pm. Location: HOTARC Field Day site (see http://hotarc.org/). Bring: 1) testing fee of $15 (cash only); 2) a photo ID (two for first-time licensees); and for already licensed amateurs: 3) current license and photocopy of it; and 4) photocopy of any relevant CSCE. Contact: Linda Hynan, AC5QQ at 254‑666‑4873 or Linda.Hynan@UTSouthwestern.edu.

 

 

Meeting Notice

The Meeting of HOTARC Members will be at 7:00 pm on Thursday May 23 at the W5NCD Workshop, 12772 Chapel Rd in Lorena. Meetings generally last about 75 minutes consisting of fellowship, general Club business, and an interesting program. Visiting hams, family members, and prospective hams are welcomed!

We are offering a chance for Members to own an APRS tracker! Read about it!