As we have all noticed this 2017 hurricane season has turned out to be very active. The season began June 1 and will end on November 30. While all hurricanes can be very dangerous, there have been four that become monsters and thankfully only three made landfall. Hurricane Harvey spun up and dumped a massive amount of water on Southeast Texas and Southwest Louisiana. Hurricane Irma made the record for longest and most intense storm on Earth— hitting both Florida coasts. Hurricane Maria nearly wiped out Puerto Rico, causing a total loss of power.
What has become evident in these monster storms is that infrastructure of many utilities cannot withstand the assault. Power is typically the first utility to go out. When the power fails the critical infrastructure such as land line and cellular phones follows as soon as the generator fuel runs out. This is where entities based on point-to-point radio systems really shine. The largest groups of point-to-point radios are the Amateur Radio Operators. Ham Operators from near and far have come out to offer their services after these monster storms have passed.
The Caribbean Emergency and Weather Net (CEWN) and SATERN is operating on 7.188 MHz and 3.815 MHz to serve the Dominica. Bob Myers, K2TV has been working from his Long Island QTH to help Puerto Rico by handling any traffic needed. The Colombia Amateur Radio League (LCRA) asks everyone to help support those seeking health and welfare information for relatives located in the Caribbean Islands. This group is using 7.117 MHz SSB and 7.085 MHz for digital modes.
Good ol’ Mother Nature likes to spread it around a little bit. While the Hurricanes are going on, Mexico experienced a 7.1 magnitude earthquake in the state of Puebla. The Mexican Federation of Radio Experimenters (FMRE) fired up the National Emergency Net on 7.060 MHz to help handle traffic due to the loss of some cellular network. They are also using 3.690 MHz, 14.120 MHz, and where possible IRLP reflector 9200.
During all of this that great ball of fire in the sky decided to belch out an X8.2 solar flare which is recorded as the strongest solar flare during the 24 solar cycle. Ham Operators across the world noticed one thing real quick: when this solar flare hit Earth, most HF bands went quiet. Mother Nature is testing us and we have shown that we can pull together and we will help each other.
While it is great to help others in times of need, if you decide to help, please be sure that you actually provide a service that is needed, rather than become more of a hindrance. If you are not directly involved in the emergency traffic handling for the affected areas, it is recommended that you stay clear of the frequencies that are being used for this purpose. This is not to say that you cannot use your radios. Just observe common courtesy: check to see if a frequency is in use before transmitting. It is also important to make sure that you are not a “gator station” (little ears and big mouth). Also, if you decide to mobilize onsite, be very sure that you are able to be fully self-supportive, and that you truly are providing a service that someone already there is not capable of providing.
Lynn Gustafson, KD5DZU
For the Record
Meeting of Members
August 24, 2017
President Lynn Gustafson, KD5DZU called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. in the W5NCD Workshop Meeting Room.
Bill Feltenberger, KD5UEW opened the meeting with a prayer.
15 members were present.
Last Meeting Minutes. A motion to accept the Minutes of the July 27, 2017 as published in the HOTLINE was made by Bill Feltenberger, KD5UEW; seconded by Ed Hynan, KC5KNI and unanimously approved.
Treasurer’s report. Lynn reviewed the Treasury Report in the Hotline. Bill Feltenberger, KD5UEW motioned to accept the report; seconded by James Stovall, KG5KGV and was approved by the membership.
The Treasurer Reports...
O’ Texas Amateur Radio Club
· ARES: Ed Hynan, KC5NI reported that 15 members updated their information for ARES. After information is verified new identification cards will be issued valid for July 2019. Regarding the imminent arrival of Hurricane Harvey, Ed has not heard any new plans for shelters and volunteers for McLennan County. He requested everyone keep up with the event news and should assistance be called for the he will get in touch for volunteers. If you are interested in being a member of ARES, contact Ed at KC5KNI@arrl.net or 254-722-4578.
· Trailer Committee: Keith Adams, KG5AWC had no new information. Lynn Gustafson, KD5DZU solicited information on the several issues experienced during Field Day. Clint acknowledged he was volunteered to take the lead to organize a work party to diagnose and fix the problems. A working party will be organized during some future weekend, TBA, most likely in late October after the Waco Wild West event.
· Repeater Committee: Clint Anderson, AE5CA indicates that the two we have are working.
· ATV: David Bush, KC5UOZ was informed by Lynn Gustafson, KD5DZU that D-STAR Gateway is in work with Drew Dickerson, KE5UBO. After it is registered it will be available for full operational use. The W5ZDN gateway should be operational this next week.
· Broadband Hamnet: Clint Anderson, AE5CA reported that the system can be used.
· Website: John Chamberlain, AC5CV reported that the website is working fine.
· ATV: David Bush, W5NCD reported that he is working on the project.
· Education Committee: Clint Anderson, AE5CA reported nothing new at this time.
· Public Relations: Dwan Needham, KE5JWY not present – no report.
· Special Events Coordinator: After the meeting Jim Stovall, KG5KGV volunteered to take lead on this activity.
· Direction Finding Antenna and HT APRS Tracker Builds. Lynn will organize workshops to build devices when an opportunity is availability.
· Late payment for Steak Dinners. Lynn requested all pay for their steak dinners consumed at Field.
· Race for the Cure. Lynn Gustafson, KD5DZU reported the event is on Sept 30 (8:30 to 10:00). There was interest if HOTARC would be needed. Lynn will contact the event to determine if HOTARC participation is wanted.
· Waco Wild West Century Bike Ride. Lynn Gustafson, KD5DZU reported the event will be Oct 7, all day. A summary of participation was provided for last year. Members contributing their APRS trackers for the event are requested to check out the APRS before providing the unit with fully charged batteries to Clint Anderson, AE5AC. Clint will provide a sign-up sheet on the website for all to sign up for assignments.
· Waco Wild West Century Bike Ride. Lynn Gustafson, KD5DZU asked for volunteers to help clean up the W5NCD meeting area. Paul Collins, KG5DHS and Dan Hapenney offered to help with the cleanup detail. Lynn will initiate the detail.
· Digipeater Repair. Clint Anderson, AE5CA reported that the Digipeater on the Bush 400 foot tower had a hardware failure several months ago. Clint is contributing a new digipeater ID capability and provided a demonstration for the membership.
A post meeting email on September 2, Clint reported “… that the W5NCD-15 Digipeater is up and running on Larry’s tower. This should improve the APRS coverage in the Waco area. The attached screenshot is shows a packet that was sent from my QTH in China Spring using an TH-D72A Kenwood handheld with just the stock rubber duck antenna. It was picked up by W5NCD-15 directly. You can tell that it was direct by looking at the last path. This should give us a dramatic improvement in APRS coverage, especially in Hewitt and Lorena.”
· Directors Photo. John Chamberlain, AC5CV requested Directors remain after meeting for a group picture.
Motion to adjourn by Drew Dickerson, KE5UBO was recognized by Bill Feltenberger, KD5UEW at 7:22 pm.
· Bill Feltenberger, KD5UEW moved for adjournment. Lynn Gustafson, KD5DZU adjourned the meeting at 7:30 pm.
Post Meeting Program
Lynn Gustafson, KD5DZU provided the Post Meeting Program. He discussed the D-STAR system.
Wikipedia: D-STAR (Digital Smart Technologies for Amateur Radio) is a digital voice and data protocol specification for amateur radio. The system was developed in the late 1990s by the Japan Amateur Radio League and uses frequency-division multiple access and minimum-shift keying in its packet-based standard. There are newer digital modes (Codec2, for example) that have been adapted for use by amateurs, but D-STAR was the first that was designed specifically for amateur radio.
Several advantages of using digital voice modes are that it uses less bandwidth than older analog voice modes such as amplitude modulation, frequency modulation, and single sideband. The quality of the data received is also better than an analog signal at the same signal strength, as long as the signal is above a minimum threshold and as long as there is no multipath propagation.
D-STAR compatible radios are available for HF, VHF, UHF, and microwave amateur radio bands. In addition to the over-the-air protocol, D-STAR also provides specifications for network connectivity, enabling D-STAR radios to be connected to the Internet or other networks, allowing streams of voice or packet data to be routed via amateur radio.
Dan Hapenney, AG5HF
by Ed Hynan, KC5KNI
I have ten individuals serving as Net Controls for 2017. Ideally, every member of ARES should be able to act as a Net Control station in an emergency.
The ARES / Bakers Dozen Training Net is held each Monday night at 8 PM on the 145.15 Repeater. I would like to provide this excellent training opportunity to all current members of McLennan County ARES.
Veterans are KC5KNI, KA5QKL, AE5CA, AA5LC, AC5CV, KD5KJU, KG5KGV and KG5DHS, KE5UBO, KD5DZU. These individuals have done an excellent job and the 2017 Nets have run very smoothly this year. Please contact me and let me know if you want to continue for 2017, or if you want to be removed from the schedule – I NEED TO HEAR FROM EVERYONE.
For any other members, If you would like the opportunity to serve as a weekly Net Control please let me know via e-mail – KC5KNI@arrl.net . Let me know if there are any Mondays that would not be convenient (1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and/or 5th).
For those who would like to volunteer, I will add you to the 2018 Net Control schedule; provide you with a copy of the preamble, log sheet, and a letter of Instruction. If you want to participate, please let me know by 1 December 2017. This is what amateur radio is all about—preparation for emergency service.
Waco Wild West 100 Reminder
by Clint Anderson, AE5CA
Please get your APRS trackers out and test them ASAP!!! Use the standard 144.390 frequency and verify that you are showing up on aprs.fi. If you are having problems getting your tracker to work, please let me (email@example.com) know ASAP so I can help you get it working.
For full coverage of the SAG and lead vehicles, we will need 18 trackers. I would like to verify that the trackers are working before we put them in a SAG vehicle and send them out in the field. With 18 trackers and 6 digipeaters to test, I have my hands full! The more time I have to test everything, the better.
With that in mind, please bring your trackers to the meeting on Thursday so I have time to check them out.
If you haven't yet signed up to help out with this event yet, please get signed up. (See link on Members Only page.)We will need a lot of help. The Waco Wild West is our largest special event of the year and is the one that takes the most help. Staffing all the rest stops takes a lot of people. If you need a radio to work a rest stop I can probably help you out. For those of you who have not been checking into the nets on a regular basis, please get your radios out and make sure they are working before the day of the ride.
CQ, CQ All YLs!
by Linda Hynan, AC5QQ
The 63rd Anniversary Birthday Party for the Texas Young Ladies Round-Up Net (TYLRUN) will be in Seminole, OK on Friday & Saturday, October 6-7, 2017. Beth Pearce KC5RWW will be the hostess for this year’s party. We’ll start around 4 pm on Friday with a social, dinner, and white-elephant gift exchange. On Saturday, we hold a short business meeting, and have cake and coffee/drinks before we adjourn around 2 PM. OMs are welcome and encouraged to attend.
The purpose of this organization is to foster, encourage, and advance the hobby of amateur radio telephony among licensed female amateur radio operators. TYLRUN was organized November 1954 in District 5 by Pat Parks W5TTU. Pat was an invalid who was homebound, and did not travel often. With the help of several YLs and others in Dallas, YLs were contacted on the air and by post card and invited to meet on the air. The outcome was TYLRUN. Alma Lang AB5BA (SK) of HOTARC was a long-time member of TYLRUN.
Membership is open to any YL holding an amateur radio license; the annual fee is $5. YLs with a General Class license or above meet on the air, Thursday mornings at 8 AM on 3947 KHz, with Judi Jaksa W0JJ serving as Net Control.
If you are interested in additional information about this group or information about the Annual Party, please contact Linda Hynan AC5QQ.
HOTARC 2017 Board of Directors
Lynn Gustafson KD5DZU
Pres: Bill Feltenberger KD5UEW,
Dan Hapenny AG5HF
Norris Martin KB5SLI,
Clint Anderson AE5CA,
(2017): Paul Collins KG5DHS,
Director (2018): Terry Williams KD5KJU,
(2019): Ed Hynan KC5KNI,
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)
The HOTARC VEs will NOT hold an October test session, but WILL conduct a test session on November 18, 10:00 AM in the Baylor University's Rogers Engineering and Computer Science Building, upstairs in Room 207. Test takers will need to provide 1) testing fee of $15 (cash only); 2) a photo ID (two for first-time licensees). Additionally, already licensed amateurs also must provide: 3) Reference copy or photocopy of current license; and 4) photocopy of any relevant CSCE. Contact: Linda Hynan, AC5QQ at 254‑666‑4873 or Linda.Hynan@UTSouthwestern.edu.
HOTARC will hold its Annual Meeting of Members at 7:00 pm on Thursday September 28 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 and discussions. Visiting hams, family members, and prospective hams are welcomed!
Radio can be part of the Solution!
“When All Else Fails,” as it has recently,
radio operators can COMMUNICATE.