Jackson County Amateur
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Welcome to the Jackson County Amateur Radio Association's web site. It shall be our purpose to further the exchange of information and cooperation among members, by promoting radio knowledge and individual operating efficiency. JCARA conducts club programs and activities to advance the general interest and welfare of Amateur Radio within the county and surrounding areas of South Mississippi.

The JCARA Club meetings are held monthly on the last Tuesday of the month, except in December.  The next Club Meeting will occur on June 30, 2015 at the St. Martin Community Center starting at 6:30 p.m.

Please make arrangements to attend this meeting. This is your club so we welcome and encourage your participation.

If you wish to become a member of the JCARA please click here and fill out the application then get in touch with a Club Officer.

A Message From Your President

A lot has been happening and I am only starting to get my act together so I can give more attention to this club, which is a passion for me. But your Board Of Directors has been hard at it, setting the calendar for this year. So get your personal calendar out and save the dates.

Field Day 2015 will be held June 27 and 28, 2015 at the EOC Safe Shelter in Vancleave. We will be able to borrow the two ICOM IC-7200's from the Jackson County EOC. We will be a FOXTROT station again this year. Our performance last year put us near the top of Mississippi Field Day Ops and I expect we will do even better this year. Field Day is a great time to get some excellent HF Ops. I will have control operators available to get you Techs some HF experience. Mark your Calendar!  And oh yes, we will a have a “GOTA” station operating on 10 meters.

The date for our Christmas Party has been set for December 8, at the Country Gentleman on Gautier-Vancleave Rd. in Vancleave. We will have half the restaurant floor with privacy provided by a folding slide out wall. We will be ordering off the menu and their prices are very reasonable.  More information will be provided later in the year, but mark the date!

Here is a breakdown of activities and dates:

ARRL Field Day
June 27 and 28, 2015
JCARA Christmas Party at Country Gentleman
December 8, 2015

Charlie Hardt


FCC Eliminates Amateur Radio Vanity Call Sign Regulatory Fee

The FCC is eliminating the regulatory fee to apply for an Amateur Radio vanity call sign. The change will not go into effect, however, until required congressional notice has been given. This will take at least 90 days. As the Commission explained in a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, Report and Order, and Order (MD Docket 14-92 and others), released May 21, it's a matter of simple economics.

"The Commission spends more resources on processing the regulatory fees and issuing refunds than the amount of the regulatory fee payment," the FCC said. "As our costs now exceed the regulatory fee, we are eliminating this regulatory fee category. The current vanity call sign regulatory fee is $21.40, the highest in several years. The FCC reported there were 11,500 "payment units" in FY 2014 and estimated that it would collect nearly $246,100.

In its 2014 Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) regarding the assessment and collection of regulatory fees for FY 2014, the FCC had sought comment on eliminating several smaller regulatory fee categories, such as those for vanity call signs and GMRS. It concluded in the subsequent Report and Order (R&O) last summer, however, that it did not have "adequate support to determine whether the cost of recovery and burden on small entities outweighed the collected revenue or whether eliminating the fee would adversely affect the licensing process."

The FCC said it has since had an opportunity to obtain and analyze support concerning the collection of the regulatory fees for Amateur Vanity and GMRS, which the FCC said comprise, on average, more than 20,000 licenses that are newly obtained or renewed, every 10 and 5 years, respectively.

"The Commission often receives multiple applications for the same vanity call sign, but only one applicant can be issued that call sign," the FCC explained. "In such cases, the Commission issues refunds for all the remaining applicants. In addition to staff and computer time to process payments and issue refunds, there is an additional expense to issue checks for the applicants who cannot be refunded electronically."

The Commission said that after it provides the required congressional notification, Amateur Radio vanity program applicants
"will no longer be financially burdened with such payments, and the Commission will no longer incur these administrative costs that exceed the fee payments. The revenue that the Commission would otherwise collect from these regulatory fee categories will be proportionally assessed on other wireless fee categories."

The FCC said it would not issue refunds to licensees who paid the regulatory fee prior to its official elimination.

Tech Classes Continue On Meeting Night

Don, KA5DON continues his "how-to" classes at the JCARA meetings. Here is the topic for June:

1. Contesting - competitive wireless

Don will be teaching at 6 p.m. on each meeting night. At 6:30 p.m. we will break for refreshments and eyeball QSO's. Then the meeting will get underway at 7:00 p.m. We hope to see you there.

Ten-Tec and Alpha Amplifiers Purchased From RF Concepts

Ten-Tec-Alpha AmplifiersLess than a year after TEN-TEC and Alpha Amplifiers merged under the RF Concepts banner, the companies have changed hands. RKR Designs LLC of Longmont, Colorado, announced on April 2 that it has acquired the two brands’ assets RF Concepts. RKR said it plans to expand the product line while “continuing to service their customers.” RKR Designs principals are Ken Long, N0QO, Richard Gall, and Rich Danielson. Long, with more than 20 years in the electronics and Amateur Radio industries, will be president and CEO of the new company. Gall and Danielson of QSC Systems in Longmont have been a successful contract manufacturer, for over 20 years. QSC has been building Alpha amplifiers for more than 5 years and boards for TEN-TEC since RF Concepts bought the company last year.

“QSC has always been a fantastic contract manufacturer and has the expertise and knowledge that will allow us to bring down costs, while increasing quality and reducing manufacturing times,” Long said in a media release. He has headed the Alpha Group, while Jim Wharton, NO4A, was president of the TEN-TEC Group.

RF Concepts/Alpha Amplifiers has been in business since the early 1970s. TEN-TEC, founded in 1968 as a maker of transceivers for the QRP community, has expanded its line over the years to include a range of transceivers — from basic to top-tier — receivers, tuners, amplifiers, and accessories.

How Are HF Band Conditions Today?

So you are ready to spend some time with your rig today huh? Wondering which bands are open and are really jumping? Thanks to Don, KA5DON for locating a real time band activity tool. The Conus HF Band Conditions Tool is located in the Ham Corner library. Check it out. You will be working DX in short order.


The Amateur Radio Parity Act of 2015 -- also known as H.R.1301 -- has attracted 55 cosponsors as of May 14. The bill, introduced earlier this year in the US House by Rep Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), would direct the FCC to extend its rules relating to reasonable accommodation of Amateur Service communications to private land-use restrictions. This weekend's Dayton Hamvention will offer an opportunity for ARRL to meet with individual radio amateurs and encourage them to seek their House member's support. ARRL Regulatory Information and Legislative Action Manager Dan Henderson, N1ND, said those stopping by his booth at ARRL EXPO, can -- in about a minute -- have a letter, addressed to their representative and personalized with their contact information, printed and ready to sign.

"The ARRL will collect these signed letters and have them hand-delivered to the various Congressional offices by our DC legislative action team," Henderson explained. "This easy-to-use process has succeeded at several major hamfests already this year and helped generate several hundred letters."

Henderson said that the typically high number of attendees at Dayton Hamvention presents an excellent opportunity for Amateur Radio operators to get involved in the H.R. 1301 grassroots legislative effort.

The latest lawmakers to sign aboard H.R. 1301 include Representatives Pete Olson of Texas, Ed Perlmutter of Colorado, John Shimkus of Illinois, Dr Brad Wenstrup of Ohio, and Roger Williams of Texas.

Henderson said the League is also working on securing an original sponsor and co-sponsor for a companion Amateur Radio Parity Act bill in the US Senate. He encouraged all who may not be attending Hamvention to visit the ARRL's H.R. 1301 page, where they can download a letter that can be personalized for your member of Congress.

"Once you have printed and signed the letter, send it to ARRL Grassroots Letter program, 225 Main St, Newington CT 06111," Henderson said. "Once received, these will be sorted and sent to the ARRL DC team for hand delivery on Capitol Hill."

"We have gotten off to a good start on H.R. 1301, but we have a long way to go," Henderson said. "We need every ARRL member to get involved with this important fight."

ARRL Audio News - May 15, 2015

ARRL Audio News LogoIn this week's report:

There is no ARRL Audio News this week as everyone is at the Dayton Hamvention. The report will resume on May 22, 2015.

Please allow several seconds for report to download ...آ it may take a long time depending on your internet connection speed.

Start Report

Amateur Radio Newsline - Report 1965 - May 15, 2015



  • Amateur radio responds as another killer earthquake hits Nepal
  • Radio France International heard splattering on 40 meters
  • Thailand's military to keep 50 to 54 MHz
  • Ham radio numbers fall and rise in Germany
  • And a look back at the history of the Dayton Hamvention.

Bill Pasternak, WA6ITF


Online Tech Publications You May Want To Read

If you are not reading these online publications you might want to take a look.آ  You’ll see and hear about it first here. آ 

The Verge

http://www.theverge.com/ آ 


http://www.engadget.com/ آ 

All Things D(igital)آ  Walt Mossberg’s column at WSJ.


WSJ.D Technologyآ  The Wall Street Journal’s Technology section


Daring Fireball

http://daringfireball.net/ آ 


http://www.zdnet.com/ آ 


http://techcrunch.com/ آ 

It might be a good idea to visit this page often until you’ve had time toآ peruse these monthly tech publication sites.آ  I have created a BOOKMARK category called PC TECH in my browser and placed all these links under that heading for easy retrieval.آ  You might find a different way that is more suitableآ for you.آ  Each of these online publications are advertiser supported so they remain free to the reader.

If you have no interest in keeping up with what is going on in the tech world then these sites are not for you.آ  There are other publications available with online editions butآ access isآ by subscription only.آ  These include, PC World, PC Magazine, Computer Shopper and my favorite Maximum PC.آ  Of course, QST and CQ Magazine are available online too by membership/subscription only.

One final note .. I have been toying with the idea of getting a Tablet.آ  This might be a good reason to own one.آ  Crawl up into your favorite easy chair and enjoy reading about what is new and exciting in the world of Tech.

Patآ ق€“ WA5DVV

FCC "Paperless" Amateur Radio License Policy Now In Effect

Effective February 17, the FCC no longer routinely issues paper license documents to Amateur Radio applicants and licensees. The FCC will continue to provide paper license documents to all licensees who notify the Commission that they prefer to receive one, but what arrives in the mail now will be printed on plain white recycled paper, instead of the more distinctive stock the FCC had been using until recently. All of this is part of the FCC's efforts to streamline procedures and save money.

"We find this electronic process will improve efficiency by simplifying access to official authorizations in ULS, shortening the time period between grant of an application and access to the official authorization, and reducing regulatory costs," the FCC Wireless Telecommunications Bureau (WTB) said. According to the WTB, the new procedures will save more than $300,000 a year, including staff expenses.

The Commission has maintained for some time now that the official Amateur Radio license authorization is the electronic Universal Licensing System (ULS) record, although the FCC had routinely continued to print and mail hard copy licenses until this week.

In mid-December, the FCC adopted final procedures to provide access to official electronic authorizations, as it had proposed in WT Docket 14-161 as part of its "process reform" initiatives. Under the new procedures, licensees will access their current official authorization ("Active" status only) via the ULS License Manager.

Licensees can also print an official license authorization -- as well as an unofficial "reference copy" -- from the ULS License Manager.

The ULS License Manager now permits licensees to change the default setting, so that the Bureau will print and mail a license document.

ARRL Warns Experimental Licensee To Avoid Interference To HF Ham Activity

The ARRL has asked a Massachusetts company that plans to conduct experimental transmissions over wide portions of the HF spectrum either to avoid Amateur Radio allocations or to announce the times and frequencies of their transmissions in advance. The FCC last fall granted MITRE Corporation of Bedford, Massachusetts, a 2-year Part 5 Experimental License, WH2XCI, to operate 21 transmitters at 10 fixed New York and Massachusetts sites. MITRE plans to test wideband HF communication techniques on a variety of bands between 2.5 MHz and 16 MHz.

"[I]t will not be possible for MITRE to operate these transmitters within the Amateur Radio Service allocations...without causing harmful interference to a large number of Amateur Radio operators on an ongoing basis," ARRL Chief Counsel Chris Imlay, W3KD, said in a February 12 letter to MITRE.

Imlay said that if MITRE does not agree to avoid ham radio bands or to announce times and frequencies of transmissions ahead of time, it will ask the FCC to rescind the company's Experimental License or to impose a prior notification requirement "in real time for each and every use of the transmitters authorized at each site."

The WH2XCI Experimental License authorizes maximum bandwidths of 5 kHz, 500 kHz, and 1 MHz at effective radiated power levels of 6 W, 24 W, or 122 W. MITRE has indicated that most bandwidths would be between 100 and 300 kHz.

"At these power levels with the operating parameters proposed, it will be impossible to conduct your tests at any time within the Amateur Radio allocations and, at the same time, avoid harmful interference," Imlay said. He noted that MITRE already conceded this point in a technical exhibit submitted to the FCC with respect to its 1 MHz bandwidth mode.

Imlay said that when interference from MITRE's wide-bandwidth transmitters "inevitably occurs in the narrow-bandwidth, sensitive receivers" hams use, amateur licensees will have no way to determine the source of the interference or know to whom they might complain."Thus, your assurance of operation on a 'non-interference basis' is meaningless under the circumstances, and yet that is both a special condition of operation" of the WH2XCI license and under FCC Part 5 regulations, Imlay told MITRE.

"It is ARRL's intention to ensure that this experimental authorization, improvidently granted to the extent that it includes heavily used Amateur Radio allocations, is not permitted to cause interference to ongoing Amateur Radio HF communications," Imlay

MITRE obtained the Experimental License to investigate high data rate wideband HF communication systems that exploit polarization diversity multiple input, multiple output concepts to expand the bandwidth of the communication channel.

RadioShack Enters Chapter 11 "Debtor-in-Possession" Bankruptcy

Electronics retailer RadioShack, which once supplied Amateur Radio equipment and has continued to maintain an inventory of electronics components, has reached an asset purchase agreement with General Wireless Inc, an affiliate of RadioShack creditor Standard General, to acquire up to 2400 of RadioShack's more than 4000 company-owned stores.

Many, but not all, RadioShack stores will close, as the Fort Worth, Texas-based company attempts to restructure under Chapter 11 bankruptcy following 11 quarterly losses.

General Wireless has agreed in principle on terms with Sprint to establish a new dedicated mobility "store-within-a-store" retail presence in up to 1750 of the acquired stores. Stores that are closing are expected to sell remaining inventory.

Discussions are under way with interested parties to sell all of the company's remaining assets.

ARRL Library Goes Live!

After several months of planning, The ARRL Library is now live! The online Library is a free repository of educational presentations and oral histories. It is aimed at helping to preserve Amateur Radio's history and to educate clubs and individuals.

"This long-term project will be home to what I hope will eventually become one of the largest repositories of Amateur Radio-related papers and presentations, created by and for the Amateur Radio community," said ARRL Media and Public Relations Manager Sean Kutzko, KX9X. "This is your opportunity to submit material for the betterment and education of all radio amateurs."

Kutzko said the Library will initially consist of three major areas. These will include PowerPoint presentations that may be used at club meetings, for outreach to the general public, or for other public presentations; PDFs of general educational material about Amateur Radio, and oral histories of radio amateurs describing their personal experiences with Amateur Radio.

Current content includes presentations on operating digital modes, HF basics, and impedance matching. While the available material is sparse right now, Kutzko invites all radio amateurs to submit material for consideration -- as long as it relates to Amateur Radio. The Public Relations Committee will vet all submissions, and once a submission is approved, it will be added to The ARRL Library.

"We have lots of tutorials and information on how to create presentations on the site," Kutzko pointed out. "Presenting somebody else's PowerPoint slides is tough," he added, "so we're asking people who submit presentations to make use of PowerPoint's 'Notes' feature, which allows the author to provide more detailed information for the talking points found on each slide, visible only to the presenter. This will make it easier for the presenter to emphasize what the author intended to convey."

Answers to typical questions, as well as information on how to upload content and how to conduct an oral history interview, can be found in the Frequently Asked Questions area.

"Sharing expertise is one of the best things we can do for Amateur Radio," Kutzko said. "I hope you will consider submitting material for the Library and help give back to the entire community."

Ham Corner Library Has Been Updated

Check out the new link in the Ham Corner library. "Chirp" is open source software which helps you program your radio. It will save you a lot of time. Not all radios are supported at this time but you may find yours in the list. The link is available here or in the Ham Corner library.

Thanks to Nick, K5BQJ for the heads up.

Build Your Own Buddipole - AF5AQ Shows You How

If you were able to attend the October 2014 JCARA Club Meeting then you saw a great presentation given by Richard, AF5AQ. He was kind enough to furnish us with an illustrated copy of the building plans for this excellent antenna. You will find his document at this link or in the Ham Corner Library. Enjoy!

ARRL Asks FCC To Continue Issuing Hard Copy Licenses To Those Who Want Them

In comments filed November 5, the ARRL has recommended that the FCC continue to provide paper license documents to Amateur Radio licensees who want them. The League's remarks were in response to an FCC Public Notice (in WT Docket 14-161) that proposed to cease the routine issuance of hard-copy license documents to all Wireless Service licensees, including radio amateurs. While having a paper license document from the FCC to post on the wall of the ham shack has been a tradition, the Commission for several years has considered the "official" Amateur Radio license to be the virtual document residing in its Universal Licensing System (ULS) database.

"The FCC is willing to continue to mail paper licenses to those who request them," ARRL General Counsel Chris Imlay, W3KD, has explained. "However, they are making available to licensees -- starting right now -- the actual license to print via the FCC ULS, and it is allowing hams now to opt out of receiving paper licenses from the FCC directly." (See ULS menu below.)

Under the FCC-proposed process, once a license application is granted, the ULS will generate an official electronic license but will no longer mail a hard copy license unless notified that the licensee wishes to receive an official paper license document. Until new procedures are final, however, the Commission will continue to print and mail official paper licenses, unless notified to stop.

"Should the Commission proceed with the Notice proposals," the League said in its comments, "it is ARRL's strong recommendation that the Commission give serious consideration to continuing a default provision for sending an initial paper license document to new licensees in the Amateur Radio Service, along with detailed, simple instructions for how to make the elections set forth in the notice relative to future modified or renewed licenses."

The ARRL pointed out that not everyone has easy access to, or is comfortable using, the ULS and that Amateur Radio licensees may occasionally need an official license document -- for example, when applying for a license upgrade at a VEC exam session or for vehicle call sign license plates.

"If there is not a license printed on distinctive license stock by the Commission, authentication issues arise and the possibility of electronic alteration of a license document is created," the League.

The ARRL also suggested that requiring individuals to go online in order to obtain a license document may prove to be a roadblock to some applicants.

"It is not acceptable to erect barriers to entry for anyone to obtain an Amateur Radio license or to modify a license," the League commented. "ARRL is concerned that there should be, especially for newcomers, an easy, intuitive path to make the election for license delivery method that does not involve ULS access at the outset."

The Notice also has proposed, alternatively, that the FCC send the official electronic license via e-mail upon grant of an application, if the applicant has provided a valid e-mail address on the application form. Licensees not wanting to provide an e-mail address could obtain an official electronic license document directly from the ULS. The Notice further proposes that licensees could notify the Commission that they wish to receive or continue receiving official authorizations on paper.

The ULS License Manager online system now includes a setting that allows licensees to notify the FCC that they want to receive official licenses on paper. Licensees could change the default setting online, so that once an application has been granted, the FCC would mail an official paper license.

Actor Tim Allen Gets His Ham Ticket For Real

Actor and comedian Tim Allen now not only plays an Amateur Radio operator on television, he is one! Allen got his Technician ticket on September 4, but did not release the news until this week. In his weekly ABC comedy TV show "Last Man Standing," Allen plays Mike Baxter, KA0XTT, and the show, which starts its new season October 3,

Last Man Standing

Newly licensed Tim Allen in his role as Mike Baxter, KA0XTT, on the TV comedy "Last Man Standing." With him is Flynn Morrison, who plays his grandson on the show. The station on the set actually works. [Photo courtesy of John Amodeo, NN6JA]

has featured ham radio in some episodes (Allen's TV wife Mandy Baxter is KF0XIE). "Last Man Standing" producer John Amodeo, NN6JA, told ARRL that the agreement with Allen was that "we would not publicize his license until he approved it." Allen subsequently revealed to Tom Medlin, W5KUB, for one of Medlin's webcasts that he had passed his Technician license test but, per Allen's request, did not mention his call sign, Amodeo said. The call sign has since been disclosed elsewhere.

"The Amateur Radio operators on the crew of 'Last Man Standing' are delighted that Tim has taken and passed his Technician exam and received his own, real call sign," Amodeo said. "It took more than 3 years to make it happen, and it started with Tim's personal interest in radio technology and his request to make the Mike Baxter character an Amateur Radio operator." The ham shack on the show is a working station.

Producer John Amodeo, NN6JA (left), is interviewed on the "Last Man Standing" set by Tom Medlin, W5KUB. [Photo courtesy of John Amodeo, NN6JA]

More than 2 dozen members of the "Last Man Standing" crew -- and now Allen, its star -- have been inspired by the show's Amateur Radio component to get licensed. On September 28, the K6H "Hollywood Hamnado" special event station was on the air, with "Last Man Standing" crew members at the helm from the show's set.

Amodeo said K6H went very well. "We had about 35 operators and guests on Stage 9 here at CBS Studio Center" he told ARRL. "All enjoyed being on the set of 'Last Man Standing.' The feeling was like a Field Day and a mini Hamvention." Amodeo said that all six K6H stations had "continuous contacts from start to finish."

Most of the K6H event and several interview segments, including one with the VEs who administered Allen's test, have been posted on Medlin's website.

Amodeo expressed gratitude to the ARRL for its "continued support," starting with the assistance of former ARRL Media and Public Relations Manager Allen Pitts, W1AGP, in the creation of the KA0XTT call sign and the more recent assistance of ARRL VEC staffers Maria Somma, AB1FM, and Amanda Grimaldi, KB1VUV.

"We hope Tim will find Amateur Radio to be an enjoyable and useful hobby for many years to come," he added.

Amateur Radio is "Communications Superpower," IARU Region 1 Delegates are Told

European Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response Kristalina Georgieva told delegates to the International Amateur Radio Union Region 1 (IARU Region 1) General Conference on September 22 that Amateur Radio is a reliable information tool that can save lives in disasters. In a statement read to

Kristalina Georgieva. [Courtesy of the European Commission]

the conference attendees on her behalf by the EC's Encho Gospidinov, Georgieva laid out a scenario in which all modern telecommunications and electrical power are knocked out, and no one can help the victims, because no one knows what has happened.

"Luckily, there is a last resort: The radio amateurs, the people who are the eyes and the ears of the world in time when all other information channels are silent," she said. "In short, you are the last technical miracle, which is an independent, reliable information channel, which can transmit an important piece of news from any place in the world, anytime, by anyone who knows how to operate this wonderful creature, called radio."

Georgieva said Amateur Radio's advantage is that it is independent of the conventional communications infrastructure. "A well-trained radioman with good equipment and ever-charged batteries can be a fantastic link between two villages, two countries or two continents," she said. "When organized in a Union, you are a communication superpower in times of total electronic darkness."

The 24th IARU Region 1 General Conference, being held in Albena, Bulgaria, officially concludes September 26. Delegates have elected Don Beattie, G3BJ, as the next IARU Region 1 President, succeeding Hans Blondeel Timmerman, PB2T. Elected as Vice President was Faisal Al-Ajmi, 9K2RR.

Pneumatic Line Launcher

At July's JCARA Club meeting, Richard, AF5AQ presented an excellent program. He demonstrated how to build and use a pneumatic line launcher. This is a neat tool that every Ham can use. If you want to get a line for a dipole, long wire or other antenna over a tree limb, this device will help you do it in short order. Follow the link below for complete illustrated instructions with a parts list.

Thanks Richard for intoducing us to a great DIY project.

Line Launcher

Thinking About Adding Solar Power To Your Ham Shack?

By now you know that Richard, AF5AQ is very handy when it comes to creating innovative, useful tools and gadgets for use around the Ham Shack. You never know what he is going to come up with next. At a past Club Meeting he demonstrated how to build and use a Solar Energy system. It sparked a lot of interest (pun intended).

Richard has put together a "leave behind" for those who would like to try a similar project. Illustrated instructions are posted in the file section and are available at the link below. We think you'll get a charge out of it.

Solar Power 101

Want To Build A New Skyhook?

Max-Gain Systems is a great place to find fiberglass tubing and rods. Has the idea of building a hex beam interested you? They have parts for that project as well. Building a high power linear? Vacuum relays and capacitors are in abundance too. What about RF connectors that will hold up under extreme conditions. I almost forgot to mention that they have black dacron hex rope, guy rings and "dogbone" strain insulators, Check them out. They could be the source for all those parts you've been needing to get your favorite Ham Project underway.

Thanks to Nick, K5BQJ for the link.

Click here for more info.

Morse Code

So, when you have worked all the DX and have grown tired of Rag Chewing, here is something you might want to try. Remember the game Scarbble? If you do you will really enjoy checking this out. Reaarrange the phrase THE MORSE CODE and you will get HERE COME DOTS. We thought you would want to know. :-)

FCC Okays Changes to Amateur Radio Exam Credit

In a wide-ranging Report and Order (R&O) released June 9 that takes various proceedings into consideration, the FCC has revised the Amateur Service Part 97 rules to grant credit for written examination elements 3 (General) and 4 (Amateur Extra) to holders of "expired licenses that required passage of those elements." The FCC will require former licensees - those falling outside the 2-year grace period - to pass Element 2 (Technician) in order to be relicensed, however. The Commission declined to give examination credit to the holder of an expired Certificate of Successful Completion of Examination (CSCE) or to extend its validity to the holder's lifetime.

"Our decision to grant credit for written examination Elements 3 and 4 for expired licenses that required passage [of those elements] will provide some relief for former General, Advanced, and Amateur Extra class licensees," the FCC said, "and is consistent with how we treat expired pre-1987 Technician class licensees who want to reenter the Amateur Service." Pre-1987 Techs can get Element 3 credit, since the Technician and General class written examinations in that era were identical. The Commission said current rules and procedures that apply to expired pre-1987 Technician licenses "are sufficient to verify that an inidual is a former licensee under our new rules."

The Commission said that requiring applicants holding expired licenses to pass Element 2 in order to relicense "will address commenters' concerns about lost proficiency and knowledge, because a former licensee will have to demonstrate that he or she has retained knowledge of technical and regulatory matters." The FCC said the Element 2 requirement also would deter any attempts by someone with the same name as a former licensee to obtain a ham ticket without examination.

In 1997 the FCC, in the face of opposition, dropped a proposal that would have generally allowed examination element credit for expired amateur operator licenses. In the past, the FCC has maintained that its procedures "provide ample notification and opportunity for license renewal" and that retesting did not impose an unreasonable burden. The issue arose again in 2011, with a request from the Anchorage Volunteer Examiner Coordinator.

The FCC pulled back from its own proposal to reduce from three to two the minimum number of volunteer examiners required to proctor an Amateur Radio examination session. The ARRL, the W5YI-VEC and "a clear majority of commenters" opposed the change, the FCC said. The FCC said it found commenters' arguments persuasive that that the use of three VEs "results in higher accuracy and lower fraud that would be the case with two VEs." In a related matter, though, the Commission embraced the use of remote testing methods.

"Allowing VEs and VECs the option of administering examinations at locations remote from the VEs is warranted," the FCC said. The National Conference of Volunteer Examiner Coordinators (NCVEC) in
2002 endorsed experimental use of videoconferencing technology to conduct Amateur Radio testing in remote areas of Alaska. The Anchorage VEC has long pushed for the change, citing the expense to provide Amateur Radio test sessions to Alaska residents living in remote areas.

The FCC declined to address "the mechanics" of remote testing, which, it said, "will vary from location to location and session to session." The Commission said specific rules spelling out how to administer exam sessions remotely "could limit the flexibility of VEs and VECs." The FCC stressed the obligation on the part of VECs and VEs "to administer examinations responsibly" applies "in full" to remote testing.

The FCC amended the rules to provide that VEs administering examinations remotely be required to grade such examinations "at the earliest practical opportunity," rather than "immediately," as the rule for conventional exam sessions requires.

The FCC said it also will make "certain minor, non-substantive amendments to the Amateur Service rules." It is amending Part 97 "to reflect that the Commission amended its rules to eliminate the requirement that certain Amateur Radio Service licensees pass a Morse code examination," the FCC said in the R&O. It also said it was correcting "certain typographical or other errors" in Part 97.

The new rules become effective 30 days after their publication in The Federal Register.

ARRL Announces Free Exam Review Website

The ARRL has launched a new online resource that allows users to take randomly generated practice exams using questions from the actual examination question pool. ARRL Exam Review for Ham Radioق„ is free, and users do not need to be ARRL members. The only requirement is that users must first set up a site login (this is a different and separate login from your ARRL website user registration).

"The ARRL's online Exam Review is designed to help license examination candidates review their progress as they study," said ARRL Marketing Manager Bob Inderbitzen, NQ1R. "As you complete a chapter or section of a license manual, you can turn to the online program to review all of the related questions taken directly from the examination question pool. After answering each question -- right or wrong -- the correct answer is shown, and a page reference to the license manual is displayed for further review."

Inderbitzen said that when you're close to completing your study, you can take as many practice exams as you like. "The practice exams can be taken on-screen or printed. You won't have any surprises on exam day!" he added.

Inderbitzen said users are encouraged to share feedback and suggestions for improvement with the development team, using the online feedback form linked from the Exam Review site. ARRL Exam Review was designed for ARRL by DHF Systems, the creator of ARRL's TravelPlus for Repeatersق„ software.

Education Services Manager Debra Johnson, K1DMJ, pointed out some of ARRL Exam Review features that are intended to help Amateur Radio instructors and schoolteachers. "Instructors have a new online resource at their fingertips," she said. "They can print practice exams anytime and encourage students to review between classes. The site is also mobile-browser friendly, so it can be used on a laptop, tablet, or smartphone, at home or in the classroom."

While ARRL Exam Review is being introduced with the new, third edition of the popular Technician study guide, The ARRL Ham Radio License Manual, the site also supports practice examinations for General and Amateur Extra. An updated Technician class examination question pool becomes effective July 1, and Exam Review will automatically transition to the new question pool on that date

Alpha and TEN-TEC to Merge Under RF Concepts Banner

Two major American Amateur Radio manufacturers are joining forces. Alpha Amplifiers and TEN-TEC have announced that they will merge under the RF Concepts brand. The announcement came May 9 in Longmont, Colorado, where RF Concepts and Alpha are headquartered. TEN-TEC, the older of the two concerns, is located in Sevierville, Tennessee. The merger creates a multi-million-dollar company with a product line that extends from QRP transceivers to legal-limit amplifiers. RF Concepts/Alpha Amplifiers has been in business since the early 1970s and has produced more than 13,000 amps. TEN-TEC, founded in 1968 as a maker of transceivers for the QRP community, has expanded its line over the years to include a range of transceivers -- from basic to top-tier -- receivers, tuners, amplifiers, and accessories. While there is a small overlap in the companies' respective product lines, RF Concepts Chairman Michael Seedman, AA6DY, called the union "the perfect combination of Amateur Radio brands."

"For more than 40 years, Alpha Amplifiers and TEN-TEC have shared a reputation in the Amateur Radio market for offering exceptionally well-engineered, American-made products backed by extraordinary customer service," said Seedman. "Alpha Amplifiers is known for 'key-down performance,' and TEN-TEC is known for pushing the boundaries of transceiver performance and capabilities." Such a merger "makes perfect sense," he added, pointing out that the merger will more than double the size of RF Concepts, allowing it "to invest more capital in innovative engineering and customer-driven product development."

Plans call for RF Concepts to share operations between its Colorado and Tennessee locations, and the company is looking for a new operations facility in the Sevierville area that would house manufacturing as well as some engineering resources as well as technical and customer support services. TEN-TEC had announced that it would not be holding its annual hamfest in Tennessee this year, due to plans to relocate its headquarters this fall. TEN-TEC announced "a massive moving sale" during September. The Colorado facility will house engineering resources, technical and customer support services, and much of the front-office operation.

Announcement of the merger came a week before Dayton Hamventionآ, where both Alpha and TEN-TEC will continue to operate separate booths. Alpha will be demonstrating its not-yet-released DreamTuner 4040 Automatic Antenna Tuner, while TEN-TEC will unveil the Patriot, an open-source, Arduino-based SSB transceiver.

The two companies are privately held, and terms of the merger were not disclosed.

Radio History: New Website Offers Treasure Trove of Vintage Ham Radio Photos, QSL Cards

The grandson of Thomas "Tom" Russell Gentry, W5RG (SK), has developed a website (click here) that is certain to be of interest to vintage radio enthusiasts. Don Retzlaff, who is not a ham, said his grandfather was among the earliest Amateur Radio operators, getting his license in the early 1920s -- at one point identifying as NU5RG -- and remaining active until he died in 1979. The W5RG call sign has since been reissued.

(At Left: Tom Gentry, W5RG (SK), at his station in an undated photo.)

He collected QSL cards from other amateur operators all through his life," Retzlaff said of his grandfather. "In recent years I became interested in those cards and my grandfather's hobby."

With the help of his father Donald Retzlaff, W5MIY, Retzlaff located all of the QSLs -- some 5700 in all -- as well as other memorabilia documenting his grandfather's ham radio activities and his time in the Army Air Corps shortly after World War I. He painstakingly scanned both sides of each card along with dozens of photos of now-vintage stations -- many with operators -- that his grandfather had collected and posted them all on a website dedicated to his grandfather and his life as an Amateur Radio operator.

Among other features, the site offers an opportunity to leave comments. "This has definitely been a labor of love," said Retzlaff, who retired this year as a Principal Lecturer in the Computer Science Department at the University of North Texas.

Broadcast Band DXing - How Many Have You Logged?

Here is a list of AM Broadcast Band clear channel stations by frequency in Canada, United States, Mexico and the Bahamas.

540 CBK Watrous, Saskatchewan
540 CBT Grand Falls, Newfoundland and Labrador
540 XEWA San Luis Potosأ­, San Luis Potosأ­
640 CBN St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador
640 KFI Los Angeles, California
650 WSM Nashville, Tennessee
660 WFAN New York, New York
670 WSCR Chicago, Illinois
680 KNBR San Francisco, California
690 CKGM[a] Montreal, Quebec
690 XEWW Tijuana, Baja California
700 WLW Cincinnati, Ohio
710 KIRO Seattle, Washington
710 WOR New York, New York
720 WGN Chicago, Illinois
730 CKAC Montreal, Quebec
730 XEX Mexico City, D.F.
740 CFZM[b] Toronto, Ontario
750 WSB Atlanta, Georgia
760 WJR Detroit, Michigan
770 WABC New York, New York
780 WBBM Chicago, Illinois
800 XEROK Ciudad Juأrez, Chihuahua
810 KGO San Francisco, California
810 WGY Schenectady, New York
820 WBAP Fort Worth, Texas
830 WCCO Minneapolis, Minnesota
840 WHAS Louisville, Kentucky
850 KOA Denver, Colorado
850 XETQ Ixhuatlancillo, Veracruz
860 CJBC Toronto, Ontario
870 WWL New Orleans, Louisiana
880 WCBS New York, New York
890 WLS Chicago, Illinois
900 XEW Mexico City, D.F.
940 silent[c] Montreal, Quebec
940 XEQ Mexico City, D.F.
990 CBW Winnipeg, Manitoba
990 CBY Corner Brook, Newfoundland and Labrador
1000 KOMO Seattle, Washington
1000 WMVP Chicago, Illinois
1000 XEOY Mexico City, D.F.
1010 CBR Calgary, Alberta
1010 CFRB Toronto, Ontario
1020 KDKA Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
1030 WBZ Boston, Massachusetts
1040 WHO Des Moines, Iowa
1050 XEG Monterrey, Nuevo Leأn
1060 KYW Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
1060 XEEP Mexico City, D.F.
1070 silent[d] Moncton, New Brunswick
1070 KNX Los Angeles, California
1080 WTIC Hartford, Connecticut
1080 KRLD Dallas, Texas
1090 KAAY Little Rock, Arkansas
1090 WBAL Baltimore, Maryland
1090 XEPRS Rancho del Mar, Rosarito, Baja California
1100 WTAM Cleveland, Ohio
1110 KFAB Omaha, Nebraska
1110 WBT Charlotte, North Carolina
1120 KMOX St. Louis, Missouri
1130 CKWX Vancouver, British Columbia
1130 KWKH Shreveport, Louisiana
1130 WBBR New York, New York
1140 WRVA Richmond, Virginia
1140 XEMR Monterrey, Nuevo Leأn
1160 KSL Salt Lake City, Utah
1170 KFAQ Tulsa, Oklahoma
1170 WWVA Wheeling, West Virginia
1180 WHAM Rochester, New York
1190 KEX Portland, Oregon
1190 XEWK Guadalajara, Jalisco
1200 WOAI San Antonio, Texas
1210 WPHT Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
1220 XEB Mexico City, D.F.
1500 KSTP Saint Paul, Minnesota
1500 WFED Washington, D.C.
1510 WLAC Nashville, Tennessee
1520 KOKC Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
1520 WWKB Buffalo, New York
1530 KFBK Sacramento, California
1530 WCKY Cincinnati, Ohio
1540 KXEL Waterloo, Iowa
1540 ZNS-1 Nassau, Bahamas
1550 CBEF[e] Windsor, Ontario
1550 XERUV Xalapa, Veracruz
1560 KNZR[f] Bakersfield, California
1560 WQEW New York, New York
1570 XERF Ciudad Acuأa, Coahuila
1580 CKDO[g] Oshawa, Ontario

Try listening after 8:00 p.m. You might be surprised at how many you can hear. Good DXing.

FT5ZM Operation Approved for DXCC Credit

The ARRL DXCC Desk has approved the 2014 operation of FT5ZM -- Amsterdam & St Paul Island -- for DX Century Club credit. If a DXCC credit request for this operation has been rejected in a prior application, contact ARRL Awards Branch Manager Bill Moore, NC1L, to be placed on the record update list. Note the submission date and/or application reference number. DXCC is Amateur Radio's premier award that hams can earn by confirming on-the-air contacts with 100 DXCC "entities," most of which are countries in the traditional sense. Learn more. -- ARRL Awards Branch Manager Bill Moore, NC1L

The FT5ZM DXpedition has shut down, although the trip home remains. That news may be welcome to non-DXers who have been contending with huge and sometimes chaotic split-operation pileups that occasionally occupied substantial segments of spectrum, but depressing for operators who were unsuccessful in snagging this rare one. The Amsterdam Island DXpedition team logged on the order of 165,000 contacts on SSB, CW and RTTY. AA4SC had the honor of completing the final FT5ZM contact -- on February 12 at 0220 UTC. Amsterdam Island is the seventh most-wanted DXCC entity, according to the ClubLog DXCC Most Wanted List.

"All the team members are now safely aboard the Braveheart as of 0520 UTC," FT5ZM Pilot Station Val Hotzfeld, NV9L, reported on February 13. "There is a strong storm right behind them. This should make for rough seas but favorable winds pushing them to Perth."

Earlier seas were too rough to load the boat, leaving the DXpedition team and gear stuck on shore.

All FT5ZM logs have been uploaded to ClubLog, and the Online QSL Request Service (OQRS) for FT5ZM now is online. The budget for the DXpedition was $450,000, which, to date, has not been met. More information on the Amsterdam Island DXpedition budget and on the DXpedition is available on the Amsterdam Island FT5DX website. The ARRL made a Colvin Award grant to help support the DXpedition. -- Thanks to The Daily DX, FT5ZM

DX: TT8ES, T6EU Operations Approved for DXCC Credit

The ARRL DXCC Desk has approved the 2014 operation of TT8ES -- Chad -- and the current operation (through May 3, 2014) of T6EU -- Afghanistan -- for DX Century Club credit. This operation was

previously approved for 2012 and 2013, and the license has been extended through February 28, 2014. If a request for DXCC credit for this operation has been rejected in a prior application, contact ARRL Awards Branch Manager Bill Moore, NC1L, to be placed on the list for an update to your record. Please note the submission date and/or reference number of your application in order to expedite the search for any rejected contacts.

DXCC is Amateur Radio's premier award that hams can earn by confirming on-the-air contacts with 100 DXCC "entities," most of which are countries in the traditional sense. You can begin with the basic DXCC award and work your way up to the DXCC Honor Roll. Learn more. -- ARRL Awards Branch Manager Bill Moore, NC1L

DX: North Korea Still Tops The DX Magazine's Most Wanted Survey

The DX Magazine has published the results of its most-wanted DXCC entities, and, once again, North Korea (P5) is number 1. Here are the Top 10 overall worldwide results, as they appeared in The DX Magazine's January/February 2014 issue.





P5 North Korea



KP1 Navassa Island



3Y/B Bouvet



FT5W Crozet



FT5Z Amsterdam



VK0/H Heard Island



BS7H Scarborough



ZS8M Marion Island



VP8/S South Sandwich



FT5T Tromelin Island


DX Magazine logo

"It is interesting to note that the same 10 places are there for both 2012 and 2013," QRZ DX/The DX Magazine Editor Carl Smith, N4AA, said. "There are a few slight changes in ranking, but it is the same 10. That should change somewhat for 2014 with Tromelin and Amsterdam, both scheduled for major DXpeditions." The complete Top 100 Most Wanted list is available on the DX Publishing website. The continental rankings appear in the January/February issue of DX Magazine; band/mode breakdowns will be published in the March/April 2014 issue.

Tokyo Hy-Power Files for Bankruptcy

Tokyo Hy-Power, a manufacturer of Amateur Radio amplifiers, antenna tuners, and other equipment, is in bankruptcy, and its plant, in Saitama Prefecture near Tokyo, has been shuttered. Telephones at the company no longer are being answered, and its Japanese website has been taken down, although the company’s US website remains working. Company CEO/President Nobuki Wakabayashi, JA1DJW, founded Tokyo Hy-Power Labs in 1975. He blamed “the recent depression in the industrial RF power products area [which] has led to the very difficult financial position.”

Tokyo Hy-Power’s early products were HF antenna couplers, although within a couple of years it began manufacturing amplifiers for the Amateur Radio market, including solid-state mobile amplifiers. Among its early products was the HL-4000 linear amplifier, which the company claimed was “the first real HF band high-power linear of its kind in Japan.” It has been manufacturing RF products for the industrial market since 1984.

The company also once marketed the HT-750, a portable, low-power SSB/CW transceiver for 40, 15, and 6 meters in a hand-held transceiver form factor. At Dayton Hamventionآ 2013, the company displayed a prototype of the XT-751, an advanced model it hoped to develop, covering 40 through 6 meters and with an internal antenna tuner. Among its latest products were solid-state HF amplifiers, as well as amplifiers for 6 and 2 meters.

In a December 26 news release, Ham Radio Outlet (HRO) reacted with “disappointment” and said it was “deeply saddened” to learn that Tokyo Hy-Power had gone into bankruptcy.

“This action in Japan appears to be similar to a Chapter 7 action here within the United States, as the process in this case appears to be the liquidation of organizational assets in order to attempt to fund some portion of its debt obligation(s),” the HRO release said. “This appears to indicate that a court has deemed the organization unable to be effectively reorganized under Japan’s Civil Reconstruction Code.”

HRO said it was working with AVSL, the current US service provider for Tokyo Hy-Power products “to discuss the opportunity of continued maintenance at the component level of the US-sold Tokyo Hy-Power line of amplifiers.” HRO also said it’s been in touch with the former US Tokyo Hy-Power representative Tom Rum, W5RUM, about providing telephone support ق€” which will continue at least through January.

HRO said it has not been in direct contact with Tokyo Hy-Power regarding the bankruptcy and learned about it via the news media.

DX: ARRL DXCC Desk Approves ZD9KX Operations

The ARRL DXCC Desk has approved the 2012 and 2013 operation of ZD9KX -- Tristan Da Cunha & Gough Islands for DX Century Club credit. If a request for DXCC credit for this operation has been rejected in a prior application, contact ARRL Awards Branch Manager Bill Moore, NC1L, to be placed on the list for an update to your record. Please note the submission date and/or reference number of your application in order to expedite the search for any rejected contacts.

DXCC is Amateur Radio's premier award that hams can earn by confirming on-the-air contacts with 100 DXCC "entities," most of which are countries in the traditional sense. You can begin with the basic DXCC award and work your way up to the DXCC Honor Roll. Learn more. -- ARRL Awards Branch Manager Bill Moore, NC1L

Licensing: New Technician Class Question Pool Released

The NCVEC Question Pool Committee has released the new 2014-2018 Technician Class, Element 2, question pool to the public. This pool will take effect on July 1, 2014, and will remain valid until June 30, 2018. The current Technician question pool, released in 2010, is valid until June 30, 2014. -- Maria Somma, AB1FM, ARRL/VEC Manager

DX: T6TM Operation Approved for DXCC Credit

The ARRL DXCC Desk has approved the current operation of T6TM -- Afghanistan for DX Century Club credit. If a request for DXCC credit for this operation has been rejected in a prior application, contact ARRL Awards Branch Manager Bill Moore, NC1L, to be placed on the list for an update to your record. Please note the submission date and/or reference number of your application in order to expedite the search for any rejected contacts.

DXCC is Amateur Radio's premier award that hams can earn by confirming on-the-air contacts with 100 DXCC "entities," most of which are countries in the traditional sense. You can begin with the basic DXCC award and work your way up to the DXCC Honor Roll. Learn more. -- ARRL Awards Branch Manager Bill Moore, NC1L

Voice of Russia Update - Shortwave Broadcasts To Continue In 2014

Voice Of RussiaTo paraphrase Mark Twain, reports of the demise of the Voice of Russia (VOR) may have been greatly exaggerated. Earlier this year the Voice of Russia -- the former Radio Moscow during the Soviet Era -- appeared poised to cease shortwave broadcasts as of January 1, 2014. In the wake of a December decree signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin that merged the Voice of Russia with several other state-run news agencies, SWL Tom Witherspoon, K4SWL, contacted VOR.

"We are glad to let you know that the Voice of Russia will stay on the air in 2014, however, considerable changes in our frequency schedule are expected," the broadcaster told Witherspoon and as he reports on his blog.

The posted VOR schedule, which runs through March, indicates 38 aggregate hours of shortwave broadcasts to all parts of the world, most beamed at the Middle East and Asia. Shortwave broadcasts to Europe, Latin America, Oceania, and Africa account for just 15 aggregate hours. VOR, which claims to be the first radio station to broadcast internationally, also broadcasts online, via satellite, on FM, and via three medium-wave transmitters. In 2003 VOR was among the first major international radio broadcasters to launch daily broadcasts to Europe in Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM).

ublic notice for comments, and there is no way to file comments until that happens.

16 Boy Scouts Qualify For Their Radio Merit Badges

BSA Radio Merit BadgeSunday, November 3, 2013, JCARA conducted a 4 hour seminar that included the scout’s participation during a special JCARA Emergency Net called for Training.آ  Sixteen scouts ages 11 to 15 years successfully completed all the required items in the Radio Merit Badge Workbook and qualified for the Radio Merit Badge.آ  There were 53 items that had to be discussed and required the Boy Scout involvement in the BS Radio Merit Handbook. This included a QSO on the air involving Phonetics and Q-Signals.آ  Eight JCARA Amateur Operators supported the net. آ 

I want to thank the eight Amateurs who supported the training net:آ 

AF5AQآ  Richard
AF5DPآ آ  Marilyn
K5BQJآ آ  Nick
N9RQXآ  Valerie
N9RRIآ آ آ  Chuck
AE5JGآ آ  Dan
KE5QHZ Barbara
K5KDOآ  Kurtآ 

AF5AQ Richard, thanks for the use of your great portable 2 meter ground plane, AF5AQ Richard and N9RRI Chuck, thanks for directions, when someone moved St Martin high school on me.آ  All in all a great day, one our club should be proud of!!

Charlie, N2PKW

Round Island Lighthouse Special Event Is History

On Thursday morning, October 17, 2013, the Jackson County Amateur Radio Association and 599DXA members began preparing the Round Island Lighthouse Park in Pascagoula, MS for their "K5R" Special Event. This event was held from 00:00 UTC October 18 through 23:59 UTC October 20, 2013. To check out photos and additional information click here.

Round Island Lighthouse Special Event

A Lovely Experience From Two Perspectives

Valerie - N9RQXChuck and I were privileged to take part in the Round Island Lighthouse Reactivation Event this past weekend.آ  I got some experience in working CW in a very interesting and challenging setting.آ  Interesting?آ  Yes!آ  Making contacts with other hams from many different states, including my first DX on CW, in Ontario, Canada.آ  Many signals were fairly clear, a few were very clear, and then there were some that were in the “mud.”آ  What a challenge to dig them out, and what a thrill when I succeeded!آ  I wanted to get all the pertinent info that I could, including call sign, name, state, and RST numbers (readability, signal strength and tone).آ  The necessary information was imparted to them, concerning QSL information, and the fact that info at “www.qrz.com” was good.آ  Sometimes, I wanted to stick the radio in my ear, to hear the signals correctly. I imagine we’ve all been there, when hearing a faint station.آ  The challenging part was in two ways, and helped me in my concentration skills.

1.آ  While during a QSO, sometimes another station would come in.آ  In HF, sometimes a station may not hear a QSO in progress, due to distance, propagation or band conditions (which can change quickly).آ  I learned to block them out and concentrate on my QSO.آ  It got easier with time.

2.آ  We live in the woods.آ  Out of all of our windows, trees are seen and our house is two miles away from our mailbox, and our road is very primitive.آ  We occasionally hear a neighbor driving his truck to work or back, but that’s all.آ  All other sounds around us are various birds, including many varieties of songbirds and red tailed hawks.آ  We have deer, rabbits, an armadillo, a very cute and vociferous squirrel and his family, frogs, and lots of katydids, cicadas, and many kinds of grass bugs.آ  It sounds like a jungle at night, and we just love it!آ  In the winter, however, only a few hardy birds and the wind in the trees can be heard.آ  At the Special Event site we had to block out the sirens, traffic and city noise that we are not at all used to, and that was the other challenge.آ  It was all worth it, and anyone who couldn’t take part for health or other reasons; we hope you are able to do something like this in the future!آ  We plan on it!آ  While I was making contacts, Chuck logged them in for me, and I couldn’t have done it without him!آ  He encouraged me, and got me coffee when I wanted it, to keep the brain going.آ  We’re a team, and a good one.آ  There!آ  That’s my perspective on the event.

Valerie - N9RQX

Chuck Ulmer - N9RRIAnd now, my turn.آ  Way back in the spring, I promised to put in an article and I kept putting it off, until now.آ  This Event that Val described above; is our first one.آ  This is not going to be our last, Lord willing.آ  I may not have gotten on the air but I did the logging for Val and had a lot of fun doing it!آ  As she called out the call signs, I logged them and helped her to remember them when she returned their contacts back to them.آ  Both of us were very busy before the Event and afterward, helping to put up and then take down the shelters. آ During the Event, Val was able to hold her Friday night Net right at her CW Station, making it easier for her to continue, “Pounding the Brass” right after the Net!آ  Now, as I look back, I suppose I could’ve gotten someone to take over, doing Val’s logging, so I could have made contacts myself but we have worked as a team for over 27 years, it would be hard to change now.آ  Don’t you worry, I’ve made HF contacts at home and I’ve had fun doing it.آ  We spent approximately 12 hours “on the job” and instead of driving home to George County we spent the nights at a Motel in Moss Point ق€“ very convenient to the Event Site and well worth it.آ  Taking a shower is so refreshing after 12 hours!آ  As a Club family, we worked together very well, even letting Val get involved in putting the shelter pipes together.آ  We need, as a Club, to do something like this every quarter.آ  It can only strengthen our Club.آ  There!آ  That’s my perspective!.

Chuck - N9RRI

TQSL 2.0 Software Released For Logbook Of The World

A new version of the TQSL software for use with Logbook of The World (LoTW) is available, and it has major changes. This latest update, TQSL 2.0, has been revamped to combine TQSL-Cert and TQSL into a single program, adds additional documentation for certificate operations, and includes a new, task-oriented user interface. Where previous versions had two icons on your desktop -- TQSL and TQSL Cert -- the new version has just one. You'll now be able to log onto your user account from TQSL. In addition, icons within the TQSL user window are larger and easier to identify.

With v 2.0, you get auto-uploading of TQ8 log files and TQ5 certificate requests. In addition, there's automatic dupe checking to prevent previously uploaded QSOs from being uploaded again, saving LoTW server resources. TQSL 2.0 will check for updates in the software and configuration files and notify the user.

Once the user approves the update request, TQSL does the rest.

Inidual station locations -- if you have more than one registered -- are managed in a folder tree format. TQSL 2.0 also incorporates cross-checking to prevent users from entering invalid zones, states or provinces. TQSL 2.0 will back up your call sign certificates, station locations and uploaded QSO log, so it's easy to move from one computer to another or recover from a hard disk failure.

It's easy to upgrade. Install TQSL 2.0, and the installer will automatically uninstall older versions of TQSL while preserving your configuration information. Several things will be obvious the first time you run the new TQSL program. The user interface is completely different, with buttons to carry out major operations. It also provides tabs to access operations for Station Locations and Call Sign Certificates. The Station Location tab displays your station locations and associated call signs.

If you're new to LoTW, instructions on the ARRL website explain how to participate. More than 60,000 radio amateurs use LoTW to confirm their contacts and to apply for awards, such as DXCC. Nearly 78 million contact confirmations have resulted to date.

DX: Operation Approved for DXCC Credit

The ARRL DXCC Desk has approved the 2012 and 2013 operations of T6MH -- Afghanistan for DX Century Club credit. If a request for DXCC credit for this operation has been rejected in a prior application, contact ARRL Awards Branch Manager Bill Moore, NC1L, to be placed on the list for an update to your record. Please note the submission date and/or reference number of your application in order to expedite the search for any rejected contacts.

DXCC is Amateur Radio's premier award that hams can earn by confirming on-the-air contacts with 100 DXCC "entities," most of which are countries in the traditional sense. You can begin with the basic DXCC award and work your way up to the DXCC Honor Roll. Learn more. -- ARRL Awards Branch Manager Bill Moore, NC1L


DX: Advice to Avoid DXpedition Confusion

The Daily DX Editor Bernie McClenny, W3UR, offers some basic recommendations to avoid problems when trying to work the "many juicy DXpeditions" that are active (see The Daily DX Calendar) this month.

"DXers do not depend on the cluster spots to tell you who is on what frequency," McClenny says. He notes that it's fine to use DX spots as a reference point, but to make sure you know for certain which station you are hearing/calling, so that you log the correct call sign. Don't assume.

Also, DXpeditions all work split and typically listen a few kilohertz up. Pay attention to your VFOs, and don't transmit on top of the DX station. "If someone does transmit (calls) on top of a DXpedition, you are better off not getting involved and making things worse," McClenny advises. "Don't be a DX pileup policeman!"

He also has some advice for DXpedition operators. "DXpeditioners, before firing up on a frequency make sure your transmit frequency is clear. Listen around to make sure some other DXpedition is not too close to your transmit or receiving frequencies." And, he adds, "Please send your call sign often!"

McClenny says that ultimately the DXpedition operator is responsible for the pileup. "Remember it takes two to make a QSO, and we DXers at home and those on DXpeditions have certain responsibilities to keep the confusion at a minimum, especially with all the DXpeditions that will be QRV [on the air] during this month."

Regulatory: FCC Sets Higher Vanity Call Sign Fee Than First Proposed

A new FCC regulatory fee of $16.10 to apply for an Amateur Radio vanity call sign will become effective sometime in mid-September, when the new fee schedule appears in the Federal Register. (ARRL will report the exact date as soon as it becomes available.) Earlier this year, the FCC had proposed upping the vanity call sign fee from its current $15 to $15.20. The vanity call sign fee has fluctuated over the 17 years of the current program -- from high of $50 when the program debuted in 1996 to a low of $11.70 in 2007.

In a Report and Order in MD Docket 13-140, released August 12, the FCC ordered a broad schedule of new fees for all services and waived the usual 30-day waiting period following Federal Register publication,

because there would not be time for new fees to become effective before the start of the new federal fiscal year on October 1, 2013. The FCC says it expects $230,230 in revenue to cover the costs of administering the vanity call sign program. It anticipates 14,300 vanity call sign applications.

Applicants must pay the regulatory fee not only when applying for a new vanity call sign, but also when renewing a vanity call sign (those holding "heritage" vanity call signs issued prior to 1993 are exempt).

The ARRL VEC will process license renewals for vanity call sign holders for a modest fee. The service is available to ARRL members and nonmembers, although League members pay less.

Vanity HQ Site Pulls The Plug

Vanity HQAfter serving the US Amateur Radio community for 14 years Mike Carroll, N4MC, has shut down his Vanity HQ website.

"Vanity HQ is closed," now greets visitors to the site. "It's been a good 14 years. Thank you everyone for participating, sending bug reports and comments, and I especially thank all the Elmer volunteers who have helped me over the years. It is time for me to move on. Regards to all."

The site has had its ups and downs over its lifetime. Carroll made a similar announcement in 2004, citing "a shift in my priorities," but the site eventually remained open. Over the years Vanity HQ often was the first stop for radio amateurs seeking a vanity call sign. Among other information, it provided a list of recently issued vanity call signs as well as available call signs and active vanity call sign applications.

In 2008, the ARRL Board okayed a partnership with the Vanity HQ site to have QST Silent Key listings included in the Vanity HQ history project in an electronically searchable format.

After Carroll announced he was shutting down in 2004, Eldon Lewis, K7LS, inaugurated his RadioQTH website, which offers essentially the same information Vanity HQ did.

Computer Savvy - The Difference Between http:// and https://

Most of you may know this, but for those of you who don't, it's good to be aware.

Once in a while, there is something that comes down the pike that is of real importance.  What is the difference between http and https? Don't know how many of you are aware of this difference, but it is worth sending to any who do not.

The main difference between http:// and https:// is that it is all about keeping you secure. HTTP stands for Hyper Text Transfer Protocol.  The S (big surprise) stands for "Secure." If you visit a website or web page, and look at the address in the web browser, it will likely begin with the following: http://. This means that the website is talking to your browser using the regular "unsecured" HTML language. In other words, it is possible for someone to "eavesdrop" on your computer's conversation with the website.

If you fill out a form on the website, someone might see the information you send. This is why you should never ever enter your credit card number in an http website! But if the web address begins with https://, that basically means your computer is talking to the website in a secure code that no one can evesdrop on.

If a website ever asks you to enter your credit card information, you should automatically look to see if the web address begins with https://. If it doesn't, you should NEVER enter sensitive information...such as a credit card number, SS #, etc.

Thanks to Joe, K5OS for passsing this info along.

Notes From An Old Ham

Hurricane season is upon us. We as Amateurs have contributed many times over by providing communications before and after a big storm approaches our coastline. Nick Conner, K5BQJ has been through many of these over the years. He has taken the time to jot down a few notes based on his past experiences. Read and enjoy his article by clicking here. "Notes From An Old Ham."

Check Out Ham Corner

There is a new file available in the Ham Corner section of our Web Site. The file is Coax Loss Calculator. It is a cool way for you to compare various brands of cable for loss at popular operating frequencies. You can enter your transmitter output power and see the loss at any given frequency. You can customize the tool to show the actual output power at the antenna connector. It is a great way to choose the right coax for your operating preferences whether it be HF, VHF or UHF.

Thanks to Nick, K5BQJ for furnishing the link.

Patrick Fagan - WA5DVV

My Power Plan (Or How To Not Burn Down The Shack)

When I became a ham a couple of years ago I started looking at how I was going to distribute power to all my gear. LOL at that time all my gear was a Yaesu FT-100d with a 30 amp power supply. I looked at power distribution strips from MFJ, West Mountain, and several other companies. I noticed that they all had one thing in common, high price tags. Well this did not set too well with me because I am a frugal person (read that as cheap). So I started researching how other hams were dealing with the issue and I discovered the world of Anderson Powerpoles. I thought to myself that these things were a home brewers dream. There were plans all over the internet on building devices and adapters with them. I also noticed that most people involved with ARES and RACES were using these. In fact there is a RACES standard configuration.

I did a search on Ebay and found tons of people selling the powerpoles so I invested in a few. Well let me tell you something, when you start building and making adapters with these things it gets addictive real fast. You walk around the shack and think, "what else can I put these on?"

PowerPole #1PowerPole #2

Since I first started using them my gear list has grown to include not only the Yaesu but now also a Tentec Omni 6+, a Icom v8000, and an automatic antenna tuner. Plus I have set up a solar array (90 watts of the Harbor Freight panels) and use powerpoles to distribute that power to my in shack LED lighting, 12v fan, and radio gear. I have power distribution boxes, 12v wall outlets, and adapters for everything under the sun. Every piece of equipment I have can now be powered by any power source in my shack because they all use the same powerpole configuration. If I need to operate from emergency power all I have to do is clip an adapter onto a battery and plug my gear into that. If you like to tinker and build stuff then Anderson powerpoles are for you, they are like legos and erector sets for adults. Try your hand at making something with them, you will enjoy the feeling of I made this.

I am including some links I found that show how to install them and many examples of things you can make for the shack.

http://www.nj2x.com/2011/11/project-car-power-adapter-to-anderson.html http://hamradionation.com/browse_vidfeeders.php?tag=Anderson+Powerpole

Richard Warner - AF5AQ

Computer Security - Be Prepared

We all know somebody that has been hacked at some time or another. Hacked or hacker is kind of an incorrect term. A hacker is somebody who is fluent in programming and programming languages. They hack a program to make it better or to make it do something they want it to. Sometimes they hack a program just so they can use it for free. Most hackers are not malicious, misguided maybe, but normally not malicious.  Hackers are a curious lot, they hack into programs just to see if they can do it.

What really happens to us as home computer users is that we get cracked. A cracker much like a safe cracker or burglar breaks into your system with the intent to steal your data or to wreak havoc on your system. Why do crackers do what they do? Financial gain of course! They steal your info and sell it, mainly to identity thieves but also to companies that specialize in making and selling lists to the dreaded tele-marketers and spam advertisers.  Unlike hackers, crackers are malicious. They create havoc in your computer, most of the time just to cover their tracks but other times just because they can.

It is sad to say but the only real way to keep your computer safe is to not ever hook it up to the internet or even to other computers via a network.

That being said I know that you are not going to stay off the internet. As hams we use the internet to research projects, look up callsigns, monitor DX clusters, and lots of other things. So knowing that we are going to be on the internet we have to now think about how to use it safely. It is like anything else you do nowadays, you have to be prepared.

Preparedness for your home computer is knowing what you dealing with and having the right tools. It also involves following a few do's and don'ts. Like anything else in life it involves unlearning bad habits and learning new good habits.

Here is a list of tools that I as a computer tech use to clean computers. And the best part about these tools are that they are free to download from doenloads.com which is sponsored by cnet.com.

1: Glary Utilities
2: Malwarebytes
3: AVG antivirus
4: Spyware Terminator

Richard Warner - AF5AQ

Computer Definitions Every HAM Should Know

Computer virus:

 A computer program that is designed to replicate itself by copying itself into the other programs stored in a computer. It may be benign or have a negative effect, such as causing a program to operate incorrectly or corrupting a computer's memory.

 Trojan or Trojan horse:

 1: a program that appears desirable but actually contains something harmful; the contents of a Trojan can be a virus or a worm.
 2: A bug inserted into a program or system designed to be activated after a certain time or a certain number of operations


  A malicious program that replicates itself until it fills all of the storage space on a drive or network.


1: Malicious computer software that interferes with normal computer functions or sends personal data about the user to unauthorized parties over the Internet.
2: Software that is written and distributed for malicious purposes, such as impairing or destroying computer systems. Computer viruses are malware.


1: Software that secretly gathers information about a person or organization.
2: Any malicious software that is designed to take partial or full control of a computer's operation without the knowledge of its user.


1. Software that displays advertisements and is integrated into another program offered at no charge or at low cost.
2: A  type of spyware that gathers information about an Internet user's browsing habits and displays targeted or contextual advertisements.

Tracking cookie or just cookie:

A cookie, in computer terms, is a small data file that stores information on your computer. When this information is used to record the movements your computer makes throughout one or more websites, it is called a tracking cookie, because it tracks your pathways from one page to another. The tracking cookie file takes up very little space on your computer because it uses only text, no images or other data-heavy sources.

Read more: Definition of Tracking Cookies | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/info_8087985_definition-tracking-cookies.html#ixzz2RO7lzzQS

Computer Security Software:

Computer security software covers a wide variety of potential risks, including hacker intrusions, destruction of data, harmful viruses, Trojan horses and other malicious attacks. Computer security software is available either within the computer's operating system or add-ons freely downloaded or purchased. Computer security software offers peace of mind amid a growing array of risks that increase exponentially as more PCs become accessible through the Internet

Read more: Definition of Computer Security Software | eHow.com




A system designed to prevent unauthorized access to or from a private network. Firewalls can be implemented in both hardware and software, or a combination of both. Firewalls are frequently used to prevent unauthorized Internet users from accessing private networks connected to the Internet, especially intranets. All messages entering or leaving the intranet pass through the firewall, which examines each message and blocks those that do not meet the specified security criteria.

A good site on computer security:


A small list of security software that is available for download from Cnet.com. Best of all they are free.

1: Glary Utilities
2: Malwarebytes
3: AVG Antivirus
4:Spyware Terminator

Some do's and don'ts for home computer security:


ق€ Create strong passwords that are at least eight characters long, and including at least a numerical value and a symbol, such as #, to foil password-cracking software. Avoid common words, and never disclose a password online.

ق€ Change your password every ninety days.

ق€ Perform regular backups of important data.

ق€ Delete any message that refers to groups or organizations that you are not a part of.

ق€ Download and install software only from online sources you trust.

ق€ Never click on a link from an untrusted source.

ق€ Close windows containing pop-up ads or unexpected warnings by clicking on the ق€œXق€ button in the upper most right hand corner of that window, not by clicking within the window.

ق€ Use antivirus software, and update it on a regular basis to recognize the latest threats.

ق€ Regularly update your operating system, Web browser, and other major software, using the manufacturers' update features, preferably using the auto update functionality.

ق€ Set Windows or Mac updates to auto-download.


ق€ Never write down your password. Especially on a Post-It note stuck to your computer!

ق€ Never give out your password to anyone, whether you know them or not.

ق€ Never select the "Remember My Password" option. Many applications do not store them securely.

ق€ Never purchase anything promoted in a spam message. Even if the offer isnق€™t a scam, you are only helping to finance and encourage spam.

ق€ Please refrain from opening an e-mail attachment, even from someone you know well, unless you were expecting it.

ق€ Avoid creating common passwords such as your name, social security, UNI, etcetera.

ق€ Do not leave your laptop unattended, even for a few minutes.

ق€ Never reply to e-mail(s) requesting financial or personal information.

ق€ Avoid opening e-mail(s) or e-mail attachments from an unknown sender.

ق€ Please refrain from clicking on the close button within pop-up ads.

ق€ Under no circumstances should you install or use pirated copies of software.

ق€ Do not install P2P file sharing programs which can illegally download copyrighted material.

ق€ Never set your e-mail program to "auto-open" attachments.

Richard Warner - AF5AQ



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