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Updated June 13, 2017

Crossband with the other MARS

May 13, 2017

     To mark the 66th annual Armed Forces Day (AFD), the US Army, Air Force, Navy, and Coast Guard conducted the traditional military/amateur radio communication tests on May 13. Armed Forces Day was May 20, but the Crossband Military-Amateur Radio event was scheduled to avoid conflicts with those attending Hamvention.

     Andy Parcel, KE5KOF, made several contacts with stations of the Military Auxiliary Radio System (MARS) from Ken Good Park in Carrollton. Operating under the club call, KB5A, Andy logged:

AAZ, Ft Huachuca, Arizona

ABH, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii

WAR, Pentagon, Washington DC

ADB, Camp Foster, Okinawa Japan

NIIW, USS Midway, San Diego

NWMC, USS LST-325, Evansville, Indiana

NWKJ, USS Yorktown, Charleston, South Carolina

     The objective was to test two-way communication between radio amateurs and military stations (authorized under §97.111 of the Amateur Service rules), using SSB voice, CW, and the opportunity for participating hams to use more modern military modes, such as MIL-STD Serial PSK and Automatic Link Establishment (ALE). MARS is a program sponsored by the Department of Defense and uses Amateur Radio operators to contribute to the mission of the DOD.

     “Twenty-meter voice was wide open and we expect to receive QSLs in a few weeks,” according to Andy. Thanks go to Kevin Grantham, N5KRG, Dale Finley, KB5NFT, Dale Hiatt, KC5MAY, and Paul Martel, N1NEC, for help with setup and operations.

Bug-Out - Updated!

May 11, 2017

     Tom Yenny, K5LOL, presented his variety of “ultimate go bags” at the May meeting. In the interest of being prepared for anything, Tom walked us through designing and stocking a bag (or bags) that can help you or your family get through an emergency.

     He pointed out that it’s not enough to gather a bunch of gear. You should create, review and practice an emergency plan for your whole family.

     Tom said you can spend a lot of money on your sack of stuff, but there’s a video on YouTube that shows how to assemble a kit for under $100. You can download a PDF and an audio file of Tom’s presentation from the links below.

Hams draw lots to see who has to climb the mast

Tom K5LOL watches for falling hams

Kevin N5KRG works on his “non-resonant” vertical

Kevin N5KRG and Andy KE5KOF

Andy KE5KOF fights the wind

Gale forces are best handled sitting down

Kevin N5KRG consults with Dale KB5NFT

Steve KD5YPB and David K5GIL discuss the best way to assemble a mast


David K5GIL and Steve KD5YPB wish they had saved the instructions

Finally the mast is up with cheering from the crowd

Dale KB5NFT thinks it’s chilly

Steve KD5YPB making the right connections

More mast climbing by K5GIL

K5GIL tightening the 6m beam

Dale KB5NFT adjusting the AREDN node

N5KRG’s AREDN node

Mike W5MDB and Dave AC5DL

Dennis W5LSX and Dale KB5NFT

Steve KD5YPB and Liz K5EMB

Though surrounded by state-of-the-art radio gear, Ben KG5RJP and Dale KC5MAY resort to something cellular

Liz K5EMB and Seth AF5YN

There is a rig in this picture somewhere next to the requisite Whataburger go-bag

Nifty radio stuff

Mark KG5RPX and Kevin N5KRG work the nifty radio stuff

Joe KG5HNZ and Dave AC5DL

Mike W5MDB pondering PSK

Vintage gear for PSK

David K5GIL and Ron NN5R

Liz K5EMB helping Dale KC5MAY flip some burgers

Master Ham-Chef Dale


The lunch line forms

David K5GIL takes a break

Kevin N5KRG explains ham radio to a group of Cub Scouts who dropped by

Cub Scouts are mesmerized by Kevin’s radio pitch

This is Chloe

This is Chloe guarding Russell W5SGV and Beth KF5LBE (incognito).

Andy KE5KOF working DX

This is Minnie (also licensed)

Windy State Parks on the Air - Update!


April 8, 2017

     After taking last year off, MARS hams again converged on the Johnson Branch Unit of Ray Roberts Lake State Park. The wind gusting in excess of 30 mph threatened to modify our antennas and radiation patterns, but amateur ingenuity overcame the challenge.

     About 30 hams and guests were on hand to help raise masts, assemble beams, and secure the guy lines. Rigs worked 10m to 40m using digital and phone. An AREDN™ node was set up as well. As always, lunch and dinner were the highlights of the event.

     As in 2015, the objective was to contact as many of the state parks as possible, as well as other hams around the world. Log master David Gilpin, K5GIL, reports 35 total QSOs—16 with Texas Parks—for a total score of 212 points! MARS placed 7th overall.

     Many thanks to Liz Brown, K5EMB, and Steve Darrah, KD5YPB, for organizing the outing, to Dale Hiatt, KC5MAY, for the excellent food, and to all the others who helped make Texas State Parks on the Air a success.

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