top of page


Updated March 24, 2020

President’s Corner

March 2020

  On Saturday, March 7, the Irving Amateur Radio Club awarded MARS over $1,000 from their micro-grant program. This will enable us to convert the 444.075 repeater to a Yaesu System Fusion (YSF). That digital mode enables sending pictures from properly-equipped Yaesu radios, using wide-band high-quality voice as well as narrowband voice, and using various position reporting and SAR features. This is our first truly digital repeater, and I’m very excited to kick off this important project. We’ll schedule a Play Day to talk about all things Fusion, and you can bring your Fusion radios!

  Spring is about to be sprung, and a young man’s fancy turns to – REPEATERS!

  I was going to say that if you encounter someone from Irving give them a hug, but in light of the current situation maybe a fist-bump or elbow bump will do.

President’s Corner

February 2020

  The winter excitement continues!

  Winter Field Day was tough. Not only the equipment and antenna issues, but it was hard digging out contacts on 20m and 40m. Later that night 80m opened up to some very strong signals and we were able to put some in the log.

  Our ARES/RACES group is going to work on programming radios and setting up Winlink stations at our next Radio Play Day. Come to the meeting on February 13 and we’ll talk about it, and then be sure to put that Saturday on your calendar.

  On March 7 you can attend the Irving Hamfest and sell your unused equipment to make room for your new gear that you will be using at Texas State Parks On the Air (TSPOTA) and ARRL Field Day, coming up April 18 and June 27. Don’t forget Ham-Com in Plano. We will have tables there to sell donated items to help raise money for MARS, and to help sell your items.

  Very soon we’ll be appointing a nominating committee. Yes, we’ll need to have candidates ready by May so that we can vote in June. Please let me know if you would be willing to serve on a club committee, as a club officer (all are up for election) or a director (one position needs to be filled.)

  Until then I’ll see you at the meeting or on the air.

73 Kevin N5KRG

Winter Field Day a Cool Event

February 3, 2020

  MARS joined the Irving Amateur Radio Club and the Dallas Amateur Radio Club for Winter Field Day January 25–26 by activating the showroom at Alford Media Services in Coppell.

  Using the special event call, K5T, the three clubs worked from 1:00 PM to 10:00 PM as 3I-NTX (3 stations; indoor; commercial power). Each club had one station and one table.

  As Dallas and Irving packed up the showroom, Kevin Grantham, N5KRG, and Andy Parcel, KE5KOF, continued to operate into the night from their mobile command vehicle.

  The log showed 125 total contacts including 1 satellite QSO (thanks to Tom Schuessler, N5HYP) for a total claimed score of 5,364. Nice going!

  Many thanks go to Ken Hansen, N2VIP, Bill Brady, KF5ZBL, and all the gang at Irving and Dallas for their help organizing this event.

  Check out the gallery below for snapshots of the action. Click to open in a popup.

The Big Board

Randy Patterson, KE5JIT, ready to pull up an end-fed wire.

Dwin Towell, WD5WIN, pulling the end-fed into position.

The nifty multi-band wire high in the sky.

Dwin Towell, WD5WIN, and Tom General, KE5ICX, wrestle a mast.

Tom Schuessler, N5HYP, de-tangling some coax; something all hams must do eventually.

David Cappello, KG5EIU, standing by the log while Dwin Towell, WD5WIN, calls “CQ.”

Dwin Towell, WD5WIN, and David Cappello, KG5EIU.

The Urban Assault Command Post run by Kevin Grantham, N5KRG, and Andy Parcel, KE5KOF.

Ken Wendel, W5RPS, and Kevin Grantham, N5KRG, pondering the next bolt.

Tom General, KE5ICX, and Kevin Grantham, N5KRG, getting the monster mast ready.

Andy Parcel, KE5KOF, wrangling monster mast.

Tom Schuessler, N5HYP, working a satellite to earn an extra 1500 points.

Tom Schuessler, N5HYP, taking aim at a satellite coming over the horizon.

David Cappello, KG5EIU and Kevin Grantham, N5KRG, decipher the mysteries of AREDN mesh.

John Byrom, N5BB, with another successful CW QSO.

John Byrom, N5BB, pounding brass.

John Byrom, N5BB, and a fellow ham watch the “Big Board” for signs of incoming signals (or missiles). Ron Reeves, NN5R, (plaid shirt) monitors CW.

Alford Media Services was our gracious host.

Handi-Talkie Talk

January 9, 2020

  Tom Yenny, K5LOL, shared just part of his massive collection of portable radios at MARS’ first meeting of 2020. He took us back before we enjoyed our computer-programmed, non-skid, color-displayed HTs with controls too small for human fingers.

  One advantage of early portables was that hams did not have to program CTCSS tones because that feature wasn’t there. And that confusing VFO wasn’t necessary because you just bought a bunch of crystals for your desired frequencies.

  Tom challenged the group to speculate the future for HTs. Will there more merging with cell phones or will the portable just go the way of the floppy disk? He pointed out that amateur radio continues to be at risk of losing our frequency allocations. He also challenged us to be more active on the air, and to encourage new and potential hams.

  Go here to download your very own copy of Tom’s presentation, and check out the gallery.

President’s Corner

January 2020

  Happy New Year! We are halfway through the current “club year” and it’s been fun. Coming up are Winter Field Day this month, then Texas State Parks On The Air (TSPOTA), and finally ARRL Field Day in June. In between are several hamfests including Cowtown Hamfest this month, Irving and then the big Ham-Com in Plano in June. Plan to participate in as many as you can; it’s a great way to sharpen your operating skills and contribute to the club.

Christmas Party a Success

  Over 50 hams and guests gathered at The Victoria Restaurant in Farmers Branch for a great Tex-Mex dinner, door prizes and fellowship on December 12. President Kevin Grantham, N5KRG, presided over the event. An excellent video, The Last Ham on Earth, by Tom General, KE5ICX, was quite a hit.

  David Holliday, NB5V, took away the big Raffle Prize—a $1,000 gift certificate from Main Trading—making him a very Happy Holliday indeed.

  For pictures of the festivities, go now to the Gallery. MARS wishes everyone a wonderful New Year with good DX in 2020!

bottom of page