Updated November, 2020
C4FM in the House
October 15, 2020
MARS has replaced the 444.075 MHz repeater with a brand-new Yaesu System Fusion machine. The 5 MHz offset and 110.9 Hz CTCSS tone remain the same. The system is set to automatically determine if the signal is analog or digital so you can still use your analog rig. Thanks go to Allan Batteiger, WB5QNG, Dave Lane, N5GDL, and Ron Reeves, NN5R, for making it all happen.
I’ve had a couple of MARS members mention, “It seems to be very quiet lately, there’s not much going on.”
We are still stuck in COVID-19 limbo. A lot of us don’t want to venture out much yet. Our face-to-face meeting venues are still not available. Whataburger is now open during breakfast hours and we’ve heard of a few folks showing up for Hams & Eggs on Saturday, but most of us are not quite ready for a non-social-distancing face-to-face QSO just yet.
So, we’ve settled into a pattern. Maybe we are just complacent, or we are just waiting for better days ahead.
The weather has turned very nice lately! Here are some ideas to break out of the rut—safely—to take care of some ham radio chores you’ve been putting off.
Inspect your feedlines. Those cute squirrels in the backyard might have decided to nibble on your coax!
Check out your grounds. Look for corrosion.
Tune up your vertical. Get out that can of DeoxIT® and tube of DeoxIT® L260 grease and touch up those aluminum element joints.
Drag out one of those speaker tripods and set up that old 6m or 2m Yagi or Moxon in the backyard and play on VHF SSB or digital.
Or even (scary thought) clean up the Shack!
As for me, I have a (new to me) pickup. I’m going to use the nice weather to install the dual bander in the truck, run the coax to the antenna mount, and all the rest.
That’s it for now. 73 David Gilpin, K5GIL
The Other MARS
Bill Swan, K5MWC, shared with the club his vast knowledge of the Military Auxiliary Radio System at the October 8 virtual meeting. MARS provides contingency communications support on behalf of the men and women of the Department of Defense and other U.S. Government users in support of their important and diverse national security missions whenever, however, and wherever required. He explained the group’s mission is not limited to emergency situations. Go now to download Bill’s presentation (PDF).
Things have been relatively quiet recently. The “new normal” seems to have settled in, although nothing seems normal without a real State Fair of Texas in September/October.
At this writing we are still forecasted to get the first “real” cool front of meteorological fall this week. Anything is better than those terrible 100°+ days! I’m looking forward to having some cooler days so that I can install my mobile rig in my Dodge Ram and finish up a couple of antenna projects.
On Saturday August 29th I represented MARS at the ARRL West Gulf Club virtual meeting, hosted by John Robert Stratton, N5AUS, Director, West Gulf Division, Lee Cooper, W5LHC, Vice Director, West Gulf Division, and Steven Lott Smith, KG5VK, North Texas Section Manager.
About 18 Clubs from North Texas were represented. We discussed several topics...
Tower Safety — There have been two tower-related deaths due to falls from amateur radio towers in the past several weeks. The ARRL is asking Clubs to remind all Amateurs on the importance of tower safety and the use of proper gear. MARS will be covering this in a future meeting.
The FCC Proposal of adding new fees — The ARRL will be issuing a formal response being AGAINST these new fees, but the League is aware that the FCC will most likely go ahead with implementing fees anyway. The ARRL is discussing what tolerable compromises will be offered as counter proposals.
Director Stratton talked about the turmoil inside the League including the churn at President (3 Presidents in the last 4 years). He went over how the new current CEO, David Minster, NA2AA, was selected. One major concern is the ARRL’s antiquated IT department and resources. The League is going through a lot of modernization in IT to provide better, modern, and efficient services.
I discussed how Allan Batteiger, WB5QNG, working closely with W5YI, had made remote Ham Radio License testing a success. The Director, while happy with W5YI’s success, said this highlights the weakness in ARRL IT. The new President and the Board will be focused on modernizing ARRL as a VEC, including remote testing.
Other announcements at the meeting:
The NTX Section will soon be getting a refreshed Web site.
Another West Gulf virtual meeting will be scheduled probably in February 2021.
The NTX Section will most likely schedule its own virtual Club Officers’ meeting in October or November 2020.
That’s it for now. 73 David