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Updated February 1, 2023

Parts is Parts

Ron Reeves, NN5R

Stack of parts boxes

    I have a spreadsheet where I jot down ham radio parts I need. I recently decided to get my act together, order the parts and fix some things around the shack. My favorite mail order parts suppliers are Mouser, Kits and Parts dot com, Four States QRP Group, the 24-hour hamfest known as eBay, and that famous bookseller, Amazon. This time I found everything I needed at Mouser or already in my stock. If you haven’t been on the Mouser site recently, there’s a countdown clock in the upper right corner. If you place your order before the clock hits zero, Mouser promises to ship your order the same day. Those of us in the DFW area are spoiled rotten. The Mouser distribution warehouse is physically located over in Mansfield. For me, the cheapest shipping option, “3-5-day shipping”, is really next-day delivery. I can order parts on Monday before that clock hits zero and the (in-stock) parts are on my doorstep sometime Tuesday. Not as convenient as Tanner’s but Mouser has a much larger selection and is still in business. My spreadsheet is empty right now, except for a toroid I’ll get from Amazon. Wow! An online bookstore that also carries ham radio parts. What will they think of next?

    David Gilpin, K5GIL, recently challenged me to look into a potential Build-a-Rig project. You can help. We’re looking for a project we can use as a Club build—maybe an affordable rig that we can have fun building. It can be a true homebrew (we do most of the work) or an all-inclusive almost-idiot-proof Heathkit-style kit. David has a suggestion for a 5-watt all-band all-mode rig. I have a few ideas. We need your input. Have you run across a rig or project you’d like to build and need a little encouragement to go forward with it? Send me an email with your suggestion and we’ll see what develops.

    73 Ron, NN5R

Christmas Party is a Winner

  Area hams and their families gathered at the American Legion Post 597 in downtown Carrollton on Thursday, December 8, to enjoy the excellent food, fun and fellowship typical of MARS’ annual get-together. This was our first time at this venue and all attendees seemed quite pleased by the warm welcome from the American Legion family. Proceeds from post events (such as ours) benefit charities throughout our community.

  Highlight of the evening was the raffle of a Yaesu FT-891, HF + 50MHz transceiver. MARS member Steve Darrah, KD5YPB, was the lucky winner. Steve was not able to attend, but his radio will be delivered to him soon. Other hams got some fabulous door prizes. Please check out the photo gallery below.

  Legion members maintain a national ham radio organization for military veterans engaged in Amateur Radio, known as The American Legion Amateur Radio Club (TALARC). Many local posts have their own clubs around the country and are active in special events, emergency communications and SKYWARN®. TALARC operates a station at their national headquarters in Indianapolis, Indiana under the call sign K9TAL. For more information about TALARC, please visit

A Special Switchyard
2022 Festival at the Switchyard marquee on the Plaza theater

   MARS hams held a 3-station Special Event during Carrollton’s annual Festival at the Switchyard on November 5. SSB, PSK-31, and FT8 were the modes of choice on 40, 20, 15, 10 and 6 meters.

   Using a 40/20/15-meter multiplexer assembled by Tom Yenny, K5LOL, operators were able to use a single end-fed wire stretched across 2nd Avenue in downtown Carrollton. David Gilpin, K5GIL, brought a 10-meter vertical and a 6-meter vertical dipole to add to the fun. Mike Brown, W5MDB, had his 2m/440 and HF go-boxes. Rounding out the essential gear was the “Kid Code Key” returning for another season.

   Tom was in contest mode working SSB with his Yaesu FT-991 and recorded 9 QSOs. Kevin Grantham, N5KRG, stepped up and added another 5 contacts to the SSB log. Mike had his vintage Icom IC-706 doing PSK-31 and made 8 contacts from California to New York. David made 20 QSOs using FT8 on 10 and 6 meters. He would get the DX award (if there was one) by logging Canada and Brazil. The “Kid Code Key” attracted attention from youngsters of all ages who tried their “fists” on the key, tapping out their names in Morse Code.

   Playing radio is always fun but the goal behind the event was to demonstrate Amateur Radio to the general public and to promote it both as a hobby and a public service. We enjoyed lively foot traffic inside the booth. One person was interested enough to come to our Club meeting and is now looking forward to getting a license.

   In addition to those hams mentioned above, MARS thanks Liz Brown, K5EMB, James Jernigan, KG5WVL, Bob Norris, N0IIL, Ron Reeves, NN5R, and especially Steve Darrah, KD5YPB, for heading up the entire project. We also thank Carrollton Fire Rescue for the use of their building as an antenna anchor point and an equipment staging area. We’re looking forward to 2023 when we again set up shop on Broadway.

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