Updated June 1, 2023
MARS ham Kevin Grantham, N5KRG, recently completed training with the Dallas Community Emergency Response Team (CERT). He learned that amateur radio can play an important role with the organization.
CERT training is based on the concept that informed and trained individuals, neighborhoods and communities are more resilient during a disaster. They also consume far less of what will be scarce response and recovery resources, such as paramedics, ambulance and hospital services, rescue and other items needed to sustain and protect life and property.
Kevin became involved because CERT members Melissa Tanner, KI5GRH, and Robinson Tryon, KG5UVN, were attending Kevin’s monthly ECOM 101 net, every second Monday at 7:00 PM on the 146.88 Dallas ARC repeater. Melissa and Robinson subsequently created their own CERT City Simulated Disaster Net. CERT City is a simulated city where disasters never seem to end.
Melissa and Robinson asked Kevin to design some exercises and training to bring to their net. After attending some CERT meetings, he decided to take the training. Kevin notes, “I wish I had taken this training sooner.”
If you are interested in CERT, please visit the Dallas Office of Emergency Management for more information. And don’t forget to check out CERT City net meeting every Friday evening at 8:00 PM on 146.88, tone 110.9.
News from North Texas
ARRL North Texas Section Manager Steven Lott Smith, KG5VK, joined us at the March 9 meeting to share all the latest news and information in and around North Texas.
Volunteers on the Air (VOTA) is a year-long on the air celebration of ARRL Member Volunteers at the ARRL and Field Services level. You earn points ranging from one point for QSOs with ARRL members to 300 points for working ARRL President Rick Roderick, K5UR.
W1AW/portable is also part of VOTA. Each state gets two opportunities this year for their ARRL members to use W1AW/#. Texas had about 20 operators on the air as W1AW/5 during the first slot in February. Gary Nachman, K9JN, of Sachse had the most QSOs with 834 in the log. The next slot for Texas will be in September. For more information about VOTA, please visit: https://www.arrl.org/volunteers-on-the-air
ARRL Foundation Scholarships are just one of the benefits of membership. The Foundation granted over 1.5 million dollars last year and is on track to award more than 100 scholarships ranging from $500 to $25,000 in 2023. Visit https://www.arrl.org/scholarship-program for more information.
The ARRL Teachers Institute on Wireless Technology offers hands-on professional workshops that give teachers tools and strategies to introduce basic electronics, radio science, satellite communication, Amateur Radio, and much more to their students. The program is part of ARRL’s Education and Technology Program. Go here for more information: https://www.arrl.org/teachers-institute-on-wireless-technology
ARRL Contest Rules have changed. Please go to https://www.arrl.org/contest-rules for complete details. ARRL Field Day Rules have changed as well. Notably GOTA stations can earn more points for QSOs and there is no limit. Having a GOTA “Coach” can give you 100 bonus points. To discover other changes for 2023, download the FD rules here: https://contests.arrl.org/ContestRules/Field-Day-Rules.pdf
The ARRL is building a fund to revive old, defunct division-level hamfests (think Ham-Com). As part of that initiative the Trinity River Roundup Hamfest has been launched and will be our new division-wide hamfest. The Mesquite Convention Center has been chosen for its ability to host tailgating and reasonable costs. The second weekend of June 2025 is the target date. More information to come as things develop.
If you have questions about any of these topics, please contact Steve, KG5VK@ARRL.org.
MARS Gears Up for Texas State Parks on the Air
Spearheaded by our TSPOTA Event Committee, Andy Parcel, KE5KOF, Ken Wendel, W5RPS, Steve Darrah, KD5YPB, and Tom Yenny, K5LOL, MARS plans to activate the Johnson Branch Unit of Ray Roberts Lake State Park.
We will operate under our club call, KB5A, only on Saturday. Here is the essential information.
What are the dates and times?
TSPOTA runs Saturday and Sunday, April 15 and 16. However, the Club plans only to operate on Saturday. The park opens at 6:00 AM CDT and we will muster at 7:00 AM to set up our equipment. Admission is $7.00 per person unless you have a yearly pass. The talk-in frequency will be on the Denton County ARA repeater 146.920 MHz, tone 110.9. Local comms will be 146.48 simplex, no tone. The event starts at 9:00 AM CDT. We plan to shut down not later 8:00 PM CDT.
Because we’re on the air only one day, we’re considering doing some of the antenna setup on Friday afternoon starting at 1:30 PM CDT. If you can help with the Friday setup, please let us know.
Where is it?
Thanks to Steve Darrah, KD5YPB, we’ve once again secured a spot at the Johnson Branch Unit of Ray Roberts Lake State Park. Our operation will be at a pavilion near the Nature Center. We’ve secured the parking lot for antennas. Click here to download a map to the Nature Center.
Can I bring my own radio?
Radios will be available. If you prefer to bring your own HF radio or a radio that features 2-meter sideband or 6-meter sideband, please feel free to bring it and connect to one of the provided antennas.
Can I set up my own antenna?
No, you should not plan to use your own antenna. The TSPOTA Committee will provide antennas to cover 2m, 6m, 10m, 15m, 20m, 40m and 80m. We will be tightly coordinating what radios will operate on specific bands. TSPOTA rules do not allow for more than one radio on any particular band at one time anyway.
A note about tuners: We will be using band pass filters and multiplexers to help manage RF. You will not be able to use internal tuners, but you may use an external tuner if you wish.
How many stations will be operating?
We will have up to 5 stations on 7 bands. The Mobile Command Center (MCC), courtesy of Kevin Grantham, N5KRG and Andy Parcel, KE5KOF, will have 2- and 6-meter stations; three HF rigs will be at the pavilion.
What if there’s foul weather?
The weather is always a little tricky but the forecast is for sunny skies and mild temperatures.
If you’ve never been involved in a field event, now is your opportunity. This will be a really fun event. We hope you can come out and join us Saturday, April 15. If you have any questions or comments, please contact Tom, K5LOL@ARRL.net.