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Updated November 1, 2023

National Traffic System
Korky Kathman KG5NNA

    At the September 14 meeting, Korky Kathman, KG5NNA, gave us an overview of the National Traffic System. Korky is the Manager of the DFW Metroplex Traffic Net.

    YouTube also has a lengthy online tutorial about the NTS here:

Logbook #2

     This is so weird. I’m cleaning up the mess in my shack and I run across a 3-ring binder labeled, “Ham Radio Log.” Well, cleaning can wait. Inside the binder, there’s a spiral ARRL logbook labeled “Book #2,” dated 9/12/1972, with the spiral removed and the pages hole punched.

     In the fall of 1972, I lived in the suburbs of Washington DC. I was a junior in high school and I had just received my General Class ticket (from an in-person FCC examination downtown). There’s a bunch of DX100 CW entries in the log. There’s a few DX60 CW entries and there’s my novice rig, a converted AN/ARC-5 transmitter running 50 watts input on 40m CW. Then there’s a hole in the log corresponding to my family moving to Minnesota. There’s a few contacts from my senior year in high school. Then a bigger hole in the timeline.

AN/ARC-5 transmitter

     The log changes to a sheet of notebook paper dated 25 June 1977—Field Day. I was a junior in college working a summer job on the east coast. The club out there had a bunch of really good CW operators. I should have spent time learning from them. The log shows I’m on 15m SSB logging about 12 contacts an hour using a tribander beam. I don’t remember the beam (I don’t even remember getting on the air), but I remember that Field Day. It was at a clearing back in the woods. There were three large Army tents: one was our mess hall; one was for the two SSB stations; and the other was for the two CW stations. There was a big noisy generator down the hill. I remember sleeping in my tent listening to that generator all night long.

     I remember being in the CW tent listening to guys making high-speed CW contacts at rapid fire pace, copying call signs and signal reports in their head and manually logging them in a paper logbook. I didn’t even ask to operate CW. Those guys were in a different league.

     I don’t remember getting on the air but there are two pages, in my handwriting, logging SSB contacts. Two call signs yell at me from the page. K9IU/9—that’s Indiana University. I went to Purdue—rivals. The other call sign of note was K5RWK/5 in North Texas—The Richardson Wireless Klub. You never know what you might find in an old logbook.

     I don’t remember the last time I saw my first logbook. I’m afraid it may have been the victim of too many moves. But I remember what it looks like. Maybe someday I’ll be cleaning and get distracted again wandering through my past in my first ham radio logbook.

—73 Ron Reeves, NN5R

Fire Destroys Outdoor Siren

   On Sunday night, August 20, fire destroyed the outdoor warning siren just behind Carrollton’s Fire Station Number 4 at 2155 E Rosemeade Parkway. A nearby power transformer caught fire then spread to a tree and to the siren. The blaze caused the siren to activate for about 40 seconds before it succumbed to the flames.

   Carrollton firefighters quickly brought the fire under control. Power was knocked out for several hours but has since been restored. The siren was totally destroyed and will need to be replaced. Public Works officials estimate it could be up to twelve weeks before it’s back in service. The fire station suffered no damage; the tree was scorched but may recover.

Transformer fire
Transformer fire

   As part of its public service role, ham members of the Carrollton-Farmers Branch Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) monitor the monthly siren tests and give a report to the Carrollton and Farmers Branch offices of emergency preparedness. 

Ron Exposes RF
Ron Reeves NN5R

   At the August 10 meeting, Ron Reeves, NN5R, brought an excellent explanation of the FCC’s requirement that amateur radio operators evaluate their stations’ radio frequency emissions. The Amateur Radio Service is no longer categorically excluded from certain aspects of the RF exposure rules. Just like any other radio or TV service, ham operators must ensure that you and your neighbors are not exposed to potentially harmful RF energy.

   Fortunately, the ARRL has a handy online calculator to help you do the math. To walk you through it, we have Ron’s presentation available.

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