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Updated December 19, 2023

Switchyard Notes
Metrocrest Festival Booth

      This year’s Festival at the Switchyard saw a steady stream of interested fest-goers visiting the MARS booth. We had several guests who expressed an interest in ham radio so we explained how to study and get a license.

      The “Kid Code Key” attracted kids of all ages and generated smiles as they pounded out their names in Morse code. We had over 130 visitors work the key. Even Carrollton Mayor Steve Babick demonstrated his “fist.”

      Billed as a special event we set up stations seeking contacts from around the world. Tom Yenny, K5LOL, and Ron Reeves, NN5R, worked SSB on 15 and 20 meters. David Gilpin, K5GIL, and Andy Smolenski, KI5YLX, were at the digital rig running FT4 and FT8 on 10, 12, 15 and 20 meters. Steve Darrah, KD5YPB, set up a Winlink® station.

      We worked 31 states, and 14 foreign countries. Best DX was Australia (≈14,000 km) with Japan in the second slot (≈10,500 km). All told we had 80 unique QSOs in the log.

      Thanks go to the radio operators and to Daryl DeVault, KE5SAB, James Jernigan, KG5WVL, Kevin Grantham, N5KRG, Mike Brown, W5MDB, and Liz Brown, K5EMB, for making the event a great success. We’re looking forward to next year’s Festival at the Switchyard.

Fox Hunting with Tony

      At the October 12 meeting, Tony Mendina, NT5TM, shared his extensive expertise with “Fox Hunting.” Fox Hunting is searching for low-power transmitters hidden around the area. Tony shared his best direction-finding techniques in the video. You can find more information at these links:

Texas QSO Party
Tom Yenny at his station

     MARS hams Tom Yenny, K5LOL, and Ron Reeves, NN5R, braved some nice weather on Saturday September 16 to activate Montague County during the annual Texas QSO Party. They set up on a covered picnic table at a roadside park near Nocona.

     Tom and Ron roughed it. A Honda generator provided electricity, Mother Nature (MN) provided trees for wire antenna supports, but offered no internet, no TV, and no facilities. However, MN gave them plenty of ants, a nice breeze, and a beautiful view over the countryside.

Ron Reeves at his station

     The logs show they made 56 contacts for the Texas Party, 4 for the Wisconsin Parks on the Air (POTA) contest, 4 for the Salmon Run (Washington QSO Party), 1 for the New Hampshire QSO Party, 2 for the New Jersey QSO Party, and 11 for the Iowa QSO Party. They had QSOs with 2 Route 66 stations, 11 POTA stations, and talked with W1AW/0 twice. They worked all the contests that were running that weekend!

     Tom’s long distance QSO was with Wales on 15 meters SSB. Just like last year, Tom made all the Texas contacts while Ron made most of the out-of-state contacts—strange how that works.

     The reach was 11 Texas counties and 18 states. Not bad for a couple of guys with two rigs, 100 watts, only about 4 hours operating time and some wire hung from the trees. Ron says, “Break out your go box, get outside, and enjoy Texas in the fall.”

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