News

President’s Corner

July 2018

     I’m excited to be your President as we start this new fiscal year for MARS. We have some very interesting programs planned, combined with Play Day projects, a Fall event that Steve Darrah is organizing, the Festival at the Switchyard, and more.

     I’ll start with a recap of Field Play Day. We held this event in Argyle again. While it’s a fabulous building with huge fields to set up antennas, this year the air conditioning failed, and it was pretty tough. I’m proud of the members who came and operated in spite of the heat. We had a CrankIR, a very interesting folded vertical made by SteppIR, we had a non-resident vertical that accounted for most of our contacts, we had a Chameleon Antenna™, and one ham set up with an ancient (30-year-old) Hustler on a mag mount. Everyone made contacts. We had delicious food, too!

     If you haven’t already, please get your annual dues in right away. You can send a check to the club’s address, which is Metrocrest Amateur Radio Society, 12895 Josey Ln Ste 124-449, Farmers Branch, TX 75234. Or you can pay via PayPal on the website. Or you can bring your check to Hams n’ Eggs on Saturday or the club meeting on July 12th.

     Remember, if you have not yet paid you are past due. Please take care of this right away.

     As a member, you will shortly receive an email saying that you are being added to the Metrocrest Amateur Radio Society on HamClubOnline. Please accept this so that you will continue to receive information from the club. Only people who have paid their dues will be added to HamClubOnline. Technically, your membership has lapsed if you haven’t paid.

     It’s going to be a great year as we develop a number of new projects and capabilities for our members and our community!

     73,

     Kevin Grantham, N5KRG

Project Perfection

EchoLink®

     Dave Lane, N5GDL, has set up an EchoLink® connection to the club’s 442.650 repeater. Try it! If you haven’t tried EchoLink® before, go to www.EchoLink.org, sign up and download the software. The primary software is designed for Windows, and there are versions for Android and iOS (Apple) devices. There are other ports for Linux and Macintosh, although I’ve had good luck running it in a virtual machine on my MacBook.

     Plans are to move it to the 145.21 repeater at some point, after mechanisms are implemented to disable it when the repeater is being used for a RACES net.

Winlink

     We are going to put up a UHF Winlink gateway that will be open to all hams as well as our served cities. We’d like to do that before the end of the year.

D-STAR Digital Data

     The Japanese Amateur Radio League (JARL) created a digital voice and data standard years ago, called D-STAR. All our served cities received Icom ID-1 data radios many years ago under a Federal grant, but there were few gateways they could reach and so the radios have fallen into disuse. Andy, KE5KOF, and I came across a 23cm (1200MHz) D-STAR digital data module and we intend to put it in service on behalf of the club and the community. We need a commercial-quality antenna, weatherproofing, cables and oddball connectors, and a tower climber. This will operate under the KB5A club call sign.

D-STAR Digital Voice

     We also found a digital voice module, also in the 23cm band. The cool thing about this unit is that it can control both a UHF and a VHF module (but not an Internet gateway—that requires a server). And a discussion with the good folks at the Texas Interconnect Team K5TIT may—I say MAY—have unearthed the matching modules to give us a complete D-STAR stack. For this, in addition to the cable with the oddball connectors, we’ll need a duplexer, probably a SAW filter or circulator, and a commercial quality antenna and short feed line.

     If you are interested in any of these projects, even if only to learn about them, let me know. All contributions are appreciated and potentially tax-deductible.