Monday, December 24, 2018

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Image result for ham radio christmasMerry Christmas everyone!   Hope you find something shiny under the Christmas tree this year!  Looking forward to working with all you during the upcoming year.

A Ham's Night Before Christmas

'Twas the night before Christmas,  
And all through two-meters,  
Not a signal was keying up  
Any repeaters.

The antennas reached up
From the tower, quite high,
To catch the weak signals
That bounced from the sky.

The children, Tech-Pluses,
Took their HT's to bed,
And dreamed of the day
They'd be Extras, instead.

Mom put on her headphones,
I plugged in the key,
And we tuned 40 meters
For that rare ZK3.

When the meter was pegged
by a signal with power.
It smoked a small diode,
and, I swear, shook the tower.

Mom yanked off her phones,
And with all she could muster
Logged a spot of the signal
And the DX Packet Cluster,

While I ran to the window
And peered up at the sky,
To see what could generate
RF that high.

It was way in the distance,
But the moon made it gleam -
A flying sleigh, with an
Eight element beam,

 And a little old driver
Who looked slightly mean.
So I thought for a moment,
That it might be Wayne Green.

 But no, it was Santa,
The Santa of Hams.
On a mission, this Christmas,
To clean up the bands.

He circled the tower,
Then stopped in his track,
And he slid down the coax
Right into the shack.

While Mom and I hid
Behind stacks of CQ,
This Santa of hamming
Knew just what to do.

He cleared off the shack desk
Of paper and parts,
And filled out all my late QSLs
For a start.

He ran copper braid,
Took a steel rod and pounded
It into the earth, till
The station was grounded.

He tightened loose fittings,
Resoldered connections,
Cranked down modulation,
Installed lightning protection.

He neutralized tubes
In my linear amp...
(Never worked right before-
Now it works like a champ).

A new, low-pass filter
Cleaned up the TV.
He corrected the settings
In my TNC.

He repaired the computer
That would not compute,
And he backed up the hard drive
And got it to boot.

Then, he reached really deep
In the bag that he brought,
And he pulled out a big box.
A new rig? I thought!

A new Kenwood? An Icom?
A Yaesu, for me?!
(If he thought I'd been bad  
It might be QRP!)

Yes! The Ultimate Station!
How could I deserve this?
Could it be all those hours
That I worked Public Service?

He hooked it all up
And in record time, quickly
Worked 100 countries,

All down on 160.
I should have been happy,
It was my call he sent.
But the cards and the postage
Will cost two month's rent!

He made final adjustments,
And left a card by the key:
"To Gary, from Santa Claus.

Then he grabbed his HT,
Looked me straight in the eye,
Punched a code on the pad,
And was gone - no good-bye.

I ran back to the station,
And the pile-up was big,
But a card from St. Nick
Would be worth my new rig.

Oh, too late, for his final  
Came over the air.
It was copied all over.
It was heard everywhere.

The Ham's Santa exclaimed
What a ham might expect,
"Merry Christmas to all,
And to all, good DX."

(c)1996 Gary Pearce KN4AQ
Permission granted for any print
or electronic reproduction.

Saturday, December 8, 2018

January Elections

Image result for ballotThe following positions are up for election in January: President & Secretary.

Duties of each position can be found in the bylaws found here.

If you are interested in running for one of these positions or if you would like to nominate an individual for a position please send an email to If a member nominates someone
by email, it is that nominating member's duty to also copy that nominee in the email to the

Nominees must be 18 or older, licensed in amateur radio, and be members in good standing of
the WVCARC and be aware of the responsibilities listed above in the by-laws for the respective officer position. There are no term limits for any offices. Anyone can
nominate themselves in addition to being nominated by a member of the WVCARC. Nominees
do not have to be present at the January meeting. The email option nominating window closes 24
hours before the January monthly face-to-face meeting which will be held January 12th. All nominees must accept their nomination before voting occurs.

Election results will be determined by the majority of votes cast. Voting may occur by ballot or
by a show of hands. Only members of the WVCARC may cast a vote and have to be present at
the January meeting. No proxy voting will be allowed.

Friday, December 7, 2018

Geek Post - Making your TNC an APRS Client

Image result for aprsIt's always fun to add functionality to an existing piece of equipment.  I'm not sure where I came up with the idea, but for some reason I wanted to see if I could add Bluetooth to our Pi-96k TNC's that we sell as fundraisers.  Well I found this little jewel on Amazon: DSD TECH HC-05 Bluetooth Serial Pass-through Module Wireless Serial Communication with Button for Arduino.  It runs on 3.6 volts which is close to what the Teensy on the TNC runs at.  It also has pins for RX and TX.  Turns out there are pins for all of those connections on the TNC board which is cool.  It also only cost $9 which is affordable.
By default the TNC's are configured to output their data through the USB port.  When you load up the Raspberry PI firmware, it sends that same data though the pins that connect to the PI.  I was able to find pins on the board that I could tap into.  Another problem I ran into was the Bluetooth module runs at 9600 baud so I had to modify a config file for the firmware to set the correct connection speed.

After a quick recompile I upload the new firmware to the Teensy, held my breath, and plugged things in.  No smoke, so I connected the TNC to my radio and grabbed my Android phone (sorry, iOS devices are not compatible with this particular module).  I paired my phone to the BT module.  I then launched APRSDroid and set the Connection Protocol to TNC (KISS) and selected my BT device from the TNC Bluetooth Device menu.  Next I selected "Start Tracking" at the bottom and as the Solder Smoke guys say, "Bob's Your Uncle!"

So what can you do with APRS?  Well if you move this setup to your car you can have your position transmitted as you drive.  APRSDroid uses your phone's GPS to get your current location.  It then transmits this information through the TNC.  This setup could be used for a SAG (Support And Gear) wagon so that Net Control knows where the support vehicles are.  You can also send quick messages to other station through APRS.  You can see Jason (KG7RZX) and chatting back and forth here.

Anyway, I had fun getting this put together and thought I would share it with you all.  Pictures are below.


Pins Used

Look, It's Me!

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Effective Net Control/Event Communications/SAG Support Coordinator class

UtahSAG is sponsoring a class for net control operators and for those that are organizing public service events.

When: Saturday, February 16, 2019 8 AM until 5 PM.  We will take a lunch break from approximately 11:30 - 12:30.

Where: Taylorsville City Hall - 2600 West 5400 South.


This is an advanced class for those HAM Radio operators who wish to become more involved in supporting and coordinating the support for public service events.  This all day training includes information on how to be an effective net control operator, managing the net, crisis control, logging and reporting as well as other critical topics on how you can manage the functions and duties of being the Net Control Operator.

The second half of the training covers the topics surrounding being an event support coordinator from working with the event staff and how to recruit volunteers to creating signup and logging forms using Google Docs as well as some of the legal issues volunteers need to be aware of.

They ask that you pre-register for the class so that They can have the materials available for everyone on the day of the class.  You can register at this address -

This year they will be providing the class materials on a thumb drive, as such and to make it possible for you to follow along with the hands on parts of the training, please bring a laptop or tablet capable of running Windows with you.  By providing the materials on thumb drives they can include not only the PowerPoint presentations, but also the source materials they used to compile our course information.