ARRL

North Texas Section - American Radio Relay League

ARRL North Texas Section News

August 2019 Newsletter

Aug 20, 2019


Greetings Fellow North Texas Radio Communicators:

  • The first of Many Round Table discussions with Local Club Leaders
  • SM trip to Oklahoma City & Austin Ham Fests, highlights
  • Coppell School Students & Youth On The Air
  • ARRL Section Ham of The Year Award to be presented next month
  • Notes from our very busy Section Youth Coordinator Katherine, KT5KMF
  • Notes from Section Emergency Coordinator, Greg, K5GTX
  • Summer Heat & Tower Safety 

ARRL Division and SM Round Table Discussions

The first of many of Round Table Discussions were held on July the 13th in Garland with the West Gulf Division Director, the Club Officers’ from ARES District 5, and myself.  Future meetings are anticipated on a quarterly basis.  Please, ensure that your club’s contact information is correct in the ARRL database so that you will receive invitations.  Clubs will be notified via email Emails will be sent for future invitations.  These Round Table meetings are opportunities for clubs to bring issues of local concern to the attention of Section and Division leadership for discussion and resolution.   

Key points that were brought up in this meeting:

1.  Texas VHF Society not working for many 

2.  More Partnership from the League to the Affiliated Clubs is needed

3.  Affiliated Club Brochures, where the Club(s) can add their Logo etc

4.  The need for a Welcome Aboard Packet from the League for Individuals & Clubs that become affiliated (more than just a Certificate) & Individuals used to get a Membership Card when they joined the ARRL. please bring this back  

5.  The need for a Club Service Page from the ARRL in the ARRL E-Letter and QST 

6.  After Action Reports to Clubs & Members from the League as well as from Section Managers & We need. Who, What and When on After Action Reports. Reports and Notes should be available within 90 Days of event or Meetings  

7.  Clubs are begging for Training Materials,  not just one-sided flyers   

Here is what I know about the questions raised at the very first Round Table meeting we had:

(1) While drafting this Newsletter, I received a phone call from KV5E. Craig, one of the coordinators on the Texas VHF FM Society Team, mentioned that the Society is working on the North Texas Database at this time.  Anyone that has any concerns should contact him at KV5E@ARRL.NET

(2)(3)(7) It was announced at Summer Fest in Austin on the 3rd of August by The ARRL Operations Coordinator, that the ARRL will be publishing the availability of a new job at Headquarters level for an ARRL Affiliated Club Coordinator.  The individual will work directly with the Affiliated Clubs and each Section Affiliated Club Coordinator.  The key purpose is to streamline communication between the league and the affiliated clubs while keeping the Section Manager and their appointed Affiliated Coordinators in the loop.  This effort is also a step towards providing affiliated clubs more tools, concerning member benefits and products each affiliated club wants from the ARRL.

(4)  At  Austin Summer Fest, ARRL acknowledged the need for more Member Benefits starting with a Membership card. Norm Fusaro from the ARRL has not provided a time-line.

(5)  I failed to note if a Club Service Page was mentioned at the ARRL forum during the Austin Summer Fest. I do know our meeting ran long and we did not get to address all standing issues while allowing new questions and comments.

(6)  Reports and Notes, Follow-up:  I will strive to follow-up and post back to members via the SM Newsletter and on the ARRLNTX.org website under News.  I highly recommend that everyone read the ARRL Board of Director minutes which are emailed directly to you if you have opted in to receive them in the ARRL website member profile.  If you need help finding this, email me and I will send you instructions.

Visits to other Sections

I visited Oklahoma City & The Austin Ham Fest; we received support from those Section’s Managers at HamCom this year.  I also got to learn how other Sections run their meetings and how they showcase support for their section members.

I also made a trip to Louisiana for some of the same reasons and to see some of my friends from the old stomping grounds.

News from Katherine, KT5KMF, Section Youth Coordinator

July was a fun month for me in amateur radio! Driver and I participated in the 13 Colonies special events during the week of the Fourth of July. We both got a clean sweep! We also made contacts with the K2Z and WM3PEN bonus stations. We also contacted several of the special event stations set up to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the moon landing, including the Johnson Space Center and the Marshall Space Flight Center. For this, I set up my new ICOM IC-7300 and vertical antenna that my dad bought me at HamCom. I love my new radio, although I am still figuring some things out, and the antenna seems to work great! The only thing I’ve noticed is that it has a habit of falling over when it’s breezy. 

This month was also a busy month!  I visited five different clubs: the Richardson Wireless Klub (RWK), the McKinney Amateur Radio Club (MARC), the Denton County Amateur Radio Association (DCARA), the Lucas Amateur Radio Club (LucasARC), and the Sachse Amateur Radio Association (SARA). At the RWK meeting, I was blown away by what I heard about their repeater setup during the presentation by Andrew KE5GDB. They have Hey Google on one of their repeaters! After the meeting I also met the president of the University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) Amateur Radio Club. The next night, I visited the MARC meeting. There I learned that the club has a specific fund that is entirely dedicated to youth activities. At the DCARA meeting, I heard about their awesome repeater setup, which is also maintained by Andrew KE5GDB. In addition, I was approached by Chris with the University of North Texas (UNT) about restarting a club there. It turns out they have a room of equipment there, but no one knows for sure what’s inside! They were planning to inventory it soon, and once they have things going, they would like for me to speak to their Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science (TAMS) students about amateur radio. (TAMS is a 2 year program for high school juniors and seniors to complete their high school studies at UNT.) At the LucasARC meeting, I got to hear about their Field Day experience and their upcoming activities. Lastly, at the SARA meeting, I met several youth who seem very interested in the hobby! I loved how welcome they made Driver, and I felt while we were there. 

In other news, Tod WE5TR led a week-long licensing class in July in Coppell for some of their students. They had five, and all of them passed their Technician exam! I think that classes like these are a great way to get youth interested by showing them cool things you can do and teaching them all about it.

I also had a couple of new ideas this month. When Tod WE5TR talked to me, he asked me to make a short video (around 3 minutes) for his class introducing myself and talking about what I do with ham radio. I put one together, forwarded it to him, and he said Wow! I want to change a couple of things first, but I should have a new video made shortly. If you would like a link to this video once finished, please contact me. I have also set up an Instagram account dedicated entirely to ham radio, as it is a popular social media platform for youth. The username is kt5kmf.

I know y’all will be disappointed, but my articles may be shorter for the next few months as marching band season started the last week of July and it can be intense! However, as always, if anyone has any ideas or information related to youth activities, please email me at kt5kmf@arrl.net. Hope to see you on the air!

73,  Katherine

Section Emergency Coordinator Notes:

Fall 2019 SET October 12, 2019:  The West Gulf Division-wide SET has been set for October 12, 2019.  Please mark your calendars.   Planning and Objective information will be forwarded out shortly.

Situational Awareness:  Maintaining situational awareness is a key activity of an ARES member.  On 8/19, Longview’s power company suffered an issue that caused wide-spread power outages and a request to turn off A/Cs.  In the Fall or Spring, that would not have been an issue. However, 103 degrees is.  Notifications went to District 8 and 9 ECs in case Rusk County decided to open shelters.  Thankfully, the local power company was able to begin restoring power last night.   The point is, you never know when you may be needed.  The skies may be clear; things still happen.

Ransomware:  The State of Texas and numerous local and county governments ha been the target of multiple Ransomware attacks.  Local governments and the state are taking steps to ensure these attacks do not affect critical systems.  However, it is up to all of us to ensure your computers have proper and updated antivirus in place before connecting or supporting anyone with our computers.  

Why Winlink Training is important:  Note:  The following is not a comment on current proposals in front of the FCC.  On a recent training net, a fellow operator asked why is Winlink important for me to learn; that he would be a mobile unit out spotting and in the field working help recover.  It is a fair question.  In answer, Winlink is but one of the tools that we use in Emergency Communications to transfer information efficiently between served agencies; even when voice on HF/VHF/UHF is impossible.  As a deployed asset in the field, you may not normally use Winlink, but the situation may arise where you need to use it.  The nets may be limited, busy or reception is poor.  Winlink to get tasking, request resources, provide status, etc. can be an efficient alternative.   Bottom line, learn and practice on Winlink – whether you have hardware or not, you can still use it over the internet to practice sending traffic.  Participate in Winlink nets such as the Winlink Wednesday.

Summer Heat & Tower Safety

It is HOT outside, please stay hydrated even if you’re only outside a short amount of time it; can catch you off guard.  Our Ham Radio Fraternity has lost another fellow amateur to a tower mishap and another was recently seriously injured.  Please exercise operation risk management.

  1. Only accept risks when the benefit outweighs the cost.
  2. Accept no unnecessary risk.
  3. Anticipate and manage risk by planning and
  4. Make risk decisions at the right level.

A bucket truck might cost a little but would have saved a life.  Those that climb, always stay attached, No free climbing and inspect before you climb!

More about the Coppell School that Katherine mentioned

Thank you to all the teachers who stepped up to the task

  • Ken Rainey (AC5EZ)
  • Madison (KG5ZAO) 
  • Billy (KG5ZAP) 
  • Stephen (W3TEX) 
  • Eric (KE5EN)
  • Tod (WE5TR) 

And to the ARRL VE Team 

  • Ken KD2KW (Extra),
  • Korky KG5NNA (Extra), 
  • Tod WE5TR (Extra), 
  • David KG5RDF (General) 

Many hands make quick work!

Thanks for all you do each day to advance the hobby of amateur radio and its service to our communities.

73,

Steven Lott-Smith, NTX SM
kg5vk@arrl.org
Cell 318-470-9806