Author Archive

Where in he World is . . . Market Reef (OJ0), CQ Zone 15 ITU Zone 18, IOTA EU-053

September 10th, 2018 Comments off

It is cold and uninhabited. Barely 6 degrees of latitude below he Arctic Circle

It’s not an island really, basically consisting of about 8 acres of rocks. Located in the narrow part of the Baltic Sea between Sweden and Finland, the island guards the strait to the Gulf of Bothnia. In the summer, the Baltic Sea washes over it and in winter drift ice pushes against it. Nothing grows here. The Market Reef lighthouse is located low to the sea, where waves can wash over the entire DXCC entity. At high tides, it can only be safely approached by helicopter or zodiac boat.

The island is shared by both countries – and it is the smallest island thus divided between two nations. Market Reef was formally divided between the two sovereignties at the Treaty of Fredrikshamn in 1809 which defined the border between Sweden and Finland, then part of Imperial Russia.

Read more about Market Reef here

Reporting from the Dark Side,

Ron Litt K5HM

Categories: Articles

Ever thought about Q Signals? – Ron K5HM

September 10th, 2018 Comments off

In today’s amateur world, VHF/UHF repeater communications are commonplace but the use of Q signals in repeater communications is sadly diminished.

The use of “Q” signals is an amateur radio practice that goes back as early as 1915. When Morse code was the exclusive means of communicating, Q signals were a handy way of shortening common sentences into three letter groups.

Q signals have changed with time but are still widely used in voice communications as a kind of shorthand, especially on the HF bands. QSX originally meant, “Shall I change my spark frequency?” Now we use QSY instead.

In the world of repeaters, we don’t QRM people; we “double”. We don’t use QSB or QSA. Instead we say you have full quieting or white noise or bacon frying (ugh!). We rarely are at a QTH where we can QRT or QRV. We are usually at home, work or some other place. We no longer QRX, QSY or QRZ. In the D-star world, we use R2D2 to describe when a signal loses intelligibility.

Q codes are an important aspect of amateur communications. I use them liberally when there are non-hams visiting. It helps to create curiosity about ham radio. Usually, something like, “What the heck did you say?”

QSO’s on repeaters tend to have a lot more local and personal content. In order to revive the use of Q Signals on VHF/UHF, what we need is a set of Q codes more appropriate for this mode of communication.

Some Unique Q Signals for Repeater Use

QWK Going to work. Are you going to work?

QHO Are you headed for home? I’m headed for home.

QTF Is traffic is bad? Traffic is terrible!

QBQ Know a good BBQ place? I know a good BBQ place

QCF I am going for coffee. Are you going for coffee?

QGA I am stopping for gas. Are you stopping for gas?

QHG Did you just pass gas? Phew!

QBR I need a beer. Me too!

QHD Going to Home Depot (Lowes, Ace Hardware, Radio Shack)?

QLT Are you late? I am way late!

QTO Are you on the way to breakfast? QSL.

QNW No way! Way!

QDT Done that. Been there (Interchangeable with QBT)

QBT Been there. Done that (Another way to QDT).

QDW That Doesn’t Work. Yes it will.

QWW That Won’t Work! (QDW with emphasis).

QHF Going to the hamfest? I am/am not going.

QIX XYL is in the car. Don’t mention what I bought at the hamfest. QSL?

Reporting from the Dark Side,

Ron Litt. K5HM

Categories: Articles

UPDATE – NARS DMR Group Buy and Training – UPDATE

August 25th, 2018 Comments off

Klein Fire Station#4  (Meeting Conference Room)

16810 Squyres Rd, Klein, TX 77379 (Behind the post office on Louetta RD).

Sept 29th  6 / 9pm Initial Kick Off – DMR Radio Training

Oct. 5th    6 /9 pm  DMR Radio Training

Oct. 12th     6 / 9 pm  DMR Radio Training

Oct  26th  6 / 9 pm DMR Radio Training

Ron Matusek of NARS is putting together a group buy and some training sessions. If you would like more information, please contact Ron
I have just received back a quote for the radio’s from my distributor:
TYT MD-UV380 GPS US$110.00
TYT MD-390 GPS US$124.00
Note: He wants me to place one order for the total quantity.  So what I need is a solid commitment from each of you to make the purchase.  Then I need to collect the money prior to placing the order.  PayPal is an option or a check made out to me Ronald Matusek.
So far we have Eighteen people who desire training and Eight people wanting to order radios.  This is great progress!  Let’s target initial training for next month.
My Distributor for the MD-UV380(GPS) is supposed to return from vacation today so am waiting his response to my inquiry.
If you have not already registered for a DMR ID please follow the link below and start that process now.  Can’t program anything without it.
DMR ID registration request.
I will be providing other links for various applications to be downloaded but here is another one you need to get started.  This is a list of DMR registered contacts.  This would be loaded into your radio along with the code plug.  More information on this later.
This is MUCH more complete list of users, while still showing the state and country etc..  Over 106.000 users.
Here are some but not all of the things we plan on covering in multiple training sessions:
What parts do I need to build a “Hotspot”
Where do I get the parts for a “Hotspot”
How do I program a “Hotspot”
Do I want a Simplex Hotspot or Duplex Hotspot
What’s the difference/ advantage
Basic DMR operations on repeaters via DMR-Marc/c-bridge
Basic DMR operations on Hostspots via Brandmeister
Flashing normal firmware updates to radios
Loading a codeplug into the radio
Changing zones, etc..
 Loading the user database into the radio
Making changes to codeplugs
Adding a channel
Creating a Zone and adding channels to it
Creating a Scan group and adding channels into it
You will need your cell phones and laptop computers at the training sessions.  We are working on a workaround for WiFi connectons at the FireStation as in some cases a WiFi connection will be required.
More information will be provided as we start to pull together training plans.
Categories: Equipment, Training

Where in the World is . . . Mongolia (JT-JV) CQ Zone 23 ITU Zone 32, 33

August 22nd, 2018 Comments off

Where in the World is . . .

Mongolia (JT-JV)

CQ Zone 23 ITU Zone 32, 33

The thundering Mongol Horde rolled out of the Great Asian desert in the 13th and 14th centuries. Lots of Hollywood royalty played the great Khan on the screen. Led by John Wayne as Temujin, later Genghis Khan; then Orson Wells, Omar Sharif, Jack Parlance Stephen Boyd, or even Murvyn Vye, playing second banana to Richard Widmark as a sad sack Mongolian tribal chief in Destination Gobi; caught up in the backwater of WW II.

The Mongols rode in search of plunder and grazing for their animals. The Mongol horse is purported to be largely unchanged since the time of Genghis KhanNomads living in the traditional Mongol fashion still hold more than 3 million animals, which outnumber the country’s human population. Despite their small size, they are horses, not ponies. In Mongolia, horses live outdoors all year, dealing with temperatures from 86 °F in summer down to −40 °F in winter, and they graze and search for food on their own. Some animals are slaughtered for meat. Other than that, they serve as riding and transport animals; they are used both for the daily work of the nomads and in horse racing.

Learn more here

Categories: Articles

KARS General Meeting – Monday, August 13, 2018

August 17th, 2018 Comments off

Meeting called to order at 7:30 PM.
The Pledge of Allegiance was recited.
Treasurer’s Report – Raul Ramos: Current balance = $2795.39
EMP – Electromagnetic Pulse” presentation by Jack (WB5KVV). Presentation included an overview of EMP with a focus on ham radio. This presentation has been posted to our KARS webpage (under the KARS Presentations tab).
The July BOD minutes were read, motion was raised by Bruce(W5BCA), seconded by Bob (WB3EWP), and approved by club members.
KARS Door Prizes – thanks to Charles (W4LXM) for providing an item (Extension Cord Retractable Reel) as door prize for this meeting. Much appreciated by the membership!
Three (3) new member applications were presented and approved by club membership: Shawn McCoy (W5AQY), Rick Braddy (W5FCX), and Brad Rich (N6GR).
Jimmy (W5ZTX) provided updates on his recently meetings with ESD 47 and ESD 48. Expectation is that more engagement from both ESDs and KARS will occur in the future. Strong possibility that KARS will have a presence at ESD 48, Station #5 Admin Bldg., date TBD.
Katy CERT – Jimmy (W5ZTX) has reached out to KATY CERT team to make them aware of KARS and our desire to work closely with them. There are several KATY CERT members who are interested in gaining their ham license as well as several KARS members who have completed CERT training.
KARS Remote Station – Jimmy provided an update on the antenna and tower. To help offset some of the remaining costs that will be incurred, it was suggested that the club purchase and auction off a radio (example: IC-7300) with the intent that the profits be applied to these remaining costs. A motion was raised, seconded, and approved by club membership to move forward on this suggestion. Additional research into the proper raffle guidelines will occur with the intent to conduct the raffle by our December meeting.
Net Control Assignment for the period of Aug 14 – Sept 11, 2018:
Net Control Operator
Aug 14     Raul Ramos
Aug 21     Jimmy Vance
Aug 28    George Graves
Sept 4     Sheree Horton
Sept 11    John Thumond

Upcoming Public Service Events:

Saturday, September 8, 2018, Harris County Public Health (HCPH) will conduct a Community Assessment for Public Health Emergency Response (CASPER) in selected neighborhoods of Aldine. This effort will involve teams of HCPH employees and volunteers conducting surveys to assess the recovery of Harris County residents one year following Hurricane Harvey.  Contact Scott Reeve (KT5SR) for details.
KARS will again be helping with a Boy Scout Merit Badge Fair on Saturday November 3rd, conducting a radio merit badge course. This is a district wide fair with at least 20 merit badges being offered. Last year there were over 200 scouts participating. We need app. 6 KARS members to participate in this effort – contact Jack Philley (WB5KVV) for more information and/or to volunteer.
There were 25 members and 4 visitors in attendance.
Meeting adjourned at 8:20 PM.

Categories: Meetings

Vintage Equipment for Sale

August 14th, 2018 Comments off

K5UI (SK) owned an amazing collection of restored vintage rigs, and some new ones,and his widow is looking to sell everything.

The vintage equipment is all in absolutely mint condition, and presumed to be working, but has not been fired up. I live nearby and can help with testing (and can supply an antenna) if needed.

There are some other miscellaneous items that are not listed.

Here’s a spreadsheet of what is available – the listed prices are indicative and negotiable:

Contact Joanie Andrew for more information:

Categories: Equipment

Boy Scout Merit Badge Fair

August 14th, 2018 Comments off

KARS will again be helping with a Boy Scout Merit Badge Fair on Saturday November 3rd, conducting a radio merit badge course. This is a district wide fair with at least 20 merit badges being offered. Last year there were over 200 scouts participating.

This is a great way to introduce our hobby, possibly create a lifetime interest for a young man, and provide a service to the community.

It will be at the Katy Holy Covenant Methodist Church, 22111 Morton Rd, Katy, TX 77449, from 0800 until 1700 hrs.

We will need at least six KARS members, one of which will be at home to function as the other end of a QSO.

We will be working with small groups of scouts (3-4 in the group), and conducting a series of 45-90 minute sessions. The scouts will rotate among six stations during the day.

Newer KARS members are especially invited to participate. This will be an ideal opportunity to get to know some of the other members while doing something worthwhile.

For further information contact Jack Philley WB5KVV,

Categories: Elmer

Volunteer Examiners Are Needed For An Upcoming Test Sessions

August 9th, 2018 Comments off
Volunteer Examiners Are Needed For An Upcoming Test Sessions:
We’re offering several Ham-In-A-Day classes and need VE’s for the testing sessions to follow.
Date: Saturday 8/11/2018
Time: 4:00 PM
Location: Houston Metallurgical Laboratory, Inc. 2400 Central Pkwy, Suite R, Houston TX 77092

Google Maps Link:

Date: Saturday 9/22/2018
Time: 3:30 PM
Location: Harris County ESD48 station #5
21201 Morton Road, Katy TX 77449
Date: Saturday 10/11/2018
Time: 4:00 PM

Location: Tomball Fire Station #1 1200 Rudel Road, Tomball, Texas 77375
Google Maps Link:

For those interested in car polling from the SE/Clear Lake Area, Tanner Jones W9TWJ is coordinating a car pool. Contact him directly but please cc me so I know who’s coming
Can you assist with any or all of these? 
If you know of any other VEs who might be able to help could you send me their name, callsign, email address and phone number? There is no master list of VEs in the Houston area.
Feel free to email me or call me on my cell: 281-919-9877 if you have any questions.
Thank you for all you do,
Alfred Perez N5VEV
Categories: Exam Session

Where in the World is Baker Island (KH1)?

July 23rd, 2018 Comments off

Where in the World is Baker Island (KH1) CQ Zone 31 ITU Zone 61 IOTA OC-089

by Ron Litt, K5HM

Approaching from a distance the island, barely 26 feet above sea level resembled the back of some fabled sea monster of 15th century sea tales. Covered with low lying scrub vegetation, Baker Island is less than a mile wide and slightly more than a mile long. Its population of seabirds makes their presence known on anything that offers a perch.

Its terrain is sandy. Along with its neighbor only 42 miles NNW, Howland Island they form the Baker Island National Wildlife Refuge. Not exactly your favorite bird watching spot, the islands lie almost halfway between Hawaii and Australia. Barely north of the Equator and east of the International Dateline, by this odd quirk of geography, they are last pieces of U.S. territory that experience the new day.

Find out more here

Categories: Articles

KARS General Meeting – Monday, July 9, 2018

July 13th, 2018 Comments off

KARS General Meeting – Monday, July 9, 2018

  • Meeting called to order at 7:30 PM.
  • The Pledge of Allegiance was recited.
  • Treasurer’s Report – Raul Ramos: Current balance = $2707.39
  • Remote HF Radio Operations” presentation by Jimmy (W5ZTX). Presentation included a review of the Remote Ham software as well as a live demo of our KARS remote HF station. Jimmy also showed a YouTube video on proper installation of coax connectors (by Steve Venner @ ML&S). This video has been posted to our KARS webpage (under the KARS Presentations tab).
  • The June BOD minutes were read, motion was raised by Mike (KA5OXA), seconded by Bruce (W5BCA), and approved by club members.
  • KARS Door Prizes – thanks to Jack (WB5KVV) for providing several items as door prizes for this meeting. Much appreciated by the membership!
  • KARS Raffle: Congrats to Rob (KG5ZXY) for winning this month’s raffle prize – The ARRL Handbook for Radio Communications.
  • No new member applications were presented at this month’s club meeting.
  • Net Control Assignment for the period of July 17 – August 14, 2018:


Net Control Operator

July 17

Scott Reeve

July 24

David McMasters

July 31

Tom Greathouse

Aug 7

Sheree Horton

Aug 14

Raul Ramos
  • There were 23 members and 5 visitors in attendance.
  • Meeting adjourned at 8:45 PM.
Categories: Meetings