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Where in the World is . . . Brunei (V8) CQ Zone 28 IOTA OC-088

June 19th, 2019 Comments off

Brunei, officially known as the Nation of Brunei, the Abode of Peace. OR Negara Brunei Darussalam in Malay. It’s located on the northwest coast of the island of Borneo. On three sides bordered by Malaysia and facing the South China Sea.

It’s a good place to live, with its principal product being oil. Considered a “fully developed” country by the IMF. According to Forbes Magazine it ranks as the fifth richest nation on the planet. The country has zero debt.

Brunei’s government is a constitutional monarchy. Under Brunei’s constitution, the Sultan is the head of state with full executive authority. Since 1962, this authority has included emergency powers, which are renewed every two years. The country has been under hypothetical martial law since 1962. The Sultan, Hassanal Bolkiah also serves as the state’s Prime Minister, Finance Minister and Defense Minister. As Mel Brooks observed, it is good to be king.

Petroleum was discovered in 1926. Oil and natural gas have been the basis of Brunei’s development and wealth since the late 20th century.

This is a devoutly Muslim nation; land of gold-plated mosques and wooden water villages, a nation so rich from its oil and gas resources that no one pays tax. It is a seven-hour flight from Melbourne but Brunei is little known and very much underrated for travelers. Brunei is clean and virtually free of crime with pristine rainforests, palm-fringed beaches and palatial resorts.

In this land of over 400,000, there are approximately 400 licensed amateurs. According to Club Log, it is 109th on the Most Wanted DX entity, List

Reporting from the Dark Side,  Ron, K5HM

Categories: Articles

2019 Field Day Operators: BVARC / TDXS / KARS / ECHO FIELD DAY SIGNUP SHEET

May 26th, 2019 Comments off
A few rules: 2019 Field Day Operators: The BVARC / TDXS / KARS / ECHO FIELD DAY SIGNUP SHEET is now live! It will be a Google Docs Spreadsheet which can be accessed via link above. Only one person can check into the spreadsheet at a time, so be there early to make your slot selections.
  1. Operating slots will be 1 hour.
  2. Operators will be able to select up to two (2) contiguous slots on the same band/mode.
  3. Operators will be able to select up to eight (8) slots per day, prior to The Event, providing Rule #2 is observed.
  4. At the end of your assigned operating slot, please relinquish it to the next operator; if that operator does not show up, you may continue to operate.
  5. If during your operating slot, you decide you want to quit, please try to find another operator to fill in the rest of the slot.
  6. The online schedule will be closed Friday, June 21, 2019 at 4:00 pm CDT.
  7. The online schedule will be printed out and brought to the Field Day site Saturday, June 22. There will be individual printouts for each mode. Operators may choose any open slots by manually writing their call in that slot.
  8. Any unclaimed operating slots after the start of Field Day will be open for grabs.
  9. Any scheduling issues/questions will be settled by N5XZ or the BVARC/TDXS Field Day Chairman.
Remember, if it is not your turn, there may be an open slot available elsewhere. I urge you to fill those in if you would still like to be active. I expect fewer open operating slots during the day and more at night. The goal also is to keep ALL stations operating continuously throughout the 24 hour period. (Note: if you have not tried RTTY or FT8 contesting, it is a hoot! Just ask Glen or me to show you how easy it is!). Please feel free to operate multiple bands and modes. The ultimate goal is to keep ALL stations active throughout the full 24 hour period!Please respond to me alone (not to the group) and feel free to email or call me if you have any questions or concerns. Please cross-post this to distribution systems for KARS and Echo. Hopefully, this will also be posted in newsletters by all groups.
Categories: Field Day

Kars Monthly Meeting May 13, 2019

May 19th, 2019 Comments off

Meeting started at 7:33 with the Pledge of Allegiance

The presentation that was scheduled for this month’s meeting has been postponed. The hospital has upgraded their viewing configuration, removing the projection machine and installing a large flat screen monitor. The original VGA connections are no longer available, now inputs are HDMI. The club will take steps to be sure the proper adapters are available prior to the next scheduled meeting.

The June KARS Club Meeting presentation will be a demonstration and basic instructions on the operation of the K3 equipment that will be used at the combined Field Day June 22nd and 23rd. If you are not familiar with this equipment which is very popular during contesting please attend and feel free to take notes.

I static demonstration of the new BuddiPole mast assembly was given by Jimmy Vance, which showed how the antenna had been adapted to securely fit the mast and facilitate the ease of setup and operation when the remote repeater is used.

The Smoke Alarm Blitz had been cancelled, a tentative reschedule date had been set for June 8th. This date would be in conflict with the scheduled Extreme Weather Conference to be held at the George R. Brown Convention Center on the same date. There may be some issues having enough volunteers to properly execute the Smoke Alarm Blitz.

A vote was taken to officially allow Katy Amateur Radio Society Club to participate in the upcoming Multi-Club Multi-Day Field Day activities. If the vote passed there would be a $250.00 participation fee. The motion was made to approve participation by N5KT and seconded by AE5TG. A show of hands, yay or nay indicated a majority approved of the participation.

Speculation is that, during Field Day the most promising modes of communication would tend to be CW and FT-8, given the inconsistency of the bands for voice communications. The bands to be used include 10m -15m-20m-40 m. Phone or FT-8

Group discussion concerning the Saturday morning KARS breakfast meetings. The suggestion was made to suggest several locations and, by majority vote decide which location would be the posted weekly Saturday location.

The suggestions were:

Lubys

IHop (if chosen time would be shifted to 7:30, before their normal traffic picks up

Rudy’s BBQ

Freddy’s

By show of hands vote Freddy’s was selected over the other options.

Treasury Report: $4600.07

Museum Ship Weekend is June 1st and 2nd. Checking on availability of the Battleship Texas for operation.

Meeting adjourned at 8:20 pm. There were 27 members and 1 visitor.

Categories: Meetings

Kars Monthly Meeting Minutes April 8, 2019

April 26th, 2019 Comments off

Meeting started at 7:32 with the Pledge of Allegiance

Presentation this evening was given by Andy McAllister W5ACM covering the balloon launch with occurred at the recent HamFest.

Andy went into great detail and description of the preparations and results of the above mentioned launches. Andy also had a very detailed and historical presentation covering the progress that has been made over the years in planning and staging the events by the South Texas Balloon Launch Team.

The next major launch event is scheduled on September 28th, 2019 to be held at the Intergalactic Spaceport at the Wharton Airport. Plans are for a 28# payload. Launch will be at 10:00 am. APRS tracking can be followed at 144.39 MHz

Meeting minutes from the Board meeting were accepted.

The Buddipole setup for the club portable repeater antenna has been ordered.

Texas Parks On The Air – No shelters were available to reserve for the event.

Next Smoke Alarm Blitz is scheduled for May 4, 2019. More details will be posted and volunteers are welcome.

The Safety Fest is scheduled, rain or shine, for April 13th. 6 to 8 volunteers to act as rovers are needed.

Treasury Report: Current Balance: $4601.31 after Buddipole Purchase of $309.17

We had 25 members attending, with one visitor, Keith, KA5BZM

Meeting adjourned at 8:34

Categories: Meetings

Where in the World is Saint Paul Island (CY9) CQ Zone 5 ITU Zone 9 IOTA NA-094

March 30th, 2019 Comments off

Where in the World is Saint Paul Island (CY9) CQ Zone 5 ITU Zone 9 IOTA NA-094

S t. Paul Island is a small uninhabited island located approximately 15 mi northeast of Cape Breton Island, Newfoundland in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.  It is at the northern end of the Appalachian Mountains; the highest point is 485 feet atop “Croggan Mountain.”  St. Paul Island is approximately three miles long by one mile wide at its widest point. It is extremely rugged with its shores being completely encircled by rockface cliffs.  To find out more…Where in the World is St Paul Island

Categories: Articles

The Great Harvey Wells Caper Part 2 By Ron Litt, K5HM

February 18th, 2019 Comments off

The Great Harvey Wells Caper Part 2

By Ron Litt, K5HM

I stared at her for a long time. A pristine beauty with big black eyes and creamy white face. She looked back at me from the magazine. A salty trail of perspiration formed on my upper lip. Six months earlier, I discovered her buried in the back pages of QST. Each month as a new issue arrived, I grabbed it, turned quickly to the ad to be sure she was still there; the Harvey Wells Band Master Z-Match Antenna Coupler. I had to have it.

For the last two years I had one single band antenna for 20 meters. It was great, but I was getting close to my WAS and I needed practically all the New England states. Connecticut and New Jersey were almost impossible from New York City without a 40 or 80 meter antenna. I was desperate.  To finish the story download and read The Great Harvey Wells Caper Part 2

Categories: Articles

The Great Harvey Wells Caper Part 1

February 16th, 2019 Comments off

It was April in New York City. I was on my way home from the regular weekly breakfast with the Queens County Bagel, Bowling and Spark Club.

These were the halcyon days of kid-dom on the cusp of adulthood. I had my General Class ticket now for about two years. Got my acceptance letter from college and it was six months before anybody would hear of Sputnik. Life was good.

As I walked home from the bus stop, I was thinking about getting on the air today and rolling up a few new states for my WAS. I needed South Dakota and my old buddy Ralph from the QCBB&SC said there were only three active hams in the whole state. I could see that South Dakota was going to be a real challenge.

I climbed the front steps two at a time, walked through the front door and headed directly for my basement ham shack. I am halfway down the hall when I hear my old man say, “Where are you going?”

Any kid who has reached the age of five, immediately recognizes the peril in that question. It’s not a question really, it more a combination of Red Alert, General Quarters and Take Cover simultaneously.

I turned around to see the old man advancing toward me. He was upset. I tried to think of anything I did or failed to do in the last twenty-four hours. I aced my Physics quiz, took out the trash last night, and didn’t leave any wet towels in the bathroom; check, check, check.

He was about two feet away when he stopped, thrust a letter in front of me and said, “What’s this?” His hand was shaking so much, I couldn’t read the envelope at first but it looked very important. Eventually, the oscillation decayed enough for me to see better. It was one of those business window envelopes with no stamp. The top right-hand corner of the envelope contained the words, U.S. Government Official Business!

The old man was really wound up; like a pressure cooker ready to explode. He’d lived his life avoiding entanglements with authority. He was 4-F for the draft in WWII, voted at least once in every election and was an associate member of the Police Benevolent Association. Any unexpected things that had to do with “Official Business” made him very nervous.

Desperately, I tried to think of something that would get him in such a lather. I had gotten my draft card six weeks ago. Maybe this was the dreaded, “Greetings from Uncle Sam” letter. Then I noticed the return address; Federal Communications Commission, Washington, DC.

I stopped breathing. The FCC! This was worse than getting drafted. Looking through the window of the envelope I could see the paper inside. A pink ticket!

The envelope was torn open. At the top of the page, I could see the words, Notice of Violation! He’d already read it and assumed the worst; a life sentence for me at Leavenworth. I was doomed!

Flight was the only response I had. I grabbed the letter and ran for the basement. I read and re-read the notice several times. Cold sweat was dripping off me.

The letter said that my signal had been observed operating at a frequency out of the band at such and such time and date. It demanded I explain what happened. That I take immediate steps to prevent this from happening in the future and that I report those steps to the FCC within 30 days. No wonder the old man was upset. Single handedly, I had brought the wrath of the entire federal government down on our home.

I pulled out my log and started flipping pages; hoping this was a mistake. Some other guy with a similar call sign, maybe. The time in the letter was around 2 AM. Was the FCC really awake that late?

I ran my thumb down the logbook pages slowly, hoping against hope. Yikes! There it was. At the alleged hour, I had been on the air. What could I do? “The old man was right, you’re going to Leavenworth “, said the voice in my head.

That night I’d logged several calls to DX stations who were calling CQ on the other side of the 20 meter band edge. The last entry in the log that night was a guy in VK-land that I had finally managed to work. I was so excited, I almost woke the old man out of a sound sleep to tell him. I must have strayed too close to the band edge!

Maybe I’ll just throw myself on the mercy of the court. “Your honor, I’m just a kid. I didn’t know I was committing a crime.” “I fell in with a bad crowd; they dared me to do it!”

In a panic, I called my old buddy Ralph on the land line. Ralph was a charter member of the QCBB&SC. He knew everything about ham radio. He had been a ham so long that he said Marconi was his Elmer.

After an eternity of rings, he answered. Without giving him a chance to say hello, I unloaded on Ralph in one single breath. When I finally finished, Ralph calmed me down and assured me that I was not going to Leavenworth. “Yeah kid (everyone was a kid to Ralph), I got my first pink ticket in ’36”, he said softly, as if someone were listening.

What a relief! My old buddy Ralph, the greatest Elmer of all time had gotten at least a couple pink tickets and he was still walking around a free man. There was a ray of hope for me!

I could swear he was grinning on the other side of the phone. The voice in my head said, “Yeah, they’ll probably confiscate all your radio gear instead.”

It was only two years earlier that I went to the FCC offices in Manhattan to take my General exam under the watchful eye of Lurch, the examiner. I still remember the big bullpen where the FCC guys worked. They were all dressed alike too; white shirts rolled up to the elbow, black ties and black pants. It was the official FCC uniform. I didn’t know what would be worse; just quietly going off to Leavenworth or having a squad of FCC men in black show up at my house in front of all the neighbors!

“Listen kid”, he began; his voice had a way of piercing through the QRM in my head. “You just need an accurate marker for the band edge. A crystal calibrator. You can pick one up at Harrison Radio for about ten bucks.”

I could hear Ralph take a deep breath. He’d been a chain smoker for twenty years, so his inhale had a signature wheeze, just like a good CW operator’s fist.

Then he continued, “The dial markings on your VFO ain’t worth the plastic they’re printed on kid. So, when you are chasing DX, don’t get any closer than three kc to the band edge marker, no matter what.”

“Hey Ralph”, I said “What about the letter I have to write? What should I say?” Ralph started in again, “Listen kid, just tell them the truth, you’ll be fine. See you later kid.” And then there was a click.

I sat for a long time; thinking. The U.S. phone band ended at 14200 KC. Most of the good DX was always just below that great divide. We worked split back then, running full carrier double sideband AM, pushing as close to the band edge as we dared, calling for that rare station we needed.

I wasn’t willing to give up a whole three kc of band, if I didn’t need to do it. Maybe I could just turn down the mike gain. Just listening to twenty meters some nights it was easy to see how everybody pushed the limit. Still, I was willing to do or say anything get back in the old man’s good graces and the FCC off my back! Finally, the beginnings of a diabolical plan began to form in my head. If I played my cards right, I would solve my FCC problem and then some.

To be continued

Reporting from the Dark Side,

Ron Litt, K5HM

Categories: Articles

Where in the World is . . . Western Sahara (S0) CQ Zone 33

February 16th, 2019 Comments off

No, not Best Western Sahara, it is really Western Sahara.

Formerly Spanish Morocco, it is disputed territory on the West Coast of Africa, roughly Southeast of the Kingdom of Morocco. Occupied by Spain since the late 19th century, the Spanish relinquished control of the area in 1975. Since then, two thirds of the country has been claimed by Morocco as part of what is calls the Southern Provinces.

A war then erupted between Morocco and the Sahrawi national liberation movement, who proclaimed the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR). Morocco eventually secured effective control of most of the territory, including all the major cities and natural resources.

Western Sahara’s economy is based almost entirely on fishing and phosphate mining which employs two thirds of its work force.

A largely Saharan desert landscape and climate, 40% the country’s population of roughly 500,000 live in the city of Laâyoune near the Atlantic Ocean.

Ham Radio is still in its infancy here. QRZ.com reports only 5 licensed call signs including S01WS, which belongs to the Sahrawi Amateur Radio Union URS.

According to Club Log, Western Sahara is the 73rd most wanted DX entity.

Reporting from the Dark Side,

Ron Litt, K5HM

Categories: Articles

Where in the World is . . . Western Sahara (S0) CQ Zone 33

February 16th, 2019 Comments off

No, not Best Western Sahara, it is really Western Sahara.

Formerly Spanish Morocco, it is disputed territory on the West Coast of Africa, roughly Southeast of the Kingdom of Morocco. Occupied by Spain since the late 19th century, the Spanish relinquished control of the area in 1975. Since then, two thirds of the country has been claimed by Morocco as part of what is calls the Southern Provinces.

A war then erupted between Morocco and the Sahrawi national liberation movement, who proclaimed the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR). Morocco eventually secured effective control of most of the territory, including all the major cities and natural resources.

Western Sahara’s economy is based almost entirely on fishing and phosphate mining which employs two thirds of its work force.

A largely Saharan desert landscape and climate, 40% the country’s population of roughly 500,000 live in the city of Laâyoune near the Atlantic Ocean.

Ham Radio is still in its infancy here. QRZ.com reports only 5 licensed call signs including S01WS, which belongs to the Sahrawi Amateur Radio Union URS.

According to Club Log, Western Sahara is the 73rd most wanted DX entity.

Reporting from the Dark Side,

Ron Litt, K5HM

Categories: Articles

KARS General Meeting – Monday, February 11, 2019

February 12th, 2019 Comments off

KARS General Meeting – Monday, February 11, 2019
• Meeting called to order at 7:30 PM.
• The Pledge of Allegiance was recited.
• Treasurer’s Report – Raul Ramos: Current balance = $4474.34
• “DX Engineering Story” Skype presentation by Robert Naumann, Sales Manager – DX Engineering.
• The December BOD minutes were read, motion was raised by Philip (W5PLA), seconded by Bob (WB3EWP), and approved by club members.
• Five (5) new member applications were presented: Darrell Kirk (KC5JAR), Ron Litt (K5HM), Robert Plocek (KI5CZJ), Dalton Plocek (KI5CZI), and Neo Ramirez (KI5CNF). Motion raised by Scott (KT5SR), seconded by Michael (KG5JBJ), and approved by club members.
• 2019 Membership Dues – a brief discussion/demo around the use of PayPal to submit 2019 dues. Many KARS members have already submitted their 2019 dues via PayPal and the process has received favorable response. http://www.katyars.com/about/
• 2019 KARS Officer Elections – The positions of Treasurer, Secretary, and Activities will be filled by Sheree (KF5LMJ), Jack (KF5RMY) and Orville (K5VWW). Motion was raised, seconded, and approved by club members.
• Upcoming Public Service Events:
◦ Saturday, February 16th: Bear Creek Casper Event. https://signup.com/client/invitation2/secure/2620159/false#/invitation
◦ Saturday, March 9th: FEMA Bombing Awareness Class, held at Transtar.
◦ March 22nd-23rd: Greater Houston Hamfest. https://houstonhamfest.org/
◦ April 13th-14th: Texas Parks on the Air.
◦ April 13th – Katy Area Safety Fest. https://katyareasafetyfest.org/
• Net Control Assignment for the period of Feb 19 – March 12, 2019
Date
Net Control Operator
2/19 Jimmy Vance
2/26 Bob Bentley
3/5 George Graves
3/12 George Graves

• There were 29 members and 2 visitors in attendance.
• Meeting adjourned at app. 8:40 PM.

Categories: Meetings