Blog

February 2021 Meeting

MARC will hold its next general business meeting on Tuesday,
February 9th starting at 7:00PM.

Tim Duffy, K3LR – CEO of DX Engineering – will be presenting
our February topic about his K3LR station, so be sure to join!

This meeting will be held via the Zoom remote conferencing
service. See the newsletter or watch for emails with link in place.

Determining SWR Using nanoVNA Document and SWR Readings Sheet Template

Submitted By Michael Payne – K5MFP

The first document is how to use a nanoVNA to obtain the SWR of an antenna, and the second one is a sheet form where you can record the SWR measurements from using a nanoVNA, a MFJ analyzer, or any other piece of hardware.

https://w5mrc.files.wordpress.com/2020/05/swr-using-nanovna.docx

https://w5mrc.files.wordpress.com/2020/05/swr-readings.docx

March 2020 Program – POTA Presentation

The MARC meeting for March will feature our very own Andy Barnes, W5KZJ, giving an updated presentation about the Parks On The Air (POTA) program. Find out what new Parks have been added and how you can get involved, either activating or chasing the Parks!

Please join us for this and more on March 10, 7pm, at Spring Creek BBQ, 75 and 380 in McKinney.

We hope to see everyone there!

OWS Siren Test March 7th – Signup Link

Please join the McKinney Amateur Radio Club for the Outdoor Weather Siren test on Saturday March 7th!

-The net will begin at 11:40 on the 146.740 repeater – Please be by the radio at this time and be on location by 11:50.

-Test will begin at 12:00 and conclude around 12:15

-Lunch afterwards at Fuddrucker’s McKinney (2045 N. Central Expressway – Just north of Spring Creek BBQ)

Please CLICK HERE for more information and/or to register

We look forward to seeing everyone!

February 2020 Program – Winlink Express

Please join us for our February meeting as we welcome special guest, John Hill, KF5VO, who will be offering an interesting presentation on Winlink Express.

According to its website, “Winlink is a worldwide radio email service that uses radio pathways where the internet is not present, and is capable of operating completely without the internet – automatically – using smart-network radio relays. Winlink provides its users email with attachments, position reporting, weather and information bulletins, and is well-known for its role in interoperable emergency and disaster relief communications.”

John Hill has been a ham for six years. He began working with Winlink because he did not have an HF antenna at his house and Winlink was one of the aspects of amateur radio on which he could hit the ground running. John had all the equipment necessary from other ham projects and, having worked for an Internet Service Provider more than twenty years ago, found many similarities between dial-up service and Winlink.

John soon learned that other hams in the North Texas area were interested in using Winlink and established the Winlink Wednesday net.

Winlink Wednesday provides a forum for amateur radio operators to regularly practice perishable Winlink skills by sending emails via RF. The weekly net also gives operators an opportunity to exercise both their own radio and computer equipment as well as nearby gateways.

Anyone with a valid amateur radio license can sign up for a Winlink account and is more than welcome to check into the net.

Please join us for this and more, Tuesday, February 11th, 7p.m. at Spring Creek BBQ, 75 and 380 in McKinney. Hope to see everyone there!

Editorial: Passing Your FCC Exams

In this brief article, I’m going to outline my personal recommendations for preparing for your FCC amateur radio exams. This is my personal opinion, and does not reflect the official opinion of the McKinney Amateur Radio Club, and is not an official endorsement of any kind.

I used this process to pass all three of my FCC amateur radio exams in a short period of time. I’ve also recommended this process to other people, and my 11-year-old son passed his Technician exam using this method. If this works for a sixth grader, it should work for older youth and adults as well!

The resource I recommend to people seeking to pass their amateur radio exams is the website HamStudy.org. The website is completely free, and I recommend that people create an account in order to track your progress. The interface is clean and uncluttered, and it’s community supported, and it works great.

The process that I recommend is to start with the flash cards in “Study Mode” on HamStudy.org. The website will present you with each one of the questions in the question pool, and I recommend trying to answer honestly. If you don’t know the answer, DO NOT GUESS! Instead, click “I don’t know,” and then click the upper-right corner to reveal more information about the answer. Guessing is fine on an actual exam, if necessary, but at this stage we want to accurately measure our actual knowledge, not our ability to guess correctly.

The HamStudy website will track two metrics for you: your overall aptitude, and the percentage of questions seen. Aptitude is a measure of how often you answer correctly, and the percentage of questions seen is self-explanatory. I recommend sticking with “study mode” until you have seen 100% of the questions, and your aptitude is up around 70-80%.

Once you have seen all of the questions, and your overall aptitude is around 80%, then it’s time to try a practice test! That’s a separate option from their menu, and it gives you an idea of what the questions will be like on an actual exam. There are hundreds of questions in the question pool for each exam, but you will only have to answer 35 for the Technician and General exam, and 50 for the Amateur Extra exam. There will be a certain number of questions from each of the sections, and the HamStudy website takes care of randomizing it for you to match real exams.

Taking the practice tests will help you identify any weak spots in your knowledge, and then you can then focus your studying on those particular areas. If necessary, spend a little time addressing those weak spots, and then try another practice test. Once you can pass multiple practice tests in a row, you’re ready for the real exam!

The ARRL has a great website that outlines what to expect and what to bring to an exam session. I strongly recommend that new hams get a FRN from the FCC before going to the exam. The FRN is simply a FCC Registration Number, and is your unique ID when dealing with the FCC. If you do not have a FRN, you have to provide the volunteer examiners with your social security number, and a FRN will be assigned to you during the process of assigning your call sign. However, it only takes a few minutes to register for a FRN online before the exam, and it means you don’t have to find and bring your Social Security card to the exam with you!

Good luck!

Some useful links:

January 2020 Program – Low Noise Receiving Antennas

Please join us for the January meeting as special guest Dick Sanders, K5QY, will be presenting on Low Noise Receiving Antennas. 

ARRL life member Dick Sanders – K5QY, was first licensed in 1958. Dick retired from Rockwell/Alcatel Telecom as a senior technical writer. For Ham radio he’s listed on the DXCC Number 1 Honor Roll and has 7BDXCC, 6BWAS, and WAS HF mobile. He is also an ARRL DX card checker including 160 meters. Dick has modeled, designed and built many of his antennas from 160-meter phased verticals to 440 MHz yagis.

Dick has given many antenna talks and presentations to local clubs and at DFW’s Ham-Com Hamfest.

Please check out his website when you get a chance. Lots of great information on antennas and more:

www.k5qy.net

Join us for this and more on January 14th, 7pm at Spring Creek BBQ, 75 and 380 in McKinney.