Central Mississippi Amateur Radio Association

Telephone: 601-345-1654 ○ E-mail: CentralMSARA@gmail.com

Next Association Meeting

Next association meeting is Tuesday, October 9th at 7:00pm. Board elections will be held at this meeting. Positions that will be open and need filled next month are: President, Vice-President for Programs, Vice-President for Special Events, Secretary, Treasurer, and two “non-officer” members on the Board of Directors. ALL board positions are open and need YOU!
R
egular license testing will be available at this meeting.

Category: Meeting Presentations

September 11, 2018 Meeting Highlights and a few notes from Association President Richard Lawrence (W5EZX)

First of all, a huge welcome to our new Webmaster and Social Media Officer J.D. Toony (K5HH). Thanks to him you are reading this new post on our (finally) updated webpage. We can’t thank J.D. enough for jumping in to take over this very important position in the Association.

The meeting was called to order and began as usual with the Pledge of Allegiance, but on this 9/11 anniversary of the terrorist attack on our Country, the Pledge had even more meaning to me than normal. I’m sure every one of us can remember where we were on the morning of September 11, 2001. I was in law school and we were waiting for the first class of the morning to begin when one of my fellow students came in and said a plane had hit one of the towers of the World Trade Center. He didn’t have any details and I remember thinking that it must have been a small plane like had happened before to the Empire State Building, I think more than once. Class was about to begin so we didn’t have time to go find out what was being reported on TV, and cell phones in those days would only do phone calls and texts, so we didn’t get any more news until an 1 ½ hour later when class was dismissed. As soon as we walked out of classroom we ran into other students in the hallway who let us know how serious it was. We all rushed to the student lounge downstairs to the only available TV in the building. We, like all Americans, were shocked. Having spent over 25 years in fire, EMS and law enforcement at the time, and with a friend on the New York Fire Department (HazMat 1) as well as another on the New York Police Department (Special Response Team), I couldn’t concentrate in class the rest of the day. I’m sure all of you have similar stories of that day. Anyway, saying the Pledge of Allegiance last Tuesday evening was one of the few times in my life that I actually got chocked up while saying it.

Ok, on to the meeting . . . . Mike McKay (K5DU) presented an excellent power point class on Strategic Planning which included a brief history of CMSARA. He also talked about EMCOMM or emergency communications, especially ARES and RACES. Of concern both locally and even nationally is that there seems to be less and less interest in emergency communications with ham radio. Discussed was the need to continue to be able to provide this valuable service as the more our modern communication system relies on higher technology, it is feared that the more venerable it can become. This was emphasized in this state and even in the metro area during Hurricane Katrina. Mike also talked about the MEMA team that mans the 2m/70 cm as well as the HF radios in the State’s Emergency Operations Center in Pearl.

One emphasis Mike made during his presentation was the need for members to step up into leadership positions within the organization. Nominations opened up this meeting for various leadership positions and will remain open until elections are held during our October meeting. Positions that will be open and need filled next month are: President, Vice-President for Programs, Vice-President for Special Events, Secretary, Treasurer, and two “non-officer” members on the Board of Directors (all officers are on the Board of Directors).

Eugene Wallace (N5CMA) announced that he has more 12 volt batteries for go-kits if anyone needs any, and at the low, low price of $FREE. Eugene has already provided several of us with some of these re-purposed batteries and I have been extremely pleased with the one’s I have. In addition to Eugene, we need to thank one of our newer members, Clinton Frazier (KW5TON), for getting these for us. They are used but, again, the one’s I’ve have had for several months now have worked great in my kit.

One other item that will be presented to the Association next month is a proposed amendment to our by-laws. Presently, Article VII – Section D states that the Board of Directors shall meet monthly on the last Tuesday of each month. Several members have suggested that having the Board meet 30-45 minutes before the Association meetings would be more convenient and eliminate having to meet twice each month. I tend to agree, as have several current Board members that talked to me about this. Should the Association wish to change this it would simply require that the proposal be submitted in writing (done), discussed at a regular monthly meeting of the Association, posted on this website and/or Yahoo group, and then voted on at the next monthly Association meeting. It would require a two-thirds vote to pass. Be thinking about this and we can discuss it at the October meeting.

VE testing was conducted (as usual) and I believe all that tested passed. Thanks again to Brian and the VE Team!

I hope everyone has a great month and I’ll see y’all next month on the second Tuesday!

Richard (W5EZX)

February Meeting Recap

A welcome treat at the February meeting was Don Porter’s [AF5QD] presentation on Back to Basics – Using a Multimeter in the Hamshack. He discussed using a multimeter for basic troubleshooting on radio hardware and antenna systems, how to perform continuity testing on transmission lines, and safety precautions to take (for example a static grounding mat). He spent some time discussing using an antenna analyzer, and a few finer points of testing electrical components (like using denatured alcohol to clean out connections before testing). Some of the basic uses he discussed was using a multimeter to test power supplies, finding a faulty fuse, and checking recently installed cable connectors. Official minutes of the meeting can be found here.

January Meeting Recap

At the January meeting, Mike McKay (N5DU) gave a terrific presentation on digital IP gateways/hotspots, specifically the Shark OpenRF module. He discussed different modes, uses, and module models, including pros and cons of different systems. He discussed in depth the Shark OpenRF system, including setup and operation. Some highlights of the device are: Supports DMR, D-Star (DCS, REF/DPlus, XRF/DExtra, XLX), System Fusion (FCS, YSFReflector) networks. Supports cross modem modes. Talk with your C4FM radio on DMR, and with your radio on System Fusion networks! USB powered, low energy consumption, 20mW RF output. Create your own private radio network!  Also discussed were different repeater access around the region using RF hotspots. Official minutes of the meeting can be found here.

Six Meters, The Magic Band

At the November CMSARA meeting, R.A. “Smitty” Smith (W4UDH) presented a class entitled “Six Meters, The Magic Band.”  Covered were topics such as: what are the best months for good propagation; the importance of good antenna selection; and additional sources of information and guidance for those wanting to get into the 6 meter band as well as for all those already utilizing it. As usual, Smitty did a great job conveying his vast knowledge to the group.  Thank you Smitty and a job well done! Official minutes of the meeting can be found here.

It’s Not a Microwave Dinner…It’s High Speed Multi-Media Mesh (HSMM)!

hsmm_bookAt the July meeting, CMSARA hosted our neighbor to the north, Glen Popiel KW5GP by Skype. Glen is the author of the recently published book High Speed Multimedia for Amateur Radio: Build a High Speed Amateur Radio Microwave Network (ARRL). Glen gave CMSARA members a jump-start for their MESH Tech Team, led by Rusty Yates KG5FSA. His book is available from the ARRL or from Amazon.

Few hams in the U.S. know more about high-speed multimedia modes than KW5GP: he wrote the book on it! His engaging style and witty sense of humor kept the crowd highly engaged throughout his talk. Glen shared his slides used in his presentation below. Unfortunately, due to a change in computer systems, the planned recording of KW5GP’s talk failed. However, he will be appearing in late August on the Amateur Radio Roundtable (w5kub.com) show, co-hosted by Tom Medlin (W5KUB) and CMSARA VP-Programming Frank Howell (K4FMH) using the same talk. We will add the Youtube link to that video when it’s online. (more…)

March Program: Gordo’s Got Game on ARES!

Gordo

Gordo WB8NOA

Over 40 amateur radio enthusiasts crowded the ad hoc meeting place for the March meeting of CMSARA. Due to the Tuesday election, the Association moved it’s meeting to a conference room at the City of Brandon Municipal Building to welcome one of the most influential amateurs in the U.S. Gordon West WB8NOA brought his best “game” via Skype to educate those in attendance on the “care and feeding” of ARES teams. For an hour, Gordo demonstrated key procedures and issues facing ARES teams in California and around the U.S. using actual radio QSOs from emergency situations. Moreover, he shared with the crowd his suggestions for improving emergency radio teams as they grow and mature. 

Gordo complimented CMSARA’s motto of “We Do Stuff” as exemplary, saying that it’s important to keep engagement among ARES teams to keep their abilities sharp. By “doing stuff,” ARES teams have fun, the key to continual engagement. (more…)

There WAS a Hurricane…Net, That Is!

HWN-C&B-LogoWe promised that there might be a hurricane at the July meeting. There was! Well, of sorts. Bobby Graves KB5HAV has been a leader in the development of both the Hurricane Watch Net (hwn.org) and the Maritime Mobile Service Net (mmsn.org). Some hams are active in this segment of emergency communications while others are fairly oblivious to them.

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Bobby KB5HAV

The Hurricane Watch Net was founded in 1965 during Hurrican Betsy. An informal group of amateur operators saw a need to provide communications into and out of the impact zone. The HWN has operated since during every hurricane that is projected to reach landfall in the Atlantic, Carribean Basin, and the Gulf of Mexico. It developed and maintains a direct formal communication partnership with the National Hurrican Center in Miami. The Net activates on 20M at 14.325mhz and 50M on 7.268mhz whenever a hurricane is within 300 miles of projected landfall or is a serious threat to a populated area. There are about 40 amateurs located in strategic locations around North America who officially support the HWN’s activities.
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Digital Voice? There is a Clearing in the Mist

Mike McKay N5DU

Mike McKay N5DU

At the May meeting, Mike McKay N5DU gave a good, down to earth, presentation of the various options available to amateur radio operators involving digital voice communications in the VHF and UHF bands (and higher frequency). N5DU focused on developments in Central Mississippi, the coverage area for the Association. Being a practicing attorney, Mike spends his days getting to the heart of the (legal) matter! It showed in his informative talk to those in attendance at the Rankin County EOC / MSU Extension Service auditorium.

“Digital voice gives the amateur a much greater fidelity in the transmission of messages,” said N5DU. But, he added, it tends to be an on or off condition as the digital signal drops out sharply relative to conventional FM analog. The data capabilities are growing with the ability to send pictures and other forms of communication. (more…)

Global EmComm!

fiest_clideRemember the Haiti disaster? How about those in the Philippines? We all remember Katrina! The Salvation Army is a worldwide church who has a strong emphasis in disaster relief implemented through emergency communications. Bill Fiest WB8BZH attended the Global Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Conference held last year in nearby Huntsville, AL. He plays a prominent role in the Army’s emergency network, SATERN. (more…)

© 2014-2017 Central Mississippi Amateur Radio Association

Contact CMSARA at:


P.O. Box 892

Telephone.: 601-345-1654

Brandon, MS 39043-0892

Email: CentralMSARA@gmail.com