Category: Programs

November Program Recap

At the November CMSARA meeting on November 15 2016, R.A. “Smitty” Smith (W4UDH) gave a wonderful talk about propagation. He spoke about reasons, techniques and tips for communicating in the amateur bands using propagation to full advantage. He also discussed technical resources available for amateurs related to propagation. Smitty has been a ham for many many years, and has earned multiple ARRL awards, including the WAC (Worked All Continents), WAS (Worked All States) and WAZ (Worked All Zones). Smitty is also a member of the illustrious ARRL VHF/UHF Century Club, having worked more that 100+ countries.

As an added bonus at the meeting; Reece Morris, the Grandson of CMSARA member Eugene Wallace (N5CMA), gave a interesting presentation about his Great-grandfather (also a radio amateur). He spoke about how he was taught about becoming a ham, and how he was inspired to design and build his own antenna system! Reece is ready for his first amateur license, and an inspiration to other young people desiring to enter the hobby. Thank you Reece!


Shack Show!

HamOperatorAs a response to a member request, we changed the intended program topic on RF propagation for May! Examples and an open discussion of “shack setup” was the topic.

Participating CMSARA Officers and Board Members presented the informal program. Using one or more pictures of their shack, each one gave a brief explanation of what’s in their shack. President Flanagan, Past-President Mike McKay, VP-Special Events Dana Pierce, Board member Mike Dancey and VP-Programming Frank Howell participated. An open-forum Q&A discussion of the decisions and choices made on shack development was interspersed during the discussion. The thirty-plus members and visitors in attendance said that this was a very informative program. Serving the membership, this program change was made to assist new members to ham radio who attend CMSARA!

Slideshow of the May CMSARA meeting:


N5DU Does APRS for CMSARA Attendees


Mike N5DU

Another great program was given to CMSARA in April! Past-President Mike McKay N5DU talked about APRS. A long time enthusiast for the Automated Packet Reporting System, Mike has served as a key expert on APRS, advising several clubs in the area on the deployment and operation of APRS digipeaters, iGates and trackers. He gave critical information about how Yaesu has enhanced the APRS implementation in their new line of Fusion transceivers and HTs. A modest debate about how well or poorly Icom’s DSTAR digital APRS has been implemented. All in good amateur radio fun, of course.

Mike’s program slides are available here. Video of the talk will be posted on the popular CMSARA Youtube Channel as soon as production has been completed.

Working Amateur Radio Satellites

The former Editor of the AMSAT Journal, Russ Tillman K5NRK, and his long-time partner, Eddie Pettis N5JGK presented “Amateur Radio Satellites: An Introduction and Demo of AO-85” to a packed house at the February meeting of CMSARA. A tour de force of experience, Russ and Eddie taught attendees about the origins of how amateurs got satellites included on NASA missions, how NASA benefited by adopting ham radio technology, and how easy it is to get started working the “birds”. A demonstration in the parking lot was conducted with Eddie Pettis narrating the activities. At least one new ham committed to getting into the world of satellites during the program. Others may indeed follow! Our Vicksburg ARC neightbors were given a standing ovation at the end of the presentation. (more…)

Founder of FlexRadio Systems to Speak to CMSARA in November


Gerald Youngblood K5SDR

The Central Mississippi Amateur Radio Association ( is proud to announce that the founder of software-defined radio (SDR), Gerald F. Youngblood K5SDR, will be speaking in Brandon MS on November 30, 2015. Youngblood is a native of Mississippi and founded the leading manufacturer of computer-based radio transceivers for both amateur and commercial sectors in 2003. His company, FlexRadio Systems, is located in Austin Texas where he serves as President & CEO of the privately-held corporation. Gerald holds the B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Mississippi State University. His speech is entitled, “SDR – Changing Ham Radio Forever” with audience questions and media interviews afterwards. The presentation will be held at the Rankin County Extension Service Office / Emergency Operations Center located at 601 Marquette Road, Brandon, MS beginning at 7 pm. The public is invited and there is no charge. For more information, please contact CMSARA at 601-345-1654 or

Got an Oscilloscope? Here’s Why You Should


Tom AE5I talking about oscilloscopes

Tom AE5I gave a talk at the September meeting of CMSARA about oscilloscopes. What most hams lack is a global view of the family of oscilloscope instruments rather than a limited experience of one type. Tom Brown’s passion in laboratory bench equipment is the oscilloscope. It showed! He not only knows the technical elements of the history of oscilloscope development but the “players” who were instrumental in each step.

Time Domain Reflector Signal Display

Time Domain Reflector Signal Display

The types of oscilloscopes he covered included: Analog, Digital, Real-Time Sampling, Storage (Analog), and Digitizing. To most hams, these various types of devices are…well, just confusing unless you’ve used ‘scopes before. In an uncomplicated way, AE5I conveyed how and why these various designs came to be. He also filled-in the gaps with the specific engineers who developed key types of innovation leading to the evolution of oscilloscope design. How spectrum analyzers are variants of ‘scopes was an intriguing aspect of last month’s talk.

This talk was the global overview preparation for next month’s Special Madison Event on Tuesday, October 12, 2015, at a site to be announced on this website by Mike Flanagan WM5A, Special Events Coordinator for CMSARA. Tom AE5I will have a number of his own oscilloscope instruments on-site and live at this October talk. Attendees will be able to see the screen and controls very clearly from the audience through the new Elmo display device donated to the Association. This will be a great informative program. Stay tuned!

AE5I’s slides from Part 1 of his oscilloscope talk in PDF format are available here.

CMSARA Upgrades AV Equipment for Meeting Presentations (updated)

Focusing on the benefits of having good programs at each monthly meeting, CMSARA has begun upgrading the audio-video equipment assets owned by the Association. “Thanks to the donations by a CMSARA member,” said President Mike McKay N5DU, “we now have the start for a major enhancement of our capabilities for multimedia use by guest speakers. This will allow the Association or other individual members to donate equipment to further our capability to better enjoy the details of what a speaker has to say.” He added, “Since CMSARA is a registered non-profit with 501(c)(3) status, donations of equipment or money qualifies as a possible tax deduction for donors.”


New Push-Up Screen

CMSARA now has an 80″ Inch 4:3 format pull-up floor projection screen with a built-in aluminum storage case. Special Events Coordinator Mike Flanagan WM5A said, “This greatly helps the projected images be clearer to the audience. And it’s a snap to setup, which I like since I usually do this task!” CMSARA has previously used the painted wall behind the speaker’s podium as a provisional screen. “This worked ok but the crystal coating on projection screens make the details clearer and the image much brighter to the audience,” N5DU elaborated.


Elmo HD Visual Presenter with Speaker Screen

Another donation is an Elmo Visual Presenter Document Camera HV-5100XG with Color LCD Monitor LM-5611A. This device allows the speaker to show an object—such as a radio or circuit board—on a light board with a high resolution, auto-focusing camera that sends the image to a projector as an input like a Powerpoint presentation. This device has side lights so as to emphasize the 3D object being shown. It will take a PC input (such as with a Powerpoint or PDF slide deck or perhaps a software program) and the speaker can easily switch between these two inputs. It also has a remote control so the speaker can move around more easily from the Elmo device. A hard shell case was included for easy storage and transport to other locations. (more…)

Magnolia Intertie Nears Launch


At August’s meeting, the how and why of a new non-profit corporation, the Magnolia Intertie Incorporated, was described by Frank Howell K4FMH, President of the company. Why? “Fundamentally, we do this because we hams want to have ‘fun’ in the practice of our hobby. In this case, a linked backbone of repeaters around Mississippi will also be a great service to those in need of communications in times of emergency.” Over 35 amateur radio operators and those ready for the FCC examination were in attendance at this monthly meeting. The Intertie’s website can be found at


Frank K4FMH

Howell said he spent a full year researching other successful Intertie systems around the U.S. All had various suggestions on methods to utilize in linking repeater systems but all also had one definitive piece of advice: DO NOT try to organize a confederation of club repeaters! They said while it’s the quickest way to get a bunch of repeaters linked but it’s the most certain way to have it fail in a short time and with rancor between the Intertie and those clubs. Howell said that the Magnolia Intertie has heeded that set of recommendations. Clubs and other organizations, such as ARES chapters, MEMA, the National Weather Service, Storm Spotters, the Salvation Army, the American Red Cross, may apply to connect to the Intertie’s backbone system through a mechanism that is being developed by a working group of Board members and technical advisors, the Network Operations Working Committee. The NOWC is chaired by Mike N5DU. Mike is also the current President of CMSARA and Secretary-Treasurer of Magnolia Intertie Inc. (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 ( and the Maritime Mobile Service Net ( Some hams are active in this segment of emergency communications while others are fairly oblivious to them.


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.