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SPARKS P.O. BOX 750482 MEMPHIS, TN 38175-0482 / VOL. 9 / JANUARY 1997

W 4 B S    R E P E A T E R    S Y S T E M

146.82, 147.36, 224.42, 443.2 & 145.03 Packet


Welcome to 1997! Here's hoping that everyone had a super Holiday Season and are ready for,not just a Happy New Year but, a Great New Year for Delta Amateur Radio Club. I can't begin to tell you how excited I am about the prospects for the club in 1997. Dom and the 1996 Board of Directors have started some things that I hope will continue to mature in the coming year. The primary item being the completion of the 501 (c)3 tax exempt status. We can only imagine how many doors this will open for us in 97. I hope to start some new things this year to get more of you involved in the club. Our club is widely known for it's high quality repeater system, but that's not all there is to amateur radio. We already have a packet special interest group (SIG), but I would like to see other aspects of the hobby have their own SIG's too. Many of our members never get on the repeaters and may not even have any VHF/UHF equipment, and spend most of their radio time on CW or, SSB in the 50 to 160 MHZ frequency range. Ben, KE4TLY is already talking about starting a friendly CWcontest with the other local clubs. Tim, KF4DNA is going to make sure that we have at least oneSpecial Event Station this year, maybe TWO! Without going into everything I'd like to seehappen this year, I'll just say watch and see what develops. We had a great time at the December meeting and Christmas dinner. At the meeting, we had a great program by David, KD4NOQ who explained the trip he and several other local amateurs made to Mount Nebo, Arkansas, to take part in a VHF/UHF contest. They operated on a mountain at about 1200 feet, and at 200+ miles from Memphis, they were able to work all of our machines and even a few simplex contacts. Not bad for VHF huh? Along with the video from Mount Nebo and it's breathtaking views, David also shared a little video from his trip to the1996 Dayton Hamvention. The Christmas Dinner at the Old Country Buffet in Bartlett wasanother success as we had a great turnout. Jim, WD8JAO coordinated everything for the dinner and along with Jeanette, KC4VYJ, his lovely bride, provided a few homemade door prizes. They were also surprised when Carol, N7RGK gave them a lovely Christmas arrangement for alltheir hard work.

Remember to get those membership renewals in soon, and I would really like to see EVERYONE at the January meeting. I know that's not possible because for one reason or another people's work schedules and other family commitments will not allow them to attend. But there are a lot of folks that are sitting at home on the second Tuesday night, not doing a thing but being a couch potato. Come on out and join in the fun and fellowship.


Tommy, KD4TJO

Vice President's Report

The new year is rapidly approaching, and with it comes a new Board of Directors for the Delta Amateur Radio Club. And, with the coming of the new year, I have the honor of being your vice president for the next 12 months. I look forward to, not only working with the board, but to work with the entire membership of Delta Amateur Radio Club.

We have already begun to start working. On Monday, December 16th, at our last board meeting for the 1996 board, we met several of the 1997 board. I have had the opportunity to talk to most of these individuals on the air, but this was my first time to interact with many of them from a more formal perspective. To say the least, I was very impressed. From the various comments that were made during the course of the board meeting, it appears that they are ready, willing, and able to assume the responsibilities of the position to which they were elected.

On another topic that is indirectly related to the new year, the Delta Amateur radio club is now the proud owners of a three element tri-bander beam antenna and, for the sake of our new "Past President", a rotator and control box. We were able to purchase these from a local ham who has decided to get out of the hobby. I'm very sorry to see Larry Johnson, KD4KDK, direct his interested to other hobbies, but I am very happy that we were able to obtain these two items. We no longer have to borrow these two items during Field Day.

On a sadder note, the Delta Amateur Radio Club is loosing one of its members. Doan, KE4LNC, and his family will be moving to Kentucky very soon to venture into a new career. Having had the opportunity to work with Doan this past year and personally experience his attention to detail on all the responsibilities that he was assigned, he will be sorely missed.

But, we may be able to keep in touch with Doan. Many of you are not aware, as were many of the current Board of Directors, Doan recently upgraded to General Class. In addition, he passed the code test for Amateur Extra. My hats off to this HAM, board member, and friend. I look forward to working him on 75/80 meters in the very near future.

Well, I have rambled on enough. I hope to see more and more members attending our monthly meetings during 1997. See you at the January meeting.



Secretaryís Report

Iím really looking forward to this coming year as secretary for the Delta Amateur Radio Club. It will allow me to return some of which Iíve received from the membership in the past two years. Iíve been given encouragement to try new things, support when Iíve failed and more encouragement to keep going (man, that code was tough), some good natured rib-poking when I made mistakes (because we all have made our share), had a lot of fun at the picnics, parades, get-togethers, learned a lot from the programs and Field Day.

Amateur radio is a diverse hobby and the DARC membership is as diverse. But everyone has always been enthusiastic and generous in offering their time, knowledge, and even their equipment when needed. It is this generosity, enthusiasm, and inspiration I hope to return to the club in the coming year.

73 to all,

Kathy KE4UYU

VE Report

December is such a busy month for all of us, I really want to thank those that were able to take a bit of there time to help with the last VE testing session of the year. Barry N4QM, Jimmy N4ZCO, and myself were able to serve 5 candidates, administering 10 elements and having 3 elements passed. We welcome one new technician to our midst.

Joan KN4PM

Newsbrief from KN4PM

New Novice and Technician pools were releaased into public domain on December 1, 1996. These new pools will be used starting July 1, 1997, this year. New to these pools is a seperate RF-Safety subelement implemented with an FCC Rules Change that took effect on Augusr 6, 1996. The rules implement require that 5 additional questions be added to the Novice, Technician, and General class written exams. (The new General questions pools will not be until 1998).

So have your friends study their exams and be sure to use the proper study books.

Hoping that everyone had a Haappy Holidays and wishing you all a Wonderful New Year.

Your VE Liason

Joan KN4PM

J A N U A R Y 1 9 9 7 C L U B M E E T I N G

DATE: January 14, 1997 ( 2nd Tuesday - be there )

PLACE: Ellendale Church Of Christ, 7365 Highway 70, Memphis, Tn. ( 2 miles east of Hwy. 64-Stage Rd. )

TIME: 7:00 PM

PROGRAM: All you wanted to know about the W4BS Repeater System.

VE TESTING: Donít forget the monthly Volunteer Examiner testing session. Registration begins at 5:30p.m. and testing begins promptly at 6:00p.m. Please remember to bring two forms of identification and copies of any existing licenses or CSCEís you might have. Please be on time for registration, as you will not be allowed to enter the testing session after 6:00 p.m., so our volunteer VE team can finish in time to attend the club meeting. Call Joan Thorne 366-9722, if special testing arrangements are required.

Opportunity For Retired Hams

The Delta Amateur Radio Club is fortunate to have so many knowledgeable individuals within its organization. Chances are, YOU fall into this category!

There are also those who have a desire to learn more about electronics, ham radio, emergency communications, and possibly kit building. These individuals mainly consist of young people between the ages of 14 and 21.

To be specific, we are talking about scouts (boys and girls) who are interested in joining Explorer Post 903, sponsored by the DARC.

The greatest need at this point and time is securing dedicated individuals who wish to give back to the community by helping young people learn about a subject you excel in.

The club will run the risk of loosing interested scouts if we cannot put together a core group of individuals who can commit to giving an hour or two every other week.

If you see yourself as one who can make the difference in the lives of todayís young people, please let me know. With a club that is 400+ members strong, there has got to be a handful who has the time and desire to help.

For additional information, call Barry W. Moore, Explorer Post 903, Chartered Organizational Representative for DARC, at 854-1273


Ok, Iíve been dying for a chance to plug in a little note in the newsletter, so here goes.

For the past year or so the only computer I have been using is a Macintosh Plus. Its great for paket, but no go with the newsletter. Well now I have a REAL computer. Since getting the computer and going on-line, I have found some really good sites I thought I might pass along. First and foremost the DARC homepage,  Then I found the CAREN club homepage, is the Little Rock club. Also found the Huntsville Al. page

Check some of these out on the Web.

Feild Day Results By Terry Cox KB4KA

This year, in addition to working toward our three general Field Day goals of disaster preparedness training, fun/fellowship, and making a good contest score, we wanted to STAY DRY! Seems rain has followed us around on Field Day the past few years, but we successfully dodged the bullet this year. As far as the other three objectives, I think we had success in each of them.

Many of the Club members were participating in Field Day for the first time, and that is something we want to emphasize each and every Field Day. We should never let our desire for fun and a good score interfere with providing an opportunity for everyone to develop and practice the skills we may need for disaster communications. We never know when we may be asked to perform this function, and we must all be ready! Many members have indicated that this Field Day provided quite a few practical lessons that have been filed away mentally for future use. SUPER!! Also, even though we didn't have it quite ready for use during the contest, Doan KC4LNC had the Club's new trailer with the crank-up tower at the Park Saturday afternoon for all to see. I was impressed - what a great job! This alone could make our case for increased preparedness for disaster communications, and I'm looking forward to next years Field Day, already.

What about the fun/fellowship goal. Well, I can't speak for everyone, but I didn't hear a discouraging word all weekend. What a great bunch of Captains and crews! If we didn't learn anything else, we know how much fun it can be to work with our Club members for a common purpose. Sure, the hours are long for those that stay for the duration, but I don't think anyone stayed longer than they wanted to stay. It kinda gets in your blood and you hate to leave! We didn't set an all time high score for the Club this year, but considering the lack of good propagation, we didn't do too badly. Per the scoring recap from the November issue of QST, all the scores were down a bit. I'm not sure where we finished in the past in our category (percentage wise), but this year we were just inside the upper 15% of the Class 2A entries - 83rd out of 570. Not bad at all! We were third in 2A in Tennessee with 1029 contacts and 4,546 total points. First place 2A in TN was the Ringgold ARC (W4ABZ) with 1355/10,500 and second TN was the K-Team (KO4EW) with 1877/6,262. First overall in 2A was Team Camp (W5NN) out of South Texas with 3834/11,772, a nice score but far short of last years winner who had something around 15K points. We earned all of the possible bonus points except those for a satellite contact. We tried but just couldn't eke one out.

One result of this year's Field Day was a guide book for future Field Days. This book is intended as a living document to provide each new Field Day Chairman the benefit of the experiences of those that went before. Also, we have hopefully set a precedent of having an Assistant Field Day Chairman that will take over the reins for next year. Dom AA5N (ex-AC4PZ), this years President, and I selected Barry KE4KAG as my assistant (and a very good one at that) for 1996. Unfortunately, Barry will not be able to run the show next year, due to an overload of projects. The idea was that Barry and Tommy, KD4TJO, the 1997 President, would select Barry's Assistant Chairman. This assistant would then be Field Day Chairman for 1998. Tommy will have to select both, now.

I haven't tried to use this article to thank each and every one who contributed to the success of this years Field Day. I think I have had a chance to tell each of you in person and by way of the Certificates of Appreciation issued in November how much you were appreciated. From the "old stand-bys" to the "first timers", you all did a GREAT JOB! Now, let's get ready to support next years Field Day effort!

Hardware Update

Many Amateurs operate on the HF frequencies. The most common modes are SSB and CW. Anyone who has operated on HF know what noise and interference can do to a signal we are trying to receive. To improve the quality of the signal, we use everything from IF filters specifically designed for SSB or CW to Digital Signal Processors to provide filter functions to the audio. While these work well they also cost.

This monthís project is a simple audio filter that allows selection of SSB or CW. The filter consists of only three components. A switch allows selection of which mode you want to use. The two capacitors will change the character of the audio and optimize it for the selected mode. The filter is easy to build and cost less than $3.00. I made my unit with a three position switch. This allows me to select SSB, CW, or Muted Audio with the switch. The performance of the filter is good considering the price. By experimenting with capacitors of similar values you can select audio that sounds good to you.

I will have the SSB/CW filter at the meeting to show and answer questions for those who wish to build their own units.

James Butler, KB4LJV

Amateur Packet Update

Most of the packet equipment we use runs on 12 Volts dc. To run our TNCís and accessories we have to have a 115 VAC to 12 VDC adapter.

Radio Shack has come out with a new power converter that can be used for this purpose.

The unit produces a clean 12 VDC output. The voltage output of the power supply is a regulated 12 volts. The current rating of the unit is 3 AMPS continuous. The unit has a neat feature that come in handy.

The power supply hookups to the rig can be made via wire posts located on the front of the like most other power supplies, but it also has a standard automotive cigarette lighter plug that lets you plug in 12 VDC accessories just as you would in the car. A rubber plug covers the lighter connection when it is not in use. This cigarette lighter plug is a handy feature for use with portable computers and HTís to run them in the house using the same connectors and cord used in the car.

The unit is part number 222@504 and cost is about $40.00. If you need a small power supply for you shack, check out this new one from Radio Shack.

James Butler, KB4LJV

Fists CW Club

As we all know, in order to upgrade to General, Advanced, and Amateur Extra, we must learn Morse Code and be proficient at various speeds. Some of us enjoy this aspect of the hobby while others couldn't be bothered by it. For those of you that enjoy CW, there is an organization out there that is dedicated to the preservation of Morse Code, it's called FISTS.

FISTS was first organized in England in 1987. By the end of the first year of existence, there were well over 300 active members. Today, there are members in all 50 states and many countries. The purpose of FISTS are to further the use of Morse Code on all amateur bands. There is no speed requirement to join FISTS, you cannot be too slow or too inexperienced a code operator to benefit from being a member.

There are many activities surrounding FISTS, too many to mention here. However, I have listed a couple below that might spark your interest.

The Spring Sprint is a four-hour event which is held the second Saturday in the month of May. It is open to both FISTS and non-FISTS members. Also, there is a Fall sprint. It, too, has the same requirements. The Sprints are basically a QSO party, not your high speed contests like the ARRL Sweepstakes.

Those of you who have just passed your code proficiency test to attain the level of Tech Plus will be interested in the next event. Between February 24th and March 3rd FISTS have a Novice Roundup. If you're a Tech Plus and want to get some experience on the air with CW, this is your chance.

The one aspect of FISTS that I particularly like is Code Buddies. This is a program where inexperienced CW operators are paired up with experienced operators. The objective of this program is to provide practice which will improve the code proficiency of the newcomers.

Well, that's about it. If you're interested in this unique organization, and have access to the Internet, you can download the article for which this information was obtained. This article was written for CQ Magazine and is titled "BILL'S BASICS." Also, you can download the application blank if your interests have escalated to that level. You will need to 'unzip' the file when you download it. One final comment, if you are interested in getting more information first hand, there is a list of FISTS members who have e-mail addresses. You can send a note to any one of these individuals to get their impression of the organization.

Hope to hear you on the air in the very near future as a FISTS member.

73, Ben, KE4TLY

The Marconi Award Challeage

There was no one at the November meeting more surprised that I when Dom announced that I was the recipient of the Marconi Award for this year! So surprised, in fact, that I was speechless, and you know that's a rare occasion for me! But you probably guessed that affliction wouldn't last, and you're right.

Of all the awards dispensed by the Club each November there are two, of equal ranking in my mind, that are the most desirable; the Ham of the Year Award and the Marconi Award. When Dom began to announce the Ham of the Year recipient, Doan immediately came to my mind, as the trailer/tower project he so success- fully lead will provide major returns to the Club over the years. As in most awards of this magnitude, this project was only one of the many reasons Doan deserved the Ham of the Year Award. His work on the Board of Directors, as Director of Meetings and as co-sponsor of the Delta sponsored JOTA effort and work on the Club sponsored Explorer Post all played a key role in his selection, I'm sure. Congratulations Doan!

When Dom started to announce the recipient of the Marconi Award, no one's name came to mind immediately, as there has always been some confusion in my mind as to what this award really stands for. The more I've thought about this award I've come to the conclusion that the major difference between the two awards is that the Marconi Award is not necessarily for Club oriented efforts, but for Amateur Radio in general. Based on the glowing words from Dom, the basis for my receiving the Marconi Award was my work on the Club's Field Day effort, completion of the TBONE 9600bps packet radio backbone between Memphis and Nashville and establishment of the PacketCluster Node linked to the South- east PacketCluster System. The last two of these projects are for the ham community in general to enjoy, and are not specifically Club oriented. Let me be the first to recognize that I was not the ONLY person involved in these projects - there was a lot of participation from a lot of folks that made and are still making these projects success stories. However, I will still accept the Marconi Award with the pride it demands, and thank everyone who helped me be considered for it. Thanks also to those who saw fit to select me for the Award.

What about next year? I'd like to challenge those that are potential 1997 Marconi Award winners (that's every one of you) to make an even greater contribution to Amateur Radio in the Memphis area. It really shouldn't be too hard to do! How about making an effort to establish better working relation- ships with other ham groups in the area? How about working to establish better relationships within the Delta ARC next year? How about starting additional Special Interest Groups within the Club that could spill over to the general ham community? Our training programs are pretty successful, but what about a commitment to up-grade YOUR license class this year? Anyone who has not experienced the HF bands is really missing the best of Amateur Radio. We have a very nice meeting place now, but think about a couple more things. What could the Club do if we had our very own meeting place with room to put up a tower, HF antennas and have a permanent Club operations room? Maybe something could be worked out with the church, or maybe we could start the process to actually build our own! Maybe you could start to work on that idea and show the Club the way to accomplish such a project. And I could go on and on, but you get the idea. Every one of you has the potential to come up with some really good ideas and that's the beginning of a successful year for you and the Club. So go do it! And let me help you. So many of you helped me win the Award this year, maybe I can return the favor.

TNX AGN & 73, Terry, KB4KA


The lead article in January, 1932 was, "Amateur Radio still fairly reeks with problems". Problems with the selectivity of receivers, band-pass and low-pass filters were introduced to help solve this situation. Also, reported in this issue, that there were 22,739 amateurs, and the government published a call book that sold for 40 cents per copy. Mr. Dow introduced the electron-coupled oscillator in January, 1932. The editors of this issue published the full text of the new revised amateur regulations. The entire regulations took up only three columns of QST space printed in the old large print; compare that with today's License Manual. Last month, I tried to point out the importance of the traffic system, and urged all radio amateurs to participate in it. To show how this section's traffic has declined over the years. last month our traffic count was a total of 844 with 14 stations reporting. In January, 1957, W4PL reported 950 alone, the monthly total was 2271 pieces of traffic with 22 stations reporting. Yes, I would say that things have changed.

O. D. Keaton, WA4GLS

Editorís Article

Well here goes my first newsletter to the printer. Iíve learned alot about this new computer and all the software and programs. First there was Windows 95, then there was publisher and mail list and the inter-net and ......WOW, thereís a lot of stuff to learn here folks. Iím really gonna enjoy putting the Sparks together this year. there is a lot of good information out there, and with our membership a wealth of information. Just look at the articles in this newsletter. From Ben, KE4TLY, the Fists Club. Then thereís Terry, KB4KA, with the information about Field Day 96, and the Marconi award. Donít forget in this issue there is a pullout section, the Bylaws for the Delta Club. In next months issue look for more informative articles from some of our members. Remember anyone may submit articles for publication in Sparks.I encourage each one of you to write something for Sparks. I may not be able to get all of them in if all the membership was to submit one, but Iíd try real hard.

I would like to take a moment and thank the 96 Board for naming Kathy and myself Newcomer of the Year. I was very surprised to receive that award. I would like to thank the Board for the wonderful leadership throughout 1996. Alot of good things were accomplished and we all owe them a big round of thanks. As Ben stated in the Vice Presidents Article, the 1997 Board was able to meet with the 1996 board at the last Board meeting at Domís house. We would like to thank him for inviting us to that meeting and having a chance to get our feet wet. Remember that all Board meetings are open to any club member. If you have an idea that you would like to have the Board take a look at or if you would just like to see how your club is run, feel free to join us at any meeting. If your not sure when the meetings are, just ask one of the Board members and we will be happy to let you know when and where they will be.

Let me take this time to thank Ray, AA4UK for the outstanding job he did as Director of Publications last year and the prep work he did for me in having all this set up for me to do this first Sparks of 1997. Ray Iíll never be able to thank you enough for this help.

Let me change hats for a minute. I am also the awards manager for the Friendship Award Net that is held on the 146.82 repeater on Sunday nights. I know a lot of you have listened to that net and might have checked in, but after listening for a minute or two thought how boring. I am gonna try and change some of that. If you listen now to the net you here something like this......KA4BLL this is KF4BIY, good to hear you tonight Ned.....OK David good to hear you too......thanks Ned for the contact, back to net control....good contact guys, next station....... Well starting in January I have asked all net controls to expand the net some and allow more rag-chewing, or give everybody a chance to get to know the other station they are talking to. We have alot of people traveling thru Memphis that hear the Net. Did you know that Nets similar to ours are now heard on Calf. Little Rock, Ar. Why you might ask? Because they checked in here and liked the idea and took it home and started one for their area. I want to make sure they leave Memphis with the idea that WOW those people on the 82 machine are really nice. So if you have the chance, join us on Sunday nightís on the Delta Radio Clubís Friendship Award Net.

73 and Happy New Year

David, KF4BIY


Tommy Thompson

Ben Troughton

Kathy Troughton

Bill Hancock

David Pace

Suresh Kagoo

Dom Desiderio

SPARKS is published monthly by the Delta Amateur Radio Club and is mailed to club members and other interested parties. All information published in this newsletter is provided as a service. While every effort is made to ensure accuracy, the Delta Amateur Radio Club and its officers assume no liability resulting from errors or omissions. All correspondence may be mailed to:

Delta Amateur Radio Club P.O. Box 750482 Memphis, TN 38175-0482

President Tommy Thompson, KD4TJO 363-1198

Vice President Ben Troughton, KE4TLY 372-8031

Secretary Kathy Troughton, KE4UYU 372-8031

Treasurer Dan Hoffman, N4VWM 685-6813

Director of Training Bill Hancock, WA4MJM 853-7192

Director of Publications David Pace, KF4BIY 685-7483

Director of Programs Suresh Kagoo, N9GSA 744-6470

Director of Meetings and Special Events Tim McNeill, KF4DNA 452-2560

Repeater Trustee Tim Morrow, AB4NH 372-1764

Past President Dom Desiderio, AA5N 683-2753