Web Edition

SPARKS P.O. BOX 750482 MEMPHIS, TN 38175-0482 / VOL. 12 / MAY 2000

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


Every hobby-oriented organization, such as Delta Amateur Radio Club, depends on its members to volunteer their time in participating in events, to serve as officers, use their equipment or homes, and frequently offer their time to the club when it would be spent on other projects. I, for one, am extremely grateful to anyone who raises his or her hand to volunteer.

But sometimes situations change, preventing a person from fulfilling his or her responsibilities.  Mike Richardson, KG4BVK, due to health reasons, resigned his Board of Directors position as Director of Meetings and Special Events before the April Board meeting.  Rather than not being able to complete all his duties, Mike preferred to resign in favor of someone who could give the club 100%.  I appreciate the great job he has done for us, and am sure he will be attending events and meetings when he’s able.

Any replacement for the position needed to fill the three requirements for election to the Board of Directors: 1) be a licensed ham, 2) be a current member of Delta Amateur Radio Club, and 3) have attended 6 of the previous 12 meetings.  I asked Gerry Bailey, N9SCJ, having confirmed those criteria, if he would be interested in the position, whereupon he said he was.  At the club membership meeting I called for nominations from the floor three times.  Hearing none, we unanimously elected him to the office.

Please give Gerry all the support he needs to get the Memphis In May Special Event set up.  He’s coming out running and still needs hams to operate on both days, and needs some rigs volunteered to get set up. Sign up for a time slot at the next meeting or call anyone on the Board of Directors with the time you’re interested in working. Take advantage of more experienced hams who will be there to give you a hand with some aspect of radio you’ve been hesitant to venture into on your own.  This is a ready made chance to get some Elmering.  It is also a great opportunity for the club to show off the hobby to others.  Bring a friend who has shown some interest and let him or her get on the air.  Show them other types of operation, other kinds of radios.

Then on the last full weekend of June, we have our Field Day, June 24 and 25.  I think some of you may have a few ideas in your head about how much might be expected of you.  Let’s dispense with a few of those misconceptions on the front end.  I DON’T WANT TO HAVE TO STAY OUT THERE FOR 24 HOURS!  You do not need to take up residence for the whole time. Sign up for whatever time you want to spend out there, on either day or both days.  If you're one of those night owls, can we use you!  Day or night, we will be grateful for however much time you can give us.  I DON’T KNOW HOW TO CONTEST.  First, there will be hams working who can give you pointers on how to contest.  Second, while we want to make as many contacts as we can, and our results are listed in QST to show our standing in relation to all the other clubs in the country in our category, your skill level will not prevent you from helping at any time.  I DON’T HAVE TIME ON SATURDAY OR SUNDAY.  That's okay.  We still need folks to set up on Friday evening and tear down on Sunday afternoon. Even if you don’t operate, your labor is definitely needed.  MY FAMILY DOESN’T LIKED BEING LEFT OUT.  Everyone is welcomed to join us, hams and non-hams alike, to cheer us on, or keep us company when we take a break.  They can help with the publicity booth, they can help us with the dinner on Saturday for those who
do work Field Day, they can keep refreshments on hand and distributed to those operating to diminish the effects of the heat. There are many ways to contribute to Field Day and not all of them involve a key or mike.  I CAN’T WORK HF WITH MY LICENSE.  Wrong again.  There will be an Extra on the premises at all times with the responsibility of Control Operator.  Under those conditions, anyone can operate on any of the frequencies.  This is the best chance you have to try out those privileges and see what’s out there.  Not only that, but if you hold a Novice, Technician or Technician Plus license, you hams get your very own station that no one with a higher ticket can operate, and at the same time get more points for Field Day.

If you can think of any more reasons NOT to come out for Field Day......I thought not.  SEE YOU THERE!!!

73, Kathy, KE4UYU


Rob Manuel, KD4JKK, will have a program on Satellite Technology and Ham Radio for the May meeting. Rob is one of our foremost local satellite aficionados. He has had more than a passing interest in this phase of our hobby for several years.

Our discussion was most fascinating to me in regard to the opportunities for the Tech and Tech Plus license holders. He explained how on 2 meter and 70 cm that one could possibly earn the Worked All States certification in thirty days with a little diligence.

This would be a fascinating experience for anyone but particularly those with limited privileges. You need only a dual band HT capable of full cross-band duplex and at most, a telescoping antenna. Many can go outside and accomplish contact with the "rubber duck" that comes with our HT's as standard ware.

The program will have a visual. Come prepared to take notes. There are some great programs out on the Web to download and some great sites. This is a
long way from Sputnik.  You youngsters ask some “old people” what Sputnik was. That was of course “much before my time” ----- right!!

Freddy, KF4ZGJ


Congratulations to the following:

James Brown, Tech Plus, KG4GYW
James Jongewaard, Tech Plus, KG4ADF
Paul Lemieux, Tech, KG4GYV
James O'Neal, Tech, KD5JSK
Ben Troughton, Extra, KU4AW
Austin Cranfill, Tech, KD5JTC
Earlie Hodges, Tech, KD5JTD
Elmer McMillan, Extra, W6RBR

The people above had a world of patience since it took three (3) weeks minus one day for their call signs to appear on the internet. These are the results of the March exams from the 14th and the 18th. April 11th was probably the biggest session that I can remember being held in the hallway upstairs of the meeting area. I figured that the April 11th session might be a training session for the 15th and I was very right. On April 11th we had 27 people take 38 elements. Nine new Technicians were added to our ham family and one new tech plus was earned. Now will come the waiting game to see how long this session will take to be processed. I sent the session in on Wednesday evening after the meeting and it arrived at ARRL headquarters on Thursday the 13th. I did have one call today, the 17th, from someone looking to see if the call signs had been posted. PATIENCE IS THE VIRTUE OF THE MONTH. The line used to be "If you build it they will come". I think it needs to be rewritten to read "If you have a testing session on the first day of new rules, they will come from far and near". Memphis, Germantown,
Collierville, Bartlett, Southaven, Olive Branch, Oxford, Cleveland, Brighton, Atoka, Ripley, Sardis, Oxford, Tillatoba, Grenada, Little Rock (he happened to be in the area on business and decided to take care of the paperwork). I knew that there were about 50 people just waiting to complete the paperwork for the upgrades. Fortunately I was prepared for a few more - few more - 72 to be exact came through the doors. PATIENCE was the virtue of the day. The lines were probably longer than any that were seen at the recent voting session held in the same room. There were lines coming in and lines going out. There were hams that had not seen each other in 15 years spending the time finding out what has happened in all of that time. We also administered 10 written elements at that session. All but the late
comers were cared for and on their way home before 12:00. From the Saturday session we have one (1) new Tech, one (1) new Tech with H/F, thirty three (33) new General class and thirty three (33) new Extra class licensees. Fortunately all but one person is able to use their new privileges immediately - the person who earned the new tech license will have to play the waiting game. I am thinking that it may be up to 6 months before the ARRL and FCC get all of the paperwork cared for.

HATS OFF to the following VE's who so graciously helped at these very busy sessions: Arlene AA5GX, Ben KU4AW, Bill WA4MJM, Francis WA4ZYN, Paul WM5Q, Steve N4SG, Tom K4TTA. Most of these VE's not only gave of their time and efforts on Tuesday before the meeting but also on Saturday at the Mega
session (there were more on Saturday than at Hamfest). I SALUTE YOU ALL for your (1) dedication to the Delta VE Team - both the VE's and the Hams who
make our volunteering so enjoyable and, (2) tolerance and patience with this very human and error making VE liaison. You are the people for whom I enjoy working and furthering the hobby of Ham Radio. You graced me late last year with a plaque and for that I am humbled and grateful. I promise to keep on working to make the transition to the new forms and testing sessions as smooth as can be. Longer than usual. If you have read all this far than I commend you and thank you.

73, Joan KN4PM
Delta Division ARRL VE Liaison


Bob Youngblood, a DARC member for 20 years, died in May of 1998, thus missing his only membership meeting in that span of time. He was always available to help in whatever manner was needed. He was always at the Field Days, public service events, special events, always had a good word to say, always offered advice in a positive way.

After his death, the President of Delta Club, Ben, KU4AW, suggested memorializing him by means of a Bob Youngblood Award, awarding it to an individual who has, over time, emulated Bob’s dedication, enthusiasm, and interest in the hobby. A committee was formed and set down the following guidelines to use in order to select a recipient of the award:

1 An effective leadership role at Field Day.
2 A similar role in training or Elmering.
3 Serving as a DARC officer, Chairperson of a Club Committee or an outstanding participant in important Club activities.
4 Participant in management or control of Club repeater(s) and/or net operations.
5 Attendance at 10 out of 12 Club Membership meetings, and 10 out of 12 Board meetings, if a member, unless medically excused to the satisfaction of the Board.
6 Regular and active participation in Public Service events.
7 Play an active role in Club fundraising.

The candidate must excel in 5 out of 7 of the above. The winner of the award should be chosen by a majority of DARC officers and Directors. It does not have to be awarded every year. Every year at the November meeting, we recognize certain members who, during the year, have done an exceptional service to the club, above and beyond what was asked of them, by presenting them with the Newcomer of the Year, Ham of the Year, and Marconi Awards. The Bob Youngblood Award, however, should go to an individual who over a span of time has given unselfishly to the Delta Amateur Radio Club and the hobby itself, and as such may not be awarded each year. The writers of these guidelines said this about the award: “We’re not likely to find very many people who could match Bob in their dedication, so let’s not put the award out of reach. Let the striving toward the goal be the monument to Bob’s memory.”

Kathy, KE4UYU


As you read this, amateur radio has entered its own new era.  Know what?  The sky didn’t fall and as one of the ARRL writers wrote, he heard lots of “Stroke Alpha Golf” or “Stroke Alpha Echo.”  What he also reported that he DIDN’T hear was a chorus of “Ten-Four, Good Buddy” or any “echo boxes.”  There have been a couple of DX-Peditions on since the “Big Day,” and my own monitoring of the HF bands has consequently been a bit more than usual.  From what I have heard, the new upgrades have been doing an excellent job and generally operating in an exemplary fashion that some of the old-timers might do well to emulate.  Congrats to all of our newly licensed and newly upgraded folks.  Enjoy your new privileges; you earned them.

So, what do we do now?  We start some new classes!  Please let me know in what classes you are interested.  Interest has already been expressed in classes for the 5 wpm CW, General, and Extra.  I am developing a roster of who wants what, and the sooner we get enough interest (at least 5 people), we’ll get the appropriate class started.  By the way, we’ve had almost 100% success with the “graduates” of our Novice/Technician and General Classes, thus far.  Congrats to all the good “students!”

Thanks to all those who volunteered to be “Elmers,” and special thanks to WM5Q and AA5GX for helping coordinate it.  The “Elmers” are listed elsewhere in this issue of SPARKS and the listing will be continued in subsequent issues.  If you need help, advice, or some general support, don’t be hesitant on calling one of the “Elmer’s.”  That’s what we’re here for!

For those newcomers to HF operating,  DARC will be having an excellent opportunity for you to get some hands on operating experience at the Special Events station at Memphis in May and also at the annual Field Day in June.  If you can’t wait until then, see the paragraph above.


As lots of folks are going to be delving into the enchanting world of HF operation for the first time (and also for those that already have!), here’s a little tip that may be of a bit of use.  With a lot of our VHF operation, we can get away with not having a good station ground - not advisable, but often done.  HF operation is a different matter.  For safety, your station needs a good DC ground for lightning protection. (Believe me, I know from first hand experience as my station once took a hit while I was holding a metal microphone.  If it had not had a good DC ground, I’m sure I would have lost more than a power supply and would probably have been servable as the main course at the next meeting of the Cannibal Bar-B-Q Society!)  Information on this is contained in the old NOW YOU’RE TALKING  book and in the ARRL  “HANDBOOK.”

With HF operating, you also must be concerned with the RF ground.  You can have a perfectly adequate DC ground that, because of its length, forms the other half of an antenna on some HF frequencies.  This usually shows up in the form of a “hot” mike or some other piece of metal on your rig or operating position.  One remedy is to run multiple ground wires, but of different lengths so that at least one is NOT resonant on the frequencies you are operating.  This, however, can get messy!  Another solution is to use a piece of coax, preferably of the ½ inch variety (RG-8, RG-213, etc.) and solder a .01 mfd disc ceramic capacitor rated at about 1000 volts from the center conductor to ground on BOTH ends.  Attach one end to the rig and the other to your earth ground system.   The beauty of this approach is you get by with ONE  ground line for RF that is not especially length critical.  Old coax will do as long as the braid and center conductor are intact and not corroded.

73, Tom


I’m not sure where the Ham Radio term “Elmer” came from ­ probably from a helpful Ham named Elmer ­ but it’s now a common term for a friendly Ham who
introduces you to the hobby, or helps you understand certain aspects of it better.  Nearly all Hams have had memorable experiences with an Elmer.

My own experience started when I was in Junior High.  My friend Gary’s older brothers had a table full of Ham equipment connected to an impressive inverted “V” antenna in their side yard.  Gary told me that his brothers’ setup was so good that they could probably talk to people on Mars ­ if only there were people there to communicate with.  (Needless to say, this really impressed me!)  Gary’s brothers started me on my Elmer quest by introducing me to their Elmer, Jack, W4BKG.  Jack was paralyzed, confined to a bed, only able to move his head and arms, but he could make the tower of Ham equipment stacked beside his bed sing!  Jack directed me to Gene, WA4HZP, a local TV repairman who promptly started looking for an inexpensive first rig for me.  Jack held regular CW practice sessions and before long I had mastered my 5 WPM, studied the ARRL License Manual, and passed my Novice exam.  In the meantime, Gene had located Doug, K4RIK, a local high school graduate headed to college and interested in selling his equipment.  My father took me to Doug’s house, where he was talking (AM in those days) to a Ham on a ship off the African coast, using the homebrew rig he wanted to sell me.  To seal the deal, Doug offered to sell me his entire station for a few dollars a week ­ I could pay him whenever I had money available from my paper route.  Then, to my amazement, he disconnected it all, loaded it up in his car, followed us to my house, climbed on my roof to help install the dipole antenna, and had me on the air in a matter of hours!

Jack and Gene are silent keys now and I’ve lost track of most of the other Elmers I’ve had over the years, but I still remember much of what I learned from them all.  Think you don’t know enough to be an Elmer?  Think again.  Ham Radio was never meant to be a “secret society”.  When we share what we know with others, we open up the magic box of Ham Radio to others.  When was the last time you told somebody about the hobby?  If it’s been a while, you’re missing out on one of the great joys of radio.  Whether you want to be an Elmer, or whether you need an Elmer, check the “Elmer Shack” on page 10 of this newsletter and get busy!

73, Ken, K4DIT

FROM: THE ARRL LETTER, VOL 19, NO. 16, April 21, 2000


Despite dire predictions from some quarters, the "Big Day"--Saturday, April 15, 2000--dawned with nary a "10-4," a "roger beep" or "echo box" to be heard on the Amateur Bands. During the first weekend of restructuring, fledgling Generals and Extras were out in force on the HF bands, trying out their upgraded privileges and proudly appending the required "interim AG" or "interim AE" to each ID.Amateur Radio has passed another milestone in its long history without incident. For the first time in more than 60 years, applicants for an Amateur Radio license seeking full HF privileges didn't need to take a 13 WPM or higher Morse code exam.

ARRL Hudson Division Director Frank Fallon, N2FF, was among those urging veteran hams to put out the welcome mat to all newcomers. "They will need to learn things that have never been part of any FCC test," he said in an open message published in the division newsletter, The Hudson Loop. Fallon advised experienced hams to be generous with their help, to be tolerant of mistakes and to be “friendly and tactful when you offer suggestions for improvement.”


The FCC says a lot of newly upgraded General class licensees have begun asking if they may operate in the current Advanced class subbands now that the new amateur rules are in place. "The answer is: Absolutely not," said the Bill Cross, W3TN, of the FCC's Public Safety and Private Wireless Division. "No privileges changed for any license class."

Cross pointed out that the Advanced class license did not cease to exist under restructuring, which went into effect April 15, although the FCC no longer accepts applications for Novice or Advanced class licenses. He said current Generals do not earn Advanced class privileges until they upgrade to Amateur Extra class, at which point they earn both Advanced and Extra privileges.


Many times we look for kits or information for building up circuits for Amateur radio. This information can be hard to find.  Kits might look good in the ad but may not be what we want when we actually see it. MFJ has solved this problem by publishing a book on their Vectronics line of kits. This book is called The GIANT Book of Electronics Projects and is under $20.00. The book is actually a collection of diagrams, parts lists, and information on their line of kits. You can decide if a project looks good and then buy your own parts to build it up or purchase the kit and build from that point. The book contains CW transmitters,  receivers, Audio
filters, and accessories you can look over to see if you want to build them. This book has 341 pages of information. If you are interested in getting started in kit building this book, will make a nice addition to your library.

James Butler, KB4LJV


Many older crystal controlled rigs are for sale at Hamfests.  These radios may have transmitter problems or be missing a microphone. These units may not be cost effective to repair for transceive operation but these units may still be able to receive. Radios like these can be bought cheaply. If they are local rigs they probably have crystals for the local repeaters in them.  By adding a cheap power supply and doing a good clean up or mounting it in another case you can make up a good monitor receiver for the local repeaters. With a small wire antenna these can be placed by the bed or anywhere in the house to monitor the band. They can also be built up and loaned out to new Hams so they can monitor local activity.

I will have a Monitor Receiver at the meeting to show and answer questions on for those who wish to build up their own.

James Butler, KB4LJV


Please feel free to contact any of our ELMERS to help you enhance your amateur skills.  Anyone wishing to be added to the Elmer list please contact Arlene at or 385-0995.

K4TTA (Extra) Tom Richardson 386-6268 (1,3,4,6,8,9,13,14)

KA4BLL (Gen) Ned Savage 363-9607 (1,5,8,14, MARS,
ARES/RACES, net control, traffic handling, emergency service)

KB4LJV (Extra) James Butler 294-2540 (2,7,9,11,13,14)

KD4NOQ (Adv) David Campbell 388-6166 (1,2,3,5,9,10,14, slow scan TV, ATV minor)

KU4AW (Extra) Ben Troughton 372-8031 (2,4,8)

N9ACQ (Extra) Bill Kuechler 368-0532 (1,8,13)

WA2IQC (Gen) Gary Blinckmann 794-5289 (1,7,10,14)

WA4MJM (Extra) Bill Hancock 853-7192 (1,2,8, emergency communications, ARES,MARS)

WM5Q (Extra) Paul Cline 385-0995 (7,8,10,14, RF safety, spread spectrum, trouble shooting, soldering, electromagnetic compatibility, CFR47 rules/regs.)

K4DIT (Gen) Ken Gregg 853-7384 (4,6,8,11)

1. Antennas
3. Contesting
4. CW Operating
5. Direction Finding(fox hunting) 6. DXing
7. Experimenting/Circuits/etc. 8. .HF Phone
9. Packet
10. Repeater Operation
11. QRP
12. Satellite
13. RTTY
14. VHF


Here are some of the contests coming up in the next few weeks...

Connecticut QSO Party, sponsored by the Candlewood ARA, 2000Z May 6 until 2000Z May 7.  Phone, CW, RTTY.

Massachusetts QSO Party, sponsored by the Framingham ARA, 1800Z May 6 until 0400Z May 7.;

US IAP Contest, sponsored by the International Police Association Radio Club, CW and Phone, 0000Z May 6 to 2359Z May 6 (CW), 0000Z May 7 to 2359Z
May 7 (phone);

CQ-M International DX Contest, sponsored by Krenkel Central RC of Russia, 2100Z May 13 to 2100Z May 14. CW, Phone, SSTV.;

Fists CW Club Spring Sprint, sponsored by Fists International CW Club, 1700-2100Z May 13. CW only.

Nevada QSO Party, sponsored by the Frontier ARS, 0000Z May 13 until 0600Z May 14.

Oregon QSO Party, sponsored by the Central Oregon DX Club, 1400Z May 13 to 0400Z May 14.  c/o CODXC, K7ZZZ, 19821 Ponderosa St, Bend, OR 97702

VHF/UHF Sprint Sprint, 50 MHz. See April 2000 QST, page 100.

Major Six Club Contest, sponsored by the Six Club, 2300Z May 19 to 0300Z May 22, 6 meters only.;

CQWW WPX Contest, CW.  See March 2000 QST, page 100.

For more information on these and other contests in May, please visit the ARRL contest page on the internet at:


7365 HWY. 70



The April program will be on Satellite Contacts
presented by
Rob Manuel, KD4JKK


Don't 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 the original and copies of any existing licenses or CSCE’s 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.


146.82 net 8:00 PM

147.36 tone = 107.2

224.42 1.25 m reptr

443.20 patch, 107.2

145.03 packet / bbs

Other Important Contacts

                                                                            VE Liaison                                  Membership Chairpersons
                                                                             Joan Thorne, KN4PM                 Ben Barth, AF4TV
                                                                             737-5795                                    Eloise Barth, AF4TW

2000 Board of Directors

E-Mail Us...

Kathy Troughton..........................................................President.......................................................

Melinda Thompson......................................................Vice President

Tommy Thompson

Bob Holford................................................................Treasurer

Tom Richardson..........................................................Dir. of

Ken Gregg..................................................................Dir. of

Freddy Bratton...........................................................Dir. of Programs

Gerry Bailey...............................................................Dir. of Meetings & Special

Bill Hancock...........................................................…Repeater Trustee