Tech Net News 03-21-2020

Honestly, this looks more like a sora to me than a chicken, but it’s the WONDERCHICKEN. CREDIT: Phillip Krzeminski

UPDATED: The next DARC board meeting and club meeting, on April 7th, 2020, will be held on-line and over the air. If you’ve never used Google Meet before, and you’d like to attend our on-line board meeting,  you’ll want to make sure you have a working microphone and speaker on your computer, or get the proper app for your mobile device:

The clickable link to the board meeting is found in our event calendar, or you can click here.

Our popular Old-Timers’ Night general meeting will be held on our 146.88 MHz repeater at 7:00 pm local time on April 7th, 2020. Our club president, Bill Brady KF5ZBL, will get things started and our program will be lead by Tom General, KE5ICX. Old-Timers’ Night is all about participation from our members, so we’ll need your contributions. Please charge up your batteries and get ready to participate on this unique meeting over the air!

The fate of the April Lecture and Lab is still uncertain. Currently, public health regulations prohibit non-essential visitors to hospital facilities, and so we’re not sure where or when the the Lecture and Lab will take place.

Our club has added a new net: the 10 O’Clock Coffee Break. Tom, KE5ICX, and others have been meeting up on the 88 machine at 10:00 am local time each morning, Monday through Friday, to say hello and fight cabin fever. If you’re spending weekdays at home, you should check in and say hello to your fellow hams.

And from all of us in the DARC to all of our fellow hams in and out of the club: whether you’re staying home for safety, or out and struggling to find toilet paper, you have our sympathies and best wishes.

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Tech Net News 03-14-2020: Happy Pi Day!

Yes, there will be a quiz. Credit:

It’s Pi day! I hope you’ve calculated the circumference of at least one circle today. If you’re arriving late to the party, NASA has a page of Pi trivia and math challenges you can use to get started with, including one about how many digits of Pi you really need. Hint: it’s not just 3.14!

It’s less fun to talk about this next bit, but: There are a lot of concerns about travel and public gatherings lately, thanks to the community spread of SARS-CoV-2. Please check this page and the club’s Facebook page for information about our activities, including any schedule changes.

The North Texas Mentorfest is still on the calendar, at least for now; it’s scheduled for April 18th, 2020.  If you’d like to help out at the DARC table, please contact us or get in touch with Randy Patterson, KE5JIT. For more information, including how to volunteer as a mentor, please check the ARRL NTX Newsletter.

The contest calendar for the next few days is very busy with lots of lesser-known events you can try out; the Tesla Memorial HF Contest is only one of many. There are also QSO parties going on in Oklahoma, Idaho, Wisconsin, and for many clubs.

UPDATE: are you looking for new friends? Have extra time on your hands? If you’re a member of the ARRL NTX section group, there’s now an on-line database of nets in our area. Have fun!

UPDATE: Don reminded us that radio astronomers have recently discovered the biggest bang since the big one, and that multi-frequency observations have been critical in understanding what happened.

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Tech Net News 03-07-2020

This was seriously cool.

Check out the newest club newsletter to learn more about our next Lecture and Lab project—an electronic calculator kit able to do math in base 10 or base 16, and to decode resistor color bands. We’ll be building this kit on March 28th. Hope you can join us!

The contest calendar for the weekend shows some interesting events; there’s the ARRL DX Contest, phone weekend, as well as the Novice Rig Roundup where you need to listen well around the frequency where you’re transmitting—the other station might only be able to transmit on a single, crystal-controlled frequency. There’s also the John Rollins DX contest, for rigs designed before 1970, brought to us by the Antique Wireless Association.

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Tech Net News 02-29-2020

“The Radio My Father Built” by Josh
Byer, received over HF radio from the Shortwave Radiogram

Our next club meeting will be this Tuesday, March 3rd. John Galvin, N5TIM, will speak about Winlink radio messaging, something that can be pretty challenging. I hope you’ll come on out to learn more.

The contest calendar shows a generous variety of events this weekend, including the North American QSO Party RTTY weekend, and QSO parties for both North and South Carolina.

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Tech Net News 02-22-2020

Did bees buzz 100 million years ago, or make a different sound? Credit: George Poinar Jr./ OSU.

That’s a lot of 2s today, isn’t it? There will be even more in a couple of years. Today was a really fun Lecture and Lab, and I hope hams who participated can share their experiences—and share any questions they still have—on tonight’s net.

Our next club meeting will be on Tuesday, March 3rd. John Galvin, N5TIM, will speak about Winlink radio messaging, something I’ve been struggling with lately. I hope you’ll come on out to learn more.

If you check the contest calendar for this weekend, you’ll see a very brief high-speed CW contest coming up on Sunday, and the CQ WW 160-meter SSB contest is in progress right now. Please note that logs are due within five days of the contest, and contacts not in the other station’s log result in a penalty. If you participate, please turn in a log. Speaking of which, if you participated in Winter Field Day, please remember that logs need to be turned in this month. Please do so, if you haven’t already.

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Tech Net News 02-15-2020

Do your part—count me in! Credit: Peter Hart

I hope you’re at, or that you just attended, today’s Dallas County SKYWARN class. If you didn’t, you still have more chances…though they may be farther away.


The biggest club news this week is that our popular Lecture and Lab activity is starting back up after taking a break for the holidays. One week from today, on Feburary 22nd, 2020, we’ll be building an internet connected LED Marquee Scroller Clock based on a WeMos D1 Min and a LED matrix panel. It can be configured via WiFi to display/scroll news, local weather, and a lot more. The kit cost will be $10.00, and you should bring your soldering iron and tools, if you can. Don’t have a soldering iron? Don’t have experience? Don’t worry. Almost everyone who attends brings extra tools. Come on out to the Dallas Medical Center at about 10:00 am on the 22nd and have fun!

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Tech Net News 02-01-2020

One Puffin coin issued by Martin Coles Harman I, King of Lundy, in 1929.

Our next club meeting presentation—this Tuesday—will be by Jim Eatman, KG5WAW.

What are “standing waves”? What causes them? Why is “high SWR” a problem? How do antennas affect SWR? And, what are the properties of various types of transmission lines (coax and ladder line)? Come find out and see a short standing wave demonstration using a NanoVNA.

Come to the meeting and learn more!

The K5RWK fox hunt may be back on this weekend, on 144.50 MHz…but I haven’t been able to confirm that.

The contest calendar for this weekend mentions several QSO parties, including the a 10-10 phone event,  and state parties for Vermont and Minnesota.

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