Tech Net News 05-16-2020

This deadly bird is prettier than most! Hint—don’t feed it. Credit:

Coming up just one week from today, this month’s lab will focus on the Winlink radio e-mail software, which is both fun and useful in an emergency. Served agencies just love to use email when they can, and Winlink is a way to get it through.

The contest calendar has plenty of operating possibilities even if there’s nothing famous. The RSGB Hope QSO Party is continuing, and there are some unusual events like the Portuguese Navy Day contest and a CW event to honor the King of Spain.

In amateur radio news, a new release candidate for WSJT-X has been released. It offers improved decoding speed and reliability, so you should give it a try.

The ARRL reports that the amateur radio transponder on Huskysat-1 is now open for use, offering an inverting transponder with VHF up and UHF down.

UPDATE: Gus, W5GUS, mentions that next (Memorial Day) weekend will feature the Strange Antenna Challenge, where your goal is to make HF contacts using debris you might find after a natural disaster, not the usual wire or pipe antennas. It’s time to get out your toughest old antenna tuner and load up a tomato cage!

Continue reading

Tech Net News 05-09-2020

Artist’s impression of the triple system with the closest blac
Two stars orbiting the center of mass they share with a hidden, nearby black hole. Credit: ESO

I’m sorry that I’m late posting my news today…Erin and I got to install some bees in a hive at our house! We were distracted this afternoon.

Our club will continue to hold virtual Lecture and Lab events. This month’s lab will focus on the Winlink radio e-mail software, which can be very useful both for fun and in an emergency. Radiograms work, and sending them is a good skill…but served agencies just love to use email when they can.

The contest calendar for this week is full of little sprint events, which are great if you have a chance to try one. The RSGB Hope QSO Party continues, and if you want an electrifying contest experience, you could try out the Contest Volta RTTY contest, sponsored by the Associazione Radioamatori Italiani.

And one quick tip: if you want to quickly check the time in UTC, just use You can also use their front page to check if your computer’s clock is reasonably correct.

Continue reading

Tech Net News 05-02-2020

Andrey Atuchin 230544_web
Look out dinosaurs, I will eat your eggs! Credit: Denver Museum of Nature and Science/Andrey Atuchin

Sadly, my first two announcements tonight are negative: Ham-Com 2020 has become Ham-Com 2021, and the DARC club VE session at the Business Jet center continues to be canceled until the public health situation improves. However, JJ, N5IMS, has sent me word of at least one examiner conducting on-line exams.

If we can’t meet up in person, there still are plenty of chances to get on the air. The Hope QSO Party is continuing, and serious VHF contesters will probably already have heard about the Araucaria World Wide VHF Contest, just as the CWers among us know about the 10-10 International Spring CW weekend. For more casual operators like me, there are QSO parties for the 7th call area, Indiana, Delaware, New England, and even Mie Prefecture, Japan.

Continue reading

Tech Net News 04-25-2020

Happy 146th Birthday! Credit:

I don’t have any major club announcements today. Be sure to watch this website and the club Facebook page for updates about upcoming activities.

And unfortunately, I goofed up this morning and missed the Lecture and Lab. But, if you participated, please share what you did and learned. Have you tried a new digital mode today?

The contest calendar is offering plenty of was to have fun while you stay at home this weekend. In fact, did you know there’s an award for contacting “stay home” amateur stations? The RSGB Hope QSO party is still going on, and the 10-10 International Spring Digital QSO Party is trying to add excitement to the 10-meter band. The Florida QSO Party is also this weekend, and it offers a unique bonus opportunity: the chance to spell LOVEBUG with special event callsigns.

Continue reading

Tech Net news 04-18-2020

iaruThe next Lecture and Lab will take place one week from today, and it isn’t cancelled—it will be a virtual event, focusing on using digital modes like FT8 and FT4. The Lab will take place at 11:00 am on Saturday, April 25th. Please see our post about virtual meeting information for instructions on how to participate.

Today is World Amateur Radio Day. I’ve hope you’ve been on the air having fun!

The contest calendar has quite a few entries for this week and this weekend, but please not that Texas State Parks on the Air has been cancelled. Instead, you could try your hand at the RSGB Hope QSO Party, still ongoing, or the Michigan or Ontario QSO Parties. If you’re a new ham or you’ve never made an SSB contact before, the ARRL SSB Rookie Roundup will be taking place tomorrow. Please note that in-person mentoring is strongly discouraged.

Continue reading

Tech Net News 04-11-2020

We seem to have inherited some string from our ancestors. Credit: M.H. Moncel

Remember, the next Lecture and Lab isn’t cancelled—it will be a virtual event, focusing on using digital modes like FT8 and FT4. The L & L will take place at 11:00 am on Saturday, April 25th. Please see our post about virtual meeting information for instructions on how to participate.

If you didn’t have time last weekend, be sure to check out our latest club newsletter for some cool stuff in the spirit of Old Timer’s Night.

And don’t forget that all our club nets are still going on, including a 10:00 am stuck-at-home net Monday through Friday on the 146.88 repeater. Remember, if Tom can’t make it, you’re welcome to take a turn as net control…and you’re always welcome to bring announcements, real or funny.

The contest calendar is full of events this weekend, with QSO parties in New Mexico, North Dakota,  and Georgia, as well as the ongoing RSGB Hope QSO Party for those stuck at home. In honor of Yuri’s Night, we also have the Yuri Gagarin International DX Contest available.

Continue reading

Tech Net News 04-04-2020

Maybe only 300,000 years old, and so even more interesting. Credit: Wikipedia.

Remember that the next DARC club meeting—the famous April Old Timers’ Night—and our next board meeting, on April 7th, 2020, will be held on-line and over the air. The board meeting will use Google Meet; details about the apps for Android and IOS can be found in our March 21st news.

The clickable link to the board meeting is found in our event calendar.

Future programs like the April Lecture and Lab are still in a very uncertain state, so please keep an eye on this website and on our Facebook page for the latest news.

As long as Tom’s voice holds out, we’ll continue to have our 10 O’Clock Weekday Net.  Meet us on the 146.88 repeater every weekday at 10:00 am for the latest news and humor, as well as warnings about what not to eat in the employee cafeteria. Remember, if Tom can’t make it, you’re free to call the net yourself…and Tom wouldn’t mind some extra help. You can contact the club to volunteer.

For activities you can do from home, the contest calendar has some fun in store, including a new, ongoing series of short contests, the Hope QSO Party from the RSGB. We’ve also got QSO parties in Nebraska, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Missouri, but NOT the Florida State Parks on the Air or International Marconi Day events—those have been cancelled. Also, please check the rules for your favorite contests, because many have been changed so that operators no longer have to gather in the same location.

Continue reading