Items of Interest from our past newsletters

1. Novermber election - At the last meeting, Ken Nichols made a motion to keep all the current officers in their seats. For the most part, this will be the case. The final slate is still somewhat in flux, so we will wait until the November 2 meeting to present the board's choices for candidates. Some posts will change hands, others will not. Nothing is final until it's over - nominations are still open from the floor until the votes are taken. de Starr, KI5SC 2. Committee chairs - most of the current movers and shakers will remain as they are. Newsletter: One exciting change, for me, is the transfer of newsletter duties over to new member Starr Center, KI5SC. Starr has been active in the DX club and edits their newsletter as well. I have seen what he has produced for them and am excited about what he can do with our newsletter. We have some ideas for new features that will be appearing soon. de Dave, N7RF Web Page: Al Walters K5NOF has grabbed the bull by the horns and is revamping our web site at kb5tx.org. Al's passion for DX operating is now driving a new DX column about upcoming DXpeditions. He is also adding new features, such as a swap meet section for members to post items for sale or trade of a ham nature. Expanded information for newcomers or those inquiring about the hobby have been added, as well as the latest news regarding KARS repeater operations.... I need to also pass kudos to our master hacker-space guru Jeremy Zunker N5HIM for helping us with the web site even when he was off on a new job adventure, or traveling in foreign lands to learn about global resources for makers and hackers.. His own side business, http://www.zunkworks.com, has a lot of interesting projects. Check it out. de Dave, N7RF Repeaters: Steve Lazar W5SCL has a passion for repeaters and repeater networks. Steve has a vision for new things we can do with our systems that are pretty exciting. Steve will be outlining his vision for us to consider over the coming years. I won't drop any hints yet. Just a teaser. de Dave, N7RF Volunteer Examiner Committee: Steve Verschoyle has been manning this post for a long time. He would still like to see more members become VE's. It's a simple matter of studying the rules and procedures on the ARRL web site and taking the online test. I promised Steve I would do this myself, and my excuse of "too busy" has gotten really old. I plan on reducing my work hours in early 2018 and getting more involved with such activities. Please consider doing the same. de Dave, N7RF. Are digital modes the future of HF? October 10, 2017 by dan kb6nu My friend, and fellow ham radio blogger, Jeff, KE9V, recently wrote about the latest digital mode, FT-8. Since its introduction this summer, it has become very popular. Part of the reason for this is that it offers many of the advantages of JT65 and JT9, but contacts are four times faster. FT-8 on a waterfall display. Jeff’s blog post, (http://ke9v.net/2017/09/17/look-no-further.html) describes how he—a die-hard CW man—has become enchanted with the mode and how it’s opened his eyes to a part of the hobby he hadn’t really been aware of. As the title implies, you only have to look at a waterfall display to see how popular digital modes have become. Not only that, Jeff notes, “A high percentage of these [FT-8 operators] are younger than average operators and many of them also happen to be relative newcomers to hobby radio.” One of the reasons for this popularity is obvious. You don’t need crazy big antennas to operate FT-8 on HF. FT-8 allows you to make contacts with very weak signals. W6LG has even made FT-8 contacts, using two light bulbs as an antenna (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XSy271C07b4). While I can appreciate the cool technology behind this, and I can see myself playing around with this a little, I can’t see myself becoming an avid FT-8 operator. It’s just too impersonal. That’s the same reason I’m not an avid contester. Contests are fun to play around with once in a while, but I’m definitely not an every weekend contester. What I think would be cool is for this technology to somehow allow more information exchange than just IDs and signal reports. Might this be possible? If it was possible, what kind of information could be exchanged? Does it even make sense to suggest this? If you’ve been working FT-8, I’d love to hear your opinions on this.