The Reflector February 2011



Hi Folks,

Got a late start here as January turned out busy and February also holds great promise for being equally busy.


We had good attendance at the meeting and started discussions on what we壇 be doing for the next few months.


I also had a surprise along with me, an Icom IC-2820 D-Star radio that is being provided to us through the Thomas County EMA by GEMA, with the purpose of being able to maintain contact in an emergency. Along with the radio was a Comet GP-3 Dual Band antenna. 


We discussed how to proceed with installation and the thought currently is a fixed installation where all one has to do when called out is to show up, plug up the antennas and go.  As the D-Star radio will require a call sign, I suggested we go through the same process we did with Archbold and get a separate call sign for the EOC. I知 currently in the process of doing that.


We also discussed the purchase of two additional HF radios, one for the EOC and one for the trailer, and with agreement from those present, we値l move forward there as well.


The following week, we had three people attend our test session and all three left with upgrades (see accompanying article) and another new club member, Roger Salmonsen, KG4YZP, who is from Tallahassee. In addition, Virgil Castleberry, KJ4ZNK, from Cairo, found us through WA4BDU, and has joined the group, so please extend Roger and Virgil a warm welcome when you meet them.


The next week found eight of us at the GPSTC in Forsyth for the annual GAARES meeting, and everyone came away happy that they attended. I have since had a lot of email about the new format we tried this year and it has all been rave reviews.


From a personal standpoint, I do appreciate seeing a row of familiar faces on the front row of the auditorium when I知 up in front of about 200 folks, so warm thanks from me to those who attended.


February is busy by merit of Tech/General classes being held on the 19th and 26th, and I hope we have good attendance there. I already expect two Scoutmasters and three Scouts from my fall CW class, and possibly a few more.


Lowell will be teaching the General Class and there is a note from him later in the newsletter for people taking his class detailing information you値l need beforehand.


And that痴 it for this month. There is a really great Hamfest in Orlando on February 12th, so if you have never been to one, or need some gear, this is a good one to attend.


The meeting is on February 5th at the Plaza Restaurant. Plan to arrive at 6pm if you want to have supper, and the meeting will follow at 7:30pm. I look forward to seeing you and your family there!







A Note from Lowell


I wanted to get some information in the hands of those of you taking the General class with me in a few weeks.


The class dates are February 19th and 26th, and run from 9am-4pm. We値l be in the Archbold classrooms again, and if you need directions, let either Mike or me know.


 The 2 sessions allow enough time for review of material but not a complete
learning experience as there is too much to cover in the time available.

So I ask class members to do their homework ahead of time and to review
in the week between the class sessions. If you don't already have the book, contact Mike


Online resources:

Course Outline:

It would be a good idea to print this out, it is a great summary of just about all you need to know to pass the test. Some people have passed just by reading this over and over. It has only the RIGHT answers.


For a more intense and detailed study guide, everything you need to know is at

All the questions, flashcards, practice tests and much more are available there.


QRZ practice tests

These use the elements from W5YI group (our VEC) so are a good way to take practice tests. Use the practice tests to determine what you need work on and study up on those topics.


Some general tips:

Practice tests are good for those who are rusty on test taking. Knowing how to take the test is a lot of the battle. They also let you know what you need to work on. And, as with any multiple-choice test, make sure you understand the question being asked and don't let the possible answers sidetrack you. Answer the question being asked.

Don't worry about math too much, there aren't that many questions and we will cover the questions thoroughly in class. Electronics theory is another area people worry about. Same advice as the math.

Some of this has to be memorized. Rules, procedures, practices, etc. Best to start on that ahead of time.

In class we will review all the elements on the test. But we will emphasize the elements with the most questions. There are 35 questions from 10 elements:

operating procedures, commission rules, practices make up 16 of the 35 questions (almost half the test,) and most of this is memorizing;

Antennas, propagation, and safety are 9 of the questions;

Electronic principles, components, circuits, and signals and emissions are 10 questions.

You need 26 to pass. A lot of what is on the test is common sense.

If you want more on electronics theory -








A+ Test Results


We had three people show up for tests in January and all three left with CSCEs in hand. Those people are:

Megan Kornegay KG4QCT New General

William Kornegay N4APO New Extra

Roger Salmonsen KG4YZP New Extra

Congratulations to these three on their upgrades.


There will be two test sessions in February, which will follow each class session at Archbold, so the dates are February 19th and 26th. The session will begin as soon as the class session is over and should occur at roughly 4pm both days.  Test fees are still $14 and you do not have to take part in the class to take a test.








Nリ Tenna Wizard: by Terry Webb, NリTW


Ham Radio Deluxe


My article this month is not about antennas - it is about free software that makes operating and maintaining your station very efficient. 

Ham Radio Deluxe (HRD) is computer software that does many functions - for example: Award Tracking (DXCC, IOTA, WAC, WAS, WAZ), Radio and Rotor Control, Logbook of the World, QSL Card Tracking, World Map with GrayLine, and my favorite DX Cluster.


Lets say you are running DX Cluster and you see a country pop up that you need.  By simply placing your cursor on top of that entry and clicking the mouse, the HRD program will automatically send a message to your radio and cause it to change to that frequency and mode as well as rotate your antenna rotor to the correct beam heading.  This happens in the blink of an eye.


Before I get too deep into the workings of HRD, I want to give you the web address where you can download HRD software.  It is - 


HRD operates with many modes including:  CW, SSB, FSK, BPSK-31, QPSK-31USB, THROB, SSTV and many others. 


Lets say that you are especially interested if a particular country is spotted.  You can set alarms and if that country is spotted HRD will alert you that it is on the air!


If you have been using another logging program, HRD makes it easy to import that log into the HRD log.  I imported my WINEQF log file (over 3,500 contacts) to HRD without any problems at all.


There are so many functions of HRD that it is impossible to list them all here in one article.  I would recommend that you download it and give it a try with your radio.  You will need a serial cable to tie your radio into the computer so that HRD can communicate with the radio.  Mine is homemade.


The bands are alive with lots of DX.  I have recently received QSLs from: Marion Island, Seychelles Islands, Rwanda, Guinea-Bissau, Tuvalu, and Saint Barthelemy.  If you do not have antennas that allow you to operate on the HF bands I encourage you to talk with me and I can help you to get some in the air that will allow you to work DX.   This assumes you have the class of license that will allow operation on the HF bands.  100 watts will work the world!


If I had to pick a single band for working DX it would be the 20m band.  It is open for most of 24hours and DX stations tend to operate on 20m whenever they can.  Try out operation on the HF bands.  It is a lot different from working 2 meters!



73 & CU on the Air







                                                               Weather Center




            Early predictions by the National Weather Service of a mild winter across the Southeastern U.S.  apparently was taken as a challenge by Old Man Winter who set out to prove them wrong. We have remained in a persistent deep trough over the eastern half of the nation as a result of the Arctic Oscillation taking charge over any buffering factors from the ongoing La Nina that is occurring in the Pacific.


            This weather pattern has resulted in blasts of very cold arctic air that penetrates the deep south not only putting us in the deep freeze but effecting my electric bill in a way I would just as soon not see . A Gulf Low Pressure engine has also been running, spinning up one low after another, providing us with much needed rainfall and pasting the eastern half of the nation with record snowfall and there appears to be no end in sight.


            It was just such a system that resulted in a very rare Winter Storm Warning in the Southwest Georgia area with measurable amounts of frozen precipitation in many of the central and northern counties of Southwest Georgia. As the system moved through, a request for reports of frozen precipitation was issued by the National Weather Service in Tallahassee. It quickly became apparent that the identifying the type of frozen precipitation being experienced was a point of confusion for many of the spotters and general public.


            There are five types of frozen precipitation that can occur, each requiring their own scenario of weather conditions. Let's review what they are so we can be sure we understand the differences and the conditions needed to create each one.


            Snow is formed directly from the freezing  of the water vapor in the air and requires below or near freezing temperatures throughout the vertical column of air. This prevents the snow from melting when it falls which would result in rain drops instead of snow flakes. It is very rare for South Georgia to have temperatures near the surface that are cold enough to support snow while the moisture is in place to create the snow. Normally the moisture is long gone by the time the cold air arrives but with the right conditions, usually a Gulf Low that provides over riding or wrap around moisture when the cold air is already in place, we can see snow in the south.


            Sleet is formed when snowflakes fall through a warm sector and melt into rain drops before passing through an elevated zone of cold air that causes the raindrop to refreeze into an ice pellet. Like snow, the depth of the sleet should be measured on a flat surface with a ruler.


            Freezing rain occurs when precipitation falls as rain but temperatures at the surface are below freezing and a coating of ice results on surfaces that are cold enough to cause the water to refreeze as a coating of ice. Trees and power lines are often covered in ice and high accumulation rates can be devastating, bringing them down and resulting in power outages and damage to homes and buildings.


            When strong thunderstorms have updrafts that reach into very cold air, the rain drops that are carried up are frozen and produce hail stones. Hail size is proportional to the strength of the updraft with severe storms capable of producing very large hail because it is able to keep the hail suspended for longer periods of time in the hail growth zone. Once the weight of the hail stone is too heavy for the updraft, it will fall to the ground.


            Graupel is a very unusual form of frozen precipitation that occurs when a snowflake encounters supercooled water on its travel to the surface and the water freezes on the snowflake. When this process continues so that the shape of the original snow crystal is no longer identifiable, the resulting crystal is referred to as graupel. It looks similar to sleet or a very small hail stone but is soft and often falls apart when touched.


            Who knows when the next time we will have an opportunity to report frozen precipitation in our area.  A clear understanding of the type of precipitation you are experiencing will make sure your report is accurate and usable by the National Weather Service.   





DEC NWS Tallahassee, FL

Southwest Georgia District ARES







                  TARC Meeting Minutes for 1/08/11

The meeting was opened at 7:30pm and Mike, KE4FGF made the following announcements. The Midmonth Breakfast will be held at Seminole wind at 8:30am on January 15th, followed by a test session at the Thomas County Public Library at 10am.  The Friday morning 迭agchew breakfasts have also moved to Seminole Wind and are at 8:30am every Friday morning.

The GAARES state Meeting will occur in Forsyth at the Georgia public Safety Training Center on January 22nd at 9:30am, and will run until approximately 4:30pm.



Minutes and Treasurer痴 Reports approved as presented


Old Business:

      Mike thanked Mo, KI4PZS for 都aving the day regarding the Christmas supper




1)      New Business:

Mike showed off a new Icom IC-2820 D-Star radio provided by GEMA for the Thomas County EOC. It also came with a Comet GP-3 base station antenna. Mike suggested also obtaining a permanent HF radio for the EOC so that if a deployment became necessary quickly, the gear would be onsite and ready to operate. The discussion also led to a suggestion that radio gear also be obtained for the trailer so that no one had to pull personal gear to operate it with.


Mike also suggested obtaining a separate callsign for the EOC as the D-Star radio would require a callsign before being accepted into the D-Star system. It was agreed that Mike would follow up on handling this matter.


During this discussion, it was suggested by Buddy, WD4CJI, that the 迭epeater fund be renamed the 摘quipment Fund, as the club now owns more equipment than just repeaters. The members present had no problem with this.


The present state of the 147.195 repeater was also discussed, and Buddy, who is the senior member of the Repeater Committee, was tapped to obtain info on where we are with the repairs to this machine. Mike also added that the machine needed to be operational as he was getting Zach and Colby ready to go with a new TARC Youth group. Their first need is for a regional youth net, and this machine痴 coverage best suits that possibility.


Finally, Mike announced that we would have Tech/General Classes on the final two Saturdays in February, the 19th and 26th.


There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 8:20pm with 38 members in attendance.

Submitted by KE4FGF in absence of KJ4GWB.





A bell is no bell 'til you ring it,
A song is no song 'til you sing it,
And love in your heart
Wasn稚 put there to stay -
Love isn稚 love
'Til you give it away


Happy Valentine痴 Day, and we値l see You at the Meeting!

Saturday Night