Macoupin County ARES Net
Macoupin County ARC Net
Okaw Valley Net
W9VEY Memorial Net
Skip, WS9V, Making Major Repeater Improvements!
Last month, Skip Riba, WS9V
went to work on improving his already awesome UHF repeater
system by making it HT accessible from almost anywhere in
Macoupin, Montgomery and Madison counties!
At first, Skip didnít tell anyone, just to see if users
noticed a difference. It wasnít long before regular users of
the WS9V repeater noticed that they could access the
repeater from more distant spots with good signal reports.
Skip installed a UHF preamplifier after the duplexer
which greatly amplifies incoming signals! The preamp sure
has made a very significant difference.
Thanks to Skip, HT coverage is now a reality for club
members. Hugh, AB9UB, in Alton, brings up the repeater with
In addition to the preamp, Skip now has the 444.600
repeater in Springfieldís link working back to the 444.250
machine. Nicely done Skip!
Com-Tech Club is Now W9NMS!
North Mac Middle School Com-Tech Club under the direction of Debbie
Ochu, KC9ULA applied for a vanity call sign from the FCC. Originally
licensed as KD9CQM, the club applied and received the call, W9North
In other school club news, students from W9NMS attended the NWS
Storm Spotter class offered by NWS meteorologist Jim Kramper and the
Macoupin County EMA. It is good to see these young, Amateurs getting
interested and involving themselves with the NWS Skywarn program.
Along with storm spotting training, W9NMS members are learning
more about schematics, electronics and soldering.
Com-Tech students recently earned how to safely hold a soldering
iron and how to tin the needle soldering tip. Students meet during
"Panther Time" which affords them about 25 minutes for the club. The
club is trying to meet once a week.
Students will be working on their own CW Practice Oscillators
which can also serve as an audio injection generator to aide with
signal tracing and circuit troubleshooting.
storms and Ham Radio?
On January 7, 2015 the
web-site reported, "UNEXPECTED GEOMAGNETIC STORM: A strong G3-class
geomagnetic storm erupted during the early hours of Jan. 7th,
sparking bright auroras around Earth's poles. What happened? The
interplanetary magnetic field (IMF) near our planet tipped south,
opening a crack in Earth's magnetosphere. Solar wind poured in to
fuel the strongest magnetic storm since Sept. 2014. NOAA analysts
believe the fluctuation in IMF is related to the arrival of a CME
originally expected to miss Earth.
Okay, the above sounds interesting, but what, pray tell, does
this have to do with Amateur Radio? Glad you asked!
Old Sol, our sun, plays a major role in affecting Earthís
ionosphere, which we all know from our license exams, direct-ly
affects radio wave propagation around the Earth.
Last month, this publication briefly looked at Radio black-outs.
You may recall from last month that our friend, Old Sol is
responsible for nonmanmade radio blackouts. Our sunís physical
behavior can also play havoc with our ionosphere which in turn
affects high frequency propagation. So, exactly what is a
geomagnetic storm is a temporary disturbance of the Earth's
magnetosphere. Associated with solar coronal mass ejections, coronal
holes, or solar flares, a geomagnetic storm is caused by a solar
wind shock wave which typically strikes the Earth's magnetic field
24 to 36 hours after the event.
How can one of these solar events affect Amateur Radio? Wikipedia
states, "During a geomagnetic storm, the ionosphere's F2 layer will
become unstable, fragment, and may even disappear. In the northern
and southern pole regions of the Earth, auroras will be observable
in the sky." In extreme instances commercial power companies can
experience severe damage from power overloads.
Regarding ham radio, on the HF bands signals along certain polar
paths can be absorbed and receiver S levels will drop dramatically
with QSB and huge static levels. On the other hand, if any auroras
develop, VHFers can work stations via Aurora scatter and reflection!
NOAA gives out regular space weather reports and these
geomagnetic storms are as-signed values. G1 is a minor storm with
negligible impact. G2 is a moderate storm with high latitude power
systems experience voltage alarms. A G3 storm is strong and
commercial power voltages may need to be corrected. S4 storms are
severe and wide-spread voltage control problems and spacecraft may
experience surface charging. S5 storms are extreme and commercial
power systems can experience power failures and blackouts.
Spacecraft will experience difficulties and HF propagation maybe
impossible for one to two days.