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Thursday 9:00PM



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Thursday 8:30PM

444.250 103.5+


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Sunday 9:00PM

444.250 103.5+


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Monday 8:30PM


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.

The reason?

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 his HT!

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!

North Mac 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 Mac Schools!

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.

Geomagnetic 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?

According to, "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.

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  Updated: Saturday, 09 May 2015

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