Dixie Amateur Radio Club

 April 2006 Edition                                      Amateur Radio... When All Else Fails !

In This Edition:

º April Club Meeting

º Volunteer Exam Test Opportunity

º  Upcoming Event - Volunteers Needed

º Ham Radio Study Information

º  President's Message

º  Recent Activities

º  FEMA Weather Spotting Class Reports

º Minutes from March 15, 2006 Meeting



Links of Interest:

The National Association for Amateur Radio

Rainbow Canyons Amateur Radio Club
Amateur radio club in the Cedar City area

Amateur Electronic Supply
The closest place to home to spend money on what drives our habit 

Utah VHF Society
Link to current repeater news and directories

Amateur Radio Newsline

Amateur Radio Newsline™ is a free service to the amateur radio community.

Contact DARC:

Join the ARRL!

Please help support the club!

Dues for 2006 are being solicited. Dues are $15.00 per member ($20.00 per family for multiple ham families). Check the Club's membership ROSTER to see that you are shown as current. We will even accept your tardy dues for 2005 if you feel the slightest bit of guilt.  If you know you were negligent in 2005, you are on the honor system.  To pay your membership dues, please make a check or money order payable to "DARC" and bring it to the meeting or mail it to the club address:

Dixie Amateur Radio Club
P.O. Box 422
Santa Clara, UT 84765

More Interesting Links

Southern Utah Weather Radar

Click on this link to see what's happening weather wise in southwestern Utah.

Sidewinders on Two Radio Club

There are quite a number of hams in the Dixie area who are gearing up to be quite active on the other modes available on the VHF and UHF bands. The SWOT organization has been around for a long time. It is hoped that a local SSB net will be established weekly for southern Utah/Southern Nevada. If you have a multi-mode two meter rig (i.e. on of the new DC to Daylight rigs) take a listen on the 2 meter SSB calling frequency: 144.200 on USB. Here is a link to the SWOT web site.
 (Gary N7ARE, SWOT #2625)


The Callsign of the Dixie Amateur Radio Club is:

Our Club has members who are primarily located in southwestern Utah in the greater St. George City area:

Aerial View of St. George:




This item could/should be filed unter the "weird" catagory.   As you may be aware, there have been efforts at creating  "better" plant species through modern science. Well now some enterprising scientists are trying to actually merge plants and robots, for the creation of what could be called "robotic plants".   Yes, this refers to the green plants that grow when you water, fertilize and give them some sunshine. Sounds like the beginning for a new horror movie genre doesn't it?  Here's the link to read more about this interesting subject.


And another thing to worry about if something goes "bump" in the night. Could it be that ficus tree coming to get you?:


Please help make
this Club


April 2006 Club Meeting: 

This months club meeting will be a presentation on Emergency Communications by Ron Sappington, WI7Z.  The DARC Board sent a postcard out on April 8, 2006 to each amateur radio operator (or ham family) in the area personally inviting everyone to attend this month's meeting. If you do not receive a card in the mail, please contact the Club Secretary, Gary Zabriskie, N7ARE at n7are@arrl.net  If you bring the postcard to the neeting you will be entered in a drawing for a new Yaesu VX170 VHF handheld transceiver. There is only one entry per ham household. Also, if you haven't yet paid your Club dues for the year, please join and continue to attend meetings in the future. Your participation in the Club is encouraged and very much needed.

The April meeting will be held at 7:00 P.M. on Wednesday, April 19, 2006 at the City of St. George Police Department Building lower level conference room. The building address is 265 North 200 East, St. George.

The Emergency Communications Committee will meet at 6:00 PM at the same location.

This should be the last meeting where the DARC is somewhat "homeless".  We have been informed by the City of St. George that we have been assigned our requested 3rd Wednesday of each month for the remainder of this year to use the new County-built/City-scheduled Community Center located on the St. George Aldred Senior Citizens Center property.  It is located at 245 North 200 West. The facility is much larger than the Conference Room at the Five County AOG building where we have been guests in the past for meetings, and is handicapped accessible, unlike the Community & Arts Building we have been utilizing as a "bridge" while waiting for the new facility to be completed.

The new facility is pretty much ready to use EXCEPT for one BIG problem. They do not yet have any chairs in the facility. Hopefully for our May 2006 meeting we won't be sitting on the floor. We are excited about having a home for our meeting as well as to provide training and exams. The facilty should be able to readily accomodate much larger club gatherings, that is one of the reasons we are encouraging better attendance at our Club meetings.

Also on the agenda will be:

- Capt Bruce Graham of the Police Dept. has been invited to come to our meeting this month. He is the Dept’s emergency coordinator for the City Of St.George P.D.  Special thanks to DARC Board member Ken Head, KD7FGP, for arranging the invite.  It is hoped that Mr. Graham can take a few minutes to introduce himself.

- Report on the Club Budget

- Reports from the Club's Committees:

          o Emergency Communications Committee
          o Events Committee
          o Technical/Repeater Committee
          o Educational/Volunteer Examination Commitee
          o Public Affairs Committee

- Distribution of a survey for members to fill out. To be returned next month or mailed back
- Drawing for the Yaesu VX170 Handheld Transceiver - ID required to claim- Must be present to win
- Refreshments


Volunteer Exam Session:

There will be a ARRL Volunteer Exam Session held at 6:00 P.M. at the same location as the Club Meeting.

If you are a person desiring to take an Amateur Radio test or a currently licensed ham wanting to upgrade this month, or are a Volunteer Examiner who would like to help out at a session, please contact please contact V.E. Coordinator Ron Sappington, WI7Z, via e-mail or telephone (435) 673-4552; or Board Member Dan Farwell, W8EQA,  via e-mail or telephone at (435) 668-1609.

Please contact them no later than Tuesday, April 18, 2006.

Ham Radio Study Information

Board Member Dan Farwell, W8EQA, passed along the following excellent Ham license and Morse Code study aids all from this Great ham radio website:

You can find any information you want on Ham Radio right there!

Here are some particularly interesting links:

http://ac6v.com/morseaids.htm  Many links to good Morse study aids

http://www.aa9pw.com/radio/morse.html  Great license and Morse study aid

http://rivat.chez-alice.fr/software.htm   CW Player program - used for our DARC 2 meter code sessions

http://www.ac6v.com/morseprograms.htm Wealth of Morse resources

http://ac6v.com/help.htm#STUDY Multitudes of Ham license study aids

Upcoming Events- Volunteers Needed:

DARC needs volunteers for the upcoming Diabetes Walk on Saturday, May 6.  Please contact Dan Farwell, W8EQA, Events Committee Chairman. His e-mail is: w8eqa@infowest.com

Presidents Message:

Hal Whiting,KI2U, 2006 DARC PresidentThe advent of April has brought about changes. It is now daylight longer which makes for easier setting up of antennas after work.  The rains have made the ground softer to make easier digging for antenna footings and also for pounding that station ground rod you have been meaning to install.  The kids are able to play outside more so there is less complaining about TVI in the house. The Cactus Hugger and Cholla Challenge were able run and not be competing with the blizzard of snow coming down.  The new AES catalog is out (equivalent to the Sears Christmas catalog as a kid).  Tax returns are back providing scratch for a new or slightly used radio.  The ARRL Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Level 1 course opens until April 23rd. The new ARRL 2006-2007 Repeater Directory comes out this month.

So here we are 1/3 of the way through the year.  How is your personal preparedness for disaster or emergency? Have you strapped or braced your water heater to keep it from falling during an earthquake?  Did you get a new set of batteries for your HT?  Are you planning to come to the special Emergency Communications presentation at the April 19th  DARC meeting at the St. George Police Department?  Are you checking in regularly to the Sunday night DARC net?

At the present time, there are at least local VHF nets running:

DARC    Sun     8:00 pm   146.91 (Seegmiller)      100.0 PL Tone

BVERC  Thurs   8:00 pm   146.64 (Rocky Point)   100.0 PL Tone  - lots of message traffic practice

VVARC  Tue     8:30 pm    146.82 (Utah Hill)         100.0 PL Tone

If you have any information on any others please forward it to:  w7drc@arrl.net

There is also a code practice following the DARC Sunday net on the 146.64 repeater thanks to Thom, KC1EMS.

The Mesquite (VVARC) group would like those who are interested to participate with them on the 146.82 repeater on April 27, 28, 29 2006.  They will be operating a special events station with call sign W7M (Mesquite Days).  Listen in and give them a call.  They will be doing some public demonstrations of Amateur Radio.

For those who did not participate in the Cactus Hugger, it was a beautiful day for the event.  I was stationed at the Sand Hollow Park entrance.  The sun was warm, a cool breeze blowing and a lot of very friendly bike riders.  The park personnel were very accommodating and friendly.  I had a non-ham come with me.  He remarked that is was great to see so many people volunteering to help provide the communications for an event....that is the image we do want to show.  We are about volunteering.  Please keep up the desire to help and provide the needed community service.  Call Dan, W8EQA and get involved!!!!  There are lots of upcoming events and opportunities to show our talents.   

Hal K. Whiting, KI2U
2006 President  Dixie Amateur Radio Club

Daytime Phone 702-346-5100
E-mail: hal@bullochbrothers.com

Recent Activities:

Cactus Hugger Century
(Report by Dan Farwell, W8EQA)

The Cactus Hugger Century (100 mile bicycle tour) was held on April 1, 2006. This event was held in conjunction with the Cholla Challenge Off Road bicycle race on the same day.

The riders started at 100 South and Main Street in St. George at 8:00 AM. The course went first to Kayenta and then to Gunlock, Veyo and back to the start-finish line by way of Snow Canyon Park. There was a lunch intermission after the first leg at the start-finish line. The afternoon course left St. George and went through Washington fields and then to Hurricane with a rest stop at Sand Hollow Reservoir and returned via Coral Canyon. The last riders returned to the start finish line about 5:00 pm for the awards ceremony and catered banquet. There were approximately 350 riders for the century and the event was conducted safely. Ironically the only injury occurred at the start-finish line during the lunch recess. A trained rider was doing bicycle stunts to entertain the crowd and fell, breaking his leg. The emergency Medical Services were called and he was transported to the Dixie Regional Medical Center.

Many thanks to the following DARC members for their assistance: Steve and Leila Horne KF7HW & KF7HY, KE7DZJ Lee Case, KE7DZI Ken Forshee, KB6UJR Bindy Boylin, N6MKR Chuck Hunt, Harold Monson KC7NIT and Dan Farwell W8EQA. 

Cholla Challenge
(Report by Gary Zabriskie, N7ARE)

On the morning of April Fools day a group of hardy fools and a whole lot of mountain bikers got together in the desert south of Hurricane.

The Cholla Challenge is a loop through the desert approximately twelve miles long. The first couple of miles was a mixture of slick rock and singletrack. There was a lot of classic desert singletrack the next few miles with a couple of challenging short climbs and down hills. Some of the sections were tight, but a surprising amount of speed was maintained by the riders through them.

Beginners through advanced riders took advantage of this race course. Dixie Amateur Radio Club had nine hams volunteering to provide course safety communications during the event. Those participating were KE7HEP Nick, KD7KLQ Pete, KD7ZJW Earl, KD6JFS Don, K3RKW Dan, W7BN Duane, KD7FGP Ken, KK7GC George, and N7ARE Gary. There were NO serious mishaps. There WERE cattle on the course. (Don't know if there were "mad cows") Thanks to Duane for keeping us informed as to the situation. Also thanks to those who hiked into critical locations, especially George and Earl.  All operation was conducted on  146.58 simplex and worked very well on this loop course. We did have one short period of either a "stuck mic" or other outside interference. We worked ok through it.  It certainly wasn't as bad as the Martians that Dan Farwell and Gary Zabriskie experienced on the air in Baja Mexico last Novermber (ask them for more info).  One thing to remember in an event such as this is to constantly check to see that your rig is not in transmit mode unintentially, especially if you haven't heard ANY traffic on the air for a minute or so. 

DSC "Great Race"
(Report by Dan Farwell, W8EQA)
The Dixie State College "GREAT RACE" was held on April 7, 2006 on the main campus in St. George. The event is a relay race where 170 participants run, cycle, roller blade and swim around a prescribed course to see which team is the fastest.

This is a traditional campus event and the DARC has helped with communications for many, many years. The entire affair lasted only an hour or so and after the event the crowd of nearly two thousand were entertained by a live band and enjoyed a free BBQ. The winning team was awarded numerous prizes donated by local businesses. Many thanks to the following DARC members for their help: KB6UJR Bindy Boylin, KK7GC George Darrow,  KE7DZJ Lee Case, KC1EMS Thom Oliphant, KD7FRN Travis Lofthouse and W8EQA Dan Farwell.

FEMA Weather Spotting Class Reports:

I did not take an accurate count - - but trying to "see" in my memory, I believe there were about 20 or 20+ in attendance. We were given a lecture accompanied by vivid videos showing different types of clouds and weather conditions that should be reported, and clips of storm - fire - flood - wind damage, including our January 2005 flood. Inasmuch as I could not hear all he had to say I asked where I could obtain all the information he had given, and he said to go to: http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/slc     
and click on "Weather Spotter"     - here is the direct link:  http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/slc/spotter/spotter_home.php 

and you will find all that is necessary to cover what is needed to become a weather spotter. All who desired to do so filled out a questionaire that wanted your name, address, phone, cellular, and what weather station equipment you might have, and when you could be contacted via these means. It also asked for your ham call if you are a ham. Hope that gives you some info.

I attended the weather spotter training session last night and found it quite informative.  There were about 25 to 30 attending (I didn't take a count).  The info was well presented and focused on wx observation with emphasis on severe weather - thunderstorms, hail, high winds, tornados, flooding and sever winter storms. Those present could complete a weather spotter form with name, phone numbers, call signs, etc.  The presentation material used is available online. The web site is the best place to start for info on wx spotters.

There was nine that I know of who were Club members.  The Lecture was a 50/50   The visual was great but he had no mike for his narration and I thought is was just because of my hearing but my wife who had a hearing test last month and was fine couldn't hear him either. Would be great if we could set him up with a mike and have him down for a club meeting. He is very knowlegeable and his pass out are great and looking at the pictures helps me a great deal in understanding what he was talking about. It was a worth while meeting but need to go forward with a class. two hours is barely enough to skim the surface.  Perhaps some of the others will also reply.

Minutes of Previous Club Meeting:

Click Here for the Minutes from March 2006 Club Meeting