Friday August 18, 2017

     The monthly meeting is now scheduled for August 25th.


Wednesday August 9, 2017

     The monthly meeting is now scheduled for August 24th. Please note this change. 



Tuesday August 8, 2017

     The monthly meeting may be moved to another date. Check this webpage for further information. 


Sunday August 6, 2017

     Don't forget: the monthly meeting is this Thursday. Bring a few dollars since the website costs are due. Topics: The National Preparedness Month display. 



Sunday July 30, 2017     Lightning strikes are no fun, especially if one hits you. But if one just hits some of your stuff, it's still a drag. Yeah, been there before myself and am doing it again. Slowly I am working my way through the electrical and electronic stuff to see where the smoke escaped. Sometimes you sort of find those things by accident. I'll get there one day, then file a claim with my insurance.

     Are you ready for the solar eclipse? It's only three weeks away! I do want to see it in totality, so I am thinking about a 2.5-3 hour drive to do so. I'll include lunch to make a day out of it. I have seen eclipses before but this should be fun.

     Now, I've heard of a solar eclipse QSO party. The idea is to see how the eclipse affects propagation and I suppose, to have some fun. Well, it seems to me that it would be more fun to watch the eclipse than the radio dial. Yeah, you could do both if you were operating mobile maybe. I think I'll wait until later to talk on the radio. It's only going to be about two and-a-half minutes of totality. I can talk on the radio anytime. The only thing I am concerned with might be the traffic. I am expecting, shall we say, eclipse partyers? I don't want to be on the road with them!  


Thursday July 27, 2017

     Looking for an event to attend that doesn't cost money and that doesn't feature boat anchors for you to bring home to the spouse? Coming up on Spetember 30th you will have such an opportunity when the Emergency Preparedness Month event arrives. To be held at Rockdale Career Academy, Rockdale ARES has been invited to attend and perhaps give a presentation. There is also some possibility the MCV will be present and will need to be staffed.

     The hours are from 8AM until 2PM and we should of course, wear our ARES attire. Expect to hear more about this at the upcoming meeting in two weeks. This will be the best opportunity for Rockdale ARES to present itself to the public in quite some time. Who knows? We might gather some interest!

     Beware of lightning on a clear day. I sent that message on the digital practice net last night. It's true. Tuesday it was bright and sunny when I took a surge or strike here at the hacienda. Scared me pretty good it did! I won't say I had NO warning...I did hear thunder off in the distance and I did know storms were coming. It was just the kind of situation you could easily find yourself in, thinking 'Oh, I have time to do a few more things before I get inside'. NOT THIS TIME!

     I was already inside and darned glad of it! So far I have found about 10 electronic or electrical items affected by the surge. Although the strike surprised the heck out of me, what really impressed me was the nice outdoor conditions and the fact I could have easily been fooled into thinking I was quite safe outdoors. Not so! If you can hear thunder, you can be struck by lightning. Don't take chances. A few weeks ago on the beach I saw a storm a few miles away, but we went ahead and went to the car. Tuesday I could have been toast. 

     There are precautions I normally take, like disconnecting antenna feedlines when not in use, especially this time of year. One precaution I have undertaken is to use WiFi to connect to my router. Yes, I know that hard-wiring is preferable, but I lost too many computers to surges in the past when surges came in on the phone line in the DSL days.

     Now I am on cable-supplied Internet, but guess what? The danger is still there. How do I know? The modem and the router (mine are separate) were both wiped out Tuesday and the surge came in on the cable, not the power line. Yep, there's a grounding block on the system. Maybe I need a cable surge suppressor there too! I run surge suppressors on virtually every outlet in the house with electronic (as opposed to simply 'electrical') devices connected. One of those sacrificed its little life for me Tuesday. Services will be held Friday. Yep, I do believe I might be replacing some computers had I not gone wireless. That I have to be thankful for.  


Friday July 21, 2017

     Each members share of the web site cost is due at the next meeting. As you all know, it is minimal, so bring a few extra bucks to the meeting next month.

     For the second time the Yellow River Digital Group held a meeting about digital amateur methods. This time the subject was Yaesu System Fusion and WiRES-X. Thanks to everyone who helped make this meeting a success. Check the Yahoo group "Yellow River Digital Group' for more info.   


Saturday July 15, 2017

     Thursday night the monthly meeting was held at the usual place with the usual attendees talking about the usual things. You should have been there. 

     Interest in digital operating remains strong with no sign of letting up. I guess that's a good thing! The Yellow River Digital Group will hold its next meeting on July 21st at 7PM. Interested parties should go to the Yahoo group: Yellow River Digital Group for more information. This month's presentation will feature Yaesu System Fusion and their WiRES-X program. 

     Georgia ARES recommends FLDigi, Winlink/RMS Express and D-Star as the digital platforms for use by Georgia ARES members. The local nets here substitute D-Rats in place of D-Star. Although D-Rats can be accessed by D-Star, it is a very different platform. In fact, Winlink can also be accessed by Internet as can D-Rats. However, access by means of RF is preferred if at all possible. But, getting the message through via whatever means is the goal. 

     I recently heard a ham mention that he did not have an external sound card device. Such a device is not necessary...you can use the internal sound card, and yes, an external device is quite handy. What if you do not have the external device and you do not have the cables to connect to your radio either? Then you can hold the radio's microphone up to the computer's speaker when the tones are transmitting. That works too. I've 'seen' it done. 

     So, what do you do if you don't have a 400' tower as in the picture above? Get one!


Tuesday July 11, 2017

     Da Moose brought in 14 check-ins on the voice net last night. Impressive! D-Rats was able to haul in 10 and WInlink another 5. Don't forget about our local friends who are runningnets on other nights or at other times. The Walton County Repeater Group has their net at 8PM on Monday nights...one hour before ours starts. Plus, there is the Newton County net on Thursday nights and the digital practice net on Wednesday nights at 9PM. 

     The weather forecast seems to be for continued rain whenever and wherever it will fall. The grass is pretty happy. In fact, it looks like a jungle out here. I need to sharpen my machete! Oh well, I guess that's better than arid conditions and burned grass. The few days in the current forecast without rain are predicted to be scorchers...one day up to 100°. Weeee!

     Friday and Saturday I went to a hamfest and bought nothing. Sacrilege! Yes, I know it's not right but I couldn't find anything I needed. Plus, it was a good idea for me to save my money. I'm sure that money will find a home soon enough. Now, will I get another chance before the Lawrenceville hamfest?



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