Amateur Radio Committee - Meeting Notes 03-19-14

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via Google Hangout

Meeting Notes

  • (Ben has some kinks to work out when using Google Hangouts)


  • Greg Heartsfield
    • Has General amateur radio license
    • Interest in electronics (has built own equipment)
    • Interest in SDR

  • Pat Hykkonen
    • Unofficial Amateur Radio Committee Guru and Legend
    • Has Expert amateur radio license
    • Focuses on Dallas area emergency communications services, including:
      • RACES
      • Skywarn

  • Benjamin Groves
    • Relatively new to amateur radio
    • Has General amateur radio license
    • Took position as DMS Amateur Radio Committee chair in Feb '14
      • Goal is to re-invigorate the group
    • Dabbling with various projects

Wiki Page Update

  • Ben has one change he would like to field
    • Removing the constraint that Amateur Radio Committee members have to have license
      • Purpose of change is to remove constraints for group participation
      • Part #97 of FCC Rules & Regulations state that we have to have 4 licensed group members to have a club station license - ยง97.5(b)(2)
      • The first Amateur Radio Committee rule can be addend to allow additional members who are unlicensed

KD5MS Radio Club License

  • We have been pondering if we should transfer KD5MS from the current club's trustee (Pat) to the current Amateur Radio Committee chair (Ben, others going forward)
    • Simple paperwork
    • Multiple ownership transfers over time could get cumbersome and annoying
    • The Club Radio Trustee is the person the FCC comes looking for if there is an issue (they have responsibility)
      • Pat has experience in handling these issues
      • Pat cannot be onsite constantly, but he is easily accessible if there is an issue
    • We have decided to leave the KD5MS Radio Club Trusteeship in Pat's hands

Upcoming activities

  • Amateur Radio Technician class
    • Confirmed, beginning March 25th at 7:30pm at the Dallas Makerspace
    • Ben will prepare to handle the first class lecture

  • Incoming repeater parts donation
    • Ben, Pat, Steve Adams will work their way down to Waco to pick up parts in the near future (TBD)
    • Repeater equipment is nice, but should be reserved a future group project (start small)

  • (side topic) Amateur radio masts in DMS storage
    • We have 4 aluminum amateur radio masts in DMS storage
    • They are not heavy duty
    • It behooves us to hang onto them until DMS moves to the next space
      • We may have more use for them with better roof access
      • They are better used individually, it is not a good idea to combine them all into one 40 foot section of tower

Activity Proposals

  • Follow Up with a General Radio Technician class
    • We can do a General license class this summer
    • Or if interest we can hold another round of Technician license classes, then the General class
    • We will also consider a study group type series of classes for Expert license (Fall timeframe)

  • Program Your Radio Night
    • Maybe after the last Technician class or after the exam
    • Awesome idea

  • Hack Your Own RTLSDR Seminar / Class at the 'Space
    • (SDR = Software Defined Radio)
    • Working on a mid-to late May target date
    • Receive only, no license required
    • Software for the SDR is probably more complicated than RTLSDR assembly
      • The class may just focus on the software setup aspect

  • ISS Communication Party
    • Timing is easy to determine, we just need line of sight above us
    • 2-way communications is a rarity
    • The ISS does broadcast APRS as it goes over
    • There are other ham radio satellites in orbit
      • FM repeaters in the sky
        • It may be a better activity for the group to build an antenna to talk through these

  • Lets Build a Proper Shack in DMS
    • We have not really built out our DMS allocated area
    • The committee can afford build supplies (members have stated they will contribute if not)
    • Flexible design is nice
    • We don't need a portable unit as our activities don't involve moving around
    • In surveying new DMS locales, we will encourage better roof access and less limitations on what we can do up there

  • HF Antenna Setup
    • We wait until the next DMS location

  • Balloon Launch / High altitude balloon project
    • Definite interest in the group
    • Will start investigating
    • (follow up with Robert Davidson):
      • DMS at one time funded parts for a project such as this
        • Circuit board
        • Weather balloon
        • Helium
      • We will trying to find these components for use

  • Set Up an APRS Digipeater
    • Not a bad idea
    • Can be done
    • Next DMS location / later project

  • Civic Hacking Proposal
    • From Steve Wylie:
The Civic Hacking Committee would like to do a hackathon next month (after tax time) relating to weather & emergency preparedness. I've seen hackathons that try to deal with this and they come up with some mobile app that works GREAT when the cell phone network is overloaded or blown over. :-P I'd like to solicit help from the Amateur Radio Committee -- someone who has experience with weather and someone with experience in disaster management (or at least operating a net... ;) can be a "Subject Matter Expert" who will be available to answer questions that participants may have.

I would welcome submissions dealing with ham radios, M2M (machine to machine) communications, mobile apps, or a hybrid of any of the above. So I'm sure some of you may want to participate beyond just helping out.  ;) The best application would integrate these technologies with data about weather in real-time, while conserving communication bandwidth among users and/or using alternate frequencies besides just the cell phone network.

Sound interesting? I was hoping at least one of you with Skywarn experience would like to help, or know someone who can, or can hook me up with interesting data feeds to use (or at least scrape for info), regardless of their medium.
  • Heck yeah!
  • An opportunity for Civic Hacking and Amateur Radio committees to work together
  • Pat has interest as our efforts can help serve his spotters and people in the metroplex / radio community in general
  • Steve has the ball!

  • Field Day is 3 Months Away
    • Past couple of years it has been with the Dallas Amateur Radio Club at Flagpole Hill
      • Dallas Amateur Radio Club will be celebrating their 100th anniversary this year!
      • They express interest in continuing to work with DMS
    • Invite the DARC to hold field day at DMS, or go to Flagpole Hill?
      • We should go to flagpole hill
      • DMS will probably be in the middle of a move
      • Current space is too limited
      • Could be a neat event in 2015