FT8CALL – Rag Chew on FT-8?

FT8 has taken over the airwaves as the digital communication mode for making QSOs over HF/VHF/UHF. The mode has been widely popular as the latest offering in K1JT’s WSJT-X application. FT8 stands on the shoulders of JT65, JT9, and WSPR modes for weak signal communication, but transmits much faster with only slightly reduced sensitivity.

While FT8 is an incredibly robust weak signal mode, it is designed heavily to take advantage of short band openings on HF/VHF/UHF and only offers a minimal QSO framework. However, many operators are using these weak signal qualities to make successful QSOs on the HF bands where other modes fail.

The idea with FT8Call is to take the robustness of FT8 mode and layer on a messaging and network protocol for weak signal communication on HF, similar to FSQ and Fldigi with a keyboard-to-keyboard interface.

READ MORE ABOUT IT HERE – Pre-Released Documentation

2018 Hurricane Season: Some Nets to Know

Caribbean Emergency and Weather Net – Meets daily at 1030Z and 2230Z on 3815 kHz. The Caribbean Emergency and Weather Net was established in 1958 by Colonel Henry Frew, KV4BZ, for the purpose of having a general calling frequency for the Caribbean Islands and their North and South American friends. The net’s original name was the Antilles Emergency Net.
Hurricane Watch Net — 14.325 MHz (day)/7.268 MHz (night). Activated whenever a hurricane is within 300 statute miles of expected land-fall. Disseminates storm information and relays meteorological data to National Hurricane Center via embedded NHC station WX4NHC. Also relays post-storm damage reports and other relevant information.
Intercontinental Net — 7 AM to noon US Eastern Time – 14.300 MHz. Provides a means of emergency communications to any location where the normal means are disrupted by local disaster such as fire, earthquake, storms, floods and terrorist activity.
Maritime Mobile Service Net — 12 PM to 9 PM US EST or 12 PM to 10 PM EDT – 14.300 MHz – The network acts as a weather beacon for ships during periods of severe weather and regularly repeats high seas and tropical weather warnings and bulletins from the National Weather Service and the National Hurricane Center.
14.300 MHz Net Information – More information about nets on 14.300 MHz.
Salvation Army Team Emergency Radio Network (SATERN) – 14.265 MHz – The purpose of the SATERN net is to support the Salvation Army operations in local, regional and international disaster situations, as well as other functions.
VOiP SKYWARN/Hurricane Net — A weekly Prep Net is held on Sundays at 0000 UTC, which is Saturday evenings for most of North America. Join by connecting to the EchoLink WX-TALK conference server, IRLP Reflector 9219 or if necessary to one of the backup systems. Monitor the net during hurricanes and other major severe weather events.
From: Lloyd KA3MSE

System Fusion Podcast – HamRadioLive

This Thursday (7/5) on Ham Talk Live!, Cory Sickles, WA3UVV will take your questions about System Fusion! We’ll talk about how it works, and how it compares to other digital voice modes.

Tune into Ham Talk Live! Thursday night at 9 pm Eastern time (0100Z) by going to hamtalklive.com. When the audio player indicates LIVE, just hit the play button!

If you miss the show live, you can listen on demand anytime also at hamtalklive.com; or a podcast version is on nearly all podcast sites a few minutes after the live show is over. Some sites include Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Google Play, SoundCloud, and iHeart Podcasts; and it’s also available on YouTube.

Be sure to CALL in with your questions and comments by calling 812-NET-HAM-1 live during the call-in segment of the show, or by Skype. Our username is hamtalklive. You can also tweet your questions before or during the show to @HamTalkLive.

Listen to the recording here:

Listen to “Ham Talk Live!” on Spreaker.


Meet your new antenna’s

Here is Steel City big plans for summer.   We are going to need several work parties to get all the work done, but to get you excited about the antenna improvements at the club house here are some of the details for the new HF antennas.  The Mosley antenna will be mounted on the replacement tower to the right of the club house.  And the Hex Beam antenna is going to be mounted on the far tower down by the cell tower. The club house will now go from 2 HF beam antenna’s to 4 beam HF antenna’s with two of the beam being able to do 40 meters. Combine with our HyTower vertical we will have some major power on the HF bands.

Mosley PRO-67-C-3 Transmits on the follow bands 10, 12, 15, 17, 20, 30, 40 Meter antenna with 3 Elements on 12, 15, 17, 20 , 40 meters and 4 Elements on 10 meters, and it has a rotatable dipole on 30 meters.  With a 3 inch OD Heavy Wall Boom
One antenna with actual resonant elements, 4 elements on 10, 3 elements on 12, 3 elements on 15, 3 elements on 17, 3 elements on 20, 1 element on 30 Meters, and
3 elements on 40 Meters.

Model PRO-67-C-3
Frequency, MHz 28, 24, 21, 18, 14, 10, 7
Power Rating, watts CW 2500
Power Rating, watts SSB 5000
Power Rating, AM/FM 600
Power Rating, RTTY/AMTOR 600
VSWR at frequency 1.0/1 to 1.6/1
Forward Gain, dBd / Elements on 10 m 9.3 / 4
Forward Gain, dBd / Elements on 12 m 8.3 / 3
Forward Gain, dBd / Elements on 15 m 8.3 / 3
Forward Gain, dBd / Elements on 17 m 8.3 / 3
Forward Gain, dBd / Elements on 20 m 8.2 / 3
Forward Gain, dBd / Elements on 30 m 0.0 / 1
Forward Gain, dBd / Elements on 40 m 6.8 / 3
Front-to-Back Ratio, dB 10 m 24
Front-to-Back Ratio, dB 12 m 15
Front-to-Back Ratio, dB 15 m 24
Front-to-Back Ratio, dB 17 m 25
Front-to-Back Ratio, dB 20 m 24
Front-to-Back Ratio, dB 30 m 0
Front-to-Back Ratio, dB 40 m 24
Boom Length 24 ft / 7.32 m
Maximum Element Length 43.75 ft / 13.34 m
Turning Radius 23.67 ft / 7.21 m
Mast Mount Hardware (equipped) 2 in / 5.08 cm
Assembled Weight 145 lbs / 65.77 kg
Wind Surface Area 12.1 sq ft / 1.12 sq m
Wind Load, EIA Standard 80 MPH 330 lbs / 149.69 kg
Warranty 2 years
Recommended Coax RG-8 / RG-213

DX Engineering HEXX Beam Antenna

DX Engineering Mark 2 HEXX Beam Antennas offer gain and front-to-back performance that will exceed your expectations! Their unique shape is much smaller, better balanced, and has been reported to receive less noise than typical beams. Even at 22 feet across and 4 feet tall, their turning radius is less than a two element 20 meter Yagi, while offering several enhanced operating characteristics. They handle well over legal limit power on all five bands, so there is no power restriction as on competing antennas. DX Engineering HEXX Beams are very efficient, with full length elements and no lossy coils or traps, requiring no matching network so they are ready for a single 50 ohm coax feed at the top of the center post, as recommended by the engineer. They are light, easy-to-handle antennas that can be rotated with a light duty rotator, and they perform really well–even when mounted in the clear only 20 to 30 ft. above the ground.

DXE Part Number:DXE-HEXX-5TAP-2
HF Beam Antenna Type: Hexagonal
HF Beam Antenna Band Coverage:20, 17, 15, 12, 10 meters
HF Beam Antenna Elements:10
HF Beam Element Material:Insulated wire
Antenna Power Rating:2,500 W
Beam Antenna Turning Radius:11.00 ft.
Wind Surface Area:5.050 sq. ft.
Feedpoint Impedance:50 ohm
Antenna Feedline Connection Type:UHF female, SO-239
Antenna Weight:24.90 lbs.

Beam Antenna Gain:5.3 dBi

Beam Antenna F/B (dB):Over 20.0 dB

Our Other Bands – 12 meter

The 12 meter band is one of the three WARC bands. The 12 meters (24.890–24.990 MHz) were named after the World Administrative Radio Conference, which in 1979 created a worldwide allocation of these bands for amateur use. The bands were opened for use in the early 1980s. Due to their relatively small bandwidth of 100 kHz or less, there is a gentlemen’s agreement that the WARC bands may not be used for general contesting.

Very heavily influenced by the sunspot cycle. At the bottom of the cycle it is suitable only for very short distance groundwave communications only, for long periods of time. At the peak of the cycle it is capable of communications over thousands of miles with a minimum of equipment. Another nice mobile band when conditions are right.

12 Meters – US Band Plan
General, Advanced, Amateur Extra classes:
24.890-24.930 MHz: CW, RTTY/Data
24.930-24.990 MHz: CW, Phone, Image

Support our Steel City proposed antenna 2018 upgrade plan which includes a HF antenna that will work the WARC bands

Ham Nets @ WiresX network

Here are some of the nets I have found on the web that can be found on the Yaesu WiresX network.  Which you can now connect to on the Steel City 444.45 Mhz UHF repeater. Just connect to the room number by pressing the pound symbol before and after the room number. For example #21080# then to disconnect press the star key *

Time EDT    - Room # - Description
Tue 7:30 PM - 21379 - NW Texas Repeater Link Informal net
Tue 8:30 PM - 21659 - Nebraska Ragchew Net
Wed 8:30 PM - 40234 - San Antonio Digital Net (Tech and social)
Wed 9:00 PM - 40678 - Canadian Net
Fri 0030 UTC - 28418 - TGIF Room
Sat 9:00 PM - 21080 - America Link’s Round Table Rag Chew
Sat 9:00 PM - 21636 - Digital Amateur Radio Club Net
Sun 9:00 PM - 21733 - Oklahoma Link
Sun 9:00 PM - 43035 - SPRC Digital Net

How to use the WireX @ SCARC UHF Repeater

We are currently testing our WireX connection to the Internet on our UHF repeater.  WireX is a way to inter connection radio to other radios/repeater around the whole world.  Each station or repeater has a User ID and a Room ID. By connecting to the User ID let one user connect to the station, whereas connecting to the Room ID let you connect to that person/club chat room where multiple users can have a voice chat with many other users.

The Steel City UHF repeater has a User ID of 33352 and its Room ID is 43352.  You can find other station ID by clicking on the User List link below.  This will list every other user id from around the world.  Also listed there is their Room ID which lets you have a group chat via that station.

To connect to another station or room is first find their user ID or Room ID number it is an 5 digital number.  For example the popular chat room America Link room ID is 21080 so using your mobile or HT on our UHF 444.45 Mhz repeater frequence you would DTMF the follow code #21080# which would let you connect to the room.  At this point whatever you say to go though our repeater and come out to every other user that is also signed into the America Link chat room.   When your done chatting with the other users you disconnect you just DTMF the “*” star key.

Link to find other users User ID and Room ID‘s:

Link to Yaesu website to find out more information about how use WireX:

WireX Steel City Node Online @ 444.45 Mhz

Final testing is now taking place!  Karl KA3VXJ and myself have been  working hard on getting a computer to load the WireX software and getting it hooked up to the 440 machine. It is working so far in analog mode but you can now connect to other stations and rooms.   Our first contact was with a guy in Portland, OR not to bad for UHF FM. We listen and got to ask some questions about WireX on the Saturday night net on the American Link room which is on Saturday nights at 9 pm.

So if you want to try it out the Steel City node number is: 33352  and like I said we are still working on getting some bugs worked out. Some of the items are, getting the digital side working.. And to find a permanent computer solution since we are running it on a trail license. We also need some help getting someone from outside our area to try to remotely connect to our node.

Hopefully Karl and myself can give a little demo this next social night.

Our other bands – 1.25 Meters

Hello all,
I want to start a series of post on our other less used ham bands, and to start the series out one of our most over looked bands the 220 Mhz 1.25 meter band.  The band has access to every license class  so any amateur radio operator can use this band. Here is an interesting video I found that talks  about the 1.25 meter band.  Take a moment and you might learn something new.

It’s a great band, with characteristics similar to 144-148 MHz, and has certain real advantages over the 2 Meter band.220 MHz is alive and well in areas where hams aren’t afraid to experiment and think outside the normal 2-Meter/70-CM realm. While there isn’t a ton of commercially available amateur equipment available these days for 220 MHz they can be found new and used.  With a quality radio, you can drive around almost anywhere in CSQ mode and the noise floor is next to nothing. Radio amateurs will lose this band unless we make better use of it than we do at present. Amateurs in the US lost 220 to 222 MHz some years ago.

E-Bay link for used radios:


Bridge Com 1.25 Radio:

1.25 Meters (222-225 MHz) Band Plan:

222.0-222.150 Weak-signal modes
222.0-222.025 EME
222.05-222.06 Propagation beacons
222.1 SSB & CW calling frequency
222.10-222.15 Weak-signal CW & SSB
222.15-222.25 Weak signal, repeater inputs, control
222.25-223.38 FM repeater inputs only
223.40-223.52 FM simplex
223.52-223.64 Digital, packet
223.64-223.70 Links, control
223.71-223.85 Local coordinator’s option; FM simplex, packet, repeater outputs
223.85-224.98 Repeater outputs only