The Houston Local Traffic net is celebrating its first anniversary. The beginnings of the net started with radiogram training to a few hams on a local repeater in preparation for Field Day 2020. In that year, most clubs were forced to cancel their traditional field operations due to social distancing restrictions as a result of the Covid-19 Pandemic. This made it impossible for Technician Class hams or hams without their own stations to participate in Field Day. However, a closer look at the Field Day rules revealed that any class station participating in Field Day is eligible to earn bonus points for traffic handling. Furthermore, the repeater restriction for QSO credit does not apply to traffic handling. Thus, any ham could pass radiogram traffic on a repeater during Field Day and earn up to 200 bonus points. The training was a success and several hams who did not have their own stations were still able to participate in Field Day and earn the traffic handling bonus points. After Field Day was over, there was a continued interest among local hams in learning more about traffic handling and it was decided to hold a weekly training net. The traffic net was born. Originally called the Fort Bend County Traffic Net, the Houston Local Traffic Net has been in continuous operation since July 14, 2020 meeting every Monday evening. In its first year, the net has shown good growth in both numbers of check-ins and volume of traffic. There were over 850 total check-ins from more than 100 different stations and over 500 radiogram messages passed.
First Year Achievements:
- July 14, 2020: Inaugural Net with 7 check-ins.
- October 2020: Net moved to the 146.94 repeater to increase coverage and participation.
- November 2020: First special net session held to support ARES S.E.T Drill
- April 2021: Added second weekly net on Thursday evening due to increased traffic volumes.
- June 2021: Held special net session in support of Field Day traffic handling.
- July 2021: The 500th radiogram was passed on the net.
Bill Novak KA9IKK
Houston Local Traffic Net Manager
The current list of primary local repeaters to be used during emergencies:
Jeffery A Walter – KE5FGA
ARRL STX SEC
House of Representatives recognition of Amateur Radio Operators and Field Day.
Just in time for Field Day.
Mr. Thomas Learn, KI5OMW, has accepted the position of Emergency Coordinator (EC) for Jackson County in District 10 of the South Texas Section. District 10 is composed of Calhoun, Colorado, DeWitt, Goliad, Karnes, Jackson, Lavaca, Matagorda, Victoria, and Wharton County. DEC 10, Mr. John Taylor, KE5HAM, recommends this appointment.
Thomas comments, “I first became interested in radio technology at a young age when I acquired and built a transistor radio kit. I soon bought a short-wave receiver and started listening to anything within reach of my small antenna. In my high school years, I got a CB radio and used it to talk to some friends in my area as well as whoever was passing by on the highway that was similarly equipped. I became fascinated by radio frequency propagation and how weather, solar activity, and even time of day can have a significant effect on transmission range”.
After graduating high school in 1995, his radio interest faded. He pursued his studies and eventually a career in the field of electronics. He worked several jobs in the field including industrial electrical technician, IT technician, network installation technician, etc... But ended up as an Automation systems technician at Inteplast where he has been employed since 2008. “I have since taken on an electrical engineering role where I design and implement machine upgrades and network infrastructure installations in addition to emergency troubleshooting and repair”.
His interest in radio was re-kindled in recent years by finding the old short-wave receiver. “After listening to the radio for a short while” Thomas continues “I decided to get my amateur radio license and get on the air”. “I passed the general license exam in March 2021 and have been working diligently to expand my knowledge and capabilities.”
Now with a desire to use his license for more than "rag chewing,” he has become interested in two other roles as an amateur radio operator. First, by becoming a volunteer examiner “to help others find their path to getting licensed” and second, “becoming involved in emergency communications to have a positive impact on the community during potentially the most trying of times.”
“Communication is what makes a community and radio can be a way to connect people when all else fails. That is an endeavor of which I am proud to be a part.”
This appointment is effective June 19, 2021.
Regards to all,
Jeffery A Walter – KE5FGA
ARRL STX SEC
After 41 years, Ham-Com has decided to close its doors in lieu of the restrictions in place for COVID-19 and the rising costs of putting on a show. The decision was not made lightly, but the safety and wellness of our volunteers, vendors, clubs, presenters, and attendees is our paramount concern.
Read the complete letter from Bill Nelson, President of Ham-Com Inc.
Mr. Mike McCue W5ATN has accepted the position of Emergency Coordinator (EC) for Milam County in District 7 of the South Texas Section. This appointment was recommended by Section Manager (SM) Mr. Stuart Wolfe. Mike replaces Stuart, now the STX SM, who had served as EC since May 10, 2017.
I became interested in amateur radio during a drive back from Ardmore OK in 2004. We had just completed SAG support for the SAM's Club MS150 from Frisco (near Dallas) to Ardmore.
Mike Hardwick N5VCX placed an HT in my van for me to listen to for our 10 van conga line trip drive back to Dallas. I have been hooked since. I must also give a tip of the hat to Susan KB5ICO, Chuck N5GCQ, and David N5SRC.
I couldn’t wait to mimic my public service friends by purchasing an ICOM 2720 and the study material for my technician license. I was several months of listening to conversations and police frequencies before deciding it was time to take the test. The test was administered by Mr. John Moore KK5NU and his VE team.
My friends told me to join a club. The push to join ARES came from Mr. Dale Walker AA5DW (SK) at a Northwest Amateur Radio Society (NARS) meeting. I joined and met Mr. Ken Mitchell KD2KW, who was a member and the D14 Emergency Coordinator. He pointed me to Mr. Hal Merritt KD5HWW who was the EC for the Northwest quadrant (now unit) for Harris County. Somewhere along the way Hal dropped a W from his call.
I'm KF5END/Ted. I have officially been a HAM since January 2010 when I passed my Technician exam. Over the course of the next year, I passed the General and Extra.
I have always been around electronics and have owned a scanner since the late ‘80s. I never had any interest in CB and did not know what a HAM was until a HAM explained it to me.
I spent many summers at my grandmother’s and would always run across various tubes, capacitors, resistors, and other various components. I always enjoyed playing with them but did not have any real idea what they were, other than their names. My grandfather had passed before my arrival and I later learned that he was a EE and often worked on radios and televisions, though no one can verify if he was ever a HAM.
Does your club have a club call sign?
Is it used for Field Day, QSO parties, other contests, Special Events, like JOTA, Schools on the Air, Hamfest Talk-in, or on your club repeater(s)?
To set this up just have a Club officer fill out the on-line form and submit it to the ARRL. If your club doesn't have a call they will get the club's initials and 3 numbers.
I am an ARRL ETP instructor for the ARRL Teachers' Institute and a Curriculum Development Specialist with the CYBER.ORG based in Bossier City, LA; an education non-profit funded by a federal grant that trains teachers in cybersecurity, computer science, and related topics. I became an ARRL Life Member in 2014. I have also been serving as ARRL Education Assistant Section Manager for South Texas (STX) since Spring 2017. Prior to that, I was Education ASM for North Texas (NTX) from 2013-2017.
Even if you're not in my ARRL Section and you're looking for ways to get amateur radio into a classroom, I'm always happy to help!
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