St. Petersburg Amateur Radio Club

Posts filed under Club Meetings

Proposed By-Law Change to be Considered at April 7, 2017 Meeting

At the April 7, 2017 meeting, this motion was presented, seconded, discussed but voted down therefore the by-laws remain unchanged.

Pursuant to the notification rules, at the April 7th, 2017 meeting, SPARC will consider a By-Law change. This was introduced at the last meeting.

The proposed change is as follows:

Proposed to amend Article 5, Section 1 by adding

2. Prior to a vote of the membership authorizing a non emergency equipment expenditure >$200 the Secretary or party designated by the Secretary, shall make notice as to the type of equipment being sought by the club to the SPARC electronic mailing list 30 days prior to a final vote.  The intent of this notice shall be to locate needed equipment or substantially similar equipment locally, at reduced cost/donated from the SPARC membership.

The executive board shall have the power to designate expenditures exceeding this amount as emergency on a case by case basis.  An emergency expenditure is not subject to this section, however mailing list notice is still encouraged if possible.

Nothing in this section shall preclude debate during any meeting regarding proposed equipment expenditures.

Members Inducted Into A-1 Club

SPARC announces that three of its members have been inducted into the ARRL “A-1 Operator Club.” Nominated by Dave, KR4U and George, W1AAG, SPARC members Dee, N4GD; Tom, NY4I and Bob, N2ESP received framed A-1 Operator Club Member certificates and pins at the February club meeting.

L-R: N4GD Dee, NY4I Tom, N2ESP Bob

L-R: Dee, N4GD; Tom, NY4I; Bob, N2ESP

First organized in May 1933, the ARRL A-1 Operator Club has a proud history and occupies an important place in Amateur Radio tradition. Communications Manager Ed Handy, W1BDI, announced its formation with these words in July 1933 QST:

Are you an A-1 Operator? Excellence in stations has often been emphasized. Yet, station performance, equipment, adjustment, etc., are but part of the story. The operation of the equipment, knowledge of procedure, and general communications technique are of very great importance in determining the results of any station. To bring attention to good operating as a paramount issue, and to give it something of the importance it deserves we are this month announcing in these columns the launching of a club for A-1 operators. 

Through the years, recognition as an A-1 Operator represented an unsolicited acknowledgment of one’s high standing among one’s peers. Prospective members must be nominated by two current members of the A-1 Operator Club. This prestigious award is based on:

  1. General considerations.
    • Transmissions: well filtered, minimum required bandwidth.
    • Voice: clarity, brevity, wording, grammar
    • Digital: tones, operating-frequency selection.
    • CW: character formation, spacing, appropriate speed
  2. Procedure.
    • Listen before transmitting.
    • Appropriately short CQs
    • Proper procedures and abbreviations
    • Make sure that traffic is routed to its destination.
  3. Judgment and courtesy.
    • Courteous, and considerate of the other operator’s point of view.
    • Assists others, especially beginners.
    • Patient and helpful
    • Never knowingly operates as to lessen the pleasure of others.
  4. Copying ability.
    • Passing information through interference from other stations (QRM), atmospheric noises (QRN), fading (QSB), etc.

Congratulations Dee, Tom and Bob.

Antenna Modeling with EZNEC


The program for Friday, Nov 4, will be antenna modeling, building simple models and then comparing them to more complex antennas.  Ed, NZ1Q will demonstrate EZNEC software, which offers a free demo program that can be easily downloaded.   Ed will go through how to build an antenna model and read the resulting charts and graphs for a simple dipole, a two element beam and then as time permits, an Off Center Fed Dipole and other antennas., Radiation patterns, SWR, impedance matching and effects of grounds will be demonstrated. 

Be sure to join us this Friday for a truly informative program.


Weak Signal On-Air Demonstration

Join us at the Friday, Oct 7th SPARC meeting where Ed, NZ1Q will demonstrate digital modes JT65 and JT9. This demonstration will be conducted live on the HF bands.

The “JT” in JT65 is Dr. Joe Taylor, K1JT. Joe is the Nobel Prize winning physicist who wrote the software that makes amateur weak signal communication possible. This software is available at no cost to amateurs who would like to explore the world of weak signal communications. Even when the bands are close there are stations on using the JT modes making QSOs.

A surprise is in store for those not familiar with JT65. In order to have reliable communications at low power levels, tradeoffs must be made. In the case of the JT modes, the time to conduct a single two-way QSO is in the order of two minutes. Make sure your coffee cup is full before initiating a QSO.

Military Communications, by Col. Craig Hook, USAF (Ret.)

Don’t miss a special presentation by Retired USAF Colonel Craig Hook, KE4VPK and SPARC member. Craig will tell us about military use of communications equipment used in the field and share some of his slides from his deployment in Afghanistan right after 9/11.C Hook


The US Military has developed robust satellite communications used in conjunction with more traditional HF radio communications.  We will hear about communications equipment in the military, how it is deployed, used, important features, and some of Craig’s experiences, along with comment on how well it all really works and perhaps an anecdotal story or two.


Craig has degrees in electrical engineering, physics and international law. He served in the military for 25 years, primarily assigned to embassies in Eastern Europe and the Middle East. He is fluent in five languages including Russian and Persian and served with the White House Communications Corp as an official White House translator for Presidents Carter, Reagan, H.W. Bush, and Clinton.  Craig has diplomatic translator ratings in nine languages.


Craig retired as US Air Force Colonel in 1999. He was recalled to active duty in Sept 2001 with CENTCOM in Tora Bora, as Station Chief electronic intelligence.


Please add this meeting date to your calendar and don’t miss the special presentation about communications equipment and the military.

May Meeting Program Update

At the May 6th club meeting our program will include several examples of a “Go Box.” These portable communications centers can easily be

Sample Go Box

Sample Go Box

transported by one person, setup quickly and provide communications on different bands and modes during emergencies or other communication events..

Learn about their purpose, capabilities, how to plan and make your own. Our presenters will each demonstrate their own projects. We will hear from: Andy, KI4VOS; Udo, KF4KUL and
Clayton, KJ4RUS. We also plan to fire up some of the equipment as a demonstration.

There will be plenty of time to see the equipment up close and ask questions. Flexible communications capability is important for wide-spread emergency situations. As we approach hurricane season, this program should provide plenty of ideas on how to construct your own Go-Box.

Everyone is welcome to attend the club meeting, SPARC member or not, even if you don’t have a license.


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