Ham Radio and FEMA

The Decatur Daily reported today (04 May 2017) about a mock drill (actually a “practice” mock drill) at the Morgan County EMA in the courthouse. They posted a photo essay here.

Of course they had to show ham radio as part of it.  There are 2 photos in the set of club treasurer Lester Christophe W5GSU. One of those even made the printed newspaper!

There are other practice and graded drills in the next week and month. Be listening on the repeaters and assist if you can!

Oh, here are the photos of W5GSU for your “enjoyment”.


W5GSU at EMA 1 - Decatur Daily-04May2017W5GSU at EMA 2 - Decatur Daily-04May2017

Tagged with General on 4th May, 2017. No comments.

DARC March Meeting

The March meeting of the Decatur Amateur Radio Club will be held at Libby’s Catfish and Diner at 6:00 on Tuesday evening, March 7th, at 6:00. Libby’s is located on Highway 67 in Priceville on the east of I-65.  Just follow Highway 67 until you get to the top of Priceville Mountain.  Libby’s is on the right.

The April meeting will be held at the Morgan County Courthouse as regularly scheduled.

Come greet, eat, and meet with us on Tuesday!

Tagged with General,Meetings on 5th March, 2017. No comments.

DARC Christmas Dinner Meeting

As is our custom, the Decatur Amateur Radio Club will have its Christmas Dinner as the December meeting.

This year, we have reserved space at Olive Garden in Decatur on Tuesday, December 6th, at 6:00.

Please join us and our families for a time of enjoying good food, fellowship, memories of a great year of ham radio activities, and especially thoughts of the Christmas season.

Hope to see you there!

Tagged with General,Meetings on 1st December, 2016. No comments.

Field Day 2016 Official Results Are Posted

The Field Day 2016 results have been posted on the ARRL website.  They are also printed in the December issue of QST magazine.

Our club’s standing actually improved this year.  We DID make a great effort, after all!

Here’s the breakdown:

– Out of 2,697 entries overall, W4ATD was #673 (#769 last year).

– Out of 209 entries in the SE Division, W4ATD was #68 (#79 last year).

– Out of 41 entries in the AL Section, W4ATD was #14 (#16 last year).

– Out of 377 Class 2A entries overall, W4ATD was #139 (#159 last year).

– Out of 31 Class 2A entries in the SE Division, W4ATD was #12 (#16 last year).

– Out of 10 Class 2A entries in the AL Section, W4ATD was #4 (#3 last year).

We had a upper-mid-range showing this time.  And we improved (except one place)!

We’re going to be even better next year! Field Day 2017 will be June 24th and 25th! Make plans to be there and help out!

The Field Day results database can be found at:


Tagged with Field Day on 19th November, 2016. No comments.

Club Officers for 2017

At November’s business meeting the club reelected the current 2016 officers for 2017.  They continue serving at the January club meeting.

The officers for 2017 are:

President – Craig McClure KJ4LAA

Vice-President – Mike Lowery K4RML  (ex- KM4JCD)

Secretary – Richard Matthews KB4CAY

Treasurer – Lester Christophe W5GSU

2016 was a good year for our club, and 2017 should continue the trend!

Tagged with General on 1st November, 2016. No comments.

DARC October Meeting Change

The October meeting of the Decatur Amateur Radio Club is going to be a bit different. Just like last year’s October meeting

Instead of the regular meeting at the Morgan County Courthouse, we will meet at the home of the former club president and current treasurer, Lester Christophe W5GSU.  If you did not receive the notification e-mail with his address and directions, please contact the club secretary (secretary <at> darc-w4atd.org or kb4cay <at> gmail.com) and we’ll get it to you.  Or call out on the 147.00 repeater and someone can help direct you to the meeting.

The meeting time is changing as well.  Since Lester needs his beauty sleep, and he’s having a birthday in a few days (again! – he’s making an annual habit of this!), we will meet at his home at 6:00 instead of 7:30. One more VERY IMPORTANT thing:  come ready to eat!  Lester’s wife Rosine is a fantastic cook, and we will be treated to some extremely tasty dishes from her kitchen.

And spouses are invited also.  Rosine would probably appreciate some company while we talk sports and radios and whatever else we guys talk about.  Oh, yes.  Club business.  That too.

So, please DO NOT go the the courthouse on Tuesday, October 4th.  Do not arrive at 7:30 (or earlier, as we usually ask).  If you do, you can sit in the dark parking lot and think about the food and fun you just missed by not coming to the proper place at the proper time.

The proper place:  W5GSU’s home in Decatur.

The proper time:  6:00pm on Tuesday, October 4th.

See you there on Tuesday evening!!

Richard Matthews  KB4CAY
Secretary, DARC

Tagged with Meetings on 2nd October, 2016. No comments.

Field Day 2016 Scores Posted

The score and documentation for the 2016 Field Day operation have been posted to the ARRL for scoring.  We actually scored a little better this year than last year.

Here’s the breakdown:

Number of participants:  31

CW contacts:            166
Digital contacts:        88 (all by GOTA)
Phone contacts:        335 (includes 12 GOTA SSB contacts)

QSO points – CW:       166 x 2 =        332
QSO points – Digital:   88 X 2 =        176
QSO points – Phone:   335 x 1 =        335

Total QSO points = 843

Power multiplier:      150 watts or less = QSO x 2

Claimed QSO score =                     1,686

Bonus points:

200 points – 100% Emergency power
100 points – Alternate (solar) power – 5 contacts
100 points – Set-up in Public Place
100 points – Information Table
100 points – Site Visit by Invited Elected Official
80 points – GOTA bonus
50 points – Online entry form submission

Total bonus points =                        730

Total submitted score:       2,416 points
(66 points MORE than last year)

Here are a few interesting observations:

  • We had 40 more CW contacts this year than in 2015 (THANK YOU Byron, N4AX!!!).
  • We had 40 fewer phone contacts on the main stations than last year.
  • We had 88 digital contacts on the GOTA station this year (2 points each).
  • We only had 12 phone contacts on the GOTA station this year. Last year was 145 total GOTA contacts, all phone (1 point each).
  • We get 80 bonus points because 4 operators of the GOTA station each got 20 or more contacts.
  • We do not get any media publicity points this year. The Decatur Daily and the cable company were not contacted.
  • We were not visited by an invited agency official.
  • We were visited by an invited city council member but no other invited city or county officials.
  • We get 100 bonus points for making more than 5 contacts with solar power.

All in all it was a great outing, and I think everyone involved had a great time.

Now, wait till next year!!!

Tagged with Field Day on 31st July, 2016. No comments.

Field Day Is Coming!

Field Day 2016 is coming up shortly. The Decatur Amateur Radio Club will operate from the picnic shelter behind the main Spirit of America stage at the Point Mallard Park in Decatur. We plan to have 2 main stations, a 6-meter station, and a GOTA station operating all 24 hours.
2016 Field Day Logo
The club meeting for June will be held at 6:00 on Tuesday evening, June 7th, at Libby’s Catfish and Diner on Highway 67 in Priceville.  We will meet together, eat together, and then make our major plans for the Field Day operation.  All are welcome to come to both the meeting and the Field Day activity.

Hope to see you there!

Tagged with Field Day on 28th May, 2016. No comments.

ARISS Contact in Decatur

On Friday, March 18th, the Decatur Amateur Radio Club was able to provide support to Tim Cunningham N8DEU and AMSAT as they conducted a contact from Walter Jackson Elementary School in Decatur with astronaut Tim Peake aboard the International Space Station.  The ARISS contact with NA1SS lasted just under 10 minutes, and 20 students were able to ask questions of the astronaut and hear the answers.  The event was practically flawless and everyone was suitably impressed by the whole thing.


Tim N8DEU did all of the legwork, provided most of the equipment, and was the control operator for the event.  He did a masterful job!

The Decatur Daily published an article on March 19 about the event.  They also posted a photo gallery and a 3-minute video clip.

For those who are interested, here’s Tim’s equipment list:

The basic station consists of the following:
1. Yaesu FT-847 connected to TE Systems amp and SSB Electronics SP-2000 preamp at the satellite yagi’s.
2. Yaesu FT-736 backup radio connected to Mirage 1018G amp to ground plane antenna.
3. Yaesu/Kenpro G5400 Az/El rotor.
4. Satellite tracker interface between computer and antenna system.
5. 50A power supply.
6. Laptop running SATPC32/SATPCISS for antenna and radio automation control (FT-847)
7. The FT-736 has programmed memories pre-programmed in case primary station has hiccups.


Here’s a photo of the antenna assembly on the roof of the school:
N8DEU Antenna for ARISS
There was also assistance from AMSAT, the Marshall Space Flight Center Radio Club, other hams from Athens and from Morgan County, and numerous others.  Thanks to all, and thanks especially to Tim for giving all of us (especially the lucky students) such an incredible opportunity.
Tagged with General on 19th March, 2016. No comments.

DARC Christmas Dinner 2015

Greetings, all!  The Decatur Amateur Radio Club invites you to its annual Christmas Dinner.  It will be held at Libby’s Catfish and Diner on Highway 67 in Priceville.  We will meet at 6:00 on Tuesday, December 1st, and enjoy good food and friendship in the last club meeting of the year.
christmas lol - 09
If you’re available and want to join us, please come and participate!  Bring your family along as well!  The food is tremendous, and the talk around the table will be a lot of fun.

Hope to see you on Tuesday, December 1st!

Tagged with General,Meetings on 29th November, 2015. No comments.
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