Saturday, February 2, 2019

New versions of FLDigi software released

The are new versions of fldigi, flmsg and flrig software. The current updates were released on Jan 31, 2019 and show version 4.1.00 for fldigi. The newest versions (as always) can be downloaded at W1HKJ's website.

Fldigi along with flmsg and flrig (for CAT control of your radio) are used almost exclusively during emergency communication deployments. It's best to keep them updated to the latest version to prevent problems or compatibility issued in a real event.

All three can be used on Windows, Linux and MacOS platforms, making it very easy to use.
| February 02, 2019  |  

Friday, June 15, 2018

Experiences Building an Emergency Go-Box

Several local ARES members have been actively working on "Go-Boxes." Basically, these are self-contained groups of equipment ready to deploy at a moment's notice. Some require unpacking and assembly while some are pretty much open, plug and play.

David (W5CWT) built one that includes both HF and VHF and details it on his own blog. Michael (WX5WMS) has also built one which sits inside a large tub.
| June 15, 2018  |  

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Lessons learned from regional hospital drill

There were several lessons learned from the recent drill held to practice emergency communications between hospitals and health care facilities in Rusk County. The drill was held in conjunction with a region-wide exercise involving 19 counties in East Texas.

Reception problems were the most common issue arising from the drill with some operators having a difficult time transmitting and receiving while inside a building. Configuration issues also caused some failures in the passing digital traffic using Fldigi and Flmsg.

At the same time, there were several successes including demonstrating the ability to pass information quickly and accurately when all other systems are down.

The drill was covered by local media and the net control operators even made it on the local CBS affiliate's evening news cast.
| April 18, 2018  |  

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Interested in a license class?

We are planning a new Technician License class for anyone interested in getting their first ham Radio license. We are considering several different days and times, trying to accommodate as many people as possible.

All instructors are volunteers and instruction is provided free of charge. There are some recommended study materials which we will discuss during the first session. We will also recommend a first Radio to use once you earn your license. 

| April 05, 2018  |  

Monday, March 26, 2018

Regional Drill Planning Continues

A large group of health care facility managers, hospital staff, emergency response personnel, hams and others met Monday morning for the next round of planning for the upcoming regional exercise. The massive drill will cover 19 counties in East Texas and involve hundreds of agencies.

Locally, ham radio operators working under the Rusk County ARES umbrella will provide critical communication support to a number of agencies and facilities in Rusk County. Most traffic will be passed using voice as well as digital channels using Fldigi.

We are planning at least one more training session for local hams before the actual drill which will run from 1pm - 4pm, Wednesday April 18th.
| March 26, 2018  |  

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

New Henderson APRS node now online

The new APRS node is now online at the Rusk County Sheriff's Department near downtown Henderson. The antenna is located on the roof of the SO, approximately 40 feet in the air. So far, reception reports have been good, with the best reception coming from around town and to the north.

The node was built using a RaspberryPi running Direwolf 1.4 as a digipeater and an iGate to move data between the RF channel and the Internet. The node is connected to an Icom 8000 running at 60 watts into an omni-directional antenna. The power supply was provided by the Rusk County OEM.

Local users can use the node by setting up their own APRS radio or system and tuning to 144.39 MHz. The node operates under the callsign W5CWT-15. To view users, visit and center the map on Henderson.

ARES stations plan to use the new node during storm spotting operations to track spotter positions and exchange messages.
| March 14, 2018  |  

Sunday, February 25, 2018

NWS Set date for local SKYWARN Training

The National Weather Service in Shreveport, LA will provide free SKYWARN training in Rusk County on April 5th. The training will be held at the Rusk County Sheriff's Department's training room and is open to the public.

 NWS staff will teach both Beginner and Advanced SKYWARN levels including basic storm identification, storm mechanics, severe weather indicators, spotter safety and best practices. The "Advanced" level will include topics on radar products and in-depth meteorology.

The training is required for all active ARES storm spotters in North Texas. Please send a copy of your completed certificate to your local ARES EC.