October 2020

As I reflect on how this year as President of the club has gone, I must say, it is not what I had expected.  Early on, everything was good, then the whole corona/COVID/Chinese virus came about and pretty much everything in this country and world came to a screeching halt. However, I think as a club, we did a phenomenal job of pulling our resources and came up with plans to overcome this.  We went from full meetings to net only meetings to hybrid meetings and hopefully in the next couple of months, we’ll be on track to get back to our full meetings.  Since this year has been so messed up, I think I want to try again as president.  So, I am officially announcing that I will put my name in the had for another go around.  Surely, 2021 can’t be worse than 2020.  

            Anyway, on to radio stuff.  I am happy that Xenos KJ6RKS has come up with the idea of having a weekly 10 meter net. Great idea.  I personally have never made an HF contact (unless you count 11 meters which I know most Hams don’t 😊) but I hope in the next few weeks to have an antenna up so I can join in as well.

            Speaking of HF communications, I recently read an article entitled: “The Military Renaissance in high frequency communications” https://www.c4isrnet.com/battlefield-tech/it-networks/2020/09/22/the-military-renaissance-in-high-frequency-communications/   In the article, it talks about how the Special Operation Commands in Europe are going back to HF as a backup form of communication due to how easily satellite communications can be disrupted.  I think this would be great exposure for our hobby. And if the US follows suit, a whole new generation of former military already familiar with radio operations.  Also, I recently saw a video on Amazon Prime video called “WWII Amateur Radio Films.”  It is a collection of a few short films about basically how hams were used during WWII.  If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it.

            Finally, I would like to pose a question to everyone. We’ve talked a lot about how to get new people interested in the hobby, but how do we get existing Hams in the area to become interested in the club?  A couple of months ago, I went to pick up a grill from my cousin who lives in the Lonesome Dove subdivision.  As we are driving to his house, I look to the left and see several large antennas at a residence.  On the way back out, while admiring the antennas of the first house, I notice there is a house across the street with an even larger assortment of antennas. Well, I saw a man working out back, so I stopped and introduced myself.  I cannot remember his name or call, but he took me through his ham shack/radio man cave and he has an awesome set up.  I asked him why I had not seen him at any of the club meetings and his words were: “The club really doesn’t have anything to offer me.”  On Wednesday, I had a conversation with a ham on two meter, KC5SSU.  He said he had been a ham since about ’97.  I asked him the same question and he said he used to attend but he really didn’t give a reason why he didn’t anymore.  So, I ask again, what can we do to get experienced hams back in the club? I personally think having more presentations like Neil W5PVI did this month would garner a lot of interest.  What do you all think?  Feel free to leave me some feedback or email me ( michael.powers@suddenlink.net).  


Michael KG5SNX

July 2020

Half the year is over already and I must say it has been an interesting one. That is not the word I would normally use for my description of it, but trying to keep it family friendly. It does seem as though we are besieged on all sides by fear and stupidity all propagated by social and main stream media. That is where I believe ham radio needs to come in. Whether you listen to the news on TV or radio, if you go online to find the news, if you read the newspaper, you’ve been lied to. We cannot trust that information. And that is where I think we as hams can fill a much needed void. Years ago, 25 in fact, I worked with a guy out here named Jim Finkbiner. Jim was a ham. At that time, I knew nothing about ham radio. But, he would tell me about news that he had heard from overseas on his ham radio. Even now, one of my team members is Iraqi and he tells me all the stuff that they are saying over there about what is going on over here and it is a very different picture. The people here allow our government, both left and right, to control what we hear, what we see, and what we know. We, as hams, have the ability to bypass all of that. Sure, you can get the truth on the internet, somewhere buried in the tick tocks and cute cat pictures and everything else that inundates most people’s lack of attention span. But we can reach around the world, reach through the censorship, and find out what is really going on out there. Then we have to share that information. As the old G.I. Joe cartoon used to say, “Knowing is half the battle…” This past Saturday was the celebration of America’s Independence day. How was it celebrated by most? Locked down, behind masks, standing 6 feet away from each other. What would our founding fathers think of that? As Thomas Jefferson said, “The Tree of Liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.”

Well, I’ll get off my soap box now and put back on my tin foil hat. 73 to everyone. I look forward to seeing you in August.

May 2020

Well, I must say, this is not how I had envisioned my first presidency of the Panhandle Amateur Radio Club to go.  Hopefully, things will be getting back to “normal” in the near future and we can all look back and say we survived the great (Chinese made) pandemic of 2019-2020.  Anyway, I hope everyone is healthy and safe.  Unfortunately, my wife and I work in a major hotspot, Tyson, but, our jobs allow us to stay away from most people and have managed to avoid getting sick.  I stay in my office unless something happens that requires my attention and she is pretty isolated from the rest of the plant.  I wanted to take a few minutes to update everyone on how things have been going with us.  It will be long, but in the end, it will be radio related.

With all the changes that have been going on, social distancing, quarantining, lock downs, job closures, etc.. Sarah and I have been very blessed and all the glory goes to God.  Over the last year or so, I’ve been feeling a strong calling or pull (for lack of better terms) in my heart.  I didn’t know what it was until in early March, Sarah asked me to go to church with her.  I had not been in a church service since I was probably 18 years old but had no hesitation in saying yes.  After the second Sunday (March 8th) of attending church, we had a pastoral visit and we devoted our lives to the Lord.  That was the pull I had been feeling and the fullness I felt at that point was just beyond words.  The very next day, Sarah finds out that she is pre-approved for a home loan.  We had tried to buy a house a few years ago, but everything fell through and kind of gave up.  We had been looking, but had no real hopes of buying a house.  Well, after searching online and looking at various houses, we decided on one in Panhandle.  It didn’t have everything we wanted, but was nice.  So the day we decided we would make an offer on it, I did a quick Zillow search and found one close by that looked closer to what we wanted.  That day, we contacted a realtor and went out to look at it.  This house was smaller than the one we currently had, but was very nice and had everything we were looking for.  Outside of town, little bit of land, well water, close to work, and in Potter county.  Even had a barn/shop out back and a small room that had been added on to the house.  While I was showing the barn to Sarah’s friend who had come over to see it with us, I noticed an old Heathkit radio sitting up on a shelf.  I showed Andrea and she said maybe that was a sign.  I laughed and said maybe.  Well, if that wasn’t a sign, I was about to get a bigger one.  While walking through the house, I had walked through the add on room about 3 times before something finally clicked in my head what that room was.  Coax hook ups going through wall, the sound proof sliding glass door separating it from the rest of the house, the antenna base pole right outside…  This room had been a Ham Shack.  The Lord had put this house in our path, and it was meant for us to have.  After two months of dealing with underwriters and FHA and everything else, on Thursday, May 7th we officially signed on the house.   After doing some research, I learned that the previous owner was indeed a Ham.  His name was Velda Romans, KA5ZGK.  He had went silent key in 2012.  If anyone knew him, I would like to know more about him, so please let me know. 

Well, that is my story over this pandemic.  I still don’t have my radios up.  I have them set up in my radio room, but have not moved my antennas yet.  Hopefully by June I’ll have at least my 2 meter rig up and can get back on the air.  Right now, I am hoping we will be able to have an in person meeting in June, I haven’t heard anything to the contrary.

Until then, 73

Michael – KG5SNX


January 2020

First, let me apologize that I had not added anything to this for the month of January. My job, Sr Refrigeration Supervisor at Tyson, keeps me very busy. I actually have not had a day off since the 5th and I’ve been working anywhere from 11 to 18 hours a day. Unfortunately, February isn’t looking much better at this point.

I would like to thank everyone for their support in electing me president. I hope I am able to help move this club in a positive direction. To me, this club should be about advancing the hobby by getting more people interested in it, and helping our community.

When I came to my first meeting, I really didn’t know what to expect. I came in, sat down and that was pretty much it. I do not remember anyone coming up and talking to me. I didn’t know anyone there at that time. After the meeting, I tested and got my technician’s license and that was it until the following month when I came back. Same scenario, I came in, sat down and that was it. After the meeting, I tested for my general and went home. Between then and the next meeting, I had done some research and reached out to Carl Jeans about ARES. So then when the 3rd meeting came around, I at least had someone to talk to about what I was interested in. I did eventually see a familiar face, Eddie Wood, N5SUJ. I knew Eddie from years back when my dad worked for him.

Anyway, the whole reason I brought that up is because I wanted to point out that we have to do a better job when someone new comes in, to make them feel welcome. I could have very easily gotten my first license and never come back to the club. I didn’t need my general or my extra (which I’m still working on) to talk on two meter which is all I really need for emergency communications. Every month, I see people come in for testing, but then we don’t see them again. I think this happens more than we realize and that is no way to grow as a club.

That all being said, if anyone has any ideas on how to get new people involved, feel free let me know. You can text me, (806-881-6534) or email me (michael.powers@suddenlink.net or michael.s.powers@tyson.com). No idea is without merit.

Until next time, 73

Michael, KG5SNX