Amateur radio enthusiasts appreciate the exchange meeting | New


BELTON – The crowd was much smaller than usual for the Texas Amateur Radio Club exchange meet on Saturday at the Bell County Expo Center.

Amateur radio enthusiasts normally pack the exhibit building at the club’s two exchange meetings each year – one in March and the other in October, said Emery Chandler, vice president of TARC. He estimated the attendance for the day at around 200 people.

“I spoke to the Department of Health and listened to what the county judge had to say,” he said, referring to the coronavirus problem. The consensus of the radio club‘s board members was to hold the meeting, he said, and several visitors thanked him for continuing.

Ham operators come to buy, sell or trade equipment and supplies, he said. Some of them like to collect older material. Chandler said he bought a ham radio like the one he bought in 1974.

“There are radios here that are worth thousands of dollars,” he said.

Chandler’s longest-range radio contact is now a man from northern Japan who he talks to every night, he said.

“On amateur radio, the gentleman’s agreement is that everyone speaks English,” he said. “You don’t know who you are going to contact. “

Paul Newton of Huntsville has been a ham operator since 1964.

“Many of us took a break from work and the kids,” he said. “We’re sort of getting back to it. It was a lot of fun.

At first, ham operators worked more on their equipment, he said.

“Those who didn’t, we called them the appliance operator,” he said.

Nowadays there are three or four major manufacturers of amateur radio equipment, he said, and they produce what is called “software-defined radio”.

“No one is going to build a platform that is going to do this quality work,” he said.

Six people in the encounter could operate in six different modes, he said. We could communicate in Morse code. Another could be in talk or “phone” mode. There is the digital mode, he said, and some work by satellite, which is another mode.

Scott Kerr of Poetry is the president of the Collins Collectors Association, which he says is made up of around 2,000 amateur radio operators around the world who collect, restore and operate Collins radios. These radios are used by amateurs, professionals and the military, he said.

From an engineering and construction perspective, he said, Collins led the way in manufacturing radios.

“This is why the military loved their equipment so much,” he said. “It worked. And the Collins equipment that was built in the 1950s – 70 years old – still works and will perform as well as some of the newer ham radio equipment.

Steven Lott Smith, head of the North Texas chapter for the American Radio Relay League, said being a member helps defend the spectrum of radio bands used by amateur radio operators. Spectrum is still threatened by cell phone companies, he said, and the ARRL is lobbying Congress on it. The North Texas section covers 68 counties and has 4,400 members, he said.

“Education is a big part of our job,” he said.

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