Category Archives: News

Latest news about N5XU

Celebrating the 100th anniversary of the first football game transmission from 5XB to 5XU

Hi all,

On the week of Thanksgiving, we are proud to participate in a celebration of the 100th anniversary of the first live football game broadcast from 5XB in College Station to 5XU in Austin. Please find their announcement below. If you are interested in operating as N5U (or N5B), sign up sheets can also be found below!
As usual, the N5XU station is available, if you would like to use it, though only antennas for bands 20m and above are currently operational due to construction on the ETC building.
100TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE NOV 1921 BROADCAST OF THE TEXAS VS. TEXAS A&M FOOTBALL GAME VIA AMATEUR RADIO
Request for Operators

A group of former students from Texas A&M University and the University of Texas, loosely known as the Dinosaur Valley DX Society (DVDXS), has put together an 8-day operating event to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the Nov 24, 1921 Broadcast of the University of Texas and Texas A&M University Football Game via Amateur Radio.

The play-by-play of the football game on Thanksgiving, 1921, between the Longhorns of the University of Texas and the Aggies of the then known Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas, was arguably the first football game ever broadcast over the air. The game, at Kyle Field in College Station, was broadcast via spark gap transmitter from College Station to a station at the University of Texas, a WWI temporary building on 24th Street, just west of University Avenue. The play-by-play action was transcribed into a set of abbreviations so as to keep up with the game. The transmissions from College Station were received in Austin where the messages were decoded and announced over a horn speaker through an open window to the many interested University students who had gathered outside.

A Grebe CR7 like the one at 5XU in 1921.
A Grebe CR7 similar to one at 5XU in 1921.

To celebrate this historic achievement, members from the DVDXS have reserved two 1×1 callsigns, N5B and N5U, that will be on the air between the 19th and 26th of November. N5B is similar to the 1921-issued Texas A&M callsign of 5XB; N5U is similar to the 1921-issued University of Texas callsign of 5XU. More detailed information about the actual broadcast and the event may be found on the qrz.com pages of N5B or N5U.

The DVDXS is pleased to invite members from the TAMU ARC, the UT ARC, as well as radio amateur students, alumni and friends of both universities to sign-up to operate “their respective callsign” during the event. The respective sign-up schedules may be found here:

N5U: sign up here
N5B: sign up here

A few simple rules for the operators of these 1×1 callsigns:

  • Reserve as many 1-hr time slots as you will operate. The links will be active the whole period, so you can check at any time to see if there’s a slot convenient to your schedule. However, please be courteous and operate the time slots you have reserved; you may cancel reserved time slots via the above links if your plans change; doing so may allow another operator to activate that time slot.
  • Within each time slot, you may operate which ever band and mode within the privileges of your license class. Due to the popularity of 1×1 callsigns, suggested modes are SSB, CW and FT8.
  • Particularly on SSB, or CW, you might have a brief description prepared of the Special Event (e.g. the title of this announcement and maybe the description contained in the 2 nd paragraph)to share with some of the stations that contact you or following a CQ, such as “CQ CQ from Special Event Station N5B, celebrating the 100th anniversary of the 1921 play-by-play broadcast of the Univ of Texas against Texas A&M Univ Football Game via amateur radio” and refer them to the qrz.com pages.
  • Some stations that contact you may want to chit-chat, others will want to make contact with an RST exchange only (contest-style). How you choose to handle each QSO is up to you, but a little bit on conversing is encouraged to get the word out to others that might be listening and waiting to contact you.
  • Many hams like to work Special Event Stations. To help increase your contact activity, you might “self-spot” your 1×1 callsign on one of the DX spotting networks. www.dxwatch.com is the easiest to use; instructions are available if needed. As other hams work you, some will spot you as well. Generally, you might self-spot a couple of times during the hour, but probably not later than 45 minutes after the hour if you’re about the cease operations at the top of the hour.
  • Very important: please keep logs of your operating, preferably in a computer aided logging program. Forward your 1×1 station logs in ADIF format to Matt Thomas (W5MT (at) arrl (dot) net). The logs are needed to compile the contacts from all operators as well as for QSL/certificate confirmation to requesting contacts.

Most of all, have fun! If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to email either Matt Thomas (W5MT (at) arrl (dot) net) or Larry Smith (K5XB (at) arrl (dot) net).

73!

Cricket 40 buildathon

Last week at the meeting we discussed kit ideas, and decided the Cricket 40 would be a fun project for a buildathon. The kit is a working crystal-controlled CW transceiver for the 40m band with a direct-conversion receiver and about 700 mW output. It has about 40 components and can be assembled in an evening. Each participant gets one to take home! The club will pay for the kits for club members, though we will also accept an optional donation if you would like to help offset the cost of buying your kit (don’t worry about this if it’s a problem).
The current plan for the date/time is 6:15 PM on Thursday, November 4 (during the UTARC meeting). We will first meet at 6PM in ETC 2.132 for our usual meeting stuff, and then move to the soldering lab E1 at Texas Inventionworks at 6:15PM for the actual buildathon. Huge thanks to Roger and the other folks at TIW again for allowing us to use this excellent resource at UT! If this is your first time soldering or putting together a kit, that’s OK and part of the goal! I’ll provide some explanation on how to solder the kit together at the beginning and will try to help everyone at the buildathon.
If this time does not work for you, or you just want the kit so you can build it yourself, there’s an option for that in the form. We could schedule another time if enough people want to build kits together.
If you want to take part in the buildathon or want a kit, please sign up here before 11:59pm central time on Monday, October 18: https://forms.gle/cM3tcoFRPaGkQBT67
(open to UT students, faculty, staff only)
This is so we can order enough kits for the group on time.
We would also like to thank an anonymous donor who contributed some funds to the club during 40 for Forty. Thank you for making this event possible!

Fall 2021 Technician License Class

The Technician license class this semester has been going very well so far. We have gone through the material for Chapters 2, 3, and most of chapter 4 corresponding to the ARRL Technician license manual. If you are interested in joining us, the rest of the classes will be in the IDEA lab in TIW (EER 1.632). Big thanks to Roger of Texas Inventionworks for making this possible!

DATE TIME LOCATION PLANNED TOPICS
Thursday, October 14 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm EER 1.632 Antennas and radio operation
Monday, October 18 5:15 pm – 7:00 pm EER 1.632 Radio operation (part 2)
Monday, October 25 5:15 pm – 7:00 pm EER 1.632 Communicating on the air
Monday, November 1 5:15 pm – 7:00 pm EER 1.632 FCC regulations and safety

In each class, we go through the material and answer and discuss FCC exam questions.
If you would like to have a copy of the notes we have gone through so far, please email me. My email is posted here.

At the end of the class, I recommend taking a few practice tests at HamStudy and making sure you are consistently scoring more than 90%. Then you can sign up for an online Tech class exam with GLAARG or take another exam of your choice. Note that GLAARG is strict about what stuff you can have around you, like multiple monitors, so make sure you prepare your workspace following their guidelines before going to the exam.

More resources

Here are some resources I have shared via email, but might be useful.

  • Regarding propagation, there’s all sorts of “space weather” and “solar weather” data and predictions which are useful to predict the success of various modes of propagation. One website providing this data is the NOAA.
  • Earlier, I mentioned the “ham bands have boundaries” – these boundaries are documented informally in this chart. It’s useful to have a copy near you when on the air. We have two nice laminated ones at N5XU. We will talk about this in more detail in the regulatory part of the class.
  • W2AEW’s video on reflections on transmission lines.
  • Mr Carlson’s Lab’s video on reflections on transmission lines.
  • APRS spots at aprs.fi
  • WSPR spots at WSPRnet

Field Day 2021 Results

Field Day 2021 at Mt. Bonnell was a blast! We had 6 people join us, and made 8 contacts on 20 meters before we had to clean up and leave. Two people made their first PSK31 contacts. The setup was as follows:

  • Yaesu FT-450D, up to 50 W out
  • OCF dipole around 6 feet up on the summit of Mt. Bonnell (Covert Park, EM10ch)
  • Solar and battery power
  • PSK31 via fldigi on a laptop

We also set up a second station with an end-fed wire and the club’s FT-847, but did not end up using that one. It was also a whole lot of fun to meet club members in person after more than a year of online meetings!

Field Day Operations 2021

A quick (unofficial) tabulation of points follows.

382 points from 8 digital QSOs and some bonus points

We’d also like to thank Stefano N5STT for letting us use his transceiver, tuner, and antenna, and Glen WB4KTF for the complete solar system, and many other hams around Austin for their valuable advice.

Field Day 2021 and Summer Chats

I hope everyone’s summer is going well so far! N5XU club activities continue through the summer.
1. Summer chats. In addition to the weekly net, the club will have monthly Zoom meetings in the summer so all club members can keep in touch and plan activities. In particular, field day is coming up, so we can talk about that next week! These meetings will be on the following dates:
DATE TIME
Tuesday, June 15 8:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Tuesday, July 13 8:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Tuesday, August 10 8:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Feel free to drop in and chat with us! We will provide a Zoom meeting link in our mailing list close to the time of each meeting. Be sure to join the mailing list if you would like to join us for these meetings.
2. Field day. A long standing tradition in ham radio is Field Day, in which stations endeavor to make contacts in more “ad-hoc” environments in the field – for example, on battery or solar power. This year, Field Day is on the weekend of June 26. Tentatively, we are planning to set up a battery-powered station on Mt. Bonnell. Depending on how many people plan to join us, we may set up multiple transceivers. We will discuss more plans at the weekly nets and the Zoom chat next Tuesday.
If you would like to join us for field day, please send us an email or a message in Slack, so we can get an approximate head count for the event.
We will also follow university recommendations regarding COVID-19 precautionary measures, because this is an in-person event.
3. Weekly net. We had a great turnout for the first edition of the UTARC net last week. Thanks to everyone involved! The net takes place Wednesdays 8pm on the 441.325 repeater (PL 97.4) and linked systems. All licensed radio amateurs are welcome to join!