Category Archives: News

Latest news about N5XU

New officers for 2022-2023

It is my great pleasure to announce our new officers for the 2022-2023 school year:

  • Young He, KI5TIA, President
  • David Puma, KG5UBB, Vice President
  • Keolailani Rose, KI5RGZ, Treasurer

Congratulations y’all, and thank you for volunteering to keep the club running! The new officer team is planning some cool activities for next year, so stay tuned!

Packet radio at N5XU

One of our projects this semester was to get packet radio operations up and running once again at N5XU. After some hiccups with failed hard disks and a trip to UT Surplus, we are now successfully transmitting APRS packets from the shack. The TNC is a TNC-X given to us by Joe, K5EJL (thank you Joe!), connected to the FT-847. Here is the current lineup of equipment for the packet station:

  • Yaesu FT-847 transceiver (perhaps the FT-7900 could serve this purpose in the future)
  • TNC-X at 1200 baud (9600 baud serial interface)
  • 2m horizontally-polarized yagi (future work is to use a vertical ant!)
  • YAAC software for sending and receiving APRS packets
  • Old Dell computer running Xubuntu and YAAC

I also tried yesterday to use the Linux AX.25 stack to log in to the KA5D BBS system, but somehow was not receiving packets from the BBS node. The BBS node itself is working correctly – Kyle helped me figure out it’s something on the software side at the N5XU shack. That is a work in progress…

In the future, hopefully we will get a vertically polarized antenna that we can keep connected all the time. Our tower is about 120′ AGL, on top of the ETC building at UT, so we disconnect the antennas in case of lightning strikes. Lightning protection and stuff will be another task for the future!

Spring 2022 General license class

UPDATE (Mar. 8): We have been allocated rooms for Tuesdays. Please see below!

NOTICE (Feb. 23): The license classes have been RESCHEDULED to Tuesdays at 6pm. We do not have a room yet, but I will update this page and send out emails once we get one. Until then, we will meet in the ETC lobby, and we will try to find a place to go over the material.

Due to popular demand, UTARC is continuing license classes this semester with a General license class! If you are interested in joining us, the class will be weekly, on Tuesdays at 6pm starting February 7. The date, time, and location of each meeting is in the table below.

Date Time Location
Monday, February 7 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm EER 1.632
Monday, February 14 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm EER 1.632
Monday, February 21 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm EER 1.632
Tuesday, March 1 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm ETC lobby
Tuesday, March 8 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm ETC 2.132
Tuesday, March 15 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm ETC 2.132
Tuesday, March 22 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm CPE 2.220
Tuesday, March 29 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm ETC 2.132
Tuesday, April 5 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm ETC 2.132
Tuesday, April 12 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm ETC 2.132
Tuesday, April 19 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm ETC 2.132
Tuesday, April 26 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm ETC 2.132
Tuesday, May 3 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm ETC 2.132

In each class, we will 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 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 shared with last semester’s Technician class.

  • 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
  • WSPR spots at WSPRnet

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.
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 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 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. 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).


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:
(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!