Mike Heskett WB5QLD

Amateur Radio:

What is Amateur Radio?

"Ham" radio is a global fraternity of people with common and yet widely varying interests, able to exchange ideas and learn more about each Amateur Radio-other with each new on-the-air contact. Not only do radio amateurs use Morse code and voice for communication, but they also use radioteletype, various forms of television and other computer generated digital communications

Public Service :

I am a member of the Kilocycle Amateur Radio Club of Fort Worth. I serve on the Public Service Committee. We coordinate communications for several Public Service events each year, such as the Watauga Winter Run, Cowtown Marathon & 10K, March of Dimes WalkAmerica, Cowtown Classic Bike Ride.

Amateur Radio is chartered to provide a Public Service. However, the communications that we provide for these types of events is really training for something that we hope we never have to provide. That is communications in the event of a major disaster. Typically the only communications into and out of a major disaster is by amateur radio. Although that is changing due to the advancement of communications available to the general public.

Upcoming Communications Public Service Events:

March of Dimes Walk - April 17, 2010  - Preliminary Assignments 




To sign-up to help with any event, send me an email stating the event your name, call, telephone number, etc. If I do not have information for you in my database, I will email you with further requests for information.

Automatic Position Reporting System (APRS)

APRS was developed by Bob Bruninga WB4APR. To see live APRS data over the Internet, connect to Bob’s web site at :


APRS turns packet radio into a real-time tactical communications and display system. In the past, packet radio has only shown usefulness in passing bulk message traffic from point to point. It has been difficult to apply packet to real time events where information has a very short life time.

APRS recognizes that one of the greatest real-time needs at any special event or emergency is the tracking of key assets. Where is the Event Leader? Where are the emergency vehicles? What’s the Weather at various points in the County? Where are the power lines down? Where is the head of the parade? Where are the VIP's? Where is the mobile ATV camera? Where is the hurricane? WHERE IS THE DX??? To answer these questions, APRS is a full featured automatic position location and status reporting system too.

There is another version of APRS that is starting to see a lot of activity. It is called APRSa4. It is a version that uses Delorme's Street Atlas 4 - 9 as the mapping system. In my opinion, it is not the version of APRS to start with, as it presumes a knowledge of APRS, and has no documentation of it's own. It might well be the best product available for tracking objects at the street level. Here is the APRSa4 home page. This product is now called APRSPLUS.

Documentation for APRSPLUS is HERE. Then click on APRS; then APRS+SA.

What does it take to put together an APRS Standalone Tracker? A GPS, TNC that is "GPS-aware", radio and proper cabling. To see a little more detail on this: CLICK HERE.

APRS Links:

To see live (or almost live) data on APRS users all over the world , there is a link that will display this information. Your Browser must be JAVA enabled. It is best to let map completely load all stations before manipulating the map. This can take several minutes as there are over 1,000 stations shown. The data for Fort Worth - Dallas area appears to be uploaded on a dial-up link by one of our local users.

Dallas/Fort Worth APRS Unofficial Home Page



Tucson Amateur Packet Radio (TAPR) Home Page

A very questionable page indeed - A lot of good APRS info - TNC settings, etc.

National Weather Service - SKYWARN Team

Another service provided by amateur radio operators throughout the country is severe weather spotting. This project is known as SKYWARN. The people in the field become the eyes and ears for the National Weather Service. The National Weather Service Forecast Office in Fort Worth has responsibility for 46 counties in the area.

In order to disseminate information to and receive information from the field, a team of operators has been developed to staff an amateur radio station in the forecast center. Our team consists of 12-14 amateur radio operators. Usually two to four operators are required at one time to work the amateur radio SKYWARN nets in 35 of the 48 county forecast area. Our station consists of four 2-meter radios, two 70-cm radios, and one 220 MHz radio.

Those Funny Numbers on the Pager

Having trouble decoding those RACES pages? After the first 5 characters (which is the same as always), there is a series of 3 digit county codes that apply for this watch/warning. Look up those FIPS county codes, or use this one. Better still use this map to identify the county FIPS numbers.

I have produced some laminated cards (business card size) that contain the numbers and county names for those counties that the Fort Weather Service issues warnngs. I will charge a nominal fee for these cards. See me to get yours.

Amateur Radio Links:

The QRZ Callsign Database

U.S. Amateur Radio Callsign Lookup Page



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