Texas A&M University W5AC The Texas A&M Amateur Radio Club, College Station, Texas
College Station, Texas, U.S.A. • Brazos County • EM10tp

W5AC Shack Information

The W5AC shack has recently moved. Our current operating capabilities are not as extensive as listed below and we hope to be back to normal soon. Information on the new shack will be provided as it becomes available.

Click here to see pictures of the shack.

Shack Location (updated Fall 2016)
Bldg 8900 (Aggie Map Link)
Latitude 30 d 37 m 47.2512 s, which is
30.62972 d North
Longitude 96 d 20 m 36.3480 s, which is
96.3434 d West
ITU Region 2
ITU Zone 7
Grid square EM10tp
CQ Zone 4
Mailing Address (updated Fall 2015):
Texas A&M Amateur Radio Club
Student Organization Finance Center
Texas A&M University
125 John J Koldus Student Services Building
Mail Stop 1236
Slot #427
College Station, TX 77843-1236
Phone: (979) 324-1211

We are in Brazos County, Texas.

Shack Setup and Shutdown Procedures

Courtesy of John AC5NB - Updated 9/2017

Establish RF Connection

RF Patch Panel

Before powering the radio on, you should connect the RF port to an appropriate antenna (or dummy load). There are presently 3 good feeds on the patch panel for HF operation.

  • 80 m dipole. This is the folded dipole. It is safe to use over the 80 m and 40 m ham bands in their entirety.
  • 20 m - 10 m. This is the Force12 beam antenna mounted at the top of the tower. It is safe to use over the 20 m, 17 m, 15 m, 12 m, and 10 m ham bands in their entirety.
  • DUMMY LOAD. This feeds into the dummy load located directly above the panel.
NOTE: Be sure not to use any patch panel port marked as BAD. Connect the cable between the panel and the transceiver. The cable should be marked by transceiver on the panel end. Make sure the cable is finger tight on both ends and is not cross-threaded.

Connect a radio to an antenna (or dummy load) by patching the radio's panel port to the applicable port. Patch cables are kept on a wire hanger on the rack just below the patch panel.
Transceiver feeds:

  • W5AC RADIO. This is the RF feed from the TS-430S transceiver.

CAUTION: Be doubly sure not to patch a transceiver to another transceiver. The transmitting radio will destroy the front end of the other radio.

Starting Point Settings

To ensure that the transceiver demonstrates the behavior one would typically expect, you should make the transceiver settings match the "defaults" given below.

These settings are suggested as a starting point. It is up to the control operator to determine the most appropriate settings for the task. For example, 160 m, 80 m, and 40 m voice is customarily LSB, whereas voice on 20 m and up is customarily USB.

Kenwood TS-930S

  • Initial settings common to all operating modes:
    1. SEND/REC: REC
    4. METER: SWR
    5. AGC: FAST
    6. VFO/MEMO: VFO (out)
    7. FUNCTION: Either A or B
    8. NB1: OFF (out)
    9. NB2: OFF (out)
    10. RF ATT: 0 dB
    11. RIT: OFF (See top right of display)
    12. NOTCH: OFF (out)
    13. D.LOCK OFF (out)
    14. AF TUNE: OFF (out)
    15. AF / RF
      • AF (inner): About 3 (This is the volume control.)
      • RF (outer): 10 (fully clockwise)
  • Additional settings for SSB voice operation:
    1. VOX/MAN: MAN (out)
    2. MONI/OFF: OFF (out)
      • IN (inner): 3
      • OUT (outer): 10
    5. MIC / CAR
      • MIC (inner): Fully clockwise
    6. MODE: Either LSB or USB
      • HIGH (inner): Fully clockwise
      • LOW (outer): Fully counterclockwise
  • MC-60 microphone settings:
    1. On/Off Switch: OFF
    2. Impedance: 50 kohm
  • Additional settings for CW operation:
    1. VOX/MAN: VOX (in)
    2. MONI/OFF: MONI (in)
    3. PROC/OFF: OFF
    4. MIC / CAR
      • CAR (outer): 6
    5. MODE: CW
    6. PITCH / AF TUNE
      • PITCH (inner): Top
    7. CW VBT: Fully clockwise (NORMAL)

When transmitting, it is a good idea to have METER set to POWER to check that the mic gain is a reasonable value. If the gain is about right, the power needle should peak at or above 80% but less than 100%. If it peaks lower, you can increase mic gain. If the METER needle consistently hits the top of the scale, your audio signal is too strong and is overdriving the modulator input. Excessive mic gain will cause distortion in your signal, and it could possibly cause out-of-channel emissions. Too little mic gain is better than too much.

The TS-430S does not have a builtin keyer.

Icom IC-751

Turn on power.
  • Initial settings common to all operating modes:
    1. NB LEVEL: off (fully counterclockwise)
    3. AGC: FAST
    4. METER: SWR
    5. AF GAIN (inner): about 9 o'clock
    6. RF GAIN (outer): fully clockwise
    7. SQUELCH (inner): fully counterclockwise
    8. TONE (outer): 12 o'clock
    9. RF POWER (outer): fully clockwise
    10. HAM/GENERAL: HAM (no "GENE" in lower left of display
    11. MODE-S: out
    12. Dial lock switch (lower left of tuning knob: unlocked (out)
    13. DFS: off (out)
    14. BAND: off (out)
    15. DUPLEX: off (out, no "DUP" on display)
    16. RIT: off (no "RIT" on display)
    17. XIT: off (no "XIT" on display)
    18. FILTER: out
    19. NOTCH: off (out)
    20. PBT (inner): 12 o'clock
    21. RF AMP: OFF
    22. MARKER: OFF
    Note: engage the tuning step (TS) control for fine tuning.
  • Additional settings for SSB voice operation:
    1. COMP: off (out)
    2. MONITOR: off (out)
    3. VOX GAIN: off (fully counterclockwise)
    4. SSB: Push once (or FUNCTION->SSB to select the non-customary sideband for current ham band)
    5. MIC GAIN (inner): fully clockwise
  • CW is unavailable on this rig because the key jack is not functional.
  • Icom IC-910

    This is an all-mode, full-duplex 2 m and 70 cm transceiver (not fitted with the optional 1240 MHz band module). It is suitable for working linear transponder satellites.

    Procedures for this radio will be added at a later date.

    RF Feed Continuity Check

    After powering on the transceiver and setting initial settings, adjust the volume to a comfortable level, and set mode to either LSB/USB/CW as appropriate. Tune up and down in any band of your choice. If the noise is flat with no other audible signals, try listening on 1 or more other bands. If the symptoms persist, it is likely that the RF energy is not making it from the antenna to the transceiver due to a fault somewhere along the way. Troubleshoot to determine whether there is a real problem and correct it as needed before attempting to transmit.


    The following items should be at the operating bench.

    • Logbook.
    • Band privileges chart.
    • Band plan table.
    • Straight key.
    • Bencher iambic paddle key.
    • MFJ iambic paddle key / electronic keyer combo.
    • Dual-time clock.
    Microphones stay with their corresponding radios.

    Operating Guidelines

    • All HF contacts should be logged.
    • Operators may identify using either the club call W5AC or their own call. The same call must be used for the duration of a QSO.
    • Licensees are expected to abide by the restrictions of their license class. Operators should follow the band plan.

    When Finished

    Power down the radio. Disconnect RF cable at patch panel between radio and antenna/load. Turn off the main AC power switch on the bench.


    The repeater is the club's primary means of on-the-air communication, and is located in the Oceanography and Meteorology (O&M) Building. VHF equipment in the shack includes a Kenwood model TS-711A 2 meter all-mode base station (donated by Donald Foster, Class of '36, KA5OGA) and a Kenwood TS-600 6 meter all-mode base station.

    To work satellites, we use a Yaesu FT-726R VHF/UHF all-mode satellite station.

    Our UHF (70 cm) radio is a Kenwood TM-441A.

    The shack has an AEA PK-232MBX for RTTY, AMTOR, and CW encode/decode (to be used on VHF/UHF). It can run up to 1200 baud, and the MBX designation indicates it has a mailbox feature. It is on loan from Kurt Freiberger WB5BBW. We also have a KAM (Kantronics All-Mode) Terminal Node Controller (TNC). The VHF desk has three different amplifiers, each capable of FM or SSB operation, as well as a Realistic Pro-2005 scanner.


    HF gear includes a Kenwood model TS-930S with automatic antenna tuner, a Kenwood TS-940S (donated by Donald Foster, Class of '36, KA5OGA) with automatic antenna tuner, and an Icom IC-751.

    For HF we also have Drake and Henry amplifiers, and 2 external antenna tuners. For digital modes (including RTTY and packet), we have a software solution running on a PC on the HF side of the shack.


    The shack has a massive collection of past issues of QST and other magazines, as well as a library of various amateur radio books. Our QSL card collection, going back no less than 80 years, covers our walls and fills our filing cabinets!

    We now have a NOAA Weather Radio receiver (with alarm) in addition to numerous maps of the area, which may prove useful for Skywarn storm-spotting (or TAMMSSDA stormchasing) in the future. Mike KZ5M has also donated an old television to the shack, so we can keep up with local news broadcasts - just in case. The W5AC shack can be used as a backup communications center if there is an emergency in our area (note from our history that "our area" is pretty big). NOAA Weather Radio also broadcasts Amber Alerts.

    The shack has ample desk space, a comfortable couch and an old AM/FM radio for those times when one just can't get good studying done anywhere else.

    Our Pentium announcing DX spots on 145.590 MHz, "EGOR," has been dismantled after a nearby lightning strike damaged it.


    W5AC has several types of antennas on the roof. Height of the antennas ranges from around 40 feet Above Ground Level (AGL) for the TVRO satellite dish to about 100 feet AGL for the top of the HF tower.

    VHF tower:

    The VHF tower array is pointed in the horizontal plane with a remote rotor.

    • Hustler model G6-270R 2 meter/70 cm dual-band vertical on top of the tower
    • Cushcraft 22 element 2 meter vertical beam
    • 2 meter horizontal beam
    • 6 meter 5-element horizontal beam
    Satellite array near the VHF tower: (down for repairs but will be back up very soon)

    This array is pointed anywhere in the sky with a Kansas City Tracker, or "KCT", to follow satellites (especially Orbital Satellites Carrying Amateur Radio) automatically.

    • 2m cross-polarized beam antenna
    • 70 cm cross-polarized beam antenna
    • 2.4 GHz "barbecue grill" dish (internally downconverting to 2 meters before feeding to the shack)
    • Cushcraft model A449-11 70 cm horizontal beam (attached on this tower below the array;
      can turn, but does not "tilt" like the others)

    HF tower:

    This array is pointed in the horizontal plane with a remote rotor.

    • Hustler model G6-270R 2 meter/70 cm dual-band vertical on top of the tower
    • Mosely Pro-57B 7-element horizontal beam for 20m, 17m, 15m, 12m and 10m
    Other antennas:
    • Cushcraft R5 vertical for 20m, 17m, 15m, 12m and 10m, located near the VHF tower
    • Dipole for 160m and 40m (with apex and feed point on top of the HF tower)
    • G5RV antenna covering 80m through 10m strung between the VHF and HF towers
    • Diamond D-130 discone, for the scanner
    • TVRO (television receive-only) satellite receiver and dish*

    * With this, we can receive and thus rebroadcast NASA Select TV Audio on 2 meters during shuttle missions. However, NASA Select rebroadcasting on 147.540 MHz is inactive for the forseeable future as NASA TV has changed its schedule format. Also, the lightning strike that disabled "EGOR" also damaged the TVRO equipment.

    © W5AC, The Texas A&M Amateur Radio Club