At our December meeting, Mike Kionka, KI0GO, was named the Chief Technical Officer, a new position in the Rocky Mountain Radio League club.
Mike’s interest in radio communications was piqued as a teen when he started out playing with scanners and CB radio.
He went on to get his ham license in 1995 with the call sign KB0UCA. Mike then upgraded to Advanced around 1997 and got the call sign KI0GO. Although he upgraded to Extra around 1999 (after they eliminated the 20 wpm Morse code requirement), he kept the KI0GO callsign.
Mike graduated from the University of Colorado, Boulder, in 2001 with a degree in electrical engineering. When he’s not helping out the RMRL, Mike works as a professional electronics engineer on radio and microwave communications systems.
In the summer he keeps busy with motorcycle road racing (http://mra-racing.org) on his Kawasaki Ninja 250. In the winter, he enjoys snowmobiling.
Mike has done a phenomenal job for the club, going to great lengths to get to and repair our repeaters and in bringing up our new DMR equipment. The next time you hear him on the air, be sure to join us in saying, “Thank you, Mike!”
For three months beginning June 11th and running through September 5th, the RMRL is holding a membership drive – with prizes awarded to the members who refer the most new members to the Rocky Mountain Radio League.
The rules are simple:
Eligibility. All winners must be members in good standing (dues current.)
Members of the Board of Directors are not eligible for any prizes. (K1DUN, KD0AOE, WT0C, and WN0EHE.)
All others currently holding positions with the RMRL, such as the technical staff, ARE eligible.
Renewals do not count, the person must be a new member. A renewal is defined as someone whose membership has not expired or whose membership will expire during the period of this Summer Membership Drive. In order to count as a new member, the membership had to have expired on or before 5/31/2017.
To be counted as a “new member,” the person (individual, family, or youth) has to both fill out the membership form AND pay their dues.
The new member must name you as the referrer in their application. The online form asks “Did someone refer you to the RMRL? Let us know who we can thank!” with a place for the Callsign and name of the referrer. The PDF form has a box that reads “Referred by:” also with a place for the Callsign and name of the referrer.
Prize tiebreaker: The member who has checked into the Monday night RMRL net the most during the period of the membership drive will be awarded the prize in the case of a tie.
All members who refer 5 or more people will be awarded one (1) free one-year membership. They can use it for themselves or designate a person of their choosing. Since they, or the person they designate, already has a current membership, the free membership will be applied to the following year. For every 5 members, a free one-year membership will be awarded. Bring in 10 members, receive two (2) free one-year memberships and so on.
The members who refer a minimum of 6 or more members will be eligible to win a free radio! A brand new, in-the-box, TYT MD-380. That is a DMR digital radio, 400-480UHF; an extremely popular choice for those wanting to explore the world of digital ham radio. The member who has the most referrals after meeting the minimum wins, the tiebreaker is how many times the referrer checked into the RMRL Monday night net during the period of the Summer Membership Drive.
Everyone is a winner! Not everyone will win a prize, but we’re all winners when our club gains new members. It makes the RMRL stronger and that’s good for all of us! Be a part of a club that is constantly evaluating new technologies, keeping their existing repeaters in good repair and working order, and welcomes every licensed ham. Be a part of one of the friendliest clubs on the Front Range!
We are considering different ways to make our weekly nets more interactive – something more than just members checking in.
Update: On the last Monday of the month, share your ham radio related activities for the past month as you check in.
What are your ideas? What would make you say “I don’t want to miss the RMRL net!”
To get the ball rolling, here are some ideas we are kicking around:
Ask the expert: Members would e-mail us with a ham radio question. Each week a question would be thoroughly answered on the air.
On air meeting once a month or every couple of weeks— members who check in would be welcome to share their ham radio activities for the past month. If enough members check in, it could be split over a couple of weeks by call sign (one week could be A-M, the next week N-Z). The remaining weeks in the month could be nets as is.
Question of the week, or;
Contest(s) with prizes. Could be not missing a check-in over a certain period of time; answering the most trivia questions correctly; or ??? Not missing a check-in is fairly easy to do; what might be something a bit more challenging?
Maybe a combination of ideas.
If you like the weekly nets as is, you can tell us that as well.
We know you are creative and we would love to hear your ideas! Rush an e-mail to: or talk to us at our next weekly net meeting. 8:30PM every Monday on the 146.94-, 449.450-, and 449.825-.
Okay, no one actually spoke those words, but when a friend left Stu Turner’s Technician License Course book on her coffee table in 2013, a recently retired Lynaire took it as a challenge. Originally setting out to impress her friend, she soon found herself intrigued and interested in amateur radio communications. In pursuit of her newly discovered fascination with the hobby, she breezed through obtaining her Technician, General, and Extra class operator licenses within three months. She was fired up! But she didn’t actually own any equipment … yet.
“Strange as it may seem, the furthest thing from my mind was to actually operate any type of radio communications equipment. I didn’t own any at the time and that aspect of the world of radio still seemed foreign to me, and a little intimidating.”
Her ‘mic fright’ didn’t last long, and Lynaire now owns two Yaesu FT-897Ds (one for each home), a Yaesu FT-2900, two Yaesu FT-60s, and a couple other HT’s. Antennas include a 10 – 40m fan dipole, a 10 – 80m OCFD (Off Center Fed Dipole), a Diamond X50, and a Diamond X300. Whether she is at her home in Colorado or Kansas, Lynaire is ready to make contact.
You never forget your first … HF contact
After purchasing her first radio, a Yaesu FT-897D, Lynaire started attending in-person radio club meetings. Lynaire went on to join several radio clubs in the Front Range area, including the Rocky Mountain Radio League. “I truly believe that it is important to become a member of local clubs, as your membership will support continued maintenance and viability of existing systems and hardware structure, and will foster the influx of new technology. This is without a doubt, extremely important to all of us as we move forward in our hobby.”
She also found listening a great way to learn and add to her store of knowledge. “I checked in weekly to nets trying to grasp a better understanding of the many, many facets of the amateur radio realm. It is so true that you can obtain a large degree of understanding by listening,” she said, “not just to other operators bantering about their experiences and procedures, but to net traffic as well. I believe this is important for any new ham.”
“I was literally terrified to get on the air, though I listened a lot,” Lynaire said, “In my case it was difficult and intimidating to overcome my initial ‘mic fright,’ but the thought of what was out there on the other end was motivation enough. Now, a day rarely goes by that I have not learned at least one new thing about the hobby, simply by virtue of operating my radio station. I realize that one should never be discouraged or reluctant to admitting to being new to the hobby, and freely take advantage of the most gracious, helpful and encouraging community of people anywhere – ham radio operators.”
Lynaire really enjoys attending hamfests and swap meets. Stu Turner (author of the Technician licensing study book that she used) and Gordon West (author of the General and Extra licensing study books she used) rank high among the many interesting people she has met at HamCons.
It was while attending HamCon 2013 at Estes Park, CO, that marked the big milestone of her first HF contact – California.
In pursuit of … accomplishments
Not satisfied with a few casual HF contacts, Lynaire went on to pursue HF the same way she approached her licensing: comprehensively and with enthusiasm.
“Thanks to my friends far and wide, I have overcome my own personal radio fears, and have been able to achieve a Worked All States (WAS) Mixed award as well as a WAS Phone award. I’m currently working on my Worked 100 Countries (DXCC) award and WAS awards on various HF bands.”
“I also enjoy exchanging QSL cards. It’s gratifying; a tangible memento of working other states as well as foreign countries.”
Many Elmers stress the “giving back” part of the hobby; a lesson Lynaire has learned as well. “An important highlight in my life now is having the ability to share my experiences and to help guide new hams into the hobby — giving me the opportunity to give back to the community that so generously led me to this point.”
Lynaire’s other interests and activities include lodging at Colorado’s historical hotels and B&B’s, bicycling in nearby Cherry Creek State Park, and riding one of her five motorcycles. As her interest in motorcycling diminishes, she finds herself with more time for ham radio.
“Now my interest seems to be gravitating towards achieving a good understanding of CW. My passion is stoked to learn more and meet others in this shared experience. We casually refer to this as a hobby but for some of us, like any challenge in life, it becomes much more significant.”
“This hobby is indeed a unique realm of communication, challenging at times but always rewarding for the effort. I am very grateful to all the Elmers and mentors who have helped me along the way. I have made many friends and will always have someone to talk to, whether in person or on the air. Mic fright? Not tonight!”
It’s tough to impress a bunch of experienced hams, some having 50 or more years of experience, but that’s exactly what happened when we first met Skyler, KD0WHB, at the 2013 RMRL Holiday dinner. In a room of grizzled veterans, his youth was what first attracted attention, but his level of knowledge and curiosity impressed all who met him. Licensed as a Technician in July of 2013, he breezed through General (September, 2013) and on to Extra (January, 2014).
Skyler has always been attracted to the DIY spirit of ham radio, and has done everything from building a portable AllStar node that fits into a small tin can to constructing antennas and making satellite connections. His ham accomplishments including participating in a high altitude balloon launch project, operating as net control for the Satellite Net, putting together an EthoLink and AllStar repeater for fellow students, and assembling a mobile UHF/VHF radio for his mountain bike. He was recognized as the 2016 Bill Pasternak, WA6ITF, Memorial Young Ham of the Year. (And oh yeah, he’s also an accomplished pianist.)
So what is Skyler up to now? He is studying Electrical Engineering at the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology. He’s working on building some RF test equipment for his college radio club. (No surprise that he revived the club and has worked to build membership.) For details on just what Skyler is up to, and an opportunity to help contribute to this enthusiastic ham’s efforts, check out his GoFundMe page.
If you know a member we should spotlight, please submit an article and photos to .
It takes more than an arctic cold front and over a foot of unplowed snow to sideline the dedicated hams of the Rocky Mountain Radio League. The IRLP and Echo Link nodes on the .340 repeater malfunctioned, requiring a visit to the repeater site to repair.
Mike Kionka, KI0GO, provided the truck, snowmobiles, and skilled driving talent to negotiate the dangerous roads to the repeater site. He was accompanied by Dunnigan, K1DUN, (acting President). Of course the repairs had to be tested and Tim Banks, KE4GUQ, stayed by his radio to help complete the task.
Although they make a great team, we hope they won’t have to make the trip again this winter. Be sure to thank them the next time you hear them on the air!
The RMRL welcomes member involvement and would like to hear from you if you want to be involved in a technical or administrative position. We have openings.
We would also welcome an additional volunteer as a relief Net Control Operator when needed. Our crack Net Control operator, Bruce, KB0PHD, has occasional overtime and even gets sick now and then. He also has other commitments during the month of October. You must be free on Monday evenings and available on short notice.
If you enjoy the club and would like to actively participate, please contact Joe at or fill out one of the Contact Us forms on the site. You will be rewarded with the personal satisfaction of joining a friendly bunch of folks who are committed to the perpetuation of the hobby and the Rocky Mountain Radio League club. What a great cause!
The RMRL is a Denver-based 501(c)(3) non-profit amateur radio club that emphasizes VHF and UHF repeater operation.
Our president, Glenn, WNØEHE, will be stepping down when his term expires on December 31 of this year. After living in the Denver area for many years he decided to move to southern Arizona and bake his bones in the sun.
It’s hard to think of a person who has had a larger impact on the RMRL’s success. Glenn tells how he received a call from Warren, NØFVG in 1985 asking him to go to Squaw Mountain and help with the 146.94 MHz repeater – just once. That one-time trip turned into more than 30 years of service to the RMRL. In addition to filling the elected office of president, Glenn acted as head of the club’s technical committee and was a repeater trustee for many years. He was the designer and chief builder of our repeater systems and always willing to take time out of his personal schedule to make trips to the sites and fix problems so the repeaters were available for the rest of us. Wow!
Glenn says one of the most difficult parts of his decision to relocate was leaving the RMRL and all of the people who have made it such a great organization. He indicates he’ll also miss working on the innovative projects undertaken by the club over the years, including repeater rebuilds, the amateur paging project, WWVB set-time project, autopatch call logger, and modifications to the S-COMM 7K repeater controllers to make new speech synthesizer words tailored just for RMRL use.
It’s no surprise that Glenn has had experiences over the years leading to amusing “war stories”. One of the better ones involved an emergency trip to repair repeaters in the middle of winter, which didn’t seem like much fun at the time. He and Ed, NØMHU, snowshoed up Squaw Mountain carrying test equipment and a new power supply. Glenn remembers remarking “It’s a good thing that this is our hobby because nobody could pay us enough to do this!”.
We will certainly miss Glenn and his leadership but wish him the best in the next phase of his life in Arizona!
You have all heard this portion of the Monday night nets:
“We have a balloon repeater with a receive frequency of 445.975 MHz and a transmit frequency of 147.555 MHz. This repeater is flown periodically by the Edge of Space Sciences balloon launch group.”
But maybe you’ve never gone on to look up just what the Edge of Space Sciences balloon launch group is or does. From their web site:
What is EOSS
Edge of Space Sciences (EOSS) is a Denver, Colorado based non-profit organization that promotes science and education by exploring frontiers in amateur radio and high altitude balloons.
Since its first flight in 1990, EOSS has grown its volunteer membership’s numbers and skills over the course of more than 200 launches, ascents into the stratosphere and payload recoveries. Today, it is widely recognized as one of the premier organizations in its field.
EOSS was incorporated in the State of Colorado in 1991 and is recognized by both Colorado and the U.S. Government as a 501(c)(3), tax exempt, scientific and educational organization.
What We Do
Our members utilize amateur radio and balloons to advance scientific study of the upper atmosphere. We regularly work with educators, offering valuable opportunities to enhance their students’ studies of science, mathematics and technology through real, hands-on experience.
EOSS has conducted as many as thirteen balloon projects in a year, sending radio-equipped payloads deep into the stratosphere over eastern Colorado. Our typical apogee of 95,000 feet is above 99% of the Earth’s atmospheric mass, where the sky is black and the highest clouds remain far below. VHF and UHF radio signals transmitted from this height are received as far as 400 miles away!
Sometimes called the “Edge of Space”, this largely unexplored territory offers a wealth of opportunities for scientific observation and has even served as a reasonable approximation to outer space for testing prototype spacecraft. Gas balloons are the most practical means to get there, since rockets can visit it only briefly, and it is unattainable by ground-based aircraft. Because of the low cost of balloon flight expendables and recovery of payloads, one local high school teacher characterized EOSS as the “Poor Man’s Space Program”.
Individuals have many opportunities to exchange ideas with their fellow members. A monthly meeting is conducted the second Tuesday of each month.
On each remaining Tuesday, a radio meeting on-the-air, or net, is conducted at 8 P.M. During this “net” weekly updates on EOSS projects and news bulletins concerning amateur radio balloon projects around the country are discussed.
Please go to eoss.org for more information. See the current schedule in the text box marked “EOSS Upcoming Flights.”
They have flown many interesting missions over the years, with payloads from a variety of sources, from university students down to elementary school students. Check the EOSS YouTube channel for mission videos. RMRL member Skylar, KD0WHB, was involved in a mission when he was attending the Denver School of the Arts. You can see several videos from mission EOSS-218 on YouTube, but this short one captures some amazing images as it reached just over 94,000 ft. before bursting and heading back to earth.