Thermal Belt Amateur Radio Club

These pages were last updated on 02/12/2023.

An ARRL Affiliated Club


To learn more about this information simply click on this picture for full details.

Below is the moving gray line program. It is NOT part of the above program.

The Gray Line
Click here for the Manual on how to use and understand what this is all about.
Click here for the Actual Gray Line Program

Most of our members are trained Skywarn spotters.
If you wish to become a Skywarn Spotter then please contact us.



TBARC Meeting Start at 7:00 PM and concludes about 8:00 PM or there abouts. After the meeting there is additional time for any Q&A that you might have and wish to get answered.

There is plenty of parking.

All Meeting announcement are made on the Monday Night Net.

Club Officers are:

President:  Chad Hightower, KO4NUE

Vice-President:  Robin Michael, KV4AL

Secretary:  Ann Smith, KO4HYC

Treasurer:  Anna Hightower, KO4RYP

How to obtain an FCC Radio License of any grade please follow these instructions on this link.  Rules have and are changing and a new Fee Schedule applies to get your license.

Link to testing instructions > <here> <


Meetings are at the American Legion Hall
Our meetings are open to the public and we invite all Ham's and  their guest to join in the meetings.  You will find that this is a very interesting hobby to dabble in and you will learn something new as well. For the Computer Techie - Ham radio has a lot of very interesting parts that are totally computer or digital based for world wide communications with other country's. For those that want to listen to the foreign radio broadcast like in Europe, middle East, or Far East, we have a whole lot of information available for this part of the hobby. By the way it is called SWL or Short Wave Listening!

TBARC Membership!

If you wish to join the Thermal Belt Amateur Radio Club - please fill out the membership form and mail it to the club with your dues.

Click here for the TBARC Membership Application

Our mailing address is:
Thermal Belt Amateur Radio Club (TBARC)
PO Box 211
Campobello SC 29322-0211

Our email address is :

Contributions to the TBARC Repeater Maintenance Fund  may be made by mailing a check for any amount you wish to the above address and note on the check that it is for the repeater fund. Any financial help would be most appreciated. Remember that this repeater becomes an emergency communication repeater for all of Polk & Rutherford Counties, Upper Spartanburg and NW Greenville SC Counties during really bad weather. Also if you monitor the repeater we simulcast over our repeater any Weather Warnings that the Greenville Weather Service at the GSP Airport issues for this area.

How to become a HAM

Material is available on the net for learning how to become a HAM Radio Operator and be able to pass the simple test to get your first  license.  There are both free study guides as well as books published by various sources that will guide you through the process of study. We recommend the free guide on the link below.  Sample test are free and on line as well. We can also assist you in learning of the study material if you join in one of our zoom  meeting and ask your questions.

Study Material that is available on the net:

Free Study Guide :

Sample Test for you to try :

Moving on to other topics :

The 2023 Assault on Mt. Mitchell & Marion  will take place on May 15th, 2023.

Mark your calendars.

We provide communications for a number of special events in the Polk County and upper Greenville / Spartanburg SC areas. This includes Bicycle, Horse, and Running Events as well as providing Emergency Communications in time of disaster for this entire area including parts of Rutherford County and Upstate South Carolina.

Ready for a little history of the
Thermal Belt Amateur Radio Club

The Thermal Belt Amateur Radio Club has been serving Polk County for over 38 years.  In addition to the luncheon meeting we also meet on the air (via radio). This is called a net, held each Monday night at 7:30 PM on the club’s repeater found on the frequency of 145.330(-) MHz with a PL Tone of 91.5 Hz. This radio net gives radio operators experience in using their radio equipment in the case of any emergency. All licensed Ham's are invited to join in and participate in the NET activities or if you have a scanner then you may listen in on your scanner. Simply punch in 145.330 and enjoy the NET.

It is fun to learn from supportive Ham's who will mentor you in the proper procedures, and provide you with instructions in the operation of and how the various HAM radios work.  We can assist you in programing your 2 meter radio with the proper repeater frequency's for this area.  Also, we can assist you in APRS if you travel.

If you want to learn how to become a HAM radio operator, then please come to one of our meetings and meet the members who will be more than happy to help you in obtaining your HAM license or ticket. 

Currently you may contact Chad Hightower KO4NUE - our club president for more information and or assistance by email at :

We are in the ARRL Roanoke Division which includes N.C. & S.C.  Please visit the ARRL section on this link at: for more information.

This is a link to a listing of most all of the scanner frequencies for Polk County and the Landrum area. This also includes Western NC and SC as well. I suggest that you print it out and remember that it will be about 6 pages long. Also the police 10 codes for both NC and SC are included as well. If you have any additional frequency's to be added then please email full information to us.

Polk County NC has switch from analog to digital shortly and that now makes all older scanners obsolete.  SC is currently using the P-25 Motorola system and NC is using the Viper System. The two systems are not compatible and will not talk to each other. So there will be problems when SC has to assist NC or visa versa.  For a private citizen to hear the police / fire calls now that this change over has happen then you will now need a special scanner are high dollar radios.

Scanners for the digital receive can be obtained from either or The bearcats scanners are considered to be one of the best available.  Both companies will be able to assist you in making a decision on your purchase.

Scanner Frequencies Listing
in printable pdf format.


The Tryon Daily Bulletin published an article about HAM Radio in the July issue of the Foothills Magazine. This was about HAM Radio in Polk County.  On this link you can read the entire article in PDF format.  Note that the very end of this article is found at the bottom of the picture on the first page (p54).  Why - I guess they ran out of space on the last page!  Read the article on this link


HAMFest Schedule

Definition of a Ham Fest for our visitors.
A Ham Fest is a super ham radio flea market. When you visit a ham fest then you are liable to find almost anything that is radio or computer related. You will also meet people that are involved in the 100s of different areas that a ham radio plays around in. Such as Moon Bounce, Radio Teletype, Morse Code, Contesting, to just name a few. These below are an easy drive from this area.  Plan to spend at least 2 or 3 hours wandering around through the Dealers / Vendors and the Flea Market. A lot of good deals can be had. Don't forget to check out the antique radios.

The Asheville Hamfest is scheduled for Saturday July 29th 2023
Doors open at 8:00 am until .....  Entry ticket is $10.00.
Their website is

Shelby Hamfest has been announced as being held this year but no date or other information is available at this time.  Will post an update when received.
Their website is

Greenville TN Hamfest is scheduled for Saturday April 15th 2023  They have not announced admission. Go to their web site for full information as entrance is via 1 gate only. 
Their website is


Old Heath Kit Novice Station

HR-10  RX           DX-60  TX
If anyone can find the Heath Kit VFO HG-10 gif that will match the above station
then please forward this gif icon to me for inclusion in this graphic.

The South Carolina Single Sideband Net

Join us nightly on 3.915 MHz at 1900 hours local time
For more information please contact the SC SSB Group at:

Yes, we do have members all over North Carolina that do handle NC traffic as well.  This NET is not just for South Carolina but rather the South Eastern USA.  

Bicycle Event that our club provides radio suppport for.

The Assaults
A Bicycle Challenge
YOU against "The Mountain"
A 102 Mile ~ 11,000+ Foot Total Climb!
You start in Spartanburg SC
and end up on the top! This is

For the Assaults History ~ Click Here

Event is scheduled for

>>> Monday, 15 May 2023 <<<

This event is held on the
3rd Monday of May each year.

The TBARC participates in the Assaults on Mt. Mitchell and the Assault on Marion - which are a combined bicycle tour. These tours takes place normally near the end of the month of May each year ~ per the National and State Park Services scheduling. See above for the date schedule for this year. The TBARC provide emergency radio communications while the riders are riding through Polk County NC. The Spartanburg Amateur Radio Club provides the remainder of the HAMS require for this event. If you would like additional information on The Assaults History ~ click here. If you would like to read up on the progress of the Assaults for this year and see what is happening then go to the Spartanburg Freewheelers Website ~ click here.

You may listen on your scanner or on a 2 meter radio to the event on one of these frequencies:  147.285 in Polk County and 145.190 on the Mt. Mitchell Repeater. The first of these frequencies are used by the TBARC members and we cover from  SC / NC State Line to Bills Creek Road at US-74 in Rutherford County NC near Lake Lure NC. This includes all of Polk County. When the last rider clears Polk County we then terminate our net and it is then transferred over to the Mt. Mitchell Net Control found on the Mt. Mitchell Repeater. The Mt. Mitchell repeater comes under net control and it is active all day starting at about 7:00 AM and continues well into the evening controlling and relaying bicycle traffic and emergencies. The Mitchell Net Control is located at the Tom Johnson Camp Ground in Marion NC with a sub net on top of Mt. Mitchell operating in Simplex Mode Only via HT's.

TBARC  Repeater  KF4JVI

145.330 Negative (-) offset
w/ PL Tone = 91.5 cps

Thermal Belt Amateur Radio Club Two Meter Net is held on each Monday starting at 7:30 pm (1930 Hrs).  All area Hams are invited to join in. Also anyone can listen to this net on a HAM radio, Short Wave radio or Scanner. If you are just monitoring then the PL Tone and the (-) offset is not required. Just use the 145.330 frequency only.

The KF4JVI Repeater is an open repeater. This means that any license amateur may use the repeater. This repeater has almost a blanket coverage of all of Polk County NC and covers most of Rutherford County as well. We have a reach to well below Spartanburg SC and over towards Gastonia NC. The coverage towards Greenville SC is spotty due to Hogback Mountain. Motor Mile or the Laurens Highway is the basic line after which moving North and West you will loose access to the repeater until you get up to the top of the mountains near Hendersonville NC. If heading South West you will be doing what is called Hill Topping to get into the repeater.  Going on towards the North West and the Asheville area via I-26 you will be solid till the Asheville Airport exit. Then you will drop down into the French Broad River Basin. You will be hill toping beyond that point. We have very little coverage in the town of Lake Lure and North into Hickory Nut Gorge unless you can get high enough to connect to the repeater.

This repeater has about a 5+ day battery pack so that in case of emergency's and no power, then this repeater will remain in operation for up to 5+ days or more.  Once Duke Power get the power restored to the mountain top then the battery pack will then require about 3 or more days to fully recharge the battery pack to max capacity and return to float charge.

In case of an emergency, all area Hams are asked to standby and check in if and when a NET is called. These Hams should be available for emergency services in this area. We provide all of the emergency communications when requested by and for the Red Cross and to provide backup to the Polk County Emergency Services Office. This currently includes the Red Cross Chapters in both Polk and Rutherfordton Counties.


Why radio amateurs are called "HAMS"
(from Florida Skip Magazine - 1959)
All copyrights acknowledged, but unknown

Have you ever wondered why radio amateurs are called "HAMS?" Well, it goes like this: The word "HAM" as applied to 1908 was the station CALL of the first amateur wireless stations operated by some amateurs of the Harvard Radio Club. They were ALBERT S. HYMAN, BOB ALMY and POOGIE MURRAY.

At first they called their station "HYMAN-ALMY-MURRAY". Tapping out such a long name in code soon became tiresome and called for a revision. They changed it to "HY-AL-MU," using the first two letters of each of their names. Early in 1901 some confusion resulted between signals from amateur wireless station "HYALMU" and a Mexican ship named "HYALMO." They then decided to use only the first letter of each name, and the station CALL became "HAM."

In the early pioneer days of unregulated radio amateur operators picked their own frequency and call-letters. Then, as now, some amateurs had better signals than commercial stations. The resulting interference came to the attention of congressional committees in Washington and Congress gave much time to proposed legislation designed to critically limit amateur radio activity. In 1911 ALBERT HYMAN chose the controversial WIRELESS REGULATION BILL as the topic for his Thesis at Harvard. His instructor insisted that a copy be sent to Senator DAVID I. WALSH, a member of one of the committees hearing the Bill. The Senator was so impressed with the thesis is that he asked HYMAN to appear before the committee. ALBERT HYMAN took the stand and described how the little station was built and almost cried when he told the crowded committee room that if the BILL went through that they would have to close down the station because they could not afford the license fees and all the other requirements which the BILL imposed on amateur stations.

Congressional debate began on the WIRELESS REGULATION BILL and little station "HAM" became the symbol for all the little amateur stations in the country crying to be saved from the menace and greed of the big commercial stations who didn't want them around. The BILL finally got to the floor of Congress and every speaker talked about the "...poor little station HAM." That's how it all started. You will find the whole story in the Congressional Record.

Nation-wide publicity associated station ""HAM" with amateur radio operators. From that day to this, and probably until the end of time in radio an amateur is a "HAM."

Links to good place to explore concerning Amateur (HAM) Radio
Broadcasting and its History.  This is a well written paper on the history of the radio broad casting from the early 20th Century forward.  Lots of great information and how this got started and how it progressed thru time to what it is today.
ARRL North Carolina section

QRZ Call Sign Lookup
By name or call sign USA ONLY

Western North Carolina Amateur Radio Club.
Home to the WCARS Hamfest held at the Smokey Mountain Event Fair Grounds at Waynesville NC. ~ Last Saturday - see ham fest schedule above.

Elecraft HF QRP / 100w all mode radios
These radios are rated #1 and are available in Kit / Semi Kit / or fully
assembled. Want to build a HF All mode Kit - then you must check this
one out.  You put it together and you can then fix it yourself!

The Wireman
The BEST supplier of antenna, wire and antenna parts out there!

Go to and do a web page!

Amateur Radio Clubs in this area

Spartanburg SC, Amateur Radio Club

Hendersonville NC, Amateur Radio Club

Shelby NC, Amateur Radio Club
Biggest Ham Fest in the South East - Labor Day weekend

Greenville , SC Amateur Radio Club
Ham Fest held at the Spartanburg, SC Fairground

Gastonia, NC Amateur Radio Club

Good links to information and programs to make operating
your station a lot more fun.

Antennas and how to make them. A lot of excellent information on this topic.

Free Newsletters INFO

DX Spotting Sites INFO

Contest Logging program (Free)

Contest Calandars INFO

Good DX news letters for pay ~ not free, oh well, can't have it all for free!

HF Military Radio from the MRC-108 ROMAD Jeep used in the Vietnam War. and click on the DASF Link

Antennas and how to make them. Fine web site for more information.

Free Newsletters INFO

DX Spotting Sites INFO

DX Spotting Program (Free) ~ It's great

Contest Logging program (Free)

Contest Calandars INFO

Good DX news letters for pay ~ not free, oh well, can't have it all for free!

Meeting People with / on HAM Radio.

Morse Code source with lots of good stuff

HF Military Radio from the MRC-108 ROMAD Jeep used in the Vietnam War. and click on the DASF Link

Most HAM software is / has been written for the PC Computers.  You will find that some programs have been reworked for use on the Apple Computers as well but not always the way you expect them to operate.  For those that do not want to use either of these system then there is the Linux "Mint" system that is very popular in Europe.  It is recommended that you use only the Mint version since it works almost the same as that of the Windows system.  Most of the programs are being ported or redone to use this system.  It just requires you to do a little research for the new version of the program.  There is a little bit of a learning curve but it is still very easy to master this system plus it is FREE for the taking.  You will find that you can operate the Mint system on older computers with very little RAM and with very small Hard Drives. 

PC Software


History and Development of the Morse Code

Plus a little bit of  History !

History of Communication Through Morse Code

Field Service Management Guide:
Telecommunications Timeline