Olympia Amateur Radio Society

ARRL Special Service ClubWatts News

Monthly Newsletter of the

Olympia Amateur Radio Society

P.O. Box 2861, Olympia, WA 98507


  April 2006
Edited by George Lanning  KB6LE 


Table of contents


--back to OARS home page

From the Oval ShackPresident's Message

Four members of OARS car pooled to the Radio Club of Tacoma's first monthly meeting, which occurs on the second Wednesday of each month. Their second meeting occurs on the 4th Wednesday of the month, at exactly the same time as ours. This is an unfortunate problem I wasn't aware of, because the RCT had an excellent program, and will have another at the same time we're having ours. For those of us who are ham club meeting junkies, it'd be nice if we didn't overlap them, so we could more easily work with them to the benefit of both of us. If, for example, they had a great presenter and we met the next, or previous, night, we could get the presenter here, too.

The RCT meeting started at 7:30 the same as ours, with introductions -- but they had about 70 people present. They had coffee, sold raffle tickets, and had a great presentation on the Kure Island DXpedition, with slides, by someone who'd been on the trip. The show took until 9:30; they drew the prizes, and went home happy. I was impressed.Apparently they have 260 members, and I saw several Olympia people there. In conversation it turns out they choose RCT over us because of the 2 meetings a month and the schedule conflict!

Our upcoming meeting will be a DVD of the 2002 World RadioSport Championship competition, held in Finland. Many of you will remember the 1996 competition, held in the San Francisco bay area. The participants were treated to a lunch at Tumwater's Heritage Park. That was a great time. We met a lot of luminaries in this tremendous hobby, and broke bread with them, and traded pins and stories. I wish this event would return here again!As last month, we're meeting in the South Bay Fire Station; this time in the fire truck area as, for this month only, there's something going on in the meeting room. I'll be bringing the projector, PA system, DVD player, and screen. I'm hoping to see you all there -- we'll get to look in the fire trucks and think about getting radios for the fire department.So, BCNU at this event! 73!

-- Lee

Break Text
--back to table of contents

Andamans (VU4) to Be Activated in a Big Way Starting April 18

Enthusiasm and anticipation have been building within the DX community this week as the radio window is about to open once again on the Andaman and Nicobar Islands (VU4). The National Institute of Amateur Radio (NIAR) in Hyderabad, India, will sponsor a first-of-its-kind event, "Hamfest - (VU4) India - 2006," April 18-20 in Port Blair on South Andaman Island. Dozens of VU4 stations are expected on the air.

India's telecommunication authorities have issued a number of short-term licenses to both nationals and foreigners, and operations reportedly will extend beyond the three-day festival to April 26. The most recent VU4 DXpedition, led by Bharathi Prasad, VU2RBI, in December 2004, turned into a disaster communication operation after the devastating South Asia earthquake and tsunami. Prasad and others involved in the 2004 VU4 DXpedition are expected to be active during the Andamans hamfest activity.

All call signs for this event will bear the VU4AN prefix followed by an India mainland call sign. There will be no operation from Nicobar Island and, so far, no operation on 30 meters.According to The DX Magazine's 2005 survey of DXers Andaman and Nicobar Islands was the 10th most-wanted DXCC entity. There's more information on the NIAR Web site http://www.niar.org.

--The Daily DX http://www.dailydx.com

-- from the ARRL Letter

Break Text
--back to table of contents

Theatre

We went to the movie the other night. I sat in an aisle seat as I usually do, because it feels a little roomier. Just as the feature was about to start, a baby boomer from the center of the row got up and started working her way out. "Excuse me, sorry, oops, excuse me, pardon me, gotta hurry, oops, excuse me."

By the time she tot to me, I was trying to look around her and I was a little impatient, so I said "Couldn't you have done this a little earlier?" "No!!" she said in a loud whisper. "The TURN OFF YOUR CELL PHONE PLEASE message just flashed up on the screen, and mine is out in the car."

-- from David, ZL3AI, via packet

Break Text

--back to table of contents

Tax Time

65% of people say that cheating on your income tax is worse than cheating on your spouse. The other 35% were women. -- Jay Leno.

Intaxication: Euphoria at getting a tax refund, which lasts until you realize it was your money to start with.

Break Text

--back to table of contents

The Bands Are Going to Hell!

Here is your chance to operate one of the "new" digital modes that has a lot of history behind it.

For the past six or seven years I've enjoyed the leisurely pace of Hellschreiber, a digital mode that prints across your computer screen a bit like a fax, which is why it is sometimes dubbed the "fuzzy mode."

Feld-Hell chugs along at 25 wpm, and some software allows you to print simple pictures like smiley faces and stars. Mostly you'll find US operators who like to rag chew, but I've had some European DX contacts as well.

A RICH HISTORY There is a rich history to this mode, which was originally patented in 1929 by Rudolf Hell and used extensively in portable field operations during WWII. It eventually was employed by some news services and remained in use as recently as 1980. Unlike teleprinters, Hellschreiber machines had only two moving parts and so were mobile and dependable.

Today you don't need a Hellschreiber machine because of software by IZ8BLY, MultiPSK or the commercial MixW.

ANYBODY OUT THERE? Until recently, Hellschreiber enthusiasts were sometimes frustrated by the low level of activity in the mode. Then in March a Feld-Hell club was formed which has stimulated new interest in the old fuzzy mode. Membership is free and there are some achievement awards, links to a cluster that spots digital stations, a club newsletter and a weekly 20-meter net.

You can learn about the Hellschreiber mode, join the club and get links to software at http://www.feldhellclub.co.uk/ .

Break Text

--back to table of contents

Treasurer's Report

As of 3/31/06

GENERAL FUND (checking account)

    Previous balance     $2,450.92

        Income              670.51

        Expenses            280.10

    Ending balance        2,841.33


REPEATER / PACKET FUND (savings account)

    Previous balance      $ 990.62

        Income                2.47

        Expenses              0.00

    Ending balance          993.09


-- Ed Fitzgerald, N7WW, Treasurer

Break Text

--back to table of contents

OARS Net check-ins

The following stations checked in on the OARS General Information Net one or more times on the dates of March 21 or 28:


AA7YD AB7PS K5IN K7GUH
K7TAG K7VRE KA7VNE KB6LE
KB7DFL KC7CKO KC7FEE KC7LA
KD7TQW KD7UJH KE7EJJ KI7SS
N5MUR N6TPT N7IVM N7JHJ
NX6W WB7ROZ WC7I

Reporting net control stations for the month were K7TAG and WC7I. Thank you for your support!!

The net meets at 7:30 every Tuesday evening on the 3 linked OARS repeaters: 147.36, 224.46, and 441.40 MHz. All Hams are invited to check in.

Break Text


--back to table of contents

Female Golfing Terms

-- from David, ZL3AI, via packet

Break Text

--back to table of contents

Bird Flu

"This bird flu is pretty scary. I spent an hour last night rubbing Vicks Vapo-rub on my parakeet."

-- Jay Leno

Break Text

--back to table of contents

ARRL Sponsoring Five Free Education and Technology Teachers Institutes

Gifts from generous donors will help the ARRL Education and Technology Program (ETP -- also known as "The Big Project") to expand the number of Teachers Institutes (TIs) it's offering this year. Now in their third year, the free, week-long workshops provide educators with hands-on experience in electronics and wireless technology. ETP Coordinator Mark Spencer, WA8SME, says the five Teachers Institutes will expand upon what he learned during the 2004 and 2005 sessions.

"It was hands-on before," Spencer says. "I'm just going to make it even more hands-on." Those participating in this year's TIs will get to use various pieces of test equipment and electronic devices early in the class session. In past years, students first built the project boards from kits, then used them in experiments.

"They still will leave the institute with the boards in kit form," Spencer explained. "I think it's important for the teachers to smell rosin smoke in their faces. They need to build the boards." That do-it-yourself aspect, he said, "is a basic part of learning about electronics, but they already will have used the completed boards in the classroom."

The 2006 classes also will place a greater emphasis on space-related technology including Amateur Radio satellites. "My slant on that is you don't need to have thousands of dollars of sophisticated equipment to operate the satellites today," Spencer said. "You can use the current generation of satellites with some very simple equipment." The curriculum also includes material on weather satellites.

Two of the 2006 Teachers Institutes will be held at ARRL Headquarters. The other three will take place in New Jersey and California (see schedule below). The program hopes to serve 60 educators this year, about twice as many as in 2005.

The 12 seats available for each institute are filled on a first come, first served basis. The ETP TI scholarship grant includes travel, room and board, and a modest per diem stipend to help out with incidentals. Attendees also leave with instructional resources for the electronics, microcontroller and robotics segments and a resource library of relevant ARRL publications.

ARRL Chief Development Officer Mary Hobart, K1MMH, says the Teachers Institutes have been beneficiaries of the Brandenburg Life Foundation established by David Brandenburg, K5RQ, and his wife Diana. Other donor partners wish to remain anonymous. For 2006, appeals went out to additional donors to fund the added course sessions.

"The TI program has become a keystone of ARRL's invigorated commitment to education," said Hobart. "These have been universally well-received, and there's been a lot of positive feedback from the teachers who attended."

Hobart and Spencer point out that the impact of the sessions on each teacher ultimately will touch thousands of their students. "It's an ooze," Spencer described the process. He says his experience has shown that teachers who attend the TIs don't necessarily start applying what they learned until well after the institutes have adjourned.

"Because there's a lot of material, it takes them a good nine months to see where it fits and start feeding it into the curriculum," he said, "but it's happening."

The deadline to apply for an Education and Technology Program Teachers Institute grant is May 15, 2006. Contact ETP Coordinator Mark Spencer, WA8SME, 530-495-9150 (Pacific Time zone) or via e-mail mspencer@arrl.org for more information.

Teachers Institutes 2006 schedule: June 19-23, Parallax Inc, Roseville, California; July 24-28, ARRL Headquarters, Newington, Connecticut; July 31-Aug 4, ARRL Headquarters, Newington, Connecticut; August 7-11, Liberty Science Center, Jersey City, New Jersey; August 14-18, Moorpark High School, Moorpark, California.

-- from the ARRL Letter

Break Text

--back to table of contents

Test Answers

Excerpts from student science exam papers:

-- from David, ZL3AI, via packet

Break Text

--back to table of contents

Logbook of the World Now Supports Worked All States Award

Users of the ARRL's Logbook of the World (LoTW) http://www.arrl.org/lotw/ now may apply their LoTW credits to applications for the League's Worked All States (WAS) award. Once registered and logged in, users may set up a WAS account on the Logbook Awards page, configuring the account to automatically select QSLs to use or selecting them manually via the Your QSOs page.

LoTW is a repository of logbook records submitted by users from around the world. When both participants in a contact submit matching QSO records to LoTW, the result is an electronic "QSL" that can be used for award credit.

As part of this addition, administration and maintenance of all WAS awards is now performed using an LoTW module. US Amateur Radio licensees must be ARRL members to apply for the WAS award. In addition to WAS, LoTW supports the ARRL DX Century Club (DXCC) award.

Since its inauguration in September 2005, LoTW has more than 95 million QSO records on file, with nearly 5.15 million QSL records resulting. The system boasts just over 12,000 registered users, and there are more than 18,100 certificates -- each representing a particular user call sign -- on file.

-- from the ARRL Letter

Break Text

--back to table of contents

Wet Clothes

After her son fell into the pond yet again and came home with his good school clothes dripping wet, the exasperated mother sent him to his room and washed and dried his clothes.

A little later, she heard a commotion in the back yard and called out, "Are you out there wetting your pants again?" There was dead silence for a moment. Then a deep, masculine voice answered meekly, "No, ma'am, I'm just reading the meter."

Break Text

--back to table of contents
--back to OARS home page