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 2007
Edited by George Lanning  KB6LE 

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From the Oval ShackPresident's Message

A big thank you to Fred Baker, W7SIX, for presenting an outstanding meeting for us at our last OARS meeting. I have received many compliments on this meeting. It was informative, useful and a very important topic. We need to be experts in making good connections and can use some tips on soldering. We had many new hams there and I hope we made them feel welcome and invited them to come back. We had a very large turn out. Speaking of great meetings, we have another coming up in April. Steve Ward, WC7I, will present at our meeting. His subject will be on how to make antennas and predict how they will work using a computer. I am excited for this meeting. Steve has a great deal of knowledge and experience on this subject and he is gifted in his ability to teach. Bring a friend to this meeting. Bring someone who has not been out in a while. You may want to get there early, that is if you want a good seat.

Communications Academy was excellent this year. This year we took a van, compliments of the Department of Emergency Management. We named it the OARS party van. The muffins were great, the company was fun, and I concluded that Paul Taylor definitely has more to offer than a GPS. He guided us on a shortcut that was incredible. I enjoyed watching Fred win the new ICOM radio -- nice job! Every class was great, the food was good, it was frankly just a great time. Put it on your calender for next year! You missed a great time if you didn't go!

In May we will be planning field day. This year in addition to having an exceptional radio opportunity we will also have an incredible dinner. It will definitely be worth attending. We are also going to have an information public relations tent that is going to be busy. We are going to invite the community, and want to be there to greet them! We need more members in our hobby. If you have an interest or any ideas call me.

While I was in the military I had the opportunity to go to Ft. Sam Houston in Texas and attend Advanced Trauma Life Support School. It was a great training opportunity. I will never forgot what one of the instructors taught me. He said, when you encounter a traumatic event there will be three classifications of patients. The first are those who are going to live no matter what you do. The second are those who are going to die no matter what you do. The third are those who whether they live or die depends on you. That is the reason you are here. You are being trained so you can make a difference one person at a time.

This is the time of year we have many service opportunities. By serving our community, you can make a difference. We can demonstrate to our community that amateur radio is not only fun but also can be a very effective means to communicate. Join me as we approach summer; let's make a difference.

-- Bart Tirrell

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Legislation News

Yesterday the House passed SB 5037 restricting the use of wireless communications devices while operating a motor vehicle. The bill contains the following wording that applies to Amateur Radio operators:

"(3) Subsection (1) of this section does not restrict the operation of an amateur radio station by a person who holds a valid amateur radio operator license issued by the Federal Communications Commission."

This bill will take effect 1 July 2007.

On Tuesday, 10 April, about 20 Hams from both EWA and WWA attended the signing of SHB 2335, the exemption of certain Amateur Radio Repeaters from the Leasehold Excise Tax. This bill will also take effect 1 July 2007.

I have posted photos on the Section News (www.arrl.org/sect/wwa) web page and will be uploading more. We've done it! Now let me give you a few stats that are far from the norm. Both houses passed the bill unanimously. Your efforts pushed this bill thru in 48 days, one day shy of 7 weeks! I doubt that's a record but it is certainly notable.

Thank you very much for all the correspondence and phone calls to Olympia. They all had the desired effect. Now we can relax until the legislative session in 2008.


-- Ed, N7NVP

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SB 1073 - Limited Emergency Worker Immunity

Mark KB7HDX - EWA SM has been tracking this bill and reports that it was passed out of the committee today, with an amendment which I am unable to find posted on the web. No changes were made to the bill, so we still have the problem with government workers having to be on an "unpaid status" to be covered under this bill. The amendment has to do with travel to and from a training mission. As I stated, I have not found a hard copy of it yet, but we have some time until it gets to the next level. When it does, we will be calling for some e-mails to try and reword a few things in the bill.

You can track the progress of the bill at http://apps.leg.wa.gov/billinfo/summary.aspx?bill=1073&year=2007

Audio from today's committee hearing can be found at http://www.tvw.org/search/siteSearch.cfm?keywords=Senate%20Government&Date=2007&CFID=8422457&CFTOKEN=88843527 .

Select the March 27th audio feed, and advance the slider-bar to index 40:55. The discussion lasts not quite a half hour.


-- Ed, N7NVP

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A pregnant woman gets into a car accident and falls into a deep coma. Asleep for nearly six months, she wakes up and sees that she is no longer pregnant. Frantically, she asks the doctor about her baby. The doctor replies, "Ma'am, you had twins! A boy and a girl. The babies are fine. Your brother came in and named them."

The woman thinks to herself, "Oh no, not my brother -- he's an idiot!" Expecting the worst, she asks the doctor, "Well, what's the girl's name?" "Denise," the doctor says.

The new mother thinks, "Wow, that's not a bad name! Guess I was wrong about my brother. I like Denise!" Then she asks the doctor, "What's the boy's name?"

The doctor replies, "DeNephew."

-- from A Joke a Day

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Know Your Privileges!

Misconceptions abound regarding Tech HF privileges

Some Technician licensees who gained new privileges February 23 remain unaware or uninformed as to what they may and may not do on the HF bands, says ARRL Regulatory Information Specialist Dan Henderson, N1ND. In addition to all Amateur Radio operating privileges above 50 MHz, Technicians who never passed a Morse code test now have CW privileges on certain segments of 80, 40 and 15 meters plus CW, RTTY, data and SSB privileges on certain segments of 10 meters. And that's it. "Know your privileges http://www.arrl.org/FandES/field/regulations/bands.html ," Henderson advises all Amateur Radio licensees. He says some Technicians apparently believe their new HF phone privileges go far beyond what they really have.

"Technicians have no phone privileges on any HF band other than 10 meters, period!" Henderson emphasizes. "That's the bottom line. If you want to operate phone on the other HF bands, you'll have to upgrade to General or Amateur Extra class."

A lot of Technician licensees appear to have done just that, according to statistics compiled by Joe Speroni, AH0A http://ah0a.org/FCC/Licenses.html. So far in March, the number of General class licensees is up by more than 2700 over the February figure to 134,173, after hitting a 5-year low of just under 131,000 in January. The number of Technicians dropped by 4655 in the same period to 318,838. Speroni notes, however, that his mid-month figures tend to underestimate actual totals.

Most Technician license holders face a learning curve to take advantage of their new CW privileges on HF, but they no longer have to pass a Morse code examination. Technicians also may use their new HF privileges without having to apply for them first. No other license class automatically acquired additional privileges February 23. The "omnibus" rule changes effective last December 15 did not give Technician licensees without Morse code credit any additional privileges either.

Henderson further warns new Techs not to extrapolate additional phone privileges by misconstruing the FCC Part 97 rules to mean something they don't.

"Calls I've been getting lately indicate that some misinformed individuals believe Technicians may operate 'digital voice' on 80, 40 and 15, where they have only CW privileges," he says. "Not true. Digital voice is really digitized voice, and it's not permitted in non-phone band segments."

Henderson reiterates that Technicians do not have FM voice privileges on 10 meters -- or on any other HF band, for that matter.

The HF privileges all Technicians now have are equivalent to those that Novice licensees enjoy, Henderson notes. "This also means the 200 W maximum power limit still applies, regardless of where you operate in the HF bands," he says. Technicians may operate at up to the legal limit on VHF and UHF, however.

On 10 meters, Technician and Novice licensees have CW, RTTY and data privileges from 28.000 to 28.300 MHz, and CW and SSB privileges from 28.300 to 28.500 MHz. "We're sorry that the sunspots aren't favoring 10 meters at this point in the sunspot cycle, but they will in a few years," Henderson allowed.

In addition, Technicians and Novices have CW -- and only CW -- privileges on from 3.525 to 3.600 MHz on 80 meters, from 7.025 to 7.125 MHz on 40 meters and 21.025 to 21.200 MHz on 15 meters.

Henderson believes at least some of the confusion may have originated with a few brand-new or inexperienced Technician licensees who heard that the FCC deleted the Morse code requirement to obtain an Amateur Radio license, but paid little attention to the fine print.

"And we all know the devil's in the details," Henderson says. "Remember, the FCC requires you to know where you may and may not operate and with what modes. Stick to the privileges your license allows or risk hearing from the FCC."

-- from the ARRL Letter

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Treasurer's Report

As of 3/31/07

    GENERAL FUND (checking account)

        Previous balance     $ 2,798.54

            Income               165.60

            Expenses              62.11

        Ending balance         2,902.03

    REPEATER / PACKET FUND (savings account)

        Previous balance     $ 1,000.69

            Income                 2.50

            Expenses               0.00

        Ending balance         1,003.19

-- Ed Fitzgerald, N7WW, Treasurer

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What would you buy?

His pediatrician asked six-year-old Johnny, who watched a good many TV, adds, just to make conversation. "Johnny, if you found a couple of dollars and had to spend them, what would you buy?"

"A box of Tampax, he replied without hesitation.

"Tampax?" said the doctor. "What would you do with that?"

"Well," said Johnny, "I don't know exactly, but it's sure worth two dollars. With Tampax, it says on TV, you can go swimming, go horseback riding, and also go skating, any time you want to."

-- from A Joke a Day, via Internet

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OARS Net check-ins

The following stations checked in on the OARS General Information Net one or more times on March 6 or 20:


Net control stations reporting for the month were WC7I and K7VRE. 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.

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Ham or CB?

FCC fines shop for selling non-certified CBs as ham gear

In a Forfeiture Order http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-07-881A1.pdf released March 2, the FCC has affirmed a $7000 fine it levied on Ben Metzger of Titusville, Florida, doing business as 1 Stop Communications / 1 Stop CB Shop, for marketing non-certified Citizens Band transceivers. The FCC's Tampa Office issued Metzger a Citation in March 2006 for marketing certain Galaxy and Connex transceivers.

Metzger has asserted that the units are Amateur Radio transceivers, which do not require FCC certification, not CB transceivers, which do. The FCC says the units are intended for use on CB as well as on amateur frequencies through a simple modification, and it has determined that such dual-use transceivers are CB transceivers under its rules.

Metzger told the Commission last May that he'd removed the radios mentioned in the Citation from his store. In June 2006, the FCC declined to withdraw the citation on the basis that the transceivers were marketed as ham gear. Agents from the Tampa FCC office later revisited the shop and were able to buy a Connex CX 3300HP, which they say Metzger modified to operate on part of 10 meters as well as on CB and other frequencies (25.615 to 28.305 MHz). Metzger still maintains that the Connex CX 3300HP is a ham transceiver and that he did not violate any FCC rules, the FCC said.

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ARRL Offers Alternate Approach to "Regulation by Bandwidth"

In the wake of recent changes in the Part 97 Amateur Radio rules, the ARRL has revised its "regulation by bandwidth" proposals to match the new reality, avoid some unintended consequences and temper some of the controversy the original petition had aroused. In a November 2005 Petition for Rule Making http://www.arrl.org/announce/regulatory/rm-11306/RM-11306-asFiled.pdf, the League asked the FCC to establish a regulatory regime that would segment bands by necessary bandwidths ranging from 200 Hz to 100 kHz rather than by emission mode. The ARRL now is urging the FCC to adopt a "subset" of the rules contained in its original petition that largely affects only the amateur bands at 28 MHz and above.

"Because the proposals affecting the bands above 28 MHz had not aroused much controversy, they were retained in the shortened list," ARRL CEO David Sumner, K1ZZ, explained this week. "Regulation by bandwidth rather than by mode of emission remains controversial below 28 MHz because of its perceived potential impact on established operating patterns, so these proposals were removed from the list with one narrow exception."

That exception addresses the fact that current rules impose no effective bandwidth limit on HF digital operation. "Digital emissions using multiple carriers, such as OFDM [orthogonal frequency division multiplexing], can be designed for any bandwidth while staying within the existing rules," Sumner points out, "so, the subset of proposed rule changes includes a bandwidth limit of 3 kHz on RTTY and data emissions below 28 MHz."

The proposed 3 kHz RTTY/data bandwidth limit aims to avoid the possibility existing under the present rules that a single digital station could monopolize large MF and HF band segments. In an Erratum this week the ARRL also asked the FCC to retain the existing 500 Hz bandwidth limit that applies to certain automatically controlled RTTY/data stations under º97.221.

The ARRL proposal would amend the definition of "bandwidth" in º97.3(a)(8) to read: "For a given class of emission, the width of the frequency band which is sufficient to ensure the transmission of information at the rate and with the quality required under specified conditions." The rule references the definition of "necessary bandwidth" appearing in Parts 2 and 97 of the FCC rules.

If the FCC adopts the League's revised proposals, the 10, 6 and 2 meter amateur bands would be segmented into subbands allowing maximum emission bandwidths of 200 Hz, 500 Hz, 3.0 kHz (with an exception for double-sideband, full-carrier AM phone), 16 kHz or 100 kHz. Above 222 MHz, the entire emission must be within the allocated Amateur Radio band to comply with º97.307(d).

Sumner concedes that the subset of proposed rule changes in RM-11306 would provide less protection to CW, RTTY and other narrowband modes than the League's original proposals afforded, but not less than the existing rules provide. "In fact, protection against interference from wideband digital modes would be increased, not decreased, even by adoption of the subset," he contended.

Some confusion arose because of an inadvertent omission in the initial notice of a meeting on this subject between ARRL officials and FCC staff. This week's Erratum addressed that issue.

Additional consternation followed in the wake of a widely circulated, but erroneous, comment alleging "the complete absence of CW as a mode in the table of HF modes" the ARRL submitted. The ARRL has proposed no change to º97.305(a) of the rules, which authorizes CW on all amateur frequencies except on 60 meters.

The League has petitioned the FCC to permit CW and other modes on 60 meters, in addition to the presently permitted upper-sideband SSB.

After studying the topic several years, the ARRL Board of Directors continues to support the principles of regulation by bandwidth contained in the original RM-11306 petition.

"Regulation by bandwidth provides a better regulatory framework, not only for the introduction of future digital emissions but for the protection of traditional narrowband modes as well," Sumner asserted this week. He expressed the hope that the subset of RM-11306 modifications offers an alternative that "will make it easier for the FCC to move at least part of the way in that direction."

-- from the ARRL Letter

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A Problem with Bicycle Mittens

I have a pair of "lobster claws": thickish bicycle gloves which hold my index and middle fingers in one sleeve, and my pinky and ring finger in a second. This keeps all my fingers warmer.

However, my daughter asked how I could bike in these gloves.

I explained to her that you don't really need much manual dexterity to ride a bicycle.

The sweet little thing that she is, she said "What do you do if a driver cuts you off?"

-- from David, ZL3AI, via packet

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