Watts News

Monthly Newsletter of the
Olympia Amateur Radio Society
P.O. Box 2861, Olympia, WA 98507

  August 2000
Edited by KB6LE (George Lanning)  


  •  August meeting replaced by OARS picnic
  •  ISS Ham gear cleared for takeoff
  •  Rules of reality
  •  A tale of Abraham and Dot
  •  Treasurer's Report
  •  NCVEC advances revised morse testing standards
  •  OARS Net check-ins
  •  ARRL volunteers find, fix the ditter
  •  RCT Electronics Fleamarket coming September 9
  •  Photo Shoot
  •  Finding Jesus

  • --back to OARS main page


    August meeting replaced by OARS picnic

    An OARS picnic will be held at 6 PM on Wednesday, August 23. The location will be the home QTH of Al Williams, K7PUC: 706 Frederick St. NE, Olympia. If you need directions, call Al at 753-1328.

    Larry Watkinson is providing the hamburger and buns, and Lee Chambers will bring the barbecue grill. The rest is potluck. Bring your own beverage and chairs.

    This will be on the date of the regular August OARS meeting, and will take the place of that meeting. So if you show up at the Thurston County Courthouse that evening, you will be lonely.

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    ISS Ham gear cleared for takeoff

    The way has been cleared for the Amateur Radio gear destined for use aboard the International Space Station to be launched into space. The initial amateur gear is scheduled go up to the ISS on mission STS-106 aboard the shuttle Atlantis on September 8. As part of the multinational Amateur Radio on the International Space Station project, the gear will be stowed aboard the ISS for use by the Expedition 1 crew, which comes aboard in late October.

    "We have been working for years to bring the first ISS hardware to fruition," ARISS Administrative Chairman Frank Bauer, KA3HDO, said this week. "It looks like the final issues that have held us back are now over, and we are moving ahead toward the launch of the initial hardware on STS-106."

    Bauer said three events over the past couple of weeks were key to moving the ARISS project forward. The first was the launch and docking of the Russian-built Zvezda service module that eventually will house the ARISS gear. In addition, Bauer said, a series of RF, power-up and other tests on the amateur equipment were successfully completed in Russia, thanks to Lou McFadin, W5DID, of ARISS and AMSAT and Carolynn Conley, KD5JSO, of NASA. He said NASA also signed off on the required flight safety package, giving the go-ahead to release the amateur hardware for flight aboard the upcoming shuttle mission.

    The Expedition 1 crew will consist of three amateurs: US astronaut Bill Shepherd, KD5GSL, and Russian Cosmonauts Sergei Krikalev, U5MIR, and the recently licensed Yuri Gaidzenko, whose call sign was not available. 

    So that the station will be available to the first crew, the ARISS initial station gear will be installed temporarily aboard the ISS functional cargo block and use an existing antenna that's being adapted to support FM voice and packet on 2 meters but not on 70 cm. Eventually, the ARISS gear will find a more-permanent home aboard the Zvezda service module. 

    A Russian call sign, RZ3DZR, has been issued for the ISS ham radio station. A German call sign, DL0ISS, also has been issued, and a US call sign will be applied for.

    The ARRL and AMSAT have been providing leadership and consulting services for ARISS. ARRL Field and Educational Services Manager Rosalie White, K1STO--a member of the Space Amateur Radio EXperiment Working Group--says this is an exciting moment for the project, which has one goal of letting students on Earth communicate with the ISS inhabitants via Amateur Radio. "All of the hard work from the many volunteers is starting to pay off," she said. "We have so many people to thank--all of the AMSAT volunteers, ARRL people, the NASA folks--so many of whom are hams. But seeing the youth of the United States and other countries benefit is our reward."

    Bauer says the astronauts and cosmonauts plan to take some time off for educational outreach contacts with schools, even during the busy years of ISS construction that lie ahead. "NASA's Division of Education is a major supporter of the Amateur Radio activity," he said. Bauer says access to Amateur Radio also is considered a morale booster for ISS crew members by providing family and general contacts "for people who will be in space many weeks at a time." The initial crew will be aboard the ISS for three to four months.

    As the International Space Station takes its place in the heavens, Bauer said, "the Amateur Radio community is prepared to do its part by helping to enrich the experience."

    For more information about Amateur Radio on the ISS and SAREX, visit the SAREX Web site, http://sarex.gsfc.nasa.gov/.

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    Rules of reality

    In Bill Gates' new book "Business @ The Speed of Thought," he lays out 11 rules that students do not learn in high school or college, but should. He argues that our feel-good, politically correct teachings have created a generation of kids with no concept of reality who are set up for failure in the real world.

    RULE 1 - Life is not fair; get used to it.

    RULE 2 - The world won't care about your self-esteem. The world will expect you to accomplish something BEFORE you feel good about yourself. 

    RULE 3 - You will NOT make 40 thousand dollars a year right out of high school. You won't be a vice-president with a car phone, until you earn both a high school and college degree.

    RULE 4 - If you think your teacher is tough, wait till you get a boss. He doesn't have tenure.

    RULE 5- Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your grandparents had a different word for burger flipping, they called it opportunity. 

    RULE 6 - If you mess up, it's not your parents' fault, so don't whine about your mistakes, learn from them.

    RULE 7 - Before you were born, your parents weren't as boring as they are now. They got that way from paying your bills; cleaning your clothes and listening to you talk about how cool you are. So before you save the rain forest from the parasites of your parents' generation, try "delousing" the clothes in your own room.

    RULE 8 - Your school may have done away with winners and losers, but life has not. In some schools they have abolished failing grades; they will let you try as many times as you want to get the right answer. This doesn't bear the slightest resemblance to ANYTHING in real life. 

    RULE 9 - Life is not divided into semesters. You don't get summers off and very few employers are interested in helping you find yourself. Do that on your own time.

    RULE 10 - Television is NOT real life. In real life people actually have to leave the coffee shop to go to their jobs.

    RULE 11 - Be nice to nerds. Chances are you'll end up working for one. 

    -- submitted by N7IVM Ben

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    A tale of Abraham and Dot

    An old, bearded shepherd, with a crooked staff, walks up to a stone pulpit and says . . .

    And lo it came to pass that the trader by the name of Abraham Com did take unto himself a young wife by the name of Dot. And Dot Com was a comely woman, broad of shoulder and long of leg. Indeed, she had been called Amazon Dot Com. And she said unto Abraham, her husband, "Why doth thou travel far, from town to town, with thy goods when thou can trade without ever leaving thy tent?"

    And Abraham did look at her as though she were several saddle bags short of a camel load, but simply said, "How, Dear?"

    And Dot replied, "I will place drums in all the towns and drums in between to send messages saying what you have for sale and they will reply telling you which hath the best price. And the sale can be made on the drums and delivery made by Uriah's Pony Stable (UPS)."

    Abraham thought long and decided he would let Dot have her way with the drums.

    And the drums rang out and were an immediate success. Abraham sold all the goods he had, at the top price, without ever moving from his tent. But his success did arouse envy. A man named Maccabia did secrete himself inside Abraham's drum and was accused of insider trading. And the young man did take to Dot Com's trading as doth the greedy horsefly take to camel dung. They were called Nomadic Ecclesiastical Rich Dominican Siderites, or NERDS for short.

    And lo the land was so feverish with joy at the new riches and the deafening sound of drums, that no one noticed that the real riches were going to the drum maker, one Brother William of Gates, who bought up every drum company in the land. And indeed did insist on making drums that would only work if you bought Brother Gates' drumsticks.

    And Dot did say, "Oh, Abraham, what we have started is being taken over by others." And as Abraham looked out over the Bay of Ezekiel, or as it came to be known, "eBay," he said, "We need a name of a service that reflects what we are." and Dot replied, "Young Ambitious Hebrew Owner Operators."

    "Whoopee!," said Abraham. "No, YAHOO!" said Dot Com.

    -- found on OLYZONE

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    Treasurer's Report

    As of 7/31/00

    GENERAL FUND (checking account)

    Previous balance     $ 1,847.11
      Income               1,904.51
      Expenses                 0.00
    Ending balance         3,751.62

    REPEATER / PACKET FUND (savings account)

    Previous balance       $ 890.32
      Income                   6.77
      Expenses                 0.00
    Ending balance           897.09

    -- Ed Fitzgerald, N7WW, Treasurer

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    NCVEC advances revised morse testing standards

    The National Conference of Volunteer Examiner Coordinators has voted to set up revised standards for the administration of Morse code examinations in the US. The move at the NCVEC's July 21 meeting in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, comes in the wake of the FCC's December 30, 1999, action to establish 5 WPM as the sole Amateur Radio Morse code requirement.

    Under the revised standards, examinees would have to show 25 character-count solid copy on their test sheets or successfully answer seven out of 10 questions of a fill-in-the-blank quiz on the sent text. The plan would bar the use of multiple choice tests for Morse code testing.

    Morse examinations would specify use of the Farnsworth method, where characters are sent faster than the overall speed and additional spaces added between characters, words and sentences. Farnsworth "character speed" would be in the range of 13 to 15 WPM at an audio pitch of between 700 and 1000 Hz. Standard 5 WPM tests with 5 WPM character speed could be administered only as a special accommodation.

    The new Morse testing standards are to be in effect by next July 1, but VECs may implement them sooner.

    Representatives of 11 of the nation's 14 Volunteer Examiner Coordinators attended the session. Also on hand were six FCC staff members. The FCC's Bill Cross, W3TN, and Steve Linn, N4CAK, conducted FCC presentations. FCC staff members indicated that any decision on petitions for reconsideration of the FCC's Amateur Radio restructuring Order would not come until this fall or winter. The FCC also said that an FCC Order appointing amateur club station call sign administrators is pending, but gave no indication of when it would be released. The ARRL-VEC, the W5YI-VEC and W4VEC have applied to be call sign administrators.

    The NCVEC Question Pool Committee was re-elected at the Gettysburg gathering. Ray Adams, W4CPA, will continue as chairman.

    FCC statistics presented during the session show that Technician and Tech Plus licensees still make up nearly one half of the US amateur population, which totals 710,626 -- including expired licensees within the two-year grace period. As of July 18, there were 209,550 Techs and 121,175 Tech Pluses. Reflecting the shift in license class because of restructuring, Extras now number 92,165, and Generals 134,015--both up by more than 20% over year-earlier figures. There are 93,834 Advanced, and the Novice population remains at just under 60,000.

    -- from the ARRL Letter, Electronic Edition

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    OARS Net check-ins

    The following stations checked in on the OARS General Information Net on July 25:

        AB7PS     K7CEZ     KA4VVA    KB7DFL

        KB7JDL    KC7FEC*   KC7LA     KE7HA

        KF6GAQ    KI7SS     KJ7QL     N1KJN

        N6TPT     N7JHJ     NYEIM     W3GE

        W7DOY     W7SAY     W7UUO

    * Net Control Station

    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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    ARRL volunteers find, fix "the ditter"

    ARRL staffers were greeted the morning of July 24 with reports of a continuous string of CW dits near 14.008 MHz -- heard throughout North America over the preceding weekend. Initial reports gave conflicting beam headings of the offending signal, dubbed "the ditter." But when FCC staffer John Reiser, WQ4L, called ARRL to report his observations, things started to happen.

    Reiser facilitated an FCC DF trace to the San Diego area. The ARRL San Diego Section leadership was notified, and Section Manager Tuck Miller, NZ6T, coordinated local hams in a close-range DF effort. San Diego section Official Observer Coordinator Bill Sallee, K6TWO, took several field readings. At one point, when he'd narrowed the location to within two miles, the signal abruptly disappeared. The ARRL Monitoring System also was alerted. It was confirmed that this was a normal CW signal, not a "woodpecker" type intruder.

    Dialing around the bottom edge of 20 meters early on July 26, IARU Region 2 Monitoring System Coordinator Martin Potter, VE3OAT, heard the ditter once again, this time near 14.026 MHz. Potter determined that the signal had an identical period and beam heading as the one heard earlier. He notified ARRL Headquarters, and the San Diego hams picked up where they'd left off. 

    Sallee's field strength readings drew him closer and closer to the coast, where the heading reversed. Sallee reports that he ultimately found the apparent source in the oceanfront community of La Jolla. He says the woman who answered the door said her husband was a ham and allowed Sallee to take a look at the station. Sure enough, a stuck dit paddle was keying a powered, unattended rig, which Sallee disabled.

    Sallee theorizes that heating and cooling within the ham's uninsulated shack and a combination of corrosion in the keyer paddle's pivot mechanism and close dit contact spacing contributed to the contact's migrating to a closed position. He said the ham later told him that he'd been operating on 14.007.5 MHz on July 21 but did not return to the shack until Monday afternoon. "He remembers listening to a CW contact on 14.026 but did not transmit," Sallee said. "He then left the shack unaware that by leaving the rig on, he would fall victim to unattended transmission when the moisture and temperatures began to change."

    Sallee says the ham, whom he did not identify, "was most embarrassed."

    "I really felt sorry for him and assured him that public hangings were no longer in vogue," Sallee said. "He said he had learned a valuable lesson about disabling a rig that will be unattended."

    Potter congratulated the ARRL Monitoring System and the San Diego field organization for what he called "a fine example of quick reaction and good, solid work" on tracking down the unintentional transmission.

    -- Brennan Price, N4QX, in The ARRL Letter

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    RCT Electronics Fleamarket coming September 9

    The Radio Club of Tacoma will be holding its annual fleamarket from 9 AM to 3 PM on Saturday, September 9. It will be at the Frontier Park (Pierce County Fairgrounds) at 21718 Meridian Ave E, in Graham, WA. OARS members have enjoyed this event in past years.

    Admission is $5 (16 and under free with an adult). Door prizes include two Alinco DJ195T 2M handheld transceivers, $100 and $50 gift certificates (two each), and more.

    License examinations will be available at 10 AM.

    Driving instructions: From I-5 N. or S. take exit 127 to SR-612 east. Go 8.8 miles to SR-161 (Meridian). Turn right. Go south 7 miles to Frontier Park on your right. Watch for signs. There is lots of free parking.

    Talk-in will be on 147.38 + PL 103.5, and simplex 146.58 MHz.

    For more information, visit http://www.w7dk.org

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    Photo Shoot

    This one is for the benefit of Ed Fitzgerald and Jeff Withers -- Ed.

    The photographer for a national magazine was assigned to get photos of a great forest fire. Smoke at the scene was too thick to get any good shots, so he frantically called his home office to hire a plane.

    "It will be waiting for you at the airport!" he was assured by his editor.

    As soon as he got to the small, rural airport, sure enough, a plane was warming up near the runway. He jumped in with his equipment and yelled, "Let's go! Let's go!" The pilot swung the plane into the wind and soon they were in the air. 

    "Fly over the north side of the fire," said the photographer, "and make three or four low level passes."

    "Why?" asked the pilot.

    "Because I'm going to take pictures! I'm a photographer, and photographers take pictures!" said the photographer with great exasperation and impatience.

    After a long pause the pilot said, "You mean you're not the instructor?"

    -- from "Joke of the Day"

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    Finding Jesus

    A drunk stumbles along a Baptismal service on a Sunday afternoon down by the river. He proceeds to stumble down into the water and stands next to the Minister. The Minister turns, notices the old drunk and says, "Mister, are you ready to find Jesus?"

    The drunk looks back and says, "Yes sir, I am."

    The Minister then dunks the fellow under the water and pulls him right back up. "Have you found Jesus?" the Minister asked. 

    "No, I didn't!" said the drunk.

    The Minister then dunks him under for a quite a bit longer, brings him up and says, "Now brother, have you found Jesus?"

    "No, I did not!" said the drunk again.

    Disgusted, the Minister holds the man under for at least 30 seconds this time, brings him up and demands, "For the grace of God, have you found Jesus yet?!!!??"

    The old drunk wipes his eyes and pleads, "Are you sure this is where he fell in?"

    -- from ARNS, Amateur Radio News Service

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    --back to OARS main page