Watts News

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

  August 2002
Edited by George Lanning  KB6LE 

Table of Contents

  •  From the Oval Shack
  •  July meeting minutes
  •  ARRL receives homeland security training grant
  •  Computer Terminology
  •  Treasurer's Report
  •  Two Atoms
  •  OARS Net check-ins
  •  More cosponsors sign aboard CC&R Bill, HR 4720
  •  Alternate meanings
  •  Florida man convicted of deliberate interference, unlicensed operation
  •  The hearing aid
  •  FCC spells out utility's obligations in interfenence cases
  •  It's a lovely language

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    Here it is August and time for the annual picnic at Larry, KC7CKO's home. The picnic takes the place of our regular monthly meeting. We look forward to seeing you all there for a wonderful time with Larry's gracious hospitality.

    I would like to thank everyone who participated in supporting the Annual Lakefair Parade. While, from a club point of view, we all know many ways that we can improve our performance, the Lakefair people are quite pleased with the job that we did for them.

    Thanks to Fred Baker, W7SIX, we replaced the 2 Meter repeater antenna on the water tower and are now realizing greatly increased performance on that side of the system.

    Now the 220 MHz repeater on Crawford Mtn is down for a month while Fred upgrades it. At the same time as we bring it back on the air, we will be moving the entire system into a new shelter up on Crawford. The new location is a much larger area in an adjacent hut. The larger area will allow access to both the front and back of the relay racks, making it easier to work on the equipment. As part of the move, the link antenna will be moved to a higher location on the tower, so we should get better performance with it.

    After completing this move, we will have gone though a complete system alignment and checkout, so I would recommend that we initiate a preventative maintenance routine of alternating years at each site. This will help to prevent the gradual degradation of the system that occurred at the water tower site and allow us to do some scheduled replacement of components in the system.

    I hope to see you all at the picnic on August 28th.

    -- 73, Ken Dahl, K7TAG

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    July meeting minutes

    The meeting was called to order at 7 PM by President Ken Dahl, K7TAG.

    Old Business

    Lee Chambers, KI7SS, gave a report on the Lakefair parade. Much discussion followed.

    Paul Taylor, KC7LA, talked about the antenna matter. He suggested reading the book"Cell Towers" by Levitt, available at the public library (gives the other side of the tower debate).

    New Business

    Ken Dahl reported replacement of antennas on the water tower with Diamond antennas, by a hired tower climber. A round of applause was given to thank Fred Baker, W7SIX, for all his work.

    The 220 repeater on Crawford is down for maintenance for a month or so. Repeaters need to be checked every other year.

    Lee Chambers, KI7SS, reported on Radio Camp: 14 students. Fred Baker, W7SIX, and Ron Hill, W7NN , will be teaching. Lee needs someone to teach digital modes on Friday. (Ken Dahl, K7TAG, will furnish the equipment.)


    Next month's meeting (August) will be a picnic at Larry Watkinson's, KC7CKO, house at about 6 PM. Bring children, chairs for your group, a main dish OR salad OR dessert. Larry will furnish hot dogs, hamburgers, beverages, condiments, plates and silverware. If it rains, the picnic will be delayed for one week.

    On August 10 there will be a Hamfest at the fairgrounds in Longview, 9:00 to 1:00; take Exit 36.


    Ken Dahl, K7TAG, presented "Sound Card Digital Modes."The meeting adjourned at 9:00 PM.

    -- Helen Hannigan, KB7JDL, Secretary

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    ARRL receives homeland security training grant

    The ARRL will receive a $181,900 homeland security grant from the US government to train Amateur Radio operators in emergency communication. The League was among several dozen nonprofit organizations designated to receive some $10.3 million in federal money to boost homeland defense volunteer programs. The grant, from the Corporation for National and Community Service special volunteer program, will provide free ARRL Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Course training to 5200 volunteers nationwide, starting in 2003.

    "ARRL is the national association for Amateur Radio and is the national leader in emergency communications by volunteers who operate their own equipment on their time at no cost to any government, organization, or corporation," said the announcement July 18 from Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge. The ARRL plans to revise and update the emergency communications curriculum to incorporate additional elements of emergency preparedness and homeland security.

    ARRL President Jim Haynie, W5JBP, said he was extremely pleased by the news. "This adds legitimacy to the public service work Amateur Radio has been doing for years," he said.

    ARRL Chief Development Officer Mary Hobart, K1MMH, applied for the funding in May. "I think this is an extraordinarily exciting day for Amateur Radio that the role of Amateur Radio in homeland security is recognized at the highest levels of government," Hobart said upon learning of the grant.

    Citing Amateur Radio's response in the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks, Hobart said the federal grant "will help continue our work in providing public service and to protect lives, homes, businesses and our frequencies, as we have for decades."

    ARRL Chief Executive Officer David Sumner, K1ZZ, said he was pleased that the League would be able to extend its Amateur Radio Emergency Communications program to thousands of amateurs who might otherwise not be able to afford the program. "We hope all who are interested will get on board," he said.

    The grant announcement said that "expanding the opportunities for Americans to participate in meaningful volunteer service" is at the heart of President George Bush's USA Freedom Corps, of which the Corporation for National and Community Service is a part.

    "We are deeply grateful to Tom Ridge and to the Corporation for National and Community Service for providing Amateur Radio with a unique opportunity to serve our country," Hobart said.

    In June, the ARRL and United Technologies Corporation announced a partnership to provide free ARRL Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Course training for up to 250 Connecticut amateurs.

    -- ARRL Bulletin ARLB043

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    Computer Terminology

    -- thanks to Dave LeFevre, KC7FEC

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    Treasurer's Report

    As of 7/31//02

    GENERAL FUND (checking account)
        Previous balance     $ 2,319.30
            Income                75.15
            Expenses             468.36
        Ending balance         1,926.09

    REPEATER / PACKET FUND (savings account)
        Previous balance       $ 950.72
            Income                 0.00
            Expenses               0.00
        Ending balance           950.72

    -- Ed Fitzgerald, N7WW, Treasurer

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    Two Atoms

    Two atoms bump into each other. One says "I think I lost an electron!" The other asks, "Are you sure?" -- to which the first replies, "I'm positive."

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    OARS Net check-ins

    The following 36 stations checked in on the OARS General Information Net one or more times in July 2002:


    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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    More cosponsors sign aboard CC&R Bill, HR 4720

    Additional cosponsors have signed aboard HR 4720, the bill in Congress aimed at providing relief to amateurs faced with private deed covenants, conditions and restrictions -- CC&Rs -- in erecting antennas. The list of 18 members of Congress who have agreed to cosponsor the measure includes two amateurs. They are Oregon Republican Greg Walden, WB7OCE -- one of the two original cosponsors of HR 4720 with Texas Republican Pete Sessions -- and Arkansas Democrat Mike Ross, WD5DVR.

    Walden and Ross are believed to be the only Amateur Radio licensees in the US House of Representatives.

    New York Democrat Steve Israel introduced HR 4720 -- the "Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Consistency Act" -- on May 14. The measure would require private land-use regulators -- such as homeowners' associations -- to "reasonably accommodate" Amateur Radio communication consistent with the PRB-1 limited federal preemption. PRB-1 now applies only to states and municipalities.

    In addition to Walden, Sessions and Ross, the list of HR 4720 cosponsors now includes Representatives JD Hayworth (R-AZ), Patrick Tiberi (R-OH), Patsy Mink (D-HI), Ken Calvert (R-CA), Rick Boucher (D-VA), Joseph Hoeffel (D-PA), John Duncan Jr (R-TN), Dennis Moore (D-KS), Charles Stenholm (D-TX), David Price (D-NC), Bob Schaffer (R-CO), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Bart Gordon (D-TN), Charles Taylor (R-NC), and Ralph Hall (D-TX).

    Visit the US House of Representatives Write Your Representative Service Web site at http://www.house.gov/writerep/ for information on how to contact your representative. The ARRL requests those writing or e-mailing members of Congress -- whether or not they are supporting this legislation -- to copy ARRL on their correspondence -- via e-mail to ccr-bill@arrl.org or via US Mail to CC&R Bill, ARRL, 225 Main St, Newington, CT 06111. Correspondents should include the bill number, HR 4720, as well as their name and address on all correspondence.

    -- ARRL Bulletin ARLB048

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    Alternate meanings

    The Washington Post published a contest for readers in which they were asked to supply alternate meanings for various words. The following were some of the winning entries:

    -- from "Joke of the Day"

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    Florida man convicted of deliberate interference, unlicensed operation

    A Florida Citizens Band enthusiast accused of jamming Amateur Radio operations and transmitting without a license was convicted in federal court June 19 on eight misdemeanor counts. William Flippo of Jupiter was found guilty of four counts of operating without a license and four counts of deliberate and malicious interference. Federal District Court Judge Daniel T.K. Hurley noted that, while the charges were misdemeanors, it was important that the amateur airwaves be free of interference in the event of an emergency. He ordered that Flippo remain in custody and undergo a psychiatric evaluation prior to sentencing.

    The prosecutor in the case, Neil Karabdil, credited members of the Amateur Radio community with bringing Flippo to justice. The list included ARRL 1999 ARRL International Humanitarian Award winner Ed Petzolt, K1LNC, who helped the FCC gather evidence in the case; Bert Morschi, AG4BV; Palm Beach County Emergency Coordinator Dave Messinger, N4QPM; and Chuck Mulligan, N4SDW.

    "This is a very good day for Amateur Radio, and a very good day for justice," Petzolt said following the trial. "Let the word go out that we will not tolerate this sort of thing on our frequencies, and you will be caught." Petzolt cited local amateurs and the efforts of the FCC, including Special Counsel for Enforcement Riley Hollingsworth "and everyone else who kept the faith," for helping to bring the case to a successful conclusion.

    "Never give up and never surrender," Petzolt advised those facing similar malicious interference situations. "If you do, they win."

    According to Petzolt, who testified in the trial, Flippo primarily had targeted the Jupiter Tequesta Repeater Group for jamming and regularly interfered with amateur operations, especially on 10 and 2 meters, over an approximately three-year period. Following up on the amateurs' complaints, personnel from the FCC's Tampa District Office visited the Jupiter area at least twice in 1999 and reported tracking the offending signals to Flippo's residence.

    Federal authorities arrested Flippo in July 2000. The criminal charges of which he now stands convicted covered violations allegedly committed between June 1999 and April of 2000. The defendant already faces a $20,000 fine levied in 1999 for unlicensed operation, willful and malicious interference to Amateur Radio communications, and failure to let the FCC inspect his radio equipment.

    Hurley said he was worried that Flippo might not return to court for his sentencing hearing and ordered him returned to jail. Flippo reportedly hung his head after the jury returned a guilty verdict on the second count. He had no comment for a reporter as he was led back to jail.

    Sentencing could take place in about a month. According to the FCC, Flippo faces a maximum penalty of eight years in prison -- one year on each count. He also faces up to $80,000 in fines.

    -- ARRL Bulletin ARLX003

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    The hearing aid

    A man was telling his neighbor, " I just bought a new hearing aid. It cost me $4,000, but it's state of the art."

    "Really?" answered the neighbor. "What kind is it?"


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    FCC spells out utility's obligations in interference cases 

    Electric utilities must correct equipment problems that cause harmful interference to stations operating in the Amateur Service. Following up on a recent pledge to get tougher on electric utilities that fail to promptly fix faulty gear that generates interference, FCC Special Counsel Riley Hollingsworth made that point doubly clear August 9 in an letter to Reliant Energy Company of Houston. The case involves unresolved interference complaints from Edward J. Gerber, W5GCX, of Houston. 

    "Reliant must do all things necessary, and bear any and all necessary costs, to comply with its obligations as an operator of unlicensed devices pursuant to the Commission's Part 15 regulations," Hollingsworth reminded the utility's attorneys. He asked Reliant to provide a written report in 30 days detailing steps taken to eliminate the interference to W5GCX. Hollingsworth said he'd hold off on enforcement action until he has the report in hand but added that the FCC "expects a complete solution without further delay."

    In its reply to a May 23 letter from the FCC, Reliant had suggested that the interference Gerber was experiencing had come from an otherwise properly operating 250 kVA step-down transformer. The utility had proposed to relocate the transformer at Gerber's expense.

    Hollingsworth pointed out that the utility may not pass on the cost of fixing the problem to the victim of the interference. "It is exclusively the obligation of the operator of the unlicensed device," Hollingsworth wrote, referring to the FCC's Part 15 rules.

    Responding to the initial FCC letter, the utility's attorneys -- Baker Botts LLP of Houston -- had attempted to claim it was not obligated to avoid interference to amateur stations. Hollingsworth called the attempted distinction "baseless."

    A copy of the letter went to the office of Texas Public Utility Commission Chairman Rebecca Klein.

    The League has worked with the FCC and utilities to resolve dozens of interference complaints. ARRL Electromagnetic Compatibility and Radio Frequency Interference Engineer John Phillips, K2QAI, applauded Hollingsworth's tenacious approach to dealing with interference complaints involving power companies. "Amateur Radio is very fortunate to have someone like Riley Hollingsworth in our corner," he said. "There is no way that amateurs could ever hope to resolve some of these problems without the backing of the FCC."

    -- from the ARRL Newsletter

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    It's a lovely language

    Below are some reasons why the English language is so hard to learn:

    -- from David, ZL3AI

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