Olympia Amateur Radio Society

ARRL Special Services ClubWatts News

Monthly Newsletter of the

Olympia Amateur Radio Society

P.O. Box 2861, Olympia, WA 98507

  August 2007
Edited by George Lanning  KB6LE 

Table of Contents

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From the Oval ShackPresident's Message

This month the monthly OARS meeting will be held at Burfoot Park. Check the web site olyham.org for details. It promises to be a fun event and we should even be able to make some good contacts! Bring something you may find of interest to show off.

During the my time in the service I had the assignment of being deployed to Desert Storm. It was fun looking back at it, challenging at the time, but definitely very educational and interesting. One day I was talking to a guy who sat out in the desert with a stinger missile waiting for the indication to fire it. I asked him why his missile was so deadly. His answer was very interesting. He said the answer was very simple. The missile has the ability to make corrections faster than the target. Interesting thought.

Correcting course is a very important factor to the development or accomplishment of any mission. As I assumed the job as the President of OARS, I did so knowing that I was not the most qualified for the job. My vision for the club was to recruit and to review the basics. I am fortunate to have had so many good folks to help me make course corrections.

In fact I even have a telephone dedicated to OARS. The number is 878-0834. Call it sometime and give me some of your ideas on what you would like to see the club do or not do. Your feedback is very much appreciated. Together we can make course corrections and keep a strong club getting stronger.

-- Bart Tirrell

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Portable Repeater

Here are some details on the new OARS portable repeater:

For a picture of the portable repeater, go to the OARS web site http://olyham.org.

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2007 ARRL Teachers Institutes Reach 45 Schools

Forty-eight teachers representing 45 schools from around the country attended the 2007 ARRL Teachers Institutes, held this summer in Rocklin, California, Spokane, Washington and at ARRL Headquarters in Newington. Each class of 12, ranging from pre-school teachers to college professors, got the opportunity to explore and experience firsthand wireless technology basics, how to teach basic electronics concepts integral to microcontrollers and robots, as well as how to bring space technology into the classroom. The four day course culminated with building and programming a robot.

Education and Technology Program Coordinator and Director of the ARRL Teachers Institute Mark Spencer, WA8SME, said, "We had a good range of students this year. We had a higher percentage of hams than we have seen in the past. These were slightly older teachers, ranging in all levels of experience. We even had a student teacher at one of the sessions, something I am really excited about."

Spencer said his four "instructional pillars" -- Science of radio, Space in the classroom, Microcontrollers, and Robotics -- are "ever-present" during the Teachers Institute. "Each day is packed with lectures, hands-on activities and demonstrations, building, programming and a robotics competition. The first two days include instruction on how to teach wireless technology. Day three covers microcontrollers and the finale is how to teach basic robotics. The class materials are a mix of basic theory coupled with teaching strategies these instructors can use immediately when they return to the classroom."

A new feature in this year's Teachers Institute is Soldering 101. Spencer said including this basic skill was "extremely useful. We had both experienced hams and people new to technology. A lot of the experienced hams hadn't soldered in a while, so it was like a refresher course for them. The new people enjoyed learning a new skill."

Spencer said some people might have already known how to solder, but had never considered soldering in the classroom. "They came up to me, happy that they had learned the teaching skills that would enable them to bring soldering in the classroom. They said, 'I knew how to solder before I came here, but I never thought I could teach it to my students. Thank you for giving me the skills and showing me the way so I can teach this to my students in a way they can understand.'"

Another new feature this year was satellite contacts. Spencer chose AO-27 due to the timing of its pass. Spencer divided the class into two groups and took them outside for the pass. "The satellite comes over the horizon, and the participants announce their call sign and grid square and maybe exchange some short pleasantries. Once that's done, they go on to the next contact," Spencer said.

By using satellites, Spencer said, he shows the Teachers Institute participants that they can actually contact an orbiting satellite using inexpensive equipment. "The lessons involving satellites are valuable and focused. By using satellites, these teachers can go back to their classrooms and teach more than just the satellite. This lesson teaches the students how to get ready, how to prepare; this is something they can and will carry with them all their lives. Without advance preparation, it's really hard to make the satellite contact."

Of the 48 teachers at this year's Teachers Institutes, about 20 percent come from "Big Project" schools, Spencer said. "About another 25 percent of the non-Big Project schools go on to apply for grants and get involved in the Big Project. These schools then go on to apply for an Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) program, but the Teachers Institutes show them that there is much more to it than just an ARISS contact."

While the emphasis of the course is not Amateur Radio and teachers need not be hams to attend the all-expenses-paid sessions, some do go ahead and take the Technician license exam. Seven have received their Technician license and two have upgraded to General this year alone. "About 80 percent of the non-ham teachers have gone on to get their Amateur Radio license. They get really 'jazzed up' about ham radio while they are here. Since the genesis of the Teachers Institute, each participant that has taken their Amateur Radio license exam has passed on their first attempt," Spencer said.

Spencer said the Teachers Institute curricula are constantly being tweaked. "Right now, we are at a maturing stage, doing the grunt work and sustaining the program. Next year we are looking at adding Amateur Radio Television and making an umbrella activity board that ties all four of the instructional pillars together. I am already looking at expanding the program for next year."

He has many long range plans in mind for the Teachers Institute. "In the next 10 years, I would love to see a Teachers Institute in each of the 15 ARRL Divisions. These instructors would work in conjunction with their state's science museum and run the Institute regionally through the museum. What a great way to bring science to kids," Spencer said.

-- from the ARRL Letter

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Treasurer's Report

As of 7/31/07

    GENERAL FUND (checking account)

        Previous balance     $ 2,875.70

            Income                 0.55

            Expenses           1,037.23

        Ending balance         1,839.02

    REPEATER / PACKET FUND (savings account)

        Previous balance     $ 1,005.72

            Income                 0.00

            Expenses               0.00

        Ending balance         1,005.72

-- Ed Fitzgerald, N7WW, Treasurer

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Behave, now

This guy pulls into a crowded parking lot and rolls down the car windows to make sure his dog has fresh air. The dog is stretched out in the back seat, and the guy wants to impress upon him that he must remain there. The guy walks to the curb backward, pointing his finger at the car and saying emphatically, "Now you stay. Do you hear me? Stay!"

The driver of a nearby car gives the guy a startled look "I don't know about you, man," he says incredulously. "But I usually just put my car in park."

-- from Ajokeaday 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 the dates of July 10, 17, 24, or 31:


Net control stations reporting for the month were Dan Crane KB7DFL, Steve Ward WC7I, Bart Tirrell AB7AX, and Tom Bohon KE7EJJ. 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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OARS Picnic

Come one, come all, to the annual OARS summer picnic

August 25 at 2 p.m., until we're done!

Picnic food served at 5 p.m. +, until we're full!

There will be portable HF and maybe PSK, on 80 and 20 meters; bring your operating skills!

Bring lawn chairs.

Burgers and dogs and condiments provided by the club.

If your last name begins with:

A-J bring salads, dressings, chips, etc.

K-R bring drinks, cold or hot

S-Z bring desserts, etc.

Note: if you've a favorite dish but are in the wrong group, please bring the favorite dish anyway!

Location: Burfoot Park upper picnic site (the first one you see as you c9ome in). Burfoot Park is located approximately 5 miles north of Olympia. Take Eastside past Priest Point Park, keep going north, bear left at the two "Y"s you'll encounter. Continue toward Boston Harbor. Turn left into the park.

Talk-in on the OARS repeater 147.36 +, 103.5 Hz tone.

Note: The picnic replaces the regular August OARS meeting. However, a license testing session will still be given at 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, August 22, at the South Bay Fire Station.

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Battle of the Sexes

A couple drove down a country road for several miles not saying a word. An earlier discussion had led to an argument and neither of them wanted to concede their position. As they passed a barnyard of mules, goats, and pigs, the husband asked sarcastically, "Relatives of yours?"

"Yep," the wife replied, "in-laws."

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A husband read an article to his wife about how many words women use a day -- 30,000 to a man's 15,000. The wife replied, "The reason has to be because we have to repeat everything to men. The husband then turned to his wife and asked, "What?"

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A man said to his wife one day, "I don't know how you can be so stupid and so beautiful all at the same time." The wife responded, "Allow me to explain -- God made me beautiful so you would be attracted to me; God made me stupid so I would be attracted to you!"

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