Olympia Amateur Radio Society

ARRL Special Service ClubWatts News

Monthly Newsletter of the

Olympia Amateur Radio Society

P.O. Box 2861, Olympia, WA 98507

  August 2009
Edited by George Lanning  KB6LE 

Table of Contents

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From the Oval ShackPresident's Message

Hello Everyone -

I should mention I will be out of state for this month's exam session and meeting. I will, however, be back for September's session and meeting. August's exam session will be run by Rod [KI7CQ] and the meeting itself will be run by our VP, Ken [K7VOX]. If you are a VE, please get in touch with Rod as he may need someone to replace me.

As for myself, I will be sweltering in Florida while we get my daughter, Alethea [KD7WXL] get set up in her apartment for college and then visiting my sister and her family in Georgia to swelter there as well.

I hope everyone has an enjoyable August.


-- Klaus AC7MG

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Report to the Northwestern Division

Greetings to Northwestern Division members.

I want to report to the members of the Northwestern Division regarding the meeting of the Board of Directors of the ARRL held July 16-19, 2009 and other local activities. The ARRL Members' pages currently have an outline of board activities and will have a comprehensive write-up of the meeting in a few weeks.

I currently serve as the Chairperson of the ARRL Administration and Finance (A&F) Committee. In addition, serve on the Scouting Committee and the Pension sub-committee and am a member of the ARRL Foundation Board. The A&F Committee is charged with overseeing the financial affairs of the League. I can report that the committee and full board received the auditor's report for 2008 and this was an unqualified audit ( the best a firm can receive). The economic downturn we are experiencing since mid-2008 caused our pension funds to be a bit underfunded and we will build these back to their pre-recessionary levels. Revenues and expenses are as planned for the year-to-date.

During my last ten years on the Board (6 as Vice Director and 4 as Director) I find that the most work is done at the committee level and major decisions are made with coalitions formed between directors. Yep, it is a very political process! One learns to "count votes" quickly.

I have been honored by President Joel Harrison, W5ZN by being asked to serve as chair of the A&F Committee for the past two years. Considering that there are only two standing committees and the average tenure of a board member is around five years, there are few opportunities to serve as a committee chair. This, plus the important work of the other committees and travels around the division, keeps me quite busy and not on the air much -- darn.

Thanks to my XYL Shirley, W7SAF, for allowing me to serve the Northwestern Division members in this manner. Yep, this is a new call for Shirley as she passed her General exam in the spring!

The budget for 2009 is in relatively good shape and we will create a simplified reporting mechanism this fall. The development department is always looking at ways to fund operating programs in general and special programs in particular. Please contact me or the ARRL Foundations for ideas on a structured giving program. We always search for other sources of revenue in order to maintain the cost of League membership.

Congratulations to KK7DS for being awarded the 2009 ARRL Technical Merit Award. This award was granted based on his work with integrating the D-Star technology with Emcomm programs.

Speaking of Emcomm, the Board charged the Programs and Services Department with focusing on the roles and responsibilities of the Emcomm department as well as clarifying the relationship with the field organization and 71 Section Managers. These interrelationships are ready to be formalized with a semi-matrized reporting structure. Other than the normal business of the Board (receiving reports and hearing from the officers, standing committee chairs, and other committees), the board spent an entire day working on a strategic plan and resultant set of goals for each plan element. I'll share these with you when they are sufficiently word-smithed and clarified. This was an exciting time and I am confident that the plans will take the ARRL and Amateur Radio into the next generations of hams.

Membership in the ARRL remains strong and the Northwestern Division is at the top of percentage growth statistics. The ARRL has over 155,600 members of which over 11,000 are in the Northwestern Division. Our average growth in the Division since June 2008 is 3.8%.

Congratulations to members and local clubs for facilitating this strong membership growth. Keep up the good work.

Remember that the Washington Salmon Run (the Washington State QSO Party) is coming up on September 18 and 19. This is your chance to put all the 39 Washington counties on the air as well to work them. In addition, look for an announcement of the Hiram Percy Maxim's (ARRL Founder) 140th birthday operating event to take place in September. This is always a fun event is a good way to work and thank the ARRL volunteers for their service. Also, the Northwest DX convention will be held in Spokane, WA on August 7-9. See the Spokane DX Association's Web Site at http://www.sdxa.org.

We have some ideas regarding use of the Internet for division conferences and meetings. We plan to begin this use of new technology with the Section Managers soon.

Finally, the new ARRL Web Site will be released early next year. It should be a great improvement over with current pages and will have enhanced search and editorial content. Announcements will be made in the November - December time frame.

Thanks again for your support of the ARRL and its many programs. We strive to make this the best membership organization in the USA and your feedback as to how we can improve is important. Thanks also for the support of Vice-Director Bill Sawders, K7ZM, for his support for the members in the Northwestern Division.


-- Jim Fenstermaker K9JF

ARRL Northwestern Division Director

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A Dog's Duties

A nursery school teacher was delivering a station wagon full of kids home one day when a fire truck zoomed past. Sitting in the front seat of the fire truck was a Dalmation dog. The children fell to discussing the dog's duties.

"They use him to keep crowds back," said one youngster.

"No," said another, "he's just for good luck."

A third child brought the argument to a close. "They use the dogs," she said firmly, "to find the fire hydrant."

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Treasurer's Report

As of 7/31/09

    GENERAL FUND (checking account)

        Previous balance     $ 1,856.49

            Income                 0.39

            Expenses              33.75

        Ending balance         1,823.13

    REPEATER / PACKET FUND (savings account)

        Previous balance     $ 1,023.72

            Income                 0.00

            Expenses               0.00

        Ending balance         1,023.72

-- Ed Fitzgerald, N7WW, Treasurer

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Walter Cronkite, KB2GSD (SK)

Legendary CBS newsman Walter Cronkite, KB2GSD, who held the title of ''Most Trusted Man in America,'' passed away Friday, July 17 after a long illness. He was 92. The avuncular Cronkite anchored the CBS Evening News for 19 years until 1981 when he retired. During that time, he reported on such subjects as the Kennedy assassinations, the Civil Rights movement, the Apollo XI lunar landing, Vietnam and the Vietnam-era protests, the Arab-Israeli Six Day War, Watergate and the Begin-Sadat peace accords.

Cronkite, an ARRL member, narrated the 6 minute video ''Amateur Radio Today'' http://www.arrl.org/ARToday. Produced by the ARRL in 2003, the video tells Amateur Radio's public service story to non-hams, focusing on ham radio's part in helping various agencies respond to wildfires in the Western US during 2002, ham radio in space and the role Amateur Radio plays in emergency communications. ''Dozens of radio amateurs helped the police and fire departments and other emergency services maintain communications in New York, Pennsylvania and Washington, DC,'' narrator Cronkite intoned in reference to ham radio's response on September 11, 2001. ''Their country asked, and they responded without reservation.''

Walter Leland Cronkite was born in St Joseph, Missouri on November 4, 1916, the only child of a dentist father and homemaker mother. When he was still young, his family moved to Texas. ''One day, he read an article in ''Boys Life'' about the adventures of reporters working around the world -- and young Cronkite was hooked,'' said his obituary on the CBS Web site. ''He began working on his high school newspaper and yearbook and in 1933, he entered the University of Texas at Austin to study political science, economics and journalism. He never graduated. He took a part time job at the Houston Post and left college to do what he loved: report.'' http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/07/17/eveningnews/main5170556.shtml

In 1963, it was Cronkite who broke into the soap opera ''As the World Turns'' to announce that the president had been shot -- and later to declare that he had been killed.'' CBS called it a ''defining moment for Cronkite, and for the country. His presence -- in shirtsleeves, slowly removing his glasses to check the time and blink back tears -- captured both the sense of shock, and the struggle for composure, that would consume America and the world over the next four days.''

One of Cronkite's enthusiasms was the space race. In 1969, when America sent a man to the moon, he couldn't contain himself. ''Go baby, go.'' he said as Apollo XI took off. He ended up performing what critics described as ''Walter to Walter'' coverage of the mission -- staying on the air for 27 of the 30 hours that astronauts Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong were on the moon. In 2006, NASA honored Cronkite by giving him their Ambassador of Exploration Award. ''His marathon, live coverage of the first moon landing brought the excitement and impact of the historic event into the homes of millions of Americans and observers around the world,'' NASA said in a news release announcing the award. Cronkite was the first non-astronaut and only NASA outsider to receive the award. http://www.arrl.org/?artid=6130 .

Steve Mendelsohn, W2ML, was Cronkite's radio engineer at CBS for many years. ''I had many chances to discuss my favorite hobby, ham radio, with 'the world's most trusted anchor man,''' he told the ARRL. ''Gradually, his interest increased, but on finding that he had to pass a Morse code test, he balked, saying it was too hard for him; however, he told me he had purchased a receiver and listened to the Novice bands every night for a few minutes. At the CBS Radio Network, Walter would arrive 10 minutes before we went on the air to read his script aloud, make corrections for his style of grammar and just 'get in the mood' to do the show. In those days Rich Moseson, W2VU, was the producer of a show called ''In the News,'' a 3 minute television show for children voiced by CBS Correspondent Christopher Glenn. On this day, Rich was at the Broadcast Center to record Chris' voice for his show and had dropped by my control room to discuss some upcoming ARRL issues.'' At the time, Mendelsohn was the ARRL Hudson Division Director.

''When Walter walked into the studio, I started to set the show up at the behest of our director, Dick Muller, WA2DOS,'' Mendelsohn recalled. ''In setting up the tape recorders, I had to send tone to them and make sure they were all at proper level. Having some time, I grabbed ''The New York Times'' and started sending code with the tone key on the audio console. For 10 minutes I sent code and noticed Walter had turned his script over and was copying it. We went to air, as we did every day, at 4:50 PM and after we were off, Walter brought his script into the control room. Neatly printed on the back was the text I had sent with the tone key. Rich and I looked at the copy, he nodded, and I told Walter that he had just passed the code test. He laughed and asked when the formal test was, but I reminded him that it took two general class licensees to validate the test and he had just passed the code. Several weeks later he passed the written test and the FCC issued him KB2GSD.''

Mendelsohn helped Cronkite make his first Amateur Radio contact: ''Having passed the licensing test, Walter was now ready to get on the air. His first QSO was on 10 meters about 28.390 MHz. He was nervous and I called him on the phone to talk him through his first experience. As we talked on the air, a ham from the Midwest came on and called me. Acknowledging him, I asked the usual questions about where he was from, wanting to give Walter a bit of flavor of what the hobby was about. I turned it over to Walter, and following his introduction, the gentleman in the Midwest said, 'That's the worst Walter Cronkite imitation I've ever heard.' I suggested that maybe it was Walter and the man replied, 'Walter Cronkite is not even a ham, and if he was, he certainly wouldn't be here on 10 meters.' Walter and I laughed for weeks at that one.''

In 2007, ARRL Hudson Division Director Frank Fallon, N2FF, presented Cronkite with the ARRL President's Award. This award, created in 2003 by the ARRL Board of Directors, recognizes an ARRL member or members who ''have shown long-term dedication to the goals and objectives of ARRL and Amateur Radio'' and who have gone the extra mile to support individual League programs and goals. Cronkite was selected to receive the award in April 2005 in recognition of his outstanding support of the ARRL and Amateur Radio by narrating the videos ''Amateur Radio Today'' and ''The ARRL Goes to Washington'' (http://www.arrl.org/pio/VTS-video.wmv .) ''It was quite a thrill to make this presentation to Cronkite,'' Fallon said. ''He has long been recognized as the 'most trusted man in America,' so linking our causes to his face, name and voice has been a great help.''

Cronkite is the recipient of a Peabody Award, the William White Award for Journalistic Merit, an Emmy Award from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, the George Polk Journalism Award and a Gold Medal from the International Radio and Television Society. In 1981, during his final three months on the CBS Evening News, Cronkite received 11 major awards, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom. In 1985, he became the second newsman, after Edward R. Murrow, to be selected for the Television Hall of Fame.

A private memorial service was scheduled for July 23 in New York City. Cronkite will be cremated and his remains buried in Missouri next to his wife Betsy, who passed away in 2005. A public memorial service will be held within the next month at Avery Fisher Hall at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting donations to the Walter and Betsy Cronkite Foundation through the Austin Community Foundation (http://www.austincommunityfoundation.org/ ), which will distribute contributions to various charities the couple supported.

As Cronkite said on March 6, 1981, concluding his final broadcast as anchorman: ''Old anchormen, you see, don't fade away, they just keep coming back for more. And that's the way it is.''

-- ARRL Bulletin ARLX010

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OARS Net Check-ins

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


Net control station reporting for the month was Rod, KI7CQ. 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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Washington State DNR Site Repeater Questions

No doubt many of you have heard reports that the Washington State Department of Natural Resources has a plan to sell off some of their mountain top assets (towers, buildings and equipment -- not the land) to a commercial company or companies. The reports are true, and members of the ARRL Western Washington Section Staff have been working with DNR and some legislators since the end of June, to determine just what impact this move will have on Amateur Radio repeaters located on DNR sites.

The DNR issue touches more than just Amateur Radio repeaters; Washington State Patrol, many county sheriffs and other agencies who lease space from DNR, will be impacted, making this more than an Amateur Radio concern. The selling off of State of Washington assets in order to raise funds to help budgets seems to make the matter a taxpayer concern.

The time is coming when we will ask you all to get involved on behalf of Amateur Radio. But for now, just get prepared. Find the numbers and addresses for the legislators who represent the district you live in and be prepared to get involved in a letter writing and phone call campaign.

At this time, there is a statute on the books that provides for funds from the legislature, to fund all of the DNR site leases for repeaters used for emergency communications, except for $100.00 per year. Of course, this law can be amended by the same body -- but as I said, it is there now, so at this time nothing changes.

More information will be forthcoming in the next few weeks, so stand by and be prepared to help.

If you have any further questions don't hesitate to contact me at: k7cex@arrl.org


Jim Pace, K7CEX

ARRL Section Manager, Western Washington

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True vs. Magnetic

The ARRL's very own Doctor, author of the popular QST column "The Doctor Is IN," answers a question from his mailbag:

Question: Jeff Freedman, K7JF, of Gig Harbor, Washington, asks: I am setting up my beam antenna for the first time. I understand there is a true north and a magnetic north (or south for the Southern Hemisphere). What is the difference between true and magnetic? For which of the two should my beam be initially calibrated? If magnetic north, how do I know where to set the beam?

The Doctor Answers: Magnetic north is the direction a compass needle points to, while true north is the direction to the Earth's northerly rotational axis point. They are indeed different in most places, and the difference is different for each spot on Earth. It also changes over time. The difference is referred to as magnetic variation on nautical charts and as magnetic declination in some other venues.

NOAA's National Geophysical Data Center provides information on the nature of this phenomenon as well as maps showing the correction http://www.ngdc.noaa.gov/geomag/declination.shtml. For example, at my station location in Connecticut, in 1981 the magnetic variation was 13 degrees west with an annual increase of 4 minutes. That means in 2009, it should be a bit less than 16 degrees. If you look at the US map on the above Web site you will see that they have it near the -15 degrees line.

In addition to the Web site, you can find your variation on any nautical chart of a location near your station, on any coast and geodetic survey map or call your town engineer. To convert magnetic north readings from your compass to true north, subtract if the variation is westerly (negative on the NOAA map), add if easterly.

Conceptually, either a true or magnetic reference could be used, as long as you keep track and convert everything to the same basis. All propagation programs that I am aware of give bearings with respect to true north, so I would suggest using true bearings on your rotator controller.

-- from The ARRL Bulletin

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