Watts News

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

 December 2000
Edited by George Lanning  KB6LE 

In this issue:

  •  ARRL's first continuing education course fills promptly
  •  Minutes of OARS Meeting November 23, 2000
  •  OARS Net check-ins
  •  Updated RACES Plan
  •  The Vice President's Column
  •  The Big Project attracting big donations
  •  FCC seeks to require FCC Registration Number
  •  Treasurer's Report
  •  Clever Husband
  •  A Better Ballot?
  •  The Party
  •  Rudolf to Blitzen
  •  President signs CB enforcement bill
  •  Science

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    ARRL's first continuing education course fills promptly

    NEWINGTON, CT, Dec 15, 2000 -- Sorry, but this class is filled! All "seats" for the ARRL's introductory-level on-line emergency communications course were taken within 24 hours of opening registration. ARRL Certification Specialist Dan Miller, K3UFG, announced today that registration for the ARRL's new on-line Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Course has closed. 

    The ARRL is the first organization to offer a Web-based Amateur Radio Emergency Communications course that qualifies for continuing education course credit. Students lucky enough to get registered have up to eight weeks to complete the interactive course, Level I: Introduction to Emergency Communications. The ARRL will award a certificate bearing a handsome, distinctive logo to those completing the course. The logo may be displayed on QSL cards or stationery. 

    Starting in 2001, ARRL will offer its on-line course as an in-person class to be held at various sites throughout the US. Advanced courses in emergency communications also will become available next year.

    These include Level II: NCS and Liaison Training and Level III: Emergency Communications Management/Administration Issues. 

    Miller says he'll announce registration for future course offerings within the next few weeks. He also will maintain a file with the names and e-mail addresses of those requesting prior notification. Anyone wishing to be added should send name, call sign and e-mail address to CCE@arrl.org.

    Many individuals and organizations, including Red Cross national officials, have expressed keen interest in the course. In the imitation-is-the-sincerest-form-of-flattery department, REACT International has designed a similar course based on the ARRL's and tailored specifically to its members' needs -- but the REACT course is not available on-line. 

    The ARRL Board of Directors approved the development and implementation of the self-education Continuing Education and Certification Program for radio amateurs at its January meeting. The program is aimed at inspiring amateurs to continue to acquire technical knowledge and operating expertise beyond that required to become licensed. 

    For more information on the ARRL Certification and Continuing Education Program, contact ARRL Certification Specialist Dan Miller, K3UFG. 

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    Minutes of OARS Meeting November 23, 2000

    The meeting was called to order at 19:13.

    There were 17 members attending. The members introduced themselves. There was one guest in attendance: Ed Bruette N7NVP.

    There was a brief discussion on the January road rally dinner -- time and date to follow.

    There was a brief discussion on the APRS meeting to be held in January in Longview. Four members indicated they would be attending.

    Lee, KI7SS spoke about the ARRL points earning program and indicated that the particulars would be published to the membership. He also spoke about a bit of legislation being pushed by Pam Roach that deals with standards for the installation of towers used by amateurs in Washington State. There is additional info at http://www.hamtowerlaw.com

    Gard, KF6GAQ stated that he had found out that Thurston County has no restrictions on the installation of a tower.

    A motion was initiated and passed that there should be no meeting of OARS in the month of December.

    It was decided to obtain two tables at the Mike and Key Flea Market next year. Lee, KI7SS, will coordinate this event.

    The business meeting ended at 19:45.

    Ed Bruette, N7NVP gave an interesting talk on ongoing changes to ARES/RACES. 

    The meeting adjourned at 21:00.

    -- Dan Crane, KB7DFL

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    OARS Net check-ins

    The following stations checked in on the OARS General Information Net on November 28 or December 5, or both:

        AA7YD   AB7NE   AB7PS   K7CEZ
        K7KIP   K7RIT   K7TAG   KA4VVA
        KC7FEE  KC7LA   KD6MNA  KD7ECC
        KI7SS   N7AGG   N7EIM   N7JHJ
        N7WW    NK7EIZ  W3GE    W3GEE
        W7DOY   W7SAY   W7SIX   W7SS

    * Net Control Stations

    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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    Updated RACES Plan

    The state RACES Plan has been updated and is available on the web through the Washington State Emergency Management site: http://WWW.WA.GOV/WSEM/. There is a menu on the left side of the page: select Publications, then Plans, then RACES Plan. Printed out it amounts to 22 pages of text. There is much additional information regarding emergency preparedness. 

    - Allan Jones, W7SAY

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    The Vice President's Column

    -- from the new V.P., elected without recounts!

    January's meeting should be a good one, with a panel discussion scheduled to wax eloquent on the topic of HF antennas. Many of us, newly minted into the General and Extra ranks, can use some direction here as we make our first foray's into the HF world. Which antennas work best? What if I must use "low-profile" antennas to avoid the ire of the homeowner's association? What about the idea of using mobile antennas? How do I know my antenna is working efficiently? Should I invest in a tuner, and if so, are there any issues to watch out for? I see people with MFJ antenna testers. -- do they provide so much bang for the buck that I should have one? The list of unanswered questions goes on and on! 

    We've got car rallies scheduled for February and March. I wrote an article about ham radio and car rallies and sent it to QST, who said "send us some pictures..." Of course I didn't have any! I need some photographer-hams to help rectify this situation, and we'll shoot for -- maybe a cover! Who can help? 

    There are two ham classes coming up, one in February, one in March. Both on Saturdays; contact me for details! Tell everyone you know! 73!

    Lee Chambers, KI7SS
    (360) 866-0800

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    "The Big Project" attracting big donations

    Before it's even officially off the ground, "The Big Project" -- the educational initiative of ARRL President Jim Haynie, W5JBP -- already has attracted a few substantial donations plus several smaller ones. The project, known formally as "The ARRL Amateur Radio Education Project," is aimed at providing a turnkey Amateur Radio curriculum at the middle school level plus resources and equipment to bring it to life for youngsters. 

    "Without asking we've already received approximately $125,000 for the project," Haynie said. "This tells me people are very serious about this initiative." Haynie has been courting corporate dollars and seeking foundation grants for the project.

    So far, the project has received two substantial donations of stock from anonymous donors. Since the ARRL is a 501(c)(3) organization, donations are tax deductible -- at the appreciated value in the case of securities. 

    In addition, the ARRL Foundation has pledged $50,000 in start-up funds for the project. A formal check presentation is scheduled for the January ARRL Board of Directors meeting.

    As conceived by Haynie and under the guidance of ARRL Vice President Kay Craigie, WT3P, the ARRL Amateur Radio Education Project will work directly with teachers who use Amateur Radio as a teaching strategy in the classroom. "The goal is to improve the quality of education for kids by providing educationally valid techniques involving Amateur Radio for teaching all sorts of subjects -- science, geography, languages, speech," Craigie said. "Kids get the hobby of a lifetime and preparation for good careers -- that's the ultimate goal."

    Craigie said the project's philosophy is that Amateur Radio can be a "powerful resource" for teachers in attaining their educational goals -- whether or not licensing is involved. "It's about improving education."

    Growth in the amateur ranks could be a delayed effect of the program. "Some children will want to study for licenses immediately," Craigie said. "Others will return to the idea in later life." If nothing else, those exposed to ham radio through The Big Project "will remember Amateur Radio as a good thing that made school more fun," she said.

    "These kids who have good school experiences with ham radio will grow up to be our neighbors, zoning board members, and political officials," Craigie said. "Amateur Radio can never have too many friends."

    Haynie has been testing out some of the program's concepts at the DeGolyer Elementary School in the Dallas area. "The kids are like sponges," Haynie said of the sixth graders involved. "They learn it faster than we even want them to."

    Donations are encouraged to the ARRL Amateur Radio Education Project, c/o Barry Shelley, N1VXY, 225 Main St, Newington, CT 06111. Contact Shelley, bshelley@arrl.org. 860-594-0212, to discuss details.

    -- from the ARRL Letter, Electronic Edition

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    FCC seeks to require FCC Registration Number

    ARRL Bulletin 48

    The FCC has proposed requiring everyone it does business with to obtain and use an FCC Registration Number -- or FRN. Many amateurs registered with the Universal Licensing System already have been assigned a 10-digit FRN by the Commission Registration System -- or CORES. The FCC has not made its use mandatory, however.

    The FCC says requiring individuals and entities to obtain an FRN will help it to better track and manage the collection of fees. The FCC proposes requiring that FRNs be provided with any filings that require payment of a fee, such as the vanity fee for amateurs. FCC Form 159 has been modified to accommodate this requirement, the FCC says.

    The FCC is proposing to reject filings requiring an FRN that do not include the number. "These proposed rules would make the use of the FRN mandatory in certain circumstances so that anyone not yet assigned an FRN or who has not yet obtained one must obtain one," the FCC said in its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (MD Docket 00-205), released December 1.

    An individual does not have to hold an FCC license to obtain an FRN. The FCC says the information collected by CORES includes the "entity name and type,'' Taxpayer Identification Number or TIN -- typically a Social Security Number for an individual, contact address and e-mail address. CORES information is not made public.

    Comments on the FCC rule-making notice are due 30 days from the date of publication in The Federal Register. Reply comments are due by 45 days from the date of publication.

    The FCC began implementing CORES earlier this year. CORES registration eventually will replace Universal Licensing System, or ULS, registration. More information on CORES is available by visiting the FCC Web site, http://www.fcc.gov and clicking on the CORES registration link.

    -- ARRL

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    Treasurer's Report

    As of 10/31/00

    GENERAL FUND (checking account)

    Previous balance   $ 3,439.89
      Income                 3.41
      Expenses           1,864.79
    Ending balance       1,578.51

    REPEATER / PACKET FUND (savings account)

    Previous balance     $ 903.99
      Income                 0.00
      Expenses               0.00
    Ending balance         903.99

    -- Ed Fitzgerald, N7WW, Treasurer

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    Clever Husband

    Honesty is the better policy

    One evening after work, a man drove his secretary home after she had a little too much to drink at a party. Although nothing happened, he decided not to mention it to his wife.

    Later that night, the man and his wife were driving to a movie when he spotted a high-heeled shoe hidden under the passenger seat. Pointing to something out the passenger window to distract his wife, he picked up the shoe and tossed it out of his window.

    They arrived at the theater a short time later and were about to get out of the car when his wife asked, "Honey, have you seen my other shoe?"

    -- from Joke of the Day

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    A Better Ballot?

    -- contributed by Dave LeFevre, KC7FEC

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    The Party

    OARS is not holding its traditional Christmas party this year, but you might want to crash this one:

    The top scientists in the world were invited to a Christmas party and they all replied stating whether or not they could attend...

    -- from ZL3AI via packet

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    Rudolf to Blitzen

    According to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, while both male and female reindeer grow antlers in the summer each year (the only members of the deer family, Cervidae, to have females do so). Male reindeer drop their antlers at the beginning of winter, usually late November to mid December.

    Female reindeer, however, retain their antlers till after they give birth in the spring. Therefore, according to every historical rendition depicting Santa's reindeer, every single one of them, from Rudolf to Blitzen -- had to be a female. 

    We should've known this when they were able to find their way. 

    -- found on the Internet

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    President signs CB enforcement bill

    President Bill Clinton has signed legislation that permits the enforcement of certain FCC Citizens Band regulations by state and local governments. Amateur Radio operators are exempt from the provisions of the law, now PL 106-521.

    Congressional lawmakers saw the measure as a way to give a voice to those experiencing radio frequency interference resulting from illegal CB radio operation. The FCC will not yield its authority to regulate Citizens Band or other radio services, however.

    In short, the measure authorizes states and localities to enact laws that prohibit the use of unauthorized CB equipment -- consistent with FCC regulations. This would include the use of high-power linear amplifiers or equipment that was not FCC-certificated.

    FCC-licensed stations in any radio service -- including the Amateur Service -- are excluded from such state or local enforcement, and state or local laws enacted under this legislation must identify this exemption. 

    The bill -- HR.2346 is the House version; it was S.2767 in the Senate -- actually is the old Senate "Feingold bill" from several sessions ago. The bill's sponsor, Rep Vernon Ehlers of Michigan says local hams asked him to support the bill because of the bad rap they were getting from illegal CBers using high-power linear amplifiers that resulted in TV and telephone interference while the CBers involved hid behind federal preemption.

    As did Feingold before him, Ehlers asked the ARRL to review his measure to ensure that it would not unintentionally harm Amateur Radio. A copy of the new legislation is available on the ARRL Web site at: www.arrl.org/news/stories/2000/11/29/3/cbbill. html

    -- from the ARRL Letter

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    German scientists dug 50 meters down and discovered small pieces of copper. After studying these pieces for a long time, Germany announced that the ancient Germans 25,000 years ago had a nation-wide telephone net.

    Naturally, the Russian government was not that easily impressed. They ordered their own scientists to dig even deeper. 100 meters down they found small pieces of glass and they soon announced that the ancient Russians 35,000 years ago already had a nation-wide fiber net.

    American scientists were outraged by this. They dug 200 meters down and found absolutely nothing. They happily concluded that the ancient Americans 55,000 years ago had cellular telephones.

    Remember to pay your 2001 dues -- $20 ($25 for family)

    Ed will accept them now!

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