ARRL Special Service ClubWatts News

Monthly Newsletter of the

Olympia Amateur Radio Society

P.O. Box 2861, Olympia, WA 98507

  December 2003
Edited by George Lanning  KB6LE 

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From the Oval ShackAnother year has rolled around, and this is my last Oval Shack column because the new leadership team takes over next month. I have enjoyed the last two years as the President of OARS, but felt that it was time for the club to have a new leadership team. I wish the best to Leroy, N7EIE and Duane, WB7ROZ and know that they will do a great job of running the club for the next year.

At last month's meeting (which was held in Building 3, Courtroom 2, thanks to the hospitality of Kip, K7KIP) we discussed BPL (Broadband over Power Line), also called PLC (Power Line Communications) because there was a Washington State Senate hearing on the subject on Thursday, December 4.

Our Western Washington Section Manager, Ed Bruette, N7NVP had been asked to make a short presentation to provide the Amateur Radio viewpoint on this subject. Besides Ed, there were five (5) vendors trying to sell equipment and two (2) PUDs (Public Utility Districts) who want to deploy the service making presentations, so Ed definitely had an uphill battle to slay the dragons. Ed wanted to convey his thanks to all the OARS members who showed up to support him during the presentation.

For those of you who don't know, BPL is a plan by power companies to use the local power lines to provide broadband Internet access using the spectrum from ~1.7 MHz to ~30 MHz. As you can see, this covers our entire HF spectrum. Currently they are limited by the power limitations of FCC Part 15 devices, but are already looking for a way to increase the power to get additional reach and speed.

These locals are then brought back to a hub/router where they are concentrated and put on a fiber optic line. In order to get the concentrations necessary, they must bridge the RF over the transformers which lower the voltage to provide individual premises with power. This is all new equipment and technology for power companies in an area with which they have no experience.

At the national level, the equipment and service providers have already asked the FCC to make this an unregulated service and outside their domain of interest. At the state level, they are asking for legislation to let them offer the service.

On Thursday, December 4, 2003, (the same day as Ed's presentation) FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) filed comments with the FCC stating that this would be a threat to the FNARS (FEMA National Radio System), which will help us in our efforts.

We have other allies who have also cautioned against rush to deploy this service, so there is hope!

I suggest that you all take some time to familiarize yourself with the threat of this technology and support the ARRL's efforts to protect our spectrum from the threat. You can go to the ARRL website http://www.arrl.org/news/bandthreat/ to get more information.

Happy Holidays and the best to you and yours in 2004!

73, -- Ken Dahl, K7TAG

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From the Wings of the Oval Shack

Greetings from the bustling metropolis of Yelm. Yeah right.

My name is Leroy Smith. I've had the call N7EIE for about a year now, and have been a proud member of OARS for just as long. It was my privilege and honor to be elected as the OARS President for 2004 at the October meeting. Thank you.

As Ken and Lee have indicated, I also think that new blood in an organization occasionally can be a good thing. That would be me. And Duane Braford (WB7ROZ) is also new to his elected office as our Vice President. Frankly, if Duane hadn't stepped up into the Vice President's office I would have been hesitant to accept the office of President. But with him at my back, we can handle it! He is an amazing ham radio operator.

A little about me: I was first licensed as WN1RPV in Rhode Island in 1971, then WG6JES and KG6JES in Guam, then WA6UAZ in San Diego in the late seventies. I was president of the South Bay Amateur Radio Society (SOBARS) in Imperial Beach, CA in 1979. Being in the Navy, I then started going to sea on the USS Constellation off and on until I retired from the Navy in 1989.

I moved into an ungrounded apartment next to a trunk power line in 1985 and couldn't hear anything on HF for seventeen years. Then my wife Carol and I bought our retirement house in Yelm last year, and I am back up on the air with General class licence N7EIE. I couldn't GET a better CW call!

Right now I only operate HF CW. I am very active in the Washington State (Section) Net, and have the RN7 liaison slot on Saturday nights. I am also TCC station Golf on Monday nights. Keeps me busy, and outa bars.

I cannot presently hit the OARS repeater with my 5 watts from down at the Nisqually River bank. We need a Net Control Station for the 2 meter info net on Tuesday nights. Please call me at (360)458-8286 if you can help out.

I will be starting up a slow speed (10 WPM) CW net for the Olympia Amateur Radio Society on Tuesday nights at 2000 local on 3.680 MHZ. I will serve as net control, and we will use normal CW net procedures. Notice that frequency is in the Novice band, so hopefully any Novices or Tech Plus licensees can QNI. Hopefully we can also get a liaison from the ARES and/or OARS info net on VHF to the OARS Net on 80 meters.

One of the main things I like about OARS is the inclusiveness I have seen at the meetings and events. I realize VHF operating is a large part of this society, but there is room for all aspects of Amateur Radio operations in OARS. And I hope we keep our focus on public service as well.

Thank you for your confidence in Duane and me in the coming year. Let us make it fun!


-- Leroy Smith N7EIE

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Treasurer's Report

As of 11/30/03

GENERAL FUND (checking account)

    Previous balance   $ 803.25

        Income             0.31

        Expenses           5.00

    Ending balance       798.56

REPEATER / PACKET FUND (savings account)

    Previous balance   $ 972.10

        Income             0.00

        Expenses           0.00

    Ending balance       972.10

-- Ed Fitzgerald, N7WW, Treasurer

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OARS Hams join in the BPL battle

Amateur Radio in Action

From: Ed Bruette

To: Ken Dahl, K7TAG, Lee Chambers, KI7SS

Ken and Lee,

You guys can take a bow! The first note below is from the CEO of the League. Congratulations and thanks. It would have been much more difficult without your efforts.

73, Ed, N7NVP

From: Sumner, Dave, K1ZZ

To: Bruette, Edward (SM WWA)

Subject: Amateur Radio in Action column

That's excellent, Ed. It speaks very well of the status of amateur radio in Washington that you were asked to appear at the hearing. Congratulations to all who were involved.

73, Dave Sumner, K1ZZ

-----Original Message-----

From: Bruette, Edward (SM WWA)

To: Hassler, Dave K7CCC

I've attached a couple of pictures taken at a WA State Senate hearing on BPL. The first was just prior to the hearing while I was doing last minute preparations for my presentation and the second was during the presentation. The caption for the 2nd one is:

SM Ed Bruette, N7NVP, making a BPL (Broadband over Power Line) presentation to the WA State Senate Technology and Communications Committee. Dan Crane, KB7DFL and Bob Goodnow, N7JHJ (also pictured), and Bill Vodall, WA7NWP (not pictured) were in the audience. Photo taken by SGL Lee Chambers, KI7SS

I was called by William Bridges, the senior staffer for the Senate Technology and Communications Committee, mid-Tuesday morning and informed there would be a hearing on BPL Thursday afternoon at 1400. He wanted to offer me an opportunity to make a 15 minute presentation of the Amateur Radio point of view. The reason he called was because he received an inquiry from Gloria Sharp, WA7GYD in EWA, asking if Amateur Radio was going to be represented at the hearing. The purpose of the hearing was to educate the committee on the BPL technology. The agenda was:

Part I -- What is broadband over power lines and how does it work? Where is the technology being used?

Part II -- BPL examples in Washington

As you can see, I was after the industry. My presentation was done with the aid of PowerPoint and outlined the Part 15 device limitations, the interference issues both to and from Amateur Radio, BPL trials in Europe and Japan, and the other users of the spectrum who will be impacted by interference from BPL. I concluded with a quote from the NTIA comment to the FCC NOI that indicates BPL is a promising technology, but before deploying BPL the existing licensed users of the affected spectrum must be protected.

I included the first 37 seconds of Ed Hare's BPL video in the presentation, along with a NTIA spectrum allocation chart that I modified to show the potential loss of spectrum. The chart is attached as a jpg.

The committee did not ask any questions after my presentation. The non-verbal feedback I got from the committee was positive, as was the feedback from the four Hams in the audience.

I was pleasantly surprised to hear the industry say the powerline is an antenna. Equally surprising was an admission by the Chelan Co. PUD that they have gotten letters from local Hams.

Ed Hare has a copy of the PowerPoint file if you want to review it.

I'll be glad to answer any questions you may have. 360-698-0917 (H) or 360-340-0552 (Cell).

73, Ed Bruette, N7NVP

WWA Section Manager

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Christmas Observations

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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 Nov. 25, Dec. 2, or Dec. 9:


The net meets at 7:30 every Tuesday evening on the OARS 147.36 MHz repeater. All Hams are invited to check in.

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Naval Communications

"Skipper," the sailor said to his captain as he saluted, "A special message just came in for you from the admiral. I have it right here."

"Read it to me," the captain ordered.

The sailor began reading nervously, "You are without a doubt the most idiotic, lame-brained officer ever to command a ship in the United States Navy."

The skipper responded, "Have that communication decoded at once!"

-- from David ZL3AI, via packet

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New Universal Licensing System interface

The FCC on December 14 will unveil a new on-line filing interface for its Universal Licensing System (ULS), on the web at, http://wireless.fcc.gov/uls, which includes the Amateur Service. To implement the changes, the ULS on-line filing system will be down from 12 AM EST Saturday, December 13, until 10 AM EST Sunday, December 14.

Among other features, the ULS's new look will include easier-to-read on-screen forms that guide users through filing and simplify such routine tasks as applying for license renewal, address change or vanity call sign. The FCC says the introduction of its new system, called "ULS License Manager," concludes phase one of an ongoing ULS overhaul by the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau.

ULS License Manager will be compatible with most major Web browsers and computer platforms and no longer will require downloading Java and Java Script files. An FCC staffer involved with implementing ULS License Manager notes that all features may not be in place when the system debuts.

The ULS will require all filers to log into the system using an FCC Registration Number (FRN) and Commission Registration System (CORES) password. Taxpayer Identification Numbers (TINs) no longer will be accepted for log-in purposes, the FCC said.

Once the new system is up and running, all licenses and applications in the ULS database will be converted to the new ULS License Manager filing environment.

There's also a new paper version of FCC Form 605, dated December 2003. One change is that Form 605 no longer requests a date of birth and will only accept an FRN and CORES password. There are no Amateur Service-related changes to any Form 605 schedules. The FCC says Amateur Service applicants may continue to use the March 2001 (or later) edition of Form 605, although it encourages use of the newest version. The new FCC Form 605 now is available via the FCC Web site at http://www.fcc.gov/Forms/Form605/605.html.

To assist with any ULS issues after the changeover, the Technical Support Hotline staff will be available Sunday, December 14, from 10 AM until 6 PM EST. Normal hours are weekdays (except holidays) from 8 AM until 6 PM Eastern Time. Technical Support is available via the FCC Web site at http://esupport.fcc.gov, or telephone 877-480-3201 (TTY 202-414-1255).

ULS licensing support and forms information is available weekdays (except holidays) from 8 AM until 5:30 PM Eastern Time via e-mail at ulshelp@fcc.gov, or telephone 888-CALLFCC (225-5322).

-- ARRL Bulletin ARLB071

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Once upon a time, God was missing for six days. Eventually, Michael the archangel found him, resting on the seventh day. He inquired of God, "Where have you been?" God sighed a deep sigh of satisfaction, and proudly pointed downwards through the clouds, "Look, Michael. Look what I've made."

Archangel Michael looked puzzled, and said, "What is it?" "It's a planet," replied God, "and I've put life on it. I'm going to call it Earth and it's going to be a great place of balance."

"Balance?" Inquired Michael, still confused.

God explained, pointing to different parts of earth . . . "For example, northern Europe will be a place of great opportunity and wealth, while southern Europe is going to be poor. Over there I've placed a continent of white people, and over there is a continent of black people," God continued, pointing to different countries. "This one will be extremely hot, while this one will be very cold and covered in ice."

The Archangel, impressed by God's work, then pointed to a land mass and said, "What's that one?"

"Ah," said God.. "That's Washington State -- the most glorious place on earth. There are beautiful streams, hills, and forests ... The people from Washington State are going to be handsome, modest, intelligent and humorous, and they are going to be found traveling the world. They will be extremely sociable, hardworking, and high-achieving, and they will be known throughout the world as diplomats, and carriers of peace ."

Michael gasped in wonder and admiration, but then proclaimed, "What about balance, God? You said there would be balance!"

God smiled, "Wait until you see the idiots I put in the other Washington."

-- from Gene Mouncier

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Time to pay your dues

All OARS membership dues are renewed on January 1. Please remember to make a timely payment. Renewal information is printed on the back cover of this newsletter.

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OARS Potluck Planning

Through the efforts of Lee Lininger, we have secured the use of the Olympia Search and Rescue (OSAR) Building on the Yelm Highway for our annual Potluck, which we decided to do in the first half of January. That means we would either do it on January 10th or 17th. I think that we should do the 10th, but would like to get a feel of how many would attend on either date. We need to do this in the next couple of days to let OSAR know our plans.

I am also thinking that we should plan a late afternoon start time (~16:00?) to accommodate those who don't like to drive or stay out late in the evening.

Let me know soon what your thoughts are so that we can begin planning.

-- Ken Dahl, K7TAG

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New time for WSEN

The WA State Emergency Net (3985 kHz.) will move to 1730 PDT on Mondays. The reason NM John Rollman, KJ7SI made this decision is because the 75 meter band conditions seem to go to change significantly for the worse about 1800.

Unfortunately, the WARTS net is shifting to the same time slot. We recognize this will put some folks in the position of trying to do 2 nets at the same time but it can't be helped. Hopefully you will be able to find a way to work out the time conflict on Monday evenings.

The Saturday morning net will remain at 0900 PDT. We have had to shift to the 40 meter frequency (7245 kHz.) at least once on Saturday, and we may have to resort to that tactic again -- so remain flexible.

Since I have the key down, I'd like to take this opportunity to invite those of you who are not active in your local ARES and/or RACES team to join us and support the community with emergency communications. Please let me know if you need contact information for your local team.

-- Ed, N7NVP

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New Terror Threat

At New York's Kennedy airport today, an individual later discovered to be a public school teacher was arrested trying to board a flight while in possession of a ruler, a protractor, a setsquare, a slide rule, and a calculator.

At a morning press conference, Attorney general John Ashcroft said he believes the man is a member of the notorious al-gebra movement. He is being charged by the FBI with carrying weapons of math instruction. "Al-gebra is a fearsome cult," Ashcroft said. "They desire solutions by means and extremes, and sometimes go off on tangents." They use secret code names like "x" and "y" and refer to themselves as "unknowns," but we have determined they belong to a common denominator of the axis of medieval with coordinates in every country. "As the Greek philanderer Isosceles used to say, there are 3 sides to every triangle," Ashcroft declared.

When asked to comment on the arrest, President Bush said, "If God had wanted us to have better weapons of math instruction, He would have given us more fingers and toes."

"I am gratified that our government has given us a sine that it is intent on protracting us from these math-dogs who are willing to disintegrate us with calculus disregard. Murky statisticians love to inflict plane on every sphere of influence," the President said, adding: "Under the circumferences, we must differentiate their root, make our point, and draw the line." President Bush warned, "These weapons of math instruction have the potential to decimal everything in their math on a scalene never before seen unless we become exponents of a Higher Power and begin to factor-in random facts of vertex."

Attorney General Ashcroft said, "As our Great Leader would say, read my ellipse. Here is one principle he is certain of: though they continue to multiply, their days are numbered as the hypotenuse tightens around their necks."

-- from David ZL3AI, via packet

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Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

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