Olympia Amateur Radio Society

ARRL Special Service ClubWatts News

Monthly Newsletter of the

Olympia Amateur Radio Society

P.O. Box 2861, Olympia, WA 98507


  December 2007
Edited by George Lanning  KB6LE 

Table of Contents


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From the Oval ShackPresident's Message

We sure are ending this year with a lot of activity! Good thing we do not have a meeting scheduled for December, we need the month to rest up. I would like to thank everyone for the tremendous year we had. I really had fun being the President this year. Our nets are well attended, our meetings have had very positive feedback. We have things we need to work on, but I am convinced we are headed in the right direction. I appreciate the support the Board gave me. We are very lucky to have so many knowledgeable folks so willing to share.

On a personal note I would like to thank all of you who called, and or assisted me during this last week. As many may know the flood did not spare my office in Centralia. I think when we put the office back together we need to put life jackets under the chairs -- with a blow up raft. Hopefully we will never have that happen again.

We did have the opportunity to use our skills as hams to assist the community. The Department of Emergency Management activated the Thurston ARES/RACES TEAM. The mission was to provide radio support to back up the incident command van located at the Rochester fire station, with the landing zone, search and rescue teams and the Emergency operating center in Olympia. Call outs were also responded to which sent us to Elma on a mutual aid assignment, to assist in communications support. The mission in Elma was to assist the Army, Red Cross and EOC communicate. Telephone lines failed, cell phones were unreliable. Ham radio again came through when all else failed.

As a final note I would like to invite everyone to get involved this coming year. I believe we have an outstanding executive board for next year. I will support them and ask you to do the same. Let's have a great field day, great meetings, great nets; let's have a great year, and let's get out there and have some fun!

-- Bart Tirrell

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Starting in January 2008, OARS monthly meetings will be at the EOC, 2703 Pacific Avenue SE, as the South Bay Fire Station location is no longer available. As you know, the EOC is a high-security building. Please call on an OARS repeater for access; do not ring the 911 center.

-- Lee Chambers, KI7SS

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Northwest US Pounded by Storms, Floods; Hams Across Region Activated

For the past week, the wake of fierce storms have ravaged the Pacific Northwest, killing at least seven people and leading to widespread flooding and mudslides that shut down roads and highways, including Interstate 5; other infrastructure, such as telephone lines and electricity, have been obliterated. The latest of three storms slammed into the state on Monday, December 3, hitting hardest on the Olympic Peninsula, Kitsap County and the southwestern corner of Washington state as well as the northwest corner of Oregon, leaving at least 73,000 residents without power; more than 50,000 were still in the dark Tuesday. Pacific Power said that nearly 36,000 of its customers were still without power on Thursday. The storm overwhelmed a number of sewage treatment plants, allowing tons of raw sewage to spew into Puget Sound.

National Guard troops evacuated residents in Vernonia, Oregon on Tuesday, December 4, and tens of thousands of residents remained without power after the storms struck that state; Vernonia, a mountain timber town of about 2200 residents on the Nehalem River, is about 35 miles northwest of Portland. The town had been largely cut off by landslides that blocked roads into the community, but Guard trucks with high clearance were able to get in late Monday. The governors of Washington and Oregon declared states of emergency, which could speed relief efforts in flood-hit areas.

Throughout it all, Amateur Radio operators were there to help. In Oregon, after a visit Tuesday to Vernonia, Governor Ted Kulongoski said, "I'm going to tell you who the heroes were from the very beginning of this -- the ham radio operators. These people just came in and actually provided a tremendous communication link to us." The Oregon Office of Emergency Management said the radio operators were tireless in their efforts to keep the systems connected. When even state police had difficulty reaching some of their own troops, ham radio worked, setting up networks so emergency officials could communicate and relaying lists of supplies needed in stricken areas.

Amateur Radio's role in again providing communications when other systems were destroyed or overloaded was not missed by the media. Many TV, radio and newspaper items have appeared, praising the hams and noting their service to the communities. ARRL Oregon Section Public Information Coordinator Steve Sanders, KE7JSS, has been responding to many media requests, including an article distributed via the Associated Press. Portland's KATU Channel 2 spotlighted the role Amateur Radio played throughout the storms

In Oregon, ARES is still providing communications to the coast, with more than 60 volunteers working at the coast and many more at points in between. The District One Emergency Radio Network was activated at 8 AM Monday morning and was still in operation as of Thursday, December 6; District One ARES serves Clackamas, Clatsop, Columbia, Multnomah, Tillamook and Washington counties -- the northwest corner of the state. According to Sanders, "We are working closely with the American Red Cross as well as the major hospitals, Heartnet radio network and district-wide emergency managers, including the Oregon Office of Emergency Management in Salem."

ARRL Oregon District One Emergency Coordinator David Kidd, KA7OZO, said, "The Red Cross has set up two shelters in Tillamook County and four in Columbia County. The Columbia County Emergency Center reported that Astoria is without phone service and the outage is expected to remain so for the rest of the week. Columbia County will continue to provide 911 service and relays for Clatsop County. The ham station continues to be operational at the Vernonia Fire Department and has contact with Clatsop and Columbia Counties and is relaying traffic as needed and will support the Red Cross resupply operation in progress."

According to Sally Jones, Administrator for the Columbia 911 Communications District, "The 911 lines that would normally be answered in Seaside and Astoria for callers in Clatsop County were diverted by the phone company to the Columbia 911 Communications Center on a temporary emergency basis. The emergency phone calls are being taken by Columbia 911 staff who are relaying the information via Columbia County and Clatsop County Amateur Radio Emergency Services volunteers to the police fire and emergency medical dispatchers in Clatsop County, who then are activating Clatsop County first responders." Clatsop County's 911 service also went down in the storm, but officials there relied on ham radio operators to transmit messages, including information about people in need.

The National Weather Service reported that flood warnings were issued earlier in the week but cancelled a bit after midnight (PST) Thursday for the Nehalem River near Foss, affecting Clatsop and Tillamook Counties and South Yamhill River at McMinnville, affecting Yamhill County. Flood warnings are still in effect Friday morning for the Tualatin River at Farmington, affecting Washington County. Most rivers across Washington and Oregon have crested and are falling below flood stage. Flooding does continue on a few rivers with record flooding on the Chehalis River in Washington and on the Tualatin River in Oregon.

According to ARRL Oregon Section Manager Bonnie Altus, AB7ZQ, telephone and electric services were slowly coming back as of Thursday evening. "It sounds like some telephones were starting to be restored in the worst hit areas last night and today. Clatsop County got some phones back for a few prefixes last night, and Vernonia started getting some phones back this morning," she said.

"A medical clinic in Vernonia had to be relocated due to flood damage and there are some medically fragile people in the Red Cross shelters there," Altus said. "Where they had this shelter set up, landlines are not readily available and cell phones are not always reliable, so the net is continuing to support them." She said that the ARES net is operating from 6 AM-9 PM daily.

ARRL Western Washington Section Manager Jim Pace, K7CEX, said, "The Washington and Oregon Coast and inland areas of Western Washington were struck by extreme winds (maximum gusts of over 100 miles per hour) and torrential rains. Although none of Western Washington was spared, the counties of Grays Harbor, Pacific and Lewis seemed to be hit the hardest. In Lewis County, where I live, dikes broke allowing three rivers to flow over Interstate 5; most of the cities of Centralia, Chehalis, and Adna were almost completely under water." Rescue operations are being handled with helicopters from the US Coast Guard, National Guard, Navy, King County Sheriff and Air Lift Northwest, Pace said. "On Tuesday, the ham station at Thurston County EOC reported 60 people had been picked off of roof tops so far. Lewis County reported similar situations with nearly 200 folks. Rescue operations will go through the night again tonight."

Pace said that Southwest Washington has been "hit pretty hard. In fact, the flooding has trapped me in my neighborhood. There are several teams working to support assessment and rescue. Sheriff, Coast Guard and Navy helicopters are picking folks off of rooftops and out of destroyed homes. The water has closed Interstate 5 for about 20 miles -- at one point the depth is 9 feet over the pavement."

In Washington, some 130 people had to be rescued from flooded areas by Coast Guard helicopters. Mudslides and floods blocked roads, and Interstate 5, the principal north-south route along the West Coast, was closed near Centralia because of about 10 feet of water over the road. Many schools and government offices were closed for a second day. Mudslides also halted Amtrak passenger train service between Portland and Vancouver, British Columbia.

Mudslides blocked numerous roads and forced an undetermined number of residents to evacuate condominiums, apartments and houses in Seattle, at least nine houses in suburban Burien and several mobile homes in Shelton.

Washington Governor Chris Gregoire, who toured the ravaged region by helicopter Tuesday, touched down at a high school shelter in Chehalis and offered encouragement to the roughly 40 people staying there. She also ordered a plane to deliver food and emergency supplies to the high school in Pe Ell, about 25 miles to the west, because the roads were blocked by water. "It's hard to comprehend 5-10 feet under until you see those houses," Gregoire said. The governor also flew to the water's edge on Interstate 5, which has been shut down since Monday at Centralia because of flooding. On Tuesday, officials said a three mile section of the road was under as much as 10 feet of water from the surging Chehalis River.

Pace said that in Pacific County ARES members have been manning the County Emergency Operations Center at South Bend "almost 24/7. Ham radio has been the only reliable means of communications in the county since the landline and cell phones have been out of service."

The Thurston County Department of Emergency Management activated ARES on Tuesday, December 4 to support ongoing flood evacuation operations in southwest portion of the county. The team staffed the County Emergency Operations Center's radio room in Olympia and manned sites at the Rochester Fire Station, various evacuation centers as well as landing zones for the helicopter rescue teams. "They used Amateur Radio to coordinate resources and limited tactical traffic between sites," Pace said. "Hams were also primary operators on several county radio systems. One ham was stationed at the Rochester helicopter landing zone all day Tuesday, even though he knew his own business was in trouble from the high water and will have to be rebuilt."

Other hams, Pace said, who were not activated, helped in other ways. "At the request of local agencies, some filled sand bags while some manned phones to take damage reports at Seattle's Office of Emergency Management." Some teams have been activated but have not had an opportunity to report. "Others, such as the Lewis County Team -- the area hardest hit by the flood -- were cut off from traveling; however, when the local 147.06 repeater failed, Lewis County hams got on simplex and HF frequencies to check on each other and put themselves on standby for deployment when roads became passable," he said.

Pace praised the amateurs in the Western Washington Section: "They train the way they're going to respond, and they respond the way they are trained. Some will report to duty and never see a microphone, but will make copies, log data, empty wastebaskets, direct vehicle traffic and fill sand bags -- whatever needs to be done -- and never complain once."

The ARRL will update this story on the ARRL Web site <http://www.arrl.org> as more information becomes available. The main priority of the Oregon and Western Washington Section leadership is assisting their served agencies. As they update the ARRL, the information will be posted online.

-- from The ARRL Letter

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From the Mouths of Babes

A boy had reached four without giving up the habit of sucking his thumb, though his mother had tried everything from bribery to reasoning to painting it with lemon juice to discourage the habit. Finally she tried threats, warning her son that, "If you don't stop sucking your thumb, your stomach is going to blow up like a balloon."

Later that day, walking in the park, mother and son saw a pregnant woman sitting on a bench. The four-year-old considered her gravely for a minute, then spoke to her saying, "Uh-oh ... I know what you've been doing."

-- from ajokeaday via internet

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Repeater Control Regulations

The doctor is in

This week, ARRL Letter readers are in luck! The ARRL's very own Doctor, author of the popular QST column "The Doctor Is IN," answers a question from his mailbag:

Question: Bob, W0FES, asks: Can you settle a discussion from our radio club meeting last night regarding the FCC requirement for control of our 2 meter repeater? One position was that, as the result of a change in regulations, our repeater control requirement may be exercised on its input frequency. The other position was that the repeater control requirement must be via either land line or by RF above 222 MHz. Which side is correct?

The Doctor Answers -- For this question we sought the expert opinion of Regulatory Affairs Manager Dan Henderson, N1ND. Dan says neither side has it quite right. While some of the rules changed, the rules still require that you have to be able to control the repeater some way other than via its input frequency. An example of why this is a requirement is that the control operator is responsible to ensure that the repeater is being operated legally and shut it down if it isn't. If someone is violating the rules and has captured the input with their 1500 W signal, you won't be able to shut the repeater down by issuing commands on the input frequency.

The rules change allowed auxiliary stations to operate on the 2 meter band rather than the previous requirement to operate above 222.15 MHz. The rules did not change as far as the ability to properly control the remote station -- in this case, the repeater. The control operator of the repeater must still be able to exercise control of the repeater. All that changed was the ability to use an auxiliary control link on a different frequency band.

Look for "The Doctor Is IN" every month in QST, the official journal of the ARRL.

-- from the ARRL Letter

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Treasurer's Report

As of 11/30/07


    GENERAL FUND (checking account)

        Previous balance     $ 1,356.19

            Income                25.28

            Expenses               0.00

        Ending balance         1,381.47


    REPEATER / PACKET FUND (savings account)

        Previous balance     $ 1,008.29

            Income                 0.00

            Expenses               0.00

        Ending balance         1,008.29


-- Ed Fitzgerald, N7WW, Treasurer

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Learn Chinese in Five Minutes

-- Contributed by Grace Fox

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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 November 6, 13, or 20:


AA7YD AA7ZV AB7AX AB7PS
AJ3N K6EKB K7TAG KB6LE
KC7FEE KC7LA KC7MG KC7OQJ
KD6VPH KD7SQU KD7YXY KE7BBX
KE7EJJ KE7JTU KI7CQ KI7SS
N6TPT N7IVM N7JHJ N7WW
NX6W WB4LWQ WC7I

Net control stations reporting for the month were K7TAG, KE7EJJ. and WC7I. 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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A Letter to God

Little Carol came into the kitchen where her mother was making dinner. Her birthday was coming up and she thought this was a good time to tell her mother what she wanted. "Mom, I want a bike for my birthday." Now, little Carol was a bit of a troublemaker. She had gotten into trouble at school and at home. Carol's mother asked her if she thought she deserved to get a bike for her birthday. Little Carol, of course, thought she did.

Carol's mother being a Christian woman, wanted her to reflect on her behavior over the last year, and write a letter to God and tell him why she deserved a bike for her birthday. Little Carol stomped up the steps to her room and sat down to write God a letter.

Letter 1:

Dear God, I have been a very good girl this year and I would like a bike for my birthday. I want a red one.

Your friend, Carol

Carol knew this wasn't true, She had not been a very good girl this year, so she tore up the letter and started over.

Letter 2:

Dear God, This is your friend Carol. I have been a pretty good girl this year, and I would like a red bike for my birthday.

Thank you, Carol

Carol knew this wasn't true either. She tore up the letter and started again.

Letter 3:

Dear God, I know I haven't been a good girl this year. I am very sorry. I will be a good girl if you just send me a red bike for my birthday,

Thank you, Carol

Carol knew, even if it was true, this letter was not going to get her a bike. By now, she was very upset. She went downstairs and told her mother she wanted to go to church. Carol's mother thought her plan had worked because Carol looked very sad.

"Just be home in time for dinner," her mother said.

Carol walked down the street to the church and up to the altar. She looked around to see if anyone was there. She picked up a statue of the Virgin Mary, slipped it under her jacket and ran out of the church, down the street, into her house, and up to her room. She shut the door and sat down and wrote her letter to God.

Letter 4:

I got your Mama. If you want to see her again, send the bike.

Signed,

You Know Who

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Merry Christmas to all OARS members, from KB6LE


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