Olympia Amateur Radio  Society

ARRL Special Services ClubWatts News

Monthly Newsletter of the

Olympia Amateur Radio Society

P.O. Box 2861, Olympia, WA 98507

  December 2008
Edited by George Lanning  KB6LE 

Table of Contents

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From the Oval ShackPresident's Message

Hello Everyone -

I only have a couple of items this month. First of all, we are on the Red Cross's schedule for next year and I have updated the exam web page. The address is 2618 12th Court SW, Olympia. This is off Black Lake Boulevard between Cooper Point Boulevard and Evergreen Christian Centre; our exam web page has a mapqwest link if that is preferred. Thanks to Jason Dean of the Red Cross for making this happen.

This last Sunday (December 7) I had the privilege of helping test a class Lee (KI7SS) taught in Centralia. I was amazed by the fact he taught a class for the Technician license over one and one half days of classroom session and everyone in the class earned their Technician class license, and several even earned their General. Good job Lee!

Please think about meeting topics for the coming months. I have given the presentations (of a sort) for the last two months and probably the most lamentable thing is likely the fact no one recorded them. They might have been of great value as cures for insomnia.

Finally, about our Christmas party. I was able to contact Bill Gillespie about combining our party with theirs, and he notified me Wednesday that their party was to be today (December 13), but we were welcome to come. I did not think I could properly notify everyone in three days and we had discussed having ours in early January, so it would appear we are on our own this year.

Take care and have a Merry Christmas.

-- 73, Klaus

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Dec. 3 Minutes

The meeting was called to order at 1859 hours at the Thurston County EOC. A roll-call of all attendees was requested; 16 were present.

Lee, KI7SS showed a repeater controller that he is building.

It was noted that Mark, KE7JTU's parents' house burned down and he is evaluating his losses from the fire.

OARS Meetings in 2009 will take place at the American Red Cross headquarters in West Olympia. (Off Black Lake Blvd., just north of Hwy 101, go to the top of the hill and turn right on 12th Court SW. Drive to the back of the street and park near the building.)

There was a discussion of Lee's (KI7SS) future Beverage antenna. (Note: That's the original inventor's last name, not the beer used for getting the antenna up!)

President Klaus AC7MG gave a presentation on RF tuning theory and resonance, plus heterodyning, repeaters, selectivity, etc.

The OARS Christmas or New Year's pot-luck dinner and party was discussed

Respectfully submitted,

-- Paul G. Taylor, KC7LA, Secretary

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Digital TV Conversion

Earlier this week, the ARRL received a request from the FCC asking ARRL members to provide technical educational assistance to their communities concerning the FCC-mandated digital television (DTV) conversion scheduled for February 17, 2009.

According to ARRL Media and Public Relations Manager Allen Pitts, W1AGP, Amateur Radio clubs across the country are being asked to develop and implement plans to provide information throughout January and February about the DTV conversion in their areas. The FCC is leaving it up to the clubs to decide how to do this, as local groups understand the communities in ways that the FCC does not. Each community is a little different, Pitts said, so plans carried out by the clubs will vary from community to community. Interested groups should contact their ARRL Section Manager.

Pitts stressed that hams should not make "house calls," sell any equipment or do actual installations; the request is only to distribute technical information and FCC materials. He commented: "As we all know, some folks just never get the message until too late. Materials for presentations, education and many other activities are available online. Beginning early January, FCC staff will contact Section Managers and leaders of interested clubs and, where possible, arrange to meet to share even more information, audio, visual and printed materials, as well as training aids, with the clubs involved in this effort. We know the time is short, but your aid in this now will be appreciated."

In early January, Pitts said that the FCC will ask Section Managers for the names and contact information of the volunteering groups. The FCC staff will then make contact with the groups, learn their plans and provide them with the media, brochures or other materials groups may need in this effort. Materials also can be downloaded from the DTV Conversion Web site. FCC regional staff members may even come and visit with larger groups to aid in implementation of the groups' plans.

"I really appreciate the willingness of the ARRL to actively participate in helping Americans with the transition to DTV and your helpful suggestions," said George Dillon, FCC Deputy Bureau Chief for Field Operations. "The DTV transition will be an historic moment in the evolution of TV. Broadcast television stations can offer viewers improved picture and sound quality and new programming choices. All-digital broadcasting also will allow us to significantly improve public safety communications and will usher in a new era of advanced wireless services such as the widespread deployment of wireless broadband. Our goal is to engage the amateur community on a cooperative basis to help with the DTV outreach and to educate consumers."

Dillon continued that local Amateur Radio clubs might consider offering technical advice to consumers via telephone to those consumers who may encounter difficulty with the installation and setting up of their converter box. "Any assistance...will greatly help in the efforts of the FCC to ensure a smooth transition to DTV on February 17, 2009."

Pitts advises interested groups to keep in mind that they are to provide technical educational help only: "At no time should the hams enter someone else's home or install equipment. They should not broker or sell conversion boxes in any way. Clubs can provide such things as a call-in telephone number for technical help, make presentations at meetings, do demonstrations at malls or give talks to other groups -- whatever works in their community."

-- ARRL Western Washington Section Manager: James Pace, K7CEX

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A Potato Story

Well, A girl potato and boy potato had eyes for each other. Finally they got married, and had a little sweet potato, which they called "Yam." Of course, they wanted the best for Yam.

When it was time, they told her about the facts of life. They warned her about going out and getting half-baked, so she wouldn't get accidentally mashed, and get a bad name for herself like "Hot Potato," and end up with a bunch of Tater Tots. Yam said not to worry, no spud would get her into the sack and make a rotten potato out of her!

But on the other hand she wouldn't stay home and become a couch potato either. She would get plenty of exercise so as not to be skinny like her shoestring cousins.

When she went off to Europe, Mr. And Mrs. Potato told Yam to watch out for the hard-boiled guys from Ireland and the greasy guys from France called the French Fries. And when she went out west to watch out for the Indians so she wouldn't get scalloped.

Yam said she would stay on the straight and narrow and wouldn't associate with those high class Yukon Golds, or the ones from the other side of the tracks who advertise their trade on all the trucks that say, "Frito Lay."

Mr. And Mrs. Potato sent Yam to Idaho P. U. (that's Potato University) so that when she graduated she'd really be in the chips.

But in spite of all they did for her, one day Yam came home and announced she was going to marry Tom Brokaw.

Tom Brokaw! Mr. And Mrs. Potato were very upset. They told Yam she couldn't possibly marry Tom Brokaw because he's just.......

Are you ready for this?

OK! Here it is!


-- from Eugene Mouncer

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CW Using a Computer Sound Card

The Doctor Is In -- Dave Wright, KB9MNM, of Montgomery, Illinois, asks: I would like to try CW using my PC. I have an all mode 2 meter radio with VOX (voice operated transmit switching) How would I wire this up to the sound card of a computer? Can I use the same configuration for low power radio projects, such as the Tuna-Tin 2 transmitter or the SoftRock receiver, or will I need a special interface device?

The Doctor Answers -- The radio-to-sound card interconnect requires two audio connections: A pair out of the radio (speaker or line out) to the sound card mic (or line in), and a pair from the sound card speaker or line out to the radio mic in, (or line in if it has one).

In both cases, the line level connections are preferred (if they are available) because they don't change in level every time you adjust your volume control. If you get tired of listening to the data tones, you can turn down your speaker volume and still have enough signal from your line out to drive the sound card.

In addition, you need to have a way of switching the radio from receive to transmit. That can be using the VOX (but be careful of strange computer voices (You've Got Mail!) that can also go out over the air. In the absence of VOX, you could even use a manual switch on your push to talk (PTT) line, but that would get cumbersome.

A sound card interface provides transformer isolation on the mic line, to help avoid hum pickup. Most importantly, it picks up the transmit command from the PC serial port and switches the radio PTT line for you, so you don't need to use the radio VOX function. Some allow you to switch between mic and sound card, and also provide a separate gain control, so you don't have to change everything every time you go back to voice mode.

So you can start out with the simple connections, but if you use it a lot, you will likely want an interface eventually. All of the above applies to your 2 meter set, as well as most HF radios.

The tuna tin I'm thinking of is just a CW transmitter and thus doesn't do sounds at all, so you're kind of stuck. The soft rock is a receiver, so you can use a single cable from the receiver audio output to your sound card input and monitor what's going on while you have a chance to get used to the software choices. I recommend starting there, in any case.

-- from the ARRL Letter

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January 1 is the date to pay your OARS dues for 2009.

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Treasurer's Report

As of 11/30/08

    GENERAL FUND (checking account)

        Previous balance     $ 1,492.90

            Income                 0.29

            Expenses               0.00

        Ending balance         1,493.19

    REPEATER / PACKET FUND (savings account)

        Previous balance     $ 1,018.57

            Income                 0.00

            Expenses               0.00

        Ending balance         1,018.57

-- Ed Fitzgerald, N7WW, Treasurer

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OARS Net check-ins

No check-in reports were received for November nets.

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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Bubba walked into a doctor's office and the receptionist asked him what he had. Bubba said, "shingles." So she wrote down his name, address, medical insurance number and told him to have a seat.

Fifteen minutes later a nurses's aide came out and asked Bubba what he had. Bubba said "shingles." So she wrote down his height, weight, a complete medical history, and told Bubba to wait in the examining room.

A half hour later a nurse came in and asked Bubba what he had. Bubba said "shingles." So the nurse gave Bubba a blood test, a blood pressure test, an electrocardiogram, and gold Bubba to take off all his clothes and wait for the doctor.

An hour later the doctor came in and asked Bubba what he had. Bubba said "shingles." The doctor asked "Where?"

Bubba said "Outside on the truck. Where do you want them?"

-- from W1GMF via packet

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ARRL 2009 Spectrum Defense Fund

Dear ARRL Member,

Recently ARRL CEO Dave Sumner, K1ZZ asked for your support of the vital Spectrum Defense Fund at ARRL. If you have already responded, thank you. If not, here are some of the key reasons why your contribution is so important this year.

As you know, defending and enhancing amateurs' access to the radio spectrum is one of the most important missions of the ARRL. Together we have enjoyed many successes over the years. But despite exponential growth in the variety and number of radio frequency devices in the hands of consumers and businesses, we have managed to protect our bands and to add several new ones.

It is only through the support of thousands of ARRL members and friends like you that we have managed to come this far. Together we can celebrate all that we have accomplished on the BPL front over the past six years!

But there is more work to do. BPL is still a challenge as we face another round of technical arguments. We must leave no room for these technical issues to be settled on anything other than technical grounds. There's more work to do!

And another WRC (World Radiocommunication Conference) lies ahead in 2011 -- and preparations are already underway. Planning for WRC-11 has begun and there are important issues for Amateur Radio.

ARRL staff and volunteers are hard at work on your behalf, teaming up with International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) volunteers from around the globe to build the strongest possible case for Amateur Radio at WRC-11.

Your financial commitment to spectrum defense is vital to our ability to protect your access to radio spectrum. Your contribution of $100, $50 or $25 to the 2009 Spectrum Defense Fund http://www.arrl.org/defense now will provide the financial resources required for us to be vigilant and represent you as we face new challenges.

Sincere 73,

Mary Hobart, K1MMH

Chief Development Officer

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FCC Amends WE2XRH Experimental License

In response to the October 20 ARRL Petition for Modification or Cancellation of Experimental Authorization (Petition) concerning an experimental license issued to Digital Aurora Radio Technologies (DART) station WE2XRH, the FCC today issued an amended license that redefines one of the station's frequency ranges to eliminate conflict with the Amateur Radio Service. This revision addresses ARRL's concern that the original 7.10 to 7.60 MHz range would cause unacceptable interference to Amateur Radio operations in the 40 meter band. The amended license narrows the range to 7.30 to 7.60 MHz and gives as the reason for the change, "operation in the band 7.1-7.3 MHz will cause harmful interference to Amateur Radio Service licensees."

"We are delighted that the FCC acted so promptly to correct this error and are pleased that the matter has been resolved," said ARRL CEO David Sumner, K1ZZ.

WE2XRH will be testing a proposed domestic broadcast service using a 20 kHz bandwidth digital emission at a transmitter output power of 100 kW and an ERP of 660 kW within a radius of 1500 kilometers of Delta Junction, Alaska. According to the amended license, the transmissions will take place in the frequency ranges 4.4 to 5.1 MHz, 7.3 to 7.6 MHz and 9.25 to 9.95 MHz.

-- from the ARRL Letter

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A blonde walks into a pharmacy and asks the assistant for some rectum deodorant. The pharmacist, a little bemused, explains to the woman they don't sell rectum deodorant, and never have.

Unfazed, the blonde assures the pharmacist that she has been buying the stuff from this store on a regular basis, and would like some more.

"I'm sorry," says the pharmacist, "we don't have any."

"But I always get it here," says the blonde.

"Do you have the container it comes in?" asks the pharmacist. "Yes," said the blonde, "I'll go home and get it."

She returns with the container and hands it to the pharmacist who looks at it and says to her "This is just a normal stick of underarm deodorant."

Annoyed, the blonde snatches the container back and reads out loud from the container "TO APPLY, PUSH UP BOTTOM."

-- from W1GMF via packet

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Who Is the Quickest

Two guys are out in the woods hiking. All of a sudden, a bear starts chasing them. They climb a tree, but the bear starts climbing up the tree after them.

The first guy gets his sneakers out of his knapsack and starts putting them on.

The second guy says "What are you doing?" He says "I figure when the bear gets too close, we'll have to jump down and make a run for it." The second guy says "Are you crazy? You can't outrun a bear!"

The first guy says "I don't have to outrun the bear. I only have to outrun you."

-- from W1GMF via packet

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