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 2009
Edited by George Lanning  KB6LE 

Table of Contents

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From the Oval ShackPresident's Message

Hello Everyone -

I hope everyone had an enjoyable Thanksgiving.

I hope everyone knows not to come to our normal meeting date and time as we are not having a regular meeting in December. We have secured the use of the Elks Club meeting hall, 1818 4th Avenue, Olympia, WA, for our Christmas party on Wednesday, December 30 at 1730. We will plan to start serving at around 1800.

This gathering will be a potluck and open to the families as well. We have invited the Red Cross staff to attend as well. Hopefully this will give them an opportunity to meet us and foster a closer relationship. Some Red Cross people have expressed an interest in becoming licensed, so this will hopefully give them a chance to see us up close and personal.

Please monitor the Tuesday night nets for further information such as the dish suggestions.

I am anxious to see what Tom has for us this next year.

Lacking anything further, I wish you all a Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year.

73, Klaus, AC7MG

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NCVEC to Release New Technician Question Pool to Public in January 2010

The Question Pool Committee (QPC) of the National Conference of Volunteer Examiner Coordinators (NCVEC) is due to release the new Technician class (Element 2) question pool to the 14 VECs on December 1, 2009; it will be released to the public in January 2010. Each question pool for the three Amateur Radio license classes -- Technician, General and Amateur Extra -- is reviewed on a four-year rotation. This new Technician class pool will become effective on July 1, 2010.

According ARRL Assistant VEC Manager Perry Green, WY1O, the QPC reviews the three question pools every four years to ensure that the questions are kept current with the latest amateur practice and technology, as well as addresses information relevant to that particular license class. "In the case of the Technician pool, the question set should provide for the new Technician licensee to be able to establish his station and operate it legally, courteously and safely. The Technician question pool and exam are intended to be the beginning of the journey into the Amateur Radio Service. It prepares the person for the enjoyment of operating, and that of preparing to learn electronics, the cornerstone of the education needed to obtain the further enjoyment that can come with the higher license classes."

Green is a member of the NCVEC's Question Pool Committee. Other members of the QPC include Chairman Roland Anders, K3RA (Laurel VEC), Larry Pollock, NB5X (W5YI VEC), Jim Wiley, KL7CC (Anchorage VEC) and Tom Fuszard, KF9PU (Milwaukee VEC).

Green said that earlier this year, the QPC solicited input from Amateur Radio operators concerning the new question pool, accepting input for new question topics and new questions, as well as suggestions for changes or deletions: "The QPC must rely on members of the Amateur Radio community to suggest questions and answers in a responsible manner to preserve a high level of legitimacy for our radio service, so the NCVEC QPC seeks input from the amateur community concerning a revision."The new question pool will become effective for all examinations administered on or after July 1, 2010, and it will remain valid until June 30, 2014. The current Technician question pool that became effective July 1, 2006 will expire June 30, 2010. The new Technician pool contains approximately 400 questions, from which 35 are selected for an Element 2 examination. This question pool will contain graphics and diagrams, something new for this element.

The current General class question pool was ef-fective July 1, 2007 and is valid through June 30, 2011. The current Amateur Extra class pool was effective July 1, 2008 and is valid until June 30, 2012.

-- ARRL Bulletin ARLX012

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Treasurer's Report

As of 11/30/09

    GENERAL FUND (checking account)

        Previous balance     $ 1,767.48

            Income                 0.38

            Expenses               0.00

        Ending balance         1,767.86

    REPEATER / PACKET FUND (savings account)

        Previous balance     $ 1,028.93

            Income                 0.00

            Expenses               0.00

        Ending balance         1,028.93

-- Ed Fitzgerald, N7WW, Treasurer

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Computer Terms -- Texas Translation

-- from AJokeADay.com

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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 days of November 3, 10, or 24:


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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Now You Know! It's All Greek to Me

Ask any high school physics student and they'll tell you that electrons govern pretty much everything we do. We call electrons in motion an electrical current, and those radio waves that we hams are so fond of are the result of high frequency electrons traveling in our antenna conductors.

Think of a 40 meter wave as an accidental tourist who wants to go somewhere (somewhere nice and warm, maybe a rare DX station). But how to get there? It needs some mode of transport -- think of electrons as the transport providers.

We use our transmitters to move the electrons in our antennas to-and-fro to produce radio waves, hopefully to that rare DX destination. When the radio waves get there, they set electrons in another antenna in motion. That current -- electrons in motion -- is amplified and detected at the receiving location and a QSO is made.

But why do we call them electrons? The ancient Greeks noticed that amber attracted small objects when rubbed with fur. Apart from lightning, this phenomenon is thought to be man's earliest known experience of electricity. Back in the year 1600, the English physician William Gilbert -- in his treatise De Magnete -- coined the New Latin term electricus to refer to this property of attracting small objects after being rubbed. Both electric and electricity are derived from the Latin ?lectrum, which came from the Greek word ???????? (?lektron) for amber.

Now you know!

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Just how bad is the economy?

And finally...

Congress says they are looking into this Bernard Madoff scandal. Oh Great!! The guy who made $50 billion disappear is being investigated by the people who made $1.5 trillion disappear!

-- from Klaus, AC7MG

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One way to fix the economy

There recently was an article in the St. Petersburg Fl. Times. The Business Section asked readers for ideas on: "How Would You Fix the Economy?"

This guy may have nailed it!

Dear Mr. President,

Please find below my suggestion for fixing America's economy. Instead of giving billions of dollars to companies that will squander the money on lavish parties and unearned bonuses, use the following plan. You can call it the "Patriotic Retirement Plan":

There are about 40 million people over 50 in the work force. Pay them $1 million apiece severance for early retirement with the following stipulations:

1) They MUST retire. Forty million job openings - Unemployment fixed.

2) They MUST buy a new American CAR. Forty million cars ordered - Auto Industry fixed.

3) They MUST either buy a house or pay off their mortgage - Housing Crisis fixed.

It can't get any easier than that!!

p.s. If more money is needed, have all members in Congress pay their taxes.

Mr. President, while you're at it, make Congress pay into and retire on Social Security and Medicare. I'll bet both programs would be fixed pronto!

-- from Klaus, AC7MG

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Contesting vs. EmComm


Recently the ARRL published an article that indicated a problem could exist between ARES emergency communications exercises and regular scheduled ARRL contests. It seems that there are concerns that some struggles over the use of frequencies may occur, that could interfere with both efforts.

After meeting with my Senior Section Staff on the matter, I have concluded that the problem would be negligible here in Western Washington, not because of a lack of interest in contesting, but because most of the Hams in WWA are good operators and recognize the need for both the activity of contesting and the need for good emergency communications.

Frankly, I believe we have the best Emergency Communications Infrastructure in the Country as well as some of the best Contest Participants, who have gotten along for many years and I expect that they will continue to do so.

However it would be prudent for both groups to add a couple of documents to their shack:

Everyone should have a copy of the current frequencies and alternates that are used by Western Washington in the event of emergencies and exercises. For instance, the Washington State Emergency Net operates on or about 3.985 MHz with an alternate frequency of 7.245 MHz. Remember, the operative phrase here is "on or about," as many times due to conditions and foreign broadcasts, the net must move up or down a bit.

All EmComm folks, especially leadership, should be familiar with the various ARRL contests, which are all published in QST. Scheduling an exercise or drill should take into consideration the scheduled contests in order to avoid any conflicts.

I do understand that sometimes event conflict may occur -- therefore I would encourage the Western Washington Hams to do as they have done in the past and work around the needs of one another.

Have fun with contesting and serve your local communities as an ARES volunteer.


Jim Pace K7CEX

ARRL Section Manager

Western Washington

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FCC Looks to Revise, Clarify Vanity Call Sign Rules

On Wednesday, November 25, the FCC issued a Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) -- WT Docket No. 09-209 -- seeking to amend the Commission's Amateur Radio Service rules to clarify certain rules and codify existing procedures governing the vanity call sign system, as well as revise certain rules applicable to club stations.

According to the FCC, almost 80,000 licensees have replaced their sequentially issued Amateur Radio call signs with a vanity call sign since the program began in 1996. When the program began, the Commission established what they called "the broad outlines" of the vanity call sign system, concluding that call signs generally should not be available for reassignment for two years following the death of a licensee, or expiration or termination of the license for that call sign. In doing so, the Commission made exceptions for former holders of the call sign, close relatives of a deceased former holder and club stations of which a deceased former holder was a member.

The Commission did not, however, specify all of the procedures governing the vanity call sign system, but indicated that the procedures "would be set out in the Public Notices announcing 'starting gates' for the groups receiving initial priority and that the procedures would be adjusted from gate to gate as experience dictated." The procedures announced in the Public Notices announcing the gates are still in effect, but they are not set forth in the Commission's Rules.

The NPRM states that the FCC "now believe[s] that certain provisions should be codified in our rules, and others added, so that the vanity call sign system will be fair, equitable and transparent to all amateur service licensees. The Commission also decided in the Vanity Report and Order [issued in 1996] to resume issuing new club station licenses. We believe that certain rule changes to the club station licensing rules may be appropriate."

Further information can be found on the web at,

http://www.arrl.org/news/stories/2009/11/25/11220/?nc=1 .

-- ARRL Bulletin ARLB035

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US Call Signs Not Issued by the FCC

If you're an American ham, chances are that your call sign was issued by the Federal Communications Commission. A "no brainer," right? Well, if you're an American ham who happens to be stationed at Guantanamo Bay or at one of the US bases in the Antarctic, your call sign is not issued by the FCC -- it's issued by the base commander.

Guantanamo Bay (or Gitmo as it's commonly called) uses the KG4 prefix, followed by a two-letter suffix; this block is reserved exclusively for American hams at Gitmo.

As for Antarctica, the Antarctic Treaty, signed on December 1, 1959 (and entered into force on June 23, 1961), established the legal framework for the management of Antarctica, including allocation of amateur call signs; the National Science Foundation received their block on July 1, 1959.

US military hams in Japan and Korea are also issued special call signs:

KA2AA-KA9ZZ -- reserved for US Army-authorized amateur stations in Japan.

KC4AAA-KC4AAF -- reserved for the National Science Foundation's use at the South Pole.

KC4USA-KC4USZ -- reserved for US Navy-authorized amateur stations at their Antarctic bases.

KG4AA-KG4ZZ -- reserved for US Navy-authorized amateur stations at Guantanamo Bay).

KL9KAA -- KL9KHZ -- reserved for assignment to US personnel stationed in Korea.

The 40 call signs having the first two letters AF, KF, NF or WF and the letters "EMA" following a numeral are available to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

The FCC once issued call signs to hams who lived in the Caroline Islands and the Marshall Islands. Even though these entities -- former United Nations Trust Territories -- now have their own sovereignty (and DXCC prefixes), the FCC will not issue call signs in the following blocks:

KC6AA-KC6ZZ -- KC6 was two DXCC entities: The Eastern Caroline Islands and the Western Caroline Islands. The Eastern Carolines became the Federated States of Micronesia (V6) and the Western Carolines became the Republic of Palau (T8).

KX6AA-KX6ZZ -- the former Marshall Islands, now the Republic of the Marshall Islands (V73).

You can find out more on the FCC's Web site. Now you know!

-- from the ARRL Letter

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Merry Christmas!

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