Watts News

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

 February 2001
Edited by George Lanning  KB6LE 


  •  DXpeditions is topic for February OARS meeting
  •  Code-free Technician ticket turns 10
  •  FCC queries wireless net provider about
  •  Minutes of January 2001 OARS meeting
  •  Minutes of January 2001 Board meeting
  •  ARES Meeting Notes
  •  President's Message
  •  Repeater code update
  •  Treasurer's Report
  •  Buddy, can ya spare some power?
  •  LF-to-LF transatlantic amateur contact is completed
  •  Tool names and their true meanings
  •  Why?
  • -- back to OARS home page

    DXpeditions is topic for February OARS meeting

    Come to this month's meeting and find out everything you ever wanted to know about DXpeditions, especially the AO0AA Clipperton Island DXpediton. Vice President and Program Director Lee Chambers, KI7SS, has ordered a copy of a professional videotape on the topic, and assuming it arrives in time, it will be shown on a digital big screen projector -- five feet across!

    See you there!

    --back to table of contents

    Code-free Technician ticket turns 10

    Valentine's Day, February 14, marked the 10th anniversary of the elimination of the Morse code requirement to obtain a Technician license. For the first time, starting on February 14, 1991, applicants could obtain an Amateur Radio license in the US without having to take a Morse code examination. The ARRL was among several petitioners for a codeless license -- quite a controversial issue at the time. In putting out the welcome mat to the new class of Amateurs in his "It Seems to Us . . ." editorial in the February 1991 QST, ARRL Executive Vice President David Sumner, K1ZZ, predicted that five years down the road, "our first codeless amateurs will be providing personnel and leadership in local public service communications efforts from coast to coast." That prediction turned out to be right on the money. The Technician license has proved popular over the years, and Technician and Tech Plus licensees far outnumber other license classes today.-- from the ARRL Letter

    --back to table of contents

    FCC queries wireless net provider about interference to hams

    The FCC has asked a wireless Internet system provider what it intends to do to eliminate interference to Amateur Radio operations in the Dallas, Texas area. The FCC wrote Darwin Networks Inc on February 8, 2001, regarding complaints of harmful interference to Amateur TV on 2.4 GHz that's said to be a result of the company's deployment of Part 15 devices in an apartment complex.

    The FCC said Darwin Networks' Part 15 devices at the Post Townlake Village property in Dallas apparently were installed in the apartment complex to provide Internet service using wireless 2.4 GHz nodes from Cisco Inc. 

    In the letter, FCC Special Counsel for Amateur Radio Enforcement Riley Hollingsworth noted that operators of Part 15 devices are required to cease operation should harmful interference occur to authorized (i.e. licensed) spectrum users. "Darwin Networks is obligated under Commission rules to locate the source of interference caused by its equipment and make necessary corrections within a reasonable time," he said.

    According to Hollingsworth, Darwin had written the unidentified complainant stating that its devices were operating under Part 18 Industrial, Scientific and Medical rules, which would not obligate the company to resolve amateur complaints. But Hollingsworth said it appears that Darwin is not operating Part 18 ISM devices but Part 15 devices that are not covered by the same sort of exception.

    Hollingsworth gave Darwin Networks 10 days to reply.

    -- from the ARRL Letter

    --back to table of contents

    Minutes of January 2001 OARS meeting

    The Meeting was called to order at 19:05.

    There were thirty people in attendance and that included four visitors. The members introduced themselves.

    There was no old business to be brought before the membership. 

    Topics brought forward under New Business were:

    The business portion of the meeting concluded at 19:35.

    The program for the evening was a discussion of antennas. The panel for the discussion included Jeff W3GE, Ron W7NN, and Ben N7IVM. Gard, KF6GAQ, provided some additional information on the subject.

    The meeting adjourned at 20:30.

    -- Dan Crane, KB7DFL

    --back to table of contents

    Minutes of January 2001 Board meeting

    The meeting came to order at 18:25.

    The attendees were W7SAY, KC7CKO, W3GE, KB7DFL and KI7SS.

    Topics of discussion were:

    The meeting adjourned at 19:00.

    -- Dan Crane, KB7DFL

    --back to table of contents

    ARES Meeting Notes

    February 8, 2001

    The meeting was called to order at 19:30.

    There were 15 members in attendance. The members introduced themselves.

    Dan, KC7AVR, spoke on an upcoming training exercise for the Red Cross. He also said he still needed to erect the HF antenna at the Red Cross facility. He expressed his concerns regarding possible flooding of the Skokomish River in Mason County.

    Lee, KI7SS, discussed his ongoing training classes. He provided some comments on the Mason County search that occurred recently.

    Dan, KB7DFL, gave a report on the status of Senate Bill SB 5002. 

    Tom, KA4VVA, gave the current condition of the new Radio Truck.

    John, KD7ISO, said there would be a fund raiser for SAR in the near future. 

    Gard, KF6GAQ, reported on OSCAR 40. He also has the plans for an emergency antenna.

    The question of a first aid class was asked. The issue is being worked on.

    The evenings training session started at 20:30.

    The meeting was adjourned at 21:00.

    -- Dan Crane, KB7DFL

    --back to table of contents

    Well, here we are in February. With the weather being what it is, the flowers in the front of the house think it is time to come up. So far only the Crocus and Daffodils have made an appearance. I am sure there will be others.

    We had a good meeting last month. There was, for us, a decent turn out and the evening's program was interesting. One of the items that received some discussion was Senate Bill SB 5002. This bill is being heard by the Economic Development & Telecommunications Committee. It deals with the height of amateur radio towers that one might want to erect on their property. I believe that regardless of your intent to erect or not erect a tower, the amateur community as a whole should support this issue. If you can, please write your representative and ask them to approve this bill. 

    As you are aware there is, on the first Saturday of the month, a breakfast at Nickelby's restaurant in Tumwater. I was able to attend in January and found it to be an enjoyable event. It was nice to see some folks that I had not seen for some time. The food was quite good. Try it some time. 

    What do you think we should do to increase interest and participation in OARS? Give the subject some thought. What would you like to see done that you feel would generate a desire to join in on the activity? 

    Speaking of activity -- March has the Mike and Key Flea Market at Puyallup. If you are going to be doing some spring cleaning and have some gear you want to make available to other users, please contact Lee, KI7SS or myself. We will have two tables there.

    -- 73, Dan, KB7DFL

    --back to table of contents

    Repeater code update

    Radio Operation Test Functions

    Keypad test with voice read back
    Hold mike key and enter: 047 +(DTMF digits) C -- Release the mike key. The system responds by audibly giving the digits entered. 

    Audio test
    Hold Mike Key and enter: 163 (say something) C -- This is an audio test with the audio played back immediately.

    Basic AutoPatch
    Hold mike key and enter: * +(phone number) C -- Release the mike key. The system responds with the phone number to be dialed. 

    Stored AutoPatch
    Hold mike key and enter: * (memory number) C -- Release the mike key. The system responds with the memory number to be dialed.

    AutoPatch timeout extension
    Hold mike key and enter: **C -- Release the mike key.

    Hang Up the telephone
    Hold mike key and enter: #C -- Release the mike key. The system responds with: "AutoPatch off at (time)."

    To separate the repeater systems from 147.360 MHz:
    Hold Mike Key and enter: 747C -- Release mike key. The system will respond with: "Olympia Amateur Radio Society, code 747 received, initiating 3-way repeater link separation, now."

    To put the 3 systems back together From 147.360 MHz:
    Hold mike key and enter: 777C -- Release mike key. The system will respond with: "Olympia Amateur Radio Society, code 777 Received, initiating 3-way repeater link connection, now."

    To provide 3 Totally Separate Repeater Systems from Crawford Mtn. (224.460 MHz and 441.400 MHz) Repeaters (This can be done on either 224.460 MHz or 441.400 MHz)
    Hold mike key and enter: 747D -- Release mike key. The system will respond with: "Olympia Amateur Radio Society, code 747 received, initiating 3-way repeater link separation now."

    To re-link the Crawford Mtn. (224.460 MHz and 441.400 MHz) repeaters with the water tower (147.360 MHz) (can be done on either 224.460 MHz or 441.400 MHz}
    Hold mike key and enter: 777D -- Release mike key. The system will respond with: "Olympia Amateur Radio Society, code 777 received, initiating 3-way repeater link connection, now."

    To put the system in quiet mode with CW identification only (no DVR messages)
    Hold mike key and enter: 177C -- Release mike key. The repeater will respond with: "Olympia Amateur Radio Society, code 177 received, initiating quiet mode."

    To restore the system to normal mode with voice messages. (DVR on)
    Hold mike key and enter: 178C -- Release mike key. The repeater will respond with" "Olympia Amateur Radio Society, code 178 received, terminating quiet mode."

    Please remember that this new controller is a "work in progress," and we will continue to provide updates as new functions become available. 

    Also, we invite everyone to test the new codes and functions, as they are there for everyone's use.

    -- Ken Dahl, K7TAG (TEL: +1 360 534-9357)

    --back to table of contents

    Treasurer's Report

    As of 1/31/01

    GENERAL FUND (checking account)

        Previous balance $ 1,581.69
            Income           713.95
            Expenses          10.00
        Ending balance     2,285.64

    REPEATER / PACKET FUND (savings account)

        Previous balance   $ 910.94
            Income             0.00
            Expenses           0.00
        Ending balance       910.94

    -- Ed Fitzgerald, N7WW, Treasurer

    --back to table of contents

    Buddy, can ya spare some power?

    This appeared in The Press newspaper dated February 10th 2001, attributed to the Miami Herald.

    When we consider the serious electricity shortage in California, our reaction, as concerned Americans, is: Ha Ha!

    No, seriously, we are alarmed. Because history teaches us that whatever happens to California -- smog; road rage; tofu; coffee that is mainly air; cellphones; the belief that abdominal muscles are attractive; Shirley MacLaine; people taking inline skating seriously; grandmothers sporting new, flagrantly inappropriate bosoms -- eventually happens to the rest of the nation.

    Thus it is vital that we analyze the California electricity shortage and see if we can develop a workable solution before we become bored and change the subject.

    Our first question is: What, exactly, is electricity? When we look at our Microsoft Encarta encyclopedia, we see that "electricity" is defined as a "class of physical phenomena resulting from the existence of charge and from the interaction of charges."

    What does this mean in layperson's terms? It means that whoever wrote the Microsoft Encarta encyclopedia is a big, fat dope. Because we know from our junior-high-school science training that electricity is actually a fast-moving herd of electrons, which are tiny one-celled animals that can survive in almost any environment except inside a double-A battery, where they die within minutes.

    Electrons are formed when clouds rub together and become excited. This was proved in the famous experiment wherein Benjamin Franklin flew a kite during a thunderstorm and was almost killed. Encouraged by this success, Franklin went on to conduct many more electrical experiments, including rolling a hoop in a thunderstorm, playing hopscotch in a thunderstorm, and doing somersaults in a thunderstorm.

    Finally one night he was caught wearing only a bonnet and playing "Mister Pooter Rides the Pony" in a thunderstorm, leaving the authorities with no choice but to arrest him and make him ambassador to France.

    Nevertheless, Franklin had proved an important point, which is that electricity originates inside clouds. There, it forms into lightning, which is attracted to the earth by golfers. After entering the ground, the electricity hardens into coal, which, when dug up by power companies and burned in big ovens called generators, turns back into electricity, which is sent in the form of volts (also known as watts, or rpm for short) through special wires with birds sitting on them to consumers' homes, where it is transformed by TV sets into commercials for beer, which passes through the consumers and back into the ground, thus completing what is known as a circuit.

    But enough technical talk.

    The problem is that California is running out of electricity. The situation is so bad that in some hospitals, they don't have enough electricity to power those electric-shock paddles that get people's hearts going again; instead, the doctors and nurses have to hold hands, scuff their feet across the carpet in unison, then shout "CLEAR!" as they touch the patient's chest.

    Who is responsible for California's electricity shortage? You could blame the power companies; or you could blame environmental wackos; or you could blame the entertainment industry, which uses over 750 billion watts of electricity per day just to blow-dry the cast of Dawson's Creek; or you could blame (why not?) the Firestone tyre company. But you would be wrong. Because obviously the real cause of the California electricity shortage is: university students.

    I base this statement on widespread observation of my son, who is one, and who personally consumes more electricity than Belgium. If my son is in a room, then every electrical device within 200 metres of that room -- every light, computer, television, stereo, video game, microwave oven, etc. -- will be running. My son doesn't even have to turn the devices on; they activate themselves spontaneously in response to his presence. 

    Now take my son and multiply him by the number of university students in California, which according to my research is (EDITOR: Please insert number of college students in California) and you see my point, which is, (EDITOR: Please insert my point).

    The question is: What can the rest of us do to help our fellow countrypersons in California? The answer is that we can send them our spare electricity.

    Just imagine what would happen if all the households in this great and generous nation got out their extension leads and connected them together, forming a giant electrical "chain of helping" across the fruited plain to the Golden State! millions of people would be turned into generous smoking lumps of carbon, that's what. So maybe we should go with Plan B. This involves building a really, really, really big kite.

    -- forwarded on packet by ZL3AI

    --back to table of contents

    LF-to-LF transatlantic amateur contact is completed


    Amateur Radio history was made this month when amateurs in Canada and the UK completed what appears to be the first two-way transatlantic Amateur Radio exchange on 136 kHz. Larry Kayser, VA3LK, and Lawrence "Laurie" Mayhead, G3AQC, managed the LF feat using extremely slow CW that featured 90-second- long dits and 180-second-long dahs. The two-way contact took two weeks to complete.

    "We are the first to do a two-way QSO on LF across the North Atlantic as far as I am concerned," Kayser said. "We are the ones who put the stakes in the ground; others will build on what we have done."

    The VA3LK-G3AQC contact began February 5 and was completed February 19 with the reception and confirmation of VA3LK's report by G3AQC. Both stations used spectrographic software and computers for receiving. The participants agreed in advance to a "firewall" between them for the duration of the contact and that all QSO information was exchanged over the LF radio link.

    The UK has an amateur band at 136 kHz. While Canada has not yet authorized general Amateur Radio operation on 136 kHz, Kayser and a few other Canadian amateurs have received special authorization to conduct LF experiments there.

    G3AQC and VA3LK were using a combination of commercial and surplus equipment at their respective stations. G3AQC estimated his effective radiated power at 350 mW, while VA3LK said he might have been at the 5 W ERP level.

    In October 1998, the ARRL petitioned the FCC to create two amateur LF allocations at 135.7-137.8 kHz and 160-190 kHz. The FCC has not yet acted on the request.

    -- ARRL Bulletin

    --back to table of contents

    Tool names and their true meanings

    -- ZL3AI, via packet

    --back to table of contents


    --back to table of contents

    -- back to OARS home page