Watts News

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

  February 2003
Edited by George Lanning  KB6LE 

Table of Contents

  •  From the Oval Shack
  •  From the VP's Desk
  •  Treasurer's Report
  •  Stolen packet equipment
  •  Set it free
  •  Repeater site rent and utilities budget under review
  •  RACES under new management
  •  Wedding Vows
  •  Texas amateurs aid in shuttle debris recovery, cataloging
  •  Doggie Dictionary
  •  OARS Net check-ins
  •  Communications Academy 2003
  •  New library books
  •  New FCC consumer e-mail service now available
  •  Prospective Mergers
  •  Sure I've gotten old
  • --back to OARS main page


    As Amateur Radio Operators, we receive our spectrum allocation to provide a trained pool of radio operators and also for public service. In these turbulent times as we think about providing public service communications for disasters both natural and man-made, it is our first duty to insure the safety of ourselves and our family, not just "keeping our batteries charged," because if you are worried about your family you are distracted from the performance of any duties assigned to you. How many of us have a disaster plan for our family as the first step in being ready for any event?

    A good disaster plan not only includes having food, water, and shelter, but also a way for family members to contact each other. The best way to do this is to have a 3rd party outside the local area who all family members can call and leave a message with. You should not rely on cell phones or even the OARS Repeater which may be preempted to handle emergency traffic. This person needs to be outside the local area, because the disaster plans for the telephone companies call for shutting down incoming calls to the affected area.

    In our homes, we should have at least one POTS phone. POTS is "Plain Old Telephone Service" and is your basic dumb telephone with no features and no requirement for a power connection. This type of phone is considered "lifeline service" because the power to operate is provide by the telephone company over the incoming line. It will ring and operate even when we have no power.

    Being prepared with a good family emergency communications plan is an important part of any good disaster plan, something we never want to implement, but necessary life insurance.

    See you on February 26th in Room 280 of Building 1 at the Thurston County Courthouse Complex.


    -- Ken Dahl, K7TAG

    --back to table of contents

    From the VP's Desk

    Ah, the middle of February, the Ides of winter! There's not a lot new to report. It hasn't been a bad year, has it? Unless you went east. Here at Chaos Manor, 20 meters seems OK today, and I prowl the bottom end, listening around 14.200 KHz for any DX, surfing up past the ATV frequency, past the DX nets, past the rag chewers, on up to the County Hunters perpetual net near the top of the band at 14.336. It's too easy with these modern rigs.

    I remember well my rockbound novice days as WV2EKW, when with ONE frequency -- 3.709 KHZ -- to my name, I still managed several contacts a night. I had a separate transmitter and receiver and no fancy T/R switch. I had to flip a knife switch on the wall to move the antenna, flip the receiver mute switch, and then and only then could I push the key on my trusty DX-35. I called CQ and then tuned around, looking for some other crystal-controlled rig's frequency, calling me frantically. It was great fun.

    Half the stations had chirp on their signals, most everyone used a straight key, and we didn't have real filters. You used your ears. Now it's so easy! I was reflecting on the state of the art. You get a license, buy a radio that you'll never know the workings of; and simply "get on."

    So I turned the R.F. control on my rig to Zero -- no apparent output -- and called CQ. Somebody answered! QRP can't be this easy. What is my output, anyway? I got out the Bird watt meter and measured, and wowzers, I'm still putting out about eight watts! So to make it harder, I put a 5 foot wire up in the room, and loaded it with the tuner, and tried again. It took a while, but I got someone! I'm hooked! I've found a new passion -- QRP.

    The next OARS meeting will be February 26th. We have a program, we have enthusiasm, we have the tools!

    Right after that is the road rally, March first and second, and right after that, on the eighth, is the Puyallup hamfest. OARS has a table, of course. What have you outgrown that you'd like to turn into cash so you can buy a new QRP radio with? Bring it to the event and leave it at our table, and go prowl the corridors for that next treasure. We're downstairs this year. That ought to be an advantage. I dunno. QRZ? 

    -- Lee, KI7SS

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    Treasurer's Report

    As of 1/31//03

    GENERAL FUND (checking account)

    Previous balance     $1,996.40
    Income                  449.46
    Expenses                176.00
    Ending balance        2,269.86

    REPEATER / PACKET FUND (savings account)

    Previous balance      $ 961.83
    Income                    0.00
    Expenses                  0.00
    Ending balance          961.83

    -- Ed Fitzgerald, N7WW, Treasurer

    So far approximately half of the 2002 OARS members have paid their 2003 dues. Is your name among the missing? Has it slipped your mind? Why not send in your dues now while you think of it - renewal instructions are on the back cover.

    --back to table of contents

    Stolen packet equipment

    Please keep an eye open for this equipment, especially on swap nets and Hamfests. Thanks.
    Ed, N7NVP

    From: "ARES/RACES Oregon - ASEC - N7QQU" <sysop@arespacket.com>
    Subject: Stolen Packet Node Equipment
    Here is the rundown of the ham equipment stolen from Walker Mountain.

    146 MHz radio, Alinco model DR-112T s/n 0002426

    223 MHz radio, Alinco model DR-235T s/n T101539

    Terminal Node controllers (2) MFJ model 1270C

    s/n 01032739 X1-J4 firmware, callsign W7SLA-11

    s/n 01032828 X1-J4 firmware, callsign W7SLA-1

    12 volt power supply, Astron model 20M marked with "W7ZQD" engraved on the bottom

    Antenna duplexer, Comet model 4160

    RF Filter DCI, model 145-2H

    Total replacement value $995.00
    Contact Joe Brown - W7ZQD - joeb@clipper.net

    --back to table of contents

    Set it free

    If you love something, set it free.

    If it comes back, it was, and always will be yours.

    If it never returns, it was never yours to begin with.

    If it just sits in your living room, messes up your stuff, eats your food, uses your telephone, takes your money, and never behaves as if you actually set it free in the first place, you either married it or gave birth to it!

    --back to table of contents

    Repeater site rent and utilities budget under review

    -- Tom, KA4VVA, ARES/RACES Unit Advisor, Sheriff's Office.

    The Thurston County Sheriff's Office currently pays the yearly cost for site rent and utilities for the three OARS repeaters and telephone line. In 2001, the yearly cost was $2,849.00 for the repeaters, and $389.00 for the phone line. The estimated costs for 2003 are $3,400.00 for the repeaters and $435.00 for the phone line.

    Due to massive cut backs in every budget within Thurston County government, each item is currently under review, including these costs for the repeaters and phone line by the Sheriff's Office. If there are any changes to this, the local amateur radio community will be advised in a timely manner.

    --back to table of contents

    RACES under new management

    The Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Services (RACES) is a section of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Effective 1 January 2003, FEMA as an agency, now comes under the new "Department of Homeland Security." It is expected that some minor administrative changes may take place within FEMA and RACES as the result of this action, and the local Amateur Radio community will be kept aware as this happens.

    -- Tom, KA4VVA, RACES Unit Advisor, Sheriff's Office

    --back to table of contents

    Wedding Vows

    A grandmother overheard her 5-year-old granddaughter playing "wedding."

    The wedding vows went like this: "You have the right to remain silent, anything you say may be held against you, you have the right to have an attorney present. You may kiss the bride."

    -- from "Joke of the Day" on Internet

    --back to table of contents

    Texas amateurs aid in shuttle debris recovery, cataloging

    Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) and SKYWARN volunteers in Nacogdoches, Texas, have been assisting local emergency management officials and NASA to locate and catalog debris from the Columbia shuttle. The shuttle and its crew of seven, including three hams, were lost over Texas February 1.

    ARES and SKYWARN volunteers from the Nacogdoches Amateur Radio Club have been surveying the area in and around Nacogdoches looking for shuttle debris. Public Information Officer Tim Lewallen, KD5ING, of the Nacogdoches Amateur Radio Club said amateurs have been accompanying officials from both NASA and the EPA to expedite the search and clean up of area schools. Texas officials have cancelled school in most of East Texas because of fears that shuttle debris could pose a health hazard.

    "Usually we just get the coordinates, take a photo and move on to the next site," Lewallen said, "and someone from NASA will come along and pick up the piece later."

    He said the club had additional volunteers lined up for duty over the next few days, with amateurs coming from East Texas, Houston and Dallas. The ARES and SKYWARN volunteers have been working with emergency officials from Nacogdoches County, Texas Rangers, NASA, Texas Department of Public Safety, EPA and the National Guard. 

    The ARES and SKYWARN volunteers also were following up on NASA-provided telemetry and radar information that indicates where debris might be found, Lewallen said. The search area includes densely forested areas. NASA has requested that those encountering debris avoid any contact with it and cautioned that persons found with stolen accident debris will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

    The Columbia crew, headed by Commander Rick Husband, included Pilot Willie McCool and Mission Specialists Kalpana "KC" Chawla, KD5ESI; David Brown, KC5ZTC; Laurel Clark, KC5ZSU, Michael Anderson, and Payload Specialist Ilan Ramon.

    -- ARRL Bulletin ARLB012

    --back to table of contents

    Doggie Dictionary

    1. LEASH: A strap which attaches to your collar, enabling you to lead your person where you want him/her to go.

    2. DOG BED: Any soft, clean surface, such as the white bedspread in the guest room or the newly upholstered couch in the living room. 

    3. DROOL: What you do when your persons have food and you don't. To do this properly you must sit as close as you can and look sad and let the drool fall to the floor, or better yet, on their laps. 

    4. SNIFF: A social custom to use when you greet other dogs. Place your nose as close as you can to the other dog's rear end and inhale deeply, repeat several times, or until your person makes you stop. 

    5. GARBAGE CAN: A container which your neighbors put out once a week to test your ingenuity. You must stand on your hind legs and try to push the lid off with your nose. If you do it right you are rewarded with margarine wrappers to shred, beef bones to consume and moldy crusts of bread.

    6. BICYCLES: Two-wheeled exercise machines, invented for dogs to control body fat. To get maximum aerobic benefit, you must hide behind a bush and dash out, bark loudly and run alongside for a few yards; the person then swerves and falls into the bushes, and you prance away. 

    7. DEAFNESS: This is a malady which affects dogs when their person want them in and they want to stay out. Symptoms include staring blankly at the person, then running in the opposite direction, or lying down. 

    8. THUNDER: This is a signal that the world is coming to an end. Humans remain amazingly calm during thunderstorms, so it is necessary to warn them of the danger by trembling uncontrollably, panting, rolling your eyes wildly, and following at their heels.

    9. WASTEBASKET: This is a dog toy filled with paper, envelopes, and old candy wrapper. When you get bored, turn over the basket and strew the papers all over the house until your person comes home.

    10. SOFAS: Are to dogs like napkins are to people. After eating it is polite to run up and down the front of the sofa and wipe your whiskers clean.

    11. BATH: This is a process by which the humans drench the floor, walls and themselves. You can help by shaking vigorously and frequently. 

    12. LEAN: Every good dog's response to the command "sit," especially if your person is dressed for an evening out. Incredibly effective before black-tie events.

    13. BUMP: The best way to get your human's attention when they are drinking a fresh cup of coffee or tea.

    14. GOOSE BUMP: A maneuver to use as a last resort when the Regular Bump doesn't get the attention you require -- especially effective when combined with The Sniff. See above.

    15. LOVE: Is a feeling of intense affection, given freely and without restriction. The best way you can show your love is to wag your tail. If you're lucky, a human will love you in return.

    -- from W1GMF via packet

    --back to table of contents

    OARS Net check-ins

    The following stations checked in on the OARS General Information Net one or more times on the dates of January 14,21, or 28.


    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.

    --back to table of contents

    Communications Academy 2003

    The fifth annual Communications Academy will be held on March 22-23, 2003, at the Shoreline Conference Center, 18560 1st Ave NE, Shoreline WA 98155. Sessions run from 0730 to 1700 both days.

    The Communications Academy is open to anyone with an interest in emergency communications, volunteer or professional. The presentations are designed to promote the development of knowledgeable, skilled emergency communicators who will support their local communities during a disaster or emergency response.

    In the past four years the academy has featured several nationally known keynote speakers. This year's keynote speaker is Jim Mullen, Director of Seattle's Emergency Management Division.

    Communications Academy sponsors include:

    Links for obtaining the complete Academy flyer and registration form are available on the OARS web site http://olyham.org. You can also register online at http://www.commacademy.org.

    --back to table of contents

    New library books

    Books for the prison library:

    Books for hobbyists: Books for fishermen: Books for the doctor's waiting room: -- from David, ZL3AI, via packet

    --back to table of contents

    New FCC consumer e-mail service now available

    The FCC has inaugurated a new e-mail service, The FCC Consumer E-Bulletin, to let consumers know about FCC developments, to disseminate FCC consumer information and to invite comments on FCC regulatory proposals.

    Those signing up can expect to receive FCC fact sheets, consumer brochures and alerts, news releases, public notices, notices of proposed rulemaking, reports and orders, and other consumer-related information. The Consumer Education Office in the FCC's Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau (CGB) operates the free service. 

    To subscribe, send an e-mail to subscribe@info.fcc.gov. On either the subject line or in the message body, type "subscribe fcc-consumer-info <first name> <last name>." If you encounter difficulties subscribing, send an e-mail to lneely@fcc.gov.

    -- ARRL Bulletin ARLB010

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    Prospective Mergers

    As you all know, the stock market has not been in the greatest shape lately. It seems that, because of current economic conditions, many companies are contemplating mergers and acquisitions. Here are a few to keep an eye on:

    1. Xerox and Wurlitzer (They're going to make reproductive organs.) 

    2. Fairchild Electronics and Honeywell Computers -- the new company will be called Fairwell Honeychild.

    3. Polygram Records, Warner Brothers, and Keebler -- the new company will be called Poly-Warner-Cracker.

    4. W. R. Grace Co, Fuller Brush Co., Mary Kay Cosmetics, and Hale Business Systems -- the new company will be called Hale, Mary, Fuller, Grace.

    5. 3M and Goodyear -- the new company will be called MMM Good. 

    6. John Deere and Abitibi-Price -- the new company will be called Deere Abi.

    7. Honeywell, Imasco, and Home Oil -- the new company will be called Honey Im Home.

    8. Grey Poupon and Dockers Pants -- the new company will be called Poupon Pants.

    9. Knott's Berry Farms and the National Organization for Women -- the new company will be called Knott NOW.

    10. Zippo Manufacturing, Audi, Dofasco, and Dakota Mining -- the new company will be called Zip Audi Do-Da.

    11. Motorola and Enron -- the new company will be called MORON. 

    -- from W1GMF via packet

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    Sure I've gotten old

    I've had 2 bypass surgeries, a hip replacement, new knees, and fought prostate cancer and diabetes. I'm half blind, can't hear anything quieter than a jet engine, take 40 different medications that make me dizzy, winded, and subject to blackouts.

    I have bouts with dementia, poor circulation, hardly feel my hands and feet anymore, can't remember if I'm 85 or 92, but... THANK GOD, I STILL HAVE MY DRIVER'S LICENSE.

    -- from David, ZL3AI, via packet

    --back to table of contents
    --back to OARS main page