Watts News

Monthly Newsletter of the

Olympia Amateur Radio Society

P.O. Box 2861, Olympia, WA 98507

  February 2004
Edited by George Lanning  KB6LE 

Table of Contents

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From the Oval ShackGreetings fellow OARS members:

I hope everyone is enjoying the fine spring weather in February! I would like to thank everyone who attended the January meeting. Hope everyone got to participate as much as they wanted. We covered a lot of information, and the program was very informative. I learned a lot.

Speaking of programs, please contact our VP Duane if you have any ideas for presenting any programs this spring. We have plenty of subjects for the fall, but need presenters for the first half of the year. We'll figure something out, I'm sure.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to our ARRL Northwestern Division Director Greg Milnes, W7OZ, as he gets through health problems resulting from a stroke. Get well soon, Greg. Hope to see you in Puyallup in March!

Found this from a NW SM, and thought it brought out a lot of interesting proposals:


(Thanks to W7DVR, SM Idaho)


ARRL will ask the FCC to create a new entry-level Amateur Radio License that would include HF phone privileges without requiring a Morse code test. The League also will propose consolidating all current licenses into three classes, retaining the Element 1 Morse requirement -- now 5 WPM -- only for the highest class. The ARRL Board of Directors overwhelmingly approved the plan January 16 during its Annual Meeting in Windsor, Connecticut.

The recommended three licenses would be Novice, General, and Extra. The Novice would allow limited CW and phone privileges on 80, 40, 15 and 10 meters as well as VHF and UHF. Power would be restricted to 100 W on 80, 40 and 15 and up to 50 W on 10 and up.

The middle group of licenses would consolidate Technician, Tech Plus and General, all with General class privileges without additional testing.

The top rung would combine the current Advance and Extra class licenses.

Proposed Phone/Image HF Subbands:

80 meters

Extra: 3.725-4.000 MHz (gain of 25 kHz)

General: 3.800-4.000 MHz (gain of 50 kHz)

Novice: 3.900-4.000 (new)

40 meters

Extra: 7.125-7.300 MHz (gain of 25 kHz)

General: 7.175-7.300 MHz (gain of 50 kHz)

Novice: 7.200-7.300 MHz (New)

15 meters

Extra: 21.200-21.450 MHz (no change)

General: 21.275-21.450 MHz (gain of 25 kHz)

Novice: 21.350-21.450 MHz (new)

10 Meters

Extra and General: 28.300-29.700 MHz (no change)

Novice: 28.300-29.500 MHz (no change)

Proposed CW/Data

80 meters

Extra: 3.500-3.725 MHz

General: 3.525-3.725 MHz

Novice: 3.550-3.700 MHz

40 meters

Extra: 7.000-7.125 MHz

General: 7.025-7.125 MHz

Novice: 7.050-7.125 MHz

15 Meters

Extra: 21.000-21.200 MHz

General: 21.025-21.200 MHz

Novice: 21.050-21.200 MHz

10 meters

Extra/General: 28.000-29.300 MHz

Novice: 28.050-28.300 MHz

The ARRL license restructuring design calls for no changes in privileges for Extra and General class licenses on 160, 60, 30, 20, 17, or 12 meters. Novice licenses would have no access to those bands.


Something to think about.

Is it just me, or have the HF conditions in January and so far this month improved immensely since the abysmal conditions in December? I tore my hair (figuratively, of course) several times in December when the sun blew stuff past us that made 80 meters sound like somebody stuffed it full of cotton! Trying to talk to ANYBODY was like pulling teeth. Not so now. 80, 40, and even 20 are MUCH better behaved since the first of the year.

BTW: For those of you trying to get in touch with me in person, please try (360) 458-8286 in the mornings and most evenings. I am usually home.

Hope to see everyone at the February meeting. Anybody for the CW DX contest 20-22 FEB? Let me know, I'll be on.

Make a friend with Ham Radio today.

73 -- Leroy N7EIE

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Transfer to California

Jack was sitting in an airplane when another guy took the seat beside him. The new guy was an absolute wreck, pale, hands shaking, biting his nails and moaning in fear.

"Hey, pal, what's the matter?" Jack asked. "Oh man... I've been transferred to California." the other guy answered, "There's crazy people in California and they have shootings, gangs, race riots, drugs, the highest crime rate..."

"Hold on," Jack interrupted, "I've lived in California all my life, and it is not as bad as the media says. Find a nice home, go to work, mind your own business, enroll your kids in a good school and it's as safe as anywhere in the world."

The other passenger relaxed and stopped shaking for a moment and said, "Oh, thank you. I've been worried to death, but if you live there and say it's OK, I'll take your word for it. What do you do for a living?"

"Me?" said Jack, "I'm a tail gunner on a bread truck."

-- from W1GMF via packet

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OARS Net check-ins

The following stations checked in on the OARS General Information Net one or more times in the month of January:


* Net Control Station

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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How it really happened

The Founding Fathers were sitting around a table in 1776, working on the Constitution. It had been a long day when Thomas Jefferson said "Whew! It's getting rather warm in here, isn't it?"

Ben Franklin replied "Shall I open the window?" "No, that's all right. I'll just take off my jacket, and roll up my sleeves."

"Hey, that's a good idea. Why don't we include that in the constitution?"

"What? That we're allowed to take our jackets off and roll up our sleeves while we work?"

"Yeah, but that doesn't sound very smooth. How about "Everyone shall have the right to bare arms?"

-- from David, ZL3AI, via packet

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FCC okays BPL proposal

The FCC has unanimously approved a Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) to deploy Broadband over Power Line (BPL). The NPRM is the next step in the BPL proceeding, which began last April with a Notice of Inquiry that attracted more than 5100 comments -- many from the amateur community. The FCC did not propose any changes in Part 15 rules governing unlicensed devices, but said it would require BPL providers to apply "adaptive" interference mitigation techniques to their systems. An ARRL delegation that included President Jim Haynie, W5JBP, attended the FCC open meeting in Washington, and later expressed disappointment in the FCC action.

"The Commission clearly recognized that the existing Part 15 emission limits are inadequate to stop interference, but it's placing the burden of interference mitigation on the licensed user that's supposed to be protected," said ARRL CEO David Sumner, K1ZZ.

Sumner said that if the FCC really believed current Part 15 emission limits were sufficient, it would not have had to require that BPL providers institute interference mitigation systems. The FCC has not yet released the actual NPRM, and a presentation by the FCC's Office of Engineering and Technology (OET) revealed only its broad outlines. Sumner said the League would not take a formal position until it reviews the full NPRM.

Anh Wride of the OET staff spelled out the scope of the NPRM, which only addresses so-called "access BPL" -- the type that would apply radio frequency energy to exterior overhead and underground low and medium-voltage power lines to distribute broadband and Internet service. She said the OET staff believes that interference concerns "can be adequately addressed." Wride said the FCC's BPL NPRM:

* Applies existing Part 15 emission limits for unlicensed carrier-current systems to BPL systems. Part 15 rules now require that BPL systems eliminate any harmful interference that may occur "and must cease operation if they cannot," she noted.

* Requires BPL systems to employ "adaptive interference-mitigation techniques, including the capabilities to shut down a specific device, to reduce power levels on a dynamic or remote-control basis and to include or exclude specific operating frequencies or bands."

* Subjects BPL providers to notification requirements that would establish a public database to include such information as the location of BPL devices, modulation type and operating frequencies.

* Proposes guidelines to provide for consistent and repeatable measurement of the RF emissions from BPL and other carrier-current systems.

Mirroring his colleagues' enthusiasm, FCC Chairman Michael Powell called BPL "tremendously exciting." While conceding that BPL has "a long way to go," the chairman said it could be "the great broadband hope for a good part of rural America." Powell also said the FCC's OET has worked very hard to try to "get their hands around" the issue of interference and that the FCC would continue its vigilance in that area.

The FCC is expected to issue the complete Notice of Proposed Rule Making within a few days and will invite comments on it sometime after its publication.

Additional information about BPL and Amateur Radio is on the ARRL Web site, www.arrl.org/tis/info/HTML/plc/ .

-- ARRL Bulletin ARLB005


I have just learned PSE (Puget Sound Energy) has a trial system being planned in Olympia. It sounds like the city has requested PSE to set up a trial area in the city.


Ed Bruette, N7NVP

WWA Section Manager

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Treasurer's Report

As of 1/31/04

GENERAL FUND (checking account)

    Previous balance $ 798.56

        Income         837.32

        Expenses       243.50

    Ending balance   1,392.38

REPEATER / PACKET FUND (savings account)

    Previous balance $ 974.58

        Income           0.00

        Expenses         0.00

    Ending balance     974.58

-- Ed Fitzgerald, N7WW, Treasurer

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Red Cross Report

Four local Red Cross Volunteers have recently completed ham radio training, have been tested and are now licensed. They are:

Diane Skov - KD7YVJ

Lisa Jones - KD7YXW

Ron Shively - KD7ZDV

Diane Marks - KD7ZGW

They are now able to join the local Chapter's communications team, and hopefully will also be joining OARS.

Also, members Larry, KD7TQW and Mark, W7MRK have signed up to be Red Cross volunteers and are undergoing that 6-week training now. Way to go, folks!

-- Paul, KC7LA

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When our second child was on the way, my wife and I attended a pre-birth class aimed at couples who had already had at least one child. The instructor raised the issue of breaking the news to the older child. It went like this:

"Some parents," she said, "tell the older child 'We love you so much we decided to bring another child into this family.' But think about that. Ladies, what if your husband came home one day and said 'Honey, I love you so much I decided to bring home another wife.'" One of the women spoke up immediately. "Does she cook?"

-- from David, ZL3AI, via packet

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All in your head

A 97 year old man goes into his doctor's office and says, "Doc, I want my sex drive lowered." "Sir," replied the doctor, "You're 97. Don't you think your sex drive is all in your head?"

"You're darned right it is!" replied the old man. "That's why I want it lowered!"

-- anonymous

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ARRL to establish mentoring programs

To help new licensees and those seeking to expand their horizons get more out of Amateur Radio, the ARRL Board of Directors has approved development of a four-level set of Amateur Radio mentoring programs. Proposed by the Volunteer Resources Committee, the programs will be designed this year. The mentoring program levels will be known as ARRL Club Mentor, ARRL Mentor, Interactive Mentor, and Special Interest Mentor.

The ARRL Club Mentor will involve the participation of ARRL-affiliated clubs in close cooperation with ARRL Headquarters staff. Affiliated clubs will be encouraged to actively participate in this program to "mainstream" more people, licensed and otherwise, into Amateur Radio. The club mentor program also has the additional benefit of potentially increasing a club's membership as well.

The ARRL Mentor program will work through ARRL Headquarters. An ARRL mentor is a person with an interest in mentoring -- or "Elmering" -- new licensees who may or may not be members of an ARRL-affiliated club. ARRL Headquarters staff will support these mentors, who must be ARRL members.

The Interactive Mentor is intended to aid enterprising new hams via the ARRL Web site by providing answers to basic questions and through forums, where discourse between new hams and mentors would help new hams to get on the air.

The Special Interest Mentor is intended to match people with interests in advanced, specialized areas of Amateur Radio technology with mentors who are experienced in these technologies. The ARRL Web site would refer interested members to special interest Web sites and reflectors as part of this mentoring effort.

In a somewhat related action, the Board approved a motion directing ARRL staff to study various organizations that might be able to integrate Amateur Radio into their activities. Such groups might include, but not be limited to, recreational vehicle and boating groups as well as the US Coast Guard Auxiliary and the Civil Air Patrol.

In addition, the Board voted to request that the new Programs and Services Committee (PSC) investigate the possibility of establishing Amateur Radio special interest group pages on the ARRL Web site. Special interests might include such activities as AM phone operation, new technologies, VHF-UHF "weak-signal" operation and Amateur TV. Under Board-approved bylaws changes, the PSC will subsume the functions of the Volunteer Resources and Membership Services committees.

The Board also asked ARRL CEO David Sumner, K1ZZ -- working with the League's Washington, DC, staff and consultants -- to provide a package of materials to each director, vice director and section manager that would aid them in organizing a grassroots Broadband Over Power Line (BPL) lobbying campaign. The materials would be designed to provide guidance to individual amateurs and Amateur Radio clubs in how to establish dialogue with members of Congress concerning the potential of harmful BPL interference.

In other matters, the ARRL Board:

-- from the ARRL Letter, Electronic Edition

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Cars and Computers

For all of us who feel only the deepest love and affection for the way computers have enhanced our lives, read on.

At a recent computer expo (COMDEX), Bill Gates reportedly compared the computer industry with the auto industry and stated, "If GM had kept up with technology like the computer industry has, we would all be driving $25 cars that got 1,000 miles to the gallon."

In response to Bill's comments, General Motors issued a press release stating: If GM had developed technology like Microsoft, we would all be driving cars with the following characteristics:

-- from John, VK6JY, via packet

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Thank you to all who have paid your 2004 OARS dues.

For those who have not, please remember to send your checks to the OARS P.O. Box, or give them to Treasurer Ed Fitzgerald at the next meeting.

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