ARRL Special Service ClubWatts News

Monthly Newsletter of the

Olympia Amateur Radio Society

P.O. Box 2861, Olympia, WA 98507

  February 2005
Edited by George Lanning  KB6LE 

Table of Contents

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From the Oval ShackPresident's Message

Well, another month has gone by and it is now February. It's time to start thinking about the Puyallup Hamfest www.mikeandkey.com coming up on Saturday, March 12, 2005 at the Western Washington Fairgrounds in Puyallup, and for once it is not conflicting with the 1st Road Rally of the Year, the Doo Wop, so we should have more members able to attend.

As has been the tradition, OARS will again have a booth, the cost of which is donated by one of our members. The table is used by OARS to sell equipment that has been donated to the club and provide much needed revenue to bolster the club's treasury. If you have equipment that you would like to donate to the club, I would encourage you to bring it to the club meeting on Wednesday, February 23 or contact one of the club officers to donate the equipment.

We are looking for all types of equipment that can be sold and bring revenue to the club as this is half of the revenue generating activities that we conduct for the club each year (the other being the white elephant auction that is conducted at the annual holiday potluck dinner).

As you may know the treasury is down due to some increased repeater expenses in the past couple of years, and we can use all of the equipment that can be contributed.

As an added comment, it you are still receiving a hard copy of this newsletter and would be willing to just receive the electronic version, please contact George KB6LE, kb6le@arrl.net to let him know, or go to the OARS Website www.olyham.org and update your member data.

In addition, we are looking for volunteers who can assist in taking the equipment up to Puyallup and also man the booth. If we get enough volunteers, each of us will only need to take a short turn manning the booth.

In addition, OARS does make table space available for our members to sell their own equipment at the booth. However, you either need to be present for the sales or make arrangements for someone to be there. The club cannot be responsible for selling a member's equipment.

I know that Duane has set up a great program for this month with Ed, N7NVP, ARRL Western Washington Section Manager, on BPL (Broadband over Power Line), that will be very informative. While Ed is at the meeting, I am sure that he will be glad to take new memberships or renewals for the ARRL. Please help support the only official voice of Amateur Radio in the USA.


-- Ken K7TAG

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Silent Key

Reade Apgar - N7AGG

We note with sadness the passing of long-time OARS member Reade Apgar, N7AGG.

FCC Chairman Resigns

FCC Chairman Michael K. Powell announced January 21 that he'll step down, effective "sometime in March." Nominated by former President Bill Clinton, Powell joined the FCC in 1997 and became its chairman two days after President George Bush was sworn in for his first term in 2001. ARRL CEO David Sumner, K1ZZ, called Powell's performance "a deep disappointment" after some initial optimism -- especially given his unabashed cheerleading on behalf of the FCC's broadband over power line (BPL) initiative.

"It's no secret that we thought Chairman Powell was going entirely in the wrong direction on BPL and dragging the other commissioners and FCC staff along -- willing or not -- because he was, after all, the chairman," Sumner said. "A new chairman might be a chance for a fresh start."

When the FCC adopted new Part 15 rules for BPL last October, Powell called it "a banner day." While conceding that BPL will affect some spectrum users, including "all those wonderful Amateur Radio operators out there," Powell implied that the FCC must balance the benefits of BPL against the relative value of other licensed services. He listed the FCC's adoption of BPL rules among the "policy highlights" of his tenure.

Possibilities to replace Powell include the other Republican members of the five-member FCC -- Kathleen Q. Abernathy, a staunch BPL supporter, and Kevin J. Martin. Speculation also has been raised about various outside candidates. "We look forward to the opportunity to work with the new chairman, whoever that may be," Sumner said.

In his announcement, Powell said it was "with a mixture of pride and regret" that he informed the president of his decision to step down. "Having completed a bold and aggressive agenda, it is time for me to pursue other opportunities and let someone else take the reins of the agency," he said. "During my tenure, we worked to get the law right in order to stimulate innovative technology that puts more power in the hands of the American people, giving them greater choices that enrich their lives."

The chairman said the seeds of the Commission's policies under his leadership "are taking firm root in the marketplace and are starting to blossom." He cited the increased use of cell phones, digital TV and other digital technology "increasingly connected anytime, anywhere by a wide variety of broadband networks." Proclaimed Powell, "Our children will inherit this exciting future."

As FCC chairman, Powell also was in the forefront of enforcing the Commission's rules on indecency, largely through imposing huge fines on violators. He also supported changes in media ownership rules that permitted even greater concentration of broadcast station ownership.

-- ARRL Bulletin ARLB003

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Treasurer's Report

As of 1/31/05

GENERAL FUND (checking account)

    Previous balance     $324.25

        Income            349.08

        Expenses          161.12

    Ending balance        512.21

REPEATER / PACKET FUND (savings account)

    Previous balance     $982.36

        Income              0.00

        Expenses            0.00

    Ending balance        982.36

-- Ed Fitzgerald, N7WW, Treasurer

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Lost in Translation

-- Joke of the Day, via Internet

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ARRL Volunteers, PRB-1 Help Amateurs Get Tower Permits

Two Midwestern radio amateurs have succeeded in their efforts to be allowed to erect antenna support structures on their residential properties. Both cases hinged largely on the requirement of the limited federal preemption known as PRB-1 that localities "reasonably accommodate" Amateur Radio communication with "minimum practicable regulation."

As a result, city officials in Wheaton, Illinois, have granted John Siepmann, N9NA, a permit to build a 42-foot tower in his back yard. In Ohio, Brian "Tim" McGraw, W8BTM, got the okay from the Colerain Township Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) to erect a 48-foot tower on his property.

In the W8BTM case, Ohio Section Manager Joe Phillips, K8QOE, credited ARRL Volunteer Consulting Engineer Hank Greeb, N8XX, with organizing the ham radio community, researching applicable law and utilizing other League resources.

More than two dozen neighbors had signed a petition and presented their opposition at the hearing in early December. Thirty radio amateurs showed up for the session, and many spoke in support of McGraw's application. In addition, ARRL Great Lakes Division Director Jim Weaver, K8JE, supplied applicable case law for the hearing, while Ohio Assistant SM Bob Winston, W2THU, offered legal advice. Professional engineer Herb Nichols, W8HRN, twice testified to the technical aspects of McGraw's plans, Phillips said. The BZA's December 15 decision was unanimous.

In Illinois, Siepmann's application for a 65-foot free-standing structure faced opposition from his neighbors, who apparently feared that the presence of the antenna support structure would lower property values and lead to TV and telephone interference. He said the city issued him a permit for a 42-foot structure despite opposition from more than 100 neighbors and the posting of "No Radio Tower" signs in front yards. Representing Siepmann was ARRL Volunteer Counsel and well-known Amateur Radio antenna advocate Jim O'Connell, W9WU.

According to news reports, Wheaton's attorney told city council members December 6 that because of PRB-1, the city would lose any court case and had no choice but to issue Siepmann a permit for his tower. The city did compromise on its height, however. O'Connell says it came up with 42 feet by adding Wheaton's present 12-foot "Over the Air Television Receiving Dish" (OTARD) antenna height limit to its 30-foot height limit for a single-family dwelling.

-- ARRL Bulletin ARLB002

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What's My Line?

When I was a kid, my dad and I had a running joke. If anyone asked what he did for a living, I always said, "He's a sports mechanic. He fixes boxing matches and horse races."

Once I answered a teacher this way. She flipped out and summoned my parents. Dad calmed her down by explaining it was a joke.

"So what do you do?: she asked.

Dad, a sales rep for a pharmaceutical company said, "I sell drugs."

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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 stations for the month were KD7KHE, WB7ROZ, WC7I, and K7VRE. 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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Answers to quiz:

-- from David ZL3AI via packet

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Some New Wrinkles in 2005 Field Day Rules

Those planning to participate in this year's Field Day will need to bone up in advance on a few changes in the rules for the ever-popular operating event. Field Day this year takes place June 25-26. The 2261 Field Day entries for 2004 were the most ever. While similar in format to a contest, Field Day is primarily a means to exercise and demonstrate Amateur Radio's emergency operating capabilities while having fun at the same time. ARRL Contest Branch Manager Dan Henderson, N1ND, says that among other things rule changes for 2005 expand eligibility for bonus points.

"All groups will be eligible for some kind of bonus points," Henderson said. "Make sure you carefully read Field Day Rule 7.3." That rule spells out how to qualify for such bonus points as 100 percent emergency power, media publicity, message handling, making satellite contacts, using an alternative power source and copying the W1AW bulletin, among other things. Many bonus point categories are available to all entry classes.

Henderson notes that some large clubs often compete among themselves to see who can claim the highest number of transmitters. Under the revised rules, all transmitters must be on the air with an operator to count toward a club's entry class. "you have to actually have individual people and sufficient equipment capable of operating simultaneously," Henderson emphasized, referencing Rule 4. "The key word there is 'simultaneously.'"

The Field Day exchange consists of the number of transmitters on the air followed by the participation category (A through F). Operators would send "3A," for example, for a club or non-club portable setup with three transmitters on the air at the same time. Rule 4 also specifically prohibits switching and simulcasting devices.

The 2005 Field Day rules also modify the number of transmitters eligible for bonus points that a group can claim for its operating class. "You can only claim the emergency power bonus points for up to 20 transmitters," Henderson explains. "That's a maximum of 2000 emergency power bonus points." There no limit on the number of transmitters eligible participants may have on the air, however. Field Day rules already generally prohibit the use of more than one transmitter at the same time on a single band-mode.

In addition, Field Day 2005 will introduce a new "Youth Element" bonus category (Rule 7.3.15). Clubs or groups operating in Class A, C, D, E or F now can claim 20 bonus points -- up to a maximum of 100 -- for each person aged 18 or younger, who completes a valid Field Day contact. Single-operator Class B stations can earn a 20-point bonus if the operator is age 18 or younger. Two-person Class B setups can claim a 20-point bonus for each operator age 18 or younger, for a maximum of 40 points. The maximum number of participants for Class B entries remains at two.

Another rule change clarifies that Get On The Air (GOTA) stations -- instituted a few years ago to encourage new or comparatively inexperienced operators to gain operating practice -- use the same exchange as the "parent" station. The maximum transmitter output power for GOTA stations is 150 W, and GOTA stations may only operate on the Field Day HF bands.

Free transmitters do not count toward a group's total, and GOTA stations and free VHF stations for Class A entries do not qualify for bonus point credits.

Henderson encourages Field Day participants to submit their Field Day summaries electronically using the Web applet form http://www.b4h.net/cabforms . "You may input your summary information at that site for a 50-point bonus," Henderson points out.

The Maritime Radio Historical Society's K6KPH, comprised of former operators of the KPH commercial shore station, now an historic site, again will augment W1AW Field Day CW and RTTY bulletin transmissions for West Coast participants.

The complete 2005 Field Day packet now is available on the ARRL Web site http://www.arrl.org/contests/forms/05-fd-packet.pdf .

-- from the ARRL Letter

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February Meeting Program

This month at the OARS meeting Ed Bruette will be giving us an update on BPL (Broadband over Power Line).

WWA Section Manager Ed Bruette, N7NVP, is a retired US Navy Submarine Communications Officer who was first licensed in 1988 and became active in emergency communications the following year.

He served as Kitsap County ARES Emergency Coordinator for 4 years, Assistant State RACES Officer for 4.5 years, ARES WWA Section Emergency Coordinator for 5 years, and currently is the State RACES Officer. Additionally, he has held several elected positions in the North Kitsap Amateur Radio Club and the Western WA Amateur Relay Association.

He has been involved with the BPL issue since the early field-testing started and has even testified before the Washington Senate Technology and Communications Committee last year on the subject.


-- Duane Braford, WB7ROZ

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A woman meant to call a record store, but dialed the wrong number and got a private home instead. "Do you have 'Eyes of Blue' and 'A love Supreme?'"she asked.

"Well, no," answered the puzzled homeowner. "But I have a wife and eleven children."

"Is that a record?" she inquired, puzzled in her turn.

"I don't think so," replied the man, "but it's as close as I want to get."

-- from David ZL3AI, via packet

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Classified Ads

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