Watts News

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

 January 2001
Edited by George Lanning  KB6LE 

In this issue:

  •  From the Oval Shack
  •  It's time to renew
  •  Rally News 2001
  •  New controller in place on 2 meter repeater
  •  AO-40 project leader optimistic about satellite's future
  •  ARISS packet system to be activated
  •  Legislative Update
  •  100 Years Ago
  •  Wishes for the new year
  •  Treasurer's Report
  •  OARS Net check-ins
  •  Thurston County tower restrictions
  •  Who's jamming whom
  •  Round-the-world ham-sailor reaches South Africa
  •  The Vice President's Column
  •  Things that take years to learn
  • --back to OARS main page

    Regardless of your opinion as to just when the new millennium started, we are now fully into a new one. I would like to wish each and every one of you a "Happy New Year" and all the best for the next year.

    I am looking forward to this year in the position of OARS President. I hope to get the chance to become better acquainted with all of the members during my term. I look forward to seeing you at our meetings and to hearing you on the air during our weekly nets.

    During the next year I will aim at fostering growth and participation within our organization. The amateur radio community is a valuable resource in the time of need. It is to our advantage to have a trained group of communicators that can be called upon when the need arises. I would like to offer a special thanks to Lee Chambers KI7SS for his work in the promotion of Amateur Radio through the years.

    As to the rest of the year, lets have some fun. There will be road rallies, Field Day, a parade, a marathon, and other events where we can utilize our skills and add to the enjoyment of our particular hobby.

    We can have a blast. It should be fun.

    Dan - KB7DFL

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    It's time to renew membership !

    All OARS memberships are renewable on January 1 of each year. If you haven't already done so, please write your check ($20 per individual or $25 per family) and mail it to OARS at PO Box 2861, Olympia 98507, or hand it to Treasurer Ed Fitzgerald. Cash works, too.

    Dues are the main source of income for the club, so don't delay -- help keep OARS in operation.

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    Rally News 2001

    The rally year starts out with the annual worker's appreciation banquet, always held on the Saturday of Super Bowl weekend, which will be January 27th, 2001, and it takes place in a really nice new location! 

    The event will be at the Fort Lewis Golf Course Clubhouse. Very easy to find -- just go to the I-5 / Mounts Road interchange (Exit 116), east of the Nisqually Flats. Cross over the freeway, and drive right into the clubhouse parking lot. The banquet starts at 6 PM, and there is no charge for the workers and their spouses/partners. Great food, some free bubbly, and door prizes galore. A no-host bar will also be available. As always, videos of recent rallies will be showing. If you worked in a rally last year, or you are interested in helping out this year, you are earnestly invited! 

    The first rally race will be the annual Doo-Wop Series. However, the usual February events (Doo-Wops 1 & 2) have been cancelled, and Doo-Wops 3 & 4 have been moved up to March 3rd & 4th. This will hopefully mean rallying back in the Capitol Forest on Saturday and near Montesano and Oakville on Sunday. (Remember, the Oakville-Brooklyn road is claimed as the best rally road in the U.S. by many competitors!) This one-weekend series will be a Club (formerly called Divisional) Runoff, meaning that we should have a good number of outstanding cars entered from areas other than the Northwest, too!

    The 2001 rally season is as follows -- please mark your calendars: 

    March 3 & 4:   Doo-Wops 3 & 4;  Olympia, Montesano, Oakville areas 

    April 7 & 8:     Oregon Trail & Trail's End Rallies; Tillamook, OR area

    June 9 & 10:    Dryad Quest & Shitepoke Rallies; Shelton, WA area 

    August 4 & 5:  ORV Park Rallysprints; Thurston County ORV Park (A fun event -- hams are not required, but are invited!)

    Sept. 7 & 8:     Sou'Wester & Wild West Rallies; Shelton & Olympia areas

    Dec. 1 & 2:     Clatsop Forest Rallies; Astoria, OR 

    As you can see, that's only three weekends in the local area requiring hams and workers. Not a grueling schedule! Lee, KI7SS will be calling soon to arrange for hams for the March Doo-Wops. We look forward to having your valued assistance!

    -- Paul, KC7LA.

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    New controller in place on 2 meter repeater

    Over the New Years weekend, we swapped out the controller on the 2 Meter repeater at the Water Tower. This has caused all of the previous auto patch numbers to be no longer valid.

    The terminator for the 2 Meter controller is now "C".

    To use the auto patch function: Depress and hold mike key; Enter "* telephone number C". Release mike key and the controller will repeater the number to be dialed back before dialing. To Clear auto patch: Depress Mike Key: Enter "#C". 

    Jeff is currently programing the new auto dial slots and should be contacted to obtain one. Also, auto patch is now available from both the 220 and 440 sides of the link.

    -- Ken Dahl, K7TAG

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    AO-40 project leader "optimistic" about satellite's future 

    AO-40 Project Leader Karl Meinzer, DJ4ZC, has expressed confidence that, despite its problems, the satellite will be functional in the future -- although its mission likely will be different from the one planned prior to launch. "Personally, I am optimistic, and I believe that the command and engineering team stands a good chance of turning AO-40 into an extremely useful Amateur Radio satellite," Meinzer said this week in a posting made available via AMSAT News Service.

    AO-40 went silent December 13 while ground controllers were testing the onboard 400-newton propulsion system. A computer reset command Christmas Day brought the satellite back to life, but telemetry data indicate some systems were damaged or lost.

    Since Christmas, the AO-40 ground team has been analyzing telemetry sent via the 2.4 GHz beacon -- the only transmitter now operating -- to determine the status of AO-40's onboard systems.

    While current data indicate that some onboard systems have been lost or compromised, "there has been no further deterioration after the second incident," he said. Meinzer said that especially if the ATOS arcjet and the three-axis stabilization systems still work, "AO-40 will still be able to produce a large fraction of the Amateur Radio service expected from it."

    The AO-40 ground team has determined that, in addition to the 2.4 GHz transmitter, the 2-meter, 70-cm and 1.2 GHz receivers and high-gain antennas are operational. He said the 70 cm and 1.2 GHz omnidirectional antennas do not work, but the status of the 2-meter omnidirectional antenna has not been established.

    The 2-meter transmitter was tested briefly, but unsuccessfully. "It demonstrated a marked temperature increase, but no signal was heard," Meinzer said.

    AO-40 team member Peter Guelzow, DB2OS, and Meinzer said additional tests of the 2-meter transmitter were pending, but Meinzer said they would have to wait. Meinzer said ground controllers first want to reduce the spacecraft's spin rate "to ensure that the satellite's heat-pipes will be able to handle the dissipation for extended periods."

    Neither Guelzow nor Meinzer mentioned the possibility -- raised last week -- that a leak of some sort on AO-40 might be contributing to the enhanced spin rate. Meinzer said this week that magnetorquing -- attitude control -- was begun in order to reduce spin. Meinzer said ground controllers hoped to return the attitude control system to full functionality.

    -- from the ARRL Letter, Electronic Edition

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    ARISS packet system to be activated

    The ISS Expedition 1 crew was expected to turn on the packet system sometime this week. The Amateur Radio on the International Space Station packet system will identify as RZ3DZR-1. It will uplink on 145.99 MHz and downlink on 145.80 MHz. When the system is activated and the ISS is within view, Earth stations can expect to hear a periodic beacon every two minutes. Earth stations may send unformatted informational (UI) packets to the ISS (i.e., it should be operational for APRS beacons).

    Earth stations are asked to refrain from using the Packet Mailbox System at this time, however, since the crew does not have the computer hooked up to read messages. Do not transmit on the packet uplink until you have heard the packet beacon. If you copy the packet system, let ARISS know and save your information for a future QSL card. For more information on ARISS, visit the ARISS Web site, http://ariss.gsfc.nasa.gov/.

    -- Frank Bauer, KA3HDO in the ARRL Letter

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    Legislative Update
    Senators William B. Spong of Virginia and Hiram Fong of Hawaii sponsored a bill recommending the mass ringing of church bells to welcome the arrival in Hong Kong of the U.S. Table Tennis Team after its tour of Communist China. The bill failed to pass, cheating the Senate out of passing the Spong-Fong Hong Kong Ping Pong Ding Dong Bell Bill.

    -- thanks to Dave LeFevre KC7FEC

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    100 Years Ago

                1. Pneumonia and influenza
                2. Tuberculosis
                3. Diarrhea
                4. Heart disease
                5. Stroke  -- from "The Joke of the Day"

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    Wishes for the new year

    -- author unknown

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    Treasurer's Report
    As of 12/31/00

    GENERAL FUND (checking account)

        Previous balance  $ 1,578.51
            Income              3.18
            Expenses            0.00
        Ending balance      1,581.69

    REPEATER / PACKET FUND (savings account)

        Previous balance    $ 903.99
            Income              6.95
            Expenses            0.00
        Ending balance        910.94

    -- Ed Fitzgerald, N7WW, Treasurer

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    OARS Net check-ins

    The following stations checked in on the OARS General Information Net on January 9, 2001.

            K7TAG   K7WJP  K7YYZ  KB7NMU

            KC7FEC* KC7LA  KD7ECC KE7HA

            KI7SS   N6TPT  N7AGG  N7EIM

            N7JHJ   W3GE   W6FKR  W7GNR

            W7VVO   WB7TT

    * 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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    Thurston County tower restrictions

    Al Williams sent the following regarding the November minutes in last month's newsletter:

    The newsletter statement that Thurston County doesn't have tower restrictions isn't completely true. Because my proposed tower was in the growth management part of the county, and it exceeded 65', I had to have a SEPA review. 

    -- Al Williams K7PUC

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    Who's jamming whom?

    Getting the story straight

    It turns out that the 40-meter "wobble-and-buzz jammers" heard by many in the US over the past year or so are Iranian stations that are attempting to block Iraqi stations -- not the other way around as recently reported (see "Mother of All Jammers Continues to Plague 40 Meters" in The ARRL Letter, Vol 20, No 1). Several members of the monitoring community had questioned the earlier ARRL report, which was based on information from typically reliable sources.

    "I began to doubt our information on January 8, when I received second-hand reports from SWL DXers that the jammer and jammee were backwards," said ARRL Monitoring System Coordinator Brennan Price, N4QX. "Further investigation confirms their reports."

    Larry Van Horn, N5FPW, the assistant editor of Monitoring Times, forwarded several SWL reports to ARRL that suggested the jamming signals definitely were coming from Iran and already were well-known within the monitoring community. SWL reports indicated that the signals typically operate in the range from 7020 to 7090 kHz.

    The ARRL's sources said this week that the object of the jamming is an Iraqi pirate station -- which several SWLs identified as The Voice of the Mojahadin -- broadcasting in Persian into Iran on various 40-meter frequencies as well as in the Aeronautical Band. The pirate station operates on a specific frequency -- or frequencies -- until it's spotted by the Iranians, who then attempt to jam the signal. The broadcaster then hops to another frequency to avoid the jamming, which explains why the jammer will suddenly pop up on a frequency for several minutes at a time and then disappear. 

    IARU Region 2 Monitoring System Coordinator Martin Potter, VE3OAT, concurs with the ARRL's latest information. He says the jammer often puts "a thundering great signal into my antenna."

    The jamming signals are broad and noisy. They typically land on multiples of 10 kHz and occupy some 10 kHz of bandwidth.

    The Iranian and the Iraqi governments are reported to have ignored complaints by the US and the United Kingdom. Price says that in light of the strained relations between the US and both Iran and Iraq, there's not much hope that the problem will be resolved anytime soon.

    -- from the ARRL Letter, Electronic Edition

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    Round-the-world ham-sailor reaches South Africa

    Round-the-world sailor David Clark, KB6TAM, has arrived in Cape Town, South Africa, aboard the sailing vessel Mollie Milar. Clark, who's trying to become the oldest person to sail solo around the world, has been using ham radio as a welcome link to the world he left behind and has been a daily check-in on the Maritime Net (14.313 MHz).

    Clark's wife, Lynda, reports that the 76-year-old Clark and his sailing companion, Mickey, a west highland terrier, arrived just before Christmas and have been relaxing and getting acquainted. "Several repairs are needed, and David will be playing his clarinet for the people of Cape Town to earn monies to accomplish these repairs," Lynda Clark said in an e-mail posting over the holidays.

    Clark plans to stay in Cape Town until mid-February. He and Mickey left Ft. Lauderdale aboard his 44-foot steel-hulled sloop in December 1999. He hopes to celebrate the successful completion of his voyage at the Lauderdale Marine Center in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, before his 77th birthday on May 17.

    Clark already has sailed around the world once -- in 1987 to 1991 -- although not completely alone. A previous solo attempt failed in 1995 when he was dismasted in the Indian Ocean and lost his boat and everything he owned. Clark is financing his latest adventure out of his own pocket, using his Social Security income.

    Detailed reports of Clark's adventures can be found on Clark's son David's Web pages, http://www.captainclark.com/Pages/Updates.html

    -- Lynda Clark, in The ARRL Letter

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    The Vice President's Column

    Well, the big news isn't next month's program, the Mike and Key fleamarket on March 10th, or even the upcoming road rally. What's really big is the number of people in the technician classes! I've got two crash-classes going and they're bursting at the seams! Both look like about 35 participants; the first will be on Saturday February 3 and then two weeks later on February 17th. The participants of this class will end the day with a test; the Ft. Lewis testing group is coming to them! And then we do it again March 17th and March 24th -- for 35 Boy Scouts and some parents!

    Not only that, but I've given presentations at the "Blossomwood Court Emergency Response Team" monthly meeting, and expect to have half a dozen enroll in my next class; yesterday I went to the SAR Council's training session at the fairgrounds and picked up half a dozen names there! To top it off, the Mason County Sheriff's office is running another SAR Conference May 25, 26, & 27, and I've been invited to teach there.

    So this whole class thing is taking off! Steve Ward, WC7I, has agreed to help me with the classes, as with 35 students things can get a little...hectic! Shake his hand when you get a chance. But that's not what I'm writing about.

    Mostly I need your help, especially if you've any time to work on a grant proposal or two. You see, those Boy Scouts will come out of our class with technician licenses and a big problem: no radios. These kids are young teenagers, ages 12 to 18, tops, with most of them on the young side. They don't have $175 for a handheld, or at least, many of them won't. What I need is a way to get them some radios. If you can either do some grant writing, or maybe you have an old Icom 2AT gathering dust somewhere you could donate, that would be one great present, and I'll see to it you get to give it personally if you'd like.

    Or do you have another idea on how to get these kids into our ranks? By the way, I wrote a grant proposal to Microsoft and got the brush-off, so think of some other deep pockets we can tap! 

    This upcoming OARS program should be good; we've got three great presenters to discuss their perspectives on HF antennas, and a discussion on the new 2 meter controller, so the meeting should be interesting. Anyone need a ride? Let me know and I'll either pick you up or we'll find someone who will.

    All the best! -- 73

    -- Lee, KI7SS

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    Things that take years to learn

    -- from "Joke of the Day"

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    --back to OARS main page