Watts News

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

  January 2003
Edited by George Lanning  KB6LE 

Table of Contents

  •  From the Oval Shack
  •  Hams help out during OK telephone emergency
  •  ARRL Concludes 5-MHz Experiments, Awaits FCC Decision on New Band
  •  Treasurer's Report
  •  Dues Reminder
  •  Money isn't everything
  •  New Saudi satellite gets OSCAR designation
  •  The Burger
  •  All-ham, all-male crew settles in onboard space station
  •  ARRL providing FCC license renewal, address changes, mods to nonmembers
  •  Life beyond fifty
  •  QSL help request
  •  FCC Launches Consumer-Oriented Electronic Comment Filing System
  •  Exercise
  •  Reminiscing
  • --back to OARS home page

    In last month's column, I requested input on the possibility of moving our monthly meetings to another day of the month. To date, I have received very few responses, and there was no consensus of a different day, so unless there is some input at this month's club meeting, we will stay with the 4th Wednesday of the month.

    I would like to thank everyone who came out to the OARS Holiday Pot Luck at Lee, KI7SS's on Saturday December 28th. It was a nice dinner enjoyed by all who were there. Unfortunately, there were not enough people present to conduct an auction of the gifts that were brought, so it was decided to take them to the Mike and Key Hamfest in March and sell them at that time.

    After experiencing some difficulties with the repeater controller at the water tower, Fred, W7SIX and I took it down and did a hard reset on Saturday January 3. Jeff, W3GE then reprogrammed it, and the system seems to be functioning normally.

    Larry, KC7CKO, who lives nearby, told us that they had several power failures recently which caused him to have to reprogram many of his electronic devices at his house. So, even though the Repeater Controller and Digital Voice Recorder are on a UPS, those devices do not block the passage of the momentary voltage spikes that can occur during a power failure, and we are hopeful that this was the cause of our problems.

    My thanks to Fred and Jeff for their assistance in getting the system operational again.

    Also, thanks to George, KB6LE and Dave Johnston, N7HWI for their work on the OLY Packet Node and BBS. With the resurgence of interest in Packet, it is good to have reliable communications again.

    Wishing everyone a joyous and prosperous 2003!

    -- Ken Dahl, K7TAG

    --back to table of contents

    Hams help out during OK telephone emergency

    Hams responded with emergency communication when Broken Arrow, OK, a town of 75,000, experienced a citywide telephone outage on December 23. A request went out for amateurs to assist with emergency effort at the local Emergency Operations Center and three area hospitals. Several hams from the Broken Arrow Amateur Radio Club responded to the call, staffing positions at the Broken Arrow EOC and three hospital emergency rooms.

    The operation lasted about five hours, with messages between the EOCs and hospitals being passed. Lines of communications were also opened with the Oklahoma State Department of Civil Emergency Management in Oklahoma City via the HF amateur station in the Broken Arrow EOC.

    The trouble with the phone system was created by the loss of SS7 signaling, a digital protocol for call routing. Unable to route a call out of the local exchange, Broken Arrow phone customers could not call outside the city limits. As a result, the City of Broken Arrow implemented its Telecommunications Failure Plan.

    -- ARRL Bulletin ARLB003

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    ARRL Concludes 5-MHz Experiments, Awaits FCC Decision on New Band

    With its experimental license having demonstrated the desirability and feasibility of a domestic 5 MHz amateur allocation, the ARRL has allowed wa2xsy to expire on January 1, 2003 rather than request renewal. Last May, the FCC proposed going along with the ARRL's 2001 request for a new domestic secondary HF allocation at 5.25 to 5.4 MHz.

    15 Amateur Radio clubs and individual amateurs took part in the 5-MHz experimental operation that began in January 1999 and largely concluded in 2002. ARRL chose not to request another renewal of the WA2XSY license because it already had obtained sufficient information to justify its petition for the band.

    In a letter filed with the FCC last August after the comment deadline had passed, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration recommended that the Commission not go forward with the 5-MHz proposal. The NTIA said several government agencies with allocations in the proposed spectrum had expressed reservations about allowing amateurs to use the band.

    The ARRL has been working with the government to resolve the impasse. The ARRL has called the 5 MHz allocation an urgent priority of the Amateur Service and said that a new band at 5 MHz would aid emergency communication activities by filling a propagation gap between 80 and 40 meters. In the meantime, experimental operations on 5 MHz continue on a very limited basis in the United Kingdom and in Canada.

    -- ARRL Bulletin ARLB002

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    Treasurer's Report

    As of 12/31//02

    GENERAL FUND (checking account)

        Previous balance     $1,894.71
            Income              101.69
            Expenses              0.00
        Ending balance        1,996.40

    REPEATER / PACKET FUND (savings account)

        Previous balance      $ 956.81
            Income                5.02
            Expenses              0.00
        Ending balance          961.83

    -- Ed Fitzgerald, N7WW, Treasurer

    --back to table of contents
    Remember -- it's time to pay your OARS dues!

    Send your check for $20 (or $25 per family) to:

    P.O. Box 2861
    Olympia WA 98507
    or give it to treasurer Ed Fitzgerald at the next meeting.

    --back to table of contents

    Money isn't everything

    It can buy a bed -- but not sleep

    It can buy a clock -- but not time

    It can buy you a book -- but not knowledge

    It can buy you a position -- but not respect

    It can buy you medicine -- but not health

    It can buy you blood -- but not life

    It can buy you sex -- but not love

    So you see, money isn't everything, and it often causes pain and suffering. I tell you all this because I am your friend, and as your friend I want to take away your pain and suffering....... 

    So send me all your money and I will suffer for you.

    -- from David, ZL3AI, via packet

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    New Saudi satellite gets OSCAR designation

    A third satellite in the SaudiSat series has earned an OSCAR designation from AMSAT, SO-50. The Amateur Radio payload was successfully placed into orbit December 20 from Russia atop a modified SS-18 intercontinental ballistic missile. The German-made SAFIR-M Amateur Radio payload went into orbit during the same launch. SaudiSat-1C is a project of the Space Research Institute of the King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST). 

    SaudiSat-1C follows the 2000 launch of SaudiSats 1A and 1B. Now in a 650-km orbit, SaudiSat-1C carries several experiments, including a new Mode J FM amateur repeater. The downlink frequency is 436.775 MHz. The uplink frequency is 145.850 MHz. A 67 Hz CTCSS tone is required for access. The repeater will be available to amateurs worldwide as power permits.

    AMSAT-NA President Robin Haighton, VE3FRH, said SaudiSat-1C will require activation on each pass by a designated control operator. "A worldwide network of designated control operators is now being developed so that radio amateurs may begin using the satellite immediately," he said. The NORAD identifier for two-line Keplerian elements is 27607.

    The new satellite is also equipped with capabilities to provide vital data concerning weather conditions and oil exploration as well as to monitor the movement of vehicles in remote regions of Saudi Arabia.

    -- ARRL Bulletin ARLS001

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    The Burger

    I had just finished visiting a friend in the hospital and stopped by a burger drive-through for lunch to eat on the way back to work. I ordered the #1 combo (burger, fry, coke) for $4.29. She said "that'll be $4.83, please drive forward."

    "$4.83? For a $4.29 meal? That's 54 cents tax! That can't be right," my mind raced. Tax is 8 cents on the dollar in Huntsville and for 4 dollars that would be 32 cents plus 1/3 (29) of 8 cents would be 35 cents max. I'd heard of window workers overcharging drive through customers and skimming the money for themselves. Someone did just that to me at a Hardees a couple of years ago.

    I didn't have my calculator watch (I lost it a while back) so I got a pen and paper and did the long division since there were 2 cars ahead of me. Let's see ... 483/429 ... over 12 percent tax! When I got to the window I handed her a 5 and said "what's the sales tax in Huntsville?" She didn't know. I said "$4.83 for a $4.29 meal is 12 percent tax. That can't be right. Can I talk to the manager?" She gave me my change and called the manager.

    So the manager comes over. I ask what the sales tax is in Huntsville, and she says 8 percent. I say that I just paid $4.83 for a $4.29 meal and that's over 12 percent sales tax.

    She got a funny look on her face and said that maybe the computer had rung it up wrong or had charged me for the biggie size. (biggie upgrade was 35 cents -- which would be 4.64 plus tax which would put it over $5). She admitted it was supposed to be 4.63, and opened the drawer to give me my extra change.

    "HA!" I thought to myself. "Six years engineering school has so heightened my mental mathematical adeptness that I can do percentages in my head and my superior intellect has foiled a feeble attempt by a drive-through worker to overcharge me."

    I took the twenty cents she handed me, proud of my staggering genius, and smugly drove off without my food.

    -- from David, ZL3AI, via packet

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    All-ham, all-male crew settles in onboard space station

    One all-ham crew has replaced another onboard the International Space Station. The new crew is entirely male. The crew change also marks the first time since Expedition 3 that a US astronaut will be in charge of the ISS crew. The Expedition 6 crew of Commander Ken Bowersox, KD5JBP, Flight Engineer Nikolai Budarin, RV3FB and NASA ISS Science Officer Don Pettit, KD5MDT, lifted off November 23 on a four-month scientific mission.

    The Expedition 6 team is the third all-ham crew to serve aboard the ISS. The team replaces the all-amateur Expedition 5 crew of Commander Valery Korzun, RK3FZ; Sergei Treschev, RK3FU and Peggy Whitson, KC5ZTD. Whitson, Korzun and Treschev have been in space since June 5. They're expected back on Earth December 4. A final farewell and formal change-of-command ceremony between the crews took place this week before the hatches between the ISS and the shuttle Endeavour were closed and latched.

    Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) school contacts will remain on hold for approximately the next three weeks as the crew settles in and takes care of its initial duties. 

    NASA says the Expedition 6 crew members will work with a total of 20 continuing and new experiments in the US Density Laboratory. Also, Bowersox and Budarin are scheduled to perform a six-and-a-half-hour spacewalk this month.

    -- ARRL Bulletin ARLS007

    --back to table of contents

    ARRL providing FCC license renewal, address changes, mods to nonmembers

    The ARRL has announced that it's now providing FCC Amateur Radio license renewals, address changes and other license modification services to nonmembers. For a $12 fee, the League will renew a nonmember's Amateur Radio ticket (the license must be within 90 days of expiration), file an application to change address or name or request issuance of a new sequential call sign. The ARRL Volunteer Examiner Coordinator is processing these applications.

    "The $12 is in line with our calendar year 2003 exam application fee," said ARRL VEC Manager Bart Jahnke, W9JJ. For several years, the ARRL has been handling renewals, address and name changes and modifications free of charge for members and has directed nonmembers to the FCC's free Internet or hard-copy application options or to other providers of such services. 

    Jahnke suggests that nonmembers who now choose to employ the League's application handling service also consider adding $27 (based on the current under-65 full term member rate of $39) for a full ARRL membership that includes free application handling and other services -- not to mention QST.

    Members or nonmembers taking advantage of this service should submit NCVEC Form 605 <http://www.arrl.org/fcc/forms.html> to ARRL VEC, 225 Main St, Newington CT 06111 USA for processing. Nonmembers should make the $12 fee payable to "ARRL." For more information, contact ARRL VEC, vec@arrl.org. 

    --back to table of contents

    Life beyond fifty

    Maybe it's true that life begins at fifty. But everything else starts to wear out, fall out, or spread out. 

    There are three signs of old age. The first is your loss of memory, the other two I forget.

    You're getting old when you don't care where your spouse goes, just as long as you don't have to go along.

    Middle age is when work is a lot less fun and fun a lot more work. 

    Statistics show that at the age of seventy, there are five women to every man. Isn't that the darnedest time for a guy to get those odds? 

    You know you're getting on in years when the girls at the office start confiding in you.

    Middle age is when it takes longer to rest than to get tired. 

    By the time a man is wise enough to watch his step, he's too old to go anywhere.

    Middle age is when you have stopped growing at both ends, and have begun to grow in the middle.

    Of course I'm against sin; I'm against anything that I'm too old to enjoy.

    Billy Graham has described heaven as a family reunion that never ends. What must hell possibly be like? Home videos of the same reunion?

    A man has reached middle age when he is cautioned to slow down by his doctor instead of by the police.

    Middle age is having a choice of two temptations and choosing the one that will get you home earlier.

    You know you're into middle age when you realize that caution is the only thing you care to exercise.

    At my age, "getting a little action" means I don't need to take a laxative.

    Don't worry about avoiding temptation. As you grow older, it will avoid you.

    The aging process could be slowed down if it had to work its way through Congress.

    You're getting old when getting lucky means you find your car in the parking lot.

    You're getting old when you're sitting in a rocker and you can't get it started.

    You're getting old when your wife gives up sex for Lent, and you don't know until the 4th of July.

    You're getting old when you wake up with that morning-after feeling, and you didn't do anything the night before.

    The cardiologist's diet: if it tastes good, spit it out.

    Doctor to patient: I have good news and bad news: the good news is that you are not a hypochondriac.

    It's hard to be nostalgic when you can't remember anything. 

    You know you're getting old when you stop buying green bananas. 

    Last Will and Testament: Being of sound mind, I spent all my money.

    -- from ZL3AI via packet

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    QSL help request

    OARS@att.net received the following message:

    I am the K section manager for the ARRL 7th District QSL Bureau. I have mail in the bureau dead file for:

    all or whose addresses are Olympia WA. There are no SASEs nor credit on file for me to forward the mail. I have also been unable to locate an email address.

    This message is hoping you or one of your club members knows these persons or can contact them to advise them they have mail. The QSL mail may be claimed by his following the directions at http://www.qsl.net/wvdxc

    Any assistance you can render would be appreciated.


    Don Tucker W7WLL
    ARRL 7th District QSL Bureau K Section Manager
    Extra, Lic 1954, WVDXC, LCARC

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    FCC Launches Consumer-Oriented Electronic Comment Filing System

    The FCC has launched ECFS Express, an updated electronic system that the Commission says will make it easier for some members of the public to file comments on FCC proceedings. ECFS Express is a simplified version of the popular Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS), but it is not available for all FCC proceedings.

    ECFS Express focuses on topics rather than docket numbers, and requires minimal input by consumers seeking to participate in the Commission's public rulemaking process. ECFS Express is accessible from the FCC home page at http://www.fcc.gov. Users click on the "File Comments" logo. Anyone who wants to comment just has to click on a topic, fill in their personal information, write their comments and hit "SEND."

    The FCC said the downside is that if the particular issue you want to comment upon is not listed among the ECFS Express topics, you'll have to use the full version of ECFS, located at http://www.fcc.gov/e-file/ecfs.html, to comment on proceedings not listed. At the moment, the EFCS Express list includes no Amateur Radio-related proceedings.

    FCC Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau Chief K. Dane Snowden said, "By making the process more intuitive and less technical, all those interested in what we are doing at the FCC can have their voices heard. Our goal is to have as much of the public as possible participate in our rulemaking processes."

    -- ARRL Bulletin ARLB005

    --back to table of contents


    -- from ZL3AI via packet

    --back to table of contents


    Grandma and Grandpa were sitting in their porch rockers while watching the beautiful sunset and reminiscing about "the good old days." Grandma turned to Grandpa and said, "Honey, do you remember when we first started dating? You used to just casually reach over and take my hand?" Grandpa looked over at her, smiled and obligingly took her aged hand in his.

    Growing bolder still, Grandma said, "Honey, do you remember when we were first married? You'd kind of nibble on my ear?" Grandpa slowly got up from his rocker and headed into the house. Alarmed, Grandma said, "Honey, where are you going?"

    Grandpa replied, "To get my teeth!"

    -- from W1GMF via packet

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