Olympia Amateur Radio Society

ARRL Special Service ClubWatts News

Monthly Newsletter of the

Olympia Amateur Radio Society

P.O. Box 2861, Olympia, WA 98507

  January 2006
Edited by George Lanning  KB6LE 

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From the Oval ShackPresident's Message

QST all!

The meeting program for January is scheduled to be Steve Ward's Tesla Coil. This is a pretty remarkable machine. If you don't understand, or have never seen, a Tesla coil, now's the time!

And, we'll be talking about changes we'd like to make to future programs. These include creating some time for special interest groups to talk about their unique radio interests. To start, we've identified DXers, builders, Linux/computer users, and antennas as separate SIGs. We'd be glad to take others.

We'll take a few minutes each meeting to talk about electronic basics.

We'll re-institute the raffle.

February's meeting features Chuck, NX6W, with his clock project.

March is a DXpedition videotape.

May is Field Day antenna planning


July...we might just go, as a club, visit W7DK's meeting.

August is our picnic, at Burfoot, tentatively, the 19th.

September is still open.

October will include elections.

November's meeting will be December 1.

And we may re-institute a dinner in December.

Club meetings will feature cider and cookies.

I'd like to know: how many regular members would like to upgrade?

-- Lee

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ARRL NW Division Leadership Transition

As you have probably heard, Director Greg Milnes, W7OZ, passed away on December 17, 2005. I had the pleasure of working with Greg for seven years as we represented the ARRL's Northwestern Division at board meetings and at various hamfests and other events. He was well respected within the Division and on the ARRL Board. We shall miss his leadership, guidance and humor.

Messages of condolence can be sent to Greg's wife, Loretta and family at 740 SE 24th Ave, Hillsboro, OR 97123.

As Greg's Vice Director, I now assume the duty of serving ARRL Northwestern Division's members on the ARRL Board as the Division Director. My first order of business is to recommend a vice director replacement candidate to ARRL President Jim Haynie. I will also represent the Northwestern Division at the upcoming ARRL Board meeting in January.

Please address your suggestions and questions to me at: k9jf@arrl.org . In addition, I can be reached at (360) 256-1716. Please be assured that I will return your phone calls as quickly as possible. In most instances, you will be asked to leave a message at this number. Government, industry, and our increasing average age challenge the amateur radio operators. We must strive to insure the long-term survivability of our service. I welcome your input and opportunity for discussion into 2006 and beyond.

Thanks, in advance, for your support during this transition. As your Northwestern Division Director, I will represent the best interests of the Division and the future of amateur radio in general.


Jim Fenstermaker K9JF

Vancouver, WA

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Just a reminder: OARS dues for all members are payable January 1 of each year.

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Holiday Toy Drive trucks hit the highway

A convoy carrying contributions to the ARRL/Salvation Army Holiday Toy Drive set off December 15 from the Memphis warehouse where the toys have been collecting for several weeks. On hand to see them off were representatives of the ARRL, The Salvation Army, country music singer Patty Loveless, KD4WUJ, Amateur Radio volunteers, the news media, dignitaries and, of course, Santa Claus. Loveless, who served as national chairperson for the campaign, expressed her thanks to Amateur Radio clubs and individual hams who gave to the drive.

"I think it's just amazing. For those who couldn't be here, I'm sure they're here in spirit and giving from their hearts, and I just want to thank them -- from all around -- for collecting," Loveless told ARRL. "Love is a word that truly everybody knows."

It took three trucks to contain the 4500 toys bound for youngsters along the US Gulf Coast displaced or left homeless as a result of this year's devastating hurricanes.

ARRL Delta Division Vice Director Henry Leggette, WD4Q, ARRL Media and Public Relations Manager Allen Pitts, W1AGP, The Salvation Army's Bill Feist, WB8BZH, and Loveless headlined a send-off ceremony as ham radio volunteers wearing Santa hats, coordinated by Joe Lowenthal, WA4OVO, packed up the trucks for the late-afternoon departure. Lowenthal says the Holiday Toy Drive received donations from upward of three dozen states plus the US Virgin Islands.

At the warehouse, Delta Amateur Radio Club members began a W1AW/4 special event operation December 15. A W1AW mobile station also is on the air from a vehicle shadowing the truck convoy.

The ARRL partnered with The Salvation Army for this year's campaign. Feist, The Salvation Army's disaster services director for the Alabama-Louisiana-Mississippi division, said it was an exciting occasion and he was glad to see ham radio get some positive publicity too. "We are certainly very appreciative of what all the Amateur Radio operators around the country and the ARRL have done for the people of Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi," Feist said.

League members gave more than $4000 in cash donations to purchase even more toys -- especially for older youngsters -- and transport them to the Gulf Coast.

The ARRL thanks everyone who contributed to -- and who volunteered to assist -- in making the 2005 Holiday Toy Drive a success.

-- ARRL Bulletin ARLX006

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Treasurer's Report

As of 12/31/05

    GENERAL FUND (checking account)

        Previous balance   $1,922.28

            Income              0.40

            Expenses           67.61

        Ending balance      1,855.07

    REPEATER / PACKET FUND (savings account)

        Previous balance    $ 986.06

            Income              4.56

            Expenses            0.00

        Ending balance        990.62

-- Ed Fitzgerald, N7WW, Treasurer

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The Rose

I once had a rose named after me and I was very flattered. But I was not pleased to read the description in the catalogue:

"No good in a bed, but fine up against a wall".

-- Eleanor Roosevelt

-- from Joke of the Day, via Internet

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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 December, 2005:


Net control stations for the month were WB7ROZ, K7TAG, 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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The stoplight on the corner buzzes when it is safe to cross the street. I was crossing with a co-worker of mine, when she asked if I knew what the buzzer was for. I explained that it signals to blind people when the light is red.

She responded, appalled, "What on earth are blind people doing driving?"

-- from David, ZL3AI, via packet

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ISS commander shooting for WAC, WAS and maybe DXCC from space

ISS Expedition 12 Commander Bill McArthur, KC5ACR, has proven to be one of the more active Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) operators among ham radio operators who have occupied the space station. In fact, McArthur's having so much fun operating from space that he's hoping to complete Worked All Continents (WAC), Worked All States (WAS) and maybe even DXCC from space.

"Bill McArthur continues to be active on voice and now has a couple of personal goals he is trying to achieve," says ARISS Ham Radio Project Engineer Kenneth Ransom, N5VHO. "He is trying to talk to someone in every state in the United States. According to his log, he has managed to work 37 states so far." In addition, Ransom says, McArthur wants to work as many countries as he can.

"He's off to a good start with 28 DXCC entities in his log as of December 12," he said. "These contacts have been with amateur stations on every continent with the exception of Antarctica." That contact could happen this weekend, however. Although the IARU does not require WAC applicants to have worked Antarctica, Ransom says that ARISS tradition calls for an Antarctica QSO to achieve WAC from space "since the astronauts seem to have an unfair advantage."

Expedition 9 astronaut Mike Fincke, KE5AIT, became the first ISS crew member to contact all seven of the world's continents via Amateur Radio from NA1SS.

States on McArthur's most-needed list are Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont, Virginia and Washington.

"The list of DXCC entities is just starting to grow, so he needs a lot right now," Ransom conceded this week, adding that he hasn't included ARISS school group contacts in his counts and hopes McArthur will achieve his goals without them. "We won't know the official results for months after the mission," he added.

McArthur is about halfway through his approximately six-month duty tour aboard the ISS. He and crewmate Valery Tokarev will return to Earth in April.

During Thanksgiving week, McArthur reportedly made some three dozen casual contacts, most of them over North America and a few over Europe and New Zealand. He made contacts with stations in the US on December 6. He also had QSOs with Australia, New Zealand and the US on December 11.

The NA1SS worldwide voice and packet downlink frequency is 145.800 MHz. In Regions 2 and 3 (the Americas, and the Pacific), the voice uplink is 144.49 MHz. In Region 1 (Europe, Central Asia and Africa), the voice uplink is 145.20 MHz. The worldwide packet uplink is 145.99 MHz. All frequencies are subject to Doppler shift. The Science@NASA Web site provides location information for the ISS at, http://science.nasa.gov/temp/StationLoc.html .

The Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) program is an international educational outreach with US participation by ARRL, AMSAT and NASA. Information can be found at http://www.rac.ca/ariss

-- ARRL Bulletin ARLS009

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Still more books for your reading list

-- from David, ZL3AI, via packet

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ARES emergency net established after Missouri dam break

When millions of gallons of water breached the wall of a mountaintop hydroelectric reservoir in rural Reynolds County, Missouri, December 14, an ARES emergency net was quickly established on the Van Buren repeater. The deluge washed down the mountainside, sweeping away homes and vehicles and flooding the valley below.

A dwelling occupied by a park superintendent, his wife and three children was among those washed away. The family was found a half-mile away, and the children all were hospitalized, at least one of them in serious condition. The town of Lesterville was under a voluntary evacuation order.

ARRL District G Emergency Coordinator Dave Hannigan, KN0D, reports stations checked into the net from Poplar Bluff, Piedmont, Eminence, Elsinore, Van Buren, Redford and Koshkonong. The net also heard from mobile stations near Leper, Piedmont, Van Buren and Ironton.

The reservoir breach reported occurred after a pump failed to shut down at utility Ameren UE's Taum Sauk hydroelectric plant, which stores water from the Black River in an upper reservoir, releasing it to a lower reservoir to generate electricity. Hannigan said HF and VHF stations activated at emergency operations centers in Shannon and Carter counties.

"I was contacted by the Shannon County sheriffs dispatcher through the NPS (National Park Service) dispatch," Hannigan said. "The various net controllers kept me updated as I was working but had a 2 meter (equipment) with me. No emergency traffic was passed but it was a good exercise, and I was really proud of the rapid wide-area VHF radio coverage."

In all, 16 stations responded to the emergency call-up.

-- ARRL Bulletin ARLB030

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Mike and Key ARC Electronics Show and Fleamarket

The ever-popular Mike and Key Club's 25th Annual Electronics Show and Fleamarket will occur on March 11, 2006, starting a 9:00 a.m. It will be located in the Pavilion Exhibition Hall, Western Washington Fairgrounds, Puyallup, WA.

The show covers two floors with 44,000 sq. feet of exhibition area, over 300 tables, featuring radio gear, computers, club information, parts, and a snack bar. Overnight SC/RV camping is available.

License exams will be given.

Admission is $7 (under 16, free with adult). Make checks payable to Mike & Key ARC, 22222 148th Ave SE, Kent, WA 98042. All reservations will be confirmed by return mail. No reservations taken or confirmed by e-mail.

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FCC Invites Comments on League's "Regulation by Bandwidth" Petition

Comments are due by Monday, February 6, on the ARRL's Petition for Rule Making that asks the FCC to regulate the amateur bands by necessary bandwidth rather than by mode. The petition, designated as RM-11306, recommends what the ARRL calls "a shift in regulatory philosophy" to encourage and enable development and refinement of digital techniques and advanced technologies.

"This petition seeks for the Amateur Radio Service the flexibility to experiment with new digital transmission methods and types to be developed in the future while permitting present operating modes to continue to be used for as long as there are radio amateurs who wish to use them," the League said in its petition, filed November 14. The ARRL says the changes it suggests also will update the FCC's rules and eliminate the need for "cumbersome procedures" to determine whether a new digital mode is legal under Part 97.

The next step in this proceeding would be either a Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) or a dismissal of the League's petition. An NPRM would kick off a further round of formal comments. For the rules to take effect, the FCC would have to issue a Report and Order putting the changes into place and setting an effective date.

The ARRL is asking the FCC to replace the table at º97.305(c) with a new one that segments bands by necessary bandwidths ranging from 200 Hz to 100 kHz. Unaffected by the ARRL's recommendations, if they're adopted, would be 160 and 60 meters. Other bands below 29 MHz would be segmented into subbands allowing maximum emission bandwidths of 200 or 500 Hz or 3.5 kHz, with an exception for AM phone.

* 200 Hz would permit CW "at all speeds that human operators can decode" as well as PSK31.

* 500-Hz bandwidth would accommodate RTTY and data modes and possibly some new image modes.

* 2.8 kHz would remain the bandwidth for 60-meter operation on USB.

* 3.5 kHz would accommodate SSB and digital telephony, image, high-speed data and multimedia.

* 9 kHz is the ARRL's recommendation for double-sideband AM.

* 16 kHz is "a reasonable compromise bandwidth" to continue to permit analog FM voice, data, digital voice and multimedia at 29.0 to 29.7 MHz.

* 100 kHz, now permitted for RTTY and data in bands above 420 MHz, should be allowed starting at 50 MHz, with the exception of 50.0-50.3 MHz and 144.0-144.3 MHz to allow digital multimedia and high-speed meteor scatter work.

The ARRL says the Part 97 changes it's proposing constitute a balance "between the need to encourage wider bandwidth, faster digital communications and the need to reasonably accommodate all users in crowded bands." Conceding that its regulation-by-bandwidth regime would place increased responsibility on the amateur community to establish workable, accepted band plans, the League has expressed confidence that such an effort would be successful.

ARRL CEO David Sumner, K1ZZ, has discussed the subject of regulating by bandwidth in three "It Seems to Us . . ." QST editorials: "Regulation by Bandwidth" in September 2004, "Narrowing the Bandwidth Issues" in April 2005 and "Self Regulation" in October 2005.

"This petition does not favor one mode at the expense of another," the ARRL concluded in urging FCC adoption. "It merely allows expansion of the repertoire of options that amateurs may pursue compatibly."

A copy of the ARRL petition is on the ARRL Web site


Comment via the FCC's Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS) http://www.fcc.gov/cgb/ecfs/. Under "ECFS Main Links" on the right-hand side of the screen, click on "Submit a Filing" to file comments. To view others' comments, click on "Search for Filed Comments." In either case, type "RM-11306" in the "Proceeding" field using capital letters and including the hyphen (but not the quotation marks).

-- The ARRL Bulletin

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