Olympia Amateur Radio Society

An ARRL Special Service ClubWatts News

Monthly Newsletter of the

Olympia Amateur Radio Society

P.O. Box 2861, Olympia, WA 98507

  January 2007
Edited by George Lanning  KB6LE 

Table of Contents

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From the Oval ShackPresident's Message

I was welding a connection on a tube the other day and had one of those moments that made me stop and think. I was raised on a ranch in Wyoming about 15 miles north of Cody. We lived so far away from "civilization" that telephone or TV was not available, it wasn't even an option. My days were spent working and being taught by my Dad. He taught me a lot of things you can't learn in a book. He taught me how to doctor cattle, drive machinery, weld, repair engines, drive -- he was incredible. I think he could make water run uphill. In short I learned skills you can't learn anywhere else. He was a master of finding the right teaching opportunity and making the most of it.

This will be my first full year being a member of OARS. I am fairly new to amateur radio. I took my licensing exam, bought a radio, and had no idea how to program it. Even the directions were confusing. Without someone to help me, I would probably have given it up. Several people took an interest in me and really made a difference. I have made several electric projects and learned a lot about soldering from Chuck Stoddard. He not only knows what an Elmer is, he is one!! Ken Dahl told me to buy a land line telephone, Tom Dennis reinforced this advice. That really came in handy with this last storm!!! My radio stopped working, Klause was available to give me advice. Chuck Lund has been awesome in teaching me about emergency power. Caring people like this are called Elmers. I really appreciate their willingness to share.

This year we are going back to basics in OARS. We need to do three things this year:

1. Increase our membership.

2. Have meetings that are interesting.

3. Get involved in being Elmers.

Lee has worked hard to plan a year of interesting meetings. Let us know if you would like to help teach or have any ideas. Last but not least -- bring a friend. If everyone brought a friend, our membership would double and we need that.

Happy New Year everyone!

-- Bart AB7AX

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From the Vice President

Well, fellow hams, I've come to the end of my fourth year as President, and now you get a new leader. It's been an enjoyable year, interesting and fun, and next year promises more of the same. The incoming board just finished its first meeting here at my home, and we made a lot of progress. We discussed a vision for next year's meetings that makes as much meeting time as possible available for programs and camaraderie. We talked about next year's schedule and filled in many blanks:

Club meetings won't be saddled with "Business." The OARS officers have decided to have business meetings separately, at my house, the Wednesdays following a club meeting. If you have business to push, you're welcome. Alternatively, you could email us, or call us, or talk your item up on the Tuesday night net. We will, of course, report back any decisions. The OARS Secretary, Paul, KC7LA, has made a commitment to publish the minutes of both the officer meetings and club meetings, so hold his feet to the fire!

We discussed the scary word DUES. This club depends on dues-paying members to support, if nothing else, the repeaters we own and the rent for the picnic spot each summer, and a dozen little things like that. We need everyone to put in their fair share of dues to keep the club's finances strong enough that it can cope with any problems that appear. Our perception is that many people aren't seeing the benefits of their contribution, as there doesn't appear to be anything extra that they "get" for their dues. Ah, but there is -- they get our hat tipped toward them. They get all the respect, admiration, gratitude, and downright appreciation we can offer. We acknowledge that we need them, couldn't cope without them, and therefore, owe everything to them. Thanks! This is not a small thing -- we really do owe our existence to our dues-paying members, and couldn't exist without them. Thanks again!

The suggestion was made that we publish a list of those who have paid. What do you think of that?

All in all, a productive board meeting

We have many struggles ahead, what with tax-man threats to repeaters, declining interest in ham radio due to cell phones and FRS and public apathy, FCC frequency changes, etc., but that's what makes it fun too! I look forward to these issues; they add texture to this hobby. And I look forward to working with you on them, as we forge a new and strong identity for our hobby in the next year. Together we'll work the road rally, marathon, parade, and other communications challenges and make our world better as only we hams can. Thanks for a great year, let's make the next one better!

-- 73 from Lee, KI7SS

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Photon Relations

One photon to another: I am sick and tired of your interference!

-- thanks to Jeff Withers, W3GE

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Treasurer's Report

As of 12/31/06

    GENERAL FUND (checking account)

        Previous balance     $ 2,486.76

            Income                 0.49

            Expenses              44.75

        Ending balance         2,442.50

    REPEATER / PACKET FUND (savings account)

        Previous balance       $ 998.14

            Income                 2.55

            Expenses               0.00

        Ending balance         1,000.69

-- Ed Fitzgerald, N7WW, Treasurer

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OARS Net check-ins

The following stations checked in on the OARS General Information Net on either or both the dates of December 5 and 12:


Net control stations for the reported dates were KD7JTU, Mark and KB7DFL, Dan. 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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California Ham Has Role in Sea Rescue

A California radio amateur played a part in an international effort to rescue a US sailor attempting to single-handedly circumnavigate the globe. Miguel "Mike" Morales, KC6CYK, of Riverside, told ARRL he was able to contact fellow radio amateurs in Chile to obtain and relay reassuring information to the family of Ken Barnes, whose 44-foot ketch Pivateer was foundering off South America. A Chilean trawler, Polar Pesca 1, rescued Barnes from his disabled vessel on January 5. Upon learning of Barnes's predicament on January 2, Morales said he contacted the sailor's fiancé, Cathy Chambers.

"She mentioned that the satellite telephone was dying on him over there, so their communication was 30 to 60 seconds at a time," Morales recounted. "I was lucky enough, I got in touch with some of the Charlie Echo [CE-prefix] stations until I got to someone in Punta Arenas, and then Polar Pesca, the vessel that did the rescue." Morales speaks fluent Spanish and has visited Chile and knew "the way things operate down there." As a result, he says, he was able to obtain credible reports via his 10-meter contacts as to what was happening.

Morales said he was able to gather information via his Chilean ham radio contacts from the Polar Pesca 1. He relayed information about Barnes's location and when he was going to be rescued. Morales said he felt it was important for the family to know Barnes's situation and how the rescue plans were playing out.

Barnes, who's 47, left Long Beach, California, late last October, hoping to be the first person to sail around the world from the West Coast. A severe storm dismasted and badly damaged the vessel. and soaked his supplies.

The Chilean Navy dispatched one of the CP3 Orion aircraft Chile uses to patrol its 200-mile-offshore territorial claim. The plane spotted the foundering vessel, photographed it and even attempted to drop a life raft that missed its mark. The Chilean Navy coordinated the operation and recruited the Polar Pesca 1 to undertake the actual rescue, although Morales says the US Coast Guard agreed to cover the expense. At that point he was able to pass along news to the family that the trawler was en route to Barnes's location.

"The main thing is, Ken Barnes is back, is alive," Morales said. "What I did was on behalf of the US ham radio community, I believe. That's what you're there for."

Barnes is scheduled to return home to California this week, and Morales will be among those on hand to welcome him.

-- ARRL Bulletin ARLB002

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Warning Signs

Tags attached to laboratory equipment in the hope that will prevent it from "walking off."

-- thanks to Jeff Withers, W3GE

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Scientists have developed a firefly that is 10,000 times brighter than a wild firefly. The only problem is that the firefly is a little disgruntled at being strapped to a five pound battery.

-- thanks to Jeff Withers, W3GE

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Communications Academy 2007

Dates and Keynote Speakers

The two-day 2007 Communications Academy held in the Pacific Northwest will be the 9th annual academy. The Academy will be held on the campus of Seattle Pacific University March 31 -- April 1, 2007. The Academy's web site is www.CommAcademy.org for details.

The 2006 Academy attracted more than 200 people, most hams.

The Communications Academy is open to anyone with an interest in emergency communications, volunteer or professional. The presentations are designed to promote the development of knowledgeable, skilled emergency communicators who will support their local communities during a disaster or emergency response.

The keynote speaker is John Cline. As the director of the Idaho Bureau of Disaster Services from 1995 through 2003, Cline coordinated the State's disaster mitigation and preparedness programs and response and recovery operations to overcome the effects of fire, flood, ice and snow emergencies, and landslides. He directed the State's response and recovery for more than 50 local disasters, 25 state-declared major emergencies and disasters, and four Presidentially-declared disasters leading to physical and economic recovery of numerous communities throughout the State of Idaho.

John has more than 40 years of combined service in antiterrorism, emergency planning, and response and recovery operations as a firefighter with the U.S. Forest Service, civilian and military police officer, and as an emergency manager.

Mr. Harold Kramer from the ARRL will be the Academy's second keynote speaker. As Chief Operating Officer for ARRL, he will speak on future directions for ARRL, with an emphasis on EmComm and Public Service.


Marina Zuetell, Academy Chair, n7lsl@arrl.net, 206-524-6567

Bruce Miller, Academy PIO, kc7iay@arrl.net, 206-903-9677

-- Ed Bruette N7NVP

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FCC Suspends Vanity Call Sign Processing

The FCC has put new Amateur Radio vanity call sign processing on hold while it modifies the software that handles vanity applications. The suspension is a result of a rule change that went into effect December 15 to discourage the filing of multiple applications by one individual for the same call sign. The FCC is still processing vanity call sign renewal applications.

"The Commission continues to accept vanity call sign applications," says a brief announcement on the FCC's Universal Licensing System (ULS) Web page, http://wireless.fcc.gov/uls/ . "However, these applications will not be processed until software changes in accordance with the recent rule making have been fully implemented." Just when that might happen is not known.

As revised in the FCC's recent Report and Order (R&O) in WT Docket 04-140, º97.19(d)(1) stipulates that if the FCC receives more than one application requesting a vanity call sign from a single applicant on the same receipt day, it will process only the first application entered into the ULS. "Subsequent vanity call sign applications from that applicant with the same receipt date will not be accepted," the rule concludes.

The FCC says that when it resumes processing new vanity applications, it will handle pending applications "consistent with the date order in which they were received."

This suspension affects new vanity call sign applications submitted on December 18 or later. Typically, it takes 18 days from the time the FCC receives a vanity application until the call sign is issued -- or the application is denied. The FCC granted the last new Amateur Radio vanity call signs on January 4 for applications received December 15.

All vanity call sign renewal applications, including those for club stations, must be filed via the ULS. The current vanity call sign fee, payable for new applications as well as renewals, is $20.80 for the 10-year license term.

-- ARRL Bulletin ARLB003

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Having a Baby

A four year old little boy, while waiting with his mother in the doctor's office, walked over to a pregnant lady and, staring inquisitively, asked "Why is your stomach so big?"

She replied, "I'm having a baby."

With big wide eyes, he asked, "Is the baby in your stomach?"

She said, "He sure is."

Then the little boy, with a puzzled look, asked, "Is it a good baby?"

She said, "Oh, yes. It's a real good baby."

With an even more surprised and shocked look, he asked, "Then why did you eat him?"

-- from David, ZL3AI, via packet

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Shuttle Delay

The space shuttle pilot and co-pilot are sitting atop the rocket waiting for launch. Over the headphones they hear announced a ten minute delay. "Oh, no," said the pilot.

The co-pilot said, "No big deal, this happens all the time."

The pilot said, "No, look at the monitor. They're bringing in jumper cables."

-- thanks to Jeff Withers, W3GE

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FCC Presses Two Utilities to Resolve Power Line Noise Complaints

The FCC has asked utilities in Oklahoma and Illinois to try harder to resolve longstanding power line noise complaints from Amateur Radio licensees. Special Counsel in the FCC Spectrum Enforcement Division Riley Hollingsworth recently contacted Oklahoma Gas & Electric (OG&E) Company and Exelon Corporation (ComEd) in Chicago to follow up on the unrelated cases.

"In your response on behalf of Oklahoma Gas and Electric, dated January 30, 2006, you indicated that you were responding to the radio amateur's complaints," Hollingsworth wrote Oklahoma Gas and Electric's Senior Attorney Patrick D. Shore. "However, [the complainant] states that the power line hardware noise continues."

Hollingsworth customarily does not identify RFI complainants in public correspondence, but the Oklahoma radio amateur involved -- ARRL Member Hal Dietz, W5GHZ, of Bethany -- agreed to let the League make his name public. Dietz has sought the ARRL's assistance in resolving the problem. The League has been working with the FCC for several years to address power line noise complaints from Amateur Radio licensees.

Dietz says the power line noise he's experiencing on occasion has approached 20 dB over S9 on some bands, but it's typically between S5 to S9." I experience line noise interference on frequencies as high as 444.100 MHz -- a local repeater that I monitor -- and on all TV channels through 14," he reports. "The interference is not present on all bands at all times, but it is present on one or more bands all of the time, except when it's raining."

An OG&E has representative visited Dietz but was unable to pin down the interference source. "I have also offered to go with them when they are trying to locate the interference, but they have declined my help," Dietz added.

-- from The ARRL Letter

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