Olympia Amateur Radio Society

ARRL Special Services ClubWatts News

Monthly Newsletter of the

Olympia Amateur Radio Society

P.O. Box 2861, Olympia, WA 98507

  January 2008
Edited by George Lanning  KB6LE 

Table of Contents

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From the Oval ShackPresident's Message

Hello all

I will give a little background on myself for any who might be interested. I believe I can date my interest in Amateur Radio from about 1974 when as a child I read a novel and saw how Amateur Radio could be used in a rescue operation. An uncle of mine had been an operator in the fifties and sixties, but had allowed his license to lapse. I grew up in the backwoods of Snohomish County where I was unable to locate an Elmer and I only saw my uncle on rare occasions.

I set three goals in childhood and an Amateur Radio license was the second of those I achieved. The first was my pilot's license and the third was SCUBA certification. I did make a couple of attempts to study for it after leaving home, but it was not until a friend mentioned getting his Technician license in 2000, and a co-worker mentioned a class near where I worked that I was able to earn my license. A couple of months later I upgraded to Extra and within a year had my VE credential. While I enjoy chatting on the radio, I have also gained satisfaction in being able to welcome new operators to our ranks.

I have worked in a lock shop, a plywood mill, truck shop, and in a call centre supporting internet connections. My educational background is electronics with a little programming thrown in.

My interest in Amateur Radio for disaster and rescue operations was reinforced by many instances, the most recent being the flood this last month. I read that in some cases peace officers were not able to use their normal modes of communication having to rely on Amateur Radio. When all else fails...

In addition to emergency uses, I am interested in the experimentation side of the hobby, as well as talking to people far away that I will very likely never see face to face. These aspects only scratch the surface of my interest in Amateur Radio, as my children and any other captive audience can attest.

I want to thank Bart for his leadership this last year. He has been an encouragement to me and I am sure to many others. I hope I will be able to continue in that regard. I want to thank you all for electing me and I also want to thank the many people in the club who have offered their assistance and advice. I plan to take them up on their offers.

I could go on (and on), but since paper and postage add up, will end here.

-- Klaus, AC7MG

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January meeting program for the 23rd

I am happy to announce that Mr. Bob Barnes, 2008 President of Capital Lakefair, will be our featured speaker and program. He will endeavor to bring us up to speed on what's happening this year with Lakefair, and give us direction and spirit.

For years, OARS members have volunteered and supported this wonderful local project. This is the first time since 1957, according to reports, that a top official from Lakefair has spoken to the club, and Mr. Barnes' appearance promises to be informative and appreciative.

Best regards,

Ken Julian K7VOX, OARS VP

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Rules for use of the EOC


The change of the OARS meeting site from the fire station to the EOC will, of necessity, cause a change of rules for access. Please read and follow the instructions below.

The Emergency Operations Center (EOC) is a secured facility. Only certain individuals have unescorted access to the facility and can open the outer doors to allow the OARS members to attend the meeting. Because of the secure nature of the facility, we are establishing the following rules for all club events which are held there:

1. Tom Bohon, KE7EJJ will arrive at the facility shortly before 1800 to admit the VEs and individuals arriving for testing. Nobody else will be admitted at this time. Members who are arriving to attend the meeting will not be admitted until 1845 hours. There is no inside "gathering place" for members other than the meeting room which will be used for the testing.

2. Upon arrival, do NOT at any time press a communication button, the intercom, the doorbell or anything else outside the main door. This will cause the CAPCOM (dispatchers) to be interrupted and could result in our losing the facility for future meetings. Someone will be watching the security monitor and will open the door for you after 1845. If you arrive after 1900, use your HT on the OARS repeaters to request entry. Again, do not press any button of any kind outside the outer door. There will be a sign posted on the door with a reminder.

3. All individuals entering the EOC are required to sign in and out of the facility. There is a log book for that purpose located in the lobby. It is YOUR responsibility to sign in upon arrival and sign out upon departure.

4. While inside the facility, please do not wander around unnecessarily, open doors, etc. We are authorized to use the meeting room and the restrooms. All other areas are off limits. At no time should you enter an open office, use an EOC phone, etc. Keep noise to an absolute minimum.

5. Once the meeting has concluded, we request that you vacate the premises as quickly as possible. This will aid in keeping noise to a minimum and will allow us to re-secure the building. "Casual" conversations can be held outside the main door, not inside the facility, after the meeting has concluded.

If at any time you have a question, contact Tom Bohon, KE7EJJ, or one of the club officers.

Thanks for your cooperation.

-- Tom Bohon, KE7EJJ

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Sad news

The following message was received from OARS member Ben Bennett, N7IVM, on January 14th:

My Dear Family and Friends,

It is with great sorrow that I must tell you that my dear wife of almost 65 years passed away this afternoon. Her health had been degrading slowly since she had hip replacement surgery in March of last year.

Yours in Sadness,

William E Bennett

Our sincere condolences go out to Ben.

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DXCC desk announces new entity

The ARRL DXCC Desk is pleased to announce the addition of St Barthelemy (FJ) to the DXCC List, making the island entity number 338 with an effective date of December 14, 2007. Cards with contacts dated December 14, 2007 or after will be accepted for DXCC credit. New card submissions for St Barthelemy will not be accepted until January 1, 2008 in order to allow time for administrative adjustments.

On February 21, 2007 the French Ministry issued a decree making St Barthelemy an Overseas Collective, where its status is now equal to that of Guadeloupe, Martinique and other French territories currently on the DXCC List. On November 8, 2007 the President of Association Des Radio Amateurs De St Barthelemy, Philippe Delcroix, FJ5DX, contacted the DXCC Desk, requesting that St Barthelemy be considered a new DXCC entity.

The "event date" that caused St Barthelemy to be added to the DXCC list was December 14, 2007, the date the US State Department added St Barthelemy to the "List of Dependencies and Areas of Special Sovereignty" with its Administrative Center in Gustavia, qualifying it under DXCC rules in Section II - 1 Political Entities (c): "The Entity contains a permanent population, is administered by a local government, and is located at least 800 km from its parent. To satisfy the 'permanent population' and 'administered by a local government' criteria of this sub-section, an Entity must be listed on either (a) the U.S. Department of State's list of 'Dependencies and Areas of Special Sovereignty' as having a local 'Administrative Center,' or (b) the United Nations list of 'Non-Self-Governing Territories.'"

French St Martin (FS), while also added to the List of Dependencies and Areas of Special Sovereignty, will remain on the DXCC List, but it is now considered a Point 1 Political Entity under the same classification as that of St Barthelemy.

Please direct any questions you may have about St Barthelemy, St Martin or the DXCC program to the ARRL DXCC Desk dxcc@arrl.org.

-- from the ARRL Letter

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The worst day of his life

A little guy is sitting at the bar just staring at his drink for half an hour when this big trouble-making biker steps next to him, grabs his drink and gulps it down in one swig. The poor little guy starts crying. "Come on man. I was just giving you a hard time," the biker says. "I can't stand to see a man crying."

"This is the worst day of my life," says the little guy between sobs. "I can't do anything right. I overslept and was late to an important meeting, so my boss fired me. When I went to the parking lot, I found my car was stolen and I don't have any insurance. I grabbed a cab home but, after the cab left, I discovered my wallet was still in the cab. At home I found my wife in bed with the gardener and my dog bit me. So I came to this bar trying to work up the courage to put an end to my life, and then you show up and drink the poison!"

-- Submitted by Klaus Neubert

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Cycle 24 here, experts say

With the appearance of Sunspot 981 -- a high-latitude, reversed polarity sunspot -- on Friday, January 4, experts at NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said that Cycle 24 is now here. "This sunspot is like the first robin of spring," said solar physicist Douglas Biesecker of the Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC), part of NOAA. "In this case, it's an early omen of solar storms that will gradually increase over the next few years."

Solar physicist David Hathaway of NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama concurred, saying that new solar cycles begin with a "modest knot" of magnetism, like the one that appeared on December 11 on the east limb of the Sun: "That patch of magnetism could be a sign of the next solar cycle. New solar cycles always begin with a high-latitude, reversed polarity sunspot." The region of magnetism that appeared back in December achieved high latitude (24 degrees North) and was magnetically reversed, but no supporting sunspot appeared until 25 days later.

Reversed polarity describes a sunspot with opposite magnetic polarity compared to sunspots from the previous solar cycle. High-latitude refers to the Sun's grid of latitude and longitude. Old-cycle spots congregate near the Sun's equator; new-cycle spots appear higher, around 25 or 30 degrees latitude. Sunspot 981's high-latitude location at 27 degrees North and its negative polarity leading to the right in the Northern Hemisphere are clear-cut signs of a new solar cycle, according to NOAA experts. The first active regions and sunspots of a new solar cycle can emerge at high latitudes while those from the previous cycle continue to form closer to the equator.

While experts vary in their predictions on when the solar cycle will peak and how strong it will be, NOAA, in April 2007, in coordination with an international panel of solar experts, predicted that the next 11-year cycle of solar storms "would start in March 2008, plus or minus six months, and peak in late 2011 or mid-2012." In the cycle forecast issued in April 2007, half of the panel predicted a "moderately strong cycle of 140 sunspots, plus or minus 20, expected to peak in October 2011. The other half predicted a moderately weak cycle of 90 sunspots, plus or minus 10, peaking in August 2012. An average solar cycle ranges from 75 to 155 sunspots. The late decline of Cycle 23 has helped shift the panel away from its earlier leaning toward a strong Cycle 24. The group is evenly split between a strong and a weak cycle."

NASA's Hathaway, along with colleague Robert Wilson at a meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco last month, said that Solar Cycle 24 "looks like it's going to be one of the most intense cycles since record-keeping began almost 400 years ago." They believe the next solar maximum should peak around 2010 with a sunspot number of 160, plus or minus 25. "This would make it one of the strongest solar cycles of the past fifty years -- which is to say, one of the strongest in recorded history." Four of the five biggest cycles on record have come in the past 50 years. "Cycle 24 should fit right into that pattern," Hathaway said.

According to Carl Luetzelschwab, K9LA, "As for improvement in propagation on the higher bands, we still have a way to go before that happens, and it depends on the magnitude of Cycle 24. The Solar Cycle 24 Prediction Panel has published predictions for Cycle 24, but unfortunately the panel did not reach one consensus prediction. If the larger of the two predictions comes true, we should expect consistent F2 propagation on 10 and 12 meters to start toward the end of 2009. If the smaller prediction comes true, this will be delayed about one year."

Luetzelschwab, who writes the column "Propagation" for the National Contest Journal (NCJ), continued: "While we wait for improved high band conditions, don't forget the low bands. Around solar minimum and for the next year or so, the Earth's geomagnetic field is at its quietest. This is good for low band propagation. Thus, right now is the time to start (or add to) your 80 and 160 meter DXCC efforts."

According to NASA's Tony Phillips, many forecasters believe Solar Cycle 24 will be big and intense. "Solar cycles usually take a few years to build to a frenzy and Cycle 24 will be no exception. We still have some quiet times ahead," says Hathaway.

-- from the ARRL Letter

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At the supermarket

A New Mom took her baby daughter to the supermarket for the first time. She dressed her in pink from head to toe. At the store, she placed her in the shopping cart and put her purchases around her.

At the checkout line a small boy and his mother were ahead of them. The child was crying and begging for some special treat. He wants some candy or gum and his mother won't let him have any, she thought. Then she heard his mother's reply. "No!" she said, looking in her direction. "You may not have a baby sister today. That lady got the last one!"

-- from ajokeaday via Internet

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Treasurer's Report

As of 12/31/07

    GENERAL FUND (checking account)

        Previous balance     $ 1,381.47

            Income                 0.29

            Expenses              70.00

        Ending balance         1,311.76

    REPEATER / PACKET FUND (savings account)

        Previous balance     $ 1,008.29

            Income                 2.58

            Expenses               0.00

        Ending balance         1,010.80

-- Ed Fitzgerald, N7WW, Treasurer

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OARS Net check-ins

The following stations checked in on the OARS General Information Net one or more times on the dates of December 4, 11, or 18:


Net control stations for the month were KE7JTU, AA7YD, and WC7I. 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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Oregon governor allocates $250,000 for digital communications network

The State of Oregon's Office of Emergency Management (OEM) received $250,000 from Governor Ted Kulongoski's Strategic Reserve Fund to further develop and enhance a statewide Amateur Radio digital communications network, announced ARRL Oregon Section Manager Bonnie Altus, AB7ZQ.

"This network, the Oregon ARES Digital Network (OADN), already uses a combination of different radio equipment and spectrum segments, computers and the Internet to provide a robust backup communications system in times of disaster. With its enhancements, all Oregon counties will be able to communicate with the state OEM," she said. "In December, this system proved its usefulness in the storms and floods by utilizing Winlink stations in Lincoln and Clatsop Counties to communicate with OEM. Early in that activation, the OEM's Amateur Radio Unit found they were not able to keep up with maintaining a complete log of communications when using voice communications, but Winlink activities maintained an automatic log for them."

According to Altus, the primary purpose of the OADN is to provide back-up digital communications capabilities between county Emergency Operations Centers and Oregon Emergency Management and other state agencies in Salem, in the event that normal communications systems fail in an emergency.

During the December storms, Amateur Radio operators were there to help. After a visit to one of the severely affected towns, Governor Kulongoski said, "I'm going to tell you who the heroes were from the very beginning of this...the ham radio operators. These people just came in and actually provided a tremendous communication link to us." Oregon's OEM said the radio operators were "tireless in their efforts to keep the systems connected. When even state police had difficulty reaching some of their own troops, ham radio worked, setting up networks so emergency officials could communicate and relaying lists of supplies needed in stricken areas."

Through an Intergovernmental Agreement between the individual county Emergency Managers and Oregon's Office of Emergency Management, ARES/RACES groups in each county will be responsible for installation, maintenance and operation the network.

-- from the ARRL Letter

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Ultrasound test

When pregnant with her first child, a young lady was having an ultrasound test done.

As the technician studied the screen, she watched the baby's movements. "What channel are we watching?" she asked, teasingly. Her eyes never leaving the screen, the technician answered, "Home Box Office."

-- from ajokeaday via Internet

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The yet

What part of the human body is called the "yet"?

I don't know either, but in the paper it said this lady got shot and they haven't got the bullet out of her yet!

-- from ajokeaday via internet

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Time to pay 2008 OARS dues

OARS dues for all members are payable on January 1 of each year. Please send your payment to the OARS PO box:

P.O. Box 2861, Olympia WA, 98507

or bring it to the monthly meeting and pay Treasurer Ed Fitzgerald.

Dues are $20 for individuals or $25 for families.

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