ARRL Special Service ClubOlympia Amateur Radio SocietyWatts News

Monthly Newsletter of the

Olympia Amateur Radio Society

P.O. Box 2861, Olympia, WA 98507

  January 2010
Edited by George Lanning  KB6LE 

Table of Contents

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From the Oval ShackPresident's Message

Happy New Year Everyone

I hope you all had a happy Christmas and Santa brought you the ham equipment you desperately wanted. My daughter [KD7WXL] flew home from Florida for Christmas and New Years, then flew back January third. Also my wife's nephew was visiting so I could give him driving instruction. He passed the driving test on his first attempt!! We also had our OARS Christmas party on the evening of Wednesday, December 30. We had plenty of good food as well as good company; I am sorry more people were not able to come.

Please welcome Tom Gibb [W7TAG] as our new vice president. He graciously made time for this office in his busy schedule. He is teaching Ham Radio classes already, and, I believe, is involved in the Boy Scouts. We wish Ken [K7VOX] all the best in his endeavors with his company, and hope he will be able to attend some meetings.

Since I mentioned Tom teaching classes, he is holding a Technician class starting this month for anyone interested. The class will be at the Henderson Chapel at 3800 Henderson Blvd, Olympia WA 98512. The first session will be on January 26, 2010 from 6 to 9PM. Further details can be found at 98508&dist=25 or call Tom at 360-970-6312 or email him at His last class was in September/October and when they tested I believe everyone earned the license they had as their goal and some even earned the next license. Nice job Tom!

We have the Mike & Key's Electronics Show and Fleamarket in Puyallup on March 6. More information can be found at /flea.htm. I believe we are getting a table, so if you have some equipment to sell and are not able to attend the event or do not want the hassle of selling it yourself, let us know and we will try to get it sold for you for a "piece of the action." This will help the club recoup some of our expenses for the event. Our thanks go out to Larry Watkinson and Lee Chambers [KI7SS] who have been "running point" on this event for several years for OARS, but this year Lee may not be able to attend due to his road rally commitments. We are interested in getting more exposure for OARS at this and other events, both in the interests of ham radio as a hobby and for our club. If you might be interested in helping with this, please let me know.

Finally, in case you did not know, it is time to renew your membership in OARS. There should be an application on the back of this newsletter, or see Ed [N7WW] at the next meeting.

Thank you for reading this and 73.

-- Klaus [AC7MG]

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Amateur Radio Bill Passes Senate, Moves to the House

On Monday, December 14, S 1755 -- The Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Enhancement Act of 2009 -- passed the Senate by unanimous consent; the bill now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration. Sponsored by Senator Joe Lieberman (ID-CT), and Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), S 1755, if passed, would direct the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to undertake a study on emergency communications.

S 1755 points out that "There is a strong Federal interest in the effective performance of Amateur Radio Service stations, and that performance must be given -- (A) support at all levels of government; and (B) protection against unreasonable regulation and impediments to the provision of the valuable communications provided by such stations."

Members of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee considered S 1755 on December 10. After it passed through Committee, it was placed on the Senate's calendar to be voted on. "We are grateful to Committee Chairman Lieberman and Ranking Member Collins for sponsoring the bill and arranging for its swift consideration and passage by the Senate," said ARRL Chief Executive Officer David Sumner, K1ZZ.

Similar in language to HR 2160 (also called The Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Enhancement Act of 2009 that was introduced this past April by Representative Sheila Jackson-Lee [D-TX-18]), S 1755 calls on DHS to undertake a study on the uses and capabilities of Amateur Radio Service communications in emergencies and disaster relief and then to submit a report to Congress no more than 180 days after the bill becomes law. The study shall:

Include a review of the importance of Amateur Radio emergency communications in furtherance of homeland security missions relating to disasters, severe weather and other threats to lives and property in the United States, as well as recommendations for enhancements in the voluntary deployment of Amateur Radio licensees in disaster and emergency communications and disaster relief efforts and improved integration of Amateur Radio operators in planning and furtherance of the Department of Homeland Security initiatives.

Identify impediments to enhanced Amateur Radio Service communications, such as the effects of unreasonable or unnecessary private land use regulations on residential antenna installations; and make recommendations regarding such impediments for consideration by other federal departments, agencies and Congress.

In conducting the study, S 1755 directs the Secretary of Homeland Security to "utilize the expertise of stakeholder entities and organizations, including the Amateur Radio, emergency response and disaster communications communities."

S 1755 makes note of the fact that Section 1 of the Joint Resolution entitled Joint Resolution to Recognize the Achievements of Radio Amateurs, and To Establish Support for Such Amateurs as National Policy -- approved October 22, 1994 (Public Law 103-408) -- included a finding that stated: "Reasonable accommodation should be made for the effective operation of Amateur Radio from residences, private vehicles and public areas, and the regulation at all levels of government should facilitate and encourage amateur radio operations as a public benefit."

The bill also pointed out that Section 1805(c) of the Homeland Security Act of 2002 (6 U.S.C. 757(c)) directs the Regional Emergency Communications Coordinating Working Group of the Department of Homeland Security to coordinate their activities with ham and Amateur Radio operators among the 11 other emergency organizations, such as ambulance services, law enforcement and others.

-- ARRL Bulletin ARLB037

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The Earring

A man is at work one day when he notices that his co-worker is wearing an earring. This man knows his co-worker to be a normal, conservative fellow, and is curious about his sudden change in fashion sense. The man walks up to him and says, "I didn't know you were into earrings." "Don't make a big deal, it's only an earring," he replies sheepishly. His friend falls silent for a few minutes, but then his curiosity prods him to say, "So, how long have you been wearing one?" "Ever since my wife found it in my truck."

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Treasurer's Report

As of 12/31/09

    GENERAL FUND (checking account)

        Previous balance     $ 1,767.86

            Income                 0.38

            Expenses               0.00

        Ending balance         1,768.24

    REPEATER / PACKET FUND (savings account)

        Previous balance     $ 1,028.93

            Income                 2.63

            Expenses               0.00

        Ending balance         1,031.56

-- Ed Fitzgerald, N7WW, Treasurer

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OARS Net Check-ins

The following stations checked in on the OARS General Information Net on December 8:


Net control station reporting for the month was KI7CQ, Rod. 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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First Chinese Amateur Radio Satellite Now in Space

AMSAT China (CAMSAT) reports that at around 0230 UTC on December 15, China launched its first Amateur Radio satellite -- named XW-1 -- into space.

The microsatellite -- a secondary payload aboard the CZ-4C rocket launched from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center -- was launched into a Sun-synchronous orbit with an apogee of approximately 1200 kilometers. XW-1 successfully reached orbit at 0253 UTC. Members of the XW-1 launch team reported they received a beacon from the satellite shortly after the satellite deployed. In the first few days, the XW-1 team will work on the satellite's FM and store-forward transponder mode and its linear transponder mode. Once those tests are complete, they will upload a new flight program to set up the payload schedule.

The satellite's communications payload includes a beacon and three crossband transponders operating in FM, SSB/CW and digital modes.

Uplink and downlink frequencies can be found on the CAMSAT Web site,, or the AMSAT web site at,

-- ARRL Bulletin ARLS008

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How Much?

An optometrist was instructing a new employee on how to charge a customer.

As you are fitting her glasses, if she asks how much they cost, you say "$150." If her eyes don't flutter, say, "For the frames." "The lenses will be $100." "If her eyes still don't flutter, you add, "Each."

-- from AJokeADay via Internet

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What Should Every Ham Know How to Do?

By Dan Romanchik, KB6NU

On the HamRadioHelpGroup mailing list, there was recently a discussion about using modulated CW on 2m. One fellow pointed out that MFJ sold a unit that would do this. When I pointed out that this box cost $100 and that they could do exactly the same thing with the $18 PicoKeyer from HamGadgets.Com, I got some flack that the PicoKeyer was a kit, and that some people might not be able to build it.

I pointed out that a couple of years ago our club held a construction night, and that several people who had never soldered before successfully completed the kit. I also pointed out that even if the ham didn't have the proper tools, he or she could purchase a soldering iron, needle-nose pliers, and diagonal cutters, in addition to the kit, for less than $100.

I don't know if that convinced him, but it got me thinking about what a ham should be able to do. This is the list I've come up with so far:

1. Solder. Every ham should know how to solder a connection, and by extension, build small kits and cables. Over the course of one's ham career, this skill will save you a ton of time and money.

2. Build a dipole antenna. The dipole is the simplest and most versatile antenna. Knowing how to build one and use one is an essential skill.

3. Check into a net. Net operation is one of the most basic operating skills.

4. Use a multimeter to measure voltage, current, and resistance and know what those measurements mean. This is the most basic skill used in troubleshooting, and at some point or another, you're going to have to troubleshoot something.

This list does, of course, imply that a ham is physically capable of doing them. I would not expect hams that are physically disabled to be able to do everything on this list.

After I posted this to my blog (, I got several good responses. Jeff said, "I believe hams should know how to install RF connectors, particularly the three most used in our hobby, the PL-259, the BNC, and the N connector." Blair, WB3AWI, replied, "Another thing that hams should know how to do is to measure the SWR of an antenna."

So, now I ask you, What do you think every ham should know how to do? Feel free to post a comment to my blog or e-mail me at

When not analyzing the abilities of amateurs, KB6NU pounds brass on nearly all the HF bands and teaches various ham radio classes in Ann Arbor, MI. You can read his other musings on our fine hobby at

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Crystal Set Society

To all LMARCers

Todd Ferguson KG6WIW

LMARC Newsletter Editor

Crystal sets? Yup, you've found an entire site about building crystal sets. The society has been growing since 1991; still, some people are flabbergasted to find an entire society dedicated to crystal set radios or "Xtal sets."

One web surfer e-mailed, "I was so excited to find your site that I fell off my chair!" The Xtal Set Society publishes a newsletter and numerous books, all of which you can find more information about on this site.

A listing of newsletter articles from 1993 through 2007 can be found on the Technical Articles page. Click on the earphones to browse and enjoy our site.

-- Patricia, The Crystal Queen Mum, Editor, Xtal Society News.

Site last updated 10-30-09.

-- from Woody Koehler, WA6GXI

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Ham University Offers


Happy Holidays from Ham University

What's New?

Ham University 3.0 was released in the spring. It now fully supports Vista, Windows 7, and runs on 64-bit machines with no problems. The Help File has been upgraded and works on all systems. ... and of course it has all the latest question pools.

If you haven't visited or joined the Ham University group on Facebook, visit the group here.

"Get-Started" Holiday Gift Specials

Ham University makes an excellent holiday gift. For your friend or relative who wants to get started in Ham Radio, we have two special holiday bundles in conjunction with the ARRL:

Bundle #2 ($90 including shipping - regularly $100)

All of the above plus:

To order please go to

Special offer for clubs and classes. The Ham University Club/Class License allows you to install a copy of Ham University once on each of five PCs.

For example, if you have a class with 15 students studying for the Tech Exam, you just need to buy three copies of Ham University Technician/General Edition (at $25 each) - which works out to $5 per student. If two students share each PC, that brings it down to $2.50 per student - which is very affordable.

73s from Michael Crick (Author/owner)

To reply to this email, please respond to

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29th Annual Mike and Key ARC Electronics Show and Fleamarket

When? March 6, 2010 @ 9:00 a.m.

Where? Pavilion Exhibition Hall, Western Washington Fairgrounds, Puyallup, WA

Admission - $8 (under 16 free with adult)

Two floors with 44,000 Sq. feet of exhibition area (>300 tables)

Talk-in 146.82/22 (PL 103.5)

Table reservation information: (253) 631-3756, or

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Last Words

Susie's husband had been slipping in and out of a coma for several months. Things looked grim, but she was by his bedside every single day. One day as he slipped back into consciousness, he motioned for her to come close to him. She pulled the chair close to the bed and leaned her ear close to be able to hear. him.

"You know" he whispered, his eyes filling with tears, "you have been with me through all the bad times. When I got fired, you stuck right beside me. When my business went under, there you were. When we lost the house, you were there. When I go shot, you stuck with me. When my health started failing, you were still by my side."

"And you know what?"

"What, dear?" she asked gently, smiling to herself.

"I think you're bad luck."

-- from W1GMF via packet

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The Bear

Two guys are out in the woods hiking. All of a sudden, a bear starts chasing them. They climb up a tree, but the bears starts climbing up the tree after them.

The first guy gets his sneakers out of his knapsack and starts putting them on.

The second guy says, "What are you doing?" He says "I figure when the bear gets too close, we'll have to jump down and make a run for it." The second guy says "Are you crazy? You can't outrun a bear!"

The first guy says "I don't have to outrun the bear. I only have to outrun you.

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2010 OARS dues now payable

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