Watts News

Monthly Newsletter of the

Olympia Amateur Radio Society

P.O. Box 2861, Olympia, WA 98507

July 2000                                                                                                                    Edited by George Lanning KB6LE

Table of Contents
  •  OARS supports Lakefair parade
  •  FCC launches CORES
  •  The big rocks first
  •  Treasurer's Report
  •  OARS Net check-ins
  •  Dogs and Cats
  •  Hollingsworth: "There's a lot of work to be done"
  •  Zvezda module eventually to house ham radio
  •  Single-sideband is 80 years old
  •  Mobile CW
  •  New employee placement
  • --return to OARS web page

    OARS supports Lakefair parade

    The Olympia Amateur Radio Society, and ham radio in general, scored another major success with its radio management of the Lakefair Parade July 15th. The parade, Olympia's answer to 4th of July parades elsewhere, featured about 116 entrants. These floats, horses, drill teams, cheerleaders, bands, dignitaries riding in cars, clowns, etc., are staged at four different locations and are guided to the parade start by ham radio operators. Then announcers strategically located along the parade route use information passed to them by ham radio, letting the crowd know who won what award, etc. (The judging takes place just as the entrant moves onto the parade route.) In addition, hams monitor and control the parade speed and manage any misfortunes like a float with engine problems.

    This year twenty-three hams helped with the event. They were: Dick, WB9ZIP; Tom, KA4VVA; Paul, N7GGX; Paul, KC7LA; Doc, N7JHJ; Dave, KC7FEC; Diane, KD7AJQ; Dan, KB7DFL; Rick, W7DOY; Larry, KC7CKO; Keith, K2SAR; John, N7PDC; Jim, KC7MNK; Dan, KD7N; Rick, KC7OEW; Rick, WB7TT; Mark, K7CEZ; Helen, KB7JDL; Diane, KD7AJQ; Kip, N7KJK; Chuck, KC7FEE; Dick, WA7QNE; and Lee, KI7SS, coordinator.

    At the last parade committee meeting, the Lakefair Committee and Capitalarians honored us with the presentation of a framed letter thanking the Olympia Amateur Radio Society for our support of this major event. This award will be on public display at the next OARS meeting, scheduled July 28th at the Courthouse at 7 p.m.

    With respect to the Lakefair Parade this was by far our most ambitious effort, and our work paid off! Harvey Childs, Parade Chairman, told me afterward that the event has never run so well. I anticipate this event becoming a premier public service effort each year, perhaps eclipsing car rallies, foot races, and all other efforts.

    To each of you who helped, my heartfelt thanks! You made it happen! And what a show we put on!

    73's -- Lee, KI7SS

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    FCC launches CORES

    ARRL Bulletin 29

    The FCC has begun implementing the Commission Registration System, known as CORES. While the action has few immediate implications for Amateur Radio licensees, CORES registration eventually will replace Universal Licensing System, or ULS, registration.

    Described as an agency-wide registration system for anyone filing applications with or making payments to the FCC, CORES will assign a unique 10-digit FCC Registration Number, or FRN to all registrants. The FCC says use of the FRN will allow it to more rapidly verify fee payment.

    The on-line filing system and further information on CORES is available by visiting the FCC Web site, http://www.fcc.gov and clicking on the CORES registration link.

    For the time being, using an FRN is voluntary, although the Commission says it will consider making it mandatory in the future for anyone doing business with the FCC.

    CORES registration will supplant ULS registration, but the ULS will remain the licensing database system for Wireless Telecommunications Bureau licensees, including amateurs. For now, the ULS remains available to new registrants. Amateurs who registered in the ULS prior to June 22 automatically have been registered in CORES and will receive an FCC Registration Number in the mail. ULS registrants also may search for their FRN on-line at the FCC's CORES Web site. 

    A copy of the FCC Public Notice on CORES/FRN is available at:


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    The big rocks first

    One day, an expert in time management was speaking to a group of business students and, to drive home a point, used an illustration those students will never forget. As he stood in front of the group of high-powered over achievers, he said, "Okay, time for a quiz." He then pulled out a one-gallon, wide-mouth Mason jar and set it on the table in front of him. Then he produced about a dozen fist-sized rocks and carefully placed them, one by one, into the jar.

    When the jar was filled to the top and no more rocks would fit inside, he asked, "Is this jar full?" Everyone in the class said, "Yes." Then he said, "Really?" He reached under the table and pulled out a bucket of gravel. Then he dumped some gravel in and shook the jar, causing pieces of gravel to work themselves down into the space between the big rock. Then he asked the group once more.

    "Is this jar full?"

    By this time the class was on to him. "Probably not," one of them answered. "Good!" he replied. He reached under the table and brought out a bucket of sand. He started dumping the sand in the jar and it went into all the spaces left between the rocks and the gravel. Once more he asked the question. "Is this jar full?" "No!" the class shouted. Once again, he said, "Good!" Then he grabbed a pitcher of water and began to pour it in until the jar was filled to the brim. Then the expert in time-management looked at the class and asked, "What is the point of this illustration?"

    One eager Beaver raised his hand and said, "The point is, no matter how full your schedule is, if you try really hard you can always fit some more things in it."

    "No," the speaker replied." "That's not the point. The truth this illustration teaches us is this: If you don't put the big rocks in first, you'll never get them in at all. What are the big rocks in your life? Your children. Your spouse. Your loved ones. Your friendships. Your education. Your dreams. A worthy cause. Teaching or mentoring others. Doing things that you love. Time for yourself. Your health. Remember to put these BIG ROCKS in first, or you'll never get them in at all. If you sweat the little stuff (i.e. gravel, the sand) then you'll fill your life with little things you worry about that don't really matter, and you'll never have the real quality time you need to spend on the big, important stuff (the big rocks). So, tonight, or in the morning, when you are reflecting on this short story, ask yourself this question: What are the 'big rocks' in my life? Then put those in your jar first."

    -- thanks to Dave LeFevre, KC7FEC

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    Treasurer's Report

    As of 6/30/00

    GENERAL FUND (checking account)

    Previous balance     $ 1,874.26
    Income                    69.90
    Expenses                  97.05
    Ending balance         1,847.11

    REPEATER / PACKET FUND (savings account)

    Previous balance       $ 890.32
    Income                     0.00
    Expenses                   0.00
    Ending balance           890.32

    -- Ed Fitzgerald, N7WW, Treasurer

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    OARS Net check-ins

    The following stations checked in on the OARS General Information Net on June 20, 27, or both:

            K7CEZ   K7TAG  KA4VVA  KB7DFL

            KB7JDL  KC7AJ  KC7CKO  KC7FEC*

            KC7LA   KE7HA  KI7SS*  N6TPT

            N7EIM   N7GGX  N7JHJ   W7DOY

            W7SIX   W7SS   W7UUO   WB7PSU

    * Net Control Stations

    The net meets at 7:30 every Tuesday evening on the 3 linked OARS repeaters: 147.36, 224.46, and 441.40 MHz.

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    Dogs and Cats

    What is a Dog?

    Conclusion: They're little men in fur coats

    What is a Cat?

    Conclusion: They're tiny little women in fur coats.

    -- Clinton, AB7RG, via packet

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    Hollingsworth: "There's a lot of work to be done"

    FCC Special Counsel for Amateur Radio Enforcement Riley Hollingsworth says he expects to continue his amateur enforcement effort at the current pace despite fewer complaints in recent months. "There's a lot of work to be done," he said July 20 during a visit to ARRL Headquarters. 

    At the same time, Hollingsworth said, amateurs wielding their newly minted HF privileges as a result of restructuring have generated no enforcement problems whatsoever. "In fact, had I not known about the restructuring, I wouldn't know it from an enforcement standpoint," he said. "I've noticed no difference." Hollingsworth encouraged veteran operators to bring newcomers to the HF bands "into the fold" and teach them to be proficient, compliant operators.

    Hollingsworth noted that while the pace of amateur complaints continues to slow, the Amateur Service still is not where it should be from a compliance standpoint. "Today, the equipment seems to be better than a lot of the operators," he said, adding that he did not expect to change his enforcement pace for the next several years.

    The trend toward fewer overall complaints, he said, will provide the FCC with an opportunity to concentrate on the more complicated cases, including unlicensed operation. "We can't tolerate unlicensed operation," he said. "The whole allocation system breaks down if you tolerate unlicensed operation."

    Hollingsworth also said the federal government has ramped up its efforts to collect fines in those cases where they've been levied on violators. In the meantime, he said he plans to continue to curry voluntary amateur compliance, without fines or license revocations. "The main goal is not to take licenses. The main goal is compliance," he said.

    -- from the ARRL Letter, Electronic Edition

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    Zvezda module eventually to house ham radio

    The just-launched International Space Station Zvezda Service Module eventually will become home to the first permanent Amateur Radio station in space. Until the Amateur Radio on the International Space Station -- or ARISS -- antennas can be installed on the Service Module, however, the initial ham station gear will be installed aboard the Zarya Functional Cargo Block, already in space.

    The first ISS crew, headed by US astronaut Bill Shepherd, KD5GSL, is scheduled to be launched in October from Kazakhstan. Accompanying Shepherd will be Russian cosmonauts Sergei Krikalev, U5MIR, and Yuri Gaidzenko. 

    If all goes as planned, the initial amateur station hardware will be sent up to the ISS aboard shuttle mission STS-106 in August, and Shepherd and his crew-mates will be on the air on 2 meters (FM voice and packet) from the Functional Cargo Block this fall. The initial station will use an existing Functional Cargo Block antenna that's being adapted to support operation on 2 meters but not on 70 cm.

    Current plans call for amateur 2-meter and 70-cm antennas to be installed on the Service Module during a space walk next year. The initial station gear will be reinstalled in the Service Module once the antennas have been fitted.

    A Russian Proton-K rocket carried the long-delayed Service Module into orbit July 12 from Baikonur Cosmodrome. Zvezda ("star") will contain flight controls, waste-disposal facilities, and crew sleeping quarters. Once in orbit, the unmanned Zvezda will be docked July 26 by computer with Zarya ("dawn") and the US Unity modules launched in 1998.

    A Russian call sign, RZ3DZR, has been issued for the ISS ham radio station. A German call sign, DL0ISS, also has been issued, and a US call sign has been applied for. An international call sign may eventually be assigned if a call sign block is established for international space stations. 

    A primary goal of ARISS is to establish and maintain a schedule of Amateur Radio contacts with schools. ARISS will inherit the long legacy of the successful Space Amateur Radio EXperiment. SAREX, a cooperative education effort involving NASA and the ARRL, has allowed students to speak directly to shuttle astronauts and US astronauts aboard the Russian Mir space station via Amateur Radio.

    As ISS construction progresses, it's expected that slow-scan TV, various types of amateur TV, and experimental projects eventually will be added. Phase 2 of the ARISS initial station calls for incorporating a German-built digitalker/speaker-mike, SSTV, and possibly an RF notch filter. Subsequent stages of the ARISS effort call for a transportable station and, ultimately, a permanent station that will include HF through microwave capabilities on several modes. Details of the permanent station still are being worked out. 

    -- from the ARRL Letter, Electronic Edition

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    Single-sideband is 80 years old

    -- By Jerry, W7BUN

    My neighbor retired from the Collins Radio Company several years ago. I thought you would like to see some comments I got from him. 

    Dave, WA0ZZG, Cedar Rapids.

    SSB and ISB have been in use for decades in the Fixed Radio Services, for transoceanic and other point- to-point radiotelephone services. The reason for the pilot carrier, besides locking the frequency, was to demodulate the sideband audio. We amplified the carrier until it represented the normal amplitude carrier for a 100% modulated signal.

    The reason is still valid today. You preserve the phase angle, which then makes the audio sound more natural or high fidelity. Since the carrier suffers the same propagation as the sidebands, the audio comes out sounding better than using a fixed phase carrier with a variable phase sideband. People back then were more critical of the audio quality. Today we are used to tinny sounding communication systems and don't consider that a fault. 

    By the way, the amplification of the pilot carrier idea is still to be found in some FM stereo receivers. The pilot carrier is amplified to demodulate the stereo channel rather than using it to phase lock the local 19 kHz carrier oscillator. Works great in fringe areas. No loss of lock. 

    But what I wanted to get to was the AT&T experiments with transatlantic telephony in the early 20s. The thought then was that VLF was the only way to cross the pond. The AT&T engineers were tearing their hair out because now they could modulate the signal and transmit voice in the lab, but doing it for real in the field was not working. The signals sounded sort of "Donald Duckish" -- garbled they said, because this was before the Duck was created.

    Finally it dawned on one bright engineer that the VLF antenna on 30 kHz had a "Q" so high it was acting like a passband filter. Frequencies one or two kHz off resonance suffered mismatch and tremendous power loss. They had never bothered about this, because up until then the traffic was CW. Now they were dealing with a signal requiring an antenna system at least 10 kHz wide which is an unheard and still difficult thing to accomplish at VLF. This is all part of the patent notes for my modulation system which over the last 40 years has become stereo AM radio. 

    Dick, W0RPV

    -- from the "Loggers Bark," the newsletter of the Radio Club of Tacoma, Kathleen Nace, N0EYK editor, via ARNS

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    Mobile CW

    -- by Ken, N8KC

    Ever thought of trying CW/Mobile? I mean mobile, not the kind you do from a parking lot -- the 'weavin' in and out of traffic kind. It's really not all that hard If you set up your mobile station for ease of operation and learn to head copy at a speed that's comfortable for you. It's not necessary to be a CW speed-freak, nor Is a fancy antenna and HF rig required.

    You will need to be able to concentrate on driving; above all else if you are unable to devote full concentration to your driving and copy CW, then please don't attempt it-it's just not worth the risk of a car accident In order for you to drive safely and attempt CW/m, code should be "conversational" for you. In other words, it should be no more distracting than a regular conversation with a passenger in your car.

    It's not necessary to copy at "high" speed either -- if you can head-copy and send at 5 wpm, that'll do just fine (although, you may find you'll finish your trip before the QSO!).

    The HF rig you take on the road should be easy to use -- the fewer knobs, the better. For CW, It's nice to have the choice of a narrower filter, but you'll probably find many of the options desirable on most base rigs simply far too complicated to operate while driving -- keep it simple. A VFO, band up/down, memory channels, bandpass filtering (and maybe a CW narrow filter), a good noise blanker, RIT, and a notch filter are all things I'd want handy on the dash.

    The noise blanker Is important -- good one will get rid of much of the electronic hash present in many cars. A decent notch filter, if included, will further reduce some single tone noise. RIT Is handy to go after those stations that aren't quite on frequency, but I generally don't use the 'narrow' CW filter on my rig, making this option superfluous in most QSOs.

    The rig doesn't have to be expensive either. I've seen HTX 100's and Rangers (10m only, about $100), FT-7's (80-l0m, 5 bands, about $250 or so), Atlas rigs (5 bands, $175-350), and TenTec Scouts (about $3-500 W/ a few band modules). 

    For mobile HF antennas I make no recommendation. I've seen some very expensive ones and I've seen homebrew cheapies. I guess it depends on just how serious you wanna' get. I use a series of Valor antennas called the Pro-Am line, about $12-20 at most swaps. With my setup, I have to get out of the car to change antennas for each band I wish to work, but I figure if I snap one off, I'm not out much cash. 

    I've had fairly consistent signal reports, but then I usually only work the strong stations, as it takes too much concentration to decipher the weak ones and drive at the same time. 

    The key you use is dependent on your style of sending. I prefer a set of "paddles," but I have worked other mobiles who were running a straight key (bumpy roads can be a problem). and even one fella using a "bug"! (Now that's a CW Op! I can't even make mine sound good from my desk at home!) 

    Floyd, W8RO and several others I've heard on the air use a knee strap key, similar in idea to what was used by the Air Force in WWI. Phil, W8IC uses a straight key in his van, on a small table extending from the console/engine cover. I use an approximately 2" square plastic paddle set, made by 'White Rook (Model 44), which is velcro'd to my center console when in use. I feel it offers a more natural operating position, requiring less concentration on my part and it costs less than $15! 

    Give mobile CW a shot. -- you may find it a real blast to suddenly find yourself the object of an HF pile-up! You'll suddenly be unique among operators. Just try breaking Into DX pile-up with "/m" appended to your call and watch what happens! Just last week, while signing "/m", I was the object of a pile-up after working one Polish station. No less than eight other DX stations called me in just the time It took to drive to work.

    Of course, there's always the grin you'll get when the other fella says."you're actually driving? How can you do that In traffic?" or "what does /m mean?"

    Just be sure to send at a speed you can head-copy at; while you're driving, there's little chance you'll have time to write anything down. Only concentrate on getting the meat of the QSO -- kinda' like hearing most of a conversation, and piecing the rest together as you go. There's no need to get 100%. 

    -- from the May, 2000 issue of the USECA Express; Newsletter of the Utica Shelby Emergency Communication Association, Inc.; Joe Janules, K8OEF, Editor, via ARNS

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    New employee placement

    Take the prospective employees you are trying to place and put them in a room with only a table and two chairs. Leave them alone for two hours, without any instruction. At the end of that time, go back and see what they are doing.

    -- Clinton, AB7RG, via packet

    --back to table of contents
    --return to OARS web page