Watts News

Monthly Newsletter of the
Olympia Amateur Radio Society
P.O. Box 2861, Olympia, WA 98507

 July 2001
Edited by George Lanning  KB6LE 

Table of Contents

  •  President's Message
  •  Minutes of June OARS meeting
  •  Minutes of ARES/RACES June meeting
  •  Amateur LF signal spans the Pacific!
  •  Amateur Radio at the Mason County Fair
  •  Treasurer's Report
  •  Notes from the VP
  •  Rally Ham website
  •  AO-40 Now in Long-Term, Safe Orbit
  •  Amateur Morse Testing Changes Effective July 1
  •  Signs spotted around the world
  • --return to OARS main page


    First let me start off with a thank you to Gard, KF6GAQ for his response to my writings of last month. He brought to my attention some information from "World Radio" that regularly deals with helping those with disabilities. I must admit that I really had not paid much attention to that area before. I had recently subscribed to that publication. I shall be more aware of that segment in the future. I believe that my interest in this area has been stirred due to the fact that I am not familiar with the technologies that are available for those that need assistance.

    Ah, Field Day. I had a good time at this event this year. I took my little trailer loaded with antennas, generator, wires, gasoline and all kinds of other necessities and tried to operate a remote station. I met with a modicum of success. I was able to make a few contacts. These were on HF, on 15 and 20 meters. I did not make any contacts on PSK 31, though there were a lot of stations operating in that mode. After a careful review of my efforts I concluded that I had made a tiny error. Just a minor thing really. I had misread my indicators by a factor of 10. I was operating almost super QRP. There was more residual heat coming off of my antenna than RF. No wonder they didn't hear me! I will try this again next year. It was a good gathering and there was a very nice potluck on Saturday evening. Thanks to all the participants for a good event.

    The August meeting will be the picnic, which will be held at the home of KC7CKO. I will have more information about this later. Be sure to check the OARS web site.

    -- Dan, KB7DFL

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    Minutes of June OARS meeting

    The meeting came to order at 19:05.

    The members introduced themselves. There were about 20 people attending the meeting.

    There was no old business.

    There was no new business.

    Lee, KI7SS, spoke on the recent Field Day event at the state capitol. 

    The evening program started at 19:20. It was a guest speaker, a Russian Ham, RA0LU. His name is Dima Rozeblit and he is from Ussuriisk. 

    The meeting adjourned at 20:30.

    -- Dan, KB7DFL

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    Minutes of ARES/RACES June meeting

    The board meeting started at 19:00. There were 12 persons present.

    Paul, KC7LA, thanked those that had participated in the latest rally. 

    Dan, KC7AVR, stated that he had most of the radios at the Red Cross facility up and running. He also said that he is the chair of a state disaster subcommittee. He will be placing emphasis on HF communications. 

    Allan, W7SAY, reported on attending a neighborhood meeting at the Olympia fire station that dealt with local communication issues.

    Tom, KA4VVA, was presented with a plaque to recognize his service to the local ham community through the years.

    The meeting adjourned at 21:00.

    - Dan KB7DFL

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    Amateur LF signal spans the Pacific!

    A signal transmitted on 184 kHz from ZL6QH--the Wellington, New Zealand, Amateur Radio Club's Quartz Hill station -- has spanned the Pacific. The transmission, part of a series of announced transpacific tests, was received on June 30 by Steve McDonald, VE7SL, of British Columbia, Canada.

    "A claim is made for the confirmed reception of ZL6QH by VE7SL, on 184.4 kHz, over a path of 11,709 km," said Bob Vernall ZL2CA, who organized the transpacific tests. "This is a one-way confirmation, as VE7SL does not have transmitting capability." Vernall said that on June 30, seven New Zealand stations -- including ZL6QH -- and one Australian transmitted test signals in the 160-190 kHz band for the transpacific tests. Amateurs in New Zealand have access to that band.

    McDonald used Argo software to capture the ZL6QH signal and very likely that of ZL4OL, although no claim was being made for the latter. The reception occurred right around the time of sunrise in British Columbia.

    ZL6QH was transmitting dual-frequency CW with two-minute elements, one frequency representing dits, the other dahs. The ZL6QH station was running approximately 100 W into a longwire antenna.

    Amateurs spanned the Atlantic in both directions earlier this year on 136 kHz. Efforts to make it across the Pacific have been under way during the winter season in the Southern Hemisphere.

    The ARRL has petitioned the FCC to authorize Amateur Radio allocations at 136 kHz and in the 160-190 kHz band. The petition is pending.

    -- ARRL Bulletin B026

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    Amateur Radio at the Mason County Fair

    The last weekend in July (27, 28, 29) 2001 will again see Amateur Radio Operators converging on Washington's Mason County Fairgrounds, as the County Fair will again host an Amateur Radio Department. Northwest of Olympia on the peninsula, the Mason County Fairgrounds located on US Hwy 101 just north of Shelton, is one of few County Fairs in the USA that hosts an Amateur Radio Department. 

    In return, Amateur Radio Operators provide a safety patrol while visiting the various exhibits, eating establishments, and carnival. Everyone is welcome to stop by and see the exhibits at the booth. You can bring a 2 meter HT and participate in the safety patrol and/or show off your "homebrew" skills and enter an exhibit(s) for the red, white, and blue judging.

    RULES: Each entry is judged on its own merits. Criteria include:

    1. Age of the exhibitor 
    2. Complexity of project
    3. Mastery of materials 
    4. Overall quality

    Judging is by division, decisions final. Entries received 2 - 7 PM Wed. July 25. May be picked up Sunday, after 7:00 PM. Entry receipt needed to exchange for entry. Entries may be whimsical or practical. Entrants responsible for own mountings. The Fair is not responsible for breakage. However, utmost care will be taken with all units until pickup time. 

    Title and description written legibly on 3 X 5 card for each project are required for public display and are to include:

    1) Description: what makes it work, what is it supposed to do, etc.
    2) Describe when & where used: home, portable, mobile, emergency/backpack, etc.
    3) Source of design: own design, from ARRL publication, magazine, etc.
    4) Approximate cost of construction.
    5) Materials used: aluminum, wood, copper, etc.
    6) If there is a similar commercially made device, what is its cost?

    Division #1 Adults, ages 18 and up
    Division #2 Junior, ages 13-17
    Division #3 Youth, ages 12 and under

    Class of Entry:

    #1 Antenna Construction
    #2 Circuit Component Construction
    #3 Station Accessories Construction
    #4 Educational Posters or Displays

    For information, contact: Kate Jones, KA7QHR, Dept. Super (360) 275-6388 275-6041, e-mail: kjones@hctc.com, or Ron Sauer, K9RKI, (360) 427-6847 (V) 427-4143 (fax) Packet: k9rki@w7smc.#wwa.wa.usa E-mail: k9rki@aol.com.

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    Treasurer's Report

    As of 6/30/01

    GENERAL FUND (checking account)

       Previous balance   $ 2,828.55
          Income                3.86
          Expenses             90.00
       Ending balance       2,742.41

    REPEATER / PACKET FUND (savings account)

       Previous balance     $ 917.79
          Income                6.98
          Expenses              0.00
       Ending balance         924.77

    -- Ed Fitzgerald, N7WW, Treasurer

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    Notes from the VP

    The fourth weekend in June was Field Day, that annual ritual we Hams have come to love totally! This year OARS was a 3A station, with a linear amp, 6 meters, PSK-31, solar energy CW contacts, visits by elected officials, etc. We made 653 Qs, for 767 points, and claimed 800 bonus points -- grand total was 1567 points. Not a large total but then again, we were there for the fun, not to be serious. And fun it was! For those of us who like to call "CQ Field Day, NT7H Field Day," the amplifier made us LOUD and created instant pile-ups. It's a kick to be the creator of a pile-up! For those of us who liked to socialize, the camaraderie was thick most of the time, especially at pot-luck time, when the food was abundant and great! (A special thanks to all of you who brought food for us starving Ops!) Wowzers! What a treat!

    This month over 20 OARS Hams will assure that the Lakefair Parade will be a success. Hams will operate on several frequencies, managing the parade from start to finish. Listen on 147.56 as we provide the announcers with information on who won which award. Other frequencies will be used to manage the busses, the cheerleaders and bands, the floats, and the horses.

    The July OARS monthly meeting will feature a professionally produced videotape made of a DXpedition (A52A) to Bhutan. Promotional information on the video includes the following: "Tucked away, far up in the Eastern Himalayas is the tiny Kingdom of Bhutan -- one of the most isolated and unknown nations on Earth -- and one of the most wanted DXCC entities of all time. This film will take you to a nation and a people rarely seen by the outside world (even on television or video). Experience what it is actually like to be behind the scenes at one of the world's ultimate destinations, with some of the best operators ever assembled."

    On August 4th OARS members will help with the Diabetes Horse-a-Thon. If you can help, please call me at 866-0800. I need about 3 more hams.

    A new Technician Class begins July 31. That's the date when the books get handed-out and students are expected to begin reading. Currently 15 Boy Scout students -- and two non-scout kids -- are enrolled. The class itself will be held on two consecutive Saturdays in September; the dates will be finalized by the students themselves. There will be some half hour "check-in's" every other week, to keep everyone on track. OARS has ordered the new ARRL training videotapes, being released later this month. The class will be the first to experience them. However, the last class had a 100% pass rate and we expect this class, with updated materials, to do equally as well.

    August's meeting will be informal, a pot-luck at Larry's house. Maybe Jeff will buzz us with his airplane, as before. BCNU! 73! 

    -- Lee, KI7SS

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    Rally Ham website

    If you are involved in Ham support of rallying, here is a website you will find interesting:http://www.geocities.com/kc7wec.

    Paul Taylor, KC7LA, says "It was designed by Sherri Jones, KC7WEC, who, with her sightless boyfriend Tom Masterson, KD7CYU, is very involved in rally support. It uses a document that I once wrote regarding hamming and rally, and is a nice site; she updates it with rally pictures after each event."

    A link to this site is in place on the OARS website main page.

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    AO-40 Now in Long-Term, "Safe" Orbit

    AO-40's new orbit should be good for at least the next 20 years, according to AMSAT-DL President Peter Guelzow, DB2OS, who heads the satellite's ground team. Following maneuvers to shift the satellite's orbit at perigee, AO-40 perigee now is "oscillating in a safe range between 810 and 1260 km," Guelzow said.

    AO-40's height at apogee -- 58,971 km -- was unchanged by the orbital adjustment. The satellite's transponders remain off as ground controllers reorient the spacecraft. Still in question is whether ground controllers will be able to deploy the satellite's solar panels.

    Ground controllers were able to change AO-40's orbit through successive "cold" firings of the onboard arcjet motor -- using only ammonia gas. The move raised AO-40 some 300 km higher than predicted, but it apparently depleted the spacecraft's ammonia supply. As a result, AO-40 likely will remain in its current orbit.

    Stacey Mills, W4SM, of the ground team said it's "quite possible" that an ammonia leak accounted for the unexpected loss of ammonia. "If we did have a slow leak, it is very fortunate we did not wait any longer to use the remaining fuel," he said.

    Mills said that AO-40's old orbital configuration, while stable, was too close for comfort at perigee. 

    "I sincerely hope that nothing else malfunctions for a long, long time, but this is, after all, rocket science," Mills said. "Nothing is guaranteed."

    Ground controllers plan to fully test AO-40's momentum wheels prior to any decision to deploy the spacecraft's solar panels. The momentum wheels provide three-axis control of the spacecraft. If the momentum wheels are not operational, it's unlikely the solar panels will be deployed.

    For more information on AO-40, visit the AMSAT-DL website, http://www.amsat-dl.org/ or the AMSAT-NA website, http://www.amsat.org. AMSAT-DL now offers an AO-40 "Quick Status" page.

    -- ARRL Bulletin ARLS011

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    Amateur Morse Testing Changes Effective July 1

    New Morse code exam standards go into effect July 1 for all Volunteer Examiner Coordinators. The new standards call for Farnsworth character speed in the 13-to-15 WPM range and the end of multiple-choice questions for routine Morse code exams.

    In the wake of restructuring and the establishment of 5 WPM as the sole amateur Morse requirement, the National Conference of Volunteer Examiner Coordinators voted last July to set up the revised standards for the administration of Morse code examinations in the US.

    ARRL VEC Manager Bart Jahnke, W9JJ, points out the required change to the Farnsworth protocol replaces the 18-WPM character speed ARRL VEC has used since 1989. "Standard 5 WPM messages with 5 WPM characters are available as an accommodation," he said. "Standard (non-Farnsworth) speed messages are available upon special request from the ARRL VEC for ARRL VE teams."

    In addition, the Morse exam audio frequency range should be between 700 and 1000 Hz for routine exams. Consistent with the revised standards, Jahnke said, ARRL VEC has set 15-WPM characters as its Farnsworth setting and 750 Hz as its audio-frequency standard. 

    Code practice transmissions from Maxim Memorial Station W1AW will reflect the new Farnsworth standard. W1AW Station Manager Joe Carcia, NJ1Q, says transmissions using the new protocol will begin Monday, July 2. Code transmissions at speeds below 18 WPM will drop from 18 WPM to 15 WPM character speed. W1AW Web code practice files, at http://www.arrl.org/w1aw/morse.html, will mirror the new standards too.

    The new Morse examination standards also affect test administration. After July 1, Morse examinees will have to supply fill-in-the-blank answers for the 10-question Element 1 quiz. Multiple-choice type examinations no longer will be acceptable. Under the new testing regime, Morse code examinees must either correctly answer seven of the ten fill-in-the-blanks questions or correctly copy 25 consecutive characters.

    Changes are on the horizon for the written examinations as well. Revised Amateur Extra question pool will go into effect July 1, 2002. Reworked Technician and General question pools will become effective on July 1 2003 and 2004 respectively.

    -- ARRL Bulletin ARLB024

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    Signs spotted around the world

    People in other countries sometimes go out of their way to communicate with their English-speaking tourists.

    In a Cocktail lounge, Norway: Ladies are requested not to have children in the bar.

    At a Budapest zoo: Please do not feed the animals. If you have any suitable food, give it to the guard on duty.

    Doctors office, Rome: Specialist in women and other diseases.

    Hotel, Acapulco: The manager has personally passed all the water served here.

    Information booklet about using a hotel air conditioner, Japan: Coolies and heates: if you want just condition of warm air in your room, please control yourself.

    Car rental brochure, Tokyo: When passenger of foot heave in sight, tootle the horn. Trumpet him melodiously at first, but if he still obstacles your passage then tootle him with vigor.

    Dry cleaner's, Bangkok: Drop your trousers here for the best results.

    In a Nairobi restaurant: Customers who find our waitresses rude ought to see the manager.

    On the grounds of a private school: No trespassing without permission.

    On an Athi River highway: Take notice: when this sign is under water, this road is impassable.

    On a poster at Kencom: Are you an adult that cannot read? If so, we can help.

    In a City restaurant: Open seven days a week and weekends.

    One of the Mathare buildings: Mental health prevention centre.

    A sign seen on an automatic restroom hand dryer: Do not activate with wet hands.

    In a Pumwani maternity ward: No children allowed.

    In a cemetery: Persons are prohibited from picking flowers from any but their own graves.

    Tokyo hotel's rules and regulations: Guests are requested not to smoke or do other disgusting behaviors in bed.

    Hotel notice, Tokyo: Is forbidden to steal hotel towels please. If you are not a person to do such a thing is please not to had notis.

    On the menu of a Swiss restaurant: Our wines leave you nothin to hope for.

    In a Tokyo bar: Special cocktails for the ladies with nuts.

    In a Bangkok temple: It is forbidden to enter a woman even a foreigner if dressed as a man.

    Hotel room notice, Chiang-Mai, Thailand: Please do not bring solicitors into your room.

    Hotel brochure, Italy: This hotel is renowned for its peace and solitude. In fact, crowds from all over the world flock here to enjoy its solitude.

    Hotel lobby, Bucharest: The lift is being fixed for the next day. During that time we regret that you will be unbearable.

    Hotel elevator, Paris: Please leave your values at the front desk.

    Hotel, Yugoslavia: The flattening of underwear with pleasure is the job of the chambermaid.

    Hotel, Japan: You are invited to take advantage of the chambermaid.

    In the lobby of a Moscow hotel across from a Russian Orthodox monastery: You are welcome to visit the cemetery where famous Russian and Soviet composers, artists, and writers are buried daily except Thursday.

    Hotel catering to skiers, Austria: Not to perambulate the corridors in the hours of repose in the boots of ascension.

    Taken from a menu, Poland: Salad a firm's own make; limpid red beet soup with cheesy dumplings in the form of a finger; roasted duck let loose; beef rashers beaten in the country people's fashion.

    Supermarket, Hong Kong: For your convenience, we recommend courteous, efficient self-service.

    From the "Soviet Weekly": There will be a Moscow exhibition of arts by 15,000 Soviet Republic painters and sculptors. These were executed over the past two years.

    In an East African newspaper: A new swimming pool is rapidly taking shape since the contractors have thrown in the bulk of their workers.

    Hotel, Vienna: In case of fire, do your utmost to alarm the hotel porter.

    A sign posted in Germany's Black Forest: It is strictly forbidden on our black forest camping site that people of different sex, for instance, men and women, live together in a tent unless they are married with each other for this purpose.

    Hotel, Zurich: Because of the impropriety of entertaining guests of the opposite sex in the bedroom, it is suggested that the lobby be used for this purpose.

    An advertisement by a Hong Kong dentist: Teeth extracted by the latest Methodists.

    A laundry in Rome: Ladies, leave your clothes here and spend the afternoon having a good time.

    Tourist agency, Czechoslovakia: Take one of our horse-driven city tours. We guarantee no miscarriages.

    In the window on a Swedish furrier: Fur coats made for ladies from their own skin.

    The box of a clockwork toy made in Hong Kong: Guaranteed to work throughout its useful life.

    In a Swiss mountain inn: Special today -- no ice-cream.

    Airline ticket office, Copenhagen: We take your bags and send them in all directions.

    On the door of a Moscow hotel room: If this is your first visit to the USSR, you are welcome to it.

    -- by packet from Eoghann, MM5AAU

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    --return to OARS main page