Watts News

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

  July 2002
Edited by George Lanning  KB6LE 

Table of Contents

  •  From the Oval Shack
  •  AMSAT-OSCAR 7 returns to life
  •  Bob Campbell WA7RDJ Silent Key
  •  White House greets Amateur Radio operators
  •  Getting Old
  •  OARS Net check-ins
  •  Treasurer's Report
  •  From the VP
  •  2002 Mason County Fair
  •  The importance of standard abbreviations
  •  ARRL Part 15 stance draws industry fire
  •  Last laugh
  •  The sentry

  • --back to OARS Home Page

    Field Day 2002 has come and gone, with another successful event on the Capitol Campus. Everyone who participated had a great time and we even managed to make contact with some potential new hams. This year we operated a 3A low power (below 150 watts) station and ended up with a score of about 2200 points, which is slightly better than some of our previous efforts.

    I would like to thank everyone who participated in this annual event, but some people need to be mentioned with special Thanks! First is Lee Chambers, KI7SS, who as usual obtained the location for us and then organized the event. Lee has already secured the same location for next years Field Day.

    Then we have Fred Baker, W7SIX, who not only brought his motor home, but built up a very successful satellite station which not only allowed us to contact the International Space Station, RS0ISS, as our first satellite contact, but also several other satellites during the course of the event.

    We owe a thanks to Duane, WB7ROZ, who developed the network logging program that we were able to use successfully from all stations participating in the event. It worked very well and not only gave us a running tally of our score, but prevented duplicate contacts and even coordinated band usage amongst the various operating positions. 

    We need to thank the Intel folks who provided the use of their emergency communications van and brought it to the event. It was a very valuable addition.

    And thanks to Steve Ward, WC7I, who loaned us one of the rigs that we used for the primary HF station.

    Also, thanks to Dan Crane, KB7DFL, who got the Thurston County Com Van and Chuck Scovill, KC7FEE who could not be there, but loaned us his motor home anyway.

    Finally, thanks to everyone who helped set up, worked the stations, and participated in the Saturday Night Pot luck. We had a good dinner with friendly conversation and camaraderie on a beautiful evening. 

    Great job everyone, and I know that I am looking forward to next year!

    -- Ken Dahl, K7TAG

    --back to Table of Contents

    AMSAT-OSCAR 7 returns to life

    The AMSAT-OSCAR 7 satellite suddenly has come back to life after being dormant for more than 20 years. First heard June 21 by Pat Gowan, G3IOR, AO-7 subsequently has been monitored and used by several other amateurs. AO-7 was launched November 15, 1974. It remained operational for more than six years before succumbing to battery failure in 1981.

    "I'm blown away," was the reaction of AO-7 Project Manager Jan King, W3GEY. "So, this old war horse of a spacecraft seems to have come back from the dead if only for a few moments."

    Exclaimed satellite enthusiast and AMSAT Vice President for User Services Bruce Paige, KK5DO, "This is really awesome." Paige said the latest turn of events makes AO-7 the oldest amateur satellite that's still working. AMSAT-NA has now listed AO-7 as "semi-operational."

    AMSAT says it seems certain the satellite is running only off its solar panels, not from the onboard batteries, so it will be operational only while it's in sunlight. King speculates that the batteries, which shorted as they failed two decades ago, now are "un-shorting" and causing the satellite to come back to life. 

    For those attempting to use AO-7, Mode A (2 meters up/10 meters down) is not a problem, but Mode B (70 cm up/2 meters down) is. Because of changes in the international Radio Regulations that went into effect in the 1970s as AO-7 was under construction, the 432.1 MHz uplink frequency is no longer authorized for space communications.

    AMSAT advises potential users that when uplinking to a satellite, they are operating in the Amateur Satellite Service. AMSAT says uplinking to AO-7 "is possibly illegal since the Amateur Satellite Service is not permitted at 432.1 MHz." The current band plan earmarks the 432.1 MHz range for weak signal work. Section 97.207(c) of the FCC's rules authorizes space station operation only in the 435-438 MHz segment.

    Built by a multinational team under the direction of AMSAT-NA, AO-7 carries Mode A (145.850-950 MHz uplink; 29.400-500 MHz downlink) and Mode B (432.180-120 MHz uplink; 145.920-980 MHz downlink) linear transponders plus beacons on 29.500 and 145.700 MHz. A 2304.1 MHz beacon was never turned on because of international treaty constraints.

    AMSAT has additional information on AO-7 on its Web site, http://www.amsat.org.

    -- ARRL Bulletin S006

    --back to Table of Contents

    Bob Campbell -- WA7RDJ
    Silent Key

    We are sad to report the passing of Bob Campbell, WA7RDJ, on Thursday, June 20, 2002. Bob served as OARS President in 1981 and 1987, and also served terms as Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer. He acted as OARS Net control station for many years. His Ham friends will greatly miss his many talents and ever-present wit.

    Bob's wife Sharon, N7DHE, is also an OARS member and past President. Our condolences go out to the entire family.

    --back to Table of Contents

    White House greets Amateur Radio operators

    President George Bush has sent his greetings to all Amateur Radio operators, acknowledging their role in emergency communications and in generating international good will. The White House letter comes as hams in the US marked Amateur Radio Week June 16-23 and prepared to participate in ARRL Field Day -- an emergency preparedness exercise.

    "I salute amateur radio operators for your work on behalf of public safety officials," the President said in a letter dated June 18. "I also commend your interest in communicating with persons in other parts of the world and learning about other cultures and countries. Your involvement builds understanding and goodwill around the globe."

    For the first time, Field Day was open to participation by amateurs throughout the Americas and the Caribbean.

    The President's letter acknowledged ham radio's "important role in emergency communications, assisting law enforcement personnel and other emergency services as they carry out their responsibilities."

    ARRL President Jim Haynie, W5JBP, expressed his delight at the presidential communication. "I'm extremely pleased that the president has decided to recognize the accomplishments of Amateur Radio operators throughout America," he said. "Amateur Radio is a real asset to America, and even more so after September 11. Amateur Radio has always played a big role in disasters and emergencies, and I'm very proud of it."

    President Bush said First Lady Laura Bush "joins me in sending our best wishes."

    Governors in several states have issued proclamations designating Amateur Radio Week or Amateur Radio Month.

    -- ARRL Bulletin ARLB037

    --back to Table of Contents

    Getting Old

    An elderly Floridian called 911 on her cell phone to report that her car has been broken into. She is hysterical as she explains her situation to the dispatcher: "They've stolen the stereo, the steering wheel, the brake pedal and even the accelerator!" she cried. The dispatcher said, "Stay calm. An officer is on the way."

    A few minutes later, the officer radios in. "Disregard," he says. "She got in the back seat by mistake."

    -- from "Joke of the Day"

    --back to Table of Contents

    OARS Net check-ins

    The following stations checked in on the OARS General Information Net one or more times in June 2002.


    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.

    --back to Table of Contents

    Treasurer's Report

    As of 6/30//02

        GENERAL FUND (checking account)
            Previous balance     $ 2,379.67
                Income               147.87
                Expenses             208.24
            Ending balance         2,319.30

        REPEATER / PACKET FUND (savings account)
            Previous balance       $ 944.74
                Income                 5.98
                Expenses               0.00
            Ending balance           950.72

    -- Ed Fitzgerald, N7WW, Treasurer

    --back to Table of Contents

    From the VP

    Summer is in full swing, as you know. Here at Chaos Manor, that traditionally means "build antennas season," but this year I've fatter fish to throw my Saturday's at. The Lakefair Parade is next Saturday; the following Saturday is day one of a two-Saturday Tech class; the next Saturday is August 3, Diabetes Horse-A-Thon / ORV park race car day. After that is day two of the Saturday Tech class, and then I get an actual weekend off before Radio Camp's week begins! There goes the summer, and I haven't built any antennas yet -- or fixed what I have! I hope your summer's got some time built-in for antennas. How I did this to myself, I'm not sure!

    Our President Ken K7TAG is presenting at the next OARS meeting, and I know he's been pulling together a great show, so plan to come see. You know, for the last year or so EVERY OARS meeting has had a great program. Last month's video of a DXpedition drew applause -- APPLAUSE for a videotape! If you were not there, you missed a great show!

    In August we'll have a picnic at Larry's, continuing a tradition begun when he was President. We could do it here too, if it's raining, in our big barn. I've been collecting couches and love seats and chairs for this Radio Camp endeavor, and I have a goodly collection now, so we could have a virtual living room sit-down picnic in the rain! But Larry likes turning his house upside down with 40 guests, and I like letting him!

    TCTV has acquired some truly state-of-the-art digital camcorders and three G4 Apple digital editing systems, which means they've stepped out on the path to modern digital editing. We need a Ham Radio show as a regular feature on TCTV! To do it, we need a team of TCTV-trained operators. The training is free, and with the new equipment you can put your hands on some really sweet, high-tech tools. How can your resist? Please get the training, and help us put ham radio firmly in the minds of a whole lot of people in this community who think we're a bunch of geeks playing with tube radio antiques. TCTV reaches 80,000 households -- think about it. If we could generate a positive interest in 1% of those viewers, we'd have 800 people wanting classes! Wow -- I'd lose ALL my Saturdays!

    I sent in our final score from Field Day: 2160! It sure was fun. We worked the Space Station, got media publicity, were in a public location, got the message off to the SM, picked off the W1AW message, and had an SSTV demo and a PSK-31 demo. The wx was perfect, the potluck was great! What more could you ask for? 

    Planning is underway for September's road rally, September 7th and 8th. Plan to work it, so you can come to the January workers' appreciation dinner, and win the grand prize or one of the other prizes. There's usually more prizes than attendees! 

    Above all, have a great summer -- building antennas.

    -- 73,. Lee, KI7SS

    --back to Table of Contents

    2002 Mason County Fair

    Amateur radio operators across the Pacific Northwest are invited to participate in one of the few county fairs in the US that has a Dept. of Amateur Radio and which has exhibit judging and awards ribbons and prizes. The Mason County, WA Fair will be held July 26, 27, 28, 2002. The Fairgrounds are located on Hwy 101 just north of Shelton, WA. which is about 20 miles northwest of Olympia. 

    In addition, Amateur Radio provides a low level safety patrol which has found many lost parents and been able to call for medical assistance. We do not go looking for things, but report what we see as we enjoy the fair. Safety patrol operates all three days, 10 AM until close. Please let Kate know if you can participate. Bring your family and friends and enjoy the fair with them. Those with a Washington State Emergency Workers card will have free gate access for themselves only if participating.

    Following is the information and rules:

    Department L -- Amateur Radio -- Building 8

    Dept. Superintendent: Kate Jones, KA7QHR, Belfair, WA

    (360) 275-6388, 275-6041 e-mail Kjones@hctc.com

    Rules: Each entry judged on own merits. Criteria include:

  • Age of exhibitor
  • Complexity of project
  • Mastery of materials
  • Overall Quality
  • Judging will be by division, and the judges' decisions are final. Entries will be received Wednesday July 24th between 4-7 PM. Items may be picked up Sunday after 7 PM. Exhibitors will need to bring their entry receipt to exchange for the entry.

    Entries may be whimsical or practical. Entrants are responsible for their own mountings. The Fair is not responsible for breakage. However, the utmost care will be taken with all units until pickup time.

    Title and descriptions are to be written on a 3x5 card for each project and are to include:

    1. Description: what makes it work, what it is supposed to do, etc. 

    2. Describe when and where used: home, portable, mobile, emergency/backpack, etc.

    3. Source of design; own design, from ARRL publication, magazine article, etc.

    4. Approximate cost of construction.

    5. Is there a similar commercially made device, and what is its cost? 

    -- Ron, K9RKI

    --back to Table of Contents

    The importance of standard abbreviations

    A very proper lady began planning a week's camping vacation for her church group. She wrote to a campground for reservations. She wanted to make sure that the campground was fully equipped and modern, but couldn't bring herself to write the word "toilet" in her letter. So, she decided on the old-fashioned term "Bathroom Commode." Once written down, she still wasn't comfortable with it. Finally she decided on the abbreviation "B.C." and wrote, "Does your campground have its own B.C.?"

    When the campground owner received the letter, he couldn't figure out what she meant by "B.C." He showed it to several of the campers, one of whom suggested the lady was obviously referring to a Baptist Church. So he sent this reply:

    Dear Madam:

    The B.C. is located nine miles from the campground in a beautiful grove of trees. I admit it is quite a distance if you are in the habit of going regularly.

    No doubt you will be pleased to know that it will seat 350 people at one time, and it is open on Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday of each week. Some folks like to take their lunch and make a day of it, especially on Thursday when there is an organ accompaniment. The acoustics are very good, so everyone can hear even the quietest passages.

    It may interest you to know that my daughter met her husband there. We are also having a fund-raiser to purchase new seats, as the old ones have holes in them.

    Unfortunately, my wife is ill and has not been able to attend regularly. It's been a good six months since she last went. It pains her very much not to be able to go more often. As we grow older, it seems to be more of an effort, especially in cold weather.

    Perhaps I could accompany you the first time you go, sit with you, and introduce you to all the other folks who will be there.

    I look forward to your visit. We offer a very friendly campground!

    -- from George Cox, by way of packet from W1GMF

    --back to Table of Contents

    ARRL Part 15 stance draws industry fire

    An ARRL challenge to the FCC's authority to permit Part 15 unlicensed operation of radio devices that may interfere with licensed services has drawn heavy fire from industry. The list of those filing opposition comments includes several unlicensed device makers and other industry giants, including Apple Computer and Microsoft. Some industry opponents are claiming that the ARRL wants to undo Part 15 altogether and would require individual licensing of such unlicensed devices as garage door openers and cordless telephones. ARRL General Counsel Chris Imlay, W3KD, says the industry commenters have it all wrong.

    The industry assault came in direct response to an ARRL Petition for Reconsideration in a proceeding (ET Docket 98-156) to amend Part 15 rules to allow certification of unlicensed, Part 15 equipment in the 24.05 to 24.25 GHz band at field strengths up to 2500 mV/m. The FCC first proposed permitting the unlicensed 24-GHz devices at the elevated field strengths in 1998 in response to a Petition for Rule Making from Sierra Digital Communications.

    The ARRL wants the FCC to reverse a portion of its Order that addresses the Commission's jurisdiction to authorize unlicensed RF devices that pose significant interference potential to licensed services. The League has made similar points in two other recent rule-making proceedings, arguing that the FCC is expanding the concept of unlicensed devices far beyond what the Communications Act ever had in mind.

    Opposition comments filed on behalf of Agere Systems, Apple Computer, Bluetooth Special Interest Group, Cisco Systems, Microsoft and VoiceStream Wireless asserted that potentially every user of devices that radiate RF -- intentionally or otherwise -- "would be required to obtain an individual license from the Commission" if ARRL's position prevails. The commenters urged rejection of ARRL's petition. Other comments echoed a similar refrain.

    ARRL's Imlay says the industry commenters are missing the point and, he adds, responding to arguments that ARRL never made -- such as individual licensing of Part 15 devices. "This is a perfect example of where the FCC went too far," he said of the Order issued last December in the 24-GHz proceeding. "There's a threshold. The trick is where to draw the line between licensed and unlicensed devices." The League contends the FCC has failed at distinguishing between what should and should not be licensed and, in so doing, has violated the Communications Act.

    The ARRL argues that the limit of FCC's jurisdiction is reached when it's concluded that operation of such devices "has a substantial interference potential" to a licensed service.

    Imlay believes that amateurs and Part 15 devices can co-exist on the same spectrum, "provided there are reasonable power levels that, on a whole, do not pose an interference threat."

    The ARRL will prepare a reply for filing by the June 28 deadline in the proceeding. Amateur Radio is primary at 24.0 to 24.05 GHz and secondary on the rest of the band.

    -- ARRL Bulletin ARLB034

    --back to Table of Contents

    Last laugh

    A woman's husband had been slipping in and out of a coma for several months, yet she had stayed by his bedside every single day. One day, when he came to, he motioned for her to come nearer.

    As she sat by him, he whispered, eyes full of tears, "You know what? You have been with me all through the bad times. When I got fired, you were there to support me. When my business failed, you were there. When I got shot, you were by my side. When we lost the house, you stayed right here. When my health started failing, you were still by my side. You know what?"

    "What dear?" she gently asked, smiling as her heart began to fill with warmth. "I think you're bad luck."

    -- from W1GMF, via packet

    --back to Table of Contents

    The sentry

    A new soldier was on sentry duty at the main gate. His orders were clear. No car was to enter unless it had a special sticker on the windshield. A big Army car came up with a general seated in the back. The sentry said, "Halt, who goes there?"

    The chauffeur, a corporal, says "General Wheeler."

    "I'm sorry, I can't let you through. You've got to have a sticker on the windshield."

    The general said, "Drive on!"

    The sentry said, "Hold it! You really can't come through. I have orders to shoot if you try driving in without a sticker."

    The general repeated, "I'm telling you, son, drive on!"

    The sentry walked up to the rear window and said, "General, I'm new at this. Do I shoot you or the driver?"

    --back to Table of Contents
    --back to OARS Home Page