ARRL Special Services ClubWatts News

Monthly Newsletter of the

Olympia Amateur Radio Society

P.O. Box 2861, Olympia, WA 98507

  June, 2005
Edited by George Lanning  KB6LE 

Table of Contents

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From the Oval ShackPresident's Message

Summer if upon us in full force, and by the time you read this, we will have completed our operations for the Capitol Lakefair Parade. Thanks to everyone who contributed to our Flea Market Table at SEA-PAC, the club brought in another $378 for the treasury. I would like to thank everyone who assisted at the table, Fred, W7SIX, Paul, N7GGX, and especially Tom Owen, K7GUH, who is not even a member of the club, but volunteered to take a load of things down and worked the table. We still have several items left that I am going to try and sell on eBay to add still more to our treasury.

The Olympia Amateur Radio Society has for a long time had an active program run by Lee, KI7SS, to get new people licensed into our hobby. However, I recently became aware of a statistic that was shocking to me. 40% of all new hams never get on the air. It seems to me that this is a significant problem. These are people who have taken the time and effort to pass their license exam, but have never been encouraged or "Elmered" to get on the air.

As a ham who let his license lapse while raising a family and then getting it back, I can tell you that pushing the "Release To Listen" button the first time can be a very intimidating experience, even if you previously had many years operating experience. I can only imagine how it must be to someone new. Just getting through the array of equipment to select your first rig, which is usually an HT, can be a daunting experience.

I would like to encourage every one of us to actively mentor or Elmer newcomers to our hobby so they can become converts who help encourage others to join this fascinating and varied hobby. Just think -- if we can get almost twice as many people out spreading the word, what this could do to stop the decrease in the ranks of licensed amateur radio operators.

I think that the club also ought to begin an active Elmering for those whom we have recently helped to get their licenses and make them welcome not only on the air, but at club meetings and other functions. This is sometimes more difficult than it sounds, because you have to remember that we are a group of people who like to sit in a room by ourselves and communicate with people who we cannot see.

If you know any new hams, invite them over and show them your station. Let them take the mike and talk to someone. If you hear a new call on the repeater, say hello. If you see a new face at a club meeting, introduce yourself. It is the responsibility of all of us to help reverse the decline in the ranks of Amateur Radio and help protect our spectrum.

As a parting comment, it is not too early to start thinking about next year's slate of officers. Nominations are coming up in October and we need to be thinking about candidates for the positions to run the club next year.


-- Ken, K7TAG

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Put in charge of organizing my friend's baby shower, I decided to send out invitations via email. To let my husband know that he had baby-sitting duty that day, I entered his name on the "copy to" line.

Within minutes of sending the messages, I received an email back from my husband. He wrote, "Imagine my disappointment when I realized that your invitation wasn't sent only to me."

He was referring to the "subject" line of my message, which read "Lunch and a shower."

-- from David ZL3AI, via packet

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OARS Net check-ins

The following stations checked in on the OARS General Information Net one or more times in the month of June, 2005:


Net control stations for the month were K7TAG, WC7I, and K7VRE. 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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A woman walked into a pet store. "I haven't got much money" she told the clerk, "so I'd like to know if you've got any kittens you'll let go cheap." "I'd let them, Ma'am," said the clerk, "but they generally prefer to go "Meow."

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Treasurer's Report

As of 6/30/05

GENERAL FUND (checking account)

    Previous balance     $1,702.58

        Income                0.35

        Expenses            102.37

    Ending balance        1,600.56

REPEATER / PACKET FUND (savings account)

    Previous balance      $ 984.20

        Income                1.86

        Expenses              0.00

    Ending balance          986.06

-- Ed Fitzgerald, N7WW, Treasurer

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Electricity originates inside clouds. There, it forms into lightning, which is attracted to the Earth by golfers.

After entering the ground, the electricity hardens into coal, which, when dug up by power companies and burned in big ovens called "generators," turns back into electricity... where it is transformed by TV sets into commercials for beer, which passes through the consumers and back into the ground, thus completing what is known as a "circuit."

-- Dave Barry, via packet from ZL3AI

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Alert!!! Alert!!!

We need your help! A vital matter for Amateur Radio has been introduced in Congress. House Resolution 230 introduced by US Representative Mike Ross, WD5DVR, calls on the FCC to comprehensively evaluate BPL's interference potential incorporating "extensive public review and comment," then to "reconsider and review" its new BPL rules in the light of that public input.

ARRL President Jim Haynie, W5JBP, is calling for League members (and others) to contact their congressional representative to sign on as cosponsors of the non-binding measure. Haynie says that Ross's resolution only asks the FCC to do what it should have done in the first place regarding BPL.

Rep. Ross says he is concerned about the evidence submitted to the FCC that he believes demonstrates the need to postpone any rules regarding BPL deployment. Ross says passage of HRes 230 would put the House on record as "supporting a more careful study by the FCC of the radio interference issue, especially as it relates to public safety communications, and reconsideration of the adequacy of the rules in light of this study."

BPL is a Broadband RF signal which utilities are seeking to put on distribution power lines to deliver the Internet to residential homes. The theory is that every home will then be able to hook up to broadband Internet over their own electrical lines.

THE PROBLEM? The RF signal is heard as "hash or buzzing" within tens, maybe hundreds of meters from the overhead neighborhood power lines. Yes, the RF signals will be heard from about 160 meters through possibly 80 MHZ.

Heard? Yes! Big time! Tests have shown it to put 20 dB or more into your receiver. I liken it to parking under high voltage power lines and trying to maintain a QSO. No way that can work. The Access BPL, as it is called, is just broadcast from that giant antenna you see overhead...the power lines! Goodbye HF ham radio! In addition, many public safety services use the 30-50 MHz "low-VHF" band for public safety communications. Tests have shown the inability of BPL Companies to successfully notch out these public safety and amateur frequencies. The FCC has heretofore acted like a cheerleader, not a regulator. The whole thing has become political. Good engineering (which BPL isn't) doesn't seem to count. So its time to use politics. Enter House Resolution 230.

We need you to write your congressperson and get him or her to join with Rep. Mike Ross of Arkansas. We want to get as many Representatives as possible to cosponsor House Res. 230.

There is a ton of information on the ARRL web site www.arrl.org. At the top where it says "Search site," type in: BPL and hit the green "GO." You can find a sample letter, but it would be much better if you use your own words. Congresspersons are listed in the front of almost every phone book, or go to the United States House of Representatives Web site and type in your ZIP code to find out the name and address of your Congressperson.

Ask your Congressperson to join with Representative Mike Ross as a cosponsor of House Res. 230. You merely want the FCC to take a fair look at the interference to public safety and Amateur Radio. To expedite delivery, send all correspondence bound for Members of Congress -- preferably as an attachment -- to hres230@arrl.org or Fax it to 703-684-7594. The ARRL will bundle correspondence addressed to each Member of Congress for hand delivery.

-- Greg Milnes, W7OZ, ARRL Northwestern Division Director

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WC7I Repeater Now Working

The WC7I repeater started working again Thursday June 23, 2005 at exactly 5:00 pm. Both the 2 meter repeater and the 440 repeater are now operating normally.

The real hero in this success story is Dan, KB7DFL, who used superhuman strength and years of experience to erect an antenna out over the edge of the top of a water tower 88 feet from the ground.

As you may know, the problem was getting a coaxial cable from the antenna connection which is 7 feet above the top of the tower down to the ground. An important requirement is that something must hold the coax every 10 feet or so to keep it steady and to hold it up enough so the antenna does not have to hold up the total weight of the coax.

Many ideas were discussed, including asking the Thurston County SWAT team to rappel down the side of the tower to apply plastic ties to an existing 4 inch drain pipe and the coax every 10 feet. The idea that was finally chosen was to suspend two thin steel cables with a diameter about the size of a pencil from a hook. The hook was attached to a welded steel standoff that holds the 4 inch drain pipe on to the water tower about 6 feet from the top of the tower. The coax was then attached every 10 feet to a series of flat aluminum pieces that go from one thin cable to the other thin cable. Each flat aluminum piece holds onto each thin cable and to the coax. The two steel cables hold the coax up every 10 feet and help to keep it steady.

This whole mechanism can be removed from the side of the tower any time it is necessary to replace the coax.

-- from Steve WC7I

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Inner Peace

By following the simple advice heard on a Dr. Phil show, I have finally found inner peace. Dr. Phil proclaimed the way to achieve inner peace is to finish all the things you have started. So I looked around the house to see the things I started and hadn't finished; and before leaving the house this morning, I finished off a bottle of Merlot, a bottle of Pinot Gris, a bottle of Bailey's, a bottle of Kalua, a package of Oreos, the remainder of both Prozac and Valium prescriptions, the rest of the cheesecake, some saltines and a box of chocolates.

You have no idea how good I feel! Please pass this on to those you feel are in need of inner peace.

-- from Judi Koehn

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Presidential Greetings

President George W. Bush has sent greetings from the White House to everyone participating in ARRL Field Day 2005.

"I send greetings to those celebrating the annual Field Day for Amateur Radio, hosted by the American Radio Relay League. Across our country, radio plays a vital role in relaying important information to the public and emergency service personnel in times of need," the president said.

"By providing emergency communications at the federal, state, and local level, licensed Amateur Radio operators help first responders and law enforcement officials save lives and make our country safer. Your efforts help ensure the right assistance gets to the right people at the right time. I appreciate all ham operators who give their time and energy to help make our citizens more secure. Your good work reflects the spirit of America and contributes to a culture of responsibility and citizenship that strengthens our nation. Laura and I send our best wishes."

-- from the ARRL Letter

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Kids' Statements

-- just a bit off track

-- from David, ZL3AI, via packet

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Inaugural "Take Your Handheld to Work Day" a Success!

The Southeastern area of the country was the most active on June 21 as the very first "Take Your HT to Work Day" encouraged hams to share their enthusiasm with others during lunch hour. While it was impossible to cover all the repeaters, Echolink nodes and frequencies that might have been used, it's clear from a sampling taken from across the country that more than a few hams were "caught" doing something nice for Amateur Radio.

-- from the ARRL Letter

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Headlines from the Year 2029

-- from David, ZL3AI, via packet

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What's My Line?

A furniture dealer from Newfoundland decided that he wanted to expand the line of furniture in his store, so he decided to go to Paris, France to see what he could find. After arriving in Paris (this being his first trip ever to the French capitol), he met with some manufacturers and finally selected a line that he thought would sell well back home in Newfoundland. To celebrate the new acquisition, he decided to visit a small bistro and have a glass of wine. As he sat enjoying his wine, he noticed that the small place was quite crowded, and that the one other chair at his table was the only vacant seat in the house.

Before long, a very beautiful young Parisian girl came to his table, asked him something in French (which he did not understand), and motioned toward the chair. He invited her to sit down. He tried to speak to her in English, but she did not speak his language so, after a couple of minutes of trying to communicate with her, he took a napkin and drew a picture of a wine glass and showed it to her. She nodded, and he ordered a glass of wine for her.

After sitting together at the table for a while, he took another napkin, and drew a picture of a plate with food on it, and she nodded. They left the bistro and found a quiet café that featured a small group playing romantic music. They ordered dinner, after which he took another napkin and drew a picture of a couple dancing. She nodded, and they got up to dance. They danced until the café closed and the band was packing up.

Back at their table, the young lady took a napkin and drew a picture of a four-poster bed. To this day, he has no idea how she figured out he was in the furniture business.

-- from Joke of the Day, via Internet

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OARS Picnic

Tentatively, the August meeting will be replaced by the annual OARS picnic. Time and place will be discussed at the July meeting.

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