Watts News

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

  June 2002
Edited by George Lanning  KB6LE  

Table of Contents

  •  From the Oval Shack
  •  From The VP's Desk
  •  Mark Hannigan Silent Key
  •  Landmark bill could provide amateurs relief from restrictive covenants
  •  Sample letter
  •  OARS Radio Camp
  •  OARS Net check-ins
  •  Only one
  •  Treasurer's Report
  •  Intelligence Test
  •  A Win in Kinderhook


    --back to OARS main page

    Summer is again upon us, which means road rallies, Field Day, the Lakefair parade and other public service events which keep us Ham radio operators busy! But we can still do more to keep our efforts in this great hobby in the public eye. I was recently struck by the need for more publicity when a well-educated friend, to whom I mentioned that I was active in Ham radio, said, "Oh, is that still around? I thought it died off years ago!"

    Not only do we need to make people aware of our public service so they will support our efforts to save our spectrum and prevent restrictive antenna laws or homeowners' association covenants, but also, most importantly, to attract new members to the hobby.

    To support this public awareness effort, OARS is seeking a Public Information Officer (PIO) whose job would be to make contact with the local media on an ongoing basis. This would allow us to get coverage for our events and to let the public know that we are an active group providing needed public service as well as emergency communications. This media effort includes not only newspapers, but also radio stations and even TCTV.

    OARS is asking that someone step forward and take the leadership in this effort. It's a wonderful opportunity to make community contacts, and looks good on a resume! If you're interested, please contact either myself or someone else on the leadership team and let us know. 

    We look forward to seeing you at our field day event, which is again on the Capitol Campus (thanks to Lee, KI7SS) and, as always, includes a potluck on Saturday at 6:00 PM. We will have three motor homes to house our station at the event, so it should be interesting and comfortable, even if the weather turns out to not be in our favor.

    -- Ken K7TAG

    --back to Table of Contents

    From The VP's Desk

    Public service-wise, we're doing very well! The Capitol City Marathon was a great success, made greater by a tactic I was unsure of: we put hams with the top race officials. This meant the race officials could hear what we do, and this turned out to be worth a lot! As it happened at the end of the race Tumwater pulled up the traffic cones and removed the people who had been "road guards" at intersections and turns. The result was chaos for several runners who went straight instead of turning, or went the wrong way on Capitol Boulevard. These folks had run 24 miles and were pretty beat, and had no idea where they were. Being able to spot them, and talk about them, made it clear to the listening race officials that they have to keep the course marshals on the course until the last runner is by. One of the Boy Scouts from Troop 266 shadowed the race director the whole time, which he did very well. While there wasn't much for him to do but follow, it was worth it to let her understand that we really do reach the totality of the course. Thanks, a really big thanks, from both the marathon committee and me!

    We've got an excellent team of volunteers for the upcoming road race, with 17 hams on both Saturday and Sunday coming out to help.

    Then a week later is Field Day and we'll have three trailers and stations to shelter us and keep us focused. For the first time we'll have an integrated "dupe" system. And this time the whole world can participate, not just the US sections, so there should be more action in the middle of the night!! I love this part of radio action the most! Lets rack up some Q's!! 

    Now's the time to volunteer to help with the Lakefair Parade. If you helped before, or want to, let me know. Lakefair, if you're new, is Olympia's answer to the 4th of July. Other than that the parade is the middle of July, it's the same thing. The parade has about 110 entrants, and we hams help pull it together and then provide information to announcers all along the parade route. Plan for it. It will be here before we know it. 

    I've been going to the Linux user's group meetings for some time now, dragging my son KC along. What's fun with this group is how many of them are hams-at least half! So a Linux meeting may stray easily into ham discussions. It turns out that there is a lot of Linux/ham action, and it's really fun to hear about it. If you're interested, set aside the 3rd Monday evening of every month, and come to the Lacey Senior Center (it's hard to find). Give me a call for directions.

    The project to find a distinctive outerwear garment has not come to any conclusions yet. What's being looked for is a fluorescent orange or green "safety vest" with appropriate pockets for radio, up high, that can be screen printed or embroidered, for less than a king's ransom. I've seen vests for as high as $110; as low as $40, that could fit the bill. Know of a good safety vest store?

    This summer's Radio Camp is gathering steam. I had to change the date -- again! It turns out that some schools are starting classes in late August! So I moved it up a week, to the 3rd week. The syllabus is set, and I'm working (some) on handouts and the classroom, and all the other things it takes to put together a week-long class. If you know a young person who would like a ham class, let him or her know about Radio Camp, please! 

    For adults I've got a "crash" class scheduled for the last Saturday in July and the second Saturday in August.

    For both classes the book Now You're Talking needs to be read. Call if you need information on finding it. (Radio Shack should have a copy but if not, there are some other sources.)

    All the best! 73! 

    -- Lee, KI7SS

    --back to Table of Contents


    Mark Hannigan -- KC7CEZ
    Silent Key

    We note with great sadness the passing of Mark Hannigan, KC7CEZ, on Tuesday, June 4. Mark will be much missed by both OARS and the Thurston County ARES/RACES. Our condolences go out to his wife Helen, KB7JDL, and the entire family.

    --back to Table of Contents


    Landmark bill could provide amateurs relief from restrictive covenants

    A bill introduced in Congress this week could provide relief to amateurs prevented by private deed covenants, conditions and restrictions -- CC&Rs -- from installing outdoor antennas. Rep Steve Israel (D-NY) introduced the "Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Consistency Act" on May 14. The bill has been designated H.R. 4720. Rep Greg Walden, WB7OCE (R-OR) -- the only Amateur Radio operator in Congress -- and Rep Pete Sessions (R-TX) have signed on as original cosponsors.

    With respect to ham antennas, the measure would subject private land-use regulations to the PRB-1 limited federal preemption that now applies only to governmental zoning and land-use regulations. It contains but one sentence: "For purposes of the Federal Communications Commission's regulation relating to station antenna structures in the Amateur Radio Service (47 CFR 97.15), any private land use rules applicable to such structures shall be treated as a state or local regulation and shall be subject to the same requirements and limitations as a state or local regulation."

    H.R. 4720 is expected to be assigned to the Telecommunications and Internet Subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. 

    Israel, whose father, Howard, is K2JCC, noted in a statement read into the Congressional Record that the FCC does not now apply PRB-1 consistently. "My bill addresses this issue and provides amateur radio licensees with the ability to negotiate reasonable accommodation provisions with homeowners' associations, just as they do now with public land-use regulators."

    After the ARRL ran into a brick wall trying to convince the FCC to include CC&Rs under PRB-1, the League's Board of Directors agreed to pursue a congressional remedy. ARRL President Jim Haynie, W5JBP, and other League officials met with Israel, Walden, Sessions and others on Capitol Hill earlier this year to discuss the prospect of such a bill and how it should be worded. With the proposal now in the legislative hopper, Haynie urged ARRL members to write their members of Congress and voice support for the measure.

    Haynie said the important thing to point out is that the bill, if passed by both houses of Congress and signed by the president, would give amateurs living under CC&Rs an opportunity for reasonable accommodation they don't have now.

    Visit the US House of Representatives "Write Your Representative Service" web page http://www.house.gov/writerep/ for information on how to contact your representative. A sample letter is available on the ARRL Web site http://www.arrl.org/news/stories/2002/05/14/102/sample-letter.html, and is reproduced at the end of this article.

    ARRL requests those writing or e-mailing members of Congress to copy ARRL on their correspondence -- via e-mail to ccr-bill@arrl.org or via US Mail to CC&R Bill, ARRL, 225 Main St, Newington, CT 06111. Include the bill number -- H.R. 4720 -- your name and address on all correspondence.

    -- The ARRL Letter, Electronic Edition

    Following is sample text you can use to model a letter to your congressman:


    Rep. _______________ 

    United States House of Representatives 

    Washington, DC 20515 

    Dear Rep. _____________ 

    I urge you to co-sponsor H.R. 4720, the "Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Consistency Act," sponsored by Rep. Steve Israel. The bill would alleviate a problem facing many federally licensed Amateur Radio operators living within development communities who are subject to unreasonable restrictions or outright prohibitions regarding the installation of external antennas. 

    Under current law, the FCC applies a policy that instructs states and localities that they must reasonably accommodate Amateur Radio antenna. The policy, however, fails to address situations affecting private land-use groups. Rep. Israel's bill would ensure consistent application of these regulations.

    This legislation seeks to insure that Amateur Radio operators are available for emergency communications in all sections of the country, regardless of whether they live in a development, such as a retirement community, or townhouse subdivision.

    Restrictions against antennas render Amateur Radio operators unable to utilize their licenses, which in turn may ultimately hinder their emergency communication role during times of disaster or national crisis. 

    Amateur radio provides a vital public safety communications service to the public at no cost to taxpayers. I hope you will join Rep. Israel in co-sponsoring his bill. 

    I look forward to hearing from you as you consider this important legislation. 


    This sample letter is also available on the OARS website http://home.att.net/~oars/ index .html , along with a link to identify and send email to your congressman.

    --back to Table of Contents

    OARS Radio Camp

    The Olympia Amateur Radio Society is presenting a 5-day program for young people called "Radio Camp." Radio Camp will be offered the 3rd week in August, (August 19-23.) Radio Camp's goal is to teach everything necessary to get a ham radio Technician license, become familiar with basic radio wiring techniques and issues, and learn to operate some ham radio equipment. The agenda and process are:

    Monday, 9 AM: Radio Camp begins at the Chambers' "studio" at 908 Narnia Lane NW, Olympia (on the west side, between Kaiser Road and Overhulse Road North, off 11th.) The class will make extensive use of the American Radio Relay League's training videotape series, except that wherever logical, we will stop the tape and demonstrate the topics being discussed. 

    Class will end for the day at 4 PM, with a one hour lunch break from noon to 1 PM, and begin anew at 9 AM the following morning.

    The classroom structure is unique, and designed to honor the style most kids prefer. Students are seated in a semi-circle around the teacher, with several TV's visible so everyone has a good view. Seats are couches, love seats, and recliners!

    It is well known that kids don't like to -- or simply can't -- sit still for long periods, but this class is, in part, an intensive video presentation. To accommodate this fact we will alternate classroom and videotape training sessions with frequent breaks and as soon as possible, lab experiments. No single training session will last more than half an hour, and everyone is encouraged to stand and walk around whenever they wish. A large selection of pops/juices/fruits will be at hand for students to snack on, as they wish.

    Along the walls behind each student are lab tables where the students will conduct their own lab assignments. There are seven tables. The class is limited to 21 students; students work in groups of three, with a supervisor at each table.

    Each lab table has digital volt-ohm-ammeters, and an assortment of resistors. Using these meters each group will analyze the values of the electronic components provided. Then, using a 9-volt battery, they will build series and parallel circuits and learn how voltages divide and recombine to become the total value of the power source. The meters become the property of each student.

    In another session the students will be taught to solder. An instructor will be present at each table while the students practice soldering. All students soldering are required to wear eye protection. Students will be taught to do typical ham radio soldering tasks. These include installing "PL259" and BNC connectors on coax, and constructing "J-Pole" 2-meter antennas using twin lead. Each student will receive a soldering iron, solder, and inexpensive goggles to wear while soldering.

    Once the class has seen the tapes, a process that will take until the end of the day Wednesday, they'll go to three other ham station locations, discuss radios and radio operation, and operate the stations.

    We anticipate an FCC test session Saturday afternoon August 24 at the Department of Transportation's training center in Tumwater.

    Boy Scouts will qualify for the Radio merit badge upon completion of radio camp. Taking the test requires presentation of photo identification. If the identification is not a Washington ID card, a Birth Certificate and other photo ID -- or parent's presence -- will be needed.

    Costs: $15 per day; $75 total. This cost includes lunches, the digital voltmeter, soldering iron, solder, and eye protection, and the training manual "Now You 're Talking," a $19 +tax cost at Radio Shack, Radio Depot, or the publisher, the American Radio Relay League (ARRL). Not included is the FCC test. Each test session is $10, payable separately to the Volunteer Examiner Group that administers the test.

    Note that the book "Now You're Talking" must be read prior to taking the class. This book is relatively easy to read. There are 186 pages of information of merit in the book. There are plenty of pictures and the type is large. However, there are some difficult concepts presented; students must be motivated! That said, everyone that took the class in Troop 266 in the spring of 2001 (20 younger scouts) passed! And that class presented less information than radio camp!

    Registration: Call Lee Chambers at (360) 866-0800, or email KI7SS@ARRL.NET.

    --back to Table of Contents

    OARS Net check-ins

    The following stations checked in on the OARS General Information Net on May 7, 21, or 28, 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

    Only one

    Up at the head table in the cafeteria, one of the nuns had placed a big bowl of bright red, fresh, juicy apples. Beside the bowl, she placed a note which read, "Take only one. Remember, God is watching." 

    At the other end of the table was a bowl full of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies, still warm from the oven. Beside the bowl was a little note scrawled in a child's handwriting which read, "Take all you want. God's watching the apples."

    --back to Table of Contents

    Treasurer's Report

    As of 5/31//02

    GENERAL FUND (checking account)

        Previous balance   $ 2,376.60
            Income               3.07
            Expenses             0.00
        Ending balance       2,379.67

    REPEATER / PACKET FUND (savings account)

        Previous balance     $ 944.74
            Income               0.00
            Expenses             0.00
        Ending balance         944.74

    -- Ed Fitzgerald, N7WW, Treasurer

    --back to Table of Contents

    Intelligence Test

    Here is a very simple little test to determine the level of your intellect. Your replies must be spontaneous and immediate, with no deliberating or wasting time. And no cheating.

    1: You are competing in a race, and overtake the runner lying in second place. In which position are you now?

    Answer: If you answered that you're now coming first then you're completely wrong. You overtook the second runner and took their place, therefore you're coming second.

    For the next question try not to be so dim.

    2: If you overtake the last runner, what position are you now in?

    Answer: If you answered second-last, once again you're completely wrong. Think about it...How can you over- take the person coming last? If you're behind them, then they can't be last. The answer is impossible!! It would appear that thinking is not one of your strong points. You would make a good weak link!!!

    3: Marie's father has five daughters:

        1. Chacha
        2. Cheche
        3. Chichi
        4. Chocho
        5. ????

    Question: What is the fifth daughter's name?

    Think quickly...you'll find the answer below...

    Answer: Chuchu??? WRONG! It's obviously Marie! Read the question properly!

    You are clearly the weakest link....GOODBYE

    -- from "Joke of the Day"

    --back to Table of Contents

    A Win in Kinderhook

    A New York amateur is crediting the limited federal preemption PRB-1 and ARRL with helping him win approval for an antenna support structure on his property. Fred Fitte, WA2MMX, spent the better part of a year trying to gain the necessary approvals from the Town of Kinderhook. He finally got a building permit earlier this month.

    "It's been a really ugly battle for about eight months," Fitte said. "I can't say enough good things about the League."

    The Town of Kinderhook would not allow a ham radio antenna support structure in excess of 35 feet without a variance. "PRB-1 is what saved my bacon," said Fitte, who finally won approval of his request to erect a 50-foot tower on a 3-1 vote of the town's zoning board of appeals.

    PRB-1, which is spelled out in the FCC Amateur Service rules under §97.15(b), requires municipalities to "reasonably accommodate" amateur communication.

    Fitte said that by the time he had presented his case, "it was real clear that the zoning board of appeals knew what they had to do."

    Fitte singled out ARRL Hudson Division Director Frank Fallon, N2FF -- who attended every hearing -- and ARRL Lab Supervisor Ed Hare, W1RFI -- who

    attended several -- for special mention. A required trip to the town's planning board for a "site review" was routine and uneventful, he said.

    Fitte called Fallon "a crusader in the effort to keep ham radio active and moving forward," and said he became an ARRL Life Member because of his efforts. He also credited his legal counsel, Al Millus, WB2EQR, and Dr. George Wilner, K2ONP, head of the Hematology Department at Albany Medical Center, whose expert testimony addressed concerns about possible RF exposure.

    Fitte said the zoning board "acknowledged that PRB-1 was a major factor in the decision" and that if his application had been considered based solely on a request for a variance, it would not have been granted.

    Despite its earlier opposition, Fitte said, the ZBA eventually came to conclude that his application did not significantly alter the character of the neighborhood, did not affect property values and did not have a negative environmental impact. In addition, he said, the board agreed that no negative health impact based on RF exposure was proven. More pertinent, however, was a conclusion that a 35-foot structure would not be conducive to effective communications and that 50 feet -- his request -- was the bare minimum. Fitte said the ZBA also accepted Hare's assertions before the board that 75 feet was the accepted height for optimum communications.

    The zoning board's approval did not come without some restrictions, however. Fitte's tower was approved for the left side of the house. Fitte had hoped to erect it on the right side of the structure, nearest to his ham shack. The ZBA okayed a total height of 75 feet -- 50 feet of tower and 25 feet of antenna, an outcome he called "a pleasant surprise." He also agreed to install an anti-climbing device and to remove the structure when he moved. He also must provide proof of license renewal every 10 years.

    With a building permit now in hand, Fitte says he intends to get his town's zoning code changed to provide an exemption for Amateur Radio antenna support structures. But that will have to wait for a tower-raising party, he said.

    -- from the ARRL Letter, Electronic Edition

    --back to Table of Contents
    --back to OARS main page