Olympia Amateur Radio Society

ARRL Special Service ClubWatts News

Monthly Newsletter of the

Olympia Amateur Radio Society

P.O. Box 2861, Olympia, WA 98507

  June 2009
Edited by George Lanning  KB6LE 

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From the Oval ShackPresident's Message

Hello Everyone -

June is here and many are busy for various reasons. The school year is ending and some have family members graduating either from high school or college. The sun has been out a bit and summer is definitely on its way.

On the Ham Radio front, we have Field Day rapidly approaching this month, so please give some thought to planning and if you can be an operator for some time during the event. Hopefully we will have a chance to discuss Field Day at this month's meeting.

On a final note, word has come to me that the Thurston County Sheriff's Department may be looking for things to cut from their budget. Since our repeaters are included in their budget, we may want to gather information showing how much benefit OARS is providing to them for their investment. From this we could assemble a brief non-technical presentation which we could give as needed. Please give some thought to this before we lose the support of TCSO.

73, Klaus

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Amateur Radio Week Proclamation

On April 27, 2009, Washington State Governor Christine O. Gregoire proclaimed the week of June 22 through June 28 as Amateur Radio Week in Washington State.

A copy of the Proclamation is on the Western Washington Section Web Page.

From my heart, I thank all of you who selfishly respond to emergencies and use your skills and equipment to serve your communities.

73 and good Hamming

-- Jim Pace K7CEX, Western Washington Section Manager

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ARRL Field Day

OARS Field Day this year will again be at the Capitol Campus, on June 27-28. Plan to participate if you can in this premier emergency operating event.

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ARRL Field Day Tips and Techniques That Everyone Can Use

Many amateurs treat ARRL Field Day (June 27-28) as a contest, even though it isn't one http://www.arrl.org/fieldday But if your idea of Field Day fun is to go for the highest score possible, ARRL Contest Branch Manager Sean Kutzko, KX9X, offered the following suggestions at the ARRL Field Day Forum at the 2009 Dayton Hamvention.

1) You will get many more stations in your log by calling CQ than by tuning the dial and answering CQs; however, if you're calling CQ and not getting any replies, keep calling. Most major contesters call CQ for several minutes at a time before giving up. Giving up after three or four CQs is giving up too soon.

2) Keep your CQs short and to the point: "CQ Field Day, CQ Field Day, Whiskey-One-Alfa-Whiskey, Field Day." Wait about 5 seconds between CQs -- this gives stations enough time to answer you.

3) Use standard phonetics. "Cute" phonetics don't always get through and they can confuse newer operators.

4) When working a station, you should give your exchange information only once and keep it simple. "Whiskey-One-Alfa-Whiskey, copy three Foxtrot Connecticut, QSL?" If they didn't get all of the exchange, they will ask for a repeat.

5) If you are running a pileup: Once you have pulled a call out of the pileup, give your exchange information first. Here's an example: "Whiskey-One-Alfa-Whiskey, copy 3F Connecticut, QSL?" Don't ask for the calling station's information first -- this will reduce any sense of rhythm and timing in the pileup.

6) If you get a pileup of stations and can't make out an entire call, listen for one letter and ask for it specifically: "The station with Delta only, go ahead."

7) When you get the other station's information, keep your acknowledgment simple. "QSL, thanks, QRZ Field Day from Whiskey-One-Alfa-Whiskey."

8) Find a comfortable pace for you and maintain that pace. You will tire quickly if you are screaming into the microphone or trying to work stations too quickly. This leads to inefficiency.

9) Use a headset with a boom microphone and a foot switch -- this frees up your hands to log QSOs. Writing or typing with a mike in your hand slows you down.

10) Go for as many bonus points as you possibly can. Numerous opportunities exist, from copying the Field Day message to sending traffic to using natural power for QSOs.

These tips should help maximize your score on Field Day. Remember: No matter how you choose to enjoy Field Day, maximize your fun, however you define it.

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Treasurer's Report

As of 5/31/09

    GENERAL FUND (checking account)

        Previous balance     $ 2,061.47

            Income                 0.42

            Expenses               0.00

        Ending balance         2,061.89

    REPEATER / PACKET FUND (savings account)

        Previous balance     $ 1,023.72

            Income                 0.00

            Expenses               0.00

        Ending balance         1,023.27

-- Ed Fitzgerald, N7WW, Treasurer

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FCC Looks to Raise Vanity Call Sign Fees for Second Consecutive Year

The FCC released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and Order (NPRM) on May 14 seeking to raise fees for Amateur Radio vanity call signs. Currently, a vanity call sign costs $12.30 and is good for 10 years; the new fee, if the FCC plan goes through, will go up to $13.40 for 10 years, an increase of $1.10.

The FCC is authorized by the Communications Act of 1934 (as amended) to collect vanity call sign fees to recover the costs associated with that program. The vanity call sign regulatory fee is payable not only when applying for a new vanity call sign, but also upon renewing a vanity call sign for a new term. Instructions on how to comment on this NPRM are available on the FCC Web site.

The vanity call sign fee has fluctuated over the 12 years of the current program -- from a low of $11.70 in 2007 to a high of $70 (as first proposed in the FCC's 1994 Report and Order). In 2007, the Commission lowered the fee from $20.80 to $11.70. The FCC said it anticipates some 15,000 Amateur Radio vanity call sign "payment units" or applications during the next fiscal year, collecting $201,000 in fees from the program.

The vanity call sign regulatory fee is payable not only when applying for a new vanity call sign, but also upon renewing a vanity call sign for a new term. The first vanity call sign licenses issued under the current Amateur Radio vanity call sign program that began in 1996 came up for renewal three years ago.

Those holding vanity call signs issued prior to 1996 are exempt from having to pay the vanity call sign regulatory fee at renewal, however. That's because Congress did not authorize the FCC to collect regulatory fees until 1993. Such "heritage" vanity call sign holders do not appear as vanity licensees in the FCC Amateur Radio database.

Amateur Radio licensees may file for renewal only within 90 days of their license expiration date. All radio amateurs must have an FCC Registration Number (FRN) before filing any application with the Commission. Applicants can obtain an FRN by going to the ULS and clicking on the "New Users Register" link. You must supply your Social Security Number to obtain an FRN.

The ARRL VEC will process license renewals for vanity call sign holders for a modest fee. The service is available to ARRL members and nonmembers, although League members pay less. Routine, non-vanity renewals continue to be free for ARRL members. Trustees of club stations with vanity call signs may renew either via the ULS or through a Club Station Call Sign Administrator, such as ARRL VEC.

League members should visit the "ARRL Member Instructions for License Renewals or Changes" page, while the "Instructions for License Renewals or Changes" page covers general renewal procedures for nonmembers. There is additional information on the ARRL VEC's "FCC License Renewals and ARRL License Expiration Notices" page.

License application and renewal information and links to the required forms are available on the ARRL Amateur Application Filing FAQ Web page. The FCC's forms page also offers the required forms

-- ARRL Bulletin ARLB022

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A second grader came home from school and said to her mother, "Mom, guess what! We learned how to make babies today."

The mother, more than a little surprised, tried to keep her cool. "That's interesting," she said. "How do you make babies?"

It's simple, replied the girl. "You just change y to i and add es."

-- from ajokeaday.com via internet

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OARS Net check-ins

The following stations checked in on the OARS General Information Net on May 12:


Net control station reporting for the month was Rod, KI7CQ. 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 Tale of Two Tubes

-- by Dan Romnanchik, KB6NU

A couple of weeks ago, I worked N4QR on 40m CW. I could tell by the tone of his signal that he was operating a homebrew transmitter. There wasn't any 60 Hz on his signal, and it didn't chirp exactly, but I could tell it wasn't the pure tone you get out of today's radios.

I asked him about his rig, and he told me that it was a one-tube transmitter made with a 6L6. I forgot to ask him where he got the schematic, but a quick Internet search turned up the following:

The May 2005 issue of the K9YA Telegraph (http://www.k9ya.org) has an article written by N4QR titled, "The Wonderful One-Tuber," that contains the schematic for the transmitter. The K9YA folks don't make issues of The Telegraph available on their website, but I was able to get a copy of the issue by e-mailing them.

A 6L6 Classic (http://www.io.com/~nielw/6l6/6L6.htm)

WB2MIC 6L6 Transmitter Project (http://www.metaphoria.us/hamradio/6L6_transmitter_schematic.htm)

The 6L6 is a pentode that, according to Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/6L6), was introduced by the Radio Corporation of America (RCA) in July 1936. Apparently, it was used quite a bit in public address systems.

After the tube became successful, tube manufacturers introduced a number of variations, including the venerable 807. The original 6L6 was capable of delivering 19 W; the latest variation, the 6L6GC is rated for 30 W. The 6L6GC is still used in guitar amps, and is still manufactured in Russia, China, and by Groove Tubes (www.groovetubes.com) in the U.S. They sell a number of different 6L6 variants; the cheapest is $16, the most expensive $180!!

Tube #2

One of the reasons I was interested in the 6L6 is because about a year ago I came across a schematic for a transmitter using 6A6 dual triode. I had just come into possession of a couple hundred tubes, and while I didn't have a 6A6 (at least I haven't found one yet), I do have a couple of 6J6 dual triodes. They're not quite as high power as the 6A6, but I'm still thinking about building a little transmitter with one.

As you might expect, there's a bunch of information on the Internet about this tube:

The Jones Push-Pull Transmitter (http://wv7g.home.mindspring.com/jones_6j6.html) was built with a 6J6 instead of a 6A6.

Another schematic can be found on the AK0B website (http://www.qsl.net/ak0b/).

6J6 data sheet (http://www.gargnas.net:3000/tubedata/6J6.pdf) from the GE data book.

One interesting fact about the 6J6 is that IBM used it in the 604 computer. Unfortunately, they found it to be not as reliable as they wanted it to be, but at first none of the tube manufacturers were interested in making a more robust version. This led IBM to set up a tube-making laboratory where they could experiment with designs. They developed a more reliable version of the 6J6 and finally convinced RCA to manufacture the tube. According to the author of the history of the 604 http://ed-thelen.org/comp-hist/IBM-604.html#new, part of the concern is that IBM would decide to get into the tube business.

So, the next time you hear a signal that doesn't sound so perfect, remember that there just might be a story behind it. Ask the op about his transmitter, and listen to what he or she has to say.

-- 73, Dan KB6NU

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Two elderly hams had been friends for many decades. Over the years they had shared all kinds of activities and adventures on the ham bands. Lately, their activities have been limited to meeting a few times a week to play cards.

One day they were playing cards when one looked at the other and said "Now don't get mad at me -- I know we've been friends for a long time -- but I just can't think of your name and your call! I've thought and thought, but I can't remember them. Please tell me what they are."

His friend glared at him. For at least three minutes he just stared and glared at the gray haired old man. Finally he said, "How soon do you need to know?

-- from W1GMF via packet

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Scientists Predict Solar Cycle 24 to Peak in 2013

Scientists predict that Solar Cycle 24 will peak in May 2013 with 90 sunspots per day on average. At the annual Space Weather Workshop held in Boulder, Colorado last month, an international panel of experts led by NOAA's Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC) predicted that Solar Cycle 24 will peak in May 2013 with 90 sunspots per day on average. If the prediction proves true, Solar Cycle 24 will be the weakest cycle since Solar Cycle 16 which peaked with 78 daily sunspots in 1928, and ninth weakest since the 1750s, when numbered cycles began.

The panel predicted that the lowest sunspot number between cycles -- the solar minimum -- occurred in December 2008, marking the end of Solar Cycle 23 and the start of Solar Cycle 24. If December's prediction holds up, at 12 years and seven months Solar Cycle 23 will be the longest since 1823 and the third longest since 1755. Solar cycles span 11 years on average, from minimum to minimum.

An unusually long, deep lull in sunspots led the panel to revise its 2007 prediction that the next cycle of solar storms would start in March 2008 and peak in late 2011 or mid-2012. The persistence of a quiet Sun also led the panel to a consensus that Solar Cycle 24 will be what they called "moderately weak."

Although the peak is still four years away, a new active period of Earth-threatening solar storms will be the weakest since 1928. Despite the prediction, the scientists said that Earth is still vulnerable to a severe solar storm. Solar storms are eruptions of energy and matter that escape from the Sun and may head toward Earth, where even a weak storm can damage satellites and power grids, disrupting communications, the electric power supply and GPS. A single strong blast of "solar wind" can threaten national security, transportation, financial services and other essential functions.

The most common measure of a solar cycle's intensity is the number of sunspots -- Earth-sized blotches on the Sun marking areas of heightened magnetic activity. The more sunspots there are, the more likely it is that solar storms will occur, but a major storm can occur at any time.

"As with hurricanes, whether a cycle is active or weak refers to the number of storms, but everyone needs to remember it only takes one powerful storm to cause huge problems," said NOAA scientist Doug Biesecker, who chaired the panel. "The strongest solar storm on record occurred in 1859 during another below-average cycle." The 1859 storm shorted out telegraph wires, causing fires in North America and Europe and sent readings of Earth's magnetic field soaring, as well as produced northern lights so bright that people read newspapers by their light, he said.

Biesecker cited a recent report by the National Academy of Sciences that found if a storm that severe occurred today, it could cause $1-2 trillion in damages the first year and require four to 10 years for recovery, compared to the $80-125 billion of damage that resulted from Hurricane Katrina.

The Space Weather Prediction Center is part of the National Weather Service and is one of the nine National Centers for Environmental Prediction. It is the nation's official source of space weather alerts, watches and warnings. SWPC provides real-time monitoring and forecasting of solar and geophysical events that impact satellites, power grids, communications, navigation and many other technological systems.

-- ARRL Bulletin ARLS003

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Tuner for Receiving?

The ARRL's very own Doctor, author of the popular QST column "The Doctor Is IN," answers a question from his mailbag:

Question -- Mario Bedard, VE2FZH, of St-Andre de Kamouraska, Quebec, Canada, asks: Is an antenna tuner of any use in a receiving system with a long wire or dipole antenna? If not, should I disable it while strictly receiving?

The Doctor Answers -- This is one of those "that depends" kind of questions. A mismatched receive antenna will result in a reduction of both signal and atmospheric noise reaching your radio. If the atmospheric noise is much stronger than the internal noise in your radio, the resulting signal-to-noise ratio will be almost the same, even though the signal will be weaker. It is often the case -- especially on 20 meters and above -- that the external noise may not dominate and you won't hear weak signals that you might have heard with the tuner properly tuned.

It is somewhat more complicated with a transceiver with an internal automatic tuner. There may be no way to adjust it without transmitting, especially a problem if listening outside the amateur bands. That means that in listening mode -- unless it remembers the settings for each band -- you may have a mistuned tuner. That can be much worse than no tuner. If it's easy to bypass the tuner, try it each time and see which is better.

-- from the ARRL Letter

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The Tiger

A blond calls her boyfriend (a ham radio operator) and says, "Please come over here and help me. I have a killer jigsaw puzzle, and I can't figure out how to get it started."

Her boyfriend asks, "What is it supposed to be when it's finished?"

The blond says, "According to the picture on the box, it's a tiger."

Her boyfriend decides to go over and help with the puzzle. She lets him in and shows him where she has the puzzle spread all over the table.

He studies the pieces for a moment, then looks at the box, then turns to her and says, "First of all, no matter what we do, we're not going to be able to assemble these pieces into anything resembling a tiger."

He takes her hand and says, "Second, I want you to relax. Let's have a nice cup of tea, and then..." He sighed -- "Let's put all the Frosted Flakes back in the box."

- from Judi Koehn

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OARS Directory June 2009

Name                   Call       Address City ST ZIP                             Phone

-------------------    ------     --------------------------------------------    --------------

Larry Alvar            KD7TQW     9101 Steilacoom Rd SE #82 Lacey WA 98513-6129   360-413-7539

Fred Baker             W7SIX      224 Satsop Ave Shelton WA 98584                 360-357-2662

Gary Ball              AD7XY      7931 Marietta Ct NE Lacey WA 98516              360-412-7473

Jack Barber            W1PRT      4316 Chambers Lake Dr. SE Lacey WA 98503        360-438-5921

Ruth Barber            K1IIF      4316 Chambers Lake Dr. SE Lacey WA 98503        360-438-5921

Jon Bennett            W7LWB      7132 Hawks Prairie Rd NE Lacey WA 98516         360-459-0697

Thomas Bohon           KE7EJJ     PO Box 8834 Lacey WA 98509                      360-786-4211

Mike Buettner          KB7STO     16201 Prairie Hts SE Yelm WA 98597              360-458-0575

Richard Bullard        KD7RAT     2020 Mare Ct SE Olympia WA 98501                360-357-3249

David Bushell          KC7AIJ     4609 17th Ln NE Lacey WA 98516                  360-754-4588

Frank Byles            KD7SQU     1807 Arbutus St Olympia WA 98506                360-352-4725

Sharon Campbell        N7DHE      9101-24 Steilacoom Rd. Olympia WA 98513         360-491-6460

George Carle           N7ARY      1809 Centerwood Dr SE Olympia WA 98501          360-943-3536

Mike Carrington        WA5ZTE     4906 21st Ave SE Lacey WA 98503                 360-412-1186

Chris Chambers         KA7BNS     908 Narnia Lane NW Olympia WA 98502             360-866-0800

Kristopher Chambers    KC7ZWN     908 Narnia Lane NW Olympia WA 98502             360-866-0800

Lee Chambers           KI7SS      908 Narnia Lane NW Olympia WA 98502             360-866-0800

Marie Chambers         KC7MNM     908 Narnia Lane NW Olympia WA 98502             360-866-0800

Morgan Chambers        KC7VNY     908 Narnia Lane NW Olympia WA 98502             360-866-0800

Dan Conrad             KD7LYY     2629 Ballantine Dr SE Olympia WA 98506

Daniel Crane           KB7DFL     4310 Glen Terra Dr. SE Lacey WA 98503           360-459-1564

Ken Dahl               K7TAG      1120 Palomino Ct SE Tumwater WA 98501-8633      360-534-9357

Ed Fitzgerald          N7WW       5006 Lacey Blvd. SE Lacey WA 98503              360-491-2289

David Gates                       PO Box 414 Tenino WA 98589

Tom Gibb               W7TAG      8942 Walter Ct SW Olympia WA 98512              360-754-3945

Helen Hannigan         KB7JDL     2409 Morse Rd SE Olympia WA 98501               360-352-9189

Alvin Hyde             KC7DEI     9101 Steilacoom Rd SE #185 Olympia WA 98513     360-438-9154

Ken Julian             K7VOX      5541 Colby Court SE Olympia WA 98501-9129       360-951-6352

Sharon Kinder          N7SSD      502 S. Edison St. Olympia WA 98501              360-943-6187

George Lanning         KB6LE      4129 Green Cove N.W. Olympia WA 98502           360-866-2185

David LeFevre          KC7FEC     8128 Bo Court SE Olympia WA 98501               360-413-7405

Robert Lyon            AA7YD      7734 Nottingham Ct SE Olympia WA 98503          360-459-9263

Sara Lyon              AB7PS      7734 Nottingham Ct SE Olympia WA 98503          360-459-9263

Rodney Maupin          KI7CQ      PO Box 976 Rainier WA 98576                     360-446-1050

Dennis Mills           N7MEA      804 Narnia Lane NW Olympia WA 98502

Cindy Morris           KD7KDE     16501 92nd Ave SE Yelm WA 98597                 360-539-1973

Klaus Neubert          AC7MG      PO Box 12104 Olympia WA 98508                   360-753-1493

Dennis Niles           KH6XT      PO Box 2594 Olympia WA 98507

Andrew Noble           AJ3N       PO Box 2026 Shelton WA 98584                    360-463-6189

Jim Ryan               KD7HTG     10505 Ryan Ln SE Olympia WA 98513

Richard Schwender      AD7KC      PO Box 8773 Olympia WA 98510

Charles Scovill        KC7FEE     6625 Bellevista St NW Olympia WA 98502          360-866-1961

Kenneth Smith          W7HRY      7627 Cooper Point Rd. NW Olympia WA 98502       360-866-2507

Leroy Smith            N7EIE      8525 Mahonia Ct SE Yelm WA 98597                360-458-8286

Thom Solberg           N7KJG      3067 60th Ave SE Olympia WA 98501               360-456-3297

Charles Stoddard       NX6W       1737 Judd St NE Olympia WA 98516

Owen Ticknor           WA7JZM     18124 Sunshine Ln SW Rochester WA 98579         360-273-8975

Jennifer Vein          KE7CQI     PO Box 8773 Olympia WA 98510

Lisa Withers           KB7PNX     6010 193rd Ave SW Rochester WA 98579            360-273-8614

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