Watts News

Monthly Newsletter of the

Olympia Amateur Radio Society

P.O. Box 2861, Olympia, WA 98507

Edited by George Lanning KB6LE     360-866-2185     glanning@worldnet.att.net

March 2000 Table of Contents

  •  ARRL certification program prepares for member input
  •  California ham hopes to be oldest solo sailor
  •  Why not try Slow Scan TV - and PSK31 too?
  •  The ten greatest tools of all time
  •  Treasurer's Report
  •  OARS Net check-ins
  •  The Transistor
  •  March 2000 OARS Directory
  •  Help a Scout earn a Radio Merit Badge
  •  Compass Headings from Olympia


    Return to OARS Home Page

    ARRL certification program prepares for member input

    Starting Wednesday, March 15, ARRL members will get their chance to suggest the shape and scope of the new ARRL Certification Program. A Web-based forum will go "live" that day to start collecting member input on how the program should be designed and what it should include. ARRL Educational and Technical Advisor L. B. Cebik, W4RNL, of Knoxville, Tennessee, has been tapped to serve as the interim forum moderator-facilitator. 

    "The first step in this process is to receive the maximum amount of member input possible to ensure that the program truly serves the needs and desires of the amateur community," said Cebik, a retired educator whose writings are familiar to readers of many of the League's publications.

    The forum site is:

    The Web forum is being moderated to ensure that all member input is acknowledged and integrated as fully as possible into the emergent program. Members will be asked to suggest specific programs and areas of study or skills development they would like to see as part of the Certification Program. The League also plans to seek outside expert assistance in setting the optimal knowledge or performance threshold.

    "You are invited to participate as much as you would like in helping us to formulate the program," Cebik said. "In fact, if you have some special skills or knowledge, we should also like to know that, since the eventual size of the program will make it mandatory that we deeply tap the talents and knowledge of our members."

    Cebik's task will include organizing members' comments and suggestions into a form that the ARRL staff can use in further developing the program. He points out that nothing is cast in stone at this point. "For instance, the 'kernel' list of suggested topics at the forum site may well undergo considerable revision from time to time in response to member suggestions and ideas," he said.

    The ARRL Board of Directors approved the development and implementation of the self-education program for radio amateurs at its January meeting. The Certification Program is aimed at inspiring amateurs to continue acquiring technical knowledge and operating expertise beyond that required to become licensed.

    The League hopes to have its first certification examinations and related materials available before the end of the year. The program will continue to evolve over time, however.

    -- The ARRL Letter, Electronic Edition

    --back to table of contents

    California ham hopes to be oldest solo sailor

    At age 74, David Clark, KB6TAM, is not resting on a lifetime of accomplishments as you might expect he'd be doing at this stage of his life. Despite being "retired," Clark just doesn't enjoy "sitting around." That's why he's taking a crack at becoming the oldest person to sail solo around the world. On his long journey, begun in early December from Ft Lauderdale, Florida, ham radio has provided a welcome link with the world he left behind.

    Clark has been a regular daily check-in on the Maritime Net (14.313 MHz) at between 7 and 8 PM Pacific time. Net members and other hams have patched Clark through to his wife, Lynda, and to other family members, and helping out with information. Clark also has satellite communication gear aboard. 

    Clark is sailing a 44-foot steel-hulled sloop, the Mollie Milar -- named for his mother. He's already sailed around the world once -- in 1987 to 1991 -- although not completely alone. A previous solo attempt failed in 1995. 

    As of this week, Clark was located in the Pacific some 900 miles from Tahiti and typically averaging 120 miles a day. The vessel is equipped with a small auxiliary engine. "He is getting low on propane so is preserving by limiting his cooking and eating cold beans out of the can," his wife reported this week after speaking with him via ham radio.

    Although officially "solo," Clark does have a first mate along -- his west highland terrier, Mickey. Clark expects to arrive in Tahiti in a couple of weeks or so, depending on the winds. To supplement his Social Security check, Clark has been playing clarinet gigs at his various ports of call. Corporate sponsors such as Raytheon have provided equipment, but Clark is financing his latest adventure out of his own pocket.

    -- from the ARRL Letter, Electronic Edition

    --back to table of contents

    Why not try Slow Scan TV - and PSK31 too?

    SSTV is really easy! At least receiving it is, and everyone has a license allowing them to print the pretty pictures. If you have a Sound Blaster-16 compatible sound card, (most of them are), Windows 98 or better, and an HF rig, here is what you do. Go to the internet and download Chroma-Pix at:


    and install it onto a computer within reach of the HF rig. This is a shareware program that shuts itself off after each hour of use, nagging you to send the author some money.

    Go to the back of your computer and find the "line-in" jack on your sound card, it is right next to the "line-out" jack that you probably have your speakers plugged into. Insert a standard (headphone type) mini-plug in the card, and the other end of the wire will plug into the headphone jack (or speaker terminals) of your HF rig. Done with the wiring! Run Chroma-Pix and tune the rig to 14.230 MHz. And fiddle with the HF volume until those pretty pictures print! 

    While you have this wire plugged in, you might as well try the latest digital operating mode, PSK31 (Phase Shift Keying). Go to: http://aintel.bi.ehu.es/psk31.html and download Digipan. That's DIGItal PANorama PSK-31 FREEware, and has a cool spectrum analyzer that works great!

    I had my first PSK-31 QSO with OARS member Ben, N7IVM, (who convinced me of PSK31's virtues) and then Japan and France and so on. Look for PSK31 around 14.070 MHz, 21.070, 28.070, 28.120 MHz, etc. Of course I had to add some more wires to transmit, basically the same wiring as a TNC. But the wire you installed above will do for printing QSOs regardless of your license class.

    I like the variety of operating different modes. I have worked all states on three modes so far: CW, SSB, and RTTY. I like having a goal that keeps me active in Ham radio, just chatting with the Russians won't do.

    All you new General license types may want to start out by contacting every state (WAS), as one of the fun things to do on HF. The really hard-to-get states (like Delaware) have special event stations (like K7K!) published in ARRL QST to help you along.

    I have made a little USA map (page 7) that shows beam headings to the USA which helped me a lot, we are lucky to be in a corner of the nation, think about it! My map has both "true north" and magnetic north" numbers. True north is what you read off the map; magnetic north is what you read off a compass, as you stand under your antenna rotating the mast with the "Armstrong method."

    But seriously, here is the rub: these programs get the sound card to do some amazing DSP processing that BY FAR surpasses the performance of any multi- mode TNC. I kid you not, I have worked RTTY, Amtor, Pactor, HF Packet, and WeFax on my PK232 TNC for many years, and the humble sound card blows it away, copying signals I can't even hear with my own ears!

    More simple, more better, what more can you ask for! Go and play on HF! 

    -- 73 de Jeff, W3GE

    --back to table of contents

    The ten greatest tools of all time

    "Forget the Snap-On Tools truck; it's never been there when you need it. Besides, there are only 10 things in this world that you need to fix any car, any place, any time."

    1: DUCT TAPE: Not just a tool, a veritable Swiss Army knife in stickum and plastic. It's safety wire, body material, radiator hose, upholstery, insulation, tow rope, and more -- in an easy to carry package. Sure, there's prejudice surrounding duct tape in concours competitions, but in the real world, everything from LeMans-winning Porsches to Atlas rockets use it by the yard. The only thing that can get you out of more scrapes is a quarter and a phone booth.

    2: VICE GRIPS: Equally adept as a wrench, hammer, pliers, baling wire twister, breaker-off of frozen bolts and wiggle-it-til-it-falls-off tool. The heavy artillery of your toolbox, vise grips are the only tool designed expressly to fix things screwed up beyond repair.

    3: SPRAY LUBRICANTS: A considerably cheaper alternative to new doors, alternator, and other squeaky items. Slicker than pig phlegm, repeated soakings will allow the main hull boats of the Andrea Doria to be removed by hand. Strangely enough, an integral part of these sprays is the infamous Little Red Tube that flies out of the nozzle if you look at it cross eyed. (One of the 10 worst tools of all time...)

    4: MARGARINE TUBS WITH CLEAR LIDS: If you spend all your time under the hood looking for a frendle pin that caromed off the pertal valve when you knocked both off the air cleaner, it's because you eat butter. Real mechanics consume pounds of vegetable oil replicas just so they can use the empty tubs for parts containers afterward. (Some of course chuck the butter-colored goo altogether or use it to re-pack wheel bearings.) Unlike air cleaners and radiator lips, margarine tubs aren't connected by a time/space wormhole to the Parallel Universe of Lost Frendle Pins.

    5: BIG ROCK AT THE SIDE OF THE ROAD: Block up a tire. Smack corroded battery terminals. Pound out a dent. Bop noisy know-it-all types on the noodle. Scientists have yet to develop a hammer that packs the raw banging power of granite or limestone. This is the only tool with which a "Made in Malaysia" emblem is not synonymous with the user's maiming.

    6: PLASTIC ZIP TIES: After 20 years of lashing down stray hose and wiring with old bread ties, some genius brought a slightly slicked-up version to the auto parts market. Fifteen zip ties can transform a hulking mass of amateur-quality wiring from a working model of the Brazilian Rain Forest into something remotely resembling a wiring harness. Of course it works both ways. When buying a used car, subtract $100 for each zip tie under the hood.

    7: RIDICULOUSLY LARGE CRAFTSMAN SCREWDRIVER: Let's admit it. There's nothing better for prying, chiseling, lifting, breaking, splitting, or mutilating than a huge flat-bladed screwdriver, particularly when wielded with gusto and a big hammer. This is also the tool of choice for all filters so insanely located that they can only be removed by driving a stake in one side and out the other. If you break the screwdriver -- and you will just like Dad and your shop teacher said -- who cares, it has a lifetime guarantee.

    8: BALING WIRE: Commonly know as MG muffler brackets, baling wire holds anything that's too hot for tape or ties. Like duct tape, it's not recommended for concours contenders, since it works so well you'll never need to replace it with the right thing again. Baling wire is a sentimental favorite in some circles, particularly with MG, Triumph, and flathead Ford set.

    9: BONKING STICK: This monstrous tuning fork with devilish pointy ends in technically known as a tie-rod separator, but how often do you separate tie- rods ends? Once every decade if you're lucky. Other than medieval combat, its real use is the all-purpose application of undue force, not unlike that of the huge flat-bladed screwdriver. Nature doesn't know the bent metal panel or frozen exhaust pipe that can stand up to a good bonking stick (can also be used to separate tie-rod ends in a pinch, of course, but does a lousy job of it).

    10: A QUARTER AND A PHONE BOOTH: See tip # 1 above...

    -- found on packet

    --back to table of contents

    Treasurer's Report

    As of 2/29/00

    GENERAL FUND (checking account)

    Previous balance    $ 1,003.05

      Income                818.59

      Expenses              349.86

    Ending balance        1,471.78

    REPEATER / PACKET FUND (savings account)

    Previous balance      $ 883.60

      Income                  0.00

      Expenses                0.00

    Ending balance          883.60

    -- Ed Fitzgerald, N7WW, Treasurer

    --back to table of contents

    OARS Net check-ins

    The following stations checked in with the OARS General Information Net on either 22 February or 7 March, or both:

        AA7YD   AB7PS    K7CEZ    K7JQR

        K7TAG   KA4VVA   KB6LE    KB7DFL

        KB7JDL  KC7CKO   KC7FEC*  KC7LA

        KC7MNK  KC7OEW   KD7BXD   KD7CZB

        KD7N    KF6GAQ*  KI7SS    N6TPT

        N7EIM   N7JHJ    N7WW     W3GE

        W7DOY   W7SAY    W7UUO

    * net control stations

    The net meets at 7:30 every Tuesday evening on the 3 linked OARS repeaters: 147.36,224.46, and 441.40 MHz.

    --back to table of contents

    The Transistor

    The transistor was invented on Christmas Day, 1948, by Emily Gerund, a high school teacher of English from Boston, Massachusetts, who was serving a 20 years-to- life sentence in the state penitentiary for throwing her husband's coat under a speeding truck. The judge was rather severe with her because her husband was still in the coat at the time.

    The Governor of the state owned an electronics firm and so was able to provide surplus vacuum tubes to the prisoners so that they could decorate their Christmas trees.

    Now Emily had an extremely tiny tree, much too small for a string of SV6s or even for a single QL4. But she just happened to find some germanium crystals lying around. She stuck three wires in each one and used them to decorate her tree. She was quite surprised when after she completed the tree, it started picking up the Jack Benny Show.

    The Governor, upon learning about this and realizing its implications, immediately rushed to the prison and offered the English teacher a full pardon in exchange for the manufacturing rights to her invention. "Of course, Governor," she replied. "In this case, I'll be glad to let you end a sentence with a proposition."

    -- from NX0R, via packet BBS

    --back to table of contents

    March 2000 OARS Directory

    Name               Call    Address                                       Phone

    Reade Apgar        N7AGG   929 Trosper Rd SW RM 205 Tumwater WA 98512    360-754-0395

    Fred Baker         W7SIX   224 Satsop Ave Shelton WA 98584
    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
    Ben Bennett        N7IVM   1212 Tabitha Ct NW Olympia WA 98502           360-705-8533
    Jon Bennett        W7LWB   7132 Hawks Prairie Rd NE Lacey WA 98516       360-459-0697
    Roy Bernd          KD7AAJ  9101-39 Steilacoom Rd SE Olympia WA 98513     360-459-4342
    Ruth Bolstad       KC7QHK  700 Black Lk Blvd SW #135 Olympia WA 98502    360-754-7433
    Bob Brown          KA7KSK  6106 Lemon Rd NE Olympia WA 98506             360-452-3842
    David Bushell      KC7AIJ  1908 Thurston NE Olympia WA 98506             360-754-4588

    Bob Campbell       WA7RDJ  9101-24 Steilacoom Rd. Olympia WA 98513       360-491-6460
    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
    Dan Casler         KD7N    4020 14th Crt NE Olympia WA 98506             360-438-3396
    Diana Casler               4020 14th Crt NE Olympia WA 98506             360-438-3396
    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
    Elmer Clark        KB7OJY  2313 Aberdeen Ave Aberdeen WA 98520
    Lois Cox           KB7HTX  4818 Belwood Dr. NE Olympia WA 98506          360-357-6256
    Daniel Crane       KB7DFL  4310 Glen Terra Dr. SE Lacey WA 98503         360-459-1564

    Ken Dahl           K7TAG   1120 Palomino Ct SE Tumwater WA 98501         360-534-9357
    Rick Damitio       W7DOY   7023 Mullen Rd SE Olympia WA 98503            360-491-2587
    Curt Dawell                1708 Ann St Olympia WA 98506                  360-357-2771
    Tom Dennis         KA4VVA  902 Tullis St NE Olympia WA 98506             360-754-6651

    Ken Elfbrandt      AA7MX   918 Corral Lane SE Tumwater WA 98501          360-357-4447
    James Elliott      AA7OH   3455 Martin Way #18 Olympia WA 98506          360-456-5571
    Gary Ernest        N7HKI   2718 24th Ave. SE Olympia WA 98501            360-352-2503
    Isabel Ernest      KA7WIC  2718 24th Ave. SE Olympia WA 98501            360-352-2503

    Dorothy Ferris     W7ZPS   2318 Boulevard Ct. SE Olympia WA 98501        360-357-2219
    Ray Ferris         W7ZOW   2318 Boulevard Ct. SE Olympia WA 98501        360-357-2219
    Bill Fill          KD5IC   3 Fair Oaks Dr Conway AR 72032                    327-0337
    Dora Anna Fill     NI5D    3 Fair Oaks Dr Conway AR 72032                    327-0337
    Ed Fitzgerald      N7WW    5006 Lacey Blvd. SE Lacey WA 98503            360-491-2289
    Gard Forester      KF6GAQ  PO Box 8721 Olympia WA 98509                  360-438-9860

    Ginnie Gohm        N7CIF   P.O. Box 7712 Olympia WA 98507
    Tom Gohm           W7SS    P.O. Box 7712 Olympia WA 98507
    Robert Goodnow     N7JHJ   4017 Indian Summer Dr SE Olympia WA 98513     360-456-2427

    Helen Hannigan     KB7JDL  2409 Morse Rd SE Olympia WA 98501             360-352-9189
    Mark Hannigan      K7CEZ   2409 Morse Rd SE Olympia WA 98501             360-352-9189
    Ron Hill           W7NN    10624 Zephyr Ln SW Olympia WA 98512           360-352-7779
    Tryg Hoff          KC7VCI  2724 Lindell Rd NE Olympia WA 98506           360-352-7875

    Allan Jones        W7SAY   6108 Winnwood Lp SE Olympia WA 98513          360-923-9539

    Bob Keppler        KE7HA   1120 Chestnut SE Olympia WA 98501             360-943-1368
    Dorlene Keppler    N7HFS   1120 Chestnut SE Olympia WA 98501             360-943-1368
    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
    Donna Laurence     N7MMJ   3622 Owl Lane NE Olympia WA 98516             360-493-1795
    Gary Laurence      WB7NAE  3622 Owl Lane NE Olympia WA 98516             360-493-1795
    Shane Laurence     KB7BPJ  3622 Owl Lane NE Olympia WA 98516             360-493-1795
    Fred Layton        K7NZ    3012 66th Ave SW Olympia WA 98512             360-786-1221
    Mary Layton        WB7CQE  3012 66th Ave SW Olympia WA 98512             360-786-1221
    David LeFevre      KC7FEC  3737 Golden Eagle Lp SE Olympia WA 98513      360-456-7825
    Paul Leach         N7GGX   2030 Cardinal Lane Lacey WA 98503             360-438-5777
    Charles Lindberg   KD7BXD  925 Surrey Trace SE Olympia WA 98501          360-754-9844
    Mary Lindberg      KC7RHN  925 Surrey Trace SE Olympia WA 98501          360-754-9844
    Nels Lindberg      KC7PHJ  925 Surrey Trace SE Olympia WA 98501          360-754-9844
    Stephan Lindberg   K7UE    925 Surrey Trace SE Olympia WA 98501          360-754-9844
    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

    Mark Matthies      N7EIM   900 Grant St SW Tumwater WA 98512             360-943-1624
    Edward McDonald    WA7AUL  930 Trosper Rd SW 15B Tumwater WA 98502       360-352-7937
    Keith McDonald     N7JSK   10337 Carney Dr. SE Olympia WA 98501          360-352-2514
    Keith McIntosh     K2SAR   PO Box 788  E Olympia WA  98540
    Matt McKibbin      AB7OF   4020 14th Crt NE Olympia WA 98506             360-438-3396
    Barbara McRoberts  KB7OSX  9101-68 Steilacoom Rd SE Olympia WA 98513     360-438-2965
    Dick McRoberts     WB9ZIP  9101-68 Steilacoom Rd SE Olympia WA 98513     360-438-2965
    John Moore         N7GMC   2407 Tyndell Circle SW Tumwater WA 98502      360-357-6234
    Kathleen Moore     KC7RHK  2407 Tyndell Circle SW Tumwater WA 98502      360-357-6234
    H.J. Motomatsu     WB7AKL  5107 Matsu St NW - Trlr Olympia WA 98502      360-866-7975
    Wallace Music      W7UUO   5305 Stikes Ct. SE Lacey WA 98503             360-491-0354

    Tim Nairin         KB7UKX  5629 Sleater Kinney Rd NE Olympia WA 98506

    Fred Owen          K7SZN   302 X Street SW Tumwater WA 98501             360-753-0886

    Paul Patton        K7JJY   4031 21st Ave SE Apt 219 Lacey WA 98503       360-943-3701
    Ghery Pettit       N6TPT   3131 Leeward Ct NW Olympia WA 98502
    Bill Phillips      AB7PT   1111 Archwood Dr SW #279 Olympia WA 98502     360-754-0271
    Jeremy Prine       KC7VCG  7213 Lovely Ln Olympia WA 98516

    Daniel Rajczyk     N1KJN   TESC PO Box 60314 Olympia WA 98505            360-867-0614

    Charles Scovill    KC7FEE  6625 Bellevista St NW Olympia WA 98502        360-866-1961
    James Sharp        KC7AXV  3208 80th Ave. SE Olympia WA 98501            360-491-6188
    Rollo Shaw         AB7NE   1809 Sawyer St SE Olympia WA 98501            360-754-9682
    Don Shields        KJ7NV   1872 Circle LN SE Lacey WA 98503              360-438-5066
    Kenneth Smith      W7HRY   7627 Cooper Point Rd. NW Olympia WA 98502     360-866-2507
    June Stanton       N9CHD   4701 7th Ave NE Lacey WA 98516                360-491-4276
    Kip Stilz          N7KJK   4625 Norcross Ct SE Olympia WA 98501          360-456-4949
    Pamela Stock               8545 McNiece Lp. SE Yelm WA 98597             360-458-4594

    Brett Taylor       KC7OQJ  3720 Wesley Loop NW Olympia WA 98502          360-866-0683
    Paul Taylor        KC7LA   3720 Wesley Loop NW Olympia WA 98502          360-866-0683
    Rick Taylor        K7CAH   613 N. 5th Tumwater WA 98512                  360-943-6793
    Bill Tilton        K7OKC   506 King St Centralia WA 98531
    Deloise Tilton     KB7GEG  506 King St Centralia WA 98531

    Steve Ward         WC7I    5034 Meridian Rd. NE Olympia WA 98506         360-456-4249
    Kathy Watkinson    KC7OQM  1405 9th Ave SE Olympia WA 98501              360-943-4352
    Larry Watkinson    KC7CKO  1405 9th Ave SE Olympia WA 98501              360-943-4352
    Chuck West         KC7SPZ  9315 Deerbrush Ct SE Olympia WA 98513         360-459-8790
    Steve Wetzel       W6HPK   2812 Conger Ave NW Olympia WA 98502           360-754-9679
    Jeff Withers       W3GE    6010 193rd Ave SW Rochester WA 98579          360-273-8614
    Lisa Withers       KB7PNX  6010 193rd Ave SW Rochester WA 98579          360-273-8614
    Amy Wong           KC7FED  1416 Dogwood St SE Lacey WA 98503             360-438-7411

    Richard Zachary    KD7CZB  PO Box 2543 Olympia WA 98507                  360-534-9264

    --back to table of contents

    Help a Scout earn a Radio Merit Badge

    By Steve Place,WB1EYI (Adapted from QST, February, 1988).

    This appeared in the August 1999 edition of "Key-Klix", the newsletter of the Santa Barbara ARC, Terri Mekker, KF6DZK Editor. 

    The merit badge plan is based on the concept that a counselor working closely with a Scout acquaints the boy with an adult knowledgeable in one or more fields. The counselor introduces the Scout to subjects that may lead to a career choice or to a lifetime hobby.

    From astronauts to high-tech patent holders to corporate officers in the electronics industry, many people's careers grew out of their early involvement in Amateur Radio. Today's youngsters need a chance to expand their horizons both intellectually and socially through wholesome, challenging and constructive activities.

    The millions of boys who can now be exposed to Amateur Radio through Scouting may not have that opportunity in years to come. Though we can't realistically expect "Radio" to compete with required badges such as cooking, camping and first aid with active counselors, we have the opportunity to reach thousands of 11- to 14- year- old Scouts. We're betting that with your experience and enthusiasm for Amateur Radio, many of those Scouts will quickly outgrow the limitations of the Radio Merit Badge and seek your help in earning their tickets. 

    Though earning the badge represents a significant achievement to a Scout, he still can't transmit with it. 

    Do You Qualify?

    Merit badge counselors do not necessarily have to register as adult Scouters, but they must meet Scouting's membership requirements. They must be men and women of good character over age 18, recognized as having the skills and education in the subjects for which they are to serve as merit badge counselors, as well as having the ability to work with Scout-age boys.

    What's the first step? Get the approval of your regional BSA Council. They'll explain the merit badge counselor's role. Start with a local Boy Scout troop. If you're a newcomer to Scouting, simply call your local Council office; most are listed in the white pages of the telephone book under "Boy Scouts of America." Tell them you want to register as a counselor for the Radio Merit Badge and they'll put you in touch with the right person at the District or Council level. 

    They'll want your name, address and phone number, and permission to release them in a listing of the Council's merit badge counselors. The list is distributed annually to all Scout troops in your area. They'll also want to know why you're interested in becoming a radio merit badge counselor and what your qualifications are. The fact that you're an FCC-licensed radio amateur and an adult who knows the importance of a youngster's developing an interest in the sciences, a familiarity with modern technology, a first- hand appreciation of other cultures and a personal sense of citizenship in the world should be sufficient. 

    The Boy Scouts publish a series of booklets covering the requirements and some instructional information on the merit badges. Pick up a copy of the latest book for the Radio merit Badge from your Council office or local Scouting supplier. And finally, the requirements for the Radio Merit Badge are shown below.

    I feel that if Amateur Radio is to flourish in the 21st Century, then we must educate our youth about the wonderful world of Amateur Radio. 


    1. Explain what radio is. Include in your explanation: the differences between broadcast radio and hobby radio, and the differences between broadcasting and two-way communicating. Also discuss broadcast radio and Amateur Radio call signs and using phonetics. 

    2. Sketch a diagram showing how radio waves travel locally and around the world. How do the broadcast radio stations, WWV and WWVH, help determine what you will hear when you listen to a radio? 

    3. Do the following:

    a. Draw a chart of the electromagnetic spectrum covering 100 kilohertz to 1000 megahertz. b. Label the MF, HF, VHF, UHF, and microwave portions of the spectrum on your diagram. c. Locate on your chart at least eight radio services such as AM and FM commercial broadcast, CB, television, Amateur Radio (at least 4 ham radio frequency bands), and police. d. Discuss why some radio stations are called DX and others are called local. Explain who the FCC and the ITU are. 

    4. Explain how radio waves carry information. Include in your explanation: transceiver, transmitter, amplifier, and antenna. 

    5. Learn some safety precautions for working with radio gear, particularly Direct Current and RF grounding. 

    6. Do the following:

    a. Explain the difference between a block diagram and a schematic diagram. b. Draw a block diagram which includes a transceiver, microphone, antenna, antenna switch, dummy antenna and feedline. c. Explain the difference between an open circuit, a closed circuit and a short circuit. d. Draw 10 schematic symbols. Explain what 3 of these parts do. Match 3 electrical components to 3 of these symbols. 

    7. Do one of the following (a, b, or c):


    1. Describe some of the activities that Amateur Radio operators can do on-the- air, once they earn a license. 

    2. Carry on a 10-minute real or simulated ham radio contact using voice or Morse code; use proper call signs, Q signals and abbreviations. (Licensed ham radio operators may substitute five QSL cards as evidence of contacts with Amateur Radio operators in at least three different call districts). 

    3. With the help of a local Amateur Radio operator, talk to and properly log at least 2 voice or 2 Morse code radio contacts. Record signal reports. Explain how often Amateur Radio operators must give their call signs during a radio contact. 

    4. Explain at least five Q signals or Amateur Radio terms you heard while listening. 

    5. Explain some differences between the Novice Class license and the Technician Class license requirements and privileges. Explain who gives Amateur Radio exams. 

    6. Explain how you would make an emergency call on voice or Morse code. Tell why the FCC has an Amateur Radio service. 

    7. Explain hand-held transceivers versus home "base" stations. Explain about mobile Amateur Radios and Amateur Radio repeaters. 


    1. Prepare a program schedule for radio station "KBSA" of exactly one-half hour, including music, news, commercials, and proper station identification. Record your program on audio tape using proper techniques. 

    2. Listen to and properly log 15 broadcast stations; determine for five of these their transmitting power and general areas served. 

    3. Explain at least eight terms used in commercial broadcasting, such as segue, cut and fade. 

    4. Discuss the educational and licensing requirements and career opportunities in broadcast radio. 


    1. Listen across several shortwave bands for two 4-hour periods, in the early morning, the other in the early evening. Log the stations properly and locate them geographically on a globe. 

    2. For several major foreign stations (BBC in Great Britain or HCJB in Ecuador, for example) list several frequency bands used by each. 

    3. Compare your morning and evening logs, noting the frequencies on which your selected stations were loudest during each session. Explain the differences in signal strength from one period to the next. 

    4. Discuss the purpose of and careers in shortwave communications. 

    8. Visit a radio installation approved in advance by your counselor (ham radio station, broadcast station, or public service communications center, for example). Discuss what types of equipment you saw in use, how it was used, what types of license are needed to operate and maintain the equipment, and the purpose of the station.

    -- via Amateur Radio News Service

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    Compass Headings from Olympia

    (see SSTV article by W3GE)

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