Watts News

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

  March 2003
Edited by George Lanning  KB6LE 

Table of Contents

  •  From the Oval Shack
  •  Notes from the VP
  •  We need publicity
  •  A local parts mine
  •  Treasurer's Report
  •  OARS Net check-ins
  •  You think gasoline is expensive?
  •  New Field Day entry class
  •  Texas Hi-Tech
  •  Frog Psychic
  •  ARRL asks FCC not to rush to judgment
  •  Senate Bill SB 5200
  •  You gotta tell her
  •  Spectrum Protection Act introduced
  •  The feud
  •  Will ham radio be shut down if war is declared?
  •  That third penny told the tale
  • --back to OARS main page


    As we move into spring and the days turn longer, we are facing changes in our relationship with the Thurston County Sheriff's Office. We are being asked to sign a Letter Of Understanding (LOU) which sets out the expectations and requirements of both parties. Most of the contents of this agreement are the same as the unwritten "gentlemen's agreement" under which we have collaborated until now. The parties to this LOU are the Thurston County Sheriff's Office, the Olympia Amateur Radio Society, and Thurston County ARES/RACES.

    Let me first say that the Sheriff's Office values our contribution and the resource which we provide. I can say this, because we account for almost 50% of the entire Search And Rescue (SAR) budget for the county. This change is being precipitated by the need to have a document which the leadership of all parties can refer to as the leadership and requirements change. This is particularly important now when we have decreasing fiscal resources.

    In addition, Homeland Security is placing new requirements for security on all facilities due to increasing concerns about terrorism. Two most important changes in the draft document are that anyone having access to modify the system (either physically or through remote access) must possess a valid emergency worker's card, or be escorted by someone who does. (This is because of the background check required to get the emergency worker's card.)

    Also, there is some increased reporting on not only the status of the system when it is not functioning properly, but also routine maintenance records.

    At the present time, we have only received a draft of the documents, but the OARS portions are available for any member who desires to review and make comments. (I am not including them because it is a total of six pages and therefore longer than our newsletter.) If you want to review them, please call or email me and I will get them to you.

    In addition, I will keep you updated as I get more information and the process moves along.


    -- Ken Dahl, K7TAG

    --back to Table of Contents

    Notes from the VP

    I've been a ham radio operator since 1958 or 59. Originally I was WV2EKW, a Novice with 75-watt PEP power limits, and my first TX was a Heathkit DX-35; my first RX was a Heathkit AR-3 with a "Q" multiplier, and my first antenna was a low 80 meter dipole. In those days Novices were "rock bound." We used crystals to control the transmitter frequency. You called CQ on your crystal-determined frequency, and then tuned up and down the band, hoping you could find someone calling you. I didn't have a side tone -- I had no way to actually hear my Morse code. I listened to the key click, as I pounded out my CW, and so I learned Morse differently than most of you. Instead of the "rhythm of the code," I learned the "rhythm of the clicks." As a result, I often hear Morse in things like the valves of my car's engine. An occupational hazard!

    Last week I went to Puyallup and found a more or less exact copy of my old transmitter, for $40 -- in great shape. I hadn't planned to come home with anything, but I've always wanted to recreate that first station. Now all I need is the receiver. I'm sure it'll show up, eventually. Nostalgia is a funny thing!

    The Puyallup trip was notable for more than my purchase of an antique transmitter. I saw probably a dozen new hams from the class I'd taught two weeks before, all there smiling. Their call signs arrived that morning, and if they'd checked the FCC database before leaving for the Hamvention, they knew their new identities! It's so much fun to see new hams, wandering around confidently in the big flea market, -- one of the initiates -- getting that call sign embroidered on hats, etc. It's so much fun to have been a small part of what will be a major experience for some of these people as they become DXers, rag chewers, contesters, and ARES workers. It's so much fun precisely because, as you and I know, a whole world had just opened up to them. It's like sharing the joy of 4 year olds on Christmas morning!

    Our club did well. Our booth didn't have a lot of items, but many of them sold. So we paid for the table and made, probably, $50 besides. We've already reserved the same spot for next year.

    This past Thursday I went to the ARES/RACES meeting at the EOC. The Sheriff's Office pays the rent for our repeaters; over $3500 a year! What do they get for this money? What they THINK they get is a team of communicators, trained and equipped to be useful as radio operators during an emergency. There are some minimum requirements to be met to be "trained." Firstly, one has to have an Emergency Services ID card. To get it, one has to have a valid First Aid/CPR certificate, AND a new requirement is coming -- Incident Command System training. But it's so easy to get that training. FEMA offers on-line classes for free; you could probably go through the whole thing in six hours, and it's really fun to see how incident management is planned and executed. The point of this ramble is that if we Oly-area hams aren't available to the Sheriff, aren't living up to the basic amateur radio creed of being available to help during emergencies, then why should the Sheriff continue to fund the repeaters?

    Imagine if they weren't there -- you could use Capitol Peak -- if it was there. Absent it, reduced mostly to simplex, VHF in the Olympia area would be pretty bleak. Those new hams I mentioned -- they'd buy two meter handhelds and find darn little use for them.

    So what can you do? Join ARES/Races, get the classes under your belt, participate in the drills, be a part of the solution.

    This is not to say that there's an active threat that we'll be disenfranchised and lose funding for our repeaters. But what the Sheriff wants is a cadre of hams sufficient to operate round-the-clock for three days. We've barely got enough to make that happen. We need another couple dozen people to assure we'll have the team available, should some major disaster test us. We should have them anyway. If there is a disaster, some of us will be unavailable. We need a large crowd so we'll be sure we can meet the challenge when we must.

    There were several bills introduced in the Legislature this session of interest to us. Many were put off until next session, but HB 5201 is of interest to us. Check it out. Go to the legislative URL at

    www.leg.wa.gov/wsladm/default.htm and check the BILL INFO button. Type in 5201 in the box and you'll see the text of the bill. It's been placed on the docket for a second reading by the Rules Committee, so it's moving. What the bill is doing is creating a six-member committee to study the antenna height issue and come up with recommendations for the legislature by next January. This is important stuff!! We've gotta make sure they understand that restrictive covenants and low antennas mean loss of hams.

    See you at the next OARS meeting, March 26th.Best 73!-- Lee, KI7SS

    --back to Table of Contents

    We need publicity!

    If you attended the last OARS meeting, you will remember that I got the job of Publicity Chairman for the club (lucky me!). I'm hoping that I can increase our coverage in the local press and in other news outlets. Press releases, press releases, let's generate press releases! 

    So, if you have ideas for this function, or if you want club or local ham activities covered, especially public service events, please let me know. And please let me know in advance of the subject -- some outlets want a few weeks notice when possible. Thanks! I can't do this without your input!

    E-mail is paultkc7la@hotmail.com

    -- Paul, KC7LA

    --back to Table of Contents

    A local parts mine!

    This is not an advertisement! I'm just returning a favor for a local vendor who was good to the club. Ron Wilmoth, owner of Electronic Resourcing Inc. (ERI), donated some items to OARS for us to sell at the Puyallup Flea Market, with the proceeds going to the club. Some of the stuff was junk and didn't sell, but some did, and part of that was a rack-mount VHF pager system that W7SIX says has definite value and can be converted to 2 meters. Fred bought it!

    So, if you need parts for that latest construction project or for your computer setup, be sure and check out ERI. They are located on Mottman Road just west of the Community College (SPSCC). They also have a link on the OARS web site.

    -- Paul, KC7LA

    --back to Table of Contents

    Treasurer's Report

    As of 2/28/03

    GENERAL FUND (checking account)
    Previous balance     $2,269.86
        Income              260.94
        Expenses             34.77
    Ending balance        2,496.03

    REPEATER / PACKET FUND (savings account)
    Previous balance      $ 961.83
        Income                0.00
        Expenses              0.00
    Ending balance          961.83

    -- Ed Fitzgerald, N7WW, Treasurer

    --back to Table of Contents

    OARS Net check-ins

    The following stations checked in on the OARS General Information Net on February 18 or 25, or both.


    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

    You think gasoline is expensive?

    Diet Snapple       16 oz for $1.29     $10.32 per gallon
    Lipton Ice Tea     16 oz for $1.19     $9.52 per gallon
    Gatorade           20 oz for $1.59     $10.17 per gallon
    Ocean Spray        16 oz for $1.25     $10.00 per gallon
    Pint of milk       16 oz for $1.59     $12.72 per gallon
    STP Brake Fluid    12 oz for $3.15     $33.60 per gallon
    Vick's Nyquil       6 oz for $8.35     $178.13 per gallon
    Pepto Bismol        4 oz for $3.85     $123.20 per gallon
    Whiteout           .7 oz for $1.39     $25.42 per gallon
    Scope             1.5 oz for $0.99     $84.48 per gallon
    And this is the REAL KICKER......
    Evian water         9 oz for $1.49     $21.19 per gallon
    .....$21.19 FOR WATER!!
    So next time you're at the pump, be glad your car doesn't run on Nyquil, or Scope, or Whiteout!

    --back to Table of Contents

    New Field Day entry class

    Field Day will gain another entry class for 2003. "Class F" stations will operate at emergency operations centers, or EOCs. The change renews the emphasis of Field Day's 1933 origins as an emergency preparedness exercise as opposed to a routine contest.

    ARRL Contest Branch Manager Dan Henderson, N1ND, said that last year the League received a record number of Field Day entries from groups and individuals. Given the increased emphasis on emergency communications since September 11, 2001, the ARRL Board's Membership Services Committee asked that the Contest Branch come up with something to reflect that emphasis. The new Class F station is the result.

    "This is a major change," Henderson said. "Class F has been established to encourage groups to test and further their working relationships with established emergency operations centers." The updated rules and a list of frequently asked questions in the new 2003 Field Day packet spell out the details.

    A Class F entry station must set up at an "established EOC" center activated by a club or non-club group. Class F EOC operation must take place in cooperation with the EOC staff. Class F stations are eligible for the same bonus points as Class A stations.

    -- ARRL Bulletin ARLB014

    --back to Table of Contents

    Texas Hi-Tech

    Three men, one German, one Japanese and a Texan were sitting naked in a sauna. Suddenly there was a beeping sound.

    The German pressed his forearm and the beep stopped. The others looked at him questioningly. "That was my pager," he said, "I have a microchip under the skin of my arm."

    A few minutes later a phone rang. The Japanese fellow lifted his palm to his ear. When he finished he explained, "That was my mobile phone. I have a microchip in my hand."

    The Texan felt decidedly low tech, but not to be outdone he decided he had to do something just as impressive. He stepped out of the sauna and went to the bathroom. He returned with a piece of toilet paper hanging from his behind. The others raised their eyebrows and stared at him. 

    The Texan finally said "Well, will you look at that -- I'm getting a fax!"

    -- found on packet

    --back to Table of Contents

    Frog Psychic

    A lonely frog telephoned the Psychic Hotline and asked what his future held. His Personal Psychic Advisor tells him "You are going to meet a beautiful young girl who will want to know everything about you." 

    The frog is thrilled, "This is great!" "Will I meet her at a party?" he croaks.

    "No," says the psychic, "in biology class."

    -- from David, ZL3AI, via packet

    --back to Table of Contents

    ARRL asks FCC not to rush to judgment

    The ARRL has registered mixed feelings about the FCC's Spectrum Policy Task Force Report, issued last November. In comments filed this week, the League called the report a positive first step in developing a comprehensive spectrum management approach. At the same time, the report fails to address the needs and goals of the Amateur Service and urged the FCC to not abandon longstanding allocation policies that are based on engineering.

    The report's orientation toward commercial services makes it not wholly applicable to the Amateur Service, which cannot pay for spectrum access. ARRL said there's not been enough time to study the report's recommendations thoroughly, much less deploy them immediately.

    The ARRL said it was "encouraged," however, that the FCC had worked to involve all portions of the telecommunications industry in developing a spectrum policy. ARRL asked the FCC to consider greater use of "negotiated rulemaking" to expedite allocation decisions. 

    In its initial comments to the Spectrum Policy Task Force filed last June, the ARRL said marketplace forces should not determine Amateur Radio spectrum allocations and that interference management is a technical, not an economic, issue.

    The ARRL's comments on the FCC's Spectrum Policy Task Force Report in ET Docket 02-135 are available on the ARRL Website at: http://www.arrl.org/announce/regulatory/et02-135/arrl-comments.html.

    -- ARRL Bulletin ARLB009

    --back to Table of Contents

    Senate Bill SB 5200

    Have you sent a letter to your State Senator requesting support of Senate Bill SB 5200, the bill that will prohibit cities from restricting amateur towers to heights below 70 feet, except for safety, health and aesthetic reasons?

    Time is of the essence!! Do it today!!

    Make that letter different -- send your QSL card!!

    Details on the Section Page: http://www.arrl.org/sect/wwa


    -- Harry Lewis, W7JWJ, ARRL Section Manager Western Washington

    --back to Table of Contents

    You gotta tell her!

    You've all heard of the Air Force's ultra-high-security, super-secret base in Nevada, known simply as "Area 51?"

    Well, late one afternoon, the Air Force folks out at Area 51 were very surprised to see a Cessna landing at their "secret" base. They immediately impounded the aircraft and hauled the pilot into an interrogation room. The pilot's story was that he took off from Vegas, got lost, and spotted the Base just as he was about to run out of fuel. The Air Force started a full FBI background check on the pilot and held him overnight during the investigation.

    By the next day, they were finally convinced that the pilot really was lost and wasn't a spy. They gassed up his airplane, gave him a terrifying "you-did-not-see-a- base" briefing, complete with threats of spending the rest of his life in prison, told him Vegas was that-a-way on such-and-such a heading, and sent him on his way.

    The next day, to the total disbelief of the Air Force, the same Cessna showed up again. Once again, the MPs surrounded the plane -- only this time there were two people in the plane. The same pilot jumped out and said, "Do anything you want to me, but my wife is in the plane and you have to tell her where I was last night."

    -- from David, ZL3AI, via packet

    --back to Table of Contents

    Spectrum Protection Act introduced

    The Amateur Radio Spectrum Protection Act of 2003 has been introduced in the US House of Representatives. The measure is an ARRL legislative initiative. Florida Rep Michael Bilirakis filed the latest version of the bill, HR 713, on February 12. It has been referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.

    HR 713 is aimed at ensuring the availability of spectrum to Amateur Radio operators. It would protect existing Amateur Radio spectrum against reallocations to or sharing with other services unless the FCC provides "equivalent replacement spectrum" elsewhere. 

    The previous version of the Spectrum Protection Act attracted more than 50 cosponsors. An effort will be made to encourage additional House members to sign onto HR 713 as cosponsors. Additional details are on the ARRL Web site.

    -- ARRL Bulletin ARLB015

    --back to Table of Contents

    The feud

    Church feuds are not uncommon, especially among cliques in the congregation. But when the pastor and choir director get into it, stand aside.

    One week our preacher preached on commitment, and how we should dedicate ourselves to service. The director then led the choir in singing, "I Shall Not Be Moved."

    The next Sunday, the preacher preached on giving and how we should gladly give to the work of the Lord. The choir director then led the song, "Jesus Paid It All."

    The next Sunday, the preacher preached on gossiping and how we should watch our tongues. The hymn was "I Love To Tell The Story."

    The preacher became disgusted over the situation, and the next Sunday he told the congregation he was considering resigning. The choir then sang "Oh, Why Not Tonight."

    When the preacher resigned the next week, he told the church that Jesus had led him there and Jesus was taking him away. The choir then sang, "What A Friend We Have in Jesus."

    -- from the Internet

    --back to Table of Contents

    Will ham radio be shut down if war is declared?

    Some amateurs have been wondering if the FCC will shut down Amateur Radio in the event that war breaks out in the Middle East. The short answer is "no."

    Just prior to the Gulf War, 214.4(b)(4) of Title 47 of the Code of Federal Regulations was deleted. This section had mandated the closing of all Amateur Radio stations except Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service (RACES) stations in the event that the president proclaimed a war or national emergency. The last time Amateur Radio was shut down was during World War II, although the FCC continued to give Amateur Radio examinations.

    While the Amateur Radio Service will not automatically be shut down if the president invokes the War Powers Act, Amateur Radio licensees must continue to observe any directives the FCC may issue in the interests of national security and of making spectrum available for government use. 

    The FCC is directed to work in coordination with the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to issue "appropriate rules, regulations, orders and instructions" for use of the spectrum "as may be necessary to ensure the effective use of those portions of the radio spectrum shared by government and non-government users." Amateurs share most UHF allocations with the US government.

    -- ARRL Newsletter, Electronic Edition

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    That third penny told the tale!

    The bachelor finished his meal and placed his tip on the table as he finished his coffee. The waitress took one look at the three single pennies and said "Thank you for your generosity. You can always tell the character of a diner by the way he tips."

    "Oh, really," he said, "and what does that tell you about me?" "Well, you put the three pennies in a row," said the waitress, "That tells me you are tidy for starters. The first penny tells me you are frugal. The second penny tells me you are a bachelor."

    "That's true," he said, "but what does the third penny tell you?"

    "It tells me that your father was a bachelor too."

    -- from David, ZL3AI, via packet

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