Watts News

Monthly Newsletter of the

Olympia Amateur Radio Society

P.O. Box 2861, Olympia, WA 98507

  March 2004
Edited by George Lanning  KB6LE 

Table of Contents

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From the Oval ShackSpring Musings

If you are anything like me, spring 2004 is getting busier by the day. And don't forget, summer antenna maintenance season is just around the corner. I'm already planning for that as well.

It was good to see those of you/us that played hooky from the Road Rally last Saturday at Puyallup. As normal, the Mike & Key Club hamfest was jam-packed with vendors, junk, good friends, and opportunities to try something different in our hobby. I heard that Ward Silver, N0AX (noted contest guru) was there, but I never snagged him. At least Greg Milnes was there, in apparent good health. I also met our new Section Traffic Manager, Bill Frazier, W7ARC, for the first time. No trip to Puyallup would be complete without eyeball QSOs with my good friends in this fine organization as well, of course. All that socializing, and some new vintage (read: real, real, old) radios, and poof -- I had a great time, my sore back notwithstanding. We should definitely continue to have a presence at that hamfest for years to come.

Speaking of Hamfests, don't forget to plan for Sea-Pac 18-20 June in Seaside Oregon. It is the Northwestern Division Convention, so quite a few of your friends from all over the Northwest should also make the trip. I will be there all three days, and my XYL will be availing herself of the "Hangout For Bored Spouses" that they have available. I hope to see a lot of OARS members there.

Not to steal any of Tom's EC thunder here, but if the power went off in your residence right now, would you be able to get on VHF? How about HF, and if so, would you have enough power to be able to operate effectively for the full duration of the power outage emergency? Got a generator? Safe battery with a good charge? I am reasonably certain that if the Nisqually Fault (which I'm right on top of) shakes us up here again, I would be able to be up on VHF and HF within a few minutes. I've already done it once, when the power grid to Nisqually Pines went down fifteen minutes before the morning NTS net on eighty meters a couple months ago. This TS-570 works well on emergency power. Points to ponder.

Not to pound BPL to death, but the League continues to monitor that oncoming technology constantly. They put out an article a few days ago about the FCC chairman observing a BPL test in North Carolina. At least he saw the interference first hand. If, indeed that will make any difference seeing as how he is in the pocket of the Big-Business-Government conglomerate that will make BPL happen no matter what. Ooh, did I just say that? Never mind.

On a personal note, I just wrapped up the paperwork for my participation in the CW ARRL DX Contest a few weeks ago. I only got 75 contacts, but that ain't all that bad for 50 watts into back yard dipoles to DX. I had a lot of fun, even with the anemic sun spot count. I got my first over-the-pole European DX on 40 meters, at least. That was pretty cool.

That's about it from the helm this month. Hope to see you at the meeting. Let me know the directions you think this club should go.

Have fun in ham radio today.


-- Leroy, N7EIE

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UO-11 Satellite to Mark 20 Years in Space

UO-11 -- also known as UOSAT-2 -- turns 20 years old on March 1.

To mark the event, AMSAT-UK will issue a commemorative QSL card in exchange for listener reports from stations monitoring the satellite's signal during the entire month of March. The reports must be posted via the reporting page on the AMSAT-UK Web site, http://www.uk.amsat.org/uo-11/default.php, and QSL cards will be in the form of a downloadable E-QSL.

UO-11 was the second satellite to be launched by the University of Surrey group headed by Martin Sweeting, G3YJO. Its telemetry beacon can be heard on 145.825 MHz FM using just a handheld radio. UO-11 also has a 2401.5 MHz beacon, although hearing the 2.4 GHz signal could present a challenge. The University of Surrey Ground station staff reportedly will attempt to maximize the number of days the transmitters are active during March.

More information is available on the AMSAT-UK Web site, http://www.uk.amsat.org .

-- ARRL Space Bulletin 004

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OARS Net check-ins

The following stations checked in on the OARS General Information Net one or more times in the month of February, 2004:


* Net control stations

The net meets at 7:30 every Tuesday evening. All Hams are invited to check in.

OARS operates repeaters on the following frequencies:

147.36 MHz (PL 103.5 on TX output only)

224.46 MHz

441.40 MHz (PL 103.5)

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2004 OARS Dues

If you haven't paid yours yet, now is the time. Next month's newsletter will include the semiannual OARS Directory, but only paid up members will be listed.

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1. The Wall Street Journal is read by the people who run the country.

2. The Washington Post is read by people who think they run the country.

3. The New York Times is read by people who think they should run the country, and who are very good at crosswords.

4. USA Today is read by people who think they ought to run the country but don't really understand the Washington Post. They do, however, like their statistics shown in pie charts.

5. The Los Angeles Times is read by people who wouldn't mind running the country, if they could spare the time, and if they didn't have to leave LA to do it.

6. The Boston Globe is read by people whose parents used to run the country and did a far superior job of it, thank you very much.

7. The New York Daily News is read by people who aren't too sure who's running the country, and don't really care as long as they can get a seat on the train.

8. The New York Post is read by people who don't care who's running the country, as long as they do something really scandalous, preferably while intoxicated.

9. The San Francisco Chronicle is read by people who aren't sure there is a country .... or that anyone is running it; but whoever it is, they oppose all that they stand for. There are occasional exceptions if the leaders are handicapped minority feminist atheist dwarfs, who also happen to be illegal aliens from ANY country or galaxy as long as they are Democrats.

10. The Miami Herald is read by people who are running another country but need the baseball scores.

11. The National Enquirer is read by people trapped in line at the grocery store.

-- from Joke of the Day via Internet

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Bogus ARRL.net messages

Several members have notified ARRL that they have received e-mail messages alleging to be from the ARRL E-Mail Forwarding Service http://www.arrl.org/members-only/emailfwd.html , "The ARRL.net team" or some variation. The messages, which often carry a subject line along the lines of "Warning about your e-mail account," indicate that the recipient's ARRL E-Mail Forwarding Service <call sign>@arrl.net address will be closed within three days because of an alleged violation of acceptable practices.

These messages are false and did not come from The ARRL Forwarding Service. They are the result of one of the variants on a number of viruses now permeating the Internet. A file usually is attached to these messages. As always, do not open any attachments that you cannot identify. Opening the file could result in your computer being infected by a virus.

This is only one of the several virus-laden messages currently propagating across the Internet. The ARRL advises its members to be cautious in opening any message and/or attachment, even if it appears to be from someone you know. All of these viruses use e-mail addresses from the address book of an infected computer to falsify the "From:" address in the header to make it appear that the message is from someone the recipient knows.

-- from the ARRL Letter, Electronic Edition

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NPR Feature Spotlights Addition of @ Symbol to Morse Code

Some hams may have thought they'd left their transceivers turned on Tuesday, February 17. That's when the popular National Public Radio http://www.npr.org afternoon news magazine "All Things Considered" ran a piece about the pending addition of the @ symbol to the official international Morse code lexicon. That's because NPR introduced and closed the nearly four-minute segment with actual CW, catching the ear of many hams.

ARRL Chief Technology Officer Paul Rinaldo, W4RI, conceived of the new character, necessary for transmitting e-mail addresses in CW, among other possible purposes. Assuming approval by International Telecommunication Union http://www.itu.int/home/index.html member-states, the new character -- the first added to the code in many, many years -- will be "AC" run together (.--.-.).

The new character, Rinaldo says, is both unique in the Morse world as well as a mnemonic (think of an 'a' wrapped in a 'C').

ATC co-host Robert Siegel interviewed ARRL Senior News Editor Rick Lindquist, N1RL, for some background on the change, giving Lindquist an opportunity to mention his passion for mobile CW operation. The short feature, "Morse Code Enters Cyber Age," is available on the National Public Radio Web site, http://www.npr.org/rundowns/segment.php?wfId=1680529.

-- from the ARRL Letter

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Treasurer's Report

As of 2/29/04

GENERAL FUND (checking account)

    Previous balance     $ 1,326.47

        Income                 0.40

        Expenses             137.00

    Ending balance         1,189.87

REPEATER / PACKET FUND (savings account)

    Previous balance       $ 974.58

        Income                 0.00

        Expenses               0.00

    Ending balance           974.58

-- Ed Fitzgerald, N7WW, Treasurer

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What he really means:

-- from David ZL3AI, via packet

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Not long ago I met the waitress of my dreams. About halfway through dinner I called the waitress over and said, "Ma'am, this potato is bad."

She nodded, picked up the potato and smacked it. Then she put it back on my plate and said, "Sir, if that potato causes any more trouble, you just let me know."

-- from David, ZL3AI, via packet

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New Amateur Radio Bill Cosponsors "An Optimistic Sign," Haynie Says

ARRL President Jim Haynie, W5JBP, says he's encouraged to see additional members of the US House of Representatives agreeing to cosponsor The Amateur Radio Spectrum Protection Act of 2003, HR 713, and the Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Consistency Act of 2003, HR 1478 -- also known as "the CC&R bill." In Washington this week with an ARRL delegation, Haynie called it "an optimistic sign" for Amateur Radio that League members are continuing to urge their lawmakers to sign aboard the two pieces of legislation, which are ARRL initiatives.

"House members have proven to be very responsive to entreaties from the amateur community to get behind these bills," an elated Haynie said this week. "The campaign continues to pay off in terms of additional cosponsors for our bills." As of this week, 84 House members have gone on record as HR 713 cosponsors. An identical companion bill in the US Senate, S 537, has attracted eight cosponsors.

Among recent House cosponsors of HR 713 are representatives Chris Bell (R-TX), Candice S. Miller (R-MI), Jim Turner (D-TX), Jay Inslee, (D-WA), Ray LaHood (R-IL), Stevan Pearce, (R-NM) and Baron Hill, (D-IN).

Sponsored in the House by Rep Michael Bilirakis (R-FL) and in the Senate by Sen Michael Crapo (R-ID), the bill would require the FCC to provide "equivalent replacement spectrum" to Amateur Radio if the FCC reallocates primary amateur frequencies, reduces any secondary amateur allocations, or makes additional allocations within such bands that would substantially reduce their utility to amateurs. HR 713 has been referred to the Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet. The Senate version, S 537, has been referred to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.

Meanwhile, the cosponsor count on the CC&R bill, HR 1478, rose to 32 this week with the addition of Rep Jim DeMint (R-SC), who was approached by ARRL South Carolina Section Manager Jim Boehner, N2ZZ, to consider cosponsoring both HR 1478 and HR 713. Introduced by Rep Steve Israel (D-NY), the CC&R bill would require private land-use regulators such as homeowners' associations to "reasonably accommodate" Amateur Radio antennas consistent with the PRB-1 limited federal preemption.

Recent HR 1478 cosponsors also include representatives Donald Manzullo (R-IL) and Anibal Acevedo-Vila (D-PR). HR 1478 also has been referred to the House Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet.

Although buoyed by the bills' recent cosponsorship progress, Haynie is continuing to encourage ARRL members to send cards and letters to their House of Representatives member urging them to cosponsor HR 713 and HR 1478, and to their state's two US senators to cosponsor S 537.

"There's a long way to go, and that's what it's going to take," Haynie said. "Cards and letters from individual voters do make a difference."

Meanwhile, Louisiana Republican Billy Tauzin's announcement that he'll step down as chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and not run for re-election has set off a political sideshow. On February 6, nearly every committee member urged House Speaker Dennis Hastert to appoint Rep Joe Barton (R-TX) to replace Tauzin as chairman. Barton also serves on the House Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet, but he has not yet signed on as a cosponsor of either HR 713 or HR 1478.

Additional information -- including the bills' texts, sample letters and information on how to write members of Congress -- is on the ARRL "The Amateur Radio Spectrum Protection Act of 2003" Web page http://www.arrl.org/govrelations/arspa.html and on the "HR 1478, The Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Consistency Act of 2003" Web page http://www.arrl.org/govrelations/hr1478/ .

Those writing their lawmakers on behalf of the Spectrum Protection Act are asked to copy their correspondence to the League via e-mail specbill03@arrl.org . Those writing their House member on behalf of the Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Consistency Act, HR 1478, are asked to copy their correspondence to ccr-bill@arrl.org.

-- from the ARRL Letter, Electronic Edition

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In each of the sentences below, the names of two countries are hidden. For example, the sentence: "Interpol and the FBI track down hidden marksmen" conceals the names POLAND and DENMARK.

See if you can find all twenty hidden countries.

Answers next month.

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Worldwide Survey

New York, NY

Last month, a worldwide survey was conducted by the UN. The only question asked was: "Would you please give your honest opinion about solutions to the food shortage in the rest of the world?"

The survey was a huge failure...

-- from W1GMF, via packet

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Tired of having to balance his wife Cindy's checkbook, Mike made a deal with her: he would look at it, but only after she had spent a few hours trying to wrestle it into shape.

The following night, after spending hours poring over stubs and figures, Cindy said proudly, "I've done it! I made it balance!"

Impressed, Mike came over to take a look. "Let's see... mortgage 550.00, electricity 70.50, phone 35.00." His brow wrinkled as he read the last entry. "It says here ESP, $615. What the heck is that?"

"Oh," she said, "That means, Error Some Place!"

-- from David, ZL3AI, via packet

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