ARRL Special Service ClubWatts News

Monthly Newsletter of the

Olympia Amateur Radio Society

P.O. Box 2861, Olympia, WA 98507

 March 2005
Edited by George Lanning  KB6LE 

Table of contents

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From the Oval ShackPresident's Message

It's great to be back here in the sunny, warm Pacific Northwest after spending some time in the cloudy, wet Southwest. Maybe you can thank me for taking the rain away, although, I suspect by the time summer really arrives, we will be wishing we had a wet winter.

Here it is March already and time that we start planning for our Field Day event. Duane, WB7ROZ, and I are going to be co-chairmen this year since Lee will be unavailable, although he is arranging for us to use the Capitol Campus site again if we want.

We are looking for input from the membership on the event. We have lots of things that need to be decided in advance to make it a great event for everyone.

We are planning to use the Capitol Campus because it has lots of parking, convenient location and gives us great exposure to the general public. If anyone has another location they would like to propose, we need to know as soon as possible.

For the past few years, we have been running a 3A station, but the rules are changing and we may need to cut back to a 2A. However, this could work out well because we have been using the Thurston County Sheriff's communications van and Intel has been bringing their emergency command post, which gives us two good operating locations. It is also easier to keep two rigs running through the night and minimizes interference. We are thinking that we would like to run one of them as a CW Station for as much time as we have operators available.

We also need to consider other potential stations such as packet and maybe a Satellite Station.

We have been having a pot luck on Saturday evening and it has been proposed that we invite the Thurston County ARES/RACES members and possible other Search and Rescue Units to show them how much fun Amateur Radio can really be.

We are looking for input and will start laying out a firm plan soon so that we can get as much participation as possible.

73 and see you at the March meeting.

-- Ken Dahl, K7TAG

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FCC Morse, restructuring proposals could be out by mid-year

The FCC continues to work toward developing a Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) that will spell out what the Commission has in mind with respect to possible changes in the current Morse code requirement and Amateur Radio licensing.

A total of 18 petitions have been filed, including one from the ARRL, seeking Part 97 rule changes addressing the future of the 5 WPM Morse requirement (Element 1) and revisions to the overall Amateur Radio licensing structure. The FCC plans to tackle all 18 in a single proceeding.

On the code issue, petitions -- and comments in response to them -- run the gamut from retaining or even beefing up the Morse requirement to eliminating it altogether. (The ARRL's proposal would retain the 5 WPM Morse examination for Amateur Extra class applicants only.)

The League and others have also put forth proposals for a new entry-level Amateur Radio license class. At this point, personnel in the FCC Wireless Telecommunications Bureau are continuing to review the thousands of comments filed on the 18 petitions.

While the FCC appears unlikely to release an NPRM any sooner than mid-year, the issue still may be a major discussion topic during the FCC Forum at Dayton Hamvention, May 20-22.

Once public, the NPRM would initiate another round of public comments on what the FCC has proposed. An FCC Report and Order implementing any new rules is unlikely before the second half of 2006, although it's possible the Commission could wrap up the proceeding before then.

-- ARRL Bulletin ARLB008

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Wisdom on aging from Will Rogers

-- from Devena Thompson via Internet

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Amateur Radio Spectrum Protection Act of 2005 introduced

At the urging of the ARRL, Rep Michael Bilirakis (R-FL) has introduced The Amateur Radio Spectrum Protection Act of 2005 into the US House of Representatives. The bill, designated HR 691, has been referred to the House Energy and Commerce Committee where Bilirakis serves as vice chairman. Like previous versions of the proposal, the current measure 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.

ARRL President Jim Haynie, W5JBP, says the legislation "is vital for ensuring that the Amateur Radio Service, the only 100-percent fail safe emergency communication capability, remains a viable public safety option."

HR 691 references Amateur Radio's role in providing "voluntary, noncommercial radio service, particularly emergency communications," and it points out that hams have "consistently and reliably" provided communication support in the event of emergencies and disasters including tornadoes and hurricanes, chemical spills, forest fires and rail accidents. As the measure notes, FCC actions already have led to the loss of at least 107 MHz of spectrum to radio amateurs.

Rep Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD) has signed on as the bill's first co-sponsor.

Efforts now will focus on attracting additional cosponsors for the legislation. The League is encouraging members to urge their congressional representatives to sign aboard HR 691. More than 100 lawmakers agreed to cosponsor similar legislation in the 108th Congress, where it was designated HR 713. Work is proceeding to have identical legislation introduced in the US Senate.

-- ARRL Bulletin ARLB007

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7th Annual Communications Academy to be held 2 & 3 April

Come one, come all! The Communications Academy is open to anyone with an interest in emergency communications, volunteer or professional. The presentations are designed to promote the development of knowledgeable, skilled emergency communicators who will support their local communities during a disaster or emergency response.

On line registration is available at www.commacademy.org along with a listing of keynote speakers and sessions that will be presented.

This is a very worthwhile two day event that has a history of presenting a wide variety of subject material on all facets of emergency communications. The organizing committee has worked very hard to ensure this year's Academy is even better than previous ones.

-- Edward W. Bruette, N7NVP

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Talented father

My five year old daughter asked me the question I'd been dreading. "Mommy, how are babies made?" I did my best to explain but she still looked confused.

"What about kittens?" She asked. "Well, it's exactly then same way," I said.

"Wow!" she said excitedly. "My daddy can do anything."

-- from Joke of the Day via Internet

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2005 OARS dues

If you haven't renewed your OARS membership yet, now is a good time.

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Treasurer's report

As of 2/28/05

    GENERAL FUND (checking account)

        Previous balance     $512.21

            Income            320.11

            Expenses           29.05

        Ending balance        803.27

    REPEATER / PACKET FUND (savings account)

        Previous balance    $ 982.36

            Income              0.00

            Expenses            0.00

        Ending balance        982.36

-- Ed Fitzgerald, N7WW, Treasurer

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March 23 OARS meeting


This month at the OARS meeting we will pick up where we left off with Winlink in January. In January we went through the ARRL Winlink decision and the Winlink system requirements.

This month we will do a short review and then go into Winlink system implementation. Along with this, we will look at some of the differences in implementing a Winlink vs. a TCP/IP based system.

-- Duane Braford, WB7ROZ, OARS VP

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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:


Net control stations for the month were WB7ROZ, WC7I, and K7VRE. 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 University of Alabama football player was visiting a Yankee relative in Boston over the holidays. He went to a large party and met a pretty coed. He was attempting to start up a conversation with the line, "Where does you go to school?"

The coed, of course, was not overly impressed with his grammar or southern drawl, but did answer his question.

"Yale," she replied.

The UA student took a big, deep breath and shouted, "WHERE DOES YOU GO TO SCHOOL?"

-- from David ZL3AI, via packet

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Bizarre foreign mistranslations into English

-- from David, ZL3AI, via packet

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New QST column aims to take mystery out of modern ham gear

A new QST column, "Getting to Know Your Radio" debuts in the April edition of QST. Author and ARRL Product Review Editor Joel Hallas, W1ZR, says the column "basically talks about what all those knobs do" on modern equipment.

"The idea is to acquaint users with the typical features of modern radios." Hallas says there was a time when radio receivers were pretty easy to understand -- in some cases not all that much different from the broadcast set in the kitchen or living room -- so most new amateurs could quickly learn their way around the front panel. It's a new world now.

"It's fair to say that modern transceivers have come a long way since the boat anchors of the 1950s and earlier," he says. "Many transceiver makers seem to sell their wares by claiming the most and newest features." As a result, modern ham transceivers can be pretty intimidating, making operation daunting for newcomers and veterans alike.

The first installment of "Getting to Know Your Radio" will cover the now-popular -- and common -- passband tuning feature. Hallas says a column on audio compression systems is in the works.

-- from the ARRL Bulletin

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More newspaper headlines

-- from David, ZL3AI, via packet

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Hybrid car?

A couple of nuns who were nursing sisters had gone out to the country to minister to an outpatient. On the way back they were a few miles from home when they ran out of gas. They were standing beside their car on the shoulder when a truck approached.

Seeing ladies of the cloth in distress, the driver stopped to offer his help. The nuns explained they needed some gas. The driver of the truck said he would gladly drain some from his tank, but he didn't have a bucket or can.

One of the nuns dug out a clean bedpan and asked the driver if he could use it. He said yes, and proceeded to drain a couple of quarts of gas into the pan. He waved goodbye to the nuns and left. The nuns were carefully pouring the precious fluid into their gas tank when the highway patrol came by.

The trooper stopped and watched for a minute. Then he said, "Sisters, I don't think it will work, but I sure do admire your faith!"

-- from W1GMF, via packet

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Did you know?

There are many stories related to the sinking of the "Titanic," Some have just come to light due to the success of the recent movie. For example, most people don't know that back in 1912, Hellman's mayonnaise was manufactured in England.

The "Titanic" was carrying 12,000 jars of the condiment scheduled for delivery in Vera Cruz, Mexico. which was to be the next port of call for the great ship after New York City.

The Mexican people were eagerly awaiting delivery and were disheartened at the loss -- so much so that they declared a national day of mourning which they still observe today.

It is known, of course, as Sinko de Mayo.

-- from David, ZL3AI, via packet

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Utility informs ham radio club of preliminary BPL plans

Staff members of San Diego Gas & Electric Company (SDG&E) in California announced during a February 23 presentation to the San Diego DX Club that the utility plans to deploy multiple broadband over power line (BPL) test sites in San Diego County. Locations for the BPL pilot projects have not yet been specified. Several BPL equipment vendors are expected to be involved in the trials, each with its own test area and frequency plan, and the first system could be in place as early as this June, with others following soon after.

The SDG&E staffers said they were unimpressed by early BPL equipment, but were encouraged by a December visit to the Cinergy BPL system in Cincinnati -- said to pass some 50,000 homes reportedly without generating any interference complaints so far. Cinergy has partnered with Current Technologies in its BPL venture.

ARRL Lab Manager Ed Hare, W1RFI, says that while Current Technologies' BPL equipment does reduce emissions in most spectrum used by Amateur Radio, it operates at full strength on other HF spectrum -- such as the international shortwave broadcast bands -- and it uses low-VHF on medium voltage lines.

"The Current Technologies' BPL HF emissions are from the 120/240 V wiring only, so it is not likely that the signals will propagate along a line as well as systems that put HF signals directly onto overhead medium-voltage distribution lines," Hare said. But he added that even with the best "notching" techniques, interference is still possible from a nearby BPL system.

"ARRL's concern is that if the degree of protection this BPL equipment provides proves inadequate for such circumstances and interference occurs, there are no additional solutions to apply," Hare said.

-- from The ARRL Bulletin

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