Olympia Amateur Radio Society

ARRL Special Service ClubWatts News

Monthly Newsletter of the

Olympia Amateur Radio Society

P.O. Box 2861, Olympia, WA 98507

  March 2006
Edited by George Lanning  KB6LE 

Table of Contents

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From the Oval ShackPresident's Message

(From the Oval Corner)

Our next meeting should be fun! It will be our first at the South Bay Fire Station, at 3506 Shincke Road NE. To get there from downtown Olympia, take 4th Street and drive East, and stay to the left. This will merge you onto the West end of Martin Way. As soon as you're on Martin Way, make a left and drive to South Bay Road NE, and make a right. Drive about two miles. You'll find a convenience center -- a gas station/store on your left. Just before the store is Shincke Road; make a left and drive about two blocks to the fire station, which will be on your right. Drive just past the fire station and make a right into the parking lot. Come to the main entrance; the meeting room is on the right.

Last month we charged four committees, and I'm interested in finding out what each committee's been doing. There's a picnic committee, a callsign license plate committee, a PR committee, and a Field Day committee. We'll be looking for reports from the chair of each committee. Of the four, the call sign license plate committee will be most interesting, as they'll have participated in the Puyallup hamfest and, hopefully, sold 200 plates! If they do, at $10 per plate profit, we'll have $2k in the treasury, and will need to discuss the future of the endeavor. Will we do in at Seaside, for example? How about advertising it in QST?

At our last meeting, Steve provided some details on a multi-element vertical "beam" that, with only four elements, can provide us with 10+ db of antenna gain. As 3 db is like a doubling of transmitter power, 10 db is like having a 1000 Watt amplifier! That's worth the trouble!

This coming meeting's agenda will include a DXpedition videotape, a raffle, cookies and apple cider, plenty of time for conversation, a brief presentation on electronics fundamentals, and discussion of upcoming events like the marathon (this year it has a totally new course.)


-- Lee, KI7SS

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If you haven't yet renewed your OARS membership for 2006, do it now to avoid being dropped from the roster.

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Go Kits

When another disaster on the scale of Hurricane Katrina comes along, the League will be able to deploy "ham gear ready to go," thanks to manufacturers' donations of Amateur Radio gear, ARRL members' generous monetary contributions and a federal grant. The ARRL Ham Aid-sponsored "Go Kits" now being assembled at League Headquarters are the third leg of a program that's already reimbursed certain out-of-pocket expenses for ham radio hurricane zone volunteers and helped restore Amateur Radio backbone infrastructure along the US Gulf Coast.

"To me, this is a first step in ramping up ARRL's ability to support Amateur Radio volunteers in the field before the next big disaster hits," says ARRL Chief Development Officer Mary Hobart, K1MMH. "It won't replace or supplant anything that's already on the ground and working well, but it will strengthen it and add flexibility to Amateur Radio's overall response capabilities." The equipment and cash donations, coupled with a grant from the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), will mean Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) field volunteers will never go without in terms of equipment. Hobart says $25,000 in Ham Aid funds have been set aside for the Go Kits.

The Go Kits will enable the League to loan out needed equipment on a moment's notice. Emergency Communications Specialist Harry Abery, AB1ER, spends his days at ARRL Headquarters securely stowing various equipment complements in rugged, waterproof Pelican 1650 containers.

"The idea is that this makes it easy to ship," explains Abery, "and since they're less than 50 pounds apiece, they'll be able to go by air if necessary." Flooding won't be an issue. "You can throw them in the water, and they'll float," he adds.

So far, Abery says, there's an HF Kit, a VHF/UHF Kit, a Handheld Transceiver Kit and a Support Kit -- seven of each, and more on the way. He and other League staffers consulted with volunteers who'd been in the field during Hurricane Katrina to find out what gear served them best or what they wished they'd had but didn't.

The HF Kit contains a 100-W HF transceiver, a microphone and a power supply. The VHF/UHF Kit includes a dual-band mobile transceiver, power supply, headset, 10 handheld transceivers and a supply of alkaline batteries. In the Handheld Transceiver Kit are eight dual-band handheld transceivers and antennas plus a stock of extra batteries. The Support Kit includes a length of BuryFlex 213 coaxial cable, rope, 15-foot jumper cables with battery clamps at one end and an Anderson Powerpole on the other. The kit includes various fittings and adapters to connect to the power distribution unit and to make RF feed line connections. All kits contain any necessary manuals. Packed in a separate container, appropriate antennas and antenna accessories will accompany a given kit.

More than two dozen members of the Amateur Radio industry and individual radio amateurs contributed equipment last year for use in the Hurricane Katrina relief effort http://www.arrl.org/news/stories/2005/09/09/105/.

Citing Amateur Radio's favorable treatment in recent US House Subcommittee and White House reports on the Hurricane Katrina response, Hobart said it's imperative to sustain and enhance ham radio's emergency communication capabilities for the future. "Disasters happen to be one place Amateur Radio can shine," she pointed out. "We need to maintain a high level of readiness to do those things that are second nature to ARES members but that the public is just coming to recognize."

Making the Go Kits available to ARES teams, Hobart says, will help to cement Amateur Radio's position as a community resource. "We want to be able to ensure that we have the personnel and the equipment," she said. "With a disaster of this magnitude we need to be ready."

ARRL continues to solicit Ham Aid donations to help maintain and sustain the League's ability to support Amateur Radio volunteers in the field. League members can contribute to Ham Aid via the secure ARRL Development Office donation Web site https://www.arrl.org/forms/development/donations/basic/. Simply click "Ham Aid" and complete the on-line form.

-- from the ARRL Letter

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An Animal Fictionary

-- from David, ZL3AI, via packet

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Treasurer's Report

As of 2/28/06

    GENERAL FUND (checking account)

        Previous balance     $2,180.50

            Income              359.42

            Expenses             89.00

        Ending balance        2,450.92

    REPEATER / PACKET FUND (savings account)

        Previous balance      $ 990.62

            Income                0.00

            Expenses              0.00

        Ending balance          990.62

-- Ed Fitzgerald, N7WW, Treasurer

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"It has been said that politics is the second oldest profession."

"I have learned that it bears a striking resemblance to the first."

-- Ronald Reagan

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FCC noncommittal on "Morse code" proceeding

Just when the FCC will act on the "Morse code" proceeding, WT Docket 05-235, remains hazy. The Commission released a Notice of Proposed Rule Making and Order (NPRM&O) last July proposing to eliminate the Element 1 (5 WPM) Morse code requirement for all license classes. The Amateur Radio community filed more than 3800 comments on the proceeding, and additional comments continue to show up, even though the formal comment deadline was last fall. The next -- and most-anticipated -- step for the Commission is to formally adopt any revisions to its rules and conclude the proceeding with a Report and Order (R&O) that spells out the changes and specifies their effective date.

"There really is no news," an FCC Wireless Telecommunications Bureau (WTB) staffer told ARRL this week on background. "We certainly hope to release WT Docket 05-235 sometime this year, but we're not making any predictions at this time." The WTB staffer indicated there would be no "big announcements" at the Dayton Hamvention FCC Forum either.

Beyond eliminating the Morse requirement, the FCC declined in its NPRM&O to go forward with any other suggested changes to Amateur Service licensing rules or operating privileges.

The proceeding began with 18 petitions for rule making -- many just calling for the elimination of the Morse requirement but some asking for more far-reaching changes in the Amateur Service rules. The various petitions attracted a total of some 6200 comments. The FCC subsequently consolidated the petitions -- including one from the ARRL asking the FCC to establish a new entry-level license class and to retain the Morse requirement for Amateur Extra class applicants -- into a single proceeding designated WT 05-235.

Worth noting is that the FCC did not propose in WT 05-235 to extend HF privileges to current Technician licensees who have not passed a Morse code examination. In its NPRM&O the FCC suggested that in a no-Morse-requirement regime, such "codeless Techs" would be able to gain HF access by taking the Element 3 General class written examination.

Before it releases an R&O on the Morse code proceeding, however, the WTB wants to wrap up action in another Amateur Radio-related docket -- the "Phone Band Expansion" (or "Omnibus") NPRM in WT Docket 04-140, released last April 15. A dozen petitions for rulemaking, some dating back to 2001, were consolidated in the Omnibus proceeding. In that NPRM, the Commission proposed to go along with the ARRL's Novice refarming plan aimed at reallocating the current Novice/Tech Plus subbands to expand portions of the 80, 40 and 15 meter phone bands. The FCC also agreed with an ARRL proposal to extend privileges in the current General CW-only HF subbands to present Novice and Tech Plus licensees (or Technicians with Element 1 credit).

Any FCC decision to eliminate the 5 WPM Morse code requirement for HF access would have no impact on either the current HF CW-only subbands or on the CW privileges of Amateur Radio licensees. The Morse code proceeding neither put forward nor recommended any changes in CW allocations or privileges.

-- ARRL Bulletin ARLB003

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The Wig

While my friend was working as a receptionist for an eye surgeon, a very angry woman stormed up to her desk.

"Someone stole my wig while I was having surgery yesterday," she complained.

The doctor came out and tried to calm her down. "I assure you that no one on my staff would have done such a thing," he said. "why do you think it was taken here?"

"After the operation, I noticed the wig I was wearing was cheap-looking and ugly."

"I think," explained the surgeon gently, "that means your cataract operation was a success."

-- from David, ZL3AI, via packet

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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 2006:


Net control stations for the month were KB7DFL, 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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"Hello" Campaign to Put Friendly, Inviting Face on Amateur Radio

A new ARRL public relations campaign set to launch this April will cast Amateur Radio in the light of the 21st century and focus on its universal appeal, even in today's already technology-rich society. At the same time, the "Hello" campaign will note the 100th anniversary of what many historians consider the first voice radio broadcast in 1906 by Reginald Fessenden.

"It is quite simply the largest PR campaign that ham radio has ever attempted," says ARRL Media and Public Relations Manager Allen Pitts, W1AGP. Built around the word "Hello," the coordinated campaign will set "a positive, upbeat tone that highlights the international capabilities of Amateur Radio," he explained.

One aim of the "Hello" campaign will be to reframe Amateur Radio within a contemporary context. "ARRL President Joel Harrison, W5ZN, was correct in stating that the Main Street of today is not the same as the Main Street of yesteryear," Pitts went on to say. "To reach out today, the very first requirement is that Amateur Radio operators be perceived as friendly and trustworthy. That's a true public relations goal and the prime focus of the campaign."

Pitts says it's not helpful to lament the time in decades past when Amateur Radio grew pretty much on its own, without too much effort on the part of clubs and individuals. "Only our combined, effective action will do that today," Pitts says. "This campaign will give hams the tools they need to reach out in their communities to non-hams and influence their perception of Amateur Radio."

The national "Hello" campaign can bring curious people into contact with ham radio groups, but it will be up to local radio amateurs to make them truly welcome, Pitts maintains.

The "Hello" campaign is designed to gain momentum as the year progresses. Components will include the release of public service announcements for use by radio and TV broadcasters and a video for meetings, presentations and even broadcast. Other highlights will include a "Hello" campaign Web site and special operating events. The high point of the "Hello" campaign will come in December on the centennial of Fessenden's first radio broadcast.

History recalls that the Canadian-born and educated Fessenden, using an early alternator, transmitted the first audio radio broadcast from his laboratory in Brant Rock, Massachusetts. Radio operators aboard ships at sea -- tipped off in advance to be listening for something special -- were astounded to hear Fessenden's broadcast that included the scientist and inventor playing "O Holy Night" on the violin and reading a Bible passage.

The campaign will show that despite the Internet and other technologies, the possibility of being able to talk with everyday people around the world and sometimes in exotic locales -- coupled with the surprise, art and uncertainty of DXing -- remains a major attraction for Amateur Radio. The "Hello" campaign also will take advantage of likely FCC action this year to drop the Morse code requirement at least for General class applicants.

"We all say we want to make a change for the better for Amateur Radio and get others interested," Pitts said. "This is the time, this is the chance. Stay tuned! More to come!"

-- from the ARRL Letter

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Retiree Quiz

Q: What's the biggest gripe of retirees?

A: There is not enough time to get everything done.

Q: Why don't retirees mind being called Seniors?

A: The term comes with a 10% discount.

Q: Among retirees what is considered formal attire?

A: Tied shoes

Q: Why do retirees count pennies?

A: They are the only ones who have the time.

Q: What is the common term for someone who enjoys work and refuses to retire?


Q: Why are retirees so slow to clean out the basement, attic, or garage?

A: They know that as soon as they do, one of their adult kids will want to store stuff there.

Q: What do retirees call a long lunch?

A: Normal.

Q: What is the best way to describe retirement?

A: The never ending Coffee Break.

Q: What's the biggest advantage of going back to school as a retiree?

A: If you cut classes, no one calls your parents.

Q: Why does a retiree often say he doesn't miss work, but misses the people he used to work with?

A: He is too polite to tell the whole truth.

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Great Malapropisms

-- from David, ZL3AI, via packet

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We encouraged our 18-year-old daughter to find a job to help pay for her college education.

One day she came home with five applications, and later that evening we read them.

Under "Previous Employment," she listed "Baby-sitting."

And under "Reason for Leaving" she wrote, "They came home."

-- from David, ZL3AI, via packet

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Bear Hunt

Two men went bear hunting. While one stayed in the cabin, the other went out looking for a bear. He soon found a huge bear and shot at it but only wounded it. The enraged bear charged toward him. He dropped his rifle and started running for the cabin as fast as he could. He ran pretty fast, but the bear was just a little faster and gained on him with every step.

Just as he reached the open cabin door, he tripped and fell flat. Too close behind to stop, the bear tripped over him and went rolling into the cabin.

The man jumped up, closed the cabin door and yelled to his friend inside: "You skin this one while I go and get another one!"

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