Watts News

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

  May 2003
Edited by George Lanning  KB6LE 

Table of Contents

  •  From the Oval Shack
  •  Treasurer's Report
  •  Notes from the VP
  •  OARS Vest
  •  Musically Inclined
  •  South Sound Running Spaghetti Run
  •  OARS Net Check-ins
  •  Royal Protocol
  •  FCC Now Accepting Comments in Broadband Over Power Line Inquiry
  •  Confessions
  •  The Cost of Vanity
  •  Signs of the times
  •  Goldfarb Memorial Scholarship
  •  Quickies

  • --back to OARS home page

    Here it is May and again time to do some serious planning for our annual Field Day outing. As I mentioned last month, we will again be located on the Capitol Campus thanks to the efforts of our Vice President, Lee, KI7SS. It is a great location for us to get some visibility in the community.

    I believe that we are again planning to operate as a 3A Station, which gives us the ability to locate our antennas close together and also a good multiplier on contacts.

    We will again have the local area network and logging database that Duane, WB7ROZ, developed for us last year. It helps us to prevent duplicate contacts and also duplicate band and mode operation. It was a great asset to us last year and should prove to be a great tool again this year. We are even going to try WiFi operation to prevent having to install the LAN cables. We will again use shore power for this part of our station since it does not need to run off the generators. 

    We hope to have both the Intel van and the Thurston County Sheriff's Office communications van out and available to us, which gives us two very nice operating positions in relative comfort.

    As usual, we are planning to have a potluck on Saturday evening, but we will talk more about that at this month's meeting. Everyone is welcome to come down and join us for this part of the event, even if you don't participate in the rest of Field Day.

    We will begin setting up on Saturday Morning, and then tear down on Sunday. As always, we can use all hands for this part of the event. So make your plans now to join us for Field Day on June 28 and 29 on the Capitol Campus. We welcome all visitors as well as participants. It is a great opportunity for new and potential Hams to get a taste of our hobby, so if you know someone who is interested, tell them to come by and see us as well. We are always happy to discuss the hobby with all comers.

    If there is anything that you would like to suggest or volunteer for this event, please let us know either at the monthly OARS Meeting coming up on May 28th, or via phone, email or snail mail.


    -- Ken Dahl, K7TAG

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    Treasurer's Report

    As of 4/30/03

    GENERAL FUND (checking account)
    Previous balance     $2,356.74
        Income              478.00
        Expenses              0.00
    Ending balance        2,834.74

    REPEATER / PACKET FUND (savings account)
    Previous balance      $ 965.75
        Income                0.00
        Expenses              0.00
    Ending balance          965.75

    -- Ed Fitzgerald, N7WW, Treasurer

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    Notes from the VP

    May 2003! Really? Holy Ohm's Law, Batman -- where did the winter go? It's antenna-building time! Every year I put up a different wire antenna -- at least one. This year, I think, will be the year of the closed loop. That and I've always wanted to try 160 meters, so I think I'll get something up for it. I've got a lot of trees and a bow and arrow and spinning reel, so all that's needed is to dig out the ARRL Antenna Handbook and find an appropriate solution. It happens that I ran across that book recently, so I know exactly where it is!

    How about you? Are you doing some experimenting? The magic of radio is that there's endless room for experiments, isn't it? If not antenna building, then kit building, or just rearranging. Every time I get into one of these modes I improve my operating situation somehow. Try it!

    Next Sunday is the day of the Capitol City Marathon. Mostly the marathon is an OARS event, and I'd like to give credit to some of our finest for their efforts-to-be on this signature endeavor. We've got about eighteen hams helping, including W7SIX, Fred; KB7DFL, Dan; KC7FEC, Dave; KC7FEE, Chuck; N7PDC, John; W7MRK, Mark; KC7FED, Amy; KA4VVA, Tom; NX6W, Chuck; KD7MNM, Dave; KD7UXJ, Joel; KD7MNN, Reed; W7UUO, Wally; N7WW, Ed; WB7TT, Rick; W7DOY, Rick; KC7LA, Paul, and me.

    I suspect most of you have no idea how marathon communication, or a marathon, works. It's a big effort, believe me, with 2,000 participants! The event gets started early, at 7:30 a.m. Our people, of course, have to be at their locations well before then. Marathoners will run from Sylvester park in downtown Olympia around Capitol Lake and south six miles to Airdustrial Way in Tumwater, then north on Capitol Way to North Street by the Brewery (mile marker ten,) east to Henderson Boulevard, south to the Yelm Highway, and continue east to Boulevard Road (mile 13). 

    Then they go north on Boulevard road to Morse-Merryman; east until they come out on College in Lacey, south on College to the Yelm Highway (mile 17), where they can finally turn west. They'll run back to Boulevard on the Yelm Highway, turn north to 22nd Avenue (mile 22), and westward again as they work their way back to Capitol. They'll continue running, now north, ending up downtown where they started, at Sylvester Park, 26.2 miles later. Whew! I get tired just thinking about it! The amazing thing is that the fast people will do this in two and a half hours!

    There's a half-marathon too, and a Five-Miler, and a Kids Run.

    We'll spread our hams out. We've got them assigned to the water/aid stations located every two miles; we'll have them driving the course with the race director, with the medical people, following the tail, with the announcer. Speaking of the tail -- the leaders will finish in 2 ½ hours, but the tail will be running until two in the afternoon.

    There will be people limping, hurt, sick, and maybe lost as the city pulls up cones and leaves them out there alone. But we hams will know where they are, and keep them company and guide them in, or take them in, if they can't make it for whatever reason. We'll call for medics, additional water, whatever is needed.

    Hope for us that it doesn't rain, please -- we don't need 2000 people with hypothermia!

    After this event, we've got a break until the weekend of June 7th when the road rally comes to town, or more specifically, to Shelton. I don't know why Olympia isn't interested; the racers drop a ton of money on Shelton's hotels every time they show up but Olympia's business community snubs them pretty thoroughly. Shelton goes out of the way to be accommodating, by comparison.

    There's a far less OARS-centric team of hams supporting this event, but OARS still claims credit and I'd like to keep it that way. The event is run either simplex or on Capitol Peak, although Capitol Peak would really rather race communications go elsewhere, as we interfere with the casual conversations that usually occur, and that's understandable. So, if you're helping with the road race, try and stay off Capitol Peak, please! 

    There is another repeater we're aiming toward using, on 145.27, with a 103.5 tone. It's owned by Gene Colson, K7UVH, and he's invited us to it. If you're a race communicator, get that frequency in your radio's memory now!

    Then there's Field Day. We've got the capitol campus again, and we've got the sheriff's van and the Intel van, and the OARS tower. We've got the makings of another great event! That's the 4th weekend in June, of course -- don't get married, plan trips, plan to mow the grass...NOTHING...on that weekend! Plan to be one with the airwaves, calling CQ FIELD DAY with us until the wee hours! Every year it gets better! Last year Fred brought his satellite equipment and we worked the space station, and then several of us worked it individually. That was fun!

    I'm still collecting telegraph keys, and I found another one at another garage sale! I just can't figure out how they got out there!

    If you don't have an antenna handbook, come on over and go through mine, and photocopy the pages you're going to need, buy some wire, and get busy! Summer's coming right up -- let me rewrite that -- antenna erection time is coming right up!

    All the best in this grand period of the year! 73! 

    -- Lee, KI7SS

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    OARS Vest

    After much debate and a great deal of research, OARS has selected a vest to be used to help provide us with some visibility at public service events. It is an OSHA Class II (good for areas with speeds up to 50 MPH) surveyor's vest with 12 pockets in safety yellow. We are having an embroidered black patch placed on the back with the words "HAM RADIO COMMUNICATIONS" in gold stitching. Above that is a 4 inch wide piece of Velcro loop (the fuzzy piece) for attaching specific event items.

    You can also have you name and call sign on the front in a matching black with gold lettering embroidered patch. We are having Velcro loops added to the 2 breast pockets to hold radios in them.

    The vest is available in sizes from M to 3 XL for $42 without name tag and $48 with. If you are interested in purchasing one, contact me, Ken, K7TAG.

    -- Ken Dahl, K7TAG

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    Musically Inclined

    My wife and I were browsing in a crafts store when I noticed a display of country-style musical instruments. After looking over the flutes, dulcimers and recorders, I picked up a shiny, one-stringed instrument I took to be a mouth harp. I put it to my lips and, much to the amusement of other shoppers, twanged a few notes on it.

    After watching from a distance, my wife came up and whispered in my ear, "I hate to tell you this, honey, but you're trying to play a cheese slicer."

    -- from David, ZL3AI, via packet

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    South Sound Running Spaghetti Run

    A 5 K and 10 K run in the Olympia area, sponsored by South Sound Running, Tumwater, WA

    Date: Saturday, Sept. 13, 2003; start time: 6:00 PM

    Greg Klein, owner of South Sound Running, would be very pleased to have a few hams assist with this event. (SSR is a store at 3409 Capitol Blvd. SE that provides footwear, clothing and other gear for runners.)

    Brief description: Start in the Olympia Farmers' Market area, out Eastside Drive through and near to Priest Point Park, then return to the Market area, finishing up with a spaghetti feed. About 200+ runners are expected.

    Both races will start simultaneously. All runners will follow Marine Drive to Eastside Street and head north. About 1 mile north, the 5 K runners will reverse course and return to the market via the same route. Walkers will only be allowed to compete in the 5 K run (that's good!).

    The 10 K runners will continue north through the park, veer right on Ames St. to Gull Harbor Road, turn right and go south to 24th Ave. They then turn right and follow a narrow trail back into Priest Point Park. Then they will pass a water station, make a loop back onto Eastside Street, then follow the course back to the market. The 10 K run should only take about one hour to complete.

    Following the race, a spaghetti, salad and bread buffet will be provided by Mercato's, (great food!), and there will also be a beer garden available. Participating hams are invited to the buffet.

    One ham will be needed at the start/finish, one ham in a van that will be doing sweep and cleanup with Greg, and hopefully one motorcycle or bike to follow the last runner. One problem is that the trail into the park from 24th is not wide enough for a car or a motorcycle with a sidecar (sorry, Chuck!). It would also be desirable to have hams at the water station and partway down Marine Drive to report lead runner numbers just prior to the finish. This is an ideal total of five hams and one narrow vehicle that will be needed. Your assistance is requested! If you are interested in helping, please let me know. Thanks!

    --Paul, KC7LA at 866-0683 or paultkc7la@hotmail.com

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    OARS Net Check-ins

    The following stations checked in on the OARS General Information Net one or more of these dates: April 15, 22, or 29:


    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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    Royal Protocol

    This tale comes from the Guinness Book of Humourous Anecdotes published at the end of the week, and recounts how the queen welcomed Gen. Yakubu Gowan, who seized control of Nigeria in 1966, on his arrival at Victoria Station on a state visit.

    No sooner had the queen and her visitor seated themselves in the royal coach for the short drive to Buckingham Palace when one the horses lifted its tail and broke wind.

    "Oh, I do apologize," the queen said to the general. "Not a very good start to your visit."

    "Oh, please don't apologize," the general replied. "Besides, I thought it was one of the horses."

    -- from VE7DBX, via packet

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    FCC Now Accepting Comments in "Broadband Over Power Line" Inquiry

    The FCC released its Notice of Inquiry (NOI) on the deployment of "Broadband over Power Line" (BPL) technology on April 28 and now is accepting comments.

    A form of carrier-current communication better known as power line carrier (PLC), the technology has raised concerns of substantial interference to the Amateur Radio HF bands. BPL would couple high-frequency RF to parts of the power grid and use existing power lines as the transmission medium to deliver broadband and Internet access. In the NOI, the FCC acknowledges the interference risk from BPL.

    ARRL Lab Manager and RFI guru Ed Hare, W1RFI, has cautioned that deployment of BPL could affect every amateur in communities where it's employed, with a significant increase in noise levels. More information is on the Web at www.arrl.org/tis/info/HTML/plc/.

    The complete NOI is available on the FCC Web site. The FCC now is accepting electronically filed comments via its Electronic Comment Filing System ECFS Express page. To initiate a comment, click next to "Broadband over the traditional telephone network."

    -- ARRL Bulletin ARLB031

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    To celebrate their Golden Anniversary, 50 years of marriage, a couple booked a weekend at St. Andrews. On the 3rd tee, the husband turned to his wife and said, "Darling, I have to confess something. Twenty years ago I had a brief affair. It meant nothing. I hope that you can forgive me."

    His wife was hurt but said, "Dearest, those days are long gone. What we have now is far more valuable. I forgive you."

    They embraced and kissed.

    On the 17th tee the wife said to her husband, "Darling, since we're being honest with each other, I have something to tell you. Fifty-two years ago I had a sex change operation -- I was a man before we met."

    The husband threw a fit! He cursed, threw his driver, heaved his bag into the air, tore at his clothes, screamed and ranted, "You liar, you despicable cheat! How could you? I trusted you! And all this time you've been playing from the ladies' tee!"

    -- from ZL3AI, via packet


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    The Cost of Vanity

    FCC Proposes to Hike Amateur Radio Vanity Call Sign Fee

    The FCC proposed March 26 increasing the regulatory fee to apply for, renew, or reinstate an Amateur Radio vanity call sign from $14.50 to $16.30 this fall. The Commission included the new fee in a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) "Assessment and Collection of Regulatory Fees for Fiscal Year 2003" (MD 03-83).

    "We estimate that 9800 applicants will apply for vanity call signs in FY2003," the FCC said in its NPRM. That's up by 800 from FY2002. It expects to collect revenues of nearly $160,000, an increase of almost $30,000 from FY2002.

    The FCC NPRM also seeks comments on its efforts to review, streamline and modernize its fee assessment and collection processes and procedures. "We welcome comments on a broad range of options in this regard," the FCC said. Areas of particular interest include suggestions for improvement in the agency's electronic payment system.

    Interested parties may comment via the FCC's Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS) on the web at, http://www.fcc.gov/cgb/ecfs/. Enter "MD 03-83" in the "Proceeding" field. Electronic comments by e-mail also are welcome.

    -- ARRL Bulletin ARLB026


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    Signs of the times

    -- from David, ZL3AI, via packet

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    Goldfarb Memorial Scholarship

    Inaugural winner of the new Goldfarb Memorial Scholarship, a full four year scholarship, is a high school senior from Sammamish, Washington, Ben Schupack, NW7DX.

    Story on the ARRL Home Page: http://www.arrl.org

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

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

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    Love is grand; divorce is several hundred grand.

    Politicians and diapers have one thing in common -- they should both be changed regularly and for the same reason.

    It used to be only death and taxes were inevitable. Now, of course, there's shipping and handling, too.

    A coed said, "I was worried that my mechanic might try to rip me off, I was relieved when he told me all I needed was turn signal fluid."

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    --back to OARS home page