Olympia Amateur Radio Society

ARRL Special Service ClubWatts News

Monthly Newsletter of the

Olympia Amateur Radio Society

P.O. Box 2861, Olympia, WA 98507

  May 2007
Edited by George Lanning  KB6LE 

Table of Contents

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From the Oval ShackPresident's Message

Thank you to everyone who puts in so much time on behalf of our club. We are a growing club. We are having some great meetings and hopefully just having a lot of fun. This month's meeting will be held at our usual meeting place, the South Bay Fire station. See our web site at Olyham.org for more information and directions. The subject matter of this month's meeting will be planning for field day in June. Our event will occur at the Capital Campus. There are three committees this year. Radio operations, Publicity and last but not least FOOD. Our radio operations will be the best yet. Steve Ward, WC7I has spent a considerable amount of time designing and modeling antennas. We will be successful in making some great contacts. The tower is currently at the welding shop at SPSCC. We are making some modifications to make the trailer more stable and secure. We are also getting the trailer all spiffed up.

A tremendous effort is being made this year in the Public relations area. We plan on having a media campaign, a VIP tent area set up with a very nice display for guests and future members. There will be literature and information available along with at least one friendly face to greet and welcome the public. We plan on having a GOTA (get on the air) station. We will have radio flags, stickers, videos, and station displays.

Dinner promises to be the best yet. Part of the menu will include the finest prime rib west of the Atlantic ocean. You do not want to miss this.

Get involved and let's have some fun. Bring your family, your friends, your coworkers, your in-laws, lets invite the city to this event. It will be a great one!

Get involved and lets have some fun.

-- Bart Tirrell

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Where from?

"Dad, where did I come from?" asks this 10-years-old. The father was shocked that a 10 year old would be asking a question like that. He was hoping to wait a few more years before he would have to explain the facts of life, but he figured it was better a few years early than a few days too late, so, for the next two hours he explained everything to his son.

When he got finished, he asked his son what prompted his question to which his son replied, "I was talking to the new kid across the street and he said he came from Ohio, so I was just wondering where I came from."

-- from AJokeADay via Internet

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Application Surge Continues Under New Amateur Rules

It's been just a little more than two months since the FCC dropped the requirement that Amateur Radio applicants pass a Morse code test to earn operating privileges below 30 MHz. While the initial avalanche of applications immediately following February 23, when the no-Morse testing regime went into effect, has abated somewhat, business remains brisk for the ARRL Volunteer Examiner Coordinator staff.

"It's slowing down a little bit, but it's still substantially above what we usually see," observed ARRL VEC Manager Maria Somma, AB1FM. She estimated that new Amateur Radio applications were up by 35 percent, while upgrade applications were up by 150 percent over last year's volume.

In a typical pre-February 23 week, Somma said, ARRL VEC would receive paperwork from approximately 115 test sessions. "It's on the order of 150 to 200 sessions per week now!" she exclaimed. Somma and ARRL VEC staffers concurred that applications were roughly evenly split between newcomers and upgraders. She said she's also seen a spike in the number of applications from General and higher class radio amateurs to serve as volunteer examiners.

To satisfy his own curiosity, ARRL member Tommy Gober, N5DUX, compiled some FCC statistics on the number of new Technician, General and Extra licensees before and after the Morse code requirement was deleted. His numbers show the FCC issued nearly 700 more Amateur Extra, 3625 more General and 454 more Technician licenses in March 2007 than in the same month last year.

Figures from ARRL member and ham radio statistician Joe Speroni, AH0A, indicate the total number of Amateur Extra licensees is up 1649 from March 2006 to March 2007, while the General population grew by 2668. The total number of Technician licensees dropped by 1632 during the same period, however -- and it continues to drop going into April.

Speroni's figures also show that the grand total of Amateur Radio station licenses has declined by more than 12,800 over the past two years -- to 655,048 at the end of March.

The still-heavy volume has stretched the amount of time it takes for an application to proceed from examination session to license grant. "I think we're looking at eight to ten days from the test date," Somma allowed. By and large, those on the waiting end have been patient and understanding, she added.

A staff of seven full-time and three part-time employees handle the "incoming" from Amateur Radio exam sessions across the US and from other sites where US Amateur Radio examinations are administered through ARRL VEC.

There's no light at the end of the tunnel just yet. Somma and her staff are looking ahead to 450 examination sessions registered for May, another 400 in June and 320 apiece during July and August. And summer is "the slow season," she remarked. Another 900 test sessions already are on the calendar for the rest of 2007.

-- from the ARRL Letter

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Treasurer's Report

As of 4/30/07

    GENERAL FUND (checking account)

        Previous balance     $ 2,902.03

            Income               170.63

            Expenses               0.00

        Ending balance         3,072.66

    REPEATER / PACKET FUND (savings account)

        Previous balance     $ 1,003.19

            Income                 0.00

            Expenses               0.00

        Ending balance         1,003.19

-- Ed Fitzgerald, N7WW, Treasurer

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OARS Net check-ins

The following stations checked in on the OARS General Information Net on April 10, 2007:


Net control station reporting was KB7DFL. 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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ARRL aiding effort to mitigate repeater interference to military radars

The ARRL has been working with the US Department of Defense to develop a plan to mitigate alleged interference from 70 cm ham radio repeaters to military radar systems on both coasts. Citing an increasing number of interference complaints, the US Air Force has asked the FCC to order dozens of repeater systems to either mitigate interference to the "PAVE PAWS" radars in Massachusetts and California or shut down. Amateur Radio is secondary to government users from 420 to 450 MHz and must not interfere with primary users. The Commission has not yet responded. ARRL Regulatory Information Specialist Dan Henderson, N1ND, stresses that the Defense Department acknowledges Amateur Radio's value in disasters and emergencies and is being extremely cooperative, and a wholesale shutdown of US 70 cm Amateur Radio activity is not in the offing.

"The ARRL Lab is working up calculations on each repeater system the Air Force has identified to determine where interference-mitigation techniques offer a reasonable chance of keeping the repeater on the air," Henderson says.

The situation affects 15 repeaters in the vicinity of Otis Air Force Base on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, and more than 100 repeaters within some 140 miles of Beale Air Force Base near Sacramento, California.

A US Air Force contractor identified the problematic repeater systems last summer, but the situation didn't become critical until the Air Force contacted the FCC a month ago. ARRL officials met with Defense Department representatives in late March to discuss alleged interference to the PAVE PAWS radar sites. Henderson has contacted Amateur Radio frequency coordinators in both affected areas.

PAVE PAWS is a missile and satellite detection and tracking system, and its facilities occupy essentially the entire 70 cm band -- one factor that makes mitigation difficult. As a "first step," however, the ARRL is recommending that all affected repeater owners reduce power -- possibly to as little as 5 W effective radiated power (ERP).

"We understand the difficulty this may cause to owners and users," Henderson said, "but the alternative to operating with a smaller coverage area may be not operating at all."

Henderson says the League is still seeking further information on the problem. "Until the Defense Department accepts a mitigation plan, repeater owners should exercise patience," he cautioned.

Contact Dan Henderson, N1ND, n1nd@arrl.org, or 860-594-0236, with specific questions or issues associated with this situation.

-- ARRL Bulletin ARLB013

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Truth in Advertising

Purported to be actual signs

-- from David, ZL3AI, via packet

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"According to a new medical study, barbecuing is bad for your prostate. Well, I'm glad they got this out in time. I was going to barbecue my prostate this weekend. I had no idea it's bad for you."

-- Jay Leno

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Upcoming special event station

On June 2, 2007 we will be operating a special event station commemorating the opening day for the Libby Historical Museum. Libby Montana is situated in the middle of the gold, silver and copper mining operations and has been active since the early 1800s. The museum houses many artifacts and has many operating pieces of machinery that date back to the early mining operations. Located on Highway 2 in Libby Montana, it is open to all to visit and see a part of history that is often overlooked.

Station callsign will be NQ7D, and operating frequencies will be around 14.210 MHz on 20 meters, and 7.250 on 40 meters. Other band operations will be operated depending on band conditions. We will be operating from 9 a.m. Mountain Time till the opening day event shuts down which should be around 6 p.m.

A special QSL card will be issued for contacts made. To get one of these cards from the museum, send your QSL card along with a SASE and $1.00 to the following address.

Priscilla Pollman WF7X

1519 Utah Ave

Libby Mt 59923

Hope to contact you on the air from the special event station.

-- Bill Cunnane, KK7XT, The Lincoln County Amateur Radio Group

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FCC poised to lower vanity call sign fee

The FCC has proposed reducing the regulatory fee to obtain or retain an Amateur Radio vanity call sign by more than 40 percent starting later this year. In a Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) released April 18, "Assessment and Collection of Regulatory Fees for Fiscal Year 2007," in MD Docket 07-81, the Commission is proposing to cut the fee from its current $20.80 to $11.70. If ultimately adopted, that would mark the lowest fee in the history of the current vanity call sign program. The FCC proposed to collect nearly $290.3 million in FY 2007 regulatory fees.

"These fees are mandated by Congress and are collected to recover the regulatory costs associated with the Commission's enforcement, policy and rulemaking, user information, and international activities," the FCC said. "Consistent with our established practice, we intend to collect these regulatory fees in the August-September 2007 time frame in order to collect the required amount by the end of the fiscal year." Comments on MD Docket 07-81 are due May 3. Reply comments are due May 11.

The vanity call sign fee has fluctuated over the 11 years of the current vanity call sign program, from a low of $12 to a high of $50. The FCC says it anticipates some 14,700 Amateur Radio vanity call sign "payment units" or applications during the next fiscal year.

The vanity call sign regulatory fee is payable not only when applying for a new vanity call sign but upon renewing a vanity call sign for a new term. The first vanity call sign licenses issued under the current Amateur Radio vanity call sign program that began in 1996 came up for renewal last year.

Those holding vanity call signs issued prior to 1996 are exempt from having to pay the vanity call sign regulatory fee at renewal, however. That's because Congress did not authorize the FCC to collect regulatory fees until 1993. Such "heritage" vanity call sign holders do not appear as vanity licensees in the FCC Amateur Radio database.

Amateur Radio licensees may file for renewal only within 90 days of their license expiration date. All radio amateurs must have an FCC Registration Number (FRN) before filing any application with the Commission. Applicants can obtain an FRN by going to the FCC Universal Licensing System (ULS) at, http://wireless.fcc.gov/uls/, and clicking on the "New Users Register" link. You must supply your Social Security Number to obtain an FRN.

-- ARRL Bulletin ARLB012

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Sorry I'm Late

Late one Saturday evening, I was awakened by the ringing of my phone. In a sleepy grumpy voice I said hello. The party on the other end of the line paused for a moment before rushing breathlessly into a lengthy speech.

"Mom, this is Susan and I'm sorry I woke you up, but I had to call because I'm going to be a little late getting home. See, Dad's car has a flat but it's not my fault. Honest! I don't know what happened. The tire just went flat while we were inside the theater. Please don't be mad, okay?"

Since I don't have any daughters, I know the person had mis-dialed. "I'm sorry dear," I replied, "but you've reached the wrong number. I don't have a daughter named Susan."

"Gosh, Mom," came the young woman's voice, "I didn't think you'd be this mad."

-- from David, ZL3AI, via packet

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What time is it?

On some air bases the Air Force is on one side of the field and the civilian aircraft use the other side of the field, with the control tower in the middle

One day the tower received a call from an aircraft asking, "What time is it?"

The tower responded, "Who is calling?"

The aircraft replied, "What difference does it make?"

The tower replied "It makes a lot of difference."

-- from David, ZL3AI, via packet

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HB 1073

Hi all,

You may remember I asked Mark KB7HDX, SM EWA, to follow this bill for us. Here is his latest report.



Good news, the house refused to sign off on the bill with the senate amendments which removed volunteer immunity while en-route to or from a training or exercise.

The bill is back to its original form, and I have to assume our e-mails and letters had an effect on this outcome.

A link to the bill as passed the legislature is here:


Again, thanks to all who helped in this process.

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When a man and a woman marry, they become one. The trouble begins when they try to decide which one.

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