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 2009
Edited by George Lanning  KB6LE 

Table of Contents

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From the Oval ShackPresident's Message

Hello Everyone -

I do not have much of my own for this month's greeting, so I will pass on some things for Field Day brought up by Lee.

Field Day is rapidly approaching, so we need to be thinking about what we will be doing this year. Lee [KI7SS] will be away for a few weeks and will not be in on much of the planning this year. He is flying out May 12 and believes he will be back (hopefully) June 15 which is two days before our June meeting. We will have to carry out much of the planning without him this year.

Lee indicated he has reserved the usual spot on the Capitol Campus for us this year -- complete with sprinklers. He said for this year he drew a line from the winged statue to the Tivoli Fountain and reserved everything to the south of that line. This is so the 40 meter antenna can be set up further North than in the past and hopefully this will reduce interference.

While we are usually a 3A endeavor, he said we do not really have enough operators and suggests we become a 2A effort due both to the lack of sunspots and the penalty for being 3A.

Lee said he will bring the tower and his beam as well as his FT990 HF station, but we need to see about getting the comm van if it is available and possibly the SAR bus. Maybe Steve will bring his TS-850 (hint hint) and/or someone else can bring a "hot rig" for a second and/or third station. Sorry Steve -- we do love you for more than just your radio. I will contact Duane [WB7ROZ] and ask about computer logging and the Intel van.

The last field day item he brought up is the need for food for Saturday evening as well as a hospitality solution including trash bags.

The last item Lee mentioned was the Capitol City Marathon on May 17. He indicated Mark [KE7JTU] and Frank [KD7SQU] have indicated they will be taking leadership roles in it, so please get in touch with them to see where you can help.

One thing of my own. Last month Lee discussed how keying a single frequency sine wave with pulses will appear at the receiver. When I read this, I remembered something mentioned about this in a class I took -- something about how the speed at which a signal's amplitude is changed affects the sidebands generated. Check your ARRL Handbook for Radio Amateurs for more information -- in mine it is labeled Rise Time vs. Bandwidth in the section Morse Telemetry (CW). This is probably easier to understand than the equations in textbooks.


Klaus, AC7MG

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FCC, Indianapolis police department address unlicensed operations

In response to an investigation by the FCC, the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD) http://www.indy.gov/eGov/IMPD/Pages/home.aspx has taken action to prevent further use of Amateur Radio frequencies by unlicensed officers. Any Amateur Radio equipment in the cruisers of unlicensed officers was removed by order of IMPD Chief of Police Michael T. Spears.

According to the FCC, some IMPD officers were using the radios to supplement their normal communications channels, including using amateur frequencies for tactical communications during drug surveillance. As part of its inquiry, the FCC reminded the IMPD of the large number of tactical channels available on a secondary basis to police departments from the public safety pool of frequency allocations.

"We are pleased that IMPD has put a stop to this unlicensed activity," said ARRL Regulatory Information Manager Dan Henderson, N1ND. "The investigation by the FCC, coupled with the expedient cooperation and correction of the problem by the IMPD, eliminates a situation that had raised serious concerns in the amateur community."

The FCC stated they would monitor the situation and follow up appropriately if needed.

-- from the ARRL Letter

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Treasurer's Report

As of 4/30/09

    GENERAL FUND (checking account)

        Previous balance     $ 1,851.08

            Income               210.39

            Expenses               0.00

        Ending balance         2,061.47

    REPEATER / PACKET FUND (savings account)

        Previous balance     $ 1,023.72

            Income                 0.00

            Expenses               0.00

        Ending balance         1,023.72

-- Ed Fitzgerald, N7WW, Treasurer

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The Shoe Box

A man and woman had been married for more than 60 years. They had shared everything. They had talked about everything. They had kept no secrets from each other except that the little old woman had a shoe box in the top of her closet that she had cautioned her husband never to open or ask her about.

For all of these years, he had never thought about the box, but one day the little old woman got very sick and the doctor said she would not recover. In trying to sort out their affairs, the little old man took down the shoe box and took it to his wife's bedside. She agreed that it was time that he should know what was in the box.

When he opened it, he found two crocheted dolls and a stack of money totaling $95,000.

He asked her about the contents. "When we were to be married," she said, "my grandmother told me the secret of a happy marriage was to never argue. She told me that if I ever got angry with you, I should just keep quiet and crochet a doll."

The little old man was so moved; he had to fight back tears. Only two precious dolls were in the box. She had only been angry with him two times in all those years of living and loving. He almost burst with happiness.

"Honey," he said, "that explains the dolls, but what about all of this money? Where did it come from?"

"Oh," she said, "that's the money I made from selling the dolls."

-- contributed by Klaus, AC7MG

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Happy Birthday Sam

Some people signing on to Google today are wondering what is going on with the Google header.

The Google logo is in Morse code to honor Samuel F.B. Morse's birthday (April 27, 1791), but according to the Search Engine Roundtable, many users don't recognize it and are asking why the Google logo is broken or not loading properly. This is a great opportunity for us to do some public education, explaining what it is they're seeing and why it is significant.

It's also a good opportunity to let people know that Morse code is not a dead language, that it is in use by ham radio operators around the world -- in addition to other means of communication including voice, keyboard modes (the original text-messaging!), television, two-way satellite communication and even bouncing signals off of meteor trails and the moon (in fact, a group of hams in Germany recently succeeded in bouncing radio signals off of Venus, in preparation for sending a ham radio satellite to Mars!!!). It's important to include this sort of information to avoid giving the impression that we're all a bunch of geezers using archaic means of communicating.

Also it is good to keep in mind: The original Morse code was a numerical code with numbers corresponding to words in a code book at each telegraph station. The dot-dash code we know today as Morse code was actually developed by Morse's assistant, Alfred Vail.

Happy Birthday Sam and Happy Birthday to our beginnings of a fun hobby

(information contribution from Rich W2VU)

-- James Pace, K7CEX, ARRL Western Washington Manager

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German AMSAT team transmits, receives signals from Venus

On March 25, a group from AMSAT-DL bounced radio signals off the surface of Venus, marking the first time Amateur Radio operators have bounced radio signals off another planet

According to AMSAT-DL President Peter Guelzow, DB2OS, the Earth-Venus-Earth (EVE) transmission is another step in preparing for a mission to Mars. According to an AMSAT-DL press release, the team's transmitter was generating about 6 kW CW on 2.4 GHz.

Guelzow said that signals were sent from a ground control station at the IUZ Sternwarte observatory in Bochum: "After traveling almost 100 million kilometers and a round trip delay of about 5 minutes, they were clearly received as echoes from the surface of Venus. This was the first German success to receive echoes of other planets. In addition, this is the farthest distance crossed by radio amateurs, over 100 times further than echoes from the moon (EME reflections)."

The EVE experiment was repeated on March 26 for several hours with "good echoes" from Venus, Guelzow said. "Morse code was used to transmit the well-known 'HI' signature known from the AMSAT OSCAR satellites."

For receiving the EVE reflections, Guelzow said that the team used a fast Fourier transform (FFT) analysis with an integration time of 5 minutes. "After integrating for 2 minutes only, the reflected signals were clearly visible in the display," he said. "Despite the bad weather, signals from Venus could be detected from 1038 UTC on until the planet reached the local horizon."

Guelzow explained that with the EVE reflections, the high power amplifier "has therefore passed this crucial test as a final key component for the planned P5-A Mars mission. By receiving generated echoes from Venus, the ground and command station for the Mars probe has been cleared for operational use and the AMSAT-DL team is now gearing up for building the P5-A space probe. AMSAT-DL wants to show that low-budget interplanetary exploration is possible with its approach."

Development, design and construction of this first German Mars mission have been achieved by AMSAT-DL and its partner organizations, Guelzow explained. "Already a third of the total project costs were performed. More work shall follow during the mission. AMSAT-DL would like to demonstrate that their approaches to low-cost space missions are feasible."

-- Information provided by AMSAT-DL

-- from the ARRL Letter

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May Meeting Program

The following is a note from David Friedman, our speaker for this month's meeting:

I am looking forward to meeting you all and sharing some stories in person as we all do over "the air." It will be a long evening, but well worth it for me and a lot of fun.

I will present a PP presentation on my activities before, during and after Hurricanes Gustav and later Ike in the Gulf. The gist of the talk will be how, with a bit of technology, thinking "outside of the box," and a lot of coffee, an experienced ARES/RACES, Amer. Red Cross, and animal rescue volunteer can run a multi-state disaster response operation (all with that which is allowed as routine baggage on any airline).

The story is a little long, but I think your folks will find it enjoyable and useful for operations in every aspect of Amateur Radio and EmComm. Much of it was a major presentation at the latest EmComm Academy in Seattle.

David Friedman, KE7GOY

Monroe, WA

206 390-9461 cell

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Does your license class allow you to be there?

We all like the idea of getting that DX station, but at what cost? As I review the advisory cards sent out by our Official Observer program, I am amazed at the General class stations that are operating in the Extra class portion of the band and further amazed at the number of Technician class licenses that are also down in those portions and even checking in on HF traffic nets!

Is it worth a ticket or possibly being sanctioned by the FCC just to get that DX station or just to say "I checked in on this or that traffic net"?

Let's be more conscious of our license class and the privileges granted to that class. If you want to check in on the HF traffic nets, then upgrade to at least General; and if you want to chase that DX at the bottom of the band, then upgrade to Extra. Let's show that we can have fun without breaking federal law.

James David Pace, K7CEX

ARRL Western Washington Section Manager


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Watch out for this virus

Just learned about this from a reliable source. It seems that there is a computer virus out there called the "C-Nile Virus" that even the most advanced programs from Norton cannot take care of, so be warned. It appears to affect those of us who were born before 1950.

Symptoms of the C-Nile Virus:

  1. Causes you to send the same E-mail twice.
  2. Causes you to send blank e-mail.
  3. Causes you to send E-mail to the wrong person.
  4. Causes you to send E-mail back to the person who sent it to you.
  5. Causes you to send E-mail to other listed persons who received the E-mail from the person who sent it to you.
  6. Causes you to forget to attach the attachment.
  7. Causes you to hit "SEND" before you've finished the

-- from W1GMF via packet

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Pacific Northwest DX Convention

Dear West Washington Radio Club Contacts,

The Pacific Northwest DX Convention has been held each summer since 1955 with the sponsorship rotating between the Willamette Valley DX Club (WVDXC), British Columbia DX Club (BCDXC), and the Western Washington DX Club (WWDXC). The Spokane DX Association (SDXA) was added to the rotation in 2007. The privilege of hosting the 54th annual DX Convention rests with the Spokane DX Association.

The convention will be held the weekend of August 7-9, 2009 in Spokane Valley, WA at the Mirabeau Park Hotel and Convention Center. The convention has been approved as an ARRL Operating Specialty Convention under the sponsorship of the Spokane DX Association. See more detail at our website:


Please share this message with contacts in your local clubs and nets, and especially with all DXer friends.

Thanks and 73,

Spokane DX Association

For the Northwest DX Convention Publicity Committee,

Ed Stuckey, AI7H ai7h@arrl.net <mailto:ai7h@arrl.net>

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OARS Net check-ins

The following stations checked in on the OARS General Information Net one or more times on April 9 or 21:


Net control station reporting for the month was Rod, KI7CQ. 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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Knock Knock

Three brothers, ages 92, 94.and 96 live in a house together. One night the 96 year old draws a bath. He puts his foot in and pauses. He yells down the stairs and says "Was I getting in or out?"

The 94 year old yells back "I don't know. I'll come up and see." He starts up the stairs and pauses. Then he yells "Was I going up the stairs or down?"

The 92 year old Ham is sitting in front of his HF rig and listening to his brothers. He shakes his head, picks up the mic and says "I sure hope I never get that forgetful." He knocks on wood for good measure. He then yells into the mic "I'll come up and help both of you as soon as I see who's at the door.

-- from W1GMF via packet

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A Cherokee Indian was a special guest at an elementary school. He talked to the children about his tribe and its traditions, then shared with them this fun fact: "There are no swear words in the Cherokee language."

One boy raised his hand, "But what if you're hammering a nail and accidentally smash your thumb?"

"That," the man answered, "is when we use your language."

-- from W1GMF via packet

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Ship's Log

The first mate on a ship decided to celebrate with a bit of stowed-away rum. He got so drunk that he was still a little drunk the next morning. Later in the day, when the first mate had sobered up, he looked in the ship's log. He read the Captain's entry for the day: "The first mate was drunk today."

"Captain, please don't leave that in the log," the mate said. "This could add months or years to my becoming a captain myself." "Well, is it true?" asked the Captain, knowing full well it was.

"Yes, it's true," admitted the mate.

"If it's true, it has to stay in the log. That's the rule. If it's true, it goes in the log. End of discussion!" said the Captain sternly.

Weeks later, it was the first mate's turn to make the log entry. The first mate wrote: "The ship seems to be in good shape. The Captain was sober today."

-- from W1GMF via packet

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Near Miss

As a Delta Airlines jet was flying over Arizona on a clear day, the co-pilot was providing his passengers with a running commentary about landmarks over the PA system.

"Coming up on the right, you can see the Meteor Crater, which is a major tourist attraction in northern Arizona. It was formed when a lump of nickel and iron, roughly 150 feet in diameter and weighing 300,000 tons, struck the earth at about 40,000 miles an hour, scattering white-hot debris for miles in every direction. The hole measures nearly a mile across and is 570 feet deep."

From the cabin, a passenger was heard to exclaim, "Wow! It just missed the highway!"

-- from W1GMF via packet

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Coming up

It is about time for Watts News to print a new OARS Directory. If you want to be included, be sure your dues are paid.

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