Watts News

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

 November 2001
Edited by George Lanning  KB6LE 

Table of Contents

  •  President's Message
  •  Harry Halverson Silent Key
  •  Rules for cats
  •  OARS Net check-ins
  •  Project Starshine issues call for telemetry reports
  •  Treasurer's Report
  •  Morse Code to be featured on upcoming X-Files episode
  •  ISS commander buoys spirits at NYC ground zero school
  •  Comments from the VP
  •  Hobbies for Healing
  •  I'm a senior citizen
  •  Scientists discover new element: Administratium (Ad)
  •  Ducie is newest DXCC entity
  • --back to OARS home page

    I can almost smell the turkey cooking now. Here as we approach the holiday season our thoughts start to turn to pleasant things. Like FOOD! This is my favorite time of year just because of the delightful dishes that can be enjoyed. I sincerely hope all of you have a happy and joyous holiday season.

    There will be a Board Meeting prior to the regular meeting on Nov. 28th, starting at 18:30. As there is not an official meeting in December, this is the final board meeting for this year.

    Earlier in the year there was an attempt to get Senate Bill 2002 passed at the capitol. This Bill if you recall was aimed at antenna height limits imposed by covenants. Recently there have been articles from the league and other areas relating to the rules. I think that we as amateurs need to send a loud and clear statement to our leaders that these restrictions are hurting everyone. So we will be asking for your support. We can contact these people via e-mail, fax, telephone and regular mail and make them aware of our wishes. You will hear more about this in the future.

    Thanks to the members that were elected at the October meeting for the year 2002 officers. I know we have mentioned them on the air several times but here they are again.

    -- Dan Crane, KB7DFL

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    Harry Halverson Silent Key

    Harry Halverson, a former member of OARS, passed away on October 13. Harry, whose call was W6MTI, moved to the Olympia area after retiring in 1984. His California company, Kenemetrics, Inc., produced advanced seismographs, and upon his retirement, gave him his own seismograph "instead of a gold watch," as Harry was known to say. 

    Harry joined OARS after his move, and he also installed the seismograph in his Cooper Point home. In addition, he was a very accomplished photographer, using an old Hasselblad camera, and his photos were widely appreciated in the Olympia area. One of the most famous was that of the capitol dome at night, with fireworks superimposed in the background. He also urged his company to donate another seismograph to the Department of Natural Resources, and that unit now sits in the building's rotunda.

    Harry was always a man of interest at OARS meetings, especially after a major earthquake, because his home unit usually managed to record the impulses even if far away. He always brought in his charts for every one to see.

    Unfortunately, Harry's hearing was slowly being lost, and it eventually became impossible for him to communicate as a ham, so he eventually dropped out of OARS.

    -- Paul Taylor, KC7LA

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    Rules for cats

    (All cats must follow these)

    BATHROOMS: Always accompany humans to the bathroom. It is not necessary to do anything. Just sit and stare.

    DOORS: Do not allow any closed doors in any room. To get door open, stand on hind legs and hammer with forepaws. Once door is opened, it is not necessary to use it. After you have ordered an "outside" door opened, stand halfway in and out and think about several things. This is particularly important during very cold weather, rain, snow, or mosquito season.

    CHAIRS AND RUGS: If you have to throw up, get to a chair quickly. If you cannot manage in time, get to an Oriental rug. If there is no Oriental rug, shag is good. When throwing up on the carpet, make sure you back up so it is as long as a human's bare foot.

    HAMPERING: If one of your humans is engaged in some activity and the other is idle, stay with the busy one. This is called "helping," otherwise known as "hampering." Following are the rules for "hampering":

    1) When supervising cooking, sit just behind the left heel of the cook. You cannot be seen and thereby stand a better chance of being stepped on and then picked up and comforted.

    2) For book readers, get in close under the chin, between eyes and book, unless you can lie across the book itself.

    3) For paperwork, lie on the work in the most appropriate manner so as to obscure as much of the work as possible. Pretend to doze, but every so often reach out and slap the pencil or pen.

    4) For people paying bills or working on income taxes or Christmas cards, keep in mind the aim: to hamper! First, sit on the paper being worked on. When dislodged, watch sadly from the side of the table. When activity proceeds nicely, roll around on the papers, scattering them to the best of your ability. After being removed for the second time, push pens, pencils, and erasers off the table, one at a time.

    5) When a human is holding the newspaper in front of him/her, be sure to jump on the back of the paper. Humans love to jump.

    6) When a human is working at the computer, jump up on desk, walk across keyboard, bat at mouse pointer on screen and then lay in human's lap across arms, hampering typing in progress.

    WALKING: As often as possible, dart quickly and as close as possible in front of the human, especially on stairs, when they have something in their arms, in the dark, and when they first get up in the morning. This will help their coordination skills.

    BEDTIME: Always sleep on the human at night so he/she cannot move around.

    LITTER BOX: When using the litter box, be sure to kick as much litter out of the box as possible. Humans love the feel of kitty litter between their toes.

    HIDING: Every now and then, hide in a place where the humans cannot find you. Do not come out for three to four hours under any circumstances. This will cause the humans to panic (which they love) thinking that you have run away or are lost. Once you do come out, the humans will cover you with love and kisses and you will probably get a treat.

    ONE LAST THOUGHT: Whenever possible, get close to a human, especially their face, turn around, and present your butt to them. Humans love this, so do it often. And don't forget guests.

    -- thanks to Judi Koehn

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    OARS Net check-ins

    The following stations checked in on the OARS General Information Net one or more times in October 2001:

            AA7YD   AB7PS   K2SAR   K7CEZ
            K7TAG   KB7DFL  KB7JDL  KB7NMU
            KC7CKO  KC7FEC  KC7FEE  KD6ZBS
            KD7HTG  KD7ISO  KD7LMQ  KD7LZA
            KD7MHC  KD7MNI  KE7HA   KG6EEL
            KI7SS   N7AGG   N7EIM   N7GGX
            N7HCT   N7JHJ   N7SSD   N7WW
            W3GE    W7DOY   W7SAY   W7UUO
            WB7ROZ  WB7TT

    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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    Project Starshine issues call for telemetry reports

    Project Starshine is seeking volunteer Amateur Radio operators and students worldwide to monitor and report telemetry from the recently launch Starshine 3 satellite. Data supporting a solar cell experiment on the satellite is being downlinked so students and radio amateurs can participate in collecting the data.

    The satellite transmits 9600 bps AX.25 packet telemetry at 145.825 MHz every two minutes. An attractive QSL card is available to all who forward telemetry reports to Project Starshine.

    Launched September 30 as one of three ham radio payloads from Alaska' new Kodiak Launch Complex, Starshine 3 is in a 500-km, 67-degree circular orbit. Nearly one meter in diameter, Starshine 3 weighs some 200 pounds and carries 1500 aluminum mirrors polished by some 40,000 student volunteers in the US and 25 other countries.

    Starshine 3's primary mission is to involve and educate students in space and radio sciences. The "mirror-ball" surface permits youngsters to visually track the satellite during morning and evening passes. Students record the mirror flashes and report their observations to Project Starshine, and visual data gathered will be used to determine the effects of the atmospheric drag on the spacecraft.

    To report Starshine 3 telemetry, visit the Starshine 3 Telemetry Web site, http://epulation.com/starshine/starshine3/.

    For additional information about Project Starshine, visit the Project Starshine Web site, http://www.azinet.com/starshine/.

    -- from the ARRL Letter, Electronic Edition

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    Treasurer's Report

    As of 10/31/01

        GENERAL FUND (checking account)

        Previous balance  $ 2,325.12
            Income              2.99
            Expenses          270.10
        Ending balance      2,058.01

        REPEATER / PACKET FUND (savings account)

        Previous balance      931.88
            Income              0.00
            Expenses            0.00
        Ending balance        931.88

    -- Ed Fitzgerald, N7WW, Treasurer

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    Morse Code to be featured on upcoming X-Files episode

    Rob Ginkowski, WA6CW, of Hollywood, California, served as a technical adviser to The X-Files star Robert Patrick for an upcoming episode. Patrick's character, John Doggett, was in a hospital bed, paralyzed, and was required to send a Morse code message by tapping his index finger. WA6CW (who also works as an actor) taught Patrick how to tap out the message at about 5 WPM. "He was a fast learner," Ginkowski commented.

    No word on what the message was, but it might be "The truth is out there." The episode, entitled "4-D," is scheduled to air Sunday, December 9, on the Fox TV Network.

    -- from the ARRL Letter, Electronic Edition

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    ISS commander buoys spirits at NYC "ground zero" school 

    International Space Station crew commander Frank Culbertson, KD5OPQ, has fielded questions from students at seven schools since the end of November. These included a morale-boosting contact with New York City's Public School 234, whose students are in temporary quarters after the September 11 World Trade Center attacks.

    Ten students in Francine Cornelius's computer class posed 20 questions during the 10-minute contact November 7. Student Renee Otto asked Culbertson how New York City looked from space on September 11. Culbertson described the smoke from the site as it looked from space. "It's sad that you've had to move from school to school, but we're proud that you're continuing to work and take your education seriously," Culbertson told the students. PS 234's normal campus is only two blocks from "Ground Zero."

    The nearly 700 students and faculty had to be evacuated on September 11. Principal Anna Switzer said the students were grateful for the opportunity to chat with Culbertson, who operated at NA1SS.

    The previous week, on October 29, 17 fifth graders at Protsman and Kolling elementary schools in St John, Indiana, spoke with Culbertson, who told one student that sunrise "is gorgeous from outer space." John Gianotti, W9WY, acted as control operator for the direct QSO.

    On November 1, Culbertson spoke with 10 mostly teenaged students at Sanilac Career Center in Peck, Michigan. Electronics teacher Ted Davis, KF8ZO, pulled double duty as radio operator for the direct contact. 

    Students at Carmel, Indiana's, Woodbrook Elementary School, including Culbertson's nephew, Tom, were up November 2. Culbertson told Woodbrook students that while he will miss the International Space Station when he leaves in December, he is looking forward to being reunited with his family.

    On November 6, students at Kenosha, Wisconsin's Tremper High School enjoyed their 10 minutes with Culbertson, who later praised the students' intelligent questions and thanked ARISS relay Tony Hutchinson, VK5ZAI, in Australia, who facilitated the contact.

    Students at Phillips Middle School in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, interviewed Culbertson November 9. Seventh grade science teacher Barbara Pedersen, KE4JZM, operated the station for her students. "It brings the kids so much closer to the space program" Pedersen said. "It makes it so much more real. The kids were so excited."

    All of the ham radio contacts were arranged as part of the Amateur Radio on the International Space Station - or ARISS - program.

    -- from the ARRL Letter, Electronic Edition

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    Comments from the VP

    I've spent quite a lot of energy on the TCTV video production I'm producing December 11th, at the expense of other endeavors. I took a camera to several ham's shacks, videotaping equipment and antennas, and then spent some time in an edit suite organizing the resulting shots. 

    It's not enough to have a script; you also have to find a video crew familiar with TCTV's equipment. They have a wonderful facility, with a complete three-camera studio and master control room. They have three "edit suites" where you can mix and manage tapes you've made elsewhere. You can check out cameras, tripods, lights, microphones and mixers and cords -- everything you need to produce a video masterpiece. And it's essentially free for the asking! They run good classes in the evening, and many people come to take the classes. But they usually come with an agenda, like, they want to help their friends produce a gardening show, or a horse show, or something. That something doesn't often include a show like mine.

    Oh, I talked enough people into helping that I've got a crew together -- for this first effort. What I need is a crew I can count on, a crew that will come help once a month for three or six months, or more, if the show is successful.

    You could be on the crew -- if you've been through TCTV's training. You can't do it otherwise. It should be easy, pointing a camera, but there's so much more to it! So, get on their schedule and get some training. And let me know you're doing it! I could sure use the help, and, I'll come help you in return!

    Next Wednesday's program will be another video spectacular, maybe with better audio this time! I have two tapes for you, one about 30 minutes, one somewhat shorter. Both are very interesting and fun, so plan to be there!

    Don't forget the potluck Saturday December 29th, here at my house, starting about 4 pm, dinner at 6. I live between Kaiser and Overhulse Roads off 11th Avenue, out toward Evergreen State College. From I-5 take Hwy 101 west, take the Evergreen State College turnoff, and immediately take the next right. This will put you at Mud Bay Road, with a fire station on your immediate right. Go right, and then make an immediate left in front of the fire station, onto Overhulse. Go north on Overhulse for about half a mile, make a right onto 11th, and make another right onto our street, "Narnia Lane." We're the second home on the left, 908 Narnia. The phone is 866-0800, but of course we'll be monitoring the repeater, too.

    Let's divide up the food selections; first half of the alphabet, bring entries; second half, desserts and salads. Unless you've got some favorite secret recipe you always bring because it's killer good! Bring it! If it's snowy or icy stay home! Check with us on the repeater.

    -- Lee Chambers, KI7SS

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    Hobbies for Healing

    The following email message was sent to OARS -- if anyone is interested in taking on such a project, please contact Duane, WA0MJD, at the email address given below.

    I have been developing a project for three years that helps disadvantaged people gain exposure to the fun world of amateur radio. The project website is at : www.hobbiesforhealing.com. I have been wanting to donate a small unit into the Seattle branch of the Ronald McDonald house (unit seen in the "kid's club" section of the website).

    The RMH is excited about getting a unit, however I do not have the money to give them one. I have not been successful in gaining support of an individual or group willing to buy the equipment and cabinet and present it to the Seattle RMH for their client's use. A name plate could be attached to the cabinet recognizing the club's efforts.I hope for your help.

    Best regards,

    Duane Wyatt, WA0MJD


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    I'm a senior citizen

    -- from Joke of the Day

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    Scientists discover new element: Administratium (Ad)

    The heaviest element ever described was discovered by physicists at the FCC last week. Tentatively named Administratium, the element has no protons or electrons. This indicates that Ad has an atomic number of 0 and falls outside the natural patterns exhibited by other elements in the periodic table. Ad does however have 1 neutron, 125 assistants to the neutron, 75 vice-neutrons and 111 assistants to the vice-neutrons. This gives Ad an atomic mass of 312. The 312 particles are held together by a force involving the continuous exchange of meson-like particles which have been termed "memos."

    Because Administratium has no protons or electrons, it is inert. Nonetheless it can be detected chemically in that it impedes every reaction in which it is present. According to one of its discoverers, even a small amount of Ad makes reactions which normally proceed in seconds take more than 5 days. 

    Administratium has a half-life of three years. In fact, it does not really decay but instead undergoes reorganization in which a vice-neutron, assistants to the vice-neutron, and certain assistants to the neutron change places. Studies have shown that the mass of Ad increases after each reorganization, although this increase in mass has yet to be fully explained. Another peculiar property of Ad is that the more one tries to observe the motion of vice-neutrons within the structure of Ad, the more uncertain these motions become. 

    Within hours of the discovery of Ad, the existence of the element was confirmed in laboratories around the world. A team of physicists at the University of Utah held a press conference to announce that they had been able to synthesize Administratium in fusion reactions conducted at room temperature. This reaction was monitored using a highly sophisticated device which measured streams of memos emitted from a FAX mounted device. This device called FUBAR by the researchers has indicated there may be more memos emitted by Ad at room temperature than were consumed...... 

    More information to follow from the FCC and the Media Administration Division (MAD) at the University.

    -- author unknown

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    Ducie is newest DXCC entity

    DXpedition operation imminent

    You might never have heard of it before, but Ducie Island in the South Pacific is the latest DXCC entity -- the 335th, according to ARRL Membership Services Manager Wayne Mills, N7NG. A DXpedition was en route. Starting at 0000 UTC on November 16, 2001, Ducie Island became eligible for DXCC credit as a result of a favorable vote to accept the Pitcairn Island Amateur Radio Association (PIARA) as an International Amateur Radio Union member-society http://www.iaru.org/rel011116.html

    PIARA filed its application for IARU membership last March, and the matter went to a world-wide vote of IARU member-societies in June. Votes were counted this week, and PIARA's application was approved. Under DXCC rules, an entity that hosts an IARU society is considered a "political entity."

    Mills emphasized that only contacts dated November 16, 2001, and later will count for DXCC. For the moment, that point is a bit academic, however, since the DXpedition team has been delayed in reaching Ducie. The island has been activated previously for the Islands On The Air program (it's IOTA OC-182), but Mills says those earlier contacts will not count for DXCC. 

    The group will use a VP6 call sign--to be announced. Some operation is planned on all bands, 160 through 6 meters (there will be a 6 meter beacon on 50.110 MHz) on CW, SSB and RTTY. Log checks will be available on the DX Cluster from Japan Web site, http://www.big.or.jp/~ham/dx.html.

    -- from the ARRL Letter

    --back to table of contents

    --back to OARS home page