ARRL Special Service ClubWatts News

Monthly Newsletter of the

Olympia Amateur Radio Society

P.O. Box 2861, Olympia, WA 98507

  November 2004
Edited by George Lanning  KB6LE 

Table of Contents

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From the Oval ShackGreetings one more time from the Oval Shack.

It was good to see a good (electing) turn-out at the October meeting. Congratulations go to the full slate of OARS officers as elected at that meeting:

On to the future, guys. Thank you for your service. A special thanks also goes to Chuck Lund who volunteered for the logging duties. Nicely done, sir.

Congratulations also go to George Lanning KB6LE, now a Life Member of OARS, in recognition of all his countless hours of hard work for this club on the web site and newsletter. Keep it up, George. Thank you.

I do know that I wasn't able to be as active in this second half of the year as I would have liked, but with my XYL still in the hospital after four months, what 'cha gonna do? She's still having a few problems with infections, but the fine doctors at UWMC seem to be on top of her care, if not ahead of it. It's been a long summer and fall, and the winter ain't shaping up to be much better. Hopefully she'll be home by Christmas.

I was glad to see our club go forward with the White Dove project, donating toys to homeless Florida kids for the holidays. This project will give us a chance to reach out to folks that have had a rough year, both the kids and the parents. My in-laws live in Port Charlotte, and their house did survive with substantial damage to their roof and an add-on lanai. The waiting list for some roofers is TWO YEARS. The community of Port Charlotte is still cleaning up.

Speaking of emergency preparedness, our esteemed field day guru Lee Chambers KI7SS, brought up some intriguing suggestions to improve our operating capabilities next June. In your minds eye, if you will, picture two vertical yagi arrays pointing south-east, one on forty, and one on eighty, and BOTH held aloft by helium-filled balloons! Budget some extra coffee money, Ken, I bet neither one of those bands would close all night, engineering challenges notwithstanding. I certainly hope I can operate with you folks in June, and I will try to help with some of those engineering challenges if I can.

Don't eat too much turkey. Get those Sweepstakes logs in, I'm still working on mine. Flex those rotators for the DX contests coming up. And when some driver of questionable driving ability cuts you off in the rain at your local shopping mall, or some amateur radio operator with an S9+20 db signal tromps all over your operating frequency (perhaps in the next contest) do two things: Take a deep cleansing breath, and move on.


-- Leroy N7EIE, OARS President

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Emergency Communications -- Part 2

-- by Tom Dennis KA4VVA, Thurston County ARES/RACES EC/RO

Responding to an event: If you are not already a trained and qualified member of a local ARES/RACES unit, don't show up at an operating site with hat in hand and your code keyer in your pocket, wanting to help. It is far too late for that. Both ARES and RACES are organizations within the greater Homeland Security Department of the federal government.

This means mandatory training requirements and other subjects for basic membership and operations within these groups. Don't feel hurt it the local government offices and public service agencies turn you away. They have their liabilities to be concerned about.

So what can you do about it? Well, in short, get off your duff and join, as a minimum, ARES as an active member. ARES is our primary non-government public service agency communications support unit. We help Red Cross, Salvation Army, KGY, the hospitals and much more as their auxiliary communications asset.

If you want to help at the EOC, Sheriff's Office or on Search and Rescue missions, then join up with RACES that works with local government offices. In the end, we would like to see people in both units so they experience the various types of communications operations used locally.

The Thurston County ARES/RACES unit has less than 35 active members. There are over 100 members of OARS. So some basic math would say that only about 30% of OARS is public services minded, the rest are getting a free ride.

That is not that bad of figure when you check the FCC records and see there are over 1,000 hams in the county, and only 35 are willing to participate in trained public service communications.

ARES/RACES appreciates the fact OARS allows us to use their inter-linked repeaters for training, nets and during actual disasters, etc. But, we can't do it all with a small group of members. We have far too many tasks to fill and not enough bodies to keep the job going throughout the event.

Give this some thought. We are the county with the State Capital in it. When disaster strikes, yes Camp Murray will be active -- BUT, state offices will still be functioning here and may ask for our support. We will be very thin on personnel to help.

During the past year, members of ARES/RACES has organized almost every public service event locally with the exception of Field Day, and the majority of active participants there were ARES/RACES folks!

Remember, when you want to argue your rights to be a Ham, remember what Part 97 says: AMATEUR RADIO SERVICES, not Ham Radio Hobby, DX Club, SSTV group, packet cluster committee, etc. Your license says you are willing to provide a service in time of need. It is time to step up to the plate and play ball with the big league.

Don't give excuses about age, what you did way back when, or how you're developing the high-speed answer to all of our needs. We need you NOW, not when we are up to our elbows in disaster messages, to volunteer to help with communications.

The basic requirement is the ability to take pen in hand and write messages, and talk over the radio. Everything else is just fine-tuning those skills.

If you are a person who only does things to better him or herself socially, we don't need you. We want people who want to help others in the time of need in adverse conditions and locations, and not have the need to take credit for it.

Want to know more about us, or even join? Check out our web page at:

http://www.wwa-district3-ares.org/thurston_county /

or call me during the day at 786-5500.

-- Tom Dennis, KA4VVA

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The Inheritance

Due to inherit a fortune when his sickly, widower father died, Bill decided he needed a woman to enjoy it with. Going to a singles bar, he spotted a woman whose beauty took his breath away. "I'm just an ordinary man," he said, walking up to her, "but in just a week or two, my father will die and I'll inherit 20 million dollars." The woman went home with Bill, and in four days she became his stepmother.

Men will never learn!

-- from David, ZL3AI, via packet

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Useful life of UO-22 satellite appears over

According to AMSAT-UK, the UO-22 satellite is not in good shape and its useful life may be over. The Surrey Satellite Technology Limited (SSTL) Ground Station control center has tried several times in recent weeks to reactivate the satellite, AMSAT-UK reports. The satellite did come back to life briefly following one attempt, but other tries have failed completely.

The SSTL ground control station may make further attempts to reactivate UO-22, "but it seems unlikely that they will be completely successful." The cause of the satellite's failure is not known for certain, but SSTL believes it may be related either to the spacecraft's batteries or to the fact that the satellite is very hot due to orbital precession, which has generally put the spacecraft in full sunlight. The elevated temperature has been causing problems with the receivers as well as with the batteries.

Launched on July 17, 1991, UO-22 has served for many years as the 9600 baud store-and-forward satellite for the Amateur Radio packet radio worldwide SatGate service, which linked packet radio networks in many countries. AMSAT-NA reports UO-22 as "non-operational."

For further information on UO-22 contact Jim Heck, G3WGM, via email at, g3wgm@amsat.org.

-- ARRL Bulletin ARLS013

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Basic Philosophy

-- from Joke of the Day, via Internet

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Treasurer's Report

As of 10/31/04

    GENERAL FUND (checking account)

        Previous balance     $321.75

            Income               .06

            Expenses            5.00

        Ending balance        316.81

    REPEATER / PACKET FUND (savings account)

        Previous balance    $ 978.61

            Income              0.00

            Expenses            0.00

        Ending balance        978.61

-- Ed Fitzgerald, N7WW, Treasurer

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Ham Veterans

Tom Dennis KA4VVA contributed the following, which was sent by email to the OARS list:

Special Note: Don't forget our veterans in Amateur Radio on this November 11th. From Jack Barber W1PRT who flew over the D-Day beaches of Normandy in B-25s, to Dave Taylor KA7UZU (Of CAPCOM and the son of Rick Taylor K7CAH) who was with the Marines in Desert Storm and all those who are over there now.

Let us all wish them the best, our thanks and the hopes of seeing them next year on that day.

Remember: Lots of soldiers took a bullet for us, but you've never seen a politician take a bullet for any soldier.

Jack Barber sent the following response:

Say, thanks for the vets day message, however Tom Dennis credits me with too much. Yes, I was involved with D-Day in Europe, however it was from a B-26 Marauder medium bomber airstrip in England at the time. I was, of all things, a communications officer. My job was running the crypto room. I also pulled occasional duty as "duty communications officer." As it happened, I was on duty the night before D Day and was first on the base to learn of the coming invasion because I got a call from the Wing Commander with the other bomb groups.

We moved over to France a bit later and set up in a ruined house there with our message center. So, I was no hero.

You are too modest, Jack. As far as I am concerned, all WW II vets are heroes. -- Ed.

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ARRL Disappointed with Administration over BPL Report and Order

The ARRL has expressed its disappointment with the Bush administration's failure "to prevent radio spectrum pollution by BPL systems." In a November 1 letter to Secretary of Commerce Donald L. Evans copied to President George W. Bush, ARRL President Jim Haynie, W5JBP, recalled Evans' assurances on the administration's behalf earlier this year "that we are responsible and sensitive to valuable incumbent [radiocommunication] systems." Haynie told Evans the FCC's BPL Report and Order (R&O) in ET Docket 04-37 -- adopted October 14 and released two weeks later -- suggests otherwise.

"Despite excellent work conducted by the technical staff of your National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to document the extensive harmful interference that will occur if BPL systems are deployed at the radiated emission limits presently permitted by the FCC rules," Haynie said, "it appears that the NTIA concurred in the FCC's decision not to tighten those limits."

The FCC maintains that BPL emissions are localized and at low enough levels to preclude harmful interference in the first place, and it has left the door open to possibly upping the limit in the future.

Haynie pointed out that both international treaty and US law entitle licensed radiocommunication services to protection from harmful interference that unlicensed systems like BPL might generate. "Despite this," he continued, "the FCC has shifted the burden for initiating interference mitigation from the BPL system operator to the radio licensee." The NTIA's September 13 submission to the FCC shows that at FCC Part 15 limits, the probability of harmful interference is essentially 100 percent within 200 to 400 meters (approximately 660 to 1300 feet) of a power line carrying BPL signals -- depending on the operating frequency.

"Amateur Radio stations are typically located in residential areas, nearly always well within such distances," Haynie noted. "The FCC's Report and Order provides no assurance that when interference occurs -- as it unquestionably will -- it will be promptly eliminated."

As part of the Commerce Department, the NTIA not only administers radio spectrum allocated to federal government users but advises the White House on telecommunications policy. On June 24, President Bush extolled BPL during a speech on technological innovation even while acknowledging interference concerns.

Haynie said the League will continue efforts to improve the R&O. Calling the HF spectrum "a unique and priceless resource," the ARRL president expressed regret that the administration "is willing to squander such a unique natural resource in order to provide a short-range broadband connection that can easily be provided by several other non-polluting means."

ARRL CEO David Sumner, K1ZZ, echoed Haynie's concerns. The FCC R&O, he said, "shifts the burden to licensed operators to react to interference rather than adopting rules to prevent interference from occurring." The R&O advises locating "sensitive receiver antennas" as far as practically possible from power lines. Additionally, the FCC admonished ARRL that in cases where its members experience RF noise, "such noise can often be avoided by carefully locating their antennas."

Reacted Sumner: "If a BPL system operator wants to meet its obligation by picking up all of the costs of relocating a licensee's antenna, it's free to make the offer."

If interference occurs, the new Part 15 rules will require BPL system operators to employ "interference avoidance techniques" such as "frequency band selection, notching, or judicious device placement." Notches would have to be at least 20 dB -- slightly more than 3 S units -- below applicable Part 15 limits on HF and at least 10 dB below Part 15 limits on VHF -- not much protection for weaker signals common in HF work.

"We might be more optimistic if there had, to date, been a single instance when the FCC had ordered a BPL system to terminate operation for causing harmful interference," Sumner said. "The Commission continues to be in denial, despite hundreds of pages of documentation of ongoing interference."

Sumner said the ARRL was gratified that the FCC R&O recognized that BPL devices have significantly greater interference potential than other Part 15 devices and that the Commission will require certification of BPL systems rather than the less-stringent verification. Additionally, Sumner said, the League was pleased that the FCC-mandated public BPL system database will require systems to be listed several weeks ahead of actual implementation so that amateurs and others have advance notice.

ARRL officials continue to mull possible formal responses to the R&O. The ARRL Executive Committee already has okayed the filing of a Petition for Reconsideration. It further authorized ARRL General Counsel Chris Imlay, W3KD, to "prepare to pursue other available remedies as to procedural and substantive defects" in the BPL proceeding.

For more information on BPL, visit the Broadband Over Power Line (BPL) and Amateur Radio Web page http://www.arrl.org/bpl .

-- from The ARRL Bulletin

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Dues Reminder

All OARS dues are payable on January 1. Why not get a head start and pay them now? (Information is on the cover of this newsletter)

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OARS Net check-ins

The following stations checked in on the OARS General Information Net one or more times on the dates of October 5, 12, or 19:


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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Eat and drink what you like. Speaking English is apparently what kills you.

-- from W1GMF via packet

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