Olympia Amateur Radio Society

ARRL Special Service ClubWatts News

Monthly Newsletter of the

Olympia Amateur Radio Society

P.O. Box 2861, Olympia, WA 98507

  November 2006
Edited by George Lanning  KB6LE 

Table of Contents

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From the Oval ShackFrom President Lee Chambers

The September OARS meeting was, arguably, the best ever. We had an outstanding program on fireworks presented by Ken, KJ7FAY, a presentation that went long because of the intense interest of the many participants. I'd never seen a big mortar shell up close, or understood the mechanics and planning it takes to make an event "go off" without a hitch, so to speak. What fun learning about the costs, licensing, and dynamics of shooting fireworks off at big events. Ken did an outstanding job of teaching us about these "real" fireworks.

Then we went though the yearly exercise of identifying candidates for officer positions for 2007, and five people tossed their hats in the ring. They are:

President:        AB7AX  Bart

Vice president:   KI7SS  (me)

Treasurer:        N7WW   Ed

Secretary:        KC7LA  Paul

Member at Large:  W7SIX  Fred

Thanks and huge compliments are due to each of these hams who have the courage, temerity, and gumption to lead! With a full slate we'll be sure to have a well guided club and interesting programs next year.

Just now Steve, WC7I, ran the Tuesday night net, doing a great job as net control. He had a large check-in, and what interested me most was the info on this weekend's Kitsap County Hamfest up in Bremerton. I'd have forgotten this event if it hadn't been for the information each time you listen in!

I'm interested in your ideas about what's the very best hand-held on the market today. Do you have a real favorite, and why? My interest is somewhat selfish -- I need a new hand-held. Above that, there must be both lemons and chocolate cheesecake models -- what's your least favorite? Why?

I bought a GPS and am now in possession of a Tiny Track TNC, so I'm loading the software on now. Soon I'll have that up and running! Look for me on the APRS web sites soon!


Lee, KI7SS

From President Elect Bart Tirrell

First of all I would like to say hello to everyone. It is my sincere hope to have the opportunity to get to know each one of you. I am very interested in the Olympia Amateur Radio Society and hope to be able to make a contribution to its success. As the new President I would like to accomplish several things in this message. The first is to thank the previous executive board for their service and efforts. As I become acquainted with this organization, I am impressed with the level of commitment of its members. There are many people who give so much, thank you for your contributions, they are appreciated. I have a unique opportunity to see many people in action, and never want their efforts to go unappreciated.

I heard a story a few years ago, and would like to paraphrase it. It has a message.

Researchers went to a class room of kindergarten children and ask 3 questions. 1. "How many can draw?" Every hand shot up. "What would you like us to draw?" 2. "How many can sing?" Again all hands shot up. "Not only can we sing we can also play instruments while we sing!" 3. "How many can dance?" Every hand went up. "Play the music and we will dance!"

The Researchers took the same questions to a second group -- this time graduate students at a prestigious university. This group represented the top of the class in education. The same questions were asked. 1. "How many can draw?" Several hands were raised, "it depends, I can draw mountains, some animals but that is about it." 2. "How many can sing?" Even fewer hands were raised, "only in the shower and never alone" was the most common answer. 3. "How many can dance?" Very few hands were raised. Again the answers were qualified. "It depends on the music."

The results were condensed and the conclusion profound, and sad. Something terrible happened between kindergarten and college, children lost their excitement, their love and confidence in drawing, singing and dancing. How sad.

From my view point I see a lot of people in radio with incredible experience and talent. There are also people who do not know as much but have a desire to learn. Many are not members of OARS but should be. What a great opportunity for an organization. I want this year to be a year to come together and share, bring friends and family. This society is a place where friends meet, socialize, learn, and just have fun in a and safe environment. It is a great place to ask for help without feeling stupid, and to expand your understanding of radio and go to new levels. There are plenty of opportunities to learn and teach.

Lee Chambers is planning a very exciting series of programs for this year. Field day will be awesome. Rumor has it there will great food there! Look for opportunities to serve. What would you like to do? Let me know! My intention is to serve you. Talk to me, I want to hear you; this is your organization.

What would you like to learn? How about Soldering? Packet? How about antennas? This year we need to become one voice in expressing our concerns about proposed taxation of repeater sites that could challenge our ability to afford repeater sites.

This is a year to come together and gain skills which we can serve with. Community education is a great opportunity for us, scout troops, schools, organizations -- this list is endless. ARES is looking for committed team members.

In conclusion, let's get involved, let's grow in numbers, let's serve our community. I would love to see our membership double! This is going to be a great year for OARS! Come on out, get involved and let's have some fun!


Bart, AB7AX

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ARRL President Airs Concerns about Required Red Cross Background Checks

ARRL President Joel Harrison, W5ZN, is urging Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) and other ham radio volunteers to tread cautiously when submitting information for background checks the American Red Cross (ARC) now requires. The ARC, with which the ARRL has a Statement of Understanding (SoU) http://www.arrl.org/FandES/field/mou/redcro.html , this summer notified local chapters that volunteers and staff members must submit to criminal background checks by October 31. Harrison says the requirement extends to ARES volunteers who support Red Cross disaster relief efforts. In a statement http://www.arrl.org/FandES/field/RC-Background-Checks0610.pdf October 24, Harrison said the League recommends that anyone submitting personal information for a background check very carefully read what they are giving the ARC permission to collect.

"The Red Cross is requiring volunteers to grant permission for more than just a criminal background check," Harrison asserted. "They are also requiring permission to draw a consumer and/or investigative consumer report on the volunteer." Harrison said that could also include credit and mode-of-living checks.

"The Red Cross has stated that they will not use credit reports," he noted. "Requiring that volunteers authorize the procurement of a credit report is inconsistent with this assurance."

The ARC has contracted with MyBackgroundCheck.com LLC (MBC) to handle the on-line background checks. Prospective volunteers visit a secure, encrypted web site http://www.mybackgroundcheck.com/ , click on the ARC logo and submit name, address, Social Security number (or other acceptable government ID), telephone number, and date of birth. The Red Cross says the overall results of the background check are not shared with the ARC.

In the course of applying, prospective volunteers must agree to let MBC obtain a wide range of personal information bearing not just on criminal background and creditworthiness but, MBC says, "character, general reputation [and] personal characteristics." MBC advises, "The nature and scope of this disclosure and authorization is all-encompassing."

The Red Cross says its new policy is aimed at safeguarding clients, volunteers and employees alike. "Unfortunately, in this day and age it is critical that the American Red Cross and other agencies, employers and organizations perform due diligence in researching the people who will represent them," the ARC said in a statement supplied to ARRL.

The ARC apparently has not disseminated policy specifics at the national level. The only reliable information on what the background checks will entail is that on the MBC site. Various chapter-level memoranda the ARRL has obtained contain conflicting information about the program.

ARRL Field and Educational Services Manager Dave Patton, NN1N -- whose department supports the ARRL Field Organization -- is among those who believes the Red Cross stands to lose a fair number of volunteers because of the requirement -- and not necessarily just ARES volunteers.

"ARES members who are providing communications for ARC are working for ARC," Patton maintained, "and, as such, will follow their guidelines." He said the decision to go along with the new Red Cross policy is up to individual volunteers.

The SoU between the League and the ARC is ambiguous as to whether ARES members become Red Cross volunteers when supporting the ARC. While the document says "each organization retains its own identity in providing service." It further stipulates that ARES volunteers "in such cases when the operators are required to carry American Red Cross identification" must register as American Red Cross volunteers. The SoU does not address the issue of background checks, however. The SoU comes up for review in 2007.

Radio amateurs who volunteered in the wake of Hurricane Katrina last year and following 9/11 in New York City were badged through as ARC volunteers. The practice still upsets some ARES volunteers. Contact the Red Cross (toll-free 800-507-3960) with any questions regarding the background check program.

-- from The ARRL Letter

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Treasurer's Report

As of 10/31/06

    GENERAL FUND (checking account)

        Previous balance   $ 2,367.27

            Income               0.50

            Expenses           117.00

        Ending balance       2,250.77

    REPEATER / PACKET FUND (savings account)

        Previous balance     $ 998.14

            Income               0.00

            Expenses             0.00

        Ending balance         998.14

-- Ed Fitzgerald, N7WW, Treasurer

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Embarrassing Situation

A very shy guy goes into a bar and sees a beautiful woman sitting at the other end. After an hour of gathering up his courage he finally goes over to her and asks, tentatively, "Um, would you mind if I chatted with you for a while?" To which she responds by yelling, at the top of her lungs, "No, I won't sleep with you tonight!" By now, the entire bar is staring at them. Naturally, the guy is hopelessly and completely embarrassed and he slinks back to his table.

After a few minutes, the woman walks over to him and apologizes. She smiles at him and says, "I'm sorry if I embarrassed you. You see, I'm a graduate student in psychology and I'm studying how people respond to embarrassing situations." To which he responds, at the top of his lungs, "What do you mean $200!"

-- from A Joke a Day via Internet

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I recently learned of the above organization which recycles computers. There is information about the group's operation at http://www.fgoly.org .

I believe the information would be of interest to many of our members, and I think it worth a few lines in the Newsletter.

-- 73 de N7IVM Ben Bennett

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Upcoming Road Rally

The next rally is 2-3 Dec. with a Friday evening get together at the Olympia Red Lion. For further information, contact Jeff Craddock, nwrallydad@yahoo.com .

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OARS Net check-ins

The following stations checked in on the OARS General Information Net on October 10:


WC7I was the only reporting net control station for the month of October. 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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Reporting Storm Damage

Many of us have been impacted by the effects of the recent storm, even more of our friends and families are affected. The State has issued a press release that provides the information to report damage whether it is insured or not. The press release is posted on the WWA Section News page http://www.arrl.org/sect/wwa.

Please share this information with anyone who may need to report damage.

Stay safe!

-- 73, Ed, N7NVP

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An Oldie

Two molecules are walking down the street and one starts looking around. The other asks, "What's wrong?"

"I have lost my electron!"

"Are you sure?"

"I'm positive!"

-- from A Joke a Day, via Internet

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Hearing Problem

Seems an elderly gentleman had serious hearing problems for a number of years.

He went to the doctor, and the doctor was able to have him fitted for a set of hearing aids that allowed the gentleman to hear 100%. The elderly gentleman went back in a month to the doctor and the doctor said, "Your hearing is perfect. Your family must be really pleased you can hear again." To which the gentleman said, "Oh, I haven't told my family yet. I just sit around and listen to the conversations. I've changed my will five times!"

-- from A Joke a Day via Internet

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ARRL Frequency Measuring Test 2006 Goes Back to Basics

The ARRL Frequency Measuring Test (FMT) this year will represent a return to basics: Measuring the carrier frequency of the transmitted signal. Engineer and Contributing Editor Ward Silver, N0AX, spells out the details of FMT 2006 in the article "Frequency Measuring Test 2006 - Back to Basics, Plus," which appears on p 50 of November QST and on the ARRL Web site, www.arrl.org/w1aw/fmt/.

"You don't have to own a rack full of sophisticated test equipment," Silver advises. "By calibrating your radio to a known frequency reference such as WWV or CHU and letting the radio reach an even, stable temperature, your measurements can be within 1 part per million (ppm) or even better."

FMT transmissions from ARRL Hiram Percy Maxim Memorial Station W1AW at League Headquarters in Connecticut will take place on 160, 80 and 40 meters starting at 0245 UTC on Thursday, November 16 (Wednesday, November 15, in US time zones), replacing the W1AW phone bulletin. Approximate frequencies will be 1853 kHz, 3586 kHz and 7039 kHz. An initial call-up will take place on all three bands. During the FMT, W1AW will indicate the band for the upcoming transmission. W1AW's FMT 2006 transmissions will start on 160 meters.

To better accommodate stations west of the Mississippi, Mike Fahmie, WA6ZTY, has volunteered to transmit a separate West Coast FMT signal on 40 meters from the San Francisco area. The FMT transmission from WA6ZTY will begin at 0330 UTC on approximately 7029 kHz.

FMT participants should listen to the W1AW CW or digital bulletin transmission prior to the FMT to determine which band will provide the best conditions for reception and measurement purposes. The W1AW test will consist of three 60-second continuous carrier transmissions on each band, followed by a series of Morse dits and station identification. The whole test will run for about 15 minutes and will end with a series of Vs followed by a station ID.

The West Coast FMT from WA6ZTY will begin with a general call at 10 WPM CW of "QST DE WA6ZTY". The measurement period begins with "NOW 40 METERS". Transmissions consisting of one minute of continuous carrier and 10 seconds of Morse dits will follow. The West Coast FMT will conclude with 15 seconds of Vs followed by a station ID.

All FMT participants will receive a Certificate of Participation. Those coming closest to the measured frequency will be listed in the test report and receive special recognition on their certificate. Submit entries via e-mail to fmt@arrl.org or via the USPS to W1AW/FMT, 225 Main St, Newington, CT 06111. Entries must be received or postmarked by December 16, 2006.

-- ARRL Bulletin ARLB023

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Three men are sitting stiffly side by side on a long commercial flight.

After they're airborne and the plane has leveled off, the man in the window seat abruptly says, distinctly and confidently, in a loud voice, "Admiral, United States Navy, retired. Married, two sons, both surgeons."

After a few minutes the man in the aisle seat states through a tight-lipped smile, "Admiral, United States Coast Guard, retired. Married, two sons, both judges."

After some thought, the fellow in the center seat decides to introduce himself. With a twinkle in his eye he proclaims, "Master Chief Gunnery Sergeant, United States Marines, retired. Never married, two sons, both Admirals.

-- from David, ZL3AI, via packet

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One day, the captain of the 40-oared royal Nile barge goes down to speak to the oarsmen in the hold of his ship.

"Men, I have some good news and some bad news. The good news is, the Queen will be joining us today for a trip up the Nile."

The men cheered and sang the praises of the Queen.

The captain then continued, "The bad news is, she wants to go water skiing."

-- from David, ZL3AI, via packet

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