ARRL Special Service ClubWatts News

Monthly Newsletter of the

Olympia Amateur Radio Society

P.O. Box 2861, Olympia, WA 98507

  October 2005
Edited by George Lanning  KB6LE 

Table of Contents

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From the Oval ShackPresident's Message

October is here already, and with it our winter storm season. Now is the time to see if you are prepared for it. Obviously, as Hams, we want to make sure that our antennas and feedlines are in good operating condition and all connections waterproofed.

In addition, it is a good time to make sure that your family and residence are also prepared. Do you have a home emergency kit that can provide 72 hours worth of food and water? If so, have you rotated some of the outdated supplies out of the kit?

It's a good time to make sure that you have fresh and/or charged batteries not just for your Ham radios, but also for flashlights and other devices which need them such as an AM radio or NOAA Weather Radio.

These last two items should be in everyone's emergency preparedness kit. AM radio is still the preferred method for emergency management to communicate with the general population. NOAA Weather Radio is another method which also provides a path for the Emergency Activation System (EAS) as well as the current weather. Using the Weather Radio you can set the unit to "Activate" for specific types of local alerts using a system called Selective Area Message Encoding (SAME). Locally it can be found at 162.475 MHz. Our local AM radio station is KGY 1240 kHz where Thurston County ARES has made provision to locate a Ham during times of emergency.

The recent events down on the Gulf Coast have shown us how important these preparations can be to providing for our own well being. While we do not have the threat of hurricanes, we do have our own winter storms plus the additional threats of earthquakes, volcanic eruptions as well as the threat of a tsunami which could be caused by an earthquake as far away as Japan.

Our first duty is always to provide for the safety and well being of ourselves and our families before we can even think about providing aid to anyone else, so we need to "be prepared."

October is also the month when we have the election for OARS officers for the upcoming year. We had nominations at last month's meeting. They are: for President, Lee, KI7SS; Vice President, Dan, KB7DFL and Sharon, N7SSD; Secretary, Tom, KE7EJJ; Treasurer, Ed, N7WW; and member at Large: Larry, KC7CKO. Nominations will also be taken from the floor before the election at our meeting on Oct. 26, so if you are interested in holding one of these offices, come to the meeting or let someone know.

Unfortunately, I will be out of town for the October meeting, but I am sure that Duane WB7ROZ, our current vice president, will do an excellent job of running the meeting.

73 and see you at the November meeting!

-- Ken Dahl, K7TAG

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ARRL Announces 2005 Toy Drive for Hurricane Victims

In the wake of unprecedented hurricane devastation in the Gulf Coast region, the ARRL has announced it will again sponsor a toy drive to brighten the holidays for youngsters left homeless or displaced as a result of the storms. Country singer and ARRL member Patty Loveless, KD4WUJ, has agreed to serve as honorary chairperson for the 2005 toy drive. ARRL President Jim Haynie, W5JBP, is urging the Amateur Radio community to pitch in.

"Last year, hams from all over the country brought smiles to children during the holidays," Haynie said. "We made a lot of friends, and we did a lot of good. No one expected that we would need to do it again so soon, but the recent hurricanes' destruction changed the plans of a lot of people."

Last year, individual radio amateurs and clubs across the US joined together to collect new toys for youngsters affected by a series of four hurricanes in Florida. ARRL Media and Public Relations Manager Allen Pitts, W1AGP, says the 2004 effort was a success beyond anyone's wildest dreams, and there was no question in his mind about doing another toy drive for the latest hurricane victims.

"Not only can it be done, it really must be done. It is simply the right thing to do," he said. "We are asking hams from all over the country to begin gathering new toys for shipment to Memphis, Tennessee. ARRL Delta Division Vice Director Henry Leggette, WD4Q, has secured a receiving warehouse and is recruiting ham volunteers there."

Ham radio clubs and individual amateurs should send new, unwrapped toys for boys and girls aged 1 to 14 to ARRL Toy Drive, 1775 Moriah Woods Blvd -- Suite 12, Memphis, TN 38117-7125. Plan mailings and shipments to arrive prior to Thanksgiving, Thursday, November 24, for distribution over the holidays.

"Just as we did last year, we are asking the donors to please put a QSL card into the box with the toy," Pitts added. Non-hams are encouraged to join this effort too.

"Early in December, we will divide the toys among the various agencies and states that need help the most at that point in time," Pitts explained. "We are making these arrangements so that we can maximize the areas receiving aid while maintaining the unique identity that this is the Amateur Radio community's response."

Pitts says he's heard from many Amateur Radio clubs that are already gathering toys together. "Please check with your local club and see if they are planning a mass shipment," he urged. "If not, perhaps you can help organize one for your area."

Monetary donations to purchase new toys for special age groups and to help cover operational expenses also are welcome. Those wishing to donate money instead of toys can send a check to ARRL Toy Drive, ARRL, 225 Main St, Newington, CT 06111.

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Treasurer's Report

As of 9/30/05

    GENERAL FUND (checking account)

        Previous balance     $1,500.08

            Income              426.32

            Expenses             37.00

        Ending balance        1,889.40

    REPEATER / PACKET FUND (savings account)

        Previous balance      $ 986.06

            Income                0.00

            Expenses              0.00

        Ending balance          986.06

-- Ed Fitzgerald, N7WW, Treasurer

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My kids love going to the Web, and they keep track of their passwords by writing them on post-it notes. I noticed their Disney password was "MickeyMinnieGoofyPluto," and so I asked why it was so long. "Because," my son explained, "they say it has to have at least four characters."

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OARS Net check-ins

The following stations checked in on the OARS General Information Net one or more times in the month of September, 2005 (no report was received for September 6):


Net control stations reporting for the month were K7TAG, WC7I, and K7VRE. 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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Red Cross Says Thanks, OARS!

The local Red Cross office has four 12 volt battery packs that are intended to be used to power their portable low-band VHF transceivers that can be set up in shelters during a disaster situation. Unfortunately, the gel-cells in these packs were now six years old and would no longer take a charge.

It has been difficult to get the funds from Red Cross (too many recent big disasters), so OARS authorized purchase of four replacement 18 AH gel-cells. These were bought for a good price from Electronic Resourcing Inc. in Olympia, and have just been installed and re-charged. Red Cross says "Thanks a lot, OARS!"

By the way, if you want to become a Red Cross Volunteer and be able to use your ham ticket for Red Cross duties, too, just let me know. Volunteer training is not difficult and is very rewarding!

-- Paul, KC7LA

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Amateur Radio continues Hurricane Rita response

Amateur Radio volunteers have been utilizing a variety of modes, including HF, VHF-UHF, Winlink and VoIP, to pass Hurricane Rita-related traffic. The West Gulf ARES Emergency Net continues 24-hour operation on 7.285 MHz days/3.873 MHz evenings, with health-and-welfare traffic taking place on 7.285 MHz days/3.935 MHz evenings. The net also is using 7.290 MHz. The Salvation Army Team Emergency Net (SATERN) has been activating at 1400 UTC daily on 14.265 MHz and monitoring for emergency requests. All amateurs are requested to keep these HF net frequencies clear for Hurricane Rita emergency operations.

Authorities were not yet allowing residents or relief agencies into some of the hardest-hit communities in Texas and Louisiana, and it's not known yet what Amateur Radio assistance will be needed for those areas. Reports say downed trees and flooding are the primary reasons. As of Sunday, officials were restricting reentry to the Texas counties of Jefferson -- where Beaumont and Port Arthur are located -- and Orange. South Texas Section Emergency Coordinator Jerry Reimer, KK5CA, says the fact that potential ham radio volunteers were among the evacuees created some gaps for ARES.

"Included in the mandatory evacuation areas were five ARES emergency coordinators, one district emergency coordinator and nearly all their ARES registrants," Reimer noted. "To the surprise of many people, mandatory evacuation orders also applies to Amateur Radio operators, which left some key facilities short of their last-minute expectations." He said it also left some county emergency operations centers (EOCs) without operators, although the EOC staffs knew this ahead of time.

Many ARES operators who had been positioned in advance at critical facilities in the Greater Houston area -- including police substations and hospitals -- have been released, Reimer reported over the weekend. ARES operators remained on-duty at the state EOC in Austin, Harris County EOC, Houston Emergency Center, and state DEM regional headquarters (DDC).

Over the weekend, Harris County emergency management was requesting that ARES provide reports of traffic volume on major highways leading into the county.

Reimer said Winlink proved highly useful at the Harris County EOC, even though there was reliable Internet and e-mail. "The primary mail server also hosts the OEM Web server, a key source of information for citizens, greatly slowing the system," he said.

In Louisiana, radio amateurs who live north of Interstate 10 were reported to be returning home and getting back on the air to confront any communication needs. Louisiana SEC Gary Stratton, K5GLS, told ARRL Sunday that southwestern Louisiana was not requesting outside assistance from Amateur Radio operators at this point. DEC Alan Levine, WA5LQZ, was reported checking with local governments -- many relocated to other areas -- to determine needs before ARES members were deployed from other areas of Louisiana.

ARRL Public Service Team Leader Steve Ewald, WV1X, says the situation is changing by the hour. "At the moment, it sounds like radio amateurs from the affected areas and those there now are handling the communication needs for the served agencies," he said. "As areas that were strongly hit by Rita begin to open up and folks can start to go into those areas to clean up and sort things out, then there's a chance of a call for volunteers from outside the region."

The Hurricane Watch Net (HWN) on 14.325 MHz secured operation Saturday at 1700 UTC after Rita had been downgraded to a tropical storm. The net works in conjunction with WX4NHC at the National Hurricane Center in Miami to relay ground-level weather data to forecasters.

WX4NHC Assistant Amateur Radio Coordinator Julio Ripoll, WD4R, said without EchoLink and IRLP modes used on the VoIP Hurricane Net, WX4NHC would not have received some vital reports. VoIP Hurricane Net Manager Rob Macedo, KD1CY, said the ability to connect EchoLink PC users, EchoLink and IRLP repeaters and links via the same system offers a lot of flexibility in obtaining reports from the affected area including reports from amateurs who do not have HF privileges.

-- ARRL Bulletin ARLB022

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Children's Answers to Science Questions

If you need a laugh then read through these exam answers:

Q: Name the four seasons.

A: Salt, pepper, mustard, and vinegar.

Q: Explain one of the processes by which water can be made safe to drink.

A: Flirtation makes water safe to drink because it removes large pollutants like grit, sand, dead sheep, and canoeists.

Q: How is dew formed?

A: The sun shines down on the leaves and makes them perspire.

Q: How can you delay milk turning sour?

A: Keep it in the cow.

Q: What causes the tides in the oceans?

A: The tides are a fight between the Earth and the Moon. All water tends to flow towards the moon, because there is no water on the moon, and nature hates a vacuum. I forget where the sun joins in this fight.

Q: What are steroids?

A: Things for keeping carpets still on the stairs.

Q: What happens to your body as you age?

A: When you get old, so do your bowels and you get intercontinental.

Q: What happens to a boy when he reaches puberty?

A: He says good-bye to his boyhood and looks forward to his adultery.

Q: Name a major disease associated with cigarettes.

A: Premature death.

Q: What is artificial insemination?

A: When the farmer does it to the bull instead of the cow.

Q: How are the main parts of the body categorized? (e.g. abdomen...)

A: The body is consisted into three parts: the brainium, the borax, and the abdominal cavity. The brainium contains the brain; the borax contains the heart and lungs, and the abdominal cavity contains the five bowels, A, E, I, O, and U.

Q: What is the fibula?

A: A small lie.

Q: What does "varicose" mean?

A: Nearby.

Q: Give the meaning of the term "Caesarian Section."

A: The Caesarian Section is a district in Rome.

Q: What does the word "benign" mean?

A: Benign is what you will be after you be eight.

-- from David, ZL3AI, via packet

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Amateur Radio antenna "CC&R Bill" reintroduced in Congress

New York Congressman Steve Israel has reintroduced legislation that could make it easier for radio amateurs living in communities with deed covenants, conditions and restrictions (CC&Rs) to erect suitable antennas. Arkansas Congressman Mike Ross, WD5DVR, signed aboard as an original cosponsor of the "Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Consistency Act" (HR 3876).

ARRL President Jim Haynie, W5JBP, has encouraged League members to write their elected representative and ask that they cosponsor and support the bill, especially given two hurricane emergencies in short order.

"Amateur Radio is certainly a part of this nation's communications infrastructure," Haynie said. "What we're asking for is just a fair shake so we can put up antennas and help our fellow citizens." While the League has ramped up its efforts to educate members of Congress about Amateur Radio, Haynie said lawmakers respond best to individual members.

The one-sentence measure is identical to the text of the CC&R bill that has been introduced in the last two sessions of Congress. It would put private land-use regulations, such as homeowners' association rules, on the same legal plane as state or local zoning regulations under the FCC's PRB-1 limited federal preemption. PRB-1 now applies only to states and municipalities.

HR 3876 has been assigned to the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Information about the bill and a sample letter to use when contacting your representative are available on the ARRL Web site, www.arrl.org/govrelations/hr3876/.

In his public announcement September 19, Israel said that "often unsung" Amateur Radio volunteers were instrumental in helping residents in the hardest hit areas in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, including saving stranded flood victims in Louisiana and Mississippi.

"State and local governments, as well as disaster relief agencies, could not possibly afford to replace the services that radio amateurs dependably provide for free," said a statement from Israel's office. "However, the hundreds of thousands of Amateur Radio licensees face burdensome regulations that make it extremely difficult to provide their public services."

-- ARRL Bulletin ARLB023

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The Diagnosis

A woman accompanied her husband to the doctor's office. After his checkup, the doctor called the wife into his office alone. He said, "Your husband is suffering from a very severe disease, combined with horrible stress. If you don't do the following, your husband will surely die."

"Each morning, fix him a healthy breakfast. Be pleasant, and make sure he is in a good mood. For lunch make him a nutritious meal. For dinner prepare an especially nice meal for him. Don't burden him with chores, as he probably had a hard day. Don't discuss your problems with him, it will only make his stress worse. And most importantly -- make love with your husband several times a week and satisfy his every whim. If you can do this for the next 10 months to a year, I think your husband will regain his health completely."

On the way home, the husband asked his wife, "What did the doctor say?"

"You're going to die," she replied.

-- from Joke of the Day, via Internet

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The Art Thief

Did you hear about the guy in Paris who almost got away with stealing several paintings from the Louvre?

After planning the crime, getting in and out past security, he was captured two blocks away when his van ran out of gas.

When asked how he could mastermind such a crime and then make such an obvious error, he replied:

"Monsieur, I have no Monet to buy Degas to make the Van Gogh."

And you thought I lacked De Gaulle to tell a story like that!

-- from David, ZL3AI, via packet

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