Watts News

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

  September 2002
Edited by George Lanning  KB6LE 

Table of Contents

  •  From the Oval Shack
  •  From the VP's desk
  •  New address for OARS web site
  •  Military knowledge
  •  Treasurer's Report
  •  Whatever happened to The Amateurs Code?
  •  How's that again?
  •  FCC Spectrum Policy
  •  OARS Net check-ins
  •  Show and tell can be exciting
  • --back to OARS website


    Thanks to Larry, KC7CKO, for hosting another great picnic and providing the hamburgers and hot dogs for the event. I am sure that everyone who attended had a great time and Larry definitely provided good weather for it.

    Now that September is here we need to think about the election of club officers for next year, since nominations for next year's slate of officers will be one of the main items of business for this month's club meeting. If you would like to run for one of the offices or know someone who would, please attend the meeting on September 25.

    As Hams, we are granted a valuable resource by the FCC in the form of our RF Spectrum allocation. This a resource which is currently sold to most other users, but given to us free of charge to provide a pool of trained communications operators, who can provide public service communications.

    I was reminded of that this past weekend while working as Mountaintop (NCS) at the SCCA Wild West International Rally on Sunday. As usual, Hams were providing needed communications for the event and were using 2 Meter simplex frequencies for each stage of the event.

    While one of the stages was in process, a local ham came up on the stage frequency and started a QSO with another Ham. He was complaining to his friend about the fact that someone else was using "his" frequency, although since our net was being run in a valley, the people down below did not hear him -- but he complained about the low level of interference to his important discussion about politics and folding laundry. When they had a break in their conversation I came on the air and identified myself and what we were doing. He then proceeded to tell the other ham he was talking with that this was "obviously a commercial event and we must be being paid even if it was through Quid Pro Quo, because no one would do that for free!"

    Later in the day, he was back and telling his friend that he should move up to a higher elevation with the high power rig in his truck and "blow them off the air." Luckily he did not resort to this level of malicious interference, but I did record his call sign for future reference.

    It is too bad when Hams become this belligerent and are obviously not public service minded, when this is one of the main reasons that we were granted the spectrum. Luckily, many of our OARS Members are public service minded and support our public service efforts.

    Keep up the good work!!

    -- 73, Ken Dahl, K7TAG

    --back to table of contents

    From the VP's desk

    Still no rain -- there is an antenna god, at least! I bought an MFJ antenna analyzer at the Graham hamfest yesterday for $150. They sell for $359 new; this one is one generation old and lacks the UHF band. Big deal. It sure is neat. I spent yesterday afternoon playing with my antennas, tuning them so they're really resonant. I was close on some, but never had a way to know if I was "on." If you're into antennas, this is one cool gadget! 

    How many of you are into Linux? Did you know there's an Olympia-area Linux users' group that meets twice a month -- a group that's half hams and is just about the most supportive club you'll find anywhere? Well, it is! It meets the first and third Mondays, but the third Monday meeting is probably the most interesting. Come to the Lacey Senior Center at 7 p.m. Can't find it? Didn't know it even existed? Neither could I! So here's the deal: Go south on Sleater-Kinney, cross Pacific Avenue like you're heading for Panorama City. Go about 100 feet and cross the railroad tracks; go another 100 feet and make the first left you can, onto a frontage street that parallels the tracks. Drive about 3 blocks. You'll see a sign "Senior Center" pointing to the right. Make the right, go another hundred feet and make a right into the gravel parking lot. You'll have a great evening!

    Thanks to all of you -- nearly forty of you -- who helped make the Wild West road rally a success. We started seventy cars and finished with somewhere in the mid-thirty's. That's attrition! All but one ham showed up, and those who did reported back that they had a great time. And the free food at the casino! What a feast!

    We're off the hook until the Do-Wop series in February and March. There will be a workers' appreciation party in late January. If you helped with one of the rallies, please come. They have even better food, and door prizes -- lots of door prizes. And it's a great way to get to eyeball the hams you've worked with by radio this past year.

    We need to be thinking about who will manage this club next year. We really do need some new managers to pick up the ball a bit, adding that new perspective, new energy, and new vitality to the group. Otherwise it's the same old bunch of leaders, saying and doing the same old things. If you've got enthusiasm for this club, and for ham radio, then get involved at the leadership level, PLEASE! Volunteer for one of the positions; don't wait for a nomination that appears "forced." It'd be great if we could have an actual election, with real candidates with actual positions, rather than an election with one candidate who's doing it because no one else apparently will.

    They say that in most clubs there's about ten percent who do most of the work; in this club, with 100 members, that should pencil out to ten people running for four offices. So help make the statistics work! 

    Give me a call, either at home at 866-0800, or at work at 664-0160, and let me know you'll toss your hat in the ring -- and thanks!

    Windsor Wilder, NS7U, has a 68-foot Rohn 25G tower, hazer, and one of those DL-something German beams that he wants to give away. He uses Phillystrand guy wires, too, so there are no extraneous resonances. The only catch is that it's up and needs to be taken down -- some time in the next year. I have a gin pole for 25G, should that be a problem. I helped put it up; we greased the sections -- hopefully it'll come down easily. 

    Let me know, or give him a call, if you want it. He's in the book.

    Fall's here, although I'm hoping for a few more sunny weekends. I plan to restart the Youth Net at 9 pm on Tuesday evenings. If you're a ham under 18, come check in. 

    Radio Camp's students have been taking and passing the FCC test, so there will be a crowd of new under-eighteen operators on the air soon. Hopefully they'll make the net; check in with them, please! I took two boys to the Mike and Key Hamfest yesterday, and ran into a crowd of my students, ready for the test. It was gratifying to see so many of them come out smiling! 

    The OARS program this month will be a DXpedition videotape. Next month, a presentation on the Capitol Peak repeater and the Evergreen Intertie (it's grown) will be the highlight. Be there! 73! 

    -- Lee, KI7SS

    --back to table of contents

    New address for OARS web site

    I have registered the domain name olyham.org and set it up to redirect to the website at http://home.att.net/~oars/. This means that you can now access the site with the simpler and easier to remember URL "olyham.org". 

    Although the old address still works also, I recommend changing your bookmarks to the new URL. I am considering switching to a broadband (cable) modem and ISP, at which time I will also move the OARS website to a new host. I would then change the olyham.org URL to redirect to the new site. That way the move would be essentially transparent to users.

    By the way, the OARS website counter recently passed the 10,000 access milestone. Thanks for using the site!

    -- George Lanning, KB6LE

    --back to table of contents

    Military knowledge

    After completing medical officers training, I was assigned to a small Army post in a Boston suburb. I arrived after dark and was directed to my quarters.

    The next morning a noncommissioned officer escorted me to the commander's office. As we exited the barracks, I looked toward Massachusetts Bay and noticed the back of a large curved device supported by a labyrinth of steel girders.

    Anxious to impress the NCO with my new knowledge of the Army's air-defense system, I pointed to the structure and said, "So that's our primary target acquisition radar?"

    "No, sir," the sergeant replied. "That's the back of the drive-in movie screen."

    -- by packet from David, ZL3AI

    --back to table of contents

    Treasurer's Report

    As of 8/31//02

    GENERAL FUND (checking account)

        Previous balance     $1,926.09
            Income                2.39
            Expenses             27.46
        Ending balance        1,901.02

    REPEATER / PACKET FUND (savings account)

        Previous balance      $ 950.72
            Income                0.00
            Expenses              0.00
        Ending balance          950.72

    -- Ed Fitzgerald, N7WW, Treasurer

    --back to table of contents

    Whatever happened to The Amateurs Code?

    -- by Chris J. Smith, K1CJS

    While going through paperwork in my duties of club newsletter editor, I came across an article entitled "The Amateurs Code." I read it through, mostly from curiosity, and came to the conclusion that most ham operators today do not know about it, or just do not care to follow it. Originally written by Paul M. Segal in 1928, it is as applicable today as it was then, perhaps more so.


    by Paul M. Segal, W9EEA (1928)

    The Radio Amateur is:

    CONSIDERATE..... never knowingly operating in such a way as to lessen the pleasure of others.

    LOYAL..... offering loyalty, encouragement and support to other amateurs, local clubs and the American Radio Relay League, through which Amateur Radio in the United States is represented nationally and internationally.

    PROGRESSIVE..... with knowledge abreast of science, a well built and efficient station, and operation beyond reproach.

    FRIENDLY..... with slow and patient operation when requested, friendly advice and counsel to the beginner, kindly assistance, co-operation and consideration for the interests of others. These are the hallmarks of the amateur spirit.

    BALANCED..... Radio is an avocation, never interfering with duties owed to family, job, school or community.

    PATRIOTIC..... with station and skill always ready for service to country and community.

    I sat back and reflected on some of the comments and operating I have heard in the time since I had gotten my ticket, and have decided that some of us, maybe more than any of us care to admit, have drifted away from the ideals Mr. Segal first put down on paper back in 1928.

    How many of us can truly say we try to follow this code as we operate our stations from day to day. Do we try to be considerate to other operators and listeners? Remember, others are listening to the frequency. Swearing and smart-alecky operation of our stations put us all in a bad light.

    Are we loyal to the spirit of the amateur service, or do we turn away when someone asks for help? Are we keeping up to date with advances in amateur radio, or do we just keep plodding along with no attempt to keep learning? Do we offer advice and help when asked, or do we brush off other amateurs who want to try to learn what we may already know? Do we stop and try to explain when a beginner seems to not understand concepts he needs to know to advance to the next level? How many of us won't even slow down our code speed to accommodate a ham who isn't as fast on the key as we are? How many of us have just changed frequencies, leaving that operator wondering where we went?

    Does our family suffer because we want to get on the air whenever we can? How many of our wives (or husbands) are amateur radio widows (or widowers)? How often do our children say we have to be on our radios and can't find time for them? Or, how many can say "My daddy is helping a soldier talk to his family, and he let me help him"?

    How many of us simply may not have ever heard of The Amateurs Code? I hadn't until I came across that paper. In any case, I believe that as it is rediscovered, it should be spread to other operators, both far and wide. It is a gift, left for us by a man, ahead of his time, who truly understood what it both takes and means to be an amateur radio operator both then and now.

    -- found on-line by Marc Cote, KD7MHC

    --back to table of contents

    How's that again?

    You'll feel smart after reading this!

    -- by packet from David, ZL3AI

    --back to table of contents

    FCC Spectrum Policy

    The ARRL has told the FCC that marketplace forces should not determine Amateur Radio spectrum allocations and that interference management is a technical, not an economic, issue. Those opinions and others came this week in response to a call in early June from the FCC Spectrum Policy Task Force for comments on various issues related to FCC spectrum policy.

    "The value to the public of a vital, growing Amateur Radio Service, while perhaps only indirectly measurable in market terms, cannot translate to a marketplace ability to pay for spectrum, no matter what the mechanism," the League asserted. "The non-pecuniary character of Amateur Radio makes it uniquely unsuitable for market-oriented allocation processes." Such a policy, the ARRL said, would "preclude Amateur Radio communications."

    The ARRL compared Amateur Radio spectrum to a public park or right-of-way. "Given the wide availability of Amateur Radio to the general public and its value as an educational and public service resource, the concept fits well," the League said.

    The ARRL said that "economic balancing" among parties is not the proper mechanism to resolve interference issues. The League said that many interference issues are dealt with using technical solutions that accommodate both parties. An economic model presumes a preference for one service over another, the ARRL asserted. 

    The ARRL again took advantage of the comment opportunity to reiterate its views on the deployment of unlicensed devices under Part 15 rules. Petitioners seeking authorization for new devices or technology that impacts licensed users should bear the burden of demonstrating the current state of use of the band by its own technical calculations or measurements in certain types of environments, the ARRL said. Noting its own participation in a noise study that will contribute to a better understanding about ambient noise, the ARRL said the FCC should require proponents of new devices or technology to provide "studies of individual and aggregate interference potential and effect on ambient noise."

    The League also restated its view that unlicensed devices cannot be authorized unless the FCC determines that the devices "do not have a significant interference potential to licensed services."

    Petitioners also should provide technical sharing studies every time they propose a new allocation or file a petition for a new unlicensed service, the ARRL said. The League's comments reiterated the goal of the Amateur Radio Spectrum Protection Act, now in Congress as HR 817 and S 549. The measure would provide equivalent replacement spectrum for the Amateur Service just as it typically does for users displaced as a result of spectrum auctions. 

    The full text of the ARRL's comments in this proceeding is available on the ARRL Web site, http://www.arrl.org/announce/regulatory/et02-135/index.html.

    -- ARRL Bulletin ARLB042

    --back to table of contents

    OARS Net check-ins

    The following stations checked in on the OARS General Information Net on August 6 or 28 (or both):


    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.

    --back to table of contents

    Show and tell can be exciting

    Betsy, a grammar-school teacher from Miami, remembers this Oscar-worthy birth tableau from one of her students:

    I've been teaching now for about fifteen years. I have two kids myself, but the best birth story I know is the one I saw in my own second-grade classroom a few years back. When I was a kid, I loved show-and-tell. So I always have a few sessions with my students. It helps them get over shyness and experience a little public speaking. And it gives me a break and some guaranteed entertainment.

    Usually, show-and-tell is pretty tame. Kids bring in pet turtles, model airplanes, pictures of fish they catch, stuff like that. And I never, ever place any boundaries or limitations on them. If they want to lug it to school and talk about it, they're welcome.

    Well, one day this little girl, Erica, a very bright, very outgoing kid, takes her turn and waddles up to the front of the class with a pillow stuffed under her sweater. She holds up a snapshot of an infant. 

    "This is Luke, my baby brother, and I'm going to tell you about his birthday. First, Mommy and Daddy made him as a symbol of their love, and then Daddy put a seed in my mother's stomach, and Luke grew in there. He ate for nine months through an umbrella cord." Erica is standing there with her hands on the pillow, and I'm trying not to laugh and wishing I had a video camera rolling. The kids are watching her in amazement. 

    "Then, about two Saturdays ago, my mother starts going, 'Oh, oh, oh!'" Erica puts a hand behind her back and groans. "She walked around the house for like an hour, 'Oh, oh, oh!'" Now Erica is doing this hysterical duck-walk, holding her back and groaning. "My father called the middle wife. She delivers babies, but she doesn't have a sign on the car like the Domino's man. They got my mother to lie down in bed like this." Erica lies down with her back against the wall. "And then, pop! My mother had this bag of water she kept in there in case he got thirsty, and it just blew up and spilled all over the bed, like psshhheew!" Erica has her legs spread and her little hands are mimicking water flowing away. It was too much!

    "Then the middle wife starts going push, push, and breathe, breathe. They start counting, but they never even got past ten. Then, all of a sudden, out comes my brother. He was covered in yucky stuff they said was from the play-center, so there must be a lot of stuff inside there." Then Erica stood up, took a big theatrical bow and returned to her seat. 

    I'm sure I applauded the loudest. Ever since then, if it's show-and-tell day, I bring my camcorder -- just in case another Erica comes along.

    -- from a packet bulletin to YL@WW from ZL3AI

    --back to table of contents
    --back to OARS website