Watts News

Monthly Newsletter of the

Olympia Amateur Radio Society

P.O. Box 2861, Olympia, WA 98507

  September 2003
Edited by George Lanning  KB6LE 

Table of Contents

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We had a great picnic with wonderful weather at the QTH of Jeff, W3GE, and his YL, Lisa, KB7PNX, instead of a meeting last month. Jeff and Lisa put a lot of effort into making this a successful event, and we owe a big thanks to them for putting so much effort onto making it a big success! Jeff has said that they were happy with how it turned out, but thinking about how to make the next time even better. Thanks again to Jeff and Lisa!

One piece of business was conducted at the picnic. Paul, KC7LA, who had taken it on himself to improve the station at the Olympia Red Cross office and get it fully functional, brought to our attention that the Kenwood TS-440, which the club donated to Red Cross was in need of repair. Since Red Cross has no money, Paul requested that the club consider paying for this. He stated that it would be about $260 including shipping, so the motion was made and passed that we reimburse Paul for this expense.

I would like to thank everyone who supported the recent Wild West Road Rally. It was a great event, and I know that Lee, KI7SS and Paul, KC7LA put a lot of effort into supporting an event that needs amateur radio support to make it happen.

As you all know we are still having the intermod problem with the 2 meter repeater at the water tower. We are still pursuing the problem, but since we are unable to reproduce the problem, it is proving difficult to eliminate.

During the last week of August, Fred, W7SIX, and I went to Crawford to switch the 440 over to the new repeater. We were able to get the transmitter operational at that time, but there were some receiver problems.

Then in the first week of September, we noticed that the 440 machine started having transmit problems. When we got up there, you could smell the problem as soon as you opened the door to the shelter. The intermediate power amplifier stage (IPA) had failed, so we brought the machine down to be repaired.

While we are on the repeater subject, there was a discussion around the time of the ARRL Field Day to see if it would be possible to move the 2 meter machine up to Crawford Mt. and bring the 220 down to the water tower. I having discussed this with many people and it seemed that most people thought that it was a good idea. So I have asked Jeff, W3GE, who is our representative to the Western Washington Amateur Relay Association, to find out if it would be possible to get new coordinations based on this changed configuration. This process takes quite a bit of time and at the very least would require that we put tone control on the 2 meter machine. We will keep you updated at this process evolves, but would appreciate all of you comments and feelings about this potential change.

73, and see you at the meeting on September 24.

-- Ken Dahl, K7TAG

Special BPL Message for Clubs

Dear Amateur Radio club members,

As summer fades and we anticipate a return to the rigors of fall, you will be reinvigorating Amateur Radio club operations in your communities. But before you club launches its activities, I hope you can take a moment at your next meeting and consider a disturbing and critical topic: Broadband over Power Lines (BPL).

BPL is a devastating threat to the Amateur Radio spectrum -- especially the HF bands. There has been a lot of publicity on this issue -- articles on the ARRL website http://www.arrl.org/bpl and other ham radio sites. Your ARRL is at the forefront of the campaign to defeat BPL and will continue to work tirelessly to protect your Amateur Radio bands. And you can help.

This summer individual hams -- and clubs -- have responded generously to fund ARRL's efforts to fight BPL, and have filed comments to the FCC. But we still need to raise an additional $55,000 to fund the field measurements and document filings necessary to defeat this threat. We're all in this effort together, so I hope your club will jump on the bandwagon and support the campaign financially. We've received club contributions ranging from $50 to $2000. If your organization has already made a donation, thank you.

And if your club is considering a contribution, I hope you'll do so right away. With a contribution of $100, $250, $500 or more, your club can join the roster of clubs that are joining the effort. Your commitment will make a tremendous difference. And we'll put a list of contributing clubs on the ARRL website this fall as our way of saying thank you.

If you need more information on BPL for your club, go to the ARRL website http://www.arrl.org/BPL for the full story, including copies of the two FCC filings and a video that graphically demonstrates the interference radio amateurs would experience from BPL. The video can be downloaded and played at your next club meeting, and there's a PowerPoint presentation you can use. Just follow the link above to an "Understanding the NOI" page and a resource page where you'll find the presentation.

ARRL President Jim Haynie calls BPL the biggest threat to Amateur Radio in decades -- and hams have lent their voices to the cause. If BPL becomes a reality, many Amateur Radio activities, like Field Day, will be meaningless. Your club's support with a generous financial contribution now will help fund this effort.

Thank you for considering this request. Contributions can be made on-line at http://www.arrl.org or by mail to BPL Special Spectrum Defense Campaign, ARRL, 225 Main Street, Newington CT 06111.


Mary M. Hobart, K1MMH

Chief Development Officer

Treasurer's Report

As of 8/31/03

    GENERAL FUND (checking account)

    Previous balance     $2,554.98

        Income                1.01

        Expenses            135.47

    Ending balance        2,420.52

    REPEATER / PACKET FUND (savings account)

    Previous balance      $ 969.41

        Income                0.00

        Expenses              0.00

    Ending balance          969.41

-- Ed Fitzgerald, N7WW, Treasurer

OARS Net check-ins

The following stations checked in on the OARS General Information Net one or more times in the month of August 2003:


* Net Control

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.

Communications gone wrong

After directory assistance gave me my boyfriend's new phone number, I dialed him -- and got a woman.

"Is Mike there?" I asked, confused. "Umm, he's in the shower," she responded.

"Please tell him his girlfriend called," I said and hung up.

When he didn't return the call, I dialed again. This time a man answered. "This is Mike," he said.

"You're not my boyfriend! I exclaimed.

"I know," he replied. "That's what I've been trying to tell my wife for the past half hour!"

-- from David ZL3AI, via packet

Dogs' letters to God

-- from David ZL3AI, via packet

FCC upholds vanity fee policy, sets new fee start date

The FCC has announced that the new Amateur Radio vanity call sign regulatory fee of $16.30 for the 10-year license term will go into effect September 9. The FCC says it expects to collect close to $160,000 from 9800 Amateur Radio vanity call sign applicants during Fiscal Year 2003. That's up by almost $30,000 and 800 applications from FY2002.

In releasing its annual Report and Order on the assessment and collection of regulatory fees for FY2003, the FCC responded at some length to comments filed from the amateur community. Some commenters had questioned the need for the fee, the requirement to pay it when renewing a vanity call sign and why refunds were not automatic.

Telecommunications Act provisions governing regulatory fee assessment cover applications for vanity call signs, which, the FCC said, "are voluntarily requested by licensees" and are "a value-added benefit not afforded to all licensees." Assessment of a regulatory fee to cover the FCC's processing and enforcement costs to make the vanity call sign service available is reasonable, the FCC concluded.

The FCC said its current policy of assessing "a nominal fee" at the time of initial application and at each renewal also allows greater access to vanity call signs. "A high one-time-only fee would be cost prohibitive for many entities wishing to obtain a vanity call sign," the Commission said. The Commission also said it incurs costs to manage each vanity call sign throughout its existence, not just in the first 10 years.

Regarding refunds due when the FCC denies an application, the FCC said its rules require a written request from applicants before it can process refunds of regulatory fees. "The written request serves as documentation when cross-referencing each unique file number that may be entitled to a refund," the FCC added.

The FCC said the documentation was particularly important in the case of Amateur Radio vanity applications, "because filing trends indicate that some applicants file several vanity call sign applications per day for several days on end." Requiring a written request makes it easier to certify "which fees are to be refunded for which dismissed applications," the Commission said. In addition, those processing applications in FCC bureaus and offices don't have the authority to issue refunds without proper documentation.

A copy of the Report and Order is available on the FCC Web site at http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/FCC-03-184A1.doc.

-- ARRL Bulletin ARLX007

From the VP's Desk

What an interesting month! Jeff, W3GE, threw a great summer gathering/picnic/potluck/eyeball-QSO get-together last month. Then we had an absolutely wonderful road rally, demonstrating once again the superiority of ham equipment in making a difficult event manageable. That was followed by a ham-supported 5K/10K run, followed up yesterday with the dinner/potluck at the American Legion (former Salmon Club) -- this last being to celebrate the Lakefair Parade's workers. Great food, great company.

Coming up, a SET October 4th, and a Technician AND General class to be held, you heard it first here, November first and twenty-second. (I'd originally planned it for a couple weeks earlier, but can't get the space.) The classes will be held in the Mormon church on Overhulse Road. An excellent summer of radio sports! I have some extra books for $5 less than the bookstore price. P.S.: my phone number is 866-0800; or KI7SS@ARRL.NET gets me -- if you want a seat!

I've been listening to the ongoing struggles over the OARS repeater's "intermod problem," worked on time and again by Mr. Repeater, Fred, W7SIX, ably assisted by a team of specialists. This gets more and more serious as more and more components of the system get changed without fixing the basic problem. It appears we've really got our backs against the wall on this one, as it may be difficult to get that repeater either fixed or moved to some other location away from the QRM, where it wouldn't be an issue. Stay tuned! (A subaudible tone won't fix it, by the way.)

An issue coming right up is who's going to lead OARS next year. Seems like nobody wants to take the helm. This club doesn't run itself, and forcing the same small band of conscript managers into another year of leadership isn't good for the club, as we end up following the same set of philosophies and not getting any new ideas into the mix. We need you to volunteer to be President, VP, or Member at Large! (I've no hope of finding a new Treasurer or Secretary -- thank the stars we have people who are willing to continue here!) So unless you're a snowbird or have one hand tied behind your back, you should at least try one OARS leadership position, once. C'mon, help push this club into prominence. You don't have to invent wheels or fire or electricity -- just help lead the club whose meetings you attend regularly anyway.

You do attend, don't you? Some times I wonder. We've had many great, WONDERFUL, programs and light attendance, and I don't get it. Where else are you going to find the kind of hands-on, enthusiastic presentations. except of course at Seaside once a year, or maybe the Dayton Hamvention? I don't know! Yet many of you skip these 4th Wednesday meetings! It is YOUR HOBBY, isn't it? Then act like it! Get involved! Get on the air, get an Extra, try a new piece of the hobby, like WAS QRP or satellite or DXCC or CW or 6 meters or 160 meters or dead-bug construction of a direct conversion receiver or a 747 OP-AMP transmitter. There's so much to have fun with!

You say you can't drive? Get on the Tuesday night net and get a ride. You say you forget? Get on the net and get someone to remind you with a call. (I've almost forgot myself -- it happens!) But whatever you do, MAKE these meetings! Help plan the next attempt at a better antenna ordinance, better Red Cross antenna party, better fox hunt. Be there!

I really do look forward to seeing every single ham in Thurston County at an OARS meeting someday -- but I'm not going to hold my breath! You may remember the time we tried to lure the entire county ham population to a dinner a few years ago. As you know, we sent a card to every single ham in the county, inviting them to a FREE dinner at SPSCC, with FREE door prizes like transceivers, and got only 140 of the over 700 hams to the event, even when it was absolutely FREE! Hah! So I'm sure I'll never get a big turnout to a regular OARS meeting. But if the truth were told, a regular OARS event is BETTER than that dinner we had, as we have PROGRAMS at OARS meetings where the latest stuff gets shown off. Videos of DXpeditions, PSK demonstrations, etc., etc., where ELSE ya' gonna SEE it, really? So, I really do look forward to seeing YOU, at least, at the upcoming meeting September 24th.

Until then, 73!

-- Lee, KI7SS

Nervous flyers

During a trip from California to Indiana, it didn't help that my connecting flight from Denver was delayed twice because of mechanical problems. Then, after we were aloft, I noticed the lights began flickering. I mentioned this to a flight attendant.

"I'll take care of it," she said. Moments later the lights went out. Clearly she had solved the problem by turning off all the lights.

A passenger across the aisle who had been watching me leaned over and said, "Whatever you do, please don't ask about the engines."

-- from David ZL3AI, via packet

Fishing for trout

Three blondes are sitting by the side of a river holding fishing poles with the lines in the water. A game warden comes up behind them, taps them on the shoulder and says, "Excuse me, ladies, I'd like to see your fishing licenses."

"We don't have any." replied the first blonde.

"Well, if your going to fish, you need fishing licenses." said the game warden.

"But officer," replied the second blonde, "we aren't fishing. We all have magnets at the end of our lines and we're collecting debris off the bottom of the river."

The game warden lifted up all the lines and, sure enough, there were horseshoe magnets tied on the end of each line.

"Well, I know of no law against it," said the game warden, "take all the debris you want." And with that, the game warden left.

As soon as the game warden was out of sight, the three blondes started laughing hysterically. "What a dumb fish cop," one blonde said to the other two, "doesn't he know that there are steelhead trout in this river?!"

-- from David ZL3AI, via packet

President Haynie Addresses September 11 Anniversary Net

On the second anniversary of the September 11, 2001, terror attacks, ARRL President Jim Haynie, W5JBP, joined Amateur Radio operators across the US and around the world in pausing to remember those who died that day. Haynie was among the more than 1400 amateurs checking into the 911 Commemorative Net http://www.911net.org/ organized by Len Signoretti, N2LEN. The net linked repeaters across the country -- many via the Internet -- and included opportunities to check in via EchoLink, IRLP and eQSO nodes. In his remarks, Haynie addressed Amateur Radio's obligations in the aftermath of the terror attacks two years ago.

"One of the reasons we have a license and the privileges we have here in the United States is to provide a voluntary, noncommercial communication service particularly with respect to providing emergency communications," Haynie said. "Since 9/11, our government at the federal, state and local levels have a new respect for the ability of Amateur Radio operators to do just that: Provide communications when all others have failed."

Citing the late President John F. Kennedy's call, "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country," Haynie said hams can do a lot for their country. "We can be vigilant, we can be trained and we can be ready!" he declared. "This is a task that we can do, and you can do it well."

Haynie expressed his appreciation for those who volunteered in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001, terror attacks and for those amateurs who continue to assist in disasters and emergencies.

Seven Amateur Radio operators died in the World Trade Center and Pentagon disasters: Steven A. "Steve" Jacobson, N2SJ; William V. "Bill" Steckman, WA2ACW; Michael G. Jacobs, AA1GO; Robert D. "Bob" Cirri Sr, KA2OTD; William R. "Bill" Ruth, W3HRD; Gerard J. "Rod" Coppola, KA2KET; and Winston A. Grant, KA2DRF.

During this week's memorial activities, The Salvation Army set up canteen operations at three New York City locations on September 11 to serve those attending. The Salvation Army Team Emergency Radio Network (SATERN) supported necessary communication on Amateur Radio VHF simplex.

-- from The ARRL Letter, Electronic Edition

Native American Wisdom

Sally was driving home from one of her business trips in Northern Arizona when she saw an elderly Navajo woman walking on the side of the road.

As the trip was a long and quiet one, she stopped the car and asked the Navajo woman if she would like a ride. With a word or two of thanks, she got in the car.

After resuming the journey and a bit of small talk, the Navajo woman noticed a brown bag on the seat next to Sally. "What's in the bag?" asked the woman.

Sally looked down at the brown bag and said, "It's a bottle of wine. I got it for my husband."

The Navajo woman was silent for a moment, and then speaking with the quiet wisdom of an elder woman said, "Good trade."

-- from David ZL3AI, via packet

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