ARRL Special Service ClubWatts News

Monthly Newsletter of the

Olympia Amateur Radio Society

P.O. Box 2861, Olympia, WA 98507

  September 2004
Edited by George Lanning  KB6LE 

Table of Contents

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ARRL seeks comment on draft "Bandwidth" petition

The ARRL wants members' comments on a planned petition to the FCC seeking to regulate amateur subbands by bandwidth rather than by mode. The ARRL Board of Directors adopted the petition's guiding principle in July 2002 and wrapped up its review of a draft petition late last month.

"The main objective is to make appropriate provision for digital modes in the HF amateur bands, while preserving amateurs' prerogatives to use the traditional modes," said ARRL CEO David Sumner, K1ZZ. "Regulation by Bandwidth" is the title of Sumner's "It Seems to Us . . ." editorial in the September issue of QST.

The ARRL Executive Committee decided to make a synopsis and explanation of the petition available to ARRL members before filing it with the FCC. The idea is to give anyone interested in the issue a chance to better understand the ARRL's proposal and the rationale behind it -- mainly creating a regulatory environment more accommodating to newer technologies.

"The regulation of emission modes in Amateur Radio Service allocations is a limiting factor with respect to Amateur Radio experimentation," a synopsis of the petition concludes. "It leads to attempts to put new technology into a regulatory framework that was designed only to deal with older analog emissions." In order to implement digital technologies, an underlying assumption in the League's draft petition is to provide for an intermediate bandwidth -- between what's needed for the legacy CW and phone modes -- in the middle of certain bands.

As drafted, the ARRL's bandwidth petition would preserve double-sideband AM unchanged, but it would stop short of opening the phone bands to digital and other modes of the same bandwidth. FCC rules now permit RTTY and data emissions throughout the HF CW subbands, although informal agreements typically keep RTTY and data signals out of those parts of the CW band generally used for CW. The ARRL's petition proposes to limit bandwidth in the CW subbands to 200 Hz, which also will accommodate data modes such as PSK31.

In addition, the League's proposal would limit bandwidth in the existing "RTTY/data subbands" to either 500 Hz or 3 kHz, with phone emissions specifically prohibited in certain subbands where 3 kHz would be permitted. Under the proposal, these would include 3650-3725, 7100-7125, 14,100-14,150 and 21,150-21,200 kHz.

"The reason for this is to encourage the development of higher-speed data communications in these subbands by preventing them from becoming de facto 'expanded phone bands.'" Sumner explained.

The new proposals take into account the ARRL's prior "Novice refarming" petition to expand some HF phone bands, included in the FCC Notice of Proposed Rule Making in WT Docket 04-140.

Amateurs typically won't have to be able to measure the bandwidth of their signals, Sumner says, since the bandwidths proposed are more than sufficient for "clean" signals using traditional HF modes.

The ARRL proposal would eliminate bandwidth restrictions in the 222-225 MHz band -- beyond a requirement to keep signals confined within the band.

Sumner encouraged ARRL members to review the synopsis of the petition and the specific rule changes the League plans to propose. It is located on the web at, http://www.arrl.org/announce/bandwidth.html.

Direct questions or comments -- favorable or otherwise -- via e-mail at bandwidth@arrl.org. ARRL staff members will respond to any questions, while comments will be forwarded to your ARRL division director. Members also are welcome to comment directly to their ARRL directors, of which a list can be found on the web at http://www.arrl.org/divisions/ , and also listed on page 15 in QST.

-- ARRL Bulletin ARLB025

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Mountain Marathon Support

The ham radio community in Olympia has been asked to help provide communications for an adventurous mountain marathon group on Oct. 2, 2004 this year. These runners will be jogging through the Capital Forest for a total of 50 kilometers and having amateur radio operators to call for possible assistance would be a huge advantage for them.

The ARES/RACES group, which would normally handle much of this type of communications is involved in Washington State's "SET" that same day and will be unable to assist them. If you can help these extraordinary athletes, please contact James Varner ( jvarner@wildmail.com ) or J. Pearch ( j.pearch@comcast.net ) Who are coordinating this event.


Harold KD7YOE

ARES/RACES - AEC Medical Services Team

email: KD7YOE@arrl.net

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Kids' Science Quotes

The beguiling ideas about science quoted here were gleaned from essays, exams, and classroom discussions. Most were from 5th and 6th graders.

-- from Joke of the Day via Internet

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Repeater Coordinator Okays Mandatory Repeater Tone Policy

The Southeast Repeater Association (SERA) Board of Directors has approved an "all tone, all the time" policy for the repeaters SERA coordinates. SERA provides voluntary frequency coordination for amateur repeaters in Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi and parts of Virginia and West Virginia. The Board okayed a motion to amend its coordination policy and guidelines to require CTCSS or DCS receive and transmit tones on all new FM voice repeaters. Existing voice repeaters will have until July 1, 2006, to comply. The SERA Repeater Journal reported the move in its August issue. Repeater Journal Editor Gary Pearce, KN4AQ, said a need to relieve interference complaints led to the Board's decision.

"The point is to stop the ongoing complaints and skirmishes between co-channel neighbors running carrier-access repeaters," Pearce explained. "The vote was unanimous, but SERA recognizes that tone isn't universally popular nor is it a cure-all. And it causes new problems, particularly for travelers."

South Carolina ARRL member Laurie Sansbury Jr, KV4C, would agree with Pearce on that score. He also has taken issue with SERA's new policy and with Pearce's Repeater Journal "SquelchTale" editorial, in which Pearce said he had "little sympathy for the ham whose radio doesn't have a tone encoder" and "Radios are cheap today."

"Not for the senior on a fixed income they're not," Sansbury retorted in an e-mail copied to ARRL. "Not for a teenager -- the future of ham radio -- they're not."

ARRL South Carolina Technical Coordinator Marc Tarplee, N4UFP, said he believes an important consideration of SERA's tone policy is its potential effect on emergency operations. "The Amateur Radio Service is expected to provide emergency communications," Tarplee said. "How does broad CTCSS implementation enhance or hinder our ability to deliver those communications?"

SERA has no plans to automatically de-coordinate repeaters that continue to operate without tones, but "SERA would not entertain an interference complaint from the owner of any repeater who chooses to remain carrier access," the Repeater Journal said. If a carrier-access repeater owner getting co-channel interference complains to the FCC, SERA would tell the Commission that the complaining repeater's owner was opting to operate outside the conditions of coordination. "SERA would expect that to be interpreted as a 'no,'" the Repeater Journal report said.

"If a repeater owner wants to complain about interference, they'll have to incorporate tone first," Pearce said.

-- from the ARRL Letter

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Plastic Surgery

Three Texas surgeons were having lunch together and discussing surgeries they had performed. One of them said, "I'm the best surgeon in Texas. A concert pianist lost seven fingers in an accident. I reattached them, and eight months later he performed a concert for the Queen of England."

One of the others said. "That's nothing. A young man lost both arms and legs in a terrible accident. I reattached them, and two years later he won two gold medals in field events in the Olympics."

The third surgeon said, "You guys are amateurs. Several years ago, a guy who was high on cocaine and alcohol rode a horse head-on into a train traveling 80 miles and hour. All I has left to work with was the horse's backside and mouth. Now he's the President of the United States."

-- from W1GMF via packet

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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 August 2004:


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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A small town doctor was famous in the area for always catching large fish.

One day while he was on one of his frequent fishing trips he got a call that a woman at a neighboring farm was giving birth. He rushed to her aid and delivered a healthy baby boy.

The farmer had nothing to weigh the baby with so the doctor used his fishing scales. The baby weighed 22 lbs 10 oz.

-- from David ZL3AI via packet

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Treasurer's Report

As of 8/31/04

    GENERAL FUND (checking account)

        Previous balance     $421.28

            Income             40.06

            Expenses          161.65

        Ending balance        299.69

    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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New "Big Project" Activity Board a Treasure Trove of Teaching Possibilities

The ARRL Education and Technology Program (ETP -- also known as "The Big Project") will offer a new activity board to schools this fall. ETP Coordinator Mark Spencer, WA8SME, says the "L/C/Resonance" or L/C/R activity board will allow students to explore many facets of alternating current and RF theory. The board will help students to unravel the mysteries of capacitive and inductive reactance, verify reactance formulas using actual data taken from the activity board, measure the resonant frequency of either series or parallel L/C circuits and then put it all together to explore the relationship between capacitive and inductive reactance and resonance. And there's more, Spencer points out.

"Because the board uses a microcontroller and a digital-to-analog converter (DAC) to generate the ac waveform used to explore L/C circuits, there is an additional learning opportunity: digital signal processing (DSP) fundamentals," he notes. "This facet of the board leads to exploration of root mean square (rms) voltage and current and the mathematical derivation of rms."

Given the level of mathematics involved, Spencer says the activity board is intended primarily for high school physics or second-year algebra students. But, he adds, anyone studying for the General or Amateur Extra license examination could benefit from the learning opportunities the L/C/R activity board affords.

"In other words," Spencer says, "there is a whole lot of activity packed into this little board."

Students use mathematical, graphing, graphing calculator, spreadsheet and critical-thinking skills to make sense of the data collected during the various board activities. For example, students use graphing calculator curve-fitting techniques to verify the reactance formulas. Drawing on the premise that one picture is worth a thousand words, Spencer says, spreadsheet software helps students visualize the raw voltage and current data measurements.

During the DSP activities, students use the OptaScope digital oscilloscope to see the stair-step waveform generated by the computer and the DAC on one channel, and the smoothed waveform exiting a simple filter on the other. "Visualizing a waveform in discrete slices helps students understand what happens during DSP," Spencer explains.

The L/C/R activity board kit includes the circuit board, the parts to populate it, plus documentation to support the board's construction and use. As with previous activity boards, this one is designed to be constructed by students under adult supervision.

Activity board kits are available to interested and qualified schools through generous donations to the Education and Technology Program Fund. To qualify for one of these kits, interested schools need to write Spencer on school letterhead and verify that (1) the lead teacher has reviewed the curriculum that supports the L/C/R activity board, (2) the curriculum and the board fit into the school's curriculum and the school intends to use the board as an instructional activity, and (3) the school has the capability to build the activity board (preferably, students will do the actual construction).

For schools wishing to roll their own, all documentation, diagrams, a parts list, and software in hard copy are available simply for the asking. Send requests to Mark Spencer, WA8SME, ARRL, 225 Main St, Newington, CT 06111.

Another new activity board kit, to be available in January 2005, is a simple and inexpensive direct-conversion receiver kit, produced by the American QRP Club.

For more information about these boards and the ARRL Education and Technology Program, contact Mark Spencer, WA8SME, 860-594-0396; mspencer@arrl.org. To learn more about how to support the ARRL Education and Technology Program, contact ARRL Chief Development Officer Mary Hobart, K1MMH, 860-594-0397; mhobart@arrl.org.

-- from the ARRL Letter

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New Dog Breeds

The following breeds are now recognized by the AKC:

-- from W1GMF, via packet

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FCC Still Enforcing Part 15 Rules in Some Amateur Interference Cases

While the ARRL has accused the FCC of sweeping under the rug several Amateur Radio complaints of interference from unlicensed broadband over power line (BPL) devices, the Commission apparently is not ignoring other Part 15-related interference complaints from hams. With the assistance of the ARRL Laboratory, the FCC continues to dog complaints -- some now longstanding -- of power-line noise interference to amateur communication. Other cases of Part 15 device interference to radio amateurs have been a bit more exotic. For example, two recent citations issued by the Portland, Oregon, FCC field office involved interference from wireless microphones operating in the 70-cm band.

"The agent measured the field strength at 1500 uV/meter at a distance of 3 meters from the referenced wireless microphones and determined that the microphones were in noncompliance with 15.209 of the Commission's rules, which apply to intentional radiators," the FCC said.

Daniel Bathurst, WA7ABU, of Salem, Oregon, filed the complaint. In citations to FLECO Corp of Chino, California, and The Club Works Sound and Lighting of Salem, the Commission alleged that the devices, which operate on 432.55 and 439.55 MHz, also were not certificated for sale in the US. The FCC citation indicated that FLECO had sold the microphones to The Club Works.

As reported, the FCC earlier this year fined Best Wok, a Westville, New Jersey, restaurant $10,000 for operating transmitting equipment on the 2 meter satellite sub-band without a license. The eatery allegedly was using a so-called "long-range cordless telephone" to communicate with its delivery vehicle.

Other recent cases have stemmed from radio amateurs' complaints about their neighbors' Part 15 devices. In a Texas case that FCC Special Counsel for Enforcement Riley Hollingsworth described as "an unfortunate neighborhood situation," the neighbor allegedly not only failed to respond to FCC letters but tossed out the toroid core devices the amateur, William Cooper, W5ZAF, had provided free and which, the FCC said, had resolved the interference.

Hollingsworth told the neighbor that under Part 15, operation of a consumer product "such as a battery charger" must not result in harmful interference to a licensed radio service. He emphasized that it's the neighbor's responsibility to correct the interference -- whether or not the neighbor accepts Cooper's help.

In a similar case in Colorado, Hollingsworth on August 10 wrote another amateur's neighbor about interference from an electric fence charger to the Amateur Radio and broadcast television reception of P. E. Muetz, K0AWS.

"Operation of a consumer device such as your fence charger under Part 15 of the Commission's rules must not result in harmful interference to a licensed radio service, and Part 15 of our rules clearly explains that," said Hollingsworth, who'd also spoken with the neighbor by telephone last April.

-- from the ARRL Letter

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