Olympia Amateur Radio Society

ARRL Special Service ClubWatts News

Monthly Newsletter of the

Olympia Amateur Radio Society

P.O. Box 2861, Olympia, WA 98507

  September 2009
Edited by George Lanning  KB6LE 

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Especially for YLs!

Do you know about BLOG TALK RADIO?

Brooke KF7CDB, a fairly new ham, has started a talk show for YLs (and would-be YLs) called "Ham it up, Ladies! (and Gents)." It airs live on www.blogtalkradio.com/KF7CDB, Wednesday mornings at 8:30 am but you can listen to previous episodes "ON DEMAND."

Brooke comments: "Amateur Radio has come a long way in the past 100 years! This show is intended to educate fellow hams and future hams to the many facets of ham radio. Special speakers are to be featured on such topics as preparedness, the many types of radio operations (Internet, digital, Morse code, phone patches, etc), emergency management services and how they utilize hams, types of equipment and antennas."

This is also a reminder about our YL Nets -- The Evergreen Intertie YL Net meets at 8:00 pm Monday evening on 145.33. All YLs are welcome so come join us! It's a great place to meet other YLs from the Puget Sound area, Eastern Washington, Idaho and sometimes Oregon.

And for those with General and above, there is The MINOW net, an HF net which meets on Friday morning at 8:00 am on 3.911 (75 meters).


Sara AB7PS - 7th District Chairman, YLRL

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Ham Basics Workshop

The Clark County Amateur Radio Club and the Brush Prairie Repeater Association would like to invite one and all to a Ham Basics Workshop. Whether you are new to the hobby or not, this is a great time to learn more. If you know a new or used ham who would like to learn about how to get on the air for the first time, learn about the care and feeding of your batteries or just want to learn more about any of the subjects, this is the place for you.

The Ham Basics Workshop that will be held Sept 12 from 9 am to 1 pm at the Ridgefield LDS meetinghouse. The building is located at 21720 NE 29th Ave. From I-5, exit at exit 11 to the east towards Battle Ground; travel about 1.2 miles east on 219th Ave, and turn south at NE 29th Ave. You should see the building a short distance south of 219th St.

The program will consist of a 45-minute general session followed by three 50-minute class periods. You will have the opportunity to choose one of the four classes offered each period. The classes are intended to introduce you to ham radio topics and improve your ability to operate.

Please RSVP to HamBasics@iinet.com to register.

Hope to see you all there.

Lisa Bloomquist, KE7HPW


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Power Line Noise


In a case that goes back more than 10 years, the FCC has told a Pennsylvania utility that the utility is responsible for paying for "efforts to locate and correct instances of [power line] noise" <http://www.fcc.gov/eb/AmateurActions/files/Duque09_08_07_5108.pdf>. At least one amateur has been complaining to the FCC since 2000 regarding harmful radio interference possibly caused by power line equipment maintained by Pittsburgh's Duquesne Light Company (DLC) <http://www.duquesnelight.com/>.

Bob Thacker, K3GT, of Allison Park, Pennsylvania -- a suburb just northeast of Pittsburgh -- first noticed harmful interference back in 1996. He told the ARRL that DLC would come out and fix things, but that he would soon hear noise again. After a few years of this, he complained to the FCC, and in 2005, the FCC notified DLC of the complaint. A month later, DLC responded to the FCC, detailing their efforts to resolve the matter and indicated that the most recent complaint was the result of changed conditions, not the continuation of an old problem.

According to the FCC, DLC again communicated with the FCC in a letter dated June 2, 2005, explaining the efforts they had taken to repair three lightning arrestors. During the latter half of 2005 and into 2006,

Thacker continued to experience interference and continued to report these instances to DLC, requesting that DLC correct the problems. In 2007, he located a specific pole as one source of noise and advised a Mr. Luther of DLC of this fact; Mr Luther advised Thacker that he would submit a work order.

In March 2008, DLC contacted Thacker, indicating that it had swept the area where the suspected pole was located and discovered no noise. DLC indicated that the noise source was a neon light. Finally, DLC stated that it had spent "significant amounts of time and money" attempting to address his concerns and that DLC would require him to pay for any additional efforts to locate and correct instances of noise.

Special Counsel for Amateur Enforcement Laura Smith responded to DLC in July of this year, saying "Such a response is not acceptable." She spelled out what she called "the most important rules relating to radio and television interference from incidental radiators," specifically 47 CFR, Section 15.5: General Conditions of Operation <http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/cfr_2002/octqtr/pdf/47cfr15.5.pdf>; 47 CFR, Section 15.13: Incidental Radiators <http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/cfr_2002/octqtr/pdf/47cfr15.13.pdf>, and 47 CFR Section 15.15: General Technical Requirements <http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/cfr_2002/octqtr/pdf/47cfr15.15.pdf>.

"Given the fact this case has been ongoing for quite some time without resolution and DLC has had ample time to locate the instances of interference and make the necessary repairs," Smith told the utility, "you are directed to respond to [me] within 60 days of receipt of this letter, detailing what steps you have taken to resolve the remaining instances of interference that are reported as being caused by your equipment. Should the remaining interference problems not be resolved within those 60 days, DLC will be required to provide [me] with a status update every two weeks going forward as to what progress, if any, has been made to resolve the matter."

ARRL Lab Engineer and power line noise expert Mike Gruber, W1MG, was pleased with Smith's decision, and said that amateurs should not be made to pay fees to the utilities to test for harmful interference by the same utilities. "It is not the responsibility of an Amateur Radio operator to track down and get rid of power line noise -- that's the utilities' job. I am pleased with the precedent that Laura Smith and the FCC have set here. Now maybe more utilities will take power line noise interference more seriously in the future."

--from the ARRL Letter

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Clever Signs

-- 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 on the dates of August 4 and 11:


Net control station reporting for the month was KI7CQ. 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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ARRL Views on Distracted Driving Laws

To ensure that Amateur Radio is not an unintended victim of the growing public debate over what to do about distracted drivers, ARRL President Joel Harrison, W5ZN, has written a letter to the National Safety Council (NSC) <http://www.nsc.org/>, highlighting issues regarding the use of Amateur Radio emergency communications devices in vehicles <http://www.arrl.org/news/files/NSC_Letter7-30-09.pdf>. Many states have outlawed the use of cell phones while driving; some states with these laws have ambiguous wording (such as "mobile communication devices" or "mobile electronic devices") concerning the use of Amateur Radio while driving.

According to their Web site, the NSC is "on a mission" to "alert the American public that different kinds of distractions have different levels of crash risk. Talking on a cell phone and sending text messages are much higher risk activities that occur for longer durations and with more people than most other actions engaged in while driving." They also seek to "lead a change in our nation's cultural norms, so people come to view cell phone conversations and text messaging while driving as unsafe and socially unacceptable. Calling for a legislative ban on these activities is the first step in a long-term process to educate Americans to their risk and change the culture" <http://www.nsc.org/resources/issues/distracted_driving.aspx>.

Harrison explained to NSC President Janet Froetscher that Amateur Radio operators provide essential emergency communications when regular communications channels are disrupted by disaster: "Through formal agreements with federal agencies, such as the National Weather Service, FEMA and private relief organizations, the Amateur Radio volunteers protect lives using their own equipment without compensation. The ability of hams to communicate and help protect the lives of those in danger would be strictly hindered if the federal, state and local governments do not ensure that Amateur Radio operators can continue the use of their mobile radios while on the road."

According to ARRL Chief Executive Officer David Sumner, K1ZZ, it boils down to the difference between simplex -- when only one message can be sent in either direction at one time -- and duplex -- a communications mode, such as a telephone system, that provides simultaneous transmission and reception in both directions. Harrison, citing Sumner's 40-plus years of experience as an Amateur Radio operator, puts it this way: "Simplex, two-way radio operation is simply different than duplex, cell phone use. Two-way radio operation in moving vehicles has been going on for decades without highway safety being an issue. The fact that cell phones have come along does not change that."

Harrison attached a copy of the ARRL's Policy Statement on Mobile Amateur Radio Operation to the letter to the NSC. "Amateur Radio mobile

operation is ubiquitous, and Amateur Radio emergency and public service communications, and other organized Amateur Radio communications activities and networks necessitate operation of equipment while some licensees are driving motor vehicles," the Policy Statement reads. "Two-way radio use is dissimilar from full-duplex cellular telephone communications because the operator spends little time actually transmitting; the time spent listening is more similar to, and arguably less distracting than, listening to a broadcast radio, CD or MP3 player.

There are no distinctions to be made between or among Amateur Radio, public safety land mobile radio, private land mobile radio or citizen's radio in terms of driver distraction. All are distinguishable from mobile cellular telephone communications in this respect. Nevertheless, ARRL encourages licensees to conduct Amateur communications from motor vehicles in a manner that does not detract from the safe and attentive operation of a motor vehicle at all times. See the Policy Statement on the ARRL Web site: <http://www.arrl.org/govrelations/MobileAmateurRadioPolicyStatement.pdf>

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2009 Washington Salmon Run

September 19-20, 2009

1600Z -- 0700Z Saturday

1600Z -- 2400Z Sunday

Each year the Western Washington DX Club sponsors the Washington Salmon Run, a QSO Party where stations outside Washington contact Washington stations and counties, and Washington stations contact any other station, inside or outside the state.

Last year 221 entries reported 28,850 QSOs in the Salmon Run, and four stations worked all 39 Washington counties during the event! Seventeen Salmon Awards went to call-area and country winners outside Washington, and twelve Salmon Awards went to in-state category winners. In addition, three entries won plaques for Out of Washington Low Power (sponsored by N7UK), Eastern Washington Low Power (sponsored by the Spokane DX Association), and Washington Club Multi-Operator/Single Transmitter (sponsored by K7WA).

The Salmon Run recognizes Single-Operator and Multi-Operator, High Power, Low Power, and QRP, as well as CW, Phone, Digital, and Mixed Modes. You can operate from your home station, go mobile, on a County Expedition, or a County Rove.

There is also a category called Unlimited where almost anything goes, the only limitation being that all transmitters have to be in the same county!

Look for the Western Washington DX Club station W7DX handing out 500 bonus points for QSOs on Phone, CW, and Digital.

See the WWDXC website www.wwdxc.org for Rules, a county activity list, and more Salmon Run information. Whether you get on for one hour or the whole weekend, you will have a great experience in the 2009 Washington Salmon Run!

ARRL Western Washington Section

Section Manager: James David Pace, K7CEX


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College Orientation

The female dormitory will be out-of-bounds for all male students, so too the male dormitory to the female students. Anybody caught breaking this rule will be fined $20 the first time. Anybody caught breaking this rule the second time will be fined $60. Being caught a third time will incur a hefty fine of $180. Are there any questions?"

At this, a male student in the crowd inquires, "Er... How much for a season pass?"

-- from AJokeADay via Internet

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Treasurer's Report

As of 8/31/09

    GENERAL FUND (checking account)

        Previous balance     $ 1,823.13

            Income                 0.39

            Expenses               0.00

        Ending balance         1,823.52

    REPEATER / PACKET FUND (savings account)

        Previous balance     $ 1,023.72

            Income                 0.00

            Expenses               0.00

        Ending balance         1,023.72

-- Ed Fitzgerald, N7WW, Treasurer

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Origin of Electricity

Electricity originates inside clouds. There, it forms into lightning, which is attracted to the Earth by golfers.

After entering the ground, the electricity hardens into coal, which when dug up by power companies and burned in big ovens called "generators," turns back into electricity, where it is transformed by TV sets into commercials for beer, which passes through the consumers and back into the ground -- thus completing what is known as a "circuit."

-- from W1GMF via packet

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Summer Work

A blonde teenager, wanting to earn some extra money for the summer, decided to hire herself out as a "handy-woman" and started canvassing a nearby well-to-do neighborhood. She went to the front door of the first house, and asked the owner if he had any odd jobs for her to do.

"Well, I guess I could use somebody to paint my porch," he said. "How much will you charge me?"

Delighted, the girl quickly responded, "How about $50?"

The man agreed and told her that the paint brushes and everything she would need was in the garage. The man's wife, hearing the conversation said to her husband, "Does she realize that our porch goes ALL the way around the House?"

He responded "That's a bit cynical, isn't it?

The wife replied "You're right. I guess I'm starting to believe all those dumb blonde jokes we've been getting by e-mail lately."

Later that day, the blonde came to the door to collect her money. "You're finished already?" the startled husband asked.

"Yes, the blonde replied, and I even had paint left over, so I gave it two coats."

Impressed, the man reached into his pocket for the $50 and handed it to her along with a ten dollar tip.

"And by the way," the blonde added, "it's not a Porch, it's a Lexus."

-- from W1GMF via packet

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Danger, Danger!

Who is the most dangerous person in the world?

A Ham with an idea, some wire, and a bow and arrow in his hand!

-- from W1GMF via packet

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