NEW OFFICERS ELECTED
At the December meeting, elections were held for club officers. The entire slate of officers, as presented by Nominating Committee Chairman Nash Williams, was voted in by acclamation. The following officers will take over after they are installed at the January 11 club meeting:
- PRESIDENT: Jim Lumsden, WA6MYJ
- VICE PRESIDENT: Dick Piety, K6SVP
- SECRETARY: Ralph West. N6YM
- TREASURER: Warren Apel, K6GPK
There are three more directors that will be appointed by the President and approved by the board. These are the Emergency Communications Manager, Trustee, and Director-at-Large. These seven positions constitute the club's Board of Directors, charged with running the affairs of the club according to the membership's wishes. If you feel something is being run wrongly, or if you feel something is being done right for a change, let your officers know. Only with such feedback from the membership can they do their job properly. Good Luck, OM's!
GIVE THE CLUB ITS DUE
January is the month to renew your membership in the club. The cost - a measly $2 whether you are a member or associate member - is well worth it when you realize what that 32 buys in today's inflated market. Some of the advantages of membership are that you can attend board meetings; you can vote on issues brought before the membership; you will be eligible for a key to the club station after being checked out on proper operation of the gear; and, of course, you will receive your monthly copy of this newsletter. Sound good? Send your $2 to the Club Treasurer, Warren Apel, K6GPK, at mail stop 114-118. Dues are "Past Due" on February 1
JAMSAT FLIGHT REPORT - A PILOT'S VIEW By Booth Hartley, N6BH
The JAMSAT test flight, sponsored by the JPL ARC, has been successfully completed. A 1-1/2 hour shakedown flight had been conducted on November 5 (See the December issue) and the full blown 6-1/2 hour flight took place on Saturday, Dec. 3.
Aboard the aircraft, a Beechcraft Bonanza specially outfitted with all the necessary antennas, were three JPLARC members: Booth Hartley, N6BH (pilot/owner), Maurice Piroumian, WA60PB (communicator) and Dick Ulrich, K6KCY (transponder engineer.)
The purpose of the flight was to give as many people as possible in California the opportunity to test their equipment for communicating through the Japanese-built 2-meter to 435 MHz translator which is to fly on OSCAR 8 which will be launched next month. A secondary but also important purpose was to test the interference between OSCAR users and Amateur Fast-Scan TV operation which has been using 435 MHz for some time.
The flight departed Van Nuys at 10:15 am and proceeded south over LAX to San Diego. Reversing course, the path went over Ramona, Lake Elsinore, LAX, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo and San Jose to a landing for gas and lunch at Palo Alto. After takeoff the plane then flew to Sacramento, then turned south past Fresno, and Bakersfield to Van Nuys, arriving at approximately 6:30 pm.
Ground support is of prime importance to the pilot of a mission such as this. Our support was excellent. All communications with the aircraft were on 220 MHz. In the southern part of the state we used both the JPL repeater, WR6APS, and the Mt. Wilson repeater, WR6AJI because our JPL machine was receiving heavy radar interference on its input frequency. The ground station was at the Sherman Oaks home of N61C and included some JPLers and a large contingent from the Hughes Aircraft Company ARC (including Dick, WA6SLB, who is a regular on WR6APS.)
In the Northern part of the state we used WR6ABH, located on a prominent peak southwest of San Jose. The operators of this repeater purposely distorted the antenna pattern for the test flight favoring its southern coverage for us - - with that kind of help, how can you go wrong! The ground station was located at the Lockheed Sunnyvale ARC ham shack, WA6GFY. Merv, N6NO, had enlisted the aid of Cliff Buttschardt, W6HDO, to help with Northern California liaison and he whipped the Northern hams into shape! It was quite a reception at Palo Alto. Among those present were W6DB, WA2VBO, Gil Morris WB6KCJ representing the Bay Area 220 group, W6XN, W6JZU and W6HDO.
Knowing that there would be a gap in air-ground communications in between the North and South, Merv was able to get the help of our own Chas. Weir, W6UM, who is presently at his parents' ranch near San Luis Obispo. Credit must be given to Chuck for being loyal to our effort (and maybe slightly crazy) because he was up all night both Friday and Saturday, competing in the ARRL 160 meter contest, yet he consented to provide us with the much-needed relay to the 40-meter Status net mid-day Saturday!
These three ground sites put all information about the aircraft position, etc., onto a 40-meter net for use by all participants. Unfortunately, some VHF experimenters have no low band equipment and we could hear them (over the airborne transponder) wondering about the aircraft position. Dick, K6KCY, had thoughtfully brought along a tunable 2-meter transmitter, in addition to all his normal monitoring gear, and was able to provide occasional brief assistance directly through the transponder!
As to the technical results of the JAMSAT test, reports are still being collected by Norm Chalfin K6PGX and Skip Reymann W6PAJ. One of the goals was to assess interference with Amateur Television (ATV). This situation has come about because ATV enthusiasts have been using 435 MHz and now ham satellites are being forced by ITU regulations to move up from 432 to 435 MHz. In the aircraft we did hear one report that we were "ripping up" an ATV picture, so more work is needed to achieve compatibility.
Activity through the transponder was quite heavy at times, in spite of the narrow (15 kHz) bandwidth. Among the many ground stations were WB6QWR, Randy, another regular on WR6APS, and a student station at Foothill College in Los Altos. W6HDO assisted the Foothills students as part of an electronics project, which included a large antenna array. One student operator swears that he heard us while we were still over Los Angeles! But as Cliff says, "He was pretty excited. Let's see what wound up on the recording tape!"
ARRL NOTES By Jay Holladay, W6EJJ
The next meeting of the ARRL Board of Directors will take place at Hartford, CT on January 19 & 20, 1978. Now is the time to communicate with your elected ARRL representatives on matters to be brought before the board. These might range from specific items, such as contests or awards, to general policies (or changes thereto) which you would like to have the Board consider.
As Southwestern Division Vice Director, I will be attending this meeting for Director Griggs, who is still recuperating from his recent stroke. John is now at home in Los Osos and is continuing to make progress. He sends along Season's Greetings to everyone and appreciates all of the cards and letters he has received.
Not much else to report at this time. FCC still has many docket items pending, including further action on restructuring, repeater rules, bandwidth docket, call signs, type acceptance, etc. With the holiday break plus other urgent FCC business (non-amateur) and rumored personnel changes, early action on the above seems problematical. 1978 is sure to be a year that will see many changes, though!
Meanwhile, the League is preparing or has filed for the following changes:
a) Authorization for Technician Class amateurs to operate in any part of the 50 MHz and 144 MHz bands
b) Allow phone operation in 14175-14200 kHz for Extra Class licensees and 21250-21270 kHz for Advanced Class licensees
c) Expansion of 80-meter Novice sub-band to include 3675 - 3700 kHz.
HAMS ASSIST IN TOURNAMENT OF ROSES PARADE
Members of the San Gabriel Valley Amateur Radio Club, South Pasadena Amateur Radio Club, The Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service Club of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department and many others are participating in the communications coverage of the Pasadena Tournament of Roses Parade on January 2. The "Hams" are donating their own communications equipment and facilities to provide backup emergency communications and liaison communications among the "white suiters" and the headquarters of the Tournament of Roses Parade Committee.
The volunteer amateur radio operators will be deployed along the parade route in mobile units and on foot to call for assistance in the event of an accident or other emergency. Some of the amateurs will accompany the floats during the parade assembly period to advise them when to enter the line of march. Others will provide communications with the Rose Parade "jitneys" being provided for parade personnel to carry them back and forth on their appointed duties. Should a float become disabled along the route one of the 71 amateurs will be in a position to summon AAA trucks or other aid for the disabled float to get it going or get it out of the line of march. This volunteer activity takes part of the burden off of the communications facilities of the law enforcement groups involved in parade security and crowd control.
The facilities which the amateur radio operator volunteers will use include repeaters which automatically relay a call from the line of march to the headquarters command post, automobile installations, and both handheld and other portable two-way radio transceivers.
JPLARC members known to be assisting the affair on WR6ABQ (2 meters) WR6AOY (220 MHz) and 51 MHz simplex are: Steve Bednarczyk, WB6MJK; Norm Chalfin, K6PGX; Walt Diem, WA6PFA; John Martinez, WB6LKS; Dick LaBelle, W6FXN; Skip Reymann, W6PAJ; and Gil Yanow, K6TOS. [Tnx K6PGX]
"THIS IS WESTLINK"
Jim Hendershot, WA6VQP, Wayne Rankin, WA6MPG, and Bill Pasternak, WA6ITF are providing a free service to hams in the form of Westlink (Western Linking Service) radio network newstapes.
These newstapes are QST's containing news of interest to amateurs nationally and formatted for issuance on repeaters. The idea is to get the news to the average amateur as fast as possible, making it interesting, professionally produced, and in a place convenient to listen to. [Tnx Worldradio, 11/77]
Local schedules are as follows:
- Days Time MHz Call QTH
- Sun 9 pm 223.5 WA6JMM Reseda
- Tues/Thurs 8 pm. 222.68/ WR6AKU Palos Verdes
- Thurs 8 pm* 147.84/ WR6ABN Mt. Lee
- *Broadcast immediately after the PR net. [WA6PEA]
WR6APS AT JPL By Booth Hartley, N6BH
THE MYSTERIOUS RADAR INTERFERENCE PROBLEM
During the latter half of November and early December, WR6APS was plagued with a case of severe radar interference. The two symptoms it caused were apparent desense (weak signals could not break the repeater) and a buzzing noise on medium and even strong signals that could break the repeater.
Extensive sleuthing by WA6PEA and N6NO , assisted by WB6QWR, K6SUE, K6PGX, Howard Olsen (the JPL Frequency Manager) The Long Beach Naval Shipyard Frequency Coordinator, the Western Area Frequency Coordinator at Point Mugu and WB6FXJ at Goldstone indicated with a high degree of confidence just what the source was.
It seems that there are many large Naval warships outfitted with type SPS29 over-the-horizon aircraft warning radar systems. Developed during World War II, these were quite an accomplishment for their time: 1/2 megawatt peak output using a "bedspring" antenna - a planar array of some 100 or so phased half-wave dipole elements. The radars are VFO controlled in the band 216-225 MHz so that when several are in operation in the same area, the operator can move his frequency to avoid interference. There are probably over 50 ships with this radar, but hopefully not more than a few would ever be stationed in a given area!
During one particularly bad evening, WA6PEA looked at the signal at the input to the repeater on his spectrum analyzer. He found the center frequency to be about 222.40 MHz (our repeater input frequency is 222.44) with spikes extending out some 200kHz on either side. We would expect that to cause some interference to repeaters having inputs between 222.20 and 222.60; indeed, the radar at that time was verified as causing trouble to WR6AWP in Highland Park (222-34); WR6AFG in Pomona (222-38); and some to WR6AZN (222.36) at Table Mountain. This also explains why WR6AJI on Mt. Wilson escaped the interference and was able to provide the necessary backup air-ground coverage for the JAMSAT Test Flight on December 3: They listen on 223.34!
The signal level recorded by Walt was another story! While a typical mobile input signal might be in the range of a few microvolts, the radar signal reached 3 millivolts. The pulses are very short, however, and we suspect the integrated energy is probably insufficient to open the receiver squelch. But once a steady signal does open the squelch, the pulse lengths are stretched by the ringing that takes place in the narrow band IF filter and it appears as an audible "buzz."
Periodic peaks every 12 seconds were observed, but the peak-to-valley ratio was not large, as one might expect from a rotating radar. However, the multitude of reflections from the many mountainsides and off-shore islands such as Catalina could muddle this sharpness. In fact, such radars are considered nearly useless near shore precisely because of this problem.
A review of both FCC and OTP frequency assignments revealed that the 220-225 MHz band is allocated to the Government Radiolocation Service as the primary user, while Amateurs are permitted to share the band with the understanding that they must "accept" whatever harmful interference comes from the primary user. The only government user permitted on this band is the military.
To put the frosting on the cake, it is understood that military forces were engaged in large-scale maneuvers off the California Coast between mid November and December 5, which corresponds precisely with the severe interference period we experienced. In fact, during these "war games" reserve personnel and reserve equipment (such as these old radars) were supposedly pressed into service. We have not been bothered by the interference since.
Without DF-ing the exact ship and speaking to the radar officer on board, we cannot be absolutely certain of the cause, but the evidence is hardly doubtful!
Consideration was given to asking the Navy to refrain from using 222-223 MHz (where most all repeater inputs are) and use instead 224-225 MHz (where most all repeater outputs are.) The Navy's desire to avoid provoking public discontent over interference with their reception of Channel 13 (210-216 MHz) has resulted in the radar operators' staying away from the low end (216) of the radar's VFO range, so it would seem that a request to have them avoid our repeater input band whenever possible would not be out of line with their current practice. Since it may not be easy to "tell" the Navy anything, the best way to accomplish this task is undergoing much consideration.
Realizing that we have no case if they decide not to comply with our request, since they are the "primary" users of the band, we are going to crank up an effort to design and build a noise blanker to apply to the receiver front end. This should eliminate much of the radar-caused desense as well as the audio buzz when and if they decide to reactivate the radars. It would also develop a new area of repeater technology that could be used by other repeaters along the coast on both 220 and 450 MHz that are vulnerable to the interference. [N6NO]
220 MHz ALIGNMENT TOOLS
If you install new front-end transistors in your Midland 13-509, Clegg FM-76 or Cobra 200, you may find inferior performance instead of improved performance unless you re-peak the coils. Only a touch-up using the set's S-meter is needed, but you have to have the right tools. The following have been found useful:
- GC 9440 0.056 square tip one end; 0.038 x 0.042 rectangular tip other end.
- GC 9302 Magnavox hex core tool.
These are available at Dow Radio in Pasadena for 41¢ and 75¢ respectively. Good to have on hand! [N6NO]
CODE PRACTICE ON 2 METERS
If you can receive a 30-watt 2-meter signal from Torrey Pines in San Diego, and you want code practice between 2-1/2 and 25 wpm (cyclic) try tuning in 147.42 MHz between 5 pm and 8 am local time. [Ed. note - yes, that's a full 15 hours of practice every day!] [Tnx W6HCD]
CONGRATULATIONS TO ...
... Norm de Groot, W6SXY, ex-W6WWH, W7CIT, who upgraded to Advanced on December 14.
... Ron Zenone, ex-W31HW, who finally received his W6 call to go with his new Advanced ticket in mid December. Ron is now on the air as W6TUZ.
A BAJA EXPERIENCE By Jim Longthorne, WA6KPW
My destination was "Visual B" located about 60 miles south on Mex 5 and about 10 miles west of the highway. It was so located and kept secret such that any course-cheaters would miss it if they went out to the highway to make faster time.
I arrived about 1330 Thursday at Check Point 4, eight miles north of Visual B, with the bad news that the second half of their crew would not be coming. The situation was now complicated by the fact that Ken (W7HNT) and Velma (WA70UX) Lohner's motor home was 5 miles removed from the S.C.O.R.E. check point. They had been told it was easy access from the highway to the check point, but soft sand prevented them from bringing their motor home any closer.
A meeting was held between the SCORE Captain, Ken, and myself. Some kind of radio link and operators were needed between the actual Check Point and Ken's motor home equipped with HF and UHF to Ensenada Control. The SCORE captain wished not to use CB because of the possible emergency medical traffic involved, and the Communications Director at Net Control Ensenada didn't want me to abandon the reporting from Visual B.
Later that evening, I met Booth, N6BH, eyeball-to eyeball for the first time ever - in Baja, no less, and he volunteered to relay from SCORE Check Point to the motor home using 220 MHz. Booth and I had planned to communicate on 220 MHz with each other while he was flying, but for other reasons he didn't do any race time flying. Next morning, the link was established and I ventured South on the race course in my trusty Jeep, to establish communications from Visual B.
I was prepared to erect WB6MJK's tower and 11-element beam which I had brought, but the repeater's coverage was so good that with my Hustler collinear (5.8 dB gain) communication was full quieting to net control.
As it turned out, QRM was so bad on HF (80 meters) almost all traffic had to be routed through the 146.19/.79 repeater, which served remarkably well from its site on Mt. Diablo, at 10,126 feet. Traffic consisted of reporting vehicle numbers, vehicle times, and emergency traffic. Because of the great increase in traffic on the repeater, it was necessary to cease reporting vehicle passings at the Visuals, limiting their participation to emergency or assist-type traffic in order to hold congestion to a tolerable level.
I remained awake through the night and assisted the understaffed (staff of two) SCORE personnel. Visual B was closed down at 0800 Saturday and I left towing out a Class 5 VW Bug, which spent the night with us because of a burned out clutch. I also donated my spare battery (which was in questionable condition) to a desperate driver around midnight Friday. His sponsor is arranging a replacement for me.
All in all, I had hoped for a little more challenging RF communication, a little more "on the air" time, and a little more sleep. But time erases most thoughts of the painful experiences and lets the enjoyable moments remain ... so you'll see me down there again in February, helping with the "Baja 500!" [Tnx and Good Luck next time Jim. - N6NO.]
OSCAR LAUNCH DELAYED
OSCAR A-O-D, to become OSCAR-8 when launched, has been rescheduled from February 17 to March 5 due to Landsat-C satellite delays. The launch, to take place from the Western Test Range at Vandenberg AFB, is to carry the Japanese (JAMSAT) transponder that has 2-meter input and 435-MHz output similar to the one that the JPLARC test-flew in an aircraft last month. [Tnx K6PGX]
EMERGENCY MESSAGE HANDLING
Back in October, Ray, WA6SVY, used the repeater to request Police and Paramedics for a serious traffic accident that he was witness to. The request was handled by fixed station K6SUE, but was hindered by not having quick access to the Pasadena emergency numbers.
Besides having a handy dandy list at your side, be sure you have all the information needed before you place the call. Having to "go back" for information or being so quick that mistakes are made wastes time. An extra 30 seconds to check your four W's will provide that efficiency:
What, exactly, are you reporting? If an accident, how many cars involved? What kind of injuries are there?
Where is it? You need more than just on 1-5 near exit 2." Are you north or south of exit 2? Is the accident on the shoulder of the road, in the center divider strip or blocking two lanes? How 'far is it from the exit: 10 feet, 10 yards, or 10 miles? What kind of vehicle should the authorities be looking for as they drive up?
Who are you? If the directions you gave get garbled, authorities must be able to re-establish contact to verify the information, so don't hesitate over a fear of "getting involved." They just need to be able to call back.
When did it happen? Glance at your wrist watch and remember the time. If someone has been bleeding a lot, it can help if medical personnel know how long. [From Worldradio, Sept. 77 by WB6DGH]
Also, don't be ashamed to use a freeway call box or a landline phone if you're in a poor area for the repeater, don't have the correct number, or no one can handle the message for you. Attach a dime to your emergency phone number list (no tape - it may stick in the phone) for quick telephone booth calls.
Here's a list of emergency numbers for the Pasadena StarNews subscriber area:
- Area Police Fire-Paramedic Ambulance
- Altadena 798-1131 793-7176 793-7176
- East Pasadena (Uninc) 285-7171 793-7176 793-7176
- Highland Pk, El Sereno,
- Eagle Rock 485-2681 384-3131 483-6721
- La Canada Flintridge 248-3464 793-7176 793-7176
- Pasadena 577-4241 792-4161 792-4161
- San Marino 282-2131 282-9111 282-9111
- Sierra Madre 355-1414 355-1401 355-1401
- South Pasadena 799-1121 441-1191 441-1191
If each of us contributes our own local numbers to the list, we will ultimately assemble a comprehensive list within the repeater's area. [Tnx WA6KPW]
Stan Brokl, K6YYQ, left JPL December 15. He can be reached at 28 New Brunswick Rd., Franklin Township, New Jersey 08873.(!) If he's lucky, you might work him as N2YY. We all wish him good luck in his new job at RCA.