April Meeting Announcement

The club meeting for April 11, 1979 will feature a talk by Cdr. John Wypick, WB2WSA, of the United States Coast Guard's Search and Rescue Branch. Cdr. Wypick will discuss Coast Guard search and rescue operations, and will show a movie.

For a special treat this month, a DOOR PRIZE will be awarded to four lucky attendees. We have four free tickets to the Lockheed hamfest (note the article elsewhere in this issue) that will go to four lucky members on a random basis. Be sure and check in with the secretary when you arrive so that you have a chance to win.

Voyager I Commemorative, by Dick Piety, K6SVP

The W6 Voyager In Outerspace commemorative held between March 1 and March 11 was an outstanding success. The response from the amateur community was much better than expected without a special event callsign. Many new friends were made as well as old acquaintances renewed. The event got off to a shaky start due to the trailer renovations being completed at the same time, and I found myself lifting my feet while operating as Jim, WA6MYJ, and Norm, K6PGX were finishing the carpet installation. However, things soon sorted themselves out and serious operating began.

As one might expect, our slow-scan efforts were well received, and large pile-ups were common as we took check-ins and attempted to send the latest Jupiter photos to the waiting slowscanners. During the activity many nice comments were heard, such as how much our time and effort was appreciated, and so forth. Many operators seemed to remember our N6V effort and the Viking special event. The N6V card seems to hold a special esteem, and the comment was frequently heard that "my N6V card tops the list" and that the W6VIO Jupiter card would go right alongside.

During the operation a congratulatory telegram was received from the well-known SSTV columnist Dave Ingram, K4TWJ, indicating that he was taping and photographing as fast as he could go, and sending information and pictures to the media. An article on our activities appeared in the Denver Post, thanks to the efforts of slowscanner Alan Applegate, KOBG.

Of course, the commemorative was not just an SSTV activity. Many contacts were made on both phone and CW, with Merv MacMedan in particular racking up a number of DX contacts when the beam was finally surrendered to the CW ops. The CW activities did get off to a slow start, but improved rapidly when the 1/3 page announcement in "League Lines" concerning our commemorative appeared. Many of the CW operators contacted took time to say that they had been waiting around to work us.

Jim Longthorne, WA6KPW, and K6SVP run phone and SSTV during the Voyager I commemorative. Notice the "new look" in the radio shack. (K6PGX photo)

A variety of memorable contacts took place, as is always the case in an operation like this. Merv, N6NO, worked F6KCP, Alain, on the 10 meter dipole. Before he was finished Alain had called up all his friends by landline and Merv ended up working five additional F5s and F6s from Alain's home town, near Paris. N6NO also worked a Spanish CW station, in Spanish, and the op was so delighted to be working Merv con telegraphia that he wanted to ragchew rather than move off for the next contact. The most unusual contact, though, has to go to Warren Apel, K6GPK, who worked a W7 on 2 meter simplex who swore he was in Seattle. I'll let you be the judge; Warren isn't sure himself.

Of course, no commemorative would have been possible without operators, and a special thanks is due to those who volunteered their time and effort. My own personal opinion is that several of the operators who had not been involved in a commemorative before started out a bit timidly, but, as they got their feet wet, began to enjoy and look forward to their next operating period. The personal rewards and enjoyment are there for those who participate. The operators are listed below:

Warren Apel, K6GPK     - operator
Norm Chalfin, K6PGX    - operator & photographer
Bob Gosline, AE6S      - operator
Mike Griffin, N6WU     - operator
Jim Longthrone, WA6KPW - operator (off-lab member)
Jim Lumsden, WA6MYJ    - op & facilities manager
Merv MacMedan, N6NO    - operator
George Morris, W6ABW   - operator
Dick Piety, K6SVP      - op & commemorative lead
John Repar, WA6LWD     - operator
Stan Sander, N6NP      - operator
Rick Soikkeli, WD6ERY  - member of Sunfire team
Ron Zenone, W6TUZ      - operator

Future plans call for additional renovation of and work on our antenna systems. A good 80-20-10 meter set of Vee antennas are now on the telephone pole near the top of the mesa, and the 40 meter beam should join them shortly.

During slow scan operations many inquiries were received as to the availability of a tape similar to the one Jim Lumsden and Stan Brokl made up for the Viking commemorative. Present plans are to make such a tape available; Jim and I plan to make up a master as time allows. A short color SSTV tape has been prepared and sent to Don Miller, W9NTP, who has color capabilities. Possible later publication is hoped for.

At least some contacts were made on nearly all bands for which the club has operating capability. A rough breakdown is as follows:

10 meter phone -  281   10 meter CW -  21
15 meter phone -  123   15 meter CW - 164
20 meter phone -  362   20 meter CW - 157
75 meter phone -    1   40 meter CW -  10
2 meter FM     -  348
220 MHz FM     -   72
OSCAR          -    1
TOTAL          - 1540

Hundreds of QSLs have already been received. Our QSL design effort, headed by Gordon Crawford, is still underway. Again, thanks to all those who participated, and see you again in July for the Voyager 2 encounter.

Sunfire Support, by Jim Lumsden, WA6MYJ

VR6TC, VR6TC, VR6TC, this is W6VIO calling. Are you there, Tom? ....

The Consuls General for France, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom were on hand for a tour and briefing by the Project Sunfire team and a QSO with Tom Christian from W6VIO. The goal of the project is to provide Pitcairn Island in the South Pacific with solar power to reduce the burden on their diesel generating system. The team is looking for transportation to support delivery of the rather large solar generator to Pitcairn.

The entire entourage of approximately 16 people plus Dick Piety, K6SVP, and myself, squeezed into the trailer and listened as Tom discussed life on Pitcairn and the islanders' feelings about Project Sunfire. Chief operator for the day, Dick Piety, was able to hold a good QSO with VR6TC, with most of Tom's remarks clearly audible to the entire group, even though the schedule was a bit earlier in the day then is generally desirable on 15 meters.

Thanks are due to K6SVP for handling the Sunday schedule, and to John Repar, WA6LWD and Gordon Crawford, WB6DRH, who have supported schedules with Pitcairn Island for some time.

Arroyo Seco Freako, by Jim Lumsden, WA6MYJ

On your mark, get set, fizzzz! Even though the beer can that was supposed to start the 5th Annual Arroyo Seco Freako didn't pop very well, the race was off to a giant start. Joggers of all ages, young to gray-haired, ran the three-mile-plus course which skirts the Arroyo. The radio club manned four check points, the start/finish line, and the club's trailer facility. The latter was to provide access to a telephone in the event of an on-course injury. Nothing of the kind happened, fortunately, and the club's operators were able to concentrate on spreading the elapsed time around the course and bringing runner status back to the spectators at the start/finish line. Radio club participants (in addition to N6BH who entered the event!) were Warren Apel, K6GPK, Bruce Beaudry, WD6HEZ, Jim Lumsden, WA6MYJ, John McKinney, N6AVW, George Morris, W6ABW, and Dick Piety, K6SVP.

1979 DX Contest Results

This year's ARRL DX Contest, held for the first time on one weekend only for phone and CW, is over. W6VIO entered the CW fray and emerged with 124 QSOs, 55 country multipliers, and a total of 20460 points. The most productive single band was 15 meters, with 19 separate countries and 46 QSOs. Total time in the contest was 15 hours out of an available 48.

This effort compares very favorably with the result of our first weekend of operation in last year's event (see March 1978 W6VIO Calling). At that time, 30 hours of operation yielded 54 multipliers and 156 contacts. So it appears that we were nearly twice as efficient this year while using the same rig. Last year's effort was the first half of what turned out to be a winning score in the L.A. section, so who knows? A few more hours in the event would have helped, but only N6MP and N6WU were available to support it.

Each contest produces its surprises, and this one is no exception. Ranking high in this category is the way N6MP scarfed up 9S1FG (Zaire), within seconds after tuning up on 15 meters and literally while swinging the beam around to decide where to aim it! They don't all come that easily. N6MP spent maybe 20 fruitless minutes in a 15 meter pileup trying to get FG7AR/FS7 (St. Martin's Island) during very good conditions. To make it worse, N6WU got him on both 40 and 80 in the midst of some unbelievable QRN!


The March 28, 1979 board meeting of the JPL Amateur Radio Club was attended by K6GPK, N6WU, K6PGX, N6NO, W6ABW, WA6MYJ, K6SVP, N6BF, WB6DRH and W6TUZ. With a comment that a quorum was present, the club President (N6WU) called the meeting to order. Minutes of the February Board Meeting were then read and approved.

Merv MacMedan (N6NO), the new Chairman for the Program Committee, requested that the Board consider establishing a budget for the Program Committee to cover incidental operating costs. A motion to establish a fifteen dollar budget for the committee in 1979 was made, seconded and carried.

Design considerations and procurement costs associated with Voyager commemorative QSL cards were presented for discussion by Jim Lumsden (WA6MYJ). The lengthy discussion which ensued resulted in an indication that most members preferred a unique double-width card to separately commemorate each Voyager encounter. An impressive example of such a card for the Voyager I encounter was shown by Gordon Crawford (WB6DRH). With one abstention, the Board approved a motion that the club's official request for QSL card funding should be for two separate and distinct cards.

WA6MYJ suggested that the club purchase an external VFO for the FT-101 rig so as to increase station capabilities and to enhance operations. It was mentioned by N6WU that the older FT-101E series and associated line of accessories are being discontinued by Yaesu and might make it difficult to purchase a suitable VFO if procurement activities are delayed too long. The club treasurer, Warren Apel (K6GPK), indicated that the club had sufficient funds to cover the estimated purchase cost of 150 dollars. A motion authorizing the purchase of a Yaesu VFO was approved by the Board.

A letter requesting financial aid from the ERC was presented by K6GPK to the Board for information purposes and for comments. Board members concurred with the contents of the letter. The letter, as signed by the President and Treasurer, is being formally submitted today (3/28/79).

Off-lab membership renewal requests from Skip Reymann (W6PAJ) and Maurice Piroumian (WA60PB) were reviewed by the board and approved.

It was noted by K6GPK that costs for mailing bulletins to off-lab members appear to be excessively high. Time constraints did not permit the topic to be properly addressed and so necessitated a postponement. The meeting was then adjourned.

Radio Shack Status, by Jim Lumsden, WA6MYJ

Facility: something that promotes the ease of an action or operation.

JPL Radio Club Facility: a clean, carpeted, well lighted, organized, air-conditioned facility for ease of enjoying radio club operating events.

Equipment Prime       Operating Use
KWM-2A transceiver,   slowscan/phone/CW
external VFO, and
5OS-1 KW amplifier.
32S-3 transmitter,    phone/CW
51S-1 receiver, and
30L-1 KW amplifier.
KWS-1 kilowatt        phone/CW (soon to be
transmitter and       operational)
75A-4 receiver.
FT-101E transceiver.  phone/CW/Novice/OSCAR
ICOM 211 transceiver  2 meters, all modes
ICOM 21A              2 meter FM
FM-76                 220 MHz (club
                      crystals only)

All of these positions can be operated simultaneously except that, because of antenna limitations, "only" three HF rigs can be on the air at the same time. I feel that we are unbelievably fortunate in having a facility available to US With the qualities and equipment listed above. As individuals and as a club, we have to be careful that we don't become victims of the "welfare syndrome". Neither the lab nor the Employees Recreation Club owes us what they have provided; it is there because we have earned it. We must continue to earn this lab support.

The latest round of lab support concerned the trailer facility renovation. If you have not seen the "new" trailer, let me take you on a mental tour. As you approach the facility at the JPL East Gate, you will notice a new coat of paint, crisp and not even peeling. On top of the trailer is a new roof; not one drop of water leaked in all winter. Step up to the door and insert your shiny new key into the new lock. Note that it will now turn easily to your left, and the door will actually open.

The next thrill will blind you, for when you flip the switch, all the lights actually come on. The fixtures have been firmly attached to the newly painted ceiling, so we don't violate lab safety rules by not wearing hard hats when in the shack. Did I say painted ceiling? Both ceiling and walls have been painted off-white, instead of off-brown.

Now take a moment to scan your eyes from left to right ... slowly. A three-tier bench runs completely around the inside (with two minor exceptions). The main bench is covered with white Formica, while the two upper equipment shelves are clear-finished plywood. Note also that the space under the bench is free of obstructions for plenty of foot room.

Scan right and view the east end of the trailer. Here are two custom operating positions angled at 45 degrees into each corner, with rotor controls and clock between them, convenient to both. The two Collins stations currently occupy these slots, but this may change soon. SSTV dominates one position, with TV monitors and Cameras in appropriate positions; the other is a bit more open, with the Collins split pair sitting here.

Straight across from the entrance sits a bit of nostalgia. The KWS-1 transmitter and 75A-4 receiver are ready to accept RTTY/CW/phone, and this position will be up and running soon. Slightly to the left is the VHF complex. The Yaesu FT-101 is available for barefoot use, or with the OSCAR set-up. Next to the Yaesu is the ICOM-211 all-mode 2 meter rig. Oscar antennas (donated to the club through Ron Reasoner, N6QV) sit outside the trailer. Inside are rotor controls for both azimuth and elevation. Directly across from the main VHF position, on the south wall, is the Clegg FM-76 crystal-controlled 220 MHz transceiver for club repeater use. We used to have a synthesized rig, but ....

The entire west end of the shack is reserved as a test bench, with the main portion at sit-down height.

Now, look down. No holes in the floor! Just nice, soft, quiet, carpet.

Well, what do you think? This portion of your tour is over, but why not see it first hand? The remainder of the tour is up to you. Go ahead ... touch... feel ... ask for a demonstration ... a check ride. Experience for yourself the thrill of rotating a 6-element beam on a 70 foot tower whose base is more than 400 feet above your head. Sit at a contoured operating position where everything is within easy reach.

Practice a little now so you can be part of the July Voyager II commemorative. Ask any board member, including myself (x6726, x5869). Most noon times I am available to go down to the shack. HOT FLASH - I will hold an open house at the trailer at noon on April 18. Come and look, ask questions, and touch.

Flying Samaritans Acknowledged

Many of you may know that the club's own Nash Williams, W6HCD, is very active in public service with an international flavor through the Flying Samaritan's Net. One of Nash's recent contributions in conjunction with a member of the Mexican National Emergency Net was formally acknowledged by J. M. Wypick, Chief of the Search and Rescue Branch of the U.S. Coast Guard. We think it's worth some newsletter space to quote from Commander Wypick's letter:

"In particular, I would like to cite one recent case in which the radio net was invaluable. Approximately mid-February, an overdue report was put out on the vessel GELANA, a 30 foot vessel enroute from Ensenada to Acapulco which had failed to arrive. On March 5, Mr. Nash Williams of the Flying Samaritan's Radio Net, received a call from a Mexican radio amateur, Gaspar Pruneda (Radio Call Sign XE2GP), saying that the GELANA had been located and was safe in the harbor of Coyuca, near Acapulco. The timely response by Senor Pruneda and the entire Mexican National Emergency Net saved valuable time and resources which otherwise would have been activated to locate the overdue vessel."

Well done, Nash!

Lockheed Hamfest

You should find with this issue an announcement and ticket order form for the annual Los Angeles Amateur Radio Convention, otherwise known as the Lockheed Hamfest, because it is sponsored by the Lockheed ARC. Will we see you there?


There has been a lot of activity and a few changes in the club since my last message, in the February issue. Regular readers know of these -- some real upgrading of WR6APR, the Voyager I commemorative, the shack renovation, initiation of another Novice course, etc., so I won't belabor these activities.

We have a real change in a couple of departments that touch every member, though, and which begin this month. First, if you look at the masthead, you'll notice that Stan Sander, N6MP, has agreed to be the long-awaited permanent replacement for Merv MacMedan, N6NO, as editor of W6VIO Calling. Merv is a tough act to follow, but if anyone can manage, I'm sure it will be Stan. Meanwhile, this is probably the time to mention that we can all help Stan by sending him some articles. This is the club's newsletter, a record of interesting and current member activities. If you're involved in a neat aspect of ham radio, write up an article and send it in. If there is something you think the club ought to be doing but isn't, again, write it up and send it in. Stan doesn't manufacture the news, he just prints it.

Since Merv really is impossible to replace, we haven't replaced him -- just shuffled him off to another club job that is of key importance. That is the job of program chairman. As I indicated in a previous column, Nash, W6HCD, had expressed a desire to do something else for a while. Nash has for several years done a tremendous job of finding interesting speakers for the club, so here again was a tough act to follow. Nash, by the way, had very kindly agreed to continue to get speakers until I had a chance to work something out, and has in fact arranged for our April speaker. But after that, it's Merv's show, so if you haven't been to a meeting in a while, come and see how it's working.

You'll note elsewhere in this month's issue that we're starting up another Novice course, by which I mean that Ron Ploszaj is biting the bullet again. But this is an act of generosity by Ron; it does not imply that I've found a full-time education chairman as yet. I haven't, it's a key job, and it is fun. How about it?

Novice Course

In 1978 the club sponsored two on-lab courses of instruction in code and theory for prospective ham radio operators. Both the initial Novice course and the subsequent General course were very well attended. The Novice course, in fact, yielded almost 20 new licensees.

These courses were conducted under the leadership of Ron Ploszaj, WA6TPW, with assistance from Mike Griffin, N6WU, Stan Sander, N6MP, Warren Apel, K6GPK, and Rich Ward, N6BF. There has been a lot of demand for a repeat version of the Novice course, so Ron has agreed to honcho another one. The information meeting was held, as advertised in JPL Universe, on Tuesday, April 3. Subsequent meetings are held on Tuesdays and Fridays in 238-543. The course will start slowly, so it's not too late to begin. If you know a prospective attendee, send him or her to 238-543 at 12:00 noon on a Tuesday or Friday, soon.

If you'd like to help out with instruction in code or theory, call Ron at x7447 or Mike at x7267.

Go back to the W6VIO Calling Index