Will WARC be Prepared for JPL?

Our speaker for the JPL Amateur Radio Club meeting of 13 June 1979 will be Norm deGroot, W6SXY. While an amateur, Norm is also a professional -- he is supervisor of JPL's Spectrum Engineering Group, and is deeply involved in preparing the case for deep space frequency allocations at the 1979 World Administrative Radio Conference this fall in Geneva. Norm will discuss what JPL and NASA are doing to assure that we will still have frequencies with which to communicate with planetary spacecraft after the big frequency shuffle. Additionally, he will discuss some highlights of the process used to negotiate these frequency allocations. This should be an especially interesting meeting, so come and bring a friend.

Minutes of May Board Meeting

Attendees at the May, 1979 Board of Directors Meeting were W6ABW, N6AVW, WB6DRH, WD6EWN, K6GPK, WA6MYJ, WA6PEA, K6PGX, K6SVP, and N6WU. A quorum was present, and N6WU called the meeting to order. The minutes from the April meeting were read and approved.

WA6MYJ reported on an item of old business, concern the club's payment of postage for off-lab mailings of W6VIO Calling. It seems that the club is paying essentially double the fee we would otherwise have to because of the weight of the envelopes used for off-lab mailings. Use of the standard JPL business envelopes reduces total mailing weight to less than an ounce. N6WU agreed to inform the Secretary and the Editor so that future reproduction orders for the newsletter would specify the use of standard envelopes.

Off-lab member Vince Humphrey's application for renewal of membership was accepted. The application of Rich Torgerson, WA6BTX, was tabled because the required membership questionnaire was not returned. An unforeseen test of the club's off-lab membership policy arose in the form of a renewal request by the spouse of a lab employee. It was felt that such requests possibly ought not to fall within true "off-lab" membership status, because of the general ERC policy of providing services to employees and families. N6WU agreed to clarify this with Beth Bell.

The recent death of member Erv Wiebe, K6JUB, was discussed. A motion was approved directing the club Treasurer to accept contributions from the membership for an eventual club donation to a cause to be designated by the family. Members should send their contributions to Warren Apel, MS 114-118. It was also pointed out that the club should assist the family in disposing of Erv's equipment. Rex Quinn, WD6EWN, has been helping in this regard, but will require some assistance in setting prices for much of the gear.

N6AVW reported on the status of preparations for the club's participation in the annual JPL picnic. A number of open items were discussed, but no board action was required. Following this discussion, the meeting was adjourned.


It is with great sadness that we record here the passing on May 13, 1979 of one of the club's well known and respected members: Erv Wiebe, K6JUB.

Erv started his career in Fresno in the auto mechanics field, then trained himself in electronics, radio and TV with a correspondence school. He worked for a time at North American in Fresno and in 1957 came to JPL. Here, he joined the "New Circuit Elements" group in Division 33, where his first supervisor was Dr. Henry Richter, W6VZA. Erv stayed in this group throughout several name changes in the intervening years. The group is currently known as the "Microwave Electronics Group," and is headed by Erv's long time colleague, Bob Clauss.

Erv was responsible for the cryogenics work of the group -- the near-absolute-zero refrigeration systems that cool to reduce the front-end noise at a tracking station. As Senior Test Engineer, he not only helped develop cryogenic cooling systems that were at the forefront of technology, but he traveled all over the world to the DSN sites at which they were to be used, to ensure they were properly installed and functioning. In this role, he traveled to DSN sites in Johannesburg, South Africa, and Canberra and Woomera, Australia, in support of the first pictures from Mars in 1964 (Mariner 4). He again traveled to Australia in 1974 to install the lowest noise Maser ever produced. This was needed by the MVM 73 mission, whose tape recorder had failed after the first Mercury encounter. The only mode available to get back additional pictures was to operate the spacecraft at the full TV downlink rate of 117,000 bits per second, a rate that required previously unachievable low-noise front-end performance. Two such subsequent Mercury encounters were achieved by Erv's refrigeration system, increasing the world's picture coverage of Mercury by a factor of 5 times!

While he worked at JPL, Erv accumulated an impressive list of patents and awards. The JPL Patent Office supplied the following list, in which he was sole inventor or co-inventor:

US Patent No. Date           Title            
3,260,055     Jul. 12, 1966  Automatic Thermal
3,656,313     Apr. 18, 1972  Helium Refrigerator
                             and Method for De
                             contaminating the
3,902,143     Aug. 26, 1975  Refrigerated Coaxial
                             Coupling (with Robert
                             C. Clauss)
3,914,950     Oct. 28, 1975  Helium Refrigerator
4,077,231      Mar. 7, 1978  Multi-station Refrig-
                             eration System

For the two "Helium Refrigerator" patents, he received major NASA awards ($400 and $1000, respectively) along with handsome plaques. He was also credited with four NASA Tech Briefs on the above topics.

Erv worked at the lab until 1976 when he had an operation for a cancer condition that left him very depressed. His wife, Ruby, suggested that he might be cheered up if he got back into ham radio again. So, Erv got some gear for the JPL 220 MHz repeaters and returned to work with enthusiasm from all the friendly contacts he made.

Unfortunately, the cure was not permanent, and a year later he left work on disability leave. He and Ruby moved their trailer to a park in Calimesa (near Beaumont) some 80 miles from the repeater, where smog is nonexistent and life a bit more peaceful. But he insisted on keeping in touch with his JPL gang on the repeater, and to do so put up an 11element beam which gave him a full quieting signal into both the JPL and Table Mountain Repeaters. Erv monitored most everyday, and was frequently able to check the link between the two repeaters for us by listening to either side from his unique location.

When his condition became much worse, he was moved to his daughter's home in Panorama City. Shortly thereafter, his two NASA awards came through and were presented to him at his home on May 9, 1979 by Bob Clauss, his supervisor; Walt Higa, his former supervisor; J. R. Hall (WB6PTX), his Section Manager; and Bob Stevens, his Division Manager. Erv seemed to be clinging [to life] for that ultimate award. Four days later, K6JUB became a Silent Key. (N6NO)

FCC Rules on Repeater Call Sign Renewal

Most of you will recall that the FCC has, within the last year, made extensive changes in the callsign structure for U. S. amateurs. As part of this plan, within Docket # 21135, a ruling was made to disallow renewal of repeater licenses and distinctive repeater call signs. This meant that, when current license terms ran out, repeaters would use the call sign of their owner, with the special identifier "/R".

The ARRL had filed a petition objecting to this change. However, in a ruling made on 1 May 1979 and released on 16 May 1979, the FCC rejected the ARRL arguments and reaffirmed its position on repeater call signs. Current repeater licenses will not be renewed upon expiration.

It is noteworthy that Docket 21135 also addresses the issue of club calls. The Commission declined to rule on the assignment of club calls at this time, and cited the comments of the JPL-ARC as being of interest in this matter. These comments were prepared by the club's own N6NO, and co-signed by Nash Williams, W6HCD (trustee of W6UE, the club station on campus) and Jay Holladay, W6EJJ (trustee for W6VIO).

ARRL Long Range Planning Committee

You probably saw it in QST, but we'll remind you anyway. The ARRL, in its January board meeting, created a Long Range Planning Committee, with the responsibility of "...reviewing and making recommendations to the Board concerning the programs which the League is and should be providing to its members and to the Amateur Radio Service..." The eight members of this committee include, by the way, the club's own Jay Holladay, W6EJJ.

In any case, the LRPC recently sent us a letter soliciting opinions on matters as outlined above. In the words of the letter, "...if you have some thoughts, comments, and/or recommendations about the future of the Amateur Radio Service and/or the ARRL in general... please let the LRPC have the benefit of your thinking." Comments are to be sent to:

Vic Clark, W4KFC
Chairman, LRPC
l2927 Popes Head Road
Clifton, VA 22024

We feel this is a fine opportunity to put your oar in. If you're a League member, you'll want to do it. If not, you should know that, again in the words of Vic Clark, "No facet of the ARRL's operation was exempt from scrutiny and/or recommendations; the general welfare of the entire Amateur Radio Service was to be served, not just part of it; and that a subject as complex and far-reaching as the future of Amateur Radio and the ARRL could not be thoroughly appraised without the input of many different people, ARRL members or not."

Third Party Traffic, Part 2, by Merv MacMedan, N6NO

The first part of this article (see May 1979 W6VIO Calling) dealt with the meaning of third-party traffic, and between whom it is permitted. This part will attempt to outline the nature of the traffic that is permitted.

To recap from the first part, we said that "traffic" is a message in any form whatever -- written down as a "radiogram" in standard ARRL format, written informally, spoken by a person over your mike, through a tape recorder, or over a phone patch. The "third party" is anyone other than the two licensed control operators in QSO, and so could even include another licensed operator in the shack who is not the one controlling the transmissions!

Now to the content of the traffic. Unfortunately, the ITU regulations limit amateur radio communications to "plain language" text (no codes, ciphers, or phrases with hidden or secret meanings), and to "messages of a technical nature and remarks of a personal character, for which, by reason of their unimportance (emphasis ours - ad.) recourse to the public telecommunications service is not justified." This means, for example, that asking someone to meet someone else's plane is not a proper amateur radio communication because it is neither technical nor unimportant. Of course, emergency communications (where imminent danger to life or property exists) are always allowed.

Our own FCC further restricts what we may say over amateur radio. Part 97.114 (b) of the rules prohibits "third party traffic involving material compensation, either tangible or intangible, direct or indirect, to a third party, a station licensee, control operator, or any other person." Technically, this rules out discussion of one party purchasing a plane ticket to send to the other party, since material compensation (to the airline) may result from the traffic.

The rules, Part 97.114 (c) go on to prohibit business communications on behalf of any party, and define business communication as meaning "any communication the purpose of which is to facilitate the regular business or commercial affairs of any party." Even ARRL suffers from this one, because requests for repeater directories, license application forms, or contest dupe sheets are all part of the League's regular business and such traffic is prohibited -even for relay to W1AW.

There is an additional point here that is confusing to many people, who think that "business" means "profit making," thus exempting non-profit organizations, such as churches, from third-party rules. This is not so, as shown by our example above (ARRL is non-profit.) A request to send bibles to a missionary in Africa is just as illegal as an order to your stock broker to buy or sell stock via ham radio. Non-profit does not mean non-business.

Two other rules are noteworthy. FCC 97.16 prohibits transmission of messages for any purpose, or in connection with any activity, which is contrary to Federal, State, or local law. Also, 97.19 prohibits communications containing obscene, indecent, or profane language or meaning.

Think now what you should do if someone asks you for a phone patch with a country with which we have an agreement. Assume, however, that he wants to speak in a foreign language because that is the only language known by the foreign party. If you can follow the conversation in the foreign language, you are well prepared to allow it, because if the message should get "out of bounds" as described above, you will be able to cut it off and explain to the parties. If, however, you would run the patch without understanding the conversation, you would still be responsible for the content of the message, and could be cited for allowing commercial or business traffic, for allowing conversations dealing with illegal activities, or for permitting profanity (albeit unknown to you) Over your station. The best bet is to refer the party to another ham who has the language ability, unless the party is very well known to you, and you trust him.

Other countries have similar, but not identical, restrictions on their amateur radio communications. In Colombia, for example, it is prohibited to transmit "communications with coded meanings; discussions of a political, religious, or commercial nature, or other topics not in good taste that would not be in the spirit of amateur radio; false or alarming statements intended to upset public or personal tranquility; obscene or indecent phrases or phrases with double meanings; or to use nicknames that could be construed to attack a person's dignity." So, remember if you're in QSO with an overseas ham to avoid sensitive topics that could get him in trouble!

All this sounds terribly confusing and restrictive the first time you're exposed to it. But remember that being courteous and decent is an internationally recognized custom. Beyond that, the restrictions come from the requirement to avoid potential competition with the phone companies. The easiest way to decide what's right and what's not is simply to put your feet into the shoes of the phone company, and view the situation from their vantage point.

The phone company doesn't object to hams talking to one another over long distances in the enjoyment of their hobby. But if a ham were to offer his facility to other people -- the public -- that step, however small, sets a precedent for bypassing the toll tariffs. In most countries, such communication is strictly illegal for just that reason. We are lucky that we can do some public service in this country, even though the scope is not unlimited. If the message is urgent, business, or commercial, then it should go by the regular common carriers. If it is a "hello, nice to hear your voice after such a long time", it probably wouldn't have been made commercially, and hence is okay for ham radio. Also, a message to or from an area without commercial communications facilities can hardly be construed as competition to the phone companies. Similarly, world emergency traffic during natural disasters is exempt from concerns about such competition.

Obviously, there are shades of interpretation for each case, and only the control operator can decide in the final analysis what he should allow. We have taken a relatively strict interpretation here, following examples given in "Washington Mailbag", QST, February 1979.

W6RO Aboard the Queen Mary, by Norm Chalfin, K6PGX

In Long Beach Harbor aboard the R.M.S. Queen Mary, W6RO, the club station of the Associated Radio Amateurs of Long Beach, is in operation and open to the Queen Mary tour visitors as part of the tour.

At an opening ceremony on April 22nd there were nearly 600 guests who toured the Queen Mary exhibits and then were treated to "refreshments," There were so many in the area of the radio room that one couldn't push an elbow in even if it was akimbo.

It is now 12 years since the Queen Mary's CQ crackled over the airwaves. Now its signals can be heard from an Atlas 210X Kenwood TS-820S, Swan 100 MX, or Yaesu 227RB, radiated from a Cushcraft ATB-34 or Ringo Ranger ARX-2 or a dipole. An alliance Rotator HD-73 will be likely to be directing some of those signals your way.

The W6RO ham shack is part of a new exhibit on the Queen Mary Tour. It occupies a reconstruction of the Cunard Liner's Wireless Room. What was once the Queen Mary's squash court, several decks above the original location, has been remodeled to house the radio room and ancient radio exhibits. Except for the ham gear, it's authentic. In an area next to the shack there is an exhibit of historic radio equipment donated by amateurs and others.

The shack will be manned by volunteer licensed hams on a regular schedule from 10 A.M. to 6 P.M., local time, every day. Their communications throughout the world can be heard by persons who are on the Queen Mary Tour. If you should visit, you may get a chance to operate from the shack.

One aspect of the W6RO operation is that in an emergency it will be unaffected by a loss of power because the ship's generators can be operated to provide power when needed. It is not expected that the station would be affected by earthquakes, floods, or other land-based catastrophes.

Look for W6RO on all of the popular ham bands, including 2 meters. The club has a very attractive QSL card illustrating the ship and the radio room, and including a listing of Queen Mary facts. Did you know, for example, that GB5QM was the only ham radio station licensed for operation aboard the Queen Mary? This was for its last voyage. W6RO was operated from the ship on 21 February 1971 as it was towed from dockside to its present location

Norm, K6PGX, uses the two-meter gear aboard the Queen Mary.

The ATB-34 Tri-bander beam is about l60 feet above the water's surface, atop one of the ship's funnels. Above the beam is the 2 m Ringo Ranger.

While we were there, a few days after the dedication, several movie and TV companies were preparing to film sequences aboard the Queen. We were told by a tour guide that "The Poseidon Adventure" had many sequences filmed there.

Volunteers are being sought for operation of W6RO. For information contact Nate Brightman, K60SC, at (213) 427-5123. This could be an opportunity for ham landlubbers to become arm chair seagoing radio ops. With all of the air conditioning and generating equipment running, you will feel as if the ship is at sea, however becalmed you know it to be.

Nate Brightman, by the way, is the special projects chairman of the Associated Radio Amateurs of Long Beach. He was one of the operators for the 1971 trip from dockside to the present location. With him were Al Lee, W6KQI, and Nate's son Howard, K6OCD.

Nate worked for 12 years to get the Queen Mary radio room set up as a ham shack. His first proposal to the Long Beach city fathers was in l970. In 1974 it was updated and presented to the operators of the Queen Mary Museum. Work was begun to reconstruct the radio room in July, 1978. Now that it is going, we were told that Nate is in the shack operating W6RO at 8:00 A.M. until time to go to work.

Help Sought for Club Hot Dog Concession

On July 7 at the annual JPL Picnic, JPLARC and Oscar Mayer will once again join forces. The Club, which operates the hot dog concession, will hopefully reap the benefits of a large turnout in the form of a boost to the treasury. Volunteers are needed to help John McKinney, N6AVW, set up and operate the stand. More importantly, the materials used for making the booth last year (plywood slats and timber) have disappeared. Contact John at x6610, M/S 233-208, if you want to help or know the whereabouts of the materials.


To George "Bud" Jenkins, KA6CBI, who recently passed his General Class license exam. Bud is a graduate of the club's 1978 Novice course. Let us know when the new call comes, Bud. See you on the repeater'


- From the Estate of K6JUB

- Contact Rex Quinn, WD6EWN, M/S 238-808, x3788 for price and availability information.

For Sale

YAESU FT-101 Transceiver. 160-10 M. 120 VAC/12 VDC. All cables and parts. Mint Condition. Call Charles Shryock, W6ZJI, 796-0037.


N6WU played a huge part in the processing of this issue. Thanks Mike!

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