PRESIDENT'S MESSAGE ... de N6MP
In February, the club was fortunate to host two outstanding speakers. For the regular meting, John English, WB6QKF, presented a status report on packet radio and its applications to the amateur service. This is a field that should be of particular interest to hams who also share an interest in home computers. John distributed information sheets describing the activities of the Vancouver Amateur Digital Communications Group (VADCG), which is pioneering packet radio development, and assembly notes for the VADCG Terminal Node Controller. Anyone desiring copies should contact me at x2625.
On Feb. 20, Tom Clark, W3IWI, delivered a slide presentation at a widely publicized and well-attended special club meeting held at noon in 180101. Tom, who is president of the Radio Amateur Satellite Corporation (AMSAT) traced the history of the Amateur Satellite program. It would be nice if, for the next launch scheduled for early 1982, the JPL Club could make a substantial contribution in hardware development, testing, or operations.
Also this month, JPL was visited by Tony Kerstjens, EA4QX, who is involved in the operation of tracking stations DSS 61 and 63 in Spain. We discussed the possibility of establishing an amateur net linking various DSN stations around the world. The objective would be to have an informal roundtable to discuss items of interest concerning the space program and the DSN in particular. Specific plans for this net will be formulated soon.
Preparations for the Voyager II Saturn Fly-by Commemorative are being make. Don't forget to mark the dates of the operation on your calendar: August 15-30. Look for announcements of commemorative activities and plans in future issues of the newsletter.
Remember last month's editorial in "W6VIO CALLING." The subject was attendance and interest in the club's monthly Board meetings. At the March Board meeting, a particularly important subject will be on the agenda: Shall the club sanction the rebroadcast of its weekly Tuesday night news net on other repeaters and if so, by whom? If you have an opinion on the subject, why not come to the meeting on March 25 and express your views? (Stan N6MP)
1981 DUES ARE PAST DUE
Members are reminded that 1981 dues ($3 this year) should be sent to the club treasurer (John McKinney, 233-208). Please include the registration form attached to last month's newsletter so that the club membership lists can be updated. (John N6AVW)
HIGH TECHNOLOGY MEETING DRAWS INTENSE INTEREST
The speaker at last month's regular club meeting was John English, WB6QKF, who addressed a packed (?) meeting room on the topic of "PACKET RADIO". John explained how digital data could be transmitted in packets from one point to another by radio, and how standardization of formats was important so that everybody will be able to communicate easily in the future. He described the pioneering work of several Canadian groups, who have been authorized ASCII transmission privileges for several years now, and how their store-and-forward "digipeaters" work.
In addition to being knowledgeable in the theory (he designs computers at Teledyne), John is building his own packet radio terminal and passed around his 808O-based circuit board which was admired by every" one. We asked him to cane back when he gets his system operating in the next few months and give us his "hands-on" experience as to how it is performing.
If anyone is interested in building some gear to be one of the first on the air in the packet mode, Stan Sander has copies of John's viewgraph material. (See "President's message. ed.) Good luck! (Merv N6NO)
W6VIO Station Upgrade for NASA Net
The two main operating positions in the trailer have been upgraded in February to cover the frequencies used for the NASA Emergency Radio Net. These frequencies are adjacent to the 80, 40, and 20-meter bands but not all of the frequencies can be covered by the "stock" VFO's in the Kenwood TS-820 or the Yaesu FT-101EE.
The upgrading consisted of obtaining the appropriate crystals for "fixed-frequency" operation, which both rigs are capable of. An interesting aspect of the task was the discovery that while the TS-820 requires one crystal per frequency (with the desired sideband being selected from the front panel), the FT-101 requires a different crystal for upper or lower sideband on the same frequency!
This upgrading brings full redundant NASA Net capability to both the trailer station and the Emergency Command Center station in building 171. For those unfamiliar with the NASA Emergency Net, we hope to have an article on this subject in a future issue. (Merv N6NO)
GENERAL CLASS (UPGRADE FOR FIELD DAY)
An eight-week course designed to aid novice and technician license holders in upgrading to a general class ticket will be offered by the club starting March 24. Both code and theory instruction will be given. Classes will meet in Building 238 Room 543. Starting Tuesday March 24 and will meet each Tuesday and Thursday from 12 noon to 1 pm. The final class will be held May 14, in plenty of time to get the exam taken and join the Field Day fun. For additional information, call John, N6UK, at x3303, or Paul, K06D, at x4820. (John N6UK)
VOYAGER II SATURN FLYBY EVENT DATES SET
The period between Saturday, August 15th, and Sunday, August 30th, has been selected for our last and hopefully finest commemorative activity. (last until Uranus in 186!? ed.) The spacecraft closest approach to Saturn will be August 25, 1981.
Activity will be arranged as before with volunteer operator training including SSTV and pre-scheduling. Robot Research has promised us several months of free advertising in their ad starting with the May issue of QST, so interest should be high. This announcement is being made a bit early so vacation plans can be arranged or altered as necessary.
Let's make this the best commemorative ever. "I volunteer" sign-up sheets will be distributed shortly so fill yours out; remember, first come-first serve on available operating slots. (Dick K6SVP)
Careful listening to the Dentron Clipperton L amplifier reveals that if it is not very carefully tuned, the output signal is raaaunnnchy! This fact was confirmed by an OO (Official Observer) in Michigan during the last commemorative. If properly tuned, plate dip will occur at maximum power out. Verify this during tune-up!
Additional notes have been made on the tune-up instructions to help. If in doubt, call me at x6726, or listen to your own signal on one of the other two receivers in the shack. (Jim WA6MYJ)
Randy Johnstone, WB6QWR, on being elected President of the 220 Spectrum Management Association of Southern California. Our club now holds the distinction of having its members involved in four of the most important ham radio leadership positions in this area:
ARRL Director, ARRL SCM, 220 SMA Pres., and SCCRC.
George Morris, W6ABW, on being elected Vice Chairman of the Los Angeles Area Council of Amateur Radio Clubs.
Kerry Erickson, N6DSG, on the new callsign reflecting upgrade to Technician.
AROUND & AROUND
Our club again supported the JPL Jogging Club during its Rose Bowl Run. Held at noontime, January 30, 1981, this year's run was made more challenging by combining a 5 km and a 10 km run on the same course at the same time.
Five members of the JPL Radio Club supported the event with both portable and mobile equipment. Ron, W6TUZ, John, N6CTT, and Bruce, WD6HEZ, manned the mile-markers and provided elapsed times to runners and runner status information back to the finish lines. Jack, WB6TXG, provided photo car service; Jim, WA6MYJ, manned the finish lines. Ron and John provided course sweeper service to keep track of the last runner.
A comment received from the finish line timing official, "It sure is easier with you guys keeping tabs on the runners!"
The support of the Jogging Club events is becoming a regular activity of the Radio Club and is greatly appreciated by the Jogging Club. Lets take every opportunity to offer our services to other clubs and promote more inter-club activity support. (Jim WA6MYJ)
John Earnest, N6CTT, with watch in hand as Ed Rinderle makes way past the 2 & 5 mile markers. (Photo by: Jack, WB6TXG)
DATE: Wednesday, March 11, 1981
TIME: 12:00 NOON
PLACE: MEET BUS at MAIN GATE!!
ANTENNA RANGE TOUR
Through the courtesy of Forrest Holdcraft, Range Support Manager, the club has arranged for a guided tour of the JPL Antenna Range. Included on the tour will be the anechoic chambers, the automatically controlled positioners, and a demonstration of how antenna pattern and gain measurements are made on a typical antenna.
Since the range is located on the Mesa above the main laboratory complex, we will meet at the min gate at 12: 00. A bus will take us to the Mesa, making more than one trip as necessary. The group will be returned to the main gate on the bus by 1:00 pm.
Don't be late for this one! (Merv N6NO)
WHAT'S HAPPENING IN AMATEUR SATELLITES?
At a special meeting of the club on Friday, February 20, Dr. Tan Clark, W3IWI, President of AMSAT, spoke on the future of the amateur satellite programs. The meeting was arranged by Jay Holladay, W6EJJ, who introduced Tom to the meeting.
Tom reviewed the history of the amateur satellite program beginning with the OSCAR I which was launched December 12, 1961, as an effort of PROJECT OSCAR at Foothill College, Los Altos, Ca. The Project OSCAR group continued with OSCARS II and III. TRW's Amateur Radio Club was responsible for OSCAR IV. OSCAR V was the first project in which AMSAT was involved. All of these were Phase I short-lived spacecraft operated from batteries.
Tom reviewing launch tape with Jay Holladay (Photo by Norm K6PGX)
OSCARS VI, VII, and VIII were the Phase II series of long-lived spacecraft sponsored by AMSAT. OSCARS VII and VIII are still in orbit.
AMSAT is currently a worldwide group with affiliates in most of the countries of the western world, including Hungary. The latest project, Phase IIIB and IIIC, spacecraft are currently under construction. The Phase IIIA spacecraft was completed and prepared for launch on as ESA Ariane on May 23, 1980. The launch landed in the sea near Kourou, French Guiana, providing the first amateur radio submarine. Tom played a tape of the launch and splashdown at the meeting.
In addition to the Phase III spacecraft now under construction for a launch on Ariane LO-7 in 1982, the University of Surrey (AMSAT UK) spacecraft is being readied for a September, 1981, launch. Known as the UOSAT, this will be a scientific downlink only spacecraft.
Tom's talk was fascinating and we were very fortunate to have Tom take the time to address a special meeting of the club. (Norm K6PGX)
1981 SOUTHWESTERN DIVISION CONVENTION
The Southwestern Division Convention will be held at the Safari Resort Hotel, Scottsdale, Arizona, on October 9,10, and 11, 1981. For advance information, contact the General Chairman, Dr. Carl Yarbrough, WB7DYC. Further information about the convention will be in the mail soon, but start planning your calendar now. (Jay W6EJJ)
ARRL BOARD MEETING
The first 1981 meeting of the ARRL Board of Directors will be held on March 11 and 12, 1981, at Orlando, Florida, in conjunction with the ARRL National Convention. Please communicate with me immediately regarding any items you would like to have brought up for Board attention. Inputs from members and affiliated clubs are encouraged. (Jay has been extremely active about soliciting inputs and comments from league members. Let's help him in his job by letting him know what is on our minds. ed.) (Jay W6EJJ)
OLD STYLE IRC's NO GOOD
As of January 1, 1981, the old-style international reply coupons are no longer redeemable for postage in the United States.
The old-style coupons are easy to recognize because they are always imprinted with the name of the selling country and have an issue date prior to January 1,1975. The new-style coupons, redeemable for postage stamps, were issued on or after January 1, 1975, and are not imprinted with the name of the selling country.
International reply coupons are issued by countries that are members of the Universal Postal Union to provide a convenient method for sending reply postage with letters. The coupons can be exchanged for postage stamps at a post office in the destination country.
People who possess the old-style reply coupons sent by correspondents in foreign countries may return them to the sender for replacement or redemption through the sending off ice. Unused old-style coupons issued in the United States may be exchanged at the post office. (Reprinted from World Radio. John W6MUL)
The Salinas Amateur Radio Emergency Corps had a chance to test their readiness for responding to emergencies. Recently, an "unfriendly" fire got out of control along Highway 9 between Santa Cruz and Saratoga. They were called out to provide back-up communications.
As it turned out, the fire burned about 330 acres of brush and was quickly contained. The Salinas Amateur Radio Emergency Corps used a 2-meter repeater mounted on a vehicle owned by Cliff Wiley, WB6HUK. Emergency Coordinator was Ed Gribi, Jr., WB6IZF. This approach to their communications problem was very effective, due to the steep, hilly terrain, since the mobile repeater could be moved to a point more accessible than existing repeaters in the area. (Reprinted from World Radio News)
This type of equipment is needed by our club for its support of race activities and to improve its offsite emergency capability. We have a spare repeater (currently pressed into service at WR6APS) which has been strapped together a couple of times to make a portable repeater. We need to make it more readily available in the portable mode. How about a volunteer to help Walt accomplish this task? (Jim WA6MYJ ed.)
NOTES FROM THE FEBRUARY BOARD MEETING
(Please remember that these are notes from the meetings and have not been approved. ed.)
The minutes of the January Board meeting were approved as corrected. Dick Piety pointed out that a special meeting of commemorative operators was not held since the necessary questions were answered at the Board meeting. Merv added that there will be a debriefing and planning meeting in about two weeks-an announcement will follow.
The treasurer reported that the donut charge was moved from the Station Improvement fund to the Repeater fund. John also noted that he has collected $211 in dues. ($211 divided by $3 is 70-1/3 members, so if anyone is 2/3 missing, please let us know).
Cards for the Voyager I commemorative operation are at the printers. Estimated delivery time is 2 1/2 to 3 weeks; it is not known whether we will beat the postal increase or not. It was suggested that we should make prior arrangements for printing procurement for the next operation.
In preparation for the next operation, there will be a slow-scan class in July. Robot will start advertising the event for us in April and possibly will provide us with a keyboard for titling our pictures.
The slow-scan tape for the last event is in the works. Dr. Al Hibbs will narrate; George Morris will introduce the tape.
The beam donated to the Goldstone Radio Club and picked up by us has been forwarded to them. The recommended use of the two antennas donated to our club by Henry Radio will be presented at the next Board meeting.
There was a lot of discussion started when Walt Diem presented the Repeater Committee report regarding the club's news nets. A motion to limit repeater participation in the Tuesday News net to the JPL and Goldstone repeaters was made and tabled. A motion to require prior arrangement with net control for cross-band-linking was defeated.
Concern about the degree of participation in the OSCAR net by 220-users was raised. It was suggested that, since most interest and participation in the net appeared to be from the 2-meter listeners, the net should be discontinued on 220. The motion failed to pass. The meeting was then adjourned.
(These concerns will be dealt with at the next meeting. See the President's Message and the Editorial for further discussion and plan to be at the March meeting. ed.) (Jim WA6MYJ)
EDITORIAL: DIVERSITY OF OPINION.
A variety of opinions and viewpoints is healthy for this or any club; it is the lifeblood of a healthy, informed outlook.
I sat through an interesting Board meeting today. I have a good and a bad comment about the proceedings; first the bad. Discussing major club policy issues with a very short time allotment and with little or no notice that such issues will be discussed is hardly fair to the Board, and the Board can hardly be expected to make rational, objective judgments. Today's major issue was certainly a sensitive issue and deserves the courtesy of some time for thought.
The good comment is that I was satisfied to see that diversity of opinion is still an accepted mode of conducting club business. The Board meetings are open to all club members for the exact reason demonstrated today -- open discussion and airing of varied viewpoints.
In an organization with as broad a base of interests as ours, the governing body cannot possibly be expert in all areas. The opinions of members who may not be on the Board must be respected and accepted. It does take time, however, for viewpoints new and different from our own to be assimilated; and until that time is provided, we naturally tend to be a bit afraid of new and different ideas.
Let's be sure we always have room for diverse opinions and to be sure to provide the time for proper assimilation of new ideas and for all appropriate facts and conditions to come to the surface. (Jim WA6MYJ, Editor)
REPEATER SYSTEM NEEDS VOLUNTEERS
Planned repeater system improvements include elimination. of WR6APS receiver DESENSE, solar powering of WR6APR (we have the panels already), and improved coverage of the San Fernando Valley for both repeaters.
Volunteers are needed for design and implementation of receiver RF and logic control circuitry, and for design and construction of a high front-to-back ratio antenna. Help is also needed for much-needed repeater maintenance. Please contact Walt Diem at x3186 if you can help in any way. (Walt WA6PEA)
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