Mast Head


Meeting Notice

By Jay Holladay, W6EJJ

The next regular JPL Amateur Radio Club membership meeting will be held on Wednesday, July 12, at noon in 238-543. Club Board of Directors meetings are held on the fourth Wednesday of each month in 301-227. Everyone is welcome at both meetings; bring your lunch.


By Merv MacMedan, N6NO

Your club is getting more exciting every day, thanks to all of the volunteers that are helping make wishes become reality. Field day was a blast, better than we have ever done in the past. Many thanks to the coordination and leadership skills of Jay Holladay and Bob Polansky of JPL, and Mark Beckwith and Dave Ritchie of Caltech. They carried out their vision of what a really competent, all-out effort, can accomplish. The combined forces of JPL and Caltech will be hard to beat when the scores are finally analyzed! You can find the complete field day story starting on page 2 of this issue.

Last month's upgrade to the WB6IEA repeater, organized by Walt Diem, was a success too. The new coordination frequency Walt negotiated with the 220 Spectrum Management Association finally makes it a practical choice for most of our members. At last, the unworkable co-channeling we had on 224.72 with the Condor Connection is history, and the complete tune-up of the antennas and duplexer have made the new performance outstanding. The phone patch is finally usable once more. You can read about the dedicated efforts of the group that did the upgrade on page 7.

To call attention to the fact that we have moved to the new frequency, and to get the members to dust off their gear and get active again (so we can count on them participating in an emergency), the club is sponsoring an emergency preparedness IEA contest. While you might think it is named for the WB6IEA repeater, it really stands for "Important Emergency Activity" contest. The rules and log sheet start on page 9. Even if you're not competitively inclined, at least get on the air to give some points to your colleagues and prove you're really not asleep!

I'll be on 224.70 whenever I'm in town, looking forward to meeting old and new members alike, and hopefully some long-silent, reactivated members.

June Club Meetings

By George Morris, W6ABW

The regular June JPL Amateur Radio Club membership meeting was held Wednesday, June 14. President Merv MacMedan called the meeting to order. Visitors were introduced.

Jay Holladay, W6EJJ, gave a status report on the upcoming Field Day. Jay said that our preparations are going along well. Things will be OK if we can find a few more people for Friday. We can use some help at 8 AM down at the W6VIO trailer and we need some help setting up at 11 AM on Mt. Gleason.

The operator recruiting is going well. We continue to have CT software and code classes. Anyone who wants to put some time on the air should come up and familiarize themselves with the CT logging program and to get some CW contact practice particularly for the Novices that was to try CW in the contest.

Jay requested that people who have not sent in the sign-up sheet that was in the June W6VIO Calling please do so we will know who to expect up there. Merv MacMedan said that is very important because we have to buy the food for the number of people who are coming. Last year we had about 50 people show up. Jay passed out extra sign-up sheets.

Jay announced that we are having a work party at 9 AM, June 17, at the east gate trailer. We want to get out all the Field Day stuff, identify it, get it bundled up to load on the truck on June 23. Another work party will be going on at the same time at Caltech. A request was made for a welder to do some simple arc on both tower trailers to make it easier to move them. Someone suggested Jim Lumsden.

Bob Polansky asked for help on Friday morning, June 23. He needs someone coordinate for getting the stuff into the remaining trucks at the Lab. Jay said this involves getting tables, chairs, and tents. Jay invited people up just to look things over, even if they don't operate. Merv remarked that the last W6VIO Calling issue was available on the club Internet home page Tuesday night, several days before people received their hard copies. Merv asked Walt Diem to make a short report on the club autopatch frequency change last weekend. Walt went over the reasons for the change and what work was done. Merv also reported that the link repeater was repaired and reinstalled since the weekend.

Merv then presented Apollo 11 commemorative certificates to Bob Polansky, N6ET, Mark Schaefer, WB6CIA, Walt Diem, WA6PEA and George Morris, W6ABW, all of whom were operators during the W6VIO special event last July.

Jay Holladay provided a video that told the story of Abdul Jabar Marafi, 9K2DZ, who passed vital information out of Kuwait by AMTOR after Iraq invaded it in 1990.

The regular Board of Director's Meeting was held in Room 301-227 on June 28, 1995. The call to order was made by President Merv MacMedan. A quorum was present. Treasurer Jim Marr was absent and no treasurer's report was given.

Bob Dengler announced that, because of his workload, he can no longer be actively involved with Club repeater development. Bob will continue his duties as Director at Large. The Board discussed the possible impacts of this action.

The Board unanimously approved a motion to have Jan Tarsala work with Jay Holladay to obtain the callsign N6G for the Galileo special event in December. The Board unanimously approved a motion to conduct a activity contest on WB6IEA/R, 224.70 MHz. See details of the contest on page 9 of this issue.

Mount Gleason Field Day Site, West Tower

Field Day Site Tour

By Bill Wood, WB6FXJ

Click here for additional, unpublished, images from Field Day 1995

Jay Holladay, W6EJJ, Club vice-president conducted the tour of the W6UE field day site on the summit of Mount Gleason on Saturday afternoon, June 24. Jay said we are again operating in the 3A category; meaning a club group operating three HF transmitters simultaneously. We are also allowed several "free" transmitters in addition to the three: VHF/UHF, Novice/Technician, Satellite, and Packet.

We started at the West end of the site, where the first of two 70-foot crank-up, trailer-mounted towers are located. Two beam antennas are mounted on the west tower; a two element 40-meter beam at 60 feet, while a five element 15-meter beam, with a 35-foot boom, is at 50 feet. Topping the tower is a 20-foot mast with the attachment point for an 80-meter delta loop at the upper end. Thus we have antennas for 80, 40 and 15 meters on this tower.

In the first tent shelter we have an HF station that is associated with the west antenna tower. In the daytime it operates on 15 meters. At night it works on 80 meters. Each HF station is equipped with a 100 watt transceiver, a lap-top computer, headset microphone and a speed CW key. The computer serves as a logging device and an automatic CW keyer.

Moving on to the East we have the second HF station in another tent . It is the primary 40-meter station working with the 2-element beam on the west tower. It will be used during the night on 40 CW. We also have 40-foot tower in the middle of the site with a Cushcraft A4 tri-band beam for 10, 15 and 20-meters. This is the only 10-meter beam antenna we have this year. It is used as backup for 15 and 20 in case we want to work a second station on the other mode on the same band. We have been working most of the day on 20-meter phone from this second HF station.

Second HF Station
Mt. Gleason Second HF Station and Tri-Band Antenna

We next moved on east to the third tent shelter. The third HF station is at the East end of the site. Here we have another tower trailer also with a 70-foot crank up tower. On that we have, from the bottom, the primary 20-meter antenna. It is four elements on a 46-foot boom with an optimized design that is really magnificent. This antenna cuts a swath right through the 20-meter band, even with just 100 watts at this location. Ten feet above that we have another 40-meter beam and topping 

Mike Ramirez, W6YLZ, Operating the 10GHz Station

the tower is another 80-meter delta loop cut for the 75-meter phone band. In the tent for the third HF station we can work 20-meters, 40-meters, or 75-meters. We plan to keep this station on 20 phone and then work 40 phone as long as we can tonight. Later tonight we may work 75-meters simultaneously with 80-meters from the first HF station. We want to keep three transmitters going all night, but we may only have two bands in the wee small hours of the morning. So we can have two on 40; one on phone and one on CW; or two on 80/75 meters; we have all that flexibility here.

In between the two tents on the southeastern side of the site is a white van in which we have our VHF/UHF station. We are set up for 2-meters, 6-meters, 220 and 440 Mhz, and 1.2 GHz. On top of the van's antenna stack is vertical antenna for packet. This station has basically all modes of VHF as well as packet. We also have a 10 GHz dish set up here, and W6YLZ usually manages a few contacts on that band.

VHF/UHF/Packet Station

Completing the story on the main site is the satellite station. We have a minimal installation because we did not think the high orbit satellites were very accessible for Field Day this year. Thus we are set up for only low-earth orbiters. We have a pair of yagi antennas for 2-meters and 440 MHz set at 30 degrees above the horizon and hand rotatable. We have an R5 vertical for the satellite HF bands and below that a 15-meter dipole. The different antennas are to make up the various combinations of uplinks and downlinks for several low earth orbiters. We will be trying that tonight. If we can get at least one contact through a satellite we will get the 100-point satellite bonus.

About 150-200 yards down the road to the East is the Novice/Technician station. That is an extra station we get, that is installed and run only by Novices and Technicians. They are working 10-meter phone, 220 MHz phone and the Novice CW bands on HF. So we are going to have some Novice CW contacts on 15, 40 and 80-meters tonight.
Field Day Success!

By Jay Holladay, W6EJJ

The JPL Amateur Radio Club again teamed with the Caltech Amateur Radio Club to produce another great effort in Field Day 1995. This year we used the call W6UE. Preliminary results indicate we were able to top the 5000 QSO mark and amass more than 15,000 points in the 24 hour operation.

These results are due to a lot of hard work by an excellent team from the two clubs. Our operators, the support team, and even the visitors who came up to check out the action and wish us well, all contributed to the total effort. Special thanks to Field Day Chef extraordinaire Manny Caldera, KC6ZSY, and his assistant, Richard Schick, KE6BKE, for keeping us all well supplied with food and liquids during more than 48 hours of intense effort.

Chef Manny

Chef Manny Caldera, KC6ZSY

With the Sun spot cycle near the minimum, propagation conditions were not as good as last year. This was especially true on 15-meters, where we had 383 fewer contacts. However, we still managed 797 QSO's on 15 - a band that was marginal for much of the contest. This was due mainly to the big 15-meter beam at 50 feet on the second tower trailer. Having another tower trailer made raising the 15-meter beam MUCH easier this year. Mark Beckwith, WA6OTU, built a second 40-meter beam and fashioned a structure to put the 15 and 40-meter beams, together with a 75-meter delta loop, on the tower. The second 40-meter beam enabled us to operate simultaneously on 40-meter phone and CW during much of the night. The two 40-meter beams replaced the six-element wire yagi that produced great results in the past, but took a great deal of time and energy to erect.

More operators were comfortable using the laptop computers for logging this year. They are fairly easy to use on CW - you type in the callsign of the calling station and press a function key to send the contest exchange to the other station. Another function key sends "CQ FD" for you. On phone more coordination is required. We had no voice keyer to send CQ, and you have to type data into the computer while you are acknowledging the contact. Short-term contact rates in a pileup can exceed 200 per hour, so many operators find it easier for a second person to type the log entries.

One extraordinary effort was the satellite station. After a last-minute change in plans, we brought equipment and pass information for the low earth orbiter satellites, but had not really planned the satellite operation. Mark Schaefer, WB6CIA, and Chris Carson, KE6ABQ, volunteered to put the station together, and thanks to their persistence and dedication we garnered 15 satellite QSO's. This earned us 100 bonus points in addition to the normal QSO points. The contacts were mainly on Fuji Oscar 20. Ted Pfeiffer, K6OEF, contributed equipment and encouragement to this effort as well.


Mark Beckwith, WA6OTU, Operating HF

The Novice-Technician operation also produced excellent results. Bob Blakely, N6MTI, led the installation effort, and operators included Carol Bruegge, KE6SRN, Tom Bruegge, KE6SRO, Matt Carlson, KD6PZZ, Peter Loer, KD6RLU, and David Zygielbaum, KD6SAD. Using the call KA6DAN, this team contributed more than 250 contacts to our total score, including 36 CW contacts.

Each year we copy a special Field Day message from W1AW, the ARRL headquarters station, which gives us an extra 100-point bonus. On occasion this message will announce a special bonus activity. This year the message said that 10 additional points would be credited for each Field Day operator who is an ARRL member and who completes at least one contact. We racked up 160 additional points in this way. Bonus points do help our total score - 100 bonus points equals 50 phone contacts or 25 CW contacts (at the 100-watt power level).

Also deserving of special mention is Dave Ritchie, N6DLU. He supplied the VHF/UHF station, spent many hours readying the two tower trailers for Field Day, and was responsible for care and feeding of the computer logging software. Another essential task was performed by our JPL ARC president, Merv MacMedan, N6NO. Merv and his son Daniel, N6HJZ, towed the porta-potty to and from our mountain top site.

HF Vioce Operation
Steven Rentschler, N8SR, and Brian Stapleton, KW6J, Cooperate on HF Voice Contacts

Technician Operation

Technicians KD6RLU and KD6PZZ Gathering Contacts

One lesson that is reinforced each year is that a winning Field Day effort must be able to cope with the unexpected. This year we discovered a couple of hours before the contest start that our tri-band beam had a high VSWR. We managed to take down the beam, repair the problem, and get it back up in 50 minutes. We were all set when the contest started at 11 AM on Saturday morning. This is what makes Field Day such a challenging and useful exercise. To provide effective emergency communications, you must be able to cope with the unexpected, repair whatever the problem is and get back on the air. Our team pulled through again this year and the result was a highly successful effort.

Chow Hall
W6UE Mount Gleason Field Day Chow Hall

The complete score breakdown and a list of the Field Day team will be published next month in W6VIO Calling.

Open House Volunteers Needed

By George Morris, W6ABW

The JPL Amateur Radio Club will have a booth with an excellent location at the JPL Open House on July 22 and 23. The booth will be located at the back door to the Visitor Center, Building 249. This location is great because people will be traveling this route to the exhibits in von Karman.

A shuttle should be flying during this event. If so, shuttle video will be provided by the Laboratory cable system and audio by the W6VIO/R rebroadcast.

The ARRL has agreed to provide several handouts about amateur radio of interest to individuals of all ages.

What we need now are VOLUNTEERS to serve in the booth between 9 AM and 5 PM on Saturday and Sunday, July 22 and 23. It will probably be hot so it would be best if we have enough people staffing the booth that nobody has to put in more than two or three hours. Please contact George Morris at 354-0035 if you can help. This is an excellent opportunity for some of our off-Lab members to participate in an activity - and get to see the Open House attractions as a bonus.

New WB6IEA Frequency

By Walt Diem, WA6PEA

Click here for unpublished images from the WB6IEA frequency change "party"

The WB6IEA repeater frequency was changed to 224.70 MHz on Sunday, June 11, 1995, as coordinated by the 220 Spectrum Management Association (220 SMA). The reason for the change was to eliminate the interference that existed on 224.72 MHz due to overlapping coverage with N6XKI/R located on Frazier Mountain. WB6IEA/R had been moved in May 1994 to 224.72 by the 220 SMA from the frequency occupied since 1977 to make room for another repeater.

Preliminary tests indicate that coverage of the existing coordinated repeaters on 224.70 do not significantly overlap with WB6IEA/R coverage, providing a relatively clear channel. The other coordinated repeaters on 224.70 are:

WD6CCS  Thousand Oaks (Grissom Peak)       Open, 156.7
WA4EGT  Laguna Beach                       Open, 110.9
WB6UCD  Tehachapi (Oak Peak)               Closed, 100.0
N6GJN   Desert Center (Chuckwalla Peak)    Closed

The Desert Center and Tehachapi repeaters are completely isolated from the WB6IEA coverage area. The Thousand Oaks repeater is shielded by mountains from the San Fernando Valley and further South and East. The WB4EGT repeater is intended to provide coverage only to the South. Several months ago, it could be keyed up with high power from high elevations in La Canada. However, the 220 SMA said that it would be moving to a lower more shielded location. It apparently has moved because it can no longer be heard or keyed from La Canada.

Unfortunately, we have discovered that there is also an uncoordinated repeater operating on the frequency in Laguna Beach under the call W6XT/R. It is not shielded to the North and can be heard in some locations serviced by WB6IEA/R. However, it should not interfere with your use of WB6IEA/R. The 220 SMA reports that it is not coordinated nor sanctioned on the frequency. It is also operating without PL which is required of all repeaters to prevent interference between repeaters sharing a frequency channel. If W6XT/R or its users should interfere with your use of WB6IEA/R, note the time, your location, and the nature of the interference. Send interference reports to me via email or telephone so that we can compile data for appropriate action. Do not get into any confrontation with the users or trustee.

Changing the repeater frequency was a major effort involving significant logistics to arrange the test equipment, facilities and manpower to accomplish the task in a single day. Jim Marr and Chris Carson started the day's activities at 7:00 AM by moving the repeater and duplexer from the site to the lab. While Jim was setting up the repeater and equipment in the lab, Chris moved the remote receiver and link transmitter to the lab. Bill Wood, who drove in from Barstow, and Walt Diem worked on the duplexer while Jim Marr, Chris Carson, and Merv MacMedan worked on the repeater. Indispensable support was provided by Steve Bednarczyk and Walt Mushagian.

Prior to retuning, the duplexer had 1.7 db of insertion loss and only 90 db of rejection. This explained the reason for the desense and need to run split antennas. Bill disassembled the duplexer, removed the cobwebs, cleaned and lubricated the contacts, reassembled, and retuned the duplexer on the new frequency. The insertion loss was reduced to 1.3 db and the rejection increased to greater than 120 db. This is within specifications and enables running both the receiver and transmitter on the same antenna.

In trying to hook up the repeater on the bench without the voter, two transistors were inadvertently blown. We scrounged replacement transistors and got the repeater into operation. Since Randy Hammock had experienced this same failure on two previous occasions, Jim Marr added a resistor to protect the transistors in the future. Following that trouble shooting, the crystals were changed and adjusted to frequency. The PL frequency was changed but the hum could not be reduced due to poor audio and power supply design that will require extensive redesign.

The repeater and duplexer were reinstalled on the single antenna and put back in service about 6 PM. Please report any problems with the repeater to either me or Jim Marr at:           Phone 818-248-7525     818-794-9804 or 3-1528

Roster Changes

Welcome to following new club members:

    Warren L. Dowler,  KE6LEA
    Marc S. Lane,      WB2OSA

Classified Section

For Sale



Provided by Jan Tarsala, WB6VRN

HF Auto Digital Detailed
ARRL Bulletin 47

The FCC has released its Report and Order in PR Docket 94-59, concerning HF digital communications in the Amateur Radio Service. The new rules, effective July 1, 1995, permit automatically controlled HF RTTY and data stations to communicate with one another in the following segments: 28.120 to 28.189, 24.925 to 24.930, 21.090 to 21.100, 18.105 to 18.110, 14.095 to 14.0995, 14.1005 to 14.112, 10.140 to 10.150, 7.100 to 7.105, and 3.620 to 3.635 MHz.

The new rules also permit manually controlled stations to initiate communication with automatically controlled HF RTTY and data stations. In this case the automatically controlled station may use any frequency authorized for such emissions, but may occupy a bandwidth of no more than 500 Hz.

Automatic control must cease upon notification by an FCC engineer in charge that the station is transmitting improperly or causing interference to other stations.

The FCC said it recognized the concerns of those who opposed the proposal on grounds that such operation could interfere with other amateurs, but that it believed the provisions adopted would be adequate to minimize such interference.

More information is on page 71, August 1994 QST.

Upcoming VEC Examinations

The following test session information is provided by the ARRL/VEC for the upcoming nine week period. For further information, please call the test session contact person at the telephone number listed. If necessary, you may contact the ARRL/VEC at 203-666-1541 x282 for additional information. Electronic mail may be forwarded to the ARRL/VEC via USENET at "" or via MCI Mail to MCI ID: 653-2312 or 215-5052.

Although the test session information presented here does not indicate whether walk-ins are accepted or not, most test sessions do allow walk-ins. We encourage you, however, to always call the contact person at the telephone number provided so that the VE Team is aware that you be attending the test session.

07/08/95, A, Fontana, 909-823-6818, Louis Johnson
07/08/95, A, Fontana, 909-822-4138, E William Gruber
07/09/95, A, Thousand Oaks, 805-375-1385, Marco Treganza
07/14/95, A, Irvine, 714-824-8477, Jack C
07/15/95, G, Signal Hill, 310-420-9480, Don Boyce NN6Q
07/20/95, A, Fountain Valley, 714-778-1542, Thomas Harris
07/22/95, A, Pomona, 909-620-2089, Frank Westphal
07/27/95, A, Colton, 909-825-7136, Harold Heydenfeldt
07/29/95, A, Culver City, 310-459-0337, Scott V Swanson
08/07/95, A, Lancaster, 805-948-1865, Adrienne J Sherwood
08/12/95, A, Fontana, 909-823-6818, Louis Johnson
08/12/95, A, Fontana, 909-822-4138, E William Gruber
08/17/95, A, Fountain Valley, 714-778-1542, Thomas Harris
08/19/95, A, Long Beach, 310-431-8998, Ken Newkirk
08/24/95, A, Colton, 909-825-7136, Harold Heydenfeldt
08/26/95, A, Culver City, 310-459-0337, Scott V Swanson
08/26/95, 5, Garden Grove, 714-534-8633, John Gregory
08/26/95, A, Pomona, 909-620-2089, Frank Westphal
09/05/95, A, Culver City, 213-292-6423, C Lutz
09/08/95, A, Irvine, 714-824-8477, Jack C Lockhart
09/09/95, A, Fontana, 909-823-6818, Louis Johnson
09/09/95, A, Fontana, 909-822-4138, E William Gruber

FCC Issued Call Sign Update

The following is a list of the FCC's most recently issued call signs as of June 1:

District Group A   Group B   Group C   Group D
         Extra      Adv.    Tech/Gen   Novice
0        AA0XW     KG0XC       ++      KB0SWQ
1        AA1NO     KE1BU     N1VGK     KB1BSD
2        AA2XP     KG2CX       ++      KB2UXP
3        AA3LW     KE3TS     N3VOD     KB3BJL
4        AE4IU     KS4YB       ++      KF4AQY
5        AC5DE     KK5PK       ++      KC5OYU
6        AC6NN     KO6WN       ++      KE6URO
7        AB7KN     KJ7OI       ++      KC7LLW
8        AA8TS     KG8RR       ++      KC8ZWA
9        AA9PB     KG9CQ       ++      KB9KSE
Hawaii    ++       AH6OD       ++      WH6CVT
Alaska    ++       AL7QC       ++      WL7CNA
Virgin   WP2R      KP2CE     NP2IG     WP2AHX
Puerto Rico ++     KP4ZO       ++      WP4MYZ
++ All call signs in this group have been issued in this area

First Annual "Important Emergency Activity" Contest Rules

PURPOSE: To call attention to the change in frequency of the club's 224.70 repeater (WB6IEA/R), and to encourage participation among club members so as to enhance and demonstrate our ability to communicate during time of emergency and demonstrate our continuing preparedness to the Laboratory.

ELIGIBILITY: Open to all JPLARC members (and licensed associates) with capability to operate on the club's WB6IEA repeater

OBJECTIVE: Contact as many fellow participants as possible through the WB6IEA repeater during the contest period.

PERIOD: 0000 PDT July 15 thru 2359 PDT August 14, 1995

SCORING: The first contact with a participating station during the contest period counts 20 points. Each subsequent contact with the same station counts 1 point. Scoring for subsequent contacts is limited to 1 point per day for each station contacted. Total score is the sum of all points.

EXCHANGE: During the first contact with each station, a message is exchanged consisting of the expiration dates of the operators' amateur radio licenses. Subsequent contacts with the same station do not need to repeat this information.

LOGS: A log sheet, imbedding the club roster, is supplied below.. Space is provided to write the points for each contact and to record the message exchanged (expiration date.)

SUBMISSION: Logs must be submitted by August 25 to the contest chairperson. The name of the chairperson will be announced in the August W6VIO CALLING.

AWARDS: The highest score will receive a trophy and a year's paid QST/ARRL membership (or comparable ham radio magazine). Second highest score will receive a year's paid QST/ARRL membership (or comparable ham radio magazine). Awards will be presented at a forthcoming membership meeting.

Jet Propulsion Laboratory Amateur Radio Club
Attn: Bill Wood, Editor, Mail Stop DSCC-33
4800 Oak Grove Drive
Pasadena, CA 91109-8099

Updated August 25, 1999