Meeting Notice

The next regular JPL Amateur Radio Club membership meeting will be held on Wednesday, November 8, at noon in 238-543. Club Board of Directors meetings are held at noon on the fourth Wednesday of each month in 301-227. Everyone is welcome at both meetings; bring your lunch. n

Upcoming Events

Outer Planets Day: On the Mall, 11:30-1:30, November 9. The JPL ARC will sponsor a demonstration of digital communications using Ham radio for visiting school children.

W6VIO Operations Trailer Work Party: November 4, 9-12 AM n

By Merv MacMedan, N6NO

The club's Field Day win this year, now confirmed in the November QST scores, was particularly satisfying. In case you were on travel in Outer Mongolia and didn't hear the news, we won nationwide by a wide margin in category 3A, the most popular category! Congratulations to our leaders from JPL (W6EJJ and N6ET) and CalTech (N6DLU and WA6OTU) and thanks to all who helped in this historic effort! This was our second joint effort with the Cal Tech Amateur Radio Club (we came in second place last year) and the camaraderie was electric.

I had the pleasure of attending the October W6UE club meeting (I called it the "Victory Party") a couple of weeks ago at CalTech, and was surprised to find quite a few JPL ARC members in attendance. It's nice to have an extended family that invites you to visit, talk, and partake of free pizza and soda!

CalTech's Dave Ritchie, N6DLU, presented the main program of slides of his 1989 DX contest effort in the Galapagos Islands (which lie in the equatorial Pacific, west of Ecuador). Mark Beckwith, WA6OTU was the single op contester, while Dave was rigger, grip, photographer and maintenance man. They used antennas and equipment of one of the local hams, and lugged in much of their own. The operation was quite an adventure. I had visited Galapagos myself in 1993 (with my wife, HK4CVV, now a silent key) and Dave's slides of the land and the people evoked lots of fond memories. My hat's off to these Galapagos hams - they struggle to keep their signals on the air with scarce parts and equipment and home-grown ingenuity, so that the rest of the world can enjoy a contact with a relatively rare country.

Before the Galapagos talk, Dave had reviewed our joint field day winning performance, which was none less than he had expected, and then asked "What will we do for next year?" The question caught me by surprise. Of course, repeating this effort would prove nothing if we won again in class 3A (and worse yet, what if somehow we didn't win again? Better to quit while we're ahead!) Competing in a different category was proposed, but what category? KW's on all bands for a BIG signal? (Local interference filtering would be difficult, but not impossible.) Lots of 5 watts rigs in an all-battery category? (Filtering would be easy and more positions could be run simultaneously, but the weaker signal makes it harder on our friends at the other end of the QSO.) Because of the leveraging effect on the score of the multipliers in these different categories, it is imperative to develop an operating strategy optimized to take advantage of the rules in the category we choose. Dave explained the trick is to make the rules work for us, not against us! We agreed that a comprehensive study of the rules and performance history of the various categories was necessary to decide on what category we should enter next year.

We left the meeting pondering the various possibilities and patting our stomachs, pleasantly full of pizza. n

October Club Meetings
By George Morris, W6ABW

The regular JPL Amateur Radio Club membership meeting was held Wednesday, October 11. President Merv MacMedan called the meeting to order. Twenty members were present. New members Gloria Manney, AA0ZE, and John Norris, KE6QEZ, were introduced. Merv appointed a nominating committee of: Stan Sander, N6MP; Carl de Silveira, KG6LG; and Carol Bruegge, KE6SRN, to choose a slate of officers for 1996.

Jay Holladay introduced the speaker, Catherine Deaton, from the Cerritos FCC Office. She discussed the downsizing which the FCC is undergoing. The nine current monitoring stations are being reduced to only one. The local FCC Office now has a high-tech vehicle to search for interference. Ms. Deaton discussed TCE and PRO Distributor's telephone instruments which are essentially RFI proof. That the FCC now has forms available through the Internet and FAX on demand. That the FCC amateur callsign database is also available through the Internet.

The regular Board of Director's meeting was held in Room 301-227 on Wednesday, October 25. The meeting was called to order by President Merv MacMedan, N6NO. A quorum was present.

Merv made several announcements: (1) Warren Apel, K6GPK, will be chairman for the club Christmas Banquet to be held December 13 at the Marie Callendar's restaurant in Pasadena. (2) The Club is organizing a two-hour lunch-time demonstration for Outer Planets Day on November 9. (3) The Club is looking for digital terrain software which could be used to estimate repeater coverage. (4) The ARRL Web page URL has been changed to (Note, the last period is not part of the URL.)

Walt Diem reported on the 220 Spectrum Management Association meeting in Carlsbad on Saturday, October 21. (Bylaw changes were approved which established a 219 MHz coordination board.) Jan Tarsala reported on two-meter frequency coordination activities which are taking place. Treasurer Jim Marr presented his written report. n

DX News
By Bob Polansky, N6ET

Little preamble this time. Fall conditions are upon us and the bands are coming to life more than was experienced over the summer. Our sources for this article include the DX Bulletin, QRZ DX, and the ARRL DX News. Enjoy!

BENIN - TY5's A, SXW, RF, VT, MF, and AR will be active through the CQ WW CW Contest period in November.

FAROES - OY/OZ5IPA plans operation from 1 to 6 November. No details on frequencies or modes.

HEARD ISLAND - VK0?? will mount a major operation from 12 November through 1 December. This is partially the same group that operated from 3Y0PI last year supplemented by more internationally renown DX'ers.

INDONESIA - YB2ARW is frequently on 17M SSB around 0000Z. He's loud! He moves to 12M when there's propagation. He'll be there through February according to his comments several days ago.

PRINCIPE ISLAND - S92P will operate from this African QTH from 21 November through 6 December including the CQ Contest as S92P. This will be an all band, all mode operation.

ROTUMA - 3D2's SH,HI,ID,HK,MU,KZ, and AA will be active from 4 to 7 November on 80 through 10 meters on phone and CW. Look for them also on AO-10/13.

SWAZILAND - Look for 3DA0CA around 7003 kHz at 0400Z.

TUNISIA - 3V5A promises activity from 22 to 30 November, which includes the CQ WW CW Contest. Look for the biggest pileups!

Hope these tips result in some new ones for you. n

W6VIO Work Parties
By Bob Polansky, N6ET

On October 21, a group of the JPL ARC worker-bees including Jerry Person, Warren Dowler, Rob Smith, Jay Holladay, John Norris (a new guy on the block) and Bob Polansky were successful in figuring out "Big Grips." We installed the third layer of guy wires (Phillystrand ropes) on the Club's 67-foot tower.

Only one level to go and we plan on finishing that on November 4. Please meet at the W6VIO trailer at 9AM that Saturday and plan on working until noon. Leave Bob Polansky a voice mail on extension 4-4940 if you can help. The Club needs your support. n

Field Day Win!
By Jay Holladay, W6EJJ

It is now official! The joint Caltech ARC/JPL ARC Field Day operation won the top spot in Class 3A for 1995. And we won big - more than 700 QSO's above our nearest competitor. Below are the top five scores in 3A - there were a total of 345 entries in that class.

Club (ARRL Section) Call QSO's Total Score
Caltech ARC/JPL ARC (LAX) W6UE 5011 15,066
Hughes Fullerton ARC (ORG) N6AW 4272 12,860
Hudson Valley
Contesters and DX'ers
(ENY) W2XL 3737 12,412
McHenry Co WA (IL) KS9W 3628 11,092
Poughkeepsie ARC (ENY) N2YL 3424 11,092

Also of interest are the top 10 scores for all Classes:

Call Score Class
N1NH 21,648 24A
W2GD 17,472 4A
WO1N 16,154 5A
K4BFT 15,892 5A
W4AT 15,434 6A
W6UE 15,066 3A
K8BL 15,114 9A
WY8M 14,006 17A
NU1H 13,750 4A
W4IY 13,748 7A

So, we were number six in the country overall, the only 3A in the top 10, and only one 4A station had a higher score than ours. Not bad! Our win was the very gratifying result of a lot of hard work by many club members. Thanks to those who shared the leadership of this effort (Dave, N6DLU; Mark, WA6OTU; Bob, N6ET) and to everyone who contributed to our success. Congratulations to all.

Last year's co-chairs have recovered sufficiently that they are considering the options for next year's event. Let one of them know what you'd like the focus to be next year! n

Silent Key
By Walt Diem, WA6PEA

Carl Johansen, WB6DLK, died of heart failure August 24, 1995 at Kaiser Hospital in Panorama City at the age of 77. He was an avid HAM, always helping others and providing practical advice on improving their station. Carl was very active and prominent on 40 meters using a beam on a 100 foot tower at his home in Tujunga. He also was an avid contester who would operate around the clock by taking cat naps in an easy chair in his shack. Carl was a member of the JPL ARC for many years. After retiring, he participated in commemorative operations by keeping the Club station on the air during the day while other members were working.

Carl was a Senior Engineering Assistant in the former Section 375 when he retired in 1983 following 25 years of JPL service. Prior to joining JPL in 1959, he was a repairman at a local TV shop. Despite declining health in recent years, Carl always maintained a positive attitude. He is survived by his wife, Julia, daughter Colleen and son Carl Jr.

In Memory of WB6DLK
By Brian Stapleton, KW6J

Carl Johansen and I worked together at the Lab for many years up on the mesa. We both worked for Section 333 in support of Division. 33. We did antenna microwave test and design work, maintained all of the equipment used for testing the antennas up there, and also designed the ranges for the various antenna systems being tested etc. We designed and tested antennas on frequencies from 50 MHz to 28 GHz during those years.

Carl had been a Ham back in the 1940's but had let his license expire. After we became friends, and since I was such an avid ham, he decided to get back on the air and obtained a Advanced class license.

At one time in his ham career, Carl was an avid 40-meter operator. He had a large self-supporting tower and a 3-element 40-meter beam. In his early retirement years, he would stay up all hours of the night putting out a big SSB signal and working DX all over the world.

Carl became quite well known and liked on the band and had many friends who also had big 40-meter antenna systems. Everyone wanted to see who could put out the biggest signal on the band., From week to week antenna designs were changed to see if 'just another dB' could be obtained so that some one else in the group could lead the pack in signal strength at some exotic DX location in the world. Most of the talk on the 40-meter frequencies that he worked had to do with antenna design and the measurement of signal strength.

I can remember numerous QSO's which I had with Carl when we would just be 'chit chatting' across town, and some one with a weak signal would break in and say "please listen down in the DX part of the band on 7080 for my signal." We would excitedly tune down to the DX part of the band and listen for a call sign. It would always be from some station in Europe, Africa, or the South Pacific wanting a signal report. "You fellows are the only ones coming through from the states" would be the usual comment.

At that time I had a 5-element 40-meter beam as compared to Carl's 3-element. He was always proud of how well his three elements did against my five. Sometimes there was no difference in the signal strength between our two stations (he must have been running more power than me - at least that's what I always told everybody).

After I moved away from JPL to Newport Beach I lost track of Carl's Amateur Radio activities. And, over the years he seemed to lose his interest in spending so much time on the air. This possibly was related to the deterioration of his health.

I would talk to him from time to time on the land-line and found that it was becoming more and more difficult for him to sit up in a chair for long periods to operate his radios. The situation was hard for both of us to accept after all of the previous years of good times we had had on 40-meters. If you have ever had a big signal on one band and were well known for your operating, its hard for you to accept that, for what ever reason, you have to give up that stimulating activity. I am sure that was what he was experiencing as time marched on.

I was glad to have known Carl and I learned many valuable things from him during our friendship both on the job at JPL and during our many QSO's on 40-meters. I know he will be missed by numerous fellow hams around the world. If there is a Ham heaven, I sure that he will be DX'ing with the largest 40-meter antenna around and will also have the biggest signal on the band! n

Condor Connection
Integrated Repeaters Operating as One Big Repeater
Provided by Mike Suits, KD6ARZ

The Condor Connection is an integrated network of privately owned repeaters. The system covers most of California from below the Mexican border to North Central California, and parts of Arizona, Nevada, and Utah. The system is intended for long-range VHF communications, so its operation differs greatly from a normal repeater. System inputs are on the 1.25 cm (222 MHz) band and use continuous-tone-coded squelch system (PL/CTCSS) tones to reduce interference. The Condor Connection is open to all licensed amateurs. There are no clubs supporting the system and no dues are accepted.

All ports of the Condor Connection are "online" and active at all times, unless there's a need to separate an individual port for an emergency or a public service event. To users, the system functions like one wide-area-coverage repeater.

Stu Burritt, W6TLG (now a Silent Key), and Mark Gilmore, WB6RHQ devised the concept for the Condor Connection in late 1978. Many of the early objectives of the system were outlined by Stu.

The Condor Connection began as a dream with four goals: (1) To develop the then underused 222-225 MHz band in Southern California and to encourage more amateurs to use 1.25 meter radios. This would in turn provide amateur radio dealers an incentive to market and develop new and improved radios for this band; (2) The owners also wanted to learn and develop the technology to build a high-performance linked system on 222-225 MHz; (3) There was a strong desire to create an open system to all amateurs to provide communications between northern and southern California, especially in case of a major disaster. That capability was proven during the San Francisco/Loma Prieta earthquake in October of 1989, the Landers earthquake in June of 1992, and the Northridge earthquake in January of 1994, when the Condor Connection was used around the clock for days to handle emergency and health and-welfare traffic; (4) Finally, and most important, to provide fun and enjoyment for the owners, control operators, and users.

Linking was accomplished on the low end of the 220 MHz band prior to the FCC decision to reallocate the bottom 2 MHz of the band. Many people worked to relocate the links to the 420 MHz band. It was proven to be quite a challenge to coordinate frequencies and system logistics to maximize efficiency and minimize system downtime.

The Condor Connection uses PL/CTCSS rather than carrier squelch for several reasons. Some repeaters in the system are co-channeled with other machines and have overlapping coverage. Implementation of PL/CTCSS is therefore a mandatory part of frequency coordination. Tropospheric ducting is common to the Southwestern United States, especially in the summer, and the resulting enhanced propagation further complicates the co-channeling situation. Most of the system's repeaters are on the highest and most desirable mountains available, which means they share space with commercial, government, and other amateur broadcasting systems. The result is occasional interference from intermodulation and high site noise levels. Rather than lose the superior coverage of a popular site, PL/CTCSS allows repeaters to work within the environment. If any repeater on the system is interfered with, that interference is heard on every port and multiplied by the number of repeaters in the system.

The system is built mostly of converted surplus land mobile radios. The control and audio circuits were designed to command the system from any port. Because of the hostile mountaintop environments, heavy-duty commercial antennas are used. All sites have emergency-power backup. The Condor Connection was designed for high reliability and performance.

The next time you're in the Southwestern U.S., please feel welcome to use and enjoy the system. For information or correspondence, send an SASE to Mike, KD6ARZ, PO Box 1701, Camarillo, CA 93011-1701. For technical issues, contact Mark Gilmore, WB6RHQ, 15040-A Reedly St., Moorpark, CA 93021. (c) Condor Connection, September 16, 1994 n

Letter from Australia
Provided By Greg La Borde, KD6MSM

Nice to hear from you Greg. I guess that Galileo has the same sort of special appeal that Apollo-13 had. When a project goes right all down the line one does not see just what people can really do. It was the failure of the high-gain antenna that has forced the team to come up with some innovative solutions. To be able to do this with a craft launched six years ago shows the degree of foresight and planning that went into the project, particularly when one considers the level of the technology available at the time the craft was designed.

We sometimes tend to forget just how far the technology has marched on in just a few short years. What was state of the art (bleeding edge!) when it was designed may just be old hat and passé when it finally arrives at its destination many years later. For example, given the degradation of the power output of the RTG's in just six years, it makes one wonder what sort of power sources we will have to use for manned exploration for trips taking much longer.

I am also impressed with the new smarts that have been included in the onboard software to minimise the problems caused by the low bit rates available from the low gain antenna. New compression techniques that did not even exist at the time the craft was launched. I think it is only when a problem does occur that the real mettle of the people involved does finally come out. My congratulation to everyone.

Yes, operations can be fun, but it can also give rapid loss of hair. I remember some of the problems we had with Mariner IV. At DSS-41 we were running a L/S-band system at the time. That is, we had the new S-band antenna and maser in place, but the back end of the receiver was the old L-band valve system. I was sent back from Goldstone to Woomera to be there for the Mars encounter. We developed a problem in the receiver which I finally isolated to microphonics in a valve due to vibration of a fan in the bottom of the receiver rack. During the actual last half hour preceding the encounter I stood there, half in the rack, with the offending module cradled in my arms to minimise the vibration. The things we do at times!

We were also the first station to give a report on the pictures coming back from Mariner IV. No, we didn't have any picture display equipment! At a data rate of 8.333 bits per second, we had six people armed with pencils standing around a large sheet of graph paper colouring in the pixels as they were received. OPS back at JPL got a surprise when we reported on the received picture, and didn't believe us at first. The KISS principal at work again.

We also did a similar thing with Ranger 9, the last of the L-band missions to the moon. Normally they were launched to arrive at the moon during Goldstone view time. For some reason Ranger 9 was slightly different and would be about 1 degree or so above our horizon at impact. Of course the 85 foot dish could not be positioned that low because of a design limitation. I designed an offset feed for the antenna such that when the antenna was pointing at about 15 degrees above the horizon, the true boresight was at 1 degree. I also rigged up a high speed (120 IPS) analogue tape recorder so that we could record the video signal. As DSS-41 was not expected to have a view of the impact the station was not scheduled to be manned at the time. To show their dedication the whole staff volunteered to come on duty so that I could try my experiment. Yes, we did pick it up, and yes, we were able to record the video signal. It was poor quality because of the poor signal/noise ratio. I sent the tape off to JPL and they replayed the video into their picture display equipment, and were amazed at what we had done. They even sent me copies of the shots from our own tape, as well as the official ones. I think it proved to them the advantages of having critical events always scheduled to occur in the view period of more than just one station.

Ranger 9 also was the real turning point in quality control. The L-band klystron at Goldstone had been the main command transmitter for all L-band missions to that time. As soon as Ranger 9 impacted, all L-band equipment was being scrapped, as most stations were already partially equipped for S-band. During the last few moment before impact it was realised that a slight sideways movement of the spacecraft was causing some slight smearing of the received pictures, so it was decided to send a last second command to the spacecraft to slow down the sideways movement. Now that transmitter had performed flawlessly during the whole of its life. Now it was being called on to send the last command of its life before being decommissioned. And it failed! Yes, the command did not go out. At that very last second that good old reliable transmitter decided to give up the ghost. Obviously it did not make any significant difference to that mission, but it was realised that unforeseen problems could occur.

A high level investigation was carried out to find out why the L-band system had failed. In the end I believe that the problem was traced to a large 2-watt Erie composition resistor mounted between two terminals. One end was OK, but the other end had never ever been soldered. Yes, the lead was correctly wrapped around the terminal, and cut at the regulation length, but had never been soldered. All the inspection procedures had failed. Yet that transmitter had performed faithfully during the whole of its life until that very last command. It made everyone realise that inspection procedures had to be much MUCH better for manned flights.

Ah, nostalgia. The days of steam radio. Hot glowing filaments. Then suddenly S-band, SDS-910 computers with 4K words of memory, and the SDS-920 with a whopping 8K words. Automated countdowns. Unbelievable! Such is progress. Hang in there, and all the best to the team from an old-timer who still remembers it all with affection.


Editor's Note: Doug Rickart, VK4ZDR, was a member of the technical staff at the first Deep Space Network station to be located overseas. The 26-meter DSS-41 antenna was located at an isolated site called Island Lagoon, near Woomera, in the state of South Australia. Woomera was also the location of a missile and rocket test facility operated by the Australian Weapons Research Establishment. Doug worked at DSS-41 from the Ranger 7 mission in 1964 and on through the Surveyor and Lunar Orbiter missions that paved the way for the later Apollo manned missions to the Moon. n

ACES Call For Papers
By Dan Bathker, K6BLG

Perry Wheless is seeking authors for a paper session at the Applied Computational Electromagnetics Society (ACES) '96 Symposium on amateur radio antenna analysis and design. You do not have to be an ACES member to submit a paper and/or attend the Symposium. This is an opportunity for hams to combine their work and hobby, and to perpetuate the time-honored ACES tradition of interest in HF/VHF wire antennas. Prospective authors should note that October 27 is the deadline for summaries (approximately 300 words), and that the full paper does not have to be completed until January. Contact Perry by phone at 205-348-1757 or e-mail at if you would like to discuss your idea for a paper in advance of submission.

It is now intended that a social event will be organized for hams at ACES '96. An open invitation will be issued by way of the ACES Newsletter later, but you are encouraged to make known your interest in such an event, along with any suggestions for a preferred date and/or location.

More information about ACES membership is available from Dr. Richard W. Adler (a.k.a. Dick, K3CXZ) at e-mail

More details about the conference are available from Dr. Richard Gordon, Technical Program Chairman for ACES '96, at e-mail Colleague Atef Elsherbeni has already circulated a Call for Papers to nec-list patrons, and so I will not consume space with a repetition here.

The ACES annual Symposium is an important forum for the exchange of information and experience among engineers and scientists working with Computational Electromagnetics. Solutions of applied (practical) problems with CEM techniques traditionally have been given high priority in ACES. For a rewarding and memorable experience in a unique atmosphere, you should plan now to be in Monterey, CA, the third week of March!

Perry, K4CWW n

Classified Section

Position Available

For a Club member to organize and lead a hands-on demonstration of digital communications using ham radio to 200 junior and high school students who will be visiting the Lab on Outer Planets Day, November 9. Demo will be during lunch in mall as kids pass through from one exhibit to another. One possibility is to send kid's name (possibly by the kid his/herself) in Morse Code, have it confirmed across the mall by another ham. Code should be real slow. Your contribution is just two hours (11:30am - 1:30pm), plus organizing and setup of equipment. Help the Lab's outreach mission! Salary: Lots of satisfaction, praise from fellow members, and you get to tell us all the unusual kid stories in the next issue! Call me if you can lead or help in this activity. Club Personnel Dept., Ext. 4-7004. Ask for Merv.


A50-to-80-foot self supporting/telescoping/tilt-over tower or towers. Can be either tubular or triangular. Need to be in good condition. Motorized would be a big plus. Will pay for packaging and shipping to Prescott, Arizona. Contact Brian (KW6J) at 714-896-3514 (M-F, 8 AM to 4 PM) or via Internet at

New or used (but in good condition) HF large mono-band beams which were designed for high gain/good front to back ratio/good directivity etc. Contact Brian (KW6J) at 714-896-3514 (M-F 8 AM to 4 PM) or via Internet at

Your want ad or article for inclusion in a future issue of W6VIO Calling. Submit either to Bill Wood, Mail Stop DSCC-33; or via Internet (

For Sale

Battery Packs for HT's, camcorders, cordless and cellular telephones, etc. at unusually low prices. Larsen mobile antennas also at a discount. Call Walt Diem at (818) 248-7525. n

JPL ARC Repeaters

JPL ARC Repeaters
W6VIO 147.150MHz (+) PL 131.8 Open
W6VIO 224.080MHz (-) PL 156.7 Shuttle Audio
WB6IEA 224.700MHz (-) Closed Autopatch
W6VIO-1 145.090MHz Packet Node/BBS
W6VIO-1 223.540MHz Packet Node/BBS
Table Mountain:
WB6TZS 145.280MHz (-) PL 131.8 Open
WB6TZS 223.96MHz (-) PL 156.7 Open
WB6TZS 447.325MHz (-) PL 94.8 Open

Estate Sale

Contact Warner Rogers, N6HNR, at (805) 264-4233 before 9 PM in the evening if you are interested in purchasing either of the following packages from the estate of Carl Johansen:

TS-430 (approx. 3 years old) with the following accessories: 20 amp Astron Power supply, MC 40 hand held mic, SP 180 speaker, AT 140 antenna tuner (for TS 140 but usable on TS 430) Price for this package - $600

IC 735 (requires a 12 volt DC 30/35 amp power supply), Hand held microphone, Standard SSB filter, FL 63 250 hz CW filter, Price for this package: -.$700 Newsletter Deadline: December 1 for the December issue of W6VIO Calling. Your articles, ads, photos, diagrams, letters to the editor, or technical material should be submitted to the editor at the return address shown on the last page. n

Roster Changes

Welcome to following new club members:

Christine Gauthier      KE6WWC  Technician
Gloria Manney           AA0ZE   Extra
John Norris             KE6QEZ  Technician
Ross Snyder             N0GSZ   Technician Plus

Provided by Jan Tarsala, WB6VRN

Vanity Callsign Rules Set
ARRL Letter, Volume 14, Number 19

The Federal Communications Commission has released a Memorandum Opinion and Order in its vanity call sign proceeding, PR Docket 93-305. In response to several petitions for reconsideration, several changes have been made to the program as originally adopted. No starting date for the program has been announced.

The FCC adopted, to a limited extent, a change proposed by the ARRL and others that would have limited the selection of vanity call signs, in most cases, to the call area corresponding to the address of the applicant. (The ARRL argued that it would be unfair for a licensee in one region to usurp a call sign in another region, particularly to persons living in Puerto Rico, Alaska, Hawaii, and certain US possessions.)

The FCC said that although in its original report and order it has considered prohibiting applicants from requesting call signs that are assignable to stations outside the call sign region where they live, they decided not to "impose this limitation" because it would restrict the applicant's choice of vanity call signs to 10% or less of the call signs assignable to a particular station.

The FCC also said that "such a limitation could easily be circumvented by using a mailing address in another call sign region." However, the FCC did limit requests for call signs corresponding to Alaska, the Caribbean insular areas, and Hawaii and the Pacific insular areas to licensees whose mailing address is in the corresponding state, commonwealth or island. Thus, applicants in the 48 states will be allowed to request a call sign from any of the ten call sign regions.

"We still believe that it is unnecessary to impose a rigid correlation between the licensee's mailing address, license class, and call sign," the FCC said.

The FCC did agree with suggestions that an amateur seeking the call sign of a deceased, close relative, should hold an equal or higher class amateur license to that corresponding to the group of the call sign being sought. The FCC said that the two-year waiting period following the death during which the call sign is not available would allow close relatives to upgrade their license class, if necessary.

The FCC also decided that priority should be given to established clubs for obtaining the call sign of a deceased club member. To that end, the Commission established a new "gate," Gate 1A, that will follow Gate 1 in priority. By this method, the call sign of a deceased amateur will be available first to a close relative, then to a club. In order to be eligible, clubs will have to have held a station license on or before March 24, 1995 (the date of the FCC's Report and Order in Docket 93-305).

The new FCC Part 97 rules become effective November 17, 1995, but the FCC has not announced a starting date for the program. The new FCC Form 610-V for vanity call sign applications is not yet available. The opening of Gate 1 will be announced by FCC public notice.

The FCC's original report and order was adopted December 23, 1994. More information on the vanity call sign program was in QST for March 1995 (page 98); April (page 41); and May (page 95). n

Upcoming VEC Examinations

The following test session information is provided by the ARRL/VEC for the upcoming ten 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.

11/04/95, Fontana, 909-823-6818, Louis Johnson
11/10/95, Irvine, 714-824-8477, Jack C Lockhart  WD6AEI
11/11/95, Fontana, 909-823-6818, Louis Johnson,  K6UMX
11/12/95, Thousand Oaks, 805-375-1385, Marco Treganza,  
11/16/95, Fountain Valley, 714-778-1542, Thomas Harris
11/18/95, Pomona, 909-620-2089, Frank Westphal
11/18/95, San Bernardino, 909-864-2656, John P Mc Cann
11/18/95, Signal Hill, 310-420-9480, Don Boyce NN6Q
11/25/95, Culver City, 310-459-0337, Scott V Swanson
11/30/95, Colton, 909-825-7136, Harold Heydenfeldt
12/02/95, Camarillo, 805-388-2488, George Kreider III 
12/02/95, Fontana, 909-823-6818, Louis Johnson
12/04/95, Lancaster, 805-948-1865, Adrienne J Sherwood
12/05/95, Culver City, 213-292-6423, C Lutz
12/16/95, Long Beach, 310-431-8998, Ken Newkirk,  
12/16/95, San Bernardino, 909-864-2656, John P Mc Cann
12/21/95, Fountain Valley, 714-778-1542, Thomas Harris
12/28/95, Colton, 909-825-7136, Harold Heydenfeldt
12/30/95, Culver City, 310-459-0337, Scott V Swanson
12/30/95, Garden Grove, 714-534-8633, John Gregory
01/06/96, Fontana, 909-823-6818, Louis Johnson

Phase 3-D Launch Details Set
ARRL Letter, Volume 14, Number 19

The launch of the Phase 3-D Amateur Radio satellite has been set back from May 1996 to September, and final contractual arrangements for the launch have been worked out with the European Space Agency (ESA).

The satellite is manifested on the agency's Ariane-5 Flight 502. The ESA reported that tests on the launcher's cryogenic main stage have been under way in Kourou, French Guiana, and were to have ended shortly, but problems have called for changes that will delay upcoming launches 501 and 502.

AMSAT-North America President Bill Tynan, W3XO, said he was disappointed at the news, but that these things can often be expected in any development program. "Ariane 5 is a very ambitious development program, but one which I am confident will result in great success for ESA-both technically and commercially," Tynan said.

Tynan also said that the Phase 3-D team will use the extra time to good advantage to construct an even better and more thoroughly tested spacecraft.

Meanwhile, all major contractual issues are now complete for the launch. Phase 3-D International Satellite Project Leader Dr Karl Meinzer, DJ4ZC, made the announcement at the annual Radio Amateur Satellite Corporation (AMSAT) meeting held the weekend of October 7 in Orlando, Florida.

The final arrangements establish a firm cost, schedule and technical baseline for the launch, Meinzer said. The contract includes a launch price of about $1 million US; contributions so far from individuals and organizations around the world will cover the "first installment" of the launch bill, about $800,000, which is due November 1, 1995.

AMSAT-NA President Tynan said that in addition to the additional $200,000 needed for launch, another $200,000 is still needed to complete final assembly, check-out, and testing of the satellite.

The contract with ESA specifies that if, for some reason, launch is not possible on the Ariane 502 rocket launch in September, 1996, the space agency will exercise its "best efforts" to launch P3-D on an (older) Ariane 4 booster, no later than mid-1997. Meinzer said that the P3-D design team has built the satellite and its carrying structure to be compatible with both the Ariane 4 and 5 boosters.

Meinzer led negotiations with the European Space Agency (ESA) the previous weekend, in Evry, France. Also present at those meetings were AMSAT-North America Executive Vice President Keith Baker, KB1SF, and AMSAT-NA Vice President for Engineering Dick Jansson, WD4FAB. n

FCC Issued Call Sign Update

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

District Group A   Group B   Group C   Group D
         Extra      Adv.    Tech/Gen   Novice
0        AA0ZE     KG0ZH       ++      KB0UCL
1        AA1OL     KE1DB     N1VTZ     KB1BUE
2        AA2YO     KG2EH       ++      KB2VXS
3        AA3MR     KE3UZ     N3WAX     KB3BLI
4        AE4MU     KT4EJ       ++      KF4DSB
5        AC5EY     KK5TJ       ++      KC5RCS
6        AC6PS     KQ6AG       ++      KE6YTK
7        AB7MR     KJ7RQ       ++      KC7NFW
8        AA8UR     KG8TT       ++      KC8BEQ
9        AA9QD     KG9EF       ++      KB9LRN
Hawaii    ++       AH6OG       ++      WH6CYM
Alaska    ++       AL7QF       ++      WL7CPB
Virgin   WP2U      KP2CH     NP2IK     WP2AIA
Puerto Rico ++     KP4ZZ       ++      WP4NCB
++ All call signs in this group have been issued in this area

Banquet Plans Announced
By Jay Holladay, W6EJJ

Mark your calendars now for the big JPL ARC Christmas Banquet meeting. This year we have a new venue with a private room and a nice choice of entrees. With the outstanding program that is planned, you won't want to miss this year's event.

What: JPL ARC Christmas Banquet Meeting.
When: Wednesday, December 13, beginning at 6:30 PM.
Where: Marie Callender's Pasadena,
                2300 E. Foothill Blvd, Pasadena, CA

Choice of entree:
Teriyaki Chicken Grill
Grilled London Broil Steak
Seafood N' Seashell Pasta
Includes soup or salad and beverage (non-alcoholic).

Cost: $13.00 per person (including tax & tip)

Program: Our featured speaker will be Art Goddard, W6XD, who will present a program on what it is like to travel to Mongolia and operate amateur radio from CQ Zone 23. We will also have a presentation of awards earned by the club and its members.

Art Goddard is a member of a group from Southern California who travel to a different part of the world each year to operate in the CQ World Wide Phone DX Contest. This year they chose to operate from the fabled "Zone 23", once the rarest of the 40 zones defined for the Worked All Zones award sponsored by CQ magazine. Since Art's wife went along, he'll have more to tell about Mongolia than just ham radio operation. Art is a manager at Rockwell and currently serves as Vice Director of the ARRL Southwestern Division. His DX travel programs are always a treat - ask anyone who heard last year's program on their trip to Swaziland. n

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

Go back to the W6VIO Calling Index.

Updated August 27, 1999