Meeting Notice

The next regular JPL Amateur Radio Club membership meeting will be held on Wednesday, September 13, at noon in 238-543. Among other items on the agenda is the presentation of awards for the recent IEA Contest. 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. n

Upcoming Events
Angeles Crest Century (ACC) bike ride September 9. Call Bob Deen at ext. 4-7492 or (818) 796-4111 to see if last minute volunteer radio support is needed.
W6VIO Operations Trailer Work Party: September 16, 9-12 AM

By Merv MacMedan, N6NO

Our "Important Emergency Activity" contest is now over and you can read the results on page 2. The one-month-long contest only for members was designed to get our apathetic membership back on the air on WB6IEA's new frequency of 224.70 MHz and assess our emergency capabilities. The impossible Condor co-channeling on the old frequency (224.72) is history, and the contest proved the new frequency to be much more workable. The contest successfully brought a few shy members out of the woodwork and proved that at least 56 club members could indeed muster a signal into 224.70 if needed. That will help demonstrate our emergency preparedness to the Laboratory.

Two members became serious contesters and made this activity more interesting for the rest of us. Congratulations to Mike Gauthier, K6ICS, for his top score and to Walt Diem, WA6PEA for making second place! These guys listened nearly every moment and nary missed a new call when it came on. (During the contest there was a degree of comfort in knowing that someone is always listening, just for that unlikely emergency when you might need him or her!) The rest of the participants were supportive contesters (that is, helped to give the others some points) and gracefully accepted the "pouncing" of the serious vultures. To both categories, many thanks for making the contest a lot of fun and allowing us to meet each other and make new friends on the air.

Time and time again the point was made that the contest brought out a sense of camaraderie and "belonging" among club members that had been missing for some time. Stations presenting themselves on the air found themselves chatting with one another (not just making autopatch calls) and becoming friends with other members that they had never talked to before! It was enjoyable because the contest was relaxed enough to allow a little "rag chewing" in addition to the business of passing the required contest exchange.

A couple of other comments I got on the air: 1) "This is the best fun I've had in years. Let's do it every few months!" 2) "It was great - let's do it again soon, but shorten it to a week." What did YOU think of the contest? Should we do another sometime? Phone me at ext. 4-7004 or drop me a line at

By the way, if you are involved with a noteworthy ham radio event (even if the club is not participating officially in it, but you are) write it up and forward it to Bill Wood, our newsletter editor. Bill loves photos, too! Examples are activities like the Los Angeles Marathon communications, and communications for bike races supported by club members as individuals. We will be glad to report on your involvement as a club member even if it is not an official JPL ARC activity. n

August Club Meetings
By George Morris, W6ABW

The regular August JPL Amateur Radio Club membership meeting was held Wednesday, August 9. President Merv MacMedan called the meeting to order. Work parties are being held often at the East Gate W6VIO trailer in preparation for the December Galileo special event. Eric Archer, WB6GYD, gave a presentation on his amateur operations from the Vatican and San Marino. Eric operated on the satellite from San Marino as T7/WB6GYD and from the Vatican as HV3SJ. Eric makes frequent trips to Italy in connection with his job as Technical Manager of the Cassini Radio Frequency Instrument Subsystem.

The Board of Director's meeting was held in Room 301-227 on Wednesday, August 23. Only four of the nine Board members were present. Since a quorum was not present, no business was conducted. Jim Marr gave the treasurer's report. A special Board of Directors meeting is needed to authorize expenditures not in the budget.

Bob Polanski reported on improvements needed to the W6VIO operations trailer near the East Gate before the December Galileo special event.

Jim Marr reminded us that no action has been taken to sell the excess ERC owned equipment. The procedure that we must follow is to physically deliver the equipment to Mark Banuelos at the ERC, who will hold the equipment until it is sold. Mark also must approve the advertisement process. n

DX News
By Bob Polansky, N6ET

Not a lot of preamble this time. I am totally blind DX-wise until the shack reconfiguration progresses a bit more. Thanks to "The DX Bulletin" I still have that visibility. Here goes:

BENIN - TY8G will operate from 11 to 22 September; all bands, all modes.

CHAD - This rare one is currently being populated by TT8NU. He has been reported at 7015 kHz at 0500Z. I need him!

LORD HOWE ISLAND - VK9LZ(RTTY), VK9LX(CW), and VK9NM(SSB) will be active from 19 to 26 September; all bands, and all modes.

NEPAL - 9N1SXW will be G3SXW operating from this semi-rare location from 12 to 21 September. Published frequencies for this CW only operation are 1827, 3507, 7007, 14023, 18073, 21023, 24893, and 28023 kHz, listening up 2 to 5 kHz.

TROMELIN - FR5HG/T will be active later this month for 40 days. The current FR5HG/T is a pirate. It's your call as to when to work the real one!

VIETNAM - 3W5FM is UA0FM who has moved to Vietnam for an indefinite period. He is very active on 80 meters! Look for him on 3505, 7007, 10105, 14025, 18075, 21025, and 28025 on CW. Also, on 3795, 7065, 14195, and 21400 on SSB.

Good hunting! The bands are coming back as we move toward Autumn. n

IEA Contest Results
By Merv MacMedan, N6NO

The contest period was July 15 - August 14. Logs were due by August 25 and in last month's newsletter I announced that logs should be sent to me. At this writing, I have received seven logs, from which we learned that some 56 stations made one or more contacts in the contest; that is, we now know that at least 56 operators have demonstrated that they have rigs that could function on 224.70 if needed in an emergency!

The top score belongs to Mike Gauthier, K6ICS, who racked up 1266 points from 51 stations. It's rumored Mike slept with his handy-talkie under his pillow! Mike will be awarded his trophy (we believe this will be the first time the club has ever awarded a trophy!) and magazine subscription at the September meeting. Second place was won by Walt Diem, WA6PEA, who scored 1209 points in spite of being out of the contest for four days! Walt wins a magazine subscription for his hard work. The enthusiasm and perseverance of these two competitors made the contest lively and enjoyable. Thanks to all who participated.

It is noteworthy that out of the 51 stations contacted by the top two scorers, only two were different. The difference was that Mike worked (but Walt did not) KD6SAD, N6TGZ (and WA6PEA). Stations Walt worked (but Mike did not) were KW6J and W6LTC (and K6ICS). Basically, Mike edged out Walt solely on the basis of making more single point contacts! (What pillow? - Mike must not have slept at all!)

Although only seven members submitted logs (station count and total scores for those who did are shown below), we gleaned a list of all the participants from the logs that were submitted. The result follows, although we apologize if we missed you. Thanks to all for a great (and friendly) time!  n

WB6IEA Contest Results

K6DNS N6BF 6/101
K6ICS 51/1266 1st Place N6BH
KA6DAN N6ET 34/738
KC6FSP N6NO 32/729
KE6IGX 22/507 WA6IUR
KE6LEA 12/252 WA6OUD
KE6QVK WA6PEA 51/1209 2nd Place

W6VIO Work Parties
By Bob Polansky, N6ET

The JPL ARC conducted two work parties last month. The first took place on August 12 and was supported by Chris Carson, Warren Dowler, Nick Gautier, Jay Holladay, Merv MacMedan, and Bob Polansky. The following work was accomplished:

The next work party will take place on 16 September, assuming that the parts being ordered today (8/28) arrive by then. The prime work to be done will be to add guy wires to the Club's new 67 foot tower. Some internal cleanup is still needed in the W6VIO shack. We will need to see how many people show up. If you have any questions, please call Bob, N6ET, at JPL extension 4-4940. n

Amateur Public Service
By Courtney Duncan, N5BF

I have never been one to get up earlier than I had to, especially on a Saturday. So Saturday, March 10, 1973, was unusual for me. I got up at 6:21 A.M. You wonder why? Let's go back a bit further in time.

In the winter of 1972, Phil Woodard, W5KRZ, approached me and offered to get me started in ham radio. I immediately wrote to my best friend, Rob Aanstoos, in Taylor, Texas, a town where I had lived before. I told him that we should both get on ham radio to stay in touch to "save postage." Our letters crossed in the mail. The one I received from him contained exactly the same suggestion! By March of that year I was licensed as WN5GRZ and was making 80, 40, and 15 meter Novice CW contacts, with three crystals, a home-brew transmitter, and a borrowed receiver. My home was in Hubbard, Texas, a sleepy place, the schools were basics-only, unless you played sports. I spent much of my spare time on the air and studying for upgrades. Rob got his Novice license too, WN5FID, but he was only on 15 meters. We were not talking yet, but had big plans.

Phil, my "Elmer," had been an active ham since the end of WW II. He mainly hung out on 3930 KHz mornings with a Central Texas group of ranchers, farmers, and other small-town-retired folks. He was eager to get me integrated into this "main stream" of ham radio. 3930 KHz was also the frequency of the North Texas Emergency Net, which was known as the place to tune if there was any trouble in the region. Soon a used station became available and by January 1973, I was active as WB5GRZ on five bands (this was long pre-WARC) SSB and CW with the split pair Hallicrafters HT-37 and SX-111, dipoles, and a tri-band beam on a twelve-foot roof stand. Antennas for the lower bands were 80 and 40 meter dipoles between two tall trees in the front yard and a long wire extending across the street to the church where my dad was pastor.

Phil showed me all the basic ropes, including his shack, antenna farm, and emergency generator. He once remarked to me, "You know, Courtney, if we ever have a tornado or threatening weather here, I'm not going to be out here fooling with any of this electronic stuff. I'll be in my storm cellar here by the garage," which he then pointed out. And, that's where he spent the night of March 9, 1973, along with many other wise Hubbard residents who were storm cellar equipped.

In Central Texas, there are around two dozen tornado watches each year, and another half dozen warning situations. A watch is called when conditions in the area are right for violent storms to form. A warning is called when a tornado is actually observed in progress. We all went to bed that night under a tornado watch. Something to take note of, but nothing unusual. They happened all the time. There were people who spent the night in their storm shelters anyway; watches or warnings. I was looking forward to a normal weekend; lots of ham radio, when I got to bed that night.

I turned over. The wind was howling outside. Just another early morning thunderstorm. It was not light yet. At least another hour to sleep. Wait, the wind wasn't howling, it was positively screaming! A chunk of rock broke the west window in my room, the one by the radios. Then another put a silver dollar sized hole in the north window. Now I was sitting up in bed, holding the covers around me for protection. This was not just another severe thunderstorm. I was not really awake yet, but I could hear deep crashes and thumps like cars and trucks falling out of the sky. The wind was a deafening shriek like a jet engine at takeoff. Then, suddenly, all was quiet. The wind was gone. There were still some thumps and crashes outside, but they were dying out in the distance.

My parents and sister were running down the hall. I had my glasses on, but could not find my shoes. I finally decided to go without them. I wandered down the hall in the dark. No one could find a flashlight either. The front walk was a foot deep in debris. It all looked like glass, but there was also dirt, rocks, lumber, insulation, and mangled household goods. Certainly no place to go without shoes. The house was largely intact. Having been built to recent codes, the roof was specially braced so it would not blow off under internal pressure in a low pressure storm, but it was not without damage. An unoccupied 60 foot mobile home across the alley behind had been hit squarely and disintegrated into thousands of shards. Its bathtub and air conditioning units had been slammed into our back wall, partially collapsing it.

I went back to look for my shoes and a flashlight. Still no luck. Then it started to rain. One of those four-inch-per-hour downpours common to Texas and the Great Plains. For fifteen minutes what was left of Hubbard, Texas, was drenched in water. Someone finally found a flashlight. I was now dressed except for shoes. While everyone else watched the deluge from out of the front door, I finally found a pair of shoes and joined in waiting for the rain to stop.

When the rain finally let up it was light outside. All clocks were stopped at 6:21 AM. The neighbor's storage shed and all it's contents were in our front yard on top of the mangled remains of my new tri-bander, which was on top of my 40/80 meter dipole, which was still attached to a large branch from the top of the large tree, which had been one of the supports. The tree was now half as tall as it was before. There was part of an 8-foot 2 by 4 stuck in the eves of a third floor tower of Dad's church across the street.

Behind the house to the south, all was wreckage and ruin. Somebody was wandering around looking at all the telephone poles to see if there were any straws jammed into one. They finally found one and showed it to everyone.

The twister had touched down in McClennan County, ten miles to our west-southwest. It killed three persons in a mobile home and tore up a swath of ranch land two blocks wide until it reached Hubbard. A house in the block to our west had been picked up entirely and deposited in the middle of the street. The occupants were among those who slept in their storm shelters at any hint of trouble. They were fine, but had lost everything. A five year old boy next door to them was dead. Our neighbors to the east were in their house when it was turned over. They woke up in their bed on the floor-now-ceiling. In all, six were killed and dozens injured. A friend's mother was a nurse. She spent the day at the hospital "digging mud out of people's ears." There was no power, no telephone, no gas, and the water was unusable.

Phil came out of his shelter when the rain stopped. He was four blocks away from the tornado track, but was not yet aware anything unusual had happened. He did notice the power was off so he fired up his generator and got on 3930 KHz to see what he could learn.

Phil had laid the groundwork for this day quite thoroughly. He was an old timer in Hubbard. Everybody had known for years he was a ham radio operator. He knew all the law enforcement people and the gas station owners. He even maintained the hospital's emergency generator and knew the doctor, nurses, administrator, and employees there. Now this would all pay off. He sent his wife to the gas station where a police deputy used a hand crank to get five gallons of gas to refill his generator. He made a trip up to the hospital as soon as the roads were clear enough. He got a list of dead and injured, making arrangements at the same time to get updates as they were available. He could not use this list directly on the air, but it would still be useful in the hours to come. Within the hour, the North Texas Emergency Net was in emergency session. Bud Webb, K5QVI, in nearby Hillsboro acted as net control while Phil conserved transmitter power, generator gas, and operator stamina, acting as the contact on the scene. As health and welfare requests started to come in from around the state and around the nation, Phil was able to check the list and confirm, in most cases, that friends and loved ones were not listed. If they were, other communications arrangements were made.

I was oblivious to all of this for the first several hours. And, I was off the air. My station, even if the antennas had been up, depended on commercial power. Dad and I got in the car and drove to nearby Penelope, Texas and used a pay phone to call relatives and tell them we were OK.

Those of us in the middle of the disaster zone were still digging our way out of our own yards. We checked the neighborhood to see if help was needed. By early afternoon, hams were arriving with various sorts of gear and various ideas of how they could assist. One had a two-meter rig in his car. He would drive from Phil's house to the High School where some Red Cross coordination was going on. Then to the top of the hill that constituted the center of town to relay back and forth through the Waco repeater 30 miles away.

He confided in me that if Phil had a two-meter radio in his shack, things would go much smoother. Perhaps this was true, but it was not obvious from riding around in his VW beetle and listening to the type of traffic he was trying to handle, that there was much to be gained that Phil was not already prepared for with his excellent local connections.

Throughout the day, National Guard helicopters were arriving and departing and by nightfall every street corner along the zone of destruction was manned by a Guardsman.

About 9 PM, I was allowed to walk the six blocks to Phil's house and act as relief operator for a while. By this time there was very little new traffic, and none that could not be handled by Net Control or other stations who had been copying along all day. Still it was a relief for Phil to get away from the radio for a couple of hours. It was an education for me to see his emergency setup in operation and to be "in the barrel" for a while.

My friend Rob, now WB5FID, had been monitoring 3930 from his home 100 miles away in Taylor. Upon hearing me at the microphone he was eager to speak to me directly. The problem was that he was loading a 40-meter dipole. Although other net participants and I could hear somebody trying to get in, nobody could make him out well enough to tell who it was.

Later it came time for me to head back to the house. When I got to my block there was a National Guardsman standing watch in front of the church at my corner! He challenged me and we had quite a discussion about who I was and what I was doing there. It turns out all this was just a test. He had been expecting me. I was drafted to help him carry a trash can full of water from the church basement (drained out of a water heater) over to the house for washing purposes.

We slept in the dark and quiet that night, but not all too soundly. The next day was Sunday. TV News crews from all over the region were there to watch us all go to church. Some people came and left from the church through doors they'd never used, before or since, just to be on camera! That 2 by 4 was still hanging from the awning of the church tower. Another church just east of to our house was totaled and had to be razed.

Mennonites from Kansas began to arrive in carloads with their tools. They cut up trees, helped clear houses, and generally made themselves useful in the cleanup all over town for several days. At 2 PM, Dad held the funeral for the boy who had been killed just a block away. All the noise of chain saws and heavy machinery stopped, a southern show of respect. One of the Mennonite men appeared in our driveway with a broom and helped me clean up part of the back yard during the quiet hour. We talked of life, tragedy, and nitty-gritty.

The power came back on that afternoon. It had been off for over 30 hours. I climbed the trees to get my 75 and 40 meter dipole antennas back up. An official-looking man walked by and called up to me. "You 'gonna' get that TV working again, son?" In a few hours I was on the air, just in time for the wrap up of the regional networks that had been handling traffic for our tornado and another that had happened the same morning 150 miles away in Burnet, Texas.

School was dismissed Monday so the cleanup could continue. The Federal Emergency Management Agency arrived and took over our church's basement on Tuesday. It was the first time in living memory that the building had been locked at night.

In the years since the Hubbard Tornado, I have thought often about emergency preparedness and have followed with interest the accounts of others who have been visited first-hand by a disaster where a communications technology hobby might have made a difference. 

Here are some thoughts:

(1) First things first: Ham radio can be a useful tool, but it will not rescue anybody trapped in a building or perform CPR. Be realistic.

(2) Know where your shoes and flashlight (and glasses) are. Maintain a first aid kit. Do not wait for disaster to strike: always be prepared and check your preparations seasonally.

(3) Practice drills to test yourself and your preparations.

(4) Know how to operate. If you were given a formal or informal message to handle, would you know what to do? If you were given a list of casualties, would you know if you were even allowed to handle it over the air?

(5) Be realistic about your amateur radio gear and what you can expect from it. Do not expect your batteries to stay charged. Do not expect to be able to run to the store and pick up an extension cord. Do not expect repeater systems to stay on the air through a disaster. Do you operate HF enough to know what propagation to expect on the various bands? Do you expect a random wire antenna to get out just because your tuner loads it 1:1?

Finally, and perhaps most important, know the community and the people. Phil Woodard was prepared in the best sense of the word. He had his priorities straight. He had the confidence of key people all over town, and all over the region, to do really important things with his amateur radio gear.

Don't be too enamored with technology. Remember: All the emergencies that amateur radio operators will serve in the future are in the world of the future. What unique service does your equipment and skill provide in that world? n

Baloon Launch
ATV Balloon Launch
By Dick Wetzel, WA6JBZ

Did you ever see an amateur radio balloon launch? I did last July near Colorado Springs while attending a VHF conference there. The balloon launch was better than the conference! I received a flyer the day before the flight. It said that the preflight would start at 7:30 AM, followed by the helium filling of the balloon at 8:30 AM and scheduled liftoff at 9:00 AM. The instrumentation package was impressive: A cross-band repeater on 440 and 146 MHz; a Global Positioning System (GPS) and packet read out for latitude, longitude, and altitude; a black and white Amateur TV camera with scannable mirror (looks up, down, sideways); and a cutaway sensor that tells when the balloon pops.

All went like clockwork except for the loss of ATV video at 30,000 feet because of a possible broken RG-58 coax due to the cold or flexing. The final altitude was 96,000 feet when one of the ground crew saw the balloon pop and give out a puff of talc powder. At the same time the cutaway sensor radioed it was on the way down. Needless to say it was a clear day. Data from the payload was down-linked every 30 seconds or so to a PC and printer. I was able to walk over to the TV monitor and watch the ground spinning under the TV camera and the cross-band repeater swinging on a 30 ft rope below (needed for RFI isolation reasons). Then I would walk over to the printer and check GPS position and altitude, along with inside and outside temperatures. All this while listening to the cross-band machine output as many out-of-state hams took turns at making contacts.


ATV Balloon Payload. Photos by Dick Wetzel, WA6JBZ

The flight lasted about three hours and was great fun, especially watching the recovery team working off beam headings; or the wise guy who had a GPS receiver in his 4X4 and got real-time readouts from the balloon. Of course he is the one that got to see it land right in front of his car. Not all hams can afford GPS receivers yet.

The Colorado based club that ran the launch is called "Edge Of Space Science" (EOSS), has 300 members, and a newsletter. They average nine or ten balloon launches a year and work with local schools to promote science projects. Each launch costs between $150 and $200 for expendables like gas and balloons. They have not lost a payload in a long time. I plan to stay in touch with the group through their Home Page on the Internet n

Provided by Jan Tarsala, WB6VRN

2-Meter Record Claimed
ARRL Special Bulletin 36

An over water distance record on the 144 MHz band has apparently been set between Hawaii and Washington state.

On July 1, 1995, Paul Lieb, KH6HME, on Mauna Loa volcano, worked Jim Costello, W7FI, in Woodinville, Washington, near Seattle, a distance of 4333 kilometers. The previous record was set between KH6HME and XE2GXQ, on Baja California, a distance of 4276 km, on July 13, 1989.

This tropospheric ducting opening began June 28 when the 144.170 MHz beacon on Mauna Loa, 13,680 feet (4170 meters) above sea level, was heard on the West Coast, according to QST VHF columnist Emil Pocock, W3EP, who called the next three days ''the most widespread Hawaii-to-West Coast opening ever recorded.''

In the early evening of June 30, KH6HME worked WI7Z and N7KSI, both near the coast of Washington, the first ever 144-MHz contacts from that state to Hawaii, and then worked N7AVK, in Oregon. The breakthrough came the next day, at 0600, when KH6HME worked several Seattle-area stations, beginning with W7FI, and was heard by VE7SKA, who could not make himself heard in Hawaii.

Using computer software, the various Seattle-area stations calculated who was the farthest from Mauna Loa, and the winner was W7FI. The record-setting distance was 58 km farther than the six-year-old record.

Unfortunately, the conditions did not extend to higher bands; KH6HME made 432 MHz contacts with K6QXY and W6SYA, but no others were completed. n

FCC Issued Call Sign Update

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

District Group A   Group B   Group C   Group D
         Extra      Adv.    Tech/Gen   Novice
0        AA0YS     KG0YM       ++      KB0TNA
1        AA1OC     KE1CO     N1VPK     KB1BTJ
2        AA2YE     KG2DP       ++      KB2VLB
3        AA3MH     KE3UK     N3VWC     KB3BKH
4        AE4LE     KT4BQ       ++      KF4CDQ
5        AC5EF     KK5RM       ++      KC5QAC
6        AC6PB     KO6YR       ++      KE6WKS
7        AB7LS     KJ7QJ       ++      KC7MMC
8        AA8UI     KG8SY       ++      KC8AQN
9        AA9PT     KG9DR       ++      KB9LFJ
Hawaii    ++       AH6OE       ++      WH6CXN
Alaska    ++       AL7QD       ++      WL7COF
Virgin   WP2R      KP2CG     NP2II     WP2AHZ
Puerto Rico ++     KP4ZY       ++      WP4NAI
++ All call signs in this group have been issued in this area

Upcoming VEC Examinations

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

09/08/95, Irvine, 714-824-8477, Jack C Lockhart  WD6AEI
09/09/95, Fontana, 909-823-6818, Louis Johnson,  K6UMX
09/09/95, Fontana, 909-822-4138, E William Gruber
09/10/95, Rialto, 909-867-9270, Patricia Essary
09/10/95, Thousand Oaks, 805-375-1385, Marco Treganza,  KC6WQR
09/16/95, San Bernardino, 909-864-2656, John P Mc Cann
09/16/95, Signal Hill, 310-420-9480, Don Boyce NN6Q
09/21/95, Fountain Valley, 714-778-1542, Thomas Harris
09/23/95, Pomona, 909-620-2089, Frank Westphal
09/28/95, Colton, 909-825-7136, Harold Heydenfeldt
09/30/95, Corona, 909-737-9769, Clerina Lamarche
09/30/95, Culver City, 310-459-0337, Scott V Swanson
09/30/95, Hawthorne, 213-778-4625, Don Cain
09/30/95, Lake Elsinore, 909-244-3630, Charles Somol,  AA6TI
09/30/95, Oxnard, 805-486-6226, Robert S Lavin  AC6JX
10/07/95, Fontana, 909-823-6818, Louis Johnson
10/14/95, Camarillo, 805-388-2488, George Kreider III KN6LA
10/14/95, Fontana, 909-822-4138, E William Gruber
10/14/95, Lancaster, 805-948-1865, Adrienne J Sherwood
10/14/95, Torrance, 310-328-0817, Joe Lanphen,  WB6MYD
10/19/95, Fountain Valley, 714-778-1542, Thomas Harris
10/21/95, Long Beach, 310-431-8998, Ken Newkirk,  KN6EC
10/21/95, San Bernardino, 909-864-2656, John P Mc Cann
10/26/95, Colton, 909-825-7136, Harold Heydenfeldt
10/28/95, Culver City, 310-459-0337, Scott V Swanson
10/28/95, Garden Grove, 714-534-8633, John Gregory
10/28/95, Pomona, 909-620-2089, Frank Westphal
11/04/95, Fontana, 909-823-6818, Louis Johnson

Congress to Spare Hams?

US Senate and House bills aimed at overhauling the country's telecommunication structure and regulation appear, at least over the short term, to have comparatively minimal impact on Amateur Radio, according to ARRL Manager of Legislative Affairs Steve Mansfield, N1MZA.

Despite cries by some groups that all radio spectrum ought to be turned over to commercial interests, the 104th Congress has targeted cable regulation, telephone company regulation, and broadcast ownership issues as the focus of its ambitious effort to rewrite the Communications Act of 1934. That Act provides the legislative framework for all regulation of radio communication in the US today, and has been said by many to be long overdue for a massive rewrite.

Writing in September QST, Mansfield said "The resulting 221-page Senate bill, S. 652, 'The Telecommunication Competition and Deregulation Act of 1995,' and its House companion, H.R.1555, 'The Communications Act of 1995,' both are being touted as removing barriers to competition for telecommunication interests. Perhaps equally important (at least for hams), the degree of energy and effort put into the two bills could ultimately head off some of the more mischievous attempts at spectrum deregulation, at least for the remainder of the 104th Congress.

S. 652 slightly modifies the rules for who may administer license exams, and calls for the FCC to eliminate "burdensome record maintenance" requirements for volunteer examiners. "Some hams have expressed concerns about delicensing provisions of the bill, but those affect only certain marine and aviation users, as well as users of the new PCS systems," Mansfield said. Mansfield said that from a long-term perspective, the biggest concern lies in the continued expansion of the spectrum auction concept, and that amateurs "will have to become accustomed to fighting harder for spectrum than we have done in the past."

ARRL's congressional activities will continue to reflect the formal legislative positions adopted by the League's Board of Directors at its January 1995 meeting, Mansfield said. Mansfield's complete story appears on page 50 of September QST. n

Radio Designer Web Site

You can now access a World Wide Web home page for ARRL Radio Designer, the American Radio Relay League's Windows-based circuit analysis, design and simulation software, via the URL

This page serves as a one-stop Internet source for news, information, tips, examples and circuit files for ARD, including access to ARRL Radio Designer's FTP site, and details on how to subscribe to ARRLCAD, a mailing list devoted to ARD and other Amateur Radio CAD topics.

Sunspot Hints New Cycle
ARRL Special Bulletin 46

Astronomers at the California Institute of Technology say they have identified the first new sunspot in the next sunspot cycle. Scientists at Caltech's Big Bear Solar Observatory in Big Bear City, California, photographed the spot on August 12. "This makes us happy," said Hal Zirin, professor of astrophysics at Caltech and director of the Big Bear facility. "The sun is a lot more interesting to study when things are going on."

Early in the 11-year sunspot cycle, sunspots appear rarely and at relatively high solar latitudes around 30 to 35 degrees, then increase in frequency and appear at lower latitudes until they reach sunspot maximum, Caltech said. After this peak in activity, the number of sunspots slowly declines, and they appear ever closer to the sun's equator until they reach a relatively quiet phase called sunspot minimum.

The sun has been in a quiet period through much of 1994 and this year, with a few spots showing up near the equator. The new sunspot found on August 12 appeared at a solar latitude of 21 degrees, and its magnetic polarity is opposite to that seen over the last decade, a key to identifying it as "the manifestation" of the start of a new cycle, Caltech said.

Scientists at Caltech said they expected an early beginning to Cycle 23, but not this early. "Sunspots in the new cycle should rapidly become more common and reach a high level of activity in 1998 or 1999," Caltech said. n

New FCC RFI Book
ARRL Bulletin 73

The Federal Communications Commission has released a new Interference Handbook for consumers. The 24-page, full color book will be stocked by FCC field offices around the country to provide people experiencing interference to home electronic equipment with information and solutions to interference problems.

The book deals not only with interference to televisions from radio transmitters, but also illustrates and describes interference caused by poor antennas (weak signals, ghosting); electrical interference from home devices such as hair dryers; electrical interference from power lines; and interference from home computers and low power radio devices such as garage door openers.

In addition to interference to televisions, the handbook describes solutions to interference to hi-fi systems, telephones, and video cassette recorders. Techniques for solving problems include the use of ferrite cores, improving receiving antenna systems, checking cabling, and isolating interconnected units to find the one that is at fault.

The book lists addresses and phone numbers for sources of high pass filters, common mode filters, band reject filters, ferrites and beads, ac line filters, telephone filters, and interference resistant telephones, as well as an extensive list of manufacturers of home electronic equipment.

Page one of the new FCC Interference Handbook says "Many interference problems are the direct result of poor equipment installation. Cost-cutting manufacturing techniques, such as insufficient shielding or inadequate filtering, may also cause your equipment to react to a nearby radio transmitter. This is not the fault of the transmitter and little can be done to the transmitter to correct the problem. If a correction cannot be made at the transmitter, actions must be taken to stop your equipment from reacting to the transmitter."

ARRL Laboratory Supervisor Ed Hare, KA1CV, says, "This is the statement from the FCC that hams have been waiting for. The book takes a fair and honest approach to explaining responsibilities and cures for interference problems. The FCC team that put this together has done a fine job with a complex technical and emotional subject."  n 

Fluke DMM Safety Notice

This problem is the result of a manufacturing change implemented in July, 1994. Only seven models are affected: the Fluke Series II Model 21, 23, KIT 23, 70, 73,75, and 77 meters imprinted on the case bottom with serial numbers between 60990000 and 63752000. No other Fluke instruments are affected. If the S/N of your DMM is preceded by a "9" or followed by an "R", this notice does not apply.

The malfunction may occur when a voltage input greater than 400 Vdc is applied in either voltage functions, AC or DC. The meter may go into a lock-up state and will indicate a reading of (or near) zero volts. When the malfunction occurs, the meter may not indicate that high voltage is present, placing the user in a potentially hazardous situation. The failure mode commonly occurs when the positive lead (red) is connected first to a high voltage supply and then the common (black) lead is connected.

To correct this problem Fluke will modify your meter without charge. Even if you normally do not use your meter in the voltage range mentioned, it is recommended that you return your meter for modification.

Please send your meter to your Fluke Service Center to have this modification completed. Your unit will be modified and on its way to you within a few days. No telephone call or return material authorization (RMA) is necessary.  n

Newsletter Deadline:

September 29 for the October 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 next page.

Classified Section
Roster Changes

Welcome to following new regular club member:

	Dayton L. Jones       NT6S     Extra
Editor's Note

Long time club member Walt Diem, WA6PEA, had a successful heart valve replacement operation on Friday, August 25, 1995 at Huntington Memorial Hospital. Walt left the hospital on schedule five days later and is recovering very well at home. He expects to get back to normal activity within six to eight weeks. In the meantime he will be monitoring the WB6IEA club repeater from time to time. We all wish Walt a speedy recovery

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

Updated August 27, 1999