Meeting Notice
By Jay Holladay, W6EJJ

The next regular JPL Amateur Radio Club meeting will be held on Wednesday, July 10, at noon in building 238, room 543. Allen Hubbard, N6VTX (a new JPLARC member) will give a presentation on the Automatic Packet Reporting System (APRS). This is a method of tracking a vehicle location using a GPS receiver, TNC and packet radio.

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

Calendar of Events

Date Event
July 10 General Meeting, Noon - 238-543
July 20 [Pomona Swapmeet, DeVry Institute]
July 24 Board Meeting, Noon - 301-227
July 27 [TRW Swapmeet, Redondo Beach]
August 14 General Meeting, Noon - 238-543
August 17 [Pomona Swapmeet, DeVry Institute]
August 18 [Santa Barbara Swapmeet]
August 24 Board Meeting, Noon - 301-227

Notes from W6EJJ
By Jay Holladay, W6EJJ

It's time for my July column, and I find it hard to get Field Day off my mind. As you will see elsewhere in this issue, FD96 was a real test of our ability to recover from a disaster and then field a competitive effort. I think the entire team responded in fine style. From the low point of discovering that two of our antennas and their supporting structure had been destroyed and wondering whether we should continue, to getting our two HF stations operational by 11:00 AM, then grinding out contacts for 24 hours, and later realizing we had a competitive score, it was a very intense 40-hour period. In the end our team had a real sense of accomplishment - in some ways greater than in our past Field Days. My thanks to all who contributed to our success.

Earlier in the month we had another intense activity that turned out well. There had been some question about whether we would have a booth at this year's JPL Open House. After a short vacation I returned to the Lab on May 28 to learn that we indeed did have a booth for the open house, but that it still had to be organized. The time remaining was so short that I decided to lead the activity myself. With great support from Bill Wood and a few others the booth turned out to be pretty successful. We set up two displays - a working 2-meter packet station and a computer-generated map display of amateur satellite locations and visibility circles. The former showed off our portable digital communications capabilities, and the latter was a good way to initiate conversations about the amateur satellite program.

We had a good stream of traffic by the booth and quite an assortment of visitors. There were many hams in attendance at the open house (one club even chartered a bus to attend) and quite a number stopped by our booth. A few even checked their home mailboxes from our packet station! There was a good level of interest in amateur radio on the part of the attendees. Many knew little or nothing about amateur radio and so had few questions. But, if you struck up a conversation and told them a little about what we were demonstrating, many became interested and wanted to know more about the hobby. We had a good set of handouts explaining what amateur radio is and how to obtain more information from local clubs or via the ARRL. All in all, it was a very good experience, and we learned a lot about how to do it better next year. If only it had not been so close to Field Day!

That's all for this month. See you at the next meeting on July 10, where we can all learn more about APRS. n

June Club Meetings
By Chris Zygielbaum, N6WEI and Scott Nolte, N6CUV

The June General Meeting of the JPL Amateur Radio Club was held on Wednesday, June 12. President Jay Holladay (W6EJJ) called the meeting to order.


Bob Polansky (N6ET) reminded those in attendance that volunteers are still needed to lead the Novice/Tech station and someone to climb the second antenna tower.


This month's program was given by George "Russ" Andrews, K6BMG. Russ shared with us some techniques and equipment used in Radio Direction Finding, with and without special equipment, for both sport and the serious work of finding malicious and accidental interference. He explained how his product (The superDF) works and how it can be used. Russ maintains an entire Web Site dedicated to Radio Direction Finding. This site covers all aspects of equipment and techniques and can be found at URL

Board of Directors Meeting

The June Board of Directors meeting was held on June 26, 1996. President Jay Holladay (W6EJJ) called the meeting to order.

  1. With Field Day the preceding weekend (June 22/23), there was a general discussion of the exercise. Again this year the Caltech and JPL clubs conducted a joint Field Day on Mount Gleason in the Angeles National Forrest. The clubs planned to compete in the 3A category, but actually participated in the 2A category after one of the antenna towers was blown down in the wind. The antennas were reconstructed under true emergency conditions in time to start the contest on schedule.
  2. The JPL ARC brochure has been updated and is now available in the ERC.
  3. Rick McKinney reported that additional membership dues were received; five new members, two renewals and two new autopatch members.
  4. Walt Diem (WA6PEA) reported that the area code 213 telephone number for the Newsline has been discontinued, leaving only the area code 805 number for all the Los Angeles area. Recently we have experienced some difficulty in accessing the 805 number to transmit the Newsline during the Monday afternoon net. Walt has subscribed to MCI and programmed several other Newsline numbers so that if the 805 number is busy others will be available for use. Scott Nolte (N6CUV) is looking into prerecording the Newsline as another option.
  5. Chuck Sarture (KG6NF) presented the treasurer's report. Preliminary Field Day receipts of $280 have been received; Chuck is expecting more shortly. The only other June general club expense was posted for $22.40. The autopatch account balance increased after a $32 income and a $16.67 expense. There was no activity in either the emergency preparedness or capital equipment upgrade accounts. Jay recommended that the emergency preparedness plan be completed. The emergency preparedness status will be discussed in detail at the July Board meeting.
  6. Merv MacMedan (N6NO) reported that he had been contacted by an ex-club member, Elmer McMillan (W6RBR), who is currently living in Texas. Elmer would like to acquire some of the equipment that he had built and donated to the club. The equipment is currently on the club's excess list. Rick McKinney checked with the ERC about this. Because Elmer built and supplied the original equipment there is no problem returning it to him. n

DX News
By Bob Polansky, N6ET

The Field Day article took so much time this month that the time did not exist for an elaborate preamble here. Please excuse my brevity. The DX Bulletin, as usual, gets the credit for most of the material that follows.

BANGLADESH - S21A and S21YE have both been spotted at 14195 kHz between 1300 and 1400Z.

CROZET - FT5WE is active again. Look for him on 3505 kHz around 1400Z, on 10108 kHz, and 7075 kHz listening in the American phone band. Your best bet for getting a contact is in the early morning hours here.

FAROES - OY/SM6RXS are active now through 9 July. Check 7080, 14240, and 21240 kHz on SSB; 7005,14001, and 21001 kHz on CW.

LIBYA - 5A1A continues to be spotted. The last one was at 14006 kHz at 1550Z. Good luck. Maybe one day I'll catch him!

LIECHTENSTEIN - HB0/PI4TUE will be active from 7 to 16 July on all bands, phone, CW, and digital. No specific frequencies announced.

MARION ISLAND - ZS8IR has been quite active. 14195, 10102, 7004, 7090, and 3510 kHz from 0500Z through 1200Z seem to best characterize his current efforts. He usually listens up about 5 kHz from his transmit frequency.

SABLE ISLAND - CY0AA has been very active around 7001 kHz from 0000Z. He will be there through 2 July. If you miss him, WA4DAN/CY0 will reactivate Sable from 1 to 8 October.

YEMEN - 7O1JAF is probably the rarest station active at this time. Look for him through mid-July from 14200 - 14220 kHz starting at 1600Z (may be a bit late for the West Coast) on Thursdays and Fridays. He works only SSB and on his own frequency.

It's late now. I'm going to bed. Good DX to you all! n

East Station
Field Day East HF Station, Mount Gleason
Mount Gleason Field Day Parking Area

W6UE Goes 2A in Field Day 1996!
How 3A Became 2A - Chronology of a Disaster (and Recovery)
By Bob Polansky, N6ET

The JPL Amateur Radio Club has been participating in Field Day for more than ten years. The past three years, we have fielded winning teams in partnership with the Caltech Radio Club. This year we had a real opportunity to demonstrate our ability to respond to a major disaster. The following is a chronology of what took place.

We did not have a lot of set-up people, so the work went a little slower that usual. No matter; by the time dark came, all the tents were up, the triband beam on the thirty foot tower was up, and Warren Dowler pronounced the northern tower trailer ready to accept power from our Field Day radio transmitters. This put us only about an hour behind our plan.

Ron Ploszaj (WA6TPW) surveys the damage on Saturday morning
photo by Warren Dowler, KE6LEA

We all ate a hearty dinner, courtesy of the cooking team headed by our own John Tallon. Bob Polansky loaded up the HF1 station and checked out the antennas on all bands. They worked fine according to several stations contacted back east. We all settled down for a long, and well-deserved night's sleep.

Saturday - Just after midnight, the wind started gusting pretty heavily. Not a problem, all the tents were well staked into the hard ground and the towers were well guyed with good quality Dacron ropes. We all listened to the wind and tried to get some sleep in preparation for the excitement of the days to follow. All at once, there was a gust of wind followed by a loud noise. Alas, one of the chairs outside the tent had been blown over by the wind. "The chair won't blow too far away, we'll find it in the morning." We all went to sleep.

Morning came, Jay Holladay went outside the tent to retrieve the chair. He returned several minutes later with some "not so good news." The chair was standing where it had been left the night before, but our main seventy-foot crankup tower had suffered a guy rope failure and had fallen down, blocking the site fire road and narrowly missing the tent we had been sleeping in. Three of our main antennas as well as the tower itself had been either destroyed or severely damaged.

The Failed Guy Rope photo by Warren Dowler, KE6LEA

What to do - Should we collect the pieces, secure the site and forget Field Day, or should we attempt to field an operation with what was left. The purpose of Field Day is to provide emergency communications. We decided to go for it. Several teams were formed, one to clean up the mess from the tower's untimely decrease in altitude and the second to erect the other tower with the best compromise antennas we could field, given the gusting wind. How much work we could accomplish in the next five hours would measure our success. We decided to enter the contest with one less station (class 2A) than originally planned (class 3A), since we didn't have enough antennas to execute our original plan.

VHF/UHF Station

With superhuman efforts by all concerned, almost everything was in place by the 11 AM start-up time. The main two HF stations started transmitting right on time. We were fifteen minutes late in starting up our UHF/VHF operation - not too bad given all that had happened.

From that time on, "Murphy and his law" stayed clear of our Mount Gleason operation. The remaining six stations performed well and the combined operating skills of the group were in evidence everywhere. Sunday - Field Day operations ended, uneventfully, late Sunday morning. Site tear down and cleanup were completed early in the afternoon. We vacated the site, and locked the USFS gate until next year. We all felt a sense of real accomplishment after Field Day 96.

In summary, the group made over 3000 contacts, a little over a third of them using Morse Code, and the rest on phone. Our "score" this year would have put us fourth in the nation last year out of about 650 clubs participating in the class we switched to at the last minute. A great recovery and excellent training in how to respond to a disaster!

View of the Field Day Site towards the Southeast photo by Bill Wood, WB6FXJ
Jay Holladay, W6EJJ [R] checks the satellite
antennas with Darrell Smedley, KB6UBS [L]

Field Day Scrapbook
Photos by Bill Wood and Warren Dowler

Mike Ramirez, W6YLZ, gathering 6-meter
points with Mike Stewart, N6PLM,
lending moral support
Jan Tarsala, WB6VRN, and Bob Dengler,
NO6B, racking up VHF points
Ron Ploszaj, WA6TPW, logs his contacts on HF SSB
Dick Ulrich, K6KCY, operates the packet station


Brad Tallon, KE6UKA, logs as Jay Holladay, W6EJJ,
makes contacts on HF SSB
Kevin Balmforth, NC6U, runs a 20-meter CW pileup from the computer,
while Daniel Craig, KC6CNV, takes a break.

Nick Ramirez and Brad Tallon, KE6UKA, operating the
Novice/Technician Plus station

Chow Hall Serving Line
Chef John Carnakis, KE6DKY, prepares tri-tip steaks and garlic bread.
Saturday Night Chow Down! n

Via the ARRL www Home Page

Vanity Call Sign Advice: Read Directions!
ARRL Letter, June 28 Update

Larry Weikert, who's the FCC's point man in Gettysburg for processing vanity call sign applications, says too many vanity applicants are failing to follow directions when filing Form 610V. He advised that all applicants take the time to carefully read the instructions and follow them explicitly to avoid problems or disappointments.

In addition, applicants should always print legibly.

Weikert also said some applicants are attaching Form 610s to their vanity call sign applications to renew licenses or to file an address change. Form 610 transactions should be filed separately, not as part of a vanity call sign application.

The FCC opened vanity call sign Gate 1 on May 31 and will open Gate 1A on July 22. Under Gate 1A, an applicant may request the call sign once held by a deceased former member as an in memoriam club station call. n

FCC Issued Call Sign Update

The following is a list of the FCC's most recently issued call signs as of June 1, 1996.

District Group A   Group B   Group C   Group D
         Extra      Adv.    Tech/Gen   Novice
0        AA0CB     KI0DE     KB0WQF	
1        AA1QA     KE1FB     N1XLL     KB1BYG
2        AB2BH     KG2KH       ++      KB2ZEP
3        AA3OI     KE3WR     N3XPK     KB3BPF
4        AE4VG     KT4RR       ++      KF4KCB
5        AC5IG     KM5AP       ++      KC5UUR
6        AC6VK     KQ6GU       ++      KF6EHR
7        AB7RC     KJ7YN       ++      KC7RIH
8        AA8XH     KG8XL       ++      KC8EBP
9        AA9SL     KG9GP       ++      KB9NUV
Hawaii    ++       AH6OP       ++      WH6DBY
Alaska    ++       AL7QL       ++      WL7CTL
Virgin   WP2X      KP2CJ     NP2JI     WP2AIE
Puerto Rico ++     KP3AA     KP3BP     WP4NMF
++All call signs in this group have been issued in this area. n

Solar Forecast: Bottoming Out
ARRL Letter, June 28 Update

Solar seer Tad Cook, KT7H, in Seattle, Washington, reports five more days of zero sunspots since the last report. Look for more periods of no visible sunspots as we move through the solar cycle minimum. The most disturbed period was around 0300 UTC on June 19 when the K index was five (the Boulder A index for that day was 15).

Solar flux is expected to stay below 70 until the end of June, then peak just above 70 around July 2 and 3, moving again below 70 after July 5.

Sunspot numbers for June 13 through 19 were 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 12 and 24 respectively, with a mean of 5.1. The 10.7-cm flux was 68.1, 67.7, 67.3, 66.9, 67.4, 67.7, and 68.5 respectively, with a mean of 67.7. n

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 860-594-0300 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.

07/12/96, Irvine, 714-824-8477, Jack C Lockhart, WD6AEI
07/13/96, Bell, 213-560-8618, Pedro Cacheiro
07/13/96, Fontana, 909-822-0392, Bill Hatch, N6YTQ
07/13/96, Glendora, 818-966-7715, Perry Stevens P.R.C.
07/13/96, San Pedro, 310-325-2965, Elvin Lytle
07/18/96, Fountain Valley, 714-531-6707, Allan Avnet
07/20/96, Orange, 310-598-0086, Rick Riness
07/20/96, Santa Clarita, 805-259-8410, John Abbott
07/20/96, Westminster, 714-638-4057, Terry Hall
07/27/96, Culver City, 310-459-0337, Scott V Swanson
07/27/96, Garden Grove, 714-534-8633, John Gregory
07/27/96, Pomona, 909-949-0059, Don Warburg, WA6HNC
08/03/96, Lancaster, 805-948-1865, Adrienne J Sherwood
08/10/96, Bell, 213-560-8618, Pedro Cacheiro
08/10/96, Brea, 310-691-1514, Robert Reitzel
08/10/96, Camarillo, 805-388-2488, Geo. Kreider III KN6LA
08/10/96, Fontana, 909-823-6818, Louis Johnson
08/10/96, Glendora, 818-966-7715, Perry Stevens P.R.C.
08/10/96, San Pedro, 310-325-2965, Elvin Lytle
08/15/96, Fountain Valley, 714-531-6707, Allan Avnet
08/31/96, Culver City, 310-459-0337, Scott V Swanson
08/31/96, Pomona, 909-949-0059, Don Warburg, WA6HNC n

Estate Sale
By Brian Stapleton, KW6J

All of the following items belonged to an ex-club member and JPL employee Carl Johansen, WB6DLK (now a silent key). If you are interested in looking at any of them, please contact Brian (KW6J) at 714-896-3514 (work number M-F, 8 AM to 4 PM).

Items are being sold in "as is" condition. Most are old and dirty and it is not known if they are in working condition. Some are 'collector items' waiting for just that right person etc.

  • Model HDX-589-MDPL, 89-foot self-supporting US Tower. Includes heavy duty motor, pull downs, and limit switches. Only a few years old with hardly any use. Buyer will be responsible for removal of tower from back yard of property (will require a crane capable of lifting at least 2 tons of weight from the back yard of Carl's QTH, up and over his house to the front street, and onto a flat bed to move to your QTH - probably no more than 2 hours for the crane to be at the job site). Complete tower package originally cost around $8,100 (including shipping to the LA area). Will sell for $5,400.
  • Yeasu FTDX-560 with internal power supply (all tube rig with analog dial) runs around 250 watts pep, 160 through 10 meters. Needs finals, good clean-up and case. Asking $100.
  • Various broadcast high voltage capacitors (Aerovox). $15-$25.
  • Three foot high standard 19-inch wide rack (on wheels), asking $25.
  • Motorola VHF transceiver (no model number, but large and in green console with slanted front panel - speaker in center). Asking $45.
  • Two other Motorola transmitters (unknown model numbers, one uses two 6146s as the finals), asking $5 each.
  • Tektronix 543A scope with CA plug-in (new condition but real dirty after sitting in the garage for a number of years...). Asking $50.
  • Sprague Tel-Ohmite model TO-5 Capacitor Analyzer. Asking $15.
  • B&K model 400 CRT Rejuvenator Tester. Asking $15.
  • Hickok Model 610A Signal Generator. Asking $15.
  • Eico model 944 flyback transformer & yoke tester. Asking $5.
  • Heathkit model V-5 VOM. Asking $5.
  • Thordarson high-voltage plate transformer (for linear amp). Big and heavy, unknown voltage/current capability. Asking $40.
  • Old suitcase style record player. Asking $7.
  • Other odds & ends. Make offer(s)....n
  • Classified Section


    A220 MHz FM transceiver, HT or mobile, preferably with PL, DTMF, and/or service manual. Contact Ross Snyder (N0GSZ) at 818-545-3973 or via Internet at

    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 ( 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