Meeting Notice

The next regular JPL Amateur Radio Club meeting will be held on Wednesday, May 8, at noon in building 238, room 543. Field Day Co-chairman Bob Polansky, N6ET, will tell us all about the plans for Field Day 1996 and how you can be part of it. 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
May 3-5 [West Coast VHF/UHF Conference, Gateway Holiday Inn, La Mirada]
May 8 General Meeting, Noon - 238-543, Program: Field Day Plans
May 18 *W6VIO Work Party, 9:00AM - trailer
May 18 [Pomona Swapmeet, DeVry Institute]
May 22 Board Meeting, Noon - 301-227
May 25 [TRW Swapmeet, Redondo Beach]
May 27 La Canada Memorial Day Parade
June 7 Mars Global Surveyor Relay Flight Test Workshop, JPL
June 8-9 JPL Open House
June 12 General Meeting, Noon - 238-543
June 15 [Pomona Swapmeet, DeVry Institute]
June 16 [Santa Maria Radio Swapfest and BBQ]
June 21-23 FIELD DAY, Mt. Gleason
June 21-23 [Special Olympics, UCLA]
June 26 Board Meeting, Noon - 301-227
June 29 [TRW Swapmeet, Redondo Beach]

Notes from W6EJJ
By Jay Holladay, W6EJJ

This month we feature a number of opportunities for volunteering. The first of these is the La Canada Memorial Day Parade on May 27. Each year the JPL ARC provides 6-8 operators to help coordinate the start of the parade. Those of you who have participated in the past know this is a very informal, fun event, and our efforts are much appreciated (and needed) by the parade organizers. Elsewhere in this issue is the official announcement - contact Greg, KD6MSM, and sign up to support this year's parade.

Our next big club activity is Field Day on June 21-23. This year our co-chairs for the JPL ARC are Bob, N6ET, and Rob, N6JKQ. Bob will describe the plans for this year's operation at our regular meeting on May 8.

If you can't make it up the hill for Field Day, there is another very worthwhile volunteer activity that same weekend. The Southern California Special Olympics will be held at UCLA on June 21-23, and amateur radio will again provide support. For more particulars, see the announcement in this issue of W6VIO Calling.

Finally, there is the Mars Global Surveyor Relay Flight Test coming later this year. Many of you will remember the talk presented by Dr. John Callas of the Mars Global Surveyor Project at our March 1995 meeting. This activity offers radio amateurs an opportunity to participate in the space program and contribute to NASA's Mars exploration effort. JPL ARC members can participate as individuals or possibly as part of a proposed joint effort with the Apple Valley Science Center. Further information on the Mars Relay Flight Test is provided elsewhere in this issue and on p. 44 of QST for January 1996. n

April Club Meetings
By Chris Zygielbaum, N6WEI

The April General Meeting of the JPL Amateur Radio Club was held on Wednesday, April 10. Vice President Scott Nolte (N6CUV) called the meeting to order.



Merv MacMedan (N6NO) talked about his trip to Costa Rica early this year. He volunteered, as a part of Earthcore and Earthwatch, to help track Leatherback turtles. He took the opportunity to set up a ham station (N6NO/TI7), and tour around the country.

Merv volunteered during the nesting time for the female turtles, when they come on land to lay their eggs. A tracking device is attached to their flipper and their movements are tracked by satellite. Telemetry tracking data includes temperature to indicate the currents encountered, and pressure to indicate the depth of their dives. The turtles are tracked by the satellite at 401.65 MHz, with less than 1 watt power.

Merv's ham radio adventure was highlighted by the process required for him to acquire a reciprocal license in Costa Rica. The advertised four-hour process took almost two days. Merv improvised a lot to set up his ham station, but he was able to contact quite a few folks, including several from JPL.

Board of Director's Meeting

The April ARC Board Meeting was held on Wednesday, April 24, 1996.


Treasurer's Report

Chuck Sarture (KG6NF) presented a Treasurer's Report. For the month of April, the General Club Account showed a net increase resulting from dues and contribution and expenditure only for newsletter postage; the Autopatch Account also showed a net increase resulting from two new members. There was no activity in the Emergency Preparedness or the Capital Equipment Upgrade Account.

Membership Report

Rick McKinney (KA6DAN) reported that there are 197 paid members at this time. This is about normal for this time of the year.

Field Day Report

Bob Polansky (N6ET) reported that commitments for the last required items are a bit slow in coming. The two laptop computers (386 or better) are still needed, as well as lead people for the Satellite and Novice operations.

Repeater Reports

DX News
By Bob Polansky, N6ET

The author discovered 30 meters this month, so I can't personally comment on anything that's been happening on any other band! This "new" band has many of the most desirable attributes of 20 and 40 meters without all the QRM. Everyone runs low power and pileups are not too deep. Dipoles and verticals will get you almost anywhere. Try it, you will like it! Now for the DX news:

COCOS KEELING - VK9C? plans all band activities between 18 May and 1 June. This sounds like a well fortified DXpedition with beams and low-band verticals.

CROZET - FT5WE's CW signals are frequently heard on the low ends of 30 and 40 meters from local sun-up through 1600Z.

FRANZ JOSEF LAND - R1FJZ/FJL looks for contacts nightly 1 kHz up from the low band edges of 30 and 40 meters from about 0200Z. 100 watts and a dipole is all you need.

JAN MAYEN - JX7DFA should be active now through October. When work previously on 20 CW, he had a watery sounding, weak signal with my beam. You may have to listen carefully.

KERMADEC ISLAND - Don't miss ZL8RI, who'll be active from 4 to 14 May. All band activity, both phone and CW is planned. This is a very rare operation and relatively easily workable on all bands from the west coast. Frequencies were published in Issue 820 of The DX Bulletin as I recall. If not, just listen for the large pileups!

LEBANON - OD/F5PWJ will be active from OD-land through the end of September.

WILLIS ISLAND - VK9WG is active now through the end of June. No frequencies specified.

Enough for now. I don't want to give away all my secrets. Thanks, as usual, to The DX Bulletin and QRZ DX for their timely DX news. n

MGS Relay Workshop
By John Callas

The Workshop is GO! The Workshop on the Mars Relay Flight Test is scheduled for 9 AM Friday, June 7, 1996, at JPL in Pasadena, California. The JPL Open House is that weekend, Saturday and Sunday. The workshop is free and open to radio amateurs, professionals and students. However, I will have to limit attendance to 80 people. You are responsible for your own travel and accommodations. To register for the Workshop please send me via E-mail ( the following for each person attending: Full Name; Call Sign (if applicable); Affiliation (if applicable); Mailing Address; Electronic Address; Nationality (if other than USA); Age (if under 18 or over 65). I look forward to seeing you there. n

Agenda (Preliminary)

09:05  Greeting and Workshop Information; Dr. John Callas/JPL
09:20  Mars Exploration Program Office Welcome; Norm Haynes, Director
09:30  Mars Surveyor Program Overview; Glenn Cunningham (WA6TPT), Manager
10:00  Mars Global Surveyor and Mars Pathfinder Missions; Wayne Lee, Mission Design/JPL
10:45  Mars Global Surveyor Science and Russian Mars'96 Mission; Dr. John Callas/JPL
11:30  Mars Relay Flight Test Description; Dr. John Callas/JPL
12:00  Lunch (JPL Cafeteria)
13:00  Stanford's Mars Relay Flight Test Effort; Dr. Ivan Linscott/Stanford University
13:30  Radio Amateur Activities; Prof. Michael Owen (W9IP)/St. Lawrence University
14:00  Open Discussion of Radio Amateur Efforts;  Required Equipment and Analysis; Calibration and RFI Issues; Spacecraft Position, Doppler Predictions; Observation Coordination and Reporting
17:00  Wrap Up and Adjourn
Saturday  JPL Open House (09:00 - 17:00) 
Sunday  JPL Open House (09:00 - 17:00)

Editor's Note: For more information on the Mars Relay Experiment, see "DXing Enroute to the Red Planet", by Michael R. Owen, W9IP, and John L. Callas, in January, 1996 QST. pp. 44-45. Additional detailed information by the same authors is published in the AMSAT Journal, January-February and March-April 1996 issues. Also, a special section of the Mars Global Surveyor WWW home page is devoted to this experiment

MGS Club Opportunity
By Mike Stewart, N6PLM

There is a unique potential opportunity, with significant student involvement, to support this important flight test with the Goldstone-Apple Valley Radio Telescope (ex-DSS12). JPL/TMOD is partnered with the Apple Valley Science and Technology Center (AVSTC) in developing the remotely-controlled Radio Telescope as a science education classroom instrument. The conversion project is just getting underway, and it is planned that the Telescope will be operational from AVSTC this Fall.

The Telescope would need to be temporarily equipped with a 440 MHz antenna/feed and appropriate receiving equipment. The large 440 yagis that were procured to search for the lost MO spacecraft are probably available. Jim Hodder has also done some preliminary calculations showing that with the gain of the 34-meter dish and the relatively close spacecraft range at the time of this test, a simple crossed-dipole or similar should be adequate.

I think the best way to do this would be as a joint operation of the AVSTC Student Radio Club and the JPL Amateur Radio Club. If AVSTC agrees in principle that they would like to participate in this test using the Radio Telescope, then a joint working group could begin developing the necessary system design and technical plans soon.

I will forward by separate e-mail the info and URLs on the Flight Test to Rick Piercy (Director of AVSTC), and Kevin Williams (AVSTC SRC leader), and follow up with them. n

W6VIO Work Parties
By Bob Polansky, N6ET

On April 6, the largest JPL ARC work group ever assembled converged on the W6VIO trailer to "do good things" for the Club. Ten of the Club's workers, including Walt Mushagian, Guy Labrador, Warren Dowler, JR Hall, Nick Gautier, Ross Snyder, John Norris, Chris Carson, Chuck Sarture, and Bob Polansky, showed up to devote their time to our efforts.

Accomplishments were fantastic! We completed rework on the TH7DXX beam, including installation of the matching network. We successfully pressurized three of the hardlines; although, one needs to be sealed better at the mesa site. The fourth hardline does not hold pressure. After snake season, we will have to walk the line and find out where its "hissing." Last of all, the satellite antenna on top of the trailer was reoriented so that both beams point in the same direction.

No date has been chosen for our next work party yet. Members will be advised via the JPL ARC Exploder and the Monday noon Emergency Net when a date materializes. The next work party will concentrate on Field Day preparations.

As a post-script, the Club trailer air conditioner has been repaired and the trailer is in the process of cooling down. That should make both the occupants and equipment much happier! Facility Maintenance advises that the carpenters will be dispatched to repair the entry so that the door does not scrape the stairs. Have faith. The trailer rehabilitation will be finished someday. n

Memorial Day Parade
By Greg LaBorde, KD6MSM

The JPL Amateur Radio Club has been asked once again to provide support to the La Canada Memorial Day Parade on May 27. We usually provide support for the staging of different groups participating in the parade and ordering them as they enter the parade route. It is a lot of fun, and we get to do more than just stand around communicating while watching some other person make a hash of things. We get to make a hash of things ourselves!!!

If you would like to be one of the privileged few who are allowed to participate in this event, get back to me NOW at extension 3-1107! n

Field Day Needs
By Rob Smith, N6JKQ

With Field Day rapidly approaching we are looking some support for field day. What we need right now are some club members to take on the following tasks:

Then we need any available 386 or better Lap Top Computers to be used during field day for logging.

If you would like more information on anything listed above, or would like to help with one of these positions, please give Rob Smith (3-7937) or Bob Polansky (4-4940) a call or email either at or n

Special Olympics
By Bob Layne, W6LTC

The Special Olympics Southern California 1996 Summer Games will take place at the facilities of UCLA on June 21-13. The South Coast Radio Amateur Network (SCRAN) will again put together an amateur radio communications team to cover the event. This event has grown in magnitude in recent years, so they are seeking volunteers from other amateur radio organizations. The main participation is required on June 22 and 23 (Saturday and Sunday) when the athletic events take place. The amateur 2-meter band will be used so you will need a handheld for that band. Volunteers are provided with lunch each day plus breakfast on Sunday morning. Parking is provided on campus for volunteers.

To volunteer contact Henry Schmidling, WA6RJA, the leader of the SCRAN organization, evenings at his home: (310) 832-9544. Please let him know that you are member of the JPL ARC.

Note: These dates conflict with the JPL Field Day operation on June 21-23. We would like all JPL ARC members to support Field Day, but if you can't come up to Field Day, or choose not to, you are encouraged to support this public service communications activity. -- de W6EJJ. n

Message from N2YQ

I will be in California until the end of November at which time I will be moving to Carson City to enjoy hamming, hiking, fishing and early retirement.

I am still at Lockheed Martin (now all in Pomona, LEOS abandoned the Pasadena facility). The XYL, Chris, left JPL on March 29, start a new job for Astromec in Carson City, Nevada. We have a new home in Carson City as well. The address: is 2663 Lukens Lane, Carson City, NV 89706. The telephone number there is: 702-882-3263. Our home in La Verne is up for sale. Any takers please call 909-593-6633. Until the home sells I can be reached at the 909 telephone number.

It has been great being associated with JPL and the JPL Amateur Radio Club. I will miss you all.

73; Stan n

Editor's Note: Stan Brokl, N2YQ, (ex K6YYQ) served as president of the JPL Amateur Club in 1976.

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.

Classified Section


For Sale


Via the ARRL www Home Page

Solar Activity
ARRL Letter, Volume 15, Number 4

From solar observer Tad Cook, KT7H, in Seattle, Washington, comes the now-familiar word that solar activity remains very low. The sunspot count was zero on March 30 and 31. Over the next few weeks, Cook says we can expect solar flux to remain near 70, with possible mild geomagnetic disturbances centered around April 17. On the air, 20 meters should be the best daytime band, but solar activity is expected to be too low to sustain much propagation on 15 meters or above. For worldwide communication at night, 40 meters is the top choice, but the low solar activity makes this the best time of the solar cycle for 160 meters, too.

The latest projections, based on current conditions and previous solar cycles, suggest that we will be at the sunspot number minimum for the next few months. The minimum is centered around April through June of this year, with sunspot numbers in February 1997 reaching fall 1995 levels. Previous forecasts have mentioned a 10.7-cm solar flux minimum centered around spring of 1997, but the latest projection moves that period up a bit. What it shows is a minimum based on an average flux of 72 for October 1996 through February 1997, with the flux also averaging 72 for June 1996.

Spring of 1998 should present a radically different picture. By then, the average flux will climb toward 100, and 10, 12 and 15 meters should be alive with activity again. By April 1999, the average solar flux is projected to be 158, rising to 192 a year later! The next cycle is projected to peak near the turn of the century--in August 2000. n

New Mir Operator
AMSAT SAREX bulletin; Space News

Astronaut Shannon Lucid is now a member of the Mir crew for the next four months. The Russians have approved her use of the Mir radio on 2 meters, with the call sign R0MIR. Look for her on 145.55 MHz, FM simplex. Dave Larsen, N6JLH, is now the US QSL manager only for current R0MIR and R0MIR-1 contacts. QSLs must include date, time, and mode. N6JLH will not handle SWL reports. For contacts with the Mir packet radio personal message system, include the message number issued by the PMS on the QSL card. QSLs must be sent along with a business-sized sase. (A "green stamp" to cover postage also would be appreciated.) QSLs should be sent to: N6JLH, PO Box 1501, Pine Grove, CA 95665. QSLs for previous Mir contacts may be sent to: RV3DR, Chief of Cosmonaut Amateur Radio Department, NPO Energia, PO 141070, Box 73, Kaliningrad, 10 City, Moscow Area, Russia.-- n

Vanity Call Signs
ARRL Letter, April 26 Update

The long-awaited vanity call sign program is still in the works, but the FCC has not yet announced when the program's various gates will open. As of press time in late April, the FCC was saying it was still on track for a mid-year start. According to the Commission, the delays have been a result of having to deal with a second wave of Petitions for Reconsideration, and wrapping up their computer-system preparations for the vanity call sign program.--Bart Jahnke, KB9NM 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.

05/10/96, Irvine, 714-824-8477, Jack C Lockhart  WD6AEI
05/11/96, Bell, 213-560-8618, Pedro Cacheiro
05/11/96, Fontana, 909-822-0392, Bill Hatch  N6YTQ
05/11/96, San Pedro, 310-325-2965, Elvin Lytle
05/16/96, Fountain Valley, 714-531-6707, Allan Avnet
05/18/96, Orange, 310-598-0086, Rick Riness
05/18/96, Santa Clarita, 805-259-8410, John Abbott
05/18/96, Westminster, 714-638-4057, Terry Hall
05/23/96, Colton, 909-825-7136, Harold Heydenfeldt
05/25/96, Culver City, 310-459-0337, Scott V Swanson
05/25/96, Garden Grove, 714-534-8633, John Gregory
05/25/96, Pomona, 909-949-0059, Donald Warburg  WA6HNC
06/03/96, Lancaster, 805-948-1865, Adrienne J Sherwood
06/04/96, Culver City, 213-292-6423, C Lutz
06/08/96, Bell, 213-560-8618, Pedro Cacheiro
06/08/96, Brea, 310-691-1514, Robert Reitzel
06/08/96, Fontana, 909-823-6818, Louis Johnson
06/08/96, San Pedro, 310-325-2965, Elvin Lytle
06/12/96, Hollywood, 818-766-1341, Elliott Bloch
06/20/96, Fountain Valley, 714-531-6707, Allan Avnet
06/22/96, Pomona, 909-949-0059, Donald Warburg  WA6HNC
06/27/96, Colton, 909-825-7136, Harold Heydenfeldt
06/29/96, Culver City, 310-459-0337, Scott V Swanson
06/29/96, Torrance, 310-834-0558, Renato Santos n

5 GHz Spectrum Proposal
ARRL Letter, April 26 Update

The FCC has adopted a Notice of Proposed Rule Making to make available 350 MHz of spectrum at 5.15-5.35 GHz and 5.725-5.875 GHz for use by so-called NII/SUPERNet devices. The spectrum includes part of the shared Amateur Radio allocation at 5.65-5.925 GHz. The unlicensed devices provide short-range, high-speed wireless digital information transfer and could support new wireless local area networks (LANs) and facilitate access to the Internet. The proposal is in response to Petitions for Rule Making from Wireless Information Networks Forum (WINForum) and Apple Computer Inc.

The FCC has proposed regulating NII/SUPERNet devices under its Part 15 rules. "Unlicensed Part 15 status would facilitate spectrum reuse and provide protection to incumbent and proposed primary operations," the Commission's announcement said. The Commission also has proposed only the minimum technical standards necessary to prevent interference to other unlicensed devices as well as to services already using those frequencies and to ensure efficient spectrum use. Proposed rules specify power limits, out-of-band emission limits and a basic "listen-before-talk" protocol. Details of the proposed rules are not yet available, however, according to ARRL General Counsel Chris Imlay, N3AKD. The FCC said it was encouraging industry to develop additional standards it believes necessary.

In a separate statement, FCC Commissioner Susan Ness said such unlicensed devices "can play a vital role in meeting established and incipient needs for communications offering mobility, flexibility, versatility and economy." She said she was "especially enthusiastic" about WINForum's proposal, and said the proposal sets the FCC on a course that will "bring substantial benefits, with no intrusive governmental intervention." n

W6VIO Calling ARNS Award
By Bill Wood, W6FXJ

The August, 1995, issue of W6VIO received a "superior" rating in the Amateur Radio News Service's annual publication contest. That issue was scored 94.3 out of a possible 100 by the contest judges. Your editor was encouraged to become an ARNS member by Merv MacMedan, N6NO, who took the top ARNS award during his stint as W6VIO Calling editor in 1977. I want to thank all the club members who contributed articles and material and made this award possible. 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