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  • Meeting Notice
  • President’s Message
  • Calendar of Events
  • March Club Meetings
  • DX News
  • LA Marathon
  • Work Party News
  • New Club 440 Repeater
  • Classified Section
  • ARRL News
  • FCC Proposes Rules Changes Affecting Hams
  • Final Phase 3d Integration Under Way
  • Solar Update
  • Upcoming VEC Examinations
  • Calendar of Events
    April 8 General Meeting, Noon - 238-543
    April 22 Board Meeting, Noon - 301-227
    April 25 [TRW Swapmeet, Redondo Beach]
    May 13 General Meeting, Noon - 238-543
    May 27 Board Meeting, Noon - 301-227
    May 30 [TRW Swapmeet, Redondo Beach]
    June 10 General Meeting, Noon - 238-543
    June 24 Board Meeting, Noon - 301-227
    June 26-28 Field Day
    June 27 [TRW Swapmeet, Redondo Beach]

    Meeting Notice

    The next regular JPL Amateur Radio Club will be held on Wednesday, April 8, at noon in building 238, room 543. The 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

    President’s Message
    By Randy Hammock, KC6HUR

    It’s that time of the year. Spring has sprung! So, what's on your mind? Time for repairs to the antenna farm; the Los Angeles Marathon (more on that); love? How about Field Day! Yes, it is time to begin thinking about Field Day again. Thanks to Manny Caldera for volunteering to be our cook for Field Day for another year. (I think I received his volunteer call in the middle of January!) We hope that this year we will be able to put on a concerted effort after our breather last year. Let know what position you would like hold for our planning committee.

    Now that we have acquired the W6JPL callsign, there are plans to change how the various club radio systems are allocated between the W6VIO and the new W6JPL callsigns. Current plans are to place all HF operations, including the HF stations and the supporting VHF DX packet cluster station, under the W6VIO call. All other VHF and UHF operations, including the repeaters, satellite station and packet operation other than the DX cluster will be under the W6JPL callsign. These changes will also entail changes of trustees. More information about these changes will be forthcoming as things firm up.

    Until next month, 73. n

    March Club Meetings
    By Phil Smith, WB6LQP

    The general meeting took place on March 11 in the traditional location (238-543) and included the approval of the new budget and Mark Schaefer’s videotape of launches from the Cape.

    The Board meeting at noon on March 25 included a few updates: While the new repeater callsign for the club autopatch machine will, as expected, be W6JPL, reprogramming of the automatic ID will have to await reinstallation of the Kendicom hardware. Organization of the club’s transmitters and callsigns will be arranged such that all HF activities will continue to sport the W6VIO call, while VHF and above will be identified by the new W6JPL call.

    The ERC will be presented with a proposal for a new 40-meter beam for the HF tower. The club will support activities at the LA Marathon; and, there will be a NASA simulated emergency exercise on the morning of April 2 on 20 meters and adjacent special frequencies. For more details on these activities, monitor the Monday net each week at noon. n

    DX News
    By Bob Polansky, N6ET

    The solar flux has been significantly above 100 for over a week now. We should be having fantastic conditions, but a cursory look has not shown me any significant improvement in band conditions. (Some hearable DX activity on 12 meters is the only exception to the past statement.) There’s not a large amount of information to pass along this week, but what I have is somewhat exciting!

    KERGUELEN ISLAND - FT5XN has been reported on the West Coast at 1540Z on 7011 kHz. This is a fine catch if you run into him. Other activity from here is planned for much later in the year. More on this when the time is a bit closer.

    MAURITIUS - 3B8CF is active most evenings on the low end of 10 MHz. He’s pretty workable, but you have to find him early, since the pile-up grows pretty quickly.

    TEMOTU ISLAND - You won’t find this one on the DXCC Official Counties List, at least not yet. A preliminary assessment is that this will indeed qualify for a new one, so make sure you work H40AA. A bunch of DX heavy weights are going to put this on the air from 31 March for about two weeks. See the DX newssheets on the W6VIO Club trailer walls for frequencies, or listen for the pile-ups. All band, phone and CW activity is planned. Many of the H40AA group will be operating starting a week before, or so, signing H44/"their home call".

    I told you this was going to be a low-volume report. Listen and enjoy the bands. I’m certain the conditions will continue to improve as Cycle 23 becomes more mature. n

    LA Marathon
    By Randy Hammock, KC6HUR

    On March 29 the JPL Amateur Radio Club provided it’s customary level of support for the Marathon plus an experimental effort. Bob Dengler made sure that all groups had repeaters plus alternates and simplex frequencies on which to conduct their net operations. John Tallon and Steve Jenkins did an excellent job of putting together the Medical net operations. Many other members provided support working in net control and in various positions out in the field. Hopefully I’ll have a full list of these volunteers for a follow-up article next month.

    This year, we were asked to work on an experiment for the Marathon. We outfitted 5 marathon vehicles with APRS trackers and had an APRS map display setup at the command post. Basically, an APRS tracker is a 2M transceiver, coupled to a TNC running special software, and finally a GPS receiver that provides the position information.

    Back at the command post, the APRS display system used a 2M transceiver, a TNC and a laptop computer. The particular software we were using was APRS+SA written by Brent Hildebrand, KH2Z. APRS+SA is a package that provides all APRS network functionality coupled to the Delorme Street Atlas map program that provides high quality map displays.

    Using the various functions of Street Atlas, we was able to highlight the Marathon course and place tags to indicate mile markers. While APRS+SA supports the use of a tactical callsign dictionary, we opted to replace the MYCALL with the tactical callsigns and beacon our actual calls at 8-minute intervals to keep things legal. We were then able to use another feature that would allow us to display a symbol for each vehicle. There are runner, bicycle and bus symbols available. I had to use a smiley face for the wheelchair position.

    How did it perform? Much better than I expected! It seems that the vehicles with power were the ones that got tracked the best. One station only got about a dozen reports back to the command post while the other performed quite well. I think that if we can get a digi somewhere near the course, we should have near full coverage of the entire course.

    We received much attention from the LAPD and LAFD. Several highly placed officers came to watch the APRS operations and were very impressed. They that that this was one of the greatest things they had ever seen and that they would be glad to provide a projection system for next year so that the displays could be viewed throughout the entire command post.

    Next year, we would like to have a course digi in place and trackers in many more vehicles. Our operating skills should be a bit better as well. Having only started on this project a few weeks before the Marathon, I am extremely happy with the way it turned out. n

    Work Party News
    By Bob, N6ET

    The TH7DX antenna is going to have a smaller brother shortly. On March 21, Chris Carson, Warren Dowler, John Norris, Jerry Person, Bob Polansky, and Sam Weaver got together and constructed the Club’s new A3WS WARC band antenna. A great time was had by all.

    We finally found a pole at the East end of the Lab that was vertical. We pretended that this was our mast and built the beam on it. It is now a certainty that the beam will be truly horizontal if our tower is indeed vertical! The beam took us only about two hours to build, but it took us an extra hour and a half to partially disassemble it, transport it to the Mesa, reassemble it, and store it on top of the water tower. Yours truly is fabricating a coaxial cable balun and replacing all the rotor and mast coupling hardware with stainless steel items so we can install the beam on its tower.

    The work party for the beam’s installation is tentatively scheduled for 3 April, assuming I can get access to the cherry picker on that date. An announcement will be made during next Monday’s Emergency Net to confirm the time and date. n

    New Club 440 MHz Repeater
    By Bob Dengler, NO6B

    For over 3 years the JPL ARC has been operating a repeater on the 440 MHz band from the mesa site. Although the frequency pair of 449.975 appeared to be virtually unused at first, activity soon increased along with conflicts with co-channel users. We were forced to reduce our coverage to the point where the system didn’t even cover the lab very well. This led us to search for a new frequency pair where we could operate a system that will provide members with 440 MHz and dual-band radios improved communications coverage.

    After many months of listening and on the air testing, we believe that we found a compatible frequency pair: 440.125 (+5 MHz offset). The new repeater was put on the air in early March using 103.5 Hz PL and appears to be performing quite well. It is located with our 224.70 autopatch repeater and has excellent coverage of La Canada, La Crescenta, Glendale, North Hollywood, downtown LA and most of Pasadena and the San Gabriel Valley. We hope to eventually link it to our 224.70 repeater so those members with dual-band radios can use the autopatch. n

    Classified Section


    Your want ad or article for inclusion in a future issue of W6VIO Calling. Submit either to Bill Wood, W6FXJ, 31094 Hemlock Ave, Barstow, CA 92311; or email

    For Sale:

    US Tower (MA40) 40 foot tubular telescoping tower, hinged base, 2 co-ax arms, mast extension, Hy_gain Explorer-14 beam antenna with 40 meter dipole add-on, and Hy-Gain antenna rotator (Ham IV). Original cost, less tax, was over $2200. Sell all for $800. Contact Ron Zenone (W6TUZ) at (626) 914-5585. n

    Newsletter Deadline:

    May 1 for the May issue of W6VIO Calling. Your articles, ads, photos, diagrams, letters to the editor, or technical material should be submitted to the editor via email ( or regular mail to: Bill Wood, 31094 Hemlock Ave, Barstow, CA 92311.

    ARRL News

    FCC Proposes Rules Changes Affecting Hams
    via the ARRL Letter Online, Volume 17, Number 13

    In a sweeping Notice of Proposed Rulemaking the FCC has suggested several rules changes that could affect Amateur Radio, including replacement of the venerable FCC Form 610. NPRM Docket WT 98-20, "To Facilitate the Development and Use of the Universal Licensing System in the Wireless Telecommunications Services," seeks comments on proposals to replace Form 610 with FCC Form 605; to permit automatic reciprocal licensing of foreign hams wishing to operate in the US; to privatize the issuance of club station licenses; and to require applicants and licensees to supply a taxpayer identification number (TIN) and to file electronically. The FCC also plans to consolidate the application procedures for all Wireless Telecommunications Services into a single set of rules. All of these proposals are part of the FCC’s efforts to implement the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau’s Universal Licensing System (ULS).

    The new Form 605 would apply for Amateur Radio and other services "not presently required to submit extensive technical data to receive a license." The Wireless Telecommunications Bureau is trying to drastically cut down the number of forms for the various services it administers, and to include all of its services under the ULS. The FCC last November began initial collection of licensee data to populate the ULS. Using the ULS, applicants and licensees will be able to file, modify, and renew electronically. Ultimately, the FCC intends to require all applicants, as appropriate, to file all applications and notifications electronically.

    The FCC says it’s tentatively concluded that there is "little or no need to continue issuing the reciprocal permit" (FCC Form 610-AL) for alien amateur licensees because the license from any foreign country with which the US has a reciprocal agreement would "stand as the proof that the foreign operator is qualified for the reciprocal operating authority." Reciprocal operation under the new regime would be "by rule," which means no special action is necessary on the applicant’s part, and the elimination of Form 610-A.

    For club station licenses, the FCC proposes to accept the services of VEC-like organizations as volunteer club station call sign administrators. Prospective organizations would have to complete a pilot autogrant batch filing project before being authorized as call sign administrators.

    Under the ULS, applicants or licensees would have to supply a TIN, usually a Social Security number, or "its functional equivalent." The FCC says this is "consistent with the requirements of the Debt Collection Improvement Act of 1996." To allay fears of misuse of TINs, the FCC says the ULS would be designed so that TINs will not be available to the public and "only a small number of Commission employees would have access to TIN information in conjunction with their work." The FCC says a Privacy Act submission would be published in the Federal Register "to obtain the requisite public and congressional comment and Office of Management and Budget approval prior to implementation of the ULS."

    A text version of the entire rulemaking proposal is at (or see the link from the FCC home page). The ARRL plans to file comments on the proposal, released March 20. Comments are due to the FCC 30 days after publication in the Federal Register. Reference WT Docket 98-20. The FCC will not accept e-mail comments on Docket WT 98-20. n

    Final Phase 3d Integration Under Way
    via the ARRL Letter Online, Volume 17, Number 13

    Final integration work continues at AMSAT’s Phase 3D Integration Lab in Orlando, Florida, as AMSAT remains optimistic for a launch opportunity sometime this year. Serious negotiations with the European Space Agency for a ride to place the next-generation Amateur Radio satellite into orbit continue.

    AMSAT teams from several countries recently converged on the Phase 3D Integration Lab earlier this month to install remaining electronic and communications modules into Phase 3D and get it flight ready.

    In a joint statement March 18, AMSAT-DL President and Phase 3D Project Leader Karl Meinzer, DJ4ZC, and AMSAT-NA President Bill Tynan, W3XO, outlined recent progress made on the satellite. "After successfully recovering from the setbacks caused by the major structural reworks of last summer and fall, the spacecraft is now once again rapidly nearing flight readiness," Meinzer said. He expressed his gratitude to AMSAT-NA Vice President of Engineering Stan Wood, WA4NFY, Integration Laboratory Manager Lou McFadin, W5DID, and to other members of the Orlando Lab team, including Dick Jansson, WD4FAB, Rick Leon, KA1RHL, and Bob Davis, KF4KSS, for their hard work in preparing the satellite for the final integration phase.

    At the Integration Lab, AMSAT-DL’s Digital Integration Manager Peter Guelzow, DB2OS, performed checks and measurements on the spacecraft’s Internal Housekeeping Unit (IHU)--Phase 3D’s main computer. He also sent and received commands from the spacecraft via radio uplink. Phase 3D North American Command Station Stacey Mills, W4SM, also was in Orlando to put finishing touches on software needed to format and decode the satellite’s telemetry stream. "Needless to say, there were big smiles all around when, once again, P3D team members heard the familiar growl’ of 400 baud PSK telemetry coming from the new bird," said AMSAT Executive Vice President Keith Baker, KB1SF.

    Aside from being AMSAT-DL’s Vice President, Werner Haas, DJ5KQ, is responsible for coordinating the entire communications suite for Phase 3D. In Orlando, Haas performed yet another bench test on each of the flight electronic modules just prior to their re-installation into the satellite. Then, he directed other members of the communications team in successfully powering up each of the onboard flight electronic modules. Michael Fletcher, OH2AUE, and Harri Leskinen, OH2JMS, also were on hand to reinstall the 10 GHz transmitter. In addition, Stefaan Burger, ON4FG, connected and powered up the 24 GHz transmitter, which performed "as advertised," delivering its designed 1 W output into its 26db gain feed-horn antenna.

    The RUDAK team thoroughly checked out the RUDAK digital experiment module and declared it electrically flight-ready. Gerd Schrick, WB8IFM, helped the team to put the final touches on the satellite’s all-important Earth and Sun sensors. These instruments will help ground controllers determine Phase 3-D’s physical orientation in orbit for tracking and motor burn considerations.

    Meanwhile, Konrad Mueller, DG7FDQ, AMSAT-DL’s Structural Specialist, and his team prepared the second Specific Bearing Structure (SBS) for flight. The SBS is the large cylindrical structure that will ultimately carry the Phase 3D spacecraft to orbit. In addition, Phase 3D Documentation Manager, AMSAT-DL’s Wilfred Gladisch, was on hand to insure that all the spacecraft’s documentation—including each drawing and photograph—match the "as built" spacecraft.—AMSAT News Service n

    Solar Update
    Via the ARRL Online Letter, Number 17, Volume 13

    Solar savant Tad Cook, K7VVV, Seattle, Washington, reports: Solar activity remained high last week. Average solar flux for the previous 90 days rose two points from 97 to 99. Solar flux was well above these values on each day, indicating a good trend upward.

    Looking at a graph of both solar flux and sunspot numbers over the past two months, a general upward trend becomes apparent. HF radio users can hope that the March 15 solar flux of 133 establishes a new level of activity for the current cycle that will be sustained. A glance at the chart at gives a graphic illustration of this.

    March 21 saw a geomagnetic storm, with planetary A indices jumping to 33. This was caused by a solar flare, and within a couple of days conditions had quieted back down.

    Conditions over the next few days should be fair for the CQ Worldwide WPX Phone Contest. The solar flux on Friday through Sunday is forecast to be 111, 111 and 110. Flux levels are expected to drop below 100 after April 1, then above 100 after April 5 and above 110 by April 7, peaking near 120 around April 10 and 11. Active to minor storm geomagnetic conditions are expected over April 6 and 7.

    Over the next few weeks good propagation between northern and southern hemispheres associated with spring conditions should continue. During daylight look for the best worldwide conditions on 15, 17 and 20 meters, and 30 and 40 meters after dark.

    Sunspot numbers for March 19 through 25 were 80, 100, 95, 114, 72, 83, and 79 with a mean of 89. The 10.7-cm flux was 124.8, 126.5, 125.8, 127.6, 122, 120.6, and 115, with a mean of 123.2. Estimated planetary A indices were 4, 7, 33, 11, 5, 7, and 16, with a mean of 11.9. n

    Upcoming VEC Examinations
    Via the ARRL Internet Exam Search Page

    The following test session information is provided by the ARRL for the upcoming three month period. For further information contact the test session coordinator at the telephone number listed.

    Although the information 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 so the VEC Team is aware that you will be attending the test.

    04/04/98, Culver City, Clive Morel, 310-827-2538
    04/04/98, Lancaster, Adrienne Sherwood WA6YEO, 804-948-1865
    04/04/98, Los Angeles, Ali Hassan, 213-758-0565
    04/11/98, Brea, Robert Reitzel, 562-691-1514
    04/11/98, Fontana, Louis Johnson, 909-823-6818
    04/11/98, San Pedro, Elvin Lytle, 310-325-2965
    04/16/98, Fountain Valley, Allan Avnet, 714-531-6707
    04/18/98, Downey, Wesley Printz, 562-923-5598
    04/18/98, Homeland, Steve Hennessee W6UMR, 909-926-9347
    04/18/98, Long Beach, Don L Boyce, NN6Q, 562-420-9480
    04/18/98, San Bernardino, John P Mc Cann, 909-864-2656
    04/19/98, Fountain Valley, Lloyd T Harwood, 714-538-7081
    04/23/98, Colton, Harold Heydenfeldt, 909-825-7136
    04/24/98, Victorville, Roy T Shelso W5RT, 714-633-1855
    04/25/98, Culver City, Scott V Swanson, 310-459-0337
    04/25/98, Pomona, Donald Warburg WA6HNC, 909-949-0059
    05/02/98, Culver City, Clive Morel, 310-827-2538
    05/02/98, Los Angeles, Ali Hassan, 213-758-0565
    05/03/98, Thousand Oaks, Marco Treganza, 805-375-1385
    05/09/98, Carlsbad, Rusty Massie, 760-747-5872
    05/09/98, Cypress, Harrison Spain AC6TI, 714-952-6114
    05/09/98, Fontana, Louis Johnson, 909-823-6818
    05/09/98, Elvin Lytle, 310-325-2965
    05/16/98, Steve Hennessee W6UMR, 909-926-9347
    05/16/98, John P Mc Cann, 909-864-2656
    05/17/98, Fountain Valley, Lloyd T Harwood, 714-538-7081
    05/21/98, Fountain Valley, Allan Avnet, 714-531-6707
    05/28/98, Colton, Harold Heydenfeldt, 909-825-7136
    05/30/98, Culver City, Scott V Swanson, 310-459-0337
    05/30/98, Pomona, Donald Warburg WA6HNC, 909-949-0059  
    06/06/98, Culver City, Clive Morel, 310-827-2538
    06/06/98, Lancaster, Adrienne Sherwood WA6YEO, 804-948-1865
    06/06/98, Los Angeles, Ali Hassan, 213-758-0565
    06/13/98, Brea, Robert Reitzel, 562-691-1514
    06/13/98,Carlsbad, Rusty Massie 760-747-5872
    06/13/98, Fontana, Louis Johnson 909-823-6818
    06/13/98, San Pedro, Elvin Lytle, 310-325-2965
    06/18/98, Fountain Valley, Allan Avnet, 714-531-6707
    06/20/98, Homeland, Steve Hennessee W6UMR, 909-926-9347
    06/20/98, Long Beach, Don L Boyce, NN6Q, 562-420-9480
    06/20/98, San Bernardino, John P Mc Cann, 909-864-2656
    06/21/98, Fountain Valley, Lloyd T Harwood, 714-538-7081
    06/25/98, Colton, Harold Heydenfeldt, 909-825-7136    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.