Permission to copy is granted provided that credit is given to "W6VIO Calling."


  • Meeting Notice
  • President's Message
  • Calendar of Events
  • July Club Meetings
  • DX News
  • Field Day Wrap-up
  • HS Packet Station Status
  • Internet Stuff
  • Classified Section
  • ARRL News
  • Structuring the Restructuring Debate
  • Solar Update
  • Calendar of Events

    Meeting Notice

    The next regular JPL Amateur Radio Club will be held on Wednesday, August 12, 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

    The month of July has seen some changes in the organization of the Club. We will soon have two new trustees. Bob Polansky N6ET will become the new trustee of the W6VIO callsign and be responsible for our HF operations. Eric Archer N6CV will become the new trustee for the W6JPL callsign and will be responsible for all VHF and UHF operations. This will initially include the repeaters until we obtain yet another club call under which the repeaters will be listed. These changes will of course mean that Walt Diem W6CWD and Jan Tarsala WB6VRN will step down as our current trustees.

    I would like to take this moment to express my deepest appreciation to Walt for being the trustee of the "autopatch" repeater for the past 20-some years. Through his dedication and hard work over the years, we have had an excellent repeater for club use. Since his retirement from the Lab Walt has actually had less time to devote to the repeater because of his involvement in various other activities. We will miss his day to day activity.

    After a six-year tenure, Jan also asked to step down as trustee of W6VIO. Since Bob would be taking over W6VIO he felt Eric would be a good choice for the other call. With Eric beginning to delve into the experimental end amateur radio, he would be the logical choice. Through Jan's technical expertise, we have a fine system on the Mesa. Thank you both for your work and dedication.

    I would also like to express a "get well" to both Merv MacMedan and Phil Barnes-Roberts. Merv recently had triple bypass surgery and Phil had an angioplasty and a stent placed in an arterial wall. Both are doing well at this time. Phil expects to back to work by the middle of the month. We wish them both a speedy recovery. n

    July Club Meetings
    By Phil Smith, WB6LQP

    July 8: General Meeting

    The July club meeting was, for most purposes, something of a rerun of the previous month; mostly devoted to Field Day activities (though now in a post-mortem context), and further discussion of the repeater situation. Since for us no news is currently good news, action on this matter was deferred.

    July 22: Board of Directors Meeting,

    Not so at the Board meeting later in the month, however. The decision has been reached that we will assign all HF operations to the W6VIO call with N6ET as Trustee and all VHF/UHF operations to the W6JPL call with N6CV as trustee.

    Recognizing that all we do above 50 MHz is quite a burden for one person, no matter how talented, it was also resolved to apply for an additional call and ultimately split off the repeater responsibilities to another individual. Expect an update at the next meeting. n

    DX News
    By Bob Polansky, N6ET

    The "DX Gods" are acting favorably to the DX community by turning up the gain on the Solar Flux. The HF bands are coming alive with lots of exotic stations populating everything from 40 through 15 meters. 10 and 12 meters are still spotty, at best, but should become more active as we move towards the fall season. Now for some specifics:

    CHAD - TT8ZB has been active on 18162 kHz from 1950Z to 2120Z.

    COCOS KEELING - VK9CE plans activity from 8 to 15 August. This is a JE5WJM DXpedition.

    KUWAIT - Bob, 9K2ZZ made an appearance on 31 July on 14217 kHz. I understand he is quite active from this relatively rare QTH. I worked him at 0230Z over the North Pole.

    MALDIVES - 8Q7JD will radiate RF from 16 through 31 August on 80-10 meters including the WARC bands.

    ROTUMA ISLAND - Look for EA4DX operating from this South Pacific Island from 29 August to 10 September. All band (including WARC) SSB and RTTY operation is planned.

    SOV. MILITARY ORDER OF MALTA - 1A0KM has been active through the week; although, I haven't heard him yet. He has been worked on the West Coast. This operation is planned through 3 August. Good luck on this one.

    That's all for now. The 59(9) Report folks have taken a week off for summer vacation so this news is a full week old. Enjoy the bands! n

    Field Day Wrap-up
    By Jay Holladay, W6EJJ and Bob Polansky, N6ET

    The Field Day results have been compiled and the entry package sent to ARRL Headquarters. Now we have to wait until November QST arrives to see how we fared this year compared to the other 600 or so entrants in Class 2A.

    Even though we were using multiband beams and were somewhat short of operators, we had a very respectable effort. QSO's were up over 500 from last year, and there was a good balance between CW and phone on the various HF bands. Fifteen meters was much better than the past two years, indicating the upturn in the solar cycle. All in all, it was a lot of fun, and we have a number of ideas on how to improve things for next year. Here is a summary of the final results:









































    10 N




    220 N








    1097 CW QSO's X 4 pts = 4388

    1656 Phone QSO's X 2 pts = 3312


    + Bonus Points 500

    Total Points 8200

    A big "Thank You" to the following operators and support personnel for helping to make Field Day 1998 such an enjoyable and successful event: KC6ZSY, KE6ABQ, KE6LEA, KK6B, N6LL, KC6HUR, W6EJJ, KA6DAN, K6DNS, KK6TS, N6ET, W7NWY, N7UE, KB6WYU, N6MP, KE6BKE, N6PLM, W4EF, N6VI, W6FXJ, KF6RTA, WA7BIP, WA2YKF, KF6EHF, KF6KKQ, KF6KKO.

    North HF Tower, Mount Gleason Field Day, (photo by KE6LEA) n

    Gerry Walsh, KB6OOC, with the Building 180 Antenna Mount

    High Speed Packet Station Status
    By Eric Archer, N6CV

    Hi all! We've had some good progress in the buildout of the JPL ARC High Speed Packet Station. We recently received and installed two corner desks for operating positions. These are very nice SteelCase brand corner secretary desks complete with lowered keyboard tables. Both have been installed in the Bldg. 180-R6 Packet Station. These two desks, in addition to the two racks for equipment, make up the full compliment of equipment mounting and storage facilities. We also came across two UPS units: one at 1500 Watts and one at 1000 Watts. These will help us for the long term in maintaining a fully operational station, even during blackout periods.

    In addition, the roof tower modifications are complete. We've added two heavy duty brackets for antenna mounting. There are positions for 44 (yes 44!) UHF/VHF antennas. Practically speaking we will be able to use only about 20 of the 44 positions for antennas. Our first antenna will be installed during the next work party. We plan to move the 2m/220 MHz packet station at that time. We've already moved the satellite station equipment into the room and plan to install the antennas after the packet station has been moved. We've also had new doors installed to the room and plan to have the lock changed so that JPL ARC members can easily access the room. I'll let everyone know when the lock gets changed. As you can see, progress is being made, so next time we have a work party, come on by and lend a hand.

    Packet Equipment Operating Desks (photos by N6CV) n

    Internet Stuff
    By Mike Morris, WA6ILQ

    Al Waller, K3TKJ has a web site at QSL.NET and offers free email forwarding to hams. This service allows one to use, for example, W6VIO@QSL.NET as a permanent email address, with it forwarding to whatever service you are using at home. If you change services, just update the pointer - not everybody you've given your email address to. I've had WA6ILQ@QSL.NET for over a year and been very happy - and the forwarding is just about instantaneous.

    This site also has an on-line projection map service - you can do an online beam-heading map in under a minute, and you can download the source code if you want to.

    WWW.QTH.NET has a slew of mailing lists, and more.

    I subscribe to several on-line newsletters, one is oriented to broadcast radio technical personnel. CGC Communicator is written by Robert F. Gonsett, who is also W6VR, and occasionally has items of interest to hams. Like the JPL newsletter, they allow reproduction below as long as credit is given. Recently there was an article on satellites, which is reproduced below:

    Iridium Flares

    The Iridium satellites are relatively small telecommunications satellites in a low Earth orbit. They are part of a worldwide system that will make cellular-phone-like communications possible anywhere on earth. When complete, there will be a total of 66 satellites in 6 orbital planes at an altitude of about 480 miles.

    Each satellite has three main antennas, which are flat and highly reflective surfaces that will bounce the Sun's rays to an observer on the ground when the geometry is just right. You can see these "mirror flashes" or "flares" in the night sky if you know where to look and when. No telescope is required. Some of the flashes are downright spectacular.

    The following web site will figure out the "where and when" for your particular location and will even tell you how bright of a flare to expect. Input your coordinates for best results. The page is sponsored by the German Space Operations Centre and is chuck full of other goodies, which you can discover for yourself. The web address is:

    This German site also has a real-time MIR tracker that draws a globe on your screen with the MIR orbit and position updated every 5 seconds! When you input your coordinates, don't forget that all points in the U.S.A. have negative longitude! They have a list of cities, Pasadena and Barstow are on it."

    CGC Communicator articles may be reproduced in any form provided they are unaltered and credit is given to Communications General Corporation and the originating authors, when named. Past issues may be viewed and searched at courtesy of Robert F. Gonsett, W6VR, Editor. 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:

    Friday, August 28 for the September 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

    Structuring the Restructuring Debate
    Via the ARRL Letter Online, Volume 17, Number 30

    Love it or hate it, the ARRL's recent license restructuring plan certainly has generated considerable debate and controversy within the Amateur Radio community and gotten licensees thinking about what's good and what's not so good about the current system. ARRL Directors report they're getting lots of e-mail on both sides, and the overall trend appears to be in favor of the plan the Board released earlier this month.

    Midwest Director Lew Gordon, K4VX, reports that his mail has been running better than two-to-one in favor. New England Director Tom Frenaye, K1KI, said he's having trouble keeping up with the avalanche of comments. "I've received 166 messages from New England hams, and the count is 105-61 in favor of the proposal," he said, adding that he still has about 50 messages to answer.

    Some hams have suggested the current system is just fine, and to change it will diminish the status of current licensees. ARRL Executive Vice President David Sumner, K1ZZ, has an answer for the "don't-change-anything" camp, however. "If you're flatly opposed to any change at all, I don't think that you've taken into consideration the changes that have occurred over the past seven years," he said. For example, Sumner points out that the Novice license-instituted in 1951--no longer is the route of entry to Amateur Radio for more than about 5% of the amateur population. Other than 10 meters, the Novice bands "are significantly underutilized," he observed. Sumner says amateurs can't make a case for additional bands if the present allocations aren't being used to capacity.

    In recent years, most of those coming into the hobby have come in as Technicians. Nevertheless, they still must pass the Novice element, which includes questions on HF that are irrelevant to Technician ops. "This pretty much forces you to accept the fact that there must be some change," he said. "The real issue is how far should that change go, and on that, reasonable people can and will differ, and we'll be discussing that over the coming months as the process goes forward."

    Sumner said nothing is cast in stone at this point, and if better ideas surface as a result of the current debate, "there will be every chance for those to be reflected in the ultimate FCC action."

    The ARRL has sent a copy of its restructuring proposals to the FCC in a letter, but the League has not petitioned for a rulemaking as it awaits the Commission's own ham radio restructuring proposal, still in the draft stages. There's still no definite word on when the FCC's proposal will be made public. "Things are moving along," said an FCC spokesman, who added that the Commission has begun getting comments on the ARRL's proposal. The FCC is expected to issue a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that also will seek input from amateurs on various alternatives. The FCC spokesman suggested that hams wait until the Commission's proposal goes public before commenting on the issue. n

    Solar Update
    Via the ARRL Online Letter, Volume 17, Number 30

    Solar sage Tad Cook, K7VVV, Seattle, Washington, reports: Solar activity was a bit higher this week, with average solar flux up nearly 14 points and sunspot numbers higher by about 6 points. On July 23 the planetary A index was 37, exactly the same as a week earlier. A few days later geomagnetic indices had settled down, and after July 25 conditions were quite stable. Solar activity is still lower than most forecasters had predicted for this point in the solar cycle. Perhaps we can take some solace by comparing current conditions with those of a year ago. Average solar flux this week is about 45 points higher than the average solar flux for the same week last year. You can peruse last year's propagation bulletins at

    For July 31 through August 2, predicted solar flux should decline to 112, 110 and 108, and planetary A index should be around 10 each day. Solar flux is expected to bottom out just above 100 around August 9-13, then rise above 110 after mid-month and back around 120 after August 20. Look for disturbed conditions around August 17-21, with the highest A and K indices around August 19 and 20. This is due to a recurring coronal hole rotating back into a position which should affect Earth.

    A good way to visualize the rotation of the sun with sunspots and coronal holes drifting across the visible solar disk is to look at the Marshall Space Weather bureau 10-day solar animation site at

    In August, particularly later in the month, we may start to see some fall conditions on HF, with higher usable frequencies during daylight. Twenty meters should be the most reliable band for long-range communications, but look for occasional openings on 15 meters and transequatorial conditions on 10 and 12 meters.

    Interesting events continued on VHF this week, with 6 and 2-meter openings from Hawaii to the West Coast. There was a report of six-meter propagation from South America to Israel from PY5CC, and N5JHV worked Japan after 0030 UTC on 6 meters.

    Sunspot numbers for July 23 through 29 were 129, 110, 85, 80, 109, 116, and 115, with a mean of 106.3. The 10.7-cm flux was 115.4, 125.2, 121.7, 119.1, 119.5, 121.3 and 119.5, with a mean of 120.2. Estimated planetary A indices were 37, 22, 16, 6, 6, 6, and 6, with a mean of 14.1. 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.