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  • Meeting Notice
  • President’s Message
  • Calendar of Events
  • January Club Meetings
  • DX News
  • JPL ARC Mini-Auction
  • "Ham Radio" Etymology
  • Your Club Needs Help
  • The "Game"
  • Classified Section
  • ARRL News
  • Phase 3D Angling for Standby Status on Ariane 503
  • Solar Update
  • Upcoming VEC Examinations
  • Calendar of Events

    February 11 General Meeting, Noon - 238-543
    February 25 Board Meeting, Noon - 301-227
    February 28 [TRW Swapmeet, Redondo Beach]
    March 11 General Meeting, Noon - 238-543
    March 25 Board Meeting, Noon - 301-227
    March 28 [TRW Swapmeet, Redondo Beach]
    April 8 General Meeting, Noon - 238-543
    April 22 Board Meeting, Noon - 301-227
    April 25 [TRW Swapmeet, Redondo Beach]

    Meeting Notice

    For the rest of the year the regular JPL Amateur Radio Club meeting will be held at noon in building 238, room 543. 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

    Well, here it is, the second month of the year and we are off to good start. After a few marathon meetings, the BoD was able to come up with a balanced budget that will be voted on by the General Membership at the next meeting. Using experience, a bit of optimism and some planning, we were able to come up with a way to cover every single item except for one, and that is probably covered by using equipment already in hand.

    One of the ways we came up with for obtaining some of the funds required for meeting the budget was to hold an auction of some equipment which the club owns or has had donated for this purpose. To make this come off, we will need someone to help coordinate this activity. What I envision is a silent auction, that could be coordinated through a mailing list or web page, where the items are listed with minimum acceptable bid. As people bid on the items, the current price bid and the name of the person making the bid would be listed with each item. Bidding would be started on a specified date and time and would go on through another specified date and time. I’d be willing to write the bid processing software. Detailed design would have to come later, but this outlines what I would like to see happen.

    Work for the High-Speed Packet station has begun in earnest. Today, January 31, a group of five club members managed to remove ALL of the old microwave gear from 180-R6. It still needs to taken down off the roof, but it is out of the racks and out of the room. Thanks to Eric Archer, N6CV, for organizing this effort along with Walt Mushagian, K6DNS, Chris Carson, KE6ABQ, Warren Dollar, KE6LEA, and myself, KC6HUR. Once this project is completed, JPL ARC will be ready for the new millennium in the digital modes.

    If all goes as planned, we will once again have a HF presence that we can be proud of. After years of hard work and planning by Bob Polansky, N6ET, we should have near indestructible antenna system and rigs to go with it.

    Are you ready? Let’s GO! n

    January Club Meetings
    By Phil Smith, WB6LQP

    General Meeting

    The General Meeting was held on Wednesday January 14, 1998 at an alternative location in building 198. Randy Hammock (KC6HUR) called the meeting to order.

    Discussion included some familiar items, such as work on the tower (next work party is scheduled for Feb. 7th), the Monday net and emergency preparedness, some preliminary thoughts about budgeting for the New Year and the proposed auction to be held sometime in the spring. Additionally, items of interest were volunteered concerning use of the new FCC form 610 (required now instead of the old form, but available on the FCC web site) and a report in the current issue of QST regarding RF safety. It was also resolved that the club would pursue obtaining the distinctive call W6JPL for use on one of the repeaters, since it is currently available.

    The meeting was then turned over to Eric Archer, N6CV, who explained the efforts now underway to create a high-speed packet node operation for emergency traffic and experimental development. His presentation outlined the history of packet radio progress from early 300 baud modulation that plugged into the audio jacks on HF and VHF radios through the gear available today off-the-shelf that is more optimized to the purpose, but still rather limited in speed, to some concepts for operating at 9.6 and 56 kilobaud rates on VHF and UHF that will require a Special Temporary Authorization from FCC. He described the prospective location for the installation; an old equipment room atop building 180 that formerly housed other communications gear, but has now been graciously made available to the club in exchange for cleanup. A work party to remove the abandoned gear and prep the room for occupancy is scheduled for Saturday, January 31. n

    Board of Directors Meetings

    The BoD meetings were held on Wednesday, January 21, Friday, January 23, and Tuesday, January 27. Randy Hammock called the meetings to order. Bill Wood (W6FXJ) attended the meetings via conference call.

    The purpose of the meetings was to develop the Club’s 1998 Budget. After considerable thought, discussion, and calculation a workable and balanced budget was achieved that should provide for upgrades and repairs in most areas of interest. The document will be finalized and presented for approval of the membership, with the vote to be taken at the next meeting on February 11th.

    Having completed all current business, it was suggested that the board had met enough for one month even though the following day was the regularly-scheduled date. All in attendance concurred. n

    Dues Reminder

    In January the JPL ARC Board of Directors voted to continue the annual club regular membership dues at $11 and $5 for family members. The Autopatch dues will also continue at $3 on top of the membership dues.

    The BOD also authorized a $1 reduction in dues as an incentive for members who send in their renewals before February 28. So if you have not returned the renewal form send it in to Rick McKinney at M/S 168-327 by the end of this month to take advantage of the savings.

    DX News
    By Bob Polansky, N6ET

    Sunspot numbers are hovering around 100 again and the bands reflect it! In preparation for the rise in sunspots, our new HF tower installation is close to operational. I expect it to be fully on-line by the end of February. Only one brief 3-man work party is needed prior to "flying" our new TH7DXX tri-band beam.

    Stay tuned for that big W6VIO presence on 10, 15, and 20 meters. The A3WS will follow in several months, taking its rightful position atop the already-installed 67-foot tower at the water-tower location. That will make the W6VIO WARC band signals extremely competitive also. The 40, 80, and 160-meter wire antennas will follow later when time permits. We’re close guys! Now for a few DX tidbits:

    BURKINA FASO - XT2DP has been quite active with modest capabilities and will be active through the beginning of April. No times or frequencies are available.

    CONGO - 5N0T and XYL 5N0YL are moving to the Congo in February. Here’s hoping they operate CW from there. That will generate lots of big pile-ups.

    KERGUELEN ISLAND - FT5X/FR5HR is QSOable daily through the end of February.

    Look for him on 14240 kHz at 0200Z.

    HOWLAND, PALMYRA, KINGMAN REEF - Look for N4BQW and several other operators activating these locations for three to five days each starting around 13 February. Both phone and CW are planned. Call signs, frequencies and times are not yet available. They should have big signals on the West Coast.

    MONACO - 3A/DJ7RJ will be QRV from 28 February through 12 March, primarily on CW.

    SVALBARD - Look for JW9PJA, who plans operation in February and March.

    Also for your listening pleasure, the following random, semi-rare "spots" are provided (Pacific Standard Time will be 8 hours behind the "Z" times specified below):

    So. Shetlands
    Ivory Coast
    Saint Helena
    West Carolines
    Ivory Coast
    Pitcairn Island
    Hong Kong
    Sri Lanka
    So. Shetlands

    Good luck. See you in the pile-ups!

    JPL ARC Mini-Auction
    By Bob Polansky, N6ET

    The JPL ARC has in its inventory several pieces of equipment that it wishes to auction off prior to the main auction, which will take place at a later time.

    The first item is a Kenwood TS-820S, S/N741118, which includes Remote VFO, S/N 810330. The minimum bid for this system is suggested as $425. The second item is a Robot Slow Scan TV System, which includes a Robot 300, S/N 30021; a Robot 400, S/N402761; and a Robot 800, S/N 800699.

    The minimum bid for the Robot System is suggested as $50. Both of these systems are believed to be in working condition, but are offered "as is". All existing documentation will go along with these items. If you are interested in submitting a bid for either of these systems, leave the following information on my voicemail (JPL extension 44940) prior to 13 February.

  • Your name
  • Your phone number
  • The system you are bidding on
  • Your bid amount
  • All bidders will be advised of the MINI-AUCTION outcome by phone during the week of 16 February. n

    "Ham Radio" Etymology
    Via the February 1998 issue of the ARNS Bulletin, Steve Auyer-N2TKX Editor

    There are a number of explanations of the origin of the term "ham." Here’s one from across the Atlantic. It appeared in the January 1998 issue of "RadCom", the magazine of RSGB - the Radio Society of Great Britain. It was provided by Stuart Gough, G0SLG.

    Have you ever wondered why radio amateurs are called "hams"? Well, it goes like this. The word "ham" as applied in 1908 was the station call of the first amateur wireless station operated by some operators of the Harvard Radio Club. They were Albert S. Hyman, Bob Almy and Poogie Murray. At first they called their station "Hyman-Almy-Murray". Tapping out such a long name in code soon became tiresome and called for a revision. They changed it to "HYALMU", using the first two letters of each of their names.

    Early in 1910 some confusion resulted between signals from the amateur wireless station "HYALMU" and a Mexican ship named Hyalmo. They decided to use only the first letter of each name, and the station call became "HAM".

    In the early pioneer days of unregulated radio, amateur operators picked their own frequency and call letters. Then, as now, some amateurs had better signals than commercial stations. The resulting interference came to the attention of congressional committees in Washington and Congress gave much time to proposed legislation designed to critically limit amateur radio activity.

    In 1911 Albert Hyman chose the controversial Wireless Regulation Bill as the topic for his thesis at Harvard. His instructor insisted that a copy be sent to Senator David I Walsh, a member of the committee hearing the bill. The Senator was so impressed with the thesis that he asked Hyman to appear before the committee.

    Albert Hyman took the stand and described how the little station was built. He almost cried when he told the crowded committee room that if the bill went through, they would have to close down the station because they could not afford the license fees and all the other requirements, which the bill imposed on amateur stations.

    Congressional debate began on the Wireless Regulation Bill and the little station "HAM" became the symbol for all the little amateur stations in the country crying to be saved from the menace and greed of the big commercial stations who did not want them around. The bill finally got to the floor of Congress and every speaker talked about the "poor little station HAM". That’s how it all started.

    You will find the whole story in the Congressional Record. Nationwide publicity associated station "HAM" with amateur radio operators. From that day to this, and probably to the end of time in radio, an amateur is a "HAM." n

    Your Club Needs Help
    By Bob Polansky, N6ET

    One of the more important features of the Club’s new budget is the need to generate $1300 of revenue by conducting an auction to get rid of excess Club equipment. At this time, we desperately need someone in the Club to volunteer to lead this activity.

    I will be happy to work with that person to advise him (or her) on what has to be done. Without a volunteer to lead this activity, the Club will have to put aside its plans to do the work that needs that $1300 of funding. Please contact either myself at extension 4-4940, or Randy Hammock at 3-1214 if you would be willing to help your Club by taking the lead in this very important activity. n

    The "Game"
    Via the February 1998 issue of the ARNS Bulletin, Steve Auyer-N2TKX Editor

    A programmer and an engineer are sitting next to each other on a long flight from LA to NY. The Programmer leans over to the Engineer and asks if he would like to play a fun game. The Engineer just wants to take a nap, so he politely declines and rolls over to the window to catch a few winks.

    The Programmer persists and explains that the game is really easy and a lot of fun. He explains: "I ask you a question, and if you don’t know the answer, you pay me $5." Again, the Engineer politely declines and tries to get some sleep.

    The Programmer, now somewhat agitated, says "OK, if you don’t know the answer you pay me $5, and if I don’t know the answer, I will pay you $50!" This catches the Engineer’s complete attention, and he sees no end to this torment unless he plays, so he agrees to the game.

    The Programmer asks the first question. "What’s the distance from the earth to the moon?" The Engineer doesn’t say a word, reaches into his wallet, pulls out a five-dollar bill and hands it to the Programmer. Now, it’s the Engineer’s turn. He asks the Programmer: "What goes up a hill with three legs, and comes down with four?" The Programmer looks at him with a puzzled look. He takes out his laptop computer and searches all his references. He taps into the Airphone with his modem and searches the Net and the Library of Congress. Frustrated, he sends E-mails to all his co-workers and friends he knows. All to no avail.

    After over an hour, he wakes the Engineer and hands him $50. The Engineer politely takes the $50 and turns away to get back to sleep. The Programmer, more than a little miffed, shakes the Engineer and asks, "Well, so what IS the answer?" Without a word, the Engineer reaches into his wallet, hands the Programmer $5 and goes back to sleep.

    This article appeared in the November 1997 issue of "The Feedback", the newsletter of the Laurel Amateur Radio Club, Mark Doore-N3NTQ Editor n

    Newsletter Deadline:

    February 27 for the March 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.

    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:

    HF transceiver, Atlas 350 XL, 160 M to 10M, 140 to 200 watts output. Includes 14 VDC, 32 AMP power supply/external speaker, mobile rack mount and technical manual, $400. HF transceiver, single band, 75 M, Heathkit HW-12A, includes HP-13A 12VDC input mobile power supply and technical manual, $40. HAL ST-5000 FSK (RTTY) Demodulator/Keyer includes technical manual, $20. Call Walt Mushagian, K6DNS, (818) 354-3036 n

    ARRL News

    Phase 3D Angling For "Standby" Status On Ariane 503
    Via ARRL Letter Online, Number 17, Volume 5

    Phase 3D Project Leader and AMSAT-DL President Karl Meinzer, DJ4ZC, has "expressed a strong desire" to European Space Agency officials for a Phase 3D launch aboard Ariane 503, which is set for sometime in May. Meinzer met January 20 in Paris with ESA officials to discuss including Phase 3D aboard the third test flight of the Ariane 5 launch vehicle.

    AMSAT-NA Executive Vice President, Keith Baker, KB1SF, likened the situation to flying standby in order to get a seat on a fully booked airline flight. "That strategy often pays off," he added. Baker said this week that an international Phase 3D team has "been pressing ahead with getting the satellite flight ready" at the Phase 3D Integration Lab in Orlando, Florida. But he conceded that "things are still very fluid" regarding possible launch vehicles and a firm launch schedule for Phase 3D.

    AMSAT says the ESA officials "indicated willingness to consider a launch on AR-503," but made no commitments. There’s a possibility that another payload might fly aboard AR-503 that would preclude Phase 3D. But, ESA did agree to take a look at what would be required to carry the Phase 3D payload. ESA also agreed to investigate other possible launch opportunities, including Ariane 4 flights. Another meeting is set for late February.

    "ESA is making bona-fide efforts to identify a launch for us. I think we stand a good chance," he said after the meeting. Meinzer and AMSAT-NA officials have agreed that their job now is to get Phase 3D completed and tested, so that it will be ready to go if ESA gives the green light.—AMSAT News Service; Keith Baker, KB1SF n

    Solar Update
    Via ARRL Letter Online, Number 17, Volume 5

    Solar scribe Tad Cook, K7VVV Seattle, Washington, reports: Solar activity increased this week over last, but not by much. Average sunspot numbers were up by 17 points, and average solar flux was also higher, but by less than five points. Average solar flux for the previous 90 days rose from 96 to 97, and the daily flux was above the average for that day on five out of seven days. This indicates a moderate general upward trend in solar flux values.

    Solar flux peaked at 108.3 on January 25 but now is headed down to the low 90s. For January 30 through February 1 flux values are projected at 94, 93 and 91. A coronal mass ejection earlier on January 25 should cause unsettled conditions on the last two days of January, but the A index is only expected to rise to around 20. This is enough to cause problems over polar radio paths and in higher latitudes, however. Solar flux is expected to bottom out around 90 between February 5-9, then rise up near 100 again later in the month.

    Sunspot numbers for January 22 through 28 were 37, 57, 88, 104, 99, 98, and 89 with a mean of 81.7. The 10.7-cm flux was 93, 96.9, 97.5, 108.3, 100, 100.8, and 96.6, with a mean of 99, and estimated planetary A indices were 4, 3, 4, 9, 3, 6, and 2, with a mean of 4.4.

    The January 1998 issue of Scientific American contains an interesting article on the Ulysses mission, which is returning new data on high latitude solar magnetic fields. NASA has a web site for this mission at

    Another NASA project of interest to solar observers is the Advanced Composition Explorer (ACE), launched last summer. The February, 1998 issue of Monitoring Times magazine has an informative article on solar weather and the ACE mission. The Goddard Space Flight Center ACE web site is n

    Upcoming VEC Examinations
    Via the ARRL Internet Exam Search Page

    The following test session information is provided by the ARRL for the upcoming two 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.

    02/14/98 Brea, Robert Reitzel, 562-691-1514
    02/14/98, Fontana, Louis Johnson, 909-823-6818
    02/14/98, San Pedro, Elvin Lytle, 310-325-2965
    02/14/98, Ventura, George Kreider III KN6LA, 805-388-2488
    02/15/98, Fountain Valley, Lloyd T Harwood, 714-538-7081
    02/21/98, Downey, Wesley Printz 562-923-5598
    02/21/98, Homeland, Steve Hennessee, 909-926-9347
    02/21/98, Long Beach, Don L Boyce, NN6Q, 562-420-9480
    02/21/98, San Bernardino, John P Mc Cann, 909-864-2656
    02/24/98, Banning, Charlene F Neitzel, , 909-922-0257
    02/26/98, Colton, Harold Heydenfeldt, 909-825-7136
    02/26/98, Pomona, Donald Warburg WA6HNC, 909-949-0059
    02/28/98, Culver City, Scott V Swanson, 310-459-0337
    03/14/98, Cypress, Harrison Spain AC6TI, 714-952-6114
    03/14/98, Fontana, Louis Johnson, 909-823-6818
    03/14/98, San Pedro, Elvin Lytle, 310-325-2965
    03/15/98, Fountain Valley, Lloyd T Harwood, 714-538-7081
    03/21/98, Homeland, Steve Hennessee, 909-926-9347
    03/21/98, San Bernardino, John P Mc Cann, 909-864-2656
    03/26/98, Colton, Harold Heydenfeldt, 909-825-7136
    03/28/98, Culver City, Scott V Swanson, 310-459-0337
    03/28/98, Pomona, Donald Warburg, 909-949-0059  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.