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Calendar of Events

June 10 General Meeting, Noon - 198-102
June 13 [Fontana Swap Meet, A. B. Miller HS, Fontana}
June 24 Board Meeting, Noon - 301-227
June 26-28 Field Day, Mount Gleason
June 27 [TRW Swapmeet, Redondo Beach]
July 8 General Meeting, Noon - 238-543
July 11 [Fontana Swap Meet, A. B. Miller HS, Fontana}
July 22 Board Meeting, Noon - 301-227
July 25 [TRW Swapmeet, Redondo Beach]
August 8 [Fontana Swap Meet, A. B. Miller HS, Fontana}
August 12 General Meeting, Noon - 238-543
August 26 Board Meeting, Noon - 301-227
August 29 [TRW Swapmeet, Redondo Beach]

Meeting Notice

The next regular JPL Amateur Radio Club will be held on Wednesday, June 10, at noon in Building 198 Room 102. Major topics of discussion will be Field Day and the Cerro Negro situation. This meeting place is different than we usually meet. Because the Cerro Negro situation will require more than likely require the authorization spend money, this will require a vote of the membership.

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

As if we don't have enough trouble trying to keep other groups from stealing our frequencies, on a closer front we are in danger of losing one of our repeater sites. Ever since recorded time (the mid-70's) we have had a repeater located on Cerro Negro. While this may not be prime repeater real estate, it has more than met the needs of the club. It provides good coverage of the Lab, the Crescenta Valley, Pasadena and surrounding area. It is also fairly accessible, making repeater maintenance relatively easy. But one of the things that had made the site particularly attractive was the cost, free! Ever since we have been at this site, we have not had to pay for site rental. Well, that era is coming to an end.

When we first moved into Cerro Negro, the Lab had a lease with Los Angeles County for the purpose of maintaining a microwave link to USC for their education television remote access system. We were permitted ride on the coattails of that lease and install our repeater at that site. Last year the lease was allowed to expire as the microwave link to USC was coming in via a different path and the Cerro Negro link was no longer needed.

About a month ago, I was contacted by LA County to find out how it was that we were still at this site. Bob Dengler, NO6B, talked with them and was able to get assurance that we would not find ourselves summarily ejected from the site; however, there would more than likely be some costs incurred. Even if we become a paying tenant of this site, there is a very good chance that we will be asked to vacate the site come the end of July. LA County is looking for someone to become a long-term lessee and willing to maintain the site. If they are unable able to do so, then all tenants will be asked to vacate Cerro Negro and the site will be demolished.

In the meantime, I received lease papers on May 28 from LA County. I will forward these papers for legal review to determine if the terms are acceptable. However, before we sign them, I must find out what the membership feels about this. As it stands now, we will more than likely be liable for $200 (the rent for June and July of this year), after which there is the possibility that we may be allowed to remain with the long term lessee at no cost. We may be asked to continue to pay $100 per month. Or, we may decide to pull out of the site all together. If we stay, it will cost us $200 with no promise of being able to stay after July. If we have to continue paying for a site, at the rate of $100 per month, we will have to raise our dues by a minimum of $6 per person (no family discounts) just to pay the rent.

There are people looking into alternative sites. But the questions remain: Do we want to keep the repeaters we have on Cerro Negro on the air? If so, is the club willing to start footing the bill for leasing the space to keep these repeaters located? Are the members willing to accept an increase in due to pay for keeping these systems up?

We do have the resources to pay the $200 for the two months; however, if we have to pay beyond that, we will have to ask the membership for a supplemental dues payment. Post your thoughts to the JPL ARC email list or send regular mail to:

Randy Hammock
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
4800 Oak Grove Dr. M/S: 301-270
Pasadena, CA 91109

Time is short! Until next month, 73. n

May Club Meetings

By Phil Smith, WB6LQP

May 13: General Meeting

Ah, spring! And a young ham's fancy turns to.... Field Day, of course. Which means that it is time once again to dust off the generators and portable antennas and plan the annual assault on Mt Gleason and the skillful conquest of teeming pileups of like-minded operators.

While this year's effort will feature some improvements on last year's remarkably successful methods, it will be conducted in much the same manner. Operation will be under the W6VIO call, with setup at midday on Friday, June 26th and festivities beginning Saturday morning the 27th. It will be all over in the virtual blink of an eye by noontime Sunday, but participants are welcome for whenever they can manage.

This year's rules have changed a bit, with reduced advantages for VHF and packet modes but now allowing bonus points for digital and encouraging more novice operation. For further details on the rules try the League website at

Not changing significantly, however, will be the food, fun, and folderol of improvisational radio from the not-too-distant mountains, and with no wilderness permit required. Interested? Contact W6EJJ or N6ET or inquire on the Monday Net. Next meeting will put it all together and bring the details to life. Note that there are still positions in need of support- someone to oversee the novice operation, a publicity person who can help put our best face forward, even someone with a reliable vehicle capable of towing the portapotty up the hill (guaranteed to earn the gratitude of all in attendance). Beyond that will simply be a lot of exciting time on the air.

Just when everyone went out and bought those $88 Alinco handhelds and it seemed safe to get on the air, we are facing yet another challenge to our bands. Those mischievous folks at the Land Mobile Communications Council have petitioned FCC to make them primary users of 420-430 MHz and 440-450 MHz, effectively eliminating amateur usage of the frequencies.

It is important for all amateurs to register their opposition to this action or we will certainly be the losers in the revenue-weighted decision process that characterizes FCC priorities these days. Just to make things more difficult, FCC is not accepting email on this issue, so a physical letter must be drafted in order to get their attention. The deadline for comments is June 1st, but a volume of mail even after cutoff would help express our concern. See the ARRL website for details, or inquire with others in the club, or on the Net.

In other updates:

It was reported that the new tower is progressing, with verification that all four hardlines are intact, although not yet pressurized. The rotor is again functional, and funds have been committed for a 40-meter delta loop antenna.

The I-Can't-Believe-Its-The-Same-Shack refurb project is making more headway than one could expect from mere humans. The east-end of the trailer now sports three HF positions, and the Slowscan system has been returned to operation. Completion of an overall facelift is currently estimated for early fall.

May 27: Board of Directors Meeting,

Dominating the meeting was discussion of issues relating to the site that houses the 224.70 repeater, off Lab. It is the intention of LA County to begin charging a sizeable fee for our use of that site, due to changes in occupancy and management methods that no longer recognize our public service status as justification for waiver. Since this is a very recent development, not all details are clear as to what demands may be placed upon a non-profit operation such as ours. However, a number of potential responses were covered in the meeting and agreement achieved as to the importance of pursuing as many alternatives as possible. Stay tuned on this one.

On a related topic, the proposed realignment of trusteeships for our currently licensed activities has been tabled pending the acquisition of a third call. This would allow for three distinct areas of focus: HF operations would be grouped under the W6VIO call, VHF/UHF repeaters would be the province of the W6JPL trustee, and special modes such as the high speed packet currently being developed would exist under a separate authority. It is felt that this would afford greatest flexibility and best attention to the requirements of the various systems while maintaining adequate control. Again, catch the next meeting or the net for more timely updates. n

DX News

By Bob Polansky, N6ET

Not too much preamble this month due to the press of other activities. One thing though: As the sunspots increase in number, both 17 and 12 meters provide occasional openings to some pretty exotic places. I've recently worked CQ Zones 18 and 20 on 17 meters from my Big Bear hide-away with less than 100 watts and a relatively unimpressive loop antenna. The Club's A3WS antenna does very well on the 17 and 12 meter bands. It rotates well and has already netted some pretty impressive QSO's on the other side of the world. Try it, you'll like it! Here's a few of the rarer operations you can expect to hear during the next month or so:

AUSTRAL ISLANDS - If you missed the activity in April, FO5JR plans to reactivate this possible new DXCC "entity" from 24 July through 13 August. Look for him on 14010 and 21010 kHz, CW only.

LIECHTENSTEIN - HB0/several DL calls will be operating from HB0-land from 22 to 26 June on 160 through 6 meters.

NEPAL - 9N1FP is active on the low end of 20 meters from 0000 to 0200Z. It isn't known if this is the low end of 20 meters CW or SSB. Both would be excellent "finds".

NAVASSA ISLAND - N1V, a strange call indeed instead of the expected KP1 prefix call, will appear for 10 days sometime in July. No details are yet published. There's been very little activity from here on the WARC bands. This should create a few pileups.

OMAN - A45XR has been quite workable on the West Coast on 17 meters. He was calling CQ with few takers on 18089 kHz at 1730Z about a week ago. He has also been spotted on 15 and 40 meter CW.

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - A61AD is expected to operate from 1 to 8 June. The 20-meter long path in the morning appears to be the best chance for a QSO.

YEMEN - If we are very lucky, HA5PP will be successful in securing valid permission to operate from this extremely rare location during the month of June. You may hear 7O/HA5PP, 7O8DX, or 7O8CW. Listen and hope. Again, the 20 meter long path in the morning would be our best chance of a QSO.

Good hunting. Don't forget to listen. The sunspots are indeed returning! n

W6VIO HF and Field Day Preparation News

By Bob Polansky, N6ET

Not much news work party-wise on the HF front this month, at least at W6VIO. Warren Dowler and I did spend a Saturday morning rebuilding the Caltech Radio Club's 40-meter beam in preparation for Field Day. That's about it. We're still looking for someone to lead the Novice/Tech station activities for Field Day. If no one volunteers, we will have to assume there's no interest and we will not field a Novice/Tech station this year. This would be sad indeed and would represent a new and disappointing first for our Club.

Also, it's been rumored that the Field Day participants might find some use for a Porta-Potty at the Mount Gleason site this year. While I personally endorse the idea, this clever device cannot drive itself up to the mountaintop. We are badly in need of a volunteer with a trailer hitch to haul the thing up the hill or we'll all have to do something ecologically bad for an entire weekend. Any one care to help us this year? n

High Speed Network Station Status

By Eric Archer N6CV

Hi all! I'm sorry about the lack of open information concerning the High-Speed Network Station activities. Both DS-2 activities and home life do not give much time for radio activities. Just to bring you up to speed on what we are doing, I'll start from the beginning.

We have been given permission to use a room on the roof of Bldg. 180 for JPL ARC activities. This room is directly over Dr. Stone's office on the east end of the building. We also have use of the antenna tower. The room is approximately 30 feet wide by 12 feet deep and we share it with some JPL Audio Visual Dept equipment.

The room formerly contained some vintage (early 1960's) microwave equipment and the tower had a pair of 2.5 meter diameter microwave dishes. I use the past tense here because several JPL ARC work parties removed the equipment.

We have completed the demolition stage and are starting the renovation stage: the room is being built into a real amateur radio station. An antenna mounting bracket that will hold about 20-30 UHF/VHF antennas has been made and will be installed during the next work party. JPL ARC member Bob Polansky (N6ET) found some 1/2 inch hardline for our use, Phil Smith (WB6LQP) found two unused six-foot equipment racks. Several Cisco routers were retrieved from Cheli for Club use and a Hi-Net (Internet) connection has been installed. Right now we have the bits and pieces for the new station with a large effort towards pulling it all together.

Our long-term plan is to use the room and tower for several new JPL ARC projects. The first is a High Speed Packet Station. By "High Speed" I mean data rates of several hundred to several thousand KBits per second. These data rates will be "to-the-user" meaning that packet communications will be extended well beyond the current capability of 1200 and 9600 BPS. We are also planning to have TCP/IP capability for Internet access via amateur radio and to use the 900/2400 MHz bands. The second project is a JPL ARC-Instrument Services co-sponsored Web-Cam.

JPL Instrument Services (led by JPL ARC member Steve Bednarczyk - NJ6J) is planning to supply an outdoor camera and server for an Internet based Web-Camera. The plan is to have the JPL ARC install the camera on the Bldg-180 roof tower (looking at the main JPL Mall) and provide space in the room for the server. Instrument Services will support the software development and operations of the Camera. Access to the camera pictures will be via the Internet.

A third project is to move the JPL ARC satellite station to this room. If possible, we would like to create a satellite to Internet gateway using our recently installed Hi-Net connection.

There are numerous other projects just in the conceptual stages, so I welcome ideas and participation from club members. One idea is the (relatively) new area of High Speed Meteor Scatter CW (HSMSCW) operations. A recent QST article outlined the advances in this area of fascinating CW operations; perhaps we could set up a HSMSCW station or a HSMSCW beacon. The possibilities are endless.

We are having work parties about once per month. Our near term plan is to move both the 1200 BPS packet station and satellite station to Bldg. 180. Once these are installed, there will be plenty of work on other high-speed network development activities.

We welcome all interested parties to participate. If you are interested, please feel free to call me. I've been announcing activities via the JPL ARC e-mail reflector on a periodic basis. If you are not a subscriber to the reflector, please see Gerry Walsh (KB6OOC) and ask to be added to the reflector. I look forward to seeing you there! n

Field Day, 1998

By Bob Polansky, N6ET and Jay Holladay, W6EJJ

It's Field Day time again - please join us in another adventure on the mountain. The 1998 Field Day effort by the JPL ARC will take place on June 26 through June 28 on Mount Gleason.

This year the JPL ARC will again join forces with the Caltech Amateur Radio Club, and we will approach Field Day in the more relaxed manner that we did last year. We will again operate in Class 2A (two HF transmitters) and will use our W6VIO call sign. Although we won't be going for a national title, we should be pretty competitive and have a lot of fun. There will be ample opportunities to get some operating time for everyone who wishes to participate.

If you do not feel up to tackling all the FD QRM, please come up and help with setup, computer logging, dupe-sheet chores, or what have you. All hams at JPL and Caltech and their families and friends are invited to visit us at the Field Day site.

Once again we will use computers to log our Field Day QSO's and will use the contest-logging program CT. If you would like to brush up on your CT logging skills or have an introduction to the software (or even have some practice CW QSO's), call Jay Holladay at 354-7758 and we will set up a practice session.

How You Can Take Part:

Please fill out the sign-up sheet on page 7 of this newsletter and return to Bob Polansky. Keep the rest of this issue and bring it with you to Field Day. Even if you do not return the sign-up sheet, please feel free to visit us at Mt. Gleason - but you'll have to take your chances on operating time if we are not expecting you.

Come to the JPL ARC Meeting on Wednesday, June 10 (198-102 at Noon) to hear more detail on Field Day planning and ask any questions you may have about the operation. There may be a work party later in June to check out equipment and get things ready to move up the hill. Also, request a training session as mentioned above. The latest Field Day planning information will be disseminated via the Club's e-mail list and via the Monday net on the W6JPL repeater.

Field Day activities will kick off on Friday morning, June 26. The hard-core FD types will take vacation that Friday to assist with the logistics and transportation chores. We will meet at 8:00 AM at the ham shack trailer by the East Gate to load all of the gear for the trip up the mountain. Once everything is loaded we will caravan to Mt. Gleason and begin setting up. Lunch and dinner will be served on Friday while we erect tents and the big antennas. The Field Day contest starts at 11 AM local (1800 UTC) Saturday and ends at the same time on Sunday. Three meals will be served on Saturday, as well as breakfast and lunch on Sunday. After the contest is over we will have lunch and disassemble everything, leaving Mt. Gleason as we found it. Then it's back to JPL to return the Club equipment and home for a well-deserved shower and nap.

What To Bring to Field Day:

Even if you only plan to visit for the afternoon, it is wise to be prepared for anything. You may enjoy Field Day so much you will want to spend the night. To get to Mt. Gleason, see the map and directions on the next page. The road is paved all the way except for the short bypass around the correctional facility and any car can make it to the top.

Meals will be provided by the Club-suggested donation is $3 per person per meal to help defray expenses. You are responsible for your own place to sleep and enough warm clothing to stay comfortable during the cold nights (Mt. Gleason is at 6520 ft). Be prepared for weather like the Sahara Desert during the day and the Arctic at night, along with gale force winds, and you should be OK. Seriously, light thermal underwear is a big help if you are operating in the wee hours of Sunday morning.

The following is a suggested checklist for your personal FD preparations:

Don't forget any needed medications or aspirin and vitamins. If you do spend the night, it is highly recommended that you bring a tent or camper. The view is well worth bringing camera and binoculars.

As far as Amateur Radio gear is concerned, the Clubs will furnish rigs (with some additional loans from the members). We can always use a spare HF or VHF rig as backup, so bring one along if it's convenient. Don't forget the rig-compatible power supply and cables. Bring whatever specialty operating items you wish. If you have a favorite keyer, headset, or boom mike, please bring it along. All the HF rigs will use 8-pin mike connector wired for Kenwood. (We could really use a digital voice "keyer" if anyone has one!) Also a small tool kit, extra table, antenna wire, battery-operated clock, spare batteries of all types, etc., always seem to come in handy. In short, anything you might need to be self-sufficient and stay operational under emergency conditions will probably be useful at Field Day. In fact, that's what the exercise is supposed to be all about. CU at FD!

Directions to Mount Gleason Field Day Site:

Take the Foothill Freeway (210) to La Canada. Exit at Angeles Crest Highway/Route 2. Go north 9.1 miles on Route 2 up into the San Gabriel Mts. Turn left at the junction with Angeles Forest Highway (N3). Continue 3.8 miles on Angeles Forest Highway past Big Tujunja Junction. Go another 5.9 miles through the tunnel, past Hidden Springs to the Monte Cristo Campground. Continue another 4.9 miles on Angeles Forest Highway to the Mill Creek Campground at the Mill Creek Summit. Turn left on Mt. Gleason Road. (The Mill Creek Campground will be on the right.) Continue 6.2 miles on Mt. Gleason Road until you reach the Mount Gleason Conversation Camp. Take dirt road bypass left of the Correction Facility; continue 2.5 miles. Keep to the right at Y-junction just after Microwave Station. When you reach the locked gate, call on Simplex for admission. The road will end at the Summit and our FD site. Do not block the road at the far end of the Mt. Gleason operating site by parking on it. Watch out for kids, antenna wires, and loose hams

Alternate Route: 210 Freeway to Interstate 5; North to 14 Freeway; Exit at Angeles Forest Highway take Angeles Forest (N3) South, turn right on Mt. Gleason Road. n

Talk-in Frequencies

224.08 (-) W6VIO SIMPLEX 224.08 (switch to Simplex

147.15 (+) W6VIO SIMPLEX 147.15 as you near the site)

Amateur Radio Club

ARRL Field Day

June 26, 27, & 28, 1998

Name: ___________________________________________ Call Sign: ____________
Address: JPL M/S: _________ Home: _____________________________________________
Telephone Number: Work: ________ Home: ____________ E-mail: _____________________
Expected Arrival Day: ________ Time: ______________
Departure Day: ____________ Time: ______________
Activities You Wish to Support:
0 Setup (June 26) 0 Tear Down (June 28  
0 Food Preparations 0 Publicity  
Preferred Operating Position(s) (June 27/28):
0 Novice/Tech Phone (28, 220) 0 Novice/Tech CW (80, 40, 15)
0 Phone (HF) 0 CW (HF) 0 VHF/UHF (50, 144, 220, 440, 1200
0 Packet 0 Satellite 0 Logging/Duping
How long would you like to operate?
A lot ________ (4 or more hours) A little _____ (1 to 4 hours)
Preferred Hours: ____________ Is late shift OK? __________

Please fill out this sheet and return it to R. Polansky at M/S 303-400 ASAP

Field Day Sign Up Sheet


Alex, RW3DZ, surrounded by students of the school radio club RK3DXB for which he serves as advisor

Return Visit by RW3DZ

By Jay Holladay, W6EJJ

Remember the speaker at our February 1996 club meeting? It was Alex Zaitzev, RW3DZ, from the Moscow region of Russia. Alex made a return visit to Southern California in early April of this year. This time he was traveling with an international friendship group from Russia and spent most of his time in San Diego. Merv, N6NO, and Jay, W6EJJ, were able to have an enjoyable reunion with Alex over dinner on April 10 and get an update on amateur radio in Russia.

Our JPL ARC club members were able to help Alex obtain two pieces of information he needed: an ICOM IC-02 schematic (Thanks to Gary Stevens, WD6FLY, and Walt Mushagian, K6DNS) and an article on using an RS-232 computer interface to control switching relays (thanks to Al Arens, WA6ACS - a friend of the JPL ARC).

Alex is reachable by e-mail: If you'd like to learn more about the Troitsk district where Alex lives, or the IZMIRAN Institute where he works, check out these Web sites: and n

JPL ARC Repeaters
W6VIO 147.150 MHz (+) PL 131.8 Open
W6VIO 224.080 MHz (-) PL 156.7 Open
W6JPL 224.700 (-) Closed Autopatch
W6VIO-1 145.090 MHz   Packet Node/BBS
W6VIO-1 223.540 MHz   Packet Node/BBS
Table Mountain:
WR6AZN 145.280 MHz (-) PL 131.8 Open
WR6AZN 223.96 MHz (-) PL 156.7 Open
WR6AZN 447.325 MHz (-) PL 94.8 Open

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 Bill Wood

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


Solar Update

Via the ARRL Online Letter, Volume 17, Number 22

Solar prognosticator Tad Cook, K7VVV, Seattle, Washington, reports: Solar indices were down this week, as they have been during the past few weeks. The sunspot number is half what it was the previous week, and the solar flux was down over 16 points. So far this month the average flux is running about the same as April and March, when it took a jump of about 16 points over January and February.

Solar flux is expected to peak May 29 and 30 at 98, then drift to 96 on May 31, then go below 90 after June 7. Flux values should drift above 90 around June 18 and to the mid-90s in the week prior to the end of June.

During June we will be experiencing more summer-like HF conditions, with weaker daytime signals and higher noise, due to increased thunderstorm activity in the northern hemisphere. With fewer hours of darkness and more storms, look for poorer conditions on 160 and 80 meters. Although 20 meters has been the best DX band around the clock, there is a good chance that solar activity will move higher this summer, and 15 meters could become the best daylight band for the season.

There was a solar flare during early hours UTC on May 28, but it is not expected to affect geomagnetic indices. About 12 hours earlier there was some activity that could cause a rise in geomagnetic activity on May 30 or 31. Look for very quiet geomagnetic conditions around June 9-13 and possibly on June 15 and 18.

WA5JCI in Texas reports the best tropo openings in years, when he worked several Gulf Coast states and then heard Mexico on a local 2-meter repeater. Also, N0JK in Kansas worked a number of Gulf Coast and Midwest states on 2-meter tropo and heard KT4AL in Florida on 432 MHz.

Sunspot numbers for May 21 through 27 were 29, 26, 47, 41, 57, 49, and 49, with a mean of 42.6. The 10.7-cm flux was 89, 87.4, 90.3, 95.6, 92.3, 92.5, and 94, with a mean of 91.6. Estimated planetary A indices were 14, 8, 13, 16, 15, 8, and 7, with a mean of 11.6. n

Newsletter Deadline:

Monday, June 29 for the July 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.

Jet Propulsion Laboratory Amateur Radio Club
Attn: Bill Wood, Editor, Mail Stop DSCC-33
4800 Oak Grove Drive
Pasadena, CA 91109-8099

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