Table of Contents

Meeting Notice
President's Message
Calendar of Events
September Club Meetings
DX News
W6VIO Work Party
25 Years Ago in W6VIO Calling
Classified Section

FCC Renews Amateur Enforcement Emphasis
Gamma Ray Burst Briefly Affects Propagation
Solar Update
Upcoming VEC Examinations
FCC Sequential Call Sign Update
Lower Vanity Fee Boosts Applications

Calendar of Events

October 10 [Fontana Swap Meet, A. B. Miller HS, Fontana}
October 14 General Meeting, Noon - 238-543
October 17 [CMRA Hamfest, Cal Poly, Pomona, 7 AM]
October 21 Board Meeting, Noon - 301-227
October 31 [TRW Swapmeet, Redondo Beach]
November 11 General Meeting, Noon - 238-543
November 14 [Fontana Swap Meet, A. B. Miller HS, Fontana}
November 21 [CMRA Hamfest, Cal Poly, Pomona, 7 AM]
November 25 Board Meeting, Noon - 301-227
November 28 [TRW Swapmeet, Redondo Beach]

Meeting Notice

The next regular JPL Amateur Radio Club will be held on Wednesday, October 14, 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

We are still looking for a few good leaders for next year, as it will be time for elections next month. You may be saying to yourself, "I just don't have a lot of time to devote to the running of things." It only takes a few hours per month to get the job done.

We have a core group of member who do most of the work, so the officers only job is to make it possible for these people to get the job done. In short, the President's job is to represent the club and to officiate at all meetings; The Vice President is responsible for planning the programs for the monthly meetings and to stand in the President's stead in his/her absence; The Secretary records the minutes of all meetings; The Treasurer handles all club's finances. With over 200 members, there must be a few good officers out there. Please contact me if you would like to volunteer.

We are getting close to time of year where we have our annual banquet meeting. At this meeting, usually present an award to the member or members who have made significant contributions to the club. If you would like to nominate someone, please contact me or any of the board members.

The club has received it's new license and call KF6SVG. This is being turned in for the WR6JPL and will be placed on the club's repeaters. This should be happening during this month.

I've kept saying, contact me. Here is the best way, send e-mail to or If we don't have a set of officer's next year, we won't be a club any more. You lose, I lose, JPL looses and the whole community looses. n

September Club Meetings
By Phil Smith, WB6LQP

September 9: General Meeting

Another month passes and with it the season. Time to put some thought to changes, not only in the weather but to the hobby that we hope to continue to enjoy for as long as the airwaves are free. What does the future hold for users of the spectrum? What modes will we next pursue in a rapidly changing technical world? For that matter, how long can we expect to continue to use the bands and modes that we currently have? What will it take to justify our future occupancy of a valuable and increasingly jeopardized resource? All these questions and more are long overdue for examination and discussion by hams everywhere. So it was appropriate that the September meeting program featured Art Goddard, W6XD, the ARRL Southwest Division Vice-Director, to discuss the League's progress with updating amateur licensing.

His presentation included some interesting facts resulting from research into the nature of the modern ham community:

The League has given the matter much thought, as you would hope, and has decided that our interests will be best served by being proactive on the issue. Most of us have already heard that both the League and the FCC have proposed changes to the license structure. It seems that we now have but a short period of time to negotiate workable standards before decisions will be made that will likely affect the future of ham radio for some time to come.

Art explained the League proposal briefly (the hour we have the conference room goes by quickly), covering the concept of four license classes and the premise of no loss of privileges for current licensees. HF access would require a basic 5-wpm code requirement, while retaining 12 wpm for advanced and extra class subbands. Novice subbands would turn into something else. VHF and above would be changed very little. The concept is supposed to be one of retaining standards while modernizing structure.

Obviously, this topic can generate a large volume of opinion. Equally obvious, the time for ham radio to move forward into the mainstream of modern technology is long overdue. For each of us, perhaps the best use of a few minutes in front of a web-connected computer would be to log on to the ARRL website at and get the details of the proposal (and also the FCC NPRM). Then give the matter some attention, and make your feelings known. Unless, that is, you are willing to leave the fate of ham radio in the hands of those who are already lobbying the government for its demise.

In other matters at the meeting...

The Digital Dimension: Hardware is migrating up to the rooftop of 180 at a regular rate, including a two meter antenna, test equipment, and operating console. The lock will soon be rekeyed to use the same key as the shack, so those with authorization will have access to both. Meanwhile, the STA proposal for the high speed digital operation is being reworked and will soon be resubmitted to FCC.

Emergency Response: As anyone who gets around on lab has noticed there is now a building going up where the Mars Yard used to be. This will be the facility that replaces the fire station, guard shack, etc. We are assured that there will be a ham radio operation integrated into the communications plan, with details to follow as construction develops.

Caltech: it is reported that the W6UE station is undergoing a complete rebuild.

September 23: Board of Directors Meeting,

Progress continues on the Great Call-Shuffling Project. We have possession of a new call, KF6SVG. This will now be traded for a more appropriate one, hopefully WR6JPL. The wheels of the callsign bureaucracy turn slowly but eventually we should have a distinctive identity.

The Alinco 220 handhelds arrived. These are the units that will be used for emergency and technical purposes. Secure cases will be procured and the units will be maintained at the shack for ready issue.

Discussion included status of the Goldstone link and the recruiting of nominees for next year's officer slate.

(Note: since several of the current officers will have work schedules that would conflict with club duties, it will definitely be necessary to recruit fresh talent. Advance bush beating should begin now). n

DX News
By Bob Polansky, N6ET

Sunspots appear to be remaining above 100 these days. As a result, propagation is favoring the higher HF bands once again. There are lots of reports of DX available on 10, 12, 15, 17, and of course 20, 30, and 40 meters. 80 meters will be coming into its own this month too. I am relying solely on DX bulletins this month, my shack being temporarily in use as a temporary bedroom for my older son. Now for specifics.

AUSTRALS - If you missed the "grand opening" for this new one several months ago, FO0SUC/A will be active on 20, 15, and 10 meters from 7 to 18 October. Good luck!

ERITREA - E31AA is operating now from this extremely rare QTH, probably through 14 October. Look for him on CW only at 14005 and 21005 kHz when propagation favors the West Coast. If you miss this operation, a major operation is planned by E31DX from 3 to 18 November. The morning long-path should make that one much easier for us suffering W6'es.

GLORIOSO - FR5ZU/G will be active on all bands, SSB, CW, and RTTY from 7 to 30 October. Don't miss this extremely rare country. Look for him on the 20-meter long path in the morning hours here on the West Coast.

MALDIVES - 8Q7IO and 8Q7IQ should be disturbing the ether from 18 October through 5 November. No more detailed information is available on this one.

MALTA - 9H0VRZ and many two-letter-siffix-9H3 calls plan a 5-station operation from here from 3 to 18 October. This is an all-band, SSB and CW operation by the Dutch Society of Radio Amateurs. Look on the W6VIO shack wall for QSL information in the 25 September issue of The 59(9) DX Report.

PRATUS - An operation from this very rare, new "DXCC entity" is tentatively planned for two weeks later this month, assuming all goes well. Keep an ear out for huge pile-ups!

TOGO - Look for a major operation during and just prior to the CQ WW CW Contest on 28, 29 November by 5V7A. This is a repeat major operation by a crack European DX group and they should be easily workable.

That's all for now. Keep an ear out. There's lots more DX that I didn't tell you about out there for your listening and QSOing pleasure. n

W6VIO Work Party
By Bob Polansky, N6ET

Chris Carson, Jay Holladay, and yours truly played gardeners last Sunday at the upper antenna site on the Mesa. In three hours, we were able to "liberate" our 75/80-meter loop antenna from the ever-growing underbrush and high bushes. You can actually see the entire length of the bottom of the loop now! Most of the underbrush has been "weed-whacked", raked up, and stacked on a pile 7 feet high and 10 foot square at the base. One more work party and we should have all of the gardening work at the site completed. We are looking for an opportunity sometime in the next month. All hardlines are now connected and appear to be pressure-tight. We expect to start pressurizing them within the next month.

The Dentron linear amplifier is at the N6MTI repair shop for what we hope will be minimal fixes to restore functionality. The HF system and current antennas, even with only the exciter in place, is making W6VIO's presence heard again! Come and try it out.

Activity will be cranking up again on procuring and installing a 40-meter 2-element beam for installation in the top position on our new tower. We hope to have that in place by the end of this year. ¢

25 Years Ago in:

By Bill Wood, W6FXJ

The logo above is exactly as it appeared on the masthead of the sixth issue of the third volume of the JPL ARC journal twenty-five years ago in September, 1973. Editor Elmer McMillen, W6RBR, packed the issue with details of club activities, both past and planned.

During the August general meeting Nash Williams, W6HCD, gave a presentation on the work of the "Flying Samaritans," a group that he had long supported. Of all places, the meeting was held in building 238, room 543.

Merv MacMedan, then W6IUV, provided a rundown on recent changes to the NASA Emergency Radio Network Team, with the appointment of George Williamson, K6YGN, as Team Chief effective September 7, 1973. Merv included a roster of team operators and contact information.

Jay Holladay, W6EJJ, detailed the club's planned involvement in a series of airborne test flights to test the equipment to be launched on OSCAR 7. Two shakedown flights were held during September in Southern California to check configuration and operation of the aircraft and ground stations. The full-fledged test flight over most of California was scheduled for October 6, 1973.

A copy of the club's well-reasoned response to the FCC's Docket 19759 on the proposed reassignment of the 224-225 MHz amateur band to Class E Citizens Radio Service was included. This and the full OSCAR/AMSAT AA3 project test plan and the rest of the September 1973 issue of W6VIO Calling is available on the JPL ARC website for all to read. ¢

Classified Section

Somebody generous enough to donate a 2M H.T. or Mobile/Base rig to the newly licensed members of Boy Scout Troop 1 in Altadena. Thanks. Contact Bill Westphal or 213-633-3121

Your want ad or article for inclusion in a future issue of W6VIO Calling. Submit 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


FCC Renews Amateur Enforcement Emphasis
Via the ARRL Letter Online, Volume 17, Number 39

Things may be changing for the better on the Amateur Radio enforcement front. The FCC announced this week that all Amateur Radio-related enforcement investigation, evaluation, and processing has been transferred to the Compliance and Information Bureau. The change, effective September 1 but not announced until more than three weeks later, was made "by internal arrangement" between the CIB and the FCC's Wireless Telecommunications Bureau. The Wireless Bureau handles amateur licensing and, for the past several years, has coordinated enforcement with the CIB.

The FCC said the main objective of the change was to "facilitate the Commission's pursuit of compliance," especially in the area of resolving interference complaints, a hot-button issue within the amateur community.

"Amateur enforcement should have gotten more direct attention over the last few years," conceded Riley Hollingsworth, K4ZDH, the CIB's legal advisor for enforcement. "A lot of people think the FCC doesn't care."

Hollingsworth will be the FCC's point man in handling the complaints. He says FCC Chairman William Kennard "wants greater respect with respect to enforcement" at the FCC. Putting enforcement in the CIB's hands should mean "a much faster, more effective response," he said.

ARRL General Counsel Chris Imlay, W3KD, says he's "cautiously optimistic" that the change will improve the dismal amateur enforcement situation. "Now, CIB doesn't have to just gather evidence and forward it to another bureau," Imlay said. "It can act on it when it is ready. That's a good situation compared to where we were."

The FCC's public notice said the CIB staff now handles Amateur Radio enforcement matters "from initiation to resolution." That includes complaints, amateur testing issues, warnings, monetary penalties, revocation hearings, and "in extreme cases" equipment seizure and prosecution through the Department of Justice.

The Wireless Bureau continues to handle Amateur Radio licensing, including new applications and renewals, as well as all Amateur Radio policy and rulemaking matters. The change is expected to have no impact on the Amateur Auxiliary. Hollingsworth said the change could, in fact, mean that the FCC will work more closely and more effectively with amateur volunteers in dealing with enforcement issues.

Under the new arrangement, all amateur enforcement questions and complaints should be directed to the Compliance and Information Bureau, Compliance Division, Attention: Amateur Complaints, 1919 M St, Mail Stop 1500E1, Washington, DC 20554.

The FCC also has instituted an "Amateur Enforcement Line" at 202-418-1184. The automated system prompts callers to leave a name, a number, and a brief message. The CIB will return the call within the next business day. ¢

Gamma Ray Burst Briefly Affects Propagation
Via the ARRL Letter Online, Volume 17, Number 39

Insomniac hams in the Western US might have witnessed the effects of a startling cosmic event in the wee hours of August 27. And those hams' logbooks may hold information scientists want.

For five minutes, starting at 1022 UTC on August 27, HF propagation changed dramatically for the Western US and Pacific area. "It was as if night was briefly turned into day in the ionosphere," said Stanford professor Umran Inan, leader of a research group that observed the event. That means that your 40 or 80-meter DX QSO may have suddenly faded away, and, for a short time, you could have worked DX on 20 or 15 meters, or maybe even higher frequencies, in the middle of the night.

On HF, Inan said the MUF should have risen to daytime levels for about five minutes. Inan said he'd very much like to hear if any hams noticed the effect.

The cause was a tremendous burst of gamma-rays and X-rays coming from a newly discovered star type some 15,000 light-years away. The burst of radiation from the distant star was powerful enough to boost the level of ionization in Earth's upper atmosphere from nighttime to daytime levels, according to the Stanford research group.

This was the first time that such a change in Earth's environment has been attributed to an event so far away. The star that emitted the burst is a magnetar, a superdense neutron star with the most powerful magnetic field ever found in the universe, a magnetic field strong enough to rip atoms apart.

The gamma and X-ray burst "lit up" Earth's ionosphere. Along with the burst a cloud of subatomic particles spewed from the star's surface at nearly the speed of light. Those particles spiraled around the magnetic field lines and emitted microwaves.

At the National Science Foundation's Very Large Array (VLA) radio telescope in New Mexico, astronomer Dale Frail, working with Caltech researchers Shri Kulkarni and Josh Bloom, detected the microwaves emitted by this cloud of particles at frequencies ranging from 1.4 to 8.4 GHz, and made a "movie" of the cloud as its radio emission brightened, then faded away.

The radiation burst affected the ionosphere over the Western US, but the Eastern part of the country was in shadow, so hams in the East would not have experienced the strange propagation effects. For more information, see the National Radio Astronomy Observatory's Web site at Finley, N1IRZ ¢

Solar Update
Via the ARRL Online Letter, Volume 17, Number 39

Propagation prophet Tad Cook, K7VVV, Seattle, Washington, reports: Solar activity was down a bit last week, with the average solar flux off by six points and average sunspot numbers lower by almost 27 points.

Now that September is over it's time to look at some long term trends. The last quarter of 1997 had an average solar flux of 94.3. The next quarter-January through March of 1998--the average flux rose to 98.8. The second quarter of this year the average flux was 107.8, and this last quarter the average flux was 129.2.

The average flux for September was 137.7, and for May through August it was 106.7, 108.5, 114.1 and 136. The average flux over this past week was 125.6, and for the same period one year ago it was only 88.2. We can see that the general trend in solar activity is up, although there was only a negligible increase from August to September.

Last week the really active geomagnetic day was on Friday, when the planetary A index was 121 and the planetary K index went as high as 9, which signals a major geomagnetic storm.

Over the next few days, Friday through Sunday, the solar flux is forecast to be 115, 113 and 112, and the planetary A index for the same period is predicted at 20, 20 and 15. Unsettled to active conditions are predicted around October 15 and for October 18-23 as well. The solar flux is expected to rise after the weekend, to above 130, then drop down to 120 around October 12-14, then peak around 145 around October 20. Now that we are in the fall season, look for good HF propagation when the K and A index is low.

The October 1998 issue of the magazine Astronomy has a couple of items of interest to solar observers. Page 28 has a stunning picture from the NASA Transition Region and Coronal Explorer spacecraft showing loops of plasma from an active solar region on April 25. The same issue on page 60 has an article about forecasting solar storms titled "Blowin' in the Solar Wind."

Sunspot numbers for September 24 through 30 were 156, 118, 115, 87, 127, 86, and 59, with a mean of 106.9. The 10.7- cm flux was 135.4, 122.1, 126.9, 135, 122.5, 115.9, and 121.5, with a mean of 125.6, and estimated planetary A indices were 28, 121, 14, 12, 6, 10, and 8, with a mean of 28.4. ¢

Upcoming VEC Examinations

The following ARRL Internet page will help you find a US amateur license exam session near you. Its database is updated on a regular basis and includes all information necessary to schedule and attend FCC amateur radio license examinations: ¢

FCC Sequential Call Sign Update
Via the ARRL Online Letter, Volume 17, Number 36

The following is a list of FCC sequentially assigned call signs issued as of September 1, 1998. For more information about the sequential call sign system, see Fact Sheet PR5000 #206S or contact the FCC, 1270 Fairfield Rd, Gettysburg, PA 17325-7245; e-mail


Group A

Group B

Group C

Group D
N. Mariana Island NH0F AH0BA KH0HE WH0ABJ
American Samoa AH8R AH8AH KH8DM WH8ABF
Virgin Islands ++ KP2CN NP2KE WP2AIJ

      ++ All call signs in this group have been issued in this district. ¢

Lower Vanity Fee Boosts Applications

According to FCC numbers out of Gettysburg earlier this month, the new, lower vanity call sign application fee induced an additional spurt of applications from the typically thrifty ham radio community. The FCC reports getting 281 applications on September 14, the first day of the new $13 fee, and another 78 applications the next day.

That's in sharp contrast to the 130 or so applications received between August 25 and September 2. In fact, during all of August, the FCC received just shy of 600 vanity applications. ¢

JPL ARC Repeaters
W6VIO 147.150 MHz (+) PL 131.8 Open
W6VIO 224.080 MHz (-) PL 156.7 Open
W6JPL 224.700 MHz (-) Closed Autopatch
W6VIO 440.125 MHz (+) PL 103.5 Open
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

Newsletter Deadline:

Friday, October 30 for the November 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.