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bulletCalendar of Events
bulletMeeting Notice
bulletPrez’ Mix
bulletApril Club Meetings
bulletField Day, 1999
bulletDX News
bullet25 Years Ago in W6VIO Calling
bulletPacket Station Update
bulletClassified Section
bulletARRL News
bulletFCC Drops Enforcement Telephone Line in Favor of E-mail
bulletFCC Says No to Expanding Special Event Call Sign Program
bulletSolar Update

Calendar of Events

May 8 [Fontana Swap Meet, A. B. Miller HS, Fontana}
May 12 General Meeting, Noon - 238-543
May 15 [CMRA Hamfest, Cal Poly, Pomona, 7 AM]
May 26 Board Meeting, Noon - 233-305J
May 29 [TRW Swapmeet, Redondo Beach]
June 12 [Fontana Swap Meet, A. B. Miller HS, Fontana}
June 9 General Meeting, Noon - 238-543
June 19 [CMRA Hamfest, Cal Poly, Pomona, 7 AM]
June 23 Board Meeting, Noon - 233-305J
June 25-27 ARRL Field Day, Mount Gleason
June 26 [TRW Swapmeet, Redondo Beach]
July 10 [Fontana Swap Meet, A. B. Miller HS, Fontana}
July 14 General Meeting, Noon - 238-543
July 17 [CMRA Hamfest, Cal Poly, Pomona, 7 AM]
July 28 Board Meeting, Noon - 233-305J
July 31 [TRW Swapmeet, Redondo Beach]

Meeting Notice

The next regular JPL Amateur Radio Club will be held on Wednesday, May 12, at noon in Building 238 Room 543. The program has not been chosen yet, but keep your eyes peeled for an email announcement via the club exploder. The Club Board of Directors meetings are held at noon on the fourth Wednesday of each month in 233-305J. Everyone is welcome at both meetings; bring your lunch. n

Prez’ Mix
By Bob Dengler, NO5B

I’m getting this article in at the last minute as I’ve spent the last week exchanging numerous e-mails about the recently held 440-450 MHz 20 kHz band planning meeting. As some of you already know, all repeater pairs in this band segment have been assigned by the Southern California Repeater & Remote Base Association (SCRRBA) in this area for over 20 years. Since their coordination policies regarding spectrum reuse via co-channeling are much less aggressive than the policies of the other frequency coordinators in our area (TASMA & 220 SMA), the 440 spectrum has been utilized much less effectively than 2 & 1 ¼ meters. This has resulted in numerous complaints to SCRRBA to do something to ease the backlog of new repeater systems. Its response was to formulate a 20 kHz band plan, creating as many as 50 new repeater pairs for new systems. While this is a good plan, another plan to coordinate new repeaters to extreme narrow-band 12.5 kHz "splinter" channels in between existing 25 kHz systems would have resulted in over 190 new pairs, enough to satisfy the needs of Southern California hams for at least the next 10 years.

At the 20 kHz band planning meeting it was felt that despite the usage of 12.5 kHz in the commercial sector for over 15 years & the wide availability of commercial equipment, without the "amateur grade" equipment available to support the stringent bandwidth requirements, 12.5 kHz spaced channels would result in unacceptable interference. Ultimately, the 20 kHz band plan was approved by a wide margin of those in attendance. Roughly 60% of Southern California 70-cm system owners were represented; it remains to be seen how much of the other 40% will comply.

One consequence of shifting from 25 to 20 kHz spacing is that older radios, such as the Yaesu FT-708R, FT-720R & possibly even the FT-727R (Yaesu’s first dual-band HT), are NOT capable of 20 kHz steps. This means that if you own one of these radios, you may no longer be able to use it on most 70-cm repeater pairs in Southern California if the 20 kHz band plan is universally accepted. You might want to take it to the next ham swap meet & sell it, or better yet, use one of the Internet forums available to sell it to someone in another part of the country where 25 kHz spacing is still in use.

I fear for the future of the 70-cm band as we’ve sent a clear signal to the commercial interests seeking our spectrum that us SoCal hams are "behind the times" in technology & don’t make the most efficient use of our spectrum. At the same time, I’m also happy for the new hams that will gain access to one of our most useful bands for portable communications. Interest in the band will be stirred in a way that 70 cm hasn’t seen in almost 30 years. ¾

April Club Meetings
By Jonathan Cameron, KF6RTA

General Meeting, April 14

The meeting was called to order at 12:12 PM by Robert Dengler (NO6B). Those attending were: Bill Burgess, Jonathan Cameron (KF6RTA), Bob Dengler (NO6B), Dayton Jones (K6DJ), Roger Lemke (WB6ZIM), Rick McKinney (KA6DAN), Walt Mushagian (K6DNS), Scott Nolte (N6CUV), John Norris (KE6QEZ), Jerry Person (KK6TS), Pete Saldana (KD6KLH) and Dave Steinfled (WA6ZVE).

The possibility of Y2K problems with various repeaters was discussed. Basically anything purchased recently, such as the new RLC-3 repeater should be compliant. There may be problems with old TNCs and some old GPS units.

The club was reminded that Caltech has a world-class HF radio shack. This facility is open to JPL ARC members with appropriate licenses. Bob Dengler will see about getting more information to share with the JPL Amateur Radio Club.


A quorum was achieved and the meeting was called to order at approximately 12:15. Those in attendance were Bob Dengler (NO6B), Randy Hammock (KC6HUR), Walt Mushagian (K6DNS), Bill Wood (W6FXJ, via telephone), and Jonathan Cameron (KF6RTA).

The main item of business was to discuss the new proposal by SCRRBA to go to a 20 kHz frequency spacing plan instead of a 12.5 kHz plan on the 75cm band (440-450 MHz). Bob Dengler and most members present preferred the latter. Bob wanted to make sure that people would attend the SCRRBA meeting on the weekend to represent the JPL club during this critical meeting.

Although a 20 Hz band plan shouldn’t require hardware changes, it does mean that many repeaters would have to shift frequencies, if only by 5 kHz. One advantage to 12.5 Hz spacing is that no current repeaters will need to be change frequencies. New repeaters can fill the newly created gaps without affecting the existing frequency assignments. Operating at 12.5 kHz spacing should not be a technical problem; nearby commercial frequencies have used 12.5 kHz spacing for years. Not long ago, 12.5 kHz would in fact have been technically challenging; however, the availability of 12.5 kHz commercial equipment should make it easier.

Many recent HT’s are capable of 12.5 kHz spacing with minor hardware modifications and adjustments. It is true that many repeaters will have to have their filters replaced with narrower ones, but these narrow filters are fairly inexpensive.

Randy Hammock has arranged for someone in the club to meet the phone repairmen on Cerro Negro so that the phone line there can be restored.

There was a brief discussion on field day plans. As far as we could tell, preparations are going normally. Unfortunately Chef's Richard Shick and Manny Caldera will not be participating with the JPL/Caltech operation. Therefore, we will have to recruit someone to help with food preparation and cooking. ¾

Field Day, 1999
By Bob Polansky, N6ET

It’s time to start planning for Field Day again. Actually, it was time to start two months ago, but that wasn’t possible this year. Antennas and towers are being prepared as I write. Joint planning is being led by Jay Holladay and Bob Polansky representing JPL ARC, and Mike Tope and Warren Dowler representing CIT ARC, our partners in Field Day. Calls will be made this coming week to request (beg) your support for this fun, yearly event.

We need people to lead the following activities:

bulletFood planning and preparation
bulletOne tower trailer driver
bulletOne portapotty arranger/driver
bulletUHF/VHF station lead
bulletNovice/Technician station lead
bulletPublic relations lead

If you can help us in any of these areas, please leave me a voicemail message at 1(818) 354 4940. Please also advise me when you plan on arriving and when you plan on leaving the Field Day site so we can plan food purchases. Finally, indicate your operating preferences for this exciting event. Don’t miss the fun. Plan on joining the other JPL ARC members for a weekend of contesting, clean air, and fantastic views of the surrounding low lands. ¾

DX News
By Bob Polansky, N6ET

This month, Field Day planning is taking first priority to DXing; therefore, my preamble will be very brief.

In fact, it’s over! Now for a few items of DX interest:

NEPAL - 9N7WU will be active from 3 to 12 May. Look for him on 14180, 21280, and 28480 kHz. In addition, 9N7UD is also active now through 9 May.

PALESTINE - There are still a few reports about operations from this new DXCC "entity". E41/OK1DTP seems to be the most active of those reported, with E44/OZ6ACD and E4/G3WQU also making welcome appearances. Keep tuned!

RODRIGUES IS. - 3B9FR is active if you missed the recent 3B9R operation. Look for him at 1400Z on 30 meters, and on 15 meters at 1800Z.

TROMELIN IS. - FR5ZU/T is active through 4 May as his time permits. Your best shot at him is on 14256 kHz around 0200Z with VE2NW helping the needy.

TUVALU - Look for T22JY, T22KJ, T22TK, and T22VE all operating from this South Pacific QTH from 2 through 9 May. Specific cw and ssb frequencies are posted in the 59(9) DX Report dated 23 April hanging on the wall in the W6VIO Ops trailer. 160 through 6 meter operation, both phone and cw is planned.

That’s it for now. Enjoy the sunspots while they’re making their way back. ¾

25 Years Ago in:

By Bill Wood, W6FXJ

The guest speaker at the May 1974 general meeting was Juan Jaramillo, HC1JJ, the president of the Quito, Ecuador, Radio Club. Juan spoke about amateur radio in Ecuador and answered many questions from those in attendance.

Editor Elmer McMillan's planned trip to Africa and Spain with the NASA Convair 990 was described. Elmer assisted in the installation and test of JPL Section 823's Imaging Radar science and will be gone for several months. Guest editors will be tapped to keep W6VIO Calling going.

Congratulations were given to Bill Weber, W6HNQ (now N6CI) for getting his Ph.D. from CalTech.

Plans were announced for the club Field Day on June 23 and 24 at Mount Wilson. Gordon Crawford, WB6DRH, and Gil Yanow, K6TOS were to head up the effort.

On April 4, Jay Holladay, W6EJJ and Pete Hoover, W6APW, spoke to the Lockheed Radio Club about AMSAT/OSCAR on behalf of the JPL ARC. The club was invited back to do another one at the Lockheed Hamfest on May 18. Then Skip Reyman, W6PAJ, Norm Chalfin, K6PGX, and Dave Clingerman, W6OAL, presented the program.

In another speaking engagement, Jay Holladay and Walt Diem spoke on the Mariner Venus Mercury program to students at the Hogan High School, and to the North Bay Amateur Radio Association, both in Vallejo, California.

Check the updated club newsletter archive. Since last month all 1992 issues have been added. The full May 1974 issue can be accessed at the following Internet address: ¾

Packet Station Update
By Eric Archer, N6CV

Well, it’s been a busy and successful month. We held a work party on April 17th. Jon Adams (NW6H), Randy Hammock (KC6HUR) and Jerry Person (KK6TS) attended. We installed the second in the series of antennas: the 2m Stationmaster vertical. Jerry also fabricated some feed-through plates to be used to feed our coax from the tower into the operations room.

We recently received permission from the IP coordinator at UCSD to use the IP subnet of for our wireless network. As a result of this, I’m in the process of testing our Cisco router in preparation to connect to the JPL network. Once I get it to a reasonable point, I’ll contact JPL network services for help to finish the job.

Gerry Walsh (KB6OOC) has succeeded in resuming operations of the Internet gateway in Bldg. 180. The next step in this process is to restart operations on 2m at 1200 baud and to establish the UHF 9600 station. Once these are complete, we’ll be ready for the 56 KBPS station to go online and be ready to install the router.

I’ve also been investigating some Part 15 compliant 900 MHz radios. These radios have 115 KBPS air data rate (~64 to 100 KBPS throughput) and are frequency hopping Spread Spectrum. I actually have a set of them in our lab here at JPL and plan to test them with our Cisco router.

Our next work party should be around May 15th or 22nd. We plan to install the satellite station antennas and rotors. Hope you can join us. ¾

JPL ARC Repeaters
WR6JPL 147.150 MHz (+) PL 131.8 Open
WR6JPL 224.080 MHz (–) PL 156.7 Open
WR6JPL 224.700 MHz (–) Closed Autopatch
WR6JPL 447.650 MHz (–) PL 103.5 Open
W6JPL-1 145.090 MHz   Packet Node/BBS
W6JPL-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 447.320 MHz (–) PL 94.8 Open

Classified Section


Wanted. Inexpensive 2M Mobile rig to use for Packet. Nothing fancy needed, just 45-50 watts. Contact Bill Westphal WB6YPF at 213-633-3121 or

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:

QST 1990-1994 CD-ROM set, new. $25 (ARRL price $39.95) Skip, W7NWY, 818-354-9674

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.

Icom UT-40 Tone Squelch Option Board (CTCSS) for HT models 2GAT, 4GAT, 12GAT, 32AT or for mobiles 228, 448, 901, 1201, 2400 and 2500. Cost: $80 (AES Catalog) Sale for $40. Radio Shack, Rotor/Controller and Cable, 3 years old, never used, have box/papers, like new. Cost: $70+ Sale for $50. Scott Nolte, N6CUV 818-354-9724n


FCC Drops Amateur Enforcement Line In Favor Of E-Mail, US Mail
Via the ARRL Letter Online, Volume 18, Number 18

The FCC says it now wants Amateur Radio enforcement complaints via e-mail or US mail and has discontinued its Amateur Enforcement Line (202-418-1184). The FCC this week requested that amateur-related complaints be sent via e-mail to or via the US Postal Service to Compliance & Information Bureau, ATTN Amateur Radio Complaints, 1270 Fairfield Rd, Gettysburg, PA 17325.

The FCC instituted the telephone service last fall when it beefed up amateur enforcement under the direction of Riley Hollingsworth, K4ZDH. However, the FCC never intended to maintain the telephone service permanently.

The FCC said this week that complaints already filed on the telephone service will be acted upon, and anyone who has left a message will receive a return call from Commission staff. ¾

FCC Says No to Expanding Special Event Call Sign Program
Via the ARRL Letter Online, Volume 18, Number 18

The FCC has denied the ARRL’s petition that sought to expand the Amateur Radio special event call sign program. The League had asked the FCC to amend its rules to permit the use of special event call sign formats that go beyond the current one-by-one (1x1) format now authorized. The petition also had asked the Commission to include within the special event program call signs denoting US territories and possessions having no mailing address.

In an April 21 letter to League, D’Wana Terry, chief of the Public Safety and Private Wireless Division within the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau said the FCC was "not persuaded that the requested changes to the system are warranted at this time." The League’s petition was submitted May 18, 1998, but it was never assigned a rulemaking number or put out for public comment.

ARRL Executive Vice President David Sumner, K1ZZ, called Terry’s decision "somewhat disappointing."

The special event call sign program is administered by several private sector coordinators, including the ARRL. Those wanting a special event call sign for a limited period are able to reserve one via the Internet. Under current rules, 750 combinations of 1x1 format call signs are available for limited periods. Stations operating with special event call signs still must identify with the station’s regularly assigned call sign at one-hour intervals.

In its petition, the League said there has been significant demand for special event call signs outside of the 1x1 format and for DXpeditions to locations under US jurisdiction that lack US Postal Service addresses. The League also said that there has been "a great deal of interest" in additional special event call sign formats that would let the call sign symbolize a particular event or type of event.

Terry said the FCC has not received any indication from the Amateur Radio community that demand for special event call signs exceeded the number available. She also said the need to create additional formats was outweighed by the complexity of creating them. She advised more experience with the current system before deciding to change it, and she urged the League to continue to monitor demand for special event call signs. Sumner said he was encouraged that the FCC, while denying the petition, had invited the League to revisit the issue later. ¾

Solar Update
Via the ARRL Letter Online, Volume 18, Number 18

Propagation prognosticator Tad Cook, K7VVV, Seattle, Washington, reports:

Solar flux and sunspots were down again this week, although with activity so low, it couldn’t really drop very far. Solar flux has taken a jump in the past couple of days, with solar flux up about 20 points on April 29 compared to earlier in the week. The predicted solar flux for this weekend, April 30-May2 is 125, 130 and 135, and the Planetary A index is predicted at 25, 30 and 30. The geomagnetic field has been active for the past few days due to coronal holes, and this should continue.

Beyond the weekend, higher solar flux should continue, with values around 140 or higher. Solar flux is expected to drop down to around 125 again by May 11, and 110 a week later.

Sunspot numbers for April 22 through 28 were 62, 71, 89, 69, 69, 82, and 76, with a mean of 74. The 10.7-cm flux was 100.2, 98.2, 100.9, 102.6, 104.5, 108.6, and 109.8, with a mean of 103.5. The estimated planetary A indices were 4, 5, 7, 5, 7, 14 and 19, with a mean of 8.7. ¾

Upcoming VEC Exams

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: ¾

Vanity update:

The FCC in Gettysburg reports it has processed vanity call sign applications received through April 8. On April 28, the FCC issued 169 grants. Another 211 applications landed in the work-in-process (WIPs) stack.

The FCC reports it received 1620 vanity applications during March, all but 203 of them filed electronically.—FCC ¾

Newsletter Deadline:

Friday, May 28 for the June 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