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Calendar of Events
Meeting Notice
Prez’ Mix
March Club Meetings
DX News
Bldg 180 S-band ATV Status
Personal Equipment Identification
Field Day
25 Years Ago, W6VIO Calling
Classified Section
QRP’er Busted
More 5 WPM Countries
Solar Update

Calendar of Events

April 8

[Fontana Swap Meet, A. B. Miller HS, Fontana}

April 12

General Meeting, Noon - 238-543

April 15

[CMRA Hamfest, Cal Poly, Pomona, 7 AM]

April 26

Board Meeting, Noon - 233-305J

April 29

[TRW Swap meet, Redondo Beach]

May 10

General Meeting, Noon - 238-543

May 13

[Fontana Swap Meet, A. B. Miller HS, Fontana}

May 20

[CMRA Hamfest, Cal Poly, Pomona, 7 AM]

May 24

Board Meeting, Noon - 233-305J

May 27

[TRW Swap meet, Redondo Beach]

June 14

General Meeting, Noon - 238-543

June 17

[CMRA Hamfest, Cal Poly, Pomona, 7 AM]

June 10

[Fontana Swap Meet, A. B. Miller HS, Fontana}

June 23-25

Field Day!

June 24

[TRW Swap meet, Redondo Beach]

June 28

Board Meeting, Noon - 233-305J

Meeting Notice

By Christopher Carson, KE6ABQ

The April General meeting will be held April 12th at noon in 238-543.  Bob Polansky will be laying out the plans for this year's Field Day effort, where JPLARC will take first place in our class.

This year is shaping up to be one of our best Field Days yet! We can use your help in planning, strategy, logistics, transportation, setup, operating, logging, teardown, public information or hauling the port-a-potty.  You don’t have to do everything, or even a lot.  Pick one task to lead or one task to help someone else do.  Every little bit helps and it doesn’t have to overwhelm your schedule.  It really can be fun and rewarding.

Also on the meeting agenda is the first SHARES exercise of the year.  This exercise will take place starting 1100 PDT on April 19th.  Check-ins during the exercise will be by voice mode and BBS and ALE modes.

The April JPLARC Board meeting will be held 26th in 233-305J.  Everyone is welcome to attend – bring your lunch if you want.    n

Prez’ Mix

By Bob Dengler, NO6B

The last two months have been some of the busiest in quite a while for our club.  Thanks to great preparation and participation by our members, the 15th Los Angeles Marathon was well supported by amateur radio communications this year. 

We had excellent voice and APRS coverage along the course, seasoned operators who knew how to get messages through concisely, a new non-emergency information net for handling the less important yet relevant communications needs of the marathon, and most importantly a fun time standing in the rain helplessly watching our radios short out. 

Our illustrious leader, Scott Fraser KN6F was so busy he wouldn’t even stop to pose for a picture with the “incident commander”.  I hope next year he won’t oversubscribe too much and leave some time for socializing with some of the crew that helps him put together such a successful operation. 

One of the biggest achievements this year was the fielding of a successful APRS operation despite the absence of our resident APRS guru, Randy Hammock.  Although Allen Hubbard’s portable APRS tracker failed, the others he built and were carried into lead vehicles by other participants performed flawlessly.  Thanks for saving marathon APRS, Allen!

In case you haven’t been up to 180-R6 lately, Eric Archer and Phil Smith have been quietly breaking new ground in ARC/JPL cooperation, putting together a 2 GHz ATV system for the lab’s emergency preparedness group.  Right now the system consists of a portable camera and 2 GHz transmitters, and a receiver in 180-R6 that feeds into the lab’s cable TV system.  As you can see from the pictures in Eric’s article later in this issue, initial tests have been very successful.

Now that the marathon is over, we can fully focus on getting ready for field day June 23rd through 25th; watch for more info from Bob Polansky.  As previously mentioned, this year’s event will be a BIG one for the club.  We will be using the W6VIO callsign this year as we attempt to win our division.  So if you’ve never been to our field day or perhaps have in the past but don’t normally show up, think about it this year.  We REALLY want to get enough of a turnout to make sure all the stations are well covered for the entire 24 hours, and more importantly, enough help to get the stations setup and torn down quickly and safely.  73   ¢

March Club Meetings

General Meeting, March 8

By Chris Carson KE6ABQ

Jonathan KF6RTA had a last minute conflict in his schedule and was unable to attend, so I am sitting in as the scribe this month.  The March General Meeting was held March 8th at noon in 238-543.  We failed to achieve a quorum, but there was no official club business on the docket.

Scott Nolte N6CUV reminded those present that this year’s dues are now the full price of a whopping $11.00, since the discount period expired February 29th.  If you haven’t paid yet, please send Scott a check for $11.00 to JPL mail stop 306-392, payable to JPL-ARC.  Or pay in person at the next meeting.

Phil Smith WB6LQP and Eric Archer N6CV brought us up to date on the ATV efforts and plans for the next month or two.  A spirited general discussion followed, weighing the merits of fixed and portable repeaters vs. multiple receive sites to provide maximum video coverage capabilities in the challenging environment that the Lab poses.  System testing and signal mapping activities are expected to take place in the next several months.  Contact Phil or Eric if you are interested in helping.  Or even if you only have questions.

Bob Dengler NO6B provided a review of Ham radio efforts in support of this year’s L.A. Marathon.  Included in the presentation was a map of APRS tracking of the race, pictures of some of the operating positions and some lessons learned.  The APRS digipeater appeared to have provided fairly good coverage of the racecourse, although there were some unexplained dropouts in the northern end of the course.

The April General Meeting is scheduled for April 12th at noon in 238-543.  Don’t forget to bring your dues if you haven’t yet paid.  (It’s the IRS or us…)

Board of Directors Meeting, March 22

By Jonathan M. Cameron (KF6RTA)

The meeting opened at approximately 12:05pm.  A quorum was present during the meeting, specifically: Bob Dengler (NO6B), Chris Carson (KE6ABQ), Walt Mushagian (K6DNS), Eric Archer (NC6V), Randy Hammock (KC6HUR), Bill Woods (W6FXJ, by phone), and Jonathan Cameron (KF6RTA).

After greeting Randy Hammock back to this side of the country, he reported that he had received a bill for the portable toilet that was used at field day last year.  He will contact Bob Polansky regarding how to resolve that issue.

After some discussion, the board of directors voted unanimously to purchase a FTE 847 radio and a GP9 antenna.  Eric Archer will work with Bob Dengler to get the appropriate account number for purchasing this from the EOC funds and to see that the purchase is done quickly with a P-card.  No approval was needed for the FTE 847 since this was already in the budget, but the GP9 is a new item costing approximately $180.  Since we didn’t have the budget documents at the meeting, we voted to carry the negative balance until the next BOD meeting, whereupon the budget can be adjusted to get it balanced again.  The vote for this was unanimous except for one abstention. 

Eric Archer noted that we need a rotator for the 6m antenna.  He will double check with Bob Polansky about the availability of a rotator in the club’s equipment.

It was reported that the FT1000 and 850 radios in the club shack were damaged recently by near-by lightening strikes.  We are in the process of getting these radios repaired, but this reminded us that all radios in the shack should be disconnected from the coax lines to the antennas when users finish with the radios and leave the shack.

The meeting was adjourned at 12:25pm.    ¾

DX News

By Bob Polansky, N6ET

This Sunday, 2 April, some antenna maintenance will take place.  We already have the needed volunteers to make this a successful effort.  When completed, a new 40 through 10-meter vertical antenna will be added to our hilltop collection of radiators.  In addition, the big tower antenna mast, which has been rotated relative to the rotor by heavy winds, will be reoriented and pinned.

Sunspot numbers have gone ballistic!  The bands are hoping, especially 20 through 10 meters.  The shack now has three stations in operation and a number of the Club members are making use of that fact.  If you need training on how to operate the HF capabilities in the trailer, give me a call at x44940 and we’ll set up a time.  10 and 12 meters have been most productive from early morning through early afternoon with stations from all over the world being logged.  Life is good!!  If you want to know more about upcoming DX activities, read on (quoted heavily from The 59(9) DX Report)

AUSTRAL ISLANDS - FO0HWU is active on most bands near the low band edge, primarily on CW.

BURUNDI - Look for 9U5D.  He’s been reported on 10, 30, and 40 meters both phone and cw.  I’m sure he works other bands also.  Keep an eye out for him, since he will be leaving this African QTH fairly shortly.

CROZET - FT5WI will be active through November of this year.  This is the time in the sunspot cycle when you should salt this one away.

EAST TIMOR - A number of stations are active from this new entity.  4W/W3UR, 4W6MM, 4W6EB, 4W6GH, and 4W6/VK2QF have all been active on 10 through 40 meters.  Look for the pile-ups and listen down 5 to 30 kHz.  For specific published frequencies, come to the shack and read the DX bulletins.

NEPAL - No specifics yet, but 9N7RB will be active from here for the next 3 years.  A wonderful “aside” is that he has a local QSL manager.

SOLOMON ISLANDS - H44PT is active now through 9 April, primarily on 6 and 10 meters.

TURKEY -This entity is pretty rare, even during contests.  Look for TA/LA8XM from 8 May through 3 June.  No frequencies were given.

Listen for yourself.  The bands haven’t been better for the last 11 years!    ¾


Bldg 180 S-Band ATV

By Eric Archer, N6CV

Well we’ve made good progress towards supporting Eric Fuller’s Emergency Coordinators meeting next week.  Last Friday (3/31) Walt Mushagian, Chris Carson, Phil Smith, Don Wetton and I connected a video camera thru an S-Band (2400 MHz) RF link into the JPL CATV system.  Don loaned us a video modulator and demod for the test.  Chris and Walt took the video cam and transmitter and walked along Explorer Road, by Bldgs 238, library and down to the new Security bldg, 310.  As expected, video was spotty in front of the library.  Once we got into the open, quality was excellent.  For those interested, we are using JPL-TV channel 37 as a test channel.  This demonstrates the basic system functionality.  Other attendees were Bob Dengler, Gerry Walsh and Mike Ciminera.

For the meeting next week, I plan to have the camera and transmitter mounted on a tripod placed in some strategic location that has a clear line of sight to the bldg 180 roof.  We’ll plan to give a simple live demonstration of our capability.  Watch for us on Channel 37.


Still Shot of ERC Entrance  (photos by NO6B)

There will be no meeting this Friday (4/7) as I have a schedule conflict.  However, if anyone is interested, please feel free to go to Bldg 180 roof on Friday at noon and use the shack as a meeting place and do things that interest you.  Otherwise, we’ll continue the Friday lunch meetings on 4/14.  We have many activities such as high-speed packet (9600, 56KBPS, 115KBPS), ATV (UHF and S-Band), Computers (Linux servers and Cisco routers), and other RF activities.  I’m putting in a requisition for a Yaesu FT-847, so we’ll be installing the satellite station (Hopefully before P3D launches...) and the 6-meter station.  We also will plan to have a 6-meter antenna party soon!

Come on by and join the fun!  There’s something for everyone.    ¾

The Importance of Personal Equipment Identification

By Chuck Sarture, KG6NF

The LA Marathon is this weekend!  Where is that HT of mine?  I’ve looked EVERYWHERE for the past four days and it’s NOWHERE!

I’m embarrassed to say those are my own words.  At this point, my mind was starting to play tricks on me.  E-mail had gone out over the club exploder a week and a half ago regarding an HT found in the East Lot, but it didn’t catch my attention because I had just lost it and didn’t miss it yet.  I happened to mention it to a fellow ham today, who recalled the e-mail, and, fortunately, JPL Security had it.  (Just as I was about to head out to get a new one.)

The lesson I’ve learned from this is the importance of putting identification on all personal amateur radio gear so that it can be more easily identified and returned.  .That’s something that’s all too easy to pooh-pooh until it actually happens.    ¾

Field Day

By Bob, N6ET

Don’t forget to put aside the weekend of 23 through 25 June for this year’s “ALL OUT EFFORT to set a new Class 3 all-time record.  We have the hilltop, we have the operators, we have the antennas, we have the will, and most importantly, we have the cooks.  We will succeed!

I will give a brief summary of where we stand at the April Club meeting.  We need lots of volunteers to help with the planning and driving of tower trailers, port-a-potties, etc., to the Field Day site.  Also of key importance, we need volunteers to lead the operations in each of the areas we intend to operate.  Please contact either Bob Polansky at x44940 or Jay Holladay at x47758 and let us know how you can support this effort.   ¾


W6VIO Mesa Antennas (photo by Jim Lumsden)

25 Years Ago in:


By Bill Wood, W6FXJ

Returning Editor Stan Hench, WB6JMP, started his second hitch with a fully packed double month issue.  Jay Holladay’s ARRL Notes column included the FCC’s plan for Bicentennial Call Signs for 1976. A Goldstone Happenings article covered plans to for a Goldstone ARC as an adjunct to the JPL ARC. 

The full April-May 1975 issue can be accessed at the following Internet address: ¾

Classified Section


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 818-354-9724

Kenwood DFK-7C Faceplate extension kit for the TM-742A, TM-642A & V7A. 22 Foot cables. $40.00  Contact Bill Westphal 213-787-9991   n

QRP’er Busted!

Via the Amateur Radio News Service

A local ham, well known for (what he called) his QRP activities was the subject of a predawn raid by the enforcement arm of the FCC.

Rick Campbell, of Carpenter Street, was charged with running a 5000-watt station.  “I should have realized something was wrong when the bamboo spreaders on my quad caught fire,” Campbell remarked ruefully, as they led him away.

A Radio Shack milliammeter mislabeled as a microammeter seems to have been the culprit. -I couldn’t get the proper power output,” Campbell said, -so I just kept adding transistors to the final amp.  I had just achieved an indicated 5 watts, when my SWR meter went haywire.  I went out to check my antenna just as the fire trucks rolled up.”

All of Mr.. Campbell’s equipment was impounded.  “I never seized an amplifier before that had nine thousand 2N2222’s in parallel,” the special FCC investigator, Rufus Bluthund, commented. “We’re using it now to heat our office. It does a fine Job.”

So for, the ARRL DX desk hasn’t responded to Campbell’s application for the first 10-meter CW DXCC by EME.

From -Chirps & Clicks & Spurious Emissions,“ newsletter of the Kalamazoo, MI) Radio Club via the April ‘93 Steel City ARC (Carnegie, PA) Kilo- Watt Harmonics”—Bob Rockwell, W3SYT Editor.¾


South Africa, Australia To Adopt 5 WPM For Full HF Access

Via ARRL Letter Online, Volume 19, Number 13

Two more countries have joined a small but growing list of administrations that have adopted a 5 WPM Morse code test requirement for full access to the HF bands. 

South Africa has approved a full HF-access license plus what it called "a practical based student license"--both requiring a 5 WPM code test.  The new Class A3 ticket--with a distinctive ZT call sign prefix--provides "full license" privileges at up to 100 W output.  The new entry-level Class B license aimed at school-aged youth requires completing what's called a "modular syllabus"--essentially a construction project that results in a completed station.  Licensees will be assigned ZU-prefix call signs and be able to operate at up to 25 W output on selected band segments.  The 12 WPM Morse code requirement remains in place for the Class A1 "full license," which carries the ZS prefix, privileges on all bands and a maximum output of 400 W. 

Meanwhile, the Wireless Institute of Australia is claiming a substantial victory in its efforts to get the Australian Communications Authority to lower the Morse code license test speed for full access to HF bands there from 10 to 5 WPM.  The ACA has said it plans to merge the privileges of the current Intermediate and Unrestricted licenses.  The change will take place by mid-year, just in time for the expected influx of visitors for the Olympics in Sydney. 

Under the plan, Australian Intermediate licensees will get the same HF privileges as so-called "full call" licensees.  The two license classes and their distinctive call signs blocks would remain, however, as would the 10 WPM code requirement for the Unrestricted ticket.  The Intermediate License currently requires a 5 WPM Morse test and has restricted access to 80, 15, and 10 meters at 100 W output.  So-called "Full calls" get access to all Australian amateur allocations at up to 400 W.  Once the ACA upgrades the Intermediate license, holders would have full HF access and privileges. 

The general issue of Morse code licensing requirements is expected to be a topic for debate at the IARU Region 3 conference the WIA will host later this year.  Discussion of the International Radio Regulations regarding the Morse code requirement is not expected to come up prior to the World Radiocommunication Conference set for 2003. 

South Africa and Australia join the US, the UK, Sweden, and Gibraltar among countries that have lowered the Morse code requirement for full HF access to 5 WPM.  A reduced Morse code requirement is under consideration in Canada, India, and Germany.--thanks to Jim Linton VK3PC, President WIA Victoria, and Jim Price, N3QYE    ¾

Solar Update

Via ARRL Letter Online, Volume 19, Number 13

Sun watcher Tad Cook, K7VVV, Seattle, Washington, reports: Last week's conditions for the CQ Worldwide WPX Phone Contest turned out to be quite good.  The predicted geomagnetic upset did not arrive.  This is the second time recently that bad conditions were forecast for a contest weekend, and then the energy from the coronal hole or flare that was expected to disrupt propagation did not affect the earth. 

Solar flux and sunspot numbers were higher this week than last, with average sunspot numbers up 54 points and average solar flux rising several points.  Solar flux actually peaked for the short term during the previous week on March 22 at 235.6.  The low for week was Tuesday, when solar flux was 200.9.  It may go lower this weekend. 

The predicted solar flux for the next five days, Friday through Tuesday, is 205, 200, 195, 205 and 210.  Flux values may again dip below 200 around April 10-16, then peak near 250 around April 22 or 23.  Possible days of geomagnetic upset, based on the solar rotation are April 18 and 19 and April 28. 

Sunspot numbers for March 23 through 29 were 236, 230, 243, 255, 227, 232 and 238 with a mean of 237.3.  The 10.7-cm flux was 224.1, 218.9, 205.1, 211.3, 204.9, 200.9 and 208.8, with a mean of 210.6.  The estimated planetary A indices were 11, 10, 8, 5, 5, 5 and 9, with a mean of 7.6.  ¾

In Brief

Via ARRL Letter Online, Volume 19, Number 12

FCC fines Washington firm for illegal amplifier sales: The FCC has affirmed a $7000 fine on Cellular Systems Northwest Inc of Enumclaw, Washington, for willful and repeated violations of the Communications Act and FCC rules relating to the sale of transmitting equipment. 

In a Memorandum Opinion and Order March 16, the FCC said Northwest, a consumer electronics dealer, on two occasions in 1997 and 1998 sold and offered to sell "external radio frequency power amplifiers--commonly known as 'linear amplifiers'" to two different FCC agents posing as a member of the general public. 

The FCC said the amps were capable of operating in the 27-MHz Citizens Band.  A Notice of Apparent Liability was issued in June 1998.  Northwest sought recission of the $7000 forfeiture saying it never intended to offer or recommend the linears for CB use; its violation was unintentional; that it had ceased selling the illegal equipment; and that it is "small retailer" attempting to make ends meet. 

The FCC was unmoved and upheld the $7000 fine.  The company was given 30 days to pay.--FCC   ¾

Newsletter Deadline:

Friday, April 28 for the May 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.

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Posted April 5, 2000