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Calendar of Events
Meeting Notice
Prez’ Mix
December Club Meetings
DX News
Club Supports JPL Y2K Activities
25 Years Ago, W6VIO Calling
Classified Section
ARRL Bulletin


Calendar of Events


Meeting Notice

The next General Meeting of the JPL Amateur Radio Club will be held on Wednesday, December 12, 2000 in 238-543. You can bring your lunch and eat during the meeting. It is vital that YOU attend. To achieve a quorum we need a majority of the Board of Directors and five Regular Members to attend in order to be able to conduct the Club's business. YOU can make a difference. 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 to the BOD meeting. n

Prez’ Mix

By Bob Dengler, NO6B

Happy New Year, everybody!  I hope you’re all recovered from this year’s extra special activities.  In addition to the usual New Year’s Eve parties and the Tournament of Roses parade communications effort, we had the Y2K issues to deal with.  Several club members participated in the special NASA HF network that was set up to provide communications between all the NASA centers in the event normal communications circuits were disrupted by the rollover to 2000.

By all accounts there were no communications anomalies of any kind observed.  However, it made a great communications exercise and provided valuable training for the day we may depend on the HF net for emergency communications.

As in years past, our 147.15 repeater was used by the Tournament of Roses Radio Amateurs for Rose Parade communications support.  Unlike previous years, our system was used quite heavily at times to support logistical communications for the band and equestrian units.  It turned out that our efforts to improve the system sensitivity by splitting the transmit and receive functions to two antennas paid off as some of the volunteer communicators often had marginal signals into the repeater.  Had the system noise figure been 3 dB worse, many transmissions that barely made it through the repeater would otherwise have been unintelligible. 

A potentially serious adjacent-channel interference problem was averted the previous evening when simplex activity that developed on 147.765 as a result of a power failure to the W6QFK repeater was asked to move.  While this kind of interference is far less common on 220 and 440, it does illustrate the importance of adhering to the band plans when selecting frequencies.

Well I wish I could think of some more profound words of wisdom for this first newsletter of the 2000s, but nothing comes to mind.  How about considering volunteering your communications skills for the 15th Los Angeles Marathon on March 5th?  The club supports this operation in a major way by providing complete support for the entire medical net and can always use some more talented operators.  Contact me and I’ll get you an application.  73    n


December Club Meeting

By Christopher Carson, KE6ABQ

The annual December dinner meeting at Marie Calendars’s restaurant was cancelled due to a lack of a sufficient number of reservations to hold the room for the Club.  Instead, the December meeting was held at 12:00 noon in 238-543 on Wednesday, December 8th.  A quorum was (barely) reached by about 12:15.

Since the previous two general meetings failed to achieve quorum, no nominations or elections had taken place.  The current officers agreed to run for their respective offices, and despite my best efforts, I was nominated for Vice President.  Since there was only one nominee for each office, per Article VII Section 3 of the Club Bylaws, the written ballot was dispensed with and a voice vote was taken. All candidates were elected unanimously except for my abstention in the vote for VP.

The Club Officers for 2000 are:

President:             Bob Dengler NO6B
Vice President:    Christopher Carson KE6ABQ
Secretary:             Jonathan Cameron KF6RTA
Treasurer:             Chuck Sarture KG6NF

Bob Polansky discussed final preparations for the Club’s support of JPL’s Y2k transition activities. The EOC, SFOF,  ROSA, and the W6VIO HF station in T-1309, will be manned by club members during local midnight transitions at Canberra, Madrid, Goddard, and JPL/Goldstone to provide backup communications if the primary modes fail.

JPL will host the next General Meeting of the 220 MHz Spectrum Management Association in Von Karman Auditorium, on Saturday, January 15, 2000. Doors will open at 8:30 a.m. for check-in and for membership renewals and new sign-ups. The meeting will commence promptly at 9:00 a.m.   n


DX News

By Bob Polansky, N6ET

Christmas is over as is Y2K-day.  Now it’s back to life in the slow lane.  Yours truly has been spending a little bit of time on 10 and 12 meters, just enough to bring back pleasant memories of how much fun the higher HF bands can be when the sunspot numbers soar.  Europe as well as Africa sure are loud these days!

All the preparations for Y2K went per Plan (See the article on that activity elsewhere in W6VIO Calling.)  The following shows that there is DX life out there, and will continue to be over the next several months.

CAMBODIA -  A Cambodian operation, call sign unknown, is planned from 5 January through 4 February.  W6VIO needs this on SSB.

CLIPPERTON ISLAND -  It’s been a long time since this rare entity showed up on the ham bands.  An all-out operation is planned by FO0C from 26 February through 15 March.  QSO’s on any band should be very easy from the West Coast.

JUAN FERNANDEZ -  Look for CE0Z from 6 January through 16 January.  W6VIO needs this one on CW.

MARION ISLAND  - ZS8D is active through the end of April.  Operating frequencies from 20 through 10 meters, both phone and CW have been published.

MYANMAR -  XZ0A will liven the Asian scene from 13 January through 6 February.  Let me know if you hear him on 17, 12, or 10 meters.

PALESTINE -  E4/G3WQU and E41/OK1DTP continue to provide action from this new entity.

PITCAIRN ISLAND -  Look for VP6BR (It used to be VR6) starting now through the end of April.  W6VIO needs this on CW and I could use it on 30 meters also.

TEMOTU ISLAND -  H40MS plan activity for three weeks during February.  Maybe we can catch him on 80 meters this time.  Another H40 operation is planned for this coming March.  No details yet on either of these operations.

That’s enough for now.  Still want to write an article about your Club’s support of the Y2K activity at JPL.  Here’s wishing you all a very Happy New Year.  n


Club Supports JPL Y2K Activities

By Bob Polansky, N6ET

Late last summer, the JPL ARC was asked to support the now winding down Y2K activity at the Lab.  There were significant concerns on the ability of the international communications infrastructure to remain intact during the Y2K rollover period.  This coupled with concerns over the uncertainty of commercial power availability resulted in an exciting challenge to our Club.

To ensure that status could be communicated from JPL’s Deep Space Complexes (DSCC) back to the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) at the Lab, each of the DSCC’s were provided with Amateur Radio transceivers and antennas capable of operating on the NASA frequencies just outside of the Amateur Radio 80, 40, and 20 meter bands.  Equipment was installed, tuned up, and tested at each DSCC.  People were trained in its use at each location, and finally, end-to-end tests were conducted directly between Canberra and JPL, Goldstone and JPL, and Madrid and JPL (using a planned relay station located at Goddard). 

The systems were exercised on several occasions both during Y2K test exercises and standalone exercises outside of the formal Y2K tests.  JPL Facilities provided generator power to our W6VIO trailer to ensure our operability in the event of commercial power outages.  Also, they provided temporary emergency power to other critical JPL comm points to ensure that command and data connectivity between the DSCC’s and JPL as well as Email connectivity with the NASA EOC would survive commercial power interruptions.

In addition, a 220 mHz VHF net was activated between key JPL and TMOD facilities to provide critical communication in case of a local telephone outage.

On Y2K-day, the backup Y2K comm system worked even better than expected.  All the backup comm links worked as expected and copy was possible over links we didn’t think possible during our planning activities.  A number of other NASA Centers also participated in the backup communications “Y2K NET” and were prepared to pass status information both directly and indirectly to the NASA Emergency Operations Center located at Goddard.  The Y2K NET provided continuous “availability” from the first Y2K event at Canberra through the last Y2K event occurring at Goldstone/JPL.

Many JPL ARC members supported this activity, as did a very dedicated set of Club members at Goddard and several of the other NASA Centers.  Special thanks go to Hugh O’Donnell, the President of the GSFC ARC and the Goddard Club members at their location that provided Net Control activities during this exciting day. 

In addition, special thanks go our own Club members, Phil Barnes-Roberts, Chris Carson, Robb Frederickson, Randy Hammock, Jim Hodder, Jay Holladay, Steve Jenkins, Dick Mathison, Vieve Metcalfe, Walt Mushagian, Richard Schick, John Tallon, Bill Wood, and yours truly for taking time from their family holiday festivities to support this very important activity for JPL.

I believe our collective efforts have again showed the valuable service our amateur radio community can provide to our country in times of need.   n


25 Years Ago in:

By Bill Wood, W6FXJ

The January 1975 issue ran some 13 pages largely due to the inclusion of the FCC Notice of Proposed Rule Making 20282 that covered proposed changes to the Amateur Radio Service. 

Walt Diem, WA6PEA, was elected President for 1975 along with Gil Yanow, K6TOS, as Vice President, Ralph West, WB6YMF, Secretary and Jim Lumsden, WA6MYJ, Treasurer.

Walt, now K6PEA, announced a JPL ARC group purchase of 2-meter and 220 VHF equipment at “irresistibly low” discount prices. 

The full January1975 issue can be accessed at the following Internet address:   n


Classified Section


Kenwood TM-642 or TM 742 with both 2M and 220MHz modules.  Bill Westphal 213-787-9991

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   n


ARRL Bulletin

Amateur Restructuring is Here: Three License Classes, One Code Speed

NEWINGTON, CT, Dec 30, 1999--Amateur Radio will get a new look in the new millennium.  The FCC today issued its long-awaited Report and Order in the 1998 Biennial Regulatory Review of Part 97--more commonly known as “license restructuring.” The bottom line is that starting April 15, 2000, there will be three license classes—Technician, General, and Amateur Extra—and a single Morse code requirement--5 WPM.

“We believe that an individual’s ability to demonstrate increased Morse code proficiency is not necessarily indicative of that individual’s ability to contribute to the advancement of the radio art,” the FCC said.

Besides drastically streamlining the Amateur Radio licensing process, the FCC said its actions would “eliminate unnecessary requirements that may discourage or limit individuals from becoming trained operators, technicians, and electronic experts.”

Although no new Novice and Advanced licenses will be issued after the effective date of the Report and Order, the FCC does not plan to automatically upgrade any existing license privileges.  The ARRL had proposed a one-time across-the-board upgrading of current Novice and Tech Plus licensees to General class, but the FCC declined to adopt the idea.  This means that current licensees will retain their current operating privileges, including access to various modes and subbands, and will be able to renew their licenses indefinitely.

Starting April 15, 2000, individuals who qualified for the Technician class license prior to March 21, 1987, will be able to upgrade to General class by providing documentary proof to a Volunteer Examiner Coordinator, paying an application fee, and completing FCC Form 605.

The FCC’s decision not to automatically upgrade Novice and Tech Plus licensees means the current Novice/Tech Plus HF subbands will remain and not be “refarmed” to higher class licensees as the ARRL had proposed.  The FCC said it did not refarm these subbands because there was “no consensus” within the amateur community as to what to do with them.

As it had proposed earlier, the FCC decided to lump Technician and Tech Plus licensees into a single licensee database, all designated as “Technician” licensees.  Those who can document having passed the 5 WPM Morse code examination will continue to have the current Tech Plus HF privileges.  “If documentation is needed to verify whether a licensee has passed a telegraphy examination, we may request the documentation from that licensee or the VECs,” the FCC said.

In addition to reducing the number of license classes from six to three and eliminating the 20 and 13 WPM code tests, the FCC also will reduce the number of written examination elements from five to three, authorize Advanced Class hams to prepare and administer General class examinations, and eliminate Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service (RACES) station licenses.  RACES will remain, however.  “After review of the record, we conclude that we should eliminate RACES station licenses because RACES station licenses are unnecessary for amateur stations and amateur service licenses to provide emergency communications,” the FCC said.

Under the new licensing scheme, there will be four examination elements.  Element 1 will be the 5 WPM Morse code exam.  Element 2 will be a 35-question written test to obtain a Technician license; Element 3 will be a 35-question written test to obtain a General license, and Element 4 will be a 50-question written test for the Amateur Extra license.  The FCC has left it in the hands of the National Conference of VECs Question Pool Committee to determine the specific mix and makeup of written examination questions.  Current Amateur Radio study materials remain valid at least until the new rules become effective in April.

The FCC’s new licensing plan means someone will be able to become a ham by passing a single 35-question written examination.  The plan also simplifies and shortens the upgrade path from the ground floor through Amateur Extra—especially since amateurs will only have to pass one Morse code test.

Elimination of the 13 and 20 WPM Morse requirements also means an end to physician certification waivers for applicants claiming an inability to pass the Morse code examination due to physical handicap.

The effective date provides a window of upgrade opportunity for current Advanced licensees.  Between now and April 15, current Advanced holders may take the existing Element 4B, a 40-question test, giving them credit for having passed the current Extra written examination.  Likewise, holders of a Certificate of Successful Completion of Examination (CSCE) for Elements 3B or 4B dated on or after April 17, 1999, will be able to qualify for General or Amateur Extra respectively when the new rules go into effect on April 15, 2000.

The FCC disagreed with the League’s suggestion that it undertake a restructuring of operating privileges along with licensing restructuring.  “We believe that in light of ongoing discussions concerning implementation of new and more modern communications technologies within the amateur service community, we should accord the amateur service community an opportunity to complete such discussions and possibly reach a consensus regarding implementation of new technologies before we undertake a comprehensive restructuring of the amateur service operating privileges and frequencies,” the FCC said in its Report and Order.

In its amendments to Part 97, the FCC’s Report and Order refers to a “Club Station Call Sign Administrator,” something that does not exist under the current rules and which was not explained in the R&O itself. An FCC spokesperson said the Commission plans to issue a Public Notice soon to explain the program and to solicit qualified entities to serve as call sign administrators for club station applications.

A copy of the entire Report and Order (FCC 99-412) is available at: or at    n

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Updated January 6, 2000