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Calendar of Events

Meeting Notice

Prez’ Mix

September Club Meetings

DX News

Elmering Needs a Revival!

Classified Section


    Governor Vetoes PRB-1 Bill

    Solar Update

Calendar of Events

October 7

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

October 11

General Meeting, Noon - T-1309

October 21

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

October 25

Board Meeting, Noon - 233-305J

October 28

[TRW Swap meet, Redondo Beach]

November 4

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

November 8

General Meeting, Noon - 238-543

November 19

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

November 22

Board Meeting, Noon - 233-305J

November 25

[TRW Swap meet, Redondo Beach]

December 2

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

December 13

Annual JPL ARC Banquet

December 16

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

December 27

Board Meeting, Noon - 233-305J

December 30

[TRW Swap meet, Redondo Beach]

Meeting Notice

By Christopher Carson, KE6ABQ


The October General Meeting of the JPL Amateur Radio Club will be held October 11th at noon at Trailer 1309, which houses the Club’s HF operation.  Come see W6VIO and get the tour - three HF rigs, the DX Cluster PC, and more. T-1309 is located directly across the street from the Guard Shack at the East Gate.  The Lab Day Bus or Van stops nearby every 10 minutes. Bring your lunch if you like.

The October JPLARC Board meeting will be held October 25th in 233-305J. Everyone is welcome to attend – bring your lunch if you want.    n

Prez’ Mix

By Bob Dengler, NO6B

There are two items I want to make sure I get the word out on this month.  The first is that it is that time of the year when we need to form a nominating committee to assemble a slate of club officers for you to vote on this De­cember.  Well, OK, so we never get enough members to run for office so each position ends up being uncontested. 

We never even get a nominating committee formed unless you consider a committee of one a committee.  At least consider the job of nominating “person”.  It is a short-term position.  All you have to do it twist four arms to produce next year’s President, VP, secretary and treasurer. 

The first is easy:  I’m volunteering to run once again as your imperious leader.  So make that three vermiculated arms to produce.  If you would like to help your club make it to 2001 intact, please give me a call at 4-9620.

This month’s general club meeting will be a most interesting change of pace. We’ll be meeting at the club’s trailer shack at the East gate for a special presentation by Bob Polansky and Walt Mushagian, who will tell you everything you ever wanted to know about the club’s HF capability.  They will show you how to use the club equipment as well as take re­quests for shack keys for any club members who don’t have access.  If you’d like to start using our world-class HF DX stations or just want to see how our HF equipment works dur­ing the 364 days it’s not at field day, stop by at noon at the East gate on Wednesday, October 11.    n

September Club Meetings

By Jonathan M. Cameron (KF6RTA)

General Meeting, September 13

No official meeting was held since there was a lack of a quorum.  A few items were discussed informally.  A new employee, John Berry (KB8LZZ), was welcomed to JPL and invited to join the JPL Amateur Radio Club.  Bob Polansky (N6ET) discussed a few items re­lating to next years budget.  And Randy Hammock (KE6HUR) reviewed the situation at the Cerro Negro repeater site.

Board of Directors Meeting, September 27

The meeting was called to order with a quorum at approxi­mately 12:25pm.  Those present were: Eric Archer (N6CV), Chris Carson (KE6ABQ), Bob Dengler (N06b), Randy Hammock (KE6HUR), Walt Mushagian (K6DNS), Chuck Sarture (KG6NF), Bill Wood (W6FXJ, by telephone) and Jonathan Cameron (KF6RTA).

Bob Dengler presented a trial budget for next year (2001).  The discussion of various items on the budget and the need to reduce ex­penditures led to some changes in the budget.  Bob Dengler will discuss some changes with the club members most affected and should have a working budget resolved in the next month or two.

JPL has inspected the area around the JPLARC Radio shack and has warned the club that the area must be cleaned up soon.  Various ways to achieve this were discussed.  The board de­cided that the next meeting of the club would be at the trailer site, hopefully as a mini open house

The meeting broke up at 1:05.   ¾

DX News

By Bob Polansky, N6ET

This will be a short article this time.  There’s a lot of DX activity out there from 40 through 10 meters.  It’s a bit too early for 80 and 160 meters, and 6 meters has been closed every time I’ve listened.  I did manage several QSO’s with Los Angeles though!  The long path on 20, 17, and 15 meters has been productive during the early morning hours.  Here’s what’s coming in the DX arena:

AGALEGA - 3B6RF will bring all the bands to life from 8 to 24 October.  Frequencies for 160 through 6 meters, both phone and CW, are posted in the W6VIO shack.  Don’t miss this one.  They should have enough firepower to be workable on 80 through 10 meters.

BANGLADESH - Look for S21YD who plans activity during the first week in November, mainly on 20 and 15 meters.

BHUTAN - A team of five JA’s will operate from Bhutan, call sign unknown, from 27 October through 3 November.  Hope­fully they will have better propagation than the last team, who just left.  160 through 6 meters, all modes, is planned.

CRETE - SV9/HA4XG/P will be the call sign used from 28 September through 12 October, primarily on the WARC bands.

VANUATU - From 18 through 28 November, a group of W9 radio amateurs will put YJ on the air.  While this isn’t on the top ten list of most rare DX entities, they should be workable on 160 and even 6 meters.  All band, all mode, operation is planned.

Hope this entices you to keep an ear to the ole HF transceiver and listen for all the ones I haven’t told you about! ¾

Elmering Needs A Revival!

By J. Ervin Bates, W8ERV

After nearly four full months of debate over the FCC’s restructuring R&O, between members of our Amateur Radio ranks, I have come to the conclusion that the answer to our problem lies within each of us.  I know, “here we go again,” right?  I certainly hope so. 

As someone who has been a direct recipient of the assistance of many Elmers since 1994, I cannot stress enough, the im­portance of those helping hams.  You probably would think it takes a great deal of time to do this, wouldn’t you?  The fact is that couldn’t be further from the truth.  It only takes a little time and a little effort between several of you.  Take my case, for example. 

One local Club member directed his attention to my knowl­edge and mastery of the Morse code.  Another interested me in antennas.  Still another, to the joy of HF operating.  And then, there was the guy who was a die-hard QRP enthusiast.  That one has lasted and I find myself enjoying it today!  Ah, the list is long and distinguished and my thanks will never be enough for all their efforts on my behalf.  But this was, in its purest form, Elmering. 

For the long-time members of this great Hobby, you remem­ber the Elmer well.  We hear about him, or her, today, but not as often as you did back then.  And please, if you are a prac­ticing Elmer, don’t take these comments to heart, as they are not intended for you...rather for the new crop of potential Elmers.  The Hobby needs you NOW.  Practicing Elmers know that already. 

The saddest part of the restructuring debate was the feelings that got in the way.  Those who are passionate, with regard to Amateur Radio, versus the melancholy aging masses, decrying the “bad guys” at the FCC-and predicting the doom and de­struction of their first love.  Setting those battles aside for a moment, maybe we can illustrate a small (or not so small) “plan of action” in the next few para­graphs. 

All I can do is offer my suggestions; never pretending to know all there is to know about this vast, incredibly fun Hobby.  Even after nearly six years as an Amateur, I learn new things on an almost daily basis.  At the conclusion of this article, all you will have to do is take the ball and run with it.  Deal? 

So the ground rules have been laid and now let’s spend a few moments discussing what we can do to revitalize Amateur Radio, via Elmering, our Hobby’s “oldest profession”.  I have taken many of the following suggestions from those made by members of my Club (The Central Michigan Amateur Radio Club), where I serve as President and have for more than 29 months now. 

First, get involved in your local Amateur Radio Club.  It’s not enough to show up each month for a dose of entertainment.  You really need to get into the action, giving your time and energy to make it grow and to keep it interesting, because no­body likes to be bored to tears at a meeting.  Run for the Board of Directors and serve a year or two.  Get your hands dirty at Club events; Field Day, Ham Swap, SKYWARN, ARES, RACES.... take your choice.  But let them know you have a vested interest, no matter what your age is, or how long you have been licensed, and show them you are willing to dig in along side the older members.  This alone will improve the atmosphere in Clubs where the “young and old” are at con­stant odds.  Trust me on this, ok? 

Next, since you have gotten involved at the ground level, check into Club licensing classes.  If your club doesn’t offer them, why not make them happen?  It will take about 6 weeks, if properly prepared.  You can teach basic theory and get an­other helper to teach the code, or a small team of 3-5 will do nicely and that way, nobody gets bored in the teaching proc­ess, either.  With 5 WPM the only code requirement left, the battle will be easier to win and you are likely to turn several new Generals out, instead of a batch of Techni­cians (not that Techs are bad.  I started at that license class!).  Approaching the Club with your eyes ablaze and a fire in your belly will do wonders.  They will see that you are truly interested in making it a better Club and before you know it, the classes will have begun. 

From this point, consider working at your Club’s public ap­pearances, such as our local “Science Day at the Mall”, where your fellow Club members turn out for a special “Field Day-type” event.  Or how about a demonstration at the local Mid­dle School, or High School?  Be sure to have informational fliers for the visitors to your program (you can design these and copy them cheaply) and if you can, secure pamphlets for SKYWARN, ARES, RACES and the like.  You could also offer demonstrations of your on-hand station and take names and addresses or your visitors for sending off Club promo­tions, newsletters, etc. 

Now let’s fast-forward a few months.  You have an average turnout of members for your meetings, but suddenly, you are looking at a crop of new faces.  VISITORS!  But all you did was get involved, right?  What a difference a short span of time makes! 

“I didn’t Elmer anyone, how can this be?” you ask yourself with a smile.  Ah, but you DID Elmer them, simply by being there to an­swer questions.  By handing that young lady an information sheet on the Club.  By inviting the local Boy Scout troop to your annual Field Day outing.  By taking that one step further and attending the annual JOTA (Jamboree On The Air) in the Fall.  You have been successful, by making a step to promote your Hobby.  You have made a difference already - You have Elmered! 

In the next section, we’ll discuss taking newly minted Ama­teurs under your wing and welcoming them “into the fold”, as it were. 

J.  Ervin Bates, W8ERV, is President of the Central Michigan Amateur Radio Club and Editor of their newsletter, “The SCOPE”.  This article provided by Jay Holladay, W6EJJ, from    n

Classified Section


Reliable Person to receive about 40 copies of “W6VIO Calling” each month to address and mail to retired and other off-lab club mem­bers.  Job involves applying club sup­plied adhesive address labels and postage stamps.  Takes only 30 minutes each a month.  Contact Bill Wood, W6FXJ, at 760-256-5529 or for details.

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 n

Newsletter Deadline:

Friday, October 27 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.



Governor Vetoes PRB-1 Bill

NEWINGTON, CT, Oct 3, 2000--California Gov Gray Davis has vetoed a proposed Amateur Radio antenna bill.  The measure, SB-1714, had passed both houses of that state’s leg­islature.  Davis had until September 30 to sign the bill. 

ARRL Pacific Division Director Jim Maxwell, W6CF, and Southwestern Division Director Fried Heyn, WA6WZO, ex­pressed extreme disappointment at Davis’ action. 

“We are disappointed, to say the least, by this decision of the governor,” Maxwell said in a statement on behalf of Heyn and himself.  “We are also puzzled, for SB-1714 was passed unanimously by both the Senate and Assembly, and to the best of our knowledge had no organized opposition.” 

Maxwell said the “1714” Steering Committee would be re­viewing the decision and deciding on a course of action over the next few weeks.  The California legislature has adjourned and will not be back in session until next January 3. 

Heyn predicted that an amateur antenna bill “in some form” would eventually become law in California.  “We are not go­ing to give up,” he said. 

In a statement to the California Senate, Davis said he declined to sign the bill because it required expenditures for studies that were not included in his budget.  “This bill may encourage local officials to accommodate the needs of amateur radio op­erators when adopting ordinances,” Davis said.  “The cost of this bill, however, is not included in the Budget Act of 2000.” 

The California measure carried a price tag of between $70,000 and $100,000 to fund studies and a model ordinance that law­makers required.  As approved, the bill required the legisla­ture’s Office of Planning and Research to prepare and publish a technical assistance bulletin for local officials to use in drafting amateur antenna ordinances.  It also required the planning and research office to prepare and publish a model antenna ordinance that municipalities could adopt.  For both endeavors, the bill specified that the Director of the Office of Planning and Research consult with the ARRL and the FCC, among other organizations and individuals. 

SB-1714 also required a report to the legislature and the gov­ernor on any recommendations for changes to state law re­garding state or local regulation of Amateur Radio antennas. 

In his statement, Davis also said the topic of amateur antennas was “a local rather than a state issue.” 

Amateur Radio operators in California had been urged in re­cent weeks to write Davis to encourage him to sign the meas­ure into law.  The bill was aimed at incorporating the language of the limited federal preemption known as PRB-1 into state law.  SB-1714 would have required any ordinance regulating Amateur Radio antenna structures to “reasonably accommo­date amateur radio service communications” and “constitute the minimum practicable regulation to accomplish the legiti­mate purpose of the city or county.” 

SB-1714 was introduced by Sen. James Brulte of Cucamonga.  It cleared the California Assembly on August 18 and the Cali­fornia Senate on August 22, when the upper chamber agreed to several amendments.  The Senate initially had approved the bill three months ago.  The bill won final Senate passage on a 39 to 0 roll call vote, with 1 abstention. 

Ten states currently have incorporated PRB-1 wording into their statutes.  n

The K7VVV Solar Update

SEATTLE, WA, Sep 29, 2000--Solar flux and sunspot num­bers were up over the past week, while average geomagnetic indices were lower—always a happy condi­tion for HF radio enthusiasts.  Solar flux peaked at 232.2 on September 22 and sunspot numbers peaked at 255 on September 24.  Average sunspot numbers for the week were up nearly 87 points, and average solar flux rose by almost 39 points, when compared to the previous week. 

The sunspot number is calculated by counting the visible sun­spots and factoring in their size, so a significant factor was sunspot 9169, noted in last week’s reports as one of the largest seen in many years.  It is now fading as it rotates off of the visible solar disk.  We were lucky not to have a great deal of flare activity from this magnetically complex spot. 

K4WY sent a web reference concerning this particular sun­spot. 

The most active geomagnetic day over the past week was Tuesday, September 26, when the planetary A index was 21.  Planetary K index was four during most of the day, but Alaska’s College K index, which is usually higher because of the polar region proximity, was as high as six.  College A in­dex was 37 for the day. 

Friday and Saturday, September 22-23, were the quietest geomagnetic days, with A indices in the single-digits, Plane­tary K indices at two and three, and mid-latitude K indices at one and two.  Fortunately for HF enthusiasts, this was also the period when the sunspot count and solar flux were the highest, which often is not the case. 

Geomagnetic indices should remain stable over the next few days, with planetary A indices predicted at around 10.  On Monday through Wednesday, October 2-4, the A index is forecast at 12, 15 and 12, probably based on the previous solar rotation.  This indicates an unsettled to active geomagnetic conditions, with higher absorption of HF radio signals, par­ticularly in the higher latitude or polar paths. 

Solar flux is expected to decline over the next few days, with Saturday, September 30, at 190 and Sunday, October 1, around 180.  For the short term, flux values should reach a minimum near 155 around October 7-9, then head above 200 again around mid-month. 

We have now passed the autumnal equinox and are experi­encing fall HF conditions.  10 and 12-meter operators should expect great propagation, at least when the K index as reported by WWV is three or less.  Openings follow the sunlight, with propagation to the east in the morning and toward the west later in the day.  Fifteen meters should offer plenty of world­wide openings as well, but also later into the evening after 10 meters has closed.  Worldwide 20-meter openings should be available around the clock.  As the northern hemisphere moves further from the summer season, 160 and 80 meters should improve with shorter days and less of the static com­monly associated with summer. 

Judging by recent e-mail, it is time to repeat the occasional explanation of the various numbers and indices that are cited in this weekly bulletin, which appears below.  Questions and comments are always welcome at 

Amateur Radio operators who use HF generally like increased sunspots because they correlate with better worldwide radio propagation.  When there are more sunspots, the sun puts out radiation, which charges particles in the earth’s ionosphere.  Radio waves bounce off (refract from) these charged particles, and the denser these clouds of ions, the better the HF propa­gation. 

When the ionosphere is denser, higher frequencies will refract from of the ionosphere rather than passing through to space.  This is why every 11 years or so when this activity is higher, 10 meters gets exciting.  Ten meters is at a high enough fre­quency—right near the top of the HF spectrum—that radio waves propagate very efficiently when the sunspot count is high.  Because of the wavelength, smaller antennas are very efficient on this band, so mobile stations running low power on 10 meters can communi­cate world wide on a daily basis when the sunspot cycle is at its peak.  There are also seasonal variations, and 10 meters tends to be best near the spring or fall equinox. 

The sunspot numbers used in this bulletin are calculated by counting the sunspots on the visible solar surface and also measuring their area.  Solar flux is measured at an observatory in British Columbia using an antenna pointed toward the sun tuned to 2.8 GHz, which is at a wavelength of 10.7 cm.  En­ergy detected seems to correlate with sunspots and with the density of the ionosphere. 

Other solar activity of concern to HF operators are solar flares and coronal holes, which emit protons.  Since the charged ions in the ionosphere are negative, a blast of protons from the sun can neutralize the charge and make the ionosphere less refrac­tive.  These waves of protons can be so intense that they may trigger an event called a geomagnetic storm. 

The Planetary A index relates to geomagnetic stability.  Mag­netometers around the world are used to generate a number called the Planetary K index.  You can hear the Boulder K index updated every three hours on WWV, or by calling 303-497-3235. 

A one point change in the K index is quite significant.  A K index reading below 3 generally means good stable conditions, and above 3 can mean high absorption and poor reflection of radio waves.  Each point change reflects a big change in con­ditions. 

Every 24 hours the K index is summarized in a number called the A index.  A one point change in A value is not very sig­nificant.  A full day with the K index at 3 will produce an A index of 15, K of 4 means A of 27, K of 5 means A of 48, and K of 6 means A of 80.  You can find an explanation of these numbers on the Web. 

The number reported here is the Planetary A index, which is a worldwide average based on the K readings from a number of magnetometers.  The numbers reported on WWV are the Boulder K and A index, measured in Colorado.  Generally the higher the latitude of the measuring station, the higher the K and A indices reported.  This is because the effects of geo­magnetic instability tend to concentrate toward the polar re­gions of the globe. 

Currently we are near the peak of the solar cycle, so condi­tions are generally better because of the increased ionization of the ionosphere.  But along with the increased sunspots come more solar flares and coronal holes, producing disturbed conditions. 

Sunspot numbers for September 21 through 27 were 198, 248, 216, 255, 215, 223 and 233, with a mean of 226.9.  The 10.7-cm flux was 225.1, 232.2, 225.2, 224.5, 225.6, 223.6 and 204.7, with a mean of 223.  Estimated planetary A indices were 9, 7, 7, 10, 16, 21 and 11 with a mean of 11.6. 

Amateur solar observer Tad Cook, K7VVV Seattle, Washing­ton, provides this weekly report on solar conditions and propagation.  This report also is available via W1AW every Friday, and an abbreviated version also appears in The ARRL Letter.  Readers may contact the author via n

In Brief

ISS Expedition One Crew Ready for Historic Adventure (Oct 4, 2000) -- Just weeks away from its historic launch to begin the permanent habitation of the new International Space Station, the Expedition One crew will hold a pre-launch news con­ference Monday, October 9, at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Train­ing Center in Star City, Russia.  Full Story

It's a Whole New Look for ARRLWeb (Oct 2, 2000) -- Visitors to the ARRL Web site are being greeted by a whole new look plus instant access to the latest Amateur Radio news. The makeover, which went "live" today, includes much easier site navigation and quick access to the most-visited ARRL pages.   Full Story

Phase 3D Set for Halloween Launch (Sep 26, 2000) -- The next-generation Phase 3D Amateur Radio satellite is set for launch on Halloween! The launch agency Ari­anespace said that in addition to Phase 3D, an Ariane 5 rocket would attempt to orbit the PAS 1R communications satellite for Connecticut-based satellite operator PanAmSat and two other payloads, STRV 1C and STRV 1D, on Tuesday, October 31.    n

Posted October 4, 2000