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Meeting Notice

Prez’ Mix

June Club Meetings

DX News

Good-bye to BBC World Service

Classified Ads

Field Day 2001

Field Day Scrapbook

Calendar of Events

July 7

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

July 11

General Meeting, Noon - 238-543

July 21

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

July  25

Board Meeting, Noon - 233-305J

July 28

[TRW Swap meet, Redondo Beach]

August 4

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

August 8

General Meeting, Noon - 238-543

August 18

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

August 22

Board Meeting, Noon - 233-305J

August 25

[TRW Swap meet, Redondo Beach]

September 1

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

September 12

General Meeting, Noon - 238-543

September 15

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

September 26

Board Meeting, Noon - 233-305J

September 29

[TRW Swap meet, Redondo Beach]

Meeting Notice

By Christopher Carson, KE6ABQ

The July General Meeting of the JPL Amateur Radio Club will be held in 238-543 on Wednesday, July 11th at 12:00 noon. Topics will include the Field Day wrap-up and progress report on the new Shack.

The July Board Meeting is scheduled to be held on July 25 in 233-305J.    n

Prez’ Mix

By Bob Dengler, NO6B

Has everyone recovered from Field Day yet?  While I wasn’t up there for any of the operating, I understand that much fun was had by all.  The addition of a Motorola pass cavity to my otherwise IMD-plagued FT-227 2 meter FM radio with a retrofitted narrow IF filter really made for a near-perfect 2 meter FM station. 

Unfortunately, although both the equipment and operators on the VHF/UHF station did well, apparently the activity on 2 meters was way down from previous years.  I can only speculate that this is mainly due to the ARRL’s continued ban on the use of 146.52 for Field Day contacts. 

This rule is really starting to kill off FM voice as a substantial Field Day mode.  The days of 350 plus FD contacts on 2 meter FM are gone.  In my opinion the only way we’re going to bring them back is to first rescind the 146.52 ban, then go around to all the local radio clubs and “talk up” 2 meter FM, getting all the club members with only FM rigs to get back on 146.52 or 146.55 and give out FD contacts. 

If Field Day is supposed to be a test of emergency communications preparedness and most local hams only have VHF/UHF FM capability, why should there be rules that restrict usage of popular FM simplex frequencies for making Field Day contacts?  Without access to 146.52, Field Day stations are unable to reach the multitude of stations in rural areas that frequent that channel.  This fact is evident in the dramatic drop in 2 meter “FM DX” worked this year (stations over ~120 miles away), and really takes the fun out of working VHF FM on Field Day.

To be sure, there WAS a bit of FM DX worked by Tigran, KF6PVG, along with members of the JPL Space Exploration Post 509 that attended our Field Day operation again this year.  There was a good AO-27 pass that peaked about 5 minutes before the end of Field Day, and the SEP crew made the most of it by working two contacts through the satellite’s FM repeater.  One of those was in the East Bay section, so that’s our FD FM DX for this year!

To top off this month, I managed to stumble across one massive 15 meter opening the night of June 29.  Signals were not especially strong here, but then again I’m not used to even hearing DX on my Gap vertical antenna, let alone actually working it.  However, there was OK1CF, calling CQ DX on 21303 kHz and no one was answering him, so I gave it a shot.  To my utter shock, he answered and gave me a 5-4 report.  Remember, this is 15 meters at 10:30 PM local time.  Then I found and worked HL0O/5 on Namhae Island.  By now it was past 11 PM and time to go to bed, but had I continued I could have worked as many as 10 countries.

Before going to bed, I looked out the window at my 24 ft. Gap Titan vertical planted 3 feet above the ground in the back of my backyard and thought to myself “I just got a 100 watt voice signal through to the Czech Republic with that dinky antenna.  Not bad.”  73.    n

June Meetings

By Jonathan Cameron, KF6RTA

Special Board of Directors Meeting, June 6

This extra Board of Directors meeting was specially called by the club president, Bob Dengler (NO6B).  Those present included Bob Dengler (NO6B), Bob Polansky (N6ET), Walt Mushagian (K6DNS), Randy Hammock (KC6HUR), Jonathan Cameron (KF6RTA), and Bill Wood (W6FXJ, via phone).  A quorum was present.

Bob Dengler proposed a statement to be adopted by the JPL ARC favoring cooperation with TASMA (the Two Meter Area Spectrum Management Association).  This statement would commit the JPL ARC to assisting the TASMA, including computer support.  The motion was presented.  There was some discussion regarding the nature of the proposal and some concerns about how it would fit into our situation here at JPL.  So, the motion was tabled, pending further consultation with other club members.

Bob Polansky gave a detailed review of our status on the Field Day preparations.  He indicated that things were shaping up well, although there was some concern about getting enough help for Robb Fredrickson, who is handling the food.

General Meeting, June 13

The meeting was called to order at 12:10PM.  Those present included: Bob Blakey (N6MTI), Jonathan Cameron (KF6RTA), Bob Dengler (NO6B), Warren Dowler (KE6LEA), Robb Frederickson (W1EEL), Randy Hammock (KC6HUR), Jay Holladay (W6EJJ), Walt Mushagian (K6DNS), Bob Polansky (N6ET), John Repar (WA6LWD), Marc Sarrel (N70LI), Rob Smith (W6GRV), and Marty Woll (N6VI).

Bob Dengler presented a revised version of his statement for JPLARC support of TASMA.  After some discussion, the modified TASMA statement was accepted by a vote 6 to 3 (with 1 abstention).

Bob Polansky gave an extensive presentation on the status of preparations for Field Day.  Everything looks ready.

Board of Director’s Meeting, June 26

The regular Board of Director’s meeting was not held.    n

DX News

By Bob Polansky, N6ET

I’ve been at Field Day last weekend and at a Workshop all of this week, so this will be the shortest article I can put together in the time remaining.  Field Day was GREAT!  Even managed to work three or four non-US entities during the event.  Got as far away from Mount Gleason as HB9. 

There’s been very little time to do any listening with all the Field Day preparations taking place this month.  One item of significant note:  The Club put together a PSK-31 station and operated it at Field Day on 10, 15, 20, and 40 meters.  The crew managed on the order of 50 QSO’s with the system and had contacts as far away as Australia with only 20 watts of output! 

I’ve reestablished the station in the W6VIO trailer and will be happy to work with anyone wanting experience with the new mode.  If I’m not available, Dwight Holmes is now “a Club Expert” with PSK-31. 

Now for a limited list of upcoming DX activities.

BENIN - A French group will be operating from here from 11 through 29 August, all bands, all modes.  No call yet specified.

CAMBODIA - Look for XU7ABR from 17 July through 2 August.  Specific frequencies are posted in The Weekly DX hanging on the W6VIO trailer wall.

EQUATORIAL GUINEA - 3C5J will be active through the end of October.  I have one spot for him at 14033 kHz at 0615Z.

IRAQ - Rumor has it that G0TLC will be operating from the YI1BGD Club Station from 28 June for three weeks.  Don’t miss this one!

MALPELO ISLAND - HK5MQZ and HK5QGX are operating from the rare South American entity for an undisclosed time.  They’ve been active on 40 through 10 meters, phone and CW.

MARKET REEF - OJ0U will be active through 16 July.  All band, all mode operation should be taking currently taking place.

That’s all I have time for.  Good luck and good DXing.   n

Good-Bye to the BBC World Service

Ever since I can remember (during World War II and later), I have listened to shortwave radio.  It predated my ham radio career, and stumbling over hams talking on 20 meters while I was listening for new and rare shortwave broadcasts helped pique my interest in ham radio. 

Of course, the big voices in shortwave broadcasting then were the BBC, the Voice of America, and later Radio Moscow.  The Voice of America was unabashedly the propaganda voice of the US (and mostly in non-English languages), but the BBC was more of an English language news and entertainment service for British expatriates and other English speaking people all over the world. 

In those days, the service was called the “General Overseas Service” and they transmitted news on the hour and features continuously, 24 hours a day.  Years later, the name was changed to the “BBC World Service” but it continued with the same unbiased news reports and entertainment. 

In particular, I enjoyed Alistair Cooke’s “Letter from America” where he presented a weekly essay on American politics and news from a Brit’s point of view - very refreshing.  After more than 50 years, “Letter from America” is still part of BBC programming!

They say that the BBC World Service is so ubiquitous and timely that while he was vacationing, Mikhail Gorbachev learned of his replacement by Boris Yeltsin not from his aides, but from a BBC news broadcast he was listening to.  I can relate a personal experience of my own. 

While attending a CCSDS meeting in Toulouse, France in 1986, we were watching the routine launch of another space shuttle on TV in the hotel lobby.  Suddenly something went awry but none of us could understand the commentary in French.  French TV repeated the explosion sequence ad nauseum with excited commentary, but we still didn’t have any details we could understand. 

Some of us tried to phone NASA Washington or Houston but ALL phone lines were busy.  I went to my room, pulled out my trusty book-size shortwave radio and immediately found out from the BBC that Challenger had exploded, broken apart, and crew survival was unlikely.  At dinner that night a prayer was offered by our French hosts for the lost American Astronauts.  Some of us stayed around the little radio late into the night as the gloomy reports came in through the BBC.  At least we knew what was going on.

Now I am sad to report that as of July 1, the BBC has curtailed all shortwave transmissions directed to Canada, the US, Australia or New Zealand.  The reason given is that these countries are so advanced that the BBC feels local FM stations can relay the BBC programming, and since most of the USA is computer-literate and connected to the internet, listeners there can hear the programming as either stored or streaming audio from the BBC servers on the World Wide Web. 

Possibly more to the point, Mark Byford, Director of the BBC World Service, wants to reallocate his budget to spend less on shortwave directed to these progressive regions so he can spend more on shortwave broadcasts to the more primitive areas of the world where shortwave radio is basically the only method available to reach the people.

You can imagine that this is a traumatic event for many of us who have lived with, and relied upon, the BBC for decades.  Byford feels shortwave listening in the US is dwindling, while hits on his web site are increasing, so he wants to jump on the new technology right away and save a bundle of money. 

Unfortunately, the World Wide Web doesn’t reach my camping site on the Colorado River just yet - there isn’t even cell phone coverage there!  Moreover, after sitting at a computer screen for hours all day I don’t relish sitting even more to hear a streaming audio broadcast.

Byford says we can get the BBC on local FM broadcast stations, which is true - there are four or five FM Public Radio stations that carry the BBC in California - but what do you do in between their coverage areas?  In addition, if you look at their program schedules, the limited relays of BBC programs air at inconvenient hours such as midnight to three am.  That’s very different from the hourly news I used to get throughout the day anytime on shortwave!

I suggested that the BBC should do more to encourage shortwave listeners in North America instead of complaining about dwindling shortwave listenership.  And since digital broadcasting isn’t too far in the future, they may be sorry they withdrew from the top gun position in a market that may be on the verge of exploding with new technology. 

I wrote him a letter urging him to delay the shortwave shutdown for at least a couple of years, until the status of technology in the USA catches up with his vision of alternative access such as FM relays or internet.  Then, on my recent birding trip to the Shetland Islands, I stopped in London and hand carried the letter to his BBC office in Bush House. Of course, it didn’t help; the shutdown occurred on schedule, but at least I am content that I tried!

Meanwhile, the good news is that they haven’t shut down the entire BBC World Service.  They admit it may still be possible to hear their programs in North America as spillover from programming directed elsewhere, such as Central and South America or Asia.

If you’d like to try to listen to the BBC World Service today, they recommend the following frequencies for North America, although the strength and quality will not be as good as formally:

5975 kHz 2300 to 0400 GMT

9915 kHz 0000 to 0300 GMT

12095 kHz 2100 to 0300 GMT

15220 kHz 1100 to 1400 GMT

17840 kHz 1400 to 1700 GMT

The best reception for Western North America will be in the morning from their East Asia broadcasts:

9740 kHz 1100 to 1600 GMT

9815 kHz 1200 to 1500 GMT

11955 kHz 1100 to 1300 GMT

15280 kHz 1100 to 1300 GMT

You can get more information on the shutdown, as well as programming in stored and streaming audio form, from the BBC’s World Service web site: then click on “Shortwave Changes.”    n

Classified Section


Reliable on-lab 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:

Kenwood TS-940S base HF radio w/automatic tuner, MC-60 microphone, SP-230 speaker & MFJ 300 watt dummy load.  Asking $850 or trade for FT-100D.  Contact Bob at 909-396-0991 or

Kenwood TM-G707A 2 meter/440 dual-band mobile (single band receive).  50 W 2 meters/35 W 440, CTCSS decoder modified to eliminate falsing problem common with all G707s & V7As.  Original/only owner, asking $260.  Contact Bob at 909-396-0991 or

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

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

Field Day, 2001

By Jay Holladay, W6EJJ

The JPL ARC Field Day operation for 2001 took place atop Mt. Gleason on June 22-24.  The weather cooperated nicely and we managed a good score despite some difficulties with tower trailers, antennas, and generators.

Highlights included a digital station operating the PSK-31 mode, a satellite station operated by members of Explorer Post 509, APRS and portable packet demonstrations, and stations for VHF FM, Novice/Technician, and 6-meter SSB.  Great conditions on 20-meters and dedicated operators allowed us to keep three HF stations operating for the full 24 hours.  The kitchen operation kept us all well fed thanks to Robb Fredrickson and his able crew.

We tried a number of new and innovative approaches to raising the large HF antenna arrays, thanks to much hard work by Warren Dowler and Marty Woll.  Having one array per tower and not having to climb the towers were definite plusses.  As might be expected, not everything went as planned, but in true Field Day fashion the problems were solved and eventually the antennas were flying. 

During the 24-hour operation, we also worked our way through three generators, the last of which did not provide enough power for the entire site.  Therefore, we reduced power and kept on making contacts.  At least that generator did get us through to the end of the operation.

Overall, a real test of equipment and operators under difficult conditions – fulfilling the main objective of Field Day!

We operated in Class 6A for the first time to give more opportunities for everyone to participate.  Initial results tallied just after the contest showed a total of 3515 contacts that, with bonus points, should yield a score of more than 11,000 points.  A very respectable effort, which under the circumstances, gave everyone involved a real feeling of accomplishment.   n

Field Day Scrapbook

Bob, N6ET, unlocks the gate at Mt. Gleason

Unloading the step van Friday Afternoon

Dave Ritchie positions the generator/tower trailer

Setting up the pneumatic tower with the 40-meter beam

Bob Dengler, NO6B, Sets up VHF Station

Chef Robb Fredrickson, dishes up Friday Night Chow

Tilting up the 20-meter beam tower Saturday Morning

Merv. N6NO, and Jay, W6EJJ, start racking up QSO’s

Dave, WD6V, Aeronautical Mobile, drops in for an eyeball QSO!

Visiting hikers check out the Field Day Information Display

Dwight Holmes, WA3NPK, (foreground) and Bill Weber, N6CI, operating the W6VIO digital station. Using the new PSK-31 mode, they managed 46 contacts on four HF bands.

Merv MacMedan, N6NO, Collecting CW Contacts

Rob Smith, W6GRVm, works the pileups on 20-meters

Robb Fredrickson, W1EEL, and Jonathan Cameron, KF6RTA, serve the Saturday night spaghetti dinner

Advisor Judy Nelson (center) with Explorer Post 509 members Jui-Shan Grace Hsu and Matthew Tsang, KG6CLU, at the W6VIO satellite operating position

Explorer Post 509 advisors Tom Wolfe with Tigran Karsian, KF6PVG, at the Novice/Technician station, KC6HUR

Walt, K6DNS, Carl, KG6LG, and Warren trouble-shoot a cable problem

Marty Woll, N6VI, works the night shift

Bob Polansky, N6ET, Racking up CW QSO’s Saturday Night

Warren Dowler, KE6LEA, Making 6-meter Solar powered contacts

 Newsletter Deadline:

Friday, July 27 for the August 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.