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Calendar of Events

Meeting Notice

Prez Mix

August Club Meetings

DX News

W6VIO’s New Digs

Classified Ads

Assistance Request


Calendar of Events

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]

October 6

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

October 10

General Meeting, Noon - 238-543

October 20

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

October 24

Board Meeting, Noon - 233-305J

October 27

[TRW Swap meet, Redondo Beach]

November 3

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

November 14

General Meeting, Noon - 238-543

November 17

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

November 24

[TRW Swap meet, Redondo Beach]

November 28

Board Meeting, Noon - 233-305J


Meeting Notice

By Christopher Carson, KE6ABQ

The September General meeting will be held September 12th at noon in 238-543.  Everyone is welcome and you are invited to bring your lunch.  The topics include the proposed Club Budget for next year, the move to the new Shack, and nomination of Club Officers for the coming year.

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


Prez Mix

By Bob Dengler, NO6B

As many of you know, the autopatch on our 224.70 Cerro Negro repeater has been out of service for some time due to phone line problems.  In addition, the controller on our 445.20 repeater has an autopatch that awaits a few feet of phone line to plug it in to our telco connection so that it will also have autopatch capability.  We also have had plans for the past couple of years to move the 224.08 repeater from the Mesa to Cerro Negro in order to integrate our main 220 operations with our 440 and TMO repeaters.

The way things are going, I really think that sometime in the next two months we’ll be able to finally accomplish these goals and get everything working.  Randy and I will pick a date (probably a Saturday) sometime in September or October, go up to the mesa, grab the 4.08 RF deck and move it over to Cerro Negro.  A follow-up trip or two will probably be necessary in order to fine-tune things, as there are some known antenna problems there.  At least we’ll finally be on our way to our final system configuration.  We’ll definitely need some help getting everything moved (anyone remember the “big frequency change” of a few years ago?).  We’ll announce the date as soon as we know on the Monday noontime net and on the JPLARC e-mail reflector.  Keep an ear/eye on one or the other for details.    n


August Meetings

By Jonathan Cameron, KF6RTA

General Meeting, August 8

The meeting was called to order at 12:07 PM by club vice-president Chris Carson (KE6ABQ).  Those present included: Eric Archer (N6CV), Phil Barnes-Roberts (AD6PQ), Jonathan Cameron (KF6RTA), Chris Carson (KE6ABQ), Bob Dengler (NO6B), Randy Hammock (KC6HUR), Jay Holladay (W6EJJ), Walt Mushagian (K6DNS), Scott Nolte (K6SN), Jerry Person (KK6TS), Bob Polansky (N6ET), and Robert R. Smith (W6GRV).

Bob Polansky gave a presentation on the plans for the new radio shack in building 173 and the progress to date.  Bob has submitted work orders for the necessary modifications to building 173.  Good progress has been made and he hopes they will be finished in an approximately a month (from August 8th). 

Bob and Chris have developed a list of activities that must be done in order to move into the new shack.  Bob thinks that most of the work can be done in one long Saturday.  Bob passed out a handout that has a diagram of the new shack, a list of the tasks necessary for the move, and a list of tasks to complete the antenna system to finish the job.  One of Bob’s concerns was getting assistance to develop and install a 12-volt system.  Anyone willing to help with that should contact Bob Polansky directly.  Bob’s goal is to have the new shack operational by the middle of September with two work Saturdays in late August and early September.

There was some discussion of what to do with the 224.70 MHz repeater because of continued power amplifier problems.  There was a suggestion that we continue to operate the basic repeater at its normal power levels to occupy the frequency.

There was also a brief update on the Cerro Negro site.  The situation regarding the city of La Canada-Flintridge is still in limbo and the site is still difficult to access.

Board of Directors Meeting, August 22

The meeting was called to order by the club president, Bob Dengler (NO6B).  Those present included Bob Dengler (NO6B), Bob Polansky (N6ET), Walt Mushagian (K6DNS), Jan Tarsala (WB6VRN), Jonathan Cameron (KF6RTA), and Bill Wood (W6FXJ), via phone.  A quorum was present.

Bob Dengler presented a preliminary budget for the next fiscal year.  He briefly reviewed the budget and there was some discussion.  He suggested keeping the line item for the Cerro Negro rental since it was still unclear if we would have to pay rental for that site eventually.  Bob also discussed the possibility of purchasing an HF rig to set up a remote HF base at the Cerro Negro site.

Bob Polansky suggested several modifications to the budget related to the new radio shack in building 173.  Bob also reminded us that we will have access to a 6 KW generator that will be installed for backup power for the new shack.  A small concrete pad will be installed next to the shack for this purpose.  Obviously, it will be necessary to install necessary wiring and hardware for connecting emergency power from the generator to the new shack.

Jan Tarsala expressed concern that we be able to operate our laptop computers for logging and other purposes during a power outage and wondered if the current set of batteries were adequate.  Bob Polansky indicated that we are a few batteries short.  Jan also suggested that we invest in a few 12-Volt automobile power inverters for powering the laptops in an emergency.

We briefly discussed IRLP (Internet Radio Linking Project).  This system allows connections between any two IRLP-equipped repeaters via a digital audio stream transmitted over the Internet.  This seems like a useful concept and one worth considering for one of our repeaters.

Jan Tarsala spoke several minutes on the desirability of implementing digital messaging systems for NASA-wide emergency communications.  He explained that the new digital protocols such as PACTOR and PACTOR-2 offer the ability to reliably communicate digital data over low-power radio links despite significant RF noise and disturbances.  This makes it ideal for transmitting lists of people and phone numbers such as might be necessary during an actual emergency. 

In order to implement PACTOR, for instance, a station would require a radio, a computer, and a multi-mode communications processor (MMCP).  The MMCP is a specialized computer with DSP circuits necessary for processing the digital signals at full speed.  The MMCP for PACTOR (a proprietary protocol) is relatively inexpensive (approximately $700) and its functionality cannot currently be replaced by off-the-shelf computers and software. 

Jan believes that the HF frequency authorizations that NASA uses for its internal communication and for emergency communications should be updated to include digital messaging systems in the future.  Current technology for NASA emergency communication is essentially obsolete and needs to be updated to the more powerful and reliable protocols available today.   n


DX News

By Bob Polansky, N6ET

There’s been precious little time to listen to the ole HF rig this month.  Most of the spare time has been spent ensuring that the new W6VIO shack in B173 is coming together, meeting all our needs.  See the companion article in this issue of W6VIO Calling on that subject.  According to the latest information in QRZ DX and The Weekly DX, There are still a number of upcoming DX activities planned that should whet DX appetites.  The following are samplings of what to expect:

CHAD - TT8DX should be active as I type this article.  He plans to be active for about a year from this semi-rare African entity.

CHRISTMAS ISLAND - Look for VK9XV from 6 through 13 September.  I’d like to meet up with him myself on 17 and 12 meters.

COCOS KEELING - After the Christmas Island operation (see above), this group will move their rigs and antennas to Cocos Keeling.  They will be using the call sign VK9CQ.  Operation is planned from 14 through 20 September.

GUATEMALA – A TG0R operation is planned from 17 through 26 September.  This is a 6-meter QSO possibility, given that the propagation gods favor the West Coast.

JOHNSTON ISLAND - K3J will be the unusual call sign for this operation from 11 through 18 September.  If we’re lucky, we may be able to snag these guys from our 6-meter station, perhaps also a 160-meter QSO from our new ham shack.

MIDWAY ISLAND – No information on the call signs to be used, but KH4/DL??? is one of many possibilities.  These ops should light up the West Coast from 20 through 29 September.  Another candidate for a 6-meter QSO, perhaps even a 160-meter QSO!

NEPAL - Need Nepal?  W6VIO does, on CW!  9N7IG is expected to put this Himalayan entity on the active list from 7 through 9 September.

PAPUA/NEW GUINEA - P29AM and P29WS should make their presence known from 7 through 16 September.

TRISTAN DA CUNHA - ZD9BV and ZD9YL should be back here about the first of September.  Since they’re residents of the island, they should be here for a long time.  Unfortunately, their antenna farm was destroyed in a recent bad storm according to my vague recollection, so their signals may be a bit weak for some time.

Good luck.  Lots of possibilities appear to exist for “new ones” for many during the month of September.   n


W6VIO’s New Digs!

By Bob Polansky, N6ET

Our new shack in B-173 is coming alone well.  The water fountain is in and dispensing cold, filtered, good tasting water.  The 117-, 220-, and 240-volt plugs are all in place and functioning.  Bracing for the horizontal surfaces is in place and the surfaces themselves should be in place by the end of the week (31 August).  The carpet is ready to be installed as soon as the dirty part of the work has been completed.  The new air conditioner/heater unit is purchased, but not yet delivered.  Look for it to appear in about a week.

The pad for the 6.5 kW diesel generator is framed and ready for the cement truck.  The generator itself has been tested and is ready for installation on the cement pad, once it dries.  Connecting it into the remainder of the shack’s electrical system through a transfer switch will have to wait for some additional funding, hopefully this coming fiscal year. 

Arrangements for an Internet drop and phone line underground conduit connection to B-173 have been made and an unsubscribed security-ready PC has been made available for the Club’s use.  The monthly service charge for the network connection has been negotiated through the JPL EOC. 

The second of three AL-82 linear amplifiers has arrived and will be assembled in the new shack, once the Club gets beneficial occupancy to the building.  The third linear will have to wait to be purchased until FY02 at the earliest.  A large character GMT display, which automatically syncs to WWVL has been acquired for the new shack.  The sister unit is already installed in the JPL EOC if you want to see it in action.  Finally, the Club’s TS-850S has been repaired and is ready for reinstallation.  This will also take place after the move into B-173.

Once the facility division says their work is done in B-173, we need to install our 12-volt distribution system, our multiple phone line distribution system, and our Panduit cable raceways.  After that, we move antenna lines, rotor lines and equipment in preparation for the “W6VIO shack grand opening”.  Anyone have some “bubbly” to christen our new ham shack with??   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 one hour each a month.  Contact Scott Nolte, K6SN, at Ext 4-9724 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


Assistance Request

Bob Polansky passed along the following request from a disabled Ham in Tooele, Utah:

“I receive the JPL Universe through the graces of friends that my mother used to work for, however they are usually two to three months old before they reach me.  I noticed that there have been several laptop computers advertised in the June issues.  Here again it is useless for me to call about them, as they are most likely gone before I even get the paper!  I have a base packet station that uses a 386 computer that runs 24 hours a day. 

However, I am looking for at least one laptop to make up a portable packet station.  I really would like two but I am disabled and on a fixed income, so unless they were really cheap I probably couldn’t afford more than one at the present.

Any way if the members of the radio club could keep an eye out for me and contact me if something reasonable comes up I would really appreciate it.

David R Haag, KC7PVD, DN-30um

Treasurer West Desert Amateur Radio Club

P.S.  Mom worked on the Viking Project in years past.”

Contact David at    n

Newsletter Deadline:

Thursday, September 27 for the October 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 September 3, 2001