OSCAR Phase 3 -- The New Generation
We are pleased to announce that the speaker for the May meeting will be Skip Reymann, W6PAJ. Skip has been heavily involved in the development of the new Phase 3 AMSAT-OSCAR satellite which uses a totally new hardware approach (with microcomputers) and a long-period elliptical orbit which will be of great interest to DXers. It will achieve this orbit with its own rocket engine, the first authorized private in-orbit firing. Specially equipped, fully automated microcomputer-controlled amateur ground stations will be responsible for the satellite's orbit determination and command loading.
In Skip's words, this project is more fascinating than anything he has ever been involved with, either professionally or as an amateur. The meeting time and place are:
Wednesday, 9 May 1979
12:00 P. M.
Bring your microprocessor-oriented friends and don't miss this exciting meeting.
Avon Half-Marathon, by Mike Griffin, N6WU
If you keep up with club events, you might think the JPL-ARC is getting into a rut in supplying communications for jogging and bicycling events. Maybe, maybe not, but for sure this event was out of the ordinary. On Saturday, March 31, six of us showed up at the Rose Bowl to provide on-course communications for a women's half-marathon (13.1 miles) sponsored by Avon.
Dick Piety, K6SVP, Bruce Beaudry, WD6HEZ, and Rex Quinn, WD6EWN relayed information from key points along the course. Jim Lumsden, WA6MYJ, kept track of the leaders from his vantage point on the press truck, while Warren Apel stuck close to the event's honcho, Lou Dosti, keeping him in touch with the race. N6WU sat comfortably at the finish line, relaying information to an announcer for retransmission over a local PA system. Off-lab member Jim Longthorne, WA6KPW, turned up in his official capacity as an employee of the city of Pasadena, but found some time to help the radio club.
It was a lot of fun, and we all learned something about how we might better help an event of this size in the future. Don't show up unless you're prepared to be humiliated, though. None of us (non runners all) could get over the condition these women were in, able to run over 13 miles without, literally, breathing hard. Most of us felt we'd be in trouble trying to walk that far!
N6WU and K6GPK discuss the finish of the Avon Half Marathon as the announcer relays information to the crowd around the finish line.
Minutes of Board Meeting, by Ron Zenone, W6TUZ
A club board meeting was held at 12:00 noon in 238543 on April 25, 1979. Members in attendance included N6WU, N6BF, N6MP, WA6PEA, WA6MYJ, WB6EMO, K6GHJ, K6PGX, W6EJJ and W6TUZ. After some difficulty in gathering a quorum, the meeting was called to order by N6WU. Minutes of the March Board Meeting were read and approved.
Jim Lumsden (WA6MYJ) announced that the club's request for double-width Voyager commemorative QSL cards was approved and that delivery of Voyager I encounter cards is expected by May 25, 1979. As Facilities Manager, Jim also reported that a YAESU VFO for the club's FT-101 rig was purchased. it was noted by N6WU that sufficient savings on the discounted VFO allowed for the purchase of a matching speaker/phone patch unit.
An off-lab membership request for Al Chapman (W6MEO) was presented to the board and unanimously approved.
The topic of high costs associated with mailing club bulletins was again discussed. A motion was carried to form an Ad Hoc committee for studying the situation and recommending to the board a course of action. Rich Ward (N6BF) volunteered to assist committee chairman WA6MYJ.
A Repeater Committee status report was made by Walt Diem (WA6PEA). The new antenna erected earlier in the year for WR6APR appears to be working well. Walt also mentioned that a new transmitter was installed in WR6APS. Encoder/decoder and control logic circuits for the autopatch need to be designed and fabricated. It was suggested by K6GHJ that a site security system which ties into the police department should be considered for WR6APS. Supervisory control has been incorporated into WR6APS but has not yet been fully checked out. In closing, WA6PEA suggested that the club pay for crystals to be used by control stations for supervisory control. Mike Griffin (N6WU) recommended that any serious discussion of this matter be delayed until the club's treasury becomes more solvent. Upon this note, the meeting was adjourned by Mike.
All About 3rd Party Traffic, by Merv MacMedan, N6NO
With the World Administrative Radio Conference just around the corner this fall, most of the governments of the world are putting the finishing touches on their plans and strategies for getting the best allocations of frequencies and services for their use over the next 20 years. Many of these countries have their eyes on our frequencies - our ham radio bands - and are preparing their cases.
One of the most sensitive topics is that of third party traffic. In most countries, the public telephone and telegraph systems are government owned and operated. To allow amateurs the right to conduct phone patches or handle messages for others (third parties) is unthinkable. In other countries, it may be okay. Let's briefly look at what third party traffic is all about, so that the next time we are confronted with the question of whether or not we are allowed to handle it, we will know the answer. That way, we will not unknowingly be contributing to some adversary's pool of taped evidence of how amateurs flaunt the law, and hence should be banned.
Third party traffic is defined in the FCC rules as Amateur radio communication by or under the supervision of the control operator at an amateur radio station on behalf of anyone other than the control operator." This means it includes a friend who wants to have you send a written message, a phone patch, or a visitor speaking over your microphone. It even applies to a visiting licensed ham or non operator who uses your microphone or key, if it is under your supervision as the control operator.
Within the U.S. and its possessions, third-party traffic is allowed by the FCC. But beyond the U.S. with whom are we allowed to handle third-party traffic? The Radio Regulations of the 1959 Geneva ITU Convention, Article 41, state that "Radiocommunications between amateur stations of different countries shall be forbidden if the administration of one of the countries concerned has notified that it objects to such radiocommunications." This regulation accounts for our "banned countries list." Through the years this list has diminished until now there is no current objection from any country to amateur radio QSO's.
Article 41 continues, "When transmissions between amateur stations of different countries are permitted, they shall be made in plain language and shall be limited to messages of a technical nature relating to tests and remarks of a personal character for which, by reason of their unimportance, recourse to the public telecommunications service is not justified. It is absolutely forbidden for amateur stations to be used for transmitting international communications on behalf of third parties."
Sounds pretty bad until we come to the next section: "The preceding provisions may be modified by special arrangements between the administrations of the countries concerned."
This merely means that international third-party traffic is forbidden except for those countries with which we have established special treaties for this purpose. There are quite a few of these, but most are within the western hemisphere. The current list is comprised of:
- Argentina Haiti
- Bolivia Honduras
- Brazil Israel
- Canada Jamaica
- Chile Jordan
- Colombia Liberia
- Costa Rica Mexico
- Cuba Nicaragua
- Dominican Republic Panama
- Ecuador Paraguay
- El Salvador Peru
- Ghana Trinidad and Tobago
- Guatemala Uruguay
- Guyana Venezuela
Now let's look at the obligations for those handling international third-party traffic. First of all, the traffic must be logged. We all know the FCC relaxed logging requirements a few years ago, and it is now no longer necessary to log each QSO unless you wish to do so. But one requirement has not changed: Section 97.103(b) says, "The following items shall be entered as a minimum: A notation of third party traffic sent or received, including names of all third parties and a brief description of the traffic content. This entry may be in a form other than written, but one which can be readily transcribed by the licensee into written form."
Sounds clear enough, and most logbooks (including the club's own W6VIO logbooks - ed.) include a blank page opposite the printed page for just such addenda and notations.
There is one more obligation. The control operator must determine that the content of the traffic is acceptable. In a future article, we will discuss this question of acceptability.
New Equipment at WR6APS, by Bill Wood, WB6FXJ and Walt Diem, WA6PEA
In preparation for the autopatch on WR6APR, the repeater system was upgraded on March 30th with the installation of a new repeater for WR6APS. The former repeater will be modified for the autopatch and then installed as WR6APR. This will permit installation of the necessary controls and interface for the autopatch without removing either repeater from service for more than a few minutes.
The new repeater was built by Bill Wood, WB6FXJ, and the case fabricated by Sam Weaver, WB6EMO. The repeater consists of a highly modified Midland receiver and transmitter, VHF Engineering ID'er and CMOS control logic. The entire repeater occupies only 3-1/2 inches of rack panel space. It operates off of a 12 volt Gel Cell battery, which is floating across the output of a power supply. The emergency capability of the power source and repeater was demonstrated when the repeater operated without interruption during a recent three-day power outage.
Those of you operating on the 220 MHz amateur band may be curious about the new operating features of the repeater and how these might affect your operation. The new machine has several new features and modifications that were added as a result of the combined experience of builder Bill Wood, WB6FXJ and Repeater Committee Chairman Walt Diem, WA6PEA.
The repeater audio response is essentially flat between 300 Hz and 3 KHz, and is processed by a Voice Operated Gain Adjusting Device (VOGAD) chip to keep output deviation constant from 2 kHz to beyond 5 kHz input. The nominal output deviation is 4.5 kHz. The audio signal below 300 Hz is restricted by a high pass filter to reduce modulation products that might interfere with the PL keying tones used with the WR6APQ link repeater.
The receiver is a modified Midland 13-510 equipped with a 2-pole first IF crystal filter and a new Murata second IF filter. A new wrinkle is the use of a Motorola Micor squelch integrated circuit. This device has a variable squelch gate time that depends on input signal strength. This causes a weak and noisy signal to have a longer noise burst than a full quieting signal, which will have a very short noise burst. The IC and circuit for this modification were provided by Bob, K6KGS.
Three different types of carrier tails may be encountered on the repeater. The normal one is five seconds long with a time-out timer reset "beep" one second after the last input carrier drop (the timer reset is delayed to allow breakers in an ongoing QSO). The second type is a short tail of just under one second, with the timer reset on carrier output drop. The short tail can be used when the fast access mode is needed when using the link repeater cutting access time from 500 ms to about 250 ms. The last and probably least used type is a five second long tail without timer reset beep. This will normally be used only on special occasions, when the control operator expects transmissions that will exceed the normal timer periods. In this mode the timer is bypassed and unlimited transmission lengths are possible. This will only be done when a control operator is monitoring.
Two timer period lengths are available; 90 seconds and three minutes. The 90 second timer is used most of the time to allow faster response in case of emergencies. At present, the timer is set for three minutes during the nets. As soon as WR6AZN is modified to permit timer bypass, the timers of both repeaters will be bypassed during the nets.
To save battery power during periods of AC power loss at the repeater site, the repeater transmitter power automatically drops from its normal 18 watts to 1 watt during the outage. This change is signaled to users by the reduction of the timer reset beep delay from one second to one half second. Control operators can also drop the transmit power for test or troubleshooting purposes with the same change in beep delay. If the repeater is operating with a short tail when the output drops to low power, the change in timer reset beep position will make it audible during the short tail, ensuring the everyone using the repeater is aware that a switch to low power has occurred. When the AC power is restored, the output power will switch back to full power and the beep delay will go back to one second. Power consumption during standby operation (not transmitting) is 200 ma. The power drain in the one watt mode is 1 ampere and in the 18 watt mode is 3.5 amperes. The present battery capacity of 20 amp-hours is sufficient to keep the repeater operating for several days.
Meanwhile, progress is being made with the autopatch. Glenn Berry, K6GHJ, reports that the building to house the autopatch should be in place within one month. Walt, WA6PEA, reports that the telephone should be installed soon after the building is in place. Larry Rauch, W8FDG, has completed design and testing of the autopatch telephone line termination set. George Morris, W6ABW, is working on the autopatch control circuitry.
Voyager Commemorative Progress, by Jim Lumsden, WA6MYJ
QSL's - The QSL card design presented by Gordon Crawford at the March Board Meeting has been finalized by the Graphics Dept. and sent out for printing. Final design has the large enhanced color view of Jupiter's red spot and cloud patterns on the double width card front flanked on the left by the U.S.S. Voyager caricature and on the right by the original Mariner Jupiter Saturn symbol. The back side of the card carries 5 black & white photo images and brief descriptions from the Voyager 1 spacecraft encounter with Jupiter. The cards are due back from the printer on May 25, 1979. Merrill Burnett, K6BER, (X6441) is preparing the logs so that we can got the cards out as soon as we get them back. About 90% have included a SASE, so things should be much simpler than for N6V. Please give Merrill a call and let's get all cards out before Field Day.
TAPES - We have decided to produce and sell an audio cassette containing Voyager 1 images and commentary. The first run of tapes has been received, with 100 of those going directly to the Dayton Convention with ROBOT. The tapes contain 30 minutes/side of the Jupiter system planet and moon images. Dick Piety is handling the tape sales again this year; the price is $5 including tax and postage. The club treasury really received boost last time from tape sales... I hope we are as successful this time.
Support for MS Run Wanted, by Mike Griffin, N6WU
To coin a cliché, nothing succeeds like success, and I guess the club's support of the recent Avon half-marathon must have been successful, because I've since received several requests by various groups to have the JPL-ARC support their running event. Of course, we can't take on all such jobs, or even very many of them, but there was one request in particular that I felt was worthy of our support. I'm referring to a 10 kilometer run to be held in and around Dodger Stadium on 29 July 1979, and being held for the benefit of National Multiple Sclerosis Society.
This is a combination celebrity/athletic event, with Olympic Decathlon Champion Bruce Jenner providing possibly the main draw. Each entrant pays a fee, and the proceeds go directly to the MS Society. All of the various products and services required are being donated. How about it? Could I hear from 6-10 guys with 220 MHz portable or mobile gear who would be willing to give up a Saturday morning to help out the MS Society?
I'd like to take a bit of space this month and address (again, and for the last time, I promise!) the issue of participation in club activities.
You'll see if you have read the articles on recent club events and activities that, in spite of some changes in committee chairmanships, very little has really changed. The same 10 or 15 guys are doing all the jobs; we've just gone through a musical chairs activity to shuffle them around a bit.
Now, I'm told by the pessimists that 10 or 15 people, representing 10% or more of our total membership, is about the highest level of participation one can expect in a volunteer group. I'm not sure I believe this. People join a club, and participate in its activities, if they get something out of it, and not otherwise. So I conclude that, for many members, we're simply not filling a need, not doing the things that would get them involved.
If you're out there nodding your head in affirmation at this, then do just one thing. If you never do anything else for the JPL-ARC, take 10 minutes and write down some things you would like to see the club doing, or some reasons why you haven't been active in the past. Maybe you think the club should be active in l60 meter Moonbounce. Maybe you think the president is a lid and the board of directors a bunch of CBers. Whatever, I don't care, and you don't even have to sign it. I would simply like to know what things, if any, would spark your interest. How about it?
Forty Meter Beam Help, by Mike Griffin, N6WU
You may remember that about this time a year ago the club acquired, through a special ERC grant, the funds for a 40-meter beam. Like a lot of potential club activities, the job of getting the beam in place somewhere up on the mesa has languished for lack of manpower. However, Stan Sander, N6NP, has recently taken on the job of heading up a group to put the beam up on top of the telephone pole on the mesa. Sam Weaver, WB6EMO, has fabricated a mounting bracket, and Stan reports that things are about ready to go. A lot of short-term labor is required for a job like this, so if you can help, give Stan a call at x2625. Nominal time is Saturday morning, 19 May 1979.
Hot Dogs Again
Every year at the JPL Picnic, the JPL-ARC can be found in a booth selling hot dogs to all comers. It's a fun activity, one which usually generates a nice amount of revenue for the club. After several years of doing an excellent job, Ralph West, N6YM, has begged off as honcho for this activity. John McKinney, N6AVW, has volunteered to replace Ralph this year. John expects to get some help from wife Eileen, KA6DGV, but it's not too early to give John a call and let him know you're available to help.
New Equipment at the Shack
Next time you stop by the club station in T-1309 take note of the added complement of Yaesu equipment. In a recent purchase, the club added split frequency capability with the FV-101B VFO, as well as acquiring the integrated speaker/phone patch unit SP-101 The club got a nice discount on these items at friendly Ham Radio Outlet in Van Nuys. It is also interesting to note that they were virtually the last of their kind available in the LA area. This is because Yaesu has discontinued the FT-101E series in favor of the FT-101ZD, which is compatible with the FT-901 line of accessories.
Santa Maria Hamfest
We've been asked to notify the membership that on June 17, 1979, the Satellite Amateur Radio Club is sponsoring a hamfest. Featured are door prizes, a picnic with sirloin steak as the main attraction, and FCC exams for those who need them. A limited number of registration blanks are available from N6WU; call and he'll send you one via lab mail (on-lab members only). Or call (805) 733-4026 for information. Admission is $6.00 if you register before 25 May, $7.00 afterwards.
Southwestern Division ARRL Convention
You saw it in QST, and now you see it here. The Southwestern Division of ARRL is holding its convention at the Sheraton-Anaheim Hotel, from 19-21 October 1979. The particulars are too diverse to give here, but if you think you'd like to go, and want more information, write HAMCON, P.O. Box 1227, Placentia, CA 92670.
We haven't received any ads for buying and selling equipment lately. Remember, one of the purposes of the club newsletter is to facilitate such activities among members, so if you're selling something, advertise here first.
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