SUCCESSFUL VOYAGER 2 SATURN COMMEMORATIVE
The Voyager 2 Saturn Commemorative is the most successful of the series from a number of standpoints. First, W6VIO made 11,298 contacts on all bands and modes between 80 meters and 220 Mhz during the 16-day special event. Second, several new activities were initiated including color slow scan television and interactive question and answer sessions between Amateurs and Voyager Project personnel. Third, the Commemorative was an outstanding public relations success for Amateur Radio and the Space Program through widespread media coverage.
This special event achieved 11,298 contacts in 16 days, which is more contacts than any previous commemorative, including N6V, the Viking Special Event. This total was possible because of the 31 operators who participated in the activity. Also, the performance of the station during the event was outstanding. This performance is due to the leadership of Jack Patzold, WB6TXG, and Jim Lumsden, WA6MYJ, and the many individuals who volunteered and completed the many assigned tasks.
Slow Scan Television was again the cornerstone of our operation and included color slow scan through the modification of our Robot 400 by Sam Mormino, WA7WOD. (The Robot 400 was deeded to the Club by Robot after the Saturn 1 encounter). Several Club members contributed many hours of extra work to install several new black-and-white monitors and modify a new color TV set to monitor the complete status of the color system.
If you are a Slow Scan TV buff you can access MP3 copies of two sides of the special JPL ARC Voyager encounter with Saturn SSTV cassette recording here. It has an introduction by Dr. Bruce Murray and narration by Dr. Al Hibbs.
Another first included picture titles through the Robot 800 SSTV/CW/RTTY keyboard, again through the courtesy of Robot Research. We made 288 two-way SSTV contacts, and many others were watching who did not have two-way capability. We made TWO-WAY SSTV WORKED ALL CONTINENTS.
One of the highlights of the slow scan activity was sending many pictures to Bill, TU2JJ, in the Ivory Coast so he could show them at the American Embassy. He sent many of the pictures back to demonstrate the "closed circuit" nature of his reception.
A commemorative first was the two interactive "press conferences" conducted with questions from Amateurs on 20meters and answers by Voyager Project and NASA Personnel at JPL. Jim Lumsden acted as moderator in a session with Charles Redman, the NASA Chief Public Information Officer from Headquarters at JPL for the Encounter, and Stan Sander acted as moderator for the session with Dr. Arthur Lane, the Principal Investigator for the Photopolarimeter Instrument. Both conferences were well received by both sides with many good questions and answers. The conduct of the Amateurs on frequency during these activities was outstanding.
(Photo by Norm, K6PGX)
This Commemorative was an outstanding public relations success for both Amateur Radio and the Space Program. The W6VIO SSTV was viewed by the public in real time at the Pacific Science Center in Seattle, the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, and museums or Planetariums in Sacramento, Nashville, and Schenectady. Fast-scan TV was viewed at the Griffith Park Observatory.
During the Commemorative, we sent SSTV and answered questions for Radio, Television, or Newspaper personalities in Vermont; Newington, Conn.; Schenectady, NY; Johnstown, PA; Peoria and Mt. Vernon, Ill; Tyler, Tex; Tucson, Ariz.; Seattle, Wash; and Tokyo, Japan.
I was in contact one day at noon with an Amateur in the Netherlands when I received a phone call from Christian Mass of DX world, a German language magazine.
We made many schedules in the course of the Commemorative and were able to meet every one of them, including one with Tokyo where Nippon Network TV crews were simultaneously present at both ends for taping of the two-way SSTV communications. As far as we know, this was the first international filming of both ends of an SSTV QSO simultaneously.
As Manager of this event in Dick Piety's absence, I thank all of you for making this a big one. (George, W6ABW) 300 CONTACTS @ 1/MIN ON CW?????
Merv claims to have worked over 300 contacts on Sunday, Aug 16, (see GMT Aug 17 on chart). We checked the FT-101 on Monday because Merv said some of the stations were giving him 599 when he could just barely pull them out of the mud and found that the series fuse in the receiver line inside the rig was blown! The fuse is actually a small light bulb between the antenna terminal and the receiver amplifier to protect the rig from serious damage in the event excessive RF or other voltage gets on the line. Merv, are you sure you worked all those 300+ contacts listed in the log??? (ed)
F-I-V-E 9 9 ???
A signal report from one other station during the Commemorative had to be requested several times before the other station finally responded with "FIVE 9 9" in one CW QSO reported to your Editor.
After some additional hesitation, the other party finally explained that the digit '15" on his CW keyboard was inoperative, so the only way he could think of to give the requested report was to spell out the "FIVE"! Perseverance pays! and also gives me something to put in here. (ed)
FOUR-LETTER WORD FOUND IN 10 METER LOG
The following is an excerpt from a line entry in the ten-meter SSB Commemorative logbook that obviously had some impact on your Editor when perusing the logs one day:
"VK2VUF JUDI ***GREAT VOICE*** SEXI"
I won't reveal who the operator was but he/she must have felt some impact, also! If you want to find out, call Bruce Beaudry at x5829 and volunteer to help fill out QSL cards. (ed)
WATER INJECTION SAVES CLUB STATION
The addition of all of the extra TV monitors for the color SSTV station as well as full use of almost all of the operational equipment in the W6VIO Station trailer was just too much for the itty-bitty 12,000 BTU air conditioner that was slaving away at the far end of the trailer, the end in which very little equipment was operating. The fact that the temperature was getting a bit high at the high-powered end of the trailer was becoming a bit obvious when all the operators began to strip off clothing!
The Club Facilities people came up with a brainstorm which seemed to work, at least enough to save the day during the extreme hot spell. A mist of water was positioned near the air conditioner condenser coil air intake such that the mist was be drawn through the condenser coils, significantly increasing the cooling capacity of the unit. The slight leakage of water into the trailer interior seemed a very small price to pay for some relief from the heat.
Even with both "killer-watts," 8 TV monitors, 3 HF rigs, 2 VHF rigs, 2 TV cameras, 1 keyboard, an occasional O'scope, 3 Robot scan converters, and 5 to 10 people all going, the augmented air conditioner was just able to keep things bearable through the peak heat of the day.
The obvious intent of this story is to find some super benefactor who can arrange to increase the cooling capacity in the trailer facility. Any volunteers? Call your Editor or Jack, x4926. (ed)
Paul Schou moved from Novice to Advanced, KE6ET!
The October meeting will feature as our speaker ARRL Assistant General Manager Dave Sumner, K1ZZ. Be an interested League member and take advantage of this rare opportunity. Be there October 14. Noontime, Bldg 238, Room 543. (Merv, N6NO)
FOR SALE: 2-m HT & 2-m mobile gear; misc. bench & test eqpt; some stereo gear. All top cond. older stuff, with svc manuals. SASE for list. Al Chapman W6MEO, 1267 Martha Way, Santa Rosa, Ca. 95405
WANTED: 2-meter or 220 MHz synthesized hand-held with TT-pad and PL. Roger Stewart 797-5581.
220 MHz MOUNTAIN-TOP DXing or, EXACTLY HOW FAR IS LINE OF SIGHT?
I have always been intrigued by the idea of carrying Amateur Radio to strange and obscure places but only recently have I had the equipment to make this possible. Standing at 14 494 feet, Mt. Whitney is the highest point in the continental United States and is visited annually by over 10 000 hikers who make the ascent over routes ranging in difficulty from simple hiking trails to grueling rock climbs. When a group of JPL friends and myself recently planned a trip to the summit, I knew that I would have to bring along my Wilson 220 MHz Handi-talki, despite the additional weight. While hikers have often brought Amateur equipment to the top (W6JTH is pictured on the cover of QST operating in Field Day from Mt. Whitney) it still seemed like an interesting thing to try. The line-of-sight distance from Mt. Whitney to the Table Mountain Repeater is about 160 miles with about 6000 feet of elevation drop. It seemed as though 2 watts might do the job but I brought along a ground-plane just in case the HT's rubber duck proved inadequate.
On reaching the summit on Sunday, Aug 2, at about 10:00 AM, I unpacked the equipment and put out a brief QST on WR6AZN. To my shock and utter amazement, Merv, N6NO, who had been listening by prior arrangement through the WR6APQ (now W6VIO/A) link, came back immediately with a full-quieting 59 signal. I proceeded to reduce power to 1 watt, and then switched over to the rubber duck antenna. Still Q5 copy! During the course of the 45 minutes or so I was on the top, I also worked N6ET, K6BMG, W6ABW, and WB6UQM.
The moral of the story is that VHF is capable of tremendous communications range if line-of-sight conditions prevail (witness Voyager!). It also shows that there are still a few of us willing to lug pounds of extra weight 20 miles and up 6500 feet to make a QSO. Many thanks to everyone who made the adventure a worthwhile success. (Stan N6MP)
UOSAT COUNTDOWN AND LAUNCH NET
The currently scheduled launch date for the UOSAT is September 28 or 29 at 1119Z (0419 local PDT) from Vandenberg AFB. W6VIO has been requested to support the countdown and launch information net which AMSAT has organized for OSCAR launches. We supported the launch of ARIANE LO-3 on June 19, 1981 with our 20 and 40-meter beams aimed toward the Pacific.
We will again be "beaming the Pacific" on 20 and 40 meters for the UOSAT launch, which shares the ride with JPL's SOLAR MESOSPHERE EXPLORER atop a Delta launch vehicle. Frequencies will be 14.305 and 7.182 MHz with coverage beginning approximately 30 minutes before launch.
The UOSAT is an educational "downlink only" satellite designed to transmit pictures and synthesized voice for telemetry and experiment data. The downlink frequency is 145.825 MHz FM and requires only a simple fixed antenna for reception. (See July 1981 W6VIO Calling for additional info.)
Up to the week status reports will be made on the Newsnet on Tuesday on W6VIO/R. (Jim WA6MYJ)
WE HAVE TREMENDOUS QRN HERE! ABOUT S8-S9!
One of the "campaign" pledges our President Stan made in order to get elected this year was to do something about the receiver noise that has plagued W6VIO since we began here. Action on that pledge has been overshadowed by all the other activities that we have been involved in this year. NOW IS THE TIME! We have the station - let's make it so we can hear other stations. Let's track down that noise and find where it is coming from! (Photo & piece by Jim WA6MYJ)
HENRY RADIO JOINS SWAP MEET RANKS
Henry Radio has begun a swap meet which is held every second Saturday of the Month in their new Subterranean Parking facility. The meet begins at 7:30 am and continues until Noon. Three ground rules are listed on their flyer:
- 1) CARS will be permitted to set up prior to 7:30 am and sell from tailgate.
- 2) Once set up, CARS must remain until 11:30 am, or until the swap meet ends.
- 3) NO TRUCKS or RV's ALLOWED IN LOWER AREA. Parking in adjacent lot OK.
HENRY RADIO, 2050 S. Bundy Dr., (213) 820-1234. (Paul, K06D)
DON'T FORGET HAM LICENSE CLASSES
The annual fall license classes begin Tuesday, September 15, in Bldg 238 Room 543 under the direction of John Walsh. The classes will be held every Tuesday and Thursday noontime and are open to all JPL employees and contractors.
PLANETFEST 1981 = FASTSCAN ATV
In March of this year, the JPL Radio Club was approached and asked to support the Planetary Society in providing support for the Festival being planned to coincide with the Voyager 2 encounter with Saturn. We did!
At 8:30 pm, Tuesday, August 25, 1981, all of the blood, sweat, and tears proved worth it all when 3500 people sat in the Pasadena Civic Auditorium and watched the "ABC NIGHTLINE" show live from JPL while three of the evenings panel discussion members, who had left the auditorium only minutes earlier, participated in a nation-wide panel discussion. The three, Dr. Bruce Murray, Dr. Carl Sagan, and Moderator of the Panel Ted Koppel were the part of the panel of distinguished scientists and promoters that also included author Ray Bradbury and Startrek producer Gene Rodenbury.
This was only the climax of the very hectic three days that began with the installation of the large Eidophor projection system which would project our fast-scan video onto a large 25-foot screen on stage at the auditorium, and also the smaller distributed monitors located in the exhibition hall for people to view the live Voyager pictures while attending the Festival.
The equipment, seen in the photo right, weighs about 2000 pounds and is mounted on a 6x6-foot pallet. The actual projection guns are at right.
The video link from JPL to the Civic Auditorium was actually provided by Tom O'Hara, W6ORG. A 1277 MHz transmitter was located on the roof of Bldg. 180, where we tied into the composite video on hardline direct from Von Karman Auditorium. Audio came up to the roof on twisted pair and was mixed by the transmitter.
Fortunately, the Pasadena Center was line-of-sight from the roof of 180, so a similar antenna was used for the downconverter to TV RF channel 3. The signal was split at the receiver so that a 434 ATV transmitter could feed the signal to Johnstone Peak and Griffith Park off an omnidirectional antenna, and also fed downstairs to the Center's RF distribution cable.
Ernie Williams, WB6BAP, set up some 434 MHz receiving equipment at the Griffith Park Observatory and provided many hours of excellent live Voyager picture viewing for visitors there.
Jack Patzold, WB6TXG, and myself, Jim Lumsden, WA6MYJ, had a tremendous amount of apprehension about how to approach the Pasadena Center people with the request to mount antennas on their roof and string cables all through their auditorium. We decided on a fact-finding meeting with the Audio Engineer there, who would be doing all the interfacing with us. I wish I could put our relief when Ray Overman, WB6STL, introduced himself and provided tremendous assistance in solving many of our problems.
Since every TV RF tuner in existence in the Los Angeles Basin was already committed for the Voyager Encounter, we had more than our share of troubles with the only things left, which were ancient tube-style tuners which had been pulled from service many years earlier. The Von Karman Boys, Steve, Greg, and Cory must be commended for heroism and theft above and beyond the call of duty for helping us do the best possible job with that equipment while they were literally in the midst of battle with every News Network in the nation.
Noise on the audio, sub-carrier finally drove us to an alternate audio link by phone. Thanks to Bill Carpenter, WA6QZY, who just happened to be around at the right time, the audio we needed to go with our video program was put onto a special phone line which we could access from outside JPL. Except for a very brief cross-connection of Al Hibbs face with Ted Koppel's voice for a few seconds, the phone patch worked beautifully.
The support to the Planetary Society was a huge success. It was a major commitment by the Club at a time when we were committed to the Commemorative. We owe a great deal to Tom, W6ORG, and very much appreciate his participation in this effort. We have expanded our horizons and developed new capabilities. That is what this Club is for. (ed)
Updated September 10, 2000
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