W6VIO CONQUERS (?) FIELD DAY
The 1971 ARRL Field Day exercise is now history. W6VIO's participation is also history and, as some participants may point out, something hopefully to learn from. As the story unfolded to this reporter, it seemed to be a comedy of errors, but probably not very funny to those involved at the time.
The site for W6VIO's operation was indeed an enviable one, atop the highest point on Mt. Wilson, only 150 yards east of the giant 100-inch Hale telescope. For extra insurance, the 2-meter beam was mounted at the top of the Solar Telescope tower, giving VHF'ers full line-of-sight view from San Diego to Santa Barbara. (We had to take their word for this, because at the time we arrived to observe operations, the smog was blotting out Altadena below the peak!)
Four operating posts were set up at the site and one rig went on the air at the exact time specified for the start of the exercise; the other three rigs followed suit shortly after.
Things started off in fine fashion on Saturday morning when the JPL generator turned up with shorted field diodes ("field" diodes -- "field" day?? Could there be a connection?) And, as the saying goes, the generator wouldn't gen. A quick scramble took place and Nash Williams' little putt-putt was lashed up to the line. However, it was rated at only 500 watts, while all the rigs in full cry were demanding close to 700! Ohm's Law being what it is, the line supply voltage immediately settled down to a soggy 75, giving birth to a multitude of chirping birdies atop Mt. Wilson.
Things went chirruping along until 4 AM the next morning. Apparently a good supply of gasoline was brought along, but did anyone think about bringing up some extra oil? You guessed it: Nash's generator ran out of oil and seized tight!
By 8 AM Stan Brokyl staged an assault run up the hill and unstuck the mighty midget with liberal doses of penetrant and expletives, putting W6VIO back on the air. Meanwhile, another rig, working off a 12-volt battery-generator setup, also ran into a snag. After setting up and operating for about 4 hours, someone happened to check the power unit and discovered that the switch between the generator and the battery had never been closed! The battery plates were not the only things bent slightly out of shape by that time
The cutoff time for operations was 11 AM Sunday morning; by that time W6VIO had made a total of 709 contacts, good for about 1800 points. In comparing this performance with other club stations in the same classification, and scores made in past Field Days, W6VIO should rank up somewhere in the middle -- really not bad for the first time out.
Jay Bastow, WB6NFN, Operating Station 1
Merv MacMedan, W6IUV, Operating Station 4
Mt. Wilson, as a radio noise location, turned out to be practically dead quiet, considering all of the RF floating about that area from the TV stations. The personnel at the observatory were very helpful in many ways and our thanks goes to them for their cooperation. Thanks should also go to those stalwarts who braved the smogless atmosphere for 24 straight hours to man the rigs, and for the tremendous cleanup job done afterwards. This reporter couldn't believe anyone had been there, when the site was pointed out afterwards. Apparently this has led to an invitation to return for the 1972 Field Day exercise and you can rest assured that all contingencies will be covered next year to stay on the air for 24 straight hours -- or will they??
OSCAR TEST FLIGHT PLANNED
Perry Klein/K3JTE, President of AMSAT Corp., and Walt Ross/W6VPN, our Club President announced the formation of an ad hoc committee for the AMSAT-OSCAR Transponder Test Flight; the committee is chaired by Norm Chalfin/K6PGX. This JPL group will fly an engineering prototype of the OSCAR (AO-B) transponder that is scheduled to be launched piggyback on a NASA vehicle next February.
The test flight will be similar to the one performed on the east coast last May (see CQ Magazine, June '71). The west coast flight is tentatively planned for September, and will be from San Diego to San Francisco, to Sacramento and back down the San Joaquin Valley to Los Angeles.
Special FCC authority has been granted for Technician Class licensees' transmissions to be repeated on the 10-meter band. The call sign will be WA3NDS/ Aeronautical Mobile.
The pilot for this flight will be Booth Hartley/K6KVC; co-pilot will be Maurice Piroumian/WB60PB and; Dick Ulrich/K6KCY will be the flight engineer. Backup copilot will be Gene Thom, and backup flight engineer will be Gil Schuler.
For the technically-minded, the repeater being built by AMSAT is one of three being constructed; one is being built by a group of radio amateurs in Australia and another is being built in Europe by members of Region I of the IARU.
The US-built repeater has a 2-watt p.e.p. linear transmitter and has the capability of receiving signals in a segment of the 2-meter band approximately 100 kHz wide centered on 145.96 MHz. These signals will be relayed in a similar segment in the 10-meter band, centered at about 29.5 MHz. This repeater will be capable of relaying any type of modulation permitted in these two bands.
The AO-B satellite will be solar-powered and it is being designed to have a useful life of at least a year. The satellite will also transmit signals that will be used for telemetry measurements and tracking. Special circuitry aboard will allow its transmitters to be controlled from the ground in the event it becomes necessary to shut them off, either to conserve power or to eliminate interference.
During the flight test, the aircraft will cruise between 10,000 and 12,000 feet altitude. At this height, the radio horizon should be about 150 miles, allowing communication through the repeater between stations as much as 300 miles apart. Since there is the possibility that the 10-meter downlink signal may also be propagated by the ionosphere, signals from the repeater may be received over much greater distances.
NEW CLUB MEMBERS SIGNED UP
Club Treasurer Jay Bastow is sporting an ear-to-ear grin nowadays. When asked why, he doesn't say much, but just shows you a list of the new Club members that have signed up since June 1st. Here it is:
Welcome aboard gentlemen! Each month, we hope to be able to print a similar listing of new members, so let's keep those applications and dollars comin' in, gang. You wouldn't want to miss out on seeing Jay Bastow do his famous CQ dance with each new member, would you? Just send him $1.00, at 233-301, and watch for the fireworks!
W6VIO MAKES FIRST RTTY QSO!
On June 15, 1971, W6VIO achieved the first two-way radioteletype communication with another ham station. The station contacted was WA3IKK, in Pennsylvania, using our NASA KWM2A transceiver and a Club-built solid state terminal unit to interface between the TTY machine and the radio equipment.
The initial contact showed up many errors in our printout, but these will be reduced as the system is further adjusted and de-bugged. Another solution to our receiving problem will be the forthcoming move to the Mesa location.
Full credit for the design, coordination and construction of the terminal unit goes to Chuck Krinke/WA6LWB and his team who worked diligently to provide the Club with RTTY capability.
The system is designed to be compatible with both the NASA Net and the local VHF RACES-Civil Defense RTTY communications network. This is an important accomplishment for the Club and will be of great value to the NASA and country's emergency communication planning.
NEED A NEW QSL CARD??
If you ever got the urge to update or change your QSL card, no doubt you've been slowed down a bit by the ads in the magazines, where samples are available only for a fee. While we may have to sympathize with the card printers, finding a suitable card design can often get pretty expensive!!
Well, in the interests of saving the hard-earned bucks of Club members, Merv MacMedan/W6IUV is letting it be known that he has a big collection of samples from a number of these printers that can be borrowed by those interested. So, if you are ready for a new card, why not call Merv on X2112?
ANOTHER EXTRA LICENSEE IN CLUB
Phil Chapman/W6HCS is the proud owner of an Extra Class license, as of June 9th. When asked if he was going to obtain a two-letter call sign, Phil answered that he had grown attached to his old call letters over the years, and was even more attached to the extra fee involved.
"CHEWING THE FAT"
New Club member Jack Bobrow came up with an interesting story about the origin of the phrase "Chewing the fat."
In the olden times, when visiting with friends used to mean a pleasant afternoon of conversation (and wife swapping wasn't the fashion), the host rarely went to any great trouble in preparing a tantalizing repast. Rather, it was the custom to hang sides of bacon or other meats in the living rooms to cure; usually, this was the warmest place in the house. During the course of the visits, it was an accepted ritual to slice off a bit of the fatty portion of the meats and pass around pieces for each guest to munch on, while conversing. Hence, the saying "Chewing the fat." The radio ham version "rag-chewing" may have an altogether different source. Does anyone have any ideas?
Henry 2K-3 Linear Amplifier, George/W6FXZ, (714) 633-1254
Hallicrafters HT-41, 900 w CW, 1400 w SSB PEP, Class B Linear, $175 Chuck Krinke/WA6LWB, Ext. 6676
Heathkit HX-30 6-Meter SSB Transmitter SSB Upper/Lower, AM, CW; 50-54 MHz , VFO, Xtal, VOX. $95
Motorola 6-Meter FM Xmtr & Rcvr Strips, no pwr supplies. $40 for both.
Ameco CB-6 6-Meter Converter; $15
W6IUV Housecleaning...... McElroy 3-key (dot, dash & space) Wheatstone Perforator for Morse Code tapes (2-hole code); missing power supply & needs one specially machined screw; with extra box of tapes. $5.00
Homebrew CW xmtr or exciter, 90 w, 6146 final; between-the-dots break-in grid block keying; bandswitching 8010 meters w/ broadband driver stages; tube lineup: 12AU7 VFO, 6AU6, 5763, 5763, 5763, 6146. Regulated screen oscillator supplies; TVI proof; in open desk top relay rack; based on article in RCA Ham Tips, $25.00
Set of chassis slides, used for phono drawer in hi-fi cabinet. $1.00
Pen-and-ink paper tape recorder, used for recording Morse code; can be driven from spkr output; requires method of pulling tape thru at constant speed. $4.00
600 w Class C amplifier; antique push-pull 808 tubes ((w/3 spares); plug-in coils for 80 & 40 meters; has pwr supply w/866A HV rectifiers; all in enclosed relay rack cabinet on casters; needs TVI-proofing. $20.00
Swan 350C, w/AC pwr supply; mint cond (used 25 hr). $325.00
1963-1970 collections of QST,, Pop'Tronics and Electronics Illustrated; good library builder.
CLUB COMMITTEES & CHAIRMEN
Emergency Communications: Bruce Kelly
NASA Net: Merv MacMedan
RACES: Rex Edwards
AREC: Bill Carpenter
Mountain Rescue: Gene Thom
AMSAT/OSCAR Mgr.: Norm Chalfin
TVI/Interference: Jay Bastow
By-Laws Review: M. Piroumian
Station Facility: Bill Harris
Chief Engineer: Dick Kolbly
Newsletter Editor: Stan Hench
JPL Emergency & Disaster: Nash Williams
Hospitality: M. Piroumian
QSL Bureau Mgr.: Hans Weber
Publicity Mgr.: H. Wheelock
Propagation Prediction: Bill Bergman
Field Day: Dave Hubiak
Yacht Race: Jesse Ball
JPL Picnic: Dick Baugh
HINTS 'N THINGS
Stuck for an antenna loading coil? Stan Hench/WB6JMP found the answer, not in his radio junk box, but in his harmonics' toy box! After filching one of the kids "Slinky" toys, he made a few calculations from the ARRL Handbook, a few judicious cuts in a wooden dowel for spacer material, and put his "Slinky Special" on 40 meters. Results? First contact was an info checkout with WCARS and then a 5-9 phone patch into Stockton, using only 240 w PEP! The Slinky coil is now a permanent fixture on his vertical. Total cost for the coil material: 89¢.
(Editor's note: Think Cheap!)
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