"PERSPECTIVE ON PRIORITIES" REVISITED
Our "Perspective on Priorities" editorial in the February issue aroused quite a few comments from readers, as we alluded to in the March issue. Most observers agree we really should do something about the conflict between contests and emergency traffic when it occurs, but they are hard pressed to come up with a specific, realizable implementation or plan.
We are pleased to note that ARRL has recognized the problem. George Hart, W1NJM, ARRL's Communication Manager, has asked for help from each of three advisory committees: Emergency Communications, DX, and Contest. He has proposed to them a suggested plan to allow ARRL-sponsored contests to yield to a major emergency; they, in turn are tasked to come up with better ideas if they can. We will be interested in the responses of these three committees, although it should be noted that none of them individually have responsibility for the overall problem, and there is a danger that each will provide a suboptimum overall solution that is incompatible with the other two! Just the same, some good minds are working on the problem which is better than forgetting about it.
We agree with most of the verbal and written comments that canceling or postponing a worldwide contest is difficult or impossible because of notifying everyone in time. In addition, tempers run hot when money is involved. How would you like to have spent your vacation wad to reach some remote DX spot and then hear the very contest you were about to win had been postponed, say, a month? Canceling or postponing the contest was our first thought to finding a solution, but surely additional thought will yield other possibilities. Frequency allocations would help (see Letters to the Editor) and here are two others.
ARRL already has an existing team of "Official Observers" (OO's) whose job it is to advise us of signal or operating discrepancies before the FCC does. These gentlemen have to approach us diplomatically, to tell us we are doing something wrong without getting us incensed. Their discrepancy reports should be quantifiable and incontestable (i.e., not based solely on opinion.) This takes maturity of judgment of the same quality needed for an "interference Patrol." Couldn't ARRL set up their 00 team, on the air, as official monitors during major emergencies, to request offending stations to cooperate, in real time? If they failed to cooperate after such an "official" request, then the OO's would have recourse to a hot line to the FCC. The FCC could then monitor that specific situation and issue appropriate citations to the offenders. That action, of course, would disqualify their contest score; if they were not contesting, then at least it would jeopardize their license.
It seems to us that many of those that persist in interfering are jealous of the emergency net's right to ask for a clear frequency when this privilege is denied the DXer or contester. The OO approach could shed an independent view on the situation and make the OO team itself infinitely more valuable.
Our second idea is far less specific. We said before that contests should be considered a means to becoming better prepared to operate in an emergency, rather than an end in itself. The bottom line in a Contest is the score itself. There is nothing to motivate a contester to forego the contest and help in the emergency, because they have been set up to be mutually exclusive. We would like some way to tie the two together - a way to involve the DXer in emergency traffic where he can contribute greatly with his big signal, and a way to involve the traffickers in improving their station's long haul capability. We seem to be getting too fractionalized everybody living in his private interest niche, oblivious and apathetic to any other activity going on around him. Perhaps "The Amateur Is Well Rounded" should be added to the Amateur's Code. Perhaps the three advisory committees will find a "well rounded" solution. It's a tough job. We wish them luck. [W6IUV]
FCC RELAXES WRITTEN CW REQUIREMENT
Effective March 24, the need for "at least 1 minute" of error-free copy on FCC Amateur exams has been dropped. Instead, an alternative examination where the applicant must answer questions on the content of the transmitted text may be substituted. But, this type of exam will not be immediately available at all offices since it will take some time to develop. It should help slow writers! [Tnx to HR Report #85]
MARCH BOARD MEETING HIGHLIGHTS
As usual, the following tidbits are one man's view of what went on at the March 24, 1976 Board meeting and is not be to taken as official, as every fact stated here is likely to be denied by any attendee you ask. But if you are really curious, why don't you show up and see for yourself? Board meetings are the 4th Wednesday of each month in 198-111.
President Stan Brokl, K6YYQ, presided. Those in attendance were:
- Stan Brokl, President
- Dick Piety, Facilities
- Ralph West, Secretary
- Gordon Crawford, Publicity
- Jay Holladay, Trustee
- Bill Carpenter, Member
- Glenn Berry, E.C.Mgr.
- Merv MacMedan, Editor
- Walt Diem, Director
Stan Brokl announced that the application for our Viking Special Event Station license was in the mail. We are awaiting confirmation of our special call, N6V. Work on the station in the trailer is progressing nicely. In particular, Dick Piety was commended for doing a magnificent job. He reported that there is now 220 volts installed for the Collins 30SI amplifier, and repairs on the trap vertical are nearly complete. An instruction book obtained from Nash Williams, W6HCD, will help in the final installation and adjustment. The 71 ft. crank-up tower has been delivered on schedule.
The Repeater Project report from Walt Diem and Bob Akers has been rescheduled till next month because of their very tight work schedule at present. We will expect to hear a description of the project, what has been accomplished so far, and what the resource needs (money, equipment, people) of the project will be.
Brokl said the Moonbounce idea has been dropped due to lack of sufficient momentum that he believed would have been necessary to pull it off.
Diem indicated that there is a need for one of our corner reflectors at Table Mtn; it is located right now at Mt. Wilson and will have to be recalled.
Brokl suggested that the club sponsor a party of some kind - a beer bash? - to celebrate all our successes this year. One idea was to do it after we finish the first half of our Special Event activity in July. Members' suggestions are solicited to Stan Brokl, X2715.
Holladay received confirmation that Doug DeMaw would indeed be here for the scheduled meeting at Cal Tech on April 13. (See announcement next column.) Unfortunately he would not be able to stay over for our regular meeting the following day.
The Board meeting was adjourned at 12:55 again. [W61UV]
WORK PARTY SATURDAY APRIL 3
Dick Piety announces that another work party is going to take place Saturday, April 3, at 10 am. The purpose is to run some additional cables from the Mesa to the trailer; only this time they will roll them down the hill instead of pulling them up! Mountaineer and Mountain-rescue types especially invited, as the hill is rugged and dangerous, We need all the help we can get - call Dick at X2298 and meet him at the Trailer at the East Gate Saturday!
SOLID STATE RECEIVER DESIGN TALK
Doug DeMaw, W1CER, will speak on Modern Solid State Receiver Design at a meeting jointly sponsored by the Cal Tech Amateur Radio Club and the JPL Amateur Radio Club. It will take place on Tuesday, April 13 at 8 pm in Room 24, Beckman Laboratory Cal Tech.. Room 24 is at the south end of the Laboratory (Bldg. 76) and parking is available as shown on the map below. Do not confuse the Beckman Laboratory with the famous Beckman Auditorium, which is circular. We expect this to be a top flight technical meeting to which all members should come, and bring friends!
HOW TO BECOME A REGISTERED PROFESSIONAL ENGINEER
Bob Verderber, Consulting Engineer, will speak on "How to Become A Registered Professional Engineer" at a meeting of the San Gabriel Valley Section, IEEE. He will explain the advantages of registration, and speak about new branches of registration temporarily available -under a "grandfather clause." Meeting is at Cal Tech, Steele Lab, room 102, April 14 at 8pm. Premeeting dinner is optional at the Westward Ho restaurant, Pasadena; Call Mrs. Helen Miller X2500 before noon, April 13 for reservations. [K6CV]
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
... [This] is not an alternative, but rather it supports your plea for a self-assessment. It would be far better that the amateur radio community find a solution before one is suggested or imposed from the outside.
This problem was also discussed at the last Potomac Valley Radio Club meeting; first because it is primarily a contest club and second because one of the members is on the ARRL Contest Committee. After sifting various comments it was quite apparent that effectively turning off the contest on such short notice would have been impossible. With hindsight being 20-20, it is very easy to point out what ARRL didn't do or how the poor judgment of a few contesters did a disservice to ham radio. This was not the first time that an operating event coincided with an emergency. Perhaps it is again time to suggest that frequencies for contests be restricted to permit other communications .....
WANTED: SWAN 175, reasonable. Jesse Ball X5726 or 340-4411.
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