THE GUATEMALAN EMERGENCY: A PERSPECTIVE ON PRIORITIES
After the earthquake that struck Guatemala in the predawn hours of February 4th, nobody tuning across the 20 meter phone band could fail to hear the feverish activity of hundreds of hams dedicating their stations and operating skill to the task of providing vital communications with TG9-land. Within the first day or two, the effort began to take shape as an organized team. Some nets were set up to handle "official traffic" phone patches with Red Cross officials, medical officials, and government officials. Through these nets, Guatemalan consuls in the U.S. and other countries were kept posted on conditions in the stricken area, and schedules of relief plane arrivals were coordinated. Other nets, on different frequencies, handled inquiries as to the health and welfare of relatives and friends in the devastated area. In many cases, answers came back in minutes. This latter service was particularly valuable, as many desperate Guatemalans, isolated overseas and unable to ascertain the fate of their families, planned to fly to the quake area which would only compound the already severe housing and food problem there.
We can rest assured that this communications effort will be remembered in a favorable light when the basis and purpose of amateur radio is defended at the 1979 World Administrative Radio Conference. We expect that the Guatemalan delegate at such a conference would be hard pressed not to support our need for frequencies; but even more important, other governments have, no doubt, been watching how amateurs have helped. They, too will be favorably impressed, even if they have not (yet!) had such a disaster. There is no question that this is the stuff that buys support for our hobby among the world's governments. A rousing salute to all who have helped!
Because of an unfortunate coincidence in scheduling, the ARRL DX Phone Contest took place on the weekend of February 7-8, just when the emergency traffic reached a peak. Interference from the high power DX Contesters was severe. Some, causing heavy splatter to traffic nets, refused to move to other frequencies when asked. This situation was not helped by a particularly poor choice of emergency frequencies chosen during the early stages of the operation. Frequencies below 14,250 kHz are choice DX spots, and the several nets operating in that range caused much aggravation to contesters.
It was unfortunate that ARRL allowed the DX contest to take place, under the circumstances. There were nearly three days to notify everyone concerned of its postponement to some new date, but nothing was done. In reviewing the priorities of the two conflicting operations, it is difficult to see how a contest, per se, can ever be regarded as more important than the health and welfare of human beings anywhere in the world. The relief traffic won us points in preparation for preserving the future of amateur radio at the 1979 WARC. Would any contester's score, no matter how big, impress any government's delegate having a vote at that conference? Obviously not!
So, just why do we have contests, anyway? Contests definitely have a place in Amateur Radio. They motivate us to improve our signals and reception until our stations perform competitively. Contests give us practice in coping with heavy interference, and rapid no-nonsense message exchanges. They help us improve our general operating skill and endurance. All of these attributes are first-class preparation for the most humane use that amateur radio has to help our brothers in distress. But we must not ever lose perspective. A contest is the MEANS to becoming better prepared, not the end in itself!
The next time I hear long haul disaster traffic on the amateur bands, I hope I hear many of the skilled and powerful "DX Contest" stations joining in to expedite that traffic. They will be doing their part to guarantee a solid future for amateur radio, rather than grumbling about the QRMI This should be every ham's first priority, even if it means he must forego a contest for a weekend. [W6IUV]
Those of you that can offer a constructive alternative to this editorial are invited to present your view. Write to the editor.
After one month in office, I am pleased to report that all seems to be going well with the Radio Club As an illustration of the club's vitality, I have actually had two volunteers (!!) for committee posts in response to last month's newsletter! Dick Piety, K6SVP, will be in charge of Station Facilities for both the Trailer station and the station in building 171. Dr. Steve Lambert, WA6HVK (from the Caltech Campus) will head the Interference Committee. Welcome aboard, gentlemen!
Glenn Berry was confirmed as Emergency Communications Manager at last month's Board of Directors' meeting and will be responsible for appointment of Team Chiefs for the Red Cross and JPL Mobile groups.
I have only two more committee chairman posts remaining open: The JPL Annual Picnic, and Field Day. Both of these events are of prime importance to the club and require participation from as many members of the club as possible.
The Picnic is our only source of income for the club, aside from Dues, and it has never failed to turn a profit. Each year at the JPL Picnic, the Club sets up a Hot Dog stand and sells Hot Dogs at a reasonable price. Our need at this time is for someone to coordinate this important event.
The Field Day post will be all-important this bicentennial year. Again, all I ask for is someone that can use a phone and get the troops organized! If YOU would like to try your hand at either post, get in touch with me. Thanks!
73, Stan K6YYQ, President
HELP WANTED: SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 28
There will be a work party on Saturday, February 28 at 10 am to lay some 5 or 6 coaxial transmission lines and control cables down the hillside from the Mesa to our trailer near the East Gate. This activity is in preparation for both our upcoming Viking Special Event activity, and to upgrade our signal to permit reliable schedules with Pitcairn Island for coordination of Project Sunfire. Sunfire is a solar energy collector being researched and built by Scouts of the JPL Explorer Post. The Explorers will be there helping too. We need YOU. Please call Dick Piety, K6SVP, X 2298 and say you'll be there. He will give you more details. [K6SVP]
NEWS ABOUT VIKING SPECIAL EVENT ACTIVITY
Plans are underway to celebrate the capsule landing of the Viking Spacecraft on the planet Mars by putting the Club station on the air with a special call sign. The activity will involve putting the station(s) on as many bands as possible for as many hours as possible. Definite plans are to use 75 through 10 meters (CW and SSB) and 2-meter FM. The activity is planned for 30 days total, split between the first and second landings.
We need a committment of manpower. We will have both the trailer station (see article above ... Ed.) and the Bldg. 171 station to keep manned. We are hoping for enough operators to keep at least one station active during working hours by splitting the job into 2-hour shifts. With enough operators, each person will only be required to donate a few hours. Please notify Jim Lumsden, X 6726, of your willingness to participate.
We also need good ideas for the special call sign we plan to request from FCC.
73, Jim Lumsden, WA6MYJ X6726 Mail: 233-103
WA60PB BURNS UP
Club member and former President Maurice Piroumian, WA60PB, was the unfortunate victim of a fire recently. Not Maurice himself, thank goodness. It seems that some gasoline leaked from the tank of one of his cars while parked in his garage. A flash fire erupted, ignited by the pilot light of his water heater which was also located in the garage. Total damage to garage and house was estimated at $18,000. Happily, none of the family was hurt but they all probably ate barbecued marshmallows for days after. [The Ledger,1-29-76.]
MEMBERS DO SOMETHING USEFUL
Several JPLARC members are commended for their help in providing communications for important area events. RACES supported the New Year's Day Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, and club members Skip Reymann W6PAJ, Walt Diem WA6PEA, Al Chapman W6MEO and Dick LaBelle W6FXN assisted. Handie- talkies were the predominant mode on 2m FM.
The Lockheed Radio Club organized the communications for the March of Dimes Walkathon on January 11. Of the 67 hams helping, two were from our club: Bob Brodkin WA6TBH and Walt Diem WA6PEA. Preliminary estimates showed some 7000 walkers raised approximately 3150,000 to fight birth defects, making it all a worthwhile effort.
The annual ARRL-sponsored Simulated Emergency Test was held on January 24-25. Helping test system capabilities by handling simulated disaster messages were members Bob Heusser K6TUY, Walt Diem WA6PEA, and Nash Williams W6HCD on 2m FM, and Merv MacMedan W61UV on 80 CW. John Dundas WA6ZCO of the Pasadena Red Cross reported that the test was an outstanding success from his vantage point.
These members deserve special thanks for doing their part to help make these events successful. What have YOU done lately to promote your hobby? Perhaps you'd like to try it sometime. Watch this newsletter for announcements of opportunities to come. We hope, with a regular publication schedule, that this will be possible. [WA6PEA, W6HCD, W6IUV]
Quite a lot of paper is mailed all over the lab announcing meetings each month. It has made some of us wonder just what that paper is used for, after it is read, of course. To get some additional mileage from your meeting notice, try tacking it up on the nearest bulletin board so others who are not members can be exposed. However, be careful about one point: if you tend to be somewhat forgetful, be sure to mark the meeting details in your own personal calendar first so you don't forget! Thanks for helping us. [K6YYQ]
ARRL BOARD MEETING HIGHLIGHTS
Official Bulletin Nr 573 From ARRL Headquarters Newington Ct January 17, 1976 To All Radio Amateurs =
With major emphasis on preparation for the 1979 World Administrative Radio Conference, the Board of Directors of the American Radio Relay League in Annual Session January 15 and 16 initiated an extensive training project coordinated through local radio clubs to promote increased growth of the Amateur Radio Service. Programmed learning techniques and materials will be made available to achieve uniform class instruction leading to an amateur license. The aim is fifty percent growth prior to the conference. The fund for defense of frequencies was replenished to a total of one hundred thousand dollars, and monies advanced to the ARK Foundation to finance a solicitation program for funds to cover the extensive costs of WARC preparation and participation.
In the domestic regulatory field the board requested the General Manager to explore a system of frequency coordinators, particularly for repeaters. It directed increased efforts toward the solution of RFI problems, and to alleviate interference and eliminate jamming on the amateur bands. FCC officials W3CAH and K3BNS met informally with the league assembly to exchange views on problems in the Amateur Radio Service, worldwide as well as national and to pledge mutual cooperation in achieving solutions.
Responsibility for affiliated club relations was transferred to the General Manager. Deadlines for Director nominations and elections were eased to avoid lateness of ballot distribution and return. A regular schedule of SCM elections and terms of office will be established. Approval was granted for a National Convention in Seattle in 1980. A new Family Life Membership class was established.
President W2TUK and Vice Presidents W4KFC, VE3CJ and W0BWJ were reelected, along with W4WHN, W5EYB, W6KW and W7PGY to the Executive Committee. W1RU was named Secretary, and W1RW Treasurer. David H. Houghton, who retired after 35 years as Treasurer and a total of 54 years in League Service, was elected an Honorary Vice President.
The Board ordered studies made by appropriate League committees in the fields of 50 and 420 MHz Band Plans, an outgoing OL Bureau, Phone Patch Code of Ethics, Contest Rules, reduced Regular and Life membership fees for elderly and handicapped, repeater and remote base operation, and possible alignment with national Search and Rescue groups in Emergency Communications areas. Minutes of the meeting will appear in March QST. AR
DEREGULATION ON PORTABLE OPERATION PENDING
Official Bulletin Nr 574 from ARRL Headquarters Newington Ct January 29 1976 to All Radio Amateurs =
In another step toward deregulation, the Federal Communications Commission has proposed to delete the requirements for advance notice of portable operation. It has also proposed to delete the requirement that transmissions from stations in portable or mobile status be identified as such. Comments in Docket 20686 are due February 27 and reply comments are due March 8. Please spread the word on this docket and let ARRL Headquarters and your ARRL director know your views as soon as possible, whether you are in favor of or opposed to the concept.
ARRL Vice-Director and Club Trustee Jay Holladay, W6EJJ, notes that ARRL has filed a petition for a 60-day extension to both dates shown above in order to provide a reasonable time for response. Copies of the complete docket are available for your inspection in Jay's office or your editor's. This proposal appears to have many ramifications. All members are urged to express your views to your APRL Director, W6KW, or directly to AREL Hqs. [W6EJJ]
FCC FIELD ENGINEERING OFFICE IN LOS ANGELES MOVED
The FCC's Los Angeles Field Engineering Office has been moved to 3711 Long Beach Blvd., Suite 501, Long Beach, Calif. 90807. Telephone numbers are now:
213-426-7886 (Exam schedules)
426-7955 (Interference complaints)
[Tnx to WA6TPT and HR Report]
POWER LINES AFFECT RADIATION BELTS
Stanford University Prof. Robert A. Helliwell reports that the high tension power lines that crisscross the U.S. have been influencing the earth's radiation belts. The effect was discovered during recent experiments with an Antarctic-based 100 KW VLF transmitter. "Part of the effect is to cause electrons to 'rain' down from the ionosphere, a phenomenon which could be used to affect communications over long distances," says Helliwell. He says it might be possible for nations to pump VLF signals into the ionosphere to scramble others' communications or navigation systems, or use the technique to enhance their own communications. [Tnx to Technology Forecasts, December 1975.]
CHALFIN TALKS TO RATS
Norm Chalfin, K6PGX will present one of his illustrated talks on AMSAT/OSCAR on March 9 to the Desert Rats Association in Palm Springs. He swears it's not a CB group - - it stands for Radio Amateur Transmitting Society. If you have friends there, tell them it will be at 7:30 at Coachella Valley Savings & Loan on Palm Canyon Drive. [K6PGX]
ANTENNA PIONEER PASSES AWAY
It is always sad to report the loss of a radio pioneer. Hidetsugu Yagi, the inventor of the most popular antenna in radio, passed away recently in Tokyo at the age of 89. Yagi had been an amateur in the days prior to World War II. [Tnx HR Report]
RCA TO CLOSE TUBE PLANT
Fellas, we're just going to have to face it sooner or later. Semiconductors are in, tubes are a-going. RCA will stop tube production and close its plant at Harrison, N.J. on July 30. The RCA name will continue on tubes, but these will be made by over seas plants or will be produced for RCA by other makers. If you're an RCA 6146 buff, better lay in a supply to tide you over until you go solid state in your shack! [Tnx HR Report]
***RENEWED FOR '76 YET? $2 TO JIM LUMSDEN WILL DO***
HF (10-80 meters) linear amplifier (Prefer HT44)
Heathkit Scope, Model SB610
Heathkit Phone Patch
3-element Quad antenna
SB-34 transceiver or equivalent
Phone 762-4191 or write Box 692, North Hollywood, CA 91601
Amateur Radio Equipment:
Yaesu FTDX-560 Transceiver, almost new $325
Heathkit SB110A 6-meter transceiver
with HP-23 power supply 325
Heathkit SB301 all-band receiver,
10-80 meters, ssb/am/cw 150
Heathkit GD-1B Grid dip meter 10
Heathkit AM-2 Reflected power meter 10
Heathkit HD-15 Hybrid Phone Patch 25
Lafayette HA-650 6-m portable xcvr, 12v 75
100 ft RG-58/U coax w/connectors, sealed 5
Lafayette coil winding machine 15
(All above equipment in excellent condition, complete with manuals, speaker if applicable, and original packing cartons.)
Radio Control Equipment:
Logictrol 5 system, complete. 4 servos,
all batteries, etc. 27.095 MHz. $200.
Heathkit 8 system, complete. 4 servos,
all batteries, etc. 53.1 and 53.3
MHz dual freqs; system checked out
by Heath. $250.
(Both RC systems are like new, very little useage.)
Homebuilt Airplane Project:
PDQ--2 Ultra Lite Homebuilt project. Plans, complete spruce kit, most plywood, all required foam. Rockwell/JLO 600 cc twin with all accessories and tools. Some hardware, all square aluminum tubing for fuselage cut, machined, and ready for welding. Many finished parts. $900.
60 ft triangular structure crank-up tower with 6 meter beam and rotator. Must pick up in Sunland. $125.
The above items, we are sorry to report, are a small part of the estate of Harold Rosenberg, a JPLARC club member who retired from the Lab a few years ago. He passed away recently, and his son is disposing of the gear. For information, contact Larry Rosenberg at 408-268-5294 (Home) or 415-966-3966 (Office.)
Transcom SSB transceiver, 20-40-80 meters SSB, solid state rig in perfect condition. 150 W. PEP With AC and DC power supplies, mike, mobile antennas. $225 or ??
H. Mecke W6ZGC 714-252-4038 or A. Chapman W6MEO 213-289-7486
Novice rig. 6-80 meter transmitter, w/key etc. $30. GMT Clock, 24 hr Numechron, $12, Phone 247-5797 or 248-7525.
Crank-up tower, 4 sections, 71 feet high (TriEx Model H471), HAM-M rotator, Cubex quad (2 element, 3 band, fibreglas spreaders), Dwyer wind meter, and all guys and cables. $500. Also available with purchase of 3-bedroom house and associated property in Pasadena.
Power-Mite PD13A transceiver, 20 and 40 meters. Receiver handles CW, SSB and AM; transmitter -,ower is 5 watts CW with break-in keying. For 12 v DC but 110 V power supply comes with it, as does the manual. S40.
Contact Horst Schneider, WB61NZ JPL X 6532;Home, 791-3336
"Duke" Ellington, W6OZD, tells us that Radio Products Sales, at 1501 South Hill Street, Los Angeles, is one of the few remaining industrial parts distributors still willing to sell over the counter to parts scroungers like you and me. They are heavy in RCA and Texas Instruments solid state lines. Hours are 8:30 am - 5pm Monday thru Friday, closed Saturday. They accept BankAmericard and Mastercharge on purchases of $10 or more, or you could call and have them ship via UPS, COD. Call Duke at 748-1271.
HOW TO TAKE ANTENNA TUBING APART
Ever put up an antenna using aluminum tubing and later on find you have to take it down to paint, or move? If it's been up any length of time, it is probably a waste of time to try and pull the telescoped sections apart ... unless you planned ahead! Here's a secret: Get a tin of "Electroseal" and coat the aluminum with it before assembly. It will come apart later on with no difficulty, and yet there is no degradation of the conductive properties of the joint. It is a nonseizing, electrically conductive, anti-corrosive paste, The goo is akin to silverbearing grease and comes in a tin the size of a 500 coin for $1. Use sparingly. [W6HCD]
SEVEN RECEIVE CODE CLASS COMPLETION CERTIFICATES
At the Club meeting of February 11th, Certificates of Completion were presented to seven members by Merv MacMedan. At the same time, he announced that the beginners code class (5wpm) and the advanced code class (20wpm) would no longer be held until a new session is started, but that the 13wpm classes were still continuing Wednesdays at noon in the Bldg. 122 conference room. The following received certificates for meeting the objective of the class:
Jim Collins (5)
Gordon Crawford (20)
Jonathan Katz (5)
Howard Leighty (20)
Jim Longthorne (5)
Tom Smith (5)
Sam Weaver (5)
Instructors of the two classes were Merv MacMedan for beginners and Charlie Potts for advanced. Nash Williams is continuing with the 13 wpm group, and we expect to issue some more certificates soon when his class reaches its goal. Those of you that are in need of code practice until new classes are formed should contact the Education Committee Chairman, Norm Chalfin, K6PGX, at X 6833.
Go back to the W6VIO Calling Index.