JAMSAT SHAKEDOWN FLIGHT SUCCESSFUL By Norm Chalfin, K6PGX
For an hour-and-a-half Booth Hartley, N6BH, piloted his Beechcraft Bonanza over Southern California on November Nth carrying a prototype model of the A-O-D Mode J transponder. Booth is a member of the JPL Amateur Radio Club. Maurice Piroumian, WA6OPB, also aboard Booth's plane, a member of the Hughes Aircraft Company Amateur Radio Club, operated an Echo 11 435 MHz KIM transceiver to monitor the output of the mode J transponder. The flight was in preparation for the full-scale all-day test flight to be held on December 3rd, 1977. The December 3rd flight will cover all of the state of California, starting from Van Nuys airport early in the morning. It will go on to San Diego, then north to Palo Alto where the fliers will stop for luncheon and refueling. After lunch they will continue to Sacramento and then return South through the inland valleys to Van Nuys Airport.
N6BH, WA6OPB, and K6PGX (l. to r.) make final checks aboard the test flight aircraft. [Photo by K6PGX]
Just before the flight on November 5th, tests were made on the ground with Skip Reymann, W6PAJ (JPLARC) and Gene Halaas, WB6GSP of Van Nuys, transmitting SSB signals on 2 meters through the transponder.
Norm Chalfin, K6PGX operated FM through the transponder on 2 meters using a new WE 800 Wilson. The transponder output was received on an inexpensive battery operated portable radio tuned down from its nominal 450-470 MHz commercial band operation.
Aircraft undercarriage showing 2-meter and 435 MHz monopoles added for the test flight. [Photo by K6PGX]
The Jamsat transponder beacon [on 435.100 MHz - Ed.] was keyed by a PROM operated keyer putting out "HI HI HI HI DE WA3NDS AMSAT AA4." The keyer was built by Dick Ulrich, K6KCY. Dick was to have been aboard the plane also, but was grounded by a strep throat. He did manage, however, to complete the equipment modifications necessary for the flight despite his discomfort. Dick is a member of the JPL club..
At the QTH of N61C, Don Bostrom, on November 5th, there were three ground stations set up. John Dessel, WA6JML operated the downlink position, receiving signals in the 435.125 - 435-140 MHz band from the airborne transponder on a Kenwood TS820 equipped with a Hamtronics 435 MHz converter. Elliot Oseas, WA6AGN operated the uplink position using a Kenwood TS-70OA for transmitting in the 145.890 - 145-905 MHz range. Dick Handlen, WA6SLB maintained air-to-ground communications via a 220 MHz Midland 13-509 transceiver and Mt.' Wilson repeater WR6AJI. Don, John, Elliot and Dick are members of the Hughes Club. Two other Hughes club members, Tom McInnes, WB6ZEB (its President) and Sam Weise, set up and maintained ground station antenna facilities which included beams, ground planes, and verticals.
John Swancara WA6LOD, and John Gerlach K6BRD, also of the Hughes Club participated with the operations. Dr. Sandra Bostrom (Don's XYL) provided a delightful buffet. Also in the wings was Mrs. Nancy Reymann, Skip's XYL.
About 10 calls were heard in then narrow passband during the very short flight. Calls heard were:
- WB6GSP - SSB W6TCQ - SSB
- W6PAJ - SSB W6XT - CW
- K6PGX - FM N6IC - SSB
- W6LO - SSB
On the ground tests of the prototype transponder at the airport, Skip reported that the bandwidth was l8kHz. There were no interfering signals heard aboard the aircraft or on the ground, and no interference was reported from the transponder to other amateur services.
[Ed. note: The full-up flight will take place on December 3rd. A status net will be activated all day on 7230 kHz SSB. The plane is scheduled to leave Van Nuys airport at 9 am and return about 6:30 pm. Net Control while the plane is in Southern California will be N61C; net control while it will be up North will be the Lockheed Sunnyvale Station, WA6GFY. You will be able to track the test progress by listening to this net. GL! - N6NO]
FIELD DAY SCORES ARE IN
The official Field Day Scores, as reported in December QST, reached us just at press time. As you no doubt know, W6VIO/6 operated this year from a site at Table Mountain in a joint effort with the Goldstone Amateur Radio Club. In our class (3A Battery: 3 simultaneously operating stations less than 200 watts, club group) we came in third.
- Here's the score box: No. of
- Parti- Total
- QSOs Pwr cipants Points
- Southern Mich. ARS
- (W8DF/8+WD8AEL) 646 A 25 5110
- Colorado Traffickers &
- United Americans (W0UA/0) 1510 B 11 5042
- JPL ARC (W6VIO/6+WB6TXG) 1246 B 23 4074
While there were some 1592 entries in the contest, there were only 7 entries in class 3A Battery. One should take note that the first place winner got more points with less contacts because of the use of the multiplier that is available for use of 10 watts or less.
Remember the interference we had trying to operate 3 BY rigs? If it would make you feel better, QST shows the Englewood (NJ) ARA (W2RJ/2) was the only entrant in its class - 23A - that's 23 simultaneous stations! And, with 35 participants, they only racked up a score of 7902. Highest score of all appeared to be the Potomac Valley Radio Club, W3AU/3, who garnered 13,744 points in class 16A.
In reviewing the scores, we came across some interesting club names. Try these on for size:
- N3AW - B. A. R. F.
- WB8JBM - N. Ridgeville, Columbia & Elyria Pond Swimming, Creek Stomping, Mud Sliding, Tree Climbing, Crop Destroying, Operator Drowning, Renegade Radio Club.
- N6BW - Noah's ARC. N61S - The Pooh Bear Field Day Circus WB8SBL - The Sherman Tanks
- W3VW - F. A. R. T. S.
- K0UR - Idi Amin's Raiders
- WA7ZBL - Quiet Reduced Power, Code Keying, Mosquito Mashers. W3IA - Seldom Heard Amateur Radio Keying Society
- N9AU - The Clique
- WA1YJF - Chirps off the old Block
- WB8NIO - Central Michigan Boondock Invaders for the Great Party State of Ohio
We also discovered that Field Day really brings out normally shy clubs. We found quite a few clubs with familiar names - those, like us, who are connected with aerospace. While not a complete list, here are some calls you might listen for:
- WA2LQO - Grumman ARC
- W2VDX - IBM Owego ARC
- K3AK - IBM/Comsat/SBS Radio Clubs
- W3NKF - Naval Research Lab ARC
- W3ZH - ARINC ARC
- W6AB - Satellite ARC
- K6CLZ - Aerojet RAC
- W6DL - Hughes ESEA ARC
- K6LY - Naval Postgraduate School ARC
- W6MPH - Telco ARC
- WB60BQ - Bunker Ramo Westlake Village ARC
- K6QEH - HFEA ARC
- K6QEZ - Ampex Employees ARC
- W6TRW - TRW ARC
- W6VIO - JPL ARC
- W6VLD - McDonnell-Douglas Astronautics West RC
- WA6GFY - LERL ARC
- K7AUO - Tektronix Employees ARC
- K7NWS - Boeing Employees ARS
- W9NB - Motorola Engineers - Schaumburg
- N93M - RCA ARC
- WA0CGV - McDonnell-Douglas St. Louis ARC
- W0MR - 3-M ARC
Bear in mind that while most of the above are club calls, some groups operated under the call of a member instead, which you may find in the above list.
Many thanks to all who participated with us in FD'77 and made it memorable. See you next June for another try for the top spot in our class! [N6NO]
ARRL NOTES by Jay Holladay, W6EJJ
New Repeater Rules Delayed - FCC has delayed implementation of the new repeater rules contained in Docket 21033, originally scheduled to take effect November 4, 1977. This was done because of the many petitions filed for reconsideration. On November 20th, the League's Executive Committee recommended the rules be implemented except for three items: Maintain separate repeater licenses rather than have repeater privileges under one's primary license; Maintain WR callsigns; and do not make available additional repeater sub-bands without further study to provide protection to low-power DXers, etc. At present, the new Technician privileges in 144.5-145 MHz are NOT available, the new repeater sub-bands are NOT authorized, nor is portable or mobile aux-link operation. The old rules remain in force.
John Griggs, W6KW went home for Thanksgiving with his family, but returned to the hospital in Santa Barbara to resume his therapy. He appears much improved.
New Call Letter License Plates in California will cost $15 if a new proposal by the Department of Motor Vehicles takes effect in January, 1979. The proposal, still subject to revision and modification during the coming year, bases fees on actual cost of making the custom plates and handling the paperwork. While an initial set would cost $15, there would be no yearly renewal fee beyond the normal fees. A transfer of ham plates to another car would cost $7.
ARRL Stolen Equipment Registry is now in operation for a one-year trial period. To report stolen equipment, write ARRL (with s.a.s.e., please) and ask for a stolen equipment registration card for each item stolen. The registry is updated monthly and is available for a 13cent s.a.s.e. Help shut the door on dealing in ripped off gear!
FCC Special Temporary Authorization to transmit ASCII through OSCAR has been renewed and is good through March 15, 1979.
W1AW WINTER CODE PRACTICE SCHEDULE
(Effective October 30, 1977 through April 30, 1978) All times are PST.
- Code Practice - Slow Code Practice - Fast
- 6am M W F 6am TuTh
- 1pm TuThSaSu 1pm M W F
- 4pm M W F 4pm TuThSaSu
- 7pm TuThSaSu 7pm M W F
- CW Bulletins - 18 wpm RTTY Bulletins
- 7am. M thru F 8am M thru F
- 2pm Daily 3pm Daily
- 5pm Daily 6pm Daily
- 8pm Daily 9pm Daily
CW Frequencies: 1835, 3580, 7080, 14080, 21080, 28080. RTTY Frequencies: 3625, 7095, 14095, 21095, 28095. [N6NO]
BOARD MEETING HIGHLIGHTS
The Board of Directors met on November 23, 1977 with the following in attendance:
- Glenn Berry K6GHJ Merv MacMedan N6NO
- Norm Chalfin K6PGX Jack Patzold WB6TXG
- Gordon Crawford WB6DRH Dick Piety K6SVP
- Walt Diem WA6PEA Jack Repar WA6LWD
- Mike Griffin WA3AZI Rich Ward N6BF
- Jay Holladay W6EJJ Ralph West N6YM
- Jim Lumsden WA6MYJ Gil Yanow K6TOS
The meeting was chaired by President Lumsden. Jay Holladay explained the proposed Call Letter License Plate fee structure being proposed by DMV (and detailed under "ARRL Notes" this issue.)
A tabled item from last month regarding a club philosophy on acquisition of test equipment was discussed at some length. Policy was finally set such that the club will set up a test station on lab which will include major test equipment for members' use, but that such major test equipment would not be purchased or available for take-home use. The club will, however, endeavor to purchase minor test equipment for take-home use by members. This motion carried unanimously.
In a subsequent discussion regarding the limited space available in the trailer, a policy of seeking expansion of the station space through establishment of a committee to consider various alternatives was approved. Vote was 3 Yes, 1 abstention.
The next subject considered was the 1978 budget. After some rework, the proposed budget was unanimously approved by the Board for submission to the membership for approval by them at the December 14 meeting. Copies will be available at that meeting.
Randy Johnstone, WB6QWR, was submitted to the Board for approval as an Associate (off-lab) member and was approved unanimously.
The rather lengthy meeting was adjourned at 1:55 pm.
DE WR6APS AT JPL by Booth Hartley, N6BH
New Table Mountain Antenna - On October 29 and 30, the Goldstone Club installed a new Stationmaster antenna on their 220 MHz repeater, WR6AZN. Although the specs show only 2 or 3 db difference in antennas, the results are considerably greater. N6BH was aeronautical mobile eastbound on October 28, and the repeater (on the old antenna) became marginal approximately 20 miles west of the Colorado River with a noisy signal - below S1. Two days later on the return trip, the new antenna was in place, and the difference was dramatic: at the Colorado River the signal jumped to over S5 and solid communications were established. Those of us who have AZN crystals will no doubt find new areas of coverage in the Los Angeles basin.
It is encouraging to note that our JPL club has already placed an order for a Stationmaster antenna. Here's hoping that it does the same for our coverage!
WR6APS Receiver Improvement - On November 5 WA6PEA and N6BH teamed up for receiver adjustments on the JPL repeater, WR6APS. Walt supplied the technical expertise, making receiver tuning adjustments at the repeater, while Booth dutifully adjusted a radiating signal generator's frequency and output in a JPL lab. The results were very satisfactory. WB6QWR, Randy, reported that he is now able to get in solidly from LA downtown areas which were hopeless before. And most satisfying: Erv, K6JUB, after months of trying and erecting beam antennas, can finally reach the repeater from his home in Sunland.
Late News Status Report [supplied at press time by K6GPK] Shortly after this marked improvement in repeater sensitivity, the desense problem suddenly reappeared, but much worse than before. It was so bad that N6NO couldn't make it into the repeater from his home, where it pins his meter. Walt decided a failure must have occurred and a long-planned modification to the duplexer cavities was overdue. The cavities allow the transmitter and receiver of the repeater to share the same antenna. The three cavities in the transmit side use a capacitor across the cavity to tune a notch at the receive frequency, thus attenuating output energy at the receiver input frequency. These capacitors, in the original configuration, were compression micas one of which was found to be defective. The repeater was taken off the air November 18 and the capacitors were replaced with air dielectric Johansen capacitors. It was found that the greatly increased Q of the new capacitors resulted in greatly improved performance of the cavities - some 120 db of rejection at the receive frequency.
The repeater was then returned to the Mesa, but in the final tuning of the cavities at the site, a five volt power supply was accidentally shorted out. The repeater was again off the air while the power supply was repaired With the repeater in the lab again, Walt took advantage of the opportunity to retune the receive cavities. This entails adjusting non-adjustable inductors across each of the receive cavities which tunes a null at the transmit frequency, keeping transmitted RF out of the receiver.
The repeater was returned to the air on November 28 but with the receive cavity tuning incomplete. When this final tuning is completed, we expect the repeater to have noticeably increased sensitivity with no desense problem.
W6VIO/6 OPERATES SOLAR POWERED AT ENERGY FAIR By Norm Chalfin, K6PGX
The Amateur Radio Club of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., operated for three days on November 4,5, and 6, using only solar-powered transceivers on the 20, 10, 2 and 1-1/4 meter bands with all four rigs going simultaneously.
This activity was part of the Energy Fair in which all of the currently proposed alternative forms of energy for domestic and industrial use were demonstrated by a large variety of commercial, educational and environmental quality organizations.
The amateur solar-powered stations included a TenTec Triton IV, operated at 140 watts input power most of the time and 70 watts at other times; a Yaesu FT-101EE, updated with the processor so that operation was as an "Ell at 140 watts input; a WE800 synthesized 2meter FM transceiver operating at 10 watts output; and a Clegg PM-76 operating at 10 watts on 220 MHz, alternating with a Midland 13-509, also a 220 MHz transceiver, at 10 watts.
"The weather was very cooperative," said Dr. Gil Yanow, K6TOS, who organized the exercise, "and we were able to top off the batteries with the Solar Panels before the fair opened each morning. Even on Saturday when it rained there was no noticeable loss of operating capability."
Participants in the exercise were members of the JPL Amateur Radio Club: its president, Jim Lumsden, WA6MYJ; Merv MacMedan, N6NO; Dick Piety, K6SVP; Marshall Fong, K6AOC; Ray Pickens, WA6SVY; Vince Wirth, WA6BZB; Pete Hoover, W6ZH; and Norm Chalfin, K6PGX. Others who helped were: Terry Mathers, WB61HZ; Ralph Alexander, W6RE; Pete Matthews, WB6UIA; Lyle Gardner, N6LB; and Esther Gardner, WA6UBU.
N6NO and K6AOC chat for a moment at the W6VIO/6 operating table while K6PGX works 2 meters (I. to r.) and onlookers express interest.
The 75 watts of solar power used in the operation were provided with three panels by Spectrolab which included, in each, 144 three-inch cells delivering 0.4 volts at 0.5 amps each.
Contacts were made throughout Southern California, across the country to the East Coast and Canada, to Japan, and down under.
N6NO, WA6MYJ, and WA6SVY keep three rigs running simultaneously around the table while the fourth operator (who?) snapped the picture. Model of Oscar satellite is at left. [K6PGX photos]
THE EDITOR'S CORNER
It's time to pause and reflect at the end of another year. Where have we come? Better yet, where are we going? 1977 has been a great year for our club. We saw our club repeater become a reality. We had the most participation ever for our annual field day. We ran out of hot dogs earlier than ever before at the JPL picnic. We organized the JAMSAT transponder aircraft test flight for AMSAT and flew it all over California. We conducted a popular special event operation to celebrate the Voyager launch, even though special call signs (such as N6V) were no longer being issued by the FCC. Our RTTY capability, long dormant, was revived and greatly improved. Our station equipment was augmented with the purchase of a new FT-101 transceiver. Members made countless speeches and presentations at hamfests. Members have distinguished themselves by having been elected to ham radio leadership positions of Vice Director of ARRL; Los Angeles Section Communications Manager, ARRL; and Vice-Chairman, Los Angeles Council of Amateur Radio Clubs. And last (but hopefully not least) your club newsletter won a national award as best in its class.
1978 will usher in a new slate of officers. They will be elected at the next club meeting, December 14. These officers, and the budget they will have to work with, combine to establish many club policies for the forthcoming year. We hope there will be money and a willingness to support those activities - like those of 1977 - that bring our club to the forefront of ham radio. Let's continue our fine record as a "doing" club, not a "watching" club. We have the power to shape the future of our hobby the way we feel it should be! Let's start using that power, by attending the December 14th meeting and voting! [N6NO]
Preparation of this newsletter begins as soon as the Board of Directors meeting is concluded, the 4th Wednesday. Please get material to me before that time. And if you can't, have a Merry Christmas anyway!
Go back to the W6VIO Calling Index.