WR6APQ ON THE AIR!
On Friday evening, February 4th, Walt Diem WA6PEA was feverishly putting on the finishing touches to his adjustments of the repeater in its temporary location at JPL. Now it was time to put it on the air. He applied power, and, as is characteristic with this equipment, a brief squelch tail was sent out on the air during the powering-up instant. Immediately two stations came back: K6KVC and WA6TPW. Walt was flabbergasted and grabbed the station mike to reply. We can really say these guys were on the repeater from the moment it went on the air!
It operated for the next few weeks with a number of band-aid patches. The 4-cavity duplexer didn't seem to give enough isolation to permit running on one antenna, so two antennas were used until two more cavities could be built and installed. Some problems were noted in the repeater timer being erratic, and this was finally traced to a leaky tantalum capacitor, which was replaced. A hum in the audio was cured by shielding certain audio cables, and a swishing signal that appeared to pass through the repeater signal was found to be caused by an IC regulator chip that was oscillating intermittently. Special thanks go to Bill Wood, WB6FXJ, for his technical assistance in tuning up the cavities properly, and help in debugging a number of other problems that plagued the early repeater operation.
Right now the machine seems to be operating well, and we have some leads on getting a weatherproof enclosure to house it up the mountain. As soon as that is placed in position and facilities are approved, we will be moving it there, and besides the improved coverage from the higher location, we expect to have the 6 dB gain 4-dipole antenna in operation to further help, So, those experiencing spotty coverage right now, don't despair - just have patience!
The club's 220 MHz transceiver had some problems, so it was returned to the manufacturer under warranty for repairs. It has been received back now and, as soon as the repeater committee checks it in the lab for performance (mainly tests of receiver sensitivity and transmitter power output) it will be installed in the trailer for members' use.
WR6APQ provided the first QSO for a newly licensed member, Don Lawson, WA6SQF. When Don got home on February 25th, his ticket was waiting and he pushed the mike button for his first solo contact, which was with WA6PEA. I hope Walt and WR6APQ provided the proper orientation for Don and that he will enjoy ham radio and WR6APQ for many years hence.
It would seem reasonable to chronicle in these pages other calls that have been heard on the repeater. As more come on, let me know and I will try to list them, either here or as a directory. During the first month's operation so far, we can count the following as users:
- WA6PEA WA6TPW WB6TEB
- WA6HHU W6IUV K6PGX
- WB6MJK W6EJJ WB6FXJ
- K6CYY WA6JBZ WA6SQF
- W6ZH K6JUB
- K6KVC WB6WXK
Several members are still awaiting delivery of their gear, so we expect the list to grow quite soon, as they, too, join us. It would seem that there is certainly no question as to whether or not there is enough club interest to support a repeater! And, the autopatch machine is well underway too. If you'd like to join and don't yet have 220 gear, see last month's issue - Steve Bednarczyk, WB6MJK, is Putting together another group purchase. His Ext. is 7749. [Tnx WA6PEA, W6EJJ, W6IUV]
SUBSCRIPTION BARGAIN - 73 MAGAZINE
For those interested in subscribing to 73 Magazine, the publishers are offering a special deal to clubs. Newsstand price is 32 per copy; regular subscriptions are $15/year, and the club deal is $10/ year for new subscribers only, but the club must submit 5 or multiples of 5 to get the rate. As a club bonus, they will send 30 back issues of the magazine free to the club (except the club pays 83 postage for that shipment) for every group of 5 new subscriptions it digs up for Mr. Green. If this sounds like your bag and you'd like to take advantage of the offer, contact the club Secretary, Ron Ploszaj, WA6TPW, at Ext. 4429.
ARRL HQ INSTALLS HOT LINE or "THIS IS A RECORDING"
ARRL HQ in Newington, Conn. has installed a hot line to receive important amateur radio news with them at any time, day or night, on a recording machine. They will spread the word as appropriate. If you have news call "ARRL Newsline" at 203-667-0138. [Tnx W6EJJ]
NEWSLETTER RECEIVES REPRIEVE
After a number of discussions, it was agreed that funding for this newsletter would be continued by the Employees Recreation Club of JPL. Without it, there was serious concern over whether the club could afford to continue to publish without a significant increase in dues. From those of us that investigated printing costs from alternative sources, QST appears to be a super-bargain at its current price! Anyway, we offer our thanks to our supporting organization and plan to help them thru their cost squeeze by doing what we can to cut costs. Remembering that our first obligation is to provide a communications link among club members, we will probably streamline our mailing list to delete non-members with only a few exceptions. So, if you've been receiving the newsletter but haven't paid your dues, this is probably the last issue you'll get. We will update the list after this mailing. How sweet to keep my job! [W6IUV]
BOARD MEETING MINUTES
In your usual reporter's absence, the real-life, honest to-goodness club secretary, Jack Patzold, provided these notes from the Board Meeting of February 23. Bear in mind, they aren't official until approved by the board next month ...
- J. Lumsden S. Brokl
- R. Piety N. Williams
- R. Ploszaj W. Diem
- J. Patzold N. Chalfin
- G. Crawford J. Repar
- J. Holladay
President Lumsden presided. Minutes of the January meeting were read and approved.
The financial report, presented by Ron Ploszaj, disclosed a bookkeeping error of $54 that has now been corrected. Ron also read a letter from Mike Morris, WA61LQ, suggesting that if ERC forced the newsletter to be dropped, a dues increase should be considered. Mike's second suggestion was to form a technical capabilities list that would help club members know who to contact for technical assistance in specific areas, among our membership.
Motion was made by Jim Lumsden and approved unanimously by the board, that the following persons be appointed chairmen of the listed committees:
- Director at Large - Stan Brokl, K6YYQ
- Trustee - Jay Holladay, W6EJJ
- W6VIO Calling Editor - Merv MacMedan, W6IUV
- Commemorative Committee - Rich Ward, WA6VOG
Gordon Crawford presented a plan far a proposed Lab tour aimed at the amateur radio enthusiast. It would be limited to invited local clubs initially. Details to be determined next week.
Jack Patzold presented comments on the possibility of over committing the available manpower in trying to put on two commemorative events in the same time period this year. More to be discussed next month.
Several items were considered for purchase. A CW filter and speech processor for our new FT101 have already been approved in the current budget, so will be acquired immediately. It was approved to purchase a digital clock for the trailer, as there is no clock at all there now. A grid-dip meter and frequency meter will be considered for a vote next month.
Any other items that newsletter readers feel are needed should be called to the attention of the Secretary, Jack Patzold, Ext. 4926.
Stan Brokl suggested that consideration of a donation (beyond the usual dues, for example) be made to an amateur radio organization such as AMSAT.
There will be a "W6VIO Booth" at the Lockheed Hamfest in Burbank in May, and Norm Chalfin (Ext. 6833) will be looking for people to help assist him in this event.
JPL's Von Karman auditorium will be the site for a meeting of the Southern California Repeater Association and our own Bill Carpenter, WA6QZY will be the Chairman. Details will be forthcoming soon.
Dick Piety reported on N6V Slow Scan TV Tape Sales. To date, 436 tapes have been sold and many interesting letters have been received in their connection. Norm Chalfin is looking into the possibility of putting together a tape master to commemorate the upcoming OSCAR launch next summer.
Nash Williams presented for Board consideration a new membership category of "Student." The board suggested that Nash submit a proposed revision to the By-Laws for formal action next month.
Walt Diem brought the Board and attendees up to date on the progress of the repeater. Most of this info is included in the first-page article of this issue. [Tnx WB6TXG]
. .. To our Secretary, Jack Patzold, who promised to get his ham ticket when he was elected and finally did; Welcome to the fraternity, WB6TXG!
Heathkit Amateur Radio Equipment -
- SB 102 Transceiver, incl. CW filter $330
- SB 600 Speaker with AC Power Supply 70
- SB 610 Signal Analyzer Scope 85
- SB 630 Digital Clock, Phone Patch, SWR Br. 80
- SB 640 Remote VFO 115
- SB 650 Digital Frequency Display 135
- SB 200 Linear Amplifier 1 KW CWt 1.2 KW PEP on SSB, with new tubes 280
- HAM-M Rotator & Control Box - never used 100
- All equipment professionally built & maintained, Special package deal - all above for $1100.
- Earl Burdick, WA6BDN, X 6922; After 6pm, 213-553-4423
COMMENTS RECEIVED ON N6V'S SLOW SCAN
Dick Piety, K6SVP, who has beer handling the SSTV Mars Cassette Tape orders for us sent me some 25 comments contained in request letters ordering tapes. Having only room for one, here 'tis: ... "I had the pleasure of using NASA's Mars Landing Tape (belonging to a friend K4TGC) in my forum on SSTV today at the Orlando Hamcation and found it to be the most outstanding production of SSTV I've yet seen. It was, needless to say, a real hit at the SSTV forum and held the audience past the end of the forum time. I am sure grateful to see such an outstanding job. That is exactly what we in SSTV need to present our new medium of communication to the world rather than Snoopy and other cartoons." ... Len Butsch K4CNP.
Yes Dick, in a pioneering effort the risks are great, but so are the rewards! Congrats. -Ed.
Go back to the W6VIO Calling Index.