JAY HOLLADAY TO BECOME ARRL DIRECTOR JUNE 1 W6KW (l.) and W6EJJ in a lighthearted moment at the Burbank Hamfest a year ago. (Photo by K6PGX)
At the JPLARC meeting of May 10, Jay Holladay announced that John Griggs, W6KW, had resigned as Southwestern Division Director of ARRL effective June 1, 1978. As most of you know, John suffered a stroke last fall that left him partially paralyzed. He was hoping therapy would enable him to recover well enough to continue in his post, which involves extensive travel. While the therapy has helped greatly, recovery is going slower than hoped, which prompted his resignation.
Jay Holladay, who was Vice-Director, has been appointed to complete John's term as Director by ARRL President Harry Dannals, W2TUK. In addition, he appointed a new Vice-Director to fill the vacancy left by Jay: Pete Mathews, WB6UIA, current co-chairman of the Los Angeles Area Council of Amateur Radio Clubs and an officer of the United Radio Amateur Club of San Pedro. JPLARC members are now in an even better position to have their voices heard by the League: both W6EJJ and WB6UIA are frequent users of our 220 MHz repeater, WR6APS.
Meanwhile, we wish John a speedy recovery and our congratulations, best wishes, and pledges of support go to both Jay and Pete in their new positions!
LICENSING CLASSES UNDERWAY AT LUNCHTIME
Licensing classes, with some 30 students in attendance, are currently being held every Tuesday and Thursday from 12 to 1 PM in 238-543, according to club spokesman Ron Ploszaj, WA6TPW. These classes began on May 9th and will continue through July 13th, following the standard 10-week ARRL lesson plan. Tuesday sessions are devoted to Code and Regulations, while on Thursdays, Code and Theory are the subject matter. Makeup and help sessions are separately scheduled as needed to keep people from falling behind. FCC license examinations will be administered on the final day of class. Club members participating as instructors are Rich Ward, N6BF; Ron Ploszaj, WA6TPW; Mike Griffin, N6WU; while WA6MYJ and W6EJJ lend on-the-spot help as needed. Late starters are welcome ... drop in and get acquainted. Better yet, bring a friend that has been thinking about becoming a ham for a long time but never took the big step. (Tnx WA6TPW.)
Mike Griffin, N6WU, provides code practice to licensing class students during lunchtime sessions. Mike, incidentally, is also our new Secretary. (Photo by K6PGX.)
SANTA MARIA SWAPFEST AND BARBECUE
The Satellite Amateur Radio Club (Vandenberg AFB) will hold its annual SWAPFEST and BARBECUE on Father's Day, June 18, from 10 am - 4 pm, at the Union Oil Picnic Grounds.
Adults are $6. For information, call (805)-925-0398.
MAY BOARD MEETING HIGHLIGHTS
Attendees at the May 24th meeting of the board of directors were: N6BH, K6CV, W6EJJ, WB6EMO, K6GPK, W6HCD, WA6MYJ, N6QV, K6SVP, K6TOS, and N6WU. A quorum was found to be present; the president, WA6MYJ, called the meeting to order. The results of a special board meeting on May 9th were summarized. In that meeting, plans were formulated to request additional funds from ERC for a special equipment purchase. Included in the additional equipment purchase were gear for OSCAR capability and a 40-meter beam for the station. (Ed. note: as of press time, we understand this entire request was granted by ERC!)
Warren Apel, K6GPK, reported that the club had a balance of approximately $540 in the treasury. Jim Lumsden reported that Ralph West, N6YM, had resigned from the board, and suggested the nomination of Mike Griffin, N6WU, to the position of secretary. The recommendation was approved unanimously by the board.
It was reported that the station license for W6VIO was coming up for renewal soon, and that Jay Holladay, W6EJJ, had agreed to continue as trustee. Gil Yanow, K6TOS, summarized the recent W6VIO participation in Sun Day and played part of a tape featuring a QSO with Los Angeles Mayor Bradley as a third party. Plans for the Solar Energy Fair, to be held in October, were discussed.
Applications for renewal of two off-lab memberships by WA6TUB and WB6KED were unanimously approved by the board. The question of the lack of a fixed club policy concerning off-lab memberships was raised, and the following course of action was decided upon
1) Prepare a club policy on the question of off-lab membership.
2) Prepare a questionnaire for prospective off-lab members.
3) Prepare a letter to be sent to current off-lab members of the end of this year, advising them of the establishment of a specific club policy regarding off-lab membership.
Following this decision, the meeting was adjourned. (Tnx N6WU)
DX NOTES - By Mike Griffin, N6WU
ARRL DX Contest - Part II (With belated apologies for publishing this two months late, but better late than never, right Mike? - Ed.)
The second weekend of the Annual ARRL DX Contest has come and gone, and by now it's clear that W6VIO is going to have to wait until at least next year to set any records. Twenty-nine hours of operation, with staffing by Jim, WA6MYJ, Merv, N6NO, George, W6ABW, Jerry, WD6BWP, Stan, N6MP, and myself, produced 202 QSO's and 46 country multipliers (sum of different countries on each band.) Totals for the entire contest were 358 QSO's, 100 countries, and l07,400 points in 58 hours of on-the-air time.
Band conditions seemed considerably better, particularly on 20 and 15, than was the case in the first weekend. On the debit side, Murphy struck in the middle of the night on 40 meters - suddenly the new antenna wouldn't load! (Inspection after the contest revealed the problem: water had gotten into the type-N connector in the coax run - Ed.)
Choice for rarest DX has to be divided between an OX3 (Greenland!) and 6F8J. The latter might win hands down if anyone had any idea where it was!
Unquestioned choice for the funniest moment came when FK8CS sent out a CQ, was attacked by a huge pileup, and then wanted to engage the winner in a ragchew. Apparently news of the contest did not spread to New Caledonia. However, he got the word eventually, and was later found to be operating contest style with at least moderate sophistication. Yes, we got him too.
Food for thought: some on-the-air comparisons by Jim Lumsden and myself revealed the FT-101E to have substantially better sensitivity on 10 meters, with the vertical, -than the Collins 51S1 receiver with the beam. Has anyone else noticed high-band sensitivity problems with the Collins gear? It also seems to suffer strongly from desensing problems in comparison to the Yaesu.
Postscript. On 21 March 1978 we worked FO0XE Clipperton Island, on 21,029 kHz. So did another 20 or 30,000 hams worldwide, but it is a significant DX achievement because there has been absolutely NO activity from Clipperton since the last expedition in 1958. It has been at the top of nearly every Doers "most wanted" list for many years. Rack up one more towards DXCC for W6VIO!
FIELD DAY PLANS FOR 1978 by Mike Griffin, N6WU
This year's plans for the annual ARRL Field Day exercise, to be held June 24-25, are taking shape. The site will again be Table Mountain, near Wrightwood. There was some feeling among those I talked with that Table Mountain was a bit outside comfortable driving range, but no one was able to suggest a suitable alternative.
We'll be operating in the 3-transmitter battery class, provided we can scrounge up the required number of batteries. Jim Lumsden has taken on the onerous duty of Power Chairman, so if you plan to participate and can supply a storage battery, give Jim a call. Gil Yanow has promised a solar panel for club use, so we can expect some points on that score.
The nominal mode mix will be one transceiver on HF CW, one for HF phone, and one VHF position, although this can be expected to vary during the exercise if contacts are coming through thick and fast on a particular mode. There will also be a separate Novice/Technician rig, complete with its own antennas, which will not be preempted by others this year, except possibly for a half-hour to get a message of participation through to the SCM. There seemed to be strong feeling on this point in the returned questionnaires. As to equipment, we're looking for four rigs in the FT101-TS520-SB104 category, plus of course any backups that anyone can bring. They should be capable of operating on 12 Vdc. So far, two have been promised. Is your rig available? If so, tell us. For VHF operation, we have frequency-synthesized rigs lined up for both 1-1/4 and 2 meters. It would be nice to add 6-meter capability to this line-up but none has been located as yet.
The antenna farm is in about the same stage of completion. Two tribanders have been promised, and dipoles for 160, 80 and 40 meters are under construction. Dipoles for the high bands will also be available, but probably will not be used unless Murphy carries out a successful attack on one of the beams. A longwire and Johnson Matchbox combination rounds out the picture so far. The obvious missing elements (pun intended) are beams for the VHF gear. Again, if you have anything you can loan, let us know.
As everyone is well aware, Field Day is a lot more than just operating, and it is in these other areas that our current plans are the least advanced. In particular, extensive telephone canvassing has thus far failed to turn up anyone who is willing to tackle the food problem. Ralph West and Gordon Crawford did an excellent job last year, but it's not fair to lock the same people into the same job every year. So how about it? We're not aiming to spend quite as much on the dinner as was spent last year, but a spaghetti and salad or barbecue chicken dinner can be pretty tasty and relatively easy to prepare. We should also plan on a ham and egg or pancake breakfast and plenty of snacks and drinks. Will the person or persons who can handle this tough but essential job step forward? A less demanding but equally essential task is that of rounding up a sufficient number of cots, chairs, card tables, etc. We need someone there, too.
In a word, then, we need a little more equipment and a little more participation to make this year's Field Day a really fun time. The club can use you, so if you see a job you can handle, speak up. It can be fun.
While I am coordinating the Field Day activity (call me at X 7267) 1 will be away, unfortunately, from June 3-18. So, if you have information to supply or a contribution to make, get in touch with Jim Lumsden (x6276 or 5869) but don't ask him to "see to" anything. He has a tough enough job as Power Chairman. Instead, pitch in, do the task yourself, then touch base with Jim so he can stay up to date on how things stand.
Finally, as far as desired operating times and modes are concerned, see me during the week before Field Day, particularly if you have special constraints on the times at which you can operate. The first requesters will get the times they request (within reason.) It's that simple. Hope to see you there!
WR6APS AT JPL Conducted by Booth Hartley, N6BH
WR6APS Work Party. On Saturday morning, April 8th, some 14 members showed up for a giant daylong work party to improve our 220 repeater. Users immediately noticed the improved signal strength and resulting increased coverage. The group had met a week earlier to separate into various tasks:
- 1. Install new Stationmaster antenna
- 2. Fabricate new antenna mounting hardware for increased height
- 3. Fabricate new feedline with connectors
- 4. Carpentry necessary to relocate repeater rack within building
- 5. Provide AC power to relocated cabinet
- 6. Improve locks on building; repair nearby fencing, etc.
- 7. Overseer, slave driver, guiding light (WA6PEA)
Participants, to the best of our recollection, were N6BF, N6BH, WB6EMO, WD6EWN, K6GHJ, K6GPK, WA6MYJ, N6NO, WA6PEA, K6SVP, WA6TPW, WB6TXG, and N6WU. As can be seen, teamwork proved a lot of work could be done in a short time, and the results are certainly worth the effort. Most of us immediately went to our favorite "dead spot" for a new try (and many of us found improvement.)
Tune-up session scheduled. Users of WR6APS and others on 220 MHz are invited to attend a tune-up session Saturday, June 17 at 9 am at the Fanon-Courier plant, 990 S. Fair Oaks, Pasadena. Frequency, deviation and spectrum will be checked. (Tnx K6GPK)
Nets. Don't forget to check in to our club nets on WR6APS (222.44 in/224.04 out.) The regular net for general topics and Amateur Radio news, including the weekly Westlink tape, meets Monday evenings at 8 pm local time. A special interest net covering AMSAT/ OSCAR news and information meets at 8 pm local time on Wednesday evenings. For both nets, the link to WR6AZN at Table Mountain is up, allowing participation from the high desert. Additionally, the 2-meter Table Mountain repeater (93/33) is usually linked into the others. Join us for informative sessions on either or both evenings.
Present status. Shortly after the repeater upgrade, the receiver failed due to power supply overvoltage. Temporarily, a backup receiver has been installed. Users will note that its performance is below par: audio quality is poor, the squelch tail is noisy, the sensitivity is down, and some desense is present, causing repeater cycling when used from a poor coverage area. Walt has the receiver repaired and is making final adjustments to make its performance even better than before the failure.
Squelch Improvement Mod. To cause faster switching in the squelch circuit of your Midland 13-509, Clegg FM-76 or Cobra 200, the following modification may be made to reduce the local squelch tail duration:
- 1. Change C87 from .01 to .1 uf
- 2. Change C89 from 4.7 to 1.0 uf
- 3. Change C91 from 4.7 to 1.0 uf
To provide some hysteresis in the squelch circuit (to require a stronger signal to open the squelch than that required to maintain it open) add a 1 megohm resistor between the collector of TR14 and the node containing C89, R54 and a diode. (Tnx to WB6FXJ via WA6PEA)
Interference. It is indeed fortunate that WR6APS has never received intentional interference. In fact, 220 MHz is generally populated by a very decent group of operators. Nevertheless, most of us are aware of the problems that plague 2 meters. The time to think about how one deals with intentional interference and other problems is now, before it becomes a problem.
When an "incident" occurs, one's first impulse should be to move slowly and not jump to conclusions. In fact, most problems can best be solved by doing absolutely nothing at all. Part of "moving slowly" is to decide if an incident is really an incident. We have had cases of apparent interference on WR6APS, but in each case the interference was found to be unintentional. We have had cases of bad operating practices too, only to find that the ham had a brand new license and didn't know any better. In such a case, "doing nothing at all" might amount to carrying on a normal QSO with the newcomer to train him by example, rather than openly criticizing his bad practices. If he continues to receive this treatment, he will automatically pick up those normal practices. But even more important: he becomes a friend of the repeater, not an enemy.
Similarly, we may someday find an intoxicated operator on the repeater. Again, go slow. Is he really intoxicated? Stroke can cause similar-sounding slurred speech, as can certain emergency situations: insulin reaction, trauma, etc. If these possibilities have been eliminated and the facts point to simple intoxication, the solution is simple. A true drunk rarely wants to be alone. He wants the repeater for company. The best response is none at all. A quiet repeater won't entertain him for long. Remember, assume innocence until proven guilty, then, if unsure of what action to take, do nothing and listen to it go away.
A CASE FOR NEGOTIATING
Last month's W6VIO Calling described the latest wave of call letter "reforms" being introduced by the FCC. Although most of this is already history, there is still a docket up for comment. It is FCC's plan to no longer renew current club or military station licenses after they expire, but instead issue a new series of systematically assigned calls prefixed by WK and WM respectively. Furthermore, in an effort to reduce or eliminate "frivolous" applications, each club license request will have to be accompanied by sufficient justification to warrant such a license being issued.
It seems strange to this writer that all this is being done in the name of "simplification" and reducing the Commission's license processing workload. Refusing to renew an existing club call, making the applicant switch over to a systematically issued replacement (e.g., WK6AAA) and requiring FCC staff to pass judgment (1) on whether a substantiated need for a club license has been demonstrated with the application seems hardly a simplification. Call signs are considered sacred by most hams, and FCC has been burned in the past when messing with them. in fact, treating call signs with frivolity, as this action appears, may tend to be disruptive rather than a well-thought out plan to faster the long-range development of the service, one of the goals of the entire FCC rulemaking process.
We believe the real "simplification" the FCC is referring to in these proposals is to force the amateur radio licensing system as a whole into closer agreement with the biggest license processing system in the world -the Citizens Band system. Our 300,000 licenses are a speck of dust compared to the 12,000,000 or more CB licenses the FCC issues. A CB call, although it is only a station license with no operating license implied, is issued to an individual and moves with him wherever he moves. The recent changes to the Amateur Radio Service (partially implemented already) are going in the same direction, step by step. Our calls are losing their focus as station identifiers and are being thought of, by FCC, as operator identifiers.
If this is true, it explains a lot of unstated reasons for all the call letter rule changing proposals. The original sweeping proposal stated that amateurs would have only one primary call sign, and that all repeater, second station, special event, club and military calls would be abolished. They abolished the requirement for portable identifiers when away from the home location, and now you can even keep your home call when you move to another call area. Clearly, your call signifies YOU, not your station. Many times I have listened briefly across the band to see what call areas were being heard in order to make a quick assessment of the propagation conditions at that moment. If the calls no longer have any geographical meaning, this long standing amateur tradition will be lost.
But this is all past history. There is little we can do about it now. Still open, however, is the question of club licenses. It would be a great loss to the Amateur Service to see such world-famous club calls as W1MX (MIT), WlYU (Yale), W6YX (Stanford), W6BB (UC Berkeley), and W6UE (Cal Tech) not to mention W1AW disappear temporarily, reappear as non-calls (WK1AAA, WKIAAB, etc.) and then, later, horror of horrors, have these calls reissued to applicants requesting a 2-letter call that the FCC considers "available."
But how would the loss of our club call, W6VIO, affect our club? Let us count the ways ...
1. This newsletter, already well known as W6VIO Calling, would have to change its name. W6VIO could easily be reissued to someone else and we could not continue its use in all good conscience.
2. Our stock of some 5000 full-color landscape W6VIO QSL cards would have to become recycled waste. We would have to order more cards, at considerable expense. Our thinking for ordering QSLs in such a great quantity several years ago was based on getting the per-card price down for a very outstanding color design, since we had every expectation of holding on to this call for as far into the future as we could imagine.
3. W6VIO was issued to us by FCC as an "in memoriam" tribute to a deceased club member. It has served well in this capacity for nearly ten years. To take this away from us now is an act of sacrilege.
4. The new rules will permit W6VIO and other club calls, known throughout the world, to be reissued to applicants of Technician class or higher, on a "systematic basis," at the Commission's discretion. (Calls of the applicant's choice have been abolished.) Pity the poor soul who gets W6VIO and starts to receive requests for lost "N6V QSLs!
5. Can you add to our list? Let's hear from you!
If we stand back and take an arm's-length assessment of the current state of things, it would appear painfully obvious that there has been a real breakdown in communication between the regulatory authority (FCC) and the industry being regulated (we hams - through our spokesman, ARRL.) In most industries, the rules are established only after extensive dialogue. When changes become effective, they have generally been well thought out by both sides, argued, discussed, and compromises reached. Each side knows what the other is after, and why. In the case of Amateur Radio, it seems, we have often been surprised by the direction taken by FCC. We do not believe FCC has been honest in telling us why we must have these rules changes, but at the same time ARRL has been remiss in not adopting a more "negotiating" posture with FCC. It has tended to merely object to each proposal. No wonder FCC doesn't listen to our arguments anymore.
What do you think? Write or call your new Director of ARRL, Jay Holladay, and let him know how you feel. It's time we did something to improve our dialogue with FCC. (N6NO)
2-meter Antenna Specialties HM-179 (Roof mount) 5/8 wave. New. $20. Mobile Power Supply for 500 watt transceiver (Henry TP-400) $65, Mike Gauthier, K6ICS, X 2126.
TWO General Electric Transmitter-Receiver Unit Type MT 42-N 450 MHz converted for amateur band. Intended for trunk mounting complete with remote op head and cables. $85 each, ex. condition. W.S. Chapman, W6VIF, 930 Coronado Dr., Arcadia, Ca. 91006; 213-447-8257
COLLINS 32S-3 transmitter with power supply. Gordon Marshall W6RR. Phone 686-0141.
... to Erv Wiebe, K6JUB, on completing 20 years of service with JPL. Erv was honored by JPL Director Dr. Bruce Murray on May 1. (Tnx JPL Universe)
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