Minutes of Board Meeting, by Ron Zenone W6TUZ
A Board Meeting was conducted on October 24, 1979 in 238-543. Members of the club in attendance included K6GPX, WB6EMO, WA6MYJ, W6EJJ, W6ABW, N6MP N6NO, K6PGX and W6TUZ. George Morris called the meeting to order and noted that a quorum was present. Minutes of the September Board Meeting were read and approved.
Jim Lumsden reported that he was in the process of putting together a questionnaire that will solicit from the membership suggestions on what equipment should be purchased with funding provided by the ERC. It was also reported by WA6MYJ that a formal request for implementing a card-key system for T-1309 and 171-B8 has been submitted to the JPL Security Office.
A suggestion was made by N6NO to find a volunteer who would serve as an Operations Manager for maintaining the club station in operations readiness condition. The concept was discussed and found attractive. Stan Sander indicated that he presently did not have sufficient time to perform the task but should be able to do so come springtime.
The ARRL Southwestern Division Convention to be held September 5, 6, 7, 1980 at the Los Angeles Marriott Hotel was discussed by W6EJJ. A motion was made and carried to have the club participate and support the event by becoming a sponsoring member. The $150 required in 1980 for sponsor membership will be budgeted by the Treasurer in next year's operating budget.
A request was made by N6MP that someone write an article about the stolen equipment problem for the next issue of "W6VIO Calling." Warren Apel graciously volunteered to author such an article.
Status of the club's autopatch was reported by W6ABW. The autopatch is functionally on the air but not fully operational. An announcement regarding autopatch membership will be sent out by the Repeater Committee in the near future.
It was also reported by George Morris that some club members have asked the Board to consider placing code practice transmissions on WR6APS. The discussion which followed indicated members have mixed opinions about implementing code practice sessions on the repeater. Due to lack of time the discussion was not completed but is to be continued at another meeting. The meeting was adjourned by W6ABW.
JPL Bicycle Club 100-Mile Ride
by George Morris, W6ABW
The JPL Amateur Radio Club provided communications for the JPL Bicycle Club during its 100-mile ride from JPL to Dawson Saddle on Angeles Crest Highway and back. The event lasted all day Sunday, October 14, 1979. There were approximately 20 riders, several bicycle club members supporting the event with food and water, and five amateurs supplying communications.
Walt Diem, WA6PEA, put the WR6APR repeater together with his mobile diplexer to allow the repeater to be operated mobile as well as fixed from Dawson Saddle. Jim Longthorne, WA6KPW, left his home about 6 a.m., loaded the repeater in his jeep along with the club's 7element KLM 220 MHz beam, and pulled out for Dawson Saddle about 7 a.m. Jim operated the repeater mobile on the way up Angeles Crest using his Hustler collinear antenna. Once at Dawson Saddle, he raised the beam about 25 feet high on a guyed mast and pointed it back along Angeles Crest Highway. Good communications were possible all the way from Clear Creek Station with this installation. The beam provided better communications than last year when we operated with the repeater on an omni-directional antenna from the top of Mount Waterman.
Booth Hartley, N6BH, provided communications from the Red Box rest stop on the climb up and from the Charlton Flats rest stop on the way down. The rest stop was moved to provide better service to the riders on the uphill and downhill sections of the ride.
George Morris, W6ABW, leapfrogged along with the lead riders to provide information on their progress. He was able to provide a tool for the leader to repair the chain on his bike when it jumped off. Bruce Beaudry, WD6HEZ, trailed along behind the last riders providing aid and comfort. The lead rider, Sam Reynolds, reached the top about noon. Jim Lumsden, WA6MYJ, was at the finish line in La Canada about 1 p.m. to check riders off the mountain.
There were several accidents on the road on the way back but none involving our participants. Amateur radio was used to call the Sheriff's department on one of these and we thank WB6YJJ for making the telephone call.
The first rider came back into La Canada about 3 p.m. and the last rider about 6 p.m. WA6KPW had provided communications between La Canada and the Angeles Crest crew through the WR6AZN link. He finally tore down the beam antenna after everyone had cleared through the Charlton Flats rest stop but didn't get back to La Canada until almost 7 p.m.
The weather was generally quite nice with warm temperatures, a light wind and some beautiful clouds which occasionally obscured the road. Thanks to everyone for another outstanding event. (And congratulations to George for a superb organizational job - Ed.)
Club Station Hit with Major Theft
We are dismayed to report that the club station has recently been hit with a major theft. Missing from the station are:
- - ICOM IC-211 all-mode 2-meter transceiver
- - Clegg FM-76 220MHz transceiver
- - Collins 51S1 receiver
This is in addition to the Midland 13-513 synthesized 220 MHz transceiver which was stolen from the station earlier this year. The latest theft occurred after the lock was changed and keys re-issued to club members. Aside from club members, only the lieutenant of the security force carried a key to the trailer. Since there was no sign of forced entry, the conclusion at this time is that a key-holder was probably responsible.
It is a shame that someone has apparently decided to upgrade his own shack at the expense of the club membership at large. These acts have essentially destroyed the club station's capability for VHF/UHF, OSCAR satellite work and all-band HF reception.
The matter has been turned over to JPL security, and since the Collins receiver was government property, the FBI will be investigating. If anyone has any knowledge of the whereabouts of the missing equipment, or has information on persons responsible, please contact any of the club officers listed on the masthead of the newsletter. If the person responsible for these thefts is reading this, the 150 Radio Club members appeal to you to please return the equipment or contact one of us on where it could be picked up; there will be no questions asked. (K6GPK)
FCC Forum a Smash by Merv MacMedan, N6NO
The speaker at the JPLARC meeting on October 10 was Larry Guy, Engineer-in-charge of the FCC Field Installation at Long Beach (District 11). Even though we had a standing-room-only audience, many members who missed the talk were asking those who attended what was discussed. While we cannot hope to cover all that was discussed in the question-and-answer session, several members pooled their memories to summarize some of the more interesting points that were made.
Most members will be happy to hear that the recent pressure that hams have put on their congressmen to improve FCC enforcement of the ham bands particularly with respect to jammers and bootleggers -.has brought impressive results. Last September, Larry reports that ham radio monitoring and enforcement went up from bottom priority where it had lain for years. One of the immediate consequences was the apprehension of a local 2 meter jammer who had his equipment confiscated, a fine levied and was put in jail to await trial.
Another restraint recently removed from the FCC was that it could only act against those people it had licensed. Bootlegging was a violation that had to be handed over to the Justice Department, which assigned it a very low priority (compared to robbery, murder, etc.) Now, however, the FCC can levy fines (up to $10,000) put people in jail for up to 1 year and confiscate equipment for unlicensed as well as licensed violators.
On the subject of "helping the FCC" to track down violators, there is no charter for the FCC to use volunteers as the Coast Guard may in the use of the Auxiliary. Cooperation is encouraged, however, and the best way is to observe and report operating frequencies, habits, schedules, etc. so that FCC monitors can listen to the situation themselves and take action. Please use the FCC's limited resources wisely. however, and complain only about significant violations. Larry's district includes Southern California, Arizona and Clark County, Nevada (Las Vegas) and he has only six inspectors to cover the entire territory. The amateur bands are still only a very small portion of the frequency spectrum he is called on to clean up.
A real danger to amateur radio's future may be smoldering now in Washington. It appears that groups such as HF'ers International are trying to project a responsible image with the FCC and are requesting that rulemaking be established to legalize what they are currently doing illegally. HF'ers operate between the 11 meter CB band and the amateur 10 meter band on SSB. They dislike AM CB'ers and really don't want to be hams. They want a new service established for themselves, with a no-exam, no-code license. Unfortunately some people feel the trend of the future is toward fewer exams and no code requirements for operator licenses even in the amateur radio service, and may consider lumping HF'ers with hams. If this ever comes to pass, the ham bands will sound like 11 meter CB does today and the utility of the service will be seriously compromised. We must guard against the lowering of such standards.
An interesting comment about the new multiple-choice exam for the code test concerned one of the reasons it came to implemented. It seems that applicants' handwriting has been deteriorating over the years and has gotten so bad now that the examiners couldn't read half of what the applicant copied. It became a question of judgment on the part of the examiner as to where the "benefit of the doubt" should be applied. The new exam, in which the applicant merely answers multiple-choice questions on the material sent, is much easier to grade!
Another danger to amateur radio is the growing power of special-interest lobbies. The equipment manufacturers' lobby didn't want to discourage sales by point-of-sale control (where a prospective purchaser would have to prove he had a license to qualify to purchase ham radio gear). The amateur radio lobby simply lost to the overwhelming pressure of the manufacturers' lobby when the FCC resoundingly rejected point of sale controls. You might even say the ham radio lobby is nearly nonexistent. We should take heed and work to improve our clout and skills in this game.
While ARRL was telling the world a couple of years age that "Class E CB is dead and the ARRL slew it", the real reason Class E CB (220 MHz) died is starting to emerge. Amateur radio has many friends among those government agencies that require frequencies in time of war or national emergency. When these un-named agencies learned that the Commission was about to make the decision on Class E, they quietly told the FCC to veto the proposal because the 220 MHz band has utility for their purposes. We who operate on 220 can now take solace at the buzzy radar we hear from time to time, for such government users may have saved our band.
There were many other subjects covered, every one of which was as interesting and informative as the above. We enjoyed every moment, and wish Larry will be able to return to speak with us again soon.
Autopatch News by Walt Diem, WA6PEA
The long-awaited autopatch will be operational about the time that you receive this newsletter. It provides toll-free dialing to most locations within approximately a 40 mile radius of JPL. Use of the autopatch is limited to members of the JPLARC. The first information meeting for those interested in using the system was held on Monday, November 5, 1979. Additional meetings will be scheduled as required.
The autopatch is accessible via the remotely controlled club station WB6IEA on the same frequencies as WR6APR. WR6APR will be disabled while WB6IEA is in operation. WR6APR will also begin operation as a restricted access (i.e. closed) repeater. Access information is available to any JPLARC member with 220 MHz equipment.
Several years of planning, preparation, negotiations and development have gone into this machine. Approximately 20 club members have contributed an estimated 1500 man-hours to make the system a reality. Bill Wood (WB6FXJ) and Sam Weaver (WB6EMO) have each contributed in excess of 400 man-hours. The aerospace quality RF-tight case was fabricated by Sam 'and engraved by Bill. Sam is fabricating an identical case for a new, improved 2 meter WR6AZN repeater that Bill is fabricating to help recoup the delay on WR6AZN due to the many hours Bill spent working on WR6APR.
Bill Wood did the logic design, modified the Midland 13-509, and fabricated the repeater and autopatch. The outstanding audio characteristics and other unique capabilities were developed by Bill. George Morris (W6ABW) designed and built a special access control unit to help protect the patch from misuse. FCC regulations require that a control operator be present and continuously monitor and supervise the radio communications of third party traffic (such as telephone patching) to insure compliance with the rules. The control operator must have the capability to terminate the transmission at any time. Therefore, each club member who wants to be able to use the autopatch must first be checked out and designated as a remote base control operator by the trustee, WA6PEA. If you missed the meeting on Monday, November 5, contact Walt Diem (x3186) or Warren Apel (x7733) to put your name on the list for the next autopatch training session.
Solar Power for W6VIO At JPL Open House
W6VIO was operated on solar power from the steps of Building 180 during the JPL Open House on September 30, 1979. George Morris, W6ABW, and Art Zygielbaum, WA6SAL, set up a 2 meter station with a Yaesu Memorizer FT227R and 5/8 wave ground plane and a 220 MHz station with a Midland 13-509 and a 1/4 wave whip plugged into the antenna connector. The station was powered by two large solar panels each supplying 20 volts at 1 amp. The two panels were connected in parallel and the voltage level set by an integrated circuit voltage regulator. No battery was utilized so that the demonstration would be more realistic. Late in the day, the voltage would drop out of regulation when someone walked in front of the solar panels. This brought an abrupt halt to both transmission and reception which was noticeable to listeners both on the air and at the Open House.
Several contacts were made through the JPL repeater, WR6APS, as well as several 2-meter repeaters. A couple of simplex contacts were made although we were operating both rigs at one watt of power and the antennas were poorly located. Several amateurs stopped by during the afternoon. A couple of them had heard us on the air and decided to come over. One interesting group included Harry Yonada, JA1ANG, vice-president of JAMSAT, who was being shown around by Norm Chalfin, K6PGX, and Jay Holladay, W6EJJ. Also in this group was Bud Ansley, W6VPH, of OSCAR DXpedition fame.
The Open House is an excellent opportunity to showcase amateur radio because many groups of young people came through with their adult sponsors. Several of their sponsors took written material and indicated they would be interested in starting an amateur radio training class. (W6ABW)
Anyone interested in having code practice on the JPL ARC repeater, WR6APS, contact George Morris, x7066, M/S 238420. Please indicate the speed range desired, length of practice each session and number of sessions per week. Those who think code practice could be disruptive of other repeater activities should also send their inputs!
- Yaesu FT-22l 2 meter FM/SSB transceiver. Tunes 144-148 MHz, 12v./100v. operation, $375. Contact Steve Brown, l77-922O (Foothill) or 794-7323 after Thanksgiving.
Go back to the W6VIO Calling Index