DATE: Wednesday, December 10, 1980
TIME: 12:00 Noon
Our guest speaker will be Gordon Wood, WA6NVA, who will discuss the principles and tricks of the trade of "T-hunting." This fun aspect of ham radio involves using one's skill and direction-finding equipment to locate hidden transmitters. The club plans to sponsor a "T-hunt" in the near future, and Gordon will describe some simple but effective gear you can build over the holidays with which you will be able to compete.
IN ADDITION, elections of officers for 1981 will be held. The nominating committee's slate was published in the November W6VIO CALLING.
ALSO, Dick Piety will present certificates to the 36 "I VOLUNTEER" operators that made the Voyager Saturn Commemoration a resounding success last month. See you there! (N6NO)
Voyager I - Saturn Flyby Commemorative
by Dick Piety, K6SVP, and Merv MacMedan, N6NO
The W6VIO commemorative is over but not forgotten. By any standard of the past, this event was easily the most successful. As you can see in the accompanying QSO summary, we topped 8600 contacts in just two weeks. This is in contrast to the previous Mars Commemorative N6V activity where we topped 10,000, but in a much longer span of time. Again, a glance at the QSO summary shows George Morris, W6ABW, as the all-mode QSO leader with nearly double the second place man. You know, I think he liked it. Stan Brokl, N2YQ, was tops in CW and one of our newer members, Sid Johnson, WB6VWH, topped the VHF position with 204 contacts. The 20-meter phone band was tops in contacts with 2668, partially due to later evening band openings and to the popularity of slow scan. It was, however, gratifying to see the balance in contacts on the 3 bands. I am sure a lot of Generals were happy to find us on 10 meters with phone and SSTV much of the time.
One of the most difficult problems we have had with previous commemorative operations like this is getting enough staffing from the club membership to keep the station on the air a suitable number of hours. The previous commemorative for the Jupiter flyby of Voyager was a case in point, where some 2500 contacts were made, but more than half were by one operator alone.
We decided to try a new approach this time. Instead of asking everyone to help whenever they had time available, we tried a more organized approach. In the pre-publicity releases, we stated a limited commitment to hours of operation: 11:30 am to l:30 pm local time, and 4:30 pm to 8:30 pm. We felt this could be covered by staggered lunch hours and after-work periods that would not stress members' gasoline budgets. We also said we would be on the air as much as we could beyond the advertised hours, but no promises.
Next, we advertised a month before the fray began in our club newsletter. We asked operators to fill in the hours they could commit to - even if tentatively - on a day-by-day basis for the full 16 days of the operating period. The "I Volunteer" chart, as it was called, had a box to mark for each hour of each day of the operating period. Members could choose to operate SSB, CW, SSTV, or VHF positions. We planned to have as many as four simultaneously operating positions, and did at several times.
Merv MacMedan, N6NO, managed the operator recruiting and scheduling. Surprisingly, the first choices of the volunteers that submitted their "I Volunteer" charts had few overlaps and nearly everyone could be accommodated. As the operation started up, the entire schedule was reproduced and distributed (some 18 pages!) to those that had volunteered, and latecomers were informed as to what slots were still available so they could arrange their time accordingly. It went very smoothly, with all the committed hours covered and many, many additional hours covered on at least one mode.
Merv indicated that one of the secrets, besides the organized approach to recruiting operators, was to provide classes for the operators. An "operating procedure" class was given twice - how to conduct the operation, how to handle pileups, what frequencies to use, etc; and a "hands-on" equipment familiarity class in the trailer itself was given three times for all the operators who had volunteered. The class schedules were adjusted so that nearly everyone involved could attend one class of each type. The classes helped greatly to encourage those newcomers who had little or no contest-type experience. Our experience was that previously such individual although licensed, would not venture forth in this type of exercises, more due to fear of the unknown more than anything else.
When the period ended, we found we had a total of 30 volunteers (out of a total club membership of some l50) and that 27 of those actually operated at same time during the commemoration - the other three were "on call".
All in all, the effort put into organizing the operator staffing was well worth it, because the station was kept on the air long enough to make the nearly plus 9000 contacts mentioned earlier. Nearly all were appreciated very much by those we worked, and nearly all had good words to pass along about Voyager and cur effort to bring the Voyager success to the attention of the people both in the USA and abroad.
I would personally like to take this opportunity to thank Merv MacMedan, N6NO, for his efforts in organizing the operators. I feel this single change in our usual commemorative activities was the prime reason for its success. Next, I would like to thank each and every operator for his or her time; many people spent many long hours to make it a success and it is appreciated. Lastly, I would like to thank Jim Lumsden and his crew of antenna installers.
To our surprise, all was ready when the commemorative was scheduled to begin. The addition of the new antennas certainly helped a lot and allowed us two prime operating positions at all times. The response of amateurs was phenomenal. Never have I heard so many flattering comments. It seemed (to us) that people were hungry for information about the mission and our replies were met with great enthusiasm. So many amateurs arranged for press and TV coverage at their end that I lost track. On several occasions, we were "live" on local television (without a sponsor, of course). Newspaper articles and letters have been coming in since the flyby, including one front page story from the Springfield, Illinois State Journal Register covering our activities. I think a couple of comments received in letters from amateurs kind of sums it up. "I am very impressed with the way QSO's were handled, good clean operation and very informative", from WA30JH. Another comment from Phil, KA2CEK, was "We all appreciate the job you fellows are doing and enjoying the pictures, and especially the explanations you are giving with the pictures".
Our own "I Volunteer" operators responded to the challenge and performed like champions, spending many hours and enjoying it. One comment that I heard from Sid Johnson, WB6VWH, kind of sums up the operator's feelings. Sid stated that "even after a long stint when he was tired of taking calls, he still felt good about what we are doing". Incidentally, Sid and his son spent a lot of hours at home just listening to our pile-ups on his old National 300 receiver, even though they could not copy or slow scan. The excitement we felt had apparently bled through to them.
At this writing, the QSL cards are starting to pour in and we are busily designing our latest collector's QSL card with a selection of the best Saturn pictures from Voyager 1. Then, we will have to mount another organized effort to fill in the cards and match them with the self-addressed, stamped envelopes from all over the world. Even though the commemoration is over, the job isn't finished at JPL until the last card is answered.
Webmaster Note: If you are a Slow Scan TV buff you can access MP3 copies of two sides of the special JPL ARC Voyager encounter with Saturn SSTV cassette recording here. It has an introduction by Rr. Bruce Murray and narration by Dr. Al Hibbs.
W6VIO Antenna Farm Gets Facelift
by Jim Lumsden, WA6MYJ
The fantastic success of the Voyager I Saturn encounter led by Dick Piety was due to 3 major factors:
- 1) Overall planning by Dick Piety;
- 2) Operator drafting and scheduling by Merv MacMedan; and
- 3) An antenna system capable of supporting a multi-operator activity.
I would like to discuss the antenna system, its present capabilities, and future potential. It is only through familiarity with the total system that you can utilize it to its potential.
It should come as no surprise that life is full of compromises; and the antenna system for W6VIO is no exception. The W6VIO club station, as I see it, has several equally important purposes or functions:
- 1) a facility for the use of individual club members,
- 2) a commemorative /special event facility,
- 3) a contest competitive facility and
- 4) an emergency communications facility.
The listed order of these functions does not in any way imply relative importance; all functions are important. Each carries with it a different responsibility. However, each function places slightly different requirements upon an antenna system. The activities vary from multi-operators on a single mode, such as phone or CW contests, to multi-operators on several modes, such as special events, or emergency situations. Even the latter has different emphases depending upon the nature of the event. Some situations may require simultaneous efficient 2-meter and 220 MHz operation supported by a single long-haul HF station; others may be better served by more long-haul and a lesser support activity on VHF/UHF.
An added requirement of the "club member facility" requirement is to satisfy the desire of the individual to use his favorite rig with the antenna of his choice. This is more important now that we have many new Novices and Technicians in the club and a third excellent HF rig.
The last major consideration in baselining our antenna system was the simple fact that we just don't get out of the Arroyo with antennas at the shack. This fact drives the flexibility of the feedline and antenna selection system to the limit.
We have two major antenna sites situated approximately 650 and 1000 feet from the shack and approximately 300 and 400 feet respectively in elevation above the shack. The sites lie along a straight line, so they are about 350 feet apart. The lower site is fed with three feedlines and the upper site with one line, making a total of four feedlines from the shack to the antenna system. Each feedline has a remotely controlled 3-position relay installed at its terminus up the hill, allowing one of three possible antennas to be selected on each of the feedlines. Therefore, we have the capability of twelve antennas, four of which may be in use at any one time.
Some limitations are inherent in the system. The relays are frequency limited in both the upper and the lower end. Therefore, one feedline is useful for UHF/VHF (144-450 MHz) only. A second limitation is that only one antenna of each relay grouping can be used at a time.
There is room for growth' We still have two open slots on the lower site for HF/VHF antennas; and even more room if the two-meter antenna complement is reduced from three to two or even one. Anyone with an idea for an antenna is welcome (encouraged) to propose it. Chances are very good that you will be permitted to implement your idea.
There is room for improvement! The Hustler 4BTV Vertical just doesn't like 40 meters. Perhaps some ambitious soul would like to replace it with a very broad band 40 mtr dipole with some slight directivity.
Enough on the system itself. We have a pretty envious farm; and a lot of people worked very hard and put in some long hours to achieve that capability. It always seems unfair to list those persons who put in the most time, because everyone who contributed time went through some kind of sacrifice; and the sacrifice for a few hours contribution may equal or exceed the sacrifice for a weeks worth of time. All who responded are equally deserving of the thanks of the entire club and I will be the first to say "thank you" again
This was supposed to be an article on how the antennas got put up, but as I sat here trying to put a story together, it sounded too much like all other antenna raising stories. Doesn't everyone sit on top of 30 foot tall telephone poles on the edge of a 400 foot high cliff balancing 40 meter beams and such? Doesn't every club have to solder with a butane torch?
The real story was in the pride I felt at that first Saturday work party in October when more help than I ever dreamed up appeared. The story under that was that specific tasks could be handed out and they were accomplished! The last word is that, for a change, this was not a one-man, show; it was a many-man show, and it showed!
Among the many participants in the work parties were:
Warren Apel K6GPK, Jay Bastow K6CV, Bruce Beaudry WD6HEZ, Stan Brokl N2YQ, Norm Chalfin K6PGX, John Earnest N6CTT, Kerry Erickson KA6MRA, Rudy Fiedler DK5FD, Paul Goodwin K06D, Paul Gordon N6LL, George Hansen KD6FL, Jason Kovatch N6BCI, Bob Layne W6LTC, Jim Lumsden WA6MYJ, Pete Mason N6BBP, John McKinney N6AVW, George Morris W6ABW, Jack Patzold WB6TXG, Diet Piety K6SVP, Stan Sander N6MP, Mark Schaffer WB6CIA, Brian Stapelton W6LZP, Jan Tarcella, Sam Weaver WB6EMO, Ralph West N6YM.
JPLARC Supports Running Events
by John McKinney, N6AVW
JPL Amateur Radio Club members provided communications support for two running events held at the Rose Bowl sponsored by the JPL Jogging Club. The club WR6APR 220 MHz repeater was used for both events.
The first event was the "Great Pumpkin Run" held on - you guessed it - Friday, October 31. The distance was 5 kilometers (3.1 miles) along a course which encircled the Rose Bowl. John McKinney, N6AVW, using a Wilson handheld (loaned courtesy of Stan Sander, N6MP) was at the starting line. The sound of the starting pistol (loaned courtesy of Jim Lumsden, WA6MYJ) was relayed to checkpoints along the course permitting the synchronized start of stop watches. (Stan's radio still has a distinctive ring to its audio). Bruce Beaudry, WD6HEZ, was at the 1-mile checkpoint with his Midland l3509, 5/8 wave antenna, Synthecoder and Gel Cell batteries strapped to his back. Ron Zenone, W6TUZ, was at the half-way checkpoint with his new synthesized Tempo S-2. Walt Diem, WA6PEA, was at the 2-mile check point with his Wilson handheld. Intermediate times were called to the runners as they passed checkpoints and were relayed to the gallery at the finish line. A new club member, Jim Erickson, KA6MHF, was at the finish line recording the results. (Jim is rumored to be taking a trip to FCC offices in Long Beach for his Technician exam, however, results were not available at press time.)
The second event was the 10 kilometer (6.2 miles) NASA Intercenter Running Competition held on Friday, November 14. Organizers had an easy time with this race by simply asking the participants to run twice around the previous Rose Bowl course. John McKinney, N6AVW, at the starting line and Bruce Beaudry, WD6HEZ, at the finish line returned with their same complement of equipment. John Earnest, N6CTT, was at the 1 and 4-mile checkpoint with his Tempo S-2. Warren Apel, K6GPK, was at the 2 and 5-mile checkpoint with his Wilson handheld. Eileen McKinney, KA6DGV, provided a post-event lecture on the proper techniques of identification during support of such events. After hearing suggestions, everyone agreed that she should be allowed to organize the communications for the next race.
Minutes of Board Meeting by Ron Zenone W6TUZ
A board meeting of the JPL Amateur Radio Club was conducted on November 26, l98O at 12:00 noon in 238-543. Members attending the meeting included WA6MYJ, WB6EMO, N2YQ, N6AVW, W6ABW, WA6PEA, WB6TXG, N6NO, W6EJJ and W6TUZ. George Morris called the meeting to order with a quorum present. Minutes of the October l980 board meeting were read and approved.
A treasury report was made by N6AVW. John stated that the autopatch contingency fund has been separated from the general account and will be placed into an interest bearing savings account. It was also mentioned that John and K6GPK would look for the highest interest rate available.
The best purchase price for a duplexer was reported by Walt Diem as being $337.88. WA6PEA also suggested that the club consider purchasing a Super Station Master as a replacement antenna for WR6APS. The cost for such an antenna would be approximately $327. Although neither item will be purchased at this time, a recommendation will be forthcoming from the Repeater Committee.
Jim Lumsden indicated that a demand for SSTV tape cassettes containing Saturn pictures taken by Voyager has been voiced by the ham community. As in the past, the club will sell encounter tapes and realize a profit. In order to prepare tapes for sale, WA6MYJ requested that the board provide reimbursable seed-money. The board voted and authorized a not-to-exceed amount of $1000 for this effort.
The desirability of conducting special event operations in 1981 for the space shuttle launch was offered for discussion by WA6MYJ. The board felt that it was not proper to have the JPL radio club unilaterally take the lead role for such an event. In addition, the board stated that the JPL radio club would be very willing to offer advice and support radio club events sponsored by other NASA centers. Jim indicated that he would be contacting KSC and JSC in this regard.
For the purpose of clarification, the board stated that the club policy is that the club callsign of W6VIO and not an operator's individual call sign shall be utilized for all communications from the club station. Following this statement of policy, the meeting was adjourned by W6ABW.
The Changing of the Guard
Effective-next month, the new editor of W6VIO Calling will be Jim Lumsden, WA6MYJ. All contributions should be addressed to Jim at M/S 233-103.
In looking back at past issues of W6VIO Calling, I found that the first issue came out in June 1971. While the format has changed somewhat, the club newsletter of today is remarkably similar to its early predecessor. What makes even these early issues interesting reading is the wide range of activities that the club has been involved in over the years and the impressive participation of its members. Since the club usually has many ongoing activities there is always plenty of news to report. The main problem in publishing the newsletter is keeping abreast of what's happening and persuading members to submit their articles before the deadline. Of course, unsolicited articles are always welcome.
Over the past two years, I have been helped by many people. In particular, I would like to acknowledge the typing assistance of Sharon Chapman who helped out with many issues, particularly in the last year. Merv MacMedan, N6NO, has also helped out tremendously by supplying articles, news items, encouragement and constructive criticism on a regular basis.
Part of the W6VIO Antenna Crew (l. to r.): DK5FD, N6BBP, K6GPK, WA6MYJ, N2YQ, WD6HEZ, N6MP, KA6MRA. (N6LL photo)
In the interest of promoting clean, first-class signals from our members, the Fourth Annual JPL ARC Tune-up Clinic will be scheduled sometime in January. Again this time, we will have all the exotic test equipment to check radio frequencies of transmitters and receivers, as well as deviation, spectral purity and power output. Touch-Tone and microphone levels will be set. Even if you have had your radio tuned up before, crystals will drift and components will age, so the club recommends an annual checkup. The service is free, courtesy of Migual Santana WB6TEB, and refreshments will be served. Watch the January newsletter and listen on the Tuesday evening net (8 pm on WR6APS, 224.04) for the exact date, time and location. (N6NO)
Excuse Me Sir, But Your HT is on Fire
Many club members own VHF handhelds which they carry with them on-Lab. Recently, it has been observed that the smoke detectors placed near the elevators in many of the buildings are sensitive to RF radiation. While this is clearly an undesirable design feature, the fact remains that the Laboratory usually responds to the trip of a smoke detector in a massive way. In order to avoid embarrassment to yourself and a lot of bother and frustration to Lab safety and fire personnel, keep an eye open for the smoke alarms in your area and when you are near one, DON'T TRANSMIT!
W1AW DX Bulletin Schedule
- SSB 0130/0430Z Friday (Thurs PX for W/VE)
- CW 00/03/14/21Z Friday
- RTTY/ASCII - 0l/04/l5/22Z Friday
- SSB 1835 3990 7290 14290 21390 28590 kHz CW 1835 3580 7080 14080 2l080 28080 kHz
- RTTY/ASCII 3625 7095 l4095 2lO95 28095 kHz
- CW 18 wpm - RTTY 60 wpm/170 Hz
- ASCII 110 baud/170 Hz
Information courtesy Southern New England DX Association and W6EJJ
Election Results - ARRL SW Division Director
The results of the recent election for the ARRL Director from the Southwestern Division are in. Jay Holladay, W6EJJ, incumbent Director, JPLARC member and trustee of W6VIO beat out his opponent Fred Heyn, WA6WZO, by a margin of 198 votes. The final tabulation showed W6EJJ with 30l9 votes and WA6WZO with 2821 votes.
Updated September 10, 2000
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