- Meeting Notice - Scott Nolte, N6CUV
- Calendar of Events
- Notes from W6EJJ - Jay Holladay, W6EJJ
- DX News - Bob Polansky, N6ET
- September Club Meetings - Scott Nolte, N6CUV
- WB6IEA Repeater - Walt Diem, WA6PEA
- Fuses: Not Sexy, But Don't Ignore Them - Ludwell Sibley, KB2EVN
- Grounding For Lightning Safety - Gary Coffman, KE4ZV
- Classified Section
- ARRL News
- Special Editor's Note
By Scott Nolte, N6CUV
The next regular JPL Amateur Radio Club meeting will be held on Wednesday, October 9, at noon in building 198, room 109. We hope to have the speaker originally scheduled last month; Our program will feature Brian Philbin and or Scott Ward from AirTouch Cellular. They will explain how the Cellular phone system works and how they designed it to withstand earthquakes and the like? This talk was well received at the Pasadena Radio Club recently. Club Board of Directors meetings are held at noon on the fourth Wednesday of each month in 301-227. Everyone is welcome at all club meetings; bring your lunch. n
Calendar of Events
Date Event October 9 General Meeting, Noon - 238-543 October 11-13 [1996 Southwestern Division. ARRL Convention, Mesa, Arizona] October 19 [Pomona Swapmeet, DeVry Institute] October 23 Board Meeting, Noon - 301-227 October 26 [TRW Swapmeet, Redondo Beach] November 13 General Meeting, Noon - 28-543 November 16 [Pomona Swapmeet, DeVry Institute] November 20 Board Meeting, Noon - 301-227 November 30 [TRW Swapmeet, Redondo Beach]
Notes from W6EJJ
By Jay Holladay, W6EJJ
Whither CW? What About Amateur Radio?
As I was preparing to write this month's column I ran across ARRL Bulletin Nr. 67: ... MARS to drop all CW nets: All CW nets and other CW activity in the Military Affiliate Radio System (MARS) have been ordered to cease operation effective October 1, 1996. After that time, no CW nets or other CW activity will be allowed on any DOD MARS frequencies. A final MARS CW message will be transmitted simultaneously on Army, Navy and Air Force MARS frequencies at 1300, 1530 and 1700 UTC on September 30. MARS members may earn a certificate for correct copy of the final message.
This represents one of the final actions in the ongoing phaseout of CW telegraphy in military and government activity. It will no doubt engender another round of discussion about the future of CW in the Amateur Radio Service.
In fact, such a discussion is now taking place among the national amateur radio societies of the world. This is part of preparations for the 1999 World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-99). A preliminary agenda item for that conference deals with the provisions of the international Radio Regulations that deal with the Amateur and Amateur-Satellite Services. A discussion paper circulated among the member societies of the International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) summarizes a number of issues raised by the current Radio Regulations and the requirements they impose on national administrations (e.g., the FCC) on the manner in which they regulate the Amateur and Amateur-Satellite Services. These issues are:
- The definition of the "amateur service"
- The banned country list
- The amateur service as a resource for emergency communications
- Messages on behalf of a third party
- The technical and operational qualifications to be an amateur
- Morse code
- The international recognition of amateur licenses
- The amateur satellite service
- Other matters
So, the discussion of Morse code in this arena is part of a much broader discussion of issues that could have a profound impact on the Amateur Radio Service in years to come.
Closer to home, the ARRL Board of Directors is actively seeking input from U.S. amateurs on these issues, particularly related to Morse code and other qualifications for licensing. A random-sample survey of U.S. amateurs is underway, but any ARRL member is invited to participate. See September 1996 QST, pp. 49-50 for a copy of the survey and information on participating. (Responses to the QST survey and the random-sample survey will be tabulated separately.)
If JPL ARC members express interest in these topics, I will provide more information on the substance of the discussions in future issues of W6VIO Calling. Perhaps we can stimulate some dialogue in this newsletter or at a future club meeting about the future of Morse code or other qualifications for an amateur license.
That's all for this month.
(Those of you who would like to read the IARU discussion paper or the first report summarizing responses to that paper can find both items at: http://www.arrl.org/iaru/. n
By Bob Polansky, N6ET
No preamble this time. I've only got about ten minutes to write this month's article. Not to worry, though, there's not much of significant interest going on in the DX world this month. Exceptions follow:
ANGOLA - Look for D2/PA3DZN, or perhaps a real D2 call, from early October for six months.
ASCENSION ISLAND - Look for ZD8Z on both CW and
SSB through 5 October. 0200 through 0600Z will be your best chance on the low bands.
CHAD - Lots of Chad activity by TT8SR and TT8SP. Look for them after 2000Z on 14014 kHz. They are copyable on the West Coast, but a bit weak.
CHAGOS - VQ9WM is active from here for the next ten months. He looks for North America around 1715Z on 14227 kHz. If you need this one, perhaps you can check into the net and get him to come up a bit earlier when there's propagation to the West Coast.
SYRIA - YK1B will be, perhaps is already making its presence known by a large group of German amateur radio operators on all bands from 160 meters up. No details were published on this operation other than the fact that is will last through 7 October.
TUNISIA - 3V8BB will exercise the bands from 9 through 13 October. Maybe I'll get lucky this time! No other details are available.
VIETNAM - XV7SW will be active from here in October on CW only. Look for him on 3506, 7007, 14016, 21016, 21019, 28016 and 28019 kHz.
That's all for now. Gotta meet my deadline! Good DXing. n
September Club Meetings
By Scott Nolte, N6CUV
The regular monthly JPL ARC general meeting was held on Wednesday, September 11. Vice President Scott Nolte (N6CUV) called the meeting to order. Walt Diem (WA6PEA) asked what members thought of the club changing the call of the WB6IEA club repeater back to WR6APR. Most members thought this would be OK, but no action was taken at this time.
Allen Hubbard (N6VTX) gave a talk regarding the different ways of mounting radio equipment at home, car and field type installations. Here are the key points from his talk:
Important: Have at least one hard-wired telephone in your home, preferably next to your radio(s). Cordless phones need AC power for the receiver in the base unit to work. If your area loses electrical service the cordless phone will not work, even if the phone service may still be operating.
How to set up a Ham Shack that (hopefully) will survive an earthquake:
- Select the safest and newest part of your home for station if feasible. Check with your XYL or OM first!
- Bolt shelving hardware or table/desk to the wall, into studs if possible. You should do this furniture bolting throughout your house or apartment.
- Bolt or strap the equipment to shelves or table/desk top. Battery(ies) should be mounted near floor and strapped down.
- Have emergency power system using gel-cell or deep cycle batteries with a charging system. Gel-cell batteries are preferred. After a quake, you could get neighbors to loan car batteries to keep your station on the air.
- All antennas should have "quake resistant" cable routing through building to antennas. Power and other cables should be tied or clamped down to prevent damage when things start MOVING!
- Have at least one hard-line phone in home, preferably near radios.
- Cordless phones will fail if you lose household AC service.
- Nice to have; Generator that will run on unleaded fuel. You can drain needed fuel from vehicles. Even a small generator will run some lights, television, small power tools, and battery chargers.
Mobile Radio Installation Suggestions:
- Mobile radios, speakers etc. should be firmly mounted in vehicle if possible. This stops equipment from flying around in accidents or emergencies. Radios are easier to use and see, since they will not move when operated. Keep manuals for radio gear in vehicle. Permission to copy is granted provided "W6VIO Calling" is credited
- Install the largest battery that will fit your make of vehicle. Have power cables for equipment routed direct to battery for best E.M.F. protection. Fuse both positive and ground leads as close to battery as possible.
- Our experience has shown that "glass mount" antennas will not work as well as other types. An antenna mounted in a HOLE in the center of roof or grounded roof rack has the best return ground for best performance. Gutter clamps, trunk mounts etc. can work loose, applying "Loctite" on all hardware may prevent this. If you have a plastic or fiberglass bodied car, you will need to use a half wave "glass mount" antenna. Mag mounts should be for temporary use only, may cause rust if left in one spot. Carry a spare mobile antenna rod in case primary antenna is damaged or stolen.
Suggestions for "Field Pack" radios:
- Mobile radios can be mounted in water and dust-proof cases for outside use. Small metal or plastic cases may be bought at surplus stores or Ham swap meets. Great for Field Day, public events and emergencies.
- Large deep-cycle batteries are recommend for "field packs" or base station emergency use. Have power cables made up for emergency hook-ups. Use Molex type connectors. Female plug for power, male plug for equipment.
- Folding tables with antenna mounting holes for standard size masts are useful for public events and emergencies.
List of items that you SHOULD keep in vehicle:
Carry your emergency supplies in duffel or other type of bag in vehicle at all times. Here are the essentials:
- First Aid Kit
- Water and Granola Type Food Bars
- Quality Flash Light and Light Sticks
- Jacket or Poncho and Gloves
- Good Walking Shoes
- Pocket knife and Compass
- Maps or Map Book, Local Repeater List or Book
- Pens, Pencils, Paper.
- "AA" Battery Pack(s) for Your Hand-Held.
- Spare Batteries For Packs and Flash Light.
- Small AM-FM Portable Radio and Batteries.
- Emergency Group ID (Keep on Person)
- Small Back Pack
(After an earthquake or other emergency, your vehicle can become inoperative, forcing you to abandon it. Use the back pack to carry items listed above.)
- Fire Extinguisher, A.B.C type.
- Spare Fuel Filter and Fan Belt(s)
- Spare Fuses for Vehicle and Mobile Radios
- Hand Tools That Fit Vehicle!, Jumper Cables
- Road Flares
- Nylon Straps, Gray "Racers" Tape
- Tire Chains, That Fit Tires! (seasonal)
- Clip Board.
- Orange Safety Vest
- Speaker-Mike. for Hand-Helds
- Spare Ham Radio Antenna for Vehicle
- Magnetic "Amateur Radio Emergency Communications" Signs for Vehicle
Board of Directors' Meeting
The September ARC Board Meeting was held on Wednesday, September 25. There were not enough Board members for a quorum.
Jay Holladay (W6EJJ) announced the electrical wiring for the shack trailer should be done soon. Question regarding what Fiscal Year the work would be charged to was asked, but no one knew for sure.
Walt Mushagian (K6DNS) reported the 10 KW generator is now outside the shack, but does not excite every time it's powered up.
Scott Nolte (N6CUV) described a computer generated name badge that could be made for all club members. Rick (KA6DAN) added the ERC might be able to help in the making of this type of badge. Jay (W6EJJ) will ask someone to look into engraved type badges also.
Rick McKinney (KA6DAN) reported the adding of 1 new regular member and 2 Autopatch members. 214 members total.
Walt Diem (WA6PEA) reported Bill (WB6TZS) has reworked the club's Kendacom repeater. It now can transmit PL tone on the output without adding hum to the audio. The last thing to do is replace 20 trim pots with the sealed type at a cost of $225.
Bob Dengler (NO6B) explained that Randy (KA6HUR) has programmed the W6VIO repeater controller with courtesy tones to indicate when the cross-band link is up. Two 500 Hz beeps if the signal comes in on 2 meters and two 600 Hz beeps if the signal comes in on 220.
Chuck Sarture (KG6NF) reported has about $250 in the regular account. n
By Walt Diem, WA6PEA
The JPL ARC has received final coordination for WB6IEA/R on 224.70 MHz from the 220 SMA. The overlapping coverage situation that delayed final coordination for over a year was resolved by KB6ONO/R moving to 224.44 MHz.
The repeater is currently operating with separate transmit and receive antennas to restore receive sensitivity that was being degraded by a problem in the duplexer. This configuration will be maintained until the duplexer problem is corrected. n
Fuses: Not Sexy, But Don't Ignore Them
By Ludwell Sibley, KB2EVN
In any radio, but especially an antique radio, the humble fuse demands your attention. Small fuse holders came on the market in the 1920's, when you could instantly send a 201A to Tube Heaven by hooking the B-battery to the A-battery terminals. RCA offered its UV-877 "protective tube," a light bulb that worked as a combination ballast and fuse.
A few early AC sets-Freed-Eisemanns come to mind-had 3-amp Edison screw-base fuses, to prevent damage from shorted capacitors and the like. Miniature fuses of the kind still used today-1-1/4 long by 1/4-inch diameter-appeared in the '30's and became common in the '40's.
Fuses come in not-so-obvious forms. In an AC-DC radio of 1939 vintage, the "pilot" section of the heater in the 35Z5 or 35W4 rectifier provides fuse action. Some TV sets had the 6-volt heater circuit wired via a "fuse link" of 28-gauge wire. The British 1941 field radio (Wireless Set No. 12) used 36-gauge copper wire as a 5-amp fuse, and included a quarter-pound roll of spare wire!
Overhead telephone cables that might contact high-voltage power lines are traditionally spliced through a short section of 26-gauge "fuse cable" before entering a building. Many radio restorers add a fuse to every set that they service. That fuse can prevent a shorted filter capacitor from burning out the power transformer that today costs $65. You can add a fuse holder under the chassis of an antique set. Wire it in series with one side of the line cord.
You'll need a fuse rated between 1/2 and 3 amps. The standard quarter-inch-diameter fuse was the "3AG"; one maker still calls it that. It is also known as "AGC" (fast-blow) and "MDL " (slow blow). The slow-blow type withstands large surges without blowing. If the equipment manufacturer specifies a fuse type and rating, follow it. But old gear may have whatever size and type the repairman had on hand.
In a mixed box of fuses at the flea market, you will find styles that are useless today. Some relics of '50's TV sets have leads welded to their end caps, making them clumsy to replace. Some have odd diameters, like the 4AB and SAG anti-vibration aircraft styles. If you find the SFE style automobile parts whose length varies with the current rating give them to your friend who restores old cars.
A small glass style, 5 mm in diameter and 20 mm long, is common in foreign-made stereos. Those are worth keeping. Fuses in the 1/16- to 1-amp range are common in solid-state equipment. Transmitters and appliances may use fuses with higher ratings.
A fuse is also rated for the voltage it can clear upon blowing. The usual figure is 250 volts, but many glass fuses of 10 amps and up carry only a 32-volt rating. But all the ceramic-bodied fuses through 20 amps are good for 250 volts.
To protect a variable auto-transformer (Variac) you must prevent overcurrent in the wiper arm. So put a fast-blow fuse rated slightly above the current rating of the transformer in series with the wiper.
You can safely test a fuse with a digital multimeter. But some analog meters can blow a 1/32-amp fuse on the Rx1 range.
Always inspect fuses in newly acquired equipment. My Navy RAS receiver had been "up-fused" from 1 amp to 15 amps. I once inspected a newly bought Navy RBO before plugging it in - - fortunately. The fuseholder held a piece of brass rod! Not only that, some fool had wired one side of the AC line directly to the chassis!! Death, anyone?
Some equipment contains a fuse on each side of the line. If both have the same rating, they may blow together in an overload. To save money, make one fuse the normal rating, and the other somewhat larger. You'll still protect the power transformer from an overload, and you'll still protect against line-to-ground shorts.
With an extractor-type fuse holder, the suave technician inserts the fuse with the amp rating visible outside the extractor - to ease checking the fuse size later.
A slow-blow fuse will carry twice its rating for several seconds. A fast-blow fuse will carry 110 percent of its nominal current indefinitely, but open in one hour at 135 percent. But fuses can be sloppy. I tested five old 1-amp fuses from five different manufacturers by wiring them in series to a current source. One opened after several hours at 1.1 amps. The next three passed 1.2 amps for two days before blowing. The last one handled 1.35 amps for a day, and took 1.8 amps for half an hour. It finally blew at 1.9 amps! Fuses aren't precision-calibrated devices.
On top of this, the transformer in the that old radio you're trying to protect draws a large "magnetizing surge" at turn-on. The Radiotron Designer's Handbook says this surge can be 20 times the normal current, and last 8 milliseconds. That's more than a fast-blow fuse may be able to handle. So use a slow-blow rated just above the normal current.
An open fuse may give hints. A melted link means a moderate overload. A black or silvery deposit inside the glass may indicate a severe overload or short circuit, though not always; of the five 1-amp fuses mildly blown in my test, one showed the blackened deposit.
Corrosion under the end caps can make old fuses weak, even if the link wire appears intact. And you don't need the mystery of a piece of gear remaining dead after you replace its fuse. So if corrosion is visible, test that old fuse before putting it in stock. Also, fuses handling heavy start-up loads can fail by metal fatigue.
The extractor in an old radio's fuse holder may be missing or broken. So always salvage the extractor from any piece of gear you junk, and keep those extractors in stock.
from the May 1996 issue of "The Old Timer's Bulletin." the official journal of the Antique Wireless Association. Submitted to the ARNS Bulletin, by Steve, N2TKX, who also obtained permission for reuse in Amateur Radio newsletters. n
Grounding For Lightning Safety
By Gary Coffman, KE4ZV
You commonly hear three reasons for grounding your station: 1. To improve RF performance. 2. To eliminate stray RF in the shack. 3. To improve electrical safety. But in most circumstances only the last has merit. (Let's see where the truth is grounded.-AF6S)
1. Improve RF Performance
The proposition that a better ground improves RF performance is false except with antennas that must work against ground. Even then, the ground should be at the antenna feedpoint, not at the transmitter. (Of course the transmitter can be at the feedpoint of a long wire antenna.)
A balanced antenna (dipole, Yagi, or quad) operates independently of ground. It even works in free space - no ground connection at all. The same holds for a vertical with above-ground radials or a counterpoise. But many verticals, longwires, and other asymmetric antennas do require grounds - again, best at the feedpoint.
2. To Eliminate RF in the Shack
People often give this as a reason for an RF connection to Earth. But, like taking aspirin for a brain tumor, a shack ground may suppress the symptoms, but do nothing for the underlying problem-which may be a faulty station layout or design. RF in the shack can result from equipment with poor shielding, unbalanced feeder currents, or "daisy chained" station interconnections that create "ground loops."
Grounding one or more cabinets may even increase the problem. (Though connecting all the cabinets to a common point, "star wise," usually helps-AF6S.) Sometimes connecting everything to a good RF ground reduces stray RF at one frequency, but makes it worse at another.
3. For Electrical Safety
This is the best reason for a grounding system. An effective grounding system can eliminate two different hazards.
In the US, a cardinal National Electrical Code (NEC) rule is, "All ground connections must be bonded together." Fail to do this, and you may have a shock hazard between cabinets connected to different ground references. Also, the myth that you must keep utility and RF grounds separate is worse than false; doing so produces a safety hazard. (NEC permits isolated grounds in certain special circumstances; but generally, failing to bond all grounds together is a major violation.)
The second reason for effective grounding is lightning safety-a difficult problem one should approach with care, because a single mistake can be so costly.
Lightning surges of 8,000 amperes are common, and occasional "super bolts" reach 200,000 amperes. These discharges last only microseconds, so their average power is low. In one sense, fast current risetime, lightning is RF. The fast risetimes mean a lightning strike can develop kilovolts of potential difference across the inductance of even a short downlead. If these potentials develop between equipment cabinets, a strike may destroy you and the equipment's sensitive components.
Single-point grounding is a simple concept that can be subtle in execution. All connections to earth must go directly to a common point, and all connections from equipment that needs a ground termination must run to that ground point and no other. Daisy chaining grounds isn't allowed.
Also; every connection to the single point must be straight, and direct. "Ground busses" are a serious no-no, though you'll find them touted in Amateur literature. Busses form instant ground loops. At the currents and risetimes in a lightning discharge, they can allow thousands of volts to develop between equipment cabinets. The idea of the single-point ground is that it forces everything to the same potential, that of the single point. And zero lightning-caused potential difference means zero current flowing through the equipment. Of course the single-point "ground" itself will not stay at zero volts during a strike. But that's okay; it's the lightning-caused current and potential differences that concern us.
Pondering the many "ground" interconnections in your station, you may conclude that a true single-point ground is impossible. That's where the concept of the "ground window" comes in. The ground window is a small metal plate through which every cable that enters or leaves your station must pass. You bond the wire or shield in each cable that is supposed to be at ground potential to the plate where it passes through.
Also, every conductor that is not a "ground" connects to an appropriate suppression device whose ground you also bond to the plate. Then you bond the plate itself to the single-point ground via a heavy, wide metal strap or braid.
The ground window shorts out any large potential differences that otherwise might develop between cables connected to various cabinets in your shack. Note that EVERY cable on its way in or out of the shack must pass through the ground window - including power, telephone, network cables, antenna feeders, and rotator wires. Allowing just one cable to bypass the ground window ruins the protection. You can't run an extension cord to a power outlet that doesn't pass through the ground window.
After you've taken the pains to install a truly protective grounding system, you'll find it makes an excellent RF grounding system too. And you'll be able to stay on the air during the worst thunderstorms, operating your station without the risk of damage or injury.
Proper grounding isn't magic. It's a well-understood science more Amateurs should learn about and apply. from the Nov. '95 Old Virginia Hams ARC (Manassas, Va.) "Ole Virginia Times"-Scot Bellefeuille, KT4ER, Editor (additional editing by AF6S) n
A 50-to-80-foot self supporting/telescoping/tilt-over tower or towers. Can be either tubular or triangular. Need to be in good condition. Motorized would be a big plus. Will pay for packaging and shipping to Prescott, Arizona. Contact Brian (KW6J) at 714-896-3514 (M-F, 8 AM to 4 PM) or via Internet at email@example.com.
New or used (but in good condition) HF large mono-band beams which were designed for high gain/good front to back ratio/good directivity etc. Contact Brian (KW6J) at 714-896-3514 (M-F 8 AM to 4 PM) or via Internet at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Icom IC-04AT 440 MHz HT. Call Joel Mosher KB6RXE at 818-791-1779
Your want ad or article for inclusion in a future issue of W6VIO Calling. Submit either to Bill Wood, Mail Stop DSCC-33; or via Internet (email@example.com)
US tower (or Wilson) ROTATING BASE and RAISING FIXTURE for a 40 foot tubular telescoping tower. US Tower part number for the rotating base is MARB/40 and for the raising fixture is MAF-40. Please contact Brian Stapleton (KW6J) at 714-896-3514, M-F 8 AM - 4 PM.
Advanced Class ARRL Video Study Course, includes Computerized Exam Review Software, complete course for $50 (New cost $129). Call Bob Dye, KQ6GD, (818)249-0171.
Price Reduction: Model HDX-589-MDPL, 89-foot self-supporting US Tower. Includes heavy duty motor, pull downs, and limit switches. Only a few years old with hardly any use. Buyer will be responsible for removal of tower from back yard of property (will require a crane capable of lifting at least 2 tons of weight from the back yard of SK Carl Johansen's QTH, up and over his house to the front street, and onto a flat bed to move to your QTH - probably no more than 2 hours for the crane to be at the job site). Complete tower package originally cost around $8,100 (including shipping to the LA area). Will now sell for $4,500. Contact Brian (KW6J) at 714-896-3514 (work number M-F, 8 AM to 4 PM).
Battery Packs (for HT's, camcorders, laptops, cordless and cellular telephones) and mobile antennas at unusually low prices. Contact Walt Diem at 818-248-7525.
Yaesu's - like new. Closing station. FT-470 2m/440 w/tone squelch, PA-6 ~ FNB-12 batteries, chargers, and two vinyl cases. Unused, in carton. $350. FT-212RH 2m mobile w/mic, spkrs. Used very few hours. $295. Astron RS-12 power supply, good condition. $50. George KC6CWA, (707) 945-0705, or via W6MEO@KJ6FY.#NOCAL.CA.USA.NOAM. n
Via the ARRL www Home Page
League Petitions FCC To Change New RF Safety Rules
ARRL Letter Volume 15, Number 9
The ARRL has petitioned the FCC to reconsider and reverse portions of the Commission's August 1, 1996, Report and Order that imposed RF-emission safety standards on Amateur Radio, including a 50-W threshold to trigger an RF-safety evaluation. In setting the 50-W threshold, the ARRL said, the FCC failed to consider the effect of antenna height, antenna gain, emission mode, duty cycle or operating frequency. The League asked the FCC either to scale the evaluation threshold by frequency to match the maximum permissible exposure (MPE) limits--directly corresponding to the way the regulations scale the exposure levels with frequency--or to set the evaluation threshold for all HF operation at 150 W at a distance of 10 meters from all parts of the antenna.
At or below that power level and at that distance from the radiator, "you'd be well on the side of safe, even at 100% duty cycle, with any antenna likely to be encountered on HF," said ARRL Laboratory Supervisor Ed Hare, KA1CV, our HQ staff liaison to the ARRL RF Safety Committee. "Some VHF/UHF and microwave station configurations could result in an RF exposure exceeding the requirements of the regulations, so the 50-W limit to trigger an evaluation is more appropriate above 30 MHz," said Hare. The ARRL Laboratory staff is working on a QST article that explains the new RF-safety regulations. "The article will tell hams how to evaluate their stations to be in compliance with the new rules," Hare explained.
Hare also emphasized that all stations, regardless of output power or frequency, still must abide by the specified MPE limits for RF. "Even my 10-mW HF station has to be in compliance with the MPE limits. At that power level, even under the existing rules, I don't have to evaluate whether it is compliance, however; it is presumed that stations running less than 50 W PEP are in compliance."
The new rules, effective January 1, 1997, require licensees of amateur stations running 50 W output or more on any band to conduct a routine RF-safety evaluation to determine if the station could expose people to RF levels that exceed the MPE limits specified in the new rules. (Mobile installations using push-to-talk, regardless of power, are exempt from the environmental evaluation requirement.) In its reconsideration filing, the League called the 50-W threshold "regulatory overkill" and "without scientific basis." Among other things, the League said the means to conduct RF radiation evaluations are not yet available, and the ability to reconfigure a station that might exceed the new limits "is highly problematic." Coupled with any state and local land-use and RF-exposure regulations that might exist, application of the new rules "may constitute a de facto revocation or modification of the station license," the League said.
"If amateurs cannot operate using outdoor antennas due to deed restrictions, and they cannot use indoor antennas due to concern about exceeding the MPE levels, all amateur communications are precluded."
In addition, the ARRL contends that rules imposed in the Commission's Report and Order "were adopted through flawed procedures." The League said the FCC adopted the rules without advance notice and opportunity for prior comment by those who would be most affected. "Neither the League, nor radio amateurs generally, had any opportunity to comment on, or suggest alternatives to, the rules adopted by the Commission," the ARRL petition said. "The Commission cannot impose substantive rule changes without adequate notice."
The ARRL said that the new rules differentiate between ham stations and other Commission licensees, "which are treated far less restrictively." While the FCC preempted state and local government regulation of personal wireless service facilities based on environmental effects of RF emissions, it refused to do the same for ham radio "without any basis for the distinction."
The League's petition also said the rules in the Report and Order "contain substantive obligations" that affect both individual hams and the preparation of ham radio examinations. The ARRL already has asked the FCC to extend the deadline to change amateur examinations and modify question pools, but the Commission has yet to act on the request. "The Commission failed to address the impact on radio amateurs, amateur groups, or publishers of Amateur Radio examination preparation materials" the League said. Noting that the FCC has not yet issued revised documents to assist Amateur Radio licensees in determining MPE compliance, the League said that, as it now stands, hams have no way to determine the scope of their obligations under the new rules.
The League suggested the FCC vacate its new RF safety rules governing amateur stations and issue a further notice to permit comment on the proposed rules, and, in particular, the 50-W threshold. Hare said the League's proposed HF threshold of 150-W at 10 meters distance from the antenna "encompasses a much greater range of typical Amateur Radio operation without compromising safety."
According to the September 9, 1996, issue of Radio Communications Report, the ARRL was not the only one to challenge the RF exposure guidelines. Others filing petitions for reconsideration or clarification are the Personal Communications Industry Association, the Electromagnetic Energy Association, Hammett & Edison Inc (a consulting firm) and the US Department of Defense. n
Good Weather, Crowd Mark National Convention In Peoria
The ARRL Letter Update, September 20
Clear, cool weather and a good turnout highlighted the 1996 ARRL National Convention September 13-15 in Peoria, Illinois. ARRL Executive Vice President David Sumner (at podium) and ARRL President Rod Stafford, KB6ZV (behind Sumner) fielded questions at the ARRL Forum. Popular topics included the new FCC RF safety standards and the future of Morse code as a requirement for HF privileges. NASA Astronaut Dr Charles Brady, N4BQW, was a huge hit at the SAREX Forum and at the banquet. n
Solar Activity Dips
The ARRL Letter Update, September 20
Solar prognosticator Tad Cook, KT7H, of Seattle, Washington, reports that solar activity was down from September 5 to September 11, with the sunspot numbers below the 90-day average of 71 on every day of the period. Solar flux was down an average of more than 4, and sunspot numbers were down an average of 11 compared to the week previous. Solar activity was down again during the period September 12 to September 18. Average solar flux was down about a point, and average sunspot numbers were down about 3.7. Every day except September 12 had no visible sunspots. The daily solar flux was below the 90-day average of 71 on each day over the past week. Solar activity is expected to increase over this week, with solar flux to peak in the mid 70's around September 24-16. Geomagnetic conditions are expected to peak around September 25 with A indices around 25 and K indices as high as 5. After October 1 solar flux should drop below 70. Geomagnetic conditions should get unstable again around October 7-13.
The days are growing shorter, and the fall equinox will arrive September 22. Because of less daylight 20 meters is becoming more of a daylight band.
Sunspot numbers for September 5 through 11 were 0, 0, 15, 15, 0, 0 and 0, respectively, with a mean of 4.3. The 10.7-cm flux was 70.3, 69.7, 69.5, 68.2, 67.9, 68, and 67.6, respectively, with a mean of 68.7. Sunspot numbers for September 12 through 18 were 11, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0 and 0, respectively, with a mean of 1.6. The 10.7 cm flux was 67.8, 67.3, 67.1, 66.4, 68, 69, and 68.9, respectively, with a mean of 67.8. n
Gate 2 is Like a Call Sign Lottery
The ARRL Letter Update, September 27
September 23, 1996, was a momentous day for the thousands of FCC Extra class licensees who decided to enter what amounts to a call sign lottery--otherwise known as Gate 2 of the FCC's vanity call sign program. To paraphrase the old saw, "you pays your $30 and takes your chances!" But, have patience! Don't be surprised if that license bearing your new call sign doesn't show up for two to three weeks or longer, even if your Form 610V was among the first to arrive at the FCC bank contractor's doorstep.
Some applicants--perhaps many--labored under the misconception that the earlier they got their Form 610V in to the Pittsburgh drop box (for Mellon Bank, the FCC's fiscal agent), the better their chances of getting their first choice. T'ain't so! According to ARRL/VEC Manager Bart Jahnke, KB9NM, the FCC says it won't grant any applications until all applications (electronic or hard-copy) have been received. "What this means is all applications first will be entered into one big queue in no particular order in the FCC's computer," he said. Electronic filers using the system that the FCC inaugurated on September 23 stand the same chances as paper filers in the call sign assignment process, Jahnke emphasized. The FCC's on-line filing system does not yet permit on-line payment, so electronic filers still had to physically send their payments to the FCC's drop box in Pittsburgh, although the box was a different one than for paper applications with payment attached.
Jahnke explains that no application will carry a time of receipt, and everything that showed up in the correct Post Office box between 12:01 AM on Saturday, September 21, and 11:59 PM on Monday, September 23, will be considered day-one receipts and will go into the computer as such. The FCC says it won't start to grant new call signs until all applications for a given day are entered--whether they were filed on paper or electronically. When the FCC starts granting new call sign requests, they will be done in random order, so it could be a few weeks before your application is granted. "Think of it as a lottery drawing," Jahnke said. "The (FCC computer) 'arm' will reach in and grab applications until the queue is empty."
Late information indicates more than 4500 vanity applications now have made their way from Pittsburgh to Gettysburg for processing, but more are expected. The FCC got 339 electronically filed applications on day one. Just how many Gate 2 applications the FCC ultimately will receive is a matter of speculation. Original FCC plans called for running off 25,000 Form 610V copies for the entire vanity program. Later, the Commission upped the tally by nearly a factor of 10. Jahnke said the ARRL alone has distributed up to 20,000 vanity call sign application packages, including direct replies to SASEs, electronic requests and distributions at hamfests and conventions. One unconfirmed report said a single courier hand-delivered 5000 Form 610V applications on behalf of first-day filers. n
The ARRL Letter Update, September 15
Ed Hammond, WN1I, one of the newest ARRL staff members, was among those at the Maxim Memorial Station who helped hand out contacts as W1AW/127 from ARRL HQ during the annual Hiram Percy Maxim Birthday Celebration. Several HQ staffers volunteered to be W1AW guest operators during the final weekend of the event that ran from August 31 to September 8. n
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Upcoming VEC Examinations
The following test session information is provided by the ARRL/VEC for the upcoming three month period. For further information, please call the test session contact person at the telephone number listed. If necessary, you may contact the ARRL/VEC at 860-594-0300 for additional information. Electronic mail may be forwarded to the ARRL/VEC via USENET at "email@example.com" or via MCI Mail to MCI ID: 653-2312 or 215-5052.
Although the test session information presented here does not indicate whether walk-ins are accepted or not, most test sessions do allow walk-ins. We encourage you, however, to always call the contact person at the telephone number provided so that the VE Team is aware that you be attending the test10/05/96, Lancaster, 93534, 805-948-1865, Adrienne J Sherwood 10/05/96, Los Angeles, 90043, 213-758-6343, Ali Hassan 10/12/96, Bell, 90201, 213-560-8618, Pedro Cacheiro 10/12/96, Brea, 92621, 310-691-1514, Robert Reitzel 10/12/96, Culver City, 90230, 310-827-2538, Clive Morel AA6TZ 10/12/96, Fontana, 92337, 909-823-6818, Louis Johnson 10/12/96, Glendora, 91740, 818-966-7715, Perry Stevens P.R.C. 10/12/96, San Pedro, 90710, 310-325-2965, Elvin Lytle 10/12/96, Torrance, 90504, 310-328-0817, Joe Lamphen WB6MYD 10/14/96, Glendale, 91200, 818-247-1126, Joseph Sabutis 10/16/96, El Segundo, 90245, 310-336-0274, Richard D Pruitt 10/17/96, El Segundo, 90245, 310-336-0274, Richard D Pruitt 10/17/96, Fountain Valley, 92708, 714-531-6707, Allan Avnet 10/19/96, Downey, 90241, 213-923-5598, Wesley Printz 10/24/96, Colton, 92324, 909-825-7136, Harold Heydenfeldt 10/26/96, Culver City, 90049, 310-459-0337, Scott V Swanson 10/26/96, Pomona, 91769, 909-949-0059, Don Warburg WA6HNC 11/08/96, Irvine, 92717, 714-824-8477, Jack C Lockhart WD6AEI 11/09/96, Bell, 90201, 213-560-8618, Pedro Cacheiro 11/09/96, Culver City, 90230, 310-827-2538, Clive Morel AA6TZ 11/09/96, Culver City, 90230, 310-827-2538, Clive Morel 11/09/96, Fontana, 92337, 909-823-6818, Louis Johnson 11/09/96, Glendora, 91740, 818-966-7715, Perry Stevens P.R.C. 11/09/96, San Pedro, 90710, 310-325-2965, Elvin Lytle 11/10/96, Hemet, 92545, 909-926-9347, Steve Hennessee W6UMR 11/14/96, Colton, 92324, 909-825-7136, Harold Heydenfeldt 11/16/96, Orange, 90720, 310-598-0086, Rick Riness 11/21/96, Fountain Valley, 92708, 714-531-6707, Allan Avnet 11/21/96, Santa Clarita, 91322, 805-259-8410, John Abbott 11/23/96, Pomona, 91769, 909-949-0059, Don Warburg WA6HNC 11/23/96, Westminster, 92640, 714-638-4057, Terry Hall 11/30/96, Culver City, 90049, 310-459-0337, Scott V Swanson 11/30/96, Garden Grove, 92643, 714-534-8633, John Gregory 12/07/96, Lancaster, 93534, 805-948-1865, Adrienne J Sherwood 12/11/96, Hollywood, 91607, 818-766-1341, Elliott Bloch 12/12/96, Colton, 92324, 909-825-7136, Harold Heydenfeldt 12/14/96, Bell, 90201, 213-560-8618, Pedro Cacheiro 12/14/96, Brea, 92621, 310-691-1514, Robert Reitzel 12/14/96, Culver City, 90230, 310-827-2538, Clive Morel AA6TZ 12/14/96, Culver City, 90230, 310-827-2538, Clive Morel 12/14/96, Fontana, 92337, 909-823-6818, Louis Johnson 12/14/96, Glendora, 91740, 818-966-7715, Perry Stevens P.R.C. 12/28/96, Culver City, 90049, 310-459-0337, Scott V Swanson 12/28/96, Torrance, 96900, 310-834-0558, Renato Santos n
Jet Propulsion Laboratory Amateur Radio Club
Attn: Bill Wood, Editor, Mail Stop DSCC-33
4800 Oak Grove Drive
Pasadena, CA 91109-8099
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