Permission to copy is granted provided that credit is given to "W6VIO Calling."
Calendar of Events
October 8 General Meeting, Noon - 238-543 October 18 [Pomona Swapmeet, DeVry Institute] October 22 Board Meeting, Noon - 301-227 October 25 [TRW Swapmeet, Redondo Beach] November 12 General Meeting, Noon - 238-543 November 15 [Pomona Swapmeet, DeVry Institute] November 26 Board Meeting, Noon - 301-227 November 29 [TRW Swapmeet, Redondo Beach] December JPL ARC Christmas Banquet December 20 [Pomona Swapmeet, DeVry Institute] December 24 Board Meeting, Noon - 301-227 December 27 [TRW Swapmeet, Redondo Beach]
The next regular JPL Amateur Radio Club meeting will be held on Wednesday, October 8, at noon in building 238, room 543. Our speaker will be Dale Winther, WB6PDL. He will share his experience of being one of LA's first UHF repeater owners. Club Board of Directors meetings are held at noon on the fourth Wednesday of each month in 301-227. Everyone is welcome at both meetings; bring your lunch. n
By Randy Hammock, KC6HUR
As mentioned in a previous issue, it is now time to begin planning for the election of next year's officers. Chris Carson KE6ABQ has volunteered to be the chair for the nominating committee. Please consider running for office and become one of the next movers and shakers of the club.
The Club becomes an even more important part of the JPL Emergency Preparedness Plan! In the event of a disaster where all normal channels of communication between JPL and Goldstone are lost, the plan is utilize the link between JPL and Table Mountain repeaters as a method for allowing the Emergency Operations Centers at JPL and Goldstone to talk to each other. Radios, power supplies and antennas have been purchased by the lab for installation at each site.
Speaking of the JPL/TMO link, thanks to Bill Wood, WB6FXJ, for performing a most excellent job of repairing and getting the link back into operation in near record time. Bill is also working on a system that we hope will reduce the amount of interference experienced from the Mission Viejo repeater, which is co-channeled with the TMO 223.96 repeater.
Until next month, 73! n
September Club Meetings
By Chris Zygielbaum, N6WEI
The September General Meeting of the JPL ARC was held on Wednesday September 10, 1997. Randy Hammock (KC6HUR) called the meeting to order.
Randy reported for Bob Polansky (N6ET) on the progress made installing the HF antenna on the Mesa. The tower preparation is completed; the fittings are now being checked to make sure that the pieces will go together during assembly. A work party was planned for Saturday, September 13 to continue the preparations.
Randy provided the program for the meeting. Randy is a mentor for the SAREX (Shuttle Amateur Radio Experiment) Program with the AMSAT Development and Operations Team. He works with schools to prepare them for a SAREX contact with a Shuttle Mission. He showed a video made by the 5th Grade class at Center Street School in El Segundo when they talked to the Shuttle Columbia on the second SAREX flight.
This contact took place with STS-94, which launched on July 1, 1997. Astronaut Susan Still answered questions posed by the students. Susan used the call, KC5INI, which was the shuttle commander's call. Permission has been given to the astronauts to use a crewmember's call when transmitting from the shuttle.
The Amateur Radio Club of the Aerospace Corporation, who assembled and built the equipment that the school needed, supported the school. David Reeves (WA6TWF), a member of the Aerospace Radio Club and father of one of the two students that hold amateur radio licenses, submitted the application to NASA for Center Street School.
The video, which was produced by the students and co-hosted by Gordon West (WB6NOA) and a student, included an interview with Randy. For his work on the mission, Randy received a NASA Group Achievement Award.
Board of Directors Meeting
The BOD meeting was held on Wednesday, September 24. Walt Diem (WA6PEA), Randy Hammock (KC6HUR), Jay Holladay (W6EJJ), Rick McKinney (KA6DAN), Walt Mushagian (K6DNS), Scott Nolte (N6CUV), John Norris (KE6QEZ), Bob Polansky (N6ET), Bill Wood (WB6FXJ) via telephone, and Chris Zygielbaum (N6WEI) attended the meeting.
Randy Hammock called the meeting to order.
Bill Wood updated the group on the current effort to support the Telecommunications and Mission Operations Directorate's (TMOD) emergency communications link between JPL and Goldstone. Equipment to ensure a clear signal between JPL and the high desert; transceivers (two Kenwood 642s), power supplies, and a 220 antenna have been ordered.
Bob reported that the work party planned for October 4 will complete the preparation on the Mesa. The assembly of the tower for the HF antenna will start as soon as possible thereafter. The assembly will have to take place during working hours, because of the availability of the cherrypicker that will be used.
Rick McKinney recruited one more club member with Autopatch this month.
Scott had acquired some excessed radios used by the Facilities personnel at Edwards about a year ago when the club was considering running Space Shuttle audio on a government frequency. Because currently it is not feasible for us to gain access to a frequency, Scott asked if there is still a need for the radios. He has about 15 hand-helds, 8 mobile radios, and a base station. After some discussion, it was agreed that Scott will offer the radios to Eric Fuller, JPL's Emergency Operations Coordinator. If Eric has no need for the radios, they will be excessed.
Walt Diem reported the need for 35' of low-loss cable (with "N" connectors) for the WB6IEA repeater 900 MHz link. Bill Wood suggested Texas Towers, a mail order source, where the parts can be ordered for about $30. A motion was moved, seconded, and passed authorizing Walt to order the parts that he needs.
Randy is putting together a nominating committee to select radio club officers for 1998. The committee should be formed in adequate time to have a slate of officers for the December dinner meeting. Jay Holladay asked for program suggestions for that meeting.
Bob Polansky noted that Sam Weaver participated in the work party on September 13 and was invaluable to the progress that was made that day. His help was very much appreciated by Bob and the rest of the participants. n
By Bob Polansky, N6ET
For the first time in years, the solar flux has gone above 85. In fact, it went well above 100 for over a week! Propagation on the upper HF bands reflected this by openings to places not heard in years. VK9WM was workable on 80 through 10 meters and the long path to Africa even reappeared. Look for more of the same as winter approaches and the sun continues to wake up. Thanks to The 59(9) DX report, the DX expectations should keep us glued to our rigs whenever JPL doesn't keep us glued to our desks! Now for the specifics:
GABON - TR8XX regularly hand out QSO's on 40cw at 0600Z. He then QSYs to 30 and 20 meters and does the same thing. He's loud and produces a large pileup!
GIBRALTAR - ZB2FX plans to operate from 30 September through 14 October. No frequencies or modes given.
GHANA - 9G5VJ or their private calls, 9G5SW and 9G5WD, will be active from 21 November to 2 December during the CQ WW CW Contest. Outside of the contest, they plan to work the low bands as well as the WARC bands.
KURE ISLAND - K7K, a special call should be active for a week starting 26 September. Look for them on 160 through 10 meters, all modes. Specific frequencies are visible on the W6VIO shack wall. (Just listen for the big pileup.)
LIBYA - 5A1A will be active from 25 November through 4 December including the CQ WW CW Contest. Don't miss this one!
ST. PAUL ISLAND - The CY9DX operation that was supposed to occur last week has been rescheduled for 23 October to 2 November.
ST. PIERRE - No call is yet available for this one, but they will be active over the SSB Contest weekend (See parting note below.)
TOGO - 5V7A plans to add his call to the CQ WW CW Contest the weekend of 29/30 November.
Don't forget about the CQ WW SSB Contest from 25 to 26 October. It's always a lot of fun and you can work many of the countries you need to improve your standing on the DXCC roles on SSB. n
Angeles Crest Century a Success
By Randy Hammock, KC6HUR
The Angeles Crest Century Bike Ride, sponsored by the JPL Bicycle Club was a great success this year. While we were a little short of help, all positions were manned. Thank you to all who volunteered, both within the JPLARC and outside as well: Rick McKinney, KA6DAN, Dick Mathison, KG6Y, Steve Jenkins, N6UNI, Bob Polansky, N6ET, Rick Ebert, KE6ONX (CalTech IPAC) and David Love, KD6TRH (Aerojet Corp.).
The course of the ride offered some challenges to the radio operations as well as to the riders. It is a 102 mile long course that starts at Visitor control at JPL and traverses parts of the Angeles Crest Highway, Angeles Forest Highway and Upper Big Tujunga with the turnaround point located at Dawson Saddle, altitude 7901 ft. There are five stops on the course that are manned by the radio operators: Clear Creek, Shortcut, Newcomb Ranch, Buckhorn and Dawson Saddle.
Radio operations usually take place somewhere on 2 meters; however, there are holes where some stations cannot hear some other stations. Therefore, Dawson saddle usually works as net control to relay messages up and down the course, while Shortcut is able to talk to Visitor Control via repeater or autopatch.
This year, I decided to try something different. I found out that Dawson Saddle could hit the Table Mountain repeaters quite easily. This meant that it would be possible to talk to Visitor control via the TMO/JPL link on the 224.080 repeater. To make things even easier, I configured my mobile radio to serve as a cross-band repeater, linking the 2 meter net frequency to TMO and vice versa. With one exception, this now meant that everyone involved in communications could directly to each other, no matter where they were located.
The operators on the course talked to each other via the 2-meter frequency, which was relayed to visitor control via my truck radio. Visitor Control could talk to anyone on the course via the reverse link. Since my high-power radio was being used as the cross-band link, I used my 220 HT to talk to everyone through the TMO repeater from Dawson Saddle. By using PL Encode and Decode on the cross-band link, I was able to expedite link turn-around by not having to wait for the TMO repeater to drop carrier and eliminated any interference from other users on the 2-meter frequency.
We were able to prove the viability of the TMO/JPL link as well as show that there does exist a need to reduce the amount of interference we get from the Mission Viejo repeater, which is co-channeled with the TMO repeater. Thanks to Bill Wood WB6FXJ for getting the link repeater repaired and back in service for this event, even though we originally did not plan to use it. n
W6VIO Work Party
By Bob Polansky, N6ET
Your Club had a very successful work party on 13 September. Chris Carson, Randy Hammock, Walt Mushagian, Bob Polansky, and Sam Weaver participated. The main goal of the activity was to prepare the new Rohn tower parts for installation on our new tower base on the Mesa. The following items were completed:
At the next work party, we will deburr the tower segment already vertically mounted in the cement tower base. We will also install additional bracing for the lower thrust bearing plate. Finally, we will glue "end caps" onto the Philystrand "ropes" and will install "big grips" onto those ropes. Once that's done, we're ready to start stacking tower segments vertically on the Mesa tower base. My thanks to all participants on making this work party a most successful one! n
La Cresenta No-Code Class
By Joseph Sabutis, NW0A
The Crescenta Valley Amateur Radio Club will be offering an Amateur Radio class beginning Tuesday, 30 September 1997, at 7:00 PM. The class will be held at the Verdugo Hills Hospital, Council Room C, 1812 Verdugo Blvd, Glendale/La Canada, CA. This seven-week course is aimed for the person with little or no electronics background, and will cover the regulations and theory necessary to prepare the student for the FCC's Amateur Radio No-Code Technician License.
With this class of license, an amateur will be able to provide essential local communications in time of emergency when normal communication systems are not available. At the conclusion of the class, a license testing session will be conducted at the hospital. The class is free, although the current FCC amateur license examination fee is $6.25, and the study manual to be used will be available at the class for $16.
Over the past five years, these classes have produced nearly 400 licensed amateur radio operators from our area that can provide communication services during disasters and emergencies.
For more information, please feel free to contact the instructor for the class, Joseph Sabutis, NW0A, at (818) 247-1126. Because seating is limited, preregistration is requested for the class. n
Pasadena No-Code Class
By Phil Barnes-Roberts, KE6PMZ
The Pasadena Radio Club holds Spring and Fall No-Code Tech classes; the Fall session starts on Wednesday, October 1st, for eight consecutive Wednesday evenings, the last one being the exam session (all elements, all classes welcome.) It is held at the Kaiser Permanente office complex at 393 E. Walnut (at Los Robles) in Pasadena from 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM (the exam will start earlier.)
To register leave a message on Allen Wolff's (KC7O) pager with the number of people and books needed (3rd edition of Now You're Talking) - 818 603-5682 n
Special Event Communications, Part 2
In the September issue of W6VIO Calling, we began a two-part series of tips for properly handling communications at special events. This article concludes the series, drawn from a handbook published by the Santa Barbara Amateur Radio Club (SBARC). This article appeared in the October 1997 issue of the "ARNS Bulletin", Steve Auyer-N2TKX Editor.
A Handbook for Amateur Radio Operators
By Lou Dartanner, N6ZKJ.
Enunciation and Pronunciation:
Clear, distinct pronunciation is essential to communications, especially over the radio. Sloppy articulation includes lazy or mushy speech, slurring words, and running words together. Santa Barbara has a lot of Spanish names in its heritage and most of us learn the pronunciation by listening. When transmitting over the radio, use the commonly used pronunciation.
Don't talk with objects or food in your mouth. It makes understanding you very difficult. Of course, someone always calls you just as you take a bite of that sandwich you've been waiting an hour to eat, but take small bites so you can swallow quickly
It's sometimes difficult to not let your emotions show in your voice, especially when you're tired, angry, or busy. These emotions can be misunderstood by others. You may be very busy, but a curt response could be interpreted as your being surly, sarcastic, or angry, and now you have someone more concerned about your answer and intentions than about the task at hand. Think before you speak. Know what you're going to say before you call Net Control.
Always wait a second after you push the mike button before you talk. This will avoid clipping the first word or syllable of your message. This will also allow two or more repeaters which are "linked" together to complete the circuit before you start. Remember "Push-2-Talk." Push the mike button, count 1-2 (to yourself), then talk. If you have a one-word answer, it's best to add a word or two before it. Instead of "one," you might say, "There is one person here." Or, "I say again, one.")
Use expected phrases and words:
Anything out of the ordinary may result in confusion and your having to repeat or rephrase. If your message is technical or unusual, slow down and warn your receiver, or put the event official on the radio to talk direct with the person he wants the message to go to. Use common words. Don't try to be funny with some "cutesy" phrase. Avoid slang; not everyone knows your jargon.
It's OK and in fact necessary to use specialized terminology, but be sure your listener speaks the same "technical-ese." Speak in whole but brief sentences. That's what your listener expects to hear. Don't speak in shorthand. Don't ramble on and don't repeat your message by rephrasing it unless asked. Use plain English and no "10" codes or "Q" signals.
Remember your ABCs:
Accuracy Brevity Clarity
Standards have been developed by various organizations to facilitate accurate, clear, and brief communications. These standards make communications easier, faster, and more accurate.
The phonetic alphabet we use in amateur radio is the International Phonetic Alphabet and it is used by most organizations except law enforcement. Practice it so you can use it easily.
Numbers also have a standard of pronunciation, both as individual numbers and groups of numbers. For example, 13 is said as "one three," 45 is "four five," 136 as "one three six," 500 as "five zero zero," and 1,478 is "one four seven eight." Number groups are also given as they are commonly written or spoken. For instance, the phone number 681-4100 is given as "six eight one" (slight pause) "four one zero zero."
It is a good idea to learn and use 24-hour time. This avoids confusion between a.m. and p.m. and you will find it useful in other aspects of Amateur radio.
Prowords are also very useful in standardizing how two operators communicate. For instance, "Say again?" replaces: "Could you repeat that, please?" "What did you say?" Or, "I didn't hear your last transmission." By using a standard phrase, we know exactly what you've said and how to respond.
Try to send any message given to you exactly as it was received. This is why it's a good idea to have a pen and paper with you. If it is very detailed put the official on the radio. Don't try to paraphrase or interpret a message; you could send the wrong information.
When you receive a message to relay to your official be sure you have it right before you acknowledge. If something is not clear, ask for a repeat. Write it down if you need to.
The job of net control is to make sure traffic flows smoothly. Just as a traffic cop stands in the middle of the intersection and directs vehicles, the Net Controller is placed in the middle of an event net. Each case requires visibility to carry out the job. A traffic officer sees cars approaching and directs them according to the flow of road traffic. The Net Control operator directs message traffic so it flows in a smooth manner.
Note that Net Control is a traffic facilitator. He or she does not have all of the answers; in fact, just the opposite is true. So don't come on and ask Net Control a question because he or she probably doesn't know the answer. Look at your assignment sheet for a likely contact, or briefly summarize your needs to Net Control.
Always listen before you transmit. It is quite annoying for someone to start talking right in the middle of someone else's conversation; it wastes airtime, causes confusion, and makes the Net Controller very unhappy!
Net Control operators keep written logs of everything that occurs on the net, including a summary of everything you say. The logs are useful as a reference during the event to answer questions that might come up. They are also the only legal documents kept about an incident and have been invaluable when questions arise later about such things as accidents.
Always give the identification of the station you wish to call first, followed by your call. For example, "Net Control, this is Check Point Three."
Keep a copy of your event information sheet with you. This enables you to determine what Event Communicator is assigned to each location and/or official.
When you need to pass a message, ask Net Control to "go direct" with that operator. For example, "Net Control, Check Point Three, request direct with Run Director." Net control will say, "Go ahead." You say, "Run Director, Check Point Three." The communicator with the Run Director answers, he says, "Check Point Three this is Run Director. Go ahead." You then proceed with your traffic. At the conclusion of the exchange, each Event Communicator will sign off with his or her FCC call sign.
Net Control is frequently very busy with work on other frequencies, the telephone, or other tasks. If you call Net Control and don't get an immediate reply, be patient and call again in 30 to 60 seconds.
If it is an emergency, say so. If you still get no answer, proceed with emergency traffic without Net Control. However, the reason you don't get an answer may be that you are in a bad location and not being heard; try moving to another spot and try again. If you have emergency traffic, use the word "Break." This word is for emergency traffic only! All communicators will immediately cease use of the frequency and yield to the breaking station.
Sometimes several stations have traffic or messages at the same time. Net Controllers usually like to solve one problem before moving to another. If you are asked to stand by, please do so. The Net Controller will get to you either in the order of your call or by the nature of your traffic.
If you must move off your assigned frequency for some reason, advise Net Control when you leave and again when you return.
If someone is having trouble with a radio, or some other kind of question comes up, don't jump in to help unless you are asked! It often causes much confusion, so let Net Control handle it.
When your assignment is completed and you are ready to leave your position, "check out" with Net Control. This insures we can account for all our people. If you go home without telling us, we have no way of knowing that you didn't fall down and break both your leg and your radio!
Now go have fun with Amateur Radio! n
JPL ARC Repeaters Pasadena: W6VIO 147.150 MHz (+) PL 131.8 Open W6VIO 224.080 MHz (-) PL 156.7 Open WB6IEA 224.700 (-) Closed Autopatch W6VIO-1 145.090 MHz Packet Node/BBS W6VIO-1 223.540 MHz Packet Node/BBS Table Mountain: WR6AZN 145.280 MHz (-) PL 131.8 Open WR6AZN 223.96 MHz (-) PL 156.7 Open WR6AZN 447.325 MHz (-) PL 94.8 Open
The 40M, 20M, 11M and 10M elements for the Hustler Moblil antenna system. Call Bill Westphal, WB6YPF at 213-633-3121 (Work) or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A50-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.
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.
Your want ad or article for inclusion in a future issue of W6VIO Calling. Submit either to Bill Wood, Mail Stop DSCC-33; or email email@example.com
Complete ICOM Handheld Set: One 2-m IC-02AT, two 220 IC-3AT's with PL, one 440 IC-04AT, plus one 6-place Rapid Charger and five extra Nicad's (two are new). Sell all for $600 or will neogioate price on individual items. Call Paul Goodwin, KO6D at 818-790-5785.
Complete Heathkit HF Station. HW-5400 XCVR, HW-5400-1 Power Supply/Clock, SB-230 Linear Amp, SB-610 Station Monitor, SA-2060A Antenna Tuner, Desk Mic. $700.00 Call Bill Westphal WB6YPF at 213-633-3121 or e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
Test equipment. From Volt Meters to Oscilloscopes. Too much to list. Call for price list. Call Bill Westphal WB6YPF at 213-633-3121 or e-mail to email@example.com
Only $4,500 for a US Tower Model HDX-589-MDPL 89-foot self supporting triangular tower with heavy duty motor, pull downs, and limit switches (original cost, over $8,100!). Tower is in great condition and is only a few years old. Contact Brian (KW6J) for further details (work number M-F, 8 AM to 4 PM, 714-896-3514).
Yaesu FT-470 2m/440 mobile w/tone squelch, PA-6, FNB-12 batteries, charger and vinyl cases. Like new, $250 or best offer, + shipping. FT-212RH 2m mobile with mike, speakers, Diamond antenna. Like new, $195 plus shipping, or best offer. KC6CWA Geo Kendall (916) 383-1652. For more info contact W6MEO @ KJ6FY.#NOCAL or firstname.lastname@example.org. n
October 31 for the November issue of W6VIO Calling. Your articles, ads, photos, diagrams, letters to the editor, or technical material should be submitted to the editor via email (email@example.com) or regular mail to: Bill Wood, 31094 Hemlock Ave, Barstow, CA 92311.
Via the ARRL Internet Home Page
Phase 3D Looking for a New Ride
ARRL Letter Online, Volume 16, Number 36
Now that it's clear that the Phase 3D Amateur Radio satellite definitely will not be aboard the Ariane 502 rocket later this month, AMSAT has begun angling with the European Space Agency (ESA) for a new launch opportunity. It's also asking hams to hold their tongues.
This week, AMSAT made official what most observers had already figured out for themselves-that the Phase 3D payload would not be going up at month's end. In late July, AMSAT announced that it would have to structurally modify the Phase 3D spaceframe to bring it up to new mechanical standards made necessary by a late change in ESA launch environment specifications. But, making the changes put Phase 3D out of sync with the Ariane 502 launch schedule. As a result, ESA concluded that Phase 3D would not be able to fly on the Ariane 502 mission as initially hoped. The soon-to-be-completed structural changes also added $25,000 to Phase 3D's cost.
ESA's action did not go over well with some hams who posted what AMSAT called "several derogatory comments regarding ESA" on the AMSAT bulletin board. This week, AMSAT defended ESA against the critics and declared that ESA "has been very supportive of AMSAT for almost 20 years."
AMSAT pointed out that, while the first Phase 3 satellite "was a passenger on an Ariane vehicle which, unfortunately, ended in a launch failure in 1980," ESA has since "made amends" by using Ariane vehicles to launch AO-10, AO-13, the four Microsats and two UoSats, KO-23, KO-25, IO-26 and AO-27. AMSAT says it's in AMSAT's best interests that the Ariane 502 launch goes well "even without Phase 3D aboard."
Similar sentiments were expressed August 30 during a Phase 3D Program Board meeting at the Orlando Phase 3D Integration Lab. Participants in that meeting were Karl Meinzer, DJ4ZC, AMSAT-DL president and Phase 3D project leader; Werner Haas, DJ5KQ, AMSAT-DL vice president; Peter Guelzow, DB2OS, representing the Command Station Team; Ron Broadbent, G3AAJ, AMSAT-UK Secretary; Joel Harrison, W5ZN, ARRL vice president; Keith Baker, KB1SF, AMSAT-NA executive vice president; and Bill Tynan W3XO AMSAT-NA president.
The Program Board called on hams to "do everything we can to promote the successful launch of Phase 3D, particularly being especially careful of what we say on public forums such as AMSAT-BB or in letters to the editors of various magazines." Meinzer is continuing negotiations with ESA representatives regarding a launch vehicle for Phase 3D. The Board's statement stressed that "all of us should avoid doing anything that could possibly hinder" those talks. n
Sunspots Top 100 For First Time in Three Years!
ARRL Letter Online, Volume 16, Number 36
Sun watcher Tad Cook, K7VVV, in Seattle, Washington, reports: The rise in solar activity continues, and on Monday, September 8, solar flux values peaked at 119.4. The last time the solar flux was above this value was January 27, 1994. On the same day the sunspot number was 101, which has been unequaled since September 3, 1994. We are definitely through the minimum and on the upswing of the next solar cycle!
The average solar flux for the previous 90 days rose another two points this past week (to 77), as it had the previous week. September 11 was the 38th consecutive day that the flux was above the 90-day average. This greatly increased activity has brought along some geomagnetic disturbances. The most disturbed period over this past week was around 0600 to 0900 UTC on September 9. Recent projections from the NOAA Space Environment Service Center show the solar flux dropping below 100 after September 17, then rising to above 100 around September 26, and above 115 after October 4. These estimates are based upon the previous solar rotation, so new active regions on the Sun could send these numbers higher.
This new activity means that DX now is possible on the higher HF bands. Prior to now, 20 meters was the primary band for worldwide propagation. Check 15 and even 10 meters, where openings are now possible, especially over north-south paths. Combined with the progression toward the Fall equinox, conditions now and over the next month should be the best seen in several years!
Sunspot numbers for September 4 through 10 were 56, 79, 85, 84, 97, 101 and 95, with a mean of 85.3. The 10.7-cm flux was 93, 96, 97.6, 102, 119.4, 116.1 and 114.9, with a mean of 105.6, and estimated planetary A indices were 19, 5, 7, 3, 9, 19, and 19, with a mean of 11.6. n
FCC Issues Gate 3 Call Signs!
ARRL Letter Online, Volume 16, Number 37
Get ready to remember another batch of new call signs. Six weeks to the day after the opening of Gate 3, the FCC began processing vanity call sign applications. FCC personnel in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, had spent much of the intervening time clearing out a backlog of vanity applications filed prior to the Gate 3 opening and matching up payments with electronic applications.
On Wednesday, September 17, the FCC issued some 500 to 600 vanity call signs to those who had filed applications on August 6, the opening day. Applicants can check for new call signs at http://www.arrl.org/fcc/fccld.html or by using one of the other popular call sign databases.
Judging from the call signs turning up on the FCC database, some Advanced class hams took advantage of Gate 3 to obtain Group C call signs where the suffix comprised either a first name (we spotted a Joe, a Don, a Ken, a Bob and a Gay, for example) or a set of initials. Perhaps apropos of his QTH, Gene Uliasz of Gun Barrel City, Texas, used Gate 3 to turn KC4WA into K5TNT. Formerly KF6CG, Georgia A. Lawrence of Manhattan Beach, California, obtained K6GAL. Other applicants obtained new Group B call signs, sometimes trading one 2x2 in for another. For example, Karl Mortensen of Wakefield, Rhode Island, swapped KE1FK for KA1RL. Still others went for the snappy suffix. Charles Pharis of Kagel Cyn, California, turned in KK6NE for KA6USA. Michael Amaral of Walpole, Massachusetts, gave up W1IDP to obtain WA1AW. Along the same lines, Michael Esposito of Germantown, Tennessee, swapped WA2VXV for WA2AW. Yvonne Lane of Kingwood, Texas, gave up KF5MY for W5XYL.
A few, like West Gulf Director Jim Haynie, just shortened the prefix. Haynie went from WB5JBP to W5JBP. Others went for one appropriate for their QTH. Teriann Miner of Palmer, Alaska, turned in her lower-48 call sign, KG0OY, for KL7AT. The Iowa DX and Contest Club got WI0WA.
In all, it appears that the FCC received more than 1000 vanity call sign applications on August 6. Because earlier gates remain open, it's impossible to get an accurate count of applications filed solely under Gate 3, however. The FCC still has not indicated when it plans to open Gate 4, which will make the vanity call sign program available to General, Tech Plus, Technician and Novice licensees. n
FCC Call Sign Update
The following is a list of FCC sequentially assigned call signs issued as of September 4, 1997.
District Group A Extra Group B Advanced Group C Tech/Gen Group D Novice 0 AB0GC KI0JT ++ KC0BXJ 1 AA1SP KE1II N1ZRK KB1CEY 2 AB2EB KG2ML ++ KC2CIU 3 AA3QB KF3AH N3ZVJ KB3BUX 4 AF4FF KU4KG ++ KF4TVD 5 AC5NS KM5LY ++ KD5CDL 6 AD6CX KQ6RM ++ KF6NMB 7 AB7WH KK7JP ++ KC7ZCT 8 AB8BC KI8DQ ++ KC8ILA 9 AA9UW KG9LF ++ KB9RJE N Mariana Island NH0B AH0AY KH0GT WH0ABI Guam ++ AH2DE KH2SI WH2ANU Hawaii AH7V AH6PD KH7GC WH6DEH American Samoa AH8P AH8AH KH8DK WH8ABF Alaska AL0F AL7QU KL0KG WL7CUM Virgin Islands ++ KP2CM NP2JR WP2AII Puerto Rico NP3M KP3BC NP3QM WP4NNL
++ All call signs in this group have been issued in this district. n
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.
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 test.
By Rick Regent, K9GDH