Permission to copy is granted provided that credit is given to "W6VIO Calling."
Calendar of Events
July 8 General Meeting, Noon - 238-543 July 11 [Fontana Swap Meet, A. B. Miller HS, Fontana} July 22 Board Meeting, Noon - 301-227 July 25 [TRW Swapmeet, Redondo Beach] August 8 [Fontana Swap Meet, A. B. Miller HS, Fontana} August 12 General Meeting, Noon - 238-543 August 26 Board Meeting, Noon - 301-227 August 29 [TRW Swapmeet, Redondo Beach] September 9 General Meeting, Noon - 238-543 September 12 [Fontana Swap Meet, A. B. Miller HS, Fontana} September 23 Board Meeting, Noon - 301-227 September 26 [TRW Swapmeet, Redondo Beach]
The next regular JPL Amateur Radio Club will be held on Wednesday, July 8, at noon in Building 238, Room 543.
The 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
It has been a busy month for the club. It all got started when I received a call from Dick Mathison KG6Y asking if I would like to help the JPL Running Club with their participation in the Mojave Death Race 250.
This is a relay race with runners and bicyclists, running and cycling through a 250-mile course in the desert outside of Los Vegas. The course began and ended close to Whiskey Pete's. While runners and cyclists did most of the work, they thought we support people had the harder jobs as we had to stay up and shuttle them around for 24 hours and their part was over in just an hour or two.
We had two vehicles that were used to shuttle runners and cyclists around and one support vehicle that had to stay behind participant at all times. For the most part, it was pretty easy being a shuttle driver because I could move a participant to one location then jump ahead to a check-point further down the road. I could catch a few winks until the next participant arrived at the checkpoint and the leapfrog would happen again.
I think all had a fun time and are looking forward to doing it again next year. I'll be looking forward to having some other people out there helping out. It is a great way to see some very interesting terrain, practice more radio and help out one of our other JPL clubs.
Then, there was Field Day. This annual ritual of busting butt to get some stations setup on a remote mountain top, 24 hours of sleep deprivation, good food (Thanks Manny and Richard!) and camaraderie. I won't go into the details here as I'll leave that to our two FD organizers Bob and Jay. I would like to thank all that participated in this year's event. A special thanks to Bob N6ET and Jay W6EJJ for volunteering to be our FD organizers yet again.
Things are still up in the air over the Cerro Negro repeater site. I received lease papers from LA County and turned those over to the ERC for review. I have not heard anything back as of this writing; however, the County is beginning to become a bit concerned over the length of time everything is taking, not only for us but for the other involved parties as well. I'll be letting the membership know of any changes, via the email list, as they happen.
Until next month, 73. n
June Club Meetings
By Phil Smith, WB6LQP
General Meeting, June 10
The two issues that dominated discussion at this month's meetings were Field Day and the Repeater Site question. Since, by the time the dedicated reader has gotten to this column, FD '98 will be in the record books (hopefully including new ones for the club), let the comments of the participants tell that story.
Meanwhile, there has been some progress on the repeater situation in that important parties are now discussing the fate of the site and other prospective users have showed some interest. This is beneficial for the club in that our public service status will presumably allow us to remain as-is, where-is, if only a paying customer can located who would be the primary occupant. Indications are that, as of the now, two possible candidates are in negotiation. Unfortunately, with the typically glacial pace of bureaucratic interchanges it may be some time before there is anything definite to report. However, it is unlikely that we will be thrown over the side as long as the conversations continue. Grab a cold 807, sit back, and stay tuned.
In other matters of interest, it was noted that for those desirous of monitoring NASA Select video from an over-the-air source there is a low-power broadcaster operating from Mt Harvard (that's the hill just in front of Mt Wilson and slightly lower) on channel 68. Signal is quite strong in the San Gabriel valley and surrounding areas, but may be shadowed for those behind hills. The station also transmits other programming but uses Select as filler, which amounts to better than 90% of the broadcast day currently....
Speaking of Space, they did finally get the digital operation functional on the last shuttle flight, producing the first "server-in-space". The distinction was the first use of an Internet domain name ending in a ".orb" suffix.... An Emergency Communications exercise recently was a non-event because the coordinating authorities gave us the wrong date... And lastly, to those few who have not renewed your club dues by now (and you know who you are)- shame, shame! Get them in now and enjoy that wonderful feeling that comes from knowing you support your hobby in a positive, local way.
Board of Directors Meeting, June 24
There was no Board meeting this month due to lack of quorum. n
By Bob Polansky, N6ET
Not too much real exciting DX news this month; however, the future holds promise of some exciting planned activities. Here goes!
ETHIOPIA - ET3AA will be rapidly handing out QSO's from 18 to 27 September. Don't miss this one. Frequencies published are 1829, 3508, 7008, 10108, 14026, 18076, 21026, 24896, and 28026 kHz. This will be primarily a CW operation, with a small amount of SSB and RTTY. QSL to G3VMW.
MALPELO - Sometime during September to November of 1999, the Colombians are planning a major effort to this rare spot. More details will be published later as they become available. Again, don't miss this one. It's currently number 28 on the "Most Wanted List".
NEPAL - 9N1UD will be active through November of this year. Unless I'm getting my facts confused, he has asked for permission to use the 9N1MM call previously held by the legendary Father Moran, who passed away some years back.
UGANDA - 5X1DK is active from here for the next two months. Several others have been spotted and worked from the West Coast on 12 and 17 meters like 5X1Z and 5X1T.
VANUATU - Look for YJ8PU on SSB. She's often on 21305 kHz from 0300-0500Z.
Even though it's summer, there's some good stuff appearing on the HF bands. Listen and enjoy! n
Field Day 1998
By Jay Holladay, W6EJJ, and Bob Polansky, N6ET
Field Day 1998 was a very pleasant experience in many ways. It was certainly more relaxed than many of our recent efforts. The weather was beautiful - it is always hot and dry on Mt. Gleason in June, but the air temperature remained comfortable, and if you kept covered up and drank plenty of liquids one could be pretty comfortable. The nights were cool, but not the bitter cold we have sometimes experienced. Best of all, wind was not a significant factor.
These conditions contributed to a very smooth setup. We had both HF stations up and running on Friday night and were able to test antennas and make a few contacts before getting some needed rest. Saturday morning it was up early to copy the special W1AW FD bulletin (they transmitted it on schedule this year) and complete other installation work.
The contest started at 11:00 AM and contacts were more or less non-stop for the next 24 hours. Conditions were spotty at times but overall were better than last year. Ten meters opened with a good burst of activity - many local stations and a smattering of Midwest plus very few East Coast stations. It slowed after a while and just about went away later in the afternoon. At that point W6EJJ worked a station in South Dakota on a nearly dead band that said he was only running four watts! Fifteen meters was slow but steady on Saturday with signals on the weak side. On Sunday morning fifteen opened up with strong signals from the East Coast and sustained rates of 120 per hour on phone. The workhorse bands were 20 and 40, as usual, with 20 open until after midnight and starting up again before 6 AM local time. In the early hours of Sunday we managed a couple of hundred QSO's on 80 on a very quiet band - free of the usual summer static crashes. Our overall QSO total was about 2750 - beating last year's total by more than 500. We were a bit shorthanded on operators this year but those on hand really pitched in and made it all work. In the end everyone seemed pleased with the results.
On VHF/UHF, Skip Reymann, W7NWY, led the effort that resulted in 256 QSO's, a nice improvement over last year. Skip operated from his new deluxe travel trailer, which Dave Ritchie promptly dubbed the "Chateau Gleason".
Special thanks to Rick McKinney, KA6DAN, who led a very successful Novice/Tech operation, including the setup and tear down activities. The station garnered 198 total QSO's (172 on ten-meter phone), generating much interest among the attendees and giving on-the-air experience to several new and would-be hams.
Certainly a highlight of the weekend experience was the great food prepared by chef Manny Caldera, KC6ZSY, ably assisted by Richard Schick, KE6BKE, Manny's son, Aaron, and friend Gabriel.
Many thanks to Dave Ritchie, N7UE, for driving down from San Jose, towing a tower trailer and generator to Mt. Gleason, and contributing equipment and logging computer expertise to the effort. We also thank Warren Dowler, KE6LEA, who towed the other tower trailer up and down the mountain, and Chris Carson, KE6ABQ, who made all arrangements for the tents (on a weekend when very few tents were available). Finally, a big thank you to our club president, Randy Hammock, KC6HUR, for the performing the mundane but essential task of towing the porta-potty up and down the mountain.
Thanks also to the many others who journeyed up the hill to help us with operating the stations, setup, maintenance and tear down. We also appreciate those who came up to visit and experience this annual weekend of radio madness in the wilderness. For those of you who found it enjoyable, please consider returning next year and extending your participation in the effort. We could especially use a few more people on Sunday morning to help with tearing down the station and packing everything for the return trip. There is a real camaraderie in the Sunday activities, but we were a bit short handed this year and were pretty exhausted when it was time to drive down the hill. A few more hands would be appreciated!
All in all it was another great effort on the part of Caltech ARC and JPL ARC, and we look forward to a bigger and better Field Day next year. Final QSO totals and comments will appear in next month's "W6VIO Calling", after the logs are on their way to ARRL HQ.
73 de W6VIO - "2A LAX" n
Field Day Diary
By Bill Wood, W6FXJ
Friday Morning, June 26
Packed the car with the tent, sleeping bag, camera bag, extra clothes, and all the stuff I think I'll need for my first three day stay at Mount Gleason. Left Barstow at 9 AM after checking with N6ET via the link repeater and the 224.08 W6VIO repeater. Bob and Jay (W6EJJ) were loading up the van with equipment and expected to arrive somewhere between 11 AM and Noon.
Took Interstate 15 to route 18 in Victorville. Then 18 and route 138 until just west of Pearblossum where I took the shortcut over to Fort Tejon road, Mount Emma road and finally to Angeles Forest Highway on the north side of the San Gabriel Mountains. Zipped up to the Mill Creek summit and onto the Mount Gleason road.
Ended up following another ham's pick-up and antenna trailer until they turned off at their chosen Field Day site east of the Conservation Camp. Took the dirt road to the left of the Camp and up the hill, through the gate, and finally to the top of the mountain at 10:45 AM.
Dave Ritchie Navigating Mt. Gleason Road, (photo by KE6LEA)
Early bird Skip Reymann, W7NWY, had arrived first thing Friday morning and set up his brand new 5th-wheel, expandable trailer. Rick McKinney, KA6DAN, was setting up his camper for the stay. Dave Ritchie, N7UE, arrived a short time before with Warren Dowler, KE6LEA, with their two tower trailers. Both were positioning their towers for erection.
Warren Dowler Parking the 65-foot Tower Trailer
After parking the car I went off to assist Warren in unloading the 65-foot tower trailer. It had many of the antennas and poles that would be used during Field Day. We took all the stuff off the trailer and positioned it for erection.
Marty Woll, N6VI, arrived and pitched in with antenna assembly and tower preparation. Warren and I laid out the 80-meter Delta Loop and hooked it's apex to the upper mast on the tower.
Dave Ritchie worked on the 52-foot tower setting it up for erection. Skip Reymann prepared the VHF/UHF log periodic antenna and rotor for installation on a push-up mast near the VHF station in his trailer.
N6ET (waving), W6EJJ and K6DNS arriving at Mt. Gleason
A few minutes before Noon Bob Polansky, N6ET, checked in on 224.08 simplex saying they were on Mount Gleason Road near the Conservation Camp. I went down to the gate and opened it up so they would not have to stop. Jay Holladay, W6EJJ, was driving the equipment van while Walt Mushagian, K6DNS, followed in his pick-up truck.
The van was parked on the site and much of the equipment and tents were unloaded. Later the van was moved down to the chow area where table and chairs were offloaded. Rick McKinny, Bob, Jay and Walt went to work putting the tents in place for the two HF stations and the Novice/Technician station. Skip and Walt put the stakes in HF Nr. 1's tent.
Site Planning Session in the VHF Station Trailer
Back at the south 65-foot tower two sets of guy ropes were attached in readiness for tip up. The tower was leveled and the outriggers positioned and secured to the tower support frame. After that the tower was tipped over and set in position for beam attachment.
South HF Tower Erection
The tower base was secured to the trailer frame with a locking bracket so it would not tip over. Guy anchor points were plotted so the hardened fence posts could be driven in the ground. The six heavy-duty black nylon ropes were dressed so that the beam could be installed.
Next the Force-12, C3, tri-band beam assembly was completed and was prepared for installation on the tower. Marty Woll secured a lifting bridle and donned the climbing gear to go up on the tower with the sections nested at the bottom.
Marty Woll Attaching the C3 Tri-band Beam to South Tower
After the beam antenna was installed on the tower, two guy anchors were driven into the ground at each of the three locations using a sledgehammer and the special fixture that Warren Dowler fabricated for the job. This allowed the guy stakes to be easily and accurately placed.
Walt Mushagian Drives Stake while Bob Polansky Holds the Fixture
Owen Robbins, KB6WYU, arrived to augment the FD setup crew. Next the south tower was cranked up carefully while three persons steadied the guy ropes before securing each the stake sets. Then the 80-meter Delta Loop was positioned so it cleared the beam elements and attached to separate stakes. The RG-8 coax lines from the Delta Loop and the tri-band antennas were routed to the south HF station tent.
The crew then turned their attention to completing the antenna assembly and installation on the 52-foot north tower. The big 40-meter 2-element beam was assembled and made ready for attachment to the tower. As in last year's Field Day, Jay Holladay did the tower climbing to affix the antennas.
Jay Holladay Installing the Two-Element 40-Meter Beam on North Tower
Next the Cushcraft A3 Tri-Band beam was completed and raised up for Jay to install it. The Warren Dowler support saddles on the tower made this task relatively quick and easy.
Jay Attaching the Cushcraft A3 Tri-Band Beam to the North Tower
After both beams and a long wire antenna were attached to the tower the guy stakes were driven into the ground as was done with the south tower. Dave Ritchie added a long wire so he could make some of his own contacts while waiting for a turn at W6VIO. He loaded the long wire with an SGC automatic tuner mounted on the roof of his van.
When all was ready the tower was cranked up to it's full height and was guyed with two sets of rope to the double sets of guy anchors. Power cords were connected to the 4-Kw AC generator in the tower trailer and routed to the four stations.
Everyone was relieved when Randy Hammock, KC6HUR, called in on 224.08 simplex at 4:30 PM, announcing that he was on Mount Gleason road with the all-important Porta-Potty. The gate was opened and the device was positioned in a prominent position. (Bob Polansky called off the back-up plan to dig slit trenches).
Owen Robbins assists Randy Hammock Setting Up
In the meantime Chefs Manny Caldera, KC6ZSY, and Richard Shick, KE6BKE, arrived with their tent trailer and entourage to set up for meal preparation for the extent of the Field Day activities on Mount Gleason. After they settled in the annual FD Friday Night ChiliDog feast was prepared.
Jay Holladay dishes up while Chef Manny Caldera Supervises
After chow was announced nearly all the setup crew dropped what they were doing and retired to our outdoor mess hall to partake in the goodies: (Photo by KE6LEA)
After the meal everyone turned to continuing the setup and to get ready for the night. Rick McKinney was glad Chris Carson, KE6ABQ, was able to pick up a missing tent pole on the way up for the Novice/Technician station, allowing Rick to finish the installation: (Photo by KE6LEA).
Others completed the HF equipment placement in the two operating tents. Then the crew assisted Skip Reymann in putting the VHF antenna pole up with it's log periodic and 6-meter beam antennas. Problems with his rotor necessitated fixing the log periodic due south while the 6-meter beam was directed due east. Smaller guy stakes were placed and the array secured for the night.
Dave Ritchie fired up the site generator and placed some quartz flood lamps to provide light around the various tents for safe walking between stations. Jay and Bob tried out the rigs to see if the antennas would load up and were ready for the fray tomorrow. Sleeping tents were put together and arranged for the expected cool weather tonight.
Sunrise at Mount Gleason (Photo by KE6LEA)
Rise and shine! Time to get up and enjoy the mountain air. Ouch! Didn't know there were so many rocks under my sleeping bag! (Make a note to bring a thicker pad next time).
The smell of frying bacon and sausages wafted up the hill from where Manny and Richard were preparing breakfast for a bunch of hungry people. By the time I got washed up and dressed nearly the whole camp was there chowing down.
Manny and Richard Preparing Breakfast (Photo by KE6LEA)
After breakfast was completed the efforts of the setup workers turned to getting the Novice/Technician station ready. The 220 and 10-meter beams were assembled and installed on a short push-up mast. A ladder was setup to allow the Armstrong rotor to work.
After the antennas were erected and hooked up Rick McKinney set up the transceivers and tested them.
Saturday 11 AM (1800Z)
After the final equipment checks were completed and the clocks synchronized, the word was passed to start the Field Day exercise. All four stations started racking up QSO's on time.
Jay, W6EJJ, Operating the Nr. 1 HF Station with the South Tower
Marty, N6VI, Operating the Nr. 2 HF Station with the North Tower
Skip, W7NWY, Operating the VHF Station
Brand new Ham Jonathan, KF6RTA, Works 220 Simplex while Rick, KA6DAN, Contemplates his 10-Meter Plan of Attack at the Novice/Technician Station
Later Saturday afternoon Chef's Manny and Richard were barbecuing up large pieces of Tri-Tip steak to serve to the assembled multitude, which included a number of visiting family members and others looking over the operation. As always this Mount Gleason Field Day highlight was well attended.
Dave, N7UE, making CW Contacts at 9 PM
Field Day nights separate the truly dedicated operators from the pack. Long hours fighting off the desire to sleep are rewarded with the extra QSO's needed to excel on the lower HF bands. Marty Woll, N6VI, Mike Tope, W4EF, Bob Polansky, N6ET, and Jay Holladay, W6EJJ, all did yeoman duty during the night and on through the morning.
Our 80-meter Delta Loop on the South Tower and the 40-meter beam on the North Tower paid off with many contacts for our two HF stations. The two brute-force band pass filters provided by Dave Ritchie proved their worth in reducing interference between the two stations when operating on harmonically related bands.
"Iron Man" Mike Tope, W4EF, after Many Hours of Night Operation
Bob, N6ET, Still Making CW QSO's after Many Hours at the Rig
Sunday Morning, 11 AM (1800Z)
It's finally over! Jay and Bob call a halt and begin to collect logs and other paperwork before shutting the stations down. Several of us start to take the antennas down and roll them up. Hey! Where did everyone go? Everybody seems to be pulling out! Soon there are only eight of us left to take the station apart and to pack it up for the trip back to the Lab. Basically the same crew that put it all up on Friday.
The tents were struck and packed away in their bags. The towers and antenna masts are taken down and the beams are disassembled and stowed on the trailers or in the JPL van together with the tables and chairs. The cables and guy ropes were rolled up and packed. Guy anchors were pulled or jacked out of the ground. One real tough anchor had to be saber-sawed off by Warren Dowler about six inches below level ground.
John Repar, WA6LWD, provided us with an impromptu air show when he flew over the Field Day site while we were taking things down. He made several passes and two or three barrel rolls in his light plane. Warren caught this photo.
Then at about 2 PM everything seems to be put away and we start checking the ground to make sure it is close to the condition we found it in three days ago. The Forest Service has been good to us and we don't want to wear out our welcome. We might be coming back next year!
I am finally back in my car and working my way back down Mount Gleason road, retracing my path back to Barstow, a nice shower and some rest in a real bed. n
CalTech/JPL ARC's Field Day Site, Mount Gleason, June 27, 1998
Friday, July 31 for the August 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.
Jet Propulsion Laboratory Amateur Radio ClubAttn: Bill Wood, Editor, Mail Stop DSCC-33 4800 Oak Grove Drive Pasadena, CA 91109-8099
Go back to the W6VIO Calling Index.