Feedline July 2000

Next Meeting is July 13 at our regular meeting place.

This early edition of Feedline was necessary to deliver notice that the July meeting date is being moved to July 13 so that last minute Swapfest details can be worked out.

Field Day

The early publish date caught our officers a bit short, but Mike wanted to relay these sentiments to the Field Day goers...

"I would like to thank each participant, whether support staff or operators. Field Day was a success and we should be proud of our final score. I am still tabulating and more info will be coming in the August FeedLine." Mike, WA4KE

Restructuring: It Seems to be Working.

While its to soon to know for sure, initial numbers on restructuring seem to bode well for ham radio.

After the first seven weeks following the implementation of changes in the United States Amateur Radio service, statistics compiled by Fred Maia of the W5YI Report are very encouraging. According to W5YI there are now 7,490 more General class license holders than there were on May 31st of 1999. This is most likely due to pre March 1987 Technician Class hams taking advantage of a no-test upgrade.

But the big surprise is the number of people who have gone to Extra from the various other license classes. That number is up by an amazing 7,051; or a little over 9%.

Not surprising is the small amount of change in the area of code-free Technician class hams. They still remain the single largest group in ham radio at 206,854. That's 30% of all hams holding an FCC license. But from May 31st 1999 to May 31st of 2000 their ranks only grew by 1,873.

It's still to early to even conjecture as to whether or not this means the codeless entry into ham radio has lost its appeal. Some believe there will be another wave of code free newcomers as soon as the initial changes brought about by restructuring begin to settle down.

While it is very early on in the streamlining process, the figures accumulated between the April 15th implementation of restructuring and the May 31st cutoff date of Fred's report do seem to show some small but perceptible positive change. If the trend continues, the year 2000 could be the beginning of a good growth period for Amateur Radio here in the USA. (Newsline)

FCC says ''no'' to SSB, digital modes in VHF CW subbands

The FCC has turned down a request asking it to permit SSB and digital modes in the 6 and 2-meter CW-only subbands. The petition, filed last August by the California Six Meter Club, was assigned rulemaking number RM-9806 by the FCC.

The CSMC said it requested the additional emission types because its survey of weak-signal operations indicated that the segments were hardly used. The club said most DX and weak signal work took place on frequencies above the CW subbands.

In denying the request, the FCC said it did not believe the requested revisions were necessary or had support of the amateur community. The FCC concluded that authorizing additional emission types in the 6-meter and 2-meter CW subbands ''could have an adverse impact on the operating activities of other licensees.'' Additionally, the FCC said, CSMC did not show that any improvement in communications capabilities would result if the 100 kHz of spectrum was opened up for other emission types, which the FCC said were ''adequately accommodated'' under present rules.

The FCC said it was ''not persuaded that there is a lack of spectrum in the 6 and 2-meter amateur service bands for transmission of data and phone emission types'' and concluded that any changes to the rules were unnecessary. (ARRL Bulletin)

Some Mergers to Keep an Eye On

In the wake of the CNG/DRI, Exxon/Mobil deals and the AOL/Time Warner deal here are the latest mergers we can expect to see:

Hale Business Systems, Mary Kay Cosmetics, Fuller Brush, and W.R. Grace Company merge to become Hale Mary Fuller Grace.

Polygram Records, Warner Brothers, and Keebler Crackers merge to become Polly-Warner-Cracker.

3M and Goodyear merge to become MMM-Good.

John Deere and Abitibi-Price merge to become Deere Abi.

Zippo Manufacturing, Audi Motors, Dofasco, and Dakota Mining merge to become Zip Audi Do Da.

Honeywell, Imasco, and Home Oil merge to become Honey I'm Home.

Denison Mines, and Alliance and Metal Mining merge to become Mine All Mine.

Federal Express and UPS merge to become FED UP.

Xerox and Wurlitzer will merge and begin manufacturing reproductive organs.

Fairchild Electronics and Honeywell Computers will merge and become Fairwell Honeychild.

3M, J.C. Penney and the Canadian Opera Company will merge and become 3 Penney Opera.

Grey Poupon & Dockers Pants will merge and become Poupon Pants.

Swapfest: Are You Going to Help? Or Not.

Looking back at past year's signup sheets, I came up with the following list of job vacancies.

CARC needs your help. Hamfests all around the country, even the state, are being cancelled due to, presumably, low ticket sales. There's little mystery here, it's a slippery slope that causes dealers to stay away, and lack of quality dealers at a venue means, you guessed it, low ticket sales. Its a deadman's spiral.

The success of Swapfest 2000 depends on you showing up to support the dealers as well as the attendees. As we saw with Shelby and Dayton 2000, well-run 'fests are well-attended. CARC can join these 'fests and buck the trend of dwindling attendance by continuing to put on a class act. That will not come without some expense, some sacrifice on our part. Less browsing, strolling, and sitting behind your pile of castoffs and more attention to our customers.

How you can help:

ticket sales (6) security (12) tailgating (3) parking (4) talk-in (3) VE test coordination

table assignment / dealer check-in / dealer unloading (a boatload -Friday night and Saturday morning)

Recruit a long-lost ham buddy by phone or email to help. Or maybe bring along your spouse or offspring.

Come to the planning session on Thursday night at our regular meeting place and sign up.


Is This the Future of Radio? By Jane Weaver MSNBC

Coming soon on your radio dial-dozens of commercial-free music stations with clear reception that doesn't fade out no matter how far you drive. For radio fans burnt out by a glut of commercial pitches and endless Britney Spears soundalikes, two soon-to-launch satellite radio services could signal the biggest revolution in the industry since the launch of FM 40 years ago.

The budding satellite radio industry should get its kickstart at the end of June when New York company Sirius Radio launches the first of 3 satellites custom designed to broadcast CD-quality audio signals across the U.S. If the June launch is successful, investment analysts expect the company's stock to takeoff as well.

"That's an important catalyst for the stock," William Kidd, analyst with C.E. Unterberg, Towbin, adding that many investors have held back from buying into satellite radio stock because of risks associated with satellite launches. There are a lot of investors who love the idea of [satellite radio], but are afraid to take the risk. The stock should increase with each successful launch."

Later this year, two more Sirius satellites are scheduled for liftoff, followed closely in November by the launch of rival XM's satellite.

Once the satellites are deployed, the two services will begin testing broadcasts of their systems from specially-built digital studios. Sirius Radio has already begun producing audio content and building up its digital music library in its Rockefeller Center studio in New York, says chief executive David Margolese.

The Washington, D.C.-based XM will rollout some prototype radios in the fall as it begins trials of its broadcasts, says vice president of marketing Robert Acker.

Coast-to-Coast Coverage

For listeners, satellite radio means coast-to-coast reception of a clear digital signal of up to 100 channels of music, news, talk and sports programming. Both companies plan to offer monthly subscriptions for $9.95, allowing listeners to choose their favorite genres of commercial-free music-from reggae to heavy metal to opera-or listen to numerous news, sports or talk programs with limited commercial interruptions.

Satellite radios like this illustration from XM could be standard equipment in cars in the next few years.

Sirius has signed content partnerships with CNBC, National Public Radio, Bloomberg and USA Networks/Sci-Fi Channel, among others. XM counts NASCAR, USA Today, the BBC and CNN/Sports Illustrated among its content partners.

It's the first innovation in radio since the advent of FM," says Vijay Jayant, an analyst with Bear, Stearns who follows both satellite radio companies.

"This is vastly superior radio," says Sirius' Margolese. "You'll be able to hear what you can't otherwise obtain on radio today."

"It's offering exactly what you want to listen to," offers XM's Acker. "Most records aren't played on the radio, people aren't going to the radio to learn about new music."

Consumers should be able to buy satellite radios, ranging from about $200 up to $1000, in stores like Circuit City and Best Buy by next summer. An adaptor for existing car radios should retail for $79.

Investment bank C.E. Unterberg, Towbin projects that by 2005, there will be 23 million subscribers to satellite radio services. A study from The Carmel Group estimates that by 2006, there will be over 25 million satellite radio suscribers, generating more than $4 billion in revenues from hardware and subscriptions.

"The [growth] potential is pretty astounding," says William Kidd, an analyst with C.E Unterberg, Towbin who initiated coverage of XM in April with a "strong buy."


The biggest breakthrough for the upstart companies has come from the Detroit automakers who have enthusiastically embraced the new technology.

General Motors invested $100 million in XM last year and hopes to factory install the company's satellite radios exclusively in select models in early 2001. Ford Motor Co. and DaimlerChrysler have backed Sirius Radio and may include it in some 2001 models early next year. The Carmel Group estimates that 1.5 million cars will have satellite radio by the end of 2001.

Satellite radios will probably become standard equipment in domestic cars within the next few years, auto executives project. In some cases, several years worth of subscription fees could be embedded in the cost of new cars, according to various sources.

"We think it's definitely big," says Tom Grau, in charge of satellite radio service for General Motors' OnStar division. "We're energized behind what we perceive to be a compelling consumer offering."

"We think it's an attractive offering for consumers," says Phil Wright, finance director for Ford's Telematics division. "People primarily listen to their radios [in their cars], but they don't like commercials and they don't like interruptions. In fact, the rollout of the mostly commercial-free satellite music channels should be welcome relief for radio listeners burnt out by radio commercial clutter. A recent study by Empower MediaMarketing found that commercial radio time increased by 6 percent overall from 1998 to 1999. In the San Francisco market, where dot-com ad spending was particularly heavy last year, commercial clutter soared 20 percent.

Some believe ad clutter has contributed to a drop off in the amount of time people spend listening to the radio. In 1995, the average time spent listening to the radio was 22 hours, 30 minutes a week. In 2000, the amount of time the average person listened to the radio dropped to 20 hours, 45 minutes a week.

"On a lot of stations you get 5 minute commercials breaks," says Thom Moon of market researcher Duncan's American Radio. "I'm really surprised that some of the bigger spending advertisers haven't started pressuring radio stations about so many commercials."

Sirius plans to keep its 50 music stations commercial-free and limit ads on its talk and news channels to 4 minutes an hour. Many of XM's music channels will be commercial-free, with no more than 7 minutes of ads in other content.

However, not everyone in the radio industry is sold on satellite's success.

"It's going to take some time to develop, a lot of advertising and a lot of word-of-mouth," says radio researcher Moon. "Over-the-air radio has one humongous advantage-it's free."

"Nobody thought people would pay for television" when cable was first launched two decades ago, counters XM's Acker.

And even with some cable bills climbing up to $50 a month, more than 65 million homes now subscribe to cable TV.

"It'll be music for disenfranchised listeners, that's why people will push the button," says Sirius' Margolese. "It'll be in the car; it's just a matter of turning it on."

Antenna Designer Louis Varney, G5RV, SK

The Amateur Radio world is mourning the loss of R. Louis Varney, G5RV, who invented the world-famous G5RV antenna. Varney died June 28, at his home in West Sussex. He was 89 and had recently been reported in failing health.

The G5RV multiband wire antenna for HF--typically 102 feet on the flattop section--is among the most popular of all antenna designs. Varney first described the G5RV in the November 1966 issue of the RSGB Bulletin. While models fed with coaxial cable have proliferated, Varney's personal recommendation was to use a balanced feed line and a matching network for bands other than 20 meters. (The G5RV dipole is discussed in Chapter 7 of The ARRL Antenna Book.) Varney had a full-size and a double-size G5RV, both fed with open-wire feeders, at his own station.

Varney was an RSGB member for 74 years, and he served as life president of the Mid-Sussex Amateur Radio Society. His wife Nelida is among his survivors. Services were set for July 4 in Brighton, England.--thanks to Bob D'Imperio, N4XAT, and RSGB for this information. (ARRL Letter)




Feedline is a member-supported publication of the Cary Amateur Radio Club and is published monthly.

Deadline for submissions is the second Thursday of the month. Editor: Tom Klimala, KM4LB, 1545 Seabrook Avenue, Cary, North Carolina, 27511. [email protected]