The Airwaves
February 1998
An ARRL Special Services Club -- RACES -- ARES
P.O. Box 1442, Ridgecrest, California 93556-1442

The Airwaves Calendar

Mondays SARC Emergency Net
        Every Monday 1930 hrs
        WA6YBN translator
        146.64 MHz (- 600 kHz)
        Visitors welcome
Feb 4   Board of Officers Meeting
        First Wednesday Heritage Inn 1730 hrs
Feb 11  Membership Meeting
        Second Wednesday Heritage Inn
        Flight Deck Room 1930 hrs 
        Program: New FCC RF Exposure Rules
        by Bill Burns WA6QYR
Mar 4   Board of Officers Meeting
        First Wednesday Heritage Inn 1730 hrs
Mar 11  Membership Meeting
        Second Wednesday Heritage Inn
        Flight Deck Room 1930 hrs
        Program: Six Meter Radio Control
        by Chuck Pierce WA6QFD
Apr 1   Board of Officers Meeting
        First Wednesday Heritage Inn 1730 hrs
Apr 8   Membership Meeting
        Second Wednesday Heritage Inn
        Flight Deck Room 1930 hrs
        Program: Mars Pathfinder & NAWC
        by Mike Herr WA6ARA
Feb 21  Inyokern Parade and Celebration 
        Call Judith Rogow N7TTH or Mark 
        Rosenthal N6BVP 375-2521 to
        volunteer. See article
Feb 21  Twenty Mule Team 100 mile horse ride
        Call Lloyd Brubaker 375-7245 See article
Mar 14  Coso Bun Buster 50 mile horse ride
        Call Hal Hazel KM6JM 371-3208 See article
May  9 & 10 Death Valley to Mt. Whitney
        Bicycle Race Call Elvy Hopkins
        NØLV at 384-3589 to volunteer
        for one or both days.

Feb 14  Volunteer License Exam Session
        Kern County Library, Ridgecrest Branch,
        Meeting Room, 131 East Las Flores Ave.,
        0900-1200 hrs Call NØLV 384-3589
Apr 11  Volunteer License Exam Session
        Kern County Library, Ridgecrest Branch,
        Meeting Room, 131 East Las Flores Ave.,
        0900-1200 hrs Call NØLV 384-3589
Jun 13  Volunteer License Exam Session
        Kern County Library, Ridgecrest Branch,
        Meeting Room, 131 East Las Flores Ave.,
        0900-1200 hrs Call NØLV 384-3589


by Charlie Hawthorne KE6WQR

This issue of THE AIRWAVES is being sent to all Hams in the Indian Wells Valley and surrounding towns. This column addresses all those hams, primarily Technician Class, that are not members of the Sierra Amateur Radio Club (SARC).

Most of the time, we Technician Class Amateurs are dependent on repeaters to reach people that we are interested in talking to. Repeaters do not come free. They require people to install, maintain and repair them. They require money to buy them and repair them. The people and money come from SARC. If you use SARC repeaters and you do not contribute time and/or money to their upkeep, you are riding free. Now that does not mean that SARC members would consciously label you as such or try and find ways to lock you out from using SARC repeaters. We are not that kind of people. Use the repeaters with SARC's blessing, but think about it, what would you do if SARC folded (which it came very close to two years ago from lack of candidates for office)? The repeaters would go away. You would be reduced to simplex VHF communications. Is this what you wanted when you put out the effort to get your license?

Second, as new (or old) Amateurs, you probably have someone in your family, or a friend, that you would like to help get their license so the two of you can talk to each other when out of personal contact range. To get the license, they will have to take tests. SARC sets up the testing for the local area. If there is no SARC, your family member/friend will have to travel to take the tests, if you can find out where to travel to and when to go there. SARC publishes this information.

Third, are you interested in advancing your Amateur Class so you can use some of the, high frequency (HF), long distance radio bands that are starting to come back as the sunspot activity turns upward? Members of SARC are there ready to help you and test you. In the past, there has been "over the air" code practice for budding Novices or Technician Pluses. There is "packet" practice going on now. You do not have to be a member before you can get this help, but you would probably have more information and contacts available if you were a member.

Fourth, but certainly not least, as a member, you find out about the various public service activities that SARC is asked to perform. As a Ham, one of the responsibilities that you accepted when you got your license was to be considered a communications resource for your community in times of disaster. Participation in public service activities gives you practice in the types of coordinated communications that could be useful during those times. If any of the above has convinced you to at least visit a SARC meeting, then show up at the Heritage Inn on the 2nd Wednesday of the month at 7:30 pm. We would be happy to see you.


FCC RF Exposure Rules 11 February
Bill Burns WA6QYR will bring February meeting attendees up to date on the new FCC RF exposure rules. The new FCC Radio Frequency Radiation Safety rules, Part 97.13(c), apply to all amateur radio operators effective 1 Jan. 1998. The FCC has issued OET Bulletins 65 and an Amateur Radio Supplement B that take you through the process of determining if your station requires an audit and how to perform the audit. QST magazines for October 1997 and January 1998 are excellent references. On the new Form 610, dated September 1997, which oblsoletes all previous versions, applicants must sign their names indicating that their stations will be in compliance with Section 97.13(c) and OST/OET Bulletin Number 65. New licensees must be in compliance before they operate a transmitter. Anyone changing address, call, or anything requiring a Form 610 must be in compliance. All other amateur radio stations must be in compliance by September 2000.

This compliance is more a safety issue with the general public, so being the good guys that Hams are, we need to do the paper work and keep it in our log book or records file.

Bill Burns has studied the audit procedure and will give us what we need to do our own. Read the references and come to the February meeting with your questions.

Six Meter Radio Control 11 March
A walk through the history of six meter model aircraft radio control (RC) and current developments will be the subject for Chuck Pierce WA6QFD in his March program. Chuck started controlling model aircraft when home built, electron tube transmitters and receivers were state-of-the-art. He will trace the development of equipment and the application of solid state technology and it's complexity to modern RC. Samples of equipment and aircraft will be on display.

Mars Pathfinder & NAWC 8 April
NAWC, China Lake was very much involved with the development of the Mars Pathfinder spacecraft which landed on Mars 4 July, 1997. Mike Herr WA6ARA was deeply involved in testing, problems, solution and hardware fabrication. Mike will also brief us on Pathfinder radio resources and future plans to explore Mars. A Ham transponder on Mars? Attend the April meeting for this interesting program.


Inyokern Parade 21 February
Five Hams are needed to coordinate the Inyokern parade on Saturday 21 February. Meet at 10 am in Inyokern Park at the corner of Sunset and Broadway streets. Enjoy the festivities and ethnic food after the parade. Call Judith Rogow N7TTH or Mark Rosenthal N6BVP at 375-2521 to volunteer.

Twenty Mule Team 100 21 February
Contact Lloyd Brubaker WA6KZV 375-7245

Coso Bun Buster Sat. 14 March
Contact Hal Hazel KM6JM 371-3208

These two horse rides start early in the morning. The 100 miler is twenty-four hours (It usually doesn't last that long.) so two relays of six Hams each are needed for it. Sometimes a pickup truck is a good thing to have. Some check points are on paved roads. If you haven't ventured into the fun of this kind of thing, try it. Let the Ham Radio organizer know your vehicle and radio capabilities and a check point at which your combination will suffice will be your duty point. Check in early so Lloyd and Hal can best organize their crews.

Lloyd Brubaker has plans to set up the portable packet network at all three of the horse rides for on-the-job RACES training. If you have never used packet or want packet experience this is your opportunity. Are you interested in writing logging and record keeping software for horse and bicycle rides? Call Lloyd.


All SARC memberships expire on 31 December. Please use the enclosed membership application to renew your SARC membership. Payment by check to "SARC" sent to the PO Box 1442 Ridgecrest CA 93556-1442 is the preferred method. Treasurer, Mark Rosenthal N6BVP, says that no payments will be accepted without a completed application (which he uses to keep the membership list current). Members for 1997 will receive THE AIRWAVES through March 1998. If not renewed by 1 April, you will dropped from the SARC membership roll.

Now is also a good time to order a SARC badge which will identify you at meetings, field day, public service events and emergency operations. Use the order form on the bottom of the membership application.

Mark Rosenthal N6BVP has received our order of SARC patches. The price is $4.00 each. See Mark at a meeting for purchases.


New "Now You're Talking" to Library
SARC has delivered the latest version of "Now You're Talking" to the Ridgecrest Branch of the Kern County Library. This is the ARRL license study manual for Novice and Technician class licenses. The library also has thirty other amateur radio books donated by SARC in the 621.38 to 621.84 section. These books include license manuals, antenna books, design manuals and cover beginning to advanced Ham radio subjects.

Fire Mountain Fifty Mile Horse Ride
by Lloyd Brubaker WA6KZV

On Saturday, 24 January at oh-dark-thirty in the morning, horses snorted and riders huddled about in the sharp and nippy air waiting to begin a fifty-one mile endurance ride. A dozen Ham radio operators had all of their equipment in place and, as far as they knew, ready to go.

This was the first time that these Hams had fielded portable packet stations and the first time that the Ridgecrest Police Communications Van was used for an non-official event. It was parked at the base camp and worked quite well.

The SARC RACES communications trailer was on top of a distant hill, found by Hal Hazel a few weeks earlier, more or less in the middle of the three route loops. It's new steel roof worked fine for the magnetic antenna mounts and as a ground plane. Nearly all of the check points were reached by simplex. One or two had to be relayed in. The portable repeater would have been handy but it was being used to replace the broken 146.64 MHz SARC translator. The two RACES portable packet stations put into operation and two personal portable packet stations tried out the circuits. A lot was learned and a lot of experience was gained.

About ninety-five riders covered all or part of the fifty miles and several portable packet stations swapped messages with varying degrees of smoothness. There were no injuries, the usual number of pulled horses and one rider who was thrown and the horse trotted off to home. The horse was met there, given a scolding and taken back to the rider. Both were properly chagrined. The weather was beautiful.

Amateur radio operators participating were Tom Ingram WB6EPD, Ron Cheshire WB6GKI, Alan Hugo KD6IQB, Greg Roush WA7IRW, Hal Hazel KM6JM, Lloyd Brubaker WA6KZV, Jerry Brooks KK6PA, Bill Burns WA6QYR, Joe Cloonan KE6SMH, Jack Bitzer NL7SX, Judy Burns KC6UTF, Dave Stone KC6UUR.

Special thanks to Jerry Brooks who set up the packet system and to Hal Hazel who helped with the computer programs. We hope to buff some of the sharp edges of the packet system at the next horse ride on February 21st. That ride will begin at the Desert Empire Fair Grounds, again by six o'clock. This ride is one hundred miles and will last nearly twenty four hours. Even if you can play only for an hour or two, you can get some experience in packet radio and help too. Call Lloyd WA6KZV, 375-7245, to sign up.

And a second view
by Jerry Brooks KK6PA
Packet was used at the Fire Mountain Fifty. The Ridgecrest Police Dept. emergency communications van was located at base camp. The SARC RACES trailer, with BBS in emergency mode, was placed in the hills south of Cerro Coso College. Two RACES portable packet stations were operated by Hal Hazel KM6JM and Joe Cloonan KE6SMH. Bill Burns WA6QYR and Jack Bitzer NL7SX operated their own portable packet stations.

Question being asked by the participating Hams before the ride were: How do you want us to use the system? What type of messages should we send on it?
As for the horse ride, use it for all the messages you possibly can except for communications that need to be done quickly. The idea is to get experience using the packet system. During a non-disaster exercise, this was the only guideline I could come up with. I learned that a separate voice operator and a separate packet operator are needed at each check point unless the site will be packet intensive with very little voice operation. QST articles keep touting how great packet is in disasters. I am sure it is. It can free up the voice frequencies for the high priority traffic. It can be used to send messages such as those loaded with medical terms and to handle the lower priority traffic.

This was an interesting experience. Packet is not a good system for horse rides. Voice is still the best when voice channels are lightly loaded. The combined packet operations did give both new and experienced operators a real-life field experience.

Two more horse rides, Saturday, February 21st and Saturday, March 14th, will use the packet system. If you are interested in participating, or observing the system while in operation, we would enjoy your company and help.


SARC Volunteer Examination sessions for 1998 will be second Saturday of even numbered months. Put the following dates on your calendar: 14 Feb., 11 Apr., 13 Jun., 8 Aug., 10 Oct. and 12 Dec.

The Meeting Room in the southwest corner of the Ridgecrest Branch, Kern County Library, 131 East Las Flores Ave. will be the location.

The Meeting Room has an outside door, on the southwest corner of the building, through which handicapped persons may easily enter. Rest rooms are in the library. Ample parking, including handicapped, is close by. The ARRL examination fee is $6.35 for 1998.

The examination scheduled is as follows.

        0830-0900       Room setup
        0900            Registration begins
        0900-1100       Written exams
        1100-1200       Code exams
        1200-1230       Room tear down
Contact Lloyd Brubaker WA6KZV, 375-7245, or Elvy Hopkins NØLV, 384-3589, for additional information.


Bill Maraffio N6PR, VE Team Liaison, states that more SARC VEs are needed, especially Extra class. General, Advanced and Extra class licensees may become Volunteer Examiners.
Contact the ARRL VEC at 860-594-0300, 8am-9pm, ET, M-F
or e-mail at [email protected].
A prospective VE package will initiate your process of becoming an accredited Volunteer Examiner for the American Radio Relay League Volunteer Examination Coordinator.

SARC VEs are reminded to make sure to work an exam session often enough to keep their accreditation current for renewal without retaking the test.


There is growing concern among non-FM users of the Amateur Radio VHF and UHF bands as those who do not know of or use the nationally observed Band Plans continue to cause interference on frequencies designated for other modes of operation. Weak signal, satellite links, earth-moon-earth (EME), propagation beacon operators are reporting a steady increase of operations disrupted by high power FM signals.

Band plans are used worldwide and the American Radio Relay League (ARRL) in concert with the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) works out these agreements. The ARRL publishes Band Plans for the United States in the Repeater Handbook, The Handbook for Radio Amateur and other publications. If you are unaware of Band Plans, The Repeater Directory is the lowest cost and handiest reference. Keep it by your side and refer to it before venturing into an unknown part of the VHF and UHF bands.

Are FM Spectrum Restrictions Needed?
(Ed. note: The copy below is quoted in it's entirety, as required, from Amateur Radio Newsline #1065 08 Jan. 1998.)
Formal restrictions are needed to keep FM users from causing interference to the users of other modes on our VHF and UHF bands. So say the proponents of non FM point to point communications. They are tired of the growing amount of QRM that the growing number of FM users are creating and that its time to protect their interests from FM.

Cross mode interference has always been a problem on any ham band. But now there appears to be an increase in the incidence of both inadvertent and purposeful interference to weak signal, EME, local SSB, CW and even AM contacts on our 2 meter, 1.25 meter and 70 centimeter bands.

There is also a growing number of new FM users who firmly believe that they have a right to operate anywhere on any band and on any frequency they choose. This is as long as they are technically in compliance with the FCC Part 97 rules. As a result, more and more users of SSB, CW, AM and even some exotic modes find themselves in direct confrontation with FMers. (FMers are Hams who say that FM should be the only mode permitted to be used on any VHF or UHF ham band.) In some cities the situation has gotten so bad that it is almost impossible for non-FM interests to use 2 meters.

Now the ARRL Board of Directors may be getting ready to get involved. On Friday, December 26th, League Vice President Joel Harrison, W5ZN posted a note to the W6YX VHF Reflector looking for input on this topic from the weak signal community.

Harrison admits that the proliferation of FM is becoming a problem in several areas of the country. Harrison says that he is preparing some information on the subject for the upcoming ARRL Board meeting. He asks the W6YX subscribers for any information that they feel will helpful in addressing this matter. The weak signal community's is divided. Some want mode specific protection written directly into the FCC Part 97 Amateur Rules. Others take a more moderate view. They suggest a campaign to educate every FMer that band plans exist and must be respected. What action the ARRL Board might take to help rectify this situation is unknown but a call by the League for some sort of educational campaign is the minimum that the non FM hams on the VHF reflector expect.
(Adapted from W6YX VHF Reflector postings, others)

Yaesu On Band Planning
Meantime, one Ham equipment supplier is not waiting for the problem to get any worse. Yaesu USA has decided to supply international band planning information in revised issues of instruction manuals that will soon begin being shipped with several VHF and UHF radios.

Quoting from the upcoming FT-847 Instruction Manual: "Please be certain to respect other amateurs by observing the operating band plans in your country, and do not use the FM mode in the sub-bands recognized as being reserved for SSB/CW "weak-signal" work. These sub-bands typically may include the frequency ranges 50.0 to 50.5 or 51.0 to 51.125 MHz, 144.0 to 144.5 MHz, and 432.0 to 432.6 MHz, but may be slightly different in your country.

Satellite sub-bands to avoid are 29.3 to 29.5 MHz, 145.8 to 146.0 MHz, and 435.0 to 438.0 MHz.

The communications effectiveness of the amateur service requires the cooperation of all licensees, and operating band plans have evolved so as to minimize interference among operators using incompatible emission modes such as FM and SSB."

Yaesu's Chip Margelli K7JA says that the frequencies cited were chosen to represent the best compromises between the North American, European, and pan-Pacific regional band plans. Margelli says that they should make the point most adequately.
(Via K7JA)


KD6IQJ Local Repeater Updated
Thom Skeer KD6IQJ reports that two upgrades to his 447.025 MHz, local repeater are now working. It has been linked to the WB6LYB 147.97 MHz Trona repeater. Tom states that the link is "rough but works" which means it is reliable and still needs some tweaking. Work to improve the Trona end continues.

A six-meter remote base on the 52.525 MHz. national calling frequency has been added. TouchTone controls are: Receive 61, Transmit 62 and Remote base Off 63. Call sign and "controlling" is the desired announcement when controlling. Courtesy beeps give remote base status. Remote base time out is fifteen minutes. At present, Trona users cannot control the remote base. The repeater has back up battery power. Operation on battery only is indicated by the courtesy beep being a Morse code "b". Coverage around Owens Lake on 447.025 MHz is normal and the Texas panhandle is the longest six meter contact.

Since most 450 repeaters are closed, Thom emphasizes that his 447.025 MHz machine is an open repeater and all Hams are welcome to use and control the system. He also solicits suggestions and comments.

Mike Hugo KA6OIJ is the system designer, builder, installer, updater and chief tweaker.


Training Scheduled
Spring is just around the corner, well maybe down the block a ways, but we have had a number of new Hams ask about the RACES classes. Scheduling classes so that people can attend has been difficult. Whether or not to hold them on week-ends, on flex Fridays, or during the week has been met with endorsements and complaints. So we will schedule a variety hoping that people can make at least one of each cycle of classes. For those who would like to review, or begin training, cycle one will be given at the Red Cross Office* on Friday February 6th from 0800 to 1000 hrs and repeat on Thursday February 12th from 1900 to 2100 hrs. All RACES members who have not taken cycle one should attend one or the other of these two. The times for cycle two training will depend upon the wishes of those attending cycle one. Call Lloyd Brubaker WA6KZV for more information.

*The Red Cross Office is in the NAWS Family Service Center, Building No. 02308, at 610 Blandy St., about one block east of the NAWS Administration Building in the north west corner of Blandy St. and Hussy Rd.

Packet Practice for RACES Members
RACES members who have no packet experience may call Jerry Brooks KK6PA at 446-2228 to borrow one of the RACES portable packet stations or to get access to the base station. In the event of an emergency, RACES needs Hams experienced with our packet system. Feel free to use the gear since that is the best way to learn about packet and the equipment used in a packet station. We don't plan on storing the portable stations in a closet. We hope to have them out in the field when needed. Due to Kern County requirements, these loans are limited to RACES members only.


As of 26 January
        Share account   $2,444.09
        Draft account   $582.79
        Total           $3,026.88
        Obligated funds 
	Relocate 147.00 repeater $1,200.00
        Balance         $1,826.88


Bill Maraffio N6PR did the programming to take calls, names and addresses off the call sign database and print the address labels for this mailing of THE AIRWAVES. He also reviews each issue for typos, graphos, grammos, errant punctuation etc. Thank you Bill.

Bill has compiled the following list of licenses expiring in 1998. Is your name listed below?

Does Your License Expire In 1998?
RIDGECREST (callsigns in alphabetical order)
See your name above? A SASE to Bill Maraffio, 1211 N. Las Posas Ct., Ridgecrest CA 93555 will get you an FCC Form 610 to renew your license. Remember, your station must be in compliance with the new RF exposure rules when a new 610 is submitted.


SARC second vice president, Larry Merwin KE6YLG, is searching for programs SARC general meetings. If you have a special amateur radio thing that you do and would like to tell others about it; if you know someone else who does; if you know someone who can make a presentation of interest to Hams; if you have an idea for a program and need help working it out; let Larry know at 384-3180.


Board of Officers Meeting Minutes
by Secretary Tom Ingram WB6EPD

January 7 1998 Those present: Pres. Charlie Howthorne KE6WQR, 1st VP David Stone KC6UUR, 2nd VP Larry Merwin KE6YLG, Secy. Tom Ingram WB6EPD, Past Secy. Lloyd Brubaker WA6KZV, Treas. Mark Rosenthal N6BVP and AIRWAVES editor Elvy Hopkins NØLV.

Programs for coming meetings were discussed. Six meter RC for February and RF Exposure rules for March. (Ed. note. These two have been exchanged.) The February mailing of THE AIRWAVES to all Hams in the IWV and surrounding towns was discussed. Repeater Directory, VE Schedule and a membership application will be enclosed. Scheduling of RACES classes was discussed. One hundred SARC patches have been ordered. Price will be $4.00 each.

Minutes of the General Meeting
January 14 1998. Officer Installation Banquet. No minutes were recorded.

Tower, sixty foot, crank up, guyed, three sections with matching fifteen foot, thick wall mast. Old Tri-Ex (?), triangular section, lower section eight inches on a side. Some guy wire included. Good condition. All sections and mast are straight. Needs minor welding to reattach two lower leg guides. $100 (A mighty fine price these days.) Call Gene Roth 446-6265.

Alinco Model DJ-180T, VHF-FM, handheld 2-meter transceiver. Seven (7) each. All in excellent condition, each set includes base (fast) charger, speaker-mike and manual. Features: 10 channel memory, multi-mode scan , 5.0 Watts RF output, LCD function display, Rx 137.00-173.995 MHz, Tx 144.00-147.995 MHz in 5 through 25 kHz steps. Price $175 each set. Contact Gene Warner, 760-446-2617 or Rachel Irish, Ridgecrest Police Dept. 760-371-3706.

Contacting THE AIRWAVES Editor
If you have an article for The AIRWAVES or an idea for one, contact the editor Elvy Hopkins NØLV at 384-ELVY or [email protected]

See ya in da funny paperz de NØLV