The Airwaves
May 1997
An ARRL Special Services Club -- RACES -- ARES
P.O. Box 1442, Ridgecrest, California 93556-1442




PresidentCharles HawthorneKC6WQR375-7321
First Vice PresidentDavid StoneKC6UUR375-1730
Second Vice PresidentLarry MerwinKE6YLG84-3180
SecretaryLloyd BrubakerWA6KZV375-7245
TreasurerMark RosenthalN6BVP375-2521

SARC Owned and Maintained Repeaters

Randsburg WA6YBN 145.34 MHz (- 600 kHz), PL 100.0 Hz, Wide Area Coverage, Emerg. Pwr.
Ridgecrest WA6YBN 146.64 MHz (- 600 kHz), Translator, No Squelch Tail, Emergency Power
Ridgecrest WA6YBN 147.00 MHz (+ 600 kHz), PL 107.2 Hz, Autopatch (9+phno, # Dn) Emrg Pwr.
Ridgecrest YBNBBS:WA6YBN, 145.050 MHz, Bulletin Board, 1200 Baud
Ridgecrest #YBNSW:WA6YBN-4, 223.580 MHz, Node, 1200 Baud
Ridgecrest #YBNSW:WA6YBN-4, 431.025 MHz, Node, 9600 Baud
Ridgecrest #YBNSW:WA6YBN-4, 439.025 MHz, Node, 9600 Baud

The Airwaves Calendar

May 7 SARC Board of Officers Meeting
1st Wednesday, Heritage Inn, 1730 hrs
May 14 Membership Meeting
2nd Wednesday, Heritage Inn
Flight Deck Room, 1930 hrs
Program: AVGATE
by Jerry Brooks KK6PA
See article.
Mondays SARC Emergency Net
Every Monday 1930 hrs
WA6YBN translator
146.64 MHz (- 600 kHz)

May 10 & 11 Death Valley to Mt. Whitney Bicycle Race
Call Elvy Hopkins NØLV at 384-3589 to volunteer for one or both days.
See article.
May 18 Randsburg Bicycle Road Race
Women's stage race, half day, 60 mile.
To volunteer call Elvy Hopkins NØLV
at 384-3589.
See article.

ARRL San Joaquin Valley Section Convention. Prizes Dealers Mfrs.
Camping, Swap area, Trophies
Info 805-588-7065 805-323-3691
Jul 9 SARC BBQ & Tail Gate Swap Fest
Eyeball QSOs. Unload your RF junque

May 10 Volunteer License Exam Session

Kerr-McGee Center 0900-1200 hrs
May 15 Volunteer License Exam Session
Cerro Coso Com. College, Rm. WW145
Novice & Tech only. Pre-Reg. required.
1800-2100 hrs Contact NØLV 384-3589
June 6–8 Amateur License Cram Class
Call the Sierra Sands Adult School Office at 446-5872 Mon-Thurs 1730-2030 hrs, Fri 1000-1400 hrs.
See article.
Jun 21 Volunteer License Exam Session
Kerr-McGee Center 0900-1200 hrs


by Charlie Hawthorne KE6WQR

Documentation and Continuity. For a club like SARC, both are important and both are difficult to implement.

At the April meeting, a simple request was made. Members of SARC want to use the tower trailer for Field Day at Shirley Meadows. The request was reasonable, but, in a litigious society such as ours, the question was brought up as to what would happen if somehow an injury was caused by the trailer, such as it getting loose from a tow vehicle and damaging persons or property. The answer was “No one knows.”

SARC has insurance but it is virtually impossible for the layman to determine if it covers the tower trailer on a trip. According to a past president of SARC, Jerry Brooks KK6PA, a rider covering this particular situation had been obtained from the insurance company in the past. It spelled out the conditions of coverage in layman's language.

Now comes the problem. The rider cannot be found. There is a copy of the insurance policy, but, no cover letters, riders or even contacts to get information. If documentation had been there, continuity has not. Either the whole idea of applicable insurance has to be assumed to be there and the people take the risk based on that guess or the task of obtaining a rider has to be done again. For the sake of information, I am trying to obtain another rider, but, that is not the intent of this message.

SARC, the club, needs to generate a method of assuring continuity from year to year. There needs to be documentation of what SARC owns. There needs to be a list of the people that can be counted on for technical assistance, for SARC repeaters and for RFI problems. None of these lists exist. Incoming SARC officers start in the dark and do not progress much further. If it weren't for certain individuals that serve more years than they should have to, there would be virtually no continuity at all from one year to the next. Most of you have served as a SARC officer in the past and have run into this problem. You know it is not new and it is not simple to solve.

I certainly do not have the answers as to how to assure continuity, but, I would like to make a stab at getting answers and I would most assuredly welcome any ideas that might be forthcoming from the membership. Thanks for your patience.

An Internet Gateway For Packet

Jerry Brooks KK6PA will present a program on how to enter the internet via amateur radio packet. World wide e-mail, other packet gateways, BBSs and nodes are all reachable via your Ham radio. Jerry will be giving instructions for: Sign-on and registering with AVGATE/AB6QV, Surfing to other gateways and checking out their local area BBSs and nodes, Packet/internet e-mail and Keyboard-to-keyboard QSOing with another Ham in Lower East Exotica. Bring your questions and note pad.

This will be a beginning level Amateur Radio License Exam Cram Session held from 6-9 p.m. on Friday, 8-12 am and 1-5 pm on Saturday, and 8-12 am on Sunday. It is expected that these candidate will have done the studying needed to pass the FCC exams. Students should come in with questions about areas where they need help. The session is not designed to teach the material needed in toto. The Cram Session will be a series of about seven FCC style exams given from the question pool with the intent to find problems in understanding and memorization. Missed questions will be explained and discussed. The next Volunteer Exam Session is 21 June at the Kerr-McGee Center at 9 am. To enroll, attendees must call the Sierra Sands Adult School Office at 446-5872 Mon-Thur 5:30-8:30 pm, Fri 10 am-2 pm.

WHAT'S HAPPENING ? With only fifteen Hams at the March meeting and nineteen for April, the SARC Board of Officers is wondering what is happening? Have the members not made the transition to the new meeting day – second Wednesday? Have they not found the new meeting place – Flight Deck Room in the Heritage Inn? Is Wednesday a bad day? The BoO needs some feedback. What do you want at your SARC meetings? What are your thoughts? Check the front page. Call an officer. Speak up.

Death Valley to Mt. Whitney Bicycle Race

Saturday and Sunday 10 & 11 May are the dates for this nationally known bicycle race sponsored by the Lone Pine Chamber of Commerce and the High Sierra Cyclists bicycle club of Ridgecrest. Saturday's start is at 6 am from Stovepipe Wells. Hams need to be on station at different, but early, times depending upon their location. Late afternoon finds all bicyclists at Lone Pine or otherwise accounted for. Sunday's race starts at 8 am from Lone Pine and early afternoon finds most riders at Whitney Portals. Hams are invited to the heavy picnic lunch at Lone Pine Park Saturday afternoon. The SARC portable repeater is set up for Saturday and simplex works for Sunday. For Saturday, a mobile rig with at least ten watts is best for outlying locations. A portable Yagi is a great help in some locations. Because of the widely scattered locations on Saturday, no before-the-race meeting is conducted. Printed instructions, T-shirts and meal tickets are distributed in Ridgecrest a few days before the race. Ten Hams are needed for Saturday and five for Sunday. Call Elvy Hopkins NØLV at 384-3589 to volunteer for one or both days.

Randsburg Bicycle Road Race
Sunday 18 May is the date for the Women's Stage Race, a three loop, sixty mile bicycle road race starting at 8 am from Randsburg. The race is run on Redrock/Randsburg, Garlock cutoff and Goler roads. Three Hams are needed. Hand-held or mobile rigs will suffice for communications across the Garlock fault. Noon is the expected completion time. This is a good opportunity for Hams new to public service to get some field experience. Call Elvy Hopkins NØLV at 384-3589 to volunteer.

by Elvy Hopkins NØLV

The 146.64 MHz translator quit sometime the night of 1 May. Inspection revealed the following. The battery exploded - blew one top corner out of the case - split the case full length - destroyed one three-cell cover - blew pieces out of the other one - boat battery case had cover strapped on and held all acid - only a few drops on floor. No one was hurt and there was no damage to the surroundings this time.

In maintaining this battery over the last few months, I have kept wondering why I keep strapping the cover back on because the strap is really user unfriendly and a wrestling match to get open and closed each time. Now I know why. If the cover had not been tightly strapped on, sulfuric acid would have been blown all over the corner of the basement damaging many things and making a real mess.

In an attempt to determine the cause of this explosion, two scenarios emerge. One: I think that the inexpensive, plastic, in-line fuze holder caused the explosion. It had fractured around the two retainer lugs - as I've had two do for me in the recent past - and allowed the fuse contact to pop out causing a spark. The closed space of the boat battery box was filled with outgassing hydrogen and oxygen. Spark - bang!

Two: There was an open circuit inside the battery which caused a spark and the resulting explosion in which flying pieces damaged the fuse holder. I have had this happen in my van. The explosion sounded like a .45 caliber pistol being fired and the engine compartment was doused in battery acid and cell plate fragments.

Either possibility produces the same results a dangerous explosion blowing sulfuric acid and shards of battery case and acid soaked battery internals about the area.

Beware. Batteries are potentially dangerous and should be treated as such.

The translator was put on a 12 VDC power supply until another battery can be procured. On Sunday afternoon 6 May, the translator doctor, Bill Maraffio N6PR, and operating room nurse, Elvy Hopkins NØLV, found the translator with unmeasurable, on a five watt Bird slug, output power. Later bench diagnosis by Bill found a two dead RF power transistors. The 146.64 translator will be off the air for a few days awaiting parts and repairs.

The Tucson Amateur Packet Radio Corp. (TAPR) is now doing what the ARRL repeater directory did (and has abandoned) for packet repeaters. See QST, March 1997, p. 68, first column "North American Digital System Directory To Be On Line." The internet URL for world wide packet repeater listings is . There were errors and omissions for the Indian Wells Valley. Jerry Brooks KK6PA transmitted the correct data and now Inyokern has seven packet stations listed and Ridgecrest has the four SARC owned stations listed.

by Lloyd Brubaker WA6KZV

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. RACES needs Hams experienced with our set-up in the event of an emergency. 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. These loans are limited to RACES members only due to Kern County requirements.

SARC now has 113 members. If you hear someone commenting about not receiving THE AIRWAVES, ask him if he renewed membership for 1997. Mark Rosenthal N6BVP, our treasurer, is the keeper of the membership and mailing lists. Call Mark with your circulation questions. Fifteen dollars will put delinquent members back onto the SARC mailing list. See the front page for mailing address.

Meeting Programs
Dave Rosenthal N6TST was scheduled to talk about radio frequency propagation at the May meeting, however, as a helicopter pilot in the Air National Guard, a call to flight duty preempted his appearance. He will be rescheduled for a fall meeting. For September, Bob Huckins W6UPI will present a DX program with a video on the Heard Island DX expedition. Chuck Swedblom WA6EXV will talk about various microwave subjects including Earth-Moon-Earth on 2450 MHz at the October meeting.

Call our second VP, Larry Merwin KE6YLG, if you have ideas for, or can make a program presentation at a meeting.

SARC Patches
The SARC patch will apparently have a second life. SARC members at the April meeting indicated enough interest to send treasurer Mark Rosenthal N6BVP into his catalogs looking for a manufacturer of a small run.

The SARC patch is round, about four inches in diameter, with the same picture that the badge has on it, and has "Sierra Amateur Radio Club, Ridgecrest CA" surrounding the picture. They will probably sell for $2.50-$3.50. What is your interest? Let an officer know.

Bar-B-QSO and Tail Gate Swap Fest
Start making plans for the 143rd annual SARC Bar-B-QSO, Pot Luck and Tail Gate Swap Fest (SARCBBQSOPL&TGSF) at the home of Ron Ogren WA6PEV on 9 July. Dig out that RF trading stock, old Ham magazines, other not-used-in-a-long-time hardware and take it to the swap fest. The pool will be open for all to dip 'n cool. More details next month.

Jerry Brooks KK6PA is having so much fun building antennas and talking to the world on packet that he has volunteered to teach others. He is considering the two endeavors outlined below. Contact him at 446-2228 for more information.

Antenna Workshop
This workshop was run about two years ago. Most people built Yagis. There were designs for 144, 220 and 440 MHz. We learned that element diameter makes a big difference in the characteristics of an antenna. The next workshop will be run with better designs. You can build any kind of antenna you want: copper tubing J-Pole, quad, Yagi. The main advantages will be that parts orders can be combined to save on shipping costs. Help with construction and tuning your antennas will be invaluable to the new builder. Packet Workshop
Are you interested in attending either a basic or an advanced class on use of packet radio and the National Traffic System. The basic class will be for those Hams just getting into packet radio. You can learn what you need to know by spending a lot of time and playing with packet or you can provide a copy of your software and Jerry will show you how to work with nodes, BBSs and how to use the local system. The advanced class can be used to learn: How to use nearby systems. How to get information on the routes used by nodes. How to connect into the existing 440, 9600 baud system. How to get to the Las Vegas BBSs. About internet gateways for e-mail. About other gateways world wide via the internet. More is available as what you need is worked out.

by Lloyd Brubaker WA6KZV

It is highly recommended that Radio Amateurs not give out information over the air regarding any Ham's travel plans. On the radio, do not tell another Ham that somebody is on travel, or taking a vacation, or is otherwise not at home. If it is necessary to relay that information use the telephone. It's too bad that we have to use this tactic, but, then it's too bad that we have to lock the doors on our homes and cars. There are lots of scanners everywhere and it is legal to listen to Hams. Lots of people do. It is easy to find out where a Ham lives and there are those people who will take full advantage of knowing that you, or a friend, are not at home.

by Mark Rosenthal N6BVP

As of 29 April
Share account$1,506.24
Draft account1,864.63
Obligated funds
Relocate 147.00 repeater$1,200.00

Board of Officers Meeting Minutes
by Secretary Lloyd Brubaker WA6KZV

Wednesday 2 April. Attendees: Secretary Lloyd Brubaker, AIRWAVES editor Elvy Hopkins NØLV. No business was conducted.
Minutes of the General Meeting,
by Secretary Lloyd Brubaker WA6KZV

The 9 April meeting was called to order by the president at 1935 hrs at the Heritage Inn. The cost of SARC patches will be investigated by the treasurer. Elvy Hopkins showed one of the old patches; no change was recommended. Announcements were made: The Death Valley to Whitney bike ride is on 10 and 11 May. Check in with Elvy to get assignment since times and places depend upon that. Cycle II RACES training session will be in June due to present scheduling problems. The next date will be announced on the IWV Emergency Net. Field Day is always the 4th weekend in June (not the last weekend). Dale Smith, a SARC member from California City, attended for the first time. He is attempting to get a Ham club started in California City. A policy is needed concerning use of the SARC tower trailer by individual members. The possible concerns require some study. The evening's program was presented by Bob Fletcher, one of the charter members of SARC. He gave a very fine overview of Navy MARS. Contact him for more information regarding joining. Twenty five members attended.

HF QRP Packet Antenna Accessories Etc.

Norcal 40 QRP transceiver - almost completed kit $30
Katsumi electronic keyer $25
Philips U-105 antenna rotator $50
Roanoke Doppler Fox Finder $25
Butternut HF6V-X 10-80 meter vertical antenna $50
Kenwood TS-520D HF transceiver $200
AEA PK-88 packet controller $40
Astron RS-12M 12 vo