The Airwaves
March 2007
SIERRA AMATEUR RADIO CLUB
An ARRL Special Services Club
-- RACES -- ARES --
P.O. Box 1442, Ridgecrest, California 93556-1442

BOARD    President    Gene Brewer    KI6LO    446-1315   
    First VP    John Andrus    KC6UWM    371-2190   
OF    Second VP    Fred Moses    KG6STR    371-4034   
    Secretary    Lloyd Brubaker    WA6KZV    375-7245   
OFFICERS    Treasurer    Pam Evans    KC6UUS    375-4240   

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, linked to 145.34
Ridgecrest YBNBBS:WA6YBN, 145.050 MHz, Bulletin Board, 1200 Baud
Ridgecrest #YBNSW:WA6YBN-4, 223.580 MHz, Node, 1200 Baud
Ridgecrest #YBNSW:WA6YBN-4, 439.025 MHz, Node, 9600 Baud

SARC Committees

Technical Assistance: Greg, WA7IRW 446-4383
Program: Fred, KG6STR 446-1315
RF Interference: Bill, WA6QYR 375-8566
Public Relations: John, KC6UWM 375-5324
Airways Editor: Mike, WA6ARA 275-5324
Emergency and Public Service: Mike, W6PA 793-0541


THE AIRWAVES CALENDAR

Every Monday Night

ARRL Audio News
1910 (7:10 PM) on 146.64 MHz

IWV Emergency Net
Visitors Welcomed!
1930 (7:30 PM) 
WA6YBN Translator 146.64 MHz (-)

East Kern County Emergency Net
Visitors Welcomed!
Rand repeater 145.340, pl 100
2000 (8 PM)
     
Mar 14 SARC Board Meeting
7:00 PM - Heritage Inn Converence Room

Mar 14 SARC General Meeting
7:30 PM - Heritage Inn Converence Room
Program - 6 Meter Fold Out Beam

Mar 24 Transmitter Hunt
9:00 AM - Heritage Inn parking lot

AMATEUR RADIO LICENSE EXAMS
Second Saturday, Even months
Feb 10 Volunteer License Exam Sessions
Kern County Library Ridgecrest Branch
131 East Las Flores Ave. Meeting Room
Pre-register by 09 April.
All must sign in at 9 AM.  Code test 11 AM. 
Contact Elvy NØLV 760-384-3589
E-mail  ehopkins@ridgenet.net


SARC DUES ARE DUE!!!

Your 2007 SARC dues are due. Please use the enclosed application. This will be the last newsletter based upon the 2006 membership. Also, please fill out all the info, including email and post address. This way we can keep an up to date data base of everyone.

If you haven't renewed, this will be the last newsletter.


From the President's Shack

Well a historical milestone in amateur radio communications has passed and hopefully it will be for the better. As you all should know by now, unless you've been hiding on a remote island without any radio gear, the FCC removed the requirement to pass Element 1 'aka the Morse Code' effective February 23, 2007. What exactly does this mean for you as SARC members.

Well if you are already a Tech Plus or higher and have passed Element 1 previously, then not much. But if you are a Technician Class or lower and have not passed Element 1 or have passed the General or higher (Elements 3 and 4) but not been able to master enough code speed to pass Element 1, then your ship has landed. With this new FCC regulation, you can garner some or all US Amateur Radio HF allocations without Element 1, depending on your previous status. If you are unsure, check with one of the local Volunteer Examiners (VE) for information.

With this new regulation, I would challenge all club members who have not upgraded due to the need to pass Element 1 to now step up to the plate and upgrade. If you need help, there are many in the club who could (or should) be able to help you get that needed knowledge to upgrade. Study up and get going. We're waiting for you on HF. The HF bands are not in the best shape right now, with us being at the bottom of the sunspot cycle, but they should start improving soon and get better as the next few years progress.

See you all at the next club meeting,

Gene KI6LO


TREASURER'S REPORT

Treasurer's Report as of March 1, 2007:

Draft Account $ 1,100.92 
Share Account $ 5,026.26 
BALANCE:      $ 6,127.18 
submitted by Pam Evans, KC6UUS


IWV Emergency Net Checkins
February 05 19 
February 12 19 
February 19 16 
February 26 19 

T-Hunts!

Last Feb 24 we had a terrific local T-Hunt. The hunted was Paula, N6VGW and the hunters included:
John WD6CSV
Carol WD6AAD
Mike WA6ARA
Greg WA7IRW
Todd W6TOD
Pam KC6UUS
The transmitter was first found by Todd and Pam. The next T-Hunt is scheduled for March 24 at 9am, starting at the parking lot of the Heritage Inn. Hope to see you all there.


A New General Ham Thoughts...

Hello everyone, just a few quick comments. First thank you to everyone who has been helping me with HF antenna problems. Second, for those of you who have not upgraded from Technician class to General class, you are missing a whole new world in radio communications. On the HF bands and using lower power (QRP is 5 watts or less), (20 to 50 watts) as that is what I have been using you can make clear contacts 3000 miles away. My first contact was WD5KBY on the east cost of Texas, grid EL28 on 40 meters running 40 watts. My (RST) signal was 5-5; he was 4-8 coming back to me. Since than I have made several contacts, one in Alaska on 20 Meters, New York and Ohio on 40 Meters.

You don't need real expansive antennas; I am using a sloper (a long end fed wire 60 foot long wire) fed at 35 feet and angled toward the ground and is about 6 feet above the ground on the low end. Depending on your radio you may need an antenna tuner for this set up. I also built out of cardboard string and 22 AWG wire a mulit-band covering 10, 12, 15, 17 and 20 meters that worked well until the wind tore it apart. It was a dipole center fed with RG-58. I consisted of wires cut to each band and tied to the RG58 coax.

The General class test is not that hard. Just take some time and read the General Class book, I also recommend visiting www.QRZ.com and take a few practice tests to see how your are doing. The questions you miss go back and look the info up in the book to see why you answered the question wrong. Come on now it's only 35 questions. Hope to hear you out there.
...KC6UWM John.


Elmer on...
Packet Radio in the IWV

Believe it or not, Packet Radio is not dead. Many Amateurs still use it for keyboard-to-keyboard contacts or for posting messages to a local bulletin board system. A basic Packet Radio station can also send and receive emails to and from the Internet. If you are interested in setting up a Packet Radio station, there are several sources of information and assistance: www.tapr.org, the SARC Technical Assistance Committee (Greg/WA7IRW) or jump on the 146.64 repeater and ask for help. All you need to get on the air is a computer, a 2 Meter rig and either a Terminal Node Controller (TNC) or computer sound card and software.

For those new to Amateur Radio or those who have simply forgotten, simply put, Packet radio is a form of computer networking that uses radio links instead of wire. Don't confuse the Packet Radio "radio links" with computer wireless networking. While the various computer networking protocols operate at 10Mbs and faster, Packet Radio uses the AX.25 protocol operating at a much slower 64Kbs (1200 baud) and 512Kbs (9600 baud). 1200 baud Packet Radio operates at 1/156th the speed and 9600 baud Packet Radio operates at 1/19th the speed of a basic 10MBs network. But just like your home or work network, the AX.25 protocol uses an error detection system thereby providing a 99-100% character reliability.

Packet Radio activity in the IWV is not as active today as it was back in the good old days (1995-2000). Way back then, there were Bulletin Board Stations (BBSs) in almost every city across the U.S. These BBSs allowed Amateurs to send and receive messages, post and read for sale notices or just send a message out to the world requesting help or comments. Does any of this sound similar to today's Internet and email? Most BBSs also had a feature called a "Node." Nodes operated much the same as a repeater. You could connect to the node and use the node as a repeater to contact another Packet Radio station or BBS that you could not connect to directly. You could also go Node hopping. From the IWV, you could connect to the ELPASO node, then connect to the Big Bear node and finally to a Packet Radio station located in Pomona.

The most popular feature of the BBSs was sending and receiving personal messages. Back in the days before everyone had access to the Internet, Amateurs were sending "emails" to other Amateurs using Packet Radio. I remember sending messages to my Elmer, Rob/ND1V, and he would usually receive them within 24 hours. Not bad considering the message was relayed by over 40 Packet Radio stations, along with thousands of other messages at the blazing speeds of 1200 and 9600 baud.

So what's going on today? In the IWV, we still have the WA6YBN BBS and the WA6YBN-4 node. The BBS can be used to send and receive messages with other Packet Radio stations within the IWV. You can also connect to WA6YBN-4 via 145.05 MHz and conduct a QSO with a Packet Radio station that is using 223.58 MHz. As mentioned above, you can use the -4 node as a repeater to conduct a keyboard-to-keyboard QSO with a Packet Radio station that you cannot communicate with directly. Unfortunately, the hilltop nodes that allowed us to send and receive messages outside of the IWV are no longer available, so node hopping QSOs or sending a Packet Radio message to my Elmer are no longer possible.

What is possible is sending and receiving Internet emails via Packet Radio. Dennis/W6DWF operates a WINLINK2000 (WL2K) TELPAC gateway station, W6DWF-10. By using a basic hardware or software TNC, you can connect to his station and create new messages that will be delivered by WL2K or the Internet. After connecting to W6DWF-10, send an "H" (Help) for the various message instructions. The W6DWF-10 TELPAC station operates between 1000-1400, 7-days a week. The hours can easily be extended by contacting Dennis/W6DWF.

Although Packet Radio was one of the first computerized digital modes, it has kept up with the times and is still in use here in the IWV and elsewhere. Check it out.

73.......Elmer


ARRL wants documents relating to FCC's dismissal of BPL complaints

*************** 
The ARRL Letter 
Vol. 26, No. 09 
March 2, 2007 
*************** 
The ARRL has filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request seeking to compel the FCC to provide several documents related to its dismissal of several broadband over power line (BPL) interference complaints from radio amateurs in Manassas, Virginia. [full story] The FCC told five Manassas radio amateurs December 14 that it was throwing out their complaints, asserting that its measurements last October 25 and 26 showed the Manassas BPL system to be in compliance. The ARRL has disputed the FCC's findings and, on December 21, sought clarification in a letter to several FCC officials, including Enforcement Bureau Chief Kris Monteith and Spectrum Enforcement Division Chief Kathryn S. Berthot, who authored the dismissal letter. ARRL CEO David Sumner, K1ZZ, says the FCC's silence to date prompted the FOIA request.

"The reasons for the Commission's dismissal, after months of delay, of five of the six Manassas complaints are inadequately documented, and no action appears ever to have been taken on a sixth complaint," Sumner commented. "The FOIA request was submitted only after the FCC failed, after more than two months, to respond to a letter from the ARRL pointing out apparent deficiencies in the Commission's investigation and requesting additional information to supplement Kathryn Berthot's terse and uninformative letter of December 14 dismissing the five complaints."

While Manassas-area amateurs indicate that new BPL equipment has somewhat reduced interference, some severe interference exists, and the situation remains "far from acceptable," Sumner said.

ARRL Chief Counsel Chris Imlay, W3KD, filed the FOIA request February 23, seeking essentially the same information and documentation it had asked the Commission last December to provide voluntarily. The League is looking for any documents that:

* indicate whether or not the hams who filed interference complaints were notified in advance of the FCC inspection and testing in late October, and, if so, who;

* indicate if anyone other than FCC staff observed the Manassas BPL system tests;

* indicate which FCC staffers were involved in the testing and if any were from the Office of Engineering and Technology (OET);

* indicate which FCC staff members determined the test procedures used during the October inspection;

* indicate whether or not representatives of BPL system operator COMTek and equipment supplier Main.net had been notified in advance of the October inspection and testing;

* identify the six areas of the BPL system where the FCC reported it conducted tests, how it determined those areas, why two test sites were segregated from the six identified earlier, whether test results on October 26 differed from those of the previous day and whether there were changes in the BPL system prior to the October 26 testing, and that

* indicate specific test methodologies and equipment the FCC used during its testing, specific frequencies checked, radiated emission levels recorded, the distance from power lines and their height above ground, if any underground lines were tested and if they were notched on any bands.

The League also wants copies of all correspondence regarding the October 25-26 tests "between or among" OET, the Enforcement Bureau, Main.net, COMTek and/or the City of Manassas, including letters and e-mails.

In his December 21 response to the FCC, Imlay maintained that Berthot's letter raised more questions than it answered. For starters, he said, there's no independent means to evaluate the conclusions Berthot described.

One complainant, George Tarnovsky, K4GVT, said neither he nor the other five complainants was alerted to the planned FCC testing. The others are Donald "Butch" Blasdell, W4HJL; William South, N3OH; Arthur Whittum, W1CRO; Jack Cochran, WC4J, and Dwight Agnew, AI4II. Berthot's December 14 letter altogether overlooked Whittum's May 2006 complaint that BPL interference precluded communication with the EastCARS and MidCARS nets on 40 meters. As recently as February 26, Whittum reported experiencing harmful interference on 40 meters from emissions that appeared to be well in excess of FCC limits.

Last August, the ARRL had recommended that the FCC Enforcement Bureau and the OET to take independent measurements in Manassas, rather than relying on COMTek to provide the information. It further urged the Commission to permit all concerned parties to witness the testing and be assured that the testing was valid. "Had that been done," Imlay wrote December 21, "and had the measurements been fairly and objectively made, and if the results were as the Commission stated in its December 14 letter, this matter would have been resolved. As it is, nothing is now resolved."


Petition to Gov for Ham Radio Week

The East Bay Section has started a grass roots movement to petition the Governor to issue a proclamation declaring June 17th - 23rd 2007 as Amateur Radio Week. As far as known, no Calif. governor has ever issued a proclamation on behalf of ham radio although there have been attempts by single clubs in the past to do so. Maybe large numbers will help hammer the message.

This is a good project. I will have the petition at the April club meeting for signature.
...Mike WA6ARA


FOR SALE!

For Sale: Got a legacy radio you'd like to use but it has no sub-audible tones? Such a deal I've got for you. Three, brand new, still-in-the-bag, Com Spec SS-32 Sub Tone generators boards, about 1 square inch including on-board dip switch. Cost $30. $10 apiece while they last.
...Phelps, W6PTH, 375-4905


FREE!

6 meter Beam - One hitch. It is heavy cuz it is made out of electric conduct tubing and is welded together and is all in one piece. It is five element 12' boom and adjustable Gamma match. It maybe a bit too much for a CDR rotator on a long term use.
Contact Jim WA6TFZ


Message from SARG President

I'm the current president of SARG, the Sequoia Amateur Radio Group in Lake Isabella. I'd like to have more contact between our clubs (and more with your EC, since I'm the AEC of the Kern River Valley). From Greg, WA7IRW, one of your members who came to our meeting yesterday, I received a copy of your latest newsletter. I'd like to put a Web link to your Club site newsletter page (if you have one) on our Web site. I want to foster more connection between SARG and SARC and other clubs in reasonable proximity. Please feel free to put a link on your site to our Newsletters. I hope this will encourage more members of each club to visit meetings of other local clubs.

Skip, N6SR

[link added to our front page --kc6uut]


RACES, ARES and INDIAN WELLS VALLEY EMERGENCY NET MEMBERS

In case of impending or current emergency, monitor the SARC translator on 146.64/04 MHz or the backup simplex frequency of 146.52 MHz. KK6PA, Jerry, the local RACES EC, will coordinate mobilization. An Emergency Net Control Station will direct radio communications. Check in. State your capabilities. Be prepared to go outside the IWV for at least three days.

An E-Pac should contain: your RACES card, radios and accessories, batteries, charger, paper, pen, clipboard, flashlight with spare batteries, timepiece, headgear, sunglasses, spare glasses, your medications, your medical history, first aid kit, severe weather clothing, non-perishable food, 3 gal. water, sleeping bag.

Updated Sun Mar 11 10:20:13 PDT 2007