THE AIRWAVES CALENDAR
It seems that October is the month of conventions. All these decisions on which to attend. There was the EME conference on the east coast; the Western States Weak Signal Society convention followed a week later by both the Microwave Update in Dallas, TX and Pacificon in the Bay area. Mike, WA6ARA and Paula, N6VGW elected to attend Pacificon while I went with Judy, KC6UTF to Dallas. Microwave Update is an annual event covering frequencies from 1 GHz and up. It is held in various places around the USA rotating from eastern to western states. People from the world over attend Update. There were several from Britain and Belgium. Australia and Japan were represented there too. ARRL David Sumner was present for a talk also. Thursday was started with a tour of a number of "surplus" stores in the Dallas- Fort Worth area. Friday morning had a number of measurement stations set up to check your amplifier noise figure and gain, program your "Reflock" board, check the phase noise on your oscillator and measure the gain of your antenna. Friday afternoon started the technical talks on every thing from building stations on 127 GHz to laser EME. ARRL had a talk on other business interests in our ham bands. Friday also started the vendor's displays of ham and "surplus" microwave type gear. There was something over a million free parts available for the taking. Lots of surface mount parts and through hole mount parts. Friday evening had a flea market that had lots of good stuff for low prices. Saturday had more talks and auctions of good things carried in by some of the overseas folks as well as local hams. Saturday evening had the usual banquet where there was lots of time to talk with others. The "drawing" had prizes for everyone and even a twice-round chance. The ladies had tours on Friday and Saturday as well as a prize table at the banquet. I carry two suitcases so as to be able to carry home the goodies. This time I had about 30 pounds of boxes and things.!
The 2005 Microwave Update with be in the LA area sponsored by the San Bernardino Microwave Society (which I write the newsletter for).
Get out there and attend these type conventions to enjoy the hobby and keep current on what is going on.
73's Bill, WA6QYR
Treasurer's Report As of October 31, 2004: Draft Account $ 861.62 Share Account $ 5,503.63 BALANCE: $ 6,365.25Submitted by Pam Evans, KC6UUS
Easy FM Satellites
Amateur radio satellites are easy to use and fun as well. Mike, WA6ARA, will be presenting in November the how and why of operating the easy FM satellites. At the present time there are no less than 2 open FM satellites available as well as the ISS station. All that is needed is a 2meter and 440 FM rig(s) and some simple antennas. The presentation will be November 10th at the regular SARC meeting. Hope to see you there!
December Meeting Program
The December Meeting will be a combination Show and Tell, BPL update and Holiday get together. For the Show and Tell bring whatever you have new for the last year. Show of that new rig or project. On the BPL there will be a short update as to the recent happenings by the FCC and some of the steps the ARRL might be taking. And last, there will be plenty of goodies and hot apple cider to toast the upcoming holiday season. And, don't forget the infamous SARC elections for BOO! Hope to see you there.
Indian Wells Valley Emergency Net Update
Check ins October 11 14 October 25 17 November 01 13The net has three basic purposes to exist. One of the primary ones is to help train and practice our communication ability for emergency operations using net procedures. The best way to do this is to be Net Control operator. It is easy to do and the experience is worth it. Please contact me to volunteer for a month or just for a week. The time to learn is now, not in the middle of an emergency.
...Mike Herr WA6ARA
The Jamboree-on-the-Air is an annual fall event on the third full weekend in October. The intent is for Boy and Girl Scouts to talk with other Scouts around the country or world via ham radio.
The 47th JOTA dawned on a beautiful fall day. This year five local hams, Phelps W6PTH, Gene KI6LO, Sam KG6EMT, John AI6A, and Greg WA7IRW, arrived at Pearson Park about 0700 on October 16th. We proceeded to set up the three element beam atop the SARC tower trailer. Two sun shades were erected, one over Phelps' HF rig, and one over the electronic assembly
table. A welcome table and a Morse table were also set up for the Scouts to explore. By about 0830 we were ready for the Scouts. Sam brought donuts and coffee that we enjoyed until the first group of Cub Scouts arrived about 1000.
The 9 Scouts who participated this year enjoyed sending Morse messages between the two remaining practice keyers from last year's JOTA electronics project. This year's electronic take-home project was a 940 nanometer infrared detector that responds to TV remote controls and could be used for IR tag, wireless Morse, checking TV remotes, or seeing if items around the house emitted IR. The Scouts also received a JOTA participation card and a JOTA patch.
The HF bands were spectacularly poor that day. Phelps could hear a number of stations, but could not make more than two or three QSO's all day.
Unfortunately, a breeze started about noon and the Scouts who arrived in the afternoon had to contend with a brisk wind over the tables. Part of our time was spent chasing papers across the park as paperweights were blown off the tables. Finally we called it quits a little after 1400 when the last group of Scouts had not arrived and one of the sun shades blew over and wrapped itself around the tower trailer. Jerry Brooks' weather station later showed a peak gust of 38 knots about 1530 hours, confirming that we closed shop at the right time.
Pacificon 2004 Report
Pacificon happens every October, usually right on the JOTA weekend. Seems like everything happens in October around here, so we had never made it to Pacificon. This was to be different. Paula and I decided early on to make it there for once. My main goal was to attend the QRP Forum.
We arrived in San Ramon early on Saturday 16 October. I was worried that we were a little late and might have missed part of the QRP Forum. Nope, when we got in we found the building dark, and water dripping from the ceiling. All the vendors were trying to sell their wares, but the only one doing a brisk business was the LED flashlight salesman!. As it turned out the whole San Ramon area was blacked out. Just as the emergency generators were coming on line so did the power! Lights at last! Never heard why water was dripping from the ceiling but it stopped when the power came on.
The QRP Forum started just a tad late so we didn't miss a thing. I had been to one a couple years ago at the ARRL Southwest Division Conference and I wasn't disappointed. Lots of neat ideas. They handed out the notes and presentations on a CD, with permission to copy it. So, anyone looking for a copy please see me.
The Vendor area was excellent. The best buy I saw there was the ICOM 706 for sale at $399! That's a lot of HF radio for a little amount. I was drawn in to the Elecraft booth vortex, where I spent some time with Elecraft's Wayne Burdick, the genuis behind Elecraft as well as a multitude of radio kits like the Norcal 40, Seirra and others. Truthfully, I had been lusting after their handy little packing rig, the KX1. To make a long story shorter, I bought one! Including the automatic antenna tuner, 30 meter option and paddle. (It's a great kit, I'll write it up for some future Airwaves).
Late in the afternoon we attended the HFPack group presentation. This is an interesting group, as they promote portable operation, on HF, with pedestrian mobile being the specialty. Later in the night they had a "Zombie" shuffle. Imagine dozen or so hams in the parking lot, with rigs and 20 foot tall antennas on pack frames, walking about. Why a "zombie" shuffle? Cuz' you can't walk well dragging a 33 foot counterpoise on the ground.
One of the high points was the QRP auction. This was largely from the estate of the late Jim Cates, WA6GER. Jim was the co-founder of NorCal QRP group and was quite the QRP collector. There were a lot of unique and one of a kind QRP rigs. I bid on several, finally scoring on a Ten Tec PM-1. One interesting rig was the Ameco AC-1, it fetched $150! The ham who bought it has it on the air and a small rival of single tube rigs is happening.
Overall we had a great time. There is an drawing every couple of hours for various gifts. I won a nice multimode battery charger. If you haven't been to one of these, you are really missing out. The Southwest Division meeting is held in the September time frame, rotating between LA, Phoenix and San Diego areas.
A lot has happened recently in the area of BPL. And it's not good! The following is from the ARRL Letter Vol. 23, No. 43 October 29, 2004
==>FCC BPL REPORT AND ORDER STRESSES INTERFERENCE AVOIDANCE, RESOLUTION
The FCC this week released the full BPL Report and Order (R&O) in ET Docket 04-37 that it adopted just two weeks ago. While extolling the purported benefits of broadband over power line technology, the 81-page document also declares the FCC's intention to protect licensed services from harmful interference.
"We recognize that some radio operations in the bands being used for Access BPL, such as those of Amateur Radio licensees, may occur at distances sufficiently close to power lines as to make harmful interference a possibility," the FCC conceded in its R&O. "We believe that those situations can be addressed through interference avoidance techniques by the Access BPL provider such as frequency band selection, notching, or judicious device placement."
Notches would have to be at least 20 dB below applicable Part 15 limits on HF, 10 dB below on VHF. The FCC called the ability to alter a system's operation to notch out transmissions on specific frequencies where interference is occurring "a necessary feature for resolving interference without disrupting service to BPL subscribers."
In line with remarks made at the October 14 open meeting where the FCC adopted the R&O--then still in draft form--the FCC declined to reduce the Part 15 radiated emission limit for BPL systems. It maintained that emissions from BPL systems are very localized and at low enough levels to generally preclude harmful interference.
The FCC said it had no evidence before it that BPL operation would significantly contribute to generally raising background noise levels. At the same time, it seemed to put some of the onus on Amateur Radio licensees to take steps to avoid power-line interference--and, by inference, BPL interference--in advance.
"In addition, because power lines inherently can radiate significant noise emissions as noted by NTIA and ARRL, good engineering practice is to locate sensitive receiver antennas as far as practicable from power lines," the FCC said.
In a footnote, the FCC took pains to advise ARRL that in cases where its members experience RF noise, "such noise can often be avoided by carefully locating their antennas; in many instances an antenna relocation of only a relatively short distance can resolve noise interference."
BPL operators would be required to avoid certain bands, such as those used for life and safety communications by aeronautical mobile or US Coast Guard stations. The FCC R&O makes clear, however, that similar rules will not apply to the Amateur Service.
"We similarly do not find that Amateur Radio frequencies warrant the special protection afforded frequencies reserved for international aeronautical and maritime safety operations," the Commission said. "While we recognize that amateurs may on occasion assist in providing emergency communications," the FCC added. It described typical amateur operations as "routine communications and hobby activities."
Although some cases of harmful interference may be possible from BPL emissions at levels up to Part 15 limits, the FCC said, "we agree with NTIA [National Telecommunications and Information Administration] that the benefits of Access BPL service warrant acceptance of a small and manageable degree of interference risk." The Commission reiterated in the R&O its belief that BPL's public benefits "are sufficiently important and significant so as to outweigh the limited potential for increased harmful interference that may arise."
Among other specific provisions, the FCC's new rules mandate certification of BPL equipment instead of the less-stringent verification, a public BPL database--something the BPL industry did not want-and mechanisms to deal swiftly with interference complaints. BPL systems will have to incorporate the ability to modify operation and performance "to mitigate or avoid potential harmful interference" and to deactivate problematic units, the R&O says.
Further, the new rules spell out the locations of "small geographic exclusion zones" as well as excluded bands or frequencies-concessions made primarily at the insistence of the NTIA, which administers radio spectrum for federal government users--and "coordination areas" where BPL operators must "precoordinate" spectrum use. The rules also detail techniques to measure BPL emissions from system equipment and power lines.
The FCC said it expects "good faith" on both sides in the event of interference complaints. While the Commission said it expects BPL operators to take every interference complaint seriously and to diagnose the possible cause of interference quickly, it also suggested that complainants have responsibilities.
"At the same time, we expect the complainant to have first taken reasonable steps to confirm that interference, rather than a receiver system malfunction, is occurring and, to the extent practicable, to determine that the interference source is located outside the complainant's premises," the Commission said.
Shutting down a BPL system in response to a valid interference complaint "would be a last resort when all other efforts to satisfactorily reduce interference have failed," the FCC said.
League officials are studying the R&O and considering possible responses. The ARRL Executive Committee (EC) already has authorized filing a Petition for Reconsideration. The EC also authorized ARRL General Counsel Chris Imlay, W3KD, to "prepare to pursue other available remedies as to procedural and substantive defects" in the BPL proceeding.
Looking for News!
I'm always looking for local news for and about the IWV amateur radio community. Also, if you have something for sale or are looking for something else, drop me a line and I'll put it in the Airwaves.
Ok, let's say you have some news for the Airwaves. How do you get it in. Well, the best way is if you can send it to me electronically, ie email. The text can be in Word or Works, but the most universal is as text body of the email, no HTML, PLEASE!
However, if you don't have email, I can take paper copy. You can
send it to me at 613 Rebel Road, Ridgecrest.
SARC Newsletter via Email
Remember that the SARC newsletter is now available via email, in TWO formats, Adobe Acrobat PDF and in plain text. The PDF version is complete, and in color, but you will need Acrobat Reader to view it. Most have it and it is available free to both PC and Mac users. The plain text version can be read by just about anything! ...but you lose the graphics.
If you want the newsletter via Email make sure you check the proper box on the membership form, add your email address and the version you want. If you have already renewed and want to convert to email, or have changed your email address, drop the secretary, Tom Ingram, WB6EPD , (375-7950) a note, as he is keeping the email address lists.
...Editor, Mike, WA6ARA, firstname.lastname@example.org
ARRL ANNOUNCES HOLIDAY TOY DRIVE FOR FLORIDA YOUNGSTERS
The ARRL is coming to the aid of children in Florida displaced or
left homeless in the wake of three hurricanes, by sponsoring a
nationwide holiday toy drive. Clubs and individuals from across the
US already have indicated they'll be taking part. Joanne Ramsey,
KB1KWJ, one of the hurricane relief/recovery volunteers working in
Central Florida, saw the devastation and the need following Hurricane
Ivan. "This is really going to make a difference for those children,"
she said. "I still see the images of hungry little faces I was not
able to feed. The sadness in their eyes was very hard for me to
deal with." Thousands of families are without a permanent place to
live, and that situation could well extend into the holiday season.
"For a child suddenly living out of a tent, or car, or someone
else's home, the 2004 holiday season will be anything but jolly,"
said ARRL Public Relations Manager Allen Pitts, W1AGP. "But hams
across the country are coming to their rescue in a second new way
through the League's program." Between now and Thanksgiving, hams
radio operators throughout the US are invited to send new children's
toys, accompanied by a QSL card, to Ham Radio, The United Way White
Dove Project, 50 Kindred St - Suite 207, Stuart, FL 34994. Carol
Hodnett, of Martin County United Way, said the hurricanes and their
aftermath have been especially traumatic for children. "In addition
to the frightening experience of going through the hurricanes," she
pointed out, "youngsters are coping with a great deal of stress
felt within their families and at school." Martin County United Way
will handle the distribution end of the program. Pitts said the
focus is on Central Florida communities because they took the brunt
of the three storms. Additional details about the Hams for Toys
program are on the
ARRL Web site
Check out the Amateur Radio's Web "Top 20" Links from QST
Updated Sun Jun 6 19:18:32 PDT 2004