OCTOBER 1997 SHORT SKIP
Fremont Peak Contestr Wrap Up
NEW BBS SEABBS/WA6LIE
FM Signal Reporting
BUYING A NEW CAR
Fremont Peak Contest Event Wrap Up
by Tom Ginsburg, K6TG
You could not have asked for better weather during our California QSO Party operating event at Fremont Peak on October 4th and 5th. Clear skies and temperatures in the mid-70’s were enough to keep us busy sight-seeing. We all made the climb to catch the panoramic view from the summit of Fremont Peak, which was beautiful both at night and during the day. We got to witness some beautiful sunsets as well. To top it all off, we got to see a nice presentation on the moon, and view a globular cluster, Saturn and Jupiter through the Fremont Peak Observatory’s 30-inch telescope. Oh yeah, we did a little operating, too!
We had 3 HF stations, 2 VHF stations and APRS on during at least part of the event. While I haven’t yet had a chance to total up the logs, we made over 500 contacts. Operators were Jeff AC6KW, Eric K6EP, Geoff KD6MFM, Bruce AC6DN, Ron KC6VJT and Tom K6TG. We also were visited by Phill and Gretchen, KG6XY and N6NMS (thanks for the beer!) and Roy KF6KVD. Also, a big thanks to all the club members and other local hams who worked us on the bands!
So where to next? Stay tuned for the next operating event, probably coming up next spring. Hope to see you, or work you from there!
Once again I find myself up against the Short Skip Deadline, determined this time to complete a missive for publication before its too late. So much for my original goal of producing a monthly column! Turns out I just didn’t have the time. But, just as well, I guess. You can thank Father Time for sparing you from too large a dose of my mind’s meanderings this year.
Our speaker this month will be Austin, AB6VU, on spread spectrum technology, an area where timing is of the essence. Austin has a knack for illuminating the complexities of sophisticated technologies in such a way that even technological laymen can almost understand what he’s talking about. I guarantee his presentation will be both fun and informative.
Kudos to those of you who found and/or made the time to study for license upgrades this year. In my opinion lack of time is the number one barrier to obtaining and upgrading an Amateur Radio license today. Time was not so long ago that there was time for hobbies such as ours. Remember when stores were closed on Sundays and one wage earner could provide for the family without working overtime? How many of you spend over two hours of your time commuting? Time’s a precious commodity of which none of us seems to have enough these days. “Time is money.” I wonder how rich Bill Gates really is. How much time does he have in his back pocket? One interesting thing I can tell you about time though: If you do find those twenty minutes a day you don’t have to study for your upgrade, when you get it you will discover that you have hours of time every week to play with your radio exploring your new privileges!
Did you notice in last month’s QST that the ARRL has extended the time period for members to submit their suggestions concerning changes to the licensing structure and requirements for the Amateur Radio license? If you haven’t made your thoughts known to your division director there is still time. Cont. pg 4 col. 3
Recommended Reading: Crystal Fire, by Michael Riordan and Lillian Hoddeson, W.W. Norton & Co. I’ve just started this book and hope to find the time to finish it. It is very well written and recounts the story of the transistor team at Bell Labs headed up by William Shockley. An interesting excerpt:
“Long-distance radio communication began to flower in the new century. Its roots extended back into the late 1800’s, when men such as Heinrich Hertz and Guglielmo Marconi pioneered techniques of transmitting and receiving radio signals over ever larger distances, eventually spanning oceans and continents. Until the 1920s, however, the messages remained primitive, usually buried in the dull, monotonous drumbeat of the Morse code. Ham radio operators might not mind sitting hour after hour with earphones glued to their ears, sending and receiving the staccato strings of dots and dashes, which were then translated into words, phrases, and sentences. But ordinary people still wrote letters or, when they needed a quick reply, used the telephone and telegraph.” Crystal Fire, page. 18-19.
Oh well, technological time marches on! Is that a CQ I hear, or just the anachronistic ticking of the analog clock in my kitchen sounding taps for the last CW QSO? CW ops never die, they just QSB. …_._
? 73, KQ6DV.
K6BJ, our club callsign, got some excersize during the California QSO contest on the weekend of October 4. Thanks to Tom K6TG for organizing the outing to Fremont Peak. Our recent club breakfast on October 4 was fun, but we had some difficulty in contacting the Fremont Peak operation. We could reach them from the parking lot though.
The next club breakfast will be at the Whale’s Tail Restaurant on 17th Avenue near Brommer Street at 9AM on Saturday, November 8. The big SCCARC annual December holiday brunch will be held on December 13 in Santa Cruz. Mark your calendars for this big extravaganza! There will be lots of special reasons for coming to this big get-together! You’ll be hearing more about this soon. We really hope everybody can make it to this worthwhile annual event.
Pacificon is this weekend, October 17-18-19. Our local Pacific Division ARRL convention is lots of fun and quite informative. Rick, KN6FR, from the Naval Postgraduate club (K6LY), will be receiving his award for Instructor of the year at the Saturday banquet at Pacificon. Speaking of the Naval Postgraduate club, our neighbors across the bay will be putting on their Winterfest hamfest on February 21, 1998.
We need volunteers for the Nominating Committee. Club elections take place at the November club meeting. If you would like to be on the Nominating Committee this year or run for club office next year, let me (or any board member or officer) know ASAP please.
NEW BBS SEABBS/WA6LIE
Hello from Scott in Aptos!
I am writing this to announce that KG6EE Hank is NO longer running his BBS on 145.070 I have taken over the operations of running a BAY AREA BBS!
Location: SEABBS/WA6LIE- BBS is located in Rio Del Mar. (Aptos) Frequencies: 145.790 and 441.500 (UHF forwarding port) Nodes: APTOS (Rio Del Mar) and MADONA (Mt. Madonna @1,300′) All on 145.790 Cross linking to N6IYA and KI6EH can be done on 2M or 440. See ROUTES to APTOS
Computer: IBM 386/40 100meg HD 16K Memory. Radios: 2 meters- Yaesu HT to Motorola Amplifer (75 watts) Radios: 440- Yaesu FT-712RH 35 watts
Antenna: Comet Dualband antenna @35′ VHF/8 DB gain UHF/11 DB gain.
This BBS has been in operation since August 1, 1997. It is a FULL service BBS as KI6EH is.
As of this time, there are not many registered users. Help keep the bay area, and packet ALIVE! Check out SEABBS? and send some messages! Packet operations are slowing down due to the vast increase activities via the internet!
HELP KEEP HAM RADIO ALIVE!
I hope to hear from you!
?73, Scott WA6LIE@WA6LIE.#CCA.CA.USA.NOAM
FM Signal Reporting
by Jeff Liebermann (WB6SSY)
Giving a useable signal report on a repeater is fairly difficult for a new ham. Besides the technical terms and jargon, recognizing the various types of noise and interference are not obvious. The numeric signal reporting methods were originally designed for low band CW and AM and are only marginally applicable to FM and repeater operation. The following are keywords and brief desciptions of common FM anomalies from the listeners perspective.
“Your signal is weak.”
This is a vague generality that requires some additional information from the complainer. Ask if everybody sounds weak? Is he complaining about weak audio or weak (noisy) RF signal? Does the repeater identifier also sound weak? Ask exactly what he means by the vague term “weak”. Each of these represents a different issue. There may also be something wrong with the repeater. Ask other users of the repeater how you sound through the repeater. Once a consensus is established the blame can be properly assigned.
“You have low audio. Try talking into the front of the microphone.” This means that the audio from the speaker is low as compared to either other stations audio or as compared to the repeater speech identifier.
“You’re over-deviated. Fix your radio.”
This means that the audio from the speaker is very loud and distorted when compared to other stations. This should be verified by listening to this station on the repeater input. If it sounds just as bad on the input, that stations transmitter deviation control requires adjustment.
“Your radio sounds like modulated road noise. Crank down your mic gain if you want to be understood.”
This is where the deviation is correct, but the microphone gain control is adjusted for far too much amplification. The result is that everyone hears the operator but also everything in the background. In a vehicle it’s the road noise. In a house, it’s the phone, kids, TV, etc.
“You’re 5KHz off frequency. Learn to program your radio.” The repeater still keys, but the audio is horribly distorted. This distortion is quite different from other forms of unintelligibility and must be experienced to be appreciated. I suggest you have someone try it intentionally so that it’s easily recognized next time.
“You’ve got a variable whine on your signal. Fix your wiring.” A variable frequency audio whine the corresponds to the vehicles engine rpm is usually caused by an improper radio ground. Grounding the radio through the chassis or through the cigarette igniter is not sufficient. The ground wire should run all the way to the battery ground terminal. Same with the +12V lead.
“You’ve got intermod on your signal.”
Intermodulation is where two or more signals mix with the result on the repeater input. Two signals are usually heard. Intermod can also occurr in the listeners receiver or in the repeater transmitter. Base stations in strong signal areas tend to complain about intermod. Intermod from the repeater is easy to detect as it appears on everyone’s signal. Local intermod is best tested by listening on two different radios. If only one radio hears intermod, it’s being generated in that receiver and not the repeater.
By Art Lee WF6P
Our October club breakfast at the Bakers Square restaurant was a great success. Thanks to our club president, Cap KE6AFE, for setting it up.
Thirteen members and their families attended and enjoyed themselves. Donna, AB6XJ, and I overheard Ralph’s XYL, Midge, say that she learned the Morse code and Ralph, W6ENE, agreed to learn to play bridge. She held up her end of the bargain but we didn’t hear how Ralph did in the card playing department. Also at the breakfast was our grand daughter, Cheri, KE6BOP. She is enjoying her classes at Cabrillo College. Loretta Bokemeier, KD6OMU, enjoyed breakfast with us also. Her XYL Gene, KD6DSB, was helping with a Public Service race event and missed out. We were happy to see Elaine Sandusky, KE6FRA, with us despite her restricted mobility due to the use of crutches. Elaine is recovering from painful foot surgery but we hope to see her out there running the Wharf to Wharf race sometime soon.
Bruce Hawkins, AC6DN, is thinking of setting up another Fox Hunt. All you “hunters” get ur batteries charged and await further developments. It may be a while as he has a tough work schedule; reveille at 0400 to go over the hill. His company makes electronics parts for telephones and is looking for additional technicians.
Want a free college education? The Area Digest section of the Sept 30th issue of the Santa Cruz Sentinel contained a notice that U.S. Rep. Tom Campbell will accept applications for nominations to the Air Force Academy, Military Academy and Naval Academy (Go Navy!). Applicants must be between the ages of 17-22. The deadline date is Nov 1. Write to: Rep Tom Campbell, 910 Campisi Way, Suite 1C, Campbell, CA 95008.
Timely Help. Tnx to Hank, KG6EE, I picked up the address over email of W&W Associates (800 South Broadway – Hicksville, NY 11801-8017 Tel 5-6-942-0111 or email direct) and ordered replacement nicad batteries for my two Kenwood TR-2500A hand-helds. Hank ordered some and replaced them in his battery case. The tough part is separating the two plastic halves. The plastic are easy to crack so take your time when attempting it.
With the writers: I was happy to see my booster piece, “Still A Great Hobby” appear in the October issue of 73 Amateur Radio Today Magazine. A couple of familiar local names are mentioned. If you feel like penning an article, the editor, Joyce Sawtell, is buying. If you give a presentation to the club, package ur notes into readable form and fire them off to her. Throw in a photo or two if you have them. They pay.
I am sure we are all anxious to learn of the fun the QSO contest gang had up on Fremont Peak on October 4th and 5th. Tom Ginsburg, KF6X, organized the trip.
Didja know? On the Larry King Live show, Larry said that singer/actor Johnny Cash was a high-speed Morse code intercept operator for four years. He copied Russian messages during the Korean War. Johnny also played his music in an Air Force group playing in off-base clubs during their off duty hours.
Johnny said, “In the Air Force I earned $85 per month, more money than I’d ever seen. I joined because I needed a job.” Johnny started his musical career as a gospel singer. (Personal note: One of my Navy buddies was stationed at NAS Memphis when Johnny Cash got out of the Air Force and putting his group together. He invited my friend, a harmonica player, to join him. He declined and told me, “I didn’t know Johnny, but he looked kinda like a rough character and I was not sure he was going anyplace with his beat-up guitar.”)
Announcement: A no-cost screening clinic will be held on October 25th at the Soquel Pajaro Masonic Lodge to identify children under 18 who can benefit from the orthopedic and burn care provided at Shriners Hospitals. At the clinic an evaluation will be made to find out if the children may be eligible for free treatment at the new Shriners Hospital in Sacramento. Shriners Hospitals treat problems such as: club foot, scoliosis, hand and back problems, bowed legs, rickets, dislocated hips and problems associated with burns. For info contact Art Lee, WF6P, at 426-5279.
Volunteers at work: Saw Dave Harbaugh, W6TUW , and Clive Ridpath, KB6EXB, at the Civic Auditorium. Both were part of the Ham Radio team helping out at the 1997 Seniorama. Others in the team were Rich Leonard, KE6KAN, Larry Edler, WB6MVK, Bruce Wade, W6FKD (he’s everywhere!), George Holser, Sr., KE6FJK. Wayne Thalls, KB6KN, always helps but was away in Washington, D.C., at the Smithsonian Institution. We always need volunteer communicators. If you are interested in helping next year, call Dave at 426-3866.
Amateur radio repairs: Dave Rowley, N6RZ, is a highly skilled technician with many years of experience in the electronics industry. He guarantees his work and his rates are very reasonable. Call 426-6691 for info.
BUYING A NEW CAR
Well it has come time to buy my first new car since becoming a ham. I have always disliked the process. You have to go down to the dealer. Spend hours picking out the right color and model. Negotiate a price where you don’t feel like your getting taken too bad. Sit for hours while they fill out an endless pile of forms. I usually leave exhausted no matter how nice the dealer is.
Buying a car as a ham is another story. The dealer is just not prepared to answer your questions. (Sure you can put a radio in here, we put them in all the time. Oh you want to transmit, well we sell to the city and they put 2 way radios in here. Oh you want 100W, well stereos frequently are 100W and no problems. etc.)
Then comes the hard part. The deal is made, you politely tell the dealer that you will be bringing in your trade in a few days, after you remove some radio equipment that you have installed over the years. (I didn’t want to remove it first, until a solid deal was made.)
Now you go to work the next day. Work the normal 9-10 hours, dreaming of that new car. All you have to do to be driving it is get some radio equipment out of the old car. It wasn’t too bad putting it all in there.
You leave work a little early to get home and have some time to do it. Get started at about 7pm. Get out the old trusty Makita and start removing all the trim panels. It made sense to start at the battery. Why are there 100 wires attached to it? Lets see that’s the HF rig, the VHF/UHF, the screwdriver antenna, the alarm to protect this stuff, but what is this, Hmm….. To cut or not to cut. I seem to remember having to get upside down with my legs sticking out of the engine compartment to get that to run there. How did I get that connector to fit through that hole? How come that wire is going that way, it should be over here?
………four hours later, it is dark, cold, and I haven’t had dinner yet. There are piles of wires, radios, alarms, and other things that I’m not sure where they came from. My XYL comes out to see if I’ve electrocuted myself or something.
Seeing that I was alive standing in a sea of wire and putting the trim mouldings back, she remarks “I hope the car will still start with all those wires removed.” Hmmm…….
-? 73 de Jeff AC6KW
40th anniversary of the launching of Sputnik
Plans remain in place to launch a functioning mini-Sputnik from Mir October 4?the 40th anniversary of the launching of Sputik 1 by the USSR. Sputnik 1 was the first manmade satellite put into orbit around Earth.
Earlier this year, an agreement was signed between Russia and France to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the launch of Sputnik 1, and two groups of high school students cooperated in building the one-third scale model of the original Sputnik 1. Students in Russia built the satellite itself, while students in France built the 2-meter transmitter that will “beep” from space following its launch from Mir. The mini-satellite flew as cargo to Mir last month aboard a Progress rocket. According to Miles Mann, WF1F, of MIREX, the Mir crew will place the satellite in an airlock on Mir and push it out the door on October 4.
Following launch, the scale model of Sputnik will remain close to the Russian space station. It’s estimated that its batteries will hold up for up to two months.
The transmitter will put between 100 and 200 mW into a circularly polarized antenna. The transmitter frequency is expected to be between 145.81 and 145.85 MHz (FM). The audio tone will be at 1.3 kHz but vary with temperature. For more information, see
?thanks to AMSAT/This Week in Amateur Radio
Repeater Committee Report October 1997
A series of improvements will be made to the repeaters before the end of the year. First, the linking antennas and coax will be replaced – the present yagi antennas have been in service for nine years and are deteriorating. Second, the transmitter final amplifiers will be replaced, bringing transmit power back up to our sanctioned level.
With all the warnings of El Niño, and the potential for flooding in Santa Cruz County, there is a strong chance that we will be called upon to supply emergency communications this winter. The planned improvements will help keep the repeaters available for whatever assistance we may be called on to provide.
Reminder: The K6BJ repeater operates differently from 11:00 PM to 6:00 AM
The K6BJ repeater AUTODIAL is disabled between the hours of 11:00 PM and 6:00 AM. Calls may be placed using the PHONE PATCH code and the EMERGENCY codes listed on your membership card during these hours. Additionally, during the hours that the AUTODIAL is disabled, the K6BJ repeater has no squelch tail and no courtesy “beep”. These changes have eliminated the ker-chunking and unauthorized phone calls made in the middle of the night.
If you hear phone calls made without identification, please terminate the call and inquire as to who placed the call. As always, please do not discuss the subject of control codes on the air – do not make it easy for unauthorized parties to gain access to the telephone. If you have any questions about the repeaters, please contact any member of the repeater committee.