This page is like a blog: one article after another in chronological order. Articles are archived and browse-able. Especially for newcomers, sharing what’s going on and staying in contact between monthly meetings will amplify our enjoyment 6dB+. So please contribute news, ideas, contest activity, homebrew projects, reviews of equipment, reminiscences—anything Ham radio. Send your article—long or short—to Todd K7TFC. Attach photos if you have any.
QST de W1AW
ARRL Bulletin 14 ARLB014
From ARRL Headquarters
Newington CT March 9, 2015
To all radio amateurs
SB QST ARL ARLB014
The Amateur Radio Parity Act of 2015 Introduced in Congress
“The Amateur Radio Parity Act of 2015? – H.R.1301 – has been introduced in the US House of Representatives. The measure would direct the FCC to extend its rules relating to reasonable accommodation of Amateur Service communications to private land use restrictions. US Rep Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) introduced the bill March 4 with 12 original co-sponsors from both sides of the aisle – seven Republicans and five Democrats. Kinzinger also sponsored “The Amateur Radio Parity Act of 2014, which died at the end of the 113th Congress. H.R. 1301 is an essentially identical piece of legislation.
“The introduction of H.R. 1301 with so many original co-sponsors, so early in this session of Congress, is very encouraging,” said ARRL President Kay Craigie, N3KN. “Several additional members of Congress already have agreed to be co-sponsors. This bill has momentum, but introduction is only the first step. Many of the next steps will be taken as ARRL members contact their US Representatives urging co-sponsorship and thanking them as they sign on to the bill.”
If Congress approves the legislation, and it is signed by the president, H.R. 1301 would require the FCC to amend its Part 97 Amateur Service rules to apply the three-part test of the PRB-1 federal pre-emption policy to include homeowners’ association regulations and deed restrictions, often referred to as “covenants, conditions, and restrictions” (CC&Rs). At present, PRB-1 only applies to state and local zoning laws and ordinances. The FCC has been reluctant to extend the same legal protections to include such private land-use agreements without direction from Congress.
Rep. Greg Walden, W7EQI
H.R. 1301 has been referred to the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Rep Greg Walden, W7EQI (R-OR), chairs that panel’s Communications and Technology Subcommittee, which will consider the measure. The League had worked with Walden on the 2014 bill during the 113th Congress. Among H.R. 1301 initial co-sponsors is Rep Joe Courtney (D-CT), who attended the ARRL National Centennial Convention last summer to speak with League officials and those attending the event about the earlier bill.
Craigie encouraged ARRL members to urge their US House members to sign on to the bill as a co-sponsor. The ARRL has an H.R. 1301 resources page on its website at:
If the House member is already a co-sponsor, call the member’s local office or send an e-mail via the member’s official website to express their thanks. She called on League members to encourage other hams to do the same, and to be sure to refer to the bill by its number, H.R. 1301.
“Remember what those pile-ups on the W1AW portable stations sounded like last year?” Craigie said. “Let’s be that avid in calling for even greater support in Congress for this essential legislation.”
A Ham’s Night before Christmas
‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the town,
The snowstorm was raging, the phone lines were down;
The wind it did howl, the tree limbs did crack,
I hope that St. Nick isn’t forced to turn back.
XYL making cookies, the kids making noise,
While away in the shack, by my rig I was poised.
The finals were glowing, the mike gain was set,
I was chasing DX to see what I could get.
The bands were all empty, the frequencies clear,
Except one lone station that sounded quite near.
He was calling CQ and my interest did pique,
When he answered me with “Old St. Nick.”
I answered back quickly, I used great dispatch,
If this were St. Nicholas, good God, what a catch!
We exchanged information, it was really quite graphic,
When I heard through the static, “I’ve emergency traffic!”
His reindeer were tired, his elves in a grump,
If he didn’t land soon, then his sleigh he would dump.
I thought very carefully, I thought very hard,
Then I gave him directions to my snow covered yard.
As he flew past my window, his hair like a mane,
He reined in his chargers and called them by name:
“Whoa, Anode! Whoa, Cathode! Whoa, Zener! Whoa, Diode!
Stop, Z Match! Stop, Grid Leak! Stop, Bias! Stop, Triode!
You’re flying too low! you’re flying too fast!
Look out, you dumb reindeer, his antenna mast!”
So into the backyard the reindeer did drop,
St. Nick, the elves, and the sleigh went kerplop!
Then at the back door, I heard this loud knocking,
“Open up in there, or I won’t fill your stocking!”
As I turned off the light and was leaving the shack,
Into the house Saint Nicholas came from the back.
His two-meter rig held to his hip with a strap,
“Hams do it in the shack” on the front of his cap.
The sack that he carried made his aged brow furrow,
And he handed me a card that read, “QSL Via Bureau”.
His clothes were all sooty, from his shoes to his vest;
I felt like a novice just taking my test.
His fingers were calloused and from what I could tell,
This came from a straight key that I’ll bet he used well.
I offered him coffee, I offered him smokes,
I tried making merry by telling ham jokes.
Then he nodded his head and raised up his thumb,
He smiled like an Elmer, did I ever feel dumb.
He grabbed up his sack and went straight for the tree,
And placed in it a new rig for me.
When he finished his work, he stood up, took a bow,
Then out the back door to his team he did plow.
But I heard him exclaim as he flew o’er the land,
“Fear the FCC, Lid, you were way out of band!”
By Whiskey Ø Foxtrot Uniform November
This is from Bill Anderson of the Rogue Valley Manor Amateur Radio Club (RVMARC):
“The Rogue Valley Manor has installed a new DSTAR repeater system, KG7FOJ operating on mode “B”, on 444.650 Mhz (no PL). This repeater is operational and open for use by the local hams. It is not yet connected to the internet gateway but will be during the first quarter of 2014. This installation will include a “full stack” of equipment from ICOM with both voice and data (on 1.2Ghz) capabilities. We’ve installed the 1.2Ghz, 70cm and 2 meter modules but have only activated the 70 cm unit. Antennas have yet to be installed on the “A” and “C” mode frequencies. ORRC is coordinating the frequencies being used. B station only on 443.775 Mhz with a Gateway connection. This is the second repeater in the Rogue Valley. KE7MVI operates a node.”
The Rogue Valley Amateur Radio Club (RVARC) will have a presentation on D-Star technology at one of its regular forthcoming meetings: first Thursday of each month, 7:00-9:00, at the Red Cross Building on Hawthorn Street in Medford. In the meantime, you can click on the image above for more information.
Though you’ll certainly want to take a few hours for the RVARC Annual Christmas Potluck (starts at 6:00p on the 14th), you could devote the rest of the weekend on 10 meters making QSOs in ARRL’s annual 10-Meter Contest. With the hoped-for second peak of the current solar cycle, the band openings could be very fruitful. Here’s what Tad Cook, K7RA, reported in his ARRL propagation report on December 6th:
Predicted solar flux for December 6-7 is 155, on December 8-9 it is 150, then 145 on December 10-11, 135 on December 13-14, 130 on December 15-16, 135 on December 17, 130 on December 18-19, 125 and 130 on December 20-21, 125 on December 22-23, 130 on December 24-26, and 125 on December 27-28. . . . Predicted planetary A index is 8 on December 6, 12 on December 7-8, 5 on December 9-12, then 10 and 8 on December 13-14, 5 on December 15-25, then 12, 10, 8, 12 and 10 on December 26-30. [emphasis added]
These are pretty-good figures. You can follow up-to-the-minute numbers on the propagation chart found in the left-sidebar of this page.
For more information on the 10-Meter contest, go to the ARRL site: http://www.arrl.org/10-meter.
From the http://funcube.org.uk site:
We are delighted to be able to reproduce the formal email received here this afternoon at Bletchley Park, informing us that the FUNcube-1 spacecraft can now be referred to as AO-73.
To: Mr Wouter Weggelaar PA3WEG and Mr Jim Heck G3WGM
From: William Tynan, W3XO
Congratulations on the successful launch of the FUNcube-1 CubeSat, launched this morning from Yasny in Russia at 07:10:10.47 UTC November 21st 2013.
Since FUNcube-1 meets all of the requirements for being issued an OSCAR number, including coordination through IARU and requesting such a number; I, under authority vested in me by the President of AMSAT-NA, do hereby name FUNcube-1, ”AMSAT- OSCAR-73? or “AO-73.”
I, and all at AMSAT-NA wish AMSAT- OSCAR-73 great success in fulfilling all of its mission objectives and we welcome it to the long list of Amateur Radio satellites.
William (Bill) Tynan, W3XO
OSCAR Number Administrator
And this was posted today on the Work-Sat Yahoo group:
WD9EWK releases videos of working AO-73
Patrick Stoddard WD9EWK has been working the new AO-73 satellitefrom his back yard. Most of the time, he has been using his normal portable all-mode satellite station – two Yaesu FT-817NDs, Elkhandheld 2m/70cm log periodic antenna. On November 30 he replaced one of the FT-817NDs with a Kenwood TH-F6A – using its all-mode receiver to copy the downlink. December 1 he used an Icom IC-R20 receiver for the downlink. He’s used these radios in the past on other satellites, and for some hamfest demonstrations on VO-52 Patrick had used the FT-817ND/TH-F6A combination. He has made a series of videos(satellite audio combined with slideshows) from several AO-73 passes he has worked.
They are available at:http://www.youtube.com/va7ewk
One of the AO-73 videos contains audio from two passes, and is about twice as long as the others which have audio from a single pass.After working these passes, he is convinced that this new satellite performs as well as VO-52, for both its uplink and downlink. This is a very good thing! AO-73 hears very well, as long as you’re careful to match the polarization of the satellite’s antennas. The downlink is strong enough to allow the use any of these radios as the receiver on higher passes. For lower passes, he will probably use his second FT-817ND for the downlink receiver. It is good to know that, at least on the higher passes, there are lots of options for a downlink receiver. On the same higher passes, he learned that he can cut the power down from 5W to 1W and even 500mW.
High power is not necessary to be heard through the transponder.Patrick’s next project with AO-73 will be using a FUNcube Dongle Pro+ as the downlink receiver, for both the transponder and telemetry, while working the transponder with an FT-817ND as his transmit radio. He reinstalled HDSDR and its ExtIO DLL for the Pro+ dongle on his 64-bit Windows 7 laptop, and it is working well. He will be installing the FUNcube-1 dashboard software. Patrick has an old netbook running Linux, and is curious to see how the dongle works with that operating system. His hope is to be able to use the dongle and a laptop as the downlink receiver, without being wiped out by the 5W signals from an FT-817ND.
If all is successful, he believes he will have a new combination for his all-mode satellite station that he can use for upcoming demonstrations. Using the dongle and dashboard software during daytime AO-73 passes at hamfests would be something different, and a great thing to show off to the hamfest crowds. Patrick thanks all who worked on getting this satellite built and launched. ”Even with the transponder on only for the nighttime passes, it has been fun to be on a new satellite so soon after its launch.”(Thanks to Patrick WD9EWK/VA7EWK).
No, this has nothing to do with hunting, golf, or multiband antennas. In his much-revered novel, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, Robert Pirsig wrote of “gumption traps”–those psychological pits into which one can fall in the steps between intention and completion. One’s gumption to move forward gets caught by sometimes-minor realities. Here’s three of my gumption traps.
1. Not being able to find the tools I need to work on a project. “Where’s my hammer . . . the big hand sledge?”! “I saw that damn wrench somewhere! Where did I leave it?”!! “Oh no! I don’t have to dig through all those boxes, do I?”!!!! “Nuts!! I forgot to pick my sander from continue reading Gumption Traps →
Does size matter? Actually I’ve always found that saying (and its derivatives) to be bad taste, at least when used gratuitously. In this case though, it’s irresistable. In trolling the web for advice on how to resurrect an old rig, I read one glowing endorsement of Deoxit after another. Indispensable! Magic! A gift of the gods! And it could be had locally at Radio Shack! Yeah!
Not so yeah as it turned out. continue reading Deoxit and My Wallet →
I thought I’d kick off this news section with the first installment of my account of troubleshooting, refurbishing, cleaning, and aligning my latest acquisition–a Yaesu FT-101EX.
Yes, it was an eBay purchase. I paid a good but not fabulous price, and it looked to be in excellent shape. Relatively dust and dirt free inside, no rust, and no coating of cigarette tar. The outsides are in even better shape: the factory film covering the front panel was still protecting it after nearly four decades of . . . life? Existence?
Don’t worry, I’m not going to get philosophical. But since this is the first HF rig I’ve owned, I’m happy to be messing with it. After dithering and putting it off for more than forty years, continue reading A New Old Rig →