EMARC Relay -- Volume 25, Number 9 September, 1995
The EMARC RelayThe EMARC Relay is the official monthly newsletter of the Electronics Museum Amateur Radio Club. Club meetings are held at 7 PM on the fourth Friday of each month except January (Winter Banquet); and 3rd Friday in June, Nov. & Dec. Annual membership $20; family $25. Visitors are always welcome! Directions on the back page. Talk-in on the W6APZ (145.23-, 100Hz) or W6ASH repeater (145.27- or 224.36-).
Contributions to the newsletter from members, family, and guests are earnestly solicited! Contributions subject to editing and/or compression. ASCII files via packet, Internet or diskettes preferred; but all readable forms welcome. Here are the various ways to reach the editor:
Packet: AA6TA on the DX Cluster
VHF voice: W6APZ, 145.23- (100Hz PL)
Mail: POB 1450, Los Altos, CA 94023
'phone: 415-948-4516 (8AM-6PM)
Eyeball: at EMARC meetings.
OUR NEXT MEETING!Our next regular meeting takes place on Friday, 22 September. The meeting starts with general socializing at 7 PM; business meeting at 7:30 PM; program starts 8 PM. Visitors are always welcome. Directions on back page.
The program for this meeting is our annual Home Brew Contest! This is a wonderful opportunity for all you tinkerers among us to show and brag about your latest ham project. And, it's even better than the California lottery -- you win a CASH PRIZE if your project is voted into the top-three winners' circle. Please consult Contest Rules (right column).
As usual, the meeting will be followed by the raffle for prizes and the Wish You Were Here drawing for all the cash in the jar! And, to spice it all up, Ginny's famous home-made cookies will be there as well (Tnx, Ginny!)
EMARC Net - reminder: the EMARC Net meets every Thursday at 8 PM on the W6APZ repeater, 145.230-. The 100 Hz PL is off for the net. It seems that many veteran club members have never checked into this net; why not give it a try this coming Thursday? Who knows, you might like it.
Novice/Tech- Class An accelerated class for new hams is scheduled for Saturday & Sunday, 28-29 October. No code due to short duration. Location: our usual Covington School meeting room. Exams on site (depending on how many sign up). Cost $10 plus text ($15). Call Peter, KN6MO, at 408-747-1222.
Homebrew Contest Rules
1st place: QRP Bob Dyer, KD6VIO, for a QRP rig.
2nd place: Mike Furman, KD6OCS, for his bicycle mobile set-up.
3rd place: Jim Lomasney, WA6NIL, for his capacitor tester.
Good luck to all of this year's entrants.
Minutes, EMARC General MeetingCovington School, August 25, 1995.
Present: Bob, KD6VIO; Shel, KM6GV; Peter, KN6MO; Stuart, KM7V, Omri, AA6TA; Bjorn, KN6IW; Ginny, KC6USW; Dick, N6ATD; Michael, KN6QI; Steve, KD6PLD; Absent: Jim, KT6W; Dave, KD6WRG; George, K6OG; Larry, KM6IU.
In Sympathy: Bob announced that the funeral for Arv's daughter would be held on August 30th. He extended the sympathy of everyone at EMARC to Arv.
FT-990: Dick detailed the acquisition of FT-990 HF transceiver for use at the club station. It has additional filters. The rig will be added to the club's insurance.
Satellite Capabilities: Omri advised that the club station now has satellite communications capability.
Next Ham Class: Peter announced that he will be running a crash Novice and Technician course for aspiring hams the weekend after Pacificon. Presently he is looking for someone to do the code training.
Net Script: Omri announced that the script is available for the EMARC net on Thursday evenings along with several other handouts related to EMARC activities.
Wilderness Radio Demo: After receiving many requests Bob agreed to demo the latest addition to the Wilderness Radio kits: A combination keyer and frequency counter / annunciator (speaks in CW). Can be attached to any QRP rig and is programmable. He read some of the feedback he had received from users of his radios.
Speaker Program: Rod Deakin, NR7E was the guest speaker. His talk was on Commercial CW Today, Myth and Reality. We were surprised to hear how much CW is still used in maritime service. Many ships can't afford satellite setups and use HF CW or SITOR (which is essentially identical to the amateur AMTOR except for different SELCALs).
Wish You Were Here: The "Wish You Were Here" drawing was up to $25 and would have been won by Andy, VE3FZK. Andy was not there and so the September drawing will be for $30.
Stuart A. Fox, KM7V
Minutes, EMARC Board MeetingOmri's office, Wednesday, Sept. 6, 1995
Present: Bob, KD6VIO; Stuart, KM7V, Omri, AA6TA; Dick, N6ATD; Michael, KN6QI; Dave, KD6WRG.
OSCAR Activity: Omri offered to be at the club station during Oscar 10 passes in the evening for people who would like to learn about making contacts using the amateur radio satellites. Contact Omri for details.
Home-Brew Contest Prizes: Motion was made to increase the prize money back to $35, $25 and $15 for the EMARC Home-Brew Contest Prizes. Motion was passed.
Relay on Internet: Discussion on advantages & disadvantages of posting the Relay on EMARC's World Wide Web pages. It was agreed to continue to post the Relay with the addition of a Copyright notice.
Staffing Club Station: Bob agreed to staff the club station for the next four Wednesday evenings, to give club members a chance to use the new equipment. He will be there from 7 - 9 pm on Sept 13, 20, 27 and Oct 4.
Stuart A. Fox, KM7V
Carrier Detect...Miscellaneous noteworthy items
Sad news. Heartfelt sympathies to Arv, WA6UUT, and Rene, his XYL on the loss of their daughter; she is survived by her husband, Jim, and their 11-year old daughter, Patria... Condolences also go to Robert, KE6TFU, on the passing away of his 94-years-old grandmother.
In the good news department, Al, KE6BER got his Force 12 two-element tribander up on his roof mounted mast and he is one happy camper, making HF DX contacts left and right... George, K6OG, recently celebrated his 80th birthday; many happy returns, George!
New ham class. An accelerated, two-day class for new hams is being organized by Peter, KN6MO, our Training Officer. The class will run Saturday and Sunday, 28-29 October at our usual Covington School meeting place. The class will lead to the no-code Novice or Tech examination, which may be given on site (this is as yet undetermined and depends on the size of the class). Please direct anyone interested in this class to Peter at 408-747-1222 (machine will answer after hours).
EMARC to contest. EMARC will participate in the CQ Magazine World Wide SSB Contest on 28-29 October. We need operators (with General ticket or above) and second-ops (any grade, N/T welcome!). A great opportunity to get a taste of HF contesting, become familiar with our station, and rack up countries for DXCC for our club. To secure a 2-hour or 4-hour shift, contact Mikel, KN6QI.
EMARC Web pages up and running! It's now official: EMARC has a whole series of pages on the World Wide Web subsystem of the Internet! Those with WWW access may view these pages at the following officially-sanctioned URL:
Tnx vy much, Mikel, KN6QI, for building the pages (with some picture scanning by Peter, KN6MO and Andy, AC6GN); and Owen, KB6MER, for graciously allowing us the use of his Internet site as the EMARC Web server.
Sun's up! The sunspot cycle, that is. Scientists at Cal Tech have detected a new sunspot of the right polarity and inclination to declare that the cycle is now definitely on the upswing, a full year ahead of estimates. Super good news for all DX hounds among us.
Go in style to Pacificon. Owen, KB6MER, our newly-licensed private pilot, is offering to ferry by air anyone interested in attending Pacificon. Owen will fly to Concord out of Reed Hillview airport on both Saturday and Sunday, the 21 & 22 of October (see Coming Events). Share expenses. Contact Owen, KB6MER.
ACC gone. The assets of Advanced Computer Control (ACC), once a leading supplier of amateur repeater controllers (the first to feature voice IDer), have been sold to Link Communications (Sydney, MT), another controller supplier. A Newsline report estimated the number of ACC controllers installed worldwide at over 2,000. It isn't clear whether Link will offer on-going support and replacement parts for the ACC controllers. This is bad news to the trustees of several repeaters in our area, including the W6APZ repeater (home of the EMARC net and the 10 AM net). However, no immediate impact on the operation of this repeater is expected.
Relay Schedule (reflects new, 4th Fri. meeting date; exceptions marked by *):
Issue Meeting Closing Date
September 22 September 11 September
October 27 October 16 October
November *17 Nov. 06 November
December *15 Dec. 04 December
* 3rd Friday! To accommodate Field Day (June); Thanksgiving (Nov.); and Christmas (Dec.).
Welcome to Packet!(This is the third in a series of articles on packet radio; the previous installments appeared in the June and July issues).
BBS operations. The principal activity on amateur packet radio is carried out through a worldwide network of local BBSs (Bulletin Board Systems). The amateur BBS system is quite similar to the land-line based Internet, except that the access to the BBSs and the inter-BBS links are mainly via amateur radio.
Amateur packet BBSs offer three main services. First, a private message system whereby hams anywhere in the world can exchange messages (similar to Internet "e-mail"). To do so, the correspondents need only communicate with their local, "home" BBSs, and need only know the address of the home BBS of the recipient. They need not know how to route the message (the system manages this automatically); nor need they be connected concurrently. Rather, when a message for you arrives, it is saved and you are informed of it the next time you log in (connect) to your home BBS.
The second service is a bulletin board, which allows posting of bulletins of general interest. A great majority of such bulletins are "buy-sell-swap" items. Others are announcements of activities, humor, comments on ham-related events and developments, etc. Anyone registered with a local home BBS can post bulletins and specify the distribution, from local to that BBS up to world-wide.
You should be careful to use the smallest appropriate distribution; indeed most BBSs will hold all messages addressed to "ALLUS" or "WW" (nationwide or worldwide, respectively) until reviewed by a sysop for adherence to amateur rules. Such rules specifically prohibit for-profit commercial use of ham radio; political or religious fund raising have also been ruled inappropriate by the FCC.
The third common service is a file system containing a variety of articles on subjects related to amateur radio that retain their relevance beyond the short time span typically associated with bulletins. Generally, any registered user of a home BBS can add and retrieve articles to and from the file system.
Beyond these basic services, several BBSs offer additional capabilities, such as an on-line Call Book; a "White Pages" lookup service; weather reports; and an Internet gateway whereby hams may send messages to Internet addresses and (with some restrictions) receive messages back from the Internet.
A packet BBS consists of a computer with disk storage running special BBS software; radio(s) and TNC(s). All BBSs employ the AX.25 protocol; most are accessible via 2 meters at 1200 baud AFSK. Some HF packet activity exists, but at the low rate of 300 baud. (Several other digital modes are used on HF, including especially RTTY and AMTOR).
Packet BBSs run various software systems. Most are written for the IBM PC, including the W0RLI and F6FBB software, which are run by most BBSs. The N0ARY Unix-based software, developed by Bob Arasmith for his Sunnyvale BBS, is beginning to be deployed by others as well; N6QMY is one such convert. The type of software which the BBS runs does not affect the software in your computer; it only determines the type and format of commands and services available on the BBS. (For a list of Bay area BBSs and their frequencies, see the June, 1995 RELAY, p. 10; please update the location of KA6JLT to Redwood City and of KB6MER to San Jose).
Once you have successfully connected to a BBS, you will be issuing commands to the BBS (if you want to command your local TNC while connected to a BBS, do a ctrl-C to get the cmd: prompt; remember to return to the "connected" mode by issuing a K command at the last cmd: prompt). There is a common subset of commands that are understood by virtually all BBSs, regardless of which BBS software they run. In this article we will stick to that subset, unless otherwise indicated.
Most BBSs will let you know of any private messages you have received by displaying, for each message, a line beginning with the message number. This line also gives the callsign of the message originator, the date of origin, the message size, and the subject of the message. You should copy down the message numbers before proceeding. You may also get this message list by issuing the command LM (List Mine).
Turn on your terminal program's file save feature, so that the messages you read will be captured on disk for future scrutiny, if desired. To read a message, type R nnnn, where nnnn is the message number. If you issue the command RM (Read Mine), all your received messages will be displayed on your screen, in sequence and without pause. Be sure to capture to disk if you use the RM command.
Once you have read your messages, you may wish to respond. Most BBSs will allow you to use the command SR (Send Reply) to respond to the incoming message you have just read. (Note that this means only the last message, if you previously issued an RM command!). This automatically creates the return address and repeats the original subject. Then you enter the body of the reply. Terminate your message with a separate line containing either an /EX (preferred) or a ctrl-Z. If you use ctrl-Z while capturing, an end-of-file will be placed on the capture file, so you won't be able to retrieve subsequent messages from disk.
If you have no incoming private messages, you may wish to examine the bulletins that are posted on the BBS. You issue the L (List) command to a get a 1-line summary of each non-private message posted since you last logged in. The LL # (List Last #) lists the last # messages posted (e.g.: LL 20 will last the last 20 messages). L > callsign lists all messages addressed to callsign, and L < callsign lists those originated by callsign. Several other variations of the List command are usually available.
When you want to send a message or post a bulletin, you use variations of the S (Send) command. To send a private message, use SP (Send Private) followed a space and the hierarchical address of the recipient. This address is of the form AA6TA@N0ARY. #NOCAL.CA.USA.NOAM. The first term (AA6TA) is the callsign of the recipient. The second term after the @ sign (N0ARY) is the callsign of the home BBS of the recipient. The third term with the # character (NOCAL) is an optional area designator of that home BBS (Northern Calif. in this case). The next three terms are the 2-letter state code (CA), the country code (USA), and the global area (NOAM, North America). You will now be prompted to enter the subject and the body of the message. Terminate with /EX as discussed above.
(Next: sending bulletins)
ARRL Pacific Division UpdateThis is a somewhat-edited version of the most recent report from Brad Wyatt, K6WR, PacDiv Director, 18400 Overlook Rd. #5, Los Gatos, CA 95030-5850; 408-395-2501; packet: K6WR@N0ARY.#NOCAL.CA Internet: firstname.lastname@example.org
ARRL Board Meeting Highlights: New ARRL President Rod Stafford, KB6ZV, presided over the July 21- 22 Board meeting. Some of the highlights follow:
The Board of Directors expressed its gratitude to past President George S. Wilson, III, W4OYI, for his many years of dedicated service and conferred upon him the title of ARRL President Emeritus.
The Board approved the institution of three year terms for ARRL Directors and Vice Directors, to be implemented in accordance with a transition schedule beginning in 1998.
The Board directed that the ARRL staff create a plan, including a budget, for the creation of standardized testing procedures for consumer electronics equipment to ascertain their degree of immunity to RF interference.
The Board declined to have the ARRL participate actively in the recently created corporation of volunteer examiner coordinators.
The ARRL will produce a handout aimed at new hams, explaining the concept of band planning, and will include approved band plans.
Changes were made to the operating procedures of the ARRL Awards Committee and Advisory Committees. Membership of the Awards Committee was reduced to six members. An ad hoc committee was created to review the terms of reference and operating method of Advisory Committees.
The Board adopted a resolution thanking NASA for its continued support of the SAREX program.
Details are in September QST starting on page 51.
FCC News:- On Aug. 17, FCC Chairman Reed Hundt proposed actions to save money, including personnel reductions and facility closings. In the Pacific Division, the Honolulu HI field office and the Livermore CA monitoring station would be closed by the summer of 1996. One facility, in Laurel MD, would be the central site for "electronic monitoring." The FCC will add a new centralized FCC Call Center, where for the first time members of the public anywhere in the United States will be able to call one toll- free number to reach the FCC for information or assistance.
In another announcement, the FCC is considering privatizing the resolution of radio frequency interference to consumer electronics devices. Under the plan, private repair shops would be used to fix problems in the field. FCC spelled out the Commission's concept at a meeting in Tampa, saying "Since it is not feasible for the Commission to attempt to resolve these complaints" (the most of which come from Citizens Band operation), "it is our policy not to investigate interference to home electronic equipment. Likewise, we do not offer any protection from interference." Over the past several years, the FCC has been unofficially out of the "retail" RFI business, and parties who contact the FCC about an interference problem are asked to work together toward a solution. Depending on what the local repair shop found, either the shop would fix the equipment or, in the case of a violation of FCC rules, the service shop would refer the case back to the FCC for possible FCC action. The question of who would pay was not addressed.
The FCC Compliance and Information Bureau has just released a new 24 page color publication titled, "Interference to Home Electronic Entertainment Equipment Handbook." This document states, "cost- cutting manufacturing techniques, such as insufficient shielding or inadequate filtering, may also cause your equipment to react to a nearby radio transmitter. This is not the fault of the transmitter and little can be done to the transmitter to correct the problem." The publication contains diagnostic checklists and suggested remedies in language targeted to consumers who experience various types of interference. It is also a good compilation of data for hams. The publication called Bulletin CIB- 2, May 1995, may be obtained directly from the FCC CIB Field offices, although reports of actual availability vary. One known source is the U.S. Government Printing Office, PO Box 371954, Pittsburgh, PA 15250. Phone (202) 512- 1800. The price is $2.50 postpaid.
Congratulations!:- On Aug. 10 it was my pleasure to award the ARRL Cover Plaque Awards for June to Steve Bible, N7HPR, and Greg Pool, WH6DT, of the Naval Postgraduate School Radio Club. Their article, "Amateur Radio on the World Wide Web" was selected by the ARRL Board of Directors as "best of issue" for June QST.
The Pacific Division has been honored with additional scholarships, for a total of five major winners this year. The most recent awards were made by the Foundation for Amateur Radio. The John W. Gore Memorial Scholarship was won by Craig Gullickson, KC6CEX, of Fresno, CA - - he was a previous winner of a FAR Scholarship; The QCWA - Leo Meyerson Family Living Scholarship went to Carolyn Reiring, KB6EEK of Madera, CA; one of the QCWA Memorial Scholarships went to Daniel L. Sperring, N6VBB, of Galt, CA; and one of the Radio Club of America Scholarships was won by Taras B. Zima, KD6VWQ, of Reno, NV.
Cupertino: Walk-ins on the 1st and 3rd Saturday of each month, 9-11 AM. At Tandem, 19333 Valco Parkway, near Wolfe Rd. exit off I-280. Info: 408-984-8353 (recording).
Fremont: Walk-ins on the 1st Tuesday of each month, 7 PM. No-Code Tech and Tech-Plus exams only. Alameda County Water District, 43885 Grimmer Blvd., near I-880. Info: 510-791-6818; or Greg, KJ6EP@ N6QMY. Talk-in: 147.015+
Redwood City: Walk-ins on the 3rd Saturday of each month, 11 AM. 411 Broadway (Ampex Cafeteria), near Woodside exit off 101. Info: 408-255-9000 (recording); or Joe KB6OWG@ KA6JLT. Talk-in: W6APZ, 145.23- (100Hz PL).
Sunnyvale: Walk-ins on the 2nd Saturday and last Sunday of each month, 10:30 AM. 840 W. Washington St. Talk-in: W6ASH, 145.27-. Info: 408-255-9000 (recording), or Gene AA6IY@N6LDL, or Gordon W6NLG@ KA6JLT. Talk-in: W6ASH, 145.27-
ARRL License Class Hotline: 408-971-1424
FCC Inquiry Line: 717-337-1212
FCC Customer Assistance: 800-322-1117
FCC Forms Distribution: 800-418-3676
EMARC Monthly Meeting: Fourth Friday of the month (except 3rd Friday in June, Nov. & Dec.) at 7 PM; Business Meeting, 7:30 PM; Program starts 8 PM. At the Covington School in Los Altos; directions on last page. See specific date listings below. EMARC events are also listed on packet (to EMARC@allscv); on the N0ARY event bulletin board (type EVENT or List Clubs); and on the automatic enunciator on the W6APZ repeater (145.23-). (Note: there are 5 Fridays in March & Sept., so the fourth Friday is not the same as last Friday!).
EMARC Weekly Net. Thursdays at 8 PM on the W6APZ repeater, 145.23- (100Hz PL is off for the net).
EMARC Board Meeting: Wednesday, the 16th day (2 weeks + 2 days) prior to the meeting date.
Foothill Flea Market: 2nd Saturday (starts pre-dawn), March thru September. Bring 4 quarters for the parking meters. At Foothill College, just west of I-280 at the El Monte/Moody Rd. exit in Los Altos. Talk-in: 145.27-
Livermore Flea Market: 1st Sunday (starts 7 AM) year round, rain or shine. At Las Positas College, Airway Blvd. exit off I-580 just west of Livermore. Talk-in 147.120+ or 145.35-(100Hz PL). NOTE: The NorCal QRP Club meets following the flea mart at 11 AM at the California Burger in Pleasanton, abt. 2 miles from the flea mart.
T-hunts: See the February, 1995 RELAY under Carrier Detect (page 6).
10 AM net. Weekdays at 10 AM on W6APZ, 145.23- (100Hz PL). A very informal rag chew net with mostly EMARC members. Net control: Arv, WA6UUT.
Amsat net. Wednesdays at 19:30 on the WA6PWW repeater, 147.015+. Net control: Bill, AA6PA.
10-10 Net. The local net for 10 meters enthusiasts meets every Monday at 8 PM on 28.475 MHz; net control: Neal, WA6OCP.
Events by date:
16 Sept. Sonoma County R.A. Flea Mart & Auction. Just north of Sebastopol on Hwy 116. Talk-in: 146.13+. Info: 707-575-4455.
22 Sept. EMARC Monthly Meeting. 7 PM. Program (8 PM): Annual Home-brew Contest. Directions back page.
23-24 Sept. CQ WW RTTY Contest.
7 Oct. PAARA Auction. Ampex cafeteria, 411 Broadway, Redwood City, near Woodside exit off 101. Starts 7 AM.
11 Oct. Board Meeting. 7:30 PM; 343 Second St., Suite A, Los Altos.
20-22 Oct. Pacificon '95. Hilton Hotel, Concord, CA (same place as last few years). Sponsor for the Pac.Div.: Mt. Diablo ARC. Technical sessions, exhibits, small flea market, prizes. Info: Richard Schulze, AA6DL, 510-932- 6125.
21-22 Oct. JOTA '95 (Scouting's Jamboree On The Air). EMARC will no doubt participate (again).
27 Oct. EMARC Monthly Meeting. 7 PM. Directions back page.
28-29 Oct. Novice/Tech- Class. No code due to short 2-day duration. Contact Peter, KN6MO, 408-747-1222.
28-29 Oct. CQ WW (SSB) Contest. EMARC will participate! Contact Mikel, KN6QI to secure a shift.
1 Nov. Board Meeting. 7:30 PM; 343 Second St., Suite A, Los Altos.
4-6 Nov. ARRL Sweepstakes (CW).
17 Nov. EMARC Monthly Meeting. 7 PM. (3rd Friday due to Thanksgiving). Directions back page.
18-20 Nov. ARRL Sweepstakes (SSB).
25-26 Nov. CQ WW (CW) Contest.
29 Nov. Board Meeting. 7:30 PM; 343 Second St., Suite A, Los Altos.
9-10 Dec. ARRL 10 Meters Contest.
15 Dec. EMARC Monthly Meeting. 7 PM. (3rd Friday due to Christmas). Directions back page.