THE SPARK GAP A monthly publication of the Meridian Amateur Radio Club September 1996
"THE SPARK GAP" By Frank WG5X
The Spark Gap transmitter, first demonstrated by David Edward Hughes in 1879, was one of the early forms of generating electromagnetic radio waves. If you remember from your high school science, German physicist Henrich Hertz demonstrated that electrical energy does not leave a wire unless the flow of current is being started and stopped. Around the turn of the century, the rotary spark gap oscillator was how this was accomplished. The speed of the motor also controlled the wave length of the transmitted signals.This form of generating radio frequency was extremely broad banded and soon after the perfection of better oscillators, was outlawed because it caused so much interference.
The Italian electrical engineer and inventor Guglielmo Marconi is generally credited with being the inventor of radio. For his efforts he received the 1909 Nobel prize in physics. One of the early methods for detecting these radio waves was with a tank circuit attached to a galena crystal and a crude antenna. This was one of the first solid state devices, and was soon replaced by the vacuum tube. It took another fifty years for the semiconductor detector to be reinvented. My Dad (W5MAV) used a spark gap transmitter and a crystal detector receiver when he was the radio operator on a coastal tanker back in the twenties. He was able to acquire an old 1912 spark gap signal receiver when they were replaced with the tube type equipment and it is still in almost perfect condition. I will be glad to bring it to one of your Saturday meetings if there is an interest, for the club to see what one of the early solid state radios looked like. 73's
President: Howard W5UTL
Secretary: Bill KB5ASR
Treasurer: John W5DEJ
Next testing session in Meridian will be on September 21, at Meridian Community College @ 12 Noon for all who wish to upgrade their license. This is being held in cooperation with Amateur Radio Awareness day.
Please review the revised proposals to the club constitution. We will be voting on these proposals at the next business meeting. 1st Saturday in September. Please try and be at this meeting September 7th and give your input.
Please welcome 2 new members to the MARC. KC5CZX - Darrell WA5URL - Charles
Also, welcome to our community from Natchez, Brett KC5TPT. The Picture Taker.
Don't forget to check into the Tuesday evening 2-meter net at 7 P.M. each week on 146.700. Any announcements, emergency traffic, or a simple hello and 73 can be passed along to others. Let us know how you are doing.
Thanks to all who have made a contribution to the new repeater fund. We still need $165.94 more funding. Please mail your contributions to John Davis, 2215 28th Ave, Meridian, MS 39301.
AMATEUR RADIO AWARENESS DAY IS SEPTEMBER 21
Amateur Radio Awareness Day, September 21, 1996, offers the perfect opportunity to drum up media interest in local ham radio activities and spread the word in your community. Anything goes for this PR event. What can you do? Well, you can write and distribute news release about Amateur Radio Awareness Day and invite the public to a ham radio demonstration. Set up your equipment in a classroom or on the town green or local shopping mall for maximum visibility. Press kits and other aids to help you promote ham radio for Awareness Day in your community are available from ARRL's Public Relations Office. Contact Jennifer Gagne, N1TDY, Media Relations Assistant, 860-594-0328
FCC to open Gate 2
From ARRL Headquarters
Newington CT August 22, 1996
To all radio amateurs
The FCC has announced that vanity call sign filing Gate 2 will open September 23. Under Gate 2, Amateur Extra class licensees may request a vanity call sign on or after that date. File requests on FCC Form 610V. Legibility is critical. If your application is not legible, you could experience a delay in processing, lose the opportunity to obtain a requested call sign or even obtain a call sign different from what you want.Under Gate 2, you must hold an unexpired Amateur Extra class operator/primary station license to request a vanity call sign for your primary station. To request a vanity call sign for a club station under Gate 2, you must also hold an unexpired club station license grant listing you as the license trustee. Applicants should refer to the licensee data base to verify that a requested call sign is not already assigned A call sign is normally assignable two years following license expiration, surrender, revocation, set aside, cancellation, void ab initio, or death of the grantee.Using Form 610V, provide a list of up to 25 call signs in the order of preference. The first assignable call sign on the list will be assigned to your station. Remember: When requesting a call sign under Gate 2 for your primary or club station, the call sign must have been unassigned for at least two years. As an Amateur Extra class operator, you may request a call sign from any group, A, B, C or D.
Any call sign requested must be one designated for the region of your mailing address, as follows: One of the contiguous 48 states: Regions 1 to 10.
Advanced, General, Technician Plus, Technician, and Novice class operators are not yet eligible to request by list. Advanced class operators will be eligible at Gate 3. Others will be eligible at Gate 4.
The vanity call sign program has been immensely popular. To date, the unofficial vanity receipt total is almost 3000. FCC statistics also show that as of the end of June, new licensees age 21 or younger totaled 372 more than a month earlier.--FCC
SHUTTLE-MIR MISSION LAUNCH POSTPONED UNTIL SEPTEMBER
NASA managers have decided to replace the reusable solid-rocket motors on the space shuttle Atlantis, delaying until mid-September the planned July 31, 1996, launch to rendezvous with the Russian space station Mir. STS-79 will carry the Shuttle Amateur Radio Experiment, or SAREX. Atlantis' motors are being replaced because technicians disassembling the motors of the previous shuttle mission, STS-78, observed that hot gas had seeped into J-joints in the field joints of the motors.
STS-79 now is set to take off early on the morning of September 15, 1996, for a nine-day flight. This, the fourth Mir docking mission, will use SAREX configuration "M," which is FM voice, using the shuttle-Mir 2-meter radio. Three hams will be aboard STS-79. Jay Apt, N5QWL, a mission specialist, has flown on three previous shuttle missions and used Amateur Radio on each flight. Carl Walz, KC5TIE, participated in SAREX from Columbia during STS-65 in July 1994, before earning his ham ticket. Making his fifth shuttle mission is John Blaha, KC5TZQ, a mission specialist. During STS-79, Blaha will switch places with astronaut Shannon Lucid, and remain with the Mir space station for 5 months. Shannon has been aboard Mir since March 1996. Refer to last months newsletter for frequency information.
September 28 - Central Louisiana ARC, Alexandria, LA. Rapides Parish Coliseum Exhibition Building. Doors open at 8 AM Admission only $3.00 VE TESTING @ 1PM. For more information contact Jon Kissick, KB5NOB @ 318-487-0971
September 28-29 - Mobile ARC, Mobil, AL. Contact Bill Cleveland, KR4TZ @ 334-661-3892
For Sale List: HandiCone - Solution to wheelchair accessibility parking problems
Letter from the Editor: There may not be an October newsletter due to me being in Cleveland, Ohio the month of September for my Free-hand Surgery. After surgery , both arms will be in cast for 3 to 4 weeks. I will try to put something together before I leave. Call Darrell W5MAV @ 485-7568 to place an add, news letter suggestions, an article you would liked published.
Have a great month
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