THE SPARK GAP A monthly publication of the Meridian Amateur Radio Club April 1997
Club meets every Saturday 10 A.M. at Queen City Truck Stop. All visitors and new members are welcome. Some folks come early for breakfast.
GE to all: It is hard to believe another month has passed us by. Spring is here, and summer is just around the corner. I'm looking forward to field day, and hope everyone else is also. There should be a lot of gud hamming and Food-N-Fun for all family members.
The 146.700 club repeater is working & sounding good, and the 146.970 repeater has a new set of duplexers that has made an old relic come back to life. Also, I want to remind everyone of the VE exams, April 12th, 12 NOON (PM)at the Meridian Community College. Study hard & come test with us.
On a personal note, my XYL, Gayla KB5VAD, sisters husband, Walter Ethridge has been diagnosed with cancer. Please remember Walter and his family in your prayers.
TNX & 73's Dennis KI5FW
Vice President Report:
Hi. Beautiful March. Hope everybody had a good month. The fishing was good for me. A couple of ham fest this coming month. There is some interest in a tailgate swap in Meridian, so everybody think about it and turn in a good day to meet - maybe in April or May. Hope to see all at the Saturday meeting. Have a good time this month, and take the kids out too. C.P. Crimm VP - W5OQY
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. Bill KB5ASR
Please mail your dues to: Mr. John Davis,
2215 28th Ave, Meridian, MS 39301.
Local Amateur Radio Operator Saves Three Lives
On the morning of March 8, 1997, Glyn Eakes (KB5APG), a member of the Meridian Amateur Radio Club, was traveling Interstate 20-59 when he encountered a burning vehicle which had overturned and crashed into a 65th Avenue guard rail on the westbound side. The guard rail had kept the 1987 Pontiac Firebird from falling onto the adjacent frontage road below the bridge but had also trapped the occupants inside. Glyn immediately took action. He activated the phone patch on the MARC repeater, and called 911 reporting the location of the accident. While still on the radio, he heard screams coming from the car, and immediately ran to give assistance. He found three people, Derek Barnett, Jivruan Hampton, and Rodrick Clayton were trapped inside the burning vehicle. In an effort to save the victims, Glyn and his son Tom started flagging down 18-wheelers to retrieve their fire extinguishers in order to control the flames until help could arrived. After help arrived Glyn turned the situation over to the proper authorities. If Glyn's quick thinking and actions had not come along when they did, three lives would have been lost in the burning vehicle. A close up picture of the overturned car was printed in the March 9th edition of The Meridian Star. I would say that these three fellows are very lucky that Glyn came along when he did. When I talked to Glyn about his quick action, he simply stated, " I only did what anybody else would have done under the same circumstances."
Congratulations Glyn on a job well done.
VE exams, will be held
Saturday, April 12th
Time: 12 noon
Study hard and upgrade.
Lightning Safety Material
Safe work habits are vital to your well being. According to the National Safety Council, more than 10,000 workers in the U.S. are killed in industrial accidents each year. Approximately four percent of those accidents involve electricity.
If your hair stands on end and/or you feel tingling sensations, you are in lightning's electric field. Immediately remove all metal objects and crouch down with feet together and hands on knees. (Source: NLSI)
Look Up and Live
Always remember to look up for power lines and other obstructions. Tree branches can hide power lines from view, so always be on the lookout.
What the Power Industry Says
The following safety information from the electric power industry concerns contact with power lines. If by some misfortune your antenna does come in contact with a power line, following these procedures can save your life!
Stay Calm -- Stay Away
If the vehicle you're operating contacts a power line, don't panic:
Stay where you are unless you are in danger from a fire or from being struck by a loose power line. You will be safe from electrical shock as long as you don't become a pathway for the current to flow to the ground.
If your are already in the vehicle, and the vehicle is operable, try to move it away from the power line if you can.
Warn others not to touch you or the vehicle!
If you must get off a vehicle while it is in contact with a power line, JUMP as far away as you can. Land with both feet together. No part of your body should touch the vehicle and the ground at the same time. Once you are off the vehicle, remember that the ground may be energized. HOP away from the vehicle, keeping both feet together. This will prevent you from becoming a conductor between two areas of the ground which are charged differently.
An alternative method of traveling over energized ground, advocated by other power companies, is to shuffle, keeping both feet on the ground at
all times! Check with the power company in your area and follow their guidelines.
Once you are clear, don't return to the vehicle until a power company representative tells you it is safe to do so.
If you are nearby when a vehicle contacts a power line, stay away and warn others to stay away. The best thing you can do to help anyone in the vehicle is to make sure someone calls 911 immediately. Don't add to the problem by rushing over; any rescue attempt may place you in danger, too. If you touch someone whose body is conducting current your body will become another link in a deadly chain.
Downed Lines Can Be Deadly
If you see a line down, stay away! Do not touch it or attempt to move it.
And don't assume the power company already knows about it. Call 911 immediately. The sooner the power company knows about the problem, the
quicker they can respond.
If someone comes in contact with a downed power line or is handling equipment that touches a power line, realize that any rescue attempt places you in danger. The further you stay away from the equipment, and the person, the better your chances of not being injured yourself. If you have to rescue a person in contact with a power line, never use your
bare hands. Instead, use a dry, non-conductive object to move the person to safety.
The National Lightning Safety Institute says
Your antenna is a lightning attractor. Lightning is just as hazardous as power lines
For every five seconds time from a lightning strike's flash to the accompanying thunder ("boom"), lightning is one mile away. Thus, if it takes ten seconds between the flash and boom the lightning is 2 miles
away; a flash to boom of 15 seconds means lightning is three miles away.
At a count of fifteen, or 3 miles, go immediately SEEK SHELTER. Avoid solitary tall trees for shelter. Seek a fully-enclosed, all metal vehicle as a safe place.
Last month W1AW told us what all those numbers mean. This month we will try to explain in more detail by category. We will start with sunspots.The number of sunspots on the Sun is not constant. The "mean" is merely the average of the Sunspot numbers for the seven-day period. In addition to the obvious variation caused by the Sun's rotation (sunspots disappear from view and then re-appear), over time new sunspot groups form and old ones decay and fade away. When viewed over short periods of time, a few weeks or months, this variation in the number of sunspots might seem to be random. However, observations over many years reveal a remarkable feature of the Sun: the number of sunspots varies in a periodic manner, usually described as the 11 year cycle (in actuality, the period varies, and has been closer to 10.5 years this century). The 11 year sunspot cycle is related to a 22 year cycle for the reversal of the Sun's magnetic field. In 1848 Johann Rudolf Wolf devised a method of counting sunspots on the solar disk called the Wolf number. Today the Wolf number (averaged from many observing sites) is used to keep track of the solar cycle. While the cycle has been relatively uniform this century, there have been large variations in the past. From about 1645 to 1715, a period known as the Maunder minimum, apparently few sunspots were present on the Sun. During the solar cycle, the migration of sunspots in latitude has a "butterfly pattern.'' Although the number of sunspots is the most easily observed feature, essentially all aspects of the Sun and solar activity are influenced by the solar cycle. Because solar activity is more frequent at solar maximum and less frequent at solar minimum, geomagnetic activity also follows the solar cycle. Why is there a solar cycle? No one knows the answer to this question. A detailed explanation of the solar cycle is a fundamental physics problem still waiting to be solved.
Sun Reference Data
Age: 4.5 billion years
Density: 1.41 (water=1)
Diameter: 870,000 miles
Distance from Earth: 93 million miles
Distance to Nearest Star: 9.46 million million km
Luminosity: 390 billion billion megawatts
Mass: 330,000 x Earth
Rotation Period at Equator: 25 Earth days
Rotation Period at Poles: 35 Earth days
Solar Cycle: 8 - 11 years
Solar Wind Speed: 3 million km/hr.
Temperature @ surface: 9,932degreesF
Temperature @ Core: 22.5 milliondegreesF
Temperature of Sunspots: 7,232degreesF
Hale-Bopp: solar sight of a lifetime
Discovered by Alan Hale and Thomas Bopp in
July 1995, that comet sitting pretty in our early evening sky isn't your everyday, run-of-the-mill ball of ice, gas and space dust.
Hale-Bopp is the largest, brightest observable comet in modern times not to mention one of the largest keyholes into the makeup of comets and origins of the solar system.
With its nucleus measuring about 25 miles across, Hale-Bopp is by far the largest and brightest observable comet of the century. By
comparison, comet Halley, last seen in 1986, measured only 6 miles across. Hale-Bopp made its closest pass to the sun on April 1, and can clearly be seen over the next two weeks. Look for two distinct tails one of space dust, one of carbon monoxide trailing from Hale-Bopp's nucleus. The carbon monoxide tail looks blue in color and points away from where the sun sets. The dust tail is brighter, a bit curved and can be white or red in color. Even when it is closest to Earth, it will still be about 122 million miles away. Each of these tails, by the way, is 10 million to 20 million miles long.
Have a great month
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