A monthly publication of the Meridian Amateur Radio Club May 1997

Club Information

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.

President Report:
Hello Again: Another month has quickly passed us by. I hope April brought more than just showers for everyone. With the rain we had during the last weekend of April, May should bring some big, bright, and beautiful flowers.
I’ve been hearing some of the local Hams bragging about the below par rounds of golf they have been shooting, and some bragging about catching more fish than they can haul in one boat. I’m glad I know these guys pretty well, or I’d think they were just telling more golf and fish tales.

Also, I’d like to thank all VE’s and other Hams who participated and helped with the VE exams on April 12th. We had a good turnout, with one upgrade to General, one new Novice, a new Technician, one to pass their General theory, and two to pass their Novice theory on their way to a ticket. It’s always good to see people turn out to test and try to upgrade.

Let’s remember Field Day coming up soon and make it a great day for hamming and family fun. 73’s Dennis KI5FW

Vice President Report:
Hope every one had a good month. The weather has not been to bad, at least not for fishing. I'm teaching Wes to fish. We need to stir up some good hamming on the repeater. Everybody uses it as a telephone and not to ham. 73’s CP W5OQY

Secretary Report:
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.

Editor’s note:
Please note on the Advertiser’s page that we now have Emergency Speed Dial on our new repeater. You only have to enter the 2 digits to receive help for a non life treating situation. Please continue to use 911 if life is at risk. Thank you Don WD5HLD for setting this up for us. Don also recommends that you cut these numbers out and put them in your billfold or tape them to your radio.

If you have any items for sell, wanted, trade, or any articles that you would like published in The Spark Gap please call 485-7568. This is your newsletter. Your input is appreciated.
73’s Darrell W5MAV

Due to the many new members that have recently joined MARC, it was suggested at our last business meeting that I reprint this article first published this past July 1996.
MARC Repeater Update

As you are probably aware of by now, the MARC is the proud owner of a new Yaesu Vertex repeater equipped with a Cat-300 controller. The full features of the new system are too numerous to mention all of them here. A couple of features we will discuss are the Auto patch and the Reverse Auto patch.

As of this time the club has elected to run the Auto patch as an open patch to all club members. To bring the patch up, simply enter * and go right into your number. Do not un-key until you have dialed your number. The repeater will read-back the number then it will connect. At the end of your patch enter # to disconnect. Don't forget to ID at the start and at the end of your patch!

Our full feature auto patch also has the capability of supporting 100 speed dial slots. As of this time we have about 11 slots assigned. If you would like one please contact WD5HLD. Most people have their home phone number assigned to their slot. To make a speed dial call to your slot or someone else just dial 6 plus the 2 digit speed dial slot number. As an example: If you wanted to place a speed dial call to me you would just dial 602 and the phone would ring at my home QTH. Notice that it does not require a * when you are using speed dial, just the 6 and a 2 digit slot number. Of course at the end of the call enter a # to disconnect.

The Reverse Auto patch is another feature we have. The Reverse Auto patch enables anyone who does not have access to a radio the capability of being able to call you by telephone and it will ring out on the air via the repeater. As an example: If Howard's XYL needs to talk to him and he is out in the car somewhere, she would call the repeater at 483-4888. After 1 ring she would hear a short tone, she would then enter the numbers 80005# The repeater would then announce on the air " Call for W5UTL". If Howard is listening and hears this he would then enter from his touch tone pad the number 800 and would be connected to the call on the phone. At the end of the call Howard would enter the patch down code of # and the call would be terminated. If you would notice, the last 2 numbers in the reverse auto patch code ( In Howard's case it's 05 ) is Howard's speed dial slot number. PRETTY SLICK HUH ?

Please safeguard these control code numbers and don't give any of them out on the air. Reminder - we have lots of scanner listeners out there that could cause us a lot of problems with these numbers.

That's about all I have time for now, I will give everyone additional info on other features we have with this new system as soon as I can figure them out.

73 Don WD5HLD

Propagation Forecast


As was mentioned last month, the sunspot number is a widely-used index of solar activity. However, it might not always be available sufficiently promptly. Using more than 40 years of data, we have found the empirical relationship below is useful in using the 10.7cm flux values as a proxy for sunspot number:

N = (1.14).S - 73.21 where S is the solar flux (density) value in solar flux units. The Radio Solar Flux density is measured in Solar Flux, where one solar flux unit equals (10^-22 Watts)(m^-2)(Hz^-1), or 10^4 Janskys, the standard radio astronomy unit of measurement.

The solar radio flux comprises three main components: the sudden bursts of emission associated with flares, a slowly-varying component, changing with the level of solar activity, and a base level, corresponding to an absence of visible activity, called the "quiet sun component".

The first radio astronomy observations in Canada were done in May of 1946 by Dr Covington. He observed the 23 November partial solar eclipse in Ottawa later that year, with what became the first solar patrol telescope. The eclipse record shows a strong dip in signal strength after 11:40 local time, when the Moon covered a large sunspot on that day's very active solar disc. Radio observations of the 23 November, 1946 solar eclipse provided convincing proof that strong sources of microwave emission are located in the vicinity of sunspots. The routine measurement of the 10cm Solar Radio Flux was started then, and continues to this day. The daily flux was measured in Ottawa [ARO] at 1700 UT until June 1991, when the program was moved to Penticton [DRAO], three time zones west. The epoch time was changed to 1930UT for one year, then was finalized to 2000UT as it continues today.


Citing "a substantial need to improve and increase the quantity and quality" and timeliness of enforcement in malicious interference complaints, the ARRL has called on the FCC to "create a streamlined, privatized enforcement process" to handle and adjudicate the most serious Amateur Service rules violations. In a petition for rule making filed March 28, the League asked that the FCC change its rules to permit members of the volunteer Amateur Auxiliary to bring evidence of malicious interference violations directly before the Chief Administrative Law Judge. The Chief ALJ would be authorized to determine if the complainants have a valid case, to issue show-cause orders, and to designate complaints for hearing. The League recommended that the FCC capitalize on the volunteer resources available through the Amateur Auxiliary to relieve the evidence-gathering burden in such cases. If the rules changes are approved, the League said it would likely assist members of the Amateur Auxiliary in preparing and submitting complaints and in presenting cases at administrative hearings. "The increased use of volunteer resources would seem to be entirely appropriate in the Amateur Service, which involves avocational use of radio only," the ARRL concluded.


At the request of the ARRL, Amateur Radio has been specifically exempted from a bill submitted April 17 by US Sen Russell Feingold (D-Wisconsin) that would give states and municipalities authority to enforce the FCC's CB regulations. Feingold's bill, designated Senate Bill 608, originated with efforts by the Beloit, Wisconsin, City Council--responding to long-standing CB interference complaints--to pass an ordinance allowing local authorities to enforce FCC regulations. The bill is aimed at reducing radio frequency interference stemming from the use of unauthorized equipment or frequencies by CBers.
In presenting his bill, Feingold told his Senate colleagues that he has received RFI complaints over the past several years from numerous Wisconsin communities "in which whole neighborhoods are experiencing persistent radio frequency interference."

If approved by Congress, Feingold's bill would amend the Communications Act to allow state or local governments to enforce regulations that prohibit the use of CB equipment not authorized by the FCC (such as high-power linear amplifiers). As it now stands, no license is required to operate on the 11-meter Citizens Band, but the FCC does have strict requirements on the type of equipment that CBers can legally use. Feingold's bill would preserve the federal preemption of all other telecommunications matters. It excludes FCC-licensed services, including Amateur Radio, from state or local oversight.

Also at the ARRL's request, the bill calls upon the FCC to provide "technical guidance" to states and municipalities in detecting and determining violations. Those affected by a state or local enforcement decision would be able to appeal to the FCC. ARRL asked Feingold to add this provision as final safeguard for amateurs who might be erroneously prosecuted despite the bill's other exemptions for amateurs. Feingold's bill also would not preclude the FCC from enforcing its own regulations as they apply to CB. Feingold called his bill "a common-sense solution to a very frustrating and real problem which cannot be addressed under existing law."

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