THE SPARK GAP A monthly publication of the Meridian Amateur Radio Club June 1997
Hello Again to All: I hope everyone has been able to remain dry here in the last several days. We have enough rain to last us for awhile.
I want to remind everyone that Field Day is coming the last weekend of this month. Everyone is welcome - club members and their families, friends, and you dont have to be a club member or ham to attend. QTH of Field Day activities will be held at the site on the east side of the dam on Lake Okatibbee. It is an excellent facility with a large covered pavilion with AC, lights, a grill, and a small playground for the children. Field Day committee members are John Davis W5DEJ, Bill Robinson KB5ASR, and Mel Oubre N5JCG. These gentlemen would greatly appreciate any volunteers of equipment or helpers to prepare dinner that evening. Please make plans to attend. Talk-in will be on the 146.700 repeater or 146.700 simplex. Anyone wishing to camp and stay the night will find lots of room for a camper or tent. So bring the family & enjoy an evening of good fellowship and a bunch of great hamming.
Just a little to think about. It was mentioned that Meridian needs a small Hamfest. Is this something that we want to try? Can we do it? I think we can; we have a great bunch of hams in this area. Think about it and we can talk about it. 73s Dennis KI5FW
Vice President Report:
VP Corner - Hello from down south of Meridian. Boy oh Boy, time flies when you are having fun. Another month goes by and Darrell is asking for comments. Maybe when you get older time speeds up. Wes has graduated from Phase I in bug fishing. He is no longer a minnow fisherman only. Anyone else interested in the class contact me. Ha.
The weather is getting to be a factor again. Hope everyone is listening up in severe weather watches. Bad weather season is here. Be careful out in lightning with antennas and other outdoor work and also fishing. Lots of people get hurt or killed every year with lightning. Hope everyone has your radios grounded in this weather. With 40 years of electronic experience and working with FAA electronics which believe in ground rods, counterpoise and radials. I will be glad to share what I know with you. If I can be of help, call me.
Field day is upon us. Mark your calendar now, call your friends and get them interested in Amateur Radio. 73's and 88's W5OQY CP
This month we will discuss the the Planetary A and K indices.
Geomagnetic K Indices
K indices are a measure of disturbance to the earth's magnetic field. Values are determined for 3-hourly intervals and fall in the range 0 (quiet) to 9 (extremely disturbed).
This plot contains the estimated planetary K-index. This index is derived, at the U.S. Air Force Space Forecast Center, using data from
ground-based magnetometers (an instrument for measuring the intensity and direction of a magnetic field) at Meanook, Canada; Sitka, Alaska; Glenlea, Canada; Saint Johns, Canada; Ottawa, Canada; Newport, Washington; Fredericksburg, Virginia; Boulder, Colorado; and Fresno, California. This data is made available through the cooperation of the Geological Survey of Canada (GSC) and the US Geological Survey. K-indices of 5 or greater indicate storm-level geomagnetic activity. Geomagnetic storms have been associated with satellite surface charging and increased atmospheric drag.
The Geomagnetic A Index
The term "Planetary A Index" is a measure of small variations in the earth's geomagnetic
field. Now, this index is what happened the day "before." It is not necessarily an indication
of current geomagnetic activity. On one day, the A index could be low; on the next day it might be high. If the A index is, say 6, we can expect there to be quiet conditions. If it happens to be 33, then we can expect there to be instability in the geomagnetic field.
The A index is calculated from 3-hourly K index values and represents an overall magnetic activity index for a particular day. Although magnetic activity is a global phenomena there are some differences between locations on earth. An A index can be defined for any magnetic observatory and will indicate activity for its region. The index from the Fredericksburg observatory in the USA is often used as a standard. The planetary index, Ap, gives a better guide to the world-wide level of disturbance while local Australian indices from Learmonth are more appropriate for Australia.
For example: April 26-29 had very quiet geomagnetic indices, with an A index of 4 each day and many periods with a K index of zero, the best there is for HF conditions.
NJDXA 40th anniversary event
As part of its 40th anniversary celebration, the North Jersey DX Association is sponsoring a year-long operating event. Member stations will identify using the club call, W2JT/40. Each station operator will announce his or her call sign and name. The same station may be worked on different modes. Work as many W2JT/40 stations as possible by December 1, 1997. The station with the most W2JT/40 member call signs will receive an engraved plaque at the association's annual gathering. Logs go to North Jersey DX Association, Box 599, Morris Plains, NJ 07950.
Bill Hudzik, W2UDT
On May 20, the FCC's Gettysburg office processed vanity call sign applications received between April 1 and May 14. Of the 919 applications, 456 resulted in new call signs and 463 wound up in the work in process (WIPs) stack for special handling. The FCC has not indicated when vanity Gate 3 for Advanced Class operators will open
FCC ISSUES NEW FORM 610
OLD VERSIONS STILL VALID
The FCC has just released a new Form 610, dated March 1997, that -- among other minor changes -- now includes a space for your Internet address. The new form is available via the FCC's Internet site (http://www.fcc.gov) and via the FCC's fax-on-demand service (202-418-0177; to obtain Form 610, the form number to request is "000610;" Form 610A is "006101;" Form 610B is "006102;" and Form 610V is "006108." Form 159, of interest to some vanity filers, is "000159").
The form is much the same as the previous Form 610, dated March, 1995, except that item 3A asking for the applicant's "Internet Address" is included on the same line as the street address. The environmental impact question, formerly item 6, has instead become a statement in the applicant certification section where the applicant certifies that "the construction of the station would not be an action which is likely to have a significant environmental effect (see the Commission's Rules 47 CFR Sections 1.1301-1.1319 and 97.13a)." The former item 7 has become item 6 on the new Form 610.
According to staff members at the Gettysburg FCC office, the FCC will continue to accept any of the three Forms 610 (dated November 1993, March 1995 and March 1997) until further notice.
Using Car Phones Quadruples Accident Risk
This article does not talk about amateur radio, but I feel there is a direct relationship.
BOSTON (Reuter) - The risk of having a traffic accident while using a cellular phone is the same as that while driving drunk, according to a study appearing in Thursday's New England Journal of Medicine.
University of Toronto researchers found cell phone users four to five times more likely to get into traffic accidents than those who do not use them.
Telephones that allowed the hands to be free did not appear to be safer than hand-held telephones,'' they said. ''This may indicate that
the main factor in most motor vehicle collisions is a driver's limitations in attention rather than dexterity.''
An editorial by Malcolm Maclure of the Harvard School of Public Health and Murray Mittleman of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston said the research was the first ''direct evidence that the use of cellular telephones in cars contributes to roadway collisions.''
The Toronto study by Dr. Donald Redelmeier and Robert Tibshirani said the risk ``is similar to the hazard associated with driving with a blood alcohol level at the legal limit.''
A definitive study with people randomly assigned cellular phones so their accident rates could be checked was unlikely because it would be difficult and possibly unethical.
Representatives of the cellular phone industry were quick to cite what they said were the study's shortcomings.
The Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association, a trade group, said in a statement that the study dealt with an association between accidents and the phones. The researchers did not directly assess whether the phones caused accidents.
The association also said cell phone use was way up and traffic injuries were down, showing users drive safely.
Nonetheless, the findings were likely to reverberate through the cell phone and insurance industries, and among drivers and government
regulators as well. About 35 million Americans have cell phones.
Brazil, Israel and Australia have banned the use of cellular telephones while driving and the new finding may spark similar moves, even though the researchers stressed that there are benefits to the phones, such as the ability of drivers to make emergency calls quickly.
Driver error was responsible for more than 90 percent of motor vehicle collisions, which were the top cause of death among children and young adults, the researchers said.
Redelmeier and Tibshirani used 13 months of accident data and phone billing records of 699 volunteers to pinpoint the time of the accident and determine when a cell phone customer was last using the phone. They also made some statistical adjustments to account for the intermittence of driving.
Among their findings:
-- The risk of an accident was nearly five times higher than normal when a person was on the telephone one minute or five minutes before the accident. The typical call in the study lasted nearly 2 1/2 minutes.
-- The collision rate was four times higher than expected when the call was made less than 15 minutes before the accident.
-- Only after the driver had been off the phone for more than 15 minutes did the risk seem to dissipate.
-- Younger and older drivers with a cell phone faced essentially the same risk.
-- Subjects with many years of experience in using a cellular telephone still had a significant increase in risk,'' but the highest risk was among people who had not graduated from high school.
Have a great month
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