THE SPARK GAP A monthly publication of the Meridian Amateur Radio Club January 1999
President: Dennis KI5FW
Vice Pres: C.P. W5OQY
Secretary: Bill KB5ASR
Treasurer: Ross WB4ZIK
Editor : Darrell W5MAV
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.
Hello agn to all; I hope everyone had a Joyous and Merry Christmas. I'm writing this before New Years but I'll go ahead and wish everybody a Happy New Years anyway. I Think it will be 1999 before anyone reads this any how. Can u believe another year has come and gone??? Just think one more year and we will be celebrating a new millennium. Boy!!!! the year 2000, have u been vaccinated fer the Y2K bug? Sounds like it may be a serious problem fer sum folks.
As most everyone knows this will be my last published words from the high ranking office of PRESIDENT!!! Next month you will be hearing from a new president (C.P. W5OQY, unless somebody else makes a last minute run ). Let's all gather around the new officers and support the Club and the Ham community. I think the new guys will do a great job.
Again as most of you already know, the 146.970/R (pl 100 hz) is back on the air and running. We got a permanent home in the Marion, MS area and the old antique machine is running pretty gud. Some changes have been made and more will be made in the next few days to hopefully make the ole-man perform at a quality level. Please feel free to try and to use the repeater as youlike. It has been put up fer all to enjoy (remember 100hz tone required). A special thanks goes out to everyone that has donated time, money, and equipment to get this machine back on the air. It is not a one man operation, its takes lots of effort from the many of you who volunteered ur help and services.
So I'll say 73's to all, it's been a gud 2 years.....73's n CUL, de Dennis KI5FW
Vice President Report:
The year has come and gone. It's been good for me. Could be better, but I'm not complaining. The weather has been great this winter. We didn't have any need in 1998 for major activation of emergency radio nets. Thank the good Lord for that. Had some good events in 98. Field day and the fish fry / tournament to name a couple. Hope for good fellowship in 99.
Looks like 6 meters is in the mind of a few. Maybe something is in the air. The bands seems to have improved this last year. Not too long ago 80 and 40 meters was not so good. Been good for awhile now. Maybe we can get some excitement on 6 meters.
The Morse code distress signal SOS is not an abbreviation for anything. It was chosen for easy recall in a time of crisis, and could be quickly transmitted by almost anyone.
Hope the best for each of you in 99.
73's and 88's C.P. W5OQY
Another year has come and gone. A big thank you to all that have sent me encouraging comments concerning The Spark Gap. I once again want to thank the very talented and underpaid contributors N5JCG, N5HGN, KB5DKW, WB5OCD, and all others who have helped me with our monthly publication.
School will be starting back on January 11, 1999, so please keep those articles coming.
Happy New Year, and may God's blessings be with you all.
73's W5MAV Darrell
FCC ENFORCEMENT HONCHO DONE "TAKING NAMES"
The FCC's Riley Hollingsworth, K4ZDH, is making his list and checking it twice. And now that he knows which hams are naughty, not nice, he's ready to take enforcement actions against the most flagrant amateur offenders.
"Fully half of the amateur problems on HF relate to a specific group of jammers--malicious interferers who apparently enjoy disrupting as much amateur communication as possible," said Hollingsworth, the FCC's point man for amateur enforcement within the Compliance and Information Bureau. "Enforcement action against this group is long overdue."
Coal could be showing up in some Christmas stockings. Hollingsworth has prepared a report to his boss, CIB Chief Richard D. Lee, detailing his findings and fingering the most serious violators in a "top 10" list which he declined to make public just yet. His memo urged "immediate enforcement action."
Hollingsworth said he's talked with more than 250 people on the amateur enforcement line (202-418-1184) since the end of September, when the FCC's latest amateur enforcement initiative kicked into high gear. In addition, he has received more than four dozen letters and e-mailed comments concerning problems in the Amateur Service. Hollingsworth has concluded that, while most amateurs abide by the rules, a few habitual offenders continue to flout the law. "We are not going to stand for the Amateur Service to be further degraded or destroyed by them," he said.
Hollingsworth says that jamming and deliberate interference is the most common problem, accounting for 31% of all complaints. Repeater misuse and jamming account for another 29%. But he considers the HF abuses--most typically reported on 75 and 20 meters--to be the more serious offenses because they can be national or international in scope. Other general problems accounted for another 17% of the complaints, Hollingsworth said. A full 10% of complaints concerned an unlicensed individual in California who already has spent time in jail for past convictions.
Hollingsworth has sent out 30 informal "warning letters" to individual operators as a result of complaints. The letters warn the recipients that a complaint has been received about the recipient or someone using his or her call sign, indicate that the allegations--if true--could jeopardize the amateur's license, and request the recipient to contact the FCC to discuss the matter.
"In almost every case the recipient has contacted us," he said. "In one case, the licensee contacted us, apologized, and reports since that time indicate that the licensee has become a model operator." Some amateurs have reported to the ARRL that amateur behavior has improved--dramatically in some areas--since word hit the street that the FCC was taking amateur enforcement seriously. For its part, the League has said it is willing, for now, not to pursue its request to further privatize amateur enforcement.
Hollingsworth says the warning letters will continue, but now he's taking aim at the hard-core scofflaws within the Amateur Radio community. "We have now let everyone out there know we're back," he said. Continued violations will "guarantee" license revocations, fines, or--in extreme cases--equipment seizures.
"Church is out now," he said. "We mean business and we're strapped in and ready to ride." Hollingsworth said Amateur Radio rule breakers "continue these violations at their own risk."
Volume 17, Number 49 (December 11, 1998) The ARRL Letter
Enjoyed your web site!
FB on your web site and even better on your being a Christian. We have a HAM club for our kids at our tuition-free K3-12th grade Christian school, and our kids love to make contacts with other HAMs and then send them QSL cards with Gospel tracts in them and Bible sermon tapes too.
Two of our HAM club kids, Sam, KB9RYP, was 4 years old when he earned his tech+ license and Sarah, KB9SEG, was 4 years old when she earned her novice license. Both are pictured in July, l998, QST magazine on page 20. Joshua, KB9RER, was 5 years old when he earned his general license; John, KB9RRF, was 7 years old when he earned his general license; Gabriel, KB9REP, was 8 years old when he earned his general license, and others.
Maybe we can catch you on HF soon. We have prayed for you, and we would appreciate your prayers for us. Please visit our web site: http://www.angelfire.com/in/RevRJBruno and feel free to listen to our online sermons there or listen to our short wave radio broadcasts on WWCR, 15.685 MHz, tomorrow, Monday at 6:30 A.M. (CST) or WHRA, 15.460 MHz, on Saturdays at 3 P.M. (CST). 73's de Fellow servants of Jesus,
Pastor R.J. Bruno (KB9NWM)
Mrs. J. Bruno (KB9QZK)
Found recently in an old FCC Rule Book was this statement:
Amateur Radio as a hobby is guided by five basic objectives:
1. to provide emergency and public service communications;
2. to advance the state of the art;
3. to improve individual skills in radio operation;
4. to provide a reserve pool of qualified radio operators and technicians;
5. to promote international goodwill.
Basic objective number one is the major reason that our hobby is allowed to exist. We as a group have the ability to provide public service and emergency communications if we are properly prepared. Public and private forms of communication can disappear if the electric service is interrupted or the telephone cell systems or TX sights are damaged. Severe weather can destroy the civil authorities ability to provide the necessary communications to assure their proper operation. We have the ability to fill this void if we are ready.
The hurricane and thunderstorm season has passed for this year and is giving us a short break. During this time you might consider readying your station for the next storm season. A new antenna, or maybe coax to replace that which has been feeding your antenna and is now deteriorated or is suspect. Maybe Santa was really good to you and left a new radio or tower under your tree and you have to get it into operation. How about a new heavy duty battery to replace the one that has served you so well but just doesn't seem to hold a charge as well as it did? Been thinking about a portable generator to keep the food in the freezer from spoiling as well as powering your rig if your electricity goes out for any length of time?
How about upgrading your license? Or maybe just practicing your code? In his Dec. column N5JCG mentioned message handling. He has been heard urging local operators to check into the various nets or at least least tune in and listen to what goes on there and see how they operate. Doing these these things would be furthering objectives three and four and cost very little except in time furthering your hobby.
After the 22 Dec. 98 Tuesday Night Two Meter Net concluded a group of the net check-ins moved over to the ten meter band and tested our ability to communicate. Surprisingly, this impromptu test resulted in all participating stations being heard. Several operators not yet having ten meter phone privileges monitored the net frequency and reported via two meters. Thanks Lee and Bill.
All area amateur operators are encouraged to participate in the WX program. You DO NOT have to be a member of the Meridian Amateur Radio Club to participate. All you need is a Technician class license or higher, a radio that will operate on the frequencies we will use, and the desire to serve your community. If you would like to be trained to function as a net control operator or storm spotter, please contact me on the W5FQ repeater, at email@example.com using E-mail, or at 601-644-3226.
Lost and Found by KB5DKW
(The Lady is a "10")
My first radio was a CB of course. It was an old 23 channel Sharp mobile rig. It really intimidated me the first time I keyed the mic. I was afraid that someone might think that I was dumb or something. I had used a lot of radios in the Air Force and had even called home on the M.A.R.S net, but this was different. However, for some reason after I got used to it, CB just did not impress me that much, and I used it more as a utility rather than a way to find good conversation and technical information.
Then along came something called Novice Enhancement. This was a way for Ham Radio to expand it's membership and still keep a pool of good quality radio ops in the amateur radio service and perhaps ensure a bright future for itself. For the first time a Novice had a Voice and I really used mine to help myself. My old radio sometimes made 100 watts and sometimes it made about 2 watts but on 10 meters no one even noticed because such is the "lady" that we Q.R.P. people love.
My rig was an old Hot Water 100 by Heath of Benton Harbor, Michigan. I was a Novice with Ten-Meter talk privileges which put a no-code ticket of today to shame. I was a real ham talking to other hams and they were absolutely great. They saw that I was trying hard and wanting to up-grade, and they did everything to help me out of mutual respect. I am sure that there must have been one or two jerks in the crowd, but they have slipped my memory.Any kind of technical questions about radios and antennas (antennae is also correct) were answered the best they could.
If I wanted to practice CW then we just switched to that mode until it got too hard, and then I just keyed up the mic and we went back to voice. By that time my "fickle little sweet heart" (the ten meter band) had often moved on to visit other friends around the Country and the World, but I knew that she would soon be back. Ten-Meters gave me a window to the WORLD and not just to Meridian, MS. I even talked to a lot of folks around Meridian who still had the high gain beams from their CB days, and they worked well on ten meters for local rag chewing.
So who needs 2 meters? Any serious CBer can out distance it given half a chance if you take away those repeaters and in a a real weather emergency operation simplex ONLY is a real possibility. As for Ten-Meter DX let me say that the Lady may be a Tramp, but she was sure doing a fine job during the 10 meter contest as advertised in November QST for December 12 and 13. Most of the time when the band is open, any frequency that ends in 5 such as 28.105 mhz has been taken over by illegal CBers who hope that Ham Radio and CW will just go away and the F.C.C. will make "Good Buddy Radio" out of all of it because they can not understand what we are saying anyway.
Well, Saturday and Sunday, Hams were out in force on ten-meters with 4 points for a CW contacts and 2 points for SSB. True to form, many, many Hams went for the big points and a CBer never stood a chance on the band. It was a solid CW tornado from 28.000 up to 28.300 and I just had to jump in there with them. It did my old heart good because the good guys were winning for a change.
Chalk one up for the ARRL, ambiguous though it may be at times! Stay in and do not give up. I do not think that our hobby is dying, but it is just a little sleepy right now. Even if it is dying (with old die hards like me around) we are still a lot of funerals away from the end of Ham Radio. As for sleeping - we Americans may be lazy and distracted, but no one wants to bomb Pearl Harbor again, now do they?
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Have a great month
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