THE SPARK GAP A monthly publication of the Meridian Amateur Radio Club March 1999
Boy, another month has gone by. Had some bad weather. But most of it wonderful. Hope we have an easy spring to deal with in Weather. We have a fine organization headed up by Jim WB5OCD. Lets get behind him on this program. We need him and his guys in this area.
As you know, the weather service doesn't do us much good with the limits of their radar. They try but with little help.
Field day is close and looking good. With the day at the Mall parking lot, we should get a lot of lookers. We have a good committee to head up things. Maybe we could get some new members from it. PLEASE don't be offended by the rules of no alcoholic beverages. We want to have lots of fun and be family orientated. We want all of you there. We need all of you there. We need all of us to be a good club. We desire all and everyone there and "Please" do not be offended of the rules. The finger points to no one.
Fishing tournament coming up soon. Watch The Spark Gap - be there.
Note+++ Hamfest at Birmingham coming up in Apr.
A man and his wife from Snowy , IL were going to Florida on vacation. He went ahead and she was to follow up the next day, because of commitment. He checked into Hotel and was to send her E-Mail to her, but forgot one of the letters. Sending it got to a preacher wife who lost her husband the day before. E-MAIL read. Got here and checked in ok. Sure miss you. Will be looking for you tomorrow.
ps. Boy it sure is hot down here..
Vice President Report:
I hope everyone is doing well... It looks like bad weather has started early this year. Thanks Jim, for doing a great job with our weather net. Thanks to everyone who is taking part in our nets and making them a big success. It's good to hear all our new hams talking on the air and taking part in our club.
I don't have much to report but wanted to say 73's to everyone and hope you have a good spring. Look forward to seeing you soon... 73's
Phillip ~ KD5CBK
Storm Spotter Class
The first storm spotter class scheduled for Lauderdale county will be held on March 25 in either the LEMA office or at the EMEPA building on HWY 39 North.
I would like to get a count of those wishing to attend and if you are planning to bring any guests. The more the merrier - but I just want to make sure that there will be plenty of room. Please spread the word and let me know if you wish to attend. The last class we had was very good. Thanks Jim
VICE DIRECTOR'S NOTES
We the members of the ARRL Board of Directors met in Houston, Texas on Friday, January 15 and Saturday, January 16, 1999. Houston was selected in hopes that the January weather would not be cold there. It was great weather in Houston those days.
The meeting went over great. Several items were discussed in detail. The average age of amateur radio operators is rising each year. Somehow, we need to put a postive spin on this item very quickly and steer away from any negative thoughts. We believe that our youth are continued to be excited about amateur radio. The main problem being after becoming licensed, there is no fellow up on their status etc. What are your views on this situation? Can you help decrease the average amateur radio operator's age? If everyone is not involved here, our great hobby will be less interested in the future and maybe lose some of our frequencies.
Everyone should keep in mind of the ARRL Foundation Scholarship program. This is another avenue to arouse the interest of the younger generation amateur radio operators. The Foundation has money set aside to donate scholarships to younger amateur radio operators annually.
How many of you have visited the ARRL Web Extra for members only. There are news that you should know about as an ARRL member. It appears that the FCC is began to enforce the rules after ARRL Board and General Counselor have complained and wrote letters on your behalf. The FCC's Radio Enforcer, Riley Hollingsworth, K4ZDH, turned up in an unexpected place January 13, 1999 on 75 meters. A detail report was on the ARRL Web Extra for members about this time. I feel the FCC is ready to perform some enforcement activities.
In the near future, there maybe some information out about the name change for the American Radio Relay League. It is viewed that the current name does not reflect what the amateur radio hobby is about. What is your views on this subject?
Steve Mansfield, N1MZA reports the "Wireless Privacy Bill was reintroduced on February 10, 1999. The Wireless Privacy Enhancement Act of 1999, HR514, has been introduced by Rep. Heather Wilson of New Mexico. The measure is aimed at amending the Communications Act of 1934 "to strengthen and clarify prohibitions on electronic eavesdropping, and for other purposes." HR514 is identical to the amended version of HR2369 that passed the House by a wide margin during last congress session.
I wish that I could give you some information on WT 98-143. We are in the wait status as most of you are at the present time. Personally, I feel about the next 30 to 60 days we may hear something.
Henry R. Leggette, WD4Q Vice Director,
Delta Division Americam Radio Relay League
Lost and Found by KB5DKW
"Waves of the General Kind"
I became a VE to help insure the survival of the greatest hobby that I have ever known. I shoot, hunt, reload ammo, play guitar, build things of wood, and work on cars. Anything that does not make much money; I will try. Money bores me, but sometimes I wish that life was more boring.
However, my days of being a shiftless bum are made much brighter and less lonesome by my RF friends around the City, the State, the U.S.A, and the World. Perhaps my Christian upbringing and a sad book called "The Catcher in the Rye" and then Victor Hugo's "Les Miserable" have given me a soft spot for the Underdog. This led to an attempt at trying to be a school teacher which turned out to be a flop. So, 12 years ago my 'Motherly Instincts' resurfaced as I became a Volunteer Examiner.
Those feelings still remain, and they are manifested in articles such as this. I tried to teach students of the 'kiddie persuasion', and this will explain the simple way in which I try here to reveal all that I know about HF radio from a well experienced but simple minded perspective.
All things here do not apply all the time, but they have remained true for me most of the time. As for VHF and UHF traveling in the line of sight manner, they would be an almost useless toy if it were not for repeaters and High Gain Antennas. We as Humans are causing those bands to do unnatural things but since you can not fool Mother Nature, they have limited usefulness.
HF is where it's at oh ye Terminal Technicians. Whether you like CW or not, you should do what it takes to get at least a General Class License. If you have your "General" - you have basically all that you will ever need to be helpful on the Ham Bands. It is the biggest upgrade that you will ever make in Ham Radio. You will have all of most of it and a piece of the rest of it, so why not just do it?
Here, I will try and explain band by band the "Amateur HF Spectrum" that you will have as a "General" as I have experienced it myself. This is all just my honest OPINION.
(1) 160 meters or "top band" as they call it is mostly a noisy intercom that works for a few hundred miles in the summer. However, on a cold winter's night if you have enough real estate for the dipole, then you are likely to encounter stations from all around the country. Some real gentlemen hang out down here and there is some AM activity that rivals broadcast quality. If you want to run AM here, then you will need a good antenna and at least a gallon of juice (kw of power). CW works well from end to end, and DX is possible even down here next to people 'preaching', selling weird stuff and predicting economic apocalypse on the AM broadcast band.
(2) 75 or 80 meters it is called, but whatever you want to call it, it is a very effective band and perhaps our most useful one. This one band alone would be worth the upgrade to General. It even works better in the day light hours than they give it credit for. At night, much of the United States has a "State or Section Phone Net" in the early hours of darkness, and you can contact them with a simple dipole. There are some CW traffic nets also, if you are serious. It is a fine band and our "Sunday Punch" for night time local communication. To a Ham Operator "Local" means out to about 1,000 miles give or take a few.
(3) 40 meters is just the daytime version of 80 for practical purposes, with a little more DX potential and a shorter antenna. It works better as a mobile band because of that also. At night, it gets stretched out and too busy to use unless you are pretty big and tough.
(4) 30 meters is CW and Didgey only and more skippy than 40. Nice people hang out here. Like 160, as a General, you have full run of it. Power stays below 200 watts and it is good for Q.R.P.
(5) 20 meters is a GREAT band for DX and long range emergency communication regarding such things as Weather and War. I have seen it perform well when the book said that it would not. I have worked the World and have the wallpaper for it on 20 meter CW. On Single Side Band (except for nets) it may not be for "Sissies". Some big-guns with bad attitudes like to talk here but everything changes.
(6) 17 meters is a band that acts more like 20 than 15 and the people are friendlier. It is our newest HF band and we thank you W.A.R.C.
(7) 15 meters is a long hitter and a long band. I worked my first DX here as a Novice (ZL2MM in New Zealand and I still treasure the Q.S.L card). 15 meters is fine when it is working but does not come to town as often as 20 and is really a little too unpredictable to be of all that much use for traffic. However, I have heard "foreign missionaries" (who have worked out a "skip sked" with someone stateside) hang in there for a long time. You usually hear only one side of these conversations from here on up the spectrum through 10 meters. It can also serve well for maritime operation.
(8) 12 meters is nice but needs more use. It is in nature a lot like 11 meters which has plenty of use. It is strictly for DX and talking a few miles down the road. The people that operate here are not like CBers. I am a CBer myself and know what CB is like.
(9) 10 meters is a very interesting band where you can have a local "Ragchew Net" and be visited by people from around the Country and sometimes the World. Where they come from is up to chance and happenstance and that makes 10 meters mostly a TOY but a fun toy it is indeed if you are of the same mind as I am. There are CW beacons up here that send call letters and try to help you make sense of where the band is open to. They help a little. Many FM repeaters are up on 10 meters and you can imagine what happens when you have a repeater and long skip working together. A Chaos of Cacophony is often the result. "Cacophony" is a good and picturest word that was worth me looking up in the Dictionary, hi hi. If you are a CBer turned Ham and you still have some kind of crazy urge to run AM this far up the spectrum then there is a place up here set aside for such things (kind of a CBers Heaven). Ten meters also has it's share of "Play Hams" that cause their CBs to transmit up to and beyond 28 megahertz. This is illegal and there is a man named Hollinsworth who is going around and taking names. Whether he can catch them or not, I do not know but look on the bright side because some of these people are future No-Code Techs who are future "Generals".
Now is that positive enough for you? Ronald E. Grayson esq. (Executive Vice President in Charge of Public Relations for D.Q.Q.R.P Club International)
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Have a great month
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