THE SPARK GAP A monthly publication of the Meridian Amateur Radio Club April 1999
Boy another month has gone by. It sure turned off "Hot". Wanted to do some shallow water fishing, but the fish went deep due to hot water. Field day is upon us. Hope everyone is planning on a big day. The committee is doing a good job on planning activities. Maybe the weather will be good to us and not be too hot. Had a good turn out on our emergency training sessions. The National Wx is proposing a lot of storms this year. We sure could stand them being wrong. Hope so anyway.
Hope to see you soon. W5OQY CP
73.s and 88.s
Vicksburg ARC host "AARL Day in the Park"
The Vicksburg ARC will host the 1999 "ARRL Day in the Park" on Memorial Day (May 31) at Riverfront Park in Vicksburg.
The Park can be reached by taking I-20 Exit 1A and turning right at the top of the ramp. Then travel north on Washington Street for 0.5 miles. At that point you will turn left down the hill at the Riverfront Park entrance sign and follow the road into the picnic area (0.2 miles from the top of the hill). This will put you on the banks of the Mighty Mississippi between the Ameristar and Isle of Capri Casinos.
Lunch will be at 11:30. Hamburgers will be available for a nominal cost, however, folks are encouraged to bring a potluck dish, and we'll just put it all together and see what happens. The ARRL will provide soft drinks and watermelon.
VARC folks will be setting up at 8:00 AM, and we'll stay as long as the fellowship lasts. Bring your boat anchors to sell off your tail gates, if you want to. There's plenty of parking, playground equipment, and rest room facilities at Riverfront Park, plus a spectacular view of the Mississippi, so bring the whole family. You might want to toss a lawn chair in the back of the truck, if you don't like to sit on picnic benches for a long time.
So if you're in the Vicksburg area over the Memorial Day Weekend, come see us!
SPECIAL EVENTS SET FOR INTERNATIONAL MARCONI DAY
Hams at various locations will stage special event operations to commemorate International Marconi Day, April 24. The annual event--held on the Saturday nearest to Marconi's April 25 birthday--will include operation on HF from the Cape Cod, Massachusetts, Marconi transmitting station site in South Wellfleet, by the Marconi Radio Club, W1AA.
Marconi also used several New Jersey sites to introduce wireless. 100 years ago, the first practical radio transmissions in America took place between Twin Lights in Highlands, New Jersey, ships in New York Harbor, and the New York Herald newspaper. On International Marconi Day, the Ocean-Monmouth Amateur Radio Club, N2MO, will operate on 20 meters from Marconi's former receiver site at Wall, New Jersey. The Marconi Chapter of the QCWA will operate from the MARS station at Ft Monmouth in Eatontown, New Jersey using WA2GM. The Morristown Amateur Radio Club, W2YD, will operate from Historic Speedwell Village, Morristown, New Jersey, where the telegraph and Morse code Marconi used were developed. Another station, WJ2DX, will be on the air from Somerville, New Jersey.
In all, some 60 stations in the US and elsewhere are expected to mount special event operations to mark International Marconi Day. Guglielmo Marconi, the man credited with inventing practical wireless, was born in 1874. He died in 1937 (ARRL).
An African chieftain flew to the United States to visit the president. When he arrived at the airport, a host of newsmen and television cameramen met him. One of the reporters asked the chief if he had a comfortable flight.
The chief made a series of weird noises.... "screech, scratch, honk, buzz, whistle, z-z-z-z-"...and then added in perfect English, "Yes, I had a very nice flight."
Another reporter asked, "Chief, do you plan to visit the Washington Monument while you're in the area?"
The chief made the same noises..."screech, scratch, honk, buzz, whistle, z-z-z-z"...and then said, "Yes, and I also plan to visit the White House and the Capitol Building."
"Where did you learn to speak such flawless English?" asked the next reporter. The chief replied, "Screech, scratch, honk, buzz, whistle, z-z-z-z...from the short-wave radio."
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, ARRL or any other group to participate.
I would like for you to become an Amateur Radio Emergency Services operator; however, it is not necessary. All you need to operate on this net 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.
Novice through Extra class operators can be members of the ARES unit. As a Novice class licensee you can operate outside your license class if a higher class control operator is available. You can also be of other service if you wish to donate your time.
If you would like to be trained to function as a net control operator or storm spotter, please contact me on the W5FQ repeater, e-mail using email@example.com, or at 601-644-3226.
WX UPDATE by WB5OCD
Much was accomplished during the month of March. Training sessions were conducted on net operations and how to be an effective net control station (NCS). Jim Butch from the NWS in Jackson, Billy Bob Sekul from the Jackson ARC SKYWARN Center, and Malcolm, W5XX, the ARRL Section Manager for Mississippi was here on the 25th for the Storm Spotter class. The turnout was very good for all of these programs and over half the storm spotter class were HAMs or their guests.
The emergency net was also activated twice during the month for severe thunderstorms moving through our area. The nets went very well. I received comments from several sources outside the amateur community about how professional you sounded. Thanks.
SPOTTER TIPS - What to report:
tornadoes funnel clouds coastal flooding unusually high surf rotating wall clouds damaging thunderstorm winds persistent heavy rains/floods large hail snow depth/ice accumulation any weather phenomena causing death or serious injury your call or other ID when you saw the event where the event occurred (reference landmark or city) damage or injuries
Tornadoes in our area usually move in a southwest to northeast direction. If it appears to be standing still it may be moving directly toward you.
The largest hail generally falls just preceding the tornado. Report the size of the largest hailstones. Use a ruler or the following as a reference. 1/4" is pea size, 1/2" inch is marble (from NOAA guide), 3/4" is dime, 1" is quarter, 1-3/4" is golf ball, 2-3/4" is baseball.
When reporting wind speeds or gusts, tell whether they are measured or estimated. the modified Beaufort Scale below will help you estimate speeds.
25-30 large branches moving; whistling heard in wires.
30-40 whole trees moving; inconvenience in walking against wind.
40-45 breaks twigs and small branches, impedes walking.
45-55 larger branches and weak limbs may break; slight structural damage occurs.
55-65 moderate structural and tree damage.
> 65 heavy to severe structural and tree damage.
Tornadoes and rain shafts can look alike. Look for rotation and upward motion. Also, look for other visual clues, such as the wall cloud, overshooting tops, storm rotation, etc. If you aren't certain of what you see, contact your NCS and your object will be viewed from a different direction if possible to get a better idea what you have.
Be cautious and don't report a tornado if what you see is actually a funnel cloud.
Don't forget your battery operated NOAA radio. It could save your life.
Congratulations to all those that have upgraded or received their HAM license in the past couple of months.
If you have info on how to make wind speed and direction indicator and the parts lists required to do so and would like to teach the rest of us how to put a WX station together please let me know.
Hope you have a good safe month.
Ham Radio "Inertia" by KD4NLP
One of the things I remember from physics class is the phenomenon of inertia. When something is moving, it resists stopping or changing direction. On the other hand, if an object is at rest it resists moving. Therefore, inertia is defined as the resistance to change of motion.
Resistance to change isn't just isolated to physics. People resist change even more than inanimate objects. We get complacent with the way things are, and pitch a fit when someone comes along and shakes us out of our comfort zone. Having been in church work for twelve years, I've seen what happens sometimes when you suggest something new: "we've never done it that way before, Michael"-- and their tone of voice suggests, "and we aren't going to start now."
It has become apparent that changes are taking place in the amateur radio hobby, and I'm sure many of us do not like what we see. However, instead of holding on to the status quo, I think we will serve ourselves best if we take the lead and make the best of change. One thing is sure: if we build our forts and refuse to move, we will just as surely be trampled by the forces of change.
Right now, the changes focus on the FCC's preparations for a new amateur licensing structure. No matter how we may hate it, Morse code requirements will be diminished. The FCC has made it clear that the 20 wpm Extra class requirement will be removed, and they are hinting at removing the 13 wpm General class code speed as well. As you may know, I hold a Technician Plus license, so I would be in an advantageous position should the FCC codify a code speed reduction. But let me also make it clear that I am totally against doing away with 13 wpm. We need to maintain incentive licensing and keep it challenging enough to make upgrading worthwhile.
I know that most Extra class hams are angry that their efforts to achieve 20 wpm will be dismissed after restructuring. To remedy this problem, I suggest that the FCC reward those who earned an Extra class license prior to restructuring. Vanity 1x2 and 2x1 calls should only be available to this group. Anyone upgrading to Extra after the standards are lowered would be assigned only the AA-AL 2x2 call signs.
Ok, so we change the licensing structure; what next? How do we keep our hobby alive into the third millennium? First, we should recruit children and teens to amateur radio; second, we need to get back to the cutting edge of radio theory.
We need to make ham radio attractive to young people. We do that by showing them how much fun they can have, and then helping them to learn radio theory and Morse code. Because radio equipment can be very expensive, we should develop a club equipment loan program. Those of us who have extra equipment could donate it to the club, and then youngsters could check out the radios for a certain period of time.
We also need to develop efficient and reliable digital telephony above 50 MHz. Imagine how emergency communications could be improved if we didn't have to worry about unintelligible signals.
It is time for us to be change agents rather than change resistors. You have many more ideas than I do of how to make amateur radio better. But let's do something instead of assuming that everything is fine the way it is. Make inertia work for us and not against us.
If you have an opposing view on this topic, please send your article to JARC, P.O. Box 55643, Jackson, MS 39296-5643. Please limit your response to 500 words or less.
And thank you for caring about the future of amateur radio!
Have a great month
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