A monthly publication of the Meridian Amateur Radio Club August 1999

President Report:

HOT - HOT - TOO HOT to do anything. Another month has gone by. Hope every one at your house is doing good.

Well we have the new antennas up finally after a few tries. Was a little slow and a LOT hot, but we got the job done. We were out there about 6 hours on Saturday July 31. On behalf of the club and club presidency, I thank all who contributed to the antenna installation. I know some others wanted to be there but had a good reason not to be there. We had plenty of help.

Lets think about our fishing tournament and fish fry - and maybe a mall setup and display. We sure are proud of our club and the support from the members. Hope we can get some of the older members back out to fellowship with us. We miss them. We need input into programs that we could get from them.

Hope everyone a cool and safe month from the heat. 73.s and 88.s from W5OQY CP


The final tally on field day contacts was 181. MARC logs were sent to the League with a total of 970 points. Next year if we attempt to be competitive we could do much better.

The last official count from the Don Quixote Q.R.P. Club Internationals public relations division, KB5DKW, indicated that its operators had amassed the staggering total of 1690 points. That is 129 contacts at ten points each plus their bonus points.

Three hundred and ten contacts for the two locations. Not bad. If we needed to move to the field to provide emergency communications, we proved that we could do so. Thanks again to each of you who participated. If you have not seen the photos from field day, take a look at last months SPARK GAP on the web. Thank you Jim & Ronnie

Vanity update

The FCC in Gettysburg reports it has processed vanity call sign applications received through July 16. On July 27, the FCC issued 100 grants. Another 134 applications landed in the work-in-process (WIPs) stack. On August 2, the FCC issued 151 grants. Another 151 applications landed in the work-in-process (WIPs) stack. The fee to apply for an Amateur Radio vanity call sign increases from $13 to $14 effective Tuesday, September 14, 1999 (not September 10 as earlier reported--Ed).--FCC

New Toys

New top-of-the-line dual bander from ICOM adds video excitement to audio excellence.

IC-2800H: Advanced features and a unique, 3" (diagonal) TFT color LCD display await you. View GPS and APRSTM maps*, catch SSTV or broadcast TV*,... even watch digital camera and VHS images*. Experiment! The high visibility screen accepts NTSC video input (PAL in the European model) via a simple connection port that accepts most standard camera plugs. A 6-pin data port makes the '2800H 9600bps data ready*. ICOM's popular independent band controls are here, making it easy to work dual or cross band repeat. Also get: CTCSS encode/decode, simple band scope, fast scanning, 232 memory channels, air band reception, and much more. The control head is totally separate from the main unit, with a connection cable and independent mounting brackets included as standard equipment. Explore SEEING as well as hearing more of today's amateur activity.

New! Check out the brand new TH-D7A from the Kenwood Amateur Radio Group!

Kenwood has long been known as the pacesetter in Amateur radio, providing true innovative product designs and concepts. The new and exciting TH-D7A Data Communicator with a built-in TNC eliminates the need for a stand alone TNC for APRS (Automatic Position Reporting System) operation. APRS uses special built-in software included with the TH-D7A and a GPS. With just a TH-D7A and a GPS, you have a complete APRS reporting station.

The unique VC-H1 Visual communicator allows you to take digital images and send them over your handheld, mobile or HF radio. Send color pictures across town or around the world using the VC-H1. You can even download them as JPEG files to send over the Internet.


Nominations are open for the 1999 ARRL International Humanitarian Award. The award is dedicated to those amateurs who, through Amateur Radio, are devoted to promoting the welfare of mankind. The prize goes each year to truly outstanding Amateur Radio operators in areas of international humanitarianism and the furtherance of peace.

Any radio amateur or group of amateurs worldwide who has provided extraordinary service through their Amateur Radio skills for the benefit of others in times of crisis or disaster is qualified to receive the award.

The ARRL International Humanitarian Award recognizes the hobby's international communication role and that hams regularly help people in need throughout the world. Amateur Radio is one of the few media where average people throughout the world can meet to talk to each other and spread goodwill across otherwise impenetrable political boundaries. The Award is intended to promote positive efforts toward international understanding and peaceful communication.

The award recipient is selected by a committee appointed by the League's President. The committee will accept nominations from a licensed radio amateur, governmental or any other organization that has received the benefits of the radio amateur's extraordinary service. Nominations must include a summary of the nominee's actions that qualify the recipient for the award and statements from at least two references-including names and addresses-for verification.

All nominations and supporting materials for the 1999 award must be submitted in writing in English to ARRL International Humanitarian Award, 225 Main Street, Newington, CT 06111 USA. Nominations must be received by December 31, 1999.

The 1998 award went to the Radio Amateur du Quebec Inc, for its efforts during a devastating ice storm. ARRL -- Rick Palm, K1CE


Hurricane expert, Bill Gray, still believes that this will be a productive season for the BIG storms. Hurricane season runs from June 1 until November 30, but the storms don't usually get cranked up until mid August. He believes that we will have at least fourteen named storms, with nine of them intense. This will not be as busy a season as was the record-breaking year of 1995.

Remember where you were in August 1969 when Hurricane Camille hit the Gulf Coast? This is the thirtieth anniversary of that tragic storm.

Wind is not the only element that we must worry about this time of year. The air is humid with the temps reaching near the one hundred degree mark. This condition causes the body's cooling system not to work efficiently and heat stroke can result. Drink plenty of water and stay hydrated, avoid working in the sun during the hottest part of the day if possible, and if you feel ill or fatigued it is possible you should seek medical help because of a heat related illnesses.

On the water, boaters should be wary of stumps and other submerged objects that are now hazards due to the low water levels. Getting the boat off and on the trailer can be a major chore because of low water levels at the launching ramps.

One final caution that is related to the heat. Snakes are out and about in places that they are not usually found when it is cooler and wet. Rattlesnakes and moccasins for some reason seem to like to move into residential areas this time of year. While living in Gulfport the water moccasins would invade the ground level swimming pools to beat the heat and drought.

If you are walking outside, especially, in wide open areas watch for birds that appear to be attacking the ground. They are often pestering a snake that is out and easily seen. We used to hunt them using that technique. The best way to avoid being bitten is just to watch where you walk and never put your hands into an area that you can not see well.

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. All you need to operate on the two meter 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.

Being a member of the Amateur Radio Emergency Services (ARES) is also not required but does provide the group with affiliation with a nationally recognized organization with operating agreements with FEMA, NWS, Red Cross, Salvation Army and local emergency management agencies through the state run agency. 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, or at 601-644-3226.

Thanks Jim


There will be a Section Emergency Test (SET) on 18 September 1999 from 0800 to 1030 hours local. We will have a local event that will run concurrent with the test that will be on the MSPN frequency of 3.862 MHZ. More to come on this one.

ARES - Amateur Radio Emergency Service
Donna Harrison, KD5GWM, has been appointed as Assistant EC by the MS Section Manager. She is our Liaison with the Lauderdale Emergency Management Agency.

The new format for the Tuesday Night Net is working out pretty good. It is a little more formal at the beginning than the old net. Once the official business and check-ins are done please feel free to conduct any informal business or make any comments that you would like.

I still need photos for your ARES ID cards. The photo should be a head shot, about the same size as your drivers license photo, 1" wide by 1.5" tall.

The net control training session held on 29 July went very well. We now have three more operators trained to run the emergency net.

VE Exams - will be held on Thursday evening at 7 PM, September 9 at the Lauderdale EOC (LEMA office).

73s Jim WB5OCD

Our hobby - Radio Heaven

In the last 1000 years, the 25th most significant human event was the first over-the-horizon radio transmission, according to Life Magazine's millennium edition--a 2,000 mile space broadcast of the Morse code letter, "S", carried from a kite in Italy to a receiver in New York.

In 1999, there are 4 million amateur radio operators in the US alone, and they continue to increase around 7% per year.

Safety note from W5MAV

I am currently in the process of putting together another web site. This site will have information about myself and my accident (a 30 foot fall which left me paralyzed) that occurred nearly 5 years ago. While putting this information together, many old memories and the importance of safety came back to mind (also note Jim's article above). What does this have to do with amateur radio? Many of you climb your own towers, and in doing my research I learned that falls are the second leading cause of accidental death.

In the construction industry, falls from an elevation cause more fatal injuries than any other accident event type. According to the 1996 National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, published by the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics, nationwide, there were 607 fatalities in 1996 resulting from falls to a lower level, accounting for ten percent of all fatal injuries in all workplaces. One-fifth of the fatal falls were from or through roofs. Falls from ladders and falls from scaffolds each accounted for one-seventh of the total. Other common work surfaces from which fatal falls occurred included: stairways, open-sided floors, stacked materials, building girders or other structural steel, and non-moving vehicles. Please be safety conscious.

73s W5MAV

12 Leading Causes of Accidental Deaths


Motor Vehicle


Falls from an elevation


Poisoning (solid, liquid, gas)


Fire & Flames


Suffocation (mechanical, ingestion)




Other Transportation


Surgical/Medical Misadventures


Natural/Environmental Factors




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