THE SPARK GAP A monthly publication of the Meridian Amateur Radio Club October 1999
Hello to all from South of Meridian. Sure is a pretty Fall - a little dry, but we can't have everything. The weather has been good to us this Fall, but other places didn't do so good. Had a pretty good Hamfest at Mobile, but it seems like most Hamfest are getting smaller. They say the Internet has some bearing on them. People now buy and sell on the web.
Hope everyone is thinking on a date for Christmas dinner - also a good place to have it. The year is almost gone. Its time for elections again. Please think of your selection for officers. Hope we can elect this year during the December meeting; that way the new officers can get off to a good start in Jan 2000.
Hope to see U at the fish tour/fry on the 16th. See you on the radio.
73,s CP W5OQY
October 9 Meeting Update
A short note to get everyone up to date on a couple of developments.
First, the MARC Fishing Tournament will be held on Saturday, October 16 from 7 AM to 2 PM. The tournament will be followed by a fish fry and fellowship. You are asked to please bring a covered dish. Please remember that we will be guest of WB5OCD and his family. No alcoholic beverages or bad attitudes may be brought to this event.
Next, the election of officers for Year 2000 was discussed. Nominations will be held during the November business meeting and elections will take place during the December meeting.
It was also voted upon to raise club dues to $23 per year ($25 for a household) to help curb the cost of our club insurance that will be due during the early part of next year. Club dues will become receivable in January.
Last, but not least - the Christmas Party Dinner will be held at Queen City Truck Stop on Tuesday evening, December 14 beginning at 7 PM.
Have a GREAT month. 73, W5MAV
If you would like to attend a class at the LEMA building on antenna theory and construction please let me know. If there is enough interest a class/demonstration will be finalized and a date set. Jim WB5OCD
Computer generated amateur exams
Some of you may be familiar with the computer generated amateur exams that are available on the web. For those of you who have not seen one of these sites the following is a good one. It has all of the amateur exams and the commercial test too. There are two ways to get to it.
First the easy way. Chose a search engine, type AA9PW in the search window, and click on the search button. The hard way is to type the following stuff. http://www.biochem.mcw.edu/Postdocs/simon/radio/exam.html
OKAY - 3 ways then. (JUST CLICK HERE)
Hope this is of help to some of you on your way to upgrading. If you are where you wanna be please pass it on to your radio pals so it can help out some of them.
Thanks for your time.
Thanks for the tip Jim. You can also find a link to the site on my page. AA9PW has also put together a nice JAVA applet that you can Download to your own HD and run without being connected to the net. Very Handy little test with "autograding" so you know right away if you blew or knew it. 73
Tim Billingsley, KD5CKP
Dixiefest Info from KD5CKP
For those of you who might have been looking forward to MemFest, the time, name, and other factors have changed. I am also informed that The Dixiefest will be the location of the TN ARRL Convention this year.
73 de Tim Billingsley, KD5CKP
LOCAL SET OPS '99 by WB5OCD
The morning of 18 September dawned cool and sunny with the Mississippi Section Emergency Test (SET) lurking in the after dawn hours to test, train, aggravate, and even amuse the amateur radio operators that were willing to participate.
Things started to happen before the allocated kick-off time of 0800 hours local. KD5GWM, Donna, activated the Meridian Area Emergency Net (MAEN) at about 0750 hours when 3.862 MHz started getting busy and we were already finding ourselves falling behind. There was activity in many Mississippi counties with the most of it in the northwest and along the coast. In Lauderdale county we simulated a pipeline rupture near the Clarke County and Alabama State Line and attempted to support the rest of the state's test.
The LEMA Director, Mr. Eddie Ivy, participated as well as did several of his volunteers and the Mississippi Guard. We simulated shelter openings to provide realism to the exercise.
Twenty operators checked into our net. Gary, K5XC, provided HF liaison while Bill, KB5ASR, fired up his packet system and checked us into the system at the NWS in Jackson. Dennis, KI5FW, attempted to link us into the NWS office with his 70 cm. machine and just like in the real world things broke down and the link could not be made.
Operators from Clarke, Kemper, Lauderdale, Neshoba, Newton, and Scott counties were participants in our net. There were three operators standing by in Neshoba county monitoring the .76 machine to provide assistance if needed.
About half-way through the SET, Donna's voice failed, and Bill stepped in as net control. He did a super job taking the net and handling the messages that came in for assistance from outside our area while keeping up with the local inputs as well. Exercise inputs were being sent and received at furious pace near the end of the SET. The LEMA communications room was a hectic, busy place; like during a real emergency.
It was worth getting up early, driving to the LEMA office, and being present just to see the expression on the LEMA Directors face when he heard the message addressed to him being relayed off the HF net requesting that he send the DeSota EMA a gear off a 1949 Power Wagon. Eddie just couldn't understand how someone in the DeSota County EMA could know there was a '49 Power Wagon available to remove parts from on Lauderdale county's equipment list. I suspect that some of you that were listening to what transpired got a few chuckles at our expense too.
It almost seemed like the players were reluctant to leave the field and the exercise went past the scheduled completion time. Maybe next year we will have more players locally and a better exercise planed and scripted. If you were hesitant to check in with this year please get on the air with us next year.
From the comments received to date we learned the following:
1. When the HF net is full of traffic with things happening in other areas we may need more than one HF liaison station. One operator just could not keep up.
2. Packet really looked good getting messages in and out of Jackson. Mr. Ivy has indicated that a packet station in the LEMA communications room would be nice. We will take any equipment donations the members are willing to provide to make this a reality.
3. In the excitement, we lost track of some of our check-ins and failed to utilize them when situations arose where we needed their help. This is an area that we will have to work on as we develop our program. We also failed to exercise our link with the Neshoba group. Closer ties over the next months will help here.
4. Murphy strikes. The 70 cm. link did not operate. This valuable asset needs to be located where it will provide better coverage. As a community we should do all we can to improve the performance of this system. This system is not a threat to the .70 machine. It augments .70. The redundancy it provides could be what keeps us going if the primary system goes down.
5. There was some traffic on 146.52 MHz and despite the range involved communications happened. This too is an area that we have done some work but need to look at again.
6. Finally, we met our goal. We tested the system and found that it does work. Without your participation during the early hours of that Saturday morning a big part of the system would have been missed. I want to thank each and every one of you for being there.
This past month was a good month and a busy one. I hope October 1999 is a great month for you and yours. Hope that you will make plans to attend the fish fry that is in the works.
Thank you Jim for all of the work you did in making this event a success.
The ARRL Simulated Emergency Test
STATE Recap by W5XX
Mississippi held its second SET in recent history on September 18. By any measure it was a success. Over 300 hams worked together to answer 48 of 50 requests for information from state emergency management agencies. One of the major objectives of this SET was to link up the HF and VHF nets. This was successful in that of the 48 successful responses, 15 came all or part of the way through a VHF link.
In addition to the state wide activity, a number of Emergency Coordinators and Net Managers conducted local ARES exercises in parallel with the SET. And to make things even more interesting several of the local emergency management agencies conducted exercises in parallel with the local ARES exercises. At this point exercises were known to have been conducted in Bolivar, Hancock, Jackson, Lauderdale, Union, and Warren Counties. There were probably more, but a lot of reports have yet to come in. (Exercises are planned for later in the Fall for Lee and Hinds/Rankin/Madison counties.)
Emergency Coordinators Kim Kimmerly, N5XGI, Jackson County, and Jim Stevenson, WB5OCD, Lauderdale County, even managed to get some local TV and press coverage of their local exercises during the SET. This certainly helps to make the public aware of ham radio emergency communications capabilities.
Good things are in the works for emergency communications preparedness in Mississippi. Meridian and Jackson now have a 2 meter link in operation. Jackson County is working on linking into PBRA. Now if we could link Greenville / Greenwood into Vicksburg and the North Mississippi SKYWARN into Central Mississippi via a repeater in the Starksville or Ackerman areas, we would be in great shape.
73 de W5XX
And Thank you Malcolm for all of the work you did in making this event a success.
World Population Will Reach 6 Billion
By CAROLINE BYRNE - Associated Press Writer - 09/22/99
LONDON (AP) _ The world's population is expected to top 6 billion next month, with most of the growth occurring in poor regions such as sub-Saharan Africa and southern Asia, according to U.N. figures released today.
``In the midst of the greatest wealth the world has ever seen, 1 billion people still live without the fundamental elements of human dignity _ clean water, enough food, secure housing, basic education and basic health care,'' said Dr. Nafis Sadik, executive director of the United Nations Population Fund.
Africa's population is the world's fastest-growing _ more than doubling to 767 million since 1960 _ although AIDS has cut life expectancy dramatically and access to basic services and jobs is limited, according to the State of the World Population Report 1999. Asia's population has doubled to 3.6 billion over the same period.
In comparison, North America and European growth has slowed or stopped altogether as more couples decide to have less than the two children needed to ``replace'' themselves, the report noted. The United States is the only industrial country where increases are still projected, largely as a result of immigration.
The report warned that the demographic shifts will need to be accompanied by policy shifts so developing regions can offer jobs and services to their growing populations. The United Nations reviewed a 20-year action plan, drawn up by 179 countries in Cairo in 1994, and found two-thirds of the countries had introduced policies to encourage gender equality and that more than a third had updated health care policies. But Sadik stressed that the action plan was largely underfunded. ``We need $5.7 billion from the international community. We have $2 billion and $2.5 billion will have to be spent on Africa alone,'' Sadik said.
The review found ``far too many'' women in developing countries are denied access to education, family planning, contraception, and decent health care. Every year, 70,000 women die from unsafe abortions and, every minute, more than one woman dies from problems related to childbirth and pregnancy. ``In developing countries reproduction is the single greatest threat to their health,'' said Sadik. ``Women are urged by society that that is their role, but then they're not really supported.''
The report noted that women overall have been having fewer children, but so many are of childbearing age that birth rates have continued at a rate of about 78 million per year. That trend looks likely to continue, given that almost half the world's population is under the age of 25.
Continued population growth also affected environmental trends, which led to collapsed fisheries, shrinking forests and the extinction of plants and animals, the report said. ``One of the real choices we will face in the 21st century is how many species and ecosystems we are willing to eliminate in order to make more space for human activities,'' it warned.
On the positive side, the United Nations noted that mortality rates are dramatically falling, including infant mortality, which has dropped by two-thirds. Average life expectancy rose from 46 to 66 years.
The United Nations has designated Oct. 12 as the ``Day of 6 Billion.''
Have a great month
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