A monthly publication of the Meridian Amateur Radio Club November 1999

From the Editor:

My sincere apology for the mistake in last month's Spark Gap that stated MARC would be guest of WB5OCD for the fishing tournament. It should have read "guest of WB4ZIK and his family". As many times as this newsletter gets proofread, there are still times when a few mistakes slip by me. Jim, I hope your QTH was not flooded with fishermen to badly. Thank you ALL that brought this to my attention.

During the MARC meeting on November 6, 1999 nominations for Year 2000 officers took place. The following are the results of these nominations.


K5XC - Gary Galloway

Vice Pres:

WB5OCD - Jim Stevenson


KB5ASR - Bill Roberson


W5MAV - Darrell Hover
WB4ZIK - Ross Wingo

Please remember that nominations are open until our next scheduled business meeting on December 4, 1999. Please make an effort to be as this important meeting. Also, PLEASE remember to vote for WB4ZIK for Treasurer. As many of us in Mississippi learned during this past election, YOUR VOTE IS IMPORTANT.

Thanks to all of you that are spreading the word about our newsletter. If you know someone that you think would enjoy The Spark Gap, please send their e-mail address to:

73, W5MAV

GMT Time Zones

Greenwich Mean Time is a world standard consisting of 24 time zones starting at GMT 0 which, to give you an idea of the location, passes through Greenwich, England. GMT time zones decrease from GMT-1 to GMT-12 heading West. GMT time zones increase from GMT+1 to GMT+12 heading East.

The United States is used to the Eastern, Central, Mountain, and Pacific standard time zones which are GMT-5, GMT-6, GMT-7, and GMT-8, respectively. During the summer months, Eastern, Central, Mountain, and Pacific Daylight Savings time zones are GMT-4, GMT-5, GMT-6, GMT-7, respectively.

Greenwich 2000: Millennium

When does the Millennium start?

The millennium officially starts on 1 January 2001 (there was no year 0) at Greenwich; but most people are regarding 1 January 2000 as a good day to start the party! The computers crash and millennium year celebrations begin 1 January 2000). The event officially starts in Greenwich, England where the World's biggest dome is being built on the Meridian Line.

Why does the Millennium start in Greenwich?

The millennium starts in Greenwich because in 1884 at an International conference in Washington, DC, USA it was agreed to have a Universal Day. The day begins at the Prime Meridian of the World (Zero Longitude) - The Greenwich Meridian - an imaginary line from North Pole to South Pole through the primary transit instrument (telescope) at the Royal Observatory Greenwich. Hence each and every day begins in Greenwich including of course 1 January 2000 (although the Millennium officially starts on 1 January 2001).

Which place has the first sunrise in the Millennium? There has been a lot of speculation about which country, city, town will be the one to see the first sun-rise of the new millennium. Countries have even been jumping the international date line in order to achieve this status. If you really want to see the first sunrise then get your thermals on and head for Antarctica.

Is the Year 2000 a Leap Year?

This has been the subject of a lot a debate. When the year is a century (I.E. ends in 00). The century rule applies. The century has to divide by 4. So 1900 was NOT a leap year. The year 2000 WILL be a leap year. Nobody has worked out if there will need to be a correction for the year 4000. YES - THERE ARE 29 DAYS IN FEBRUARY 2000

Historic Greenwich

There is a thousand years of history in Greenwich. This millennium started with the murder of the Archbishop of Canterbury in Greenwich in 1012 and has seen many famous events and characters in history visit here. King Henry VIII was born in Greenwich as were his children including Queen Elizabeth I.

Greenwich England is where East meets West at the Greenwich Meridian (0° Longitude); World Time is set Greenwich Mean Time and where the World millennium celebrations will take place.   The Millennium Dome will be officially opened by HM Queen Elizabeth II on 31 December 1999.  The Millennium Experience will be staged in the Millennium Dome from 2 January 2000 until 31 December 2000.  But remember that the millennium doesn't officially begin until 2001.

Greenwich lies on the River Thames, a few minutes by rail or tube, or a short river cruise from central London.  There is the famous Cutty Sark to visit and the Royal Naval College.  Just down river is the Thames Barrier which is close to London City Airport. The Royal Observatory at Greenwich is in Greenwich Park along with the National Maritime Museum and the Queens House (which will stage an exhibition "The Story of Time" from 1 December 1999 until 24 September 2000). 

Greenwich has a long heritage; it was the birth place of King Henry VIII and his daughters Queen Mary (Bloody Mary) and Queen Elizabeth I (The Virgin Queen).  It has seen many famous visitors from Peter the Great through Charles Dickens to Bob Hope. 

From: Greenwich 2000: Millennium FAQs -

Zulu Time

Military & Civilian Time Designations From A - Z.

There are 25 integer World Time Zones from -12 through 0 (GMT) to +12. Each one is 15° of Longitude as measured East and West from the Prime Meridian of the World at Greenwich, England. Each Time Zone is measured relative to Greenwich, England. There are both civilian designations which are typically three letter abbreviations (e.g. EST) for most time zones. In addition there are military designations. These use each letter of the alphabet (except 'i') and are known by their phonetic equivalent. E.G. Greenwich Mean Time (civilian) or z = Zulu (military and aviation).

Did you know? that when you rearrange the letters


You get

The Morse Code

Here Come Dots

Slot Machines

Cash Lost in 'em


Dirty Room

Eleven plus two

Twelve plus one


A Rope Ends It

Solar maximum prediction

Solar physicist David Hathaway at the Marshall Space Flight Center says he expects the current solar cycle to peak by mid-2000. "The projected peak is comparable to, but lower than the peaks of the last two maxima--1989 and 1978," Hathaway says. One thing is for sure: As the geomagnetic activity increases so do the chances of more geomagnetic storms. While there will be more disturbances, those in the mid-latitudes will have the unique opportunity to see some spectacular sights that are normally visible during these times only in the higher latitudes.

-- NASA via The Daily DX/Bernie McClenny, W3UR from the ARRL Letter, Vol. 18, No. 40, October 8, 1999.

Midland recalls weather radios

Midland Consumer Radio Inc reportedly has recalled 9000 incorrectly programmed weather radios. The Consumer Product Safety Commission says the error can cause users to miss important information about approaching severe weather, putting lives and property at risk. Only model 74-200 radios that have serial numbers beginning with 904 or 905 are being recalled. For more information, call Midland Consumer Radio, 877-302-1904.--from press reports.

There are three ingredients in the good life: learning, earning, and yearning.

Christopher Morley (1890-1957) Writer
Cited in BITS & PIECES

New Enforcement and Consumer Information Bureaus Official

It's now official! The FCC will create two new bureaus--the Enforcement Bureau and the Consumer Information Bureau--effective November 8. FCC Chairman William Kennard made the announcement during testimony October 26 before the House Telecommunications Subcommittee on the FCC's Five-Year Strategic Plan.

"Our decision to establish bureaus devoted exclusively to enforcement and consumer information signals the enormous importance of these functions in our transition from an industry regulator to a market facilitator," Kennard said. "This reorganization is the first step in a larger effort to streamline and modernize the FCC."

As expected, FCC Deputy General Counsel David H. Solomon was named to head the Enforcement Bureau. The new bureau will consolidate enforcement functions--including amateur--and personnel from the Commission's existing Common Carrier, Mass Media, Wireless Telecommunications and Compliance and Information Bureaus. Solomon has been Deputy General Counsel since 1994.

Current FCC Legal Adviser for Enforcement Riley Hollingsworth, K4ZDH, says he hopes the reorganization eventually will permit him to increase the amount of time he's able to devote to Amateur Radio enforcement. Hollingsworth will get a new title as part of the reorganization: Special Counsel for Amateur Radio Enforcement.

In a surprise move, Kennard announced his intention to name Lorraine C. Miller to be Bureau Chief of the new Consumer Information Bureau. Miller now directs the Office of Congressional Relations at the Federal Trade Commission.

Current Compliance and Information Bureau Chief Richard Lee had been expected to become the new CIB chief. Instead, Lee has been appointed Senior Director of Licensing Analysis in the Chairman's office. In that role, he'll advise the FCC on consolidating licensing functions across the agency.

The new CIB will consolidate the FCC's Gettysburg Call Center (to be renamed the Consumer Center) as well as staff from various bureaus who handle consumer complaints and public information requests.

Hollingsworth has agreed to be detailed from the new Enforcement Bureau to the new Consumer Information Bureau to handle the Consumer Center at Gettysburg after the new bureaus become effective November 8. The temporary duty will last four to six weeks. Hollingsworth says Amateur Radio enforcement will be his priority, and, by agreement between the two bureaus, amateur enforcement will continue at its present pace. Hollingsworth's current duties also include Land Mobile Service enforcement.

For more details on the reorganization plan, visit --FCC news release.

Some people make the future; most wait for the future to make them.

There is a choice you have to make,
In everything you do.
And you must always keep in mind,
The choice you make, makes you.

Author Unknown
Cited in The Best of BITS & PIECES

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