THE SPARK GAP A monthly publication of the Meridian Amateur Radio Club January 2000
Year 2000 Officers
K5XC - Gary Galloway
WB5OCD - Jim Stevenson
KB5ASR - Bill Roberson
WB4ZIK - Ross Wingo
A Note from the President - The new year brings many exciting opportunities for members of the Meridian Amateur Radio Club. With the FCC's new testing requirements, there will be an influx of new Hams in our community. These new Hams will need encouragement, guidance, and a helping hand. Lets be there for them! I challenge each of you to bring new members in. How? Ask them to join until they say yes. By doing this our club will grow and prosper.
Please join me in welcoming Edwin Purvis (KD5IFP) and Robby Workman (KD5GCK) to our club. Its only the first month of the new year and we already have two new members.
73' Gary Galloway K5XC
VICE PRESIDENT'S COMMENTS
It was really good to see each of you that attended the Christmas party on 14 Dec. Brenda and I really enjoyed ourselves and hope you did too. I really do appreciate all the good things you told her about my activities during the year. It did much in the way of not getting me tossed out of the house on Christmas Day when she saw all the "cool blues", crimping tools, turbo racing batteries, and packet equipment that appeared from the boxes, covered by the pretty colored wrapping paper with the bright shiny bows affixed. She did mention something about no more Hamfest for me until the year 3000.
Field Day will be held during the weekend of 24 - 25 June 2000 and preparations are underway to make this one the best ever. This year's FD site is the pavilion at the Bonita Lakes Park. The site has been secured and we will start setting up early Saturday morning for the contest. It has restroom facilities, access to the public, and it should be easy to set up an antenna farm. If you have not been by this location please check it out and get your ideas to the FD committee. We hope to beat last year's score and have a lot of fun doing so. We will have better drainage at this site so you will not have to canoe in.
There will be a TECHNICIAN CLASS theory class taught beginning on Thursday, 27 January 2000 at the LEMA office in Meridian. The class will run about two hours each night if participants are willing. The object being to complete the course and take the exam before April 15 when the current tests will no longer be valid. Code has been discussed and if enough interest is shown may be a part of the course or in addition too the course. It would be in some license holders best interest to get the code completed now. Same is true for the written because rumors abound that the new tests will be much more difficult. Any feedback and names of participants would be greatly appreciated.
Hope to see you at the February business meeting which will be held the last Saturday in January. This is due to the Hamfests in Jackson, MS and Memphis, TN which are being held the first two Saturdays in February, but you most likely know that already. Jim
12-13 Feb 2000
Tennessee State Convention
Delta ARC, Dixie ARG, FedEx ARC, Hickory Withe
DXC, Olive Branch ARC, & Tri-State Repeater
Contact: W. Ben Troughton, KU4AW
Mississippi Hams ready for Y2K
Mississippi Hams were ready for the Y2K Rollover! On New Years Eve at 2300 the Mississippi Section Phone Net activated with N5JCG as net control. Several Two Meter Nets across the State activated at the same time or earlier. These included the Delta ARA Net, the Hattiesburg Area Emergency Net, the Jackson ARC Net, the Jackson County ARES/RACES Net, the Meridian ARC Net, the Pine Belt Repeater Association Net, and the Stone County ARES Net.
In addition, several EOCs were radio active including Coahoma County, Chevron, DeSoto County, Forrest County, Franklin County, Hancock County, Jackson County, Lauderdale County, and West Jackson County. Stations were on the air from hospitals in Bay St. Louis, Hattiesburg, and Tupelo. Although the information noted above is preliminary and other information will probably be available shortly, a good first estimate is that over 200 plus hams were on the air for the Big Rollover.
Although our services were fortunately not needed, this emergency preparedness exercise turned out to be one of the best New Years Eve Parties going in the state. Everybody ready for Y2K+1 ????
73 de W5XX
Looks like the November thunderstorms have finally arrived. Or, maybe the spring ones are early. We have had two severe thunderstorm systems move through the Meridian area in the last eight days. We were lucky that there was little damage. Conditions were right at the higher altitudes to support tornadoes and several warnings were posted. None of the ones in our area appeared to have touched the ground. We did have heavy rain, strong winds, and some flooding in low lying areas. Some areas of Meridian lost power for a while. Tornadoes did touch down in other parts of the state which left several people homeless.
We continue to have warm days and cool night in the forecast for the next week or so. The fishing appears to be good too; someone caught a 12 pound bass from Long Creek Reservoir. The lakes are receiving much needed water and the nice days are allowing the fishermen too enjoy their sport. Please continue to be cautious when you are trolling motor mobile. Some of the lakes will most likely not be up to normal depth for awhile yet.
We still need all the storm spotters we can get to join with us. Please continue to recruit new members. People throughout the state are showing some interest in an advanced storm spotter class and it might mean a trip to Jackson for the training if enough folks want it. There will most likely be another basic storm spotting class taught in this area in the future. If you or someone you know would like to attend one of these courses please let me know if you have not already done so. WB5OCD
A 55 foot tower has been erected at the LEMA building and two antennas reside near the top . More work must be done before this task is complete. One more commercial antenna (50 MHz) will be placed at the top in the center. Next, we plan to install a VHF antenna to run our packet system and finally to place our HF dipoles at about the 50 foot level. This should really improve the ability to communicate on the amateur bands when working from this location. The placement of the UHF and VHF antennas on the tower has significantly improved LEMAs ability to communicate throughout Lauderdale County and surrounding area. The dual band, amateur antenna located on the chimney will most likely remain in that spot. It is serving well where it is.
There is a move afoot to install a VHF radio for ARES use in the LEMA bus. This would be great for ops which use this vehicle.
There have been many new appointments within the state and the number of hams participating in the ARES program is growing. It will be interesting to hear what Malcolm has planned for us at the Jackson Hamfest in February. WB5OCD
Members of the ARES unit worked with LEMA during Meridian's Y2K/New Years Party. There were two hams in the comm center, six partnered with other LEMA personnel, one back-up net controller, two working with the power company. There were about eight more monitoring from their homes or other locations to assist if there were problems associated with the coming of the new millennium. Fortunately all went well and we enjoyed ourselves.
During the severe thunder storms that worked their way across Mississippi on the night of 3 January the Meridian Area Emergency Net was active and in contact with the NWS in Jackson using HF and the W5LRG VHF/UHF link in Forest. The LRG link was in and out but at least it worked. We were also linked via VHF liaison with the Neshoba, Jones, and Sumter County groups. There were a total of 37 direct check-ins that night. I do not know how many stations were in the other counties that were using liaison stations to link with us. I will try to obtain that info next time. Group, I am really proud of you. I received numerous phone calls and radio contacts telling me how impressed that individual was with the way conducted this operation. Please keep up the good work.
Of the things that need to be done our Section Manager, Malcolm, really would like for us to get the LRG machine a better home or improve its range. In its current location it just does not have the coverage that is needed to function as a link to Jackson. This is a project that is being worked and I urge you to support it however you can.
ARES members also participated in two searches for lost persons during the past month. The first was an elderly male, suffering from Alzheimer's, that wandered away from home. The second was for two children, aged three, when they wandered away from home while playing. All three were found safe. Thanks to each of you who responded to these calls. WB5OCD
Democracy is the worst system every invented-except for all the rest.
Winston Churchill (1874 - 1965)
British prime minister
Cited in More of...The Best of BITS & PIECES
MISSISSIPPI TELEPHONE RFI CASE TABLED
The ARRL Letter Online
Volume 19, Number 1 (January 7, 2000)
A Mississippi ham arrested for interfering with his neighbors' telephones is breathing a bit more easily today. ARRL member Bennie Stewart, KJ6TY, of Meridian, was arrested and charged September 10 after a neighbor filed a complaint with the Lauderdale County Justice Court. At the request of Lauderdale County Attorney Robert Compton, the court has ordered the case to be placed in its "inactive files."
Stewart's attorney, Felicia Perkins of Jackson, says the action essentially ends the case against her client. "For all practical purposes, it's in a box somewhere, and it's going to sit there unless Congress changes the laws," she said.
If he'd been convicted, the 61-year-old Stewart--who's confined to a wheelchair and says he has limited physical abilities--faced a fine of up to $500, six months in jail, or both.
Perkins had requested, on Stewart's behalf, that the Justice Court throw out the complaint on the grounds that only the FCC had jurisdiction. The court had been considering the motion since last fall. The December 28, 1999, Order sending the criminal action to the inactive files maintained that the Justice Court "does have jurisdiction over the subject criminal matters, but that the state court's jurisdiction has been preempted by federal law". Perkins said the order means the Justice Court cannot exercise any jurisdiction it may have had. "There are no other proceedings against my client," she said.
A ham for 12 years, Stewart had appeared in court October 26 to respond to the complaint, brought under a Mississippi law that makes it illegal to "intentionally obstruct, injure, break or destroy, or in any manner interrupt any telegraph or telephone line or communication thereon between any two points."
Perkins said the Mississippi Justice Court provides a legal forum for resolving disputes, something like small claims court. Justice Court judges do not have to be attorneys, she explained. An appeal to a higher court could have been "very, very expensive" for Stewart, she said. "Sometimes it's best to put things to an end--especially when the law is so clear--at the Justice Court level."
The case attracted the attention of the Amateur Radio community and has been the subject of Internet news group discussions. Stewart said that before his arrest in the telephone interference case he never was in any kind of legal trouble. A retired photographer, Stewart says he's suffered from muscular dystrophy since he was a teenager. The Mississippi native had moved to California after his retirement, but moved back to Mississippi in 1993.
Have a great month
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