Socorro Amateur Radio Association


SARA Newsletter ----- "All the news that fits, we print" ----- May, 1995

The April Meeting

... was held on April 12th with 29 members in attendance, including two new members --- Aimee Partain, KC5NUC, and Jon Spargo, KC5NTW. Welcome!

Secretary's Report

We are now an ARRL Afilliated club. This gives us several benefits, including allowing us to purchase insurance for our new HF station, which has also been done.

Twenty-One!

That's how many of us showed up for the higway cleanup. That's a new attendance record by 100%. Thanks to all those who participated.

SARA Elections in May

May is the month for the annual SARA elections. The following people have agreed to accept nomination for Association offices, and to serve if elected:

Monte Bateman, WB5RZX . . . . . President
Dave Johnson, KB5YIW . . . . . . Vice President
Gayle Rhodes, KC5HGJ . . . . . . . Secretary
Chuck Broadwell, W5UXH . . . . Treasurer

At the May meeting, I will entertain a motion to elect all four of these people to the indicated offices. If this motion passes, they will be elected. If the motion fails, then nominations will be accepted from the floor and votes taken on each individual office.

--- Dave Finley, N1IRZ, President

HF Station

In case you missed the last meeting, our HF station is operating well. Before the meeting, several operated the station and we even worked some DX! Be sure to take advantage of our new gear. Any member can check out the clubhouse key at Radio Shack. Thanks to Al and Sandy for providing this service.

Our Club Call

The application has been filed with the FCC, and we should have one soon.

QST at the Library

Jim Harrison pointed out that the QST subscription at the Socorro Library is about to expire. The club voted to renew the subscription.

Repeater

There are several successes to report regarding the repeater. The first of these rates as only a qualified success. With the help of Ken (KC5HGG) and Felix (WB5LXA) we brought down the cavities on April 29th for retuning, and then returned them to the hill later in the day on April 30th. On the morning of the 30th Gerry (KC5CI) and Bob (WB5QZD) went through the retuning procedures, and established that our desensing problems are not related to cavity misalignment. When Felix and I returned the cavities to the repeater site, we substituted an external receiver on the cavity receiver port and learned that the desensing did not affect this receiver. Clearly the Mastr II transmitter is "talking" to its receiver outside the cavities. The "success" is that we have narrowed the problem to a more precise cause. We will undertake a program in the next few months to rectify this situation. It may involve temporary installation of the "old" repeater, and it will certainly entail some inconvenience for users.

Micro Computer Concepts (the maker of our controller) provided us with a new CPU programmed with the most recent software version. With the installation of this new CPU, the last of the problems related to the controller were eliminated. Of special note for users of the repeater is that the "battery backup flag" is now operational. Whenever the repeater is on emergency power, the regular ID string (AA5RH/R) will be followed by a pause and the letter "B". This indicates that the repeater is operating on emergency (battery) power, and that incidental use should be curtailed to conserve the emergency capabilities of the facility.

The squelch tail has been lengthened to about 5 sec. (after the courtesy beep). The intent is to encourage users to pickup the next transmission before the squelch drops. Doing so will reduce the number of on/off cycles that the transmitter and relays are subjected to, and increase the life of the repeater.

--- Dave Johnson, KB5YIW

Show & Tell

Paul Harden, NA5N, brought his "MFJ Stack" of QRP rigs. This was what he used during the South Baldy expedition (which is now world famous; see last month's newsletter).


President's Corner ---

...New Rigs are Good News

Some exciting news came in the past month. The first word arrived in the latest catalog from Ham Radio Outlet. Then came the May issues of QST and CQ. What was this news? It was announced in large, full-color display ads for two new radios. So why am I excited about a couple of new radios? Let me explain.

The first new rig comes from Icom. It's the IC-706, and it's a combination HF/VHF mobile rig covering 160 to 2 meters. That excites me because it represents the answer to a need for an all-mode rig that covers not only HF but also six and two meters. I think it's a recognition by Icom of the wide-ranging interests of today's amateurs.

I hope the IC-706 gets more hams on SSB and CW on six and two. There's a world of excitement on these two VHF bands that is not to be found with FM-only radios. I hope it also helps break down the barriers between HF and VHF that exist in many people's minds. I think the introduction of this rig is a good sign that these things will happen.

The other new radio is similar to Icom's. It also is a mobile, all-mode HF/VHF rig, covering 160 to 6 meters. With the exception of the VHF coverage, both it and the new Icom are similar to small, mobile rigs already on the market from Kenwood and Yaesu. So what's new about it? It comes from a manufacturer completely new to the HF market --- Alinco. We're all familiar with Alinco VHF and UHF rigs, but now they've entered the market for HF rigs.

These two new radios, along with added offerings from established marketers, such as the nice new 2m mobile from Radio Shack, are a sign of the renewed strength of Amateur Radio in the U.S. They are on the market because ham radio is a strong, growing force in this country. Manufacturers are now putting more effort into providing us with exciting new equipment. Hopefully, as they sell more units, the variety of equipment offerings will increase --- and the prices will decrease. This will make ham radio more interesting and affordable for all of us.

We're rightfully proud of how much ham radio has grown right here in Socorro, thanks to our licensing classes, local VE sessions, and the dedicated members of SARA. The same thing is happening across the country, and together, we're all making ham radio a more vigorous and exciting place to be. The new offerings by radio manufacturers are solid confirmation that our efforts are paying off.

Summer VHF Season Coming

This is the time of year I start monitoring the 6-meter calling frequency, knowing that any day now the steady hiss will be broken by signals from around the country, brought to me by sporadic-E propagation. The summer "E-skip" season is an exciting time for 6- and 2-meter SSB and CW operators.

Every ham with a Technician or higher license can get in on this fun. You don't have to be limited to working only those hams who can hit the local repeater with their HTs. You can work stations hundreds or even thousands of miles away and chase awards such as Worked All States or the VHF-UHF Century Club.

This is an excellent time to expand your radio horizons. Try out VHF weak-signal work.

Hams Helped in Oklahoma

Once again, as tragedy struck another community, amateurs were quick to provide valuable help. According to an ARRL Bulletin, amateurs in Oklahoma City set up an emergency coordination network within minutes of the bomb explosion at the Federal building.

More than 100 hams helped in this effort, which supported emergency and relief workers from a wide variety of agencies.

The Oklahoma City bombing might not, at first, seem like the type of emergency that would require amateur assistance. It occurred in the middle of a modern city, and the power and essential services remained intact even in the immediate area. However, according to the ARRL, telephone circuits were "jammed and often inoperative" during the first hours after the blast. An amateur coordination network remained on the air for more than 190 continuous hours, and hams even deployed a mobile repeater to avoid the "shadowing" of signals by downtown buildings.

This is only the latest example of the communications infrastructure failing in an emergency, and hams replacing it with a communications system that works in a pinch. Amateur radio, it seems, has a role to play in virtually any emergency situation.

--- Dave Finley, N1IRZ


Announcements

Nets

Gatherings, gatherings


Upcoming events


From NewsLine

HamVention '95

It's Hamvention time in Dayton, Ohio. The time of year when well over 35,000 radio amateurs from around the world descended on this small midwest city for what has become known as the show of shows in amateur radio. And what's happening at hamVention '95?

The 1995 edition of the Dayton HamVention is bigger and better this year. The 44th edition of the greatest spectacle in amateur radio opened to bigger crowds, bigger exhibits and a bigger flea market.

This year's flea market consists over 2600 spaces, including 138 spaces in the tent area. Encompassing over 10 acres all on pavement. They say that if you can't find what you want at the flea market at Dayton, it can't be found.

Indoor exhibits consisting of over 500 spaces adorned with all the new and innovative amateur gear is available throughout Hara Arena. Other areas of interest at this year's HamVention include: forums, alternate activities, drawings for hourly prizes, the Gala Banquet and the major prize drawing on Sunday.

Ten Biggest Lies Heard at Dayton...

10. Yeah, I saw the Alpha display. Stuff is junk...
9. I had one of those Polish sausages, they're real good.
8. Boy, did I just get a bargain on this old radio ...
7. No, I can't sell it for that ...
6. I have more money than that into it ...
5. Let me go get my money, I'll be right back ...
4. Give us your best price, and we'll beat it.
3. It works FB.
2. The bus will be here in just a minute.

And, the number one biggest lie heard at Dayton...

1. It's going to quit raining real soon.

73, de KF8IO


Monte Bateman, WB5RZX
SARA Newsletter Editor
bateman @ nmt.edu