Socorro Amateur Radio Association

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

The July Meeting

... was held on July 12th with 27 members in attendance.


Dave Johnson, KB5YIW

For the benefit of those who were not in attendance at the July meeting there are two business items to report. Members voted to use the club callsign (KC5OLJ) for the SARA repeater. The AA5RH call will continue to be used until the Mastr II repeater and new controller are returned to the hill. We thank Clarence for serving as trustee and "loaning" his call to the repeater this year or two. The membership also authorized purchase of a set of 2 meter cavities which were ordered and have been received. The extra set will ultimately be used at a new 2 meter repeater site, probably out west. One location that has been suggested and is under consideration is on Davenport Mountain, north and a little east of Datil, NM. This location would open up the area to the west of Magdalena and on either side of U.S. 60 to points west of Datil. This is not exactly a highly populated region and the repeater would most likely serve recreational users and passersby in the area. Your comments on a linked (to Socorro Peak) 2 meter repeater at this or other locations is strongly encouraged. In the meantime, we will use the extra cavities to help diagnose the receiver desensing problems that have plagued the GE Mastr II.

The old SARA repeater replaced the new one as planned in early July. Few matters related to repeaters seem to progress in a predictable manner, and this operation was no exception. I suspect that even as I was announcing our "success" to those assembled at the July meeting, rx audio quality was deteriorating to unacceptable levels. These problems occasioned several trips up the mountain to attempt repairs, most recently (and successfully) by Felix (WB5LXA) and Jim (WB5GWH) who, on Tuesday, July 25th, visited the repeater site and rectified most of the problems related to the audio distortion. There is some concern that audio levels might change again --- 'spontaneously.' The autopatch works well for the parties engaged in a call, however, some distortion remains in the retransmitted rx audio during autopatch operation. If you have not received instructions on use of the current controller/autopatch, give me a call (835-5771 weekdays or 835-1432 evenings and weekends).

Trinity Site

About two dozen dedicated members helped with our special event station. The group gathered at Denny's at 0245 on Sunday to head for Stallion Gate. We were escorted past the crowd and the CNN van! The official report was 5,800 visitors to the site that day. Many visitors (including the White Sands staff) were impressed with our display of WWII vintage radio gear. I spoke with several vets who remembered operating similar pieces of gear during active duty. SARA also received very widespread press coverage. Thanks for another good showing by our organization.

President's Corner

... Special Event: Trinity Site

What a success! We had about a dozen SARA members show up to help setup on Saturday and about 16 on Sunday to help operate. Our guests from Albuquerque couldn't believe what a showing we had. Thanks to all who helped. We logged about 200 contacts and we have received about 125 QSLs. On a Saturday afternoon in the near future, we will need some help to fill out certificates and address envelopes. Thanks to Paul Harden, NA5N, for lending his callsign and printing some very nice certificates for the event. Paul did alot of work for this event --- be sure to thank him!


Our hamfest is only three months away. We have received permission to use the "extra" gym at Socorro High School. We still have a few final details to iron out, but it looks like this year's hamfest may be even bigger and better than last year's.

Monte Bateman, WB5RZX


Gatherings, gatherings

Upcoming events

News from Newsline

George Wilson Steps Down as ARRL President

One of the most popular presidents in the history of the American Radio Relay League has resigned. George Wilson, W4OYI, says that his continued poor health makes it impossible to remain as the leader of the ARRL.

George S. Wilson, W4OYI, has tendered his resignation as president of the ARRL. In his letter to the League's Secretary and forwarded to Board of Directors, President Wilson cites his ongoing health problems leading to his inability to travel, and expected long term rehabilitation as the primary reasons for his decision to step aside.

As most are aware, President Wilson suffered a serious stroke last February while in Washington, D.C. on ARRL related business. He spent two months in a hospital nearby the nation's capital before being transferred to a rehabilitation center in Indiana. It was from that facility that W4OYI issued his resignation letter on July 1st.

Meet KB6ZV

A California magistrate has become the twelfth president of the ARRL. Judge Rodney J. Stafford, KB6ZV, of San Jose, California has served as First Vice President of the ARRL since January 1992. He had been performing the duties of president since February 11th when W4OYI became incapacitated by a stroke. He has now succeeded to the presidency from that position in accordance with the by-laws.

But who is ARRL President Rodney Stafford? To start with he is a Life Member of the League and holds the necessary credentials for the job. He has served as an ARRL vice president from 1990 to 1992. Before that as Pacific Division Director from 1986 to 1990, and as Section Manager of Santa Clara Valley from 1983 to 1986. He was appointed Municipal Court Judge in Santa Clara County by Governor Pete Wilson in 1990, and this year is serving as Presiding Judge. He is a graduate of the California State University at San Diego and the Santa Clara University School of Law. He was in private law practice from 1972 until 1988 and served as a Commissioner from 1988 to 1990.

The new ARRL President counts photography among his interests in addition to amateur radio. His wife Patricia holds the call sign N6KLI.

Rodney Stafford will complete George Wilson's term of office that expires in January of 1996.

On-line Magazine Available

A new Amateur Radio Operator OnLine Magazine is up and running and available on the World Wide Web. This is a little different from other Web pages. It is a complete magazine on-line with links between articles and pages. Since this is the first magazine of this type for amateur radio, the creators are interested in receiving feedback from readers. They are also looking for future articles to include in the on-line magazine. The address is

Family of Calls

Ask a ham what's most important to him or her, and the answer is probably their callsign. Think back to the day you saw your callsign for the first time. You had been anxiously wondering what it would be, and you finally got your answer when your license showed up.

When couples get their licenses together, it's not unusual for their callsigns to be issued consecutively. Kathy and Don Falls, who live in Carleton, Michigan, thought that might happen to them. After all, they had both studied for their ham licenses with the help of a Monroe county Michigan amateur radio club, and both passed their tests for codeless Technician licenses. Sure enough, Kathy and Don did get consecutive callsigns from the FCC. No big deal, you say? Well, how about this. Not only did they get consecutive calls, but in what must be unheard-of odds, their licenses were issued just as one callsign block ran out and another one started. Kathy's call is KB8ZZZ. Don's is KC8AAA!

The Falls are loving amateur radio and are active on 2 meters. And they're already looking ahead to the HF bands, by planning to upgrade. Our advice to Kathy and Don? Keep those callsigns when you upgrade ... they're a one-in-a-million shot!

ARRL vs. Apple at 5 GHz

The ARRL is saying no to Apple computer in its bid for new spectrum to create a license-free public data communications service. The League has filed comments in opposition to the Apple sponsored petition for rule making that would allocate 300 MHz of spectrum in the 5 GHz band. A proposal that the ARRL says will affect the Amateur Radio Service.

The Apple petition is designated RM-8653. It asks for spectrum for a new, unlicensed radio service that the League called "essentially unregulated, save for certain technical rules." The petition proposes the use of directional antennas and relatively high power and a protected allocation status in shared bands by non-technical persons.

Part of the spectrum being sought by Apple includes 150 MHz at 5150--5300 MHz and 5725--5875 MHz. Amateurs currently have access to the entire range 5650--5925 MHz on a shared basis. In defense of the amateur radio allocation in the 5 GHz band, the ARRL cites activity in a number of metropolitan areas around the U.S.

The League says Apple's petition doesn't show why 300 MHz is necessary for such a service. It asks why existing allocations are not sufficient; why existing wireless and wireline services aren't sufficient, and why a proceeding such as this should not wait until current proposals on such services are resolved. The ARRL also says the petition fails to consider compatibility between the proposed new radio service and other services including amateur radio.

Bencher Devours Butternut

Bencher, Inc. has announced that it has acquired the business assets of Butternut Electronics, Inc. of Olmito, Texas. In its June 1st press release, Bencher said it would continue to make Butternut products at the Olmito facility and would market them through the existing Bencher network of amateur radio dealers.

3456 MHz Record

Also, extraordinary conditions for tropospheric propagation in the U.S. Midwest have resulted in a new overland record on the amateur 3456 MHz UHF band. At 12:24 UTC on July 12, Al Ward, WB5LUA, in Allen, Texas, worked Gary Morhlant, WA0BWE, in Maplewood, Minnesota over a distance of 841 miles. The previous record of 736 miles was set on May 1, 1992, between WB5LUA and W9ZIH, in Malta, Illinois. This time around WA0BWE was running about 5 watts and WB5LUA operated 100 watts to a 5 foot dish at 65 feet.

Single Day Convention Trend Growing

Look for more ham radio conventions become one day events. A recent issue of the Repeater Journal, a publication of the Southeastern Repeater Association, says that there appears to be a major shift toward downsizing large and mid-sized conventions and hamfests from two and three day events into single day affairs.

Repeater Journal says that attendance patterns in the Southeastern United States having changed over the past five years. The vast majority of those in attendance show up on opening day with fewer than 10% coming the second or third day. As a result, many show planners have decided to cut back their shows into single day high-volume events. It will be interesting to see if this trend becomes a national fad. Also, what will be the reaction of the amateur radio supply industry, many of whom fly 1500--3000 miles to a show. Will they still be willing to attend a convention that only provides eight to ten hours for exhibiting and sales?


If you have an Internet World Wide Web viewer, be sure to see the new Radio Design Group World Wide Web Service. The Radio Design Group Web Page is the creation of Westlink Radio Network founder and Newsline northwest bureau chief Jim Hendershot, WA6VQP. The address is


Monte Bateman, WB5RZX
SARA Newsletter Editor
bateman @