Socorro Amateur Radio Association

SARA Newsletter ----- "All the news that fits, we print" ----- March 1996

The February Meeting

... was held on February 14th with 25 members in attendance.


Dave Johnson, KB5YIW

The alert among you will have noticed that I've failed to realize my goal of having the Mastr II, VHF repeater in operation by now on 146.68 MHz. I am, however, happy to report that there has been considerable progress in preparation for this increasingly anticipated event. For the last couple weeks Felix (WB5LXA) has been working assiduously to transfer all of the components to our new six-foot rack. As it turns out, the rack will house not only all of the transceivers and receivers for the repeater/links, but the cavities as well. Everything will be in one neat and easily accessible cabinet. I've seen the progress and even if I do say so myself, it is handsome. Felix is to be commended. We plan to do some testing on the completed system during the week of March 11 and early in the week of March 18 so you might expect some disruption of normal repeater operations. If you hear the new machine operating, check in and deliver your impressions on audio quality, signal, etc. I will return from a trip on March 17 and if things are up to snuff, it all should head up the hill late in the week of March 18. That should mark the completion of Phase I of our long range repeater plans. Wish us luck.

Elsewhere in this newsletter, there is a list of each of the phases (I-III) in the long range plan. There are a variety of tasks listed in varying amounts of detail. These include everything from simple circuit design, circuit assembly, welding and fabrication (antennas, coax/connectors, etc.), retuning cavities, transceiver alignment, tower climbing --- you name it. Look the list over and consider where you might make your mark. Hopefully it won't be at the base of the tower.

QRP Field Day

Jay Miller, WA5WHN

For the Northern California QRP Club, "QRP To The Field," aka "QRP Field Day," will be April 27. A number of us will be operating from a historical old ghost town here in New Mexico, by the name of Riley. This town is famous for the bandits that hid out in the nearby Ladrones Mountains. Legend has it that over $50,000 in loot is still buried in the nearby mountains. Guess where we will be at night ?

Paul Harden, NA5N ( suggested that for this event, stations (QRP & QRPp) should try to operate from historical sites. With the multitude of QRP stations that will be in Riley, we will offer a special QSL card (photo) if you work any of the stations there.

This event in Riley will start off on April 26th with the viewing of two comets (dark skies!). Then on the 27th of April, you will hear quite a bit of activity from this ghost town, and hopefully others.

Listen for us --- we will be near the QRP calling frequencies: 21.060, 14.060, 10.106, 7.040, & 3.710 MHz. We will also be on 6 meters and 2 meters SSB. We will indicate that we are in Riley, NM. Try to work all of the stations in Riley. With QRP, and the size of the ghost town, we will be spread out across several canyons and one river (Rio Salado). Yes, there is an old church, graveyard and rock school house still standing. As for the ghosts, well, maybe we will have a few more stations than we had anticipated!

--- 72 (QRP 73)...Jay, WA5WHN, Albuquerque

Highway Cleanup

It's time for our semi-annual highway cleanup. We will pick a date (some Saturday in April) at the upcoming meeting.

Our March Program

The program this month will be about the ARRL Incoming QSL bureau, by yours truly, WB5RZX. I worked for the 5th region QSL bureau for many years, and I'll tell you all how it works. Most hams don't realize it, but if you've ever worked HF, you may have DX QSL cards awaiting! Come and hear about all the details of this well-oiled machine.


Gatherings, gatherings

Upcoming events

From The ARRL Letter

AMSAT to be Featured on Discovery Channel

Members of the Phase 3-D International Project Team are part of an upcoming Discovery Channel TV program, Eyes in the Sky. Keith Baker, KB1SF, AMSAT-NA executive vice president says the cable channel will present the two-hour-long special during multiple airings throughout March. The segment of the program containing the AMSAT footage runs for about six minutes. Actor Barry Corbin, who played an ex-NASA astronaut on the TV show Northern Exposure, is the narrator.

US broadcast times (Eastern Time) on the Discovery Channel are 9 PM, Sunday, March 10, and 3 PM, Sunday, March 17. Repeat showings are at 1 AM and 9 PM, Wednesday, March 20.

Viewers will see shots of Baker as well as Dick Jansson, WD4FAB, AMSAT-NA vice president of engineering, and Stan Wood, WA4NFY, AMSAT-NA assistant vice president of engineering, shopping for "satellite parts" at an Orlando, Florida, surplus house. Jansson also is shown searching for "antenna parts" in the housewares section of a local department store. Various views and on-camera comments from all three individuals follow, along with shots of Phase 3-D team members actually working on the new satellite at AMSAT's Orlando Integration Laboratory.

Paul Gasek, the program's producer/director at Stonybrook Films in Brewster, Massachusetts, said the AMSAT segment demonstrates that "high tech doesn't need to be high cost." Baker said the AMSAT portion of the program provides "another opportunity for Amateur Radio and AMSAT to get national television exposure showing what we hams know how to do best, being creative, pushing the state of the radio art forward, and having some great fun in the process!"

CD-ROM Version of QST Available in March

The new CD-ROM version of QST was the hit of the ARRL booth at the Miami Tropical Hamboree February 3-4. The CD-ROM - to be available in mid-March - features an entire year's worth of QST, plus QEX and NCJ (1995 issues for the initial offering), including full text, photographs, schematics and other graphics, and advertisements. Among other things, users can search for text and zoom in to schematics and diagrams to enhance detail. The text includes hypertext links. Copies are $19.95 for members and $29.95 for nonmembers, plus $4 shipping. To order one, e-mail or, read more about it at

Ham Radio Clubs Help Snowbound Nurses

In Pennsylvania, Delaware-Lehigh Amateur Radio Club members lent a helping hand to some 30 nurses during the "Blizzard of `96" in early January. Using four-wheel-drive vehicles and keeping in touch via mobile radios, club volunteers transported nurses to work at hospitals and nursing homes in the Allentown-Easton-Bethlehem (Pennsylvania) area. "In this day of cellular phones and beepers, Amateur Radio may be less critical, but it provides us with a way to stay in touch," said Dave Blankenship, N3EYT, who was quoted in a report in The Express-Times newspaper. Clarence Snyder, W3PYF, a club member for more than 50 years, served as the contact point to coordinate the ride service. Snyder, of Easton, put out the calls for drivers as they were needed. Others in the 450-member club pitched in by keeping in contact to report road conditions and problems. "It was nice to have someone keep track of you," Blankenship said of Snyder's role. A half dozen or so club members with four-wheel-drive vehicles did the driving, and the effort drew plaudits from Easton Hospital and Northampton County's Department of Human Services. Club members said they were only too happy to help.

SARA Repeaters Long Range Plan

Phase I --- Mastr II, Controller, and Wacom Cavity replacement

  1. Remove and replace Mastr II transceiver, controller, and power supply in 6-foot rack.
    1. Mount components anticipating Phase II and Phase III components.
    2. Construct mini-control head for base operation.
    3. Establish and employ best audio output from Rx to controller.
    4. Configure connectors (Tx/Rx-controller-power supply) for Phase II and III additions.
  2. Transport and install in SARA bay. Remove old repeater, Sinclair cavities and return to Socorro.
  3. Resources: Barreras, Johnson, ± Sparks
  4. Calendar: Complete by 20 March 96

Phase II --- Remote Receiver System

  1. Socorro (remote base) Components
    1. Enclosure
    2. Build or acquire¹ power supply (temporary available)
    3. Receiver (VHF Mastr-Pro)*
      1. Configure power, COS and audio circuits²
      2. Install CTCSS decoder (123 Hz)*
      3. Install crystal* and align
      4. Coax¹ and connectors¹
      5. Construct 2m j-pole (Rx) antenna²
      6. Construct "controller"
        1. PTT circuit²
        2. CTCSS encoder¹
        3. PL/ID circuit³
    4. Link Transmitter*
      1. Install crystal* and align
      2. Coax¹ and connectors¹
      3. Construct 70-cm yagi (Tx)²
  2. Socorro Peak Components
    1. Link Receiver (UHF Mastr-Pro with 123 Hz CTCSS decoder)*
      1. Configure power, COS and audio circuits²
      2. Install crystal* and align
      3. Coax¹ and connectors¹
      4. Construct 70-cm corner beam or other directional antenna (Rx)²
    2. Voter*
      Wire wrap pins on card holder, install in card holder*, mount and connect
  3. Resources:
  4. Calendar:

Phase IIIa --- Davenport Repeater and Link components

  1. Obtain clearance (in progress --- Johnson)
  2. Establish link frequency pair (if not 444.75/449.75 MHz).
  3. Retune Sinclair cavities* to 147.02+
  4. Rehabilitate the "old" SARA repeater* or adapt spare Mastr II* to repeater use.
    1. Recrystal¹ and align the existing transmitter and receiver (if receiver sensitivity cannot be raised to acceptable levels) or
    2. Adapt the spare Mastr II for this repeater. The latter will require adapting the power supply or acquiring a new one.
    3. Rehab controller.
    4. Design and construct emergency power indicator circuit³.
  5. Obtain deep cycle battery¹ if one does not exist.
  6. Obtain 2m Tx/Rx antenna (commercial?) for tower mount¹
  7. Construct 70-cm directional link antenna for tower mount²
  8. UHF transceiver* for link system
  9. Tune UHF cavities*
  10. Integrate with 2m controller/repeater
  11. Resources:
  12. Calendar:

Phase IIIb --- Socorro Repeater: Davenport Link components

  1. Construct 70-cm directional link antenna² for mounting on SARA antenna.
  2. UHF transceiver* for link system
  3. Tune UHF cavities*
  4. Integrate with 2m controller/repeater
  5. Resources:
  6. Calendar:

Key to symbols:

* Acquired
¹ To be acquired
² Construct (plans in hand)
³ Design and construct


Monte Bateman, WB5RZX
SARA Newsletter Editor
bateman @