Socorro Amateur Radio Association
SARA Newsletter ----- "All the news that fits, we print" -----
The March Meeting
... was held on March 13th with 22 members in attendance.
Dave Johnson, KB5YIW
Well, it is up and running --- after a fashion. The "new" Mastr II
repeater was returned to Socorro Peak on Saturday (3/30) afternoon by a
party that included Monte (WB5RZX), Jon (KC5NTW) and me. The removal of
the old machine and installation of the new one took a little more than
two hours, a period followed by another hour of testing and tinkering. As
it turns out, I might have tinkered a little more. As this is written,
the controller is a little slow at decoding DTMF tones. It will do so,
even from great distances, but the controller may require long tones (hold
each key down for a bit) to do so. The rapid autodial feature in your
high tech handheld may be too fast for the decoder. The fix almost
certainly involves lowering the audio level to the controller, a task that
I hope to accomplish on Friday (4/5).
All of the features, codes and autodial assignments are as they were
when the repeater was brought down late last year. Your old reference
card still applies. I will undertake a program of eliminating autodial
assignments held by lapsed members, but not until after the repeater is
functioning satisfactorily. These freed slots will be made available to
A great deal has been accomplished with this repeater in the last
month or so and there is a great deal of recognition to pass around. If
I miss you, I apologize and will make amends in the next newsletter.
Felix (WB5LXA) spent hours adapting the repeater to the new six-foot
rack provided by Langmuir Lab. Jon (KC5NTW) and Dora played host to the
repeater in their garage during a couple weeks of intensive testing and
modification. This period involved several invasions on weekends and
weeknights by various of us who were intent on exploiting Jon's free
time. Monte, Tom (KA0YYP), Jim (WB5GWH), and Howard (K9PV) were notable
among those who offered a helping hand, advice and moral support. Dave
(KC5MTG) provided structural integrity (braces) for both the cavities
and the rack. Bob (WB5QZD) visited on a couple occasions to provide the
instrumentation and expertise to maximize repeater parameters.
At various points in the testing process Paul (NA5N), Jim (AB5UO),
Jim (KC5FAS), Tom (N5PLX), Clarence (AA5RH), and Ken (KC5HGG) contributed
everything from audio reports to weather reports. Radio Shack
[Sandy (KB5YIX) and Al (AC5BX)] provided those last minute parts
at a discount.
Even if it is not yet working as well as it might, every SARA member
may take pride in this facility. And for any of you who imagine that
progress on a project like this is linear, I invite you to join our next
project. It is coming soon to a garage near you.
We will assemble on April 20 at 8:00 at the Chamber of Commerce. Gayle,
KC5HGJ, will get the trashbags for us. In the past, this job has taken
about two hours to complete. Please come and help if you can.
Our constitution says that elections are to be held in May. In preparation,
we will appoint a nominating committee at the April meeting. This committee
will seek out qualified and willing individuals to serve SARA for the next
year. If you would like to be on the nominating committee, volunteers are
Last month, George MacLeod, WB5TGR, gave us a great slide show about his and
Holly's bicycle trip around the state of New Mexico. What a great show it
was --- thanks George!
This month, as announced last time, I will give my program about the ARRL
incoming QSL bureau. Come and hear how tons of DX QSL cards get sorted,
re-sorted, and mailed. It will give you an appreciation for all the hard work
those volunteers do each month.
Monte Bateman, WB5RZX
As you have read in Dave's column, the "new" repeater is once again atop
M-mountain. Thanks to everyone who put in so many hours to make it happen.
Once again, we have a repeater we can be proud of.
The Socorro County Emergency Coordinator, "Tiny" Anaya, is making plans for
a disaster drill. We will have a simulated, magnitude 6.0+ earthquake,
sometime between mid-July and the end of July. I attended the first
planning meeting; there will be at least one meeting a month until July. An
exact date will be chosen at the next meeting. I told Mr. Anaya that SARA is
willing to participate in any way that we are needed. These drills are
extremely important in the event of a real emergency.
SARA does a good job at maintaining preparedness, with our weekly net and
annual Field Day exercises. We may be called on to do things we have never
done before, so be ready to assemble "disaster packs" of supplies and
equipment. We may want to form a committee to "brain-storm" about what we
should do to prepare and the ways in which we can help. Paul, N5YGC,
ARES Coordinator, may have some good ideas and general guidance. Above all,
One of our own makes the big time...
Again, we have a piece of news from Jay Miller, WA5WHN, of Albuquerque. He
reports that our own Paul Harden, NA5N, will be on "Ham Radio & More,"
hosted by Len Winkler, KB7LPW. Paul will be on for about 6 minutes live on
Sunday, April 21 on WWCR (7.435 MHz AM) @ 4 PM MDT (time may change).
Thought the crew in Socorro would like to know. Paul, talking about QRP on a
100 kW Shortwave Station. I always wanted to say "CQ DX" on WWCR. :)
For info about Len's show, check the WWW at the following URL:
- Don't forget to tune into the weekly ARES net on 146.68 MHz,
on Wednesdays at 8:00 PM local.
- The SARA slow code net is held Thursdays at 8:00 PM on 28.280 MHz.
Join in to practice your code!
- Our next meeting will be on Wednesday April 10th at 7:30 PM.
Our program will be all about the ARRL QSL bureau.
- Everyone is invited for coffee and donuts every Saturday at Daylight
Donuts 8:30 -- 9:30 AM.
News from Newsline
Auction Threat to Ham Bands
What are the possibilities of losing our amateur bands? It may be greater
than you think. The Congressional Budget Office in Washington, D.C. has
started to evaluate the amateur radio spectrum as well as other services for
its potential auction value. It is thought that this action has been
brought on as a way to lower the Federal budget deficit. In the past, the FCC
has auctioned off segments of the RF spectrum as a way to settle
disagreement between two or more entities wanting the same section of a
The ARRL has supplied documentation to the CBO highlighting the positive
aspects of amateur radio in such areas as emergency communications and other
contributions to society in attempt to insure the amateur bands will continue
to be excluded from any further action. Amateurs should make sure that their
congressmen and senators are aware of the full extent that amateur radio
plays in their districts.
By the way --- the ARRL is the only organization representing Amateur
Radio that is taking an active part in these hearings. Other groups claiming
to be a voice for US hams have not even bothered to show up in Washington to
make their voices heard.
More Vanity Callsign Delay
If you are wondering why the vanity call sign program is still on hold,
look to some of your fellow hams for the answer. Several are still
petitioning the FCC for last minute changes in the program. Those
petitions, coupled with a mandate from congress to implement the
Telecommunications Rewrite Act have put vanity calls on hold at least until
Still awaiting FCC action are Petitions for Reconsideration filed last
fall by Charnelle H. Summers, W4IJE; David B. Popkin, W2CC; Robert Nelson,
on behalf of the Hill Country Amateur Radio Club; and Christine M. Gill, on
behalf of the Southern California Repeater and Remote Base Association. It
appears as if the FCC will not even begin to look at any of these petitions
until early this summer. How long after that it will take to dispose of
them is not known. And there is always the possibility that more petitions
for reconsideration could arrive. By law, each must be addressed.
Even worse, some of the current crop of petitioners might take their
cause further if the commission does not give them a decision favorable to a
given position. This means appeals before the full commission and maybe
even taking the matter into federal court, if they have the money and the
desire to do so. Meantime, the FCC vanity callsign application Form 610V
is now available, but the FCC will not accept completed forms until the
appropriate filing gates are opened.
News from ARRL Letter
Scouts put a new Twist on Tower Construction
During these weeks when thoughts turn to Field Day planning, you might
consider inviting some Boy Scouts along to help with the antenna. On
February 10 at special event station K2BSA/6 at Camp Pendleton Marine Base,
scouts from Troop 319 of Huntington Beach, California, designed and built a
35-foot HF tower lashed together from wooden poles. Assistant Scoutmaster
Mel Goldberg, KO6TF, said the scouts built the tower on its side, then 40
scouts pulled it erect using ropes. Then three scouts (what else?) served to
rotate the structure as needed. The operation drew media attention,
including a mention in the Los Angeles Times and three regional papers.
Kenwood provided HF gear for the event, and, Goldberg reports, 1400 scouts
stopped by to visit.
The K2BSA/6 operation snagged 35 states and three countries in its eight
hours on the air. One QSO was with an 84-year-old ham who had been an Eagle
Scout in his younger days but was now partially blind and wheelchair-bound.
A QSL certificate is available that shows the completed tower and all of the
scouts on and around it. Pictures of the tower and the operation are on the
ScoutRadio site at
on the World Wide Web. Goldberg cites a "conservative estimate" that
250,000 Amateur Radio operators are or have been in scouting. He said
Troop 319 will operate as K2BSA/6 during the 1996 Jamboree on the Air,
Dayton Hamvention 1996 Award Winners
William A. Tynan, W3XO, has been named Hamvention 1996 Amateur of the
Year by the Dayton Amateur Radio Association. Tynan, who now serves as
president of AMSAT-NA, long has championed the cause of VHF/UHF enthusiasts
worldwide. For 18 years, he was editor of QST's "The World above 50 MHz"
column, where he helped nurture new communication techniques, encourage DX
performance and improve contesting rules on the VHF/UHF bands. He also
pioneered the establishment of the Radio Amateur Satellite Corporation
(AMSAT). From the launch of OSCAR-6 to the present, Tynan has sacrificed
much of his personal time, talent and resources to the promotion and
development of the amateur satellite program. His vision continues with the
advent of the Phase 3-D project, set for launch in December.
John Kraus, W8JK, is this year's Hamvention Special Achievement award
winner. Kraus' contributions to advancements in antenna design continue to
be enjoyed today by many Amateur Radio operators. Over the years, Kraus
invented several antennas, but he's perhaps best known for the W8JK beam.
Other Kraus designs include the helical antenna and his most-recognizable
"Big Ear" antenna. In fact, with the building of the "Big Ear" antenna came
the "Wow" signal, an apparently extraterrestrial signal that remains to be
explained. During his tenure as a professor at Ohio State University, Kraus
also authored many articles and textbooks.
William I. Orr, W6SAI, has been named the Hamvention's Technical Excellence
award winner. Orr has inspired new and veteran amateurs alike with his
consistent encouragement and technical expertise. Among his publications
that have become ham-shack standards are: The Radio Handbook, The Beam
Antenna Handbook, The Quad Antenna Handbook, and The UHF-VHF Manual.
An EIMAC engineer, Orr has gone beyond the call of duty by personally
answering technical questions and supplying schematics to curious Amateur
Radio builders. Orr writes the "Radio Fundamentals" in CQ magazine. After he
announced his retirement last year, hundreds of letters prompted him to
Field Day Dates
Just so there's no confusion over the dates for ARRL Field Day this year:
the competition is always the fourth full weekend in June, which means it's
June 22--23 this time around, and thus will not conflict with Father's Day,
which is Sunday, June 16.
The Antique Wireless Association is on the WWW at
The AWA home page features a picture of
the building housing both their Radio Communication Museum and the
Bloomfield, New York, Historical Society. Bruce Kelley, W2ICE, is the AWA
museum's curator. The museum is devoted to research, preservation and
documentation of the history of wireless communication. A wide range of
historical communication equipment is on display, much of it still in
---James R. Frederick, K2GBR
Monte Bateman, WB5RZX
SARA Newsletter Editor
bateman @ nmt.edu