Socorro Amateur Radio Association

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


Dave Johnson, KB5YIW

When I agreed to participate in the care and feeding of the SARA repeater, it was with the idea that I'd learn something along the way. I have. Sometimes the nature of what I've learned has been surprising due to its simplicity. A case in point is the equation: 2A - B = C; where A = the output frequency of the SARA repeater (146.28 MHz); B = the output of the Mega- Link machine (147.28 MHz) on Gallinas Pk. and C = the input for the SARA repeater. In this case 293.36 MHz - 147.28 MHz = 146.08 MHz.

As reported in the last couple newsletters, the repeater has been keying up for extended periods. Bob (WB5QZD) and I visited the repeater site in mid-July to do some routine maintenance. During that visit, we were experiencing some of the interference that causes the repeater to key up. Listening on the input (146.08), I could hear the audio from the Mega-Link which should have been confined to 147.28. Bill (K8HUH) came up with the explanation for the mixing product between the SARA and Mega-Link machines. His diagnosis was that the problem was external to the transceiver, and that it might be caused by a loose connector. Indeed that may have been the case. During the visit, we found and tightened two loose connectors, and although I've been out of town for a couple weeks, reports are that the interference has not been a problem since the visit. The lesson, of course is to be absolutely fastidious about every aspect of an RF system. I'd be the last to suggest that the repeater is now operating at 100%, but we are gaining on it.

Socorro "Earthquake Disaster"

On Wednesday, July 24th, a `tabletop' earthquake exercise was conducted by Socorro Emergency Preparedness officials. Several governmental and service agencies participated. The Amateur Radio Emergency Service and SARA were represented by Paul (N5YGC). Paul reports that he established the ARES net, and several SARA members checked in. Contacts were made using the repeater and via simplex.

This practice was in preparation for the larger exercise planned for later this month, when additional members of the participating groups will be included. The larger exercise, the result of an earthquake measuring 6.6 on the Richter scale, will involve a scenario including casualties and extensive destruction of local infrastructure, including disruption of the area's communication systems.

The role to be played by ARES is still unclear, however, we should plan on participating to the level of our abilities. Whenever the SARA 2m repeater is not in operation, remove the offset from your transceiver and operate simplex on 146.68 MHz. The August meeting will afford us our last opportunity to plan for this exercise. Keep those batteries charged, plan for portable operation, and cast an ear on 146.68 MHz beginning on the morning of Tuesday, August 27th.

Little LEOS

By now, every amateur radio operator in North America should be aware of the threat to the 2m and 70 cm bands posed by the low earth orbiting satellite (LEOS) communications industry. Each of you should have already communicated your interests on this matter to the appropriate authorities - several times. Several of the appeals for action have suggested that a strong showing now will "insure amateur spectrum, once and for all," but others believe that this is only the opening salvo. In a Newsline story (CBBS Edition #988 - 07/22/96) Kenwood's Amateur Radio Products Group National Sales Manager Paul Middleton (KD6NUH) and Kenwood planners see a bleak future for the Amateur Radio Service. In particular, Middleton cites competition from unlicensed communications modes such as the newly created Family Radio Service as one impediment to future growth in Amateur Radio. Others view commercial demands for spectrum as most likely to produce the greatest pressures.

Since some of the contact points have been revised since the first appeal was made, let me indicate the appropriate recipients as of now. Written comments (an original plus one copy) should be sent to: Office of the Secretary, Federal Communications Commission, Washington, DC 20554. Send a copy to each member of New Mexico's congressional delegation (addresses below). Email is convenient, but legislators and bureaucrats are still more likely to be influenced by several boxes of letters in the corner of their office than by a log of email messages. Email should be sent to Each comment should include at the top, "Reference No. ISP-96-005" and "Advisory Committee Informal Working Group 2A." We have a powerful case to make for retention of these bands, but our arguments must be carefully constructed and (of course) civil. And to paraphrase the late Mayor Daley, "write early, write often."

Congressman Steve Schiff
2404 Rayburn House Office Building
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515

Congressman Joe Skeen
2367 Rayburn House Office Building
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515

Congressman Bill Richardson
2209 Rayburn House Office Building
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515

Senator Pete V. Domenici
328 Hart Senate Office Building
United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 25010-3101

Senator Jeff Bingaman
703 Hart Senate Office Building
United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 25010



Gatherings, gatherings

Upcoming events

From the ARRL Letter

FCC okays electronic filing for individuals by VECs

The FCC said July 16 that it will permit VECs to file Amateur Radio Service license renewal and modification applications electronically on behalf of individual applicants. "This will provide for more efficient application processing for Amateur Service license grants," the FCC said. As one of the country's 16 VECs, the ARRL/VEC will announce a start-up date to accept applications "once it has established its policies and procedures to administer this program," said ARRL/VEC Manager Bart Jahnke, KB9NM. Participating VECs may charge a fee for the service. The FCC said that at the request of several Amateur Radio operators, it was waiving its rules that require a Form 610 hard-copy application.

Most VECs, including the ARRL/VEC, already electronically file all applications received from VE testing, a process the FCC said "has been highly successful in eliminating delays in obtaining licenses." The Commission said VECs will not be required to accept applications from individuals for electronic filing, and the FCC will continue to accept hard-copy license renewal and modification applications without a processing charge. But the FCC said it anticipates developing the capability to allow individual hams "to file their applications electronically and receive a license grant immediately."

Once the program kicks into gear, individual applicants--working through cooperating VECs--will be able to file applications for license renewal and modification electronically. Acceptable modifications will include change of name, change of mailing address, and change of call sign.

Consistent with existing procedures, when application data are forwarded electronically, the VEC must retain the actual FCC Form 610 documents for at least 15 months and make them available to the FCC upon request.

The FCC said that all other applicable rules pertaining to requirements for filing of applications are unaffected by the waiver, which can be terminated at any time.

Amateur Radio Awareness Day is September 21, 1996

...offers the perfect opportunity to drum up media interest in local ham radio activities and spread the word in your community. Anything goes for this PR event.

What can you do? Well, you can write and distribute news release about Amateur Radio Awareness Day and invite the public to a ham radio demonstration. Set up your equipment in a classroom or on the town green or local shopping mall for maximum visibility. Press kits and other aids to help you promote ham radio for Awareness Day in your community are available from ARRL's Public Relations Office. Contact Jennifer Gagne, N1TDY, Media Relations Assistant, 860-594-0328; e-mail

From Newsline

Arthur M. Gentry, W6MEP, SK - The ham that gave each and every one of us the ability to communicate over repeaters has died at age 89. Arthur M. Gentry, W6MEP, passed away about three weeks ago in Beaver, Oregon of natural causes. Only a month earlier he and his wife Millie, K6JJN, had moved to Oregon to be with their grandchildren.

It was back in the late 1940's that Art Gentry began experimenting with receiver designs that would permit hearing signals on the same band that a nearby high power transmitter was operating. By the late 1950's he had developed the needed hardware to put the first practical voice repeater into operation from atop Mt. Lee overlooking Los Angeles, California. Gentry's designs were adopted by both the Amateur and Commercial Land Mobile services and lead to a revolution in voice relay communications that prospers to this day.
(CBBS Edition #984 - 06/25/96)

A recollection by Dave Johnson --- I've been very fortunate to have had two very fine Elmers who helped developed my interests in amateur radio. First among these was Art Gentry. As a young teenager in the late 1950's, I'd spend hours each weekend talking to and working with Art on one aspect or another related to his Mt. Lee repeater. One of my tasks was to split thousands of feet of used, 1-inch, video tape into 1/4- inch tape. The split tape was used to record each transmission made by the repeater - to fulfill the logging requirement of the FCC in effect at the time. Until very recently I had no idea of the place that Art holds in communications history.

Hams aid in TWA crash investigation

Ham radio has taken an around the clock role in the aftermath of the explosion and crash of TWA flight 800 off the coast of Long Island New York.

Just 22 minutes after TWA flight 800 fell from the sky, Suffolk County News York amateur radio operators were being asked to provide communications assistance ...

With many different agencies involved in the crash investigation, radio amateurs are helping the Red Cross provide essential support services.

"The hams have been working, ... with the Red Cross in providing communications to the emergency response vehicles that have been going to the recovery scene ... . Hams have been working with the Red Cross logistics people ferrying in various Red Cross people and other personnel providing communications and locations for people." Feldman

This is a major operation. Nearly 100 amateurs, including hams from nearby counties and New Jersey, have provided communications assistance. Feldman says a minimum of eight amateurs are working around the clock until at least July 28th, that's 10 days after the fiery end of Flight 800. For hams, like crash investigators, the work is emotionally draining ...

Some of the hams involved took unpaid time off from work to provide communications services, it is one way radio amateurs try to help in the wake of an incident that has stunned the nation and the world.

The government says that the investigation into this disaster will be ongoing for some time. Feldman says that hams will be on site and on call as long as they are needed.

(Amateur Radio Newsline #989 - 27 July 1996)

Just a `few' words from the editor

For those of you who have read this far, there should be several clues that not all is as it has been. Last month's edition was the last edited by Monte (WB5RZX), and this month's edition marks my first. We all owe Monte a deep debt of gratitude, both for the timely way in which he got the newsletter out each month, and for the careful attention to detail that he exercised in doing so. Thank you, Monte. These are big shoes to fill. I hope you have noted similarities between this newsletter and Monte's, because I've rather shamelessly tried to copy Monte's way of doing things. It wasn't 'broke' and it doesn't need fixing. There will of course be some differences and I hope that you will feel free to provide comments on future editions. If there are news items that should be included, please bring them to my attention.

There are a couple things that I would like to experiment with. The first of these is to invite contributions from the membership. If you have something related to amateur radio that you would like to share (a technical innovation, pet peeve or whatever, put it down and get it to me. I will expect contributors to exercise good judgement on both their choice of topics, and their approach to the material. Generally you should aim for a length no greater than a couple hundred words. If you plan something longer, get in touch with me first (835-1432 AT hm, 835-5771 AT wk) so that we can discuss it. In addition, each month I will consider a few 'ads' to buy, sell, or trade. The usual caveat applies: that is items must be ham-related. Material will be available on a space available basis; submissions will be taken on a first come, first served; and pretty much at the discretion of the editor. To be assured that your material is consideration for inclusion, it must be received by the 25th day of the month prior to the month when the newsletter is to appear.

I would prefer to have submissions in the form of an ASCII file that can be read on a PC. Email (to is ideal, snail mail to 325 McCutcheon St., Socorro, NM 87801, or you can FAX text to (505) 835-6436.

D. Johnson, Ed.


Dave Johnson, KB5YIW
SARA Newsletter Editor
djohnson AT