Socorro Amateur Radio Association

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


... nineteen members were in attendance at the August 14 meeting.


Don Baker, KB5SZX SK --- Don Baker (KB5SZX), a friend to many, and a member of SARA for several years passed away in Socorro in late August.

Disaster Report ---

A disaster drill intended to simulate the effects of a magnitude 6.6 earthquake, centered just north of Socorro, was held on the morning of August 27. A number of SARA members participated in portions of the exercise. SARA was asked to simulate establishment of HF communications from the club station and to establish that communications with Albuquerque hospitals was possible via VHF repeaters to the north of Socorro. Aside from these issues, SARA and its resources were not utilized to the extent possible. This topic will certainly be a central one at the September meeting. (Dave Johnson, KB5YIW)

Fat Tire Fiesta ---

The 5th annual Fat Tire Fiesta is scheduled for the weekend of September 28-29, and once again the "Socorro Amateur Radio Club" (a.k.a. SARA) is thanked (in advance) for providing radio support. Included among the rides are several that would benefit from SARA's participation. The Pueblo Petroglyphs (ditch banks), Barite Mine (2-track dirt) and San Mateo Crest (forest roads) rides on Saturday could be supported from a radio equipped vehicle. You might like to sign up to go mountain bike mobile for either the VLA/Morine Canyon (18 miles) or Bosque del Apache Sunrise rides (12 miles) on Sunday. If none of these appeal to you, consider helping man the SARA base station on the Plaza. Contact Dave Johnson.

SARA Hamfest ---

The 1996 SARA Hamfest will be held in the New Mexico Tech Gymnasium on Saturday, November 23rd. This is a new site for the hamfest and one that affords greater floor space than previous sites. One item for discussion at the September meeting will be the nature of this year's "Invitational." You may recall that last year QRP rigs were featured. Bring your ideas to the meeting. Also up for consideration will be the budget for prizes at this year's hamfest.
In recent years, one of the most popular tables at our hamfest was the SARA "surplus" table where the club and members could deposit unwanted gear, and visitors could avail themselves of these treasures for a donation to SARA. It is not too early to clean out the shack, and reorganize the garage as you attempt to make room for all that new equipment that you will acquire at the hamfest.

Announcements ---

Nets ---

Gatherings, gatherings ---

Upcoming events ---

Just over the horizon ---


From the ARRL ---

THE ARRL/VEC WILL FILE FORM 610 ELECTRONICALLY - Effective immediately, the ARRL/VEC will electronically file with the FCC Forms 610 for ARRL members. The ARRL/VEC can electronically file FCC Form 610 applications for amateur station license renewals, or for address, name or call sign changes. This service is free to current ARRL members.
ARRL members must send a correctly completed, signed and dated original Form 610 to the ARRL/VEC. Members can send the Form 610 by US mail, by courier, or hand delivery to ARRL/VEC, 225 Main St, Newington, CT 06111. Applications received by the ARRL/VEC must include an original signature. Forms 610 cannot be accepted via fax.
Only applications for renewal made on FCC Form 610 may be electronically submitted by VECs. For now, VECs cannot process computer-generated Forms 610R (which are mailed by the FCC directly to upcoming expirees). Those must go directly to the FCC. Also, VECs cannot presently process FCC Forms 610A, 610B, 610R or 610V. FCC Rules stipulate that renewals be submitted to them no earlier than 90 days before the license expiration date. Licenses that have been expired for less than two years may still be reinstated. A Form 610 for renewal must be submitted to a VEC or FCC before the two-year grace period has ended.
Applications for a systematic call sign change must have Box 4E checked, and the applicant must initial the line adjacent to the box.
Applications for an address change must include a current mailing address that is within the United States or its possessions or territories (ie, where mail can be delivered by the US Postal Service).
Applications submitted for a name change must include a copy of a legal document showing the formal name change. The former name must be written on the line next to Box 4C. Typographical errors can be corrected using Form 610.
ARRL/VEC can answer questions regarding Form 610 application processing for ARRL members. Call 860-594-0300, weekdays and evenings, from 8 AM to 9 PM Eastern Time (ARRL Bulletin 52.)

FCC TO OPEN GATE 2 - The FCC has announced that vanity call sign filing Gate 2 will open September 23. Under Gate 2, Amateur Extra class licensees may request a vanity call sign on or after that date. File requests on FCC Form 610V. Legibility is critical. If your application is not legible, you could experience a delay in processing, lose the opportunity to obtain a requested call sign or even obtain a call sign different from what you want.

Under Gate 2, you must hold an unexpired Amateur Extra class operator/primary station license to request a vanity call sign for your primary station. To request a vanity call sign for a club station under Gate 2, you must also hold an unexpired club station license grant listing you as the license trustee. Applicants should refer to the licensee data base to verify that a requested call sign is not already assigned. A call sign is normally assignable two years following license expiration, surrender, revocation, set aside, cancellation, void ab initio, or death of the grantee.
Using Form 610V, provide a list of up to 25 call signs in the order of preference. The first assignable call sign on the list will be assigned to your station. Remember: When requesting a call sign under Gate 2 for your primary or club station, the call sign must have been unassigned for at least two years. As an Amateur Extra class operator, you may request a call sign from any group, A, B, C or D.
Any call sign requested must be one designated for the region of your mailing address, as follows: One of the contiguous 48 states: Regions 1 to 10. Alaska: Regions 1 to 11. American Samoa: Regions 1 to 10, or Region 13 having numeral 8. Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands: Regions 1 to 10, or Region 13 having numeral 0. Guam: Regions 1 to 10, or Region 13 having numeral 2. Hawaii: Regions 1 to 10, or Region 13 having numeral 6 or 7. Puerto Rico: Regions 1 to 10, or Region 12 having numeral 3 or 4. Virgin Islands: Regions 1 to 10, or Region 12 having numeral 2.
For explanations of Groups A, B, C and D and the geographic Regions, see Fact Sheet PR5000 Number 206-S, Amateur Station Sequential Call Sign System. For more information, see Fact Sheet PR5000 Number 206-V Amateur Station Vanity Call Sign System.
Advanced, General, Technician Plus, Technician, and Novice class operators are not yet eligible to request by list. Advanced class operators will be eligible at Gate 3. Others will be eligible at Gate 4.
A separate Public Notice will be released providing guidelines for the implementation of electronic filing procedures for FCC Form 610V (ARRL Bulletin 55).

FCC's June 5, 1996, Letter on WRC-97 -

Washington, DC 20554

June 5, 1996

Mr. David Sumner
Executive Vice President
The American Radio Relay League, Inc
225 Main Street
Newington, CT 06111

Dear Mr. Sumner:

In recent days, over 1000 members of the Amateur Radio community have contacted me regarding the upcoming 1997 World Radiocommunication Conference in Geneva and expressed strong concern that U.S. proposals will impact adversely on spectrum allocated for Amateur bands. My purpose in writing to you is to respond to these concerns and to provide you with additional information regarding the WRC-97 preparatory process and its relation to existing services. Many of the comments I received have focused on a list of "candidate" frequency bands discussed at the May 7 meeting of the WRC-97 Industry Advisory Working Committee Informal Working Group 2A (IWG-2A). The comments suggest that the Amateur Radio Service Bands, specifically the 144-148 and 420-450 MHz bands, have been targeted as a source of spectrum for future Mobile Satellite Service (MSS) operations.
First, I want to assure the amateur radio community that no amateur bands have been selected for reallocation. The list of bands generated on May 7th represent only the IWG-2A's initial efforts to study spectrum use below 1 GHz in order to assess the feasibility of proposing world-wide MSS allocations in that range. Before recommending preliminary proposals for consideration by the Commission, IWG-2A participants must first conduct sharing studies among a range of services using frequencies below 1 GHz. These studies are necessary in order to determine the feasibility of sharing between services, and whether recommending any specific frequency band will be fruitful.
Second, the bands listed reflect only the initial component of a long-term effort to conduct sharing studies before submitting the Committee's proposals to the Commission for review. We intend to conduct sharing studies in bands currently occupied by government and non-government users. In any case, I want to emphasize that the survey on spectrum use is an international matter which involves all frequencies below 1 GHz.
Finally, the current WRC-97 preparatory process, as in years past, operates under a Congressional statute designed to encourage maximum participation by all interested parties. Therefore, all written and electronic comments received at the Commission to date by Amateur Radio operators have been included as part of the public record on WRC-97 proceedings. However, in the interest of efficiency, we have created a designated FCC office and e-mail site to channel future WRC-97 comments directly to the WRC-97 Committee Chairs. I have included our latest Public Notice outlining these changes and urge you to share it with your members.
I appreciate the many valuable contributions the amateur radio community has made to the progress of radio technology and to ensuring the safety of the American public. I look forward to working with you so that we can continue to advance the use of exciting telecommunications technology both in the U.S. and abroad.

signed: Cecily C. Holiday
Director, WRC-97 Preparatory Team

Little LEOS & the Band Threat ---

Your written comments on the proposed removal of frequencies from the 2m/70cm ham bands (an original plus one copy) should be sent to: Office of the Secretary, Federal Communications Commission, Washington, DC 20554. Email should be sent to Each comment should include at the top, "Reference No. ISP-96-005" and "Advisory Committee Informal Working Group 2A."

From Newsline ---

SAFEX SPACE REPEATER IS ON THE AIR - A European built FM repeater is now on the air from space. This, according to word passed down from the Mir space station by United States astronaut Shannon Lucid who says the repeater known as SAFEX came to life at on July 17th at 14:05 UTC.
According to astronaut Lucid, SAFEX is using the call sign RR0DL with an uplink or input of 447.750 MHz and outputting on 437.950 MHZ. Access requires a 141.3 Hz Continuous Tone Coded Squelch, better known to United States hams under the Motorola trademark of PL. Lucid says that the repeater is located in Mir's Priroda module. She adds that its wise to check 437.925 MHZ for the beacon voice recorder that announces that Mir is within range of your QTH.
If you happen to hear RR0DL and want to try a QSO though it, initial reports indicate that it takes at least 25 watts output into a pretty good antenna to make the trip. Dave Larsen, N6LJH, was one of the first to hear and use RR0DL. He reports on the AMSAT bulletin board that it required his use of a 35 element beam and 25 watts to access the space repeater and he has not been able to work through RR0DL with a mobile rig and a 5/8's wave antenna. This says Dave, even though Mir was in a 75 degree high elevation pass.
Dave Larsen also says to remember that the Mir moves very fast across the Earth - so make your contacts as short as you can. Also remember that this is an orbital repeater so there will be discernable Doppler shift as it approaches and departs your ground location. Doppler shift is estimated at as much as plus or minus 5 kHz.
And oh yes. RR0DL is one of the few repeaters that offers a QSL card for contacts made though it. DF0VR in Germany is its QSL Manager. His address is good in almost any late callbook or directory.

NEW HAM RADIO RF SAFETY STANDARDS - New FCC RF safety standards effective January 1, 1997, could affect the way some hams operate, including those using vehicle-mounted antennas.

The changes to ham radio are far reaching and come in the wake of a Report and Order on RF safety adopted by the FCC on August 1. As a result, the Part 97 Amateur Service rules will now require hams running more than 50 W PEP to conduct routine RF radiation evaluations. This, to determine if RF fields are sufficient to cause human exposure to RF radiation levels in excess of those specified. Where routine evaluation indicates that the RF radiation could be in excess of the limits, hams will be forced by law to take action to immediately remedy the situation. According to the FCC, this could mean altering operating patterns, relocating the antenna, revising the station's technical parameters and other remedies.
Exactly what is involved in conducting a 'routine RF radiation evaluation' is not yet clear. These guidelines will have to be established by the FCC. Speculation is that they could be as simple as field measurements with some form of RF sniffer to as complicated as a full blown environmental impact study. Nobody knows for sure.
The ARRL says that it is now studying the 100 plus page docket, to see if the League should seek reconsideration of any aspects of the FCC decision. Executive Vice President Dave Sumner, K1ZZ notes that the FCC expects it will not be difficult for most amateur stations to show that the specified limits will be met. Sumner says that for high-power mobile operation and for operation with indoor antennas, particularly in apartment buildings and other situations where there is "uncontrolled exposure" to neighbors and the general public, "amateurs may well have to make changes in how they operate." K1ZZ says the ARRL Lab staff and the RF Safety Committee will be evaluating the new requirements.
The new regulations also will require the addition of five questions on RF environmental safety be added to the amateur examinations for Novice, Technician, and General class. Sumner notes that the Commission's Report and Order does not take into account the practical problems associated with such a significant revision to the volunteer administered amateur examinations, and that more time than the Commission has allowed will be required to do a good job.
This is obviously a developing story. We will have more in future Newsline reports.

Submissions to SARA Newsletter ---

Contributions related to amateur radio will be considered for inclusion in the SARA Newsletter. Text should be of general interest to readers, and on the order of 200 to 300 words. Each month ads to buy, sell, or trade may be included. The usual caveat applies, items must be ham-related. Material will be included on a space available; first come, first served basis; and pretty much at the discretion of the editor. To be assured of consideration for the next newsletter, material must be received by the 25th day of the month. I would prefer to have submissions in the form of a DOS ASCII file. Email is ideal (to, snail mail to 325 McCutcheon St., Socorro, NM 87801, or you can FAX text to (505) 835-6436. Telephone queries will be received at 835-1432 AT hm, or 835-5771 AT wk.

D. Johnson - Ed.


Dave Johnson, KB5YIW
SARA Newsletter Editor