Socorro Amateur Radio Association

SARA Newsletter ----- "All the news that fits, we print" ----- February, 1997


Seventeen souls endured a long evening reviewing a draft of the SARA Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws.


Propagation Report

High frequency communications "associated" with Cycle 23 are off to a roaring start with the arrival, on December 12th at 7:20 am, of SARA's newest (and youngest) member: Jacob Allen Romero (call pending). Jacob, weighing in at 7 pounds and 15 ounces, is the son of Magdalene and Dave Romero (KC5MTG).

Nonprofit Incorporation

Copies of the proposed Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws for SARA will be presented and considered at the February meeting. Assuming that there is a motion to adopt these, the matter will be brought before the membership for a vote at the March meeting.
If you do not attend the February meeting, but would like to view copies of these documents prior to the March meeting you may do so on SARA's Web page (, or you may request an email copy from You may obtain paper copies at the Socorro Radio Shack or by contacting Dave Johnson (KB5YIW) at (505) 835-5771 during weekdays of (505) 835-1432 evenings and weekends.

Repeater Report

January brought some "bad" news and some "good" news for the 146.68 repeater. On the evening of Tuesday, 1/14, the winds blew, and the rain fell and froze. By the following morning (Wednesday) the repeater was the proverbial "alligator" - all mouth and no ears. It typically took 45 watts delivered at about a mile, line of sight, to break the squelch. An HT and rubber duck was out of the question. Reports indicated that the mountain was on emergency (generator) power, and that lines were down due to icing and high winds. By Thursday morning there was no improvement and the repeater was shut down remotely. An expedition to the repeater, consisting of Bob (WB5QZD) and Dave (KB5YIW) was planned for Sunday, 1/20. When the repeater was enabled before departure on Sunday, it was "less deaf" than when disabled. On arrival we found that virtually all parameters were changed from our last visit. Receiver sensitivity was found to be on the order of 100's of microvolts, and transmit power was reduced to about 18 watts. The receiver preamplifier was okay and after a fairly complete alignment of the receiver section, sensitivity returned to nominal levels. The transmit power has been increased to previous levels (23 watts) and the repeater seems to be operating better than it has since the GE Mastr II was installed. The greatest improvement seems to be in DTMF decoding by the controller. The newly adjusted audio levels apparently have less distortion allowing rapid reliable DTMF decoding. We owe a great deal to Bob (WB5QZD) for the use of his test equipment and his expertise. It is always more comforting to understand the cause of a malfunction, but this seems to have eluded us in this instance. There is little left to do, but wait to see what happens next.

SARA Web Page

There are several changes that have occurred with SARA's homepage, starting with its location. The new address is: For a time the old address (on will redirect you to griffy, but you should make note of the change. Many of your old favorites (the newsletter archive, N1IRZ's Morse code article, ...) remain, but several features have been added and these might prove useful. Some of these are topical (the drafts of the bylaws and Articles of Incorporation are available there). The "Radio-related" pages have been grouped into "specialty" areas with separate groupings for QRP, DX, ATV and the like. A link to the U.S. Naval Observatory clock has been established to show the time (UTC). There is also a link to the ARRL Part 97 rules that govern amateur radio so that you can more quickly establish the legality of your current practices. Poke around some and you'll find much more. One link offers you the opportunity to "take a license exam" as practice for an upgrade. The links are no substitute for getting on the air, but used appropriately, they might make it possible for you to do so. To use the vernacular that seems to accompany the internet, "Check it out" and let me know if it is "cool." If you encounter links that you believe should be highlighted on the SARA page, let me know.

Editor for a Month

Have you ever wanted to be a newsletter editor - without the long term obligation? This may be your big chance. The SARA Newsletter editor will be away from the desk from mid-May to mid-June, and the June SARA Newsletter (assembled in late May) "wants" an editor. Volunteer early to avoid the rush.



Gatherings, gatherings

Upcoming events

Over the Horizon


From the ARRL

FCC Delays New RF-Exposure Rules - Just in time for Christmas, the FCC has postponed the date for hams to comply with the new RF-exposure regulations from January 1, 1997, to January 1, 1998. The ARRL was among those requesting the delay. The League said that the additional time was needed for the FCC to draft implementation guidelines and for amateurs to use them to comply with the regulations (released on August 1, 1996 as ET Docket 93-62).

FCC Report No. DC 96-112 announced the amendment of the rules to extend the transition period for licensees to determine compliance with the new bioeffects requirements for RF transmitters. The League obtained a copy of the report just before noon on Christmas Eve.

The time extension to January 1, 1998, will allow changes to Amateur Radio operator examinations to be made along with routine revisions between now and July 1, 1998, rather than requiring hurried special revisions. Among the reasons for requesting the extension was the desire to permit licensees to make a more orderly entrance into this new area, to allow time for information to be promulgated to hams to ensure that they have the information at their disposal to comply with the new rules, and to allow time for appropriate questions to be inserted into the question pools for the various amateur license exams.

In Report No. DC 96-112, the FCC said it disagreed with those petitioners who suggested that the time extension ''will have significant adverse effects on public health.'' The entire text of Report DC 96-112 may be found on the ARRLWeb at (or click on What's New or RF Safety News).

And, to all, a good night (ARRL Bulletin 102, December 24, 1996).

Little LEOs Narrow 2-Meter Focus to 146-148 MHz - In their effort to secure spectrum space that includes the 2-meter and 70-cm ham bands, the Little LEOs have narrowed their focus on 2 meters to the 146 to 148-MHz segment. The industry also appears to be attempting to reposition itself as a potential emergency communication adjunct to ham radio.

The little LEOs will use low-Earth-orbiting satellites to provide position-location and two-way data-messaging services to potential customers around the world. Customers would use small, inexpensive transceivers to communicate with satellites. According to the FCC, potential uses of this service include emergency location in remote areas, environmental data collection, vehicle tracking, and time-sensitive business and personal data communication.

For Region 1, a draft little LEO frequency allocation table has proposed adding a primary mobile-satellite allocation of 146 to 148 MHz to the existing allocations for fixed and mobile (except aeronautical mobile [R] services). The table was contained in a working paper--Document IWG-2A/86 Rev. 3, entitled "New Allocations for the Mobile-Satellite Services Operating Below 1 GHz"--submitted by representatives of the Little LEOs industry to Informal Working Group-2A (IWG-2A) January 7.

The 146 to 148-MHz segment is not a ham band in Region 1, but in Regions 2 and 3, a footnote would be added to state: "Additional allocation: the bands 146-148 and 430-440 MHz are also allocated to the mobile-satellite service, limited to non-geostationary satellite systems, for use only during emergency communication situations as a complement to the amateur service in accordance with Resolution No. 640."

The little LEO proposal also calls for a new primary allocation for the mobile-satellite (space-to-Earth) service for 430-440 MHz in Regions 2 and 3 (ham radio is primary in Region 1), and offers this rationale. "The allocation for the mobile-satellite service within the bands allocated to the amateur service is intended to be a complement to that latter service in situations involving emergency communications as provided for the [sic] Resolution No. 640."

As currently drawn, Resolution 640 covers only the 144 to 146-MHz segment of 2 meters and does not apply at all to 70 cm.

In the 440 to 450-MHz band, where the Amateur Service is not listed in the international table of frequency allocations except by footnote (ham radio is secondary in Australia, the US, Jamaica, the Philippines, and Canada), the little LEOs proposed a new worldwide primary mobile-satellite (space-to-Earth) allocation.

Calling their service "inherently global" the little LEO group said the industry needs "frequency allocations that can be used anywhere in the world," for nongeostationary, nonvoice mobile satellite service through the year 2002. "ITU-R studies indicate sharing is possible," the industry said.

"If the demand for Little LEO spectrum cannot be satisfied by allocations that could be used on a worldwide basis, one solution is to assign different frequencies for use in the various regions of the world from within the allocations to the mobile satellite service," the working paper's preamble said.

Little LEO firms CTA, E-Sat, Final Analysis, GE Starsys, and LEO One submitted the third revision of the lengthy paper--which drew criticism from the ARRL as well as from military and land-mobile interests and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration--at the January 7 session. The ARRL continued its objection to the inclusion of amateur bands and to the misapplication of Resolution 640. For now, Document IWG-2A/86 Rev. 3 is tabled, but it's expected to come up again at future meetings. IWG-2A meets on January 21 and February 4.

Overall, the little LEOs proposed the following bands for additional allocation to nongeostationary data-only mobile satellite service systems: 138-144, 146-148, 149.9-150.05, 150.05-156.7625, 380-387, 387-390, 390-399.9, 399.9-400.05, 400.15-401, 430-440, 440-450, 470-608 and 614-806 MHz. The paper notes there are proposals concerning 401-406 and 450-470 MHz and for feeder links at 1390-1400 and 1427-1432 MHz in other papers, and that "additional allocation proposals are under construction for the 174-230 MHz band."

For additional information on the little LEOs situation, read the editorial "It Seems to Us . . ." in by ARRL Executive Vice President David Sumner, K1ZZ, in February 1997 QST (The ARRL Letter, Vol. 16, No. 3; January 17, 1997).

North American Digital System Directory to be Online - With ARRL support, the Tucson Amateur Packet Radio Corporation (TAPR) now will provide information on digital systems that formerly appeared in the annual ARRL Repeater Directory. The digital directory information will be available at By not including digital system listings in the 1997-98 edition of the Repeater Directory, the publication can better focus on its primary use as a guide to voice repeaters for traveling amateurs.

In planning the 1997-98 edition, the ARRL concluded that the Repeater Directory was no longer the most effective medium for this information. Discussions involving various regional digital groups that provide data to the digital section of the Repeater Directory led to the conclusion that TAPR was the logical group to take on the task of a new North American Digital System Directory.

This new database will describe systems used by Amateur Radio stations involved in digital communications in United States, Canada, and Mexico. The Digital System Directory will be based on information provided by regional, state, and local organizations as well as individuals, in a nearly real-time format. This should allow information to be maintained and updated more frequently than in a yearly publication. TAPR will also work with participating organizations to make this information available on TAPR's yearly CD-ROM as well as some future publication for local/regional groups to distribute.


For further information on the project and how to get involved, regional groups should check or send e-mail to Carl Estey at Mabey, NU0X (The ARRL Letter, Vol. 16, No. 1; January 3, 1997)

From Newsline Radio

Alzheimer's Tied to EMC Exposure - Exposure to electromagnetic fields has been tied to Alzheimer's disease. Researchers at the University of Southern California say Alzheimer's disease is sharply higher among people with high exposure to electromagnetic fields.

The results of the new study were released on December 19th. It says that people whose jobs place them in close proximity to equipment that contain electrical motors are at the greatest risk. This includes professions that use sewing machines and other power tools.

But not everyone agrees with the results of the USC study. A spokesman at the National Institute on Aging says the results are too preliminary to draw any solid conclusions. He says the study has to be reproduced in other groups to prove its validity.

Also, this report follows the release last October one by the National Academy of Sciences that took the opposite view. That report concluded there was no convincing evidence of a link between residential electromagnetic fields and diseases such as cancer (via listener submission; Amateur Radio Newsline #1011, 27 Dec 1996).

Stolen Rig Listing - If someone steals your radio, e-mail the details of the theft to Mark Saunders, KJ7BS. Mark offers a free service to help hams whose gear has been lost or stolen. Check out his lost or stolen ham gear listing on his Internet home page at (via KJ7BS; Amateur Radio Newsline #1011, 27 Dec 1996).

Slow Growth in Ham Radio - The combined number of United States General, Advanced and Extra class license holders is declining, but no-code continues to grow. This according to 1996 year end figures published in the January 1st W5YI Report.

The No-Code Technician continues to show the greatest increase in the number of people holding that class of license. There are now 6.7 percent more Technician and Technician Plus operators than there was a year ago. In fact, some 43 percent of all radio amateurs share these two classes of licenses. That's more than twice the number of only a decade ago.

And for the first time ever, the combined number of Extra, Advanced and General class operators declined in 1996. But that was offset by the growth in the numbers of No-Code techs making for slight one percent growth in the total number of hams coming into the service last year.

What does this all mean? W5YI says that there is a major shift in interests taking place in ham radio. Back in the 50's, 60's and 70's ham radio meant low band DXing, ragchewing and long range operations. That pool of High Frequency operators is now drying up says W5YI.

Others agree. They say that the traditional high frequency operator is being replaced by a massive influx of codefree licensees who have no inclination to ever upgrade. A new breed of radio amateur who seem very content to spend their entire ham radio careers on a single repeater, talking to the same people, day after day, in what was once experimental world above 50 MHz (via W5YI, others; Amateur Radio Newsline #1017, 17 Jan 1997).

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 from SARA members 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. For information on the cost of advertising by nonmembers contact 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.)

Thank you

The Socorro Amateur Radio Association would like to thank the Albuquerque District office of Lanier Worldwide, Inc. for its generous support of the SARA Newsletter.

SARA Officers


Dave Johnson, KB5YIW
SARA Newsletter Editor

325 McCutcheon St. W.
Socorro, NM 87801-4535