Socorro Amateur Radio Association

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


... was held on February 12th with nineteen in attendance. The proposed articles of incorporation and revisions to the bylaws were introduced and seconded. A short discussion followed. Consideration was deferred until the March 12th meeting.


March Meeting

Please make every effort to attend this meeting. At present, SARA has 73 paid members, of which a third (25) are required to make a quorum. The main agenda item for the March 12th meeting of the Socorro Amateur Radio Association is consideration of the proposed revisions to the Bylaws and adoption of SARA's Articles of Incorporation. Drafts of these documents are available in advance of the meeting at the Socorro Radio Shack or online at: . In addition to consideration of these matters, the nominating committee (consisting of three members) for the coming year's officers will be selected. Remember that those not attending a meeting are fair game for committee assignments.

Repeater Report

The SARA VHF repeater has operated more-or-less without incident for over a month. Receiver sensitivity remains high and DTMF decoding (for autopatch use) remains solid.

Close Encounters

I have not received the special event callsign yet from the ARRL (but) we will be setting up a Special Event Station, July 3 - 5, 1997 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Crash AT Corona, or the Roswell incident. We will be on HF, either (plans not final) near the Corona debris field or in Roswell. NA5N, W5BI, N5ZGT, WB5LYJ, & N7KA. This will be a lot of fun. Similar to what had happened AT Trinity in '95 & at the National Atomic Museum in '95, except this has more name recognition. Will forward to you all of the details, as soon as the plans are finalized. [72 (QRP 73)...Jay, WA5WHN]

Socorro Hamfest

Mark your calendars for November 15, 1997 when the Socorro and Tech Amateur Radio Associations will sponsor the annual SARA/TARA Hamfest. This year's event will coincide with Socorro's Festival of the Cranes (November 13-16) providing a long, Fall weekend of activities for the entire family.

Little LEOS, Another view

During the mayhem that accompanied a "breakdown" in the Amateur Radio Newsline list-server several messages were forwarded to subscribers, most of which qualified as trash. One that may be an exception to this is the following from a member of the Kitchener-Waterloo ARC. The results of this program are to be posted on the clubs web page at:

"Since you show an interest in the Little LEO program you (and others if the list-server is still open) may be interested in the following.

The Kitchener-Waterloo Amateur Radio Club (Ontario Canada) has received confirmation from the President of ORBCOM that they will attend our clubs April meeting to address their companies technology for VHF frequency sharing.

ORBCOM is currently the only operational LEO operator Worldwide and is currently using the 148.010 to 150.8 MHz spectrum for terminal uplinking to their LEO's. In Canada these frequencies are heavily utilized by public safety organizations including Ambulance, Police and Fire.

We have been promised a no-holds-bared session with the company who will address "How LEO operators can and DO share VHF Spectrum on a Non- interfering basis"

This promises to be a very informative meeting and to the best of our knowledge will be the first time that a LEO operator will publicly address the Radio Amateur community. Regards, Paul Cassel VE3SY, Program co-ordinator, Kitchener Waterloo-ARC"

In a follow-up message, Paul indicated that "There have been 2 ORBCOM satellites live in LEO since 1995 co-channeling with dozens of public safety services which has resulted in zero interference. As well, Orbcomm are (sic) willing to provide hardware and airtime to the amateur community."

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.


Upcoming events

Over the Horizon


Gatherings, gatherings


From the ARRL

ARRL Members Asked to Comment - ARRL members are being invited to add their ideas, comments and recommendations to those of the ARRL WRC-99 Planning Committee, which has suggested sweeping--and potentially controversial--changes to the Amateur Radio licensing structure in the US. On the table for open discussion and debate are proposals that include: elimination of the Novice license creation of a new Intermediate license to replace the Technician Plus greater hf privileges for intermediate licensees than for the existing technician plus, including phone on 160, 75 and 15 meters a 10-wpm General CW test (with more stringent testing standards for all CW exams) expanded phone privileges for General-class and higher licensees.

Details of the plan, discussed during the recent ARRL Board of Directors meeting in Albuquerque, New Mexico, will appear in March QST. The Board says it seeks comments from members to ensure that before any plan goes forward, it enjoys broad support from the amateur community. The Board will not act on the issue at least until its July meeting.

After its research revealed that as many as three Novices in four are inactive, the committee concluded that the Novice license is no longer useful. Although the committee would end the Novice license, its plan provides current Novices with an easy means to upgrade (via an open-book test) to the new Intermediate class license, which would replace the current Technician Plus. All present Tech Plus licensees would become Intermediate licensees. The Basic license would supplant the Technician license--now the hobby's most-popular entry-level ticket--with no changes in privileges. In addition, the committee's plan would phase out the current Novice and Tech Plus bands on 80, 40 and 15 meters, and replace them with new Intermediate-class allocations. The committee's consensus plan for Intermediate-class licensees calls for new CW bands on 80, 40 and 15 meters starting 25 kHz up from the lower band edge, digital and phone-band privileges on 75 and 15 meters and a 50-kHz phone or CW segment at the top end of 160 meters, plus expanded Novice and Tech Plus CW and phone allocations on 10 meters.

According to the proposal, Intermediate CW bands would be 3525 to 3700 kHz, 7025 to 7050 kHz, 21025 to 21150 kHz and 28050 to 28300 kHz. Digital operation was suggested for 3600 to 3625, 21100 to 21125 and 28100 to 28189 kHz. Phone privileges would include 1950 to 2000, 3900 to 4000, 21350 to 21450, SSB from 28300 to 28500 and FM from 29500 to 29700 kHz. Transmitter power for Intermediate-class licensees would be limited to 200 W PEP output (other licensees using these bands would not be limited to 200 W, however).

General-class and higher amateurs also would benefit from the plan, if it's adopted according to the committee's outlines. General-class hams would get additional phone privileges 3800 to 3850, 7200 to 7225, and 21250 to 21300 kHz; Advanced-class hams would add 3725 to 3775, 7125 to 7150 and 21175 to 21225 kHz; Extra-class hams would also have 3700 to 3750, 7125 to 7150 and 21150 to 21200 kHz.

With the exception of 40 meters, where Novice and Tech Plus licensees already have privileges, the committee suggested no changes on the hobby's narrowest and most crowded bands--including 20 meters and the narrow WARC bands at 30, 17 and 12 meters.

The Intermediate CW test would be 5 words per minute (the same as the current Tech Plus requirement), but the committee proposed that the General class CW requirement be set at 10 wpm. There still would be no additional CW exam for the Advanced ticket, nor would there be any change in the 20-wpm requirement for the Extra. Exams for all classes would include a return to a sending test and the requirement for one minute of solid copy during a five-minute test--instead of the current method that tests on the content of the CW text.

Right now, these major changes are only in the talking stage. "Let us be very clear about this," said ARRL Executive Vice President David Sumner, K1ZZ, who characterized the committee's proposals as a starting point for discussion, not a done deal. "The changes are not ARRL policy; nothing has been proposed to, or by, the FCC, and the ARRL Board is committed to making no decision before its July 1997 meeting." Sumner said there is no timetable to complete the process. Only after there is an opportunity for in-depth consideration and discussion by the membership will the ARRL Board consider taking the next step--to approach the FCC with a rulemaking proposal--a process that automatically invites additional comments and suggestions.

Between the time they receive March QST and the end of May, members are asked to voice their opinions on the committee's suggestions to their directors, whose postal and e-mail addresses are listed on page 10 of QST. All suggestions and comments--positive and negative--are welcome. (ARRL Bulletin 5)

Little LEO Effort to Include 219 to 225 Mhz - Commercial satellite interests seeking access to bands below 1 GHz--including amateur allocations at 146 and 430 MHz--now have added 220 MHz to their "wish list." For the first time, Little LEO (low-earth-orbiting satellite) interests have proposed including 219-225 MHz in their list of desired allocations for the non-voice, non- geostationary (NVNG) mobile-satellite service (MSS). The move was contained in the industry's so-called "flexible allocation proposal," delivered at the February 13, 1997, meeting of FCC Informal Working Group (IWG) 2A. Little LEO targets now include 146 to 148, 219 to 225 and 430 to 450 MHz. The ARRL and AMSAT were among those objecting to the concept, and the League is urging those who agree with their position to comment to the FCC by March 4. IWG-2A has been preparing draft proposals for the 1997 World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-97). These will be reviewed during a March 5 meeting of the FCC's WRC-97 Industry Advisory Committee that is preparing draft proposals for consideration by the United States as it gets ready for WRC-97.

The ARRL and AMSAT statement said the latest proposal affecting amateur allocations in the 219 to 225 MHz segment came "at the last possible moment" and "without any technical support whatsoever." The League and AMSAT pointed out that the little LEO proponents have had more than a year to complete a technical study of the possibilities of sharing with the amateur services in the 144 to 148 MHz and 420 to 450 MHz bands. "They have not demonstrated compatibility for sharing these amateur bands but over the evolution of their document have proposed various 'new ideas' for use of these bands."

The little LEO flexible allocation strategy for WRC-97--submitted as IWG-2A/86 (Rev. 6)--is to propose broad allocations. The apparent theory is that most administrations would find reasons to oppose little LEO use of specific bands in the crowded spectrum below 1 Ghz, but that a broad allocation would permit different implementations in different countries depending on local circumstances.

At the February 13 meeting, a coalition of spectrum interests--including land mobile, amateur, broadcasting, and military--opposed the flexible allocation concept on three grounds: that the concept is simply an invention to avoid performing technical sharing studies that would demonstrate the unfeasibility of sharing; that it is inconsistent with decades of ITU allocations practices; and that, if adopted, the concept would be counter to US interests. The coalition document is identified as IWG-2A/107.

The ARRL and AMSAT submitted a further statement of opposition, citing the absence of any technical studies that might support sharing with the amateur service or the amateur-satellite service and pointing out that the little LEOs have completely mischaracterized the nature of ITU Resolution 640 regarding the use of certain amateur bands in the event of natural disasters. The ARRL/AMSAT paper, revised to reflect opposition to the late proposal to include 219-225 MHz, is identified as IWG-2A/108 (Rev. 1).

Amateurs also might find interesting the comments of the Department of Defense, identified as IWG-2A/101 (Rev. 1). These address the 430 to 450 MHz segment the Little LEOs seek to share.

Anyone wishing to register support for the ARRL/AMSAT submission should send a brief e-mail message to The Subject line should say "Reference No. ISP-96-005 IWG-2A." A simple statement to this effect, "I support the ARRL/AMSAT opposition to the NVNG MSS flexible allocation proposal," will be included in the public record and will help to drive home the point that there is broad-based opposition to poorly conceived sharing proposals.

Please note. The proposals the League opposes are not FCC proposals, nor are they endorsed by any other branch of the government. They are industry proposals. The League's objective is to demonstrate there is broad citizen opposition to the industry proposals, so the government will not adopt them as US proposals. So, please don't "flame" the FCC if you comment.

Additional arguments or evidence also is welcome. Important. Comments should reach the FCC no later than March 4, 1997.

The complete ARRL/AMSAT opposition statement and other comments will be posted by February 15 on the ARRLWeb page, under Band Threat News. (ARRL Bulletin 8)

From Newsline Radio

Server Problems - This quick note to those who get written copy of Newsline off of the subscription server on the world wide web. We have been informed by the server administrator that they are experiencing problems with the Internet service provider that cause any message posted to any of the many lists that they oversee to be posted to all of the lists. Also, it seems that some unscrupulous net advertisers are taking advantage of the problem by posting all sorts trash messages to the lists.

To be blunt, we at Newsline have no control over these lists and complaining to us is a waste of time. We are not the people running the lists and we have no control whatever over them.

If you are getting unsolicited adds, all we can suggest is do what we do. Simply use your delete function and send them off to never-never virtual reality.

The list administrator says he will discontinue the list service until the Internet provider fixes the software bugs. In the meantime he will try to provide it manually, to which we say "thank you." (Amateur Radio Newsline #1018 14 Feb 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