In addition to the tone required for access to the repeater, a 100 Hz tone is now generated on the output allowing utilization of the CTCSS squelch option available on many newer radios. Doing so may provide dramatic improvements to monitoring, particularly in RF-rich environments (esp. near computers that are poorly shielded). Some have worried that this tone would degrade the audio from the transmitter. That might well be the case if your hearing is far better than most, the speaker on your rig is very high fidelity, and the PL filter present in many radios isn't filtering. For the vast majority of users, you'll never notice the difference, unless you are using your CTCSS squelch.
On the negative side, the autopatch has not been operational for some weeks. The patch was disabled after a programming session via telephone that resulted in the controller spontaneously calling my (KB5YIW's) home every thirty minutes. Discussions with the maker of the controller revealed that there is a glitch in the controller software that ties the controller in knots when programmed via the phone. A short-term fix is to reset the controller to default settings, which will require a trip to the repeater site. The trip planned for the second week of December was cancelled due to impassable roads. Conditions have not improved as of this date. The longer-term fix involves replacement software which will be fully developed in March (or so). This software promises to have many added features (and probably a whole new set of bugs). (KB5YIW)
Students from the FR5KJ radio club at Jules Reydellet College in St Denis, Reunion Island, and at the Polytechnic Laboratory of Nalchik Kabardine in Russia cooperated in building the mini-Sputnik. The Russian students built the satellite body, while the French students fabricated the transmitter inside. Two working models of the Sputnik were assembled and transported to Mir, but only one was launched. The Sputnik PS2, also called RS-17, surpassed the life of its original namesake by several weeks. The little satellite was a one-third scale model of the original and had been estimated to remain in operation for approximately 40 days.
As of January 2, the satellite had not been officially declared dead, however. (ARRL Letter, January 2, 1998, Volume 17, Number 1)
FCC Forms Contractor Now Has New Form 610 - With just days to spare, the new FCC Form 610 now is available from the FCC's forms contractor. The FCC has ordered the destruction of all previous versions of the form. As of January 1, 1998, the FCC will accept only the new Form 610 for all filings. Forms 610A and 610B also have been amended. The major change in the new Form 610 is a certification that says the applicant has read and will comply with the new RF radiation safety rules that begin phasing in on January 1, 1998.
The FCC Forms Distribution Center accepts orders at 800-418-3676.
That's not to say the new Form 610 simply has not been available until now. ARRL VEC Manager Bart Jahnke, W9JJ, says the ARRL/VEC sent out 43,000 copies of the revised 610 last week to VE teams across the country.
The ARRL had copies printed earlier this fall and has been supplying the new forms to those who have requested them for the past six weeks. In addition, the ARRL now supplies a new handout, Additional Information for Amateurs Completing the New FCC Form 610, that contains a condensed version of how to comply with the new RF safety regulations.
The new Forms 610 also have been available from the FCC's Web site at http://www.fcc.gov/formpage.html, at ftp://ftp.fcc.gov/pub/Forms, or by fax at 202-418-0177 (request index).
To order a new Form 610 from the ARRL, send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to ARRL/VEC, 225 Main St, Newington, CT 06111. Include one unit of first-class postage for each Form you order. (ARRL Letter, December 19, 1997, Volume 16, Number 50)
HAM Radio History - In a whimsical mood, here's a lighthearted look at ham radio history. The original version of this was posted on the Contest Reflector a few months back.
1307 Lopezville Rd.
Socorro, NM 87801-4853