Socorro Amateur Radio Association

SARA Newsletter ----- "If it happens, it's news to us" ----- April, 1998


Report of the Nominating Committee

The nominating committee will make its report at the April meeting. The bylaws make provisions for additional nominations from the floor, before the election of officers at the annual meeting in May.

Annual Meeting and Election of Officers

SARA’s annual meeting and election of officers is scheduled for regular May meeting: Wednesday, May 13th at 7:30 pm. The meeting will take place in the SARA clubhouse located at 704 5th Street, between Manzanares and Abeyta. The official notice of the annual meeting will accompany the May newsletter, at least 15 days prior to the annual meeting. Eligible voters will receive an alphabetically addressed, list of the members entitled to vote at the ensuing election. This list will be open to the examination by any member at the Socorro Radio Shack Store for a period of at least ten days before the annual meeting, and the list will be available for inspection at the annual meeting. The bylaws require that one-third of the current membership of the organization entitled to vote, represented in person or by proxy, shall constitute a quorum at the annual meeting of members. A member proxy is included with this newsletter, Using the proxy, you may assign your voting responsibilities to another member or to a SARA officer. A proxy is available and may be printed from the SARA web page. If there is any chance that you will be unable to attend the annual meeting, please fill out and return a proxy to the address listed on this newsletter.

A Personal Observation

For each of the last two years, I have served on the nominating committee for upcoming SARA elections. I’ve done so because I believe that an organization like SARA deserves good leadership. Each year, this has been an ultimately frustrating undertaking. On the face of it there should be no problem finding folks to serve. While membership has declined in the last two years, there still are fifty-six paid members, of which forty- three reside sufficiently close to Socorro (between Polvadera and San Antonio, NM) to serve as officers. Of these forty-three, eleven have served (most for more than one term) as officers of the Association, leaving thirty-two who should be prime candidates for participation. Well, not exactly. While not every one of those thirty-two soles was approached about their willingness to serve as officers, of those who were approached, one agreed to do so.

I understand that there are many reasons for membership in an organization like SARA, and I don’t mean to diminish the importance of any of these. Some belong because an autopatch is cheaper than a cell phone call. Probably the majority of members (including me) were attracted because they like to have access to the SARA repeaters. Others chase DX and don’t much care about complicating a dialog with unnecessary things like body language. Twenty percent of our membership isn’t even within 2-meter simplex range of Socorro, being either former Socorroans who have moved (far) away, or friends and neighbors who like to support the efforts of Socorro’s amateur radio operators. All these members are very generous to the association, and to amateur radio, with their annual financial contribution in the form of their membership dues. May I respectfully suggest that 10 bucks a year is not enough. We need your active participation as well. New hams attracted by easy access to VHF privileges (many among those other 34 members), need to be introduced to HF, packet, home brewing, and QRP operations. The OMs, YLs and the new Techs have a responsibility to come to a meeting on occasion and to participate in both the decisions and responsibilities of the association. While I don’t expect to see the day when our elections are contested, I do hope to see the day when those approached are willing (even if reluctantly) to participate in the governance of the association for a year or so. Think about it (KB5YIW).

NM ARRL Section Web Page

The New Mexico Section of the ARRL now has a web page at: The site has section information including: hamfests and conventions, affiliated clubs, speakers bureau (coordinated by none other than N1IRZ), traffic and local nets, and a listing of section staff.

Eastern NM ARC Web Page Moved

The web site for the Eastern New Mexico Amateur Radio Club has changed to:

Opening for Wordsmith, Closed

You missed your big chance. Doug Staley (KC5RXI) will begin editing the SARA Newsletter beginning with the June edition. You’ve seen and appreciated Doug’s editing skills before in the June 1997 SARA Newsletter.

Heathkit Virtual Museum

Visit the Heathkit Virtual Museum at: This site has pages devoted to hi-fi, amateur radio, and other areas emphasized by the Heath company over the years.

Upcoming events

Over the Horizon


Gatherings, gatherings


From the ARRL

Vanity fee to drop drastically - The fee to obtain an Amateur Radio vanity call sign would drop drastically under the FCC's proposed fiscal year 1998 fee schedule. If adopted, the new fee will be $12.90 for the ten-year term, payable at the time of application for a new, renewal or reinstated license.

The new fee is contained in an FCC Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, MD Docket 98-36, Assessment and Collection of Regulatory Fees for Fiscal Year 1998, released March 25.

The current vanity call sign fee is $50.00 for the ten- year term. The FCC says it has no plans to refund the difference between the current fee and the new fee for applicants who submit applications before implementation of the FY 1998 fee schedule.

The FCC has calculated the new fee based on an expected 10,000 applicants during FY 1998.

The FCC says it will announce the effective date for the new fee either in the Report and Order that terminates the fee schedule rulemaking proposal or by a public notice (ARRL Bulletin 25, April 3, 1998).

Spectrum Protection bill introduced - At the request of the ARRL, a bill has been introduced in Congress to ensure the availability of spectrum to Amateur Radio operators. The bill, HR 3572, the Amateur Radio Spectrum Protection Act of 1998, would protect existing Amateur Radio spectrum against reallocations to or sharing with other services unless the FCC provides ''equivalent replacement spectrum'' elsewhere. The bill was introduced March 27 by Rep Michael Bilirakis of Florida, a Republican, with the cosponsorship of Rep Ron Klink of Pennsylvania, a Democrat.

If approved, the measure would amend Section 303 of the Communications Act of 1934 to preclude reallocation of any primary Amateur Radio allocations or diminution of any secondary allocations, and would block any additional allocations within such bands that would substantially reduce their utility to Amateur Radio, unless the Commission at the same time provides ''equivalent replacement spectrum'' to the Amateur Service.

The bill points out that a basic purpose of Amateur Radio is to provide ''voluntary, noncommercial radio service, particularly emergency communications,'' and that Amateur Radio has ''consistently and reliably'' provided emergency communication during and after disasters. The measure notes that the FCC has ''taken actions which have resulted in the loss of at least 107 MHz of spectrum to radio amateurs.''

HR 3572 has been referred to the House Commerce Committee. An effort is under way to enlist additional cosponsors for the measure.

The full text of the bill is available at (ARRL Bulletin, March 30, 1998)

Major changes in Field Day rules - Some new rules go into effect this year for Field Day. The popular summertime operating event takes place each year on the fourth full weekend in June. This year, it will be June 27-28.

A major change this year is the elimination of bonus- point credit for packet and VHF/UHF contacts. Field Day stations no longer will be allowed to count contacts via digipeaters, packet nodes, or similar arrangements. Class 2A and higher Field Day stations still may operate a ''free'' transmitter exclusively for VHF or UHF operation (ie, above 50 MHz) without changing their basic entry classification, but not for bonus points. ''It's better than bonus points, and groups are likely to spend more time on VHF and UHF because of that,'' predicted ARRL Membership Services Manager Chuck Hutchinson, K8CH. As in the past, crossband and repeater contacts other than via satellite do not count for Field Day credit.

Field Day stations now can earn point credit for digital (ie, non-CW) contacts on each band. The phone, CW, and non-CW digital segments are considered separate ''bands'' in the Field Day rules. This means, for example, that you now may work the same station for point credit on 40 meters three times: once on SSB, once on CW, and once on RTTY, packet, or one of the 'TOR modes. SSB contacts count one point, and CW and non- CW digital contacts count 2 points apiece, so adding non-CW digital capability presents a real opportunity to rack up substantial additional points. ''We're expecting an interesting year because of the digital modes,'' Hutchinson said.

The complete, official Field Day rules will appear in the May edition of QST. Basic Field Day rules have remained unchanged for several years now. The new rules undoubtedly will generate a flurry of computerized contest logging program revisions as developers scramble to incorporate the changes into their software (ARRL Bulletin 19, March 20, 1998).

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 1307 Lopezville Rd., Socorro, NM 87801-4853, 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.)

SARA Officers


Dave Johnson, KB5YIW
SARA Newsletter Editor

1307 Lopezville Rd.
Socorro, NM 87801-4853