DELTA AMATEUR RADIO CLUB


SPARKS
Web Edition

SPARKS P.O. BOX 750482 MEMPHIS, TN 38175-0482 / VOL. 13 / FEBRUARY, 1999

W 4 B S    R E P E A T E R    S Y S T E M

146.82, 147.36, 224.42, 443.2 & 145.03 Packet


PRESIDENT’S PAGE

The first order of business for the incoming Board of Directors is to prepare an operating budget for the next twelve months. As is normal, this occurs at the January Board of Directors meeting so that the President can present it to the membership at the February club meeting.

Fortunately, preparing this year’s budget was not as difficult as it has been in the past due to exceptional record keeping over the last couple of years and the efforts of last year’s Treasurer, Ernie Christensen, WA6KOC. He prepared an Excel spreadsheet that contained the various income and expense categories for the last three years. From this information he prepared a “rough draft” budget for this year. When we sat down on January 18th to work on the new budget it was very easy to review the numbers, compare them to Ernie’s suggested figures and either accept, reduce, or increase them. Thanks Ernie for all the work, it truly made our job a more pleasant one, if preparing a budget can be pleasant.

As most of you know, a significant portion of the operating budget income comes from membership dues, but this figure will not cover all the expenses that we will incur during the year. Consequently, we have to have various income producing activities such as carport sales, selling candy (as we have done in the past) to make up the difference between our projected expenses and our projected income.

One method or one avenue of opportunity to generate income for the club is through the sale of “speed dials”. For those of you relatively new to Delta Amateur Radio Club, you have the opportunity to purchase “speed dials” for those frequently dialed numbers that you call on the auto patch. Like with the telephone in your home, instead of dialing seven digits, all you have to do is dial three. Each “speed dial” that a member obtains is income for the club.

I have proposed to the Board of Directors at our January meeting that we establish a goal of selling 30 new “speed dials” this year. These 30 new “speed dials” will generate $300.00 in additional income. So, when you come to the meeting in February, if you haven’t already got a “speed dial”, or you have one but you could use another, let Kathy or myself know and we’ll set you up.

Each year the members of Delta Club circle the month of November. Again, for those of you that are new to our club, this is the month that we raffle off a variety of prizes which ranged from the standard repeater directory to the grand prize, the Kenwood “cool blue” dual band mobile radio. These prizes had a retail value of over $1,200. What you may not know is that these prizes are purchased from the money we receive from ticket sales throughout the year. Last year we collected nearly $700.00 at the door the night of the November meeting which covered a significant portion of the total amount spent for the prizes. Had we not collected that amount, we would have had to take money out of our savings to cover the expense or reduce the number of prizes that we gave away.

This year I’d like to be able to say early in the year, that we have sufficient funds as the result of ticket sales, to purchase our prizes and possibly have money left over. To be able to do this, we need people to buy tickets throughout the year, not just at the November meeting. So please, when you sign in at the table, if you have a couple of extra dollars in your pocket, buy a couple of tickets. And remember all the money you spend on tickets is tax deductible because we have a non-profit tax status. Kathy will be very happy to provide you with a receipt for your ticket purchases so that you have it for tax time. Maybe you will be the proud owner of a new dual band mobile radio at the close of the November meeting.

It has been a tradition in Delta Club, at least since I have been a member, to have snacks (cookies, cake, brownies, munchies, etc.) available at the meeting break. I have noticed that lately that the variety and quantity of snacks has been decreasing. I’m asking you to stop on your way to the meeting and pickup some cookies, or brownies, or whatever, so we have something to munch on at the break.

In closing, I’d like to say that I was pleasantly surprised at the number of members that attended the January meeting. I think we had in excess of 75 people in attendance, probably the largest attendance of the year with the exception of the November meeting. I sure would like to see this number continue to climb, climb to the point where we are looking for space to put people. See you all at the February meeting.

73,
Ben, KU4AW


Vice Presidents Corner

HAMPAIGN '99

Due to pending repeater relocation and repair, we need to raise a bunch of money. It appears that most of my job this year will be occupied with that responsibility. While we will continue with a number of fund-raisers previously discussed such as the April auction and antennae building for sale at MemFest, I have an aggressive plan to raise an amount that may be necessary for all the repeater needs--a goal of $10,000. I have dubbed this effort "Hampaign '99" (I am open to other suggestions). Because I don't believe we can come anywhere near this amount with fund-raisers, I have a two-pronged plan to reach our goal. The first will be an attempt to make use of our status as a charitable organization to encourage everyone that can to make a one-time tax-deductible contribution of at least $50.00. If 200 of our 300 members would do this we would meet our goal. That's only $5.00 a month for the rest of this year! If each person had a matching donation from their company we would only need 100 people to donate!! Please think about it seriously.

I hate to be a pessimist, but it is possible that we won't reach the goal from within. I have an equally aggressive plan to get businesses in the community to help. Just as WPTY felt it worthwhile to donate tower space because of our value to the community, I think many companies will feel the same way, once we point out to them all we do with the repeater. I have drafted a compelling letter, but need help from club members to give me a contact person at their place of work to send these. I will be asking all banks and big Memphis based companies to participate, but if any of you have "inside information" it greatly increases the chances that I can get a foot in the door. Please let me know ASAP, since one of the selling points will be the use of the repeater for SKYWARN, and the inclement weather we are having helps me make the point!

I look forward to hearing from everyone in the next few weeks with either a check, information about your company, or other suggestions. Please do it now, while you are thinking about it! You may e-mail me anytime, or call if you need to.

Lastly, we will have a small area in the SPARKS--the fundraising corner--devoted to updates. We will keep you informed of the progress. Remember, this is our club, and we will only get out of it what we put into it! As you can see in the chart on page 4, we still have a long way to go.

73,
Kurt Schropp, KU4NH
Vice President


SECRETARY’S REPORT

January saw our membership drive continue to grow. The following hams have renewed their memberships in Delta Club: Robert Jones, WD4MNB, Jim Evans, W0SK, Daniel Columbus, AA4HV, and his wife, Margo, KD4DWI, Theo Vanlandingham, WB4OER, Paul Miller, WAESFG, Fred Sutton, KO4QM, Dan Haire, WD4KWE, James Sullivan, KB5SGY, John Pannell, AE4GR, and his wife, Denise, KE4VKW, Jim Burns, N4BSP, and his wife, Phyllis, KD4NEV, Sam Evans, KR4LD, John Stephenson, AC4JO, Steve Campbell, KF4LUR, Gary Thurman, KE4WOS, John Patterson, KF4IRX, Bill Hancock, WA4MJM, and his wife, Vicki, KF4DJS, Don Mills, K9DM, Carl Stogner, KA5IJP, Marc Gwin, KB5ZMU, Roger Yoakum, KE4NTJ, Bob Shaeffer, KF4ZFQ, Darrel Riales, K4QWV, Frank Baker, AE4DJ, and Jim Watson, KE4OKM.

We would also like to welcome two new hams to our club. They are Frank Hall, KC4SXV (In case that’s a familiar call to you, he was a member a few years ago), and Lee Cole, KA4ACD, (who has had his call for a while but forgot just how much fun the hobby is). Be sure to make a point to welcome them when you hear their calls on the repeaters.

This brings our 1999 membership to a grand total so far of 200 members. It would be great if by the March meeting we could double that number. We had almost a record attendance for the January program, and February looks to be the meeting not to miss if you’ve ever had problems with those pesky rotators (Dom, that’s for you). And April is going to be exciting with an auction. See you there!

73,
Kathy, KE4UYU


FEBRUARY 9

CLUB MEETING

7365 HWY. 70

BARTLETT, TN

MEETING STARTS AT 7:00 PM

HOW TO REPAIR YOUR ROTATOR
by Jim, KI4I

Webmaster's Note:  Yes, this really is the program this month.  We had a last minute change of plans last month, but Jim will be working on rotators this month for sure.


DIRECTOR OF PROGRAMS

All right, we’re gonna try this thing one more time. If your ‘tenna STILL won’t turn, don’t miss the FEBRUARY meeting. Jim, KI4I, will bring his considerable expertise to bear on rotator repair.

Special thanks to Whit, KD4LTR, for a great program (without a lot of advance notice!!) on satellite communication at the January meeting. Whit made a wonderful audio-visual presentation and even brought some software for tracking various amateur radio satellites.

Don’t forget to save your “junque” for the April Auction. We hope to have lots of goodies going on the block, including the Brown Bag Specials.

Although not related to any upcoming programs, 10 meters has been showing some excellent openings to Europe in the mornings, Africa in the early afternoon, and Oceania and the Far East in the late afternoon/ early evenings. It doesn’t take a huge antenna or a kilowatt to work some really good DX on 10 meters. A simple dipole up about 30 feet will do a surprisingly good job when conditions are good. This sunspot cycle is still very much on the upswing and for those that haven’t been around since the last sunspot maximum, you are in for a real treat that’s there for the taking.

73 and CU at the February meeting,

K4TTA


VE TESTING:

Don’t forget the monthly Volunteer Examiner testing session. Registration begins at 5:30p.m. and testing begins promptly at 6:00p.m. Please remember to bring two forms of identification the original and copies of any existing licenses or CSCE’s you might have. Please be on time for registration, as you will not be allowed to enter the testing session after 6:00 p.m., so our volunteer VE team can finish in time to attend the club meeting. Call Joan Thorne 366-9722, if special testing arrangements are required.


VE CORNER

At the testing session held January 12, 1999 the ARRL VE Team administered 5 elements with two elements being passed.

CONGRATULATIONS to: Paul Hahs KD5GCM Technician

Please note that my phone number and e-mail address is no longer listed on the last page of the Delta Club newsletter. So that the newsletter is a more accurate listing of the board members, my information can now be found in the listing for the meeting topics and testing session. Sorry for the inconvenience to those who keep the last page close for any numbers needed.

73,
Joan KN4PM


W4BS REPEATER SYSTEM

146.82 net 8:00 PM

147.36 tone = 107.2
(BACK ON THE AIR AT A TEMPORARY LOCATION)

224.42 1.25 m reptr

BACK ON THE AIR

443.20 patch, 107.2

145.03 packet / bbs


BRAVO ZULU

On January 20th and 21st the Mid-South area experienced some of the worst severe weather to hit these parts in many years. And true to form, when the National Weather Service put out the call, the responders and spotters of the SKYWARN team did just that, they responded. However, this time their assistance didn’t end after four or five hours, it ran for approximately 27 hours straight. Starting at 3:00PM on Thursday, January 20th, and running non-stop until roughly 7:00PM on Friday, January 21st, there were amateur radio operators manning the SKYWARN desk at the National Weather Service.

In several branches of the military and in at least one local employer there is a term, Bravo Zulu, that in general terms means “a job well done.” Speaking as a member of the amateur community, I want to say “bravo zulu” to all those SKYWARN responders, as well as the spotters, that volunteered their time. As one of the responders and one of the forecasters said in an interview with a local television station, “radar can only tell you what’s in the air, it can’t tell you what’s on the ground. That’s where the eyes, ears, and the elaborate communications system of amateur radio come in to play. Without you we wouldn’t know what’s happening on the ground in severe weather.”

So, once again, BRAVO ZULU to all of you, the responders, the spotters, and the emergency personnel, that volunteered your time during that 27 hours that life and property were being threatened by Mother Nature.

Ben, KU4AW


VE Notes:

Ham radio numbers may be off, but DX QSLs are up, probably due to improved propagation. The ARRL QSL Service reports it handled 1,596,740 QSLs during 1998, including cards to incoming US bureaus. This is a 15% increase (218,500 cards) from the 1997 total.

ARRL Letter, Vol. 18, No. 3

The FCC has issued strong warnings to two amateurs in Indiana and a third in New York who are on the Commission’s top ten list of alleged major amateur offenders. Warning letters sent earlier this month are the last step before formal enforcement proceedings. One case primarily involved malicious interference on VHF repeaters, while the other two involved interference to an HF net. Those who received the letters were put on the FCC’s Alert List, which is the equivalent of an all points bulletin. The alleged illegal activities not only put the hams’ licenses in jeopardy but open them up to possible fines and even put transmitting equipment at risk of seizure. The controllers of the HF nets have been cautioned not to engage hecklers or those attempting to harass or interfere, nor to call up the net on a busy frequency. The VHF offender had a similar pattern of interference and has had a suspension of license, but the violation has continued, even during the time of suspension. After having talked to eight other “cohorts” the FCC feels that this situation has been resolved.

This article has been shortened in the consideration of space from the ARRL Letter, Vol. 18, No. 3

Be aware that the ARRL is taking care of complaints made to them, as best they can, since Riley Hollingsworth, K4ZDH took over as Amateur Radio Enforcer last September. He has even been heard on 75 meters discussing enforcement and compliance. He told those on hand that noncompliance and inappropriate on-the-air behavior could threaten the hobbies HF allocations. Listen for him - he says that he’ll be out there more often.

73,
Joan KN4PM
ARRL VE Liaison


Important Information

Have you been receiving your SPARKS after the meeting is all over and done? You probably do if you live in the 38134 zip code area of Bartlett, TN. For your information, SPARKS will generally be mailed no later than one week prior to the meeting date. Most members receive their issues the very next day or no more than the second day after mailing. There may be other zip codes that are slow, but apparently the 38134 zip has some serious problems. We recently had one member who received his December issue on January 6 which was approximately 4 weeks after it was mailed. This is totally unacceptable!

If this SPARKS arrived late, you should call Mr. Stanford with the Post Office at 521-2233. The more he hears from us concerning the untimeliness of mail deliveries, the faster he might take action. Or call Kathy, KE4UYU, at 372-8031, and she will make the call.


NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE
“SAME” SYSTEM & CODES

Many of you probably have one or more weather radios in your home, and if you’re like a lot of people you keep them turned off because you get tired of hearing warnings being sent out for counties that are 50 or 60 miles away from where you live. I am like you in that I’m tired of being awakened in the middle of the night to the alert on my weather radio just to learn that it’s for a county in the far southern reaches of the CWA (county warning area). So, I turn my radio off. We all know this is the wrong thing to do during a period of severe weather, but if you have a wife like mine and gets very upset when her sleep is interrupted, you probably turn the radio off too.

Well, there’s a new system in town called SAME (Specific Area Message Encoder). The system is similar to the older system in that warnings are sent out to the various counties in the CWA, but there’s a new twist. Now, a six- (6) digit code is attached to the warning, and weather radios that recognize this coding process will only accept warning for those counties whose codes have been programmed. Unfortunately, if you own an older weather radio it does not and cannot, at this time, be modified to receive these new codes. Therefore, if you want to utilize this new system you will have to purchase a new weather radio that employees the SAME system.

I have attached the codes for the counties that fall within the CWA for the National Weather Service here in Memphis. In addition, I have listed several suppliers of weather radios that incorporate the SAME System.

Suppliers (Just a few, there are more.)

Maxon America, Inc.
Mark D. Worthey
10828 NW Air World Drive
Kansas City, MO 64153
(816) 891-6320 Ext. 627
mworthe@maxonusa.com

Midland Electronics

Hope this helps all of you that have been lucky enough to get your hands on one of the new radios. Seems like the codes aren't to readily available from the retailers who sell the units.

Ben, KU4AW


PACKET UPDATE...

MFJ has come out with a new version of MultiCom software for Windows. The software works with the MFJ 1278 and 1278B TNCs. The software is on 3.5-inch disks and comes with a manual and RS-232 cable. The software allows multitasking and multiple TNCs on the same computer. The software can be customized to your preferences for look, screen size, colors, and fonts. The software requires Windows 3.X or 95 running on a 486 33 MHz or faster machine with 4 MEG RAM and 5 MEG hard drive space. The price for this new software is $ 59.95. If you are looking for new software for you 1278 TNC check out the new MultiCom software from MFJ.

James Butler, KB4LJV


AMATEUR HARDWARE UPDATE...

Many Amateurs with HTs always look for a place to charge up their HT battery or monitor without running the battery down. Building up a power supply can take a lot of hardware but you probably already have a power supply sitting on your desk you have not thought about. Your personal computer has a +12 volt D.C. power supply in it to power your hard drive, floppy drive and other add-on cards you install. This Month’s project is the COMPUTER HT POWER SUPPLY. The charging circuit consists of a blocking diode for computer protection and a resistor to limit the current you can draw from the computer supply. The power connection to the computer is made to an extra power connector located inside the case. The output is a current limited charging voltage that plugs into the HT’s D.C. power input.

Current is determined by the resistor value selected. While this supply supplies 12 volts it should be used only for battery charging or listening. The unit will not supply enough power for transmitting. The unit is easy to build and comes in handy allowing HT charging and monitoring from the computer.

I will have the COMPUTER HT POWER SUPPLY at the meeting for those who wish to build up their own circuits. SEE YOU AT THE MEETING... James Butler, KB4LJV


Mid-South Skywarn

I would like to take this small space to thank everyone who participated in the recent severe weather nets that we have had here in the Memphis area. The nets were long and we appreciate the extended use of the 146.82 repeater and the VOLNET repeater system. Both systems are a valuable asset to our program.

Even though there was tremendous loss of life and property, I feel that while we can't do anything about the amount of damage, we can help to save lives by giving the best, quickest and most reliable information to those out there that are listening to us.

A big thanks to everyone including the spotters, responders and those that didn't say anything unless they had something important to contribute. Let's hope it's a very long time before we have to do this again.

Tommy, KD4TJO
Mid-South Skywarn Coordinator


CONTEST CALENDAR

Here are a few of the contests coming up in the next few weeks...

Vermont QSO Party
0000Z Feb 6 to 2359Z Feb 7
160-10M CW & SSB
1 pt./QSO
Stations in VT work everyone, Others work VT stations only.
Bonus points - QSO w/ W1OFW 2,000 pts. QSO w/ W1OFW/M 5,000 pts.
Exchange RST & QTH

North American Sprint - CW
0000Z Feb 7 to 0400Z Feb 7
80-20M CW
1 pt./QSO
Canadian Porvs/Terrs, U.S. States, NorAm DXCC Countries are multipliers
Exchange Ser# Name & QTH

Freeze Your B___ Off QRP Field Day
1400Z Feb 6 to 0200Z Feb 7
QRP Only
160-10 Standard QPR calling freqs. CW & Phone
Exchange RST, State/Province/DXCC country, first name, power output and temperature (F) at the operator's position. Indoor stations must give indoor temp.

For more information on current contests please refer to the ARRL website at: www.arrl.org/contests/months/feb.html


Other Important Contacts


1999 Board of Directors

E-Mail Us...

Ben Troughton.............................................................President....................................................... bktrough@mem.net

Kurt Schropp..............................................................Vice President ...............................................kschropp@utmem1.utmem.edu

Kathy Troughton.........................................................Secretary........................................................ktrou@nb.utmem.edu

Don Mills....................................................................Treasurer .......................................................k9dm@arrl.net

Regina Graham............................................................Dir. of Training...............................................rdg060349@msn.com

Tommy Thompson......................................................Dir. of Publications.........................................melindat@home.net

Tom Richardson.........................................................Dir. of Programs ............................................duffer@ix.netcom.com

Eddie Trammel...........................................................Dir. of Meetings & Special Events...................kf4qfw@gateway.net

Tim Morrow...........................................................…Repeater Trustee ...........................................tlmorrow@msn.com


  Back to the SPARKS page