The SPARC

Volume IX, Number 12; December 1997
Newsletter of the Boston Amateur Radio Club
A Special Service Club of the ARRL

Holiday Dinner

This month's general meeting has been cancelled. Instead, we will have the annual BARC Holiday Dinner


QNC de Mike Ardai, N1IST

It's hard to believe that the year is almost over. I hope to see everyone at the holiday dinner on the 17th. Congrats to the BARC Ham of the Year (Who will it be? Find out at the dinner!)

Mike, N1YER and Bill, N1VUX are busy setting up BARC's emergency response team; it recently has been awarded its ARES affiliation. They will have some equipment and capability surveys out early next year; I hope that everyone will look into helping out the team for any upcoming emergency work. As previously mentioned, please keep an ear on .23 when bad weather strikes, and keep your gear prepared in case we need to help out with any emergencies.

Once again, Paul, N1LRT, and Arthur, N1NHZ (with help from Terry, N1IWF) have arraigned for BARC to run our First Night NTS message booth at the Hynes. If you can help, please get in touch with them. We need people to help man the booth, and to take (and send out) traffic, and to help talk up ham radio to the visitors. If you are passing by, stop at the table and say hello. This year, we will be on the second floor instead of the 3rd.

BARC memberships expire on 12/31; please use the included membership application form to renew. If you prefer, you can use the on-line membership form http://www.barc.org/membership.html to fill out an application, print it out, and mail it in.

Special thanks to the 48 members (and two non-members) who added an extra donation to their renewals; it certainly helps keep the club and the repeater running!

Upcoming club activities include speakers on the new RF safety rules and what they *really* mean to us, on APRS, and on the National Guard's emergency communications. We will have another Net Control 101 workshop to help train net controls on January 19th right after the BARC net. We are planning a tech class starting in March; more work on the BARC emergency response team, an NTS workshop, and much more. If you have any ideas for workshops, tours, or events, or any other suggestions, please contact me at n1ist@netcom.com or at the exec or general meeting, or get in touch with one of the other club officers.

It's not too soon to start planning our summer events; we are looking for someone to coordinate Field Day (unfortunately n1zkw ran away to 6-land), and we will be having openings for club officers, so please consider running for office.

We have renamed the executive committee meeting to the business meeting. This meeting, on the first Wednesday of each month at the Galleria Mall in Cambridge, is open to everybody. It's where all the business of the club takes place and where we plan the workshops and other club events. If you are interested in getting more involved in BARC or want to see what goes on behind the scenes, please stop by.

And finally, I'd like to wish everyone a happy holiday season and a very Happy New Year! ARL sixty one!

/mike

There are three kinds of people: those who can count and those who can't.

BARC ARES Team Forming

The Boston Amateur Radio Club is forming an ARES affiliated emergency response team. Mike Kass, N1YER has been named ARES Assistant Emergency Coordinator and BARC ERT team leader. The team is currently in the formation stage. Updates will be provided on the 9 p.m. BARC Monday night club nets and the 9 p.m. Tuesday night Public Safety nets. At the January BARC club meeting, Mike N1YER will present official ARES membership forms, policy, procedures etc. All interested are encouraged to attend.

73 Mike Kass N1YER
mkass@rmv.state.ma.us


BARC Does First Night

Amateur Radio will be at Boston's First Night at the 2nd floor of Hynes Auditorium on Dec 31 from 1 p.m. to 11 p.m. We will be there sending radiograms (traffic messages) from first nighters to the USA and Canada, and in general having a good ole time as only HAMS can have on First Night.

The only requirement is that you are willing to volunteer for as little as 1/2 hour. Your family, friends and pre-hams are cordially invited to join us in the fun.

If you can not volunteer please stop by the First Night Booth and say hello. Remember this event is open to all ages.

Bring your HT as we will be monitoring 145.230.

First Night requires the purchase of a button if you visit other sites. You might end up purchasing a button if you visit other sites; the price is $10. We have not had a problem with the purchase of buttons in the past.

To get to the Hynes, we urge you to take public transportation (you can drive, but finding a parking spot is difficult.) Take the T Green line to Copley Square or Prudential Center and ask people where the Hynes is (west on Boylston St. past the Prudential Center)

Enter the auditorium and go up the escalators in the front lobby. As you get off the escalator take a left then head for the tables near the windows on your right. Or, take the elevator to floor 2, walk straight but head for the tables on your right near the windows. In either case you can not miss us. Volunteers might be working with packet or informing the public about amateur radio or both.

If you have internet access, take a look at http://www.firstnight.org/, http://www.barc.org/html, or http://www.geocities.com/Yosemite/Rapids/3933

For more infomation and to volunteer please contact:

Paul Katz N1LRT
E-Mail: paul8@delphi.com
Tel. 617-723-6289
packet: N1LRT@K1UGM

Arthur Ashley N1NHZ
Tel. 617-661-2988

Bill Ricker N1VUX
e-mail: n1vux@amsat.org

See you at the Hynes
Paul Katz N1LRT


BARC Members Support ARRL Fund for the Defense of Amateur Radio Frequencies

The ARRL is launching a drive to replenish their Fund for the Defense of Amateur Radio Frequencies in preparation for WRC- 99. Issues involving Amateur Radio frequencies include:

BARC members and members of the EMA Amateur Radio Club in general, are urged to support the league's efforts. BARC is establishing a special fund for members who wish to pool their contributions to the fund as a club donation. Donations can be sent to:

Jim Clogher Treasurer
Boston Amateur Radio Club
P.O. Box 15585
Boston, MA 02215-0011

Please note on the check or in your letter that the donation is for BARC's contribution to the ARRL Fund for the Defense of Amateur Radio Frequencies.


AES Incentive Program for Ham Clubs

Amateur Electronic Supply Inc. has announced that if a member of an Amateur Radio Club buys from AES, 1% of the invoice total will be provided for a club purchase. So, if a BARC member buys a $1500 HF rig, BARC will receive a $15 credit for club purchase. This applies for purchases from Sept 1, 1997 to Sept 1, 1998. BARC members who buy from AES are asked to provide copies of their invoices to the club treasurer, Jim Clogher, N1ICN.

2 + 2 = 5 for extremely large values of 2.

Propagation can be Crazy Sometimes

Here's a case of it happening.

During WWII we were off Manila on our way back to Leyte in the Philippines when a two-man sub put a torpedo into our ship at about 0200 hours. Fortunately nobody was killed but the hit knocked off our rudder and screw which made us helpless. In our convoy we did have a sea going tug who took us in tow.

Our convoy moved on, leaving us with one destroyer escort to keep the sub from finishing us off. It was an eerie feeling not to hear a sound of motors from the ship's engines. As the sub tried to close in, the DE would drop depth charges and kept it out of range. Because of the silence, we could hear the distinct click of the detonator setting off the depth charges.

My job, as a radioman, was to notify Radio Leyte (which was about the distance from Boston to Connecticut away) of our situation, to send out some air cover to find and sink the sub once daylight came.

I called Radio Leyte several times with no reply. Finally Radio Washington, D.C. called us and said they were in contact with Radio Leyte and would relay our message. They took our message and as dawn approached two P-38 fighters arrived on the scene and sank the sub.

Today we understand propagation much better than we did in those times. So, if you can't reach a station in poor conditions, there could be another who hears both of you and can relay your messages.

73, Jim Hatherley WA1TBY


Ham Radio Gets Weirder by the Day

...and funnier. Let's see. We can't post "too many" SALES bulletins, as the packet enforcers (who aren't buying anything anyway) get jealous of the sellers.

Old Frank can't have "too many" GOATS messages, because some readers get mad at Frank having a great time. And, as we all know, Ham Radio is NOT a HOBBY. It is a PUBLIC SERVICE, and having fun violates every known FCC Part 97 rule.

I can't write about Morse Code. It's the death of Ham radio -- and according to some, if I enjoy pounding brass, that proves I must HATE no-code Technicians. The critics don't seem to read my VHF information bulletins, as I think this license preserves our endangered VHF/UHF and microwave bands. We Generals, Advanced and Extras need to learn from the Technicians that life on Ham radio does not depend solely on HF access. If you are reading this, VHF/UHF backbones just relayed this message.

I still can't write about Morse Code. Some Extras told me that I've been on Ham radio for too long already not to be an Extra, so that proves my lack of dedication to saving the hobb...oops...PUBLIC SERVICE for future generations. Wonder how many of these critics patrol the Novice/Technician Plus HF bands assisting newcomers in upgrading their speed?

Or, even get on the repeaters or packet welcoming newcomers to our HOBBY? We need all the friends we can get, and acting grouchy makes us look silly to the communications industry much more than 10,000 GOATS and RECIPE packet bulletins ever could.

Too many prospective Hams laugh at us when we act pompous and grim. We are not "superior" to CB operators, and they could be our best allies in the fight to keep our spectrum. At my college, 11M operators on the staff unanimously thought that my antenna ideas looked great. Student and staff CB'ers alike helped put up my many random wires and loops at the dorm and were the first to go after complainers who claimed my Ham radio disrupted their telephones and TV sets even when my transmitter was unplugged!

Learn to laugh a LOT! Post some GOATS bulletins of your own. Poor Old Frank needs to rest his computer, and train new Goatherders.

And, if you do not like certain people posting too many SALES, then do something radical. Send them a note -- and offer to BUY the stuff! I work in retail, and laugh (silently, after they leave) at all the career window-shoppers that insist we are in business to give away free gifts, and we must give first priority to small purchases like single pairs of socks, or one light bulb. How DARE that customer ahead take up so much time buying dozens of items! If you do not like the price, make a reasonable offer. Or, see if the guy wants to trade.

It's funny at first, but my best paying customers often apologize for taking up too much of my time -- even though the paying customers keep us in business, and the window shoppers frazzle my nerves, and try my limited patience.

We Hams are under no obligation to give our expensive gear away to the nastiest and cheapest packet window shopper.

Try a little kindness. Try a LOT of humor. And, sell Ham radio as a fun hobby, not a grim exercise in petty telecommunications politics.

If you are not having fun with Ham radio -- you missed the point.

Please copy anything you read of mine. It's public domain, and I'm happy to see your interest.

73
Brasspounder Bob
kb7aqd@kb7frv.az.usa.noam


Don't Forget the BARC Holiday Party!

Our annual holiday party will be on December 17 at 7 p.m. in lieu of the December General Meeting. This is always a wonderful event, at which the club's Ham of the Year award is presented. It will be at Ruggieri's Happy Haddock at 491 Riverside Ave. in Medford. There is ample parking and is walking distance from the Orange Line Wellington Station. See you there!


BARC Membership Committee Expands

We would like to welcome Patricia Allen, KE1GD, as the new member of BARC's Membership Committee. She joins our illustrious Arthur Ashley, N1NHZ, in the all-important endeavor of inducing interested persons into joining BARC. We thank both for their efforts, and urge non- members reading this to contact either at:

Patricia Allen KE1GD
barcmember@aol.com

Arthur Ashley N1NHZ
617-661-2988

or by our mailing address:

Boston Amateur Radio Club
P.O. Box 15585
Boston, MA 02215-0011


Who Are We?
BARC membership statistics as of 17 Nov 1997

We have a total of 168 members.

160 live in MA, 8 live elsewhere.

Our license classes:
Not LicensedNoviceTechTech +GeneralAdvancedExtra
413850192134

42 are on packet, 105 are on e-mail, and 36 are on both.

116 are ARRL members, 12 are ARRL Life members, and 40 are not ARRL members.


Bell Atlantic Has Your Number

Having started on 1 September, two new area codes have been activated in Eastern Massachusetts by dividing 617 into 617 and 781, and also by dividing 508 into 508 and 978. As this is likely to impact some BARC members and others on our mailing list, please notify the Keeper of the Database now that Bell Atlantic (having swallowed NYNEX) and the Commonwealth have grabbed more control of your life.

You can reach Bob Salow, WA1IDA, by phone at 508.650.9440 or by e-mail at erc@world.std.com


Net Control 101 Returns

On Monday night, Jan. 19, after the regular BARC Net on 145.23 - held at 9pm - there will be a practice net. People who have never run a net before will get to try their hand at being NCS of a simulated traffic net. Net Elmers will be on hand to guide and advise in net operations. Of course, people are needed to check in also. So, after the BARC net is over, hang around and join the practice!


Notes for Running the BARC Net
Reprinted from the October 1996 SPARC

First, check that the repeater is free. If there is a QSO going on, and it is a few minutes into the net, break in and gently remind them that it is net time. Remember that we can't force them to leave; most will QSY to let the net go ahead. If it is a few minutes into the net and there is still no net control, jump in and pick up the net.

Make sure you have a pen and a sheet of paper. The important thing to copy down is the call; it's nice to get the name and QTH, but that will come easier later on.

For logging, make three columns on the page, one for name and callsign, one for checkmarks for those with traffic, and one for notes. Leave a blank line between entries for additional notes.

This net doesn't have any logging requirements; the logs are for your use when running the net. Other nets may require a specific log to be sent to the net manager. If you have email access and you would like to, format the logs like n1ist's regular ones and send them to barc-list.

A question was raised about what equipment you need to run the net. If you use a HT, don't move around during the net (the signal flutters) and make sure you have a spare battery handy if it dies. For a mobile rig, you will usually have a hand mike. I mounted the mike hook on my radio rack; the side of a shelf next to your table works well. Be careful with desk mikes; it is too easy to drop some papers or a book on the PTT switch and lock up the repeater for an hour or so. If you have a boom mike with a foot switch, that would be a good choice.

73,
/mike

An ostrich's eye is bigger than its brain.

Editor's Notes
The possibility of communication

You've heard it - "Those !@*&! Contesters/Paper Chasers are fouling up the bands with their robot contacts. Ham Radio is supposed to be about communication, darn it! What are these !*&*!@s communicating!" Answering the question directly: "Not much. Location, signal report, a simple exchange perhaps."

Consider, however, what is going on behind the scenes of such a contact. Both stations were designed, built and maintained so that they could make the contact. The operators were skilled enough to make the contact. They could have passed routine or emergency traffic had they had any.

So what have they done? They have established the possibility of communication. In fact, their activity is in accord with three of the five principles of Amateur Radio stated in FCC Part 97.1: (b) Continuation and extension of the amateur's proven ability to contribute to the advancement of the radio art. (c) Encouragement and improvement of the amateur service through rules which provide for advancing skills in both the communications and technical phases of the art. (d) Expansion of the existing reservoir within the amateur radio service of trained operators, technicians and electronics experts.

Also, if records of their contacts are published, they have potentially aided earth scientists gathering data for propagation studies. It is of scientific interest that a Massachusetts and an East Bogusville station could make contact on 6M at 3pm using 100mW of power!

Not too bad for a "robot contact", eh?

I'm grateful to all that sent contributions and suggestions for improvement - keep those cards and letters coming in. I can be reached by email at pvc@tiac.net, snail mail at 11 Commonwealth Court Apt#15, Brighton, MA 02135, and most if not all BARC club nets and general meetings.

The housefly hums in the middle octave, key of F.


Got A Question?

Darryl, N1KWQ, is looking for a ride from Lynn to the BARC general meetings. If you can help him out, contact him at 617 473 3277


You have a question - technical, operating, equipment, club activities, ham radio, computer, whatever. You asked on the air. You asked at a club meeting. You asked your friends (maybe even your enemies). No useful answers. Next step? The Reader's Forum in the SPARC. This space will be devoted to your questions, problems and grief relief. If we can't get you quick internal solutions, there are 300 other readers who can take a crack at it. Contact the Editor by e-mail, snail-mail, phone, or in his face. You'll be glad you did.

By the way, if you have something to sell or you're looking for a special part or equipment, The SPARC is the place to let the ham community know about it. These notices are free for members.


BARC Member Classifieds

Depressed because you have a treasure you must turn to cash and you couldn't make it to the last flea market? Well, cheer up, Bunky! SPARC will run your (non-business) ad for free. Of course, a 10% donation will be cheerfully accepted. Just send your ad to Editor Paul Carter, N1TMF.


BARC Growth and/or Vanity

It's a rare month when we fail to add a few new members. We plan to publish the names of new members periodically. Please make a special welcome for the following new (or long lost) BARC members:

Scott EhrlichWY1Z

In addition, we would like to note here any call sign changes you have made, and honor all members who upgrade.

NameCallUpgraded to
John BullittN1ZORGeneral

With the FCC "vanity" call sign program under way, it's possible to have a number of changes in our ranks. If you have upgraded and/or changed your call sign, please promptly notify the Keeper of the Database, Bob Salow, WA1IDA, by phone at 508.650.9440 or by e-mail at erc@world.std.com.


I See the Future
Events Ahead

17 JanNE Antique RC Flea (Nashua NH)
14 FebAARC Flea (Marlboro)
1 MarMt Tom ARA Flea (Northampton)
14 MarMARC Auction (Gardner)
5 AprFramingham ARA Flea
18 AprNE Antique RC Flea (Nashua NH)
19 AprMIT Flea
21 AprBoston Marathon (r)
8-9 MayHoss Traders Flea (Rochester NH)
16 MayRIAFMRS Flea (Forestdale RI)
17 MayMIT Flea
28-30 AugARRL NE Div Convention (Boxboro)

As you might expect, there are many more events (public service, hamfests, flea markets, etc.) taking place - some only peripheral to ham radio. For information on these, covering New England and some of New York, the "Ham - Electronic Flea Market" and the "PSLIST" lists tell the story. They are posted by e-mail to barc-list and on PBBSs regularly. If needed, contact any club member who has access to these.


Eastern Mass Public Safety Net

The EMA Public Safety Net will be held every Tuesday at 2100hrs on 145.230 The net is a forum type net for Public Safety subjects. All Amateurs are welcome.

Any input for the net should be sent to net managers: KA1TTG Bob Ankenbauer (Somerville Ma PD) at ka1ttg@juno.com or on packet to N1GJO Tom Mc Laughlin (Newton FD) at N1GJO@KA1TUZ.FN42JH.MA.USA.NA

73 Dick
rcdoherty@juno.com
KA1TUZ@KA1TUZ.FN42JH.MA.USA.NA


FCC Issued Call Sign Update

The following is a list of the FCC's most recently issued callsigns for District 1 (NE) as of December 1, 1997.

ExtraAdvancedTech/GenNovice
AA1SXKE1IVN1ZXAKB1CFW


Several Hundred Boston Area Hams Could Be Reading Your Ad Right Now

Commercial advertising in the newsletter provides important services to our members. Besides bringing income to defray the newsletter production costs, you can learn about and patronize those who support us.

We limit the ads to electronics related businesses and to professional ads from members. Advertisers can display a business card size (3.5 x 2 inches) space for $10.00 per month or $48.00 for the same ad for six consecutive months. If camera ready copy is not provided, there may be an additional charge.

However, you play a part. Your effort as a member is needed to present the advantages to advertisers. Businesses and professionals can reach our circulation of over 300 in Greater Boston. Show your copy of this newsletter to businesses that should be looking for our kind of readers. For more information, contact Paul Carter at pvc@tiac.net, or Treasurer Jim Clogher via the club PO box.


Future Meeting Dates
(Third Wednesdays at 7:30 pm)
Future Exam Dates
(Second Mondays at 7:00 pm)