At this month's General Meeting, Peter Sturgis of SmartRoute Systems will speak about the gathering and distribution of commuter assistance information using, among other means, radio!
I can't believe that summer is already over; I've got no idea where it went. With the fall upon us, we will be seeing more adverse weather. Please keep an ear on the repeater whenever bad weather threatens - we may be needed for a callup by the Red Cross. If the repeater has a CW "W" as a courtesy tone, that means that Skywarn is active on 146.64. Also, this is the time to check out your emergency gear and supplies, and to keep some batteries fully charged.
Along with the fall weather comes ducting and 2M band openings. We will be putting the PL (88.5) on the repeater as needed (and may leave it on all the time in the near future.) For people with older radios such as Icom 2ATs or Drake TR-22s, Communications Specialists has some nice add-on PL encoders for about $20 that you can add to your radio. If you don't have PL, please let me know so I can see how many people this would affect. Just drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or n1ist@k1ugm on packet.
Ham radio awareness day will be coming up on September 20th. We will have a table set up outside Engine 33 (across the street from the Hynes auditorium) from about 11-2 (check the BARC net for exact times). If you can help out, please stop by. Thanks to N1IWF and KA1TUZ for helping organize this event.
Right after that event will be the next MIT flea on September 21st. We will have the club table set up once again; last month we made $95 for the club by selling donated stuff and with the 10% donations from people using the club table. This paid for an auxiliary control link for the repeater so control ops won't have to fight the gronking and other desense problems to control the machine.
Special thanks to Ron Cadieux W1YSH for selling BARC an R7 antenna at a very good price and to Bob Cassell N1ENS for driving up to New Hampshire to pick it up for us.
BARC will once again be running a Technician class; stay tuned to the SPARC and the BARC net for more info. If you can help out teaching the class, please let me know.
Once again, meeting attendance has been dropping. Any ideas why? If you do, then let me or one of the club officers know. If there are any speakers or topics that you would like to have at the meeting, also let us know. With over 150 members in the club, we should have more than 25-35 people at meetings.
And one final note - items posted to barc- list or mentioned on the BARC net may end up in the SPARC. If you have any announcements or articles you would like to see in the newsletter, get them to Paul, N1TMF at email@example.com or send them to his home address.
I hope everyone will have a good fall season, and I hope to see everyone at the flea and the meeting.
I'm writing to inquire if you are aware of a bill before Congress which could make felons out of scanner users and would make it illegal to manufacture a ham radio which scanned out of band. It's HR 2369, introduced by Billy Tauzin from Louisiana and co-sponsored by our own Ed Markey (who introduced his own dangerous legislation, HR 1964).
HR 2369 will change the 1934 Communications Act to read that it is illegal to "intercept OR divulge" (from intercept and divulge) any communication which is not a general public broadcast (AM/FM), or a CB or ham transmission, or for which you are not authorized to receive (so a firefighter can hear his own department). Thus, all HF utility stations, all public service communications, and the like will be illegal to monitor. Radio manufacturers will also not be able to build a radio which scans frequency designated as CMRS (commercial) such as 461-470 MHz, all of 800 MHz, and portions of all other bands.
This is a deadly law that steps all over freedom of the airwaves, and it's all in the name of protecting phone privacy-which is already protected by the ECPA and the growth of digital cellular and PCS services.
For more information, please check the following web sites: www.grove.net and www.scanstar.com.
I'm afraid not only for our radio rights, but also for public safety. Where will search and rescue, emergency management, crime watch, SKYWARN, volunteer firefighters and so many other groups buy a scanner, even if they were exempt from the law?
I hope that all your members will check these web sites or look into the issue further. The ARRL is also actively looking into the situation. (I've got a meeting with them in Newington tomorrow.) If your members agree that this is very dangerous legislation, they should write their Congressman immediately. This will be coming up for hearings and likely a vote in September or October. We must act now.
Markey's office has informed me that they will work to fix the legislation...but I'm still very worried about Tauzin's bill.
Feel free to e-mail me at ScanMaster@aol.com or call 508-655-6300 if you need further information.
Since the repeater has been gronking a lot lately, we will be turning on the PL more often. Please program an 88.5 PL into your radios for .23. If the repeater doesn't need PL, having it won't hurt anything.
Note: this PL is needed to access the repeater. The output PL (also 88.5) is always on, and can be used (if your radio does PL decode) to reduce intermod and pager noises on your end.
The voice announcement about the PL is currently broken; we'll fix it next time we are up at the site. (Ed. Perhaps it is fixed, I've heard it the last few days.)
A fund raising walk along the 26-mile Marathon route will be held again this year on Sunday, 28 September to benefit the Jimmy Fund for children's cancer research. The event is sponsored by the Dana Farber Cancer Institute and is produced by the Boston Athletic Association. Some of this walk's technical operations are tested for the BAA Marathon.
The BAA has once again asked BARC to coordinate the emergency and administrative communications along the route of the Jimmy Fund Marathon Walk.
This event is much less intense than the "real" Marathon, and is an excellent opportunity to gain public service experience with less stress. Working directly for the BAA, we have been requested to staff 13 to 15 Walker Support stations, providing water, food and rest. Some of these stations will have Red Cross First Aid services. The Finish, Medical and Supervisory areas will also be covered.
Ham operation is expected to be on 2 meters and 70 cm, with approximately 20 - 25 hams needed. Your help is valuable. If you are available for this important public service event, please call Bob Salow, WA1IDA, at 508.650.9440 from 0900 to 2300 (email: firstname.lastname@example.org) as soon as possible.
The Boston Fire Dept Annual Road Race will be run October 19th, 1997.
We have been invited to provide communications for this event once again. We are in need of about 15 operators with HTs. Please meet at Florian Hall, 55 Hallet Street Dorchester at 0900 hours Sunday 10/19/97. A light collation will be served at the end of the race.
Please respond to Terry Koen N1IWF at N1IWF@W1UU.#EMA.MA.USA.NOAM or call me at home 508-649-7421 to confirm that you will participate. Thanks for your interest.
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.
In years past, BARC has held its December holiday party at Matt Garrett's in Coolidge Corner, Brookline. Well, Matt Garrett no longer exists! We need an idea for a restaurant for this year's party.
The requirements are that the restaurant be able to handle a reserved party of about 50- 75 people; the food not be too exotic (American, Italian, Chinese, etc. are fine,) and that it be T accessible.
Any ideas should be given to N1IST. People are, of course, encouraged to volunteer in organizing the holiday party.
A short, fun, and colorful community parade on Sept. 20. Volunteers are sought by Jim Hatherely WA1TBY 617-254-6042. Please assemble at the Star Market parking lot, Comm. Ave./Packard's Corner on the MBTA B line at 11am.
At this month's General Meeting, Peter Sturgis of SmartRoute Systems will speak about the gathering and distribution of commuter assistance information using, among other means, radio!
This month's general meeting will be held at the Volpe Transportation Center, 55 Broadway, Cambridge, at 7:30 PM, September 17. The Volpe Center is across the street from the Kendell Square Red Line T Station, at the corner of Broadway and Third Street. Parking is available along Potter Street. Enter the building on the Third Street side, and sign in with the guard at the desk. Talk-in is on 145.23.
I'm happy to announce that 'qsl.net' has agreed to host the Eastern Mass. ARRL Web page, formerly at www.temples.com/arrl.
The site is now located at:
Please change any bookmarks or links to point to the new address.
The content on the site has grown a bit "stale" lately; Larry Ober and I will rectify this staleness soon. If you have any questions or comments, or find any "busted links" please email to email@example.com.
Phil Temples K9HI
The Wellesley Amateur Radio Society will be holding a course for Novice and Technician licenses starting 9:00 am on Saturday, September 20, 1997. The course will run eight weeks with the exam the following week. Both theory and code will be taught.
The classes will be held at the Memorial Park Building, Needham. The textbook Now You're Talking will be used. The theory portion will be from 9:00 to 11:00 am, with the optional code instruction from 11:00 to noon.
Memorial Park is located on Highland Avenue about 1.5 miles west of I-95 (Route 128). Take exit 19 and proceed through three traffic lights. Take the first driveway on the left immediately after the third light. Talk in will be on the Wellesley repeater, 147.030 MHz (+).
The Wellesley club also holds a weekly net on Wednesdays at 8PM. Check in on 147.03 for a general roundtable discussion.
To enroll, or for more information, call Gerry, NV1T, in Needham at 617.444.2686, or Bruce Pigott W1TKZ at firstname.lastname@example.org KC1US@K1UGM.MA.
Beginning this fall, two new area codes will be activated in Eastern Massachusetts by dividing 617 into 617 and 781, and also dividing 508 into 508 and 978. As this is likely to impact some BARC members and other readers, please notify the Keeper of the Database as soon as NYNEX grabs more control of your life.
You can reach Bob Salow, WA1IDA, by phone at 508.650.9440 or by e-mail at email@example.com
On Monday night, Sept. 29, after the regular BARC Net on 145.23 - held at 9pm - there will be a practice net held. 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!
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.
11 checkins in 16 minutes:
n1gie (Rowe, Swampscott, Net Control) n1ist (Mike, Brighton, President) ka1rdz (Dan, Everett) n1xjc (David, Dorchester) ka1tuz (Dick, Newton, Vice President) n1zff (Hakim, Boston) n1nhz (Arthur, Cambridge, Membership Services) n1xbr (Renato, Everett) n1inx (Ed, Saugus) n1wof (Sean, Haverhill) n1zfg (John, Holliston)Topics:
Due to skip and noise from the window washer, we will be turning on the PL (88.5) on the repeater more often. Please program it into your HTs now; you can send PL even when the repeater doesn't need it with no problem.
Good to see everyone at the flea yesterday.
We will be making a trip up to the repeater site Thursday; we will be improving the control link, fix the missing voice announcements about the PL, and try to reduce the gronking. If anyone knows where we can get a 2M circulator, please let me know ASAP.
ka1tuz The VE session will be on the second Monday of the month at the Pierce School, 50 School Street in Brookline at 19:00.
n1tmf We are always looking for stuff for the SPARC; get it to n1tmf by the weekend after the executive meeting at firstname.lastname@example.org, Paul Carter, 11 Commonwealth Ct #15, Brighton MA 02135 or send it to the Boston Amateur Radio Club, Box 15585, Boston MA 02215-0011.
Due to lack of participation, the EMA ARRL Section net formerly held on the MMRA repeater system on the fourth Sunday of each month will no longer be held.
Recently, some questions arose about copyrights and ownership of messages posted to BARC List and published in the SPARC. The policy of the BARC list maintainer, N1IST, is that any message posted to BARC list may be republished in the SPARC. The revised policy of the SPARC editor is that the author of the message will be contacted for permission before the message is run in the SPARC, unless explicit permission is given in the message (which would be nice for messages intended for general distribution.)
The copyright on each issue of the SPARC is a compilation copyright - intended to reserve BARC's right to print and distribute the SPARC as a whole. Members or others who contribute articles to the SPARC may reserve their intellectual property rights to their articles (see the message at the end of the APRS article in this issue for an example.)
You've likely heard about the various bills proposed in Congress that will seriously restrict the frequencies that VHF/UHF scanner hobbyists may monitor - in fact, some proposed bills have language so broad as to seemingly outlaw most HF monitoring also. (Please see the article in this month's SPARC for details.)
There is much concern among scanner hobbyists, of course, that scanners that block the proposed protected frequencies will be so uninteresting to the public that scanner manufacturers will leave the US market. So too are hams are concerned that nearly all VHF/UHF rigs (which have extended receive capabilities) will have to be pulled from the US market, leaving us with few or even no commercial rigs.
I see another problem with scanner restrictions. How many new hams first become interested in the hobby after listening to VHF/UHF repeaters on scanners? In former times, the common path to hamdom started with listening to HF operators on short-wave receivers. Now, how are new hams made? Perhaps some become interested after observing some of our public operations at marathons, walks, Field Day, First Night and the like. Perhaps some are drawn in from contact with radio clubs - though this is becoming rarer with fewer schools having radio clubs. I suspect that a large number of new Technicians were listeners to 2M repeaters, who decided "this sounds like fun, I can do this also." That's how I got interested enough to get my ticket.
If you intend to write letters to Representatives and Senators about the proposed bills, you might mention this concern, together with the continuing value of Amateur Radio to the United States. If you got into the hobby through scanner listening, I'd love to publish your story and views in the SPARC.
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 email@example.com, snail mail at 11 Commonwealth Court Apt#15, Brighton, MA 02135, and most if not all BARC club nets and general meetings.
In this example I'm using the fictitious APRS version 9.99, which would be called "APRS999.zip." Substitute the appropriate file name for this.
If you don't use Windows, but have PKZIP204g, put APRS disk into the floppy drive of your choice (I'll call it drive A) then expand the APRS files by using the following commands on the hard drive of choice:
Don't forget to use that "-d" switch, which lets it create the necessary subdirectories.
If you use WINZIP, change to drive A and double-click on the APRS999.zip file, click expand button, tell it where you want it and follow onscreen directions.
Make sure your TNC is in Terminal or Command mode (whatever it's called by the manufacturer.) At the C:\> prompt, go to your chosen APRS folder and invoke "APRS999.exe". If you're using Windows, simply double-click on that folder. This brings you to the LOGO screen. Enter your callsign and ssid, if any. Tell it what kind of TNC you're using. Answer the other various questions. When you're done, the main map screen will appear.
Now press M(aplist) then C(hange), and tell it you want the map-list appropriate to your area [MAPLIST.EAS(t), .CEN(tral), SE(south-east), .MID(west) or .WES(t).] Use the arrows or mouse to bring the cursor to your approximate location (keep your eye on the upper left part of the screen which shows latitude/longitude of the cursor.) Then press HOME to center the screen on it. Use the PgDN key to zoom in a few screens and tweak the cursor to your EXACT QTH. You may have to zoom in to a very small scale to get the necessary resolution. Once the cursor is at the right spot hit the HOME key again.
Press I(nput) M(y) P(osition) and confirm your lat/long, choose a symbol for yourself, type in a brief comment, and verify it. Once you've pressed that "Y" you're essentially ready to go on the air. In its most basic form, you're configured! Tune the radio to 145.79, hook it up and see what you can see. It might take a few minutes for other stations to appear (assuming there are some) but if you get a little impatient, try pressing O(perations) Q(uery) and give it a radius such as 64 to force position reports from others.
Look for stations whose symbol is a green star. THESE ARE THE WIDE DIGIPEATERS! Is there one fairly close to you? If there is, press the "D" key. If an asterisk (*) appears to the left side of a callsign (hopefully that of that nearby WIDE) then you're hearing it directly. Make a note of that nearby WIDE station's digipeater path.
Now you're going to set YOUR digipeater path. Press U(nproto). If you heard that WIDE station directly, enter its callsign and ssid, if any. Follow this with a comma, then type in "WIDE". For example, "WA2JNF- 4,WIDE" would be how I'd enter it here in The Bronx, but the nearest WIDE to YOU is what YOU'RE looking for.
Next you want to set your Power-Height- Gain figures. Press I(nput) P(ower) and tell it how many watts you're using, your antenna's height above AVERAGE terrain (look at a topographical map of your area,) the gain in dBd and the antenna's directional pattern in degrees or 0 (zero) for an omnidirectional antenna.
Finally, set your Beacon Text by pressing I(nput) M(y) S(tatus) and typing in a short comment, different than the text you used for your Position Text earlier. At this point, you're about as far as you need to go for now.
I hope to see you all on my screen in the VERY near future.
Look for me at cruise missile coordinates 4052.71N/07354.06W.
As always, if anybody cares to use these articles (in a newsletter, making copies for friends, etc.) all I ask is that I get credit for them and (if possible and applicable) a copy of that newsletter. 73
Arte Booten N2ZRC
Dick KA1TUZ notes that PL tone boards for the Icom 2AT can be purchased from Communications Specialists at 1-800-343-8842.
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.
The FCC has revised the power level thresholds to trigger a routine Amateur Radio station RF exposure evaluation, and the changes will be welcome news for most hams. When the FCC first decreed a year ago that ham radio stations would have to comply with RF exposure guidelines, it set a 50-W threshold level. The updated guidelines, announced August 25, increase that threshold level on all HF bands except 10 meters, where it remains at 50 W. The FCC made no changes in the RF exposure limits it announced last year.
The new RF safety guidelines are scheduled to become effective January 1, 1998, for Amateur Radio stations.
The FCC went along in part with a request by the ARRL to establish a sliding scale for threshold levels, depending upon frequency. The revised thresholds are 500 W for 160 through 40 meters, 425 W on 30 meters (where the maximum permissible power is 200 W), 225 W on 20 meters, 125 W on 17 meters, 100 W on 15 meters, 75 W on 12 meters and 50 W on 10 meters. The threshold for all VHF bands is 50 W. On UHF, the threshold level is 70 W on 70 cm, 150 W on 33 cm, 200 W on 23 cm, and 250 W on 13 cm and above. Stations operating at or below these respective power levels are categorically excluded from having to perform a routine RF radiation evaluation. However, all stations, regardless of power level, still must comply with the RF exposure limits.
Along with its August 25 Second Memorandum Opinion and Order announcing the changes, the FCC released the "core" text of its long-awaited Office of Engineering and Technology (OET) Bulletin 65, Evaluating Compliance with FCC Guidelines for Human Exposure to Radiofrequency Electromagnetic Fields. The bulletin contains generic equations that can be used to analyze fields due to almost all antennas, although the FCC warns that "the resulting estimates for power density may be overly conservative in some cases." Hams leery of formulas might opt to wait for the easier-to-use Supplement B to OET Bulletin 65, which will include information designed specifically for evaluating Amateur Radio installations. The supplement promises to detail how hams can determine more simply if their individual stations comply with the new regulations. The FCC says the supplement will contain "information on projected minimum exclusion distances from typical amateur antenna installations."
The FCC said it would issue Supplement B "as soon as a review of the current draft is complete." When it's ready, Supplement B will be available to download from the FCC's Web site, http://www.fcc.gov/oet/rfsafety. The FCC directed inquiries as to the availability of the supplement and other RF-related questions to its RF Safety Program, 202- 418-2464, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last year, the FCC established time- averaged maximum permissible exposure (MPE) limits for RF fields in two tiers-for controlled environments (i.e., a ham's immediate household, including visitors) and uncontrolled environments (i.e., neighbors, the general public). If a routine evaluation of a ham station indicates that human exposure to RF fields could be in excess of the FCC's MPE limits, the licensee must act to correct the problem and ensure compliance. This could include changing operating patterns, relocating antennas, restricting access, changing frequency, output power or emission type or any combination of these and other remedies.
The FCC says that ham radio facilities "represent a special case for determining exposure, since there are many possible antenna types that could be designed and used for amateur stations."
The revised regulations categorically exclude most mobile installations, including those in the Amateur Radio Service, from having to comply with the RF-exposure or station evaluation guidelines. Since the FCC issued its guidelines, additional questions on RF safety have been added to the Amateur Radio examination question pool.
OET Bulletin 65 and the FCC Second Memorandum Opinion and Order are available at http://www.fcc.gov/oet/dockets/et93-62/. More details on the FCC's latest announcement on RF safety will appear in the October issue of QST.
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.
It's a rare month when we fail to add a few new members. We plan to publish the names of new members periodically.
In addition, we would like to note here any call sign changes you have made, and honor all members who upgrade.
|Name||Old Call||New Call|
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 email@example.com.
|14 Sep||SE MassARA Flea (S Dartmouth)|
|20 Sep||RIFMRS Flea (Forestdale RI)|
|21 Sep||MIT Flea|
|28 Sep||Framingham ARA Flea|
|3-4 Oct||Hoss Traders (Rochester NH)|
|19 Oct||MIT Flea|
|25 Oct||NE Antique RC (Nashua NH)|
|15 Nov||Mayflower RC Flea (Plymouth)|
|22 Nov||Waltham ARA/1200RC Auction (Newton)|
|17 Jan||NE Antique RC Flea (Nashua NH)|
|1 Mar||Mt Tom ARA Flea (Northampton)|
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or on packet to N1GJO Tom Mc Laughlin (Newton FD) at N1GJO@KA1TUZ.FN42JH.MA.USA.NA
The following is a list of the FCC's most recently issued callsigns for District 1 (NE) as of September 4, 1997.
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 email@example.com, or Treasurer Jim Clogher via the club PO box.