The SPARC

Volume X, Number 12; December 1998
Newsletter of the Boston Amateur Radio Club
A Special Service Club of the ARRL

December Meeting
Note: There will be no General meeting in December. Instead, we will be holding our annual holiday dinner on Wednesday December 16th.


Equipment Donation
Michael L. Ardai N1IST

Breaking news! Special thanks to ELI Inc. and to Ben and Neal Heffron for donating a quantity of surplussed 70cm Motorola repeater gear to the club. Thanks to John WN9T, and to Dick KA1TUZ for hauling and storing the stuff. Now all we need to do is sort and test the stuff, take some of it up to the repeater site (we finally will have a good set of cans on the control receiver) and figure out what we ended up with.


Don't Forget the BARC Holiday Dinner

BARC's Holiday Dinner is at Ruggeri's Happy Haddock in Medford at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, December 16. We will not be having a General Meeting in December.

Remember; not only is the food great, we also present BARC's Ham of the Year award after dinner. So, if you bought your ticket, don't forget to come. If you didn't buy a ticket, don't forget to next year!

The Happy Haddock is at 491 Riverside Ave. in Medford, near Wellington Circle. There's plenty of parking, and it is also an easy walk from the Orange Line's Wellington Station. See you there!


HF Operators Needed for SATERN

I am seeking hams in the Eastern Territory of the Salvation Army who will meet regularly on 20, 40, perhaps 80 meters. The purpose is to develop communication resources and provide training for SATERN members, and to attract new members, in order to meet the communication needs of the Salvation Army and others in disaster and emergency situations.

SATERN did a fine job, working 12 hours a day, for 19 days, to provide communication for the Hurricane Mitch disaster. The 20-meter net has been commended in the amateur radio press for its work and brought many new members into SATERN. The FCC issued an unusual mandatory frequency protection order to keep the frequency clear. Ham radio, telephones and the Internet were used in tandem to assist the relief effort.

The next hurricane season is predicted to be at least as dangerous as this one was. Now is the time to prepare.

If you can participate on HF, the net will begin this Saturday, 12/5/98, at noon, EST, on 7.265 MHz. It should be there each Saturday after, +- 5 KC for QRM, and with due understanding of the Holidays ahead!

SATERN HF nets take place:

Weekday10:00 am EST14.265US national
Saturday10:30 am EST14.265 US national
Saturday11:30 am EST7.265Central US
Saturday12 noon EST7.265Eastern US

All nets use SSB.

If you can participate on the Internet, we have been using ICQ (free software: www.icq.com) for instant messaging on the Internet while the HF net is taking place. This offers the opportunity to check in when HF is not possible but Internet access is available. My ICQ # is 8097618.

Looking forward to meeting you.

73, Tony Dacres, AA8EI
Eastern Territory SATERN Coordinator


It's Something In The Air
Bob Salow WA1IDA

You could hardly miss our elegant Membership Information form enclosed with this issue. BARC membership runs on a calendar year basis, therefore it's now time for us to renew. You can be part of the premier Amateur Radio club in this part of the country. Your dues support not only this award-winning newsletter, but also our repeater, training, public service, and many other activities.

Please provide all the information requested, including your nine-digit Zipcode (find it on a magazine label or ask the Post Office - it helps keep our costs down), particularly if yours has changed. Don't forget your new area code also.

We are, of course, a volunteer organization, and you can help the Treasurer and the staff by sending in your form and dues promptly. This is also a good time to enclose a note with your ideas on how we can become a better club, what activities would interest you, and how to make meetings more inviting. It's your club, so join in, not just join up.


BARC Looking for Field Day Coordinator

Every fourth full weekend in June, Amateur Radio operators in the United States and Canada hold Field Day. This is a combination emergency communications exercise, publicity event, contest and social event in which we set up our stations "in the field" under less than optimal conditions, and try to communicate as best we can.

BARC always has a good Field Day; we set up several tents at Larz Anderson Park in Brookline and operate the entire time. We need a volunteer to be our Field Day Coordinator for 1999. This, as the name implies, involves coordinating the activities of the other BARC Field Day volunteers in the weeks leading up to Field Day and at the event itself. If this sounds like fun to you, please step up and contact Mike Ardai N1IST. You won't be doing all the Field Day work yourself, but someone has to see that we're all on the same page.


Club Officers Needed

BARC will elect our club officers, President, Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer, at the June 1999 meeting. It is not too early to think about running for office, or persuading others to run. We don't have officers for life here, so you have the opportunity to put your ideas for running the club into practice. Responsibility and fame (if not fortune) are there for the willing! Think about it.


Ham License Confers Royalty?

We have noticed (that's the permissible editorial "we") that many Hams routinely speak in the first person plural. "We are on the way to work," for example. When I (or if you prefer, the editorial "we") hear that, I ("we") usually tend to think that ol' N1WHATEVER, his wife and maybe a couple of his buddies are en route to the job in that one automobile.

But ol' N1 never mentioned anybody else being in the car with him.

Or how about, "We are in the shack working on a new antenna." I (we) figure ol' N1 has a couple of his Ham friends or his Elmer working with him. But there is no mention of W1SOMEBODY being on the scene.

Royalty normally speaks in the plural, a practice that has been legitimized by centuries of use. When a king or the queen speaks, he or she is speaking for the nation. Likewise, when a pope speaks, it is in the plural as he speaks representing the entire Roman Catholic Church. On other fronts, and without getting into theology, I think the same applies with the Dalai Lama.

I never had any problem understanding that popes, royalty and editorial writers use the plural "we", even though I know it is actually only one person doing the talking and perhaps expressing a personal opinion.

When I got my no-code tech license, I couldn't find anything on it telling me that I should use the royal (also called the imperial, papal or editorial) "we". After a long struggle with code and earning the tech plus ticket, I again failed to find wording conferring upon me the privilege (if it may be called that) of using plural. Even when I completed what I considered a real highlight of my life, the passing of the general class exam, there was no edict bestowing plurality upon me.

But that's OK, guys. If you want to say "we" when it's just little ol' you out there, by all means do it. What the hell, I can even adjust to "We are destinated." By the way, my spell checker just rejected "destinated."

Cheers
Bill Sullivan N1TDF
Reprinted from the July 1997 SPARC


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 that 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 and 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


Who Are We?

On December 1, 1998, BARC has 172 members.

Four members are not licensed, two are Novice Class, 36 are Technician class, 47 are Technician Plus Class, 22 are General Class, 21 are Advanced Class and 39 are Extra Class. (Ed. Doesn't add up!)

122 members are ARRL members, 15 members are ARRL Life members and 35 members are not ARRL members.

164 members live in Massachusetts, 8 live elsewhere.

123 members are on e-mail and 45 are on packet.



Editor's Notes
The Winter Doldrums

Winter will soon be upon us. Here in New England, it is a blessing to those who enjoy outdoor winter sports. It is even fun for those of us who just stretch out in a comfy chair near the window, sip our hot toddy and watch the snow come down.

The same weather that gives us good skiing and scenic wonder also brings trouble. The snow and ice make the roads dangerous to drive, and accidents abound. (Those of us with four wheel drive vehicles should remember that it is a help, but 4WD does not repeal Newton's law of inertia! Drive carefully!) Snow and ice storms bring down power and telephone lines, and they can stay down for days.

As always, hams are ready and willing to help when trouble strikes. It's a good time to check that you are prepared for emergency winter communications. Is your mobile rig up to snuff? Do you know how to make a call for some motorist in trouble? Do you have emergency power at home for your rigs if the mains go out? Do you keep a battery pack fully charged and at hand for your HT (and an alkaline pack with plenty of cells in reserve?) Do you know how to report local conditions into a Skywarn net? Remember that Skywarn nets may be active on 146.64 during major storms; if they are, please take the chatter to another machine!

Calling in help for some spun out motorist, or for a neighbor without a working telephone may not be as glamorous as working in the field after a killer hurricane, but it is very important to those around you in trouble.

Now, climbing down from the public service soapbox, let's also admit that winter puts a crimp in a lot of ham activities. Not even hams are crazy enough to hold outdoor flea markets in the dead of winter (although some of us would still bundle up and go!) Hilltopping becomes more problematic, many of the good access roads are closed, and who really wants to carry a heavy duty battery and a mast, rotor and beam up a ski lift!

But where there is difficulty, there is also opportunity. If you're not on HF yet, maybe you've got some time to lick the code. The high bands get better in winter, and the rising sunspots are lifting all boats. There's probably some new mode you haven't tried yet. What about SSTV? The new Kenwood Visual Communicator shows that it's not just for 20 meters - imagine sending and receiving pictures over your HT. You don't even need to buy that to get on V/UHF SSTV. Likely you've got a 486 or Pentium based computer with a sound card? Then with some new software packages, you've got a SSTV system!

There are plenty of radio activities to keep you warm and busy during the long winter months. Take advantage of them and you'll have plenty to talk about when the next MIT flea rolls around on April 18!

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.


Notes For Running the BARC Net
Mike Ardai N1IST

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 check marks 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.

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.


Latest FCC Sequential Calls

The following is a list of the FCC sequentially assigned call signs issued in the First District as of November 4, 1998:

ExtraAdvancedGeneral/Technician/Novice
AA1UEKE1KMKB1DJC

Note: All Technician/General 1x3 calls have been assigned; calls will now be assigned from the Novice group.


Got A Question?

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.


Vertical Antenna for Sale

Cushcraft AR-270 2m/70cm vertical.

It is in very-good/excellent condition. I put it up during the summer, took it down during Thanksgiving, and overall used it very little. I am in the Boston area.

Scott Ehrlich WY1Z sehrlich@shore.net


GPS Reciever for Sale

I'm selling my Garmin GPS 45, with book and case - asking $100.

I have the Garmin proprietary software for it too if you want, $50 or >$100 from Garmin.

John Garrett WN9T/W1BOS jgarrett@world.std.com


I See the Future
Events Ahead

I See the Future

16 DecBARC Holiday Dinner
23 JanNE Antique RC Flea (Nashua NH)
7 MarMt Tom ARA Flea (Westfield)
18 AprMIT Flea
7-8 MayHoss Traders Flea (Rochester NH)

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


SATERN Net on 145.23

BARC is pleased to host the Salvation Army Team Emergency Radio Network Net on Friday Nights at 9pm on the 145.23 repeater.

The SATERN Net is much like the public safety net, but is used to pass information on The Salvation Army Disaster Services, and Disasters throughout the US and the World. SATERN members as well as the general Amateur Radio community in general are invited to join the net and participate. The first few nets will be a time to get organized, but we hope to get this up and running quickly.

Anyone wanting more info on SATERN can contact Mike Koenemund KB1CKF at: 147 Berkeley Street Boston, MA 02116-5197 KB1CKF@qsl.net or MassDisaster@juno.com KB1CKF@KA1TUZ.7N42JH.MA.USA.NA


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 Thursdays at 7:30 pm)
Future Exam Dates
(Second Mondays at 7:00 pm)

  • 16 December 1998 (Holiday Dinner)
  • 21 January 1999
  • 18 February 1999
  • 18 March 1999
  • 15 April 1999
  • 20 May 1999
  • 17 June 1999
  • 11 January 1999
  • 8 February 1999
  • 8 March 1999
  • 12 April 1999
  • 10 May 1999
  • 14 June 1999
Meetings are at the Salvation Army,
Berkeley and Columbus, Boston
Exams are at the Pierce school,
50 School Street, Brookline
Free parking and T access available at both locations


BARC Member Webpage Exchange

Recognizing the popularity of personal web pages, BARC is now publishing the URLs of member webpages on our webpage. To be linked to one of the best ham radio webpages available, please send your URL to: Mike Ardai N1IST n1ist@netcom.com


Catch Us On The Internet!

The Boston Amateur Radio Club has a web page at www.barc.org/barc. Here you can find some of the latest BARC news, sample exams, maps to our meetings and VE sessions, links to other radio clubs, and a club roster (only names, callsigns, and e-mail addresses are on-line). If you have any suggestions, please let me know at n1ist@netcom.com.

Now on our web page are the club articles: www.barc.org/barc/articles.html and bylaws: www.barc.org/barc/bylaws.html. We also run an FTP site at ftp.barc.org under pub/hamradio. We've got a mirror of the ARRL infoserver, BARC documents, ham radio software, and a huge mods archive. The FTP site is maintained by Cheyenne Greatorex, n1qzs@magrathea.com. Contact him if you have any comments.

We also run a club e-mail list. To subscribe, send a message to majordomo@majordomo.netcom.com with the body (the subject is ignored)

subscribe barc-list

The welcome message will list the other lists that we have over at Netcom. (Yes, I know it isn't on the radio. It is, however, an additional resource for getting in touch with other hams around the world...)

73,
/mike
n1ist@netcom.com


BARC VE Session

The Boston Amateur Radio Club holds its monthly VE session on the second Monday of each month. The next session will be on Monday, January 11th. It will be held at the Pierce School at 50 School Street in Brookline, Room 110 next to the cafeteria. The session begins at 7 pm. There is a free parking garage at the circular driveway. If driving, enter School Street from the Washington street side (opposite 394 Washington). Check this this map for more info.

For those traveling via public transportation, take the 'D' branch of the Green Line to the Brookline Village stop and walk down Harvard street to School Street, or take the 66 bus and get off at School Street. Talkin on 145.23.

We give all exams (Novice thru Extra, CW and written), and you don't need to pre- register. Please bring the following with you:

FCC Form 610 will be provided.

For further information, contact Bob Wondolowski N1KDA Tel: (508) 865 5822 or wondobob@juno.com


The BARC Business Meeting

Note: Starting in January, the business meeting will be held on the first Thursday of each month, not Wednesday. That will guarantee two weeks between the business meeting and the general meeting and makes sure the SPARC makes it out before the meeting.

Read the December Business Meeting minutes.

The Boston Amateur Radio Club holds its monthly business meeting on the first Thursday day of each month. The next one will be on Thursday, January 7th. They are held in the food court of the Lechmere Galleria Mall in Cambridge. We meet at 6:30pm in the lower level, down by the windows facing the lagoon.

This is where the real business of BARC is conducted. If you have any suggestions, questions, or comments, this is where to bring them. Everyone is welcome (and encouraged) to join us at this meeting.


Net Volunteers Needed

The Eastern Massachusetts 2M Traffic Net , the Heavy Hitters' Traffic Net, and the BARC Club Net are always in need of volunteers to act as Net Control Station. This is excellent practice for emergency communications, and also an opportunity to sharpen your operating skills among a friendly group of people. For further information please contact Mike Ardai N1IST.

Here's the preable for the BARC Net.


Here's a listing of Eastern Mass. Nets.


BARC Officers and Staff
PresidentEd Hennessy N1PBA (617) 391 8257
n1pba@qsl.net  n1pba@ka1tuz
Vice PresidentDick Doherty KA1TUZ (617) 969 4880
ka1tuz@gis.net   ka1tuz@ka1tuz
SecretaryMichael Ardai N1IST (617) 738 8652
n1ist@netcom.com   n1ist@k1ugm
TreasurerJim Clogher N1ICN n1icn@ka1tuz
VE (Exam) TeamBob Wondolowski N1KDA (508) 865 5822
wondobob@juno.com
MembershipArthur Ashley N1NHZ (617) 661 2988
 Patricia Allen KE1GD barcmember@aol.com
Public ServicesBob Salow WA1IDA (508) 650 9440
wa1ida@mediaone.net   wa1ida@wa1phy
Newsletter EditorPaul Carter N1TMF (617) 232 6982
pvc@tiac.net
The fine print
The Boston Amateur Radio Club is a non-commercial association of persons interested in the Amateur Radio Service. The Club is organized for the promoting of interest in Amateur Radio communication and education; for the establishment of emergency communications in the event of disasters or other emergencies; for the advancement of the radio art and the public welfare; for the representation of the radio amateur in legislative and regulatory matters, and for the maintenance of collegiality and a high standard of conduct.

The Club is open to all persons interested in Amateur Radio without regard to race, color, religion, creed, national origin, gender, disability, or sexual preference. Our General and Executive meeting locations are handicap accessible. Other meeting and activity locations may be handicap accessible by arrangement.

The club is an ARRL-affiliated Special Service Club, and is a member of the Council of Eastern Massachusetts Amateur Radio Clubs (CEMARC) and the New England Spectrum Management Council (NESMC). The Club is a participant in Partnerships Advancing Technical Hobbies Which Attract Youth to Science (PATHWAYS). The Club is also an assoiciate member of the Courage Handi-Hams system.

The SPARC is published monthly by the Boston Amateur Radio Club. The design and content are Copyright 1998, all rights reserved. Permission is hereby granted to reprint or distribute by electronic or other means any material herein, provided this publication and the issue date are credited. Such permission is limited to use for non-commercial purposes for the benefit of the Amateur Radio community. Permission for other purposes must be obtained in writing.