The Marinette and Menominee Amateur Radio Club
      GROUND WAVE

Repeater Frequencies 147.00 MHZ & 444.075 Mhz
Club Net: Sunday 7PM 147.00 MHz
Simplex DX Spotting and Ragchew Frequency 146.55
Web Page:  http://w8pif.com
                   Officers
                   President: Jim Callow K8IR
                     Vice President: Ed Engleman KG8CX
Treasurer: Lynne Rynish N8OSK
Secretary: Gary Luthardt  KG9AD

The MMARC Newsletter                                             August 2003

PLEASE NOTE! AUGUST MEETING CANCELLED...

President Jim, K8IR announces that the regular 2nd Thursday meeting will not be held this month.  Jim and the other officers agreed that the lack of pressing business did not warrant a separate meeting just three days ahead of our Annual Picnic.  The nominating committee does need to announce their slate of officers for the coming year in August, so a short meeting will be held during the picnic, but it should take only a few minutes out of the afternoon.

 

SUMMER PICNIC...

Don't forget to get your reservations in for the annual picnic on Sunday August 17th at Henes Park in Menominee.  The new pavilion has already been reserved for our use.  Deadline for reservations is Saturday August 9th.  Send all RSVP’s to the club post office box...M&M Amateur Radio Club, P.O. Box 1082, Marinette, WI 54143.  The reservation form was included in the July Ground Wave.  If you misplaced it, check the July Ground Wave at www.w8pif.com . Please note the deadline of August 9th for reservations!

Those three great "F's" ... Food, Fellowship, and Fun ... will be the order of the day, so plan on joining us for the day.  Socializing begins at 12 noon, with the serving at 1pm.  Hope to see you there.

 

NO QUORUM FOR JULY MEETING…

We failed to get a quorum in attendance for the July meeting. So no votes could be taken.  K8IR appointed W9YQ and NS9R as the nominating committee. They will report at the August Picnic.

 

REPEATER COMMITTEE VISITS THE "ROOF"…

The club’s repeater committee spent two Wednesday afternoons this month at the repeater site on top of BAMC-Menominee.  The goal was to find the source of a persistent pulsing noise that was making it difficult for weak signals to be heard on the 147.000 repeater.  The first visit determined the noise disappeared when the repeaters ( both the 147 and the 444 machines ) were fed into a mobile mag-mount antenna, rather than the main antenna.  Thus the antenna or the jumper from the hardline to the antenna were suspect.  The repeater operated with no noise, but greatly reduced coverage using the mag-mount for the next seven days. The following week, the Diamond Dual-Band antenna was taken down off the tower atop the hospital and checked over.  All tests showed no problems, with good SWR on both bands.  The jumper was changed, and with the antenna lying horizontal on the roof, no noise was heard.  But as soon as the antenna was remounted on the tower, the noise returned.  A search for a source from other RF systems on the hospital roof turned up no leads. Having run out of time, the crew went home to think over what the next step should be.  Then, suddenly, two days later, the pulsing noise disappeared completely, and has so far not returned. No one has an explanation, although there were heavy storms in the area the night before the noise disappeared.  The past two weeks, the repeater has performed admirably, with clear reception of local and distant signals.  We can only hope the source of the noise has been fixed.  Only time will tell.  Thanks go out to K8NB, WA8WG, KG8CX, K8IR, and especially to our tower man, KG9GH, for their efforts with the repeater. 

 

ABRAMS/WAUSAUKEE LINK...

Latest news on this communications enhancement project show a new Link Systems controller now in operation on the Abrams 146.835 repeater.  It has voice and time capabilities, and a most unique (to this area) courtesy tone.  Additonal improvements include a Skywarn alert notification whenever the GB weather office issues a watch or warning.   A similar type controller will be installed on the Wausaukee repeater when the tower crew is able to raise the new antenna, and the full link-up is completed.

Bill, WA8WG has been devoting many hours to this project over the past months, and we are beginning to see very positive results take place.  

 

AN UNDERUSED REPEATER ...

We have a nice little repeater in our area that does not get much usage...that's the 444.075 club repeater atop BAMC in Menominee.  It only runs about 20 watts, but the signal within the tri cities is quite good, some times better then the 147.000.  The problems affecting the 147 have not shown up on the 444.  It continues to put out very clean audio.  If you have 440 capabilities, try it out sometime.  You just might find a few people answering your call. 

ARES/RACES NET HELD WEEKLY...

Every Monday evening at 8:15pm, this emergency net is held on the Abrams 146.835 repeater.  The purpose of this net is to allow all ARES/RACES members to become better prepared for public emergency communications, and to share information pertinent to the program.  After official members are called, the net is open to any ham operator who would like to check in.

The net also goes to the 147.000 and 145.470 repeaters to allow those who might have difficulty accessing the Abrams repeater. Once the Abrams Wausaukee link become fully active, the net will remain on the 146.835 repeater, and cover all of Oconto and Marinette counties, as well as surrounding ones.

Jeff Rymer, KE9S, is the ARES/RACES coordinator for Marinette and Oconto counties, with Dave, NS9R, the assistant for Oconto county, and Jim, AA9PB, the assistant for Marinette county.

 

REPRINTED WITH PERMISSION FROM THE

MICHIGAN ARES/RACES NEWSLETTER JULY 2003

 

(Submitted by N8OSK)

 

How often have you heard the following comment:  "I don't have time to participate in ARES or NTS activities, but I'll be there if you need me?"  Unfortunately, this oft heard comment is rarely followed up with "That's nice, but will you know what to do when you get there?"

During a recent meeting, a couple of radio amateurs were heard to say, "Why in the heck to we have to learn all of these radio procedures and phonetic alphabets."  I was fortunate enough to hear this comment as it provides the inspiration for this brief article.

As an illustration of the importance of "all of these radio procedures" let's examine just a few chemical names identified in DOT regulations pertaining to Railroad Tank Cars.  Read the following combinations carefully:

* Dichlorosilane
* Difuorethane

* Ethyl Chloride
* Ethyl Flouride

* Bromine
* Bromide

* Isobutane
* Isobutylene

* Methyl bromide
* Methyl Chloride

* Bromopropane
* Bromopropyne

 

There are many other combinations and similar sounding chemical names, many of which are polysullabic and difficult to pronounce and convey accurately.

Imagine yourself for a moment providing communications between an Incident Command Post and an EOC, attempting to convey information for transmission to Chemtrec or to a chemical manufacturer, transportation official, or similar authority.  Would you be qualified to accurately convey the necessary information?  Would you be able to do so under stress?  Would you be able to receive this information accurately in a noisy environment?

What would happen in the event of a misunderstanding?  What if the wrong information was conveyed and a chemical with different characteristics and technical data was utilized as the foundation for response directives?  If you think this won't happen, think again.  Just such a scenario transpired during an emergency exercise not more than a few weeks ago in Western Michigan, only in this case, the error was made by a public safety professional.

When radio amateurs become involved in ARPSC activities, they accept an important responsibility.  In some cases, they may find themselves serving as a vital link in the safety of their community.  It is therefore important that all radio amateurs who participate in ARPSC have a foundation of basic skills and knowledge.  Fortunately, this knowledge is easily attained through occasional participation in ARES/RACES activities and NTS nets.

Let's encourage our fellow radio amateurs to participate in ARES activities.  After all, there is no substitute for "hands-on" experience.

 

MENOMINEE WATERFRONT FESTIVAL ABOUT TO BEGIN...

Circle the dates of Aug 7-10 and plan to visit the beautiful Menominee Great Lakes Marina Park on Green Bay for this annual event.  Many food tents will be set up, along with great entertainment at the Bandshell and the area adjacent to the Spies Library for the musical tastes of all ages.   There will be games, and of course, the huge fireworks display on Sat. evening, along with the UP's largest parade on Sunday. 

 

NEW CALLSIGN…

Congratulations to Noah Van Zandt on his new call of KI4BKL. Noah passed his Technician exam at our Field Day VE session.  Noah is the son of  Dick Van Zandt, K9OM, a former area resident.  The family now lives in Florida, but spent much of the summer here.  K8IR reports several contacts with K9OM in contests this summer, including the North American QSO Party, CW August 2nd.

 

UPCOMING DATES ...

September meeting/elections:  Sept. 11
October meeting:    Oct. 9
November meeting:  Nov. 13
Christmas party:   Dec. 11 (no meeting)

 

ARRL VIDEO DEMONSTRATES THE INTERFERENCE POTENTIAL OF BPL…

From the ARRL Web Site


NEWINGTON, CT, Aug 6, 2003--ARRL President Jim Haynie, W5JBP, says Broadband over Power Line (BPL)--if widely deployed--would represent "spectrum pollution" on a level that is "difficult to imagine." Haynie reacted after seeing videotape and early data from recent ARRL field studies in four states where BPL is undergoing testing.

"BPL is the most crucial issue facing Amateur Radio and the one that has the most devastating potential," Haynie said. In terms of interference potential on HF and low-VHF frequencies, "nothing is on the same scale as BPL."

A form of power line carrier (PLC) technology, BPL would use existing low and medium-voltage power lines to deliver broadband services to homes and businesses. Because it uses frequencies between 2 and 80 MHz, BPL could affect HF and low-VHF amateur allocations wherever it's deployed. BPL proponents--primarily electric power utilities--already are testing BPL systems in several markets, and one reportedly is already offering the service. FCC rules already allow BPL, although industry proponents want the FCC to relax radiation limits. It's feared such a change could exacerbate BPL's interference potential.

At the West Gulf Division Convention (Austin Summerfest 2003) August 1-2 in Austin, Texas, Haynie previewed a short video (see below) that covers highlights of a recent field tour by ARRL Lab Manager Ed Hare, W1RFI. The video, which will complement technical data ARRL is gathering and compiling, turned out to be a real eye-opener for many in the audience.

Walt Dubose, K5YFW--assistant chairman of the ARRL High Speed Multimedia (HSMM) Working Group--said it was about what he'd expected. "But for most attending--maybe 60 percent--it was much worse than they had imagined, and for some it was a real shocker," he reported. Dubose said a few of those viewing the video simply couldn't believe that BPL actually was causing the high noise level.

In late July, Hare traveled some 1350 miles to visit BPL trial communities in Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania and New York to take measurements over significant parts of the HF spectrum. He also took initial readings at low-VHF frequencies. Driving a specially equipped vehicle loaded with radio gear and measurement devices, Hare said he didn't need to look long or track down "a few hot spots" to find BPL interference. "The signals were all over," he said.

"The interference found ranged from moderate to extremely strong," Hare said. The video shows the S meter of an HF transceiver holding steady in excess of S9 as the speaker emits a crackling din, which one observer described as sounding like a Geiger counter. Only the very strongest amateur signals broke through on 20 and 15 meters. Hare noted that the field strengths of the various systems all were within FCC Part 15 limits for power line carrier (PLC) devices.

For more on this story, and the link to the on-line video, go to:

http://www.remote.arrl.org/news/stories/2003/08/08/2/?nc=1

 

VANITY CALLSIGN FEES TO RISE AGAIN…

From the ARRL

The FCC has announced that the new Amateur Radio vanity call sign
regulatory fee of $16.30 for the 10-year license term will go into
effect September 9. Until then, applicants for amateur vanity call
signs will continue to pay the current $14.50 fee per vanity call
sign application .