image of Bold K6FB call letters The Las Cumbres Amateur Radio Club Newsletter
Summit Sentinel, November 2003
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Contents of the Summit Sentinel, mailed to members November 07, 2003.

The Summit Sentinel
Dedicated to the Amateur Radio Service And Emergency Communications

Nov 2003
Volume 25, Issue 4
"From the Sierra to the Sea,
...This is K6FB repeater"
Las Cumbres Amateur Radio Club
P.O. Box 2415
Cupertino, CA 95015


Cancelled! Fifth Saturday Breakfast, Saturday November 29, Fifth Saturday Breakfast, Saturday November 29, 2003. This date lands on Thanksgiving weekend. Join us for the Holiday Party the following week instead! More follows...

Holiday Party Saturday, December 6, 5:30 PM. Mark your calendar for Marie Callender's in Milpitas. Pre-registration is required. See details below and reservation form inside the back page.

Fifth Saturday Breakfast Saturday, January 31, 2004, 8:30 AM, Hick'ry Pit, Campbell. Join us as the Directors host the Annual Meeting and kick off the club's annual elections.

Elections are coming up in February. Would you like to serve as a Director for your club? If you are interested in nominating yourself or some other club member then contact any Director.

Holiday Party

Steve WD6FTE and his XYL Kathy have organized our Holiday Party once again this year. We'll meet at Marie Callender's in Milpitas, Saturday, December 6th, 5:30 PM. Marie Callender's is located at 333 South Abbott Avenue, 408-263-7437

The dinner includes salad, choice of three entrees, beverage, and a slice of pie. Family members are welcome. Cost of the dinner per member or guest is $10. The club is contributing a percentage toward each dinner.

Pre-registration is required. Please complete and return the reservation form found inside the back page of your Summit Sentinel. It needs to be returned by Sunday, November 30th.

Talk-in will be available on K6FB repeaters. The Directors hope to see you there!

Marie Callender's is located just south of E Calaveras Blvd (Hwy 237) between I-880 and I-680 in Milpitas.

Antenna Work Parties

There has been quite a bit of antenna activity at our flagship repeater site. Our Technical Committee Chair, Dan K6PRK, submitted two summaries of recent events...

Replacing 2-meter StationMaster Antenna

On Friday 10/10/03 the Phelps-Dodge Stationmaster antenna was re-installed on top the pine tree at Las Cumbres. The antenna party consisted of KJ6ZL, our tree climber and our "high end" antenna man; Tom K6KMT; Ned KE6ZOZ; Jennifer KF6DDQ; Jerry N6SWC; and me.

We arrived at 8:30AM. It was about 56 degrees and the wind was blowing between 15 and 20 miles per hour. The 20-foot ladder was set against the tree ready for John to climb. John and I took one last reading of the Diamond antenna that was mounted in the tree with the SWR bridge, and checked out the desense in the shack. This was causing the repeater to "pump". The SWR looked pretty good in spite of the desense and pumping. We went through the drill of hooking the dummy load to the repeater and it worked without the pumping or desense.

It took John a good 20 minutes to climb the tree. The tree trunk is quite large and he had to use 2 safety ropes in a fashion that he would enable him to climb through the projecting tree limbs. Once John got high enough where he could wrap his arms around the trunk it made climbing a lot easier. Going up and down a tree takes lots of energy and you have to be in good shape to do it.

Once John got to the top, he removed the Diamond 2-meter antenna and inserted his SWR bridge in the line. The SWR still didn't look too bad. I tried the repeater out and the problem vanished. Just handling the antenna temporarily made the antenna work OK. What we theorize is the antenna is internally arcing. When it arcs, it creates noise on the input of the repeater and desenses it. The amateur radio grade Diamond "base station" antenna didn't last more than 8 months before it started giving us trouble. The Stationmaster antenna was up for years before giving any trouble.

The job took a little longer than estimated because of a problem with the mounting bolts on the antenna clamp. Once that was resolved, John tried to lift the 22-foot Stationmaster antenna into the mounting, but the wind was blowing about 20 MPH. He made about 3 attempts to get the antenna into the clamps. At this point he was in the tree for about 3 hours and was getting fatigued. John then climbed up higher on the tree trunk and made another attempt to get the antenna slid into the clamps. I was in the shack and heard a loud war-whoop from the top of the tree. John got the antenna into the clamps. From that point we ran the tests that John wanted to run from the treetop.

The results of the effort yielded a perfectly functioning 2-meter system. We have never been able to get as good of results as we now have, from the power output at the top of the tree and zero desense.

John did all the hard work and the rest of the crew just provided ground support for the effort.

We left the site at about 2:00 PM.

We all owe John our thanks for a job well done under adverse conditions.



Inspecting the 220 Antenna

[10/24/2003] Just got down off the hill today. John, KJ6ZL and I went up there to check the status of our 220 antenna. John went up the 220 tree with my chainsaw to cut the dead snags ("widow makers") from the tree trunk.

When we reinstalled the 2-meter antenna a few weeks ago, John looked over at the 220 antenna and noted that the top part was missing.

When John climbed to the top of the tree and examined the antenna, he found that the main element had been sheared off at a bolt hole. This was about 10" up from the base section. The metal was also bent over at the breaking point. The tubing diameter at this point was about 3/4" in diameter! We were trying to figure out what kind of a wind would be capable of doing this. Our best guess is that something had blown off another tree and hit the antenna in the wind.

The antenna is a total loss. John hiked around the site and didn't find the broken element.

The antenna still radiates a signal, and I can bring the repeater up with my handheld from inside my shack in Saratoga. The signal strength is about what I'd expect from the 220 box.

John and I were talking about building a collinear antenna and stuffing it inside a fiberglass pole like our 2 meter one. John has a 20-foot Dodge antenna radome that could be used. He found some construction information on the web.

It was our conclusion that every antenna that we've tried up there has failed mechanically except the StationMaster types.

We must talk about replacing the antenna. If anyone has any suggestions or information about a commercial 220 antenna please let us know. I will be looking for one myself. It would be nice to get it done before the rains come.


[This 220 antenna was a new commercial grade antenna only two years ago. It's a tough environment up on the hill! - ed.]

Notes of Interest from ARRL Newsletters

Rohn Towers files Chapter 11

Do you own a Rohn tower? Rohn has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Rohn components are rumored to be a little hard to get at the moment.

"Our immediate goal is to stabilize the company's financial situation and utilize the Chapter 11 process to enable the company to conduct normal business operations as the company works to complete a sale transaction," Rohn Industries President Horace Ward said in announcing the company's bankruptcy filing. Learn more...
< >

Broadband over Power Line (BPL)

FCC Commissioner Kathleen Q. Abernathy addressed the United Powerline Council in September and described Broadband over Power Line (BPL) as "broadband Nirvana." This drew a sharp rebuke from ARRL CEO David Sumner on behalf of 155,000 ARRL members.

Broadcasters are now joining the fray against BPL. A working group within the International Telecommunication Union expressed the view that interference produced by systems employing PLT (Power Line Telecommunications) as well as by Industrial, Scientific and Medical (ISM) equipment and short-range devices, would compromise broadcast reception.

Sumner also put a Manassas, Virginia BPL pilot on notice that the League will act on behalf of its members to ensure full compliance with FCC regulations when the city's Broadband over Power Line (BPL) system starts operation in a few months.

There are sure to be more groups weighing in on this hot topic!

73 Amateur Radio Today Ceases

After 43 years, 73 Amateur Radio Today is ceasing publication. The September 2003 issue will be the last. As of early October it was not clear how outstanding subscriptions will be handled. By the way, if you need a dose of Wayne Green's essays, they will continue at

AMSAT to Launch OSCAR Echo in March '04

A 10-inch-square "flat-sat" satellite will be launched into a low-Earth orbit from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, on or around March 31, 2004.

The satellite will incorporate two UHF transmitters, each running from 1 to 8 W and capable of simultaneous operation, four VHF receivers and a multiband, multimode receiver capable of operation on the 10 meter, 2 meter, 70 cm and 23 cm bands. Echo will feature V/U, L/S and HF/U operational configurations, with V/S, L/U and HF/S also possible. FM voice and various digital modes--including PSK31 on a 10-meter SSB uplink--also will be available. Learn more...
< >

[The information and excerpts above are taken from the ARRL Newsletter, an electronic newsletter published weekly by the American Radio Relay League. Las Cumbres ARC is indebted to them for their reports! - ed.]

The Origin of "73"

-- Shared by Bob W6OPO from an old QST clipping, date of edition unknown

The traditional expression "73" goes right back to the early beginning of the landline telegraph days. It is found in some of the earliest editions of the numerical codes, each with a different definition, but each with the same idea in mind -- it indicated that the end, or signature, was coming up. But there are not data to prove that any of these were used.

The first authentic use of 73 is in the publication The National Telegraphic Review and Operator's Guide, first published in April 1857. At that time, 73 meant "My love to you"! Succeeding issues of this publication continued to use this definition of the term. Curiously enough, some of the other numerals used then had the same definition as they have now, but within a short time, the use of 73 began to change.

In the National Telegraph Convention, the numeral was changed from the Valentine-type sentiment to a vague sign of fraternalism. Here, 73 was a greeting, a friendly "word" between operators and it was so used on all wires.

In 1859, the Western Union Company set up the standard "92 Code". A list of numerals from one to 92 was compiled to indicate a series of prepared phrases for use by the operators on the wires. Here, in the 92 Code, 73 changes from a fraternal sign to a very flowery "accept my compliments," which was in keeping with the florid language of that era.

Over the years from 1859 to 1900, the many manuals of telegraphy show variations of this meaning. Dodge's The Telegraph Instructor shows it merely as "compliments." The Twentieth Century Manual of Railway and Commercial Telegraphy defines it two ways, one listing as "my compliments to you"; but in the glossary of abbreviations it is merely "compliments." Theodore A. Edison's Telegraphy Self-Taught shows a return to "accept my compliments." By 1908, however, a later edition of the Dodge Manual gives us today's definition of "best regards" with a backward look at the older meaning in another part of the work where it also lists it as "compliments."

"Best regards" has remained ever since as the "put-it-down-in-black-and-white" meaning of 73 but it has acquired overtones of much warmer meaning. Today, amateurs use it more in the manner that James Reid had intended that it be used--a "friendly word between operators"
--Louise Ramsey Moreau W3WRE

Nominations For Director Now Open

In just two short months it will be time for elections once again. Each year the Directors scour the membership for those members that might be interested in serving as a Director

The Directors sometimes miss individuals that might be interested in serving. If you are interested in the business of the club and would like to participate then please contact any director. Make yourself known!

ERRATA: New 60m Band Frequencies

Eagle-eyed Bob W6OPO spotted misinformation in the last Summit Sentinel. I mentioned that the new 60m band had frequencies between 7100 and 7200 MHZ. Actually, those frequencies should have been: "The occupied bandwidth is limited to 2.8 kHz centered on 5332, 5348, 5368, 5373, and 5405 kHz respectively."

Las Cumbres Amateur Radio Club
Holiday Party Reservation Form


Mark you calendar for Marie Callender's!

When Saturday, December 6, 2003, 5:30 p.m.
Where Marie Callender's, 333 South Abbott Avenue, Milpitas
Cost $10.00 per person includes good company, good food, and drawing.

You and your family members are invited to join the festivities for the Las Cumbres Amateur Radio Club Holiday Party.

The dinner menu is designed exclusively for our party and is limited to a known number of guests. Pre-registration and pre-payment are required to attend this event. The club is contributing a percentage toward each dinner.

Reservation requests must be returned no later than Sunday, November 30. Please complete the form below and mail it with your check to:

Steve Paine WD6FTE
2758 Rainfield Drive
San Jose, California 95133

Yes, please accept my reservation for the Las Cumbres ARC Holiday Party!

Name _____________________________________________ My call sign __________

I have enclosed a check for ____________ (Number of Dinners X $10).

Please indicate the number of dinner and dessert selections for yourself and any family members attending.

My entree choice(s) are:

__ Baked lasagna with meat sauce

__ Pot roast and gravy

__ Roasted turkey dinner
My pie choice(s) are:

__ Apple

__ Chocolate cream

__ Lemon meringue

Each dinner includes entree, Caesar salad, corn bread, beverage (soda, iced tea, or coffee), and slice of pie



2003-04 Las Cumbres ARC Directors

PresidentKen Carey, KN6CK
Vice-PresidentJohn Rosica, KA2FND
SecretaryJey Yelland, KQ6DK
TreasurerBob Lanning, W6OPO
Membership ChairTom Campbell, K6KMT
Technical CommitteeDan Smith, K6PRK
TrusteeTom Campbell, K6KMT
Member at LargeNed Rice, KE6ZOZ
LCARC Voice Repeaters & Packet Systems

Voice Repeaters (All are linked)
- K6FB/R: 145.450 MHz (-) PL=100
- K6FB/R: 442.575 MHz(+) PL=100
- K6FB/R: 223.880 MHz(-) PL=100

- K6FB-1: Digipeater: 145.050 MHz
- K6FB-2: Bulletin Board: 145.05 MHz
- K6FB-7 Node (alias LCARC): 145.050 MHz
- K6FB-5 tcp/ip "losgatos" [], 145.750 MHz

© 2003, Las Cumbres Amateur Radio Club