image of Bold K6FB call letters The Las Cumbres Amateur Radio Club Newsletter
Summit Sentinel, November 2004
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Contents of the Summit Sentinel, mailed to members November 16, 2004.

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

Nov 2004
Volume 26, Issue 5
"From the Sierra to the Sea,
...This is K6FB repeater"
Las Cumbres Amateur Radio Club
P.O. Box 2415
Cupertino, CA 95015
http://k6fb.com

Calendar

Holiday Dinner, Saturday, December 11, 5:30 PM Marie Callender's 333 S. Abbott Ave, Milpitas. Pre-registration is required! See the registration form in this special edition of the Summit Sentinel. Complete and return the form by November 28 to secure your place at the table. Family members are welcome.

Fifth Saturday Breakfast, January 29, 2005, 8:30 AM. When there's a Fifth Saturday in any month we celebrate by having breakfast out!

Come to the Hick'ry Pit in Campbell, across the street from the Pruneyard Shopping Center, 980 E Campbell Ave, near Bascom. Talk-in is available on K6FB repeaters. Family members and guests are always welcome.

Alternate breakfast locations wanted! Do you have a favorite breakfast haunt? Let us know, or better yet, volunteer to organize any 2005 breakfast!

Upcoming Fifth Saturdays in 2005: January 29, April 30, July 30, October 29, and December 31.

Elections in February; Candidates Wanted! Las Cumbres ARC holds elections in February of each year. In 2005 the members will select four Directors. Directors offer their guidance, plan for annual events, and ensure our club repeaters remain on the air through the coming year and beyond.

If you have an interest in running for Director or you know someone who would be interested (yet may be a little to bashful to volunteer) then please contact any director.

Excerpts from the ARRL Letter

OLDEST US HAM, ARRL MEMBER BILL DIAPER, KJ6KQ, SK

[You may recall special mention of Mr. Diaper in the last edition of the Summit Sentinel.]
William F. "Bill" Diaper, KJ6KQ, of Union City, California, died October 10. He was 104 and apparently the oldest radio amateur in the US--if not the world--as well as the oldest member of the ARRL. A native of Great Britain, Diaper had been living in a long-term care facility and occasionally was able to get on the air from a ham shack in the facility's basement. ARRL Pacific Division officials had invited Diaper to attend Pacificon--the Pacific Division convention--this past weekend. "The response was 'ill and unable to travel,'" said Pacific Division Vice Director Andy Oppel, N6AJO. "We had planned to offer a toast in his honor at the convention banquet." Instead, Oppel said, he asked those attending the ARRL Forum to remember and honor all of the seniors in Amateur Radio. An acquaintance, Thomas "Fergy" Ferguson, N6SSQ, said Diaper had been a radio amateur for a relatively short time, first becoming licensed when he was around 75 years old and upgrading to Advanced when he was in his early 90s. Robert Galbasin, W0MHN, of Lakewood, Colorado, apparently succeeds Diaper as the oldest ham in the US. He will turn 104 on December 27.

AT&T, PACIFIC GAS AND ELECTRIC DISSOLVE BPL PARTNERSHIP

A BPL field trial in Menlo Park, California, where FCC Chairman Michael K. Powell had extolled the technology's virtues earlier this year, has been aborted before getting very far off the ground. The demonstration of BPL technology was co-sponsored by Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) and AT&T. ARRL learned this week that AT&T has decided to direct its business energies elsewhere, however, and pole-mounted BPL equipment has been dismantled. PG&E Director of Business Development Toby Tyler confirmed that his company and AT&T no longer were involved in the Menlo Park BPL pilot.

"AT&T pulled out as a result of their strategic shift away from consumer markets," Tyler told ARRL. "Without a telecom partner, it didn't make business sense for PG&E to continue with a trial."

AT&T spokesperson Michael Dickman said his company had "redirected its focus on serving enterprise customers," and, under the circumstances, has "limited involvement with BPL."

When Powell visited the Menlo Park BPL pilot project in July, he applauded AT&T and PG&E for "leading the way for this innovative technology" that he claimed "holds the great promise to bring high-speed Internet access to every power outlet in America." The chairman reiterated those sentiments October 14, when the FCC adopted new Part 15 rules to govern the deployment of BPL.

ARRL Santa Clara Valley Section Official Observer Coordinator Andy Korsak, KR6DD, told ARRL that AT&T pulled down the Main.net BPL boxes that he and his team had been monitoring in Menlo Park. "We heard only sparse Geiger counter-like clicks, indicating only perhaps system housekeeping between the four Main.net boxes I identified up on power poles," Korsak said.

When Powell spoke at Menlo Park this past summer, he said the future was bright for BPL. His optimism, at least in the case of the PG&E-AT&T BPL partnership, now appears to have been ill-advised.

ARISS INTERNATIONAL DELEGATES PONDER "SUITSAT" POSSIBILITIES

If plans come together in time, an outdated Russian spacesuit could become the most unusual Amateur Radio satellite ever put into orbit. Being called "SuitSat" for now, the idea--from ARISS-Russia's Sergei Samburov, RV3DR--sparked wide-ranging discussion among delegates to the Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) International Team meeting October 11-13 in Alexandria, Virginia. With diminishing stowage space aboard the ISS, several Orlan spacesuits used for space walks have been declared surplus. Samburov's notion is to have an ISS crew equip one of them as an Amateur Radio satellite--possibly including a camera in the helmet area--and launch it during a space walk. ARISS International Chairman Frank Bauer, KA3HDO, says the project is on a fast track because it must be ready to roll in less than a year.

"It is on a very short schedule," Bauer said. They're talking about launching in November of 2005, and to launch then, it really has to be ready in June of next year. It's going to be a big challenge," Bauer said. A second Orlan suit is expected to be available in 2007.

Bauer says the fact that SuitSat will have to be integrated in orbit by cosmonauts adds even more to the complexity. And after all that, SuitSat might float in space just a month or two before deorbiting. As a result, delegates tried to keep the "KISS" principle in mind during their brainstorming on how to equip SuitSat. "We've got to keep it simple, and we've got to keep the costs down," Bauer commented.

In addition to an onboard camera and a downlink transmitter, other ideas floated included the installation of temperature and radiation sensors, a beacon, a text-to-speech voice synthesizer so SuitSat could "speak" to students from data uplinked via packet, a full-duplex repeater and a GPS receiver to track SuitSat as it orbits Earth. The Orlan suits are pressurized and thermally protected, and have ample room inside.

"I think we're doing a good job of engineering this thing on the fly," Bauer remarked during the discussions. "This has excited a lot of people." ARISS delegates agreed that the project might pique the interest of students, teachers and the news media. The ARISS Project Selection and Use Committee is studying the proposal, and ARISS is soliciting ideas from the Amateur Radio community on what to include.

The ARISS delegates also heard updates on ISS hardware projects already in the pipeline, including launch of a multiband, multimode Yaesu FT-100D transceiver and a slow-scan TV system to the ISS, possibly within the next year.

HF PROPAGATION FALLS VICTIM TO STRONG SOLAR WINDS; VHFers EXULT

As HF radio conditions drifted in the doldrums over the past week, the Space Environment Center (SEC) < http://www.sec.noaa.gov/SWN/index.html > reports that geomagnetic storm activity spiked into the "extreme" (G5) category November 9. A result of disturbances in Earth's geomagnetic field caused by gusts of "solar wind" blowing past the planet, geomagnetic storms adversely affected HF radio propagation during much of the week nd even resulted in limited radio blackouts. The SEC estimates that G5-scale geomagnetic conditions will occur on just four days of each 11-year solar cycle. Things calmed to "minor" (G1) by week's end, and the near-term prediction was for geomagnetic storm activity to dwindle. Even at the G1 level, geomagnetic activity can cause weak power grid fluctuations, possibly affect satellite operations and still generate aurora at higher latitudes.

At the same time, HFers were suffering, however, VHF enthusiasts were exulting in the propagation the space weather generated on 6 meters. Chip Margelli, K7JA, in California says that as ARRL November Sweepstakes (CW) was coming to a close, many HF signals exhibited auroral characteristics. Six meters, however, was becoming a hotbed of DX. Early on November 8 (UTC), he says, KH6SX reported on the 50 MHz Propagation Logger < http://www.dxworld.com/50prop.html > that he was hearing the K6FV beacon.

"I quickly rotated my beam in his direction, and with one call I had him in the log," Margelli reported. "His signal was full of rapid aurora flutter, which is astounding for a path to Hawaii!"

Margelli says the opening later shifted to the west and north, and additional stations were able to add Hawaii to their 6 meter WAS list. A path then opened between Hawaii and Alaska (BP51) and ultimately between Hawaii and Japan. "It's hard to imagine a 'normal' Es opening with such a wide distribution, and the westward progression suggests an enhancement ahead of the heliopause," Margelli said. "But I think the book may need some re-writing on this one."

Among the lucky stations in the east was ARRL Sales and Marketing Manager Dennis Motschenbacher, K7BV, who bagged his 50th state on 50 MHz by working NL7Z in Alaska via aurora.

On HF, Junji Saito, JA7SSB, told ARRL propagation bulletin editor Tad Cook, K7RA, that he was able to generate big 20 and 30-meter pileups on November 8 around 1430-1500 UTC, late evening in Japan, when the bands usually are closed. He noted deep fading and echoes on signals.

The recent space weather conditions resulted in auroral displays visible as far south as the MiddleAtlantic states.

In terms of radio blackouts--disturbances of the ionosphere caused by X-ray emissions from the sun--the SEC reported conditions as moderate (R2) at midweek but nil as week's end. Solar radiation storm activity dropped from the "moderate" (S2) level at midweek to minor (S1) by week's end. At the S1 level, solar radiation storms can have a minor effect on HF radio propagation in the polar regions.

[Thank you to The ARRL Letter and The American Radio Relay League for this content -ed.]


Editor: Jey KQ6DK


2004-05 Club 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

Packet
- 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" [44.4.8.1], 145.750 MHz


© 2004, Las Cumbres Amateur Radio Club