March Annual Meeting Results
The 1998 Annual Meeting was held on March 10, 1998 and was well attended. Jey KQ6DK opened the meeting and proceeded to the business at hand, that was, the elections of the new members to the board and vote on the budget and dues schedule.
As an outcome of that meeting, the following new members were elected to two year positions on the board.
* Frank Butcher W6SZS
* Dan Smith K6PRK
* Mark Wunderman KE6QCT
Congratulations new board members! Jey also thanked the outgoing board for their help and effort over the last two years. Ken Carey KN6CK retired as Vice President and was instrumental for pulling together an excellent speaker program these last two years. Dick LaTondre KB6GLX retired and gave new meaning to the position Member-at-Large. We suspect Dick's precedent-setting style in remolding this position will make it hard to fill!
Other ballot items
The budget, dues schedule, and new member acceptance rate also passed with little if any additional discussion at this meeting (see page 9 for your official membership renewal slip).
A message from the president
This issue of the Summit Sentinel brings news and information, greetings from your new board, and has a few opportunities where your participation would be most welcome.
1. My heartfelt thank you to all who participated in the annual elections process. Forty seven ballots were received in time for ballot counting. All ballot measures were passed with more than 90% in favor. As a reminder, dues have increased this year to $23 and the discount period ends on April 30th. The board nominated slate of officers were all approved, again by large margins. There were no write in candidates. A few members have expressed concern over balloting procedures this year; I will ensure that we resume a secret ballot for next year per our club by laws.
2. Our technical crew is still working to bring the 440 rig back up to snuff. As you may recall, our 70cm tower folded overduring the January's storms. Dan K6PRK and Bob W6OPO have recently discovered a cabling flaw. We hope to have this and the last of our technical problems solved in April and May. Stay tuned!
3. When the weather breaks (hopefully sometime soon!) we will be heading up to the Las Cumbres shack to do some exterior prep and painting. If you're interested please let me know!
4. Finally, w e are seeking a new Summit Sentinel Editor In Chief and Production Director. Jim, KN6PE has been filling both roles over the past four years. I hope that one or two people will come forward to fill this new vacancy . If you are interested in taking on this creative, bi-monthly role, please contact me or one of the other board members.
Thanks, Jim, for producing such a fine publication as the Summit Sentinal. Jim will be continuing his role on the board of directors this year.
73, Jey KQ6DK
Connections -- my personal road to bringing up the
losgatos tcp/ip node
In retrospect, I never would have thought this project would still be underway 2 years later. But here I am, with still more work to do to further refine the Club's tcp/ip node, now situated up at the Las Cumbres site.
As the Chinese philosopher once said, "the journey is its own reward." I can attest that this is true in this case. Looking back, I recall just taking on the Club presidency and working to ensure we had a full speaker program for 1996. There were plenty of ideas, new modes yet to be presented, and conclusions on my part that I wanted to schedule, see, and play as many of these as possible.
I don't recall who suggested contacting Mike K3MC and DeWayne WA8DZP to discuss NOS and tcp/ip, but this was obviously the first in a series of personal connections I've made through Amateur Radio.
So what is NOS? As stated in the book NOSintro, the bible for NOS by Ian Wade G3NRW, NOS is a "...multi-tasking operating system that provides an extremely flexible and powerful set of communication services for use on packet radio networks, telephones, and local area networks." The system runs on top of DOS, the Mac, and various UNIX systems.
Mike described NOS as a computer-based system that could talk "standard packet radio," as well as TCP/IP, the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) and Internet Protocol (IP). TCP/IP was initially funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) a U.S. agency, around 1981 as an experiment to develop reliable computer networks.
Unless you're running one of the typical packet terminal programs under Windows or are heavy into TSRs, you know you can only do one thing at a time with Packet. For instance, you can either connect to a BBS to read your mail, OR you can 'talk' keyboard-to-keyboard with another Ham, OR you can watch for spots on a DX spotting network.
Unlike packet, NOS can have multiple things going on at the same time. For instance, you could have concurrent sessions active to receive and send e-mail (elm), AND chat with someone else (ttylink), AND log in remotely to use someone else's computer (rlogin), AND perform transfer files (ftp). If you're familiar UNIX, you will almost immediately be familiar with NOS.
Where was I going?
Mike and DeWayne got me excited about NOS and I was ready to get started. NOS seemed like a wonderful way to tie two of my technical interests together: radio and computers (my first computer encounter was back in high school (1970) where *real* computers included paper tape, Teletype machines, and timeshare systems hundreds of miles away). Once brought together, both elements could easily form the basis for a system to perform a specific task.
Hearing there was a networked community out there (listen on 145.75MHz), I wanted to be plug into that network. With approval to use the site at Las Cumbres, this project began to take shape as a member-sponsored experiment. My goal was put a station on the air that would support e-mail forwarding, provide a link between Santa Clara and Santa Cruz (and points south), and Domain Name Service. Those three objectives guided me throughout the course of my work.
The first step was to figure out what I needed. To bring up a NOS node, you need four things: a computer, TNC, radio, and an IP Address. I remember Mike making reference to Doug Thom N6OYU, the keeper of the IP Address assignments in the northern CA. Doug advised I first start off with a temporary IP address to determine if I was *serious* about this before getting a permanent IP. Fair enough.
There are plenty of things in Ham Radio that people take very seriously. One sure way of understanding the level of excitement about something is by looking at the web sites that exist to support them. NOS and tcp/ip are no exceptions. NOS has its own following and the number of web sites is impressive for such an apparently small segment of the Amateur Radio population (See the side-bar below).
I found an ftp site that had the NOS software in ZIP form, downloaded, it, and was on my way. Having the NOSIntro book was invaluable as I was getting started. It literally led me step by step on how to get the system configured. The .zip file also contained so examples of other configurations that helped with the overall installation.
I had an old 286 at home and that was my test machine. With the software loaded, I picked an experimental IP address, gave myself a host name of KN6PE-5, and finished the NOS configuration. With my KPC-3 and Radio Shack HTX-202 connected, I began to hear other NOS stations. I could telnet to other stations, but that was about all. In short, I had an elaborate system behaving like an ax.25 packet node. Hmmmmm, this NOS stuff was more complicated than I thought. What I needed was a better understanding of how networked systems work. It looked like to understand NOS, I had to understand networking.
Reading became a big part of this project. All my pursuits typically started with a trip to Computer Literacy or Barnes and Noble. Luckily, they also yielded some terrific reading material that now graces my home library.
I picked up a copy of "tcp/ip Administration" that was excellent. If gave a sound overview of networking techniques, good descriptions of the TCP and IP protocols, and a how-to to define and register my own internet domain (if it ever gets that far). It also went into enough technical detail so I could actually decode IP and TCP packets that NOS generated. With NOS' "trace" mode turned on, I could see the network traffic printed on the screen allowing me to actually see how a packet was constructed. This insight was tremendous and helped generally demystify networking for me.
But, it also pointed out a higher level of complexity that I couldn't observe with my simple one-sided set-up. I also suspected that experimenting and broadcasting from my KN6PE-5 node into the south bay skies would not be appreciated. What I needed was an off-line, secure environment where I could really understand networking. I needed to see and control all aspects of the network traffic between at least two machines. To get this, I concluded the best implementation of tcp/ip networks is on UNIX.
Now, I recall taking one or two HP-UX (HP's implementation of UNIX) classes years ago. However, as a manager, I never really had to apply it. The result: in one ear, out the other. Now I had a reason to figure this out. But I wanted to explore at home, and not mess with HP's network infrastructure. Enter Linux.
Linux is an implementation of Unix that runs on Intel, Sparc, and PowerPC platforms. It is a worldwide development effort aimed at producing an operating System (O/S) alternative to the commercially available O/Ss for general public use. Essentially, Linux is UNIX for the masses (see the About Linux Sidebar).
Figuring out Linux meant doing more reading (I'm sensing a pattern here and now running out of shelf space). A trip to Computer Literacy yielded the "Survivors Guide to Linux Systems Administration," a 700+ page tome that was accompanied by the Slakware version of Linux on CD-ROM!
Hummmm... CD-ROM. I didn't have a CD-ROM on my PC. I picked up a CD-ROM from Fry's and retreated to my garage to get it installed. The install was smooth enough considering this was my first (but not last) foray into the depths of my PC to make a hardware change. As a side note, an outcome of all my work was a familiarization with PC internals and how they are assembled and work... not necessarily new to a lot of people, but a new twist to getting a tcp/ip node up and running. Remember?
I'll skip the details of what it took to get Linux up and running. However, I did develop a new respect for anyone who has "Unix System Administration" in their job title. For IP addresses, I arbitrarily picked a consecutive set made the assignments since I wasn't going to plug into the Internet.
I also found a pair of HP ThinLan cards (ethernet over coax) in the scrap pile at work and got them working, first with DOS, then with Linux. I bought coax and BNC connectors at the Flea Market, and got excited when I got the cards to pass a link check between two systems.
With Linux loaded on one machine and NOS (under DOS) loaded on the another (configured to talk to the ThinLan card instead of the radio), I had my first instance of my "GarageNet" up and running. My little network continued to grow over the next year and is still more experimental than practical. But that's another story
I'm OK, are you OK?
From either system, I could "ping" the other system and get a reply, telnet and log on to the other machine, and transfer files between systems. What was unexpected was the amount of network traffic that seemed to occur all by itself.
While IP addresses are the basis for uniquely identifying a machine, actual machine addressing happens at the Network Interface Card (NIC) level. Each NIC has a unique address that must be known before an information transfer can take place. Companies that manufacture Network IF Cards (3COM, HP, IBM, etc) are assigned blocks of numbers and then manage the numbers for their products. So, when a data transfer needs to take place from Computer-A to Computer-B, Computer-A broadcasts an Address Resolution Protocol (ARP) request for the hardware address associated with Computer-B's NIC. Computer-B replies with its NIC address. Computer-A then sends all data packets from its NIC to Computer-B's NIC, all addressed at the hardware level.
In the Amateur Radio world, this address resolution process returns a pre-configured AX.25 address because that what TNCs need to talk to each other. For instance, my home system has an Amprnet hostname of "kn6pe" and AX.25 name is KN6PE-5.
Every so often, Computer-A would send out a request to another machine to determine if its still alive. This "are you OK?" test is mimicked in the Amprnet world as part of a routing integrity check. If lots of Amprnet nodes have this polling feature enabled, there's a lot of "I'm OK/Are you OK?" traffic flying through the air. This was evident as I watched both the GarageNet and 145.75 traffic.
While all this was fascinating, I continued to remind myself what I was doing this. Remember Amprnet? I needed to formally register for an IP Address. I contacted Doug Thom N6OYU, the IP Address Manager for Northern CA, for an IP address for my home station.
While Doug assigns addresses by city, there is a logical scheme in place. The 184.108.40.206 series of IP addresses is reserved exclusively for the Amateur Radio community. This is considered a Class A address of which there are only 128, but supports over 16 million hosts. Northern CA has the series of 220.127.116.11; Cupertino has 18.104.22.168; and I have 22.214.171.124.
The more I learned from my GarageNet experience, the more I was convinced that NOS was not sufficient for my needs. Enter JNOS. JNOS is another derivative of NOS (there's also TNOS) that was further extended with additional features and included all the ones I felt I needed. I got the latest version off the web and, because of my NOS experience, got it up and running reasonably fast.
Putting it all together
During the Fall of 1996, I began to consider what the actual hardware package would look like that would be installed up in the shack. I put a call out for help and LCARC members came through: Tom K6KMT sold me an Alinco DR-1200T (2 meter transceiver) and the club contributed a spare Kamtronics TNC. For the computer, I had an old Toshiba 2200SX portable (286/20) that fit the bill. Jey KQ6DK contributed a Post-380 J-pole (soon to be a double-skirted groundplane... hint, hint). Frank N6SZS pulled an equipment pan out of his back yard, and Dan K6PRK cut me a piece of sheet metal for equipment shelving. Except for the computer, the other electronics would run off of the shack's 12vdc system.
The assembly included developing a 12vdc power distribution box, the necessary hold-down straps for the node's components, and all the necessary cable assemblies. The equipment pan was cleaned, drilled, and all parts and components then installed on it. As the final step, a set of system document was developed and assembled covering both the hardware and software (see figure below).
Design for Remote Control
NOS extensively uses configuration files to define the systems behavior. This files cover such things as system startup, users and permissions, rules for message routing and forwarding, and various messages of the day to name a few.
For the next 8 months, the system operated out of my garage giving me time to resolve one critical piece of the system: how do you control all aspects of the system remotely from the valley floor? Because the system was very software intensive, I wanted to be able to update any software component or change a config file on the system without needing to take a trip to the site. The four things the system had to handle were:
1. Support uploading software (DOS .bat files or NOS
configuration files) to the node
2. Accept a command for JNOS to exit and restart the node
3. Cause a reboot of the computer remotely
4. Handle power failures gracefully
Additionally, these capabilities needed to be secure so that no one else could take control of the node.
After much trial and error, here's how I got the sysem to meet my needs. When power is first applied, the computer runs its usual self-tests, starts DOS, and then schedules a BAT file called JLOOP.BAT. One of the last commands in this file schedules the JNOS program. In the event of a power failure, when power is re-applied, this process repeats itself.
To upload new software, I decided to use the ftp (File Transfer Protocol). Because ftp broadcasts all ASCII in the clear, I use PKZIP to creat a binary file of any configuration or command files destined for the node plus an additional batch file named RCMD01.BAT. RCMD01.BAT is customized for each upload and, when run, copies the newly uploaded files to their correct directories. I decided to PKZIP the entire upload package -- not something I wanted to do considering these files occasionally include account names, system passwords, or other control codes.
I have a special ftp log-on that puts me in a directory called /RCMD (for remote commands). After I ftp up the PKZIP'ed file, I exit out of ftp. At this point, no changes have been applied. The last step in this process is to issue a "remote" command from home causing the remote JNOS to exit. The JLOOP.BAT file continues and (surprise, surprise) loops back to the top of the file. Now, here's what JLOOP does:
1. Set REBOOT=FALSE. More on this on Step 4.
2. Check for a /RCMD/*.ZIP file. If one exists, PKUNZIP the file.
3. Check for a /RCMD/RCMD01.BAT file. If it exists, call it and wait. Delete it when done.
4. Check the REBOOT variable. REBOOT is a system variable that could be set by RCMD01.BAT. If REBOOT=IMMEDIATE, JLOOP immediately schedules a DOS program called 'reboot,' a very small program, that initiates a programmatic cntl-alt-del. I'll typically do this if I just uploaded and installed a new AUTOEXEC.BAT, CONFIG.SYS, or other system file, and want it to take effect.
5. Check for a /RCMD/RCMD02.BAT file. If it exists, run the file and wait. DO NOT delete it when done. This file is included as a secondary command file for some yet-to-be-defined future use.
6. Check for REBOOT=DELAY. Similar to Step 4 above but scheduled after the RCMD02 test.
7. Run the JNOS program and wait.
8. JNOS terminated by request or by an abort. Loop to the top and repeat with Step 1 above.
Wrapping up loose ends
I usually worked on sorting out a variety of the system on weekends. With a temporary j-pole outside my garage, I had the k6fb node and my home kn6pe node on the air testing things out. Some time over the summer of 1997, I declared a "code freeze" to making easy "sneaker-net" (moving files by floppy) changes to the node and began to upload all changes from my own JNOS system located only 8 feet away.
Another call to Doug N6OYU and I informed him I wanted another IP address for the k6fb node. Because it was to be located in Los Gatos (and because of its high elevation), he assigned it 126.96.36.199. This IP also was associated with the hostname "losgatos." Our node not only was the first Los Gatos tcp/ip node brought on line, but also would be considered a city network node!
Space, the final frontier
It was time to get this project out of my garage. I began to work with Frank N6SZS and Dan K6PRK on how the equipment would be installed. There was only one minor problem -- there was no space left in the equipment rack in the shack. I was offered space on the floor, but due to some recent mouse problems, the prospect of some mouse pooping on my computer wasn't very appealing. Thank you, I'll wait.
Luckily, the wait wasn't very long. Dan found a communication rack and had it installed late in August 1997. Around the beginning of September, I took a trip up there with Tom and Jey to install the system. There was plenty of room in the new equipment rack and it went in without a hitch. We removed an unused 220MHz j-pole and installed Jey's 2 meter j-pole. We did a system check and everything looked good. With a final configuration check, LCARC's experimental 'losgatos' [188.8.131.52] node was put on the air.
Implementing e-mail, the hard way
Back in the garage, I spent the next several days checking out the node finding out what worked and didn't work. I was also regularly uploading changes to both DOS command and NOS configuration files as needed. One of the first things I needed to resolve was e-mail handling and forwarding.
Because I don't leave my home system on all the time, I decided to have any mail I receive delivered to kn6pe@losgatos. In this instance, 'losgatos' is my post office, holds my mail, and periodically tests to see if I'm there (Are you OK?). When I go live again, 'losgatos' automatically forwards any held e-mail to my local machine ('losgatos' also does the same thing for outgoing mail, provided it knows how to route the mail correctly). This ability to REWRITE and address (change the address from kn6pe@losgatos to kn6pe@kn6pe) is configured by the REWRITE file. This use of REWRITE also allows for recursive tests so designing rewrite rules must be carefully done. And with recursion, comes the possibility for an infinite loop.
So, on September 15 around 9:30pm, I uploaded a change to REWRITE to handle non-Ampernet addresses (such as *.com. *.gov, *.org, etc.) that I later discovered resulted in JNOS falling into such an infinite loop. The symptom from the valley looked like the node did not respond to *anything* and was essentially dead. I initially speculated on two potential problems: (1) the Toshiba PC failed because it wasn't robust enough to handle the harsh temperature swings of the shack, or (2) there was a software problem (the obvious cause considering I just made a software change!).
Troubleshooting this problem took the better part of the next 15 days and then another 15 days before I could have the fix fully implemented. In the end, I found and corrected my self-inflicted problem and also replaced the computer with a more robust PC. Chalk it up as a learning experience.
The system is fairly stable now. Like the repeater, 'losgatos' has terrific coverage for south bay cities as well as points south. Over the last few months, I've made the e-acquaintances of several others who operate tcp/ip nodes: Larry N6SLE in Pleasenton is my route for traffic heading north up the East Bay. Because 'losgatos' can't see Palo Alto, I use Mick VK2XOC in Hayward as my route to get to W6YX at Stanford. W6YX has excellent routes to the Peninsula, as well as an internet link. There is also an emerging presence in Santa Cruz. Today, Orrin WN1Z in Big Sur logs on to 'losgatos' and is also active on 145.71 (the 9600 baud channel). Lastly, Dave N6DK in San Jose is my route for traffic directed to the internet.
I've met several hams who are pushing the limit of technology in this area. For instance, Glenn N6GN, an RF engineer with HP in Santa Rosa, has implemented a 56K baud 1.2GHz link with HP and compiled Web support into his system. Next time you're on the internet, check out http://184.108.40.206/ (if you don't immediately get through, try again later). This is his garage homepage; the last 20 miles were by Amateur Radio.
With the node up and running, I'm asking the question: "what's next?" While there's still some cleaning up to do, I'm now wondering what else can I do with it. Doug N6OYU and I have been having this discussion about what applications could run on top of this radio-networked computer infrastructure. Regardless of what I'll come up with, stay tuned: it sounds like another project!
Want more information? NOS Web sites
There's no shortage of information out there on the web about NOS, JNOS, TNOS, and other variations. If interested, point your browser to any one of the following:
From the page: http://www.linux.org/info/index.html
Linux is an operating system that was initially created as a hobby by a young student, Linus Torvalds, at the University of Helsinki in Finland. Linus had an interest in Minix, a small UNIX system, and decided to develop a system that exceeded the Minix standards. He began his work in 1991 when he released version 0.02 and worked steadily until 1994 when version 1.0 of the Linux Kernel was released. The current full-featured version is 2.0, and development continues with several updates that are available for public use.
Linux is developed under the GNU General Public License and its source code is freely available to everyone. This however, doesn't mean that Linux and its assorted distributions are free -- companies and developers may charge money for it as long as the source code remains available. Linux may be used for a wide variety of purposes including networking, software development, and as an end-user platform. Linux is often considered an excellent, low-cost alternative to other more expensive operating systems.
Due to the very nature of Linux's functionality and availability, it has become quite popular worldwide and a vast number of software programmers have taken Linux's source code and adapted it to meet their individual needs. At this time, there are dozens of ongoing projects for porting Linux to various hardware configurations and purposes.
Linux has an official mascot, the Linux Penguin, which was selected by Linus Torvalds to represent the image he associates with the operating system he created.
Although many variations of the word Linux exist, it is most often pronounced with a short " i " and with the first syllable stressed, as in LIH-nucks.
Want more info? there's plenty out there... check of the following sites...
http://www.linux.org/ - Linux OnLine
http://www.li.org/ - Linux International
http://sunsite.unc.edu/mdw/linux.html - Linux Documentation Project
http://sunsite.unc.edu/mdw/HOWTO/HAM-HOWTO.html - Linux HAM-HOWTO
http://www.redhat.com/ - RedHat Software
http://www.cdromshop.com/cdshop/desc/p.747851065047.html - Slackware from the CD-ROM Shop
Set your radio to 145.75. Depending on the time of day, you might hear a lot of traffic, but not see much of it. Connect to K6FB-5. If you have not registered before, it will prompt you to register; an optional step.
To see if another station is live (such as kn6pe), enter a "ping kn6pe". If I've got my system on, you will see the reply time in milliseconds. Other stations to ping are n6sle or vk2xoc. If it times out, it doesn't necessarily mean that station is off the air. The Ping request is issued once. If there was other traffic, there could have been a collision.
Sending e-mail is about the same (keep in mind, I don't have all the links in place to the PBBS network yet... messages to stations like N0ARY will not make it!). To drop me an e-mail, address it to kn6pe. When I later turn on my node, it will then be forwarded to me.
Let me know what you think! If interested, I'll be happy to help you get a station up and running.
73, jim email@example.com
Hams help in West Coast flooding
Amateur Radio has been very active in the San Francisco area, assisting emergency officials in coping with the disastrous effects of heavy rains in recent days. ARRL San Francisco Section Manager John Wallack, W6TLK, reports that floods and mudslides have closed many roads and isolated smaller communities, especially along the coast.
"With more rain forecast for this week, flooding along the Russian River here in Sonoma County may enter a second week," Wallack says. In six canyons along the river, 400 homes are at risk of sliding down muddy slopes.
Hams have been stationed in the affected areas at shelters and EOCs since the disaster started on February 3. In Mendocino, Lake, Humboldt and Marin counties hams have also been active in supporting emergency activities. Wallack says he worked at the Sonoma County EOC February 6 and 7. "I had a chance to see the excellent response by the emergency ham radio teams in assisting emergency officials in responding to the serious needs of our community," he said. "Amateur Radio has again proved to be a valuable resource."
Retiring -- new Summit Sentinel editor wanted
The April 1998 edition marks my 4th anniversary for producing the Summit Sentinel. And with this edition, I am turning in my editor's visor and red correction pen!
Over the years, it was a pleasure for me to keep the membership informed on what's happening in the club, in the Bay Area, and throughout the rest of the Amateur Radio community. I found a wealth of interesting topics and subjects out there, most of which found their way into one edition or another of the Sentinel. It was amazing how many Christmas and holiday stories surfaced late each year, and how a bunch of funny stories would show up all the other times.
Through those stories and those who wrote them, I've also learned a lot about our hobby, thereby giving me the confidence to kick off my own projects and write them up as well (see pages 2 thru 7, this issue!).
Now, I its time for a change, mainly because I am the recipient of so much of it these days. I've recently taken a new job with HP that is both exciting and time consuming. This by itself will be a challenge. Additionally, I was asked to take over the job of Emergency Coordinator for the City of Cupertino, yet another one of my keen interests and an obvious natural link for amateur radio.
I'd like to extend a special thanks to all those who took the time to put your thoughts down on paper (or e-paper) and send them in. Your insights, trials, and tribulations further enriched the overall ham radio experience for those who read your stories. Thank you for your contributions!
If interested in the job of Summit Sentinel, please give me or any other Board Member a call. I'll be glad to tell you what's involved and how to get an edition out the door.
The last edition I will be editing will be June 1998.
What kind of Punny Business is this?!?
Here's a great URL I received from my buddy in Chicago (W9RUV). I guarentee that this will cause a significant waste of time just browsing a few of these links.
Highlights from the ARRL Pacific Division Update
Brad Wyatt K6WR; excerpted from April 1998 edition
Brad Wyatt K6WR, Director, Pacific Division, ARRL
(408) 395-2501 (Phone and FAX)
WWW Pacific Division Home Page -- http://www.pdarrl.org/
FCC News Relating to Amateur Radio
ARRL visits FCC Commissioners and staff -- On Monday, March 9, ARRL President Rod Stafford, W6ROD, and ARRL General Counsel Chris Imlay, W3KD, "told the Amateur Radio story" to key officials in Washington, D.C. Four of the five Commissioners are new in the last few months. Rod and Chris called on Commissioner Ness, Commissioner Powell (new) and Rick Chessen, the Senior Legal Advisor to Commissioner Tristani (new).
Rod and Chris were also able to call on Richard Lee, the relatively new Chief of Compliance and Information Bureau (CIB), who is charged with enforcement and with D'wana Terry, the Acting Chief, Private Wireless Division of WTB. The WTB is the group which has oversight of Amateur Radio.
The visits were cordial and informative. Only time will tell of the outcomes, but significantly, these calls were made at the top level.
FCC Chairman Kennard comments on enforcement -- Kennard made an interesting comment before the Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, State and the Judiciary, Appropriations Committee of the Senate on the FCC FY 1999 Budget Estimates. Of particular interest was the part on enforcement and on the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau. While, the enforcement perspective is not directed at amateur radio it does show a renewed interest in the subject on Kennard's part; something he has noted several times in print in the 4.5 months he has been Chairman. aybe there is hope for real enforcement!
Ham RF Exposure Guidelines Effective Jan. 1, 1998
Compliance with the new guidelines should be straightforward for the vast majority of hams and should require few changes in current operating practices. These Amateur Radio rules deal with the general public for the first time in a new substantial manner; therefore, compliance is very important.
There are numerous information resources available - a comprehensive ARRL book, entitled, "RF Exposure and You", order number 6621, is now available; an excellent summary of the guidelines is contained in October 1997 QST, pages 51 and 52. An article titled "How To Do a Routine Evaluation," starting at page 50 in the January 1998 QST, will answer many questions.
For the latest news on this matter and linkage to related Web sites, visit the ARRL RF-Safety Web page at http://www.arrl.org/news/rfsafety.
To obtain the FCC documents directly refer to the FCC site at http://www.fcc.gov/oet/rfsafety.
House of Representatives Passes Scanner Bill
HR 2369, the Wireless Privacy Enhancement Act of 1998, has passed on the floor of the House of Representatives by a vote of 414 to 1 with 15 members not voting. The bill that was voted on included a report from the House Commerce Committee with the following language, worked out in cooperation with ARRL: "The Committee does not intend to prohibit amateurs from modifying linear amplifiers after purchase, as permitted by Commission rules nor does the Committee intend for Section 2(a) to be interpreted in a manner that would discourage manufacturers or dealers of amateur equipment from providing amateur licensees with information about permissible modifications to enable them to transmit and receive on Military Affiliate Radio Service and the Civil Air Patrol." Thus, it is very clear that Amateur Radio interests have been well protected by a substantial, friendly ARRL interaction with Congress.
The full report and bill as amended and passed may be found at: ftp://ftp.loc.gov/pub/thomas/cp105/hr425.txt
Thanks, Steve Mansfield, N1MZA, ARRL Legislative Affairs Manager.
New ARRL Section Managers in the Pacific Division
In the Pacific Section, Ronald Phillips, AH6HN, of Keaau, HI, will take office on April 1 as the result of an uncontested election. Phillips will succeed current Pacific SM Dean Manley, KH6B, who chose not to run again.
In the Santa Clara Valley Section, Geoffrey Ellis, KD6MFM, of Santa Cruz, CA, will take office on July 1 as the result of an uncontested election. Ellis will succeed current SCV SM Kit Blanke, WA6PWW, who chose not to run again.
Thanks Dean and Kit for your service. Welcome Ron and Geoff to the team!
Pacific Division Hams in New York Times Article
There was a great article in the Mar. 5 issue entitled, "Ham Radio, Version 2.0 for the Silicon Era" by John W. Verity. The premise is that there's a new generation of hams "reinventing" it for the digital era. In the article several hams were interviewed including Pacific Division hams --- Dewayne Hendricks, WA8DZP, Assistant Director, and Geoffrey Baehr, N6LXA. The article can be found at URL http://www.nytimes.com/library/tech/98/03/circuits/articles/05ham-radio.html.
Las Cumbres ARC April 1998 Dues Coupon
The membership approved the following dues schedule for the 1998 Operating Year:
|January 1 thru April 30||$23.00||$27.00 + $20.00 initiation|
|May 1 thru August 31||$27.00||$18.00 + $20.00 initiation|
|Sep 1 thru December 31||Delinquent*||$ 9.00 + $20.00 initiation|
* Delinquent members are removed from the membership rolls as per Section 3.5 of the Bylaws.
1. Please make your check payable to: "LCARC" for the amount $23.00
2. Please list your call sign on your check and here:
3. Tear off and send this form along with your check to:
Las Cumbres ARC
P.O. Box 2451
Cupertino, CA 95015-2451
Las Cumbres Amateur Radio Club (LCARC)
LCARC is a California non-profit mutual benefit corporation
dedicated to Amateur Radio Service and Emergency Communication.
It's purpose is to support scientific investigation in radio
engineering and emergency communication skills development for
Repeaters & Services operated by LCARC
K6FB/R: 145.450 MHz (-), PL=100, linked with
K6FB/R: 442.575 MHz (+), PL=100
K6FB/R: 223.880 MHz (-), PL=100
K6FB-1 Digipeater: 145.050 MHz
K6FB-2 Bulletin Board: 145.050 MHz
K6FB-7 Node (alias LCARC): 145.050 MHz
K6FB-5 tcp/ip "losgatos" [220.127.116.11], 145.750 MHz
Nets and Meetings
The LCARC Net is held every Monday evening at 7:30pm local time on the K6FB/R repeaters. Guests and visitors are welcome to check in. Volunteers for net control for the following week's net are solicited (and encouraged) at the end of each net.
General meetings are held at the Hewlett-Packard Cupertino Site, Oak Room, Building 48, located at Wolfe Road and Pruneridge Avenue (entrance on Pruneridge) at 7:30 PM, on the second Tuesday of every month unless otherwise noted (see page 1 for location and dates). Talk-in on K6FB/R.
Officers and Board of Directors
Jey Yelland / KQ6DK . . . . . . President Mark Wunderman KE6QCT . . . . . Vice President Harry Workman / K6JTC . . . . . Treasurer Ned Rice / KE6ZOZ . . . . . . . Membership Jim Oberhofer / KN6PE . . . . . Secretary Frank Butcher / W6SZS . . . . . TCC Tom Campbell / K6KMT . . . . . Trustee Dan Smith / K6PRK . . . . . . . Member at Large
The Summit Sentinel is published monthly by the LCARC. Permission is granted to reprint from this publication with appropriate source credit. The deadline for submitting items is the first Friday following each general meeting. Send your contributions to Jey Yelland KQ6DK:
phone: w: 650.236.3870 h:408.379.6759