On the Horizon
FCC Proposes to Streamline Amateur Rules
Here's the W1AW bulletin that will be released later today (8/11/98).
The FCC has proposed to phase out the Novice and Technician Plus class licenses, leaving just four amateur license classes in place--Technician, General, Advanced, and Extra. The Commission also has asked the amateur community to express its opinions on Morse code requirements for licensing and testing, but offered no specific changes. And the FCC proposed to permit Advanced class licensees to administer amateur exams up through General class. The proposals were among several suggested rules changes and invitations to comment contained in an FCC Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, WT Docket 98-143, made public August 10.
In proposing to phase out the Novice and Tech Plus tickets, the FCC said "there appears to be an unnecessary overlap between the Novice, Technician, and Technician Plus license classes." The FCC also said that Technician and Tech Plus operators "predominantly" use FM and packet on VHF and UHF. In addition, the FCC said Novice applicants last year numbered fewer than 1000, while there were nearly 21,500 Technician applications. Under the FCC plan, Novice and Tech Plus licensees would retain current operating privileges, but no new Novice or Tech Plus licenses would be granted. For examination purposes, current examination elements 2 and 3A would be combined into a new element 3A. For administrative purposes, the FCC would combine the current Technician and Tech Plus databases into a single Technician database. The proposal would eliminate the 5 WPM code test, Element 1A, as a required element for any class of license.
The elimination of the Novice and Tech Plus license classes would effectively raise the bar for future applicants desiring to gain HF operating privileges, unless the FCC ultimately reduces Morse code testing requirements. Since the General class license would become the entry-level HF ticket under the FCC's proposed rules, applicants would have to pass at least the 13 WPM code test.
The FCC did not propose to change any operating frequencies or license privileges for amateurs. However, the FCC does seeks comment on the disposition of the current Novice HF bands, which carry a 200-W output power limit for all licensees. The FCC invited comment on whether it would be "appropriate" to delete the Novice bands and the power restrictions on higher-class licensees and permit Novices to operate CW anywhere on 80, 40, 15, and 10 meters at 200 W output. The FCC opened the door to comments on all aspects of Morse code testing from the amateur community. In particular, the Commission said it wants to know if hams prefer the current three-level system or would like to see it reduced to a one or two-tier system--and, if so, at what required speeds. The FCC asked whether hams would be willing to trade a reduction in Morse code requirements for additional written elements on newer digital technologies "which, in part, are replacing the Morse code." And, the Commission asked whether it should consider specifying Morse code examination methods, such as fill-in-the-blank or one minute of solid copy, instead of allowing VEs to determine the testing method.
In a related issue, the FCC also seeks comments on how to deal with potential abuses of the current disability waiver for higher-speed Morse code tests. In RM-9196, the ARRL had asked the FCC to require anyone applying for an exemption pursuant to a doctor's certification to first attempt the higher-speed test before examination credit could be given. The League also asked that VECs have access to relevant medical information from the certifying physician. The FCC said the ARRL's proposal would place "an unfair burden on examinees" and raised serious privacy and confidentiality issues.
The FCC went along with an ARRL petition and proposed allowing Advanced class hams to be eligible to prepare and administer license examinations up through General class under the VE program. The Commission said the change would permit greater testing opportunities for hams. The FCC also invited comments on whether it should change written examination requirements "to provide VEs and VECs additional flexibility in determining the specific contents of written examinations."
Referring to yet another ARRL petition, RM-9150, the FCC invited comments on how it can improve its Amateur Radio enforcement processes. The FCC applauded the ARRL "for its creative thinking" in that petition, but said the specific proposal was "inconsistent" with the current statutory role of administrative law judges. The FCC raised the possibility of encouraging complainants to include a draft order "to show cause to initiate a revocation or cease and desist hearing proceeding." The FCC said it also wants to hear how it can better use the services of the Amateur Auxiliary in beefing up enforcement.
The FCC proposed to phase out Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service, or RACES, stations by not renewing their licenses. No new RACES licenses have been issued since 1980, and only 249 valid licenses remain. The FCC said RACES stations no longer are needed because any amateur station that has been properly registered with a civil defense organization has the same privileges as a RACES station.
The FCC also took the occasion to clarify the definition of "power" as used in the RF exposure table in Section 97.13(c)(1). The FCC said it refers to peak envelope power (PEP) input to the antenna. It also made clear that no one holding an FCC-issued ham ticket may apply for a reciprocal permit for alien amateur license.
The FCC set a longer-than-normal comment period. The deadline for comments is December 1, 1998. The deadline for reply comments is January 15, 1999. The FCC will accept electronic comments via the Internet at... http://www.fcc.gov/e-file/ecfs.html. A copy of the complete NPRM will be posted on the ARRLWeb page, http://www.arrl.org, as soon as it is available. As of 1030 today, you also can download the FCC NPRM itself from the FCC website in Word Perfect 5.1 or text versions as: http://www.fcc.gov/Bureaus/Wireless/Notices/1998/fcc98183.wp or http://www.fcc.gov/Bureaus/Wireless/Notices/1998/fcc98183.txt
Here's a few things that I'd like you to know about...
Las Cumbres Shack Painting Party: We need a few hands to help with cleaning and exterior painting at our flagship repeater location. We'll meet for a hearty breakfast down in the valley, then we'll head up the hill to the shack about 8:30. If you've been curious to have a look at the shack this would be a grand opportunity!
Silicon Valley Marathon: What will you be doing on the morning of October 25th? Nothing? Don't know? Plan now to join us in an event to showcase amateur radio operators at the Marathon in downtown San Jose! 50+ ham volunteers are needed to staff mileposts, net control, and shadow key event organizers. Your help is desperately needed. Sign ups in advance are required.
Web Page Updated: Look for newly added back issues of Summit Sentinels, Volunteer Opportunities, and new Black Mountain pictures. Surf to www.ihot.com/~k6prk/k6fb.html to have a look.
Nominations Committee: It's time to form a nominating committee for our February election. Would you like to serve on that committee to select our next Directors? Are you interested in serving as a Director? Speak up!
Battery Door Prizes: As many regular meeting attendees know, James KE6RAV frequently provides used-but-not-abused rechargeable batteries as door prizes. The batteries have been taken out of service from hospital gear; most still have lots of life left. Have you been able to use one of these battery packs for something interesting? Consider taking a moment to write a thank you note to our battery benefactor: Jordan Pavacich, RN [KE6DXY]; Santa Clara Valley Medical Center; 751 S Bascom Ave; San Jose, CA 95128. Exclaim your appreciation and tell Jordan how you've used your battery. This will go a long way to keeping this program active.
New Member Information Document: The Directors are all hard at work revamping this document for a September release. It has been several years since this was last updated. If you would like a new copy just ask.
Do you want to get something about the club off your chest? Do you have an idea or feedback? Do you want to sign up for any of these opportunities? Contact Jey (h:408.379.6759, w:650.236.3870, c:408.799.1272, or email: email@example.com) or contact any Director. Until next time, 73 de KQ6DK
A Real Life SET
Jim Piper / KD6YKL
AEC for Admin and Training ARES, Watsonville CA Operational Area Friday, 23 May 1997, 1539 hrs.
Portions of this article appeared in QST.
"Net Control this is Tower. Plane down 2 miles northeast of field. Request for fire services." Thus a routine and relatively quiet Friday afternoon for ARES participation in the West Coast Antique Fly-in and Air Show was immediately turned into a "this is no drill" incident. Without surprise, our training paid off and we performed as expected.
The West Coast Antique Fly-in and Air Show takes place at the general aviation airport (WVI) Watsonville, California each Memorial Holiday weekend beginning with static ground displays Friday morning through Sunday and with aerial displays Friday evening and Saturday and Sunday afternoons. Watsonville ARES began its participation by supplementing the Emergency Services Unit (ESU) communications during the 1992 air show. During the 1992 air show, the ESU was relying on simplex communications over 460 MHz commercial channels. When severe multi-path hampered the ESU's communications, ARES was asked to help solve the problem. ARES promptly did so by using the local 2M repeater, launching Watsonville ARES from being mere helpers with communications to becoming the backbone of event emergency communications. Participating annually for the past 5 years, Amateur Radio Emergency Services (Watsonville, CA Operational Area) has been an integral part of the Emergency Services Unit for the air show. ARES has been the thread that ties together Civil Air Patrol, Watsonville city fire, California Division of Forestry (CDF), police, security, medical, and public safety all working as part of the ESU, plus the Air Boss and the FAA. Without ARES, air show communications is more akin to the Tower of Babel.
Since that first year, our communications services have become more complete. Depending on the requirements, we use the local Santa Cruz County Amateur Radio Club 2M machine located adjacent to the air port and our own ARES 2M machine located within 1.2 miles of the airport. We also use simplex channels for command and ATV communications. With ATV, we provide the ESU Director with an eye on the spectators before the aerial performance begins. Initially, one may think that simplex is all that's needed to communicate within the small confines of a general aviation airport. However, the multipath problem (described above), caused by near by metal hangers and the metal airframes of hundreds of transient aircraft, greatly impedes reliable simplex communications. Our repeaters mitigate the multipath problem. However, take thousands of shelterless antique airplane enthusiasts, crowd them together in the open, with inefficient logistics to support them, and expose them to the potential of immediate danger. Blend that with volatile weather (hot, cold, foggy, rainy - its been all of those) and taxiing propeller-driven aircraft, then mix well with a hefty dose of Murphy's Law, and you have the recipe for a full-blown disaster. Our role has been to stay between these civilians and a very gruesome death that, at times, is only tens of feet away. To avert disaster and mitigate the results of catastrophe, the Director of the Emergency Services Unit and his lieutenants need a constant flow of information to keep abreast of emergencies or emergencies in the making. And Amateur Radio provides it.
Each air show requires as many as 30 Radio Amateurs to staff. Assignments include up to 10 dead line positions (a safety line beyond which spectators are not allowed), several shadow positions, medical tent, fire staging positions, police van, aircraft staging areas, FAA tower, Air Boss (he controls air operations during the air show itself), and announcing stand, plus ARES supervisor positions. In addition to the Ham net, ARES volunteers on shadow positions are frequently required to communicate over multiple circuits, using commercial radio equ ipment. As volunteers, we are tasked with whatever job is at hand, from doing what we do best: from passing radio traffic to transporting injured pilots (more on that later).
Though frequently boring, the most important positions are those on the dead line. This safety line is parallel to and a finite distance from the center of the airstrip. Unauthorized persons crossing this line results in a literal a showstopper. If crossed too frequently, the on-scene FAA safety observer can terminate the air show. Radio operators on the dead line report dead line breaches to the ESU higher staff whose job it is to remove the offenders to a safe area (i.e., behind the dead line). Those radio operators on dead line positions, however, do enjoy a front-row "seat" to the aerial performances.
The job doesn't end with crowd safety. Lost children, "found" children and lost parents, and reporting security and safety incidents, are the norm. But, ever present on everyone's mind is the big What If we are faced with a mass casualty situation - an aircraft into the crowd. Fortunately, the West Coast Fly-In and Air Show has been blessed with an excellent safety record. This year's event with an aircraft down off-field has done little to blemish that safety record.
In that incident, I was shadowing the Director of the ESU. In addition to my Ham HT, my equipment included a 6-channel 460 MHz commercial band HT and an 800 MHz HT. My responsibilities included keeping the Director constantly informed of happenings on the field - no mean feat while listening to three radio circuits! The Director was taking a break in the ESU and Logistics center when the Ham at the Tower called in about the downed aircraft. We immediately went from laid back and relaxed to adrenaline-charged.
After a quick trip out to the portable tower (on loan from the California Air National Guard; Watsonville airport is normally uncontrolled) to ascertain exactly what was happening, the Director decided to go to the crash site to assist. I volunteered the use of my Ford Explorer both because of its 4-wheel drive and because it's Ham equipped. To get to the crash site on a dry lake bed, we had to traverse some farmland, part of which had recently been irrigated (thank goodness for 4-wheel drive!). On the way we came upon three Sheriff's deputies on foot who were quite grateful for a lift.
We took the deputies to where an ambulance and its paramedics had staged over a mile from the crash site (they found another way in), waiting for a Fire EMT crew to evacuate the pilot. The EMTs had hiked from their engine (near the ambulance) to the crash site. With no other viable way to transport the pilot, the paramedics asked if we could do it. Such is a request to which you don't say "no." Again taking the deputies on board, we proceeded to the crash site. On the way, one of the Sheriff's deputies used his cell phone to talk to the FAA safety observer back at the field. Because the battery for the FAA observer's phone quickly died during that conversation, all further information was relayed to the FAA was via Amateur Radio. (Another case where agencies are imprudently relying on the mythical benefit of using cell phones for emergency incidents.) We quickly found that neither the 460 MHz business band nor the 800 MHz simplex radios could reach the airfield (the crash site was in a hollow and there was simply too much dirt between us and the airfield). So, our ARES circuit forwarded a request for a squad of Civil Air Patrol cadets and our status to Net Control back at the airfield.
When we got to the crash site, the EMT's were completing the job of securing the pilot to a back board to ready him for transport. They loaded him into the back of my Explorer and back we went to the ambulance.
[The pilot stayed at the local hospital overnight for observation. He was at the airfield the next day, having suffered only from bumps and bruises - a lucky pilot indeed! The aircraft involved was a replica GeeBee Sportster, a 1930's vintage racing aircraft that, without power, flies like a streamlined brick - which it did after its engine lost oil and seized.]
After the pilot was safely evacuated, I shuttled back to the crash site. After ferrying the sheriff's deputies back out to the ambulance, I returned to my shadow responsibilities.
Meanwhile, back at the airfield, ARES was busy. In our absence, an aircraft lost a wheel retaining ring while traversing from the runway to a taxi way. Radio traffic was quickly passed to dispatch the necessary recovery crews to remove the aircraft from the field and to initiate a search for the missing wheel retaining ring somewhere on the runway. On our return to the airfield, things quieted down to the pre-incident relaxed pace.
Saturday and Sunday, fortunately, were less intense. No other mishaps with aircraft, just "routine" searches for and finding lost children, assisting with on-field medical emergencies, dead line safety issues, and so forth.
For Watsonville ARES, the air show is an annual exercise equivalent to, nay is, a full blown incident. Working hand-in-hand with the above agencies within the structure of the Incident Command System (ICS), what we do at the air show is virtually the same things we would be doing had we been activated and mobilized for a declared emergency. This annual event provides us with an unparalleled opportunity to train in an environment that can shift from boring to a highly stress-induced adrenaline rush. No scripted radio traffic, just the "real thing." Add in variable weather with the need to be almost entirely self-sufficient and we have a scenario that closely replicates our support role in a genuine countywide disaster.
Every year, we plan, we recruit volunteers, and we pre-assign positions. However, when we report for duty, we find that Edsel Murphy has stepped in with plans of his own. So, crumple up the plan, toss it, and start over with a clean sheet. Sound similar to what happens during a "real" event? And this year, the downed aircraft turned things very real. Consequently, we have adopted the motto: Improvise, Adapt, and Overcome.
A postscript to the downed-aircraft incident: before the incident, the FAA safety observer had no clue about who or what ARES is, at least not until his cell phone quit. When he casually complained about the report he had to prepare, ARES offered him a copy of our log compiled during the incident. He was extremely surprised and quite grateful to find that we kept a log at all. For your interest and with all its warts, our log for the entire air show follows (link to URL below). Note: though some of the log entries may give the appearance that we were participating in the business of the air show, all such communications involved the movement of aircraft - any movement of which presented potential hazards to the general public.
For pictures and log, see the web site... http://www.pdarrl.org/scvsec/articles/kd6ykl-1/index.html [Thanks Tom K6KMT for passing this on! ed.]
Amateur Radio Darwin Awards
This one needs an introduction, so you won't be lost at the beginning. This man was in an accident at work, so he filled out an insurance claim . The insurance company contacted him and asked for more information . This was his response:
"I am writing in response to your request for additional information, for block number 3 of the accident reporting form. I put 'poor planning' as the cause of my accident. You said in your letter that I should explain more fully and I trust the following detail will be sufficient. I am an amateur radio operator and on the day of the accident, I was working alone on the top section of my new 80 foot tower. When I had completed my work, I discovered that I had, over the course of several trips up the tower, brought up about 300 pounds of tools and spare hardware. Rather than carry the now un-needed tools and material down by hand, I decided to lower the items down in a small barrel by using the pulley attached to the gin pole at the top of the tower. Securing the rope at ground level, I went to the top of the tower and loaded the tools and material into the barrel. Then I went back to the ground and untied the rope, holding it tightly to ensure a slow decent of the 300 pounds of tools."
"You will note in block number 11 of the accident reporting form that I weigh only 155 pounds. Due to my surprise of being jerked off the ground so suddenly, I lost my presence of mind and forgot to let go of the rope. Needless to say, I proceeded at a rather rapid rate of speed up the side of the tower. In the vicinity of the 40 foot level, I met the barrel coming down. This explains my fractured skull and broken collarbone. Slowed only slightly, I continued my rapid ascent, not stopping until the fingers of my right hand were two knuckles deep into the pulley. Fortunately, by this time, I had regained my presence of mind and was able to hold onto the rope in spite of my pain. At approximately the same time, however, the barrel of tools hit the ground and the bottom fell out of the barrel."
"Devoid of the weight of the tools, the barrel now weighed approximately 20 pounds. I refer you again to my weight in block number 11. As you might imagine, I began a rapid descent down the side of the tower. In the vicinity of the 40 foot level, I met the barrel coming up. This accounts for the two fractured ankles, and the lacerations of my legs and lower body. The encounter with the barrel slowed me enough to lessen my injuries when I fell onto the pile of tools and, fortunately, only three vertebrae were cracked. I am sorry to report, however, that as I lay there on the tools, in pain, unable to stand and watching the empty barrel 80 feet above me, I again lost my presence of mind. I let go of the rope..."
Introduction to Amateur Satellites
Malt Massie, KC8DWD
Working satellites are one of Ham Radio's hidden treasures. Do you want to try out Space Communications? Do you have to spend a fortune? Well, not entirely. Believe it or not, you can try out the Russian Easy-Sats with as little as 10 Watts on 2 meters.
RS-10 is the name of one bird that can be worked easily. RS-10 receives signals on 2 meters and retransmits them on 10 meters. You can work RS-10 on a Technician Class License. RS-10 is a CW/SSB only transponder. The satellite is much like a repeater, except it has much more bandwidth, allowing many channels of QSO to take place on a single pass. Unlike most TV satellites, ham satellites are synchronous, meaning they rotate the earth, and are not at a fixed location. This means we have to track the satellites with computer software. If you have Internet access, you can find information on how to predict satellite pass times. RS-10 has a CW beacon on 29.357 MHz. However, the frequency may actually be a few kilohertz higher or lower than 29.357. Why?
Well, we run into a thing called Doppler effect. Just like the train whistle goes up in pitch until it passes, then proceeds to drop. As the satellite gets closer and farther from the earth, the frequency changes. Two other terms, uplink and downlink, are often used. Uplink is your 2 meter transmission; the downlink is your signal coming back out on 10 meters. One obstacle is the need for a 2 meter transmitter and 10 meter receiver. It's best to use headphones with the 10 meter receiver. When you transmit, you will hear your signal coming back down.
Antenna-wise, a dipole will work fine for 10 meters. A 5/8 wave vertical is great; a 1/4 will also work. If you don't have a 2 meter all-mode, you can use a mobile by hooking up a straight key to the PTT (push to talk), and the ground so that pressing the key shorts PTT to ground. Your signal will have a chirpy sound, but it's enough to make a contact. This will work for CW only.
Another thing to consider-the satellite moves fast. It's only above the horizon for a period of minutes. RS-10 goes around the world in 90 minutes. Start out listening for the beacon. Once you hear a good signal, then start trying to make your contacts. Use the beacon to judge the Doppler effect. If it's I kilohertz higher, your signal will probably come down 1 kilohertz higher. First, try a series of dits to try to hear your signal on downlink. Adjust transmit frequency until you hear it. Be careful not to cause interference to ongoing QSO'S.
Try calling CQ CQ RS DE callsign, callsign K. Then listen. It's not uncommon to hear people start tuning up to you as soon as you start calling CQ. That way they're on frequency when you're done calling CQ. Remember time is limited-most contacts exchange calls, state, name, signal report. Typical response to CQ is: KC8DWD DE W3TFA OP STAN 559 MY KN. Sometimes you might only get a callsign.
Let's just say with 10 watts you can make some contacts a whole lot farther than on the local repeater. I worked Canada, Florida, Maryland, Nebraska with my first few tries.
RS-10 also has a CW robot. The Robot calls CQ and tells the uplink frequency. You can call the robot back by calling RS-10 DE callsign AR. High speed CW works best. If you successfully make it, it will call back callsign DE RS10 QSO NR 450 OP ROBOT TU USW QSO NR 450 73 SK. QSL cards are available from Radio Sport Federation, Box 88, Moscow, Russia. Make sure to copy the QSO number.
Another new term transponder, the RS10 receives all signals from 145.860 - 145.900 MHz and transmits them on 29.360 - 29.400 MHz meaning if your uplink is on 145.861, the downlink will be 29.361. Don't forget about Doppler shift. Never try to operate FM. CW is permitted only between 145.860 - 145.870 MHz. SSB is reserved for 145.870 - 145.900 MHz. Below is the pass bands chart. Hope to hear you on the bird. Have fun.
Uplink Mode A 145.860 - 145.900 mHz.
Downlink 29.360 - 29.400 mHz.
Beacons 29.357 MHz., 29.403 mHz.
[As printed in the June 1997 issue of "Hello Radio", the quarterly newsletter of the Lawrence County, OH ARES and RACES groups. Ken Massie-WN8F Editor.]
If you are interested in following up with Amateur Satellites, ARRL has some good books in print. Also, AMSAT is a non-profit organization dedicated to the development and deployment of amateur satellites. Their web site address is www.amsat.org. Lastly, our own John KJ6ZL is an active on the satellites. -- ed.
Invisible Antennas (almost)
With all the upgrades in our club lately (including me), one of hot items of discussion on the repeater is how to get on the High Frequency (HF) bands when you live in an apartment or condo. Ideas for reduced space, compact, or invisible antennas for this kind of dwelling have been numerous and interesting.
First, let's remember that the name of the game here is to put radio frequency energy into the air. Never lose sight of that. How we do it is secondary. How we hide the antenna is limited only to the imagination. With a good antenna tuner, almost anything metallic will work. But remember this, your bandwidth is very narrow. Usually, if you vary your frequency more than ten kilohertz you will have to re-tune.
Your First Concern
Always remember that when you are in the apartment/condo environment, you have lots of neighbors, so be a good one. After you assemble your antenna, tune up your radio and antenna and transmit briefly while your spouse or a friend is listening to the TV and stereo. If you get any kind of interference, quit and work on the problem. Low-pass filters often help for these kinds of problems. Running reduced power helps for other interference problems. Grounding your radio is an absolute must. A good ground in an apartment is often hard to get, but if you can find a copper cold-water pipe in your apartment, that is a good first step. Use a "saddle clamp" to get a good connection. Be aware that the hot-water pipes tend to be "ground isolated" through the hot water heater, so avoid them.
Refer to one of the ARRL publications and look at the block diagrams for "Connecting Radio to VSWR meter to Tuner to Antenna". After you are sure you have this right, look at the construction details for dipoles and random wires.
Invisible Random Wire: A length of small-gauge enameled wire (my first apartment antenna used #30 wire) between a window and any nearby structure or tree. This will work with modest success. The longer the better, but "space available" is what you use.
Remember that this type of antenna will come down in a stiff breeze so be prepared to replace it often. One thing to avoid is picking up a roll of electric fence wire. This kind of wire has so large a resistance that you are putting up a dummy load rather than an antenna.
Gable Dipoles: Wire dipoles stapled along the gable of a house or an apartment work quite well. An antenna with traps is hard to hide, so a dipole antenna per band with a quick-disconnect connector like a BNC is a must. Choose an insulated wire that matches the color of the wood trim of your apartment or house. I had a sharp-eyed apartment superintendent catch me once because of the wire color. I also have to admit that a green wire against an off-white wood was a poor choice. My explanation that I would be using them for Christmas lights did not wash.
Copper Tape Antennas: These usually work quite well but can be hard to hide. The wide copper tape is just too obvious. If you promise to paint over it when you have it mounted, you can be in DX Heaven. Several different manufactures make these and you have to follow the instructions exactly. Don't read anything into the instructions. Just follow them to the letter.
Slinky Antennas/Dryer Duct Antennas: Dipoles made of Slinkys or out of flexible clothes dryer ducts can be supported on monofilament fishing line. A hallway or unused wall can be used for this kind of antenna. Again, follow the construction details for a dipole. When making the solder connections to these devices, be sure and scrape the insulating material well and make sure that the solder connections are solid.
Mobile Antennas: Mobile Antennas such as the Hustler or Outbacker brands can be used in apartments. I have used a large flowerpot, filled it with QuickCrete and placed a piece of large-diameter EMT conduit in the pot for the mast. An Outbacker antenna was mounted to the mast, then placed on the patio of my second-floor apartment. A small American flag was placed on top of the antenna. The same thing can be done with a Hustler antenna. In my wife's case, she had a propane grill on the patio and mounted the antenna to the grill. Just remember not to cook and transmit at the same time. One hundred watts can really tingle when you are flipping burgers.
Screen Doors, Gutters and Railings: Prior to trying to use these, first check to see if you have a resistance path to ground. If you see even a slight resistance to ground, give up the idea: an antenna doesn't work if it is grounded. If, however, you don't see any resistance to ground, give it a try and slowly increase your power. Apartment complexes are funny when it comes to appliances.
When a friend of mine used the guttering of an apartment complex and transmitted, the range/ovens in ALL of the apartments turned on. This did not make him many friends.
The DOOR Antenna: This reduced-space antenna has the advantage of being somewhat directional. If you have an unused door to a room in your apartment or condo, start by making an "X" with masking tape from corner to corner. Mark the tape every half-inch from the outside edges. Using pushpins place a pin at every mark on the "X". You have now made a form for the antenna.
Using small-gauge enameled wire, start at the bottom of the door. Anchor the wire to the outside-most pin. Wrap the wire in a spiral fashion using the pins for guides. When the antenna is finished, you get your directionality by moving the door in and out
. HF antennas in an apartment or condo can be done. Just bear in mind a few things. First, be a good neighbor and if some one has an interference complaint try to solve it. Next, with this kind of set up you can not be a "BIG GUN" so don't try to be. You won't make all the contacts, but those that you do will be special. Experiment.
One of the biggest thrills I have had was working Germany on 30 foot of 28-gauge wire from my first apartment. That contact sparked a lifetime interest in this hobby.
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 its members.
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
News, 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 third Tuesday of every month unless otherwise noted. Talk-in on K6FB/R.
Club members and guests are welcome to visit us on our home page at: http://www.ihot.com/~k6prk/k6fb.html
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 Jim KN6PE at:
packet: KN6PE@N0ARY or leave on K6FB-2
fax: 408-746-5828; phone: 408-746-5568