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The EARS WA4IWLetter


APRIL 2000

-- PRESIDENT'S MESSAGE --

Whilst I was working in Egypt, circa 1984-86, an open black market existed for hard, i.e. foreign, currency. In Alexandria, we would cash a check at the Bank of America office and then go to a "toy store" where we converted our Dollars into Egyptian Pounds at a decent rate. The front page of the Alexandria paper even quoted the daily black market rate.

However, while working in Cairo, the most "notorious" currency black marketeer was arrested. Our project manager voiced his well-founded opinion that "they should erect a statue for him instead of arresting him!" Very true, for expatriates were very reluctant to by ripped off, having to exchange their hard currency at the "official" rate. That black marketeer brought more vital hard currency into Egypt than their government sources ever could.

More recently the (not "our") government has been castigating and vilifying Bill Gates and Microsoft as money-hungry monopolists. Never mind that Microsoft stockholders--John Q. Investor--lost $106 billion in four days after Judge Jackson's "anti-trust" ruling. I believe most free thinkers share my opinion that Bill Gates and Microsoft warrant a statue rather than a crown of wickedness. Their success has made computing power available to anyone interested, and at consistently lower and lower costs. BUT, the government doesn't like anything big. To it, big is evil--unless it's the government, which continues to bloat.

Having heard some of the propaganda in the Census Bureau's advertising blitz--that cost us taxpayers $160 million, by the way--I already had a negative attitude towards the 2000 Census. When Yuli and I were blessed with one of the "long forms", however, I was unprepared for the degree of personal information demanded by the (not "our") government. What relationship our electric and water bills, the number of rooms in our house OR our annual income has to the distribution of federal largess, i.e., OUR tax money, is beyond my comprehension.

The census was initiated for the purpose of electing one U.S. Representative for every 30,000 citizens. Section. 2. of Article. I. of our Constitution states, inter alia, that an "actual Enumeration shall be made". Not one iota about education, income or outhouses!

But the threat voiced by the Census Bureau in their $160 million ad blitz was that the federal government is not your representative, but it's your rich Uncle Sam who must be reminded to remember you at holiday time. Unfortunately every level of government has now tasted the swill at the federal trough, and they've become addicted--more than any nicotine addiction!

In No. 45 of The Federalist Papers, James Madison emphasized the relationship of the federal and State governments when he wrote, "The State governments may be regarded as constituent and essential parts of the federal government; whilst the latter is nowise essential to the operation or organization of the former". (If poor Madison should see it now!)

"Nous avons change tout cela!"

73 de Jack, W4JS

-- APRIL MEETING --

The next EARS meeting will be held 21 April at the Englewood United Methodist Church, 700 East Dearborn St. Officers' meeting will be held in the church's library at 6 pm. The business meeting will start at 7:30 pm in Room 400. The planned program will be a discussion of the mechanics of cellular telephone technology. And, how about dessert at Denny's afterwards!

IMPORTANT NOTICE!!

EFFECTIVE 31 MARCH 2000, THE

7:30PM FRIDAY EARS NETS ARE

NOW ON THE 146.865(-) K8ONV

REPEATER. JOIN US THERE!


-- EARS NET ACTIVITIES --

The EARS weekly net meets on the K8ONV repeater (146.865) at 7:30 pm every Friday except the third Friday, which is our meeting night. VOLUNTEERS ARE STILL NEEDED FOR NET CONTROL! Contact Don Spencer, WA4IWL, Net Manager, if you can help. Recent net activity follows:

Date NCS Check-Ins

10 Mar W1PZE, George 25

24 Mar W1PZE, George 16

31 Mar WA4IWL, Don 13

07 Apr WA4IWL, Don 15


Page - 2


ENGLEWOOD AMATEUR RADIO SOCIETY

Minutes of the Meeting

March 17, 2000

President Jack Sproat, W4JS, called the meeting to order at 7:30 pm with the Pledge of Allegiance to our flag. There were three guests present: Bob Moore, N2RN, from New Jersey; his brother Dick Moore, N8DM, from Michigan, and Jurgen Nittner, N9RD, from Indiana.

Introductions of all attendees followed. There were no new members present, and no new upgrades Ken Anderson, W4JQT, made a motion to forego reading of the minutes of last month's meeting, since they appeared in the March newsletter. Seconded by Jim Halliday, NX2II. Motion carried.

Al Parmentier, KF4JIL, gave the Treasurer's Report. Our balance for the month was improved over last month. Income for the month was $2553, expenses were $803, for a net gain of $1749, primarily from dues and Hamfest 2000. A motion was made to accept the Treasurer's Report and was carried, with one opposed--Jim Halliday, NX2II.

Correspondence for the month included a thank you note by our president to Renee LePere of the Sun Herald for the nice article she did about the Hamfest in the Sunday, March 12th edition. Also, we heard from Evelyn White, N4ZWA, and her husband, Doug, W9BVB, who has been recovering from two recent hospital stays. Evelyn is preparing for her General exam. Finally, we received a note from Doreene, KF4JCS, and Ron Snowdon, KE4JWB , saying hello to everyone.

PRESIDENT'S COMMENTS

Jack, W4JS, thanked the Audit Committee, Lois Marlatt, KE4NOT; Bill Schober, W2OJ, and Don Dibello, KF4WJW , for their efforts on reviewing the club's books for 1999. Everything was found to be in order. There will be a meeting of the club officers to prepare the 2000 Budget later this month.

COMMITTEE REPORTS

SUNSHINE - No reports.

TRAINING - No reports.

TESTING - Nineteen candidates were tested at Hamfest 2000 and thirteen received CSCEs. Five EARS members earned upgrades. The new FCC regulations seem to be having a positive effect on the ham community, with many more hams taking an interest in upgrading their licenses. Remember that we have test sessions the third Saturday of each month by appointment only.

Hamfest - Reported by Chairman Frank Maren, W4VV, who thanked all the members and retail sponsors who helped make this year's even an unprecedented success. (See following page for details.)

EOC - Frank, W4VV, reported that meetings are held at the Charlotte County Administration Building on San Casa Drive the last Thursday of every month at 9AM. Members should plan to attend and get some hands-on experience with the equipment. Plans are under way to establish a new transmission site at Fire Station No. 4 in Rotonda. equipment has been purchased and installation plans are in progress. The Murdock EOC will be moving out to the Charlotte County Airport area sometime in June to the new Sheriff's facility on Utility Dr.

LIAISON TO OTHER CLUBS - No reports.

CROP WALK - George Graham, W1PZE, reported on another successful CROP Walk and thanked his volunteers: Don Spencer, WA4IWL, Al Parmentier, KF4JIL, Don Dold, KD9SJ, Roland Kollar, KF4FSA, Jim O'Rourke , N1KKE, and George Shreve, KA4JKY

EARS received a nice thank you certificate from the Englewood CROP Walk Coordinator, Mary Shevlin.

NEW BUSINESS - The new K8ONV Englewood repeater, located in Grove City behind Fire Station No. 2, was put into operation on March 12. The output frequency is 146.865 MHz with a power of 60 watts. This should provide improved 2-meter coverage to the south. Our Friday night net will move to this repeater effective March 31.

A motion to adjourn at 8:20 PM was made, seconded and carried. There were 30 members and three guests present at the meeting.

PROGRAM - An ARRL video "Trans-Atlantic Test of 1921" was shown, telling the story of the first American ham radio signals copied in Europe.

Vic Emmelkamp, KF4VHX

Secretary

-- FREQUENCIES ARE COMMODITIES --

The FCC is planning to overhaul the concept of public airwaves--at least for some frequencies--such that radio frequencies would become commodities that can be bought, sold and rented. Holders of unused or under-used commercial radio frequencies will be able to offer them to other firms. The new rules would create a spectrum trading system in which telecommunications companies of all kinds could bid for under-used slivers of the spectrum that are already under the control of other companies.

In the past, frequencies were assigned through a selection system, however, recently frequencies have been sold by the government to the highest bidder. Licensees were not able to sell or offer their frequencies to others, but that would change.

Demand for frequencies far outstrips supply and the FCC does not want new wireless services kept off the market due to this shortcoming. This especially applies to inexpensive handheld devices interfaced to the Internet. (Ed: Be advised, this is not an April Fool!)

(From 01 April 2000 W5YI Report)

---ooo---


Page - 3


BACKSCATTER

-- AMATEUR RADIO LICENSE EXAMS --

The EARS VE Team offers ARRL VEC license exams at 9:30 am the 3rd Saturday of each month at the Chamber of Commerce building, 601 South Indiana Avenue, Englewood. Two-day advance reservation is required--no walk-ins.

Candidates must bring:

(1) Original license and a copy of that license.

(2) Original CSCE's and a copy of each CSCE.

(3) FCC Licensee ID No. or Social Security card.

(4) Two forms of identification.

(5) A check in the amount of $6.65 payable to "ARRL VEC", or cash in the above amount.

For further information and reservation, contact Jack Sproat, W4JS, at 475-1929

-- MARCH EXAM RESULTS --

There were two EARS VE sessions in March. Nineteen candidates were tested 11 March at Hamfest 2000 with two receiving Tech+ upgrades and eleven earning CSCEs for upgrades after 15 April. Of those, five were EARS members: Lois Marlatt, KE4NOT; George Shreve, KA4JKY ; Sel Kerrigan, WB1CYM and Walt Johnson, N2BWM, passed the Extra Class written exam, and Bob Benkovich, KF4YOW, passed the General Class written.

At the regularly scheduled 18 March session, Jerry Meckenberg, K2JWE, and Larry Yacobelli, W4ERN, passed their Extra Class written exam.

CONGRATS to all!

There could be a good group on hand at the next session 15 April, as those CSCEs are turned in for new ones giving upgraded operating privileges.

-- DAYTON HAMVENTION --

It was great to see EARS member Frank Schwab, W8OK, given credit for supporting the concept of the Dayton Hamvention when he was president of the Dayton ARA in 1952 ("How Hamvention Happens", Rick Lindquist, N1RL, April 2000 QST). Frank remains active in DARA while back up in the Buckeye State and he was inducted into the CQ DX Hall of Fame at the 1998 Dayton Hamvention.

-- UPCOMING FLORIDA HAMFESTS --

15 April Flamingo Net & University of Miami ARC's Amateur Radio/Computer/Electronic Tailgate Ham Swapfest, Physics Parking Lot (NW corner of UofM Coral Gables campus) TI: 146.865, Info: Walt, (305)895-0398

(From April 2000 Worldradio)

---ooo---

-- Hamfest 2000 KUDOS --

(The following was submitted by Frank Maren, W4VV)

"I wish to thank all of the club members of EARS for their support in making Hamfest 2000 another successful event. The ticket sales support by the club membership provided the funds to make all of this possible.

"I also wish to express my heartfelt thanks for the hard work provided by the many individuals that assisted and helped to prepare, address, fold and sort the hamfest flyers that were mailed to 2250 hams in the surrounding communities.

"The following Chairpersons provided their expertise and inspiration in making the hamfest a joyful and rewarding experience.

Hamfest Co-chairman--Ken Anderson, W4JQT

Swap Tables, Vendors--George Shreve, KA4JKY

Door Prizes--Bruce Robideau, K2OY

Publicity, newspaper, ham magazines--J.R. House,

K9HUY

Tailgate and parking--Jerry Meckenberg, K2JWE

Vic Emmelkamp, KF4VHX

Keith Herve, WL7CKY

Security--Bob Benkovich, KF4YOW

Flyer design--John Fogle, W1JF

Talk-in--Ron Snowdon, KE4JWB

Doreene Snowdon, KF4JCS

Flyer Mailings--Don Spencer, WA4IWL

Club table--Bill Stevens, W1AMU

Gene Fowler, KA1GCU

Hamfest pictures, Web page--Freeman Crosby,

W1NPR

VE-Exams--Jack Sproat, W4JS

Ticket Design--Dennis Babcock, NT9K

Hamfest Treasurer--Al Parmentier, KF4JIL

Howard White, KD4MMY

"73'S--Frank Maren W4VV--General Chairman"

-- NOW HEAR THIS!! --

There are two easy ways by which EARS members can provide financial assistance to the club.

o ARRL Membership Renewal - When you get your notice to renew your ARRL membership, submit your renewal and a check payable to EARS to the Treasurer. EARS will submit payment to ARRL, from which the club receives a $2 rebate. Only about one-fifth of our ARRL members now renew in this manner. Can we make it 100 percent?

o EARS Booster Fund - Some time back "Boost-EARS" notices were in the newsletter whenever someone contributed to the EARS Booster Fund. Those contributions can be either in cash or as equipment which has resale value on the current market. Any Boost-EARS out there?


Page - 4


MORE BACKSCATTER

-- LICENSE DOWNGRADING --

There's a very interesting advertisement in the April 2000 CQ from the "Gordo del Este Radio School" out in Los Locos, CA offering a one-weekend license downgrade course. As the ad states, after 15 April, only Advanced Class licensees will have FCC proof that they can copy Morse at any speed faster than 5 wpm. The editors of CQ tracked down the origin of that ad, and one of the participants, Horace Sesrear, WB2OOU, penned an article for the April issue.

Sesrear claims that the "Real Hams Net" on 75 meters came up with the idea. Those who wish to downgrade have to submit their current ticket to the FCC and ask that it be cancelled. As soon as their call disappears from the on-line data base, they then have to go to a VE session, take the 13-wpm test plus the written elements 2, 3, 3B and 4A. (Bringing lunch along was advised.) Once the FCC issues the new license, they could then apply for their old callsign via the vanity system. Participants were advised that the Advanced exam had changed a lot since 1951!

As time is short, advanced reservations at the Gordo del Este Radio School were advised. Cost of the weekend course is only $500. Hurry, 'cause 15 April ain't that far away. "Downgrade now!"

(And a belated April First to all of you!)

-- FCC ENFORCEMENT NEWS --

It was reported in the August 1999 WA4IWLetter that the FCC had fined CB operator William "Rabbit Ears" Flippo of Jupiter, FL the sum of $20,000 for malicious interference since late 1997 to ham operators on 10 and 2 meters. That fine was reaffirmed with a 28 January Forfeiture Order. In response to last year's Notice of Apparent Liability, Flippo sent a one-page copy of a bankruptcy filing, but the FCC was not impressed. FCC personnel from Tampa led the investigation. (From March 2000 CyberSKIP Digest)

Also in the "big bucks" department, on 03 March 2000 ex-KC5WHN over in Houston was issued a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture (NAL) in the amount of $10,000 for unlicensed operation and $7,000 for failure to allow inspection. The accused, a "free bander" operating from 27.545-27.535 MHz, was ordered to pay up within 30 days. (From 01 April 2000 W5YI Report)

Meanwhile the jostling between K1MAN and the FCC continues. K1MAN is the manager of the International Amateur Radio Network (IARN) and executive director of the American Amateur Radio Ass'n (AARA). The IARN Bulletin Service began in 1987 on both 3.975 and 14.275 MHz; becoming a "talk show" in 1995. The $10 million libel suit by K1MAN against the FCC was recently dismissed. (From 15 March 2000 W5YI Report)

-- PASCO COUNTY JOINS WCF SECTION --

Pasco County ARRL members overwhelmingly voted in favor of transfer of the county from the Northern Florida Section to the West Central Florida Section. By mail vote, the 15-member WCF Board unanimously authorized the transfer, which will become effective 15 April 2000. (From Dave Armbrust, AE4MR, WCF Section Manager, 05 April 2000)

-- MORE INVASION OF PRIVACY --

As if the 2000 Census Questionnaire wasn't well in excess of Article. I.,Section. 2., of our (mostly ignored) Constitution (where an "actual Enumeration" is all that's specified) take a look at the following Website: http://www.asweseeit.com/ 616LicenseForm.htm. As the result of a favorable court ruling in their battle with the Freedom of Information Commission, a company by the name of AsWeSeeIt has posted all of the driver's license photos--old and new--from every Department of Motor Vehicles database in the USofA. Check it out!

-- INTERNET HAM HELP GROUPS --

Below are a few of the ham radio-related Internet news groups available for your possible interest:

o rec.radio.amateur.antenna - The major hangout for antenna experts. Look here to learn more about commercial antenna performance.

o rec.radio.amateur.boatanchor - Parts for old tube-type rigs

o rec.radio.amateur.digital.misc - Learn more about RTTY, AMTOR, and the newest digital modes.

o rec.radio.amateur.dx - Announcements of DXpeditions and general DX info.

o rec.radio.amateur.equipment - Sources of accessories, parts and manuals.

o rec.radio.amateur.homebrew - Newsgroup for people who like to build some of their ham gear.

o rec.radio.amateur.policy - Excellent discussions on the rules of the air.

o rec.radio.amateur.space - Tracking software and information about amateur satellites and SAREX.

o rec.radio.amateur.swap - A world-wide swap meet.

o sci.electronics.basics - An ideal place to learn more about electronics and how to use test equipment.

o sci.electronics.repair - Where to find manuals, parts and schematics.

(From 15 March 2000 W5YI Report)

-- NOTABLE QUOTES --

"Did you know that Lenin's tomb is a communist plot?" (From Wit and Witticism, National Federation of the Blind, 1997)

---ooo---


Page - 5


UPCOMING CONTESTS AND ACTIVITIES
Contest/Special Event Times/Dates Bands/Modes QSO With Exchange
Japanese International DX Contest 2300 GMT 07 Apr

2300 GMT 09 Apr

20 - 10 Meters

CW

Japanese Stations Only R/S + Serial No.
TATA PSK31 Rumble 0000 GMT 15 Apr

2400 GMT 15 Apr

80 - 6 Meters

PSK31

Anyone, Anywhere Name & State
Florida QSO Party 1600 GMT 29 Apr to

0159 GMT 30 Apr;

1200-2159 GMT 30 Apr

40 - 10 Meters

SSB/CW

Anyone, Anywhere FL Stations send County
Helvetia Contest 1300 GMT 29 Apr

1300 GMT 30 Apr

160 - 10 Meters

SSB/CW

Swiss Stations R/S/(T) + Serial Number
Ontario QSO Party 1800 GMT 29 Apr

1800 GMT 30 Apr

160 - 10 Meters

SSB/CW

Ontario Stations Only R/S/(T) + State
CQ-M International DX

Contest (Russian)

2100 GMT 06 May

2100 GMT 07 May

160 - 10 Meters

SSB/SSTV/CW

Anyone, Anywhere R/S/(T) + Serail Number

From April 2000 Worldradio, April 2000 CQ and April 2000 QST.

-- SUBMARINES ON THE AIR --

Commemorating the 100th anniversary of the commissioning of the US Navy's first submarine, the USS Holland, several submarines currently restored as museum exhibits will be on the air the weekend of 29-30 April. Submarines that may be on the air include the Albacore, Aluminaut, Batfish, Becuna, Blueback, Cavalla, Clamagore, Cobia, Cod, Croaker, Drum, U505, Growler, Ling, Lionfish, Marlin, Nautilus, Pampinito, Requin, Silversides, and numerous submarine memorials around the country. In addition, efforts are being made to have some active-duty subs on the air.

Suggested frequencies are 3.843, 7.243, 14.243, 21.343 and 28.443 on Phone and 3.543, 7.043, 14.043, 21.043 and 28.043 on Morse.

Of note, the Submarine Veterans Net is on every day except Sunday on 14.243 at 1700 GMT or on 7.243 at 0100 GMT on Saturdays.

(From "Submarine Service - 100th Anniversary", Worldradio, April 2000)

-- HIGH SPEED OPS! --

As reported in the April 2000 Worldradio, N6WR and N6JM were active as P56WR on 01 April. They used an old Korean War vintage military AN/GRC-9, which was the first rig ever used by N6JM. However, due to operating restrictions, N6JM had to do the cranking whil N6WR operated CW only. In three hours of operation, 17,642 QSOs were made! If you were one of the lucky ones, send your QSL request to Worldradio, 2120 28th St,, Sacramento, CA 95818, attn: AFOOL QSL.

"Yesterday is history. Tomorow is mystery. Today is a gift. That's why it's called the Present." (From Wit and Witticism, National Federation of the Blind, 1997)

-- USA-COUNTIES AWARD --

After the 5-Band Worked All Zones Award, the most difficult award is probably the USA-CA; the award for working and confirming all 3076 counties in the USA. As of 10 January 2000, only 993 Amateurs in the world have achieved that goal. On 15 November 2001, the city of Broomfield, Colorado will secede from the four counties that presently divide it and create its own county, so the top guns in USA-CA will have to work that new one to stay on top.

This award is sponsored by CQ and is actively sought after by DXers around the world as well as North American stations. The USA-CA Net meets daily on 14.336. After you've worked everything else, why not try county hunting? Contact K1BV for details.

-- WORLDRADIO OPERATING AWARDS --

The folks at Worldradio offer two awards of interest. For the "Contact All Time Zones Award" (CATZ), you must work a station in each of the 15-degree, world map 24 time zones. Contacts within the USA do not count. All QSOs must be confirmed with QSLs.

Worldradio's "Worked 100 Nations Award" (W-100-N) is similar to the DXCC except that actual countries--not "entities"--must be worked. For example, Alaska and Hawaii are seperate entities for DXCC but they only count as the USA for W-100-N. QSLs are required, but only a verification statement signed by tow other amateurs is required.

Contact Worldradio for details on these awards.

-- NOTABLE QUOTES --

"Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensible supports." (From President George Washington's Farewell Address, 1796)


Page - 6


CURRENT/PENDING DX ACTIVITY AND PROPAGATION FORECASTS
CURRENT and/or SCHEDULED DX ACTIVITY

(Band/GMT for best chance of S5 or better signal)

COUNTRY - CALLSIGN ACTIVITY

PERIOD

BEARING 80 40 20 17 15 12 10
Macquarie Is - VK0MM

East Timor - 4W6UN/4W6MM

Pitcairn Is - VP6BR

Jan Mayen - JX7DFA

Burkino Faso - XT/F5RJY

Togo - 5V7MN

Western Sahara - S01A/S0RASD

Bhutan - A5???

Willis Is - VK9WI

Mongolia - JT1Y/JU1Y

Now Active

Now Active

Now to May

After 07 April

Now to 11 April

06 - 12 April

17 - 23 April

01 - 12 May

06 - 16 May

22 May - 06 June

220

300

226

21

83

87

75

8

271

354

--

10>11

04>11

01>03

01>06

01>06

01>06

NO

09>10

NO

--

09>12

02>12

00>06

00>06

23>06

23>06

NO

07>11

NO

00>09

10>15

15>12

10>03

20>05

14>06

18>06

20>15

04>15

20>16

22>07

12>18

15>06

14>22

11>03

11>04

10>03

13>03

01>16

09>17

22>06

13>18

15>04

15>22

12>01

12>02

12>01

16>20

20>06

10>14

--

15>17

16>22

NO

15>20

14>21

16>20

00>03

20>22

NO

--

NO

17>18

NO

NO

16>19

NO

12>14

NO

NO

Updated 08 April 2000, based on 10 April 2000 QRZ DX, and 07 April 2000 The 59(9) DX Report.

Notes: NO = No opening forecast. ??? = Callsign not yet known. Long path bearings and opening times (if any) are underlined.

Solar Flux assumed at 200 and F-Index at 2 for all forecasts.

-- NO. 2 MOST WANTED QRV IN MAY! --

An international team has been invited by the Ministry of Communications for the official introduction of amateur radio in Bhutan 01 - 12 May 2000! Bhutan ranks second (only to North Korea) as the most needed DXCC entity in the world.

As the operation will take place at about the time Sunspot Cycle 23 peaks, even marginal stations could have a chance to work this very rare one. Three Phone, three Morse and one RTTY station will be continuously. The team will be operating from two hotels, with stable power and logs will be uploaded daily to the Internet.

RTTY and WARC bands will be emphasized from the beginning. Later in the operation, simplex operation on the higher bands should take place for those who can't "split".

Six of the operators were at Heard Island in 1997 and three were a part of the highly successful FO0AAA operation from Clipperton Island.

(From 10 April 2000 QRZ DX)

-- TWO NEW ONES IN MARCH! --

The Ides of March smiled favorably on the Deserving DXers when 4W6UN, operated by VK8UN, came on from East Timor in mid-March. He was soon joined by TF1MM operating as 4W6MM, and a 2-man DXpedition arrived in Dili around 26 March. Recall that the populace of East Timor , Indonesia's 27th province, voted overwhelmingly for independence several months back after 25 years of occupation and suppression. Australia has led the efforts to establish peace and civil infrastructure since that time. East Timor was granted DXCC status effective 01 March.

Over in the Coral Sea, Martti Laine, OH2BH, and crew brought TX0DX on the air at 0000 GMT 23 March from the Chesterfield Islands, after the IARU unanimously accepted the Association des Radio Amateurs de Nouvelle Caledonie as an IARU member society. While DXCC status has not yet been granted, ARRL Membership Services Manager K5NX has stated that it is "potentially eligible" because of its separation from New Caledonia by over 350 km.

(From ARRL DX Bulletin 11 and The ARRL Letter Vol. 19, No.12.)

-- APRIL PROPAGATION --

March's Solar Flux averaged 207.5, with the A-index being < 10 for 23 days. Combined with the Spring Equinox those conditions yielded excellent world-wide propagation on 10/12/15 meters. (Note that when the SF is greater than 150, conditions drop from Above Normal to High Normal when the A > 10.)

The April propagation forecast ("Propagation" by George Jacobs, W3ASK, April 2000 CQ) follows:

Favorable equinoctial propagation should continue through April for openings between the northern and southern hemispheres.

The 10 and 12 meter bands should be active for DX openings to most areas of the world from an hour or two after sunrise to just after sunset. Expect 15 and 17 to be the optimum DX bands during the daylight hours. The 20-meter band should be open 'round the clock. Fewer hours of darkness and increasing static levels will yield poorer performance on 40, 80 and 160 meters.

Probable best DX days for remainder of month: 8-10 and 27 April should be "Above Normal"; 7, 16, 23, 26 and 28 April should be "High Normal".


Page - 7


WAVES AND REFLECTIONS

-- HAM RADIO TO THE RESCUE --

An unfortunate tragedy in the western Caribbean did give Ham Radio a bit of favorable publicity in the national media. After 13-year-old Willem van Tuijl from the Netherlands was shot and seriously wounded by pirates who boarded the family's sailboat, his father, Jacco, KH2TD, got onto 20 meters to seek help. When he broke into a Stateside QSO, one station moved him to the Maritime Mobile Service Net on 14.300 and the other station called the US Coast guard, which summoned the Honduran Navy.

A third American ham, who was fluent in Spanish, had to come onto the MMSN frequency to offer translation expertise between the Hondurans, the Americans and the Dutch family. In due course, Willem and his mother, Jannie, KH2TE, were air-lifted to a hospital in La Ceiba, Honduras. When it became apparent Willem needed specialized care, ARRL President Jim Haynie, W5JBP, arranged for his transfer to Children's Medical Center in Dallas, TX.

The hams in Honduras offered to cover Willem's medical expenses at La Ceiba, and the family sailboat is safely moored in Honduras.

(From The ARRL Letter, Vol 19, No 4)

-- 15 APRIL 2000 - "R-DAY" --

The FCC restructuring of Amateur Radio licenses comes into effect 15 April, amid intense interest in upgrading. Since the FCC announced the new license plan, the number of candidates served by the ARRL/ VEC has risen more than 135 percent. The number attempting Element 4B, the Amateur Extra written exam, increased on the order of 1500 percent!

Those CSCEs earned in anticipation of the new license format have no value until they are submitted on or after 15 April, a new NCVEC Form 605 completed, and a new CSCE issued, granting instant use of the privileges. At ARRL/VEC test sessions, the applicants will have to pay $6.65 for this "paperwork processing". Some comments can be heard, questioning why applicants must pay when no actual test is being administered. While the EARS ARRL /VEC team members absorb all out-of-pocket expenses and forward all monies received to the ARRL, the ARRL has fixed expenses sponsoring the VE program which must be covered. There is an opportunity to recover that $6.65 fee, however. Between 15 April and 17 October, a $6.65 ARRL Membership Discount Coupon will be available at all ARRL/VEC-coordinated test sessions. The coupon may be used for new membership and for membership renewal. (From The ARRL Letter, Vol 19, No.14 and 28 March 2000 letter to ARRL VE Team Liaisons)

-- PROPAGATION PRIMER --

During the latter part of the first week of April, major and severe geomagnetic storms raised havoc with the HF bands. While DXers pay serious attention to the hourly propagation data broadcast from Ft. Collins, CO, even those operators who only wish to keep a sked with another station should be aware of the fickleness of the HF bands, especially during sunspot maximums.

The sunspot number rose to 301 on 02 April, the highest since it hit 324 on 12 November. Two days prior, on 10 November, the solar flux was 343, which is still the record for this cycle.

Solar flux is a measurement of the 2.8 GHz energy from the sun, measured at the Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory in Penticton, BC, Canada. (Check out http://www.drao.nrc.ca /)

Daily sunspot numbers are calculated by multiplying the number of visible sunspot groups by 10, and adding the number of individual spots in all the groups. A multiplication factor is applied, which differs with each observatory. For more explanation on sunspots go to http://spacescience.com/headlines/y2000/ast05apr_1m.htm

An interplanetary shock wave passed earth at 1730 GMT 06 April, causing major to severe Geomagnetic storms and Aurora as far south as North Carolina. The planetary K was 8 and the A Index was 56 by the end of 06 April. While there was DX galore on 6 meters, HF operators were faced with "empty" bands, other than for some north-south skip. The BQ9P operation from Pratas Island was virtually inaudible in South Florida as the polar paths closed down.

While such disturbed conditions are difficult to predict, when one hears the propagation data from WWV at 18 minutes after every hour, then one can at least understand why the HF bands are "empty". Monitoring WWV or the DX clusters for daily propagation info is a good operating practice for everyone.

(From ARRL Propagation Forecast Bulletin 14 with added comments)

-- "CAPTAIN TRUTH" --

Extra Class licensee K4QIJ has been cited as a prime suspect for malicious interference and jamming on 20 and 75 meters. K4QIJ is accused of using the (suspended) callsign K4OKA, as well as such pseudonyms as Captain Truth, Sodomizer, Captain Sod, and numerous derivatives thereof. K4QIJ was given 30 days to respond to the FCC's allegations. (Of interest, the FCC monitoring and direction finding was done from Columbia, MD and K4QIJ is located in Newton, NC. Looks like the Feds have some sophisticated DF gear!)

(From The ARRL Letter, Vol. 19, No. 14)

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