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The EARS WA4IWLetter


JULY 1999

-- PRESIDENT'S MESSAGE --

I've reworked this offering three time, so I hope this final result is worth the effort. The first rewrite was after Ken Anderson, W4JQT, gave me an e-mail missive he had received from Ron McLeod, K1FTB. I was really touched by Ron's offering; which you'll find on page 7. On 04 July, Old Glory was flying proudly out on both gate posts, but inside I was numbed by "USA Weekend's Third Annual America's Poll" in that day's paper. It showed how the media warp an issue.

That "scientific poll of 1,005 adults" supposedly found that Americans are "ready to trade some cherished freedoms for greater safety for themselves--and their children". Isn't that a real slap in the face of those gallant men who were willing to give all they had that day 223 years ago for us to achieve those very freedoms? Isn't it wrong that the overwhelming majority of Americans should give up any freedoms due to the illegal actions of a small number of miscreants?

Naturally, the culprit is gun ownership. While 11% of gun owners have used their weapons defensively, less than 0.2% of firearms are used in criminal acts. We only hear of the latter, however, In 1996, there were 1134 fatal firearms accidents in the USA; about 1/3 of the accidental deaths from choking (3,206) and medical mistakes (2,919). Why not ban eating--it can be fatal! I've lived in countries where gun ownership was banned. The weapons of choice by criminals were knives, machetes, swords, axes and clubs, while the victims were defenseless. All windows in the houses had bars on them--just like jails--and the residents were locked up at night for safety from those who roamed the streets. What a way to live!

In Malaysia, conditions in the jails are brutal for they know most of the prisoners will never want to come back upon release. Stateside, prisoners have exercise facilities that honest people have to pay for to enjoy, and murderers serve an average of 7.7 years.

Our government has strayed from being a "government of the people" which the writers of our Constitution envisaged. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has forced the owners of the 162-year-old Edwards Dam on the Kennebec River in Augusta, Maine to remove that dam--at their expense--in the name of "conservation" and "environmental protection". This will open an upstream stretch of the river to Atlantic salmon, striped bass, shortnosed sturgeon and other fish. (Hot dang!) Church bells pealed and people cheered as a backhoe ripped into the dam; rather like the Parisians jeered and taunted the poor souls riding the tumbrels to destiny at the guillotine.

How long might it be until such an agency declares that all sea walls must be replaced with mangroves? How long until we hear that there shall be no RF radiation from any source within residential areas, "for the good of the people"? We've gone a long way--in the wrong direction--from "government by the people".

73 de Jack, W4JS

-- JULY MEETING --

The next EARS meeting will be held 16 July 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 program will be an very informative ARRL video on Packet Radio. This video just might light or rekindle your interest in the packet mode. And, don't forget Denny's afterwards!

-- THINK ABOUT UPGRADING --

Now is an excellent time to consider upgrading, for the 5-wpm Morse capability will no doubt give expanded privileges after the restructuring takes effect. Therefore, why not get that credit under your belt.

Assuming the FCC lowers the Morse requirement to 5-wpm, a person holding credits for both 5-wpm Morse and the General written could be on HF as soon as the changes are in place. Ken Anderson, W4JQT, is willing to conduct training if there is enough interest in upgrading. Call Ken at 475-3172.

-- EARS NET ACTIVITIES --

The EARS weekly net meets on the WB0GUX repeater (146.700) at 7:30 pm every Friday except the third Friday, which is our meeting night. Recent net activity follows:

Date NCS Check-Ins

11 June WA4IWL Don 14

25 June KD9SJ Don 13

02 July WA4IWL Don 9


Page - 2


ENGLEWOOD AMATEUR RADIO SOCIETY

Minutes of the Meeting

June 18, 1999

President Jack Sproat, W4JS, called the meeting to order at 7:30 pm. with the Pledge of Allegiance to our flag. There were no new members present. Jim Hanushek, N4JBZ, was introduced as a guest and welcomed to the meeting.

Sel Kerrigan, WB1CYM, made a motion to forego reading of the minutes of last month's meeting, since they were published in the newsletter. Seconded by Don Dold, KD9SJ, and carried.

Howard White, KD4MMY, gave the Treasurer's re-port, and made a motion for acceptance. Seconded by Sel Kerrigan, WB1CYM, and the motion carried. Howard mentioned that our annual insurance premium was paid this month. A copy of the Treasurer's report was given to the Secretary for file.

CORRESPONDENCE:

Howard White, KD4MMY, read a letter from Dan Miller, K3UFG, on the ARRL staff, thanking us for keeping them informed through our newsletter, and complimenting us on The WA4IWLetter, which he described as excellent.

Jack Sproat, W4JS, read a letter from John Fogle, W1JF, advising that the 1998/1999 EARS Financial Audit was completed. The financial records were found to be in good order, and maintained according to sound business practices.

Frank Maren, W4VV, advised he had received the ARRL Membership Letter from our Division Director, Frank Butler, W4RH. Frank's 1999/2000 Hamfest Calendar shows Englewood to be the only hamfest scheduled for March 11, 2000 in our division.

SCHOLARSHIP FUND - In response to the President's proposal in last month's newsletter, there was discussion about EARS establishing a scholarship fund to assist deserving students in furthering their education. A show of hands indicated support for establishing such a fund. Two members, Gabe Meckenberg, K2GQU, and Walt Johnson, N2BWM, have agreed to serve on a scholarship committee.

COMMITTEE REPORTS

PRESIDENT'S COMMENTS:

Doug Zeeff, W4JDZ, thanks all who contributed material for a youth group at his church who are studying for amateur radio licenses.

Field Day will be June 26 and 27, same place as last year at the Englewood United Methodist Church overflow parking area. All committees report everything is ready. A sign-up sheet was passed around to schedule operators.

Personalized log books are available on request. See Jack Sproat, W4JS, if you are interested.

Prices and information have been obtained for EARS name tags. More on this later.

Arrangements have been made for EARS to operate a station on August 22, 1999 from the Boca Grande Lighthouse for International Lighthouse Weekend.

There have been no calls for reservations for FCC exams, so there will be no testing tomorrow.

SUNSHINE - John Fogle, W1JF, had surgery yesterday. He is home and doing well.

RACES - Frank Kouri, K4KF, reported there will be an ARES net Wednesday evening 6/23 on the Punta Gorda repeater (146.745 MHz) at 8:00 pm. The regular RACES drill will be Thursday morning, 6/24, at 9:30 am on the Englewood repeater (146.700 MHz).

DX - Jack Sproat, W4JS, gave the DX report.

Don Spencer, WA4IWL made a motion to adjourn the meeting at 7:52 pm. Seconded by Dennis Babcock, NT9K, and carried There were 16 members and 2 guests present at the meeting.

PROGRAM:

The program was given by Tom Tomlinson of Metro Crime Prevention of Florida. Tom gave many tips on protecting one's self in today's environment, and demonstrated an alarm system that reacts to a sudden change in atmospheric pressure inside your home, such as occurs when a door is opened.

Ken Anderson, W4JQT

Secretary

-- 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.

Candidates must bring:

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

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

(3) Two forms of identification.

(4) A check in the amount of $6.45 payable to "ARRL VEC", or cash in the above amount.

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

-- CLASSIFIED --

FOR SALE: Radio Shack Answering Machine, Model TD-311 for $20; Kenwood MC-60 Desk Microphone for $25. Call Don Dold, KD9SJ, 474-0999

FOR SALE: No Reasonable Offer will be refused for the following, which were donated to EARS earlier this year:

1. Telrex TB4EM tri-band beam; good condition and with all hardware.

2. IBM PS-2 Computer w/386 board, monitor and keyboard; good condition, perfect packet station w/Packratt II on hard drive.

Funds received go into the EARS Treasury.

Contact Ken Anderson at 475-3172


Page - 3


BACKSCATTER

-- SQUEEZINGS FROM THE GRAPEVINE --

The month of June is just about over and celebration of the Fourth of July will begin the month of July.

June was our first rainy month in a long, long time. The rains came mostly in the afternoon. Englewood did not seem to be in the main rain area. Much of the rain was to the north and south of our little community.

Last month I mentioned that I listened to CNN6. I found out later it was SNN (6 News Now) from Sarasota on Comcast's channel 6. Even so, it has the news from around all the areas. Even to Birthdays. It is fun to see how many ???'s pop up.

Well, I learned that 776 to the north still has many road dividers to be worked on. Now they have earthmovers and trucks crossing the road and stopping traffic between Dearborn Ave. and Keyway Rd. They are widening that part of the road to four lanes.

The road-work from Oriole Dr. to Sunnybrook Rd. is being worked on, and many a twist and turn are in store for anyone going over to Murdock.

Many highways are now being worked on and speed limits have been reduced, making arrival times in doubt. So, Happy Travelling to and fro around anywhere in the U.S.A.

Summer, with its heat, is sure upon us. Went to the door and was almost knocked over with the heat. And, at only 11:30 AM; expect rain soon.

Not too much news, otherwise. Haven't tried out any new restaurants as I still like to eat at home.

So, everyone have a great summer and watch those storm clouds that seem to like the western part of the state.

Take it easy driving, as we like to talk to you instead of about you.

See you all next month.

73/88,

Peggy, KF4BD

-- LOCAL REPEATERS --

145.130 (-) WB4NJV SERC/Venice

146.700 (-) WB0GUX Englewood (T)

146.730 (-) WB4NJV Sarasota ERC (A)

146.745 (-) K4IB Charlotte Co. CD

146.775 (-) K0DGF Englewood (T)

146.910 (-) W4IE Sarasota ARA (A)

146.925 (-) WA9NLA Pt. Charlotte

147.015 (+) WB9JTK Pt. Charlotte

147.255 (+) WA3DUX Peace River

444.625 (+5 mc) K0DGF Englewood (T)

444.700 (+5 mc) WA4ISB Venice

(T) = 77 Hz PL tone (A) = Autopatch

-- LIFE ABOVE THE FLOOD PLAIN! --

(Ed. note: The following was contributed by EARS member Don Smith, KE4WVB, who recently moved from the Suncoast up to Belleview, about 11 miles south of Ocala in Marion County.)

Spending four years poised for evacuation at 3 feet above sea level is not something I'm planning to repeat. Recently we abandoned our Charlotte County homesite for a change; finding a site that appealed to us somewhere above 100' MSL in Central Florida. Gone are the six months of storing food and water, poised to flee at a nod from Wayne Sallade. Gone are the bugs and mosquitos that plagued us most of the months of the year. Up here for some reason, although we are ensconced on the edge of a freshwater lake with attached marsh, we have seen only one mosquito--which must have lost its way en route to Englewood. "Noseeums" are likewise not in evidence and Red Tide toxins continue lurking far to the south. No phosphates threaten our water supply, which is a nice community deep well. This place approaches Utopia and we have yet to find anything that offends us. Taxes are low, traffic is moderate, breezes are brisk, and we almost have a seasonal change.

We have not, however, found our way around the community prohibition to external antennas, although we have plans to flaunt a small 2-meter ground plane and we're planning a 25' flagpole of PVC which will include a suitable 10-meter wire contained within. We have already gotten verbal permission for that.

Our ISP (Ed.????) charges $9.95 for 30 hours and boasts of the fastest fiber optic connection in the east, with the latest equipment. Our community motto is "Life is a breeze at Smith Lake Shores", and our clubhouse bulletin board sports a list of residents who would love to take you to the store or the doctors, or wherever, if you are unable to take yourself. We think we will be here for the duration.

So, excuse me now, while I clean a nice bass and two crappie for lunch. I'm only sorry there is not enough for everyone.

Don Smith, KE4WVB

Dsmith@hitter.net

Belleview, FL 34420

-- SNOWBIRD NET --

The Snowbird Net meets daily at 10 am, 11:45 am and 5:45 pm on 14.278, and at 7:00 pm on 7.230. Most of our birds are back up North now, so join in with the group and update them on what excitement you've been up to down here on the Suncoast since they've flown the coop!


Page - 4


MORE BACKSCATTER

-- MORSE CODE SIGNING OFF --

After 150 years of service, Morse has retired from its role as a consistent and dependable rescuer of ships in distress; being replaced by something better. The transition began in 1979, with development of the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS). While GMDSS equipment was not mandatory on all ships subject to the new regulations until 01 February 1999, in 1997 this system saved more than 540 lives in the U. S. alone. The U.S. Coast Guard's Joseph Hersey stated that "Had the GMDSS and elements such as satellite EPIRBs been around earlier, ships like the Edmund Fitzgerald, which sank suddenly with all hands (Nov. 1975), without warning in Lake Superior, might possibly have been saved".

Ken Botterbrodt, K2WB, president of the South Jersey Radio Assn, the oldest continuously operating amateur radio club in the U. S., agrees that Morse may be obsolete for the IMO's purposes, but it's part of a hobby that some hams enjoy. "I hate to see it die", he said. "Perhaps the reason it's lasted this long", he said, "is that it can work with a very weak signal."

It was in January 1838 when Samuel Morse demonstrated his telegraph machine at the Speedwell Iron Works in Morristown, NJ. Today at Historic Speedwell visitors can learn more of Morse and his partner, Alfred Vail. Over the years the Morse and Vail families disputed who was the true inventor of the telegraph and code. Vail's family provided financial support to Morse. Morse would receive the patent, and all related patents, while Vail would receive one-forth of the U. S. rights.

It is suggested in the book "At Speedwell in the Nineteenth Century" that it was Vail who replaced Morse's numbered dictionary code with an alphabet code utilizing dots and dashes. When Morse went to Europe seeking financial backers, Vail stayed in Morristown making revisions to the telegraph machine. Morse received his U. S. patent in 1840. By the time the first telegraph line was completed from Washington to Baltimore in 1844, almost all of the original machine had been replaced or revised by Vail, however, Morse continued to receive most of the credit.

While Vail and Morse remained personal friends, their families did not. In 1911 "someone--a grandson, it is believed--engraved on Alfred Vail's monument at St. Peter's Church in Morristown the words 'inventor of the telegraphic dot and dash alphabet'."

(From "Signing off...latest technology replaces Morse code" by Annette Codispoti, The Institute, IEEE, April 1999--courtesy of IEEE member Ken Anderson, W4JQT)

-- Q SIGNALS --

The 3-letter "Q" signals were developed decades ago to permit certain expressions and queries to be sent and received expeditiously on Morse. Today, some "purists" feel it is inappropriate for phone operators to utilize these Q codes. The use of the Q signals on phone are too ingrained to ever be abandoned--even as Morse declines in use. Let's face it, a QSL card will always be a QSL card, and a QSO will always be a QSO! Of the 45 standard Q signals, only a dozen or so are commonly used these days. However, if either a phone or Morse operator uses the Q signals, they should be used properly.

It's not uncommon to hear a phone station query, "QRZ, is this frequency in use?" QRZ actually means "who is calling me?" The correct expression is "QRL, is the frequency in use?"

There seems to be some lack of clarity regarding QRN and QRM, what with some stations complaining of "static causing a lot or QRM". A good way to remember these two is that Man causes QRM, be it interference from power lines, ignition, or a nearby strong signal, and Nature causes QRN, with is strictly interference by static. Admittedly, if one is suffering from any form of interference, it's easy to mix up the N's and M's!

(Ref. The ARRL Handbook, 1997 ed.)

-- CLUB CALLSIGNS --

The FCC is starting to take a look at certain amateurs who have taken advantage of the so-called vanity callsign system. One ham in the Los Angeles area has received over 40 callsigns, based on his being a "trustee" in that number of radio "clubs". Another ham has "established" clubs in Washington, DC, New York City, Hawaii, Alaska, Guam, Saipan and American Samoa! (Must be Superman--see pg. 6!)

Specifically, the FCC has set aside 24 club calls recently granted to Motoaki Uotome, W9BO. (This call was issued 25 January 1999 to Uotome's Honolulu address.) Club calls held by Uotome now under investigation by the FCC are: KB3DRY, KB3DRZ, KB3DSA, KB3DSM, KC2EXC, KC2EYU, KC2EZB, KC2EZH, WH0ABM, WH2AOA, WH6DFK, WH6DFR, WH6DFV, WH6DFZ, K3MH, K7AH, KH0AW, KH2AW, KH2ZZ, KH8JA, KL7AR, KR6CW, W1BA, W3AN, W2AN, WH8A, WH7J, WH7AA, AJ1AA, KB3DLY, KH7WW, KH8J, NH7AA and W1BT. Uotome has been requested to furnish club membership info, meeting minutes, pro-posed meeting times and locations.

(From "Club call signs and the FCC", Rick McCusker, WF6O, July 1999 Worldradio)


Page - 5


UPCOMING CONTESTS AND ACTIVITIES
Contest/Special Event Times/Dates Bands/Modes QSO With Exchange
Six Club Six-Meter Sprint 2300 GMT 17 July

0400 GMT 18 July

6 Meters Only

SSB/CW

Anyone, Anywhere Grid Square
North American QSO Party 1800 GMT 17 July

0600 GMT 18 July

80 - 10 Meters

RTTY

Anyone, Anywhere Name & State
SEANET Contest 0100 GMT 17 July

2359 GMT 18 July

160 - 10 Meters

CW

Asian and South Pacific Stations Only R/S/T + Serial No.
Colombian Independence Day Contest 0000 GMT 18 July

2359 GMT 18 July

80 - 10 Meters

SSB/RTTY/CW

Anyone, Anywhere R/S/(T) + Serial No.
RSGB Islands-on-the-Air Contest 1200 GMT 24 July

1200 GMT 25 July

80 - 10 Meters

SSB/CW

Island Stations Anywhere R/S/(T), Serial No., IOTA No.
Russian RTTY Contest 0000 GMT 24 July

2400 GMT 25 July

80 - 10 Meters

RTTY

Anyone, Anywhere R/S/T + CQ Zone No.
US Islands W/VE Islands Contest 1600 GMT 31 July

2359 GMT 01 Aug

160 - 10 Meters

SSB/RTTY/CW

Island Stations Anywhere R/S/(T) + State
Romanian DX Contest 0000 GMT 01 Aug

2000 GMT 01 Aug

80 - 10 Meters

SSB/CW

Anyone, Anywhere R/S/(T) + ITU Zone

From July 1999 Worldradio, July 1999 CQ and July 1999 QST.

-- EARS FIELD DAY OPERATION --

A phone call from Don Spencer, WA4IWL, Friday morning alerted us that the tent rental company had arrived at our Field Day site an hour early. That was good, allowing us to get the antennas up before the weather turned sour. Frank "Leggs" Maren, W4VV, relived his pitching days with the House of David, shooting lines over the trees with deadly accuracy.

The rains that fell on Saturday, 26 June, didn't dampen the spirits of the EARS members who set up the two HF and one 6-meter stations; getting the CW station on the air just after the starting whistle sounded. The Sideband station soon followed, but we had to wait until early evening for 6 meters to open up. And did it ever open; what with a QSO rate of over 2/minute being the norm for some time.

Over the course of the Saturday-Sunday activity, some 23 EARS members and one guest operator (Bob Sacilowski, WB2UFR, from Port Charlotte) turned out to operate, log, lend support, or enjoy the Sunday picnic. Once again, Renee LePere and Don Knight of the Englewood Sun Herald came out to interview our team, resulting in a nice write-up in Sunday's edition.

A preliminary tally of our QSOs shows:

Band SSB CW Total

80 15 15

40 74 74

20 145 114 259

15 34 58 92

10 23 23

6 79 79

Totals 258 284 542

-- BOCA GRANDE LIGHTHOUSE --

You may think this a bit premature, but the days are rolling by double-time, it seems. So think ahead about the following. The weekend of 21-22 August is International Lighthouse Weekend. The brainchild of GM4SUC, ham stations will be operating from more than a hundred lighthouses/lightships from around the world, in almost 50 countries. EARS has received permission to operate from the grounds of the Boca Grande Lighthouse for this event. This is not a contest, rather it is an opportunity to obtain exposure for our hobby. It is also an opportunity for the Boca Grande Lighthouse to become known outside our im-mediate area. Gasparilla Island, the site of the Boca Grande Lighthouse has IOTA designation NA-069, one of the more rare North American island groups, such that IOTA chasers will be looking for us.

We plan to give the area newspapers ample notice of this event. While the Lighthouse is normally closed in August, the museum will be opened on 22 August to give everyone a chance to see the facility and exhibits. We will have a special photo QSL printed, showing the Lighthouse and giving some history of its recent restoration. It should be a fun event.

We need your help to make this a success. Anyone with a spare R5 or R7 vertical could help. Anyone willing to help offset the (+ $90) cost of the photo QSLs could help. Anyone who wants to operate or log could help. Anyone with a HF rig at home that can get on and say "Hi" to us could help. So, plan ahead and see what you can do to make our first special event operation a real success.


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
Marion Island - ZS8D

Malyj Vysotskij Is - R1MVA

Viet Nam - 3W7XK

Tonga - A3????

Belau - T88DX & T88JR

Nauru - C21JH

Palestine - E4/JM1LJS

On Site/Listen!

Now to 15 July

Now to 20 July

Now to 17 July

20 - 25 July

20 - 27 July

23 July - 01 Aug

130

28

348

253

306

279

50

02>05

01>03

NO

07>11

10>11

08>11

0200

00>06

00>03

NO

05>11

09>11

06>11

00>03

07>11

00>24

09>15

23>14

06>15

02>15

20>07

10>12

13>17

11>22

18>08

12>16

13>16

18>22

13>14

20>23

11>13

18>06

21>01

02>04

22>04

13>14

NO

11>13

19>22

10>15

04>06

NO

NO

NO

NO

19>22

NO

NO

NO

Updated 03 July 1999, based on 05 July QRZ DX and 02 July The 59(9) DX Report. Solar Flux assumed at 165 for all forecasts.

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

-- JULY PROPAGATION --

Say now, are the efforts of our own Manasota Key Sunsetters paying DX dividends for the Deserving, or what? After a Solar Flux of 176 on June 1st, the flux bottomed out at 139 on the 19th and ended June at 210. The Solar Flux averaged 170 for June, a 22-point jump from May. A smoothed Solar Flux of 147 is forecast for July.

July's propagation forecasts ("Propagation" by George Jacobs, W3ASK, July 1999 CQ) follow:

DX propagation on 10 and 12 meters will be mostly north-south paths to Central and South America, with some openings possible to Africa and Australasia. Both bands will peak during the late afternoon hours.

Expect good-to-excellent openings on 15 and 17 meters throughout much of the daylight hours. Conditions will favor north-south paths to tropical areas, however, during the late afternoon and early evening hours, openings to Europe and Africa are possible.

The 20-meter band is expected to remain open to some area or other of the world just about around the clock. Optimum conditions are forecast for the early evening hours; with exceptionally strong signals occurring during the hours of darkness.

Some good DX openings are likely on 30 and 40 meters, however, high seasonal static levels may make these bands very noisy. In South Florida, the 75- and 160-meter bands are virtually unusable for DXing due to the constant high static level.

Look for frequent 600 to 1300 mile short-skip openings on 6 meters during July. are expected. The best times for these openings are a few hours before noon and again during the early evening hours. Six-meter TE openings will be considerably fewer during July, but some may still be possible into South America. The best time for TE is between 8 and 11 PM local time.

Check for openings on 2 meters when intense 6-meter openings occur. Generally 2-meter openings can take place when the shortest skip heard on 6 meters is on the order of 600 miles or less.

Probable best DX days for remainder of month: 25 and 31 July should be "Above Normal"; 24, 29-30 July should be "High Normal".

-- DXPEDITIONING --

Field Day exercises, in which a number of EARS members participated, are a subdued domestic example of the experiences, chores and labors of love that DXpedition teams endure. After months of planning, equipment is gathered together and, along with the operators, transported to the operating site. Upon arrival, the stations are set up, and the generators fired up. But contrast the convenience of Field Day, in spite of a few gnats, with risking one's life to put some isolated atoll on the air!

-- SUPERMAN LIVES! --

We had the garage door open the other day to let the westerly on-shore breezes cool the shack a bit, when one of the local QRPers came charging up the driveway, scattering marl en route. "He lives. He lives. Superman lives", he was crying out. When he settled down a bit he told us, between gasps, "You see, Fahmy, SU3FM, was on from Port Said, working Stateside by the districts. I heard this W2 trying to work him. When Fahmy stood by for the Threes, the W2 was portable Three. When Fahmy was listening for Fours, the W2 was portable Four. When he was looking for Fives, the W2 was portable Five. It has to be Superman; it has to be. That W2 is faster than a speeding bullet!" Tearing himself loose, the QRPer dashed off into the gathering sunset, shouting "Superman lives. Superman lives in Two-land". Son of a Gun! What could we say. We decided we had better point the beam northeast and do some listening ourselves. It is not every day that one can work Superman!

(Adapted from DX IS! The Best of the West Coast DX Bulletin, edited/published by C. T. Allen, W5DV, and J. M. Allen, W6OGC. c. 1981)


Page - 7


WAVES AND REFLECTIONS

-- INDEPENDENCE DAY --

Have you ever wondered what happened to the 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence?

Five signers were captured by the British as traitors, and were tortured before they died. Two lost their sons serving in the Revolutionary Army, another had two sons captured. Nine of the 56 fought and died from wounds or hardships of the Revolutionary War.

They signed and they pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor. What kind of men were they? Twenty-four were lawyers and jurists. Eleven were merchants, nine were farmers and large plantation owners; men of means, well educated. But they signed the Declaration of Independence knowing full well that the penalty would be death if they were captured.

Carter Braxton of Virginia, a wealthy planter and trader, saw his ships swept from the seas by the British Navy. He sold his home and properties to pay his debts, and died in rags.

Thomas McKean was so hounded by the British that he was forced to move his family almost constantly. He served in the Congress without pay, and his family was kept in hiding. His possessions were taken from him, and poverty was his reward.

Vandals or soldiers looted the properties of Ellery, Hall, Clymer, Walton, Gwinnett, Heyward, Rutledge, and Middleton.

At the battle of Yorktown, Thomas Nelson, Jr. noted that the British General Cornwallis had taken over the Nelson home for his headquarters. He quietly urged General George Washington to open fire. The home was destroyed, and Nelson died bankrupt.

Francis Lewis had his home and properties destroyed. The enemy jailed his wife, and she died within a few months.

Jon Hart was driven from his wife's bedside as she was dying. Their 13 children fled for their lives. His fields and his gristmill were laid to waste. For more than a year he lived in forests and caves, returning home to find his wife dead and his children vanished. A few weeks later he died from exhaustion and a broken heart. Morris and Livingston suffered similar fates.

Such were the stories and sacrifices of the American Revolution. These were not wild-eyed, rabble-rousing ruffians. They were soft-spoken men of means and education. They had security, but they valued liberty more. Standing tall, straight, and unwavering, they pledged: "And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm Reliance on the Protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other, our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor". They gave you and me a free and independent America.

The history books never told you a lot of what happened in the Revolutionary War. We didn't just fight the British. We were British subjects at that time and we fought our own government! Some of us take these liberties so much for granted...We shouldn't. So, take a couple of minutes while enjoying your 4th of July holiday and silently thank these patriots. It's not much to ask for the price they paid...

(The foregoing is courtesy of EARS member Ron McLeod, K1FTB, via Ken Anderson. W4JQT. We must never forget the sacrifices these men gave and the hardships they endured. Where would we be now, but for them? Always remember that the 4th of July is much more than picnics and fireworks. It marks the birth of our beloved Nation. May God Bless Her Always!)

-- OLD TIME RADIO --

Back on 11 June 1914, 18-year-old Samuel Van Liew, 6NH, of Long Beach, CA submitted his mem-bership application to the ARRL. As noted from the application, in those days the "object of the League is strictly confined to facilitating the relaying of radio messages among amateurs". (Times do change.)

Accordingly, the applicant had to furnish details regarding his station's equipment and his capabilities. Thus we can rather well visualize his station. Among the items of interest, the Long Beach electric system furnished 50-cycle current back then. Samuel's transmitter was a rotary spark gap with 100 watts input power, operating in the 200-meter band. His receiver was a loose coupled, switch point receiving set with both galena and silicon detectors. His antenna consisted of 7 wires, 2 feet apart, 45 feet long, up 60 feet.

Samuel operated an average of five days a week, from 3 to 5:30 pm and from 7 to 9 pm. His receiving range was 1000 miles. Morse was King back then (for there was nothing else) and Samuel could copy Press News at 38 words per minute. He also held a First Grade Commercial ticket. Commercial and Navy stations interfered with him, but he usually did not operate when the Navy stations were on.

While there were many positive aspects to life in the "good old days", we can probably all agree that our present-day radios are vastly better than those home-brew rigs "back then".

(From "Old-time Radio", Rick McCusker, WF6O, July 1999 Worldradio)

-- GROUND REFLECTION GAIN --

Some antenna manufacturers add ground reflection gain in their dBd claims. If so, they should also add such gain for the dipole. Caveat Emptor!

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