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The EARS WA4IWLetter

JULY 2001

-- PRESIDENT'S MESSAGE --

"A good time was had by all." That was the general consensus of the participants and guests at our 2001 Field Day. From the setup crew who endured the Friday morning downpour, thunder and lightning, to the all-night operators, to the picnic guests, to the tear-down crew who had beautiful weather, there was fun and work for everyone. Many, many thanks to all who gave of their time, effort, equipment and donations to make this year's Field Day a success.

Field Day is an event to test the readiness of Amateur Radio emergency communications. During setup on Friday we sure did have an opportunity to deal with most of the elements of a hurricane--which is the emergency we would most likely face here in West Central Florida. The rain was coming down in buckets, lightning and thunder were resounding around us, and we were ankle deep in water as we set up the generators and ran coax. The only thing missing was the 100 mph plus winds. Safety was a concern and we did spend an hour or so in our cars waiting for the worst of the storm to pass. Undaunted, we pressed on and the G5RVs went up, the towers went up and, by late Friday afternoon, the tent was delivered and all was ready for Saturday's final hook up and fine tuning.

Saturday, 2 PM, and we were on the air--HF and VHF going strong. Like magic, operators appeared and scoured the airwaves for contacts. Members of the fourth estate appeared (after the rain quit), with the photographer and reporters grilling all those present. Our PR man, Jerry Meckenberg-K4JWE, was elated as all his groundwork had paid dividends. Sunday's newspapers featured EARS Field Day in color and b/w on several pages. On Sunday, many visitors' faces were present at the picnic, as the general public and several long-lost members showed up to see what was going on.

Monday was supposed to be tear-down day, but the tent company never came, and so the final tower take-down didn't happen until Tuesday morning. But, as if by magic, a crew appeared and all the parts and pieces were taken down and delivered to their rightful owners.

Field Day--part of the core fun of Amateur Radio. Ken Anderson-W4JQT may have put it best when he said,"One of the best parts is talking about it (Field Day) the next day."

Finally, I would like to thank Keith Herve-WL7CKY for the fine job he did as Field Day coordinator.

Well, guess what? Field Day was so much fun, we are going to do it all over again--this time for the INTERNATIONAL LIGHTHOUSE/LIGHTSHIP WEEKEND. This event is from 0001 UTC on Saturday 18 August until 2359 UTC on Sunday 19 August 2001. EARS will again be setting up at the Boca Grande Lighthouse on the southern tip of Gasparilla Island and operating station K8ONV during the daylight hours.

Over 200 Amateur Radio stations plan to be transmitting from lighthouses and lightships in over 40 countries. This event is NOT a contest, therefore, each station decides how they will operate their station regarding modes and bands. Participants are not committed to be on the air during the entire period--only as much as they can. There are no restrictions on antennas or power. Operators will have a chance to enjoy themselves and have fun, while making contact with as many Amateur Radio stations at other lighthouses and lightships as possible.

If you would like to get involved in the fun, call me and volunteer to be our Lighthouse Event Coordinator or Co-Coordinator. It will be a pretty easy job--just a matter of identifying what equipment will be needed, and finding out who would like to operate and when. The site location and registration has already been taken care of.

73 de Vic-KF4VHX

-- JULY MEETING --

The next EARS meeting will be held 20 July at the Englewood United Methodist Church, 700 East Dearborn St. Officers' meeting will be held in the church library at 6 PM. The business meeting will start at 7:30 pm in Room 400, Friendship Hall. The program will be a departure from topics related to radio and, instead, we will hear a presentation entitled "Sea Partners" by members of the U. S. Coast Guard Auxiliary.

The topic is relevant since we all live in a very environmentally sensitive area that is under constant threat of deterioration by our living here. Our speakers will be Judy Abbott, Flotilla Staff Officer--Marine Safety, and our own Jerry Meckenberg-K4JWE, Flotilla Staff Officer--Vessel examination. They will also be showing a documentary video showing the saving of "Inky the Whale".

We encourage you to bring your wives, children, grandchildren, neighbors, etc. This subject impacts us all and we all need to do everything we can to preserve this paradise we live in.


Page - 2


ENGLEWOOD AMATEUR RADIO SOCIETY

Minutes of the Meeting

June 15, 2001

President Vic Emmelkamp-KF4VHX opened the meeting promptly at 7:30 pm with the Pledge of Allegiance. New member Joe Ventura-KB4BCM was introduced to the group and all were welcomed to the meeting.

PROGRAM - Due to our speaker's schedule, the program was held prior to the business portion of the meeting. Vic-KF4VHX introduced the speaker, Wayne Sallade, Charlotte County Director of Emergency Management.

Wayne discussed the beginning of the 2001 Hurricane Season and that the first storm, Allison, has had the distinction of being the most destructive tropical storm ever in terms of dollars of damage and lives lost. You have to take every storm seriously regardless of its category.

He went on to discuss the various services provided by his team in coordination with other counties, and also the various types of emergencies they have to prepare for, including fires, storms, floods and, now, weapons of mass destruction, perhaps wielded by terrorists.

The program ended about 8:20 and we had refreshments and reconvened for the business portion of the meeting.

A motion by Free Crosby-W1NPR to accept the minutes of last month's meeting as printed in the newsletter was seconded by Gene Fowler-KA1GCU and carried.

Ken Anderson-W4JQT gave the Treasurer's Report. Expenses for the past month were$568.57 with revenues of $147.80, giving an ending balance of $3107.11. A motion for acceptance of the report was made by Jerry Meckenberg-K4JWE, seconded by Frank Maren-W4VV, and carried.

ANNOUNCEMENTS

o Free Crosby-W1NPR is maintaining the e-mail list for monthly bulletin distribution. If you can forego having the bulletin mailed to you and read it on the web site, please get your e-mail address to W1NPR.

o The 2001 Membership Directories are now available, thanks to the efforts of Vic and Dennis Babcock-K4NF (formerly NT9K). Directories were passed out to those present.

o Field Day is June 23 and 24--this coming weekend. Keith Herve-WL7CKY is coordinating this event. There will be a picnic thereafter and the attendance is estimated at 35 to 40. Al Wilde-W8JZZ volunteered to contribute the various types of soda pop for the picnic. Thanks Al!

o International Lighthouse Weekend is coming up August 18 and 19.

o June 16 is Ham Radio Kid's Day.

CORRESPONDENCE

No correspondence was mentioned at this meeting.

COMMITTEE REPORTS

o SUNSHINE - A birthday card was sent to "Uncle John" Johnston-K1RSC.

o RACES - Frank-W4VV told us that a 300-foot tower is planned for the San Casa Charlotte County site and it would be the future transmitting point for the K8ONV repeater.

o PUBLICITY - Jerry-K4JWE reported that both the Sun Herald and the Herald Tribune have been contacted about our Field Day and would be on site on Saturday, picking up information.

o TESTING - Ken-W4JQT let us know that there have been no requests for exams, so there will be no testing this Saturday.

o DX - JR House-K9HUY commented that Somalia is on the air.

OLD BUSINESS:

o No Old Business was discussed.

NEW BUSINESS:

o Hamfest 2002 - Vic Emmelkamp reported that this is to be a joint effort among CARS, Peace River and EARS, with each putting up a third of the budget and reaping a third of the returns. The planned site is the Charlotte County Fairgrounds and the date is Saturday, March 9th. JR-K9HUY moved that we authorize the committee to spend up to $500 for Hamfest 2002. This was seconded by Mike Fox-KA1ZFO, and was carried. The actual binding vote on this will happen at the next monthly meeting.

The meeting adjourned at 9:25 PM. There were 18 members present.

Ken Blackshaw-W1NQT

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--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) Photo identification.

(5) A check in the amount of $10.00 payable to "ARRL VEC", or cash in the above amount.

For further information/reservation, contact EARS VE Team Liaison Jack Sproat, W4JS, at 475-1929

-- SNOWBIRD NET --

The Snowbird Net meets daily at 10 AM on 14.278, and at 7:00 PM on 7.230. The Birds are all back in their northern nests now, so join in wherever you are.

---ooo---


Page - 3


-- MOBILE INSTALLATION AIDS --

General Motors has created an Internet link to aid in mobile radio installations. In response to a request from the ARRL, the General Motors Engineering Center has created a Web link to its official guidelines for installing radio transmitters in vehicles. The Radio Telephone/Mobile Radio Installation Guidelines page is <http://service.gm.com/techlineinfo/radio.html>. Installation guidelines for Chrysler and Ford are reprinted, with permission, in the ARRL RFI Book, <http://www.arrl.org/catalog/6834>. The ARRL also offers information about automotive RFI on its Web site, <http://www.arrl.org/tis/info/rficar.html>.

(From The ARRL Letter Vol. 20, No.25)

-- FLORIDA ENFORCEMENT NEWS --

FCC Special Counsel for Amateur Radio Enforcement Riley Hollingsworth invoked Section 97.27 of the FCC rules such that Joseph Mattern, KG4NGG, of Orlando is denied access to all repeaters on the 144, 222 and 440 MHz bands for the next three years.

Mattern, who formerly held the vanity call sign WW4WJD as a Tech Plus, was called for retesting last September after the FCC received allegations that he had been using amateur repeaters in the Orlando area to solicit traffic reports for his employer, a company that markets the reports. Mattern claimed this activity was a "hobby" that earned him very little money.

Mattern failed all elements of last year's retest, but he passed the Technician exam earlier this year, and was granted KG4NGG on 03 May. That grant was set aside until 08 June when it was issued with the restriction.

(From The ARRL Letter Vol. 20, No. 25)

-- CLASSIFIED --

For Sale: The following items are for sale:

o Micronta Model 22-024 Transistor Tester - $15

o Micronta Model 21-525B Field Strength/SWR Meter - $10

o Dentron W2 Watt Meter/dual range, 1-200 and 10-2000 watts - $30

o Heath Model HD-16 Code Oscillator - $15

o B & W Model 550A Antenna Switch - $15

o MFJ Model 941D 300-Watt Versa Tuner II - $30

o MFJ Model 1621 Portable Antenna - $35

o ICOM SP3 External Speaker - $40

o ICOM 27A 2-meter Xcvr w/mic - $100

o Johnson low pass filter - $15

o Radio Shack Model 21-543 Digital Signal Processor - $35

o Microwave Devices Inc. 2-meter SWR/Watt Meter - $15

Contact John Karban, W3IGC, 660 Buenos (LaCasa), North Port, FL 34287-2588; phone 426-8318; e-mail to bebejay@juno.com

-- OVERSEAS CEPT OPERATING --

For the past two years, it has been very easy for an American Amateur Radio licensee to get on the air from many European and South American countries. For someone taking a tour or cruise in those areas, why not take along a transceiver and be DX for a change?

The European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administrations (CEPT) radio-amateur license allows US Amateurs to travel to and operate from 33 European countries and/or their dependencies. All that US Amateurs need bring in order to operate from those countries are:

1) Original US Amateur Radio license

2) Proof of US citizenship (your passport)

3) A copy of the FCC's Public Notice DA 99-2344, which details (in English, German and French) the operating privileges and basic requirements.

There are two classes of CEPT. Class 1 requires knowledge of International Morse code and carries all operating privileges. Tech+, General, Advanced and Extra class licensees qualify for Class 1. Class 2 does not require knowledge of telegraphy and carries all operating privileges above 30 MHz. This is equivalent to the current Technician license. As there is no CEPT class equivalent to the Novice license, Novice class licensees are not eligible for CEPT.

Operating overseas with such privileges, one would identify with the country prefix followed by your home call sign, such as "3A/W4XYZ" or "3A portable W4XYZ" if operating in Monaco. Visit the ARRL web site for details, and access to the FCC form.

According to the CITEL Agreement, an International Amateur Radio Permit (IARP) may be issued by the IARU member society (the ARRL in the USA) for an American Amateur to operate in five South American countries. Again there are two IARP classes: Class 1 and Class 2. These classes are identical in requirements and privileges as the CEPT. An IARP application is available (as a PDF file) on the ARRL web site.

-- GROUNDING AND LIGHTNING --

Recently Frank Norton, VE6WZ, posted notice on the TowerTalk reflector that his 89' US Tower with 16' mast had taken a lightning strike--while retracted! Peter Larsen, VE6YC, offered some comments on his tower grounding system. Peter has a "ground mat" at his QTH, comprised of ten 8' ground rods spaced at 16' and four ground plates, connected together with about 300' of #4 bare copper wire in his back and side yards.

Some of Peter's neighbors claim that his tower has taken lightning hits, but he hasn't seen any damage. He does know that the 48' street light outside his house has been hit, however.

The point is that you can never be over cautious and conservative when it comes to proper tower grounding.


Page - 4


-- WATERPROOFING COAX CONNECTORS --

Recently, Joe Taylor, K1JT, posted a query on the Internet regarding what works best for waterproofing coax connectors. His responses were published in the newsletter of the Mt. Airy VHF Radio Club, and subsequently in "VHF Plus" by Joe Lynch, N6CL, in the July 2001 CQ. The various waterproofing methods are summarized below.

Bob Dodson, WB5APD: I wrap all my connectors with electrical tape, then cover the tape with Coax Seal. I wrap and cover 100% of the connectors and all the way over the feedline about 1 inch.

Shelby Ennis, W8WN: The only thing I've found to work--most of the time--is silicon rubber.

Jim Shaffer, WB9UWA: I use a layer of rubber tape. Follow this with a good layer of vinyl tape. It is clean and easy to remove. Rubber tape degrades in sunlight, so the vinyl tape is a must. Vinyl tape will not keep out water.

Jerry Johnson, K0CQ: A combination of Scotchkote and Scotch #33 tape (don't accept substitutes, they are not the same!) in several layers is effective in waterproofing all kinds of electrical connections, even those being buried underground. Scotchkote is becoming hard to buy. Coax Seal sold at RadioShack is not useful for anything in the sun but making a mess. It does not maintain a closed cover. It dries up and cracks.

Carl Huether, KM1H: A double layer of Scotch #88 or its related (and somewhat improved) cousins works fine for me up in New Hampshire. I'm talking about real Scotch brand, not fleamarket or discount-store import junk!

Stan Laine, WA1ECF: I use Scotch #88 black electrical tape and the Scotch putty tape. Wrap the putty tape, stretched thin, over the metal connectors and at least 1-inch above and below the connectors. The putty tape is used to fill in voids and to make the joint smoother. Wrap the #88 tape around the joint starting in the middle, wrap to one side with a one-half overlap, then wrap to the other side, then back to the middle. Cut with a knife or scissors, with 2 inches remaining. Do not stretch out the last 2 inches. Just wrap it up.

Ian White, G3SEK: I don't use the putty tape to fill in voids in in-line connectors, but do sometimes use the glue-lined heat-shrink sleeving to cover the joint between the connector and the cable. I do use putty tape before wrapping over a connector that goes straight into a box-mounted socket.

Adam Epstein, N2DHH: I like a layer of 3M #23 (rubber splicing tape), followed by a layer of Scotchkote (electrical sealer), followed by another layer of #23. Give the Scotchkote 10 minutes or so to dry before you tape over it. The outer layer of tape protects the Scotchkote from being degraded by ultraviolet. Don't substitute no-name brand tape (I've seen it dry out and disintegrate).

Brad Pioveson, W9FX: My working career was spent as an underground bituminous coal mine maintenance manager. Our insulating materials of choice for cable-jacket repairs included Scotch 130C self-vulcanizing tape and Scotch 33+. The 130C, if properly applied, will form a barrier impenetrable by water. By itself, however, it won't stand up to much abuse. The method we used involved an initial double wrap of 33+ over the exposed connection. This prevents the 130C from becoming impossible to remove. Follow the initial layer with a double-wrap of 130C, making certain that (a) the "sticky" side is up and, (b) stretching the tape at least 33% when applying it. Finally, the outer coating is another double-wrap layer of 33+, also applied under tension.

Rick Abbott, KB0LGB: I use the brush-on liquid electrical tape made by Star Brite. I have never had a water problem in my coax or connections. Two coats with 30 minutes between applications will do it. I use a putty-like coax sealant only on cable entry holes into and out of the house.

Owen Wormser, K6LEW: In my personal opinion, there is no right way. You will never keep all moisture out of your coax/coax connectors. I do preventative maintenance. I use two layers of 3M quality electrical tape. I strip all my connectors at least once a quarter and inspect thoroughly. I inspect the center pin, looking for any signs of moisture intrusion (a graying of a gold pin, tarnish on a silver pin). If all is well, I apply two new layers of tape. The atmospheric changes/barometric pressure will ensue you will have moisture intrusion into your feed lines, and there is no way around this.

Jay Kesterson, K0GU: I wrap the connection in Scotch 33, spray Krylon clear coat over the tape and onto adjacent surfaces, let dry, add another layer of 33 and Krylon, let dry, then finish with another layer of tape.

Chris Patterson, W3CMP: I use Scotch #33 tape and then put clear silicone aquarium seal ("silastic") over the tape, and overlap the coax.

(FYI, the folks at Champion Radio recommend wrapping the connection with butyl rubber and covering with Scotch #88 or #33+. #88 is heavier tape than #33+. If Coax Seal is used, first wrap the connection with #33, then the Coax Seal, and a final wrap of #33+.)

In summary, you can see that attempting to keep water out of an exposed coax connection is far more involved than just wrapping with some tape. Have your signals have degraded with time? Wonder why?

-- CLASSIFIED --

For Sale: Mosley TA-33-JR-N-WARC Yagi beam antenna - 3 yrs old. Five bands - 10, 12, 15, 17, 20 meters. Very good condition, and it's yours for $100. Call Ken Anderson, W4JQT, at 475-3172


Page - 5


CONTESTS AND ACTIVITIES
Contest/Special Event Times/Dates Bands/Modes QSO With Exchange
IARU HF World Championship 1200 GMT 14 July

1200 GMT 15 July

160 - 10 Meters

SSB and CW

Anyone, Anywhere R/S/(T) + ITU Zone
FISTS Summer Sprint 1700 GMT 14 July

2100 GMT 14 July

80 - 10 Meters

CW

Anyone, Anywhere Name, R/S/T, QTH/Country/ Power Output
CQ WW VHF Contest 1800 GMT 14 July

2100 GMT 15 July

6 and 2 Meters

SSB and CW

Anyone, Anywhere Grid Square
Southeast Asia Net (SEANET) Contest 0000 GMT 14 July

2359 GMT 15 July

160 - 10 Meters

CW

SE Asian + Stations from Middle East to KH2 & ZK R/S/T + Serial No.
Colombian Independence Day 0000 GMT 15 July

2359 GMT 15 July

80 - 10 Meters

SSB and CW

Anyone, Anywhere R/S/(T) + Serial No.
Six Club Six-Meter Sprint 2300 GMT 21 July

0400 GMT 22 July

6 Meters Only

SSB and CW

Anyone, Anywhere Grid Square
North American QSO Party 1800 GMT 21 July

0600 GMT 22 July

80 - 10 Meters

RTTY

Anyone, Anywhere Name and QTH
Islands on the Air (IOTA) Contest 1200 GMT 28 July

1200 GMT 29 July

80 - 10 Meters

SSB and CW

Island Stations R/S/(T) + Serial No.
North American QSO Party 1800 GMT 04 August

0600 GMT 05 August

160 - 10 Meters

CW

Anyone, Anywhere Name and QTH
WAE European DX Contest 0000 GMT 11 August

2359 GMT 12 August

80 - 10 Meters

CW

European Stations Only R/S/T + Serial No.
Keyman's Club of Japan

Contest

1200 GMT 18 August

1200 GMT 19 August

160 - 10 Meters

CW

Japanese Stations Only R/S/T + Continent (NA)
SARTG RTTY Contest 00>08 GMT 18 Aug

16>22 GMT 18 Aug

08>16 GMT 19 Aug

80 - 10 Meters

RTTY

Anyone, Anywhere R/S/T + QSO No.
Southeast Asia Net (SEANET) Contest 0000 GMT 18 August

2359 GMT 19 August

160 - 10 Meters

SSB

SE Asian + Stations from Middle East to KH2 & ZK R/S + Serial No.
North American QSO Party 1800 GMT 18 August

0600 GMT 19 August

160 - 10 Meters

SSB

Anyone, Anywhere Name and QTH
TOEC WW Grid Contest 1200 GMT 25 August

1200 GMT 26 August

160 - 10 Meters

CW

Anyone, Anywhere R/S/T + Grid Square
Slovenian RTTY Championship 1200 GMT 25 August

1200 GMT 26 August

80 - 10 Meters

RTTY

Anyone, Anywhere R/S/T + Year 1st Licensed

From July 2001 QST, July 2001 Worldradio and LA9HW Contest Pages

-- QTC TRAFFIC --

In the WAE DX Contest, you will likely be asked "Any QTCs?" A QTC is a report of a previous QSO that is sent later back to a European station. The idea is that after a number of Europeans have been worked, a list of these stations can be reported back during a QSO with another station.

A QTC contains the time, call and QSO number of the station being reported, e.g., 1300/DL2DN/134, which means that at 1300 GMT you worked DL2DN and received #134.

A QSO can be reported only once and not back to the original station. A maximum of 10 QTCs to a station is allowed. The same station can be worked several times to complete this quota, however, only the original contact has QSO value.

Keep a uniform list of QTCs sent; 3/7 indicates that this is the third series of QTCs sent and that 7 QSOs are being reported.

If this sounds confusing, it becomes quite clear after you listen to another contest station passing QTCs and you can easily follow suit.


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
Faroe Is - OY/DJ1YFK

Market Reef - OJ0U

Iceland - TF/DJ1YFK

Vietnam - 3W2LWS

Bangladesh - S21YV

Cambodia - XU7ABR

Crete - J49R

Svalbard Is - JW5E

Grenada - J3/Dutch Operators

South Cooks Is - ZK1AHB

Solomon Is - H4???

Temotu Is - H40???

St Vincent - J8/Dutch Operators

West Kiribati - T30XU

Christmas Is - VK9XV

09 - 11 July

12 - 16 July

12 - 19 July

13 July - 02 Aug

15 July - 05 Aug

17 July - 02 Aug

23 July - 06 Aug

28 - 29 July

02 - 15 August

07 - 17 August

11 - 14 August

15 - 28 August

16 - 27 August

04 - 10 Sept

06 - 13 Sept

32

31

28

348

8

349

51

13

123

246

275

270

121

277

334

01>05

01>02

01>06

NO

NO

NO

01>04

NO

01>10

06>11

09>11

08>11

01>10

08>11

NO

23>08

00>05

23>09

NO

NO

NO

23>05

00>08

23>11

04>12

07>11

06>12

23>11

06>12

1100

00>24

00>24

00>24

09>14

20>03

09>15

19>09

00>24

11>05

22>13

04>15

03>15

12>04

03>16

11>15

12>01

12>18

11>21

11>16

17>04

11>23

00>24

14>04

14>23

17>07

01>16

00>15

14>22

18>05

12>20

23>03

19>00

22>00

13>19

12>21

10>21

15>23

14>04

15>21

17>05

20>05

19>05

16>21

18>04

13>20

22>23

NO

NO

12>19

12>21

12>21

11>00

NO

15>22

18>22

20>03

20>00

15>20

19>02

15>19

NO

NO

NO

14>16

12>19

13>17

11>14

NO

NO

18>21

20>21

20>22

NO

19>23

17>19

Updated 30 June 2001, based on 02 July 2001 QRZ DX, 25 June 2001 The Weekly DX and DX Alert No.14

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

Solar Flux assumed at 180 and F-Index at 2 for all forecasts.

-- JULY PROPAGATION --

June's Solar Flux ranged from 133 to 208, and averaged 173.0, with the A-index being < 10 for 21 days. The July propagation forecast ("Propagation", George Jacobs, W3ASK, July 2001 CQ) follows.

HF propagation conditions are generally more stable during July than at any other time of the year.

The optimum band for DX propagation is expected to be 20 meters. The band should be open around the clock to one region or other of the world, with peak conditions forecast for several hours after local sunrise and again during the late afternoon and early evening hours. During the late afternoon, 15 and 17 meters should open frequently, especially on more or less north-south paths. A few 10- and 12-meter openings should also be possible during the afternoon, mainly to southern and tropical areas.

During the hours of darkness, 20, 30 and 40 meters should open to many areas of the world, but seasonably high static levels may degrade 40-meter reception. High static will also cause poor DX conditions on 80 meters, although some openings are forecast during the hours of darkness. Poor conditions will prevail on 160 meters due to seasonally high static and solar absorption.

Probable best DX days for remainder of July: 10-11, 15, 17, 20 and 23 should be "Above Normal"; 14, 16, 21, 24, 27-28 should be "High Normal".

---ooo---



-- SOMALIA ON THE AIR! --

Baldur, DJ6SI, and Tom, DL1QW, surprised everyone 14 June when they came on the air as T5X and T5W, respectively. Baldur was active on CW while Tom attended to the SSB and RTTY crowd. While QSOs with Somalia were readily available during the American involvement there in 1993, the last legal operation from that country was by CT1DIZ as T5RM in 1995. The two Germans had some 15,000 QSOs in their logs when they shut down 21 June. (From The Weekly DX 18 and 25 June 2001. Note:Your editor was grateful to work T5W on four bands for Phone DXCC #328.)

-- WWV USER SURVEY ON THE WEB --

The National Institute of Standards and Technology survey seeking information on how WWV and WWVH listeners us the standard time and frequency broadcast services is now available on the Internet. The survey is posted at <http://www.timesurvey.nist.gov/>. It's also available as a printable PDF or HTML file. Data collected from this survey will determine whether WWV and WWVH remain on the air. (From ARRL Letter Vol. 20 No.24)

While exact time can be obtained via telephone, keep in mind that we amateurs have no alternatives for the frequency standards offered by WWV/WWVH. All of us should respond to this survey to keep these stations on the air. Do nothing and they will be lost forever.


Page - 7


-- DON'T USE BRAID FOR GROUNDING --

(Some recent exchanges of information on the <towertalk@contesting.com> reflector detailed the fallacies of using braid for grounding purposes.)

In response to a query on 18 June 2001, Steve Morris, K7LXC, offered the following: "Braid is not used in commercial ground systems and is not recommended for this type application. One problem is that rain running down the tower leg picks up some zinc which is deposited in the braid, contributing to rapid braid deterioration. Also the strands of the braid oxidize individually so it loses overall conductivity which increases the resistance. Use copper strap or solid copper wire for ground systems, not braid."

On the same date, Kevin Hemsley, KB7TYA, quoted from the manual for the Ameritron AL-80B amplifier manual: "The best materials to use for ground connections are (in order of effectiveness) smooth wide copper flashing, copper tubing, or solid copper wire. Never use braided or woven conductors unless the lead needs to be flexed. Braided or woven conductors off a much higher impedance to lightning and RF than equivalent solid conductors."

On 20 June 2001, Tom Rauch, W8JI, quoted from page 8-25 of Electronic Designers Handbook: "When the outer conductor is not solid but is braided to give greater flexibility, the attenuation in decibels per unit length due to the resistance of the outer conductor is multiplied by a factor of approximately 2.75." Tom's own measurements showed clean braid from RG-8 coax heats and discolors with only 8 amperes of 30 MHz RF. The temperature rise was about the same as #16 solid wire. Knowing what a few amps of RF can due to braid, Tom commented he "sure would hate to depend on it for lightning or RF grounds."

Tom notes that NASA and others prohibit the use of braiding in lightning grounds and stated "you'll never see it in BC stations where the ground is involved in lightning or RF applications..."

-- QRZ.COM FOR SALE --

Fred Lloyd, AA7BQ, owner and webmaster of the popular QRZ.com web site has announced it's up for sale. Lloyd became a certified flight instructor at the time he started the web site and he claims, "Now I would like to spend more time teaching people how to fly." Interested? <http://www/qrz.com/qrz_ sale.html> is where to look, or e-mail Lloyd at <flloyd@qrz.com>.

QRZ.com is widely used for updated QSL info on both domestic and DX call signs. (From ARRL Letter Vol. 20 No. 24)

"Everything that can be invented has been invented." - Charles Duell, U.S. Office of Patents Commissioner, 1899




-- CHANGES IN MORSE EXAMS --

New Morse Code exam standards became effective 01 July 2001. What with 5-wpm remaining the sole Morse requirement, last July the National Conference of Volunteer Examiner Coordinators voted to set up revised standards for the Morse exams in the USA. There are two changes of note.

o Multiple-choice examinations will no longer be offered. To pass, examinees will have to correctly answer seven fill-in-the-blank answers for the 10-question element 1 test. Alternatively, examinees may correctly copy 25 consecutive characters.

o Characters in the ARRL's 5-wpm exams will be sent at a 15-wpm speed and 750 cycle tone. Standard 5-wpm messages with 5-wpm characters are available as "an accommodation" upon special request from the ARRL.

(From ARRL Bulletin 24 19 June 2001)

-- DRAFT FLORIDA ANTENNA BILL --

(Following is the draft wording of a Florida Antenna Bill as agreed to by all three Section Managers of Florida, as received from Dave Armbrust-AE4MR, WCF SM.)

Federal Regulations (101 FCC 2d 952 (1985) and Florida Statutes (FS 125.561 and FS 166.0435) require that any state or local regulation must reasonably accommodate amateur radio communication. It has long been recognized by both the Federal Government and the State of Florida that conventional means of communication can be lost in any area for extended periods of time. FCC licensed amateur radio operators have historically provided communication for communities, and disaster agencies, during such emergencies. Due to the importance of this means of emergency communication, the operating needs of the Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) shall be reasonably accommodated in all areas.

Any local ordinance, regulation, deed restriction, covenant or property lease involving the placement, screening, or height of antenna structures shall reasonably accommodate amateur radio communication and shall impose the minimum regulation and restrictions necessary to accomplish clearly defined objectives of the local government, association or property owner.

On lots that are less than one-acre in size, no local government ordinance shall restrict the height of an amateur radio antenna support structure to less than 75 feet above ground level. On lots of one-acre or more, no local government ordinance shall restrict the height of an amateur radio antenna support structure to less than 200 feet above ground level.

"Little more can reasonably be aimed at, with respect to the people at large, than to have them properly armed and equipped." - Alexander Hamilton

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