* Return to Archive Index * Return to EARS Archives Main Page *

The WA4IWLetter





A belated Happy New Year to all of you. In many ways 1998 was a winner, but there were also negative aspects to the year just past. Let's all hope that 1999 will be favorable to all mankind throughout the world.

From the feedback I've received, those who attended our Christmas Dinner at the Englewood Elks were quite satisfied with the food and camaraderie which we shared that night. After the dinner, several of our members took advantage of the music next door to trip the light fantastic to the delight of all. No question but that those who are artists on the key have rhythm to spare! From that you must know I just can't dance a lick, despite enrollment in dance classes..

Over the past year the EARS gained some members who are actively making the most of their new Amateur privileges, but we also lost such loyal, beloved friends as Phyllis Crosby, AD4HK, and Bill Waters, KD4UHO. They are missed by all.

The positive moves initiated by the FCC towards restructuring the license classes and testing were refreshing, and we hope that reality prevails when the new regulations ultimately appear later this year. DXers noted that, while one DXCC "entity" was lost, three new ones were gained. So, there was give and take in numerous areas.

Those who attended our December meeting know that I did a Zipcode search of all amateurs in Englewood, Placida, Rotunda, Cape Haze and Gulf Cove, i.e., everyone south of Venice and west of the Myakka River. Eliminating those who have moved, passed away, are EARS members, or are known to be uninterested in our club, I found 128 hams who are not EARS members. With our up-coming hamfest, we have a prime opportunity to reach out to these hams--not with just a hamfest flyer but with an EARS "recruitment package". I proposed we print enough extra copies of this newsletter, which includes our hamfest flyer, that it could be sent to all these hams along with a letter of invitation, describing EARS, our activities, our meetings, etc. In the past they were probably sent hamfest flyers, but I want to make a sincere effort to contact them more personally and give them a better in-depth picture of EARS.

Eighty-five of these non-members are in Englewood proper, with 41 having Novice, Tech or Tech+ licenses and 44 having General, Advanced or Extra Class licenses. We can only wonder how many of them are familiar with EARS, but we'll never know unless we make ourselves known and show interest in them.

Amateurs are known as communicators, but we often lack the desire/skills/personality (take your pick) to meet and talk directly to one another. Let's show that we can communicate through actions as well as words. We are not a fraternity cloaked in secrecy; rather, we should be anxious to meet others who share our common interests in amateur radio.

Along that line of making EARS better known, our meeting and testing schedules have been sent to CQ VHF, Worldradio, Amateur Radio Trader and the weekly Englewood Herald--all publications that provide regular listings of club meetings and/or VE testing free of charge. Hopefully these sources will help provide a better local awareness of the EARS.

73 de Jack, W4JS


Our meeting will start at 7:30pm in Room 400 of the Englewood United Methodist Church, 700 East Dear-born Street (just west of Pine Street). This will be strictly a business meeting for the submission of the Treasurer's Annual Report, presentation of the President's Report on the State of the Society, filing of reports of committees, approval of disbursement of funds for preparation of membership recruitment package, and election of officers for 1999.


Don Spencer, WA4IWL, volunteered to be our EARS Net Manager following the resignation of George Graham, W1PZE. at our November meeting. If Don asks for your assistance as a Net Control Station, please try to help out.

The weekly EARS net meets on the WB0GUX repeater (146.700) at 7:30 pm every Friday except the third Friday, which is our meeting night. Try to check in and let us know what's new or exciting in your life.

Recent net activity follows:

Date NCS Check-Ins

11 Dec WA4IWL Don 16

25 Dec WA4IWL Don 5

01 Jan WA4IWL Don 7


The Snowbird Net meets on HF daily at 10 am, 11:45 am and 5:45 pm on 14.278, and at 7:00 pm on 7.230. Join in and advise your friends up north of any local activities and what's happening on the Suncoast!

Page - 2


Minutes of the Meeting

December 18, 1998

President Jack Sproat, W4JS, opened the meeting at 7:30 PM with the Pledge of Allegiance to our Flag. Guest Vince Cuker, WA8BIJ, for Mt. Clemens, Michigan was introduced and welcomed to the meeting. Member introductions were then made around the room.

A motion was made by Jim Halliday, NX2II, to forego reading the minutes of last month's meeting, since they are published in the newsletter. Seconded by George Shreve, KA4JKY, and the motion carried.

Howard White, KD4MMY gave the Treasurer's Report. A motion to accept the report carried. The report was filed with the Secretary.

CORRESPONDENCE - The Secretary read a "Thank You" note from the Chamber of Commerce. Frank Maren, W4VV, mentioned the Chamber of Commerce has a business card exchange.


I. George Graham, W1PZE, is retiring as Net Manager and Don Spencer, WA4IWL, will be the new Net Manager.

II. Jack Sproat proposed a special mailing (unbudgeted) to recruit new members in our local area. The estimated cost would be $64.00, to be voted on at the January meeting. Gabe Meckenberg, K2GQU, suggested calling rather than mailing.

III. The January meeting will be election of officers and the Annual Meeting, as stated in Article IV, Section 3 of our Bylaws.


SUNSHINE - No report

FIELD DAY - No report

TRAINING - Ken Anderson, W4JQT

TESTING - Jack Sproat, W4JS

HAMFEST - Frank Maren, W4VV

DX - Bruce Robideau, K2OY

CROP WALK - George Graham, W1PZE

TOWERS - Jerry Meckenberg, K2JWE

NOMINATIONS - Jim Halliday, NX2II. The nominations report was read by the Secretary, and the slate of officers for 1999 is as follows:

President Jack Sproat W4JS

Vice-President Jerry Meckenberg K2JWE

Secretary Ken Anderson W4JQT

Treasurer Howard White KD4MMY

Trustees J. R. House K9HUY

John Fogle W1JF

Frank Maren W4VV

COMMENTS - Gabe Meckenberg, K2GQU, asked to review our new articles of incorporation.

Jack Sproat, W4JS, suggested we have a door prize at our meetings.

At 8:15pm, Jim Halliday, NX2II, made a motion to adjourn. Seconded by George Graham, W1PZE, and the motion carried. There were 29 members and one guest in attendance.

PROGRAM - The program was a video on "The New World of Amateur radio".

Ken Anderson, W4JQT



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 now required. (NOTE NEW REQUIREMENT--No more 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) 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


FOR SALE: Ten-Tec Paragon HF Transceiver with Power Supply/Speaker, FM module, 1.8, 0.500 and 0.250 filters ($90/each, new) - $900 (which is trade-in value from Ten-Tec w/o filters); Drake L4B linear - $800; two unused 3-500Z tubes - $150. New Cushcraft R-7 HF vertical free with entire package. Call Dick Dean, N4RD; ph. 475-2697.

FOR SALE: Ten-Tec Omni D HF Transceiver w/Ten-Tec 252 Power Supply and Shure desk mike - $250; Kenwood TS-520S HF Transceiver w/MC-50 desk mike and SP-230 speaker - $350; 35' tower w/tri-bander, HAM IV rotator, all cables etc. - $250; also a selection of 486 computers, etc. Call Don Smith, KE4WVB; ph. 697-4446


30 January DeSota ARC Hamfest; 8am-4pm, DeSota County Fairgrounds, 1/2 mi. S. of SR 70 off US Rt 17, Arcadia. TI: 147.075 Info: Doug,(941)494-5070

06 February Pensacola Hamfest, Bayfront Municipal Auditorium TI: 146.760 Info: Bill, (850)476-8537

06/07 Feb Dade Radio Club of Miami's "Tropical Hamboree", 9am-5pm, Dade Co. Fair & Exposition Center, 10901 SW 24th St (Coral Way), Miami.. TI: 146.76 Info: Evelyn, (305)642-4139

13/14 Feb Orlando Hamfest, Central Florida Fairgrounds, 4300 W. Colonial Way. TI: 146.760 Info: Ken, (407)961-2465

Page - 3



Wow! Here it is December 30th and I haven't started my New Year Wishes.

Well, the first one on my list is to loose some weight, but that is on most everyone's list (or so I have heard).

Traffic is moving along thru the area at a nice speed. Have seen no fast moving cars along 776; guess all have heard that the Police are out and watching everyone.

Stores are sure busy at this time of the year. Haven't been in any department stores and I am sure they are packed. Also, I spent too much money last month. Oh well, the first is about here.

There has been much debate of late about putting a new Strip Mall along 776 in the Sarasota side of Englewood.

Well, today I read in the paper that "Scotty's" will be opening in the Lemon Bay Shopping Center. The area is where K-Mart once was located.

That will be a help to home Do-It-Yourselfers who may need wood, and who like to build things. It will sure cut down on the amount of travel time to find the correct items.

Also noted in the paper yesterday that Sarasota has a number of areas along Route 41 that are accident prone. So far the Charlotte side has been silent on their dangerous traffic locations.

What a way to end a message--my last one for 1998. But, that's what I see in the news. UGH.

Hope everyone has and had a safe and wonderful New Year. Take care.

More during 1999.

73/88 de Peggy, KF4BD


American Amateurs seem to do all they can to keep Amateur Radio a secret from the rest of society. Participants in a recent consumer products survey by Shopper's Voice of Buffalo, NY indicated their involvement in hobbies. Flower gardening was the most popular, with some 41 percent of the respondents enjoying that pastime, followed by needlework at 30 percent. Quilting was the least popular, at only 9 percent, and amateur radio was nowhere to be found in the survey results. We really are largely unknown aren't we? Without spreading the word about ham radio to our "less fortunate" friends, how will these people learn of this great pastime?

While we as individuals have failed to "sell" our hobby, our official representative organization, the ARRL, also has failed to sell the concept of ham radio to the masses. Who, other than hams, has ever heard of the ARRL? (Ed note: In Indonesia, the populace seem to know what you mean when you say "ORARI" [Organizasi Radio Amatir Republik Indonesia--the Indonesian "ARRL"]. That's because the activities of local ORARI organizations are highly visible and open to the public at no cost, the hams proudly display the ORARI logo and their callsigns on their homes and/or antenna towers, and even taxicabs can be seen sporting the familiar red diamond.)

In contrast to the cloistered attitude of the ARRL, the Japan Amateur Radio League (JARL) spends a lot of money advertising ham radio to the Japanese public. Every year the JARL turns out two or three professionally-produced 30-minute promotional films (which are distributed on video). The production value of these films is estimated at $250,000 each. The ARRL may do one promotional film every decade, or less, and spends nothing like that amount.

JARL knows that advertising gets more people into ham radio. More hams means more money spent on radios, which in turn means more money spent by manufacturers developing new equipment that, because of greater volume, can be sold at lower and lower prices. With a population of about 126 million and over 1 million hams, the JARL must be doing something right. (With a population of some 275 million, the USA has 718,000 hams.)

How can young people be reached to get them away from the Internet and into ham radio? Fifteen or so years ago the ARRL tried an "Archie" comic book, which sure won't fly with today's cyber-oriented teenagers. Maybe the grandkids of the ARRL leadership can provide enlightenment of a role model with whom they would connect. With the right approach, perhaps the ARRL could engage that role model to act as a spokesperson to the teenagers that we desperately need to keep our hobby alive. Will it happen?

(From "FM, Repeaters & VHF" by Bill Pasternak, WA6ITF, January 1999 Worldradio)


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

Page - 4



So many of the arguments favoring the status quo for Morse testing claim that abandonment of that ritual will result in "dumbing down" amateur radio operators. The "dumbing down" term originated as the result of certain public schools passing unqualified students in order that those students wouldn't feel socially insecure--never mind that they couldn't hold even a menial job in the workplace. But, with regard to ham radio, the majority of us are already well behind the curve with regard to contemporary wireless technology.

The crossword puzzle on page 54 of the January 1999 QST is intended to test our knowledge of certain digital terminology in present-day communications. With RTTY use growing as Morse declines, shouldn't most of us be able to readily define such descriptions as "dumb device, computer data export, captures data, patterns of symbols, logic family", etc.? Does Morse capability provide us with the answers? Hardly.

The 1999 IEEE Wireless Communications and Networking Conference, to be held 21-24 September 1999 in New Orleans, is soliciting papers for presentation relative to the increasing importance of wireless technology in the global communications marketplace. Topics to be discussed include "compression methods and standards, signal processing techniques, software defined radio, broadband wireless networks, coding and modulation techniques, low power VLSI for mobile computing, nomadic computing and communications, satellite-based systems", etc. One can only wonder how many of the presentations will be prepared by hams. Once upon a time, many IEEE leaders were hams. That is not likely anymore, as ham radio technology has fallen too far behind to be of interest to such innovators. Obviously, the lack of Morse knowledge has stifled their abilities to be on the leading edge of contemporary communication. Come on, let's get real!


Jamboree On The Air (JOTA) operations are an excellent opportunity for young people to gain exposure to ham radio. The last JOTA was 17-18 October 1998, at which time Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and Cub Scouts around the world were able to visit with one another via ham radio. Some 1500 Scouts were out at the BSA's Philmont Scout Ranch in northeast New Mexico that weekend.

(Ed note: The 19th World Scout Jamboree was held from 25 December to 05 January near Santiago, Chile. W4JS worked Special Event Station XR3J which operated from the Jamboree, during which time he talked to a Scout there from Seattle. Of the 25000, or so, attending, some 1000 American Scouts were there. Hopefully some came away with an enlightened picture of ham radio.)

There are Scouts here in Englewood--some belonging to EARS. Why couldn't we start planning for JOTA 1999, which takes place 16-17 October 1999. Let's give the Scouts in our community the chance to see ham radio at work and to talk to fellow Scouts.

The League of Young Radio Amateurs (LYRA) was founded in December 1997 by KT4XA and N9ZWM. This is an international club run by and for young people involved or interested in ham radio. In keeping with the interests of young people, LYRA is based on the Internet. Anyone interested can check out the LYRA web site at www.qsl.net/lyra. This site contains up-to-date activities, news, net announcements, contest announcements and membership information. Membership in LYRA is free, so the price is right.

(From "The Youth Forum" by Brian Mileshosky, N5ZGT in January 1999 Worldradio)


Do you know any graduating senior who might be a good candidate for an amateur radio-based scholarship? The Dayton Amateur Radio Association is now accepting applications for their annual scholarships. Applicants must be graduating high school seniors in 1999. For applications, send a SASE to:

DARA Scholarships

45 Cinnamon Court

Springboro, OH 45066

Application submittals are due 15 June 1999.

The Foundation for Amateur Radio, Inc (FAR) is a non-profit organization administering sixty-six scholarships, ranging from $500-$2500 for the 1999-2000 academic year. Info and applications may be requested prior to 30 April from:

FAR Scholarships

PO Box 831

Riverdale, MD 20738

(From 01 January 1999 W5YI Report)


This is a story about four people named Everybody, Somebody, Anybody and Nobody. There was an important job to be done and Everybody was asked to do it. Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it. Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it. Somebody got angry about that, because it was Everybody's job. Everybody thought Anybody could do it but Nobody realized that Everybody wouldn't do it. It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have done.

Page - 5

Contest/Special Event Times/Dates Bands/Modes QSO With Exchange
North American QSO Party 1800 GMT 09 Jan

0600 GMT 10 Jan

160 - 10 Meters CW USA, Canada, and other North American countries Name & State
North American QSO Party 1800 GMT 16 Jan

0600 GMT 17 Jan

160 - 10 Meters


USA, Canada, and other North American countries Name & State
Hungarian DX Contest 0000 GMT 17 Jan

2359 GMT 17 Jan

160 - 10 Meters CW Hungarian Stations Only R/S/T + Serial No.
ARRL January VHF Sweepstakes 1900 GMT 23 Jan

0400 GMT 25 Jan

6 Meters and Up


Anyone, Anywhere Grid Square
CQ Worldwide 160-Meter DX Contest 2200 GMT 29 Jan

1600 GMT 31 Jan

160 Meters


Anyone, Anywhere R/S/T + State
REF French DX Contest 0600 GMT 30 Jan

1800 GMT 31 Jan

80 - 10 Meters CW France, French Overseas Territories R/S/T + Serial No.
UBA Belgian DX Contest 1300 GMT 30 Jan

1300 GMT 31 Jan

80 - 10 Meters SSB Belgium and European DXCC Countries R/S + Serial No.
Vermont QSO Party 0000 GMT 06 Feb

2400 GMT 07 Feb

160 - 10 Meters SSB/CW Vermont Stations Only R/S/(T) + QTH
New Hampshire QSO Party 0000 GMT 06 Feb

2400 GMT 07 Feb

160 - 2 Meters SSB/CW New Hampshire Stations Only R/S/(T) + QTH
Maine QSO Party 1300 GMT 06 Feb

0700 GMT 07 Feb

160 - 2 Meters SSB/CW Maine Stations Only R/S/(T) + QTH

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


While it may seem that there is an overabundance of contests, many of these contests (as listed above) are poorly-attended and have few participants.

The contests which do dominate are CQ's WPX and WorldWide DX contests, ARRL's Sweepstakes, DX and Field Day contests, and the IARU HF World Championship. Of these, only the latter two take over the HF bands in both modes at the same time.

There's no question but that contest participation is growing, however, the density of contest stations drops off near the upper edges of 15 and 20 meters, and above 28.6 mc. This is in contrast to 20 years ago when contest stations would scarcely be heard up in the General Class bands on 15 and 20.

Contests are not the only area of our hobby that non-participants may find disruptive. Major DXpeditions from rare locations "listening up" over a broad spectrum have caused chaos. Some operators feel that the increasing growth of the DX and rag-chewing nets is poor use of the bands. Others may complain about the seemingly inefficient emergency/traffic nets operating at the high end of 20 meters. Everyone, obviously, has their personal interests and a view on the "proper" use of the ham bands. DXers and contesters aren't going away, so a strategy of coexistence is essential for all of us.

There are places where non-contesters can find solace during high-profile HF contests. Contesting is not permitted on the WARC bands--30, 17 and 12 meters, and a surprising amount of activity will be found on those bands during contests. Non-contesters can also utilize an alternative mode, such as CW, RTTY, Pactor on the sideband weekends, etc.

Contesters do have an obligation to show courtesy and consideration for their fellow amateurs. Many could achieve a lot if they would ask themselves two questions: (1) Would my operating practices be acceptable if I were on the other end, i.e., the non-contester; and (2) Do my operating methods reflect the way I am on the air outside of contests?

(From "Contests" by Dave Goodwin, VE2ZP/ VE9CB in December 1998 Worldradio, and "Contest Calendar-Measuring Contesting's Bandwidth" by John Dorr, K1AR in December 1998 CQ)


The January 1999 QST shows that Bruce, K2OY, took first place for 2 meters and placed second in the South Florida Division in the 1998 ARRL June VHF QSO Party. Way to go, Bruce! Let's see how he does in the January VHF Sweepstakes with that big 7-element wide-spaced 6-meter M2 beam that he put into service in December.

Page - 6


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



BEARING 80 40 20 17 15 12 10
Maldives - 8Q7LE

Falkland Is - VP8CRB

Auckland/Campbell Is - ZL9CI

Crozet - FT5WH

Monaco - 3A/I1YRL

Banaba Is - T33VU

Tonga - A35VR

Now to 13 Jan

Now to 16 Jan

09 - 25 Jan

During January

During January

During January

Now to 01 Feb

























































Updated 31 December 1998, based on 04 January QRZ DX and 01 January The 59(9) DX Report. Solar Flux assumed at 150 for all forecasts.

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


The Solar Flux was 163 on 01 December and stayed in the 140-150 range most of the month. After rising to 184 on the 28th, it ended the month at 175. The A- and K-indices were low during December and HF propagation was generally excellent throughout the month. The December SF averaged 150, or 15% higher than last month's forecast. A smoothed Solar Flux of 133 is forecast for January

Propagation forecasts for January are as follow:

It's a toss-up between 10, 12 and 15 meters for DX propagation honors during daylight hours. Ten may be slightly better before noon with 12 and 15 being the bands of choice at, or just after, sunset.

Excellent conditions are expected on 20 meters with grey line openings to the southwest in the morning and short-path to the Indian Ocean region at night.

The optimum nighttime DX band will be 40 meters. Low atmospheric noise levels will allow peak conditions for 75 and 160 meters.

Probable best DX days for remainder of month: 15, 18, 20, 29 and 31 January should be "Above Normal"; 14, 17, 19, 21, 25-27 and 30 January should be "High Normal". 07 January may be "Disturbed".

(From "Propagation" by George Jacobs, W3ASK, January 1999 CQ)


January's solar activity should be high enough to support some good 6-meter DX openings. Look for peak conditions towards Europe and Africa an hour or two before local noontime, and towards the Caribbean, Central and South America from an hour or two before, to about an hour or two after, local noon. Look for possible 6-meter openings towards the Pacific, Australasia and possibly the Far East during the later afternoon hours. Chances are best for 6-meter openings on those days expected to be High or Above Normal.

Not many trans-equatorial openings are expected during January. The best time to check for TE openings on 6 meters is between 7 and 10pm local time.

(From "Propagation" by George Jacobs, W3ASK, January 1999 CQ)


The 2-man FT5ZH Amsterdam Island DXpedition closed down 21 December--several days early--due to deteriorating weather. In spite of no propagation on 10 or 160 meters, Eric and Mehdi had made over 32,000 QSOs in just under four week--quite an achievement from that isolated locale by two dedicated operators.

Mary Lou Brown, NM7N, ARRL Northwestern Division Director collapsed and died 03 December 1998 at the Los Angeles International Airport upon return from the VK9LX Lord Howe Island DXpedition in which she was a participant DXpedition leader Nick Hacko, VK2ICV, commented that Mary Lou was "the most liked person on the DXpedition...(and) she deserved a lot of credit for helping the rest of us get a great deal of enjoyment out of our trip".. She was 71 years old. (14 Dec '98 QRZ DX)


The following are web sites pertaining to propagation, the ionosphere, the sun, etc. of interest to DXers:

o http://www.n2hos.com/digital/prop4.html -- deals with propagation as related to contesting

o http://www.qsl.net/ct1boh/propagat.htm -- gives historical graph of WWV numbers, real-time hourly graph of k-indices, and a picture of real-time auroral ovals

o http://www.mint.net/~n1bug -- gives VHF/UHF/SHF propagation information

o http://riemann.usno.navy.mil/AA/data/docs/RS_OneDay.html#formb -- (no spaces) gives sunrise/sunset/ twilight times for any desired QTH

(From "Propagation" by Carl Luetzelschwab, K9LA, January 1999 Worldradio)

Page - 7



Last month, an article on this page described how OSCAR AO-27 could be worked with a 2- or 3-watt dual-band HT transmitting on 145.850 mc and receiving on 436.795. This article tells how one California ham built an entire satellite station, including antennas, inside his apartment. "Where there's a will, there's a way" certainly applies to anyone who really wants to get on the air in spite of antenna restrictions.

It must be noted that his apartment was on the 3rd floor of the building, and there was no attic space above him. Should you be at ground level, the satellite antennas--which are very inconspicuous--are portable and could be placed on a patio, or anywhere that they could "see" the bird.

The radio gear at his station is an ICOM IC-821H all-mode 2-meter/70-centimeter transceiver, however, any dual band FM handitalkie would be adequate for AO-27. For satellite tracking, a laptop running Nova32 for Windows 95 (from AMSAT) is used. The "VHF-DX" program, downloaded from the Internet (a very satellite friendly program) is used for logging.

The equipment is set up on an old computer desk. For local QSOs, 4-foot lengths of 3/4" PVC water pipe are bolted to the opposite sides of the computer desk to serve as antenna masts. An old RadioShack scanner antenna is mounted on top of one of the masts. Connected to a RadioShack PRO-2035, this system permits rapid scanning of local activity. A Cushcraft AR-270 2-meter/70-centimeter antenna is mounted on top of the other PVC pipe mast.

The satellite antenna assembly is separate and portable. A Radio-Shack three-foot TV antenna tripod supports a 1-1/2" PVC mast, on which an M2 Model EB-144 Eggbeater 2-meter antenna (with radial kit) is mounted. A foot or so above the tripod, a tee in the vertical mast supports a 16" length of PVC pipe that branches out horizontally with a 6" vertical stub on which an M2 Model EB-70 Eggbeater 70-centimeter antenna (with radial kit) is mounted. All coax for the station is either LMR-400 or Belden 9913F. All PL-259 and "N" connectors are the silver/Teflon type. Coax runs were limited to 20-foot, maximum.

Suggested operating times for AO-27 are available in AMSAT bulletins posted on the Internet (<http:// www.amsat.org>). A "getting started" tracking program is available from Carl Gregory, K8CG, at <http://www.sat-net.com/winorbit>.

The gist of this article is that you worked hard to get that radio license, and you can get on the air if you really want to--regardless of where you live.

(From "An Indoor OSCAR Station" by Carl Jensen, KE6SGU, January 1999 CQ VHF)


Perhaps you would like to get onto a satellite with equipment which you may have on hand. With the proper HF equipment and minimal--even indoor--antennas, and at least an Advanced Class license, it's no too difficult to work the Russian RS-12 satellite.

The 10-meter beacon frequencies are 29.408 and 29.454 mc, with the lower beacon being the most consistent. With Mode K of RS-12, you transmit between 21.210 to 21.250 mc and listen between 29.410 to 29.450 mc. The transponder is non-inverting, so if you transmit on 21.225 you listen on 28.425 plus or minus the Doppler shift.

You must be able to work full duplex, that is to be able to receive on 10 meters (using headphones to avoid audio feedback) while transmitting on 15 meters. That will probably require use of two transceivers. If you lack a second HF receiver, RadioShack or Uniden 10-meter transceivers make excellent receivers for this satellite, and they are not very expensive. Antennas can be as simple as two separate 10- and 15-meter dipoles, positioned east-west so they are broadside to the north-south paths of the satellite.

Use of a satellite tracking computer program to determine the exact times for access of signal (AOS) and loss of signal (LOS) is recommended. The ARRL's "The Satellite Experimenter's Handbook" by Martin Davidoff, K2UBC, describes the use of maps to determine these data in lieu of a computer.

At the time of AOS, listen for the 10-meter beacons. As their strength increases, tune the 10-meter receiver to hear stations calling "CQ Satellite". Say you hear one on 29.430. Put your transmitting VFO on 21.230 and transmit briefly to see that you hear your signal on his frequency. If you're on target, reply to the CQ call. With luck, you'll make connection. The satellite exchange is just name, signal report and grid square.

If the 15-meter bandpass is quiet when you have AOS, you can call "CQ Satellite". If a station replies, first ask if he is listening to you on 10 meters; remember that you're operating in the 15-meter phone band and he may just be ignoring the "satellite" part of your CQ call.

During a satellite QSO, Doppler effect will cause a frequency shift--up when the bird is approaching and down after it passes over. Do not reset the frequency of your transmitter--always compensate for Doppler shift by tuning your receiver.

This low-orbiting bird has been used by some Satellite DXers to work over 100 countries in spite of its rather small footprint. That is because it is possible to both work into the bird and receive output via HF skip, even when the bird is, say, over Europe.

* Return to Archive Index * Return to EARS Archives Main Page *