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The EARS WA4IWLetter

JUNE 1999


The vast majority of us went through a public school system years before the current aura of education hit the scene some decades back. You remember those days when each class had it's opening ceremonies, including--dare I say it--Bible readings. In my home town, we all walked home for lunch and walked back to school for the afternoon session. Our moms were there when we came home, usually through the kitchen door, to feed us at noon and to greet us at the end of the day. We had a feeling of "family", both at home and at school. While money was tight, the only jobs for kids were as paper carriers or as caddies at the country club. So, we had time to develop interests in hobbies--such as amateur radio--and develop friendships that have survived to the present day.

That peaceful scenario started falling apart in the 1960s as the schools were forced by the federal government into philosophical and educational atheism. As tax rates and living costs escalated, more and more moms had to trade in their aprons for jobs that offered monetary, rather than human, reward. The term "latch-key kids" entered our lexicon. Kids began to fend for themselves, and the results have obviously proven disastrous in a number of instances. Hobbies were abandoned in favor of jobs in the fast food outlets. Another term, "dysfunctional families", i.e., badly performing, was to be read and heard as the family life, such as we knew, started to shatter.

There are some positive oases dotting this otherwise bleak landscape. Who amongst us cannot look upon the Henry brothers with anything but the greatest pride? In Yuli's English writing class at Manatee Community College there is a 1999 Lemon Bay HS graduate. When the subject of "Excellence" was given as the topic for a brief paper, this young lady wrote of God. In spite of all the adversities, she obviously has faith and isn't one bit ashamed of it!

Parents also are not entirely blind to what has been happening. When the Children's Scholarship Fund recently offered 40,000 school vouchers, 1.25 million families applied for those scholarships! This shows how desperate parents have become to find a place to sink their family educational anchors. Have the "media elite" ever editorialized over this broadside against the governments' failing educational system? Don't strain your eyes or ears waiting for coverage of such "trivial" matters by the talking heads, for it will never come.

Amongst the EARS members who responded to the 1997 Membership Survey, there was overwhelming support for creation of an EARS Scholarship Fund. While the survey question was worded to apply only to "graduating Lemon Bay High School science majors", could we not broaden the scope of such a fund to provide some financial assistance to young people groping for relief from the status quo?

I think it is time for us to do something for the young people of Englewood. This subject merits further consideration and discussion, but we should take some action in this regard. Who knows; perhaps those whom we help might reward us by entering our hobby in addition to becoming better adults of the future. Please think about this and then share your thoughts with your officers.

73 de Jack, W4JS


The next EARS meeting will be held 18 June 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 evening's program will feature a presentation by a "Metro Crime Prevention of Florida" representative. Means by which we can protect ourselves and our property from being victimized by a criminal. will be demonstrated. Spouses are welcome!


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. Volunteers are always needed for Net Control; please contact Don Spencer, WA4IWL, our Net Manager. Recent net activity follows:

Date NCS Check-Ins

14 May WA4IWL Don 15

28 May WA4IWL Don 6

04 June KD9SJ Don 10

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Minutes of the Meeting

May 21, 1999

President Jack Sproat, W4JS, opened the meeting at 7:30 pm. Due to Lemon Bay High School Commencement Exercises being held at the Englewood United Methodist Church where we normally meet, our meeting was held at St. David's Episcopal Church in Englewood. Arrangements for meeting there were made by the Pastor, Rev. Ed Walker, KQ4DC. New member Ed Evitt, N9AWP, was introduced and made welcome.

A motion was made, seconded and carried to forego reading the minutes of last month's meeting, since the are published in the newsletter.

Howard White, KD4MMY, gave the treasurer's re-port, and made a motion for acceptance. The motion was seconded and carried. A copy of the report was forwarded to the Secretary for file.

John Fogle, W1JF, reported that he had completed an audit of the EARS Treasurer's records, and found them to be in good order and maintained in accordance with good business practices.


Regret to inform all that the mother of Dennis Babcock, NT9K, passed away earlier this week, and he was in Indiana for the services.

Joann Benkovich, wife of Bob, KF4YOW, is in intensive care in a Ft. Myers hospital, after being struck by an automobile. Cards to their residence would be appreciated.

Doug Zeeff, N4EHO (now W4JDZ), is still looking for amateur radio study material for a youth group at his church. See Jack Sproat if you have anything.

Personalized log books have netted $36.00 for the club so far. See Jack Sproat if you want one or two.

The Florida Repeater Council has approved a pair of frequencies for the Grove City repeater. They are 146.865/.265 MHz. The crystals have been ordered and a purchase order has been placed for the controller by Charlotte County.

Plans have been made for Field Day to be held at the Englewood Methodist Church wooded area same as last year. A family picnic is planned for Sunday noon.

A motion to adjourn the meeting at 7:42 pm was made, seconded, and carried There were 19 members and 4 guests in attendance.


A "Heart Smart" program was put on by Brad Jacobs, Ray Bauer and Joe Silva. They are members of the Sarasota/Manatee Professional Firefighters and Paramedics organization. This was an actual training session on how to do CPR and what to do in case of heart attack and cardiac arrest. The Heimlich maneuver, in case of choking, was also discussed and demonstrated. Certificates of completion were passed out to all attendees.

Ken Anderson, W4JQT



EARS members again plan to operate in the annual ARRL Field Day activity 26-27 June. See Page 5 for complete details, and please consider lending a hand (especially a hand that can send Charlie Whiskey).

A short while back, reaction was sought for participation by EARS members in the Islands On The Air (IOTA) Contest in July and the International Lighthouse Day activities in August. Not much interest was expressed concerning the IOTA 'test, even though it's worth noting that Manasota Key has two IOTA designators: NA-034 north of the 27th parallel (which crosses the Key 0.77 mile down Manasota Key Rd. from the Manasota Beach Rd intersection), and NA-069 south of the 27th. Maybe "next year".

Interest perked up, however, regarding an operation from the newly restored Boca Grande Lighthouse. Permission has been procured from the authorities at the lighthouse, and EARS members plan to operate from the picnic pavilion there on Sunday 22 August. We plan to operate near the IOTA frequencies and, as we will be in the semi-rare NA-069, a lot of island chasers should be after us, as well as lighthouse fans. While the lighthouse is normally closed during August, the museum most likely will be opened during our operation. Some come on down!


The ARRL's "Club President's Workbook" states that "refreshments are a 'must' at club meetings". We cannot do that at our meeting site, but how about our adjourning to Denny's for dessert after our meetings?


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


One candidate from Bradenton tried unsuccessfully to pass the 13 wpm Morse test on 15 May.

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Here in Englewood, with a nice holiday ahead for everyone to enjoy, there is a dark, dark cloud hanging in the near future....Hurricanes, strong winds and whatever mother Nature decides to toss our way.

Only problem now is, do I try to put up my storm shutters by myself or do I send out a call for help???

Have gone shopping for items to have on hand, but sometimes I find the shelves empty, with no help in the area. Seems like all the stores have cut back on employees.

I know that trying to get out of the area during a big storm will be a rough deal. Most of the highways are in the process of being improved, so it will be a lot of stop and go, or hurry up and wait.

This morning's newspaper showed that the El Jobean fishing pier had burned with about 300 feet destroyed. Smoke from the blaze tied up traffic in both directions on S.R. 776 for awhile.

Having been watching The Weather Channel for news of rain for this area. NONE so far.

Then I go to "CNN6" and get the late local news of the area. That station does a good job.

Well, that is all I can think of at the present time.

Hope you all had a fine holiday and did not get too much sun.

Have a fine Summer and watch out for the other drivers. Would rather talk to you at any time.


Peggy, KF4BD


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


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!


(Ed. note: The following is offered by Jim Halliday, NX2II.)

As all my friends in ham radio know, I recently earned my Advanced and Extra Class licenses. The hard part in my case is that I am blind--at least I have no forward vision. I know that some of you might have similar problems, or know of others who have such problems. For those people, let me recommend:

Courage HANDI-HAM System

Courage Center

3915 Golden Valley Road

Golden Valley, MN 55422

(Tel: 612-520-0515)

The organization is a huge hospital-type facility, in the metropolitan Minneapolis area, sponsored by the Catholic Church. When you talk to the people on the phone, you speak to either nuns or brothers. In any case, they all have ham licenses.

For a nominal annual fee of $10, you have access to help and audio cassette tapes for only $1 each. These tapes cover all the ARRL license manuals, owner's manuals for some of the popular HF transceivers, and other specialty items.

When I got my Kenwood TS-850 AT, I asked them for a set of tapes to cover the owner's manual. They said,"If you will send us your manuals, we will record them and send the tapes to you. Also, copies of the tapes will be available to anyone who needs them for their 850".

They also have a large hospital and retreat system, where they will teach anyone who has problems with their handicap, to cope with living skills, and how to operate their ham equipment.

I do not know what constitutes a handicap--maybe even illiteracy--however, they are ready to help.

I don't think they ever knew I was a Protestant--I don't think they care!


A "plain vanilla", 1000-entry, ARRL log book costs $7 ($4 plus $3 postage). EARS is offering personalized, 1000-entry log books for $6.50 (of which EARS makes $2.50) and 2500-entry log books for $10 (EARS makes $2.75). These logs feature your callsign, name, and address printed on the cover, and your callsign/ QTH on each page. Plastic overlays protect the covers, and the comb binder permits the log to lie flat on your desk. If you would like to both keep your QSO records neat and support EARS, contact Jack, W4JS, at 475-1929. To date, 11 EARS members and 3 TARC members have purchased 16 log books, add-ing $42 to the EARS treasury. How about you?

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We biked over the bridge to the Key the other evening to thank the Manasota Key Sunsetters for the fine job they did at boosting up the sunspots during May. "Just marking time", the leader said, "just mark-ing time". We had hoped for more, and down by the Seafarer Beach Motel we could hear the dry rattle of the tenor bongos. Suddenly the salt air was shattered by the thundering boom of a bass bongo, we clinging to a piling at the life guard station while the beach trembled beneath us. "What's that?", we shakily asked as the sea oats slowly regained their upright stance. "It felt like a 6.5 on the Richter!" The Sunsetters' leader just smiled. "That's BIG DX", he replied, "and we were just doing a bit of testing. BIG DX will soon be here and all we Manasota Key Sunsetters will be out here bringing new Cycle 23 routines to the Deserving DXers everywhere. BIG DX will boom the DX into everyone. DX for all!" The leader did a couple fancy steps, clapped his hands three times and the evening skies reeled again as Bass Bongo back in the dunes boomed. "Have to alert the folks at Buchan Field every time we get ready to test", said the leader. "Gives them a chance to sneak in a couple of landings and takeoffs unnoticed by Ralph Vanni there in Englewood Isles. We work together on these things."

(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)


Each year, Wisconsin's Beloit College distributes an information sheet to its faculty as a way of connecting them with the mind-set of incoming freshmen. Here's a small sampling (from May 17, 1999 Insight):

1. Students starting college this Fall were born between 1980 and 1981.

2. They have no meaningful recollection of the Reagan era.

3. They never have feared a nuclear war.

4. Their lifetime always has included AIDS.

5. Most never have seen a black-and-white TV.

6. They've never had a polio shot.

7. The compact disc was introduced when they were 1 year old.

8. The Tonight Show has always been Jay Leno.

9. There only has been one Pope.

10. Blue M&Ms are not new.

We must be aware of such time-relative examples when we try to discuss ham radio with young people. For instance, most of us were born 20 or more years before the transistor was invented; today's college freshmen were born some 35 years after that event.

-- TOP JOBS --

As reported in the May 31 1999 Insight, the just-published "Jobs Rated Almanac" rates Website manager as the best job to get these days. The second- and third-best jobs were computer-systems analyst and software manager. Mathematician, a job that's been around awhile, came in fourth. Obviously, the top jobs didn't even exist just a few years ago. The training and mind-set of those in the job market is computer-oriented. Amateur radio must continue to adapt to that mind-set if those holding the "top jobs" are ever to become interested in the hobby.


As of 10 May 1999, the Hy-Gain line of antennas, rotators and towers was acquired by MFJ Industries. Hy-Gain's operations will be moved from Lincoln, Nebraska to Starkville, Mississippi. (A recent conversation with Texas Towers, who sell both Hy-Gain and MFJ products, indicated that they believe the Hy-Gain tower line will be dropped.)

A news release in late May advised that JPS Communications of Raleigh, NC will cease the manufacture and sale of all their amateur radio products. This includes the ANC-4 Antenna Noise Canceller and the NIR-12 DSP Noise/Interference Reducer. Interestingly, Peter Pflasterer, JPS President has stated that "JPS will be happy to make the designs of the ANC-4 and NIR-12 available for a reasonable cost to an organization that would like to continue their manufacture. (As MFJ already offers such equipment, it's likely that this is one company/product 'ol Martin won't buy up!)

(From QRZ DX, 24 and 31 May 1999)


Effective 12 February 1999 the FCC adopted its Universal Licensing System (ULS) that hams will soon have to follow. Form 610, and its variants, is replaced with Form 605 (that requires you to give the FCC your Social Security Number). However, to use Form 605, you must first "register" with the FCC, e.g., before you can renew your license, or before a VEC can file an upgrade for you. This means identifying yourself to the ULS, associating yourself with callsigns, and getting a password. How to register was published in a Factsheet on 23 April 1999. (Anyone out here in the real world who's seen this "Factsheet"?)

The FCC is forcing all hams to file electronically--not immediately, but the handwriting is on the wall. It looks like we're rapidly being placed between "a rock and a hard place". Perhaps the FCC is trying to stimulate more Internet/E-mail users. Who knows?

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Contest/Special Event Times/Dates Bands/Modes QSO With Exchange
Portugal Day Contest 0000 GMT 12 June

2400 GMT 12 June

75 - 10 Meters SSB Anyone, Anywhere R/S + Serial No.
ARRL VHF QSO Party 1800 GMT 12 June

0300 GMT 14 June

6 Meters and Up


Anyone, Anywhere Grid Square
West Virginia QSO Party 1800 GMT 19 June

2400 GMT 19 June

160 - 2 Meters SSB/CW West Virginia Stations Only R/S/(T) + State
Kid's Day Operating Event 1800 GMT 19 June

2400 GMT 19 June

28350-28400 and


Gives kids to see/hear/talk on ham radio w/other kids Kid's name/ age/QTH
SMIRK QSO Party 0000 GMT 19 June

2400 GMT 20 June

Six Meters Only


Anyone, Anywhere Grid Square
ARRL Field Day 1800 GMT 26 June

2100 GMT 27 June

160 Meters & Up


Anyone, Anywhere R/S/(T), Class and State
RAC Canada Day Contest 0000 GMT 01 July

2359 GMT 01 July

80 - 2 Meters SSB/CW Canadian Stations Only R/S(T) + Serial No.
CQ WW VHF Contest 1800 GMT 10 July

2100 GMT 11 July

6 Meters and UP


Anyone, Anywhere Grid Square
IARU HF Championship 1200 GMT 10 July

1200 GMT 11 July

160 - 10 Meters SSB/CW Anyone, Anywhere R/S/(T) + ITU Zone (8)

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


The following details the proposed EARS participation in the ARRL Field Day competition.

WHEN-------------- Saturday and Sunday, 26-27 June

WHERE----------- Overflow Parking Area behind the Englewood United Methodist Church, Pine and Dearborn.

HOURS------------ 2 PM Saturday until 5 PM Sunday

STATIONS-------- Three: SSB, CW and VHF

EQUIPMENT---- IC-736, IC-706, IC-745

ANTENNAS------ G5RV multi-band dipoles for HF, yagi for 6 meters

FRIDAY SETUP-- The tent will arrive about 10 AM, Friday, 25 June. Some antenna work will be done Fri-day afternoon.

SATURDAY SETUP-- We'll need help to set up any remaining antennas, tables and equipment, and be ready to start operating by 2 PM.

SUNDAY NOON- Family Picnic Lunch served by John & Nancy Fogle and Frank & Mickey Maren

(Ed. note: To date, 11 members and XYLs have signed up to assist with our Field Day effort. As usual, we do need operators--especially anybody who can operate Morse. Please do what you can to help make this an all-around Club effort. THANKS in advance!)


The 19 June Kid's Day event is intended to encourage activity by younger people (licensed or not) using amateur radio. The goal is to give unlicensed young people some on-the-air experience so that they might develop an interest in pursuing a license in the future. It is also intended to give amateurs a chance to share their stations with young friends and neighbors.

Depending on where you live locally, it may just be about impossible to find a young kid. But, if you are able to operate the 10 and/or 20 meter frequencies shown above, why not try to corral a kid who's the son/daughter, grandson/granddaughter, etc., of a friend (or of a friend of a friend). School's out by the date of the event, and some kids, somewhere, just might be looking for something to do. Think about it.


Excellent propagation the weekend of 23-24 May gave both competitors and casual operators the chance to have a ball in the Six Meter Club Contest. JR, K9HUY, racked up a total of 411 QSOs, including 19 DX QSOs, in 73 grid squares for a final score of 31,390 points. That's one heck of a QSO total, and JR sure earned his "Attaboy" award!


Catch the 6-meter wave! Cushcraft A505S 5-element 6-meter beam; SS hardware and 12' boom. $80. Call Bruce Robideau, K2OY, 475-8330

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



BEARING 80 40 20 17 15 12 10
Marion Island - ZS8D

China - BT99WED

Viet Nam - 3W7XK

Market Reef - OJ0/Homecall

On Site/Listen!

Now to 30 June

Now to 20 July

25 - 28 June

































Updated 05 June 1999, based on 07 June QRZ DX and 05 June The 59(9) DX Report. Solar Flux assumed at 145 for all forecasts.

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


After a Solar Flux of 126 on May 1st, the flux peaked at 178 on the 9th, after which it rambled around in the 140s and 150s and ended May at 165. The Solar Flux averaged 148 for May, a significant improvement over April, and in line with the forecast 147. Sporadic high A-indices disturbed propagation on the bands above 17 meters. A smoothed Solar Flux of 149 is forecast for June. While Cycle 23 will never set any records, it looks like the chants and dances of the Manasota Key Sunsetters are starting to pay off for the Deserving.

Propagation forecasts (from "Propagation" by George Jacobs, W3ASK, June 1999 CQ) for June are as follow:

DX propagation on 10 and 12 meters will be limited to paths to South America, Africa, Asia, and the Pacific.

The 15- and 17-meter bands will be the optimum daytime DX bands during June, remaining open for DX during the early evening hours. Signals from Japan and Southeast Asia will be best in the morning, with European signals peaking in the afternoon. Asia and the Pacific will peak in the late afternoon and evening. Both bands may be open until midnight.

The 20-meter band will be open to some area or other of the world around the clock on some days. Signals will peak in all directions just after local sunrise. Intense solar absorption will reduce DX openings considerably, however, from mid-morning through the early afternoon.

The 30- and 40-meter bands should enjoy good DX conditions, despite high seasonal static levels. Here in South Florida, the 75- and 160-meter bands are virtually unusable due to the high static level.

June is the best month for sporadic-E propagation on 6 meters. Frequent openings of 900 to 1300 miles are expected. Double-hop openings well beyond 1300 miles will occur during intense and widespread sporadic-E ionization. Such conditions could also yield sporadic-E openings on 2 meters over distances of 1100-1300 miles.

The best time to check for 6-meter openings is during the afternoon hours on days when conditions are expected to be High Normal or better. When there will be a seasonal decline in trans-equatorial during June, any such openings should occur between 8 and 11 pm local time.

Probable best DX days for remainder of month: 11-13 June should be "Above Normal"; 15-16 June should be "High Normal".


Many have asked what the future holds for the DX community. Talk on the subject was high at the Dayton Hamvention. There are many theories. One element that is undeniable, however, is the aging of the hobby. We can see that the gang of years past are now the Old Timers of today, with only a small population of youthful up-and-comers. As for the DX game itself, it looks like North Korea could be on the horizon due to the diligent efforts of that senior statesman, Martti Laine, OH2BH. There may be more "new ones" too, as the political scenes change. If you have listened to some of the DX pileups lately, one can certainly say that the manners of the players have changed. There are certainly plenty of foul words and toe-stepping on many of the DX calling frequencies. Those antics seem to have reached a new "height" from the past. That brings us to the point of frequency allocation, and wonder why the amateur ranks deserve not to lose any of the spectrum. If this all rings true to you, then we must all ponder how will we continue the challenge of "DX IS!".

(From 29 May 1999 The 59(9) DXReport)


Some recent DXpeditions have provided log info on the Internet, such that a DXer could readily ascertain that he had worked the DX. For the DXCC award, however, the good old basic paper QSL must still be obtained from the DX station and submitted to the ARRL. In some cases, it may take years for a station to receive the card, and the awards to which he is entitled.

Electronic QSLing has been demonstrated, however, several proposed methods have been rejected as the programs could be hacked and credits given for non-existent QSOs. Any alternative QSL system would have to be fast to reduce ARRL labor costs. Internet usage is too slow.

The good old paper QSL is still the only viable means of confirmation into the foreseeable future.

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