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The EARS WA4IWLetter

MAY 1999


The Dow Jones is breaking records, 'most everyone seems happy, but in our hearts we feel that strange things are happening in America. Just think about the following on-going and recent events.

In early 1998, the U.S. State Department condemned what it called "terrorist action" by the so-called Kosovar Liberation Army. It's reported that the KLA is receiving military support from Iran and the infamous Osama bin Laden, and that the KLA is tied closely to the Albanian gateway to European drug trafficking. However, now the USA is hell-bent to destroy the sovereign nation of Yugoslavia in support of this cut-throat KLA. Section 8 , Article I of our Constitution states that to "provide for the common Defense" (Congress shall) "raise and support armies" and call "forth the Militia (i.e., National Guard) to ....suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions". How is the merciless bombing of Yugoslavia defending the USA? Are those National Guard units being called up to repel Yugoslav troops invading our shores? Is the Constitution worth anything anymore? If the USA is so concerned about the situation in Kosovo Province, why has it ignored the horrific situation in the southern Sudan where 1.9 million Christians have been starved and killed by the Khartoum government?

In 1990, NATO reaffirmed that it's "purely defensive in purpose. None of its weapons will ever be used except in self-defense." Apparently, like the treaties signed with the American Indians, that charter isn't worth the paper it's printed on.

Homosexual activists are trying to judicially browbeat the Boy Scouts of America and the churches that sponsor them into accepting their ideology. The New Jersey Supreme Court is now deliberating this issue, following a 1998 ruling by an appellate court in the Garden State that the Scouts must accept homosexual scout leaders.

Everyone is blaming everyone else for the actions of two crazed kids who went on a murder spree in their high school out in Colorado. There was ample warning of this, as the two had made a class-project video last September, which depicted them walking down school corridors systematically blasting popular students with shotguns and pistols. However, the ACLU has taken legal action against public schools that conduct random locker searches, suspend or expel troublemakers "without due process", and enforce even modest dress codes. Even parents can't discipline their kids anymore without the threat that the courts will take the kids from them

The current occupant of our White House called for prayers after that tragic event, however, too many of today's kids don't even know what a prayer is. Out in Seattle, two passengers were thrown off a public bus because the driver heard them discussing religion.

Locally, much concern is shown for nesting sea turtles to protect the unborn, but we're admonished if we express concern over the loss of over 30 million human lives since Roe vs. Wade

So, what the heck does any of this have to do with ham radio? Obviously the values of faith, honor, respect and reputation are diminishing day-by-day. Hams used to adhere to those values. Violation of rules by government begets violations by the governed. And, but for Roe vs. Wade, maybe we would now have some 75,000 more hams in our ranks. Think about it.

73 de Jack, W4JS


The Lemon Bay High School graduation service on 21 May at the United Methodist Church will preempt all parking spaces. Therefore, the 21 May meeting ONLY will be held in the Fellowship Hall at St. David's Episcopal Church, 401 S. Broadway (behind Winn-Dixie; turn off S. Indiana Ave. at Stefano's restaurant). Program details. on pg. 4.


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

09 April WA4IWL Don 15

23 April W1PZE George 13

30 April KD9SJ Don 14

07 May WA4IWL Don 11

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Minutes of the Meeting

April 16,1999

President Jack Sproat, W4JS, opened the meeting at 7:30 pm with the Pledge of Allegiance to our Flag. Wyatt McDaniel, W8HTD, Ed Evitt, N9AWP, Bill Rockwood, KE4ZAK, and Larry Yacobelli, W4ERN, were introduced as guests and welcomed to the meeting. There were no new members present. Jim Halliday, NX2II, was recognized and congratulated on his recent upgrade to Extra Class.

A motion by John Fogle, W1JF, to forego reading the minutes of last month's meeting was seconded by Jim Halliday, NX2II, and the motion carried.

Ken Anderson, W4JQT, gave the Treasurer's Report. A motion to accept the report was made by JR house, K9HUY, seconded and carried.

Wyatt (Mac) McDaniel, W8HTD, discussed a repeater proposal being made to the EARS by the Charlotte County Emergency Management group. He described the equipment being offered and the available site in Grove City. The equipment will be owned and maintained by Charlotte County. EARS will sponsor the repeater, obtain frequencies and call sign, and act as the control operator. John Fyke, VE6AIV, asked about a UHF link between repeaters. John Fogle, W1JF, made a motion that EARS accept the proposal and proceed with the project. Seconded by Free Crosby, W1NPR, and enthusiastically approved.


SUNSHINE - No report

FCC TESTS - Jack, W4JS, advised there will be testing tomorrow, 4-17-99 (the 3rd Saturday at the Englewood Chamber of Commerce.

RACES - No report

DX - Bruce Robideau, K2OY, gave the DX report, and said the propagation numbers for Cycle 23 have not been very good. He commented on the DX Summit Website that provides a lot of useful DX information, and passed around some examples he had printed out.


o Doug Zeeff, N4EHO, is looking for amateur radio study material for a youth group at his church.

o Gerry Meckenberg, K2JWE, is getting the top section of the club's tower straightened.

o Eight personalized log books have been sold so far, which has earned $24 for the club.

o An audit of the club's finances is in progress.


Howard Hawkins, WB8IGU, says the Snowbird Net is still going and Uncle John, K1RSC, would like to hear from more of us here in Englewood; so please remember to check in more often.

John Fogle, W1JF, made a motion to adjourn at 8:03 pm. Seconded by Howard Hawkins, WB8IGU, and carried. There were 33 members and 4 guests present at the meeting.

Prior to the program, Jerry Meckenberg, K2JWE, advised he hopes to have a "Heart Smart" program next month put on by Charlotte/Sarasota County firemen involved in CPR training.


John Fyke, VE6AIV, presented beautiful slide photographs and described his journey recently as a crew member on a 110-foot yacht from Los Angeles, CA through the Panama Canal to Ft. Lauderdale, FL. He described the ham gear aboard the boat and the 20-meter dipole antenna he made en route, using Mexican plastic plumbing fittings for insulators. Several EARS members kept in touch with John during the trip and reported excellent signals, so his antenna worked very well.

Thanks for a very interesting program, John.

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 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

Nearby radio clubs also offer VE testing on a monthly basis, in case of conflict with the EARS schedule. Testing is conducted by the Port Charlotte ARS (CARS) at 9:00 am every 2nd Saturday of each month in the Engineering Room at the rear of St. Joseph Hospital on Harbor Blvd.

The Peace River Repeater Association (PRRA) holds test sessions at 7 pm the first Monday of each month at the Promenades Mall, Charlotte County Rehabilitation Center, Suite 2.


At the 17 April VE session, Tom Barber, KF4PQO, of Pt. Charlotte, passed the 13 wpm Morse test and earned his General Class license.


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. Keep the birds advised of the news here on the Suncoast!

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I got a surprise this morning when I went out to pick up my morning paper. It looked like we had a nice shower but, instead, it was the watering truck that waters about three times a week the sod that was laid over where they had dug for the sewer.

So, that meant another "dry day" to wait out. Rain all over the area but none along the coast line. Pretty soon Florida will also be known that the "Fire State" as well as the "Lightning Capital".

To change the subject---I was to be at the doctor at 10 a.m., but missed the turn and ended up heading to Venice on the new section of 776. Boy, is that a nice smooth ride. Of course I turned around and reported to the doctor. Told me to come back in four months, so guess I'll be able to write more news.

Oh, yes, I backed up into the only tree in the area. Don't know how the tree made out, but not a scratch on my car.

There's been a lot of activity on my street what with the "snowbirds" getting ready to return north, and they want to get the pipes in for the sewer. The job won't be completed until they return, so why the hurry???

Now 776 east from Oriole Dr. is being worked on. So it's careful driving for a short time.

A couple of new eateries have sprung up in Englewood; both in the Dearborn St. area. The one called "Bootleggers" sounds the best; they make the beer right there.

Dearborn is slated to be a "walk-around" area, with no gas stations or auto shops. Just stores and eateries. Of course, this is all a Dream for Sarasota County.

That's all the news I can think of right now. Take care of yourselves and watch those storms that develop.


Peggy, KF4BD


Comparison of statistics for the months of March 1997, 1998 and 1999 shows acceleration in the decline for new and upgrading amateurs. In March 1997 there were 2653 new hams and 1453 who upgraded. In March 1998, there were 2274 new hams (a 14.3% decline) and 1335 upgrading hams (an 8.1% decline). In March 1999, there were only 1801 new hams (a 20.8% decline from 1998 and a 32.1% decline from '97). and only 1087 upgrades (an 18.6% decline from 1998 and 25.2% decline from '97). If these rates of declining growth continue, it's obvious that the USA will soon lose its current influential political position in amateur radio.

(From 15 April W5YI Report)


Listen up, you computer geeks! From the 15 April W5YI Report we see that the bureaucrats at the Gen-eva-based International Electrotechnical Commission (i.e., UN one-world-types) are adopting new prefixes to more accurately describe computer data values.

By current (metric) terminology, a kilobyte is 1000 bytes, as kilo means 103 or ten raised to the third power. However, computers use binary technology--that is powers of two. 210 or two raised to the tenth power is actually 1024.

The new term "kibibyte" will now be used to describe the number of bytes in a kilobyte. "Kibi" stands for kilobinary, with a value of 1024 bytes. The new prefixes are kibi, mebi, gibi, tebi, pebi and exbi. (Sounds more like names for some new stuffed animals for the kids!)

Just wait until these bureaucrats justify their existence by renaming the ham bands. Ten meters would be "refined" to becoming the 10.01 to 10.714 meter band; 15 would be the 14.05 to 14.28 meter band; 40 would be the 41.09 to 42.86 meter band; and so on, ad nauseam. Well, our tax dollars are supporting these clowns, so it's nice to know that we're really getting our money's worth when it comes to "critical" terminology!


The following EARS members contributed to the Booster Fund during April:


Thanks for your support! Who can make next month's list of Boost-EARS?


05 June 4th Annual Fort McCoy Tailgate at Fort McCoy Community Center Field, Hwy 316 East, Fort McCoy. Info: Tom, KS4ZI (352)546-3967


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

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Most coronary risk factors are preventable, curable, or treatable! Do you know the most common factor? Want to learn early recognition, CPR, and automatic external defibrillator use?

Bring your spouse to the 21 May EARS meeting and become "Heart Smart".

The firefighters and paramedics presenting this program need to know the number of people attending. Therefore, members are requested to contact Gerry Meckenberg, K2JWE, at 473-4734 if you plan to bring your spouse.


(Ed note: In the days of the West Coast DX Bulletin, an obscure band of zealots known as the Palos Verdes Sundancers worked day and night to bring back the sunspots. The beating of their bongos and their intense pirouettes brought excellent propagation during Cycle 21. As Cycle 23 flounders, we are seeking help from those who frolic amongst the dunes on Manasota Key at sunset, looking always for that elusive "Green Flash" as the sun melts into the Gulf.)

We biked down the road and over the bridge out to the Key the other evening and found the Manasota Key Sunsetters doing a soft-shoe routine. "What do you think of the falling sunspot numbers?" we asked. Their leader gave us the double shuffle and a derisive snort. "Whoever won a popularity contest with bad news?" he replied. "Instead of counting spots, why don't they get on their dancing slippers and do some-thing creative? Evoke the spirit of fading sunspots of the past and the bright vigor of the sunspots to be with some of our routines. Then at least they'd be doing something to help things." Often we're lost in space between the scientific and the artistic, and we had to pursue this further. "Look, Buster", the leader of the Bongo Beaters said, "we let them fumble through this year but next year will be noted. We will tell you right now that our platform...the platform of the Manasota Key Bongo Beaters...will turn things around, and we guarantee that the sunspots will go up in 2000. Absolutely! And when it happens, remember who did it for you. The Manasota Key Sunsetters! That's who!" What more could be said? The ride back home was upbeat and, sure enough, by the 8th of May the Solar flux was in the 170's. Ya gotta give credit where credit is due: Our faithful Manasota Key Sunsetters. We're looking forward to future visits and inspiration.

(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)


On 08 May, the prestigious Eagle Scout degree was confirmed on Mark Henry, KE4UFT, and Michael Henry, KF4KDI. They join their brother, Matthew, KE4VEM, and their father, Marty, KE4UFS, in this honor. Only some one-half percent of the 4.5 million Scouts in America ever achieve this highest honor in Scouting. This positive step on their passage toward manhood is a welcome contrast to the negative events we hear too much about. Congratulations to the Henry family for their dedication!


As noted in the minutes of our 16 April meeting, Mac McDaniel, W8HTD, of Charlotte County RACES discussed a proposal that was made to the EARS by Wayne Sallade, Director of the Charlotte County Office of Emergency Management. With the adoption of the 800 mc trunking system by the county, their VHF repeater in Grove City is now surplus. CCOEM proposed that this equipment be made available to the EARS for emergency communications redundancy in the Englewood area.

The repeater is a late model, solid-state Motorola Mitrek SM-2000 with output of up to 125 watts to a 4-dipole array up some 100' on a GTE tower. Use of a CAT 300DX controller has been recommended. Charlotte County will procure any such ancillary items, pay for the telephone service and power costs. As the equipment remains the property of the county, they will also provide maintenance and carry any insurance coverage.

The county asked that EARS, as the only amateur radio organization in the western county area, sponsor the repeater, obtain frequencies, and act as the control operator. A motion to accept the county's offer was unanimously approved by all members present at the meeting.

The regional frequency coordinator, K4LK, offered three possible frequencies, based on a 75-mile minimum separation: 145.190 (88 miles distant), 145.310 (85 miles) and 146.865 (118 miles distant). A poll of the EARS officers resulted in selection of the 146.865 frequency, and the coordinator has been so advised. When approved, Charlotte County will obtain the proper crystals.


The 09 May Englewood Sun Herald gave credit to EARS members for assisting the 27 February CROP Walk which raised $14,890 for charity. John Fellin, WB0GUX, was grand marshall, and George Graham, W1PZE organized the EARS volunteers.

Page - 5

Contest/Special Event Times/Dates Bands/Modes QSO With Exchange
European Spring Sprint 1500-1900 GMT 15 May 80 - 20 Meters CW European Stations Only R/S/T, Serial No & Name
Armed Forces Day 1300 GMT 15 May

0500 GMT 16 May

75 & 15 Meters


Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard Stations R/S + QTH
CQ-VHF Specialty Modes Weekend Nine 6-hr periods starting 6 pm EDST, 21 - 23 May 50 MC and Up RTTY/AMTOR/ Packet/Etc. Anyone, Anywhere Grid Square
Major Six Club Contest 2300 GMT 21 May

0300 GMT 24 May

6 Meters


Anyone, Anywhere Grid Square
Baltic Contest 2100 GMT 22 May

0200 GMT 23 May

80 Meters


Only Stations in Estonia, Latvia & Lithuania R/S/(T) + Serial No.
Texas QSO Party 1400 GMT 22 May

2200 GMT 23 May

80 - 2 Meters


Texas Stations Only QTH
CQ WPX Contest 0000 GMT 29 May

2400 GMT 30 May

160 - 10 Meters


Anyone, Anywhere R/S/T + Serial No.
Portugal Day Contest 0000 GMT 12 June

2400 GMT 12 June

80 - 10 Meters


Anyone, Anywhere R/S + Serial No.
ARRL VHF QSO Party 1800 GMT 12 June

0300 GMT 14 June

50 MC and Up


Anyone, Anywhere Grid Square

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


How many of you ever participated in the Armed Forces Day special events, when amateurs can work cross-band with military stations? It's rather a thrill to say "Hi" to those serving in uniform. A sampling of the 14 military stations that will be on 15 May, and their transmitting frequencies, are:

WAR Ft. Detrick, MD 14.930 USB, 20.9955 USB

AIR Andrews AFB 7.3150 LSB, 14.4080 USB

NBL Groton Sub Base 20.625 USB, 14.3930 USB

NNR Camp Lejune 14.4715 USB, 20.680 USB

NMH USCG Alex,VA 14.3850 USB, 20.375 USB

All of the military stations will advise the frequencies that they are listening on in the amateur bands. Why not join in, show your support, and have some fun?


Many amateurs don't seem to believe that you can work out of your backyard on VHF. Anyone who has visited or operated at our Field Day site knows that both 6 and 2 meters can come alive with signals. So, how about VHF contesting?

VHF contests are very different from HF contests in several ways. First, on the weak-signal modes (SSB and digital), contests are the times when the bands come alive, as there is often little activity at other times. Second, no one exchanges signal reports anymore in VHF contests. The Maidenhead grid squares are the universal exchange in every VHF contest. So if you want to participate, you must know your grid square. Anyone in Englewood south of latitude 27o North (Forked Creek/Lemon Bay Plaza) is in EL86; any of us north of that latitude are in EL87.

Third, most contesters on VHF and above use antennas that are much more directive than by HF standards. To work stations, it is critical that both stations are looking at each other. The treat come when a seemingly quiet band suddenly yields a shockingly strong signal.

Locally, both K9HUY and K2OY are VHF contesters with others in the wings. As noted above, the ARRL June VHF QSO Party will be 12-14 June and both stations should be competing in that one. All of us who have any 2-meter or 440 radios can help give the guys some extra QSOs. During the contest period, they will monitor 146.550 and 446.000. Give them a call and help run up their scores!

(From "Contests" by Dave Goodwin, VE2ZP, in May 1999 Worldradio)


The HF bands were in poor shape for the Florida QSO Party 24-25 April. Very few Florida stations were heard on the air, and most of the limited activity was to be heard from "outside stations" looking for Florida QSOs. Maybe next year will be better.

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



BEARING 80 40 20 17 15 12 10
UK Cyprus Bases - ZC4JP

Maldives - 8Q7??

Equatorial Guinea - 3C8XX

St. Paul Is - CY9RF

Aland Is - OH0/K7BV

Market Reef - OJ0/Homecall

Now Active

17 - 31 May

22 - 30 May

23 - 31 May

23 May - 03 June

25 - 28 June

















































Updated 07 May 1999, based on 10 May QRZ DX and 07 May The 59(9) DX Report. Solar Flux assumed at 135 for all forecasts.

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


After an April Fool's Day Solar Flux of 103, the flux climbed to 141 on the 7th before declining to 98 on the 23rd. On 30 April the SF was a rousing 124. The Solar Flux averaged 117 for April, some 17% lower than forecast. In addition, the A- and K-indices were high enough to cancel reliable propagation on 10/12/15/17 meters. A smoothed Solar Flux of 147 is forecast for April. In our quest for renewed vigor from Sunspot Cycle 23, we have now obtained the assistance of the Manasota Key Sunsetters to employ the enchantment of rhythm and dance to arouse a recalcitrant old Sol.

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

During daylight hours, DX propagation will occur on the bands from 10 to 20 meters. Twenty meters should be optimum for a two- to three-hour period after local sunrise Fifteen and 17 meters should be the best bands during late morning and early afternoon. All five bands should be at their best during the late afternoon hours.

Twenty should be the optimum band from sunset to midnight. Shorter hours of darkness and increased static levels will cause poorer DX conditions on 30, 40, 75 and 160 meters.

Probable best DX days for remainder of month: 14, 18 and 28 May should be "Above Normal"; 15, 17 19, 22-23, 27 and 29 May should be "High Normal".


In July's The WA4IWLetter this column reported there was controversy regarding the "real" starting date for Cycle 23. It was agreed that the mathematical beginning of Sunspot Cycle 23 was May 1996, with a SSN of 8, how-ever, a number of scientists wanted to use the date when the number of "new cycle spots" equals the number of "old cycle spots" (as determined by the polarity and location of these spots). The latter approach placed the start of Cycle 23 in October 1996. If May 1996 is used as the starting date for Cycle 23, the cycle lags behind all of the last four preceding cycles. However, if October 1996 is taken as the starting time for Cycle 23, it was expected to exceed Cycles 21, 20 and 19.

As reported in the 03 May QRZ DX, a sunspot prediction graph prepared by the Naval Ocean Systems Center in 1985 is shown on pg 22-5 of the 1992 ARRL Handbook. That chart shows a predicted sunspot number of only 50 to 60 for all of 1999. (On 25 April 1999, the reported SSN was 51.) The Navy's chart further shows that Cycle 23 may be the lowest since before 1940. Furthermore, Cycle 24, peaking around 2011, will be no better. The peak of Cycle 25 in 2023, or so, will be a bit better, perhaps equal to conditions back in 1969.


On 21 April, Martti Laine, OH2BH, came on from P5 as P51BH, handing out 263 QSOs on 20- and 15-meter SSB and CW between 0636 and 0840 GMT (2:36 to 4:40 AM, EDST). North Korea ranks as the World's most needed country for DXCC, however, this operation was done without prior notice to avoid/minimize mayhem on the bands. As Martti is high on the totem pole with the Finnish telcom giant Nokia, and is presently stationed in Bejing, he will undoubtedly be able to open up P5 for a full-blown DXpedition in the reasonable future.

An item in the 10 May 1999 Insight tells of some of the "wonders" in Pyongyang, North Korea's capital. Pyongyang's "potemkin" department stores, which sell no merchandise, create the appearance of bustle by giving out cheap goods to those who walk around looking like shoppers. A lane on nearly all of the city's streets is reserved for the car of "Beloved Leader" Kim Jong-il. New monuments to the emperor/president and his greatness go up from time to time, even as people throughout the country continue to starve. "Pyongyang is a fortress to save the nation as its transparent patriotic soul has been alive from ancient times and the spirit of fighting against aggression is sky-high there." Pyongyang is "the center of the Earth and the axis of the times to which mankind is holding up".

Ham radio is undoubtedly a low priority in P5-land!

Page - 7



(Ed Note: The following is from the March 1999 issue of The 50 MHz DX Bulletin. Through the efforts of N6XQ/CP1, both K9HUY and K2OY were able to work Bolivia for a new one on 6 meters! Please note two facts from this blurb: There is life on VHF beyond a repeater, and blessed are they who face innumerable hardships to give us a "new one".)

Jack Henry, N6XQ, has departed from Bolivia where he made an estimated 250-275 contacts on 6 meters. The trip from the LaPaz airport to Lake Titicaca was four hours by bus. He was only able to run his IC-706 barefoot at his first site, but worked into PY (Brazil) and KH6 (Hawaii) before moving to Isla del Sol, an island near the southern end of Lake Titicaca. The native population of the island invited him to a "council meeting" to discuss his presence on the island, the purpose of his antennas, etc. The meeting went well--only cost a little bit to satisfy the local population that he was doing important things--they seemed to be concerned with protecting antiquities from possible loss or damage. He gave his talk in Spanish, which only some of them understand. Think about it--what would you do if some crazy fella who spoke a hither-to-unknown dialect of Spanish, climbed to the top of your island and set up weird-looking antennas and sat there all day long listening to noise on a radio--on a rock--and asked if you had a shower--or electricity--or cable TV? (The answer is no to all of these, and there are no cars on the island!) Temperatures, in the 60s during the day, were very cold at night. And so there he sat, at 13,317' with a rented 2500 watt generator on a flimsy extension cord running 300-400W out. That generator failed, and so he was forced to use a smaller one and forego using the amplifier. Last word was that he contracted the 24-hour back-leaping jungle rots and was not feeling very good; he was barely able to hike up the hill the morning of 26 March.


(Ed. note: Jim Halliday, NX2II, offers .the following.)

When you ship your rig via UPS to a new address or to be repaired, always value that equipment for over $7000. The cost will be about $3.50 per thousand. When they see the paperwork, they will open the package to be sure it is properly packed. Then they will repack it themselves and reseal it with red tape that marks the package for special care.

If you receive a damaged package, they you will be assured of at least the replacement value of the equipment. It think this policy probably applies to FedEx and other shipping services.


Up Venice-way, Ken Truran, KC8BI, and Don Fontaine, N4ET, have been trying out the newest HF digital mode, PSK31. JR, K9HUY, is also excited about giving it a go. This mode was the topic of an excellent presentation at the May luncheon meeting of the Suncoast Chapter, QCWA, in Sarasota. "PSK" stands for Phase Shift Keying and "31" refers to the bit rate. The British Amateur Radio Teledata Group has already established the BARTG PSK31-40 Award, available to hams who can prove they've worked 40 DXCC entities with the PSK31 mode.

This new digital mode has attracted a lot of interest for one basic reason: If you already have a computer with at least a 16-bit PC sound card, and a functional HF station, virtually no additional hardware is required. That's right; no TNC is needed. Furthermore, the PSK31 software can be downloaded off the Internet, and it's free!

To get started, you can get the latest software form the Internet at http://aintel.bi.ehu.es/psk31.html. Next you need to run two shielded audio cables between your HF rig and your computer. Connect one cable between the PC sound card's line INPUT and the radio's external speaker jack or audio line output jack (if available). Connect the other cable between the sound card's speaker or line output jack and the accessory audio INPUT (if available) of the radio. If you must use the mike jack, a simple attenuator circuit is needed. (See Fig. 1, pg. 42 of May 1999 QST.) There are two ways to key up the rig: use the rig's VOX, or use one of the computer's COM ports with an interface to the rig's accessory PTT connection. (See Fig. 2, pg. 42 of May 1999 QST.)

In the USB mode, tune around 14068 and 14080 and listen for the distinctive high pitched "warble" of PSK31. Detected signals appear as white traces on the tuning indicator on your computer screen. A correctly tuned signal will display a vertical white trace in the center of the tuning indicator, and the QSO will be displayed across the screen. Once tuned in, the software will track any minor signal drifting.

Interestingly, PSK31 can detect and decipher signals that cannot be heard, as witnessed by both KC8BI and N4ET. As the PSK signal is only 31 cycles wide, it is imperative that careful tuning be done.

So, that's the basics. The article "PSK31--Has RTTY's Replacement Arrived?" by Steve Ford, WB8IMY, in the May 1999 QST gives more particulars. In addition, the PSK31 e-mail reflector can provide up-to-date info. Send an e-mail query to majordomo@aintel.bi.ehu.es. This sounds like a mode that could get computer-oriented folks on the air.

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