The Monitor is published monthly by the Massanutten Amateur Radio Association, Inc.,
(a non-profit organization under the IRS regulations),
for radio amateurs in the central Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.
We had seven (7) new members voted on and approved, and also one reinstatement of membership. I would like to welcome the new members to the club and hope with the Novice/Tech class going on that we may gain more members in the future.
At the last two meetings I have asked for amateurs to help with the Multiple Sclerosis (MS) walk, which is to be held on April 13th. As of this writing, I have not received much interest. I hope that we can get enough operators together to help out with the walk. Anyone interested in helping, please contact me as soon as possible so that I can let the proper people know if we can help them with the walk. The club did voted against making this a club function, but I am hoping that some will call and offer to help me.
After all, that is what amateur radio is about -- helping the community.
I would like to ask that anyone that may have a topic of interest for presentations (at the club meeting as the monthly club program) contact me, and let's get some interest going.
Field Day 1996 is just around the corner, and I hope that we can get a nice turnout as we did last year and make this a good event. I for one am looking forward to this event and hope others are interested also. Let's get together and have fun enjoying this event as we have in the past.
Our next meeting will be held on April 10th at 7:30 pm at the usual place (Kathy's in Staunton). Come early and enjoy a meal and visit with other amateurs before the meeting.
Again, all are welcome. Hope to see you there.
Kenny Harris, KE4GKD
Dick Weaver, W4JZC
Congratulations to Dick and Ginny on their accomplishment.
Several other local hams also won honors in this "Gentleman's Band" contest. Jeff Rinehart (WB4PJW), Mike Dillon (KO4EA) and Joe Moomaw (W4XD) worked as a team, entering in the multi-operator category, and walked away with the second-place award for the state. It is also known that Al Bonck, N3JB also earned a respectable score.
He would probably appreciate a note or message from any valley ham who could take the time to remember an old friend.
Bill Jones, KE4FM
If you are a General class licensee or above, you can become a Volunteer examiner and assist with this public service. For more information, or to volunteer to help, contact Brown Snyder at (540) 434-3133.
If anyone wants to know more about this and especially if anyone wants the thing, they can call Matthew on 146.625, 147.315, or 444.600. He can also be reached by phone at: 540-867-5120 or 540-867-9102. Matthew says, "This equipment is free if you haul it away but a donation would be appreciated."
Matthew Huffman, KD4UPL
Command: DIRECTORY This command is used to display a list of the current mail messages on the PacketCluster node to which you are connected. A hyphen (-) next to a particular mail message number indicates that the message has been read by the station to which it was addressed, a plus sign (+) indicates message set to noauto_delete, an asterisk (*) indicates both read and noauto_delete, and a "p" indicates a private message. If you specify a call on the command, you will see messages only sent by or to that station.
Syntax: DIRectory callsign
DIRectory/ALL (Displays all active mail messages. By default, only the five most-recent messages, or all since your last use of the DIRECTORY command (whichever is greater) will be displayed.
DIRectory/BULLETIN Displays mail messages addressed to ALL.
DIRectory/NEW (Displays all mail messages which have been sent since your last use of the DIRECTORY command.)
DIRectory/OWN (Displays mail messages which are addressed to you or were sent by you.
DIRectory/SUBJ text Displays mail messages which have the specified text in the subject, e.g. DIR/SUBJ DX.
DIRectory/nn Displays the nn most-recent mail messages.
Command: READ This command is used to read a mail message which is shown in the DIRECTORY display. A READ without a message number will read the oldest unread mail message addressed to you. Any mail message may be read if the message number is specified on the READ command.
Submitted by Jeff, WB4PJW
Bulletin #15, March 1st: FCC Drops VE Conflict of Interest Rules -- The FCC formally deleted the provision of the VE program which prohibits publishers and commercial marketers of ham license material and study guides from serving as VE's and VEC's. The FCC said that other checks and balances of the VE program were sufficient to prevent fraudulent testing, and the change was being made in accordance with the deregulation requirements of the Telecommunications Reform Act.
Bulletin # 16, March 14th: NY Section Changes -- Effective April 1, 1996, the New York counties of Herkimer and Otsego will move from the Northern NY ARRL section to the Western NY section, in accordance with the voting by hams in those counties.
Bulletin #17, March 15th: FCC Callsign Update -- The latest callsigns issued in the 4th call district were AE4RF, KT4LS, and KF4HFX. In the 8th district the most recent calls were AA8WE, KG8VV, and KC8CON.
Bulletin #18, March 22nd: East NY Section Manager Appointed -- Due to several leadership changes in the ARRL organization, a new SM had to be appointed to fulfill the term left by a "promoted" SM.
In the past, the ARRL has been successful in keeping the ham radio spectrum out of the auction process, knowing full well that hams can not afford to compete with business interests for valuable spectrum space. This time, however, the ham bands were included in the opening hearings, in spite of a vigorous effort on the part of the ARRL.
Fortunately, however, a number of public service organizations came forward to our defense, and it looks very likely that the ham bands will be taken out of the auction process, if they haven't already by the time you read this. But the problem is far from solved.
Yes, it is true that the American Red Cross, the Salvation Army, the National Weather Service, FEMA, and numerous other agencies stood up for us this time. But this was only because we have served them well in the past. If we hams curtail our volunteer service to these organizations, they will have absolutely no reason to come to our defense in the future.
With VHF and UHF spectrum selling for millions of dollars per megahertz (in the case of some upper UHF spectrum, hundreds of millions per megahertz), no rational person could ever advocate leaving over a hundred megahertz (our current VHF/UHF spectrum) out of the auction process for mere "hobby" use. It is only because of the important societal function we offer to the American public that our bands were not sold for half-a-billion dollars to people who claim to make much better use of them than do "mere hobbyists".
Hams offer "free" communications support for safety (such as the MS Walks, and the Bike Virginia activities), activity coordination (such as the First Night events), traffic control (such as the Bridgewater Lawn Parties), emergency assistance (such as the ARES responses to the floods and blizzards), and weather reporting (the Skywarn activities), among others. If we were not to offer these services, we would not be able to enjoy the rag-chews, the packet networks, DX clusters, nets, APRS, or other enjoyable aspects of the hobby.
In other words, ham radio is not a free hobby. We must "pay" for our use of the spectrum. If you enjoy contesting, rag-chewing, packeteering, and other aspects of the hobby, then you owe it to all of us to come out and help with the public service events.
There is plenty of opportunity here in the valley for you, (yes, you!) to help pay your way for using what has become a scarce national resource: the radio spectrum.
Sign up for ARES and become a trained emergency-support communicator. Or, attend the Skywarn training sessions and then participate in the Skywarn nets. Or, come out to the MS walks, the races, the bike tours, the First Night events, the lawn parties, and the other community activities which need communications support. Or, help teach a novice or tech class. Help with the Volunteer Examiner program. Assist with the demonstrations of ham radio in the public schools. Support the BSA Jamboree-on-the-Air in October.
These are just a few of the many ways that hams in the valley are doing their part. The question is, are you doing yours? If you are not participating in the above activities (or ones like them), then just what are you doing to reimburse the American people for the resource you are occupying?
Only by continued public service will hams be able to continue to enjoy the spectrum we now have. Merely "filling up" the spectrum with repeaters, contests, and packet links will be insufficient to hang on to our scarce spectrum space if Congress is pushed to get the most out of the available air space.
In spite of their well-earned criticism, Congress does (sometimes) take the public good into account. If hams stop serving the public, there is no doubt that Congress will give our megahertz to someone who will serve the public, and rightly so.
the ARRL Letter, Ham Radio Newsline,
NetNews, Washington Review IRC,
and other sources
It is suggested that you prepare your station for summer SkyWarn service before the coming of the storm season. Below is a checklist of things that might need your attention.
Lightning Protection: Loosen your grounding clamp and connections, wire-brush away the corrosion, and reconnect everything tightly. Double-check your lightning arrestors to make sure they haven't blown. Check the electrical continuity all the way from the antenna to the ground rod.
Emergency Power: check the liquid level in your backup lead-acid batteries. Remember to never use a power supply line that is not properly fused. Check for over-rated fuses (fuses rated at an amperage higher than that which the wiring can safely carry).
Weather Equipment: Check your rain gauge. If you left yours out during the winter, it may be cracked. Be sure your thermometer won't be in the direct sunlight. Calibrate your barometer at least once a year. (If you live near the Shenandoah Valley Regional Airport in Weyers Cave, you can use the barometric pressure reported continuously on 124.925 Mhz AM as a calibrator.)
Antennas: Make sure that snow and ice have not loosened your antennas, that water has not seeped into your feedlines, and that your station can withstand the winds and rains.
Emergency Rations: Check the shelf-life and expiration date of the food and medicines in your family and personal emergency response kits. Change the water in your emergency water jugs.
Other supplies: Check the batteries in your flashlights. Keep your gas can full at all times. Refill your car gas tank when it drops below halfway. And above all, have an emergency plan for your family -- where to meet and regroup if you are separated, whom to contact in emergencies, and how to get hold of relatives.
When I took over the books, we had a beginning balance of $822.25. As reported at our last meeting, I have received $445 in dues and $10 in donations, and expended $22.90 for newsletter postage in January and February,, $32 for stamps, and $22.90 for flowers. This left an ending balance of $1193.47.
Since the meeting, and through March 21st, I have received $20 in dues, and $10 in 50/50 drawing income ($9.50 was reported at the meeting, but an extra $0.50 was found later), and expended $27.78 for March printing and postage on the newsletter. This leaves a balance of $1195.69.
Unless there are objections, I intend to make all future Treasurer's Reports here in the newsletter instead of taking up time at the meetings. As always, I remain available to explain any questions you may have about the club income or expenses.
Charlie Garner, WA4ITY
Dale (KD4DAI) encouraged everyone to sign up for one of the various committees.
Norman (KA4EEN) received a certificate from Blue Ridge Community College in appreciation for the communications that the hams provided for their "Walk of Scholars '95" that took place on November 4, 1995. They are looking forward to us helping them again during next year's event scheduled for November 2, 1996.
Bob (KF4BFC) reported on information on the banner and prices. The banner would have MARA Communications and other info on it, and it would be 3x8 feet, white heavy vinyl, and would be between $80 and $100. Dale noted that $25 had already been donated towards the cost.
Norman (KA4EEN) reported that the March of Dimes Walk will be on April 27 in Harrisonburg. Seven or eight hams will be needed for communications. Meet at the Price Club to get organized.
Field Day is coming up, and Dale asked for Committee members.
Dale reported on upcoming hamfests/contests: Virginia QSO Party happening on March 16-18; CQ WW WPX Phone Contest March 30-31; Dayton Hamvention May 17-18-19; Boston Hamfest March 30-31; Raleigh Hamfest April 14.
Albert NcNett, N4NOL, was voted in as a new member. The applications of Lois Bowman (KF4BFE), and Bob Lilly (KE4WII) were read and will be voted on next month.
The 50/50 drawing was won by Paul (WV3J). His share was $9.50.
April is Homebrew Month. Bring your projects in and show them off!
Dick (W4JZC) told the members of a ham who is moving out of the area and is donating equipment to the club, consisting of a military type tower, a Ham-IV rotator, Tri-Band Beam, coax, etc. The club board members decided that the beam and coax would be good to use for the club for Field Day, and that the tower would be auctioned off to raise money for the club. Dick is bringing all the stuff to his garage for anyone to look at before the auction. The ham donating this is Don Howell, W2FIB.
Dale asked if there was anyone interested in teaching a new ham class as he had been asked by prospective hams about classes.
Paul said that a teacher at Elkton school would like the hams to present a program in his class about amateur radio, like Ray (KD4OXU) had din his class at Pence Middle School last year.
A code practice net was discussed, as several people expressed an interest in improving their code speed so they can upgrade.
The Staunton MS Walk is April 13, and the March of Dimes Walk is May 4 in Gypsy Hill Park. Ken (KE4GKD) would appreciate any help.
The meeting officially adjourned at 8:06 pm.
Jeff Rinehart (WB4PJW) presented the program: Part One of Two concerning the National Traffic System. Jeff showed how the system works, from the time a message enters the system to the time the message is delivered. the NTS consists of three areas: Eastern, Central, and Western. Within those areas are Regions, and within the regions are sections. Messages are passed not only on 2-meter nets, but also HF nets. Jeff showed a videotape of an actual HF net in progress passing traffic.
David Tanks, AD4TJ
The 50/50 drawing was won by Joe Ragione (KF4CWS).
The Secretary's Report was accepted as printed in the March newsletter. Dick Waldmuller (WB8GIF) made the motion and Terry Henderson (KE4SSD) seconded.
Charlie Garner (WA4ITY) gave the Treasurer's Report.
There was no old business.
Ken Harris (KE4GKD) announced that the club treasurer's address has changed. Anything needing to be sent to Charlie Garner (WA4ITY) should be sent to PO Box 666, Staunton, VA 24402.
Gus Vollmar (KQ4CZ) was recognized as having been reinstated into the club. Other new members to the club were voted in and are as follows: Melody Moats (KF4HEW), Jerry Moats (WD4ITN), Betty Ralston (KF4EKU), Jeff Colvin (KD4SYW), Kay Cook (KF4CZL), Benny Cook (KF4CZK), and Joan Pitsenbarger (KF4CWR).
Ken Harris (KE4GKD) received a packet message from Bill Bearden (KC4TQF) in regards to the April 13th MS Walk. Last month the club voted to not sponsor the activity as a club-supported event. This was in response to prior club commitments on this date. The walk is still going on and anyone, on an individual basis, can still volunteer to help out. Volunteers can contact Ken Harris.
Ken would like to see more presentations in the future. If you have any ideas for one or would like to do one yourself, please contact Ken.
A motion to adjourn the meeting was made by Dick Waldmuller (WB8GIF) and seconded by Brown Snyder (N4ZHV). The meeting was adjourned at 7:54 pm.
Doug Zirk, KE4RMD
President: Dale Showalter, KD4DAI
Vice-President: Vic Alger, KE4LKQ
Secretary: David Tanks, AD4TJ
Treasurer: Richard Weaver, W4JZC
Board (exp 96): John Nelson, WA4KQX
Board (exp 97): Bill Edmundson, W4IMS
President: Kenny Harris, KE4GKD
Vice-President: Jeff Rinehart, WB4PJW
Secretary: June Waldmuller, KC4PKJ
Treasurer: Christy Osterloh, KC4PKK
It does not necessarily contain all information
which appeared in the paper copy.