The MARA-VARA Monitor

MAY 1996 -- Volume 96:05

This is the web page version of the MARA/VARA Monitor.

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.

VARA President's Message

Hello to all. The last VARA Meeting was held on the 10th of April at Kathy's Restaurant in Staunton. We had two new members to vote on, and they were approved, so I would like to welcome Joe Ragione (KF4CWS) and Sam Pickering (KF4EKV) to VARA. We also received an application from Herb Hays (KF4DOV) and he will be voted on at the next meeting.

Field Day 1996 was discussed, and as of this writing the VARA and MARA clubs will again this year have a joint Field Day. I would like to welcome all to come and help with the setup and operations of this event. A Field Day committee was formed and I would like to thank those volunteered to serve on that committee. I know they have a meeting planned in the very near future and hope all goes well.

Again I am asking for anyone that might have a subject of interest for a topic at the club meeting to let me know so that we may get you on the program.

I also would like to thank all those that helped with the MS Walk that was held in Staunton on the 13th of April. There will more about that in this issue of the newsletter.

Well, that's all for now. Our next meeting will be held on May 8th, again at Kathy's Restaurant. All are welcome to attend.

Oh, I almost forgot to mention that "It never rains on Field Day," so please plan to attend.

Kenny Harris, KE4GKD

Monitor Editor's Packet Station QRT

Due to relocation, re-wiring, etc., the packet station of the Monitor's editor will be off the air for about four weeks. For the June issue of the Monitor, please either mail your articles, or phone Dave, or call him on the 146.625 machine rather than posting on the packet network.

Monitor Deadline

The deadline for the June issue is Tuesday afternoon, May 21st.


Field Day Equipment Policy Formalized

A quick survey of six ham radio clubs found surprising uniformity regarding equipment responsibility at Field Day events. Although the MARA and VARA clubs have had an unwritten policy identical to that of the other clubs (and probably most, if not all, clubs around the nation), a joint-club committee has elected this year to post the policy in writing so as to avoid any possible misunderstanding. The policy should be read and understood by all Field Day participants.


Adopted by MARA and VARA Amateur Radio Clubs

Be it understood that:
  1. As a participant in Field Day operations, whether club member or visitor, you are using equipment that may belong to someone else. Care for it as if it were you own.
  2. No repairs or modifications shall be made to any equipment without the owner (or owner's designated representative) present.
  3. Any apparent malfunction of the equipment shall be reported immediately to the owner.
  4. Equipment which is brought to the Field Day site and made available for use is done at the owner's discretion, and said equipment should be supervised by the owner or his/her designated representative.
  5. Any damage to, or failure of, the equipment at Field Day will be the responsibility of the OWNER, and NOT that of the sponsors, organizers, or management of the Field Day activities.

Special Prefix Available to Georgia Hams for Olympics

The FCC has issued a Special Temporary Authority for ham stations in the state of Georgia to use a special prefix to commemorate the Olympic Games. The STA allows Georgia hams with 4th-region callsigns to substitute the number 96 (to indicate the 1996 Olympics), or the number 26 (to indicate the 26th quadrennial Olympiad) as their number. For example, station W4SVW would be able to sign W96SVW or W26SVW.

Stations in Georgia with calls from other call districts can add the double-zero (00) after their call district number, to commemorate the centennial of the Olympic games. For example, station N9EPP in Georgia would be able to sign N900EPP.

The special callsigns can be used between April 15th and August 31, 1996. Stations located outside the state of Georgia are not allowed to use the new numbers.

ARRL Special Bulletin 10
Issued April 12, 1996

Upcoming Contests

Help Needed for March of Dimes Walk -- May 4th

On May 4th, I need operators to help with the March of Dimes Walk to be held in Staunton. If anyone is interested, please call me on the 147.045 machine (PL 131.8), or call me by phone at (540) 885-1818. The ham community has helped in the past, and the organizers are counting on us again this year. This is for a good cause, so please speak up.

Ken Harris, KE4GKD

Area Hamfests

Staunton MS Walk Results

I would like to say a "Special Thanks" to those who helped with the MS Walk in Staunton, held on April 13th. Without operators like you this event would have been impossible. I have placed the names and callsigns of those who helped below in no special order.

I would also like to mention that the S.A.G. vehicles transported ten (10) walkers, and two dogs! All those who were transported were most grateful for the amateur radio operators being there.

Ken Harris, KE4GKD

"Thanks to:"


ITU Follows U.S. Trend and Announces Auction of Entire Electromagnetic Spectrum

Geneva, Switzerland (April 1). The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) today announced that it was selling the entire set of frequencies of the electromagnetic spectrum in order to provide a permanent endowment for the United Nations family of organizations for the indefinite future. "We've learned a lot from our American colleagues at the FCC", said a spokesperson for the ITU. "Their spectrum allocation auctions have convinced us that the capitalist model is superior to our established ways of allocating spectrum. We realized that we could improve on their model by extending the auction to include all frequencies, not just those for narrow communication purposes."

As might be expected, initial bidding activity has been fiercest in the visible frequency range. An anonymous source has reported that IBM has been bidding in excess of U.S. $50 million for the rights to exclusive use of Pantone 3462, otherwise known as IBM Blue. Cosmetics manufacturers are fighting fiercely for rights to use approximately 218 different very narrow frequency ranges in the reds, ensuring uniqueness for their extensive collection of lipsticks and other cosmetics.

In a bold move to preserve financial stability, the U. S. Government immediately appropriated the U.S. "dollar green" part of the spectrum to protect the integrity of its money supply. Shortly thereafter, House Majority Leader Newt Gingrich introduced a bill that prohibited turning (that shade of) green with envy by illegal aliens. At a campaign rally in Orange(, Connecticut, Presidential candidate Pat Buchanan quickly endorsed the measure but added that it did not go far enough. "We'll put full frequency filters all along the wall at the Mexican border, he said, to make sure that those foreigners don't steal all-American frequency rights!" he said. The Justice Department has promised full cooperation in the event that the bill became law.

Vladimir Zhirinovsky, a leading contender for the Russian Presidency, said, "Red is our heritage, our birthright! You can auction all the other frequencies in the spectrum, but after I win the next election I shall take this matter up immediately and most forcefully to reattain our shade of red!"

Public safety officials decried the loss the red, yellow, and green used in traffic signals to high-bidding commercial interests. "How are we going to control traffic?" asked Chief S. Lowe Down of a major city police department. But Civil Libertarians praised the situation. "It's about time we got the government off people's backs," said Dewey Cheatham, a civil rights attorney. "Let the public service sector compete with free enterprise. It will make the country more efficient.. Think of the time saved by not having to stop for red lights."

Manufacturers of prisms for physics instruction were aghast at the thought of having to produce prisms that displayed only those specific colors for which no bid was obtained or accepted. The National Council of Scientific Instrument Manufacturers has stated its intent to petition the National Science Foundation to create an Acceptable Use Policy that would allow unrestricted use of the visible part of the spectrum for instructional purposes only.

Blue Cross/Blue Shield was ecstatic about the auction, saying that the sky was the limit for their bid for the X-ray frequencies. "Once we obtain these frequencies for our exclusive use, medical care issues in this country with respect to HMOs and PPOs can be definitively solved," a spokesperson said.

Manufacturers of sunscreen and other blocking agents bid highly for the ultra-violet part of the spectrum, vowing to place them in a public trust for public benefit, saying, "the public cannot be deprived of this valuable natural resource. By our actions, we shall preserve it for future generations."

Monochrome computer video display manufacturers expressed secret satisfaction at the sudden move. One of them volunteered off the record, "Since black is the absence of any color, we'll be in business as long as we can use any other visible frequency whatsoever! The color monitor folks can't say that!" Analysts predicted legal troubles for makers of VGA cards who failed to gain rights to the multitude of colors now used by their products.

In an ironic consequence of this new policy, representatives of the ITU were unable to sign the agreement awarding the charcoal grey frequency to Brooks Brothers because the only pen available used ink of a color that had already been auctioned off. Knowing the integrity of the UN family of organizations, the Brooks Brothers representative consummated the deal with a handshake.

A resale market for frequencies has rapidly developed. The Chicago Commodities Exchange has announced that it is making a primary market in frequency rights, and trading has begun. At press time, October yellows in the 3.34-3.50 THz range were quoted at $2.50 bid and $2.625 asked per angstrom, with 146 contracts already finalized. Christmas season reds and greens have quadrupled in price since the market opened, and traders are anticipating vigorous market activity later this year.

ITU officials were very pleased with the results of the auction so far, declaring that the revolution had just started. Said one ITU representative, "With this auction we've only affected the space impacting one of the five human senses. We're currently looking into the ownership of rights to the audible frequencies and olfactory space, and we hope to proceed with another offering very soon." Once again, Yankee ingenuity turns out to be an example for the world.

Organization's Radio Equipment for Sale

Dave Gordon, KB4LCI, a MARA member, reports that his local emergency response team has folded, and has the following equipment up for sale:

All equipment is "As Is", but all worked last time they were used. Asking price is $1500 for the HT's and accessories, plus the mobile unit, shipped via UPS. The repeater is going for $500 and you pick it up. Or, you can buy the whole lot for $2000. You cannot mix and match individual pieces, though. If you know of a group that might be interested in this equipment have them contact Dave Gordon, RR 1 Box 143J, Dunsmore, WV, 24934, or email him at KB4LCI@AMSAT.ORG.

Club Rosters

If you are a member of the MARA or VARA radio clubs, you will find in this month's newsletter a membership roster for your club. The roster lists all paid-up members. The information is correct as per information received from the club treasurers as of April 23rd, 1996, with the possible exception of telephone numbers (most of which were simply copied from a 3-year-old ham club database and may be out-of-date).

If you note any errors on this list, you can contact your club treasurer, or the Monitor editor, who maintains the mailing list.

Invitation to Join

If you are not a paid-up club member, your newsletter this month includes an invitation to join the club of your choice. Membership of both clubs is open to all persons interested in ham radio, regardless of whether you hold a license or not. You are urged to join and support the activities of your local radio club. Only paid-up members receive the Monitor on a monthly basis.

A Ready to Trade...

David, KD9LA, needs to get rid of the items listed below. If (and only if) you can actually use any of the following stuff, contact Dave at (540) 234-0448 or on the 146.625 repeater to arrange pickup. Dave needs PL-259 connectors, SO-239 chassis connectors, in-line fuse holders (20 amp), 14-gauge zip cord, and a 15v voltmeter, but if you don't have any of that stuff to trade, call Dave anyway. He'll part with this stuff for a smile!

VARA Treasurer's Report

Beginning Balance: $1,195.69

Dues: $10.00
50/50 Contribution: $13.50
Donation: $5.50
Publication Sales: $126.00

Subtotal: $1,350.69

April Newsletter Expense: -$28.56

Ending Balance: $1,322.13

Respectfully Submitted,
Charlie Garner, WA4ITY

Last Minute Notes...


April 11, 1996 Meeting

The Massanutten Amateur Radio Association held its April meeting on the 11th at the Golden Corral restaurant in Harrisonburg. The meeting began at 7:37 pm with 27 hams in attendance. (The meeting was held on the second Thursday instead of the first Thursday to avoid conflicting with Easter. Adequate notice had been provided via announcements on local nets, repeaters, packet bulletin boards, and via e-mail.)

Dale (KD4DAI) reported that the field day committee consisted of: Colin N4ZFQ, Matthew KD4UPL, Jeff WB4PJW; and VARA members Joe KD4FKT, and Charlie WA4ITY (David AD4TJ of MARA also volunteered).

A novice\tech class is getting organized, with Dale being the coordinator. Hams expressing an interest in helping were: Paul WV3J, Sandy KE4PZC, and James KF4BFM. If you know of someone interested in taking the class let one of these people know.

Ken KE4GKD announced that the Staunton MS Walk will be on April 13, and that a sufficient number of hams had volunteered to give more than adequate communications support.

Norman KA4EEN said that the Harrisonburg March of Dimes walk will be on April 27 and that he also had a good number of hams helping.

Two new members were voted in: Lois Bowman KF4BFE, and Bob Lilly KE4WII. Welcome, new members!

Ken reported that on March 20 that the Augusta EOC lost power to the repeater on Elliot's Knob, and went to battery power. The battery was getting low, so Augusta ARES was activated, with 25 hams being involved in the amateur effort. Paul made the journey from Timberville to Craigsville(1-1/2 hours each way ) with his beam so he could hit the 146.85 repeater at Hermitage. Ken thanked everyone, especially Paul, for their help in the situation.

Paul said that the science teacher at John C. Meyers school in Elkton, on May 13th, wanted to have hams demonstrate amateur radio to several groups of students. Ham volunteers were invited to let Paul know of their willingness to help.

The 50/50 drawing was won by Joe W4XD, his share was $11.50.

The meeting officially adjourned at 7:52.

April is homebrew month, and several hams took the opportunity to show off their projects. First to go was Dale KD4DAI with his very compact packet station: a palmtop computer, and a baycom TNC. Paul WV3J showed a Ten-Tec transmatch tuning bridge kit he had put together. It allows you to tune a tuner without putting a signal on the air. Matthew KD4UPL had built a power box with several gel cells, an inverter, and other goodies built in to power 12 volt radios or even low power 120 volt ac devices. John WA4KQX built a rooftop antenna for a GPS mobile unit. It sits on the roof of a vehicle and picks up much better than an in-the-vehicle antenna. Ray KD4OXU made a twin-lead J-pole antenna for 2 meters that can be rolled up and put in your pocket, great for portable use. David AD4TJ made a 2 meter transverter that takes 10 watts of 10 meter rf (any mode) and converts it to 2 watts of 2 meter rf. Al N3JB showed his hf linear he is just about finished building. At the heart of it is a 4-1000 power tube that uses 150 watts of ac just to run the filament. The tube is rated to easily handle maximum legal power that a ham is allowed to run. He should be able to make a little noise with it for sure!

Respectfully Submitted,
David Tanks AD4TJ
MARA Secretary



April 10, 1996 Meeting

The VARA club meeting was held at Kathy's Restaurant on April 10, 1996. It was opened by the club President, Ken Harris, KE4GKD at 7:40 pm. Present were 24 members and guests.

The 50/50 drawing was won by Charlie Garner, WA4ITY.

The Secretary's Report was accepted as printed in the March newsletter. Dick Waldmuller, WB8GIF, made the motion, and Jeff Colvin, KE4WYW, seconded.

The Treasurer's Report was accepted as printed in the March newsletter. Joe Moomaw, W4XD, made the motion, and Brown Snyder, N4ZHV, seconded.

There was one upgrade to report on this month. Terry Henderson, KE4SSD, recently earned her General Class license.

In behalf of Mike Dillon's (KO4EA), absence at this meeting, Jeff Rinehart, WB4PJW, reported on ARES. A few weeks ago, ARES was called upon by the Augusta EOC to act on a situation that could, under some changing conditions, have become an emergency. Our last batch of icy weather caused the entire Elliotts Knob transmitter site to go down. This caused all fire and rescue sites in the Augusta County area to resort to their backup site, which also supposedly was down, but running on battery power. This site would eventually go down, leaving only the telephone system for communications. Due to the problems they were already having with the telephone systems, this also was not a reliable backup. Twenty-five (25) radio amateurs volunteered at EOC's request and were stationed at various fire and rescue sites. By getting these people with their radio equipment set up, the fire and rescue stations had a reasonably secure backup for radio communications. This system of amateur radio communicators, along with a central control point, was set up "just in case" all current systems were to go down. For a more detailed report of the event, Mike Dillon, KO4EA, will have a report in an upcoming issue of the Monitor.

Under new business, there were two club members voted in this month. The two radio amateurs are Joe Ragione, KF4CWS, and Same Pickering, KF4DOV. A radio amateur to be voted on next month is Herb Hays, KF4DOV.

Ken reported that Bill Bearden, KC4TQF, has a check that is to be forwarded to the club treasurer, Charlie Garner, WA4ITY. The check was for some books and tapes that were sold to some amateurs.

Ken also reported that Ron Hart in TV and Appliances in Waynesboro has tubes, transistors, radio amplifier boosters, transformers, old books, and service manuals, speakers, and test equipment that they will let go, dirt cheap. Anyone interested should contact Richard Shank at 942-4161, and say that Cory said to call. Club members have first choice, then others will have a chance. They also want to sell the whole batch to one person or organization. From there it can be distributed as they wish.

A vote was taken on whether or not a joint Field Day should be held. A majority voted to have a joint field day. The actual outcome will be pending MARA's vote on this same topic.

The Field Day Equipment Committee appointed to determine what happens when equipment is broken at Field Day is still doing research on "disclaimers" and may have something by the printing of the next newsletter. The committee consists of: Doug and Karen Zirk (KE4RMD and KE4WIE, together counting as one vote), Brown Snyder (N4ZHV), and Curtis Crigler (KB8PJI). Curtis has since moved to west Virginia and would not be able to serve any longer. Joe Moomaw, W4XD, was appointed for Curtis' place.

A Field Day Committee for normal event organization was selected for this year's upcoming Field Day. Field Day is on the fourth full weekend in June (June 22nd, and 23rd this year). The Field Day Committee consists of Jeff Rinehart, WB4PJW, Charlie Garner, WA4ITY, and Joe Meeks, KD4FKT.

Joe Moomaw, W4XD, was asked if his call letters could possibly be used at Field Day. He plans to attend Field Day and gave permission on the use of his call letters. Bob Osterloh, N4ICT, is a possible backup call that can be used. This decision is pending on MARA's choice of calls, and will be finalized later.

A motion to adjourn the meeting was made by Jeff Rinehart, WB4PJW. Bob Osterloh, N4ICT, seconded the motion, and the meeting was closed at 8:17 pm.

Submitted by Doug Zirk,
VARA Secretary

End of this month's issue.


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

The Monitor is published monthly by the Massanutten Amateur Radio Association, Inc., a non-profit organization under the Internal Revenue Service regulations. The Monitor is distributed to all full current members of the MARA and the Valley Amateur Radio Association under reciprocal agreements of the two clubs. All articles, comments, and material for the Monitor should be sent to the Editor, David R. Fordham, KD9LA, Route 1 Box 615, Weyers Cave, VA 24486.

This web page was prepared from
an ASCII version of the Monitor,
by David R. Fordham, KD9LA

It does not necessarily contain all information
which appeared in the paper copy.