The MARA-VARA Monitor

JULY 1996 -- Volume 96:07

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.

Dedicated to KE4SSG, SK

This issue of the Monitor is dedicated to the memory of Bob Byrnes, KE4SSG, known affectionately as "Bob #6", the gravelly-voiced, slow-talking ham on the 146.625 repeater. From his career in the military during the Korean war, to his most-recent position as trainer for a tractor-trailer driving school, Bob was the epitome of the helpful friend, always willing to come on the air and lend a hand when and where needed.

Although he had experienced physical problems for some time, Bob did not let this stand in the way of his volunteering to do what he could when the need arose. A regular on the Skywarn nets, the afternoon drive-time informal nets, and many other public-service-oriented activities, Bob was always willing to help a traveler, give a local weather observation, or offer advice on road conditions, routing suggestions, or other needed information. He was familiar with the roads all over the valley as well as most of the eastern United States, and his advice was received and appreciated by many a driver, vacationing ham, and casual traveller. He had participated in many public service activities involving ham radio, including walks, runs, and school demos.

Escalating problems with his health forced Bob into the hospital just prior to Memorial Day. Although his overall condition was improving, he suffered a stroke which landed him back in the intensive care unit of a northern Virginia hospital not far from his mother's residence where he was staying. While a local ham was checking on his condition over the phone, the nurse on duty told Bob that his ham radio buddies were asking about him. Unable to speak, he smiled at this news. He died peacefully a short time later.

All of us in the valley will miss "Bob Six". In honor of his ham radio service, his family directed that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Massanutten Amateur Radio club.

Dick Weaver, W4JZC, a close personal friend of Bob's, is assisting Bob's mother in tying up his personal affairs. Thanks to Dick for his help to Bob and the family during this time.

Ham Radio Operators Needed in Grottoes on July 13th

The Grottoes Fire Department Parade and Carnival will be held July 13th. Ken, KD4VPE, needs assistance handling the communications for this event. Basically, he needs several hams with portable or hand-held VHF 2-meter transceivers to man certain key locations during the parade. Duties will primarily involve stand-by contact points in the event of an emergency. If you can assist from 5 pm to 8 pm with this event, please contact Ken. He promises a free chicken dinner to anyone who can assist.

Ham Radio Operators Also Needed In Bridgewater on July 19 & 20

The Bridgewater Lawn Party will be held the weekend of July 19 and 20th. Six to eight ham operators are needed to provide coordination communication for the parades and other activities. Duties will primarily involve manning corner posts just before, during, and after the parade and directing traffic around the parade route. Hams will need to bring portable or hand-held 2-meter VHF transceivers. If you can assist for 1 or 2 hours on either or both of these nights, please contact Mark Payne, WA4E, or Ray Ritchie, KD4OXU.


Due to the July 4th holiday, the Massanutten Amateur Radio Association July meeting will be held one (1) week later than usual. The meeting will be held on Thursday, July 11, at the Golden Corral in Harrisonburg.


"CQ Field Day, CQ Field Day, this is W4XD, Whiskey Four X-Ray Delta." Greetings from the 1996 MARA Field Day.

A few hardy souls camped out at the FD site a week before field day. We endured rain from Sunday through Thursday. We still had a good time. The weekend turned gloriously beautiful with no rain. Remember .... "it never rains..."

We were fewer in number this year, but made up for it in quality. We had no major problems, and only a few minor ones. Our rented generator was acting up a little, and we were able to get a backup on the mountain in a few hours. The rental generator eventually quit, so we changed over to the backup.. We also had a computer crash and thought we had lost about 170 contacts from the phone station, but a very competent ham (a computer whiz) took the computer home Saturday night and was able to retrieve all of the data. The computer was brought back to field day on Sunday and we were able to add the contacts to the backup computer.

I would like to thank everyone who participated, who did anything at all, however large or small. It all adds up to accomplishing a great Field Day. We had a great time, and I think we did better than last year. Looking forward to seeing you again next year. Remember, Field Day is always the fourth full weekend of June, every year. Thanks again to everyone.

Joe Meeks, KD4FKT
Chairman, MARA/VARA Field Day


(From a packet message posted by WB4PJW)

MARA/VARA             ARRL FIELD DAY       1996 / 1995
      Call: W4XD                      Category: Multi Multi
      MODE:    CW      CW             MODE:     SSB     SSB
      BAND:   1996    1995            BAND:    1996    1995
       80      237     200             80       212     180
       40      176     184             40       154     260
       20      310     404             20       336      94
       15      152     121             15        40       2
                                        6       100      84
                                        2        22      42
                                      440         4       2
      NOV       24                    NOV       247     180
                                      SAT         1       5
      PKT        6       1
                                      NAT'L       6      11
|1996 = = = =   905 CW QSO'S    +    1122 SSB QSO'S       =  2027 Total QSO|
|              ( 905 X 2*  = 1810)   (1122 X 1*  = 1122)                   |
|              (1810 X 2** = 3620)   (1122 X 2** = 2244)                   |
|(3620 CW QSO PTS + 2244 SSB QSO PTS) = 5864 + 1000 BONUS = 6,864 TOTAL PTS|
|1995 = = = =   910 CW QSO'S    +     860 SSB QSO'S       =  1770 Total QSO|
|(3640 CW QSO PTS + 1720 SSB QSO PTS) = 5460 + 1000 BONUS = 6,460 TOTAL PTS|
  Club Affiliation: MASSANUTTEN and VALLEY ARA
**   POWER MULTIPLIER = X 2 (150 watts or less)

VE Testing Report...

The June VE testing session resulted in 3 new technicians and 2 new tech-plus amateurs joining our ranks. Twenty-three individual test elements were administered, with 17 of those being passed. Twelve (12) people were served. Thanks and a tip of the hat to those VE's and other volunteers who assisted in this testing session.

Thanks to:

Newsletter Woes

Unfortunately, Murphy (of the famous Murphy's Law) struck the newsletter editor with a vengeancy this month. Technical difficulties (including, but not limited to, a dead packet TNC, diskettes lost in an office move, a recalcitrant laser printer, a copy shop who lost the originals before printing, etc.) combined to make this month's Monitor shorter than usual. The worst part is that at least one article was submitted and typed, only to be lost along with its original material. If you submitted an article (such as the VARA trearsurer's report) which did not appear this month, please resubmit it -- maybe next month will be smoother. Sorry for the inconvenience.


June 6, 1996 Meeting

The Massanutten Amateur Radio Association, Inc., held its June meeting on the 6th at the Golden Corral in Harrisonburg. 24 hams attended.

Vic, KE4LKQ, presided for Dale, KD4DAI, who could not attend.

Dick, W4JZC, treasurer, gave the financial report, the balance being about $1,122.68. The club received $25 from Blue Ridge Community College in memory of Bob (#6), KE4SSG, who passed away recently.

Norman, KA4EEN, ARES Net Director, is in dire (!!!) need of net control operators. Please help out in net operations by contacting Norman and volunteering to take the net for 1 or more nights. He will greatly appreciate it.

Norman also announced that Donna, N3UHJ, has a place on her BBS for local announcements. (145.03 Mhz).

Mark, WA4E, needs help with parade control at the Bridgewater Lawn Party on July 19 and 20. The club voted to take this on as a club project. Six to eight operators are needed each night for about 2 hours.

The club voted to continue using the Golden Corral for its meeting place.

Dave, KD9LA, the newsletter editor, reported that the normal cost of printing and mailing the newsletter each month was about $70. However, when Roy, KE4UFN can print it for the clubs, the cost is only about $14.

Dave also said that the Tucson Packet organization is getting together a bulk purchase of GPS (Global Positioning Satellite) units, less antenna, for $169 each. Dave has complete information, so check with him.

Walt, KF4BFB, said that there are 2 people interested so far in a Novice/Tech class (that he is aware of).

Wilton, KF4BFL, has a friend that has a 486 computer with 4 MB of RAM, 5-1/4 and 3-1/2-inch floppy drives, a 30 megabyte hard drive, color monitor, and printer for sale, asking $600. Contact him if interested.

Rusty, N4YET, said that due to circumstances, the VHF/UHF contest effort has been greatly reduced in operating time, and that they would announce on the repeaters what was finally to be the plan.

A committee was formed for the purpose of deciding the exact disposition of the equipment that was donated to the club by W2FIB. The committee includes Rusty, N4YET (chairman), Dick, W4JZC, and Colin, N4ZFQ.

The 50/50 drawing was won by Wayne, KD4WIE. his share was $12.

Since the next meeting date is July 4, the club decided to move it back to July 11 to avoid the holiday.

Al, N4NOL, requested help to install an antenna at his residence.

The meeting officially adjourned at 8:27 pm.

Ken KD4VPE, said that the Grottoes Fire Department parade will be on July 13, and he will need several hams to help with it.

Jeff, WB4PJW, reported on field day details. He encouraged all who show up to operate, and enjoy themselves.

There was no other formal program.

Respectfully Submitted,
David Tanks AD4TJ
MARA Secretary


June 12, 1996 Meeting

The VARA club meeting was held at Kathy's Restaurant in Staunton on June 12, 1996. The meeting was opened by club president, Ken Harris, KE4GKD, at 7:38 pm. Present were 26 members and guests.

The 50/50 drawing was won by June Waldmuller, KC4PKJ.

It was announced that David Pickering, KF4JCY, will be voted on next month.

The Secretary's Report was accepted as printed in the May newsletter. Dick Waldmuller, WB8GIF, made the motion and June Waldmuller, KC4PKJ, seconded.

Again, Ken Harris, KE4GKD, reminded the club that, due to health reasons, his responsibilities as club president will be shifted more towards the vice-president, Mike Dillon, KO4EA.

Mike Dillon, KO4EA, had an ARES report from a few months back. ARES was called upon by the Augusta County EOC to act on a situation. The icy conditions had caused some transmitter sites to go down, including Elliott's Knob. The fire and rescue stations in the county were using a transmitter site that was running off of battery power. There was a good chance this site would also go down. They needed amateurs to get in place at the various stations around the county just in case this backup site went down. An announcement was made on the local repeaters, and within one hour 23 amateurs from Augusta and Rockingham counties had volunteered to help. Luckily, after only a few hours, power was restored to Elliott's Knob, and the immediate crisis was over. Mike thanked everyone who had helped with this situation.

Mike also had another announcement. He is looking for someone with any interest in assuming his position of EC in Augusta County. With some family and job situation changes, he is unable to continue his work as Augusta E.C. ARES will have to be dorman until someone is able to take over the position. Anyone with an interest in this position and would like more details, please contact Mike Dillon.

On a different note, Mike made aware to the club the fact that there is some new legislation from an industrial group, "Little LEO", that would like to take over or share a large portion of the 2-meter and 70-centimeter Amateur bands. They are interested in these bands for commercial use via Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites. They feel they need these bands more than amateurs do. ARRL has asked the amateur radio world to send in your letters of concern to the FCC. The FCC will use some of this information when presenting material in defense to what this group wants to do. This is a powerful group filled with very powerful and influential people. Everyone should do their part to help save our frequencies. To read up on the subject, and for more details on what actually you should do, read the article, "It Seems to Us", in July's issue of QST (page 9). ARRL is more than just a magazine. They continually, year after year, fight threats like this and you can bet they will be in full force on this proposal, too. This proposal was very shocking since they are threatening two of the most popular bands in amateur radio. If the amateur world loses these bands, think of how easy it will be to lose the not-so-popular bands. Do your part in helping ARRL protect your radio freedom.

Sam Pickering, KF4EKV, reminded us about the "Jamboree on the Air", on October 19, with the Boy Scouts. This is an annual event where the Boy Scouts, world-wide, setup certain bands and frequencies to communicate on. They are requesting the help of a couple of operators to set up and allow the boys to talk to other scouts around the world. This event will be held at the scout building in Crimora. If anyone can help, or would like more information, please contact Sam.

A motion to adjourn the meeting was made by Joe Moomaaw, W4XD, and seconded by Dick Waldmuller, WB8GIF. The meeting was adjourned at 8:23 pm.

Ken Harris, KE4GKD, gave a video presentation on someone's special achievement. Joan Pitsenbarger, KF4CWR, has successfully completed her John Deere training, and was very surprised that her accomplishment was honored Wednesday night at the club meeting. Actual video footage of her "secret" techniques in the art of Green Thumbing were captured forever on video tape. Talk to Ken about a free showing of this most exciting accomplishment.

Submitted by Doug Zirk,
VARA Secretary

The deadline for the August Monitor is Friday, July 19.

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.