The MARA-VARA Monitor

JULY 1997 -- Volume 97:07

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 organizations under the IRS reguilations),
for radio amateurs in the central Shenandoah Valley.


The weather was perfect! The bands were, well, okay. There seemed to be fewer other field day stations on the air than previous years, which would explain our slight reduction in number of contacts at the two main stations. Everyone had a good time, and no one got hurt!

We had over 70 persons sign-in at the site, and perhaps a few more came but overlooked the sign-in sheet.

It was refreshing to see several hams show up on Sunday afternoon just to help take the stations down. Were they trying to tell us something?

The numbers appear on the next page. A more complete report will follow next month. Thanks to all who came up to the mountain!


Once again, the Massanutten Amateur Radio Association will move its monthly meeting. The July meeting will be held at Ever's Restaurant, on Thursday, July 10th. Evers is located on U.S. 11 South, just north of Mount Crawford. Take I-81 south from Harrisonburg to Exit 240. Go west on Route 257 to the first traffic light (Arby's and Exxon on the corner), turn right and go 1/4 mile to Ever's Restaurant. The meal starts at 6:30 pm. The business meeting will begin at 7:30 pm.


Well, they say life is full of change, so we are right in line! The Golden Corral discovered they couldn't accommodate us anymore on Thursday nights, so the members present voted to try Ever's Restaurant for 2 months on a trial basis. To be fair, the assistant manager of the Corral said that with the opening of the restaurant at its new location they were too busy, but that after awhile maybe it would slow down enough for us to move back there. Well, we'll see what happens. It's too bad Burger King doesn't have a meeting room!

It was good to see some old faces at the June meeting. It seems that summer vacations didn't hurt attendance this month. I hope everyone that stayed enjoyed Dick's video on Tornado Chasers. Some of those guys were crazy! Next month's program will be presented by Ellsworth; he made a tape of the installation of a tower in Florida that he was involved in. That should be equally as interesting. If you have an idea for a program, please be sure to let me know! I want to make the meetings as interesting and informative as possible.

By the time you read this Field Day will be a memory. I hope everyone enjoyed it, and that you are looking forward to the next one. The Field Day Committee put a lot of hard work into the planning of this joint club effort and are to be commended for their willingness to serve.

Also, one last thought: Hurricane season will soon be here, and we all remember the devastation wrought by Fran to our area. Are you prepared to provide communications for the local authorities if you are called upon? Is your gear up to snuff, or is that battery pack that you've been meaning to buy new batteries for still sitting on a shelf? Do you have an emergency antenna ready to go? Let's start getting our act together now, so when we are needed we can say " Can do! "

See you July 10 at Ever's!

David Tanks AD4TJ


The regular VE testing session was held on the second Saturday of July. We now have a new General-class ham in the area, as well as three new technician licenses. Nine (9) people were served at the session, with 15 test elements administered. Of these, 7 elements were passed, resulting in the four new licensees. Thanks to the following hams for their assistance in administering the volunteer examination session:


Buck, N3RIQ, reports that the VARA club's home page has moved to a relatively permanent location. The new page is on the World Wide Web at:

The site features direct links to on-line weather, callsign lookup servers, QSL routes, Form 610 downloads, and much much more. The page includes some of the latest JAVA applets, and has some neat sounds, too. Give it a try!


With the sunspots scheduled to pick up later this year, now is a good time to buy an HF radio! This issue of the Monitor lists several nice HF radio stations for sale by local hams at give-away prices!


Call Used: N4XU
Category: 2A

The table containing the numbers from Field Day did not convert to ASCII in intelligible form.

1736 CW QSO Points, plus 1257 SSB QSO Points, equals 2993 QSO Points.

2993 QSO Points, plus 800 bonus points, yields TOTAL FIELD DAY SCORE: 3793 Points


Jeremy Clark, KE4CAY, phone 540-433-5136, is selling the following items:

Bill Jones, KE4FM, phone 540-289-9801 or is selling the following:

David Fordham, KD9LA, phone 540-234-0448, or email, is selling:

Paul Brunk, W4RY, phone 540-433-3060, is selling the following:



The Valley Amateur Radio Association is scheduling a family picnic for all members and guests. The event is to be held on Saturday, July 26th, at the Stony Creek campground's clubhouse, just south of Staunton.

The meal will start at 4:00 pm. All VARA members are invited to bring a covered dish (with food in it, of course!), and serving utensils. The club will furnish ribs and chicken. The cost is $4.00 per person. You might want to bring your own lawn chairs, horseshoes, and toothpicks! There will also be swimming available, so bring your bikini, too!

To enable the cooks to prepare the right amount of barbecue, ADVANCE RESERVATIONS ARE REQUIRED. You must reserve your spot no later than July 14th! Contact Pat Smiley at 540-886-0347 to place your reservation.


Astronaut Mike Foale is back on the air on ham radio. In spite of power-saving measures following the collision of the space station with a wayward supply capsule, mission controllers authorized the reactivation of the ham radio gear aboard Mir. Foale has been using the 2-meter radio for live contacts as well as activating its 2-meter packet BBS and 440 MHz repeater. The new temporary frequency which MIREX has requested is 145.985 simplex. All operations, voice and packet, will be on 145.985 simplex. The SAFEX 70-cm repeater aboard Mir is back in service: Receive (downlink) on 437.950 MHz and transmit (uplink) on 435.750 MHz. The CTCSS access tone is 141.3 H.z. A World Wide Web site providing tracking of the Mir space station's location in earth orbit is available at the following URL:

Another Mir page that uses Java scripting is available at:

Still another page is dedicated to updated status reports of the situation on Mir:

The space shuttle Columbia is on schedule to blast skyward on Tuesday, July 1 (at 1837 UTC according to the June 23 timeline). The 10-day mission, designated as STS-94, will carry the SAREX payload, and three hams are among the STS-94 crew members.

The crew also may be available for random contacts, and the SAREX Working Group has designated the following frequencies during this mission. FM voice downlink (worldwide): 145.55 MHz; FM voice uplink (except Europe): 144.91, 144.93, 144.95, 144.97, and 144.99 MHz; FM voice uplink (Europe only): 144.70, 144.75, and 144.80 MHz; FM packet downlink: 145.55 MHz; FM packet uplink: 144.49 MHz.

Hams should avoid transmitting on the shuttle's downlink frequencies. The uplink is your transmitting frequency. The crew will not favor any uplink frequency, so your ability to communicate with SAREX will be the "luck of the draw."

QSLs go to ARRL EAD, STS-94 QSL, 225 Main St, Newington, CT 06111-1494. Include the following information in your QSL or report: STS-94, date, time in UTC, frequency and mode (FM, voice or packet). You must also include a business-sized SASE.

Additional STS-94 mission information is available from NASA at the NASA Shuttle Web site,

STS- 94 is a "refly" of the STS-83 mission in April that was curtailed when an onboard fuel cell malfunctioned.

Interested in the ham satellites? A new website contains all of the ham satellite AMSAT BB postings for the past year, including some neat reference materials. Find it at: t.html

Up-to-the-minute status reports on the upcoming launch of the Phase III-D satelllite can be found on the web at:


Have you recently passed your test or upgraded? Find out your new call sign and/or license privileges using the following World Wide Web URL:

Public Law 105-19 was signed by President Clinton on June 18, and becomes effective September 16, 1997, giving legal protection to ham Volunteer Examiners from lawsuits stemming from performance of their duties.

Propagation pundit Tad Cook, K7VVV, Seattle, Washington, reports: Solar activity is still low. Although average sunspot numbers were up from 18.3 to 30.1 from last week to this, average solar flux was down to 70.6 from a low average of 73.1 the week before. Solar flux was below the 90 day average of 74 on every day over the past week. The projection for this month shows the solar flux staying in the mid to low 70s. No geomagnetic disturbances are forecast.

Now that we are moving into the summertime propagation period, expect sporadic-E layer openings on 10 meters through August. Because fewer people are using 10 meters now than at the peak of the solar cycle, many 10 meter openings may go unnoticed. While solar flux remains far too low to sustain reliable activity on 10, sporadic-E skip does provide some interesting short and medium-path length openings, with single-hop propagation out to about 1,300 miles and multi-hop propagation to about twice that distance.

Forum set on new licensing system: The FCC has scheduled a public forum to discuss the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau's plans to replace its ten separate licensing-application processing systems with a single, integrated system and database. The new system--the Universal Licensing System or ULS--is projected to be on-line next year. Goals include expanding electronic filing capabilities and speeding licensing. The forum will be July 8, 10 AM, at the Commission Meeting Room (Room 856), 1919 M St NW, Washington, DC.

Effective July 1, 1997, new Novice and Technician question pools (Elements 2 and 3A) will be implemented for use on all future Novice and Technician examinations. These new pools contain the new, separate RF-Safety subelement (subelement 10) implemented as a result of FCC Rules changes implemented on August 6, 1996. With the addition of the five RF Safety questions, the Novice (Element 2) written test becomes a 35-question test on July 1, 1997. A passing score on the Novice exam becomes 26 questions answered correctly out of 35. The Technician Exam becomes 30-Questions on July 1st. A passing score on the Technician exam is 22 questions answered correctly out of 30.

Want to find out your station's latitude and longitude but don't have a GPS receiver?: Try the URL:

You can also use the Buckmaster page at:

The Department of Energy is pulling out of research on the possible health risks of electromagnetic fields. The agency's decision follows a report last fall by the National Academy of Sciences that found no conclusive evidence of adverse health effects from these fields.

If you have email, you can subscribe to a list server which will send you up-to-the-hour reports on ham radio activity on the space shuttles. Briefly, to SUBSCRIBE to the mailing list, send a message with your request to Be sure to include your call sign (if any), your correct e-mail address, and the proper name of the mailing list you wish to receive (SAREX). Your request will be processed manually for now, so the format of your request is not important. To UNSUBSCRIBE from the mailing list, send another message with your request to

Mrs. Joseph F. Moomaw

As this issue of the Monitor was going to press, we were saddened to learn of the passing of Kathleen (Kitty) Moomaw, on June 30th, as she was preparing to return home from a hospital stay in Augusta County. Kitty was a long-time resident of Staunton and the wife of Joe Moomaw, W4XD. Funeral arrangements were incomplete at the time of this writing. Joe has been a stalwart pillar of the amateur radio community in the Staunton area, and is an avid DX'er and contester on the HF bands. His loss is felt by all of us. The VARA and MARA clubs, as well as many other amateurs in the area, extend their sympathies.

This page has the camera-ready copy of the Bob's Knob Bash advertisement.

The event will be held on Sunday, August 17th at Bob's Knob in Bergton, Virginia.


160 METERS (1.8-2.0 MHz):
1.800-1.830  		CW, RTTY and other narrowband modes
1.830-1.840  		CW, RTTY and other narrowband modes, Intercontinental QSOs only
1.840-1.850  		CW, SSB, SSTV, other wideband modes, Intercontinental QSOs only
1.850-2.000  		CW, phone, SSTV and other wideband modes

80 METERS (3.5-4.0 MHz)
3.590			RTTY DX 
3.580-3.620		RTTY 
3.620-3.635		Packet 
3.790-3.800		DX window 
3.845  			SSTV
3.885   			AM calling frequency

40 METERS (7.0-7.3 MHz):
7.040	 		RTTY DX
7.080-7.100  		RTTY
7.171   			SSTV
7.290       		AM calling frequency

30 METERS (10.1-10.15 MHz): 
10.130-10.140 		RTTY       
10.140-10.150 		Packet

20 METERS (14.0-14.35 MHz):):
14.070-14.095		RTTY 
14.095-14.0995		Packet 
14.100  			NCDXF Beacons 
14.1005-14.112    	Packet
14.230              		SSTV 
14.286            		AM calling frequency 

17 METERS (18.068-18.168 MHz):
18.100-18.105  		RTTY
18.105-18.110 		acket

15 METERS (21.0-21.45 MHz
21.070-21.100 		RTTY
21.100-21.110 		Packet
21.340   			SSTV

12 METERS (24.89-24.99 MHz):
24.920-24.925 		RTTY
24.925-24.930 		Packet

10 METERS (28.0-29.7 MHz):
28.000-28.070 		CW                          
29.000-29.200		AM
28.070-28.150 		RTTY                      
28.150-28.190 		CW                          
28.190-28.225		Beacons                    
28.300-29.300 		Phone                        
29.300-29.510		Satellite Downlinks
29.520-29.590		Repeater Inputs
29.600			FM Simplex
29.610-29.700		Repeater Outputs                     
28.680        		SSTV

By: Ray Colvin

Susan the Server -- Suffers Stroke

Many of our MARA members will remember SUSAN SERVER, very pleasant young lady who was our main waitress at the Western Sizzlin. She left just about the time it turned into J. Willobys. Susan had gone to work for Marshalls Distribution Center in Bridgewater, a much better job. Now for the "not so good news". Susan suffered a stroke about two months ago and it may be several years (if all goes well) until she can go back to work.

I saw her in K-Mart in a wheelchair. She seemed very optimistic about the future. I invited her to come to the Thursday luncheon, if just to say hello to all. She asked about Bob and Tom, and I had to inform her that Tom (W3HMB) was a silent key. Although she looked physically good, and spoke normally, she had several uncontrollable tremors while we chatted. Please keep her in your prayers and say hello if you see her.

Bill Jones, KE4FM

June 11, 1997 Meeting

The V.A.R.A. club meeting was held at Gavid's Restaurant in Staunton on June 11, 1997. The meeting was opened by the club vice-president, Ken Harris (KE4GKD). Present were 26 members.

The 50/50 drawing was won by Dale Hurley (KE4YEV). The total amount was $26 with half going to Dale and half going to the club.

Ken Harris (KE4GKD) announced that the newsletter will, in the future, be on V.A.R.A.'s homepage. The "currently posted" newsletter will, however, be two to three month old. Only club members will get current monthly newsletters via E- mail and/or the post office as they have in the past. The clubs homepage is designed and maintained by Buck Mowbray (N3RIQ) and can be found on the web at WWW.QSL.NET/W4MUS. Other Ham and weather related links can also be found at Buck's homepage at WWW.QSL.NET/N3RIQ. The club greatly appreciates Buck's work on the V.A.R.A. homepage.

The secretary's report was accepted as printed in last month's newsletter. Dick Waldmuller (WB8GIF) made the motion to accept and Joan Pitsenbarger (KF4CWR) seconded.

The beam antenna that was acquired by the club and in need of repair in order to serve during Field Day and/or other events has been repaired. The estimate for repair was between $80 and $100. A very gracious nonmember paid for this repair and wished to remain anonymous. The club extends a very special thanks to this person.

Sam Pickering (KF4EKV) announced to the club of the possibility of getting patches with the clubs logo. Different configurations and sizes are available. Sam will have more information including prices, later.

Bill Bearden (KC4TQF) displayed a possibility for a club jacket with a logo on it. The base cost for the jacket with a single color on the back would be around $32. This does not include the one time $25 setup fee. Jacket prices would go up along with the set up fee for multi-color logo jackets. One other possibility would be to go with the base jacket and a patch Sam Pickering (KF4EKV) had previously talked about.

Donnie Mowbray's (N4RAG) pig roast has been changed to ribs & chicken and will be held Saturday, July 26, 1997, rain or shine at the Stoney Creek Campground Clubhouse, which is located south of Staunton. Ken Harris (KE4GKD) will have detailed directions in the newsletter. The cost is $4 dollars a person which covers Donnie's cost for the ribs and chicken and is non-refundable. Everyone must also bring drinks, a covered dish and appropriate utensils for serving it. The club is providing paper plates, cups, napkins, and eating utensils. The motion was made by Sam Pickering (KF4EKV) for the club to purchase the "paper ware". Bill Bearden (KC4TQF) seconded. Judy Cowardin (KM4NX) was appointed to take care of purchasing the paperware. This event is for club members only and club members may invite anyone they want. Tiny (WD4FOZ) is putting up the $75 deposit for the resort. Provided that the club cleans up the clubhouse before leaving, he will get his deposit back. Ken Harris (KE4GKD) made the motion to NOT clean up the clubhouse. No one as of yet has seconded, and the vote is pending. The cutoff date for getting your name on the list and paying is July 14, midnight! Register your party's names and send your money to Pat Smiley (KD4WWF). Secretary note - Please check Ken Harris's (KE4GKD) section of the newsletter for details about this event that may have changed since the date of these transcribed minutes of the meeting.

Dale Hurley (KE4YEV) will be voted on as a club member, next month.

Joe Pehan (WD4LIG) gave a presentation on his home-brew 2 meter beam antenna.

There was a motion to adjourn the meeting by Bob Osterloh (N4ICT). Gary Pitsenbarger (KF4PFR) seconded and the meeting was adjourned at 8:26 P.M.

Submitted by:
Douglas S. Zirk (KE4RMD)
V.A.R.A. Secretary

June 5, 1997 Meeting

The regular monthly meeting of MARA was called to order at the New Golden Corral in Harrisonburg, Va at 7:30 p.m. by our president, David, AD4TJ. There were 23 amateur members and 4 guests present.

Committees reported as follows:

ARES - Norman, KA4EEN, was absent and thus there was no report.

PUBLIC SERVICE - It was reported there is a Walk coming up on 18 October in which amateurs will be needed. Also there is a Horse Ride scheduled which will be needing assistance. These will be discussed more fully at the next meeting.

FIELD DAY - Committees and responsibilities have been assigned and the big days are 28 & 29 June. All were urged to visit the site and participate, if only for a brief time.

TREASURER - Dick, WA4HXH reported we began the period with a balance of $1,553.26, and with receipts and disbursements the closing balance was $1284.52.

REPEATER UPDATE - Dale, KD4DIA, brought us up to date on happenings at 145.130 repeater on Great North Mountain. The building was hauled up on the last cold Saturday and is now on site. Gravel has been scattered, stain has been applied to the building, and electricity was to be connected as of 5 June. There was a bit of wiring to finish. Also a tower is being built to be erected and a fence must be put around the site. Sometimes there is some interference and when that is the case, a PLL tone will be used. It will be 88.5.

Possibly a field trip will be planned to the site at a later date when all is finished.

BUSINESS - Golden Corral is so busy now on our regular meeting night that they can no longer reserve the room for us. They would be happy to accommodate us on Monday or Tuesday nights. However, we would have to change our constitution to permanently change the meeting night.

Therefore, it was voted that the next several meetings will be held at Evers Restaurant at Mt. Crawford. The subject can be reconsidered at a later date.

PROGRAM - The program was a NOAA video on tornadoes. This was shown and briefly discussed.

Announcements were made concerning future hamfests and the meeting was adjourned until July 10th. Note change in date due to regular meeting falling on 4th of July weekend.

Respectfully submitted
Wilton B. Thomas (KF4BFL)
MARA Secretary


In spite of the extended deadline this month (due to the editor's wish to include the Field Day results), the VARA President's Message, the directions to the VARA picnic, and the monthly VARA treasurer's report did not arrive in time for publication in this issue.

The deadline for the August issue of the Monitor is Tuesday, July 22nd.

End of this month's issue.


President: David Tanks, AD4TJ
Vice-President: Walt Lam, KF4BFB
Secretary: Wilton Thomas, KF4BFL
Treasurer: Richard Weaver, W3HXH
Board (exp 97): Bill Edmundson, W4IMS
Board (exp 98): Sandy Mullins, KE4PZC


President: Pat Smiley, KD4WWF
Vice-President: Kenny Harris, KE4GKD
Secretary: Doug Zirk, KE4RMD
Treasurer: Charlie Garner, WA4ITY

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, 131 Wayside Drive, 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.