RARS

News Archive

Past News and Events of interest in RARS and Amateur Radio


An important part of any organization is it's history.  To preserve some of that history, news items from various sources will be placed in the RARS News Page. When those items expire they are moved here, so check here to look for older items of interest.

A Note About Links: Links in news items on this page may not work, especially with older stories. This page is here to preserve these stories for historical purposes only. The content of linked pages, and even the pages themselves, may be changed, updated or deleted over time, which may invalidate these links.



STATION GROUNDING
posted September 23rd, 2009
The August 2009 RARS meeting featured an excellent Station Grounding presentation by Clyde Carl, WB2EYC and Alan Pitegoff, AB4OZ. Get their Power Point presentation including references here. You may need this Power Point Viewer from Microsoft.

20090923-20100815.html

K4ITL named 2009 Ham of the Year at Dayton Hamvention
posted May 23rd, 2009
  The Dayton Amateur Radio Association selected Danny Hampton, K4ITL, of Raleigh, as the "2009 Amateur of the Year".     Read the details here.  

20090523-20100824.html

HAMS CAN STILL HELP WITH DIGITAL TV (DTV) CONVERSION
posted March 2nd, 2009
Source: The ARRL Letter, Vol 28, No 7 (Friday, February 20, 2009)

ARRL Media and Public Relations Manager Allen Pitts, W1AGP, said he has been getting e-mails and phone calls from Amateur Radio operators concerning the digital TV conversion, now set to take place on Friday, June 12. "People are asking what's happening with the DTV conversion -- especially now that it's been delayed -- and wondering what we as hams can do to help," he said. "There has been considerable confusion concerning the extension of the date, but the role of Amateur Radio is simply to be helpful to the people in our communities."

Read the full story on the ARRL Website.

20090302-20090801.html

FCC LICENSE ACTIVITY ON THE RISE
posted March 2nd, 2009
Source: The ARRL Letter, Vol 28, No 3 (Friday, January 16, 2009)

According to ARRL VEC Manager Maria Somma, AB1FM, there continues to be a heightened interest in Amateur Radio following the FCC's elimination of the Morse code exam requirement in February 2007: "The number of new license applicants remains strong under the new Amateur Radio Service rules. The following table chronicles all 14 FCC authorized VEC organizations' new license activity over the last few years." In 2008, the total number of US amateurs rose 1.2 percent, from 655,800 in 2007, to 663,500 in 2008:


-----------------------------------
New Amateur Totals
2006 through November 2008
-----------------------------------
Month 2006 2007 2008
-----------------------------------
Jan 1274 1647 1755
Feb 1605 2435 2998
Mar 2531 3478 2816
Apr 1728 2673 3090
May 2283 2607 2562
Jun 1967 2281 2402
Jul 1401 1786 2077
Aug 1623 2183 2084
Sep 1357 1462 1763
Oct 1781 2109 2303
Nov 1993 2132 2197
Dec 1569 1935 2019
-----------------------------------
Totals: 21,112 26,728 28,066
-----------------------------------

Somma said that the number of General and Extra class upgrades is also on the rise. "When looking at 2006 totals," she said, "we see that upgrade applications for 2007 were up 286 percent; in 2008, they were up
146 percent over 2006. Requests for new club licenses also remain strong. In 2008, we had 671 applications for club licenses come in, while in 2007, there were 506 applications. That's an increase of 133 percent."

Calling it a "ripple effect," Somma said that the number of amateurs who want to be volunteer examiners and who want to teach Amateur Radio classes is also going up. "Here at the ARRL VEC, we've seen a spike in the number of applications from General and Extra class radio amateurs who want to give back to their community by serving as examiners and instructors," she said.

Somma further broke down the numbers to show the approximate number of licensees per FCC license class:

Novice: 18,500
Technician: 322,500
General: 145,000
Advanced: 62,000
Extra: 115,500
Total US Amateurs: 663,500

"I can think back to the mid 1980s when there were approximately 450,000 US Amateurs," Somma recalled. "These are the highest numbers of General and Extra class licensees I have ever seen." As of April 15, 2000, the FCC no longer issues Novice or Advanced class licenses. "As expected, the number of Novice and Advanced class licensees has decreased," she said. "As I look toward 2009, I see Amateur Radio growing in a positive direction." -- Some information provided by Joe Speroni, AH0A

20090302-20090715.html

SDR / SoftRock / CW Skimmer
posted January 23rd, 2009
The program at the January 2009 RARS meeting was an interesting presentation on very inexpensive Software Defined Radio kits. Glen and John have provided a new PDF and some additional information. You may want to take a look at the SDR Information and give it a try yourself.

20090123-20091115.html

CQ to Accept eQSL Confirmations for AwardCredit
posted January 15th, 2009
CQ Communications, Inc. / 25 Newbridge Rd. / Hicksville, NY 11801 / Phone: (516) 681-2922 / Fax: (516-681-2926) / e-mail: w2vu@cq-amateur-radio.com

NEWS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 13, 2009

CQ to Accept eQSL Confirmations for Award Credit

(Hicksville, NY and Bedford, TX, January 13, 2009) - CQ magazine will accept contact confirmations made on the eQSL.cc electronic confirmation system for its operating awards effective immediately, CQ Editor Rich Moseson, W2VU, and eQSL Founder and Webmaster Dave Morris, N5UP, announced today.

There will be certain limitations and procedural differences for different awards, at least to start. Only confirmations from "Authenticity Guaranteed" members of eQSL will be accepted, and in accordance with existing eQSL policy, a membership level of bronze or higher is required in order to participate in award programs via eQSL.

"This is the first time that CQ has formally accepted anything other than traditional paper QSL cards for its awards," said Moseson. "We have been working with Dave Morris and his team for several months to assure that the integrity of our awards programs will be protected and to create mechanisms to make it easy for both award applicants and award managers to use eQSL credits toward our awards. All of our award managers have been involved in this process and support this action."

"We want to express our great appreciation to Dave and his team for their willingness to do whatever was necessary to make this agreement possible," Moseson added. "It has been a pleasure working with them and we look forward to a long-lasting relationship."

"We are pleased to be adding CQ to the top of our list of amateur organizations that accept electronic QSLs," said Morris. "CQ has some of the most highly sought-after awards, and we have been working behind the scenes for years to create credit submission mechanisms that would ensure the integrity of their programs without introducing any additional labor for the award managers. We believe the electronic QSL can drastically reduce costs, and the award application mechanisms we have developed will provide for more efficient processing at reduced cost for both the applicant and the award manager."

Applicants for the CQ DX and CQ DX Field Awards must print out their eQSLs and submit them along with their traditional QSLs to a CQ checkpoint or to CQ DX Awards Manager Billy Williams, N4UF. eQSL has an automated process in place for applicants for CQ's Worked All Zones, WPX and USA-Counties awards. N5UP explains how that will work for the applicant:
"The applicant goes to the My Awards screen. He clicks on the particular award he wants to apply for. This brings up a list of the credits our system 'thinks' he is entitled to. There are checkboxes that allow him to check which ones he wants to use, and we automatically pre-fill one credit per category so he doesn't have to do anything if he wants to take the defaults. At the bottom of the screen are two buttons: 'Submit to CQ' and 'Print Paper Application'."

The "submit" button will place all the selected QSOs into a file for the award manager to access, while the "print" button will generate a printed list to be submitted along with the traditional application. PLEASE NOTE that ALL applicants must send the award fee payment to the CQ Award Manager, regardless of how the application is submitted. Some CQ award managers are now accepting PayPal; see individual award web pages for details. All awards will continue to accept traditional QSLs as well as eQSLs. For the USA-Counties Award (USA-CA), applicants must note on their record books (or printouts) whether each county has been confirmed traditionally (with an "X" to the right of the entry) or electronically (with an "E" next to the entry).

For more information on eQSL, visit .
For more information on CQ awards, visit the awards page on the CQ website at < http://www.cq-amateur-radio.com>. Please note that the award rules posted on the website have not yet been updated to reflect the acceptance of eQSLs. This will be done as soon as possible, but the policy takes effect immediately.

20090115-20090315.html

FCC DTV HELP REQUEST
posted December 20th, 2008

[Source: NOVEMBER NORTH CAROLINA SECTION NEWS]

Many of you have heard that through the ARRL, the FCC has asked radio amateurs to provide technical educational assistance to their communities concerning the FCC-mandated digital television (DTV) conversion scheduled for February 17, 2009. Clubs are encouraged to look for opportunities to distribute technical information and FCC materials in their communities. This might involve volunteering to speak at local civic clubs or church groups or setting up information booths at malls and community events. Hams should NOT make "house calls," sell any equipment or do actual installations. Beginning in early January, FCC staff will contact Section Managers and leaders of interested clubs and, where possible, arrange to meet to share even more information, audio, visual and printed materials. These efforts will also give you an opportunity to share information about Amateur Radio with the public and educate your community on the work of your local club. Wilmington was the first market to go 100% DTV on September 8th as an FCC test market. Wilmington area hams observed that the week before the transition and the two weeks after the cutover were the busiest, with lots of questions. The elderly and inorities are two groups who will largely be impacted by the transition.

If you're club is planning any activities related to this effort, please let me know (n4ib@arrl.org).

20081220-20090301.html

NCER Emergency Disaster Communications Teams Seek Members
posted December 18th, 2008

(Zebulon) The 38th Regiment of the North Carolina Emergency Reserves (NCER) is seeking capable communications personnel to form a specialized Communications Unit for service in its 18-county area of Operation.

NCER is a statewide disaster-response organization which has seven regimental areas established to cover the state in time of emergency. "Maintaining basic effective communication is among the top vital necessities in a disaster", says COL Dave Tuttle, the regiment's commander. "The ability to provide relief and rescue can't depend on downed or severed telephone lines, overloaded cell towers, or power outages that incapacitate e-mail and fax service."

"Even at the family level, a simple system of simple low-cost walkie-talkies can be a lifesaving forethought", Tuttle added. Simple FRS (Family Radio Service) radios can cost as little as $12.00/pair.

Amateur Radio Operators, former military M.A.R.S. operators, and even long-time Citizens' Band (CB) hobbyists perform a vital function in disaster relief. NCER is seeking all of the above and more with an eye toward complete coverage of both localized areas and intrastate disaster zones. Members of ham radio and CB clubs, as well as former members of groups like REACT (Radio Emergency Associated Communications Teams) will find a suitable place in NCER's plan.

While NCER has some of its own radio systems, members also use their own personal mobile and portable equipment to establish fully operational networks. The organization offers FREE communications training, as well as a wide variety of FREE training in other phases of disaster-response, as well as FEMA courses at no charge.

An overall view of the group and it's mission can be found on the official web site at www.ncer.us, where there is also a page dedicated to the 38th RGT. The area of the 38th consists of the line of Harnett, Johnston and Wayne counties going northward to the Virginia border, encompassing 18 counties in all.

General inquiries about membership in NCER may be directed through the web-site or by phone to (910) 717-2627. Questions specific to communications issues for the regiment can be directed to COL Tuttle, (amateur call sign NC4DT) at (919) 269-3453 or via email at ncerpio@yahoo.com .

20081218-20090120.html

New Meeting Location
posted December 12th, 2008
Exciter Article by Selene Montgomery - KG4RMT

For many years, RARS has been using the facilities at Forest Hills Baptist Church for our member gatherings. The church’s ministries have grown and the space available to outside groups has been caught in the squeeze. As one of those groups, the last year has meant using a much smaller room for our meetings, and the situation has not been a comfortable one. Change is always uncomfortable, and at times inconvenient for some. There is never a solution that will be the best for everyone.

After months of searching, the RARS Board has decided to move the membership meetings and quarterly VE test sessions to the First Alliance Church, 4400 Buffaloe Rd, Raleigh, NC, beginning with the holiday gathering on December 2. Several past RARS events have been held at this location, including the October auction. For membership meetings we will be using the sanctuary, which we can configure as needed. There will be audio-visual equipment and a kitchen available to us, plentiful parking, easy access for all, and convenient restrooms. We’ll use a classroom for quarterly VE testing.

This seems to be the best outcome for the club as a whole. There will be space for socializing, programs, entertainment, and refreshments without stumbling over each other. The financial arrangement is well within the line item on our budget for meeting expense.

Special thanks go to Steve Ferrarini KJ4BX, for working out the details with First Alliance Church.

RARS will continue to need your help. If you can come early to help with setting up our space, please do so. Help will also be needed at the end of the sessions to put things back as we found them. The normal schedule will be:
- Setup 6:30 pm
- Refreshments: 7 pm
- Meeting: 7:30 pm
- Reset and Cleanup: After the meeting

RARS is grateful to Forest Hills Baptist Church for being our host over the last 14 years or so, and we wish them continued growth. We look forward to calling First Alliance Church our new home and hope to see you and your family on December 2nd.

20081212-20090415.html

RARS/ARISS Contact Friday Nov. 14
posted November 11th, 2008

RARS will sponsor an ARISS (Amateur Radio on the International Space Station) contact with Enloe Magnet High School this Friday (November 14) at 10 AM. Four Enloe students will ask questions of astronaut Mike Fincke aboard the ISS during the 10-minute pass.

The contact will be broadcast over the 146.64 repeater, with activity beginning about 9:30 AM. Dick Orander KD4ISC will be our Master of Ceremonies on the repeater.

This contact is going to be via Telebridge, with the uplink handled by Nancy WH4PN in Honolulu as the space station passes over Hawaii. We won't be doing the RF on our end. That's because there will be two other schools on the line at the same time - one in Marylend, and one in Quito, Ecuador. The ISS can't see all those locations at once, so we'll all be on the phone.

That may be less work on our end, but don't tell that to Jeff Wittich AC4ZO. Jeff is the project leader for RARS, and he put hours into building, testing and perfecting an interface box that could patch from a computer (using Skype to make the phone call) into the PA system at Enloe. Dick and Gary Pearce KN4AQ helped in the system testing. Jeff made all the arrangements between the NASA/ARISS team and the Enloe staff, with a little last-minute help from Gary.

Jeff, Dick, Gary and George Richards WA4EKJ will be on hand Friday to make sure all goes smoothly. Enloe physics instructor Sam Wheeler is our contact at Enloe. Wheeler is a Presidential Awardee for Excellence in Math & Science Teaching, and a NASA Educator Astronaut Teacher.

This contact will be the third time Triangle area students have had a chance to talk live with astronauts in space, courtesy of Amateur Radio. In 1992, RARS linked students at Cary HS, East Wake Middle School, West Millbrook Middle School and Effie Green Elementary to the Shuttle Endeveour. In 2001, the Orange County Radio Amateurs (OCRA) linked students at Phillips Middle School in Chapel Hill to the Space Station. Be sure to tune in! If you can't get to a radio, the contact should be available via Echolink.

20081111-20090405.html

Local Hams Aid with MS Walk
posted July 1st, 2007

June 2007 RARS Exciter Article by Bob Conder K4RLC

The ham radio contribution to the 2007 Multiple Sclerosis Walk was a great success on many fronts. First, Phoebe, the MS Society Director, reported that this Walk was their best ever, with over 3,000 walkers raising three-quarters of a million dollars for research into a cure for this crippling and incurable disease of young adults. That really made all the work that Alanna K4AAC and I put into organizing the event terrifically worthwhile.

Second, we had almost 20 ham radio volunteers give their valuable time for this event. They were a fun and easy group to work with. And without the hams as part of the 200 overall volunteers, this event could not have happened.

Lastly, public service can be good practice for emergencies. This walk was a 5 mile event, covering a large part of RTP. Not all hams could hit the designated repeater, so we had to use simplex. Covering a large area on simplex with HTs can be challenging. A few used mobiles (Net Control and SAGs) and one ham used crossband from his HT at a rest station to his more powerful mobile. Others experimented with gain antenna for HTs. Another made a “possum tail” of 19-inch solid copper wire wrapped around the base of the rubber duck – this essentially made a vertical dipole, and increased the gain significantly over the basic HT antenna. Others provided relays when none of the above worked. All these creative and practical solutions are exactly what hams do in real emergencies.

In summary, Alanna and I want to thank all the volunteers for making the 2007 MS Walk a great event and hope to see you next year.

20070701-20081231.html

Thanks for a Great RARSfest 2007!
posted June 15th, 2007

From the May 2007 RARS Exciter

WOW – What a difference from previous years. By all accounts, RARSfest 2007 was a tremendous success! The move to the Exposition Center provided just the right size, and it was a much more attractive environment. This made a big impression on those attending the hamfest, and all the reports I have heard were wonderful. I have not received a single negative comment from anyone attending the hamfest. And in spite of the downward trend over the last 12 years, RARSfest attendance was actually up this year. While the final numbers are not in yet, it is apparent that any fears of a financial loss are over and the RARSfest budget will be in the black again this year.

While the new venue provided a good first impression, the real key to the success of RARSfest is the volunteers who put in many hours to make everything work smoothly. The fact that there were no complaints speaks volumes as to how good a job the membership did. You, the volunteers who worked at the hamfest, scored an A+ in making RARSfest what I think is the friendliest hamfest around.

I especially want to thank several new planning committee members this year – they did a great job. Glen Whitehouse K1GW managed the test station and J-pole building station; Ken McEwen KI4OTO handled talk-in; Steve Mowels KA0GMY ran the N4C Special Event station; Steve Ferrarini KJ4BX took over pre-registration and the flea market; and Dennis Keith NC4DK took care of security.

The J-pole building table was a last minute addition in 2006 and so we were able to promote it more this year. As a result, it stayed busy all day – so much so that we had to purchase additional materials from our vendors twice. Participants practiced the basic skills of working with wire and solder to create a working antenna. You can be sure this activity is a keeper.

The N4C Special Event station was another busy location. Steve Mowels KA0GMY did a great job as control operator for the station. The station was located near the RARSfest entrance, and with Steve as the control operator, it was available for anyone with or without a license to operate. See Steve’s report on page 9.

Again this year we had several dealers selling new radios, antennas, and related amateur radio equipment. All of the dealers I spoke with were very happy with this year’s hamfest.

Ken McEwen KI4OTO stepped in to do talk-in this year. He was supposed to be getting a break in this picture but stayed on the job (maybe because the relief worker didn’t know how to find the hamfest). Ken did get some real help from John AI4RT, but he spent most of the day on the repeater. Cyndi didn’t have much time for skating this year because she stayed busy providing information and handling 50/50 tickets at the stage. She is our top seller for 50/50 tickets every year. Her OM, Gary KN4AQ, manages the stage with assistance from Cyndi KD4ACW and Chip WB4ZVA.

Steve, KJ4BX, was one of the new planning committee members this year. His job starts early in the process because he has to handle all the pre-registrations that come by snail mail and online orders on the website, as well as lay out the table assignments. Then on hamfest weekend, he has to find places for those who buy tables at the door. As well as being a busy job, this can be tough when someone is not satisfied with their table location. But Steve managed to keep everyone happy – great job, Steve!

There just aren’t enough words, and there isn’t enough room here, to thank everyone who helped make the 2007 RARSfest a great success – folks like Mary Jo K4MJL, who manages the Saturday evening social each year; Greg KE4PAX who manages the finances with Mike WA4BPH; Chuck K4HF, “Mr. Hamfest,” who has been involved in every one of the 35 RARSfests; Doug Sweet AD4UL who comes from Florida every year to spend his weekend working at RARSfest; the VE team headed by Joe and Liz White; all of the RARSfest planning committee; and all of the workers who volunteered their time – these are the folks who really made the hamfest such a success again this year. And lest I forget, Gary KN4AQ took lots of pictures at RARSfest and I hope to have many of them on the website soon. Lastly, like Yogi Berra said, “It ain’t over till it’s over.” Let’s not forget about the workers’ party! Everyone who volunteered time to support RARSfest is invited to attend this gala event on Saturday, June 16th at Lake Crabtree Park. More information about this will be available in the near future.

73 & Thanks for a GREAT RARSfest 2007!

K4HM - Hank

20070615-20090630.html

Local Hams Aid with MS Walk
posted December 14th, 2007

June 2007 RARS Exciter Article by Bob Conder K4RLC

The ham radio contribution to the 2007 Multiple Sclerosis Walk was a great success on many fronts. First, Phoebe, the MS Society Director, reported that this Walk was their best ever, with over 3,000 walkers raising three-quarters of a million dollars for research into a cure for this crippling and incurable disease of young adults. That really made all the work that Alanna K4AAC and I put into organizing the event terrifically worthwhile.

Second, we had almost 20 ham radio volunteers give their valuable time for this event. They were a fun and easy group to work with. And without the hams as part of the 200 overall volunteers, this event could not have happened.

Lastly, public service can be good practice for emergencies. This walk was a 5 mile event, covering a large part of RTP. Not all hams could hit the designated repeater, so we had to use simplex. Covering a large area on simplex with HTs can be challenging. A few used mobiles (Net Control and SAGs) and one ham used crossband from his HT at a rest station to his more powerful mobile. Others experimented with gain antenna for HTs. Another made a “possum tail” of 19-inch solid copper wire wrapped around the base of the rubber duck – this essentially made a vertical dipole, and increased the gain significantly over the basic HT antenna. Others provided relays when none of the above worked. All these creative and practical solutions are exactly what hams do in real emergencies.

In summary, Alanna and I want to thank all the volunteers for making the 2007 MS Walk a great event and hope to see you next year.

20070601-20080516.html

Thanks for a Great RARSfest 2007!
posted December 14th, 2007

From the May 2007 RARS Exciter

WOW – What a difference from previous years. By all accounts, RARSfest 2007 was a tremendous success! The move to the Exposition Center provided just the right size, and it was a much more attractive environment. This made a big impression on those attending the hamfest, and all the reports I have heard were wonderful. I have not received a single negative comment from anyone attending the hamfest. And in spite of the downward trend over the last 12 years, RARSfest attendance was actually up this year. While the final numbers are not in yet, it is apparent that any fears of a financial loss are over and the RARSfest budget will be in the black again this year.

While the new venue provided a good first impression, the real key to the success of RARSfest is the volunteers who put in many hours to make everything work smoothly. The fact that there were no complaints speaks volumes as to how good a job the membership did. You, the volunteers who worked at the hamfest, scored an A+ in making RARSfest what I think is the friendliest hamfest around.

I especially want to thank several new planning committee members this year – they did a great job. Glen Whitehouse K1GW managed the test station and J-pole building station; Ken McEwen KI4OTO handled talk-in; Steve Mowels KA0GMY ran the N4C Special Event station; Steve Ferrarini KJ4BX took over pre-registration and the flea market; and Dennis Keith NC4DK took care of security.

The J-pole building table was a last minute addition in 2006 and so we were able to promote it more this year. As a result, it stayed busy all day – so much so that we had to purchase additional materials from our vendors twice. Participants practiced the basic skills of working with wire and solder to create a working antenna. You can be sure this activity is a keeper.

The N4C Special Event station was another busy location. Steve Mowels KA0GMY did a great job as control operator for the station. The station was located near the RARSfest entrance, and with Steve as the control operator, it was available for anyone with or without a license to operate. See Steve’s report on page 9.

Again this year we had several dealers selling new radios, antennas, and related amateur radio equipment. All of the dealers I spoke with were very happy with this year’s hamfest.

Ken McEwen KI4OTO stepped in to do talk-in this year. He was supposed to be getting a break in this picture but stayed on the job (maybe because the relief worker didn’t know how to find the hamfest). Ken did get some real help from John AI4RT, but he spent most of the day on the repeater. Cyndi didn’t have much time for skating this year because she stayed busy providing information and handling 50/50 tickets at the stage. She is our top seller for 50/50 tickets every year. Her OM, Gary KN4AQ, manages the stage with assistance from Cyndi KD4ACW and Chip WB4ZVA.

Steve, KJ4BX, was one of the new planning committee members this year. His job starts early in the process because he has to handle all the pre-registrations that come by snail mail and online orders on the website, as well as lay out the table assignments. Then on hamfest weekend, he has to find places for those who buy tables at the door. As well as being a busy job, this can be tough when someone is not satisfied with their table location. But Steve managed to keep everyone happy – great job, Steve!

There just aren’t enough words, and there isn’t enough room here, to thank everyone who helped make the 2007 RARSfest a great success – folks like Mary Jo K4MJL, who manages the Saturday evening social each year; Greg KE4PAX who manages the finances with Mike WA4BPH; Chuck K4HF, “Mr. Hamfest,” who has been involved in every one of the 35 RARSfests; Doug Sweet AD4UL who comes from Florida every year to spend his weekend working at RARSfest; the VE team headed by Joe and Liz White; all of the RARSfest planning committee; and all of the workers who volunteered their time – these are the folks who really made the hamfest such a success again this year. And lest I forget, Gary KN4AQ took lots of pictures at RARSfest and I hope to have many of them on the website soon. Lastly, like Yogi Berra said, “It ain’t over till it’s over.” Let’s not forget about the workers’ party! Everyone who volunteered time to support RARSfest is invited to attend this gala event on Saturday, June 16th at Lake Crabtree Park. More information about this will be available in the near future.

73 & Thanks for a GREAT RARSfest 2007!

K4HM - Hank

20070501-20080215.html

6-Meter Magic
posted July 10th, 2006

From July 2006 Exciter

What’s so magical about 6 meters? Well, to begin with, it doesn’t take much to work 6 meters. Case in point; working with a modest little set up, I am able to work stations all over the country and out of the country as well. Although we are in the bottom end of the current solar cycle, the band comes alive from time to time. And when it does, WOW, the magic kicks in.

My modest little 6-meter set up consists of an ICOM 706 MK2G feeding a small M2 6-meter, horizontally polarized loop antenna. The antenna sits on a mast just below the 2M/440 vertical and is about 25 ft. up. Over the Memorial Day weekend for example, there were several good band openings that gave me the opportunity to make contacts to several states in the mid-west as well as Canada. In about a two-hour time frame, I was able to log several stations in Minnesota, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Texas, Florida, and Tennessee. I even logged a station in Prince Edward Island. Amazingly, I even heard a station in Florida running a HT using only 2 watts and was making several out of state contacts. So, when the band is open, almost any radio configuration will bag you some far away contacts.

This is especially important for some of our newer Hams to be aware of. In addition to repeater hopping on 2m/70cm, a small little 6-meter capable base set-up will allow them to “really get out there” and have some real fun. Sure, my little loop antenna and modest 100 watts has difficulty sometimes getting through pile ups and heavy QRN as well as going up against some stations that run 500 or more watts with large beam antennas 100 ft. in the air, I have found that patience and perseverance will eventually pay off. Doing a great deal of listening and using good operator practices is the best advice I can give newer hams interested in working the “Magic Band.” It’s fairly easy and can be financially affordable to go far beyond repeater range. A used rig and a simple antenna will usually do the trick. I can’t wait until the next solar cycle takes off. Six meters should really come alive.

Article by Joe Squashic, W4TTO

20060710-20081229.html

6-Meter Magic
posted December 14th, 2007

From July 2006 Exciter

What’s so magical about 6 meters? Well, to begin with, it doesn’t take much to work 6 meters. Case in point; working with a modest little set up, I am able to work stations all over the country and out of the country as well. Although we are in the bottom end of the current solar cycle, the band comes alive from time to time. And when it does, WOW, the magic kicks in.

My modest little 6-meter set up consists of an ICOM 706 MK2G feeding a small M2 6-meter, horizontally polarized loop antenna. The antenna sits on a mast just below the 2M/440 vertical and is about 25 ft. up. Over the Memorial Day weekend for example, there were several good band openings that gave me the opportunity to make contacts to several states in the mid-west as well as Canada. In about a two-hour time frame, I was able to log several stations in Minnesota, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Texas, Florida, and Tennessee. I even logged a station in Prince Edward Island. Amazingly, I even heard a station in Florida running a HT using only 2 watts and was making several out of state contacts. So, when the band is open, almost any radio configuration will bag you some far away contacts.

This is especially important for some of our newer Hams to be aware of. In addition to repeater hopping on 2m/70cm, a small little 6-meter capable base set-up will allow them to “really get out there” and have some real fun. Sure, my little loop antenna and modest 100 watts has difficulty sometimes getting through pile ups and heavy QRN as well as going up against some stations that run 500 or more watts with large beam antennas 100 ft. in the air, I have found that patience and perseverance will eventually pay off. Doing a great deal of listening and using good operator practices is the best advice I can give newer hams interested in working the “Magic Band.” It’s fairly easy and can be financially affordable to go far beyond repeater range. A used rig and a simple antenna will usually do the trick. I can’t wait until the next solar cycle takes off. Six meters should really come alive.

Article by Joe Squashic, W4TTO

20060701-20080115.html

Spotlight on: Public Service
posted December 14th, 2007

From May 2006 Exciter.

What’s Public Service All About?

The purpose of RARS public service is to provide opportunities for amateur radio operators to contribute their skills and equipment in support of community service organizations across the RTP area. We do this as our way of saying “Thanks!” for use of the amateur radio spectrum provided to us by the federal government. From charitable event support to emergency communications, there are many opportunities to help your community.

Whatever your area of interest, there’s a public service arena where you can have fun and provide valuable aid for local, regional, and national organizations.

Stay tuned for public service announcements – we need you!

20060501-20080101.html

MS-150 Public Service
posted June 9th, 2004

The MS-150 event will be held Sept. 11 and 12 this year. It's not too early to sign up. It is again held in New Bern as a figure eight event. It is important to get accommodations NOW. Details on the event can be found at http://www.nationalmssociety.org//NCT/event/event_detail.asp?e=8671.

Contact Bob Breyer, breyer@ix.netcom.com, for additional information or to sign up.

20040609-20040911.html

SWL's Can File BPL Interference Complaints
posted April 9th, 2004

Part 15 prohibits interference to licensed services from unlicensed devices, but do you need to have a license yourself to complain about interference? Can SWLs complain to the FCC if they receive interference from BPL systems?

Yes, they can, with limited exceptions, according to Chris Imlay W3KD, ARRL General Council:

"There is no doubt that international broadcast listeners have standing to complain about interference to the reception of foreign broadcast signals. One does not have to be a licensee of a transmitter in order to receive harmful interference from a United States based RF source and have standing to complain about it. No shortwave listener to a United States international broadcast station can complain because they are not in the target audience, but interference to non-U.S. based SW transmissions are fair game.

The FCC and court cases on standing to file various petitions, etc. with the FCC are complex, but the cases are clear that the allegation of suffering actual electromagnetic interference to reception of a broadcast service, even one generated internationally, from a domestic RF source, is sufficient in every case to demonstrate standing to file a complaint."

Further, ARRL Dave Sumner K1ZZ points out that International Telecommunications Union Radio Regulations require member nations to protect HF communications from harmful interference:

RR 4.11 reads: "Member States recognize that among frequencies which have long-distance propagation characteristics, those in the bands between 5 and 30 MHz are particularly useful for long-distance communications; they agree to make every possible effort to reserve these bands for such communications. Whenever frequencies in these bands are used for short-range or medium-distance communications, the minimum power necessary shall be employed."

RR 15.12 reads, "Administrations shall take all practicable and necessary steps to ensure that the operation of electrical apparatus or installations of any kind, including power and telecommunication distribution networks, but excluding equipment used for industrial, scientific and medical applications, does not cause harmful interference to a radiocommunication service and, in particular, to a radionavigation or any other safety service operating in accordance with the provisions of these Regulations."

The US is an ITU member nation, of course.

73,
Gary KN4AQ

20040409-20040530.html

BPL Update
posted April 8th, 2004

4/6/04, Raleigh, NC

Progress Energy is making an active attempt to avoid using Amateur Radio spectrum on overhead lines in their trial areas, with some success.

Tom N4TAB and I met with Bill Godwin today at the Phase II trial areas. We reviewed the spectrum in use. Bill had a chart showing where BPL could operate and avoid ham bands, and Amperion had adjusted their system to comply with that chart.

We found three problems.

1. They missed in the area of 20 meters, starting a BPL signal block on 14.300 MHz instead of 14.350. That may be a hardware or software problem, but more likely was an error calculating the spectrum needed. The equipment interface is still rudimentary.

2. The block edges are not brick walls. They taper with progressively weaker carriers which remain audible over 25 to 100 kHz of spectrum, depending on the noise floor (this is to a mobile about 75 feet from the line, running an Icom 706 MKIIG and an Outbacker Perth Plus antenna). We recommended compensating for this so that the residual carriers also fall outside the ham band. There is a fairly immediate 10 to 15 dB signal drop (estimated, over about 10 kHz) that defines the edge of the block. The remaining signals are very weak, but would bother a home station within a city block or two of the power line. And the goal in eliminating the ham spectrum would be so that the BPL could be placed on a line in the immediate vicinity of a ham.

3. The 17 and 12 meter bands fell inside the spectrum blocks, and are "notched". But the notch isn't perfect. They might be 40 dB down - just audible in the noise when the main carriers were S7, but they are clearly there. Again they would bother a ham within a city block of the line.

Perhaps N4TAB or W4FAL can provide a more technical explanation of this observation.

The mitigation process at this iteration of Amperion's hardware is neither simple nor precise. The hardware does not have a GUI interface with which the operator can simply type in the desired spectrum. And the adjustments to date require field monitoring and feedback, sometimes followed by another attempt to hit the target.

Bill had arranged for an Amperion operator to be available and make adjustments "on the fly" while we observed. Unfortunately, Bill's contact person was unavailable with no explanation (didn't answer his phone, didn't return a call in the 90 minutes we were there). Bill apologized profusely as the time had been set up in advance.


All of our observations recently have been on the overhead power lines. We have not been discussing the underground lines. The underground lines do radiate locally, near the pedestals that house the repeaters.

Whether or not this scheme will work in a dense environment is still unknown. Bill identified three 6+ MHz blocks of spectrum available (7.3-14.0 with 30 meters notched; 14.35-21.0 with 17 meters notched; and 21.45-28.0 with 12 meters notched). More spectrum can be used below 7 and above 30 MHz, but Amperion prefers to remain between 7 and 30 MHz. If this spectrum can be rotated between line segments, and the notches can be deepened some, they may satisfy the concerns of hams for the Amateur Radio spectrum.

However, there is currently no attempt to avoid other shortwave frequencies.

We appreciate this proactive attempt. We will point out again that there are other public uses and users of the spectrum in between the ham bands. Shortwave Broadcast is the notable one, but people roam the shortwave spectrum listening to all kinds of traffic - military, aviation, business, government - anything transmitted "in the clear" is legal and often interesting to monitor. Amateur Radio operators are often part of this group of listeners, and in any case we can not sit back and say, "Well, our problem's solved. Good luck with yours!"

Today, a shortwave radio listener can roam the bands at will, contending with a variety of natural noise and an increasing amount of man-made noise, but for the most part listening freely to the full spectrum. BPL, as configured today, would change that reality for any listener within a half-mile of a power line. In other words, everyone.

For this reason alone we can still consider BPL a flawed concept. If it appears that every time a utility makes progress (no pun intended), we raise the bar, that is not so. We have been inclusive in identifying a variety of spectrum users fro the beginning. Progress Energy and Amperion have been solving problems one at a time, and that's fine. We just want to make sure that everyone understands where the goal-line stands.

73,
Gary KN4AQ

20040408-20040531.html


posted March 24th, 2004

BPL Update #2 – FCC Releases NPRM, Time to Complain


By Gary Pearce KN4AQ, Wake County ARES PIO
Originally published in the Raleigh Amateur Radio Society Exciter, April, 2004
(permission granted for any print or web publication)

March 23, 2004. Events are moving quickly on the BPL front. Progress Energy has begun signing up customers for their Phase II trial, and announced two sites that they hadn’t told us about. Duke Power has announced that they will run a trial site in Charlotte, and are working with hams in the Mecklenburg ARS. The FCC released their Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) for Part 15, the section of the rules that governs BPL as an unlicensed, “unintentional radiator.” And Tom N4TAB, Frank W4FAL and I have continued our investigation of the effects of BPL on ham radio, based on the Phase II trial systems. There’s still more work to do, but the future is getting clearer.

They’ve heard us
Amateur Radio’s complaints about the potential for interference from BPL have been heard. After months of industry denial that the systems cause interference, and the FCC’s apparent deaf ear to our evidence, the situation changed quickly at the Commission’s February 12th public meeting when they announced the Part 15 NPRM. The FCC engineering staff and most of the Commissioners commented on the potential for interference and the need to “mitigate” it and protect licensed services (Amateur Radio was mentioned by name only in a news conference that followed the meeting).

(You can see video of the meeting by going to www.fcc.gov/realaudio and selecting the “Commission Meetings” link under “A/V Archives” on the left hand column. Once you’re on that page, you’ll see a list of “On-Line Recordings.” Click on “February 2004 Meeting Video” and you’ll start seeing the meeting in streaming video. You’ll need a player that can handle the RealVideo format. BPL is the first item on the agenda, and takes about 18 minutes. But you’ll also want to slide down to the press conference, 1 hour and 27 minutes into the video, for the first few questions that address Amateur Radio interference directly as well.)

The NPRM


Reflecting the comments at the Commission meeting, the NPRM proposes statements and requirements that appear to insure protection from interference, while also giving strong support to BPL in general. The NPRM’s introduction paragraph includes this sentence: “…we are cognizant that the possibility of widespread operation of Access BPL raises interference concerns and that we must protect licensed radio services from any harmful interference that might occur.”

Briefly, the NPRM proposes these steps to reduce interfernce :

* No increase in Part 15 emission limits.

* Affirms that “operations must cease if harmful interference to licensed services is caused.”

* Requires “adaptive interference mitigation techniques” – reduce power, change or exclude operating frequencies by remote control.

* “Incorporate a shut-down feature” to quickly terminate interference (no details on how this would work).

* Notification requirements and public database that would show location and frequencies in use for all BPL systems were mentioned at the meeting, but did not appear in the NPRM.

Don’t celebrate yet


This might look good at first blush, but is it enough, and will it work? I have some doubts.

Will it fit? My first question is “will it fit?” Can BPL be implemented in a dense suburban environment, especially one with all overhead power lines? Our observations so far indicate that simple home stations running a dipole antenna can hear BPL from overhead lines at least a half-mile away, and sometimes more. A powerhouse station with a beam on a tower at 70 to 100 feet can hear it at 1.5 miles, maybe more. The system that Progress Energy is using requires 6 MHz of spectrum in two chunks (one 2.5 MHz wide, the other 3.5 MHz wide) for each leg of power line to a maximum of 2000 feet. Then the signals must shift to new frequencies, another 6 MHz of spectrum in two chunks. The original group of frequencies can’t be re-used for several legs, a mile away or more.

Overlay these requirements on a suburban area like most of Raleigh or Cary, with several hams per square mile, and see if you can find enough spectrum to fit BPL and keep the ham bands clear for up to a mile for each ham. Make it more difficult for BPL by making it avoid the Shortwave Broadcast bands as well. I suspect there just won’t be enough room for all these 6 MHz chunks without sitting on some ham or swl bands. The Phase II trial sites occupy all of the 12 and 10 meter bands with their overhead lines now.

Domino effect. In this same dense suburban area, what happens when one ham complains about interference and the utility moves the BPL signals on the power lines causing the problem? If spectrum is as tight as I expect, moving one spectrum block on one power line leg will sometimes require moving the spectrum used on the next leg, or the 2nd adjacent leg. The result could be that a ham a mile away will suddenly find interference on a band that had been clear.

What about mobile? Assume that the BPL provider can create clear spectrum for all the hams at home. What happens to mobile HF operators? If BPL is operating across ham bands in any areas, there is a chance that a mobile ham will drive along one of the power lines and receive interference that could cover a half-mile, right under the line. That’s a minute’s worth of interference at 30 mph, if the ham is just driving through. But if he stops in a parking lot or friend’s driveway, the interference is constant at that point. Are we to yield our spectrum even for a minute under these circumstances?

What’s “harmful?” The FCC rules define harmful interference as:

§97.3(a)
(23) Harmful interference. Interference which endangers the functioning of a radionavigation service or of other safety services or seriously degrades, obstructs or repeatedly interrupts a radiocommunication service operating in accordance with the Radio Regulations.

How does that relate to Amateur Radio? With some difficulty. On HF, hams tune across the bands looking for signals – often looking for weak signals from other hams in distant lands or with very low power transmitters. The Progress Energy BPL signal appears as a series of closely spaced carriers, completely filling the 2.5 and 3.5 MHz spectrum blocks they occupy, about one every kHz. Even if the BPL signal is weak, not even moving the S-meter, that series of carriers will make tuning the band a major irritation, and picking out weak DX or domestic signals difficult.

It doesn’t take interference to actual two-way communication to be harmful. Much of Amateur radio, and our entire sibling avocation of shortwave listening, is just that – listening. If something makes it difficult to just listen, it is harmful.

Does anyone outside ham radio understand this? Where will the FCC draw the line for “harmful” interference?

Amateur Radio by “Customer Service.” What we’re seeing here is a change from a mostly proactive prohibition of interference sources in the ham bands to a widespread permission to create an interference situation that forces the hams to react and complain in order to reclaim clear spectrum. A ham who suddenly finds one or more bands filled with carriers must now deal with a utility’s Customer Service. How responsive will they be? Will it take 10 minutes to make a change? 10 hours? 10 days? Progress Energy’s Customer Service phone line is currently open from 7 AM to 9 PM. What happens when you’re trying to operate in the middle of the night?

Their system will be remotely controlled – they won’t need to send a lineman out to tweak the box on the pole. But will they want to send someone out to confirm the problem before making a change? Will they understand that moving the BPL signals from 20 meters to 40 meters isn’t an improvement?

Are there any penalties for failing to promptly mitigate interference? For reinstating interference that was once cleared up?

Insult to injury. This is paragraph 35 from the NPRM:

35. We recognize that amateur operations are likely to present a difficult challenge in the deployment of Access BPL in cases where amateurs use high gain outdoor antennas that are located near power lines. In considering this interference potential, we note that ARRL acknowledges that noise from power lines, absent any Access BPL signals, already presents a significant problem for amateur communications. We therefore would expect that, in practice, many amateurs already orient their antennas to minimize the reception of emissions from nearby electric power lines. Further, we note that many Access BPL technologies have the capability to avoid using specific frequencies, if necessary, to avoid interference. This would permit Access BPL devices to avoid the use of amateur frequencies when in close proximity to amateur outdoor antennas.

This is a great example of how the NPRM authors at the FCC don’t understand us, and it’s a huge insult as well. My interpretation:

A. We already get power line noise, so we should know how to solve BPL noise, or just put up with it, by ourselves.

B. Just turn your antenna away from the noise and reduce it (and only talk to hams in parts of the world that are away from the power lines).

C. It’s OK to put BPL on nearby power lines because of A and B above. Don’t bother us with interference complaints.

Skip. This may be the most insidious problem of BPL. A single BPL signal is much weaker than even the lowest power QRP ham. BPL injects a few hundred milliwatts of RF into the line, but that power is spread over a few thousand carriers (with carriers about every one kHz, that’s 1000 carriers per MHz). We’re talking about a tenth of a milliwatts per carrier, into a not particularly efficient antenna. If I were the BPL company, that’s where I’d stop talking. One of those little signals might bounce off the ionosphere, but how strong is it going to be when it lands?

But now imagine several hundred, maybe several thousand BPL systems using the same spectrum blocks all up and down the east coast. All those weak signals add together at a receiving station via skip. The result, for a ham in the Midwest, might be an increased noise floor. How much? I don’t know. More than nothing.

No complaints?


In response to the press and regulators, Progress Energy and other BPL operators have stated that they have received no complaints of interference to Amateur Radio operators. That looks bad for us, but there is a good reason. The trials are in rural areas, and are just not big enough to attract the attention of many hams. Here are some local details:

The Phase II trial site that Progress Energy told us about is on Holland Church Road, about a mile south of 1010 Road, just east of Old Stage and Rock Service Station Roads. There are no hams living in the subdivision used for the test, and only three hams living within one mile. One of those hams is inactive. The other two, K4ITL and KM4UT, both hear the10 meter signal from the overhead lines just fine.

Four more hams live with a two mile radius. One is inactive, one hears nothing, and two hear weak 10 meter BPL signals.

The second site, that we didn’t know about until it was published in the paper, is in Fuquay-Varina, on James Slaughter Road, just north of NC-55, in the Woodchase subdivision. Once again, there are no hams living in the subdivision. There are seven hams living within one mile of this site. I’ve been able to contact three, and all are hearing the signal from the overhead lines, which is also on 10 meters. The one active station I’ve reached inside the two-mile radius is not hearing the signal.

We haven’t tested to see if any of these hams are hearing signals from the underground segments of power line. I’d be surprised if they did – the signal is much weaker. But it’s quite likely that they would present a problem to hams in the immediate neighborhood, if there were any.

These hams were generally aware of BPL, but did not know they were near a trial site, since the locations were kept secret until recently. One of them had heard the 10 meter signals, but didn’t know what it was or who to complain to. Progress Energy asked us not to divulge the location of the trials, out of respect to the people who lived there, but it is now public record.

Some trial freqs moved


In mid March, several hams who were receiving interference, and several of us who heard it while mobile, filed formal complaints (mine is appended at the end of this article). The result: Progress Energy moved at least one of the overhead lines off the ham bands (though they still cover the 40 CB channels, and just nick the edge of the 12 and 10 meter bands with a few carriers). As this is being written, the overhead line at the Woodchase site near Fuquay-Varina is no longer covering any ham spectrum.

Again, this sounds like a victory, but the effect is limited by the fact that this is a single overhead line in a rural area. Can this kind of mitigation work in a dense suburb like Cary or the neighborhoods of Raleigh?

Complain now!


If you have heard signals from the BPL trial sites, whether from home or while mobile, it’s time to complain. We need to stop the allegations that there have been no complaints from hams. These signals are in our bands. They interfere with our operation.

As this is being written, the overhead line segments in the trial areas were being moved as a result of complaints by area Amateur Radio operators. The Woodchase line was moved off the 10 and 12 meter bands, but still covered CB and some SWL bands. To find BPL signals, tune across the HF spectrum, from as low as 6 MHz to 30 MHz or above. There are a lot of signals across HF, but the “signature” of the Progress Energy BPL signal is easy to recognize, even when it’s weak. It is literally continuous carriers, all about the same strength, for 2.5 or 3.5 MHz of spectrum. A shortwave broadcast band, or CB, can sound something like BPL, but they aren’t nearly as wide and the signals vary greatly in strength.

Your complaint should be in writing (preferably via email). It should state, your name, amateur call, address, frequencies or range of frequencies on which the BPL signal was heard, level of interference (S units is OK), and some brief description of your station and antenna system. Include your daytime and evening phone numbers, and email address.

Send these complaints to:
Len Anthony, Progress Energy Regulatory Affairs len.anthony@pgnmail.com
Copy the following people:
Anh Wride, Anh.Wride@fcc.gov
James R.Burtle, jburtle@fcc.gov
Alan R. Stillwell, Alan.Stillwell@fcc.gov
The ARRL RFI desk at w1rfi@arrl.org
And to NC ARRL Technical Information Specialist Frank Lynch W4FAL:
w4fal@smithchart.org

See http://www.qsl.net/w4fal/smithchart/bpl.html for more details on filing complaints.

Conclusion


In my last article, I said that it’s too soon to draw conclusions. I’m ready to draw some now.

Hams have put up with and frequently solved problems with interference in our bands for decades. We’ve had traditional power-line noise since the beginning of radio. The advent of the computer and processor-based electronics, with their clocks and oscillators creating point-source carriers and other hash has increased the problem dramatically over the past decade. But these problems pale in comparison to BPL.

BPL literally invites the radiation of RF across wide swaths of the HF and low VHF spectrum. And while the signals will be very low power, they can be heard more than a mile away by a good HF Amateur Radio station, and a half-mile easily by an average one. Their wide proliferation, if BPL becomes popular, could overwhelm any attempts to “mitigate” the resulting interference.

This is somewhat theoretical, with the experience of very limited trials in rural areas being extrapolated to dense cities and suburbs. By the time it is proven in practice, it will be too late. So much money will be involved, and so many people affected, that the promise of “it must be shut down” would be difficult to enforce. Getting relief could be a major headache for individual hams, if relief is available at all.

The FCC may believe that the mitigation factors in the NPRM are adequate. I do not. Nor do I believe that the FCC will hold BPL operators to the promise of “shut it down” if we complain about interference.

What to do?


If you are “fortunate” enough to be near a trial area, listen for the signal. If you hear it on a ham band, a shortwave broadcast band, or anyplace else you want to receive a signal, complain. If it moves, complain again.

If you have HF mobile, visit one or more of the trial sites. If you hear interference to anything you want to receive, complain.

Read the NPRM, and then file comments with the FCC. You don’t have to be hearing BPL signals to file comments. You can download the NPRM from the FCC web site, and there are links to it from the ARRL web site. Instructions on filing comments are at the end of the NPRM document. There are recommendations and instructions on what to include and how to file on the ARRL web site.

The address to download the file in MS Word is:

http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/FCC-04-29A1.doc

if you prefer Adobe Acrobat format, the address is:

http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/FCC-04-29A1.pdf

Many hams have suggested writing their legislators and utility regulators. If you do that, keep it short – they don’t want a lot of detail. Distil the main points of this article in your own words. You don’t have to be a flowery writer.

If you have contacts in the press, talk to them, or direct your local PIO to your source.

You can also write to Progress Energy. If there is any hope of convincing them not to implement BPL, it is in making them realize that this will just be a nightmare of administration because of all the complaints they will have to address. Assure them that you will listen for BPL, and if it causes you any problems you will complain.

TAKE THE TIME.

There is a big bandwagon of support behind BPL. The FCC favors it. The press likes it. The public will appreciate a new avenue of broadband, especially if it comes with a lower price tag. There is little standing in the way but us.

KN4AQ’s complaint to Progress Energy:


Len Anthony, Progress Energy Regulatory Affairs
cc:
Bill Godwin, Progress Energy
Anh Wride, FCC
David H.Solomon, FCC
James R.Burtle, FCC
Riley Hollingsworth, FCC (FYI)
Ed Hare, ARRL
Frank A. Lynch, ARRL

Saturday, March 13, 2004

This e-mail letter is a formal complaint of interference received from several Broadband over Power Line (BPL) installations operated by Progress Energy in the Wake County, North Carolina area.

I am:
Gary Pearce KN4AQ
116 Waterfall Ct.
Cary, NC 27513
919-380-9944
kn4aq@arrl.net

I encountered all of this interference while mobile, or visiting the stations of other amateur radio operators. I do not hear any BPL interference at my home in Cary at this time.

November 16, 2003. I first encountered BPL interference on this date, near the Wakefield subdivision in north Raleigh, along Falls of the Neuse Road near Wakefield Pines Rd. The interference appeared as a series of closely spaced RF carriers, approximately 1 kHz apart, covering the lower half of the 10 meter amateur radio band, from 28 to near 29 MHz (and some spectrum below that band, including the 40 CB radio channels near 27 MHz). Some of the carriers had a little "tik-tik-tik" sound at about a 2 Hz rate. The interference was strong - S-9 - for about a half mile along Falls of the Neuse Road, and obliterated several amateur radio signals that I was monitoring.

I understand this was the Phase I trial area, and the test has been discontinued.

January 15, 2004. On this and several subsequent dates, I received interference while driving along Holland Church road between 1010 Road and Pagan Rd. in southern Wake County, specifically in the vicinity of Feldman Dr. The signature of the interference was the same: closely spaced carriers, about 1 kHz apart, some with a tik-tik-tik modulation, and occasionally a longer burst of what sounded like data. The interference covered two blocks of spectrum, from 23.44 - 26.08 MHz (including the amateur radio 12 meter band) and 27.9 - 31.7 MHz, (including the amateur radio 10 meter band). The interference was strong - S-9 - for about a half mile along Holland Church road, and audible in places along Pagan Rd. It obliterated several amateur radio signals that I was monitoring as I drove through the area.

I also received interference with the same signature in several spots along Feldman Dr., in various other segments of the high-frequency spectrum - near 11 and 15 MHz in particular. The signals were weaker, but plainly audible. Onc caused a "beat note" against the 15 MHz WWV time and frequency reference signal.

I have subsequently been through this area several times, and the interference is still present. My last visit was on February 28th.

February 20, 2004. On this and several subsequent dates, I received interference while driving along NC Highway 55 and James Slaughter Rd, just north of the town of Fuquay-Varina. The interference was strongest along James Slaughter Road, opposite the Woodchase subdivision. Again, the signature of the interference was RF carriers, about 1 kHz apart, with a bit of digital modulation now and then, including the tik-tik-tik at about a 2 Hz rate.

This interference was across 21.9-25.7 MHz (including the amateur radio 12 meter band) and 27.5-30.0 MHz (including the amateur radio 10 meter band). The interference was S-9 along James Slaughter Road, and S-5 in the Food Lion parking lot at NC-55, and obliterated several amateur radio signals that I was monitoring.

In the Woodchase subdivision, I also heard the "BPL signature" signals on several other points in the high frequency spectrum. The signals were weaker, but plainly audible. I also heard signals in the 7 and 24.5 MHz area about a mile further north on James Slaughter Road, near the Whitehurst subdivision. These signals were S-6 to S-9 for about 1/4 mile along James Slaughter Road.

I most recently heard this interference on March 5th, 2004.

Finally, on February 28, 2004, I personally visited the homes of three amateur radio operators who live in the vicinity of the Progress Energy Phase II BPL trials, and observed interference as received at their stations as follows:

Mike Payne KM4UT
Raleigh, NC
Mile lives .7 miles south of the trial site on Holland Church Road. He is using a dipole antenna at about 30 feet. I observed that he was receiving a clear but weak BPL "signature" in the top half of the 10 meter band, above 28.8 MHz, and many smaller clusters of individual carriers in the band below that.

Ted Root N1UJ
Fuquay-Varina, NC
Ted is about a half mile southwest of the James Slaughter Road site. He is also using a dipole antenna at about 40 feet. He was receiving weak but clear BPL signature signals across the 25 and 28 MHz areas.

Roland Erickson WA0AFW
Fuquay-Varina, NC
Roland is about a half mile south of the James Slaughter Rd. site. He is using a dipole antenna in the attic of a retirement village building. He has a very high ambient noise level (S-6) across the 25 and 28 MHz bands, but was receiving the BPL signature signals clearly above that noise level across those bands.

You might ask if my complaint of interference while mobile, some distance from my home, is justified. I contend that it is, for several reasons.

First, amateur radio is a very "mobile" service. Tens of thousands of amateur radio operators have and use high frequency mobile equipment, and we can be found anywhere, using all hf bands, at completely unpredictable times.

Second, the Progress Energy Phase II trials are in very limited area tests. There are no amateur radio operators living inside the neighborhoods being served, though there are several within interference range - about a mile. We are justified in traveling to the sites with normal amateur radio equipment, operated in a normal manner, to observe and complain about interference we receive. This observation must be extrapolated to a wider geographic area to anticipate the kind of interference that would be received if BPL were to be widely deployed, especially in denser suburban and urban neighborhoods.

You might also ask if weak BPL signals constitute harmful interference. I contend that they do. Amateur radio operation is unlike most other radio operation, in that amateurs tune across their band segments looking for signals. Often we are looking for weak signals from distant parts of the world. Our predominant modes are single sideband and cw. In those modes, a series of carriers 1 kHz apart presents a most irritating series of "beat notes" - tones that vary in pitch as the spectrum is tuned. At 1 kHz spacing, they are continuously present in a receiver using customary bandwidth filters. And even weak BPL signals can make weak amateur radio signals difficult or impossible to receive.

The presence of any BPL signal of any strength at either a home or mobile station at any location is an unwarranted incursion in the amateur radio bands, and is also a problem for anyone tuning shortwave broadcast or other radio services.

Thanks for your consideration. I look forward to hearing the results of the investigation into my complaints.

Sincerely,
Gary Pearce KN4AQ

20040324-20040430.html

Amateur Extra License Class
posted February 4th, 2004

The Smith Chart Amateur Radio Society, K4OO announces an Amateur Extra License Class. The class begins Monday March 8, 2004, from 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM and meets every Monday night through May 10. The VE test session in Smithfield is the following Saturday.

The fee for the class is $25.00 and includes the ARRL Extra Class License Manual, 8th edition that we will be using as the text.

The class will be held at the Eastern Wake Fire Rescue Station #2 at the intersection of Poole and Clifton Roads. From the I-440 Poole Road exit, take Poole Road east approimately 4.5 miles. The station will be on your left.

Pre-registration is required for this class. I must have your class fee ($25.00) by Feb 26, 2004 so that the training materials can be ordered. In the event that we don't have enough pre-registrations to hold the class the class fee will be refunded.

To pre-pregister send checks payable to:
Frank A. Lynch, W4FAL
2528 Oakes Plantation Drive
Raleigh, NC 27610-9328
919-740-3957 (Cellphone)
919-905-2934 (Work)
w4fal@smitchart.org

The Smith Chart Amateur Radio Society, K4OO is an ARRL Special Service Club.

20040204-20040226.html

ARRL Board votes for grassroots BPL campaign
posted January 31st, 2004

The ARRL Board voted to back a grassroots lobbying campaign to fight BPL. Here's the board "minute":

56. On motion of Mr. Roderick, seconded by Mr. Isely, it was unanimously VOTED that the Executive Vice President, with such assistance as he deems necessary from ARRL Government Relations and the Washington Advocacy Team, provide as soon as possible, but in no case later than March 1, 2004, to each division Director, Vice Director, and Section Manager, a package of materials sufficient to permit the recipients to organize, at the appropriate time, a grassroots lobbying campaign regarding Broadband Over Power Lines (BPL). The materials will be designed in order to allow individual amateurs and Amateur Radio clubs to effect dialog with United States Senators and Congresspersons regarding the harmful interference potential of BPL.

The full minutes of this January 16-17, 2004 meeting are available at:

http://www.arrl.org/announce/board-0401/#thirteen

The rest of the minutes are every bit as compelling a read as minute 56, but there are some interesting gems buried in the slurry, such as:

27. Mr. Sumner presented the results of a market study conducted for the ARRL in September 2003 by Readex, Inc. A mail survey of a sample of all US radio amateurs yielded 1,530 usable responses, a 53% response rate from the reachable population. Compared to the results of a similar survey conducted in 1992, the new survey showed increasing age and declining activity in the amateur population, with inactive respondents most often citing competition for time and the use of other communications media as reasons for their inactivity. More frequently than long-time licensees, newer licensees cited emergency communications and personal safety as reasons for obtaining their license. ARRL members were far more likely to be active than non-members. Respondents identified the protection of Amateur Radio and defense of frequencies as the most valuable ARRL service.

This was the meeting where the Board approved the Restructuring plan you've seen elsewhere, but you might be interested in how some amendments to the motion on the plan were defeated, and some were approved.

20040131-20040227.html

ARRL to Propose New Entry-Level License, Code-Free HF Access
posted January 20th, 2004

The ARRL will ask the FCC to create a new entry-level Amateur Radio
license that would include HF phone privileges without requiring a
Morse code test. The League also will propose consolidating all
current licensees into three classes, retaining the Element 1 Morse
requirement--now 5 WPM-only for the highest class. The ARRL Board of
Directors overwhelmingly approved the plan January 16 during its
Annual Meeting in Windsor, Connecticut. The proposals--developed by
the ARRL Executive Committee following a Board instruction last
July--are in response to changes made in Article 25 of the
international Radio Regulations at World Radiocommunication
Conference 2003 (WRC-03). They would continue a process of
streamlining the amateur licensing structure that the FCC began more
than five years ago but left unfinished in the Amateur Service
license restructuring Report and Order (WT 98-143) that went into
effect April 15, 2000.

''Change in the Amateur Radio Service in the US, especially license
requirements and even more so when Morse is involved, has always
been emotional,'' said ARRL First Vice President Joel Harrison, W5ZN,
in presenting the Executive Committee's recommendations. ''In fact,
without a doubt, Morse is Amateur Radio's 'religious debate.'''

The entry-level license class--being called ''Novice'' for now--would
require a 25-question written exam. It would offer limited HF
CW/data and phone/image privileges on 80, 40, 15 and 10 meters as
well as VHF and UHF privileges on 6 and 2 meters and on 222-225 and
430-450 MHz. Power output would be restricted to 100 W on 80, 40,
and 15 meters and to 50 W on 10 meters and up.

''The Board sought to achieve balance in giving new Novice licensees
the opportunity to sample a wider range of Amateur Radio activity
than is available to current Technicians while retaining a
motivation to upgrade,'' said ARRL CEO David Sumner, K1ZZ. Under the
ARRL plan, current Novice licensees--now the smallest and least
active group of radio amateurs--would be grandfathered to the new
entry-level class without further testing.

The middle group of licensees--Technician, Tech Plus (Technician
with Element 1 credit) and General--would be merged into a new
General license that also would not require a Morse examination.
Current Technician and Tech Plus license holders automatically would
gain current General class privileges without additional testing.
The current Element 3 General examination would remain in place for
new applicants.

The Board indicated that it saw no compelling reason to change the
Amateur Extra class license requirements. The ARRL plan calls on the
FCC to combine the current Advanced and Amateur Extra class
licensees into Amateur Extra, because the technical level of the
exams passed by these licensees is very similar. New applicants for
Extra would have to pass a 5 WPM Morse code examination, but the
written exam would stay the same. Sumner said the Board felt that
the highest level of accomplishment should include basic Morse
capability. Current Novice, Tech Plus and General licensees would
receive lifetime 5 WPM Morse credit.

''This structure provides a true entry-level license with HF
privileges to promote growth in the Amateur Service,'' Harrison said.

Among other advantages, Sumner said the plan would allow new Novices
to participate in HF SSB emergency nets on 75 and 40 meters as well
as on the top 100 kHz of 15 meters. The new license also could get
another name, Sumner said. ''We're trying to recapture the magic of
the old Novice license, but in a manner that's appropriate for the
21st century.''

The overall proposed ARRL license restructuring plan would more
smoothly integrate HF spectrum privileges across the three license
classes and would incorporate the ''Novice refarming'' plan the League
put forth nearly two years ago in a Petition for Rule Making
(RM-10413). The FCC has not yet acted on the ARRL plan, which would
alter current HF subbands.

The ARRL license restructuring design calls for no changes in
privileges for Extra and General class licensees on 160, 60, 30, 20,
17 or 12 meters. Novice licensees would have no access to those
bands.

See ''ARRL to Propose New Entry-Level License, Code-Free HF Access''
on the ARRL Web site, www.arrl.org/news/stories/2004/01/19/1/, for the specific subband allocations ARRL is proposing for each class.

20040120-20040302.html

North Carolina Hams See Progress Energy Phase II BPL Trial
posted January 20th, 2004

by Gary Pearce KN4AQ, Wake County ARES PIO

(Raleigh, NC, January 15th, 2004) Progress Energy fulfilled their promise to North Carolina amateurs and invited several Raleigh area hams to observe their Phase II BPL trial in a rural subdivision south of the city. The trial was in its early stages. The BPL equipment had been installed and connected, but no customers were on-line yet.

The hams included Wake County ARES EC Tom Brown, N4TAB, Technical Specialist Frank Lynch, W4FAL, and PIO Gary Pearce, KN4AQ. Network engineer Bill Godwin represented Progress Energy, and engineer Gerrett Durling represented Amperion, the equipment manufacturer. Also present were two hams who are also employees of Progress Energy: Don Duckett, N9MN and Will Roberts, AA4NC.

The BPL trial consisted of a half-mile of overhead feeder along a highway, and a few dozen homes passed by buried power lines carrying the BPL signal. The neighborhood was brand new, and was isolated from other residential areas by farm fields and a wooded stream.

Amperion’s Gerrett Durling explained the system. The overhead feeder brought the data to the neighborhood via BPL (in this trial case only for about a half-mile). An 802.11 based wi-fi system provided a bridge from the feeder to the neighborhood underground system, where it was again transported on the power line with BPL. There was a “repeater” in an above-ground pedestal every block or so, and most of those were connected to 802.11 wireless access points. The access points provided the Internet connection to the residences. Customers would not be connected to the BPL system directly from their ac outlets. Customers who sign up for the test will have 802.11 wi-fi transceivers connected to their computers or home networks.

The hams were particularly interested in the spectrum used for the BPL legs of the system. Durling explained that each run of BPL, from repeater to repeater, used two blocks of spectrum, about 3.5 MHz wide for the downstream signal, and 2.5 MHz wide for the upstream signal, for a total of 6 MHz. At each repeater, a different block of spectrum was required. The blocks could be anywhere between 2 and 50 MHz, but Amperion preferred to use spectrum between 8 and 30 MHz. The specific spectrum chosen for any line segment depended on the characteristics of the line, and the need to avoid frequencies that would interfere with other services in the area of that line (for example, Amateur Radio). The blocks could be as close as 100 kHz apart, or could be as far apart as opposite ends of the available spectrum.

Real interference: The overhead feeder segment in this trial used spectrum blocks around 25 MHz and 29 MHz. The hams listened with mobile equipment driving on the road adjacent to the power line, and received strong signals (S-9) in the immediate vicinity of the line. The signal fell off quickly when driving away from the line, and was faintly audible at about 400 feet. The BPL signal appeared as a series of carriers about 1 kHz apart, and completely filled each block of spectrum. Some of the carriers were modulated by slow clicks, but the system was not carrying data to homes. A ham at a home station just under a mile away heard the 10-meter BPL signal about S-6 using an 80-meter dipole antenna. A ham with a large beam on a 100-foot tower five miles away did not hear any signal.

The hams also listened to the underground segments. They found spectrum used near 10 and 15 MHz (including a strong beat note against WWV at 15 MHz). The BPL signal was weaker, and only audible within about 100 feet of the above ground pedestal. No signal could be heard by the mobiles in between pedestals. A home station with a larger antenna would have a better chance of hearing the underground signals anywhere in the neighborhood.

The hams tried a brief transmit test, with results reported by the Amperion Network Operation Center (NOC) by cell phone. The NOC sent data through the overhead feeder, and looped it back to measure throughput. A 5-watt FM signal on 29.6 MHz from a mobile parked directly under the overhead segment stopped throughput for the duration of the transmission. However, a 100-watt FM signal on the same frequency only caused a momentary blip in throughput. A 100-watt cw carrier on 40 meters had no effect on data. This was just a quick test, and the contradictory results shouldn’t carry too much weight.

The ham’s discussion with Amperion’s Gerrett Durling showed that Amperion is concerned with interference to hams and other spectrum users. Durling said that his company is especially interested in the report due from the NTIA sometime early this year. He said the NTIA had spent several weeks monitoring Amperion installations, among others. Amperion’s BPL equipment is frequency agile. The NOC can quickly move any repeater to another block of spectrum, or notch a few hundred kHz of spectrum in a block, by remote control. During this test, though, they were not able to move the overhead segment away from the 10-meter band. Durling said that the NOC operator was tied up with provisioning another system and didn’t have time to work with the test. There could be a little domino effect when one repeater is moved, since adjacent repeaters must use different blocks of spectrum. This could conceivably cause one ham to start receiving interference if his local spectrum block was moved to accommodate an interference problem of a ham on the other side of the neighborhood.

Skip skipped. One question not addressed was skip. All the discussion was about the effect of local signals. But it is possible that BPL signals, which have the characteristics of very low power QRP hams, could reflect off the ionosphere and appear hundreds or thousands of miles away. The energy of one isolated trial area might not have much impact, but a mature nationwide system with hundreds or even thousands of installations using the same spectrum blocks could be a very different story.

It’s too soon to draw many firm conclusions from this one observation. Amperion’s tests show that their signals meet Part 15 guidelines, though those guidelines were drawn more to measure the leakage from a computer cabinet than from a long unshielded wire. Amateur observation of this and other BPL trials show that, Part 15 limits notwithstanding, the radiation is clearly enough to cause harmful interference to Amateur Radio operators and other spectrum users in the immediate vicinity of the power line (which would violate Part 15, whether the signal is within radiation limits or not).

Amperion’s equipment appears to be frequency agile enough that, in the hands of a utility or service provider who cared enough and was responsive enough, interference problems to individual hams could be cured on a case-by-case basis, assuming that systems were not designed to avoid the ham bands altogether from the beginning. Shortwave listeners and other HF spectrum users might be able to avail themselves of the same assistance. At least, that’s what it looked like in an isolated, rural setting. But how viable is this flexibility in a dense urban environment, given the customer service realities of some utilities and the Internet Service Providers they might subcontract the system to? And not all BPL systems may have this flexibility. Durling said that he could not comment on the capability of competitor’s designs, although several competitors systems are based on the same “chip set” that provides most of the system control.

Even with that flexibility, fitting 3.5 MHz wide blocks of energy in between ham bands would be a delicate jigsaw puzzle. That much “empty” spectrum exists only between the 30, 20 and 17-meter bands, and it’s empty only from the perspective of Amateur Radio.

The good news is that Progress Energy and Amperion are clearly aware of and concerned about interference to spectrum users, especially Amateur Radio. They are considering ways to eliminate it. While the “BPL industry” has taken a general public stance that there is no interference problem,1 Progress Energy and Amperion have not made those public statements, and there was no evidence of that attitude at this meeting. The technology is still young and evolving, with interference mitigation a clear goal in next generation designs.

Got BPL problems already? Hams have begun asking if some of the strange noises they’re hearing here and there could be BPL. Probably not. As I approached a BPL trial site for the first time, tuning across the band that I was told to monitor, I wondered what I would hear. I had the volume cranked up, and I was sensitive to every pop and squawk from the speaker. I’d seen Ed Hare’s video, but there was enough variety in the sounds of the various systems that I wasn’t sure what to expect. Once I began hearing it, though, the Amperion system’s multiple-carrier sound was unmistakable as it rose out of the background noise.

These days the bands are full of computer generated noise. Some of it may be hard to distinguish from BPL system sounds, except for one thing: when BPL signals are present, they occupy a broad chunk of spectrum – hundreds of kHz. If you’re hearing noise at just one spot on the dial, it’s probably not BPL. Right now, BPL installations are so rare that it’s quite unlikely you are hearing one. Amateurs investigating BPL worry that if there are a lot of false complaints of BPL interference, it will hamper efforts to contain the real problem.

FCC Enforcement? The FCC’s Riley Hollingsworth said that interference complaints about BPL would be handled the same way as other power line complaints, if there are any (there have been none from the trial areas so far). Hollingsworth is actually the last stop in the interference resolution chain that begins with the utility itself and is usually resolved with help from the ARRL before the FCC needs to get involved. Each year he sends several letters to utilities that have failed to fix an Amateur’s interference problem, reminding them of their obligation to clear up interference, and advising them that the ARRL will help them do that.

Yet to come in BPL: The NTIA’s comprehensive report and recommendations due any time; an FCC Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for changes in Part 15, based on last year’s Notice of Inquiry; and a decision by your local utility about getting involved in BPL.
__________________________________________________

1 ET Docket No. 03-104, Reply Comments of the Power Line Communications Association, from the FCC web site:

“No matter how loud opponents may shout, they cannot point to evidence in this country that BPL systems are causing, have caused, or will cause, harmful interference to other spectrum users or other third parties.”

“The PLCA is a domestic trade association representing the interests of electric utilities, manufacturers, and Internet service providers interested in offering power line communications. The PLCA’s membership (at the time of this filing) includes Ameren Corporation, Dominion Resources, Inc., Southern Company, TXU Electric, Progress Energy, PPL, Earthlink, Main.net, Big River Telephone Company, Ambient Corporation, Plexeon Logistics, Inc., and Softential.”

20040120-20040301.html

145.13 On Air from DH Hill... 82.5 tone
posted January 13th, 2004

The RARS W4RNC 145.13 (82.5 tone) repeater went on the air from its final home at the DH Hill Library at about 5:30 PM Sunday. The repeater is a cooperative effort between RARS and the NCSU StARS club.

Coverage seems pretty good around Raleigh and into Cary. KF4OTN was able to hit it mobile past Zebulon. KI4BZB reached Wake Forest. AC4ZO's HT works inside his house on the Cary/Apex border. KD4BFH said it was stronger than 146.64 at his base station in Durham, but we don't have reports from RTP mobiles yet. It may be a little better there than 64, but I'm certainly not expecting HT coverage in RTP.

The antenna is about 120 feet above Hillsborough St, at the base of the WKNC tower on top of the library, and about 120 feet above average terrain. The 64 antenna is about 250 feet above ground, and about 350 feet above average terrain. But it is on the southeast leg of a big tower that shields the signal to the northwest. 145.13 may see some tower null to the northeast.

I'll post a longer message with some history and credit for all who worked on it, and put some info on the RARS web site, after I get the February Repeater Journal out.

For now, please use the repeater! Have fun, and let's see what coverage we get.

20040113-20040229.html

ARRL not promoting individual action on BPL
posted November 6th, 2003

Following the presentation on BPL (Broadband over Power Lines) and it's interference potential to Amateur Radio at the November RARS meeting, many club members wondered what they could do to help. Some asked about a sample letter to send to legislators and utility regulators.

I talked to Jennifer Hagy N1TDY, who does media relations at ARRL HQ, and she talked to CEO Dave Sumner K1ZZ. Here's what I learned.

Since this is an FCC matter, the ARRL isn't pursuing either legislators or utility regulators. There is no legislation pending or likely that will apply to BPL. And running an Internet service is outside the regulated area of utility companies, so the state utilities commissions don't have anything to say about it. ARRL Hq is not recommending that individuals do this, either.

The ARRL is going after media whenever a BPL story appears that doesn't include a reference to the interference potential, and is encouraging PIOs to follow up on local stories.

The only individual action on BPL they recommend right now is contributing to the Spectrum Defense Fund (https://www.arrl.org/forms/fdefense/). This will give the league the resources to continue documenting actual BPL interference, and for what I see would be the next two fights:

1 - a possible FCC Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, to follow up on last summers Notice of Inquiry, that might relax Part 15 rules to make BPL easier to implement. Nobody knows what rules might be proposed. A change in the prohibition on interference would be crippling to Amateur Radio.

2 - legal action if BPL systems are built and do cause interference. Manassas, Virginia has announced that they will build a BPL system next year. Since Part 15 hasn't changed, it must meet those guidelines. If it causes interference, the ARRL has promised to fight. No one knows how the FCC will react to an interference complaint by a ham against a BPL system.

Still want to take action?

Although the league hasn't made much noise about it lately, there are two bills in Congress directly affecting Amateur Radio that will stall (again) if there isn't a LOT more grassroots pressure on legislators.

The Amateur Radio Spectrum Protection Act is in both the House and Senate. It would require the FCC to give us new spectrum to replace any we lose to other services (mostly in shuffling UHF/Microwave allocations).

The Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Consistency Act is in the House only. It would extend PRB-1 type antenna protection to deed restrictions enforced by homeowners associations.

More information on both of these is at:http://www.arrl.org/govrelations/


Congressman David Price is a co-sponsor of both bills. Neither North Carolina Senator is a co-sponsor of the Amateur Radio Spectrum Protection Act.

Still want to act on BPL?

Writing to your legislators may just get you a referral to the FCC, but it may at least keep them informed and aware of Amateur Radio. Here are the key points to make:

BPL - Broadband Internet over Power Lines - is being tested and promoted as a third avenue of bringing high-speed Internet into homes and business.

What most people don't realize is that BPL has an undesired side-effect - it can create radio interference over a large part of the radio spectrum used for worldwide communications. This will affect Amateur Radio and shortwave broadcast listening for individuals, and other commercial, industrial and even military and government services that use this radio spectrum.

The power industry says there is no harmful interference, but ARRL tests show clearly that there is significant interference from many of the trial systems in operation (every system observed created interference).

The FCC has received documented evidence of the interference, and thousands of comments from Amateur Radio operators, commercial and government radio users, all warning of the problems they face if BPL is implemented. Yet the FCC commissioners have been ignoring this, and making only positive statements about how BPL will serve the public.

Ask the legislator to request that the FCC pay attention to the evidence of harm that BPL will do to users of the radio spectrum.

20031106-20050202.html

Progress Energy reaches out to hams on BPL
posted November 6th, 2003

Gary passed this article along about Progress Energy and BPL.

Progress Energy reaches out to hams on BPL

You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view the article. If you do not have Acrobat Reader, you can download it from the Adobe Website.

20031106-20040201.html

Calling all ROWH members
posted November 2nd, 2003

Calling a conclave of The Royal Order Of The Wouff Hong. Come forth
members of the Royal Order.

Too long have we been idle while chaos has abounded about us. The time for
an Initiation Ceremony draws near.

On the night of April 3rd, 2004, in the city of Raleigh, let the Royal
Order meet to carry out the Rite of Initiation to those who we would accept
into our Order. All current members of The Order are asked to reply to
this message stating your ability or willingness to meet with us to carry
out the required work. We will need about 8 members in order to be
successful.

As you know, the ritual can only be conducted at an ARRL State or Division
Convention. The RARSfest will be the NC State Convention in 2004.

If we are successful, we have more work to do. Our friends to the North
have asked us to assist them with an Initiation as well. The number of
members of The Order there have dwindled to the point they can no longer
conduct the Initiation Rite themselves. They need our help. If we can
send a delegation to Baltimore, MD in late March, we will be well taken
care of. They estimate that we would be initiating about 100 "Novices".

We can discuss the details of a road trip at a later date. For now, we
need to convene as soon as may be. Please emerge from the shadows and
contact me.

Jeff Wittich, (for the Supreme Council)
AC4ZO
(919) 362-4787

20031102-20040401.html

Progress Energy BPL - N&O Story Followup
posted October 21st, 2003

Triangle area hams:

The News and Observer ran a story in today's Business section about Progress Energy's plan for a larger BPL test. The story is on-line at:

http://newsobserver.com/business/story/2962650p-2716401c.html

I wrote a reply (copied below) to the author, Johnathan Cox (and also to Paul Glister, who writes a column in the Connect section on Wednesday). Then I had a follow up telephone conversation with Johnathan. He said he's been getting a lot of e-mail from hams about the subject today (you guys are sharp, and faster than me).

He is very interested in our story on this, and in Amateur Radio in general. He had no idea there about this downside to BPL, and little idea how extensive Amateur Radio was (about 3000 hams in the Triangle, 18,000 in NC, and 700,000 in the US).

He said he would talk to his editor about a follow-up, soon. No promises (there never are), but from his interest level I'd say chances are very good.

73,
Gary KN4AQ

================================

Hello, Johnathan and Paul,

I am the Public Information Officer for the Raleigh Amateur Radio Society, the largest Amateur Radio group in North Carolina, and editor of the Repeater Journal, a regional Amateur Radio magazine covering the southeast.

There is a wrinkle to Broadband over Power Lines (BPL) that hasn't gotten much attention outside of the technical press. BPL has the potential to interfere with high frequency radio services, such as Amateur Radio, Shortwave Broadcast Radio, international aviation communication, business and industrial radio users, and even government and military radio systems.

Here's how: BPL uses radio frequency energy in the 3 to 80 MHz range to carry the data over the power lines. These frequencies cover the entire portion of the radio spectrum that supports long-distance radio communication. The BPL radio energy is carried over power wires that were not designed to carry and contain that kind of energy (not shielded). The power wires actually act as an antenna, and radiate - transmit - the radio signals into the air.

Anyone nearby trying to receive communications within the spectrum covered by the BPL signal will hear it, usually as a raucous hash or buzz (something like you hear on the phone line when you make a dial-up Internet connection, or sometimes sounding like a Geiger counter measuring a big chunk of uranium). The signal may be strong enough to obliterate the station you are trying to receive. And it is "broad" - it covers the whole spectrum. You can't tune away from it.

Use of this high-frequency radio spectrum may be considered "legacy" by some, as they point to the vastly greater communications capacity of fiber optics, satellites and other technology designed to carry communications around the world. But that technology isn't available everywhere, and it can fail. Amateur Radio routinely uses high-frequency spectrum to handle emergency communications during disasters, when all other systems are down.

The "wireless" connection that Progress Energy plans to use is a development I'm not familiar with. It MAY limit the radiation by keeping the BPL signal off of some local wiring. But BPL doesn't use the "high-tension" high-voltage power lines to distribute its signal over long distances. It uses the medium and lower voltage neighborhood lines to distribute it locally. I'd have to see a more complete description of the Progress system to know if the wireless connection mitigates the potential for interference.

Progress Energy did not notify or work with the local Amateur Radio community during its Wakefield test, and the test was complete before we learned of it. But our national organization, the ARRL, has monitored the airwaves in other test areas and found that significant interference did exist - it was not theoretical. In many cases the interference rendered an Amateur Radio station useless, unable to receive any but the strongest signals from other Amateurs around the country or world. We look forward to analyzing the larger Progress Energy test about to begin.

A debate about BPL can rapidly descend into technical mud-slinging, incomprehensible to anyone without an advanced degree and experience in this specialized field. Amateur Radio has people with this experience, and we make the technical arguments at their highest level. But the bottom line, understandable by all, is that if you turn on a receiver and can't hear anything over the noise, then BPL is a problem.

You can see some short on-line videos of actual interference tests, and some BPL industry produces video, at:

http://www.arrl.org/tis/info/HTML/plc/#Video

You can see the overwhelming technical data on the problems with BPL at:

http://www.arrl.org/tis/info/HTML/plc/

We are concerned that, in their zeal to promote the capabilities of BPL, the FCC and the power industry are deliberately sweeping these problems under the rug. So far, the general press hasn't caught on to the problem much, either. BPL could provide significant public service (although there are competing technologies that could do as good or better job of distributing broadband access without polluting a valuable natural resource). But it comes at a price. Amateur Radio operators and other high-frequency spectrum users feel the price is too high.

Please feel free to contact me for more information or an interview.

Sincerely,

Gary Pearce KN4AQ
kn4aq@arrl.net

20031021-20040201.html

Grand Strand ARC's
posted October 21st, 2003

Grand Strand Amateur Radio Club's "BEACHFEST 2003", Saturday, November 8, 2003. South Carolina Section Convention. Check our web site for more information. www.w4gs.org. See you there.

-All Hamfests are good - but one at the beach is even better.
-73 de K4RLC Bob

20031021-20031108.html

OBAAT vs TWOBAAT
posted October 17th, 2003

Gary Pearce (KN4AQ) recently gave a summary of dual-band mobile rigs on the RARS Mailing List...here it is...repixeled...for those looking for an early holiday present!

Do you want an OBAAT (One Band At A Time) or a TWOBAAT (Two Bands At A Time)?

OBAATs:

The Icom 208H is being touted as a simple, dual-band radio. I haven't used one, but my 207H is pretty good. $310.

Kenwood TM-G707, at $270, is below your price point. I'm not familiar with it.

Yaesu's FT-90R is the cheapest I see, at $230. It's the smallest, too. Again, I'm not familiar with it.

TWOBATTS:

I have Yaesu's FT 8900, a 4-band radio. They now have the 8800, a cheaper, dual-band version of the same radio. Not what I'd call "nothing fancy" - they've got all the bells and whistles, and programming and operation are a bit complicated. But you can ignore most of them, and they don't cost that much. Comm HQ shows it for $320 (after a $50 "instant rebate"). That is a super-bargain for this much radio.

And it's a good radio. The radios are based on the Standard C5900 that Yaesu got when the two companies merged. I love the Standard, and the Yaesu keeps the intermod-resistant receiver and many of the features I like, plus it adds alphanumeric display for those frequencies I need to be "prompted" on. With 800 memories (1000 in the 8800), that happens now and then.

I followed this radio carefully in on-line reviews, magazine reviews and talking to locals who bought them. Yaesu's previous model (FT-8500) was a trouble-plagued dog. Communications Headquarters didn't want to sell me an 8900 when it was new, based on all the returns they had with the 8500. But the 8900 is a new design, based on the technology Yaesu got from Standard (the 5900 I like so much). The reviews were overwhelmingly positive from all sources, and I'm happy with mine, though I haven't wrung it out in mobile service yet.

One gimmick to love are the six "hyper-memories." Set the radio up in some mode - monitoring two frequencies, scanning, crossband repeat, whatever... and hold down one of the hyper-memory buttons. The next time you push that button, the radio jumps back to all the parameters you had stored, including being in scan. Every time I fumble with my HT to get it monitoring two frequently used channels, I wish it had the hyper-memories.

The 8800's biggest competitor is the Icom 2720. I see it at $380 at CHQ. It's a good radio, but needs an external intermod filter that the Yaesu doesn't. And at least at CHQ, it's $60 more expensive, and way out of your ballpark

Kenwood's TM-V7A is still around. They think they can get $400 for this radio, but the new Yaesu beats it in features and quality, for less money. Kenwoods's other dual-banders are way out of the price range.

Alinco has two models at $340, the DR-605 and DR-620. Again, I haven't used them so can't make a recommendation.

If you call a bunch of dealers, you might be able to beat the prices above - they are the prices listed on chq and aes web sites.

You can pull up reviews of all from the ARRL member-only web site. I find them only moderately helpful, and unless a radio is a real stinker, they don't uncover the flaws very well. You can find user reviews at eham.net. They are 'unfiltered' reviews. Watch out for the "it's the greatest (worst) radio I've ever had. I've had it for three days!"

Good luck!

Gary KN4AQ

20031017-20040101.html

Autism Ribbon Run HELP NEEDED
posted September 17th, 2003

The event this year will be held on Saturday, October 11th.

Time is from about 7:00 AM to 10:15 AM AT THE LATEST.

T-shirts, food, and fun provided.

Work? involves mainly being stationed at a street corner on the route in downtown Raleigh and moving in toward the finish line as the run finishes. We are assisted IN STRENGTH by the Raleigh Police Department.

We need to field about 18 HAM operators. Please tell me that you will be one of them!

Bob Breyer
K1RCB@arrl.net
breyer@ix.netcom.com

20030917-20031011.html

Hurricane Season
posted September 13th, 2003

For the latest hurricane information (currently Isabel), make sure you keep your radio tuned to the PCRN 146.88 repeater.

Also, visit the following web sites:

http://www.wakeares.org/
http://www.ccskywarn.net/
http://www.hurricanetrack.com/
http://www.weather.com/newscenter/tropical/

20030913-20031101.html

Ham radio operators step into the breach when technology failed
posted August 19th, 2003

From WCBS in Connecticut:

http://wcbs880.com/connnews/CT--Blackout-HamRadio-mn/resources_news_html

20030819-20031015.html

K4ITL Wins ARRL Technical Service Award
posted August 18th, 2003

From SM, John Covington, W4CC in the August 2003 NC Section News:

Congratulations is in order for our Technical Coordinator, Danny Hampton, K4ITL of Raleigh. Danny is the recipient of the 2002 ARRL Technical Service Award, so designated by the ARRL Board of Directors during the July meeting.

His technical service has been outstanding. Danny has served as ARRL Technical Coordinator under two different Section Managers in the North Carolina Section. Danny's technical expertise has served us well during disasters, including locating backup repeater resources on short notice during the aftermath of Hurricane Floyd (1999). His advice in resolving RFI problems between repeaters and commercial services, and other technical matters, have been extremely valuable to the Section.

Danny has provided equipment and countless hours of his time to creating and maintaining Amateur Radio repeater networks in the state of North Carolina during the last thirty years. This is important to ARES and NTS because repeaters provide a substantial portion of our disaster and public service communications capability.

Danny set up a pair of repeaters in the Raleigh area in the 1970s as a personal project. The repeaters became very popular and the Piedmont Coastal Repeater Network was formed to support this network. Today PCRN consists of over 30 independently-owned repeaters linked together using a linking system designed by Danny. His knowledge of the broadcast and two-way radio industry has helped others setting up repeaters also. As a result we have excellent coverage even in rural areas.

Danny is also the North Carolina Director of the SouthEastern Repeater Association, and has been involved in the Coastal Carolinas Health Alliance communications project.

I'm pleased that someone in our section has won this prestigious national award. Those of you that know him know this award is well-deserved.

20030818-20031001.html

MS-150 September 13-14
posted August 16th, 2003

This is a two day 150 mile bicycle event sponsored by the Eastern North Carolina Multiple Sclerosis Society.
 
Date: September 13 and 14, 2003
Location: New Bern, NC

MS-150 web site: www.encms.org.  This web site provides information on camping / hotel accommodations.
 
For answers to questions or to volunteer, contact Dick Orander at kd4isc@arrl.net.
 
Thanks for the help. If you have any questions, drop Dick a line or give him a call at home: 919-469-5322.

20030816-20030914.html

Virginia Beach Hamfest
posted August 11th, 2003

The dates and location for the 2003 event have been finalized. It will take
place on the weekend of 20-21 September, at Virginia Wesleyan College,
conveniently just off Rt. 64 at the Northampton Blvd exit. It's a beautiful
facility of over 26,000 sqft. We had to make a couple of changes to our
normal hours of operation schedule due to our being at the College, those
being a load in time of 8AM-12 noon for vendors, with doors opening to the
public at Noon. We will, however, stay open until 6PM on Saturday. Sunday
will be the normal 9AM-3PM show hours. At the printing of this information
sheet, we already have commitment for attendance of Communications
Headquarters, T.C. Morgan, MFJ and our loyal friend Sam. (the gadget man),as
some of the major vendors. Table price, again, will be only $30.

Sorry, this year we won't be able to have Tailgating. It's our first time
in this new facility and we have to get ourselves established with
credibility before we try to expand our horizons.

Also, this year's Virginia Beach Hamfest will accommodate the American Radio
Relay League as their Virginia State Division Convention. Our Roanoke
Division Director Dennis Bodson, and Vice Director, Les Shattuck will be
available for you to speak with, and to head up an informative ARRL forum.
The QSL Bureau has also confirmed their representation for the checking of
your QSL cards.

Once again, we're staying at the lower ticket price of only $5, and yes,
parking will be free! For those of you traveling into the area, there are
plenty of close-by hotel/motels within 5-10 minutes of the show and less
than 20 minutes to the beach itself. Remember, this time in September is
still a beautiful time for late night walks in the sand. I can't forget to
mention some of the other great attractions we have in this area - the USS
WISCONSIN, the Virginia Air and Space Museum with operating amateur radio
satellite station, the Marine Science Museum, Nauticus, and the list is
endless.

Great dealers and manufacturers, door prizes, free parking and lots of
things to do for a fun-filled weekend for you and the family in Virginia
Beach. What more could a Ham ask for? Please visit our website,
WWW.VAHAMFEST.COM for ticket and table information, and other Virginia
Beach Hamfest information, and feel free to contact us at
hamfest@exis.net with any inquiries.

Recommended Area Hotelsare as follows:

Best Western
5718 Northampton Blvd.
Virginia Beach, VA 23455
(757) 363-2500

Days Inn Norfolk Airport
5708 Northampton Blvd.
Virginia Beach, VA 23455
(757) 460-2205

Holiday Inn Norfolk Airport
1570 N. Military Hwy.
Norfolk, VA 23502
(757) 213-2231

Lake Wright Quality and Sleep Inn
6280 Northampton Blvd.
Norfolk, VA 23502
(800) 228-5157

Hope to see you all there!

Lynn Lilla, W9DJQ
President, Virginia Beach Hamfest

--------------------------------------------------------------------
ARRL Roanoke Division
Director: Dennis Bodson, W4PWF
w4pwf@arrl.org

20030811-20030921.html

Supervision in Disaster Course
posted July 29th, 2003

The Supervision in Disaster Course will be taught at the Durham Red Cross building on Thursday and Friday, September 11 & 12, 2003, 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM.

Attendance on both days is required for certificate.

Form 5898H application must be submitted to Chapter by August 8, 2003.

Contact Glen Studinger at studingerg@trianglearc.org for additional information or to sign up.

20030729-20030912.html

Carolina 440 Ragchew Net
posted July 24th, 2003

I would like to intoduce the new Carolina 440 Ragchew net. The Carolina 440 Ragchew net will begin on Monday night (July 28, 2003) at 7:30PM.

The net will use the KD4RAA and K4JDR full time linked repeater system.

These are the frequencies that you can use to access the net:

444.925+ Durham Pl=100.0
444.775+ Cary Pl=100.0
444.325+ Holly Springs Pl=100.0
444.375+ Henderson Pl=100.0
444.150+ Clayton Pl=100.0
441.725+ Raleigh Pl=100.0 backbone (hub)

We are excited about this new opportunity and hope you will share this with your club members and encourage them to check in. Our goal is to reach a broad audience and expand our circle of friends.

We ask you to advertise the CAROLINA 440 RAGCHEW net in your club meetings and on your local nets. Please send the attached document to your webmaster for inclusion on your website.

Thank you so much and see you on the net!

73,
Virginia KG4PFA
CAROLINA 440 RAGCHEW Net Manager
kg4pfa@aol.com

Jim W4CAD
CAROLINA 440 RAGCHEW Assistant Net Manager
w4cad@nc.rr.com

20030724-20030901.html

Red Cross Disaster Training Schedule
posted July 22nd, 2003

You can view the latest Red Cross Disaster Training Schedule online at http://www.trianglearc.org/ARCweb/Disaster/schedule.htm

20030722-20030911.html

Hurricane Season 2003 - Special Tar Heel Emergency Net
posted July 11th, 2003

The ARES Section Emergency Coordinator Bernie Nobles, WA4MOK, and the TAR HEEL EMERGENCY NET (THEN) Manager Claude Chaffin, K4CWZ, have granted permission to conduct a special THEN session on Tuesday, July 22nd at 1930 EDT.

Jeff Orrock, the Warning Coordination Meteorologist for the National Weather Service (NWS) in Raleigh, will present a training presentation entitled "Hurricane Season 2003" for the benefit of amateur radio operators involved in providing emergency communications.  Jeff is an experienced meteorologist who has served in eastern NC and has a talent for presenting scientific information in a way that non-meteorologists can understand.

Also on linked repeaters...
Danny Hampton, K4ITL, has approved the use of the Piedmont Coastal Repeater Network 146.88 repeater for this presentation. Use of the 146.88 repeater will allow us to originate the presentation form the North Carolina Emergency Management  (NCEM) Emergency Operations Center (EOC) amateur radio station, NC4EO, and Tom Brown, N4TAB will provide a relay to the THEN on 3923 LSB. There are plans to link repeaters to enable many operators and listeners across the state to participate in this training net. The effort to coordinate the repeater linking includes several repeater systems. A coordinated effort will be made to account for individual operators checking into local repeaters before they are linked for the presentation.  If there are any questions about the repeater linking please contact Tom or myself.

This special THEN is designed to provide training information from the NWS and an exercise in linking repeaters. I would like to thank you in advance for your support and cooperation for this net.  I am looking forward to see just how many people we can reach using amateur radio. Any additional details or information will be sent to this list as they becomes available. If there are any questions or comments please send email or call Tom or myself, our contact information is listed below.

John Guerriero KG4HDT
ARES EC for NCEM
919 605 0629 Cell
919 266 7687 Home
919 231 8000 Work
kg4hdt@arrl.net

Tom Brown N4TAB
ARES EC for Wake Co.
919-528-3104 Home
919-556-8477 Work
919-971-3100 Cellular
n4tab@arrl.net

20030711-20030722.html

RARS Summer Tech Class - Aug. 2nd and 9th
posted June 28th, 2003

It's going to happen! The RARS summer Tech license class, a two-Saturday "weekend warrior" type class, on August 2nd and 9th. We will also have introductory classes on Monday and Tuesday evenings, July 28 and 29.

For details, registration and flyer, see the class web page: http://www.rars.org/class/

Please pass the word. Lots of people have said they'd like to see a class like this.

There will be a VE session at the end of the 2nd day, at 7 PM on August 9th. The VE session is open to anyone, and all exam elements will be available. Thanks to the RARS VE's (any VE's who want to help, contact Joe and Liz White).

And thanks to everyone who gave me feedback. To those who said a full-day class would be a problem (people dozing off in the afternoon) - I heard you! I'll be recruiting RARS members to walk through the class and slap people to keep them awake. Actually, this schedule is what many potential students said they wanted. And it's really the only thing I could squeeze into the available time. So we'll just do the best we can.

What about a GENERAL Class? People keep asking about that. RARS does not run one. But we would be happy to sponsor one if a coordinator/instructor wanted to volunteer. The Nortel classroom would probably be available. Contact me if you're interested in running a General (or Extra) class. But no, I don't have the time to do it myself!!!

73,
Gary KN4AQ

20030628-20030809.html

NPR's The Connection Features Amateur Radio
posted June 12th, 2003

The NPR show The Connection, hosted by Dick Gordon, aired a segment on Amateur Radio on June 12th, 2003.

From their web site:

Long before you could boot up, log on and point and click your way around the globe, there was ham radio. Churning out an audio cocktail of beeps and whirs, chirps and static, the ham radio was a passport, of sorts, for a particular kind of technology-loving, wander-lusting, basement-dwelling Good Samaritan. Someone who knew and relished the difference between a picofarad and a millihenry. Someone who appreciated the random fortune of a favorable ionosphere and a continent-hopping connection.

But there's no need to talk about ham radio in the past tense, because some two-and-a-half million hams world wide still consider 20 megahertz the preferred way to fly. You can keep your broadband. Ham radio. On a wing, and a bandwidth.

Guests include:

Bob Hopkins, Director of the Computer Center at Cooper Union, and "Elmer" for the book, "Hello World: A Life in Ham Radio," by Danny Gregory and Paul Sahre

Moody Law, California Ham

Joe Leto, Iowa Ham

Harry Han, Shanghai Ham

You can listen online here:
http://www.theconnection.org/shows/2003/06/20030612_b_main.asp

20030612-20030901.html

2003 Hurricane Preparedness Fair
posted June 1st, 2003

-The 2003 Hurricane Preparedness Fair, sponsored by the American Red Cross and Lowe's, will be held on Saturday, June 21 from 0800 to 1500 EDT at the Lowe's in West Raleigh, between Glenwood and Lynn Roads.

-Wake ARES/RACES will be participating again this year. We will be operating both a HF and VHF/UHF station. We will be taking Traffic messages from the gneral public to be forwarded anyplace in the world. Most importantly, we need any willing hams to serve as "ambassadors" of ham radio to all the visitors who come to the Hurricane Fair and want to learn about ham radio. So, please volunteer often.

Don't feel limited, but time slots include:

-Setup: 0600 to 0800

-Two hours slots from
0800 to 1000:
1000 to 1200:
1200 to 1400
1400 to Wrap-up

-As an added activity, this is also Kid's Day, so we will be encouraging kids (of all ages) to participate in this great ARRL activity.

-Please send your preferred operation times to me, K4RLC.

-Thanks in advance for your participation and advancement.

-You will be eligible for great door prizes from Lowe's.

73 de K4RLC Bob AEC Wake ARES/RACES

20030601-20030621.html

Advanced Skywarn Spotter Training at RARS June Meeting
posted May 27th, 2003

Skywarn Spotter Training (Advanced?) at RARS June Meeting

Yes, it's another round of SKYWARN SPOTTER TRAINING with our new NWS Warning Coordination Meteorologist, Jeffrey Orrock, at the RARS meeting, Tuesday, June 3rd. 

There have been a few other training classes in the area this year, so we've asked for the ADVANCED class, which has not been taught in the Triangle area (ever, that I know of).

Everyone is welcome - hams, non-hams, club members or not.  No charge.  You might even get a fee donut from RARS.

Here are the details:

Date: Tuesday, June 3rd, 2003

Time: 7:30 PM (we'll start promptly to be able to squeeze the training in).

Cost: Free (no fee, no donations, but you can join RARS if you've a mind to).

Location: lower level of the Forest Hills Baptist Church, on Dixie Trail about halfway between Wade Ave. and Hillsborough St.  There is a map on the RARS web site: www.rars.org/clubmap.htm.  Park in the lot just north of the church off of Dixie Trail, and enter the lower level door half-way toward the back, down the hill a bit.

Talk-in: 146.64 (no tone)

20030527-20030603.html

NY Times Article About Ham Radio
posted May 4th, 2003

Gary, KN4AQ writes:

You might be interested in this New York Times article about Ham Radio:

http://www.nytimes.com/2003/05/04/arts/television/04SALA.html

It's sort of a book review about a new book, "Hello World: A Life in Ham Radio". ($17.47 at Amazon.com).

You have to be registered to read the NYT online. Registration [is] quick and free, and who knows how much spam it will generate.

20030504-20030801.html

New Hams
posted April 25th, 2003

The RARS class members who tested on Thursday before the hamfest have received their callsigns (on the FCC database). Listen for them on the air.. maybe you'll be someone's first contact!

They are:

KG4ZVT Jon
KG4ZVU Rob (Rob passed his General at the RARSfest and is aiming at his Extra soon!)
KG4ZVV Gene
KC4AYH Lillian (Lillian upgraded from Novice to Tech, and has been able to use her upgrade with an "interim KT" callsign since the night of the test... BUT, we haven't heard much of her on the air. Lillian, the book is called NOW YOU'RE TALKING...SO TALK!!!
KJ4BX Steve (Steve wasn't technically a student, as he already had his Advanced ticket, but he accompanied Lillian and Ryan to most of the classes, and worked up the enthusiasm to study for and pass his EXTRA at the class exam session!!!)

Congratulations all! Look for them on the air, and for some pictures in the next Exciter.

73,
Gary KN4AQ

20030425-20030701.html

RARSfest 2003 a Success!
posted April 15th, 2003

Thanks to everyone who attended and/or volunteered to help make RARSfest 2003 a success! We hope to see you all next year!

20030415-20030501.html

Upcoming RARS VE Sessions
posted March 31st, 2003

The RARS VEs will be handling tests at the RARSfest on Sunday, April 13. Details at http://www.rars.org/hamfest.

There will also be an exam session at the RARS Class on Thursday, April 10. That exam session starts at 7:30 pm, at the Nortel Technical Education Center. Directions are at http://www.rars.org/class.

20030331-20030413.html

Red Cross Training Schedule 2nd Q 2003
posted March 25th, 2003

Contact Bob Scott for more information on this schedule. All courses taught at ARC building on Peartree Lane, Raleigh,NC.















































Course Date Time
Intro. To Disaster Services April 3 6:00-10:00pm
Liaison I April 8&10* 6:00-10:00pm
Mass Care: An Overview April 17 6:00-10:00pm
Emergency Operations Center April 22&24* 6:00-10:00pm
Disaster Action Team Workshop April 26 9:00-5:00pm
ERV’s: Ready, Set, Roll May 3 9:00-5:00pm
Shelter Operations May 6 6:00-10:00pm
Shelter Simulation May 8 6:00-10:00pm
Family Services: Emergency Assistance May 13&15* 6:00-10:00pm
Damage Assessment May 29 6:00-10:00pm
Logistics Overview June 21 9:00am-noon
Logistics Simulation June 21 1:00-5:00pm
Defensive Driving TBD

20030325-20030621.html

Paul Harvey
posted March 20th, 2003

KJ4SO passes along the following:

Check out Paul Harvey's tribute to Hams from his noon 3/19 broadcast. It can be found at: http://www.theponyengine.com/Paul.mp3.

20030320-20030501.html

RARS Code Class
posted March 15th, 2003

RARS will be conducting a 5 WPM code class beginning Monday, April 21st at the Nortel Education Center near the Fairgrounds . Sessions will be 1 hour and begin at 7:30PM on Mondays and Thursdays, beginning April 21st through May 29

This class is for beginners who want to learn Morse Code.

If you are interested in this class, please contact Neal Fisher via E-Mail at N4HAF@NC.RR.COM or call him at 919-848-8840.

20030315-20030501.html

SKYWARN SPOTTER TRAINING - March 27, Cary/Bond Park
posted March 2nd, 2003

The National Weather Service will conduct SKYWARN Spotter Training on Thursday, March 27, at 7:00 PM at the Cary Senior Center in Fred Bond Park (directions below).

The training is free, and is open to all Radio Amateurs and members of police, fire, and rescue departments from Wake and surrounding counties.

Talk-in directions will be available on the 146.88 repeater, and on 146.55 MHz simplex for close-in vectoring.

The speaker will be Jeff Orrock, the new Warnings Coordination Meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Raleigh. All attendees will receive a personal certificate of completion -- later in the mail. Hurricane season starts just after the meeting on April 1, 2003. Since the Jeff is new this year, and new material has been added, the program will be worthwhile for all persons new and experienced.

RSVP !!! RSVP !!! RSVP !!! RSVP !!! RSVP !!!
(that means "tell us you're coming", but don't tell is if you're NOT coming)

In order to ensure proper seating capacity, please send an e-mail to: N4NC@ARRL.NET.

Please format your e-mail carefully this way:

SUBJECT: Spotter

BODY TEXT: first name, last name, callsign.

Multiple names may be sent in one e-mail.

Questions? e-mail W3HL@ARRL.NET

DIRECTIONS:

-from north Raleigh:
Wade Ave./I-40 west to Harrison Ave (just before the Airport exits).
SOUTH on Harrison 1 mile to Cary Parkway.
RIGHT on Cary Parkway, 4 miles to High House Rd.
LEFT on High House Rd. 1/2 mile to Maury O'Dell Drive.
RIGHT on Maury O'Dell Drive to the Senior Center.

-from FAR north Raleigh
I-540 west/south to Aviation Parkway (exit ramp).
Aviation Parkway, about 5 miles to NC 54 (Chapel Hill Rd.)
LEFT on NC 54 about 1.5 miles to Cary Parkway.
RIGHT on Cary Parkway, 1.5 miles to High House Rd.
LEFT on High House Rd. 1/2 mile to Maury O'Dell Drive.
RIGHT on Maury O'Dell Drive to the Senior Center.

-from south Raleigh:
US-1/64 to SE Cary Parkway
West on Cary Parkway about 5.5 miles to High House Rd.
RIGHT on High House Rd. 1/2 mile to Maury O'Dell Drive.
RIGHT on Maury O'Dell Drive to the Senior Center.

-from Durham/Chapel Hill:
I-40 east to NC 55.
SOUTH on NC 55 about 8.5 miles to High House Rd.
LEFT on High House Rd. about 2.5 miles to Maury O'Dell Drive.
RIGHT on Maury O'Dell Drive to the Senior Center.

20030302-20030327.html

Ham Radio on Comedy Central?
posted February 28th, 2003

Dave Attell showed a fox hunt on his Comedy Central show Insomniac while visiting Albuquerque, NM. For those that haven't seen Dave's show, he is a comedian who performs his act in many different cities. As he visits them, he explores the nightlife in the area...and stays up until the sun rises, hence the name of the show: Insomniac. The night usually starts out with visiting bars until last call, then he goes and does other things. This night included a fox hunt!

Click here to see the photos.

The guy he happened to drive around with was the one who found the fox, coincidence?

20030228-20030501.html

Upcoming Public Service Events
posted February 21st, 2003

RARS is pleased to announce that the Eastern North Carolina Chapter of the National MS Society has asked us to coordinate communications for the MS events such as the MS Walk and the MS 150 Bike Tour. In support of their request we have contacted clubs outside of the Raleigh area and will continue to do so.

Clear your calendars on:

April 5, 2003 - The MS Walk at GLAXO in RTP
September 13, 2003 - The two day MS 150 Bike Tour centering again on New Bern
November 8, 2003 - The MS Pooch Walk - a dog gone lot of fun!

We are also currently in the final planning (Courtesy of Dick Orander -KD4ISC) for communications support of the Odyssey of the Mind being held this year in Wake county on March 8th. Give Dick a call if you can help.

WHY PUBLIC SERVICE?

1. So that we can utilize the spectrum and not lose it by;
2. Providing community support to various charitable and other groups;
3. While learning good net skills in a (normally) non-emergency environment.

We urge all members to give it a try! What would you like to do?

Coordinate an event? Be a SAG coordinator? Recruit for an event? Handle APRS for an event? Be a shadow for a principal or Medic? Communicate at a rest stop? Try ATV in an event? Be a SAG operator? Work a registration desk? Lead or end a parade?

The choices are yours. Contact the RARS Public Service Director, Bob Breyer (K1RCB@ARRL.NET) and let him know what you want to do...

20030221-20031108.html

RARS Class Begins March 3rd
posted February 13th, 2003

Know anyone who's been meaning to get their ham license? Maybe they need a little push?

The Raleigh Amateur Radio Society will teach a class leading to the Technician Class ham license (no Morse code required).

We'll have an introductory class on Monday, March 3th, 2003, at 7:30 pm. Then, the class will meet Monday and Thursday evenings for six weeks until the exam session on Thursday, February 10.

The class fee is $25, including the text "Now You're Talking." $15 credit for anyone who brings their own text (4th Edition). Class will be held at the NORTEL education center, on route 54 near I-40 in west Raleigh, west of the fairgrounds.

For more information, visit the RARS web site at:

http://www.rars.org/class

or contact:

Gary Pearce KN4AQ
phone 380-9944
e-mail kn4aq@arrl.net

20030213-20030303.html

2003 Georgia QSO Party
posted February 12th, 2003

Sponsored by the South East Contest Club (SECC) and the Southeastern DX Club (SEDXC)

Dates: April 12th and 13th, 2003 (NOTE - NEW DATES) Contest Period: 1800z April 12 - 0359z April 13 & 1400 - 2359z April 13 - Total of 20 hours.

For complete rules and contest information, check out our website at http://gqp.contesting.com

Please get this information out to as many club members as you possibly can. We would like to have a strong "non-Georgia" presence in this year's contest... helping our club members with as many contacts as possible.

If you or another club member is planning to participate as a Mobile/Rover, please relay that person's intended route to me... so that we can post it on our site.

Finally, if you or your club would like to sponsor a plaque this year - please let me know and I'll pass along that information to you.

Thank you for your time in reading this email. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Jeffrey Short / KD3UC Georgia QSO Party Director

20030212-20030413.html

2003 CHARLOTTE HAMFEST AND COMPUTERFAIR FEATURES NASA ASTRONAUT
posted February 12th, 2003

CONTACT: Jerry Malin, N2HV at (704) 821-3838

The Mecklenburg Amateur Radio Society is pleased to announce that Captain Lee M. E. Morin, M.D., P.H.D. will be at the 2003 Charlotte Hamfest and Computerfair. Captain Morin will be hosting a forum from 1:00PM to 3:00PM at the Charlotte Merchandise Mart, Saturday March 8th.

Captain Morin was a crewmember on Shuttle Mission STS-110 in April of 2002, in which the Atlantis delivered and installed the S0 Truss on the International Space Station. Morin spent over 14 hours in EVA activity.

Captain Morin is a highly decorated Navy Flight Surgeon, medical doctor and has a very impressive set of credentials.

For complete BIOGRAPHICAL DATA and picture of Captain Morin, visit website: www.jsc.nasa.gov/Bios/htmlbios/morin.html

In addition to our distinguished visitor from NASA, W. Riley Hollingsworth, FCC Special Counsel for Amateur Radio Enforcement will also be joining our blue ribbon forum schedule.

For additional information re: The Charlotte Hamfest and ComputerFair, please check-out our website, www.w4bfb.org/hamfest.html.

20030212-20030318.html

NC State Odyssey of the Mind Tournament
posted February 4th, 2003

Saturday, March 8th Wakefield HS Raleigh NC

http://ncom-e.wayfarer.org

Seeking amateur radio operators as communicators for the event. Contact Tournament Director Marjory Moe mmoe at chccs.k12.nc.us or Mark Smith W4CHL at arrl.net

20030204-20030308.html

Amateur Extra License Class
posted January 27th, 2003

The Smith Chart Amateur Radio Society, K4OO announces an Amateur Extra Licensing Class. The class begins Monday March 10, 2003, from 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM and meets every Monday night through May 12. The VE test session in Smithfield is the following Saturday.

This will be the third year that the Smith Chart Society has sponsored an Extra Licensing Class. The past classes I'm told have been fun for the participants, fun for the instructors, and informative. To date our number of Extra's is somewhere between 25 and 30.

The fee for the class is $25.00 and includes the ARRL Extra Class License Manual 8th edition that we will be using as the text.

The class will be held at the Knightdale Fire Station #2 at the intersection of Poole and Clifton Roads. From the I-440 Poole Road exit, take Poole Road east approimately 4.5 miles. The station will be on your left.

Pre-registration is required for this class. I must have your class fee ($25.00) by Feb 25, 2002 so that the training materials can be ordered. In the event that we don't have enough pre-registrations to hold the class the class fee will be refunded.

To pre-pregister send checks payable to:

Frank A. Lynch, W4FAL
2528 Oakes Plantation Drive
Raleigh, NC 27610-9328
919-740-3957
w4fal@arrl.net

The Smith Chart Amateur Radio Society, K4OO is an ARRL Special Service Club.

20030127-20030512.html

Marconi Event
posted January 18th, 2003

May I draw your attention to today's commemoration of Marconi's historic
transatlantic transmission 100 years ago of a personal message from
president Roosevelt to King Edward VII.

The story appears in today's edition of the Toronto Star, (courtesy of
the Associated Press).

The Marconi Radio Club will be marking the event with two 160-6m
stations operating through the weekend. According to the Star's report,
they expect to make 10,000 contacts during the period. IRLP, ECHOLINK,
and Streaming Audio, as well as digital modes are supported.

Frequencies and modes are detailed at the following link:
http://personal.tmlp.com/k1vv/w1aa/w1aa_1001.htm

Amateur operators are invited to contact W1AA on the appropriate
frequencies. All interested parties are invited to listen in.

Arthur Shulman VE3ZV

20030118-20030201.html

Red Cross Classes - Q1
posted January 8th, 2003

It seems the training has yet to be posted on their website so, here is the first quarter schedule. 
 
Anyone interested needs to call them at 231-1602  Ext 408-409-410 to register.
 
    Disaster Action Team Workshop        Sat Jan 11         9 AM-5 PM
    Mass Care Overview                          Tue Jan 14        6-10 PM
    Shelter Operations & Simulation         Sat Jan 18        9 AM-5 PM  
    DAT Workshop                                  Sat Jan 25       9 AM-5 PM
    Shelter Manager Workshop                 Tue Jan 28      6-10 PM
    ERV's, Ready, Set, Roll                      Sat Feb 8       9 AM-5 PM
    Family Services, Emer. Assistance      Sat Feb 15     9 AM-5 PM
    Damage Assessment                           Thur Feb 20    6-10 PM
    Disaster Welfare Information               Sat  Mar 1      9 AM-5 PM
    Public Affairs I                                    Sat  Mar 8      9 AM-5 PM
    Logistics, Overview & Simulation          Sat  Mar 22    9 AM-5 PM
    Records & Reports                              Sat Mar 29     9 AM-5 PM  
 
Bob
             
Wake County AEC / Red Cross Liaison
Amateur Radio Call KG4IZA
ARES SERT RARS SERA ARRL
 
kg4iza@arrl.net
robert.scott@mindspring.com

20030108-20030329.html

NC QSO Party - Feb 23/24
posted January 7th, 2003

The NC QSO Party is coming up soon- Its slated this year for 1700 UTC
Feb.23 through 0300 UTC Feb.24 (10 hours). The rules have not changed
from last year, and we were successful at activating 98 of 100 counties!
We'd like to try and get all counties involved this year. The website
for the party is located at-
http://www.w4nc.com.
Just click on the NC QSO Party tab.

There you will also find results from last year.

I will again be keeping a map of counties so if you are planning to be fixed or mobile, let me know with an email and I'll fill that county in.

Last year we had over 50 logs, and had certificates and plaques out
WITHIN 60 DAYS of the log due date (no endless waiting with this
event....). Several of the plaques were presented at the Contest Dinner
at the Dayton hamfest - some even in the parking lot! We hope to have
even better participation this year.

So...
Email me the county/counties you'll be activating and I'll get the map
up on the QSO Party page within the week. Thanks for your continued
support of the ever-growing NC QSO Party! If you send me mail and want
me to forward it to this list, just let me know- I'll be happy to play
"reflector" for all participants.

best 73,
Henry Heidtmann W2DZO (ex. N4VHK)
Forsyth Amateur Radio Club
Winston-Salem, NC
henry@summitschool.com

20030107-20030224.html

V.O.A. Site B Photo
posted January 5th, 2003

KC4UQN sends this photo of the V.O.A. Site B which is S.E. of Greenville NC. Some of the RARS members that volunteered with the MS 150, when it's route originated in Greenville will remember this. I don't have any details of the site, although I have been searching the web. The picture is a panoramic (composite of 3) of the antenna farm.







The full-size version can be seen here

20030105-20030301.html

Kids Day - Saturday, January 4th
posted January 1st, 2003

KID'S DAY is this Saturday, Jan 4th from 1800 to 2400Z. Suggested frequencies are 14270-14300, 21380-21400, and 28350-28400. This is a great time to introduce kids to ham radio. Your kids, kids' friends, neighbors, etc. Call CQ Kids Day. My kids have always liked this. Even got their photo in QST Oct 2001 (page 20) working Kids Day from a portable HF station on the beach. See Dec QST page 96 for details.

Bob - K4RLC

20030101-20030104.html

Mitnick Wins Ham License Renewal
posted December 27th, 2002

From CNN: WASHINGTON (AP) -- A man the federal government once labeled "the most wanted computer criminal in U.S. history" has won a long fight to renew his ham radio license and next month can resume surfing the Internet.

See more here.

20021227-20030115.html

Amateur Extra License Class
posted December 23rd, 2002

Amateur Extra License Class

The Smith Chart Amateur Radio Society, K4OO announces it's third Amateur Extra License Class. The class begins Monday March 10, 2003, from 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM
and meets every Monday night through May 12. The VE test session in Smithfield is the following Saturday.

This will be the third year that the Smith Chart Society has sponsored an Extra Licensing Class. The past classes I'm told have been fun for the participants, fun for
the instructors, and informative. To date our number of Extra graduates is somewhere between 25 and 30.

The fee for the class is $25.00 and includes the ARRL Extra Class License Manual 8th edition that we will be using as the text.

The class will be held at the Knightdale Fire Station #2 at the intersection of Poole and Clifton Roads. From the I-440 Poole Road exit, take Poole Road east
approimately 4.5 miles. The station will be on your left.

Pre-registration is required for this class. I must have your class fee ($25.00) by Feb 25, 2002 so that the training materials can be ordered. In the event that we
don't have enough pre-registrations to hold the class the class fee will be refunded.

To pre-pregister send checks payable to:
Frank A. Lynch, W4FAL
2528 Oakes Plantation Drive
Raleigh, NC 27610-9328
919-740-3957
w4fal@arrl.net

20021223-20030401.html

Amateurs Respond to Carolina Ice Storm
posted December 10th, 2002

The ARRL ran this story about amateur radio operators responding to the December 2002 ice storm in NC.

http://www.arrl.org/news/stories/2002/12/06/100/?nc=1

20021210-20030203.html

Red Cross Thanks Amateur Radio Operators
posted December 10th, 2002

Glen Studinger of the Triangle Red Cross has expressed to me his appreciation for Amateur Radio assistance during the recent power problems.

He thanks each and every of you who participated on their behalf.

Bob - kg4iza@arrl.net

Wake County AEC / Red Cross Liaison
Amateur Radio Call KG4IZA
ARES SERT RARS SERA ARRL

20021210-20030201.html

RARS.org back after power outage
posted December 10th, 2002

The RARS.org web site is back online after a power outage due to an ice storm in NC.

20021210-20021229.html

FCC Vanity Petition
posted December 3rd, 2002

From Frank Lynch W4FAL@arrl.net

Recently, Bill Edwards, K4BWC, Frank Lynch, W4FAL, and Norman Young, KA4PUV
filed a petition with the FCC that would no longer allow vanity call applicants
to file multiple applications to increase their odds of getting a desired call.

If you have followed the activity of many of the sought after 1X2 and 2X1
calls, you've probably noticed individuals filing 20 to 30 applications to
increase their odds of getting a call.

In our view this is clearly unfair and counter to the original purpose of
filing for a vanity call... The FCC whether intentionally or not has created a
"vanity call lottery" in which the player can buy as many tickets as he or she
has money to do so with.

You may agree with the current approach, or you may not, but if you care one
way or the other, I'd like to ask that you file comments - either for or
against - on the FCC's ECFS (Electronic Comment Filing System).

You may read the petition, as well as the comments filed by visting;

http://gullfoss2.fcc.gov/prod/ecfs/comsrch_v2.cgi

Type RM-10582 in the search field to look up. (This is case sensitive, so be
sure to type "RM" and not "rm".)

After you've had a chance to review the petition, if you want to file a comment
yourself, go to:

http://www.fcc.gov/e-file/ecfs.html

Click on "Submit a Filing" on the right hand side. When the form comes up,
type in "RM-10582" and fill in the other blocks of the cover sheet as required.
Then scroll down to type in a brief comment and submit.

If this is a matter of interest to you, please weigh in with the FCC.

20021203-20030115.html

RARS 444.525 Repeater On The Air!
posted December 1st, 2002

The RARS 444.525 (W4RNC) repeater is back on the air at 250 feet near the corner of Six Forks Rd and Strickland Rd in Raleigh. It requires 88.5 tone.

There are more advanced features of this repeater including secondary tone support, DCS and autopatch which will be discussed in more detail soon.

The repeater has just been put back on the air so expect some glitches here and there but otherwise, tune in and enjoy!

20021201-20030101.html

Empire of the Air on PBS
posted December 1st, 2002

"Empire of the Air" is a history of radio. It focuses on the commercial
aspects, but contains some early ham radio.

Edwin Armstrong, the "inventor of FM" is featured. Though the program
doesn't make much of it, he considered himself a ham. Edwin participated
with the ARRL in the first Trans-Atlantic Amateur Radio contacts in 1922
which helped prove the value of both cw [as opposed to spark] and
relatively low power on the "useless" frequencies above the 200 meter
band. Curiously, none of the mentions I find for Armstrong contains a
callsign. He collaborated on "1BCG" for the trans-Atlantic tests, and had
the "experimental" call W2XMN for early broadcasting.

"Empire" was first broadcast in 1992. See
http://www.pbs.org/kenburns/films/empire.html

WUNC-TV, Channel 4, Monday, December 9, 9:00 PM.

73,
Gary KN4AQ

20021201-20021209.html

WakeARES NetNotes
posted November 20th, 2002

Matt KG4MYD has started posting a new, more dynamic section of the Wake ARES website called NetNotes. This section will include short notes posted weekly after each ARES net on Thursdays to help keep everybody updated in case they miss the net.

Please follow the "NetNotes" link at http://www.wakeares.org

Your comments and suggestions are welcome. Also, anyone wishing to volunteer to take notes for the net may email Matt directly.

Thanks and 73 Matt KG4MYD

20021120-20030201.html

NC Section-wide SET In Progress
posted November 20th, 2002

NC Section-wide SET In Progress

The ARRL North Carolina Section is doing something unusual for the
section-wide portion of this year's Simulated Emergency Test.

SEC David Fleming KE4JHJ set the following rules for
participation. Stations checking into one of the section-wide nets*, or
participating local nets for SET credit, must meet these criterion:

1. No commercial power - backup emergency power only.

2. No existing antennas - only "on the spot - emergency antennas."

That includes mobiles! VHF operation won't be that difficult - plunk a
magnet mount antenna on your car, or a pie-pan in your shack (using
emergency power), and you're in. HF operation will be a little more
effort. String a Field Day dipole, connect an unused HF mobile antenna -
whatever it takes.

The exercise runs from November 18 through November 25, so it's in progress
now. Many Triangle area VHF-FM nets are reporting SET participation during
this period. Ask your net control if the net is reporting.

North Carolina has "won" the SET for the past couple of years. This plan
is not about winning or generating a high score. It is obviously about
getting hams to have viable emergency stations ready to deploy when and
where needed.

Questions or comments? Send email to John Guerriero KG4HDT at:

kg4hdt@arrl.net

or call him at 919 605 0629.

73,
Gary KN4AQ
NC Section PIC

20021120-20021125.html

NCEM/ARRL-ARES/RACES MOU signing at JARSfest
posted November 12th, 2002

In addition to all the great things we have come to expect at the JARSfest, this year something special will happen there.

The long awaited Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU) between the State of North Carolina and the amateur radio volunteers in this state will receive the final signature. John Covington, ARRL Section Manager for NC, will be attending the ham fest and will put his signature on the MOU. Recently Dr. Kenneth B. Taylor, the new Director of Emergency Management for NC, had reviewed and signed the MOU.

This document formally establishes the role of amateur radio in emergencies and links ARES and RACES as one group in this state. the document will be signed between 11:00 AM and 1:00 PM Sunday Nov. 17 at the JARSfest in Benson. A link is included below in case anyone needs more information about JARSfest. I hope you have the opportunity to attend JARSfest and witness this historic event.

John Guerriero/KG4HDT
ARES/RACES EC for NCEM

20021112-20021117.html

RARS Auction 2002 Pictures
posted November 7th, 2002

The RARS Auction 2002 was a success!



Thanks to Gary Pearce (KN4AQ) for the pictures.

20021107-20030115.html

Field Day Results - RARS #3 in 7A
posted October 30th, 2002

The Field Day results can be found at http://www.arrl.org/members-only/qst/contests/results/2002/fd.pdf

(You must be an ARRL member, registered on the web site, to download this file.)

RARS came in 3rd in the 7A category, not far behind #2, and just barely ahead of #4. 7A was busier than usual, with 25 entries.

The dreaded TRW club was well down the pack this year.

73, Gary KN4AQ

20021030-20030101.html

Fall Antique Radio Meet Oct 26th
posted October 21st, 2002

The Fall Antique Radio Meet sponsored by the Carolinas Chapter of the Antique Wireless Association (CC-AWA) will be held at the City Lake Park in Jamestown, NC This Saturday, Oct. 26. It will start at 7:00AM when the park gates open and normally winds down by 10:00AM or so. This dovetails nicely with my topic for the CARC meeting and the price is right; there is no charge for selling or entry to the park or the meet. There usually are 25 to 30 people selling and buying and 200 or so people looking and buying so it's a nice event. The CC-AWA has a web site and the page for the meet, with driving instructions is at: http://cc_awa.homestead.com/Fall.html

20021021-20021026.html

RARS Auction Information
posted October 13th, 2002

The Annual RARS Auction is Tuesday, November 5th, 2002.

Find all the details here.

20021013-20021105.html

RARS / Cary ARC Sponsor Fund Drive for PCRN
posted September 26th, 2002

The Raleigh Amateur Radio Society and the Cary Amateur Radio Club are joining forces to sponsor a membership/fund drive for PCRN, the Piedmont Coastal Repeater Network. Memberships and donations to PCRN will be collected at the October 1st RARS meeting and the September 26th Cary club meeting. RARS pledges a matching donation of $500 to add to the drive.

The immediate goal is to raise enough money for antenna work needed on the PCRN 145.39 repeater, located near Lake Wheeler in Raleigh. That repeater is the primary Wake County ARES repeater. It provides the widest coverage in the county due to an extremely sensitive receiver and tower mounted pre-amp. The pre-amp has failed, and the estimate for a tower climb (1000 feet) and repair is about $900 (no volunteer tower-climbers need apply unless you have the proper certification, bonding and insurance. If you DO, call Danny K4ITL right away!).

PCRN sponsors several local repeaters, and a linking system that ties repeaters together over a wide area of North Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia. The effort is always expensive, and is funded by membership and individual donations. Their treasury is low, though, due in part to having to replace the 147.105 Broadway repeater that was destroyed when the 1700-foot Broadway tower collapsed after being struck by an airplane last winter. (That repeater was quickly replaced and put back on the air temporarily from one of the WRAL towers near Raleigh. It has now been relocated to a new tower near Cokesbury, northeast of Lillington).

In addition, PCRN is planning new repeaters to add to the network, and is adding a link to the Columbia Emergency Repeater Association and Outer Banks Repeater Association network, which will expand linked coverage into the northeast corner of the state. PCRN members will be able to activate links all the way to the Outer Banks.

If you will be at one of the club meetings, plan on making your donation there. If not, you can join/renew/donate by sending a $15 minimum contribution to:

PCRN
P.O. Box 12734
Raleigh, NC 27605

More information on PCRN is available at their web site: http://www.qsl.net/w4fal/pcrn

PCRN Sponsored Repeaters:
146.88 Raleigh (ARES/SKYWARN)
145.39 Raleigh (82.5) (Wake ARES)
147.105 Lillington (82.5) (SKYWARN)
147.135 Chapel Hill (82.5)
145.21 Trenton (SKYWARN)

20020926-20021015.html

Adult CPR/AED and First Aid Course
posted September 22nd, 2002

Wake ARES is offering training in Adult CPR/AED and First Aid. Completion of the training will grant you American Red Cross certification in the above areas. Bob Conder, K4RLC, is a certified Red Cross instructor with the Triangle Area ARC and will be teaching the course. The course will meet on Saturday, Sept 28th from 0830 to 1600. The course location is Raleigh Community Hospital/Duke University Health System, on the first floor, under the cafeteria. Free Parking. The Red Cross is giving us a major discount for equipment rental (manikins, AED trainers, equipment and First Aid manuals) from our work at the State Fair. Cost is $37 and checks should be made payable to the Triangle ARC. One scholarship for free tuition is available. There are still openings. Email Bob at k4rlc@arrl.net or call at 847-7253

20020922-20020928.html

Check Into A Net!
posted September 18th, 2002

Don't forget to check into the 8pm net...every night on 146.64MHz. All are invited to check in with or without traffic. Ragchews invited.

20020918-20021101.html

Red Cross Training
posted September 11th, 2002

Please contact Bob Scott, KG4IZA, at kg4iza@arrl.net to sign up for any of these courses offered by the Triangle Red Cross. You should send him your name, address, telephone number and course requested.

Course NameDateTime
Intro. to Disaster ServicesOct 26-10pm
Disaster Action Team WorkshopOct 8 & 106-10pm
Mass Care: An OverviewOct 226-10pm
Family Services: Emergency AssistanceOct 269-5pm
Damage AssessmentOct 296-10pm

Remember, "Intro. to Disaster Services" is a pre-requisite for these courses.

20020911-20021029.html

K4RLC Meets Congressman David Price
posted August 30th, 2002

k4rlcprice.jpg

Bob, K4RLC, met Congressman David Price at a small reception recently and had a chance to discuss his support of the Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Consistancy Act. An excerpt from an email to Eric, KG4CXW, who initially approached Congressman Price about the act follows. Bob wrote to Eric:

Followed up on your meeting with Congressman David Price at a small reception tonight. He recalled your contact re the Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Consistancy Act, and is proud to co-sponsor it. We discussed the need for antennas for emergency services and he empathized abt it. His first question to me was "Do you do morse code?" Of course, that was an affirmative. I mentioned my HF contacts with Antarctica, and he was fascinated with that. He asked how it could be done. I said that I was lucky to have a 135' Zepp in the backyard. And that hams really needed to have a decent antenna to help with local and national emergency services. He agreed.

It was a very positive meeting, with his having a very positive view of ham radio.

Eric, thanks for your good work, and happy to be able to follow-up.

73, Bob K4RLC

20020830-20021030.html

Red Cross Sept 11
posted August 28th, 2002

As part of the commemoration of the tragic events of Sept 11 last year, the Triangle Red Cross is hosting several events.

One important event is a free "Preparing for the Unexpected" which will give information on preparing for any type of disaster, including a terrorist attack, and how to work to keep your family safe.

This program is offered Tuesday Sept 10 at the Peartree Lane office and Creedmoor Rd offices in Raleigh.

On Sept 12, it is offered again at Peartree Lane and the ARC office in Cary on Ashville Ave, near Western Wake.

Also, all blood donors during Sept 9 to 13 will receive an "American Hero" T-shirt.

Call 231-1602 to register for any of these events. On the web, www.trianglearc.org

20020828-20020911.html

Red Cross Thanks K1RCB
posted August 27th, 2002

The Summer edition of Cross Links, the newsletter for the Triangle Chapter of the American Red Cross, had some nice things to say about Bob K1RCB, the RARS Vice President.

In an article on the Hurricane Preparedness Fair, it stated, " 'We are so grateful to Bob Breyer, Lowe's administration manager, for all his assistance," stated Rod Thomas, Red Cross disaster mitigation chair and event organizer. "Mr. Breyer helped us with all the logistics and supported our Red Cross volunteers every step of the way.' "

There also is a photo of the Hurricane's mascot, Stormy "testing emergency communications equipment" with Dick KD4ISC.

Nice work.

(Thanks to Bob K4RLC for this story)

20020827-20021027.html

RadarWatcher
posted August 18, 2002

RadarWatcher is a pet project of mine that I've recently updated and placed on the RARS web site for anyone interested in monitoring multiple weather radars simultaneously. Full documentation on how it works is available on the RadarWatcher page. Please check it out and let me know what you think.

WA2UZO

20020818-20021101.html

Upcoming Red Cross Training
posted August 6th, 2002

Following is a list of the remaining training for the third quarter at the Triangle RC on Peartree La.

Logistics Operations & Simulation
Tue 8/13 & Thurs 8/15 from 6-10 PM (Both sessions must be attended)

Logistics-Generator Workshop
Sat 8/17 from 9-12 noon

Damage Assessment
Tue 8/20 from 6-10 PM

E.O.C.
Tue 8/27 & Thurs 8/29 from 6-10 PM

Family Well Being Inquiry
Sat 9/14 from 9-5 PM

Anyone interested, please e-mail Bob Scott (KG4IZA/AEC Wake County/Red Cross Liaison) your name, address and home telephone number at kg4iza@arrl.net.

20020806-20020914.html

TEARA VE Sessions Move