Balanced Modulator Online

The Balanced Modulator newsletters are official publications of the North Florida Amateur Radio Society (NOFARS).

To stay informed on current events affecting Amateur Radio in NE Florida, see the printed and e-mail editions of the Balanced Modulator. These are FREE to NOFARS members.
Join NOFARS and participate in our activities. Whether you are a newcomer or a long-time operator, you are welcome. Dues are only $5 per year. Membership information can be found below.

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UPCOMING NOFARS ACTIVITIES

NOFARS MEETING: Thursday, June 10th at Ed White High School–7:30PM.

FCC TESTING: Thursday, August 5th at Regency Square Mall Suite 800–7PM

JACKSONVILLE FREE HAMFEST: Saturday, October 2nd at Jax Raceways.

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COMING IN THE JULY-AUGUST PRINTED BALANCED MODULATOR

NEIGHBORHOOD FIELD DAY OPERATIONS PLANNED

RADIO DIRECTION FINDING TIPS

NTIA SOFTENS BPL STANCE (SELLOUT???)

KF4PXZ REPEATER INFO

W4RH 2004-05 HAMFEST SCHEDULE

NOFARS EXAM TEAM CELEBRATES 20 YEARS

W4PTT “TRIP TO MELBOURNE” ARTICLE (FROM 1984)

NOFARS SIMPLEX RELAY PLAN

AND MUCH MORE

THIS EDITION WILL BE MAILED IN MID-JUNE TO ALL NOFARS MEMBERS.

NOT A MEMBER? JOIN THROUGH 2005 FOR ONLY $5. SEND DUES ALONG WITH NAME, MAILING ADDRESS, PHONE, ETC. TO P.O. BOX 9673 JACKSONVILLE, FL 32208.

NOT $25, NOT $20, NOT $15–ONLY $5. NOFARS MEMBERSHIP–THE BEST BARGAIN AROUND IN AREA HAM RADIO GROUP MEMBERSHIP!

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CONTENTS

FRS RADIOS NEEDED FOR SCHOOL

WX4JAX HF STATION

NEW REPEATER ON 147.315 MHZ

APRIL NOFARS MEETING HIGHLIGHTS

MAY NOFARS MEETING HIGHLIGHTS

NEW NORTH FLORIDA TRAFFIC WEB PAGE

COGNITIVE RADIOS

SPLATTER

JACKSONVILLE FREE FLEA RAISES FUNDS FOR W4IZ REPEATER

RIVER RUN REPORT

DIGITAL MESSAGING

SEDAN JOINS W4PTT HAM OF THE YEAR AWARD

OFFICIAL OBSERVER INFO

END FED ANTENNAS FOR APARTMENTS

HAM OF THE YEAR: RED PHILLIPS, NS4R

NOFARS OPPOSES BPL PROPOSAL

BALANCED MODULATOR ADS

BALANCED MODULATOR SPONSORS

NOFARS ROSTER

BALANCED MODULATOR ONLINE PAGE TWO

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FRS RADIOS NEEDED FOR SCHOOL

Jen Fone, KG4YJT is seeking Family Radio Service (FRS) mini-HTs and a desk station or two for use at Jeb Stuart Middle School in Wesconnett. Communications is a problem in some areas of the school when assistance is needed.

She has conferred with the principal and the staff would be delighted with any radios that we could come up with for donations. Jen’s sister teaches at the school. She reports that reliable communications are needed between some classrooms and the main office.

14 mini-HTs are needed. The newer fourteen channel models are preferred but even two-channel units can be of use. Plug-in chargers also are needed but radios without chargers are welcome.

If you can assist with a donation of a radio or would like to donate funds that could be used to purchase one, contact Jen via kg4yjt@claflin.net

Jen has tried several other sources to procure FRS radios but so far has had little success. Also, the school budget does not include funding for such radios. NOFARS members can help a good cause.

For those who wish to purchase FRS radios to donate, Jen recommends retailers such as Target, Wal-Mart, Lowe’s, Home Depot, Radio Shack, Sam’s, Costco, BJ’s, Eckerds, Walgreens, Sports Authority, K Mart, etc.

FRS radios usually come in pairs. Prices range from $24.95 to around $99. Most come with a charger base or the ability to use rechargeables and an AC adaptor. You can often get individual radios at these same places for between $14.95 & $24.95. Since FRS radios all operate on the same frequencies, any brand is fine.

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WX4JAX HF STATION AT NWS

The WX4JAX Skywarn Amateur Radio station at the Jacksonville National Weather Service (NWS) office near the airport now has a permanent high frequency (HF) station. The installation will help in gathering observations during severe weather. Jax NWS is responsible for about 30 counties in Northeast Florida and Southeast Georgia. Some are beyond the coverage area for VHF/UHF. The HF system will allow more opportunities to get reports from areas affected during Skywarn activations.

At the March 11th meeting, it was voted unanimously that NOFARS donate $1,000 toward purchase of a new Kenwood TS-570S transceiver for use at Jax NWS.

Jacksonville Skywarn President Mike Mauldin, WD4AOG installed the transceiver on March 21st. It includes an automatic antenna tuner which allows a wire antenna at NWS to perform on most HF bands including 40 and 80 meters which are the source of most HF reports.

The WX4JAX VHF/UHF Skywarn station has been an important information source for meteorologists when bad weather occurs. Operators use two transceivers to gather reports using the W4IZ 146.7/444.4 Mhz Repeater System and other repeaters in the vicinity of bad weather. With HF capability, more reports will be accessible to inform meteorologists. Through WX4JAX, Skywarn spotters can send reports directly to Jax NWS via ham radio. The Association has quarterly meetings for those with interest in weather spotting.

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NEW JACKSONVILLE REPEATER ON 147.315 MHZ

A new repeater, KC5BMJ/R, now operates on 147.315 Mhz (+.6 Mhz) from the Dames Point Bridge. Both the transmitter and receiver are located on the bridge using a Celwave Super Stationmaster antenna on top. Effective radiated power is around 170 watts using a Motorola Quantar repeater. The system allows mixed mode analog and digital. It is capable of operating Project 25 (Astro) digital voice.

The standard 127.3 Hertz CTCSS tone is required. The repeater is available for ARES communications and general use, according to Doug Graham, KC5BMJ.

Pete Dulac reports that improvements have been made to his 444.200 Mhz. KC4WWU Repeater located on the Dames Point Bridge. On April 4th, the RF deck was replaced to make the receiver more sensitive. Pete can now access the repeater with an HT from Kingsland, Ga. A mobile using 10 watts from St. Simons Island also was able to communicate via KC4WWU/R. It requires a 127.3 Hertz CTCSS tone and is open for general use.

Pete also operates a 147.285 Mhz repeater in Camden County Georgia which is accessible from many parts of Jacksonville. It requires a 118.8 Hertz CTCSS tone and also uses Quantar gear with both digital and analog capability. He appreciates coverage reports on both of his repeaters.

Pete is seeking signal reports from stations in various parts of Jacksonville and NE Florida. He can be reached by e-mail via kc4wwu@tds.net

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APRIL NOFARS MEETING HIGHLIGHTS

Ed �Sparks� Slimak, W4EAS presented an educational program on camera tubes and devices. He began with the iconoscope tube which was the heart of the first television camera in the �30s. It was superceded by the image orthicon and then the vidicon tube. Current systems use solid state modules. Sparks had mockups of each device and traced the evolution of video photography over the last 65 years. Thanks to Sparks for another excellent meeting program.

N4UF announced that the roster purge had been completed. NOFARS membership reached a six-year high prior to the purge of those who did not renew for 2004. The format for Field Day this year will be announced in June. Two possibilities include a large operation and a decentralized plan in which members would be encouraged to establish �neighborhood� field day set-ups. The biggest needs for a large field day include Sunday operators and set-up help on Friday. N4UF added that large operations may not be relevant any more to most response requirements.

N4UF reported that the Jax FREE Flea raised several hundred dollars for the W4IZ Repeater System. The next event is the Jacksonville FREE Hamfest on Saturday, October 2nd at Jax Raceways.

New sponsors for the W4PTT Greater Jacksonville Amateur Radio Operator of the Year include SEDAN and Duval ARES. Wayne, WB4YTJ was presented with an NCS endorsement to recognize his years of service as net control for the VHF/UHF WWD Net. Ramifications of BPL and a recent Wall Street Journal article were discussed. According to the WSJ article, hams might be the only major group standing in the way of progress. NTIA has greatly softened its opposition to BPL. N4UF noted that either NTIA was muzzled by the administration or that maybe BPL was not the threat to communications that it was thought to be.

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MAY MEETING REPORT

After introductions, KF4AAF presented the treasurers report. N4YHS reported on the May 6th exam session.

Several who participated in the Mass Casualty Incident drill gave their observations. A direct connection with the Alachua County Emergency Operations Center (EOC) in Gainesville was made using the W4IZ Repeater System linked to the KF4PXZ Repeater System in Putnam County. The drill was organized by the Regional Domestic Security Task Force (RDSTF) of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and included 13 counties from Marion (Ocala) to Nassau.

The drill centered on Jacksonville International Airport and involved area hospitals. Amateur Radio was used to coordinate the movement of “victims” of a simulated terrorist attack to hospitals. The drill went well and received much media publicity. An audio clip from W4IZ/R was used in one TV news report.

N4UF spoke on Broadband over Power Line (BPL). No BPL tests are known to be planned for NE Florida at this time. But if power companies believe that introducing BPL in this area would produce a verifiable income stream, BPL will probably be coming. Reports of BPL tests in Tallahassee and Gainesville have not been verified.

N4UF added that the current administration in Washington has strongly endorsed BPL. Even the president has stated that his plans to provide broadband to everyone in the country by 2007 include BPL.

BPL detractors, including ARRL, have said that BPL will have severe impact on frequencies up to 80 MHz. The most popular form of BPL uses power lines to get broadband to each neighborhood and Wi-Fi to distribute service to residents.

It also is very possible that ham transmissions could disrupt BPL service. If so, it is almost certain that hams will get the short end of the stick if current rules are changed as to who is responsible for interference.

BPL proponents state that interference can be mitigated and that opponents are standing in the way of progress. Others think BPL is a “flash in the pan” technology that will be outdated by the time it could be implemented on a widespread basis.

Field Day was discussed. N4UF said that the traditional “centralized” Field Day operations have minimal relevance to actual activations compared to ten or twenty years ago. Centralized operations also require a lot of effort often under adverse weather conditions.

Those who would like to organize and participate in a centralized Field Day should contact N4UF or any NOFARS Board member ASAP. Friday set-up volunteers, team captains and operators (especially from 0000-1400 Sunday) are needed.

The second possibility for FD ties in with NOFARS Good Neighbor Radio Operator Program. This “decentralized” option would have members operating from their homes using back-up power and antennas. Set-ups also could be established from parks, campsites or mobiles. Only one or a few operators would staff each operation and full-time participation is not necessary.

N4UF cited vacant land being prepared for a subdivision on the north border of his property. Sloping dipoles from trees on the border will provide effective coverage to the north, northeast and northwest–which are the main paths from Florida to the rest of the US and Canada (where most FD activity occurs).

FD operators are encouraged to identify similar locations in their areas where a basic single-transmitter operation could be established.

The FD format will be decided in June and will be driven by volunteers that respond by the next meeting. In any event, make plans to participate in the 2004 Field Day on June 26-27. Watch the NOFARS web site www.nofars.org for updates on Field Day.

Radio Direction Finding (RDF) tips were discussed. Most RDF activity takes place on 80 meters and 2 meters. By using simple RDF techniques, members can assist with jamming to the W4IZ Repeater and inadvertant transmitter lockups.

When the repeater is locked up by an input signal, users should switch to the input frequency (146.100 MHz) and monitor the signal strength. Even an HT is valuable for this purpose. This is the most important thing to do first.

The signal strength should be reported via e-mail to n4uf@nofars.org or telephone (765-3230) or on another frequency established for coordination.

Reports can be simple such as “no signal heard…weak signal…medium signal… strong signal…full-scale signal,” etc. Reports of “no signal heard” can be most valuable to eliminate an area and allow concentration of RDF efforts on other parts of town.

A strong signal with the receiver antenna disconnected indicates the source is within a few blocks.

Also note any characteristics of the interfering signal such as background audio.

For those that want to assist even more, the I-295/SR9A loop around Jacksonville provides a convenient path for a mobile to gather information–especially for those who live near an access to the loop. Again, only an HT with a short antenna can be of use. While driving on I-295/SR9A, note where signal peaks occur and make a report.

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NORTHERN FLORIDA TRAFFIC WEB PAGE

NOFARS member Earl Leach, WX4J has established a web page which lists items of interest to traffic (message) handlers. It can be accessed via http://home.comcast.net/~wx4j

Earl serves as Section Traffic Manager and compiles operator and net reports for ARRL.

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COGNITIVE RADIO

According to FCC, A “cognitive radio” is one that can change its transmitter parameters based on interaction with the environment in which it operates. This interaction may involve active negotiation or communications with other spectrum users and/or passive sensing and decision making within the radio.

ARRL officials believe that most cognitive radios will be software defined radios (SDRs). The ARRL says it generally supports the proposals contained in an
FCC Notice of Proposed Rule Making and Order (NPRM&O), ET Docket 03-108 relating to so-called cognitive radio (CR) technology. But the League urged the FCC to avoid large-scale deployment of CR technology–and especially of unlicensed devices in spectrum regularly used by licensed services until further experience with the technology is obtained.

The ARRL objected to a proposal to allow cognitive radio technology devices to operate under Part 15 in rural areas at up to a sixfold increase in the
currently permitted power level in several UHF bands that include amateur allocations–including 902-928, 2400-2483.5, 5725-5825 MHz and in the 24 GHz band.

The League said the Commission should not view cognitive radio as an
opportunity to increase permissible Part 15 power levels and questioned why the FCC was willing to put forth such proposals without real-world test deployment of the systems it wants to authorize.

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SSSSSPPPPPPLLLLAAAATTTTTTEEEEEERRRRRR

The next printed Balanced Modulator will be published in mid-June. It will be dated July-August. Input is being sought in the form of articles and short features for the September-October printed edition. Deadline is August 3rd.*******The next NOFARS testing session is Thursday, August 5th at Regency Square Mall at 7PM. The NOFARS exam program began in August 1984, so the next session will mark 20 years of outstanding service to the local ham community. During that time, we have had three excellent Chief Examiners: Pete Nissen, W4PTT (1984-1992); Herb Taylor, N4YHS (1992-1999) and Randy Williams, AD4US (1999-date). The first exams were given by NOFARS even before reimbursement of expenses/testing fees was allowed. The July-August Balanced Modulator will include a feature on the early days of the exam program.*****Activity is increasing on the W4IZ Repeater System. Welcome to both new licensees and to long-time hams who have made W4IZ/R their “home.” See the May-June printed Balanced Modulator for operating tips and a description of the system. These tips eventually will be included on the NOFARS repeater web page http://www.nofars.org/repeater.html
******Steve, AD4E has some good tips for concise operation during an activation or public service event that you can read on the repeater web page. He lives in Tallahassee and has operated in many public service events during the past 25+ years.***Keep in mind that both the Balanced Modulator article and Steve’s tips contain suggestions. It is not the intent of those who oversee the W4IZ Repeater to micromanage the procedures and habits of our users. If one observes FCC Part 97 rules, he or she will not have to worry about being criticized by the W4IZ trustee for not complying with subjective or whimsical procedures. Operating procedures can vary from one net to another or from one repeater to another. If you hear a procedure that you feel violates FCC rules, please contact the trustee via n4uf@nofars.org Additional tips also are requested to be considered for publication in future articles. DE N4UF

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JACKSONVILLE FREE FLEA HELPS REPEATER

The first Jacksonville FREE Flea was held March 27th at Jax Raceways. Activity started around 7AM and lasted until noon. Weather was ideal with clear skies and 70 degree temperature.

The Boat Anchor Auction included gear donated to the W4IZ Repeater Fund. Over $500 was raised to help pay for maintenance and improvements to the system. Income sources such as FREE Flea allow NOFARS members to enjoy a top-notch repeater system while maintaining our low $5 annual dues.

Thanks to those who helped plan FREE Flea and to those who supported our efforts. Henry, WB4LEQ did another fine job with talk-in. Steve, WA4B worked very hard along with Ben, K4EL who supplied the PA gear. FREE Chairman Billy, N4UF emceed the auction and Bubba, KD4UJK was site liaison. Hourly prizes were donated by Dave, KG4YJR. Thanks to Doug, N4REV for coffee. Many others contributed to the success of the Jax FREE Flea through generous donations and bidding on auction items.

Most enjoyable for many was seeing friends and meeting new acquaintances worked on the air. Next up is the Jacksonville FREE Hamfest on Saturday, October 2nd at Jax Raceways. If you enjoy friendly hamfests without a capitalistic attitude, plan to attend.

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ARES PROVIDES COMMUNICATIONS AT RIVER RUN
By Menard Norton, KE4IOR
River Run Amateur Radio Coordinator

The participation of ARES hams in the 27th annual Gate River Run was a success as usual. We set an all time high with 41 hams serving downtown or on the course. We also had KB4VMV, Reggie participating in the race giving us reports with his hand-held radio. There were a minimum of medical emergencies this year. We want to thank KF4DMC, Rich who did his usual fine job as Net Control. Also thanks go to K7BEN, Ben for a fine job as Net Control for the medical emergencies.

We had a few glitches, some of which were expected. The first unexpected glitch came when those serving downtown at the Fairgrounds were denied entrance to the parking because we hadn’t been provided parking passes by the race people. The JSO still doesn’t recognize our ARES credentials issued by the EOC. After several attempts they relented and let us in. N4TJM, Travis could not get in and had to park some distance away and walk to the site.

The next glitch was not expected but we had planned for it. On the printed sheet given to everyone who came to Red Cross before the run, we stated the back-up repeater to go to, if needed. Due to interference, we had to do so. Thanks to RANGE for allowing us to start the net on the 146.760 W4RNG repeater and to NOFARS for allowing us to continue the net on the 146.700 W4IZ repeater. The transition was speedy and orderly.

The other glitch was somewhat expected. Since our primary purpose in serving the River Run people is public safety, we stated that our traffic handling would give priority to medical emergencies. It happened that medical emergency traffic was occurring at the time the male runners were overtaking the female runners (who had been given a head start) and we were unable to report the position of the runners at several of the Mile Marker posts. This problem will be addressed and solved for next year’s run.

We want to thank the following hams who participated: KF4DMC, K7BEN, N4RYX, KG4CQK, N4TJM, KA4OBP, KI4CXY, W4LTJ, KD4FBI, KE4OBT, N4ULC, N4CUZ, KG4THT, KD4SXU, KF4PBO, KB4PML, KF4LIR, KG4FET, KG4IAL, N4FAS, KG4LQT, KD4EZV, N4GOD, KF4DQC, N6EIV, KG4DKY, KG4WVC, KF4CNY, KG4GHZ, KD4VVZ, KC4ZGE, KG4KJJ, KE4QWP, W4RCS, K4GEB, KF4FGU, KA2USA, KG4ZSW, KG4WUM, KD6SWR, and KB4VMV.

We feel sure that we accomplished our goal of giving everyone experience in handling potential emergency situations, as well as, exposure to controlled communications.

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DIGITAL MESSAGING IN SUPPORT OF EMERGENCY COMMUNICATION

By Bud Thompson, N0IA

Ham Radio to-E-mail messaging is a functional reality of the early 21st century and will supplant the conventional 25 to 30 word manually-transferred NTS-formatted messages used for ‘Record’ traffic to support served agencies during communications emergencies.

This fully automated system permits much more information/data to be transferred error free while minimizing the number of licensed hams required to get needed information from originator to addressee.

Free-formatted e-mail messages have no practical word/length limit, and can be transferred between and among digital ham radio stations within the “Last Mile” (where conventional communications are disrupted or overloaded), and can ‘bridge’ the last mile to where the messages may be processed as Internet e-mail.

E-mail has become universal in business and government and requires little training to support EMCOMMs (Emergency Communications) incidences; non- ham licensed typists (including emergency response agency personnel) can be employed for data/message entry as the ‘editor’ is as familiar as Outlook Express or other commonly used E-mail client programs.

Where applicable, a single ham radio digital station with only one licensed amateur as control operator can support several e-mail workstations/computers on a LAN enabling served agency workers to simply use Ham Radio to E-mail to any network digital station and any E-mail address when the internet is not available.

Served agencies will appreciate this system as it (1) permits more information to be exchanged in less time, (2) is fully accurate after initial data entry, (3) gives the agency control of content, and (4) provides a good degree of security from casual on-channel monitoring by those not involved in the event or exercise.

With proper coordination and planning the future can see every County Emergency Operations Center (EOC) in the state represented on the layered digital network enabling ham radio e-mail messaging between and among them as well as with local tactical stations (i.e. Incident Command, mobile/portable sites, served agencies, etc.)

A proposal is presently being evaluated for as many as seven hospitals in three contiguous counties in Central Florida to be represented on the network.

A presentation on this system will be offered at the Duval/Clay ARES meeting Tuesday, March 23rd (tonight) at 7PM at Moose Haven on US 17.

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SEDAN JOINS GREATER JAX HAM OF THE YEAR AWARD

Florida SEDAN, headed by NOFARS member Tom Nolan, KD4MWO has become a sponsor of the Pete Nissen, W4PTT Greater Jacksonville Amateur Radio Operator of the Year Award. This award is given each November. Red Phillips, NS4R was the recipient for 2003.

Other sponsors are welcome to join. The cost is $20 per year. Payment is due in December after the award is presented. Groups and individuals may be sponsors.

The award is named in honor of longtime local volunteer Pete Nissen, W4PTT. Pete started the NOFARS FCC exam team and made many other contributions to NOFARS and other local groups. NS4R was the 11th recipient since the first award was presented in 1993.

Wayne Norton, WB4YTJ has been chosen as an elector. Wayne has been licensed for almost 30 years and is very active in several phases of Amateur Radio. Other new electors may be appointed to replace those whose terms are ending once the status of all sponsors has been determined.

The W4PTT Greater Jacksonville Amateur Radio Operator of the Year will continue as a tribute to Pete and as a recognition to those who donate their time and talents to the local ham community.

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OFFICIAL OBSERVER INFORMATION

By Paul Locke, KB4PML

The Official Observer program has been sponsored by ARRL for more than 50 years to help amateurs help each other. Official Observer appointees have assisted thousands of amateurs to maintain their transmitting equipment and operating procedures in compliance with the regulations. The object of the OO program is to notify amateurs by mail of operating/technical irregularities before they come to the attention of the FCC.

The OO is also the backbone of the Amateur Auxiliary to the FCC. Official Observers are certified in the Auxiliary by passing a mandatory written examination. The OO performs his function by listening rather than transmitting, keeping an ear out for such things as frequency instability, harmonics, hum, key clicks, broad signals, distorted audio, over deviation, out-of-band operation, etc. The OO completes his task once the notification card is sent.

In hard-core rules violations cases, OOs refer problems to higher echelons of the Amateur Auxiliary, and may be requested to gather evidence for possible FCC enforcement actions.

The OO program is one of the most important functions of the League. A sincere dedication to helping our brother and sister amateurs is required for appointment. Recruitment of new hams and League members is an integral part of the job of every League appointee. Appointees should take advantage of every opportunity to recruit a new ham or member to foster growth of Field Organization programs, and our abilities to serve the public.

The information above is from ARRL Official Observer guidelines via www.arrl.org

Greetings North Florida Hams! There are now two new Official Observers in our area. They are Paul Locke, KB4PML@arrl.net and Gareth Allen KD6SWR@arrl.net They are here to help their fellow ham radio operators maintain the high-level of operating practices that are expected by their colleagues and regulated by the FCC. It should be the responsibility of every ham radio operator to help their colleagues when their operating practices become less than exemplary.

However, when you monitor excellent radio habits from certain exemplary operators please notify your Official Observer so that they can be recognized officially. Good radio operating practices are the norm in our area and that behavior should be encouraged and rewarded. On the other hand, if you monitor poor radio habits from a particular individual then you should notify your Official Observers so that they can assist in raising the level of operating excellence. Part 97 is clear on what is allowed on the ham bands. If you hear blatant violations then do us all a favor by notifying an Official Observer so that the problem can be addressed quickly.

Remember, you are doing the right thing notify your North Florida Official Observer because you are giving your colleague an opportunity to improve his/her operating practices before it gets the full attention of the FCC.

Q: What is considered a significant violation and what is a �gray area� violation?

Here is an example that may be helpful. Joe Ham has modified the audio circuitry of his VHF FM equipment in the hopes of having a bigger signal on the air. If Joe Ham came into our hobby from the CB arena he may have heard that more audio is better to drive the finals to get that bigger signal. With VHF FM equipment this can lead to over deviation, which can cause adjacent channel interference more than 15 Khz away. This is an inefficient use of limited ham radio spectrum, a violation of Part 97 and will earn Joe Ham an Official Observer Notification card via US Mail.

Example #2: Joe Ham almost always uses his 160 Watt Linear Amplifier and pre-amp microphone on VHF FM to rag chew on simplex with his colleagues that live only a few miles away. By the way, Joe Ham has an impressive antenna system with 14 dB gain at 30 feet. His effective radiated power is more than enough to make the short distance to his colleague running a similar radio station. In fact, mobile stations in Georgia hear them both just fine. This is an inefficient use of limited ham radio spectrum, a violation of Part 97 and will earn Joe Ham and his colleague an Official Observer Notification card via US Mail.

Example #3: Jimmy Ham is a well-known radio operator in our area. He participates in community events such as the river run and ARES drills. He likes to rag chew on the repeaters and simplex and on rare occasion does not identify for 15-20 minutes at a time. This is not a flagrant violation but may warrant a card if it occurs repeatedly.

Q: What should I do if I receive an OO Notification for an improper or illegal operation?

It is suggested that you correct the problem immediately and be thankful that is was brought to your attention by an Official Observer and not Riley Hollingsworth, Chief FCC Enforcer. A response to the notification card is not required or even expected by OO who issued the notification card.

Q: What if I think the notification card was sent to me in error?

If you think the notification card was sent in error then you can send an email to your OO stating just that. He may advise you to throw away the card and forget about it. Keep in mind the OO program is in place to help fellow hams maintain a high level of radio practices, recognize excellent practices and notify fellow hams of Part 97 violations before the FCC does.

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END FED ANTENNAS AND APARTMENT DWELLERS

By Bill Larned, KA1WHT

Ham radio in an apartment complex involves creativity and compromise. Low profile operating is the art of getting on the air without alerting other residents or the landlord. Antennas are frowned upon in my apartment building. In fact, they’re not allowed. �No radio or television aerials or wires shall protrude from or leave the inside of the apartment building,�my lease says. With no desire to quit operating HF CW or SSB, I threw an end-fed random wire into a tree anyway. At one end, I formed a loophole and weighted it so I could control the trajectory. The tree is 25 feet from my third-story window. I tune with an MFJ-949D. My best results are on 10, 12, 15, 17, and 20 meters.

A problem created by using an end-fed wire has been RF hotspots on metal objects in my hamshack. One ground wire is not enough to prevent this. My operating position is thirty feet from the earth, and running a ground wire that far to meet ground rods is not acceptable. On the higher HF bands, a ground wire run 30 feet or longer can radiate much like an antenna. Keep in mind that even when ground rods are feasible, running a one-quarter wavelength ground wire to them could create an impedance inverter. The part of the wire attached to the rods will be a low impedance, but the end inside the hamshack, attached to the ground terminal, will be high impedance, hence RF burns, and hotspots.

One way to reduce RF hotspots is to cut separate, different ground wires and hide them beneath a carpet or along the baseboards. The ends of the ground wires should be attached to the tuner and the transceiver.

The opposite ends should not be attached to anything.

Each should be a quarter wavelength for the band you want to operate on, and insulated, particularly at the ends, where the RF voltage will be the highest. Remember that ground wires radiate. They are the other half of the end-fed antenna. �The counterpoise [or ground wire] lowers the impedance and lowers the RF voltage at the transmitter end of the end-fed wire. However, this voltage never approaches zero,� says Jim Thompson, W4THU.

Below are quarter-wavelengths for each band I operate on. Some of the figures are rounded to the nearest foot:

10 meters����.�.8 feet

12 meters�����..9.5 feet

15 meters�����..11 feet

17 meters�����..13 feet

20 meters�����..16 feet

Using a cold water pipe as a ground is bad for several reasons. You don’t always know where the pipe terminates. It may meet other pipes. An extra long path to ground is bad news. In fact, the ground wire may radiate more than the antenna itself. Using an end-fed antenna places the operator in the middle of the antenna system. If the cable TV company and the phone company also ground their systems to the same cold water pipe, transmitting may cause a lot of RFI. Using a cold water pipe as a ground is a violation of the National Electrical Code, because of RF currents that appear on it during transmissions.

If you still encounter problems with RF in the shack, change the length of your antenna, and reduce power. Lengthen or subtract an eighth of a wavelength from your antenna. If all else fails, you can build or buy an artificial ground.

I remember when I was first licensed in 1990, and I tried to omit a ground for my first antenna. I was 17, and my father shook his head when he heard I’d gotten bitten by RF. He was a highway engineer, and had never been a ham, but he knew enough from having once been an electrician. Patiently, he handed me some wire, and said, �You know Bill, your hobby, if you’re serious about it, isn’t just about being an operator, it’s also about being a technician and solving problems.� Those words still echo in my head whenever I’m tempted to skip an RF ground.

Bibliography

�Antennas and Grounds for Apartments.� Peter O’Dell, QST, December 1980

W1FB’s Antenna Notebook. Doug DeMaw

Frequently Asked Questions About Antenna Systems and Baluns. Jim Thompson

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2003 GREATER JACKSONVILLE HAM OF THE YEAR: RED PHILLIPS, NS4R

Red Phillips, NS4R was voted the 2003 Greater Jacksonville Amateur Radio Operator of the Year on November 17th.

Red started the 145.45 MHz Repeater in the late 70s when he was licensed as KA4IUC. As Red progressed to Extra Class, he held these call signs: N4KBD, KK4ZE and then NS4R. The repeater grew to a linked five-band system with outputs on 145.45, 444.1, 222.94, 53.03 and 29.64 MHz. Red also pioneered the use of widely scattered remote receivers in NE Florida.

When Internet linking of ham repeaters began three years ago, Red’s system was one of the first in this area to offer I-link and Echo-link.

Red works as a senior communications technician with the City of Jacksonville where he uses his skills to maintain the city’s public service radio system.

Congratulations to Red on being selected for this well-deserved award. Red will be presented with an engraved plaque in December. He is a life member of NOFARS.

Electors voting included WA4B, KC4ZGH, KC4ZGE, KA4OBP, N4RYX, N4UF, KC4ZFV, KE4IOR, KD4UJK. Five candidates were nominated, any of which would have made a worthy recipient.

The Greater Jacksonville Amateur Radio Operator of the Year Award is named in honor of Pete Nissen, W4PTT–a long-time NOFARS volunteer before his death in 1992. Red is the 11th annual winner.

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BROADBAND OVER POWER LINES OPPOSITION GROWS

Broadband allows high speed internet connections for businesses and individuals. Despite predictions five or six years ago that broadband access would be almost universal by 2003, most internet users still are hampered by slow dial-up access over copper wires.

The most popular types of broadband today are cable, high speed telephone connection and satellite/microwave. All have shortcomings and are not available to large segments of our population. Rural areas and even many in Jacksonville live too far away from a switching office to have access to a high speed telephone connection.

Another alternative, Broadband over Power Line (BPL) is being developed and involves transmitting data over existing power lines. BPL also is referred to as Power Line Communications (PLC). Since it uses an infrastructure which is already largely in place, BPL/PLC is a cheaper way to extend broadband to the public. It’s what is not in place that concerns hams and other HF communicators–no shielding on electrical wires.

BPL has the potential to cause heavy interference to users of spectrum between 2 and 80 MHz. Tests indicate that current spectrum users will suffer interference that could make communications highly difficult or impossible. ARRL describes test results which you can read via http://www.arrl.org.

The North Florida Amateur Radio Society has filed comments opposing a proposal to increase permissible radiation levels.

The NOFARS response is shown below:

The North Florida Amateur Radio Society, a 350 member group, sees major problems with implementation of BPL technology in its current form. Tests indicate that users of frequencies below 80 MHz. will suffer heavy interference levels.

Please deny this BPL proposal until improvements can be realized which will not impact Amateur Radio and other users of HF and low VHF spectrum.

Billy Williams
President/Trustee North Florida Amateur Radio Society

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PRINTED BALANCED MODULATOR BUSINESS CARD ADS AVAILABLE

Small ads are being accepted to help defray printing and postage costs of producing the NOFARS Balanced Modulator newsletter which is mailed to all members six times per year. Ads may be ham radio related or may advertise non-ham businesses that members own or are employed with. Or messages may be inserted –subject to guidelines.

A business card size ad costs $5 per issue and pays for a half page of additional material. Price is subject to change if production costs change.

OfficeMax/CopyMax near Regency Square at Atlantic Blvd. & Live Oak Dr. grants us deep discounts which allow us to print six issues annually. Thanks to NOFARS member Ross Goodall, WD4NJV and the staff at CopyMax. Stop by and see Ross or Letha and thank them. Keep CopyMax in mind when you need printing work, invitations, rubber stamps or special work done. They are located in the same shopping plaza as Shoe Carnival.

Sponsors are listed below. Each has placed at least two ads during a twelve month period.

To become a sponsor and be listed, send your ad along with $5 for each issue in which you wish the ad to appear to Billy Williams, N4UF; P.O. Box 9673; Jacksonville 32208. Please make checks payable to NOFARS.

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BALANCED MODULATOR SPONSORS

THANKS TO OUR BALANCED MODULATOR SPONSORS. THEIR ADS IN THE PRINTED EDITION HELP DEFRAY PRODUCTION COSTS. PLEASE DO BUSINESS WITH THEM WHEN POSSIBLE

CopyMax & OfficeMax near Regency Square Mall at the corner of Live Oak Dr. & Atlantic Blvd. 904-721-9308 Photocopies, business cards, stationary, envelopes, invitations, faxing, rubber stamps, labels, furniture (including nice items for station desks and consoles)

Larry Barber, NI4K Prudential Network Realty 2771-7 Monument Rd. 904-641-0048 & 904-571-2437 www.Larry-Barber.com All real estate needs

Jennifer Fone, KG4YJT ebay Agent 904-880-0592 http://www.claflin.net consignment, digital photography, web design, CD ROM duplication, consultation

Bill Duncan, KE4IOL A Quality Clean Solutions, Inc. 2905 Hendricks Ave. 904-955-5274 Carpet, drapes, furniture cleaning

Herb Taylor, N4YHS and the W4SNN Saturday Night Net 7:30-8:30PM 146.46 simplex All check-ins welcome. Prizes and awards. The spinning wheel may net you as much as $100!

Tom Nolan, KD4MWO Notary Public 30 Clark Rd. 904-768-1536 Weddings, all notary services.

Bill Gallier, W4WX Amateur Radio equipment purchasing & sales–old or new. 904-282-9925 or w4wx@bellsouth.net

Benny Peavy, WB4ISJ Chef Benny Services. www.chefbennycooksforyou.com 904-260-6392 chefbenny@bellsouth.net

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NOFARS ROSTER

The NOFARS membership roster can be accessed by clicking here. Send updates and corrections to n4uf@nofars.org (700kB–may load slow)

The roster also is available in Microsoft Excel spreadsheet format by clicking here.

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