Web Edition

SPARKS P.O. BOX 750482 MEMPHIS, TN 38175-0482 / VOL. 13 / AUGUST 2001

W 4 B S    R E P E A T E R    S Y S T E M

146.82, 147.36, 224.42, 443.2 & 145.03 Packet



Did you ever stop to think about why the Amateur Radio Service enjoys the frequency allocations that are ours to use?  In the “old days,” of spark transmissions, hams were instrumental in the “discovery” of HF transmission possibilities and, indeed, did much of the pioneering work for what was to become commercial shortwave radio.  As the years rolled by, hams have continued to contribute to the science of electronic communications.  Also, as the years rolled by, hams became involved in emergency communications and in lots of cases, were the only means of communication in and out of disaster areas.  Our public service role has evolved from providing not only emergency communication, but to providing communication services for many events.  Public service is a paramount reason that we have the frequencies that are available.

Delta Club has a rich tradition of public service, not the least of which is our members’ participation in the SKYWARN program and the SKYWARN program’s use of our repeater for most of its activities.  SKYWARN provides a unique public service for our community and the surrounding areas in times of dangerous weather.  Join us at the August meeting for a program on SKYWARN and learn more about it.  In the meantime, check into the SKYWARN training net on Wednesday nights on the W4BS 146.82 repeater at 9:00 pm local time.

Are you ready to do your part in public service if you are needed?  When the time comes that YOU ARE NEEDED for an emergency situation, it will be a little late to learn!


Delta Club members are now eligible for a nice discount when renting cars from AVIS.  If you are in a situation where you need to rent a car, whether locally or away from home, just contact AVIS and give them the Delta Club number – T814400 – and save 10 % off their Super Value daily and weekly rate in the contiguous USA and 5% off promotional rates in the USA.

Last, but by no means least, THANKS, EVERYBODY THAT PARTICIPATED, FOR A GREAT FIELD DAY.  Having done my first Field Day in 1961 (and a WHOLE BUNCH in between), I would rank this year’s Field Day as probably the best ever!  Great job, Club!!



The program at the August meeting will be presented by Tommy Thompson, KD4TJO, and Alex Graham, KE4GYR.  The topic is the Skywarn program.  For
those of you who do not know, Skywarn is composed of trained volunteer spotters for the National Weather Service.  Tommy and Alex will describe the program and will have forms and materials for those interested in signing up for training classes and joining the organization.  Most of you have probably heard Tommy, Alex, and others manning the Weather Net on the 146.82 repeater during storm conditions.  Come find out what is required to join them in a very worthwhile public service organization.


A discussion arose the other day on the 146.82 machine about the use of CTCSS tone or PL tone.  The question was regarding the fact that older radios do not have CTCSS encoders.  What do you do?  You could replace the radio but if you are cheap like I am there has to be a better (cheaper) way.

It just so happens that there is a solution.  Several companies market CTCSS encoder and encoder/decoder boards to retrofit older radios and at a reasonable cost.  There are two basic types.  One uses a multi turn potentiometer to adjust the tone frequency.  Although these are about $5.00 cheaper than the other type I have found that they do not hold their frequency very well and may be difficult to set to the desired frequency.  The frequency must be set to and remain within less than 0.5 Hz of the desired frequency.  The other type uses either solder pads with jumpers or DIP switches to set the frequency.  The frequency is maintained
by either a ceramic resonator or a crystal oscillator that is temperature compensated.  These units will work on all of the standard EIA frequencies.

One source for these products is Amateur Electronic Supply (AES) as seen in their catalog on page 79.  Prices start at $21.99 for the tunable encoder only, $26.99 for the DIP switch version of the encoder to $62.99 for the encode/decode version.  Installation of the encoders is simple and the units are small enough to fit most portables.  One note here, DO NOT connect the encoders to the microphone input.  The filtering of the microphone removes most frequencies below 300 Hz.  The encoders must be connected to the modulator stage of the transmitter.  The deviation or modulation level of the transmitter may require adjustment to keep the
deviation at 5 KHz with the encoder operating.

You may also purchase the encoders directly from the manufacturers:

Communication Specialist, Inc.
426 Taft Ave.
Orange, CA, 92865
714-998-3021, Fax: 714-974-3420

NorFAX automated 24 hour
FAX retrieval system:

I hope this helps.

Paul WM5Q

OCTOBER 20-21, 2001

How would you like to do something to introduce youth to our fascinating hobby? How would you like to work a little DX? How would you like to practice for Field Day or other contests? There is an opportunity for those of us with HF privileges to do this. The event is called Jamboree On The Air. The World Scouting Bureau in Geneva Switzerland is the sponsoring organization. The event is October 20 through 21 this year. This is the third weekend in October.

This is not a contest. It is an operating event that can really be a blast. I have done it several years and have an awful lot of fun with it. This is not just for Boy Scouts. Girl Scouts can and should participate in this too. You fire up your station and operate stations calling CQ JOTA. At this point you establish the contact and start passing the mike getting the Scouts at each end talking with one another. You had better have a current list of third party agreement countries handy before you pass the mike. Yes, you can get a fellow ham in hot water by passing third party traffic.

I have always participated by operating portable at a church or campout. You can do it in your shack. I did not want the imposition on the better half and there was less that the younger ones could get into outdoors. Yes, I set up on the church grounds and it worked out well. For some reason the weather has always cooperated with me so that all I wanted was shade.

Some suggested supplies will probably include water to wet your whistle, a comfortable chair, an adequate table, a world map that can have push pins in it for the locations worked, a tarp or dining fly for shade, a few pens and pencils, notepads, log, something to show off the QSL cards that you have received thus far, and good propagation (if you know a good supplier please contact me!).

If you want to take part in this, get in contact with a Scouting leader and see what you can work out. Many religious institutions and civic organizations sponsor troops and packs and should be able to tell you how to get in touch with the leaders. If you want to be a part of this you will need to talk to the leaders as soon as possible. Most leaders make their plans many months in advance. If the troop is camping that weekend you can still take your HF rig with you and operate off of a battery from their campsite. Just as much as you might like to collect certificates and QSL cards the Scouts like to collect patches. JOTA has both world and US
patches for the event. This could also make some Scout leaders even more open to the idea of participating.

There are some opportunities that might open up for you, too. In Boy Scouts there are Electronics and Radio Merit Badges. You may be asked to sign up as a counselor for these merit badges. You may also find that what you wind up doing as a Scout leader can give you some of the most wonderful and rewarding experiences that you will ever have.

QST and SCOUTING magazines will both have articles as time approaches.  I will be glad to answer any questions that arise about this also.

Hugh Wardlaw, WB4SLI


Okay, Friends and Hams,  here is an update on the progress of this season's Outdoor Warning Siren System Testing Program. To date, we have tested 50 sirens out of 79 total sirens in the City of Memphis and Shelby County. Bobby and I and the folks downtown are very grateful to you for your participation. We only have 29 more sirens to go! Then we can focus on the duds for the rest of the summer. And we do have a few of those! (Quite a few!)  I cannot go into where all the dead sirens are, but I will give you this advice. The dead siren may be the one you or your loved ones will be depending on. If you live in the City Limits of Lakeland, I hope you have a S. A. M. E. Radio and a VHF HT to the Delta club repeaters and the Vol-Net. That is the only warning you may receive. And if you live down south in the Airport area, well, we are still waiting to hear from you. This area alone has 14 sirens to test. Get this! They are all located at places where children could be affected. Seven elementary schools, two middle schools, and four high schools and one vo-tech. I am not going to pull a Clinton line here and say do it for the children. We all should know how important it is to have these sites operational. You may not live in these areas but I will bet my Alinco 582 that at least one of you reading this has a close friend or loved one in these areas mentioned. Do you have any friends who work in the 5400 block of Poplar around the Fogelman building? If we had a tornado bearing down on them right now, they would probably not have time to seek shelter. The siren protecting that area is not working as of May 12th. Or maybe your Grandmother lives in the Canada Trace Mobile Home Park and this tornado is now making it's way towards that area. How will those
people get enough warning to get out of those mobile homes and into a safer location if the only sound they hear is the twister ripping across Canada Road? Most sirens in this area are dead as of 07/07/2001. With everyone's help, we can knock out the operational sirens so that we can then focus on the "Problem Sites." But Bobby, and the gang and I need some help. Here is what we need. I will list below, the site # and names of sites that still need the initial 2001 testing. Use this list and find at least three that you would be willing to go test. Go to the website for Siren Testing and click on the listed sites that you would like to test.  Send your first
choice first, second choice second, you get the idea. Out of those three, we will try and accommodate you as best as possible.  We will even keep your choices on file and let you do one a week and we will even reserve them for you for three weeks.

Bobby and I look forward to seeing you in the field and at the meeting next week and we really appreciate ALL OF YOU!!! The Delta Club has been very
gracious in letting us use the repeater for this project and Tommy Thompson, KD4TJO, has done a wonderful job on the Web site! THANK YOU TOMMY
AND DELTA CLUB!! Have a great summer and see ya on the air!

Robin McConnell (KE4GPR) OWSST Coordinator for OWSST

Bobby Jamerson (KG4CMA)
Assistant Coordinator

Memphis Shelby County EMA
Federal Emergency Management

Delta Amateur Radio Club
Siren Testing Link:

29--- Westside Elementary
62--- Raleigh Egypt High Sch.
67--- Corning Elementary

17--- White's Chapel Elem.
18--- Winchester Elem.
19--- Ford Road Elem.
20--- Westhaven Elem.
23--- Westwood High Sch.
25--- Havenview Jr. High(Middle)
28--- Graves Elem.
30--- Hillcrest High Sch.
35--- Lakeview Elem.
50--- Coro Lake Elem.
52--- Riverview Middle Sch.
54--- Lanier Middle Sch.
56--- Southwest Vo-Tech
58--- Fairley High Sch.

66--- Tchulahouma and Shelby Dr.
69--- Fox Meadows Sch.
76--- MLG&W Property @ Sharpe Plaza
77--- City Property 6204 Winchester
03--- Sterick Building
08--- St. Theresa Day Care
41--- Melrose High School
48--- Hollywood Elem.
57--- Douglas Elem.
59--- Orleans Elem.

05--- Manassas High School
06--- MLG&W Property @ 35 West McLemore


I don’t have any official numbers yet but, from all indications, W4BS had a respectable showing from the PSK31 station at Field Day 2001.  The times I was working the station, PSK31 contacts were plentiful on 20 meters.  It would have been great if we had been able to find enough operators to keep the station busy for the full event.  Don’t be shy.  If PSK31 (or any of the digital modes) interests you but you feel like you don’t know enough about it to operate, contact one of the Elmers in the Elmer Shack.  We’ll get you operational in no time!

MFJ has announced a “Multimode Connection Wizard”.  The MFJ-1275 is a Soundcard Radio Interface, and is similar in capability to the popular RIGblaster from West Mountain Radio.  I’d be interested in hearing how it compares to the RIGblaster and would be happy to include an article in a future issue of SPARKS comparing the two.  If you have an MFJ-1275, send your comments to

Tom, K4TTA, and myself (K4DIT) presented a program on digital modes to the Mid-South Amateur Radio Association (MARA) club at their regular meeting on
July 5, 2001.  The meeting was very well attended and we made several PSK31 contacts during the presentation.  The membership was impressed with the ease of making contacts with low power and a simple mobile whip antenna.

73, Ken, K4DIT


The new tapes for CW are here and the challenge is there. 5 WPM with 15 character speed sure does sound different from the 18 character speed we have all been accustomed to hearing. SOOOO be sure that you are practicing at the correct speed or you may encounter some letters that are unfamiliar.

Thank you to Arlene AA5GX, Frank, KA5SJM, and Paul, WM5Q, my very faithful VE members, for helping once again at this session of July 10. We had 3
people take 7 elements with 5 elements being passed.

Monica Bromley KG4OLH Technician
James Montgomery KG4OCX Extra
John Zempel KG4OGL Technician

While on vacation I visited the Cleveland Zoo. As I traveled through they had a wonderful rain forest exhibit. On one of the levels of the exhibit I came across a working ham radio exhibit. It was, however, enclosed in plastic so that not just anyone could get their hands on the display. Along with this was a sampling of QSL cards received by the station. There was a call sign and phone number to contact for anyone wishing to operate. It looked as if they do a special events station with the special call of K8ZOO. If this had not been my last day in the Cleveland area, I surely would have liked to operate the station from such a wonderful location.
Included in the display was information on how to get your ham radio license. Next time I am in Cleveland I do think that I will try to contact the owner of the station and do some operating.

I guess this shows that if you keep a lookout - you may find Ham Radio in the most unsuspecting places. Next testing session is August 14th.

Joan KN4PM
Delta Division ARRL VE Liaison

VOL. 20, No. 29
July 20, 2001


As of this week, more than 1700 ARRL members have expressed their opinions on possible ways to optimize use of the present Novice and Technician Plus allocations on 80, 40, 15 and 10 meters. Survey results ultimately might form the basis of an ARRL petition for rule making before the FCC, and members still have an opportunity to participate. A copy of the Novice Spectrum Study survey remains available to members on the ARRL Web site, <>. Members may complete and submit the survey only once.

Appointed by President Jim Haynie, W5JBP, the Novice Spectrum Study Committee is chaired by ARRL International Affairs Vice President Rod Stafford, W6ROD. The panel wants to determine what changes, if any, might be needed now that the FCC no longer issues new Novice licenses. The membership survey is part of the Board's mandate to the committee. A final report is due at the annual meeting next January.

In addition to the survey responses tallied, several dozen more comments were filed by members and nonmembers alike via e-mail to <>. "The written comments for the most part have been thoughtful and reasoned and are highly appreciated by the committee," said Dave Patton, NT1N, who's Headquarters staff liaison for the panel.  Patton urged those who have not yet done so to fill out a survey. "Please make sure to read the entire text of the survey to help understand some of the assumptions made by the committee regarding what questions to ask and what band segments and modes to offer as predefined options."  Generally speaking, the committee's predefined options propose retaining Extra class CW subbands on the affected bands, setting aside expanded CW reserves for all license classes except Technicians who have not passed Element 1, and dividing the remaining spectrum into expanded phone segments for General,
Advanced and Extra class operators.  Many have offered separate opinions on the process. "Although I operate and prefer CW over phone, I welcome the expansion of the phone bands for Extra class operations, especially on 75 meters," one member wrote. "And I am glad to see that Extra class CW bands remain in place." Other comments recommended no change or expansion in privileges for Novice or Technician Plus operators on the affected bands--an option that the survey provides. Not all commenters were happy. "By handing Novices significant amounts of additional bandwidth 'free of charge' you remove one of the key motivators to upgrading, namely access to additional bandwidth!" one said about the predefined choices.

No license class would lose privileges under any of the proposed refarming schemes. The Committee has suggested that Novice/Tech Plus CW band restrictions on 80, 40, 15 and 10 meters be changed to match those of the General class CW/RTTY/data band segments, with the caveat that Novice/Tech Plus operators only run CW on 80, 40, and 15 at up to 200 W. Novices already may operate RTTY and data on 10 meters. Novice refarming also would restore full privileges to higher-class operators in the 80, 40, and 15-meter Novice bands, where all license classes are limited to 200 W output.



One of the most popular multimode controllers is the PK232 by Timewave Technology. The company has now come out with an internal add on for the unit. It allows the PK232 to be hooked up to your sound card for PSK31 along with the other modes supported and can be software controlled. This allows the PK232 to continue to adapt to the new digital modes coming out. The new units for sale already have this interface built in. Older units can be upgraded with the internal adapter added. If you have a PK232 and want to add PSK31 check this new product out.

James Butler


Many times we need to make connections to electronics for troubleshooting. We may need to hook up a probe to a connector or point that is hard to attach to. The regular probe has to be held in place and the alligator clip will not attach to some connectors. This month's project is PROBE ADAPTERS. They are simply small pieces of wire that have been made up with connectors and ring terminals on the end to allow them to be hooked to a circuit under test and allow a probe to then be easily attached. The PROBE ADAPTERS are easy to build up and really come in handy when testing.

I will have the PROBE ADAPTERS at the meeting to show and answer questions on.

James Butler


Join us on the new PSK31 net - Thursday nights at 8:30 P.M. on 28.120 MHz.  See K4TTA or K4DIT for details

Please bring a treat to the meeting to share at break time!

Got an idea for a SPARKS article?  Email Ken Gregg,

Got an idea for a program?  Email Gary Blinckmann,


Here are some of the contests coming up in the next few weeks...

ARRL UHF Contest, Aug 4-5, see July QST, page 119.

North American QSO Party, sponsored by the National Contest Journal,  CW from 1800Z Aug 4 until 0600Z Aug 5, Phone from 1800Z Aug 18 until 0600Z Aug

Ten-Ten Summer QSO Party, sponsored by Ten-Ten International, 0001Z Aug 4 to 2400Z Aug 5.

QRP ARCI Summer Daze SSB Sprint, sponsored by QRP ARCI, 2000Z to 2400Z Aug 5.

YO-DX Contest, sponsored by the Romanian Amateur Radio Federation (RARF). 0001Z to 2000Z Aug 5

Maryland-DC QSO Party, sponsored by Antietam Radio Association, 1600Z Aug 11 to 0400Z Aug 12 and 1600Z Aug 12 to 2359Z Aug 12.

Worked All Europe DX Contest, CW, sponsored by the Deutscher ARC, 0000Z Aug 11 to 2400Z Aug 12.

ARRL 10 GHz and Up Cumulative Contest, Aug 18-20, see July QST page 120.

New Jersey QSO Party, sponsored by Englewood ARA, 2000Z Aug 18 to 0700Z Aug 19, 1300Z Aug 19 to 0200Z Aug 22,

TOEC WW Grid Contest, CW, Aug 25-26, see June QST page 108.

W/VE Island Contest, sponsored by the US Island Awards Program, from 1600Z Aug 25 through 2359Z Aug 26.

Ohio QSO Party, sponsored by the Mad River Radio Club, from 1600Z Aug 25 until 0400Z Aug 26.


Hannibal, MO: Hannibal Missouri ARC & Western Illinois ARC, WØMTL, 2200Z Aug 3 to 2400Z Aug 5, from the Mark Twain Lighthouse, ARLHS USA-915, during National Lighthouse Weekend. 14.270 7.270 21.370 28.370. QSL. Hannibal Missouri ARC, PO Box 1522, Hannibal, MO, 63401-1522.

NOTE: There are lots of special events similar to the above during National Lighthouse and Lighthouse/Lightship Weekend.  Check QST or the web site for

West Union, OH: De Forest Amateur Radio Club, K8GE, 1700-2300Z Aug 12, celebrating the Bicentennial of the State of Ohio. 7.225 7.300 14.225
14.350. Certificate. De Forest Amateur Radio Club, PO Box 73, West Union, OH 45693.

Marshfield, MA: Marshfield Fair, W1M, 0000Z Aug 17 to 2400Z Aug 26, during the 134th Marshfield Fair. 14.190 18.145 21.295 28.450. QSL. Robert F.
Burns, 728 Auburn St, Unit I-3, Whitman, MA 02382.

Hanover, KS: Crown Amateur Radio Association, KØASA, 1400-2100Z Aug 26, operating from the Hollenberg Pony Express Station Festival. 7.125 14.040
18.085 18.140. Certificate. Crown Amateur Radio Association, 11551 West 176th Terr, Olathe, KS 66062.

Pikes Peak, CO: Colorado VHF Group, KØYB, 1500-1800Z Aug 26, during the Colorado 14er event, an Amateur Radio operation from the summits of
Colorado's 14,000-foot mountains. 147.42 14.260 21.330 28.350.

For more information on these and other contests and special events in August, please visit the ARRL contest page on the internet at:


Please feel free to contact any of our ELMERS to help you enhance your amateur skills.  Anyone wishing to be added to the Elmer list please contact Arlene at or 385-0995.

K4TTA (Extra) Tom Richardson 386-6268 (1,3,4,6,8,9,13,14)

KA4BLL (Gen) Ned Savage 363-9607 (1,5,8,14, MARS,
ARES/RACES, net control, traffic handling, emergency service)

KB4LJV (Extra) James Butler 294-2540 (2,7,9,11,13,14)

KD4NOQ (Adv) David Campbell 388-6166 (1,2,3,5,9,10,14, slow scan TV, ATV minor)

KU4AW (Extra) Ben Troughton 372-8031 (2,4,8)

N9ACQ (Extra) Bill Kuechler 368-0532 (1,8,13)

WA2IQC (Gen) Gary Blinckmann 794-5289 (1,7,10,14)

WA4MJM (Extra) Bill Hancock 853-7192 (1,2,8, emergency communications, ARES,MARS)

WM5Q (Extra) Paul Cline 385-0995 (7,8,10,14, RF safety, spread spectrum, trouble shooting, soldering, electromagnetic compatibility, CFR47 rules/regs.)

K4DIT (Gen) Ken Gregg 853-7384 (4,6,8,11)

1. Antennas
3. Contesting
4. CW Operating
5. Direction Finding(fox hunting) 6. DXing
7. Experimenting/Circuits/etc. 8. .HF Phone
9. Packet
10. Repeater Operation
11. QRP
12. Satellite
13. RTTY
14. VHF

August 14

7365 HWY. 70



The Month  program will about
Mid-South Skywarn
presented by
Tommy, KD4TJO
Alex, KE4GYR


Don't forget the monthly Volunteer Examiner testing session. Registration begins at 5:30p.m. and testing begins promptly at 6:00p.m. Please remember to bring two forms of identification the original and copies of any existing licenses or CSCE’s you might have. Please be on time for registration, as you will not be allowed to enter the testing session after 6:00 p.m., so our volunteer VE team can finish in time to attend the club meeting. Call Joan Thorne 366-9722, if special testing arrangements are required.


146.82 net 8:00 PM

147.36 tone = 107.2

224.42 1.25 m reptr

443.20 patch, 107.2

145.03 packet / bbs
(Temporarily off the air)

Other Important Contacts

                                                                            VE Liaison                                  Membership Chairpersons
                                                                             Joan Thorne, KN4PM                 Ben Barth, AF4TV
                                                                             737-5795                                    Eloise Barth, AF4TW

2000 Board of Directors

E-Mail Us...


Terry Cox...................................................................Vice President

Ben Troughton......

Whit Crowley..............................................................Treasurer

Freddy Bratton............................................................Dir. of

Ken Gregg..................................................................Dir. of

Gary Blinkman............................................................Dir. of Programs

Arlene Cline................................................................Dir. of Meetings & Special

Bill Hancock...........................................................…Repeater Trustee

Kathy Troughton.........................................................Past