Web Edition

SPARKS P.O. BOX 750482 MEMPHIS, TN 38175-0482 / VOL. 13 / JANUARY, 1999

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


I hope that everyone had a very nice holiday, and Happy New Year!!!!! It’s hard to believe that I am writing an article for the last month of January in the 20th Century. I’m sure that over the next 12 months there are going to be all kinds of comments similar to this one.

On December 17th we had our annual Christmas Dinner. This year we did it just a little different, we had a catered dinner and it was held at our meeting site, the Ellendale Church of Christ. The menu was quite good, roast beef, potatoes, salad, green beans, rolls, and a desert. We had about 50 people in attendance and I think based on comments I have heard over the air, that everyone had a good time.

I really think that the Board of Directors, and the Delta Club as a whole, did a great job in 1998 and it was one of the best in the history of our club. Let me try and recap some of the events that occurred during 1998 that tell me we had a great year.

First and foremost, when we entered 1998 our Director of Programs had the entire year planned out, every month had a program. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the success of each monthly meeting rides solely on the shoulders of the Director of Programs. You can tell how good the meeting was by listening to people on the repeaters. If the program was good, you hear a lot of chatter, if it was bad, you don’t hear anything. Well, I’m hard pressed to name a meeting when, after it was all over and done with, there wasn’t someone out there talking about the program. I think we had eleven exceptional programs.

Then sometime in mid year our Director of Publications started strutting around like a rooster in a hen house. He had submitted our newsletter into a newsletter competition and walked away with first prize. That’s right, if you haven’t been at many of the meetings, Delta Club’s SPARKS was recognized as being an outstanding publication and it’s all the result of the efforts of our Director of Publication, David Pace. When you enter a competition like this you are opening yourself, and your club, up to a lot of criticism. However, in this case we walked away with the grand prize. No wonder David was strutting around!!!!

In June, we had the annual “Field Day” event. Back in March I called upon Kurt Schropp, KU4NH, to assume the position of Field Day Chairperson. For those of you that don’t know Kurt, he’s chief of surgery at LeBonheur Hospital. This is a person who, on a daily basis, literally holds someone’s life in his hands. You’d think that a little ole event like Field Day wouldn’t affect him in the slightest. I mean, as a surgeon, you have to be right first time every time. Well, that’s not the case here. After accepting Field Day responsibility, Kurt was a bundle of nerves. I can’t tell you how many e-mail notes I received from him saying, “I’m not sure I can do this!!!!!” Well, “do it he did.” We (Delta Club) accumulated more points than we have in the last couple of years. When the results of Field Day came out in the December issue of QST, our club was in the upper 15% of all stations operation in the 2A classification. Not only that, we had an exceptional dinner coordinated by Julie, KF4SJW, Kurt’s “better half!”

Things were on a roll. We had all the big hitter items out of the way, right? Wrong, we decided that we needed a special event this year. We had had them in the past, but nothing on the HF bands since the Memphis Belle Special Event Station. I soon learned that all I had to do was tell Regina, KF4IGS, that we needed a special event station and she started working on it. First she contacted two members who came up with an idea, Wendy, KC5YIX, and Brian, KE4EWO. At one of the board meetings they suggested the FedEx/St. Jude Classic. Well, Gina took the “bull by the horns” and ran with this idea. When it was all over and done with, we had accumulated approximately 450 contacts, which include almost all 50 states along with about 15 countries. It was an outstanding effort. We had people working HF that had never been on the bands before in their lives. I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if they don’t get the bug to upgrade so that they can do more of this. All because of the work that Gina did to get this event up and going.

Then there was that ever-challenging aspect of amateur radio, morse code. Everyone who has been involved with radio knows that if you want to upgrade and get more privileges you had to learn that monster called “CW.” Well, leave it to our Director of Training. Not only did she arrange to have classes for the No Code Tech ticket, she also scheduled a CW class and started a CW Net on the 146.82 repeater. If you tuned in around 7:30 PM every evening you’d hear these strange “dits and dahs” coming out of your radio. That was the CW Net. Do you know that 100% of the people that finished the CW class passed their 5-WPM test?

Throughout the year we have had the minutes of, not just the club meeting, but the board of director’s meeting appearing in SPARKS. Although there were times when I wanted to get on the computer and I couldn’t, it was because Kathy, KE4UYU, and my “YL” (how could I call her anything else) was typing up the minutes from both events. I thought I had it tough writing an article for SPARKS each month, Kathy had to write a minimum of two articles. I think she did an outstanding job keeping the membership up-to-date on what was happening in the club. There wasn’t one month that went by that we didn’t have the minutes of both the club meeting and the Board Meeting in the newsletter. If you weren’t able to attend the meeting, you could always count on Kathy to have a summation of what transpired at both meetings.

Whenever you get involved with an organization, be it a club like Delta Club, or a business, money has to be spent. Well, we spent some money, and you know Ernie, WA6KOC, let me know exactly how much we spent and how much we were over budget in a specific category. At our last Board of Directors meeting Ernie informed everybody that we had done a good job keeping expenses within the budgeted amount. That only occurred because he kept us informed of how we’re doing. Although this may seem like an easy job, it wasn’t. At one point during 1998 Ernie started delivering the Commercial Appeal. This meant that he had to get up as early as 1:00AM to get the job done. Throughout the time that he was Treasurer, and delivering papers, he always got our bills paid and he always had a report telling us how well or how bad we were doing.

One of the responsibilities of the Vice President, besides being available to assume the role and responsibilities of the President, is to coordinate the “fund raising” activities for our club. Many of you may not be aware, but in the May/June time frame Bill, WA4MJM, lost his house to a fire. I have never been in the predicament, but can imagine what that must be like. Well, even though he was totally wrapped up in this event, he still was able to help Delta Club. If you went to Memphis Amateur Electronics you’d see Can Koolers on the counter for sale. This was the work of our VP. He was still able to help our club out even during a time that most of us will never experience in our entire lives.

How many of you participated in events like the “Walk for the Cure”, the Memphis Triathlon, the Memphis Marathon, etc. Well, all the planning and organizing for these events was the result of one person, Tommy, KD4TJO. He attended meetings, contacted people to see if they would help out, and each event came off like clockwork. Well, for those of you that don’t know, there was a lot of planning, and worrying on Tommy’s part. Did he have enough people to work the event? Did he consider everyone’s wishes? It goes on and on.

Finally, there are two positions in the club that are taken for granted most of the time. The first one, if we didn’t have it, we might not have amateur radio today. That’s the position of VE Liaison. I can’t begin to tell you all the work that’s involved in this position. You have to create tests, you have to verify that people passed the different testing elements, you have to make sure that you have sufficient VE’s to conduct the testing. It goes on and on. Joan, KN4PM, has handled this responsibility without a complaint. Consistently she has been at the meeting site at 5:30PM to get set up for testing. Joan has, for the past 2 ½ years, done an exceptional job, along with her VE Team.

And finally, our Repeater Trustee. This is a person who is not very visible but is someone whose really taken a risk. This is the person who puts his or her license on the line. If anyone using our repeaters violates an FCC regulation it’s his/her license that is at stake. Tim, AB4NH, has done an admirable job as our Repeater Trustee. He has fixed our repeaters when they need fixing and he has willingly put his license on the line for the club.

I’m sure I have missed some folks, and I apologize for that. But, when you have a team like this there isn’t any way that you cannot have a “winning season.”

As President of the Delta Amateur Radio Club, it has been my pleasure to work with a group of people likes these. They have made my job one that has been fun and exciting. We have a new Board of Directors and I’m sure that these individuals will step up to the plate just like last year’s did. So, in closing, I’d like to thank everyone in Delta Club for their participation and contribution, for without each of you we wouldn’t have such a great club.


Ben, KU4AW


As you read this newsletter all of the holidays including New Years have passed. I and my family send the warmest of greetings to each and every one of you. Unfortunately we missed the Christmas get together due to Andrew being in a school Christmas pageant. Maybe next year will be better timing.

The month of December saw Delta Club sponsoring two VE sessions, one of which I personally missed due a conflict of engagements and a last minute notification. The Advanced Class VE Team held a session on December 3 for the completion of the no code Tech class and on December 10th our regular session was held just prior to the club meeting.

Congratulations to the following:

Mark Frazier, KG4BFW
Daniel Richard, KG4BFX
James Lyles, KG4BFV
James Ward III, KG4BFU

73 and see you in the New Year.

Joan, KN4PM


I believe our Christmas Dinner was a big hit. The food, judging by what was left, was enjoyed by everyone. Pam, KF4NDD, did a wonderful job organizing it. Thanks go to Regina, KF4IGS, who, even though she could not join us, provided most of the materials for the decorations and some of the displays that she had already made. And thanks go to Eloise, KF4GNB, who on the spot put the final touches on the arrangements and candles. And thanks to Ben, KF4GNC, for his muscle power. Nathan Jenkins, K4NF, and his wife, Paula, KF4ZCP, won the doll that Karen Blinkman crocheted. John Leflar, KE4AQY, won the crocheted afghan set. And 14 others got to take home the decorations.

Our membership drive is moving right along. The following hams have renewed their memberships: Uis Johnson, K4BMF, Eddie Trammell, KF4QFW, Andy Steadman, N5TAY, Roger Castleberry, KF4QFZ, Rex Paqueo, KB2WGP, Nathan Jenkins, K4NF, and his wife Paula, KF4ZCP, Ken Gregg, K4DIT, Dan McClendon, N4QLK, Jim Price, NI4C, Jim Brinson, K4WOP, William Howell, W4KGN, Dick Cookenham, WA2CPY, Ray Miller, AA4UK, with his two daughters, Leslie, KE4GNI, and Marsha, N4TPU, and Jimmy Walker, KA4KII.

Don’t put off renewing your memberships in Delta Club. The 1999 Board of Directors looks like it’s bursting with ideas and enthusiasm for this year. You won’t want to miss a thing!


Kathy, KE4UYU



7365 HWY. 70



by Jim, KI4I

Webmaster's Note:  After this issue of SPARKS went to print, I was advised of a change of program for January.  Due to some unexpected medical tests scheduled for the meeting date Jim has asked that his program be rescheduled.  The new program for January will be:

Satellite Tracking and Communications
by Whit, KD4LTR


If your ‘tenna won’t turn, don’t miss the January meeting! Jim, KI4I will be bringing his considerable expertise to bear on how to repair your rotator. With the current pricey costs of rotators, knowing how to fix one could save you a bundle of bucks to go toward that new piece of gear.

Speaking of new pieces of gear, Memphis Amateur Electronics and Delta Club will be featuring a “DELTA CLUB RIG OF THE MONTH” which we will be demonstrating at the monthly meetings. There will be a discount for Delta Club members who purchase that particular piece of gear during the month that it is featured. Talk to Marshall, KU4O at ‘the candy store” for further information. This will give us all (at least those who come to the meetings!!!) a chance to preview and get some hands-on time with some of the new gear.

Don’t want or can’t afford some new gear, you say. The April program will be an auction. Start gathering together ALL that “stuff” that has been cluttering up the shack. All merchandise must be amateur radio related gear and Delta Club will receive 10% of the bid/purchase price. You may set a minimum bid on anything you bring. For anybody that is feeling really generous (or gutsy!), there will also be a “Brown Bag” portion to the auction. Put something amateur radio related, worth at least $5.00 in a bag or box, seal it up, and bring it to the auction. All “Brown Bag” items will be bid on sight unseen and all “Brown Bag” sales will go to the club treasury.

Some programs in the planning stages include Satellite Communications, Proper message/traffic handling procedures including an explanation of the ARRL NTS (National Traffic System), and phone/cw operating techniques for emergencies and “non-emergencies,” such as Field Day and other contests. If there is something you’d like to do for a program or have as a program, let me know.

73 es CUL, K4TTA


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.


Please remember to keep the FCC aware or any change in name and address, they do have to be able to get in touch with you should there be any problems that arise.

As of January 1st the old 610 forms will no longer be accepted for any reason.

The new 610 dated September 1977 will be the only form available for renewal or upgrading that is accepted by the FCC. The reason for this is the new inclusive phrasing that all must sign:

I certify that:

- The construction of the station would NOT be an action which is likely to have a significant environmental effect (see the Commissions Rules 47 C.F.R. Sections 1.1301-1.1319 and section 97.13(a);

-I have READ and WILL COMPLY WITH Section 97.13(c) of the Commission's Rules regarding RADIOFREQUENCY (RF) RADIATION SAFETY and the amateur service section of OST/OET Bulletin Number 65.

These new forms can be downloaded from the FCC site or I do have some forms available.


Joan KN4PM


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


The FCC's Compliance and Information Bureau has acted in several Amateur Radio cases it inherited from the days when it shared enforcement duties with the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau. In all of the cases, the FCC said it appeared that individuals attempted to obtain an Amateur Radio license or upgrade by fraud or misrepresentation.

On December 14, the FCC downgraded two amateur licensees and canceled the ticket of a third in Michigan. Busted from Advanced to Tech Plus were Lawrence A. Repp Jr., N8HFN, of Gaylord, and Alan E. Quirie, KA8ZRR, of Royal Oak. The FCC pulled the Tech Plus ticket of Steven A. Penn, formerly KC8HUM, of Southfield. The FCC had not updated its database as of December 15. The Commission said the three filed amateur applications claiming to have taken Amateur Radio examinations at Oak Park June 3, 1997, at an ARRL VEC session. The FCC says its evidence shows that the three did not sit for the exams and that their names "were added and signatures forged, sometime after the tests were administered, by one of the four examiners." That examiner--the father of one of the exam candidates involved--is said to have forwarded the session package on behalf of the VE team to the ARRL VEC for FCC filing.

"Three of the examiners knew nothing of the scheme," the FCC said. The other three VEs brought the situation to the attention of the ARRL VEC and the FCC after learning that names had been added to the list and that their names had been forged on the ARRL VEC Administering VEs Record. The FCC said it would act in the case of the fourth examiner by month's end. The Commission also is looking into possible enforcement action against another ham whose name was added to the list after the test session but whose application was not actually submitted to the FCC.

The FCC also dismissed two amateur applications in Puerto Rico after the applicants failed to answer questions put to them by the Commission. In the case of Jose R. Velez-Rivera, of Rio Pedras, an FCC official said it appears that an imposter tried to change another amateur's call sign, address, and date of birth to his own to get a license without taking an exam. In the second case, the FCC dismissed the renewal and General class upgrade application of Hector A. Santiago, WP4DCB, of Camuy. An FCC official said it appears Santiago tried to renew as a General when he only had a Novice ticket.

Velez-Rivera and Santiago were notified by the FCC October 23. The FCC updated its database this month to reflect the dismissals.

After reading the above article you can understand how important it is for you to trust the VE Team that you are testing with. One error can bring a test session into question and possibly negate all of the tests taken that evening. The Delta Radio Club VE Team has not had any problem like this due to diligent efforts of checking and rechecking all papers submitted and signed. If you have any suggestions for this team or any requests of something you would like implemented please, PLEASE feel free to call, write or e-mail me. My number and e-mail address are listed in every newsletter. The ARRL has set its testing fees for the 1999 year at $6.45. As in the past the Delta Club will charge only $6.25 this upcoming year. YOU MUST BRING THE QUARTER WITH YOU; I will not keep the quarter change available as I have the dollars this past year. All of these increases are based on the Consumer Price Index from Sept 1997 to Sept 1998. As in the past those taking only Elements 1A (5 WPM code) and/or Element 2 (novice written) will not be charged for the testing in 1999. Morse Code Exemptions (above 5 WPM) WILL be charged the standard fee in 1999. For those interested in a vanity call sign the fee is now down to $15.00 for ten years that is $1.50 per year for the special call.


The Federal Communications Commission has warned owners of antenna structures to comply strictly with the FCC antenna tower lighting and marking rules. The warning followed a recent nighttime incident in Texas where a helicopter ambulance nearly hit an unlighted radio tower. The FCC notes that tenant licensees, such as repeater owners, are secondarily responsible for tower lighting.

A rather long column, but an important one I think.

73, Joan KN4PM

EDITORS NOTE: Portions of this article are reprinted from: The ARRL Letter, Vol. 17, No 50


On Sunday, December 13th, the Memphis area ham community received some sad news, Melvin Cissell, KA0KPQ, father of Jim Cissell, KI4I, became a “Silent Key.”

Many of you that know Jim know that he had a weekly “sked” with his father on 80 meters every Sunday morning at 9:00AM. On many occasions I would be tuning the dial on 80 meters and hear Jim and his dad working CW. I thought this was something special, father and son both enjoying a similar hobby and at the same time keeping in touch with each other.

I have, on several occasions, joined Jim and his father in the weekly chat, sometimes from here in Bartlett and other times when we were over at Greers Ferry Lake at our cabin. It was truly a lot of fun.

I didn’t get a chance to meet Jim’s father until Jim’s and Ann’s 25th Wedding Anniversary, and what a character he was. I can still see him out on the dance floor dancing with his daughters.

To Jim and the Cissell family, our heartfelt sympathies go out to you. I, for one, will miss that weekly event that I so often listened to and participated in.

Ben, KU4AW


Sometimes we are forced to run digital without the benefit of commercial power hookups. It might be portable operation in the field, for a field day event, or in an emergency when power has been knocked out. One new power pack unit is the PowerPort PowerSafe from Cutting Edge Enterprises of Santa Cruz CA. The unit is a large plastic battery holder with a charger and cigarette lighter plugs for power hookup. A car battery can be placed in the unit and the whole thing carried to where it is needed. This would supply power for quite a while if needed. They even have a unit with a built in 12 Volt DC to 115 Volt AC converter to power small AC equipment. If you need a portable emergency power unit check this one out.

James Butler, KB4LJV


Many times I want to use my meter for a voltage measurement in circuits where the location is hard to get at. With big hands it is hard to get those short probes where you want them safely. Sometimes just keeping your hands out of other live circuits is hard when using probes. This month’s project is the PROBE EXTENDER. It plugs into your probe on you VOM or scope to allow you to get to points you need to check. It is built out of a piece of Faucet PVC line, A male test panel plug, and a female test panel jack. By plugging the PROBE EXTENDER into a test probe it makes it long enough to get back to hard to get at test points. The extender can be built to any length desired. The PROBE EXTENDER is easy to build and any makes a nice addition to your test equipment.

I will have the PROBE EXTENDER at the meeting to show and answer questions on for those who wish to build up their own unit.


James Butler, KB4LJV


The movie "Enemy of the State", with Will Smith, Gene Hackman, and Jon Voight, is a high-tech cyberthriller. A local Germantown actor also appears. The National Security Agency, Congress, and the Telecommunications act all play a role in this movie.

In the movie, two ham-related items appear. Whenever the actors want to spy on a targeted person on earth, they reposition an orbiting satellite to a set of new coordinates. Then, the scene quickly shifts out to space, the satellite is shown, and one hears "CQ" in Morse code (dah-dit-dah-dit dah-dah-dit-dah). That scene shift occurs several times throughout the movie.

In another scene, one sees a ham radio, with someone tuning to a frequency of approximately 7.2 Megahertz, which is a frequency used by lower side band (amateur) and AM broadcast.

I have mentioned in a previous Sparks article that ham radio plays a prominent role in another movie, "Contact", with Jodie Foster.

Dom AA5N

Amateur Radio Helps Again

When Hurricane Mitch stalled over Central America, the resulting rains created a disaster of unprecedented proportions. In a 24-hour period, Mitch dumped over 72 inches of rain on Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and El Salvador. Over 11,000 people are missing and presumed to have died in the massive mudslides and floods.

Amateur Radio operators throughout the world are now providing communications with the affected areas. Those amateurs who are still on the air in the region are directing relief efforts. Relief efforts are now in full swing, providing clothing, food and medical assistance to the survivors of this disaster.

As part of the communications effort, the Salvation Army's SATERN net operated on 14.265 MHz, and was very busy passing both relief traffic and health and welfare messages for concerned relatives throughout the world. As more and more information was passed, the FCC declared a communications emergency and ordered U.S. amateurs off 14.265 MHz +/- 3 kHz on either side of the frequency, unless they were part of the assistance effort. This helped to insure the net continued without interference. Restrictions were lifted 17 November by the FCC. The Central America Emergency Net has been active on 7.090 MHz.

The ARRL is also helping in the effort to provide communications for the region. A shipment of 2-meter handheld radios, mobile radios and a complete repeater was shipped to amateurs in Honduras. The equipment is part of the ARRL's disaster equipment stock, and has been deployed on other disasters in the past.

Mike Heindl, KM6PC, is one of the operators devoting a lot of time to relief efforts. In addition to providing communications, Mike has been negotiating with several oil companies in California trying to obtain a shipment of aviation gasoline to Honduras. There is a shortage of fuel available for the aircraft flying supplies into the region. He is contacting families of survivors throughout the U.S. and letting them know about their loved ones.

This will not be a short term event. The Central American area will be in a state of emergency for months. Amateur Radio operators will continue to help, for as long as necessary.

Reprinted with permission from World Radio, Jan. 1999 issue.

One of our very own, Dick Cookenham, WA2CPY was also involved in the relief efforts in Honduras. Dick's involvement included a long plane ride for a two week stay in the region to provide on site communications and coordination of the efforts to help the people of this disaster stricken section of the world. If you missed the December meeting, then you also missed hearing Dick explain all about his trip and see the photos that he took during his stay.

We're all proud of you Dick and glad that you're back home safe.

Tommy, KD4TJO


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

Japan International - DX CW Low Bands
2200Z 8 Jan to 2200Z 9 Jan
160-40M CW - 1 pt. 40M, 2 pts. 80-160M
Exchange - RST, Ser.#

North American QSO Party - CW (NCJ)
1800Z 9 Jan. to 0600Z 10 Jan.
160-10M CW - 1 pt./QSO
Exchange - Name, QTH

Michigan QRP Club January CW Contest
0700Z 17 Jan. to 2359Z 18 Jan.
160-6M CW - 5pt./QSO w/mbr 4pt. DX 2 pt./US & Canada
Exchange - RST, QTH, MI-QRP membership number

North American QSO Party SSB (NCJ)
1800Z 16 Jan. to 0600Z 17 Jan.
160-10M SSB - 1 pt./QSO
Exchange - Name, QTH

ARRL VHF Sweepstakes
1900Z 16 Jan. to 0400Z 18 Jan.
50 MHz to Microwave - 1 pt. 50 or 144 MHz, 2 pt. 220 or 432 MHz, 4 pt. 903 or 1296 MHz, 8 pt. above 2304 MHz
NOTE: Do NOT use 146.52 or any reptrs.

Editors Note: If you like this column, let me know and I'll try to include it in each month's issue.

E-Mail Us...

Ben Troughton.............................................................President.......................................................

Kurt Schropp..............................................................Vice President


Don Mills....................................................................Treasurer

Regina Graham............................................................Dir. of

Tommy Thompson......................................................Dir. of

Tom Richardson.........................................................Dir. of Programs

Eddie Trammel...........................................................Dir. of Meetings & Special

Tim Morrow...........................................................…Repeater Trustee