Web Edition

SPARKS P.O. BOX 750482 MEMPHIS, TN 38175-0482 / VOL. 12 / NOVEMBER 2000

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


November is upon us and I hope to see a record attendance at this meeting.  Just in case you’ve just returned from your 9-month sabbatical in Outer Mongolia, Delta Club will be electing its 2001 Board of Directors.  The Nominations Committee has done an excellent and most difficult job of suggesting 10 club members who are willing to make time to run the club for the next year.  I applaud everyone’s selfless dedication.

According to the DARC ByLaws, I must ask for nominations from the floor before the membership votes at the November election. This allows the membership every opportunity to express his or her own opinion as to who is best qualified for each position.  I can‘t expect everyone to agree with all the Nominations Committee’s choices. Here is your final chance to place your name or someone else’s in nomination for one of the Board positions. Please remember the person you nominate must be a current DARC member, must be a licensed ham, must have attended 6 of the last 12 meetings (including this November), and must be willing to serve on the Board.Bring a dessert, cookies, munchies, whatever strikes your fancy or whatever is your specialty.  Surprise us!  Bring some soft drinks or tea.  After the election, this will be a meeting where munching is compatible with handing out Certificates of Appreciation, awards, and prizes, prizes and more prizes.

We will  be drawing names for a lot of wonderful prizes.  We’ve been announcing that our Grand Prize is the Yaesu FT 100 HF radio.  Due to the FCC restructuring the license categories, there has been an enormous number of hams upgrading to General and Extra. The 2000 Board of Directors decided that an HF rig would be the most timely prize as well as perhaps even encouraging more hams to upgrade.

You know the saying, “Best laid plans often go awry.”  It was the Board’s decision to hold off purchasing the radio until the Club had enough Ticket money in its coffers to cover the cost.  When we actually initiated purchasing the radio, we were told it had been discontinued.  So we will be offering the club the ICOM 706MKIIG as our Grand Prize instead.  I apologize for having to change the radio Delta Club is offering, but I believe the intent was held true in this decision.

The remainder of the year always seems to slip by so quickly, maybe because so many activities are planned both with the Club and with families and friends.  Thanksgiving will soon be memories of a full stomach and endless leftovers.  Very quick on Thanksgiving’s heels is the Bartlett Christmas Parade on the first Saturday in December with the Memphis Marathon planned for the very next morning.  Mark on your calendars December 14 for the DARC Christmas Dinner at Coletta’s on Appling Road in Bartlett.  We’ll have our own room, our own waiters, and separate checks.  I have been to two dinners there with about fifty people in attendance and the service was quick, efficient, and very courteous.  Please make your reservations at one of the club meetings or contact one of the Board members.  This doesn’t require any money.  We just need to know how many people to plan for.  Don’t let our membership meeting the second Tuesday in December get lost among all the other things happening.  Christmas will just be the icing on the cake, the finale to a most eventful month.

Let’s take one month at a time.  See you at the November meeting.

73, Kathy, KE4UYU


Most hams carry a repeater directory with them to find local repeater frequencies as they travel across the country.  Hams are, as a group, gregarious, and like to talk.  They will want to find other hams to talk to.  And they will usually look for those repeaters that have an open autopatch, so that when they get in range, they can call family or friends to let them know they’re in town.  The autopatch, a link to the local telephone system, is an incredible convenience, but there are some very specific FCC guidelines as well as Delta Club guidelines that must be adhered to if we want the FCC to allow us continued access to the public telephone system through the amateur bands.

First and foremost, the autopatch cannot be used to circumvent long distance charges.  As you’re driving in from out of town, and get within range of the repeater, you can not use the autopatch to call someone if using a telephone over the same distance would ordinarily incur toll charges.  The autopatch is used for what would ordinarily be a local call.  The FCC also says the autopatch should not be used if any other means of communication is available, namely a cell phone. If a telephone is available, use it, not the autopatch.

Even though the FCC has somewhat relaxed its regulations, Delta Club still maintains its policy that NO BUSINESS is conducted on the autopatch.  Do not use the autopatch to call your office to say you’ll be running late.  Don’t use the autopatch to call an office for someone else either; that is still business.  Do not use the autopatch to call commercial businesses to conduct transactions. This can range from ordering pizzas to asking what an office’s hours are.

In situations where highway safety is an issue, use of the autopatch is acceptable to call for assistance.  Make sure, however that you maintain control of your station.  Turning your microphone over to someone who has no idea of the nature of amateur radio can be disastrous.

Any autopatch will be terminated in the event of impropriety or illegality. Keep your conversations as brief as possible.  Be sure to identify your station at the completion of the autopatch.


We all received instructions on how to bring up the autopatches on both the 146.82 and 443.2 repeaters when we either became members for the first time
or when we renewed our memberships.  We also received a list of speed dials for each of the area’s police and fire department numbers.  You only need
to press in the 2- or 3-digit numbers to complete the call to emergency services.

The number of buttons that must be pressed to access the patch and then to dial the number itself can be a distraction when driving. Delta Club offers
speed dials to it members to make it easier and therefore safer to dial numbers you use frequently, like home or your spouse’s work.  On the 2-meter side, it reduces the number of buttons that have to be pressed from eleven to three, and from eight to three on the 440 side.  These speed dials cost $10 each, renewable each year, and make using the autopatch easier.

See you on the repeaters, 73

Tom, K4TTA


October - October seems to be synonymous with cooler temperatures, school outings, BUSY times. It is a month when it is not unusual to have two places to be at the same time. October is Busy!! And so comes the time for the monthly testing session and I too had two places to be at the same time - (1) the Delta Club testing session, and (2) a previously postponed meeting for an activity that I do at my church.

We had 4 people come to the testing session on October 10th.

David Leighton KA9RQV General
Charles Lansden WB4GIN General
William Stanfill KG4JZL TECHNICIAN

A Gigantic Thank You to Barry, N4QW,, Paul, WM5Q, and Steve, N4SG, for helping at this session. With the VE's coming early, the testing session was completed by 6:30 and I was just able to make my other meeting at Winchester and Mendenhall by 7:00. Talk about dedication to the cause and the team, Paul WM5Q, had just been released from the hospital days earlier and his wife Arlene was home with a migraine headache with worry about him -- -- here he comes to dedicate his time. Thank you Michelle, KG4IZZ, for making sure that your Dad got home safely.

Just a REMINDER — there is NO TESTING the month of November -- -- -- Club elections, awards, socializing, etc. I'll see you in December for testing

73, Joan KN4PM
Delta Division ARRL VE Liaison


Traditionally,  many people have used the Delta Club booth at the October hamfest as a good opportunity to renew their membership for the following year. Since the hamfest has now moved to February, we need to remember to get that application mailed in as soon as possible.

While the board has historically allowed a grace period each year to get your dues in, according to the by-laws, your membership will expire on Dec. 31, 2000, unless you have already renewed for 2001.  In this month's issue of SPARKS you will find a membership application. Please take time to fill it out and mail it in to renew your dues for year 2001. Some people say "why should I fill out the application every year, I'll just mail my check." There are a number of reasons that it's important to send the application. First of all it gives us a record to go by as to who has renewed and who hasn't. If you just mail a check and we deposit it, the
check is returned to you but should we have a database crash we would have to record as to who has renewed and who hasn't. Also, you will either move or change phone numbers or our license class changes and we forget to tell the Secretary. By filling out the application each year, you ensure that your information listed with the club is more accurate.

Please take a few minutes and fill out the application included with this issue of SPARKS and send it in NOW, while you are thinking of it.

Thanks in advance es 73,

Tommy, KD4TJO



Amateur Radio is poised to mark an historic milestone. Operation from Amateur Radio's first permanent foothold in space is expected to debut soon after the all-ham Expedition 1 crew arrives November 2 aboard the International Space Station. The ISS crew could be on the air by mid-November. The Amateur Radio on the International Space Station--or ARISS--initial station gear already is aboard the ISS awaiting the arrival of Expedition 1 Commander and US astronaut Bill Shepherd, KD5GSL, and Russian Cosmonauts Sergei Krikalev, U5MIR, and Yuri Gidzenko. The equipment includes VHF and UHF hand-held transceivers as well as a TNC for packet, a specially developed headset and signal adapter module plus power adapters and interconnecting cables.  The Expedition 1 crew is set to blast off October 31 aboard a Russian Soyuz rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan and will arrive aboard the ISS a couple of days later. Once on board, the crew will begin a four-month stay aboard the ISS--the first permanent occupany of the international complex.

Two US call signs have been issued for Amateur Radio operations as part of the Amateur Radio on the International Space Station program. The FCC
granted vanity call signs NA1SS and NN1SS to the International Space Station Amateur Radio Club on October 11. The NA1SS call sign will be used on board the ISS, while NN1SS will be for ground-based ISS communications from Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland. A Russian call sign, RZ3DZR, and a German call sign, DL0ISS, also have been issued for use aboard the ISS.  The initial station gear will be installed temporarily in the Zarya Functional Cargo Block of the ISS and will permit operation only on 2 meters--FM voice and packet. Tentative operating frequencies are: Worldwide downlink for voice and packet, 145.80 MHz; worldwide packet uplink, 145.99 MHz; Region 1 (Europe) voice uplink: 145.20 MHz; Region 2 & 3 voice uplink, 144.49 MHz. Yet to be determined is the ARISS operating schedule, which will depend on the crew schedule. The ARISS Team anticipates multiband, multimode operations with the crew and regularly scheduled school group contacts.For more information about Amateur Radio on the ISS and SAREX, visit the ARISS Web site,


Amateur Radio was on emergency duty in several states this week. The Amateur Radio Emergency Service activated in Minnesota last weekend to assist the Red Cross after wildfires broke out. ARRL Minnesota Section Manager Randy Wendel, KM0D, says brush fires burned more than 8000 acres in the Carlo Avery Wildlife Management Area north of Minneapolis.  Hams assisted the American Red Cross to provide communication between mobile canteens set up to feed firefighters and the Red Cross office. They also helped to coordinate the efforts of other Red Cross volunteers from North Dakota and Iowa. The Salvation Army's Terry Thurn, KB0SVW, headed up his organization's relief effort. "The efforts of Amateur Radio here have been very well-received in the fire zone by the various agencies directly involved with fire-fighting activities," Wendel said. "The radio operators who have helped in this event should be very proud of themselves."  In
Arizona, Amateur Radio operators rallied to assist during flooding this week. Flash food warnings were issued earlier this week in Arizona, New Mexico, Texas and Oklahoma after as much as five inches of rain fell on some parts of the Southwest.

David McCarthy, KC7AYX, an ARES Emergency Coordinator and American Red Cross Communications Specialist, said the need for Amateur Radio
communications became critical due to limited cell phone coverage and very few public telephones. He said hams were providing communication between the Red Cross HQ and shelter in Parker, the American Red Cross Central Arizona Chapter Communications Center in Phoenix, and field units conducting damage assessment, feeding and bulk distribution in the flooded areas in and around the town of Wenden.  McCarthy said that up to two dozen hams from Yuma, La Paz and Maricopa counties responded to requests to assist with communications. McCarthy said APRS was being used to track some of the units in the field through digipeaters.

In Kentucky, the Amateur Radio water brigade wound down over the past weekend as running water was turned back on in communities affected by a recent coal sludge spill. An estimated 210 million gallons of coal waste spilled into streams and rivers October 11 when a coal plant retention pond near Inez gave way. As a result, communities that obtained drinking water from affected waterways had to shut down their water treatment plants.  "The boil-water advisory is lifted now, but schools and car washes are closed for a few more days," Lawrence County Emergency Coordinator Fred Jones, WA4SWF, said Monday. Hams were among those helping to unload and distribute containers of drinking water to area residents after fresh water supplies were shut off following the spill. The Amateur Radio Emergency Service was not activated but remained on stand-by in Kentucky as a result of the spill.


The FCC says it has reached an agreement with the eBay auction site that's aimed at curtailing the sale of clearly illegal radio equipment. FCC Special Counsel for Amateur Radio Enforcement Riley Hollingsworth says eBay has agreed to cooperate in removing advertisements in which the item for sale "is clearly non-certified" under FCC rules. Hollingsworth said most of the equipment involved falls into the CB category, including illegal amplifiers.

Hollingsworth agreed to publicize the initiative at the urging of the ARRL Regulatory Information Branch's John Hennessee, N1KB."I've got a whole folder of people who have been complaining about this and will be delighted to know that the Commission is taking action," Hennessee said. Hollingsworth said a review team within the Technical and Public Safety Division of the FCC Enforcement Bureau is screening eBay ads each week. He said the practice could be extended to other auction sites if the FCC learns of similar problems.

Hollingsworth credits complaints from the Amateur Radio community with getting the new system in place. "I've been collecting complaints for a year, but the amateur community really generated it," he said. Hollingsworth says he sees about 10 complaints a week about auction site radio gear advertisements--sometimes several about the same ad. He cautions that complaints should be based on clear-cut FCC rules violations, such as attempts to sell illegal linear amplifiers.  Amateurs can send items to, Hollingsworth said.


As the "contest season" approaches, ARRL Contest Branch Manager Dan Henderson, N1ND, is reminding ARRL contest participants of changes that become effective this year. His department also is gearing up to face the challenges that lie ahead as the Contest Branch starts implementing new log-handling methods.  Starting November 1, 2000, the ARRL standard file format for electronic submissions will be the Cabrillo format. ARRL November Sweepstakes will be the first operating event to fall under the new electronic logging standard. The CW weekend is November 4-6 and the SSB weekend is November 18-20 this year. (Rules appear in October QST, page 102.) Henderson also reminds contest participants that with the addition of West Central Florida this past January there now are 80 ARRL/RAC sections.  First announced more than a year ago, the Cabrillo format will result in electronic logs that adhere to a uniform standard that allows them to be processed more expediently. Henderson says the change to the new format will ean the Contest Branch can post the list of "Logs Received" for a given contest much sooner--once the non-electronic logs have been processed into the database. "The Cabrillo format will allow us to verify entries and initialize the database more efficiently, with fewer data entry errors," Henderson said. Cabrillo--pronounced kuh-BREE-oh--is not a program but an electronic file format that specifies what information is contained in certain fields in the file document. Henderson says major contest logging software programs have incorporated the Cabrillo format into their products. "If you're using a current version of one of those programs, you should have the ability to generate the Cabrillo file already," he said. Details on the format appear in the "General Rules for all ARRL Contests" in the November 2000 issue of QST. Additional information is available at  Faced with more 18,000 contest entries during the 1999-2000 contest season, Henderson says his department's biggest task is routine data entry. "Right now data must be entered by hand--a very time-consuming process," he said.  Contest Branch staffers estimate that approximately one out of every five contest entries--electronic and paper--arrives incorrect or incomplete. "The most common error is omitting required information that allow staff to properly code the entry, such as not listing a valid entry category, not listing power level, giving a state of residence or ARRL division instead of ARRL section for location," Henderson said. Henderson hopes to use computer automation to reduce the time needed to score submitted contest logs. For example, to cut the time needed for initial data entry, the Contest Branch is developing a "robot reader" that will take information from the Cabrillo format header and initialize that entry into the database. For more information, contact ARRL Contest Branch Manager Dan Henderson, N1ND, 860-594-0232 or or c/o ARRL, 225 Main
St, Newington CT 06111.


Finding a good source for used equipment, test gear, and new amateur equipment can be hard. One of the nice publications that has all of these is Nuts & Volts magazine. It comes out once a month and has a lot of nice equipment for sale both new and surplus. It also contains electronics articles and articles on Ham Radio. They have articles on radio, robotics, and electronics circuits you can build. Gordon West usually has a nice article in the magazine each month also. To find out more about Nuts & Volts magazine you can contact them on the Internet at

James Butler


One of the tough bands to keep track of is 10 meters. The band can be dead and then come to life as conditions change. This month's project is a 10 METER MONITOR AND LIGHTNING DETECTOR. The project uses an old CB radio as a detector. It receives at 27 MHZ and is close to the 10 meter band. By
building up an alarm circuit and hooking it to the squelch circuit of the radio we can activate a buzzer when conditions indicate the band is open. One side benefit of the circuit is that lightning strikes also sound the alarm if they are in the area. By adjusting the squelch on the radio any signal received will break the squelch and activate the alarm. There is no need to hear the audio so you can just turn down the volume or remove the speaker. These old CB radios are available for a couple of bucks at hamfests. The circuit is easy to build up and place in the radio. Now I can monitor for 10 meter openings whenever I am home.

I will have the 10 METER MONITOR AND LIGHTNING DETECTOR at the meeting to show and answer questions on for those who wish to build up their own units.

James Butler


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


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

ARRL November Sweepstakes, CW. October QST, page 102.

Seventh Annual North American Collegiate ARC Championship, CW, 2100Z Nov 4 to 0300Z Nov 6 (phone is 2100Z Nov 18 to 0300Z Nov 20).

IPA Contest, Phone and CW, sponsored by The International Police Association Radio Club, CW Nov 4, 0600Z-1000Z and 1400Z-1800Z;

Worked All Europe Contest, RTTY, from 0000Z Nov 10 to 2400Z Nov 11. 80 40 20 15 10 meters.

Japan International DX Contest, phone. sponsored by Five-Nine Magazine, from 2300Z Nov 10 until 2300Z Nov 12.

OK/OM DX Contest, 0000Z Nov 11 to 2400Z Nov 12, CW and SSB, 160 80 40 20 15 10 meters.

ARRL November Sweepstakes, phone. See October QST, page 102.

LZ DX Contest, CW only. sponsored by the Bulgarian Federation of Radio Amateurs, 1200Z Nov 18 to 2100Z Nov 19, 80 40 20 15 10 meters.

CQ WW DX Contest, CW. See October, QST, Page 101.

W1AW Qualifying Runs are 9 AM EST, Thursday, November 2, and 7 PM EST Friday, November 17. The K6YR West Coast Qualifying Run will be at 9 PM PST on Wednesday, November 1. Check the W1AW schedule for details.

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

November 14

7365 HWY. 70



The November program will be our annual
Officer Election, Awards Presentation, and Prize Drawings


There will be no VE Testing in November.
Regular testing will resume at the December Meeting.


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

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...

Kathy Troughton..........................................................President.......................................................

Melinda Thompson......................................................Vice President

Tommy Thompson

Bob Holford................................................................Treasurer

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

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

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

Paul Cline...................................................................Dir. of Meetings & Special

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