THE ARLINGTON BEACON

The Official Organ of the Arlington Amateur Radio Club
December 2008
President: Jack Reed WA4FXX
Vice President: Dennis Bodson W4PWF
Secretary: Ken Heitner WB4AKK
Treasurer: Mike Ingles KG4RKL
Activities Chairman: Gary Sessums KC5QCN
Editor: Adam Hahn AI4QB

Meetings: Usually Third Tuesday of each month, 7:30 P.M., Red Cross, 4333 Arlington Blvd. (US 50), Arlington,VA. Nonmembers are invited to attend.
Net: Tuesday (except meeting nights) at 7:30 P.M., 145.47- MHz FM
WWW: http://www.w4wvp.org/
Affiliate: ARRL, FAR
Information: Jack Reed, WA4FXX, wa4fxx@amsat.org (e-mail), (703) 685-7933 (phone).
THE NEXT REGULAR MEETING OF THE AARC WILL BE TUESDAY, DECEMBER 16

Meeting Information Minutes of previous meeting

December Meeting

The December 16th meeting of the Arlington Amateur Radio Club will be held at the usual time (1930L) and place (4333 Arlington Blvd).

The meeting will feature the traditional grand unified seasonal party (Solstice, Channukah, Christmas, Saturnalia, New Year, ...) with good food, fellowship, and cheer. Spouses, significant others, and family members are cordially invited. No program (presentation) is planned.

Food

Members are invited to bring food or non-alcoholic beverages, but should not feel obliged to do so. There is always more food than appetite. So far, the following are promised. (Please contact NW3V if you wish to add something to this list.)

Gift Exchange

Those who wish to participate in the gift should bring an anonymously wrapped (no From: tag) ham-radio-related gift valued at no more than five dollars, whether purchased or from the junk box. Gifts will be selected by drawing lots.

ARRL Pubs for New Hams

New hams (licensed less than one year) will participate in drawings for ARRL publications.

73,
--Mike, NW3V, w4wvp.org helper


Minutes of the Regular Meeting of the Arlington Amateur Radio Club 2008-11-18

CALL TO ORDER

President Jack, WA4FXX, called the meeting to order at 1930L. He noted that Secretary Adam, AI4QB, and Secretary nominee Ken, WB4AKK, were both absent for business reasons, and asked Mike, NW3V, to record the Minutes. Jack noted that others were absent for business reasons, but counted members and declared that a quorum was present.

Jack welcomed visitors and members and asked each person to introduce himself or herself. An attendance sign-in sheet was passed around. By the end of the meeting, it showed:
Jack, WA4FXX, Dennis, W4PWF, Gary, KC5QCN, Mike, KG4RKL, Mike, NW3V, Rene, KJ4HXR, Randy, WB4MJF, Mike, KA8OPJ, Prentiss, K4PDJ, Andrew, KI4THF, Chris, KJ4HXQ, Beernard [sic], KJ4HXW, Arthur, W4ART, Ian, KI4DTP, and Cynthia, KJ4CLK.

Cynthia thanked Gary and Mike, NW3V, for teaching the Technician license course to the classs, predominantly consisting of CERT members.

ARRL

Jack asked Dennis to report on League matters. Dennis said that the League is projecting at least 30,000 new licensees next year. The League is working on the Logbook of the World (LoTW) to support the VHF-UHF Century Club (VUCC) award, and one _CQ_ (magazine) award, to be determined.

In 2009 the League will improve its e-commerce so that web orders do not have to be processed by a human in the back office to be fulfilled. Dennis said that he's going to the Administrative and Finance Committee meeting this weekend. Randy suggested that Dennis check out the tobacco barns near Hartford, of a peculiar historic design for curing tobacco leaves grown for use as cigar wrappers.

Dennis said that he didn't know when the FCC would issue a new Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) regarding Broadband over Power Line (BPL) standards to limit interference.

EMCOMM

Jack asked Gary to report on emergency communications matters.

Gary explained to visitors that he was the Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) Emergency Coordinator (EC) for Arlington County, and explained what that meant.

Gary said, "We had a very successful Technician license course the past two Saturdays. One hundred percent of the seven students who sat for the license exam passed. A couple of students decided that they wanted to try later." The exam was administered by Laurel VEC-accredited volunteer examiners from the Mount Vernon Amateur Radio Club. Gary said, "We'll do it again, and do ARRL EMCOMM courses 1, 2, and 3."

Gary noted that the Virginia Section Emergency Coordinator position will become vacant, and that nominations were solicited. Gary asked those who had not done so yet to register as a Virginia Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service (RACES) at aresva.org.

PUBLIC SERVICE: MARINE CORPS MARATHON

At the Marine Corps Marathon, Gary ran (the short race). Art drove, providing commo. Andrew operated at mile 8, then hung at Iwo for some time, waiting to be reassigned.

CONTESTS

Jack said that Andrew, Prentiss, and he were here (W4WVP) for the Sweepstakes. Their submission claimed a score of 3,300 in the Multi-One category. Jack mentioned some DX countries worked.

Virginia QSO Party (VQP, or VaQP): Randy said people consider Arlington to be a rare County. Jack showed some certificates received for the last VQP: one for operator N8YSZ, High in Arlington ARC at station W4ART. W4ART won two awards, one as operator and one for station.

Jack said we didn't operate VQP from W4WVP this year, because the Chapter will be using the conference room. Jack said he would reserve the conference room for next year.

Coming up January 3 and 4 is the ARRL RTTY Round-Up ,

Even before that, someone noted, is the PSK Deathmatch, Dec. 13-14, organized by the Michigan DX Association .

[P.S.: those interested in CW may want to participate in the ARRL Straight Key Night in the wee hours of New Year's Day 2009. It's not a contest--no scores or logs--more like a party, and an excuse to clean the dead moth from the contacts of the straight key you haven't used in a year or so. Details are not yet published on , but stay tuned.]

OLD BUSINESS

Jack said NW3V was helping with the w4wvp-members mailing list administration.

Art said he spoke with Craig, K4GOR, who said he was finished with a 100-watt Micor repeater transmitter to swap in at the W4WVP repeater.

NEW BUSINESS

Jack said that election of Arlington ARC officers was on the agenda.

Gary said that the Arlington ARC was no longer listed as an affiliated club on the arrl.org web site. He said that, to once again be listed, the club contact should send a roster showing at least 51 percent of club members as ARRL members. There ensued some discussion about how to proceed, This was postponed until after the election of officers.

Jack said that, as he noted last month, incumbent Secretary Adam Hahn, AI4QB, had a schedule conflict with work that precluded attending club meetings, and did not wish to stand for reelection. Jack thanked Adam for his work as Secretary. Jack said Ken Heitner, WB4AKK, had agreed to run for Secretary and was nominated at the previous meeting. Jack noted that all other incumbents were willing to stand for reelection. Jack asked whether there were additional nominations, and heard none. Jack asked whether there was a motion to elect the slate of unopposed nominees by acclamation. It was so moved, seconded, and passed, and the incumbents, plus new Secretary Ken Heitner, were elected by acclamation.

Returning to the topic of ARRL affiliation, Art suggested sending a report to Norm Fusaro, W3IZ. Dennis said that he would.

Jack strongly encouraged new and old Arlington ARC members to join the American Radio Relay League, the only effective lobby in Washington for amateur radio. Jack said that there is a need to defend the Amateur Radio spectrum against attempts to reallocate this increasingly valuable resource to other uses.

Gary asked how many Volunteer Examiners (VEs) were in the club. Jack replied he didn't know, and said we generally have used Laurel Volunteer Examiner Coordinator (VEC) VE teams. Gary said that he would like to advertise that we hold exams regularly, here, in order to get on the calendars of those wanting to take exams.

Gary also asked the station (and repeater) trustee, Dennis, whether it was OK to start a CERT net on the repeater, oriented to getting new CERT hams accustomed to Amateur net operation, and answering questions about station setup and equipment selection and operation.

Cyn said that we (CERT hams) need to show that CERT hams can support CERT operations, else .

Prentiss said he liked Gary's idea, but that face-to-face meetings were needed, too.

Rene said that this is his second visit to the club. The last time, he asked whether there was a map of the locations of stations in the club. Jack said that there was. There ensued some discussion about privacy and the fact that the FCC Universal Licensing System (ULS) database lists only licensee mailing addresses, which might not be operating locations.

Rene said that he was in the hospital CERT, as were Chris KJ4HXQ and Paul [KJ4HXP].

Mike OPJ said that there is a callsign lookup, displayed on Google Earth, one zip code at a time.

Randy exhorted hams new and old: "don't just listen to the repeater: give your callsign."

Art asked whether we [ARES, AARC] had been asked to help with the inauguration. Jack said not yet, and usually not.

Ian said he had been asked to help with communications with the American Red Cross. The Arlington chapter will be running a disaster relief site, and he'll be operating a Mobile Coordination Vehicle (MCV) on the Mall. "I'll be emailing you," he said.

Jack invited Gary to present his prepared program on Digital Television.

PROGRAM

Activities Chair Gary, KC5QCN, said that on February 17, analog, over-the-air television will cease to exist--except for some low-power and educational stations. The spectrum will be used for Digital Television (DTV).

Gary chuckled that marketeers were offering "Digital-ready antennas;" actually, no new antenna is needed to receive DTV.

In order to view DTV broadcasts on a non-DTV, one must use a converter. Gary displayed and demonstrated a converter, as well as a DTV receiver, which was not an HDTV receiver.

The FCC offers coupons that may be applied to the purchase of a converter box.

Gary described the descriptors you may see in advertisements for DTV receivers:

Standard-Definition [SDTV]:
480i [480: number of scanned lines; i: interlaced scan, like analog TV]
480p [480: number of scanned lines; p: progressive scan: noninterlaced]

SDTV may have an aspect ratio [width x height] of 4x3 or 16x9.

High-Definition [HDTV]:
720i
720p
1080i
1080p

HDTV has an aspect ratio [width x height] of 16x9.

Current analog TV channels may be split into five SDTV channels or two HDTV channels, which is why DTV/HDTV makes better use of the spectrum.

For example, analog channel 4 will be split into channel 4-1 (HDTV main program) and channel 4-2 (SDTV weather).

Gary said "analog pass-through" is a useful capability of more modern DTV converters, which allows analog low-power or educational stations to be viewed without unplugging and plugging RF cables.

Ian asked about the effect of a power outage on DTV converters. Gary said converter boxes powered by 12VDC are appearing on the market.

Gary said this was just a "40,000-foot view" of how to get ready for the DTV transition.

For more info, see www.dtv.gov .

NEXT MONTH

Jack said that next month, the December meeting, there will be a solstice party, many celebrations (Christmas, Channukah, etc.) being observed around the time of the winter solstice. Spouses, significant others, family members are cordially invited. Some traditions will be continued:

  1. Bring food if you wish. Jack said he would bring a nut tray, and hoped aloud that someone might encourage more contributions. [I will. Watch this space. But bring your appetite: we've always had more food than appetite. -- NW3V]
  2. If you wish to participate in the gift exchange (by lot), bring a festively wrapped, anonymous gift valued at no more than $5, whether purchased or from the junque box. [New hams: you will inevitably accrete a junque box over the years.]
  3. New hams (licensed less than one year) will participate in drawings for ARRL publications.

ODDS AND ENDS

Regarding DTV, Art said that his employer deals in gear, including TV, and that if interested members can agree on a model of DTV (receiver?) and order a quantity of six or more, he can get it at cost, commercial-grade. I think he mentioned Revolution HD.

The meeting was adjourned at a time not recorded.

Respectfully submitted,
Michael Callaham, NW3V
Acting Secretary

Accessing Web Pages by Email

Arlington ARC web pages, and most web pages, can be accessed by email. For details, address an email message to mail-server@rtfm.mit.edu and send only the following line as the body of the message:
send usenet/news.answers/internet-services/access-via-email

To get an ASCII text version of the latest issue of The Arlington Beacon, just address an email message to agora@dna.affrc.go.jp and send only the following line as the body of the message:
send http://www.w4wvp.org/latest.html

The Arlington Amateur Radio Club
4333 Arlington Boulevard
Arlington, VA 22203