Laurel Amateur Radio Club
The Feedback - August 1996

24 JULY 1996

  1. Jim/WI3N, President, began the meeting at 7:35pm with the customary introductions of those present. About 18 were in attendance.
  2. The minutes of the last meeting were accepted as published, and Pud/W3DQI presented the treasurer's report of approximately $1334. It was also reported that the club has received a $50 donation from Boun/N3HXV who was not a member, but a regular volunteer at the VEC exam sessions.
  3. WB3KXJ/Bob reported at length on the National VEC conference in Gettysburg Pennsylvania. The meeting didn't go too smoothly, and Bob will report further in the next Feedback.
  4. A letter of appreciation was received for the club's efforts in the Pallotti Daycare 5K run. It noted that the expected date of next year's event is 7 June.
  5. Three upcoming public service events were discussed: the Pallotti Cross Country Run, The Laurel Riverfest, and the Boy Scouts Jamboree on the Air (JOTA).
  6. Pud/W3DQI showed a plaque which was presented to the club as the Harrison-Beard Award by the Laurel Fourth of July Committee. This was received on the day of the parade.
  7. W3DQI, WI3N, and WB3HUP summarized an ARES meeting they attended at the Prince George's County Emergency Center. This will possibly develop further. It was also noted that the Simulated Emergency Test will be the 2nd weekend in October.
  8. The Riverfest is 12 October; a possible Special Event was considered. Many volunteered to help.
  9. Tim/N3TZH introduced Martin Davidoff/K2UBC as the featured speaker who presented a history of the Amateur satellite program from Sputnik to the present day.
  10. Russ/N3AUQ won the 50/50.

Respectfully submitted, John/N3GXA

The August Feedback
-by John/N3GXA

I often try to summarize the program of last month's meeting for those who were unable to attend, but I'm not sure I can this time. The program by Martin Davidoff, K2UBC was very good, and you really had to be there to see the photographic history of Earth satellites which he has compiled. The advances in size, technology, and durability of satellites over the past 30 years is really something.

Once again, The Feedback is the first to report on a significant bicycle event. Roger/N3MIJ has successfully returned from his ride across the continent, and has provided a report. (I noticed in an earlier August issue that he was reporting about a ride across the State. His mileage has increased significantly).

Pud/W3DQI has provided an update to the club E-mail roster which we carried last month. If you want to be included on the list, let Pud know; he's been keeping a running log of addresses.

We've tried to include some pretty good Field Day photos which were provided by Paul/N3NYM. I hope they turn out OK. Under our current format photographs don't run well. (If anyone can produce copiable art from photos, please help).

Bob/WB3KXJ has written an article summarizing the VEC Conference in Gettysburg. At the last meeting, Bob spoke about this event, but it was a long story, so don't miss the article.

Here are a few dates to keep in mind:

President s ramblings

We d certainly like to thank Dr. Martin Davidoff/K2UBC for his outstanding slide show last month chronicling the OSCAR program. And special thanks to Tim/N3TZH for inviting him and bringing him to the meeting. While many of us complain about the congestion and quality of life in general in this area, we are very fortunate to have a rather large and certainly well-informed pool of talent to draw our guest speakers from. I believe all our guest speakers, both from within the club and without, have provided us with interesting and beneficial information. Having said that, at this point I haven t asked anyone from that pool of talent to be at our next meeting. Expect to hear updates on upcoming events such as Pallotti, FarFest, and Riverfest. The rest of the program will remain a surprise to everyone, including me, at least for a while.

Let me elaborate on FarFest. As you know, many of us participate in the test session that is held there. The suggestion has been made that we have a table at the fest where members can put items to be sold. You can either donate the proceeds to the club or say a 15% portion of the sale. We would need people to be at the table to set it up, tear it down, and do the sales. We should also have enough cash in 1 s, 5 s, and 10 s as a beginning bank to make change. We will see at the meeting how many people have equipment to sell and how many we can get to man the table. If the response is sufficient we ll do it. We ve also thought that the screen saver might fly better at this mostly computer show and we ll see if that can be arranged. We d need power to demo the screen saver.

On the last page of the Feedback you will find a flyer for the Novice/Tech class that will be held beginning September 23. Please post the flyer at work, school, church, or wherever you think a crowd may see it. If you have any friends or relatives that might be interested, please let Pud know. The place was announced in the MNCPPC program that went out to all Prince George s County residents as being the Laurel Elementary School. We believe that to be a typo and are planning to hold it at the usual place, the West Laurel Rec Center on Brooklyn Bridge Road. It is important for us to know who will be coming so we can announce any changes in a timely manner. The flyer isn t much help to anyone if it is still attached to your Feedback when the course starts.

Finally, the members of this club have always been available to help the club at meetings, public service events, special events, antenna raisings, etc. Soon I will be appointing a nominating committee to come up with a slate of officers for the next year. If you are asked to help out by being an officer, please seriously consider doing it. To remain a healthy club with the verve we continue to show, we need to have officers who will continue to improve on things folks are happy with and look for new directions that will meet the needs of a varied constituency. If you are asked to help, please say yes. A slate will be presented at the September meeting and voted on at the October meeting.

73 es CU at the meeting. . . . . . de Jim/WI3N

LARC and the INTERNET (continued)
-by Pud/W3DQI

The following is an addition to your list of LARCers, and their e-mail address. In those cases where the member has both a home and work URL, only the home is listed. If anyone spots a typo, let me know....also, anyone else want to get listed? If so, send me a message at my e-mail address, and I'll update the list next time.







By now many of you have probably heard that LARC had a concentrated effort in the recent Maryland-DC QSO Party (contest). The contest ran from noon til midnight on Aug 10, and from noon until 8PM on the 11th (everyone agrees those are GOOD hours for a contest. We used my (W3DQI) shack, which included an Omni-C (TenTec) and amplifier on 20 meters, and my 25 watt two meter rig for that band. Kevin/W3DAD brought over another complete station, which included a TS-440 (Kenwood), amplifier, and tuner, which we used on 75 and 40 meters. Believe me after about an hour of running both those amps, it was about 15 degrees warmer inside the room than just outside the door.

On Saturday Kevin started on 40, Roger/N3MIJ and I started on 20, and Jim/WI3N started on 2. Although Kevin had to leave around 5PM, we kept the rigs going until almost midnight, in spite of some intermod problems when we QSY'd to 75.

On Sunday Michele/WK3X came over and joined Roger, Jim and me, and we kept going strong until about 8PM. We all think we had just the right amount of people and rigs, and it was busy, and fun, for the entire time.

Before I get to the bottom line, let me explain the scoring. As a MD station, our job was to make as many contacts as possible, both in MD and across the world. We scored 10 QSO points for contacting a club station, 5 points for talking to a mobile, 4 points for

QRP or Novice/Tech contacts, 3 for CW (we had one of those), else 1 point for a "standard station". So, where do you think we got our points?

20   247   326 

40   181   291 

75   116   192 

 2   224   951 

Final score: add qso points (1760), multiply by sum of states, MD-counties, and DX contacts (87) and come up with 153,120 total points....eclipsing last year's record score by the Columbia club by over 20000 points. Yes, I think we won! but won't know for sure until sometime in September.

On Sunday, by the way, we were joined by Joe/N3TZA and Dick/N3MJA. They took a little tour of the country-side, visited 7 counties (mobile = 5 points), thereby netting the club 70 qso points times 87 = 6090 points of our total.

Mike/WB3HUP did his usual thing...driving through each of the 23 MD counties, and was going strong until sometime on Sunday his antenna didn't quite make it under a bridge on the eastern shore. Mike still ended up with over 50K points for his mobile effort, I think setting a personal high. Of course, we worked him many times on both 2 and 40 meters.


At the last VE session, Boun/N3HXV donated $50.00 to the club treasury. I think Boun is a member of the Goddard Club, but has been a very regular helper at our sessions, too. Thanks, Boun!

LARC is going international, or at least the FEEDBACK is. Out of the clear a few days ago we received a check for $14.92 from the COPYRIGHT CLEARANCE CENTER, INC. Apparently they monitor foreign publications and police for copyright violations. Anyway, as close as Jim and I can figure out, something from some issue of FEEDBACK appeared in some publication, we think in the Netherlands. When....who knows. What article....who knows. But, we are grateful for the 'feedback'.

Turmoil in the VEC world.
-by Bob/WB3KXJ

Everything is going well at the local VE test session level, but the sixteen Volunteer Exam Coordinators as a group are having problems getting along with each other. Some of the problems surfaced publicly last spring in a squabble between the ARRL and something called the National Conference of VECs Inc.

(NCVEC Inc.). The most important task that the sixteen VECs have is the update of the official question pools that all VECs use to generate amateur tests. For ten years everything went relatively smoothly with the ARRL, W5YI and the Western Carolina VEC organizations doing the work and shouldering the expenses incurred as the members of the Question Pool Committee (QPC). Although most of the VECs met each year at Gettysburg to discuss issues and also meet with the FCC, there has never been any way found to fund the meeting expenses or the expenses of the conference. Each VEC was out of pocket for their expenses with the QPC's VECs taking a real hit, the moderator of the conference always getting stuck with some unexpected expenses, and of course the VECs from places like California and Texas paying hefty travel and hotel costs each year. Some of their costs were covered by charging for tests at their sessions but not all costs. Laurel paid our approximately $40.00 conference fee from the club treasury and we always drove up and back each of the two days. We have never been a QPC member and could not afford to be.

Last year Fred Maia, W5YI, Suggested that if the VEC conference participants were formalized into a corporation, we would be both safer from the liability of law suits as well as be able to solicit support from corporations. The FCC blasted the idea of corporate help in no uncertain terms. Although the funding was the big reason to incorporate, the conference went ahead anyway for the legal protection and to support Fred who agreed to seek out other funding possibilities. Don Tunstil, Central Alabama VEC (CAVEC), the conference moderator who had done well in that position was elected President and Bob Busch, LARC VEC, was elected Vice President. Bob resigned almost immediately. We were advised that because the NCVEC Inc. was unfunded, the members as clubs and as individuals could be held financially liable. Others never joined. The most important non joiner was the ARRL.

Somehow the whole thing went off track. The NCVEC Inc. decided they had the right to represent all sixteen VECs before the FCC and to make executive decisions effecting all of us even though the FCC then and until this day will not officially recognize the NCVEC Inc.'s existence. Their most unreasonable act was to remove the ARRL from the QPC. That started a long series of e-mail and other correspondence between the ARRL and the NCVEC Inc. President that was embarrassing at best. It resembled children throwing sand at each other in a sand box. Finally, an FCC official requested that the NCVEC Inc. President ( who was still the moderator of the conference of sixteen independent VECs who he claimed to supersede but was the only group recognized by the FCC) reinstate the ARRL as a personal favor. The ARRL was back and we all felt better but still unhappy with what ever it was the NCVEC Inc. thought it had become and had power to implement.

We found out soon enough that the NCVEC Inc. was up to no good. At our July 1996 meeting everything seemed to be going well until the end of the conference. As the last day's meeting was winding down one of the VECs pointed out that motions made the previous day were yet to be voted on and that Fred Maia had things to present. One issue outstanding was picking a moderator for 1997. Rather than recognize those who wanted to continue the meeting, the moderator, at least who we though was the moderator, declared the meeting of the NCVEC INC. to be adjourned and almost ran for the door. Note the subtle inference of what was adjourned; it was a meeting of the NCVEC Inc. That was a surprise to many, including Laurel, who had gone to the conference as members of a conference of sixteen independent VECs - the only organization recognized by the FCC. If we had realized earlier what the moderator who would be King was up to, we would not have attended. Nine of us stayed afterward. That is one more than half of all members of the real conference. We drafted an e-mail letter of displeasure to all VECs that all but one agreed to. The yeas included the ARRL and W5YI who are very strange bed fellows in deed. The reality of all VEC issues is that what the ARRL wants, the FCC most often accepts. If they are joined by W5YI, number two in size, no one else counts.

What now? There is a discussion currently going on about how the conference might raise money submitting license modification actions to the FCC while charging the applicants to do so. The FCC has given the VECs the go ahead to do that. So far there have been four votes and each has been different. What happens to the conference will be hinted at by what the modification filing vote turns up. That is not over yet. Stay tuned.


Stan/K3JNT has made some kind of deal for printing, and has provided these proofs, in case anyone is interested. (We can get you artwork for the VEC Seal also -ed.)

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