Volume 97 Issue 3 March 1997


Laurel Amateur Radio Club, Inc.

P.O. Box 3039, Laurel, Maryland 20709-0039 email:

Meetings and Nets:

1st, 3rd, 5th Wednesdays:

On-the-air Net at 8:30pm on 147.225+ PL156.7 (no tone required during nets)

2nd Wednesday:

Informal/Social Meeting at 7:30pm - Dinosaurs Restaurant; U.S. Route 1 at Contee Road, Laurel

4th Wednesday:

Monthly Meeting at 7:30pm - The Woman's Club of Laurel, 384 Main Street, Laurel


Informal Net/Rag-Chew from 10-11pm on 147.540

Laurel Amateur Radio Club, Inc.

P.O. Box 3039

Laurel, MD 20709-0039

Next Meeting:

Wednesday, March 26, 1997

The Woman's Club of Laurel

384 Main Street

Laurel, Maryland

Speaker: Chris Imlay/W3KD, ARRL General Counsel



President: Mark Doore N3NTQ 301-572-2385

Vice-President: Roger Davis W3LM 301-776-6961

Secretary: John Menard N3GXA 301-725-1641

Treasurer: Patty Menard N3OYN 301-725-1641

Other Positions and Contacts:

Immediate Past President: Jim Cross WI3N 301-725-6829

FAR Representative: Joe Seaslely KA3UZI 301-725-5822

FAR Representative: Dan Blasberg KA8YPY 202-667-5780

Laurel VEC: Bob Busch WB3KXJ 301-317-7819

LARC VE Testing: John Creel WB3GXW 301-572-5124

AutoCall Reporter: Jim Cross WI3N 301-725-6829

T-MARC/D-MARC Rep: Kevin Arber W3DAD 301-725-0038

Public Information Officer: Pud Reaver W3YD 301-498-6293

School Programs: Dick Downes N3MJA 301-776-6810

Training: Pud Reaver W3YD 301-498-6293

Technical Specialist: Kevin Arber W3DAD 301-725-0038

Emergency Operations: Mike Moseley WB3HUP 301-317-8546

ARRL Field Organization:

Atlantic Division Director: Kay Craige WT3P 610-993-9623

Atlantic Division Vice Director: Bernie Fuller N3EFN 814-763-1529

MD/DC Section Manager: Bill Howard WB3V 410-551-6775

Affiliated Club Coordinator: Tony Young WA3YLO 301-262-1917

Items to be published in The Feedback should be submitted by the third Wednesday of the month.

The Feedback is published monthly as the newsletter of the Laurel Amateur Radio Club, Inc.

Permission is granted to reprint from this publication provided credit is given.

Editor: John Menard, N3GXA

Publisher: John Creel, WB3GXW

March 1997

Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa


2 3 4 5 6 7 8

9 10 11 12 13 14 15

16 17 18 19 20 21 22

23 24 25 26 27 28 29

30 31

April 1997

Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa

1 2 3 4 5

6 7 8 9 10 11 12

13 14 15 16 17 18 19

20 21 22 23 24 25 26

27 28 29 30

Upcoming Activities and Events


26 Wed 7:30pm LARC Monthly Meeting 384 Main Street

Speaker: Chris Imlay (W3KD), ARRL General Counsel

27 Thu 7:30pm PG County ARES/RACES Meeting Central Ave.

31 Mon 7:30pm T-MARC CC Meeting PG EOC


2 Wed 8:30pm LARC Net 147.225+

5-6 Sat-Sun Greater Baltimore Hamboree and ComputerFest Timonium, MD

8 Tue 9:00pm PG County ARES Net 145.350-

9 Wed 7:00pm LARC Social Meeting Dinosaurs Restaurant

9 Wed 8:00pm FAR Meeting

16 Wed 8:30pm LARC Net 147.225+

19 Sat 9:00am Laurel VE Test Session 384 Main Street

19 Sat various Free CPR/First Aid Class Roosevelt High School

23 Wed 7:30pm LARC Monthly Meeting - "Stealth Antennas" 384 Main Street

24 Thu 7:30pm PG County ARES/RACES Meeting Central Ave.

28 Mon 7:30pm T-MARC CC Meeting PG EOC

30 Wed 8:30pm LARC Net 147.225+


4 Sun 8am-6pm Montpelier Spring Festival Montpelier Mansion Grounds

7 Wed 8:30pm LARC Net 147.225+

10 Sat 6am-5pm Laurel Main Street Festival 384 Main Street

10 Sun 9am-9pm Cheese Hollow Cheese Festival Special Event Station (W3HAM)

13 Tue 9:00pm PG County ARES Net 145.350-

14 Wed 7:00pm LARC Social Meeting Dinosaurs Restaurant

14 Wed 8:00pm FAR Meeting

19 Sat 9:00am Laurel VE Test Session 384 Main Street

The March Feedback

-by N3GXA

As I write this, I honestly don't know how this month's Feedback will turn out. Mark/N3NTQ has put much effort into making the format usable to the on-line universe. So far, I think it looks pretty rough, but a few things are improved already. The Upcoming Events Calendar is something that readers have wanted for a long time. This style should allow one to tear off that calendar and, yes, put it up on the refrigerator. Take notice of the New Member box. We should be publishing a new member directory next month. Mark has also made a new feature regarding member's birthdays. (Can you tell he's been exercising his database?)

As you can read in the President's Ramblings, we had a large mailing to local hams recently. Treasurer Patty/N3OYN has already received 7 new membership applications from this effort. I'll be interested to see how many more new folks show up for the meeting.

Feedback on The Feedback?

I have been working with our esteemed editor, John/N3GXA, to produce more of The Feedback electronically. This edition is the first fruits of our effort. My motives are somewhat selfish in that I have been publishing The Feedback on our web site, which has been a time-consuming effort and required me to use a scanner for many of the pages. This new process should make my job a lot easier and hopefully John's as well. I tried to maintain the same look and feel as before, but still have some tinkering to do. Hopefully by April we will be able to print the name and address directly and do away with the label process (we will keep the morse code requirement).

You comments and suggestions about the format and content of The Feedback would be appreciated.


Please Welcome The Following New Members:

W3CP Jim Headrick Beltsville

N3FNF George Dearing Montpelier

K1FSO Hank Moeller Laurel (East)

KA3KID Larry Pickens Laurel (West)

N3MIH Dick Sanford Laurel (West)

AA3OF Diane Cooperman Laurel (West)

W3VRX George Whitmore Beltsville or

This is a good month for equipment reviews. Our Technical Editor Kevin/W3DAD has a nice article on the popular Kenwood TS-50S, (loaned by HD/N3LFL). And, I have finally finished my review of the intermod resistance in a large group of 2 meter FM rigs.

March Birthdays

6 N3MIH Dick Sanford

9 N0JHL Kris Traughber

16 WT3P Kay Craigie

19 N3CRR Joe Sedita

28 WK3X Michele Cimbala

April Birthdays

2 N3MJA Dick Downes

7 K3IOG Howard Lehnert

11 N3LDY Irv McWherter

12 N3NTQ Mark Doore

13 W3HCK Dave Henkin

13 N3LFJ Marty Wilcox

25 W3VY Mary Ellen May

Did we miss anyone?


Adult CPR and

First Aid for Choking Class

Saturday, April 19, 1997

Eleanor Roosevelt High School

Greenbelt, Maryland

Classes start every 30 minutes,

from 8am until 1:30pm,

and last about 3 hours.

No pre-registration, just walk in.

Those who complete the course will be issued an American Heart Association Heart Saver CPR card.

Sponsored by

The American Heart Association

and Channel 9

For more information call 301-772-9076.

President's Ramblings

Many thanks to Jim/WI3N for stepping forward to coordinate Field Day this year - I'm sure it will be one of the best ever. Let's all pitch in and give Jim all the assistance and help he needs - the coordinator should not have to do all the work nor have all the fun.

We have mailed out introductory letters and membership applications to over 500 amateurs in the area. The letter gives an overview of the club and its activities, and invites them to attend one of our meetings, nets, or other activities. Thanks to Kevin/W3DAD for providing the first draft, and to John/N3GXA, Roger/W3LM, Dick/N3MJA, Patty/N3OYN, and Pud/W3YD for folding, stuffing, stamping, and licking (I think Dick cheated). Pud was the first to catch the typos, about 15 seconds after I dropped the mailing off at the post office.

ARRL has re-designated LARC as a Special Service Club for 1997 - keep up the good work guys! The Laurel Leader ran a little column about our recognition and some of the things we do to earn it. Tony Glaros of the Laurel Leader recalls doing an article on the club a few years back and thinks it might be about time to do another - maybe we can get him out for Field Day. A show of hands at the February meeting indicated that about 95% of the members present are ARRL members.

Some members of the club have shown an interest in getting CPR and First Aid training. I've finally found a FREE (a favorite ham term) class that is being sponsored by the American Heart Association and Channel 9 on April 19.

Rumor has it that a National Capital ARES Council (NCAC) Training Institute will be offered on May 24 in Rockville, Maryland. Jim/WI3N, Mike/WB3HUP, Stan/K3JNT, and I attended a session last December in Virginia. I found it to be an excellent program and very well organized. I would strongly recommend it to anyone - whether you plan to be involved in emergency activities or not. I suspect that you will be able to get an ARES card issued at the training as was the case last time. The NCAC was organized to provide better coordination between DC, Maryland, and Virginia emergency operations since Virginia is in a different ARRL section than MD/DC. The NCAC holds weekly nets Sunday evenings at 9pm on 146.910-.

I'm interested in exposing youth to amateur radio this year (no, not RF exposure). Dick/N3MJA raised his hand (maybe he was scratching his head) to get involved with the schools. I hope to get with Dick soon to see how we should proceed with this. I'm sure that he would enjoy the assistance and suggestions of other club members in getting a program going. I suspect there are at least a couple club members who have too much free time on their hands during the day (i.e. the LARC Breakfast Club) and could help out. Dick -- do I need to add Director of School Programs to your cards?

Tom Ballard of the Historical Electronics Museum, near BWI, has donated some extra QSTs to the club which I have put at the club house. Feel free to take any copies you are interested in, or pass along to new or prospective hams. Let me know if you have QSTs that you want to get rid of - maybe we can work to get them distributed to schools or libraries.

Don't forget to submit your comments on the ARRL proposal

for licensing restructure of the Amateur Radio Service

to ARRL Atlantic Division Director:

Kay Craige/WT3P

5 Faggs Manor Lane 610-993-9623

Paoli, PA 19301

See page 55 of the March QST for more information.

Chris Imlay/W3KD, ARRL General Counsel, will be the guest speaker at the March 26 meeting. I think you will find this to be a most interesting and enjoyable meeting. If you haven't been to a meeting recently, you can also check out the plaques and certificates that Pud has dug out (at Pat's request?) and put on the wall at the club house.

The April meeting will focus on 'Stealth Antennas'. Kevin/W3DAD and Russ/N3AUQ are working on some things to present. I invite and encourage all you to bring along your favorite ideas, designs, and experiences to share.

73, de Mark/N3NTQ

"It's a damn poor mind that can only

think of one way to spell a word."

-- Andrew Jackson



Cheese Hollow A.R.S as W3HAM

Commemorating the Inaugural

Cheese Hollow Cheese Festival

SSB 3.920, 7.222, 14.250,

21.350, 28.350, 50.150 Mhz

FM 146.580 Mhz

CW 7.130, 14.060 Mhz

1300z May 10 - 0100z May 11, 1997

Color Certificate

For QSO Data send Self Addressed

Stamped Envelope to:

Page Pyne WA3EO

230 N. Potomac St. #3

Hagerstown, MD

21740-3813 USA

Minutes of LARC Meeting - 26 February 1997


Spring is here and it is time to put a hat order in. We already have a couple of requests and need to get a few more orders to get a good price.

If interested please contact Patty/N3OYN or John/N3GXA

by March 29.

This may be your last chance

for a while.

Renew Your ARRL Membership Through LARC

When you renew your ARRL membership through LARC,

the club gets to keep $2. It's easy to do:

Just complete the ARRL renewal form and send

with check made out to LARC to:

Laurel Amateur Radio Club

c/o Patty Menard/N3OYN

905 Montrose Avenue

Laurel, Maryland 20707-3835

Please don't want until the last notice from ARRL to renew!

New ARRL memberships can also be done through the club.


A Review

Kevin Arber, W3DAD

Submissions for The Feedback may be made via email to by the Monday preceding the third Wednesday of the month.

At the January meeting N3LFL, HD, was kind enough to lend me a TS-50S to use for a while and report back to the members on its performance and my impression.

The TS-50S was designed for mobile use and it is a very compact box. It measures only 7" W x 2. 1/2" H x 9" L and yet is capable of 100 Watts. It has most of the features that HF users have come to expect in a transceiver, however, some are hidden behind front panel function buttons in two (A&B) menus.

The TS-50S features A & B VFOs, RIT, IF Shift, scan, and 99 memories with channel 99 holding the scan start and stop frequencies. In addition, the radio is capable of AM and FM as well as SSB and CW. All HF amateur bands are covered; 160 through 10 Meters. The TS-50S can be computer controlled.

The TS-50S has only one optional filter slot for a 500 Hz CW filter, which was not installed in the N3LFL radio. The normal SSB filter is 2.2 KHz (at -6dB points), but delivers good clean crisp audio from SSB signals. The radio has Kenwood's AIP feature along with an input attenuator to further fight signal overload and intermodulation distortion. The IF shift feature allows interfering signals to be shifted outside the filter passband and can be very effective in pulling a signal through the QRM. The ARRL review in QST reported a -7.0 dBm Third-Order input intercept point with the AIP and ATT off. Under crowded band conditions and strong signals I would expect the TS-50S operator would have to suffer from IM distortion or operate with AIP and/or the ATT on.

The transmitter has three output levels that are set from the front panel (or microphone) buttons via menu A; 10, 50 and 100 Watts. I set the transmitter for 50 watts and connected my "stealth" antenna for 17 Meters and enjoyed many solid QSOs. The Kenwood audio is excellent on transmit as well as receive. I managed to maintain a long QSO with a station in Montana when he was reporting my signal as strength zero but the audio was clear.

The radio can be used for data operation (Packet, AMTOR or RTTY), however, the TNC must be connected via the microphone connector, whereas larger radios have ports on the rear panel for TNC connection. The TS-50S allows the use of the CW filter on SSB which could make using AMTOR or RTTY more pleasant during crowded band conditions.

The radio is ready to connect to the optional Kenwood AT-50 or AT-300 automatic antenna tuning unit via the rear panel ACC connector. It also has rear panel ALC and RELAY ports for use with a linear amplifier.

Overall I found the TS-50S to be very effective in snagging various DX stations even in the face of heavy QRM. It is easy to use, having a minimum of front panel controls. I would not, however, recommend it for a fixed station rig, as it lacks features such as external TNC ports, additional filter slots, VOX on SSB, and certain functions such as AGC that are only accessible from a menu. This radio was reviewed by ARRL and the results published in September 1993 QST.

I would strongly suggest you read that article prior to purchasing the radio.

How to Buy a Mobile

-by N3GXA

This is a brief tale of how I've been researching the nuances of the available crop of 2 meter FM radios. This is a popular band, so I thought others would be interested. Kevin/W3DAD answered technical questions I had and then suggested I have enough data to write an article.

Well, first of all, what makes me want such a rig? I wanted to install a solid VHF radio in my wife Patty's car; a 1985 VW Jetta. There are only 5 basic criteria:

1. It must be resistant to intermod;

2. It must fit in the space I have designated in the car;

3. It must be resistant to intermod;

4. It must be reasonably priced;

and last;

5. It must be resistant to intermod.

Well, I'm trying to be funny, but only to warn all readers that you may not value the same things I do, and because of my location and past experience, intermod resistance is very high on my list. (For anyone not familiar with the term "intermod", I am referring to the horrible squawks and squeals that your receiver picks up when exposed to strong commercial signals, etc., notably in my case, paging stations.)

To start sorting things out, I used a seat of the pants approach. Radio Shack has a good reputation for intermod avoidance, and other hams I spoke with have had good luck with those. Icom has been marketing the IC-2000 as "highly intermod resistant". Others have had poor luck with some Kenwood equipment, but I later found that the different Kenwood models vary quite a bit. I have had good luck with Yaesu gear in the past.

How does one find information on radios and stuff? I suspect there are many ways, but my only method is to accumulate lots of old magazines which I forget to throw away, then look for reviews and lab tests that help. Primarily, I used the November 1996, and January 1995 issues of QST magazine. I'm pretty sure the ARRL also has a computer site with equipment reviews summarized, if you prefer that. These sources gave me lab test data on 15 different rigs that caught my eye. Also, by looking at some other back issues, I learned that the popular dual band radios and handi-talkies lack intermod resistance.

The ARRL Lab gives quite a bit of data on each radio tested: power requirements, sensitivity, dimensions, transmit power, etc. I learned that the item to look at is "two-tone, third-order, IMD dynamic range". This is measured 20-kHz offset from 146 MHz, and 10-MHz offset from 146 MHz. The higher this number is (measured in decibels), the better the receiver will reject unwanted signals. The 20-kHz number is more likely to indicate in-band signals, and the 10-Mhz number is the out of band noise. The 10-Mhz number is the one I want to check because this represents the pager frequencies in the 150 Mhz ranges that I have so much trouble with. (I had no idea about this until W3DAD set me straight. I had actually been looking at the 20-kHz number.)

The best performance for 20-kHz IMD, (in-band), was in the Radio Shack HTX-242. This seemed as it should be until I found out that the out of band IMD was more important. The QST articles confirm this. I ranked all the radios based on their performance in 10-MHz IMD. Kevin suggested that I should look for substantial differences, for example 91dB versus 97dB; not 91dB versus 93dB. This makes perfect sense to me. I therefore grouped the rigs into classes as they seemed to fit: Class I is 96dB to 103dB, Class II is 90dB to 92 dB, Class III is 86dB to 87dB, and Class IV is 78dB. I immediately removed Class III and IV rigs from the competition. Interestingly, no manufacturer reigned supreme in any particular class. Even Yaesu had a rig fall into Class III. I made up my own category called "combined IMD" by adding the other two values together. This favored the radios with better all around performance. (Think of it as the SAT exam where a student could do equally well in Math and Verbal, or be heavily weighted to one side or the other.) It didn't change a whole lot; the Yaesu rigs were still on top, but the Radio Shack rig, under combined IMD, climbed from sixth to third. Anyway, here it is:

10-Mhz IMD 20-kHZ IMD Combined IMD

Yae FT2500M 103 dB RS HTX-242 77 dB Yea FT2500M 172 dB

Yae FT3000M 101 KW TM-261A 74 Yea FT3000M 171

IC 2000H 97 Yea FT2200 73 RS HTX-242 168

KW TM-241A 96 ADI AR-146 73 IC 2000H 166

AZ PCS 7000H 92 STD C1208DA 71 KW TM-241A 166

RS HTX-242 91 Yae FT3000M 70 KW TM-261A 165

KW TM-261A 91 KW 241-A 70 STD C1208DA 161

STD C1208DA 90 IC 2000H 69 Yae FT2200 160

TenTec 1220 90 Yae FT2500M 69 ADI AR-146 159

Yae FT2200 87 Alin DR130T 69 AZ PCS 7000H 158

ADI AR-146 86 AZ PCS 7000H 66 Alin DR-130T 155

Alin DR-150T 86 Icom IC-281H 66 Icom IC-281H 152

Alin DR-130T 86 KW TM-251A 65 TenTec 1220 151

Icom IC-281H 86 TenTec 1220 61 Alin DR-150T 147

KW TM-251A 78 Alin DR-150T 61 KW TM-251A 143

(IC=Icom, KW=Kenwood, Yae=Yaesu, AZ=Azden, Alin=Alinco, STD=Standard, RS=Radio Shack)

As you can see, there are 4 rigs in Class I with Yaesu's military spec receivers dominating, and the Icom 2000 living up to its advertising. The Kenwood 241 was a bit of a surprise because their reputation isn't too good in this respect, but the lowest class has only a Kenwood rig. These are the radios I wanted to concentrate on, and the ones in Class II might be acceptable if there were some overriding reason, such as perfect features or an unusually low price.

My next problem was making sure one of those 4 rigs would fit into the car. The sizes are given in every test, and they seemed more or less close. However, I cut a little cardboard template of the front dimensions for the IC 2000, (2"x6"x6") and took it out to the car. After putzing around with that for a while, I decided that the depth was important too, so I proceeded to build a paper box the same size as the radio. Well, one thing led to another and I started to draw in my CADD system all the templates that seemed reasonable. I then sent these to the plotter (thanks boss) at 1:1 scale. This provided me with instant radios made of paper! Just cut and tape. Well, you would be surprised at how different a few fractions of an inch looks in real life. I'm very glad I took this step. The obvious choice for my needs was the Yaesu 2500, but at 2"x6.4"x7.2" it is a very large rig by today's standards. (Compare to the Kenwood KW-241A at 1.6"x5.5"x6.3".) I immediately ruled it out for the Jetta. (It's still possible for the truck, but why use so much room?)

Alright, the last thing is the price. Most of these rigs are around $300 give or take $25. Not so, however, for the next most obvious rig for me; the Yaesu FT-3000M. The going rate was around $480 according to QST. I would say that if you want or need lots of features, the price is worth it, but for my application a rig with lots of bells and whistles would be unwanted and possibly unused. The FT3000 has a huge receive range; 110-180, 300-520, 800-999 MHz. It also has a nice size and outstanding intermod resistance.

In summary, I should say that with all this research and procrastination I've really learned a thing or two. First of all I suppose that there's no substitute for research, (except for reading the Feedback). If I went on the reputation of the manufacturer alone, I could end up with a rig that is highly susceptible to intermod. Note the Kenwoods which appeared in Class I, II, and IV. I also was very interested in the TenTec 1220 because it's a kit. Unfortunately, the testers had quite a few problems with it, some of which would be unresolvable beyond my abilities. A few of the rigs often turn up in closeouts at real bargain prices, but the money saved would be quite small for someone like me who lives in intermod alley. Better to spend $30 more and save my sanity. I would also like to reiterate the importance of the paper mock-ups which help determine where the rig will fit. I can lend these things to other club members if anyone wants to try them.

If you have a dual band rig and like it, you would probably be happy with the Class II radios because their performance is about the same as the best dual banders; but that's another article.

Now which one did I finally buy? (All the readers are betting on the Icom, but what if someone offered me an unbelievable deal on the Kenwood?) Well, I still haven't gotten around to actually buying and installing the thing, but I'm aiming at the IC-2000H.

Excerpts fromThe ARRL Letter

Vol. 16, No. 9, February 28, 1997


The controversial Marconi auction is off! Under pressure from Marconi family members and others interested in preserving the Marconi heritage, GEC-Marconi has put on hold an auction of rare memorabilia from the collection of Guglielmo Marconi, the man usually credited with the invention of practical wireless. The items were scheduled to go on the auction block at Christie's South Kensington auction house in London during a two-day sale, April 24 and 25, 1997, but GEC-Marconi spokesman Alan Tull said this week that it's now "very unlikely" that will happen and that the company was negotiating to withdraw the collection from public sale altogether.

"It's quite a complex process," said Tull, who's GEC-Marconi's director of public relations. Tull said the current talks involve a third-party benefactor who has come forward with "a viable, businesslike proposal" to ensure long-term safekeeping of the collection. Tull said the "vast majority" of the collection consists of ephemera--mostly documents-and maintaining it involves "very big money" that GEC-Marconi was apparently unwilling to spend.

"We're a defense company, we're not in the museum business," he said.

The items scheduled to be sold have been in the GEC-Marconi Museum in Chelmsford, England. Tull said the current negotiations, which also involve the Science Museum of London and "certain interested parties," are going well. "We're working towards some kind of a solution so that we can retain the collection intact and in the UK," he said. GEC-Marconi wants "to do the right thing" to ensure public access as well as long-term safekeeping of the collection, he said. The collection's final location is still up in the air.

The sale was expected to bring in L1 million (approximately $1.6 million), which GEC-Marconi said was to help fund an endowment that would be used to train budding electronics teachers. GEC-Marconi was holding the sale as part of its Marconi centenary celebration.


Radio Amateurs of Canada is warning hams north of the border not to be taken in by what it believes might be a "divide and conquer strategy" by the Little LEO industry. On February 22, RAC issued an advisory to all clubs stating that "representatives of large telecom corporations" were approaching Amateur Radio clubs to explain how it would be feasible for the Little LEO and hams to share spectrum in the 146, 220 and 440 MHz bands. The low-earth-orbiting (LEO) satellites would provide data services.

Vol. 16, No. 10, March 7, 1997


Hams pitched in to volunteer as storms and floods hit several states in recent days. As severe storms were spotted across parts of the southern US, hams activated Skywarn nets to aid the National Weather Service in tracking the systems. In Arkansas, several tornadoes ripped through Arkadelphia and elsewhere on March 1. Arkansas SEC Jim Blackmon, B5IFV--who lives in Arkadelphia but was not seriously affected by the twister--reports that up to 30 hams mobilized within an hour of the tornado that devastated a swath two city blocks wide. (Later reports indicated that as many as 60 hams were pitching in.) Hams accompanied Office of Emergency Services (OES) teams on search-and-rescue missions. Hams accompanied damage assessment teams and Red Cross workers March 2.

Hams also helped provide communication and other services at Salvation Army shelters that were opened to take in those whose homes were destroyed. An HF link was maintained between Arkadelphia and the capital of Little Rock. Blackmon also reports that hams also helped a National Guard unit that got local radio stations KVRC and KDEL back on the air using a military generator, and he expects hams to be active in recovery efforts over the next week or so. Arkadelphia's underground telephone cabling kept most telephone service up and running--with the exception of the hardest-hit area,

which still has overhead lines. Arkansas SM George Mitchell, KI5BV, praised the organization and "first-rate work" of the hams working emergency duty.

In Ohio, where floods struck last weekend, SEC Larry Solak, WD8MPV, reports 14 counties have been declared disaster areas. Shelters were opened in at least three counties. Solak reports that approximately 200 Ohio hams turned out to help Red Cross personnel and the National Guard with emergency operations and damage assessment. Other hams in central Ohio were reported to be standing by to help, if needed. Because many of the flooded areas were isolated and not heavily populated, details are sketchy. Hams also were reported working at the state Emergency Operations Center as well as at county EOCs. And ham radio has filled the communication gap in those areas of Ohio where phone service was out.

Hams also have been reported responding to storm emergencies in Kentucky.--Jennifer Gagne, N1TDY


Packet radio is hot, and APRS--the map-based tracking system--is even hotter. Get in on the excitement with Getting on Track with APRS: A Hands-On Guide to the Automatic Packet Reporting System, by Stan Horzepa, WA1LOU. This book takes beginners step-by-step through installation and operation of APRS, for all computer platforms. Getting on Track with APRS is $14.95. Order item 5854.

For more information on ARRL books, CDs, CD-ROMs and other products, see our catalog on the ARRLWeb page at To place orders, call 860-594-0250; e-mail

Vol. 16, No. 11, March 14, 1997


Out with the old, in with the new. ARRL HQ has had new telephone numbers for more than a year now, but has kept the old numbers active so those who need to get in touch with us won't have to dial twice. And just after we got our new telephone numbers, the telephone company changed our area code from 203 to 860.


Eighteen schools, including institutions in the People's Republic of China and on Okinawa, have been picked for scheduled SAREX contacts during NASA's STS-83 space shuttle mission set for launch early on the morning of April 3. Three hams are scheduled to be aboard the shuttle Columbia. They are James D. Halsell, KC5RNI, mission commander; Janice E. Voss, KC5BTK, payload commander; and Donald A. Thomas, KC5FVF, mission specialist. The STS-83 flight is scheduled to last 16 days. The mission will carry SAREX configuration C: voice and packet. The mission's primary payload is the microgravity science laboratory.

The SAREX Working Group has designated the following frequencies during the STS-83 mission:

If packet is available, the FM packet downlink will be 145.55 MHz; the uplink will be 144.49 MHz. The FM packet call sign will be W5RRR-1.

The ARRL Letter is published by the American Radio Relay League, 225 Main St, Newington, CT 06111; tel 860-594-0200; fax 860-594-0259. Rodney J. Stafford, KB6ZV, President; David Sumner, K1ZZ, Executive Vice President.

The purpose of The ARRL Letter is to provide the essential news of interest to active, organizationally minded radio amateurs faster than it can be disseminated by our official journal, QST. We strive to be fast, accurate and readable in our reporting.

Material from The ARRL Letter may be reproduced in whole or in part, in any form, including photoreproduction and electronic databanks, provided that credit is given to The ARRL Letter and The American Radio Relay League.