This is a text version of the February 2000 newsletter

IN-SERVICE

ASCRA Meeting To Be Saturday April 1, 2000 at World Conference

The biennial ASCRA meeting will convene the Saturday before World Conference in Independence. The election results for new members of the Board will be announced to the membership at the meeting. Some hints regarding the rest of the program are given in the Executive Director's message which follows. In the afternoon following the meeting the Board of Directors of ASCRA will meet for their annual business meeting.

To: ASCRA

From: Larry Oiler NBGG

Hi Everyone! We are beginning to finalize plans for the annual meeting in Independence. It will be on Saturday , April 1, 2000. It will be held at the New Walnut Park church at 1137 S. Pearl. The church is 2 blocks East of Noland Rd, on the North side of 23rd St. at Pearl. The meeting will be from 10 a.m. until noon. No lunch will be served. If you are coming, plan to share about what Ham Radio and ASCRA have been doing in your "neck of the woods" ( Is that a midwest expression?). Hopefully there will be lots to share with one another. Be prepared for a good time. Listen to the WSHQ repeater for directions or assistance. 146.13-73 fm. See you there.

From the President
Now its time to vote for 6 directors of your choice to help care for the next 2 years of ASCRA.. Please vote before you forget, so your vote will count.
Each of us see something we like in ASCRA and we want it to continue. Yes, times are changing ASCRA, but we want to keep it something enjoyable as it is important to us. Some new ASCRA web pages are planned for the future.
We want to hear from you regarding your view of ASCRA as well as those things you do involving ham radio. Can we put your comments in the In-Service? What can we do to make ASCRA or In-Service better?
Hope to see you at the general meeting at Independence.

73's Ernie Miles,

WB2UJL, 6 Frederick Dr. Apalachin, NY 13732
: e-mail -
erniemiles@aol.com

ASCRA NETS

20 METER NET

Frequency 14.287 MHZ
1530 Central Time Sunday
Net Control Ernie, WB2UJL and Terry, W6LMJ and others.

West Coast 75 METER NET

Frequency 3917 KHZ
0530-0600 Pacific Time Mon-Sat
Net Control Bob Laudie WA6SZT

Lamoni IA 2 METER NET

Frequency 146.13/73
1930 Central Time Sunday
Net Control Larry Oiler

 

NTN, Jim (Near St. Louis) and W6RWH, Hale (Iowa) meet on 7.243 Mc on Saturdays at 4:30 P.M. CST. ASCRA stations are invited to join the QSO

Interstellar Ham Radio?

by Bob Farnham

ASCRA Board of Directors

Have you ever wondered about the possibility of life elsewhere? Out of at least 200 billion stars in our own Milky Way Galaxy, it is likely there are other planets with civilizations which could communicate with us. Since we pride ourselves in communicating over the greatest distance using the least amount of power, what could be more fun than the prospect of communicating between solar systems? After all, hams were the pioneers in radio astronomy.

Radio astronomers have been searching diligently for radio transmissions originating from elsewhere. In 1992, NASA began the Microwave Observing Project. The project continues now with private donations as the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI). Over the years, antennas at the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico, in the Mojave Desert, and in Canberra, Australia have been collecting huge amounts of data from the sky.

To determine if a signal is from an intelligent being elsewhere, the SETI@home project seeks to use personal computers to process the massive amounts of data from these telescopes. Each of us probably has a computer which sits idle for much of the time it is turned on. This idle time can be used productively to process data units from the Arecibo radio telescope and others.

The SETI@home project has developed a computer program, which can be downloaded from the Internet to perform the required calculations. Versions are available for Windows, Macintosh, Unix and other computer operating systems. Once installed, the program downloads a data unit. The program processes the data unit, looking for patterns that might be artificial. Once finished with the data unit, the program sends the results back to the SETI@home project and downloads a new data unit. The program runs as a screensaver when your computer is turned on and does not interfere with your use of your computer.

To set-up your personal account with SETI go to http://setiathome.ssl.berkeley.edu

This web site contains much more information about the search for extraterrestrial intelligence, including how data units are processed to find potentially artificial patterns. To use SETI@home on your own computer, you first create a personal "account" on the SETI@home server. Your account is identified by your email address. (This lets them notify you in case you discover ET) If you run SETI@home on several computers, they can all run under the same account.

At the current time, there are over 1.4 million computer users worldwide who are engaged in this project. A number of these users are running multiple computers! The website of the SETI@home project allows people to register their own group and/or add themselves as members to existing groups. Individuals within groups are ranked by the number of data units they have completed, and the group also accumulates records for total data units completed. Quite a culture and even some friendly competition has developed among the groups. In response to discussion about SETI@home on recent 20-meter nets, I have created an ASCRA group on the SETI@home website. Once you have an account, you can register your account as part of ASCRA's group.

Individuals who register their personal SETI account with our group will have their data unit statistics included in ASCRA's total count. To join or view the statistics on ASCRA's group, click on Groups from the main SETI@home page given above, and search for ASCRA, or go directly to ASCRA's page by entering the following:

http://setiathome.ssl.berkeley.edu/cgi-bin/cgi?cmd=team_lookup&name=ASCRA

Note: this article was condensed from a more complete version. The full version is available at http://www.graceland.edu/~farnham/seti.html, or http://www.graceland.edu/~farnham/seti.pdf for those with the appropriate software for viewing Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) files. Happy galactic fox hunting!

73 de KGII farnham@graceland.edu 515-784-5494 (voice)

515-784-5481 (fax)

Bob Farnham

* * * *

In a newsletter sent out to SETI participants on December 25, 1999 the following was included:

With your assistance, SETI@home has been amazingly successful. 1,500,000 people in 224 countries have downloaded the SETI@home screensaver and together they have contributed 125,000 years of computer time, with the common goal of finding the first sign of intelligent extraterrestrial life.
We've been recording data at the Arecibo radio telescope since December 1998, and most of the data through May 1999 has now been analyzed. 100 million signals have been detected and stored in our database. The second-phase processing, which rejects man-made interference and looks for "repeat" signals, will start soon. This is when we hope to actually detect an ET signal! Furthermore, thanks to the abundance of computing power, we'll be augmenting SETI@home to look for new types of signals.

Editor

* * * *

ASCRA GROUP SETI SCOREBOARD 2/2/00


NAME/CALL, UNITS COMPLETED, TOTAL CPU TIME

Bill Collins/WB6OTG 585 1.26 years

Bob Farnham/KGII 63 2669 hours

Hale Collins/W6RWH 5 222 hours

Rod Schall 4 145 hours

Thank God for a Few

Good Friends! Ken Collard KB9JLC

Antennas have always been of interest to me back through the years. Even while in Citizen Band radio I would make my own antennas. I like quad antennas the most and it seemed that the best I could do for them was a 40' push up pole. I always wanted a tower, and one day after I got my amateur license I was talking to a friend who works in sales at an electrical supply co. I told him I was an amateur radio operator. He wanted to know if I would like some tower. I said sure I would. His father-in-law had just got satellite TV and had given him 70 foot of sturdy tower.

So I went up to his house and we loaded it into my truck and I brought it home and found that the end of one section was bent but that was fine with me. I was thankful to get it and decided that 50 foot was a good goal to achieve anyway.

I would take a piece of steel wool and every now and then take some of the corrosion off of it, and with some aluminum paint, I would paint a section at a time and put it in the basement of my house. It sat there for a couple of years.

One of the amazing parts of this story is that when I got my ham ticket, there were just a few hams in the area and one night while tuning through the 10 meter band, I happened on to a round table discussion and come to find out, there was a whole group of hams that had sprung up in the area over the past few years and a great bunch of guys also. I hadn't been real active in ham radio except talking to my wife KB9OLB on 2 meter and still kind of radio shy, but these guys took me right in to their group and made it easy for me to get involved.

One day Scott, KB9SOE was over to the house helping me replace my wire antenna, which by the way I had on a homemade push up pole and he saw my tower lying there in the basement and said; Hey Ken, when are we going to put that up? I said well, maybe one of these days. He went on to tell me about how he had his built with a tilt base and when I went to his house, I checked it over and decided that it may be a good project to get into.

We have had an exceptionally warm fall, and winter was almost upon us, but I told Scott that I would get started on building the base for my tower. We do some metal fabricating where I work and have some steel on hand and some structural tubing so I decided I would stay after work a couple of hours each day until I completed it. It took a few evenings to complete the project and my boss looked at my base plate and said there was an easier way to do that. That's the boss for you. Well, I liked it the way it was and wanted to make sure it was strong. I also spent a few evenings getting my other things together, such as coax and guy wire and anchors and fasteners etc.

After I had built the base, Scott came over the following Saturday morning and helped me dig the hole. We went to town and picked up some bagged concrete mix and dropped a plumb off the roof of the house and positioned the base pipe and mixed the concrete and poured it in. I was glad to get that done before bad weather.

It so happened that I was to get the next weekend off also so I said to Scott that we might as well go for it and put the tower up the next Saturday. He said that we would and a couple of my other ham friends said if we needed any help to just yell.

Scott said he would bring his brother Jeff, KB9TQI over to help and I told him we could sure use him. They said they would be over about noon on Saturday.

Well Saturday morning came so I commenced to getting all the parts together such as fasteners etc. I decide to use 50' of the tower with a five foot piece of conduit out of the top to mount the stick on. A friend of mine Steve, from work, came by and helped me start with the assembly. I used a couple of sawhorses to lay the tower on and it worked just right as the base plate was at a higher elevation than where the sawhorses were and we built it all out through the yard. I had bought a new Shakespeare military style stick for 10 meters, which is the band we talk on every evening, and I moved my MFJ 2 meter ground plane from the chimney of my house to the tower. I decided to leave my Van Gordon All Bander inverted V on its push up pole at the other end of the house. Steve and I had the tower pretty well together when Scott and Jeff showed up.

We had determined that if a couple of us got under the tower and walked it up and Jeff was on the roof pulling on the rope that we could probably raise it. After all it only weighed a couple of hundred pounds I kept saying. Someone suggested that maybe we should pray about this, so I offered a short prayer for everyone's safety and for future fellowship on the airwaves and we were ready to go.

Scott had said he used his truck to pull his tower up but we would give this method a try anyway. We picked the tower up by the end and being quite heavy we decided we would need at least an extra hand, so we radioed for Virgil, KB9TAA and he came to our aid. We had a spare section of tower handy to use for a prop if we got into trouble. Well, it's a good thing we did. The tower wasn't bad until we got closer to the base plate and all of that footage was hanging out over our backs and we had a small bank to climb also. It was just about at the point of breaking over to center when it was all we could do to hold it up. Virgil grabbed the support and stuck it under the tower and we all took a breather. It was time to grab the truck. Virgil took his Jeep to the other end of the house and we threw the rope across the house and tied it to the trailer hitch and Jeff was still on the roof ready to keep tension up on the rope and to yell instructions to Virgil. My wife Jennifer, KB9OLB was also standing by with the camera with a look of doubt on her face.

Give it a pull Virgil! Well, Scott and I were walking it up and Jeff was on the roof holding the rope up off the roof and Virgil was giving it a steady pull with the Jeep and sure enough she was steadily rising. I was sure relieved when it broke over to center and rested up against the house. I also had a place to put a strap at the peak of the house for more support.

Jeff fastened the strap at the top and climbed the tower and loosened the guy wires where they were coiled up. I had also drilled a couple of holes in the base plate to bolt the two pieces together and I put the bolts in them and we were in business. We all stood back and took a look at it and commented on how good it looked up there and were glad it was up. There are some things a man can't do by himself and this was sure one of them.

Thank God for a few good friends!

Thanks to: Scott KB9SOE Virgil KB9TAA

Jeff KB9TQI Steve, friend

And to Tim Wright for the tower

* * * *

ASCRA

Membership Application/Affirmation

& Change of Address

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Name Call/class

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_____________ Send To: ASCRA P.O. Box 73 Independence MO 64051

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IN-SERVICE

Publication of the Association of Saints Church Radio Amateurs

Editor: Hale Collins W6RWH

Comments, suggestions or material for future issues send to:

e-mail: w6rwh@amsat.org

Route 1 Box 228

Lamoni IA 50140

Phone: 515 784-6007