Newsletter of the Triangle East Amateur Radio Association
The Delta Loop
Volume 5, Number 1                                                                                                            March 10, 2007

In This Issue:

The Loop is Back!
Application Avalanche
A Call For Elmers
Computers and Ham Radio
February Minutes
Meeting Schedule
VE Schedule

K4ADL Cartoon
TEARA Special VE Session
February 24, 2007!

Details Below!

The Loop is Back!

Norman Young

We're back!

The last issue of the Delta Loop went to electronic press on September 6, 2005. As editor, yours truly was having a really difficult time getting newsletters out on time, to the detriment of the club. Fortunately, Larry Royster, KI4FYR, who was already publishing a series of net newsletters under the “Chronicles” masthead, graciously volunteered to step forward and continue his fine series under the TEARA banner. Shortly thereafter, the TEARA Two Meter Chronicles and Six Meter Chronicles began showing up in the email boxes of TEARA members and friends.

As a former engineering professor at NCSU, Larry could be counted on to produce a wide variety of technical articles covering everything from astronomy to zoology, with a healthy dose of radio and antenna topics thrown in for good measure. In addition, we were treated to photos of the latest thing to bloom in the Royster garden along with a whole series of brain teasers and other odds and ends.

Unfortunately for TEARA, on February 16, 2007, Larry published the last edition of the TEARA Two Meter Chronicles, bringing to a close the TEARA Chronicles era. Like so many of the rest of us, there were other things he felt like he needed to do, so he has decided that he needs to go in a different direction.  My personal thanks to Larry for giving me a breather, and a big TEARA salute for a job well done!

And so what goes around comes around, and the Delta Loop now returns in a feeble effort to replace The Chronicles. But as you can see, this time around things are just a little bit different. The Loop is now an HTML publication.

As you may recall, the Loop was originally published in a Portable Document Format, or PDF file. It made good sense sing PDF readers are standard on almost every computer, and most major word processors produce PDF files. But PDF has its limits. To begin with, PDF documents have to be distributed, usually via email, and if you are not on the distribution list, you don't get your newsletter. And while we had a reflector list for just that purpose, email addresses were changing constantly, and the distribution list required a lot of effort to keep up to date.

Another concern with PDF files is that they can be rather large. Some of the larger Loop editions were over 1 megabyte. Now if you have a good DSL connection, that is not bad at all, but there are still a lot of folks on dialup, and downloading still is an issue for them.

However, everybody who has an Internet connection also has a web browser, so it seemed that we could offer some additional features by going to HTML. By offering The Loop over the web, it is available to anyone who wants to see it, and downloading becomes much less of an issue. For those who want to keep their own copy, they can either print it out, or save an electronic copy.

But the biggest advantage is the ability to link internally within the newsletter, and to the resources on the web. When we published in PDF, we could provide you with the URL for a particular site, but using HTML, we can provide the actual link. We can also link to specific items in the newsletter making it much easier for you to go directly to the article you want to read.

So with all of that in mind, we begin a new era of the Loop, and we hope you will enjoy it! Let us know what you think!

Application Avelanche Under Way as New Codeless Testing Regime Ramps Up!

From The ARRL Letter

March 2, 2007

The avalanche of Amateur Radio license and license upgrade applications prompted by the FCC's elimination of Morse code as a licensing requirement is well under way with no end in sight. ARRL VEC Manager Maria Somma, AB1FM, reports that paperwork from upward of 450 Amateur Radio exam sessions, most held since the new rules went into effect February 23, arrived this week, more than her department sees in a month under "normal" circumstances. The ARRL VEC has had to add personnel and schedule extended hours to keep up with the workload.

More of TEARA'S Special Session - February 24, 2007

"We've been seeing some of the largest brand-new Technician sessions ever," Somma said. "These examination sessions are huge, and a ton of new Technician license applications has been coming in -- sometimes 60 or 70 at a clip." Somma says license upgrade traffic also has been brisk, and, with some 650 examination sessions already on the calendar for March and more arriving daily, it doesn't look like the pace will slacken anytime soon.

New Amateur Radio rules are driving the demand for new licenses and upgrades. Effective February 23, the FCC no longer requires Amateur Radio applicants to pass a Morse code test to earn operating privileges below 30 MHz. As of the same date, Technician licensees who never passed a Morse code test gained new CW privileges on 80, 40 and 15 meters and new CW, RTTY, data and SSB privileges on 10 meters. Since the Technician ticket has not required a Morse code test since 1991, most current Technician license holders will face a learning curve to take advantage of their new CW privileges. As of February 25, there were approximately 324,200 Technician licensees in the US -- more than any other license class.

Technicians may begin using their new privileges without having to apply for them. No other license class acquired new privileges as a result of the new rules that went into effect February 23, however. All license upgraders must first apply at an examination session, pay any application fee and either successfully pass the appropriate written test or present valid exam element credit.

ARRL VEC personnel must go through "every single piece of paper" that arrives from an examination session, Somma explained. Before keying application data directly to the FCC's licensee database, the staff must make sure that session paperwork is in order, each application is filled out correctly and signed and any element credit is attached. If an applicant took an exam element, ARRL VEC must ensure that the test questions came from the correct question pool and that the applicant indeed passed. She said it typically takes up to 90 seconds for staff members to key in an application for a new licensee, but only about 30 seconds in the case of a license upgrade.

Among the growing stack of incoming paperwork February 28 was a package from a session held in the Bahamas for 56 US citizens -- more than likely retirees and members of the cruising and sailing communities in the Caribbean. Somma said it included applications for 12 new Technician licensees. The rest were upgrades.

Normally with a staff complement of six, ARRL VEC now has as many as eight full-timers plus three part-timers to handle the rush. Somma says her team by and large has been able to review each application and transmit license and upgrade application data to the FCC within three or four days of receipt. She also had words of praise for the Volunteer Examiner (VE) teams.

"I want to thank the VEs," Somma said. "Most of the paperwork is neat and orderly, and this makes it easy for us to just key it to the FCC." She did caution VEs to make sure they include any proof of prior element credit -- usually a Certificate of Successful Completion of Examination or CSCE -- when submitting applications.

Some VE teams have been sharing observations and photos from their examination sessions. "We're enjoying those," Somma said. "Keep 'em coming."  

(The TEARA Team processed a total of 31 applications in February, 26 of which were processed at the special ve session.  For more information, visit: the team's website located here. Ed.)

A Call for Elmers!

Norman Young

What a wild ride it has been! As of February 23, 2007, Morse code as a requirement for any amateur license is gone. It has made some folks happy beyond all belief, while others claim they are ready to throw all of their equipment into a nearby dumpster.  (If the latter is your plan, please advise me of the location of your nearest dumpster, as well as the date and time you plan to be there!)

The code versus no-code debate is nothing new. It has been with us, more or less, ever since the first hams started working with phone.  The current no-code movement began to get traction back in the early 80's, and has been going on ever since. The fact that it took nearly a quarter of a century for world governments to resolve the conflict speaks volumes about the “speed” at which governments move, and twenty five years is a long time for bad blood to develop between factions!

Regardless, the FCC has finally made and implemented a decision, so whether you like the change, hate it, or just don't care, it's time to move on. All of us need to accept the rules as they currently exist, get back on the radio, enjoy our favorite modes, and teach the new folks how to be good operators.

There is no doubt that many people who have wanted to be hams, but who were unwilling or unable to learn code, will now join us on the air. Whether they become good operators or lids will not depend on whether they know code, but on whether they learn good operating practices. For that, they need good “Elmers.”

“Elmering” is one of the finest traditions of ham radio. An Elmer is any ham who has a bit more knowledge or experience in a particular area than another ham and who freely shares that knowledge with the less experienced ham. On any given day, you can easily be someone's Elmer, and that same day, someone becomes your Elmer. It's how we've done ham radio for years!

Amateur radio exams, including code elements, have never taught new hams how to be good operators, and they never will. Hams learn from getting on the air and communicating with other hams. They also learn by having those same hams show them how to put up an antenna, check a voltage, tune an amplifier, or most anything else needed to operate a station. Every ham who helps another ham is an Elmer, and we are going to need lots of Elmers in the coming months!

If ham radio is to continue as a vibrant and growing hobby, the challenge we have now is to put our differences of opinion about the new rules aside, and become the Elmers for the new folks who are quickly joining us on the HF bands. And this is a special challenge for the code fans. The surest way to keep code alive is to recruit and train new hams into the world of CW. The challenge is to show new hams just how much fun working code can be, and to help those interested hams learn it, not to pass an exam, but to use it on the air.

February Meeting Minutes

Shelby Hendren

TEARA meeting 02-27-07

The meeting was called to order at 19:05 by Sherry KB4EXL, and  the treasurer’s report was given by Lynwood AF4XJ.  The minutes for January were read by Shelby NC4SH and approved as amended. 

Sherry announced the resignations of Larry & Julie Royster and the appointment of Shelby as interim Club Secretary.  She also announced that there were tickets available for the Charlotte and RARS hamfest. On Club member news, she reported that Sam, NC4SJ's  eyesight is improving and he is going to work two days a week, Holt AC4UD is scheduled for surgery tomorrow.  Sherry also welcomed Glen and Max back after both had strokes.

Norman KA4PUV gave the February VE report; there were six candidates on Feb 17th and twenty five for the upgrade on February 24th.    Of these nineteen got Generals, and four got Extras, one individual came without a license and left as an Extra.   There is a VE web page now, it is at TEARA.VE.GOOGLEPAGES.COM

Under old business, the Bylaw changes were dropped,  There was a subsequent motion by Ronnie WA4MJF to accept some of the proposals, but there was no second and it was dropped.  

Under new business, Ronnie WA4MJF made a motion that Tim Slay N4IB be made an honorary member, Frank W4FAL seconded it, a voice vote confirmed this, and the club will send him a letter on this.   A donation of $50.00 will be made to the Church, Ronnie WA4MJF made a motion Frank W4FAL seconded it, and a voice vote confirmed this. 

Replacements for Net Control are needed, temporary for Holt and permanently for Julie.    Norman will pickup the net on 3/20, Lynwood will call the 6 meter net for now.   Norman has an idea for the newsletter, it will be in web format and there will be a March issue.  He will send a URL to access it.     

The program this month was on nuclear power and the Shearon Harris plant near Raleigh.  It was given by Mike Lewis WA4KE. (Mike is the ARRL Affiliated Club Coordinator; he helps new clubs becoming affiliated with the ARRL.)

TEARA Meeting Schedule

The Triangle East Amateur Radio Association meets the fourth Tuesday of each month, at 7:00 pm, in the fellowship hall of the Wendell United Methodist church.  Although the official meeting begins at 7:00 pm, members and guests usually arrive around 6:00 to 6:30 with their favorite fast food or broawn bag meal.  TEARA meetings feature an excellent variety of programs of interest to hams.  Please give the club a visit and consider becoming a member.  (TEARA does not hold a regular meeting in December, but instead usuall holds a Christmas party some time during the month at a member's home.).  


The TEARA 2 meter net meets every Tuesday evening at 8:30 PM (local) on uses  the  WB4IUY repeater (147.390+, PL 88.5), located near Clayton, NC. TEARA also holds a 6 meter net on Thursday nights on the K4ITL repeater (53.030 -) which is located near Lake Wheeler.

All amateurs within range of either of these fine repeaters are encouraged to drop by to check in and stand by for some serious rag chewing!
VE Schedule

TEARA's Volunteer Examiner Team holds a VE session on the third Saturday of each month except July and December at the Red Cross building in downtown Smithfield.  For details, please visit the team's website located here, and be sure to visit us in person when you are ready for that first license or upgrade!
K4ADL Cartoon

Credit Where Credit Is Due

Cartoon courtesy of K4ADL (  
VE photo courtesy Bill Edwards, K4BWC.
ARRL Newsletter articles reprinted by permission of the American Radio Relay League.

So there you have it... the inaugral issue of The Loop in HTML format, and we hope you have enjoyed it.  In the coming months, look for additional information such as meeting minutes, the TEARA calendar, and information on upcoming programs to become a regular part of your club newsletter!

Oh, and please let me know if something does not work with your browser!  You can email me direct at normany27597 at bellsouth dot net.

73 de KA4PUV

Copyright Triangle East Amateur Radio Association 2007