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The NAAPO Newsletter
Volume 23, No. 1
March 2007

Written by: Phil Barnhart, NAAPO Coordinator, 4655 Indian Ct., Westerville, OH 43082
(Additions by: Jerry Ehman, Webmaster)

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Golf Course for Radio Telescope Bad Trade

Hard ball negotiations in the mid-1980’s failed to ultimately stop the development of an expanded golf course and the destruction of Ohio’s only large aperture radio telescope, the "Big Ear". Construction of an additional 9 holes to the Delaware Country Club’s existing public course and the establishment of the private Dornoch Golf Club doomed the renowned telescope and forced the removal of the operations of the North American AstroPhysical Observatory (NAAPO) to a new location.

High entrance fees and large annual membership fees have taken their toll on the exclusive golf club. Dornoch G. C. has filed for bankruptcy. The fate of the organization is in doubt. Just eight years after the telescope was demolished, the establishment that sealed its doom has declared its failure.

The volunteers at NAAPO are now fearful of the fate of the Big Ear historical marker that Dornoch allowed to be erected on its entry drive from Route 23. Hopefully the new owners will honor the agreement and allow the marker to remain.

We will continue to monitor the fate of the territory that now seems to have more value as housing real estate than golf course. If only the original offer to buy the ten acres upon which the telescope sat had been accepted . . .

NAAPO Moves from Under the Wing of Otterbein College

After 21 years of close cooperation, Otterbein College has severed ties with North American AstroPhysical Observatory. The informal arrangement began when NAAPO Coordinator, Phil Barnhart was full time Professor of Physics and Astronomy at the college.

Because there was substantial amounts of money involved in the operation of NAAPO, the college agreed to establish an account for the organization in the business office of the college. This provided a convenient service and removed a substantial load of accounting off the coordinator’s desk. The arrangement continued after Dr. Barnhart’s retirement from the faculty in 1995.

Since that time the college has sought to close out all accounts not directly under the control of active employees of the institution. As of last December (2006) NAAPO has taken over the management of its own finances and accepted the offer of senior volunteer, Jerry Ehman, to be resident Comptroller charged with keeping track of the accounts. This is a big load to add to the already considerable contribution made by Dr. Ehman. Every attempt will be made to ease the load on this new position.

It is with considerable gratitude that we bid farewell to the donated time and service provided by the always efficient and helpful staff of the Otterbein College Business Office. We note especially the help provided by Darlene Lawson, Steve Storck, Lynne Schneider, Steve Rosenberger and the many secretaries that shepherded us through the deposit and withdrawal routines. We will miss their counsel and advice.

Volunteers Organize Ham Club Honoring John Kraus – W8JK

With the realization that the callsign W8JK was vacated upon the death of John Kraus, the hams who volunteer for NAAPO proposed requesting that callsign from the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) and establishing a club honoring the original holder of that callsign. They succeeded in this endeavor and have spent one day contacting hams across the world using this well recognized callsign.

Dr. Kraus was a great contributor to the field of amateur radio, not only by being an active ham and proponent of the hobby and service aspects of the activity, but he invented the "(W8JK) flat-top beam antenna" used by many amateurs around the world. Already the John D. Kraus Memorial Amateur Radio Club is receiving comments praising the formation of such a memorial ‘station’ and preserving this well-known call sign honoring John Kraus.

A new web page has been set up by Jerry Ehman (at http://www.naapo.org/W8JK/W8JK.htm) with a link from our other web sites to this new page. Jerry has provided much information and a collection of photos about John Kraus as a radio amateur and an inventor of many types of antennas. Another section in this webpage provides the interesting saga of how the W8JK callsign was obtained.

Progress Continues on the Next Ten Elements

Last year it was decided there was enough funding available to begin construction of ten more Argus elements. Components have been purchased for the associated electronics and Ange Campanella has taken on the task of coordinating the construction of the necessary modules.

Spiral antennas and the mounting frames are yet to be fabricated and the additional cabling will need to be procured. During the construction phase it has become apparent that a test bed is needed to assure all component circuits come up to specification. Toward this end, Ken Ayotte started assembly of a spectrum analyzer to cover the desired frequeny range for the Argus system. Since Ken has moved to Michigan Ange has taken on the task of finishing the analyzer.

It is hoped the ten new elements will be up and running by the end of this coming summer.

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Copyright © 2007 North American AstroPhysical Observatory
Created by Jerry Ehman.
Last modified: March 19, 2007