This Week in Amateur Radio

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This Week in Amateur Radio: North America's Amateur Radio News Magazine. Articles on amateur radio and news stories in the media featured here.
Updated: 1 hour 32 min ago

IARU prepares for Key CEPT meeting

Sat, 08/17/2019 - 10:25
The final CEPT Conference Preparatory Group meeting prior to WRC-19 takes place from the 26th of August. Most of its papers are now available, including on current hot topics in the 6m, 2m and 23cm bands, where RSGB volunteers have been working hard to support the IARU. In summary:- At 50MHz IARU hopes that the European Common Proposal for WRC-19 will be supported, with as many administrations as possible signing the optional footnote to allow amateurs Primary access on a national basis in the lower part of the band. The 144-146MHz band is subject to the French proposal for a WRC-23 agenda item for aeronautical use. IARU and its Member Societies have been busy in recent weeks. IARU has submitted a paper to the meeting that includes background on amateur usage and regulatory concerns. It also includes a basic technical analysis showing the impracticality of such a proposal and believes there are much more appropriate parts of the spectrum for such an application.

Chinese Satellite Profiles Earth’s RF Spectrum as Seen from Lunar Orbit

Thu, 08/15/2019 - 10:25
The Chinese DSLWP-B (LO-94) satellite that had been in lunar orbit provided a profile of Earth’s HF spectrum as seen from the moon. The microsatellite subsequently was crashed into the moon’s surface after having completed its mission. DSLWP stands for “Discovering the Sky at Longest Wavelengths Pathfinder.” Among other things, DSLWP-B was designed to test low-frequency radio astronomy and space-based interferometry, and it carried Amateur Radio and educational payloads. The HF spectrum mission included mapping “RF interference” from Earth in the 1 – 30 MHz range by studying its occlusion by the moon during lunar orbit. According to Chinese media accounts, this was done to “verify the technology of ultra-long wave astronomical observation and solar radiation research.” The onboard detector sensed the spectrum of RF radiation at different positions of the lunar orbit.

FCC Staff Recommends Designating 988 as National Suicide, Mental Health Crisis Hotline

Thu, 08/15/2019 - 10:25
The FCC’s Wireline Competition Bureau and its Office of Economics and Analytics have sent a report to Congress that recommends that the Commission considers designating 988 as a three-digit emergency code for a nationwide suicide prevention and mental health crisis hotline. The report, mandated by the National Suicide Hotline Improvement Act of 2018, finds that such a three-digit number “would likely make it easier for Americans in crisis to access potentially life-saving resources.”

ARRL Board Pledges to Oppose French Proposal for 2 Meters

Wed, 08/14/2019 - 10:25
At its July meeting, the ARRL Board of Directors resolved that “at the appropriate time” ARRL will oppose a proposal by France to include 144 – 146 MHz among spectrum to study for non-safety Aeronautical Mobile Service applications with an eye toward sharing the spectrum with the Amateur Services. The action came as the Board met July 19 – 20 in Windsor, Connecticut for its second meeting of 2019. The Board pointed out that 144 – 146 MHz is allocated globally to the Amateur Service on a primary basis and enjoys widespread use for emergency communication. It also pointed to the investment by radio amateurs of money and effort to build repeaters, beacons, space infrastructure, and propagation research systems that have global reach. The AMSAT and ARISS communities would be severely affected as many spacecraft use 2 meters to facilitate communication, the Board noted. ARRL International Affairs Vice President Jay Bellows, K0QB, recommended continuing to monitor the proposal. If it is added as an agenda item for study for WRC 2023, the Board should consider action, he advised.

FCC Fines North Carolina Man for Unauthorized and Misleading Public Safety Transmissions

Sat, 08/10/2019 - 10:25
The FCC this week issued a $39,278 Forfeiture Order against Ocean Hinson of Surry County, North Carolina, for intentional misuse of a local public safety radio communications network, in violation of §301 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended. “Mr. Hinson impersonated first responders in unauthorized radio communications on Surry County’s licensed public safety frequency,” the FCC said. “On October 17, 2017, Surry County officials, responding to a fire alarm triggered at a local residence, transmitted a request for a unit from the Westfield Volunteer Fire Department. Shortly thereafter, Mr. Hinson, posing as ‘Westfield VFD Unit 7331,’ responded, using the mobile radio in his personal vehicle and stated that he was en route to the scene of the alarm. Approximately 4 minutes later, Mr. Hinson…cancelled the call. As a result of these two transmissions, no real first responder investigated the triggered residential fire alarm. Fortunately, no fire actually occurred at the scene of the alarm.”

ARRL Member Had Role in Promising RF Treatment Device for Alzheimer’s

Sat, 08/10/2019 - 10:25
ARRL member Eric Knight, KB1EHE, played a role in the development of an RF-based Alzheimer’s disease treatment that now shows great promise. A study published today in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease following a months-long FDA clinical trial of the treatment protocol concluded that memory decline in most patients “appeared to have been reversed to cognitive levels equivalent to 12 months earlier” after 2 months of treatment. The clinical trial concluded last December 31 and focused on the initial efficacy of what NeuroEM Therapeutics, Inc. — the company developing the device — calls “transcranial electromagnetic treatment” (TEMT), using a noninvasive head-worn device called the MemorEM(tm). “Results from the trial demonstrate that TEMT was safe in all eight participating patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease, and enhanced cognitive performance in seven of them, as measured by standard cognition scales,” said a news release from NeuroEM Therapeutics. Seven of the eight clinical trial patients agreed to take part in a 4-month extension study, based on the findings and the positive feedback from all participants.

Arizona ARES Volunteers Support Communication during Arizona Wildland Fire

Sat, 08/10/2019 - 10:25
Members of the Coconino County Amateur Radio Club (CARC) in Arizona activated on July 21 as winds accelerated the Museum Fire beyond 50 acres, triggering the activation of the county’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC). Members of the club, many of them ARES volunteers, staffed the EOC. The fire appears to have been named for its proximity to the Museum of Northern Arizona and the Arizona Historical Society Pioneer Museum. “The club has a great working relationship with Coconino County,” said CARC’s Public Information Officer Dan Shearer, N7YIQ. “CARC’s ARES component has a dedicated position in the EOC structure and has assisted on many incidents over the last few years, providing communications to field personnel when cell and radio coverage is limited or nonexistent.”

Delaware Radio Amateur Earmarks WWROF Contribution for Youth Contesting Initiatives

Sat, 08/10/2019 - 10:25
The World Wide Radio Operators Foundation (WWROF) has announced receipt of a $25,000 donation from contester Charles “Chick” Allen, NW3Y, of Seaford, Delaware. His contribution will be used at the discretion of the WWROF Board of Directors to promote and enhance youth involvement in contesting, WWROF said in announcing the contribution. “It is truly an honor to work with WWROF by providing support for one of Amateur Radio’s greatest needs — encouraging youth to discover and enjoy radiosport in new and creative ways,” Allen said.

AMSAT and ARISS Designing Amateur Radio System for Lunar Gateway

Sat, 08/10/2019 - 10:25
Details are still being fleshed out, but AMSAT and ARISS are working on the design of an Amateur Radio system for NASA’s Lunar Gateway. As NASA explains, the Gateway “will be a small spaceship in orbit around the moon that will provide access to more of the lunar surface than ever before with living quarters for astronauts, a lab for science and research, ports for visiting spacecraft, and more.” For NASA, the Lunar Gateway is “a spaceport for human and robotic exploration to the moon and beyond.” For radio amateurs, the Lunar Gateway will represent the next step in moving ham radio out of low-Earth orbit and into deep space. Under the current timeline, initial sections of the Gateway are scheduled to launch in 2022, with the Gateway in lunar orbit by 2026. “To make this happen, we are leveraging the work and expertise of the worldwide AMSAT organizations and the international ARISS community in this endeavor,” ARISS-International Chair and AMSAT Vice President for Human Spaceflight Programs Frank Bauer, KA3HDO, said. “We have an international team working on this and are meeting twice a month to mature the concept.” The ARISS concept was presented to NASA in May and got positive feedback, and was favorably received a few weeks later at the ARISS-International meeting in Montreal from the Canadian Space Agency’s Gateway Program Manager.

AMSAT 50th Anniversary Space Symposium Banquet Speakers Announced

Sat, 08/10/2019 - 10:25
Tickets now are available for the AMSAT Symposium Saturday evening banquet on Saturday, October 19. A panel of guest speakers will present “The Foundations of AMSAT” followed by a question-and-answer session. Guest speakers will include Lance Ginner, K6GSJ (Project OSCAR); George Jacobs, W3ASK (author, diplomat); Perry Klein, W3PK (AMSAT founding president); Owen Mace (Australis-OSCAR 5 builder); Richard Tonkin (Australis-OSCAR 5 builder), and Jan King, W3GEY (founding AMSAT member and Australis-OSCAR 5 Project Manager). The 50th Anniversary AMSAT Space Symposium and General Meeting will be held October 18 – 20 in Arlington, Virginia, at the Hilton Arlington. Symposium registration is available for $60 until September 15. Banquet tickets are $55. Visit the AMSAT website for additional information.

Warrnambool amateur radio group back on the airwaves (Australia)

Sat, 08/10/2019 - 10:25
A Warrnambool amateur radio group is set to re-connect with other lighthouses around the world following a year-long hiatus. VK3DX will host the International Lighthouse and Lightship Weekend at Portland’s Whalers Bluff lighthouse on August 17 and 18. Founding member Greg McNamara said the event was held on the third weekend of August every year, with members spending two days chatting to enthusiasts from more than 100 stations.

via HACKADAY: Reverse Engineering An Ancient SBC With An Apple II

Sat, 08/10/2019 - 10:25
We spend a lot of time in our community discussing the many home computers from the 8-bit era, while almost completely ignoring their industrial equivalents. While today a designer of a machine is more likely than not to reach for a microcontroller, four decades ago they would have used a single-board computer which might have shared a lot of silicon with the one you used to play Pac Man. [Epooch] recently came into possession of a CMS 9619A Advanced Single Board Microcomputer, a rather unique Programmable Logic Controller intended for industrial applications. It’s powered by a Motorola 6809 CPU and features the usual array of peripheral chips. To unlock its secrets he reached not for an array of tools from 2019 but for a venerable Apple IIe microcomputer.via Blog – Hackaday https://ift.tt/33cxXD9

ARISS Next Generation Radio System Completes Critical Flight Certification Tests

Sat, 08/03/2019 - 00:25
The Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) next-generation Interoperable Radio System (IORS) successfully completed a battery of stress tests, required as part of the final certification of the hardware for launch to and operation on the International Space Station (ISS). The IORS consists of a JVC Kenwood D710GA transceiver and the AMSAT-developed Multi-Voltage Power Supply (MVPS). In early July, the equipment successfully completed a series of electromagnetic interference/electro-magnetic compatibility (EMC) tests to ensure that the ARISS hardware will not interfere with ISS systems or other payloads. The IORS also successfully passed power quality and acoustics testing, which verified that the ARISS IORS will not introduce harmful signals back into the ISS power system and is quiet enough to meet ISS acoustic requirements. ARISS Hardware Team members Lou McFadin, W5DID, and Kerry Banke, N6IZW, were at NASA’s Johnson Space Center to support the 2-week battery of tests in concert with the NASA test and certification team.

Cape Cod ARES and SKYWARN Provide Support in Rare Cape Cod Tornado Event

Sat, 08/03/2019 - 00:25
Cape Cod, Massachusetts, ARES, and SKYWARN Amateur Radio volunteers were promptly pressed into action as a storm system on July 23 produced severe thunderstorms that spawned three tornadoes over the Cape. Hurricane-force wind also resulted in significant tree and utility wire damage across Cape Cod, with particularly hard-hit communities including Hyannis, Yarmouth, and Chatham. Some pockets of wind damage also occurred in the northwest corner of Martha’s Vineyard. Amateur Radio SKYWARN spotters were the first to provide critical ground truth information regarding the significant wind damage and tornadoes across Cape Cod. Under the direction of Cape Cod District Emergency Coordinator Frank O’Laughlin, WQ1O, and Eastern Massachusetts Section Emergency Coordinator Rob Macedo, KD1CY, a SKYWARN net ran for several hour on a Barnstable, Massachusetts, VHF repeater. Numerous damage reports were received during the net and for a couple hours after the storm had passed.

One Dead, One Injured in New Hampshire Ham Radio Tower Mishap

Sat, 08/03/2019 - 00:25
A tower dismantling turned tragic on Saturday, July 27, in Deerfield, New Hampshire, when two radio amateurs working some 40 feet up on the tower were carried to the ground when the structure collapsed. Joseph Areyzaga, K1JGA, 52, of Goffstown, New Hampshire, did not survive his injuries sustained in the fall, while the tower’s owner, Michael Rancourt, K1EEE, 65, was seriously injured and remains hospitalized. Rancourt was taking down the tower in preparation for selling his house, and the pair had nearly completed their work. They were tied into the tower and went down with it as it collapsed.The tower, a tilt-over model said to be 40 to 50 feet, had been bolted to prevent it from tilting as it was being dismantled.

via HACKADAY: Retrotechtacular: The OSCAR 7 Satellite Died and was Reborn 20 Years Later

Sat, 08/03/2019 - 00:25
If I were to ask you what is the oldest man-made orbiting satellite still in use, I’d expect to hear a variety of answers. Space geeks might mention the passive radar calibration spheres, or possibly one of the early weather satellites. But what about the oldest communication satellite still in use? The answer is a complicated one. Oscar 7 is an amateur radio satellite launched on November 5th 1974, carrying two transponders and four beacons, all of which operate on bands available to amateur radio operators. Nearly 45 years later it still provides radio amateurs with contacts just as it did in the 1970s. But this bird’s history is anything but ordinary. It’s the satellite that came back from the dead after being thought lost forever. And just as it was fading from view it played an unexpected role in the resistance to the communist government in Poland.

ARRL Field Day 2019 Attracts Nearly 3,100 Entries

Sat, 08/03/2019 - 00:25
The 30-day deadline to submit ARRL Field Day entries via app upload and (timely postmarked) USPS mail is now past, and the ARRL Contest Branch reports 3,070 entries have been logged into the system. Last year saw 2,903 entries. ARRL Radiosport and Field Services Manager Bart Jahnke, W9JJ, said the total does not include entries postmarked by July 23 and still in transit. A number of entries still show a status of “PENDING.” These include 280 incomplete entries that are missing the required list of call signs by band/mode (also known as a “Dupe Sheet”), or a Cabrillo file.

RSGB Announces New FT4 Contests

Sat, 08/03/2019 - 00:25
The Radio Society of Great Britain Contest Committee has announced a series of contests using the new digital mode FT4. The three short-duration events on 80 meters (dial frequency 3575 kHz USB) are aimed at offering experience to FT4 newcomers. “As this series is experimental, there are likely to be changes as we develop experience with this mode, so please check the rules prior to each event,” the announcement said. The objective is to score as many points as possible based on the distance between stations (subject to a maximum score per contact).

Free HPM 150th Birthday Event Logging Software Now Available

Sat, 08/03/2019 - 00:25
Scott Davis, N3FJP, perhaps best known for the ARRL Field Day software that bears his call sign, has developed a free logging program for ARRL’s Happy 150! Hiram Percy Maxim Birthday Celebration on-the-air event that gets under way on August 31 and runs for 9 days. Davis calls his software Hiram Percy Maxim Contest Log 1.0. Maxim, 1AW, who cofounded ARRL, was born on September 2, 1869. “I've never created a program for a non-recurring event before, because the coding time required is too large,” Davis said in a post to the N3FJP software user group. “I've made this exception because this is a really nice, simple rule set with the very popular field day-style exchange that has the added bonus in schedule flexibility of running for 9 days. The Hiram Percy Maxim celebration sure looks like a well-designed event that will be a lot of fun for us all.”

FAA Reauthorization Act Language Serves to Exclude Vast Majority of Amateur Radio Towers

Fri, 07/12/2019 - 14:25
Responding to Tropical Storm Barry, the Hurricane Watch Net (HWN) and WX4NHC— the Amateur Radio station at the National Hurricane Center (NHC) in Miami — have announced plans to activate. The HWN will activate today (July 12) at 2300 UTC on both 14.325 MHz and 7.268 MHz. "We will operate on 14.325 for as long as propagation allows and will suspend operations on 7.268 MHz at 0300 UTC," HWN Manager Bobby Graves, KB5HAV, said. "Net operations will resume Saturday morning at 1230 UTC (on both 14.325 MHz and 7.268 MHz) or as soon as the Waterway Net concludes operation." Graves said that once the net activates on Saturday, it will remain in operation until further notice.

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