This Week in Amateur Radio
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: 2 hours 50 min ago
If your club wants to see how its Field Day efforts are faring in comparison with others in your category, check out the Contest Online ScoreBoard. It will be supporting ARRL Field Day. In addition, Bruce Horn, WA7BNM, has developed Score Distributor, which will relay your score to all scoreboards that support the event. Scoreboards can be very attractive to younger operators, in addition to enhancing the fun factor, and they can really motivate teams to keep on the air and active.
An historic contact was made on Sunday, 16 June 2019, when the Atlantic was spanned for the first time on 144MHz. D41CV on Cape Verde Islands off the coast of Africa managed to work FG8OJ in Guadeloupe on 144.174MHz using FT8.
The annual SAQ VLF transmission on Alexanderson Day on 17.2kHz from the Alexanderson Alternator will take place Sunday, 30 June 2019. Two transmissions are scheduled.Tuning will start at 0830UTC for the message at 0900UTC, then 1130UTC for the transmission at 1200UTC. Both transmission events will be broadcasted live on YouTube.
The Planetary Society’s citizen-funded LightSail 2 solar-propelled spacecraft is set to launch on June 22 on board a SpaceX Falcon Heavy. It will attempt the first controlled solar sail flight in Earth orbit. LightSail 1 successfully completed its test flight mission in 2015. LightSail is aimed at testing “solar sailing” technology for CubeSats, which comprise many Amateur Radio satellites. According to the Planetary Society, solar sailing uses reflective sails to harness the momentum of sunlight for propulsion. “One disadvantage to CubeSats is that they typically lack propulsion, which limits their range of applications,” The Planetary Society says. “LightSail will demonstrate the viability of using solar sailing for CubeSats.”
At the request of authorities in India’s Gujarat Province, Rajesh Vagadia, VU2EXP, and his niece Shyama Vagadia, VU3WHG, deployed on June 12 to Porbandar to offer emergency communication support in the event the Category 3 Cyclone Vayu struck Gujarat. On short notice, they installed HF and VHF stations, equipped with digital communication. Rajesh Vagadia said a lot of hams checked in and remained on frequency to assist if needed.
A New Jersey radio amateur, David S. Larsen Sr., WS2L, of Highland Park, will surrender his Amateur Extra-class license and pay a $7,500 civil penalty as part of a Consent Decree with the FCC to settle an enforcement action. An FCC Enforcement Bureau Order released June 18 said Larsen violated the Communications Act of 1934 and Part 90 rules by operating on frequencies licensed to the Borough of Highland Park for public safety communication.
The International Amateur Radio Union Region 1 Monitoring System (IARUMS) reports a “new kind” of over-the-horizon (OTH) radar on 20 meters. The intruding signal, which appears to be emanating from the Far East, was monitored during May on 14.140 – 14.150 MHz. Another Chinese wideband OTH radar has been showing up on 15 meters, with a signal 160 kHz wide. An Iranian radar has appeared on 10 meters, centered on 28.860 MHz, and is audible in Europe during sporadic-E conditions. The signal is about 46 kHz wide. The Russian OTH radar “Konteyner” OTH radar centered on 14.127 MHz continues to be observed, with a 12 kHz wide signal.
hi-impact will be launching two high altitude balloon flights this month, on the 20th and 27th of June. Working alongside Altrincham Prep School and South Wirral High School, they plan to launch from Welshpool at 11am, subject to any operational changes, which will appear on their Facebook and Twitter feeds, @hiimpactconsult. Both flights are HABDuino equipped, and assistance from amateurs and SWLs in receiving the data and feeding it into HABHUB via DL-FLDigi is appreciated.
Two proposals under discussion in Europe as possible World Radiocommunication Conference 2023 (WRC-23) agenda items “could impact important Amateur Radio frequencies,” IARU Region 1 President Don Beattie, G3BJ, reported this week on the IARU Region 1 website. Included is a proposal from France to consider the 144 – 146 MHz band as a primary allocation to the Aeronautical Mobile service, as part of a broader consideration of spectrum allocated to that service. IARU has cautioned the amateur community against overreacting to the news. France will submit a paper containing a proposal for an agenda item for “new non-safety Aeronautical Mobile applications” at the June 17 – 21 Conference Preparatory Group meeting of the European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administrations (CEPT) in Prague. Beattie pointed out in his account that 144 – 146 MHz is a primary global Amateur and Amateur Satellite allocation.
Hap Holly, KC9RP, who’s been producing the The RAIN Report Amateur Radio newscast every week for 30 years, has announced that he’s retiring and closing down The RAIN Report (Radio Amateur Information Network). “The archives will remain online for those who want to download and/or broadcast them,” Holly told ARRL. “My thought is to expand the archive from RAIN Reports that have never been archived.” A ham since 1969, Holly, a prolific reporter of Dayton Hamvention news and forum accounts over the years, said he’ll produce a “Farewell to The RAIN Report” newscast. The grand finale could run over more than one episode and will include clips — now being solicited — from individuals heard on The RAIN Report in past years.
Dominica News Online reports that four handheld Amateur Radio transceivers have been donated to the Dominica Association of Persons with Disabilities (DAPD), allowing DAPD members who have received Amateur Radio training to get on the air. Two Swedish members of the Dominica Amateur Radio Club Inc. (DARCI) who had joined the DAPD handled the presentation. During an interview with DBS Radio, DAPD Executive Director Nathalie Murphy expressed her gratitude to DARCI for the donation. “It’s one thing to do the theory, but it’s another thing to do the practicals, and without such devices that won’t be possible, so we want to extend a big thank you to the Dominica Amateur Radio Club Inc. for considering us and ensuring that the program that we followed now we are able to implement it practically,” Murphy said. “After you have had the training and you have been certified as an Amateur Radio user, you have to get your license issued by the National Telecommunications Regulatory Commission, and our applications are before them.”
The Perseverance DX Group (PDXG) team planning the 2020 DXpedition to Orkney Islands will use the call sign VP8/VP8DXU. The team reports that radio and antenna strategies are complete, and work is under way on detailed project plans. Elecraft will provide K3S transceivers as well as amplifiers and panadapters for the adventure.
Maker Media, which published Make: magazine and produced Maker Faire, has laid off its staff and is terminating operations due to financial problems. Maker Media CEO and founder Dale Dougherty confirmed to TechCrunch that the company was ceasing operations and that it had laid off all 22 employees, citing financial difficulties with publishing a magazine and the lack of corporate sponsorship.
After filing a civil action and seeking an injunction to stop a church-related pirate radio station from operating in Worcester, Massachusetts, the US Attorney’s Office this week reached a settlement with the station’s operators, Vasco Oburoni and Christian Praise International Church. US Attorney Andrew E. Lelling and FCC Enforcement Bureau Chief Rosemary Harold announced the settlement on June 10. Oburoni and the church admitted that they had operated an FM broadcast station without a license. According to a consent decree filed on June 10 and subject to court approval, Oburoni and Christian Praise International Church agree not to do so in the future. They also agreed to surrender all of their broadcasting equipment.
The Aland Islands Postal Administration is issuing a postcard this year to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the first DXpedition to Market Reef, OJ0MR, in late December 1969 and its attainment of DXCC status. Soon after that initial operation, the permanent lighthouse keeper, Karl-Erik, OJ0MA, also hit the airwaves, and a stream of DXpeditions followed, establishing Market Reef as a dream location for hundreds of operators. The Northern California DX Foundation and the Finnish DX Foundation later assisted the Finnish Light House Society (FLS) to restore the remote DX outpost between the Aland Islands and Sweden. This year, many veteran DXpeditioners will return to Market Reef, including some up-and-coming young DXers from Finland and Sweden. The activity, which got under way on June 8, may even extend into the winter in order to catch the best low-band openings. OJ0A and OJ0Z will be on the air starting on July 6. Market Reef will also be active as OJ0B during the IARU HF World Championship Contest over the July 13 – 14 weekend. Youth Week will follow, with OJ0C on the air starting on July 15, followed by an Islands on the Air operation as OJ0DX, starting on July 27. For International Lighthouse/Lightship weekend, August 17 – 18, the call sign OJ0O will be active.
Chinese Amateur Satellite Group (CAMSAT) has announced the impending launch of the CAS-7B satellite, also designated as BP-1B, a short-lived spacecraft that will carry an Amateur Radio payload. An unusual feature of the spacecraft is its "sail ball" passive stabilization system. The 1.5-U CubeSat is attached to a 500-millimeter flexible film ball - or sail - that will offer passive "pneumatic resistance" stabilization. CAS-7B is expected to remain in orbit for up to 1 month. The spacecraft will carry an Amateur Radio transponder and educational mission. CAMSAT is working with Beijing Institute of Technology (BIT), a top aerospace school, which is providing launch support in launch of the satellite. BIT faculty and students are participating in the development and testing of the satellite, and, with CAMSAT's help, the university has established an Amateur Radio club (call sign BI1LG). CAMSAT said many students are now members, "learning Amateur Radio satellite communication and experience[ing] endless fun."
Structural engineers are still examining Hara Arena, but the property's developer is confident that while the main arena structure can be saved, an attached section will have to be demolished. Michael Heitz is the Lexington, Ky.-based developer who has acquired several distressed Dayton industrial sites over the years, including the closed Hara Arena and its 120 acres last year.
The DARC reports German radio amateurs are permitted to take part in Contest Operating in the 50 MHz band from May 1 until September 30.
Belgium's national amateur radio society, the UBA, has published details of the May 24 decision of the BIPT Council on amateur radio frequencies, powers and transmission modes.
Modern communication methods can sometimes falter in the wake of a major landfalling hurricane. What most people might not realize is emergency managers have a back up plan that relies on old school technology: amateur, or ham radio. There is a formal system in place, called the Amateur Radio Emergency Service, that's been around since the 1930s. It's comprised of local, licensed ham radio operators and their equipment that emergency officials can call into action if other means of communication are not reliably working. We explore this interesting aspect of emergency management with Robert Pantazes, he is the Treasurer of the Fort Myers Amateur Radio Club, and chair of its Technical Committee.