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Default This Week in Amateur Radio News for Sunday 4 December 2016

TWIAR News Feed

Skywarn Amateur Radio Recognition Day (Wisconsin)

Posted: 04 Dec 2016 12:06 AM PST

The National Weather Service Station held their annual Skywarn Amateur
Radio Recognition Day on Saturday.

The day was developed in 1999 when weather service communication programs
developed tremendously in order to celebrate the contributions that the
volunteer radio operators make for the National Weather Service.

National Weather Service meteorologists say that they rely on amature radio
operators all around the nation when bad weather is occurring in order to
get a feel about what is physically happening outside.

Amateur radio operator's call sign silenced (Pennsylvania)

Posted: 04 Dec 2016 12:05 AM PST

Arthur J.”Barney” Barnhart had a lifelong love of amateur radio, starting
as a 16-year-old growing up in Mt. Pleasant Township and continuing
throughout his life, his family said.

“He passed his knowledge and love of ham radio onto others, who became ham
operators with the help of my dad,” said his daughter, Annette Barnhart of
Lexington Park, Md., who became an amateur radio operator herself as a

“He loved it to the end,” said his wife of 55 years, Dolores A. Novotny

When power's out and phones are down, who you gonna call? (Australia)

Posted: 04 Dec 2016 12:03 AM PST

The Wireless Institute Civil Emergency Network have been busy preparing to
combat any wild weather that rolls in this storm season.

WICEN is a division of the Bundaberg Amateur Radio Club and has
collaborated with the SES to ensure communications remain operational in
the event of major storms, floods or other natural disasters.

"While we aren't the first responders or the people suspended from
helicopters, WICEN members are the behind-the-scenes people who work to
keep communications going,” Gail Lidden, deputy controller for WICEN
Bundaberg, said.

UK Radio Amateur Receives Sir Arthur Clarke Award for Astro Pi Work
on "Principia" Mission

Posted: 03 Dec 2016 11:58 PM PST

News site Cornwall Live in the UK reports that radio amateur David Honess,
M6DNT, of Penzance, Cornwall, is the recipient of a Sir Arthur Clarke Award
in recognition of this Astro Pi work with the recent Tim Peake,
KG5BVI/GB1SS “Principia” mission on the International Space Station.
Clarke, who died in 2008, was a science and science fiction writer and

The award was presented on behalf of the Arthur C. Clarke Foundation and
the British Interplanetary Society in the “Space
Achievement-Industry/Project Individual” category. The Astro Pi project
installed two Raspberry Pi computers (“Izzy” and “Ed”) on the ISS as
platform for students to run their own computer code in space and to speak
with Peake.

Honess was described as “the driving force” behind procuring the two
UK-designed and manufactured Astro Pi computers.

BridgeCom Systems BCD Duplexers Press Release

Posted: 03 Dec 2016 11:54 PM PST

BridgeCom Systems, Inc is pleased to announce the availability of the BCD
line of duplexers for the amateur and commercial radio markets.

Introducing the New BCD line of duplexers. There are five duplexers
available: BCD-144/440, BCD-220, BCD-144250 and BCD-440250. The BCD-144/440
is a small mobile style duplexer available in either VHF or UHF frequency
Bands. It covers VHF (136-174 MHz) or UHF (400-520 MHz) frequencies,
requires 5-8 MHz frequency split for up to 50W with 80 dB isolation. It's
small size allows it to mounted inside the BCR repeaters for a compact

The BCD-220 is made for VHF (210-230 MHz) which includes the 220 MHz
(1.25m) Amateur Radio band. It requires a 1.3-1.6 MHz frequency split and
will handle up to 125W with 85 dB isolation. The BCD-144250 is made for VHF
(136-174 MHz). It requires 0.6-15 MHz frequency split and will handle up to
250W. It has 90 dB of isolation and is rack mountable.

DIY space explorer gleans dramatic pictures from GoPro balloon rig (Texas)

Posted: 03 Dec 2016 11:53 PM PST

You might have thought Josh Ward’s do-it-yourself obsession reached its
apex two years ago when he rigged up a camera to a balloon and launched it
into near space.
Turns out, that was just the warm-up.
On Saturday morning, the Waco technology enthusiast launched “Starduster
II,” a refined version of the original experiment, this time collecting
better data and photos with the help of a small army of shortwave radio
operators. And Ward said he is already thinking about the next launch.

Hytera Enters USA Amateur Radio Market

Posted: 03 Dec 2016 11:51 PM PST

GigaParts announced today the release of five new models of amateur radios
manufactured by Hytera. Highly regarded in land mobile radio for their
quality, durability and innovation, Hytera dominates the DMR and Tetra
markets in the US and the rest of the world. Hytera is the largest radio
manufacturer to enter the amateur radio market in North America.

With nearly 1,000 amateur repeaters already on the air in North America,
DMR infrastructure is well established and is on pace to surpass D-STAR and
System Fusion in 2017. DMR’s growing popularity in amateur radio is due, in
part, to its technical capabilities, solid reliability and compatibility
across several brands. One advantage of DMR over other the other digital
modes is its spectrum efficiency. By using two “time slots,” DMR allows two
voice transmissions to happen simultaneously on the same 12.5 kHz channel.
DMR is also known for its superior audio quality and ability to maintain
voice communication at the fringe of a repeater’s coverage area.

via the RSGB: Shake-up for RSGB contests

Posted: 03 Dec 2016 11:45 PM PST

Starting in the New Year, some significant changes are being made to RSGB

This is as a result of the Presidential Review of Contesting and detailed
consultation with the contest community.

A summary of the changes is in the January edition of RadCom, which should
start arriving with RSGB Members from Wednesday onwards.

The RSGB Contest Committee website is in the process of being updated to
reflect the changes.

Battleship Iowa Special Event to Commemorate Pearl Harbor Attack

Posted: 03 Dec 2016 11:45 PM PST

Members of the Battleship Iowa Amateur Radio Association (BIARA) will mark
the 75th anniversary of the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on
Wednesday, December 7, 1600-2359 UTC, operating shipboard from the Iowa as

The primary BIARA team will staff SSB and CW stations on 20 through 10
meters, commensurate with conditions. Suggested frequencies are 14.041,
18.078, 21.041, 24.896, and/or 28.041 MHz on CW, and 14.341, 18.141,
21.441, 24.941, and/or 28.441 MHz on SSB.

The “gray radio gang” will operate the ship’s c1980s radio gear on 40
meters, SSB, 1800-2300 UTC, on 7.241 MHz. The transmitters are on Deck 3,
and the receivers are on the Main Deck, so stations should ensure they are
on frequency before call in. There will be a delay between transmit and
receive, due to the receiver recovery time.

via HACKADAY: Lost Moon Found: The Satellite That Came Back to Life

Posted: 03 Dec 2016 11:45 PM PST

The late 1950s and early 1960s were a tumultuous time in world history. The
Cold War between the East and the West was in full-swing, driving the new
fields of nuclear weapons and space exploration and giving the period its
dual monikers of “Atomic Age” and “Space Age.”

Changes in these fields often went hand in glove, with developments in one
requiring responses in the other. In 1958, the US conducted nuclear tests
in the Pacific that effectively destroyed the ionosphere over the test site
and shut down high-frequency communications to places like Hawaii and New
Zealand. The strategic implications of this were clear, and the US began
looking for ways for the military to reduce its reliance on HF
communications and ionospheric skip by using space-based assets to
communicate at much higher frequencies.

ARRL Issues Urgent Last Call to Press for Senate Passage of Amateur Radio
Parity Act

Posted: 03 Dec 2016 11:45 PM PST

It’s now down to the wi ARRL has issued a last call for members to urge
their US Senators to support the Amateur Radio Parity Act (H.R. 1301) when
it comes up during the “lame duck” session of Congress that adjourns in a
couple of weeks. The House of Representatives approved the bill in
September, and the Senate must follow suit if the bill is to succeed. If it
fails in the Senate, the entire process will have to be repeated in the new
Congress. The legislation is now in the Senate in two forms — as H.R. 1301
and alternately in the packaged bill S. 253

“We are on our final push for the Amateur Radio Parity Act before Congress
adjourns,” said ARRL President Rick Roderick, K5UR. “The grassroots effort
by the Amateur Radio community has been outstanding. Since September, over
110,000 emails have been sent to legislators in Congress. Thanks to
everyone who has helped, but we can’t stop now. Please, keep the e-mails
coming and also work the phones down the stretch. Call your Senators! We
are almost there. Let’s get it done!”

ARRL Expands Initiative to Fire Up Collegiate Amateur Radio Clubs

Posted: 03 Dec 2016 11:45 PM PST

A growing number of campus radio clubs and student radio amateurs have
begun to share ideas and suggestions on the ARRL Collegiate Amateur Radio
Initiative (CARI) Facebook page, which is aimed at sparking renewed
participation, activity, and idea-sharing among this special sector of the
Amateur Radio community. The now-expanded initiative stemmed from two
well-attended ARRL New England Division Convention forums for radio
amateurs attending college, one hosted by the Amateur Radio clubs at
Harvard (W1AF) and Yale (W1YU). As the forum explained, the activity level
at campus Amateur Radio club stations can vary wildly from one year to the
next, as students graduate and newcomers arrive.

“The most common difficulty stems from uneven interest over time,” said
ARRL CEO Tom Gallagher, NY2RF, in his “Second Century” editorial, “Cheers
for College Amateur Radio: Sis-boom-bah!” in December 2016 QST. “Even the
strongest leaders in college Amateur Radio graduate every 4 years,
sometimes leaving their clubs without adequate continuity or leadership

FCC Special Counsel Laura Smith Says Amateur Enforcement Will Be Aggressive

Posted: 03 Dec 2016 11:45 PM PST

FCC Special Counsel Laura Smith told a standing-room-only audience at the
ARRL Pacific Division Convention (Pacificon) in October that, despite FCC
cutbacks, Amateur Radio enforcement will not be compromised. Smith spoke
for nearly an hour and a half on a variety of FCC issues related to Amateur
Radio, and the entire presentation is available on YouTube, thanks to Bob
Miller, WB6KWT, and his son Robert, KA7JKP, who recorded the forum. Smith
said that with the FCC set to shut down 11 field offices across the country
in January, the Enforcement Bureau has reorganized into three US regions,
and she does not anticipate any significant issues for the Amateur Service
as a result.

“The amateur community will go forward,” she said, noting that amateurs
have “an incredible ability to self-police.” In light of the field office
closings, she has been working with ARRL to revamp the Official Observer
(OO) program.

via HACKADAY: Demystifying Amateur Radio Callsigns

Posted: 03 Dec 2016 11:45 PM PST

Regular Hackaday readers will be familiar with our convention of putting
the name, nickname, or handle of a person in square brackets. We do this to
avoid ambiguity as sometimes names and particularly nicknames can take
unfamiliar forms that might be confused with other entities referred to in
the text. So for example you might see them around [Bart Simpson], or [El
Barto]. and occasionally within those brackets you’ll also see a
capitalised string of letters and numbers after a name. For example the
electronic music pioneer [Bob Moog, K2AMH], which most of you will
recognise as an amateur radio callsign.

Every licenced radio amateur is issued one by their country’s radio
authority as a unique identifier, think of it as similar to a car licence
plate. From within the amateur radio bubble those letters and numbers can
convey a significant amount of information about where in the world its
user is located, when they received their licence, and even what type of
licence they hold, but to outsiders they remain a mysterious and seemingly
random string. We’ll now attempt to shed some light on that information, so
you too can look at a callsign in a Hackaday piece or anywhere else and
have some idea as to its meaning.

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