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Default This Week in Amateur Radio News for Thursday 8 December 2016

TWIAR News Feed

Astronaut, Senator John Glenn passes away at 95

Posted: 08 Dec 2016 07:17 PM PST

His legend is otherworldly and now, at age 95, so is John Glenn.

An authentic hero and genuine American icon, Glenn died this afternoon
surrounded by family at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center in
Columbus after a remarkably healthy life spent almost from the cradle with
Annie, his beloved wife of 73 years, who survives.

Bouvet Island 3Y0Z DXpedition Identifies Landing Zone

Posted: 08 Dec 2016 07:14 PM PST

The Bouvet Island 3Y0Z DXpedition Team reports that it has found “a
suitable landing zone on Bouvet Island” and identified the apparent “best
operating location in the area” for the early 2018 venture. The proposed
site is approximately 600 feet above sea level on the Slakhallet Glacier on
Bouvet’s northeastern quadrant, the DXpedition team said in a December 7
news release. An on-site inspection upon landing will determine the team’s
ultimate operating location.

The team has selected Antarctic shelters to house stations, sleeping
quarters, and an eating and meeting facility. “These were selected to
survive the high winds, precipitation, and temperatures expected on
Bouvet,” the team said.

Chinese, Turkish Amateur Radio Satellites Near Launch Dates

Posted: 08 Dec 2016 07:10 PM PST

China’s CAMSAT is reported to be working closely with a Beijing government
aerospace contractor to build two microsatellites with Amateur Radio linear
transponders — CAS-4A and CAS-4B. Each spacecraft will carry a
70-centimeter/2-meter (U/V) 100 mW SSB/CW linear transponder, a 2-meter CW
50 mW telemetry beacon, and an AX.25 4.8 kbps GMSK 100 mW telemetry
downlink. The transponders will have the same technical characteristics,
but will employ different frequencies for their 70-centimeter uplinks and
2-meter downlinks. The two spacecraft will also carry optical remote
sensing missions.

Rare Polar Openings Reported on 630 Meters

Posted: 08 Dec 2016 06:27 PM PST

John Langridge, KB5NJD/WG2XIQ, reports that “extremely rare polar openings”
have been occurring the past three nights on 630 meters between a number of
North American stations and Rolf Torvik, LA2XPA, in Norway.

“This path is straight through the auroral oval, and quiet geomagnetic
conditions have allowed signals to traverse the polar regions,” Langridge
told ARRL. He said LA2XPA has “an amazing station on an isolated island and
is using 500- to 700-meter long Beverages. It’s quite remarkable.”

IARU Continues Preparations for World Radiocommunication Conference 2019

Posted: 08 Dec 2016 06:27 PM PST

Work is already under way by the International Amateur Radio Union (IARU)
to address agenda items of interest to Amateur Radio during the run-up to
the 2019 World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-19). The International
Telecommunication Union (ITU) convenes WRCs every 3 or 4 years in Geneva;
the last WRC was in 2015. The IARU’s prime focus is spectrum privileges —
gaining or retaining spectrum for the amateur radio services and spectrum
protection — making sure that amateur spectrum remains available for use
and free from serious man-made interference. The IARU works within
international standards organizations and with regional telecommunication
organizations to accomplish its goals.

In the past month, IARU representatives have attended the European
Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administrations (CEPT)
Electronic Communications Committee (ECC). This is CEPT’s policy-making
body and just one of the many CEPT committees at which the IARU has a seat
at the table. IARU was also present at ITU Working Parties under Study
Group 5 (SG5), which is charged with studying matters related to
terrestrial radiocommunication services. Working Party 5A met November
7-17, preparing for WRC-19 with a focus that included the Amateur Radio serv

Radio Australia Shortwave Broadcasts to End on January 31

Posted: 07 Dec 2016 08:38 PM PST

Another prominent shortwave broadcaster is going dark, “The SWLing Post”
blog reports. Radio Australia has announced that it will cease its
shortwave transmissions on January 31. The station, popular with SWLs,
broadcasts in the 31-, 25-, 19-, and 16-meter bands.

“The move is in line with the national broadcaster’s commitment to dispense
with outdated technology and to expand its digital content offerings,
including DAB+ digital radio, online and mobile services, together with FM
services for international audiences,” the Australian Broadcast Corporation
(ABC) said in a news release. The ABC said it would put the money saved
from ending shortwave broadcasting into other program distribution

Radio Australia programming will remain available via streaming, satellite,
and other media.

Mexican Highschoolers Launch 30 High Altitude Balloons

Posted: 07 Dec 2016 08:31 PM PST

No matter whether you call them “picosatellites” or “high altitude
balloons” or “spaceblimps”, launching your own electronics package into the
air, collecting some high-altitude photos and data, and then picking the
thing back up is a lot of fun. It’s also educational and inspirational.
We’re guessing that 264 students from 30 high schools in Aguascalientes
Mexico have new background screens on their laptops today thanks to the
CatSat program (translated here by robots, and there’s also a video to
check out below).

imagen_1The package on each balloon was roughly similar — consisting of an
Arduino with a custom shield, a GPS, accelerometer, temperature/humidity
sensor, and a LoRA radio unit. (Full details on the technical page of the
wiki — it looks like a great general-purpose setup.) Armed with this basic
platform, the schools added cameras or built intricate capsules, or
otherwise customized their payload, and then it was time to launch.

Putting Innocent Americans on "Trial"

Posted: 07 Dec 2016 08:16 PM PST

Seibler lists several other federal offenses that have appeared on the
Twitter page “A Crime a Day.” These include:

· Making it a crime for amateur radio operators to sell amateur radio
equipment, and using amateur radio too often (47 USC §502 & 47 CFR §97.113).

Pearl Harbor attack was 'hell,' survivor says (California)

Posted: 07 Dec 2016 08:14 PM PST

U.S. Navy veteran Ed Wise was aboard the battleship USS Tennessee when
Japan attacked Pearl Harbor during the early morning hours of Dec. 7, 1941.

The La Quinta man watched as the USS Arizona was destroyed during a morning
that, in short, was "hell."

Seventy-five years later, Wise recounted what he did during the attack at a
ceremony in Palm Springs. The 95-year-old said Wednesday it was important
to look back at the attack that left more than 2,400 people dead.

Ham Radio in India now under Ministry of Communications

Posted: 07 Dec 2016 08:13 PM PST

The Indian Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MoC&IT)
has been split in two

NDTV reports:
A new Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology has been created
by the Government of India after bifurcating Ministry of Communications and
Information Technology (MoC&IT) to exclusively deal with Aadhaar [National
ID number], promotion of internet and other related services.

According to the decision, there will be two ministries - Ministry of
Communications and Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology.

Further, the Ministry of Communications will have two departments -
Department of Telecommunications and Department of Posts.
The Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DeitY), which
used to be in the erstwhile MoC&IT, will be under the new Ministry of
Electronics and Information Technology.

Elves at OF9X Bring the Spirit of Christmas to Ham Radio

Posted: 07 Dec 2016 08:13 PM PST

As in past years, Santa Claus will be spreading the spirit of Christmas via
Amateur Radio, but this year the elves are taking over the show. Twelve
elves are operating OF9X (“Old-Father-Nine-Christmas”) for the entire month
of December, each with a 3-letter identification. Radio amateurs can work
OF9X on all bands and modes, from 630 meters (where authorized) to 70
centimeters. Each contact is worth 1 point for stations in Europe and 2
points for stations outside Europe. The elves provide the multiplier — up
to 12 — to determine your final score. Only contacts made in 2016 are
valid. Logs are available on ClubLog, and the log will indicate which elf
was worked, in case you miss the ID.

The elves on the air and their 3-letter IDs are Arto, OH2KW (ART); Arttu,
OH2FB (ATU); Jyri, OH2KM (JYR); Martti, OH2BH (MAR); Niko, OH2GEK (NIK);
Pauli, OH5BQ (PAU); Pekka, OH2TA (PEK); Pertti, OH2BEE (PER); Raimo, OH2BCI
(RAI); Tom, OH6VDA (TOM); Pertti, OH2PM (SIM), and Erik, OH2LAK (LAK).

ISS Packet Digipeater is Now on 70 Centimeters

Posted: 07 Dec 2016 08:11 PM PST

The Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) packet
digipeater aboard the ISS has been active for several days now on 437.550
MHz. The UHF frequency means users will have to make adjustments for
Doppler on both uplink and downlink.

The change to 70 centimeters comes in the wake of a problem that has
sidelined the Ericsson VHF transceiver, so the UHF model has been put into
service. The digipeater operates just as it did when it was on its former
145.825 MHz frequency.

Rare Polar Openings Reported on 630 Meters

Posted: 07 Dec 2016 08:10 PM PST

John Langridge, KB5NJD/WG2XIQ, reports that “extremely rare polar openings”
have been occurring the past three nights on 630 meters between a number of
North American stations and Rolf Torvik, LA2XPA, in Norway.

“This path is straight through the auroral oval, and quiet geomagnetic
conditions have allowed signals to traverse the polar regions,” Langridge
told ARRL. He said LA2XPA has “an amazing station on an isolated island and
is using 500- to 700-meter long Beverages. It’s quite remarkable.”

Ofcom refuse to act on Channel 5 TV show

Posted: 07 Dec 2016 08:09 PM PST

Ofcom claim the Channel 5 TV show Nightmare Neighbour Next Door "did not
raise issues warranting investigation"

The offending TV show was broadcast on October 27 and generated many Formal
Complaints to Ofcom, perhaps a record number for any Channel 5 programme?

The show gave extensive airtime to completely false claims about the
amateur radio station of Armando Martins. These falsehoods were repeated
time and again throughout the show giving the impression to viewers that
they might have been true.

Local ham operator team claims top spot in Maine

Posted: 07 Dec 2016 08:08 PM PST

An East Boothbay Ham radio team made more contacts than any other team
during the American Radio Relay League (ARRL) Field Day June 25. The team,
consisting of Al Sirois of East Boothbay, his brother Ron, of Salem,
Massachusetts, Will Brinegar of Southport and Ron Scribner of Pittston made
more short wave radio contacts than the other 22 Maine teams during the
24-hour test period.

The league sponsors the annual field day to prepare amateur short wave
radio operators for coordinating emergency communications during an actual
disaster. During past catastrophes like the 9/11 terrorist attack,
Oklahoma City bombing and Maine Ice Storm, ham radio operators coordinated
emergency rescue responses between local, state and federal rescue teams.

An Amateur Radio Repeater Using An RTL-SDR And A Raspberry Pi

Posted: 07 Dec 2016 08:07 PM PST

An amateur radio repeater used to be a complex assemblage of equipment that
would easily fill a 19″ rack. There would be a receiver and a separate
transmitter, usually repurposed from commercial units, a home-made logic
unit with a microprocessor to keep an eye on everything, and a hefty set of
filters to stop the transmitter output swamping the receiver. Then there
would have been an array of power supply units to provide continued working
during power outages, probably with an associated bank of lead-acid cells.

More recent repeaters have been commercial repeater units. The big radio
manufacturers have spotted a market in amateur radio, and particularly as
they have each pursued their own digital standards there has been something
of an effort to provide repeater equipment to drive sales of digital

Ham Radio - A Wide Band Aerial for VHF or UHF Bands

Posted: 07 Dec 2016 08:06 PM PST

I was recently asked to help out a newly licensed radio ham with his VHF &
UHF aerial system, he was finding that a Disc-cone aerial which he had been
using for a number of years as a Short Wave listener was not doing a good
enough job of transmitting his VHF l and U.H.F. signal. Here is a
suggestion of how you can improve your Ham Radio aerials.

The Disc-cone is a well-known wide band aerial used by many people who
enjoy scanning the VHF and UHF part of the Radio Spectrum for commercial
traffic and Ham radio transmissions. The Disc-cone works well if you are
nearby to radio masts that repeat the broadcasts from commercial or Ham
Radio bands but they vary in their bandwidth and sometimes fail to give
adequate matching at ham allocations. I have seen Disc-cone S.W.R.
(Standing Wave Ratio) readings at 5 to one on two metres or 144 Megahertz,
this can severely impair both your output signal and received signal.

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