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Default This Week in Amateur Radio News for Sunday 1 October 2017

TWIAR News Feed

Ham radio operators are saving Puerto Rico one transmission at a time

Posted: 30 Sep 2017 10:47 PM PDT

The phone call from the Red Cross came in late Friday night, just as the
full scale of Hurricane Maria's calamity began taking shape.

"We need 50 of your best radio operators to go down to Puerto Rico."
In the days after the worst storm in three generations hit the American
island -- and for many more to come -- public electrical, land-line and
cellular communication systems showed few signs of life. And radio networks
used routinely by police officers, power company workers and other first
responder still were down.

via Hackaday: An introduction To Solid State Relays

Posted: 30 Sep 2017 10:45 PM PDT

When we think of relays, we tend to think of those big mechanical things
that make a satisfying ‘click’ when activated. As nice as they are for
relay-based computers, there are times when you don’t want to deal with
noise or the unreliability of moving parts. This is where solid-state
relays (SSRs) are worth considering. They switch faster, silently, without
bouncing or arcing, last longer, and don’t contain a big inductor.

An SSR consists of two or three standard components packed into a module
(you can even build one yourself). The first component is an optocoupler
which isolates your control circuit from the mains power that you are
controlling. Second, a triac, silicon controlled rectifier, or MOSFET that
switches the mains power using the output from the optocoupler. Finally,
there is usually (but not always) a ‘zero-crossing detection circuit’. This
causes the relay to wait until the current it is controlling reaches zero
before shutting off. Most SSRs will similarly wait until the mains voltage
crosses zero volts before switching on.

If a mechanical relay turns on or off near the peak voltage when supplying
AC, there is a sudden drop or rise in current. If you have an inductive
load such as an electric motor, this can cause a large transient voltage
spike when you turn off the relay, as the magnetic field surrounding the
inductive load collapses. Switching a relay during a peak in the mains
voltage also causes an electric arc between the relay terminals, wearing
them down and contributing to the mechanical failure of the relay.

Valley Woman Desperately Works to Contact Brother in Hurricane-Devastated
Town (Texas)

Posted: 30 Sep 2017 10:41 PM PDT

A concerned Rio Grande Valley woman said she hasn't heard from her brother
since Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico.

Teofilo Gomez lives in Quebradillas, Puerto Rico with his wife and two
daughters. His sister, Dora Villa, of San Juan, has been monitoring news
reports after s learning the town was devastated by the storm and flooding.

Villa describes Gomez as a proud veteran who she has always been close with.

"We used to work out in the fields for ten years, and as we were growing up
and then he went to the Army. We kept in touch as much as we could. Now
that he is in Puerto Rico, when he visits, he stays with me," she said.

Villa told us she spoke with Gomez over the phone on Monday of last week.
She wanted to make sure he was prepared for Hurricane Maria.

"He said, 'Yes, we should get the storm but maybe Wednesday morning,’ he
said. "I'm doing some shutters on the window,'" she added.

Red Cross seeking ham radio operators to help get word out from devastated
Puerto Rico (Michigan)

Posted: 30 Sep 2017 10:39 PM PDT

As part of its large scale relief efforts to help people impacted by
Hurricane Maria, in Puerto Rico, the American Red Cross is teaming up with
amateur radio operators.
The Red Cross has asked the American Radio Relay League (ARRL) for
assistance to find up to 50 radio amateurs to help record, enter
disaster-survivor information into a safety wellness system and help
restore communications for millions of residents in Puerto Rico.
Newschannel 3 spoke with a Kalamazoo Amateur Radio Club member and Red
Cross volunteer, who will deploy to Puerto Rico later this week.

Puerto Ricans on Mainland Rely on Strangers to Reach Relatives

Posted: 30 Sep 2017 10:37 PM PDT

Puerto Rico’s governor, Ricardo Rosselló, has asked people abroad worrying
about their families to remain calm and be patient as the island continues
to confront the crisis left in the wake of Hurricane Maria.

But nearly a week after the storm hit, many Puerto Ricans on the mainland
are still struggling to reach their relatives, often resorting to extreme
measures and relying on a combination of strangers and technology to help
get messages to family members.

Laura Virella, 36, an opera singer from San Juan who is based part-time in
New York, has been helping people get in touch with relatives. On Tuesday
morning, she had yet to speak directly to her parents or her 98-year-old
grandmother, who were still on the island. She sent dozens of messages to
strangers, searching for a way to make contact.

Eventually, she messaged someone she had found through a Facebook group who
had a relative near where her family was in Trujillo Alto, southeast of San
Juan. The relative was able to film a video of Ms. Virella’s mother, who is
65, though it took an additional 12 hours to upload the clip. Finally, on
Saturday, the singer learned that her family was safe.

via Hackaday: The Engineering That Survives Hurricanes

Posted: 30 Sep 2017 10:44 PM PDT

Florida is a great place to live, especially around January when it’s sunny
and 24 degrees outside (76F) while all of your friends from back home are
dealing with scraping ice off of their windshields every morning. In the
late summer, though, this pleasant tropical paradise can sometimes take a
turn for the worse, because Florida is one of the handful of places that
frequently see some of the worst storms on the planet: hurricanes. As a
Floridian myself, perhaps I can shed some light on some of the ways that
the various local governments and their residents have taken to mitigate
the destruction that usually accompanies these intense tropical storms when
it seems that, to outsiders, it might be considered unwise to live in such
a place.

Newington-based HAM radio organization sending help to Puerto Rico

Posted: 30 Sep 2017 10:36 PM PDT

The National Association for Amateur Radio, headquartered in Newington, is
getting ready to send gear and volunteers to Puerto Rico. The organization,
which has roughly 750,000 licensees, put out a call for volunteers to go to
the island and transmit essential communication.

"The island is still kind of cut off," said Mike Corey, Emergency
Preparedness Manager with the ARRL. "San Juan is starting to come back
online. There's still a lot of the island that is without communications,
and this will go a long way to help bridge some of those gaps."

The country remains largely without power, cell phone service or Internet.
Ham radio, however, does not use cellular technology to operate, and can be
powered by generators, batteries or solar power."You can, within an hour,
have a full-operating amateur radio station and communicate with the world
on very little power," said Valerie Hotzfeld, a ham radio operator who is
heading to Puerto Rico to volunteer.

Ham Radio Hobbyists Are Connecting the Caribbean After Hurricane Maria

Posted: 30 Sep 2017 10:33 PM PDT

"Let me just see if we got any answers to the relays."

"'Whiskey Papa Three Radio'—listening," said Ángel Vázquez over radio.

When Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico with devastating force, making
landfall on September 20, Vázquez was hunkered down at home. On a normal
day, he would've been at work; not far away, at the Arecibo Observatory,
the world's second-largest radio telescope. There, Vázquez is Director of
Telescope Operations.

The 1,000-foot-wide dish has beamed SETI messages into deep space, and
detected far-flung planets. Today, some of the only radio signals coming
from Arecibo Observatory belong to Vázquez, and concern purely terrestrial

via Hackaday: Lock In Amplifiers

Posted: 30 Sep 2017 10:42 PM PDT

If you have about an hour to kill, you might want to check out [Shahriar’s]
video about the Stanford Research SR530 lock in amplifier (see below). If
you know what a lock in amplifier is, it is still a pretty interesting
video and if you don’t know, then it really is a must see.

Most of the time, you think of an amplifier as just a circuit that makes a
small signal bigger in some way — that is, increase the voltage or increase
the current. But there are whole classes of amplifiers designed to reject
noise and the lock in amplifier is one of them. [Shahriar’s] video
discusses the math theory behind the amplifier, shows the guts, and
demonstrates a few experiments (including measuring the speed of sound), as

The math behind the amplifier is mostly trig, although there is a little
calculus involved. The idea is to mix a reference frequency together with
the signal of interest. This will result in the sum and difference of the
two signals. Integrating the signals will — over time — zero out.

Chapel hit the airwaves (UK)

Posted: 30 Sep 2017 10:31 PM PDT

A VILLAGE chapel went live on air as part of a global amateur radio event.
Short wave radio enthusiast Mark Chanter and a team of helpers were at St
Ive Methodist Chapel to set up the equipment needed for ‘Churches On The
Air’ (CHOTA), an initiative run by the World Association of Christian Radio
Amateurs and Listeners.
With two eight metre masts, a radio and amplifier, and two dipoles to cover
a range of frequencies installed by late afternoon, Mark spent the night
making contacts via USB all over the world.
‘A few countries that we made contact with were Brazil, Kuwait, Turkey,
Mauritania, Morocco and Saudi Arabia,’ he said.

Tuned out: Moyer Electronics to shutter after 70 years in business

Posted: 30 Sep 2017 10:14 PM PDT

An electronics parts store that has been doing business in the city for 70
years will be closing its doors Oct. 1.

But Moyer Electronics will still be able to serve Hazleton customers from
its other stores in Pottsville and Sunbury, its owner said.

Bill Moyer, whose father, Charles, started the business in Pottsville in
1936 when he purchased the Jones Radio Co., where he was working, said
technology has finally caught up with Moyer’s.

“There is no longer a need for consumer electronics,” Moyer said. “It is
too expensive to run a shop. The new stuff sells so cheap you can’t afford
to fix it.”

The local industrial market has changed, too.

“There aren’t many companies still here who are allowed to buy local,
because they are not locally owned,” Moyer said. “They buy from one
supplier, unless they are in dire straits. They don’t purchase the way they
used to. A lot of equipment does not provide on-site repair.”

Local Ham operator helps Puerto Rico (New York)

Posted: 30 Sep 2017 10:13 PM PDT

In the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, some Rochester area radio volunteers
are keeping communications going with devastated parts of Puerto Rico.

Ham radio operators use short wave radios that don't depend on cell towers
or the internet.

One Ham in Greece tells News 10 NBC emergency responders like the salvation
army have been using ham stations to communicate with people who are
otherwise cut off and even patching phone calls through on shortwave.

In the past few days, hams have been getting messages from families in
Maria’s devastation to their worried relatives that they're okay.

Amateur radio enthusiasts are handy in emergencies (California)

Posted: 30 Sep 2017 09:56 PM PDT

Winters resident Joe DeAngelo became curious about radio communications as
a child, after hearing people speak in various foreign languages on his
grandparents’ console radio system.

“I would listen to the shortwave radio and listen to stations coming in
that were speaking in different languages and I would be curious about
where were these speakers coming from and why I was able to hear them so
far away,” he said.

He made his first forays into amateur radio — also known as ham radio —
when he was 14 years old after reading about it in various electronics
magazines. Today, DeAngelo is part of a large network of amateur radio
enthusiasts in Yolo County who use ham radio for emergency services.

Amateur radio was born during the early 1900s, when people were first
commercializing radio as a means to communicate across long distances,
DeAngelo said. Although some early amateur radio enthusiasts were
scientific professionals, many were simply curious to learn about how radio

Radio Stations in Puerto Rico Struggling

Posted: 30 Sep 2017 09:47 PM PDT

It’s hard to determine exactly how many radio broadcast signals still exist
on Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria. We do know Puerto Rico’s
electrical grid is shredded and will take months to rebuild so any radio
stations on the air right now are probably operating on a backup power
source. Communication to the island is so limited that not a single radio
station there has been able to report its status via the FCC’s Disaster
Information Reporting Service. The website “radio-locator” lists 143 radio
stations as being licensed to Puerto Rico.

A post Thursday on the Christian Radio Tech engineering LISTSERV provides a
glimpse of possibly how bad things are on the U.S. territory right now.
Terry Cowan, founder of New Life Radio, which operates KNLR(FM) in Bend,
Ore., posted his account of what is happening with a trio of AM radio
stations in Puerto Rico licensed by Calvary Evangelistic Mission Inc.:
WBMJ(AM) in San Juan, WIVV(AM) on Vieques Island and WCGB(AM) in Juana Diaz.

Swindon and Cricklade railway join worldwide radio communication (UK)

Posted: 30 Sep 2017 09:45 PM PDT

The Swindon and Cricklade Railway are this weekend teaming up with other
heritage railways as part of Railways on the Air.

Across September 23 and 24, the event will celebrate the anniversary of the
first steam-powered passenger railway journey, which took place on 27th
September 1825, between Darlington and Stockton-on-Tees in the north-east
of England.

46 heritage railways are due to participate in the event, coordinated by
the Bishop Auckland Amateur Radio Club.

All of these railways, each with their own call sign – Swindon and
Cricklade's will be GBOSCR – will be able to communicate with each other,
as well as with amateur radio enthusiasts all over the world.

Osceola County pastor helps families communicate with loved ones in Puerto
Rico (Florida)

Posted: 30 Sep 2017 09:42 PM PDT

A man with a heart for helping is going old school to get information from
Puerto Rico.

An antenna coming out of his window, strung through the trees up over his
house, is connecting Pastor Ian Thomas to the unreachable.

Early Thursday morning, his ham radio was silent.

"And by 9:30, things started jumping. And then we were talking to Puerto
Rico,” he said.

Cell phone towers are something we miss when were out of range, but imagine
how wed miss them if they had been destroyed by disastrous weather. In such
emergencies it is more important than ever to call loved ones, and tell
them were safe. [Matthew May] and [Brendan Harlow] aimed to make their own
secure and open-source cellular network antenna for those occasions. It
currently supports calling between connected phones, text messaging, and if
the base station has a hard-wired internet connection, users can get online.

Posted: 30 Sep 2017 09:37 PM PDT

People in Central Florida are trying every way they can to get in touch
with loved ones on the island of Puerto Rico, which was devastated by
Hurricane Maria.

Many are praying their loved ones are still alive.

A day after Hurricane Maria ravaged the island, flooding towns, crushing
homes and killing at least two people, millions of people on the island
faced the dispiriting prospect of weeks and perhaps months without

Be prepared: Its not just for Boy Scouts anymore (California)

Posted: 30 Sep 2017 09:29 PM PDT

The recent spate of deadly hurricanes serves as a reminder that natural
disasters can strike anywhere at any time. While Northern Californians
don’t have to worry about hurricanes, earthquakes and wildfires are a
definite threat, so local police and firefighters are encouraging residents
to be prepared for the worst.

September is National Preparedness Month, but Los Gatos’ and Monte Sereno’s
preparedness efforts usually take place around the anniversary of the Oct.
17, 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake.

This year is no exception. Los Gatos-Monte Sereno community response team
members and amateur radio responders are scheduled to be at the downtown
Farmers’ Market at the Town Plaza Oct.1 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. to promote
the upcoming Community Emergency Response Team Academy, answer questions
and teach people how to build a 72-hour emergency kit.

To reach hurricane victims, Copiague man goes ham (New York)

Posted: 30 Sep 2017 09:24 PM PDT

Bob Myers says he's been operating amateur radios since he was a teen.

"My call letters are K-2-T-V," he says. That's "kilo, 2, tango, victor,"
when he's communicating over the airwaves.

Short-wave radios are capable of communicating with Puerto Rico, where the
storm knocked out the entire power grid, Myers says.

Earlier Thursday, he says he had a conversation with a man there who had
his own ham radio, an emergency generator and a temporary antenna.

"He said to me it was almost as if an atom bomb had gone off," Myers
says. "Telephone poles are done, no electricity, no cellphones...They've
been using water from a cistern."

The conversation ended when the man in Puerto Rico shut down his generator
to conserve fuel, Myers says.

"Antenna Physics" Illuminates Fundamentals in 160 Pages

Posted: 30 Sep 2017 09:22 PM PDT

There is a common element to every radio system, be it transmission or
reception, and that is the antenna. But even though it is an essential
system component, historically it’s been the least understood, especially
on the transmitting end of things. Designs sometimes seem to have bordered
on luck and black magic: “Get as much wire up as high as you can and tune
for maximum current!”

I once took a course on antenna theory; the instructor, a college
engineering professor, remarked that many antenna designs originated from
persons such as him, who then left the explanation as to how they worked to
grad students for thesis projects.

In Devastated Dominica, 'Hams' Become Vital Communications Link

Posted: 30 Sep 2017 08:59 PM PDT

When Hurricane Maria smashed into the tiny island of Dominica in the
Eastern Caribbean earlier this week, phone service went down, virtually
cutting off the island. But within hours, amateur radio operators got on
the air and have been providing a vital link to the outside world ever

Speaking to ABS Television/Radio in his first interview since Maria made
landfall, Dominican Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit, on a visit to
Antigua, said at least 15 people were dead and at least 20 others missing
amid "unprecedented" destruction.

An estimated 95 percent of roofs on homes in some towns were blown off in
the 160-mph winds brought by the hurricane, which topped out at Category 5
when it hit the island. Debris-strewn roads are impassable, he said. "We
have to access villages by sea and also by helicopter," said Skerrit, whose
own home was among those severely damaged in the storm.

via HACKADAY: Cheap, Full-Duplex Software Defined Radio With The LimeSDR

Posted: 30 Sep 2017 08:59 PM PDT

A few years ago, we saw the rise of software-defined radios with the HackRF
One and the extraordinarily popular RTL-SDR USB TV tuner dongle. It’s been
a few years, and technology is on a never-ending upwards crawl to smaller,
cheaper, and more powerful widgets. Now, some of that innovation is making
it to the world of software-defined radio. The LimeSDR Mini is out, and
it’s the cheapest and most capable software defined radio yet. It’s
available through a Crowd Supply campaign, with units shipping around the
beginning of next year.

The specs for the LimeSDR mini are quite good, even when compared to
kilobuck units from Ettus Research. The frequency range for the LimeSDR
Mini is 10 MHz – 3.5 GHz, bandwidth is 30.72 MHz, with a 12-bit sample
depth and 30.72 MSPS sample rate. The interface is USB 3.0 (the connector
is male, and soldered to the board, but USB extension cables exist), and
the LimeSDR is full duplex. That last bit is huge — the RTL-SDR can’t
transmit at all, and even the HackRF is only half duplex. This enormous
capability is thanks to the field programmable RF transceiver found in all
of the LimeSDR boards. We first saw these a year or so ago, and now these
boards are heading into the hands of hackers. Someone’s even building a
femtocell out of a Lime board.

The major selling point for the LimeSDR is, of course, the price. The
‘early bird’ rewards for the Crowd Supply campaign disappeared quickly at
$99, but there are still plenty available at $139. This is very inexpensive
and very fun — on the Crowd Supply page, you can see a demo of a LimeSDR
mini set up as an LTE base station, streaming video between two mobile
phones. These are the golden days of hobbyist SDR.

IARU President: Traditional Aspects of Ham Radio May Not Be Attractive to

Posted: 30 Sep 2017 08:59 PM PDT

The 24th General Conference of International Amateur Radio Union Region 1
(IARU-R1) convened September 17 – 23 in Landshut, Germany, with
representatives of 40 member-societies present and another 13 represented
by proxy. IARU President Tim Ellam, VE6SH/G4HUA, welcomed the attendees,
urging them to reflect upon what will attract the majority of young people
into Amateur Radio, “and what our mutual expectations should be.” Ellam
said his personal observation is that, while some younger people are
interested in the more traditional aspects of Amateur Radio, many are only
interested in ham radio as an adjunct to other possibly unrelated interests.

“I applaud the excellent work that has been undertaken in this region
through the Youngsters on the Air (YOTA) program.” Tim said, crediting the
hard work of IARU Region 1 Youth Working Group Chair Lisa Leenders, PA2LS.
YOTA’s summer Amateur Radio camps have attracted young hams from around the
world; this year’s was held in the UK.

“Our ambition should be to embrace these individuals in their activities
and accept that some of the more traditional aspects of the hobby will hold
little interest to them, and indeed may no longer be relevant,” he
continued. “That is not to say that some are not enthused with what we all
hold as the core of our hobby, such as contesting or operating generally. I
fear, though, that we need to look at what will attract the new generations
to Amateur Radio and make sure we promote Amateur Radio as meeting their
needs, rather than promoting the historical view of what Amateur Radio has
to offer.”

via HACKADAY: Hybrid Technique Breaks Backscatter Distance Barrier

Posted: 30 Sep 2017 08:52 PM PDT

Low cost, long range, or low power — when it comes to wireless
connectivity, historically you’ve only been able to pick two. But a group
at the University of Washington appears to have made a breakthrough in
backscatter communications that allows reliable data transfer over 2.8
kilometers using only microwatts, and for pennies apiece.

For those unfamiliar with backscatter, it’s a very cool technology that
modulates data onto RF energy incident from some local source, like an FM
broadcast station or nearby WiFi router. Since the backscatter device
doesn’t need to power local oscillators or other hungry components, it has
negligible power requirements. Traditionally, though, that has given
backscatter devices a range of a few hundred meters at most. The UW team,
led by [Shyamnath Gollokota], describe a new backscatter technique (PDF
link) that blows away previous records. By combining the spread-spectrum
modulation of LoRa with the switched attenuation of incident RF energy that
forms the basis for backscatter, the UW team was able to cover 2800 meters
for under 10 microwatts. What’s more, with printable batteries or cheap
button cells, the backscatter tags can be made for as little as 10 cents a
piece. The possibilities for cheap agricultural sensors, ultracompact and
low power wearable sensors, or even just deploy-and-forget IoT devices are

We’ve covered backscatter before, both for agricultural uses and for pirate
broadcasting stations. Backscatter also has also seen more cloak and dagger

Clubs Active in ARRL Contest Club Competitions Advised to Review Member
Eligibility Lists

Posted: 30 Sep 2017 08:32 PM PDT

ARRL Contest Branch Manager Bart Jahnke, W9JJ, suggests that now would be
an opportune occasion to review club membership eligibility lists for the
2017-2018 contest season. See “ARRL Contest Changes for 2017-2018” in
September QST (p 91) or on the ARRL website, for background information.

Contest clubs planning to participate in club competitions, with ARRL
November Sweepstakes being next up, will need to update (or upload your
list, if no list is on file) member eligibility lists using the contest
club tools before the contest begins. These lists contain your club members
who reside in and operate from your club territory.

Per September QST, no amnesties or adjustments will be allowed this year;
club results will be calculated based solely upon eligible members filed in
the club’s eligibility list uploads before the contest begins. If a club
already has a list on file, and if no updates are required, the club need
not upload a fresh list. To make any additions, deletions, or changes,
simply upload a fresh list.

Contact the ARRL Contest Branch for more information.

via HACKADAY: Earth Rovers Explore Our Own Planet

Posted: 30 Sep 2017 08:32 PM PDT

While Mars is currently under close scrutiny by NASA and other space
agencies, there is still a lot of exploring to do here on Earth. But if you
would like to explore a corner of our own planet in the same way NASA that
explores Mars, it’s possible to send your own rover to a place and have it
send back pictures and data for you, rather than go there yourself. This is
what [Norbert Heinz]’s Earth Explorer robots do, and anyone can drive any
of the robots to explore whatever locations they happen to be in.

A major goal of the Earth Explorer robot is to be easy to ship. This is a
smaller version of the same problem the Mars rovers have: how to get the
most into a robot while having as little mass as possible. The weight is
kept to under 500g, and the length, width, and height to no more than 90cm
combined. This is easy to do with some toy cars modified to carry a
Raspberry Pi, a camera, and some radios and sensors. After that, the robots
only need an interesting place to go and an Internet connection to
communicate with Mission Control.

California QSO Party Sets New Club Competition Categories

Posted: 30 Sep 2017 08:32 PM PDT

California QSO Party (CQP) Chair John Miller, K6MM, says three new club
competition categories have been created for the popular CQP, which, this
year, takes place October 7-8. The Northern California Contest Club
sponsors the annual event.

In the Small category, the 10 highest scores from a club whose members
enter in that category will count for this competition category. I

n the Medium category, the 35 highest scores from a club whose members
enter in that category will count for this competition category.

Large clubs may combine the scores of any number of their members.

All ARRL-affiliated clubs are eligible to compete in the CQP club
competition except for the sponsoring NCCC. Plaques will be awarded for
each of the three categories for both California and Non-California clubs —
six awards in all.

More details are on the CQP website.

via HACKADAY: Emergency Cell Tower on a Budget

Posted: 30 Sep 2017 08:32 PM PDT

Cell phone towers are something we miss when we’re out of range, but
imagine how we’d miss them if they had been destroyed by disastrous
weather. In such emergencies it is more important than ever to call loved
ones, and tell them we’re safe. [Matthew May] and [Brendan Harlow] aimed to
make their own secure and open-source cellular network antenna for those
occasions. It currently supports calling between connected phones, text
messaging, and if the base station has a hard-wired internet connection,
users can get online.

This was a senior project for a security class, and it seems that the bulk
of their work was in following the best practices set by the Center for
Internet Security. They adopted a model intended for the Debian 8 operating
system which wasn’t a perfect fit. According to Motherboard their work
scored an A+, and we agree with the professors on this one.

Last year, the same SDR board, the bladeRF, was featured in a GSM tower
hack with a more sinister edge, and of course Hackaday is rife with SDR

Radio Amateurs Volunteer to Support 2017 US Air Force Marathon

Posted: 30 Sep 2017 08:32 PM PDT

When about 15,000 runners left the starting line at the US Air Force
Marathon, Half Marathon, and 10K races, more than 65 Amateur Radio
volunteers were on hand in the Dayton, Ohio, area on September 16 to help
ensure their safety. The event starts and ends at the Air Force Museum, and
the course runs through Wright Patterson Air Force Base (WPAFB) and the
streets of Fairborn. Net control stations located at the start/finish line
near the Air Force Museum directed a medical net on 70 centimeters and a
logistics net on 2 meters. Hams also provided communication at the eight
medical and 25 hydration stations positioned throughout the courses.

USAF Marathon Race Director Robert Aguiar said race officials consider the
Amateur Radio volunteers a vital resource and have come rely on their
professionalism and communication skills. He said it would be extremely
difficult, if not impossible, to have the race without Amateur
Radio-provided emergency, logistic, and medical communications among the
race director, his staff, the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base (WPAFB)
incident commander, and the hydration and medical stations.

USAF Marathon Amateur Radio Lead Volunteer David Crawford, KF4KWW, thanked
all the Amateur Radio volunteers, some of whom have been turning out for
the event for many years.

via HACKADAY: Cuban Embassy Attacks and The Microwave Auditory Effect

Posted: 30 Sep 2017 08:32 PM PDT

If you’ve been paying attention to the news, you may have seen a series of
articles coming out about US staffers in Cuba. It seems that 21 staffers
have suffered a bizarre array of injuries ranging from hearing loss to
dizziness to concussion-like traumatic brain injuries. Some staffers have
reported hearing incapacitating sounds in the embassy and in their hotel
rooms. The reports range from clicking to grinding, humming, or even
blaring sounds.*One staffer described being awoken to a horrifically loud
sound, only to have it disappear as soon as he moved away from his bed.
When he got back into bed, the mysterious sound came back.

Cuba has denied any wrongdoing. However, the US has already started to take
action – expelling two Cuban diplomats from the US in May. The question
though is what exactly could have caused these injuries. The press has gone
wild with theories of sonic weaponry, hidden bugs, and electronic devices,
poisons, you name it. Even Julian Assange has weighed in, stating “The
diversity of symptoms suggests that this is a pathogen combined with
paranoia in an isolated diplomatic corps.”

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