Accessed on 02 March 2018, 2122 UTC, Post #480.
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“CQ” Magazine is another excellent source of Amateur/Ham Radio news and information. Between “CQ” Magazine and official press releases from HQ ARRL, you can get a good indication of the trends, practices, and regulatory procedures impacting Amateur/Ham Radio in the United States. Current HQ ARRL news articles are posted in the right hand sidebar of this blog.
Here are the current news releases available from “CQ” Magazine. Views expressed in this Amateur/Ham Radio news summary are those of the reporters and correspondents.
THURSDAY, MARCH 1, 2018
The ARRL has petitioned the FCC for expanded HF voice, RTTY and digital privileges for TechnicianClass licensees. The League says current growth rates in licensing are insufficient to sustain the amateur service in the long run, and points out the long-standing problem that many Technician licensees never get on the air or become active members of the broader amateur radio community. The entry-level license, says the ARRL petition, must “provide sufficient, relevant, operating privileges to allow these individuals to find value in Amateur Radio and to build in a strong incentive to upgrade to the next license class by a culture of involvement among new licensees.”
Specifically, the League’s February 28 petition asks for RTTY and other digital-mode privileges on current Technician CW subbands on 80, 40, 15 and 10 meters; plus new voice privileges on 3.900-4.000, 7.225-7.300 and 21.350-21.450 MHz. Maximum power output would be 200 watts PEP. At press time, the FCC had not yet given the petition a rulemaking number or requested public comment.
The Dayton Hamvention® says online sales are now open for flea market and indoor vendor spaces, as well as individual admission tickets. Online vendor sales were delayed due to changes that needed to be made after it became obvious that the new building planned for the Greene County Fairgrounds would not be completed in time for the Hamvention in mid-May, but that the former furniture building would be available for inside booths.
According to Inside Exhibits Chair Brian Markland, N8UDQ, exhibitors who complete online orders for the same spaces they had last year by April 15 will be guaranteed those spaces. There will be a lottery among “tent vendors” to see who is able to be accommodated in the limited number of booths now available in the former furniture building. The 2018 Dayton Hamvention will be held from May 18-20 at the Greene County Fairgrounds in Xenia, Ohio.
Responding to reports that Congress is unlikely to pass anytelecommunications legislation this term, including the Amateur Radio Parity Act (ARPA/S.1534) now pending before the Senate Commerce Committee, the ARRL said in FCC comments that the Commission must “take the action on its own initiative that would be called for by this legislation.” According to the ARRL Letter, the comments – in response to a public notice seeking input on the communications industry’s response to last year’s hurricanes – noted amateur radio’s role in providing communications in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands and said action is needed to require homeowners associations (HOAs) to permit effective outdoor antennas. “It is critical,” the League noted, “to have stations located at one’s residence in order to regularly participate in disaster preparedness training exercises and drills.”
Commenting separately in the same proceeding in response to the ARRL filing, attorney Jim Talens, N3JT, who has written here and elsewhere about his serious concerns that the language of S.1534 will make it more difficult, not less, for hams to put up antennas in HOA-regulated areas, warned that the FCC “should not be deceived by ARRL into believing that moving forward on ARPA will help American emergency preparedness.” Talens called on the FCC to adopt rules and procedures for amateur antennas in HOA-regulated areas that more closely parallel rules already in effect under the FCC’s Over the Air Reception Devices (OTARD) rule for TV antennas and satellite dishes.
The full text of both comments may be found on the FCC’s Electronic Comment Filing System website under ET Docket number 17-344.
Commenting in the same proceeding as noted in the previous story, the ARRL also urged the FCC to
act on its 2013 petition to eliminate the current restrictions on “symbol rate” for data transmissions below 29.7 MHz. That petition also called for allowing HF data signals to occupy up to 2.8 kHz of bandwidth, the same as a single sideband signal. The League’s main goal in this petition is to get the FCC to legalized the use on HF of PACTOR-4, the mode that is at the heart of the WinLink data transmission system. The FCC granted a temporary waiver to permit its use last fall in connection with hurricane relief efforts in the Caribbean.
There is some controversy about the use of WinLink on the amateur bands, as some critics claim it is used by boaters to send and receive e-mail which may include business communications. In addition, the system relies on automatically-controlled relay stations, which some claim will cause interference because they are unable to listen before transmitting to be sure a frequency is not already in use.
|WSJT-X screen shot (in this case, running JT9)
Source: WSJT-X home page
The developers of the FT8 digital mode say they’re working on an enhanced version of the mode specifically designed for DXpeditions. The ARRL Letter reports that the goal is to allow high-volume operators to make FT8 contacts at the highest possible rate, with as little as a single transmission per contact and the ability to make up to five contacts at one time, offering a potential rate of up to 600 QSOs per hour!
The developers are tentatively referring to DXpedition mode as “fox and hounds,” with the DXpedition station being the fox and all the stations “hunting” for it labeled as “hounds.” The WSJT-X Development Team says the mode will be included in an upcoming release of a new version of WSJT-X, with hopes for a field test during this summer’s scheduled KH1/KH7Z DXpedition to Baker Island.
You can’t get there from here… or much of anyplace else, it seems. The long-planned 3Y0Z DXpedition to Bouvet Island had to be cancelled at the last minute – with the island in sight – due to a combination of bad weather and engine trouble on the team’s ship. April CQ’s DX column has details.
In the wake of the 3Y0Z cancellation, the organizers of the Polish-led 3Y0I DXpedition renewed plans to travel to the island, most likely this coming winter (summer in the southern hemisphere). According to the ARRL Letter, the 3Y0I group had deferred its plans at the request of the 3Y0Z group, to avoid having two major DXpeditions to the same place within weeks of each other. The 3Y0I group says it has chartered a vessel specially outfitted for severe weather and experienced with landing troops on Bouvet, which is a Norwegian dependency. The group said it also plans to conduct video-documented explorations of the island and its glacier, and to leave behind a time capsule at the glacier’s peak.
Longtime educator and radio amateur Lawrence S. Bacow, KA1FZQ, has been named as the next president of Harvard University. The ARRL Letterreports that Bacow grew up building Heathkits and reading ham magazines (his late father was also a ham). Currently the Hauser Leader-in-Residence at Harvard’s Center for Public Leadership, Bacow was previously president of Tufts University and chancellor of MIT, where he was also a professor. He begins his new job on July 1.
Jim Linton, VK3PC, became a Silent Key in late February after a battle with thyroid cancer. He was best-known in the amateur radio community as the chairman of the Disaster Communications Committee for Region 3 of the International Amateur Radio Union and a well-regarded source of news and information about amateur radio activities in response to disasters in the Region 3 coverage area of Asia and Oceania. According to the ARRL Letter, he was also heavily involved in leadership of various activities of the Wireless Institute of Australia, which awarded him its highest honor in 2011.
Coupled with a warning to avoid distracted driving, the ARRL in February announced a new Mobile DXCC Award, issued for making confirmed contacts with at least 100 DXCC entities while operating “from a working vehicle, with antennas and power source capable of operating while in motion.” According to theARRL Letter, the mobile DXCC is a one-time award, is not endorsable, and is available only for contacts made from land-based vehicles. Contacts made from boats or aircraft do not count. The League’s announcement reminded amateurs to always put safety first and said “we hope all mobile operators exercise care when operating from a moving vehicle.”
Unlike the standard DXCC award, one does not have to be an ARRL member to qualify. Certificates are $16. Complete rules are on the ARRL website at <http://www.arrl.org/mobile-dxcc>.
|HamSci Coordinator Nathaniel Frissell, W2NAF, opens
the 2-day workshop held at the New Jersey Institute of
Technology. (W2VU photo)
Radio amateurs and scientists from across the United States and beyond met to compare notes in late February at a workshop sponsored by HamSci, the Ham Radio Science Citizen Initiative. Held at the New Jersey Institute of Technology, where HamSci coordinator Nathaniel Frissell, W2NAF, works as a research professor, the workshop brought together some 60 hams and ionospheric scientists for two days of presentations.
Last summer’s solar eclipse was the focus of the first day, with members of both groups (which sometimes overlapped) shared their findings about propagation changes resulting from the temporary lack of solar energy in the ionosphere. Most of the findings were consistent with each other and with predictions. However, one unexpected – and as yet unexplained – observation was that propagation seemed to recover after the eclipse much more quickly than it had declined as the moon’s shadow began to obscure the sun.
The second day focused on building personal space weather stations to help provide ionospheric scientists with many more points of observation from which to collect and analyze data. CQ attended the conference and will report on it in more detail in an upcoming issue.
The ARRL’s Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) will be replacing its traditional paper reporting
forms with an online volunteer management system called “ARES Connect.” According to the ARRL Letter, the system will be phased in over the course of 2018, and will cover event signup, reporting and roster management. This follows changes made to ARES forms last year to standardize reporting and make it easier to process information at ARRL headquarters.
ARRL Emergency Preparedness Manager Mike Corey, KI1U, says the new system will not change anything about the way in which ARES operates in conjunction with a served agency, but “is simply a system that will make managing volunteers and events easier.”
The ARRL also reported that ARES membership in 2017 was up by nearly 13% from the previous year and that emergency activations saw a nearly 50% increase over 2016, citing long-term activations in response to major hurricanes in the east and wildfires in the west.
|(Source: CIA World Factbook)|
The government of Dominica published a “Post-Disaster Needs Assessment” report in November following the devastation wrought by Hurricane Maria in September. According to the ARRL Letter, the report said that all telecommuni- cations on the island except amateur radio were disabled from September 19-21, but noted that the amateur radio network was “sparse” and suffered from a lack of trained operators and backup power.
“The Government should rehabilitate the ECN (Emergency Communications Network),” the report recommended, “by offering training to persons interested in becoming Amateur Radio operators nationwide, with the goal of having a licensed Amateur Radio operator in every community with an emergency shelter.” It also called for equipping every emergency shelter with ham radio and/or satellite phone equipment, and for purchasing repeaters and “other technology” to provide for swift establishment of communications following future storms.
Truckee, California, will be the site of this year’s USA Amateur Radio Direction Finding (ARDF) Championships, where “foxhunters” will compete for bragging rights and invitations to represent the U.S. at upcoming international competitions. TheARRL Letter reports that the competition sites, near Donner Summit at an elevation of roughly 6300 feet, have never been used for ARDF competitions in the past. The event will be held from June 13-17, starting with an optional training day, followed by a day of “foxoring” competitions that combine foxhunting with orienteering, and then two days of international-rules competitions on 80 and 2 meters.
|The IMAGE satellite prior to launch in 2000 (NASA photo)|
Amateur radio operator and amateur astronomer Scott Tilley, VA7LF, has done what NASA could not – locate a long-lost space weather satellite. Tilley, who regularly monitors signals from satellites passing over his home in British Columbia, picked up signals in January from the NASA IMAGE satellite, thought to have died in 2005. The first independent confirmation of the signal, according to the ARRL Letter, was provided by yet another amateur, Paul Marsh, M0EYT, in England. Scientists were able to re-establish contact with the satellite and read some basic housekeeping data.
However, it was reported in late February by NASA that IMAGE’s signal began to break up on February 22 and that the satellite again went silent on the 24th. It noted that this instance was not similar to the sudden shutdown experienced in 2005 and that scientists were hoping to re-establish contact and continue efforts to bring the spacecraft’s control systems back online.
A satellite using the D-Star digital protocol was launched successfully from Russia on February 1,following the loss of a similar cubesat in a launch failure last November. According to the AMSAT News Service, the D-Star One Phoenix was one of eleven satellites from Russia, Germany and the United States carried into orbit by the Soyuz rocket. D-Star One Phoenix was a joint project of German Orbital Systems and iSky Technology from the Czech Republic.
The AMSAT News Service also reports that a balloon carrying a WSPR (Weak Signal Propagation Reporter) beacon, launched by AMSAT Argentina, completed its second circumnavigation on February 11, passing over Buenos Aires before heading out over the Atlantic for a third trip around the Earth. The last reported WSPR and APRS spots for the balloon were on February 12 as it crossed the South Atlantic, so it is uncertain whether it successfully made that third crossing.
Hawaii Island Amateur Radio events:
Source: Big Island Amateur Radio Club, March 2018 edition.
Licensed radio amateurs are invited to help with logistics support for the 18 March 2018 Hilo Marathon. This year’s event is set for Sunday, 18 March 2018, beginning at 0600 HST, in Hilo. According to the BIARC Newsletter, “All licensed amateur radio operators are invited to volunteer their time for this event. You can receive updated information during the weekly PERC (Puna Emergency Radio Club) nets at 1900 HST, Wednesdays, on frequency 147.120 MHz, +100 Hz.” For more information, please call WH6EXS at 1-443-4929272 or “send a message to the PERC Facebook page: @KH6PRC.”
Everyone is invited to HPP Radio Day, 0900 to 1600 HST, Saturday, 28 April 2018, at the Hawaiian Paradise Park Community Center at 17th and Maku’u in the Puna District. According to coordinator Mike Stratton (KH6PAC), “We want to let everyone know that the event is open to all hams, especially the newest operators…Our plan is to have several different radio set up…There will be lots of activities and demonstrations.” For details, contact Mike at email@example.com.
The Big Island Amateur Radio Club invites all radio amateurs to an informal breakfast meeting this Saturday morning (03 March 2018) at the IHOP Restaurant in the Prince Kuhio Plaza. The meeting begins at 0800 HST. No agenda…just good conversation and fellowship.
For the latest Amateur/Ham Radio news and information, please check the blog sidebars and links. These news feeds are updated daily and weekly.
Please send your Hawaii Island Amateur/Ham Radio news items to firstname.lastname@example.org at least two weeks prior to your event so I can notify our local print and broadcast media in a timely manner.
Thanks for joining us today.
Aloha es 73
Russell Roberts (KH6JRM)
Public Information Coordinator
Hawaii County, ARRL Pacific Section