WEEKEND EDITION: Sunny and beautiful weekend ending in 3-6 inches of snow....the longest and coldest February I can remember, good riddance....
Reactions to FCC's net
Celebrations, legal threats
and Morse code
Republicans, telecoms and their industry groups lashed out at the FCC over new rules that more strictly regulate the Internet. Democrats and Internet content companies celebrated.
The Federal Communication Commission voted Thursday to enact new net neutrality rules that give the commission oversight of the Internet in an effort to ensure a level playing field on the web.
But if anyone needed proof that the debate over net neutrality and government regulation of Internet Service Providers (ISPs) is far from over, they needed only to look at the wide range of responses to the FCC’s Thursday vote. Companies, industry groups, politicians and even the White House weighed in with their (differing) views on the new FCC rules and where things should go from here.
Not surprisingly, big telecommunications companies and cable providers are not happy about the new FCC rules. Even before the vote took place, AT&T ( T 0.17% ) warned of a possible federal lawsuit challenging the new rules. Jim Cicconi, AT&T’s head of public policy, wrote a blog post following Thursday’s vote in which he hinted that the FCC has a fight on its hand. He noted that the commission’s 3-2 decision — with three Democrats defeating two Republicans — “is an invitation to revisiting the decision, over and over and over.”
Cicconi wrote about a likely court battle as well as the possibility that the FCC could vote against the new rules in the future, should the political makeup of the commission change. “Partisan decisions taken on 3-2 votes can be undone on similarly partisan 3-2 votes only two years hence,” Cicconi wrote. “And FCC decisions made without clear authorization by Congress (and who can honestly argue Congress intended this?) can be undone quickly by Congress or the courts.”
Verizon ( VZ 0.16% ) , which could join AT&T’s legal fight against the new FCC rules, also weighed in following the vote, though the company adopted more of a mocking tone. The telecom giant actually went through the trouble of issuing a statement written in Morse code and titled “FCC’s ‘Throwback Thursday’ Move Imposes 1930s Rules on the Internet.” In a translated version of Verizon’s statement, the company chided the FCC for deciding “to change the way the commercial Internet has operated since its creation.”
In its own statement, Comcast said it supports the principles of an open Internet, but disagrees with the FCC’s decision to reclassify ISPs under Title II of the Communications Act — a move that allows for stricter government regulation of the Internet. A post written by Comcast ( CMCSA 0.39% ) executive vice president David Cohen reads: “We fully embrace the open Internet principles that have been laid out by President Obama and Chairman Wheeler and that now have been adopted by the FCC. We just don’t believe statutory provisions designed for the telephone industry and adopted when Franklin D. Roosevelt was president should be stretched to govern the 21stcentury Internet.”
Various groups representing the telecommunications and cable industries also voiced their disapproval, including the National Cable & Telecommunications Association, Broadband for America, and CTIA – The Wireless Association. The U.S. Telecom Association also agreed with the FCC’s adoption of open Internet standards, but lashed out at the commission for its reclassification of ISPs. The association said in a statement that it “will now turn to the courts for review,” while also promising to work with Congress in the hopes of finding a bipartisan solution.
Republican politicians also spoke out against the FCC decision Thursday. In a letter signed by more than 20 Republican members of Congress, the lawmakers claimed that the new FCC rules “threaten the future viability of the Internet and America’s ability to compete in the global technology marketplace.” The lawmakers also promised to “not stand by idly.”
“We plan to support and urge our colleagues to pass a Congressional Review Act resolution disapproving the ‘Open Internet’ rules,” the letter said. “Not only will such a resolution nullify the ‘Open Internet’ rules, the resolution will prevent the FCC from relying on Title II for any future net neutrality rules unless Congress explicitly instructs the FCC to take such action.”
President Obama, who came out in full support of strict new net neutrality rules last fall, applauded the FCC for voting in the new standards Thursday.
ARRL Draft HF Band Plan
The ARRL HF Band Planning Committee has concluded that it would be unrealistic to try to bring the ARRL 40m band plan into alignment with the rest of the world
They say that in Regions 1 and 3 where 40m operating patterns developed when the entire band, including phone, was just 100 kHz wide and is still only 200 kHz. While 7040 kHz is a recognized RTTY/Data DX frequency in the band plan, the best place for other RTTY/Data activity in the US is above 7070 kHz.
Read about the ARRL's proposed changes to the RTTY/Data/CW portions of 80 through 10 meters — excepting 60 meters at
For 35 years the development of Data Modes in the USA has been crippled by the symbol rate restrictions introduced at HF and also VHF/UHF in 1980.
HamRadioNow: ARRL's Symbol Rate Petition RM-11708
Book helps Hams have fun
with Morse Code
Passing a Morse Code test is no longer required to get an amateur radio license, but there's still a mystique about Morse Code, and many hams are interested in acquiring this skill and getting on the air. That being the case, Dan Romanchik, KB6NU is excited to announce the publication of The CW Geek's Guide to Having Fun with Morse Code.
The CW Geek's Guide to Having Fun with Morse Code is all about having fun with Morse Code.
* Helps hams learn Morse Code.
* Choose the key that's right for them.
* Shows hams how to get on the air and make contacts.
* Teaches hams how to use abbreviations, Q-signals, and prosigns properly.
The CW Geek's Guide to Having Fun with Morse Code is available in several diferent formats. It's available as a PDF, Nook, or Kindle e-book directly from KB6NU.Com.
It's also available as a paperback
HAM RADIO RESPONDS AS TWO
CYCLONES HIT AUSTRALIA
Hams down under offered up a quick response after a strong cyclone came ashore. Here is Graham Kemp VK4BB with more;
[GRAHAM:] Amateur Radio volunteers with Australia's Central Queensland Amateur Radio Association called up emergency response nets on both the High Frequency and VHF bands in the wake of category 5 cyclone Marcia that came ripping ashore the weekend of February 20th. After making landfall, Marcia swept across Queensland state leaving 1,500 homes damaged, while downing trees and power lines. Upward of 50,000 residents were without electrical mains power and the cyclone also interrupted several normal lines of communications including telephone service. Also impacted was the Optus wireless mobile network in some cyclone affected areas of Queensland.
Ham radio was quick to respond with volunteers from the Central Queensland Amateur Radio Association reported active on 40 meters at 7098 KHz and on 2 meters. At the same time, several Wireless Institute Civil Emergency Network or WICEN groups were on stand-by alert to assist emergency responders if called on to do so. The nature of traffic being passed was not specified.
News reports say that Marcia which packed winds of up to 155 miles an hour when it made landfall was one of two cyclones which hit northern Australia within hours of one another. The first was tropical cyclone Lam. It impacted remote communities in the Northern Territory near Elcho Island, some 300 miles east of the city of Darwin. Cyclone Lam was soon downgraded to a tropical depression.
For the Amateur Radio Newsline, I'm Graham Kemp VK4BB reporting from Queensland, Australia.
REGULATORY: FCC AND FDA TO HOLD JOINT WORKSHOP ON USE OF WIRELESS MEDICAL DEVICE TEST BEDS
The Federal Communications Commission and the Food and Drug Administration will join forces on March 31st to host a public workshop on the role of wireless medical test beds and their influence on the development of converged medical technology for clinical and non-clinical settings.
[HEATHER:] A wireless test bed is an environment where devices can be evaluated across a range of interference scenarios. As the rapid pace of innovation blurs traditional boundaries between consumer health technology, medical devices, and communications, the two agencies seek to better understand how wireless test beds can be used and configured to meet the challenges and to take advantage of the opportunities this convergence presents. Consumers are increasingly using wireless health and care management tools at home and the emergence of the hospital in the home concept opens new areas of medical technology innovation that must take into account the need for wireless devices to co-exist.
The workshop is another step in the ongoing Federal Communications Commission and Food and Drug Administration collaboration in promoting innovative medical technologies and is being organized by the Connect 2 Health FCC Task Force, the FCC Office of Engineering and Technology, and the F-D-A Center for Devices and Radiologic Health. Topics may include the need for and scope of wireless medical device test beds, an overview of current public and private test bed programs and initiatives, a discussion of ideal features, functions and gaps of such programs, and how best to drive innovation and safe co-existence of wireless medical technologies.
[JIM:] Since exact spectrum that might be used to implement some of these wireless medical test beds is not yet a part of the discussion, the way in which decisions made at this and any future gatherings might impact on bands assigned to use by amateur radio cannot be speculated. But with all spectrum from DC to light under intense scrutiny by numerous interests it will be important for the political leaders of the ham radio community to keep a close eye as this issue. (Adapted from FCC Press Release)
RADIO LAW: NO MORE PRINTED AMATEUR RADIO LICENSES BEING ISSUED BY FCC
In case you have not yet heard, waiting to receive your ham license in the mail is now a thing of the past, unless you have specifically requested it. As of February 17, the FCC stopped routinely issuing paper license documents to amateur licensees, noting that inclusion in the Commission's online database has for several years been the official record of a ham's authorization to operate.
Amateur radio licensees may print out official copies as well as unofficial "reference copies" of their licenses via the FCC's Universal Licensing System database or may request the issuance of a paper document.
In its commentary filing while the matter was in its proposal stage, the ARRL had asked that new licensees continue to receive paper licenses, along with instructions on how to set up their Universal Licensing System accounts for future license renewals and upgrades. But the FCC declined, saying applicants or licensees who include e-mail addresses with their applications will receive an official electronic authorization via e-mail. '
The Commission says the change will save it over $300,000 a year. (CQ)
HAM RADIO IN SPACE: STUNNING IMAGES RECEIVED FROM ISS SSTV
The latest International Space Station Slow Scan Television transmissions have already produced some great pictures!
[DON:] According to a posting on the AMSAT Bulletin Board, Greg Dolkas, KO6TH, of Auburn, California, says that he never received a clearer SSTV picture from anywhere, let alone outer space.
The transmitter on the ISS uses 5 kHz deviation FM. If your radio has selectable FM filters make sure you choose the wider setting designed for 20 or 25 kHz channel spacing, usually marked FM or FM Wide. Most newer FM transceivers contain this feature. The Slow Scan mode used PD180, with a three minute off time between transmissions.
At least a dozen different images depicting Yuri Gagarin who was the first human to orbit Earth were transmitted on 145.800 MHz during this test. According to Clint Bradford, K6LCS, also writing on the AMSAT Bulletin Board, receiving SSTV from the ISS really can be simple. Bradford noted that for his first time ever, he simply fired up a $3 iOS application and held his iPod Touch near a Yaesu FT-60R's speaker. That in turn let him download one of the images from the ISS.
For the Amateur Radio Newsline, I'm Don Wilbanks AE5DW in South Mississippi.
[JIM:] Pictures received so far by radio amateurs world-wide can be viewed on-line at tinyurl.com/february-ariss-sstv. This is a stunning display of the best that Slow Scan Amateur Television has to offer. (Southgate, AMAT-BB, spaceflightsoftware.com)
DX UP FRONT: EI8A FROM IRELAND MARCH AND APRIL
IN DX up Front, word that ON4EI will be in Ireland from March 2nd through the end of April where he will use the call EI8GQB, He will also be on the air as E-eye-one-A during the ARRL International DX SSB, the Russian DX and CQ World Wide contests. QSL's go direct or via the bureau. For electronic QSL's file via Logbook of the World. (OPDX)
DX UP FRONT: VK2IAY/9 FROM LORD HOWE ISLAND IN DECEMBER
And G0UIH who also holds the callsigns VK2IAY and 3D2FE will be operating holiday-style from Lord Howe Island as VK2IAY/9 from December 16th to the 23rd. He plans to use SSB only on 20, 17, 15 and 10 meters, although other bands could be added. On returning to Australia in January of 2016 there is a good chance of him activating other Islands on the Air references, although nothing has yet been confirmed. A special QSL sponsored by Vortex Antenna Systems will be available in early 2016. QSL is via G0UIH direct or via the bureau. (Southgate)
WITH NEWSLINE; NOMINATING PERIOD OPEN FOR 2015 YOUNG HAM OF THE YEAR AWARD
Amateur Radio Newsline is seeking nominations for its 2015 Young Ham of the Year Award. For consideration, a nominee must have used amateur radio in some way that has benefited his or her community or encouraged technological development directly or indirectly related to communications.
Nominees must be 19 years or younger, and reside in the United States including Hawaii, Alaska, and Puerto Rico, or any of the Canadian Provinces.. The individual must also hold a currently valid United States or Canadian Amateur Radio license.
This award is not a contest. The person selected as Young Ham of the Year is judged on his or her overall accomplishments and contributions. Any prizes awarded are secondary in nature.
For example, a youngster whose only claim to fame is that of being licensed as an extra at age 5 would not necessarily be judged as having made a significant contribution to the Amateur Radio Service. On the other hand, a 14 or 15 year-old Technician running a Net during a major disaster or whose experimentation has advanced the state of the art in science or technology would definitely be given consideration.
The deadline for submitting an application is May 30th 2015 and the decision of the judging committee is final. To obtain an application, send a self addressed, stamped envelope to 2015 Young Ham of the Year Award c/o Amateur Radio Newsline, 28197 Robin Ave. Santa Clarita, CA 91350. You can also download a form in Microsoft Word format at www.arnewsline.org/yhoty/ and clicking on the word "here." Instructions on what documentation is required and how to file is included on the nominating form. (ARNewsline
ENFORCEMENT: FCC SAYS NO TO VENUES BLOCKING WI FI HOTSPOTS
The Federal Communications Commission has issued an Enforcement Advisory stating that venues blocking Wi-Fi in hotels is unequivocally prohibited. Stephan Kinford N8WB has more:
[STEPHAN:] In its release, the regulatory agency said that its Enforcement Bureau has seen a disturbing trend in which hotels and other commercial establishments block wireless consumers from using their own personal Wi-Fi hot spots on the commercial establishment's premises. As a result, the Bureau is protecting consumers by aggressively investigating and acting against such unlawful intentional interference.
The statement issued in late January is a definitive one that leaves no room what so ever for interpretation, It bluntly states that persons or businesses causing intentional interference to Wi-Fi hotspots are subject to enforcement action.
As previously reported, in October of 2014 the FCC fined Marriott $600,000 for blocking customers personal Wi-Fi hotspots at a Nashville, Tennessee, branch. Although Marriott paid the fine it also filed a request for rulemaking with the commission, asking that Wi-Fi blocking be permitted. Marriott's reasoning was that it could better manage the security of its own network if it blocked unauthorized Wi-Fi broadcasts.
For the Amateur Radio Newsline, I'm Stephan Kinford N8WB, in Wadsworth, Ohio.
[JIM:] The entire FCC order is at tinyurl.com/p67lveu
RESCUE RADIO: WASHINGTON DC MAYOR ORDERS FIRE RADIOS OPERATE UNENCRYPTED
Washington DC Mayor Muriel Bowser has ordered the D.C. fire department to stop encrypting its emergency radios. The order came on February 12th in the wake of the deadly smoke incident aboard a Metro train last month, but the mayor said that the order was not in reaction to the incident.
Metro officials and firefighters had stated previously that there were communication problems. According to the firefighters union, the encryption system played a part in those issues.
However, Mayor Bowser's administration says that the radio system was under review before her inauguration weeks before the incident at Metro. But the radios came under intense scrutiny when firefighters at the scene of the incident inside the Metro station couldn't communicate with crews above the ground. The radio communications are now open to the public, according to the mayor's spokesperson. (EMSI, other published news reports
EDUCATION: MOUSER TEAMS WITH TI TO SPONSOR INNOVATION CHALLENGES FOR UNIVERSITY ENGINEERING STUDENTS
Mouser Electronics has announced that for the third year in a row the company will sponsor Texas Instruments Innovation Challenge European Design Contest. This is a competition to encourage engineering students in specific parts of the world to submit design projects that utilize Texas Instruments technology. First prize is $10,000 with the second place winner receiving $5000. Prizes will be awarded to the best entries as determined by the judges.
The contest is open to individuals and teams of up to five undergraduate and graduate students at all accredited universities in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. To compete, students must use two or more Texas Instruments analogue ICs and a Texas Instruments Processor in their design project. Entries will be judged on five criteria. These are originality and creativity of design, real world application, level of engineering analysis, usage of Texas Instruments ICs and processors and a working demonstration of design in a video.
Mouser is also sponsoring the Texas Instruments Innovation Challenge North American Design Contest. This competition which has similar rules is open to students at all accredited universities in Canada, Mexico and the United States including Puerto Rico. It has a $10,000 first prize, a $7500 second place prize and a $5000 third place award. Complete information on the North American competition including an on-line registration form and a video explaining the contest is on the web at tinyurl.com/mouser-ti-innovation-challenge (Power Systrems Design
ON THE WEB: NEW INTERVIEW ABOUT CQ MAGAZINE ON HAM RADIO NOW
�CQ Comes Clean� is the title of a video interview conducted at the recent Orlando Hamcation by Gary Pearce, KN4AQ, of Ham Radio Now with the magazine's editor Rich Moseson, W2VU. In it, Moseson very candidly talks about the current status of CQ explaining the publication problems the company has faced, and what's being done to catch up on delivery of the print edition of
Moseson and Pearce also delve into the problems facing virtually every publication attempting to enter the digital world.
[MOSESON CUT 2]
The two also discuss those now coming into amateur radio and finding ways to try and get them to try other aspects of the hobby other than the singular interest that brought them in.
The interview runs just a bit over an hour and is episode 190 at the Ham Radio Now website. The direct link is tinyurl.com/CQ-video-update
HAM READING: FREE CQ-DATV 20 MAGAZINE OUT NOW
The latest issue of the free electronic amateur television magazine CQ-DATV is now available. Included in the latest issue are articles dealing with DATV on 2 meters, Known DATV DX Records, SSB with a 10 GHz Low Noise LNB amplifier plus the latest DATV news. To download your copy simply go to tinyurl.com/cq-datv-20, (Southgate)
RADIO EDUCATION: HAM RADIO SATELLITE TUTORIAL VIDEOS RELEASED
David Casler, KE0OG, has released a series of tutorial videos for the US Extra class license two of which cover amateur radio satellites. The first deals with Orbital Mechanics and the second covers the radio aspects of amateur satellites. You can see these and all the others on-line at tinyurl.com/dave-casler-video (Southgate)
HAM HAPPENINGS: SOUTH EAST VHF SOCIETY CONFERENCE IN APRIL
The 2015 Southeastern VHF Society conference will be held April 24th and 25th at the Morehead State University Space Science Center in Morehead, Kentucky. Conference registration form, hotel information, call for papers and other information can be found at svhfs.org. (W4KXY)
HAM HAPPENINGS: UK 6 METER GROUP CREATING GLOBAL 6 METER REPEATER LIST
The United Kingdom Six Meter Group is expanding its current 6 meter repeater list to include 50 MHz repeaters operating anywhere in the world. As such, it is looking for a volunteer in each nation that permits 6 meter amateur radio operations to gather this information and collate such a list for their country. Once completed, the information should be sent by e-mail to G8FXM at webmaster (at) uksmg (dot) org. More is on line at uksmg.org/landing.php (G8FXM
HAM HAPPENINGS: K5B TO COMMEMORATE BATAAN DEATH MARCH
Special Events Station K5B will be in operation on March 22nd. This operation will be for the 26th Annual Bataan Memorial Death March Marathon event and held at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. The event honors the victims and survivors of the Bataan Death March that took place in the Philippines during World War II and will operate from several different locations in the Las Cruces area. More information is available on the web at www.bataanmarch.com (WB4AEJ)
NAMES IN THE NEWS: FCC CHAIRMAN TOM WHEELER TO ADDRESS 2015 NAB SHOW
Some names in the news. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler will speak at the 2015 National Association of Broadcasters convention in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Wednesday, April 15th His address will take place from 9 to10 a.m. local time where Wheeler is expected to provide insight into the FCC's policy and regulatory objectives related to broadcasting, technology and communications law generally. Tom Wheeler became the 31st Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission in November of 2013. (Broadcast Quarterly)
NAMES IN THE NEWS: RECORD HOLDING US ASTRONAUT HAM RENEWS LICENSE
Astronaut Michael Fincke, KE5AIT recently renewed his Amateur Radio license through February 18, 2025. Fincke served on ISS Expedition 9 from April 18th to October 23rd of 2004 as well as Expedition 18 that began on October 12, 2008 and ended April 8th 2009. His last venture into space was on the STS-134 flight of the space shuttle Endeavor. That mission ran May 16th to June 1st, 2011 and delivered the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer and an ExPRESS Logistics Carrier to the International Space Station. As such, at 381.6 days, KE5AIT currently holds the American record for the most time in space. (ANS, Wikipedia, NASA
NAMES IN THE NEWS: N1UL TO RECEIVE I.I. RABI AWARD FROM IEEE
And congratulations to Dr. Ulrich Rohde, N1UL, on his being named by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers to receive the prestigious I. I. Rabi Award for 2015. The award recognizes outstanding contributions related to the fields of atomic and molecular frequency standards, and time transfer and dissemination. Dr. Rohde, who is the chairman of Synergy Microwave Corporation and President of Communications Consulting Corporation, will receive the Rabi Award at the 2015 Joint Conference of the IEEE International Frequency Control Symposium and European Frequency and Time Forum, held April 12th through the 16th in Denver, Colorado. (IEEE, ARRL)
RADIO FROM SPACE: JPL PLANS 2401 MHZ LUNAR RANGING EXPERIMENT MARCH 3
NASA's Pasadena, California-based Jet Propulsion Lab will transmit a narrow band signal at about 2041 MHz to illuminate a spot on the moon probably centered on the Tycho crater. The experiment will take place early in the morning of March 3rd between about 06:30 to 09:00 UTC.
JPL will be transmitting about 20 kilowatts from a 34 meter aperture antenna. They are planning to have three distinct transmission modes. Two will be a CW carrier, and a third will include a PN ranging code on the signal, probably changing every 45 minutes. The signals should be easy to detect with even a small receive antenna. (ANS)
ON THE AIR: ERITREA PROJECT 2015 FROM MARCH 6 To 17
On the air, the SEISA Foundation for Global Children has announced that its next operation will be Eritrea Project 2015. As part of this project, the group will conduct a DXpedition from Asmara, Eritrea, from March 6th to 17th. A multi-national team consisting of Team Leader Zorro Miyazawa, JH1AJT, and eight other operators will use four transceivers with ACOM amplifiers. Antennas will be beams on the higher bands with verticals on 160 through 30 meters. Their callsign will be assigned on their arrival in Asmara. QSL's go via M0URX. (JA1TRC)
In DX, A Uruguay DX Group will be operating from the Red Cross Headquarters in St. Maarten as PJ7C through March 9th. Activity will be holiday style with 2 stations running 500 watts into 3 elements plus 1/4 wave verticals on lower bands. Modes will be CW and SSB, and on 80 through10 meters. QSL via the operations manager EB7DX.
HB9EBT will be active as D44TEG from Tarrafal, Sao Tiago Island between March 15th to the 27th. Operations will be on 40 through 10 meters CW only. QSL via his home callsign, direct or by the bureau.
NL8F will be active stroke from HP3AK QTH in Chiriqui, Panama through March 9th. Operations will be on the High Frequency bands only. QSL via K8NA
WS5K is active as PJ4F from Bonaire until March 15th. Activity is on the various HF bands. QSL via M0URX or electronically using Logbook of the World.
(This weeks DX news courtesy of the Ohio Penn DX Newsletter)
THAT FINAL ITEM: VOA RADIOGRAM HAS BROADCAST ITS 100TH PROGRAM
And finally this week, if you just happen have access to an older analog shortwave broadcast transmitter and are wondering what to do with it, just ask the Voice of America. That's because its found a novel use of one of its own and created a program for it as we hear from Kim Andrew Elliott, KD9XB:
KIM:] VOA Radiogram has broadcast its 100th program. VOA Radiogram is an experimental Voice of America program on which digital text modes familiar to amateur radio are transmitted on a 50-year-old analog AM shortwave broadcast transmitter in North Carolina. The half-hour show is on the air four times each weekend.
The idea is that shortwave radio can be used to communicate text and images when the Internet is disrupted by dictators, disasters, or other factors.
In the early weeks of VOA Radiogram, digital modes were tested side by side, including the various flavors of BPSK, QPSK, MT63, Olivia, and Thor. Reports have been received from shortwave listeners and radio amateurs throughout Europe and North America, as well as Latin America and Asia, and even from New Zealand, 14000 kilometers from the transmitter.
Ultimately, it was MFSK that worked best on the shortwave broadcast transmitter. Specifically, MFSK32 so far provides the best combination of speed, 120 words per minute, and performance under typical shortwave reception conditions. Furthermore, MFSK can be used to transmit images as well as text.
Digital text works on any existing shortwave transmitter, with no modifications necessary. And it can be received on any radio, including cheap portables with no sideband capability.
The results show that digital text via analog shortwave transmitter often results in 100 percent copy even in conditions where voice broadcasts are difficult to understand. Digital text via analog shortwave has even been effective against jamming.
For more information about the program, including the transmission schedule, visit the website voaradiogram.net.
THURSDAY EDITION: German
Radio Amateurs Breathe New
Life into “Orphaned”
Some radio amateurs are frustrated broadcasters, and when German national broadcaster the Deutsche Welle closed down a 500 kW shortwave broadcast transmitter near Munich, an entity headed and operated by hams applied for and was granted the vacant channel of 6070 kHz in the 49 meter shortwave band. DARC Radio — which has a business association with the Deutscher Amateur Radio Club (DARC) but is privately owned — now has a 10 kW broadcast station, branded “Channel 292,” up and running, and a new Amateur Radio DX program will debut next month. ARRL
Wideband HF transmissions
The slides from the HF Industry Association Meeting held February 12, 2015 in San Diego, CA are now available online
Among the papers presented was one from Randy Nelson of Rockwell Collins which describes tests of full motion video in a 48 kHz bandwidth over a 1448 km path on a frequency of 14.965 MHz.
Alan Pilecki from Harris described the RF-7800H portable transceiver which covers 1.5-60 MHz and supports data rates of up to 120 kbps in a 24 kHz bandwidth.
Download the presentation slides from
144.390 FM APRS balloon
heads for UK
The solar powered around-the-world high altitude balloon was released by the California Near Space Project team on Monday, February 23 and is expected to reach the UK on Friday. The APRS beacon should have a radio range of up to 400 km.
The amateur radio APRS frequency is not standardized world-wide. The USA uses 144.390 MHz while the British Isles and Europe use 144.800 MHz. It is understood the balloon will change frequency to 144.800 MHz when it reaches this side of the Atlantic.
WEDNESDAY EDITION: Taxes done.....another 4 inches of snow overnight, the one winter I didn't go to Florida. .....Rumor has it that Thursday 3864 will be meeting at HRO for a noon lunch....3D print your own reel....
It’s a dream of many to
visit the great wide vacuum
that is outer space—but
getting there can be pretty
intense. You know, like the
part where you have to strap
yourself into a 60-ton
rocket accelerating upward
at 18,000 miles per hour.
Well instead of hurtling violently into the stratosphere, what if you could gently levitate there instead? That’s the idea behind World View, a private company that wants to send tourists to the brink of space using a giant balloon. While the idea seems somewhat absurd, the company is making big strides in turning their vision into reality. On Friday, World View conducted a successful test flight (or float?) of a high-altitude balloon attached to a parafoil, sending it up to 102,200 feet. That’s higher than any parafoil—which is like a really aerodynamic parachute—has gone before.
The altitude is significant because that’s how high World View wants to send customers someday. At that height, tourists will be at the very edge of space, able to see the curvature of the Earth and a black, foreboding sky above. This particular test flight didn’t have any passengers, but it did carry experimental technologies from two universities. Montana State University provided a super durable computer system, as well as a high-definition video link, while the University of North Florida sent up a technology that measures the stratosphere’s ozone gas.
At 102,000 feet, tourists will be able to see the curvature of the Earth and a black, foreboding sky above.
"The successful flight of the parafoil at this altitude brings us closer to flying private citizens safely to the edge of space and also allows us to continue our research and education program by providing safe access to the near-space environment,” Taber MacCallum, World View’s Chief Technology Officer, said in a press release. The company also used the test flight as an opportunity to announce a new partnership with United Parachute Technologies, the company that will be providing the parafoils for future manned and unmanned trips.
World View hopes to send up the balloon-parafoil combo, with tourists riding along in a crew capsule that dangles below, starting in 2016. The giant balloon will do the heavy lifting at first, getting the passengers up to the intended height. Then after some extreme sight seeing, the balloon will detach and the parafoil will ease the crew gently down to the Earth’s surface
appears to be coming soon to
a broadband pipe near you!
Several months after
President Obama first laid
out his plan to keep the
Internet playing field level
and just weeks after FCC
Chairman Tom Wheeler
announced his intent to
follow the White House's
lead, the path for new rules
governing Internet providers
appears to be clear.
According to the New York Times, Republicans such as Senate Commerce Committee chairman Senator John Thune of South Dakota had looked to block the rule change and instead find a legislative option, but Democrats had largely sided with the president and Chairman Wheeler's plan, stymieing any hope of a bill. With no alternative in sight, those objections have now been dropped.
The proposed rule change would reclassify broadband Internet services under Title II of the Telecommunications Act, giving the FCC the authority to enforce rules preventing Internet providers from providing favorable treatment—such as faster speeds—to companies in exchange for money. In other words, Netflix or Hulu can't pay to have their video delivered more quickly than a competing but smaller company. Perhaps more importantly, these rules also apply to mobile broadband, meaning that cell phone companies can't decide to throttle or block data coming from certain services. The hope is to give all Internet companies, regardless of the size of their wallets, a fair shake at competing, and make sure that consumers have access to the content they want, without interference from providers.
But the politicking isn't quite over yet. The official vote of the FCC is scheduled for Thursday, and though the vote is expected to pass, at least one of the agency's commissioners has raised strident objections. Stay tuned.
Chinese rocket body
disintegrates over North
On Monday night, Feb. 23-24, observers across the western half of North America witnessed a spectacular cluster of bright lights in the sky. It was the re-entry and disintegration of a Chinese rocket body.
Coincidentally, a geomagnetic storm was in progress at the time and more than one photographer caught the rocket's debris cutting across curtains of Northern Lights.
Visit http://spaceweather.com for photos and more information
TUESDAY EDITION: My good buddy Steve, K1PEK, has an excellent website for "Hybrid Rope" ™ and Cable Assembly . Reason it is Hybrid Rope ™ is that his rope for ham use is higher strength than what you see on any other ham dealer site. The noted rope strengths have not been updated yet, but all are considerably stronger than the competition, at prices lower than the comp's. Any and all other types & sizes of rope for many other application needs are available. If not seen on his site, just contact him. www.DavisRopeAndCable.com
Hams Encouraged to Hit
the Water for New US Islands
Awards “One-Day Getaway”
Fans of portable ham radio are encouraged to grab their equipment and head for the water as part of the new “One-Day Getaway,” sponsored by the US Islands Awards Program. The annual event will debut on Saturday, May 9, from 0000 UTC through 2359 UTC (Friday evening to Saturday evening in the continental US). Founded in 1994, US Islands promotes portable ham radio operation from islands in all bodies of water — lakes, rivers, streams, ponds, and coastal islands in US territorial waters. arrl
Feds Warn: These Melanoma Detection Apps Aren’t Supported By Scientific Evidence
MelApp is one of two melanoma detection apps that came under scrutiny by the FTC.
Early detection of cancer can help save lives and make treatment easier, so the idea of mobile app that can spot possible skin might seem like a godsend… if there were any science to back it up.
The Federal Trade Commission announced today two settlement proposals and a lawsuit against the marketers of mobile detection apps Mole Detective and Mel App, both of which were marketed as ways for smartphone users to snap photos of a mole to determine its risk of being cancerous.
The FTC alleges that the marketers lacked adequate evidence to support claims that the apps could accurately analyze melanoma risk or could assess such risk in early stages.
With regard to Mole Detective, the FTC had filed a complaint [PDF] against both New Consumer Solutions LLC, which originally marketed the app when it launched in Jan. 2012, and L Health Ltd., which took over the marketing for Mole Detective about eight months later.
“Mole Detective does the work for you,” reads marketing materials for the app, “automatically identifying and measuring symptoms of melanoma.”
But the FTC says there was no evidence to substantiate these claims, and thus the marketing was misleading and in violation of the FTC Act’s prohibition against false advertising.
New Consumer Solutions and its owner agreed to settle with the FTC, but L Health has not settled and so the Commission is pursuing legal action against the company and its owner [PDF].
Mel App has been around since 2011 and was marketed by a company called Health Discovery. According to its ads, it “uses highly sophisticated patent protected state-of-the-art mathematical algorithms and image-based pattern recognition technology to analyze the uploaded image,” and that the app was “validated using an image database licensed from Johns Hopkins University Medical Center.”
Once again, the FTC complained [PDF], alleging that Mel App could not back up its claims of accurately diagnosing and detecting melanoma.
Health Discovery settled with the FTC and is now barred from claiming that any device detects or diagnoses melanoma or its risk factors, or increases users’ chances of early detection, unless represented by clinical testing. Health Discovery must also pay a $17,963 fine.
“Truth in advertising laws apply in the mobile marketplace,” said Jessica Rich, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “App developers and marketers must have scientific evidence to support any health or disease claims that they make for their apps.”
MONDAY EDITION: The warm
weather yesterday must have
helped, looks like we have
lost about a foot of snow,
probably evaporated and
complaints here. I am taking
a ride up to Seacoast Harley
today, thinking about a
Roadglide for the
Remembering RadioShack-Iconic chain closes 30 St. Louis area locations
Bargain hunters have picked the carcasses of many area RadioShacks just about clean, as the company announced store closings last week with the proviso: "everything must go."
The store in Fenton Plaza shopping center was mostly sporting speaker wire and coaxial cable by Friday of last week. The store in Kirkwood Commons had a little more left to offer with audio equipment, cell phones, radios and some drastically marked-down LED lanterns still available for shoppers.
"It's very sad to see a company like RadioShack disappear, but with so much competition...," said Jim Singer, who noted on-line competitors and big box electronic retail stores.
"I'm so sorry for the many people who work for RadioShack who will be losing their jobs," added Singer, a resident of Shrewsbury. "Goodbye old friends."
RadioShack was established in 1921 in Boston as a retail store and mail-order operation serving the needs of radio officers aboard ships.
Forced to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, the iconic retailer announced on Feb. 9 the closing of 30 stores in the St. Louis area. The company hopes to sell 2,400 of its 4,100 stores nationwide to another buyer.
Jim Singer, a resident of Shrewsbury, purchased his first crystal radio set from RadioShack, as well as his first computer and stereo system. photo by Diana Linsley (click for larger version)
RadioShack made known its intention to close stores in South County Center, Chesterfield Mall and the Shrewsbury Mackenzie Pointe Shopping Center earlier this month.
A second round of closings for the week of Feb. 23 includes such Times area stores as the one in Kirkwood Commons and Fenton Plaza, as well as stores in Manchester, Ballwin and South County.
In recent years, RadioShack made efforts to remodel stores and add new product lines, including 3-D printers, miniature cameras and even drones. However, marketing analysts say the stores were viewed by too many consumers as stuck in a 1980s time warp.
Last year, the company reported an $841 million debt. Its bonds were rated as junk and stock valued at nearly $80 per share back in the 1990s was trading for just pennies by the time the recent closings were announced.
"When TVs had vacuum tubes, my grandfather would always take me to RadioShack with him to watch him plug what he thought might be a bad tube into a space-aged looking tube tester. Very cool for a 6-year-old boy to watch," said Singer.
"How many of us got our first crystal radio set from RadioShack?" asked Singer. "I also got my first computer and stereo system from RadioShack. The products were better and cheaper at RadioShack than at department stores. And it was 'the place' to hang out as a kid ... cool remote control toys and a store staff that knew what they were talking about."
Ham Operators Lament
Among those lamenting the loss of RadioShack are ham radio operators, patch-bay tinkerers and circuit-board experimenters, and members of the American Radio Relay League (ARRL).
A nostalgic ARRL noted in a statement that RadioShack was once a must for shortwave receivers, Citizens Band gear, a wide array of audio components — including transistors, resistors and capacitors – "and for a time, a popular 2-meter, hand-held transceiver and two different models of 10-meter, single-band transceivers."
Richard Baker, who lives on Barrett Station Road just west of Kirkwood, said RadioShack was always his "fallback place" to secure hard-to-find electronic adapters and connectors.
"The last time I can remember gawking at a RadioShack offering was in the early days of computers when the Commodore 64 was like watching a 10-inch DuMont TV at Famous Barr back 30 years earlier," Baker recalled.
"Then the 1980s, Intel & Windows revolution meant guys in a corner shop could put together a better computer and to your specifications, so I never really even got to spending big bucks at RadioShack," Baker explained.
Baker wandered through the Kirkwood RadioShack after hearing about the store's fate. He said there were 30-percent-off placards in the window, but the five or six items he might have bought were still, with that discount, priced higher than what he could find from competitors.
"And therein lies the fate of the Shack," said Baker. "Sad to say, my last true geek store was CompUSA, and MicroCenter is where I do all my RadioShack-type purchasing now."
Many marketing experts and radio amateurs are analyzing the crash of the Shack, and offering opinions on what went wrong for an American retail institution. The ARRL contends RadioShack lost its way when it stopped being a reliable source for tiny parts for "ham radio homebrewers."
"Over the years, RadioShack has offered fewer discrete components in its brick-and-mortar stores, moving that stock and other products to its online outlet as it shifted its marketing focus to cell phones, consumer electronics, and various battery-operated gadgets," according to ARRL.
"I have used some of RadioShack's merchandise to mesmerize my grandkids with electroplating, electromagnets and soldering wires," said Jim Stroup of South County. "Who knows? My 3-year-old grandson will probably be blowing fuses by the time he is 5!
"Online retailers put the kibosh on the Shack and other brick and mortar stores some time ago," said Stroup. "It is too easy, cheap and tax-free to just make a few clicks on the computer and have merchandise at my door without the hassle of driving all over town. As Bob Dylan says, 'The times, they are a changing.' Amazon will soon bypass UPS and drop off my purchases with drones. I wonder if they sell beer?"
Mike Cowan recalled going to his neighborhood RadioShack as far back as 1960 in Crestwood Plaza.
"In 1968, I purchased a VHF band receiver and on 11/18/78, took it up on a hill to follow the first flight of the F-18 Hornet, which I had a hand in developing," said Cowan. "I repeated that scenario 16 years later with the same RadioShack receiver for the first flight of the Super Hornet on 11/29/95."
Cowan said he has worked with disadvantaged children over the years using RadioShack as a source of parts for many hands-on projects, such as electronic toys and crystal sets.
"It's amazing to watch a boy filled with anger change as he goes through winding a coil for an electric motor kit," said Cowan. "I used RadioShack components for two youngsters' science fair projects, and again used wire for countless electrical motors.
"By the way, one of the fire-sale items I just picked up from RadioShack was a package of three rolls of magnet wire," said Cowan, proud of perhaps his last purchase from the Shack.
Stunning results from ISS
The ISS Slow Scan Television transmissions have already produced some great pictures, more will be sent Monday on 145.800 MHz FM until 2130 UT
On the AMSAT Bulletin Board (AMSAT-BB) Clint Bradford K6LCS posted:
Receiving SSTV from the ISS really CAN be simple: For my first time ever, I simply fired up a $3 iOS app, and held my iPod touch near my Yaesu FT-60R's speaker, and downloaded one of the images from the ISS.
I didn't think there was too much left in the hobby to excite me - but I was WRONG!!!
Greg KO6TH said “I’ve never received a clearer SSTV picture from anywhere, let alone outer space!”
Twelve different images depicting space pioneer Yuri Gagarin - the first human to orbit Earth - are being sent on 145.800 MHz using the SSTV mode PD180, with a 3-minute off time between transmissions.
The transmitter on the ISS uses 5 kHz deviation FM. If your rig has selectable FM filters (most mobiles do) make sure you choose the wider setting designed for 20 or 25 kHz channel spacing, usually marked FM or FMW
Images received so far by radio amateurs world-wide are at
History This Week
1675 - John Flamsteed appointed 1st Astronomer Royal of England
1790 - The modern shoestring (string and shoe holes) invented in England.
1837 - Thomas Davenport patented the first practical electrical motor.
1839 - W.S. Otis, Philadelphia, Penn., was issued a U.S. patent for the steam shovel
1885 - Eastman Film Co manufactures 1st commercial motion picture film.
1886 - Aluminum manufacturing process developed
1886 - London Times publishes world's 1st classified ad.
1891 - London-Paris telephone connection opens.
1893 - Carborundum was patented by Edward G. Acheson of Monongahela, Penn.
1908 - Dutch scientists produce solid helium.
NE8Z active from Ecuador
Rick, NE8Z/HC1MD, will once again be active from Ecuador as the following and between February 23rd and March 13th.
HC1MD/HC2--Ballenita Lighthouse / Capay on Hill "ARLHS ECU-017"
His radio equipment: TS-850s 100w-->Carolina Windom 40-10m+WARC
FT-857d 100w-->on 6m CW/SSB with 2 ele MOXON antenna/rotor
Modes: 80% RTTY, 10% SSB, 10% CW
6 meters: Rick will be calling CQ on 50.110 MHz on CW 100% of the time that he is operating on the other bands (separate radio).
QSL via direct to K8LJG & LOTW after the trip.
VIEW the HC/Ecuador and HC8/Galapagos DX-Diplomas at: