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  1. Wyong Field Day View the full article
  2. 02/23/2017The March/April 2017 issue of QEX will be arriving at mailboxes soon. In this issue . . . • David M. Drumheller, K3WQ, explains how to model antennas made from angle stock, wires cages, tape measures and other unconventional conductors. • Rick Peterson, WA6NUT, shows how FDMA technology can be used for new sound card modes. • Brian Machesney, K1LI, and Tony Brock-Fisher, K1KP, use polar modulation to to implement a “linear amplifier”. And much more! If you're not a subscriber, you're missing some of the best Amateur Radio technical journalism available. Subscribe now at https://www.arrl.org/qex-subscription-form. Click here to see the table of contents for this issue and download a free sample article. View the full article
  3. 02/23/2017The just-concluded run of ionospheric investigations conducted from Alaska’s High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP) observatory — quite likely the most powerful HF transmission facility in the world — revived the latent short-wave listener (SWL) lurking within most radio amateurs. Operating under Part 5 Experimental license WI2XFX, HAARP this month even aired some classical music as it conducted its first scientific research campaign since being taken over 18 months ago from the military by the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) Geophysical Institute. UAF Space Physics Group Assistant Research Professor Chris Fallen, KL3WX, focused on two experiments — one called “airglow” that literally aimed to light up the ionosphere, and another to demonstrate the so-called “Luxembourg Effect,” first noticed on a 1930s Radio Luxembourg broadcast. Public engagement was part of his plan, and Fallen this week said the Twitter and e-mail feedback from his transmissions had been “fantastic,” and that his science campaign had become “quite an event.” “Thank you for making a difference and advancing Amateur Radio as well,” Doug Howard, VE6CID, tweeted. Another Twitter follower enthused, “You’re running the coolest DX station in the world.” Fallen said he also received “a lot of great waterfalls,” as well as video and audio recordings from hams and SWLs. Fallen started and stopped each experiment block with DTMF tones, transmitted in AM on or about 2.8 and 3.3 MHz, each channel fed with audio tones of different frequencies or, in the case of music, as a separate stereo channel. If the “Luxembourg Effect” is present, skywave-signal listeners would hear both channels combined on a single frequency; Fallen said the effect is easier to detect with tones. In addition to tones, he transmitted “a ‘dance track,’ a Pachelbel Canon arrangement, and a variation of ‘Row, Row, Row Your Boat.’” Jeff Dumps, KL4IU, composed some of the music, and he arranged and performed all of it. The CW “airglow” artificial aurora experiment followed the Luxembourg Effect transmissions. All week, Fallen despaired that the “ratty” ionosphere and cloud cover were diminishing his hopes for success with the artificial aurora experiments. But on the last night, he tweeted, “Seeing artificial airglow with the spectrometer. Film at 11.” Fallen is now evaluating the results of his HAARP efforts. He said one listener posted “a most excellent” YouTube clip. He was not specific; several have been posted that document this week's experiments, including this one from Stephen Oleson, VE6SLP. Laurence Howell, KL7L, in Wasilla, Alaska, posted an audio file. “The miracle of crowd sourcing!” Fallen said. “If only the Luxembourg Effect was more pronounced, but it is in the 3,300 kHz recording.” Fallen has been working under a $60,000 National Science Foundation grant. “During campaigns, significant expenditures for fuel and personnel are required,” the grant abstract said. “Large start-up costs make HAARP experiments largely inaccessible to individual researchers unless multiple experiments and funding sources can be bundled together during a campaign of up to two-week duration.” According to the abstract, public participation would maximize “the broader impacts of the investigations.” “HAARP again...perhaps sometime this summer!” Fallen tweeted on February 23. He has posted additional information on his “Gakona HAARPoon 2017” blog. View the full article
  4. 02/23/2017A high-altitude Amateur Radio balloon, K2BSA-11, will be launched from the 2017 National Boy Scouts of America Jamboree in West Virginia. The balloon is expected to reach an altitude of 48,000 feet and will transmit on 144.390 MHz APRS. An onboard GPS/computer will shift APRS frequencies based on the balloon’s location around the globe. Carrying out the July 20 launch from the Summit Bechtel Reserve will be Bill Brown WB8ELK; Keith Kaiser, WA0TJT, and other members of the K2BSA Radio Scouting team. They are hoping that the balloon will circumnavigate Earth. View the full article
  5. 02/23/2017The Cedar Creek Amateur Radio Club in Athens, Texas, has purchased and distributed copies of Ham Radio for Dummiesby ARRL Contributing Editor Ward Silver, N0AX, to area schools and libraries. The book now is in its second edition. Financed in part by a grant from LDG Electronics, the club determined to place a copy of the book in nearly every school and public library in the tri-county area around Athens. Club member and former teacher Glenn Hughes, KF5CTG, took on the task of distributing the copies, visiting with librarians and school administrators as he made the rounds. The activity caught the attention of The Athens Review, which published an article about it on February 15. View the full article
  6. 02/23/2017As its Amateur Radio FM transponder satellite BY70-1 was poised to re-enter Earth’s atmosphere, its developers, China’s Amateur Youth Space Program, said it will be mounting future missions. The 2U BY70-1 CubeSat was built by Beijing Bayi High School students. “We hope more amateur youth space program will be brought to you in the near future!” the students said in a February 17 statement on the school’s website. BY70-1 was launched on December 28 but ended up in a lower-than-expected 524 × 212 kilometer orbit, which contributed to its brief orbital lifetime. “Satellite BY70-1 has completed all designed missions,” the students’ message said. They asked for reports, via e-mail, including audio or video clips, from those who were successful in using the satellite or who obtained satellite camera photos. They offered a QSL card in return for those who made a contact or souvenirs for those who copied telemetry or used the onboard camera. View the full article
  7. 02/23/2017The 30th annual North American Shortwave Association Winter SWL Fest will take place March 2-4 in Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania, just north of Philadelphia. The Winter SWL Fest is a conference of radio hobbyists of all stripes. Enthusiasts of everything from HF broadcasting, AM band broadcasting, VLF, scanning, satellite TV, and pirate broadcasting are welcome. Visit the Winter SWL Fest website for registration information. View the full article
  8. 02/22/2017When Orlando HamCation hosted the ARRL Southeastern Division Convention February 10-12, it posted a new attendance record. As a result of its growing popularity, the Orlando show may now be the third largest ham radio gathering in the world — behind the JARL Tokyo Ham Fair, with an estimated 37,000 attendees in 2016, and Hamvention®, which attracts some 25,000 visitors each May. This year, HamCation logged a record 19,000 attendees, up from 2,000 last year, moving it ahead of Ham Radio in Friedrichshafen, Germany. HamCation’s sponsor, the ARRL-affiliated Orlando Amateur Radio Club, has announced the retirement of HamCation Chairman Peter Meijers, AI4KM, who has headed up the show for 10 years. Michael Cauley, W4MCA, will succeed him. Cauley has served for 7 years as HamCation’s Tailgate Chairman, for 6 years as the IT Chairman, and for 1 year as Finance Chairman. “Peter had planned on retiring at the end of the 2016 show, but I asked if he would stay on one more year, which he agreed,” said OARC President John Knott, N4JTK. “I’m extremely sad to see Peter retire, but totally understand that after 9 shows he felt it was time for a little rest!” Knott said planning for HamCation 2018 “starts now!” Representing ARRL Headquarters at HamCation this year were CEO Tom Gallagher, NY2RF; ARRL Marketing Manager Bob Inderbitzen, NQ1R, and ARRL Contest Branch Manager Bart Jahnke, W9JJ. They were joined by ARRL Southeastern Director Greg Sarratt, W4OZK; Vice Director Joey Tiritilli, N4ZUW; Northern Florida Section Manager Steve Szabo, WB4OMM; ARRL Honorary Vice President Frank Butler, W4RH, and a handful of other ARRL Field Organization volunteers. Szabo and Sarratt moderated the standing-room-only ARRL Forum, which Gallagher and Inderbitzen attended, while Jahnke supported an ARRL Contesting Forum. Also attending was ARES E-Letter Editor Rick Palm, K1CE, who described the forum as “all positive” and focused on how to gain the attention and interest of younger people. “[O]ne comment that struck me came from a member of the Lakeland Amateur Radio Club, who said that the club had faced declining attendance at club meetings and membership until they eliminated the business portions of the meetings in favor of more hands-on, show-and-tell demonstrations of equipment, modes and antennas, which turned into big hits,” he recounted. The ARRL College Amateur Radio Initiative (CARI) enjoyed attention throughout HamCation. Gallagher, wearing a “Penn” sweatshirt for his University of Pennsylvania alma mater, welcomed attendees to a CARI Forum, moderated by Andy Milluzzi, KK4LWR. Volunteer Don Search, W3AZD, headed up DXCC card checking. Membership sign-ups were brisk, Inderbitzen reported, “and we couldn’t have kept up without the additional help of volunteers Lindy Gallagher and Dr. Sherry Mahafza, KM4VSW.” Jahnke and Inderbitzen also attended the Florida Contest Group dinner, which included a keynote presentation by elite contester Tim Duffy, K3LR. “I’m extremely grateful for Peter Meijers’ long and dedicated service to Orlando HamCation,” Inderbitzen said. “He’s done an incredible job — a true and good leader in our Amateur Radio Service. I know how much hard work goes into organizing a convention, and Peter has always been the right person for this important job. I appreciate all the ways Peter, his wife Lidy, KJ4LMM, and his fellow Orlando HamCation and OARC members have supported ARRL, and our common resolve to advance Amateur Radio together.” Inderbitzen has posted a photo album on ARRL’s Facebook page. View the full article
  9. 02/22/2017Today’s Military Auxiliary Radio System (MARS) program has changed markedly from what it was just a few years ago. So says US Army MARS Program Manager Paul English, WD8DBY, who contends that MARS must adapt in order to remain relevant and useful to its sponsor, the US Department of Defense (DOD). “Probably the most significant changes were the Navy’s decision to ‘sunset’ the Navy Marine Corps MARS program and our move to refocus Army and Air Force MARS on providing contingency HF Radio communications support to the DOD and the services,” English said. “In order to focus our support on the Department of Defense, MARS leadership had to rethink, essentially from the ground up, what it means to be a MARS member.” MARS relies on volunteers from within the Amateur Radio ranks. Among other things, recruits receive specialized training in military messaging formats and digital messaging protocols. While the priority MARS mission is to provide contingency HF communication to support the DOD and the military, MARS also supports communication for combat commands providing humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, provides contingency communication for Defense Support to Civil Authorities (DSCA), and provides “morale and welfare communications” in support of the DOD. MARS still provides support for civil authorities, but it must follow DOD procedures for how that support is provided, English explained. “MARS leadership used to actively encourage our members to support civil authorities,” he said, “and that put us in direct competition with the Amateur Radio community as well as with other federal agencies.” English said that in today’s MARS program, the primary digital protocol is software that emulates Military Standard (MilStd) 188-110A (M110A) serial phase-shift keying, which is compatible with what is used by the military. MARS members may still use Amateur Radio digital modes on working channels, but M110A is the principal mode. There are no plans to transition to digital voice modes. This year, MARS introduced an online encryption program that allows all digital radio traffic to be encrypted as it is being transmitted. MARS has also expanded its use of automatic link establishment (ALE), although members are not required to use it. “Our bread and butter remains single-channel HF communication,” English said. “The majority of our members who do use ALE are using the MARS ALE software program. Some of our members who support our national nets are moving to hardware ALE radios.” The MARS program supports quarterly contingency communication exercises supporting the DOD. These are based on “very bad day” scenarios, where traditional forms of communication are no longer available. “Through these exercises, the DOD — via the MARS community — reaches out to the Amateur Radio community to provide situational awareness information at the county/local level,” English said. That makes sense to MARS member Bill Sexton, N1IN, who was Army MARS public affairs officer from 2001 until 2014. “At least in theory, the blanketing omnipresence of hams across all 50 states offers a backup for blacked-out regions in the event of a catastrophic attack or natural disaster,” Sexton allowed. “The challenge is mobilizing back-up operations in the total absence of internet, telephone, cell phone, or texting resources.” View the full article
  10. 02/22/2017Four candidates for Section Manager (SM), including one incumbent, outpolled challengers to win 2-year terms beginning on April 1, while a second incumbent was defeated in a run for a new term, and one candidate ran unopposed to succeed an incumbent who did not run again. Ballots in contested races in the winter election cycle were counted and verified on February 21 at ARRL Headquarters. In Arizona, Rick Paquette, W7RAP, of Tucson, topped the field in a three-way race, receiving 638 votes to 375 for Steven Wood, W1SR, of Tucson, and 353 for Virgil Silhanek, K7VZ, of Phoenix. Paquette has served as an Assistant Section Manager and has been a volunteer instructor, mentor, and volunteer examiner for many years. Robert Spencer, KE8DM, of Yuma, who has served as SM since 2013, decided not to run for another term. In North Texas, Jay Urish, W5GM, of McKinney will become the new Section Manager after defeating Brent Boydston, KF5THB, of Henrietta 829 to 490. Urish will be returning as SM, having served previously from 2009 to 2011. He will succeed Nancy McCain, K5NLM, of Fort Worth, who has been North Texas SM for the last 2 years and did not run for another term. In Kentucky, Steve Morgan, W4NHO, of Owensboro, unseated incumbent SM Alan Morgan, KY1O, of Paris, 323 to 146. Morgan served previously as the Kentucky SM from 1991 until 1997. Morgan has served in the office since 2015. In Iowa, incumbent Section Manager Bob McCaffrey, K0CY, of Boone overcame a challenge to win a new term, polling 306 votes to 218 for Paul Cowley, KB7VML, of Ames. This will mark McCaffrey’s third term in office. In Arkansas, James Ferguson, N5LKE, of Searcy, will become the new Section Manager when he succeeds incumbent SM Dale Temple, W5RXU, of North Little Rock, on April 1. Temple, who is completing his third term, decided not to run for re-election. These incumbent Section Managers did not face opposition during the nomination period and have been declared elected to new terms beginning on April 1: Malcolm Keown, W5XX (Mississippi); George Forsyth, AA7GS (Montana); Carl Gardenias, WU6D (Orange), and Jack Mitchell, N7MJ (Wyoming). These incumbent Section Managers began new 2-year terms on January 1: Tom Walsh, K1TW (Eastern Massachusetts); Cecil Higgins, AC0HA (Missouri); Matt Anderson, KA0BOJ (Nebraska); Jim Mezey, W2KFV (New York City/Long Island); Tom Dick, KF2GC (Northern New York); Marc Tarplee, N4UFP (South Carolina); Skip Arey, N2EI (Southern New Jersey), and Darrell Davis, KT4WX (West Central Florida). In Western Pennsylvania, Joe Shupienis, W3BC, of Falls Creek, on January 1 succeeded Tim Duffy, K3LR, who decided not to run for a second term. Shupienis had been the Affiliated Club Coordinator and a Public Information Officer. View the full article
  11. 02/22/2017The winter 2017 issue of Radio Waves — News you can use for license instruction and radio science education, is now available. In this issue:How to Start a High School Amateur Radio Club in Six Easy Steps; Rhode Island School ARISS Contact Takes Off with the Public; Citizen Scientist Opportunities for Radio Amateurs, and Science Lessons for Solar Week. Plus the Instructor Corner, Update on the Instructor Reporting and Recognition Program, Licensing Updates, Education & Technology Program News, and more. The current issue and all past issues are available on the ARRL website. View the full article
  12. The RSGB online membership services will be offline today between 10.00 and 11.00 GMT for routine maintenance and testing. While some pages will appear available during this time if you follow bookmarked URLs, they will not be retaining any data entered. We apologize for any inconvenience this work may cause. Category: Front Page News, GB2RS Headlines, RSGB Notices View the full article
  13. 02/21/2017“HF Loop Antennas” is the topic of the just-released episode of the “ARRLThe Doctor is In” podcast. Listen...and learn! Sponsored by DX Engineering, “ARRL The Doctor is In” is an informative discussion of all things technical. Listen on your computer, tablet, or smartphone -- whenever and wherever you like! Every 2 weeks, your host, QST Editor-in-Chief Steve Ford, WB8IMY, and the Doctor himself, Joel Hallas, W1ZR, will discuss a broad range of technical topics. You can also e-mail your questions to doctor@arrl.org, and the Doctor may answer them in a future podcast. Enjoy “ARRL The Doctor is In” on Apple iTunes, or by using your iPhone or iPad podcast app (just search for “ARRL The Doctor is In”). You can also listen online at Blubrry, or at Stitcher (free registration required, or browse the site as a guest) and through the free Stitcher app for iOS, Kindle, or Android devices. If you’ve never listened to a podcast before, download our beginner’s guide. Just ahead on March 2: “CTCSS and DTMF.” View the full article
  14. 02/21/2017A new scholarship has been endowed, honoring the memory of Homer V. Thompson, W4CWV, and Annette P. Thompson, W4LKM, the ARRL Foundation has announced. The scholarship will be funded through an initial $50,000 gift from an anonymous donor. The Thompsons, who married in 1939, were both from eastern Polk County, Florida. Homer Thompson’s family was among the pioneers of the citrus industry in the Haines City area, while Annette Thompson’s grandfather, Ephriam Baynard, was a notable early real estate developer in Auburndale. A graduate of the University of Florida, Homer Thompson saw service during World War II and the Korean Conflict. Upon retiring from military service as a lieutenant colonel, Thompson was awarded the Legion of Merit for his service with the Army Security Agency. He was employed by the FCC for 30 years. The Thompsons also oversaw citrus grove properties they owned jointly. Both Thompsons were avid radio amateurs. They spent their retirement years in Winter Haven, Florida. At the time Annette Thompson died in 2010, the couple had been married for 70 years; Homer Thompson died in 2013. Applicants for this scholarship must be US citizens and Amateur Radio licensees, enrolled at an accredited 2- or 4-year college or university, and performing at a high academic level, pursuing a degree in an agriculture, business, science, math, engineering, or technology-related field. Preference will be given to Florida residents. If no qualified Florida applicant is identified, the scholarship may be awarded to an applicant from the ARRL Southeastern Division (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Puerto Rico, and US Virgin Islands). The scholarship award will be $1,500 annually, with the first scholarship expected to be awarded in 2018. One scholarship will be awarded each year. The ARRL Foundation shall determine award recipients. View the full article
  15. The HAB flight planned for Sunday 26th of Feb has been cancelled (again) at the last minute due to the prevailing wind conditions. The balloon would have landed back in and around the Northern Suburbs of Adelaide. Which is a definite no-fly zone. This flight will now be rescheduled sometime during the first few weekends in March. With luck we’ll find conditions suitable to launch this payload soon. This is the second attempt at launching this payload for Launchbox on behalf of Rostrevor College. It simply proves that we can’t yet control the weather. Keep your eyes on the AREG website in the coming weeks for further information. Share this: Like this: LikeLoading... View the full article