Several hams who completed the new Heathkit company's online survey report receiving e-mails today informing them that they are now "Heathkit Insiders." No indication of what that means and when or whether the company's new owners will appear publicly to identify themselves and lay out their plans for the company.
(See initial story below - posted May 24 - on the possible return of Heathkit to the amateur marketplace.)
Monday, June 3, 2013
|Weather researcher Tim|
Samaras, WJ0G (SK)
(From Tim's QRZ.com page)
According to reports on The Weather Channel, Tim was a self-trained engineer who designed and built virtually all of his weather monitoring equipment. He is credited with developing unique tools to measure barometric pressure at the base of a tornado. It was unclear as this was written whether either Paul Samaras or Carl Young were licensed amateurs.
The same tornado surprised Weather Channel meteorologist Mike Bettes and his crew - three of whom are hams. The car in which Bettes was traveling was picked up by the storm and sent tumbling hundreds of feet off the road. The one crew member injured seriously enough to require hospitalization was Austin Anderson, N5YNE, of Austin, Texas. Satellite truck engineer Cleve Massey, W5CEM, and RF Engineer Kevin Parrish, N6LUI, were not injured. Massey noted that "driving a 12,000-pound, low-to-the-ground satellite truck has its advantages," although the truck did sustain considerable damage from the storm.
[Updated 6/3/13 to show that 3 members of Weather Channel crew are hams, and to correct/update Massey's call sign]]
Friday, May 24, 2013
The legendary Heathkit name might once again be appearing on new electronics kits, including amateur radio gear. Or maybe not. The possible second reincarnation of Heathkit is shrouded in secrecy at the moment, so it's difficult to get any hard facts.
|Will the old become new again? Heathkit's new owners |
suggest in their online survey that they might bring back
classic ham gear ... perhaps a new version of W2VU's
ancient and highly-modified Twoer? (W2VU photo)
Here's what we do know: After the original Heath company got out of the kit business and eventually shut down completely, new owners in 2011 announced its return to the kit market, along with plans in introduce kits focused on computers and education (amateur radio equipment was not part of the initial plan). Things did not work out as planned and the new Heathkit declared bankruptcy and closed its doors last year without ever producing a single kit.
As part of the bankruptcy proceedings, the Heathkit name, logo, and rights to previous equipment designs were put up for auction. CQ Kit-Building Editor Joe Eisenberg, K0NEB, reports that at last week's Dayton Hamvention®, DZ Kits owner Brian Wood, W0DZ, told a kit-building forum that he had been an unsuccessful bidder for the company's assets, but that he did not know who the winning bidder was.
Around the same time, the Heathkit.com website came back online, featuring a Mark Twain postage stamp and a famous Twain quote, "The news of my death has been greatly exaggerated." Also appearing on the website, although without a link from the home page, was an extensive survey for potential customers, saying "Heathkit is back" and seeking input on products that might be offered. The survey is at <http://heathkit.com/survey/index.php/278489?lang=en>.
Based on the content of the survey, it appears that the new owners are focusing on the amateur radio market to get them started, and some of the questions suggest that they may start out by re-introducing classic Heathkit gear, either in its original form or with updated electronics inside the classic chassis and case.
|This still-functional Heathkit keyer has a built-in code oscillator and|
speaker so it's useful for demonstrations as well as on-air use. Will
a new version return to the market? Stand by... (W2VU photo)
Here's what we don't know: There is no indication of who the new owners are or how to contact them. There is no "contact us" link on the website. A "whois" search on the internet for the registered owner of the heathkit.com domain name returns only the company name and address (in St. Joseph, Michigan). And there is no record as yet of any company with "Heath" or "Heathkit" in its name in the Michigan Secretary of State's online corporation registry. We don't know how soon the new owners intend to publicly announce their plans for the company, or when - if ever - they will introduce any new (or new-old) products.
We encourage the new owners to reach out to the amateur radio media and ask anyone reading this who knows them to strongly suggest that they contact us so we can help them spread the word and to get facts rather than speculation out to the amateur community.
When and if we do have additional information to report, we will post updates here in the CQ Newsroom and/or in the pages of CQ.
-- By Rich Moseson, W2VU, Editor, CQ
Thursday, May 23, 2013
Tom Wheeler has run two telecom lobbying groups, advised the FCC on emerging technology and written a book on telegraph history. Now, he has been nominated by President Obama to succeed Julius Genachowski as Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission.
|President Obama announces the nomination of|
Tom Wheeler (right) as the next chairman of the
Federal Communications Commission.
(White House photo)
|Acting FCC Chair Mignon Clyburn|
The president compared Wheeler to athletes Jim Brown and Bo Jackson, pointing out that he is the only person ever named to both the cable television and wireless industry halls of fame.
According to the ARRL Letter, Wheeler - who is currently a managing director for a venture capital firm in Washington - previously served as president of the National Cable Television Association (now the National Cable & Telecommunications Association) and as CEO of the Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association. He is also chairman of the FCC's Technological Advisory Council and of the State Department's Advisory Committee on International Communications and Information Policy. He was also a fundraiser for both of Mr. Obama's presidential campaigns.
Of particular interest to hams, the ARRL says Wheeler is also the author of Mr. Lincoln's T-Mails, a book about the 16th president's use of the telegraph.
President Obama named FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn to serve as Acting Chair until the Senate confirms Wheeler's nomination.
Should the federal government set specific interference rejection standards for receiver manufacturers?
It's a question the FCC considered, and decided against, back in the 1980s, when television interference (TVI) was still a major problem; and it's an issue that three separate federal panels have been studying for the past year and a half, looking at growing interference problems accompanying the staggering growth of wireless systems using frequencies shared with or adjacent to other services (including hams).
It looks like the FCC is headed down the same road it went down 30 years ago, with recommendations from its Technological Advisory Council (headed by Chairman-designate Tom Wheeler) to develop thresholds of "tolerable" interference for receivers rather than mandating specific interference-rejection standards. The FCC is seeking public comment. The docket number is ET 13-101, with a due date of June 21 and a reply deadline of July 8. Be sure to read the Public Notice and the underlying "white paper" before filing comments.
|Shoppers at this year's Dayton Hamvention(R) noticed a |
fair number of empty indoor booths, but there were only
16 fewer commercial vendors this year than last, and
the flea market was as crowded as ever. (CQ photo)
Well-known ham author Ward Silver, N0AX, has been elected President of the Yasme Foundation. He succeeds Wayne Mills, N7NG, who stepped down after being named CQ magazine's DX Editor earlier this year. Silver is author of the introductory book, Ham Radio for Dummies, and is Editor of the ARRL Handbook. The Yasme Foundation funds scientific and educational projects relating to amateur radio.
|Scott Wood, VE1QD|
(QRZ.com listing photo)
Scott Wood, VE1QD, has been named the Canadian Radio Amateur of the Year for 2012 by the Radio Amateurs of Canada (RAC). Wood, who wrote the November, 2011 CQ cover story on Radio Arcala, was recognized for founding and managing the Maritime DX Forum for the past eight years. Wood was formally recognized at the RAC booth at the 2013 Dayton Hamvention®.
|Joe Schroeder, W9JUV (SK)|
Longtime ham radio journalist, engineer and DXer Joe Schroeder, W9JUV, became a Silent Key on April 30. Schroeder was a staff member of ham radio magazine from 1974 to 1990, and was founding editor of the magazine's weekly newsletter, HR Report. He was also Managing Editor of Electronic Instrument Digest magazine as well as an authority on firearms history and gun collecting, a topic on which he also wrote and/or edited many books and magazine articles. Joe was 83.
UPDATE: The ARRL says release of the new software has been delayed due to the discovery of three "bugs" that have since been corrected. However, making changes required additional testing, so the League said it was delaying the release of the software until the end of May.
|Cocos (Keeling) Islands|
(Courtesy CIA World Factbook)
Anyone who has a confirmed contact with TI9CCC between February 15 and 28, 1984, should e-mail DXCC Manager Bill Moore, NC1L, with the details in order to be placed on the list for a record update.
AMSAT's Fox-1 satellite has been scheduled for launch aboard NASA's ELaNa XII mission late next year, according to the AMSAT News Service. NASA plans to launch the cubesat into an orbit with an expected lifetime of about 11 years. The satellite is scheduled to be delivered to NASA for integration with the launch vehicle next March, to be followed by a launch currently scheduled for next November.
The satellite will host scientific payloads as well as amateur radio equipment, as part of AMSAT's recent focus on supporting science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education. The satellite's planned educational mission qualified it for the NASA program, which provides free launches for selected projects. The launch is generally the most expensive part of any amateur satellite project.
Plans continue for the addition of digital amateur television (DATV) capability aboard the International Space Station. The project is designed to add a video component to school contacts already conducted by ISS crew members through ARISS, the Amateur Radio on the International Space Station program. The DATV transmitter will operate on 2240.0 and 2437.0 MHz, according to the AMSAT News Service. The HamTV equipment is scheduled to be sent up to the station on a supply mission currently scheduled for early August. More information is available on the HamTV Project's Facebook page at <https://www.facebook.com/Hamtvproject>.
The AMSAT News Service reports on a proposal from Region 1 of the International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) for an additional 2-meter satellite downlink subband between 144.000 and 144.025 MHz, to be
used for CW and SSB downlink signals. It was noted that these frequencies have become underutilized after most EME (moonbounce) activity moved further up the band.
AMSAT-NA has not yet taken a position on the proposal.
It is worth noting that in the United States, FCC rules permit only CW operation on the frequency segment between 144.000 and 144.100 MHz.
Representatives of two national amateur radio associations in Europe teamed up with Tunisia's amateur radio society to make a presentation about amateur radio to the North African country's Minister for Technology, Information and Communication.
According to "Newsline," Mustapha Landoulsi, DL1BDF, representing Germany's Deutscher Amateur Radio Club (DARC) and Stefan Dombrowski, ON6TI, from Belgium's UBA national association, met with the minister on World Amateur Radio Day, April 18, along with members of the Tunisian association. They described amateur radio's role in emergency and disaster communications as well as science and engineering education through the amateur satellite program. Reports indicated that the minister was quite impressed with amateur radio's potential and promised to start the wheels turning to permit the licensing of individual Tunisians. Current laws limit the issuance of amateur licenses to cultural and educational organizations.
"Last Man Standing," the ABC-TV comedy starring Tim Allen, has been renewed for a third season, according to the program's producer, John Amodeo, NN6JA. In the program, Allen's character is a licensed amateur and has stations set up in his office and his basement, both of which are regularly seen (especially the office station). The use of amateur radio was featured on a recent episode, and Amodeo says he anticipates that it will be included in at least one episode next season as well.
|QSL card for "Mandy Baxter, KF0XIE" |
Courtesy Last Man Standing
He also revealed that the character of Mandy Baxter, who was operating her father's radio but did not identify with a callsign, will be properly (if fictionally) licensed next season, as KF0XIE. Amodeo brought some of "Mandy's" QSL cards to the Dayton Hamvention® in May.
An article by Amodeo on the making of this past season's episode featuring ham radio will appear in the July issue of CQ magazine.
Friday, May 17, 2013
CQ ANNOUNCES 2013 HALL OF FAME INDUCTEES
(Dayton, OH - May 17, 2013) -- CQ magazine today announced its 2013 Hall of Fame inductees, adding two members each to the CQ DX and Contest Halls of Fame along with eight new members of the CQ Amateur Radio Hall of Fame.
The CQ Amateur Radio Hall of Fame honors those individuals, whether licensed hams or not, who have made significant contributions to amateur radio; and those amateurs who have made significant contributions either to amateur radio, to their professional careers or to some other aspect of life on our planet. The 2013 inductees (listed alphabetically) are:
* Evelyn Garrison, WS7A (SK) - amateur radio industry leader
* Joel Kleinman, N1BKE (SK) - former Managing Editor of QST magazine
* Laurie Margolis, G3UML/GPC3L - Longtime BBC correspondent and contributor to amateur radio magazines
* Michael Owen, VK3KI (SK) - Longtime president of the Wireless Institute of Australia and chairman of IARU Region 3
* Harry Rubinstein (ex-9EEV) (SK) - Inventor of the printed circuit, the slider potentiometer and the combination potentiometer/on-off switch
* Walker Tompkins, K6ATX - Journalist, author and historian, his three dozen books included several well-known ham radio-related novels
* Joe Walsh, WB6ACU - Rock music performer and Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee
* William G. (Bill) Welsh, W6DDB (SK) - CQ Novice Editor for 20 years; responsible for helping thousands to get their ham licenses
CQ DX and Contest and DX Halls of Fame
The CQ DX and Contest Halls of Fame honor those amateurs who not only excel in personal performance in these major areas of amateur radio but who also "give back" to the hobby in outstanding ways.
The 2013 inductees to the CQ DX Hall of Fame are:
* Vladimir Bykov, UA4WHX/AC4LN, has visited and operated from over 100 DX entities in the past ten years and operated from all six continents in 2012 alone. Has provided over 700,000 DX contacts for hams around the world (and QSLed them all).
* Robert "Gary" Dixon, K4MQG, is a founding member of the Carolina DX Association and as Founding President of INDEXA, the International DX Association, which has helped support over 200 DXpeditions in the past 30 years.
The 2013 inductees to the CQ Contest Hall of Fame are:
* Dale Green, VE7SV, is a world-class contester who has been hosting teams of new and experienced contesters at his superstation for the past 20 years, and recently helped start a contest group in Chile.
* Charles "Chas" Fulp, K3WW, also a multi-award winning contester and past president of the Frankford Radio Club (FRC), which saysChas "is our role model and sets the standard for other FRC members to strive to achieve."
Formal inductions to the CQ Contest and DX Halls of Fame were scheduled for the Dayton Hamvention.® More detailed descriptions of inductees will appear in the official announcement in the July 2013 issue of CQ magazine.
Tuesday, April 30, 2013
We are saddened to report the passing of a good friend and colleague, Joe Schroeder, W9JUV. Joe was an accomplished DXer, Motorola engineer and ham radio journalist. He was on the editorial staff of ham radio magazine and was the founding editor of HR Report, a newsletter published by ham radio. According to his biography on QRZ.com, Joe was also Managing Editor of Electronic Instrument Digest magazine. He was also an authority on firearms history and gun collecting, and wrote &/or edited many books and article in that field as well as in electronics.
Friday, April 26, 2013
|Courtesy Minuteman Repeater Assn.|
A powerful earthquake - measuring 7.0 on the Richter scale - struck China's Sichuan province on the morning of April 20, resulting in nearly 200 deaths, more than 11,000 injuries and an estimated $3 billion in damages. This is the same region in which a massive quake five years ago killed more than 90,000 people. Ham radio operators from the Chinese Radio Sports Association and the Chinese Radio Amateur Club immediately went into action, providing emergency communications on both HF and VHF, according to WorldRadio Online Newsfront and other sources. The FM repeater in hard-hit Ya'an City was still functioning after the quake and carried much of the local radio traffic. Hams were also pressed into service to provide traffic control to speed the delivery of emergency supplies.
|Courtesy CIA World Factbook|
The Intrepid-DX Group and the World-Wide DX Group issued a joint statement in which they said discussions have been under way for four years with business and tourism professionals who regularly do business in North Korea, that several group members and advisors have made multiple visits to the country, and that a comprehensive proposal for a four-week ham radio operation had already been delivered to officials of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea through a Chinese emissary. "We are committed to work as hard and as long as it takes to activate this rare and much needed entity," said the statement. P5 is at the top of virtually every DX "most-wanted" list.
The ARRL Letter reports that former ARRL Communications Manager George Hart, W1NJM, passed away in late March at age 99. Hart spent more than 40 years on the ARRL staff and is credited with developing the National Traffic System, the league's organization of local, regional and national nets for passing radiogram traffic across the U.S.
Also reported as a Silent Key is Wendell Morrison, W7LLX, of Waukesha, Wisconsin. Morrison spent his career working for RCA, where he invented the Antennalyzer, which the Letter describes as "an early analog computing device for designing multi-tower AM directional arrays." He was 97 when he passed away last October.
Organizers of the 2014 World Radio Teamsport Championship, an international contesting competition that takes place every four years, are seeking applicants to be station referees. The referees monitor competitors at each station to assure that they are in compliance with all WRTC rules. Next year's event will take place in New England.
Referees must be: able to travel to Massachusetts next July; fluent in English; able to effectively monitor two audio streams at the same time; proficient in both SSB and CW contesting; able to stay awake and focused for 24 hours; able to send SMS text messages, not have any hearing impairments and never to have received a red card contest penalty or more than two yellow cards.
Applications must be submitted by December 1, 2013 and may be downloaded from <http://bit.ly/10hKUCo>.
The FCC has granted the ARRL's request to allow certain TDMA transmissions on the amateur bands, but denied a petition for reconsideration of the Commission's earlier decision on Broadband over Power Lines, or BPL.
According to the ARRL Letter, the FCC OKd a temporary waiver to permit the use of single-slot Time Domain Multiple Access transmissions on amateur frequencies above 30 MHz. A proposal to permanently authorize amateur use of this digital mode is currently pending before the Commission, suggesting that its eventual approval is likely.
The Letter also reports that the FCC has again denied an ARRL Petition for Reconsideration of its ruling on BPL. The Commission said the petition did not "raise new arguments based on new information … nor does it demonstrate any errors or omissions in the Commission's previous decisions." The ARRL says it will continue to "vigorously guard against the abuse and pollution of the radio spectrum in the use of BPL technology."
|Idaho Governor Butch Otter|
(Courtesy Idaho Governor's
|Julie Zoller, KJ4EMJ|
The FCC has determined that many small satellite projects, such as university-built cubesats, do not really qualify for licensing under as amateur satellites and must instead apply for experimental licenses. According to the AMSAT News Service, these satellites would still be permitted to operate in amateur satellite spectrum. However, ANS says the International Amateur Radio Union's Satellite Advisory Panel is concerned that it may no longer be appropriate for it to serve as frequency coordinator for what the FCC now views as non-amateur satellites.
|The FCC says many small satellite projects need |
experimental licenses, not amateur licenses.
(Pictured here is Korea's OSSI-1, not under
FCC jurisdiction - courtesy AMSAT-UK)
The IARU is urging all national amateur radio societies to work with their telecommunications administrations to find alternative frequencies for experimental satellites and to get a permanent allocation for them onto the agenda for one of the next two World Radiocommunication Conferences, either WRC-15 or -18. In the US, AMSAT and the ARRL are working together with the FCC to find both short-term and long-term solutions to this situation. AMSAT points out that having university satellites under the amateur satellite umbrella has resulted in many benefits for both amateur radio and the universities involved.
Two launches in two days from two different sides of the world have put seven new amateur radio satellites in orbit.
|Korean singer turned satellite-builder Hojun Song, DS1SBO,|
performs final assembly of his OSSI-1 satellite.
|Antares rocket launches Phonesats toward orbit|
An April 21 launch from NASA's Wallops Island Flight Facility in Virginia lofted a trio of "phonesats" into orbit, so-called because they are built around off-the-shelf smartphones. NASA says the phones' abilities to send and receive calls and texts were disabled before launch and that they were connected to higher-powered (amateur) transmitters. The three phonesats were dubbed Alexander, Graham, and Bell. Graham and Bell were sending photos from their smartphone cameras via AX.25 packet. For more info, see <www.phonesat.org>.
As it approaches its centennial in 2014, the ARRL has launched the Second Century Campaign in an effort to raise $10 million to assure funding of future programs. According to the ARRL Letter, the campaign has already raised over $4 million in donations and pledges, and hopes to raise the remaining $6 million by the end of its centennial year.
Monday, April 15, 2013
Jeremy Breef-Pilz, KB1REQ, a ham radio operator working communications in the finish area, reported on on Twitter that all hams at the Marathon are safe:
"@KB1REQ: All #HamRadio volunteers for the #BostonMarathon are safe. We complied with evacuation orders, not an incident for us to be involved in."
(Tnx to KB1REQ via WA3PZO)
Update ... CBS News is reporting that Boston Police says there are at least two deaths and 22 injuries as a result of explosions near the finish line of the Boston Marathon; and that Marathon officials are describing the blasts as being caused by bombs. Still no word on whether any hams were among the injured.
The Associated Press is reporting two explosions at the finish line of today's Boston Marathon, resulting in an as-yet unknown number of injuries. Amateur radio operators have long provided course communications for the event and we assume there were hams among those at the finish line. We do not know at this time whether any hams were among the injured. Updates will be provided here as additional information becomes available.
Friday, April 5, 2013
According to a post on the Hamvention website: "We have received conflicting information from credible sources regarding the accuracy of the winning nomination. The General Chairman of Hamvention this year, Charles Kaiser, received these reports and followed up to verify their accuracy. Unfortunately this changes the way we score for the Amateur of the Year award and since the competition was close with other nominees the outcome would have been different. Based on all of this research the decision has been made by the Hamvention General Chairman not to award the Amateur of the Year for 2013."
Landoulsi, a retired airline pilot, had been recognized for work in promoting and developing amateur radio in the Middle East and for organizing delivery of emergency medical equipment and medication to countries in Africa.
There was no indication from DARA regarding the nature of the "conflicting information" or any additional details regarding its action. This is the first time since the award was first presented in 1955 that an award has been withdrawn after being announced, and the first time that the Amateur of the Year award has not been presented. The decision has no impact on this year's other Hamvention awards - Technical Achievement, Special Achievement and Club of the Year - which will be presented as originally announced. (Tnx WA6ITF)
Friday, March 29, 2013
|(Courtesy Ball State University|
Licensed since 1961, Zivney has held N4TZ since 1977 and has had numerous top-five USA finishes in the single-op/all-band (SOAB) low power category of CQWW, CQWPX (as KS9K), and ARRL DX contests. He also competed in the 2010 World Radiosport Team Championship in Russia, and has had three articles published in the National Contest Journal.
Professionally, Zivney will retire in May 2013 from Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana as the Maxon Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Finance and Insurance. In the 1970s he worked as an electrical engineer at Scientific Atlanta and Computer Sciences Corporation.
"As a long-time low power contester," said N4TZ, "I especially appreciate the WPX contest because its unique mix of exotic DX and plentiful domestic contacts ensures that great fun will be had by all participants regardless of the propagation conditions. I look forward to harnessing the momentum this contest has developed under the leadership of K5ZD and respecting the legacy of former directors K6AW, N8BJQ, and W8IMZ."
CQ Publisher Ross noted that "in my early talks with Terry, he has already offered several innovative ideas. Plus, he brings with him the valuable perspective of the low-power contester. I am looking forward to working with him as WPX Contest Director."
The CQ World Wide WPX Contests are the second-most popular amateur radio contests in the world (after the CQ World Wide DX Contests). The SSB portion of the 2013 WPX Contest is this weekend, March 30-31; the CW weekend is in May. Any questions regarding the 2013 WPX Contests should be directed to Terry via e-mail to <email@example.com>.
We thank K5ZD for his dedicated service to the WPX Contests and look forward to a seamless transition to N4TZ's administration of the event.
Friday, March 22, 2013
|FCC Chairman Julius|
Genachowski (W2VU photo)
Genachowski made his announcement at an FCC staff meeting. He did not say why he decided not to complete his five-year term.
FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell announced earlier this week that he would also be stepping down.
Do you know a young ham who is already making a significant contribution to the hobby or his/her community? If so, consider a nomination for Newsline's annual Young Ham of the Year award. The award is open US and Canadian hams age 18 or younger who have provided outstanding service to amateur radio or to his/her community or nation. Simply being licensed at a young age is not sufficient.
The nomination deadline is May 30, 2013. Forms and complete information may be found online at <http://www.arnewsline.org/YHOTY> or by sending an SASE to 2013 Young Ham of the Year Award, c/o Newsline, 28197 Robin Ave., Santa Clarita, CA 91350. CQ is a corporate co-sponsor of the Newsline Young Ham of the Year award, along with Yaesu and Heil Sound.
|FCC Commissioner Jessica|
Rosenworcel encourages hams
to file comments regarding
amateur radio emergency
communications in the
Commission's ongoing inquiry
into reliability of the nation's
Docket 11-60. (FCC photo)