Friday, December 21, 2012

ARRL Asks FCC for Ham Band at 472 kHz

Rather than waiting five years for the FCC to follow up on the actions of the 2012 World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-12), as has been the case with WRC-07, the ARRL has filed a Petition for Rule Making requesting the establishment of a domestic amateur radio allocation at 472-479 kHz. The NPRM calls for a power limit of 5 watts EIRP (effective isotropic radiated power), with only 1 watt to be permitted in certain locations. The FCC had not responded to the League's petition as of this posting.

ARRL Offers Daily/Hourly LoTW Updates After Major Malfunction

A bug in the ARRL's Logbook of the World (LoTW) online confirmation system that came to light during the weekend of the CQ World Wide CW DX Contest has been fixed, according to League CEO Dave Sumner, K1ZZ. However, logs submitted before 2100 UTC on November 25 might have been accidentally overwritten, so users should check their logs.

As of mid-December, log processing continued to be very slow, with some 26,000 logs waiting in the queue at any given time. New hardware to resolve this problem was ordered in December and was expected to be up and running by early-to-mid February. Meanwhile, the Logbook website now includes pages with both hourly and daily updates so that users can see how many logs are waiting to be processed and the dates on which the logs currently being processed had been uploaded.

It is not known how these problems with LoTW may impact the projected date of mid-2013 for adding LoTW support for CQ's Worked All Zones (WAZ) award.

Retired Colonel Named to #2 Spot in Army MARS

Paul English, WD8DBY
(Courtesy Army MARS)
Army MARS Chief Stephen Klinefelter has announced the appointment of recently-retired Colonel Paul English, WD8DBY, as the service's Program Officer, formerly known as Deputy Chief. MARS is the Military Auxiliary Radio System. English, who holds an Extra Class license, is now a civilian employee of the Department of Defense. According to a MARS news release, he retired from the post of Director of Communications for U.S. Army South, the Army component of the U.S. Southern Command. He was previously deputy commander of the 7th Signal Command and had served in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake there, as well as in Iraq.

KB5TZZ Named Director of Johnson Space Center

Astronaut Eileen Ochoa, KB5TZZ, will become the 11th director of the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, at the beginning of 2013. She has been Deputy Director since 2007 and will succeed Michael Coats, who is retiring.

Ochoa was the first Hispanic woman to fly in space, a nine-day mission aboard the shuttle Discovery in 1993. She subsequently made three more space flights and has held administrative posts at Johnson Space Center since 2002. She has a doctorate in electrical engineering from Stanford University and was selected as an astronaut in 1990.

Kornienko (RN3BF) and Kelly to Spend a Year in Space

Cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko, RN3BF, and Astronaut Scott Kelly have been chosen to spend a full year aboard the International Space Station in 2015-16. A major part of their mission, according to the ARRL Letter, is to help increase understanding of how the human body reacts and adapts to long-term space flight. This understanding is important for planned manned missions in the future around the Moon, an asteroid and, eventually, Mars. The two men are set to begin a two-year training program in early 2013.

Hams Play Role in Production of "Lincoln" Movie

(White House photo)
Nine of the 16 telegraph stations shown in the War Department in the Steven Spielberg movie, "Lincoln," were fully operational and used equipment provided by members of the Morse Telegraph Club, many of whom are hams. According to Newsline, club president Jim Wades, WB8ISW, served as a Technical Advisor for the production. The Morse Telegraph Club is an association of retired railroad and commercial telegraphers, historians, amateur radio operators and others with an interest in the history and traditions of telegraphy and the telegraph industry. For more information, visit <>.

Contesting News Website to Shut Down producer Jamie Dupree, NS3T
(NS3T via
The contesting news website,, is going to shut its doors at the end of 2012, according to its founder and producer, Jamie Dupree, NS3T. In a posting on the site, Dupree said increasing time demands at work and at home were keeping him from having enough time to devote to running and keeping it updated.

South Africa: All Hams Must Re-Apply for Licenses

The South African government has said it will begin enforcing a rule that limits amateur radio license renewals to five years, after which the licensee must re-apply. Newsline reports that the South African Radio League (SARL) says that all amateurs in the country will need to reapply between 2013 and 2018.
(Courtesy CIA World Factbook)
In a separate development, SARL has launched an antenna defense fund to help South African hams cover the costs of mandatory approvals for antenna towers. It estimates that fees and other associated costs will total roughly US$600 per application. SARL's goal is to raise and maintain a fund of approximately US$60,000 (50,000 Rand) to help the nation's amateurs. Anyone interested in contributing may e-mail <> for more information.

Visual CW Plans Thwarted by Moon

View of FITSAT-1's LEDs as observed by Prof. Jun-Ho Oh
of the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology.
(Courtesy FITSAT-1 website,
Plans to flash Morse code messages from the Japanese FITSAT-1 satellite have been delayed until early January due to moonlight! 

Controllers had hoped to send the visual Morse messages in mid-to-late December, but determined that waxing Moon (full on Dec. 28) would make the sky too bright for most people to be able to see the satellite. Other, earlier, attempts were cancelled due to cloudy conditions over the target areas. 

As of the time of this posting in mid-December, the plans are to begin the visual code messaging around January 7, 2013.

IARU Adds Two New Members

The national radio societies of Azerbaijan and St. Vincent and the Grenadines are the newest members of the International Amateur Radio Union (IARU). According to the ARRL Letter, the Federation of Radio Sport of Azerbaijan (FRSA) counts all of the country's 50 licensed amateurs among its members. The St. Vincent and Grenadines Amateur Radio Club has been in existence for more than 60 years and includes 21 licensed members from the country's total ham population of approximately 134. Their applications were accepted by current IARU member societies in a vote held on November 1 and announced in mid-December.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Five CQ "Family" Members Honored by YASME Foundation

Two contributing editors for CQ Communications magazines and three members of the CQ World Wide DX Contest Committee have been named as recipients of the 2012 YASME Excellence Awards.

CQ Propagation Editor Tomas Hood, NW7US, and WorldRadio Online Propagation Editor Carl Luetzelschwab, K9LA, were both honored for "their sustained education of the amateur community regarding propagation, solar and geomagnetic physics."

CQWWCC members George Fremin, K5TR, "Tree" Tyree, N6TR, and Trey Garlough, N5KO, were recognized, along with Scott Neader, KA9FOX, "for their contributions to many infrastructure projects that benefit the ham community at large."

They are among a total of 16 amateurs recognized by the YASME Foundation with cash grants and engraved crystal globes. The YASME Foundation helps to fund and support scientific and educational projects related to amateur radio, including DXing and the introduction and promotion of amateur radio in developing countries. (YASME Foundation, via ARRL)

Monday, December 3, 2012

CQ New Products Editor John Wood, WV5J, SK

John Wood, Sr., WV5J, CQ's New Products Editor since 2009, passed away on December 3 after a brief battle with cancer. He was 61. A lifelong journalist, John spent most of his career as a reporter and editor for newspapers in and around Memphis, Tennessee. He lived in the Memphis suburb of Germantown, Tennessee.

A contributor to CQ for several years on a variety of topics, John became editor of the "What's New" column as of the magazine's December, 2009, issue. He continued writing occasional feature articles as well. His most recent, "There's a 'Secret Service' in Memphis on the 222 Ham Band," appears in the Fall 2012 issue of CQ VHF.

John is survived by his wife of 41 years, Marie, WA4WFX; his son, John, Jr. ("Woody"), KI4VCK; his daughter, Christi, and two grandchildren. The family requests that contributions in John's memory be made to the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.

For those in the Memphis area, a funeral service will be held Friday, December 7, at 11:30 AM at the Memorial Park Funeral Home, 5668 Poplar Ave., Memphis 38119.