Friday, March 3, 2017

Nominations Open for Young Ham of the Year Award

Is there a young ham in your community - or in your family - who's doing incredible stuff with or for ham radio? Is he/she helping to advance radio technology? Performing significant public service? Helping to promote the hobby in innovative ways?
Consider nominating that young person for Amateur Radio Newsline's annual Bill Pasternak Young Ham of the Year award, of which CQ is a proud co-sponsor. The nominating period is open until May 31. Nominees must be 18 or younger and live in the United States or its possessions, or in Canada. Complete information and nominating forms are available online at the YHOTY tab on <>.

Hamvention® Honors Go Around - and Above - the World

Three leading radio amateurs and one club will be recognized for their contributions to our hobby next month by the Dayton Hamvention.® The Dayton Amateur Radio Association's Amateur of the Year for 2017 is Frank Bauer, KA3HDO, chairman of the Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) program. 
CWops co-founder and former president Rob Brownstein, K6RB, wins this year's Technical Achievement award for the CW Academy program, through which more than 800 hams have been mentored in Morse code skills. Dayton's Special Achievement award goes to S. Ram Mohan, VU2MYH, Executive Vice Chairman and Director of India's National Institute of Amateur Radio, and the 2017 Club of the Year is the Clark County Amateur Radio Club, W7AIA, which serves southwestern Washington and northwestern Oregon. The club licensed 95 new hams last year, has a growing youth program and created the "Eyewarn" program, which was featured in the October, 2016, CQ Emergency Communications special issue. The awards will be presented at next month's Dayton Hamvention® in Xenia, Ohio.

Speaking of the Hamvention and Xenia, the ARRL reports that Xenia High School has decided to cancel classes on Friday, May 19, to allow students to attend the Hamvention's opening day. The world's largest hamfest will be held in Xenia for the first time this year, following the closure last year of its longtime home, Hara Arena.

Orlando Hits New Attendance Record

The 2017 Orlando Hamcation® set a new attendance record, which may now make it the world's third-largest hamfest. 

According to the ARRL Letter, official attendance this year at Orlando was 19,000, up 2,000 from 2016 and higher than Europe's largest hamfest, "Ham Radio" in Friedrichshafen, Germany. The only two larger hamfests are the Dayton Hamvention and the Tokyo Ham Fair in Japan.

Rep. Kinzinger Honored by ARRL

Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL)
(U.S. Congress photo)

Amateur Radio Parity Act sponsor Representative Adam Kinzinger has been honored with the ARRL's Barry Goldwater, K7UGA, Achievement Award for 2017.  The Illinois Republican has sponsored the bill to require homeowners' associations to permit some form of outdoor amateur radio antennas in the last three sessions of Congress. The bill has passed the House twice, but has yet to come up for a vote in the Senate.

Ex-FEMA Head: Training is Great, But…

Former FEMA Administrator Craig
Fugate, KK4INZ
Former Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Craig Fugate, KK4INZ, says the agency is willing to work with any amateur who has key information in an emergency, regardless of whether that amateur has formal emergency communications training or is a member of an EmComm-focused group, such as ARES or RACES. 

According to the ARRL Letter, Fugate told "Ham Radio Now" host Gary Pearce, KN4AQ, that "(t)raining is great," but "(w)e shouldn't think it's exclusionary." He said FEMA needs to be responsive even to a ham without formal training "because that person may be the only one up and running," adding that "If you have the luxury of being exclusionary, it's probably not a bad disaster."

The Letter also reported that Fugate told a House committee at the end of February that his former agency needs a new, and experienced, administrator soon, noting that "It's not a good job (in which) to do on-the-job training." As press time, a permanent FEMA administrator had not yet been nominated by the president.

First, the Woodpecker; Now, the Foghorn

Old-timers may remember the "Russian woodpecker," an over-the-horizon (OTH) radar system in the 1980s that moved through the HF spectrum, creating major interference on the ham bands whenever its signal passed through. Now, according to the ARRL Letter, a mysterious foghorn-like signal has been disrupting communications on the 40, 30 and 20-meter bands. The IARU's Region 1 Monitoring Service says it has traced the source of the signal to a Chinese OTH burst radar system.

FCC Takes Next Step on ARRL's 5-MHz Petition - March 20 Comment Deadline

The FCC responded to the ARRL's January petition to expand the 5-MHz (60-meter) band by requesting public comment on the proposal. The comment period opened in mid-February and closes on March 20. 

The League is asking the Commission to authorize a new, non-channelized, amateur allocation between 5351.5 kHz and 5366.5 kHz, to match the international allocation approved at the 2015 World Radiocom- munication Conference (WRC-15), as well as keeping four of the five current channels on the band (the fifth is within the band segment noted above). 

The petition also asks the FCC to retain the current 100-watt PEP power limit for the entire band, as opposed to the 15-watts EIRP limit set by WRC-15. The next step in the process would be for the FCC to issue a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to implement the request.

New Ham Gear on the Space Station

Falcon 9 launch from Kennedy Space Center on
February 19, 2017 (Courtesy SpaceX)
The International Space Station (ISS) has a new 2-meter handheld radio, replacing the original Ericsson MP-A VHF rig that failed last fall after 16+ years of service. The new HT was part of the supply package delivered to the ISS by the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket that was launched from the Kennedy Space Center on February 19. 

ARISS Chairman Frank Bauer, KA3HDO, told the ARRL that the new handheld is only an interim measure until fundraising and testing are complete for a new "interoperable radio system" that ARISS hopes to launch in the not-too-distant future.

Milestones: CQ Contest Hall of Famer, Past ARRL Director K4VX, SK

Lew Gordon, K4VX, of Hannibal, Missouri, became a Silent Key on February 25 at the age of 87. He had been suffering from cancer, but the ARRL reported that he had remained active on the air until the time of his death. 

Gordon served in the Air Force during the Korean War and later worked for the CIA. An avid contester and mentor of young contesters, Gordon was elected to the CQ Contest Hall of Fame in 1996. He also served for six years as ARRL Midwest Division Director in the 1990s.

HAARP Uses Classical Music to Probe the Ionosphere

The newly-reactivated High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP) facility in Alaska was back on the air in February under the auspices of the University of Alaska-Fairbanks. There were two types of experiments, according to the ARRL Letter

One was called "airglow" and was an effort to create an artificial aurora. The second was a transmission of a series of tones to test the so-called Luxembourg effect," in which tones transmitted on two different frequencies mix in the ionosphere to reflect back a combination of the tones on a single frequency. 

Reception reports were requested. Stay tuned for more tests in the future.

"Window" for ARISS Contact Proposals Open Until April 15 - Info Sessions 3/7 & 3/16

Educators interested in scheduling contacts with the International Space Station (ISS) through the Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) program have until April 15 to submit applications for possible dates in the first half of 2018. 

According to the ARRL, ARISS is seeking proposals "from schools and organizations that can attract large numbers of participants and integrate the contact into a well-developed education plan." 

Proposal information and documents may be found on the ARRL's website at: <>. Information sessions are scheduled for March 7 at 0000 UTC (7:00 p.m. March 6 EST) and March 16 at 2000 UTC. Pre-registration is required via <>.

EO-88 On Air With Message From Dubai's Ruler

Emirates-OSCAR 88 - the United Arab Emirates' first amateur radio satellite, is in orbit and on the air. Previously designated as Nayif-1, the nanosatellite was one of a record 104 satellites launched on a single rocket from India on February 15. 

The ARRL reports that it carries a FUNcube communication package which includes a dual-band linear transponder for SSB and CW (uplink 435.045-435.015 MHz; inverting downlink 142.960-145.990 MHz) as well as a telemetry transmitter on 145.940 MHz. 
Prior to beginning regular service, the satellite transmitted a pre-recorded message from Dubai's ruler and United Arab Emirates Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashad. The message, in Arabic, says, "The renaissance of peoples, nations and civilizations starts with education; and the future of nations starts at their schools."