Monday, June 27, 2011

New SATERN Director Named

Retired SATERN National Director
Maj. Pat McPherson, WW9E

Salvation Army Major Richard Shirran, VE3NUZ, has been appointed as the new head of SATERN, the Salvation Army Team Emergency Radio Network. He succeeds Major Pat McPherson, WW9E, who retires with the new appointment, 23 years and one day after the first SATERN net was held. The announcement was made by Colonel David Jeffrey, the National Chief Secretary of the Salvation Army.
McPherson applauded the choice, saying Shirran "has been a long time proponent of Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services and its SATERN component. He understands well the culture of amateur radio and The Salvation Army, and he has proven … expertise in every field of disaster endeavor."

Portuguese Edition of CQ to Debut in Brazil

A new Portuguese-language edition of CQ is due to be launched this August in Brazil. The new edition will be published by Radiohaus, a major Brazilian amateur radio dealer. It will be published bi-monthly and will contain a mix of articles translated from the U.S. edition and original material written specifically for the Brazilian ham audience. This is the same arrangement that CQ has with the publishers of its Spanish edition, CQ Radio Amateur.

Management Change for Arecibo Observatory

(Courtesy Arecibo Observatory) reports that Cornell University has lost its management contract for the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico. The world's largest radiotelescope has been managed by Cornell since it opened in 1963, and has occasionally been used for amateur radio projects, including a moonbounce operation last year. The new managers will be a consortium of groups including SRI International, the Universities Space Research Association in Washington DC; and the Metropolitan University in Puerto Rico. It is not known how the new management will regard the amateur radio operations at the observatory.

FCC Chief Visits Hamvention®

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski (L)
was escorted around the Dayton
Hamvention® by 2011 show
chairman Mike Kalter, W8CI.
(Photo courtesy K0NEB)

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski made a surprise visit to the Dayton Hamvention® during an unplanned layover in Dayton. According to Hamvention officials, Genachowski was flying back to Washington on Friday, May 20, when his plane was diverted to Dayton because of severe weather in the Midwest. He was told he might have trouble finding a hotel room because of all the ham radio operators in town. After finding a room, he decided to visit the show on Saturday morning before returning to Washington. He spent about two hours at Hara Arena, talking with hams and checking out the equipment displays.

Astronaut Wheelock Praises Ham Radio at Dayton

A planned guest at this year's Dayton Hamvention® was Astronaut Doug Wheelock, KF5BOC -- a callsign he's never used! "I call that my gravity callsign," Wheelock told Newsline. "My real callsign is NA1SS from the space station ..." He said that ham radio provided a great way to relax and decompress as he and his crewmates worked to fix a pump failure that required three spacewalks to repair. Plus, he said, "(h)aving you guys as an emergency contact for us around the globe was a warm, warm feeling for me as a commander…"
Astronaut Doug Wheelock, KF5BOC
(NASA Photo)

New Access Rules for

Users of the callsign database must now be registered and sign in before getting access to any name or address data. Owner Fred Lloyd, AA7BQ, explained in a posting that routine access to the database was being slowed down by a growing number of automated systems trying to harvest massive amounts of data at one time. Registration is free; ham users may access a maximum of 150 callsigns/day (not including their own); non-ham users are limited to 25 lookups per day, and QRZ subscribers will continue to have unlimited access.

Progress, But No Changes Yet, in HR-607

Rep. Greg Walden, W7EQI (L), with House Speaker John Boehner.
The next step for HR-607 is in Walden's hands. (House of
Representatives photo)

A group of New York hams met in May with the sponsor of HR-607, the bill that would create a nationwide interoperable radio service for public safety officials, but at the cost of 420-440 MHz and 450-470 MHz. According to participants, Rep. Peter King (R-NY) promised to have the bill amended to remove the section that deals with auctioning off spectrum below 512 MHz, and staff members later confirmed that the Congressman had made that request to Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR), who is chairman of the Subcommittee on Technology, Communications and the Internet (and W7EQI). The committee is now in charge of the bill. Reportedly, Walden agreed to have the section removed, but as this is written in late June, no action had yet been taken on amending the bill.
Meanwhile, in the Senate, Senators Joe Lieberman (I-CT) and John McCain (R-AZ) introduced a companion bill to HR-607 -- S-1040 -- that does not call for auctioning off any spectrum below 1675 MHz. However, it would require the FCC to not renew current public safety licenses below 512 MHz unless the licensee can show that:
(A) that migration to a different spectrum band will cause considerable economic hardship to the State or local government jurisdiction in which such licensee is located;
(B) migration to a different spectrum band would adversely impact the ability of the licensee to protect and serve the community in which such licensee is located; or
(C) there are an insufficient number of frequencies above the 700 MHz band to support the land-mobile communications needs of the licensee.

New HF Radar Proposal Could Impact Ham Bands

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) -- which regulates federal government spectrum usage and advises the president on telecommunications matters -- has proposed establishing oceanographic radar allocations at several HF frequency segments, including the 60-meter amateur band and immediately adjacent to the 20-meter ham band. According to the ARRL, the recommendation to propose these allocations at next year's World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-12) came as a surprise to those members of a U.S. WRC working group set up by the FCC - including an ARRL representative - that had proposed different sets of frequencies and concluded that sharing between these radars and amateurs would be difficult at best. Apparently, there has not yet been an explanation of why NTIA made these specific proposals or why it disregarded the working group's advice. More to come on this one…

Japan Drops All Amateur Code Tests

(Courtesy CIA World Factbook)

Back in the 1950s, Japan became the first country to issue an amateur license that did not require a Morse code exam, the so-called Class 4 license. However, it has continued to require code tests for the Class 1 and Class 2 licenses, even as most of the rest of the world has ended amateur code test requirements. Now, according to Newsline, effective October 1, Japan will no longer require code tests for any class of amateur license. Interestingly, on an issue about which so many hams have been so passionate for so many decades, a request for comments on the proposed rule change drew only 39 responses.

NWS Launches New Lightning Safety Program

(Courtesy NOAA)
"When thunder roars, go indoors!" is the slogan of a new lightning awareness and safety program launched by the National Weather Service. The community-based program is aimed at increasing awareness of lightning dangers out of doors, and will provide signs and other educational materials that communities can post or distribute. (For a first-hand report on a too-close-for-comfort outdoor lightning encounter, see KB1OGL's article, "A Striking Story," in the August issue of CQ.)

LightSquared Agrees to QSY to Protect GPS

A wireless broadband internet company that received a waiver from the FCC to set up operations on frequencies immediately adjacent to those used by the Global Positioning System (GPS) has agreed to start up its operations on a different band.

A GPS satellite (Courtesy US Air Force)

Both LightSquared and the FCC had been sharply criticized by aviators - especially private pilots who rely on GPS for precise navigation - as well as public safety officials, members of Congress, and the Federal Aviation Administration for inadequate testing to determine how much interference to GPS might result from having high-speed internet service right next door. The National Journal reported on June 20 that LightSquared had agreed to move its initial service to a different block of frequencies below the GPS band, "a solution which ensures that tens of millions of GPS users won't be affected by LightSquared's launch," according to the company's CEO.

RadioShack Wants Your Advice

RadioShack is trying to respond to the needs of a growing community of builders, both among hams and "maker" groups around the country. In a video on its blog page, the company is looking for input from builders on what types of parts they should stock to meet customers' needs. The video, as well as comment space, may be found at <>.

Cornell Students Seeking Ham Listeners

The Cornell-designed "Sprite" chip
satellite (courtesy Cornell U. news

Students at Cornell University are involving ham radio and hams in a project designed to collect information about the atmosphere of Saturn. The AMSAT News Service reports that students at Cornell have developed fingernail-sized satellites designed to be sent to Saturn, where they will flutter down through its atmosphere, reporting on chemistry, radiation and particle impacts. The so-called "Sprites" transmit on the 902 MHz ham band. A group of them is now being tested on board the International Space Station, attached to a panel on the outside of the station. Hams are invited to listen for these very low-powered beacons. For more information, see <> or <>.

Ham Radio Rides West Point Balloon to Edge of Space

Cadets from the U.S. Military Academy's
Amateur Radio and Astronomy Clubs
Launch a Balloon Satellite in May.
(Photo by Mike Strasser, West Point
Public Affairs)

Cadets from the U.S. Military Academy's astronomy and amateur radio clubs used the last day of this year's spring semester to launch a "balloon satellite" to the upper reaches of Earth's atmosphere. Still and video cameras aboard the craft shot photos as it rose to an altitude of more than 85,000 feet and then descended. An Automatic Packet Radio System (APRS) transmitter allowed students to track the payload throughout the flight and to later recover it, the instruments "still cold from their journey to space," according to a West Point news release. The release also described the APRS system as "an ad hoc network of ham radio operators that run a nationwide communications utility as a public service." The launch also highlighted inter-service cooperation in the military, as the West Point group has been collaborating with the aeronautics department at the U.S. Air Force Academy and APRS was developed by Bob Bruninga, WB4APR, who teaches at the U.S. Naval Academy.

New Russian Prefixes on Air

New Russian Prefixes are on the air.
(Map courtesy CIA World Factbook)

Telecommunications authorities in the Russian Federation have made changes recently in the assignment of amateur radio callsign prefixes. The ARRL Letter reports that, among other things, calls with the numeral "2" are no longer limited to Kaliningradsk (now RA2 and UA2-UI2 with "F" or "K" as the first letter of the suffix), certain calls with "8" or "9" as the numeral may now be in European Russia, and new blocks of temporary callsigns have been designated for operations in Antarctica, Franz Josef Land and Malyj Visotskij Island.

Friday, June 17, 2011

July 2011 WorldRadio Online Magazine Now On the Web - FREE

The July 2011 edition of WorldRadio Online magazine is live and posted on the Web. Many of your favorite columnists and special features are in this edition. And it's all free. Click here to link directly to the WRO Welcome Page. Or check it out at:

Friday, June 3, 2011

Pop'Comm Live Online Chat Session is Sunday, June 5

You're invited to join Popular Communications editor Richard Fisher, KI6SN, for the magazine's first-ever live online chat session.

It's Sunday, June 5 beginning at 4 p.m. Eastern time.

The session promises to be casual, friendly and lots of fun. We'll also be conducting some instant online polls.

Radio enthusiasts from everywhere are invited to join in.

To access the session, at chat time click on the Cover It Live box on the PopComm On the Web homepage:

< >

You can sign-up there now for an email reminder, as well.