Friday, March 29, 2013

Terry Zivney, N4TZ, Named Director of CQ WPX Contests

(Courtesy Ball State University
Photographic Services)
(Hicksville, NY) March 27, 2013 -- Terry Zivney, N4TZ, has been named Director of the CQ World Wide WPX Contests, effective immediately, CQ Publisher Dick Ross, K2MGA, announced today. Terry succeeds Randy Thompson, K5ZD, who has been WPX Contest Director since 2008 and recently was named Director of the CQ World Wide DX Contests.

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 <>.

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 Stepping Down

FCC Chairman Julius
Genachowski (W2VU photo)
FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski announced today (March 22) that he would be resigning from the Commission within the next few weeks. Named to the FCC in 2009 by President Obama, Genachowski has focused on improving morale within the Commission and promoting the rapid growth of high-speed broadband Internet. He also has been very supportive of amateur radio and even visited the Dayton Hamvention in 2011.

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. 

Nominations Open for Young Ham of the Year - Deadline May 30

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 2012 Young Ham of the Year ceremony at the Huntsville
Hamfest. From left, Newsline's Don Wilbanks, AE5DW; CQ
Editor Rich Moseson, W2VU; 2012 Young Ham of the Year
Erin King, AK4JG (now a freshman at MIT); Bob Heil, K9EID,
of Heil Sound, and Yaesu's Dennis Motschenbacher, K7BV.
CQ, Yaesu and Heil Sound are corporate co-sponsors
of the Young Ham of the Year award. (K0NEB photo)
The nomination deadline is May 30, 2013. Forms and complete information may be found online at <> 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.

Correction/Update on FCC Docket Number

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
telecommunications network,
Docket 11-60. (FCC photo)
Updating an item posted previously in the CQ Newsroom … the docket number we were given for filing comments on the FCC's Network Reliability inquiry (DA 13-140) apparently is incorrect. The proceeding has actually been open for quite a while and comments may be filed using proceeding number 11-60 on the FCC's Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS), which may be accessed at <>. - Tnx W6EM

Hamvention® Award Winners Span the Globe

   In line with the DXing theme of this year's Dayton Hamvention®, the Dayton Amateur Radio Association has selected people from three different continents as 2013 Hamvention award winners.

   Retired airline pilot Mustapha Landoulsi, DL1BDF, has been named Amateur of the Year, in recognition of his 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.

   The 2013 Technical Excellence Award is shared by Dave Witten, KD0EAG, and David Rowe, VK5DGR, for development of FreeDV, a program that encodes high-quality digital voice in a bandwidth of 1.125 kHz, less than half that of a single-sideband transmission.

   George Thomas, W5JDX, will receive the 2013 Special Achievement Award for his work promoting building and other technical topics on internet TV programs HamNation and AmateurLogic TV.

   Finally, the West Palm Beach Amateur Radio Group in Florida has been named Club of the Year, in recognition of its work with the South Florida Science Museum, youth recruitment and other activities. 

Congratulations to all!

Florida Ham Hit with $25k Fine

The FCC has issued a Notice of Apparent Liability in the amount of $25,000 to a Florida ham who the Commission says repeatedly interfered with Sheriff's Department communications at the Brevard County Jail. According to the FCC, Terry VanVolkenberg, KC5RF, of Cocoa, Florida, was identified as the source of interfering radio transmissions on 465.300 MHz. The Commission says the interference included transmission of vulgar language, sound effects, previously-recorded prison communications and threats to take over the jail and shoot a deputy. The amount of the proposed fine is based on what the FCC terms "particularly egregious" misconduct. VanVolkenberg was given the usual 30 days to either make payment arrangements or file a formal appeal.

"Just Like Twitter, Only More Advanced…"

Mandy Baxter (Molly Ephraim) talks on ham radio during
a recent episode of "Last Man Standing" on ABC.
(Photo courtesy "Last Man Standing")
That's the assessment of ham radio made by Mandy Baxter, the character played by Molly Ephraim on the ABC-TV comedy, "Last Man Standing." In an episode that aired in mid-March, the teenaged Mandy has been banned from her computer and cell-phone until she improves her history grades. She gets on the air from her father's ham station, though, and declares it to be "just like Twitter, only more advanced (since) you don't have to type!" In the program, hams who she contacts provide help with her paper. If you missed the show when it aired, you may watch it online at <>. It is Show 217, titled "The Fight." Producer John Amodeo, NN6JA, will have an article about the making of the episode in an upcoming issue of CQ.

Montana Hams Get New Legal Protections

Montana State Representative Pat Connell, WA7PDC, (L),
and ARRL Section Manager-elect George Forsyth, AA7GS
(center), watch as Governor Steve Bullock signs into law
new protections for Montana hams. Connell was the bill's
sponsor. (Photo courtesy
Montana Governor Steve Bullock signed a new law in February exempting licensed amateurs in the state from distracted driving laws and setting a minimum height of 100 feet below which local authorities may note regulate amateur radio towers, according to the ARRL Letter. House Bill 148 was sponsored by state Representative Pat Connell, who is also WA7PDC.

XE1L, G3VA, Silent Keys

Luis Chartarifsky, XE1L (SK)
(K0NEB photo)
A sad ending to the TX5A DXpedition to Clipperton Island. After returning to San Diego, noted DXer and team member Luis Chartarifsky, XE1L, suffered a fatal heart attack. This was Luis's tenth major DXpedition, in addition to smaller operations from over a dozen countries. The news was first reported on the DX Coffee Facebook page.

Pat Hawker, G3VA (SK)
(Photo courtesy RSGB)
The ARRL reports that longtime RadCom columnist and Radio Society of Great Britain Life Vice President Pat Hawker, G3VA, became a Silent Key in February at age 90. Hawker wrote the bi-monthly "Technical Topics" column in RadCom for 50 years before stepping down in 2008. Many of his columns have been collected in Technical Topics books offered by RSGB. A ham since 1938, his radio skills were put to good use in World War II, during which he served in military intelligence for both the UK and the Netherlands.

CQ Launches Online Photo Gallery

The "CQ Garage" section of the CQ Photo Gallery
features ham radio license plates from all over.
[Photo courtesy Portage Co. (OH) Amateur Radio Service]
CQ magazine has launched a photo gallery on the "flickr" online photo site to supplement photos published in the magazine. According to Editor Rich Moseson, W2VU, "we both shoot and receive many more photos than we are able to print, but we still want to share many of them with our readers. The new CQ Photo Gallery allows us to do that." Initial sets of photos include CQ cover images, the "CQ Garage" featuring ham radio license plates from all over, and photos from the FCC's February field hearing on lessons learned from Superstorm Sandy. The gallery may be accessed at <>.

APRS Underground

Map of underground APRS network set up by WB4APR
at Mammoth Cave, Kentucky.
(From website)
Some of the radio gear used in the underground
APRS experiment. (From website)
Automatic Packet Reporting System (APRS) developer Bob Bruninga, WB4APR, has successfully set up an underground communica- tion network in Kentucky's Mammoth Cave, the world's longest known cave system. The ARRL Letter reports that Bruninga, a senior research engineer at the U.S. Naval Academy, set up the system as an experiment in extending the range of underground communications. Normal VHF and UHF radios must be in line of sight of each other and generally have a range of no more than a few hundred feet, according to Bruninga. But by setting up APRS transceivers as packet digipeaters, his team was able to set up a network covering nearly a mile. He also discovered that UHF worked better than VHF, making it possible for cavers without amateur licenses to set up similar links using inexpensive and license-free Family Radio Service equipment.

AMSAT Preparing for Two Launch Opportunities

AMSAT's "RadFxSat" cubesat (Fox-1B) has been selected by NASA for launch in the fourth round of the space agency's Cubesat Launch Initiative. The Fox-1 satellite had been chosen in the intiative's third round and construction is scheduled to be completed later this year. The RadFxSat should be ready to fly in the second half of 2014, according to the AMSAT News Service (ANS). Both satellites include UHF/VHF analog FM transponders, will support high-speed digital data transmissions are designed to host advanced science payloads.

It is this ability to carry science payloads and AMSAT's recent focus on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education that has moved AMSAT's proposals to the "head of the class" in the NASA program, according to the group. AMSAT is still responsible for design and construction costs, but NASA will pay for the satellite launches, normally the most expensive aspect of an amateur satellite project. No specific launch dates have been set as of press time.

Along the same lines, ANS reports that AMSAT and Virginia Polytechnic Institute (Virginia Tech) have signed a collaboration agreement to jointly develop future satellite projects. The agreement was signed by AMSAT President Barry Baines and Virginia Tech Assistant Vice President John Rudd. Projects will be coordinated by AMSAT's Vice President of Engineering, Tony Monteiro, AA2TX, and Virginia Tech Professor Bob McGwier, N4HY.

Smartphone-based Ham Satellite Now in Orbit

Dr. Susan Jason works on the
STRaND-1 satellite.
(Courtesy AMSAT-UK website)
The University of Surrey - a pioneer in amateur radio satellite development in the United Kingdom (old-timers may recall the UoSat series) - has launched the UK's first cubesat, called STRaND-1. According to Newsline, the satellite is built around a Google Nexus One smartphone with an Android operating system. It carries an amateur radio packet downlink which transmits on 437.568 MHz. The purpose of the project was to demonstrate the feasibility of using a smartphone to control a spacecraft. Its signals were first heard in Sudan by Nader Omer, ST2NH, soon after its February 25th launch and deployment. Follow the mission online at <>.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Ham Radio to be Featured on Tonight's "Last Man Standing" on ABC

Ham radio will be featured on tonight's broadcast of "Last Man Standing," on ABC at 8pm East and West, 7pm Central. Episode 217, "The Fight." - Be sure to tune in! (Tnx producer John Amodeo, NN6JA)
Hector Elizando's character, Ed Alzate, uses ham radio to communicate from the Amazon on
tonight's episode of "Last Man Standing" on ABC. (Photo courtesy "Last Man Standing")

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Microsoft blocking ARRL.NET/.ORG e-mail

The ARRL reports that it is working with Microsoft to lift a block placed on e-mail to/from its members who use or addresses in conjunction with e-mail accounts on,, and The League says more than 20,000 of its members are affected, and that its information technology staff is working to get normal e-mail forwarding restored as quickly as possible. There was no indication as to the reason for Microsoft's action.