Friday, March 28, 2014

Katie Allen, WY7KRA, Named CQ Communications Sales and Marketing Manager

(Hicksville, NY -- March 28, 2014) – Katie Allen, WY7KRA, has been appointed Sales and Marketing Manager for CQ Communications, Inc., effective immediately, it was announced today by company President and Publisher Richard Ross, K2MGA. Katie will be responsible for advertising sales for CQ Amateur Radio magazine (including the CQ Plus digital supplement), as well as marketing efforts for all CQ Communications products.

An active DXer and contester who recently earned her Extra Class license, Katie entered the world of amateur radio as the ARRL's Membership Manager in the 2000s, earning her first ham license under the guidance of other League staff members. She then sparked an effort to revitalize the ARRL staff radio club and station, W1HQ, both of which had fallen into inactivity, and helped move ham radio into the world of multimedia by producing and posting various operating videos on You Tube. She currently lives in Sundance, Wyoming with her husband, Dwayne, WY7FD.

"I love ham radio and the ham industry and I'm beyond thrilled to be back in it," says Katie. "I know there are challenges ahead, but my successes over the years have been with new projects or revitalizations ... so perhaps I've come home again to my area of specialty."

"Katie's enthusiasm for amateur radio and everything relating to it, along with her track record marketing our hobby to newcomers and her experience in multimedia and social networking, put her in an ideal position to help manufacturers and retailers best match up their products with our readers," notes CQ Publisher Dick Ross, K2MGA. Ross adds that "the introduction of CQ Plus has expanded CQ's audience beyond its traditional base of active hams to the broader hobby radio community. Katie's ability to connect with both groups, and to reach out via new media, will help add to our advertisers' ability to do the same."

CQ Communications, Inc., based in Hicksville, New York, publishes CQ Amateur Radio, including the CQ Plus digital supplement, in addition to CQ books, videos and related products. It also sponsors a comprehensive series of operating awards and the world's most popular on-air contests. Its flagship magazine, CQ Amateur Radio, is currently in its 70th year of continuous publication, now in both print and digital formats.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Dayton Simultaneously Honors, Snubs, ARRL

The Dayton Amateur Radio Association honored two long-time leaders of the ARRL with its annual Hamvention® awards, but pointedly snubbed the organization itself in its announcement.
Larry Price, W4RA, ARRL President from 1984 to 1992 and president of the International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) from 1999 to 2009, is the recipient of the 2014 Amateur of the Year Award. This year's Special Achievement Award goes to ARRL CEO Dave Sumner, K1ZZ. Yet neither man's affiliation with the League is cited in the DARA announcement.

Price is recognized for his "significant and direct impact on the development of amateur radio throughout the world" in his role as IARU President, and Sumner is cited for his work as a member of the "IARU observer team" as well as his ongoing "efforts in crafting broadband over power lines (BPL) regulations in conjunction with the FCC to reduce (harmful BPL) emissions." The fact that he has led the ARRL for the past three decades is completely ignored.

Also honored this year are FLDIGI developer David Freese, Jr., W1HKJ, with the Technical Achievement Award, and the Gwinnett Amateur Radio Society in suburban Atlanta with the Club of the Year Award. All awards will be presented at the Dayton Hamvention® on May 16-18.

"HamTV" on the Air From ISS

One of the early digital ATV images downlinked from the
International Space Station as commissioning of the new
HamTV system got under way in March. (NASA photo)

The "HamTV" digital amateur television (DATV) transmitter aboard the International Space Station was installed on March 6, and initial transmissions on March 8 were successfully received on the ground and streamed over the Internet by the British Amateur Television Club (BATC). According to the AMSAT News Service, the project has been ten years in the making and its main mission is to allow space station crew members to include live video as well as audio in their contacts with school groups through the Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) program.

This is not the first time amateur television pictures have been transmitted from orbit. Back in 1985, Tony England, W0ORE, the second astronaut to operate from space, transmitted slow-scan TV pictures on his 2-meter downlink from the shuttle Challenger.

Here are some links for additional information and photos, courtesy of the AMSAT News Service:
Webstream of the TV transmissions
HamTV overview by Gaston Bertels ON4WF
ARISS-EU HamTV Bulletins

RadioShack to Close 1100 Stores

Chances are there's a RadioShack store near you. But there's now about a one in five chance that there won't be one there much longer. The struggling electronics chain announced plans in early March "to close up to 1,100 underperforming stores," as it released financial reports showing it suffering a $400 million net loss in 2013, with nearly half of that coming in the fourth quarter alone.

Hams have long relied on the chain as a source for components, and in the past, for ham gear, shortwave receivers and scanners as well. In recent years, RadioShack has put a greater focus on mobile phones and accessories, a market that has softened recently, as new purchases have given way to replacements and upgrades. One recent bright spot for hams has been a new focus on kits and building, in response to the growth of the maker movement.

New Head of FCC Enforcement Bureau; ARRL to Seek More Amateur Enforcement

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has named Travis LeBlanc - a former Justice Department attorney - as acting
Chief of the Commission's Enforcement Bureau. According to an FCC announcement, LeBlanc is returning to Washington from California, where he has been a top deputy and senior advisor to the state's Attorney General, specializing in technology regulation, telecommunications, high-tech crime and cyber-security, among other subjects.

The ARRL is planning to use the arrival of new leadership at both the Enforcement Bureau and the Commission to try to bring top-level attention to bear on a perceived lack of enforcement in the Amateur Service in recent years. In an open letter to ARRL members in the Hudson Division, Division Director and ARRL Executive Committee member Mike Lisenco, N2YBB, noted that Chairman Wheeler, in announcing LeBlanc's appointment, said that "the credibility of the Commission's rules depends on its enforcement activities," said the League is planning to meet with FCC staff and commissioners to discuss enforcement issues and asked members to supply him with specific reports of rules violations that have been reported to the FCC but have not been addressed. Lisenco noted that the change in leadership provides "a golden opportunity to … attempt to change the current regulatory environment from being virtually non-existent to one that supports us."

FEMA Head to Speak at ARRL Centennial Banquet

FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate,
KK4INZ. (FEMA photo)
The ARRL has announced that Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Craig Fugate will be the keynote speaker at the ARRL Centennial Banquet this summer in Hartford, Connecticut. The banquet will be part of the League's Centennial Convention being held from July 17-19.
Fugate is a licensed amateur - KK4INZ - and has been FEMA Administrator since 2009. He has previously praised the role played by amateur radio operators in responding to emergencies and disasters.

Former Ham Magazine Editors W1RW, WZ8C, are Silent Keys

The amateur radio journalism community lost two prominent members in late February and early March.

On February 23, former QST Editor and ARRL General Manager John Huntoon, W1RW, passed away at age 97. Huntoon joined the ARRL staff in 1939, prior to the outbreak of World War II, left to serve in the Coast Guard and returned after the war. He represented the League at various international conferences in the 1940s and '50s, became Assistant General Manager in 1956 and General Manager - then the League's top staff position - in 1961. He retired from that position, whose responsibilities included being QST editor, in 1975.

Nancy Kott, WZ8C, became a Silent Key March 2 at age 58, following years of medical problems. Nancy was the last editor of the print edition of WorldRadio magazine and the first editor of WorldRadio Online, shepherding the magazine through its transition to a digital-only format. She was also a strong advocate of Morse code, heading the U.S. chapter of the FISTS CW Club until her passing. All of these activities were in addition to her "day job" as a field representative for U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

CQ offers its condolences to the families and friends of both John and Nancy.

ARRL Seeks Input on Digital Modes

The ARRL is asking members for "cogent input and thoughtful feedback" on matters relating to digital mode operation on the HF amateur bands. According to the ARRL Letter, the input - due by March 31 - will be used by the board of directors' HF Band Planning Committee to try to craft new band plans that will best allow these modes to "compatibly coexist with each other." Comments and suggestions should be e-mailed to <>.

West Virginia Tower Collapse Kills 3, Cripples Repeater Network

Two radio towers in north central West Virginia collapsed on February 1 while undergoing maintenance work, killing three people, injuring two others and taking three amateur radio repeaters off the air. The ARRL Letter reports that the workers were repairing structural supports on a 300-foot tower when the structure apparently gave way, taking down a second, shorter, tower as it fell. Two of the workers on the tower were killed, along with an emergency responder on the ground, who was hit by falling debris. Two other workers were hurt.

The collapse also destroyed the antennas for three amateur radio repeaters owned by the Stonewall Jackson Amateur Radio Association. The repeaters were part of the "HamTalk" linked repeater system, and were a major part of the North Central West Virginia emergency communications network, helping the Harrison County Office of Emergency Management, FEMA and the American Red Cross. The towers also held several commercial antennas. No word yet on when they will be rebuilt.

Ham Radio to be Highlighted at Preparedness Summit

The ARRL reports that the importance of amateur radio in emergency response will be highlighted by a special event station in the exhibit hall of the Preparedness Summit, the nation's largest public health preparedness conference, being held in Atlanta from April 1-4. Special event station N4P will be on the air on April 2 and 3. The conference is sponsored by the National Association for County and City Health Officials, which also offered amateur radio licensing webinars in February and March, and will offer license exams at the conference on April 3.

GAREC Comes (Back) to Huntsville

The 2014 Global Amateur Radio Emergency Conference (GAREC), sponsored by the International Amateur Radio Union (IARU), returns to the United States this year. Newsline reports that the conference will take place on August 14 and 15 at the Embassy Suites hotel in Huntsville, Alabama, which is adjacent to the Von Braun Convention Center, where the Huntsville Hamfest will be held on August 16 and 17. This is the second time that GAREC has been held in conjunction with the Huntsville Hamfest, the first having been in 2007.

A Dozen New Ham Satellites in Orbit

ArduSat is a crowd-funded satellite project that allows
donors to have their own experiments sent into space.

Five cubesats operating in the ham bands were hand-launched from the International Space Station in late February, and another seven were aboard a rocket launched from Japan on February 27. The five cubesats deployed from the ISS included Lithuania's first-ever satellites - LituanicaSAT-1 <> and Litsat-1 <> - as well as a second crowd-funded satellite built around an Arduino processor board, ArduSat-2 <>.

Artist's conception of the STARS-II mother/daughter
satellite pair. They will be connected by a tether.
(STARS-II website illustration)
The seven Japanese satellites include STARS-II, a mother-daughter satellite pair, which will be connected by a Kevlar® tether. Part of the experiment will be to use the tether to gather electrons from space plasma and deliver them to the daughter ship, thus producing an electric current without the need for solar panels. Both companion satellites are equipped with cameras, and will transmit photos back to earth via amateur radio frequencies. The daughter ship's photos are supposed to include shots of the mother satellite as the two orbit the Earth together. More info is available at <>.

New Ham Station for Arecibo Observatory

The Arecibo Obseravatory - the world's largest radio-
telescope (Arecibo website photo)
Visitors to the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico should soon be able to see and hear the Arecibo Observatory Amateur Radio Club's station, KP4AO, on the air. According to the ARRL Letter, a new station is being built in the exhibition hall of the observatory's visitor center, centered on a new FTdx-1200 transceiver donated by Yaesu. The station is due to be on the air by this summer.

CQ Mars … (Now Wait 20 Minutes)

A simulated Mars mission to be conducted on the slopes of Mauna Loa in Hawaii in late March and early April will involve ham radio. According to the ARRL, the HI-SEAS project will use amateur radio for communication with the outside world … including the same 20-minute delay one would have for real communications with Mars! For more information, including details on special event station K6B, see <>.

Cracker-Sized Satellites?

A "Sprite" nanosatellite - one of some 200 scheduled to be
launched from the KickSat satellite. (KickSat website photo)

A scheduled mid-March resupply mission to the International Space Station reportedly will include the "KickSat" cubesat, for eventual deployment. The ARRL reports that the Kickstarter-funded satellite is then supposed to release 200 tiny "sprite" satellites - each the size of a cracker! - that would become the smallest-ever satellites in Earth orbit.  According to the AMSAT News Service, each Sprite has a microcontroller, radio, and solar cells and is capable of carrying single-chip sensors, such as thermometers, magnetometers, gyroscopes, and accelerometers. For more information, see <>.