Tuesday, October 21, 2014

CQ Reconsiders Policy on Crimea in CQ Contests

In response to requests from a large number of contesters around the world, CQ has reconsidered its decision regarding the acceptance of logs from stations in Crimea in CQ-sponsored contests.

As CQ Publisher Dick Ross, K2MGA, explained, "a large portion of the contesting community felt that we were unfairly denying our fellow amateurs in Crimea of the opportunity to fully participate in our contests. Since the country list for CQ contests is based on a combination of the Worked All Europe (WAE) and ARRL DXCC lists, and the ARRL has already adopted a policy regarding Crimean stations in its award and contest programs, we will amend our policy to be consistent with the ARRL's DXCC policy."

"Therefore, the listings of Crimean stations submitting logs for CQ contests will be based on the call sign under which they have operated. If they used Russian-issued calls in the contest, they will be listed under Russia; if they used Ukrainian-issued calls in the contest, they will be listed under Ukraine. This change reflects not only the desire of many contesters around the world, but also of a large majority of members of the CQ World Wide DX Contest Committee."

Friday, October 17, 2014

CQ Policy on Crimean Stations Using Russian-Issued Call Signs in CQ-Sponsored Contests

After considerable deliberation, CQ has determined that the best course of action regarding Crimea and CQ contests is to follow the lead of the United Nations and the United States government, both of which continue to consider Crimea to be part of Ukraine, until such time as the political situation there is resolved. Therefore,

Logs will not be accepted for any CQ contest from stations in Crimea operating with Russian-issued call signs. Contacts made by others with those stations will be removed from contestants' logs without penalty. No contact or multiplier credits will be given.

We fully realize that our action may very well disenfranchise several Crimean contesters who use Russian prefixes instead of Ukrainian prefixes. As regrettable as that may be, our action is consistent with international law, as well as with our own Rules. 

Monday, October 13, 2014

Ham Shares Nobel Prize in Chemistry
Move over, K1JT. William Moerner, WN6I, of Los Altos, California, left, has just joined the ranks of Nobel-prize winning hams. Moerner, a chemistry professor at Stanford University, shares the prize with two others - Eric Betzig of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in Ashburn, Virginia, and Stefan Hell of the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Germany. The three were recognized for separate work on what's called super-resolved fluorescence microscopy or nanoscopy, techniques that allow an optical microscope to observe cellular activity on the molecular level. According to the Nobel prize news release, the techniques use fluorescent molecules to allow researchers to "track proteins involved in Parkinson's, Alzheimer's and Huntington's diseases as they aggregate, (and to) follow individual proteins in fertilized eggs as these divide into embryos."
Moerner, Betzig and Hell will share the 8 million Swedish Krona ($1.1 million US) prize that comes along with the honor. Each scientist's share is approximately $368,000 US.
EU Crisis Response Commissioner:
Ham Radio is 'Last Technical Miracle'
The European Community's Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response says radio amateurs are "the eyes and the ears of the world in time(s) when all other information channels are silent," and that when hams work together "in a Union," they are "a communication superpower in times of total electronic darkness." According to the ARRL Letter, the comments of Kristalina Georgieva (pictured left) comments were delivered on her behalf to the general conference of International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) Region 1, held in Bulgaria in September. IARU Region 1 covers Europe, Africa and the Middle East. "In short," her statement added, "you are the last technical miracle, which is an independent, reliable information channel, which can transmit an important piece of news from any place in the world, anytime, by anyone who knows how to operate this wonderful creature, called radio."
Her remarks echo the opinions of her U.S. counterpart, FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate, KK4INZ (see interview, October 2014 CQ). The ARRL says Fugate's keynote address to the League's centennial convention banquet is now available on YouTube. The link is at <http://bit.ly/1vWYKhx>.
Competing Views on International Allocation for 60 Meters

At press time, we were awaiting news from Mexico on action taken by CITEL, the Inter-American Telecommunications Commission, regarding an official recommendation for an international amateur allocation at 5 MHz.
The topic is on the agenda for next year's World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-15). There were separate proposals from Canada and Brazil, along with overall opposition from the U.S. National Telecommunications Information Administration (NTIA), according to the ARRL. Canada had put forth the Radio Amateurs of Canada recommendation for two 25-kHz segments, 5330-5355 kHz and 5405-5430 kHz. Brazil proposed a single allocation from 5275-5450 kHz, all on a secondary basis.
The Brazilian proposal matches the frequency recommendation of the FCC's WRC-15 Advisory Committee. However, NTIA is calling for no change in the international allocation, despite a decade of domestic operation by U.S. hams without any interference problems that were not quickly resolved. CITEL held a WRC preparatory meeting in early October, but results were not available as of our deadline.
Greg Walden, W7EQI, Receives First ARRL Goldwater Award
Oregon Representative Greg Walden, W7EQI, is the first recipient of the ARRL's Barry Goldwater, K7UGA, Achievement Award. The award, created last year, is given to an elected federal official "who has, in a significant way, supported the well-being and continuity of the Amateur Service in the U.S.," according to the ARRL Letter. Walden has been a Congressman for the past 12 years and is chairman of the House Subcommittee on Communications and Technology. He has been a prominent proponent of amateur radio interests in Congress.

League Reports Its Web Server Hacked
The ARRL reports that its web servers were the victim of a hacking attack in late September. According to the ARRL Letter, IT Manager Mike Keane, K1MK, said the affected servers were taken offline and isolated from the Internet when the breach was discovered. He said no sensitive personal information was affected, but still urged members who have not updated their passwords since April 2010 to do so now.
Hamvention® Award Nominations Open

The Dayton Amateur Radio Association - sponsor of the Dayton Hamvention® - is seeking nominations for 2015 Hamvention awards for Amateur of the Year, Special Achievement, Technical Excellence and Club of the Year. Nominations must be received by January 16, 2015. Details and nomination forms are available on the Hamvention website at <http://www.hamvention.org/awards.php>.
A New Home for Ham-Com

On the topic of large ham radio conventions, Texas's Ham-Com will be moving to a larger space as of 2015.
The Ham-Com board of directors announced in late September that the show, which has made its home in recent years at the Plano Centre, will be moving to the Irving Convention Center in order to accommodate a growing number of vendors. According to a news release, the new facility has three times as much space available, with room for additional growth, as well as greater choices for hotels and restaurants and easier access to both Dallas-area airports. Ham-Com 2015 will be held on June 12-13.
Qatari Satellite to Include Geostationary Ham Transponders
A commercial communications satellite planned for launch by Qatar in late 2016 will include two amateur radio transponders, one on 2.4 GHz and the other on 10 GHz. The satellite is planned for a geostationary orbit and if all is successful, will provide the first "Phase 4" amateur satellite ever launched.

The Es'hail 2 satellite's primary function will be to provide TV and commercial communications services across the Middle East and North Africa, according to the AMSAT News Service. It should cover approximately one-third of the Earth's surface, extending approximately from Brazil to India. Phase 4 amateur satellites, unlike all others launched to date, will always appear to be in the same spot in the sky and will always be available to hams within their coverage areas. For more information, see <http://bit.ly/1vbMZ7W>.
2018 WRTC to Be Held in Germany

A consortium of three German ham radio organizations has been approved to sponsor the next World Radiosport Team Championship, or WRTC, in 2018. The ARRL Letter reports that the WRTC Sanctioning Committee approved the joint application of the Deutscher Amateur Radio Club (DARC - Germany's national ham organization), the Bavarian Contest Club and the Rhein Ruhr DX Association to hold the next event somewhere in Germany. 

Three different regions are being considered. The announcement also stated that the number of qualifying contests, and the qualifying period, are being decreased from those required for WRTC-2014. Qualifying events for the 2018 competition will begin with the 2015 ARRL International DX CW Contest and end with the 2016 CQ World Wide DX CW Contest. (See recent issues of CQ for extensive coverage of WRTC-2014.)
Ham in Wisconsin Dies in Fall from Tower

A Wisconsin ham described as "an experienced climber" apparently failed to secure his safety harness to the tower he was working on before falling to his death.
The ARRL Letter reports that 59-year-old James Linstedt, W9ZUC, of Eau Claire, Wisconsin, was 95 feet up on a friend's 100-foot tower when he fell. The Letter quoted Chippewa County Sheriff James Kowalczyk as saying that Linstedt was wearing safety equipment but did not use it. "If he had used it," said the sheriff, "we wouldn't be investigating an accidental death."
KK6OTD: Actor Tim Allen Keeps It Real By Getting His Ticket
Actor Tim Allen, left, who portrays a ham (KAØXTT) on his hit ABC-TV comedy "Last Man Standing," has earned a real-life amateur license, according to the show's producer, John Amodeo, NN6JA.

Allen is now licensed as KK6OTD. Amodeo also reported on the successful running of the second "K6H Hollywood Celebrates Ham Radio" special event from the program's sound stage, which includes a fully functional amateur station.
(Photograph courtesy of the ARRL)
Silent Keys . . .
Tuskegee Airman and longtime ham George Mitchell, K6ZE, of San Diego, California, became a Silent Key in September at age 94. According to the ARRL Letter, Mitchell was part of the group of Tuskegee veterans who belatedly received the Congressional Gold Medal in 2007 for their service in World War II.

Also joining the roster of Silent Keys in September and October are Fred Gissoni, K4JLX, a blind ham who was a pioneer in developing adaptive technology for people with visual impairments; and Les Mitchell, G3BHK, who founded Scouting's Jamboree On The Air (JOTA) in 1958. Mitchell's death came just weeks before the 2014 JOTA on October 18-19.
Applications Sought for ARRL Foundation Scholarships

The application period is open for scholarships administered by the ARRL Foundation. Licensed amateurs planning to pursue or already pursuing post-secondary education may apply for the various scholarships - 80 of them - ranging from $500 to $5000, as well as the Goldfarb Award, which provides aid over a four-year period.

According to the ARRL Letter, applications and supporting documents must be received by January 31, 2015. For more information, see the ARRL Foundation website at <http://www.arrl.org/the-arrl-foundation> or call 860-594-0348.
FCC Nixes Petition for U.S. 4-Meter Band
Areas with 4-meter band allocations are in red.
Those with experimental privileges are in blue.
Radio amateurs in Europe have long had access to a VHF band at 70 MHz - also known as 4 meters - due to differences in VHF TV allocations there as opposed to the U.S. With the migration of most U.S. TV stations to digital platforms and new frequencies, amateur Glen Zook, K9STH, of Richardson, Texas, petitioned the FCC for a new amateur allocation at 70.0-70.5 MHz (old TV channel 4 occupied 66-72 MHz).
After some disagreements on when the petition was filed (Zook says he submitted it in 2010; the FCC says it didn't receive it until May, 2014, according to the ARRL Letter), the FCC denied the petition, pointing out that Channel 4 still has over 100 active TV stations or translators, and that it is possible - once parts of the VHF TV spectrum are "repurposed" for broadband and auctioned off - that remaining stations will be packed into less space, making the frequencies even more crowded than in the past.
ARRL to FCC (Again): Make 2300-2305 MHz Primary for Hams

The ARRL has once again asked the FCC to elevate the amateur allocation on 2300-2305 MHz to primary status, this time to protect hams from interference from a proposed air-to-ground broadband service on adjacent frequencies (2305-2315 and 2350-2360 MHz).

The ARRL Letter reports the request came in comments filed on a petition from AT&T Mobility for in-flight connectivity service in those adjacent frequency blocks. Amateurs currently have secondary status on the band, but there are no primary users, so hams are the de facto primary users. But, according to the ARRL, lack of formal status denies them protection from out-of-band interference.

Interactive Amateur Radio Demonstration Garners Blue Ribbon @ Atlanta Maker Faire
A joint effort by five Atlanta-area ham radio groups to put on an interactive demonstration at Maker Faire Atlanta resulted in a blue ribbon from the show sponsors, according to Norm Schklar, WA4ZXV, who posted a report to the ARRL public relations reflector.

Schklar said some 40 area hams participated in the exhibit and handed out about 750 cards with instructions on where to find more information. Attendance at the fair was estimated at around 30,000. The blue ribbon was awarded, Schklar said, because "we 'made things,' had 'active displays,' looked good, and kept a steady flow of traffic in our exhibit."

Participating clubs included the North Fulton Amateur Radio League, Atlanta Radio Club, Alford Memorial Radio Club, Gwinnett Amateur Radio Society and HamJam. (See article on New York's World Maker Faire in the November issue of CQ.)
Ham Hears Signals from Mars Orbit
Signal from India's Mars orbiter, as received by G7EYT / MØEYT

A radio amateur in the United Kingdom has tuned in and decoded signals from India's MOM spacecraft, which was successfully placed in orbit around Mars on September 24.

The AMSAT News Service reports that Paul Marsh, G7EYT/MØEYT received signals from the Mars Orbiter Mission and tweeted, "S-band downlink from MOM spacecraft now on orbit @ Mars! Great signal with Doppler; congrats to ISRO - good job." (ISRO is the Indian space agency.) Now, that's DX!

[LOOK: For an enlarged view of the MOM signal received at G7EYT / MØEYT, click here.]