Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Tune in Christmas at the bottom of the world... SWLing opportunity on Christmas Eve

Tune in Christmas at the bottom of the world... the following is from Nathaniel Frissell, W2NAF/KC4, currently in Antarctica:

Each year, the residents of McMurdo Station, Antarctica celebrate Christmas by singing Christmas Carols to the remote, Antarctic field camps on the HF radio. This year, we are asking ham radio operators around the world to listen in and e-mail short wave listening reports telling us how far away the carols are heard. 

Listen on 7995 kHz USB on 24 December 2014 2300z (December 25 1200 New Zealand Time) and e-mail reports to w2naf@arrl.net.

For a Christmas in Antarctica SWL QSL card, please send an SASE to my Blacksburg address (see qrz.com). Special cards will be made for this event.

Please share this information with as many hams as possible. It would be really interesting to know how far we are heard. I believe we will be running about 1000 W for this.
Merry Christmas!

Nathaniel, KC4/W2NAF

Monday, December 15, 2014

Hitchin' a Ride. . .
Interplanetary satellite Shin’en 2
A Japanese space mission to visit an asteroid launched in early December included two hitch-hikers, amateur radio satellites Shin'en 2 (JG6YIG) and ARTSAT2:DESPATCH (JQ1ZNN), the two latest ham satellites to venture beyond Earth orbit (a recent Chinese moon mission also carried a downlink-only ham satellite). According to the ARRL Letter, the two satellites will have an elliptical deep-space orbit around the sun, between Venus and Mars. The satellites should remain in Earth's equatorial plane and their orbit will take them between 65 million and 121 million miles from the Sun.

Shin'en 2 carries a CW beacon and a telemetry transmitter, as well as a digital store-and-forward transponder with an uplink on 2 meters and a downlink on 70 centimeters. ARTSAT2:DESPATCH carries a sculpture built by a 3D printer as well as a 7-watt transmitter sending out CW on 437 MHz. The satellite carried only batteries and no solar panel, so its estimated operating time was only about one week. One of the first reception reports, according to the AMSAT News Service, came from Michal Zawada, SQ5KTM, who reported monitoring both satellites two days after launch from a distance of approximately 1.1 million kilometers, or 683,500 miles, from Earth.

A third satellite, called SpinSat, was launched November 28 from the International Space Station. Built by the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, its prime mission is to test new nicro-thruster technology. But it also carries an amateur packet radio store-and-forward system on 437.230 MHz. It was expected to operate for approximately six months.
'Frequency' Set to Be Adapted for TV
The Hollywood Reporter says NBC has signed on for a pilot of an adaptation of the 2000 Dennis Quaid movie, "Frequency," as a possible new series. Many hams will recall this movie, since it was built around the stars' use of ham radio to do something most of us cannot -- talk across time. There was no timetable given for possible airing, or any indication of whether any of the movie's cast members might return for a TV version.

If "Frequency" does get the green light to become a series, it would be the second current prime-time series to feature amateur radio, along with the occasional but much more realistic portrayals of the hobby on ABC's "Last Man Standing."
IARU Calls for All-Out Effort on 60 Meters
The International Amateur Radio Union is encouraging all member societies to seek support from their respective governments for a worldwide amateur allocation on 60 meters (5 MHz). Currently, the U.S. and several other countries allow amateurs secondary use of the band. In the U.S., it is the only channelized ham band. The next World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-15), later this year, is slated to take up a proposal for a worldwide secondary amateur allocation on 5 MHz. The ARRL Letter reports that IARU President Tim Ellam, VE6SH, sent a letter to all member organizations saying that getting a band at 60 meters is "one of the main goals at WRC-15 for the Amateur Radio Service." The IARU is made up of national amateur radio associations from around the world.

NJ Ham Group Enters 'Innovation Competition'

The 721st Mechanized Contest Battalion, a group of young hams from New Jersey, has entered its Emergency Antenna Platform System (E-APS) in the Boca Bearings Innovation Competition, which offers prizes for innovative projects using any sort of bearings. The E-APS is a robotic device that can carry an antenna up virtually any parking lot light pole and use is as an ad-hoc tower. Applications for emergency communications and other portable operations are obvious. The group has demonstrated the system at Dayton, the New York Maker Faire and the ARRL Centennial Convention. To learn more, visit < http://bit.ly/1umbAkK >.
Ham Radio Included in Updated National Emergency Communications Plan
The latest update to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's National Emergency Communications Plan, or NECP, specifically includes amateur radio as a resource for supporting or sustaining communications in an emergency or disaster. According to the ARRL Letter, the new plan says amateur radio operators "can be important conduits for relaying information to response agencies and personnel when other forms of communications have failed or have been disrupted." It also urged the inclusion of amateur radio representatives on statewide interoperability planning or steering committees. The 2014 update is the first since the plan was originally rolled out in 2008.

New Study Casts Further Doubt on Health Risks from Weak Magnetic Fields
For nearly 40 years, there have been fears among some segments of the public that there was somehow a tie-in between the magnetic fields created by cell phones, power transmission lines and radio transmitters and diseases such as leukemia. The FCC has even issued strict guidelines limiting exposure to RF fields, even though there has never been a conclusive study showing a cause-and-effect relationship, and no mechanism connecting magnetic fields and human illness has ever been found.

Now, a new study by England's Manchester Institute of Biotechnology - published in December's Journal of the Royal Society - has apparently ruled out one of the prime candidates. The website MedicalXpress.com reports that the team from Manchester studied the effects of weak magnetic fields, or WMFs, on flavoproteins, a class of proteins responsible for a variety of vital functions in the body. Their research showed "no detectable impact" of WMFs on flavoprotein functioning. One of the paper's authors said that while more work needs to be done on other possible links, "this study definitely takes us nearer to the point where we can say that power lines, mobile phones and other similar devices are likely to be safe for humans." (TNX WA5VJB)
Dr. Bob Heil, K9EID
Industry News: Call Him Dr. Heil; DX Engineering Buys Bencher & Butternut Antennas
The University of Missouri-St. Louis granted an honorary Doctor of Music and Technology to Bob Heil, K9EID, during its December 20th commencement ceremony. Heil was recognized for his contributions to the world of broadcast, live and studio sound, and innovations amateur radio, according to a news release. Bob also spoke at the commencement. (We hope the university was using a Heil mic!)

DX Engineering has purchased Bencher's Skyhawk and Skylark Antenna lines as well as the Butternut Antenna line. It will continue manufacturing all models and will carry all the service, repair, and replacement parts required to keep these antennas in good operating condition.

DX News: Activity From Iran; 1x1s from the Cook Islands
The Rockall DX Group says it has permission to operate a DXpedition from Iran's Kish Island. The EP6T operation is scheduled for this month, although dates were not certain as we went to press. Updates should be available from < http://www.Rockall.be >.
Resident hams in the Cook Islands will be using special E50x 1x1 call signs throughout 2015 to commemorate the island group's 50th anniversary of self-governance. According to a report on Southgate Amateur Radio News, there are only seven resident licensed hams in the 15-island nation, most of whom prefer rag-chewing to rapid-fire DX-style contacts and are not trained in handling pileups. Visiting hams will receive standard E51xxx calls.
MARS, ARES, Team Up in Interoperability Exercise

Two arms of MARS - the Military Auxiliary Radio System - and the ARRL's Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) were involved in a nationwide communications interoperability exercise held last October. The ARRL Letter reports that Army and Air Force MARS merged their normally-separate long-distance radio networks during the course of the 48-hour exercise, which simulated a disruption to the nation's communications infrastructure. In addition, MARS members were tasked with using amateur frequencies and their amateur call signs to make contact with ARES leaders or members in as many U.S. counties as possible. Army MARS Program Manager Paul English, WD8DBY, said preliminary results showed that MARS-ARES linkups were successfully made in approximately half of the nation's 3077 counties. The exercise was sponsored by the Department of Defense.
CEPT Considers License Exam Accommodations for Disabled

The European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administrations (CEPT) will be considering a recommendation from its Electronic Communications Committee to urge member nations to provide more accommodations for people with disabilities taking amateur radio license exams. Newsline reports that the committee adopted the recommendation in October, at the urging of Region I of the International Amateur Radio Union. Recommendations include added flexibility in testing locations and/or additional time to complete exams, and providing visually-impaired candidates with Braille exams that do not include diagrams. There are no details yet on when the full CEPT may take up the recommendation and/or how the new procedures might be implemented when and if approved. 
EXChat: New Digital Texting App

A ham in New Zealand has developed a new "sentence-mode radio chat system that works like cell phone texting," according to the South African Radio League (SARL). ZL2AFP's "EXChat" is an extension of DominoEX, an MFSK chat mode for HF, particularly the lower HF bands, where noise and crowding often make digital mode communications difficult. The SARL report says the EXChat program "equips your computer with a one-sentence-at-a-time chat mode for operation on the HF bands (that you use) in the same way as you would SkypeT or cell phone texting. For more information or a free download, visit < http://bit.ly/1wdBWe6 >.
Probing the Mysteries of NVIS
Research in South Africa is focusing on the mechanisms behind Near Vertical Incidence Skywave, or NVIS, propagation. NVIS is most useful for short-range communications on the lower HF bands. According to Newsline, two South African stations 51 kilometers (32 miles) apart, ZS6KN and ZS6KTS, tracked their contacts over a period of several months in 2014. On one day in June, signals were good from 0500 to 1630 local time, after which they disappeared (ground wave signals would have remained more or less consistent). The pattern repeated in July but the signals were considerably weaker in August and September, late winter and early spring in the Southern Hemisphere. The findings also showed changes consistent with changes in sunrise and sunset, which suggests that NVIS may be influenced by changes in the D-layer of the ionosphere, which is energized only during daylight hours. There has not been enough data collected to make any meaningful conclusions, according to the report, which notes that the two hams are continuing their research.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Bob Schenck, N2OO, Named CQ Magazine DX Editor

(Hicksville, NY December 3, 2014) – Veteran DXer, DXpeditioner and QSL manager Bob Schenck, N2OO, of Tuckerton, New Jersey, has been named CQ magazine's DX Editor, magazine Editor Rich Moseson, W2VU, announced today. A 2008 inductee into the CQ DX Hall of Fame, Bob succeeds Wayne Mills, N7NG, who has stepped down to pursue other ham-related interests.

Licensed in 1965 as WN2RJJ, Bob's introduction to ham radio was the annual Novice Roundup contest, and he has been hooked on DXing and contesting ever since. A veteran of more than two dozen DXpeditions to over a dozen countries, he is currently part of the K1N team planning to activate Navassa Island in January, 2015. Bob is the team's QSL manager, another major part of his ham radio activities. He has served as a QSL manager for over 100 DX stations and another 100-plus DXpeditions for more than 35 years and is the founder of the QSL Managers Society, which serves as a single point of contact for stations seeking a QSL manager, works to preserve old DX and DXpedition logs, and promote a code of ethics among QSL managers.

Bob is also on the board of directors of the International DX Association (INDEXA), president of the South Jersey DX Association, a charter member of the Old Barney Amateur Radio Club (also in New Jersey) and trustee of a local repeater. He lives in Tuckerton, New Jersey, with his wife, Beth, KF2BQ, and is a father and grandfather.

"I am looking forward to the opportunity to work with Bob," said CQ Editor Rich Moseson, W2VU. "His dedication to the DXing portion of our hobby is unparalleled, not only in terms of his on-air activities but of the all-important 'final courtesy' of QSLing as well."

"This will be a new challenge for me!" said Schenck. "I look forward to joining the CQ staff and working with my friends in the DX community as well!"

Schenck will begin writing the CQ DX column as of the magazine's January 2015 issue - CQ's 70th anniversary edition.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

John Bergman, KC5LK, Named CQ WAZ Award Manager

John Bergman, KC5LK, of Brandon, Mississippi, has been named the new CQ Worked all Zones Award Manager, effective January 1, 2015, it was announced today by CQ magazine Editor Rich Moseson, W2VU. Bergman will succeed fellow Mississippian Floyd Gerald, N5FG, who has served the DXing community in the position for the past 11 years.

John has been licensed since 1978 (originally as KA5AFT), and holds an Advanced Class license. He has been heavily involved in DX and DXing for over 20 years, is a charter member of the 599 DX Association, former member of the Magnolia DX Association, and a member and past president of the Jackson Amateur Radio Club. He is also a volunteer examiner and a card checker for both ARRL and CQ awards. John also dedicated 10 years to working with the W5 incoming QSL Bureau.

He holds DXCC (338 current entities; 344 total); 5-Band DXCC with endorsements for 30, 17 and 12 meters; has 1680 band/entities in the DXCC Challenge, is a member of the DXCC Mixed and Phone Honor Rolls, and has 5-Band WAZ with 179 total zones to date.

"We wish Floyd well in his retirement from WAZ and thank him for his decade-plus of dedication to the DXing community," noted CQ Editor Rich Moseson, W2VU. "I am looking forward to working with John as he assumes the leadership of the most prestigious award program in all of amateur radio. WAZ is the second-oldest active award program in ham radio, and one of the most difficult to achieve. I am confident that John will do an excellent job of preserving its heritage while also promoting its future growth."

"I am very appreciative of Rich and CQ magazine giving me this opportunity to serve CQ and the DX community," said Bergman, "and will strive to continue the high standards of WAZ Awards program."

As of January 1, any correspondence relating to the CQ WAZ Award program should be directed to: John Bergman, KC5LK, P.O. Box 792, Brandon, MS 39043, USA; or via e-mail to <kc5lk@cq-amateur-radio.com>.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Two Ham Satellites Among Craft Lost in Launch Explosion
Video of  liftoff and explosion at < http://bit.ly/AntaresExplosion >
Two satellites carrying ham radio payloads were among more than two dozen satellites lost in the October 28 launch failure of Orbital Sciences Corporation's Antares 130 rocket. The rocket malfunctioned seconds after launch from NASA's Wallops Island spaceport in Virginia and was destroyed by the range safety officer in a spectacular explosion.
According to the ARRL Letter, the satellites aboard the craft included two with amateur radio payloads -- the Radiometer Atmospheric Cubesat Experiment (RACE) built jointly by the University of Texas at Austin and NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and GOMX-2, designed by Aalborg University in Denmark.

GOMX-2 was to test a new de-orbiting system and flight-qualify a new high-speed UHF transceiver and a software-defined receiver built by Aalborg. It had a data downlink on 70 centimeters. RACE carried a new 183-GHz radiometer designed by JPL and had ham-band data and CW telemetry downlinks on 70 centimeters. UT Engineering Professor Glen Lightsey, KE5DDG, told the Letter, "It's unfortunate, but it is also part of the aerospace industry." Watch video of the Antares explosion at < http://bit.ly/AntaresExplosion >.
K1N from Navassa in January

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has granted permission to the KP1-5 Project to mount a DXpedition to Navassa Island in the Caribbean in January 2015. Navassa is No. 2 on DX magazine's "most wanted" list. The call sign will be K1N. Specific dates had not been set as of press time. For more details, see December CQ's DX column on page 86.
Video of Kerry-Widodo at < http://bit.ly/Kerry-YD2JKW >
Indonesia: Hams in Charge
The new president and vice president of Indonesia are both hams, according to the ARRL, which reports that President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo is YD2JKW, while Vice President Jusuk Kalla is YC8HYK. Both were inaugurated on October 20, with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in attendance. Indonesia is the world's third-largest democracy.

Indonesian hams may be called on to help respond to any possible Ebola outbreak in the country. According to Newsline, an article in the Jakarta Post reported that amateur radio was an element of a proposed standard operating procedure being developed in the event that any cases of the deadly disease reach Indonesia.

Houlin Zaho will take his new post on New Year's Day.
China's Houlin Zhao New ITU Head

Houlin Zhao of China has been elected the new Secretary-General of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), succeeding Dr. Hamadoun Touré, who is also HB9EHT. Zhao has served as Touré's deputy for the past eight years. He takes over the top spot on January 1, 2015, according to the ARRL Letter.

Moon Mission Carrying Ham Transmitter Successful
A satellite from Luxembourg, flying as a "passenger" on a Chinese lunar fly-by mission and transmitting on 2 meters, successfully flew to and around the moon, then returned to Earth orbit. The Chinese mothership deployed the 4M (Manfred Memorial Moon Mission) satellite into orbit before it safely landed back on Earth. Several amateurs were able to track 4M on its journey. For more info, click here or visit < http://moon.luxspace.lu/blog/ >.
ARRL to FCC: Keep the Paper Coming, Please

W8PAL paper license, circa 1935.
The ARRL has asked the FCC to continue routinely sending paper licenses to new amateurs, even as it begins to phase them out overall. The FCC has indicated that it plans to stop routinely issuing printed license documents to Wireless Service licensees (including hams), unless they are specifically requested. For the FCC's purposes, your listing on the Universal Licensing System (ULS) database is your official license document. According to the ARRL Letter, the League pointed out in its comments that requiring individuals to go online to either download or request a printed license may be a roadblock to some applicants, and pointed out that official license documents are still required for such things as taking upgrade exams or applying for call sign license plates. The ARRL proposed sending a printed license to newly-licensed hams, along with instructions on selecting a preferred method for future renewals and upgrades.
ARRL Proposes Narrowly Defining Restrictions on Mobile Devices

Responding to a federal law that requires states to ban texting while driving in order to receive federal funds for driver safety programs, the ARRL Executive Committee has updated the League's policy statement on mobile operating to urge continued exemption of amateur radio communications from many of these restrictions. The League called for states and municipalities to narrowly define "wireless communications devices" to include only "full duplex wireless telephones" and to specifically exclude "two-way radio communications equipment." The complete text of the policy statement is available at < http://www.arrl.org/mobile-amateur-radio-policy >. 
ARRL Might (or Might Not) Want Your Views on HF Digital for Technicians
The ARRL Board of Directors will be taking up a proposal at its January meeting from Southeastern Division Director Doug Rehman, K4AC, who wants the League to petition the FCC for expanded HF digital privileges for Technician Class hams. Rehman wants to see these privileges extended to 80, 40 and 15 meters as well as the current allocation on 10 meters.

The League's Executive Committee debated the proposal at its October meeting and recommended that the full board in January consider soliciting input from members on adding digital privileges for Technicians only in the current 15-meter Novice/Tech subband. According to the ARRL Letter, ARRL CEO Dave Sumner, K1ZZ, emphasized that this is still very preliminary.

"This is not a proposal that the Board adopt data privileges for Techs and Novices on 15 meters as an objective, and it is most definitely not an ARRL proposal to the FCC," Sumner stressed, adding "(t)hat would come later, if at all, after the Board has had an opportunity to weigh membership input." 
IOTA Freezes Actions Relating to Crimea
The Radio Society of Great Britain's Islands on the Air (IOTA) program managers have decided to "freeze" any IOTA actions related to Crimea for at least a year, because of the still unresolved political situation there. Crimea was annexed by Russia after a referendum there called for separation from Ukraine, but the action has not been recognized by the international community.

CQ initially decided not to accept contest logs from Crimean stations using Russian-issued calls, but then reversed course amid significant pressure from the worldwide contest community. (For more on this, see this December's DX column on page 86.)

December 15 Deadline for New ARISS School Contact Applications
The Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) program is accepting applications from schools and other "formal and informal educational institutions and organizations" for amateur radio contacts with the crew of the ISS next year. But the application window closes on December 15. These applications would be for space station contacts between May 1 and December 31, 2015. For details, click here or visit < http://bit.ly/1xqT6CZ >.
Young Ham Honored for Designing Navigation Aid for Visually Impaired

KK6ISM , wearing assistive hat.
California high school student Shiloh Curtis, KK6ISM, has been named one of nine Popular Mechanics "Future Breakthrough Award" winners for designing a robotic navigation aid system for people with visual impairments. According to the ARRL Letter, Curtis's device is built around a hat containing a robot vacuum cleaner's laser distance sensors and vibrating motors to warn wearers of obstacles. A high school junior, Shiloh and her project have also been recognized as the California State Fair's "Project of the Year" and as a regional finalist in the Google Science Fair. Her father, Dave Curtis, is also a ham, N6NZ.
Lisa Leenders, PA2LS, IARU Region 1 Youth Working Group chair.
IARU Region 1 Forms Youth Working Group
Region 1 of the International Amateur Radio Union (IARU R1) - representing national ham radio societies in Europe, Africa and the Middle East - has formed a region-wide Youth Working Group and appointed 24-year-old Lisa Leenders, PA2LS, of the Netherlands, to a three-year term as Chair and Youth Coordinator. According to the ARRL Letter, the group was also given a three-year budget of nearly $30,000 US for events and activities. One of its first projects will be to organize and coordinate Youngsters On The Air (YOTA) events and activities.

Delegates to the IARU Region 1 general conference in Bulgaria in September also approved forming an Amateur Radio Observation Service to monitor DXpeditions for malicious interference and to try to track down possible sources. The delegates also supported a proposal by five IARU R1 countries to the European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administrations (CEPT) for a region-wide secondary amateur allocation at 69.9-70.5 MHz, also known as 4 meters. Some European countries already allow amateur operation on 4 meters. A request to the FCC for a matching band in the US was recently turned down.
IARU Seeks Worldwide Crackdown on EMI

The Administrative Council of the International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) is asking member nations of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), to take steps to minimize interference to amateur radio by "electrical apparatus or installations of any kind, including power and telecommunication distribution networks." The ARRL Letter reports that the council adopted a resolution that highlights "rapid and largely uncontrolled growth" of devices - such as plasma TVs, switching power supplies and Broadband over Power Lines (BPL) - that generate RF energy "as an unnecessary and undesirable consequence of their operation." The resolution calls on regulators to set strict standards for interference reduction and on manufacturers to voluntarily "minimize radio spectrum pollution emanating from their products."

From left, K6HCP, K2BS and WØIYH, SK
Names in the News: Several Prominent Hams Are Silent Keys
We are saddened to report the passing of several prominent amateurs in October. The ARRL Letter reports that Ken Holladay, K6HCP, the co-founder of both Mirage Communications and KLM antennas, became a Silent Key on October 14 after an extended illness. He was 75.

Sheldon "Shelly" Weil, K2BS, passed away on October 29 from complications due to injuries suffered in a fall. He was 81. Weil was a leader in scouting and amateur radio over several decades, staffing ham stations at national and world jamborees. He also served as chairman of the Boy Scouts of America's National Jewish Committee on Scouting.

Author Bill Sabin, WØIYH, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, became a Silent Key on October 13 at age 88. A longtime engineer for Collins Radio Company, Sabin authored more than 40 technical articles and contributed to or co-edited three books on single sideband and HF radio. He was the author of Discrete Signal Analysis and Design, and a contributor to ARRL's RF Amplifier Classics.

Newsline reports on a new "app" for Apple devices running the iOS 8 operating system called "Morse Code Telegraph Keyboard." It replaces the on-screen keyboard of your iPad or iPhone with a J-38-looking hand key on which you can tap out letters in Morse code and have them print out in your e-mails or iMessages. Considering how difficult some people find using the on-screen keyboard, this just might help you compose messages with fewer typing errors! It's $1.99 at the Apple App Store.

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.]

Friday, September 12, 2014

Rules for CQ WW DX Contest Translated into 14 Languages

CQ World Wide DX Contest Manager Randy Thompson, K5ZD, has announced that the rules for the competition have been translated in 14 languages. You can access them at < http://www.cqww.com/rules.htm >.
The rules now appear in:

  • Arabic
  • Bulgarian
  • Chinese
  • English
  • French
  • German
  • Italian
  • Japanese
  • Polish
  • Portuguese
  • Romanian
  • Russian
  • Slovenian
  • Spanish
  • Turkish