Friday, August 20, 2021
Wednesday, August 18, 2021
Saturday, August 14, 2021
The following is from the ARRL. We encourage you to keep these HF frequencies clear for emergency traffic:
Following Earthquake in Haiti, Radio Amateurs Asked to Keep Frequencies Clear
August 14, 2021 | ARRL
In a statement received by ARRL on August 14, 2021, Region 2 of the International Amateur Radio Union (IARU-R2) has requested that radio amateurs in the Americas keep the following frequencies clear to support emergency communications in Haiti following an earthquake this morning: 3750 kHz, 7150 kHz and 14330 kHz. The statement came from IARU-R2 Emergency Coordinator (EMCOR) Carlos Alberto Santamaría González, CO2JC.
According to preliminary information from the United States Geological Survey (USGS), a 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck Haiti on August 14, 2021 at 1229 UTC, about 12 kilometers northeast of Saint-Louis-du-Sud and 33 kilometers to the east-northeast of Les Cayes, Haiti; 18.352 degrees north and 73.4801 degrees west at a depth of 10 km.
Mr. Jean-Robert Gaillard, HH2JR, President of the Radio Club of Haiti, reported significant structural damage.
International news reports fear high casualties.
Thursday, August 12, 2021
There's bad news, good news and growing confusion on the long-planned (but currently cancelled) 2023 DXpedition to Bouvet Island. There are now three separate groups planning trips to the subantarctic island, including one that split off from the original group (but holds the 3Y0J license) plans to make the trip in 2022 and another that says it's ready to go later this year.
We reported last month that the Intrepid DX Group was working to figure out a way that Nigel Jolly, K6NRJ, could continue to be captain of the Braveheart even though he had to sell the charter vessel because of Covid cancellations. Apparently, that didn't work out, but the ARRL reported in early August that the group had found a "suitable and affordable" vessel whose captain was willing to make the trip to the sub-antarctic island. The new team of up to 12 operators will be led jointly by David Jorgensen, WD5COV, and Kevin Rowett, K6TD.
Meanwhile, Ken Opskar, LA7GIA - who holds the 3Y0J license to operate from the Norwegian island - apparently has split off from the Intrepid DX Group and formed a separate group that is now planning a 2022 visit. Plus, Polish DXpeditioner Dom Grzyb, 3Z9DX, says he has secured a license for 3Y0I and has put together a group to activate the island later this year.
We'll keep you posted on everybody's progress.
Just as there have been disagreements among predictions
for the strength and length of Solar Cycle 25, there are also disagreements about
the significance of recent trends. In early August, spaceweather.com reported
that the cycle was "heating up faster than expected," based on July's
sunspot counts, and said that if the trend continues, it could mean that we
reach solar maximum in October 2024, a year ahead of the "official" forecast
from the NOAA/NASA Solar Cycle Prediction Panel.
(NASA satellite image)
That panel predicted that Cycle 25 would be very similar to the very weak Cycle 24, but a sharper rise could suggest a stronger cycle to come. On the other hand, the Solar Terrestrial Activity Report (www.solen.info) suggests that so far, Cycle 25 is very closely tracking Cycle 24, as predicted by the NOAA/NASA panel. See <https://tinyurl.com/5f6vp66x>.
Hurricane season runs through November 30.
NOAA says to expect 15-21 named storms and
7-10 hurricanes this year. (NOAA file photo)
In its mid-season update, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) made a slight upward revision in its forecast for the current Atlantic hurricane season, which runs through November 30.
The Climate Prediction Center now says we should expect 15-21 named storms this season, vs. 13-20 in its previous forecast. Of those it is expected that 7-10 will develop into hurricanes (vs. 6-10) and 3-5 are likely to become major hurricanes of category 3 or higher (wind speeds of at least 111 miles per hour). The major hurricane prediction is unchanged from the previous forecast.
Radio amateurs have long been part of the response to tropical storms and hurricanes and there is a permanent amateur station, WX4NHC, at the National Hurricane Center.
Hams in Belgium were asked to provide a backup VHF link between the emergency call center in the capital city of Brussels and the hard-hit province of Hainaut. Other groups have been on standby to respond as needed, although it was pointed out that many hams in the affected areas were flood victims as well.
The ARRL Letter reports that this is only the third standing board committee, along with the Programs and Services and Administration and Finance committees. Roanoke Division Director George "Bud" Hippisley, W2RU, will chair the committee. Other appointments had not been made as of press time. (We will cover this in more detail in October CQ's Emergency Communications column.)
Wednesday, August 11, 2021
Faith Hannah Lea,
courtesy AR Newsline)
Faith Hannah Lea, KD3Z, of Palm Coast, Florida, has been selected as the 2021 Bill Pasternak Memorial Amateur Radio Newsline Young Ham of the Year. Lea, who's 16, is already a junior in college. She has operated from three continents, attended the Youngsters On The Air camp in Johannesburg, South Africa, and was part of the 2016 Dave Kalter Memorial Youth DX team operating PJ6 from the Dutch island of Saba. A member of an all-ham family, Faith Hannah has also had two articles published in CQ and served as an ARES net control during three different hurricanes. Completing high school via home schooling and earning an Associate of Arts degree at age 15, Faith Hannah is currently a junior at Stetson University in Deland, Florida. She is working toward degrees in both molecular and cellular biology and business administration.
The YHOTY award was presented virtually this year during a live webcast of W5KUB's Amateur Radio Roundtable (see <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RUoxFrQJxVQ>. It is traditionally presented during the Huntsville Hamfest but Newsline opted for the online ceremony because of the spike in the Delta variant of Covid-19.
In a rare reversal, the FCC has agreed to two petitions for reconsideration of earlier decisions relating to permitted transmission modes on Citizens Band (CB), the General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS) and Family Radio Service (FRS).
In its first major change to CB rules in over 40 years, the FCC has agreed to allow FM transmissions on the band along with traditional AM and single sideband (SSB). It was persuaded that interference concerns were unfounded and that "users who hear unintelligible audio on a particular channel can simply select another channel or switch modes." CB radios manufactured with FM capability would still be required to offer an AM option.
For some time now, the FCC has permitted the manual transmission of short data messages in the GMRS and FRS services, but has balked at allowing automatic transmissions of location data out of interference concerns. Motorola has successfully petitioned the Commission to OK automatic data transmissions as well, noting that it would help in the location of lost or injured users who could not manually send out emergency messages.
The non-profit Amateur Radio Digital Communications group (ARDC) has awarded a grant of nearly $18,000 to the Bridgerland Amateur Radio Club in northern Utah to support its efforts interest and engage young people in amateur radio.
The ARRL Letter reports that the club has an 18-month timeline for its proposed projects and activities intended to use amateur radio to further STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) programs for young people. Among its projects is building a portable ground station for Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) contacts which can be transported to different schools for making contact with astronauts in orbit.
The CQ World Wide DX Contest (CQWW) has added two new "overlay" categories beginning with this year's competition – "Youth" for operators age 25 or younger on the date of the contest and "Explorer" to permit greater experimentation with internet-linked stations and other new technologies.
The new Explorer overlay category has been established to allow amateurs to participate in the CQ WW contest while creatively experimenting with Internet-linked stations and other new technologies. The goal of this category is to encourage innovation in operating strategies, station design, and technology adaptation. Specifics for each of these new overlay categories may be found in the complete contest rules at <cqww.com/rules.htm>.
In early July, an Army MARS (Military Auxiliary Radio System) HF training net for members in New York and New Jersey was interrupted by a series of distress calls on their frequency (which is shared with the maritime service.
According to the ARRL Letter, several net members tried unsuccessfully to establish radio contact with the vessel in distress while the net control station alerted the U.S. Coast Guard. The vessel was eventually identified as a fishing boat traveling from Jamaica to Guatemala, which apparently capsized without warning on the night of July 6. Ten of the 15 individuals on board the boat were rescued by a passing oil tanker. Unfortunately, five others, including the captain, did not survive.
Ham Radio Outlet says it plans to open a new store in Florida, but is playing close to the vest on specifics. Newsline reports that an announcement from the company on social media said "We're not telling yet" in response to speculation on possible locations, adding, "We're open to suggestions." HRO currently has 12 stores across the US, from California to New Hampshire. At present, the closest one to Florida is in Atlanta.
Covid-19 has claimed another member of the amateur radio community and industry. Michael Enis, KB5YJF, became a Silent Key on August 6 at age 53. He was Production Manager for MFJ Enterprises and its Ameritron line of amplifiers.
Mike was described in his obituary as "a loving father, son, brother, uncle and fixer of all things." He is survived by his son, daughter and son-in-law as well as his parents, sister and brother. His was predeceased by his wife, Tammy.
AMSAT is looking to return to building and launching high-Earth-orbit (HEO) satellites as part of its strategic plan for the future. These provide extended windows of operation with significant coverage areas. According to a Twitter post by the organization, the plan also includes continued partnership with ARISS on human spaceflight as well as continuing to build and launch low-Earth-orbit satellites.
The AMSAT News Service reports that AMSAT-OSCAR 109 (AMSAT Fox-1E/RadfxSat-2) has now been opened for amateur use. The satellite features an inverting linear transponder with an uplink on 2 meters and downlink on 70 centimeters. Controllers advise using spectrum-efficient modes such as CW or FT4 rather than SSB voice due to technical issues with the satellite.
Finally, amateurs in Switzerland may have to get a special permit – and pay the government a fee - to use the QO-100 satellite. The ARRL Letter reports that the Swiss communications regulator is worried about hams causing interference to industrial, scientific and medical (ISM) users on 2.4 GHz (the satellite's uplink band) and is considering requiring a special permit for hams to use the first (and so far only) geostationary amateur satellite. The permit would cost roughly $75US if implemented.