OSCAR membership runs concurrent with the calendar year, so all 2003 memberships are up for renewal. If you want to be part of the OSCAR organization, contact Charlie KØHNY. Dues are only $10 for the 2004 calendar year.
Local Ham Radio News
Kris KCŘREO upgraded to General this past month. Congratulations to Kris.
Ham Radio on National Public Radio
Some hams may have thought they'd left their transceivers turned on Tuesday, 17-Feb, when the popular National Public Radio afternoon news magazine All Things Considered ran a piece about the pending addition of the @ symbol to the official international Morse code lexicon. That's because NPR introduced and closed the nearly four-minute segment with actual CW, catching the ear of many hams. ARRL Chief Technology Officer Paul Rinaldo, W4RI, conceived of the new character, necessary for transmitting e-mail addresses in CW, among other possible purposes. Assuming approval by International Telecommunication Union member-states, the new character--the first added to the code in many, many years--will be "AC" run together (.--.-.). The new character, Rinaldo says, is both unique in the Morse world as well as a mnemonic (think of an 'a' wrapped in a 'C'). ATC co-host Robert Siegel interviewed ARRL Senior News Editor Rick Lindquist, N1RL, for some background on the change, giving Lindquist an opportunity to mention his passion for mobile CW operation. The short feature, "Morse Code Enters Cyber Age," is available on the National Public Radio Web site.
AO-40 Suffers Power Failure
The main battery pack on board the AMSAT Oscar 40 satellite has failed and
controllers are unsure if the bird can be brought back to life on the reserve
power system. They suspect a short-circuit in one or more cells of the spacecraft’s main battery is pulling the voltage levels down to the point where neither the 2.4 GHz transmitter nor the onboard computer are operating. There is a backup battery system but it’s tied to the main one and attempts to bring it online independently have so far failed. Soon after its launch in late 2000, OSCAR-40 suffered what is believed to be an on-board explosion, disabling much of its transmit and receive capability. Controllers believe the current problems may be a result of whatever happened then as well.
From Multiple Sources
Our Golden Past
Its time for a trip back to the 1950's. To a kinder and gentler Amateur Radio. Remember the names Carl and Jerry? Well if you were playing with ham radio in the 1950's and 1960's you are well aware that these are the first names of the two fictitious teenage electronic whizze's. Characters created by the late John T. Frye, W9EGV, for his long-running magazine series of the same name.
The Carl and Jerry stories appeared in Popular Electronics from October 1954 through December 1964. They told of the adventures of two perennial teenage boys who shared a special bond because of their shared love of music, electronics and radio. Now, many of these stories are again available to read to enjoy thanks to a new spot on the world-wide-web. Better yet, they are the kind of stuff you may want to read to your grandkids, especially if they have the same wonderment as you when you were their age.
So far there are only 21 of the stories in the seriers on the web, but enough to
keep you glued to your computer screen for several hours. They are there to
read at http://home.gwi.net/~jdebell/pe/cj/cnjindex.htm
The Salvation Army Team Emergency Radio Network (SATERN) Net has activated on 20 meters to assist with health-and-welfare traffic for the troubled nation of Haiti. The net
convenes on or near 14.265 MHz. SATERN National Director Pat McPherson, WW9E, says SATERN members are being encouraged to monitor the net frequency and to assist in relaying traffic as needed. SATERN also offers a health-and-welfare link
on its Web site , for use by those seeking information on family and friends who may be affected by the crisis in Haiti.
From ARRL Letter
What's A Slip Stick?
While we're on a nostalgia kick, the International Slide Rule Group's
ISRG has had a couple of circular rules custom manufactured. The Oughtred Society is dedicated to slide rules with numerous slide rule links. It also turns out that the Koh-I-Noor slide rule manufacturing plant in India is still in business.
From ARRL Contest Rate Sheet
ARRL International DX Contest
Don't forget the phone contest in early March: 0000Z 06-Mar to 2400Z 07-Mar. It's a good opportunity for newer hams to get a feel for DX. More information is available at
http://www.arrl.org/contests/rules. Cabrillo format logs are due 06-Apr to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Band Plan Chart
Hans K0HB contributes a link to a very nice Web site with band plan charts by W1CGS. Each band plan is a full page and shows the privileges of each license class plus the "Gentlemen's agreements" on where the different modes usually operate. The file is downloadable in PDF format and can be printed one page at a time at
From ARRL Contest Rate Sheet
Sam Electronic Circuits
This is an incredibly jam-packed site
http://users.otenet.gr/~athsam/index.htm) for looking up component data sheets and circuits. Over 400 component datasheets data sheets are all useful, common parts of the typeyou're looking for.
From ARRL Contest Rate Sheet
Behold the 500KV Arc
This is fantastic. Here is a short video with sound that you will want to play again and again.
There was reportedly a problem shutting down a 500,000 volt electric utility circuit by conventional means, so the circuit was opened at the Palo Verde switchyard while under FULL load, with spectacular results. (This may be the Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station yard about 50 miles west of Phoenix.) We are told that this shutdown was anything but routine. The file is 1.5Mb, but well worth the wait on a dial-up connection.
From CGC Communicator
Speakers on, volume up!
On The Road Again
Winter isn't over yet. If you listen to the NOAA radio stations while you travel, you can take a peek at the estimated coverage of NOAA transmitters at
NOAA. Maps are available for individual transmitters as well as an entire state.
RFID In Mexico
Shades of George Orwell's novel 1984. According to a story in the Washington Post, Mexico is considering the radio frequency I-D chip as an answer to crime and as a tool to help the medical profession keep track of health histories. Up to 10,000 radio frequency I-D tags may be implanted in Mexico's citizens in the coming year. The R-F-I-D "Verichip" can be tracked for a distance of 5 to 8 kilometres, but Mexican officials are looking toward an implant that can be tracked by satellite, and a Global Positioning System implant that could aid in locating kidnap victims.
FCC Crackdown On 10 Meter Rigs
The FCC has cited a major delivery service and a radio importer/dealer in its latest crackdown on unlicensed operation on 10 meters by truckers. It started with FCC letters to two United Parcel Service offices in Ohio and Indiana, regarding findings that some UPS drivers had 10-meter rigs in their trucks. Fed Ex and two additional trucking firms were also the target of FCC warning notices involving complaints of unlicensed operation on 10 meters.
The rigs in question apparently are marketed as ham rigs, but can easily be modified to operate on CB as well. Pacetronics, which imports and sells a variety of radios, including Galaxy, General and Ranger, also received an FCC notice asserting that they are non-certified CB rigs and are thus illegal to sell in the U.S. Pacetronics claims on its website that the radios in question are ham rigs, not CB rigs, and are thus not required to have FCC certification. The FCC citation claims that the ease of modifying these radios to operate on CB makes them “dual use CB and amateur radios,” which “may not be certificated under the Commission’s rules.”
From Multiple Sources
On The BPL Front
Real close to home -- the Rochester ARC indicates the Rochester Public Utilities (RPU) announced a plan to conduct a study and field trial of broadband power line technology . The field trial and eventual use of BPL could have significant implications for area amateur radio operations.
Hams just outside of Allentown, PA are organizing a campaign to protest announced plans by PP&L to offer BPL. PP&L sent out 2,000 letters to residents in a section of Hanover Township and already has received replies from 200 people interested in subscribing to the service.
PPL has been testing BPL - high-speed internet over powerlines in Lehigh County for the past two years.
The FCC announced proposed rule changes the agency claims will foster broadband deployment using the significantly untapped capabilities of the nation's power grid. The Part 15 rule changes proposes rules requiring B-P-L devices to employ adaptive interference mitigation techniques to prevent harmful interference to existing users. The techniques would enable B-P-L devices to cease operations altogether, dynamically reduce transmit power, and/or avoid operating on specific frequencies to prevent harmful interference.
The N-P-R-M also proposes developing a public database that would include such information as location, operational frequencies, and modulation type of B-P-L devices. This says the FCC, should facilitate the resolution of interference issues in a timely fashion. The FCC says - no - to the desire of the power industry to raise R-F limits,
The BPL fight in Austria is heating up. The BPL provider and the power company and its now headed to court to try to stop the hams from complaining to them and to the press. The management of Speed-Web Consulting and Linz AG, who are responsible for the BPL, are disclaiming what they say are "press attacks by Austrian radio amateurs". They say that there has not been any injunction against them and the roll-out of PLT continues. Speed-Web and Linz AG say that Austrian radio amateurs are doing their best to stop BPL "by filing undue interference complaints". They go on to say that "if there should be any actual, harmful and officially proven interference case caused by Powerline Communications, mitigation measures will solve this very case at that specific location in the concerned frequency". Linz AG stated that it would be suing the Austrian national amateur radio society, OeVSV, as well as its president personally, over this matter.
The first implementation of BPL technology in Canada was reported in the Toronto Star. Sault Saint Marie will have wireless 802.11b or "Wi-Fi" roaming access points throughout the city in densely populated residential areas along medium-voltage power lines provided by the hydro-power utility. Subscribers will be able to roam and surf the net while they are within 150m of an access point. These wireless points convert data sent through the grid and on to the utility's fibre-optic backbone, which connects to the Internet. At the time of writing, Radio Amateurs of Canada, the equivalent of the WIA, had made no comment on the roll-out of Broadband Power Line technology in Canada.
Iin Israel. Hagal International says that equipment for the networking of computers over the A C power mains being sold in the country was found to be causing interference to High Frequency
spectrum users. As a result, Israel's Ministry of Communications requested an explanation from the distributor of this equipment on how to remedy the problem. The distributor did one better. The company replied that it had discontinued the sales of the interfering devices.
From Multiple Sources