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Owatonna Steele County Amateur Radio 11-Apr-2017

OSCAR News - July, 2004

Field Day
A great time was had by all at the OSCAR Field Day operation. Our goal was a casual day of operating and fun. The final QSO count was over 400, with a claimed score of 1,440 points. Pictures are posted on the OSCAR web site.

Set-up began at 7:30 AM. A wide collection of antennas included dipoles, verticals and beams. The highlight was the 40-meter vertical built by KCREO on site. It tuned up great on the first cut. Also a 34-foot lift was used to support a beam. It couldn't be missed.

Operating with two HF stations and a VHF station started at 1:00 PM. Refreshments were available all day and Chef Willis KAKEL did a fine job cooking the burgers for dinner. Operating continued until the park closed at 11:00 PM. Apparently the cool temperature kept the mosquitos at bay.

Several hams came down from the Cities to operate. It was great to meet Paul KCMSQ, Vince NVZJ, Jack NRUF, and Chuck KCOYA. Operators and visitors from the local area included Kris KCREO, Tom NUW, Willis KAKEL, Charlie KHNY, Paul WFEI, Dale WBPKG, Vern WVLT, and Mark WAF. Also visiting the site was Mike Johnson, Owatonna Fire Chief.

It looks like we'll have a similar crew for 2005. Mark your calendars for 25-Jun-2005.

Battery Charging Ciruits From ARRL Contest Rate Sheet
Since all of those batteries were used at Field Day, they now need to be recharged. A Web site with battery charging circuits for all sorts of applications:

MN Section Elections
Don't forget to keep an eye out for the ballots for MN Section Manager. ARRL members have two candidates to choose from:

-----Chuck Gysi N2DUP www.radiohams.net
-----Skip Jackson KSJ www.skipforhams.com

FCC Seeks Comments On Over-The-Air TV Viewers From CGC Communicator
Analog television broadcasting in the United States could end as early as December 31, 2006 in the Commission's view. Up to 15% of television households in a given market could then lose television service altogether if they rely exclusively on over-the-air broadcasting and have analog-only sets when the transition ends. In the remaining households, any analog sets that are not connected to Cable TV or satellite or similar services or devices (that will convert digital-to-analog for consumers) could lose service as well. The FCC wants to know some things about consumers who rely on over-the-air TV broadcasting, and seeks options for minimizing the impact on these and other consumers when TV goes all digital. See the notice at:

AMSAT Echo Is Up From Newsline
The newest Amateur Radio satellite is now in orbit and doing fine. First contact with Echo was at 1452 UTC on June 29th. During the second set of passes, the command team finished loading the housekeeping software. The morning passes on June 30th concentrated on gathering telemetry. The evening passes continued with checkout activities.

Please do not transmit to Echo until checkout and commissioning has been completed and the satellite is made available for general use. Unexpected uplinks may cause delays in verifying the proper operation of ECHO and delay the opening of the transponders to general use.

Color TV Anniversary From CGC Communicator
Although color TV transmissions were in the development stages earlier, the industry is celebrating its half-century mark this year because it was 50 years ago that color broadcasts initially became available to the public. NPR has posted a story and some interesting historical resources at:

Parallel Power Supplies From ARRL
There were a couple of recent articles on running power supplies in parallel. Combining power supplies in parallel to deliver higher currents can be a little scary. Some power supplies (and generators) have special connections that allow them to do just that, but for stand-alone supplies, make sure there is some small (less than an ohm) resistance between the supplies and the load, just as paralleled pass transistors have a small emitter resistor to keep one transistor from hogging all the current. For a typical amateur power supply delivering 20 amps a 4 to 6 foot length of #12 wire between the supply and the load would be sufficient. If you can find sufficiently rated diodes, place one in series with each supply output before connecting the supplies together (called "or-ing"). This prevents good supplies from back-driving a failed or off-line supply. More information is available at:

Cabrillo Formats From ARRL Contest Rate Sheet
Grouching about Cabrillo format and how it's "just not worth it" to submit small logs to contest sponsors? A web-based log entry form released by WA7BNM has gotten good reviews. Go to: http://b4h.net/cabforms.

KPH Night of Nights From CGC Communicator
Ship-to-shore Morse code station KPH will once again be on the air for the annual "Night of Nights" event. Each year, KPH symbolically picks up the thread of commercial Morse code on the date the service was ended in the US, July 12, 1999. This year at 5 years and 1 minute after the last message was sent, KPH will return to the air on many of its original commercial frequencies to send commemorative broadcasts, press and weather. And of course they will listen for calls from any Morse equipped ships that hear their transmissions. Several original KPH ops will be at the key. The HF operating frequencies are yet to be selected, but the MF frequencies will be 500kc and 426kc. Operations will begin at 0001 GMT July 13, 2004. KPH invites signal reports from short- wave listeners. For more info and to take a tour of KPH:

First Cell Phone Virus
It was bound to happen sooner or later. A group of Czech Republic and Slovakian virus writers, who call themselves "29a", apparently developed avirus that can be spread on advanced mobile phones. The worm, dubbed "Cabir,"propagates when sent from one handset to another using the short-range Bluetooth connection, a feature on many advanced Nokia phones.

Vanity Call Fee Increase From ARRL
The FCC regulatory fee to obtain an Amateur Radio vanity call sign will rise from $16.30 to $20.80 later this year. The FCC announced the new fee in a Report and Order (R&O) in MD Docket 04-73, "Assessment and Collection of Regulatory Fees for Fiscal Year 2004." The FCC says it anticipates 7800 applications for FY2004--2000 fewer than the previous fiscal year. The FCC expects revenue collected from the vanity call sign regulatory fees in FY2004 to rise by nearly $2400 to slightly more than $162,100. The R&O becomes effective 30 days after it's published in The Federal Register. ARRL will announce when the new, higher vanity fee begins.

Expanded Weather Radio Network From CNN
Emergency alerts for everything from tornadoes to missing children and terror warnings will get out to the public through an expanded weather radio network, the government announced Thursday. The addition of the Homeland Security Department to the system will allow terror alerts and warnings to be distributed automatically through the same way.

Beginning more than three decades ago with weather warnings over special radios, the NOAA network makes emergency weather warnings available to 97 percent of the country. Special radios automatically turn on and sound an alarm when it is received are popular in areas subject to tornado, hurricane and other weather threats. The NOAA system has become an all-hazards network covering natural disasters such as earthquakes and volcanoes; serious accidents, such as chemical releases; nuclear power plant emergencies; train derailments; maritime concerns; and 911 outages. Alerts for missing children and other hazards in recent years.

An OnLine Morse Code Translator
Try a Morse translator that produces a "print" and audio version of the code:

Electronic Tutorials From ARRL Contest Rate Sheet
Electronic Design magazine publishes "Basics of Design" on their Web site. These are not introductory electronics, but will be useful if you have some electronics background. Check it out at:

BPL Update From Multiple Sources
The Rochester ARC reports the Rochester BPL test site began 01-Jul. The test are has no hams and is bounded by Hwy 63, Apache Mall, 16th St, and 14th St. The RARC is apparently making noise level measurements on all amateur bands from 80 to 6 metersin the proposed BPL trial neighborhood.

The ARRL joined in the fight on behalf of Jim Spencer, W0SR, of Cedar Rapids. A formal complaint by the ARRL to FCC Enforcement Bureau Chief David H. Solomon calls on the Commission not only to order Alliant Energy's BPL field trial system to shut down but to fine the utility $10,000. The letter of complaint summarizes and culminates a series of exchanges and actions in an unsuccessful effort to resolve Spencer's BPL interference. ARRL CEO David Sumner, K1ZZ, said Alliant Energy has been aware since March 30--the date it installed Amperion BPL equipment in Spencer's neighborhood--that the BPL system was causing harmful interference. While the utility has been cooperative, mitigation efforts have been only marginally successful.

Among other approaches, Alliant Energy has tried notching out the HF amateur bands. After notching attempts in late May, Spencer--a retired engineer and former Collins Radio employee--still reported "significant levels" of BPL interference on some bands and power line noise on 160 meter and 80 meters. Ultimately, Alliant Energy shut down the BPL pilot project in Cedar Rapids June 25. The plans were for it to remain active until August or September.

The IEEE-USA expressed concerns about interference to the licensed users of HF spectrum, and concerns about interference to Access BPL systems from those users. The organization noted the potential negative impact of such interference on the ultimate reliability of Access BPL as a means of delivering broadband service to users. It cited possible adverse effects on many uses that are critical to national security, homeland defense, and emergency and disaster communications. Read more at:

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration's (NTIA) muddies the water with comments suggesting that existing power line noise poses "greater local interference risks" than BPL would. The NTIA says it's measured power line noise levels that are higher than the proposed BPL emission limits.The NTIA called reduction of strong power line noise "a basic technical requirement" for acceptable BPL performance at the field strengths the FCC has proposed and the NTIA has endorsed.The agency qualified its remarks, however, saying that while it doesn't expect a net, nationwide reduction of interference risks, it believes there will be "at least partial offsetting" of BPL's interference risks.

The ARRL is offereing a video that explains and depicts the threat of Broadband over Power Line (BPL) to Amateur Radio. The 18 MB video runs approximately three and one-half minutes. Download it at: