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Owatonna Steele County Amateur Radio 13-Apr-2017

OSCAR News - January, 25

OSCAR Elections
Elections were held at the December meeting. High spirited campaigning by the multitude of candidates resulted in a required recount of the ballots. Officers for 2005 were declared after a formal review of punch chad by officials from Dade County, Florida:

  • President - Dale WBØPKG
  • Treasurer - Chrlie KØHNY
  • Secretary - Tom NØUW

New Faribault Repeater
NZR acquired the old Blooming Prairie repeater frequency pair (145.190/144.590). The new repeater is located in Faribault with a 100.0 PLL. Jeff indicates he intends to maintain an open repeater. The antenna is currently at a lower elevation and may be difficult to hit. The signal should improve in January when the antenna height is increased.

New ARES Districts From MN Section News
Minnesota ARES will be Re-Districting on January 1st, 2005!! This action will bring ARES into line with the Homeland Security Regions. Steele County will be part of District 1 (Southeast) headed by Francine C. Franck KCQVK. Included in District 1 with Steele County are:
Blue Earth Dodge Goodhue Faribault Fillmore Freeborn Houston
Le Sueur Mower Nicollet Olmstead Rice Wabasha Waseca Winona

Kid's Day From ARRL
Kid's Day is Sunday 02-Jan, running from 1800 to 2400 UTC. Suggested frequencies are 14.270-14.300, 21.350-21.400 and 28.380-28.400 MHz. The recommended exchange is name, age, location and favorite color. Patience is the byword on both sides of each contact.

Kid's Day is not a contest. The goal is to encourage young people--licensed or not--to enjoy Amateur Radio. The role of the control operator is to guide youngsters with the basics, keep an eye on the technical aspects of the operation, observe third-party traffic restrictions when making DX QSOs and ensure station identification at proper intervals. In this event, it's contact quality, not quantity, that counts.

UHF Woodpecker From Newsline
UHF repeater systems in the Denver, CO area have been hearing a regular pulsing or clicking noise on weak signal repeater users. For two years, a rhythmic clicking sound, similar to a slow motor vehicle ignition spark or as some hams have nicknamed it, "The woodpecker". The system causing the harmful interference is apparently a military radio system known as the Enhanced Position Location Reporting System, or EPLRS.

EPLRS is spread spectrum systems designed such that they have multiple UHF channels that overlap. These channels are numerous enough that they cover virtually the entire weak-signal and repeater input portions of the UHF Amateur band in Colorado, from approximately 426 MHz to 450 MHz. Similar interference on UHF repeaters is also being reported in the Sandia Peak, NM area, and Sacramento, CA. Additional installations may also be deployed, which may affect FM repeater operations near military installations.

Bagdad Echo Link From eham.net
There is a new EchoLink node in Baghdad is now on the air operating on 144.225 in Baghdad. The node number is 209608 and the callsign is YI1IRQ-l. Visit Echolink for additional information.

CQ Mag 60th Anniversary From Newsline
CQ's magazine's first issue was published in January of 1945. Celebrating its 60th anniversary on-the-air, CQ Magazine invites anyone who has ever had any association with CQ Magazine (staff member, columnist, writer, current subsctribers) to operate in the first 60 days (01-Jan thru 01-Mar) of 2005 with a "/60" after their call sign. Additional information is available by clicking the link at www.cq-amateur-radio.com.

Learning Morse Code? From ARRL Contest Rate Sheet
The Farnsworth method of learning CW has been the standard for a long time. With the Farnsworth method, the character element (dot, dash) is sent at a high speed (e.g. 13 wpm), but the character spacing is slower (e.g. 5 wpm). An alternative method is to send the character elements at a high enough speed that they appear to be a single sound pattern. The idea is to keep the student from "decoding" the individual elements. Called the Koch method, a training program can be downloaded from KA8VIT.

Telegraph e-zine From ARRL Contest Rate Sheet
Morse code remains alive with a e-zine by K9YA. It is delivered by e-mail in .pdf format. Information is available at www.k9ya.org.

Special DX Prefixes From ARRL
Hams in Austria are authorized to use the prefix OE50 to celebrate 50 years of Austrian independence. The Netherlands commemorate that country's final two weeks at the helm of the European Union: PA6EU = Amsterdam; PB6EU = The Hague and Scheveningen; PC6EU = Rotterdam; PE6EU = Valkenburg-Maastricht; PF6EU = Groningen; PG6UE = Noordwijk.

Garage Door Interference From Newsline
A new military radio system is causing garage door openers to malfunction. The 390MHz system is being installed at at least 100 military bases around the nation. An estimated 50 million garage door openers are secondary users with the military having primary status. Pentagon sources say the system's adverse effects will primarily be confined to garage doors located within 10 miles of a base, although in some cases interference have already been noticed much further away.

SCAMP Testing From ARRL Letter
The Sound Card Amateur Message Protocol (SCAMP) is designed to eliminate the need for pricey external hardware for passing e-mail traffic on relatively narrow-bandwidth channels. SCAMP is intended for transmitting messages--text with binary attachments--via 2-kHz bandwidth HF and VHF voice channels. SCAMP doesn't require anything more than a 1-GHz class Pentium or Celeron processor with a minimum of 128 MB of memory. Compatible with Winlink2000, SCAMP uses the Redundant Digital File Transfer (RDFT) transport layer with the addition of Automatic Repeat Request (ARQ). SCAMP offers a moderate-throughput, error-free protocol that works using conventional sound cards and modestly powered computers.

Initial on-air testing began in late November on HF (40, 30 and 20 meters). VHF (2 meters). VHF testing used both FM and SSB. The first successful transcontinental exchange of Amateur Radio e-mail messages using SCAMP took place December 4 on 20 meters. Information on RDFT is available at www.svs.net.

Antenna Radiation Patterns From ARRL Contest Rate Sheet
If you want to see how changes in a phased array affect the radiation pattern, browse to http://www.comapps.com/tonyt/Applets/Antennas/Antenna.html.

Software Defined Radio From ARRL Letter

The FCC for the first time has approved use of a software defined radio (SDR) device in the US. This new class of equipment allows users to share limited spectrum, increases flexibility and reduces interference concerns. SDRs can change frequency range, mode or output power without resorting to hardware changes or switches. This programmable capacity permits radios to be highly adaptable to changing needs, protocols and environments.

Wireless Telephone Subscriptions From Newsline
Science On-Line reports that the worldwide population of wireless telephone subscribers in now estimated to be almost 1.5 billion. That's roughly about one quarter of the world's population. Subscribers have doubled in the past five years, and the fastest growth is now occurring in China, India and Russia.

Surplus Telescoping Masts From ARRL Contest Rate Sheet
The Mast Company offers a line of military surplus stackable aluminum tubing for mast systems and antennas, a 33-ft vertical antenna kit, and heavy-duty fiberglass telescopic poles from 19 to 32 ft, with combinations up to 40 ft.

On The BPL Front From Multiple Sources
The Rochester ARC reports on an article from the Post-Bulletin newspaper on the latest BPL status. The published article indicates problems were evident in testing and the equipment and technical support from Main.net Powerline Communications was not wholly satisfactory. RPU and Hiawatha Communications intend to test new equipment next year supplied by Current Technologies of Germantown, MD.

In an unusual move, the FCC now requires Electric Broadband LLC (EB), which is running a BPL field trial in Cottonwood, Arizona, to maintain contact with a local Amateur Radio club. The Commission granted EB a Part 5 Experimental license for the BPL pilot on November 19. Under a "Special Conditions" section in the experimental license, the FCC stipulated that the licensee "must establish and maintain a liaison relationship with the Verde Valley Amateur Radio Association." The Commission also required EB to respond to interference complaints "in a timely manner."

In a recent interview, California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) member Susan P. Kennedy contended that it's "criminal that California does not have a major BPL pilot project or commercial project under way." Kennedy said she intends to see the CPUC do everything possible to change that. Suggesting she'd like to pave the way for BPL at the state level in much the same way that the FCC has done at the federal level, she would be surprised if California could not get "something substantial" under way in the BPL area by the middle of next year.

ISP provider EarthLink questioned the viabiliy of BPL, indicating to the FCC that broadband over power line (BPL) cannot compete with the dominant cable or DSL technology today or in the near future. An EarthLink analysis indicated that BPL is the most expensive of the broadband technologies it evaluated.

The Wireless Institute of Australia (WIA) has asked that country's telecommunications regulator to address radio users' concerns about Broadband over Poweline (BPL) trials. The WIA suggested bringing all BPL trials under the control of the Australian Radiocommunications Act and requiring experimental licenses with appropriate conditions.

The Radio Society of Great Britain, indicating the public at large is not well informed about ham radio or of its long record in public service, is hiring a professional Public Relations agent. The job is to advise the Board on tactics that will highlight the importance of protecting the High Frequency bands and at the same time present the wider case for preserving the H-F spectrum from interference.

One of preparations noted for fighting any BPL interference is to have a baseline of noise levels before BPL (or any other interference source). Some test procedures to establish background noise levels in advance were developed by W1RFI at the ARRL Lab. Look for the documents at:

Quantitative measurements should be done over different times of day year. Information should include spectrum occupancy; maximum, minimum and typical signal levels; the levels of discrete noise sources and the level of the indeterminate noise in the quiet part of the band.