The OSCAR Calendar has a partial list of upcoming SKYWARN classes. Check out a more detailed list at NOAA
NIST Morse Code Experiments
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is experimenting to help improve the communications capabilities of first responders. To simulate disaster environments, NIST is using real-world “laboratories” — buildings that are scheduled to be imploded as part of construction and recycling projects. Among its tasks, NIST is investigating new tools to improve communications, such as methods for detecting very weak radio signals and the use of improvised “antennas” made of metal found in debris to boost signals.
The researchers will be using a variety of techniques, for example, using software that turns sounds into visual images. First responders may be able to receive and see simple patterns—like Morse code—from a survivor repeatedly turning a radio or phone on and off, in cases where the signal was too weak to receive audible voice messages.
Minnesota QSO Party
From Minnesota Wireless Association
For more information and MN QSO Party software:
http://www.w0aa.org. Logs due Mar 15 to WA0MHJ@arrl.net or MNQP, 4745-170th Lane NE, Ham Lake, MN 55304-5233.
- Operating Time: 1400 - 2359Z Feb 5.
- Frequencies (MHz):
- CW-- 1.810,3.550, 7.050, 14.050, 21.050, 28.050
- SSB--1.870, 3.890, 7.230, 14.290, 21.390, 28.420
- Categories: QRP, SOLP, SOHP, VHF, MN Mobile/Portable and MN MS
- Exchange: Name and MN county or S/P/C
- QSO Points: SSB--1 pt, CW--2 pts
- Score: QSO points x MN counties (87 max, MN stns add States and Provinces), each counted only once
The FCC fined the operator of cable television systems in Georgia for willful and repeated violation of cable television signal leakage. FCC engineers found the cable systems
experienced signal leaks at 38 locations on frequency 121.2625 MHz.
The cable company argued the leakage problems, for the most part, were attributable to customers premises equipment and inside wiring. Possibly setting a new legal precedent,the FCC
says the CATV operator is charged with the responsibility of monitoring and correcting signal leaks regardless of their cause. This includes signal leakage attributable to customers
premises equipment and inside wiring.
MN Repeater List
The Minnesota Repeater Council has updated the list of current (as of 11-13-04) repeaters located in Minnesota. Lots of other interesting stuff is on the
MRC Web Page.
Digital Camera Sales
Digital camera sales worldwide will reach $24 billion by the end 2004 and rise 29 percent to reach $31 billion in 2009. According to a study by market research firm InfoTrends/CAP Ventures. The top three regions for digital camera sales in the world in 2004 are Europe, the United States and Japan. The study also said that sensor resolution, represented in megapixels, remains the top specification relied on by consumers when choosing which camera to buy.
Alpha/Power Ownership Change
From ARRL Letter
Alpha Radio Products announced it will take over production and support of the Alpha/Power line of linear amplifiers and related products from Crosslink. CrossLink acquired the linear amplifier manufacturer in late 2000. For more information, visit
Alpha Radio Products
FCC Chairman Announces Resignation
From ARRL Letter
FCC Chairman Michael K. Powell announced that he'll step down, effective "sometime in March."
From Multiple Sources
A group of electronics information was added to the OSCAR Ham Radio
Information page. Make a suggestion or submission to enhance this information as a reference resource. A couple of other resources for learning more about electronics and radio:
Shunt Feed Tower
Kris KCŘREO has been looking to load up his tower. He offers this information to help those that might beinterested in doing something similar.
Fort Wayne RC
National Engineer Week
National Engineers Week takes place from February 20th to the 26th. The week is dedicated to raising public awareness of engineers' positive contributions to quality of life. Through National Engineers Week organizers hope to promote recognition among parents, teachers and students of the importance of a technical education. Also to motivates young people to pursue engineering careers in order to provide a diverse and vigorous engineering workforce.
Public Service Announcements
From ARRL Letter
The ARRL released a 60 second PSA that was later converted to a 30 second PSA for the Rush LinbaughShow. You can hear both versions:
Comodore Computers Live
The Commodore name was very well known in the United States at the very dawning of the home computer revolution in the 1980's. Its Vic 20 and C-64 were the low cost rivals to the Apple 2 E. Tulip Computers, based in the Netherlands, has agreed to sell its Commodore International subsidiary to Yeahronimo Media Ventures. According to a press release, Tulip Computers will remain active in the production of Commodore products. Just what the two companies will do with the Commodore brand name is at this time, unclear.
The last U-S based magnetic tape manufacturer, Quantegy, shut down its Alabama operations without notice. Quantegy roots date to the end of World War II, when Gen. Dwight Eisenhower assigned an officer to develop an American magnetic tape factory. The company later became part of recording equipment giant Ampex. In 1995, Ampex Recording Media was sold off and became Quantegy.
On The BPL Front
From Multiple Sources
The Rochester ARC has a link to a RPU news release from 10-Dec-2004. The release provides an updated BPL testing schedule, extending Phase 1 of the trial into 2005.
The FCC has made public more than 650 pages of technical presentations, correspondence and filings that it says it used in making its decision on the BPL Report and Order in ET Docket 04-37, adopted but not effective. The documentation includes presentations and graphs resulting from field tests of BPL trials in Pennsylvania, Maryland, New York and North Carolina. Approximately 150 pages of the documentation consisted of technical material and presentations by FCC staffers. The remaining 500-plus pages include correspondence, technical reports and interference complaints from radio amateurs to the FCC.
Michael Copps, the one FCC commissioner who opposed B-P-L, believes the organization has made a major mistake. Copps says that the FCC is going to have to work hard to monitor, investigate and take quick action over any power-line internet interference to radio amateurs and others.
Electric Broadband LLC reportedly has dropped out of the Cottonwood, Arizona, BPL field trial, and project oversight has shifted to Mountain Telecommunications Inc (MTI), which had been handling system operations for EB. The Verde Valley Amateur Radio Association (VVARA) asked
the FCC to hold up the swap and instead dismiss the pilot project's license "with prejudice," alleging the operator had "failed to live up to the terms of the instrument." The Cottonwood Experimental license stipulates that the licensee "must establish and maintain a liaison relationship with the Verde Valley Amateur Radio Association" and respond to interference complaints "in a timely manner."
The Borough of Chambersburg, PA decided against plans to offer BPL services. The Cumberland Valley Amateur Radio Club (CVARC) spearheaded ham radio opposition through an informational campaign.
The European Union amended its 1989 Electromagnetic Compatibility or EMC Directive. Its new Directive includes protection against electromagnetic disturbance for both radio broadcast reception and the amateur radio service. This is an important first step in the battle against BPL emission pollution in the radio spectrum.
The International Amateur Radio Union Region 1 EUROCOM Working Group gained a much broader definition of Electromagnetic Disturbance. The Working Group stressed the role of amateur radio
including its safety and emergency communications and the human right to have access information including that provided through radio broadcasts. The BPL lobby has been trying to have European, and other regulators, let them off the hook by trying to categorise amateur radio and some other radio services as being "less important" and not that worthy of being
protected against harmful interference generated by BPL systems.
New Scientist points to the British Broadcasting Company which is reportedly developing a B-P-L modem that makes use of the fact that the short-wave frequencies for broadcast radio change throughout the day, as ionospheric conditions dictate. The B-B-C modem reportedly will detect
which frequency bands are in use and filters them out.