The next regualar OSCAR meeting is 09-Apr: 09:00 AM at Hardees in Owatonna.
OSCAR is sponsoring a class for those interested in obtaining the entry level (no code),
Technician Class operating license. Classes will be on eight consecutive Thursday nights beginning 07-Apr. Click on the Technician Class button on the OSCAR Home Page.
Estimated coverage of KAØKEL/R is now part of the web page. Click on the
Repeater Coverage link on the Home Page.
OSCAR Emergency Services
OSCAR and Steele County Emergency Management are exploring how the Amateur Radio community can assist during emergencies. Discussions are being coordinated through Steele County CAER. CAER brings all of the emergency service organizations together. Anyone interested in assisting with communication emergencies should send an e-mail to OSCAR.
Emergency Communication Course
From ARRL Section News
While we're on the subject, don't forget to sign up for Emcom courses before the current subsidy runs out in October 2005. Tom NØUW and Willis KAØKEL are graduates of the Level I course. The Level I course takes about 20 hours to complete and is an excellent primer for preparation and execution of emergency communications.
Austin ARC Communications Trailer
From Austin ARC
The ARCCOM committee is building a communications trailer that will be available to the upper Midwest Region to support Red Cross efforts. Trailer photos on the Mower County Red Cross website show the communications trailer development.
Severe Weather Awareness Week
From Various Sources
Severe Weather Awareness Week is April 18-22, 2005, with the statewide Tornado Drill on April 21 at 1:45! Don't forget to take advantage of some spotter training, too! The OSCAR Calendar includes known dates of SKYWARN classes in the area. Some additional resources for learning about severe weather are:
MS Bicycle Tours
From ARRL Section News
Amateur radio operators are needed to help support bicycle tours to benefit the National Multiple Sclerosis Society - Minnesota Chapter. We are seeking riders and volunteers in all capacities to support the following three events. Amateur radio operators are needed to help in the coordination between rest stops, first aid stations and support vehicles. For further event details, visit the MS Society website at MS Society.
New FCC Chairman
From PC World
Kevin Martin is being appointed the new chairman of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Martin has been a member of the FCC since 2001, leaving a new opening at the FCC. New members of the FCC must be confirmed by the Senate, but Martin's appointment to chairman does not require Senate confirmation.
No Code Update
The FCC continues to develop a Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) with respect to possible changes in the current Morse code requirement and Amateur Radio licensing. A total of 18 petitions have been filed, and the FCC plans to tackle all 18 in a single proceeding. The FCC appears unlikely to release an NPRM any sooner than mid-year. An FCC Report and Order
implementing any new rules is unlikely before the second half of 2006.
Over-The-Air TV Report
The FCC has issued a report on the current status of over-the-air (OTA) broadcast television viewing in the U.S., and a range of potential options for assisting those OTA viewers when analog service is terminated. The report provides analysis on several aspects of the
Read the report at:
- The possibility "fade to black", phasing out analog in a particular market over time, instead of cutting it off all at once.
- Cost of digital-to-analog converter boxes for OTA viewers and the probability of a significant drop in price for this equipment as the transition progresses.
- Reasons why OTA viewers do not subscribe to a multi-channel video provider (MVPD) like cable TV or satellite. One survey found that 30% of OTA viewers cited "lack of funds" as the reason for not subscribing to MVPD, while 60% cited "lack of interest in TV."
Canadian Tower Policy
Canada released its Report On: The National Antenna Tower Policy Review. RAC and individual radio amateurs in Canada provided input examining possible improvements to antenna tower siting policies. The report contains 34 recommendations. Only Recommendation 19 states that Industry Canada "should ensure that a flexible and expeditious land-use consultation model is available for the establishment and operation of radio stations (such as amateur stations) likely to have only a modest and localized impact upon their surroundings. This model should set out both the rights and obligations of antenna proponents seeking antenna approvals from land-use authorities."
UK 70cm Band
A series of meetings to discuss the future of the 70-cm band is taking place between the
Radio Society of Great Britain (RGSB) and the United Kingdom Ministry of Defense (MOD). Amateur Radio is designated as the primary user the band, but the MOD imposed a freeze on licensing of 70-cm Amateur Service relay devices (packet radio data nodes and repeaters). The meetings aree viewed as the first move towards lifting of the restrictions.
70cm Band Cancer Treatment
In Australia, a foxhunter tracked down a signal that was triggering his club's UHF repeater. He hears it strongly on his hand-held while passing a building and then enters the premises in search of the signal. After being warmly welcomed, he is shown equipment that he identifies as
a having folded dipole antenna. It was explained that a cancer patient receives an injection of a substance that acts on cancer cells.
The theory is that the UHF radiation blocks sugars reaching the cells to enable the therapy to be effective. A doctor advises that everything is approved for use, and then adds that the radiation is 40 watts on 433 MHz, seems that frequency is considered the best for radio-wave therapy. The device was thought to be a Low Interference Potential Device running milliwatts, but was pumping out 40 watts and interfering with an amateur repeater more than 20 kms away.
A solution is being sought.
Nuclear Radiation Alarm
Police in Escondido, CA initiated an unusual suspicious vehicle stop in the central part of town Tuesday when a nuclear radiation detector associated with a fire engine detected a high
level of radiation being emitted by a motorist who had earlier asked a firefighter where he could buy diesel fuel. Ultimately, authorities verified the man's story: he had just received a radiation treatment, and his physician confirmed that the strength of the radiation dosage would have been strong enough to set off the detector. Read the story at
VOIP 911 Calls
From PC World
About 1 million of the nation's 111 million households subscribe to Internet telephone service today. Telecommunications analysts say that number will swell to 12 million within four years. Texas filed a lawsuit against Vonage, accusing the VoIP provider of failing to warn customers about limits to its 911 emergency dialing service. The allegation is that Vonage does not make clear customers must sign up separately for 911 service. One example cited a Vonage customer's emergency call to 911 connected to a recording saying they would have to dial 911 from a different phone. The customer completed the call to 911 from a neighbor's house.
Hand Free Cell Phones
The vice chairman of the Public Safety Committee for Santa Fe, N.M., Mr. Michael Trujillo, supported and promoted the city's adoption three years ago of a ban on the use of all but hands-free cellphones while driving. Now, he has turned against the law he was instrumental in passing after realizing that a free hand has the potential to increase, not decrease, driver distraction. That extra hand can now do something else like fiddle with a GPS, adjust a radio, or grab a cup of coffee.
According to NewScientist, a kid has cracked the operating system of Apple's iPod music player using an ingenious acoustic trick - sort of like listening to ancient telegraphy clicks - to tease crucial software secrets out of the iPod device. He was then able to install a Linux operating system and create a far more versatile iPod.
Cellphone Morse Code
Nokia has filed a patent for an optical messaging system that can generate Morse Code as well as other characters and decipher the information on the receiving end. Phones using this technology will come with a single, high-power LED than can be used manually to transmit
Morse Code up to 4 meters away. The message would be received and displayed using a special Nokia cameraphone.
Panasonic Oxyride Batteries
From PC World
According to tests by PC World Magazine, new Panasonic Oxyride disposable batteries delivered more than twice the performance of high-end alkalines for the same price. After eight years in development, they finally reached store shelves in Japan last year. Read more at PC World.
Free ARRL Basic Electronics Presentation
The ARRL Education and Technology Program is offering schools and clubs a free CD-ROM presentation on basic electronics. The materials include a PowerPoint presentation and instructor's script. The recommended text is
Understanding Basic Electronics.
The 10 hour course covers the very basics up to Ohm's Law, capacitors, coils, diodes and transistors. The PowerPoint presentation material and Instructor's MS Word script can also be downloaded.
On the BPL Front
From Various Sources
BPL and model aircraft is discussed in the the April,2005 issue of Model Aviation. Written by Dan Williams K2DLW, the articles discusses the possible implications of BPL and the frequencies used by RC modelers.
The Rochester ARC does not have any new information posted on their web site.
More than a dozen petitions for reconsideration have been filed in the wake of the FCC's October 14, 2004, Report and Order (R&O) adopting new Part 15 rules governing broadband over power line (BPL) deployment. All petitions for reconsideration filed in the two BPL-related proceedings--ET Docket 03-104 and ET Docket 04-37--are available for viewing via the FCC's Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS). The various petitions for reconsideration came from BPL industry groups and proponents as well as from the ARRL, other organizations and individuals concerned about BPL's interference potential.
The ARRL asked the Commission for the third time to shut down Ambient's Briarcliff Manor (NY) "non-compliant system without further delay" until Ambient addresses interference complaints. The request is in response to a letter concluding that FCC measurements in response to Amateur Radio complaints of harmful interference showed that no changes were required to the BPL system. Westchester County ARES Emergency Coordinator Alan Crosswell, N2YGK, documented BPL interference, complaints and related information on his "BPL in Briarcliff Manor" Web site www.columbia.edu/~alan/bpl.
The ARRL also requested the FCC immediately shut down an Irving, Texas, BPL pilot project. Jory McIntosh, KJ5RM, regularly commutes through the BPL test zone and documented some two dozen instances of harmful interference from the BPL test stand. He logged serious interference on 40, 20, 17, 15, 10 and 6 meters "so bad that even with full filtering and digital signal processing engaged, I am unable to continue my communications until I am one mile away from the system." The ARRL's test report points out that the interference is not confined to Amateur Radio spectrum but covers a wide swath of HF as well as low-VHF and "various aeronautical, commercial and government spectrum." This installation has recently been reported as being shut down and the equipment removed.
The ARRL filed an Opposition to three petitions for reconsideration. Current, UPLC and Amperion requested elimination of the requirement that BPL providers give 30 days' advance notice of service initiation. The ARRL also took issue with extending the transition period for certification of BPL equipment made, marketed or installed on or after July 7, 2006.