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Owatonna Steele County Amateur Radio 13-Apr-2017

OSCAR News - May, 25

OSCAR Meeting
The next regular OSCAR meeting is 14-May: 09:00 AM at Hardees in Owatonna.

Technician Class
The Technician class started out with a group of 17 participants, including a group from the Albert Lea REACT organization. A wide range of age groups is represented from 10 to (well, we won't tell). We look forward to a successful completion of the course those involved. Most of the OSCAR club members are involved as instructors and support.

VE Exam
To culminate the license class, the Austin ARC has gratiously agreed to support OSCAR in a VE exam session on 26-May. While Willis KAKEL and Tom NUW are VEs, a minimum of three VEs is required. The Austin ARC routinely gives VE exams and will be a great asset to ensure we do it right. Those wanting to take the exam can contact OSCAR to register, although walk-ins will be welcome. Those taking the exam need:

  • Two Forms of identification one of which must be a photo identification
  • Original and one photocopy of your current Amateur Radio License
  • Original and one photocopy of CSCE (Certificate of Successful Completion of Exam)
  • The fee will be $14.00. Accepted as exact change, or check.

Field Day
Looking ahead in the calendar, Field Day is coming up the weekend of 25-Jun thru 26-Jun. Preparations are beginning and will be discussed further at the May OSCAR meeting. Plans are to return to the Crane Creek School site on US-14 West. We have permission to be able to spend the entire night at the site, for a full 24 hours of operation.

OSCAR Emergency Services
Tom NUW continues to work with the Steele County Emergency Services organization to define a role for Amateur Radio. At the present time, it appears the role may be assisting in the weather center communications with other counties and NOAA. More information as it becomes available.

Public Service Opportunities From Albert Lea ARC
In the April newsletter, a request for help for the MS Society was included. In April, there was a lot of activity on the Faribault machine for an Iron Man competition. The Albert Lea ARC has put out a call to assist with a Bike-A-Thon for the American Cancer Society on 07-May. Phone (507-373-4179) or e-mail (herbncarol@charter.net) Herb Neale if you can help.

Amber Alerts From Newsline
Hawaii became the 50th state to complete its statewide Amber Alert plan to aid in the recovery of abducted children. Only four states had statewide Amber Alert plans in place at the end of 2001. The Amber Alert program is credited with helping to save the lives of over 190 children so far.

Propagation Forecasts From ARRL Contest Rate Sheet
In depth propagation forecasts are available at the KN4LF Daily LF/MF/HF Radio Propagation Outlook. It is published every Thursday at 2200Z and covers a full week.

Smart Radios From ARRL Letter
The FCC has released a Report and Order (R&O) on cognitive or "smart radio" systems. The hope is that cognitive radios will allow more-efficient use of the radio spectrum. The Commission declined to adopt any new regulations for Amateur Radio transceivers or for digital-to-analog (D/A) converters "at this time." The ARRL opposed regulating the marketing of high-speed D/A converters as burdensome and unnecessary because the devices don't pose a risk of interference.

Satellite Images From CGC Communicator
Google is offering free maps to the general public, and a mouse click gives you a virtually-exact satellite image of the same area. Just visit http://maps.google.com" with JavaScript enabled. Once at the URL, double click on the location of interest to center the big map on that spot. Then zoom in on the location using the +/- bar. Finally, get a satellite photo of the area by clicking on the word "Satellite" in the upper right corner of the screen. This is a very simple and powerful site and there are many features we have not even begun to discuss.

Bolt Head Markings From ARRL Contest Rate Sheet
You might find this web site helpful for bolt head marking data: www.unified-eng.com

Tracking CubeSats From Newsline
Hams interested in space telemetry reception are invited to participate in a world-wide effort to support student groups that have designed and made CubeSats. These are satellites measuring 10 centimeters cubed and weighing less than 1 kilogram. A website to provide information on these educational CubeSats is crosspaths.net

Minnesota QSO Party From ARRL Contest Rate Sheet
The results of the 2005 Minnesota QSO Party are now available. Also available this year is a log analysis report, available to any entrant who submitted an electronic log.

Wind Turbine Interference From KAAL-TV
Mower County is placing a four-month moratorium on construction of wind energy turbines. The concern is the rotating blades from the turbines will interrupt the signal of a new planned communication system.

Oxyride Batteries From CGC Communicator
Last month we reported about new Panasonic batteries being made available in Japan. The batteries have taken about 10% of the battery market in the year they've been available. In about two months, Panasonic will begin selling its disposable AA and AAA Oxyride batteries in the United States.

Homebrew Projects From ARRL Contest Rate Sheet
Looking for a new homebrew project? Here are a few of the more active sources:

  • Ham Gadgets - the PicoKeyer kit, Universal Keying Adapter, and the ID-O-Matic, plus small parts.
  • M-Cubed Electronics - a very neat automatic semiconductor analyzer kit.
  • Small Wonder Labs - QRP transceivers, PSK-31 rigs, the Freq-Mite frequency counter, and more.
  • KangaUS - receivers by KK7B, instruments and rigs by W7ZOI, TICK keyers, and more radio stuff like DK9SQ fiberglass masts.
  • There's also a new Ramsey Kit catalog.

Try Linux From
Surf on over to Hamshack Hack for a way to try LINUX without replacing your operating system. The Hamshack Hack is a "Live CD". As a "Live CD" system, no installation to your machines hard drive is necessary. The whole package will run off the CD by building a "ram disk" in your machine's memory. As soon as you re-boot your machine, the LINUX system vaporizes and you'll be back with whatever system is installed on your hard drive.This project is directed primarily at Amateur Radio enthusiasts (Hams) who have no prior experience with LINUX. THIS IS EXPERIMENTAL SOFTWARE. YOU USE IT ONLY AT YOUR OWN RISK!

On The BPL Front From Various Sources
The Rochester ARC reports the RPU BPL Communications released a bid "request for proposal". Apparently, RPU is planning a measurement trip to Cincinnati, Ohio in May. RARC was invited by RPU to participate in the BPL measurement trip.

Midwest Wireless announced a new technology version of their high speed internet service called ClearWave, using 2.4 GHz and FHSS (Frequency Hopping Spread Spectrum). New "near-line-of-sight" technology using 5.8 GHZ ODFM (Orthogonal Data Frequency Multiplexing) technology has been deployed throughout Olmsted county. The useable range from a tower site can be up to 10 miles for line-of-sight installations and up to 3 miles for near-line-of-sight operation.

Following the prepared testimony of FCC Chairman Kevin J. Martin before the US House Appropriations Committee April 26, Rep Rodney Alexander of Louisiana raised the topic of broadband over power line (BPL) and how it was hurting the Amateur Radio community. Again acknowledging the concerns of radio amateurs regarding BPL's interference potential, Martin responded that the Commission is aware of the good work that radio amateurs do and that the FCC would attempt to strike a balance with the amateur community with respect to its BPL concerns.

Rep Michael Ross, WD5DVR, of Arkansas, introduced a resolution in the US House of Representatives calling on the FCC to "conduct a full and complete analysis" of radio interference from broadband over power line (BPL). The resolution's prime focus is on BPL's potential to disrupt critical public safety radio communication.

A bill to "encourage the deployment of BPL" by electric utilities could soon be up for a vote by the Texas Senate. The bill establishes a state regulatory framework for electric utilities, municipally owned utilities and electric cooperatives to develop and deploy BPL systems in Texas. It would allow utilities to lease their power lines to other concerns to operate BPL systems.

See (on an IFR 1200S spectral display) and hear the sounds of BPL. The file is several megabytes in size, but the resulting eight minute video is well worthwhile.