Home Page
Owatonna Steele County Amateur Radio 13-Apr-2017

OSCAR News - October, 25

OSCAR Meeting
The next regular OSCAR meeting is 8-Oct: 9: AM (local time) at Hardees in Owatonna.

There is a lot of Amateur Radio news surrounding hurricane Katrina, too much to try and cover in this newsletter. We'll let the professional news services provide the information.

Local News
Fred KCUOX was activated to help in the hurricane aftermath in the south. At last word, he was being deployed to Montgomery, AL.

Dale WBPKG reports getting a postcard from Bill KCUOU. Bill moved to Oregon last month. He indicated he joined the local radio club and sports KE7EUM as a new call sign. Good luck to Bill in his new location.

Matt KAPQW reports he recently upgraded to Extra class. Congratulations on successful completion of a difficult test and the ability to enjoy the enhanced privileges.

Willis KAKEL represented Amateur Radio at a table top exercise on 22-Sep.

HandiHam Summer Radio Camp
Matt KAPQW recently attended the MN HandiHam Summer Radio Camp. One story line in the news related to a lightening strike at the camp. Lightning hit camp on Thursday August 25th right during the evening meal. No one was hurt, but those present jumped pretty high out of their seats when the thunder crashed. The bolt that hit did destroy some computers and a local area network switch.

Matt also reports some of the campers worked Marine mobile HF out on a pontoon boat. Six new Technician licenses were issued as well as Matt's Extra. The General class was not taught. A fox hut went well and most of the campers were able to find both foxes. Matt gave presentations on power line noise tracking.

Waseca License Class Results
The Viking ARC held a Technician licensing class in July. A VE exam session yielded seven new licenses. Congratulations to the new hams and thanks to the Viking ARC for leading the class sessions.

SATERN Training
The Emergency Communications Course by the ARRL has been discussed in the past. For those who want a quick tutorial on Emergency Communications, try reading through the SATERN training material. Some of the material may not be appropriate procedures used on all emergency nets, but it does provide basic knowledge.

Cell Phone Tumors From www.pcworld.com
One of the largest studies in the UK to date suggests that using a mobile phone for ten years does not significantly increase a person's risk of developing a tumor. Acoustic neuromas are of particular interest because they occur close to where mobile phones are held to the head. They are a type of benign tumor that grows in the nerve connecting the ear to the brain. Acoustic neuromas often cause hearing loss and impair balance, but they do not typically spread to other parts of the body. A separate study from Denmark looked at two other types of tumor (glioma and meningioma) found no increased risk of tumor development from cell phone use.

Stripping Coax From ARRL Contest Rate Sheet
Coax connectors go on so much easier if you cut and strip the coax correctly. Some good examples can be found at www.hyperlinktech.com or www.paladin-tools.com. The RF Connection also has a couple of inexpensive models.

No Code Comments From ARNewsline
The deadline to submit comments on the FCC No Code proposal (WT Docket 05-235) is October 31. Reply comments are due November 14th. WT Docket 05-235 is the regulatory agency's proposal to do away with the 5 word per minute Morse code requirement for all classes of Amateur Radio licenses. If you remember reading the September OSCAR newsletter, the proposal appears to require current No-Code Technicians to upgrade to General to gain HF access.

There should be 28 countries not requiring telegraphy testing to access HF ham spectrum. They are: Switzerland, United Kingdom, Belgium, Germany, Norway, Netherlands, Ireland, Singapore, Luxembourg, Papua New Guinea, Finland, Australia, Croatia, Czech Republic, Spain, South Africa, Bulgaria, Poland (limited), Denmark, Hong Kong, Austria, Sweden, Iceland, France, New Zealand, Kenya, Canada and Italy.

CCR Antenna Bill From w5yi
HR 3876 is a one-sentence bill is identical to the text of the CC&R bill that has been introduced in the last two Congresses. It reads: "For purposes of the Federal Communications Commission's regulation relating to station antenna structures in the Amateur Radio Service (47 CFR 97.15), any private land use rules applicable to such structures shall be treated as a state or local regulation and shall be subject to the same requirements and limitations as a state or local regulation." The goal of the bill is to make it easier for radio amateurs impacted by deed covenants, conditions and restrictions (CC&Rs) to erect suitable antennas. The The objective is to put private land-use regulations, such as homeowners' association rules, on the same legal footing as zoning regulations which are covered under the FCC's limited federal preemption, PRB-1.

FEMA Radio System From ARNewsline
A new interoperable FEMA radio system appears to have problems. Two Indianapolis amateur radio operators were tasked with getting the radio system up and running. One Motorola representative seems to be rather unhappy that the hams are on site providing the communications that the professionals can't. Jim Screeden, who runs all of Motorola's repair teams in the field for its emergency-response business, is quoted in the Wall Street Journal as saying -- and we quote: "Something is better than nothing, that's right. But ham radios are pretty close to nothing."

Interoperability Tip From ARES Newsletter
With the breakdown of communications in the Gulf coast response, we should be aware of the viability of Amateur Radio in terms of interoperability. Mobile HF, VHF and UHF radios can be re-programmed on the fly, but the steps can be complex with today's radios. One of the necessary contents of anyone's "grab and go" equipment should be the manuals, or copies of specific pages, for any radio they carry with them. Necessary steps to program and use the radio can be laminated into a credit-card-size copy. Also remember that even if your radio is modified to operate outside the amateur bands, you cannot use the radio to operate in services other than what the radio is certified to operate in.

SuitSat ARRL Letter
An unpiloted Russian Progress cargo ship that docked with the International Space Station (ISS) earlier this month carried two new Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) systems among its 2.5-ton cargo of fuel, food and supplies. Onboard were the SuitSat Amateur Radio hardware and the Slow Scan Television (SSTV) hardware and software. During its limited lifetime, SuitSat will beam down special messages and an SSTV image as it floats in space. SuitSat's radio system will allow hams and students to track the suit and decode special international messages, spacesuit telemetry and a pre-programmed SSTV image through its specially-built digital voice messaging system and Amateur Radio transmitter. SuitSat will have transmit-only capability and will run on the spacesuit's battery power.

On The BPL Front From Various Sources
Questions remain about the imminent BPL trial at San Diego Gas & Electric Company (SDG&E) BPL equipment. Use of the system apparently involves only about 10 SDG&E employees. If so, the test will not be meaningful from an RFI standpoint. Some interference to ham radio from has been reported. Interference seems most prevalent on the WARC bands.

Meanwhile, the California Public Utilities Commission recently proposed rules that would make it easier for public utilities to offer broadband Internet services over power lines.

Down under, Tasmanias Aurora Energy and Mitsubishi this week launched what is being touted as the worlds first full commercial test of 200 Mb/s broadband over powerline (BPL) technology developed by Mitsubishi. The trial was described as an initial commercial test, involving some 500 customers, rather than a technology trial. Assuming the trial is successful, plans are to roll out BPL availability to all 250,000 customers served by Aurora a deployment that could make it the largest such announced BPL deployment in the world to date.