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Owatonna Steele County Amateur Radio 13-Apr-2017

OSCAR News - March, 26

OSCAR Meeting
The next regular OSCAR meeting is 11-Mar: 9: AM (local time) at Hardees in Owatonna.

Technician Class
OSCAR is sponsoring an instructional class for the Technician Class operator license. Classes begin 09-Mar on Thursday nights. At this writing, over 15 people have registered. Updated information will be posted on the OSCAR Class page. Don't forget to look at the opportunity to study for the General class now running in Waseca.

Steele County and Waseca County are planning SKYWARN classes in March. Details are included on the OSCAR home page. Information will be updated as it becomes available. Dates for other classes in the region are posted on the OSCAR Calendar page as they become known.

Emergency Responder Population
Tom N0UW attended a Citizen Corp seminar this month. Citizen Corp is the basis for volunteer groups such as CERT and Medical Reserve Corp. Several speakers indicated how easy it is to overload the available resources of first responders. The need for citizen voluteer groups was enforced by the statistic of number of first responders in the generla population, as a percentage. Take a guess - answer below.

CERT Training
The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) scheduled the next training session for new volunteers. Training will take place on two consecutive Saturdays, 22-Apr and 29-Apr. Contact Shirley Woodfill through the Owatonna Fire Department 507-444-2454 if you are interested.

Ellendale EOC
Dale WBPKG, Matt KAPQW, Kris KCREO, and Tom NUW set up an amateur station at the Ellendale EOC. The station was put together using surplus equipment and donations from KAKEL and KCREO. Pictures

Dave KCUVY is heading up the Steele County SKYWARN program. The program is in a rebuilding stage with one goal on building up communications using amateur radio. Mike Johnson is working on funding to install an amateur station at the Owatonna Fire Station for use by SKYWARN and other emergency activities. Communications help is needed to/from the EOC to spotters and the surrounding counties, as well as other activities. For example, Dave KCUVY, Deuel NSL, and Tom NUW are surveying the 7 flood gages in Steele County on a weekly basis. Contact Dave at dave.purscell@itnav.com to offer your interest and help.

Field Day
ARRL Field Day 2006 will be Saturday and Sunday, June 24-25. Kris KCREO agreed to chair the event for OSCAR. Tentative plans are to return to the Crane Creek site with the use of the Steele County EMCOMM trailer.

Western Union Telegrams SK From CGC Communicator
Western Union announced on 27-Jan that it is discontinuing all Telegram and Commercial Messaging services. According to one report, this ends 145 years of the telegram business for Western Union.

Morse Code Elimination From AR Newsline
The Notice of Proposed Rule Making and Order was issued last July to eliminate 5 WPM Morse code requirement for all license classes. More than 3800 comments were submitted. An staffer told the ARRL last week that the agency hopes to release its decision on WT Docket 05-235 sometime this year.

Personalized Post Stamps From Multiple Sources
The U.S. Postal Service has been authorized to test advertising images on postage stamps. You can advertise ham radio now by using personalized USPS stamps is to feature your amateur radio involvement. Use them in your paper correspondence or mailing your QSL cards. Personalized USPS stamps (at a premium, of course) are available at:

DIY Plating From ARRL Contest Rate Sheet
Caswell Plating has a product called "Plug-N-Plate" for DIY plating of brass and silver. You can get a kit that includes a wall transformer, plating solution.

IPOD Color Generator From CGC Communicator
Instructions are available for using an IPOD as a color bar generator. The result is not high quality, but is adequate for cursory checks on TV monitors.

RF Noise Identification From Multiple Sources
Trying to identify some QRN? RF Noise Identification is a resource of audio samples (MP3 files) you can use to compare to your QRN. Confirm a 60 Hz based source with your oscilloscope. Trigger the scope using the LINE position. If the trace for the offending noise pattern locks onto the screen, the noise is probably based on something in the power line.

NIMS/ICS Training Essential From ARES E-Letter
Anyone helping in emergency response has heard of National Incident Management System (NIMS). The Department of Homeland Security is requiring all first responders, including volunteers, to complete NIMS training by 2007. On-line training for NIMS was included in the February OSCAR Newsletter. Readers can take the course on line or download the material and do it at their own pace. After passing final exam on line, the student will get notification by e-mail or regular mail.

Certification and Continuing Education Courses
Don't forget the ARRL Certification and Continuing Education course registration are still available, but the tuition reimbursement program is no longer available. Willis KAKEL is a graduate of EC-001 and EC-002. Tom NUW lags behind with only EC-001. To learn more, visit the CCE Course Listing page.

10-Codes Again From AR Newsline
A couple of months ago we reported the Department of Homeland Security wanted to abolish 10-codes. The following month we reported the DHS retreated from that position. This month we reprot the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials International (APCO) has released a statement that renews its assertion that plain speech communications over public safety radio systems is preferred over the traditional 10-Codes and other dispatch signals used by a majority of law enforcement agencies across the country.

ITU Amateurs In Disasters From ARRL Letter
A revised International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Telecommunication Development Sector (ITU-D) Recommendation is now in force to promote "effective utilization of the amateur services in disaster mitigation and relief operations." The revised Recommendation takes into account changes adopted at World Radiocommunication Conference 2003 (WRC-03) to Article 25 of the international Radio Regulations. One change provides that Amateur Radio stations may be used to transmit international communications on behalf of third parties in case of emergencies or for disaster relief. Another encourages administrations "to take the necessary steps to allow amateur stations to prepare for and meet communication needs in support of disaster relief." The FCC recently adopted changes to its Part 97 Amateur Service rules to reflect these and other WRC-03 actions.

Emergency Responder Population
The statistic mentioned was that first responders (police, fire, ambulance, etc.) make up 1% of the population.

Analog TV From Radio World Online
Updating an earlier story, President Bush signed the budget reconciliation bill that sets Feb. 17, 2009 as the day analog television broadcast signals go away forever. The bill also allocates up to $1.5 billion to subsidize the digital-to-analog converters for existing analog sets out of landfills. One missing provision, however, allows cable operators to convert over-the-air HDTV signals to standard definition. Apparently, the intent is to not allow degrading the quality of the HDTV. It will be interesting to see how the cable industry handles this.

RadioShack Financials From CGC Communicator
RadioShack Corp. said fourth-quarter earnings fell 62% on a large inventory write-down and weak sales. The company announced plans to close as many as 700 stores.

On The BPL Front From Multiple Sources
The ARRL continues to attack the FCC-mandated BPL Interference Resolution web site. The ARRL has called on the FCC to order database manager United Telecomm Council (UTC) to fix it immediately or appoint "a competent database manager" to repair the problems.

IdaComm, a telecommunications subsidiary of Boise, Idaho based electric supplier IdaCorp Inc., is abandoning BPL. Also in Idaho, Avista Utilities announced it is re-evaluating its plans to deploy a BPL project in North Idaho. The articles for both of these events mentioned using BPL as a method to monitor the power grid.

The Houston Chronicle reports that CenterPoint Energy' says that it is not likely to offer BPL to consumers as a means to surf the Web.

New York's Long Island Power Authority outlined a plan to choose who'll get to try their hand at offering broadband and wireless Internet services through the area's electric lines. The test later this year will provide broadband and wireless telecommunications for 105 residential and commercial customers in the towns of Hauppauge and Commack.