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Owatonna Steele County Amateur Radio 13-Apr-2017

OSCAR News - October, 26

OSCAR Meeting
The next regular OSCAR meeting is 14-Oct: 9: AM (local time) at Hardees in Owatonna.

Emergency Operations Plan
In the event of a local emergency, the primary method of communications will be through the Owatonna repeater (145.490). The repeater normally operates without PL control. When under tone control, a 100.0 Hz PL is used. If the repeater cannot be accessed, operations will continue using 145.490 simplex. When operating in simplex mode, distant stations may need to have messages relayed to the Net Control Station (NCS).

Depending on the emergency and local conditions, operations may move to the Meridan repeater (147.105), which does utilize a 100.0 Hz PL. We thank Dave WBVAK for allowing use of his repeater.

Remember the sequence of communications:
1. 145.490 (-600 KHz, no PL)
2. 145.490 Simplex
3. 147.105 (+600 KHZ, 100.0 HZ PL)

Ellendale Drill
A disaster drill was held in Ellendale on Saturday, 16-Sep. This drill involved many agencies in Steele County and tested the communication links between Ellendale and Owatonna. The table top drill simulated a tornado going through Ellendale. Thanks to Dave KCUVY, Dale WBPKG, and Willis KAKEL for participating in the drill and evaluation.

Ellendale EOC
Relating to the drill, Dale WBPKG, Jeff KCUOW, and Tom NUW reconnected the coax for the Amateur Radio antenna at the Ellendale EOC. The original coax run got tangled up in a lawn mower, and the lawn mower won. Roger Swearingen mounted a conduit run for the coax to prevent that from happening again.

Emergency Communications Class From Albert Lea ARC
The Albert Lea club will be holding a training class on emergency communications basics on October 28 from 8 AM until 1 PM. This class will be taught by the AERO group in the Twin Cities. AERO is the Association of Emergency Radio Organizations and coordinates response by amateurs in the urban area. Class participants will receive AERO certification by completing the class, which includes a hands-on exercise that is very effective in teaching good technique in tactical communications. Tom NUW participated in the class at Austin last year. It was surprising what developed in the hands-on exercise.

NOAA Radios for Public Schools From Multiple Sources
In a cooperative effort, the Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. Department of Education, and the Department of Commerce/National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) are sending NOAA radios to every public school in the country. The schools will receive one of 5 different model NOAA radios. A brochure included with the radios lists the Citizen Corp as a resource to help install the radios. As a National Citizen Corp Affiliate, the ARRL and local radio clubs were listed as resources.

Red Cross Disaster Assessment From Rochester ARC
The Red Cross Introduction to Disaster Services Training focuses on concepts, procedures, tools and resources that are vital to Disaster Assessment. Topics range from techniques for assessing damage to the paperwork that companions it. This is a nice opportunity to enhance your skills.

Red Cross Volunteer Background Checks From ARES E-Letter
The American Red Cross established a policy mandating that all volunteers undergo a criminal background check. The check is completed by a contractor and the results of the background check are not shared with the Red Cross. The only information provided is that a person has successfully completed the background check with no adverse information or that a person has potentially adverse information and that additional research is required. When additional research is required the contracted company will notify the prospective volunteer and will address the issue with no Red Cross intervention. Any questions regarding this program can be directed to the Red Cross.

Wireless Emergency Alert System From Multiple Sources
As part of a larger comprehensive port security bill being debated, the Senate adopted a new wireless emergency alert system. The Warning, Alert, and Response Network (WARN)will be a national system for the transmission of public safety alerts to a broad variety of communications technologies including cellular phones, internet, etc.

Digital Emergency Alert Network From Amateur Radio Newsline
A new statewide digital emergency alert network was recently tested successfully in Mississippi. Described a single-to-multipoint messaging system, it is designed to provide redundant distribution of emergency alert messages in cases where responders radios and cell phones get clogged with traffic or become useless. The system uses a commercial FM receiver chip that can be inserted into pagers, smoke detectors, cell phones, PDAs and other devices.

Telephone Networks From eWeek
The telephone network is built to have a call success rate of 99 percent on the busiest hour of the busiest day of the year. During national emergencies that success rate can drop as low as 10 percent. The race is on to prepare for the next big emergency, and it's not clear wireless companies can get it together. According to industry experts, there are three things necessary to allow people to communicate during an emergency: Keeping existing capacity running, adding capacity where possible and prioritizing communications steps such as hardening cell sites or placing critical equipment out of harm's way.

As strange as it may seem, one of the biggest challenges to preparedness for the wireless carriers is communications. But in this case, it's communications with government entities; first responders; nongovernmental organizations (e.g., Red Cross or Salvation Army); their customers; and one another. Each of the wireless companies tells stories of employees being prevented from restoring service because word never reached the people enforcing access or curfews.

Resetting Phones From Multiple Sources
Selling your old phone once you upgrade to a fancier model can be like handing over your diaries. All sorts of sensitive information pile up inside our cell phones, and deleting it may be more difficult than you think. Resetting the phone, often means sensitive information appears to have been erased. Flash memory is slow to erase and make information impossible to recover. Manufacturers use methods that erase data less completely but don't make a phone seem sluggish. Information can be resurrected using specialized yet inexpensive software found on the Internet. Phone manufacturers usually provide instructions for safely deleting a customer's information, but it's not always convenient or easy to find.

RF Environmental Evaluation From Amateur Radio Newsline
The FCC directed Ohio area to ham file an RF environmental evaluation with the agency. A neighbor sent the FCC photographs showing that a vertical antenna only a few feet from the complainant's window. The ham was given the usual amount of time to respond.

Start of Cycle 24? From ARRL Letter
Two so-called "backward sunspots" may mean solar Cycle 23 is drawing to a close and Cycle 24 now is under way or soon will be. Referring to sunspots' magnetic polarity, a "backward sunspot" appeared briefly July 31, then disappeared. Another backward spot appeared in late August. Increasing sunspot activity, of course, means radio conditions will improve over a period of several years of the course of the 11-year cycle, perhaps peaking around 2010.

Mast Load Calculator From ARRL Contest Rate Sheet
Without an engineering background, figuring out the wind load on a mast can be difficult, at best. To simplify the job, a handy mast-load calculator can be found at www.math.niu.edu.

SuitSat-1 From ARRL Letter
SuitSat-1 (AO-54) re-entered and burned up in Earth's atmosphere at 1600 UTC on 07-Sep.

ARRL Om-Line Auction From ARRL Letter
The On-Line Auction site will open for a "preview" starting Monday, 16-Oct. The auction will run from Monday, 23-Oct until Friday, 03-Nov. The auction will be open to all with proceeds supporting the ARRL educational services and programs.

500 KC Experiment From ARRL Letter
The FCC granted an experimental license to the ARRL on behalf of a group of radio amateurs interested in investigating spectrum in the vicinity of 500 kHz. Operation is authorized for two years between 505 and 510 kHz at power levels of up to 20W effective radiated power. More information is available at From AR Newsline
A one-way contact was completed by two French radio amateurs over a distance of 40 km scattering laser signals from rain clouds. The flash pulses were at times 12 dB above the noise at 40 km, suggesting a distance of 150 km could be achieved with the right conditions. Laser communication have been mentioned as a method to increase bandwidth. This would be achieved by putting laser communication systems on top of homes and pointing them towards a common transceiver with a fast link to the Internet.

The Ham Band CD From AR Newsline
The Ham Band is a group of Nashville session musicians living in Denmark. The CD is songs about amateur radio. A booklet which comes with the Seek You CD tells the whole story of contests, dx-peditions, antennas etc. The music video is Andrew G3WZZ at the top of the 100' tower at his contest site. XYL Lissa is at the 66' level standing on an early Step-R tri-bander opening Champaign.

Tower Climbing Video From CGC Communicator
As long as we are looking at tower video, a soft drink commercial features tower climbers taking a break. It can be seen at www.pockethercules.com.

Unlicensed Operations Coming To TV Bands From CGC Communicator
The FCC's Office of Engineering and Technology projected a schedule for bringing unlicensed operations into the TV broadcast bands, on channels that are unused at any given location. The aim is to permit transmitters "available for sale at retail" by February 2009.

On The BPL Front From Multiple Sources
The Japan Amateur Radio League (JARL) approved in-home Local Area Networking as well as some amount of "home to power-pole" interconnects that use Broadband over Powerline. From the power pole, the actual path to and from the Internet Service Provider would be some other form of broadband such as Wi-Fi, coaxial cable or fiber optic cable. (ARNewsline)

A San Diego company says it has found a way to send high-speed broadband and TV programming through the gas pipes. Nethercomm predicts its "Broadband In Gas" (BIG) technology could aggressively compete with cable and phone companies while reaching 62% of the nation's households. Field trials will begin next year.(CGC)

The FCC unanimously adopted a Memorandum Opinion and Order (MO&O) in response to 15 petitions for reconsideration of the Commission's BPL rules. The MO&O denied most requests that the FCC reconsider portions of its October 2004 Order adopting rules to govern BPL systems. Several petitionscalled on the Commission to strengthen rules aimed at protecting licensed radio systems from BPL interference. Instead, in a new rule revealed when the FCC made the MO&O public, the FCC drew a line in the sand regarding how much interference protection mobile operators deserve from BPL systems. The MO&O also:

  • Denied a request that the Commission reconsider tightening the 40 dB per decade extrapolation factor employed for taking emission measurements.
  • Turned down requests by licensed users, including Amateur Radio operators, to exclude the use certain frequencies for BPL operations.
  • Denied a BPL industry request to extend the effective date to meet equipment certification requirements, but it did give BPL systems another year to continue installing or replacing equipment that otherwise meets the Part 15 rules in present coverage areas.
  • Denied the BPL industry's request to drop the 30-day advance notification requirement for the public BPL database. The advance notification rule is aimed at alerting licensed spectrum to new BPL deployments in their areas before operations begin.