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Owatonna Steele County Amateur Radio 13-Apr-2017

OSCAR News - January, 27
OSCAR Elections
The December OSCAR meeting produced another hotly contested election process. The elections followed a period of intense debates, wild reform promises, and several ballot recounts. OSCAR officers for 2007 are:

  • President - Dale WBPKG
  • Secretary - Tom NUW
  • Treasurer - Charlie KHNY

Along with election of new officers, annual memberships are also up for renewal, at the inflation fighting cost of $10/year. See any of the officers.

Special Event Station
Charley KCWMD drives through Owatonna on a regular basis from Ottumwa, Iowa. The OAC is sponsoring special event station KB through 05-Jan. The station celebrates the opening and dedication of new the Bridgeview Convention Center. Freq. info: (all +/- QRM and propagation):
LSB CW: 1.815, 3.545, 7.045, 10.125, 14.045, 18.085, 21.045, 24.905, 28.045
PSK: 14.070, 21.070, 28.120
SSB: 3.860, 7.260, 14.260, 21.360

Straight Key Night From ARRL Letter
Straight Key Night (SKN) starts at 0000 UTC 01-Jan and continuing for the next 24 hours. CW enthusiasts -- veterans or novices -- are encouraged to dust off their straight keys and enjoy socializing and "rag chewing" on the air. SKN is not a contest, but entries can be filed by e-mail (straightkey@arrl.org) or snail-mail (SKN, ARRL, 225 Main St, Newington, CT 06111).

Repeater News
Dale WBPKG and Tom NUW visited the repeater on Saturday, 30-Dec. The agenda included eliminating the "gator", deleting the PL tone on power-up, and checking on the noise bringing the repeater up. The available options in the repeater controller limited the solution we were able to pursue. The end result of the visit is:

  • The gator was eliminated at the expense of having the repeater ID more often. The repeater will not drop out unless there is a continuous input signal for 10 minutes. When the repeater times out, the output will drop for 5 seconds and then turn back on. The repeater will ID when the output comes back on.
  • The time out timer resets as soon as the input signal disappears. If there is a series of transmissions during the hang time, the repeater will only ID every 10 minutes.
  • The hang time was increased from 4 seconds to 7 seconds. If the repeater drops after the hang time expires, the repeater will ID at the beginning of the next transmission.
  • We tried to eliminate the PL requirement when the repeater powers up. If the PL does get turned on, it is set for 100 Hz. Sorry, folks.
  • Dale tuned up the receiver sensitivity. With this added gain on the front end, we kicked the squelch sensitivity up a bit. Early returns indicate the repeater has gained a lot of receive capability.
  • The repeater had a 2-meter pass band filter installed between the antenna and duplexers. It was removed during a previous visit, thinking it may have added some unwanted attenuation. Dale WBPKG checked the filter out and found it to be good. During this visit, we installed the band pass filter on the input of the repeater. We are hoping this may take out some out-of-band signals.

Various types of apparel are available form Court Sports with the Steele County SKYWARN logo. The articles are generally bright orange for visibility and include hats, shirts, and reflective jackets/vests. Place your order directly with Court Sports.

License Classes
Rumor has it the Viking ARC will sponsor a Technician Class soon, maybe February. OSCAR is also planning on sponsoring a class this spring. We are trying to coordinate amateur radio classes and SKYWARN classes. Keep an eye on the OSCAR web site for more information.

Morse Code Dropped From Multiple Sources
The FCC annouced that Morse Code will no longer be a requirement for access to the HF bands on 15-Dec. The R&O becomes effective 30 days after being published in the Federal Register, which will probably happen in January.

Band Chart
The ARRL has an updated band chart reflecting the recent changes. It is available at ARRL.

CHU Changes From ARRL Letter
The recent international changes to the 40-meter band could result in the Canadian time-standard station (CHU) to go silent. The ITU reallocated the 7300-7350 KHz band from "fixed service" to "broadcasting". CHU operates as a "fixed service" at 7.335 MHz, meaning changes must be made by 01-Apr-2007.

Canadian Privelages In US From AR Newsline
Since Industry Canada removed the Morse Code requirement for the HF bands, there has been confusion on the privelages of Canadian BasicPlus hams in other countries. The FCC indicates the visiting BasicPlus has the same privileges as a US Extra Class, but nothing greater.

National Public Service Radio System From PC World
The FCC is proposing building a nationwide public safety network to be built based on advanced IP (Internet Protocol) broadband technologies. The FCC wants to take advantage of IP-based wireless systems designed for interoperability. The network would be built through a public-private partnership to develop a 24 MHz wide network in the 700MHz band. The spectrum would be assigned to one national licensee offering public-safety agencies voluntary access to a broadband service for a fee.

New International Radio Ownership From AR Newsline
International Radio is a supplier of filter upgrades. Trey Garlough (N5KO) and Mark Oberman (AG9A) take over from George Cutsogeorge (W2VJN) on 01-Jan. The company will be closed from 15-Dec through 01-Jan for the transition.

Ionosphere Changes From ARRL Contest Rate Sheet
Indian scientists report in The Telegraph that the ionosphere seems to be cooling with its height gradually being reduced, as well. This could be affecting propagation - a cooler ionosphere is also a denser ionosphere. Perhaps this has something to do with the surprising sporadic-E propagation on 6 meters!

New "Deflection" Transistor From AR Newsline
The University of Rochester developed a new transistor that should produce far less heat and run far faster than standard transistors. The new device has a unique method of controlling electron flow. Using a roadway intersection as an analogy, electrons from the "south" pass through an electrical field. When the electron reaches the middle of the intersection, it is deflected east or west. If the electron travels east, it is counted as a "0". It is counted as a "1" if it travels west. The new technology is expected to be fast and efficient because it does not start and stop the flow of its electrons.

Fake IC-V8 HTs From AR Newsline
Beware when you are planning to buy a new radio from an auction site. ICOM is reporting counterfeit IC-V8 transceivers and accessories on the market.

Repeater Listings From AR Newsline
www.usrepeaters.com can assist finding active repeater systems.

GeneSat-1 From AR Newsline
The newest Amateur Radio satellite, GeneSat-1, was launched 16-Dec. Although the primary mission of the satellite is for biology technology demonstrations, there is a FM beacon operating at 437.067 MHz. Beacon reports can be submitted to

On The BPL Front From Multiple Sources
Interference resulting from a BPL trial of BPL in Australia continues to be experienced by at least two radio operators. A former BPL Project Team Manager for the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) reports interference on five amateur bands, 27MHz CB band and the adjacent Industrial, Scientific and Medical (ISM) band. In addition to the HF bands, he found that the BPL emissions create a potential for severe interference to medical alert alarm devices, some remote control devices such as door openers, cordless telephones and radio controlled model aircraft. (AR Newsline)

The FCC dimissed the interference complaints of five Manassas, Virginia, radio amateurs. FCC engineers took measurements at several locations in Manassas on October 25 and 26, indicating the city's BPL system complies with FCC Part 15 rules.

A British chip manufacturer (SiConnect) announced a BPL system that operates across the entire HF spectrum without significant interference to other users. The device is described as being about the size of UK power plug with an RJ-45 connector on one side. SiConnect says that its chip does not emit sufficient RF by using a micro power level and using a built-in repeater mode.(AR Newsline)