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Owatonna Steele County Amateur Radio 13-Apr-2017

OSCAR News - April, 27
As the newsletter is being put together, Amateur Radio will be a segment on Owatonna Today. The segment is scheduled to be taped 02-Apr. No information is available on when it will be aired.

Dave KCUVY acquired a bunch of radio console sections from the St. Louis Park dispatch center. These will be deployed in the EOC area used by ARES and SKYWARN.

Part of the "package" were some old Public Service repeaters. Dave believes there are two VFH receivers and one UHF repeater and one full height communications rack (empty). If you have any interest, contact Dave at ITNav in Owatonna. All proceeds go to SKYWARN.

Technician Class
The 2007 Technician Class is scheduled to begin Tuesday, 03-Apr. We are following a similar format of 7 weekly classes and closing with a VE session on 22-May. The lead instructors are Dale WBPKG, Kris KCREO, and Tom NUW. The costs are:

  • Instruction class is free.
  • The ARRL Ham Radio License Manual is $24.95, but see pre-registration note.
  • Testing fee for the VE session is $14.
  • There is not an additional fee for the license.

Pre-registration is encouraged using the OSCAR e-mail address.

SKYWARN Meetings
SKYWARN and the Technician Class will collide in April and May. The class will be using the meeting room normally used by SKYWARN. SKYWARN will meet in another area of the fire station.

SKYWARN Training
Hopefully, everyone updated their training this past month. If not, there is a class in Bloomington (10 West 95th St.) on 07-Apr, 8AM to noon. They do a nice job.

An alternative review is to review the material online at the Norman, OK NWS web site.

Just a reminder, Steele County SKYWARN uses the tactical call sign Owatonna SKYWARN on the Owatonna repeater, 145.490.

SKYWARN Workshop Reminder
The 2nd annual Minnesota SKYWARN Workshop is scheduled for 14-Apr. This full-day severe weather conference is designed to train you in spotting techniques, provide information on weather technology, and network with other SKYWARN communities. The Workshop is free, but registration is required. Dave KCUVY attended the workshop last year and indicated it was a worthwhile trip to Buffalo.

Technician Privileges From ARRL
Technician licensees may not be properly interpreting their new HF privileges by the Morse Code elimination. Technicians who never passed a Morse code test now have CW privileges on certain segments of 80, 40 and 15 meters plus CW, RTTY, data and SSB privileges from 28.300 to 28.500 MHz, with a 200-watt power limit. Technicians wanting to operate phone on other HF bands must upgrade to General or Amateur Extra class.

Red Cross Background Check From ARRL
The ARRL released a position statement relating to the background check policy to Amateur Radio operators providing communication services to the Red Cross -- either as Red Cross volunteers or as ARES members. The Red Cross established a 31-Mar compliance deadline for compliance checks. The position statement is likely to change as discussions continue between the two organizations.

FCC Is 80 From AR Newsline
The Federal Communications Commission is now an octogenarian. The current agency is a direct descendant of the old Federal Radio Commission. It was created when President Calvin Coolidge signed the Radio Act of 1927 on February 23rd of that year. The Act created a five-member commission with each member representing a different geographic region of the country. The Commission's primary duty was to solve the interference problem which developed after the Radio Act of 1912 became unenforceable.

Cushcraft Purchase From AR Newsline
Cushcraft was purchased by the UK-based Laird Group PLC, an electronics, security systems and distribution group. The future of the Amateur Radio antenna line was not mentioned in the release.

AM-to-FM Translators From CGC Communicator
It is not uncommon to listen to FM broadcast stations through FM translators. The definition of an FM translator, however, is to retransmit FM signals on FM frequencies. AM stations are being issued waivers to rebroadcast AM transmissions on FM frequencies.

Digital TV From Several Sources
As of March 1, all products shipped with analog TV tuners will also include a DTV tuner. The Consumer Electronics Association has noted that the requirement marks the final phase-in of DTV tuners. If you are buying a TV, note that stores can still sell existing inventory without the DTV tuner.

Daylight Savings Time From Several Sources
Hopefully, everyone has all of their clocks changed by now. Fire Departments also use DST as a reminder point for everyone to check the batteries in smoke detectors. The shift this year has resulted in several computer issues, some say rival Y2K. The least of problems are un-patched computers not changing the time on the right date.

The change in DST has affected AM stations that operate under pre-sunrise (PSRA) and post-sunset (PSSA) service authorizations. Authorizations are based on local time. As a result of the change in DST, modifications are required in all outstanding PSRA and PSSA authorizations. Operation using the old authorizations could result in impermissible interference.

Some confusion existed in the operation of the Emergency Alert System. It was not been clear to users of different pieces of equipment if the time had to be manually updated. The end result is the potential for tests to be ignored becasue of the wrong time set up in the equipment.

QuikScat From AR Newsline
The so-called "QuikScat" weather satellite is a bird that permits forecasters to measure basics such as wind speed. It is currently in its seventh year of operation and was only expected to last five. The satellite provides key data used to predict the path of storms and its failure could mean less accurate forecasts, resulting in longer stretches of coastline placed under warnings and evacuations. Both of these are areas where ham radio volunteers are considered vital based on their training and expertise.

FCC Offender List From AR Newsline
As of March 14, most Amateur Radio enforcement matters began being made available on the FCC's Amateur Radio Service Enforcement Actions cyberspace page. The agency expects to update the cumulative listings every 7 to 10 days.

On The BPL Front From Multiple Sources
Broadcasters in Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Indonesia, Iraq, Pakistan and the Philippines report interference to their satellite transmissions from broadband wireless services, a meeting in Washington DC has heard. Apparant interference caused by Broadband Wireless Access operators using the same C-band spectrum used by the satellite uplink.

In Australia, a lightning strike caused the loss of power in an area with BPL service. Noise floor comparisons were made on 20 meters in 2006 and with no power and no BPL after the lightening strike. The noise floor dropped 10.9dB (12 times lower) to 12.6dB (18 times). The reduction is attributed to the lack of power means that all mains power devices including BPL equipment would cease to operate and therefore ceased to emit any contributory radio frequency noise.

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers announced a working group developed 400 requirements to a B-P-L standard that will hopefully mitigate some of the current problems it causes to radio communications. The IEEE envisions a global standard, providing companies a master plan for the manufacture of BPL components and systems.

On the other hand, this may interfere with the Emergency Amateur Radio Interference Protection Act of 2007 (HR-462). Proponents of HR-462 suggest the IEEE project may provide a perception of respectability to BPL which they feel is not deserved.