OSCAR News - January, 2ØØ8
The next OSCAR meeting is 12-Jan @ 9:00 AM, the second Saturday of the month. Meetings are held at the Happy Chef on US-14 West and I-35.
The OSCAR weekly net on the 145.490 machine is changing day and time. With the start of 2008, the net will now meet on Sunday nights at 7:30 PM.
Elections were held at the December meeting. Difficulties with the electronic balloting system caused a recount and ensuing legal fight in the court system. Ultimately, the officers for 2008 were declared as:
- Dale WBØPKG as President.
- Paul WØFEI as Treasurer.
- Tom NØUW as Secretary
(also maintains the web pages and newsletter).
OSCAR membership is available at the inflation fighting cost of $10, and can be paid to any officer.
Dale WBØPKG must have the HTML bug. Automatic refresh was added to the WX Detail and Propagation pages.
- Kris KCØREO and family were found ringing bells for the Salvation Army in front of the Target store in November.
- Deuel NSØL volunteered with a church group to travel to MS to help rebuild a house.
Operating on Kid's Day always seems to bring a smile to a youngster showing an interest in Amateur Radio. The next event is 06-Jan. Suggested frequencies are 28.350-28.400, 21.380-21.400, and 14.270-14.300 kHz. The exchangeis Name, age, and favorite color. No scores or logs are required, but every participant is eligible to receive a colorful certificate.
CERT Training Class
A training class for Steele County Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) is scheduled for January and February. The training is a total of 27 hours with a combination of 3 Saturdays and 3 Thursday evenings:
Contact the Owatonna Fire Department if you are interested or need additional information.
- Saturday 05-Jan 8:00 am to 1:00 pm
- Saturday 12-Jan 8:00 am to noon & 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm
- Saturday 26-Jan 8:00 am to noon & 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm
- Thursday 17-Jan 6:30 pm to 9:30 pm
- Thursday 31-Jan 6:30 pm to 9:30 pm
- Thursday 07-Feb 6:30 pm to 9:30 pm
The next SKYWARN meeting is 15-Jan @ 7:00 PM, the third Tuesday of the month. Meetings are held at the Owatonna Fire Station.
OSCAR Technician Class
OSCAR is once again planning to offer a Technician Class in the spring. The tentative schedule is 6 class sessions beginning on 12-Feb. Classes will be held on Tue and Thu nights, which is a compression of the schedule used in the past. Class would finish up with a VE session on 11-Mar. Check the 2008 OSCAR Class web page for additional details.
Albert Lea VE Session
It was mentioned in the December newsletter that OSCAR sponsored a VE session in Albert Lea. Timing of the newsletter posting did not allow one PS. We gave the exam on Thursday, 29-Nov. The VE session package was dropped in the US Mail to the ARRL on Friday, 30-Nov. The new licenses showed up in the FCC data base on Monday, 03-Dec. What a quick turn between providing exams and license issuing!!
Matt KAØPQW reports the 224.640 repeater is back on the air. Output is 10 watts into a Hustler vertical. The input is normally without PL, but 110.9 is used occasionally. The PL can be temporarilly bypassed by sending "11". The repeater returns to PL mode after 15 minutes. The repeater is also connected to Echo Link.
SKYWARN Recognition Day
SKYWARN Recognition Day (SRD) was 01-Dec. Tom NØUW reports about 100 National Weather Service Stations were active. Chanhassen was heard checking for contacts on the Mankato machine. Tom made contact with eight stations on 40-meters, earning him a certificate as a "Towering Cumulus". Many of the stations also issued individual QSL cards. With the snow storm that day, it was a good way to burn some ice off the antenna elements.
Tom also reports a random contact with KØJIM. KØJIM heard the NØUW exchange with one of the NWS stations and asked Tom to QSY. Jim used to live in Steele County and worked at E.F. Johnson. Jim sends greetings to everyone that might still be around.
Iron Range Net
We received a note from Ron WAØWNV. Ron is the Net Control Station for the Iron Range Net. It is a weekly fellowship net for hams on the Iron Range, and Ron invites others to participate. The net meets at 8:00 AM Saturday on 3.919 MHz.
NIMS 5 Year Plan
From ARES e-Letter
A draft of the five year plan for the National Incident Management System (NIMS) states that "access to future national
incidents will be restricted to those who have met the mandatory requirements." ARES volunteers (and others) won't be able to
obtain credentials for access without proof of completion of required instruction.
There are many ways to acquire the certification for IS-700, the introduction to NIMS. Probably the easiest way is to surf over to the FEMA web site. Download the (25 question) Final Exam and then take the course, looking for the answers as you go. The course summary indicates it takes three hours, but it can be completed significantly shorter than that. At the end of the course, you can easily take the on-line exam, which is a duplicate of what was downloaded.
One final request, please let Tom NØUW know you completed IS-700.
From AR Newsline
A new report that predicts that Internet usage could outstrip network capacity worldwide in a couple of years proves to be as accurate. Nemertes Research assessed the Internet infrastructure and projected traffic patterns independent of one another.
It ssuggets that Internet access infrastructure, specifically in North America, will cease to be adequate for supporting demand within the next three to five years. The cost to meet the demand was estimated at $50 billion in the US and $137 billion globally. If correct, Internet "brownouts" would cause interruptions, increase download times, and interfere with Voice over Internet Protocol communications.
Sqeezing HD Signals
From Multichannel News
The top-of-the-line HDTV signal standard in wide use is 1080i. That means 1,920 lines of 1,080 pixels each are painted on a screen to create a picture, or 50 million pieces of data. The math also suggests that at 30 frames perh second, 1.5 billion bits of video data would have to be delivered every second, if no compression took place. This is equivalent to 400 digital standard-definition channels on a cable system. Satellite uplinks beam, at most, 80 million bits of data per second per channel. So all HDTV channels must be compressed to some degree. From a distribution (cable or satellite) stand point, there is no precise definition of high-definition. The key question is how muchs of the video signal can be taken out without viewers noticing that anything is terribly wrong? If the bit rate gets too low, blotches or blurs can appear.
Digital TV Converters
From CGC Communicator
The NTIA has given the go-ahead to launch the sales of DTC converter boxes in mid-February. Eight retail giants, including
Best Buy, Circuit City, Kmart and Wal-Mart, and more than 100 electronics specialty shops will sell the devices. On 01-Jan, consumers who rely on an antenna to receive their TV signals can receive two DTV coupons worth $40 each toward the purchase of converter boxes.
Channel Six Audio
From Radio World
An FCC filing (MB Docket 87-268) suggests taking the anaolg TV channel 6 allocation and assigning it as new spectrum in the FM band. The proposed digital Channel 6 would include eight digital allotments. One allocation for a TV channel could be used for up to 30 FM radio stations.
New HF Digital Voice Mode
From AR Newsline
A new Digital Voice mode called Frequency Division Multiplex Digital Voice or FDMDV has been announced on the N1SU website. Claiming a 1100 Hertx bandwith, the creators claim high quality digital voice
under poor band conditions.
Tasmania BPL Termination
From AR Newsline
Australia's Aurora Energy will soon end its multi-year B-P-L trial in Tasmania. The economics didn't stack up for BPL in Tasmania. The company's Chief Executive indicated it has not been a good money-making exercise, which is the reason
power companies were interesdted in BPL. Other Australia trials continue and are being planned.
Auroras Borealis Source
NASA launched five satellites as part of the Themis Mission. The satellites detected a burst of Northern Lights over Alaska and Canada in March. During the two-hour light show, the satellites clockeded particle flow and magnetic fields across the sky at 400 miles per minute. The satellites found the energy comes from a stream of charged particles from the sun flowing like a current through twisted bundles of magnetic fields connecting Earth's upper atmosphere to the sun. The energy forms the shimmering display of lights as it is abruptly released.
From AR Newsline
CQ Magazine's Emergency Communications columnist Bob Josuweit, WA3PZO, is the author of the cover story of the December issue of Conformity Magazine dealing with Broadband over Powerline titled BPL - Alternative or Trouble. According to the magazine's website, Conformity is the preferred publication for current regulatory and design information in the field of electrical engineering. Josuweit tells Newsline that he has gotten reader feedback that the article is clear and unbiased. The story can be found at www.conformity.com.
MN "Whiskey" Plates
From Star Tribune
A columnist apparently got the wrong info from MN Public Safety. The statement was made that any MN license plate beginning with "W" is a restricted plate. An update corrected the error, clearly referencing that Amateur Radio plates can begin with "W", as well as other personalized plates.
From Southgate ARC
The Moon-Net Reflector reports asuccessful CW contact on 144 MHz by bouncing the signal from the structure of theInternational Space Station (ISS). The first attempt used BPSK63, but became useless due to the doppler effect. Sunsequent tries used CW, since copy could still be achieved with the dopple shift.
From PC World
Sixty years ago -- on Dec. 16, 1947, to be exact --the transistor was invented at Bell Labs. According to some researchers and analysts, it is the single most important invention of the 20th century. Before transistors, vacuum tubes were turned on or off to represent zeros and ones. The tube would be turned off for a zero, and on for a one. It wasn't a very efficient technology, and required a lot of tubes and bulbs and heat to do basic mathematically calculations. The 42-year-old prediction by Gordon Moore holds that the number of transistors on a chip doubles about every two years. Despite many periodic cries that that kind of pace simply could not be maintained, so far the law has held true.
End of DC Power
From CGC Communicator
New York's Consolidated Edison has just ended 125 years of providing direct current electricity service -- service that began
when Thomas Edison opened his power station on Sept. 4, 1882. Turns out that a dwindling number of old buildings still need DC for elevators and other equipment, and those buildings now have their own AC-to-DC converters.