OSCAR News - April, 2ØØ8
Local Meetings and Nets
- The next OSCAR meeting is 12-Apr @ 9:00 AM, the second Saturday of the month.
- The OSCAR weekly net on the 145.490 machine is Sunday nights at 7:30 PM.
- The next SKYWARN meeting is 15-Aprr @ 7:00 PM, the third Tuesday of the month. Meetings are held at the Owatonna Fire Station.
- Dave WBØVAK upgraded to General.
NOAA Weather Radio Event
The WX radio event on 08-Mar was a great success. Deuel NS0L did a great job of putting all of the pieces together. Pictures and information are posted on the Steele County SKYWARN web site. Thanks to everyone that participated.
Rochester Technician Class
From Rochester ARC
Rochester is sponsoring a one-day Technician Ham Radio Class. It will held on Saturday 26-Apr from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the American Red Cross Building, 310 14th Street SE, in Rochester, MN. The one day class covers all topics needed to pass the entry level Technician written Element 2 examination. Prospective students should contact class coordinator Bill Osler, at 252-5852 to obtain a book at least 2 weeks prior to the class.
OSCAR Technician Class
There were 15 participants in the OSCAR Technician Class. The VE Session on 11-Mar resulted in 12 new hams, 11 Technicians and 1 General. Congratulations to all:
- KD0DJS - Souba, William
- KD0DJT - Graham, Dennis
- KD0DJU - Champeau, Darlene
- KD0DJV - Moody, David
- KD0DJW - Mielke, Stacy
- KD0DJX - Oldenburg, William
- KD0DJY - Stern, David
- KD0DJZ - Clough, Sally
- KD0DKA - VanEngelenhoven, Tim
- KD0DKB - Sanders, Mark
- KD0DKC - Conrad, Michael
- KD0DKD - Louks, Jeffrey
The Tecnician class sessiosn and VE Session were followed up by an Elmer night.
LED Household Light Bulbs
From Science Daily
Researchers are developing new technology that could replace the household light-bulb within three years. They believe there is a way of introducing a new generation of LEDs into households that are brighter and use even less power than standard energy efficient light-bulbs. LEDs have not been introduced as the standard lighting in homes because the manufacturing process is very time consuming and expensive. Much of the light in standard LEDs becomes trapped, reducing the brightness of the light. More light can be achieved by making microscopic holes on the surface of the LEDs, increasing the brightness of the lights without increasing the energy consumption. The researchers use a technique called nano-imprint lithography to directly imprint the holes.
Lots More Nanotubes
From Multiple Sources
Carbon nanotubes provide important first steps toward the practical implementation of carbon-nanotube materials into high-speed analog electronics and other related applications. Practical nanotube devices and circuits are now possible. The growth technique produces linear, horizontally aligned arrays of hundreds of thousands of carbon nanotubes that function collectively as a thin-film semiconductor material in which charge moves independently through each of the nanotubes. The arrays can be integrated into electronic devices and circuits by conventional chip-processing techniques
A demonstration fabricated nanotube transistor radios, in which nanotube devices provided all of the key functions. The radios were based on a heterodyne receiver design consisting of four capacitively coupled stages: an active resonant antenna, two radio-frequency amplifiers, and an audio amplifier, all based on nanotube devices. Headphones plugged directly into the output of a nanotube transistor. In all, seven nanotube transistors were incorporated into the design of each radio. In one test, the University of Illinois researchers tuned one of the nanotube-transistor radios to WBAL-AM (1090) in Baltimore, to pick up a traffic report.
Researchers are also developing a "power shirt" able to generate electricity to power small electronic devices. Pairs of textile fibers covered with zinc oxide nanowires can generate electrical current using the piezoelectric effect. Combining current flow from many fiber pairs woven into a shirt or jacket could allow the wearer's body movement to power a range of portable electronic devices. After a year of development, the original nanogenerators produce up to 800 nanoamperes and 20 millivolts. One significant challenge, however, is washing the shirt. Zinc oxide is sensitive to moisture, so in real shirts or jackets, the nanowires would have to be protected from the effects of the washing machine, Wang noted.
A traditional capacitor stores electricity as static charges, positive and negative, on two electrodes that are separated by an insulator. A battery, by contrast, stores what is known as an electrochemical potential. Its two electrodes are made of different chemicals—ones that will release energy when they react. The process of ion movement and chemical reaction in a battery is slower than the movement of electrons in a capacitor. Hence the different advantages of the two storage systems: capacitors give speed; batteries, endurance. Ultracapacitors use ions and an electrolyte rather than simply relying on the static charges. Positively charged ions gather on the surface of the negatively charged electrode and negative ions on the surface of the positive electrode. The ions do not actually combine with the atoms of the electrodes. This gives ultracapacitors endurance without sacrificing speed.
Digital Repeater Band Plans
From AR Newsline
The Utah VHF Society produced a useful article on channel spacing for D-Star digital relay devices. The article covers co-channel D-Star interference and adjacent channel interference issues between D-Star and existing analog FM systems. It can be viewed atwww.utahvhfs.org.
Amateur Radio Wiki
From AR Newsline
A new amateur radio wiki has been started by Tim Roberts, VK4YEH.
Roberts says that he intends for this new wiki to become an online
encyclopaedia for hams, rather than just pages of links. Articles of
all sorts are welcome, but be aware that the philosophy of a wiki is
that articles can be, and probably will be, edited by others. The URL
Voice of America - Delano
From Radio World
The VOA station in Delano, CA was shuttered in the fall of 2007. This
Radio World article on the development of the station is interesting reading with an Amateur Radio tale in it.
FCC Denies Morse Petition
From Multiple Sources
The FCC denied two requests asking that Morse Code proficiency continue to be a requirement for ham licensees. One petitioner suggested the requirement should be retained so ham operators can act as a strategic reserve in case of an emergency. The other petitioner wasn’t sure the commission actually saw his request because he had trouble filing electronically. The FCC said roughly 100 comments were considered, and were “overwhelmingly” negative.
From Science Daily
If you look at the Propagation Dashboard, you will notice one graphic with the auroral activity. Spring is aurora season. For reasons not fully understood by scientists, the weeks around the vernal equinox are prone to Northern Lights. Auroras are caused by solar activity, why does one season yield more auroras than another? To try and answer why, NASA has deployed a fleet of five spacecraft named THEMIS in February 2007. THEMIS has found magnetic ‘ropes’ connecting Earth's upper atmosphere directly to the sun. Around the time of the equinox, Earth’s magnetic field is best oriented for “connecting-up” with the sun, opening the door for solar wind energy to flow in and spark Northern Lights. Not ready for the the spring auroral activity? Remember, there are two equinoxes and geomagnetic disturbances are almost twice as likely in spring-fall.”
Where No Commercial Has Gone Before
From Science Daily
As part of an advertising campaign, the British public is being asked to shoot a 30-second ad about what they perceive life on earth to be. On 12th June, the space-bound ad will be broadcast from a 500MHz Ultra High Frequency Radar about midway between northern Norway and the North Pole. Directed at a solar system just 42 light years away with an effective power of the transmitted signal around two thousand million watts.
Solar Panel Paint
From New Scientist
UK researchers are developing a way to paint solar cells onto the steel sheets commonly used to clad large buildings. The paint will be based on dye-sensitised solar cells. Instead of absorbing sunlight using silicon like conventional solar panels, they use dye molecules attached to particles of the titanium dioxide pigment used in paints. That gives an energy boost to electrons, which hop from the dye into a layer of electrolyte. This then transfers the extra energy into a collecting circuit, before the electrons cycle back to the dye. While less efficient than conventional cells, dye-based cells do not require expensive silicon, and can be applied as a liquid paste.
Ham Radio Internet
From AR Newsline
A couple of new internet sites have popped up catering to ham radio.
Peter Dalh Co.
From ARRL Contest Rate Sheet
It was previously announced that the Peter Dahl Co. was going out of business. Harbach Electronics purchased the rights to the name, the original transformer and choke specifications and designs, and the design equipment. The transformers will be built by MagCap Engineering using the original PWD specs, and sold through Harbach Electronics under the Peter Dahl name.
FCC Table of Allocations
The FCC Office of Engineering and Technology is amending the rules for the Amateur Radio Service, as well as others. The goal is to update and clarify the Allocation Table. The changes include:
- For the 75.5-81 GHz (4 millimeter) band, were previously changed to eliminate the Amateur Radio Service from the 75.5-76 GHz segment in 2006. Part 97 is amended to reflect this allocation change.
- A typographical error is being corrected in the 80 meter band.
- An omission in the 40-meter Novice band is being reinserted.
- A double negative is being removed from Section 97.303(b).
Digital Television Definitions
Not all digital televisions and signals are created equal. A couple of common misconceptions are 1) that broadcasts are switching to HDTV and 2) that you need to buy an HDTV to receive digital signal quality. There are many quality levels of digital television programming, and individual broadcasters will choose which signal they will send (although many offer broadcasting in more than one signal quality). The FCC states that the following are the most common signals:
Bottom line: to receive High-Definition quality, you will need an HDTV signal and a high-definition television. To receive standard digital television, you will need the SDTV signal and a standard digital television.
- Standard Definition TV (SDTV) - SDTV is the basic level of quality display and resolution for both analog and digital. Transmission of SDTV may be in either the traditional (4:3) or widescreen (16:9) format.
- Enhanced Definition TV (EDTV) - EDTV is a step up from Analog Television. EDTV comes in 480p (852 x 480 pixel progressive-scan), widescreen (16:9), or traditional (4:3) format, and provides better picture quality than SDTV, but not as high as HDTV.
- High Definition TV (HDTV) - HDTV provides superior picture quality because of improved contrast ratio, color saturation, color accuracy, and native resolution. HDTV in widescreen format (16:9) provides the highest resolution and picture quality of all digital broadcast formats. Combined with digitally enhanced sound technology, HDTV sets new standards for sound and picture quality in television.
Mountain Dew Commercial
A Diet Mountain Dew commercial ad features a guy in the middle of a thunderstorm approaching a group of girls. Considering the weather conditions, the girls are engaged in a variety of ill-advised activities, operating a ham radio. You can see the ad on YouTube.
FCC Spectrum Auction
From PC World
The FCC 700MHz spectrum auction closed. The auction lasted for 38 days and 261 rounds of bidding, raising $20 billion. The FCC did not reveal the winners. The swath of spectrum set aside for a public safety network did not receive a bid that met the FCC's reserve price. The agency is evaluating its options for the spectrum.