OSCAR News - May, 2ØØ8
Local Meetings and Nets
- The next OSCAR meeting is 10-May @ 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 20-May @ 7:00 PM, the third Tuesday of the month. Meetings are held at the Owatonna Fire Station.
- The Austin ARC is starting a Simplex net.
- Dave WB0VAK is hosting a rag chewing net on the 147.105 repeater.
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.
Field Day 2008
Be sure to mark Field Day on your calendar for the weekend of 28/29-Jun. The plan is to operate from the Crane Creek Park on Highway 14 West. The weekend at Crane Creek has a history of being exciting with either severe weather or car accidents. OSCAR operates a casual event with contesting always second to experimenting, having fun, and good food. Hope to see you there.
There are three rule changes:
- The Demonstration Mode bonuses have been replaced by an Educational Activities bonus.
- The Get On The Air (GOTA) station may now also operate on the VHF bands but only one band at a time.
- A newly licensed amateur who has received a new license (not upgrade) since Field Day 2007 may operate the G-O-T-A station regardless of license class, but this does not apply to upgrades.
RACES / ARES
In order to enhance emergency communications within Steele County, a RACES structure is being implemented to complement Steele County ARES. Essentially, there are no changes but the RACES/ARES structure will be able to utilize the best practices from both organizations. Part of this change includes moving the ARES material from the OSCAR web site to the
Steele County Emergency Management portal.
E-A-S Planning Summit
From AR Newsline
The Federal Communications Commission's Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau will webcast a Summit on the nation's Emergency Alert System. Discussions will focus on the current state of the nation's E-A-S and what is needed to transition it
to a more robust, Next Generation alert and warning system. The Summit is open to the public on 19-May from 9:00 a.m. to
12:45 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time. There will be streaming Audio and Video coverage of the meeting.
Cell Phone Alert System
From USA Today
The Federal Communications Commission is e expected to take a major step toward development of a nationwide emergency alert system that would send text messages to cellphones and other mobile devices wherever a crisis occurs. The FCC will establish technical standards and other requirements. Under the planned system, local first responders would send an alert to a federal agency serving as a clearinghouse. The to-be-determined agency then would relay the alert to participating wireless carriers, who then broadcast the alert on a single pathway to the affected region. Like NOAA WX radio, alerts could be for a variety of incidents, such as severe weather, a terrorist threat or child abduction.
From ARRL Letter
The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit today released its
decision on the ARRL's Petition for Review of the FCC's Orders adopting rules governing broadband over power line (BPL) systems. The Court agreed with
the ARRL on two points and dismissed two others. The Court agreed with the ARRL that the FCC had failed to comply with the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) by not fully disclosing for public comment the staff studies on
which it relied. The Court also agreed with the ARRL that the Commission erred in not providing a reasoned justification for its choice of an extrapolation factor of 40 dB per decade for Access BPL systems and in offering "no reasoned explanation for its dismissal of empirical data that was submitted at its invitation." The ruling causes the rules to remand back to the FCC.
Type 15 Transmitters
The FCC is now allowing modular Part 15 transmitters that were type accepted to be used in different products without a new authorization. Previously, the device had to be certified for each product it was installed in.
Birds vs. Towers
From Multiple Sources
As many as 50 million birds are killed annually in US cell-tower collisions. Among about 96,000 towers listed in a federal database, some 22,000 new towers were listed as having gone up in just the past five years. An appeals court recently ordered the FCC to provide more citizen input and comply with environmental laws when approving towers.
As many as 50 million birds are killed annually in US cell-tower collisions. On a pitch-dark night thick with clouds in September 2005, it began raining birds under an 1,100-foot television tower in Madison, Wis. At the base of the tower the next day, researchers identified 400 birds across 23 species, including five types of golden-winged warblers – a migratory songbird listed as a declining species of "particular concern."
The root cause appears to be less about the towers than their illumination. Communications towers over 200-feet or near a flight path or airport must be lighted to warn pilots. Tower lighting is not a problem for birds in clear weather. On stormy and foggy nights, however, migrating flocks of birds tend to zero in on tower lights. One study suggests the steady red lights attracted birds during cludy weather. The flashing red or white lights did not attract the birds. Bird deaths fell 71 percent when solid reds lamps were removed. The FAA is currently pursuing a new round of testing to determine whether alternate lighting for towers would still be effective in alerting pilots and decrease the hazard to birds.
From CGC Communicator
The KFI (La Mirada, Ca) broadcast tower collapsed after being hit by an airplane. It again collapsed during as the tower was being rebuilt on 18-Mar. Preliminary information suggets the slant bar with the turnbuckle that connected the one-and-only elevated guy wire caused the topple. The slant bar is designed to take virtually all the tension of the guy wires at that location.
Photos of the collapse are posted by K6RIX. Clicking the second photo downloads a set of "before" photos. Scroll down the center column of thumbnails about halfway, looking for the elevated guy station (a 20 feet tall pole) with an extension ladder leaning up against it. Go back to the home page and click on the first picture to download the "after". The first picture shows the KFI tower falling over. The next two photos show the top portion of the slant bar with the bottom portion missing. It appears that the threads in the turnbuckle and the threads on the lower slant bar stripped when the third level of guy wires were being tensioned.
From Science Daily
Ever wonder why something failed without reason? French researchers developed an imprical answer based on the aging of alloys. Metals and alloys have defects, known as dislocations, responsible for most of their mechanical properties. These defects are suspected as the cause of premature ageing of alloys, which the researchers recently demonstrated. They studied a material widely used in electronics for metal connections in microprocessors. Defects create microscopic channels that interconnect silicon nanoparticles, allowing silicon atoms to move rapidly from one particle to another. Over time, the smaller particles dissolve and the atoms composing them swell the largest particles. This dynamic phenomenon then leads to the destruction of the alloy and the loss of its properties.
LI-ION Battery Development
From Technology Review
Development of solutions for lithium ion (li-ion) batteries continue to balance safety and capacity. Argonne National Laboratory has developed a derivitive that claims to be safer while providing a 30% increase in energy storage. The li-ion electrode technology removes some of the cobalt oxide in the electrodes, replacing it with manganese oxide. The cobalt oxide can breakdown when it gets warm and gives up oxygen. The oxygen can react with the solvent in the battery's electrolyte, generating more heat and continues the cycle. Argonne licensed its li-ion electrode tech, so the batteries may start showing up soon.
From Science Daily
UM researchers discovered that riboflavin is responisible for bacteria turning capable simple organic compounds into electricity. The bacteria called Shewanella is commonly found in water and soil. Bacteria such as Shewanella need to access and dissolve metals such as iron. Scaled-up "microbial fuel cells" using similar bacteria could generate enough electricity to clean up wastewater or power remote sensors on the ocean floor.
From PC World
Solar Technology has introduced a combined solar and battery-based recharging system for iPods and other devices. The device ships with the capacity to charge many of the latest mobile gadgets: digital cameras, iPods, PDAs, PSPs and mobile phones, and even supports a direct connection to the iPhone and the iTouch. Called the Freeloader 8.0, it can charge its own internal battery and holds its charge for up to three months.
Solid State Fan
From Science Daily
A compact, solid-state fan uses the same physical property that drives silent household air purifiers,producing three times the flow rate of a typical small mechanical fan and is one-fourth the size. A series of live wires that generate a micro-scale plasma. The resulting corona wind develops by ions pushing neutral air molecules between the wires and the non-conductive support plate.
Using a technology developed by the European Space Agency, a company has announced a camera which can see through clothes.
The security device passively scans for T-rays; naturally occurring radiation in the terahertz frequency of the electromagnetic spectrum. The pictures will not show details of the naked body underneath, but instead just images of "explosives, liquids, narcotics, weapons, plastics and ceramics."
Lucy In Space
From National Public Radio
This not about the Beatles song Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds. The April Newsletter included an note about a commercial being beamed out to space. CBS first broadcast the I Love Lucy show in 1951. Ricky, Lucy, Fred and Ethel became electromagnetic signals traveling all over America, where they got bounced into our living rooms. It should be no surprise that not all those signals stayed on Earth. A few signals bounced off the surface of our planet or shot straight up into the sky and continued onward.
Traveling at speed of light in empty space, the signals passed the moon in 1.5 seconds, Jupiter in 60 minutes, and the edge of our solar system five hours later. Where is Lucy today? Let's see, 57 years times the speed of light is 57 light-years, or about 200 trillion miles. The signal past about 200 stars and who knows how many planets. The universe is filled with electromagnetic radiation, including an echo of the Big Bang that many scientists think spawned our universe. Waves become weaker the further they travel, so Lucy will evenutally become impossible to detect due to the background noise. The guess she becomes undetectable not too far beyond the edge of our solar system.
Earth is becoming quieter to the universe. Broadcasters aren using sophisticated, point-to-point beam-like transmissions from Earth to satellites and back down again. This reduces the "leakage" of TV and radio signals into deep space. Fiber optic cables and very narrow beams also help. SETI suggests that so little sound escapes Earth that, from the "alien" point of view, soon "the Earth is going to disappear.
From Broadcasting & Cable
The Senate Commerce Committee and House are considering bills that would allow full-power TV stations along the border with Mexico to continue broadcasting in analog after the Feb. 17, 2009, cutoff date. The DTV Border Fix Act would allow qualified TV stations within 50 miles of the border to broadcast in analog until 2014. The bill has numerous caveats, including that the stations could not interfere with public-safety communications and could not prevent the auction of public spectrum. They also have to be between channels 2-51, since channels 52-59 are in the 700-megahertz band that was already auctioned for advanced wireless services.