OSCAR News - March, 2ØØ9
The next OSCAR meeting is 14-Mar @ 9:00 AM, the second Saturday of the month. Meetings are held at the Happy Chef at US-14 West and I-35.
The next SKYWARN meeting is 17-Mar @ 7:00 PM, the third Tuesday of the month. Meetings are held at the Owatonna Fire Station.
The 2009 Technician Class started on 10-Feb with 8 participants. Several of the participants are recent graduates of the CERT training class completed in early February. Jeff KCØUOW, Dale WBØPKG and Tom NØUW are the primary instructors. The peanut gallery is filled with the likes of Deuel NSØL.
Tech Question Pool
From Multiple Sources
A new Technician Class (Element 2) question pool is scheduled to become effective 01-Jul-2010. The question pool is currently being reviewed by a committee of the National Conference of Volunteer Examiner Coordinators (NCVEC). The group is seeking input from the amateur community. It would like input in the form of new question topics, new questions and suggestions for
changes or deletions. Comments or suggestions can be sent to the Question Pool Committee Chairman, Rol Anders, K3RA, via email to email@example.com. Guidelines for question formats are provided at www.ncvec.org.
Spotter class for Steele County is scheduled for Tuesday, 10-Mar. Details with updated information are posted on the SKYWARN 2009 Class Page. Contact Dave KCØUVY for additional information. Although not a requirement, we encourage pre-registration with Bonnie (507-444-2454) at the Fire Station.
Congratulations to Mike KCØDKA for completing
CERT training. This is a great opportunity for personal development in being prepared for emergencies. OSCAR benefits from a wonderful relationship with CERT. The current OSCAR Technician Classs includes 4 graduates from this CERT class. Thanks to all for your participation.
In the News
Tom NØUW contributeded an article for the Owatonna People's Press in February. The article highlighted how Amateur Radio helps in an emergency, with reference to Rushford in 2007. Look for an article in March from Dave KCØUVY on SKYWARN.
Mark your calendars for Field Day on 27-Jun. Preparations are beginning to take place and Dennis N0RPI was gratiously volunteered to be the coordinator for 2009. Plans are to finalize the site at the March meeting.
From ARES E-Letter
There is an ARES standard for using PowerPole connectors for 12VDC radio installations. PowerPoles may be used on equipment installations other that 12 VDC. One suggestion is to stack the PowerPole connector pair one "above" the other for non-12VDC applications. With the two different configurations, different voltage systems cannot be connected together. Remember that one purpose of the ARES standard is to allow equipment to be switched conveniently and safely. Changing the PowerPole configuration could eliminate the opportunity of a 6VDC or 9VDC device being plugged into a 12VDC supply. (Editor note: I did not see a "standard" for the alternative configuration.)
From Radio World
The thunder snow on 26-Feb should serve as a reminder to check our lightning protection systems when the weather warms up. Ben Franklin may have been looking for a strike, but at our stations it is the last thing we want. Although geared for commercial radio installations, Radio World has a three-part series on protection. The articles are:
DTV Part II
From Mutliple Sources
The House voted to delay the USA's transition to digital TV by four months to June 12. Hundreds of broadcast stations will switch to digital on the original Feb. 17 deadline. WUCW (23) was the first station in the Twin Cities market to make the switch. Rochester stations doing so include KTTC and KXLT. Stations waiting until June include WCCO (04), KSTP (05), KAAL (06), KMSP (09), and KARE (11).
Across the US, Americans with analog TVs may see only snow on their favorite channels come Tuesday. Local TV stations are allowed to decide when to make the switch. The Federal Communications Commission, however, informed more than 120 stations they would have to postpone the switchover to prevent their cities from losing all analog network broadcasts. Every U.S. city should have at least one analog TV station running through June, and that's good news for emergency communications. The bill also allows households with expired vouchers for digital converter boxes to reapply for new coupons.
Wind Farms and Radar
Some people think wind farms are an excellent way to generate green electricity and others believe they are a blot on the landscape and a danger to birds. One concern with aviation safety interferencs with the radar used in air-traffic control. Standard radar used by air-traffic control can see a long way, but may not be able to tell between a moving aircraft and the whirling blades of a wind turbine. Aircraft can normally be distinguished from stationary objects because the Doppler effect changes the frequency of the returned signal. Although a wind turbine does not change position, its blades are moving and these also cause a Doppler effect. The returning signal from a wind turbine thus creates illuminated blobs on a radar screen that look just like moving aircraft. As the radar beam sweeps past, the signal is bounced back by different parts of the turbine’s blades in unpredictable and confusing ways. The result is that wind farms are difficult to filter out because the resolution of a typical long-range radar is not high enough to detect the difference between the Doppler effect caused by an aircraft and that caused by a wind turbine.
One possible solution is to create a “patch” covering each farm that could be applied to the wider air-traffic control radar image. The patch would be created by bathing the farm in a continuous stream of radar pulses at short range, rather than sweeping a beam over it from a distance. The reflections could create a moving radar picture of the farm. One company was able to show a different Doppler effect for a target moving on the ground from the one produced by the turbine’s blades. The next step is to see if this can be repeated over a wider area and with a flying object.
Have an interest in how wind turbines work? The Danish Wind Industry has an easy to follow description on wind power and wind turbines.
New Madrid Fault
From ARES Newsletter
This is of interest to the editor, who used to live in NW Tennessee. Back around 1990, a prediction of the New Madrid Fault letting loose was taken seriously. It was said this would potentially affect us northerners as natural gas lines run through this area. DHS/FEMA has just released a comprehensive (70Mb) new report on the threat. It contains a wealth of information for those who may be planning tabletop exercises or fodder for next year's SET. A major quake of magnitude 7.0 or higher in the region within the next 50 years is better than 90%. The need for Amateur Radio communications support to dwarf even that of Katrina.
Mystery Radio Signal
From New Scientist
A balloon-borne instrument called ARCADE flew for four hours at an altitude of 37 kilometres above Texas in July 2006. The team intended to look for slight deviations in the spectrum of the cosmic microwave background, the first radiation emitted after the big bang. After subtracting known radio sources in the Milky Way and other galaxies, unexplained radio static was left that seemed to pervade the sky and was some six times louder than all known astronomical sources combined at the same radio frequency. Astronomers do not yet have a clear explanation for the static, but say it could come from the universe's first generation of stars.
Power Line De-Icing
From Science Daily
A new proprietary technology called a variable resistance cable (VRC) is the heart of a de-icing system for power lines. It requires only minor cable modifications and some off-the-shelf electronics. The system switches the electrical resistance of a standard power line without causing any service interruption. A higher resistance automatically creates heat to melt ice build-up or keep it from forming in the first place. The overall cost is estimated to be less than 10% more than a traditional system. The life span of the de-icing system would match or exceed the 30–50 year life-span of the utility cable.
A full-scale VRC system prototype is planned for a section of power line in Orenburg, Russia.
Use a Walkie Talkie?
From PC World
When we think about telecommunication we almost always think of the mobile phone. The focus on mobile technology continues to grow at an unprecedented rate, almost to the point where little other wireless technology is considered. While mobile technology has the ability to connect to the outside world, does every communication require it? Depending on the situation, a newtwork of two-way radios may be a more appropriate solution, particularly in remote areas of the world. Imagine the majority of a rural community's communication needs were local, a 10- or 15-square-kilometer area. You could argue that a for-profit mobile network, likely powered by a diesel-driven tower, is an inappropriate and over-the-top technology solution.
Other technologies already exist that could do the job, don't operate on a pay-per-use basis, and don't need a costly infrastructure to work. Sound familiar?
Walkie-talkies don't need towers and can communicate between each other directly. You can pick up a used walkie-talkie for around the same price as a mobile phone, and once you own one there are no call costs. Of course there are problems with this model. It can be difficult or almost impossible to direct a "call" to a specific single individual, and forget about privacy. For a small village with no mobile network, and little chance of getting one any time soon, walkie-talkies might provide a perfectly usable communications network while villagers wait for the real thing to arrive.
BPL and the ITU
From AR Newsline
The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) is once again taking a close look at protecting radio communications from interference caused by Broadband over Powerline (BPL). Working Party 1A of the ITU-R is preparing a report on Power Line
Telecommunications, examining the protection levels required by various radio services. The US and Japan, in particular, seem to want very little protection for radio services, although Japanese radio astronomers and US broadcasters have opposing views. The section of the report dealing with the Amateur Service has been
updated by the International Amateur Radio Union.
Uniden HR-2510 - $100 OBO
- 10m mobile, SSB/CW, 25W
- Doug KA9IQA @ 507-835-1175
Older 440MHZ radio for control link. Single channel needed for receive only with PLL decode.
Tom NØUW: firstname.lastname@example.org
Yaesu FT-1000MP Mark V
200 W HF Transceiver. Professionally installed International Radio 6 KHzRoofing Filter; Main receiver has: 2.1 KHz and 1.8 KHz SSB filters in both 1st and 2nd IFs; also has 500 Hz and 250 Hz CW filters in both 1st and 2nd IFs. Absolutely mint condition. $ 1,850. Email N1UW@arrl.net or call 612-644-9174 for full information.
100 W HF/50/144/440 Transceiver. Features full duplex satellite operation. With 500 Hz CW filter. Absolutely mint condition. $ 850. Email N1UW@arrl.net or call 612-644-9174 for full information.
5 W HF/50/144/440 Transceiver. Portable QRP operation with NiMh batteries. With 500 Hz CW filter. Absolutely mint condition. $ 500. Email N1UW@arrl.net or call 612-644-9174 for full information.