OSCAR News - June, 2ØØ9
The next OSCAR meeting is 13-Jun @ 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 16-Jun @ 7:00 PM, the third Tuesday of the month. Meetings are held at the Owatonna Fire Station.
Dale WBØPKG and Tom NØUW visited the repeater site in early May. The ID was changed to KCØBXJ/R to reflect the OSCAR club call sign. Tom NØUW assumed duties as trustee for the repeater as well as the club call sign. The repeater controller has a limited selection of ID patterns. After discussion, arm wrestling, and a round of poker -- the timers for the ID were left unchanged. The deviation for the ID was reduced to make the ID less intrusive to conversations. Dale has an alternative timer control circuit that is intended to be installed later in the summer. Plans are also in the works for a battery back-up.
Don't forget the Hayward Fox Hunt on 06-Jun. All are welcome to participate, as this is a multi-club event. The hunt starts at high noon at the City Park in beautiful downtown Hayward, east of Albert Lea. A picnic will be held at 5:00 PM. Everyone is asked to bring a dish to pass. Talk-in on 146.52 simplex.
With Field Day coming up, Kid's Day can be a low stress way to get in practice while nuturing new and potentially new hams. Kids Day is an on-air event to encourage young people (licensed or not) to have fun with Amateur Radio. 20-Jun is the next event, 1800 UTC – 2400 UTC. Operate as much or as little as you like. The suggested exchange is name, age, location and favorite color.
Dennis NØRPJ is finalizing plans for Field Day.
The MN Repeater Council is considering a change in how repeaters are being coordinated. In general, repeaters are protected from other repeaters on the same frequency pair based on a 120 mile radius. This process is being called inefficient as most repeaters are not capable of covering a 120 mile radius. The proposal being investigated is to space repeaters based on modeling the coverage area for the repeater. This would allow more repeaters, but could result in more interference issues. A proposed policy will be posted on the MRC web site.
Vanity Callsign Fee
From Multiple Sources
The Vanity call sing fee changes on a regular basis, going down as well as up. The FCC releases a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and Order to raise fees for Amateur Radio vanity call signs. The current vanity call sign fee for 10 years is $12.30. The proposed fee will be $13.40 for 10 years.
From Multiple Sources
Based on location, DTV may require a new antenna to pull in the signals properly. TV stations today make use of translators to extend the rane of their analog signals. The FCC is establishing a new class of translators to help stations fill in Digital TV coverage gaps. So far, 14 stations have submitted 20 applications for the translators, and eight requests for
Amateur Radio Response
From AR Newsline
Congress is taking a look at the valuable role that ham radio plays in times of natural or man made disasters. The Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Enhancement Act of 2009 would promote and encourage the valuable public service, disaster relief, and emergency communications provided on a volunteer basis by licensees in the Amateur Radio Service. If enacted into law, the measure would instruct the Secretary of Homeland Security to undertake its own study and report its findings to Congress within 180 days. That study would also spell out the capabilities and specific uses of amateur radio communications in emergencies and disaster relief situations.
From PC World
A GAO is warning the reliability GPS system could deteriorate. The aging satellites and delays in launching replacements may cause gaps in the system. Beginning in 2010, there is an increased likelihood the overall GPS constellation will fall below the number of satellites required to provide the level of GPS service that the U.S. government commits to. There are currently 31 operational GPS satellites. The goal is to maintain a minimum of 24 GPS satellites. The probability of maintaining the minimum falls below 95% during 2010 thru 2014. At times, the probability falls to 80%.
As Amateur Radio licensees, we should know your authorization from the Commission comes with the obligation to allow FCC inspection of your station at any time. The FCC now claims the right to inspection for all wireless devices (Wireless router, a cordless phone, remote car-door opener, baby monitor, cellphone, etc.). Refusing the FCC admittance can carry a harsh financial penalty. A Supreme Court decision suggests if inspectors should notice evidence of unrelated criminal behavior, the search can be used against the resident.
From Several Sources
The ARRL and FCC have been going at odds over BPL, with the ARRL winning a lawsuit against the FCC for its decisions on the subject. The ARRL followed up with a Freedom of Information request. The release from the request was redacted. The court further ordered the release of non-redacted documentation. The non-redacted documents indicate that the agency did some pretty creative editing to come to its conclusions. The ARRL published some examples of
examples of what is underneath the original redacted sections.
Global Automatic Link Establishment
From AR Newsline
The Global Automatic Link Establishment or A-L-E High Frequency Network believes it is the first net to operate continuously for more than 500 days. This, on all international amateur radio shortwave bands simultaneously. The main purpose of the network is to provide efficient emergency and disaster relief communications to remote areas of the world. Beginning
with a core group of 6 North American radio operators in June 2007, the net rapidly expanded to cover large areas of the planet with 24 hour a day, 7 day a week digital communications.
Relying on radio communications, the net is a system of interconnected base stations scans the various radio bands from 3.5 Megahertz to 28 Megahertz every 10 seconds. Using this system net members are connected with each other and can send internet email or cell phone mobile text messages from the field. More about A-L-E is on line at hflink.net.
Twisted Radio Beams
From New Scientist
We are familiar with vertical, horizontal, and circular polarization. As the usable frequency spectrum is being consumed, twisted radio beams are being investigated as a new method of encoding information. Twisted laser beams have been researched since the 1990s, but it has only now become possible to create twisted beams at the much lower radio frequencies. The information encoded in the twist is independent of the amplitude and frequency of the radio waves normally used to encode data. The signal is twisted by firing antennas in sequence to describe a circle, instead of having all of them transmit the same signal at once. Each antenna received an alternating current slightly delayed from the adjacent antenna in the circle. The time delay ripples around the array so that the beam emerges to describe a helical wave front. The twists remain coherent across vast distances and can store information in the form of digital bits (1s and 0s), encoded into the pitch of the twist.
From AR Newsline
Three new ham radio microsats were launched in May and are now on-orbit:
- PHARMASAT-1 from Santa Clara University is transmitting on 437.465 MHz in AX.25 data protocol at 1200 bits per second.
- HAWKSAT-I from the Hawk Institute for Space Sciences is on 437.345 MHz.
- POLYSAT CP6 from California Polytechnic State University is on 437.365 MHz with 1200 bit per second data in AX.25.
Fast Charge Lithium Batteries
From New Scientist
Lithium ion cells are light and can be repeatedly charged and discharged with little degradation. Since electricity is the flow of electrons, the speed of the electrons affects the capability of the battery. Detaching lithium ions from the cathode at one end of the battery and absorbing them at the anode is normally a slow process. Researchers revealed an experimental battery that charges about 100 times as fast as normal lithium ion batteries. A cathode made up of tiny balls of lithium iron phosphate quickly releases lithium ions as the battery charges. If cellphone batteries can be made using the material, they could be charged in as little as 10 seconds, a plug-in hybrid electric cars could charge in just 5 minutes.
Reverse Osmosis (RO) is a water filtering process. Low pressure ater is filtered through a membrane, with a significant amount of unfiltered water wasted in the process. Capacitive Deionization was demonstrated as a feasible technology for low-cost water desalination almost 40 years ago. At that time, appropriate materials were not available yet. The most recent advances in electrochemical capacitors are good enough to bring the Capacitive Deionization systems from research laboratories to real life applications. During the deionization cycle, an external electrical charge is applied on a pair of electrodes introduced in the feed water. The dissolved ions in the water migrate towards the electrode of opposite charge and are adsorbed. In the regeneration cycle, the electrical load of the electrodes is switched off, releasing the previously adsorbed ions. If an electrical circuit is connected at this stage, an electrical current will be produced, just like in the discharge of a capacitor.
Researchers have been looking for materials that can store more and more electricity. They found that a very thinly drawn piece of industrial glass sandwiched between two metal plates (a capacitor), the glass slivers could provide large bursts of energy for devices such as heart defibrillators. Industrial glass called barium boroaluminosilicate is used in flat-panel TV displays. It can hold more than twice as much electrical charge as the more common polypropylene currently used. Samples were attached to two electrodes with an increasing voltage applied. When the material reached the breakdown limit of about 22,000 volts, the stored energy was released in what resembles "a lightning bolt conducting through air,"
From Multiple Sources
RF shielding techniques continues to be challenged as higher frequencies are used to send data. While the latest wireless communications use electromagnetic waves with a frequency of over 100 GHz, the best wave absorbers commercially available are effective only up to around half that. The 120 GHz band, for example, can send data at up to 10 gigabits per second, fast enough for the real-time transmission of uncompressed video in high-definition TV format. The ability to block electromagnetic (EM) waves comes about when a material's magnetic field resonates at the same frequency as the wave. Standard oxide coatings contain barium as well as iron, and has a maximum resonance frequency that is outstripped at 48 GHz. A new aluminium-iron oxide was determined able to block waves up to 182 GHz. It is believed particles of the new material could be incorporated in a paint to shield sensitive equipment in medical areas or aircraft from the effects of high-speed wireless communications. The paint might also be used to form a Farady cage, blocking hackers from eavesdropping on Wi-Fi LANs from outside a building.
Dangers of a Quiet Sun
From New Scientist
As well as the 11-year cycle of sunspots and solar flares, the sun's activity experiences longer-term shifts lasting several decades. The sun is currently in a long-term high, having been relatively active for nearly a century, but it is not known when this will end. Based on the duration of past highs, and the fact that the current one has already lasted 80 years, the team has calculated that its most likely total lifetime is between 95 and 116 years. Those most likely to be affected will be astronauts. They would benefit from a decline in the number of solar flares, but the exposure to increased cosmic rays let into the solar system due to a weaker solar wind could cause cancer and fertility loss. For the rest of us on earth, records of the sun's brightness during the 20th century show that it gets slightly dimmer when it is less active.
Army Rifleman Radio
From US Army
The US Army's Joint Program Executive Office Joint Tactical Radio Systems (JPEO JTRS) developed the
Rifleman Radio. The system brings secure networking capabilities to individual soldiers who previously had no means of intra-squad communication. This will be a vast improvement over hand signals soldiers may have to use currently. The radio offers controlled but unclassified communications. Encryption bars classified information from being passed during transmissions while making secure information more difficult for enemies to intercept. In addition to voice communication, the radio also supplies a commander with a GPS picture of his squad members. The space between two operators can increase as long as there are individuals within the network who can relay the radio signal ahead. With enough people along a path, the signal can hop from radio to radio. As long as the signal from the operator's radio can hit one individual along the network chain, his communication can jump to its destination.