OSCAR News - September, 2ØØ9
The next OSCAR meeting is 12-Sep @ 9:00 AM, the second Saturday of the month. Meetings are held in the Owatonna HyVee meeting room.
The next SKYWARN meeting is 15-Sep @ 7:00 PM, the third Tuesday of the month. Meetings are held at the Owatonna Fire Station.
Simulated Emergency Test
CERT is planning a Search and Rescue exercise on 12-Sep. At the August meeting, the membership indicated an interest in participating with CERT as a SET. As the Newsletter was being posted, details are still being put together. The drill is expected to begin around 1:00PM at the Steele County Fairgrounds and end around 2:30 PM. More details will be posted on the OSCAR web site as well as a QST being issued. This is a good opportunity to demonstrate Amateur Radio capabilities and for us to learn what's involved supporting a S&R event. We hope to have a good turn out.
Trying to be ahead of the game, Dale WB0PKG and Tom N0UW have tentatively set the start date for the 2010 Technician Class. The thought is to follow the same pattern of classes (Tue/Thu for 4 weeks), beginning 09-Feb-2010. This is the last year the current Technician question pool will be used. We are always looking for individuals to help out. Spread the word to friends, family, and strangers that might be interested.
Last month we mentioned that MN has a new Section Emergency Coodinator (SEC). Dan has started a MN ARES web site. Dan is just getting the page populated, so bookmark the site and stay tuned for more...
From Multiple Sources
RadioShack announced a name change, effective 06-Aug. THE SHACK reflects the nickname often used by consumers.
Vanity Call Sign Fee
From Multiple Sources
The cost of an amateur radio vanity call sign is reviewed each year. It has gone up and down over the years, mostly up. The FCC announced that the cost of an vanity call will increase from $12.30 to $13.40 for its 10 year term. The new fee becomes effective 10-Sep. The fee applies to new call sign requests as well as renewals.
MFJ Buys Cushcraft
From Multiple Sources
MFJ Enterprises purchased the Cushcraft Amateur Radio Antennas product line from Laird Technologies. The sale was effective 31-Jul. At least for the near term, Cushcraft products will continue to be manufactured in Manchester, New Hampshire.
From Several Sources
Doesn't it always seem like when you need to use your HT that the batteries need to be recharged? Duracell is featuring Amateur Radio in a radio commercial with the National Hurricane Center. The commercial highlights the efforts of an all-volunteer army of ham radio operators for WX4NHC. Jeff Bridges describes the important role that radio amateurs play during severe weather conditions.
Water Logged Phones
From PC World
While we are talking about water, ever notice how water and radios don't mix???? A PC World article includes suggestions for a wet cell phone. Some of the ideas may be useful for that HT that was caught in the rain:
- Remove the battery immediately.
- Immediately take your phone apart to air it out.
- Wash out the phone, especially if it met chlorinated water or saltwater.
- To absorb moisture, submerge the phone in a bowl of uncooked rice.
- Let the phone air-dry for a couple of hours on a sunny windowsill or other warm area.
The High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP) is in a millitary facility 200 miles northeast of Anchorage, AK. HAARP is a research program to study the ionosphere, in part by creating artificial Northern Lights. A massive antenna array bounces RF off the moon. Wired has a full article with pictures on the facility.
From FM Fool
Going on a trip? Don't have satelite radio? FM Fool will generate a list of broadcast FM radio stations from a specified location. The list includes the station, signal strength, direction, and other information.
Want to Go To Mars?
You could be the first one on the block to have your name added to a microchip heading to Mars 2011. The Mars Science Laboratory is a rover that will assess whether Mars could support microbial life. The microchip will be part of the rover. You can submit your name online.
Lithium Ion Batteries
From Science Daily
The capacity of rechargeable lithium ion batteries provide portable devices that require a lot of energy. The running time of the devices remain somewhat limited. Lithium ion accumulator batteries produce current by moving lithium ions. The battery usually contains a cathode (positive electrode) made of a mixed metal oxide, such as lithium cobalt oxide, and an anode (negative electrode) made of graphite. While the battery is being charged, lithium ions migrate into the anode, where they are stored between the graphite layers. When the battery is being discharged, these ions migrate back to the cathode. Silicon could store more lithium ions than graphite, but it expands a great deal while absorbing lithium ions (charging) and shrinks when giving them up (discharging). After several cycles the required thin silicon layers are pulverized and can no longer be charged. Researchers have developed a new method for the production of a porous silicon anode that can withstand this strain. Anodes made of this highly porous silicon have a high charge capacity for lithium ions. The first charging cycle results in an amorphous (noncrystalline) silicon mass around residual nanocrystals in the pore walls. Consequently, even after 100 cycles, the stress in the pore wall is not noticeable in the material.
Buried Cable Locating
From Radio World
Here is a suggestion to consider when needing to track an underground cable or radials. Why not just use the field strength meter? Disconnect the line in question and connect it to an RF signal generator. Set it to a frequency where no stations around operating anywhere near. Point a field strength meter toward the ground and walk around until there is a strong indication on the meter. Don't swing it around; keep the meter at a fixed right angle to the ground and in line with the transmitter building and tower. Carefully walk around, watching for the highest indication and you'll find your line. If you try this technique you will find that it takes surprisingly little signal, even with a deeply-buried line.
Vacuum Tubes and Digital Music
From PC World
As a ham, you probably experienced the warm glow of vacuum tubes from transmitters. Seniors will recall them in television and stereo equipment. Most people don't wish for the good old days of vinyl records, preferring the convenience of Compact Discs. A Tokyo-based company, Supercent, is combining a CD player and radio with an amplifier built with vacuum tubes, a fusion of cutting edge digital audio technology with 50-year old amplification technology. In a modern twist the player's CD's digital display doubles as a countdown clock to the time the vacuum tubes are warmed up and ready for use and serves to remind children of the digital generation that 'switch on and go' isn't something to be expected from vacuum tubes. In a demonstration it took about 20 seconds for them to warm-up.
From Space and Astronautics News
A recent study study describes how extreme solar eruptions could have severe consequences for communications, power grids and other technology on Earth. The report provides economic data quantifying the risk of extreme conditions in space driven by magnetic activity on the Sun. The Sun periodically releases billions of tons of matter called coronal mass ejections. These immense clouds of material can cause large magnetic storms in the magnetosphere and upper atmosphere. Such space weather produce solar storm electromagnetic fields that induce extreme currents in wires, disrupted power lines causing wide-spread blackouts and affecting communication cables. Severe space weather can damage satellites used for commercial communications, global positioning and weather forecasting. The concern is the trend of increased dependency on modern space-weather sensitive assets could make society more vulnerable. It is expected that solar storms will increase in frequency and intensity toward the next solar maximum, expected to occur around 2012.
In 1907, one of Marconi’s assistants published a 24-line note in Electrical World reporting a “bright glow” from a
carborundum diode. Outside of reporting the observation, no further research was done. In 1929, a Russian research technician was granted a patent entitled ‘Light Relay’. This was the result of research after he observed light emission from zinc oxide and silicon carbide crystal rectifier diodes.
Like a normal diode, the LED consists of a chip of semi-conducting material doped, with impurities to create a p-n
junction. As electrons pass through the p-n junction, it falls into a lower energy level and releases the excess energy in the form of a photon. The color of the photon is the result of the materials used in the p-n junction.
- Red LEDs are based on aluminum gallium arsenide (AlGaAs).
- Blue LEDs are made from indium gallium nitride (InGaN).
- Green LEDs are made from aluminum gallium phosphide (AlGaP).
- "White" light is created by combining the light from red, green, and blue (RGB) LEDs.
Phillips has a video of how LEDs work and how they are
From PC World
Researchers combined nanotechnology with genetically engineered viruses to build batteries that could power hybrid cars and cell phones. The viruses would build the positively and negatively charged ends of lithium-ion batteries. Batteries with the new cathode material could be charged and discharged at least 100 times without losing any capacitance.