OSCAR News - October, 2ØØ9
The next OSCAR meeting is 10-Oct @ 9:00 AM, the second Saturday of the month. Meetings are held in the meeting room at the Owatonna HyVee, 18th Street @ Oak Avenue.
The next SKYWARN meeting is 20-Oct @ 7:00 PM, the third Tuesday of the month. Meetings are held at the Owatonna Fire Station.
OFD Annual Chili/Wild Rice Soup Feed
The Owatonna Fire Department is holding their annual Chili / Wild Rice Soup Feed on 04-Oct, from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Tickets are $6 in advance or $8 at the door. Proceeds will help the Muscular Dystrophy Association, Steele County Historical Society, and Steele County Community Emergency Response Team.
Simulated Emergency Test
Steele County RACES/ARES participated in a simulated Search and Rescue drill with Steele County CERT on 12-Sep. OSCAR members participating included Brian KØBDD, Marv NØFJP, Tony WØIU, Dave KCØUVY, and Tom NØUW. Participating CERT members that are also hams include Chris NØCPG, Mike KDØDKC, Nate KDØGVN, Kathy KDØGVO, and Bob KDØGVU. The exercise was planned and executed by Jeff KCØUOW.
The exercise began at approximately 12:30. Four teams were sent out to search the Steele County Fairgrounds for "Joe", Barbie", and "Jill". Each team consisted of four CERT members and an Amateur Radio operator. Jeff KCØUOW acted as Incident Commander with Marv NØFJP and Brian KØBDD operating the Net Control Station. We are pleased to report that all three were found, but "Joe" required some medical attention for an eye injury (see right). The drill wrapped up with a debriefing at 3:00.
Amateur Radio could be called upon to assist CERT with communications. CERT was almost called to look for a missing individual that was kayaking from Owatonna to Medford and never arrived. CERT was called out this summer to search for a missing child. Both incidents had a happy ending. This was a great exercise and had a realistic scenario. Both groups were able to demonstrate skills and observe first hand what the other can do.
Many thanks to those that participated.
Matt KAØPQW reports he has a new repeater on the air in Ellendale. It is operating at 442.925 with a 114.8 PL. It is connected to Echo Link as node 267582
Steele County Volunteer Badges
If you have been patiently waiting for a Steele County volunteer badge, please be patient a little longer. A new badge system is being implemented. The new system will standardize badging across the region. This will make it easier for volunteers to respond outside of Steele County, if authorized.
Code Red Call-Out
The County is moving to a new calling system called CODE RED. Contact information for RACES volunteers will be added. This is a new benefit for RACES.
From Multiple Sources
There is a thread on qrz.com about an Amateur Radio transmission during a communication drill. The individual that made the transmission while on the clock of a hospital association. Part of the the letter sent by the FCC to the ham included:
"... the Commission's rules specifically states that "no amateur station shall transmit: communications in which the station licensee or control operator has a pecuniary interest, including communications on behalf of an employer." This means that if you are an employee of the hospital you may not operate the amateur equipment on their behalf even after hours or while you are on a break. The operation of the amateur equipment must be conducted strictly by volunteers."
This incident brings up a lot of issues and potential conflicts. The ARRL Board appointed an ad-hoc committee to study the issue and prepare suggested guidelines. For the moment, at least, hams employed by an organization that may rely on Amateur Radio for EMCOMM should be alert to this potential conflict.
Antenna Tuner Simulator
From ARRL Contest Update
With auto tuners becoming so prevalent, the joy (or frustration) of twisting dials to achieve a match can be lost. An antenna tuner simulator by W9CF will let you test your skills against an auto tuner.
Morse Code Gaffe
The 33-story Grant Building is in Pittsburgh, PA. One of the claims to fame is a beacon that spells the city's name in Morse Code. Unfortunately, the spellling needs a little help. A posting on
You Tube shows the erroneous spelling. The code was corrected in July, 2009.
Radiation and Cancer
From Multiple Sources
The use of cell phones and a possible link to cancer has been going on for years. One recent Swedish study saw a 400% increased risk for teenage cell phone users. The American Cancer Society, the National Cancer Institute, the World Health Organization and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration have all concurred that wireless devices are not a public health risk. A group of international scientists released a
37-page report again raising concerns about cell phone usage. Major carriers in 13 countries, not including the US, will publish a report in the fall. Another group believes the previous studies looked only at short term exposures and didn’t see any risks from radiation.
The effects of the radiation depend on the rate at which energy is absorbed by a mass of tissue. This is known as the Specific Absorption Rate (SAR). Amateur Radio licensees are referred to the FCC OET Bulletin 65 to ensure our stations comply with applicable radiation standards. SAR is measured in watts per kilogram (W/kg). The Federal Communications Commission radiation standards for cellphones include spartial-body exposure (including head) to up to 1.6 W/kg. Whole body exposure is limited to 0.08 W/kg. The limit for hands, wrists, feet, and ankles, is W/kg.
From National Gepgraphic
A giant solar generator sits in Nevada called
Solar One. Mirrors concentrate the solar energy to a central point, heating oil to over 700F. The oil is used to generate steam for a turbine generator. The system has a capability of 64 megawatts, enough to power 14,000 homes. The mirrors adjust their angle to the sun about every 30 seconds to maximize output.
From New Scientist
Reliability is not one of the defining characteristics of existing wireless networks. Can a wireless system be reliable enough to be used to operate an airplane? Development is in process to use wireless sensors and network to transmit data. As planes become more complex, more sensors (and more wiring) are being added. The primary goal of wireless sensors is to reduce the weight of airplanes by eliminating some of the wiring currently used. The result could be a 12% fuel reduction. The main poblem is building a network that will be resistant to interference. Any strong radio signal could be used to jam the network by swamping its wireless communications. The obvious possibile interference includes passengers' Wi-Fi devices, cellphones, and lightning strikes. Consideration must also be given to the possibility of a deliberate attack by hackers.
Back in 1859, the most brilliant auroras ever recorded had broken out across the skies. The aurora was reported as far south as Cuba. The electromagnetic energy coupled with the long telegraph wires and interferred with telegraph operations. Telegraph operators reported disconnecting the batteries to their equipment and continuing to operate using the energy from the aurora.
110 Watt Light Bulbs
From New Scientist
In an effort to reduce electrical consumption, the European Union banned the manufacture and import of 100 watt incandescent light bulbs. The switch to Light Emitting Diodes and Compact Fluorescent Lamps could save the EU anywhere from 15 to 53 million tons of carbon dioxide, or about 0.65 percent of annual CO2 emissions.
LED LCD TV
There has been an array of different TV technologies introduced to replace the cathode ray tube. LCD models use Cold Cathode Fluorescent Lamps as the lighting source. The newest variation includes LEDs to backlight the screens. Some models use LEDs around the edge of the screen while others use a full-screen array of LEDs. some experts say that even the best LED LCDs can't match the color gamut and black levels of premium plasma HDTVs.