OSCAR News - May, 2Ø11
The next OSCAR meeting is 14-May @ 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 17-May @ 7:00 PM, the third Tuesday of the month. Meetings are held at the Owatonna Fire Station.
Tom NØUW sent out a QST for possible ARES activation to support the communities that might be affected by flooding along the Red River. Ultimately, the well executred advanced preparations in that area were successful. ARES activation was not required. Many thanks to those that offered to respond, if needed.
Don't forget to volunteer for two ARES opportunities in late July. The MS Society is having a multi-day bike ride across southeast MN. The ride starts on Monday (25-Jul) in Rochester and ends in Owatonna. The bicyclists will depart Tuesday (26-Jul) morning for a short ride to Austin. The tour continues to Lanesboro, Winona, and back to Rochester.
The following Sunday is the Waseca Triathlon. Several OSCAR members helped out last year and would be appreciated again this year.
From Bill KØRGR
Bill KØRGR is the District Emergency Coordinator for ARES District 1 (SE MN). Bill is running a digital net, using the NBEMS suite of programs - FLDIGI, FLWRAP, and FLMSG. The NBEMS software runs on WIndows, Linux, and Max. The operating mode will be MT-63/2000 with 64 bit 'long' interleave and 8 bit special characters. You should obtain the most current versions of the software, as the most important configuration parameters are the defaults in that version, and there have been some incompatibilities between versions. MT-63 works well without any kind of radio interface - just acoustically couple the radio mike to computer speaker, and vice-versa. Of course, any soundcard interface will work.
The net is scheduled for each Thursday at 9:00 PM local. It is currently running on 145.07 Simplex, but is expected to move to the Rochester 147.255 (PL100.0) repeater.
Amateur Radio operators like to experience the effect of solar storms on communications. Unfortunately, the storms occasionally are so massive they can influence the Earth's magnetic field. Vivid auroras can be pleasing to the eye, but wild electric currents can cause havoc. Geomagnetically induced currents can overload circuits, trip circuit breakers and cause permanent damage to transformers.
NASA's Solar Shield can track a coronal mass ejection (CME) during its trek from the Sun to Earth. Images from SOHO and NASA's twin STEREO spacecraft are analyzed over the 24 to 48 hour period. Forecasts are developed to predict fields and currents in Earth's upper atmosphere and propagate these currents down to the ground. Alerts can be generated to allow utilities to temporarily disconnect transformers from the grid. Hopefully, short term blackouts would prevent serious damage to the power grid. Solar Shield is experimental and has never been field-tested during a severe geomagnetic storm.
From ARRL Contest Update
Here's a simple Excel spreadsheet that illustrates the principles of intermod prediction by predicting intermod between up to five frequencies and two broadcast carriers. It is also unprotected with all the formulas visible, so you can see how to expand it to consider more channels or improve it.
Traveler Information Stations
Travelers' Information Stations (TIS) operate in the AM Broadcast Band and are limited to a 10 watt transmitter output power. The range of the stations is further limited by a maximum antenna height of 15 meters. The MN DOT operates WQDL429 on a frequency of 1610KHz near Cabela's. The purpose of a TIS is to share noncommercial information of interest to travelers. The FCC is proposing to expand the putpose to include broadcast of Amber alerts, public health warnings, terror threat levels, weather reports, and other helpful information. This might have been handy to have during the floods last fall when local broadcast stations also went off the air for an extended period.
From Multiple Sources
GPS devices are usually accurate for most day-to-day uses. The accuracy of the devices is limited, in part, on the the quality of the reception of satellite signals. Researchers are looking to improve the accuracy by adding sensors in shoes that would supplement the satellite information. A radar technique would detect the distance between the foot and the ground, sensing if you are moving or not.
Another group is looking to utilize manhole covers to supplement GPS data. The location, shape, and pattern of each manhole cover is logged. The exact position of the GPS device is reset once a cover is identified. Anyone want to undertake this for APRS?
From New Scientist
A conventional screen-printing technique is being used to deposit a thin layer of the ink, a luminescent gel, onto a surface.
The gel consists of a ruthenium compound that emits a bright light when a voltage is applied to it. The gel is an ionic liquid which does not easily evaporate and prevents the gel from degrading. The "ink" will not wash off in water, making it suitable for use with textiles, such as a light-emitting T-shirt. The team is developing techniques to deposit the gel onto surfaces using an ink-jet printer. Ink Jet provides smaller pixels is cheaper than the lithographic techniques.
E.coli Is Not Just for Disease Anymore
From Multiple Sources
We often see E.coli bacteris in the news for food-born illnesses. Researchers discovered data could be stored in the DNA bacteria. Each cell might be able to hold 5GB of data. While the data might survive a nuclear blast, mutation might corrupt the data.