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HAM Radio is aboard !!

Amateur Radio is aboard during attempt to become oldest circumnavigator

02/18/2019

Jeanne Socrates, VE0JS/KC2IOV, is used to solitude. The lone 76-year-old yachtswoman passed the southern tip of Africa — some 300 miles to the north — on Valentine’s Day as she forged on toward Australia and New Zealand in her 38-foot sailing vessel Nereida. While underway, Socrates keeps in touch with a community of friends via Amateur Radio — although she had to yield to the ARRL International DX CW activity over the weekend — and she’s sticking to a schedule of 7.160 MHz at 0230 UTC daily. Socrates reported making contact with some ham radio friends on the US west coast on February 17. She’s been blogging her progress.

Jean Socrates and her array of marine radio gear

The retired math teacher and UK native also is no stranger to circumnavigating the globe, having already become the oldest woman to complete a solo, non-stop, unassisted round-the-world voyage. Ham radio served as her link to terra firma during her earlier adventures. Since 2013, she’s made two additional attempts to become the oldest person to circumnavigate Earth, the goal she’s now attempting to achieve. She departed Victoria, British Columbia, last October.

Two earlier attempts were cut short when her vessel was damaged in rough seas. Then, she suffered serious injuries in a fall last year.

Socrates is working around a damaged mainsail. “We seem to be having many more days of light wind giving slow speed, than stronger wind giving good speed — need a wind of well over 15 knots and, preferably, for us to be headed downwind. Any upwind travel immediately gives poor boat speed — that’s when the damaged mainsail is badly missed,” she recounted in a recent blog entry. She’s been using the vessel’s trisail — typically used for high-wind conditions — because the Nereida’s mainsail repair was showing signs that it might not hold up in the wind. Socrates said she’ll continue to work on the mainsail as time permits. — Thanks to Southgate Amateur Radio News for some information

Source: ARRL News

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HAM Population Grows

Amateur Radio Operator Population Growth

02/14/2019

The US Amateur Radio population once again grew by about 1%, based upon 2017 and 2018 year-end FCC database statistics provided by Joe Speroni, AH0A. The 755,430 total licensees represent nearly 7,300 more ticket holders than those that were in the database at the end of 2017. Nearly 51% of the Amateur Radio population in the US — 384,145 — hold a Technician license. Generals are second with 175,949, and Amateur Extras number 147,369. Advanced and Novice licensee populations continue to decline, with 39,607 Advanced and 8,360 Novices, as the FCC no longer issues Advanced or Novice licenses. A more significant statistic is 31,576 new FCC licenses last year, although that’s 620 fewer than came aboard in 2017.

“New amateur licenses granted by FCC are down 2% over last year,” noted ARRL Volunteer Examiner Coordinator (VEC) Manager Maria Somma, AB1FM, “but this is the fifth year in a row the total has been greater than 31,000. I predict that the number of new licensees will be more than 30,000 at the end of this year as well, and I’m optimistic this trend will continue.”

Upgrades also are down slightly, compared to last year — 9,456 in 2018 versus 9,576 in 2017, she added. “For the fifth year in a row, we have conducted more than 7,000 Amateur Radio exam sessions in a year — an important milestone for the ARRL VEC,” Somma recounted. “Our program continues to provide outstanding service to the ARRL, its members, and the entire Amateur Radio community.”

ARRL VEC filed a total 30,393 license application forms last year, compared to 31,014 in 2017. That includes new, upgrade, modification, renewal, and club station filings. At 7,035 in 2018, the number of exam sessions conducted by ARRL VEC marginally trailed the 7,075 held in 2017. ARRL VEC served 34,493 exam applicants in 2018, compared to 35,352 in 2017. Exam elements administered by ARRL decreased from 47,152 last year to 45,817 this year, Somma said. Nearly 1,800 new Volunteer Examiners (VEs) have been added to the ARRL VEC program.

Source: ARRL News

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Ham Radio/Better Engineers

Can learning ham radio make for better engineers and software developers ?

When a group of Navy engineers and software developers took time away from their day jobs in December, they spent the time pursuing a task long considered passe: they became licensed amateur radio operators.

Some 23 employees from Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division (NAWCWD) took a week-long class in amateur radio at Point Mugu, California culminating with an FCC amateur radio license test. All passed and are certified at the “technician” level for amateur radio operation.

Now, Navy officials say the move may make the workers better at their jobs. The staff gained an understanding of radio frequency (RF) propagation that’s essential to what they do, said Brian Hill, electromagnetic maneuver warfare experimentation lead and collaborative electronic warfare supervisor at NAWCWD.


Retired Senior Chief Information System Technician Lee Moburg, a wireless amateur radio (HAM) operator, manned the HAM radio at Naval Hospital Bremerton during a 2016 exercise. Some Navy leaders are turning to ham radios to improve understanding of electronic warfare. (Douglas H Stutz/ U.S. Navy)

Hill, who earned his amateur radio license in high school, noticed that while most of his department’s recent hires had degrees in computer science, many had little background in RF theory or operation.

“You can explain antenna patterns and concepts like omni-directional vs directional using Smith charts, but it’s helpful to add a demonstration to really convey the concept,” Hill said. “You can explain modulation as a concept, but for a demo… let them listen to how modulated digital signals with audio frequencies sound… For those who never knew the joy of hearing a 2400 bps modem connect over a telephone line, it was a new concept!” These concepts are central to electromagnetic maneuver warfare.

“We need to be able to have awareness of all threats and opportunities from [zero frequency] to light within an integrated system,” Hill said. “Our adversaries are looking at the entire spectrum to use against us, and we need to do the same. Having awareness of how the atmosphere changes from daylight to night and how that affects propagation of [high frequency] is important.”

This can be critical for young developers/engineers whose experience is typically limited to the UHF/EHF-based systems now in vogue across communications, guidance and ISR technologies.

When Ian Mann, the division’s target design engineering branch head, heard about Hill’s class, he wanted his team to attend as well. Having earned his own license, when he previously worked at drone-maker Aerovironment, Mann knew the course could help inspire ideas among engineers.

“When I talked to Brian and found out his small class was already on a waiting list, I knew we needed to make the class bigger,” he said. “Many of our engineers know their specializations, but rarely does an aeronautical engineer think about how he changes the polarization of the C2 antenna when the airplane banks for a turn. They are not just moving the airplane but the antenna too. This has already started conversations and I hope many more continue.”

Taught by a local amateur radio instructor, students enjoyed the course, he said.

“It was worth the effort and people are already asking to go to the next class offering,” Mann said.

“We are looking at doing a fox hunt soon,” Hill said. “The team will design a directional antenna, actually build it in class, and then use their antennas to find a hidden RF beacon somewhere on base.”

Similar plans for developers to get hands-on experience performing basic electronic warfare support functions are in the works as are potential cross-disciplinary classes in additive manufacturing.

Article by Eric Tegler on Electronic Warfare News in C4ISRNET

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Ham Radio’s Enduring Appeal

A CBC Story by Paul Colbourne · for CBC N.L. · Posted: Jan 27, 2019 7:00 AM

It’s not just a hobby. In a crisis, amateur operators provide a lifeline !!

Larry Horlick (VO1FOG) still marvels when he thinks about what happens when he turns on his ham radio.

“I’m taking my voice and that radio is converting it into an electrical signal and the amount of electrical energy that he is receiving is so minuscule,” said Horlick, a Coley’s Point resident who is one of a group of radio enthusiasts in Conception Bay North.

Amateur radio was around for nearly a century before the internet, and to this day is the only form of communication that does not depend on a network.

Larry in his station at VO1FOG

Even in a world of smartphones, Facebook and texting, ham radio still holds a mystique for many people. More than two million people around the world still use the technology. Of the estimated 40,000 users in Canada, as many as 1,500 live in Newfoundland and Labrador.

An amateur radio user can connect with anyone practically around the world. The only countries that do not allow amateur radio operators are North Korea and Yemen.

The legacy, and appeal, of Marconi

If amateur radio has a prophet, it surely would be Guglielmo Marconi, the communications pioneer who in proved — in St. John’s — that radio waves follow the curvature of the Earth by bouncing off the ionosphere.

No longer did telegraph wires or “ground waves” bind communication. Now it was possible to talk to anyone in the world who also had a transmitter and receiver.

“When other hams discover you are from Newfoundland, they want to know about Signal Hill,” said Horlick, referring to the place where Marconi received a wireless transmission in December 1901. Carbonear ham radio operator David Parsons agreed the allure is strong with colleagues. “A friend of mine visited me last year and that is one of the things he had to do — go to Signal Hill and see where it all started,” Parsons said.

Right in the middle of the action

Geographically, Newfoundland is in the centre of a lot of amateur radio activity, because it happens to be between Europe and the rest of North America.

“We’re centrally located — you’ve got everything all around us here,” Parsons said, pointing to a screen to see which parts of the world are likely to be reachable. “It’s a really good spot for radio.”

For many enthusiasts, amateur radio is a hobby.  They log their daily “QSOs,” or contacts. While talking to other people around the world, they exchange weather, call signs or other information.

There are contests on who can make the most contacts over a certain amount of time. Some even talk to astronauts on the International Space Station.


Amateur radio operators like Parsons have made contacts around the world, including this station in Norway, LA4UOA

However, this hobby has a serious side as well.  In the event of natural disasters or other emergencies — when more conventional forms of communication go down — amateur radio operators are called on to help.

In the summer of 2017, for example, damage to  fibre optic cables meant that internet and phone services failed in much of Atlantic Canada.
Parsons and other amateur operators helped keep communications open. They were on alert to help ambulances and other emergency personnel locate people in distress or to just relay information from one station to another. The incident proved that a communications system that gets taken for granted can be vulnerable.

“The internet, the world wide web, is just that. It’s a web of interconnected signals that are transmitted by satellite,” said Parsons, adding that the chance of failure becomes greater as the world becomes more interconnected with Wi-Fi, satellites and cellular towers.

Parsons and Horlick both belong to BARK — the Baccalieu Amateur Radio Klub — which operates in the Conception Bay north area. The club holds an annual field day every year where about a dozen local operators use only generated power to make contact with hundreds of other operators worldwide.

The Society of Newfoundland Amateur Radio — or SORNA — is another organization that is trying to recruit new members through education and community outreach.

Becoming an amateur radio operator, though, it is not as simple as buying the equipment. After all, a ham radio is capable of operating in the commercial radio spectrum, where ships and air traffic controls operate. Operators require a licence, and the licensing process is a verification of your skill.  

“You really got to know what you are doing, so you do not interfere with their operations,” said Horlick. “That could be very dangerous.”

Source: CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

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ARRL Audio News

ARRL Audio News

Listen to the new episode of ARRL Audio News on your iOS or Android podcast app, or online at http://www.blubrry.com/arrlaudionews/. Audio News is also retransmitted on a number of FM repeaters. Click here and then scroll down to see the list.

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QRP-ARCI Four Days in May

12/17/2018

Registration  is now open for the QRP Amateur Radio Club International “Four Days in May” (FDIM), Thursday – Sunday, May 16 – 19, at the Holiday Inn, Fairborn, Ohio. The annual FDIM event for QRP enthusiasts and builders takes place in conjunction with Hamvention®. Registration begins the evening of Wednesday, May 15.

Most of Thursday will be taken up with seminars, “meet the speakers” opportunities, and an open room for casual show and tell. Most of Friday and Saturday are open to attend the Hamvention and visit the QRP-ARCI Toy Store.

Friday evening activities typically include “show and tell,” vendor displays, and a homebrew contest. Saturday evening features social activities and a banquet, while Sunday is open for Hamvention. Attendees are invited to display their QRP-related projects at FDIM. One evening will feature vendors offering QRP-related products, with some offering FDIM discounts. Dress is casual for all events.

Reservations and special room rates for FDIM will be available after January 1 through the QRP-ARCI website. For more information, contact FDIM 2019 Chair Norm Schklar, WA4ZXV. 

Source: ARRL Website

Kevin N1KL Site Administrator

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Santa’s Radio Club Special Event Set for Dec. 1 – 8

11/28/2018
The annual Santa’s Radio Club Special Event from 200 kilometers above the Arctic Circle will be on the air December 1 – 8 as OH9S — OH9Santa. Activity will be mainly on 160 – 6 meters using all modes, including FT8. QSL via Club Log’s OQRS (preferred) or LoTW.

Contacts will be automatically confirmed via the bureau. Operating from Finnish Lapland, OH9S will not employ any remote stations and will let propagation decide when and where contacts are possible.


“Yes, we know it is not easy to contact us while we are mostly operating from above the Arctic Circle, but that’s part of the game!” the announcement said. “This is the most northernmost Santa station in Finland.” Multiple stations will be on the air.
Due to anticipated poor radio conditions, OH9S will focus activity on FT8.

Tis the season gang, and this may be a fun challenge to try and work the SANTA station during the Christmas season.   Good luck,  and if anyone works them,  put a post up on the website to let us know !!

Regards, Kevin N1KL

Source: ARRL Website

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New US Submarine Forces Commander is Radio Amateur

08/13/2018

US Navy Vice Admiral Charles A. “Chas” Richard, W4HFZ, assumed command of US submarine forces during a change-of-command ceremony on August 4, held aboard the submarine USS Washington (SSN-787). He assumed command from Vice Admiral Joseph Tofalo. An ARRL Life Member, Richard, 58, is well-known in the AMSAT and APRS communities. He had been serving as the deputy commander of US Strategic Command at Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska.

Vice Admiral Charles A. “Chas” Richard, W4HFZ

A radio amateur since 1974, Richard said on his qrz.com profile that he is active on 6 and 2 meters, as well as on HF when the VHF bands are closed. He also enjoys digital satellite operations. Richard has been on active US Navy duty since 1982

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LoTW Support for CQ Worked All Zones (WAZ) Award

04/02/2018


ARRL and CQ magazine have announced the launch, effective immediately, of Logbook of The World (LoTW) support for CQ’s Worked All Zones (WAZ) Award program. The goal of the project, under way since last year, has been to create the proper technical support system to enable radio amateurs to submit LoTW confirmations for WAZ credit, and that has been accomplished, CQ and ARRL said in a joint statement. LoTW already supports CQ’s WPX Award program.

“We are very pleased that participants in CQ’s WAZ award program will now be able to use their LoTW confirmations for award credit,” CQ Editor Rich Moseson, W2VU, said. “CQ WPX Award participants have found it very helpful, and we are sure it will be equally helpful for those pursuing WAZ and its many variations.”

ARRL First Vice President Greg Widin, K0GW, concurred. “Users of LoTW have been telling us for some time that they would like to use QSLs from LoTW to apply for the WAZ award,” he said. “They will now be able to select confirmations to be used for WAZ credit.”

Beta testing has been under way since mid-December 2017 to bring the WAZ Award program into LoTW, and the LoTW technical support team has addressed any problems in the implementation that testers uncovered. Documentation also was improved through feedback from beta testers.

At the same time, each LoTW user was given an additional WAZ account. Standard LoTW credit fees and separate CQ award fees will apply.

LoTW — ARRL’s electronic confirmation system for Amateur Radio contacts —provides contact confirmation when both stations upload their logs to the system, and a match between the logs is confirmed. LoTW has supported the CQ WPX Award program since 2012.

Source: ARRL Website

N1KL  Kevin

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“CQ Students” From Space Station

03/16/2018

The deadline is April 30 for US schools, museums, science centers, and community youth organizations (working individually or together) to submit proposals to host an Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) contact with an orbiting crew member on the International Space Station (ISS). Contacts would be scheduled between January 1 and June 30, 2019.

Each year, ARISS provides tens of thousands of students with opportunities to learn about space technologies and communications through Amateur Radio. The program provides learning opportunities by connecting students to astronauts aboard the ISS through a partnership between ARRL, AMSAT, and NASA, as well as other Amateur Radio organizations and worldwide space agencies. The program’s goal is to inspire students to pursue interests and careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and Amateur Radio.

“Educators overwhelmingly report that student participation in the ARISS program stimulates interest in STEM subjects and in STEM careers,” ARISS said in announcing the contact opportunities. “As one educator wrote, ‘It exceeded our expectations — it created a great interest in both Amateur Radio and in space exploration. Our kids are completely inspired!’”

More than 90% of educators who have participated in the program have indicated that ARISS provided ideas for encouraging student exploration and participation. Some of them even become radio amateurs after experiencing a contact with an ISS crew member.

ARISS is looking for organizations that will draw large numbers of participants and integrate the contact into a well-developed, exciting education plan. Students can learn about satellite communications, wireless technology, science research conducted on the ISS, radio science, and any related STEM subject. Students learn to use Amateur Radio to talk directly to an astronaut and ask their STEM-related questions. ARISS will help educational organizations locate Amateur Radio groups who can assist with equipment for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for students.

Proposal webinars for guidance and getting questions answers will be offered on Thursday, March 29, at 7 PM EDT (0000 UTC on Friday, March 30) and on Monday, April 16, at 4 PM EDT (2100 UTC). Advance registration is required. More details, such as expectations, proposal guidelines, and the proposal form, are on the ARISS website. — Thanks to ARISS via Dave Jordan, AA4KN

Source: ARRL Ham Radio News

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