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ARNewsline Report 1856 -- Mar 8 2013:

Bill Pasternak (WA6ITF) on March 8, 2013
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Amateur Radio Newsline™ Report 1856 – March 8 2013

The following is a QST. Scientists say Solar Cycle 24 may have two separate peaks; APRS found to extend the range of underground communications; a United Kingdom ham finds a long abandoned satellite that has come back to life; Last Man Standing to feature an episode with ham radio and Amateur Radio Newsline opens the nominating season for the 2013 Young Ham of the Year Award. Find out the details are on Amateur Radio Newsline™ report number 1856 coming your way right now.


Will 2013 be the year of the Solar maximum of Cycle 24 or have we already seen one and is there another prak yet to come. Some researchers think that the best has not happened yet because this could be another double cycle. Amateur Radio Newslines Heather Embee, KB3TZD, has the details:

Something unexpected appears to be happening on the sun. 2013 is supposed to be the year of Solar Max also known as the peak of Cycle 24. Yet 2013 has arrived and solar activity is relatively low. Sunspot numbers are well below their values in 2011, and strong solar flares have been infrequent for many months. The quiet has led some observers to wonder if forecasters missed the mark.

Dean Pesnell is a Solar physicist at the Goddard Space Flight Centre in Greenbelt, Maryland. He suggests that this is the solar maximum, but it looks different from what we expected because it will be double peaked.

Conventional wisdom holds that solar activity swings back and forth like a simple pendulum. At one end of the cycle, there is a quiet time with few sunspots and flares. At the other end, the Solar Max brings high sunspot numbers and solar storms with a regular rhythm that repeats every 11 years.

Reality, however, is more complicated. Astronomers have been counting sunspots for centuries, and they have seen that the solar cycle is not perfectly regular. For one thing, the back-and-forth swing in sunspot counts can take anywhere from 10 to 13 years to complete. Also, the amplitude of the cycle varies. Some solar maxima are very weak while others can be very strong.

And as researcher Pesnell notes, there is yet another complication. He says that the last two solar maxima, around 1989 and 2001, had not one but two peaks. He says that solar activity went up, dipped, and then resumed while performing a mini-cycle within the Solar Max that lasted about two years.

Pesnell says that the same thing could be happening now. He notes that sunspot counts jumped in 2011 and dipped in 2012. As such, he expects them to rebound again saying that another peak will happen in 2013 and possibly last into 2014. Lets hope he is right.

For the Amateur Radio Newsline, I’m Heatrher Embee, KB3TZD, in Burwick, Pennsylvania.

Another curiosity of the solar cycle is that the sun's hemispheres do not always peak at the same time. In the current cycle, the south has been lagging behind the north. The second peak, if it occurs, will likely feature the southern hemisphere playing catch-up, with a surge in activity south of the sun's equator. (SARL, NASA)


The resurgence in ham radio may partly be due to a renaissance in home building coupled with a need on the part of radio amateurs to serve their community. So says ARRL Executive Vice President Dave Sumner, K1ZZ’s, in a recent article appearing in the Urgent Communications on-line newsletter.

In his commentary Sumner notes that when amateurs began experimenting with radio more than a century ago, they had no choice but to build everything they needed. Some went on to become successful entrepreneurs, selling their creations to fellow hobbyists who were more interested in operating radios than in constructing them. Others built their own receivers and transmitters either from economic necessity or for the fun and satisfaction of being able to say, "I did it myself." This in turn lead to the era of kit building with such giants as Heathkit becoming household names in ham radio.

K1ZZ notes that the advent of solid-state devices, printed circuit boards, and automatic parts insertion removed the price advantage that kits enjoyed. By the time the Heath Company closed its doors in 1992, most amateur-radio equipment was being manufactured in Japan. But this has not stopped ham radio operators from continuing the art of home construction and this in itself has lead to a resurrection in the art of kit building. And this in turn has made portable emergency communications ability more attainable in the hobby.

As Dave Sumner notes, society has come to rely on a fragile telecommunications infrastructure that is susceptible to overload and outright failure. And while ham radio operators cannot substitute for all that infrastructure hams can communicate, no matter what.

You can read K1ZZ’s entire article on-line at (Urgent Communications)


An American satellite, abandoned in 1967 as a piece of space junk has begun transmitting again after 46 years and a ham radio operator is responsible for finding it. Amateur Radio Newsline’s Bruce Tennant, K6PZW, has more:

Phil Williams, G3YPQ, is an Amateur Radio Astronomer in North Cornwall in the U.K.. According to reports he accidentally picked up the signal and after cross checking with various lists, he identified it as LES 1.

LES 1 was built by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and launched in 1965. The satellite failed to reach its intended orbit owing to a wiring error and has been drifting out of control ever since.

Williams ran across it while monitoring near 237 MHz when he noticed a signal with a peculiar signal drift caused by the bird tumbling end over end every 4 seconds as the solar panels became shadowed by the satellites engine. Williams said that gives the signal a particularly ghostly sound as the voltage from the solar panels fluctuates.

The LES 1 satellite is about the size of a small car and is not likely to re-enter the atmosphere for a long time as the orbit is still relatively high. It poses no threat other than that caused by the thousands of other pieces of space junk currently in orbit. By now its likely that the on board batteries have now disintegrated so its likely that some other component failure has caused the transmitter to start up when its in sunlight bringing the ghost satellite back to life.

For the Amateur Radio Newsline, I’m Bruce Tennant, K6PZW, in Los Angeles.

G3YPQ says its remarkable to think that electronics built nearly 5 decades ago, 12 years before Voyager 1, and long before microprocessors and integrated circuits, is still capable of working in the hostile environs of space. He adds that listening to the signal one can easily imagine the craft tumbling over and over every 4 seconds and the transmitter starting up as the sun rises on its solar panels. (G3YPQ)


APRS works to extend communications range underground. So says the modes developer Bob Bruninga, WB4APR, who reports on an experiment that took place on March 2nd . One where he and several other hams tested the use of APRS as a means to extend radio communications underground in Mammoth Cave, Kentucky. Amateur Radio Newsline’s Stephan Kinford, N8WB, reports:

According to Bob Bruninga, WB4APR, typically, VHF and UHF radio in underground caves are limited to only a few hundred feet and strictly line-of-sight making their routine use of little value. But with APRS radios acting as packet digipeaters, these few hundreds of feet can be extended by an order of magnitude.

Bruninga says that in the test a total of 14 APRS equipped radios were used in the cave to establish a network almost a mile long providing real-time position and text message communications along the route. Cavers carried a map of the cave marked with a Latitude and Longitude grid so they could manually enter their position into their handheld APRS-equipped transceivers. Texting via APRS provided communications end to end.

Among the interesting findings were that UHF worked about 13% better than VHF withan average link distance of about 450 feet even in the large subway sized passages of Mammoth Cave. Also power did not seem to matter much. The Kenwood TH-D72 walkie-talkie performed as well as several portable 10 watt mobile radios housed in boxes.

Another advantage of using UHF for this APRS network was that individual links in other caves can just as easily be pre-tested by unlicensed cave explorers using inexpensive FRS radios. This way, all cavers can plan and individually test the topology of an APRS network before actually gathering the required APRS equipment and setting up the actual expedition.

For the Amateur Radio Newsline, I’m Stephan Kinford, N8WB, in Wadsworth, Ohio.

Bruninga says that the system could even include e-mail into the topside global APRS system. (WB4APR)

From the United States of America, We are the Amateur Radio Newsline, heard on bulletin stations around the world including the W7CSK repeater serving Everett, Washington.


The nominating season for the 2013 Amateur Radio Newsline Young Ham of the Year Award is now open.

Created in 1986, this award is offered to recognize the accomplishments of a radio amateur age 18 or younger for his or her accomplishments in service to the nation, his or her community or to the advancement of the state of the art through amateur radio.

Nominees must reside in the United States 50 states or its possessions or in any of the 10 Canadian provinces.

As in years past, corporate underwriter Yaesu USA will transport the winner to the Huntsville Hamfest in Huntsville , Alabama, where the award will be formally presented. Yaesu will also provide Hotel accommodations as well as convention tickets and a prize of Yaesu amateur radio equipment to the winner. CQ Magazine will again treat this year’s recipient to a week at Spacecamp-Huntsville. Heil Sound Ltd. will be gifting this year’s winner with an additional prize. Last but by no means least; Amateur Radio Newsline will present the winner with the official Young Ham of the Year Award plaque which is underwritten by Dave Bell, W6AQ, of DBA Entertainment in Hollywood, California.

Complete details, rules and a required nominating form in Adobe .pdf format are available on our website at Nominating forms can also be obtained by sending a self addressed stamped envelope to Amateur Radio Newsline Inc., 2013 Young Ham of the Year Award, 28197 Robin Avenue, Santa Clarita California, 91350.

Again the cutoff date for nominations is May 30, 2013. And please note that all nominating forms and support materials become the property of the Amateur Radio Newsline and cannot be returned. (ARNewsline™)


The FCC has notified Jared A. Bruegman of Bolivar, Missouri, a $10,000 Notice of Apparent Liability. This for his alleged operating of an unlicensed radio transmitter in the 20 meter band.

On December 18, 2012, in response to a complaint of interference to amateur radio communications, agents from the Enforcement Bureau’s Kansas City Office monitored a male voice transmitting on 14.312 MHz. They used direction finding to locate the source of the radio transmissions to an antenna mounted on a pole next to a residence in Bolivar, Missouri.

The agents quickly determined that the signals on 14.312 MHz exceeded the limits for operation under Part 15 of the Commission’s rules and therefore required a license. The Commission’s records showed that no authorization was issued to the address for operation of a radio transmitter on that frequency at that location.

Immediately after locating the source of the signals the agents inspected the unlicensed radio transmitter, which was located in a bedroom in the residence. The FCC says that Jared Bruegman was the only person present in the bedroom and the only male in the residence during the inspection.

At that time Bruegman admitted to the agents that he owned the radio transmitter. The agents observed that the transmitter was turned on and tuned to 14.311 MHz. Bruegman told the agents that he had no current Commission licenses, but that he previously held an Amateur Radio license with the call sign KC0IQN. Bruegman then told the agents he would remove the microphone from his transmitter and only use it as a receiver.

On February 25th the FCC issued the $10,000 proposed fine to the former ham. In doing so it noted that the evidence in this case is sufficient to establish that Jared A. Bruegman violated Section 301 of the Communications Act. He was given the usual 30 days to pay the amount in full or to file an appeal. (FCC)


Several broadcast groups are taking precautions to ensure their emergency alert units are secure. That’s in the wake of someone hacking into a station’s Emergency Alert System or EAS encoder/decoder through its connection to the Internet and programming a fake alert. One which the device then automatically transmitted.

Soon after the incident the FCC issued an order telling stations that they must change the passwords for their EAS encoders/decoders. This being especially urgent if the devices are still set with the factory default password.

As previously reported, the bogus alerts, which were initially broadcast over TV stations in Montana and Michigan, warned viewers of zombie attacks. The fake alerts occurred when someone knew or figured out the default password of EAS equipment and inserted the fake message into the EAS automatic forwarding system. (RW)


A traffic reporter for Colorado Springs, Colorado station KXRM found he couldn’t get into the downtown studio on Monday morning March 4th. This was because the locks on the building had been vandalized by filing them with glue.

Police told KXRM that a substance had been placed in the locks causing them to malfunction. The lock gluer also hit a Presbyterian church, the El Paso Democratic Party offices, City Hall and the Colorado Springs Independent newspaper.

Authorities say that they have identified a possible suspect despite the downtown surveillance cameras not working at the time. (BCF)


A follow-up on our recent story concerning the decision by Harbach Electronics to discontinue the manufacture of the Peter Dahl line of high performance transformers. Transformers that are used in the design and manufacture of many high power amplifiers around the world.

Late word is that Hammond Manufacturing of Cheektowaga, New York will be taking over the Peter Dahl line of from Harbach. According to both Harbach and Hammond, the two are working swiftly on the finalization of the acquisition and that the transfer of Peter Dahl brand assets will take place over the next few weeks.

Both Harbach and Hammond hope to have everything completed no later than March 31st. Keep an eye on the Hammond website at for the latest updates. (Hammond Mfg.)


Mouser Electronics, a name well known in the ham radio do it yourself movement, has announced the signing of a new international distribution agreement with Coilcraft, a leading magnetic component manufacturer, across the regions of Europe, Asia, Mexico and South America. Through this partnership, announced at Embedded World in Germany, Mouser is now stocking a wide range of Coilcraft’s magnetic and inductive products for immediate shipment.

Coilcraft provides magnetic components including high-performance RF chip inductors, power magnetics and filters in a variety of packages and a wide range of values. Designer’s kits are offered to help engineers learn the capabilities of these high- performance inductors.

According to Mouser President and CEO Glenn Smith, this agreement with Coilcraft helps further his company’s commitment to providing the newest products and technologies for design engineers from industry-leading suppliers. Smith adds that Mouser and Coilcraft are looking forward to a long- standing and successful partnership together. (Mouser Electronics, Power Systems Newsletter)


On the social scene, the 64th Lake Constance and the HAM RADIO 2013 Convention, both organized by Deutscher Amateur Radio Club will take place from Friday, June 28th through Sunday, June 30th, 2013 in Friedrichshafen, Germany. This event has long been considered Europe’s premiere ham radio gathering with attendees from around the world coming to take part.

One of the highlights of this years HAM RADIO gathering will be an informal international meeting for representatives of IARU member societies. It will be held at the Zeppelin Museum on Friday, June 28th. Event planners say that they will provide a shuttle bus that will take those attending from the exhibition halls to the museum.

If you are planning to attend from outside of Europe, the closest major city to fly into would be Munich. From the United States it is served by several major airlines including non-stop service from New York’s JFK International and Los Angeles International airports on Lufthansa and United.

More information on HAM RADIO 2013 can be found in the German language at www.hamradio- Planners say that they hope that you can be there this year. (DARC, DF2OO)


The 2013 South African Radio League’s National Convention and Annual General meeting will be held April 26th to the 28th at the Sulla Via Venue not far from Johannesburg. This years gathering will be hosted by the West Rand Amateur Radio Club with Kenny Neville from West Rand Astronomy Club as the featured guest speaker. If conditions are clear Neville’s talk may be followed by a sky gazing party. More information, further program details and reservation forms should be on-line right now at will be available on The planners hope to see many ham radio operators there. (SARL)

This is ham radio news for today’s radio amateur. From the United States of America, We are the Amateur Radio Newsline with links to the world from our only official website at and being relayed by the volunteer services of the following radio amateur:


World Amateur Radio Day is April 18th and according to the International Amateur Radio Union that sponsors the event the theme this year is Amateur Radio: Entering Its Second Century of Disaster Communications. Amateur Radio Newsline’s Cheryl Lasek, K9BIK, has the details:

According to the IARU announcement, the theme for 2013 of Amateur Radio: Entering Its Second Century of Disaster Communications is an excellent opportunity for amateur radio emergency communications groups to take advantage of the event to highlight the role amateur radio plays in disaster response.

Among the suggestions are for IARU member societies to arrange ham radio demonstrations in public places such as parks or shopping areas. The IARU says that such demonstrations in public areas usually generate inquiries and questions from the public about amateur radio. It adds that this makes it a great opportunity to attract new people to become members of the ham radio community.

The IARU notes that in 2013, April 18th is a weekday but that should not keep public activity from taking place either on the weekend before or after that date. Also, if you plan on holding a public demonstration, the IARU says not to forget to include some young people to show all ages are a part of this growing world wide public service oriented hobby.

For the Amateur Radio Newsline, I’m Cheryl Lasaek, K9BIK, in Zion, Illinois.

More information on World Amateur Radio Day is on the web at (IARU)


The BBC World Service says that its radio broadcasts in English are being jammed in China, suggesting the Chinese authorities were behind the disruption.

In a statement issued on Monday, February 24th the BBC said that it has received reports that World Service English shortwave frequencies are being jammed in China. It continued by stating that it strongly condemns this action which is designed to disrupt audience’s free access to news and information.

China, which enforces restrictions on its domestic media, has been accused by several foreign media distributors of trying to stop their news reports reaching Chinese audiences. A duty officer at China's foreign ministry had no immediate comment. (BBC)


In ham radio space related news, the IARU amateur radio satellite frequency coordination panel has announced the frequencies for the OSSI-1 CubeSat developed by Hojun Song DS1SBO. The 2 meter downlink will be on 145.980 MHz with an uplink and downlink on 437.525 MHz.

OSSI-1 is currently planned to launch on April 30th into a 575 kilometer 64.9 degree inclination orbit on a Soyuz-2-1b booster from the Baikonur launch facility in Kazakhstan. Other satellites to be launched on this mission include the Bion-M1, SOMP, BEESAT 2, BEESAT 3 and the Dove-2 satellites. (IARU Satellite Coordination)


A joint satellite venture of AMSAT and Vanderbilt University has been selected as one of the winning projects for the fourth round of their CubeSat Launch Initiative.

AMSAT partnered with the Institute for Space and Defense Electronics at Vanderbilt University to develop its winning proposal. The official name of the project is RadFxSat and it was selected at priority 15 out of the 24 winners.

Project selection was based on technical feasibility and the assessed merit for conducting technology demonstrations, education, and science research. The selected projects are eligible for a free launch on NASA Educational Launch of Nanosatellite missions as auxiliary payloads on launches planned for 2014, 2015 and 2016. The 24 winning CubeSat proposals came from universities, a Florida high school, non- profit organizations and NASA field centers. (ANS)


On the air, word that the 2013 Holyland Contest 2013 will be held from 2100z UTC on April 19th, and ends at 2100 UTC on April 20th. This year's contest goal will be to have as many Israeli mobile stations activating many different and rare squares for the "Holyland Award". Complete contest details and last year's results are available at (4Z4KX, IARC)


And keep an ear open for the German special event callsign D-L-100-Oh-U-I which will be on the air throughout 2013. This is in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the first commercial radio contact between that nation and the United States from village of Eilvese near the city of Hannover. OUI were the call letters of the German station at that time. The US station was located in Tuckerton, New Jersey. QSL this one as directed on the air. (Southgate)


In DX, word that TA1HZ will be in Somalia on a humanitarian mission from March 23rd to April 4th with the organization Yeryuzu Doktorlay. His primary purpose is as a doctor and but also plans some on the air time likely from the city of Mogadishu using the call T5TC. His operation will be on the High Frequency bands using a Kenwood radio and a Windom antenna. If you work him QSL to TA1HZ as per the details found in

OE1MWW will be active from the Maldives as 8Q7WK between March 9th to the 23rd. His operation will be holiday style on the High Frequency bands. QSL via his home callsign.

DF8DX will be operational from Tanzania as 5H1DX from April 20th to the 28th. Late reports say that he will be active from different islands including Pemba. QSL via his home call.

G3RWF will be on the air from Rwanda through March 12th likely usi8ng the call sign 9X0NH. Activity will be on most High Frequency bands using mainly CW with some SSB. Logs will be uploaded daily to Logbook of the World. QSL via G3RWF.

F2FD is now active stroke HR5 from Honduras and should be there through May 20th. He states that he will be active as much as possible on CW, SSB and RTTY. QSL via F6AJA or Logbook of the World.

SM6CUK will be operational as SA6G/7 from Ven Island between June 10th and the 17th. Activity will be holiday style on the HF bands. QSL via SM6CUK, direct or via the bureau.

Lastly, G0VJG will be on the air S79VJG from the Seychelles between April 4th to the 16th. Activity will be on the 40 through 10 meters using SSB. QSL via G4DFI.


And finally this week, Friday, March 15th is the date that ABC will air an episode of its hit situation comedy Last Man Standing that will involve amateur radio.

The episode is titled The Fight. In it, central character Mike Baxters daughter Mandy gets her cell phone taken away. She then uses Mikes home shack and amateur radio to make friends over the airwaves.

The shows producer John Amodeo, NN6JA. He tells Newsline that while he hopes amateur radio operators will enjoy watching, that they have to remember the episode was written keeping in mind the shows 7 million non-ham viewers who will be tuned in. Even so, he hopes that ham radio-wise the story line might serve an even more important purpose;

Amodeo: “Episode 217 of Last Man Standing is written about ham radio, but of coarse its written for the general public; so hams will probably notice some inconsistencies or inaccuracies. But what’s most important is that non hams ask questions about ham radio and perhaps learn something about ham radio; then we’ve accomplished something.”

Last Man Standing stars Tim Allen as Mike Baxter, who holds the fictitious call KA0XTT and has ham radio as his hobby. The show is produced by 20th Century Fox Television for the ABC Television Network and airs on Friday nights at 8 PM Eastern and Pacific and 7 Central. Check your local listings for the ABC station that carries Last Man Standing in your area. (ARNewsline™)


With thanks to Alan Labs, AMSAT, the ARRL, the CGC Communicator, CQ Magazine, the FCC, the Ohio Penn DX Bulletin, Radio Netherlands, Rain, the RSGB, the Southgate News, TWiT-TV and Australia's WIA News, that's all from the Amateur Radio Newsline™. Our e-mail address is newsline (at) arnewsline (dot) org. More information is available at Amateur Radio Newsline's™ only official website located at You can also write to us or support us at Amateur Radio Newsline™, 28197 Robin Avenue, Santa Clarita California, 91350

For now, with Bill Pasternak, WA6ITF, at the editors’ desk, I’m Skeeter Nash, N5ASH, saying 73 and we thank you for listening.

Amateur Radio Newsline™ is Copyright 2013. All rights reserved.

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