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ARNewsline Report 1860 -- Apr 5 2013:

Bill Pasternak (WA6ITF) on April 5, 2013
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Amateur Radio Newsline™ Report 1860 – April 5

2013

Im Bill Pasternak WA6ITF and now here is this weeks newscast with Skeeter Nash, N5ASH.

Thanks Bill.

Now, Amateur Radio Newsline report number 1860 with a release date of April 5 2013 to follow in 5-4-3-2-1.

The following is a QST. The FCC says it is reviewing RF exposure limits in all radio services; a look at the possible candidates to be the next FCC Chairman; a UK ham’s signal is heard 2000 Kilometers away with only 10 milliwatts from a Raspberry Pi transmitter; the tiny Baofeng HT becomes a paradise for makers and hackers and the story of how ham radio help to stop a civil war. All this and more on Amateur Radio Newsline™ report number 1860 coming your way right now.

RADIO LAW: FCC TO REVIEW RF EXPOSURE POLICIES

Amateur Radio operations on all levels may be impacted by an FCC decision to review the agency’s R-F exposure policies. Amateur Radio Newsline’s Bruce Tennant, K6PZW explains:

The FCC is re-evaluating its RF exposure policies. This as the agency says that it wants to update its guidelines and make sure they comply with the National Environmental Policy Act or N-E-P-A requirements for environmental reviews. Especially those related to health and safety of RF emissions from just about all types radio transmitters.

To accomplish this, the commission has released a Report and Order and a Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in ET Docket 13-84, and a Notice of Inquiry named ET Docket 03-137.

In the Report and Order the commission concludes several technical and semantic issues initiated in 2003 that revise and update its regulations implementing the National Environmental Policy Act. In the Further Notice the agency proposes to update and revise its procedures and treat all services equally. And in the inquiry the FCC seeks public input to determine whether its RF exposure limits and policies need to be reassessed including those that pertain to amateur radio.

The overall inquiry focuses on the propriety of existing standards and policies, possible options for precautionary exposure reduction, possible improvements to the FCC’s equipment authorization process and policies as they relate to RF exposure. The commission proposes to revise and harmonize the criteria for determining whether single or multiple fixed, mobile, or portable RF sources should be routinely evaluated for compliance with the RF exposure limits or exempted from such evaluations.

No matter the outcome, ham radio installations appear likely to be included in any final action. This is because the agency says that it will codify in its rules the extent to which occupation controlled RF exposure limits apply to amateur radio licensees. This policy was established in the RF Report and Order of 1996, but was not incorporated in the rules at that time.

More specifically the FCC says that amateur radio operators are knowledgeable about the appropriate use of their equipment and as such that separation distances are likely to be maintained to ensure compliance with the agency’s exposure limits. However, since the existing amateur exemptions are based only on transmitter power and do not consider separation distance or antenna gain, exempt transmitting antennas that are unusually close to people could potentially lead to non-compliant exposure levels.

As one example the FCC cites that a separation distance of at least 24 feet would meet its proposed exemption criteria. This, considering a currently-exempt 50-watt transmitter at VHF in accord with section 97.13(c) and assuming an antenna gain of 6 dBd. The FCC adds that the existing classification of amateur exposure as occupational is consistent with use of its proposed general exemption criteria based on general population exposure limits because awareness of exposure greater than the general population limits is required in all occupational settings, including amateur radio households.

The FCC goes on to state that the application of the general exemptions proposed to amateur radio installations would preclude the possibility of overexposure and require further evaluation only when necessary, giving guidance for both fixed and mobile transmitting antennas. As such it invites comment as to the impact of this proposal on the amateur community.

Parties that support maintaining the current exemption based on power alone are requested to explain how it provides adequate assurance that the public is protected against exposure to RF energy in excess of FCC limits and the extent of the burden imposed by this proposal. The FCC is also encouraging interested parties to comment on the relative costs and benefits of the proposed changes as well as those of alternative approaches.

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

Both the Report and order and the proposed changes can be read in their entirety in .pdf format at tinyurl.com/fcc-rf-standards-2013. Comments on Docket item 03-137 will be due 90 days after publication in the Federal Register. (FCC, RW)

COMMUNICATIONS POLITICS: CHOOSING THE NEXT FCC CHAIRMAN WONT BE POLITICALLY EASY

President Obama will likely face some difficult political decisions over who should replace Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski.

The reported front-runner, Tom Wheeler, faces opposition from some consumer groups over his former ties to the cable and mobile industries, while junior FCC member Jessica Rosenworcel, a favorite of 37 Democratic senators, could prove problematic. This is because the President would have to bypass senior FCC member Mignon Clyburn who is the daughter of Representative James Clyburn of South Carolina’s 6th District.

Karen Kornbluh, ex-ambassador to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, and Larry Strickling, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration chief, are seen as possible compromise candidates. Even so, no matter whom the President picks will likely not have an easy confirmation process other than Clyburn or Rosenworcel who are already seated Commissioners.

For a deeper look at the decision that t President Obama faces in making his decision on who will replace Julius Genachowski as head of the FCC please take your web browsers to tinyurl.com/next-fcc-chair. (The Hill)

COMPUTER DXING: 2000 KM USING 10 MILLIWATTS FROM A RASPBERRY PI

Eddie Bennett, G3ZJO, of Northampton in the United Kingdom is not making any claims. Even so he may now hold a Q-R-P distance record for a micro power transmission using a Rasberry Pi microcomputer as a transmitter.

Bennett reportedly used the 10 milliwatts of RF that can be generated from the Raspberry Pi computer board to be heard at over 2000 km on the 7 MHz band. The Raspberry Pi board can be made to operate as a WSPR mode transmitter covering Low, High and VHF frequencies up to 250 MHz. G3ZJO connected the board via a low pass filter to a dipole for the 7 and 14 MHz bands. A small Marconi inverted L at a height of only 6 meters was used on 472 kHz.

Among the stations who received his WSPR signal on 40 merters was LA9JO in grid square JP99 at a distance of 2124 km. On 20 meters he was heard by LY2BOS in grid KO24 at a distance of 1736km. 472 kHz did not fare anywhere near as well. Even so he was heard some 80 kilometers away by G4KPX in grid JO02.

If you want to give micro power Raspberry Pi DXing a try, the PE1NNZ code and binary to turn the mini computer into a super QRP signal emitter is available at tinyurl.com/raspberry-pi-transmitter. And we will have some more traditional DX news later on in this weeks newscast. (Southgate)

From the United States of America, We are the Amateur Radio Newsline, heard on bulletin stations around the world including the Catalina Repeater Association serving Los Angeles and Orange County California from 26 miles across the sea.

RADIO LAW: COALITION OF BROADCAST INVESTMENT WANTS TO PERMIT MORE FOREIGN OWNERSHIP OF US BROADCAST PROPERTIES

If a group representing investment holders in United States broadcast properties has its way then we could see major foreign investment and there-by control of broadcasting here in the United States. Amateur radio Newsline’s Stephan Kinford, N8WB, tells us what the broadcast investors want and how the FCC is reacting:

The idea of loosening the FCC’s restrictions on foreign investment in United States media holdings and vice versa has taken another step. This with the issuance of MB Docket 13-50 by the FCC.

MB Docket 13-50 is based on a letter to the regulatory agency from the Coalition for Broadcast Investment. It says Congress intended the current 25% limit on foreign investment to be a flexible benchmark, not a rigid cap. They also claim that in this age when consumers can get their media from a numerous sources that the restriction is too severe.

The Coalition for Broadcast Investment had previously asked the commission to clarify its policies that restrict foreign ownership and voting interests in entities that hold commission licenses to no more than 25% in the parent company of a broadcast licensee.

This restriction on foreign investment in United States broadcast properties was enacted some 80 years ago. It dates to a time when the Congress believed allowing too much foreign control over a U.S. broadcaster posed a threat to national security. The big question that the FCC must now decide if foreign interests controlling U-S broadcast properties are in the best interest of national security or if they are the same or possibly worse then when the ownership limit was put in place eight decades ago.

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

The FCC is taking public comments on the letter from the coalition as MB Docket 13-50. Comments are due April 15th and replies by April 30th. And you can read an interesting view on this entire matter on the Comm Law Blog. Its in cyberspace at tinyurl.com/foreign-broadcast-ownership. (FCC, RW)

ENFORCEMENT FOLLOW-UP: $15000 FLORIDA FINE AFFIRMED

And a follow-up in the case of Florida resident Pierre Nixon Jean who was issue a monetary forfeiture of fifteen thousand dollars on June 14th of 2012. This, for his alleged operation of an unlicensed radio station on the frequency 92.5 MHz in the city of West Palm Beach.

According to the FCC, Jean never filed any form of response to the proposed fine. Therefore, based on the information at hand the FCC affirmed the forfeiture on February 28th and gave Jean the customary 30 days to pay. At airtime it’s not known if this forfeiture has or has not been collected. (FCC)

ENFORCEMENT FOLLOW-UP: MORE ON BROCKTON MASSACHUSETTS UNLICENSED FM STATION CASE

A follow-up to our recent story about an unlicensed radio station in Brockton, Massachusetts that interfered with aviation communications in the greater Boston area. A warrant has been unsealed in U.S. District Court that details the seizure of radio transmission equipment. We have more in this report:

As reported two weeks ago, the seizure by federal officials on March 1st occurred at the unlicensed station’s last known address on Rutland Street in the city of Brockton, Massachusetts. The station is alleged to have been using frequency 91.7 MHz without a license from the FCC. A civil action was brought seeking forfeiture of the equipment because it was allegedly being used in violation of federal law.

According to an affidavit filed with the civil complaint, the unlicensed FM radio station was causing interference to a Federal Aviation Administration frequency of 120.6 MHz. This is one of the primary frequencies used by pilots to communicate with FAA controllers when flying in the Boston metropolitan area. The FCC had previously issued verbal and written warnings to the residents of the Rutland Street address on several occasions, but the radio station continued to broadcast.

Now the government appears to have decided to pursue the matter further. United States Attorney Carmen Ortiz and FCC Enforcement Chief Michele Ellison jointly made the announcement that the case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Christine Wichers of Ortiz’s Civil Division. Exactly what form this prosecution will take is unknown as we go to air.

For the Amateur Radio Newsline, I’m Bill Pasternak, WA6ITF, in the newsroom in Los angeles.

The Communications Act of 1934 prohibits the operation of radio broadcasting equipment without a license issued by the FCC. The Act also authorizes the seizure and forfeiture of any electronic or radio frequency equipment used to broadcast without such a license. More on this latest development is on-line at tinyurl.com/brockton-followup. (DoJ, FCC)

HAM HACKING: BAEFONG UV-3R BECOMES HACKERS PARADISE

The tiny and very inexpensive Baefong (PRON BAY FONG) dual band H-T has developed a big following among the makers and hackers in ham radio. So much so that the DIY site Hack A Day reports on how you can write new firmware for the UV-3R to make it do things that its developers likely never thought of. You can see for yourself what’s going on with this tiny set as the hackers and makers have a literal field day with it at tinyurl.com/uv3r-hack. (Hack A Day)

RADIO HONORS: RCA SEEKING NOMINATIONS FOR FELLOW STATUS

Radio Club of America members please take note that the organizations Awards Committee is asking you to nominate those among you whom you feel deserves Fellow status in the group. Please download the nomination package in .PDF format at tinyurl.com/rca- fellow-form, fill it out and return it. The deadline for accepting nominations is April 15 and they can be emailed to pat (at) radioclubofamerica (dot) org or faxed to 973- 838-7124. According to Wikipedia, Fellows are the highest grade of membership of most professional or learned societies. (RCA)

NAMES IN THE NEWS: N4TZ NAMED NEW DIRECTOR OF WPX CONTESTS AT CQ

Some names in the news. First up is Terry Zivney, N4TZ, who has been named Director of the CQ World Wide WPX Contests, effective immediately. Licensed since 1961, Zivney has had numerous top-five USA finishes in the single-operator all-band low power category of various CQ and ARRL DX contests. He also competed in the 2010 World Radiosport Team Championship in Russia, and has had three articles published in the National Contest Journal. Zivney succeeds Randy Thompson, K5ZD, who has been WPX Contest Director since 2008. (CQ)

NAMES IN THE NEWS: LATEST HANDHELD RADIO WEBSITE LAUNCHED

Bill Carmichael has launched a website to provide information on the latest handheld radio technology. The site includes product reviews and articles from radio enthusiasts globally discussing what they consider their own best handheld radio gear. Ham radio wise the quad band Yaesu VX-8DR and the dual band Yaesu FT-60R handhelds are among the radios featured on the site. You can read for yourself at www.besthandheldradios.com. (Southgate)

NAMES IN THE NEWS: G6LBQ AND 2E0SDR FORM DXKITS PARTNERSHIP

Andy Hunter, G6LBQ, says that he is releasing the MKII version of his multi-band transceiver through a partnership with Adrian Lane, 2E0SDR. The two have formed a company called DX KITS that will operate on-line from their new dxkits.com website that Andy says is operational but still in the development stage. DX Kits will be the sole worldwide supplier for the G6LBQ MKII and all of Andy's future developments. You can follow developments on at dxkits.com as well as the G6LBQ Yahoo group at groups.yahoo.com/group/G6LBQ. (G6LBQ, 2E0SDR)

HAMVENTION 2013: A FLEA MARKET HELPING HAND FROM W9FIZ

Barry Gose , W9FIZ, has announced over the Dayton Hamvention reflector that he will be providing a number of really needed services at this year Hamvention gathering. Barry says that he has rented a pair of Flea Market spaces where he will have available free of charge access to both 110 volts AC line and 12 volts DC for testing newly purchased gear along with a watt meter and dummy load to test the output of HF, VHF and UHF transmitters. He does state that linear amplifiers are excluded.

But that’s not all. Barry’s booth will also have a vacuum tube tester to check purchased tubes and he also plans on running a paging service on 147.525 MHz simplex in the 2 meter band. Last but by no means least will be access to free advertisement boards for those looking to buy or sell radio gear. He says that you can e-mail him your ads in advance to w9fiz (at) arrl (dot) net or just drop them by his booth on standard 3 inch by 5 inch file cards. Photos are also OK and will be posted if he has room on the board.

There is no charge for any of these services but W9FIZ says that he will graciously accept donations to offset the cost of doing it again next year.

Gose says that the reason he decided to provide this service is that from hearing year after year from other hams that go to Dayton and who ask why someone has not done something like this. Well this year it is going to happen at Flea Market spaces FW 3976 and FW 3977 located along the north fence of the Hara Arena near gate E thanks to Barry Gose, W9FIZ. (Hamvention remailer)

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 www.arnewsline.org and being relayed by the volunteer services of the following radio amateur:

RADIO SCIENCE: IMPROVED FREED VHF DIGITAL AUDIO SOFTWARE NOW AVAILABLE

A new upgrade to FreeDV has been released. Amateur Radio Newsline’s Heather Embee, KB3TZD has the details:

FreeDV is a part of a ham radio developed digital audio system that should eventually allow just about any SSB radio and any computer operating system to be teamed together. This to enable transmission and reception of what developers call high quality narrow-band digital audio for the High Frequency amateur radio bands.

To make this happen speech is compressed and then modulated onto a 1100 Hz wide QPSK signal which is sent to the microphone input of a SSB radio. On receive, the signal is demodulated and decoded by the FreeDV software.

The new upgrade called version dot 96 became available on March 23rd. It provides a 1600 bit-per-second mode that communicates at much lower signal levels than previously envisioned. As such, signals should be readable down to a 2 dB Signal to Noise Ratio, and long-distance contacts have already been reported using only 1 to 2 watts power. A compatibility mode for communication with the older dot 91 version is included.

Developers say that an executable program for Windows is presently available. Also that Linux and other platforms will follow shortly.

FreeDV was brought into being by an international team of radio amateurs working together on coding, design, user interface and testing. It is open source software, released under the GNU Public License version 2.1. The FDMDV modem and Codec 2 Speech codec used in FreeDV are also open source.

For the Amateur Radio Newsline, I’m Heather Embee, KB3TZD, in Berwick, Pennsylvania.

The new version of FreeDV for Windows along with documentation and a demonstration video is available from freedv.org. (VK2JI)

WORLDBEAT: FINAL IARU-R1 VIENNA 2013 PAPERS RELEASED

Turning to international news, the final set of VHF/UHF/Microwave papers for presentation at the International Amateur Radio Union Region 1 Interim meeting have been released. Included are such topics as Increased Amateur-Satellite Service 144MHz Usage; Recommendations for DATV Transmission; a Region 1 Satellite Coordinator Report; New Narrow-Band working frequencies in the 2300– 2450 MHz band and 2400MHz Amateur Satellites. The meeting will be held in Vienna, Austria, on April 20th to the 21st. You can download these papers for your own reading at tinyurl.com/iaru-vienna-presentations.

(IARU-R1)

WORLDBEAT: YOUNGSTERS ON THE AIR CAMP 2013

The 2013 "Youngsters On The Air" European youth radio camp will be held near Tartu, Estonia from August 5th to the 12th.

This year there will be 10 teams participating from different member societies of Region One of the International Amateur Radio Union. During the week long event the young radio amateurs will be participating in different activities including contesting, visiting radio station installations, a radio observatory and much more.

The 2013 camp is organized by the Estonian Radio Amateurs Union. Two previous "Youngsters On The Air" events in Romania and Belgium and the Netherlands have shown that it will be a great experience for the Europe’s young hams which they will likely never forget. (IRTS)

WORLDBEAT: AUSTRALIA’S NORTH QUEENSLAND HAM CONVENTION IN JEOPARDY

Australia’s North Queensland Amateur Radio convention in jeopardy and could be cancelled. This as word that the Charters Towers convention venue has had to close its doors due to poor local patronage and mounting debts.

The Wireless Institute of Australia News Service reports that moves are afoot to find another single locations or combination of venues in Charters Towers area to house the North Queensland ham radio outing. More information will be made public as it becomes available. (TATC Inc., WIA)

PROPAGATION STUDY: NEW 70CM BEACON FROM DENMARK

A new 70cm beacon based upon the Next Generation Beacon platform has come to the airwaves from Denmark. The OZ7IGY beacon on 432.471 MHz became operational on March 30th and is expected to remain very stable in frequency as the transmitter is locked to a GPS receiver.

The transmission sequence is timed to start at 00 second sending PI4 followed by a short pause then CW ID sending callsign and locator. Its then is in carrier only mode until next cycle begins.

The OZ7IGY 70 centimeter beacon joins its counterparts on 6, 4 and 2 meters operating from the same location and running the same ttransmission sequence. All four use the PI4 digital modulation system which was specifically designed to work with beacons and propagation studies in mind. You can download the PI-RX to decode PI4 at tinyurl.com/pirx-beacon-software. (DX News)

DX

In DX, a team of 15 German operators will be active as 5W0M from Le Lagoto, Samoa through April 18th. Operation will be on 80 through 6 meters using CW, SSB and RTTY plus 2 meter EME. They plan to have four stations active simultaneously. QSL HF through 6 meters via DL4SVA, direct or by the Bureau and EME QSOs to DL9MS.

CT1FTR is now active from the Sudan as ST2FT operating both the HF and VHF bands using a Yaesu FT-857 and a loop antenna. Word is that he will be there until June. QSL via CT1FTR.

H3QFL and JH3AZC will be operational as V6H and V6S respectively from Pohnpei Island beginning April 29th and continuing through May 5th. They will be active on 80 through 6 meters using SSB, CW, and RTTY and JT65. QSL direct to each operators home call.

2E1EUB will be operational from eastern side of Scotland in the Cairngorms National Park as 2M1EUB through April 13th. Activity will be on 160, 80, and several satellites as well as 2m SSB. Check out QRZ.com under 2M1EUB for more information.

DL6JGN and DL2AWG will be on the air from Tokelau as ZK3N between April 15th and the 30th and not April 23rd and May 8th as first announced. The reason for the date change is that the shipping service used has changed it boat schedule from Samoa to the Tokelau Islands. If you work this one QSL as directed by the operators.

A group of at least fourteen operators and growing are expected to be on the air from Amsterdam Island for 18 days beginning on January 15th of 2014. Further information will be released as things progress toward the operations start-up date.

Lastly, members of Mexico’s Club de Radio Experimentadores de Occidente are celebrating the 80th anniversary of the founding of their organization using the special callsign 4A1TD. Look for this call during various contests as throughout the year. The QSL Manager is XE1GZU.

(Above from various DX news Sources)

THAT FINAL ITEM: HAM RADIO STOPS A CIVIL WAR

And finally this week the story of ham radios connection to ending a war. Heres Jason Law, VK2LAW:

To stem the flow of weapons from Mozambique into KwaZulu- Natal, a two-man special operations team was inserted into Mozambique for this mission.

One of those two persons was Anthony Turton, selected in part because of his skills as a radio operator, which was deemed to be a necessary element for the success of this high risk but strategically important mission.

Anthony used these skills, honed to a high level of technical competence as an active radio amateur, to gain strategic access to the rebel group RENAMO.

Anthony has now authored a book "Shaking Hands with Billy' which tells this story for the first time.

With international news, I’m Jason, VK2LAW.

The book that Jason mentions; Shaking Hands With Billy is published by Just Done Productions in Durban, South Africa but appears to only be available at the website www.shakinghandswithbilly.com. That’s where you will also find more biographical information on the author as well. (WIA News)

NEWSCAST CLOSE

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 W-I-A 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 www.arnewsline.org. You can also write to us or support us at Amateur Radio Newsline™, 28197 Robin Avenue, Santa Clarita California, 91350

A reminder that the nominating period for the 2013 Amateur Radio Newsline Young Ham of the Year Award is now open. Full details and a nominating form are on our website at www.arnewsline.org/yhoty.

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

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

Member Comments:
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ARNewsline Report 1860 -- Apr 5 2013:  
by W9FIZ on April 28, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
QST -

Unfortunately I have been notified by a fellow radio amateur who is an attorney. That since I am not licensed, bonded, or insured to perform test on electronic equipment then I would be putting myself in grave peril of liability exposure and possibly in violation of Ohio state law. That being the case I will not be able to perform any service
that involves testing any electronic equipment in any shape, way, or form. I will still be there at FW 3976 & FW 3977 and I will offer the following services...
free advertising (for sale or looking to buy)board.
and free paging on 2 meters 147.525 mhz.
I am just sick about this and I hope everyone understands my dilemma.
73 and see you at Dayton Hamvention 2013
Barry Gose W9FIZ
 
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