ARNewsline Report 1862 -- April 19 2013:
Bill Pasternak (WA6ITF)
April 19, 2013
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Amateur Radio Newsline™ Report 1862 – April
Amateur Radio Newsline report number 1862
with a release date of April 19 2013 to
follow in 5-4-3-2-1.
The following is a Q-S-T. Ham radio takes
the point position after a terror attack on
the Boston Marathon; the SARL gets two
frequencies at 5 MHz to do a propagation
study; the FCC says that the 2011 national
EAS test is considered to be a success; a
special event station in May will honor the
Native American Code Talkers and will
everyone in the world be on-line by 2020?
All this and more on Amateur Radio Newsline™
report number 1862 coming your way right now.
RESCUE RADIO: HAM RADIO RESPONDS TO BOSTON
MARATHON TERRORIST ATTACK
Some 250 ham radio operators were providing
communications for the Boston Marathon on
Monday, April 15th, when a pair of bombs
believed planted by a terrorist went off
killing three onlookers and sending scores to
local hospitals. Some with very serious and
life threatening injuries. Amateur Radio
Newsline’s Mark Abramowicz, NT3V, is here
with what’s known about the attack and the
role played by the hams on scene:
It is a day Paul Topolski, W1SEX, will never
Topolski tells Newsline he was working with
radio operators close to the finish line of
the Boston Marathon and things were going
well. And then, there was the first blast...
"I was in the net control trailer about 400
feet from where the blast was," he recalls.
"Things were going pretty smooth and we had
and were commenting all of the operations
that we had were up and running and no real
"And, within a couple of minutes my assistant
and I just happened to be looking at each
other out of the corner of our eye and then
that blast hit and shook the trailer and we
knew it wasn't good."
Topolski says then the second blast went off
and they knew things were going to be brought
to a halt. He says their big concern,
operators at the medical tents at each mile
along the route...
"Net control immediately started doing a roll
call and finding out where all our people
were - exact locations and their condition,
making sure that they were okay. And, as it
turns out everyone was just fine and
Just before that roll call began, Topolski
told his counterpart overseeing net-control
on the course to reach out to him on a secure
Steve Schwarm, W3EVE, who also spoke with
Newsline about the events of that day, was on
the receiving end of that call and was a bit
"He calls me on the radio and says, 'Call me
on my cell phone.' And, I know something's
got to be wrong because he'll only talk to me
on the cell phone when it's something he
doesn't want anybody else to hear," Schwarm
"So, I called him on the cell phone and
that's when he told me that two bombs had
gone off in downtown and said I don't know
what's going to happen next, but thought
you'd like to know and I said thanks.
"So, I stoppped all the activity in my net
control and announced it to everybody there
and I said that we don't know what's going to
happen next, but I'm quite sure the race is
Topolski, who was at the medical tent close
to the finish line, says once it was
established all those close to the bomb
locations were okay, there was general
agreement among the operators to stay at
their posts and assist...
"It was a kind of a mindset, 'Okay, we did
have a problem and let's continue to do our
jobs,' and everybody did just that until we
were finally sent on our way by the Boston
Police Department and the Massachusetts State
Police because we were literally right in the
"ground zero" area," Topolski says. "We were
in the crime scene so we had to bug out."
But, before they were sent out, Topolski says
the operators were busy helping medical
"Instead of taking care of runners, we were
no working with the medical people who were
serving casualties from the incident itself,"
Topolski says. "We had medical coverage, or
coverage in the medical tents and we started
receiving reports of those injuries and the
types of things that were going on and then
we were relaying that information to the
public safety people via WebEOC and other
Topolski estimates those closest to the blast
zones were there for about 35 minutes
afterward until they got sent out because of
concerns among authorities about other
Back to Schwarm at course net control, who in
the minutes after the blasts was now working
with operators still out on the course.
"Police were ordering people to stop,"
Schwarm says. "So runners tended to
congregate at the first aid stations and the
water-fluid stations along the course. And
all of them had ham radio operators.
"So, as soon as that happened, we told
everybody on the frequency what was going on.
The event had stopped and they would start to
organize those people. And, then we started
to use some of our medical sweep buses to
take the runners to some pre-determined
"The original thought was that if we had
something like a thunderstorm come through
and had lightning and things like that we
wouldn't want all these people on the course.
So, that was the original intended use for
the shelters but they found out that they
could be used for this as well."
Schwarm says for the operators close to the
blast zones, it was a hectic time...
"They supplied communications for the medical
tents and that was where a lot of the initial
triage of the runners occurred and a lot of
lives were probably saved because they had
basically a first-class emergency room right
there," Schwarm says.
But the day was far from over for Topolski
and his operators who were evacuated from the
developing crime scene, Schwarm says...
"The roles actually got reversed because they
were concerned about having another device in
the area so they had a lot of people
evacuated," Schwarm says. "Paul and his team
evacuated and several of his operators came
up to help me in case we were going to be
doing an extended operation.
"It wasn't clear how long it was going to
take for us to get this thing cleaned up and
they came up to help in case we needed some
backup. I was very concerned about some of my
net control operators getting exhausted,
needing some backup. So I knew he had some
good people and they came up to help out."
So, where was net control for the course?
Schwarm says the Boston area hams put it at a
"We're actually quite a distance from the
course," Schwarm says. "We're about a mile or
two from the course. It's at a facility, it's
a private school in Brookline which is a
suburb of Boston.
"And, it's on top of a very high hill, which,
if we had to, we could probably work every
single repeater we use with a 100-milliwatt
walkie-talkie because we can see them all -
literally. And, it makes an ideal location
for it and we also then have high-speed
internet at our fingertips and several phone
lines and a few things like that. It's a very
So what form of communications do the hams
who work the Boston Marathon use? VHF
frequencies only, Schwarm says...
"The Boston Marathon is the only marathon
that's run in a straight line," Schwarm
explains. "And we plan on having HT-coverage
for the entire course and the finish and the
start. So, as a result, you tend to use a
fair number of frequencies to make that
"We use five separate repeaters to cover five
sections of the course. And, then we have a
network of linked repeaters that we use to
cover the entire course from beginnning to
end just for things that need to be covered
across that range."
Topolski has been involved in the marathon
amateur radio coverage for 20 years. For
Schwarm, this was his 13th year and he says
it won't be his last.
"I think what you'll find is that next year
we're going to have a bigger and better
Boston Marathon and we're going to go on,"
Schwarm says. "I mean we went through a lot
of planning and soul searching for these
kinds of things after 9-11 and this was
probably a wake-up call to re-think some of
For the Amateur Radio Newsline, I'm Mark
Abramowicz, NT3V in Philadelphia.
Our hearts go out to the families of those
who lost loved ones and to those injured in
this unprovoked and uncivilized attack
against humanity. We will have more for you
in upcoming Amateur Radio Newsline reports.
(ARNewsline™ and various other sources)
WORLDBEAT: ICASA COUNCIL APPROVES TWO 5 MHZ
FREQUENCIES FOR SARL
The Independent Communications Authority of
South Africa has last approved two
frequencies at 5 MHz for the South African
Radio League to carry out propagation
research. This is in response to the
society’s application to collect information
about country wide propagation conditions in
The South African Radio League had applied
for access to 5 MHz in 2010, 2011 and again
in 2012. In its application the society told
the telecommunications regulator that while
the propagation of signals are fairly well
known for high power broadcasting, there is
still quite a lot that can be learned by
radio amateurs, especially away from the
The licenses are being issued for an 8 month
period but the regulator says that at the end
of the period the South African Radio League
can apply for an extension. (SARL)
From the United States of America, We are the
Amateur Radio Newsline, heard on bulletin
stations around the world including the
KA8HDY repeater serving Jackson, Michigan.
RESCUE RADIO: NATIONAL EAS TEST DEEMED A
The final results of the first National
Emergency Alert System or EAS Test show that
83% of broadcasters successfully received the
alert. Amateur Radio Newsline’s Heather
Embee, KB3TZD, reports:
The first national EAS test was held on
November 9th of 2011. Now, in a long awaited
and very detailed review, the FCCs Public
Safety and Homeland Security Bureau says that
while the test demonstrated E-A-S would
generally perform as designed, it also shined
a bright light on several areas that require
The 19-page report says that of the nearly
14,000 radio and TV stations that submitted
result data, only 2,300 failed to
successfully receive and rebroadcast the
alert. The number would likely have been
lower however 3 of the 63 Primary Entry Point
stations failed which meant a larger number
stations further down the daisy-chain did not
get the alert.
While the majority of stations received the
national EAS alert, results varied state-by-
state. The report points out that while
fewer than 2% of Texas stations didnt get the
test on the air, nearly every Oregon station
didnt broadcast the complete alert.
The bottom line is that the FCC and FEMA have
concluded that the nationwide EAS
architecture is basically sound, but there is
still room for improvement.
For the Amateur Radio Newsline, Im Heather
Embee, KB3TZD, in Berwick, Pennsylvania.
The agencies involved say that they plan more
national EAS tests in the future. You can
read the FCC’s in-depth report on the
national EAS test at tinyurl.com/eas-results.
(FCC, Inside Radio)
RADIO LAW: FCC SEEKS COMMENTS ON BROADCAST
The FCC is seeking public comment on a
proposed regulatory change to limit
complaints to the agency dealing with
broadcast indecency. Amateur Radio
Newsline’s Norm Seeley, KI7UP, is here with
The FCC indicates that General Docket No. 13-
86 has been issued because it has a backlog
of complaints dealing with alleged broadcast
indecency and no way for it to investigate
and act on each one individually. It notes
that after the Supreme Court’s decision in
FCC vs. Fox Television Stations, Inc in
September 2012, Chairman Genachowski (Pron
GEN A COW SKEE) instructed Commission staff
to begin a review of the Commission’s
broadcast indecency policies and enforcement
to ensure they are fully consistent with
vital First Amendment principles. In the
interim, the Chairman directed the
Enforcement Bureau to focus its indecency
enforcement resources on egregious cases and
to reduce the backlog of pending broadcast
Since September 2012, the Enforcement Bureau
has reduced the backlog by 70%. That amounts
to more than one million complaints. Most of
these were simply beyond the statute of
limitations or too stale to pursue, that
involved cases outside FCC jurisdiction, that
contained insufficient information, or that
were closed by settled precedent.
The FCC says that the Enforcement Bureau is
actively investigating egregious indecency
cases and will continue to do so. However it
is now seeking comment on whether the full
Commission should make changes to its current
broadcast indecency policies or maintain them
as they are.
For example, the Commission wants to know if
it should treat isolated expletives in a
manner consistent with the way it currently
does based on its decision in the Pacifica
Foundation case of the 1960’s, or should it
instead maintain the approach to isolated
expletives set forth in its decision in
complaints against various broadcast
licensees regarding their airing of the
“Golden Globe Awards” program in 2004. It
also wants to know if it should treat
isolated non-sexual nudity the same as or
differently than isolated expletives.
The FCC says that commenters are invited to
address these issues as well as any other
aspect of the Commission’s substantive
indecency policies. It also notes that the
issuance of General Docket No. 13-86 does
not alter any of the Commission’s current
substantive indecency policies. That means
acceptance of new complaints and ongoing
enforcement action will continue as is until
the issues in General Docket 13-86 have been
For the Amateur Radio Newsline, I’m Norm
Seeley, KI7UP, in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Comments on FC General Docket Number 13-86
will be due 30 days after publication in the
Federal Register with reply comment due no
later than 60 days after publication in the
Federal Register. You can download and read
the text of this proposed rule making at
NEW PRODUCTS: FREE REPEATER LOCATOR FOR
A free Repeater Directory App for the UK,
Europe, Australia, New Zealand, South America
and more is now available for iPhone and
Android based smart devices. Repeater
Locator enables the traveling ham to easily
find repeaters across most populated areas of
the world using GPS or a Locator to find
repeaters. The app also makes available the
complete database of United Kingdom analog,
IRLP, Echolink and D-Star repeater and a
growing world repeater database covering all
but North America. Also the Android version
supports the BlueCAT, FT-857 and FT-817
Bluetooth CAT interface that allow a user to
simply touch a repeater to instantly his or
her your radio. You can find Repeater
locator by searching for ZBM2 at the Apple
App Store or the Play store
HAMVENTION 2013: ROOMS AVAILABLE AT THE
UNIVERSITY OF DAYTON
According to an April 13th posting to the
Dayton Hamvention Yahoogroups Remailer from
the University of Dayton, the campus housing
had about 15 rooms each accommodating between
4 to 6 people available for Hamvention
weekend. The posting by the University notes
that it has been offering lodging to
Hamvention attendees for over 15 years. If
you are looking for a last minute place to
stay for this years Hamvention try taking
your web browser to tickets.udayton.edu.
HAM HAPPENINGS: IDXC 9TH ANNUAL DX
IZ8EDJ reports that details of Italy’s 9th
International DX Convention to be held on
April 28th, in Capaccio-Paestum are now
available at tinyurl.com/italy-dx-meeting.
The offical Web site for the convention
itself is on the web at www.dxitalia.it
NAMES IN THE NEWS: KJ4EMJ NAMED TO SENIOR
STATE DEPARTMENT TELECOM POST
Back here in the U-S-A, Julie N. Zoller,
KJ4EMJ, has succeeded Richard C. Beaird at
the Department of State. This in the role of
Senior Deputy Coordinator of the Office of
Multilateral Affairs, Communications and
Information Policy Directorate, Economics and
Business Affairs Bureau.
The ARRL reports that in this position, she
will serve as principal advisor to the United
States Coordinator for International
Communications and Information Policy.
More on her appointment is on-line at
HAM HAPPENINGS: SPECIAL EVENT STATION TO
HONOR CODE TALKERS
The Lawton Fort Sill Amateur Radio Club will
be hosting a special event station from May
8th to the 11th at the Comanche National
Museum in Lawton, Oklahoma. This to
commemorate the work of the Comanche Code
Talkers of World War II.
According to Wikipedia, the Code talkers were
people who used obscure languages as a means
of secret communication during wartime. The
term is now usually associated with the
United States soldiers during the world wars
who used their knowledge of Native-American
languages as a basis to transmit coded
There were approximately 400 to 500 Native
Americans in the United States Marine Corps
whose primary job was the transmission of
secret tactical messages. Code talkers
transmitted these messages over military
telephone or radio communications nets using
formal or informally developed codes built
upon their native languages. Their service
improved communications in terms of speed of
encryption at both ends in front line
operations during World War II. (KC5FM)
RADIO HAPPENINGS: CRYSTAL RADIO AWARDS
PRESENTED AT NAB
The recent National Association of
Broadcasters annual Radio Luncheon provided
the setting for the presentation of the 10
NAB Crystal Radio Awards. The event also
featured a keynote address from famed
composer, musician and program host John
Tesh, the induction of Dave Ramsey into the
NAB Broadcasting Hall of Fame and a Crystal
Heritage Award to radio station KNOM AM and
FM of Nome, Alaska. The Crystal Radio Awards
recognize radio stations for their
outstanding year-round commitment to
community service. The luncheon was sponsored
by ASCAP, the American Society of Composers,
Authors and Publishers. For those not aware,
John Tesh wrote and performed the music score
for the 1986 ARRL video “The New World of
Amateur Radio.” (RW)
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
HAM RADIO IN SPACE: RADIO AMATEURS GET
$25,000 FOR CUBESAT FROM JPL
Two college professors who are also ham radio
operators have received a substantial
monetary grant from the Jet Propulsion
Laboratory to help them construct and launch
a research satellite. Bill Pasternak,
WA6ITF, is in our newsroom with more:
Professors Sharlene Katz, WB6FFE, and James
Flynn, WB9AWX, are a part of a California
State University at Northridge team that has
received $25,000 from the Jet Propulsion
Laboratory for a CubeSat research project.
There is also an award of $30,000 for the
project listed by The University Corporation.
The April 15th edition of the campus
newspaper The Sundial carried a report on the
university’s CubeSat project that has a
mission of testing alternative power
techniques for satellites and spacecraft.
Measuring only 10 by 10 by 20 centimeters,
the satellite will be packed with solar cells
and special software to achieve this goal.
In order to communicate with the CubeSat, the
team is also building an automated ground
station on top of a campus building. The
station will not only help the team track
university’s CubeSat, but other satellites as
well. This is because it will become part of
the Global Educational Network for Satellite
Operations. This is a community of
universities around the world that track and
communicate with satellites.
Currently, the project is in phase one.
Phase two is set to start during the fall
semester of 2013, and the team is hoping to
complete the satellite by December of 2014.
Typically, it would cost another $45,000 just
to launch the satellite, but thanks to the
sponsorship from the Jet Propulsion
Laboratory the satellite will be hitching a
ride into orbit in just a few years.
For the Amateur Radio Newsline, I’m Bill
Pasternak, in the newsroom in Los Angeles.
You can read the full story of the creation
of this new bird on-line at tinyurl.com/cal-
RADIO AND SCOUTING: WASHINGTON STATE EVENT A
A ham radio related Youth Workshop on
Saturday, April 13th at the Lake Washington
Institute of Technology in Kirkland,
Washington is being called a big success.
This thanks to the hard work of the amateur
radio support team at the event.
According to planners, there were over 100
Electricity, Electronics and Radio Merit
Badges completed by the 58 youngsters who
were registered at the event. These are
considered Science, Technology, Engineering,
and Mathematics or STEM Merit Badges and part
of the STEM / NOVA Award sponsored by the Boy
Scouts of America.
There were 14 adults and 14 scouts that
qualified for their amateur radio licenses.
Five of the adults were Scout Masters. Some
of the others were from scouting troops and
the Lake Washington Ham Club. Another event
of this type is in the planning stages for
September 14th. (N7DRW, K7APS and AE7TD via
HAM RADIO PUBLICITY: PAPA SYSTEM AND PALOMAR
ARC AT FRYS
Southern California’s PAPA System and the
Palomar Amateur Radio Club will jointly host
an Operating Day at Fry's Electronics in the
city of San Marcos on Sunday April 28th.
This will be a demonstration to educate the
public about how amateur radio helps in the
This operation will begin at 9:00 am and run
though 4:30 pm Pacific Daylight time. Club
members will be available to answer questions
and encourage the public to try amateur radio
on site. They will be demonstrating HF
through 70cm operations plus D-Star, Packet
Radio and Winlink. Also available will be
past copies of CQ and QST magazines, flyers
from local clubs, and a public radio use
For more information on this event please
drop an email to admin (at) papasys (dot)
HAM CELEBRATIONS: 40 YEARS OF THE CATALINA
And word of congratulations to the Catalina
California 2 meter repeater. This as it
celebrates of 40 years of continuous service
to the regions ham radio community.
On April 27, 1973, system came on the air
with a 10-watt voice from Catalina Island and
amazing 1,300 square mile coverage. Now in
2013 the system, operated by the Catalina
Amateur Repeater Association remains one of
the most popular in the region. And over the
four decades of its operation there have been
many improvements to both its coverage and
the service it provides to the community.
The complete story of the creation of this
system located some 26 miles off the Pacific
coastline was featured in the April 1974
cover story of 73 Magazine. Even though the
magazine itself is long gone you can read the
story or download it at from an on-line
In DX, listen out for special event station
XR86PL to be active until April 30th to
commemorate the 86th Anniversary of the
Chilean Police. Operations are on all bands
using SSB, RTTY and PSK. QSL via the
operators home callsign or CE3ETE.
CT1FTR will be in Khartoum, Sudan until June.
He is signing ST2FT. QSL as directed on the
AC6DD will be active stroke 9A from Sveti
Nikola, Croatia. This during the RSGB
Islands on the Air Contest on July 27th and
the 28th. If you make contact QSL via AC6DD.
KT3Y, K9VV and WP2XX will be active from the
KP2M rental shack on St. Croix Island during
the CQ World Wide WPX CW Contest from May
25th to the 26th as a Multi-Single entry.
QSL direct only via AI4U or Logbook of the
World. No QSL’s will be accepted via the
Lastly, ZL1GO and ZL3CW reportedly will use
the callsign N8A during their American Samoa
operation between November 12th and the 26th.
More information on this upcoming operation
as soon as it is made available.
(Above from various DX news sources)
THAT FINAL ITEM: GOOGLE EXEC PREDICTS
EVERYONE IN THE WORLD ON-LINE BY 2020
And finally this week, do you believe what
Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt says
that everyone in the world will be on-line by
the end of the decade? Amateur Radio
Newsline’s Cheryl Lasek, K9BIK, has the rest
of this rather interesting prediction.
On Saturday April 13th Google Executive
Chairman Eric Schmidt stated on his Google
Plus blog that for every person online, there
are two who are not. He went on to add that
by the end of the decade, he predicted that
everyone on Earth will be connected by 2020.
A day later, Schmidt added – and we quote:
"Think about how great the internet is now
with 2 billion users. Now think about how
amazing it will be when 5 billion come online
in a decade."
But can Schmid’s prediction come true? As
pointed out in one news article, Google
itself supports a project called Geeks
Without Frontiers. This is described as a
nonprofit group that donates computers and
related wireless access technology to poor
areas around the world. The organization’s
current focus is to bring such wireless
access to parts of Mexico, Central America
and Africa. These are regions without any
traditional form of wired Internet access.
Also, back in 2011 Geeks Without Frontiers
announced that it had developed its own low
cost open source WiFi software. At that time
it said that by driving down the cost of
metropolitan and village scale Wi-Fi
networks, millions more people will be able
to reap the economic and social benefits of
significantly lower cost Internet access.
The rise of the mobile access expected to
play a role. In parts of Africa it’s
reported that more people have access to a
mobile phones than have electricity. Google
itself notes that in South Africa 25% of its
searches during the week are made via mobile
devices and that rises to 65% on the
So will every man, woman and child be on-line
by 2020? There’s no way to be certain but
Google leaders rarely make predictions that
they know won’t come true. So the bottom
line is, don’t rule this one out. And if it
does happen it will likely be thanks to Wi-Fi
which is in itself nothing more than a form
of digital two-way radio.
For the Amateur Radio Newsline, I’m Cheryl
Lasek, K9BIK, in Zion, Illinois.
According to the International
Telecommunication Union, at this time
approximately 38% of the world's population
is currently using the Internet in some way.
That’s up from about 35% who were on-line in
2012. But with poor and developing nations
around the world isolated by nonexistent
Internet infrastructures, and others hindered
by government censorship, some wonder if Eric
Schmidt's vision might be a bit overly
optimistic. Then again as time has proven,
Google is rarely wrong. (bizjournals.com,
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
For now, with Bill Pasternak, WA6ITF, at the
editors’ desk, I’m Jeff Clark, K8JAC, saying
73 and we thank you for listening.
Amateur Radio Newsline™ is Copyright 2013.
All rights reserved.
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