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ARNewsline Report 1869 -- June 7 2013:

Bill Pasternak (WA6ITF) on June 7, 2013
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Amateur Radio Newsline™ Report 1869 – June 7 2013

Amateur Radio Newsline report number 1869 with a release date of June 7th 2013 to follow in 5-4-3-2-1.

The following is a QST. A ham radio operator severe weather researcher looses his life in an Oklahoma tornado; the FCC sets commentary date for comments on RF exposure reassessment; new life for ham radio in Ghana; the government seizes an unlicensed broadcast station near Boston and some long missing moon dust is found in a California warehouse. All this and more on Amateur Radio Newsline™ report number 1869 coming your way right now.


A ham radio operator, his son and an associate who chased severe weather to help science better understand Mother Nature’s wrath has been killed by a tornado in Oklahoma. Amateur Radio Newsline’s Burt Hicks has the sad details:

Professional storm chasers Tim Samaras, WJ0G, his son Paul and fellow investigator Carl Young lost their lives on May 31st when a tornado that they were trailing unexpectedly changed paths and rammed their vehicle near El Reno, Oklahoma.

According to news reports it all happened so suddenly that the three severe weather investigators were unable to escape the storms wrath. Tim Samaras was found dead in his vehicle still strapped in his seat belt. Paul Samaras and Carl Young had apparently been pulled from the vehicle by the tornado with the remains of one found almost a half mile away.

Tim and Paul Samaras and Carl Young were not your average storm chasers. The three were a part of a scientific field study called TWISTEX or the Tactical Weather Instrumented Sampling in or Near Tornadoes Experiment. This is a scientific field research program that had been originated by Tim Samaras. Its purpose is to better understand the origin, maintenance and decay of tornadic activity in the hope of gaining insight and knowledge of the seldom sampled near surface internal tornado environment. The experiment was well known in the meteorology community and had been featured on The Discovery Channel’s television program Storm Chasers.

In a public statement honoring the three, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration stated that Tim Samaras was a respected tornado researcher and friend of NOAA who brought to the field a unique portfolio of expertise in engineering, science, writing and videography. The NOAA statement went on to say that Samaras work was documented through an extensive list of formal publications and conference papers. News reports said that Tim Samaras held the Guinness World Record for recording the greatest pressure drop ever measured inside a tornado and was the only person to ever record video from the interior of a tornado using special technology that he had developed.

Terry Garcia is the Executive Vice President of the National Geographic Society. He said that his organization had provided 18 grants to Tim Samaras for research over the years for field work like he was doing in Oklahoma at the time of his death. Garcia added that tornadoes were not Tim Samaras’ only interest and that his work on lightning was featured in the August 2012 issue of National Geographic magazine.

For the Amateur Radio Newsline, I’m Burt Hicks, in Los Angeles.

We know that you join us in sending condolences to the families of these three valiant severe weather researchers. (ARNewsline™ from various news sources)


The ARRL report the deadlines have been set for comments and reply comments in an FCC proceeding to reassess the limits and policies governing exposure to radio frequency (RF) electromagnetic fields

On March 27, the FCC released a First Report and Order, Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and Notice of Inquiry in ET Docket Nos. 13-84 and 03-137.

Publication in the June 4, 2013 Federal Register started the clock on a 90-day period for comments, the deadline for which is September 3rd. There is an additional 60- day period for reply comments, i.e. until November 1st.

The unusually long period for comments reflects the complexity of the proceeding and underscores the Commission’s desire for specific information on the costs and benefits related to the RF exposure issue.

While the FCC proposals do not change the existing RF exposure limits, they include the deletion of existing special exemptions from evaluation in the Amateur Radio Service in Section 97.13(c) of its rules. Minor rules changes adopted in the Report and Order section of the document take effect on August 5.

A summary of the document is at (ARRL)


If you are a ham or other hobbyist who produces a podcast, listen up. The White House says that its time to end what the legal world calls patent trolling. And it’s taking the first steps by issuing five executive actions and seven legislative recommendations designed to protect U.S. companies and their products from spurious litigation from Patent Assertion Entities that are more commonly called Patent Trolls. Amateur Radio Newsline’s Heather Embee, KB3TZD, reports:

According to the National Economic Council and the Council of Economic Advisors, Patent Trolls are entities that threaten to sue thousands of companies at once, without specific evidence of infringement against any of them. They may also create shell companies that make it difficult for defendants to know who is suing them and assert that their patents cover inventions not imagined at the time they were granted.

Information made public by the two councils say that suits brought by patent trolls have jumped by nearly 250% in just the last two years, rising from 29% of all infringement suits to 62% of all infringement suits. Estimates suggest that patent trolls may have threatened over 100,000 companies with patent infringement last year alone.

But it does not end there. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office says that there is yet another new aspect to this situation This is where Patent Trolls are increasingly targeting retailers, consumers and other end- users of products containing patented technology especially software.

Among the initial steps being taken by the Obama administration is having the Patent and Trademark Office begin a rulemaking to require patent applicants and owners to regularly update patent ownership information when they are involved in patent proceedings before that agency, specifically naming who controls the patent. Its also will give more training to its patent examiners on scrutiny of functional claims and develop strategies to improve claim clarity. This in areas where stakeholders remain concerned about patents with overly broad claims.

Possibly more important to all U.S, citizens is the White House statement that says end users should not be subject to lawsuits for simply using a product as it was intended. It says that citizens need an easier way to know their rights before entering into costly litigation or settlements with Patent Trolls.

For the amateur Radio Newsline, I;m Heather Embee, KB3TZD, in Berwick, Pennsylvania.

The Obama Administration says it stands ready to work with Congress to enact legislation to curb this type of patent abuse. This could be particularly important to a growing sector of hams that are producing and posting amateur radio oriented podcasts to the World- Wide-Web. This is especially true of the teens and pre-teens whose ham radio oriented podcasts appear to be the fastest growing segment of all. (RW, U.S. Patent and Trademark Office)


Some good news out of Ghana. The first Amateur Radio Administration meeting aimed at bringing together operators, industry experts and other relevant bodies to exchange experiences and best practices in the field was recently held in that nation. Amateur Radio Newsline’s Stephan Kinford, N8WB, reports:

The weeklong workshop was organized by Ghana’s National Communication Authority in partnership with the International Telecommunication Union and the International Amateur Radio Union.

Paarock VanPercy is the Director General of Ghana’s National Communication Authority. Speaking at the opening session of the gathering he said amateur radio needs to be regulated to ensure that the frequencies used by these operations did not interfere or impact on the operations of commercial and professional radio users. However he then underscored the importance of amateur radio operations, saying they had contributed immensely in the fields of science, engineering, industry and social services.

VanPercy advised Senior High Schools, polytechnic schools and universities to apply for licenses from the National Communication Authority to expose students to amateur radio operations for research. He also announced that his agency would soon publish the syllabus for amateur radio examinations in that nation.

For the Amateur Radio Newsline, I’m Stephen Kinford, N8EWB, in Wadsworeth, Ohio.

You can read the full story at (, Southgate)


Hams in Spain have been granted an extension of the 160 meter band along with a new 630 meter allocation. This with word that Spanish radio amateurs have been authorized to use a new segment from 1810 to 1830 kHz on secondary basis. The new frequencies are in addition to their primary allocation of 1830 to 1850 kHz. Spanish radio amateurs are also now allowed to use the band of 472 to 479 kHz also on secondary basis. (EA7SB, Southgate)


Radio amateurs in Germany have had their 6 meter band extended until at least the end of the year. The latest allocation is from 50.03 to 51MHz and the bottom 30 kHz ties up with where the new 6 meter Synchronized Propagation or Synced Beacons are planned. German radio amateurs may use all modes with a bandwidth up to 12 kHz but must not cause interference to the primary user of the band which is the German the military. (GB2RS)

From the United States of America, We are the Amateur Radio Newsline, heard on bulletin stations around the world including the KB5UJM repeater serving San Antonio, Texas.


It does not happen very often, but in this case the U.S. Attorney’s Office for Massachusetts has seized transmission equipment from an unlicensed broadcaster operating in the Boston area. This after the FCC received interference complaints from a licensed station and tracked the unauthorized transmissions to the neighborhood of Roslindale last January. Amateur Radio Newsline’s Norm Seeley, KI7UP, picks up the story:

According to the court documents, upon finding the transmitters location agents from the commission’s Enforcement Bureau went to the building and posted Notices of Unlicensed Operation on the station door. These contained a warning the operator to stop transmitting without a license. When the agents returned, the notices were gone, and the station was still putting out a signal on 88.5 MHz.

The FCC escalated the case into a forfeiture action and that’s when the office of the U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts became involved. And on May 21st Federal agents raided the station and seized the transmission equipment.

Carmen Ortiz is a U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts. In a press statement she said that it is a potential hazard to public safety for pirate radio stations to broadcast illegally and interfere with critical radio communications. She added that the U.S. Attorney’s Office will work in conjunction with the FCC to identify and seize equipment from these pirate broadcasters.

For the Amateur Radio Newsline, I’m Norm Seeley, KI7UP, in Scottsdale, Arizona.

The warrant in this case was only recently unsealed in U.S. District Court. Whether or not it signals a change in tactics on the part of government enforcement action against unlicensed broadcasts remains to be seen. (FCC, RW)


A clerical error by a Volunteer Examination Coordinator will likely lead to a license downgrade for a California ham. This after the FCC releases an order proposing to modify the license of James H. Schofield, KI6JIM, from General to Technician due to no fault of his own.

On November 29, 2012, the W5YI Volunteer Examiner Coordinator sent an electronic data file to the Commission requesting that Schofield’s operator license for amateur station KI6JIM be modified to upgrade to General Class amateur radio operator privileges. Based on this application, the Commission granted Schofield a General Class license on November 29, 2012.

On May 30, 2013, the W5YI VEC notified the Commission that it had made a typographical error in the November 2012 data file and that a licensee other than Schofield had qualified for a General Class operator license. W5YI VEC noted that a correction was filed, resulting in the other licensee receiving the operator license for which he had qualified but that Schofield’s operator privileges had not been returned to Technician Class operator privileges. The W5YI VEC urged the FCC to modify Schofield’s license to correct the operator privileges.

Now in a June 4th Order Proposing Modification the FCC says it believes that the grant of General Class operator privileges to Schofield was erroneous because he did not pass the examination necessary to qualify for that class of operator license. Rather, he appears to be currently authorized to operate with General Class operator privileges due to a typographical error made during the application process. As such it believes that a modification of the license for amateur station KI6JIM to replace General Class operator privileges with Technician Class operator privileges is appropriate. It also notes that if Schofield opposes this action that he has 30 days to submit a written statement with sufficient evidence to show that the modification would not be in the public interest. (FCC)


The FCC has issued a waiver specifically for a new series of on the air Public Service Announcements or PSA’s which include a simulated Wireless Emergency Alert or EAS Attention Signal.

The new PSAs are called “Wireless Alerts — Sounds of Your Life.” Normally airing live EAS tones is prohibited. However in this case, the Ad Council confirmed to Radio World that FCC says the attention signal in the PSA does not mislead the listening or viewing public into erroneously concluding that an actual emergency message is being transmitted.

The Alabama Broadcasters Association had previously suggested that broadcasters not to air these new PSAs from the Ad Council because they contained actual EAS tones. However in an updated memo issued to members late Friday, May 31st, the association said that the tone sounds the same as the EAS alert tone, but has a different set of codes. As such, it will not trigger a stations EAS receiver.

The new English and Spanish language PSAs are being distributed as part of Hurricane Preparedness Week. This is an annual effort by FEMA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the National Hurricane Center to inform the public about hurricane hazards and help citizens prepare and take action. (RW, FCC)


A Small Satellite Developer Workshop featuring Amateur Radio is now slated for July 8th to the 13th in Chennai, India. The amateur radio segment is being conducted by the National Institute of Amateur Radio with topics to be discussed to include Software Designed Receiver design and Basics of Spacecraft Technology among others. Further details are on the web at (NAIR)


The International Amateur Radio Union’s Region 1 Electromagnetic Compatibility Working Group has invited its members as well as observers from all national societies to attend the meeting. This to take place in Friedrichshafen, Germany on Friday, June 28th.

The meeting will be held from 12:00 to 13:30 local time at the same venue as last year. Details of how to find the meeting room can be obtained from the Deutscher Amateur Radio Club or IARU booths in the main convention hall or from the convention’s operations personnel. More including a group of EMC Working Group members is on line at (IARU Region 1)


Meantime on this side of the Atlantic, if you are a 2 meter SSB user looking to meet others, listen up. The Southern California 2 Meter BOZO Net meets on 144.240 MHz Upper Sideband at 8:00 P.M. Pacific every Sunday evening. Net organizers invite anyone within rage to sign in and join in the discussions. More information can be found at (N6EQ)


Rotary International which holds the distinction of being the worlds first Volunteer Service Organization is holding it's annual convention this year in Lisbon, Portugal from June 22nd to the 26th. To help celebrate this event Rotarians Of Amateur Radio which is a fellowship of Rotarians, is activating a special event station CR6RI during the Convention's exhibition hours from 09:00 to 18:00 UTC daily. Frequencies to be used will be 14.287, 14.293 and possibly 21.293 MHz. More information will be made available on About 30,000 Rotary members are expected to attend this year’s convention gathering. (VK4ZD)


Some names in the news this week This with word that ARRL Contest Branch Manager Sean Kutzko, KX9X, has accepted the position of Media and Public Relations Manager for the League.

Sean Kutzko joined the ARRL as the Contest Branch Manager in October 2007. An enthusiastic operator in contests and VHF weak-signal work as well as a backpack QRPer, Kutzko holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from the University of Illinois at Springfield and has worked at several National Public Radio affiliates in the Midwest.

Kuzko replaces former Media and Public Relations Manager Allen Pitts, W1AGP who officially retired earlier this year but had stayed on until a replacement could be found. Pitts will remain as a consultant on the planning of the ARRL’s 2014 centennial celebration.

Taking over as Contest Branch Manager is Mike DeChristopher, N1TA. DeChristopher started at ARRL last year as a Logbook of The World Specialist and Awards and Programs Assistant. He resides in Feeding Hills, Massachusetts and is very active in contesting from that location.

Kutzko and DeChristopher will begin their new positions on June 17th. (ARRL)


Acting FCC Chairwoman Mignon Clyburn has named Bob Ratcliffe acting chief of the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau. Ratcliffe moves over from the Media Bureau, where he had been had been deputy chief. Ratcliffe has been at the commission for more than 35 years. He’s had stints as acting chief of the Media Bureau during the final phases of the digital television transition in 2009 and as deputy chief of the Enforcement Bureau from 2006 to 2009. Previously, Ratcliffe held various positions in the former Mass Media Bureau. The move was prompted because Clyburn recently named the previous chief of the Enforcement Bureau, Michele Ellison, as her chief of staff. (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 and being relayed by the volunteer services of the following radio amateur:


The changing of the guard in ham radio continues. This with word of the passing of longtime veteran Los Angeles newsman Harry Birrell, KM6WX, at age 85.

A native of Steubenville, Ohio, Harry Birrell started his broadcasting career at WBVP in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania in 1949. From there he moved to WEIR West Virginia and held positions at several other stations before moving West. He joined KFWB the then Group W Westinghouse station in Los Angeles before moving to KNX Newsradio in 1968. There Birrell was hired as a news anchor and spent the next 25 years as one of the best known radio voices in Southern California. He partially retired from KNX in 1993 but spent the next 5 1/2 years working from his home studio. From there he sent in daily reports of Ventura County news that were heard on the station. He went into full retirement in 1999.

During his long career Harry Birrell was honored with nine Golden Mikes awarded by the Radio and Television News Association of Southern California for his excellence in broadcasting. He has also been recognized repeatedly by the Greater Los Angeles Press Club, the Valley Press Club, the Associated Press and United Press International. Perhaps his highest tribute was being named recipient of the Dupont-Columbia Award for Excellence in Broadcast Journalism given to him by the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University.

According to his bio on, Harry Birrell and his wife Emily had been married over 57 years when she passed away in 2007. He is survived by his two children and five grand-children. At airtime, funeral arrangements had not yet been announced.

(KNX Newsradio, and other published news reports)


A radio that is able to change the context of a broadcast depending on where you are and what you are doing, has been demonstrated by the BBC. The Perceptive Radio, created by Ian Forrester of the corporation's Future Media division, is thought to be a world first.

For its initial showing the team produced a computer-generated radio drama where the script altered depending on factors such as weather. This proof-of-concept drama used a computer generated voice for one of the characters and could adapt on the fly according to data pulled from external sources. For instance, it could make reference to local places which would differ from the script depending on where in the world a listener is.

If you want to read more about this latest in almost senescent computer technology you will find it on the web at radio.

(BBC, Southgate)


The South African Radio League reports that the first scientific paper based on observations performed with South Africa's new KAT-7 radio telescope, has been accepted for publication by the prestigious journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomy Society.

Using the new KAT-7 telescope and the existing 26 meter radio telescope at the Hartebeesthoek Radio Astronomy Observatory, South African and international astronomers have observed a neutron star system known as Circinus X-1. This as it fires matter from its core in extensive, compact jets that flare brightly.

The details of the flares are visible only in radio waves. The full story and a brief video are on line at (AMSAT-SA)

HAM RADIO IN SPACE: Fox-1 Ham Radio CubeSat frequencies announced

The International Amateur Radio Union Frequency Coordination Panel has announced coordinated frequencies for the AMSAT-NA Fox- 1CubeSat. The uplink will be on 435.180 MHz for FM voice and the downlink on145.980 MHz with FM voice and an optional sub audible FSK digital carrier channel.

Fox-1a is a one unit cubesat that will serve as a communications relay for radio amateurs worldwide via the onboard FM repeater system. It will also carry an experiment consisting of a 3-axis gyro developed by Penn State University. The communications and scientific experiment missions will run concurrently. (AMSAT)


The frequencies of 2422.0 MHz and 2437.0 MHz have been announced for a new ham radio Digital TV transmitter that will operate as an educational adjunct from the International Space Station.

The main mission of what’s being called Ham TV is to perform school contacts between the astronauts onboard ISS and educational institutions on the ground. This by providing space station to ground video within ARISS program.

To accomplish this, the ISS will host a new S-Band video transmitting station in addition to the existing VHF FM ham band transceiver. The new equipment will have the ability to transmit images from orbit during the school contacts. It will also be able to broadcast other pre-recorded video images up to 24 hours a day to allow ground stations tuning. More information on this new on-orbit service is on the Web at (IRTS)


On the air, listen out for Brazilian special event station PS2013CCB to be active between June 15th to the 30th to celebrate the FIFA Confederations Cup Brazil event. Operation will be on 40 through 10 meters using CW, SSB and various digital modes. Operations are. QSL via PS7AB, only via the bureau or electronically using either Logbook of the World or eQSL. SWL card request are also welcome. (OPDX)


In DX, F9IE, is now operational stroke CT7 from Portugal on 60 meters. He is running 100 and should be there for about another week. He is said to be operating CW on 5405 and 5373 kHz with SSB on 5403.5 and 5371.5 kHz. No QSL information has been provided.

The VU7KV Lakshadweep Islands operation last month has been approved for DXCC credit. If anyone had this contact rejected in a recent submission send an e-mail to bmoore (at) arrl (dot) org to be placed on the list for an update to your record.

VK3DAC is currently operational from Christmas Island as VK9DAC He is active on 80 through 10 meters as time permits. QSL as directed by the operator.

DL1DI will be active as PJ4D from the island of Bonaire between June 22nd and July 10th. All that’s known so far is that he will be there on vacation. More details to be follow.

W1XP is currently active stroke P4 from Aruba. Listen out for him on the various High Frequency bands. QSL’s go via his home call.

F5SWB will be on the air as TU5DF from the Ivory Coast from June through October. Activity will be on all of the High Frequency bands. QSL via F5SWB.

Lastly, word that ZS6EZ and ZS6P will be active from Mozambique from October 15th to the 22nd as C92Z and C91P respectively. They will also be operational using the call C82DX. QSL C92Z via ZS6EZ. Cards for C91P go via ZS6P


And finally this week, several vials of moon dust brought back to Earth by the first men on the moon have been found inside a lab warehouse in California. This after sitting in storage unnoticed for more than 40 years. Amateur Radio Newsline’s Cheryl Lasek, K9BIK, reports:

Many of you likely remember those fuzzy live pictures from the moons surface when Astronaut Neil Armstrong became the first human being to set foot on an alien world. We also watched as Armstrong and Apollo 11 crew mate Buzz Aldrin collected samples from the Lunar surface before returning with them to mother Earth. Now some four decades later a part of the samples that Armstrong and Aldrin brought back with them were recently rediscovered by an archivist who was going over artifacts tucked away at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

Karen Nelson, who made the surprising discovery, said in a statement from the lab that they don't know how or when the samples ended up in storage. She says that she came across about 20 vials with handwritten labels dated "24 July 1970," packed in a vacuum- sealed glass jar.

Accompanying the jar was an academic paper published in the Proceedings of the Second Lunar Science Conference in 1971, titled "Study of Carbon Compounds in Apollo 11 and Apollo 12 Returned Lunar Samples." All of the authors of the paper were from the University of California, Berkeley's Space Sciences Laboratory. This included Nobel Prize-winning chemist Melvin Calvin, who worked with NASA on efforts to protect the moon from contamination during the first lunar landing, as well as planning on how to protect those on Earth from unknown pathogens that might have been lurking on the Moon’s surface.

It turns out that the moon dust samples were supposed to have been sent back to NASA after the Space Sciences Laboratory team finished their research on them for some unknown reason they instead ended up in storage.

After making the discovery Nelson then got in touch with NASA officials. They in turn permitted her to open the jar to remove the vials before she returned them to the space agency and making for a happy ending to a 4 decade old story that began on the surface of the Moon.

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

In all, NASA's moon-walking Apollo astronauts brought 842 pounds of lunar samples back to Earth between 1969 and 1972, and very little of it was thought to be unaccounted for until Nelson’s discovery. More on this important find is on the Web at found

(TechMag7 and other published news reports)


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 Don Wilbanks, AE5DW, in Southern Mississippi saying 73 and we thank you for listening.

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

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