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ARNewsline Report 1898 -- Dec 27 2013:

Bill Pasternak (WA6ITF) on December 27, 2013
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Amateur Radio Newsline™ Report 1898 – December 27 2013

Amateur Radio Newsline report number 1898 with a release date of December 27 2013 to follow in 5-4-3-2-1.

The following is a QST. Two astro-hams repair cooling system on the ISS in Christmas Eve spacewalk; ham radio takes a big step forward in Kosovo; New Zealand’s national ham radio society issues a correction on 6 meter privileges; the ARRL files comments on its own Symbol Rate petition and how high altitude balloon mission are tracked. Find out the details are on Amateur Radio Newsline™ report number 1898 coming your way right now.


A pair of United States astronaut hams have made final repairs to a damaged cooling system on board the International Space Station. This, during a rare Christmas Eve spacewalk on Tuesday, December 24th. Amateur Radio Nrewsline’s Bill Pasternak, WA6ITF, is in the newsroom with the details:

It was the second Extra Vehicular Activity or EVA or spacewalk in four days for United States astronauts Mike Hopkins, KF5LJG, and Rick Mastracchio, KC5ZTE, and only the second Christmas Eve spacewalk ever.

NASA ordered several spacewalks to repair a critical cooling system on the International Space Station. This after all nonessential equipment had been turned off when the system faulted on December 11th causing many science experiments halted. To solve the problem Mastracchio and Hopkins removed the faulty ammonia pump during a spacewalk on Saturday December 21st and installed a spare unit during the 7 ½ hour EVA on December 24th.

According to NASA the replacement was slow going because of a balky ammonia fluid line that sent frozen flakes of the extremely toxic substance straight at the two astro- hams. The spacewalkers reported being surrounded by big chunks of the material that bounced off equipment and their space suits. The ammonia needed to dissipate from their suits before the pair returned inside of the ISS to avoid any contamination to the orbiting outpost.

But in the end, it was man triumphing over machine. With this success NASA says that the cooling system should be restored and all equipment up and running by Sunday the 29th.

For the Amateur Radio Newsline, I’m Bill Pasternak, WA6ITF, in the Newsroom in Los Angeles.

NASA’s only previous Christmas Eve spacewalk occurred in 1999 during a Hubble Space Telescope repair mission. But perhaps the most memorable Christmas Eve in space took place back on December 24, 1968. That’s when Apollo 8 astronauts read from the Bible’s Book of Genesis as they orbited the Moon on mankind’s first lunar flight. (NASA, published news reports)


Kosovo now has a new base of young ham radio operators. This as more than four-dozen young people aged 18 to 21 sat for their ham radio license exam on Saturday, December 14th.

The exam was held in the amphitheater of the Technical University of Pristina. Of the 52 that were tested, 50 walked away as new amateur radio operators qualifying for a U.S. General level license.

This group was the first ever to take an amateur radio exam under the new laws of the Republic of Kosovo. The procedural framework used follows the U.S. structure, and several ARRL manuals were given to the national association for Amateur Radio in Kosovo as well as to the Telecommunications administrators courtesy of the American Radio Relay League. (OPDX, French Press, others)


The Independent Telecommunications Authority of South Africa or ICASA has extended the South Africa Radio League’s 5 MHz license through the end of January 2014. This follows an application for the telecommunications regulator to review the license and grant facilities up to at least the start of the WRC 2015.

Currently the South Africa Radio League’s holds a pilot license for 5 dot 250 and 5 dot 260 MHz. While it applied for extension of the license for a further period it also appealed to the ICASA Chairperson, Dr. Stephen Mnube, to consider issuing the national society with a long term authority to use these two frequencies to continue propagation research.

The South Africa Radio League is currently analyzing the results of a special weekend 5 MHz activity event held in early November. The first study using an ionosonde network has been published and is available for download at (SARL)


The New Zealand Amateur Radio Transmitters or NZART which is that nation’s national ham radio society has issued a correction to its recent news release regarding the availability of 6 meters. It says that that a small error was made in its bulletin number 286 that stated the nations six meter allocation was 50 to 54 MHz.

This says the NZART is not correct. Rather the 6 meter band for operational use is from 50 to 53 MHz for all modes at up to the full legal power limit. It notes that New Zealand does have limited use of the band from 53 to 54 MHz but only for approved individually licensed 6 meter repeater outputs. 53 to 54 MHz is not available for general amateur operation. (NZART)


The World Radiosport Team Championship committee has announced the list of those who will serve as referees for the 2014 competition.

According to an announcement from the games coordinating committee a referee will be on site at each of the 59 competing stations to verify compliance with the rules and make decisions on any rule questions by the teams.

All of the referees will be top level contesters because they must simultaneously listen to the audio from both operators for the entire 24 hours of the competition, which takes place in July 2014 in the North-Eastern United States.

A complete list of those selected to act as referees is on the web at Also, a short video explaining the upcoming World Radiosport Team Championship is on YouTube at (WRTC)


In DX up front, Ralph Fedor, K0IR reports that all the equipment the long awaited Amsterdam Island DXpedition that had been shipped to New Zealand is now aboard the ship MV Braveheart. Also that all of the documentation is in order that that inspections have been completed.

According to Fedor, the vessel was to be fueled for its voyage to Australia on December 23rd and scheduled to depart on December 26th for Fremantle, Australia. Meantime the FT5ZM team members will begin arriving in Fremantle on January 9th. They will board the Braveheart on January 14th, configure our maritime mobile station, and sail for Amsterdam Island on January 15th. Landing operations will commence as soon as the sea conditions and weather allow. Once the team is ashore, they will have 18 days to set up, conduct the DXpedition, and tear down for departure.

Fedor says that there will likely be at least one more press release before they depart. In the meantime you can get updates at the DXpeditions website at or by following the planning at And we will have more DX news for you later on in this week’s newscast. (Various DX News Sources)

Time for you to identify your station. We are the Amateur Radio Newsline, heard on bulletin stations around the world including the W9YPC repeater serving Markham, Illinois.


The ARRL has filed comments with the FCC on its own Petition for Rule Making RM-11708 the so-called "symbol rate" petition. Although the League rarely files formal comments on its own petitions, ARRL General Counsel Chris Imlay, W3KD, citing the high level of interest in the proceeding, said that this is clearly an exceptional circumstance. Amateur Radio Newsline’s Stephen Kindord, N8WB has the details:

As previously reported ARRL sponsored RM- 11708 proposes to drop the symbol rate limit as outlined in Part 97.307(f) of the FCC Amateur Service rules and substituting a maximum occupied bandwidth of 2.8 kHz for High Frequency data emissions. And in its newly filed comments the League noted the large number of comments that have been filed thus far indicate that the issue of data communications is an important one in the Amateur Radio Service.

In general, the ARRL says that its petition would have no effect on the High Frequency subbands where phone and image emissions are already permitted. It noted that the petition would not permit digital voice transmissions in the data and RTTY sub-bands because digital voice is defined in the Commission's rules as voice not data. Also the petition would have no effect on CW operation in the High Frequency bands either, and restrictions on automatically controlled digital stations would remain as they are now.

The ARRL also took pains to address the proposed 2.8 kHz maximum bandwidth for High Frequency data emissions. It noted that some comments say that bandwidth’s greater than 2.8 kilohertz for data should be permitted in order to permit a wider array of data emissions now and in the future. Others argue that 2.8 kHz is too wide, potentially allowing usurping of the band to the detriment of CW and other narrow-bandwidth emissions. But the League says that its recommended 2.8 kHz maximum is an attempt to balance two competing objectives. This by facilitating the use of current and future data emissions while protecting against a situation where a few data stations could take over a band.

For the Amateur Radio Newsline, I’m Stephen Kinford, N8WB, reporting.

The League's petition now tops the FCC's Most Active Proceedings list. As of the December 23rd deadline more than 850 comments had been filed. (ARRL)


The next Kids Day, jointly sponsored by the ARRL and The Boring Oregon Amateur Radio Club, will be held on Sunday, January 5th. This event runs from 1800 to 2400 UTC and is an excellent opportunity to showcase both ham radio and amateur radio satellites to youngsters while giving them some hands-on experience.

The suggested frequencies on the High Frequency bands are 28.350 to 28.400 MHz, 24.960 to 24.980 MHz, 21.360 to 21.400 MHz, 18.140 to 18.145 MHz, 14.270 to 14.300 MHz, 7.270 to 7.290 MHz, and 3.740 to 3.940 MHz. Repeater contacts, with permission of the repeater’s sponsor are also welcome while satellite contacts may prove to be the biggest thrill.

Be sure to observe third-party traffic restrictions when making DX contacts. All participants are encouraged to post stories and photos to the Kids Day Soapbox page and are eligible to receive a colorful certificate. You can download the free certificate customized with participating youngsters’ names, after filling out the Kids Day Survey. Both are on the web at (ARRL)


CQ Communications, Inc. has announced plans to realign its roster of publications and to launch a new online supplement to its flagship CQ Amateur Radio magazine. Effective with the February 2014 issue of CQ, content from the magazine's three sister publications, Popular Communications, CQ VHF and WorldRadio Online, will be incorporated into CQ's digital edition as a supplement to be called CQ Plus.

According to Publisher Dick Ross, K2MGA, while their primary audience is ham radio operators, very few hams began their radio involvement as amateurs. Most started out as shortwave listeners, broadcast band DX’ers, CB’ers or scanning enthusiasts. Ross says that many continue to be involved in various different aspects of the radio hobby in addition to amateur radio. K2MGA notes that by consolidating four specialized publications into one, that CQ will be better able to keep these multidimensional readers informed on all aspects of the radio hobby while simultaneously exposing those who are not hams to all the excitement and opportunities that amateur radio has to offer.

Richard Fisher, KI6SN, who is currently Editor of both Popular Communications and WorldRadio Online will become the Editor of CQ Plus. Current subscriptions to Popular Communications, CQ VHF and WorldRadio Online will be converted to CQ subscriptions and receive CQ Plus at no additional charge. Details will be posted on each magazine website. In the meantime a preview of the February issue's Table of Contents is available right now on the CQ website at (CQ)


HRD Software has announced that it will continue to support Ham Radio Deluxe on the Windows XP Service Pack 3 platform beyond April 8, 2014. This for as long as it is technically and commercially reasonable for them to do so, and there is no external dependency.

For example, if the manufacturers of radios, rig interfaces, or soundcards discontinue making drivers that work on Windows XP and you should purchase one of these devices, Ham Radio Deluxe would not be able to work with it. These same companies may discontinue support for older products that currently work on Windows XP and this could prevent trouble shooting.

HRD Software says that it recognizes that many operators may have no desire to upgrade their operating system or their computer. Microsoft provides some guidance to users of in this regard. HRD Software says that it will refer its customers to guidance provided by Microsoft in these instances.

More information on HRD Software products is on the web at (HRD via Southgate)


Some names in the news. First up is retired Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield, VA3OOhG who has predicted that humans will have a colony on the moon within the next 30 to 40 years and establish a base on Mars within the next 70.

In a recent interview with the Telegraph newspaper, Hadfield said that this is a pattern we have been following for the last 70,000 years. He noted mankind gradually made its way around the world. In the last 100 years we have gotten to Antarctica and now there are people who live there for months at a time.

VA3OOG went on to say that he thinks that within his lifetime we will see a permanent lunar base. Also that the setting up of a permanent habitation on the Moon will help to improve space exploration.

Hadfield gained fame for tweeting pictures of space and performing his own version of David Bowie's "Space Oddity" during his command of the International Space Station this past year. He retired from the Canadian Space Agency last June and is currently on tour promoting his new book "An Astronaut's Guide To Life on Earth."

You can read the entire interview with Chris Hadfield, VA3OOG on the web at (Telegraph)


The Radio Society of Great Britain Board of Directors has appointed Ken Hatton, G3VBA as Manager of station GB2RS effective as of January 1st of 2014. According to the announcement Hatton first became interested in amateur radio as a schoolboy and has been licensed 47 years. He replaces Gordon Adams, G3LEQ in this post. (RSGB)

This is ham radio news for today’s radio amateur. 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 Department of Energy has reached a deal with environmental and business groups on new energy efficiency standards for cable and satellite television set-top boxes.

The department reached the agreement along with the Natural Resources Defense Council, the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, the Appliance Standard Awareness Project, the Consumer Electronics Association and the National Cable and Telecommunications Association. The accord will improve efficiency on these units by 10 to 45 percent, over the next three years depending on the type of box. By 2017, about 90 percent of the set-top boxes in American homes will work as well as the most energy efficient devices currently on the market.

In the end, the agreement will save about $1 billion in energy costs for more than 90 million American homes each year, but won’t lead to new industry regulations. Instead, the energy efficiency standards will be voluntary.

More is on-line at boxes (The Hill)


Scientists have found that a new type of exploding radio star that dies completely by exhausting all its energy in one single energy burst before collapsing into a black hole.

According to a new research by astronomers at the Centre for All-Sky Astrophysics at Curtin University and the University of Sydney, these new populations of exploding star use all their energy to emit one strong last beam of high radiation, known as gamma-ray burst, They then collapse into a black hole.

The research, which originally set out to prove the existing theory that gamma-ray bursts are always followed by a radio afterglow, discovered that the premise was wrong. Rather they found that the birth of black holes kill a new type of exploding radio star.

The researchers used a technique of stacking 200 separate observations on top of each other to re-create the image of a gamma-ray burst in much better quality, but the image depicted no signs of radio afterglow. They said that those stars that collapse to form a neutron star have energy left over to produce the radio afterglow, while those that become black holes put all their energy into one final powerful gamma-ray flash.

The researchers say that new work is required to test and verify the team’s findings, adding that the findings give them a whole new look to understand gamma-ray bursts. They add that so far this work has shown that being wrong is sometimes more interesting than being right.

You can read more on this newly discovered phenomena at (IBT)


The United Kingdom’s Register reporter Lester Haines has interviewed Daniel Richman, M0ZDR about Cambridge University Space Flight Landing Predictor.

Rob Anderson wrote the original landing predictor for High Altitude Balloons back in 2008. Since then it's been continually updated to improve performance, and now offers anyone wanting to send a balloon aloft the chance of seeing very just where its likely to burst and where they should head to recover the payload.

Others who have worked on improving the predictor in the past five years are Fergus Noble M0NBL, Ed Moore M0TEK, Jon Sowman M0JSN and Adam Greig, M0RND. You can read the entire article at article. The program itself is at (Southgate)


A Happy 11th birthday to Saudisat 1 C. Better known as SO-50, Saudisat 1 C is a Saudi Arabian pico-satellite that was launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 17:00 UTC on December 20th, 2002. The bird is equipped with a Mode J FM repeater operating on a 2 meter uplink and a 440 MHz downlink. As such, most hams already own the necessary equipment to work SO-50. (K6LCS)


In DX, DK3ID who also holds the call OE8IDK will be operational from Lesotho as 7P8ID between February 11th to the 16th. Activity will be on 40 through 6 meters on SSB only. QSL via DK3ID or OE8IDK direct only.

EA5BYP is planning a trip to Annobon Island to be active as 3C0BYP, and Bioko Island where he will use the call 3C4BYP. Specific dates have not been announced but the operations will happen fairly soon. QSL via his home callsign.

ON4EZ will be active stroke 5Z- from Kenya between through January 6th. No other details were provided. QSL as directed on the air.

F5VHJ will once again be active as TO5A, from FM5BH's QTH during the ARRL International DX SSB Contest on March 1st and 2nd. Logs will be uploaded to Logbook of the World. QSL via F5VHJ either direct or by the Bureau.

Lastly, ZS6ALB is once again on the air as C91KHN from Mozambique. Activity has been on 10 and 6 meters. Logs will be uploaded to Logbook of the World and Clublog. QSL direct via his home callsign.

(Above from various DX news sources)


And finally this week, Australia seems to have become one of the world leaders in digital radio broadcasting as we hear from Amateur Radio Newsline’s Cheryl Lasek, K9BIK:

According to Commercial Radio Australia, a new survey shows that DAB Plus devices account for more than 12.7 percent of weekly radio listening in that nations five state capitals. Time spent listening via a DAB Plus digital radio device also adds up to 12 hours, more than double that of radio listening via the Internet.

DAB+ interest in the Asia Pacific is currently at an all time high with Vietnam, Thailand and Indonesia all hosting DAB Plus technology and transmission workshops. Also truck and bus manufacturer Fuso now includes DAB Plus digital radio as standard, increasing the number of Australian vehicle manufacturers offering this digital radio system as a standard feature or as an option.

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

The other Australian auto makers committed to DAB Plus so far include Ford, Land Rover, Jaguar, Mercedes, Toyota, Lexus, BMW, Audi, Hino and Isuzu Trucks. (RW)


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 for this year 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 Hal Rodgers, K8CMD, saying 73 and a very Happy New Year. See you in 2014 and as always, we thank you for listening.

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

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