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What is Amateur Radio?
by on June 3, 2015
What is amateur radio? Is a little like asking “What color is my vehicle or the sky?” Amateur radio is as diversified as the men and women whom partake in this exciting and challenging venture. It definitely is not “CB” radio. It is open to young and old alike. It offers camaraderie, and the opportunity to provide a public service to your town, county, state and beyond when called upon. Is your interest in being a team member, or doing things on your own? You may join an amateur radio club or operate on your own. As a club member you will always find a mentor available and willing to help you in your communication quest. Is your interest in digital, single side band, packet, code, rtty, TV? Not sure what this means?

Hurricane Watch Network Marks a Major Milestone:
by on June 3, 2015
A ham radio group dedicated to tracking Atlantic and Gulf hurricanes is celebrating a 50th anniversary, with a special event weekend June 13-14. The Hurricane Watch Net is made up of ham operators across the U.S., Caribbean and Central America who track storms in the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico, taking notice when storms come within 300 miles of landfall. Formed in 1965, the group has become larger and more formalized over the years, providing information to the National Hurricane Center station in Miami via spotter stations in the affected areas. The net also receives reports digitally over the Internet, to supplement what is received by radio, says Bobby Graves, KB5HAV, the HWN manager. Over the five decades, there have been 581 storms in the coverage area, and 131 of those have come ashore as Category 1 hurricanes or higher, according to the HWN website newsletter. The work can be rewarding and stressful, in the business of saving lives and mitigating property damage. “Every veteran HWN member has his or her own poignant memories of different storms,” Graves said on the website. “Others recall communicating with the flight crews of the hurricane hunter aircraft as they flew into storms…to maintaining communications with a ham in an upstairs room of his home, operating with a wire antenna and a battery as he watched as his neighbors’ homes were ripped apart by the fury of the storm.” During June 13 and 14 event, the group will use the call sign WX5HWN to make contacts on 14.325 MHz – the normal daytime net frequency – and also the nighttime frequency of 7.268 MHz.

Hamfesters to Hold Program on Field Days from the Past:
by on June 3, 2015
In a special program, Jim Riley, KB9CYL, Hamfesters Field Day chairperson, will look at Field Days past and this year’s late June event. This program will be presented at a meeting on Friday, June 12, at 7:30 p.m., at Crestwood Civic Center, 14025 S. Kostner. Refreshments will be served. Riley is the author of “On 15 Years as Field Day Chairman,” a feature article in a past issue of the American Radio Relay League’s magazine, QST. Field Day is an annual field demonstration of emergency communications preparedness by voice, Morse code and digital modes. During the weekend-long contest at 115th Street and Oketo Avenue, in Worth, the Hamfesters group contacts as many other ham radio club stations across the country and throughout the Western Hemisphere as it can. All levels of government -- local, state and federal -- recognize amateur radio’s historic contributions to emergency communications and homeland security.

Inside the Ham Rod:
by on June 3, 2015
Robert Smith, W0VMC, saw Radio World’s recent posting of a picture of his customized refurbed Collins 20V2 transmitter in “Ham Rods.” The transmitter was displayed at the recent Hamvention in Dayton, Ohio. He sent us additional information on the transmitter. This custom transmitter with a classic Art Deco look started out as a Collins 20V2 transmitter. It originally used 4-400A tubes, in a two modulating two configuration, but I’ve modified it to use 4-1000A tubes in their place. It now broadcasts on the 10–160M bands. The RF and modulator deck are fabricated to sit horizontal in the cabinet compared to the vertical mounting of the original decks. The tank circuit incorporates diode controlled vacuum relay switching that create a constant shorting tank coil and all the power supplies have all been upgraded to support the 4-1000A tube requirements. The new iron now being used was recycled from the “old Coke Machine,” a McMartin BA-2.5K transmitter.

Our Predictions of Solar Storms Have Not Been Very Accurate Until Now:
by on June 3, 2015
When a space hurricane was unleashed from the sun on January 7 2014, space-weather centres around the world sent out warnings. The hurricane was heading directly for Earth and was predicted to produce a strong geomagnetic storm. But then an unexpected thing happened: the storm bypassed Earth and headed for Mars instead. It confirmed that our techniques for predicting such events are not as accurate as we would like. I am one of the co-authors of a new paper that provides an insight into why the predictions were wrong and what we can do about this in future. Space storms are a regular part of our sun’s activity. These so-called coronal mass ejections are a by-product of dramatic events called solar flares. They happen in active regions of the sun where a great amount of energy is built up in the form of a tangled magnetic field. This acts like a rubber band that has been twisted too far, snapping as it releases its stored energy. The geomagnetic storms that occur when these ejections hit Earth can have dramatic consequences. Beautiful auroras in the night sky might be sights to behold, but equally GPS and telecommunication systems that rely on satellites can be disrupted, while radio black-outs can make it necessary to re-route air travel. In the worst scenarios, there can be strong surges of electrical currents that cannot be supported by national electric grids. This can lead to major power outages, such as the one experienced by Montreal and the Quebec region in Canada in March 1989.

Amateur Radio Operators Use Unique Call Sign to Honor Tasmanian Solider:
by on June 2, 2015
Yvonne Maxwell is the secretary of the Northern Tasmanian Amateur Radio Club and explains why the past few days have been significant for the club. "The members are actually talking to other amateurs around the world using the VK100 ANZAC call sign," she said. The call sign has been created for the centenary commemoration of WWI and in particular local solider Lieutenant Colonel Henry William Murray. In a small room off the main hall, two people sit and log the responses via the radio when using the call sign. "They're actually searching the bands, they've got a little dial on their radio and it goes through all the frequencies on the radio and they're searching the bands," Ms Maxwell said. "They will call up that they're on the air looking for anyone who would like to talk to them. "Once they announce that they are VK100 ANZAC searching for contacts they will get a lot of call backs and feedbacks." The significance and relevance of the call sign has been circulated within the amateur radio community right around the world, making it a very sought after call to answer.

Reciprocal Licence Review:
by WIA on June 1, 2015
As changes occur to overseas Amateur Radio Qualifications a review of reciprocal licences is required. This review has commenced and new tables will be available on the website and in the next edition of the Callbook. The review process involved ACMA and is not expected to impede reciprocal licence applications however there may be some changes to outcomes. These changes are expected to be minor.

2m and 70cm Bandplans 'Draft for Comment':
by WIA on June 1, 2015
Amateur Radio Bandplans are a voluntary operating code, which divides the various amateur bands into segments, in order to minimise interference between often incompatible transmission modes and technologies. As technology progresses, and patterns of usage change, Bandplans need to be periodically reviewed and updated to ensure they meet current needs, and also that, as much as possible, band usage remains internationally harmonised.

Ham College 5 is Released:
by peter berrett (VK3PB) on May 31, 2015
Ham College episode 5 is now available for download.

Learn More About Amateur Radios at LSC-Kingwood:
by on May 31, 2015
With continuous wet weather and hurricane season around the corner, a community group is encouraging the public to learn how to communicate during a disaster. Texas Emergency Amateur Communicators (TEAC) and Lone Star College-Kingwood’s engineering program will host the Amateur Radio Field Day on the college campus June 27-28. The equipment will be on display from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. on June 27 and from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. onJune 28. The actual 24-hour field day event starts at 8 a.m. on June 27. All activity will take place in the Performing Arts Center (PAC) room 125. “The primary purpose is to have an event that tests our preparedness and readiness for actual emergencies. By holding the field day, sponsored by the American Radio Relay League (ARRL), we will construct antennas and connect radios with a spontaneous-like atmosphere and operate for a full 24 hours making as many contacts as possible,” said John Nobile, LSC-Kingwood student and TEAC member. Community members interested in operating a radio on a frequency band or learning more about amateur radio equipment are invited to participate in the event. Field day operators will show the benefits of radio to use as basic communication or during real emergency events such as hurricanes, earthquakes, terrorist attacks, or any other situation where normal communication is unlikely. Participants will see real radios in operation that can communicate on the high frequency bands and radios that can communicate to satellites orbiting the earth. They will also see the simple antennas that can be built in an hour at home to some complex antennas that can take weeks to design and build. “Another goal is to provide an educational opportunity for children and adults by sharing the opportunities amateur radio has to offer in science, math, and engineering,” Nobile said. “These contacts with other Amateur Radio Operators can be just miles away or literally around the world.”

Radio Hams Tune In at Oldbury Show:
by on May 30, 2015
RADIO hams will be tuning in at the first Black Country Radio Rally, on air in Oldbury on Sunday (May 31). The event is primarily aimed at the amateur radio community but the general public are invited to have a browse. It is being held at the Portway Lifestyle Centre, Newbury Lane, and will feature a radio talk-in, special interest groups. trade stands, bring and buy and a raffle.

Morse Mystery Message Challenge Delights Children:
by on May 30, 2015
MORSE Code might be an outdated mode of technology but it still delighted children at the Museum of the History of Science in Oxford. As part of the museum’s half-term activities youngsters got to learn about the Second World War code and try it out for themselves. Called Send a Message SOS, the one-day drop-in exhibit helped families decode the mystery messages.

Fight Over Point Roberts Radio Tower Continues in Court:
by on May 30, 2015
Few things could be more alarming during a personal phone call than suddenly being interrupted by the sound of yelling on a police radio. It has happened in the past because radio waves, if they’re strong enough, can overpower home-based communications. The little-understood phenomenon, known as blanket interference, is the reason a group of Canadians and Americans oppose plans for five, 50,000-watt radio towers to be built in Point Roberts. The powerful transmitters would be located about 400 yards from Tsawwassen and its 23,000 residents -- but opponents have succeeded in stalling the project for the time being. Tsawwassen resident Jim Ronback said phones, radios, home stereos and TVs would be affected if the plan goes ahead.

Hams Invited to Test APRS on Duchifat-1 CubeSat:
by W1AW Bulletin via the ARRL on May 29, 2015
The Herzliya Science Center is inviting stations with the ability to send compressed APRS packets to take part in testing the Duchifat-1 CubeSat, launched almost 1 year ago by high school students in Israel. The satellite will collect packets worldwide and downlink them from time to time over the Herzliya Science Center's ground station.

Propagation Forecast Bulletin #22 de K7RA:
by W1AW Bulletin via the ARRL on May 29, 2015
This week the average daily sunspot number dropped 36 points to 56.1, and average daily solar flux was down 25.7 points to 97.6. Geomagnetic numbers indicated more stability than the previous week (May 14-20) with average daily planetary A index declining from 10 to 4.4, and mid-latitude A index down from 9.7 to 5.

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Manager - AB7RG
Clinton Herbert (AB7RG) Please submit any Amateur Radio related news or stories that you would like to see, here on If you need any help, we are glad to assist you with writing your article based on the information you supply. If there are any problems please let me know. (This includes any inappropriate posts on a topic, as I cannot monitor every topic.) Sincerely 73 de Clinton Herbert, AB7RG