Limestone Amateur Radio Operators Provide Serious Public Service:
on March 12, 2014
Felix Birdwell and Dennis Stark are hams. Both men are members the Limestone Amateur Radio Emergency Services team and are ham radio, also known as amateur radio, operators. Ham radio is considered a hobby, but both men are part of the ears and voices that help protect residents during severe storms. Hams assist and provide communications during times of trouble and help prevent issues that cause trouble. LARES works with the Limestone County Emergency Management Agency and the National Weather Service (SKYWARN) to provide real-time, severe weather data and communications in storm-damaged areas. Operators set up at the EMA office and provide contact with a local network, which includes the Limestone County Sheriff’s Department, Athens Police, ambulance, fire departments and others. During severe weather ham operators typically know of warnings before they are issued to the general public. LARES also has assisted many local organizations by providing communications during bike rides, fun runs, the annual Christmas Parade and other events.
Alexandria Student Uses Old-School Technology to Communicate Worldwide:
on March 12, 2014
Ryan Trotter, a 27-year-old student at the Louisiana Special Education Center, speaks letters and the number five into a wireless microphone on Thursday. It’s his call sign, with five representing his location, that he uses when speaking to people on a ham radio frequency. Trotter passed the first level of the ham radio operator’s licensing test on Jan 9 after preparing and studying with visually impaired instructor Darrell Nichols for 16 months. Nichols has channeled his passion for amateur radio into a class for about six students at the school in Alexandria. Trotter is the first to have passed the exam. “He had to learn 394 questions to pass the initial ham radio exam, the technician class test,” Nichols said. “It gives you the opportunity to talk with people worldwide.”
CA Ham Must Pay FCC Fine in FM Case:
on March 12, 2014
Even though he said he had no malicious intent, ham radio operator Brian Ragan, KF6EGI, in Suisun City, Calif., will have to pay an FCC fine for making unlicensed FM broadcasts and not opening his door to the FCC. The commission has upheld an earlier ruling, though it reduced the amount of his penalty. In 2012 the commission traced signals on 104.9 MHz to Ragan’s garage. Agents heard the station identify itself on the air as KBRS. According to its account at the time, the agents tried to inspect but no one answered. Ragan later told the FCC he’d been afraid to open the door when he heard them identify themselves as being with the agency’s Enforcement Bureau. He also admitted to having operated the FM for six months, according to the FCC account.
Ham Radio Use Still Going Strong After 100 Years:
on March 11, 2014
Great Falls members cite fun of communications, possible emergency role: The 50-some ham radio operators in the Great Falls Area Amateur Radio Club are gearing up for a big year. They’re completing the renovation and equipping of a large RV trailer seized by the Cascade County Sheriff’s Office in a drug raid and turned over to the club to use to help provide mobile communications to responders during wildfires, floods and other emergencies. Great Falls club members also are helping their national parent group, the American Radio Relay League, celebrate its 100th anniversary. The national association of amateur radio has more than 162,000 members, many of whom will be making radio contact with the Great Falls club when it has the honor of using the flagship Newington, Conn.’s station’s W1AW call sign from Dec. 10 to 16. The club also will provide mobile communications in the spring when area wildfire responders do their annual training before the summer fire season. Vince Kolar, Cascade County Emergency Services manager, said the Great Falls ham radio club is included in the county’s emergency operations plan. It could be called in to provide backup mobile communications in a wildfire situation in which area residents are being evacuated and firefighters are having trouble communicating, particularly in a mountainous area, Kolar said. The ham radio club can bring in portable repeaters and mobile radios, he added.
Ham Operators Ready for a Crisis:
on March 11, 2014
Group keeps up with technology, taps into global band of radio enthusiasts: POWAY -- When the lights go dark, telephones are silenced and disaster is in the air, Charlie Ristorcelli is the guy you want to know. The 67-year-old Poway resident is a ham-radio enthusiast whose passion for that old-school but increasingly high-tech form of communication provides him with a front-row seat, and potentially an important voice, in any catastrophe. Over the years, Ristorcelli has spent roughly $75,000 buying and building equipment -- including a 35-foot antenna in his front yard -- that allows him to communicate with millions of other ham-radio operators worldwide. But even amid a sea of ham-radio geeks, Ristorcelli -- or NN3V, as he’s known on the airwaves -- is a breed apart. A retired Navy captain, he was commanding officer of an electronics systems engineering center responsible for the Navy’s worldwide communication system. During the final stretch of his 35-year career, he oversaw the Navy’s afloat and ashore surveillance network. He has written books and put time in with the National Security Agency, a stint he says he can’t talk about. Now, from his home in Poway, he interacts with people all over the world using Morse code, high-frequency radio bands and various other forms of radio communication that keep getting more sophisticated as the world of ham radios and the Internet blend.
An Untold Story:
on March 11, 2014
Those of you who know me are aware of my passion for amateur radio. What you may not know is that I am involved up to my ears in amateur radio PR activities. All of you that make your home in this little bit of heaven, known as Alabama, will recall a weather event of January 28th, 2014 when we received repeated, close couple, light dustings of snow that resulted in very slick roads, many stranded people and a somewhat embarrassed group of weather forecasters. In all fairness to the local meteorological crowd with egg on their faces, snow events are very difficult to forecast accurately. We ended up with thousands of people stranded, people at home, stranded at work, at school, on little hills, in ditches, and parking lots as well as many bent fenders and frustrated drivers. Our normal modes of transportation were in total failure, east to west, along the I-20/59 corridor. Some folks spent the night in their cars, in discomfort, but others were truly in distress. The cell phone towers in and along the affected area were jammed. Emergency services equipment and snow removal equipment had difficulty moving through the traffic jams and accidents. This proved to be the automobile insurance adjuster’s and body shops full recovery act. What a mess. I went searching for the facts about the involvement of the amateur radio communities’ response to the “light Dusting” disaster. I found very few records of the amateur communities activities, but having listened to the ham bands the afternoon, evening and late into the night of the 28th, I knew the amateur community had been very active. This was a very different weather event than the Tornados the ham community spends much time practicing for. The response to normal weather related event would be driven by a request from a local Emergency Management Agency. The request for communications support would bring out the amateur radio communities. No request was issued, and had it been it been, the local operators would also have been effected by the snow and ice and slick roads. It didn’t look like there was much to tell...well maybe not. Local amateur radio operators shared road condition information with the local law enforcement departments, they assisted by providing communication from some of the shelters, they helped locate stranded motorists locate shelter and aided in arranging transportation to shelters.
Meet Astronaut Luca Parmitano!
by S CLINT BRADFORD (K6LCS)
on March 10, 2014
Did you follow ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano’s updates and images during his Volare space mission on social media? Now there’s a chance to hear about his time on the International Space Station directly from Luca.
Ham Radio: A Hobby and Public Service:
on March 10, 2014
POWAY -- When the lights go dark, telephones are silenced and disaster is in the air, Charlie Ristorcelli is the guy you want to know. The 67-year-old Poway resident is a ham-radio enthusiast whose passion for that old-school but increasingly high tech form of communication provides him a with front-row seat, and potentially an important voice, in any catastrophe. Over the years, Ristorcelli has spent roughly $75,000 buying and building equipment -- including a 35-foot antenna in his front yard -- that allows him to communicate with millions of other ham-radio operators worldwide. But even amid a sea of ham-radio geeks, Ristorcelli -- or NN3V, as he’s known on the airwaves -- is a breed apart. A retired Navy captain, he was commanding officer of an electronics systems engineering center responsible for the Navy’s worldwide communication system. During the final stretch of his 35-year career he oversaw the Navy’s afloat and ashore surveillance network. He has written books and put time in with the National Security Agency, a stint he says he can’t talk about. Now, from his home in Poway, he interacts with people all over the world using Morse code, high-frequency radio bands and various other forms of radio communication that keep getting more sophisticated as the world of ham radios and the Internet meld together. Over the years, Ristorcelli’s logs show, he has made contact with roughly 19,000 different people around the globe -- quiet a feat for a self-described introvert. Charlie Ristorcelli is the president of the Poway Amateur Radio club and has been an expert in the craft for over 30 years, including time served in the Navy and with NSA. Ristorcelli has a sophisticated system established in his Poway home that allows him to make radio communications around the globe. Charlie Ristorcelli is the president of the Poway Amateur Radio club and has been an expert in the craft for over 30 years, including time served in the Navy and with NSA. Ristorcelli has a sophisticated system established in his Poway home that allows him to make radio communications around the globe. “Being on the radio talking to somebody (is a) piece of cake,” he said. “I don’t have to see them, but I can talk to them, and we have a good time.”
American Legion Post 106 in Redlands will Celebrate 95th Anniversary:
on March 9, 2014
W6TAL, the amateur radio club of American Legion Post 106 in Redlands, will celebrate the 95th anniversary of the founding of the American Legion by making radio contacts with other amateur radio stations around the country and the world. The amateur radio “veterans net” will go from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. March 15. There will be a ceremony at 11 a.m. at Post 106, 814 W. Colton Ave., Redlands, and the U.S. Postal Service has approved a pictorial postmark for the American Legion anniversary. According to radio club president Roger Baty, the public is invited to the ceremony, and there are two ways to obtain the pictorial postmark. People may purchase the cacheted envelope at the event or bring an envelope bearing a first-class postage stamp and have that canceled at the event.
Revolutionary Way to Learn Morse Code:
by Bart Greenhut (KI6HQL)
on March 8, 2014
Introducing CODEMAN, a smartphone App that revolutionizes
the learning of Morse Code. As well meaning as the "short-cuts" and "techniques"
propagated on the internet may be, they cause frustration
and end up doing more harm than good to anyone wanting
to learn Morse Code.
Amateur Radio Club Ahead of the Curve:
on March 8, 2014
Amateur radio is a hobby and a service which can be traced back to the 19th century when sailors began using the telegraph to communicate with their counterparts on the mainland. Also known as ham radio, it has developed into a recreational and emergency communication tool for enthusiasts across the globe. “Ham is just a name for amateur radio,” says John Gilje, “it’s more like a nickname and no one really knows where it came from.” Gilje is a director of the Peace Country Amateur Radio Club (PCARC) and has been ‘hamming’ for more than 20 years. Amateur radio is about more than static, dials and knobs, he says -- it’s a sophisticated method for spreading a message. “It’s the latest,” he explains. “Ham radio is ahead of everybody else. “We talk to one another; we also experiment and do emergency services. When the power goes out, we still operate.” Amateur hams are inventors, says Gilje, who remembers using radio as a form of cell phone and Internet before the technology became widespread. Today, hams all over Alberta are in involved in natural disasters and search and rescue missions for their expertise in wave communication. “We were in Slave Lake in the fires, we had a truck and trailer out there,” he says, “and we had quite a few people in the floods in southern Alberta who provided communications when the rest of the communications went out.”
Join the UK Hub on EchoLink or AllStar:
by ian abel (G3ZHI)
on March 7, 2014
What is the UK Hub? The UK Hub is a network of simplex links and repeaters linked together by AllStar and EchoLink.
Propagation Forecast Bulletin #10 de K7RA:
by W1AW Bulletin via the ARRL
on March 7, 2014
Average daily sunspot numbers were up for the recent reporting
period (February 27 through March 5) and average daily solar flux
decreased slightly, compared to the previous seven days. Average
daily sunspot numbers increased nearly 29 points to 202.4, and
average daily solar flux was off a little more than four points to
ARNewsline Report 1908 -- March 7 2014:
by Bill Pasternak (WA6ITF)
on March 7, 2014
The following is a QST. 200 tiny satellites to be orbited in one
launch this month; the ARRL requests member
comments on digital High Frequency
operations; the IARU announces the theme for
Amateur Radio Day 2014; the FCC issues some
stiff fines to cable-casters that broadcast a
commercial with EAS tones; an Oregon ARES
group donates a ham station to a mobile
response clinic and a United States ham is
honored for expanding the Summits on the Air
program to this nation. All this and more on
Amateur Radio Newsline report number 1908
coming your way right now:
Severe Weather: Become a SKYWARN Spotter:
on March 7, 2014
CLEVELAND - This week is Severe Weather Awareness Week across Ohio as we get "weather ready" for another season of severe thunderstorms with damaging winds, hail and possible tornadoes here in northeast Ohio. Today, we let you know how to become the eyes and ears of the National Weather Service as a SKYWARN spotter. Each year a dedicated group of volunteer weather spotters, called SKYWARN, provide National Weather Service offices across Ohio with important eyewitness information about tornadoes, flash floods and damaging thunderstorms. SKYWARN spotters are people with an interest in the weather and an interest in helping others. By far the largest number of SKYWARN spotters in our part of the state are ham radio operators. Amateur radio emergency groups and amateur radio clubs relay important information to emergency management and the weather service by radio.
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