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News Articles

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Just Like Houston: Engineering Students Work On Satellite Ground Station:
by virginia.edu on March 21, 2017
Houston, we’ve had a problem here.” Astronaut Jack Swigert uttered that famous statement on April 13, 1970, when problems became apparent during the failed Apollo 13 mission. Members of NASA’s Mission Control Center in Houston immediately went to work to figure out what happened and ultimately saved the lives of the crew. Since the space age began, spacecraft and their crews have been communicating with ground stations via radio. Now, University of Virginia engineering students are about to join that tradition with their own ground station for tracking a small spacecraft of their own design. The station will allow student engineers to track and collect data from their craft, scheduled to be launched into orbit in late 2018 aboard a NASA-sponsored rocket as part of an International Space Station resupply mission. “We’re building our own version of NASA’s Mission Control, to communicate with our own spacecraft,” said Christopher Goyne, a mechanical and aerospace engineering professor who serves as faculty adviser for the project. “Our students have a lot of work to accomplish prior to launch, and during the six- to 12-month flight mission.” The student-built spacecraft, shaped as a cube about the size of a softball, will be part of a joint mission with other Virginia universities to conduct atmospheric density studies, which will help NASA better understand the rates at which low-orbiting spacecraft slow down and ultimately descend back to Earth when encountering the “drag” of the outer edges of our atmosphere. The craft, called a CubeSat (for cube-sized satellite), will be the first developed and flown by UVA. Assembly and testing will be completed this summer. Goyne’s group recently began work to construct the ground station, with assistance from the UVA Amateur Radio Club. The mini-satellite is being designed to accommodate a small UHF radio that transmits in the amateur radio band. The station will transmit instructions to the craft as it passes over from horizon to horizon, and also receive scientific data from the craft. The ground station will communicate with other satellites in space, and possibly with crew members aboard the International Space Station.

Sun Goes Blank for Two Weeks Straight:
by wnd.com on March 21, 2017
(WATTSUPWITHTHAT) -- Over the weekend, we reviewed the state of the solar data for March 2017. Now, there’s a two week straight lack of sunspots, the longest stretch since 2010. Overview: The sun is currently blank with no visible sunspots and this is the 14th straight day with a blank look which is the longest such stretch since April 2010 according to spaceweather.com. Historically weak solar cycle 24 continues to transition away from its solar maximum phase and towards the next solar minimum. In April 2010 – the last time there was a two week stretch with no visible sunspots -- the sun was emerging from the last solar minimum which was historically long and deep. There have already been 26 spotless days in 2017 (34 percent of the entire year) and this follows 32 spotless days last year which occurred primarily during the latter part of the year. The blank look to the sun will increase in frequency over the next couple of years leading up to the next solar minimum -- probably to be reached in late 2019 or 2020. By one measure, the current solar cycle is the third weakest since record keeping began in 1755 and it continues a weakening trend since solar cycle 21 peaked in 1980. One of the impacts of low solar activity is the increase of cosmic rays that can penetrate into the Earth’s upper atmosphere and this has some important consequences.

Volunteers Needed for WIA Monitoring System:
by WIA on March 20, 2017
Wireless Institute of Australia observers looking for intruders on the ‘Primary’ frequencies of the Amateur Service on high frequency bands in 2016 found more than five thousand intrusions. These are collated into a monthly report before sending to the relevant spectrum regulatory agency in IARU member countries. A resulting clamp down on the Indonesian ‘village radio’ stations was occurring with the government regulator progressively removing offenders. The WIA reports intruders to the Australian Communications and Media Authority, but due to the itinerant nature of some intruders the ACMA has difficulty in confirming them which draws out the process for their removal. Unfortunately, some administrations seem to ignore requests for the removal of interfering services. The observations have included a multitude of Over-The-Horizon-Radar (OTHR) systems mainly Chinese, Turkish, Iranian and British systems. There have also been CODAR systems (oceanographic radars) particularly on the 20m to 10m bands.

PayPal Users Take Note (Scam Alert):
by MICHAEL A. BALLENGER (K4KJC) on March 19, 2017
If you use PayPal for transactions on classified sites, be on the lookout for scam e-mails "thanking you for your recent purchase" using PayPal. They will list a bogus sale, complete with product descriptions, prices, and transaction numbers, etc., making it look like someone has hacked your account. They offer a link to follow (which requires your PayPal log-in info) to dispute the transaction. If you take the bait, then they got you.

Amateur Radio Roundtable Live Tuesdays:
by tom Medlin (W5KUB) on March 19, 2017
Please join Katie Allen and me for Amateur Radio Roundtable . This week our guests will be James NO1PC, who will talk about CA hands free bill and how it might affect you, (regardless of your state).

World Thinking Day: Rainbows, Brownies, Girl Guides from 17th A Leigh Unit:
by leightimes.co.uk on March 19, 2017
'World Thinking Day' is an important annual event for Brownies and Girl Guides around the world. This takes place on the birthday of founder Lord Baden-Powell, and is an opportunity to think about others around the world. In support of this year’s event, Rainbows, Brownies and Girl Guides from the 17th A Leigh unit met on February 27 at Hadleigh Methodist Church, on the theme of 'communication.' With the help of the local amateur radio group Essex Ham, more than 20 Brownies, Guides, Seniors and Team Leaders sent greetings messages over special radio frequencies to other amateur radio enthusiasts across Essex. The experience helped youngsters of the 17th A Leigh unit to get their ‘On The Ai’ communicators badges. The event also included a video showing astronaut Tim Peake performing experiments on the International Space Station, and the importance of radio in our daily lives.

Charleston Hamfest Set for March 25:
by herald-dispatch.com on March 18, 2017
CHARLESTON - The 33rd annual Charleston Area Hamfest and Computer Show is set for 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, March 25, at the Charleston Civic Center. The public is invited to attend this flea market of new and used amateur radio, electronic, and computer gear and parts and accessories.

Radical Radio Chip Uses Software Filtering to Work Anywhere:
by pcworld.com on March 18, 2017
Researchers at Cornell University have developed a new type of radio-on-a-chip that could mean cheaper, more flexible wireless systems. Smartphone makers could, for example, use the technology to make a single model of each phone that works anywhere in the world. Single-chip radios have become a popular choice for communications hardware in the last decade because most characteristics of the radio are determined through software, not discrete hardware components. For this reason, they are often referred to as software-defined radios. But software can only do so much. In many transceiver devices -- ones that transmit and receive -- an array of filters is needed to protect the sensitive receiver circuity from signals being transmitted. Those signals can be up to a billion times more powerful that the ones being received, so without the filters, the radio would be overwhelmed and useless. The radio developed at Cornell covers frequencies from 300MHz to 5GHz, which encompasses many active communications bands, including those for cellphones, Wi-Fi, amateur radio, emergency services and some fixed wireless broadband and satellite communications.

Propagation Forecast Bulletin #11 de K7RA:
by W1AW Bulletin via the ARRL on March 17, 2017
There haven't been any sunspots since March 3, other than March 5, when one sunspot appeared for only one day. Also, solar flux values have recently dipped below 70, for the first time since the other side of this solar cycle.

Amateurlogic 102 is Released:
by peter berrett (VK3PB) on March 17, 2017
Peter repairs a Laptop Screen, Emile builds a Cheap Beacon, George continues the 433 MHz Saga, and special guest John Ossi, N3DRH has part 2 of 2 on Karl Jansky, the Father of Radio Astronomy.

Amateur Radio Newsline Report 2055 for Friday, March 17, 2017:
by James Pastorfield (KB7TBT) on March 17, 2017
The following is a QST. A longtime amateur supplier of crystals is closing its doors. South African youngsters find new friends on the air -- and hams climb to summits around the world to face challenging contacts. All this and more as Amateur Radio Newsline Report 2055 comes your way right now.

VK6WIA -- NewsWest, 19 March 2017:
by WA Amateur Radio News on March 17, 2017
In this week's edition of NewsWest we have information of Amateur Radio activities including World Amateur Radio Day, the Jakarta DX Contest and an update from Ham College. There is our regular diary of the weeks meetings. No news is complete without Roy's helpline, but unfortunately Roy's circumstances this week mean that the hasn't been able to record his usual segment. Hopefully he'll be back next week. There is a report that our hobby's regulator, the ACMA may be considering auditing the WIA. There is a round up of the proxy situation for the WIA AGM and also if you are more comfortable sitting at your radio than dealing with a company audit I attempt to explain what an audit is about and how it is performed. Which reminds me, you will have noted the announcement that the WIA office was closed for some days this week so that the audit could take place. That's is strange as I have had an email exchange with the auditor in the last few days. He informed me that only a planning meeting had so far happened, I wonder what was actually occurring at WIA HQ? No doubt time will tell.

Foundations of Amateur Radio -- #93:
by Onno VK6FLAB on March 17, 2017
What does a resistor have to do with a stick? Commonly the size of a grain of rice with pretty colours, a resistor is a regular item in many electrical devices. This week in Foundations of Amateur Radio I take a look at how ice-cubes, electrons, sticks and resistors describe what is going on inside an electrical circuit without once using a joule, a coulomb or more familiar terms like Volt, Ampere and Ohm.

Amateur Radio Groups to Send a Balloon to the Stratosphere and Back:
by berkeleyside.com on March 17, 2017
Many UC Berkeley students have sky-high ambitions, but this weekend some are going to new heights. Members of the East Bay Amateur Radio Club and UC Berkeley’s radio club are teaming up to launch a high-altitude balloon to near-space, and they are inviting the public to come track its journey. On Saturday, March 18 the group will launch the helium-filled latex weather balloon from Memorial Glade on Cal’s campus at 10 a.m. and then, using software that tracks the balloon’s location, chase after it in their cars. The balloon is expected to reach an altitude of 90,000-100,000 feet. “People tend to get finicky about what the absolute definition of the edge of space is, but that’s the edge of space,” said the East Bay club’s Martin Rothfield, a retired communications professional. The balloon will be outfitted with GoPro cameras and a radio. A UC Berkeley microbiologist will also load it up with scientific gear, to collect air samples from the flight. The radio sends signals to a network of ham radios connected to the internet. The location information is available in real-time to anybody with internet access. But ham radio hobbyists were around long before the digital age. UC Berkeley’s amateur radio club, W6BB, is more than 100 years old. The Richmond-based East Bay club, the sponsor of Saturday’s launch, was started more than 50 years ago. Ham radios are often used for long-distance and emergency communication, and the local club members volunteer as safety officers stationed throughout Bay Area bicycle and foot race courses where cell phone service is unreliable. The Cal club and the East Bay club joined forces for a balloon launch two years ago as well.

Powell River Amateur Radio Club Provides Community Service:
by prpeak.com on March 17, 2017
Hobbyists contribute to medical, maintenance and emergency communication situations: A dozen hams, or amateur radio enthusiasts, met at their usual headquarters, a clubhouse filled with aviation memorabilia, for Powell River Amateur Radio Club’s annual general meeting on Wednesday, March 8. “For a long time, Powell River didn’t have a place to train with ham radio,” said longtime member Russell Storry. According to Storry, the club originally acquired a space at a local fire hall, but access was difficult due to security concerns. Storry said relocating to a shared space in the Westview Flying Club (WFC) clubhouse was a big step up for the radio club. Since moving to its current headquarters, the club has installed radio antennas on the roof and acquired a communications trailer. Storry said the radio club participates in a yearly field day where off-grid operating conditions are simulated and stations from around the world contact one another over a 24-hour period. “Lots of people become involved with the club,” said Storry. “I’d say about half of the people who receive their ham licence in Powell River acquire it through the club.” Lucy Achibank, a director with the club, became involved through one of its open houses. “My husband was involved and he had his licence,” she said. “I started studying and received mine through the club.” Achibank said the club provides access to ham-radio infrastructure, guest speakers, training for unlicensed enthusiasts and designated examiners. It also participates in local events, she said, including being on standby for the Terry Fox Run. “If a runner is having a problem, we can report by radio and relay it to medical services,” said Achibank. She added that amateur radio is a hobby for many of its members, but it also provides an important service in the community.


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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 eHam.net. 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