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A Visit to ARRL Headquarters:
by on September 23, 2014
I had a chance to visit the Amateur Radio Relay League (ARRL) headquarters in Newington, CT. The ARRL is the national organization of radio amateurs in the U.S., and provides training, resources and representation of radio amateurs in Washington, D.C. and internationally during world radio spectrum management conferences. While it provides a hobby outlet for many who enjoy worldwide and local radio communications, the primary purpose of ham radio is to provide backup communications to emergency services during times of disaster should normal communications systems fail. They also send and receive health and welfare information between those affected by the disaster and loved ones living elsewhere. Besides the informational resources, ARRL also has a nice RF test laboratory on the premises, managed by Ed Hare, W1RFI. As a part of this lab, Michael Gruber, W1MG, provides help to hams having issues with interference to their receiving equipment or assistance if the ham is interfering with commercial communications or broadcast systems. Gruber also served as editor and author for the majority of chapters in the ARRL’s RFI Book - Practical Cures for Radio Frequency Interference (3rd. edition), which I reviewed in an earlier blog posting. I had a chance to interview Gruber regarding the typical interference complaints he receives.

FCC Denies Petition for Amateur Radio Assignment Inside TV Channel 4:
by on September 23, 2014
Commission bases dismissal on lack of technical data: The Chief of the FCC's Office of Engineering and Technology has released an Order denying a petition for rulemaking filed by Glen E. Zook proposing the commission add a “4-meter” radio band (70.0-70.5 MHz) to the list of bands available to amateur radio operations in the U.S. and areas under the FCC's control. The Order lists several shortcomings in Zook's petition, including a lack of technical data to justify statements, including assertions of no interference to adjacent channels, made in the request. What I found interesting were statements in the FCC's Order relating to the use of low-VHF channels, including channel 4, for DTV broadcasting. The Order states, “Based on data compiled by the Commission’s Media Bureau, Channel 4 is currently populated by three full-power TV stations, 110 low-power television (LPTV) and TV translator stations, and six Class A TV stations.” It continues, “The Commission also has an ongoing incentive auction proceeding that, among other things, will repurpose a portion of the TV band for broadband operations and repack the remaining TV stations into a smaller frequency range. The incentive auction proceeding does not eliminate the use of TV Channel 4, and envisions a number of voluntary options for full power and Class A TV stations – including relocation from a UHF channel to a VHF channel and relocation from a high VHF channel (Channels 7-13) to a low VHF channel (Channels 2-6). Under such circumstances, Channel 4 could become even more robustly used for broadcast purposes than it is now. Even if such an outcome is not realized, there is no reason to expect that full power, Class A, and LPTV stations will not continue to make use of an available television channel. The Zook Petition, in dismissing such continued broadcast use of TV Channel 4, fails to show how harmful interference to broadcast operations by new amateur users would be avoided.”

FCC Commissioner: Repurpose 400 MHz Range:
by (AK4AV) on September 22, 2014
FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel recently told a communications industry conference, "We can no longer limit ourselves to frequencies in the traditional range. We need to look elsewhere. The only question is where.

Amateur Radio -- In Times of Trouble or Just for Fun:
by on September 22, 2014
Sean Kutzko is media and public relations manager for the American Radio Relay League, the national association for amateur radio operations. He spoke to the Trib about the resurgence of ham radio operators in America. Q: In 1991, there were fewer than 500,000 licensed ham radio operators in the United States. Now there are more than 720,000. What sparked this rise in popularity? A: I would say two things are major contributors. One is disasters, natural and otherwise. Sept. 11, 2001, and Hurricane Katrina in 2005 — both of those events highlighted the need for communication that functioned independent of the Internet and cellphone network infrastructure. As a result of that increased emphasis on personal responsibility and preparing for emergency scenarios, more and more people have taken a look at amateur radio as being able to provide communications during those situations. The other contributing factor is that we're seeing a huge resurgence in (do it yourself) activities. People are just interested in how things work. We're seeing a lot of people -- mainly in the 25-40 demographic -- who are very intrigued by learning electronics as a skill set and they're turning to ham radio to learn basic fundamental electronics.

Ham Radio Operator Objects To Anti-Texting RADAR:
by on September 22, 2014
‘New Radar Technology Will Meet Resistance From the Amateur Radio Relay League’ After viewing the story of ComSonic’s new Anti-Texting RADAR for police I can see where this is going to be highly objected to by lawfully licensed ham radio operators across the nation. Many Ham Radio operators and those volunteer radio operators who are also members of the U.S. Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corp MARS programs (Military Affiliated Radio Service) who use the cellular 3G and 4G texting technology for the ARPS (Amateur Radio Positioning system). This system is independent from typical Satellite GPS tracking systems and uses mobile Cellular and Amateur Radio repeaters to provide fully automatic location reporting of persons and vehicles carrying phones equipped with this application on newer smart cellular phone technology.

Isabella Hosted Annual, 24-Hour Amateur Radio Field Day Event:
by on September 21, 2014
ISABELLA - Ely area resident John Larson was a participant in the June 28 – 29, 2014, amateur radio field exercise at the Isabella Community Center. "This is like the world cup of amateur radio," said Larson, with his radio call sign (KC0RID) proudly displayed on the bill of his ball cap. The field day event is held annually on the fourth weekend of June with more than 35,000 radio amateurs (also called "hams") operating from remote radio stations across the country. Larson said the event runs for 24 hours and is the largest single emergency preparedness exercise in the country. The grounds surrounding the Isabella Community Center were converted into a remote communications station for the weekend event. Antenna wires were strung through tree tops and an emergency generator was set up to provide alternative power for the radios, simulating emergency operations during a natural disaster or severe weather.The Isabella Community Center was chosen to host the field day event this year because the center's elevation makes the location a prime site for hanging antennas. "According to Wikipedia, this is the highest point in Minnesota accessible by car," said Larson. The primary use of the Isabella location may be as a national field day event, but it is not the first time amateur radio operators came together on the site. "The Emergency Communications Center was set up here three years ago during the Pagami Fire," said Larson, "and ham radio operators were very involved in communicating with the fire crews. Fire fighters are very vulnerable without adequate communications."

Radio Enthusiasts Put Tasmania's Lighthouses On an International Map:
by on September 20, 2014
A couple of amateur radio enthusiasts are putting Tasmania's lighthouses on an international map. They've joined a growing worldwide gathering of radio operators with a passion to light up the world with wireless, at lighthouses everywhere. More than 500 lighthouses in at least 50 countries connected at this years International Lighthouse and Lightships weekend. And the list included a 'virgin' lighthouse. The Cape Tourville Lighthouse has never had radio broadcast from it before until they set up their radio shack. "We were talking into Ukraine yesterday, Russia, all over Australia and New Zealand," Kevin Norris said. "It's not just a small area, we've actually been talking around the world." "On five watts. That's just a little five watt transmitter.

Researchers Discover Wolverhampton Man's Secret Past:
by on September 20, 2014
He was a happily married insurance agent with a secret that he took to the grave. Geoff Hanley was known to be a keen radio ham but nobody realised exactly what he was doing once he donned a pair of special issue headphones in his garden shed. He would leave his family night after night to operate from the 'radio shack' that was specially blacked out for fear of air raids and in which he kept a sten gun, Lee Enfield 303 rifle and hand grenades. When the siren sounded he ensured his wife, two children and dog were safe in the shelter he had dug in the garden of their Wolverhampton home but he would not join them. He stayed above ground at his post in the shed continuing to secretly monitor German military radio signals. The operation was so hush-hush that even he may not have been entirely sure how the information he gathered was being used. But he was certain of two things - it was important and he could not speak about it to anybody outside those he worked with.

FCC Turns Down Petition to Create a 4 Meter Band in the US:
by W1AW Bulletin via the ARRL on September 19, 2014
It does not appear that US radio amateurs will gain a new band at 70 MHz anytime soon. The FCC has denied a Petition for Rule Making filed earlier this year by Glen E. Zook, K9STH, of Richardson, Texas, seeking to add a 4 meter band to Amateur Radio's inventory of VHF allocations. Zook had floated the proposal in 2010, and his petition was dated January 27, 2010, but the FCC said it did not receive it until last May. Zook asked the Commission to allocate 70.0 to 70.5 MHz to Amateur Radio because, Zook's Petition asserted, "the recent migration of broadcast television stations to primarily UHF frequencies basically eliminates any probable interference to television channels 4 or 5." VHF TV channel 4 occupies 66 to 72 MHz.

Propagation Forecast Bulletin #38 de K7RA:
by W1AW Bulletin via the ARRL on September 19, 2014
On September 11 and 12 two powerful CMEs hit Earth, producing a G3 class geomagnetic storm. The result was a planetary A index of 44 on Friday, and during the final three hours of the UTC day (2:00 PM to 5:00 PM PDT) the planetary K index reached 7, which is very high.

ARNewsline Report 1936 -- Sept 19 2014:
by Bill Pasternak (WA6ITF) on September 19, 2014
The following is a QST. Qatar will include ham radio in an upcoming geostationary satellite launch; more information surfaces on the restructuring of the United Kingdom’s ham radio rules; Philippine hams once again respond as a typhoon makes landfall; W5KUB announces live coverage of the K6H operating event and a soon to be space traveler starts training next January. Find out the details are on Amateur Radio Newsline report number 1936 coming your way right now.

Man Was Fixing Ham Radio Tower Before Fatal Fall:
by on September 19, 2014
CHIPPEWA FALLS -- James Linstedt was familiar with repairing ham radio towers, having worked on the structures that make receiving and sending signals possible for at least the past decade, authorities and people who knew him said. But that experience didn’t prevent Linstedt, of Eau Claire, from falling about 95 feet to his death from a tower Tuesday in the town of Eagle Point, north of Chippewa Falls, authorities said. He was 59. Linstedt was working on a 100-foot-tall tower at 8121 163rd St. when he fell. Chippewa County Sheriff Jim Kowalczyk said Linstedt’s death is a sad reminder that people must use their safety equipment at all times. “When we use it for years, we get a little lax about using the equipment,” Kowalczyk said. “It’s safety equipment for a reason. If he had used it, we wouldn’t be investigating an accidental death.”

Tech Nerds Freaked Out About Obsolescence 100 Years Ago Too:
by on September 19, 2014
Do you find yourself obsessing over the latest tech? Does owning the newest model smartphone or tablet feel like a need more than a desire? Well, as you can see in this comic strip from 1919, your anxiety about having the Latest New Thing is actually nothing new. In fact, you're continuing a long tradition of nerds obsessing over tech obsolescence. In the case of this comic from the June 1919 issue of Electrical Experimenter magazine, the tech in question was amateur radio. The strip's protagonist struts around town, proud that his home has the latest and greatest radio tech, a beautiful mast and aerial, towering over his house!

DX News -- ARRL DX Bulletin #38:
by W1AW Bulletin via the ARRL on September 18, 2014
This week's bulletin was made possible with information provided by I3VJW, the OPDX Bulletin, 425 DX News, The Daily DX, DXNL, Contest Corral from QST and the ARRL Contest Calendar and WA7BNM web sites. Thanks to all.

Just Ahead In Radiosport:
by The ARRL Letter on September 18, 2014
Just Ahead In Radiosport:

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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