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Petaluman Shares Love of Skies, Safety:
by on July 27, 2016
On the western outskirts of Petaluma lies 1.3 acres of land that houses several telescopes, an observatory with retracting roof, separate moon, vegetable and flower gardens, a ham radio station with enhanced emergency frequency antennae and a G-scale model train layout complete with water features, landscaping, trestles and hundreds of feet of track. This is where Eric Swanson, his wife of 47 years, Mary Ann, and the couple’s dog, Bess, make their home. The retired couple, he from the Department of Public Health and she from a career in social work, have created a sanctuary-like place that suits their post-retirement pursuits, which include fiber arts, astronomy, gardening, ham radio, photography, woodworking and model trains. Swanson, 75, is currently the secretary of Sonoma County’s Astronomy Society, a group that works to promote an interest in astronomy, with efforts including annual presentations to middle schoolers when the skies offer viewable events, such as a recent transit of Mercury across the face of the sun or conjunctions of planets that are visible. It was a neighbor who helped Swanson develop his ham radio skills and who taught him enough so that he was able to earn his first license in 1965. He was later able to deploy his radio skills his post at The Department of Public Health Service, later becoming involved in the Auxiliary Communications Services, which offers emergency preparedness support. He pursued enhancements allowing him to become a part of the official emergency radio operators’ network and went on to launch a local official ham radio community in 1991. Post-retirement, Swanson continues to aid emergency responders with volunteer radio support and is a member of Sonoma County’s Volunteers In Prevention, a group that contributes to the South County framework disaster response network that also provides training to assist responders. He continues to participate with fire officials, most recently during the illegal firework activity watch around the Fourth of July. “We’re sort of a hidden asset,” he said of ham radio operators.

Sun Blasts Out 2016's Strongest Flare (Video):
by on July 27, 2016
The sun fired off its strongest solar flare of 2016 during an active weekend that saw three eruptions from the star's surface. The uptick in solar activity occurred overnight on Friday and Saturday (July 22 and 23) when the sun unleashed three relatively moderate solar flares, all of which were captured on video by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory. While all three were somewhat minor, they are the first substantial solar events in months, NASA officials said in a statement. The first solar flare registered as an M5.0 sun storm and peaked Friday night at 10:11 p.m. EDT (0211 July 23 GMT). It was followed by a second, more-intense flare, which peaked as an M7.5-class solar storm on Saturday at 1:16 a.m. EDT (0516 GMT). A third, M5.5-class flare peaked 15 minutes later, at 1:31 a.m. EDT (0531 GMT)

Everything Ham Radio Podcast -- Mobile Radios:
by Curtis Mohr (K5CLM) on July 26, 2016
Howdy everything, this is Curtis, host of the Everything Ham Radio Podcast. In my latest episode, number 28, I did an interview with Alan Applegate, K0BG about tips on Mobile Radio Installations. It is packed full of information and I wanted to share it with everyone to make sure that this GREAT information reached as many people as possible!

Ham Talk Live #24 -- Log Analysis NV9L:
by D Neil Rapp (WB9VPG) on July 26, 2016
Coming up Thursday at 9 pm Eastern on Ham Talk Live! this week, Valerie Hotzfeld, NV9L, has rescheduled to be here to talk DXing and Contesting! Val gave a presentation on log analysis at Contest University this year, and she is going to share some of her knowledge with you and answer your DXing and contesting questions - including how to analyze your own logs!

St Albans Student Brought Down to Earth for Meeting with Astronaut Tim Peak
by on July 26, 2016
And just as big a thrill came this week when she was invited to a Downing Street reception to meet Tim, now back on terra firma, with new Prime Minister Theresa May. Jessica, a pupil in Year 10 at Sandringham School in St Albans, was the radio operator for Tim’s first amateur radio call to a UK school from space and she was the first to speak to jo, when the school linked up with the International Space Station in early January. She had studied for and was awarded her amateur radio licence especially for the call and is now a radio enthusiast. The school has also caught the bug and has set up a radio club. On the day of the link, the students had less than 10 minutes to speak to Tim when the space station was passing over the UK and Jessica both signed on with him and also thanked him when the link ended. At the time she described the experience as surreal and said how crazy it was to talk to someone 400km from Earth, adding: “I would like to go into space but it is quite dangerous.” Jessica went on to win the Pupil of the Year award for her endeavours in the Herts Advertiser 2016 School Awards.

'Triple Whammy' Eruptions Occur Within Minutes of Each Other on Sun:
by on July 26, 2016
Although the sun is in a period of low activity, it isn’t staying completely quiet. Over the weekend, the 4.5 billion year old ball of gas produced three mid-strength solar flares that have been deemed the most powerful to occur in 2016. Captured by Nasa’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, these flares were classified as M-level flares -- the category just below the most intense X-class flares.

Amateur Radio Related Uses for the Raspberry Pi:
by on July 26, 2016
I presented on amateur-radio-related uses for the Raspberry Pi this evening at my local club, the River City Amateur Radio Communications Society. Here's a copy of my slides from the presentation on Slideshare:

Radio Waves: Classic Communication Can Save Lives in Emergency Situations:
by on July 25, 2016
Our society has become dependent upon technology in just about every area of life, especially when it comes to information and communication, and the systems we rely on are remarkably fragile. Local coastal telephone landlines, for example, travel to the Willamette Valley and back, so, even if making a local call, the signal travels some distance. Any number of things can happen to disrupt those lines. Cell phone signal capacity easily becomes overwhelmed in high use situations. What happens, then, in an emergency situation if there’s no wi-fi because the Internet and power are out, the smart phone has no signal, and the landlines are silent? Jenny Demaris, Emergency Manager for Lincoln County, says the local association of ham radio operators will be “one of the critical behind-the-scenes volunteer groups that will be the back bone of communications when principal systems fail or are overloaded.” Demaris goes on to say that, in a Cascadia event, planners anticipate losing all cell and landline communications systems. “As long as emergency fuel is available to run generators, line-of-sight radios will work vehicle to vehicle so long as the batteries are charged,” she said. “Amateur radio will step in to provide critical communications between communities, hospitals, tribes, etc.” Amateur radios are one of several redundant communications systems, including marine band and CB or citizens band, that emergency responders will use in an emergency. Demaris emphasizes that, when we have a Cascadia or other significant emergency, it will be an “information drought event;” something that will take most people by surprise. “The general population as a whole will be dependent on a very small group,” explains Demaris. “As radio frequencies will be used for critical services, other information will have to be relayed.”

Amateur Radio Newsline Headlines for Ham Nation:
by James Pastorfield (KB7TBT) on July 24, 2016
Amateur Radio Newsline headlines for Ham Nation. July 27, 2016.

PARA Ham Emergency Radio Operation in a Drill:
by WIA on July 24, 2016
A nationwide simultaneous earthquake drill in the Philippines held on June 22 saw many agencies involved including ham operators. The Philippines Amateur Radio Society (PARA) now has reports from Ham Emergency Radio Operation groups that showed they used their capabilities and skills to provide emergency communications. PARA spokesman Jojo Vicencio DU1VHY reports this is the second drill of its type and lessons learned last time were put into action. Each club set up field stations with VHF, UHF and or HF capabilities. The field stations were on high ground to advantage as would be the case in a real emergency.

Prepare for IOTA Next Weekend:
by RSGB on July 23, 2016
The flagship RSGB HF event of the month is the IOTA Contest, which takes place for 24 hours over the weekend of 30 to 31 July. Every one who lives anywhere in the British Isles lives on an island, so every one will be in demand that weekend. Exchange a signal report, serial number and your IOTA reference. Mainland Britain is EU-005, mainland Ireland is EU-115, while smaller islands have differing references.

Turkish Amateur Radio Status:
by RSGB on July 23, 2016
There have been conflicting reports over the state of amateur radio licences in Turkey. Early reports indicated that the airwaves had gone silent after the Turkish President had revoked 3,213 amateur licences along with those of more than 20 TV and radio broadcasters. Then it was reported that restrictions against radio and TV operations had not yet affected that nation’s amateur licensees.

Propagation Forecast Bulletin #30 de K7RA:
by W1AW Bulletin via the ARRL on July 22, 2016
All solar indices rose over the past week, and geomagnetic indicators were lower. Average daily solar flux rose from the previous seven days at 52.6 to 58.1, and average daily sunspot numbers rose from 91.6 to 103.6. Average daily planetary A index went from 15.7 to 10.6 and average daily mid-latitude A index changed from 14.1 to 11.1.

Amateur Radio Newsline Report 2021, July 22, 2016:
by James Pastorfield (KB7TBT) on July 22, 2016
The following is a QST. Concern surfaces over amateur radio licenses in Turkey the wake of the failed coup in that nation. Australian authorities crack down on an unlicensed FM broadcaster. The editor of DXCoffee ham radio magazine is hospitalized following an accident -- and we have an update on Colorado's Hayden Pass Fire. All this and more in Amateur Radio Newsline Report Number 2021 coming your way right now.

The Original Social Network:
by on July 22, 2016
On a sunny Saturday morning in late June, in a field overlooking the Patuxent River in Lusby, men assembling two 25- and 30-foot steel towers, section by section. Atop the shorter tower is a contraption that looks like an upside-down umbrella. What in the world is going on here? It’s the Calvert Amateur Radio Association (CARA, call sign K3CAL), preparing for Field Day 2016. Field Day is an annual exercise, sponsored by the American Radio Relay League, the national association for amateur radio, to promote emergency preparedness. Hams, as they’re known, could be a contraction of amateur. On the last full weekend in June, amateur radio clubs from all over the U.S. and Canada compete to see who can make the most contacts with other ham radio operators. They work in makeshift conditions as they might in the aftermath of a natural disaster or national emergency. Amateur radio operators communicate using affordable and highly portable equipment. They are able to exchange emergency messages without using high-tech infrastructure such as satellites, internet, fiber optics or the electric power grid. Because power requirements are very low, about the same as a light bulb, ham radio stations can be run off a generator or even a solar power array. Amateur radio is still up and running “when all else fails,” as enthusiasts are fond of saying.

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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