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Amateur Radio Newsline 2162 for Friday, April 5, 2019:

James Pastorfield (KB7TBT) on April 5, 2019
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Amateur Radio Newsline 2162 for Friday, April 5, 2019 Podcast -

Amateur Radio Newsline Report Number 2162 with a release date of Friday, April 5, 2019 to follow in 5-4-3-2-1.

The following is a QST. Ham radio pays tribute to radio officers around the world. Digital modes are in the spotlight -- and a missing ham is found dead in Pennsylvania. All this and more as Amateur Radio Newsline Number 2162 comes your way right now.



NEIL/ANCHOR: We begin this week's report with news of an event that pays tribute to radio officers, those who serve as a lifeline to ships at sea. This is a worldwide activity and organizers are looking to expand participation this year, as we learn from Ed Durrant DD5LP.

ED: It started with five amateur radio operators: Alfredo IK6IJF, Rolf DL9CM, Guiliano I1SAF, Olivier F6DGU and David G3PLE. Now, a decade later, it has grown into a favourite tribute on the global radio calendar. It is, the International Maritime Radio Day and it operates to honour radio officers through the years, those who provided wireless communication services to vessels at sea. This year it is taking place from 1200 UTC Sunday the 14th of April until 2200 UTC on Monday the 15th of April. Organizers write on their website: [quote] "I do not know if any of us really thought that MRD would become the truly international event where we can demonstrate our expertise and professionalism on the air." [endquote]

All former radio officers who have an amateur radio license are encouraged to get on the air and be a part of the event. Organizers write on their website that they are particularly interested in attracting new participants especially from the United States and parts of the Far East. Both regions have had a meagre showing in the past. All communications will of course be conducted in Morse Code on amateur radio bands closest to the International Naval Frequencies.

To register, see this newscast's script at arnewsline dot org where the website URL is given.

For Amateur Radio Newsline I'm Ed Durrant DD5LP.



NEIL/ANCHOR: The search for a missing amateur radio operator in Pennsylvania ended recently with the discovery of his body. Heather Embee KB3TZD has that story.

HEATHER: An amateur radio operator who had been the focus of a missing persons alert has become a Silent Key. According to news reports, the body of Karl Messerschmidt, K-A-3-R-C-S, of Myerstown, Pennsylvania, was found on Saturday, March 30, in the Middle Creek Wildlife Area. The local coroner said that two hikers found the radio operator's body and that he had died of a single gunshot wound - believed to be a suicide.

His body was found at the conclusion of a search that had begun after the man's Jeep had been found parked and unattended. Authorities mobilized horse-mounted, ATV, and on-foot search teams, drones, logistic teams and the state police. According to the profile on his QRZ page, Karl had a keen interest in DXing, rag-chewing and AM operations. He was also rediscovering Morse Code and had a burgeoning interest in Summits on the Air. Karl Messerschmidt was 46. He had been a licensed ham since the age of 14. For Amateur Radio Newsline, I'm Heather Embee, K-B-3-T-Z-D. (READING EAGLE, WGAL LANCASTER)


NEIL/ANCHOR: A NASA official has criticized India for conducting a recent anti-satellite weapons test that involved blowing up a satellite at an altitude of 300 km, saying that the result could put the International Space Station in danger. NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine told an April 1st town hall meeting in Washington D.C. that the the explosion created a spray of debris above the ISS resulting in what he called a "terrible, terrible thing."

On March 27, the Microsat-R was blown into more than 6,500 pieces which act as small bullets as they circle the earth.

Officials also call the test poorly timed. This is a time of solar minimum when the earth's cooling and contracting atmosphere reduces aerodynamic drag that causes satellites to decay. This means the small fragments could remain in high orbit for years, racing along at 17,000 miles an hour.




NEIL/ANCHOR: A congressional panel in Washington, D.C., recently questioned the wife of a federal official about her ham radio activity. Andy Morrison K9AWM has those details.

ANDY: A recently released transcript reveals that Republican members of Congress had asked the wife of a ranking Justice Department official whether she was using her amateur radio license to communicate with Russia - specifically to monitor transmissions about Russian interests in Donald Trump's 2016 presidential bid.

Nellie Ohr, KM4UDZ, is the wife of the Justice Department's Bruce Ohr. She is a Technician class licensee. She told Republican members of the House Committee on the Judiciary she became a ham as part of her involvement as a volunteer in the local Community Emergency Response Team. She was being interviewed at the time by members of Congress in closed-door questioning Oct. 19, 2018. The transcript was recently made public in the U.S. media, including the Atlanta Journal Constitution, a daily newspaper in Georgia.

The Fairfax County, Virginia woman was quoted in the published report as saying [quote] "I saw an ad for the community emergency response training, and I thought, now is a good time for me to do it." [endquote] She said the emergency team's training was sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security and the local fire department.

When asked directly by one lawmaker whether she had ever communicated with anyone in Russia using ham radio, she indicated that the Tech license is the lowest level license and that there are few frequencies available for overseas contacts.

For Amateur Radio Newsline I'm Andy Morrison K9AWM.



NEIL/ANCHOR: In New Zealand, use of a handheld radio on the wrong frequencies led to one motorist's encounter with police - and the nation's telecommunications regulator. We hear more from Jim Meachen ZL2BHF.

JIM: A New Zealand man received a different kind of traffic ticket after police said he had been using an HT in his car for unlicensed radio communication on police channels. Local media reports say the motorist, Elvis Johnstone of Tauranga, was given a $2,250 fine for having been found with a Baofeng UV-5R tuned to the Northland Police Channel. Poice had stopped his car last year on the 24th of August when they discovered the radio and noticed the frequency on which it was set. Charges were laid by Radio Spectrum Management for the violation of the Radiocommunications Act of 1989. The $3,000 fine imposed was discounted to $2,250 by an early guilty plea and also covers court costs. The news report notes that since then, RSM has acted to halt the use of unrestricted radios and last October introduced regulations barring the unauthorised import, sale and distribution of unrestricted two-way radios.

For Amateur Radio Newsline I'm Jim Meachen ZL2BHF.



NEIL/ANCHOR: A ham radio operator captured the saga of a ship in distress off the coast of Norway and shared it with media. Jeremy Boot G4NJH has the details.

JEREMY: The dramatic distress call of a Norwegian cruise ship stranded in storm-tossed weather in late March was captured and recorded by a ham radio operator in Norway. The Viking Sky had 1,373 passengers and crew on board when it was crippled by power loss, engine failure and hazardous weather while off the Norwegian coast. Reports in Norwegian media indicated wind gusts of 43 miles an hour and wave heights exceeding 26 feet, or about 8 metres. According to a report in the USA Today newspaper, the ship had to drop anchor in order to avoid being dashed on the rocks.

Broadcasters in Norway and Sweden reported that a radio amateur had intercepted the communications. They had been provided with his recording but they did not state his identity.

The ship, which sailed from Tromsų in northern Norway, had been bound for southern Norway in bad weather when the engine failed and the vessel listed, taking on water. More than 10 hours of helicopter air evacuations took 464 passengers off the ship but once the engines were able to be re-started, it was able to continue its journey to a Norwegian port.

For Amateur Radio Newsline I'm Jeremy Boot G4NJH.




NEIL/ANCHOR: Please don't forget Amateur Radio Newsline's Young Ham of the Year Award. The honor is named in memory of Newsline's Bill Pasternak WA6ITF. We are currently accepting nominations of candidates. Information about eligibility is available on our website,, under the YHOTY tab. You can download a nomination form which is due back to us before midnight on May 31st. The award will be presented on August 18th at the Huntsville Hamfest in Huntsville Alabama.


BREAK HERE: Time for you to identify your station. We are the Amateur Radio Newsline, heard on bulletin stations around the world including the K6SOA repeater in Laguna Beach California on Tuesdays at 8 p.m. Pacific Time.



NEIL/ANCHOR: The draft of an agreement between the state of Florida and Florida Amateur Radio Emergency Services is now in the works in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael. A Memorandum of Understanding was drafted and has been under discussion following a recent meeting of various ARES section emergency coordinators and the state's Emergency Management Communication leaders. According to a press release, the hurricane's impact drove home the point that amateur radio was the sole reliable communications mode during emergency response following the storm late last year. West Central Section Emergency Coordinator Ben Henley KI4IGX (K-Eye-Four-Eye-G-X) said the memorandum would allow for the first time the formal integration of ARES into the state's communications team. The team said this will help prepare the hams and the state to better work together in time for the next storm.


NEIL/ANCHOR: Digital modes, which are gaining rapidly in popularity, are converging in a special net this month devoted to the good old-fashioned ragchew. It's a marathon of sorts, as we learn from Graham Kemp VK4BB.

GRAHAM: On April 20, hams from around the world, using a variety of modes are being invited to celebrate the one thing they may all have in common: they all love a good ragchew. The 420 Ham Radio Network is hosting a 24-hour Net that is accessible via DMR TG 302024, Yaesu Fusion 36037, D-STAR reflector 420A, All-Star 49447 and on Echolink 66420. Martin Swinimer VE1KLR, who will serve as net control, said that the net has been scheduled to call attention to the need for more good ragchews. He told Newsline [quote] "that part of the hobby is in need of attention." [endquote]

On April 20, it will be in the spotlight for 24 hours. Find access information by visiting 4-2-0 reflector dot net (

For Amateur Radio Newsline I'm Graham Kemp VK4BB.




NEIL/ANCHOR: It looks like JS8Call, a new conversational weak signal mode, is ready for prime time. The developer, Jordan KN4CRD, has announced that the build of Version 1.0 is complete and it is being released publicly. The application is a derivative of WSJT-X that mimics Fldigi or FSQ by being based on keyboard-to-keyboard communication. Jordan has announced that he completed some final fixes and has added a feature to check, by default, for updates upon each startup.

The current and all future downloads are available at the web page files dot js8call dot com slash latest dot html

Jordan, a QRP enthusiast, says he will be listening for your QSOs.


NEIL/ANCHOR: Even more discussion on all things in the digital realm can be expected at a major regional conference outside Washington, D.C., this month. Stephen Kinford N8WB has the agenda.

STEPHEN: The newest modes in digital operation are expected to provide much of the buzz at the second VHF Super Conference taking place outside Washington, D.C., on the weekend of April 26th through the 28th. Amateur radio operators involved in VHF and UHF and enthusiasts of microwave weak-signal operations are expected as well as non-ham DXers. According to Andrew K1RA, most of the nearly 300 attendees are from east of the Mississippi Rover and eastern Canada but attendees also come from the western states and overseas. This is the second conference of its kind and is sponsored by the Southeastern VHF Society, North East Weak Signal Group and the Mt. Airy VHF Radio Club. It is being hosted by the Grid Pirates Contest Group with Directive Systems and Engineering. Phil K3TUF said the first conference was held in 2016 and was a huge success. He said it was at that conference where Joe Taylor K1JT, a member of the Pack Rats at the Mt. Airy club, announced his plans for FT8. He said Joe will be at this year's conference as well, with a look into the future of digital modes. The conference will be at the Holiday Inn Washington-Dulles Intl Airport in Sterling Virginia. The website can be found in the script of this week's report at arnewsline dot org.

For Amateur Radio Newsline I'm Stephen Kinford N8WB


NEIL/ANCHOR: The last weekend in April is also devoted to digital with a QSO party weekend on FreeDV HF Digital Voice. John Williams VK4JJW explains.

JOHN: The next generation in digital amateur radio is celebrating its arrival on the bands with a QSO Party in April. The FreeDV HF Digital Voice QSO Party is taking place for 24 hours beginning at 0300 UTC on the 27th of April. The South Australia-based Amateur Radio Experimenters Group says on its website that the purpose of the event is get the word out about this new digital mode and its software available without cost to licensed amateurs. Organizers want to encourage hams using FreeDV to work as many other FreeDV stations as possible. This new digital voice transmission mode for the HF bands was created by South Australian amateur David VK5DGR, who developed the software based on open source principles. The experimenters group's website says: [quote] "If you can use WSJT-X for FT8 or any other digital modes software then, with the addition of headphones and a microphone on your PC, you can switch to digital voice transmission in an instant! Its that easy! So why not give it a try?" [endquote]

AREG also notes that its own club station will be on the air around the clock, ready for DX especially on 40, 20 and 15m. For more details visit W W W dot areg dot org dot au (

For Amateur Radio Newsline I'm John Williams VK4JJW.




In this week's World of DX, be listening for Harald DF2WO operating as XT2AW from Burkina Faso through the end of April. He will concentrate on 160, 80 and 60 metres. QSL via M0OXO's OQRS and LoTW.

Listen also for Jerry, F4HJO, using the call sign F4HJO/p from Belle Ile en Mer from the 13th of April through to the 21st of April. He will operate SSB, RTTY and FT8 on 80-15 metres. QSL via Club Log's OQRS, or via the bureau to his home call.

Chris, EA3NT will be on the air as J20NT from mainland Djibouti on the 13th and 14th of April, while waiting for his J20DX team mates' arrival. QSL via EA3NT.

Mike, K9AJ and Bruce, KD6WW will be active as K7Y from Khantaak Island in the Yakutat County Group of Alaska from the 10th to the 13th of May. They will operate mainly CW on 40, 30, 20 and 17 metres, with some SSB and possibly some FT8. QSL via Club Log's OQRS, or via K9AJ, direct or bureau.




NEIL/ANCHOR: Finally, we end with the question: What's better than a vanity callsign? How about....a vanity COMET? Mike Askins KE5CXP explains.

MIKE: Heather Flewelling WH6FTQ is a SOTA activator in Hawaii, a net control for a nightly net, very active on simplex and has even served as net control for SKYWARN, starting with Hurricane Lane in 2018.

Now she has a comet to call her own: Comet Flewelling. Heather, who has a PhD in physics, discovered the comet recently during her work at the Institute for Astronomy, a part of the University of Hawaii. Her current assignment is the Asteroid Terrestrial-impact Last Alert System, or ATLAS. It's an early warning system for asteroid impact that the university is developing with support from NASA. That's what led her to her celestial finding.

On the 21st of March, the International Astronomical Union Minor Planet Center christened Heather's discovery with her name.

That's got to be at least as exciting as another recent discovery that Heather made: amateur radio. Heather got her ticket only in May of last year after buying an SDR radio on impulse. By Field Day, just a few weeks later, she had upgraded to Extra class -- you might say, at the speed of a comet.

For Amateur Radio Newsline, I'm Mike Askins KE5CXP.



NEWSCAST CLOSE: With thanks to Alan Labs; Amateur News Weekly; Amateur Radio Experimenters Group; the ARRL; Atlanta Journal-Constitution; CQ Magazine; Darren Holbrook KH6OWL; Hap Holly and the Rain Report; Martin Swinimer VE1KLR; Ohio-Penn DX Bulletin; QRZ.COM; the Reading Eagle; Radio Spectrum Management of New Zealand; Southgate Amateur Radio News; Ted Randall's QSO Radio Show; USA Today; WGAL-TV; WTWW Shortwave; and you our listeners, that's all from the Amateur Radio Newsline. Please send emails to our address at More information is available at Amateur Radio Newsline's only official website at For now, with Caryn Eve Murray, KD2GUT, at the news desk in New York, and our news team worldwide, I'm Neil Rapp WB9VPG in Bloomington Indiana saying 73 and as always we thank you for listening.

Amateur Radio Newsline(tm) is Copyright 2019. All rights reserved.

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