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Amateur Radio Enthusiasts Prepare for Potential Emergency Events:
by on June 25, 2017
JUPITER, Fla. -- Some local amateur radio enthusiasts spent Sunday honing their skills to prepare in the event of a natural disaster. The 24-hour event took place at the Carlin Park Civic Center in Jupiter. The event aimed to encourage amateur radio operators to communicate with each other and build contacts. Often when there's a natural disaster, people can use ham radios to keep in touch when other communication systems go down.

Is Amateur Radio a Dying Hobby?
by on June 25, 2017
The golden days of radio are long gone. That doesn’t mean it’s insignificant, however. Even in the rapidly advancing world of technology, radio remains a valuable means of communication. “If the phone lines or Internet go down, radio is still there,” said Art Protas, a member of the Yavapai Amateur Radio Club (YARC). On Saturday, June 24, YARC hosted its annual Amateur Radio Field Day, where the public was invited to see radio operators in action, ask questions and get on the air with help from a licensed control operator. The club remains the largest of its kind in Arizona with about 280 members, but is always looking to recruit more. “Our goal is to get brand new people into the hobby,” said Brian Vlastelich, a YARC member and lead instructor for amateur radio classes. “If the hobby doesn’t grow, then the FCC will take away our privileges.” When radio bands go dormant for an extended period of time, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) takes them off the airwaves, Vlastelich said. “It’s kind of use or lose,” Vlastelich said. This has dwindled the number of bands hobbyists such as himself can tap into. “It is limited,” Vlastelich said. While amateur radio (also known as ham radio) is a hobby at heart, it can also play a role in community service. One way YARC helps out in this regard is by stationing its members throughout major area events such as the Whiskey Row Marathon and Man vs. Horse. The members voluntarily track the racers and report back to a central control station with updates on who has made it through and whether anyone is missing or injured. The club also provides tactical communications for the Yavapai County Office of Emergency Management when needed.

Radio Club Transmitting, Do You Copy?
by on June 25, 2017
Through the overwhelming static, Margie Spangenberg tried to make out the voices on the other end. "Fox Trot Texas, again?" she asked. Static came back over the radio. They were from far away, that much she knows. Spangenberg was trying to talk through a satellite put into orbit by amateur radio operators in Saudi Arabia. There was only a narrow window of time when the fast-moving satellite would be in range for the antennas set up on a field outside the Civic Center of Anderson. Within minutes, the signal was lost entirely. No static. No hiss-hiss. It was just a few hours into the 24-hour radio-a-thon known as Radio Field Day, when more than 35,000 amateur radio fans switch on the power and connect to each other much as they did in the 1920s.

Ready for an Emergency, Over:
by on June 25, 2017
Amateur radio operators can chat with folks halfway across the world, help with disaster relief from hundreds of miles away and set up a temporary radio station just about anywhere. Members of the Callaway Amateur Radio League will be doing the latter from 1 p.m. Saturday to 1 p.m. Sunday at the Missouri Fire Fighter Memorial in Kingdom City. "We'll be using radio waves to talk with people across the United States and perhaps elsewhere," club member David Mueller said. "We'll be setting up a radio station where there had not been one on Saturday morning, and Sunday it'll be taken down." Callaway Emergency Communications, Inc. will also participate in the National Amateur Radio Field Day event. Mueller explained the exercise is a test for emergency preparedness.

Ham Operators in Wichita Celebrate the 'Magic of Radio':
by on June 25, 2017
Joe Pajor remembers how as a kid in the 1970s you could just walk up a street sometimes and find friends and relatives with cheap shortwave radios, listening to conversations all over the world. And how there was this Augustinian priest, in Pajor’s Catholic school, who had missionaries working in South America … and was talking to them sometimes, on the air. “The magic of radio,” he called it Saturday. “That was so cool to me. I thought, wow, if you’re a ham radio person, you can talk to other side of the world.”

VK6ARN, NewsWest for 25 June 2017:
by WA Amateur Radio News on June 24, 2017
In the news this week we take a closer look at contesting with information about the Trans Tasman Low Bands Challenge, the RD Contest, the International Museums Weekend, a contesting tip from Scott K9JY, a reminder to submit your logs for the VK Shires QSO Party and if that's not enough, we also have Andrew's Editorial, News this Week, a reminder to submit your content for AR Magazine, as well as World Wide Flora and Fauna, Summits on the Air and Roy's Helpline.

Foundations of Amateur Radio -- #107:
by Onno VK6FLAB on June 24, 2017
A little while ago I had the chance to use a mobile radio with high power. I used it to learn about the coverage of our local repeater, but also to hear what the effects were when two local radios were both using the same repeater and high power at the same time.

Radio Calls Made Nationwide for Field Day in Mamaroneck:
by on June 24, 2017
MAMARONECK - "Whisky sierra one, do you copy?" That was one of the many radio call codes that could be heard Saturday at Harbor Island Park in Mamaroneck as controllers took part in Amateur Radio Relay League Field Day. Members of the Westchester Emergency Communications Association, affiliated with the Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service, began the 24-hour competition at 2 p.m. The event, which runs non-stop until 2 p.m. Sunday, is a contest to see which organization can make the most radio contacts nationwide, according to RACES radio officer Tom Raffaelli. Raffaelli said the volunteer group normally assists with emergency radio communications during extreme events such as hurricanes or fires, he said. “We respond to emergencies where the county needs more communications operators and capability than they normally have," Raffaelli said. "They don’t have 100 people to send to shelters. That’s why we’re here.”

Bengal Sends Ham Operators to Listen in on GJM Chatter:
by on June 24, 2017
With internet connectivity snapped, the West Bengal government has called in ham radio operators to Darjeeling to detect “illegal” radio communication between Gorkha Janmukti Morcha leaders. After a six-member team was called in to detect radio signals and communication between GJM cadres, police claimed chatter from other states and even a foreign country had been detected. Chatter from a community radio station has also been picked up by the operators, police said. “We have evidence they are using wireless radio sets to communicate among themselves and with those outside Bengal. Messages are being sent and received. However, I cannot tell you which country or state, since that is sensitive information,” said a highly placed police officer from Kolkata. As the agitation spiralled, the West Bengal government had shut down internet services and local cable channels in the Hills. However, the GJM, apart from handheld radio sets, has set up small temporary radio stations in different parts of the Hills and the plains.

Ham Radio Keeps Campbell On the Move:
by on June 24, 2017
Herman Campbell doesn’t have to read history books about to know about polio, a crippling disease that vaccines have nearly erased from the planet. Born in 1939, when polio was killing thousands, Campbell was 6 years old when he contracted the disease. He was paralyzed from the neck down. Hospitalized for more than six months, Campbell had to learn to crawl and walk again. He developed scoliosis, a curvature of the spine that left him with bouts of respiratory failure, back pain and other problems. Doctors are amazed that Campbell can walk, drive, cut grass and perform other chores. Surgery may help him, but there are no guarantees. “I said, 'I’m not going to be laid up in the bed with surgery, I have to leave my house,'” said Campbell, an Arkansas native. “Ham radio is one of the things that keep me going. “I enjoy ham radio and meeting the people. You’ll never meet a nicer group of people in any organization as you will find in ham radio. They’re always willing to help.” Campbell and members of the Acadiana Amateur Radio Association are among the thousands of hams who will take their equipment outdoors Saturday and Sunday for Field Day. Sponsored by the American Radio Relay League, Field Day is a 24-hour, nationwide event that allows hams to contact as many stations as possible in abnormal conditions. Hams have used their radio gear to help during parades, festivals, marathons and other outdoor events. But for generations, their communications skills have been vital during times of disaster. When electricity, cell phones and internet fail during hurricanes, floods and tornadoes, hams can still communicate worldwide with just a radio and a wire antenna. They work with government and other officials to pass messages in and out of areas cut off from the outside world. Field Day helps hams practice for these emergency situations.

When Disaster Strikes, There May Not Be an App for That:
by on June 24, 2017
When a 4.3 magnitude earthquake jolted southern British Columbia late at night Dec. 30, 2015, social media lit up. People hit Twitter and Facebook to confirm what they’d just felt. But when a major quake hits, as geologists predict it will someday, that option may not be available. Power could be out, cell phone service disrupted, the internet cut off. That’s when old-school amateur radio could kick in to reestablish communications to the outside world, between communities, emergency services and even people looking for word on the fate of loved ones. This weekend more than 40,000 amateur radio operators from around North America, including two local groups, will be putting their capability to provide communication services to the test in their annual Field Day. Paul Bryan, the president of the Coquitlam Amateur Radio and Emergency Services Society (CARESS) said the event is a chance for amateur radio hobbyists to dry run their own emergency procedures and equipment, before they’re needed. “Activating in this way provides us with the opportunity to exercise our own procedures,” Bryan said. “Also, exercising the equipment gives us a chance to check how it’s working when you’re not in an emergency. It’s all the little details that going into being able to set up a station, like spare batteries. Often that’s the part that’s overlooked.” Bryan said about 30 to 40 amateur radio operators from his club, as well as clubs in Burnaby and New Westminster, will be encamped at Blue Mountain Park from 10 a.m. Saturday to 10 a.m. Sunday. They’ll be running their radios off generators and batteries as they communicate by voice, digital signals and even morse code to other radio operators around the world. There will also be a demonstration of low-power transmission that uses as little as five watts, and operating radios with solar-powered batteries.

Why Morse Code is Actually a Really Weird Way to Communicate:
by on June 24, 2017
The following is excerpted from Your Brain is a Time Machine: The Neuroscience and Physics of Time by Dean Buonomano. We have seen that humans and other animals engage in a wide range of temporal tasks, timing the delays it takes sound to arrive from one ear to another, the duration of red lights, or the rotation of the Earth around its axis. These tasks rely on the timing of isolated intervals or durations; the temporal equivalent of judging the length of an object. In contrast, speech and music recognition require determining the temporal structure of complex temporal patterns: of putting together many temporal pieces to make out the whole. Time is to speech and music recognition as space is to visual object recognition. We can think of recognizing a face in a drawing as a spatial problem -- that is, the relevant information is contained in the spatial relationships between all the elements of the drawing. It is also a hierarchical problem: low-level information (lines and curves) must be integrated into a unified image. A circle is a circle, but two side-by-side pairs of concentric circles become eyes; place those in a larger circle and you have a face, and so forth until we have a crowd of people within a scene. Speech and music are the temporal equivalent of recognizing a visual scene: they require solving a hierarchy of embedded temporal problems. Speech requires tracking the temporal features of progressively longer elements: phonemes, syllables, words, phrases, and sentences. In some ways recognizing a hierarchy of temporal patterns is more challenging, because it requires some sort of memory of the past. All the features of a drawing are simultaneously present on a static piece of paper, but the relevant features of speech or music require integration across time; that is, each feature must be interpreted in the context of elements that have already faded into the past. Morse code provides perhaps the best example of just how sophisticated the brain’s ability to process temporal patterns is. Speech and music rely on information encoded in the temporal structure of sounds, but there is also a vast amount of information conveyed in the pitch of sounds. We can think of pitch as spatial information, a bit like the orientation of a line on a piece of paper. This can be a bit confusing because pitch refers to the perception of the frequency of sounds, and frequency is an inherently temporal property measured in cycles per second -- that is, the interval between the repetition of cycles of sound-wave vibrations. The frequency of sounds, however, are represented spatially by the auditory sensory cells (hair cells) along the length of the cochlea. So as far as the central nervous system is concerned, discriminating the pitch of sounds is essentially a spatial task -- akin to the differences in the location of the keys on a piano. Morse code is independent of pitch or spatial information of any sort -- in Morse code timing is everything.

Sun Eruptions Hit Earth like a 'Sneeze', Say Scientists:
by on June 24, 2017
Long-term power cuts, destruction of electronic devices and increased cancer risk for aeroplane passengers are all potential effects of the Earth being hit by a powerful solar eruption. Yet, new research has found space scientists have their work cut out to predict when these coronal mass ejections (CMEs) are on a collision course with Earth. A study of CMEs by scientists at the University of Reading has found they have cloud-like structures. This means they are more influenced by solar wind, through which they pass to reach Earth, making their movements much harder to predict than if they were single bubble-like entities as was previously thought. CMEs are huge blasts of solar plasma and magnetic fields from the sun's atmosphere that can reach Earth in one to three days. A direct hit could have catastrophic consequences, as CMEs are capable of damaging satellites, destroying electronic devices and potentially exposing people at high altitude, such as astronauts and aviation crew and passengers, to cancer-causing radiation. They occur frequently, but predicting which ones will impact Earth and how severely is difficult.

Massey Air Museum is Venue for Amateur Radio Field Day:
by on June 23, 2017
MASSEY -- Members of the Kent Amateur Radio Society will participate in the national Amateur Radio Field Day this weekend at the Massey Air Museum. The event is free and open to the public. Setup will begin early in the morning Saturday, June 24. The official on-air operation time is the 24-hour period between 2 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday, June 25; this is the recommended time for visitors to see amateur radio in action. During the national observance of Field Day, using only emergency power supplies, amateur radio operators will construct emergency stations in parks, shopping malls, schools and backyards around the country. There are more than 725,000 licensed amateur radio operators in the United States, as young as 5 and as old as 100, according to a news release from the Kent organization. For more than 100 years, amateur radio operators -- often called hams -- have provided a free public service to their communities during a disaster without needing a cell phone or the internet. Field Day demonstrates ham radio’s ability to work reliably under any conditions from almost any location and create an independent communications network.

Beacons: Lighting the Skies Over New England:
by on June 23, 2017
A beacon of light now shines at the highest point in Massachusetts, located in the historic Berkshires -- it can be seen from as far as 75 miles away! A city nearby is illuminating these skies, as well, with some special messages in morse code. On this month's edition of Light Matters, we'll take you there! And we also explore how a synthetic material developed by scientists in Finland can produce sunlight-mimiking luminescence, and at a much lower cost than traditional methods.

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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