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Everyday People: In Emergencies, a Radio Cure:
by on May 24, 2017
Hillgaertner ‘can talk to the world’ When a hurricane-like storm lands in Clatsop County, as was the case in 2007, 911 telephone lines often stop working. In these moments, a retiree and his team of 36 fellow volunteers rush to fill the void. Don Hillgaertner has operated amateur radio, commonly referred to as ham radio, for more than 50 years. He’s led the team in coordination with the county Emergency Management Division since the 1990s. Hillgaertner spends 10 to 12 hours of his time each week in the volunteer position. He and his wife, Terrie, both keep ham radios in their cars and have participated in multiple local ham radio clubs. Hillgaertner, 69, spent 31 years as a communications maintenance specialist with the Oregon Air National Guard, retiring as a master sergeant. He also served in the Oregon wing of the U.S. Army’s Civil Air Patrol and in Washington County as a volunteer firefighter. His career has taken him to 44 states and 17 countries on five continents. He has regular conversations over radio with other enthusiasts around the world and as far away as Antarctica.

Before the Internet We Communicated; We Will Again:
by on May 24, 2017
It was inevitable, really. When the power went out three weeks ago, I spent the evening enjoying the delights of a battery-powered shortwave radio. I wrote about it the following Monday. But I was hooked. Well, re-hooked. In the pre-internet days, shortwave listening was a passion of mine. It was a useful one, too: I’d roll tape on Radio Moscow or some other international broadcaster and would now and again get a bite of sound to use in radio newscasts with which I was at the time involved. It was even my privilege to be a reporter for a few years for “Media Network,” a prestigious program broadcast by Radio Netherlands, out of Hilversum, North Holland. So it took only one evening of electrical privation and resort to the radio to re-spark my interest. For a long time, shortwave radio was how we remained informed of events in the world, either by listening ourselves or by reading or listening to digests put together by others. A recent published photo essay showing The New York Times being put together long ago included the radio desk, where foreign broadcasts were monitored. Because of the internet, many international broadcasters have abandoned their shortwave services or greatly cut them back. So in the last few weeks I’ve devoted more and more time to listening to the amateur operators who have ham radio licenses and equipment. Many of them also have generators and other gear that would let them stay on the air in time of disaster – in fact, that’s much of the purpose of amateur radio. I’ve discussed with local amateurs how they could be of use in relaying information during local crises, such as the derecho storm of 2012 or the sudden snowstorm and sub-zero mess of March 2015. I remember in 1988 sitting at my radio and listening to OU1UN, the shortwave station at the United Nations, as it tried to get in touch with Caribbean islands hit by Hurricane Gilbert. The first reports from many of the smaller islands, and the only reports we got for many days, came from radio amateurs. (In fact, I wrote up some of those reports and sold a little story to one of the New York papers.)

What I Saw at My First Maker Faire:
by on May 23, 2017
Technology Editor Lou Frenzel was a maker long before the term ever existed, but what does he think about the namesake movement? Last week, I finally went to a Maker Faire to see what all the excitement’s about. The Faire is a two-day event put on by Maker Media, the publisher of Make magazine. Its audience is a mix of do-it-yourselfers, hobbyists, experimenters, and students -- or makers, as they’re called. Simply put, makers are a mix of adults and kids of all ages who like building things and experimenting. Such DIYers have always existed, but for the past decade there’s been a resurgence in the participation of individuals making stuff. Called the maker movement, it includes anyone interested in making things involving electronics, woodworking, metal working, 3D printing, computers, and any other technical thing (like robots or drones). Makers build things from scratch, or else hack and/or repurpose existing items. Basically, anything goes. I’ve been a maker for years. I started when I got my first ham license while in junior high. And I’m still actively making. Recently I built a power supply kit for my work bench. I am also building a low-power (QRP) ham transmitter good for about 2 watts on 40 meters (7 MHz band). And I am experimenting with some different antennas -- a major maker effort. I did get an Arduino computer recently, but as I’m a lousy C programmer, it doesn’t get much attention (despite the potential).

Ham Talk Live #66 -- Search for Earhart:
by D Neil Rapp (WB9VPG) on May 23, 2017
Thursday night at 9 pm Eastern time on Ham Talk Live! Tom Vinson, NY0V makes his second appearance on the show... this time talking about a recent search for Amelia Earhart's plane and how ham radio ties into the search.

Amateur Radio Newsline Headlines for Ham Nation May 24, 2017:
by James Pastorfield (KB7TBT) on May 23, 2017
Amateur Radio Newsline Headlines for Ham Nation May 24, 2017:

Ham Radio: Last Line of Defense in Disaster Communication:
by on May 23, 2017
MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) -- Hurricane Matthew's winds toppled trees, knocking out some of our main sources of power and communication. IF a stronger storm were strike our area, what is our last line of defense to communicate DURING a disaster? Despite our growing dependence on digital communication, radio is an old, yet reliable technology that still has a place, and a large community of volunteers utilizing it, including Gordon Mooneyhan. "It’s meeting people around the world, I can travel the world without leaving home." The love of radio started for Mooneyhan when he was a young kid AND his parents got him a short wave receiver, which he still has. He now uses his radio hobby to help others as a member of the Grand Strand Amateur Radio Club, and especially in disaster situations. "A storm could come in and knock everything down, cell phones would be out, cell towers would be down, I could take a wire, hook it to the back of this radio and hook it to my car battery and talk around the world." During Hurricane Matthew, he was on the front lines relaying conditions on the ground with what meteorologists were seeing on the radar. "Information when the eyewall passed us, wind speeds, all stuff they need. The ground truth that radar doesn't tell them." Gordon isn't alone on this mission. He estimates hundreds of Amateur radio operators live in Horry County and over a thousand more across the Pee Dee. Matthew McGuire, coordinator of Horry County Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES), states that the assistance of amateur radio operators is critical. "Cell phones systems still aren't designed to take that degree of traffic at that point in time. So down they go, so then you have Amateur radio to provide back up communication for the shelters."

A New Approach to Forecasting Solar Flares:
by on May 23, 2017
The emerging discipline of space meteorology aims to reliably predict solar flares so that we may better guard against their effects. Using 3-D numerical models, an international team headed by Etienne Pariat, a researcher at LESIA (Observatoire de Paris / CNRS / Université Paris Diderot / UPMC), has discovered a proxy that could be used to forecast an eruptive event. The proxy is associated with magnetic helicity, which reflects the extent of twist and entanglement of the magnetic field. The study is published in the journal Astronomy and Astrophysics dated 17 May 2017. Solar flares or eruptions are one of the most violent phenomena in the Solar System. They coincide with a sudden, violent reconfiguration of the magnetic field, releasing huge amounts of energy that can eject billions of tons of solar material into space at speeds of over a thousand kilometers per second. One of the aims of space meteorology is to forecast solar flares, in the same way as meteorological services forecast storms on Earth. Looking for a predictive parameter, the astrophysicists based their work on 3-D numerical simulations, which use computers to reproduce the behavior of the magnetic field in the Sun's atmosphere as well as the formation of sunspots, where eruptions take place. The researchers tested various parametric simulations and analyzed changes in magnetic energy and magnetic helicity, a quantity that measures the extent of entanglement and twist of the magnetic field.

Ham Radio Operators Save the Day:
by on May 22, 2017
Power lines are down. Phone service is out. All means of public communication ... gone. Fortunately, amateur or ham radio is there to save the day as hundreds of operators use their skills to help public safety and government officials. The above scenario is generic in nature. But anyone who was around Xenia in April 1974 knows all to well that situation can happen. It did. An F5 twister tore Xenia apart late in the afternoon April 3. Many had no power. Phone service was disrupted. Cell phones and other portable communication devices weren’t around then. But because of the ham radio operators, Xenia was not shut off from the rest of the world. And as 30,000 ham operators converge on Xenia and the Greene County Fairgrounds May 19-21 to celebrate their passion, the rebuilt city is a reminder of the importance of hams. “We’re able to provide communications for at least an extended period of time when all the other ways of communicating are down,” said Marion County Common Pleas Court Judge William Finnegan, a student at University of Dayton when the 1974 tornado hit. “We can use a lot more power than a CB can. Our range can go world-wide. I’ve talked to almost 200 countries. We can communicate thousands of miles if we needed to.” Once the tornado hit, Finnegan went to Xenia to help in any way he could. “They found out I was a ham radio operator,” he said. “They put me in the emergency shelter that was set up at the Blue Moon dance hall. There was no power. There were no other ways of communicating. We had the ability.”

Ham Radio Aviator Attempts New York To Paris Speed Record:
by Bonnie (KQ6XA) on May 21, 2017
As pilot Brian Lloyd propels his single- engine plane named "Spirit" eastward into the sky this week from Republic Airport on Long Island, he embarks on a dual mission. He is commemorating Charles Lindbergh's famous solo transatlantic flight that made history in May of 1927, while simultaneously attempting to break a speed record for the New York to Paris air route. To make things even more interesting, he intends to communicate live via radio with Ham operators while in flight.

Weather Watchers Keep Eye Out for Storms:
by on May 21, 2017
KITCHENER -- A blustery band of thunderstorms is on the way. Trouble on the darkening horizon? Maybe. But perhaps not enough impending meteorological mayhem for the CanWarn army of storm-watching "ham" amateur radio operators to bolt into action and transmit their timely observations back to Environment and Climate Change Canada. Damaging winds or heavy rains causing flooding can trigger the CanWarn call to watch the skies for ominous clouds, whether that call comes in the form of a watch or warning. Ditto for hail, as long as those frozen rain pellets are as big as a five-cent piece. "Hail that's larger than a nickel," said Kitchener's David Knight, an eight-year CanWarn contributor and a 25-year ham radio operator. "That's usually when CanWarn gets activated."

Hamvention Brings Crowds from Around the World to Their New Location:
by on May 21, 2017
XENIA, Ohio (WKEF/WRGT) -- It’s finally here -- people from all around the world are gathering at Hamvention at its new home in Xenia. The world’s largest amateur radio gathering brings people to the Miami Valley for the weekend, and for 2017, they’re at the Greene County Fairgrounds and Expo Center. Previously, the event was at Hara Arena, but that was no longer an option after it closed down in 2017. However, people told FOX 45 the change isn’t bothering them at all.

Dave Robbins K1TTT, Bob Wilson N6TV, Inducted into CQ Contest Hall of Fame:
by CQ Communications on May 21, 2017
(Xenia, OH - May 20, 2017) - CQ magazine today announced the induction of two new members to the CQ Contest Hall of Fame, which honors those contesters who not only excel in personal performance but who also "give back" to the hobby in outstanding ways. CQ Contesting Editor David Siddall, K3ZJ, presented Hall of Fame plaques at an induction ceremony held at the annual Dayton contest dinner on May 20.

NASA's Van Allen Probes Find Human-Made Bubble Shrouding Earth (Video):
by on May 20, 2017
Humans have long been shaping Earth's landscape, but now scientists know we can shape our near-space environment as well. A certain type of communications -- very low frequency, or VLF, radio communications -- have been found to interact with particles in space, affecting how and where they move. At times, these interactions can create a barrier around Earth against natural high energy particle radiation in space. These results, part of a comprehensive paper on human-induced space weather, were recently published in Space Science Reviews.

Keepin' It In the Family:
by on May 20, 2017
XENIA -- There’s one potential drawback to sharing a passion for amateur radio with two teenage daughters. “When the girls get on there, all these guys jump on there wanting to talk to them,” said Mobile, Ala., resident Joey McCullough of his daughters, Niki, 19, and Robyn, 16. But the older McCullough can deal with that in exchange for the girls sharing his passion for ham radios. The three are among thousands attending 2017 Dayton Hamvention at the Greene County Fairgrounds through May 21. “We’re pretty active,” Joey said. Niki and Robyn both giggled and pointed when asked what got them into amateur radio at a young age. “This man,” Niki said looking at dad. “I was going to the luncheons and the club meetings. (I liked) the people.” She figured it wouldn’t be that difficult to pass the test and obtain a license herself.

Ham Radio an Outlet for Vets:
by on May 20, 2017
GREENE COUNTY -- While ham radio offers a social opportunity for some, it provides therapeutic relief for others. The Dayton VA grabbed this notion by the horns, opening an on-campus station, (W8DVA) in late 2016 to assist veterans living with PTSD. Xenia “hammer” Jim Simpson (WB8QZZ) played a major role in getting the station up and running. Much of the operation was funded by the Dayton Amateur Radio Association, which is also sponsoring Hamvention. “It’s intended to assist those with PTSD to focus and get their minds off the bad things that have happened in their life,” Simpson said. “Amateur radio is an extraordinary thing for focusing people and it’s enjoyable to be able to communicate around the world with hams.” Station guests are greeted by postcards, or logs, of interactions hanging on the walls, in addition to a radio called a “Classic” that was used by military members contacting home during the Vietnam War and utilizes tubes in order to function. Dr. John Mathis (WA5FAC), a doctor in charge of radiology at the Dayton VA, said just the sight of the “vintage” equipment is yet another avenue of therapeutic relief. “We have not just acute care veterans here, but veterans that are homeless, veterans that are retired, veterans that are in rehabilitation for all sorts of things ... This is just another one of the things we provide to try to give them something to grab a hold of and pull themselves out of a hole,” Mathis said. And it has since proven to be of service. “PTSD is one of the things we certainly face, but even for our guys in wheelchairs, or in the retirement center or the rehabilitation center or homeless center -- all of which are housed on the [Dayton VA] campus -- they can wheel in here and talk to someone across the country or world just by pulling up here,” Mathis said. “Many times they’ll talk to people who don’t exactly have the same problems, but their own problems, so they can commiserate back and forth and it’s a nice way to have an opportunity to socialize outside of face-to-face.”

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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