Ham Radio: Wednesday Central Alabama Simplex Net

  • NCS – WX4RON, Ronnie in the Birmingam area
  • Time – 8:30 PM every Wednesday Night
  • FREQUENCY – 146.580

This net is a new addition to the normal Sunday Central Alabama simplex net. It is another great opportunity to teach/remind us all what it is like to work a large net without repeaters.  A repeater failure can occur at any point and all of us should be aware of how to communicate in VHF without one.  This net provides a great opportunity to test our simplex communications capabilities, equipment, antenna systems, etc.  This net also has rotating NCS duties giving more people an opportunity to learn how to relay communications from various operating locations across the state.   A truly great net to listen for and participate in if possible!

Swindled by a HAM, yes a HAM

I love working satellites but have been unable to for a bit due to an equipment failure and a lack of a budget.  Then I hear of a dual band radio that is being sold, and it comes with two batteries, a bunch of chargers and no manual.  Price asked was premium for the radio which looked to be in good condition but it had features that I will truly enjoy when working satellites.  Radio turned on and all modes were selectable and everything was looking in order.  Here in lies the start of the problem, how can one properly test batteries in the field when buying a radio?
Needless to say I did not test them

I bought the radio and headed home with the power running out on the first battery about 20 minutes after the purchase.  I attribute this to a “lack of a recent charge?” (at the time) and decide to go for slow charge for 24 hrs when I get home.            
tic-toc…
Radio fires up, key up… repeater talks to me.  Listen to some morning jabber and then the radio beeps and shuts down.  A quick measure of the voltage on the battery revealed that the battery was indeed dead and that the radio was reporting it properly.  Second battery, well… turn out it was not a battery but a battery case that needed new four new AA batteries.  To that I say he and myself rack up the idiot points.  I could have ruined the radio trying to cahrge the alkaline batteries in the battery case. oops. anyway

Long story short, I called the guy I bought it from and asked about the batteries and was told I “musta done something to them”.  Interesting, you mean “besides try to charge them both slow and fast methods?”.  He insisted that I had done something and stated that he had it on for a day or two before I bought it.  Anyway, here is where I went wrong I guess…

I said that “I felt a little swindled” (meaning I paid premium and thought I was getting radio with two good batteries” .   He immediately said I was calling him a liar and calling  him names and he would not stand for that. He then hung up on me.  Had he known what he was selling or just a nice guy he might have suggested some options for me to try but instead opted to loose any future sale with me.

Now being this is exactly what I wanted radio wise, separate tune and separate volume for each band, this poor guy thought I wanted to return it (still kinda laughing at him) but I would have felt like he was more human had he split an ebay battery with me… 
This radio makes satellite communication easier for me but that is for another day as I wait for the ebay batteries to arrive.
As for this “HAM” guy that sold me the radio, well I wish him the best as it seems he has his own issues…
Anyway you look at a HT with no batteries sucks and this guy inferred that I fried the batteries(2 of them) and then got offended when I told him how I felt swindled…

I love the radio BTW…

I just paid more than I would have paid had I known I had to buy a battery in order to use it at a decent output (9.6v factory battery vs the 6v AA battery case) The Radio is an Icom IC-w32a and is great for amateur satellite communication.

Chalk it up to a lesson learned.
  :)

Ham Radio: Central Alabama Simplex Net-146.580

 Central Alabama Simplex Net

NCS – WX4RON, Ronnie in the Birmingam area

Time – 8 PM every Sunday Night

FREQUENCY – 146.580

This net is a great opportunity to teach/remind us all what it is like to work a large net without repeaters.  A repeater failure can occur at any point and all of us should be aware of how to communicate in VHF without one.  This net provides a great opportunity to test our simplex communications capabilities, equipment, antenna systems, etc.  This net also has rotating NCS duties giving more people an opportunity to learn how to relay communications from various operating locations across the state.   A truly great net to listen for and participate in if possible!

AubieSat-1 was launched today

 AubieSat-1 was launched today and now can be heard as it circles our earth.

AubieSat-1 downlink frequency: 437.475 MHZ

 Keplerian Elements

 Epoch: 28 Oct 2011 11:26:20 UTC
 Period: 5841.68 sec
 Eccentricity: 0.0253027
 Inclination: 101.648 deg
Argument of Perigee: 295.263 deg
RAAN: 233.359 deg
True Anomaly: 198.658 deg

 The satellite will started transmitting on 28 Oct 2011 at 12:17:20 UTC

For more information on AubieSat-1, go to the website at http://www.space.auburn.edu/.

 

 

 

AubieSat-1 cube satellite to be launched Oct. 27th

AubieSat-1 - A CubeSat to be launched October 27 2011The satellite is a “cubesat,” which is a 4-inch, cube-shaped satellite that is used primarily for research. Once released from the rocket, AubieSat-1 will have two antennas come out – one for receiving signals from Auburn University and one for sending signals back to Auburn. The students have built a control center in the Physics Department from which they will give the satellite commands to execute, as well as receive, data from the satellite such as temperature, battery charge and voltage, and power from the solar cells. The students will ultimately measure the decrease of solar cell efficiency over time on protected versus non-protected solar panels.

The construction of the satellite is part of the Auburn University Student Space Program, and AubieSat-1 is the first student-built satellite in the state to be accepted by NASA for launch. The satellite will launch aboard a NASA-sponsored Delta II rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. Once in space, the satellite will communicate with Auburn students in Morse Code, and the phrase “War Eagle” is the signal that the launch was successful and the satellite is in orbit and operating correctly.

The students designed, built and tested the satellite, and took it to California for a Mission Readiness Review, which they passed with flying colors. Finally, the satellite underwent some tests before being shipped to California for integration into a Poly Picosatellite Orbital Deployer, a satellite deployer known as a P-POD, that will be placed in the launching rocket with the four other cubesats. 

Auburn University’s famous battle cry, “War Eagle,” will be heard from space Oct. 27 when it is transmitted to earth from a student-built satellite known as “AubieSat-1.”

The Auburn University Student Space Program is part of the College of Sciences and Mathematics. AubieSat-1 is sponsored by Auburn University and the Alabama Space Grant Consortium. For more information on AubieSat-1, go to the website at http://www.space.auburn.edu/.

Fun Facts regarding the AubieSat-1

  • AubieSat-1 is the first student built satellite in Alabama.
  • It is a 1U CubeSat: 1000cm3 in volume and weighing 1.03-kg.
  • It is entirely designed and built and tested by Auburn University undergraduate students, without using components off the shelf.
  • It will study radio wave propagation through the ionosphere and test solar panel protective films.
  • It is part of the ELaNa3 Mission.

 

Alabama: Alabama students to chat with the ISS

The ISS or International space stationStudents gathered at Carver High School in Birmingham, Alabama, will speak with Expedition 29 Commander Mike Fossum aboard the International Space Station at 10:30 a.m. EDT on Friday, Oct. 21. U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell of Alabama also will join the students. The event will be broadcast live on NASA Television and include video of Fossum. To attend the event, reporters must contact Allison Abney in Sewell’s office at 202-225-1710 or allison.abney@mail.house.gov by 3 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 20. Carver High School is located at 3900 24th St. N. in Birmingham.

Students in kindergarten through 12th grades will ask Fossum questions about life, work and research in space. They have been taking part in a series of activities leading up to the event, which is focused on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

This in-flight education downlink is one in a series with educational organizations in the United States and abroad to improve STEM teaching and learning. It is an integral component of NASA’s Teaching From Space education program, which promotes learning opportunities and builds partnerships with the education community using the unique environment of space and NASA’s human spaceflight program.

For NASA TV downlink, schedule and streaming video information, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/ntv
For information about NASA’s education programs, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/education
For information about the International Space Station, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/station

BARC and Jeffco ARES in Alabama before and after the tornados

Pleasant Grove Alabama Tornado 2011-Devastation for milesI was impressed by the immense turnout on the BARC(146.88 tone88.5) repeater in Birmingham Alabama as the storms approached. Storm spotters reporting in, various other ham radio operators reporting conditions. The unity and control of the net was obvious. I listen more than I talk and enjoyed being a fly on the wall. This disaster is one that I personally will never forget for many reasons.

The main reason I will not forget this disaster is because of the voices on the radio that I heard throughout the disaster helping people they may never meet or see. Communicating across great distances where other forms of communication failed us. I especially noted N4HUB and WX4RON, two well trained and caring people that have great experience in the radio community. Though no one would wish this kind of devastation on anyone the two individuals were ready for the challenge of the tornados and the chaos that ensued. These two coordinated a large network of volunteer radio operators across the state in the recovery and support operations. There hard work justifies this hobby for all of us. They exemplify what all of us should do with this great hobby. All of us need to be prepared for a disaster and the preparedness of BARC, Jeffco ARES, Many unnamed ham radio operators not only saved life’s but helped many agencies including the EMA and the Red Cross. Well done N4HUB and WX4RON! Your leadership during this disaster was unparalleled. I am sure I am not the only one to say this but, Thank you for everything you guys do!
73’s

Pleasant Grove Alabama-Morning after the tornados

Pleasant Grove tornado damage- unimaginableThe morning after the tornado’s I was uneasy. Uncomfortable and ready for something but I did not know what. With a generator, gas, quad band HT, 2m mobile and other ready for action tools for an affected area I decided I needed to mobilize. I already knew that the Homewood fire dept was actively helping and saving life’s after monitoring their radios and now I needed to get out too.
I called Homewood dispatch and they gave me a pleasant grove number. I called and it was busy. Many tries later I received a calm lady who game me a second number which I called. I now had a mission to get help to people in pleasant grove.
I drove my daughters to school and was listening to the W4CUE repeater in Birmingham and heard the ARES support net in action. It was all normal traffic on the repeater until they needed to contact Pleasant Grove fire department. Doesn’t happen often but I had information that could help, I was already in contact with them and heading to Pleasant Grove shortly.
I answered the call on the amateur radio and established a station at the Pleasant grove fire department as they requested. Hours passed as did the many messages to the Fire Chief of the Pleasant Grove fire department.
During this time I had taken many trips into the devastated portions of the neighborhood. Here are some of the pictures I was able to take.

 

Pleasant Grove tornado-First responders looking for survivors

HR 607 – House bill 607 -Limit amateur radio service ability to respond to emergencies

This is a full reprint of the HR 607. Introduced by Mr. KING of New York , Mr. THOMPSON of Mississippi, Mr. ROGERS of Alabama, Ms. CLARKE of New York, Mrs. MILLER of Michigan, Mr. LONG, and Mr. GRIMM). This bill is another attempt to limit the public’s ability to communicate in the event of an emergency and should be stopped.
Please read the bill which is included in this article and get active!

This is a full reprint of the HR 607. Introduced by Mr. KING of New York , Mr. THOMPSON of Mississippi, Mr. ROGERS of Alabama, Ms. CLARKE of New York, Mrs. MILLER of Michigan, Mr. LONG, and Mr. GRIMM). This bill is another attempt to limit the public’s ability to communicate in the event of an emergency and should be stopped.
HR 607 IH

112th CONGRESS
1st Session

H. R. 607
To enhance public safety by making more spectrum available to public safety agencies, to facilitate the development of a wireless public safety broadband network, to provide standards for the spectrum needs of public safety agencies, and for other purposes.

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
February 10, 2011
Mr. KING of New York (for himself, Mr. THOMPSON of Mississippi, Mr. ROGERS of Alabama, Ms. CLARKE of New York, Mrs. MILLER of Michigan, Mr. LONG, and Mr. GRIMM) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce
——————————————————————————–
A BILL
To enhance public safety by making more spectrum available to public safety agencies, to facilitate the development of a wireless public safety broadband network, to provide standards for the spectrum needs of public safety agencies, and for other purposes.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE; TABLE OF CONTENTS.
(a) Short Title- This Act may be cited as the `Broadband for First Responders Act of 2011′.
(b) Table of Contents- The table of contents for this Act is as follows:
Sec. 1. Short title; table of contents.

TITLE I–ALLOCATION AND ASSIGNMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY LICENSES
Sec. 101. Findings.
Sec. 102. Allocation and assignment of public safety licenses.
Sec. 103. Standards.
Sec. 104. Rule of construction.

Birmingham airport radio frequencies-BHM-Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International airport

This information is so oddly useless that when I needed it, I could not find it, so now I have posted it for me (and you) to have.   I have flown in and out of this airport many times and find its small and outdated facilities have a ‘hometown’ feel. 

Birmingham, Alabama

BHM-Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International airport
Birmingham AL
  Time Zone: CT 
Lat: N 3333.8     Long: W 08645.1     Elev: 650     Var: +03  Longest Runway: 12002
Clr Del: 125.67       Dept. ATIS: 119.4     Arr. ATIS: 119.4   Ground: 121.7     Tower: 118.25/119.9

 

BHM-Birmingham airport runways in AlabamaBirmingham Airport Communications & Frequencies
ATIS Frequencies: Hours(local) of Operation: CONTINUOUS
119.4 270.1
Birmingham Tower Frequencies: Hours(local) of operation: CONTINUOUS
118.25 119.9 317.725
Birmingham Ground Frequencies:
121.7 348.6
Birmingham Clearance Delivery Frequencies:
125.675 305.2
Birmingham Emergency Frequencies:
121.5 243.0

Birmingham Unicom Frequency: 122.950

Birmingham Primary Approach Frequencies: Hours(local) of operation: CONTINUOUS
123.8(050-230) 127.675(231-049) 256.8(050-230) 338.2(231-049)
Birmingham Primary Departure Frequencies: Hours(local) of operation: CONTINUOUS
123.8(050-230) 127.675(231-049) 256.8(050-230) 338.2(231-049)

Class C Frequencies:
123.8(050-230) 127.675(231-049) 256.8(050-230) 338.2(231-049)