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/.

 

 

 

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

Amateur radio steps up in Alabama before and after the storm

Never forget:Pleasant Grove, Alabama

First and most importantly… My thoughts and prayers are with the men, women, and children in the tornado devastated cities and towns in the south. I have spent a lot of time in the last two days in devastated areas with the majority of the time being spent in Pleasant Grove Alabama. The warmth and love of the people I have met in that neighborhood have changed me forever. The sadness of morning the loss of people’s loved ones as they find out they did not make it has left an indelible impression on my heart. And in all the chaos, sadness, tears and moments of joy as people find loved ones I came across a flag hanging on a street that was incredible hard hit. I came across this flag and lost it, started crying and praying. I was unable to take any more as it reminded me so much of being at ground zero and the helpless feeling of knowing that life is so fragile. May god bless, help these people and guide the relief efforts

Well before the storms rolled into the south, the amateur radio operators in the region had many radio communication networks established. Storm spotters were reporting the locations of the the various tornados which helped to coordinate with the National Weather Service and the EMA for the initial responses into the devastated regions. The radio networks continue to operate and supplies are making it further and further into the regions around Birmingham. Formal operations have taken over most of what the amateur radio operators were able to provide in the initial response to the storms but amateur radio operators continue to support many operations throughout the state.

Now 2 days after the disaster and with a moment to take a breath I can only compliment the many operators that I have heard and seen performing hours and hours of selfless and often thankless work.
To every Amateur Radio Operator that has contributed to the efforts:
Thank you from me and everyone that you have touched with your service

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.
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.

NASA:Taurus launch scrubbed Kysat-1 still grounded

The US space agency NASA on Wednesday said its Glory climate mission launch has been delayed due to a technical issue and would attempt to launch again on Thursday morning. This is the rocket that the KYSAT-1 is riding up to space on.

The satellite is designed to provide scientists with a more detailed look at Earth’s atmosphere to better understand climate change. It had been due to launch aboard a Taurus XL rocket from Vanderberg Air Force Base in California at 2:09 am (1009 GMT).

‘Looks like we have to scrub. No launch tonight. Problem with a command circuit. Details to come,’ NASA said in a Twitter update.

Glory is to orbit Earth at a distance of 817 kilometres.

The mission is to measure tiny particles in the atmosphere known as aerosols, which reflect or absorb light and are considered key to regulating the temperature of the planet.

Glory programme executive Joy Bretthauer said the mission would provide measurements ‘that are vital to providing planet models and accurately predicting Earth’s future climate.’

The particles can be both natural and man-made, and range from sources as varied as car exhaust to sea spray, NASA said. Some, such as sea salt, reflect energy from the sun, helping to keep the planet cool, while others such as black carbon particles absorb energy and promote warming.

Ham radio help requested for KySat-1 launch

KYSAT1-kysat1 cube satAmateur Radio satellite KySat-1, due to be launched February 23!!!

As you may know, KySat-1 along with CubeSats from Montana State University and University of Colorado, will be launched into orbit from Vandenburg AFB on February 23 at 0809 UTC. As with all satellite missions, for us, verifying operation and establishing communication early is critical to mission success.

I would also like to invite amateur radio operators to help them establish contact with KySat-1. Information about the beacons, the mission, and the status of the mission can be found at the following link:
http://ssl.engineering.uky.edu/kysat1/

KySat-1 is the first satellite developed by Kentucky and its outreach capabilities will inspire K-12 students to purse Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM).

KySat-1 Beacon 436.790 MHz
FM modulated pseudo-CW beacon every five minutes.
The frequency of the audio signal is 400 Hz @ 32 wpm
FM modulated AX.25 encoded digital beacon every 2.5 minutes.

It carries a digital camera and has a high bandwidth S-band downlink.

KySat-1 on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/KySpace

KySat-1 on the IARU Satellite Frequency Coordination pages can be found here

NASA seeks Amateur Radio operators aid with NanoSail-D

NASA seeks Amateur Radio operators’ aid

The US Space Agency NASA has asked for the help of Amateur Radio operators to help in receiving the signal from NanoSail-D on 437.270MHz.

The NASA Press release says:

Wednesday, Jan. 19 at 11:30 a.m. EST, engineers at Marshall SpacemFlight Center in Huntsville, Ala., confirmed that the NanoSail-D nanosatellite ejected from Fast Affordable Scientific and Technology Satellite, FASTSAT. The ejection event occurred spontaneously and was identified this morning when engineers at the center analyzed onboard FASTSAT telemetry. The ejection of NanoSail-D also has been confirmed by ground-based satellite tracking assets.

Amateur radio operators are asked to listen for the signal to verify NanoSail-D is operating. This information should be sent to the NanoSail-D dashboard here .

The NanoSail-D beacon signal can be found at 437.270 MHz.

The NanoSail-D science team is hopeful the nanosatellite is healthy and can complete its solar sail mission.
After ejection, a timer within NanoSail-D begins a three-day countdown as the satellite orbits the Earth. Once the timer reaches zero, four booms will quickly deploy and the NanoSail-D sail will start to unfold to a 100-square-foot polymer sail. Within five seconds the sail fully unfurls.

Read the full NASA Press Release at
http://www.nasa.gov

In a NASA first, NanoSail-D spacecraft to set sail on the sunlight

NASA nanosail-D satelliteNASA’s NanoSail-D is expected to test a type of propulsion that taps the momentum of photons in sunlight. Advocates say solar sails provide the best way toward interstellar travel.

A new NASA craft is due to set sail, literally, Thursday night. What’s more, it hopes to be unfurling its sail in outer space.

What, you may ask, is NASA doing with a sail-powered vehicle?

The answer is that the bread-loaf-size satellite, built on a shoe-string budget, is designed to test a space propulsion technology that until the past few years has dwelt in the realm of science fiction.

The satellite, NanoSail-D, is expected to open its thin, square, reflective sail at 10 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, representing what would be the first successful on-orbit deployment of a solar sail in the history of the US space program.

It make lack the pizzazz of warp drive, the fictional propulsion system known to Star Trek fans. But many of its advocates argue that solar sails represent the best path to eventual interstellar travel. More immediately, the technology also holds the promise of reducing the amount of space junk orbiting Earth, boosters say.

The rooting section for Wednesday night’s sail-deployment attempt may be small, but it’s enthusiastic.

“The solar-sailing world is such a small world that we’re all rooting for each other,” says Bill Nye, executive director of the Planetary Society, a space-exploration advocacy group in Pasadena, Calif. The society has its own solar-sail demonstration program underway.

Solar sails operate on the same general principles as conventional sails operate. But where a sailboat gets its push from wind, a solar sail gets its push from sunlight – a possibility first envisioned after physicists figured out that while particles of light, known as photons, have no mass, they do carry momentum. When they strike an object, such as a reflective sail in space, they can transfer momentum to the sail and thus to the object hoisting it.

A craft propelled exclusively via solar sails travels at a snail’s pace when it starts. But with no air resistance in space, momentum would rapidly build. By some estimates, a mission to Pluto, currently a 10-year trip, could reach the dwarf planet in five years.

A solar-sail craft also could devote more of its payload to scientific experiments rather than mass-costly motors and fuel, which today’s craft carry for course corrections on a long voyage or altitude changes to maintain orbit around a planet or moon.

So far, Japan has lofted the most sophisticated solar-sail craft to date. The craft, IKAROS, launched in May 2009 with the country’s Venus climate orbiter, Akatuski. A month later, IKAROS deployed a square solar sail roughly 19 feet long on each side, which has propelled the craft on a trajectory that will put it in orbit around the sun.

Thin-film solar cells on the sail provide electricity for the craft. But one of its most ingenious features, Mr. Nye says, involves steering. Instead of moving the sail’s angle relative to the incoming sunlight, the craft uses strategically placed arrays of liquid crystals – much like those in a digital watch – to alter the ability of a given section of the sail to reflect light.

The approach allows the craft to alter course, but slowly. The system takes roughly 24 hours to achieve a one-degree change in course.

That works well for deep-space travel. But for orbital work, a craft would have to be more agile, requiring a mechanical means of trimming the sail.

Ironically, although NanoSail-D’s systems are identical to those required for solar propulsion, the craft will be demonstrating something different over the next 70 to 120 days: the use of such sails for braking.

NASA’s first attempt to loft NanoSail-D came in 2008 aboard Falcon 1, the first in a growing stable of rockets and capsules built by Spacex, one of a new generation of rocket-makers. The company currently has a contract with NASA to resupply the International Space Station once evaluation flights end for its larger Falcon 9, whose first two launches were successful. Unfortunately, the Falcon 1 carrying the first NanoSail-D failed. The NanoSail-D currently in orbit is a back-up unit that engineers have continued to modify over the past two years.

The craft was one of six payloads lofted by Orbital Science Corporation’s Minotaur IV rocket on Nov. 20. The six payloads rode into space on a common “bus.” NanoSail-D was to have ejected from the bus Dec. 6.

“The door opened, but nothing came out,” says Dean Alhorn, an engineer at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., and the project’s lead investigator.

For more than a month, his team was in limbo, trying to figure out what might have caused the apparent failure.

Then, to everyone’s surprise, the craft phoned home Jan. 19, indicating that it somehow, finally, worked free of the bus. With the help of amateur-radio operators in the US, including the Marshall Space flight Center, and in Germany, who had equipment capable of receiving NanoSail-D’s encoded communications, the team gathered up the data and judged NanoSail-D to be in good shape, if somewhat tardy.

“I’m pleased with how everything has worked out,” Mr. Alhorn says.

The craft is orbiting some 350 nautical miles above Earth. There, drag from Earth’s extended atmosphere exerts more influence on a spacecraft’s speed than do photons from the sun. So the goal is to see how well a sail can guide a craft to a controlled reentry into Earth’s atmosphere, where it would incinerate.

By international agreement, satellite operators must design their craft to carry enough fuel to either boost themselves into an higher orbit reserved for dead spacecraft or to slow the craft for reentry. The goal is to reduce the likelihood that derelict spacecraft in low-Earth orbit will collide, adding to an already worrisome collection of spent boosters and dead satellites orbiting Earth. Collisions between these objects generate a tenuous but troubling cloud of debris that has threatened active spacecraft, including the International Space Station and the space shuttle.

Solar sails are far lighter and cost far less than the motors and fuel craft currently must carry for deorbiting, Alhorn says.

Even as NanoSail-D prepares to spread its wings, the Planetary Society has embarked on a three-step program of solar-sail development. It comes on the heels of a 2005 attempt to launch the organization’s Cosmos 1 solar-sail demonstration craft. The Russian rocket lofting the craft failed before the craft could reach orbit.

LightSail 1, which the Planetary Society says it hopes to launch during the first half of this year, would head directly for an orbit roughly 440 nautical miles above Earth. There, the influence of sunlight on the craft would exceed that of Earth’s atmosphere, allowing for the controlled solar-sail flight the group hopes to achieve. LightSail 2 would be larger, last longer, and carry scientific payloads for earth observation. If all goes well, LightSail 3 would be designed to travel farm from Earth to provide early warning of solar storms that erupt from the sun.

Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Enhancement Act

New Amateur Radio Bill Introduced in Congress

The Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Enhancement Act, which died at the end of the 111th Congress, has been reintroduced in the 112th Congress as HR 81. The sponsor is Representative Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX-18). The new bill — which was introduced on January 5 — has been referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.

Rep Jackson Lee first introduced the bill — HR 2160 — in the 111th Congress in April 2009. It gained an additional 41 co-sponsors but did not progress out of the committee of jurisdiction. A similar bill introduced in the Senate — S 1755 — made it all the way through that body in December 2009, but likewise was not taken up by the House.

The objective of the bill — which is supported by the ARRL — is for the Secretary of Homeland Security to study the uses and capabilities of Amateur Radio communications in emergencies and disaster relief and to identify and make recommendations regarding impediments to Amateur Radio communications, such as the effects of private land use regulations on residential antenna installations.

“We are hopeful that this early start will lead to success in the new Congress,” commented ARRL Chief Executive Officer David Sumner, K1ZZ.

Verbage of the bill is below
Congress 2011 H. R. 81
To promote and encourage the valuable public service, disaster relief, and emergency communications provided on a volunteer basis by licensees of the Federal Communications Commission in the Amateur Radio Service, by undertaking a study of the uses of amateur radio for emergency and disaster relief communications, by identifying unnecessary or unreasonable impediments to the deployment of Amateur Radio emergency and disaster relief communications, and by making recommendations for relief of such unreasonable restrictions so as to expand the uses of amateur radio communications in Homeland Security planning and response.
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES JANUARY 5, 2011
Ms. JACKSON LEE of Texas introduced the following bill; which was referred
to the Committee on Energy and Commerce
A BILL
To promote and encourage the valuable public service, disaster relief, and emergency communications provided on a volunteer basis by licensees of the Federal Communications Commission in the Amateur Radio Service, by undertaking a study of the uses of amateur radio for emergency and disaster relief communications, by identifying unnecessary or unreasonable impediments to the deployment of Amateur Radio emergency and disaster relief communications, and by making recommendations for relief of such unreasonable restrictions so as to expand the uses of amateur radio communications in Homeland Security planning and response.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
This Act may be cited as the ‘‘Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Enhancement Act of 2011’’.
SEC. 2. FINDINGS.
The Congress finds the following:
(1) Nearly 700,000 amateur radio operators in the United States are licensed by the Federal Communications Commission in the Amateur Radio Service.
(2) Amateur Radio operators provide, on a volunteer basis, a valuable public service to their communities, their States, and to the Nation, especially in the area of national and international disaster communications.
(3) Emergency and disaster relief communications services by volunteer Amateur Radio operators have consistently and reliably been provided before, during, and after floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, forest fires, earthquakes, blizzards, train accidents, chemical spills, and other disasters. These communications services include services in connection with significant examples, such as hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Hugo, and Andrew; the relief effort at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon following the 2001 terrorist attacks; and the Oklahoma City bombing in April 1995.
(4) Amateur Radio has formal agreements for the provision of volunteer emergency communications activities with the Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the National Weather Service, the National Communications System, and the Association of Public Safety Communications Officials, as well as with disaster relief agencies, including the American National Red Cross and the Salvation Army.
(5) The Congress passed Public Law 103–408 which was signed by the President on October 22, 1994. This included in section 1 the following finding of Congress: ‘‘Reasonable accommodation should be made for the effective operation of amateur radio from residences, private vehicles and public areas, and the regulation at all levels of government should facilitate and encourage amateur radio operation as a public benefit.’’
(6) The Congress passed Public Law 109–295 which was signed by the President on October 4, 2006. This included a provision in the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations legislation for fiscal year 2007 that directed the Department’s Regional Emergency Communications Coordinating Working Group to coordinate their activities with ‘‘ham and amateur radio operators’’ among the eleven other emergency organizations such as ambulance services, law enforcement, and others.
(7) Amateur Radio, at no cost to taxpayers, provides a fertile ground for technical self-training in modern telecommunications, electronic technology, and emergency communications techniques and protocols.
(8) There is a strong Federal interest in the effective performance of Amateur Radio stations, and that performance must be given support at all levels of government and given protection against unreasonable regulation and impediments to the provision of these valuable communications.
19 SEC. 3. STUDY OF ENHANCED USES OF AMATEUR RADIO IN EMERGENCY AND DISASTER RELIEF COMMUNICATION, AND FOR RELIEF OF RESTRICTIONS.
23 (a) AUTHORITY.—The Secretary of Homeland Security—
(1) shall undertake a study on the uses and capabilities of Amateur Radio communications in emergencies and disaster relief; and
(2) shall report its findings to Congress not later than 180 days after the date of enactment of this Act.
(b) SCOPE OF THE STUDY.—The study required by this section shall—
(1) include recommendations—
(A) for enhancements in the voluntary deployment of Amateur Radio licensees in disaster and emergency communications and disaster relief efforts; and
(B) for improved integration of Amateur Radio operators in planning and in furtherance of the Department of Homeland Security initiatives;
(2)(A) identify unreasonable or unnecessary impediments to enhanced Amateur Radio communications, such as the effects of private land use regulations on residential antenna installations; and
(B) make recommendations regarding such impediments; and
(3)(A) include an evaluation of section 207 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 (Public Law 104–104, 110 Stat. 56 (1996)); and
(B) make a recommendation whether that section should be modified to prevent unreasonable private land use restrictions that impair the ability of an amateur radio operator licensed by the Federal Communications Commission to conduct, or prepare to conduct, emergency communications by means of effective outdoor antennas and support structures at reasonable heights and dimensions for the purpose, in residential areas.
(c) USE OF EXPERTISE AND INFORMATION.—In conducting the study required by this section, the Secretary of Homeland Security shall—
(1) utilize the expertise of the American Radio Relay League, representing the National Amateur Radio community; and
(2) seek information from private and public sectors for the study.