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!

As howling storm battered Alaska, ham operators provided vital link

Jill Burke from the Alaska Dispatch — The jet stream feeding the wintery sea-spun tempest that sideswiped Alaska’s western coast wasn’t the only worldwide conveyer belt in motion this week. As howling winds whipped up and crashing waves pounded beaches, the people who live in the remote, isolated villages along the storm’s path stayed connected via a web of global radio frequencies.

When other communications failed, ham radio operators came to the rescue. Throughout the storm, they were the eyes for scientists in Fairbanks and Anchorage who otherwise would have been blind to weather conditions they could predict but not see.

“They were providing critical observations. We don’t have a lot of meteorological observations in the west. We don’t have the instruments out there,” Carven Scott, a forecaster with the National Weather Service in Anchorage, said Thursday as messages sent via the amateur radio network zapped into his inbox.

The messages were deceptively simple: how fast the wind was blowing and from what direction; sea level; wave height; whether it was snowing or raining; and the temperature. These seemingly small details from various villages made a big difference for the weather service — enough so, Scott said, that a lead forecaster told him, “Whatever you do, don’t cut it off because this stuff is really helping us.”

Through the ham radio network, Scott and his colleagues learned that river ice in Koyuk was backing up and spilling onto the banks, roofs had blown off in Nome, water was surging in Nome, and rain and snow were falling in Shaktoolik and Savoonga.

Scott describes weather prediction as a 10,000 piece puzzle with 9,000 pieces missing. Remote sensing tools, radar and satellites all help, but conceptual models are only as good as the limited information forecasters have. First-hand reports from people on the ground feed the model with real information in real-time, allowing forecasters to adjust and refine their analysis. If snow was predicted but it’s actually raining, meteorologists tweak their formulas.

“Those seemingly unimportant pieces of information help us characterize where the front is at,” he said. “Without that information, it would impact our ability to execute our mission, which is the protection of life and property and enhancement of national commerce.”

Continue the story here at the Alaska Dispatch site

Video didn’t kill the radio star

VU2UR - B. L. Manohar shows us how it is doneB.L. Manohar (VU2UR), a retired Indian Railway Steel Bridge Engineer has been on the air since 1967. He was the honorary regional monitoring systems coordinator for International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) Region 3, the first ever Indian to hold the post. He is a member of the Amateur Radio Society of India (ARSI).

Amateur radio is a self-educating hobby

You learn by experimenting. I use simple transceiver equipment and antenna, with the basic modes like telegraphy, voice and digital communications. Every conversation I have with a foreign amateur on the bands is an experiment.

I was basically a ‘short wave listener’, listening to all kinds of broadcasts, such as those directed to the general public, to ships at sea, ATC to aircraft communications, and many others. I had learnt wireless telegraphy to hear ships’ communications. From here, I gradually drifted to amateur radio.

The uses are endless

But, it has been used primarily for rescues, disaster communications and other types of emergencies. At other times, it is used to help the state authorities in communications during events such as the Kumbh Mela where lakhs of people attend, or during election duties in remote areas.

I have contacted research expeditions to the Arctic

I have been using my set up for the relay of emergency communications when needed. At other times, I hunt for research expeditions to Arctic and Antarctica, the many flora and fauna radio operations from national parks and bio-reserves of distant countries, expeditions to remote islands and mountains.

Bangalore has about 2,000 or so amateurs

That is a conservative estimate for Bangalore. Of those, a weekly average of about 200 can be found in the 2-metre band (with line of sight communications), and about 10 in the short wave bands in Telegraphy, Voice and digital modes. The rest are dormant.

You will find people from every age and background among the ham radio community — from schoolchildren to CEOs, carpenters to chartered accountants, hoteliers to homemakers, from astronauts to Arctic explorers.

Internet and cellphones have influenced ham radio

That goes for 3G equipment, GPRS and satellite phones too, which have all influenced amateur radio very much. Amateurs are using them as standby modes of gathering information required. But the genuine amateur radio operator enjoys the vagaries of propagation affected by solar activity. He checks the predictions with the actual conditions that prevail, in real time.

A receiver, a transmitter and a matching, efficient antenna are the basic requirements, with capability to use telegraphy or voice modes. If a computer is also available, digital modes become easier, where you can also experiment with slow scan TV. The government has permitted import of equipment and this has helped many amateurs to proudly show off their Japanese-make transceivers and the like.

There are a good number of clubs, websites to help

They help serve the amateur fraternity and guide a newcomer. The Bangalore Amateur Radio Club has been helping budding amateurs for 50 years now. Those amateurs far away from metropolitan cities find time to come and exchange their ideas at the ‘Hamfest’ held every year. This year, it will be held at Kochi in December.

Amateur radio is not an aging hobby

The modern generation may have at their disposal the latest electronic equipment.

But consider this: when all cellphone towers have fallen down, landlines broken, satellite dishes damaged, as often happens during an earthquake or tsunami, amateur radio operators are the only ones who can provide emergency communications.

This fact is very often forgotten.

Record numbers at Cal Poly Amateur Radio Club licensing session

A record 150 electrical engineering freshman students from Cal Poly will take their FCC amateur radio technician-class license exam this November in the largest amateur radio licensing event ever held in San Luis Obispo County.

Hosted by the Cal Poly Amateur Radio Club (CPARC), this session may be the largest Amateur Radio License Testing Session ever held at the collegiate level. These 150 potential amateur radio operators will join over 700,000 other hams in the U.S. in providing volunteer and emergency communications support for everything from local bike rides and parades to global disaster relief, including the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan.

Dennis Derickson (AC0P), Cal Poly Electrical Engineering (EE) department chair, conceived the Freshman Licensing Initiative which gives every EE 111 student a chance to get their radio license. As part of the EE 111 curriculum, this test session will be administered during the 50-minute class period and count as one of the midterm exams for the freshmen students.

“CPARC members have been hosting review sessions to help students prepare to pass their exam and get introductory knowledge on a wide variety of electrical engineering topics,” said CPARC member Javen O’Neal. “Getting an amateur radio license is the first step towards many career opportunities in the communications industry, from engineering UAVs and integrating Wi-Fi on the Amazon Kindle, to creating 4G cell phone networks and designing communication subsystems on DirecTV satellites.”

CPARC members learn about radios by retuning filters on radios, building directional antennas for transmitter hunts, and putting together an emergency vehicle tracking network for Wildflower Triathlon using two dozen radios and GPS units, digital repeaters, and internet gateways.

Founded in 1947, the Cal Poly Amateur Radio Club has a long tradition of communications service on campus and in the San Luis Obispo community. The club maintains Emergency Communications Station No. 16 on the Cal Poly Campus for the San Luis Obispo Emergency Communications Council (SLOECC) which is equipped with emergency power and radio equipment to support various public safety agencies in the event of a disaster. More information about the club can be found at www.w6bhz.org .

Anyone interested in getting their amateur radio license should contact Javen O’Neal, Marcel Stieber (ph: 970-462-7235), or Shaun Koide at calpolyradioclub@gmail.com for upcoming testing dates and study material.

Cal Poly Engineering

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/.




November 9 2011, the day the TV went off

The EAS is a national public warning system that requires broadcasters, cable television systems, wireless cable systems, satellite digital audio radio service (SDARS) providers, and direct broadcast satellite (DBS) providers to provide the communications capability to the President to address the American public during a national emergency. The system also may be used by state and local authorities to deliver important emergency information, such as AMBER alerts and weather information targeted to specific areas.

The first Nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System will be carried out on November 9, 2011

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

Ham Radio Not a Viable Option for Egypt

Despite the best efforts of Internet activists who are trying to help Egyptians communicate with the outside world, ham radio isn’t a viable option in this situation, experts said.

The Egyptian government has ordered the shutdown of all ISPs (Internet service providers) as well as some cell phone services. The move appears aimed at disrupting protestors, who have been demonstrating across the country since last week. They are calling for the ouster of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

In order to fill the communications gap, supporters around the world have set up free dial-up phone lines and are trying to get the word out to Egyptians that they are monitoring certain ham radio bands for their transmissions.

However, despite reports of ham radios being used to send Morse code, there have been no confirmed transmissions out of Egypt, said Allen Pitts, a spokesman for the National Association for Amateur Radio. “I haven’t heard of any transmissions, period,” he said.

The group We Rebuild has set up an IRC for ham radio enthusiasts around the world listening for transmissions on the designated band. They have reported hearing what may be Morse code and possibly some audio messages.

Hearing little, the supporters sometimes voice their frustration. One, called “+HAMguy,” joked: “Who needs a social life when you can listen to faint beeps all day long while talking to complete and utter strangers.”

There is a long history of using ham radio in emergency situations, but it is not ideal for the current situation in Egypt, Pitts said. “Ham radio does do wonderfully in situations like this … but in this particular case, there’s nobody transmitting,” he said.

That may be partly because there are few ham users in Egypt to begin with. “Most people cannot afford it or do not have the political connections needed to get a license there. Those with licenses are apparently, wisely, keeping low,” he said. They may be concerned about who is listening and whether there will be consequences for what they say.

Although there has been little to no traffic coming out of Egypt, ham radio enthusiasts have been having a lively discussion about whether the technology should be used in a situation of political upheaval.

“Amateur Radio should not be used for this political purpose — Especially to subvert the will of any government. It’s not its purpose. This is not emergency communications,” a person with the call sign KB3X wrote in a forum for ham radio users.

But others said the situation in Egypt is exactly the type of emergency where ham radio can be helpful, and that the politics behind it is irrelevant.

Read the rest of this story at PCWorld.com

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