EVARC Events/Announcements

November 16, 2014
Vol 14, No 29

 

- IN THIS EDITION -

 

EVARC Upcoming Events/Announcements
Test Sessions
Hamfests/Conventions
From the ARRL Letter - November 6, 2014
     ARRL Seeks Input on Recommended VHF-UHF-Microwave Contest Rule Changes
     "Amateur Radio Parity Act of 2014" Attracts More than a Dozen New Co-Sponsors
     FCC Reverses ALJ's Decision, Revokes Convicted Sex Offender's Ham Radio License
     International Space Station Briefly "Ham-less" After Crew Members Return to Earth
     California Scientist-Ham On the Air from Antarctica's McMurdo Station, Ross Ice Shelf
     Radio History: A Century of Amateur Radio and the ARRL
    
In Brief
Education and Training
Closing Items

   

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EVARC Upcoming Events/Announcements

   

Next September meeting of the Elkhorn Valley Amateur Radio Club
Date:  Saturday, December 13, 2014
Time:  08:30 AM
LocationBailey's Bistro & Lounge
                 1201 S 13th St
                
This meeting will be the annual Election of Club Officers meeting.  Please plan on attending.

Minutes from the October 2014 meeting are available and can be read on the EVARC Web page

Visitors are always welcome to the meeting.
Bring a Guest to the Meeting

For more Information see the EVARC Web Page

Midwest Division News

The Midwest Division ARRL Newsletter for November 2014 is available on the EVARC Web site.

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Nebraska Section News

The Nebraska Section news for June 2014 is available on the EVARC Web site.

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Test Sessions within 100 miles of Norfolk, NE

For more testing locations see the ARRL Testing Web page

 

11/21/2014

     Sponsor: Siouxland ARA
     Date: Nov 21 2014
     Time: 7:00 PM (Walk-ins allowed)
     Contact: Gary L. Johnson
                    (712) 289-87631
     Email:
garywy0v@msn.com
     VEC:
ARRL/VEC
     Location: American Red Cross
                      4200 War Eagle Dr
                      Sioux City IA 51109-1700

 

11/25/2014

     Sponsor: AksarbenARC/Omaha Area VE Team
     Date: Nov 25 2014
     Time: 6:03 PM (Walk-ins allowed)
     Contact: William H. Jackson
                     (402) 571-7540
     Email:
k9rz@arrl.net
     VEC:
ARRL/VEC
     Location: American Red Cross
                      2912 S 80th Ave
                      Near 84th and Center
                      Lower Level West Side
                      Omaha NE 68124-3250

 

12/04/2014
     Sponsor:
Lincoln ARC
     Date: Dec 04 2014
     Time: 6:30 PM (Walk-ins allowed)
     Contact: John P. Hauner
                     (402) 486-1400
     Email:
jphusker@earthlink.com
     VEC:
ARRL/VEC
     Location: Northside Cafe
                      2701 N 48th St.
                      Lincoln NE 68504-1425

 

01/08/2015
     Sponsor:
Lincoln ARC
     Date: Jan 08 2015
     Time: 6:30 PM (Walk-ins allowed)
     Contact: John P. Hauner
                     (402) 486-1400
     Email: jphusker@earthlink.com
     VEC: ARRL/VEC
     Location: Northside Cafe
                      2701 N 48th St.
                      Lincoln NE 68504-1425

 

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l Hamfests/Conventions
 
 

For a complete listing of Hamfests go to the ARRL Hamfest Search page http://www.arrl.org/hamfests-and-conventions-calendar

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From the November 13, 2014 ARRL Letter

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ARRL Seeks Input on Recommended VHF-UHF-Microwave Contest Rule Changes

The recently formed "Ad Hoc Subcommittee on VHF and Above Revitalization" -- created by the ARRL Board of Directors' Programs and Services Committee (PSC) -- is seeking member input by December 15 on updating various aspects of the League's VHF-UHF-Microwave and EME contest program. In the subcommittee's solicitation for input, Chairman Kermit Carlson, W9XA, said members can help the work of the committee "by providing additional insights and ideas for our consideration."

"Contest participation benefits both individual amateurs and the Amateur Radio Service as a whole," said Carlson, who is ARRL Central Division Vice Director. "Individual operators gain overall operating experience, increase their knowledge of band characteristics, test the results of changes in equipment, antennas and locations, and have incentive to add bands and modes to their station complement, all in the context of enjoyable, yet challenging, activities."

He said operating in contests also helps the Amateur Radio Service increase its pool of skilled operators and can demonstrate more intense use of our allocations, "some of which may be under threat from ever-expanding commercial and consumer services."

Subcommittee members have recommended one set of changes that would apply across all ARRL VHF-UHF-Microwave and EME contests. These include:

1. Removing the current prohibition on the use of amateur and non-amateur forms of assistance for all operator categories, with such use having no impact on entry category.

2. Removing the current prohibition on self-spotting for all operator categories.

3. Allowing single operators to transmit on more than one band at a time.

"Unlike most HF contests, operating skill and knowledge of propagation may not be enough to find stations to work. You can't just point your antenna to Europe or Asia at the right time and find a ready supply of potential contacts," Carlson explained. "The less-predictable nature of VHF+ propagation and the necessarily higher-gain, narrow-beamwidth antennas used make finding someone to work largely a matter of chance. Indeed, most microwave contacts would never occur at all without the use of real-time coordination."

Carlson said the League's current prohibitive stance toward assistance and self-spotting "is the most often-heard complaint about our VHF contest program." He said subcommittee members believe that removing those prohibitions "will foster greater participation and result in more contacts and a more positive experience for participants without impacting the existing challenge of actually completing contacts."

Similarly, he continued, the present restriction of Single-Operator stations to one transmitted signal at a time precludes such activities as calling CQ on one band while soliciting or completing contacts using digital modes on another. "Such restriction constrains the number of potential contacts among participants while yielding no apparent benefit," he said.

The full announcement details and explains the rationale behind the specific recommended rule changes.

"You can help us by considering the potential impact of each proposal and sharing any specific observations about it," Carlson said. "We're not tallying votes; rather, we want to be sure we have considered all foreseeable results of the proposed changes." Carlson said that collective input from user groups would be more helpful and expedient than receiving multiple versions of the same position from individual group members.

Submit comments prior to December 15, 2014. Only comments received through vhf-input@arrl.org will be assured of reaching all the members of the Subcommittee.

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"Amateur Radio Parity Act of 2014" Attracts More than a Dozen New Co-Sponsors

The list of co-sponsors for the Amateur Radio Parity Act of 2014, H.R. 4969, has grown to 63. Sixteen new co-sponsors signed aboard as the 113th Congress re-convened for its final session before adjournment. ARRL Regulatory Information Manager Dan Henderson, N1ND, is urging ARRL members to keep in contact with their Congressional representatives and to encourage them to become co-sponsors to the bill.

"We are excited about the addition of 16 new co-sponsors when Congress reconvened after the November mid-term elections," Henderson said. "Each new co-sponsor brings us one step closer to achieving our goal of getting HR 4969 enacted. We have a long way to go - but we are definitely moving in the right direction."

A few more co-sponsors may still be in the wings. The current tally represents a considerable expansion of support from the number of US Representatives who had signed aboard as Congress adjourned prior to the mid-term elections. All 16 of the latest co-sponsors were re-elected on November 4.

H.R. 4969, which was introduced in the US House of Representatives with bipartisan support in late June, would call on the FCC to apply the "reasonable accommodation" three-part test of the PRB-1 federal pre-emption policy to private land-use restrictions regarding antennas. The limited PRB-1 pre-emption currently applies only to state and municipal land-use ordinances. The FCC has indicated its reluctance to provide the same legal protections from private land-use agreements -- often called covenants, conditions, and restrictions or CC&Rs -- without direction from Congress.

The League has opened a HR.4969 page. HR.4969 has been referred to the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Rep Greg Walden, W7EQI (R-OR), chairs that panel's Communications and Technology Subcommittee, which will consider the measure.

Editors Note - Nebraska Status: Rep Jeff Fortenberry (NE-1) has signed as a co-sponsor, Rep Lee Terry (NE-2) signed on as a co-sponsor but did not get re-elected.  Rep Adrian Smith (NE-3) has not signed on as a co-sponsor.

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FCC Reverses ALJ's Decision, Revokes Convicted Sex Offender's Ham Radio License

The FCC has reversed the decision of an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) who had ruled in 2010 that David Titus, KB7ILD, of Seattle, Washington, could keep his Amateur Radio license in the wake of his conviction for a sex-related crime 17 years earlier. In his March 9, 2010, Initial Decision, ALJ Richard L. Sippel determined that Titus "has been a law-abiding member of his community for many years" and, based on evidence that Titus and witnesses on his behalf had presented, ordered that Titus's amateur license not be revoked. Sippel also ruled that the FCC's Enforcement Bureau had failed to meet the burden of proof necessary for revocation. He determined that Titus had shown remorse and been rehabilitated, and that the Enforcement Bureau had presented no credible evidence to indicate that Titus should be categorized as a high-risk sex offender. In a November 5 Decision in the proceeding (EB Docket 07-13), the FCC reversed Sippel's decision.

"We find that the ALJ erred in holding that the Enforcement Bureau failed to meet its burden of demonstrating that Titus is currently unqualified to remain a Commission licensee," the Decision said, "inasmuch as the ALJ failed to consider relevant convictions for sex offenses and failed to give appropriate deference to the judgment of local law enforcement authorities that Titus is a convicted sex offender who poses a high risk to the safety of the community."

The FCC also said Sippel should have given more weight to incidents in 2002 and 2004 that, while not resulting in conviction, "prompted the Seattle Police Department to raise Titus's assessed risk level from moderate to high."

In January 2007 the FCC issued a show-cause Order and designated for hearing the issue of whether Titus was qualified to remain a licensee in light of a 1993 felony conviction for "communicating with a minor for immoral purposes." The Communications Act provides that the FCC may revoke any license, if conditions come to its attention that would have warranted a denial of the licensee's original application. The Commission has said in the past that felony convictions, "especially those involving sexual offenses involving children," raise questions regarding a licensee's character qualifications.

Titus's General class license expired in 2009, and the FCC deferred action on his renewal application while the revocation proceeding was still in play.

The FCC said that given "known risks of Amateur Radios in the hands of sex offenders, such misconduct is prima facie disqualifying, and has resulted in the loss of licenses in past cases."

"In focusing on the impact of Titus's misconduct on his qualifications to hold an Amateur Radio license," the FCC concluded, "we would be remiss in our responsibilities as a licensing authority if we continue to authorize Titus to hold an Amateur Radio license that could be used to put him in contact with children."

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International Space Station Briefly "Ham-less" After Crew Members Return to Earth

The only two radio amateurs on the International Space Station (ISS) were among three crew members who returned to Earth on November 10, and another ham-astronaut won't arrive on board the ISS until later this month. An exciting 2015 appears to be in store.

NASA Flight Engineer Reid Wiseman, KF5LKT, and European Space Agency Astronaut Alexander Gerst, KF5ONO, joined Expedition 41 Commander and Russian Cosmonaut Max Suraev on the flight home this week. Traveling in a Soyuz space capsule, the trio touched down safely in Kazakhstan after some 6 months on the station. Wiseman and Gerst were active on Amateur Radio during their time in orbit, handling questions from curious Earthlings during Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) educational contacts and, in Wiseman's case, his first ARRL Field Day in June -- an activity he discussed in a recent #askAstro YouTube post.

This was the first mission for both Wiseman and Gerst. While in space, the pair carried out a spacewalk to relocate a failed pump module and configure the station for upcoming additions. Wiseman completed a second spacewalk with fellow NASA astronaut Barry Wilmore, now the ISS Expedition 42 Commander.

According to ARISS, there will be no US Operational Segment hams on the ISS until December 7, and the ARISS Russian team will conduct any school contacts in the interim. European Space Agency astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti, IZ0UDF, heads to the ISS on November 23. She will be the sole radio amateur on orbit until next March. That's when Cosmonauts Gennady Padalka, RN3DT, and Mikhail Kornienko, RN3BF -- both space veterans -- will arrive. A key research focus during Expedition 41 was human health management for long-duration space travel, as NASA and Roscosmos prepare for Kornienko and NASA Astronaut Scott Kelly to remain aboard the ISS for 1 year.

Several call signs are available for use on the ISS. NASA astronauts use NA1SS, while Russian cosmonauts operate under RS0ISS. Other call signs include DP0ISS, OR4ISS, and IR0ISS, available for use by European Space Agency astronauts. UK telecoms regulator Ofcom recently issued the call sign GB1SS for assignment to UK space travelers while aboard the ISS.

NASA Astronaut Kjell Lindgren, KO5MOS, and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) Astronaut Kimiya Yui, KG5BPH, will head to the ISS next May. Astronauts Tim Kopra, KE5UDN, and Tim Peake, KG5BVI, will be part of a crew increment heading into space a year from now. Peake, who is from the UK, may use the GB1SS call sign.

British pop singer Sarah Brightman is currently scheduled to travel to the ISS in October 2015 for a 10-day visit as a fare-paying "spaceflight participant." Her website has adopted an otherworldly theme. While it is not known if she will participate in any Amateur Radio contacts during her short ISS stay, she apparently would be eligible to do so using GB1SS.

ARISS has announced that the deadline is December 15 for schools and educational institutions and organizations -- formal and informal -- to submit proposals to host an Amateur Radio contact with an ISS crew member. ARISS is especially interested in arranging contact events that will draw large numbers of participants and integrate the radio contact into a well-developed educational plan. ARISS anticipates that the ham radio contacts between students and the space station will take place between May 1 and December 31, 2015. The ARRL website has more information.

Contact ARISS with any questions or for additional information.

NASA has posted more information on the International Space Station and its crews.

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California Scientist-Ham On the Air from Antarctica's McMurdo Station, Ross Ice Shelf

Ham radio is not the primary reason Ron Flick, K6REF, is in Antarctica, but it’s proving to be an enjoyable diversion to his scientific activities at McMurdo Station and the Ross Ice Shelf. He’s put a few hundred contacts in the log since arriving late last month from California. Flick, an oceanographer with the California Department of Parks and Recreation, Division of Boating and Waterways, and colleagues are conducting ice vibration studies on the Ross Ice Shelf for Scripps Institution of Oceanography. McMurdo is home to KC4USV, but Flick’s initial experience at the station — once he was able to locate the key to unlock the door — was less than optimal.

“The view is spectacular!” he enthused. “After I plugged the radio into power and the Yagi, I was able to hear a few stations on the lower end of 20, but was not able to contact anyone. The Yagi is fixed in an east-west orientation.”

Flick subsequently learned that the Antarctic winds had shifted the Yagi’s orientation. He’d been using 14.243 MHz — the “usual” KC4USV frequency — and 14.290 MHz, which he called “my personal favorite.” He was also using 21.260 MHz, generally getting on the air around 2200 UTC for a few hours, depending upon his work schedule.

“[C]onditions here are rough for old men like me,” he said, “and the training and equipment assembly for our project is a big job.”

According to the Scripps Institution, Amateur Radio operations are part of the outreach and education efforts of the “Dynamic Response of the Ross Ice Shelf to Wave-Induced Vibrations” expedition.

Starting this week, Flick will be on the air from Yesterday Camp near the International Date Line, running 100 W to dipole antennas, as time and conditions permit. He hopes to be on the air for a few hours during the Antarctic afternoon and evening, starting at about 0300 UTC.

A member of the Star of India Amateur Radio Club at the San Diego Maritime Museum, Flick reported that upon his arrival October 31, he was greeted with a “balmy 14° F” temperature, as summer weather approaches the South Pole.

Some computer-related wiring was underway in the ham shack this week, which, Flick said, was a good thing, since it will provide Internet service to the KC4USV operators. The downside was the work inhibited his ability to get on the air.

“Antarctica is full of rules and procedures, by and large designed to keep everybody safe and warm, or at least alive,” he quipped.

He had been planning to be on the air as much as possible before heading out onto the ice on November 11, and he is hoping to maintain “a similar routine” from the Ross Ice Shelf while camped out there until December 5, sans Internet, and operating as KC4/K6REF. “But we will have satellite phones, so I can call Bob, KK4KT, and he can forward alerts,” he said.

Flick anticipates “primitive” conditions at Yesterday Camp. “I would greatly appreciate it if you can act as relays to make phone contact with my wife, Myra, and other expedition team members to pass on how we are doing while we are on the ice shelf,” he implored the Amateur Radio community. “As far as we know, no humans have ever been where we're going to be camped!”

The US Antarctic Program has a webcam at McMurdo Station. — Thanks to Joe Garza, AB6RM

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Radio History: A Century of Amateur Radio and the ARRL

After many years of political unrest in Myanmar that resulted in the banning of Amateur Radio, the country formerly known as Burma starting cracking the door open to hams in 1994. Following 3 years of negotiations with Myanmar officials and two small-scale DXpeditions to that country, Martti Laine, OH2BH, obtained permission for a large-scale DXpedition that would demonstrate the value of ham radio to the government. A multinational ham team operating as XZ1A made many thousands of contacts and even operated in the CQ World Wide DX SSB contest. The article, "DXing from the Golden Land," published in the March 1996 issue of QST, told the fascinating story.

For many years, interest in 10 GHz operation had been building, spurred on by the ARRL's 10 GHz contests. By the mid 1990s, many hams were heading to the mountaintops with their small dishes to operate at 10 GHz. Coastal hams with pleasure boats would often go offshore to operate from the rarer grids, but sometimes they would have to suspend operation, when seas became high enough to make dish-pointing from their bouncing boats almost impossible.

Gate 1 of the long-awaited vanity call sign program finally opened on May 31, 1996, after many delays -- including a total federal government shutdown at the beginning of that year, because Congress could not pass a budget. Gate 1 accepted applications from former holders of expired and unused call signs and from hams asking for the call signs once held by now-deceased relatives. Gate 2 opened on September 23, 1996, for Amateur Extra class licensees to apply.

An interesting juxtaposition of two "the old and the new" articles appeared in the September 1996 issue of QST. The first was an article explaining how the then-new Global Positioning System (GPS) works. The next article looked far into ham radio's past as it attempted to

explain the inexplicable mysteries of the Wouff-Hong and the Rettysnitch. The Wouff Hong and Rettysnitch were fictional tools that sprang from the imagination of "The Old Man" (Hiram Percy Maxim), to be used for punishing Amateur Radio operators who demonstrate poor operating practices.

As the "It Seems to Us" editorial related in the October 1996 issue of QST, "August was ushered in by a sudden announcement of rewritten FCC rules governing human exposure to RF fields, creating a mountain of uncertainty and concern in the Amateur Radio community." The "Happenings" column in that issue provided more details. An article in the January 1997 issue of QST further explained how the new rules would affect hams. -- Al Brogdon, W1AB

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lIN BRIEF
  • Solar Update - Tad Cook, K7RA, Seattle, Washington, reports: This was one of those confounding weeks, when the average daily sunspot number was down, while the average daily solar flux went up. Compared with the 7 days previous, the November 6-12 average daily sunspot number declined 10.7 points to 85, while average daily solar flux rose 11.5 points to 139.4. The latest prediction from the USAF/NOAA 45-day outlook has solar flux at 165 on November 13, 180 on November 14-15, then 180, 185, 190, and 195 on November 15-18, 200 on November 19-20, then 195, 190, and 170 on November 21-23, then 150, 135, and 125 on November 24-26, 105 on November 27-28, 100 on November 29-30, 90 on December 1-3, and bottoming out at 80 on December 5. It then rises to a short-term maximum of 200 on December 16-17. The predicted planetary A index is 8 on November 13-15, 12 on November 16-18, 10 on November 19, 8 on November 20-21, 12 on November 22-24, 8 on November 25, and 5 on November 26-29. It then rises to a high of 22 on December 6, and again on December 26. This weekly "Solar Update" in The ARRL Letter is a preview of the "Propagation Bulletin" issued each Friday. The latest bulletin and an archive of past propagation bulletins is on the ARRL website.  In Friday´s bulletin look for an updated forecast and reports from readers. Send me your reports and observations.

  • Some CQ WPX Applications via LoTW Not Processed - It has been determined that some CQ WPX Awards Program applications using ARRL's Logbook of The World (LoTW) were not properly processed, because the applications were inadvertently tagged as incomplete. If you used LoTW to apply for a WPX Award between mid-October and early November and have not yet received an e-mail acknowledgment, contact WPX Award Manager Steve Bolia, N8BJQ.

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l Education and Training
 
  • ARRL Certification and Continuing Education course registration - The ARRL has many ways to continue your education in things Amateur Radio.  For more information go to the ARRL Courses & Training web pagee.

  • FEMA Online Trainingg - FEMA has numerous Independent Study Program courses available for Ham Radio Operators and others interested in emergency support and are recommended by ARES.  For a list of courses check the FEMA ISP training web site.  Look for the 100, 200, and 700 series courses.

  • Weather Spotter Training - To be a certified Weather Spotter in the State of Nebraska, you must attend a weather spotter training session, take two on-line courses, and pass a written exam provided by your local Emergency Coordinator.  The on-line courses can be found on the ucar.edu web site.

  • Did you know you can practice code on-line? The ARRL posts their code practice files on the web. These audio files can be played on line or downloaded for later play back on your own computer. Practice files are available for 5, 7.5, 10, 13, 15, 18, 20, 25, 30, 35, and 40 Words per Minute. To find the files click the following link: http://www.arrl.org/code-practice-filesssss

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  • lCLOSING ITEMS

    The EVARC weekly net meets every Monday evening at 7:30 PM on the club 2 meter repeater (146.73 -). Check-in to the net to hear an update on activities of other club members,  announcements of local interest, and any late breaking information. Everyone is welcome to check in.

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    The purpose of this newsletter is to provide information to local hams with items of interest.  It is compiled from local, regional, and national sources an includes national, regional, and local news items and events.  Created by Monty Wilson, NRØA. Contact  NRØA with comments or questions.