EVARC Events/Announcements

May 3, 2015
Vol 15, No 13




EVARC Upcoming Events/Announcements
Test Sessions
From the ARRL Letter - April 30, 2015
     FCC Proposes to Permit Amateur Access to 2200 and 630 Meters
     Nepal Grants Operating Permission, Call Signs to Visiting Hams, as Earthquake Recovery Continues
     House Committee Asks FCC for Documents Related to Proposed Enforcement Bureau Closures
     Boston Marathon Amateur Radio Support Adjusts to a “New Normal”
     AMSAT: Amateur Radio Payload Could Share Space on Geosynchronous Satellite
     Armed Forces Day 2015 Crossband Communications Test to Offer New Modes
     The Sinking of the Lusitania: A Ham Radio Connection
In Brief
Education and Training
Closing Items



EVARC Upcoming Events/Announcements


Next September meeting of the Elkhorn Valley Amateur Radio Club
Date:  Saturday, May 9, 2015
Time:  08:30 AM
LocationBailey's Bistro & Lounge
                 1201 S 13th St
Bring your ideas and suggestions for the clubs participation in the Annual Field Day

Minutes from the April 2015 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



Field Day - June 27 - 28

The club is planning on participating in Field Day again this year.  The annual event is held the last full weekend in June (June 27 - 28).  We will be using the Park at Woodland Park again this year.  Please mark you calendar and plan on participating.  This is a good opportunity to practice our ability to set up and operate in austere conditions and is a lot of fun.

Midwest Division News

The Midwest Division ARRL Newsletter for May 2015 is available on the EVARC Web site.


Nebraska Section News

The Nebraska Section news for April 2015 is available on the EVARC Web site.  Items include the announcement of the Nebraska Ham Awards winners and information on the upcoming Nebraska QSO Party


ARRL Legislative News

The ARRL Legislative News is now available on the EVARC Web site.  Check out what legislation is being proposed and status of on-going legislation.



Test Sessions within 100 miles of Norfolk, NE

For more testing locations see the ARRL Testing Web page



     Sponsor: Lincoln ARC
     Date: Apr 02 2015
     Time: 6:30 PM (Walk-ins allowed)
     Contact: John P. Hauner
                     (402) 486-1400
     Location: Northside Cafe
                      2701 N 48th St.
                      Lincoln NE 68504-1425


     Sponsor: Bellevue ARC
     Date: May 09 2015
     Time: 1:00 PM (Walk-ins allowed)
     Contact: Robert F. McCoy
                  (402) 292-8501
     Email: nb0b@arrl.net
     Location: Alegent Health Midlands Hospital
                   11111 S 84 Street
                    McArdle Suite
                    Papillion NE 68046-3920


     Sponsor: Heartland Hams
     Date: May 16 2015
     Time: 9:00 AM (Walk-ins allowed)
     Contact: Gregory S. Ross 
                   (712) 566-2698
     Email: Greg.Ross@BHMI.COM
     Location: Mills County engineering Bldg
                   403 Railroad Ave
                   Glenwood IA 51534-1967



     Sponsor: AksarbenARC/Omaha Area VE Team
     Time: 6:30 PM (Walk-ins allowed)
     Contact: William H. Jackson
                     (402) 571-7540
     Location: American Red Cross
                      2912 S 80th Ave
                      Near 84th and Center
                      Lower Level West Side
                      Omaha NE 68124-3250



l Hamfests/Conventions

Pioneer ARC's 18th Annual Flea Market
Start Date: 07/11/2015
End Date: 07/11/2015
Location: St Charles Parish Center
                811 Locust Street
                North Bend, NE 68649
Website: http://k0jfn.com
Sponsor: Pioneer Amateur Radio Club
Type: ARRL Hamfest
Talk-In: 146.67 (KD0EFC repeater)
Public Contact: Richard Mehaffey, KB0ARZ
                         230 West 11th St
                         North Bend, NE 68649
                         Phone: 402-652-3410
Email: 4randjme@futuretk.com

Bellevue Amateur Radio Club Hamfest
Start Date: 08/29/2015
End Date: 08/29/2015
Location: Harry Bossard American Legion Hall Post 32
                230 West Lincoln Street
                Papillion, NE 68046
Sponsor: Bellevue Amateur Radio Club
Type: ARRL Hamfest
Talk-In: 145.235
Public Contact: Ladonna Clark, KB0OUO
                         808 Gayle Street
                         Papillion, NE 68046
                         Phone: 402-291-6774
Email: ladmclark@yahoo.com
Ak-Sar-Ben ARC Flea-Esta
Start Date:
End Date: 09/12/2015
Location: Sarpy County Fairgrounds 4-H Building
                Main Street
                Springfield, NE 68059
Website: http://www.aksarbenarc.org
Sponsor: Ak-Sar-Ben Amateur Radio Club
Type: ARRL Hamfest
Talk-In: 146.940
Public Contact: Dave Rice , N0JSB
                         8002 Crown Point Avenue Omaha, NE 68134
                         Phone: 402-571-8915
Email: davegr@netzero.net

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



From the April 30, 2015 ARRL Letter


FCC Proposes to Permit Amateur Access to 2200 and 630 Meters

Amateur Radio is poised to gain access to two new bands! The FCC has allocated a new LF band, 135.7 to 137.8 kHz, to the Amateur Service on a secondary basis. Allocation of the 2.1 kHz segment, known as 2200 meters, was in accordance with the Final Acts of the 2007 World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-07). The Commission also has proposed a new secondary 630 meter MF allocation at 472 to 479 kHz to Amateur Radio, implementing decisions made at WRC-12. No Amateur Radio operation will be permitted in either band until the FCC determines, on the basis of comments, the specific Part 97 rules it must frame to permit operation in the new bands. Amateur Radio would share both allocations with unlicensed Part 15 power line carrier (PLC) systems operated by utilities to control the power grid, as well as with other users. In addition, the FCC has raised the secondary Amateur Service allocation at 1900 to 2000 kHz to primary, while providing for continued use by currently unlicensed commercial fishing vessels of radio buoys on the "open sea."

The allocation changes, associated proposed rules, and suggested topics for comment are contained in a 257-page FCC Report and Order, Order, and Notice of Proposed Rulemaking addressing three dockets -- ET-12-338, ET-15-99, and IB-06-123 -- which affect various radio services in addition to the Amateur Service. The FCC released the document on April 27.

With respect to the new LF sliver band at 135.7-137.8 kHz, the FCC concluded that Amateur Radio and PLC systems can coexist there. "Since the Commission last considered this issue, amateurs have successfully operated in the band under experimental licenses without reported PLC interference," the FCC said. In 2003, the FCC turned down an ARRL proposal to create a 135.7-137.8 kHz Amateur Radio allocation, after utilities raised fears of a clash between Amateur Radio and PLC systems operating below the AM broadcast band. This time, the FCC said, "It is clear that we will have to establish appropriate requirements for amateur use of the band, if we are to ensure compatibility with PLC systems." WRC-07 set a maximum effective isotropic radiated power (EIRP) limit of 1 W, which is what the FCC is proposing.

The FCC said it "explicitly" rejects the suggestion that it choose one use of the spectrum over the other. "Our objective is to allocate spectrum on a secondary basis to amateur stations in a manner...compatible with existing PLC systems," the FCC said. "However, we also expect to permit amateur operators to make use of the allocation in a manner that is less burdensome and more productive than they are currently afforded under the experimental authorization process."

The Commission said that if it concludes, after considering the record, that Amateur Radio and PLC systems cannot coexist, it would "defer the adoption of service rules, and amateur users will have to continue to use the experimental licensing process to operate in the band."

With respect to the proposed 630 meter allocation, the FCC has proposed limiting amateur stations in the US to a maximum 5 W EIRP. The ARRL submitted a Petition for Rule Making in 2012, asking the FCC to allocate 472-479 kHz to the Amateur Service on a secondary basis and to amend the Part 97 rules to provide for its use. Several countries, including Canada, already have access to the band. The ARRL has pointed out that during its extensive course of experimentation in the spectrum around 500 kHz, no interference reports have been received.

The FCC said that the "cornerstone" of the technical rules it's proposing for both bands is "physical separation between amateur stations and the transmission lines" carrying PLC signals. "Such a separation, in conjunction with limits on the amateur stations' transmitted EIRP and antenna heights, will enable PLC systems and amateur stations to coexist in these bands," the FCC asserted. "In addition, we propose to limit amateur stations to operations at fixed locations only, to ensure that this separation distance can be maintained reliably."

The FCC said it wants to hear from both PLC system users and radio amateurs regarding technical requirements it would have to put into place to permit both users to operate comfortably and without compromising the PLC systems. The Commission suggested that other requirements might include limits on antenna heights, transmitter power limits, and operating privilege limits based on license class or mode. The ARRL will file comments in the proceeding.

The FCC will accept comments for 60 days following publication of the Report and Order, Order, and Notice of Proposed Rule Making in the Federal Register. Reply comments would be due 30 days after the comment deadline.



Nepal Grants Operating Permission, Call Signs to Visiting Hams, as Earthquake Recovery Continues

In the wake of the devastating April 25 earthquake, hams in Nepal, already in limited supply, have been turning out to help in the ongoing recovery. The Nepalese government also is reported to be cutting some of the red tape that has prevented hams from outside the country from operating within Nepal. Several hams from India are among those who have arrived in Nepal to help facilitate communication. Word earlier this week via Amateur Radio Society of India President Gopal Madhavan, VU2GMN, was that visiting hams would not be permitted to operate in Nepal, unless they were part of a government team. On the other hand, getting needed Amateur Radio equipment into Nepal remains problematic.

"ARRL is working closely with amateurs in Nepal to identify equipment needed for the relief effort," said ARRL Emergency Preparedness Manager Mike Corey, KI1U. "We are preparing a shipment from the Ham Aid inventory, but like other NGOs, we are facing transportation challenges. We hope to have transportation arrangements in place soon." Unconfirmed reports said another group was having problems getting a repeater into Nepal.

While parts of the telecommunication infrastructure remain in operation, power is out. Ham radio remains a reliable link at this stage of the recovery effort. A major focus of rescue teams has been attempting to locate the missing, as well as to recover quake victims buried beneath debris. More than 5000 people are now reported dead as a result of the earthquake and subsequent aftershocks. The disaster also has stranded many people, as roads were cut off by landslides and damage. Rain, heavy at times, has hampered rescue and recovery work.

"In spite of the conditions, ham radio operation is in progress, and the Nepal government has started issuing licenses to visiting hams, with 9N7 prefixes," said Jayu Bhide, VU2JAU. Bhide, who is the Amateur Radio Society of India's National Coordinator for Disaster Communication, said these stations have been asked to help provide communication to more of the devastated region. Ham radio groups are being asked to spread out in terms of operating frequencies as well. Bhide said a lot of the Amateur Radio traffic has consisted of health-and-welfare inquiries.

Mike Kalter, W8CI, told ARRL that he relayed an urgent request from the family of a woman traveling between Nepal and Tibet with a tour group. He passed along the information via ham radio to Mohan Suri, VU2MYH, in Nepal, who supplied the information to authorities. Within a few days, the woman being sought reported back through Jerry Long, KJ4YAP, that groups were going through the streets of Kathmandu, announcing names of individuals being sought, and she heard her name called out. The woman and her tour group were subsequently helicoptered out of Nepal.

At least two groups of hams from Gujarat, India, were planning to travel to Nepal and set up stations "at critical places," Bhide said, adding that he, Ananda Majumdar, VU2AGJ, and Sandip Baruah, VU2MUE, were planning to set up HF and VHF stations at Gorakhpur, on the India-Nepal border.

Amateur Radio HF nets have been one link between Nepal and the outside world, as Internet service continues to be spotty. Nepalese hams also are active locally on VHF/UHF.

Bhide said residents in the affected areas were finding it difficult to contact family members, as their cell phones have discharged, and no charging facility is available. He and some of the radio amateurs active on the relief and recovery nets contacted agencies in Nepal to provide small solar charging units.

The earthquake -- said to be the worst in Nepal in 80 years -- hit an area between the capital city of Kathmandu and the city of Pokhara.



House Committee Asks FCC for Documents Related to Proposed Enforcement Bureau Closures

The US House Committee on Energy and Commerce has given the Federal Communications Commission a May 7 deadline to produce documents related to FCC Enforcement Bureau proposals to close two-thirds of its field offices and eliminate nearly one-half of its staff of field agents. In an April 23 letter, Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) told FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler that his panel wants the Commission to provide all documents relating to the proposed closures.

“[Y]our proposal to shutter 16 of the Commission’s 24 field offices raises significant challenges and concerns,” Upton said. “The Commission has represented to Congress and the American people that it will ‘preserve the integrity of public safety communications infrastructure by taking action on 99 percent of complaints of interference to public safety communications within 1 day,’ yet your proposal to reduce the geographic footprint of the Commission appears to ignore the impact this might have on the Commission’s public interest goal.” Upton said the Commission has offered little information to support its proposals. “Indeed, our concerns have only been heightened by the Commission’s failure to provide all the information requested by the Committee,” he wrote.

The field office and personnel layoff proposals were outlined in a March 10 internal memorandum from Enforcement Bureau Chief Travis LeBlanc and FCC Managing Director Jon Wilkins to EB field staff. The memo, obtained by ARRL and others, cited the need to take “a fresh look” at the Bureau’s 20-year-old operating model in light of technology changes and tighter budgets.

During March hearings of the Subcommittee on Communications and Technology — chaired by Rep Greg Walden, W7EQI (R-OR) — on the FCC’s FY 2015 budget request, Committee members sought more information from Wilkins and Wheeler on the basis of the proposals to close field offices. Upton said that his Committee has, to date, received just the two-page March 10 memorandum and a 35-page PowerPoint presentation that purports to outline the consultants’ report.

ARRL leadership met with Enforcement Bureau staff and with Capitol Hill lawmakers in March to express its own concerns with the proposals in light of seemingly lax enforcement of the Amateur Service rules. ARRL CEO David Sumner, K1ZZ, also addressed the FCC’s field office closure proposals in his “It Seems to Us” editorial in the May 2015 issue of QST. “Given everything that’s on [the Enforcement Bureau’s] plate — of which Amateur Radio is just a small part — reducing the number of field agents from 63 to 33 and the number of field offices from 24 to 8 hardly sounds like progress,” Sumner wrote.

In his April 23 letter, Upton told Wheeler that his panel wants the Commission to provide all documents, “including all drafts, memos, e-mails, analyses, PowerPoint slides, interim reports, and the final report,” produced by outside consultants and related to the proposed field office closures. The committee also wants all documents “including all internal communications and internal analyses” related to the Enforcement Bureau’s and Office of Managing Director’s joint recommendation to the full Commission to close the field offices.



Boston Marathon Amateur Radio Support Adjusts to a “New Normal”

More than 250 Amateur Radio communication volunteers participated on Patriots Day (April 20) in the 119th running of the Boston Marathon, sponsored by the Boston Athletic Association (BAA). This event was the second since the bombings that tragically marred the 2013 race. Amateur Radio volunteers have supported Boston Marathon communication for decades. Starting with the 2015 event, a Communications Committee the BAA, formed last year, established a “new normal” for marathon support by integrating Amateur Radio, public safety, and commercial radio providers into a single team. In step with the BAA’s mandate to “review the entire communications program,” the seven-member Amateur Radio management team raised the level of training to a professional caliber and developed better documentation for volunteers. Tight coordination with the BAA as both leader and “client” of the Amateur Radio communication support “led to further advancement in overall effectiveness as evidenced by a very successful outcome despite difficult weather,” the Amateur Radio team said in a media release.

“Development of detailed communications plans for each race segment was at the heart of the Committee’s work,” the Amateur Radio team said. “We expect this arrangement to continue, along with an increasing emphasis upon further training and standards, all intended to enhance the work of Amateur Radio public service, and to raise confidence in our capabilities to integrate with other organizations as effective team players.”

Cool, damp weather made the volunteers’ role more difficult, but execution of communications tasks in accordance with the 2015 plan went smoothly. “Many Boston Marathon race officials favorably commented on the advancement in communications provided by Amateur Radio and other entities both in the planning stage and on event day,” the Amateur Radio team said.

“Through all the meetings, conference calls, and documents produced, I would say we all fulfilled what we set out to accomplish and more,” said Chris Troyanos, Medical Coordinator for the Boston Marathon. “From the public safety side, to all involved with the BAA, our communications program set new heights of excellence.” Organizers from the Red Cross also expressed satisfaction with 2015 Boston Marathon communications.

Event logistics were coordinated more tightly. Added to Amateur Radio’s tasks this year was reporting of hourly medical statistics from each of the 26 medical field units, and a new medical re-supply system, both relying on Amateur Radio communication. The ham radio volunteers also were able to offer situational awareness regarding rain and wind conditions along the route. The cooler weather meant fewer heat-related medical emergencies, but from mile 12 onward, many runners suffered chills and had to stop and medical stations to warm up before moving on.

Efforts were organized in segments that included start, course, transportation, and finish. A back-up medical dispatch communication plan, included in the public safety matrix, was among the many operational plans in place. Amateur Radio volunteers shadowed key race officials at the start and finish line, augmenting commercial radio services. They also staffed medical and hydration stations along the course; vans that travelled the course transported runners unable to complete the race to the finish line. Amateur Radio volunteers also were stationed at the Massachusetts Emergency Operations Center (WC1MA) as well as at the Amateur Radio Station at the National Weather Service-Taunton (WX1BOX), given the concern with the potential for heavy rain and strong winds to affect the marathon.

Volunteer Steve Ostrovitz, KB1OCI, was among those recognizing the efforts of the Amateur Radio leadership at the 2015 Boston Marathon. “You all brought the level of organizational professionalism to our roles to a new level that I think most had never contemplated as being possible,” he said after the race. “This was not just ‘upping our game’ but really a whole new way of approaching what we do and how we do it.” — Thanks to Rob Macedo, KD1CY, Mark Richards, K1MGY, and the Boston Marathon Amateur Radio team



AMSAT: Amateur Radio Payload Could Share Space on Geosynchronous Satellite

[UPDATED 2015-04-27 1803 UTC] There is big news on the Amateur Radio satellite front. AMSAT-NA has announced that, if all goes according to plan, an Amateur Radio payload will go into space on a geosynchronous satellite that’s planned for launch in 2017. As opposed to the more typical low-Earth-orbit, a geosynchronous orbit would permit an earthbound ham at a given point within its footprint to access the satellite at approximately the same time each day. According to AMSAT Vice President-Operations Drew Glasbrenner, KO4MA, the satellite’s potential footprint would extend over the US from the Mid-Pacific to Africa. AMSAT said it’s accepted the opportunity to be a “hosted payload” on a spacecraft that Millennium Space Systems (MSS) of El Segundo, California, is under contract to design, launch, and operate for the US government. Past AMSAT Director and former Vice President-Engineering Bob McGwier, N4HY, said the Amateur Radio payload must be delivered for testing and integration by the spring of 2016.

“It is an ambitious schedule, and all involved will have to gain and maintain a serious level of commitment,” said McGwier, the Director of Research at Virginia Tech’s Hume Center for National Security and Technology. The AMSAT announcement April 25 followed an April 13 meeting at MSS to discuss the project. McGwier said the potential rideshare would be an opportunity to go forward with the AMSAT-Eagle payload, which had evolved nearly 10 years ago into a microwave payload to be flown in a geosynchronous orbit, although it never got a flight opportunity. Had it flown, it would have provided digital communications to small terminals on the ground and a linear bent-pipe transponder.

AMSAT President, Barry Baines, WD4ASW, said the payload would be a Phase IV geosynchronous Amateur Radio package. “This is an evolving development, as we collaborate with the VT Hume Center with a project that provides technical challenges to create a new Amateur Radio capability in space that will provide a variety of benefits not only for amateurs but also for emergency communications and STEM educational outreach."

According to AMSAT, the transponder is expected to support a wide range of voice, digital, and experimental advanced communications technologies. A decision is expected soon specifying the microwave uplink and downlink bands. The satellite would be an Aquila M8 Series spacecraft.

If the Qatari E’hailsat project designed to serve IARU Region 1 is successful, two geosynchronous satellites carrying Amateur Radio payloads could be in space at the same time.

In addition to McGwier, others attending the April 13 meeting included Qualcomm co-founder Franklin Antonio, N6NKF; AMSAT Vice President of Engineering and Board Member Jerry Buxton, N0JY; AMSAT Director and President Emeritus Tom Clark, K3IO; Phil Karn, KA9Q, and Michelle Thompson, W5NYV.

Hosting the meeting for MSS were MSS Founder and Chairman Stan Dubyn, MSS President Vince Deno; MSS Vice President for Product Development Jeff Ward, K8KA, and MSS Spacecraft Mission Project Manager Ryan Lawrence. Attending by telephone were Hume Center Associate Research Director Jonathan Black — an associate professor of Aerospace and Ocean Engineering, and RINCON Research Corp Founder Michael Parker, KT7D.

McGwier said the next steps in developing the mission would include initiating an effort at Virginia Tech to make a firm proposal to MSS and to its US government sponsor and to organize a fund-raising effort. The tentative plan calls for Black to lead the construction project at Virginia Tech in the Space@VT Center. Sonya Rowe, KK4NLO, of the Hume Center would be the project manager. McGwier said work to develop a low-cost microwave ground station for Amateur Radio remains to be determined. He said Parker would solicit the cooperation of the RINCON Research Corp for development of the software radio.

The AMSAT Board of Directors has signed on the project, and AMSAT expects to be involved in the development of the ground station and of the RF payload. It also will serve as the Amateur Radio payload operator, once the satellite has been launched. — Thanks to AMSAT News Service via Bob McGwier, N4HY, and others



Armed Forces Day 2015 Crossband Communications Test to Offer New Modes

The annual Armed Forces Day Crossband Communications Test set for Saturday and Sunday, May 9-10, will offer Amateur Radio operators a chance to try their hand at using more modern military communications modes, such as MIL-STD Serial PSK. Also new this year is the inclusion of a crossband Automatic Link Establishment (ALE) test. The Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard cosponsor the joint military/Amateur Radio event which this year marks the 65th Armed Forces Day and the 90th anniversary of the Military Auxiliary Radio System (MARS). Armed Forces Day 2015 falls on May 16, but the crossband test is held on the earlier weekend to accommodate those visiting Dayton Hamvention May 15-17.

The annual event is a unique opportunity to test two-way communication between Amateur Radio and military stations. It features the traditional military-to-amateur crossband SSB voice, CW, MT63, and AMTOR FEC, plus MIL-STD Serial PSK and ALE, both new this year.

This annual event gives Amateur Radio operators and shortwave listeners (SWLs) an opportunity to demonstrate their technical skills, and to receive recognition from the appropriate military radio station. QSL cards will be provided to all stations that make contact with the military stations.

Hams may use ALE Individual Call selective calling to connect with a military station, for voice communication. Amateur stations with ALE capability can contact a military station directly on specific half-duplex crossband channels. Military stations will scan and receive certain Amateur HFLINK ALE frequencies, and transmit on the corresponding military ALE frequency. Military stations will also transmit ALE station identification (soundings) on each military frequency at 30 to 90 minute intervals.

Those interested in trying the MIL-STD Serial PSK mode can download the free MS-DMT software. A complete list of participating military stations, operating modes, and times of operation is on the US Army MARS website and on its Facebook page.



The Sinking of the Lusitania: A Ham Radio Connection

Several Amateur Radio special event stations will be on the air in early May to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Cunard Line’s RMS Lusitania — at one time the world’s largest ship — off the coast of Ireland. As one of the events precipitating US entry into World War I, the sinking of the Lusitania by Germany on May 7, 1915, claimed some 1200 lives, although another 800 or so survived.

GB100MFA will operate during the entire month of May from the UK, with members of the Radio Officers Association at the helm from the lightship Planet in Liverpool, Lusitania’s home port and its ultimate destination on its voyage from New York. EI100MFA will be on the air from Ireland May 3-10. MFA was the ship’s call sign.

Other announced operations include KC9HYY/LUS100, operating May 1-9 from Wisconsin; N2L, operated May 1-15 by the Great South Bay Amateur Radio Club (GSBARC) from Long Island, New York, and WW1USA, operating May 9-10 from the National World War I Museum in Kansas City, Missouri, by the Santa Fe Trail Amateur Radio Club.

According to wireless history accounts, it was a radio amateur, Charles Apgar, 2MN, of Westfield, New Jersey, who finally figured out the significance of the odd buzz-like transmissions he’d heard emanating evenings from German Telefunken station WSL in Sayville, Long Island. As recounted by the late Phil Petersen, W2DME, Apgar not only was curious but suspicious.

“Apgar had a very advanced sensitive Armstrong regenerative receiver that he modified to make off-the-air recordings on a cylinder recorder,” Petersen wrote. “Suspecting that WSL was transmitting secret intelligence at very high speed, Apgar further modified his audio recorder to greatly reduce the speed on playback. As he suspected, the ‘buzz’ was actually secret Morse code sent at very high speed.” Apgar turned his recordings of WSL’s transmissions over to the US Secret Service, which seized the station in July of 1915.

WSL officials “were charged with sending illegal secret messages regarding allied and neutral shipping,” Petersen recounted. “It was also believed that the German submarines obtained secret information that led to the sinking of the passenger ship Lusitania. After the government seized the station, sinking by U-boats greatly decreased.” There is speculation that the German station on Long Island may actually have transmitted the command to sink the Lusitania.

Some historians believe the Lusitania was not really a neutral vessel and was carrying war munitions in addition to passengers. Germany had designated a war zone around the UK, and the German embassy in the US had placed newspaper ads warning transatlantic passengers not to sail on the Lusitania. Of the nearly 2000 passengers aboard the Lusitania, 159 were US citizens, and only 31 of them survived.

According to David Barlow, G3PLE, a former Marine Radio Officer and a founder-member of the Radio Officers Association, Guglielmo Marconi had booked his return passage to England on the Lusitania, and some believe that his presence on board would have made the ship a prime target. Marconi had a change of plans, however, and did not sail on the Lusitania after all.

Barlow said in his account that the ship’s chief radio operator, Robert Leith, transmitted several successful distress calls after the vessel was hit, and he remained at his post until he realized that the Lusitania was going to sink. He and fellow radio operator David McCormick were among the survivors. — Thanks to David Barlow, G3PLE; Bob Burchett, WB6SLC, and others



  • The K7RA Solar Update - Tad Cook, K7RA, Seattle, reports: There were no new sunspots over the April 23-29 reporting period, although the previous 7 days saw new sunspots every day -- and April 21 had two new ones. Solar flux and daily sunspot numbers declined. The average daily sunspot number dropped from 120.9 to 60.7, and average daily solar flux went from 150.4 to 119.8. Predicted solar flux for April 30 through May 1 is 95, 100 on May 2-3, 105, and 110 on May 4-5, 115 on May 6-7, 135 on May 8-9, 130, and 125 on May 10-11, 130 on May 12-14, then 125, 130, and 125 on May 15-17, 120 on May 18-19, and 115 on May 20-23. Flux values are forecast to drop to 110 for May 27-29, then rise to 135 for June 3-5. Predicted planetary A index is 10 on April 30 through May 1, 8 on May 2, 5 on May 3-11, 25 on May 12, 20 on May 13-14, then 12, 8, 12, 20, 12, and 8 on May 15-20, and 5 on May 21-25. Download my archive of these forecasts, updated daily, for flux values and Ap index (click the "Download this File" button; files are Excel spreadsheets). 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.  For Friday´s bulletin, look for an updated forecast and reports from readers. Send me your reports and observations. -- Tad Cook, K7RA


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



    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.


    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.