Amateur Radio Newsline (March 23, 2012)
The following is a Q-S-T. Ham radio and social networks respond following an earthquake in Mexico; an A-P-R-S equipped ocean buoy is released off the coast of Alaska; Missouri hams could be hit hard by a proposed distracted driving law; London Olympic ham radio stations are announced and the birds are back. Find out what we mean on Amateur Radio NewslineT report number 1806 coming your way right now. (Billboard Cart Here) ** RESCUE RADIO: HAM RADIO AND SOCIAL NETWORKS RESPOND TO MEXICO EARTHQUAKE Amateur radio operators and the social media have responded in the wake of an earthquake that hit Southwest Mexico on March 20th. Bill Pasternak, WA6ITF, is in the newsroom with what we know so far: -- What has been described as a powerful and prolonged earthquake rocked parts of Mexico on Tuesday, March 20th. The 7.6 magnitude temblor near the Pacific Coast resort town of Acapulco. According to news reports, some homes were toppled near the quakes epicenter. Electricity and telephone communications was lost for a time. But despite the quake's power, Mexico's President Felipe Calderon and officials across the country said that there were no reports of serious injuries. While there was some damage to the nation's internal communications infrastructure, Mexico's connection with the outside world for the most part remained unscathed. So far nothing has been heard about activation of any domestic Mexican ham radio emergency group. As we go to air, the only international ham radio operation we have heard about is a group called the International Radio Emergency Support Coalition. IRESC President, Urcun Canel, TA0U, in Istanbul, Turkey worked with about 8 or 9 hams in Mexico passing early damage assessment reports to the European continent. Some of this communications audio was posted to Facebook: -- Actuality audio communications. Hear it by downloading the MP3 audio file of this newscast at www.arnewsline.org -- You can hear the entire communications session at tinyurl.com/iresc-mexico-quake. But the real story in this case is the response by the people in the affected areas. While telephone and cellphone service was jammed as is the case after events like this, broadband connections were still open and quite useful. Anyone watching or listening to broadcast news reports often heard tweets from residents of the quake hit area being quoted as news sources and giving short eye-witness assessments via Twitter. Also, broadcast news organizations world-wide were asking people with relatives in the quake zone to call in or post to the stations website the latest news they might have. In other words, news organizations were literally handling health and welfare traffic that until a year or two ago was primarily the domain of radio amateurs involved in emergency communications. Quite a change from day's gone bye. For the Amateur Radio Newsline, Im Bill Pasternak, WA6ITF, in the newsroom in Los Angeles. -- More in future Amateur Radio Newsline reports. (ARNewsline, published news reports with audio from IRESC Facebook posting) ** RESCUE RADIO: CONNECTICUT ARES FRONT AND CENTER ON EMCOMM PREPAREDNESS The role of amateur radio in emergency communications continues to grow and will become even more vital in the future. That was the message from Connecticut Section Emergency Coordinator, Wayne Gronlund, N1CLV, at the annual meeting of that states ARES groups over the weekend of March 17th and 18th. According to Gronlund, a series of natural disasters in 2011 showcased the importance of amateur radio in emergency situations. These included tropic storm Irene, a pre-season nor'easter in October, and the tornadoes that swept western Massachusetts last summer. Illustrating his remarks with a Power Point presentation, N1CLV noted that the snowstorm in particular strained the system because phone and electrical service were disrupted for up to two weeks. Especially in the Farmington area. These two disasters led to formation of Governor Deniel Malloy's two-storm study inquiry. Among the panel's recommendations is holding a real time training exercise this year. One that would involve municipalities, the Red Cross and ARES to determine what assets are available and what improvement is needed. Such a state-wide exercise is now scheduled for July 28th to the 30th and will involve amateur radio resources. More is on the web at tinyurl.com/ct-rescue-radio. (Hartford Examiner) ** LEGAL HAPPENINGS: PROPOSED MISSOURI DISTRACTED DRIVING LAW HAS NO EXEMPTIONS FOR ANYONE Missouri drivers including hams, C-B operators, emergency response personnel and even someone just tuning a vehicles A- M radio could find themselves standing before a judge. This if a new distracted driving law is enacted as proposed to that states legislature. Matthew Chambers, NR0Q is here with the rather strange details: -- If you were to get pulled over this morning and told that you were getting a ticket for distracted driving because you took a sip of coffee during your morning commute would you be surprised. If a Missouri Senate Bill written by Senator Bill Stouffer, of Saline County passes, this is what Missouri drivers could be facing. Senate Bill 717 would make it a class C misdemeanor to "Fail[s] to give full time and attention to the operation of the motor vehicle; Fail[s] to maintain a proper lookout while operating a motor vehicle; or Engage[s] in any other activity which causes the operator to be distracted from the primary mission of driving such motor vehicle." There are no exemptions for hands-free devices, two-way or CB type radios, or for operators of emergency vehicles or law enforcement personnel. If passed as written, the police officer writing a ticket to enforce this would most likely also have to write themselves a ticket for distracted driving as well. For the Amateur Radio Newsline, I'm Matthew Chambers, NR0Q near Macon, Missouri. -- While it may sound funny to think of a police officer having to cite himself for using his departments radio communications system, it might one day happen in the "show me" state. The rather short but complete text of this proposed law is on-line at tinyurl.com/mo-distracted- driving. (NR0Q) ** RADIO RESEARCH: ICE GOAT 1 APRS BUOY GOES TO SEA OFF ALASKA COAST A group of Oceanography and Aeronautical engineering students from the U-S Naval Academy have deployed a radio equipped ocean buoy rigged to monitor weather in the harsh conditions of the arctic. Named Ice Goat 1, the buoy was placed off of the coast of Point Barrow, Alaska. Once the winter ice melts the buoy will begin its sea voyage. In addition to its scientific monitoring gear, Ice Goat 1 carries an APRS beacon operating on 145.825 MHz. The position packets can be relayed via the International Space Station digipeater. However, as the ISS only rises 1.5 degrees above the horizon at arctic latitudes reports of direct reception of the 145.825 MHz beacon are being sought from any Alaskan, and eventually Pacific Northwest amateur radio stations that may be in range of Ice Goat 1. Reception reports go by me-mail to wb4apr(at) amsat (dot) org. (AMSAT, WB4APR) ** RADIOSPORTS: LONDON OLYMPIC COMMEMORATIVE HAM RADIO STATIONS ANNOUNCED Some special event call-signs will be activated to celebrate the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The London station, 2012L will be active through the duration of the games. It will be located at the historic Eltham Palace, south-east London on and will operate all modes on 160 through 2 meters. More information about it is on the web at www.2O12L.com. The Welsh station 2O12W will be operational on all bands from 160 meters through 23 centimeters and all modes including SSTV and satellites. It will be located at Whitmore Bay, on Barry Island, More information on the web at www.2O12W.com 2O12L and 2O12W will go on the air July on 27th. The Radio Society of Great Britain has been granted use of the games Inspire trdemark for these stations. Special QSL cards will be available to all stations contacted. (G4IRN) ** BREAK 1 From the United States of America, We are the Amateur Radio Newsline, heard on bulletin stations around the world including the WA4TEP repeater serving Greenville North Carolina. (5 sec pause here) ** RADIO RULES: TOWERS VS. BIRDS - CATS GET THE BLAME The birds are back. New interim regulatory procedures will take effect soon for certain new towers to address bird kills. Yet the issue remains a sensitive one for many people in broadcasting, two-way radio and others who own and maintain tall lighted tower structures. Amateur Radio Newsline's Bruce Tennant, K6PZW, has the details: -- A new report from the FCC is likely to be scrutinized by anyone involved in the debate. Among its assertions is that by best estimate communications tower strikes by avian creatures do kill 6.6 million birds a year in the United States. Even so, while proposed regulatory changes may affect the total somewhat, bird deaths from towers are, and will remain, only a tiny fraction of bird deaths from all causes. The report also notes that while communications towers contribute to the overall adverse impacts of all human activities on bird populations, communications tower collisions are only responsible for approximately 0.3 percent of the more than 2 billion annual bird deaths that currently occur due to cats and other predators. In addition, these deaths occur against a backdrop of high natural mortality to migrating birds due to a number of factors. Although the absolute number of birds killed at communications towers is large, towers are a relatively minor contributor to total human-caused avian mortality, and the impact of these deaths is likely even smaller when considered in the context of high natural mortality. These findings are part of a Federal Communications Commission report assessing the environmental impacts of its Antenna Structure Registration System. The report was prepared by the Maryland based firm the URS Group for the FCC's Wireless Telecommunications Bureau. For the Amateur Radio Newsline, I'm Bruce Tennant, K6PZW, in Los Angeles. -- The report is likely to continue the ongoing debate over what the permanent tower registration rules and procedures should be. You can read the details at tinyurl.com/The- Final-PEA. (FCC, CGC, RW) ** RADIO LAW: FCC SEEKS INPUT ON EMERGENCY SHUTOFF OF CELLULAR SERVICE The FCC wants to know how you feel about the government or private enterprises using its ability to order a shutdown of broadband communications systems in times of emergencies or perceived emergencies. Amateur Radio Newsline's Cheryl Lasek, K9BIK, reports: -- The Federal Communications Commission's Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau and Wireless Telecommunications Bureau are jointly seeking comment on issues related to intentional interruptions of Commercial Mobile Radio Service by government authorities for matters deemed in the interest of public safety. The issue stems from Bay Area Rapid Transit's shut-down of cellular telephone service on August 11th of last year in the face of political and social protests taking place in the San Francisco area. According to General Docket Number 12-52, any intentional interruption of wireless service, no matter how brief or localized, raises significant concerns and implicates substantial legal and policy questions. The service interruption last summer drew sharp criticism, and state and local governments have recently grappled with how to address possible future events. The FCC says that it is concerned that there has been insufficient discussion, analysis, and consideration of the questions raised by intentional interruptions of wireless service by government authorities. As a result, Docket 12- 52 seeks comment on the legal constraints and policy considerations that bear on an intentional interruption of wireless service by government agencies for the purpose of ensuring public safety. For the Amateur Radio Newsline, I'm Cheryl Lasek, K9BIK, in Zion, Illinois. -- General Docket Number 12-52 caries a commentary cutoff date of April 30th and a reply comment date of May 30th. The entire text is on line in Adobe PDF format at tinyurl.com/turn-off-cellphones. (FCC) ** REGULATION: CLERICAL ERROR LEADS FCC REQUESTS MODIFICATION OF HAWAII HAMS LICENSE In one of those awkward "oops someone goofed moments," the FCC has been forced to issue an order that proposes modifying the license of Todd Wilson, WH6DWF, of Honolulu, Hawaii, from General to Technician. No, Wilson did nothing wrong. In fact he appears to simply be the innocent victim of a clerical error by the administering Volunteer Examiner. It happened this way: Back in November of 2011, the ARRL V-E-C sent an electronic data file to the FCC, requesting that the agency issue a Wilson a General class license which it did. A few weeks later in January 2012, the ARRL V-E-C notified the FCC that Wilson's information was incorrect and he did not qualify for a General class license. The ARRL V-E-C also requested that the FCC to modify Wilson's license to show him as a Technician class license holder. On March 15, the FCC issued an Order of Proposed Modification, seeking to change Wilson's license class from General to Technician. In its order the FCC said that granting General class amateur radio privileges to Wilson had been improper. That the grant of General class operator privileges to Wilson was erroneous because he was not eligible to receive examination credit for one of the elements an applicant must pass in order to be granted a General class operator license. Rather, he appears to be currently authorized to operate with General class operator privileges due to an error made during the application process. But it may not be over yet. Under the law, Wilson has until April 14th to appeal the modification order by submitting a written statement containing sufficient evidence to show that the modification would not be in the public interest. If he fails to do so, the license modification back to Technician class will come into effect. (FCC) ** ENFORCEMENT: A SECOND $25000 FINE ISSUED TO AN UNLICENSED CALIFORNIA BROADCASTER In what may well be a time record between FCC actions, the Commission has reaffirmed a second $25,000 fine against California resident Gabriel Garcia. This time for not allowing a commission inspection of various unlicensed radio stations in the San Jose area. As reported last week, in May 2011, the Enforcement Bureau's San Francisco office originally issued a $25,000 penalty because it said Garcia was operating illegal stations on three frequencies in the San Jose area and apparently interfering with the Aviation Radio Services band. The commission said that Garcia did not respond to the notice, so the fine has now progressed into a Notice of Forfeiture. Now the FCC has affirmed the second $25,000 forfeiture based on Garcia's refusal to give its inspectors access to the properties from which the stations were allegedly operating. This, to permit physical inspection of the equipment being used. If Garcia fails to pay the two fines in the allotted 30 days each, the matters will likely be turned over to the Department of Justice for collection. (FCC) ** ENFORCEMENT: FCC INVESTIGATING 450 - 470 MHZ INTERFERENCE IN PA The FCC has issued a Notice of Unauthorized Operation and of Interference to Licensed Radio Stations to a pair of Lurgan, Pennsylvania residents. Amateur Radio Newsline's Heather Butera-Howell, KB3TZD, is here with the details: -- In a letter to the unnamed parties, the North-East Region Enforcement Bureau in Philadelphia stated that it had received a complaint from a licensed telecommunications provider of interference in the 450 to 470 MHz band. Also, that they had traced the interference to a radio transmitting device operating in Lurgan, Pennsylvania. On February 17th agents confirmed by direction finding that the source of the interference was emanating from a residence in Lurgan. During an equipment inspection, agents confirmed that the device causing the interference was designed to jam radio transmissions. In its letter to the Lurgan residents, the FCC notified them that unauthorized operation of a radio transmitting device designed to jam radio communications must cease immediately. It warned them that the continued operation of such a device may result in seizure of the offending equipment and/or a court order prohibiting them from operating such devices. Also that this type of unauthorized operation could subject them to substantial monetary forfeitures and criminal sanctions including imprisonment. The two people involved in this matter were given 10 days from receipt of the notice to provide information regarding the entity from whom they purchased the device, including copies of any receipts or invoices. They were also given the opportunity to respond with any other information that they believe relevant to the notice. Fr the Amateur Radio Newsline, I'm Heather Butera-Hpwell, KB3TZD, not far away in Berwyck, Pennsylvania. -- The two Lurgan residents were also advised that the Notice of Unauthorized Operation they received or their response to it would not preclude the FCC from pursuing additional sanctions based upon its investigation of this incident. (FCC Northeast Enforcement Bureau) ** RADIO READING WINTER 2012 TAPR PSR JOURNAL NOW ON LINE The Winter issue of the free Tucson Amateur Packet Radio P-S- R Journal is now available to download. This quarterly publication is full of technical, non-technical and user digital information and articles. You can download the free winter 2012 PSR from tapr.org/psr/psr117.pdf. Previous issues are also available free from the Tucson Amateur Packet Radio website at tapr.org/psr.html. (TAPR) ** BREAK 2 This is ham radio news for today's radio amateur. From the United States of America, We are the Amateur Radio Newsline with links to the world from our only official website at www.arnewsline.org and being relayed by the volunteer services of the following radio amateur: (5 sec pause here) ** WORLDBEAT: CHELMSFORD NAMED UK BIRTHPLACE OF RADIO The United Kingdom now has a city named as the birthplace of radio. At least in that nation. Jeremy Boot, G4NJH, is here with the details: -- Chelmsford, acknowledged as the birthplace of radio and home to the Marconi Company for many years, is one of three new cities created to mark the Queen's Diamond Jubilee. This year also marks the 100th anniversary of the establishment by Marconi of the first purpose built radio factory in New Street, Chelmsford in 1912. New Street is marked with a blue plaque noting the historic significance. And this comes to you from G4NJH in Nottingham. -- As an asaide, for those who never heard the term the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, this will be an extended weekend from June 2nd to the 5th to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth the 2nd. The Queen came to the throne on February 6, 1952 and her coronation took place on June 2nd 1953. (RSGB) ** HAM RADIO IN SPACE: HAMSAT VO-52 RECOVERY SUCCESSFUL Some good news about the HAMSAT VO-52 ham radio satellite. A report received from the ISRO Satellite Centre in Bangalore, India on March 14 says HAMSAT is back on the air and operating properly. According to VU2WMY commands to reactivate Dutch-built PE1RAH orbital transponder on HAMSAT were sent during an ascending pass over India. The commands were acknowledged and confirmed by return telemetry. At the same time the beacon signal was heard loud and strong in Bangalore. Stations in Europe and North America reported good signals from VO-52 immediately after the transponder was activated. Two-way contacts were soon completed through the HAMSAT VO- 52 transponder. (VU2WMY) ** HAM RADIO IN SPACE: NEW HAM-SAT GROUP FORMED IN CUBA Hector Martinez, CO6CBF reports that the Cuban Amateur Radio Federation has created its first official Satellite Group. CO6CBF says that he along with CM2ESP and CO7WT worked to form the group and made the formal recognition request to the Federation headquarters that was approved on March 3rd. The official name of the organization is the Grupo de Radioaficionados para Operaciones Satelitales. Its principal mission is to promote amateur radio by satellites in Cuba and motivate Cuban hams to operate on the satellites. Its first meeting is being planned for Havana in the not to distant future. (CO6CBF) ** ON THE AIR: UK MUSEUM STATION TO COMMEMORATE SINKING OF THE TITANIC Special event station GB100MGY will be on air from April 6th to the 26th. This to mark the 100th anniversary of sinking of the Titanic in 1912. This operation will take place from the Fort Perch Rock Marine Radio Museum at New Brighton in the UK. In addition to the regular HF bands the planners of GB100MGY have received special permission from UK telecommunications regulator Ofcom to use the callsign on 502 kHz. If you do not have gear to transmit on 502 kHz, crossband QSO's will be available to 3.566 or 7.066 Mhz from April 12th to the 18th as propagation permits. For more information on this special event operation, please take your web browser to www.fortperchrockmarineradiomuseum.co.uk. (Via e-mail) ** RADIOSPORTS: WORLD-WIDE IRON HAM CONTEST RESCHEDULED TO DECEMBER The World-Wide Iron Ham Contest, which was originally planned to take place in June, has now been re-scheduled. In order to avoid having two South American contests in the same day the Araucaria Dx Group decided to move the Iron Ham competition to the last full weekend in December. As a result, the World-Wide Iron Ham Contest will begin on Saturday December 29th at 12:00 UTC and end on Sunday December 30th at 11:59 UTC. More on this event in both English and Portugese is on line at www.araucariadx.com/ih. (PY5EG) ** DX In DX, The Buddies in the Caribbean mini-DXpedition group will be operational from Montserrat between April 8th to the 16th, with a new group of operators who have never experienced the other side of a pileup. Because of severe baggage limits on the flight from Antigua to Montserrat they will be limited to low power radios and Buddipole portable antenna systems. There will be several villa stations in operation on 160 through 10 meters using CW, SSB, and RTTY or PSK. At the same time, several teams will be battery- only, field portable either from Montserrat beaches or scenic mountain tops. QSL via Logbook of the World, eQSL, or mail to the operator's home callsign. DL7BC will be active from slas FH from Mayotte Island March 20th to 6th. Please QSL as directed on the air. WA2YUN is currently operational portable KH9 from Wake Island and will be active another year or more. Activity is on the Nigh Frequency bands including 160 and 80 meters. He has also been active on 6 meters. QSL via K2PF. F4DTO and F4GFE will be active from Albania as ZA100I between April 22nd to the 29th. Operations will be on 40 through 10 meters on SSB only. QSL via F4DTO, direct or by the bureau. Members of the Malaysian Amateur Radio Transmitter Society and the 9M4SDX Team will be active as 9M0L from Pulau Layang Layang Island, East Malaysia, between April 10th and the 24th. The team will have 4 stations using Spider Beam antennas. QSL direct to the 9M0L Team Penang, PO BOX 125, GPO 10710, Penang Island, Malaysia or by the bureau to Malaysian Amateur Radio Transmitter's Society. Lastly, W7GJ and ZL1RS will once again team up to do a 6 and 2 meter EME DXpedition to Niue between September 9th and the 21st, W7GJ will use the callsign ZK2GJ, while ZL1RS will probably use his old callsign of ZK2RS. QSL ZK2GJ via W7GJ and ZK2RS via ZL1RS direct only. ** THAT FINAL ITEM: CREATING THE HAM RADIO TRIATHLON CONTEST And finally this week, a new radiosporting event will begin in 2013. And it has its roots in sports history. Amateur Radio Newsline's Norm Seeley, KI7UP, is here with the details: -- It all started back in August of 2011. That was about when it occurred to Mike Balaskas, SV5BYR of Dodcanese, Greece, that a big Greek sponsored radiosport event was missing from international ham radio contest calendar. By the end of that September Balaskas' idea had matured and so the Ham Radio Triathlon Contest was born. For those of you who do not follow the world of sports, a triathlon involves completion of three continuous and sequential endurance events. And as you have already guessed, it is a Greek word. But unlike the world of athletics, those planning the Ham Radio Triathlon DX Contest had to change things a bit to make this activity become reality. In trying to simulate the original Triathlon athletic event, planners chose three major ham radio modes for the competition. For the initial outing these will be SSB, CW and RTTY. The Ham Radio Triathlon will be a 24 hour non-stop event that will take place the fist full weekend of February. It will debut next year on Saturday, February 2nd of 2013. And from what we have read of the proposed rules winning this one won't be easy but it sure looks like a lot of fun. For the Amateur Radio Newsline, Im Norm Seeley, KI7UP, on this side of the Atlantic and the Western part of the United States reporting from Scottsdale, Arizona. -- SV5BYR says that there is still a lot of work to be done and more details to be announced. We suggest that you keep an eye on triathlon-dx-contest.blogspot.com in the coming months to learn more. (SV5BYR) ** NEWSCAST CLOSE With thanks to Alan Labs, AMSAT, the ARRL, the CGC Communicator, CQ Magazine, the FCC, the Ohio Penn DX Bulletin, Radio Netherlands, Rain, the RSGB, the Southgate News and Australia's WIA News, that's all from the Amateur Radio NewslineT. Our e-mail address is newsline (at) arnewsline (dot) org. More information is available at Amateur Radio Newsline'sT only official website located at www.arnewsline.org. You can also write to us or support us at Amateur Radio NewslineT, 28197 Robin Avenue, Santa Clarita California, 91350 A reminder that the nominating period for the 2012 Amateur Radio Newsline Young Ham of the Year Award is now open. Full details and a downloadable nominating form are on our website at arnewsline.org/yhoty. For now, with Bill Pasternak, WA6ITF, at the editors' desk, I'm David Black, KB4KCH, at the Southeast Bureau in Birmingham Alabama saying 73 and we thank you for listening.
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