Although this resource is primarily for station managers and broadcast engineers, the information contained in this weekly feature can prove useful for amateur radio operators. This issue contains articles on:
Weak 10 meter conditions this week. Six decaying sunspots and no solar flares to report.
Russ Roberts's insight:
A skimpy week for 10-meter contact. Tony (G4CKC) has some choice DX, despite the genrally marginal conditions. Interesting stations include S01WS (Western Sahara); 3E100PC (Panama); XR7PTC (Chile); ZP6DYA (Paraguay--fairly rare one); and the W1AW ARRL Centennial Stations. As always, Tony does an excellent job of listing 10 meter DX. The trick is to get decent propagation to receive these illusive signals. Aloha de Russ (KH6JRM).
Researchers have developed a new type of solar concentrator that when placed over a window creates solar energy while allowing people to actually see through the window. It is called a transparent luminescent solar concentrator and can be used on buildings, cell phones and any other device that has a flat, clear surface.
Research in the production of energy from solar cells placed around luminescent plastic-like materials is not new. These past efforts, however, have yielded poor results -- the energy production was inefficient and the materials were highly colored.
"No one wants to sit behind colored glass," said Lunt, an assistant professor of chemical engineering and materials science. "It makes for a very colorful environment, like working in a disco. We take an approach where we actually make the luminescent active layer itself transparent."
The solar harvesting system uses small organic molecules developed by Lunt and his team to absorb specific nonvisible wavelengths of sunlight. "We can tune these materials to pick up just the ultraviolet and the near infrared wavelengths that then 'glow' at another wavelength in the infrared," he said.
The "glowing" infrared light is guided to the edge of the plastic where it is converted to electricity by thin strips of photovoltaic solar cells. "Because the materials do not absorb or emit light in the visible spectrum, they look exceptionally transparent to the human eye," Lunt said.
The "transparent luminescent solar concentrator" developed by Lunt, an assist The assistant professor of chemical engineering and materials science, can be used on "any flat, clear surface", including buildings, cell phones, and event tablets. The solar harvesting system uses small organic molecules to absorb specific non visible wavelengths of sunlight. The infrared light is guided to the edge of the plastic material, where it is converted to electricity by thin strips of photovoltaic solar cells. Lunt says that "Because the materials do not absorb or emit light in the visible spectrum, they work exceptionally transparent to the human eye." This development could be a game changer for portable power systems, batteries, and emergency power applications. Keep an eye on this. Aloha de Russ (KH6JRM).
Krish (W4VKU) will lead a 10-member amateur radio team to the Andaman Islands (AS-001) and the Nicobar Islands (AS-033) sometime in November 2014. The call sign for both operations will be VU4KV. Krish is looking for sponsors. For details, visit http://www.vu4ku.info. Aloha de Russ (KH6JRM).
I ran across this article by Tony Milluzzi (KD8RTT) while I was searching for some stealth antenna ideas for my "antenna farm" at my new QTH in the Puna District of Hawaii Island. Most of my wire antennas were "rearranged" by Tropical Storm Iselle on 07-08 August 2014. Although the house survived intact, the antennas strung between several trees "bit the dust." So, I'm rebuilding the antenna site with wire recovered from the storm. What Tony has to offer is an excellent way to rig a 40, 20, and 10 meter stealth vertical using a sturdy tree as the antenna support. With 16 buried radials and suitable 50 ohm coax, which is also buried, Tony has an antenna that can't be seen in his HOA-restricted housing area. He found this stealth antenna performed much better than the antenna mounted in his attic. When I was fist licensed as a novice operator in 1977, one of my first antennas was exactly like this, the only exception being the coconut tree serving as the "mast." Like Tony, I was surprised just how well the antenna worked. I used this arrangement for several months until I acquired a used Drake MN-4 antenna transmatch to smooth out the small amount of SWR found in my system. I still have the old Drake MN-4. A suitable Norfolk Pine Tree is located about 60 feet/18.29 meters from the shack. It appears Tony's antenna will be resurrected near a rainforest in the Puna District. I'll keep you posted. Aloha de Russ (KH6JRM).
EMF 2014: It Takes an Amateur Radio Village ARRL Special event station GB2EMF will operate from the Amateur Radio Village. Campers' identification tags consist of a “fun piece of technology” that attendees can take home and use following the event.
Russ Roberts's insight:
If you'll be in the UK during the last week of August, you may want to check out "EMF 2014". The ARRL calls "EMF 2014" a "festival for anyone interested in radio, electronics, space, homebrewing, robots, UAVs, 3D Printing, DIYBio, Internet Culture, or pretty much anything else you can think of." The event will feature an Amateur Radio Village and special event station GB2EMF. The "EMF 2014" event will be held just south of Bletchley, UK, Friday through Sunday, 29-31 August 2014. Aloha de Russ (KH6JRM).
The National Association of Broadcasters filed a petition with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on Monday, challenging the FCC's decision to change the methodology used to predict local television coverage areas for the incentive auction.
Why This Matters: NAB argued that the auction framework "violates the Spectrum Act, is arbitrary, capricious, and an abuse of discretion under the Administrative Procedure Act." The association argued that the FCC’s proposal could result in significant viewership loss.
Thanks to reporter Dave Hall for this fascinating article. I often wondered when the FCC frequency auction process would affect those who control broadcast media...now I know. Now that the broadcast media giants are threatened by the new FCC "incentive auction process", the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) has taken notice and has filed suit to stop the plan.The NAB contends the new auction protocol "violates The Spectrum Act, is arbitrary, capricious, and an abuse of discretion under the Administrative Procedure Act." Perhaps, amateur radio operators and public service personnel can find an ally in our more powerful and financially stable commercial media friends. Broadcasters are springing into action, now that their advertising and viewer numbers are threatened by the auction process. Strange bedfellows, indeed. Aloha de Russ (KH6JRM).
Gregor (D05SSB) and Daniel (D07FOX) are now offering a beta version update of the popular QRZCQ program. The new version has expanded features and easy integration into many operating platforms. Contact Gregor or Daniel -- http://www.QRZCQ.com. Aloha de Russ (KH6JRM).
Poway — Now a Ham-Friendly City Radio World Poway, Calif., might become a Mecca for amateur radio operators with regulations approved in early August by the City Council. Antennas up to 65 feet can now be built with only a building permit required.
Russ Roberts's insight:
Nice follow up story from "Radio World" on the recent decision by the Poway City Council to allow amateur radio antenna structures up to 65 feet with only a building permit and notification to nearby neighbors. Aloha de Russ (KH6JRM).
The First Pirate is the title of a Radio 4 Extra–an interview with*Les Woodland who tells the story of Captain Plugge, founder of Radio Normandy, the first station to take on the BBC.
Russ Roberts's insight:
Many of us remember the classic pirate radio stations that counter programmed the BBC during the early 1960s. Radio Caroline and others offered rock n roll, catchy commercials, and fast talking DJs to English listeners usually tuned to BBC programs. Although these stations were shut down in time, they left a mark on British radio stations. That's not the real beginning of pirate broadcasting in the UK, though. In a BBC interview with Les Woodward, we learn of an early pirate broadcaster known simply as "Captain Plunge", the founder of the controversial "Radio Normandy" and other off-shore radio stations that taunted the BBC during the 1930s. Fascinating story...Aloha de Russ (KH6JRM).
Do you need a cheap, easily erected, and effective dipole for emergency or portable use? This video from Scott (W4PA) of Ten-Tec has all the information you need to build a simple, inexpensive dipole that will get you on the air. It's just a matter of "cut, solder, and tie it off." I built one of these antennas after Tropical Storm Iselle leveled my "antenna farm" at my new QTH in the Orchidland Estates area of the Puna District. The antenna isn't fancy, but it works. I found all of the materials in my garage. Aloha de Russ (KH6JRM).
As many of you know, Tropical Storm Iselle did considerable damage to the Puna and Ka'u Districts of Hawaii Island. My new QTH in the Orchidland Estates area escaped major damage, but did lose several tall trees which were being used to support dipoles, inverted vees, and loop antennas. I'm now in the rebuilding phase of my "cleaned out" antenna farm. One of the first antennas I'll build is a multi-band inverted v fed with ladder line, covering 80-10 meters. I found this helpful youtube video from Dave Tadlock. Dave covers most of the important issues relating to inverted v antennas, including construction tips, mounting of the antenna, and tuning. Nice, well-paced video. Aloha de Russ (KH6JRM).
Ham radio specialist picked up the signal early in life Southgate Amateur Radio Club They emanated from the mysterious little wood-framed box before him - an old ham radio he'd found in the musty basement of his Cambridge, Ontario home.
Russ Roberts's insight:
Amateur Radio lore is full of interesting stories of how people picked up the "radio bug" and turned it into a life-long avocation. This story of Canadian ham Kevin Clements (VA3OR) will ring true for many ham operators....an old radio, a homebrewed antenna, and exotic voices from afar--all this contributing to the desire to join a world wide community of electronics enthusiasts. Amateur Radio is a life-long journey that begins with curiosity and enriches our lives until we join the "mortal coil". Great story. Aloha de Russ (KH6JRM).
Sotabeams is now offering a kit version of their popular QRP Mountain Tuner for end-fed half-wavelength antennas. The kit covers amateur radio bands from 40 through 17 meters. The kit or ready-built version is rated at 6 watts. For more information, visit: http://www.sotabeams.co.uk/mountain-tuner-40-17m-kit-or-built. Aloha de Russ (KH6JRM).
It's good to see the FCC cracking down on radio pirates. The FCC has upheld a $15,000 fine against Walter Olenick and M. Rae Nadler-Olenick for operating an illegal FM station on 90.1 MHz in Austin, Texas. The couple claimed that FCC rules and regulations didn't apply in Texas. The FCC disagreed. The couple has 30 days to pay up or "risk the case being turned over to the Justice Department for collection.
Comment: All of this would have been avoided if the couple had set up a Part 15 AM station in their apartment. Several companies make FCC type approved transmitters for this service. Even with restrictions of 100 milliwatts of power and a 10-foot (3.04 meters) antenna length, the signal would cover their apartment building and a little beyond. If they really felt inspired, they could have applied for a LPFM license, now that third-channel adjacencies issues have been resolved with the FCC. With a LPFM license, the couple could have covered a good portion of Austin from studios in their apartment. Sorry to say, but this is a case of ignorance compounded by stupidity. They got what they deserved. Aloha de Russ (KH6JRM).
The author is general manager and chief engineer of WHCP(LP), Cambridge, Md. He is former executive director of NPR Labs.
CAMBRIDGE, Md. — For radio zealots, nothing beats building a radio station from scratch. And those of us in the low-power FM movement are relishing the day when we will soon open the microphone for the debut of what will often be the area’s first community radio station.
While it may appear that Democrats and Republicans in Washington seldom agree on anything, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and then-Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., were both big supporters of the Local Community Radio Act of 2010, which relaxed the third-adjacency channel restrictions. More than 1,000 new LPFMs are currently in the pipeline.
Thanks to the online resources from the FCC, Prometheus and RecNets, finding an available channel and applying for the construction permit couldn’t have been easier. It beats the months of labor, thousands in consulting expenses and hundreds of pages of supporting exhibits filed when applying for my first construction permit in 1975. The FCC’s processing was a Blitzkrieg pace — an early December notice of acceptance for filing, January cutoff date and a Feb. 10 construction permit award.
Thanks to reporters David Hall and Sharon Mahoney, as well as the contributions of Mike Starling, the general manager of community radio station WHCP-FM (LP), Cambridge, Maryland for this article on the growth of low power community radio stations. Thanks to bipartisan congressional support and new engineering studies which relaxed the third-adjacency channel restrictions, "more than 1,000 new LPFMs are currently in the pipeline." For many isolated areas of the country, these low power stations will be the first community radio stations centered on local needs and programming. Most of those who work at such stations are volunteers who are close to their neighborhoods and sensitive to their community's needs. These new stations will provide vital information during emergencies and highlight community concerns. As "Radio World" stated: "This LPFM's Time Has Come." Aloha de Russ (KH6JRM).
A DXpedition planned for Mozambique has been scrubbed because of health problems experienced by Arnold (WB6OJB). However, all is not lost for those needing contacts from Africa. Frosty (K5LBU) is travelling to Botswana (A2) in early September and is looking for operators to run the 4 to 7 day event. For details, contact Frostyemail@example.com. Aloha de Russ (KH6JRM).
TRIAD, FAIRS sponsoring program on Amateur Radio Southwest Virginia Today TRIAD in partnership with FAIRS (Foundation for Amateur Intl. Radio Service, Ltd.) will sponsor a program on August 26, 2014 at 7:00 p.m.
Russ Roberts's insight:
Another great way to publicize your amateur radio club's activities. Local news outlets, in this case Virginia's "swvatoday.com", did an excellent job of highlighting a community meeting about Amateur Radio and its contributions to the local community. Perhaps, your club could do a live interview on a local radio station or submit an article to a local newspaper. Positive publicity such as this will enrich the hobby and inform communities about what we do as amateur radio operators. Aloha de Russ (KH6JRM).
Amateur radio club needs your help Southgate Amateur Radio Club I'm a member of the Farnborough Society FDRS. We are trying to find a past member who moved and holds one of the clubs calls.
Russ Roberts's insight:
The Farnborough Society FDRS needs your help in locating a past member who left the area and held one of the club's call signs. Bob (G0YYY) would like to find Paul Leach (G4UEG), who was active through 1985. If you have any RSGB call books covering the period 1985-1993, please email Bob at firstname.lastname@example.org. Aloha de Russ (KH6JRM).
I found this 3-part video while I was searching for NVIS (near vertical incident skywave) antenna ideas. The videos are part of the 2011 IDEX Military Show at the Stealth Telecom booth. The antenna is a tunable magnetic loop that can be mounted on a vehicle roof. Stealth Telecom designed this NVIS antenna for the military. The claimed range is between 300 to 500 miles. Although no price was given, it could be quite expensive, given the requirements spelled out by the military. It would be nice to have one of these antennas for emergency use. Oh, well, it's back to low-elevation dipoles and full-wavelength loops for my new NVIS antenna. Aloha de Russ (KH6JRM).
Fascinating conversation between Eric (4Z1UG) and Ron (W6OM). Ron uses a rebuilt Bauer 707 broadcast transmitter to join the Western AM net on 3870 kHz. I enjoyed this look back into broadcast history and the use of old AM broadcast transmitters on the ham bands. Aloha de Russ (KH6JRM).
It has been said so many times "when all communication fails, you can depend on amateur radio.
Russ Roberts's insight:
We've all heard the oft repeated phrase, "When all communication fails, you can depend on Amateur Radio." In the case of a critical message from Gough Island to Cape Town, South Africa, that phrase came painfully true. When satellite links failed on Gough Island, two South African amateur radio operators, Trevor (ZS1TR) and Pierre (ZS1HF) managed to connect the two distant points, alternating between 20 and 30 meters, depending on propagation. The 896 word message to the Department of Environmental Affairs in Cape Town took 1 hour and 45 minutes to transmit, but the message finally got through despite less than optimum conditions. In this case, the old saying came true. Aloha de Russ (KH6JRM).
Ham radio Chasqui-1 CubeSat deployed from ISS Southgate Amateur Radio Club Ham radio Chasqui-1 CubeSat deployed from ISS. The amateur radio satellite Chasqui-1 was successfully deployed from the International Space Station (ISS) during a space-walk.
Russ Roberts's insight:
The Ham Radio Chasqui-1 CubeSat was deployed successfully from the International Space Station on 18 August 2014 at 14:00 UT. The Peruvian CubeSat is a research satellite designed by the Peruvian National University of Engineering in collaboration with the Southwestern State University in Kursk. The CubeSat carries two cameras (one visible light; the other for infra-red), various control systems, and an amateur radio beacon on 437.025 MHz, using 1200 bps AFSK or 9600 bps GMSK. So far the beacon has not been received. Aloha de Russ (KH6JRM).
Following the passing of Tropical Storm Iselle, many amateur radio operators in the Puna District of Hawaii Island are rebuilding their antenna installations. High winds snapped many trees that supported inverted vees, dipoles, and even towers. There's nothing like starting over. I have several antenna plans moving forward, including a 40/15 meter inverted v dedicated to the Hawaii Inter island Net (7.088 Mhz, 0200 UTC, daily). Unlike many of my former dipoles, I'll feed this antenna with RG-8X coaxial cable, rather than 450-ohm ladder line. This in- depth video from Dave Tadlock covers just about everything you need to know about building an inverted v antenna. Dave includes helpful construction tips, the necessary formulas, the type of wire to use, mast alternatives, and the use of an antenna transmatch (i.e. tuner). The video is quite good, and it has given me a few new ideas. Aloha de Russ (KH6JRM).
Source: Southgate Amateur Radio Club/Jim Linton (VK3PC).
What a contest weekend! According to Jim Linton (VK3PC), the ILLW had 541 registrations from 56 countries, setting a new record in the annual event designed to promote awareness of the world's historic lighthouses and lightships. The USA went all out this year, with 91 amateur radio stations participating. First time portable operations from former maritime navigational stations totaled more than 100. Jim says, "Already, 30 registrations are listed for the ILLW 2015 event, which will be held 15-16 August." You can't argue with success. Great job by everyone. Aloha de Russ (KH6JRM).