Wednesday, April 23, 2014

International Marconi Day - April 26


Saturday April 26th is when stations around the world will be on the air to celebrate International Marconi Day. This is a once a year opportunity to make contact with historic Marconi locations around the world and to celebrate the birth of Guglielmo Marconi on the April 25th 1874.

At airtime, over 20 Marconi related sites have confirmed that they will be on board this year’s celebration. These include the historic GB4IMD at Poldhu in Cornwall, England along with VO1AA on Signal Hill in St. Johns, Newfoundland, and W2MRC at Monmouth Junction in New Jersey.

All stations planning to participate are urged to register in advance. Full details are at

Sunday, March 30, 2014

VHF/UHF/Microwave Amateur Radio

New page on Facebook.  
VHF/UHF/Microwave Amateur Radio
Come and join the conversation.
Topics include how to get started in Microwave Amateur Radio. 
Sharing of info, events, how to build your station, contest and help from others. 
Same goes for VHF/UHF
 Click Below or Copy and Paste URL in your web browser. 
VHF/UHF/Microwave Amateur Radio

Friday, March 28, 2014

UK Hams may get Added Spectrum on 2 Meters

The two meter band in the United Kingdom may soon be a megahertz larger. This as United Kingdom telecommunications regulator Ofcom publishes a consultation on the release of around 6 MHz of VHF spectrum in the 143 to 169 MHz band, which has been returned for civil use.
For ham radio operators in the U-K, the key point of the Consultation is the proposal to permit temporary access of the spectrum from 146 to 147 MHz for amateur radio use, until or unless it might be needed by Business Radio or other services. Should additional spectrum be needed to meet those operational requirements, Ofcom says that it will re remove the temporary ham radio allocation.

Amateur Radio use of 146 to 147 MHz will be on a non-protected and non-interference basis with any other service. There will also be some geographical restrictions to ensure that there is no interference to neighboring countries. Authorization to use this spectrum by U-K hams will be by an individual Notice of Variation to an applicant’s amateur radio license.

A notice of Variance is the equivalent of a Special Temporary Authority while an Ofcom Consultation is about the same as an FCC Notice of Proposed Rule Making here in the United States. 

source; Stephen Kinford, N8WB 

Responses to the Ofcom proposals in the Consultation by United Kingdom citizens are due by May 26th.
Those in the United Kingdom wishing file a response can do so on-line at 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Commissioning of ISS HAM TV Delayed

It appears as if there will be a few weeks delay in the final commissioning of the new HAM TV system on board the International Space Station. According to ARISS Europe Chairman Gaston Bertels, ON4WF, the final step to bring HAM TV into full operation now will not take place until late April or early May due to the scheduled arrival of the SpaceX Dragon re-supply ship docking and related operations. Because of this the current Ham Video blank transmissions will come to an end March 31.

NASA has confirmed the new launch of the re-supply mission. The Dragon spacecraft will ride into space sitting atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on March 30 at 10:50 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The mission will deliver 4,959 pounds of supplies to the ISS.

source (ON4WF, SpaceX)

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The World's Longest Police Foot Pursuit

More than 10,000 law enforcement personnel from around the world have assembled on Death Valley Road, in the Mojave Desert outside of Baker, California to begin this weekend's 30th annual running of what is known as 'The World's Longest Police Foot Pursuit'.

The Baker to Vegas Challenge Cup Relay Race, a gruelling, 120 mile ordeal, has become the premier competitive event among the worlds law enforcement agencies.

The race begins outside of Baker, California at the gateway to Death Valley. Death Valley holds the record as the hottest location on earth, with an officially recorded temperature of 134.0 F (57.6C). Ground temperatures in this area can exceed 200 F. This land truly belongs to the rattlesnakes and coyotes.
The race winds through the Mojave Desert before crossing the Spring Mountains at Mountain Springs Pass (5,530 Ft Elv) and then descending into the glitter gulch, Las Vegas, Nevada, some 120 miles from the Start Line.

Humans do not fare well in this extreme environment. Severe medical incidents, as well as deaths occur in this event. There is no telephone service or medical facilities in this desolate part of the world. The event must carry in all of their own emergency medical personnel and equipment. They must also build their own communications infrastructure.

The communication system needs to cover an area of 8,100 square miles, roughly the same area as the states of Connecticut, Delaware, and Rhode Island combined. Entering the picture is Joy Matlack KD6FJV and her 650 amateur radio volunteers. Matlack, the long serving Communications Director oversees a multi-tiered infra-structure of ham radio, business band, aeronautical, and public safety communication systems.

 Amateur radio operators build and deploy the portable repeater systems that seamlessly cover to entire 8,100 sq miles. They also build and deploy the links used by the med-evac teams
Baker to Vegas, known to those around it as the B2V is broken up into 20 race stages. It is at these stages that the teams change runners. Amateur radio operators serve as the staff for these stages.

The hams provide the timing and scoring functions, operate the public address system, staff early warning and early, early warning positions, summon medical assistance, and relay all of the routine and emergency radio traffic for the event.

Although the majority of the traffic handled deals with routine logistical and operational functions of the event, the primary mission of the amateur radio operators is the protection and safety of the runners and their support vehicle staffs.

All of the roadways used during the event are still open to regular vehicle traffic. The first half of the race is on what is typically lightly traveled wilderness roads. But come race weekend these routes are covered with thousands of vehicles belonging to support staff, course volunteers, and family/friends of the runners.
The race takes a dramatic turn once it reaches Pahrump. Nevada. Pahrump which was a tiny dot on the map when B2V began 30 years ago, has now grown to be a small city of 37,000. The once quiet little route NV 160 which links Pahrump to Las Vegas is now a heavily travelled thoroughfare. NV 160 is notorious for it's large number of traffic fatalities. which primarily occur as it winds into the Las Vegas valley at Blue Diamond.

Once the race enters the Las Vegas Metro area (pop.1,951,269) the runners will spend a dozen miles on urban streets. Here they will share the pavement with thousands of motor vehicles. The average vehicle in Las Vegas travels in excess of 50 MPH!

For these reasons, a team of highly trained, motorcycle mounted, amateur radio operators, known as "Motors" patrol the entire 120 miles of the race. Most of these hams are either active duty or retired peace officers who look for hazards, rules violations, and runners in need. Also as the road skirts Death Valley at the early stages of the race from the Start Line to Shoshone, California (pop. 31) the runners face the most severe conditions. A 2,000 ft rise in elevation, coupled with high temperatures and arid conditions cause this to be the location of most of the severe medical emergencies and deaths to runners.

Even police officers do not always make the wisest choices. Follow vehicle personnel often fail to correctly observe the deteriorating condition of their runner. In a few instances, they have replaced a sagging runner and then simply left him along side of the road. In one such case, the abandoned runner was experiencing a complete shut-down of his vital organs. Found by another team, he hovered near death in ICU for weeks.

Matlack now deploys a "Patrol Unit" team. This group consists of a coordinator and 6 specially trained amateur radio operators who patrol this section of highway observing the condition of each runner. They maintain continuous communications with the follow vehicles, medical evac, and race officials. They are empowered to take a runner off of the course, summon a medical response, and to enforce violations being committed by the runners support team. Both the Motor and Patrol Unit hams can issue a special green violation card affectionately called "Meanie Greenies" which can disqualify a team for infractions.

b2vberlin.JPGBaker to Vegas is sponsored by the Los Angeles Police Revolver and Athletic Club. In an attempt to keep the hugely popular event manageable, LAPRAC limits the number of entries to 270 teams.
Despite this, participation by support crews family, and friends from around the world has caused the number of direct and indirect participants to swell to more than 10,000 people.
Right: 2014 Berlin Team displays national pride

Many of these teams also utilize their own independent crews of ham radio operators. These team specific hams provide effective logistical support for the officer-athletes on their team.

With such a huge communications network, one that bridges several radio services, equipment failures are to be expected. When they do, a special technical team of amateur radio operators spring into action. This very mobile, highly qualified, crew of specialists quickly deploy and resolve any technical issues. They are also the people who set up and take down the system of temporary repeaters and links.

One final team of amateur radio operators contribute to the overall enjoyment of this event and they are the APRS specialists. This group coordinates the real time position reporting activities of the various team follow vehicles. You can follow your favorite teams progress here:

In the three decades of this rugged, isolated event. More than a quarter of a million law enforcement personnel, their families, and their friends have felt safe in the knowledge that "In this chase, Amateur Radio is on the Case".


Monday, March 24, 2014

FCC Invites Public Comment on 10-10.5 GHZ Petition

Back here in the United States, the FCC has invited public comment on a Petition for Rule Making titled RM-11715. This is a proposal that would make a significant portion of the 10.0 to 10.5 GHz band available for wireless broadband services while to some extent protect amateur radio terrestrial and space operations from interference.
According to the ARRL the petition by Mimosa Networks Inc. proposes a band plan for the spectrum from 10.0 to 10.5 GHz that the petitioner says would protect frequencies most often used by radio amateurs. The proposal would specify 10.350 to 10.370 GHz as an “Amateur Calling Band,” and 10.450 to 10.500 GHz for Amateur-Satellite operations. This would be in the midst of 21 wireless broadband channels and a small guard band.

The success of the Mimosa petition hinges on FCC adoption of rule changes that would put the 10 GHz band under Subpart Z of the Commission’s Part 90 rules. Subpart Z currently sets out regulations governing wireless licensing, technical standards, and operational standards in the 3650 to 3700 MHz spectrum.

Interested parties may comment on RM-11715 using the FCC’s Electronic Comment Filing System. You can read the entire proposal at 

source (ARRL, Southgate)

Friday, March 21, 2014

Ukrane Station SZRU Active on 20 Meter

The IARU Monitoring System newsletter reports the Ukraine foreign Intelligence Service SZRU has been active every Wednesday on 14.280 MHz at 1010 UTC running full carrier AM. Reports say that a female voice spelled numbers and encrypted messages. The exact location is believed to be near Rivne.
The newsletter also says that REA4 which is a call used by the Russian Airforce in Moscow was still active on 7 dot 018 MHz with Frequency Shift Keying at 100 Baud and a 1000 Hz shift. Harmonics could be measured on 14 dot 036, 21 dot 052 and 28 dot 072 MHz on February 28th at about 10:50 UTC.

If you hear or are bothered by these or any other illegal user of ham radio spectrum, please report these incidents to the Intruder Watch Coordinator for your nation. Here in the United States that would be The American Radio Relay League. 

source (IARU R1 Newsletter) 

Thursday, March 20, 2014

New Spectrum Awarded to Hams in France

French radio amateurs have gained access to 472 to 479 kHz with 1 watt output in I-T-U Region 1 and French territories in Region 2. Also, 435 to 438 MHz is now allocated to the Amateur-satellite service in France for both Earth-to-Space and Space-to-Earth in the same geographic areas. Due to a previous error in the national frequency table, French amateurs did not have Space-to-Earth privileges for this band in their licenses.
Still with space related matters, the 2400 to 2415 MHz band is now allocated to radio stations in the Amateur-satellite service in French territories in Region 2.

Regarding the 1.2 GHz band the national society questioned if Europe’s new Galileo Global Positioning satellite system may call into question the future of this allocation for use by ham radio. Galileo downlinks across 1260 to 1300 MHz band. France’s telecommunications regulator said that it would review this matter and provide a response at some future date.

These changes are the result of a meeting between French telecommunications regulator the Autorité de Régulation des Communications Électroniques et des Postes and the French national amateur radio society R-E-F that was held on March 7th. Discussions also covered the possibility of a future amateur band across the whole of 1.8 to 2.0 MHz spectrum and possible allocations at 5.5 MHz and 70 MHz. The R-E-F report also noted that the regulatory body has also shown an interest in ARISS school contacts which both groups believe have a high educational value.

The complete minutes in Google English is on the web at 

source (REF, Southgate)

Saturday, March 15, 2014


A group of Northern Ireland radio amateurs have introduced a new award for hams who want to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day on the air. While details are still a bit sketchy, the organizers hope this to be an annual event every March 17th. Those who want to participate as an award station or who want more information on the event should go to on the World Wide Web. 

source: (MI0RYL, Southgate)

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

2014 Palm Springs Hamfest is March 15th, 2014

The 2014 Palm Springs Hamfest is slated for March 15th at the Palm Springs Pavilion in Palm Springs California. This one-day event will again be hosted by the Desert Radio Amateur Transmitting Society better known as the Desert Rats. Rehab Radio founder April Moell, WA6OPS and Ham Nation co-host Gordon West, WB6NOA, will be the featured speakers. There will also be demonstrations dealing with Amateur Television, microwave communications as well hunts T-hunts and much more. Further information on this event is on the web at
source; (Palm Springs Hamfest)

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Get on the Air with HF Digital

I received my "Get on the Air with HF Digital" today. Lots of great info.

Friday, March 7, 2014

DX Code of Conduct

I ( KD8BIG ) am a supporter of the. DX CODE OF CONDUCT

I will listen, and listen, and then listen again before calling.
I will only call if I can copy the DX station properly.
I will not trust the DX cluster and will be sure of the DX station's callsign before calling.
I will not interfere with the DX station nor anyone calling and will never tune up on the DX frequency or in the QSX slot.
I will wait for the DX station to end a contact before I call.
I will always send by full call sign.
I will call and then listen for a reasonable interval. I will not call continuously.
I will not transmit when the DX operator calls another call sign, not mine.
 will not transmit when the DX operator queries a call sign not like mine.
I will not transmit when the DX station requests geographic areas other than mine.
When the DX operator calls me, I will not repeat my call sign unless I think he has copied it incorrectly.
I will be thankful if and when I do make a contact.
I will respect my fellow hams and conduct myself so as to earn their respect.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

OSCAR-11 / UOSAT-2 Celebrates 30 Years in Orbit

UOSAT-OSCAR-11 has now been in orbit for 30 years and remarkably its signal on 145.826 MHz FM (AFSK 1200 bps ASCII) is still being received.

OSCAR-11, also known as UOSAT-2, was designed and built by a team of engineers at the University of Surrey in Guildford, Surrey, UK as the successor to OSCAR-9 / UOSAT-1 (see Hobby Electronics August 1981).
It was launched from the Western Test Range at Vandenberg Air Base, in Lompoc, California along with LANDSAT-5 on a Delta 3920 rocket on March 1, 1984.

OSCAR-11 was the most rapidly designed OSCAR, going from inception to launch in only five months. It was also the first amateur satellite to carry a digital communications package into Earth orbit, and the first to be controlled by a CPU running software written in the high-level programming language “Forth”.

OSCAR-11 carries beacons in three amateur radio bands.

The 145.826 MHz beacon transmits FM Audio Frequency Shift Keying (AFSK) 1200 bps ASCII data. It the early years it also transmitted a voice message from the digitalker experiment.

The 435.025 MHz beacon transmitted either 1200 bps FM AFSK or 4800 bps PSK data. This beacon was used to downlink information from the Digital Store and Readout (DSR) Experiment, which includes CCD Earth image data, results from the Particle Wave Experiment, and engineering data from the RCA COSMAC 1802 CPU.

The 2401.5 MHz beacon transmitted FM and PSK signals. Antenna polarization for all three beacon transmitters is left-hand circular (LHCP). Only the 145.826 MHz beacon is now operational.

Addition OSCAR-11 information

OSCAR-11 page on the DK3WN satellite blog at

SSTL Blog – Happy 30th Birthday to UOSAT-2

OSCAR-9 and OSCAR-11 TV News Reports

BBC Micro ASTRID UoSAT receiver and AMSAT-UK Software Library

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Launch of Two Hundred 437MHz Satellites

The largest ever launch of 437 MHz satellites is planned for March 16 at 0841 UT when 200 Sprite satellites will be launched on the SpaceX Falcon 9 CRS 3 mission
They will be deployed into a 325×315 km 51.5 degree inclination orbit. You should be able to watch the launch live on NASA TV at

A Sprite is a tiny, 3.5 by 3.5 cm, single-board spacecraft that was developed by Zac Manchester KD2BHC. It has a microcontroller, radio, and solar cells and is capable of carrying single-chip sensors, such as thermometers, magnetometers, gyroscopes, and accelerometers.

The 200 Sprites are carried in a 3U CubeSat called KickSat. They are stacked atop a spring-loaded pusher and secured by a nichrome burn wire system.

On reaching orbit KickSat will perform a de-tumble maneuver and establish communication with Cornell University’s ground station. After check-out, the spacecraft will be put in a sun-pointing attitude and spun up to maintain that attitude.

A command signal from the ground station will then trigger the deployment and the Sprites will be released as free-flying spacecraft. After deployment, telemetry and sensor measurements from the individual Sprites will be received through Cornell’s ground station in Ithaca, NY, as well as several other amateur ground stations around the world.

Due to the low orbit Sprites will have a short lifetime before they re-enter the atmosphere and burn up. In the best-case scenario the orbital lifetime could be six weeks but realistically it may be considerably shorter depending on atmospheric conditions.

All Sprites operate on a single frequency of 437.240 MHz and use Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA). The transmitter runs 10 mW output of Minimum Shift Keying (MSK) modulated binary data with each data bit modulated as a 511 bit Pseudo-Random Number (PRN) sequence. The ITU emission designator is 50K0G1D.

The KickSat CubeSat has downlinks on 437.505 MHz and 2401-2436.2 MHz.

KickSat Sprite Ground Station by Andy Thomas G0SFJ
British Interplanetary Society: Sprite Technical Summary
KickSat project information
KickSat on KickStarter

Check this site for the latest CRS 3 launch date

Sunday, March 2, 2014

United States Department of Defense has Released Electromagnetic Spectrum Strategy

The United States Department of Defense has released its complete 2013 Electromagnetic Spectrum Strategy. This to increase available spectrum in order to meet growing demand from the commercial wireless industry.

The release follows the release of a memorandum issued in 2010 by President Obama titled Unleashing the Wireless Broadband Revolution. In it the Department of Defense is required to make available 500 MHz of spectrum for commercial use by 2020.

It should be noted that a good number of amateur UHF and Microwave spectrum allocations are shared with the Department of Defense but at this point in time its not known what impact, if any, the release of the required 500 MHz could have on future ham radio operations.

You can read the entire Department of Defense Electromagnetic Spectrum Strategy document on line in PDF format at

My Stamp Collecting Blog

Counter Added January 1, 2011

free counters


The A index [ LOW is GOOD ]

  • 1 to 6 is BEST
  • 7 to 9 is OK
  • 11 or more is BAD

Represents the overall geomagnetic condition of the ionosphere ("Ap" if averaged from the Kp-Index) (an average of the eight 3-hour K-Indices) ('A' referring to amplitude) over a given 24 hour period, ranging (linearly) typically from 1-100 but theoretically up to 400.

A lower A-Index generally suggests better propagation on the 10, 12, 15, 17, & 20 Meter Bands; a low & steady Ap-Index generally suggest good propagation on the 30, 40, 60, 80, & 160 Meter Bands.

SFI index [ HIGH is GOOD ]

  • 70 NOT GOOD
  • 80 GOOD
  • 90 BETTER
  • 100+ BEST

The measure of total radio emissions from the sun at 10.7cm (2800 MHz), on a scale of 60 (no sunspots) to 300, generally corresponding to the sunspot level, but being too low in energy to cause ionization, not related to the ionization level of the Ionosphere.

Higher Solar Flux generally suggests better propagation on the 10, 12, 15, 17, & 20 Meter Bands; Solar Flux rarely affects the 30, 40, 60, 80, & 160 Meter Bands.

K index [ LOW is GOOD ]

  • 0 or 1 is BEST
  • 2 is OK
  • 3 or more is BAD
  • 5 is VERY VERY BAD

The overall geomagnetic condition of the ionosphere ("Kp" if averaged over the planet) over the past 3 hours, measured by 13 magnetometers between 46 & 63 degrees of latitude, and ranging quasi-logarithmically from 0-9. Designed to detect solar particle radiation by its magnetic effect. A higher K-index generally means worse HF conditions.

A lower K-Index generally suggests better propagation on the 10, 12, 15, 17, & 20 Meter Bands; a low & steady Kp-Index generally suggest good propagation on the 30, 40, 60, 80, & 160 Meter Bands.

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