Thursday, January 26, 2012
SOPA & Amateur Radio
While the giant QRZ dot com website took what could best be described as the amateur radio point position in helping to halt the twin bills in their tacks, it turns out that it was not alone. The Southgate News reports that at least two other ham radio websites took part in the protest. Both the amateur radio HF Link Forum and the APRS site aprs.fi were closed in the United States on Wednesday, January 18th.
The aprs.fi blog noted in advance that it would join Wikipedia and Reddit, and protest the proposed United States Stop Online Piracy or SOPA and the Protect Intellectual Property Act or PIPA legislation by closing down. The blog went on to note that if some APRS user were to post links to copyright infringing material, even when that material would reside somewhere other than aprs.fi itself, that aprs.fi could be shut down in the U.S. and there would not be much that the website owners could do about it.
As we go to air, both SOPA and PIPA have been withdrawn by their respective sponsors in Congress for retooling. That’s a fancy way of saying that enough votes had defected to make passage at this time impossible. At the same time it’s a way of keeping both pieces of legislation alive for re-introduction to the United States Federal law making process at some later date. And it’s a sure bet that content providers such as the motion picture and music industries which basically wrote these two pieces of legislation will try again.
HOW TO READ PROPAGATION NUMBERS
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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