Friday, March 8, 2013

Amateur Radio Newsline Report 1856 - March 8 2013


The following is a QST.  Scientists say Solar Cycle 24 may
have two separate peaks; APRS found to extend the range of
underground communications; a United Kingdom ham finds a
long abandoned satellite that has come back to life; Last
Man Standing to feature an episode with ham radio and
Amateur Radio Newsline opens the nominating season for the
2013 Young Ham of the Year Award.  Find out the details are
on Amateur Radio NewslineT report number 1856 coming your
way right now.

(Billboard Cart Here)



Will 2013 be the year of the Solar maximum of Cycle 24 or
have we already seen one and is there another prak yet to
come.  Some researchers think that the best has not happened
yet because this could be another double cycle.  Amateur
Radio Newslines Heather Embee, KB3TZD, has the details:


Something unexpected appears to be happening on the sun.
2013 is supposed to be the year of Solar Max also known as
the peak of Cycle 24.  Yet 2013 has arrived and solar
activity is relatively low.  Sunspot numbers are well below
their values in 2011, and strong solar flares have been
infrequent for many months.  The quiet has led some
observers to wonder if forecasters missed the mark.

Dean Pesnell is a Solar physicist at the Goddard Space
Flight Centre in Greenbelt, Maryland.  He suggests that this
is the solar maximum, but it looks different from what we
expected because it will be double peaked.

Conventional wisdom holds that solar activity swings back
and forth like a simple pendulum.  At one end of the cycle,
there is a quiet time with few sunspots and flares.  At the
other end, the Solar Max brings high sunspot numbers and
solar storms with a regular rhythm that repeats every 11

Reality, however, is more complicated.  Astronomers have
been counting sunspots for centuries, and they have seen
that the solar cycle is not perfectly regular.  For one
thing, the back-and-forth swing in sunspot counts can take
anywhere from 10 to 13 years to complete.  Also, the
amplitude of the cycle varies.  Some solar maxima are very
weak while others can be very strong.

And as researcher Pesnell notes, there is yet another
complication.  He says that the last two solar maxima,
around 1989 and 2001, had not one but two peaks.  He says
that solar activity went up, dipped, and then resumed while
performing a mini-cycle within the Solar Max that lasted
about two years.

Pesnell says that the same thing could be happening now.  He
notes that sunspot counts jumped in 2011 and dipped in 2012.
As such, he expects them to rebound again saying that
another peak will happen in 2013 and possibly last into
2014.  Lets hope he is right.

For the Amateur Radio Newsline, I'm Heatrher Embee, KB3TZD,
in Burwick, Pennsylvania.


Another curiosity of the solar cycle is that the sun's
hemispheres do not always peak at the same time.  In the
current cycle, the south has been lagging behind the north.
The second peak, if it occurs, will likely feature the
southern hemisphere playing catch-up, with a surge in
activity south of the sun's equator.  (SARL, NASA)



The resurgence in ham radio may partly be due to a
renaissance in home building coupled with a need on the part
of radio amateurs to serve their community.  So says ARRL
Executive Vice President Dave Sumner, K1ZZ's, in a recent
article appearing in the Urgent Communications on-line

In his commentary Sumner notes that when amateurs began
experimenting with radio more than a century ago, they had
no choice but to build everything they needed.  Some went on
to become successful entrepreneurs, selling their creations
to fellow hobbyists who were more interested in operating
radios than in constructing them.  Others built their own
receivers and transmitters either from economic necessity or
for the fun and satisfaction of being able to say, "I did it
myself."  This in turn lead to the era of kit building with
such giants as Heathkit becoming household names in ham

K1ZZ notes that the advent of solid-state devices, printed
circuit boards, and automatic parts insertion removed the
price advantage that kits enjoyed.  By the time the Heath
Company closed its doors in 1992, most amateur-radio
equipment was being manufactured in Japan.  But this has not
stopped ham radio operators from continuing the art of home
construction and this in itself has lead to a resurrection
in the art of kit building.  And this in turn has made
portable emergency communications ability more attainable in
the hobby.

As Dave Sumner notes, society has come to rely on a fragile
telecommunications infrastructure that is susceptible to
overload and outright failure.  And while ham radio
operators cannot substitute for all that infrastructure hams
can communicate, no matter what.
You can read K1ZZ's entire article on-line at  (Urgent



An American satellite, abandoned in 1967 as a piece of space
junk has begun transmitting again after 46 years and a ham
radio operator is responsible for finding it.  Amateur Radio
Newsline's Bruce Tennant, K6PZW, has more:


Phil Williams, G3YPQ, is an Amateur Radio Astronomer in
North Cornwall in the U.K..  According to reports he
accidentally picked up the signal and after cross checking
with various lists, he identified it as LES 1.

LES 1 was built by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
and launched in 1965. The satellite failed to reach its
intended orbit owing to a wiring error and has been drifting
out of control ever since.

Williams ran across it while monitoring near 237 MHz when he
noticed a signal with a peculiar signal drift caused by the
bird tumbling end over end every 4 seconds as the solar
panels became shadowed by the satellites engine.  Williams
said that gives the signal a particularly ghostly sound as
the voltage from the solar panels fluctuates.

The LES 1 satellite is about the size of a small car and is
not likely to re-enter the atmosphere for a long time as the
orbit is still relatively high.  It poses no threat other
than that caused by the thousands of other pieces of space
junk currently in orbit.  By now its likely that the on
board batteries have now disintegrated so its likely that
some other component failure has caused the transmitter to
start up when its in sunlight bringing the ghost satellite
back to life.

For the Amateur Radio Newsline, I'm Bruce Tennant, K6PZW, in
Los Angeles.


G3YPQ says its remarkable to think that electronics built
nearly 5 decades ago, 12 years before Voyager 1, and long
before microprocessors and integrated circuits, is still
capable of working in the hostile environs of space.  He
adds that listening to the signal one can easily imagine the
craft tumbling over and over every 4 seconds and the
transmitter starting up as the sun rises on its solar
panels.  (G3YPQ)



APRS works to extend communications range underground.
So says the modes developer Bob Bruninga, WB4APR, who
reports on an experiment that took place on March 2nd .  One
where he and several other hams tested the use of APRS as a
means to extend radio communications underground in Mammoth
Cave, Kentucky.   Amateur Radio Newsline's Stephan Kinford,
N8WB, reports:


According to Bob Bruninga, WB4APR, typically, VHF and UHF
radio in underground caves are limited to only a few hundred
feet and strictly line-of-sight making their routine use of
little value.  But with APRS radios acting as packet
digipeaters, these few hundreds of feet can be extended by
an order of magnitude.

Bruninga says that in the test a total of 14 APRS equipped
radios were used in the cave to establish a network almost a
mile long providing real-time position and text message
communications along the route.  Cavers carried a map of the
cave marked with a Latitude and Longitude grid so they could
manually enter their position into their handheld APRS-
equipped transceivers.   Texting via APRS provided
communications end to end.

Among the interesting findings were that UHF worked about
13% better than VHF withan average link distance of about
450 feet even in the large subway sized passages of Mammoth
Cave.  Also power did not seem to matter much. The Kenwood
TH-D72 walkie-talkie performed as well as several portable
10 watt mobile radios housed in boxes.

Another advantage of using UHF for this APRS network was
that individual links in other caves can just as easily be
pre-tested by unlicensed cave explorers using inexpensive
FRS radios.  This way, all cavers can plan and individually
test the topology of an APRS network before actually
gathering the required APRS equipment and setting up the
actual expedition.

For the Amateur Radio Newsline, I'm Stephan Kinford, N8WB,
in Wadsworth, Ohio.


Bruninga says that the system could even include e-mail into
the topside global APRS system.  (WB4APR)



From the United States of America, We are the Amateur Radio
Newsline, heard on bulletin stations around the world
including the W7CSK repeater serving Everett, Washington.

(5 sec pause here)



The nominating season for the 2013 Amateur Radio Newsline
Young Ham of the Year Award is now open.

Created in 1986, this award is offered to recognize the
accomplishments of a radio amateur age 18 or younger for his
or her accomplishments in service to the nation, his or her
community or to the advancement of the state of the art
through amateur radio.

Nominees must reside in the United States 50 states or its
possessions or in any of the 10 Canadian provinces.

As in years past, corporate underwriter Yaesu USA will
transport the winner to the Huntsville Hamfest in Huntsville
, Alabama, where the award will be formally presented.
Yaesu will also provide Hotel accommodations as well as
convention tickets and a prize of Yaesu amateur radio
equipment to the winner.  CQ Magazine will again treat this
year's recipient to a week at Spacecamp-Huntsville. Heil
Sound Ltd. will be gifting this year's winner with an
additional prize.  Last but by no means least; Amateur Radio
Newsline will present the winner with the official Young Ham
of the Year Award plaque which is underwritten by Dave Bell,
W6AQ, of DBA Entertainment in Hollywood, California.

Complete details, rules and a required nominating form in
Adobe .pdf format are available on our website at   Nominating forms can also be
obtained by sending a self addressed stamped envelope to
Amateur Radio Newsline Inc., 2013 Young Ham of the Year
Award, 28197 Robin Avenue, Santa Clarita California, 91350.

Again the cutoff date for nominations is May 30, 2013.  And
please note that all nominating forms and support materials
become the property of the Amateur Radio Newsline and cannot
be returned. (ARNewslineT)



The FCC has notified Jared A. Bruegman of Bolivar, Missouri,
a $10,000 Notice of Apparent Liability.  This for his
alleged operating of an unlicensed radio transmitter in the
20 meter band.

On December 18, 2012, in response to a complaint of
interference to amateur radio communications, agents from
the Enforcement Bureau's Kansas City Office monitored a male
voice transmitting on 14.312 MHz.  They used direction
finding to locate the source of the radio transmissions to
an antenna mounted on a pole next to a residence in Bolivar,

The agents quickly determined that the signals on 14.312 MHz
exceeded the limits for operation under Part 15 of the
Commission's rules and therefore required a license.  The
Commission's records showed that no authorization was issued
to the address for operation of a radio transmitter on that
frequency at that location.

Immediately after locating the source of the signals the
agents inspected the unlicensed radio transmitter, which was
located in a bedroom in the residence.  The FCC says that
Jared Bruegman was the only person present in the bedroom
and the only male in the residence during the inspection.

At that time Bruegman admitted to the agents that he owned
the radio transmitter.  The agents observed that the
transmitter was turned on and tuned to 14.311 MHz.  Bruegman
told the agents that he had no current Commission licenses,
but that he previously held an Amateur Radio license with
the call sign KC0IQN.  Bruegman then told the agents he
would remove the microphone from his transmitter and only
use it as a receiver.

On February 25th the FCC issued the $10,000 proposed fine to
the former ham.  In doing so it noted that the evidence in
this case is sufficient to establish that Jared A. Bruegman
violated Section 301 of the Communications Act.  He was
given the usual 30 days to pay the amount in full or to file
an appeal.  (FCC)



Several broadcast groups are taking precautions to ensure
their emergency alert units are secure. That's in the wake
of someone hacking into a station's Emergency Alert System
or EAS encoder/decoder through its connection to the
Internet and programming a fake alert.  One which the device
then automatically transmitted.

Soon after the incident the FCC issued an order telling
stations that they must change the passwords for their EAS
encoders/decoders.  This being especially urgent if the
devices are still set with the factory default password.

As previously reported, the bogus alerts, which were
initially broadcast over TV stations in Montana and
Michigan, warned viewers of zombie attacks. The fake alerts
occurred when someone knew or figured out the default
password of EAS equipment and inserted the fake message into
the EAS automatic forwarding system.  (RW)



A traffic reporter for Colorado Springs, Colorado station
KXRM found he couldn't get into the downtown studio on
Monday morning March 4th.  This was because the locks on the
building had been vandalized by filing them with glue.

Police told KXRM that a substance had been placed in the
locks causing them to malfunction.   The lock gluer also hit
a Presbyterian church, the El Paso Democratic Party offices,
City Hall and the Colorado Springs Independent newspaper.

Authorities say that they have identified a possible suspect
despite the downtown surveillance cameras not working at the
time.  (BCF)



A follow-up on our recent story concerning the decision by
Harbach Electronics to discontinue the manufacture of the
Peter Dahl line of high performance transformers.
Transformers that are used in the design and manufacture of
many high power amplifiers around the world.

Late word is that Hammond Manufacturing of Cheektowaga, New
York will be taking over the Peter Dahl line of from
Harbach.  According to both Harbach and Hammond, the two are
working swiftly on the finalization of the acquisition and
that the transfer of Peter Dahl brand assets will take place
over the next few weeks.

Both Harbach and Hammond hope to have everything completed
no later than March 31st.  Keep an eye on the Hammond
website at for the latest updates.  (Hammond



Mouser Electronics, a name well known in the ham radio do it
yourself movement, has  announced the signing of a new
international distribution agreement with Coilcraft, a
leading magnetic component manufacturer, across the regions
of Europe, Asia, Mexico and South America.  Through this
partnership, announced at Embedded World in Germany, Mouser
is now stocking a wide range of Coilcraft's magnetic and
inductive products for immediate shipment.

Coilcraft provides magnetic components including high-
performance RF chip inductors, power magnetics and filters
in a variety of packages and a wide range of values.
Designer's kits are offered to help engineers learn the
capabilities of these high-performance inductors.

According to Mouser President and CEO Glenn Smith, this
agreement with Coilcraft helps further his company's
commitment to providing the newest products and technologies
for design engineers from industry-leading suppliers.  Smith
adds that Mouser and Coilcraft are looking forward to a long-
standing and successful partnership together. (Mouser
Electronics, Power Systems Newsletter)



On the social scene, the 64th Lake Constance and the HAM
RADIO 2013 Convention, both organized by Deutscher Amateur
Radio Club will take place from Friday, June 28th through
Sunday, June 30th, 2013 in Friedrichshafen, Germany.  This
event has long been considered Europe's premiere ham radio
gathering with attendees from around the world coming to
take part.

One of the highlights of this years HAM RADIO gathering will
be an informal international meeting for representatives of
IARU member societies.  It will be held at the Zeppelin
Museum on Friday, June 28th.  Event planners say that they
will provide a shuttle bus that will take those attending
from the exhibition halls to the museum.

If you are planning to attend from outside of Europe, the
closest major city to fly into would be Munich.  From the
United States it is served by several major airlines
including non-stop service from New York's JFK International
and Los Angeles International airports on Lufthansa and

More information on HAM RADIO 2013 can be found in the
German language at
Planners say that they hope that you can be there this year.



The 2013 South African Radio League's National Convention
and Annual General meeting will be held April 26th to the
28th at the Sulla Via Venue not far from Johannesburg.  This
years gathering will be hosted by the West Rand Amateur
Radio Club with Kenny Neville from West Rand Astronomy Club
as the featured guest speaker.  If conditions are clear
Neville's talk may be followed by a sky gazing party.  More
information, further program details and reservation forms
should be on-line right now at will be available on  The planners hope to see many ham radio
operators there.  (SARL)



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 and being relayed by the volunteer
services of the following radio amateur:

(5 sec pause here)



World Amateur Radio Day is April 18th and according to the
International Amateur Radio Union that sponsors the event
the theme this year is Amateur Radio:  Entering Its Second
Century of Disaster Communications.  Amateur Radio
Newsline's Cheryl Lasek, K9BIK, has the details:


According to the IARU announcement, the theme for 2013 of
Amateur Radio:  Entering Its Second Century of Disaster
Communications is an excellent opportunity for amateur radio
emergency communications groups to take advantage of the
event to highlight the role amateur radio plays in disaster

Among the suggestions are for IARU member societies to
arrange ham radio demonstrations in public places such as
parks or shopping areas.  The IARU says that such
demonstrations in public areas usually generate inquiries
and questions from the public about amateur radio.  It adds
that this makes it a great opportunity to attract new people
to become members of the ham radio community.

The IARU notes that in 2013, April 18th is a weekday but
that should not keep public activity from taking place
either on the weekend before or after that date.  Also, if
you plan on holding a public demonstration, the IARU says
not to forget to include some young people to show all ages
are a part of this growing world wide public service
oriented hobby.

For the Amateur Radio Newsline, I'm Cheryl Lasaek, K9BIK, in
Zion, Illinois.


More information on World Amateur Radio Day is on the web at  (IARU)



The BBC World Service says that its radio broadcasts in
English are being jammed in China, suggesting the Chinese
authorities were behind the disruption.

In a statement issued on Monday, February 24th the BBC said
that it has received reports that World Service English
shortwave frequencies are being jammed in China.  It
continued by stating that it strongly condemns this action
which is designed to disrupt audience's free access to news
and information.

China, which enforces restrictions on its domestic media,
has been accused by several foreign media distributors of
trying to stop their news reports reaching Chinese
audiences.  A duty officer at China's foreign ministry had
no immediate comment.  (BBC)



In ham radio space related news, the IARU amateur radio
satellite frequency coordination panel has announced the
frequencies for the OSSI-1 CubeSat developed by Hojun Song
DS1SBO.  The 2 meter downlink will be on 145.980 MHz with an
uplink and downlink on 437.525 MHz.

OSSI-1 is currently planned to launch on April 30th into a
575 kilometer 64.9 degree inclination orbit on a Soyuz-2-1b
booster from the Baikonur launch facility in Kazakhstan.
Other satellites to be launched on this mission include the
Bion-M1, SOMP, BEESAT 2, BEESAT 3 and the Dove-2
satellites. (IARU Satellite Coordination)



A joint satellite venture of AMSAT and Vanderbilt University
has been selected as one of the winning projects for the
fourth round of their CubeSat Launch Initiative.

AMSAT partnered with the Institute for Space and Defense
Electronics at Vanderbilt University to develop its winning
proposal.  The official name of the project is RadFxSat and
it was selected at priority 15 out of the 24 winners.

Project selection was based on technical feasibility and the
assessed merit for conducting technology demonstrations,
education, and science research.  The selected projects are
eligible for a free launch on NASA Educational Launch of
Nanosatellite missions as auxiliary payloads on launches
planned for 2014, 2015 and 2016.  The 24 winning CubeSat
proposals came from universities, a Florida high school, non-
profit organizations and NASA field centers.  (ANS)



On the air, word that the 2013 Holyland Contest 2013 will be
held from 2100z UTC on April 19th, and ends at 2100 UTC on
April 20th.  This year's contest goal will be to have as
many Israeli mobile stations activating many different and
rare squares for the "Holyland Award".  Complete contest
details and last year's results are available at  (4Z4KX, IARC)



And keep an ear open for the German special event callsign D-
L-100-Oh-U-I which will be on the air throughout 2013.  This
is in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the first
commercial radio contact between that nation and the United
States from village of Eilvese near the city of Hannover.
OUI were the call letters of the German station at that
time.  The US station was located in Tuckerton, New Jersey.
QSL this one as directed on the air.  (Southgate)



In DX, word that TA1HZ will be in Somalia on a humanitarian
mission from March 23rd to April 4th with the organization
Yeryuzu Doktorlay.  His primary purpose is as a doctor and
but also plans some on the air time likely from the city of
Mogadishu using the call T5TC.  His operation will be on the
High Frequency bands using a Kenwood radio and a Windom
antenna.  If you work him QSL to TA1HZ as per the details
found in

OE1MWW will be active from the Maldives as 8Q7WK between
March 9th to the 23rd.  His operation will be holiday style
on the High Frequency bands. QSL via his home callsign.

DF8DX will be operational from Tanzania as 5H1DX from April
20th to the 28th.  Late reports say that he will be active
from different islands including Pemba.  QSL via his home

G3RWF will be on the air from Rwanda through March 12th
likely usi8ng the call sign 9X0NH.  Activity will be on most
High Frequency bands using mainly CW with some SSB.  Logs
will be uploaded daily to Logbook of the World.  QSL via

F2FD is now active stroke HR5 from Honduras and should be
there through May 20th.  He states that he will be active as
much as possible on CW, SSB and RTTY.  QSL via F6AJA or
Logbook of the World.

SM6CUK will be operational as SA6G/7 from Ven Island between
June 10th and the 17th.  Activity will be holiday style on
the HF bands.  QSL via SM6CUK, direct or via the bureau.

Lastly, G0VJG will be on the air S79VJG from the Seychelles
between April 4th to the 16th.  Activity will be on the 40
through 10 meters using SSB.  QSL via G4DFI.



And finally this week, Friday, March 15th is the date that
ABC will air an episode of its hit situation comedy Last Man
Standing that will involve amateur radio.

The episode is titled The Fight. In it, central character
Mike Baxters daughter Mandy gets her cell phone taken away.
She then uses Mikes home shack and amateur radio to make
friends over the airwaves.

The shows producer John Amodeo, NN6JA.  He tells Newsline
that while he hopes amateur radio operators will enjoy
watching, that they have to remember the episode was written
keeping in mind the shows 7 million non-ham viewers who will
be tuned in.  Even so, he hopes that ham radio-wise the
story line might serve an even more important purpose;


Amodeo:  "Episode 217 of Last Man Standing is written about
ham radio, but of coarse its written for the general public;
so hams will probably notice some inconsistencies or
inaccuracies.  But what's most important is that non hams
ask questions about ham radio and perhaps learn something
about ham radio; then we've accomplished something."


Last Man Standing stars Tim Allen as Mike Baxter, who holds
the fictitious call KA0XTT and has ham radio as his hobby.
The show is produced by 20th Century Fox Television for the
ABC Television Network and airs on Friday nights at 8 PM
Eastern and Pacific and 7 Central.  Check your local
listings for the ABC station that carries  Last Man Standing
in your area.  (ARNewslineT)



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, TWiT-TV 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  You can also write to us or support us
at Amateur Radio NewslineT, 28197 Robin Avenue, Santa
Clarita California, 91350

For now, with Bill Pasternak, WA6ITF, at the editors' desk,
I'm Skeeter Nash, N5ASH, saying 73 and we thank you for

Amateur Radio NewslineT is Copyright 2013.  All rights

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