Friday, July 26, 2013

Amateur Radio Newsline Report 1876 - July 26 2013

Amateur Radio Newsline report number 1876 with a release
date of July 26 2013 to follow in 5-4-3-2-1.

The following is a Q-S-T.  Ham radio will share a ride to
space on a pair of joint mission satellites; a pico balloon
remains aloft for over 70 hours; Massachusetts looks to
enact an anti pirate radio law and Lithium battery safety is
once again a major concern.  Find out the details are on
Amateur Radio NewslineT report number 1876
coming your way right now.

(Billboard Cart Here)



A possible new record for the flight of a ham radio tracked
pico balloon.  Bill Pasternak, WA6ITF, is in the Newsroom
with more:


Flying pico balloons appears to be the latest interest by
ham radio operators and other near-space explorers.  A pico
balloon is essentially one of those silverized party
balloons fitted with an ultra-light-weight amateur radio
payload and designed for long distance medium altitude
flight.  And now comes word that a pico balloon launched in
the United Kingdon managed to stay aloft for some 70 hours
while it floated across the English Channel, made several
north to south round trips in France  before its signal was
lost about 80 miles North-East of Paris.

Dubbed simply B 6 the tiny craft was launched from
Silverstone in the UK at 18:40 UTC on Sunday, July 14th.  It
initially headed south approaching Paris before it changed
direction and headed north again.  On the evening of July
16th it was still aloft and transmitting over northern
France, at an altitude of about 11,000 feet. It then turned
south once again, before doing yet another loop and then
going East and passing just North of Paris before radio
contact was lost.

The B 6 payload weighed in at just 20.2 grams.  It contained
a GPS receiver along with the 10 milliwatt transmitter on
434.500 MHz running the amateur radio Domino EX 16 data
mode.  Power was supplied by a single AA size battery which
in itself may also prove to be an endurance record of sorts
for a single cell powering a long distance flight. But for
that we will have to see what those who keep the record
books have to say.

For the Amateur Radio Newsline, I'm Bill Pasternak, WA6ITF,
in the Newsroom in Los Angeles.


Leo Bondar who launched the pico balloon tells Amateur Radio
Newsline that he is not himself a radio amateur but has long
been an avid shortwave listener.  He adds that ballooning
has rekindled his interest in ham radio and radio equipment
building so he just press ahead and get a license after all
those years spent just listening.  Also, a posting on the
balloon flight website indicates that he did work with some
four dozen hams from the U-K, France and several other
European nations who were involved in tracking the flight in
real time.  More information on its epic voyage including
any late updates is on the web at
(Southgate, Leo Bondar)



A consortium headquartered in the United Kingdom plans to
launch a set of shared purpose ham radio and scientific
research cubesats early next year.  Amateur Radio Newsline's
Norm Seeley, KI7UP, reports:


It was announced during the QB 50 presentation at the recent
AMSAT-UK International Space Colloquium that two CubeSats,
carrying SSB, CW and FM voice transponders could be launched
into a 600 km or 370 mile orbit in the first half of 2014.

The QB 50 project team says that on July 19th, it had signed
a Memorandum of Understanding with AMSAT-UK, AMSAT-
Francophone, and AMSAT-NL to enable two amateur radio
payloads to fly on a pair of CubeSats.  These are mission
precursor mini-satellites which whose  purpose is to permit
the testing of key satellite and payload components ahead of
the full QB 50 mission.

The primary objective of the QB 50 mission is the study the
temporal and spatial variations of a number of key
parameters in the Earth's lower thermosphere doing so with a
network of about 40 double CubeSats.  These mini-birds will
be launched into a 320 kilometer or 210 mile high circular
orbit.  They will be separated by a few hundred feet and
carry identical science sensors.  These will monitor
parameters that will greatly increase our knowledge and
understanding of this little explored region of the E and F
layers of the Ionosphere.

QB 50 will also study the re-entry process by measuring a
number of key parameters during re-entry and by comparing
predicted and actual CubeSat trajectories and orbital

At the beginning of the mission, the various payloads
onboard the spacecraft will be operated in an alternating
fashion.  Later on the amateur radio transponders will be
operated as the primary mission once all QB 50 related
experimentation has been concluded.

For the Amateur Radio Newsline, I'm Norm Seeley, KI7UP,
watching the nighttime sky from Scottsdale, Arizona.


By combining the ham radio and scientific missions together
it means that both will reach orbit at a cost affordable.
More information about the QB 50 project can be found at
(AMSAT UK, Southgate)



In a related story the Amsat News Service reports that the
UKube-1 CubeSat carrying an amateur radio transponder as a
part of its payload could launch in late October.  As
previously reported, UKube-1 will carry a set of AMSAT-UK
designed FUNcube-2 boards.  These will provide the ham radio
community with a 70 centimeter up and 2 meter downlink
linear transponder for SSB/CW operation along with a 1200
bps BPSK telemetry beacon on 145.915 MHz.  The actual
satellite is being constructed in Scotland by Clyde Space
with its launch to take place from Kazikstan on-board a
Russian Soyuz 2 orbital booster.  (ANS)



In a rare bi-partisan move, Senators Mario Rubio of Florida
and Mark Warner from Virginia have asked National
Telecommunications and Information Agency chief Larry
Strickling for answers on what the agency is doing to free
up government spectrum.  This in light of President Obama's
June 14th memo on motivating wireless innovation and in
light of a Government Accounting Office study from April
2011 that concluded NTIA cannot ensure that spectrum is
being used efficiently by federal agencies and has limited
ability to monitor federal spectrum use.

In a letter to Strickling dated July 19th, a copy of which
was supplied to the press by Warner's office, the two wanted
that question and severa others answered.  The letter also
notes that - and we quote: "without effective NTIA
management and oversight, we have serious reservations about
the agency's ability to maximize spectrum efficiency and
relinquish portions of federal spectrum."

The FCC is preparing to auction as much as 120 MHz of
commercial spectrum reclaimed from broadcasters but this is
likely to be reduced to 80 MHZ or less given Canadian and
Mexican border issues.  This matter is also of importance to
the ham radio community because much of the spectrum it has
at 420 MHz and above is on a secondary basis and is shared
with government and military users.  (Published news



A follow-up to last weeks report on another congressional
attempt to streamline the FCC The House Communications
Subcommittee wrapped up its FCC reform hearing Thursday,
July 11th, but continuing partisan politics seem still be
standing in the way of any meaningful change.  Amateur Radio
Newsline's Heather Embee, KB3TZD, has the details:


The subject of the hearing was Republican backed draft
measures similar to legislation that passed in the House
last year only to fail to get Senate attention.

On one side of the bills were Republican legislators who
argued that they were necessary to speed FCC decision
making, tie it to a cost-benefit analysis of any new
regulations, improve transparency and limit the FCC's
ability to impose merger conditions that they suggest are a
vehicle for backdoor regulations.

On the other side are Democrats who in effect said the
committee was wasting its time debating bills similar, and
even more burdensome, than ones that had failed to get a
legal toehold in the past.

Committee ranking Democrat Henry Waxman was quoted as saying
that the legislation was a way to undermine the FCC's
ability to adopt new rules and protect consumers.  He said
that the only thing it would efficiently speed up would be
endless legal challenges.  Waxman also noted that the dozen
new mandates in the proposed law would, among other things,
would remove the public interest standard and slow the FCC
process to a crawl.

For the Amateur Radio Newsline. I'm Heather Embee, KB3TZD,
in Berewick, Pennsylvania.


Subcommittee Chairman Greg Walden, W7EQI, is the one who
called the hearings.  He said that the communications sector
is one of the few that is firing on all cylinders, but that
the current FCC process threatens the health of this segment
of the economy.  That said, in this congressional session
there is little sign that Republicans and Democrats can come
together to reach an accord.  ( and other
published news reports)



We are the Amateur Radio Newsline, heard on bulletin
stations around the world including the W0EF repeater
serving Minneapolis, Minnesota.

(5 sec pause here)



An interesting ham radio communications concept developed
mainly by hams in Texas interested in automated emergency
communications has been awarded a pair of important prizes.
Jim Davis, W2JKD, has the story:


Broadband-Hamnet, formerly HSMM-MESH firmware, developed by
amateur radio operators to provide hams with a high-speed
digital wireless communication mesh network, has won both US
and global awards from the International Association of
Emergency Managers.

The USA Council of the designated Broadband Hamnet as a
Division 2 Technology and Innovation Award winner. It then
went on to win the International Association of Emergency
Managers Global Technology and Innovation Award in the same

Broadband-Hamnet as "a high-speed, self-discovering, self-
configuring, fault-tolerant, wireless computer network.  It
has very low power consumption and a focus on emergency
communication. The firmware itself is available at no charge
via the project website

For the Amateur Radio Newsline, I'm Jim Davis, W2JKD.


The awards will be presented to Broadband-Hamnet in October
at the International Association of Emergency Managers
annual conference in Reno, Nevada.  A demonstration of how
it works can be seen in the ARRL video The DIY Magic of
Amateur Radio.  It's on the web at
magic  (ARRL)



Massachusetts is the latest state to follow the lead of
Florida, New York and New Jersey to enact laws that would
permit the prosecution of unlicensed broadcast radio station
operators.  This with word that State Representative Steven
Walsh has introduced H.R. 1679, which would give the state
attorney general the power to seek action against radio
pirates, including seizing equipment and seeking heavy money

Specifically, the measure would prohibit any unauthorized
radio telecommunication or emission to, or interference
with, a public or commercial radio station licensed by the
Federal Communications Commission.  The key to excluding
other services such as police, fire and even amateur radio
from inclusion under the proposal seems to be the words
licensed by the Federal Communications Commission.

As previously reported, last January the U.S. Attorney's
Office for Massachusetts seized transmission equipment from
an unlicensed station operating in the city of Roslindale.
The FCC then escalated the case into a forfeiture action and
that's when the office of the U.S. Attorney for
Massachusetts became involved.  (RW, Broadcast Daily,



A recent investigation of interference to communications
between pilots and the control tower for aircraft
approaching Auckland airport in New Zealand, highlights the
risk of unintended signals being generated as an unwanted
side effect of radio broadcasting.  Amateur Radio Newsline's
Jim Meachen reports from down-under:


The investigation took several weeks to complete because of
the low signal level and intermittent observations of the
interference.  Locating it involved considerable staff
resources from the New Zealand Radio Spectrum Management
agency as well as their renting an aircraft and pilot to
locate the source from the air.

When found the problem proved to be an unwanted spurious
emission from an FM broadcast transmitter in a community to
the north of Auckland.  The problem was quickly repaired by
the broadcaster.

In this case the interference was not considered to be an
immediate safety risk because of the availability of
alternative aircraft radio communications channels.  It did
however present a significant annoyance and distraction to
pilots flying into and out of the city.

A recent study by the New Zealands's neighbor across the
Tasman Sea confirms the same problem exists in VK land.
According to the Australian Communications and Media
Authority about 28% of the transmitters it checked showed
the production of unwanted emissions with many radiated in
the aeronautical radio-communication band.  As such these
spurs do hold a potential risk to the safe operation of

For the Amateur Radio Newsline, I'm Jim Meachen, ZL2BHF, in
Nelson, New Zealand.


Auckland Airport is a major airline hub in New Zealand.  It
serves domestic airline flights as well as a transfer point
for passengers going on to other locations.  (Southgate,



If you are involved in emergency communications activities
and use the GovDelivery e-mail service service listen up.
GovDelivery has announced that it will discontinue
disseminating National Weather Service weather alerts
effective July 31, 2013.

GovDelivery is a self-subscription service used to deliver e-
mail and SMS/text notifications to the general public and
has contracts with many government agencies. The National
Weather Service began using GovDelivery in 2008 but
terminated its contract with GovDelivery in November of
2012, due to budget constraints.

At the time of the National Weather Service contract
termination GovDelivery continued distribute weather alert
information using a similar e-subscription service.  NWS
subscribers were notified about the change and offered the
opportunity to subscribe to GovDelivery's free service as
well as to other third party weather alert services.
However, due to the substantial costs of providing a high
reliability messaging service at this scale GovDelivery
cannot continue the free service.

More information on the discontinuance of GovDelivery NWS
alerts and several free alternatives to it are on the web at  (NOAA)



George Howard, NW4G, who is the Amateur Radio Division
Manager at GigaParts says that he has received word that
Alinco is back up and running and its products began
shipping on July 17th.

In a posting to, Howard says that distribution is
now being handled by a company called Remtronix Incorporated
with a website at  A web search shows
Remtronix to be located in Hayward California not that far
from San Francisco.

Howard also says that he has received word of several price
reductions as well as announcement of the launch of the new
Software Defined Radio based DX-SR9T high frequency
transceiver.  (NW4G via QRZ)



Radio Amateurs of Canada has named Alvin Masse, VE3CWP, as
its new Corporate Secretary.  In making the announcement,
Geoff Bawden, VE4BAW, who is the national society's
President and Chairman said that Masse brings with him a
wealth of organizational skills, history and wisdom and will
be a great benefit to the organization.  VE3CWP replaces
Linda Friars, VE9GLF, who served as Acting Corporate
Secretary until Masse's appointment.  (RAC)



The South African Radio League will be an exhibitor at the
2013 Eskom Expo for Young Scientists.  The event takes place
from September 25th to 28th and will include both an
operational High Frequency as well as a VHF station.   The
South African Radio League will also be sponsoring a special
award at the Expo for best final entry in the field of RF
and electronics.

The Eskom Expo was founded by the late Dr. Derek Gray in
1980.  Since then it has provided an opportunity for school
students from primary to grade 12, who have an interest in
Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics to exhibit
their projects and to be judged on their skills and
enthusiasm for science.  (SARL)



Microwave Update or MUD 2013 which takes place October 18th
and 19th at Morehead State Space Science Center in
Moorehead, Kentucky.  The planners have put out a call
seeking papers to be presented at the event.  Papers can be
up to 10 pages in length.  If you wish to be a presenter
please send your proposal to mud (at) downeastmicrowave
(dot) come before August 30th.  (WA3ZKR)



A new group has been formed on Facebook for hams wishing to
schedule contacts with other amateurs world-wide.  If you
need a particular contact for an award, or just a chat, then
go to and have a look.  (GB2RS)



With you 52 weeks a year, every year since 1977, 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)



Much of today's latest portable electronics including ham
radio gear is powered by Lithium or Lithium Ion batteries.
But these same batteries have also become a safety concern
as we hear from Graham Kemp, VK4BB:


Lithium batteries are undoubtedly popular going by their
wide use in consumer products, and even higher powered
models in electric vehicles.  However they have been linked
to fires, illicit drug makers and medical problems.

The recent death of a toddler in Queensland, Australia and
others injured after swallowing them, has again focused
attention on the common power source.

From January 2013 stricter regulations for the carriage of
Lithium batteries by air travelers were introduced best
check with your airline for the rules.

A battery can also be a convenient source of lithium metal
used in illegal methamphetamine laboratories. Sales of
larger quantities are restricted for this reason in some

International industry standards for button batteries are
soon to be introduced as an urgent safety measure.  These
are likely to include strengthened consumer education about
the dangers and child-restraint packaging for the cell

For the Amateur Radio Newsline, I'm Graham Kemp, VK4BB. Of
the WIA News, in Australia.


The bottom line is that when using these Lithium batteries
as a source of power for anything electronic that it is
important to think safety first.  (VK3PC, WIA News)



IARU Region 1 reports that the 2nd International Youth
Meeting was held on Saturday, June 29th.  The event featured
several lectures including one by Tommy Degrande, ON2TD.  He
is the Belgian Youth Coordinator of that nations national
Amateur Radio Society the UBA.  He spoke about youth
activities in Belgium

Other presenters included Remko Welling, PE1MEW,  who
servers as the Scouting Jamboree on the Air Coordinator in
the Netherlands and Mari Nikkila, OH2FPK, who is the Finnish
Amateur Radio Youth Coordinator.

The International Youth Meeting was timed to coincide with
the 2013 Ham Radio Convention held on the shores of Lake
Constance in Friedrichshafen, Germany.  More can be found on
the web at  (IARU Region 1)



The Amsat News Service reports that the ARISS software has
been upgraded by a student named Nolan Replogle who interned
with the Education Projects Office at NASA's Johnson Space
Center in Houston from January to April of this year.

During his stay his assignment was to update the planning
software for the Amateur Radio on the International Space
Station which is used to help schedule contacts and events.
The original software's lack of a user interface meant that
people needed to input data directly into text files, and
then run the program to see if it worked.  Replogle, a
computer engineering major at Oklahoma State University used
his programming skills to create a more user-friendly
interface for the software.

Replogle named the upgraded software ARISS Assistant or
ARRISA for short.  With his updates, there is now a graphic
user interface that allows users to click on buttons to
enter information into text boxes.  This automated feature
is more intuitive and requires a lot less data entry.

Replogle has not yet had the chance to speak with an
astronaut on-orbit, but he says that he would like to.  Now
thanks in part to the work he did as a NASA intern, other
students around the world will have a better chance to have
live contacts with International Space Station and its ham
radio astronauts.  (ANS)



India's National Institute of Amateur Radio was co sponsor
of a Small Satellite Developer Workshop event organized by
Dhruva Space held July 8th to the 13th.  Satellite experts
had engineering models on display to help participants
understand the challenges found in designing and developing
the subsystems of small satellites.  A full report on this
gathering can be found on the web at  (NAIR)



Paul Robinson, 2E1EUB, will once again be on the air from
Scotland as 2M1EUB for 14 days beginning August 5th.  He
will be driving around that nation while listening out for
anyone looking for grid squares that they have not worked
yet, especially on the satellites.  His operation will be
several ham radio birds including AO-7 running modes B to A
as well as on 160, 80 and 2 meter SSB.   Robinson says that
he will arrange skeds to work him.  To arrange one e-mail
him at 2e1eub (at)  Check out under
2M1EUB for more information and the latest updates.  (ANS)



In DX, word that the ARRL has announced several Colvin Award
grants to help support three upcoming DXpeditions.  The
recipients are the K9W Wake Atoll operation scheduled for
September through October and the T33A Banaba Island for
November.  Also named is the FT5ZM Amsterdam Island
DXpedition planned for January through February of 2014.

PH2M will be active as PJ4M from the island of Bonaire
between September 13th to the 26th.  Operations will be on
the High Frequency bands. QSL via his home callsign direct
or via the bureau\

N0TG, AA4VK and N1SNB will be active stroke FS from St.
Martin between October 24th to the 31st.  This operation
will likely mirror probably their PJ7 DXpedition which was
described as a suitcase operation on 40 through 10 meters
using CW and SSB, with wire antennas and 100 watts. QSL all
operators via AA4VK.

IZ1DPS will be operational stroke HC from Ecuador through
January 12th, 2014.  Activity will be on the HF bands. QSL
via IK2DUW, direct, by the Bureau or Logbook of the World

A team composed of six French DXers will be operating
as TM2NOI from Noirmoutier Island from August 9th to the
11th.  The team will try to be active from 160 through 10
meters using CW, SSB and several digital modes.  Particular
interest will be paid to the Islands on the Air calling
frequencies.  QSL direct or via the bureau to F4FVI.

Lastly, Members from the F6KOP Radio Club team will be
active as TO7CC from Reunion Island between February 5th to
the 17th, 2014.  Their operation  will be on all bands and
modes, with an emphasis on the lower bands and RTTY. The
group says that more details will be forthcoming.

(Above from various DX news sources)



And finally this week, have you ever thought of sending your
own spacecraft to the Moon?  Well until now such a trip was
out of the reach of almost everyone here on planet Earth.
But that's all changing thanks to a new citizen oriented
space project as we hear in this report from the Wireless
Institute of Australia:


A new project to give thousands of people the opportunity to
design, build and launch personalised spacecraft and send
them to the moon has begun.

Now anyone can become a citizen space explorer at a cost of
explorers who back the project will be able to personalise
their own
spacecraft by adding a picture or message direct from their
social media or game profile or create their own unique

Pocket Spacecraft are disks with flexible electronics,
smaller than a CD and as thin as a piece of paper, that will
be loaded into an Interplanetary CubeSat mothership to hitch
a ride into space on a commercial rocket. The mothership
will then set off to the moon and when it arrives many
months later, the fleet of Pocket Spacecraft will be
photographed as they are released to land on the moon to
complete their mission.

Anyone can take part in the mission via the crowd-funding

The campaign ends on August 26, 2013.


Anyone can take part in the mission via the crowd-funding
web site  And who knows?  If this idea
works as planned you could be the first ham radio operator
on your block or in your community to vicariously make a
trip to the Moon.  Well at least, kind of.  (WIA News)



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, near Houston, Texas, saying 73 and
we thank you for listening.

Amateur Radio NewslineT is Copyright 2013.  All rights

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