Amateur Radio NewslineT Report 1897 - December 20 2013
From Roy Witt@1:2320/100 to Y'all on Fri Dec 20 15:36:02 2013
Amateur Radio Newsline report number 1897 with a release date of December
20 2013 to follow in 5-4-3-2-1.
The following is a QST. The murderer of ham radio operator and his wife
gets life behind prison bars; UK telecommunications regulator Ofcom is re-evaluating ham radio licensing requirements; Myanmar could soon create
an amateur radio service; the South Africa Radio League celebrates the
life and passing of Nelson Mandela and Santa comes to Echolink. All this
and more on this Christmas week edition of Amateur Radio NewslineT report number 1897 coming your way right now.
ENFORCEMENT: CONVICTED KILLER OF RADIO AMATEUR AND WIFE GETS LIFE
A federal jury deliberating the sentence for Arizona inmate John McCluskey failed to reach a unanimous verdict on Wednesday, December 11th meaning
the judge will sentence him to life in prison for murdering a retired
Oklahoma ham radio operator and his wife. Amateur Radio Newsline's Norm Seeley, KI7UP, has more:
John McCluskey was convicted of the brutal murder of Gary Haas, N5VGH, and
his wife Linda. Their bodies were found in their burned out travel
trailer in Santa Rosa, New Mexico on August 4th, 2010.
During the four-month trial, the defense argued that McCluskey should not
be executed because brain damage, abuse and addictions made him incapable
of controlling his impulses and making reasoned decisions when he shot the Haases. Prosecutors asserted that the only fitting punishment was to put McCluskey to death because he was a dangerous and remorseless,
cold-blooded killer and a danger to society.
The victims were making their 11th summer trip to Colorado when they were killed three days after the prison break funded by a drug smuggling ring McCluskey allegedly ran in the prison. At that time, McCluskey was
serving 15 years for attempted second-degree murder, aggravated assault
and discharge of a firearm when he and two other prisoners staged a daring escape from a medium-security jail near Kingman, Arizona. This with the
help of his cousin and fiancee Casslyn Welch.
Jurors deliberated for nearly four days before deciding they couldn't
agree on the death sentence making mandatory that McCluskey serve the rest
of his life in prison without the possibility of parole.
For the Amateur Radio Newsline, I'm Norm Seeley, KI7UP, in Scottsdale,
The Haas family left the courtroom quietly saying that they didn't want to comment on the jury's decision. A sentencing date has yet to be set. (Published news reports)
RADIO TESTING: NCVEC RELEASES 2014 TO 2018 TECH QUESTION POOL
The National Conference of Volunteer Examination Coordinators, better
known as the NCVEC has released its new Element 2, Technician Class,
question pool to the public. The new questions which are the work of the groups Question Pool Committee take effect on July 1st, 2014 and will
remain valid through June 30, 2018.
A note on the NCVEC website says that Pool files that were posted on
December 10, 2013 have been replaced with corrected content. It asks
those who visited the site on December 10th and downloaded files to go
back and do it again. It notes that following some edits and corrections
the files were re-posted on Thursday, November 12th.
The URL where the questions can be found is
tinyurl.com/tech-questions-2014. The question pool being used at this
time for administering Technician class tests is valid until June 30,
RESTRUCTURING: OFCOM SAYS IT WILL NOT CREATE INCENTIVE LICENSING
Hams in the United Kingdom need not worry about a form of incentive
licensing being imposed on them. According to telecommunications
regulator Ofcom, as it reviews that nations ham radio structure it has no
plans for a mandatory upgrade program that will drive anyone from the
hobby as we hear from RSGB Newsreader Jeremy Boot, G4NJH:
During the wide debate about the forthcoming amateur radio license review
to be carried out by Ofcom, several amateurs have been in touch with the
RSGB to express concern that they will either be required to progress to
become Full licensees or to surrender their Foundation or Intermediate
license and give up the hobby. In response Ofcom has provided the
"It is not Ofcom's intention to discourage people from the hobby but we
want to set up a framework that encourages those interested in pursuing
the technical hobby to stretch their knowledge and operating skill.
"In our analysis we will be consulting on any changes to the licensing arrangements but we will be taking into account the accessibility and
diverse interests provided by the hobby and we won't be designing a regime
that leaves or pushes people out."
For the Amateur Radio Newsline, I'm Jeramy Boot, G4NJH, in Nottingham, in
That's good news for hams in the UK especially to those familiar with the Incentive Licensing debacle here in the United States that took place back
in the late 1960's. While the incentive was to force then current lower
class license holders to upgrade or loose privileges, its effect was just
the opposite. Many General class operators, unhappy at having their
privileges reduced, decided to drop out of the hobby rather than upgrade.
As a result overall growth slowed to a crawl which in turn caused a number
of longtime manufacturers of ham radio gear to either leave the market and
seek greener pastures or simply go out of business. (RSGB News,
ARNewsline Archive, Wikipedia)
WORLDBEAT: XZ-LAND MAY OPEN UP SOON
There are signs from Myanmar indicating that normalized Amateur Radio may
be returning to that Asian country in the not so distant future. This
after decades of little activity. Amateur Radio Newsline's Stephan
Kinford, N8WB, has the details:
Over the years a few foreigners have been heard with Myanmar XZ callsigns
but the activity has not been a fully open Amateur Radio service. Even
so, this year saw operations led by JH1AJT, initially as XZ1Z and later as
part of a multi-member team.
A bit earlier, British radio amateur Simon Butterill, G6JFY, regularly
visited Myanmar from Thailand and in May 2012 he was allowed to sign XZ1K
from one of the nation's southern states. He mounted a PSK31 operation as
XZ1K logging several hundred QSOs on 10 and 20 meters.
But this past October the country's Posts and Telecommunications
Department, under the Ministry of Communications and Information
Technology, enacted a new Telecommunications Law for Myanmar. However
there seems to be little known about what steps are being taken to
reactivate Amateur Radio in that country, or interest from outside being
shown by those who may have some influence with telecommunications
So will ham radio return to Myanmar? Only time and politics will tell.
That said, things look far more hopeful than they did only a few short
For the Amateur Radio Newsline, I'm Stephen Kinford, N8WB, reporting
Myanmar formerly known as Burma was a British colony gained its
independence in 1948. The government has been under direct or indirect
control of the military since 1962. In 2011 the ruling military junta
was officially dissolved following a 2010 general election. At that time
a nominally civilian government was installed, however the military still retains some amount of influence through the constitution that was
ratified in 2008. (VK3PC, Wikipedia)
WORLDBEAT: ZS9MADIBA CELEBRATES THE LIFE OF NELSON MANDELA
ZS9MADIBA is the South African Radio League Special Event Station
commemorating the life and recent passing of Nelson Mandela, the elder statesman and first democratically-elected President of the Republic of
South Africa. Affectionately referred to as "Madiba," he became one of
the most recognized world leaders and was instrumental in the peaceful transition of South Africa from minority rule to a constitutional
If you make contact with ZS9MADIBA you can QSL via the bureau or by
sending your card to the South African Radio League, Post Office Box 1721, Strubensvallei 1735, South Africa. Confirmations will also be accepted electronically via Logbook of the World. To receive the special QSL card
by mail, please include $1 for postage.
Also, members of the South African Radio League are invited to apply for
time slots to operate ZS9MADIBA from their own home stations.
RESCUE RADIO: CHINA OPENS EMERGENCY BROADCAST CENTER
China has taken a big step in creating a national emergency notification system. Amateur Radio Newsline's Bill Pasternak, WA6ITF, reports:
China has taken the rescue radio initiative with the announcement that it
has opened a national emergency broadcast center. This, as the country
speeds up the construction of a nationwide radio network that will spread rescue and relief information for disaster hit regions.
The radio service was jointly initiated by China National Radio working
with local radio and TV stations. It broadcasts government relief
measures and secondary disaster warnings to those affected using AM radio, satellite facilities and even loudspeakers where necessary.
The center's official website has also begun operation. It will be used
to release the latest data on disasters across the country and providing
online rescue and relief guidance.
The plan is considered by China as an important measure for coping with disasters. I was reportedly inspired by a similar but smaller scale radio network that was set up after a fatal 7.0 magnitude earthquake hit Lushan
in southwest China last April.
For the Amateur Radio Newsline, I'm Bill Pasternak, WA6ITF, in the
newsroom in Los Angeles.
From what is known about China's new emergency alert system it appears to
be based on the "keep it simple" principle so as to prevent the
possibility of failure when it's needed most. (WIA News, ecns.cn)
RADIO RECOGNITION: PLAQUE LISTS AMATEUR RADIO CLUB AMONG SUPERSTORM SANDY VOLUNTEERS, FIRST RESPONDERS
New York's Great South Bay Amateur Radio Club has earned a spot on a
plaque honoring first responders and other volunteers who assisted in the
wake of the devastating Superstorm Sandy and the nor'easter that followed
in the fall of 2012.
The town of Babylon on Long Island erected the plaque earlier this fall in Tanner Park. This area which faces Great South Bay on Long Island's south shore and suffered serious damage from the storms.
The plaque itself reads, "When the Town of Babylon was struck by
Superstorm Sandy in the fall of 2012, many residents were exposed to
dangerous storm conditions; some of whom were rescued from their homes.
These brave men and women were the first to answer the call when their neighbors needed them the most. We thank them for their service and
dedicate this plaque to them."
According to club spokesman Bob Myers, K2TV, the recognition came as a
complete surprise to his organization, most of whom also belong to the
local ARES organization. According to Myers, club members were only
carrying out what they felt was expected after the many hours of training
and emergency preparedness. Myers added that having recognition like this serves as validation that they were doing their job. (ARRL)
RESCUE RADIO: OHIO SCHOOLS APPLY FOR GRANTS FOR RADIO SYSTEM
Applications covering more than 1,200 Ohio schools have been submitted for state grants to pay for new emergency radios that contain entry security features for such buildings.
The school radios manufactured by Motorola were developed by the states Multi-Agency Radio Communications or MARCS System. This is a state-wide
system that allows first responders to easily talk to any agency with
The design of these radios not only permits two way voice communications,
but also allows a school employee to send an electronic alert with the
push of a button. Then he or she can take shelter or help others without speaking and giving away their presence to an intruder.
The radio system reportedly avoids problems with downed phone lines or overloaded cellular telephone networks. More about this new emergency
radio structure is on the web at tinyurl.com/ohio-school-radio-system
ON THE WEB: NEW HAM RADIO EDUCATIONAL INTEREST VIDEO
There's a new ham radio promotional and educational video now on the
Internet that may be of use to those trying to interest non hams in
joining the fraternity. Amateur Radio Newsine's Hal Rodgers, K8CMD, tells
us a bit about it:
Amateurs interested in spreading the good word about their hobby now have
a new tool. A video entitled "Discovering Amateur radio" has just been released.
Written and narrated by David Anderson, K1AN, the production describes an extraordinary technology that in just 100 years has transformed our lives
in, as Anderson says, "the most amazing ways."
Available in a condensed version as well as a half hour program, the
well-paced video can be viewed on line or used in group presentations. The producers say it was created for anyone who wishes to encourage youths and adults to discover amateur radio.
The production is one of many educational programs administered under the auspices of UNESCO, the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization through partnership with the World Genesis Foundation. "Discovering Amateur Radio" is on the project website at www.radioqrv.com
For Amateur Radio Newsline, I'm Hal Rogers, K8CMD
Those who teach Amateur Radio in high school and college settings might
find Discovering Amateur Radio to be very well suited for showing to their students. This, especially given the additional reference material
included in the longer half hour minute version.
Once again the website where to find "Discovering Amateur Radio" is www.radioqrv.com (K8CMD, others)
RADIO READING: FIRST NOVEL ABOUT CUBESATS AND PERSONAL SPACECRAFT
A Pyramid of Tiny Skulls by Andy Thomas, G0SFJ, is reported to be the
first novel to find inspiration from Cubesats and the new wave of personal spacecraft such as Sprites.
In, the story a character named Jack Malik, who is an entrepreneur and nightclub operator, carries a letter from murdered dancer home to a
Russian enclave at Kaliningrad. There he agrees to collect a secret
parcel from Shanghai. What he brings back will attract the City Leader's attention, and echo through the Cosmos.
Thomas has dedicated the new book to those whom he describes as the
visionaries of Cubesats and personal spacecraft. Availability is at www.createspace.com/4548329 (Southgate)
HAM HAPPENINGS: ARRL CENTENNIAL TO INCLUDE REGIONAL EVENTS
If you can't make it to Hartford, Connecticut, for the ARRL's 2014
Centennial Convention then the League will work with other ham radio
gatherings to bring the convention to you. At least in the spirit of the event.
As part of its centennial celebration, the ARRL has designated six major
ham radio gatherings as "Regional ARRL Centennial Events." These include
the 2014 Orlando Hamcation in February, the Dayton Hamvention next May,
Sea-Pac in Oregon in June, Ham-Com in Plano Texas also in June; the
Huntsville Hamfest in August and Pacificon in Santa Clara, California next October.
The concept of regional celebrations was approved when the ARRL Executive Committee met in Colorado last October. The League's Marketing Manager
Bob Inderbitzen developed the concept as a way to, in effect, take the
ARRL Centennial celebration to the amateur radio community across the
United States. (ARRL)
NAMES IN THE NEWS: VO1NO NAMED NEW CHAIR OF RAC 0-30 MHZ COMMITTEE
Some names in the news. First up is Al Penney, VO1NO who is the new chair
of Radio Amateurs of Canada's Zero to 30 MHz Band Planning Committee.
Penney was first licensed in 1977 and has been active on all bands from
160 meters through the microwave bands. VO1NO replaces previous chair,
Jim Fisher, VE1JF who has retired but will continue to serve the committee
for a time and has pledged his active support to a successful transition.
NAMES IN THE NEWS: VE7AV RECIPIENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY LIFELINE VOLUNTEERS
Still up North, a Prince George ham radio operators contributions in
emergency radio communications have earned him a Public Safety Lifeline Volunteers award from British Columbia Canada's Justice Minister Suzanne Anton. According to a biography provided by the ministry, in addition to
a 35 year radio communications career in the federal public service, Frank VanderZande, VE7AV has been teaching amateur radio since 1970.
VanderZande was first licensed at the age of 14. During his ham radio
career he has been associated with the Red Cross as a disaster management emergency response team member since 2001, and has been the project lead
for the Prince George Amateur Radio Club in the building of its emergency communication trailer. This mobile unit is now used to support search and rescue efforts across northern British Columbia. (Prince George Citizen)
SOLAR FORECASTING: SUN'S CURRENT SOLAR ACTIVITY CYCLE IS WEAKEST IN A
Although there have been numerous theories presented by solar researchers,
many have come to the simple conclusion that Solar Cycle 24 is the most
anemic in 100 years. Amateur Radio Newsline's Heather Embee, KB3TZD, has
While our home star the Sun is now at its 11 year solar maximum it has
already been compared with earlier poor solar maximums including the very
weak Solar Cycle 14 in the early 1900's. That cycle began February 1902
and ending in August 1913. The maximum smoothed sunspot number observed
during that cycle was 64.2, and the minimum was 1.5. There were a total
of approximately 1019 days with no sunspots during cycle 14.
Leif Svalgaard is a researcher at Stanford University. On December 11th
he told reporters at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union
that none of us alive have ever seen such a weak cycle, noting that the learning has already begun.
For example, scientists think they know why the solar storms that have
erupted during Solar Cycle 24 have caused relatively few problems here on Earth. They say that the sun often blasts huge clouds of superheated
particles known as Coronal Mass Ejections into space. Powerful CME's that
hit Earth squarely can trigger geomagnetic storms, which in turn can
disrupt radio communications.
But such effects have rarely been seen during Solar Cycle 24, even though
the total number of Coronal Mass Ejections hasn't dropped off
significantly. The explanation, researchers say lies in the reduced
pressure currently present in the suns heliosphere.
Nat Gopalswamy of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center asserts that this
lower pressure has allowed CME's to expand greatly as they move through
space. As such Solar Cycle 24 Coronal Mass Ejections are, on average, 38 percent wider than those measured during the last cycle. In other words,
less pressure from these CME's is hitting here on Earth. And when the
CMEs expand more, the magnetic field inside of them has lower strength.
So when you have lower-strength magnetic fields, then they cause milder geomagnetic storms.
Scientists also think they know why relatively few super-fast solar
energetic particles, or have been measured in Earth's neighborhood during
the current cycle, which began in early 2008. They say that this has to
do with a weakened interplanetary magnetic field which appears to be
another characteristic of Solar Cycle 24.
Also quite significant is the fact that the polar field was weak during
Solar Cycle 23, so researchers kind of suspected that Solar Cycle 24 would
For the Amateur Radio Newsline, I'm Heather Embee, KB3TZD, in Berwick, Pennsylvania.
Stanford's Leif Svalgaard says that predictions about Solar Cycle 25
should start coming in two or three years. (Space.com, Huffington Post,
other published news reports)
RADIO TECHNOLOGY: WG2XRS SIGNALS HEARD IN EASTERN USA AND GERMANY
Signals from WG2XRS, one of the United States based special experimental transmitting licensed stations for the 75kHz band, crossed the Atlantic in early December. This by using the new Oh-P-65 mode.
Seventeen monitor stations spread across the United States and Western
Europe listened for the transmissions. The first transmit period produced
a substantial number of automated signal reports from monitoring points in
the eastern United States.
Across the Atlantic, only one station in Germany managed to capture the
signal. He heard and decoded it at a distance of 3,881 miles. As we go to
air, these tests are continuing. (RSGB)
RADIO LAW: VK ANALOG TV GOES AWAY BUT THE 6 METER RESTRICTION REMAINS
Even as Australia went 100 percent digital television on December 10th, it
does not automatically mean the automatic return of 50 to 52 MHz to that nations amateur radio service.
According to Jim Linton, VK3PC, even with the removal from service of the
last analog TV transmitter on Channel 0, the six meter limitations are
listed in the nations License Conditions Determination on operation of
amateur stations in Australia's eastern states. As such the restrictions
on the lower end of six meters will remain in force until the document is changed by the Australia Communications and Media Authority or ACMA.
The Wireless Institute of Australia has long held that the 50 to 54 MHz
band should be returned to and allocated exclusively for use by that
nations amateur service, once the existing Channel 0 transmitters were
removed from service. It notes that 6 meters is the so-called 'magic
band' and as such is important to radio amateurs because it provides
unique opportunities for ham radio operators to conduct various forms of propagation experimentation. (VK3PC)
PROPAGATION: SOUTH AFRICAN 60 METER PROPAGATION BEACON
South Africa's Kempton Park Amateur Radio Technical Society currently has
an operational 60 meter propagation study beacon transmitting on 5 dot 250
MHz using the call ZS6KTS. The beacon transmits at 5 minute intervals
with PSK31 as the preferred mode. Please visit the clubs website at www.zs6kts.co.za for more detailed information regarding the beacons
In DX, the K9W Wake Atoll DXpedition reports that it logged slightly over 100,000 contacts from 186 discrete DXCC entities during its November
operation. This DXpedition was dedicated to preserving the memory of the Forgotten 98 which was a group of civilian contractors who lost their
lives on Wake Island on October 7, 1943 during World War II.
The ARRL DXCC Desk has approved the current T6TM operation from
Afghanistan for DXCC credit. If your request for this operation has been rejected in a prior application, contact ARRL Awards Branch Manager Bill
Moore, NC1L, to be placed on the list for an update to your record. His
e-mail is bmoore (at) ARRL dot org.
PA0RRS will once again be active as 9M2MRS from Penang Island. This
between December 31st and February 3rd. His operation will be on 40
through 10 meters using CW, RTTY and PSK. QSL via his home call.
Oh-E4AAC will once again be active stroke 3B9 from Rodriguez Island from February 10th to the 18th. His operation will be holiday style on 40
through 10 meters on CW only. QSL via his home call.
BA4DW is expected to be operational as E51CDW during a holiday style
operation from Rarotonga Island between January 21st and the 27th. He
tells the Ohio-Penn DX newsletter that his activity will be on the major
High Frequency bands using CW and SSB. QSL via BA4DW.
Lastly, a group of six operators from the UK will operate as TX6G from the Island of Raivavae in the Australs Islands between March 20th and April
1st. A website will be launched with further details once the other
details are confirmed.
THAT FINAL ITEM: CHRISTMAS EVE SANTA WATCH COMES TO ECHOLINK
And faunally this week, we have not heard much from radio clubs that are sponsoring pre-Christmas talk to Santa Clause nets or similar type events.
We are sure that there are some out there but one we have found is rather unique because it combines both ham radio and the Internet. Here's
Amateur Radio Newsline's Cheryl Lasek, K9BIK:
Starting Christmas Eve at 6:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Dave Vowell,
N3NTV, will be hosting the Santa Watch Net on the DoDropIn conference
server at node 355800. This is the same Echolink server node that hosts numerous ham radio social events including the Sunday night Broadcasters
Net out of New York City and the Wednesday evening Ham Nation post show gathering.
N3NTV will be keeping track of and announcing Santa's location. He will
also be taking check-ins from the youngsters via the magic of the Internet
and Amateur Radio.
So please do drop in to the DoDropIn Santa Watch Net with your kids,
grandkids or your neighbors with their youngsters and find out where Santa Clause is. And you never know: Santa himself may just might be a ham and
could check in "reindeer mobile" from his high flying sleigh.
For the Amateur Radio Newsline, I'm Cheryl Lased, K9BIK, already with lots
of holiday snow already here in Zion, Illinois.
Once again that's the Santa Watch Net on the DoDropIn conference server at
node 355800 at 6:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on Christmas Eve.
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 W-I-A 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 www.arnewsline.org. You can
also write to us or support us at Amateur Radio NewslineT, 28197 Robin
Avenue, Santa Clarita California, 91350
Before we sign off, a reminder that the Dayton Amateur Radio Association
is soliciting nominations for its Hamvention awards. This includes the
Amateur of the Year, Special Achievement, Technical Excellence and Club of
the Year. Nominations must be received by January 17, 2014. For more information, visit tinyurl.com/hamvention-awards-2014.
For now, with Bill Pasternak, WA6ITF, at the editors' desk, I'm Skeeter
Nash, N5ASH, near Houston Texas wishing you a very Happy Holiday season
and as always, we thank you for listening.
Amateur Radio NewslineT is Copyright 2013. All rights reserved.