The Wirral & District Amateur Radio Club

Club Members' News Page

With the latest Amateur Radio and Technical News
from Wirral, UK and around the World !

The RSGB NEWS for Radio Amateurs & SWL's

Looking for an archived News Item to read again ? click ARCHIVED NEWS

 

SUWS VHF/UHF/Microwave WebSDR moves to new site

Saturday 16th August 2014

The Southampton University Wireless Society SUWS VHF/UHF/ Microwave WebSDR has now moved to its new site in Farnham

You can use the free online SUWS Web Software Defined Radio (WebSDR) from your PC or Laptop to receive the International Space Station (ISS) and the many amateur radio satellites transmitting in the 144-146 MHz or 435-438 MHz bands.

The WebSDR also provides reception of High Altitude Balloons in the 434 MHz band and coverage of the microwave 10368-10370 MHz band.

Martin Ehrenfried G8JNJ has equipped the SUWS WebSDR with omni-direction helix antennas for both 144-146 MHz and 432-438 MHz which have proved effective for both high altitude balloon and satellite reception.

The SUWS WebSDR is located at Farnham not far from London, 51.3 N 1.15 W, listen to it at
http://websdr.suws.org.uk/

Martin says this about the special satellite antennas “I had been experimenting with single turn ‘twisted halo’ design, and decided to try stacking them to see if I could achieve more gain. Modelling suggested that a stretched 3 turn helix with a helix circumference of approx 1/2 wave length and an overall length of 1/2 wave at 70cm, and fed with a gamma match at the centre would offer reasonable gain, an omni-directional pattern and mixed polarisation.”

Full details of the antennas are available at
http://g8jnj.webs.com/currentprojects.htm

A presentation by Phil Crump M0DNY on the SUWS WebSDR will be streamed live to the web from the UKHAS Conference on Saturday, August 16, see
http://amsat-uk.org/2014/08/14/ukhas-2014-conference-live-video-stream/

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Ofcom scupper Essex pensioner's pirate station

Saturday 16th August 2014

The Echo reports pensioner Brian Barfoot started running the pirate radio station Monster FM 88.3 from Wickford in Essex in 2010

After over 3 years of operation, Ofcom eventually raided the station in 2014.

Monster House Radio, MHR 88.3, had been operating 24 hours a day 7 days a week.

Read the Echo story at
http://www.echo-news.co.uk/news/local_news/
11401988.Charity_broadcaster_is_silenced_by_court/

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RFinder now finds repeaters over routes world wide!

Friday 15th August 2014

In the next step of pushing the limits of The World Wide Repeater Directory, the RFinder team has released Repeater Routes!

Already released on the web at http://routes.rfinder.net, we have created an API that we expect to be incorporated into RT Systems software very soon.

As always we encourage new users to obtain access to RFinder via purchasing the app in Google Play on Android and The Apple App Store on iPhone/iPad/iPod. Once you register your email and password in the app, use that on http://routes.rfinder.net or http://web.rfinder.net, RT Systems, CHIRP, etc.

The web version allows downloads in a variety of formats including csv, tpe and several GPS POI formats including the AVMAP Amateur Radio GPS.

The annual subscription for the World Wide Repeater Directory is only $9.99 and for that one price, includes access from any platform RFinder is available on: Android, iPhone, web, RT Systems, RadioBuddy (iPhone), and two new third party applications coming soon for Windows (by KB2SCS) and Macintosh (by KD2DMH).

More information: http://www.rfinder.net

Information for our open-source realtime radio programmer, RFinderPi: http://rfinderpi.rfinder.net

Contact: w2cyk@rfinder.net, +1.631.610.5120, skype: bobofthedeep

https://www.dropbox.com/s/zgbfjgwip9a060a/
Screenshot%202014-08-14%2023.19.34.png

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UKHAS 2014 Conference Live Video Stream

Friday 15th August 2014

The UKHAS Conference this Saturday, Aug 16, will be streamed live and the radio amateurs giving the presentations will, if time permits, take questions via the web

The annual UK High Altitude Society (UKHAS) conference at the University of Greenwich in London attracts those interested in learning about building and flying High Altitude Balloons or in tracking their 434 MHz signals.

There is an impressive line-up of speakers in addition to which there will be workshops, demonstrations along with amateur radio exams.

Morning Sessions

09:30 Assembly – Coffee / Tea + Biscuits
10.10 Introduction – James Coxon M6JCX and Anthony Stirk M0UPU
10.20 Predictor – Daniel Richman M0ZDR and Adam Greig M0RND
10.50 Advanced superpressure balloon technology – Dan Bowen K2VOL Balloon Scientist Google Loon Project
11.30 WebSDR – Philip Crump M0DNY
11.40 UK Ham Radio Airborne Operation Update - Steve Randall G8KHW
11.45 Break
12.00 $50SAT Low cost satellite- Stuart Robinson GW7HPW
12.45 Batc.tv Introduction – Noel Matthews G8GTZ
13.00 Lunch / Show and Tell

Afternoon Sessions

Combination of workshop/lectures.

Main Lecture
14.30 STM32+DSP – Adam Greig M0RND, Jon Sowman M0JSN, Matt Brezja M6VXO
15.30 UKHASNET – James Coxon M6JCX

Side Room
14:30 Pi In The Sky – Anthony Stirk M0UPU and Dave Akerman M0RPI
15.30 Amateur Radio Exams

The video streaming will be available on Saturday, August 16 at
http://stream.ukhas.org.uk/

UKHAS Conference
http://ukhas.org.uk/general:ukhasconference2014

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DX News from the ARRL

The American Radio Relay League's round-up of the forthcoming week's DX activity
on the amateur radio bands

Friday 15th August 2014

This week's bulletin was made possible with information provided by CX3AL, the OPDX Bulletin, 425 DX News, The Daily DX, DXNL, Contest Corral from QST and the ARRL Contest Calendar and WA7BNM web sites. Thanks to all.

MADAGASCAR, 5R. Jack, AI4SV plans to be QRV as 5R8SV from Antananarivo, IOTA AF-013, during the next 3 years. Activity will be on the HF bands using mainly CW. QSL via G3SWH.

TONGA, A3. Operators Stan, AC8W, Brian, KG8CO, Charles, KN8R and Lee, N8LJ will be QRV as A35AC, A35CO, A35LT and A35TR, respectively, from Tongatapu Island, IOTA OC-049, from August 16 to 24. Activity will be on 160 to 10 meters using CW, SSB and RTTY. QSL A35AC, A35CO and A35LT via K8ESQ, and A35TR via K8AQM.

URUGUAY, CX. Members of the Radio Club Uruguayo will be QRV as CW1R from the Punta del Esta Lighthouse, ILLW UY0005, during the International Lighthouse/Lightship Weekend. Activity will be on 80 to 10 meters using CW, SSB and various digital modes with at least two stations. QSL via bureau.

CAPE VERDE, D4. Carlo, ON4BR will be QRV as D44TLO from Boa Vista Island, IOTA AF-086, from August 16 to 23. Activity will be on 40 to 10 meters using CW. QSL to home call.

FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF GERMANY, DA. Look for DK0FC to be QRV as DK0FC/LGT from the Wangerooge Lighthouse, ILLW DE0030, during the International Lighthouse/Lightship Weekend. QSL via DB1BAC.

SPAIN, EA. Hans, DK6EA and Heike, DC2CT will be QRV as EA1/home calls from the Faro de Cabo Silleiro Lighthouse, ILLW ES00039, during the International Lighthouse/Lightship Weekend. QSL to home calls.

IRELAND, EI. Members of the South Eastern Amateur Radio Group are QRV as EI1100WD until the end of 2014 to celebrate the 1100th anniversary of the founding by Vikings in 914 of the town of Waterford. QSL via EI2HZB.

FRANCE, F. Helmich, PA0HEL and Peter, PA0RLM will be QRV as TM0LHG from the Gravelines Lighthouse, ILLW FR0002, during the International Lighthouse/Lightship Weekend. Activity will be on 80, 40, 20, 17, 15, 12 and 2 meters using SSB. QSL via PA0HEL.

PUERTO RICO, KP4. Operators Carlos, KP4CPC, Eduardo, NP4GE, Anthony, WP4I and Rafael, KP4ROS are QRV from Culebrita Island, IOTA NA-099, from the Culebra Lighthouse, ILLW PR0013, during the International Lighthouse/Lightship Weekend. QSL via WP4I.

DENMARK, OZ. Members of the MF-Runde will be QRV as OZ0MF and 5P0MF/LH from the Nordborg Lighthouse, ILLW DK0006, during the International Lighthouse/Lightship Weekend. QSL via DF5LW.

SWEDEN, SM. Members of the Enkoping Radio Klubb will be QRV as SK5WB from the new Understen Lighthouse, ILLW SE00061, and the old Understen Lighthouse, ILLW SE00062, during the International Lighthouse/Lightship Weekend. Activity will be 80 to 10 meters, including 6 and 2 meters, and 70 cm. QSL via SK5WB.

DODECANESE, SV5. Members of the Radio Amateur Association of Dodecanese will be QRV as SZ5RDS/p from Stroggili Islet, IOTA EU-001, and from the Ipsili Lighthouse, ILLW GR0003, during the International Lighthouse and Lightship Weekend. Activity will be on 80 to 2 meters using CW, SSB and RTTY. QSL via SV5AZP.

TURKEY, TA. Look for TC1LHW and TC6LHW to be QRV during the International Lighthouse/Lightship Weekend from the Istanbul Terkos Karaburun Lighthouse and Samsun Bafra Lighthouse, respectively. QSL via bureau.

AUSTRALIA, VK. Alan, VK5PBZ will be QRV as AX5PBZ from the Port Germein Lighthouse, ILLW AU0069, during the International Lighthouse and Lightship Weekend. QSL to home call. In addition, look for Trevor, VK3ATX to be QRV from lighthouse ILLW AU0080 on Gabo Island, IOTA OC-196, during the International Lighthouse and Lightship Weekend. QSL to home call.

INDIA, VU. Operators VU2LU, VU2GGM, and VU2JHM are QRV as AT5RP from Pamban Island, IOTA AS-173, until August 17. They are active from the lighthouses Pamban Channel, ARLHS IND-048, and Rameswaram, ARLHS IND-058. QSL via VU2LU.

VIET NAM, XV. Andy, UA3AA is QRV as XV2G until November 23. Activity is on the HF bands using mainly CW. QSL direct to home call.

SPECIAL EVENT STATIONS
W1AW Centennial Station W1AW/5 in Oklahoma is QRV until 2359z on August 19. In addition, W1AW Centennial Stations W1AW/8 in Ohio and W1AW/0 in North Dakota will be QRV starting at 0000z on August 20. They will be active until 2359z on August 26.

THIS WEEKEND ON THE RADIO
The ARRL RTTY Rookie Roundup, ARRL 10 GHz and Up Contest, International Lighthouse/Lightship Weekend, NCCC RTTY Sprint, NCCC Sprint CW Ladder, SARTG World Wide RTTY Contest, Russian District Award Contest, Keyman's Club of Japan CW Contest, North American SSB QSO Party, Feld Hell Sprint, CVA DX CW Contest and the SARL HF Digital Contest will certainly keep contesters busy this upcoming weekend. The Run for the Bacon QRP CW Contest is scheduled for August 18. The CWops Mini-CWT CW Test is scheduled for August 20

Please see August QST, page 74 and the ARRL and WA7BNM contest web sites for details

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Friday 15th August 2014

Dave Raycroft's  ICPO
(Islands, Castles & Portable Operations)

I.C.P.O. Bulletin (15-22 August 2014)
"Islands, Castles & Portable Operations"
Listing is by calendar date (day/month/year)

If you like chasing the DX to some of the remotest areas of the world, or love a rag-chew with a portable station in a rare square or working Islands, Castles or Lighthouses on the Air, then you need the right information. 

Dave Raycroft VA3RJ produces an excellent bulletin, and you can read the latest by clicking on the following link, and see what is coming up in the next few days/weeks.  Dave Raycroft Bulletin

Also check the excellent HF Propagation predictions from the United Kingdom for August 2014 by Gwyn Williams, G4FKH

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AmateurLogic 69: DV Mega Load

Thursday 14th August 2014

In this episode Peter demonstrates a new microcontrolled component test. George talks all about Dummy Loads. Tommy shows us the new DV Mega Raspberry Pi D-Star Hotspot. And a visit to the K7LWH D-Star Repeater site in Bellevue Washington.

We also announce our 9th Anniversary Sweepstakes where some ham is going to win the Ultimate Mobile Station.

1:20:46 of premium Ham Radio content.


 

AmateurLogic.TV Episode 69 is now available for download.

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IARU R1 to discuss possible loss of 23 cm

Thursday 14th August 2014

A paper to be discussed at the IARU Region 1 Conference in Varna-Albena, Bulgaria, September 21-27, 2014 highlights the threat to continued amateur radio usage of our 23 cm allocation which is now being used by the Galileo GPS system 

The amateur 23 cm allocation includes a key Amateur Satellite Service uplink band at 1260-1270 MHz.

Michael Kastelic OE1MCU, Chair of the IARU R1 VHF/UHF/Microwave Committee has written the paper VA14_C5_36 which says:

After the last reports and slides received by the author, it seems that radio amateurs will lose the 23 cm band in the near future. That is the reason for this late proposal.

We can be optimistic, but more than a small piece of spectrum for near band communication will not survive. Also the enthusiastic testing with ATV on 70 cm is not a replacement for 23 cm, because this will cause disturbance to our amateur satellites and all cars will stay locked if the ISM band is used.

Proposal:
Radio amateurs need a new allocation (like 1300 -1310 MHz) for the agenda of the World Radio Conference 2018 (WRC2018) so that amateurs get back spectrum near the existing 23 cm band.

Further it is proposed to engage the EC after WRC-2015 to bring this theme to the agenda for WRC-2018 with high priority


Read the paper at http://tinyurl.com/IARU-VA14-C5-36

Potential Interference To Galileo From 23 cm Band Operations
http://www.southgatearc.org/articles/galileo.htm

IARU R1 VHF/UHF/Microwaves discussion forum
http://www.thersgb.org/forums/index.php?forums/vhfmicrowave/

Other VHF/UHF/Microwave papers for the Conference can be downloaded from
http://www.iaru-r1.org/index.php?option=com_remository
&Itemid=&func=fileinfo&id=522

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Our Microwave Bands

Thursday 14th August 2014

On 30th July, the Wireless Institute of Australia (WIA) lodged a submission with the Australian Communications and Media Authority - the ACMA - putting a case to preserve a future for our nine centimeter amateur band, which spans from 3300 MHz to 3600 MHz, where the Amateur Service is secondary.

The submission was our response to the ACMA’s current inquiry into future licensing arrangements in the "3.5 GHz band", which extends from 3400 MHz to 3600 MHz.

To many amateurs, this sort of effort probably seems like the championing of lost causes – defeated before we even get to storm the ramparts of the enemy’s castle. After all, cashed-up telcos are willing to hand out big bucks for licences from which they can generate considerable cashflows.

I have learned from long experience that it pays to put aside such self-defeating thoughts and think creatively about the issues at hand.

The famous Spanish musician, Pablo Casals, summed up what to do when faced with seemingly daunting situations – he said: The situation is hopeless. We must take the next step.

Defending our spectrum allocations and operating conditions is one of the Institute’s primary roles. Success, however small, benefits all amateurs.

So, when any of our amateur bands faces a threat – the Institute must take the next step.

You may recall that, last year, we faced loss of access to the bottom end of the 13 centimetre band – 2300-2302 MHz is to be re-allocated to spectrum licensing so that the ACMA can bundle up a tidy 100 MHz to auction off, from 2300 to 2400 MHz.

A seemingly hopeless situation.

The WIA took the next step and produced a submission proposing retention of amateur access to 150 kHz of the band, from 2300 to 2300.15 MHz, following up with a campaign encouraging amateurs to submit their own objections to the ACMA proposal.

The outcome, you might remember, was that the ACMA said that it would work with the WIA to test whether a coexistence licensing arrangement might be developed under the Radiocommunications Act. We’re hopeful that that will proceed in the fullness of time.

Getting back to the current ACMA inquiry into the 3.5 GHz band, The Institute’s submission details the impact of loss of Amateur access to 3400-3600 MHz and puts forward a strong case to preserve future access to this section of our 9 cm band.

It’s a curious thing that amateurs seek to explore and experiment with new technologies, yet retain an interest in, and continued use of, technologies of the past, albeit in a modern context. The WIA submission points this out, adding that innovation in the use of wireless technologies in increasingly diverse applications continues relentlessly, both within and beyond the sphere of amateur radio, the WIA sees that it is important to facilitate radio amateurs’ ability to adopt or adapt innovations without unnecessary impediments.

The Institute submission also made the point that, while commercial and defence operations focus on reliable, high signal-to-noise ratio communications, radio amateurs deliberately seek to explore testing and establishing communications under difficult circumstances where weak-signal reception is the norm, rather than the exception.

As a result, the amateur radio community, globally and in Australia, has built up a commendable record of investigation and achievement in advancing the state of the art with weak-signal communications technologies and techniques.

No better example of that is the recently-reported contact on 10 GHz over more than 900 kilometres using aircraft reflection between David VK3HZ portable in country Victoria and Rex VK7MO portable in southern Queensland.

Making a contact like that was not so long ago – for example, last year – considered to be a hopeless endeavor. But there you go – VK3HZ and VK7MO took the next step!

The WIA is committed to maintaining Amateur service allocations across the radiofrequency spectrum – both primary and secondary. Over decades, the Institute has defended assiduously the retention of Amateur access to frequency bands throughout the spectrum.

And that’s quite apart from pursuing new allocations!

Pablo Casals made a profound statement: The situation is hopeless. We must take the next step.

When it comes to defending our spectrum allocations and operating conditions, our policy is to always take that next step.

Roger Harrison VK2ZRH

Wireless Institute of Australia

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RAGazine now available for download

Tuesday 12th August 2014

Volume 2 issue 1 of the free BAA-RAG radio astronomy publication RAGazine is now available for download

In this edition:
- VLF quarterly observing report
- Simple equipment for SID observations
- Intro. to radio objects that can be detected by the amateur radio astronomer
- The man who made maps of the moon (poetry)
- UKRAA update
- Long baseline interferometry with unmatched SDRs
- Diurnal variation of VLF signals
- Hydrogen Line Obs. Group (HLOG)
- SIDI, the Simple Digital Interferometer
- Receiving moon-bounce signals from the GRAVES radar

Download this and previous issues of RAGazine from
http://www.britastro.org/radio/downloads.html

Join the BAA-RAG Yahoo Group at
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/baa-rag

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Ham radio goes around the Moon

Tuesday 12th August 2014

Towards the end of the year, radio amateurs will have the opportunity to receive what must be the ultimate DX from a ham radio payload transmitting the data mode JT65B as it flies around the Moon

Beijing plans to send a lunar orbiter around the Moon carrying a 14 kg battery powered payload known as 4M-LXS which was developed at LuxSpace. The amateur radio payload will transmit a JT65B signal on 145.990 MHz which can be decoded by radio amateurs using the free WJST software.

The orbiter is one of the test models for Beijing's new lunar probe Chang'e-5, which will be tasked with landing on the moon, collecting samples and returning to Earth. The launch, planned for 4th qtr 2014, is aimed at testing the technologies that are vital for the success of Chang'e-5. The orbiter will be launched into Lunar Transfer Orbit (LTO) then will perform a flyby around the Moon and re-enter the Earth's atmosphere after 9 days.

The orbiter arrived in Xichang, Sichuan on Sunday, August 10 and was then transported to the Xichang Satellite Launch Center.

Beijing to test recoverable moon orbiter
http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/china/2014-08/10/c_133546027.htm

IARU Satellite Frequency Coordination Pages
http://amsat.org.uk/iaru

Free WSJT Software
http://physics.princeton.edu/pulsar/K1JT/

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D-STAR Ham Radio Satellite Repeater Test

Monday 11th August 2014

A test of the D-STAR Parrot Repeater on the TabletSat-Aurora satellite is expected to take place during Monday, August 11 on 437.050 MHz (+/- 10 kHz Doppler shift)

TabletSat-Aurora launched with 11 other satellites carrying amateur radio payloads from Dombarovsky near Yasny on Thursday, June 19, 2014.

The D-STAR GMSK Parrot (Store and Forward) Repeater can store up to 8 seconds of voice message and runs 0.8 watts to a whip antenna.

There are two other transceivers on the satellite, they transmit GMSK telemetry data on 435.550 MHz and 436.100 MHz. Their power can be varied by command from the ground station between 0.8 and 2.0 watts. TabletSat-Aurora is also a downlink on 8192 MHz.

Dmitry Pashkov R4UAB reports the test on his website at
http://r4uab.ru/?p=7160

Description of TabletSat-Aurora in Google English
http://tinyurl.com/TabletSat-Aurora-Description

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/SPUTNIX.ltd/

Dnepr Launch for D-STAR Satellite
http://amsat-uk.org/2014/06/18/dnepr-launch-for-d-star-satellite/

Satellite Tracking
http://amsat-uk.org/beginners/satellite-tracking/

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Russian HF radar in ham radio 20m band

Monday 11th August 2014

The IARU Monitoring System reports on interference to the amateur radio 14 MHz band from the new Russian HF Over The Horizon Radar (OTHR) Container network

The Russian Forces website reports the Air and Space Defense Forces are deploying a network of over-the-horizon (OTH) radars, code-named "Kontainer". They say the first one began "experimental-combat" operations in Kovylkino, Mordovia on December 2, 2013. The radar is reported to have a range of about 3000 km, which allows it to detect aircraft over large part of Europe.

The International Amateur Radio Union Monitoring System (IARUMS) Region 1 July 2014 newsletter says the radar site at Nizhny Novgorod has been very active in the Primary 14 MHz amateur radio allocation, e.g. 14.128 MHz, and the 35 kHz wide signal has caused considerable interference.

Read the IARUMS newsletter at
http://www.iarums-r1.org/iarums/news2014/news1407.pdf

Watch Russia Activates Aerospace Defense Radar Aimed at Europe

Russia begins deployment of over-the-horizon radars
http://russianforces.org/blog/2013/12/
russia_begins_deployment_of_ov.shtml


Russia Activates New Long Range Radar
http://www.janes.com/article/31614/
russia-activates-new-long-range-radar

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EMF 2014 Badge announced

Sunday 10th August 2014

An impressive badge incorporating a radio transceiver has been announced for the Electromagnetic Field EMF 2014 event taking place August 29-31 at Bletchley near Milton Keynes

EMF 2014 will have a dedicated amateur radio village and special event station GB2EMF. It is a festival for anyone interested in radio, electronics, space, homebrewing, robots, UAVs, 3D printing, DIYBio, Internet culture or pretty much anything else you can think of.

The recently announced event badge features an Arduino Due compatible 32bit ARM Cortex M3. A rechargeable battery will keep it running for days, and you can charge it over USB when the juice runs out. It has a 128x64 pixel LCD screen, two RGB LEDs, a radio transceiver, joystick, accelerometer, gyroscope, speaker, infrared, and all sorts of other fun parts.

More information at:
Announcing TiLDA MKe, the incredible EMF 2014 camp badge
http://blog.emfcamp.org/post/94157161753/announcing-tilda-mke-the-incredible-emf-2014-camp

EMF 2014 takes place August 29-31 near Newton Longville, just South of Bletchley, Milton Keynes, MK17 0BU.

EMF Amateur Radio Village
https://wiki.emfcamp.org/wiki/Villages:Amateur_Radio

EMF 2014 https://www.emfcamp.org/
Twitter @emfcamp
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/emfcamp

Report on the EMF 2012 event
http://amsat-uk.org/2012/09/01/emf-2012-milton-keynes/

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July RSGB Board Meeting

Saturday 9th August 2014

The RSGB Board proceedings for July mention the flood damage at the National Radio Centre (NRC)

The proceedings note the NRC was closed temporarily during July and say the full impact of last years RSGB Centenary £1 Membership offer would not be apparent until the autumn.

Proceedings of the RSGB Board meeting held July 26, 2014
https://thersgb.org/membersonly/board/proceedings-and-reports/
07-26-2014-board-proceedings.pdf


Previous RSGB Board proceedings
http://rsgb.org/main/about-us/board-of-directors/board-proceedings-and-reports/

You can join the RSGB online at
http://www.rsgbshop.org/acatalog/
Online_Catalogue_Join_the_RSGB_22.html


RSGB membership is free to licensed UK amateurs under the age of 21 or aged 21-25 and in full time education
http://www.rsgbshop.org/acatalog/PDF/join_us_form_junior.pdf

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Disappearing medium wave

Saturday 9th August 2014

MW DX enthusiast, Bruce Conti, maintains a list of countries that are no longer operating on the medium wave band.

Entitled Silent MW Radio Countries, the document was updated just yesterday (Aug 8) and contains a surprising list of countries no longer on the AM broadcast band.

I was stunned! Not being a MW Dxer for many years, I had no idea just how much the MW band had changed over the years! Particularly interesting was the absence of African nations that have moved away from MW and onto the FM band. It makes fascinating reading.

Check out the list at http://www.bamlog.com/darkcountries.htm.
And if you are interested in mediumwave reception, have a look at the rest of Bruce's excellent website at http://www.bamlog.com/.

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Pirate station Radio Caroline drops anchor at the River Blackwater

Friday 8th August 2014

An iconic pirate pop radio ship has dropped anchor in the River Blackwater for the first time since the mid-1990s, with plans to take over the airwaves.

Radio Caroline, the world's most famous pirate radio station, which is housed on the ship MV  Ross Revenge, has docked just off the shore of Bradwell after leaving its home of 10 years in Tilbury docks last Thursday (July 31).

The station altered the face of pop music by challenging the established radio format in the 1960s, 70s and 80s by playing 24 hours of pop music a day, and tracks  that other radio stations wouldn't.

Now the team is back on the Blackwater for the first time since 1993, and plan to use a temporary 28-day radio licence to give Maldon and the Dengie a taste of the famous station whilst they apply for an AM licence to operate permanently.

Manager of the Ross Revenge Peter Moore, 67, who lives in Maldon and who has been involved with  Radio Caroline since 1976, said: "It's nice to be back at Bradwell on the Essex coast again.

"We've had a lot of support from the local community and we hope to get more involved.

"It was a hard old slog to get the boat here and we're glad to be back – we've had a great reaction so far from the local community."

The radio station, currently based on its third ship, has a cult following throughout Europe, after a turbulent history of international police raids, fires, shipwrecks and financial ruin, all of which inspired the movie "The Boat That Rocked" starring Bill Nighy and Phillip Seymour Hoffman.

At the height of its power the station had up to 20 million listeners from the UK and Europe and changed the face of radio as we know it by challenging the BBC's monopoly over the airwaves.

Peter told the Chronicle: "It's a totally different time now to when Radio Caroline was over the airwaves and to think of the risks that you took even getting on the ship and playing music is hard to believe.

"Legally you could find yourself in prison for two years for just playing music and the boat was hardly sea worthy.

"But it was a fantastic time to be involved with music. Radio Caroline is like an addiction now we all work here as volunteers and love it."

Read the full Essex Chronicle story at
http://www.essexchronicle.co.uk/Pirate-station-Radio-Caroline-drops-anchor-River/story-22121919-detail/story.html

To tune into  Radio Caroline go to http://www.radiocaroline.co.uk/

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Listen to Perseid radio pings on the Internet

Thursday 7th August 2014

JoAnne K9JKM reminds us that radio pings from meteors can be heard via the internet

The Perseid meteor shower peak is predicted to occur between August 11 to 13, 2014. There are a few pre-peak pings already audible. The activity should increase over the next several days.

Quoting from their web page here is how they do it:

The US Air Force Space Surveillance Radar has been shut down, but we're still recording meteor echoes. How do we do it? Radio engineer Stan Nelson uses a Yagi antenna in New Mexico to detect 54 MHz TV signals reflected from meteor trails. When a meteor passes over his observatory--ping!--there is an echo.

Web streaming of the Perseid is on-line at:
http://spaceweatherradio.com/

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Wideband SDR Transceiver covers LF to UHF

Thursday 7th August 2014

Cross Country Wireless have announced the Sentry 10 a SDR transceiver that covers 12 kHz to 1400 MHz

Their website says the product is expected to be available in September.

Further information and a video is at
http://www.crosscountrywireless.net/sentry.html

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Amateur Radio Satellite Ground Station in Ghana

Monday 4th August 2014

The Chronicle reports the much-awaited Satellite Ground Station at the All Nations University College (ANU) in Ghana is about to be implemented

It follows the resolve of the All Nations University College to design and build an Amateur Satellite Ground Station this year. The planned Miniature Satellite Ground Station is to be used in tracking Amateur Satellites in orbit, train engineers in Space and Satellite Engineering, and for research purposes that will enhance both institutional and industrial activities in the sub-region.

The successful implementation of the project would, not only earn ANU the credit of being the first university to have successfully designed and built a miniature satellite called CanSat in the sub-region, but also the first University to build a Satellite Ground Station.

Read the full story at
http://thechronicle.com.gh/all-nations-miniature-satellite-ground-station-on-course/

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TXtra BREAKING NEWS

Sunday 3rd August 2014

Check out the latest addition to TXtra as we get the chance to review the FlexRadio Systems FLEX-6300.

Bob McCreadie G0FGX and Sanderly Jeronimo M6SEJ demonstrate the new entry-level SDR from FlexRadio Systems.

Interested in SDR? Confused by SDR? This review should erase any question marks!

Take a look at www.txfactor.co.uk and navigate to the TXtra pages.

Enjoy the ride.......

Mike G1IAR
Nick 2E0FGQ
Bob G0FGX

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434 MHz party balloon B-64 completes epic journey

Friday 1st August 2014

At about 16:30 GMT on Friday, July 31, the solar powered B-64 party balloon launched by radio amateur Leo Bodnar M0XER crossed the 1 degree West longitude line completing its circumnavigation of the northern hemisphere in just over 19 days

The balloon completed its transatlantic crossing and came within range of Cornwall in the morning. Oliver De Peyer M6ODP (photo right) happened to be visiting St Michael’s Mount in Cornwall at the time. He used his Kenwood TH-F7E handheld to receive an APRS packet from the balloon.

As the day progressed B-64 moved from just south of Cornwall up the English Channel and radio amateurs and listeners from Manchester to Nantes in France were able to receive the 10 mW Contestia 64/1000 and APRS signal on 434.500 MHz.

B-64 passed over the Isle of Wight and floated over Bognor Regis and across Kent heading out into the North Sea near Herne Bay. As of Friday night it was still flying and transmitting.

Typical 434 MHz solar powered payload – Image credit Leo Bodnar M0XER

Leo Bodnar M0XER launched his balloon from Silverstone in the UK at 07:00 GMT on July 12, 2014. Using the amateur radio APRS network and the UKHAS network its location was tracked over Europe, Siberia, a brief sojourn across North Korea before heading out over Japan and across the Pacific Ocean. It then briefly entered the United States before swinging north into Canada.

It was heard in Greenland by Peter Thulesen OX3XR and on Friday morning finally came within range of the British Isles.

See the track of B-64 at
http://spacenear.us/tracker/?filter=B-64

or at http://habitat.habhub.org/mobile-tracker/

Members of the Chelmsford Amateur Radio Society received the signal from B-64. Just 4 weeks earlier, thanks to Chris Stubbs M6EDF, the Society had launched a balloon CARS-1 from their meeting venue. That balloon didn’t have solar power so the signal only lasted for about 10 hours. CARS training organiser Clive G1EUC reported receiving a strong signal from B-64.

Clive is currently taking names for the next amateur radio Foundation course which starts on Thursday, September 4. If you’d like to join the course or wish to find out more about the hobby give him a ring on:
Tel: 01245-224577
Mob: 07860-418835
Email: training2014 at g0mwt.org.uk
Web: http://www.g0mwt.org.uk/training/

What is Amateur Radio ?
http://www.essexham.co.uk/what-is-amateur-radio

Further 434 MHz balloon links at
http://amsat-uk.org/2014/07/30/434-mhz-balloon-goes-around-the-world/

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Panama Canal Special Event

Friday 1st August 2014

This month, Panama celebrates its 100th anniversary of the Panama Canal.

On August 15th, the Panamanians will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the inaugural transit through the Panama Canal. This activity is organized by amateurs of the Republic of Panama.

A special event station is operating as HO 100 CANAL until August 15.

Activity will be on 160-10 meters using CW, SSB, PSK and RTTY.

The QSL Manager for the operation is HP 1 AVS.

http://www.qrz.com/db/HO100CANAL

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Family goes Radio Ga Ga

Friday 1st August 2014

A family from Rayleigh in Essex are launching a brand new radio station. Rayleigh Community Radio will be serving Rayleigh and the surrounding areas, and commences operation today, Friday 1st August.

The station is managed by Tony Holland-Martin, with regular presenters, Alex Holland-Martin (21) and Oliver Holland-Martin (7). Both Tony and Alex have radio experience from hospital radio and now together community radio.

Alex Holland-Martin who has just finished his studies at the South Essex College in Southend. This is where Alex was bitten by the radio bug when studying Creative Media Production (Television & Film) Diploma and having a tour of the media department and hosting a show on the college’s Infuse Radio. It was at Infuse Radio that Alex involved in the world record attempt for the longest radio marathon as a team – 88 hours.

Alex said: “At first it will be a relatively small project, but one I am hoping will grow.”

“We have a PRS licence to broadcast on the internet for 58 hours per week, so the station will initially be on air 9 hours a day roughly. It won’t be long before we can expand the station and have guests for interviews, along with additional presenters.”

“Rayleigh is a great community, so I wanted to give people a service they could really get involved with and get something from the station. We are particularly interested in local issues and events. Part of the concept of the station is also to capture local oral history of our area”
Alex says college was a great way to get into local radio.
He said: “The radio station at South Essex College was a great way for me to get involved and find out what it was all about.”

“The facilities are brilliant there and it really helped me discover this is what I want to do. The College is fantastic, I couldn’t have done it without the support from everyone there.”

Alex also add “I really enjoyed my time on the college radio I was so gutted when it ended but we all have to move on.”

Rayleigh Community Radio is currently only available online at:
http://tunein.com/radio/Rayleigh-Community-Radio-s226347

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If you would like to read more news from previous months

then click on More News

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DX Cluster .. Service for Club Members

Our local packet DX-Cluster GB7MDX (run by Bob G4UJS) is located near Whixall
in Shropshire.  It is hard-wired to GB7MDX is GB7UJS, a Linux Server running DXspider
by G1TLH permanently connected to the internet and the worldwide packet cluster network.

This is an experimental Telnet link to our local DX-Cluster from this page.  If you
are a licensed radio amateur, click on GB7UJS and enter your callsign to log-in.

If you experience any problems in making the connection, please read the HELP file.

All connections are recorded, so please do not abuse
this facility otherwise it will be withdrawn.

Click here for the full on-line manual for DXspider on GB7UJS.

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This page will be regularly updated to reflect Club News and Activities and both UK and World News Items deemed to be of interest to members.  If you have an announcement which you think would interest Club members and would like it mentioned here, please send details to:-  webmaster@wadarc.com